Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On to the kitchen!

We have been super busy in our little bungalow! First we rebuilt the front porch. Then painted every wall in sight. Then replaced windows and the front door, put up some board and batten in the living room, installed new light fixtures, put in new carpet, rebuilt a closet and tore another one out. The list goes on. But now and then we would do a little something or other in the kitchen.

This kitchen. Ay yi yi. I've always really liked cooking (mostly just because I like eating). But when we moved in here, I could hardly make myself go into the kitchen to cook. It was a dark, depressing, hole of a kitchen. I didn't have much hope for it. Dark, grimy cabinets, a dropped ceiling with a fluorescent light, a window with awful trim (the casing didn't even meet up with the window-there was a good two inches between where the casing stopped and where the window started. So you could see all the spray foam they poured in the gaps), old appliances. It was terrible. But I had grand ideas for it, thanks to Pinterest, even though I wasn't sure most of them would work out.

Let's start at the beginning. Pretty much the very first thing we did after getting the keys (after discovering the burst pipe in the crawlspace...) was rip out the ceiling tiles in the kitchen. Whyyyyy would someone do that?? There are so many things about this house that we will never understand.

Oh, the cobwebs. And the grime. And the wiring weirdness and dust and just overall ugliness. I tried to clean the ceiling. I tried to prime it. But after who knows how many years of grease and bugs up there, it was just too nasty. So I made other plans. But in the meantime, we got a new light fixture! It was beauuutiful. One of our few splurges on the house. (The front door and the bathroom fan/light fixture being other splurges). We used a 10% off coupon at Lowe's to get the beautiful Allen + Roth fixture for $179 and Ben got to work installing it. Which was quite a headache and we went for quite a while with no light in there! The old light was hooked up to an outlet, and other things were wired in through there too. So there were extra wires we couldn't figure out what to do with, but my handy hubby didn't give up and he figured it out! And then he turned it on and I heard angels singing!!

The ceiling was still disgusting. The cabinets were still dark and grimy. The hood vent ductwork was still exposed. But I had a new light. A gorgeous, vintage-looking, lovely new light. I still didn't want to be in the kitchen very much. But I had one good thing in there to focus on! 

Now about the light. It is beautiful. I love it so very much. The thing is, those bulbs aren't very bright. It's not really intended to be the main light fixture in a room, and I had read reviews that it wasn't very bright, but I wanted it anyway! I looks amazing, and in our tiny 9x10 kitchen with 2 windows, it is fine. Later on, I did put some under cabinet lights in to help in the evenings when it is darker in there, but even without them it was fine! I still am in love with it although I would love to find some brighter yet still pretty bulbs!

So this was the first of many projects in the kitchen. This was maybe 4 months after getting the keys, and another 8+ months later we just finished the bulk of the work in the kitchen (besides the expensive things like putting in a dishwasher, redoing countertops, new appliances, etc.). And look at it now! Much more to come!

Total spent on new kitchen lighting: $179

Friday, September 5, 2014

Board and Batten by the Barbers

Bahahaha I love alliteration.

We hardly even recognize our living room any more! We put in new windows and a new front door, and painted....but the walls in this dumb old house are so not plumb. So we had a bit of an issue with our front door. The door is in level, but the wall...not so much. Not matchy-matching.

After a whole lot of thinking, I decided that the best way to hide that uneven-ness was to put up some paneling that would hide it. But then we had to figure out how to do it. Board and batten is very Arts and Crafts style, and really goes along with the 1930's bungalow. So I thought that would be perfect. My brother had done it in the baby's nursery and it looked lovely, so I decided we'd just go for it. It would not only cover up the wonky wall and make it look flush with the door, but it would also cover up any lead-based paint that was baby hand/mouth height (nooooo we're not expecting yet, but just for our future baby's health!) AND would cover up the nasty drywall texturing and poorly done seams. Killing 3 birds with one (headache of a) stone!

One of the toughest parts was figuring out what height to have it, and then how far apart to space the battens. There were some seams in the drywall that were really obvious, and we wanted to use the paneling to cover those up. So that kind of helped us decide how high to place the boards. Our ceilings are about 8'6", and the paneling goes up about 53 inches (about halfway). I was afraid it would make the already small room look even smaller, but wanted to cover up those dang seams so we just went for it.

