Spring Break at the Homestead

The kids were out on spring break this week, so we dropped them off at their grandparents for their annual visit, and headed up to our weekend homestead to squeeze in six days of work. I think that’s the longest stretch that we’ve had to work on the cabin since we bought it, and we have lots to show for it. Here’s a look at the progress:

Living Room Floor

When we started working on the cabin back in October, our first order of business was to close in the living room, so we’d have a place to stay while we worked. That meant building a back wall (since there wasn’t one), replacing all of the broken windows, tearing out the subfloor and temporarily closing the room off to the rest of the cabin. We managed to tackle all of that in one weekend, but we ran out of time when it came to laying a new sub floor. So, we just laid some plywood down, and called it good.

On this trip, we finally got a chance to finish the floor. It’s just pressure-treated plywood, nothing fancy, but it should hold up well to heavy foot traffic. I plan to porch paint it, so it’ll be easy to clean. [Read more…]

A Brag and a Favor

Emily Driving a Duck Boat

Alright guys, normally bragging isn’t my thing, but I’m going to do it today, because I’m just so stinking proud of my oldest daughter, Emily. She’s 12 years old and in 7th grade.

Earlier in the school year, the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) invited the top 5% of 7th grade students in the U.S. to take the ACT or SAT early to see if they qualified for the Duke TIP gifted program, and she was invited to participate. Pretty cool.

So, she took the ACT in February, and yesterday we found out that she got into the program. She’s so excited (and we are too).

Now, that she’s in, she has the opportunity to take a three week summer program for gifted kids. But there’s a big catch: it going to cost $3,800, plus travel expenses. Yep, that price tag pretty much made me fall over in shock. I had no idea it would be so expensive.

And to make it even more shocking, the money is due May 1. Yikes!

So, now I’m going to turn off the bragging, and ask you for a favor (and that’s not something I’m very good at).

There’s no room for this expense in our budget right now, and since we have just over six weeks to raise the money, we decided to set up a Go Fund Me campaign.

If you’d like to help us send Emily to nerd camp, you can make a donation here. We appreciate anything you are able to do to help (even if it’s just keeping your fingers crossed for us).

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming …

My Finally-Got-Out-of-the-House Finds

The weather has kept us cooped up the last couple weeks, but we finally got out to do some thrifting today. We started with our favorite church rummage sale. Then, we made our rounds to all the thrift stores. And man did we find some killer deals. Here are the highlights:

Popcorn Maker

A mini movie theatre popcorn maker for $2. We host a lot of backyard movies, so this will definitely get put to good use. [Read more…]

Christmas Curb Shopping

We took the kids on a Christmas light scavenger hunt the other night, and we soon found ourselves curb shopping. It’s just what happens in our family. I think a lot of people must be decluttering before their holiday guests arrive because there were tons of piles.

We picked up two nice coolers at one house, but our real score came when we spotted a massive pile in front of a house that had just been placed on the market. We scooped up a large framed mirror, an umbrella-style clothesline, a truck bed liner and several storage bins. Then, we turned our attention to the large black trash bags. I nudged one with my foot, and it sounded like it was full of glassware, rather than trash. Hoping it was kitchen items, I decided to load it into the car, too.

Around this time, the homeowner pulled into the driveway and he came over with a flashlight to help us shop. Ha! Apparently someone else had shopped his pile earlier in the evening and scored a sewing machine. Nice.

With our trunk full, we decided to head home to see what was inside the grab bag that we’d chosen.

And man was it a good bag!

Stoneware Mixing Bowl

This stoneware mixing bowl was one of the first things we pulled out, and as soon as we saw it, we new we were going back for the rest of the bags.

We sorted through 10 bags in all, and this is what we kept. [Read more…]