Category Archives: Our Home

Spring Cleaning – Week 1

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Spring has sprung. Trees and flowers are blooming, the grass is beginning to green, and my allergies are driving me nuts! I seriously feel a sneeze coming on as I type these words. Yes, Spring has definitely arrived.

When the weather starts to change, and it’s nice outside, we love to throw open our back patio door… aaannd maybe open some windows. And just feel the breeze float through the house. It freshens everything up, and the dogs love the fact that they can bounce from inside to outside without anything stopping them. I love it. But there is one thing that I’m not a big fan of… the dust! Oy, you would think we lived in Oklahoma or something. Those breezes that pass through the house are dirty and definitely leave their mark throughout the house. I really don’t mind, but this exact routine always makes me think about cleaning. Deep cleaning. Spring cleaning.

And hence my list! As you may have read from my last post, I was a list makin’ fool this weekend. Among many of my To-Do’s was “Spring Cleaning.” Instead of listing everything that pertained to “Spring Cleaning,” I decided I would just take it as I went (ya know, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself). So logically thinking, I figured if I did a little here and a little there over the next few weeks, I will have completed every possible entity of “Spring Cleaning” and maybe ever without getting overwhelmed. Because let’s face it. Spring Cleaning can be prettyyyy daunting. Especially when you have a million other things on your To-Do list. Ladies and Gentleman… prepare yourself for BEAST MODE. Duhn duhn duuuuhhhhhnnnnnnnnn!

Spring Cleaning Week 1

Okay, so here’s the plan. I  am going to clean little by little…focusing only on my weekly goal each week.  For this week, my Spring Cleaning goal is bedrooms.  This may be easier for me than many, as we do not own a McMansion.  Or half of a McMansion.  Or a quarter McMansion.  This makes my goal much, much, much more doable.  We have three bedrooms – our master bedroom plus two others.  See, very realistic.  So here’s the plan.  I am going to deep clean each of these babies.  Here’s my game plan:

Tackle the time-consuming cleaning projects on the weekend, and try to keep the momentum during week-nights after I get home from work.

Seems simple, doesn’t? Well, we will see.

Now insert the wonderful world of Pinteret and all the super cool people out there who blog about Home Improvement and daunting cleaning tasks.  I found a TON of information from bloggers out there.  Some cleaning tutorials made me squirm.  Some cleaning tutorials made me gag.  But they all encouraged me to hop onto the cleaning train. Um, choo choo?

Anyways, here is a list I have compiled for this week’s scrub down.  Most tasks are clickable, and will take you to a super cool, super informative blog that gives you the low down.  For this weekend I tackled the time-consuming projects like freshening the mattresses, washing sheets, and washing allllllllllll of our pillows (this literally takes like a million years, but soooo worth it!).  Of course, since my bed was going to be oh-so-clean I HAD to clean that dusty ole ceiling fan hanging over it… I mean I was not going to go to all of that trouble cleaning the mattress, sheets and duvet just to wipe a bunch of dust on it later on in the week.  Just didn’t seem right, does it?  So I got that out-of-the-way as soon as I stripped my bed.  Aaaaaaaand, since we have two windows on each side of the bed, I figured I should dust those blinds while I was at it.  So I knocked that out as well.  See where I’m going with this?  I basically started right in the middle of the bedroom and worked my way out in various ways.  Strip bed, wash sheets and duvet cover, dust ceiling fan and blinds on windows, dust light fixtures/lamps/night stands, freshen bed and then start the pillows.

People, please freshen your mattress and wash your pillows (you’re supposed to do that 3 times a year…did you know that?)…. I slept like a little baby last night.

Okay, Okay, Okay. THE LIST:

Spring Cleaning – Week 1 (Bedrooms)

Oh. My.  That was exhausting.  Yikes, if typing the list took that much energy…how am I going to finish what I have already started?  Oh yeah, BEAST MODE.  Bring it on, dust bunnies.

 

Stumble It!

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Spring Fever

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It’s happening.  You know what I am referring to.  The weather…it’s warmer.  The sun.. it’s shinier.  (don’t judge me, that’s totally a real word)

It’s SPRING, and I love it!  Today was absolutely beautiful… the temperature got up to about 80 degrees, so I was able to open windows and leave the back door open to air out the casa.  Ahhhhh.  So refreshinnngggg.

(Boyfriend knows how to roll)

(Boyfriend knows how to roll)

So I have this problem, one that arises about the same time every year.  When the weather is nice, and the days are longer, I get this overwhelming feeling of self-motivation.  You may be thinking, “sheesh, who is this girl and why does she consider self-motivation a problem?”  Good question.  Let me explain.

