Gingerbread houses

We made gingerbread houses this week!

Trying to keep things normal around here in the middle of all the chaos. I love this time of year and all the additional activities we get to do, but because of how busy we are we're having a hard time fitting in those activities. 

 

Gingerbread houses are an annual tradition. It was nice to sit down for an hour or two and take a break. The older boys were great examples and showed Nicholas the best way to enjoy frosting. 

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Weekend in Boston

I met up with Chris this weekend in Boston. I stayed with him at his apartment on North Eastern's campus. Our mission for the weekend was to explore the surrounding areas looking at neighborhoods and touring schools. We spent a couple days west of Boston and toured 13 homes over 6 suburbs. After getting used to the sticker shock it was interesting to check out the different types of homes we could potentially live in. This time of year the housing market is pretty thin so we didn't have many quality options. Hopefully when we are ready to buy there will be more options available to us. 

Sunday we spent the day sightseeing and touring the city. We finished a little Christmas shopping and enjoyed some nice meals. 

I flew back to Utah this morning on an early a.m. flight. I sure did miss the kiddos and can only imagine how much Chris misses the kids while he's away. This break will be rather short, Chris will be home next weekend. 

 

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Thanksgiving in St. George

We are grateful for many things... especially family. 

We spent Thanksgiving this year down in St. George with mom and dad and the majority of my extended family. Ben had a soccer tournament and ended up playing three games over the weekend. 

Chris was able to fly in from Boston and spend the few days with us down in St. George and then a couple days with us back in Sandy. Three weeks apart seemed like forever but we got back into the groove of life immediately. We were worried that Chris wouldn't be able to fly out of Boston due to a storm, but he was able to switch his flight to an earlier flight which gave us almost an extra day together.

Silly me, I neglected to take a lot of pictures or even a family picture but I did bring my big camera down and maybe I'll edit those photos one day... for now you can see some of my phone picks thrown together in project life page layouts. 

Some trip highlights:

We hiked the Santa Clara preserve to look for petroglyphs and didn't find any on day one, on day two found them with no problem and got some cool pics. Day three enjoyed family, turkey and some black Friday shopping. Ben was a great help carrying the bags.

Day 4-5, as I mentioned above, three soccer games, lunch at the pizza factory, the quickest trip ever to Urban Renewal and a relatively short drive to Sandy.

Back home it was life as usual, Chris mowed the lawn and cleaned up the outdoors, we chilled, had dinner at The Blue Lemon and enjoyed quiet family time. I dropped Chris off at the airport Sunday night late, where he took a redeye flight back to Boston. 

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Santa Clara preserve Hike with family, Mom, Shawn and his kids.

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Seeing the sights of St. George, Black Friday shopping, the quarter mile long line to Target, turkey after it was cut (oops), my peach pie, and Nicholas feeling under the weather.

The official announcement!

North Eastern University has issued an official announcement about Chris' new role. This story has been shared and pass around through Facebook and email but I thought I would also post a link to the article here as well.

The university photographer took a few photos of Chris and I appropriated this one from the article. Looking good!  

He's been away a long eleven days. Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.

Arrived in Boston

Chris has arrived! He started his journey East last Wednesday. He arrived late Friday night. It was a long drive but somehow went quickly.

Chris has had a couple of days to get acclimated to Boston. He has spent his time sightseeing, walking and trying to get his apartment ready for Boston life. He begins work on Monday and is very excited. We are surviving and keeping ourselves busy by packing and playing, although we sure miss our dad.

 

 

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Halloween recap

We had a super fun night trick or treating with Nicholas. Benjamin went out with friends and Andrew opted to hand out candy. 

Costume run down:  

Nicholas = dragon

Benjamin = made up character from his best friends dream. Some sort of evil mastermind gangster.  I thought he looked a little clockwork orange. He had very specific details on what the costume needed to look like. Leslie made his vest when she was here (thank you!). I made the tie... I took one of Chris's old ties and spray-painted black and then masked it off with tape and hand-painted in the white stripes. 

 

It it was a warm and gorgeous night for trick or treating. 

 

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Trunk or Treat!

We spent a super fun night with the kiddos 'trunk or treating' at Mom and Dad's ward house. 

The kids enjoyed a Halloween carnival complete with games, treats and cousins.

candy corn toss

candy corn toss

Witch hat ring toss

Witch hat ring toss

Nic as a fire-breathing dragon and Isaac as a Knight. Perfect combo.

Nic as a fire-breathing dragon and Isaac as a Knight. Perfect combo.

Cousins - Dark Knight and a Knight

Cousins - Dark Knight and a Knight

Feel the fire?!

