When I knew I was going to be leaving the classroom at the end of last school year, I discovered that there was lots of work to be done...starting with cleaning out 13 years of teaching supplies from my classroom.
I was moving from a room that housed myself, over twenty children at any given time, and years and years of classroom materials, personal belongings, and random items I had kept "just in case".
As I mentioned in my blog post on Monday...usually, "just in case" never came.
I started the process of getting my room emptied just as soon as school was out.
I boxed up.
And I even sold a few items.
By the end of June, all that was left was a pile of tubs in the middle of the room that needed to be moved down to my new office.
On the afternoon of June 29th, I started the process of transforming my new office into my own.
I started to think of my office in terms of the "zones" I would need to have.
With these goals in mind, I started the process of going through every single drawer and shelf in the office.
After I had been through every piece of paper and book in the office, I started to organize what was there.
Finally, I decided what items I would keep from my tubs and sent the rest home or to the donate pile.
When my systems were clear, I was ready to decorate.
Armed with my clearance finds from Hobby Lobby and Big Lots, the transformation was complete.
So without further ado...here's my farmhouse office.
The new position has been all I had dreamed of and more.
I'm so thankful for God's providence and guidance over the last several years to bring me to the place I am right now.
Happy Sunday night from the farmhouse, friends.
When we moved into the farmhouse, the upstairs consisted of one bedroom and an open loft area.
The whole upstairs is in a plus-sign shape, so there was the potential for three smaller "rooms".
We needed one more bedroom to give the girls each their own rooms, so we will finally build a wall in the next few weeks to give Harlee some privacy. We also added a bathroom, so the girls could have their own bathroom up there.
The leftover loft space became our farmhouse playroom.
And now....the moment you've all been waiting for...the Room Reveal for our Farmhouse Playroom.
To be quite honest, this room has already evolved a bit since we moved in last July.
We had originally planned to have the Barbies and doll clothes housed upstairs, but with the older two girls having bedrooms up there and our three-year-old downstairs, that setup just didn't make sense anymore.
So we moved the Barbie house downstairs to Mattie's bedroom and made the playroom a little more functional for the preteens.
For nine years at the old house, we tried to carve out a place for the girls to relax that was "their own".
First, we had a nursery in one bedroom and a playroom in the other.
When we brought Baby #2 home, the playroom got changed into a "big girl bedroom" for Baby #1 and the toys stayed in there.
We put the girls together eventually and moved the playroom to where the nursery had originally been.
When Baby #3 came home, the playroom became a nursery/playroom combo.
Before we moved out here to the farmhouse, we even tried to put all three girls in one room to sleep and have the toys and desks in the other.
It just never worked out quite like we had pictured.
The farmhouse playroom is all I had ever hoped for.
It sits opposite the new bathroom, with the older girls' bedrooms on either side.
When Harlee's wall is complete and the new bathroom has a door, I will do a walk-through of the whole upstairs.
Can't wait to share it with you SOON!
Happy Sunny Saturday from the Farmhouse, friends!
Mr. Farmhouse has been working tirelessly in all of his spare time to get the girls a second bathroom.
We paid a buddy of ours to do the rough-in work and plumbing (thanks, Brent!), but Mr. Farmhouse decided he could finish the rest out himself.
With lots of help from our dads, we have finished the sheetrock, cement board for the tile, and wiring.
Next up is paint,
then putting in the vanity & sink,
finishing the accent wall with barn wood & metal from the barn that is lying beside our house,
the tile work,
and installing the toilet & plumbing fixtures.
A little over a year ago, we decided to take the plunge and buy an older car and sell our loaded Yukon to get out of debt faster.
We found a 2004 Bonneville at our local car lot and named him “Dave”.
Dave was great.
He was a one-owner vehicle that had mainly been driven on the highway back and forth to the city each day.
He had leather seats and enough room in the backseat that the girls wouldn’t be completely squished when we drove anywhere.
We were giving up heated seats that worked, a DVD player, and lots more room in the name of better gas mileage and debt-reduction.
The Yukon didn’t sell right away, so it sat in our driveway for a few weeks.
This was just enough time for us to realize that Dave had some problems.