Every year, about this time, I get this feeling that I can literally move mountains.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Move.  Mountains.  And within these feelings of unconstrained motivation, I usually create these lists of “Things I am going to do!”  Again, you probably don’t understand why this is a bad thing…. so let me continue.  I created my list today, of “Things I am going to do!” and there are about 57 things on my list.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Fifty. Seven. Things.  That is one rather large to-do list.  Maybe even a bit overwhelming.  But if there is one thing I do love, it’s a good checklist.  What is it about putting your goals on paper that make them that much more executable?  Now, will I get all 57 things done this weekend?  Absolutely not.  But will my motivation continue? Let’s pray that it does.

First issue with this list?  The simple fact that I devoted almost my entire Saturday to creating it.  Seriously, this list is detailed.  Mind you, I alsooooo started some spring cleaning, but this list has already began taking up 97% of my time.  Probably not the best start.

With the contribution of Pinterest, I am very confident that this list is achievable…as most of the items on this list are items that pertain to our home.  Organize this, Paint that, Move this, Hang that, etc.  And with the progress Boyfriend and I have alreadyyyy made on the house, I am EXTREMELY confident in our abilities so show this list who is boss.

So stay with me here… and be patient.  I’m working on it and will keep record of everyyything on this lil’ baby. (PS “blog more” is number 43 on my list….CHECK!)

Have some suggestions on what else I should add to my list?   Holla at me!

Stumble It!

Nice Drawers…

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Soooooo, how are everyone’s drawers lookin? Ya know, one thing I have learned with our house is that no two drawers are made equal. Which is rather annoying to me…I mean really? Is it THAT hard to make two drawers the same dimension? Oy.

Currently, our spices have completely taken over an entire cabinet. Granted, we usually cook A LOT… And various recipes usually call for various assortments of spices. And because of this we have grown quite the collection. And they are seemingly taking over!! I mean a whole kitchen cabinet dedicated to spices? I. Don’t. Think. So.

We have a tiny galley kitchen, and new to utilize every space as efficiently as possible… So we decide (in the middle of kitchen re-facing) that spices needed to be contained in a smaller space…. They were just simply taking over too much space in the cabinet. So after researching Pinterest and all of the “spices organization” pins… This is what I came down to:

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These are all really great ideas, but none that I feel I could make work in our home. Instead I have just decided to dedicate in entire drawer to spices… This is what we have so far:

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Now, I have noticed my organizing doesn’t look as clean as the other sources… BUT I do have some improvements up my sleeve. For instance I plan on ordering around 20 empty glass bottles from Penzey’s… I will be able to sort them vertically rather than horizontally and they will take up much less space that way. Those bottles also come with labels, so I can label the lids and won’t have to lay them horizontally (as I have) to see the labels. Eh, it’s another project in the making… But once it’s finished I think it will be fabulous!

Hope everyone had a safe Labor Day… Wahoo for a four day work week (though only two for me!) 🙂

Stumble It!

Picture Wall

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It seems like I have been very distracted lately… I’m not going to lie, blogging is not my number one priority (gasp!). BUT I am going to try to put out a little more effort towards this little guy, and apologize (once again) for my negligence.

With all of the projects we’ve got goin’ in our hizz-ouse… It’s fun to take a break from one big project to do something a little more fun. For me, this means stop with the moulding, trim and painting and move on to something a little more joyful….decorating!

I have been going back a forth on whether or not I want a picture wall in our house. Is it too modern? Will it put our traditional tendendicies over the top? Eh, I don’t know… But I still really want one, so what the hay? I mean it is OUR house after all, we can do with it what we want. Sucka.

With that said – I want a picture wall.

And really there is only one wall for this picture wall… Ya know with the addition of our bookcases and everything on the fireplace wall… So now the questions are: how many pictures? Matching frames or all different? Symmetrical or asymmetric? Abstract, people, places or textures? Color or black and white?

Oy.

Is it this hard for you guys to make decisions, or is it just me?

Well…. I have a few ideas in mind of what I want, I just need to figure out how to make it happen. But want to know my inspiration? Pinterest of course! Here are a few of my inspirations:

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What do you think? I’m trying to narrow down my decisions on how I want our picture wall to turn out… But until then, I’ll just have to keep ya posted. 🙂 goodnight!

Stumble It!

Tour de Casa

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The time has finally come…. to show you our Casa.

Oh wait, where are my manners?  Hiiiiiiiiyaaaaa! How’s everyone doing? Good? Great!

Didn’t really expect two posts in a row, did ya? Well hopefully I’m full of surprises like this… but don’t get your hopes a soaring…yet.