The next step was to cut and install all the baseboards. We got rid of the old moulding that was down there, and replaced it with plain 1x6 MDF. A nice clean line and even though the room is small, the kind of chunky baseboard doesn't seem overwhelming. After that, we had to figure out how to get the main board attached to the wonky wall.

The bottom of the wall by the door was in at least 1 inch further than the wall at the top of the door, which was flush to the door. So I did some measuring and had Ben cut some wedge-shaped pieces that we could attach the board to.  After those were up, the rest seemed like it went up pretty smoothly. We used 1/8" tempered hardboard from Home Depot, in 4' x 8' pieces. We kind of just cut and nailed up the pieces in whatever measurements made the most sense, trying to get the most pieces out of one board that we could. In hindsight, I would have planned the batten placement first and tried to cut the boards so the seams would be under the battens, even though that would have made the cutting more difficult.

We then put up the chair rail trim (although its not actually chair rail height, I don't know what else to call it). We just used simple 1x4 MDF for that. After getting all that up, all we had left to do was place the battens (the vertical boards). We decided to use thinner boards for the battens so there weren't too many chunky pieces in the room, and I am so glad we did! I was originally going to use 1/2 x 4" boards for those, so they would match the window trim and the top chair rail trim. But I think that would have been way too many thick boards on the walls. So we used 1/2" x 3" x 4' poplar boards from Lowe's. Ben cut those to size and nailed em up, then it was time to caulk and paint!

Except I hate caulk. And paint. I had read that the tempered hardboard, since it is coated with an oil of some sort, can be hard to paint since the oil bleeds through. So I wanted to use Killz primer on it. But that stuff is really, really awful. It Killz you with its fumes, I'm pretty sure that's why they call it that. So after nearly dying after priming only like 1/8th of the room, I switched to Zinsser Smart Prime, which did an excellent job and did NOT kill me.

Anyway, we got it done! There is still some final caulking to do and some touch up-painting. But it looks so amazing, if I do say so myself! The transformation is incredible, from drab and dark greenish-brown everywhere, to light and bright yellow and white with some beautiful new lines in the room.

If I were to do this again, I probably would rethink a few things. First of all, I would have planned the spacing of the battens sooner (although it was hard to figure out without having the other stuff up first since we're both visual people!). That would have allowed us to hide the seams in the boards behind the battens. But now we have some seams that are kind of going to be impossible to hide with caulk/wood filler/paint.

I also would have gone a little easier on the caulk. That stuff is miserable. It is so messy and gets everywhere and is impossible to make look nice if you can't get it perfect before it dries. This actually mostly was a problem on the windows since there are more seams on those that aren't hidden in a corner. But anyway, go light with the caulk and make sure its perfect before it dries!

Our little living room is about 10x12. We used:

5 - 1/8"x4'x8' tempered hardboard ($8.98 each)
5 - 1"x6"x8' MDF ($6.72 each)
4 - 1"x4"x8' MDF ($4.32 each)
16 - 1/2"x3"x4' Poplar hobby boards ($4.78 each)
2 or 3 tubes of DAP Dynaflex 230 caulking ($4.12 each)
outlet spacers ($6ish for one package-we still need to do this and get all the outlet covers back on)
1 package of 2 1/2 inch finish nails ($10ish? I'm too lazy to find a receipt or find it online) (we borrowed my brother's nail gun....not sure how we would have done it without that tool!)
TOTAL $200ish

And one more "before" and "after" (just have to paint the door trim now!)

We sure love it! It is starting to feel more like a nice clean, comfortable "home"!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A breath of fresh air

One of the things we knew right away that we were going to need to do to this house was replace some windows. The windows that were in the house I think were the original ones. Wood framed single-pane double-hung windows. That were painted and siliconed shut. And probably covered with lead paint. As cute and charming as they were, they weren't practical. Even though the author of my new favorite book would burn down our house for doing so, we replaced the four front windows with vinyl ones.

For some reason I'm the one that measured the windows to decide what size to order. Bad idea. When we took the first old window out and got ready to put in our new special-order window, it was ten inches too small. Apparently those wood windows have huuuge casings (in order to fit in the sash weights to keep the window open I guess).

Anyway, thank the Lord that Lowe's took our special-order windows back and gave us a refund no questions asked. So we decided to just buy some in-stock windows and put those in instead. We saved like $400+ doing it that way so that was nice. They aren't quite as "high quality" (whatever that means). But they are still nice Jeld-Wen energy-efficient windows (and they open! unlike the old ones- anything would have been an improvement).

