Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

image here

It’s not just a hop, skip, and a jump away to the nearest neighbor out here in the country.  That’s why we never expected to get to know anybody… not in a real personal way.  So imagine our surprise when in the first week of moving in, we got not one, but TWO full-out dinner invitations (which we accepted).  For our family of eight, it’s no small feat having us over. 

When a neighbor saw our moving truck hurtling down the road, he and his son sped over on their bikes to help us unload. Another neighbor brought us a plate of home baked cookies, and another brought us a box of chocolates.  That sweet couple even brought a pen and paper to write down all the children’s names and ages so they wouldn’t forget.  

As someone who likes everything just so before inviting people in, it’s been a humbling experience for me.  Everyone wants to see the fixer upper in its “before” state.  Oh my!

I never expected how much this house would stretch me… physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.  I also never expected the blessings we would receive through the kindness of strangers we now call friends. 

Coming up for air


Last week, in no specific order (because there was absolutely no order), we:


-rerouted laundry plumbing to a new room

-tore up three rooms worth of carpeting


-replaced main drain line to septic field

-added three inch vent through the roof for new laundry line


-removed the old laundry room walls, pipes and hot water heater

-hardly slept

-showered much


-installed a new hot water heater

-ripped out a closet

-ripped up rotten flooring in foyer and old laundry room

-took out the old front door


-installed new front door


-laid new plywood over exposed floorboards

-tore off the living room’s ceiling tiles


-insulated two walls

-rewired and installed new porch lights

-ripped aluminum siding off front of house


-painted a bedroom

-painted a bookshelf

-uncovered some character (wood paneled walls and ceilings-yahoo!)


-met the nice neighbors…human and non


-were asked about a hundred times when we could get our own horse


-moved 90% of our belongings into the house

-wondered if we had officially lost our marbles

-filled a 17’ truck with construction debris (2.5 tons worth)

-bled a little

-sweat a lot

-cried a little

-cried some more


-and when it got too overwhelming

-we went outside


-enjoyed the views


-and counted it all joy


easyeleganceimage: Atlanta Bartlett

Closing is today… one week later than anticipated thanks to paperwork snafus.  We’ve been in strange limbo, staring at packed boxes lining our hallways and crowding our living space.  We’ll be renting out our current home until the housing market recovers (it will, it will!).  We have a couple weeks to transition our stuff over to the new place, which I’m counting as a major blessing.  I have lists upon lists which I can start crossing off now.  When those have dwindled down a bit, I’ll be back with some before shots of the interior of the fixer farmhouse.  I’m telling you, it’s bad.  But could be worse.  That’s my perspective anyway!  Here we go…

Old House Smell

Every time we’ve visited the new farmhouse, I’ve noticed a distinct old house smell about it…sort of like a damp basement.  I actually have an odd affinity to damp basement smell.  Alas, I know not everybody does.  Until we find the musty culprit and extinguish it, I’m going to have to cover it up somehow. 

Essential oils are one of my things.  They make me happy, and I like to experiment mixing them.   The process makes me feel all smart and chemist like. 

Today I made a home fragrance spritzer using a large assortment of oils.  It’s always interesting to me that each oil individually has a very powerful (and not always pleasant) scent, but blend them together, and the result can be clean, light and fresh.  

And that’s exactly what this spritzer conveys… clean, light, fresh.  I can’t wait to introduce it to the farmhouse (this week!).  It’s great on skin too… I’ve been using my children as testers.  Everyone smells delightful.  Here’s the recipe:



Essential Oils:
10 drops lavender
10 drops peppermint
10 drops orange
15 drops ylang-ylang
15 drops bergamot
15 drops rosemary

1 Tablespoon Vodka

1/2 cup distilled water


Step 1:
measure and pour vodka into glass spray bottle (I got this bottle at Whole Foods for about $3.00)


Step 2: drop in the essential oils


Step 3: cap the bottle and shake vigorously to combine


Step 4: measure and pour in the distilled water

Step 5: cap the bottle again, shake, and let sit for a few days, shaking periodically to infuse the oils


Step 6: spritz away

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