Tuesday, November 10, 2015

House Exterior Update

This is what our house has looked like up until recent days. Remember when I painted the front door magenta? That was way back in April! After that, Mitch bumped out around the door and attached the faux side-lights and things kinda came to a grinding hault. I suppose that's what happens when you work on/complete projects as you save up the money for them. It's been our dream to replace our siding, but we didn't think it was a possibility any time soon. Well we ended up having enough saved to complete the front of our house (which is $3k), so the front of the house is getting a makeover. Yay!!!

When thinking about what we wanted to do, we knew we wanted to beef up the insulation of our house. When our house was built back in 1980, they slapped it together using the cheapest materials. The exterior only had a 1/2" old style open-cell foam board on it that wasn't even taped at the seams. The open-cell board isn't nearly as effective as closed-cell so during the winter months, it was freezing cold in our house. And unfortunately our house is heated with baseboard heat (also, not so effective/energy efficient) which made our electric bill soar up to $350/month during the winter. And let me tell you--it wasn't even warm in our house. That just took the "chill" out of the air. We would sit on our couch bundled up in blankets in the evening if we wanted to hang out in the living room. Not fun. We were literally throwing money out the window (or walls/doors/ceiling, in our case). So the first thing to remedy that (or so we thought) was to replace our old windows. Long story short on that one, when/if you get new windows, make sure to research the company who makes the windows. Unfortunately the window company we bought ours off of does a subpar job at making windows (we literally could see daylight in every window where they were supposed to be sealed) and we've had major issues with them. The company did come out once to "fix" them (by adding some weather stripping), so we're hoping (but definitely not banking on) the windows will be okay this winter.

In the mean time, blown-in insulation was added in our attic, the foundation in the basement was sealed (with foam board/spray foam) and an insulation "box" was made around the door of our attic to help with heat loss. So we're definitely making our house more efficient. 

So, on to the siding. We knew we wanted to not only add additional foam board (and tape the seams this time!) but we also wanted to use James Hardie siding. I saw a picture of this rancher on Pinterest when researching Hardie products and immediately fell in love. The house is two-toned with Hardie shake siding on top and lap siding on the bottom. Super cute, right?

So I asked my friend if she could do a mock-up of our house with the same products, except ours would be white shakes on top with gray lap on the bottom. Here's what she came up with. 

We weren't 100% sold and since I couldn't find any other ranch-style houses with this two-tone look, we decided to play it safe and stick to a single siding choice. Then, we were going to go with an all-shake look, but in the end decided to go with board and batten, since the shake siding only came in specific colors. The board and batten will come primed and we'll paint it white to match the rest of the siding. For those who aren't familiar with the board and batten look, here are some images I pinned. 

Board and batten in the pitched portions here.

I just love the classic look. Plus, it's something that's not overdone. Especially here in Lancaster County. And if you've followed this blog long enough, you know how I love a unique look. Nothing cookie-cutter here (hence the pink door)!

We decided to use shakes for the portico part of the entrance, just to mix it up a bit. They'll still be white, but will add some texture.

Now that you have an idea of the direction we're going, this is where we're at right now. To save on cost, Mitch removed all the old siding, taped the old foam board, and is adding an additional 1" foam board on top. Then the contractor will come in and install the Hardie siding, which is a cement board siding that's about 1/2" thick itself. So the R value should be GREATLY improved with all the changes being made.

Below the bay of windows, we had that area done a couple years ago when the windows were put in. It's Azek material trimmed out. And we love it. There used to be old dingy vinyl siding there that looked terrible. We had those panels put on for a clean and simple look. Although, now I'm concerned about the insulation factor there, since foam board wasn't added at the time it was done. So not sure what we'll do about that yet.

We're also getting new gutters in the front and we're going to go with gray ones, with the hopes of redoing our roof in the near future. This little house here is big inspiration for the look. And yes, ours will be a metal standing seam roof as well:)

So that's what's up right now at the Hertzler house. People who drive past our house probably think we're crazy since there's always something going on here! Work is always done in stages. Ha. Oh well, we're getting closer!

