our 1st month on the acreage

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him,
And he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Welcome April. It has been one month since we moved into our new home, and almost every alarm bell has gone off. Literally, not figuratively. 

Early in the evening on the first day of moving, my husband called me on his last trip to the house. He was driving on the highway and he said that something was seriously wrong with his truck. His dashboard was lit up and his truck kept dying. He said that I was probably going to have to bring the kids and rescue him. It turns out that he blew the engine pulling too heavy of a load. Thankfully, he did end up making it to the house. After he unloaded everything, we went and picked him up late that night.

On the second night in our home, we woke up to a “beep beep beep beep.” Our fire alarm was going off in the hallway between our bedrooms. Geoffrey jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to get the step stool. He determined that it was just a faulty battery, and went to remove it from the ceiling. Suddenly we hear “fire! fire!” coming from the alarm. Geoff took it down and shut it off, but both of us were rattled. We have woken up in the middle of the night to a house fire in the past, and it had brought back those memories for me. I didn’t sleep for the rest the night.

We were scheduled to get our water delivered the next day. The truck came that afternoon as I was putting the kids down for a nap. Geoffrey went down into the basement to keep an eye on our water tank as it was getting filled. All of a sudden, I hear “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.” It went on and on for a few minutes until it finally stopped. Apparently, the delivery guy couldn’t tell when to stop filling the tank, and it nearly overflowed. Geoff had to grab the stool once again and unplug the alarm on the ceiling in order to silence it. At that point, I had hoped that we heard the last of alarms going off. I was wrong.

We hired a plumber to come out and take a look at our furnace and water on demand system. He showed up the following day. The furnace was making a loud squealing noise to which the plumber ended up fixing. However, he had no idea how to get our in floor heating or our hot water to turn on. He ended up leaving without solving the problem. Fast-forward to the end of the day, I had tracked down the serviceman who had originally installed everything. It turns out that our water on demand system was corroded and discontinued. So we went without hot water and heat in the basement until the end of the week when he returned with a new hot water heater. This meant that yet more money was spent, but at least we could now bathe, wash dishes, and wash our clothes.

Moving upstairs, so far the fridge and stove seemed to work just fine. Geoffrey told me to hold off on using the dishwasher because he was quite literally frightened at this point about something else breaking down. It turns out that he had reason to be. We finally tried running it after about two weeks. It worked for a few minutes then suddenly stopped and filled with smoke. If the dishwasher had an alarm, I’m sure that it would have gone off. After pulling it out and taking it apart, Geoff found the root of the problem. He fixed it that evening, put it back together, and it has worked fine ever since. Thankfully we did not have to buy a new one!

Nearer the end of the month, my brother and his family came to visit us. The day of their first trip out to see our home was the most chaotic. Geoffrey was gone and so it was up to me to host and feed them that morning, then head into town for immunizations that afternoon, come back, put the kids down for a nap, and go back into town that evening for a baptism prep course. The day was long and I was so exhausted by the end of it. Upon returning home after 8 pm with two tired children, I heard an alarm going off in the house. I quickly ran inside and left Remy and Wilder in the doorway. I threw open the basement door and our cat and dog ran out, terrified. Descending the steps, I thought that it was a fire alarm and our home was going to burn down. I went into the mechanical room, and after not seeing a fire, dismantled the fire alarm to stop the noise. The beeping was insanely loud, and was still going. Panicking, I looked around the room until I thought I heard where it was coming from. I hit the silence button and finally there was peace at last.

Worried, but too exhausted to investigate, I texted my husband (who was on a train and wouldn’t see it until the following morning) that another alarm was going off. The next day we discovered that it was for our septic tank. A very long story short, we were able to get someone to come out, unfreeze our septic tank, explain everything to Geoff for a few hours, and remedy the problem. Yet, this was not the end.

I had reached my breaking point last week upon getting a letter in the mail from Information Services Corporation. Having never in my life missed a mortgage or bill payment before, it stated that we had a tax lien on the home that we had just moved from. I quickly Googled what that meant, and nearly lost it. I became so ill. Given that it was a Sunday evening, I couldn’t call anyone until the following morning. (It turns out that it was due to our water lines getting replaced the previous year, and us going on a long-term repayment plan. Everything turned out to be fine in the end.) Laying in bed that night, I pulled up the internet on my phone and saw that Remy had typed a bunch of random letters into YouTube. Worried, I scrolled through the videos to make sure that she hadn’t seen anything bad. The last video on that page was titled “Trust God First.” Curious, and very unlike what I would normally do, I clicked on it. 

