Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hunting Success

Yesterday afternoon we decided at the last possible minute to take the boys hunting.  We grabbed a couple of things, threw them in the pickup and headed up to the lease.  Isaac, Silas and I sat in a blind together and Caleb, Elias and Jude were together in another one.  For some reason the timer on our feeder never went off and I'm guessing the game knew that it didn't work because we saw NOTHING from our blind.  So basically I sat through 2 hours of Isaac and Silas "silent" fighting.  You might not think that is possible but they managed to do it.  Right at dusk we heard a gun shot though so we knew the other blind was seeing animals.  Caleb sent a text that Elias had one down. In fact he sent several texts saying the deer were really moving and to be quiet and still to see them.  I guess the deer could sense the tension in our blind from the boys and steered clear! By the time we were all back together the deer was strung up and ready to be cleaned so the pix I took are kind of gross.  Consider yourself warned. When they had the deer skinned and mostly gutted Jude said "when we get home, I don't think I'm going to be hungry, I think I'm going to throw up".  Then 15 minutes later when we were at Buc-ee's he grabbed a giant package of jerky to eat on the way home. Maybe he doesn't quite understand the FULL circle of life.  He just understands the semi circle of life (or as he calls it, sunny circle).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project - Faux Mantel

It's taken me a while to get to posting this project. I was waiting for my Brother in Law to bring me some birch logs from Idaho. I really wanted birch for the wood box and Houston just couldn't supply that for me (Thanks Gabe for slipping them in your suitcase!).  It has driven me crazy for the last 3 years that we've lived here that our house doesn't have a mantel.  This is South Texas so I clearly don't NEED a fireplace but when it's time to hang our stockings for Christmas I had no place to put them. As I was searching for bed plans for the boys' room I came across plans for the faux mantel.  I loved it right away.  Just behind me is our grand piano which has hogged the attention in this room.  Having the mantel on the opposite wall really anchors that side of the room.
You might wonder if I wish there was an actual gas or electric fireplace in the hole... Not really.  I looked into some wall mount electric fireplaces and found a couple that would fit the space but they have bad reviews and are not pretty. So for now I'm happy keeping it faux.
Once we made the cuts this project went together so fast with our finish nailer and a few screws. Caleb cut the base molding out so I could mount the mantel flush with the wall. I painted it with the same paint as the trim and caulked around the edges.  It looks like it was always there. 
In a week I will get to put it to the true stocking test. I'm pretty excited about that!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Hobby

A month ago Caleb showed me some plans for a twin sized bed he was thinking of making.  I didn't really like the plans but liked the idea of building beds.  So I searched online for some plans and found tons that I not only liked but thought I could build myself.  So began my new hobby.  Jude and Silas have been in bunk beds since forever.  Silas was tired of being on the top bunk (he has learned that heat rises) and Jude is too unpredictable at night to be a top bunker. We separated their bunks and I have hated their room ever since.  The beds were made to be separated but they're not the same size or height and it drove me crazy!  So I borrowed Caleb's pickup, headed to the lumber store, watched a few tutorials and jumped into their room makeover.  All of these plans come from
I made them each a beside book shelf.

These are their platform beds with headboards.  They are designed after the Pottery Barn Teen Fillmore Platform bed seen HERE
It has made it so easy for the boys to do a good job of making their own beds.
Silas made his bed all by himself for this photo.  He is loving storing all his little treasures on the bedside shelf.

Once I had the beds in place I decided they needed a nightstand as well.  So I took some measurements and adjusted a plan from Ana White's website to fit our needs.

Then of course I had to make a matching cubby/bookshelf.  This is made from the same plan as the nightstand only adjusted to fit between their closets.  I invested in a couple of specialty tools that  helped me finish this out so nicely.  My joints are all secured with pocket hole screws (thanks to my new Kreg pocket hole jig) and the shelves are all adjustable (thanks to my new Kreg shelf pin jig). These are not the only things I've made this month.  I built a couple more fun things that I'm waiting until  I have a few specific things on them to photograph and post.  My problem now is that I'm obsessed and want to build/replace nearly all the furniture in our house!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elias' Eagle Project

