Friday, March 31, 2017

March Rebooting Update

Let's start off with a little backstory for those of you who haven't been here before.  I have been on a journey to improve my health the past few years.  I started off really good and then somewhere along the way, I let life get too busy and my health journey took a backseat.  Then we started looking at moving and my journey went out the window as it was just get done what needs to get done and eat what is available.  February was a little better as we closed on the new house and moved.  I was at least moving a lot and doing a little better on my food choices, especially once we got moved.  So for March I was trying to focus on eating better and continuing to move.  So....how did I do?
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Rebooting
I have been hitting my step goal most days of the week and the days that I don't hit my goal I get close.  I will tell you that my step goal has dropped some and I really want to work on getting it back up.  Is it okay to blame Daylight Savings Time?  The time change really kicked my tail this year.  I think it was because we had been so busy before the time changed that it all finally caught up with me.

I have been eating at least 2 out of 3 meals on plan almost every day this month.  I know I need to add in more snacks and get all of my meals on plan, but I am happy that I have been on plan for at least 1/2 of my meals each day.  I want to get all my meals on plan but I am taking it one day at a time.  I have also been drinking less soda and more water.  I can do even better on this one, but it is a start.

So what do I plan to change for April?
  • Eating plan – By the end of April I want to be fully on track with eating the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way.  I am already on track for at least half my meals, but by the end of the month I want to be fully on track.
  • Water, Water, Water – I need to contine cutting the soda habit and get back to water.  I know my body needs the water and it will help me greatly.
  • Steps – I would love my step tracker to be telling me that I need 7,000+ steps consistently so I will be continuing to focus on getting the walking in.  I would love to have my tracker yelling at me for 10,000 steps by summer so I better keep up with the consistency.  I also find that I sleep a lot better when I hit and go over my step goal for the day. 
I am taking it all one day at a time and giving myself grace.  I don't know that I lost any weight this month because I still refuse to unpack that pesky scale, but I am feeling better.  I am a work in progress and that is good enough....



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Review of the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio

As parents we want to make sure that our children grow up with a strong Christian foundation and that we help them on their journey to adulthood.  One way to do that is by taking time with them and teaching them.  This is exactly what the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit that we recently received from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio to review teaches to fathers and mentors for their sons.
Father's Starter Kit | Manhood Journey, Father Son Bible Study, Mentor, Small Group Study, Biblical Manhood, Tips for Raising my Son, Parenting Bible Studies, Bible Studies for Boys
City on a Hill Studio is on a mission to equip the church and its people to change and transform their lives to magnify God's truths.  They do this through the feature films, books, and group studies that they offer.  City on a Hill Studio knows that life is messy sometimes, but God's Word and truth can help us through the messy parts.  The Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit that we received is a program for fathers (or another male mentor, such as an uncle) and their sons.  It is a non-denominational, Biblical approach to guiding sons on their journey to manhood.  This is done through discipleship and mentorship by their father or another male mentor if their father isn't present.  This program features guided Biblical discussions, suggests fun activities, and offers encouragement for the journey.  The kit we received includes:  Embarking Group Discussion guide (if you choose to use this with a group), Embarking 1 on 1 Discussion Guide, DVD of introductory videos for the 6 modules, 10 Maprochures, and a copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You.  The Embarking Guide features 6 weeks of study that introduce the five key areas that are focused on in the Manhood Journey Series.  
For this review my husband worked with and through the materials since this program was designed to be completed by a father for his son.  So the following are his words about this program:

"The Manhood Journey is an excellent and well-formatted program for nurturing the father-son relationship.  I have struggled to connect with my son now that he has entered his teenage years, as this was also a struggle for me and my dad so I do not have the experience in this area as much as some do.  I have wanted to start something with him that will build his foundation for future development and provide a larger foundation for him as he enters manhood and this tool has been the exact spring board that I needed.  

I must admit, as an honest Christian must do, that I have not dove into the journey as deeply as I had hoped to do.  My wife and I recently moved to the home of our dreams and to establish a "Fresh Start" and God has been opening my eyes to so much more than I had expected.  I began the "Wise Guy" book and was literally blown away with the fact that the relationship feature of our life is a vital element to our growth in Christ and ability to have a fulfilling life.  The whole idea of relying on others was certainly something that I was not taught and this has held me back for much of my life.  I am a "If you want it done right, just do it yourself" type guy and will nearly kill myself to avoid asking anyone for help (just the way I was raised).  All this said, when I read the starting pages of this book I realized that this was what I was missing.  I am currently experimenting with asking for help and letting my guard down and have already noticed a change in my life.  