I didn’t get very far into the video before I broke down. I just started crying. Up until then (and much like after my miscarriage), I had felt like God was punishing me for some unknown reason. Was I wrong in wanting a quieter and better life for my children? Did I do something in my past that I needed to be chastised for? But then I realized that no, God was permitting these things to happen in order to test me. To test us. He is allowing them to happen, just as He will be beside me every step of the way. Much like it took us five years and having faith in Him to find this acreage, I need to have patience and cast my worries aside. That will be difficult, given that it is my nature to rush through life and worry about EVERYTHING. Yet, I want to fully start trusting in the Lord. From now on, each time I start to feel anxious about something, I will remind myself that it is His will. I will get through it when I am supposed to, and He will help me.

Here’s hoping and praying that our second month goes much smoother than our first. Thanks for following along, friends! Have a beautiful week.

Emory

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we bought an acreage

Almost five years ago to the day (though it feels much longer), we began our search for an acreage home. Having grown up on a few acreages, and my husband on a farm, we have always felt drawn to a more rural lifestyle. We started out by going north of our current city. I published my first post about our hunt here.

Since then, we have pursued homes in every possible direction. We must have looked at between thirty to fifty properties- small acreages with nicer houses, big acreages with smaller houses, nice yards, hideous yards, newer homes, older homes, ones less than ten minutes from the city, ones more than an hour from city limits, and so on. Years went by and we could not find an acreage that ticked most of our boxes. We also went through quite a few realtors during that process. In the meantime, we sold our place in the city, purchased an empty lot at a lake where we built a home, temporarily moved onto my parent’s acreage, sold the house at the lake, and returned to the city. All within the last five years. Now, I can finally say that our quest is over. We bought an acreage!

As life and luck would have it, we ended up settling on a place a few minutes from where we began searching- north of the city. While it does not have as much land as we originally wanted, it is newer and in better condition than most of the properties that we have looked at over the years. It is also completely fenced with a large garage and a finished basement (the latter of which we have never had the pleasure of owning). There are so many other positives about this home, many of which I plan to discuss in the coming months. There are also a few negatives of course, as no home is perfect. However, for right now, it is the best and most wonderful fit for our family.

I am just so thankful and grateful to God for answering my prayers, and to my husband for working hard and being able to afford this place, and putting up with my restless nature. It has been an eventful and long five years, but now I can finally say that we are home.

Emory

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our little nursery

Today I will be sharing another makeover story with you all. It is our master bedroom and nursery. Pictured above and below is what our bedroom looked like prior to our impromptu renovation.

This all began when Geoffrey had more than a week off at the beginning of August. I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time, and had spent the summer nesting. At the time we thought that we were done with renos until after I had our baby. However, being that we were planning on sharing our master bedroom with our newborn, and it was the only room that we didn’t touch since we purchased our home, I began to feel the strongest urge to do something. The walls, carpet, and baseboards were stained from the previous occupants, the fixtures were so old and grimy, and it just felt dirty. I really didn’t want to bring a new and pure child into such a gross room. Geoffrey agreed and so he set about painting the entire room white and changing the fixtures. After buying Remy a new bed, we made her bed back into a crib and brought it in our room. Below is an after photo.

Fast-forward to the beginning of September, and once again my husband was unexpectedly given more time off. (To explain- he is a train conductor that works hard and often makes enough miles before a certain date each month. When he does, he gets those remaining days off until the calendar resets. It is either between a few days to a few weeks per month! I love his job.) We had been staring at the carpet in our freshly painted room over the last few weeks, and decided that now was the time to replace it. That said, I was not able to physically help him refinish the floors this time. Not wanting to do them by himself, he said that we should pick out new flooring and get it professionally installed. I agreed. We went to our usual flooring store where they know us very well and always give us a discount. After bringing home samples, we just could not agree on a colour or style. He wanted dark laminate or carpet. I wanted light hardwood. See above.

