More trees coming down that were beginning to die or becoming a problem.





Instead of burning them this time, we created mulch to put around the base of our trees. Right now, between the fence and other areas around our house it is a 3 hr. weed whipping job. Hoping that this cuts down on that time and looks nicer.



We were doing this the same time we were painting the fence. In case any falling trees broke the fence boards, we could fix it before we painted.



Along with the trees, we also had a line of lilacs that continued to grow and get out of hand. It blocked our street view and was yet another thing to mow around.


Can’t see the house.


The big trees on the left are gone, and the fence has been painted. Getting started on the bushes.


Hello house. 


The aftermath.



We were left with these nasty stumps. Our wonderful neighbors asked if they could remove them for us. It was so sweet of them to take care of them for us!



Newly planted grass is now in this place.

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1/2 year project: Clearing out fence line, fixing fence boards, and painting the fence.


Our fence needed painting.


There was way too much brush, poison ivy and thorns to be able to get to the back of the fence to paint it the way it should be. We spent all last spring clearing out our back fence line. We all got pricks. Tater had a black locust thorn pierce him really bad and some poison ivy all over his body, but he didn’t complain and kept at it.


There were also areas where the fence needed fixing or new boards. Tater did that too. The kids and I tried to be his assistants. 


I spy Tater.



Adding to our burn pile.


Our horse loving girl keeping us company and hanging by our side.


Here is what it looked like before.


Here is what it looked like after we cleaned it up.



On to fixing boards and painting. Just like the house, this job was more fun because you saw immediate results. I wire brushed the entire fence line beforehand to remove flaking paint. Tater sprayed the fence with paint, and I went behind him with a paintbrush to get in the cracks and small areas. The fence seemed to go on and on. We worked on painting the fence for several months (Fall 2016).


Right side – done.

Left side – not done.


Making our way around.


Another trip to Lowes for more paint.



Loving the change!


Notice all the trees past our property line behind the fence.


Shortly after we cleared our several feet beyond our fence (as we were painting the outside of our fence) our neighbors cleared their land to use to farm. This was a surprise for us and definitely changed our view.


Checking out all the trees that were down behind us.


It opened everything up a lot more.


White fence, new extended view, and blue sky. We’ll take it!

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Whether it’s playing dress-up, jumping rope, or just living life in the everyday… she does it all with gusto. She’s 6 and living life to the fullest!











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  1. Joy Blunier wrote: Love, love, love, LOVE these pics and these peeps! (06/13/17, 3:42 pm)


8 years old for this one! Still snuggly and caring as ever. Her 8 year old shoot and album.












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So every year, each of the kids have their yearly photo shoot with us. We make an album for them and give it to them as a gift sometime throughout the year. Its tradition, and it is something they love. The kids enjoy looking back at their albums throughout the years. Here they are opening them at Christmas this year.


Elle’s was unique, and she is able to color in hers. Here is her album when it was given to her… before any coloring was done.













She has been giving it color. It’s fun to see what she adds to it!


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He’s growing up, and I’m not quite so sure how I feel about that. He’ll turn 12 in less than 2 months. Here is his 11 year old album that we made for him.












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I think it is important to note the timeline on most of these projects – especially this one. I know sometimes when I watch a remodeling show I think, Wow – how quick that seemed to take! That is so nice for them but… Why is ours taking foooorrrrevvvver?!? Just as those shows are condensed into 30 min. – 1 hr. highlights, our posts also only show the highlights. There are definitely frustrations with many of them. The thing we always say together during our projects is that it usually looks worse before it looks better. And yes… patience is the key to many of them!

Our goal was to finish our Master Bath within the first 5 years of moving in. Sharing one bathroom as a family of 6 was sure cozy.