I thought this was a great study for my son, but have realized that I needed this first.  I have learned that children are best led by example, so I need to be living this life with building relationships and leaning on other brothers before I can ever expect my son to see what this means.  This said I did start the journey with my son by initiating a weekly bike ride to start talking with him to get a better idea of where he is at in his life.  The journey aspect of the product is very well laid out and provides excellent topics and opportunities to dig deeper into my son's life/interests/struggles by simply spending quality time with him.  Amazing what happens when you put away the phones, TVs, and other distractions and do something that interests him....the discussions become much more real and honest with almost no prodding!

I plan to pursue this study in full with my son after I have completed the Wise Guy book and am truly excited to see how this will impact both of our lives.  Additionally, I am prayerfully considering a ministry for youth that would be ideal for the group study that is laid out with this product.  I explained some of the features to another dad in the group with sons and he immediately recognized the value of this study and can see its application in the near future.  We were not certain what our ministry function was going to be but after beginning this book and realizing just how big an impact a father or mentor could/should be, I believe that this could be a vital tool in building real MEN in our culture today.  Thank you for the thoughtful effort and time and Godly wisdom presented in this journey."

As you can see, this Manhood Journey is making an impact on my family.  While my hubby didn't get as deep into this as he wanted to, I can already tell that the bond between him and my son is deeper and they just chat more naturally now.  I am looking forward to seeing their bond as they continue to dig even deeper into this journey.   We definitely recommend the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio if you have boys in your home.  You can learn more about City on a Hill Studio at their website, Facebook, and Twitter.  You can learn more about the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit by clicking here and on Facebook and Twitter.   You can also find out more about how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew used this starter kit by clicking on the banner below.  
Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit {Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio Reviews}

Friday, March 24, 2017

Random Friday Thoughts

Today because it is SOOOoooo nice outside and I may have spent the afternoon outside instead of at the computer like I needed to.  I might be having issues narrowing down a blog topic to write about.  So I decided that since it has been awhile since I posted some random thoughts and I am sure you want to know all the crazy that rolls around my head so here it goes....
A Glimpse of Normal Blog
Totally random picture of blown glass from a museum trip a few years ago to go with my completely random post.

  • Today is the first really, really nice day we had in awhile.  It was beautiful, sunny, and warm...70 degrees warm....it was 35 degrees last Friday.  I have stated over and over again this year that our weather is crazy this year.
  • Speaking of weather March rolled in with tornadoes a couple of towns over.  The 2nd week we had a MAJOR wind storm.  This past week apparently there was an earthquake in the early morning hours.  Everyone here except hubby slept through the earthquake because it was thunder storming at the same time and we thought the rumbling was due to the storm.
  • Our barn is coming along.  We haven't made major progress on anything this week because we took a couple of nights off to just relax.  We do have a couple of projects we will start this weekend though.
  • I am currently working on 3 different crochet projects and plan to start a 4th one tonight.  One of the 3 projects just needs the ends tucked in and a button put on it.  If only I knew what box my buttons were in right now....  Back to multiple projects, the 4th one I just found on Pinterest this week and it is TOO cute not to try and it would be for Easter if it works out.  
  • Yes I have crafting attention disorder.  See the random thoughts above and below this one.
  • Good news I only have 1 cross stitch started even though I have the next 3 cross stitches I want to do picked out.  I haven't started on them.  
  • Decorating a dream house is really hard.  I have bought a few different lights for the house and end up taking them back before I put them up because I have changed my mind once I get home and think about it.  It is hard to balance picking out exactly what you want to decorate with and not killing the budget.  So sometimes the things I bring home sit until I decide if I really want to use them or not.
  • Speaking of decorating....have you seen the price of toilet paper holders lately?  $20 just to hold toilet paper, really?  REALLY?  
  • I'm getting really good at mudding walls and holes.  I like to think of it as wall frosting.  It seems to make it more fun.  😭
  • Speaking of frosting and mudding walls.  I am thinking a new large mudding knife would make the perfect frosting spreader.  It would also be easier to get the frosting smooth on a tall cake.  
That is pretty much it.  Completely random stuff rolling around my brain today.  This is definitely nut a post of substance, but it is pretty therapeutic to me to get the randomness out of my brain.  I am coming up with some posts of substance to get up here on the blog soon.  Stay tuned for more meaningful posts too.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Review of Bessie's Pillow Published by Strong Learning, Inc.