Feel the fire?!

The older boys helped hand out candy to all the little kids. Check out some of these spooky trunks.

Cousins in the back go Gpa's truck handing out candy.

Cousins in the back go Gpa's truck handing out candy.

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Shadow show- butcher's van

Shadow show- butcher's van





Headed home

We sure enjoyed having Grammy as an extended house guest. She stayed with us just over a month and offered me such wonderful help with the kids. We hope she enjoyed herself and the peek into our simple life.  We will miss you... (jeeper's crow, not for nothing, wicked cool) all Grammy phrases Nic has picked up.

A few nights before she left we spent a gorgeous evening at the park, enjoying the weather and fall colors. 

Yesterday she has packed up her car and started on a long road trip back east. She plans to stop in Florida and the Carolinas before finally landing home in Maine. She'll likely be back home in early November. Safe travels! 

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St. George weekend retreat

I drove home today from a fun filled weekend in St. George with mom. Girls weekend. No kiddos. I had a blast. We went down to attend Jill Olson's Fall Stampin' get away.

Mom and I drove down with Grandma Great Thursday night and dropped GG off at Julie's house in Cedar city. It was a fun drive chatting with mom and Grandma the whole way. I don't get to do this enough.

Friday, the day before the stamping event, we enjoyed a day of garage sales, thrift shopping, good food and a night at the movies. I did take a few photos of some cool things at Urban Renewal.

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Urban Renewal has cool displays and random finds.

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Saturday we both enjoyed a day full of stamping and chatting. We made around 15 projects. I didn't take very many project pictures but here are a few...

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We spent the evening shopping some more and had a nice dinner at Benja's (Thai).

I made a few swap projects for the Stampin' event (most I posted earlier last week) I made one last-minute swap before I left for the event and that card won a prize ($25 gift certificate) woo hoo! I'll post a picture and supplies later this week.

A huge thanks to Leslie for helping Chris watch the kids so I could go down with peace of mind. Thank you!!!

Basement bathroom addition - FINISHED!

I spent most of last summer/winter and this spring working on adding a bathroom to our basement. The bathroom space was somewhat plumbed for a sink and toilet but I really wanted to add a shower and make the bathroom more functional for guests. I hired a plumber to move the pipes for the toilet, sink and also add the required plumbing for a shower. As I mentioned, I spent much of the last year working on the bathroom and (besides the plumbing and electrical) did all of the work myself. The room is now totally done and decorated (key word) and I wanted to share.

This is a really small bathroom but we were able to fit a shower, toilet and vanity. Sorry, It was difficult to photograph - I'll blame that on the size of the room and dark basement.

Bathroom view from doorway.

Bathroom view from doorway.

Here is the process low down...

1. Hired a plumber to move and add additional plumbing.

2. Hired an electrician to move the electrical and add wiring for a future wet bar. I also had him wire for a light above my craft table and replace our entry way light.

3. Chris and I pulled all of the old sheet rock down and hung new sheetrock. See my stamp closet peeking out from under the stairs (far left)?

4. I did all of the sheetrock tape, mud and sanding. My least favorite chore - such a mess. This took me forever.

5. I debated on paint color. So I primed... and continued to ponder paint color. I eventually landed on a nice gray. 

6. I debated on how to handle/finish the shower. I thought about tiling but I hate cleaning grout. I researched a prefab enclosure but getting one down the stairs would have been next to impossible. I really wanted something simple and easy to clean. So we went with a cultured marble look and had a few companies come and bid. I found a guy I liked and had the shower floor and walls created. They pour and make panels offsite and then bring them back in sheets for installation. Since I'm small potatoes in the contracting world it took forever to get the guys out here to actually install. I mean forever. What a nag I became.  

Shower options. Non of which we used.

Shower options. Non of which we used.

7. I really wanted a EURO style shower door but due to the angled design of our shower it really wasn't the best option for our space and would of not been ideal for keeping the water in the shower ... basically the point of a shower door. I went with solid glass walls and door in a semi EURO style trimmed in silver and l like how it turned out. The door is rather tiny, since the space is tiny, but it works perfectly for our needs. Same drill - vendor came out to measure, order and then install. This time the installation turnaround was really quick and the guy who installed the door even fixed a fogged window we had a problem with in the basement. 

8. I prepped the floor for tiling. I had to mix and lay a little concrete to even the floor out and fill in some the holes that the plumber created. I had hoped the plumber would of handled this but turned out I was the lucky one for the job. This was a new experience for me but in the end it turned out ok. I only swore a few times.