Overwhelmed and running out of time, I said that I would sleep on it. The next morning, I cautiously told Geoff that I wanted him to refinish the floors beneath the carpet. His first response was a firm no. He didn’t want to put in the hard work himself, in addition to not knowing what state the original hardwood floors were in. I told him that we would be saving a few thousand dollars, and could do it faster than having to hire contractors. His answer was still a no. So I promised that if the floors were in terrible shape, that we would pay to cover them with laminate or hardwood. Right away, he begrudgingly started tearing out the carpet. So far, so good.

The next day he rented a floor sander and sanded the entire room. Boy, he was not happy. He was also filthy and sneezing. Inside, I was ecstatic! So was Remy! They were in better shape than I could have hoped for. See the progress below.

I think that it only took half a day to stain the floors. After that, Geoff installed the quarter round to cover the gaps. In order to help him out, I painted the trim and our dresser. It was difficult with my big belly and being 7 months pregnant, but I didn’t want him to complain anymore. I also wanted to show my appreciation for making our room over!

In the last month, we have purchased a new bed (going from a Queen to a King), area rug, and other items here and there. The room just fell into place, and we are both so pleased with it. Even though Geoff still won’t admit it, I know that he loves the floors. Plus, between saving money on flooring and buying everything when it was on sale, we saved thousands of dollars! I call that a win considering this makeover wasn’t on our to-do list anytime soon.

Additionally, we decided to hire a furnace and duct cleaning company. Our home is well over 100 years old, and we have done so many renos that have involved sanding the floors that we just wanted to make sure our air was clean for ourselves and, more importantly, for baby. After spending the morning clearing out our ducts, we were told by the technician that our home has probably never been done before. He was getting clumps of solidified black dust and other disgusting material. It took an entire day to scrub our house down after that. Now we are on a two-year rotation to have the service done. I highly recommend it!

That was the story of our latest makeover. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I also hope that it will be the last one for a long while! I don’t think that I can take many more renovations.

Emory

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nesting

This pregnancy, my nesting instincts have been kicked into high gear. Like most pregnant mothers, I constantly feel the urge to rearrange, remodel, or fix things around our home.

I think that my nesting might be more intense this time around because we weren’t living in our own place when I was expecting Remy. I remember nearing the end of that pregnancy and crying after every doctor’s appointment because we didn’t have a separate bedroom for our baby. I somehow had it in my mind that he/she deserved one, and I felt like less of a parent because I couldn’t provide that. Back then, Geoffrey was going to school full-time and I was only working part-time. To save money, we rented out our house and moved into the second home on my parent’s acreage. Once our renters moved out, we listed our house but kept living at their acreage. I desperately wanted to move back into our home, but by then I was “too pregnant.” I was beyond grateful to be living somewhere for free, but I still remember that feeling of helplessness.

This pregnancy, everything is so different! We are settled in our own home, Geoffrey is working, and Remy and the baby have a bedroom. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to perfect each room in preparation for a new baby. This includes the exterior as well. I know from experience that we won’t be able to really redecorate once baby is here, so I’m trying to get it out of the way now. It’s been really fun. Here is what we have tackled in the last few months:

Ever since we renovated our kitchen, I’ve been unhappy with the empty space above the stove. Above is what it looked like.

I asked my followers on Instagram what they would put there, but the polls came back with inconclusive answers.

After leaving it for awhile, I came across a crate that we had stored on our basement. I hung it up one afternoon and it’s been the right fit ever since. That is, until we get backsplash!

We also have been hanging other items on our kitchen walls, and adding a ton of plants.

Our backyard and front yard have received similar attention. Tired of the unstained deck and rotting trim on the garage, we chose to finally hang new wood and stain the preexisting decks. Above is a before picture.

Here is the result. Much better. We have been gardening like mad, replanting the sod, bought outdoor furniture, and hung a flower box in the front. We’re slowly but surely fixing the outside of our home. Next month, we get a new roof!

Our living room was next on my list. Here is what it looked like before the new flooring and paint.

This is how we had it for the last few months. That cord always bothered us, and it just felt like an unfinished space. I decided to turn it into a gallery wall. See below.

This is still a work in progress. We have hung three pictures so far, but are waiting for the birth of our new baby to hang the remaining three. I love how it’s turning out!

