Friday, June 29, 2018

MN Fishing Trip

With summer comes our annual "Dudes Fishing Trip"! They boys and I pack up the Jeep and head north for about 7 hours to Camp Liberty just outside of Nevis, MN! Todd and Kristin run the resort and they do a great job! I have been going on this annual fishing trip since I was 4 or 5 years old...and now my boys are enjoying the lake as well! My parent and my grandpa make the trip and this year my sister and her family came too! 4 generations enjoying the lake and each other!
Here's the whole crew!
 When we left Iowa, temperatures were in the upper 90's, so we were pleasantly surprised to find temperature cooler, in the mid 70's all week! Nothing beats eating on the front deck with the lake 20 feet away! Thumbs up from these dudes!
 Grandpa got a new fishing boat this year, so we were eager to test it out on the seemed to find the fish!
 G got a new fishing pole this year, it worked too!
 Heather send present's for the boys to open each day...nothing big, but something fun for them to look forward to each day. On Monday, they opened Jet Launchers! Those were a big hit...and may have flown on the roof of the cabin. Luckily the roof line is low that I could lift Trigg up on the roof to retrieve the jets...
 Trigg is a big fan of the wax worms we use as bait, in between casts, he sets up races to see which worm is the fastest!
 Meanwhile, G was catching more fish!
 Camp Liberty has a great playground to swing, slide and dangle!
 Two captains of the boat...I think they approve of the new boat and the comfortable seats!
 Garrett brought a bug box to try and catch bugs in...I surprised him one morning with one of the fish I caught!
 We also hit the beach (small sand area really, but for a lake it is a nice beach)! Trigg caught on pretty quickly to paddling the kayak!
 And my sister and her family got to MN on Monday, so they joined us for some water fun, Piper enjoyed paddling as well!
 Lunch is more fun when cousins are around!
 Uncle Wade and Trigg are ready to catch some fish!
 G and I are ready to roll...
 We rented a pontoon boat from the resort as well, so everyone could go out fishing together! It was a blast and we learned how to cast with lots of people around!
 We even caught some fish. I think the kids had more fun watching the fish in the live well than they did catching those fish...
 All smiles!
 It's fun to fish together!
 Or just go for a ride on the boat!
 More fun in the water, this blue floating mat was a ton of fun to jump on!
 Playing in sand and digging holes
 Thumbs up from these 3 guys!
 Trigg gave G a tour of the lake in the kayak!
 Two dudes with matching shirts!
Trigg got pretty confident in his skills and made it out pretty far on the lake!
 The pontoon filled up quickly, in an effort to catch fish and not each other, the boys and I took out Grandpa's boat!
 And then we would flip flop and the three dudes would take the pontoon out!
 G got pretty good at driving the pontoon boat!
 We made a stop in Akeley, MN to see Paul Bunyan. Akeley has been celebrating "Paul Bunyan Days" since 1955 and the town hosts a 25-foot tall stature of Paul Bunyan.
 Of course we need to dab when standing on Paul's hand!
 We capped the week off with a few more trips out in the boat, G is getting pretty good at driving a boat...
 and Trigg got pretty good at being the captain and taking us to the fish!
Trigg and I took the canoe out for a spin on the lake. 
 We are on the 8th Crow Wing, it is in a chain of lakes connected by the Crow Wing River, so we paddled down the river to the next lake and then back!

 All in all, it was a great week at the lake, we had a ton of fun, caught some fish, enjoyed each other's company, played some card, road bikes, canoed, swam, and built sand castles. We got home on Saturday and by Sunday afternoon, G was asking when the next fishing trip is to MN...he was almost in tears when I told him "next year"..."That's too far away!!!"

Friday, April 13, 2018


In looking through my posts, I realized that I don't do a very good job of showing the finished product. With our last big project, the kitchen, I posted pictures before I had finished the project and then didn't update with the finished result.  
So here we go, a quick recap...this is what we started with
 from the other side
 And there is the finished product. We used Ikea cabinets and are super pleased with how everything turned out.
 This is Heather's desk area, I built the desk with a fold down front and then her laptop slides out when she needs to work. We found the corbels on Amazon.
We went with subway tiles for the back splash. I like them because they are affordable and timeless. We went with a white grout, I like the clean look of it.
 Moving around the kitchen, we added a corner pantry and a custom chalkboard to cover up the side of the fridge.
 Due to some plumbing troubles, I had to rework the upper left cabinet. I turned it into an open whiskey cabinet and think it turned out pretty good!
 We added crown modeling around the kitchen and above the cabinets. To me, it makes the kitchen feel taller, which feels more open!
 Here is the finished eating space.
I built the bench and it has worked great for when we have guests over. We have two leaves for the table and can seat 10 to 12 people around the table comfortably!
That's a wrap, we love how the kitchen turned out and love hosting people for a meal and sharing our table. We have lots of space for food prep and plenty of cabinets to put things away.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kitchen Re-Model

