Week 4- Putting it back together… slowly…

~hi there!

Drywall!!! yes, week 4 is dominated by drywall installation and finishing. Not much for us to do, this job we completely hired out.

Bobby spent his evenings working on the chicken’s new home. We found a structure on our property, a little roof with 4 legs. He build a 6×6 platform and together, including teenage muscle, we moved the structure onto the platform. He then enclosed it, added 2 $5 windows form the Restore and cut down the door (you know, the one to the bathroom that we ended up enclosing) to size for the new coop. Next came nesting boxes and the finer details for a chicken home.

The only thing left now is an exterior run, but as he’s utilizing part of the existing garden, 2 sides of that are already done as well. I will add a picture once its all done.

Nothing else exciting going on this week, at least not at the house. My nephew was in town, so we took a fun trip to a nearby creek to escape the heat:

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Week 3- The hero and the clowns

hello again!

Work is coming along nicely at the Finny Farm. Beginning week 3 we were finally able to bring in our electrician. We needed a separate circuit for a dishwasher, which means we got a whole new sub panel, which in turn means we now have a lot more capability for future circuits, etc.
With the ceilings ripped out we also had a blank canvas for lighting options, a big must, due to the house being relatively dark. Of course, we also hit a few minor bumps in the road this week, but hero Steve, our trusted electrician, was able to sort out wiring, clean up circuits, and install 3 way switches, as well as clean up the old 3 way wiring (and No! you absolutely CANNOT use the ground wire as your third “hot” wire… well, you can, but you absolutely should not!) Thank you, hero Steve for catching that and cleaning it up!

This week we also ordered new windows for the house. Snag number 2: the window “deal” ends up almost doubling in price by the time you add low-e argon and exterior wrapping into the price. Ok, we will only do half the windows at this point in time…

We were working hard in the heat (still no AC/insulation) and I felt terrible for the hero, who was stuck all day in our oven. So we decided to bring in the clowns. Of course, we had had no idea they would become the clowns when we hired them, but I want you to know that it is a term we use lovingly. The clowns brought with them a truck, machinery, and a whole lot of spray foam insulation. They failed to mention that hero would not be able to work due to fumes, they also failed to mention the TERRIBLE mess they would make. But by the end of the week we had a nicely insulated house, a running AC, and a mess on our hands that I still shake my head over!




This is the inside look at our “cave”!

As we are beginning to put our house back together, we do have a tip or two to share:

– recessed Halo cans can be easily screwed to the joists. Don’t bother using the nails that are pre fitted- half of them bend on first impact.

– place your cans far enough away from any ceiling fans in order to avoid strobing!

– connecting cans is easy-peasy. White to white, black to black, ground to ground- with handy dandy clips. Wow! I can be a hero, too?

…until next week


Week 2- More demolition and why we won’t move in within a month


I realize that we are well within week 5 of our rehab and construction project, but time has been scant and I have felt it difficult to muster up the energy to write after a long night’s work. We have moved on to paint, but that’s really for a later post (look for the official week 5 post in about a year or so- ha!)

Week 2 ended up being a lot more demolition than we thought. We had offered up materials on Facebook and had quite a number of responses, but in the end only one person came to pick up a few pieces, after helping for half a day in the smoldering heat. Because we had tried to preserve the ceiling tile and insulation, tear out took a whole lot longer. Lesson learned: we won’t offer up anything for free on Facebook again.

That’s not the only reason why demo took longer, though. The lovely fake marble vinyl wall in the bathroom ended up only being basically coated cardboard, which did not withstand the powers of Demolition-Bobby and his crow bar. So went the walls… and then the vanities… and then the toilet… So, so very sad (*insert sarcasm here). Which means the main bathroom of the house will get a complete remodel! yeah!



(This weird bathroom access no longer exists!)

We have now torn out all the dropped ceiling, most of the trim around the doors, the bathroom, and all the insulation. Finally time for the electrician to come over and work his magic!

Things we have learned in week 2:

– The dumpster size you picked, will most likely end up being too small… we WAY underestimated the amount of debris coming out.

– Having a dumpster delivered prior to beginning demolition would be advisable.

– Ceiling tile plus insulation materials piled in the front yard PLUS heavy rain fall = heavy, messy, and difficult clean up!

– A paid teenager  is a more motivated worker!