Reading books can bring characters and time periods to life especially when they are based on true stories.  This is definitely the case for the book Bessie's Pillow published by Strong Learning, Inc. that we recently received to review.  This book follows the story of just one young lady, but it tells so much more.
Bessie's Pillow, Strong Learning, Bessies Pillow, Historical Fiction, Jewish Stories, Biographies
Bessie's Pillow is the story of Bessie Markham, a young immigrant from Lithuania.  This story is written by Linda Bress Silbert who is the owner of Strong Learning, Inc along with her husband Al.  It is based on a true story because Bessie is Linda's grandmother.  The book is based on a series of conversations between the author's grandmother, Bessie, and the author's mother, Ann.  The events that happen in the book are all true and the majority of the stories told in the book are true.  The author did change the name of some of the secondary characters to give their families privacy.

Can you imagine being an 18 year old Jewish girl and being sent to a foreign country?  What if this was the only way to escape persecution in your own country?  This was exactly what Bessie had to do.  At just 18 years old, she had to say goodbye to her family and board a train because it was no longer safe for her as a Jew in her home country of Lithuania.  This began her journey to the United States and her new life.  As she arrived in America, things didn't go exactly as she planned but with each situation Bessie faced, she persevered.  Bessie faced the daily struggles of the life as an immigrant in America and she was determined to make the right decisions and face each challenge as it came.  There were many situations in the book where Bessie could have given up, but she didn't.  She knew she was where she was meant to be and that she was stronger than she knew.  I don't want to give away too many details because this is a story that you should read for yourself.
I had Buddy read this story aloud as part of his school.  It is very well written and as I listened to him read, I quickly found myself absorbed in the story.  I thought this would be a great supplement to History as it tells the story of an immigrant and it was.  As he read through we would discuss different topics from the book such as how he would feel if he had to leave his family, what he would do if things didn't go as he planned in a new country, and how he would survive if he could only get certain jobs.  The discussion topics were easy for me because the author offers extra materials in the back of the book and online called Bessie's America.  This extra material has information on what life was like during the time when Bessie came to America from political events to popular radio shows during that time to food they ate.  There is also a teacher's guide that you can download and use that has vocabulary, discussion questions, and ideas for research papers.  I used some of the discussion questions with Buddy to check his understanding of the book.  We also referenced the vocabulary in the teacher's guide when he had some questions about what he was reading.

Buddy thought the story was "pretty good even though it featured a girl."  You have love the response of 8th grade boys, right?  He liked the story even more when he found out that it was about a real person.  He thought parts were funny and other parts were very sad.  He said that Bessie did a good job of making the best of situations that came along and that he liked it that she relied on God to get her through life.  He did not particularly care for the "mushy parts" of the story (again these are his words not mine).  He also liked the pictures in the back of the book that showed the real people in the book.

As a mom and a woman, I truly enjoyed this story.  I thought it was inspiring, touching, and there were many values and morals presented throughout the book.  I appreciated Bessie's perseverance through very tragic situations.  She always seemed to make the best of the circumstances and never complained.  That was very inspiring to me.  I love that this story was about a real person and it is written in such a way that you feel like you are right there watching Bessie live her life.  I also truly appreciated all the extra bonus material that the author gave so this book could be studied and discussed.  It was very helpful to have the teacher's guide so I could pick what parts of the guide to use.  I feel this book is appropriate for middle school and high school students  as well as adults as some of the topics of the book can be pretty deep.