9.  I knew I wanted 1" hexagon tiles. While these were fairly easy to find they were crazy expensive - IMO. I searched and searched for the best deal and found a place in SLC that was fairly affordable. I purchased the tile and then waited until I had a few days to tackle.

10. Eventually I finished the tile. I stressed and swore a lot. I've laid a lot of tile before and this harder than I anticipated because the room was not square and I had the weird angle of the shower to content with. I used my stain glass cutter to cut each individual 1" tile that needed to be cut. Time consuming. Boo. I was happy to move onto grouting and sealing the tile.

Hexagon tile floor and the bathroom rugs that inspired color scheme.

Hexagon tile floor and the bathroom rugs that inspired color scheme.

11. Chris installed the baseboard and door trim. I did the caulking, painting and other finish work.

Martha Stewart vanity and Mirror.  Magazine rack serves as towel rack.

Martha Stewart vanity and Mirror.  Magazine rack serves as towel rack.

12. I searched for a vanity. This took me a long while to decide. I knew I had a small space and a pedestal sink would fit perfectly but I really wanted a bit of storage. I finally found a vanity, which happened to be a good match to the color gray I painted. Somewhat of a happy accident. Although I didn't love the look of all gray walls and gray vanity so I painted the one wall behind the cabinet white.

13. I called the plumber back to set the toilet and plumb the shower and add the hardware to the vanity. Again I waited, nagged and was happy once it was installed.

13. I added a simple mirror and I had the electrician come back and set the light above the mirror and complete the finish electrical.  We had to work around odd duct work but I think the light choice turned out ok. You can't really see it in the photograph.

14. Then I moved onto decorating. So much more fun. I found these great rugs at target on clearance (under 6$ a rug). I coordinated the artwork colors to the rug color scheme.

For the Home Digital Download

For the Home Digital Download

I designed these various prints as a digital download product for Stampin' Up!  You can purchase the For the Home template here. I found a bunch of second hand ornate frames and spray painted them all white. I measured each opening and then customized the art size and colors. This was a super easy project and quick to frame and hang.

I found the ampersand shelf at target, also on clearance. I can't remember how much I paid but it was cheap. The little vintage letters came from the Inspiration Ave shop.

I used an old magazine/book rack as the towel bar. Wall space is limited and I didn't want to use a traditional bar or even hooks. The moving rack works perfectly.

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We are really happy with how this room turned out. The bathroom is right off of my craft/art room and it's so nice to have a sink close by. And now guests have a bathroom close by and do not have to trek up to the third floor to shower.

Katy Perry

Nothing like celebrating your 40th birthday (9 months later) with Katy Perry. Chris and I had a really great time at the show. And boy was it a SHOW! Typically we don't go to pop shows but I'm a big fan and Chris gave me tickets for my birthday. The event did not disappoint and was super entertaining. Highlights: prism glasses, random giant parade balloons, Giant props, aero gymnastics, 10+ costume changes, colored wigs and tutus everywhere, neon, talking cats, pyro and confetti!

We had excellent seats (4th row floor) but my phone died and I was unable to capture much. Had to live in the moment which wasn't so bad.

I would totally recommend.

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LA weekend - dissertation

Chris and I spent another great weekend in LA. This time without the kids. It was a school / belated anniversary trip.

Chris needed to go to present his dissertation proposal and defend it so he can move forward with research. The proposal went perfectly and his chair and team have approved him to move foward! Words like 'brilliant' were thrown around. 

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Afterward we headed to the Hollywood Bowl to watch Trey perform with the LA philharmonic. It was a great day.

 

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The rest of the weekend was spent lounging at the beach, eating, shopping and sight seeing. A highlight for me was visiting the Melrose Trading post flea market. Lots of goodies to be found.

 

It was a great weekend with my favorite person!!! 

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Our Labor Day weekend! Look back

Impromptu road trip over Labor Day to California. Beach day, Angels game, Disneyland and various roadside attractions. It was nice to get away and spend some quality time with the family. 

 

Dana point

Dana point


dana point

dana point

Angels game

Angels game

Let's do this Disney thing!

Let's do this Disney thing!

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

Pooh and Nic

Pooh and Nic

Bottle tree ranch 

Bottle tree ranch 

 

Back to school

Earlier this month the kids started back to school. Andrew 9th (highschool), Ben 7th and Nic 4yr old preschool.  With the blog switch over I never posted about it. Playing catch up.

We've survived the first few weeks. The homework load is heavy and we have lots of after school sports (Andrew Jordan high baseball, Ben soccer, Nic soccer) and other activities. Busier than ever. 

 

Boys 1st day if school 2014

Boys 1st day if school 2014

 

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