Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wild and Wonderful West Virginia!

We had a great vacation this past week.  Chris' entire family went to a resort in West Virginia.  There were 25 of us in two houses.  It is such a beautiful part of the country with so many activities.  I think it was a much better vacation than the beach. 

We participated in a lot of vigorous activities including ziplining, whitewater rafting, archery, hiking, biking, and bowling.  It was a lot of fun but we both have really sore muscles now!

We also had some fun in much slower activities that were equally enjoyable like a coal mine tour, wine tasting, and the play "Honey in the Rock."

The coal mine had a great museum and Samantha had a great time playing with the general store cash register.

She also was playing the piano in the church.  It was funny because she had to turn the pages to get a new song.

 I think everyone in the family had as much fun as we did!

Of course when we arrived home, there was work to be done on the house.  The garden had a lot of weeds to remove, the grass needed to be cut, and there were beans to pick.

Before we left for vacation, the dishwasher stopped working.  Fortunately I found a post on the internet that showed us how to fix it for only $13.  The flexible printed wiring cable had some rust spots.  We had to take it apart and then scrape off the rust and use a defogger repair kit to repair the connections.  Thank goodness it works again!

I also removed a lot of the grass and weeds where we will be putting in the sidewalk.  Hopefully the next long weekend coming up will allow me to put in the forms for the concrete. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

We had a good Father's Day weekend here at the Money Pit.  My parents came into town and we didn't make them do a single thing the entire time.  They know we'll make up for it the next time they visit (I'm thinking sidewalk and retaining wall!). 

While there was no house work, we did do a lot.  We started off by visiting the Habitat ReStore.  They found some pretty cool sinks for the River House as well as a couple cottage/rustic mirrors that used to hang in the L.L. Bean store that just closed.  I look forward to seeing them installed (even if it is a long time from now). 

We found some 6 panel doors that will fit in our bedrooms.  We still need three more to complete the main level so I'll be sure to keep an eye out.  I also found a couple vintage end tables that I'm going to try to fix up, paint, and hopefully sell.  If it works, maybe I'll have a new way to make some money on the side!

Then we went to the Swinetastic BBQ Festival in Frederick with our friends James and Michelle (and Emma and Jack).  The kids all seemed to have a good time. 

With my parents here, we actually sat out on the deck a lot more than when it's just the three of us.  It also helped that it was much cooler at night than it's been here lately.  Today is another hot/humid day in the mid-80s. 

Samantha and I had some fun this week (of course!).  We went swimming at a friend's house and all Samantha wanted to do was jump (i.e. walk) into the water over and over and over again.  My arms were a little sore the next day!

We also went to the concert at the lakefront again.  It may be the last one we can attend this summer so I'm glad we made it. 

On the day of the big storms/tornado, we went outside to play with some homemade chalk paint in between storms.  Samantha had a lot of fun with it.  And she always looks so serious when she's concentrating.


And while painting, I finally caught some of her babble/laughing on camera.  She must think she's pretty funny although nobody else knows what she's saying!

She still loves necklaces - and many of them at once!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Graduation Weekend

This weekend, our eldest nephew and niece graduated from high school.  We are very proud of them.  Congratulations Ryan and Erin!   

Ryan will be going to a technical school to get training in food services.  Erin was ranked #3 in a class of over 450 students.  She will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall majoring in neuroscience. 

The graduation ceremony went well - the speakers were entertaining/brief and they did a great job getting through all those students quickly. 

Samantha even did a good job getting through the 2 hour ceremony - there may have been some running around toward the end!

It was nice to spend time with Chris' family.  Although it was rough getting down there - Tropical Storm Andrea was not nice to the traffic on I-95!

Some other fun things we did this week included a sand play date, lakefront concert/picnic, and strawberry picking!  Samantha was great at picking strawberries. 

We ended up with about 3 pounds of strawberries so I decided to make some yummy homemade jam!  Then we ended up giving all but one jar to Chris' family when we saw them the next day.  I'll have to do this again soon!

The graduation was on Friday so we came home Saturday afternoon.  We didn't have much time or energy for much work on the house but we got a couple things accomplished.  Chris cut the grass (this seems to be a common theme over the last several weekends) and we hung curtains in the living room and dining room. 

The windows in the living room and dining room are extremely wide.  The ones in the living room are over 13 feet wide.  Since I'm not willing to spend over $150 for one curtain rod, we did the next best thing - we made them. 

We had to remove some old copper pipe from the heating lines in the basement.  They had some issues/holes so they weren't good for anything but scrap.   


 We had a couple nice long pieces - they were just right! 

So I cut them to the right length...


...cleaned and spray painted them, and then attached the ends that I bought from IKEA (nothing fancy but they are functional).  In order to attach the ends to the tubing, Chris drilled a 1" hole into each one and then I glued them on. 

After a lot of time spent with the iron, drill (to install brackets), and spray paint can, we have much nicer looking living and dining rooms (if you ignore all the toys and clutter)!


Now for some fun Samantha antics.  We found this old horse at the end of a neighbor's driveway that said "Free to Good Home."  Samantha has a lot of fun bouncing on it.

She is very particular about certain things.  The way she handles these play strawberries makes you think they're real!

Speaking of play food, Samantha has started giving her large stuffed dog some healthy treats - apples, carrots, and celery. 

Chris had to take this picture at the end of the day - he asked if this is what the house looks like when he's at work (and I had to say "yes").

One more picture - she loves to be spun in circles. 

I hope everyone has that look of pure happiness this week!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finished Deck!

Well we finally finished the deck.  It took a little longer to finish painting due to a couple rainy days but it's done. 

We stained the top rail and the deck boards brown and painted the vertical pieces (posts, balusters, beam, outer joists, stringers) white.  We're pretty happy with the result!

We put our furniture, grill, and planters back in place and we are ready for the summer!

We had our neighbors over last night and they talked about how much better the house looks since we've been here.  So I thought I'd show just this part of the house and how it's changed since we've owned it.


I think it's a vast improvement on the "Before" picture!  I still need to stain the planters but that shouldn't take long at all.

One other improvement in the house this week was the addition of furniture in the basement.  It just barely fits inside the posts but it is very comfortable.  Now we have a place to sit while Samantha makes play food for us!

We did have a lot of fun this week though.  Samantha and I went swimming on one of the very hot days.  We went to the lakefront concert for a picnic lunch (and had to get some ice cream afterwards!). The homebrew club at work had it's annual picnic so we all had fun there on Friday.  Our niece, Isabelle, had a basketball tournament in town so we got to see her play and visit with them.

Our big weekend event was the "Taste of Two Cities."  Over 40 food trucks from DC and Baltimore line up in a park.  We wish there were more trucks around here because they have some pretty great food!

We finally got to plant our garden as well - tons of peppers, tomatoes, and a few random items.  It took a long time to weed and till the garden but it was worth it!

I also did a couple domestic/parenting things this week.  I made two strawberry-rhubarb pies (my first time doing a "lattice" pie). 

And I made some "sponge balls" for Samantha to play with outside when it's hot. 

But it doesn't stop her from playing with them inside too!

We also played with "paint."  She's going to be quite the artist - look at the concentration on that face!

And of course she found her favorite bucket-hat again!


And finally, since my dad doesn't update his blog:
My parents have been working hard at the "River House" lately.  This weekend was a big demolition of the back addition of the house.  My brother and dad worked hard to remove this (falling down) structure.  They will be putting a slightly larger (and much better built) addition on back eventually.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

DIY Deck

We did a lot of work to go from this... this.

Here is how we did it (in pictures because nobody wants to read this part!).


Now we can relax with a cold beverage!