Overall both Buddy and I would suggest adding Bessie's Pillow published by Strong Learning, Inc. to your reading list.  It was a very good book and could be read in either a short amount of time or drawn out more depending on your school needs.   There are several topics and subjects you can tie in with this book.  You can learn more about Strong Learning, Inc. and all they have to offer on their website.  You can learn more about the book Bessie's Pillow on it's website, Facebook, or Twitter.  You can read more what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew thought about the book by clicking on the link below.
Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Review of the Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece

My kids love to work on art projects, but it is truly one subject that I am not qualified to teach.  I seriously can't draw a straight line with a ruler and the last time I tried to teach an art project to someone, the preschoolers in the homeschool group we were in told me not to draw again.  So as you can imagine, when we got the chance to review the Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece, I jumped at it because I knew my kids would want to check it out.  Even though I am not good at art, my kids love to draw, paint, and sketch.
Creating a Masterpiece, Homeschool Art Curriculum, Art Instruction, Online Art Program, Creating a Masterpiece
Creating a Masterpiece was designed by Sharon Hofer.  She is also the master artist who teaches the lessons on the website.  She designed Creating a Masterpiece so that anyone can follow the step by step instructions and follow along at each stage of the the projects.  She believes that the teaching must be simple enough for a child to follow while producing a quality project that is at masterpiece level work.  Her goals are for her students to be able to create projects they are proud of and for each project to inspire confidence in her students.  She wants students to be able to see they can create projects they didn't think they could create if they follow the step by step instructions and work to master various techniques.

The Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece gives unlimited family access to all projects.  Projects range in levels from Beginner to Level 5 and they even include Art in History lessons.  This means you get access to over 144 lessons each month.  There are also additional videos and tips that you have access to that will help you fine tune your projects.  The lessons cover a variety of media including:
  • Acrylic Painting
  • Soft Pastels
  • Oil Pastels
  • Sculpture
  • Watercolor
  • Block Printing
  • Ink
  • Silk Dyeing
  • Pencil
  • Bombay Ink
  • Conte Crayon
  • Portraiture
  • Colored Pencil
  • Copper Tooling
  • Charcoal
  • Glass Mosaic
  • Watercolor Pencils
  • Gouache
  • Balsa Carving
Plus there are more projects and media added as the lessons are prepared.  The amount of time each project takes varies on the method being taught and how long it takes each student to get it to their level of masterpiece.  You can get all of this for just $39.99 per month.  Creating a Masterpiece offers other plans as well.  Each lesson begins with Sharon telling the students all the supplies they will need.  Then she begins with explaining what they will be drawing and how they will be drawing it.  Next she has you sketch the basics and finally you fill in the details.  It is all shown with step by step directions that are easy to follow.
Buddy and Little Miss were very, very excited to get access to this website and these online art lessons.  They both love creating art and trying out new lessons.  They were excited to work with new mediums and try different techniques than they have in the past.  Their hardest decision was figuring out which lesson to work on first.  For the first lesson I had them work on the same lesson at the same time even though they are at completely different grade levels and they have completely different skill levels when it comes to art.  They started with the "Lessons in Oil Pastel: Winter Cabin."  They got out their paper, oil pastels, pencils, and erasers.  Then they turned on the video of Sharon and followed her instructions.  At first it was a little frustrating for Little Miss, but this was because she was trying to make her work exactly like Buddy's.  When I assured her that her cabin was supposed to be how she drew it and that it didn't have to look exactly like Buddy's or Sharon's, Little Miss stopped being so hard on herself and let her creativity flow.  They both ended up producing beautiful winter cabins and they were both very happy with the final product.  After that day, I had them do their art individually (unless they specifically chose to work on the same lesson at the same time), so that they didn't compare their work to each other's and instead they just focused on doing their best.
Buddy and Little Miss each completed several different lessons.  They worked with colored pencils, soft pastels, oil pastels, charcoal pencils, watercolor pencils, and watercolors.  They enjoyed watching the online video lessons and the methods that Sharon taught.  She taught them how to draw complicated things by using simple methods.  They tried their hands at drawing panda bears which started out as an egg and a triangle and then built from there.  Little Miss tried doing a charcoal drawing that had her draw several other items before the sunflower because she needed to learn curves, lines, and shading before getting to the real project.  Buddy did have one project that didn't turn out well.  He tried doing a charcoal drawing of Abraham Lincoln, from the Art in History lessons since he has been learning about the Civil War.  He got a great start on the project, but then when he started shading, he felt he messed it up.  I think that he started rushing and just needs to try the project again and plan for it to take him a few hours.  