What do you guys think? Can you catch our vision for our little white rancher? EEK! The siding will be installed next week so I'm really excited. Stay connected with the progress on Instagram and Facebook in between blog posts.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oh Hi!

Well hello there, friends! It's been a while. So long that as I'm typing this draft, things look really strange and different. Maybe Blogger changed things up while I was away? Who knows. Just wanted to pop in on this gorgeous fall Monday morning and let you know that we didn't indeed fall off the face of the earth. The Hertzlers are alive and well! Blogging has been put on a back burner these days, but have no fear, we're working on some fun things that I'll blog about here soon. Including but not limited to THE BOYS' BATHROOM and some changes to the exterior of our little white rancher. EEK!! Can't wait to show you guys what's up! But in the mean time, I'm blogging over on Mitch's company's website (remember he works for a local molasses company?) a few times a month. It's called goldenbarrel.com. Every Monday morning a new recipe is posted on their blog, so I'd love for you guys to check it out! Today I shared this yummy apple crumb muffin recipe that you need to try. Go here for the recipe.

But anyway, hope you all are enjoying these crisp fall days and I'll be back soon, I promise! In between posts, follow MLST on Instagram here.
Talk to ya soon,

Friday, July 31, 2015

Apparently I'm a Giveaway Champ...(Plus, Introducing Ol' Blue)

There's been a few changes made in our living room lately. First and foremost, we got a new couch. I say "new" but those of you who've been following MLST for any length of time, should know what that means... ;)

I got ol' Blue off the side of the road. It had a "free" sign on it. I even posted a picture on Facebook for you guys to weigh in on the matter: should I pull the trigger and pick her up? There were definitely mixed feelings about picking up a piece of furniture (upholstered furniture) off the side of the road. I myself had mixed feelings. But in the end, I pushed the negative feelings to the back of my head. And dove right in. Not literally. No way...this puppy needed a thorough cleaning first.

First, it sat outside in our driveway for several weeks (yes, that's what happens when you have 73 projects going on at the same time). Then Mitch and his dad took this puppy to the car wash. Yup, like the self-serve car wash. They sprayed it with the sudsy stuff first, then full blast on rinse. They rinsed it for a very long time. Then after all that, it sat outside for probably a couple more weeks, drying in the sun. I was still leery about bringing it into our house, so Mitch thoroughly cleaned it with an upholstery cleaner/vacuum. He seriously spent several hours cleaning it that second time. I have an awesome husband. This I know.

After that second thorough cleaning, I then felt pretty confident bringing it into our living room. And there it now sits. I will be honest with you--ol' Blue ain't the most comfy couch in the world, but it does the job. We really don't watch much tv, so we're not on it a whole lot. The back is kinda upright so there is a need for all those pillows that grace her.

It's definitely a burst of color in an otherwise pretty neutral room. I did switch out the rug (the leopard print and bright blue were not a good combo). Bringing in a neutral natural-fiber rug really balances out everything.

I recently picked up this wool ball garland from Sheep Farm Felt. I was able to customize the colors and I love the fun touch it brings to my mantel. 

And if you're observant, you'll notice I recovered our ottoman as well. The former brown fabric had seen better days. (The pillow on the far left, I won in a recent Instagram giveaway from Kate Marker Interiors. It's a Kelly Wearstler fabric and I think it fits right in with my pillow obsession collection.) 

I actually won the ottoman fabric from a giveaway hosted by Sherry Hart several years ago. What up, giveaways! I'll credit my lucky streak to my Irish heritage. :) I held on to the fabric for a couple years and finally think it found its perfect debut in my home.

I simply staple-gunned it right over the existing fabric. It was a pretty straight forward project that required no help from Mitch whatsoever! 

The candle and matches/holder were also part of the giveaway from Kate Marker.

And seriously, how cute is that little photobomber?

