Bathroom stage 1

We began the bathroom demolition on Saturday, I took Keith to the airport at a ridiculously early hour and after an unplanned pit stop we again thought of how God orders our steps, as we missed a pretty terrible accident by a mere 5 minutes. {The exact length of time of our pit stop.}  So very thankful for God’s reminder I was frustrated by the pit stop but am so thankful that the GOD who keeps the world in motion has planned out my steps.  We spent the morning at our basketball league and then my sweet kids let me nap for a bit (That 4:30 wake up call was really early).  We began the demo late Saturday afternoon.  I had to have our neighbor rescue me as the water valves under the sink were just too difficult for me to shut off completely.  He shut off the water to the house and removed the valves, while he was helping me, he helped C lift the toilet into the tub to rest until we are ready for the instalation process.

C took out the toilet with a little lifting help from our neighbor {I need to fix him something yummy for a thank you}

The toilet is now resting comfortably in the tub sitting on 2 bath mats and is now covered in an old shower curtain to protect it and the tub from falling debris.

The last of the flooring came out and I am now thinking of painting the bathroom floors the space between the floor and door bottom and the amount of space to reconnect the toilet are very low so my choices are a new laminate or floor paint I’m going with the cheap choice.  Floor paint is cheaper than buying laminate and having it installed AND I can do it during nap time with out much noise, the floor people are not as quiet.

The sink is on its way to the curb.  The sink was not connected to the counter or the wall, it was simply resting on the cabinet without any attachments, caulk or glue.

C removed the cabinet the only thing holding the cabinet to the wall was 2 long screws which C used a regular screw driver to remove he did not even need a drill.

I’d like to think I did a lot to help in this bathroom demolition, but honestly C has done the majority of the work.  I simply went to the hardware store to buy caps for the pipes and 2 new valves for when we install that pedestal sink. {I sure hope it is not a pink clamshell pedestal sink}

The space left behind, see how at one time I thought red was a good choice for a small bathroom?  Do you like that piece of plywood on the wall, I guess when someone installed the last cabinet sink combo they just took out the wall down there to re~plumb and decided since no one would see it just to put on some plywood.  That will be covered with bead board so it does not matter how ugly it is right now.  And it is wet from my trying to shut off the water, it has since dried no worries about leaks!

J removed all the baseboard, it was hard work a flat head screwdriver jammed into the caulking and then hammered to pull the trim off.  He numbered them as he pulled them so when I am ready to install the new baseboard I can use it for measurement and save time when cutting.  I am not reusing this trim it is just too small I want 8 inch trim like the rest of the house.

I stood outside flipping breakers while C watched for the power to be cut off, then I prayed in earnest as he began removing the old light fixture, and knowing how haphazard everything else has been I was worried that we were opening Pandora’s box.  He called his dad, put him on speaker and then listened as Keith talked him through the process, hung up the phone and began doing it.  I am so proud of him for all his work!  This is a big job and I am sure not many 16yr olds can do something this big.  I am now thinking of installing {or having C install a small ceiling fan for air circulation to keep the bathroom dry there is no vent}

R removed all the hooks and the big cupboard doors {as many as he could the screws were kind of difficult} all the while dodging pieces of ceiling tile C was removing the popcorn tiles.

C removed all the popcorn tiles, he was covered in dust yuck but he did it, he also removed all the staples and stray nails after removing the tiles.  See that big hole against the wall, well I was not expecting to see that.

And that hole was a surprise too, it looks as thought it was made on purpose and left covered by the popcorn tiles.  The wood strips are riddled with termite holes and tunnels so I have to replace those before we can put the ceiling back on.  My FIL suggested getting treated strips so the termites do not damage the work I’ve done.  I will be following that suggestion.

My to do list
have C pull the toilet
pull the cabinet and sink
remove all the flooring
and wood trim
  pull off the yuck tiles from the shower surround {this looks to be impossible BUT I have a new idea}
remove the ceiling popcorn tile
remove the ceiling light
replace the bathroom window {that I will have to have Keith help me with I am sure of}

My Budget
$29 for new vlaves and pipe caps

I hope to have the bathroom window ready for removal so Keith can do it this Saturday.  I think if I do all the prep work it will be faster for him.  Not fast and easy since nothing else in the house has proven to be fast or easy but hopefully faster than it would normally take.

