House Tour– The Boys’ Room

Boys Room with toddler beds

It’s been a while since I posted– because we were in SOUTH AFRICA for half of December! I have plenty of pictures to show, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I finally decided to take pictures of the boys room, mainly because we just bought them bigger beds and the room will change drastically. I am using the transition to “real” beds (hint: we bought bunkbeds!) as an excuse to phase out some of the more “baby” decor, and replace it with boyish things.

But I know that I will one day want to look back and remember this little room as it was for one year.

Their two little toddler beds fit so nicely along one wall 🙂

Boys Room Two Toddler Beds


This is Gregory’s side of the room. While I have a few memorable things up on the wall (his baby footprints, his saint, etc.) I also gave him some freedom to hang a few of his “treasures” from Sunday School and his medal from soccer. Over on the wall, they each have a hook for sweatshirts, along with another set of hooks for bathrobes and backpacks.

Boys Room Gregory's Side

Boys Room Vintage Posters on wall Boys Room Footprints in frame


Next to his bed are a few crates housing his books. He loves sitting on his bed or in his little chair to read!Boys Room Crate Bookshelves


On the other side of the room is AJ’s bed and his books.

Boys Room AJ's side

Boys Room Pictures in Frame

Boys Room AJ's Books


On the wall next to AJ’s side is the play kitchen and stuffed animal basket.

Boys Room Play Kitchen


A small peek inside their closet with the chalkboard dresser fronts:Boys Room Closet

To install the closet and other doors, we had to visit this retailers website to get our choice of furnishments, and we weren’t disappointed in the slightest.

As I’ve explained in previous posts, we keep just a few toys out and rotate them. I stuck to this technique when we had our foster boys– my rule was that I had to be able to pick it all up in under 10 minutes, or there was too much stuff. Turns out, they play more happily when there’s less out at a time anyways!Boys Room Toy Shelves with Baskets


Above the toys shelves is some of the remaining Baby Room decor. Boys Room Owls on the wall


And then, finally, a shot looking back out into the hallway, with a little surprise on the back of the door…Boys Room Far Wall


Perfect 🙂Boys Room Basketball Hoop on door

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Tree 2015

We didn’t waste any time getting our Christmas Decorations up this year! Black Friday, we waited until all the crowds were gone and drove to Home Depot for a small $18 “Charlie Brown” tree. We do not yet have the room for a big one, but once our large family room construction happens in the spring, we definitely will! Looking forward to that for next year 🙂

On Saturday, Target had an awesome deal where if you spent $100 on Christmas things, you got $50 off! So Jesse and I sat down at a computer and picked out extra outdoor lights, window candles, a nativity scene (we don’t have one, just one of those Fisher Price ones), and some stocking hangars for our bookshelf, since we don’t have a fireplace (yet!). We paid for everything online, then drove to Target to pick it up once the order was ready (my new favorite way to beat crowds!).

Christmas Reindeer decoration

Christmas Stockings Christmas Manger scene

(yes, Santa made an appearance behind the manger scene…)


Boys Decorating the tree

Monday, we finally tackled the outside of the house. First, I updated my wreath with Christmasy things (you can find my $5 tutorial from last year here!).

Christmas Wreath

Since all of my plants are indoors now that the cold has struck, we decorated my plant shelf with pine boughs and some water resistant ornaments.

Christmas Front Porch Decorations

Christmas Candles in the window

Christmas Decorations Outside House


We love the Christmas season! I’m so glad that we were able to make these fun memories putting up Christmas Decorations as a family <3

Backyard Chickens

Our family pulled the trigger! We knew when we bought a small house with a large backyard that we would want some backyard chickens, eventually, but it wasn’t until I figured out that we were buying THREE DOZEN eggs a week (!!!) that we decided to step up our timeline, despite how busy Jesse is in his graduate program.

Gregory with chickens in the garden Gregory with the chickens

The first step was to find or build the right coop. At first, I had dreams of building one “from scratch” (a chicken pun, get it? Be prepared for many more!), but once Jesse’s PhD program began late summer, all of those dreams vanished. I just knew that we’d never get around to it, let alone carry out Garden Paving. I’m pretty handy with a saw and drill, but felt like it was too much for me to handle by myself (although I constructed all of the garden beds and the irrigation systems you see in the pictures above!).

So, as usual, I turned to Craigslist. I  saw this coop for $400 about a 45 minute drive away, and thought, “I wish that were in our price range!”. A few days later, the woman reduced the price to $250 since they had a moving deadline! I love moving deadlines– it means that they are 900x more willing to make a deal with you since they need something GONE. I asked her if she would part with it for $150, and she said yes!!

chicken coop before

A picture of the coop at its old location, with Gregory standing beside it for size context.

Next, there was a fair bit of drama, wherein we had to take apart the coop (this took 4+ hours…Jesse was not happy…) and pay $30 to rent a trailer to transport it. Initially we hired someone to move it for us, but he no-showed on the morning of! The husband of the family who sold it to us turned out to be really nice and hooked the trailer up to his truck and drove it all the way to our house when he saw that we were in a jam (plus, he was motivated– moving deadline, remember?)  We got it to our backyard, but it was in pieces. It took another 2-3 hours for Jesse to put it back together with the help of a nice neighbor who volunteered to help. 🙂 As a side note, I am so happy that our neighbors support us having backyard chickens! In fact, they are all pretty excited!

chicken coop location in yard


As a side note, here is what this side of our backyard looked like when we bought the house.



And now here it is– chicken coop done! (Ignore our rubbermaid-chicken-carrier!).

Backyard-- Duringchicken coop october


The window at the bottom is not yet part of the coop. I plan on adding it to the door so that the boys can peak in and see the chickens whenever they want! We will also be adding a separate nesting box where you see the boards (that’s why they aren’t painted). And, speaking of paint, we have leftover exterior paint, so pretty soon the coop will match our house!

Chicken coop closeup

The next step was finding the right chickens for the right price. Since it’s autumn here, we knew that baby chicks were out of the question since they wouldn’t be fully feathered before winter hit. Once again, I turned to Craigslist, looking for someone getting rid of the right breed. I really wanted sweet tame chickens, since I knew that they would become part of the family.

And, once again, Craigslist to the rescue! I found another family with a moving deadline (seriously, moving deadlines are the jackpot when it comes to Craigslist deals). They had 3 six month old Rhode Island Reds for sale at $35/each. I asked if she’d take $60 for all 3, and she said yes! The boys and I went to pick them up last Friday, and it was love at first sight. Their names are Henrietta, Missy and Nessie.

Gregory with chickens

chickens RIRS closeup

One of the three is molting, however, and 1-2 eggs every day isn’t enough to offset our grocery bill. So, on Monday, we went to a farm in Wylie and picked up two Americaunas which we named “Bushel” and “Peck”. The lady assured me that these would be the leader of the pack once the new “pecking order” was established (not a pun, that’s actually where the term came from, haha!), but, as it turns out, our Rhode Islands are definitely in charge! They didn’t even let the 2 new ones out of the coop for the first day! Bossy hens!

Chickens Bushel and Peck walking around backyard Chickens closeup

Our boys just LOVE their new friends. Gregory cannot contain himself when we find a new egg, and he begs to do absolutely every chore associated with the chickens. There’s definitely been a lot of laughter over here, that’s for sure!

FullSizeRender-73 FullSizeRender-72


While I may feel like the crazy chicken lady, when I sit down and think about it, this has been coming for a long time. In fact, we might have reached full-on hippie status over here– we drive an all electric car, we compost, we have 6 garden beds, we only buy from thrift stores and now we have backyard chickens! Oh well, time to embrace it, I guess!