As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

House Project Goals 2020


I have told you all about our completed kitchen. It was a slow remodel that took a little over three years from start to finish, but we finally checked the last thing off the list.

I gave you a report on how we did with last year's house goals . . . what we accomplished, and what we didn't.

I even told you all about our pesky wall


Now it's time for me to share our house goals for 2020: 





CONTINUE LANDSCAPING and BUILD FENCE     
We'll replace (again) the limelight hydrangea in the bed in front of the house, and then we'll move around to the south side of the house, straightening the border, tidying the beds.

We have the materials to begin a fence across the back of our property and we hope to begin soon! We have imagined our backyard as a little oasis to enjoy outside our big picture window. Since last winter, the lot that adjoins ours to the back has been sold and a new house is being built, so we think that the privacy is another incentive to start on that fence! Wasn't it Robert Frost who said, "Good fences make good neighbors?"



GET THAT PESKY WALL RIGHT     
As I told you in this post, we have another plan for that wall in the dining room! When Ron has a break between bigger projects, he will make a frame for the "Peaceable Kingdom" print. We're hoping for success this time, but one never knows!  



PAINT KITCHEN?     
This one is a "maybe."

My long time readers may remember that parts of the kitchen trim have been painted three times already. (Full story ~here~.) You may also remember that I promised Ron that, even if I didn't like it, I would not ask him to paint the kitchen again. (Well, not until it really needed painting . . . but not just because I wanted a color change.)

I am keeping that promise. I will not ask him to paint the kitchen.

But . . . 

(You knew there was a "but," didn't you?) 

But if we had seen a wonderful color at a restaurant in Lancaster . . . and if I had happened to ask the lady in the restaurant what that color was . . . and if she had kindly taken my phone number, done some research, and left a message on my answering machine with that information . . . and if Ron had mentioned that we might paint the kitchen this spring . . .

Well, what would you do? 



REMODEL MASTER BEDROOM
This is our biggest project of the year, and we're smack dab in the middle of it right now!

When we first saw Pineapple House, we knew that this would be our bedroom, even though it is not the biggest bedroom of the four. First of all, it is in a separate wing from the other bedrooms, so it is the most private. It has an adjacent bathroom, as well as a little vestibule into the wing. It is mere steps away from the kitchen and morning coffee. And it has charm with its angled ceilings, tiny windows, and mismatched closet doors! 




This is what we plan to do in the master bedroom:

1) Replace the tile ceiling with wallboard. This is what has prevented us from tackling this room before now. Replacing a ceiling is a big deal. At least, it's a messy deal. However, Ron did not want to paint the room without doing the ceiling at the same time, so we have waited. But now is the time! 

2) Paint the paneling! πŸŽ‰This will make a huge difference in this room, making it brighter, fresher, and more cheerful. We are painting it the same color as all of the walls in our house. (It is a color match of an old Valspar color, Antique White.) 

3) Paint the trim. Actually, we'd both like to paint the trim in Behr's Decorator White (the same color that we used in the other bedrooms), keeping the background color palette neutral. But the windows in this room are brown, obviously chosen to coordinate with the paneling, and I am afraid that the brown would stand out like a sore thumb against white trim. (Even if we could paint the vinyl part of the window, there are still the brown grilles between the panes.) Most likely, we will paint the trim Quaker Green (as in the vestibule outside the bedroom), although we have also considered the same tan that is in the living room (based on Linen White, an Olde Century Paint color). 

4) Replace the floor. The room had carpet, and we are not carpet people. I assumed it would be a simple thing to replace it with hardwood. Apparently I was waaaayyy out of the loop as far as flooring choices. Laminate . . . bamboo . . . engineered hardwood . . . solid hardwood (except that it is not simply lumber, but a layer of wood over a wood product) . . . too many choices! And none of them seem like "real" wood to me! Sigh . . .

5) Construct and hang wooden shutters for the three windows.  


Despite the challenging choices in remodeling this room, we are excited about having a bright and pretty bedroom soon! And it must be soon, because our Kati is coming for a visit (and a baby shower!!) in March, and Ron and I need to be out of the guest room and back in the master bedroom before she arrives!

(Nothing like a deadline for motivation.)





Those are the projects that we hope to accomplish here at Pineapple House in 2020. 

Of course, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 5:14)


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

That Pesky Wall


There is a wall in our dining room that we just can't seem to get right. 

Try #1
When we first moved in, we hung the wall cupboard that Ron had made for the bathroom at The Farmhouse.

