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
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 :)

$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

$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

3rd grade

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.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My husband LOVES travel and adventures while I would be happy to be a homemaker in a home just like I grew up in and never move.  Just do gardening projects, and when I get tired of those move on to a bathroom remodel project, and when I got tired of that, paint the outside of the house, and when I get tired of that…

I have been struggling the past few years to find a way that we can honor oneanother's ideal lives, yet still be happy with our own life at the same time.  I fought him on this nomadic life style for SO long, but I just can't beat it out of him, and I am SO tired of fighting.  So I need to find a way to join in the fun.

For the past few months I have had the thought that I could get involved more with in the communities we live.  I really hate politics, but I think there is a lot of good that can be done without having to dig to deeply into hot topics and the whole arena of brides and blackmail.  My curiosity has lead me to University of Washington's Evan's School of Public Policy and Governance.  I NEVER had any delusions of grander to get myself a masters degree (I never even thought I would earn my BA degree), but I wonder if I could find some good in a nomadic life style by doing some good in all these communities, or watching more closely how these communities function and learning from them.

The Evan's School has a variety of areas to focus on (2 years full time) and even some mini certificate programs I could earn.  I want to document them here so I can come back to the info when I am ready to think about it more seriously.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me and Sam, but I think he has gotten a taste of this international thing and is hooked.  So International development with a Nonprofit Management certificate might be a good thing to work towards.  (SO NOT what I ever thought I would be doing in my life, but it would be amazingly rewarding.  And incredible to be able to take my kids with me on work trips)
I'm going to have to mull all of this over for a few months while I do some more research about funding options for military wives getting their education and such.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

bracelet business # 1

My daughter is doing a guest post on my page today :)

Me and my friends are starting a bracelet making business. All of the money we make will go to charity and new materials. nothing is more than 300 pesos or 6.42 dollars 

this is our schedule

march: mabuhay house

April: smile


                                                june: orphanages

                                                july: the provinces
                                                august: homeless people

for further information or to place an order email 

b r i b l e e @ g m a i l . c o m

plea title the email 


Friday, March 4, 2016

family pictures
Every time I plan family pictures I always get a little anxious.  The idea of trying to do my make up, style my limp hair, tame my eldest's curly hair, get a flattering outfit to coordinate with the rest of the family, and hope that we all look happy is enough to make me want to hide and cry.  But my kids are so darn cute and my Hubby is handsome, so I try to not spoil the photo op with my anxiety attack.
We are doing family photos next month because our youngest is 9 months and we still don't have any professional photos of him.  (sorry, you are my 4th and we live in a foreign country.  But you're a boy, so you probably won't care anyway.)  

I normally freak out a few days before the shoot and buy every hair product in the drug store that I think will make my hair look 10 times thicker than it is, and a bunch of new make up that will make me look more like a model and less like myself.
I am going to try really hard not to do that this time.  Instead I have found some helpful info to help me feel more confident in my own skin and prepared for our big day.

advice for dressing pear shaped Women

Necklace shapes for a variety of necklines-This sheet makes me think that with all the high necks I wear as a Mormon, I should probably do some shopping for some long necklaces.  I don't have many.

tips on dressing a family for portraits

tips for make up in photographs

I can do this,
we don't have to go to the department store and all buy new clothes,
I don't need to buy every product on the shelf,
and the best thing I can do is go to the shoot relaxed and ready to play with the kids instead of being anxious.

I will repeat these things to myself many times over the next month.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

With little kids still not in school, I have not been doing as much volunteer work as I had hoped I would  while living in a 3rd world country.  
Luckily, One of the Young Women at church does art projects with the children of Mabuhay House once a week.  She has been running out of ideas for her art projects and so I am now making a few projects each month to send with her.  It is fulfilling to know that I am doing something to help even though I feel like my place is in my home while my kids are young.  

The children at Mabuhay House come from all over the Philippines to get free medical treatment for things like club feet or cleft pallet.  Thank you Emma for helping me to help.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Neighborhood hunting
While we were home for christmas last month my husband and I went looking in so many neighborhoods to try and decide where we will begin our home search when we finally move home someday.  It has prompted a lot of conversation between the 2 of us about what we like in a home.  So I wanted to make a record of some of my favorite home features that we have seen.  Here are some of them

Space for kids to put their bags and coats after school is a MUST.  If there is not something existing, I'd want a space indoors, or in the garage where we could create a "mud room" type of thing.
Because lets face it, their stuff won't end up in the coat closet.  
Opening a closet door is just too much for kids ;)

This one has a creative solution for no laundry room in the main house.  Instead of putting the laundry in the garage, they covered the porch and put it in there.  I'd much rather pull my clean clothes out there, than on a dirty garage floor if Its not possible for it to be in the main house.  And in the summer it would not make the house hot to run the clothes dryer.
 outside view of enclosed porch laundry room.  Its also a good idea for a mud room for the kids to dump their stuff after school.

This picture shows 3 of my favorite features -

  • Hard flooring for walkways, but wall to wall carpet in the family room/living room.  (I know it will need to be replaced every 5 years or so with kids, but the comfort is worth it to me.  And if it is just the 1 room, it won't be terribly expensive to replace.)
  • I LOVE built ins.  I think they really class up a home.
  • A family/living room that is large enough for 3 couches.  We have a family of 6 now, so we need plenty of room for us all to sit down and relax together.  (I don't care about a formal dining room, or having both a living room and family room.)

 I am not afraid of upgrading stuff.  In fact, I think that sounds like a lot of fun.  So if something is functional, but looks outdated, I am all about buying it so long as the space allows for us to dream up something awesome when the time is right.

This was something I liked for a kitchen space not large enough for a feee standing table and chairs.  Put in a built-in table and benches for a work station and the kids to hang out while Mom works

This picture show 2 more of my favorite features

  • the 3 sided wall with windows to allow for a round or oval kitchen table
  • a bar counter in the kitchen for kids to sit at and feel like they have Mom's attention even when she is busy doing dishes or making dinner and still be out of her way :)

 built in desks in the kitchen are awesome and help Moms stay organized with their menu planning and reminders for school.

A BIG kitchen NO-NO in my mind is tile countertops (not so bad for bathrooms)   The grout gets food stuck in it, cookie dough and pie crust don't roll flat and  eventually the grout get stained in the well used areas of the counter.  NO THANK YOU!

I LOVE architectural features.  So attic rooms are very charming and visually interesting to me.
Saw this and LOVED it.  Especially because you could add this to just about any home with a little extra flat outdoor space.  If you put it in the front yard think of all the neighborhood kids that would floc to your house when you roast hotdogs and marshmallows for FHE.
 As far as the outside goes, again, I like dimension and character that is visually interesting.  So I love Trim and architectural detail.
 This house reminds me of the home in the "Father of the Bride" movies.  Love the movie, love the house.  Cute fence and…

 …Gables are a huge plus in my mind.  

 I also like brick or rockery on the bottom of the house.

I guess I am not very picky about bathrooms.  Just so long as there is

  • storage
  • a grown up sized shower (I don't want my butt to touch the side of the shower when I bend over that is gross to me for some reason.
  • a bath tub somewhere in the house for little kids
  • And they are easy to clean.  If we bought something with an outdated bathroom that had bad grout around the toilet or tun, that would be priority 1 on the renovation list.

Obviously no home will have all of these features, but it is fun to dream.