Girly Wednesday ~ xxxxii ~ imagining the perfect room

Have you ever seen those design blogs/articles/magazines with pictures of these wonderfully imagined rooms?  Sometimes it is the perfect kitchen, or the most luxurious bathroom, or a cozy bedroom.  My favorites are always the reading/library rooms that people add to their extravagant houses.  I totally want a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves one day, a sliding ladder, and a really cozy space to read 🙂


a weekend of home improvements

Lucas and my dad came up to Champaign a little after new years for a weekend of home improvements.  We converted a number of 2-pronged outlets to 3-pronged grounded ones, schemed on how best to fix the dark downstairs bathroom, installed a new shower head downstairs, sealed an opening to the attic that was causing our heat to escape, and discovered that if we shut the door to the downstairs both levels of the house stay a more comfortable temperature 🙂  Gotta love home ownership!blog_aroundthehouse_1


Inca and I spent a bit of the outlet converting time just keeping my dad and Brett company 🙂


The pups all had a pretty good time too.  Caya worked hard the whole weekend!


Inca and Patches (they are litter mates!) played almost the whole time!




And all of the dogs spent a lot of time going inside and outside, inside and outside, inside and outside…. 🙂  This is three of them all waiting to go outside

blog_aroundthehouse_5All in all a pretty productive couple of days 🙂


the new mad scientist lab!

Brett and I have been interested in turning our downstairs into a bit of a mad scientist lab for a while now.  We’ve had this awesome ping pong table that Brett and Raj saved from the garbage, moved to the house they rented down the street from us with our friend Fred, and then moved to our house (by literally rolling it down the street in the middle of the night haha).  🙂  Sometimes the ping pong table has been used to play ping pong and sometime it has been too full of stuff to do anything fun with.  Well, we recently cleaned up the downstairs (including a HUGE trip to Goodwill) and figured out how to save our beloved ping pong table.

While figuring out what kind of desk space we wanted downstairs, Raj suggested turning the ping pong table into a desk.  Well!  This idea meant a trip to the ReStore to figure out how to support this new desk concept!  (I guess it is important to note at this point that the multiple moves and the fact that the ping pong table started in the trash has meant that the support systems on the poor table have been wonky for a while now).  🙂  At the ReStore, Brett and I found 4 filing cabinets and had the locks drilled out of each of them…the previous owner had donated the filing cabinets locked with no key 🙂  We hauled the filing cabinets home and put them downstairs.  That night, Brett and Raj took off the ping pong table’s edge supports and put two filing cabinets under each side.


Voila, a 4 station desk!  🙂


Underneath the center of the desk, Brett put a few cinder blocks and a board to hold some of the computers off the ground.  The cords were put into a metallic crate.  Brett also drilled a hole in the center of the table to allow the cords to more easily pass below the table.

blog_newDesk_5 blog_newDesk_1

I even put my sewing machine down there 🙂  What do you think?  The new, HUGE desk was so low cost and created an awesome new space downstairs for us.  I think the next step for this space will be to make some curtains to hide the shelving more easily.  What do you think?  🙂  Have you created a repurposed desk from old things in your house before?

When mowing the lawn becomes a neighborhood affair

Just before Brett and I left for France it rained (and rained and rained)…as you remember from this post, we had some issues with water in our lower level.  Then, when we were in France, the weather warmed up and everything started to grow…and grow and grow!  The grass in our yard that I returned to was almost a foot tall in places!  I think Inca actually liked romping through the grass that went up to her belly 🙂


Brett offered to mow it when he returned but by then the rain was supposed to start again and I just couldn’t leave our yard looking like it was so mow the yard I did  🙂  I mowed the back yard the first night until it was dark…leaving the tallest spot that the mower had trouble handling…in that battle, mower and Mallory vs. the yard, the yard won.  The next morning though, I attacked the front yard.  All was going fine until the mower died…just like that!  I stopped the engine to empty the bag full of grass and the mower refused to start back up again.  Our next door neighbor watched me fighting with the now dead mower as he was leaving for work and actually got out of his car to come over and help.  He even let me use his mower to finish up the yard!  (it was seriously supposed to start raining that afternoon and was going to continue for the next 4 days…)  So, with a new mower in hand I kept at it.

Well for those of you who have mowed foot tall grass, it takes quite a bit of gusto and the self propel feature doesn’t always like working in such conditions which leaves you with a heavy mower that you now have to push.  As I was fighting my way through mowing the front yard, our neighbor across the street (with a riding lawn mower) started mowing his yard.  After about 15 minutes he drove that mower across the street, waved me out of the yard despite my protests, and mowed the rest of our yard.  As he did this I was able to finish combating the millions of gumballs that had accumulated over the fall (yes I know, I didn’t deal with them in the fall so they were still in the yard!) and bag up everything to haul to the curb.


When the neighbor finished mowing he drove his mower back across the street, finished up his own yard, and went inside.  🙂  Such a wonderful act of kindness from neighbors on all sides of our house!  The yard would not have been mowed completely without them before the rain started.


I think some ‘thank you’ muffins are in order 🙂  Have you experienced acts of kindness from neighbors?  Do you have any fun or clever ways of thanking them?  🙂


To live or not to live in an Aquarium?

Mother Nature decided to recreate an episode from Noah’s Arc at our house recently…too bad we only had 2 humans and 2 female dogs to offer.  🙂  Brett and I traveled to St. Louis on Tuesday, returned home on Wednesday, and by Thursday evening it had been raining for a week here in Chambana and our downstairs was full of water.

Brett and I live in a tri-level so the downstairs isn’t really treated as a basement.  We have carpet down there and a ‘rescued from the garbage’ ping pong table along with an old tv.  We have a few adopted futons (seriously, we just collect other people’s furniture!) and the backseat from the McDonald-Jones family minivan (that is an entirely other story, haha).  The carpet is a lovely red shade of the indoor-outdoor variety.

When we moved in, there was a drain that I needed to have checked out by a plumber/roto-rooter.  After having some difficulty scheduling this due to our chemo treatments and other summer conflicts, the drain was never looked at.  Last spring, Champaign-Urbana received some pretty heavy rain fall.  Brett and I made sure everything downstairs was pulled away from the exterior walls and yet, we had no water enter the house.  “Perfect,” I thought.  “No need to get the drain checked out after all!”  This spring it rained for almost an entire week straight…lots and lots of rain and just as the rain was stopping, we ended up with a very wet downstairs indeed.  (we also later had someone come and look at that silly drain and it wasn’t even to blame!)  🙂

I called my dad and Lucas for pointers and Brett and I attacked the lower level immediately.  We moved everything upstairs into the entryway and kitchen, and started shop vac-ing the closets and carpets.  In 5 hours our lower level went from looking like this…




to looking like this…




using our handy, dandy shop-vac.  (Seriously, in this post I mentioned 3 things that are essential to home improvement…I’m adding the shop-vac!)


Brett even went out in the rain and cleaned out what he could of that pesky drain!



Did anyone else have water in their house lately?  Do you all have any tips/advice on how to avoid it or how to deal with it?  🙂