My brother and our friend Mike came over to help Ben put in two of the windows. It actually didn't take as long as I thought it would. And by the end of they day (and a couple trips to Home Depot...we could only fit one window at a time in our car!) we had two lovely new windows that OPEN! With SCREENS! They are also larger than the old ones. Well there is more glass, the old windows had such a large casing that even though the measurement is the same, the glass part was quite a bit smaller.

So a few weeks later, Ben went to work on replacing the other two. We picked up two more in-stock windows, took the old ones out and got the new ones in! (By "we" I mean Ben. I helped hold them in place while he screwed them in. That's the entirety of my contribution...)

Old window on the left, new on the right!

All done! Now it was time to watch some 4th of July fireworks from our porch :)

So just in time for the hoootttt weather, we have some windows we can open WITH SCREENS so we can get a little air in here and NOT bugs. The windows in our bedroom were replaced at some point with aluminum ones so they at least open, but they don't have screens. And there are a lot of bugs around here. So we just need to get some screens for those until we replace them. For now though, we're just waiting on the bathroom window and we will replace that one. The rest will have to wait for another time. (And more money!). We can't wait to get these windows trimmed and finished! That's the next project!

Monday, June 23, 2014

It all begins...

Welcome to your new home! Now, immediately get to work on changing absolutely everything about it!!!!

That is pretty much how things have been since moving in. This house calls for many projects! We had our apartment for a week still after we got the keys to the house. So our original plan was to pain the inside during that week before we moved everything in. But then we decided we were going to redo the drywall, since painting over this awful texturing job would be kind of silly. Then we decided that was going to be way too big of a project. So we went with the front porch.

Well, actually we went with the plumbing since we didn't have any water the first week until we (by "we" I mean "my dad") could fix the major leak under the house. And the other leaks he discovered while crawling around under there.

But anyway, we decided the front porch would be our first project. Relatively simple, not too expensive, and it would give the house an instant facelift so we could see some lovely results right away.

"Simple." "Inexpensive." Hah, this house had the last laugh. Not for the last time I am sure! Here is what we were dealing with. Really closed-in, uneven and scary steps, vinyl floor tiles. Really lovely, I tell you! (I wish I had taken some actual before photos!!)

We were just going to rip of the floor tiles and whatever was underneath and then replace the decking with some nice new cedar. Ben and my brother got to work ripping off the old half-wall that was enclosing the porch.

When we discovered that the support beams that were supposedly holding up the roofline were just swinging in the breeze.

Hm. Problem numero uno. Well, guess we'll have to get some more support in there! Then they ripped up the vinyl tiles. And the plywood under that. And the lovely tongue-in-groove decking under that (pretty, but I'm sure covered with lead paint and full of dry rot).

When we discovered that the support under the decking was also shot.

Very weak and soft. Problem numero dos. So now, not only are we replacing the decking, we are also replacing all of the support beams. Whew! Well, the boys got to work. And at the end of the day half of the porch was floor-less and the vertical support beams were just swingin around. We tried to use a jack to get the roofline where it was supposed to be (it had somehow settled and was a little lower than it should have been....how could that have happened?!?!), but it almost killed Kevin and Ben, so we kind of just shimmied a 2x4 under the roof and hoped the house wouldn't collapse.

This was all done the day after we got the keys, mind you. We were a little worried, as we had to move everything into the house the next weekend. Without a porch and without stairs, that seemed a little scary! Every day that next week, I had to drive by the house to make sure that wonky 2x4 was still doing its job of holding up the roof. Every day I expected to see a disaster, but it just hung out there, holding things up! That 2x4 deserves a medal.

The next weekend, my dad came up to help us out as well. Saturday, the guys went to work on replacing more support beams and putting in the decking and making stairs. And by Sunday, when we had some (AMAZING) friends from church over to help us move....we still had no stairs. We did at least have part of a porch to walk on!

These pictures are of the work they did on Saturday...I was too busy moving on Sunday to take any pictures! But you get the idea :)

This was just at the beginning of the weekend...

So after we got everything moved in (...to the garage, since there were no steps to the house yet!) my daddio got our plumbing fixed and I was finally able to get some things cleaned and we could take showers and flush the toilet! Yahoo! And then it was our home, no turning back now! No nice clean lead-paint-free apartment to go to!