Remy’s room is also getting redecorated a bit. I’ve rearranged her shelves and walls, and this weekend we’re buying her a bigger bed.

Our room is going to serve as the nursery for the first few months. It is the only room in our home that we haven’t touched over the last few years. Above is how we had it.

This is what it looks like now. We hung curtains, painted the room, and are clearing a space for the crib. I’m probably most excited about this area, and will reveal more as we go along.

That’s it for now. There have been other recent changes but they will have to wait for another day.

Have a lovely week and weekend, all!

Emory

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our kitchen: before and after

Welcome to our kitchen renovation! The total time that this project took was approximately 3.5 months. 

During that time, we were also renovating our living room, hence the delay! It felt like a long process, but one that wasn’t as stressful as I had originally thought. Below are the before pictures.

Our goal for the room changed quite a few times. First it was to get new flooring and counter tops, but to leave the sink. Then it was to get all three. By the end, we decided on a new floor and sink, and to leave the preexisting counter tops. Meanwhile, we were always set on refacing the bottom cabinets and replacing the uppers. And that’s what happened!

We began this process by first taking down our upper cabinets. Removing them went fairly smoothly, but what was behind them was a bit of a mess. Where there was drywall, it was bumpy and uneven. In other parts, they had cut away the drywall to install the cabinets. The window casing also decided to come down with the cabinets. Because we were wanting to install floating shelves, the walls needed to be even and smooth. It took a lot of mudding, sanding, puttying, and more sanding, but we finally got them to a usable state!

Meanwhile, we had the same company return to rip out the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, and install the same dark laminate that we used in the spare bedroom. I love a dark floor with white cabinets, and thought that continuing it in this room would be to our advantage. After a day of labour, it was in!

Next we had a contracting company come and reface our bottom cabinets. We had never had this done before and were curious and excited to see how it would play out. We chose to reface instead of install new cabinetry for many reasons. The first was to keep the costs low. The second was because it was quicker. The third because it created less of a mess and we could still use our kitchen while it was getting done. They made us new soft-close drawers from scratch, reconfigured a few things, and ironed on the new material. I chose these drawer pulls from Amazon. Although it took three long days, we were so happy with the results!

After our cabinets were refaced, we set about painting the kitchen. This was pretty straightforward. It took four heavy coats of white to cover the dark and grease-stained walls and off-white ceiling. It was the most time-consuming project in the entire renovation!

We ordered our new appliances from Home Depot and Trail Appliances. We went during a big sales event at Home Depot for a new fridge and stove. It turns out that they ordered us the wrong fridge (but we kept it), and our stove was back-ordered for two months. I don’t think that we’ll be going back there again for appliances. Our dishwasher, on the other hand, came from Trail Appliances. We picked it out and picked it up that same day, and the sales team and entire experience was so enjoyable. We were even given a discount just because the salesman liked us! I definitely recommend a smaller company like them over a big box store.

Choosing our floating shelves was probably the hardest process in this makeover. I bought and returned so many different types and colours of shelves- it was insane! Here is Geoffrey testing out a MDF wall shelf and a barn wood shelf. We ended up going with neither! Instead, we chose wide plank pine shelving.

We ended up going with these brackets from Amazon. The least expensive brackets that I could find at Home Depot and Rona were around $10. Because we needed 17 of them, I wanted to find a cheaper option. The brackets that we ordered were only $5 each, and looked better than anything that I could find in the city. Hooray!

I also ordered our light fixture, sink, and faucet from Amazon. Those were the last to be installed. We chose a sink that was a little larger than our previous one, and so much better looking. The faucet is so neat. It has an LED light that turns blue when the water is cold, green when it’s neutral, and red when it’s hot. The plumber said that he had never seen one like it before. He took a video and a few pictures of it, and said that he wanted to order them for the shop. Too funny! After spending an entire day here, and $1100 later, our sink and faucet were in. We were done!

Down the road, and if we stay in this house, we would like to order a chimney range hood for over the stove. I would also like subway tile back splash in the kitchen! I think that it would pull it all together.

We learned so much from this renovation. I’m just thankful that we were able to continue to use our kitchen the entire time. I couldn’t imagine not being able to! In that regard, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

I hope that you guys enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or compliments. ;-)))

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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