Buddy's Projects
Buddy's Projects
Both kids LOVED these art lessons.  They loved the lessons so much, they have even worked on them on the weekends.  They both have said they were easy to complete and they liked that they could pause the lesson at any time and fine tune parts of their project.  They really liked being able to work at their own pace and Little Miss liked being able to start over when she felt like she didn't get it on the first try.  The kids said the pace of the videos were good and they liked the step by step instruction.   As I watched a couple of the videos with them, I could see that Sharon did a great job of encouraging the students, making the projects simple, and really explaining the how and why of what she was teaching.  The videos are very thorough and easy to follow.  I think that I might even try a couple of them now that I have a little more time.  The kids are really looking forward to working through more of the lessons and when our subscription runs out, I will definitely look at the purchase options for these lessons because I think this is truly a quality product that is helping build their art skills.
Little Miss' Projects

Little Miss' Projects
You can learn more about Creating a Masterpiece on their website and on their Facebook page.  You can learn about the Monthly Plan that we received by clicking here.  We highly recommend you check out all they have to offer if you have artists in your home.  You can also find out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew think about Creating a Masterpiece by clicking on the banner below. 
Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}

Friday, March 17, 2017

Our Barn Home: Progress Part 3

This week has been an exciting week in our barn.  It was also an expensive week, but the cost is offset by the fact that we will save money in the long run....or something like that...no, we really will save money in the long run.  This week we got our new wood burning stove.  It is PRETTY!!!  We were sad to see the old stove go because it was very pretty, but the new one is even prettier.  It looks like it was originally part of the barn and it is the perfect mix of rustic and functional.  It fits everything we are going for in the decorating and it produces lots of heat so that is pretty awesome too.

 Anyway, before the new wood stove could go in, we had to make some adjustments to the brick where the old one was sitting.  Since we had to make some adjustments, we decided to replace the old, falling apart brick with new tile.  It turned out really nice for our very first tile project.  I can tell you that I actually had a lot of fun with this project.  Buddy and I got to break out the old brick.  It was very therapeutic in an odd way and hubby says that I have to ask before I go near anymore brick with a hammer because I had way too much fun busting out the brick.  The next day hubby and Buddy prepped the floor for the tile and we got the tile put down.  The third evening we put on the grout and cleaned up the tile.  We are very excited about this project because all of us were involved in it.  It was truly a group effort.  It turned out very well and was ready in time for the new stove which we had professionally installed.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, our barn home, #ireallyliveinabarn
Old Wood Stove
The brick at the floor was loose and needed to be extended in the front.




They had to lay out the tile first to make sure all the cuts were right.







So in last week's post I told you the upstairs would be completely finished by the end of the weekend and I must tell you I lied.  We had a few things come up that took us away from working on the house a little more than expected.  Hubby got the plugs and face plates changed out in Little Miss' room and the loft this week.  We still have trim, plugs, and face plates to change out in our master bedroom.  The plan is to get those completed this weekend so that the upstairs is really done.  The other work that has went on this week was that I trimmed out the last high area of the living room.  I was very brave and much higher up on the ladder than I care to be,  Now I just have to find the time to roller that area and it is good to go.
So it doesn't feel like there is tons and tons of progress this week compared to the other posts I have written (Part 1 and Part 2), but big things got replaced this week which were time consuming.  Now we are much warmer and loving the extra heat and great smell of our wood burning stove.  I am hoping to report more big changes next week, but we have some big flooring decisions to make and we have been trying to decide those for months now...wish us luck.
#ireallyliveinabarn

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Circle C Stepping Stones Book Review