So, there ya go: our updated living room. If you hate the blue couch, don't worry--I'm sure I'll be mixing it up soon enough. But for now, it just adds a fun punch of color that fits our family right now. And, I mean really...it was free. So what about you guys--would you pick up a free couch alongside the road? 
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Interview with the Hertzler Boys - 2015

A few years ago, I thought it would be fun to make up some random questions and interview my boys. I asked each boy the questions separately and wrote down the first answer they gave me. It seemed like a fun way to get to know how they think and would make for some good memories to look back on for years to come. Just the other day, I brought up that post and sure enough had a good laugh.

Since Finn was only 10 months old at the time, he wasn't able to participate. I decided now that it has been 2 years, I wanted to ask them the same questions to compare how things have changed in their little worlds since then. Does Ryder still have aspirations to be an ice cream truck driver? Does Bryce still think that Santa Claus is the President? We'll find out and this time I can include Finn.

Once again, here are the subjects:

3 boys holding American flags

First, I started off with a few easy questions. 

The answers in parenthesis are their answers from 2 years ago.

1)  What is your favorite movie
  • Finn:   "Thomas" 
  • Bryce: "Penguins of Madagascar" (Cars) 
  • Ryder: "Night at the Museum" (Despicable Me)

2)  What is your favorite book?
  • Finn:   "Dreams" - no idea
  • Bryce: "The one that the mouse tries to hide" (Train) 
  • Ryder: "Can it be like the Berenstein Bears?" (The Berenstein Bears Computer Trouble)

3)  What is your favorite food?
  • Finn:    "Toast"
  • Bryce:  "Eggs" (Eggs) - the boy does love his eggs
  • Ryder:  "Cheeseburgers" (An apple) - like father, like son!

4)  What is your favorite animal?
  • Finn:   "Thomas"
  • Bryce:  "Oh, I think that might be, actually....Flash" - his toy stuffed hamster (Thomas)
  • Ryder:  "Tiger" (A lion)

5)  What is your favorite word?
  • Finn:    "um..play toys"
  • Bryce:  "Can I have some juice please?" (Flowers)
  • Ryder:  "Baseball" (My name)

6)  What is your favorite sport?
  • Finn:    "Baseball, Thomas, and Spongebob" 
  • Bryce:  "Baseball" (Baseball)
  • Ryder:  "Baseball" (Soccer)

7)  What is your favorite place to visit?
  • Finn:    "Going to the cabin"
  • Bryce:  "Nannan and Ma's" (Ma's) 
  • Ryder:  "Mom Mom and Pop Pop's" (Mom Mom and Pop Pop's)
Now for some harder and deeper questions.

8)  What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Finn:    "like Jesus" - wow, what an answer from a 2 year old
  • Bryce:  "A dad" (An animal) 
  • Ryder:  "A baseball player" (An ice cream truck driver)

9)  What is the best thing about your family?
  • Finn:    "Nothing"
  • Bryce:  "That I like to play with my mom" (Dessert
  • Ryder:  "That they sometimes play with me" (Watching movies together)

10)  Who is your best friend?
  • Finn:    "Dad" - ahhh, now that's a good answer
  • Bryce:  "Ethan and Hannah" (Ryder) 
  • Ryder:  "Ethan" (Ethan and Carter)

11)  What is the hardest thing about your life?
  • Finn:    "I don't know"
  • Bryce:  "Sin" (Picking flowers)
  • Ryder:  "My brothers are annoying" (Cleaning up)

12)  What 3 things would you take with you if you were stranded on an island?
  • Finn:    "I don't know, sand, and nothing"
  • Bryce:  "Blanket, pillow, and something to eat" (Thomas, a toy, and an animal)
  • Ryder:  "Food, water, and a baseball" (A boat, some food, and a bucket of water)

13)  What makes you happy?
  • Finn:    "God and Jesus. They don't fight, they care for us and say hi" 
  • Bryce:  "That Jesus rose again" (A birthday cake)
  • Ryder:  "My family" (Playing on Daddy's tablet)

