25 January 2011

big plans

Someone has been holding out on me. Why did I not know about this site before?

Ana-White that diy furniture blog

Oh. My. Heavens. I spent the whole afternoon today going through this website. I went through every page of her "beginner level" tags and bookmarked 10 different projects, like this and this and this for my kiddos. I'm turning into a babbling idiot with just saying over and over, "Look! How CUTE is that! A-a-a-and LOOK! AHHH!" And holy crap, I have multiple variations on a theme with THIS. I want. And because Adam wants to turn woodcrafter as his hobby because being a government lawyer is boring, I can HAVE! YEEEEAH!

I haven't even started looking at the headboards for queen-size beds, which is one of the things Adam and I want for ourselves, or a bench for the dining room table, or a number of other pieces of furniture that would be nice to acquire. We're making a list. Boy howdy, are we EVER making a list!

11 January 2011

FHE - scripture power version 2

This second version of a scripture discussion is what we did for our FHE yesterday. The discussions that I had assigned to my parents and my sister seemed a bit out of reach for our family right now.

We started by singing Scripture Power.
We laid out the 4 Scripture Readers and talked about what is in each book of scripture - the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants.

We each said what our favorite scripture story is. Adam's is the Helaman's stripling warriors and mine is Jesus Christ blessing the children, both in the Book of Mormon. SM likes David and Goliath, and RG likes Baby Jesus.

My parents had sent their watercolor paintings of their favorite scripture stories and a letter talking about what they're doing for their personal and family scripture study - we read the letter and discussed their pictures. My mom's favorite story is the same as mine, and Dad's is the vision of the Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon.

For our pictures of the favorite scripture stories, I printed a couple of things off the Friend LDS Coloring Pages Index and we colored.
We closed by singing Search, Ponder, and Pray.

FHE - scripture power version 1

For the Family Home Evening in a Box gift exchange, this is what I sent to one of my sisters and her husband, and I also sent it to my parents.

Sing the song Scripture Power - this link has an mp3 with the music and a pdf with the sheet music and words. This song is not in the regular Primary music book - it was an extra that came with the Sharing Time outline a couple of years ago.

Each person share your favorite scripture story or prophet – why this means something to you and how you try to apply those specific lessons in your life.

Read and discuss the following scriptures:
2 Nephi 32:3
D&C 84:85
Mosiah 1:7
1 Nephi 15:24

Discuss the following:
How can you each improve your personal scripture study?
How can you improve your scripture study as a couple?
Set at least one goal for each of these to work on over the next month. Write it in your journal, and assess in one month.

Sing the songs Search, Ponder, and Pray in the Primary songbook and The Iron Rod in the hymnal.

Use watercolors to paint a picture of your favorite scripture story.

09 January 2011

the saga of the bunkbed

The PINK bunkbed.

Adam and I talked at length about what to do about the sleeping arrangements for our girls - ages 4 and 3, both in toddler beds (one of which was actually the crib converted to a toddler bed), and the baby who had outgrown the bassinet but had nowhere else to go because her sister still had the crib so she slept with us all the time. We decided to have him build a bunkbed with a trundle beneath, with the future intention of it being the bed for all 3 girls. We estimated the cost to be approximately what it would cost to buy a regular bunkbed at Sam's Club but that wouldn't have the trundle. And we figured building one would be much more sturdy than buying a cheap one. A good solid bunkbed costs over $1000.

We ended up paying about $500 for the wood and aaaaaall the screws, bolts, sandpaper, paint, and tools we didn't already have. That was about twice our estimate, but we realize that we estimated correctly for just the wood. Not all the other stuff. We'll do better next time. We bought 2 brand new mattresses that were $100 each, but we had that estimate correct.

The steps:
1. Adam bought raw lumber and sanded. And sanded and sanded and sanded. The already-finished furniture grade wood cost twice as much as the raw lumber, but next time, we'll pay it because the sanding took FOREVER. And we had to buy a truckload of sandpaper. But thank heaven for electric sanders!

2. Adam and our friend Aaron - sainted Aaron! - went over and over Adam's original design and measurements. Aaron is an engineer so he was a good one to have on the team. They measured and cut and checked and measured again, and cut all the pieces to their specifications. This also took a lot more hours than we had anticipated. Once they started this step, Adam told me many times, "Just a couple more hours." It took a long time to do this because of tweaking the design midstream to get everything balanced right. They did a dry-fit of putting the two bunks together while they were drilling the bolt holes to make sure it all worked.