We were exhausted after moving all weekend, but were still able to enjoy being in OUR HOME!! The following weekend, the boys finished the porch and the weekend after that we stained it. So now here is what it looks like now! Everyone in the neighborhood knows the drug dealers are gone, since we are in here fixin things up now!

Oh yeah, new door too! Ain't it purty?!!

And a side-by-side before and after, for your viewing pleasure.

All in all, we spent about $1000 on the new front porch. But it should have cost us more. If you live in the Portland area and are in need of building supplies, you MUST check out Building Material Resources in Sherwood. We paid $.98 per lineal foot for the 2x6 cedar decking (and they had lots of 6-foot boards, which is exactly what we needed so we didn't have to cut them and had an easier time transporting them). For comparison, most home improvement/lumber places charge around $15 for a 12-foot board, which comes out to $1.25 per lineal foot. Which doesn't sound like that much more, but when you realize that we needed like 360 lineal feet, we saved about $100. And it is beautiful material and they have a really helpful staff there. I'm going back there soon to look for trim!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Barbers Buy a Bungalow

We bought a house! Since home prices are still low, but on the rise, we wanted to see if we could get ourselves a home before they got to where we couldn't afford one. We looked at a couple random short sales with different realtors before we really got serious about looking. Our mortgage guy set us up with a realtor though and then we really got going.

The market here sucks. For buyers, anyway. Homes sell the first day they are on the market for above listing price. We put offers in on 2 houses and tried to put an offer in on a third (but it was already sold by the time we got around to it, on the morning of the second day it was listed) before we found the house we ended up with.

This house was a little above our price range, but had been on the market for 6 months or so and hadn't sold. So we decided to just go for it and offer a little lower, which is totally the opposite of what usually happens these days. After a lot of negotiating, and back and forth, and yes and no, and are we going to get this house or not?? we finally closed on May 16th!

Is it our dream home? No, but we are slowly but surely turning it into a home we will love. We have already put a lot of work into it and have only been here a month! This house was build in 1930. 84 years ago. It's OLD. And has some issues. The night we got the keys, for example, we discovered a major leak in the pipes leading to the water heater and had to shut the water off until my amazing Papa came and fixed it for us (discovering at least 2 other leaks in the process). Yay for new, NOT GALVANIZED pipes! The floors are uneven. The walls were finished really poorly. The kitchen does not have a dishwasher and is tiny. The windows are so old and covered with lead paint that you can't open them. The kitchen had a dropped ceiling with office-style tiles and a florescent light. (HAD, we fixed that right away!) There was little to no landscaping.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the renters who were here were growing marijuana? Like, a lot of it. In the garage. They had converted the garage into a giant grow room. Everything was covered in plastic sheeting. The garage door had been boarded over with insulation and a framed in wall. Then they dried the goods in the carpeted attic area. Leaving the carpet full of grossness that meant it just had to be ripped up.

Sounds like a great house, right???? But really, it's adorable. Or anyway, it's going to be! It's a cute little bungalow with a lot of charm (some of which we will have to bring back!). It's got a great front and back yard. A huge front porch (which we totally re-built) which is just begging for a porch swing! A cute little build-in corner cabinet in the dining area. Some beadboard paneling (which may or may not be original, but it's time-period accurate anyway!). A great huge Oak tree in the back yard. 

We've already redone the front porch, made the garage usable, ripped up the carpet in the attic, gotten rid of the dropped ceiling in the kitchen and put up an amazing new light fixture, installed a beautiful new front door and did some landscaping. Our neighbors are SO EXCITED to have some normal neighbors who won't be selling drugs and who actually care about the property. We also had a random lady who lives on the street stop by and tell us what a good job we're doing. 

We're just plugging along! Our next projects involve some new windows and lots of new paint inside. And Ben is continually working on the landscaping. I can hardly get him to come inside any more! Here are some pictures of things as they were when we moved in!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

We've been married for almost seven months now! Holy cow where has the time gone? We are still in love with each other, so that's a good thing, right? :) It seems like we are just always busy, going nonstop. But this week (spring break for me), we took the week and came to Sunriver to just relax!

We've spent the past seven months working, spending time with our small group at church, playing games (Ben more than me...) and cooking (me more than Ben...). Nothing too exciting but we've been having fun :) Ben is still working at the bank and I am at the elementary school I started at the day after we got back from our honeymoon.

