acreage renovation: white modern jungle gym

Oh, this jungle gym.

When we moved to the country, there was nothing in our yard except an old, neglected sandbox in the front. We needed something that the children could play on and with. During that first summer, I spoke often of how I wanted a play structure for them. However, because we had just bought a trampoline, I said that we could wait another year until we got one. In the meantime, they could play at the park that was within walking distance.

It was my brother-in-law that told me he often saw free jungle gyms on Kijiji. I asked him if he ever came across one to then send it to me. Over the next few months, he had sent me a few listings. I would message the owners within a few minutes of them posting the ad, but someone always seemed to beat me to it! Finally, one day in early fall, he sent me a listing that I was able to secure. On Geoff’s first day off, they went to the Kijiji-er’s house, dismantled it, brought it home, and set it back up.

Fast-forward to nearly one year later and after putting it off for this long, we decided to fix its problems. The jungle gym was missing structural pieces to make it sturdy. The sandbox was nearly empty. The rope ladder wasn’t getting used and was tripping us every time we went to turn the corner. Most of all, it desperately needed a roof to provide shade on our hot, shadeless property. Above is what it pretty much looked like before.

I happened to stumble an outdoor playset on Instagram one day that was stained white with black accents. I immediately sent Geoff a picture and told him that I was going to try replicating that. The next day I got to work on building a roof.

Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing! I had never built a roof before, and so I Googled how to do it. Insert eye roll here. I followed the directions from one blog where they basically did what I was trying to do. I used the proper tools (including a saw and rafter square) and it turned out to be not nearly wide enough. Because I was home alone with the children and didn’t want to take them shopping, I was using scrap wood. That meant that I didn’t have enough to fix any mistakes.

Luckily, Geoff came home from work later that day, and was able to fix the roof as best as he could! It ended up being incredibly sturdy, it just didn’t look very professional, thanks to me. Haha.

I bought two cans of white Beauti-Tone acrylic stain which covered the entire structure nicely.

We took down the inconvenient rope ladder and in the process some of the rungs broke and the rope became tangled. We discussed the many ways that we could try to fix it and rehang it somewhere else, but because the kids never even used it, we eventually gave up on the idea.

I ended up painting Wilder’s baby swing white, in order to match the rest of the jungle gym.

Geoff had to secure the slide better to the playset in order to ensure its safety.

I bought a black hammock swing that we could all enjoy and hung it where the rings used to be. Finally, we moved the rings to the end in order to utilize that empty space.

Really, all this makeover cost was two cans of stain, metal roofing, and a new swing. What was once a neglected, hot structure on our property, is now a well-loved, well-played on, shaded spot for all of us.

Emory

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acreage renovation: remy’s own room


A few weeks ago, I had mentioned that Remy and Wilder now have their own rooms.

Since January 2020, we have made the unfinished guest room into a finished guest room and now into Remy’s own room. These are the changes that we made in order to do so.

We removed the armoire, rugs, plant, and pictures from the wall. In the armoire’s place we put her tent and twinkle lights from Grandma. The throw pillows are from Amazon. (I still need to buy her an alphabet rug for the tent.)

In the previous plant’s corner now sits her desk which has a daily rotation of toys- from barns to Barbies.

I wanted the wall hangings to match and to be a lighter oak colour, so where did I go? To the dollar store, of course! I do need to broaden my search one of these days, but I just love a good deal! ;-)))

Remy has always had a high shelf near the door in her bedrooms. I am not sure why, but it has sort of become her “thing.” I have always put meaningful items on this shelf. This room was no different. The pictures are from last year’s trip to British Columbia, the dolls she had since she was a baby, and the “be you” sign was one that I bought a few ago. As always, we bought a pine shelf and brackets from Home Depot.

I also hung her little collection of shells from BC. She put her few Calico Critters inside and Ty Beanie Babies on top.

Honestly, that was pretty much it! We kept the antique bed and dresser in the room because she liked how big they were. We also switched out the rugs, bringing back the one that was originally in her bedroom. I don’t think that it really cost us anything to change it from a guest room to a little girl’s room. Remy is so much happier having a place of her own, and we are happy for her.

Emory

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acreage renovation: culverts

This is just one of the outdoor projects that we have worked on this summer.

At the front of our property are two culverts. They were overgrown with grass and had a mess of rocks of all sizes underneath.

They were almost impossible to keep nicely landscaped. We couldn’t mow the culverts because of the rocks, and we couldn’t easily expose the rocks because there was just far too much grass and weeds. Because it was one of the first things that visitors and neighbours would see, I felt like they were a negative introduction into an otherwise tidy yard and house. Something needed to change.

While my husband worked on a fire pit project, I decided that these two culverts would be my project. I began by digging up the grass with a shovel in order to expose the gravel underneath.