Problem: The cupboard was visually "heavy." It looked like it was floating on the wall. A piece of furniture beneath it would have solved that, but there was no room for furniture on that wall considering the length of our dining room table. Also, the cupboard jutted out into the space a little too much, into the walkway towards the hall/bedrooms/bathrooms. 



The wall cupboard ended up in the library over a desk where it lives quite happily holding greeting cards and stationery.


Try #2:
We tried using the three botanicals that had been over the sideboard in The Farmhouse dining room. 

Problem: The Pineapple House dining room has tan (Linen White) woodwork and, as a totally interior room, no windows and no natural light , so the subdued prints and gold-toned frames did not have enough oomph. They didn't make a statement like they did at The Farmhouse.



Try #3:
This was my favorite! I found a folk art portrait of a colonial girl for ten dollars at an antique store. I ordered two primitive tin wall sconces to flank it . . . and I loved that look.

Problem: The amateur decorator who lives at my house pointed out that there were two girls in my dining room. And that was one too many. "Mom, you don't want two girls in one room."

I knew she was right. But I loved that wall. 


(You can see both girls in this photo.)

When we decorated the new guest room, Bekah grabbed the girl off the dining room wall and hung her over the pineapple post bed. We both liked her there.

But then I was back to Square One with that pesky wall.


Try #4:
We hit on the idea of a seascape and began searching, online and in local shops. The ones we loved were not in our price range. Until one day I found this affordable print in an antique store. Sold!

Problem: As much as I have tried to love it, it just feels out of place. It's the right size, but it doesn't seem to mesh with all of my other primitive/colonial pieces. 




Try #5:
Between Christmas and the New Year, we visited one of our favorite local antique malls and found this print, "Peaceable Kingdom," by colonial artist Edward Hicks. We have Hicks' "Noah's Ark" hanging above our mantel in the living room. As it is, it is too small for the wall, so we took it out of its frame. We plan to have it matted at Hobby Lobby and then Ron will make a frame for it. We may hang the primitive sconces on either side of the print. Or maybe not, because this print is horizontal  (the girl was vertical) and that may create too "long" a line across the wall.


I am hoping that Try #5 will be the one that works on this pesky wall!

We'll see . . . 


Note: It may take a few weeks or more to get around to this project because we are headlong into our first big house project of the year! πŸ‘€  Stay tuned for the post about our House Project Goals 2020! 


Friday, February 7, 2020

Last Year's House Goals: How Did We Do?


Good grief, I am slow. By the time I complete this little blog series on house projects, it will be time to plan projects for 2021! 

Moving on . . .

I am going to skip the "pesky wall" post for now, and go ahead and tell you how we did with last year's house goals. (If you want to read the full post outlining our goals for 2019, go ~here~.) 



Goal #1
Bathroom Refresh

We completed this goal last March. It was not a full remodel, but we changed out the overhead light, took down the offending fluorescent light, made wooden shutters for the window, and freshened it all up with a coat of white paint. (Full story ~here~.)




Goal #2
South Wall of the Kitchen

This was our biggest house goal for 2019. If you've followed here very long, you know that this was the final phase in our s-l-o-w kitchen remodel, so I am thrilled to say that this goal was completed in November! It has made a huge difference in the function of our kitchen and we couldn't be more pleased. (Full story ~here~.)




Goal #3
Landscaping

Did you notice my teeny-tiny check beside Goal #3? That is indicative of our progress towards meeting that goal.

So yes, we did tidy one of the beds in front of the house, removing old and dying plants, enlarging and mulching the bed. We planted a row of three limelight hydrangeas near the house, and a row of boxwood in the front of the bed to ensure some green all through the year. Unfortunately, the hydrangea on the left end died pretty quickly. We bought another and replanted, only to have that one die too. (Hmmm . . .  I think we'll try once more in the spring.) The boxwoods are all doing well.

But the fence for the back of the property? Well . . . does it count that we bought the materials? 

Note: I can't find a photo of the small bit of landscaping that we did! I think I had taken some photos on my old cell phone and all of my photos did not transfer to my new one. 😐



Goal #4 
Guest Bedroom

Not many days after Kati got married, we began converting her room into a guest room. I had said that my "consolation prize" for giving up Kati was the pleasure of decorating a new room. Bekah has had as much fun as I have . . . maybe more! We replaced Kati's bed with an antique pineapple post bed, dressed it with the coverlet I had found on our forty-seven-and-a-half-years anniversary trip, "shopped the house" for artwork and accent pieces, and bought an antique dresser (bargain!) that was exactly the right scale for the small room.

We love our guest room! Not only have Kati and Andrew stayed in it, but nine of the grandchildren have had a special sleepover in the new room. 

