Please, Mr. Postman…

Today our very sad, very old, very rusted-out mailbox met its maker…HOORAY!! We picked out a brand new shiny red one to take its place, and today, Charlie got to have some fun installing it. Sounds so simple, right? Pound in a stake, screw in some screws, attach the box…let’s just say there were screwdrivers flying across our yard at one point, and it’s not because we were playing an impromptu game of catch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wonder why we had to get rid of the old one? I mean, it still looks OK, doesn’t it??

And really, having it balanced on the curb in a cylinder of concrete (totally above ground) is pretty safe (and mighty classy), isn’t it?

And just check out that fabulous underside…

Ok, you get the picture–it had to go. So Charlie set to work!

We had some troubles getting everything all lined up–and were not helped by the woefully sad excuse for instructions that came with everything.

Ahh, the joys of homeownership!! As we were outside, a couple of the neighbors walked by and gave us the thumbs up. One woman said “Oh, you’re doing the right thing!” Guess they’ve all been admiring that ol’ antique for years! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pictures of the finished to come soon…


April 1, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Spring has sprung

It’s been awhile since I’ve paid any attention to my blog–life has been busy! I’m sitting here today looking out at the beautiful sunshine while I’m constantly sniffling and emptying out the Kleenex box…ugh, who gets a cold right when the weather turns nice?! I guess this year I did.

Work continues on the house, although it’s slowed down considerably since a few months ago. We’ve been doing some minor things–finishing up some painting in our “kitchen room,” hanging up a few window treatments and things like that. I’m excited though, because last night we went out and bought a new mailbox and some spray paint to freshen up our gas light in the front yard, which are two things I’ve been itching to take care of ever since the day we moved in! Hopefully this week we’ll be able to get rid of our very sad, falling-apart, rusty mailbox (bet the neighbors and the mailman just LOVE it!) and put up our shiny new one.

This afternoon we had an estimate done for some fence in the backyard, which is a MUST thanks to the dead loop of the Souris River that is right behind our yard. The dropoff of the dike is so steep that I don’t even want to be back there until we get this fence installed! It’ll be fun to have some space to run around in with Meredith and friends. The next project we’re going to tackle is our “Florida room” (aka: the sun porch) which desperately needs a fresh coat of paint. I’m thinking something very fun…maybe lime green?! We shall see.

I’ve been keeping busy sewing lately, since my friend Jennie and I are planning to start selling some things on an Etsy account soon, which will be fun. I guess there comes a point when your own kids only need so many homemade outfits, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll pass along our store website once we get things up and running, hopefully in the next few weeks.

Maybe a little sunshine will help me kick this cold–Meredith is calling me from her bed and it’s time to play!

March 31, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Pretty things for Natalie

A couple weeks ago, I made a monkey “patchwork” type blanket for Mere–and when my sister-in-law, Melissa, saw it, she asked if I’d make a bigger version for my niece’s room in the house they just moved into. I was so excited to do this for them–Natalie’s room in their old house was really special to them (it’s where they brought her home to after a 75-day stay in the NICU!), and I wanted to help make her new room just as special.
So, about a week ago we went shopping for fabrics to go with her colors (green and pink), and then I set to work making a full-size reversible comforter. The finished product is about 8′ by 8′, and I’d say it took 10-12ish hours start to finish. It’s by far the biggest project I’ve done since I started sewing almost exactly a year ago.ย Here’s a peek at the project and the completed set!
All cut out and ready to go…
That’s a LOT of fabric!!
Snipping edges… (my dad came over last night and thought we needed documentation of the work-in-progress!)
Done!! ย And I had just enough chenille fabric leftover to make two pillow shams, too.
One side:
And the other side:
A little closer up on each side. Such cute fabrics Melissa picked out!
We brought it over to Natalie tonight and it looks great in her new room!
Cousins hanging out on the comfy new bed
We flipped the comforter, and then it was time for me to sneak in a little snuggle with Natalie
And here she is, dreaming away tonight…so sweet.
It really was so much fun to make and contribute something special to my very special niece. I hope she enjoys it!

February 24, 2010. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

March for Babies

The March of Dimes is a cause that’s taken on a very personal meaning for my family, as my niece, Natalie Beatrice Olson, was born at just 28 weeks a little over 3 years ago. Natalie’s life was saved by an experimental breathing treatment that was researched by the March of Dimes, so it’s no stretch to say that without that organization, Natalie might not have survived.

