Archive for November, 2010


Cuddling up next to the fire is a great way to stay warm as the fall and winter cold creeps in and there’s nothing better than a bonfire built in the backyard.

Bonfire in our homemade pit!

The best bonfires have the greatest bases. Place a layer of crumpled paper into the fire-pit, top it with kindling, and add a little more paper – a great way to reuse old Pulse’s. There are differing opinions on design – “log cabin” and “teepee.” Make a “log cabin” by stacking logs perpendicularly on top of each other until you have reached the desired height. Fill the center with paper. Make a “teepee” by placing logs vertically, touching in the center. Add some additional paper and then place more logs around it. Start either style build by lighting the paper; you may need to add some additional paper to get it blazing. Using small and medium logs to start will get your fire going quickly. You can increase the heat by adding large logs once the coals are roaring.

Enjoy s’mores year-round by toasting marshmallows over your bonfire. For a special treat, use peanut butter cups in place of chocolate bars. If there isn’t snow on the ground, it’s a good idea to have the hose handy and always be sure to spray or topple your fire before going inside.

Invite your friends, family or neighbors to enjoy starry skies even as winter beckons while the crackles and pops of your backyard bonfire keep everyone soothingly warm long into the night.

Spice Cabinet

We started tearing apart our downstairs bathroom in March ’10. Unfortunately the tree falling and rebuilding of our mailbox had to take precedence. With the bathroom gutted down to studs, sub-floor and in some areas joists, there is no insulation to keep the cold out as winter approaches. As the weather quickly cools, we are working to prepare for the remodeling.

First stage of demolition - Kitchen View

Ryan has been diligently planning the plumbing so that it will be easier to remodel the upstairs bathroom and kitchen. We have already purchased the floor tile, water resistance drywall for the tub/shower, toilet, sink and fixture, sink light, replacement studs, sub-floor boards, and electrical requirements. We still need to buy the whirlpool tub, tub fixtures, paint, plumbing supplies, a window and framing, a door and framing, and a fanlight.

First stage of demolition - Bathroom View

Ryan has a computer program that he has used to map our house. It is proving to be very helpful in planning the plumbing, electrical and remodeling. Aside from a few discrepancies, it is a great tool that assists us in staying as accurate as possible.

Old Kitchen Floor

Our most recent achievement was tearing out the spice cabinet in the kitchen in order to move the bathroom door, which was not only hidden behind the spice cabinet but also made both rooms smaller. When we removed the cabinet and drywall in the “hallway” to the bathroom, we found that the wall was hiding a foot or more of space.

After Demolition

We also removed a small portion of the floor down to sub-floor and again found 3 layers of old flooring (as we had found in the bathroom). We were also saddened to find that someone had painted the beautiful old brick fireplace black, which we regretfully can not undue because of additional holes made installing drywall around it.

As each day passes, we move a little closer and get more ideas. We have a long way to go and realize more everyday that there is still a lot to demolish, rebuild and remodel. Our thoughts are racing to construct the perfect house both on budget and within a reasonable amount of time, neither of which is easy.