Friday, November 21, 2014


the last time I blogged was in September?  That's just crazy, but I've been crazy busy with all kinds of life stuff.

First off, I decided to send Maria & Molly to our parish school.  Yep, that's right!  I'm officially not a homeschool mama anymore.  It's hard to believe that I'm not homeschooling, but for now it's all for the better.  Now the 3 oldest girls get on the bus at 7:10AM and ride over to the high school.  Monica gets dropped off and Maria and Molly take a transfer bus to St. Charles.  They love it!!!

The boys and Jane are still at the Spanish Immersion school.  That's working well.  Nick is in his last year of preschool so he'll hopefully be at the SI school with the others next year.

Next, the house was finished up.  I have pics of the unit that we had built for the mudroom.  It's AWESOME!!!!

Each kid has a small cubby that fits their backpack, library books, mittens, papers & anything else that I need them to remember to take to school.  The space for the coats has 12 hooks for all the coats so at least every kid gets one plus dad and me.  There is extra shelving at the top for Costco stuff, extra hats, baskets, dog stuff, etc.  The bottom has laundry baskets for now for extra shoes, sports shoes, and boots.  The extra long runner rug is from LLBean.  It's a waterhog mat that I love!!!  Those mats are the bomb!  

Mike, the builder of this project, added crown moulding at the top of the unit to make the simple design a little more jazzy.  He also made all the shelving adjustable and gave us a little room on every cubby space so that doors can be added later if we want to change the open look.  It's bare bones right now because we are super tight on our budget for the remodel.  He's coming back next Wednesday to add the desk/countertop over the dog's area that will replace the phone desk in the kitchen.  EXCITED!!!!

Next, I found a custom cabinet maker at the State Fair that I had to know more about.  I had Joe Otto of Joe Otto Enterprises come out and do a consult on my kitchen cupboards.  He suggested for starters adding two drawers under the cooktop.

These are faux drawer panels because the original cooktop was too deep for drawers.  And below are the TWO drawers I have in the kitchen for all our eating and cooking utensils.  They are stuffed to the gils!

Here's an overview of the kitchen.

This is Joe Otto.  He has a business in Ham Lake.  He makes custom cabinet inserts and sliders.  Here he has taken the panels off and is getting ready to add the hardware for the new drawers.

These are the boxes/drawers that he made in his shop in Ham Lake.

Drawers are going in!!!!!

And here they are with the panels glued and screwed to the faces of the drawers!!!

I moved in pretty quickly after......

It still looks a bit cluttered, but it's very nice.  I went from 2 drawers to 4 and every drawer feels spacious and roomy.  Things aren't super tight and jammed into spaces.  I love the outcome!!

Next, I have to keep working on the hallway walls going upstairs.  I crazily decided to peel the wallpaper off some months ago.  However, I have so much glue on the walls so I have to wet and scrape it off with a putty knife.  It's quite a job so I try to tackle it a bit at a time.  I can't wait until it's ready to prime and paint those walls.  It will be nice.

Upcoming jobs include:
  • Hallway walls: prep, prime, paint
  • Upgrade kitchen cupboards, make new boxes for broom closet, remove phone desk and upper cupboard
  • Kitchen upgrade....reconfigure layout to remove dividing upper cabinets above dishwasher
  • Brick over grill in family room
  • Add braces over brick in family room and build out shelves and a surround for mounting TV
For the family room, I'm thinking about something like this, but not in white:

Anyway, we're on the 10 year plan for all of these upgrades.  But for now, I'm super happy with all the changes.

I hope all is going well with everyone who usually pops in here to check up on us.  We're all doing well.  The baby is doing awesome.  I'm crocheting another winter hat for her, and I'm getting ready to thaw out the turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Really it's November?  Crazy!!!!  Oh, well, that's life in a big family, well in any family!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!


  1. Fun! I love planning home upgrades and projects, even if I'm also on the ten or twenty year plan. I sent my oldest to our parish school too! It's been great in general - a bit of an adjustment for me with driving him to and fro, but overall, really good for all of us.

    1. I hear you about the driving. I do a lot of that, too, but ultimately that's what drove (hah!) my decision to enroll the girls at the Catholic school. I was so rarely home anymore. I like the new changes around here. I still don't have much time to do extra things but at least I get quality time with the baby! I love that!

  2. Grace, I was just thinking that you had probably hung up your blogging hat, being so busy with kids plus your new little one. So, what a wonderful surprise to find this newsy post. Everything looks fabulous. So happy for you! Sending warmest Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours from a warm but rainy Florida :)

    1. Hi, Cathy! I'm sorry to reply so late.:( I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.....we did! It was noisy, but fun.:) Thanks for checking in on us.


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