Go hug on your kids they need the love



Wasted steps

This morning as I sat in the van at morning drop off for school, I was running over J’s spelling words with him before his spelling test he had today.  He looked up at me and said “mom there are no wasted steps.”  I looked back at him and asked him “what are you talking about?”  I was focused on his spelling list and he was tying his shoes.  “mom, God ordered our steps so we are not wasting them when we go back and forth.”  I glanced in my mirror and smiled at him, “J how does that make you feel?  Knowing that GOD ordered your steps?”  His response “it makes me feel comfortable.”  I love that boy! 

As a parent and a wife I need this reminder as I climb the stairs to the girls room with one more load of laundry, or  walk through the boy’s room trying not to step on playmobil toys, and go into C’s room to check to see how his homework is coming.  As I stand on tip toe to kiss Keith, I need to be reminded that God ordered those steps, He planned them out just for me.

{R in his last race of the season, the one shoe wonder, the mud sucked off the other shoe}
R ran cross-country this year, he ran against boys who were 18, I don’t know about you, but as an 11-year-old I would be intimidated.  God has ordered out our steps no matter how weary or intimidated the race makes us.

{Aunt Kim, R, J and E}
When life runs in circles around us.  Yes those circle steps are ordered too, just hang on and hope you don’t get too dizzy.{O spinning E at a cross-country meet}
Some times I feel like life is spinning out of my control, but I realize at those times I am not willingly following in the steps God has planned for me, it is hard to step back and let go I feel a little wobbly and my head hurts a bit.

{E when she was 1 month old}
Her steps are ready and waiting.  We did not know that her steps would involve a incurable illness, that she would be so very sick.  But such a fighter, after battling for her health and physical developement we were thrilled to watch her run on the beach, realizing that the year before we did not know if that would even be possible.  We did know that God had a plan for her and it was easier realizing that her steps were planned out before the beginning of time.

{Baby A in a creek in North Carolina}
As we take bold or sometimes timid steps, remember that there are no wasted steps that God has ordered them all.

I’m so very thankful for J’s reminder this morning.  I love when my kids remind me of God’s sovereignty.  Psalms 37:23

go hug on your kids they need the love


jumping in feet first…

I often jump into a project feet first without thinking the logistics through all the way,  I have done many big projects on my own or with a little help from a friend or child, but this one might just be my biggest.  Keith travels for work, more than some and less than others but he travels, and when he is gone I like to accomplish something to show off when he gets home.  You’d think survival without him would be enough.   In future posts I’ll show off some of what I have done with little or no help.  BUT this time… yeah this time I may have jumped into the DEEP END of the pool without my floaties on… 

I hate Hate HATE the original bathroom to our 1920’s house.  It smells, it looks ugly, it smells, the toilet clogs, the water pressure is not the best, the toilet clogs all~the~time, and it smells. {oh did I mention it smells???}  We have redone a lot of things in our house but that bathroom keeps getting pushed down on the to do list.  Well not anymore.  I have been pinning ideas of bathrooms I like on my pinterest account, {you can go check it out if you want just look under Jen Overholt} to see the ideas I have and I like.

Now this bathroom is small, the sink is in a little alcove and the toilet is behind the door under very tall cupboards.The sink cabinet space is 32 inches wide by 16 inches deep this area is very dark I want a new mirror without a medicine cabinet  and 2 wall sconces put up, a friend’s husband is coming to do that for me {electricity scares me} in a few weeks.

I am NOT a fan of this cabinet it is not a good fit, and is impossible to clean!  The toothpaste, paints, and dirt just stick to the wood grain and I cannot scrub it enough to get it clean.  The counter is not attached to the cabinet or to the wall.  A friend is giving me her unwanted pedestal sink in a few weeks. 

The offensive smelling clogging toilet is actually okay but the floors under the toilet as is the plumbing are the offenders, I think years of boy’s using this bathroom has led to pees getting under that laminate and sticking around smelling.  I pinned directions on how to remove the odor I’ll let you know if it works or not. {Do you like the duck decal?  Yeah that is from back in 2000 when we moved in, all 3 big kids shared that bathroom and they were little so I decorated it in bright colors and ducks, If you look close at the cabinet picture you can still see some bright yellow I did not get covered up yet.}  The toilet space is 33 inches wide by 17 inches deep. If you open the door all the way and someone is on the toilet the door smacks them on the head.  The door stop is the toilet bowl.  The toilet works fine I plan on keeping the toilet just getting rid of the duck decal.