Note:  We do not have matchy-matchy mirrors in the room. πŸ˜‰ We took down the mirror from the wall by the bed (first picture) when we bought the one that is above the dresser (later picture). Everything is subject to change at our house!



Still to do: make wooden shutters and fishtail swags for the windows, and recover (or replace) the 35-dollar wing chair that I bought on Craigslist. 



Goal #5
Paint Master Bedroom

This project did not get done in 2019. (Stay tuned for upcoming post, House Project Goals 2020.)



Goal #6
Refresh the half-bath. 


Wait! We didn't have six goals on the original list? 

That's because this one was done on a whim! 

Our tiny pink half-bathroom is totally not my style. Some day it will get a total remodel. (One of the possibilities is turning it into a small laundry closet with a stackable washer and dryer for Ron and I to use in our old age. Or when we're empty nesters. Or anytime. We'll see.) 

Back to the subject at hand . . . this bathroom is not my style, but the thing that was bugging me the most was the yellowed floral wallpaper. Every time I passed the room on my way to the library, I noticed it. 


One summer day, on a whim, I simply decided to see how easily the wallpaper would peel off. Turns out, it wasn't too hard at all!

I spent an hour per day for three days and got all of that wallpaper down! Then Ron spackled and painted and made new shutters for the window, and, even though pink tile is still not my style, the room looks much fresher and brighter and I can walk by without cringing. 







In any area of life, I think it is helpful to look back and see how far you've come. During my years of homeschooling, I would sometimes feel like we had not accomplished enough, until I finished up my record keeping at the end of the year and realized just how much we did!

I feel the same way as I look back over our year's projects. I am actually surprised at all we were able to accomplish in our home, in the middle of a cRaZy-busy year in the life of our family. After all, it's not every year that we have an engagement, a bridal shower, a wedding, a senior year, completion of homeschooling, a graduation, a move (Kati's), new responsibilities with parents, and more . . . all of which took precedence over house projects!

Coming soon . . . House Project Goals 2020! 


Friday, January 24, 2020

Pineapple House Kitchen | Completed Goals




It was a little over three years ago when I first told you about our plans for a s-l-o-w remodel of the kitchen here at Pineapple House. 



Little by little, step by step, we made changes. Let me give you a review of what has happened in the kitchen since we moved here:

BEFORE

✔ We replaced the refrigerator and dishwasher with new stainless steel models.

✔  We replaced the cook top with the double oven range we had bought for The Farmhouse a few months before we moved, and removed a lower cabinet in the process.

✔  We removed the wallpaper and painted the walls antique white. 

✔ We painted the trim. (Actually ~ahem~ we've painted it three times. Ack! Long paint story here.) 

✔  We hung a new chandelier over the island. 

✔  We constructed, hung, and painted interior shutters

✔  We removed the wall oven and created an alcove for the microwave.

✔  We took down the little shelves around the window and replaced the curvy molding with a simple frame. 

✔  We painted all of the kitchen cabinets with Kangaroo by Benjamin Moore. 

✔  We put beadboard paneling behind the countertop and stove, and around the window.


✔  We installed walnut butcher block countertop and backsplash.

✔  We installed a new enameled cast iron sink and a bridge faucet


In October 2018, the kitchen looked like this:




But we still needed to give attention to the south wall. We had plans to move the washing machine to the basement, move the fridge into that space, re-configure the cabinets, and install a longer section of countertop.





This past fall, we finally got to the south wall of the kitchen, the one that was going to be the most complicated project. 


Here is the "before," with a short counter, the refrigerator in the middle of the wall, and the washing machine on the right . . . 


When Ron was off in September, the work began. He did all of the prep work required to move the washing machine from the kitchen down to the basement: ran electric, adapted the plumbing, installed a pump and a laundry sink.


In October, it was full steam ahead! 

~ The first step was moving that washing machine. (Yikes!) 

Ron strapped it to a hand truck and he was doing all of the pushing. My job was to help him tilt it back, and to navigate it through the doorways and around corners. Of course, there was the momentary panic when he started wheeling it down the basement stairs WITH ME IN FRONT OF IT, at which time I left my post of duty and said, "If it's going to fall, I'm not going to be able to stop it so I am getting out of the way!

The washing machine did not fall (hallelujah!), and we were washing a load of clothes that afternoon . . . not in the kitchen!

Do I miss the convenience of a washing machine in the kitchen? Yes! But do I miss the washing machine in the kitchen? Not. at. all. (And there is talk of converting our very tiny half bathroom into a tiny laundry area. We think there's just enough room for a small stackable washer/dryer.) 

~The rest of vacation week was spent re-configuring everything else! 