I love to read and I love it when I find a good series of books to read.  So it should be no surprise that I want to find the same thing for my kids to encourage their love of reading.  This is why I was so excited to receive Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top from the new Circle C Stepping Stones Series written by Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications to review.  This new series of books features Andi and her horse which makes my daughter want to read them all and that makes me happy.
Andi Saddles Up, English curriculum, ages 7-10, Old West, wholesome books for kids, faith and family, horse girls
Kregel Publications has been producing great Christian resources since 1949.  Their mission as a Christian publisher is to develop and distribute biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ.  Being a Christian myself, this is a company that I can stand behind.  They feature many great Christian authors, including Susan K Marlow.  Susan K. Marlow is a homeschooling mom, author, and writing teacher.  She is the author of several series that are set in the Old West in the 1800’s.  Her book series are written for children of all ages.  The Circle C Beginnings Series is for children ages 6-9 and that is where we first meet Andrea (Andi) Carter and her horse, Taffy.  Circle C Stepping Stones, the series we received, is for children ages 7-10 and they continue to feature Andi and Taffy and the adventures they have.  The Circle C Adventures Series is for children ages 9-13 and features Andi as she is 12 years old.  The Circle C Milestones Series features a teenage Andrea and they are meant to be read by children ages 11 and up.  Ms. Marlow also has a series geared towards boys called Goldtown Adventures.   
Andi Under the Big Top
Andi Saddles Up is the first book in the Circle C Stepping Stones Series.  This book is all about Andi and her horse Taffy.  Andi has just turned 9 and wants nothing more than to learn to trick ride on Taffy.  Her older brother, Chad, wants to make sure that Andi is safe and he dashes her hopes of becoming a trick rider.  This is when Andi meets a new friend, Sadie.  Sadie and Andi quickly become friends, but they have no idea that their families are in a boundary dispute.  You will have to read the book yourself to find out what happens to Andi and Sadie and if they are allowed to be friends.

Andi Under the Big Top is the second book in the Circle C Stepping Stones Series.  This book follows Andi as she gets a chance to go to the circus that has come to town.  Here she loves everything she sees from the big acts to the bareback rider.  She dreams about how much fun it must be to be a part of the circus.  While at the circus she meets Henry, young boy working with the circus.  Henry has a secret and once Andi learns it, she wants to help him.  You will have to read the book yourself to find out if Andi is able to help Henry.

In addition to these 2 books, there are some great resources to go along with them.  On the website for the books you can find free coloring and activity pages that accompany these books available to download.  There are also lapbooks available to purchase if you want to do more in-depth projects to accompany the books.

Little Miss was super excited to get her hands on books about a girl close to her age who has a horse.  She is all about horses ever since she started learning to ride last year.  She started reading book #1 about Andi and Taffy and I had to make her stop reading each day.  She devoured the story and couldn't wait to read it each day.  She had a hard time putting it down and walking away to do other school work.  The first book she read aloud to me so we did not use the activity pages for it.  Once she made it through book one, she was super excited to read more about Andi in book two.  She wondered if Andi would be in the circus or just visiting the circus.  For this book I printed off the free activity sheets from the website.  Little Miss wasn't able to read this one out loud to me as much as she was the first book because we have been on the go off and on.  So when we were out and about at various appointments, she would read quietly and then she would  come home and answer the questions for the chapters she read.  We also discussed the vocabulary words for the chapters.  I liked being able to use these activity pages to check her understanding of what she read when she was not able to read aloud to me.  I also really appreciated the variety of activities that the free activity pages offered because it kept them interesting to Little Miss.  She had fun filling them out rather than complaining that they felt like school work.  Little Miss truly enjoyed these 2 books and she can't wait for the next one in the series to come out.  She wants to read the Circle C Beginnings Series while she waits for the next book in the Stepping Stones Series.  I appreciated that the books were easy for her to read on her own, interesting for her, and they also had lessons on values and morals in them.  We were able to have good discussions about who our friends are, how we treat friends, and what to do when people are being mean to you in addition to some other conversations.  I like that these books were fun for her, but she could still learn life lessons from them.  This is the type of book I always encourage my kids to read.

We really encourage you to check out the Circle C Stepping Stones Book Series for your kids and check out all other book series from Susan K. Marlow too.  I know we definitely will be checking out her other series.  You can find out more information on Kregel Publications and all they have to offer on their website, Twitter, or Facebook.  You can follow Susan K. Marlow on Twitter and Facebook.  You can find more information about the books we read at the website for the Circle C Stepping Stones Books.  You can also read what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew thought about these books by clicking on the banner below.
Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Our Barn Home: Progress Part 2

I can't believe it has been a couple of weeks since I have given you a progress report on our new barn house (HERE is part 1 in case you missed it).  We have owned the barn for one month, but it already feels like much longer than that.  We are loving our new home and having a lot of fun exploring and discovering new things about the house and the area around us.