Before I begin, I feel as though I should issue a few disclaimers….this is our first home and we know that we will not be here forever.  We know it’s not perfect, but we kinda love it this way.  The house is our age.  Exactly.  The house is teenie…a mere 1200 square feet.  Okay that’s a lie, it’s only 1196 square feet. ARG!  And it may look a little awkward… but I’m awkward.  And I kinda love it. Okay onward…

Okay, here’s a veryyyy rough sketch of our floor plan.  Doesn’t the garage look absolutely massive?  It’s not.  Which just proves how horrid this sketch really is.  You may have also noticed that there are no interior walls.  Ummm, that’s a lie too.  I assure you, there is a wall between the kitchen and master bathroom….so I am (unfortunately) not able to bathe and make mac ‘n cheese all in one place.  Bummer.

Moving on….  This is a picture from our teeeeeenyyyy little dinette, looking into the living area.  To my right is the kitchen and door to the master bedroom and to the left is the hall.  A few things you may notice…. Carpet is throughout.  Ugh, yeah we don’t like it either.  But it was new when we bought the house so figured we let it stay a while.  Also, yes our backdoor is open.  It happens.

Okay…moving on again.  How about the teeeeeeeny kitchen?  Okay you talked me into it.  How about an awkward picture of the kitchen?  Even better.  Mostly because it includes the most awkward piece of architecture I have ever seen.  Can you see that beam?  With the two cabinets hanging from it?  And the light? Weird, right?  We know.  Trust me, it’s on the list.

As if the horrible tile in the kitchen wasn’t bad enough….you should check out the guest bathroom.  Tile. Laminate. And an ugly toilet seat. Ohhh my.

Okay, I think this should conclude the tour de casa.  You are all probably thinking “What were they thinking?”  But we have a plan, and a vision…and it’s fun learning as we go.  I know there are quite a few not-so-good things about this house, and I may have sounded negative.  But I can promise you that by the time we are finished I will love every square inch of our first home.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!  We have already started working (we are avid believers of show and tell, so I promise you’ll see)…and will probably continue working until it’s just the way we want it.  Toodles.

Property Virgins

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Well, I hope this isn’t awkward.  Oh – my title? That too.  I was actually referring to the awkward moment when I decided to break my blog’s silence…. I mean really, it’s been a while. Whoops!

So I’m here this evening to tell you a little story.  A story about a girl…and a boy.  You see, these two thought they were ready.  They thought they were prepared.  They were in love.  Yes, they just KNEW it was finally time…….to buy their first property.  🙂  Just what you were thinking, right?

This whole process started at the end of 2010, the same year I graduated.  I was just starting to get a firm grasp on the adulthood and financial responsibility…ya know, paying my own bills which ranged from rent to utilities to my oh-so-wonderful student loans.  This is also about the time I started to get pretty serious into my coupons and savings.  Really, I was a crazed maniac… I try to block out a few months worth of that year, solely because I think there was time when I actually dreamed about coupons and saving money.  Yep, it’s safe to say I had a pretty serious problem.  BUT…as with most bad, there is also good.  And through these coupons I was able to cut our grocery expenses by about 60-75%.  It was a BIG change for me and Boyfriend.  We were seeing it add up in our bank accounts…fast.  So the couponing continued, and so did our savings.  Then we started pinching…pretty seriously.  We almost completely eliminated eating out, we dropped our cable (oh come on it can’t be that big of a surprise, you KNOW nothing is EVER on), and I stopped buying a new pair of shoes every other week.

Then we started to get super serious about our finance.  And renting just reallyyyy irritated us.  I mean really.  Did you know that in the 4 years of renting we spent around $31,000?  You think I’m lying, don’t you?  It’s okay, I won’t hold it against you.  Honestly, I wish I were lying.  But unfortunately (for us), this is a very true statement…actually it’s a very modest statement, as we actually spent a little over $31,000 (between us both) on rent alone…not including utilities over those years.  I can think of about a million things that I’d rather do with $31,000….and rent is not one of them.  So this built-up frustration led to us looking into purchasing a home.  Something that would cost us about the same we were spending in rent each month…but something that offers somewhat of a return of investment in the future.  Yep, we wanted an investment.

So we started the hunt.  We crunched numbers…we looked like creepers/stalkers driving around and looking at houses…and we started to get our game faces on.  It was actually Valentine’s day when I applied for a home loan.  You know with the internet these days, the sky really is the limit.  Boyfriend was in the rental kitchen, cooking me an oh-so-delicious Valentine’s Dinner, and I was sitting at the kitchen table… salivating and applying for a home loan online.  This was it.  Would I even get approved?  Was I asking for too much?  I didn’t know.  We didn’t know.  But we were having a wonderful night…and I had been drinking some pretty darn good wine.  So what the heck?  I mean we had been thinking about it for months anyways…why wait any longer?

DONE!  After hitting submit on the home loan application, I shut down my computer and enjoyed my evening with Boyfriend.

We knew what we wanted, and we thought we knew how much moolah it would take.  Now it was all out on the table and we just had to wait for our response for the lender…which we received within 48 hours.  Within 24 hours of being approved, we started to search for a realtor, as realtors are F-R-E-E for buyers, and you KNOW how we love F-R-E-E.

