Angry Birds Birthday Party Creations

by Josh on January 26, 2012 · 2 comments

in Journal

Forgive me for not keeping you in the loop, Dear Reader, but 2012 is off to a whirlwind start. My family had a fantastic vacation in San Diego the first week of the year, which included touring a magnificent Arts and Crafts home, the Marston House. (Look for a collection of photos and recollections from […]


Hatching Monarch Butterflies at Home

by Josh on September 10, 2010 · 5 comments

in garden,Journal

My bungalow yard has suddenly become a terrific habitat for monarch butterflies thanks to an ideal tagteam between Mother Nature and me. Nature did her part by distributing milkweed seeds to my yard from nearby wetlands and then providing more precipitation than in recent years. My part was to take a lot of summer vacations […]


How Kids Learn Curse Words

by Josh on July 14, 2009 · 11 comments

in Journal

When a two-year-old child writes on your wood floors with a permanent marker, you can’t help but learn some lessons. But how long does it take to forget those lessons?  For me, forgetting took just long enough for my next child to become two years old.  While I was making his lunch on Saturday, my […]


Daddy and Me

by Josh on March 13, 2009 · 2 comments

in Journal

Although I don’t write about it much here, my responsibilities as a stay-at-home dad to two preschoolers are partly to blame for the slow progress I am making on my house projects.  But once in a while my worlds collide and I find ways to be both a DIYer and a dad.   On a […]


My First Urban Plan

by Josh on March 25, 2008 · 3 comments

in Ideas,Journal

Here’s what a fan of old houses, traditional neighborhoods, and urban design thinks is a fun activity to play with his 4-year-old: It’s My First Urban Plan(tm)! With just some wooden blocks, a few matchbox cars, some people toys, a flattened diaper box and some markers, you too can start designing your very own city. […]


Two-Year-Old Tagger

by Josh on April 22, 2006 · 4 comments

in Journal

Over the past few months, there has been a surge in graffiti vandalism in our neighborhood. We are fortunate that our property has not been tagged, particularly considering the difficulty of removing spray paint from brick, stucco and concrete. Unfortunately, our two-and-a-half-year-old son has been negatively influenced by the graffiti. What else could explain the […]


Play Dough

by Josh on February 12, 2006 · 3 comments

in Ideas

One of the most important secrets to home improvement is keeping the 2-year-old of the house occupied with activities that are not destructive. It is also nice to have those activities be inexpensive so that we can still afford home improvement projects. One of our favorite toddler diversions is homemade play dough. Besides being less […]


Playroom Shelves

by Josh on January 12, 2006 · 2 comments

in Basement,Projects

For our next restoration project, we’re tackling one of the upstairs bedrooms. It’s been serving as a playroom for our son and we hope someday it will become the bedroom for a second child. Before then we have a lot of old paint and wallpaper to strip, some windows to restore, and perhaps some insulation […]


The Two-Year-Old Was Here

by Josh on October 10, 2005 · 0 comments

in Gardens,Journal

Sometimes the forces of nature conspire to crush even your best plans for getting a little work done. As I’m learning, one of the most powerful of these forces is a two-year-old child. We had some great weather for early October in Minnesota this weekend. Bright sunny skies, dry crisp air, and comfortably cool temperatures […]