buyer’s remorse….

spring is here, the sun is shining, and our back deck is FINISHED.  so naturally, i go shopping.  shopping for outdoor furniture.

not easy. not easy on a tight budget.

of course i started with the idea of upcycling some wooden pallets left in our backyard but then discovered my husband gave them away to a neighbor (who probably wanted to do the same thing).

then i scoured craigslist and ebay and didn’t come up with any alternatives.

so in an almost obsessive manner, i searched online.  after weeks of comparing prices and styles and debating (with myself), i was struggling between 2 sets. 2 completely different sets.

Ammero Collection

Strathwood Balboa Collection

IKEA or an AMAZON brand….hm……which one was going to last? which one was going to look good? which one was priced better?

welll, they were both priced about the same, it was the look & quality that stumped me.  we adore IKEA but acknowledge that outside of their kitchens, their furniture is pretty low-grade.  you get what you pay for.  the look of their new line of outdoor furniture is super cute, but is it super cheap too?  then i convinced myself that the cushions just didn’t look all that comfy.

so i settled with this brand on AMAZON, the strathwood balboa collection.  given that the frames are all wood and will age to a silvery gray, which is what i like, i figured if anything it’ll last longer.

so i placed the order.  3 armless chairs, 1 corner chair, 1 ottoman.

THEN…after i pressed ORDER, i started to regret the purchase.  how could i have purchased furniture online after not seeing it in person? what if it sucks? what if we don’t like it? do i have to disassemble everything and put them back in their original packaging? how am i going to do that?

i’ve never purchased furniture online before, never.  as much as i shop online, i’ve never purchased furniture that i have not seen in person.

now, 4 days later, i have these large boxes delivered from UPS sitting in my backyard waiting to be opened and pieces waiting to be assembled.

ugh…i hope this works out!


chicken coop part II


worked another full day on the coop and it really is almost done!

2 days so far and we got a lot accomplished. this has really become a wonderful family project with both kids enthusiastically helping with every step.


the kids and i painted the frame in a gray exterior primer. the plan is to paint over the primer in another color- actually just a different shade of gray. i just can’t decide which shade, so the coop will stay this primer gray for now, or forever depending on my motivation level.

silas exclaimed how much he ‘loves’ this color of gray and that we don’t need to paint over it. of course, he then added shortly afterwards that he didn’t want to spend another day painting because his arms and hands were too tired!

he does kinda take after me.


pokes spent quite a bit of time on the siding, which was the old wood flooring from our kitchen. the stack had been sitting under a tarp for a little over a year. surprisingly, the wood was in pretty good shape. he sanded and custom cut each piece and it looks fantastic. the overall appearance of the old wood gave the coop an old rustic charm and i even considered leaving it that way…but my overwhelming need for the coop to match the house overcame that moment of spontaneous creativity.
nesting boxes

to save space inside the coop, we decided to build out the nesting boxes. we’re only starting off with 3 little chickens but this way, we will have room in the inside for more down the road.
we used more salvaged wood from our house for 2 side by side boxes. each box measures 15″w x 15″h x 12″d. the top edge of the nesting boxes slopes downward so rain and debris won’t settle on the cover. it’s the perfect height for the kids to reach in….one day, we’ll have them fetch for fresh eggs! sounds so southern doesn’t it?
just a bit more painting…

we kept finding little places here and there to paint. painting over the course of 7 hours today felt like f-o-r-e-v-e-r….and we still have more to finish it up.
sweet zoe hung out all day and eagerly waited for every opportunity to paint. she even got to use the nail gun and drill with her dad…i stood back nervously watching.
silas contributed earlier in the day but he spent his afternoon watching star wars lego clips and making paper crafts inside the house. he created a 3-D paper house setting for the tom & jerry paper figures he drew and cut out. this kept him quite busy for a few hours.
he really does take after me.
coming soon….
build pop door and ramp
build coop door
trim out windows
enclose entire coop with metal hardware cloth
trim out frame
install corrugated aluminum roofing
add mulch and hay to floor and wood pellets in the coop
hand feeders and watering container
oh, and pick up the chicks and bring them home!

>stop looking at me!


ever feel like someone’s watching you?

well, i felt that way on our last family reunion bus trip through japan this past spring. bus tours are a preferred form of travel for my extended family when we get together for reunions. adults in front, kids in the back. i’ve been on countless bus tours with my family. now, we don’t go on organized bus tours with strangers. no. we get our own buses. that’s how large our family is. well, we never really needed the entire bus but the adults were conscientious enough not to subject strangers to a screaming group of 14 kids in a confined space.

our last trip to japan this past spring, my parents contracted a bus for our immediate family, 13 of us. it was a minibus, nothing fancy, no toilet, no movie, although there was a tv mounted sadly above the driver, no one thought to pop a dvd. the kids spent most of their time playing their nintendo dsis and the grown ups read, slept, talked, and ate.

i savored the time on the bus between stops as ‘me-time’. i had 2 seats to myself- none of the kids wanted to sit next to me, i guess i was too ‘boring’ for them 🙂

but i had this fellow with me….

what i’m in love with…

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