When I was driving to work, about the time I hit 60 mph, Dave would start shaking uncontrollably. To fix this problem, I drove 59 for a few weeks. By that time, we were able to afford a few new tires and that seemed to help.
A week or two after that, Dave started having some transmission issues. So we took him to the mechanic’s shop.
Thank goodness we still had the Yukon.
By this time, it was almost comical that we had two vehicles to care for and no less debt than we started with. So as sort of a joke, I named the Yukon “Ramsey”.
We got Dave up and running again, $421 later.
So I listed Ramsey for sale again on Facebook.
I didn’t drive Ramsey for a few weeks, until I needed it to haul a piece of furniture out to the new house.
I started Ramsey’s engine in late June, and realized that something was wrong with his air-conditioning.
So I took down the “for sale” listing and we made an appointment to have the air conditioning fixed.
The AC just needed a charge. Only $125.
After getting that taken care of and using Ramsey to haul things out to the farmhouse when we moved, Mr. Farmhouse and I decided it was time to tell Ramsey goodbye forever and start driving Dave full time.
By the time school started, I had been driving Dave again for a few weeks.
We were going to take Ramsey to CarMax and get rid of him once and for all over one weekend in late-August.
That Friday, Dave started making a funny noise on the way to school. The RPMs would fly up and I started to feel a catch when I tried to accelerated.
It got worse and worse.
So back to the shop with Dave.
We put the sale of Ramsey on hold...again.
I got used to driving Ramsey again. The girls got used to having the DVD player again. I got used to the heated seats when my lower back was bothering me at the beginning of the school year.
And then one morning, I pushed the button to open the back hatch and it didn't work.
Come on, Ramsey!
Sure enough, something was wrong in the power lift gate and we needed to take it in to the shop to get it fixed.
But Dave was in the shop.
So we would just live with it.
At this point, we have figured out that Dave is probably not worth the money we paid for him and the Ramsey is probably not going to get sold either.
We'll just cut our losses, use the debt snowball to pay Ramsey off soon, and drive them both until they physically die.
Last weekend, the girls had a few friends in Ramsey with us as we drove to a volleyball tournament.
Now that we live on gravel, neither vehicle is ever clean.
I pushed the button to spray windshield washer fluid on the back glass and the two girls in the third row seat started saying, "What is that? Something is dripping! I'm getting wet!"
Sure enough...somehow the windshield wiper fluid was spraying into the backseat.
I made a mental note to have Mr. Farmhouse check that little situation out after church the next day.
Several minutes later, I accidentally hit that button again as we were driving down the road.
But no water this time.
Instead, I heard the familiar click and warning sound that the back hatch was opening.
The windshield wiper fluid button had made the power lift gate unlatch.
I admit, I laughed.
What else do you do?
So it seems Dave and Ramsey will both be in the Newkirk family 'til death do us part.
Over the last several years, we have tried to dig ourselves out of debt.
Last year, we bought a 2004 Bonneville (named Dave) and planned to sell our loaded GMC Yukon.
The Yukon didn't sell right away.
Then the Bonneville started having some issues and a few times over the last year, I've had to resort to driving the Yukon again. We have now named the Yukon "Ramsey".
"Dave" was out of commission for a little while...needing some work that ended up costing us just shy of $500.
"Ramsey" needed some work on the air conditioner.
As in, we had no AC. During the hottest three weeks of summer.
We were driving the loaded Yukon with the windows down, on gravel...sweating our behinds off, trying to wait to get the air conditioning fixed until we closed on the house.
Eventually, we bit the bullet and got it fixed.
Just in time for us to start driving "Dave" again.
ANYway, I thought it might be a time for a little update on the ol' debt snowball.
We have had to make LOTS of changes and additions and deletions from the snowball over the last year, with changes to our income and our expenses.
With the sale of the old house finally going through last week, I was able to do some extra work on the budget and get the snowball set back up with all of our new information in there.
When we decided to buy the farmhouse instead of buying land and building, the debt snowball began to roll much more quickly!
As of right now, with NO extra payments, except the snowball we have already started, we'll be debt-free, including the house in eight years.
Even if we stick to this exact plan and don't pay any extra on the snowball, Harlee will be barely graduated from high school and we will be debt-free.
I'm telling you...the snowball works.