These cupboards are original to the house and are super tall, I have to stand on the toilet to reach into the top ones they go up 8 feet tall.  Do you see the bright yellow peeking out of the sides nice huh?  I love the toothbrush and toothpaste pulls so I will be keeping them.

This whole mess started when I was talking to C and wanted to see how easy it would be to pull up the laminate flooring.  Yeah it was too easy only connected at the edges of the room, which I am so very thankful!  But once I started to pull I could not make myself quit…

Here he is trying to act like it is hard to pull out…  it was not.  The tub is cast iron and it is staying.  I plan on breaking the surround tile  it is a creamy brown color and dated, although he things I should redo all the tile work.  We’ll see.

This is where the nervous laughter kicked in and I could not stop.  Keith has not yet left town and I started the project already.  I was just too eager to get started.  The floor space {not counting the sink and toilet areas} are 4 feet 8 inches by 4 feet 6 inches, the tub is 3 feet wide.

Like I said it is a very small bathroom.  But it will be a nice small bathroom when I am finished. 

My immediate Plans Are

have C pull the toilet
pull the cabinet and sink
remove all the flooring and wood trim
break? pull off the yuck tiles from the shower surround
remove the ceiling popcorn tile
remove the ceiling light
replace the bathroom window {that I will have to have Keith help me with I am sure of}

Then I will have to wait for his next trip to begin putting the bathroom back together.  SO I’ll keep posting on my progress so you can see if I learn to swim in the deep end or if someone throws me a floatie.  I hope I can swim. 

Enjoy your evening and if you hear nervous laughter in the near future realize it is just me having a mild panic attack as I begin this project.

go hug your kids they need some love


How do you… lunch?

I get asked, all the time, HOW DO YOU DO IT???  I will attempt to answer these questions by category, because honestly some things are just too overwhelming…

So today is school LUNCH, I make 30 sandwiches a week, I pack 5 lunches 5 times a week, 5 times a week I attempt to send a balanced lunch for my children, and some days it is a big fat FAIL!  Last week was payday, so money was tight before payday, and lunch supplies were l~o~w.  Tuesday I sent cereal, in little containers and instructed the kids to buy milk, some bought chocolate and some bought white, they had bananas and apple straws, and all were fed and all were happy.  Last Monday I served 3 of them chocolate chip pancake sandwiches, filled with peanut butter, they had apple slices and veggie straws with the pancake sandwiches and they were again  fed and happy.  (Just please don’t report me to the food and healthy lunch police)  Then hardly complain when I send weird things in their lunches they are used to strange things from me, I like to keep them guessing.   

It helps to be organized and the more organized I am the less crabby I am and the easier it is to get lunches packed, hair brushed, shoes tied,  and kids out of the house before 7:35 each morning.  SO on the weekend I head to Sam’s Club and buy bread it takes 3 loaves of bread to make lunches for the school week, fruit and cheese sticks.  I do the bo/go at our local grocery store to get the snack stuffs for their lunch, crackers and cookies.

Then I repackage it all into serving sizes all at once, that means I measure or count out all the cookies, goldfish, crackers, all of it.  My hopes for giving each child the correct serving size is the hope that I am teaching them to enjoy things in moderation and showing them how small an amount of cookies they can have compared to how many apple slices or grapes then can enjoy.  Our family struggles with weight and as a leader at weight watchers once said ” lets face it you are all not here at this meeting because you had too many carrot slices”.  So I package it all up.  I also give the little kids half a serving and the big kids a full serving size.  The foods company’s serving size recommendation is for an adult not a child so I give them half an adult serving.  I then put the sorted and packaged foods in to 2 tubs I keep on the bottom shelf of my pantry.

   For the last 11 years of my children’s schooling I have spent precious minutes each morning making sandwiches, time I could be spending making sure they are eating breakfast, and making sure teeth are brushed, homework is not forgotten, and shoes are found.

