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For anyone thinking of building their own house, here is your warning – if you don’t like working all day every day until your muscles can’t take anymore and you’re so tired you just want to zonk out standing up, and if you can’t agree on anything with your significant other… then stop thinking about it! Luckily, I’m not one to shrink from a hard day of labor, neither is my husband. And further – we agree on just about everything. He has some brilliant ideas that I’m happy to go along with, and I like to think that sometimes I come up with a gem or two that he’s willing to accommodate into our plans. We make a good team, and there’s no way we could ever have done this if either one of us didn’t have a good work ethic or a disagreeable attitude.

Since my husband came home two weeks ago, we have accomplished so much! We got the workshop set up in the basement. We built several sets of shelving in the basement. He finished framing about half of our windows and doors. I finished tiling the shower and hearth. He trimmed out the edges and top of the hearth. (He’s actually working on that as I type this!) I built a seed starting shelf from scraps we had laying around. We got all of the closet bifold doors up along with their jambs. He made an extension cord for our dryer so we can actually slide it out to clean and do maintenance behind it. I got a good start organizing my basement pantry. And… tomorrow our cabinets come!

We’re going to be cleaning up all of our messes tonight in preparation for a small housewarming party tomorrow from noon to eight. I have invited our closest friends and family to let them know about it, but we’ll be having another this summer when my husband is home for good for EVERYONE. So if you weren’t invited to this one, know that it’s because we only have about 400 square feet in which to entertain guests. In the summer, we’ll have nearly 30 acres of space in which to party. Prepare for good times. 🙂

Here’s a little preview of a few more of the new things we’re working on.





Hopefully we can have these projects and the kitchen finished by early next week because that’s when the bank inspector is due to look everything over for our mortgage approval. Everything hinges on this inspection because we have such a non-traditional home. I guess they’re nervous about the fact that two inexperienced people are finishing it or something. But it could also be the fact that our house is very small for the area and heated solely with wood. Either way, I hope we impress him and are able to finally turn our construction loan into a mortgage. I’m crossing my fingers and praying to His Noodliness that we qualify for a 15 year or less. We’d LOVE to own everything outright before the kids are all grown. I think we’d be the first on both sides of our family to accomplish that.

More pictures to come as we finish up all these ongoing projects!


My husband came home last week for a 3-week R&R from Afghanistan. He didn’t hesitate before jumping right in with me on various big projects. First things first, he helped me get the workshop in the basement cleaned up. Then… we trashed it again and again and again.



It’s almost too bad we don’t have to use the outhouse anymore. Look at all the sawdust we’re making! Just kidding – I wouldn’t want to still be heading outside in the middle of the night with a flashlight and puckered cheeks in this below zero weather.

So far we have finished hanging all three sets of bifold doors for the closets. I still have to finish the ones in the bedrooms. I’ve got special plans for them!



The fancy ones in the hall still need their pulls. Six hundred dollar doors and they came with cheapo plastic pulls the color of poop. My husband picked up some nice brushed nickel ones in town today when he went on a lumber run. We’ll get them on tomorrow.



All of the wood is unfinished – the doors, the jambs, the trim. We’re still deciding whether to put a natural finish on it or stain it. I think we’re leaning toward a natural finish like I did on the pine ceiling. Our doors are all maple, while most of the jambs and trim are select cut pine. The woods look similar enough that whatever stain or finish we choose should have the same effect on each.

It took a day and a half to get all three closets done, and we still haven’t even chose trim to go around them. What we did choose trim for were the windows in the great room. Actually, my husband chose the trim, and he spent all day today working on the first window. It looks gorgeous! The other two windows in here will have the same style once he’s done. Isn’t he talented?



I know. Still have crappy pictures. I found our camera, but the SD card is missing along with the connecting port for uploading the pictures to my computer. Y’all will just have to suffer with my ipod pictures until I finish going through all the boxes in the basement.

Another project we worked on together was getting all of my home-canned goods up off of the basement floor. I helped my husband build these awesome shelves all along the one side of our basement, and I’ve nearly filled them already. We have plans to do the other two walls and a section down the center as well. It was so exciting to finally get to unbox all of my canned goods! I didn’t realize how many jams, pickles, beans, and salsas I had made! I even uncovered an entire case of pepper jelly! It was like finding money.



In the prepping world, I believe the above picture would qualify as pantry porn. Once I unearth all of my buckets, they’ll go on the bottom in a single layer. There’s enough room for 8 buckets under each shelf. We have many sets of shelves, and will have many more in the days to come. Once I get organized, maybe I’ll post more about what we’re storing and how we’re doing it. For now, we are on the bare minimum because I ate through our food storage for a few months before our move. I would like to get up to 1-2 years worth for our family. The garden should help with that this summer.

Speaking of the garden, while my husband worked on the window trim today I worked on building and painting a set of seed-starting shelves for the great room. I brought all of my lights and supplies to the new house, and all of my seeds are sorted in popcorn tins. I spent a day last week getting my planting schedule all set so I know when to start everything. I can’t wait to see all of the little seedlings sprouting and growing! The paint is still drying on my shelves. Once I get them all assembled, I’ll post pictures.

It’s so nice to have my husband home! The kids are enjoying having him here, and it just feels complete. I missed being able to hug him and kiss him and touch him whenever I feel like it. I missed hearing his voice. I missed his smell. I love having him here with us, and I’m not looking forward to losing him again. At least this time I know he’ll only be gone for another 4-6 months, then he’ll be home for good. I hope. By the time he comes back this summer, I’m sure I’ll have another long honey do list for him to help me with. Love you, honey!

It’s -20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, not including windchill. To warm-weather folks, this might sound like a nightmare, but to us it has been just another winter day in northern Wisconsin. We are, to quote my five year old son, roasty-toasty warm inside our house. The fire is blazing in Hestia, our beautiful goddess of the hearth, and our stomachs are filled with homemade goodies. We’ve stayed inside except to collect wood from the wood piles out back. There’s really no reason for us to go outside since we don’t have animals yet and it hasn’t snowed recently.

I’ve kept busy cleaning, baking, organizing the monumental heaps of STUFF everywhere, and building shelves. The past two days I worked on the closet in the boys’ room. I still need to paint it and make two drawers, but at least their clothes are up off the floor and I can actually walk through their room. My next project in there is to go through their toys and figure out which ones are going to Goodwill, which are getting boxed up in the attic, and which are going into totes in their closet.



I have also been busy planning our garden for this coming summer. I ordered over $100 in seeds from Baker Creek, and a good assortment of grains and herbs from Sustainable Seed Company. I’m looking forward to all of the greens of spring! I’ll post more on my seed selection in future blogs.

While I’ve been working on getting the house in order, our cabinet-maker (I’m not really sure what title to give him – he is the father of my husband’s step-dad) has been working his buns off getting our kitchen cabinets built. He sent us a teaser picture to show us his progress…



They. Are. STUNNING! The color is perfect, and they look exactly as my husband drew them up. I can’t wait to see what they look like in the house and to give their maker a HUGE hug for all the work he has put into them. If I’m not mistaken, these are the cabinets that will make up our large island.

I know, y’all are dying to see more updates, but I still haven’t found my camera. The pictures I take are all on my ipod, and they’re pretty grainy. I will update a lot more once I find it, and once we have some semblance of order in the house. Until then, stay warm and enjoy this glorious winter we’re having!

January 2014

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