Evergreens No More

Ben’s been hard at work on the yard. Most weekends, and many evenings, you’ll find him wielding a chain saw or an axe or some other manly type tool.

Now, thanks to his hard work, we can see our property from the back of the house!

Last week, he took down the trees that had grown in front of the enclosed side porch (on left in photo below). Now that they’re gone, we can be in that space and watch the deer in the yard. Today, he took down the trees on the opposite side by the garage. Pictures of tonight’s project are below. 20140707-221416-80056196.jpg







Creating a Fire Ring Area

When we purchased our home last fall, there was a small section of dead ash trees and other shrubbery on one side of the yard.


This is an area where Ben is working to remove dead trees and clear an area for a fire ring. This is how it looked in June 2013.

This spring, Ben has been working steadily to remove the dead trees and other growth to create the perfect space for a fire ring!


This picture was taken in May 2014. It’s a slightly different view from above, but you can see that the space is clearer.

The long-long-term plan includes a fire ring, seating area and outdoor food prep area.

The short-term plan is to clear enough space for a basic fire ring and probably some camp chairs.

Bring on the roasted marshmallows!

Product Review: Command Products for Hanging Frames

So far, I have yet to hang any art in my house using nails. It’s true; I haven’t needed Ben’s help with a hammer and nails once since we moved in!

Our last house had mostly very textured plaster walls, and nails were pretty much the only option when it came to hanging art on the walls. Our new house, however, has nice smooth walls, and since I discovered Command picture-hanging products, I’ve been on a roll!

These all have been hung using Command products:

family photo wall

Family photos printed, framed AND hung. Check me out.

gallery wall

The start of a gallery wall going up the stairs.

Ohio print

Our first item to be hung on the walls! This was a birthday gift made by Blake and Irene!

I mostly eyeball the placement, but occasionally do enlist the help of a small level.

Here are links to the products I’ve used:

Command picture hanging strips

Command Sawtooth Sticky Nail Hanger

Finding a Baby Gate for a Split-Level Staircase

Although I appreciate my husband’s creative suggestion to find some discarded baby gates at garage sales and zip tie them together, I thought the better approach to finding a safe and non-hilljack baby gate for our split-level staircase was to buy one made for that purpose.

It was expensive, but I feel much better about the safety of my home.

Here’s what we ended up with:

baby gate for split-level staircase

baby gate for split-level staircase

It’s great! It completely does the job, and I plan to purchase two more for the top and bottom of the staircase.

The specifics:

This is a Custom Fit KidCo Configure Gate with one 24″ Gate Extension.

It’s Fall Family Photo Time!

I love, love, love family photos – mine, yours, everyone’s. At my house, you won’t find “fine art” on the walls; you’ll find photos of my family, lots of them.

Recently, we had our family photos taken by Tiffany Levenhagen of Levenhagen Photography.

She is great, and I’m thrilled with how the pictures turned out.

We did a mini session, which means 15 minutes and DONE. If you have a husband and/or small children, I’m sure you can appreciate the awesomeness of this approach.

Here’s how they turned out. If you’re in the Findlay area and need some pictures taken, contact Tiffany!

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1960s Home Renovation Update

On Sept. 1, Ben and I got possession of our 1960s split level.

Check out this post to see what it looked like when we bought it.

Since then, lots and lots and lots of wallpaper has been removed. Yay!

My grandpa also very graciously volunteered to paint, and finished the entire lower level.

Our good friend (and carpenter!) Jim came down for a day and installed two new exterior doors for us.

Some guy named Frank repaired some holes and cracks in the walls.

Here are some pictures showing some of the changes, as of Oct. 13 when I took these pictures:

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Here’s a couple of good befores and afters:

eat-in kitchen

eat-in kitchen

eating area in kitchen, looking toward garage door

eating area in kitchen, looking toward garage door

This view is looking toward steps that go up to the main floor; two doors go to a craft room and a spare bedroom; steps go down to basement.

This view is looking toward steps that go up to the main floor; two doors go to a craft room and a spare bedroom; steps go down to basement.

downstairs family room

downstairs family room