BUT this summer I had an epiphany, I was talking to my sister and realized that Smuckers makes and freezes sandwiches so why can’t I?  That day I made 2 sandwiches for each child and froze them, to pull out the next morning around 7:15 I wanted to see if they would be ready to eat at their different lunch times.  I did not tell the kids I was experimenting with them I just did it.  YIPPIE No complaints about weird bread, watery, stale, dry, wet or gooey.    The next morning I pulled out the 2nd sandwich for each child, again no complaints YAHOO I was so excited I could make sandwiches on the weekend and save so much time each day.  I was eager to make and freeze,  I was a little too eager I bought 6 loaves of bread and made sandwiches as each child likes them {a few pb only, 1 honey only, and the others are pb and honey}.  Soooo 2 weeks frozen was not a good idea, by the end of the 2nd week the bread was a little frost-bitten and hard.  {lesson learned only freeze 1 to 1.5 weeks at a time}  I line it up assembly line making and bagging them up.

Ever see those giant bottles of honey at Sam’s and wonder who uses them before they crystallize?  Yeah we do. We go thru 3 tubs of peanut butter and 1 big bottle of honey a month.

Today C decided to visit with me while making sandwiches.  I enjoy the stolen minutes with my kids, sure it might be faster to do it with out visiting but then I would miss out on what they are thinking, or what is happening in their lives.  So I go slow and enjoy the chat.  I label the baggies with their letter, and then put into the door of my freezer.

They are in 3 rows, girls on top, boys in the middle and C gets the bottom row,  they are labeled so if they get moved they all still get the kind they like.  I just grab out 6 every morning {C gets 2 sandwiches for lunch} and toss into their lunch boxes along with V~8 Fusion juice in a BPA free bottle, or boxed organic chocolate milk, cheese sticks, crackers, cookies, and some fruit.  I also pack E a snack for after rest time at school.

SO that is “how I do… lunch”  every school day all year-long… 

enjoy your day and go hug your kids they need the love.


Happy Valentines

This little girl wanted to say “happy valentines day”We went to party at school today

We went into this little girl’s class, she passed out her heart crayon valentines, choosing which “girly” colors went to which girls, the poor boys she just pulled out a “boy” color heart and gave it to them.

Then we went to this boy’s room for a valentine party, they made big head picture valentines which were super cute.  He also handed out his crayon heart valentines.   Notice his “homemade” shirt?  I had no idea he’d want a valentine shirt so I did not buy one or make one until this morning when he asked for one.  I just pinned a felt heart ornament {that I had been using to make decorations} to a red shirt.  He was happy and I WILL be looking for a real valentine shirt on clearance for next year. 

These boys were waiting for dinner so they could open their valentine presents ~ each child got pajamas or a t~shirt and a fun pen, marker or pencil set, and each child was thankful for the items picked specifically for them.  We want to give them something useful but something that  will let them know they are loved, appreciated, and celebrated

And this little girl just wants to shoot some hoops.  As soon as the back door opens she runs out and grabs a ball and starts playing basketball,  I just could not resist another picture of her in boots and tutu.

Keith and I enjoyed a nice quiet meal out ~it was so quiet.  I am so thankful we enjoy each other’s company.

I hope your valentines was filled with love and loved ones.


Great’s cookbook

 I love to bake, I love it so much that when I was preggers with child number 1 I baked 72 dz cookies in 2 days time.  Okay so I have a touch of OCD as well, but I love to bake.  The first memory I have of baking I wanted to add water to chocolate chip cookie recipe because I thought it looked too dry, thankfully my mom did not let me, but she also did not let me bake again for a very long time.  I started serious baking after being  married a few years.  The year of the 72 dz our house reeked of chocolate, I made chocolate thumb print cookies, cut out sugar cookies, chocolate caramel cookies, fudge (which was yucky) chocolate pudding cookies peanut butter balls,and peanut butter cookies.  We gave tins of cookies as gifts, we took plates of cookies when we went to friend’s houses, we had cookies well into January, which was nice to have after C’s birth when Keith’s parents came down for a week.  A few years later Keith’s Grandma Imogene gave me this, her old cookie cookbook.  I was thrilled, I love family things and I love baking, she knew me and thought I would like the book, it makes my heart smile still.  I have made many of the cookies in this book but what I love most about it is the splatter and notes she left in the book.