This is the big one...going into this project, we knew it was going to be a big overhaul.  When you remodel a kitchen, you are remodeling the heart of a home.
High level review, here's the before
 and the after!  There are a lot of pictures for the in between...
 Now, back to the "before".  These cabinets and wall will be removed.
 The pantry area will turn into our dining area
 The peninsula will disappear
 This is in the "dining" room.  This window will get replaced and not come down as low to allow the new counter top to come across.  I cut a few "access" holes to make sure I knew what was inside the wall!
 Dining room will change and the new stove will be about where the table is
 Looking into the library/toy room, I added a wall here and the pantry and refrigerator move down to this corner.
 Looking back toward the kitchen...let's get to work!
 First we started taking apart the old dining room.  My helpers know how to use a drill, so they got to work taking apart the bench seat!
 We hit a warm weekend in January, so I was able to get the windows swapped out.  We got the floor pulled back and the new wall frames out!
 Demo day!  Boys grabbed hammers, crow bars and safety glasses!  We made quick work of the old cabinets.
 Once we had the upper cabinets out, we started in on the wall!
Heather and I planned our new kitchen out on Ikea's kitchen planning software.  After working out all the details, we could save our plan to their server and then pull it up in the store.  A quick day trip to Kansas City pulling a small U-haul trailer and we've got ourselves a new kitchen (some assembly required)!  We are big fans of Ikea's kitchens, we put one in our Beaverdale home too and couldn't be more pleased with the results!  And they have made some nice improvements since our last kitchen remodel in 2009.
 I took a week off work and we got to it.  I tore the ceiling down, we had thick popcorn ceiling, so instead of trying to scrape it and patch holes for the new electrical line, we just pulled the whole thing down and started fresh.  It worked way easier!
 Through the process we managed to keep our dining room table the center of the kitchen...
 and regardless of where we were in the project, family supper time at the table happened every night!  Blythe approves of the renovation!
 We did hire an electrician to run all the new lights and a plumber to move the sink to under the new window.
 Since our basement is finished, the plumber ended up working through the floor to move the existing water lines and hook up the new sink.
 Old wall removed and the back of the house is now opened up!  This is the view from the fireplace...
 ...and looking the other way!
 After the electrical was roughed in, I hung the drywall.
 My dad brought up a drywall lift, that was a huge help!  I was able to hang a lot of the drywall myself and with 9 foot ceilings, I'm not sure how I would have done that without a lift to help!
 Here is the start of the pantry being build out and the new spot for the fridge.
 I did hire guys to mud, tape and texture.  They did an awesome job and got it done quickly (worth every penny)!
 While the plumbers were working in the kitchen, my dad and I were assembling cabinets in the garage...25 cabinets in all.  After the texture was dry, we did a massive clean up and wiped everything down.  Then I put the floor back together and started installing base cabinets.  Ikea's cabinets work on a rail system.  You anchor the rail to your studs on the wall then slide the cabinets on.  The base cabinets have adjustable legs to get everything's pretty slick.
 While we had everything masked and taped off to texture the ceiling, I borrowed a paint sprayer and gave the built in's another coat of white!
 New stove put in place and hooked up!
 Base cabinets installed!  In this picture you can see the pipe running across the top of the wall.  When the plumbers hooked up the new sink, they needed to run a vent pipe.  The "easiest" way to do that was to tie into the master bathroom that is above the kitchen and that was as high as they could "tuck in" the pipe...minor details but one I would have to fix/work around later in the project!
 Pantry shelves installed and new fridge put in place!
 What do you do with empty base cabinets that have the door hide-n-seek of course!  Perfect spot of 2 boys to hide!
 Upper cabinets going in!
 Starting to come together and look like a kitchen
 One last picture with the "temporary" light fixtures...
 Our electrician came back and installed our lights!  We went with LED can lights and these that our electrician uses are 1/2 inch thin, so they are the same thickness as the drywall!
 And our 2 pendants over the table, those coordinate with the sconces by the couch!
 Our new grid of lights, all on dimmers and we can now light up the whole room!  This is a huge improvement from the 3 lights that we previously had to light up our space!
 The pantry all lit up!
 And the under cabinet lights!
 We added two cabinets above the fridge and then I build a big chalkboard to box out the fridge.
 I added a hood above the stove
 and the start of Heather's desk.
 Framed out the hood with trim and corbels
 Counter top day!  This was a big day, our counter tops got installed!  We used Stone House Granite and they did a great job.
 Another look
 Our counter tops quartz made by DuPont - Zodiac called Status White.  They have some subtle gray tones in them and we just love them!
 Crown molding starting to go in, giving the cabinets a hat to wear!
 All lit up (most of my pictures are at night, because that is when I work on projects...after the kiddo's are asleep)
 Heather's desk, she wanted a simple workspace that could hide her laptop...
 so it is a simple drawer that slides in and out and all the cords run through the back.  Our electrician put in outlets that are high enough up to hide them, it turned out great!
 The chalkboard framed out with reclaimed lumber (same stuff we used on Heather's craft table in the basement)
 And the hood build and painted!
 Back splash will be simple white subway tile and white grout (still finishing that up)
 If you look closely, this is the picture that shows how I hid the pipe.  I build a small bulkhead and wrapped it with crown molding, it hides that pipe fairly well!
 I still have a few small pieces of crown to finish...but we are almost done!  That and the back splash
 And there you go...our new kitchen!
 Looking the other way.
We love the space we now have and room to host people!  I still need to finish the back splash and then we will build a bench against the wall for seating at the table, those projects are coming.  It was a lot of work to fit into 3 months, but we are very pleased with the results.