Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Library - part 2

Here is where we left off with the library, we put together 5 Billy bookshelves from Ikea and added an additional row.
 Looks pretty good, but we/Heather/Pinterest had some idea's in mind to enhance this look.
 We started off with an additional row.  I re-engineered the shelf and brought the back to the front to give myself a surface to attach a light.
 Then added the rest of the row.
 We used this outdoor light that we found at Lowe's.  In the corner of the room we have an outlet that is controlled by a switch, a little rewiring and we are good to go!
 Next up, crown moulding.  We built it out to match the crown moulding above our front door.
Trigg was a big helper on this project, he climbed up the 10 foot ladder and held the other side of my 14 foot angled crown moulding board so I could tack everything in place!  Mom wasn't home, so I needed so big boy help and he stepped up (pun intended) big time!
  I taped off everything below the lights to fill and sand the seams and nail holes once it was all installed.
 Mostly complete, just quarter round to finish the bottom trim.
 One more time, here is the before picture...
 and the after picture.  Feels like a built in library now! (and photobomb by Riley...thanks pup!)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Farm Cabinet Re-Do

Heather found this old farm cabinet at the Junk Jubilee that is held every year at the State Fairgrounds.  
 The cabinet was pretty beat up with some water damage on the back legs, so she got a pretty good deal on it.  Over all, it has good character and lots of potential...so I got to work!
 This picture shows kind of shows the lean the cabinet has, the back legs had gotten worn down a good 3 to 4 inches over the years, so I started with trying to fix the legs.
 I thought of several different ways to correct the leg issue and in the end I went with a new leg solution.  I used my circular saw and cut off the old legs flush with the bottom of the cabinet.  We had some legs from a coffee table that I modified to fit the cabinet.  I also pulled out the wooden door insets to be replaced with glass.
 Here is the cabinet on the operating table with 4 "new" legs!
 New legs fixed the lean!  I then sanded down the top of the cabinet to remove any old polyurethane and stain.
 Then I re-stained the top with a slightly darker finish and primed the rest of the cabinet.
 Applied a coat of new polyurethane to protect the top and buffed it smooth with some steel wool.
 Painted it with some fresh white paint and then distressed it to give the cabinet the look we want!  Lastly, I added some new pulls to the doors and drawers.
Here is the finished product installed upstairs!  Heather is on the hunt for some baskets for the shelves to complete the project.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chicago Vacation!

For a little summer vacation, we packed up the car and headed to Chicago for a long weekend.  Heather's mom has a good friend who lives in Chicago and was gone for a week on vacation, so we coordinated to stay at their place while they were gone. So after VBS ended on Friday, we loaded up the car and hit the road!
...and a week of VBS makes for a sleepy boy
...and a 6 hour drive makes for another sleepy boy!
We rolled into Chicago around 8 Friday night and got settled.  Our first adventure was to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  This Zoo is great, it's big with lots to see and the best part, it's 100% free!
We checked out the monkeys
The giant ant farm
We found a hippo!
Garrett loved the tall giraffe...
and of course the lion!
And a tiger, Trigg has the tiger "ROAR" down!
I think we blended in well with this family of apes!
The zoo was great, again lots to see and plenty of room to walk around.  A lot of people use the zoo to run, which makes sense because there is no traffic or stop signs and lots of paths/trails to cover.
After the zoo, we headed back to our place for supper.  Then walked down the street for some ice cream!
The ice cream was a big hit for everyone!
Sunday we headed to Navy Pier to take in all the sights and sounds.  Here we are outside of the brownstone where we stayed.  It worked out so well to stay at someones house, I think we are going to try to use Vacation Rental By Owner for future vacations.  Full kitchen, bathroom, separate bedrooms...it was great!
We were told and read on several blogs that the river boat architectural tours are worth the time and money.  So on Sunday we got tickets for the Shoreline Architectural River Boat tour.  It was awesome!
Trigg was tired from a lack of naps, but both boys loved the boat and motoring around on the river.
Heather and I loved the architectural tour and the history of Chicago!  We learned a ton and it is one of the best ways to see the city!  We would highly recommend it!
Up next, Navy Pier...
and the giant Ferris Wheel!
It was awesome.  I was a little wary because the line was so long, but the Ferris Wheel never stops moving and the line goes faster than I thought it would.
And the view was fantastic!  Again, worth the time and money to take a trip to the top!
After the big wheel, we went to Harry Caray's for supper.  They had great Chicago memorabilia and pretty good food.
Then hopped back on the Red Line to head home!  Trigg loved taking the "El" (short for elevated train) and with most of the stops being handicap accessible, we didn't have much problem with the stroller.
Monday, we headed to the beach in the morning.  It was a beautiful sunny morning and with it being a Monday, the beach wasn't too crowded.
Trigg loved the sand, water and building sand castles!
Garrett liked playing but did not like the feel of the sand in his toes and he really didn't love getting wet in the water...
Trigg on the other hand, didn't mind the water!
...and he loved getting the sand between his toes!
We left the beach with two tired boys!
After a quick lunch and naps to re-energize, we headed downtown to check out all the cool stuff around Millennium Park!
First stop, the Chicago Bean.
Trigg wasn't too sure that it was a bean and he thought it should be called "The Nut"

Then we went to the new Maggie Daley park, this is a giant park for kids of all ages! Filled with slides, swings, tree houses, bridges, it has a little bit of everything!
And the whole park has soft crushed tire tiles that make for a soft surface to play!
We found a "ship" that Garrett loved to play on and around!
"A-hoy matey's!"
The lower level was just the right size for a 1.5 year old!
Peek!
...and then it was time to leave.
Family picture with the iconic "Chicago" sign!
Heading back to the red line, there was a Jamba Juice on the way, perfect pit-stop!
And of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Chicago without Garrett's popcorn.  This was Garrett's first experience with Garrett's Popcorn...he loved it!
The last day, we drove to the Museum of Science and Industry.  You can park in the museum's underground parking for $22.  A tip that isn't on their website is that there is a street level parking lot on the East side of the museum that cost $10 for the day.  The museum opens at 9:30am, we got there at 10am and there was plenty of parking in that lot.
This museum was a lot bigger and way more to see than I was prepared for.  We could have easily spent the whole day there.  First was the Pioneer Zephyr train, big hit for Trigg!
We also saw the U-505, the actual German submarine, and we learned a lot more about WWII and even got to discuss why there are wars with a 3.5 year old (didn't expect that)!
Trigg had fun climbing through the examples of the ship and what living on a submarine would be like.
We also loved the "travel" section.  Trains, planes, cars, bike...it was great!
Then there was the huge model train display...one little boy couldn't get enough of this!
Complete with the scale version of Chicago!
After the museum, we had lunch on the lawn and then packed back into the car to head home.  I don't know why, but no matter when you come or go, you will hit traffic.  We had stand still traffic trying to get out of Chicago on a Tuesday afternoon at 1pm...crazy!
The trip home was good too, we made a pit stop at Williamsburg to do some "to school" shopping at the outlet malls and stretch out our legs!
Garrett loves playing "peek"...he throws his blankie over his head and then...
PEEK!
All in all, we had a great trip to Chicago.  I was nervous about taking our boys at the ages they are but they had fun and it was fairly easy to get around town with the big stroller.  The parks we went to were lots of fun and it was good to split our days between outings and yet still having supper or lunch "at home" with a meal that we prepared ourselves.  Although it was nice to get back home and have a backyard with green grass and sleep in my own bed!