Since we have moved in, it seems like progress on the house has slowed down, but it really hasn't.  We have been chugging away at things bit by bit.  We have been slowed down a little because we have had to make some pretty big decisions about a few things for the house, but it is coming together.  As I type, the upstairs is almost completely done and by the end of the weekend it should be completely finished construction-wise and just waiting for finishing touches of decorating.  We have been doing a lot of changing out of fixtures, finishing touch ups of paint, and currently baseboard is going in.  This house seriously lacked baseboard when we moved in.  Now I will tell you the rest in pictures...fair warning a couple are blurry so bear with me.

A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Our Barn Home, Progress Part 2, DIY
This would be how hubby was originally painting our ceiling in the main area.  It is pretty high and this ladder was extend all the way.  He is brave because there is no way I would be up there painting like that.  If you don't like the close up version of this picture you might want to close your eyes for a moment as you scroll down.

Yep, scares me too!

So we rented some scaffolding...or as the kids called it a jungle gym.  Yes they had a great time hanging out on it while dad painted.


Our living room is currently housed in our guest room as we still do not have a living room floor in yet, but there is a good reason we have been holding off on the floor...keep reading....

I have been busy painting trim to use as baseboard.  We wanted something very basic to match the rooms and not take away from the wood beams.  So I have been painting and painting and painting....

We hung our first wall decorations this week!  My handsome hubby made this for me a few years ago and it fit this spot on the wall perfectly and now we have somewhere to hang our coats again.

Please don't worry that stuff is all around and on our wood stove.  This one does not work properly and is being replaced.  It has been a BIG decision to make and we finally have picked out the new wood burning stove.  We are looking forward to the wood burner getting replaced this week along with the chimney company putting in brand new pipe for the stove all the way up and out of the house.  This was not an easy decision, but the more we consider the more we chose to get it all brand new for safety, peace of mind, and a product that works.

We have one area of this wall to paint yet and then all the high parts are painted.  Don't worry we can safely reach it from the tall step ladder.

Sorry for the blurry photo, but this is the view of the painted wall looking out from the loft.

This is the view looking across the loft and it is very hard to see the shade of grey on the walls, but they are painted.  The lighting was pretty bad in here the day I took the photos.

We changed out the light outside of our bedroom to this old style lantern light.  The one that this one replaced was um...."artsy?"  It certainly didn't fit the barn or my taste so it had to go.

We also hung a mirror this week so I guess I have no more excuses if I look bad.  We took down the only hanging mirror in the house one of the first weeks here because it was attached to a medicine cabinet that was not what I wanted and it was very bulky.  So it is nice to have a mirror hanging up again so we can actually see what we look like before we leave the house.

I bought a bath mat!  I know it isn't a huge deal to some of you, but I spent some time looking for just what I wanted.  This was it and it was on sale and I got an extra 10% off...woo hoo!

This is the upstairs bathroom all painted.  I don't think I included a finished picture of it last time.  It is a dark blue-grey.

I picked out and bought a new light for the upstairs bathroom.  The longer it sat in my living room, because we wanted to hang the light up a little higher and that required moving wiring, the more I decided it wasn't the light I wanted in there.  So it will go back to the store and I will pick out something else.  I know, I am picky, I am okay with that.

Hubby hung up a closet rod so I could finally hang our clothes up.  Don't mind all of extra bedding underneath the clothes.  I have to move those yet and find a good spot for them.

The other half of the closet will get an organizer, but it will have to be something special because of the odd shape of the roof.  We've also bought an organizer and taken it back.  They just aren't made as strong as they used to be in certain brands.

We replaced the light between the kids' bedrooms.  I love this one!

Buddy got a new light and ceiling fan for his lodge bedroom.  This one is perfect in there.

Buddy's trim is finally all finished.



Buddy's room is all done and looks great.  Buddy and his Grandpa did all the walls and they did fantastic.  Plus his room has a great pine smell right now from the wood!!!
The big tall ceilings are all painted

I think that is pretty much it.  We have done a lot of unpacking.  We have been pricing out some other things we need to fix.  We are plugging away little by little.  We are still super excited for our barn home and know that every little thing we do, will make a huge difference in the end.  What do you think?

#ireallyliveinabarn