31 December 2016

Farewell 2016!

Keeping up with my annual tradition of looking back at the past year, mainly focusing on the good stuff and keeping a thankful heart.

So many people have disliked 2016 and are eager to see the back of it - and while I was recently chatting with someone who mentioned about how difficult this year has been for us, especially in the area of my family's health, I realised that without the amazing medical treatments available these days, we would not have had the life saving surgeries and treatments that we are blessed to have to keep our precious family together.

So in my eyes, despite the difficult times that we've seen in 2016, there have been some... actually many amazing moments.  We are so thankful for so much - so here's my farewell to a great year, a year that was so much like a roller coaster ride.  I am looking forward to what 2017 holds!

This year held a lot of Change with my eldest finishing his last year at school, miraculously getting full time work with an amazing company the day after he finished school, a first car and drivers licence.  Woah - they say time goes fast and it sure has!

It's been a year of random pets, with some not quite working out as planned (ie. the pet frogs eating each other - seriously, who knew that frogs did that!!??!!).  We've moved from pet frogs to axolotls to tropical fish.  So much for my "only 1 dog and 1 cat" house rule.

My eldest girl and I went on an awesome Big Weekend Away (Number 3) adventure together at the start of this year.  It was so much fun, and with only 1 girl left in the family to plan one of these adventures for, I might make up an excuse to do this more (just for fun) in the future.  The boys and I have been talking about a "Mum 'N Sons" road trip one day.  I'm so keen.

A lot of medical stuff happened this year beginning with Symon's Knee Surgery (that hasn't seemed to work!), plus so many other family members having surgeries and treatments this past year.  I don't want to go into details in this space, but I'm praying that 2017 will be a year of miracles and good results!

Other adventures this year  included the fact Symon & I Celebrated 20 years married!, Symon and my eldest boy going on a mission trip to Fiji with our church and my parents taking our whole family on a Gold Coast Family Holiday - best adventure ever!!

Sadly, there hasn't been too much making this year, but when I look down the page a bit at our renovation adventures, you can understand why!  This year, the main creations were my White Retro Granny Square Blanket, a couple of softies and a Slouchy Beanie.  I love my blanket!!!  I'm still working on a mustard granny square blanket, which will hopefully be finished in 2017!!

Although someone else made these, I want to include them in the awesome 'makings' of 2016. Chelsea Mae drew a beautiful portrait of our family and also did this Upcycled Art for us.  Love her work!

Another favourite thing made this year was our son Jasher's Real-Life Street Fighter video (and I'm also loving his mate's Isaiah's vlogs here).

For some reason, this year felt extremely busy and stressful, then on looking back at what we've been up to I realised we have fully renovated 5 rooms (not including fixing up another and doing a lot of landscaping)!!!  No wonder we feel exhausted.  Pretty awesome to look back and see the progress so far.

Renovations completed this year included...

Laundry Reno

I realised I've hardly shared any recipes this year - but then I remembered I didn't have a kitchen for half of the year, so it all made sense.  These things were still yum though... Easy SalsaFavourite Lemon RecipesSimple MeringuesEasy Christmas Treats.

Lessons Learned
Quite a bit of pondering has been happening during the year.  I've written a few blog posts for our church site, as well as learning lessons while on adventures to the farm and wondering why I'm always Hanging out for the Weekends.

Even if your year was a complete disaster, if you come away with some lessons learned, nothing is wasted.

So here's to 2016 - a year of learning... learning to trust God when things seem a bit crazy, learning to foster hope, learning to forgive, learning to enjoy the season my family is in, learning to push through when renovations seem too overwhelming or situations seem too hard.  Learning is good right?

I am ending this year with a thankful heart - thankful for precious friends and family and an amazing God.

Happy New Year to you all and may it be an amazing one! xKristy

To check out past Year in Review posts, click here.

28 December 2016

Our Kitchen Renovation

After nearly 6 months of a major renovation roller coaster ride I am sooooooo excited to say that we have finally finished our kitchen makeover!!

Out of all of our renovation projects in the 3 houses we've revamped, this was definitely the hardest one we've tackled - and yes there were tears!  Apart from Symon only having time to work on it on his days off, the major issue was trying to refit and revamp a second hand kitchen into our space (last time it seemed to work fine!).  We wanted to try to save money, so found one online with a lovely granite bench top and great appliances.  A couple of breaks in the bench top (and replaced appliances) later we realised that this little project was going to be a rather big one.

This whole kitchen felt like a giant problem solving adventure with issues at nearly every turn, and the final product is not quite what we set out to achieve... but I can honestly say that I absolutely love it.

When I look at my fondly named "Scandi Wooden Kitchen", I don't just see an amazing space that I love cooking and entertaining in, but I see the hard work, the tears and the tonne of love that my amazing guy put into this space.