Today was Elias' Eagle Project day.
We made work tables (picnic tables) for the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center's Outdoor Classroom.
Everything was set up in stations.
Jude thought he was a pretty good helper with the pencil behind the ear.
The Scouts worked really well for about 40 minutes... then there was some messing around.  I'll just say that pretty much everyone has dark stain splattered all over them.
Assembly had a bit of a learning curve to it.
The little tables turned out to be quite sturdy.
Now I really want to make one for us!
They're not actually crooked.  They were just stacked on top of each other to fit in the trailer.
Here is the final product! Delivered to the Nature Center! Seriously proud of Elias and all the hard work that went into this project. Also, so grateful to the generous friends and neighbors who donated funds and time. He has had some amazing Scout leaders here in Texas who've really helped him along the way.  I had no idea how INVOLVED an Eagle project was.  One down, three to go!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Visit to Rio

Tami is going to have to post the pictures again once I write this.  She can post whatever ones she would like.  I was finally able to visit Rio for the first time.  It truly is a beautiful place.  I only spent a few days there but I was able to eat some of the local food, (which was outstanding), visit the stores and check out a few places to live.

Rio is as expensive as everyone said was.  If you want to live an America life in Rio and have all the same things, it is going to be very expensive.  If you are willing to live more like someone in Rio and eat the local foods, drive the local cars, etc., it is going to be much more affordable.  I didn't check the price of speedos and bikinis but they should be very cheap.  We stayed right across the street from the beach and if you pay by the amount of material that goes into the suit, they would be giving them away. 

I was able to look at two different places.  One was a house and one was a condo.  The condo was directly across the street from the beach.  It had an amazing view but I'm not so sure we want our boys waking up every morning to the other view that comes along with the beach.  Plus, I'm not so sure Tami could handle the boys in such tight quarters without a yard.  It was very nice though.

The second place I looked at, fit our lifestyle much better.  It had an outdoor barbeque that used wood and coals instead of gas.  I think that's about all I remember about the place.  I'm sure Tami will post a few pictures.  The house is in what they call a condo community so it is all gated with guards 24 hours a day. 

The realtor also took me around to look at the stores and compare prices.  We went into Walmart just to look at some of the things they had and to be shocked at what they would cost.  Brazil has a very high tax on everything that is brought in from out of the country.  It is definitely an advantage to buy local.

Lastly, the day we arrived we heard that the police where going into one of the favelas to take it over and get all the drug runners out.  They had already captured the leader of the group as he was trying to sneak out of the neighborhood in the trunk of a car.  The good news is that they closed the American school down, the bad news is that they had to do it for fear of stray bullets and anything else that might happen if a gun battle broke out.  They took tanks into the favela.  From what I have heard, it was a fairly peaceful raid. 

Other than that, Barra da Tijuca is absolutely beautiful and we are getting excited about the move.  Hopefully, we will have our visas in time to move right after the new year.  One more thing.  All the condos and house have maids quarters which is a room and then a bathroom that is kind of separated from everything else.  We already have four little maids that were born into their jobs so we are going to keep that open for anyone that would like to come visit.  The plane tickets are expensive but the housing will be free. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Photos From South America

 Bogota, Columbia
 Bogota picture from my hotel room.
 Quito, Ecuador
 Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru

Rio de Janeiro

Tami and I committed to starting our blog back up so that we can post pictures and keep some type of log of our adventures in Rio.  I'm sure most people know (because of Facebook) that we are moving to Rio right after Christmas.  I am traveling to Rio, Argentina and Bolivia this week.  I will be able to spend time in Rio looking at places to live and checking out the local Walmart for Tami.  She wants pictures of every aisle.  Most people are really excited for all the local markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, fish/meats, etc.  Not Tami, she wants the comforts of Walmart.  We have been told that about the only thing that is similar to the Walmart here and there is the name. 

The boys are getting registered for school.  They will be attending an American school in Rio.  The entire population of the school is less than Elias' 8th grade class at his school.  Did I mention that the school in Rio is K-12?  It will nice to be in a smaller school atmosphere but have all the curricula of a much larger school. 

Jude already knows exactly what Rio will be like.  He has watched the movie and knows exactly what to expect.  He still wants to know what language he is going to speak when he is talking to his friends.  He will probably be the one who picks the language up the quickest. 

We are currently going through the visa process and getting all of our paperwork completed so we can move.  I am the most excited out of everyone.  I can't wait to get down there.  The boys are excited but they are a little bit nervous at the same time.  Tami is all nervous and a little bit excited.  We are going down during the summer and right before carnival so it should be an exciting couple of months. 

I will post a few pictures of my last travels to Venezuela, Colombia, Equador and Peru once I find them.