Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Finishing new projects and dreaming of more

I am so addicted to Projects.  It drives my husband crazy to have things always a bit of a mess while I play :S
Right now the sump pump still doesn't have an electric outlet to connect to, and the sliding bathroom doors are not completed, but with he Weather so Awesome this spring, we jumped into the backyard project and we built the stairs to the lower section of the back yard.
We had some great helpers to assist us in hauling the leveling sand and concrete blocks to the back yard

Sam said Danny was so determined to hold on to the wagon that once or twice the little guy lost his footing, but never let go of that wagon.  When Sam stopped to help Danny back up, he was still just as happy as can be to be Daddy's big helper.
 My parent's came to help out while we laid the blocks.  My Mom watched the kids, while Sam, My Dad, and I laid the blocks.  They were HEAVY blocks at 60 pounds a piece!  It took us a half day to haul everything, and 2 full days to lay all the blocks in place.
We rested for a week or 2, then geared up to build this planter to cover some of the rusting hardware and wood that is poking out from the old retaining wall.  It will double as a veggie garden and bench for additional seating.

Over the next month or so we will be finishing up the backyard, we hope the major stuff is one before the girls are out of school.   But once the yard is done and the other projects that have been at a standstill are complete, here are the ones I've been dreaming of starting.  (Probably in the Fall when the big kids go back to school)


  • built in bookcase to go in a nook of the upstairs hallway for kids books and church books
  • quick and easy bedskirts to make the TV room's sectional/twin beds look more finished.
  • I'd also really love to make a built in end table to make the whole "sectional" customized to the room.  (I think that will make it look even more couchy and less bed like.)  I don't have a tutorial for this yet, but I will find something.
  • sewing some new dresses for my girls.  (It's been so long since I've sewn anything.  and it is so difficult to find modest dresses for growing young ladies in the summer time)  I've just been mending items as needed and added patches to Sam's Uniforms upon request.  But Ive decided that sewing really relaxes me and it is something I need to make time for all through the year.  I just wish I had a room that I could leave a mess like the basement in Maine.  Having to clean up after my sewing messes really cuts down on the time I can dedicate to a project.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A the end of November I began executing my Sump Pump Project
I marked out the size of how wide the pit had to be, then and after about 3 days of digging during nap time I had gotten about 6 inches down.




The ground was a dense and rocky clay.  It was SO difficult to dig in and there was of course not a lot of room down there.  The only way we could break through the dirt was to go at it with a tire iron, clear what had been chipped away, then whack it some more.  I went down every nap time with my helper Toby who found it all fascinating and fun.



My Dad is AWESOME, he came and dug the rest of the pit for me with the tire iron, and helped me set the pump in the pit properly with a hole garbage can and let us to put a lot of gravel all around it with the kids.


Then he came back another day with a concrete drill that he rented for us to make a hole in the foundation where we could thread the pipes through so the water could exit the crawl space.  The drill was long and heavy and we had to hold it in such an awkward way since it was so close to the ground.
Sam, Dad and I all took turns with the concreat drill.  It was hard work and it took us all day.  Dad was a pro at it.  Sam and I took turns too, but we certainly had a thing or two to learn from the old pro.

Once we had the pump in the pit, gravel around the pit and the PVC routing the water out of the basement and into the drainage outside of the house, the weather was so cold that we decided to leave it as it was for a few months.
Now that it is not so cold, our next project is to find a permanent electrical solution so that the pump is not attached to any extension cords.
While the electrician was here fixing the problems with the kitchen island I talked to him about doing the sump pump electrical.  He agreed, but then when it came time to fix the kitchen island, he told me he would come back another day to do the sump pump.  He quoted me $250 for hooking up the electrical, but that he would have to come back another day.  I was irritated that I would have to pay the expense of another the house call, so I want to see if I would save any money trying to hook the electrical up myself before I call him back to do it.

Here is the information I've found in my research so far

I should hook up one of these self testing GFCI outlets in the closet above the sump pump.  Then run some wire into the crawl space to hook up the outlet needed for the pump to work.  (If the self monitoring outlet is in the closet, then I don't have to go down into the crawl space to make sure the outlet hasn't kick off for whatever reason.

Here is a video that shows how to install the GFCI outlet

The sump pump is 115 volts, so this 125V outlet ($12.40) should work just fine for the closet and here is a 125V weather resistant 3 prong outlet ($4.50) that could be installed directly above the pump.

I still need to find out the expense of the wires.  (looks like about $0.80 per foot)  so far for the 2 outlets plus wire it would only be ($16.90+)
Dad told me that he would be willing to come and help out with the electrical install to make sure that I didn't forget anything important like to turn off the circuit breaker.  And to have an extra adult around to help out with the kids.

Once the wiring is done, I will go back down into the crawl space and begin digging some trenches to route water from other areas into the pump.  I think I will need to dig 1 deep trench, but the other trenches should be fine if they are fairly shallow.  Hopefully it can be finished before the weather starts to get too hot and the kids are out of school for the summer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The next home improvement project is...
a sump pump installation!

We have a lot of water under our house, we are just glad that it was discovered.  Installation doesn't seem too difficult, just messy and cramped.