She liked the white bowl for Ethel’s sugar cookies

Apparently the peanut butter honey cookies were “no good” and I have not yet tried them.

This page is a favorite it is peanut butter cookies, when I first got the book this page had splatter and was wrinkled since then we have added a blop of chocolate milk, from a “helper”, a splat of Crisco, and the book opens right to this page.  And when I am feeling a little blah this is the page I go to.  I love this book and I love the history of the book.  I love to think about Great as she made cookies, she was passionate and loved her family.  I love this cookie cook book.  One day I will pass it on to one of my girls and I know that they will love it as much as I do.

Yesterday I changed it up a bit and when I made the peanut butter cookies I decided to put a heart on them instead of the normal kiss.  An idea I copied off pinterest, I Got Reese’s hearts, because what goes better with peanut butter cookies than more peanut butter and chocolate.

Baby A knows where the goods are!

 Only 1 raw cookie ball landed on the floor, does it look like a bite has been taken out?  Well it has, while I was grabbing my camera to get a picture of the cookies with melty chocolate hearts on them, little  A decided to pick up the floor cookie to take a bite.  I yelled out in disgust she dropped the cookie and ran out of the room crying.  I called her back to love on her.  But I am probably the ONLY MOTHER in America who finds raw dough disgusting and I refuse to let me kids eat it uncooked.  I know I am terrible and I know that Keith and C sneak it when I leave it in the fridge.  But I will not knowingly let them eat it raw.

Fresh hot and melty chocolate heart in a peanut butter cookie.

Some hearts and some kisses, for the traditionalist.

***Oh and a side note I make many things in my cupcake pans so when the cookies spread no one can say “hers is bigger than mine” and the brownies are all the same size when taken from the pan, no need to keep slicing the edge to get it straight.   Keeps things simple and me from over indulging in brownies. ***

SO there you have it a happy cookbook and yummy cookies.  I took plates of cookies to my child care helpers for Bible study share the love people, share the love.

So very thankful for this gift that keeps on giving from Great.


Science Fair, Basketball and a Catapult Launch

This weekend was above average on the busy scale and I think I was left with a van shaped seat imprint on my bum for all the time I spent as I raced around town for and with the kids. 

Friday morning O’s Physical Science class had a big catapult launch.  A few weeks earlier they were able to get into groups, to work on researching, building,and successfully launching a catapult.  O and the girls in her group chose each other because they all care about their grades, pay attention in class, work well together and wanted to get an A.  Thankfully they all met at a central location {not our house} and worked on it together, we only had to provide a ride to the house.  It was fun to watch the groups launch their tennis balls.   Before the launch they filled the ball pocket with glitter when they released the tension the girls were all sprinkled with glitter.  When O’s dad came out to watch they filled the pouch with extra glitter and let him pull the release, he was COVERED in glitter.  Great fun for a middle school principal to go into meetings sparkling.

That same day R’s science fair project was being judged for the county competition.  We have done our share of projects and honestly are tired of them, so when R asked if he could participate, our only stipulation was he had to do the ENTIRE THING WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM US.  And he did!  We did not even supply a glue stick.  He worked on it at school, after school and on weekends with only the guidance of his wonderful teacher.  He designed the project, he researched the project, he worked on the paper and display with out our help.  Do I feel guilty for not helping him, yes, a little,  BUT he did it!  HE DID IT!!!  This was his project, this was his work and this is his reward.  HE CAME IN 3RD FOR THE COUNTY {in computer science category} ALL BY HIM SELF.  After running out to a not so local community college to see his project we were delighted to see that he was getting an award but disappointed because of plans we had plans we were not able to attend the awards ceremony.  We are so proud of him!

From the science fair we rushed off to a basketball game for O to help do stats and J to be water boy.  Unfortunately our girls varsity team lost but because they came in 2nd place in regionals they will go on and play again this week.

Saturdays in the winter mean Church Basketball League for our family.  The big one gets community service for working the games, and all the others play in the league.  This was also the beginning of state solo and ensemble competition so I ran back and forth between games and the school that hosted the competition.  C was singing in it and his group earned an excellent.  E and J play on the same team and J loves all things about basketball he is getting pretty good at ball handling, and is learning to think the game.  We challenge E to touch the ball 3 times a game, some games she manages to look adorable and not ever touch the ball.  But I tell her “if you can’t be the best, be the cutest”.  Last year she would “play” in a tutu and lots of bows. 