14)  Who is the President of the USA?
  • Finn:    "Ryder"
  • Bryce:  "I don't really know, Jesus I guess" (Santa Claus
  • Ryder:  "George Washington... uh, no Barack Obama" (George Washington)

15)  Who is Jesus?
  • Finn:    "God "
  • Bryce:  "He is the One Who is really powerful" (God)
  • Ryder:  "Our Savior" (God)

16)  What is the best thing about summer?
  • Finn:    "Go to Christmas" - I don't think he understood the question
  • Bryce:  "That we get to swim in the pool" (Flowers)
  • Ryder:  "Vacation" (Going on vacation)

17)  How old will you be when you are 26?
  • Finn:    "3"
  • Bryce:  "30" (I can't know that) - Numbers aren't exactly his thing
  • Ryder:  "What? 26" (26)

18)  Do you like sharing a room with your brother?
  • Finn:    "Yes"
  • Bryce:  Big smile and head nod,  "Yeah" (Yeah)
  • Ryder:  "No" - Now has his own room (No)

19)  What do you think about girls?
  • Finn:   "Girls go to the Rec" - YMCA
  • Bryce:  "Nothing" (Toys)
  • Ryder:  Shoulder shrug, no response (giggles... um they like play with baby dolls and watch movies that are girly)
Right now there are more important things than girls like baseball, juice, and Thomas.

20)  What would you buy if you had a million dollars?
  • Finn:    "Money in my cup" - he then proceeds to go to his room to get his cup off his shelf  with his tokens inside it. 
  • Bryce:  "Probably like everything in every store" (A big basket full of cakes)
  • Ryder:  "A Wii, a baseball video game, a baseball bat, a baseball field, a pool, a new DS,  that's it" (The tablet that Mommy told me that was 7 inches tall)

Well I really enjoyed talking to my boys to find out how they think. As you can tell, Ryder has been pretty obsessed with baseball lately. He literally has watched the 2008 Phillies DVD "The Perfect Season" everyday for the past 2 weeks. Bryce seems to love Bible stories from church, VBS, and Awana and it shows in his answers. And Finn is a daddy's boy. Nothing wrong with that! :)

I would encourage everyone to do this with their kids. I know we hear it all the time that they grow up so fast. Well it is true. Being involved in their lives and learning about what they enjoy is a great way to build lasting relationships. God made them unique and gave us the responsibility to raise and care for them. Even if some (or most) days are chaos, let's cherish them while we can.

You can follow MLST on Instagram in between blog posts here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Hike

We went for a walk today

and I thought I'd bring my "real" camera along.

We saw lots of cool things, including an interesting box turtle making his way around the middle of the woods. Ryder discovered him when he almost stepped on him. 

After briefly researching when we came home, we learned that male box turtles have red eyes while females have yellowish-brown ones.

On our hike back, we tried looking for him, but he was gone. We nicknamed him "Speedy."

I know this picture of Finn is blurry, but I had to share it with you. It's a total reflection of his happy personality. This kid is always joking around and smiling. And the little stinker uses potty words (like literal potty words...not curse words) all the time...trying to break him of that. #raisingboysisnojoke 

And the bond that he and Bryce share is precious.

I can't believe how old Ryder looks in this picture (he'll be 8 in Sept.). He's loving all things baseball these days. He doesn't play on a team, but rather spends hours in our backyard with his Daddy hitting balls and working on his throws.

And this picture totally describes he and Bryce's relationship. Here Ry is laughing while Bryce fake cries. They are constantly egging each other on, but I know they'd be lost without the other.

I wrote this verse on our chalkboard the other day and we had a good discussion about it:

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"
~Psalm 133:1

These summer days can be long (and exhausting!), but I have to remind myself that these boys won't be little for very long either. So I'm trying to soak up these summer days with my three little guys. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

You can follow MLST on Instagram in between posts
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