With some planning and self-control, you too could be debt-free.
If you're interested in hearing more about how the Newkirks "tell our money where to go", keep an eye on the blog in the next few weeks.
You might remember the first night we slept in the farmhouse, we unrolled and unveiled our mattress-in-a-box that we purchased on Amazon.
We also purchased a foundation on Amazon...spending just $417 total for the whole set.
As of last night, we have slept on the bed for a full two weeks, not counting the nights we spent at the lake.
I think we have had it long enough to say with confidence that we could not be more happy.
On our old mattress (that was 34 years old, mind you), we both had back problems. We hurt often and didn't always wake up feeling refreshed.
The first few nights of sleeping on a 12-inch memory foam mattress, I wasn't too sure.
It was quite a bit firmer than I expected and I woke up feeling a little sore on the first two mornings.
However, I also slept all night on both of those nights.
That hardly ever happened with our old mattress.
This week at the lake, I was up every single night for hours...tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position in which to sleep.
We came home last night and Ilanded in bed not feeling well fairly early.
I have to tell you...I slept all night (minus the 10 minutes at 3:30 a.m. that Mattie woke up and needed me to help her find her blankie).
I still don't feel great this morning, but this mattress provided the restful night I needed.
So as an update to the mattress-in-a-box post a few weeks ago.
We highly recommend it. ❤️?❤️
Three days ago, we took early occupancy of the farmhouse.
We almost have a new address.
The farmhouse almost belongs to us.
We will officially close at the end of next week.
Our seller allowed us to come on in and start painting and prepping for the big move.
It's almost time to pack up the last little bit of our belongings from the home we've known for the last eleven years and move them to our new home.
I can't wait until the painter's tape is pulled off and we see the finished product!
Very, very soon, we will sleep for the very first time in Farmhouse 654.
During the process of searching for a home, finding a home, and planning to move into a different home, I have been thinking about several projects that I would like to do at the farmhouse.
A few of these could be completed here at our current home, while we wait to get moved in!
I started today with a project for the top of the stairwell.
When you walk down the stairs, there is a big wall at the farmhouse that you will see. I thought about doing a gallery wall there, but decided instead to do one big canvas print.
Canvas images are expensive, in case you didn't know...so I decided to create my own!
I decided I wanted the girls to have a reminder of the house they have spent the last several years in as they walked down the stairs every morning.
So one night, I had them put on some matchy-match clothes and run out to the corral to try and snap a photo...with my iPhone.
I should really use my big, fancy camera more often when photographing my own children, but the phone is just so convenient.
With Mr. Farmhouse's help, we got a photograph of the girls all three looking at me, with our cows in the background.
I only had to do a little Photoshop work because in the original picture, Mattie's arm was at a really unnatural angle. I just grabbed her arm from another photo and put it on her body.
Here is the image we ended up with from the hundreds we took that night.
And then...I put the gift-wrapping skills that I learned from Grandma Stephens when I was little to good use.
I stapled the two sides up over the frame to start and then did the top and bottom, pulling it tight as I put in each staple.
Admittedly, the iPhone picture was a tiny bit pixelated as a 36" x 48" print (which is to be expected, I suppose).
However, a photo wall-hanging for $37.50, as opposed to the $150-200 that could easily be spent on large canvas wall art is okay with me!
Sometimes you can't go back to sleep after tucking the three-year-old back into bed at 4:45 a.m.
So you decide to do some online window shopping on Hobby Lobby's website.
Sometimes you accidentally put some items in your cart.
And enter your shipping information.
And your payment information.
Sometimes your online window shopping turns into actual online shopping.
I had a plan.
I was going to do a thing.
I was going to BUILD MY OWN FARMHOUSE TABLE for the new house.
I had pinned all kinds of plans.
I had measured and sketched and figured.
I had called and priced lumber.
I was ready.
I was going to build a farmhouse table for like $175. Amazing.
And then, I thought I would just check and make sure I couldn't find one for that price online.
I checked all over the Internet and NOPE, turns out $175 is the best price for the masterpiece I had planned!
I hopped onto Craiglist last weekend just to do a little browsing of any farmhouse tables that might have been around the Greater KC area in the last few months. Just looking for some ideas...some inspiration.
That's when I found it.