– Record heat wave plus no AC make for exponential consumption of water and Powerade.

– Birthdays are for taking the night off from the project.

I wish I had more DIY wisdom to share at this point, but fear not, we will get to the point of putting the house back together eventually!


New Home Remodel -Week 1

Yes, I am a little behind on the posts- we are in the middle of week 3 of the remodeling project of our recently purchased home. Here is what happened…

On May 3rd I stumbled upon a listing of nearly 15 acres of land in the heart of our county- close to friends, close to schools, in short, in near proximity to our current life…

Fast forward to June 12, we are now proud owners of what we affectionately call our “Finny Farm.” Yes, 14.75 acres of partially wooded, partially pastured land, as well as a large fenced garden area. We are also proud owners of a brick box we now call home, a sturdy structure in dire need of renovation and updating.

Week 1 consisted mainly of demolition. We learned a lot, sweat a lot, lost sleep, doubted, and also had tons of fun! Here are some of the highs and low:


1) The temperature- a record high in Georgia for June this year, correlating exactly with the two weeks we were out of air conditioning and out of insulation. at one point the thermostat in the bedroom read 120F!

2) Meeting new people and being able to share some building materials that we were tearing out.

3) Rejoicing in our hearts while overlooking our beautiful new piece of land!

4) Seeing our teen working side by side with his friend, having fun while earning a little extra cash

5) Being able to stay at the house of dear friends while they were out of town, a mere 1.3 miles from our new place, making travel back and forth much easier and allowing us to work later into the evening.

The Lows:

1) Not having the dumpster arrive until Friday- with 5 days worth of demolition debris piling up in our front yard

2) Insulation, long sleeves, masks, and the high temps= not a good combination!

3) Rain on ceiling tile and insulation in the yard makes clean up so much harder!

4) Realizing it will be A LOT longer than we thought before we can move in. It sure looks so much easier on HGTV!


Picture of the back yard on moving day!


Our favorite little helper!

Oils and Sickness, Sickness and oils…

Boy, oh boy! It is going around. Everywhere you look there is somebody who has a family member with the flu, or strep, or some other type of crud. We’ve been oiling like crazy around here. We have not been able to ward sickness off completely, but so far no flu… Keeping my fingers crossed here!
The baby celebrated his first birthday with a double ear infection and a nasty respiratory bug that turned out to be RSV… He did go one round on Amoxicillin- I do believe in Western medicine- but we also supported his little immune system with a variety of oils. Here is our regimen:

For the ears: 1 drop of Purification on a cotton ball placed on the very edge of the ear canal. (during the day, he didn’t leave the cotton ball in place, so I rubbed Purification all around his ear). ***NEVER*** put essential oils directly into the ear canal***

For cough: I made a natural chest rub and put it on his chest 3-4 times a day, as well as on the bottom of his feet.

– 2 TBS coconut oil, just melted
– 10 drops of Eucalyptus
– 10 drops of Frankincense
– 10 drops of lavender
– 5 drops of Peppermint
Place in a jar, mix, let oil harden. Apply generously!

At night, we added Eucalyptus and Lavender to his humidifier, during naps I diffused Thieves in his room.

For the immune system: Thieves, Thieves, Thieves… and did I mention Thieves???? ***Thieves is a HOT oil, meaning it will burn on the skin, so PLEASE dilute it. It goes on our feet, along the spine (which is where viruses like to nest), on the wrists, and on the throat, if its sore. For simplicity sake, I have made an Immune Boost roller bottle. We use it on all the places described. Its already diluted, so it can even come along in my purse or the diaper bag.

– in a 10ml roller bottle put 5ml carrier oil (I used Sweet Almond, but EVOO also works)
– 25 drops of Thieves
– 10 drops of Oregano
– 10 drops of Melaleuca
– and optionally 10 drops of Lemon (there is Lemon in Thieves, but the Melaleuca and Oregano are quite fragrant, so I added more Lemon to tone it down a little)

A few other suggestions:
– For low fevers and headaches and sinus congestion: Peppermint on the temples and forehead, and if you can tolerate put a little on the roof of your mouth!
– Oregano just under your big toe for extra immune support (don’t touch anything else, its HOT)
– Add Oregano to spaghetti or pizza sauce (add towards the end, don’t boil or simmer it) for internal support (***I like a little Cinnamon in my chili, so I added both Oregano and Cinnamon bark oil to it***)
– Utilize your diffuser!!! All day! Switch it up… We rotate Thieves, Purification, Frankincense, and LLP (Lemon/lavender/Peppermint)
– add a drop of Lemon or Citrus Fresh to your water daily (use glass containers, not plastic!!!)