Because we are at the gym all morning I try to avoid the concession stand by bringing lunch and snacks for the kids.  I grabbed a mini bag of popcorn, I don’t normally cook the mini bags so I read the directions, it said 3 minutes which I felt was too long but set it anyway.  Two minutes into the cooking process the entire bag caught on FIRE, A GIANT FIREBALL OF FLAMES in my microwave,  I left it in there and the flames soon died because of lack of oxygen, R came into my room holding a shirt over his mouth the rancid smell of FIRE burnt popcorn was billowing into the entire house.  R opened all the windows I set up fans and we laughed about the fire.  3 days later our house still smells faintly of fire corn.  I have cleaned out the microwave but am a little anxious to use it again for fear that the wiring inside was damaged.

The kids entertaining themselves between games. {Blue 7 is not ours but is a classmate of E and his siblings play in the later games}A dunking the ball during halftime of O’s gameA so very excited about “toot hoop” shooting hoopsA getting sleepy and comfortable during O’s game.

That evening we went to the Liberal Arts College in town to watch one of Keith’s former players basketball game.  Although her team lost we still had fun and A loves to cheer for Ashee.  And as a bonus we went out after with out any kids {YAHOO}.  We only got 2 phone calls in that time too, E was starving even though C had dinner cooking, and J was too hot in his long sleeve jammies and the suggested sleep shirtless was not an option…

We stayed home for our own super bowl party of sorts, we had junk to eat and ended up watching more of an old game tape of Keith’s college days than the super bowl.  I think we had more fun that way.

Monday night was the NHS and NJHS award ceremony at our school.  C was inducted into the NHS and O into NJHS.  We are proud of the awards that I pushed them so hard, that they worked so hard to earn.

C and his award

O getting her award from her dad

We are looking forward to a much more calm next weekend, just 3 basketball games and then shopping with O, she had a growth spurt and all her dresses are too short. 


a new pillow

This week J’s allergies have been terrible. He has been drippy, itchy, sneezing, coughing, he has been just miserable.  On Wednesday morning he was especially yuck feeling so I let him stay home, gave him a stronger medicine and listened to him sneeze and cough all morning long.  When A went down for her nap he asked if we could sew something together.  {I am pretty free with letting the kids use my sewing machine; it is over 20 years old so it is low tech.}  This fall I purchased some soft University of Michigan flannel when I took the baby up to see her Great Grandma.  He decided to use that to make a pillow cover for a pillow his Grandma and Pow gave him a few years ago. 

He measured the pillow, added a half~inch on each side for the hem. 

Then he pinned the sides and sewed it together. 

He is very good at using the machine BUT has a lead foot.   He stuffed the old pillow into the new case.

And hand sewed the opening shut.

He did a great job! 

Now he says it is his favorite pillow.

Now this sounds sweet and wonderful and a great bonding afternoon, but I’d been up with 2 of the kids the night before. I slept on the floor with only a pillow pet for a pillow {which is not as comfortable as the commercial makes it sound, but thanks Aunt Kim for that little bit of comfort at 2 a.m.} I was tired, very tired.  I wanted to take a nap, I wanted to put on the electronic babysitter.  I planned on putting on a movie that would last at least an hour if not more, snuggle into my bed and take a nap.  I had dishes to wash, laundry to do and dinner to plan.


I stopped

I decided that time with J was more important than a nap, the dishes, the laundry and even dinner.  I sat and listened to him and his stories while he measured and cut.  I let him tell me all about a basketball game while he pinned the fabric.  I stood over him and breathed his sweet~stinky boy smell while I watched as he guided the fabric into the machine. {That makes Keith so nervous, he is afraid they will sew their fingers…}  Then I laughed at his jokes while he hand sewed the opening shut.  When he was done he said “I am so thankful for a mom who will craft with me, I love you mom.”  THAT statement alone was worth the tired eyes, dishes in the sink and funny smell from the laundry room.  THAT made me tear up with joy.

That is why I want to stop and live in the moment with my kids.