The realtor that we ended up with, by God’s grace, was literally AMAZING.  She told us about a city grant (free $5000.00!!!) and the MCC tax credit (which is exactly as it sounds).  She had rental properties all over town and had been around the block a time or two.  She was extremely patient and took us throughout DOZENS of homes within our price range… She didn’t push us to our “max” amount, she agreed that we shouldn’t push ourselves financially…I mean come on, we are young and we love to have fun.  Unfortunately moolah is usually a part of the having-fun-process, so it was important that we always had spending money and didn’t have to dedicate every paycheck to our mortgage.

She worked with our “wanted” list, and she helped me grasp the concept of what I could live without (bye-bye gourmet kitchen).  She really was fabulous.  On our second or third trip with our realtor, we ended up touring our soon to be home.  We had seen about 7 or 8 properties that evening, it was after work, we were tired, and I thought that we had already found THE ONE.  Yep, I had already committed to another home…the first one of that evening.  But we decided to go ahead and tour the lineup for the evening just to be sure…and boy, were we glad we did!  By the time we got to the last home, it was dark… So the outside looked good, or at least we thought.  And when we walked in the door, we had that awkward moment of not really knowing where the light switch is, because it’s someone else’s house….and as soon as the light the hit the walls I literally stopped in my tracks.  IN HORROR.  My eyes couldn’t stop wandering around…there was just so much CRAP, and it was EVERYWHERE!  Up the 13 foot walls….all of the floors…on the countertops…EVERYWHERE.  Though my jaw was dropping because of the clutter, Boyfriend’s jaw was dropping because he immediately saw the potential.

When I finally got around to taking my eyes off of the walls, floor and countertops I took a glimpse of Boyfriend and saw the look on his face.  It was one that I don’t get to see very often, one very similar to that Christmas morning look.  In that instant I knew I would be fighting for a losing battle if I tried talking him out of this one.  And as we toured the home, my eyes really started to open too.  Especially after walking through the walk-in closet! 🙂

The rest is really history….We made an offer, the owner turned down our offer and countered it, we countered the owner’s counter, we received a counter to our counter of the owner’s first counter, and finally we gave in…we knew we wouldn’t be happy in any other house.  We closed on our house on April 11th, 2011.   Less than TWO MONTHS after we applied for our home loan.

Now you are all a part of our journey in turning this house into our home!!

(Right after the closing I changed clothes and ran to the lawn to rip down the sign)

Our Built-In Bookcases

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Since I’ve started this little blog thing, I’ve realized that I’m going to have to play catch up on some projects we’ve already tackled around the house.  How about starting off with when we knocked two holes in the wall for two built-in bookcases on both sides of the fireplace?  Sound like a good starting point?  I think so too.

Before construction…or destruction….you pick 🙂

Pictured above you see a nice plain-Jane fireplace.  B-O-R-I-N-G! Well, that’s what we thought anyways…so we (by we I mean mostly me, though Boyfriend was up for my challenge), decided we needed something on both sides of the fireplace.  We had a few options…I could find some schnazzy to hang on both sides, ya know maybe some sconces or iron decor.  But for some reason it seemed like we would be settling.  Ya know what I mean?  Plus Boyfriend wanted our TV mounted on this wall, as he thinks that the fireplace should be the center focal point of the living room.  The problems I had with this, was the cords that would be EVERYWHERE for the TV, Internet, Surround Sound…you get the picture.

So we thought we could get a couple of bookcases to mask the cords and all of the clutter.  Now, take ANOTHER look at that picture and notice the floor vent to the left of the fireplace.  Can’t put a bookcase over a vent, right?  So there goes that idea.

Exceeeeeeppppppttttttt. Hmmmmmm…My mind started working.  Overtime.  Boyfriend couldn’t run fast enough.  I had A VISION.

Can’t deny my visions.

Never deny me of my visions.

So here was the game plan:  We knock holes in the wall on both sides of the fireplace, frame it out, and put in some built-in bookcases/bookshelves.  What a glorious solution.  Well done, me. Now for the execution….check out this mess:

Wowza.  See that dreadful mess?  I would almost be embarrassed, if the end result didn’t turn out so darn good.  Anyways, as you may be able to tell is that the spaces on both sides of the fireplace were actually closets…a coat closet on the left, and a bedroom closet on the left.  The good news is when it was all said and done, we only lost about 4 inches of depth in the coat closet so it remains a fully functional coat closet.  As for the other side, we made the bottom deeper so our subwoofer, internet box, dvd player, yatta yatta yatta.  But we had plenty of room to spare as the closet is pretty huge and now/soon-to-be “custom,” but more on that later.

If you’re still having problems seeing my vision, maybe I should just show you the end result… Or better yet, what about a before after?

What do you think? 🙂