This project took 3 years, and now it is complete. The funny thing is, the kids still love to congregate and use our bathroom now. So it sometimes feels like we are still all sharing one bathroom. 🙂

Here’s a look back –


Year 2013

Here are some before pictures. We may have posted them before. They definitely have me going down memory lane. When we first moved in the bathroom and closet were separate and both very small. Tater couldn’t stand under the shower head. Our decision was finalized about redoing this bathroom when we went down to studs at this end of the house HERE at the beginning.







This shows the area a bit better. There were 2 doors. Bath on the left. Closet on the right. We closed off the door on the left. And added a pocket door on the right. Our bath and closet will now be together providing us a bigger space.


Insulation in.


Drywall up.




Plumbing reworked.



Tater added a window. There was no window before. This has been one of my favorite things. Love the natural light!


Both of our dads helped. 💙



Shower base in.


Year 2014

Flooring going down. Tater spoiled me with heated flooring.


Matt Gentes laid our tile in most of our house and did a fantastic job.


We also added baseboards and a toilet.


Moved in – April 2014

Our makeshift closet.


Year 2015


We got our glass shower surround, and our closet moved to the basement for the time being.


Matt came back and added our shower tile on the back wall.



We began planning what we wanted our closet to look like. Since it was connected to the bathroom and would be out in the open, we wanted to keep it nice. We found these 2 cabinets at Sam’s Club. They work great for storing some of our clothes. We began coming up with ideas on how to hang clothes, etc.



Our drywall was torn in a few places (around the can lights and vent fan). We wanted to add some character to this space as well. Tater began adding some wood to our ceiling that we would paint white.




Adding it up into our skylight. We also trimmed our ceiling.


Year 2016

Our vanity came!



The water line and drain pipes interfered with the bars on the back of our vanity, and the pipes were definitely not lined up correctly. We had not picked out our vanity before to know, and so here was another dilemma. As most projects go, one step forward and two steps back. We took down some of the drywall to rework pipes.


Repatching and on the path to make it nice again.


Vanity in and faucets hooked up!


Yay for running water!


Our attention then turned back to our closet. We lifted the cabinets up to the ceiling and Tater began building drawers to go underneath.


I also found a matching shower bench at Home Goods. 


Tater had never made drawers before, but they turned out fantastic. We have 4 deep drawers now providing great storage.


These were our curtains for quite awhile. You’re jealous, aren’t you? The trash bags actually worked out rather nicely for the time being.


I do have to say that I loved when we finally got blinds. Tater also made the wood valance.


He surprised me and threw in a little trinket tray while he was messing with wood.


Next up, mirror and vanity lights. Tater made the frame for our vanity mirror. We decided we wanted 3 lights. Notice that there are only 2 lights coming out of the wall. Looks like more drywall is coming down. 🙂


A vent pipe was right in the middle – in our way… reworked that a bit.


If their is one thing I’ve learn about Tater with home projects, is that he is very thorough. He does not rush through anything. He thinks it through and is precise with the work he does. He does not do anything halfheartedly. He gives it his best. The math markings on this wall were very thought out. We had to tell the glass company where we wanted our cuts, and we didn’t want to be off.


Mirror and lights were hung. We are enjoying our finished Master Bath!




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When we had to rip up part of our deck to run wiring for the pressure tank, we decided keep on going with the rest of it.

It was a nice large deck, but we had a few problems with it:

  • Some supports were broken. We knew this when we bought the place.
  • It covered our septic access.
  • It also covered a basement window. Making a nice quiet home for our raccoon that would come every year. It also just made our basement too dark.
  • Kids would get splinters on there feet as they got in and out of the pool.




We worked as a team. Tater would get the boards off and they kids and I worked on getting out the embedded nails. We saved the wood to possibly use for a future chicken coop.






Making progress!


They girls also helped us take off our broken lattice on our gazebo.


The boards are are gone!


Our broken hot tub is gone. Yay!


This is what happens when you take a little break. Weeds take over.


Bottom part of siding is showing now what was under the deck. It was not able to get painted when we painted the house since it was underneath.



It was pretty messed up from being under the deck. So Tater removed the old siding and added new to the bottom.