I. Love. My. Job. It is so perfect for me! I work with groups of 5-8 kids who need a little extra support in reading or math. I have kindergarteners through sixth graders and I adore them all! I love going to work, have fun while I am there, and feel proud when I tell people where I work. My supervisor and the principal really want me to get my teaching license. Which I still may some day (although right now, it's not really an option budget-wise). But honestly, at this point I don't think I would want to be an actual teacher! I love working with small groups. I think I would have a hard time going from this to having to teach 30+ kids at once, while being unable to give them one-on-one time that they will inevitably need. That's my entire job right now, and I just love it! Plus, it doesn't hurt that I get to go home when school is out and I don't have to spend hours planning lessons and grading assignments.

I have taken advantage of my extra time in the afternoons to tutor kids in Spanish. I have been working with one student since November, and he has gone from failing quizzes and not understanding anything, to getting grades of "proficient" on his tests and doing really well with conversing. I really enjoy it! Not only getting to use my Spanish, but I just love languages and teaching, so it's a perfect combination!

Other than that, my afternoons are spent cooking or planning what I'm going to cook on Pinterest. I am so grateful to have a husband that works so hard so that I can work part time. And to have a husband who so appreciates all I do at home and how happy and energized that I normally am, that he doesn't want me to work full time. I keep bringing it up, that maybe I should find a "real" full-time job so we could be making more money, and he tells me I'm crazy - that I'm so happy where I'm at why would I want to do anything else?!

So from my spare Pinterest-crazed time in the afternoons, here are some amazing recipes I have tried and loved:

I have never been much of a waffle person. Pancakes either, for that matter. They are the last things I would ever order for breakfast at a restaurant, and I never choose to make them myself. My dear husband, on the other hand, loves them. So to make him a yummy breakfast I made waffles one weekend using this recipe. Now we make them almost every weekend. Because I just can't get enough of them! I think the trick is whipping the egg whites. It makes them so perfectly fluffy soft on the inside, but super crispy on the outside. Oh dear I want some right now!

I try not to make sweets too often. But I usually fail at that and make them more than I should. And then end up eating them all because Ben has way more self control and limits himself. BUT. These are one thing he had a hard time limiting himself with. Unfortunately I am home more than he is and have way more opportunities to eat brownies. I had a potluck at work the other day, and decided to try out this recipe for fudgy brownies with a whipped peanut butter frosting. Oh dear. I made a double batch so I would have plenty to take to work. When I got back to the lunch room less than two hours later, there were only a few left. And I had requests for the recipe. Which is very simple, and I had everything needed in the cupboards already. Oh make these immediately.

                                                                                            Source: annies-eats.com viaAmy on Pinterest

I also brought this yummy white bean and roasted red pepper dip to the potluck, which was so easy to make and was delicous. Think hummus, with regular white beans instead of garbanzos. A little spice, a little sweet, a lof of yum. 

                                                                                             Source: annies-eats.com viaAmy on Pinterest

Anyway, that has been our life for the past few months :) Ben tells me I can keep working part time so I can keep cooking these things for him! And now, I have to go finish off these yummy ribs for dinner in Sunriver :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The 12 Days of (DIY) Christmas

I'm kind of obsessed with Pinterest. I got a lot of ideas for Christmas from there, the first of which was the Twelve Days of Christmas gift exchange from this blog. The blogger mentioned that she did this for her husband to give him an extra treat. Well, I mentioned it to Ben and he thought it was a fun idea, so we opted to do this as our gift exchange to each other instead of getting gifts and exchanging them like normal on Christmas day. The idea is, for each "day" of Christmas, you get that number of gifts. So on day one you give 1 thing. Day 12 you give twelve things, etc. Except we kind of did things backwards. The typical 12 Days of Christmas starts with day one (on December 14th) and Christmas Day would be day 12. Well, we knew that Day 12 was probably going to be kind of a cheap gift, so we reversed the order so we would have our best gift for each other on Christmas Day :) After figuring out the order of things, we decided on a budget and went to work planning! 