Each spring, the March for Babies is held in communities around the country as a way to raise funds and awareness for this great cause.ย We were proud to support Melissa, Perry and Natalie as the local ambassador family for the event last year, and this year we plan to be part of it all again. Below is the message I’m sending out to friends and family; I hope you will consider supporting Natalie and the March of Dimes in any way you can! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been a big year for Natalie Olson–she turned 3, started school, moved into a new house AND got an adorable new baby brother!

We know our niece is able to enjoy milestones like these thanks in part to the March of Dimes and the important work it does to help prevent babies from being born too early and to treatย those, like Natalie, who made their entrancesย too soon.

This year, we’ll be walking with hundreds of other supporters at Minot’s March for Babies on March 27th.ย We’ll be inside the 4-H building on the ND State Fairgrounds for all the fun; events start at 10 and we’d love to have you join us!

For details or to donate to Natalie’s team, visit:

Thanks for your support and we hope to see you March 27th!
Carolyn, Charlie & Meredith

February 23, 2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Help me reach my goal!Sponsor Me at March for Babies!

February 22, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

House updates

Where does the time go? The calendar says it’s 2010, but it seems like we’ve hardly had time to notice the new year beginning. What a busy few months its been!

The biggest thing eating up our time is–surprise!–the house. It’s come a long way in the 7 weeks we’ve owned it, but there’s still work to be done. (I hear the work never ends…)

How about another photo tour?

I don’t think I’ve posted a shot of the outside of our house; granted right now it’s covered in two feet of snow, but you get the idea. First outdoor project once the ground thaws: new mailbox!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

We do finally have window coverings (finally!!) so our neighbors don’t have to watch us go from room to room anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚ We ordered double-cell shades from and love them! FYI, if anyone is in the market for cellular shades, definitely check this site out; I’d say the total cost for the 6 shades we ordered came to about 1/6th of what it would have cost at JC Penneys (even with their constant sale prices!).

Window coverings were what we were waiting on in the master bedroom to get it completed–and now we are actually sleeping there as opposed to the third (very, very messy) bedroom. We still need to hang things on the walls and fill it up a bit, but you get the idea.

Meredith’s room is not much different–but I did get something fun for her wall! The tree is actually stickers from, and I LOVE how it turned out. Meredith thinks it’s pretty neat too; whenever she goes into her room and sees the tree, she stops and goes “Wow! Wow!” ๐Ÿ™‚ I still need to hang some things on her walls too, but hers is the room that’s closest to completion. And a side note: the yellow curtains on her window were made by my grandma for MY room many years ago…I’m so excited they fit in perfectly in Mere’s room!

The bathroom is done too–save, again, for some things on the walls. (I guess that must be a finishing touch stage I’m just not quite to yet!) We got the new fixture up and the new toilet installed at least!

Last week, my mom came over and helped me clear out a bunch of junk/garbage/boxes from the living room–boy was that nice! That, along with the fact that we re-joined the 21st century and got cable, makes it feel like we can actually live in our living room now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Credit for the furniture arrangement goes to James the Interior Decorator (aka: my father).

This chair was in our basement, left by the previous owner, and I think it’s cool! The plan is to re-paint and re-upholster it and incorporate it in the living room. I’m thinking some fabric with some personality and a fresh coat of black paint. We’ll see what happens…but I think it’ll be sorta neat to include something that was already in the house.

Maybe this? We’ll see! ๐Ÿ™‚

Spade Damask Cotton Woven Fabric, Ivory Colorway by Joel Dewberry

The “kitchen room,” as we’ve come to call it, is getting there…we’d like to get a TV that can go on the wall in here and I’ve got a little bit of painting to finish behind the shelving on the far wall (ORANGE!!), but we’re finding we use this room a LOT. The small futon-ish sofa I got from World Market a few months ago is proving to be a fantastic purchase for this room. Oh, and storage ottomans (ours came from Target and bonus! has a soft top for instant toddler-proofing) are worth their weight in gold.

That’s it for now…time to go outside and enjoy the heat wave. It’s 25 ABOVE today!! ๐Ÿ™‚

January 10, 2010. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Oh! Cuuute!

What a busy month! December has been filled with lots of unpacking boxes (yes, there are still waaaay too many left to do), Veggie Tales videos (note to self: set up cable SOON!), installing window coverings (screwing in 2 brackets sounded so easy in the instructions…), organizing the kitchen (why do I always reach for the glasses in the wrong cupboard–still?!), etc., etc. and etc.