And, most of all, remember: You gotta use your oils to have them work! They don’t work sitting on your counter inside the bottle!

As always, these claims have not been verified and are not supported by the FDA.

From the Reference Guide: Pure, Therapeutic-grade Essential Oils

This is a great post about essential oils and the science behind them. Reblogged from abundant health. Enjoy!

Abundant Health Blog

Have you ever wondered why essential oils vary so much in price or what the difference is between the many brands of oils? Perhaps you have heard the phrase, “pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils” but don’t know what it really means. The Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Alan and Connie Higley includes a section about what pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are and why it is important to make sure you use high quality oils.


What are PURE, THERAPEUTIC-GRADE essential oils?

Essential oils are the volatile liquids that are distilled from plants (including their respective parts such as seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit, etc.). One of the factors that determines the purity and therapeutic value of an oil is its chemical constituents. These constituents can be affected by a vast number of variables, including the following: the part(s) of the plant from which the oil was produced, soil condition, fertilizer…

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Heart Model


Once a a semester we get lucky. That ONE presentation that hits it out of the park! We strive to have our kids share meaningful information in class, but what’s deemed meaningful to us may not be meaningful to them. If you’re a CC mom you know what I’m talking about. Our kids have weekly presentations, and especially for the younger ones it’s often more a show-and-tell type experience. I have seen everything from stuffed animals, to recited poems, to live chickens, favorite books, you name it. But then there was the Lego model of the Bastille, reinforcing the French Revolution. And the Axial Skeleton model made with pool noodle pieces for vertebrae and a baseball helmet for the skull. Don’t I wish I’d thought of those…

Yesterday was my boy’s day to shine! We have been talking about the heart and how it circulates the blood, etc. He was getting quite confused with deoxygenated blood and oxygenated blood and the different vessels, so we used an idea we found in our textbook and build a model of the heart, demonstrating the blood flow.

4 graham crackers became the chambers of the heart. Red and blue icing was used for oxygenated vs deoxygenated blood respectively. We talked about arteries and veins, particularly the most major ones. Large marshmallow turned into Vena Cava and Aorta, small marshmallows became pulmonary vessels.

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He proudly displayed his work at our community day and showed it to those that wouldn’t be seeing his class presentation. I love it when our kids are proud of their work, because those are usually the things they remember well.. Whats best: he took it for snack! I have pictures to remember his hard work and don’t have to worry about when the appropriate time is to ditch the old science project. He simply took care of that!

Let’s get oily!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a class on the benefits of essential oils. I had heard (and experienced) about some of them and their uses, such as rubbing peppermint on your temples for headaches, or eucalyptus to aid a stuffy nose. Even lavender as a sleep aid and to sooth babies was not news to me. What blew me away, was the vast amount of oils there are and the array of ailments they can help with. (I would use the word cure, but the FDA censors the verbiage one can use in relationship to essential oils (EO) pretty strictly.)
I went to the party, ehem class, thinking I’d buy some lavender and peppermint, maybe some lemon, but I came home with the entire kit (well, I ordered it, anyway.) Since then, I’ve been reading, studying, and experimenting with different oils and (much to my husband’s shock) have ordered quite a few more!
Here’s my story: I chose the Everyday Essentials kit from Young Living. I researched and compared several companies, but YL stood out to me because they a) sell only the highest grade EOs on the market, b) have been a round for over 20 years and have put countless hours into research, and c) they have their own farms all over the world, providing most of their oils with a “seed to seal” label, meaning the company takes care of the oil from planting the seed, to harvesting, to distilling, testing, and finally bottling and sealing the oils. There are others out there, and I’m not saying that YL is the only “legit” company. What I do know is this: if I’m going to buy organic fruits and vegetables and organic meat, then I want to make sure the oils I put on and in my body are pure and are grown without pesticides as well. Just today I learned that YL only sells about 28% of the oils they produce. The rest is used as natural pesticides on their farms world wide.