We measured and measured and adjusted our plans. After a lengthy discussion and a lot of measuring, we decided to create a wider space around the refrigerator. We did not want to be limited to the size fridge that we have now. 

Eventually, we'd like to have a counter depth refrigerator. It would free up a lot of space in our galley kitchen! Unfortunately, counter depth was not on our radar four years ago when we were selecting our appliances. But someday we would like one, so we left enough space to accommodate it. And of course, changing the opening around the fridge meant altering the spaces for cabinets too. 



After we adjusted our cabinet sizes, we decided to leave a display space above the refrigerator rather than enclosing it with doors.


When Ron went back to work after his vacation, there was still more work to do, but the lion's share was done. We knew we'd be finished well before our Thanksgiving deadline! 




And now . . . THIS is what we have: 


We are so pleased with this part of the remodel! It has made a huge difference in the function of the kitchen!

First of all, we love this new longer section of countertop, which is far more useful than two shorter ones would have been. It is a great baking center, but it also comes in handy for a drink station when we have family dinners and parties. 




It is also wonderful to have all of my pots and pans back together again . . . and not stuffed into nooks and crannies (in the kitchen closet, in different cabinets, in the basement!) all over the house.


Last, but definitely not least, we feel as if we have gained space with this last stage of the remodel. That is a good thing!

Before, the refrigerator and the stove (both of which jut out beyond the cabinets) were directly across from one another. That made a narrower walkway in that space, not to mention that if either door was open, it compounded the problem. When the fridge was moved over to its new space, it immediately opened up the main work space to feel twice as big! (It isn't, but it feels like it is!)







Now we have completed all of our original goals for the kitchen! 

So are we done? Well, we will probably replace the floor some day. And then there's always the possibility of a fourth paint color . . .  

(You knew that, didn't you?)

But we feel that our kitchen has been updated, it reflects our personal style, and it functions well with how we live and work in it. 

It was worth the wait! 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Another Series About House Projects


Again, I am going to start the year talking about house projects. (Last year's series is ~here~.)  



It seems like Ron and I have been doing house projects our whole married life . . . and indeed, we have! We did a little bit of remodeling in the house we rented from his parents as newlyweds. Then we bought The Farmhouse (I talk about its humble beginnings ~here~) and we began huge house projects like gutting rooms and replacing windows and moving doors!

Yikes!!


We spent years doing huge projects with blood, sweat, and tears (not kidding). . . and then more years doing "normal people" projects and tweaks.

This spring, we will have been at Pineapple House for four years (it's crazy how quickly time passes!) and we have been doing projects all the while . . . making updates, making the house fit with our style and with how we live in it.

Here are details of the house projects that had been completed as of last January. 

And now it's a new year and we have new plans!


These are the house-y posts that I am working on to share in the next few weeks, house projects past, present, and future! 


We actually (finally) completed our goals for this room before Thanksgiving, but I have not done a whole post on it yet. First, I was waiting for my new iPhone with a decent camera . . . then I was busy with the holidays . . . and we have had rainy day after rainy day (not good for pictures) and a weekend of company. But I can't wait to show you what we've done and tell you how it's working for us!


It may be a small house project, but it has been a stinker.



Update on House Project Goals 2019
How did we do in accomplishing last year's goals? 



Plans for Pineapple House this year!




Do you have any house goals/plans for 2020?


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

2020 | Happy New Year?


Repost from January 2017 . . . 


In the past week or so, I have bid a "Happy New Year" to many of my friends and family, for that is what I wish for them. I want all of my loved ones to be happy and for all of their hopes and dreams to come true this year.

But the fact of the matter is that no one knows what a year will bring. 

We live here, on Planet Earth, in a sin-cursed world and we all know that every day of the year will not be "happy." There will be times of discouragement, sickness, confusion, discord, sorrow, weariness, uncertainty, and maybe even death.

So then . . . what with all that? Do we dread the days ahead? Stay in bed with the covers over our heads? Do we live in fear of what the future will bring?

On the Sea of Galilee
~ photo by our son Ryan ~

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”


I have shared this poem before; it is one of my favorites. And I thought of it as I looked at Ryan's pictures at the Sea of Galilee and as I mused on the account of the storm on the sea.

The Age-Long Minute
Amy Carmichael
Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee. 
Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will? 


That is the secret to living in the New Year.

The knowledge that, if we are His, He is in the boat.

A quiet trust that He is there, no matter the storm, no matter the wind, no matter the waves.

Even if He is silent.

Even if it appears that He is sleeping.

He is there. 

And He is lovingly in control.

