Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Crazy Fireplace Project

So, my sweet hubby took a week off work to do some projects around the house. One of them was going to be to build me a set of cupboards in the back of our kitchen for additional storage, but I found a dry sink for a great price at a local used furniture store, and that solved our problem, so I had a thought - actually - more of a vision - we needed to rip the gross, horrifying, pink, fake brick off our fireplace and replace it with something humans could stand to look at. So, this big project that in my head, would take an hour, turned into a three day saga of demo, grout, and splinters, but eventually gave way to a beautiful new fireplace!

 Saturday - Fake pink brick and messy house!
Saturday night - Doug's fireplace plans - we originally wanted to use field stone, but the fireplace is actually fairly small, and we decided it would be overwhelming.
Sunday after church - This is the "Oh sh!t! What have we done?" Stage of the demo process.

Sunday late afternoon - This is the "Holy crap it is crumbling and what is underneath here?" part of the demo. Turned out to be beautiful glazed tile with a flor de lis centerpiece and some other decorative tiles. We were so bummed that we couldn't save it - but whoever did this fake brick not only used tile adhesive, they for some reason felt liquid nails was necessary. Wish we had known what was under there, we would have used much gentler means of removing the fake stuff!

Sometime late in theafternoon Sunday - Uncovering pretty tile - this was upsetting. I was having a hard time not trying to save it - but the top was crumbling.

Sunday evening - We were going to remove all the fake brick, but the tiles at the top and the concrete material under them started to crumble. We were not up for redoing the entire fireplace - not knowing what kind of expense that would get us into, so we opted to stop the removal at that point and come up with another plan.

Flor de lis.

Sunday night - the portion to be tiled is mostly clear of adhesive, and Doug had to do a repair to the main arch of the fireplace.

Super late Sunday night - First part of the sandstone tile application.

LAAATTTTE Monday evening - Mackenzie Rose  and I stayed up and grouted the entire thing, while Doug started the surround.  It took us about 1.5 Harry Potter movies to complete the grout. We decided to leave the flor de lis uncovered as an homage to the original fireplace, and I happen to think it looks very nice! I think Doug thinks I am nutso for caring so much, but I think it adds something to have part of the original fireplace.        

Tuesday evening - Finished product. Doug built the wood surround using reclaimed Tobacco Pine procured from my brother's garage - he  recently finished a home building project so we raided his supplies. Thanks G - I think it turned out beautifully! 

We still have so much to do around here, including getting this fireplace cleaned up, but it is so nice to have one project DONE! Two if you count the whole dry sink replacing the cabinet thing! Whoo hoo! Onto house cleaning, creating and setting up a family closet in my laundry room, finishing the big boys' room make over, and cleaning and painting a room in the basement for sealing from water damage, and then cleaning and painting the upstairs bathroom. Also touching up existing paint and putting up some of those corner pieces of woodwork to prevent paint chipping.  Going to be a busy rest of the week, hopefully punctuated by a visit from my sweet cousin Suzy and her family. Can't wait!  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sleepover Season - a.k.a - Summer!

 Summer is here, and at the Jeffery household, that means ....SLEEPOVER! We had our first sleepover of the summer last night. I gave away my two girls, and brought home most of the boys - well, all the boys old enough to spend the night! We watched movies, played Apples To Apples, ate popcorn.

This morning we made waffles and sausage, and then had a few adventures, the first being a trip to the library to see a magician perform. They boys LOVED it! They all laughed so hard, and the magician was really good! It was great to see them all together having so much fun.
We came home to find that Doug had made cheese crisp for lunch - which is a big favorite around here! I'll share the super easy recipe below. After lunch we were off to the berry patch to pick some strawberries.
What a  bunch of hard workers! They each filled a quart container with berries, and we got out of there! Didn't want them in the direct sun too long!
Out of the mouths of a few of the babes:
Sam (nearly 7): "I work hard because my dad works me so hard all the time."
Tommy (9): " These berries are the best strawberries ever! They are so fresh and delicious!"
Ben (4):" I don't want to eat them, I just want to SNIFF 'em!"
Luke(6): "I never been berry pickin', Mom, dis sure is fun!" 
Liam (5) (in the car eating berries): "These are so delicious, but I want to save some for my family." This KILLED ME especially since he ate about half the quart on the way home. Sorry Stace! What can I say? At least it's fruit, right?
Kolbe (8) (ever worried about rules and perfection): "Mom, is this the right size? Is this big enough? Did I get this out of the right row? How red do they have to be?"

Caleb ran back and forth and had a big time, with Jonah, the nearly teenage butthead chasing after because he was too lazy to pick berries. Butthead.

They are currently all over at the park for a last hurrah before Auntie Amy comes and sweeps her kids away, along with Liam, and brings me back my girls. Jenna and MaryKate won't want to part, but they got a nice sleepover, too - and an afternoon with a bunch of other sweet little girls at their Little Flowers meeting. A lovely way to start sleepover season Summer! Have I mentioned before that I love, love, love that my kids get to grow up with their cousins? I am so very thankful for that!

Cheese crisp - something we Karchers picked up while living in the AZ - is super yummy, and super easy. Just preheat your oven to 400 degrees, slap some tortillas on a cookie sheet, and layer a thin layer of monteray jack, or cheddar, or whatever cheese you like to eat with Mexican food, and put it in the oven until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is VERY bubbly - usually about 10 minutes. Top with salsa, sour cream, jalepeno peppers, whatever you happen to like. We eat this a lot on Fridays - as we usually don't eat meat on Fridays ( I served them sausage by mistake this morning - thought it was Saturday!) but, you can easily add meat to this by cooking taco meat, or doing some chicken on the grill and adding it before or after baking. My kids love any and every variation, and it's super easy. Nice on a Friday when you just want to chill!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Because of Mary

It's not a feast day of Mary or anything. It's Pentecost Sunday. But for some reason today, I am feeling very sentimental about Our Blessed Mother. I have been praying to her particularly hard lately, for guidance and for her prayers. I think this have left me feeling very close to her, and I just felt like I wanted to share a bit of her with whomever may be stopping by this page. So, here are some quotes from some other people who love/d her very much, as well as some scriptural quotes about her, in no particular order other than maybe the ones I love the most. 

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. (John 19:25-27 DRB)

Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did and If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his mother, he will not have Christ for his brother. ~St. Maximilian Kolbe

Thy glory is great; for thou art exalted above all women of renown, and thou art shown to be more queenly than all queens. Julius Africanus, c. 160 — c. 240

And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy. As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55 DRB)

Mary is the lily in God's garden. ~Saint Bridget of Sweden