Now we were able to paint. Thankfully this paint dried to match the previously painted portion. We were worried for a bit that we were going to have to paint the whole back of the house again.


We were getting close to getting a patio poured, but we had a hiccup when our pool reel for the sliding cover decided to officially break. Since this was a safety concern and a more important fix, this caused us to postpone our patio plans for now and focus on that.


Helping daddy make the cover for the new pool reel. The new reel was bigger and didn’t fit in the ground. Tater had to make a box that hid and protected the part of the reel that was coming up above ground level.


Paisley playing by me while I painted the pool reel box.


Here we are getting ready to close our pool for the season. It shows at the bottom of the picture the reel box that was made and painted. We also removed our diving board that was cracked. All of this happened from fall 2015 through summer 2016.

As I post – patio is getting poured! 5-31-17 🙂

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The laundry room door was nonexistent. It just didn’t work in the small space.


We wanted something that could block out the light and noise when we were in other rooms, so Tater made us a sliding barn door. I never did take any pictures of him making it, but here are some pictures of the finished product. It was better than I could have ever imagined. We have been marking the heights of our kids on the back side of this door, so it is becoming even more special as the years go on.





On to fixing our concrete counter. If it only still looked like it did when we first sealed it HERE. Now, the sealer was peeling and nasty. It got so bad that I couldn’t even lay a spoon down with any sort of liquid or it would peel more up. We did a little more research and a company in Peoria, IL helped us pick a new sealer.


We had to sand the smooth surface off of the counter before applying the new sealer. It was not our first choice (as there were other options) but in our situation we knew it would be the best. The counter lost all the shininess, but it did gain more texture and a richer color. We definitely do not have to be careful with it like last time. It is more durable and because of all the imperfections, I don’t worry as much when stains and knicks happen. What a workout it was sanding off the first sealer. We did it by hand, and it created so much dust. Thankfully I had help! 😃


You can see in this picture the difference. The bottom of the picture is the old sealer chipping. The top portion of the picture is showing the sealer sanded off.


All sanded and ready for sealer.


The sealer gave it a bit more color and sheen and has done good at protecting it. So far, so good. 🙂

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  1. Michelle @ And Then We Tried wrote: Choosing a sealer for my DIY concrete counters was so hard! I hope your new sealer holds up well! (06/08/17, 1:07 pm)

  2. Tater & Haley wrote: Thank you! Yours looks great! We were trying to get rid of a tile countertop too! :-) (06/09/17, 6:38 am)


Do you guys remember Tater’s first shower experience HERE? Our well pump went out day 1 of living here.

Another problem we had the first several years of living here was poor water pressure. We couldn’t do more than one water thing at a time. If someone was taking a shower, I had to hold off on doing laundry or getting a drink of water from the sink. Here is a look at our poor water pressure. It also made a funny noise.



We needed a new water pressure tank. All we had to do what find the old one that was buried. That seemed easy, right!?! The digging began.


We probed many spots and thought we had found it several times only to find a rock after digging. It wasn’t found until after digging almost 360 degrees around the well. 😬 It made for a unique and fun playground for the kids though.





Did I say it made a really fun playground? I meant REEEEAAALLY fun. We made our own kind of swimming pool.


They slid down the sides and were throwing mud at each other. It was a terrible mess, but wonderful memories were made!


See that blue thing? We found it!!!


We wanted to bring the new pressure tank into our basement and not bury the new one. Meanwhile, we were reworking the electric to go from the barn to the house.


Trace helped us with trenching from the house to the barn. We ripped up a portion of our deck to run the wires.







All ready to switch to the new tank. We were not sure how long we were going to be without water. Good thing we were prepared. 😉

Yikes… see our peeling countertop above? 😩 It looks like another project is coming. Our sealer we put on our concrete counter top didn’t stay. More on that later…


Getting our yard back in order and filling in our muddy swimming hole.





Our new pressure tank has now a nice home in the basement. We are so thankful for running water and better water pressure!!

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