The essentials kit came with 11 oils: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense, Thieves, Joy, Valor, DiGize, Peace & Calming, PanAway, and Stress Away. After a month, we have gone through all the Thieves, Lemon, and most of the Frank. I diffuse Joy almost every night, because I enjoy it so much, I have “cured” a tummy ache for 2 sons with DiGize, Peace and Calming helps the baby sleep, Stress Away has helped at work, hubby uses Valor daily on his spine, and PanAway is helping both our moms with chronic back pains. You see, not one oil that we have not used. The Essentials kit is so very versatile! Oh, did I mention it also comes with a diffuser???

Today I shared the oils with two friends. They came over, we read about them, they tried them and both of them felt the same way I feel: which one do you pick? The kit is such a good deal! I vowed that I wouldn’t get into another home-sale type company (after stints with both Tupperware and MaryKay in the past), but I do want to share about them. For example, just this week, my baby woke up in the middle of the night with a nasty, croupy cough. I rubbed his chest and feet down with Frank and Eucalyptus and I am not kidding: within 10 minutes (read: 10 MINUTES!!!!!) he was breathing normally. AMAZING!!!! The same happened with Number 2’s tummy ache: I rubbed DiGize on it and within minutes he was feeling so much better. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how the lavender soothed the baby’s arm after he burned it. There is almost no scarring!

Granted, I like natural remedies. I like homeopathy and body wraps as first line defense. The oils are a natural addition for me and my medicine cabinet. I believe in the healing power of plants. I read that Ebola virus cannot survive in the presence of Cinnamon Bark and Oregano. With the media making everybody crazy and working in a hospital, I figure have nothing to lose by trying it. So if you catch a whiff at work, a mixture of spaghetti sauce and christmas cookies, that’d be me!!!

Vacation project

I enjoy painting. Recently, I have discovered chalk paint, thanks to my friend Kayla at http://www.paintoutsidethebox.com . She has some great ideas and encouragement- you should check out her blog! I digress…. There is a coffee table at my mom’s house that used to be in my room. I think it was a hand-me-down from somebody. During my last visit, I mentioned that I’d like to paint it and my mom liked that idea. With this in mind, I brought paint and supplies with me and got creative over the weekend.


It was such a beautiful October day. Temps in the low 70s, slight breeze. The perfect day for taking a project outside!


First, I lightly sanded the table. Technically, you don’t have to sand when using chalk paint, but I decided it couldn’t hurt.


This is the first coat. As you can see, it’s a messy paint job, without complete coverage. Another benefit of chalk paint: it’s perfect for a shabby-chique look!


This is the final color. I also used sandpaper to lightly distress the edges and legs. A creme wax is used for further distressing and also to finish the chalk paint. It is very porous and will chip if not finished properly.

I use Americana Decor products. You can buy them at Michael’s or Home Depot. I have made my own chalk paint using Kayla’s recipe she shared on her blog, but for the sake of bringing my supplies to Germany, I decided to go with ready-made for this project.

chalk paint is fun and easy- but be warned: it is terribly addicting! You simply cannot stop after just one project…


Dont say, I didn’t warn you!!!

Visiting Germany- jet lag and new babies

German in Georgia likes to travel, especially “home”! This week is fall break for my older two, so what better chance to snatch the baby and fly to meet the new nephew/cousin. This is my sisters first child, not even four weeks old, and I just had to get my hands on that little guy before he gets too big. I travelled with my babe, who’s 9 1/2 months now. Of course, he dwarfs the little man, but he earned his own accolades: what a great flyer he is! Airplane champion! Joyful travel buddy! Today, on day three, he has almost conquered his jet lag. There are all these theories out there on what the best way is to overcome jet lag and time changes, but try as I might, they just don’t work on babies. They have their inner clock and feeding needs. They don’t care that the clock says 1.40am! That’s his bedtime- in GA, so that’s when he fell asleep the first night. Fresh air and long walks on days 2 and 3 have made it a little easier to go to bed earlier: midnight on day 2 and 9 pm last night. Score!

I’m getting more sleep than my sister! At barely 4 weeks, they are in the middle of baby bootcamp. I remember the feeling: up in all wee hours of the night, with an otherwise quiet house, knowing that everybody else is soundly sleeping, and longing to be asleep as well. It’s funny how you feel like you may never sleep again, and a few short months later you’re up only once, or not at all. It passes, and thankfully we forget…otherwise we might go extinct!