Here is a great video I found on how to install it.
and how to dig the trenches in the crawl space

To buy all the things necessary to do the install on amazon it will be $244.26
Moeller Pump $132.15
Pump pit $62.25
Pit Lid $20.09
Check Valve $8.79
PVC cement $10.99
1.5" PVC male threaded adapter $9.99


If you have to buy Tools instead of borrow it will be an additional $103.61
2" Hole saw $8.97
Hack Saw $7,84
Shovel $37.80
wrench $9
drill $40

other expenses not yet accounted for
Gravel
2" PVC pipe
Proliferated pipe


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bathroom tile project continued

Demolition is done and it was as fun as I thought it would be :) 

All the kids were great helpers, happily participating in the trim removal and answering my questions about why they thought we did this/that.  But Maggie was the one with the most staying power, pulling out all 91 staples from the subfloor and Toby was her assistant making sure each staple was put into a bowl out of Danny's reach.
 
I got an email a few days ago that specified the amount we were going to receive from the insurance company to instal the new floor in the bathroom.  $949.20 would come out of the grand total for us to spend on installing a new tile floor in the bathroom instead of having the flooring guys install the wood they are laying in the kitchen/entry all the way into the bathroom.  so I wanted to keep a running total of how much I am spending to see if doing the tile myself is worth it.  (I'm having fun, so I won't regret doing it even if I don't save any money :)

HOME DEPOT $26.31
$6.93 mesh tape to connect pieces of backer board
$7.87 latex primer sealer
$5.97 chalk line kit
$2.56 paint roller cover for applying the latex primer
$2.98 16d nails for spacing

McLENDONS
$16.99 Self Leveling underlayment (25 lb bag)

LOWES $91.50
$19.98 Compound nippers
$59.60 Romano tiles (20 count)
$11.92 Romano Tiles (4 count)

AMAZON $30.19
$7.50 carbide scoring knife
$6.09 painter tool for trim removal
$4.98 caulk remover
$11.62 caulk gun

Total as of 10/15 is $164.99 + tax (10%) =$181.49

I've been given/borrowed some materials (thinnest, tile saw, carpenters level, float, sponge, bucket, mortar mixing attachment, trowel, backer board...) and still have some more items to purchase ( a few more tiles, 1 panel of backer board, screws and grout)  But I think it looks like we will come out ahead :)


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

tiling the powder room

We are tiling our powder room this month.

Today I kicked it off with removing the sink and toilet.
Tomorrow I will be removing the baseboards and old wood flooring.
Thursday night I hope to do the backerboard, but we are still deciding on a tile pattern, so we might have a little pause in the project while we figure that part out.


Here are the videos we are using to guide us along the way from home depot:

How to remove the pedestal sink

How to remove the toilet

How to remove the trim

I'm SUPER excited.  I love projects, especially when I can walk away from them to attend to life, then jump right back in when I've got spare time.  This bathroom is the powder room downstairs, so no one NEEDS to use it, and I can close the door to contain my mess every night so the kids will lead it alone during the day.  And it is so small, that if I totally mess it up, we can get some one to come do it.  But I'm not going to mess up :)  I ope it goes so well that Sam asks me to tile the 2 bathrooms with vinyl floors.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5th grade math prep for summer

One of my kid's teachers just sent me this document with a calendar of ideas to do everyday during the summer to help the kids stay sharp on their math skills.  I'm supper excited about it and wanted to save it somewhere it wouldn't get lost

5th grade

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18PbOw3NvMRhmK1nk83Fg0n1h3c_38njNAWWAV4m7QWM/edit

3rd grade

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx83xn_TNxr4NlV0bXd3LVE3a1lQQXk2bm95N3lGV1FlRm1B/view?usp=sharing

Sunday, March 20, 2016

GRE prep

I have a VERY specific memory of talking with a friend while attending BYU.  We were walking through the parking lot with the brick oven pizza place on the far south west corner of campus.  She was worrying about all the grad school stuff she need to do.  I very comfortably and confidently told her how happy I was that I would never have to take another test once I was done with my BA.  I was so sure that I would be a stay at home Mom/Grandma for the rest of my life.  She told me, oh, you should take the GRE now because it would be so difficult to prepare for it once you have been out of school for a few years if you change your mind.
Such wise words.  Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and take her advice. As I have been researching what I need to do to prepare for grad school, I am realizing that I need to study up on just about everything to get ready for it.
This article for preparing for the GRE suggests that you

  • Read algebra for dummies and geometry for dummies.  Many reasoning questions are based on these basic math concepts.
  • Use these Study tools from the people who created the test including sample questions, 2 full sample tests, math review and more.
  • Expand your vocabulary.  The vocabulary on the GRE is more difficult than the vocabulary used in the SAT.  The best way to do this is a life time of reading/ Reading your college text books.  (Dang, I've got some work to do.)
  • Take a difficult English course.  The GRE has 2 timed essays that make up about 1/3 of your score.  So having recently done an english course will help you do well on those important chunks of your test.
Ahhhhhh!  This is why I hate being ambitious.  I have to stretch farther than I think I am capable of.  I've been asking God what I can do now to prepare for what He wants me to do next.  I've learned what he wants me to do now, and I'm so nervous that I won't measure up.  I think it is just a big ploy to get me to pray more fervently ;)  
Okay big guy, you've got me.  I'm sure to be on my knees more often and for longer periods of time because I know I can't pass that test on my own.

As luck would have it, there is a GRE testing center in one of the towns we are currently house hunting it.  It says they offer the test year round.  Coincidence?  I think not.