Once the grass was gone, I had around 6” of gravel to deal with. I removed nearly all of it, bucket by bucket, and spread it in other much-needed area on our property. Removing the grass and gravel alone took two days for each culvert. It was exhausting work.

Eventually, the ground had only a fine layer of gravel left. This I kept for drainage. I laid down plastic sheets in order to prevent unwanted grass and weeds from regrowing on the culverts. After covering a desired area, it was finally time for dirt.

As Geoff was excavating yards and yards of earth from the fire pit area, I asked him if he could leave it on the trailer until I was ready for it. He gladly agreed as he wasn’t sure as to where he would even put such large quantities. He ended up dumping four trailer loads of dirt onto the culverts. Spreading it evenly took another few hours, but I had help from two willing children who found it so fun to stomp on dirt mounds.

I took our wagon and went to my favourite rock pile just behind our property. There I gathered large rocks and small boulders and dragged them home. It took a few trips, but those, in addition to what I removed while digging up the grass, provided more than enough for the aesthetic aspect.

I did end up purchasing two wagon wheels from one of my favourite liquidation stores in Saskatoon. I had always wanted wagon wheels but had never really had an opportunity to use some. Lining the driveway with them provided me my first chance. I just love them!

I thought I had completed the project until a few weeks had passed and I noticed that weeds had started growing everywhere on the dirt. I spent an entire morning trying to weed the culverts but to no avail. I knew that I now needed to cover the dirt mounds with something- either gravel or mulch. I figured that mulch would be the quickest and least expensive of the two, and would still be really nice. Geoff purchased ten bags of mulch for me, and I set about spreading it. It was very easy, and smelled heavenly.

This project was a lot of fun to undertake. If you don’t like the way your culverts look, I highly suggest landscaping them!

Emory

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acreage renovation: wilder’s own room

This post could also be titled “turning a girl’s bedroom into a shared room and back into a boy’s room.” All within 6 months. Whew.

It all began here, when we made-over Remy’s room. We loved the results and they loved sharing a bedroom for the first time. Then just before the coronavirus hit, they both became extremely ill with pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, fevers, the flu, allergic reactions to medicine, and more. From January until March, it was two solid months of them being just so incredibly sick. As a result, Remy slept in our bed with me, and Wilder slept in their room with Geoff. We wanted to separate them at night so that they would stop passing their germs back and forth.

That was during the beginning stage of their room sharing. It was then that I was starting to doubt our decision to join their bedrooms. I thought, will I have to separate them each time they catch a cold or get sick? Then came COVID.

Aside from preschool and gymnastics ending, having to stay home 24/7 was not a big change for us. I already stay and work part-time from home. Having a four- and one-year-old meant that they also pretty much stayed home all of the time. Luckily, the weather was becoming nicer so we were able to spend more time outdoors. When we weren’t, we were playing inside. That’s when their fighting began.

Remy is still getting used to having to share her toys as Wilder is only now becoming interested in them. They are so close, loving, and gentle with one another, until it comes to toy-sharing. She was often playing in their room with her toys, and he would come in and grab them. Then she would get mad, tell him to leave, and close the door so he couldn’t get in. He would stand outside the door and bang on it. Because we couldn’t leave the house, it was driving Geoff and I insane. There were only so many times that we could break up the fights over toys, explaining to her that it is nice to share and that he has to be gentler with objects. Finally, and having a newly renovated guest bedroom, we decided to temporarily move her toys in there. That way, she could play in peace in a room by herself, and he could do the same in his.

It worked. They went back to not fighting at all, and our sanity was once again restored. Then Remy asked if she could sleep in the “big bed” at night. We agreed. One night turned into two, then three. Everything was going so smoothly that we quickly decided to make it a permanent move. The new guest bedroom would become her room, and their shared bedroom would become Wilder’s own room. We have not looked back since.

This is what Wilder’s bedroom now looks like. We did not have to modify much in order to turn it into a little boy’s room. We changed the rug, I purchased different curtains, and switched out the toys.

I also moved the crib from one wall to the other and hung his photos above the crib. I did end up buying a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sign, wood picture frames, and a shelf that I saw at the dollar store (of all places). The former is one of his favourite songs.

I put the little IKEA chair that was in the basement in his room, hung his “Wanted” poster that we got in BC, and made him a reading nook in the corner. He loves to read. The faux leather pillow I purchased here.

Finally, we bought him a pine shelf to replace the barn wood shelf that was originally in the room. It all suits him so well!

This parenting thing, you learn as you go along. Right?

Emory

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acreage renovation: new countertops

Before.

After.

So begins our kitchen renovation …

which is on hold until summer is over and we are finished tackling the outdoor projects. 😂 However, it’s a start (and a beautiful one at that)!

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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