Sea of Galilee
~ photo by Ryan ~


So let us be strong of heart. Let us be resolute! Let us meet the easy and the challenging, the happiness and the sorrow, the calm and the storm of the new year, with quiet confidence in the One who is the ruler of the wind and the waves.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Memory-Making Moments {Christmas 2019}



There were so many moments to treasure during this Christmas season.

Be forewarned: This is going to be a grab-yourself-a-cuppa kind of post! You won't hurt my feelings if you click away. But I need to document these moments before the time gets away from me, so here goes! 

If you're a regular visitor here at Thinking About Home, you know that there have been some big changes here this year. The holiday season reflected those changes and some things were hard. But there was (there is) much to celebrate and so we collected those sweet and special moments, the gifts from His Hands.





Ron's family Christmas party was a mix of somber and sweet. Our brother-in-law lost his father the week before, and another brother-in-law is having some serious health struggles. But we were thrilled that Ron's 91-year-old mom was able to come to the party! She has declined in health during the past several months, so it was extra special to have her with us. Here she is with her eight children . . . a memory-making moment indeed.

This is a group who loves to sing! I'll share a little sample with you . . .






Ron, Bekah, and I, as well as Kristin, Maddie, and Owen, had the opportunity to sing in our church's Christmas cantata this year. Singing in a choir is my happy place. It had been many years since I had sung in a cantata and, oh boy, did I enjoy it! I have no photos or videos to share with you, but here the three of us are enjoying some down time afterward. 






Since Ryan and Sarah were traveling to her parents' home for Christmas, we gathered with their family a few days before they left.

We shared a meal and some Christmas goodies and a long conversation about a man from our church who died in a car accident in December of 1989. Thirty years ago. Although Ryan was just a small boy, he remembers. Thirty years ago . . . and it was good to reminisce and talk about life and death and what is really important, because that is why He came. He came to redeem us. He came to bring us eternal life. 



We also shared gifts, those tokens of our love for one another. I loved seeing the smiles!




My own face had a big smile. (Papa's did too.) Look at these beautiful handmade gifts, made by the hands of my grandchildren: a quilted throw made by Eve (12), a wood burned sign made by Nora(10), and a wooden spoon whittled by Peter (9). Delightful! 


Aunt Kati had knitted hats for all of Andrew's and her nieces and nephews and for Andrew's young cousins (who are nearly like his nieces and nephews) . . . SIXTEEN hats in all!






It was an evening to treasure!




After our Christmas Eve service . . .


. . . it was home for pizza (is that the easiest Christmas Eve supper?) and the opening of gifts between Ron and me. 



Our new fur-boy's first Christmas toy!





Christmas morning seemed especially quiet without our Kati. But knowing that Andrew and his family were making her first Christmas with them a special occasion was a real comfort. 


So Bekah was the center of attention. Not exactly her cup of tea, but she managed . . . especially when one of her gifts was the promise of a trip to visit Kati! 




The menu for our Christmas breakfast is the same every year,


including these orange rolls made by my mom. Yum!



We were a smaller group this year, missing Kati and Ron's mom. (Ron is the photographer in this one.) 



Around midday, Kristin and Brian and family came to celebrate!


More "Aunt Kati" hats. I think Kati may have knitted her fingers to the bone! But aren't all these babies precious in their hats?



Judah had lots of fun with his!



Judah got a box of board books from Papa and Gran. He unwrapped the tissue from the first one . . . and ran over to big brother Owen! Sooooo cute! (It took him a  l o n g  time to open his package, because someone had to read each one to him.)










A "little" treat from Ryan and family . . .



When my parents returned and my sister arrived, we set up the Christmas buffet, including Bekah's Scarlett O'Hara punch.



There was another memory-making moment during the afternoon, although there is no photo.

I connected the Bluetooth speaker to my phone and we all gathered around for a special announcement from Kati and Andrew! The previous week, they had learned that their baby is a BOY, and now we were to hear the name that they had decided on! It is . . .

CALEB MARK 

and we couldn't be happier! It was exciting to hear that news in the middle of our Christmas celebration!



Our grandson Gavin drew this picture of Gammy and Gampy's cat, Pilgrim! (Don't we have some talented grandchildren?!) 







A decadent dessert finale,


and then our dear ones departed.





With such a late Thanksgiving this year, the Christmas season seemed to fly by and it was all I could do to keep up some days. (I have made a note to have a stern talk with my autumn-loving self next year. I will tell her that it will still be autumn even if she does start thinking about Christmas a little bit ahead. Do you think she will listen?)

But so many sweet memories were made during this season, the Lord was faithful to fill in our empty spaces . . . and we are grateful. 




But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 
Galatians 4:4-7

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