Oh, and I hear Christmas is only a week away…as if I have time to get ready for THAT this year… Yikes! Luckily Meredith isn’t old enough yet to notice we don’t have a Christmas tree up (unless you count the little ceramic one in the front hall…). Oh well, Christmas will still be filled with plenty of family, friends and fun, so all is well.

Work on the house continues, and soon we should have a few more rooms closer to done; we’ve ordered the rest of our blinds (sidenote here–anyone in the market for cellular shades should definitely check out this site–soooo much more reasonable than, say, Penney’s and I’m very happy with the quality!), finally painted the master bedroom, and gotten our internet hooked up (YAY!). More pictures soon.

So today, Meredith opened up a Christmas present from “Grandma” Lois–a little Santa bobblehead figurine–, promptly gave it a hug and did this:

In case you can’t decipher toddler speak from photos alone, that makes “Ohhhh! Cuuuuute!”ย  It was the first time I’ve heard that phrase from Mere, and was so funny as she repeated it over and over to the little Santa.

Something tells me Christmas is going to be extra fun this year–even if I’m not ready for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2009. Uncategorized. 1 comment.


After 10 days, countless hours and many, many late nights, we actually have some of our stuff in our house…whew. Saturday was the big move day–and last night was our first sleep in our own house! There is still a LOT of work to be done (and even more unpacking to do) but it’s starting to come together.

A little photo tour…

The before:

And midway after. We still need to get this room cleared out of all the stuff, but the painting is all done; a clean white in the kitchen for now and a blue/green accent wall (though it looks more blue than it actually is in this photo). Soooo much better than wallpaper!

Note the new electrical switches/plates! My fantastic father-in-law (who happens to be an electrician) is changing out all our upstairs sockets to clean new white touch plate versions (although this one has an old style dimmer switch still). It’s amazing that such a small detail can transform the look of a room so much!

We need a new ceiling light in this room, and here’s what I’m eyeing from Land of Nod, since I’m planning on doing some orange accents in this area:

The living room is also painted; we warmed it up to a very exciting beige (ha ha) but I like what it’s done for the room. My favorite part is the brown accent wall (the paint literally looked like melted chocolate in the can!).

We have a new dining room fixture yet to be installed…but we’re overworking our electrician already. Good thing he’s still smiling! ๐Ÿ™‚

The master/main bath really cleaned up well, too. Now all we need is a new light fixture (see why we’re overworking our electrician?!). I love how this color turned out!

We used the same color to do the wall in the laundry area/mud room.

And our “powder room” attached to the laundry area got the same blue/green as in the kitchen area. Charlie has big plans to make this a cool bathroom someday with some fun fixtures. Someday!

Meredith’s room has been my priority, since I’d like to get her settled and used to our new house as soon as possible. The color on the walls is such a pretty, feminine shade of pale blueish purple and I love how it looks with her yellow chair! The picture is a little dark here, but trust me, it’s pretty! ๐Ÿ™‚ There are yellow curtains made by my grandma to go on her window, too.

And here’s the fixture I’m drooling over to replace her ceiling light, from aBaby

And a wall art tree that I think would be adorable somewhere in the room from Wall Candy Arts:

So, to recap, here’s what we’ve done so far…

* Stripped wallpaper in all upstairs rooms but the front hall (we ran out of steam and it’s a pretty neutral stripe…)

* Textured many of the walls upstairs

* Painted the living room, dining area, kitchen, kitchen room, laundry room, powder room, master bath and Mere’s room

* Put in 3 new toilets (yay!!)

* Various new light fixtures and new outlets/plates

Next up on the list is to find some window coverings for our master bed and kitchen room windows…but I’m overwhelmed! Maybe a day off is a better idea…

Oh, and just because she’s so cute in her new Christmas PJs from Grandma… ๐Ÿ™‚

More pics to come soon!

November 30, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Further proof

…that wallpaper is a ridiculously silly idea: paper covered light switch plates?!! Now that’s crazy. (Yes, these went into the trash!)


I wonder if this house will ever look like a home instead of a war zone?!

November 24, 2009. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Wallpaper, Menards and band-aids

We are officially homeowners!! On Friday, we bought our first (and hopefully our last…) house in Green Valley, the same neighborhood I grew up in (and where my parents still live, just down the street from us). We are so excited!

We have spent nearly every waking moment since Friday morning over at the house working, working, working. All this work has made three things very clear:

1) Wallpaper is NEVER a good idea. Period.

2) Menards is our new hangout–or, as Charlie says, our new creditor.

3) You can never have too many band-aids on hand when renovating a house.

I’m taking pictures as we go and hope to have some befores and afters in the next week or so…

November 23, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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