We both used different methods. I wrote lists and price checked and planned things out just so (although I changed the order of things a million times and still went over budget after all that planning!). Ben spent pretty much all of his budget right away on my Day One gift, which I completely approve of :) From there, we had to figure out the right number of things. Ben did a really good job of giving me the specific number of one thing. Twelve bath bombs for Day 12. Eight mechanical pencils (for my kiddos at school to use!) for Day 8. I mostly put a random assortment of different things together to get the right number. Day 10, for example, was a combination of scratch-its, little bags of coffee, a cereal bowl, and candy. I think. Maybe that was Day 9! See, confusing :/

Anyway, we had a lot of fun figuring things out! But as we spent our money, we realized we were going to have to be creative to fill all the numbers and not spend a million dollars. So we planned some DIY projects a la Pinterest. Ben even got in on the Pinterest-ing! Here are some of the things we made:

To start with, I made us some stockings out of leftover wedding burlap. It was kind of hard to figure out how to make them with the stupid burlap, it is so hard to work with! I first made them the normal way, sewing right sides together then flipping it inside out. But the burlap just doesn't do well that way since it is so bulky and frays so easily. Besides the fact that the stockings turned out tiny. So I tried again, this time sewing wrong sides together and leaving the edges unfinished. I bought some pinking shears and used some clear Tacky glue to hopefully prevent too much fraying! I used a fun Christmas-y fabric for lining and for a "cuff" at the top. Then used another wedding leftover, wooden letters, to trace our first initial onto our stocking. I then used some thick twine (again, from the wedding!) to add a little loop at the top to hang it with. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out! We didn't actually fill them with anything, but they still looked cute :)

I made Ben some magnets for the fridge for Day 9 using pictures from the wedding. I ordered a couple of "collage" 4x6 photos from Snapfish for only $0.15 per collage! You can choose as many photos as you want and it will create a collage for you so the pictures are small enough. All I needed from there was some flat glass gems (from the Dollar Tree), magnets and glue (from Michael's, both super cheap after a coupon). I ended up using E6000 glue because I was afraid anything else I used wouldn't stick to the glass well. I just traced the shape of the gem onto the picture, cut it out and glued everything together! You just have to make sure to press hard on the photo so the glue really spreads evenly and sticks everywhere with no air bubbles. A couple of mine have bubbles, but it's not too noticeable!


The E6000 glue also came in handy for another fun project, I made a desk calendar for Ben's desk at work! I just used the back of a dollar store picture frame (the cardboard part with the stand on it) and made a Calendar in Word by inserting a table and typing in the right dates. I just glued on some photos to each month's page and then came the fun part! I had tried this out with some regular paper first to make sure it would work, getting the idea from here. But all I did was use paper clamps to hold the paper together tightly, and run some E6000 glue along the top edge. The glue is perfect because it is flexible but really strong, and when it dries it looks just like a regular notepad-kind of rubbery but flat. This way he can just tear off the page for a new month!

Now, for Ben's projects! :) He was very creative! Besides the fact that he was clever with the numbers (Day 11, for example was a box of candy with "11" servings!), he came up with some super cute ideas for me! For Day 6, I received a box of 6 lovely homemade Christmas ornaments. To go on our nonexistant tree....now I know why he kept trying to get me to get a tree!!! They still looked pretty on the hooks with our stockings :) One of the ornaments says "First Married Christmas." Which is perfect! If we had bought a tree, I would have wanted to get an ornament that represented our first Christmas as a married couple. But since we didn't buy a tree, I didn't think about getting an ornament like that. But now we have one, and a very pretty hand made one at that!

This next gift was one of my favorites! It was so cute and sweet and creative! I got a "First of the Month Massage Jar." Since we were married on the 1st (of September), every month on the anniversary of our wedding I get to draw a massage from the jar! They are different themes. The one I drew on Day 9, for example, was a "Spanish" massage. Ben practiced his Spanish and played me Spanish music while I got a back rub :) And every month I will get a special treat-the gift that keeps on giving! Genius, people! This should be a new Pinterest sensation, I say! :)

His idea was so good, that I stole it from him for Day 8 :) I rearranged some things and re-wrapped multiple days, but I put some little surprise "coupons" for him in a jar of my own. So for Day 8, he got a game (Zombie Fluxx) and "Seven Weeks of Joy," where he gets to draw a coupon each week for the next seven weeks. I can't tell you what the coupons are good for since he hasn't seen them all yet :)

Anyway, Christmas was fun this year! Besides having fun coming up with ideas for and making gifts for each other, we had lots of family time! We got to spend a few nights in Philomath with my family, then spent Christmas Eve night and all of Christmas Day with Ben's family. So much joy and laughter and good food :) Thank you baby Jesus for being born! And Merry (late) Christmas to everyone!