I'm so excited to be able to share our before and after photos - they never quite portray the true difference, but I'm sure you'll get the idea.

Here we go...

The original kitchen space consisted of a kitchen area that was closed in by a corner pantry and false wall where the fridge and a shelf sat.  Our first goal was to remove this false wall (after checking that it wasn't structural of course) and allow the natural light to flow through to the rest of the house. 

Symon was just itching to knock out this false wall and pantry from the moment we bought this house... but I made him wait right up until after he had recovered from his knee surgery in April, then finally released the Kraken!

You can see the pure joy in his face....

And the demo didn't stop there... lots of things got ripped right out.  It made me appreciate floors, kitchen benches, taps and sinks so much not having things like that for quite a few months...

But we got there.  With every obstacle we kept pushing forward and promising not to give up - and we finished (when I say we, I hardly did much apart from the odd bit of painting and styling... Symon is definitely the hero in this story).



Note our black floors - a bit daring but I love them. We needed something to contrast the wooden cabinets and I'm in love!

The other side of the kitchen area was originally the dining room, but as we wanted to convert the third lounge (I know that sounds weird, but this old bungalow had 3!) into a dining room and we needed the extra space for cupboards, we wanted to utilise the low-set folding windows into something unique. Originally we wondered if a nook style seating area would be fun, but then had the genius idea to turn the windows into a cafe bench space.  I did wonder if putting a slab of wood across windows was too strange, but after a bit of research, discovered it wasn't too strange at all - so many cafes do it, so why couldn't we!?!

This would have to be my most favourite spot in the house.  As you sit in this space you can feel the stress melting away.  I love it - best idea ever!!!



And our pantry and fridge sit on the other side of this space...

I love the openness in this space now that the wall has been removed and also the ceilings painted...





So, I'm in love with this space!  I love it's openness, the black floors, the photo wall that reminds me of the adventures our family has had in the past year and our amazing family and friends.  I love love love the window cafe bench, my coffee island and the wooden cabinetry.  

Most of all I love my guy who kept persevering even when we both realised that we made a bad decision buying this kitchen.  I love that with every single problem that came up (and believe me, there were many) he kept on problem solving and persevering when most people would have given up. 

I especially love that in the eleventh hour (right before family arrived to spend Christmas at our house), when I broke one of the cabinet drawers he stayed up late on Christmas Eve fixing it and told me he still loved me to bits, even though I have broken an awful lot of things this year.

I seriously love and appreciate this guy.

Next renovation on the list is the dining room - but I'm going to make sure we have a good break in between!

Room Details:

Walls = Dulux Half Haast with Okarito ceiling and trims.
Floors = Amazing black floors by Ed's Floor Sanding in Whangarei
Accessories = Wooden slab for cafe bar sourced locally at The Renovation Warehouse, Concrete/wooden Light shades from Bunnings, chrome inset lights from Mitre 10 (on special for $6 each).  Coffee Wall art from Trademe, Green rabbits from Junk & Disorderly, Blinds ordered online from Easy Blinds (super great price), photos printed via Social Print Studio, faux skin rug from Kmart.

To see more/all of our renovations, click here.

27 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas has been full of family, faith, food and fun - and as always has been super special.

On Christmas morning, our family woke and opened presents together before heading to church. The last couple of years the children have excitedly bought presents for each other with their own pocket money, and it's so lovely to see Christmas not just about what they receive, but watching with excitement as others open gifts they have thoughtfully purchased for each other and us...

Star Wars lightsabers may also have been discovered under the Christmas tree this year...

Church was beautiful, and followed by Christmas lunch with my parents.  My Dad was given a BBQ pizza oven by mum for Christmas so we made our own gourmet pizzas for lunch which was so much fun.

Symon and I designed my Dad his own website for his Christmas present to display his photography. I love my dad's photos - he has an eclectic mix of rusty old sheds and vehicles, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, photos of various people with amazing stories to tell and it was sad having them tucked away for no one to see.  He loves it and I can't wait to see more of his photos added over time.  Check it out here: www.laurielangridge.com.

In the afternoon, we came home to start to set up for hosting the Drake family Christmas on Boxing Day at our place.  Thankfully we finished the kitchen just in time (post coming soon - I promise!).

I made sure to catch the Queen's Christmas message this year and it was beautiful...

Boxing Day Christmas was awesome - I especially love watching the little ones opening their gifts. Children definitely make Christmas!

I'm so thankful for family - it's been a rather crazy year and rather tough for many in our family, but when I think about how much we have to be thankful for, I am overwhelmed.

Merry Christmas everyone, and thank you Jesus for coming to earth so save us from our sins, to give us a hope and a future.  Happy Birthday Jesus.

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