3. Once the dry fit was done, they brought all the boards to our house from Aaron's house (they did everything at his house up to that point because Aaron has all the needed shop tools in his garage) and stacked them on our patio. Time to treat the wood!

ready to ... stain? paint?

4. SM asked repeatedly for a princess bunkbed - a PINK one. Dad didn't want pink, he wanted a "nice stain." I'm tired of dingy cream-colored walls and carpet (dumb rental rules) and brown furniture, so I was more inclined to go with the pink, or at least some color. But I went to the store and came home with a stain, as requested, that I "disliked the least." None of them appealed to me. Adam sent me back to the store and said that he didn't care how much it cost, just get whatever I was willing to live with for the next 10 years. I came home with testers for 3 different shades of pink, a couple of purples, and a yellow. Guess which one the kiddos liked the best. They were with me when I went to Home Depot to buy the paint and oh my - you would have thought it was Christmas. (Well, it was. But that's beside the point.) They told everyone they saw, including other customers, that we were there to get pink paint for their princess bunkbed.

5. Painting. I let the girls help me paint a little bit, but mostly I did it myself. I suppose it would have been a good experience for them to help more, but at that point, we'd already been working on the thing for over a month and I just wanted it done. The weather turned rather cold while I was working on it which meant the paint wouldn't dry well outside, and when it warmed up, it started raining. So the wood just stayed under tarps outside for a week or two while we waited for the weather to cooperate. I finally just put a drop cloth down on the living room floor at night after the girls were in bed and painted inside. It took about a week of this to get both coats of paint onto the boards. Once I finished painting, we put a clear coat of polyurethane on everything as a protection for the paint. It adds a little bit of gloss but mostly it's so marks on the wood wipe right off and the paint doesn't get gouged.

one of the days I was able to paint outside

6. Time to put this baby together! Two days before Christmas, we rearranged our entire upstairs by switching Adam and me into the small bedroom and all 3 girls into the larger one. JE finally got moved into the crib at 8 months old (and she's still freaking out about it). Adam put the bed frame all together and went to buy the mattresses. Merry Christmas!

framing the bed late at night

ta da! the pink bunkbed!

7. And then ... the mattresses didn't fit. The bedframe was too big by at least 6 inches all the way around. Plus, it was REALLY tall - note in the picture that the frame for the lower bunk hits Adam just below his hip - normally a bed height is around your knees so you can sit on it. We crammed pillows and cushions around SM's bottom bunk mattress and called Aaron to come over and look at it to see how to fix it.

8. Yesterday, Aaron came over in the morning with his saw, and they took the whole thing apart and cut every. single. board. Fortunately they had to cut only one end of each of them, so no repainting was required. And they got it all done and put back together before 9 pm, when it was time for little girls to go to bed.

The final shot: storage on top for now, SM on the bottom bunk, RG on the floor. Princess blankets for the princess bed ... SM has all the pink, and RG has a purple Tinkerbell blanket. The green sheets match Tinkerbell's dress. P.S. The basket at the foot of the bed is for their dress-ups, not dirty clothes.

We're still not quite done. The trundle platform will be built in February or March - my target is to have it done before my sister comes to visit on March 26. But the bed itself is done. Doesn't it look great!

And yes, if we have more children to need it, Adam would build another bunkbed. He's hoping for blue rather than pink.

04 January 2011

FHE - helping the missionaries

For Family Home Evening this week, we decided to support the missionaries. We took our lesson from the manual for SM's Primary class (CTR 4) titled "I can be a missionary." We sang "I hope they call me on a mission" and talked about the ways to be a missionary in the lesson outline. SM especially liked the stand up/sit down designation. Adam also printed off a coloring page (which I can't find to link to) of a picture of a child giving a gift to an elderly person.

For the activity, we baked cookies - white chocolate chip and macadamia nut - to send to our friends Elder Mark and Elder Loebs, who were serving here in Vicksburg last spring/summer. The girls drew pictures and I wrote letters to each of them. This did carry over to Tuesday because the recipe I used didn't make very many cookies, so I made more this morning.