home sweet home, a mansion it ain't

A couple days ago my six year old Brienne, out of the blue, had this to say: "mama, we don't have a mansion-y house but we sure do have a beautiful garden".


Out of the mouths of babes (missing her two top front teeth I'd like to add - so cute).

I write this blog to share all the beauty in my life. The blessings of raising a family and making a home. But it isn't all raspberries and sweet thrifty finds.

Our home is 70 years old and has been in a state of "being worked on" from the day we signed the papers. But because we value activity and adventure outdoors as a family, homeschooling, cooking and eating healthy, and building relationships in our community working on the house has to fit in with all those time consuming endeavors and not take precedence over them. I suppose we wouldn't need the time if we could just hire out the work but we don't believe in consumer debt so financing home renovations is not an option. Unfortunately it feels we have as little time as we do money!

In keeping with these thoughts and to show you a more realistic picture of my life I'd like to share the following photos. These are things I look at daily and have learned to accept... until we have both the time and money to work on them.

this paneling runs all through our stairs and hallway
this paneling runs all through our stairs and hallway
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lovely paneling in front & side entry
lovely paneling in front & side entry
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unfinished woodwork and radiator in kitchen
unfinished woodwork and radiator in kitchen
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the cracked plaster in the girls room - awaiting patching and painting
the cracked plaster in the girls room - awaiting patching and painting
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a corner of the bathroom door
a corner of the bathroom door
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velvet flocked wallpaper in our bedroom
velvet flocked wallpaper in our bedroom
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But I'd like to end on this thought, in keeping with my daughter's comments "we don't have a mansion-y house but my husband has a five minute walk to work, we feast on local fruits and vegetables all summer and our larder is never empty, we share lots of time together as a family and open our home to both friends and strangers and yes we do have a beautiful garden.


Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • SavvyChristine

    SavvyChristine on July 17, 2009, 7:10 p.m.

    You mean you didn't want to keep that lovely, flowery orange and yellow 70s wallpaper in the bathroom? I am shocked. SHOCKED!

    "Our larder is never empty" -- definitely a sign of a happy home. :)

    SavvyChristine's last blog post... Clean Out That File Cabinet

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  • Kika

    Kika on July 17, 2009, 7:26 p.m.

    Renee, I am so please to have found your blog. I'd love to meet you in person; wish you were my neighboor:) As I was walking yesterday, and contemplating your summer-schedule post, I had this (obvious?!) realization: that I'm always trying to stretch the hours and days to cram in all the wonderful learning opportunities I want us to have. It doesn't work. So the realization was that I need simply to structure in my learning blocks and fit in whatever will fit within that time and let the rest go. For a recovering perfectionist, lover of planning and order, this is a challenge for me. But I literally breathed a sigh of relief when that thought came to me so loud and clear. I've always a felt a pressure to perform and yet when I give in to that I lose the joy of learning and family and life in general. I no longer want to lose lazy days of talking, walking, nature hikes, painting, reading, coffees with friends, whatever... because I'm so driven to complete my lists of things to do, or my school plans. Aaaaaah! I'm breathing easier as I write this (not really - I have so much learning to do!) Anyways, your posts are helping me "find my way" and I want you to know that.

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  • steadymom

    steadymom on July 18, 2009, 12:27 a.m.

    We live in a 85-year-old New England home, so I can relate to much of what you're saying. After three years of being here, and slowly doing the work over time, it's really getting there! It is our dream home, and I think we love it even more for having put the work into it.

    Jamie

    steadymom's last blog post... The Little Red Hen Revisited

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  • Jenn

    Jenn on July 18, 2009, 12:31 a.m.

    uh...you have a "mansion-y" house in our eyes...your home is huge and beautiful! ours is a tiny little trailer. :0) what i'd give for a little more room...but like you, i see my blessings and we make do.

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  • kyndale

    kyndale on July 18, 2009, 2:03 a.m.

    We don't have a mansion-y house either. Sometimes I fret about it...But I stop and realize it's not really important. I am blessed with three beautiful children, a husband, a beautiful garden (like you) and...life is good.

    P.S. I think your house is beautiful even with the fixes that need to be done.

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  • Ellen

    Ellen on July 18, 2009, 5:29 a.m.

    I've read that flocked wallpaper is making a comeback (seriously!) And I love that grooviness you have going on in the bathroom ;)

    I also love your daughter's perspective.

    Ellen's last blog post... The story of a stove

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  • Sandy

    Sandy on July 18, 2009, 2:21 p.m.

    You have your priorities just right. Family, food, garden, house...

    Did you find any blueberries yet? The tall bushes aren't doing much yet, but the small bushes are loaded right now.

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    • renee

      renee on July 19, 2009, 12:14 p.m.

      We haven't been out in the right areas to look. I hope to see some today. But we did pick black raspberries at Damien's co-workers this weekend. Oh my goodness, those are one tough berry, or I should say the canes are. The patch hasn't been pruned (I offered to help for next year) and I came away with a load of scratches. I'm not sure who won the canes or me.

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  • Andie

    Andie on July 18, 2009, 3:56 p.m.

    Aww, I loved reading this. The very same thoughts have been in my head lately. Your home, your garden, your family, YOU are so very beautiful.

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  • Rachel

    Rachel on July 19, 2009, 4:40 a.m.

    That is what I hope my little girl will say about our house.

    I really like that flocked wallpaper! I think it would look great in my bedroom. Too bad we can't trade walls.

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  • renee

    renee on July 19, 2009, 12:27 p.m.

    All of your comments everyone, in response to this post have been very kind. I think the way we see our own homes is different than the way other's see them. I see unfinished corners and works-in-progress everywhere and other's see the meals I prepare for them, the kindness & enthusiasm of my kiddos, the beautiful flowers when they walk in the front door. I think I need a fresh pair of eyes sometimes.

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  • Alicia

    Alicia on July 19, 2009, 10:15 p.m.

    Sounds way better than a mansion-y house!

    And thanks for your comments on my banners the other day! I didn't end up going with either of the ones I posted... but I think the one I ended up with fits. (at least for now!) Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

    Alicia's last blog post... Photography Website

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  • nicola

    nicola on July 20, 2009, 2:26 p.m.

    ohhhhh, yes! i love your home. what old character! our home has similar anti-eye candy. cracks, peeling paint, missing trim. we even have a huge hole in our hallway where the old heater was removed and we have not yet (over a year later) put a built in cabinet. these things take SO much time. but do look at all you have done. for christmas, i made mike a before/after photo album of our home. we accomplished SO much in the time we have owned it, plus we have had 2 children and both of us were employed outside the home much of that time! nicola http://whichname.blogspot.com

    nicola's last blog post... monday

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  • Jakki

    Jakki on July 20, 2009, 6:02 p.m.

    No matter what...I always seem to have a full house...and its not a big house. My home is smallish to mid size but its got a lot of love to welcome everyone in and a lot of warmth that when you leave, you want to come back. I love that and I wouldnt and couldnt imagine it any other way. Here's to homes not just being a house....

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