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October 9, 2014

House update and some news!

I am sitting in a Panera right now, trying to purposely take a break from working on the house.  It is slowly morphing into a dwelling that we call home....  We've taken all of our ideas (that seemed so simple) from the past few months and started to actually make them happen- its a slow go, but it's going! 
I've taken a stab at patching drywall holes. 

My selfie here truly represents how this whole process feels.

 The whole process of patching one hole was much more timely than I expected.  I thought if I just slap some drywall mud in there, it would dry and could be sanded to smoothness. But of course nothing goes like I think, and the hole had the braced by supports (2x4's), patched with a small piece of drywall, and then coated with several. SEVERAL. coats of mud.   I thought the bathroom would be painted weeks ago, and it's still currently all spotted up. But man, those walls are smooth, and a fresh coat of paint will hopefully hide all the evidence of my work!

Next onto carpet.  I don't know about you, but moving into a new house, especially one that hasn't had some good TLC in a few years, I daydream/nightmare about the disgustingness of the carpet.  I picture skin flakes and cut toenails from the previous owner's feet positioned in the fibers, like a defense left from him for the new owners.  Gross. So, in one grand attempt, with a hearty meal in my belly, I pulled up the carpet in the hall way and 2 bedrooms. Here is the glorious outcome! 

The carpet was the easy part. these little rascals ^see tack strips above^ were a bear to remove from the hardwood under the carpet. There were many a grunts and a swear words thrown around during the process of prying these up along the perimeters of the rooms. 

I'll throw in Seth's main project because, let's be real, what I'm doing has nothing on his work!
Seth is in charge of the kitchen.  I'll give you a little taste of the work so far, which I'm sure later I'll highlight this amazing project in greater detail. 



^^not sure what happened to the lens of the camera here, but oh well, I guess it rightly captures that everything is covered in sawdust these days!

Seth has been doing an awesome job of opening up this whole space for our vision of an open floor plan concept.   We are both so excited to see how this comes together as we start putting in cupboards and counter tops soon! 

We have been so blessed by this house,  And of course as I sit here in Panera, sort of not wanting to go back and be surrounded/annoyed by the mess, I am reminded what a gift we have to have a house and to really make it our own. And I'll share one of my favorite and most grounding bible verses for this past year since it popped into my head while sitting here. 

"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains."
James 5:7

This verse reminds me that bit by bit, we will get our home put together, It won't happen overnight. Anything this big is totally worth the wait and worth taking our time to do it right.

Announcing our biggest alteration....

We are happy to be bringing a new baby into the world into February 2015! 

^the Gamechanger^

Thanks for stopping by!

September 13, 2014

A new dwelling

Good news here! We have officially bought a new (to us) house!! Life lately has been consumed with planning, projects, buying, take out, working, and then sitting to recover.
Our home search was an eight month endeavor, and we are happy it is over.  Back at the end of May, Seth found this house online and insisted to our realtor that we look at it.  It was a foreclosure and one that needs a bit of work, but we both started to get excited about the idea of "flipping" another house and making it cool again (at least cool in our eyes). See the first house that we flipped here
So, without further ado, here is our new child- a split level on a quiet neighborhood street.  We've had a contractor get some work done already (per the bank's requirements) and now is our turn to make some big changes prior to moving in.

The exterior- needs a new shutter(s), some paint on the trim, and a little landscaping love. 

 Welcome! This is the view from walking in the front door, heading up to the kitchen. 

Left: View to the bedroom side of the house.
Right: View from bedrooms to the living area side of house. 

 Oh, the colors!

 Dining room, with a window that looks out into the fireplace room (that's what we are calling it, but it is a second living room.)

Bedroom #1

 Bedroom #2

 Bedroom #3- The Master

This picture is self-explanatory.  


 Back porch

  YES! A basketball hoop in the driveway! Soooo suburbia!

So, there she is.  I didn't include the garage, basement living space, 2nd bathroom, or laundry room. I'm sure I'll add more pictures later. 
For now, I'm spending almost all of my free time on projects, of which I'm hoping to share on here.

Anyone doing some home projects this fall?

September 1, 2014


I am having a hard time wrapping around the fact that it is September.  It's September!

I have had this topic of time on my mind lately. Time in relation to daily tasks, as well as the big dates in the near future that seem to get here faster and faster. And because there are too many daily tasks to fit into a day and too many of these big life happenings, like buying a fixer-upper house, thrown into the mix, it seems that I have been living life lately attached to lists and my day planner.

I don't know if you live like this, but I need to find some kind of reprieve.  I know that organization and lists are important, but they don't leave room for the possibility of spontaneity or life's unexpectedness. 

So here are some ways that I have tried to change the list-living.

1. PRIORITIZE.  Spend some time figuring out what exactly you want to do on a daily basis, then weekly, monthly, etc.  For example, I need to work out daily (or at least several times a week) for my sanity, not to mention health. Or taking time to make real food for dinner in the evenings- it is a priority for me not be eating out (often), buying boxed dinners, or eating overly processed foods.  My only caution here is to be realistic, don't make too many daily priorities. Really, just make it the absolute priorities!

2. Schedule time for yourself.  I often find in the middle of a workweek that I need time to be alone- even if it's a 20 minute nap.  And I miss writing, or blogging/thinking/doing things that are related to this blog, so here I am making time for it. 

3. Pay attention to "time wasting".  This is a biggie for me.  And one area specifically I can identify is TV in the evenings.  I can somehow get transfixed for over an hour of doing nothing else but sitting and watching.  Don't get me wrong, being able to relax is important too, but do I really need an hour every evening? 

4.  Be present.  While at work, be there. While with your loved ones, be there.  This is far better easier said that done, but is always a good reminder.

5.  Get sleep! I am the most unproductive when I am tired. I'm cranky, slow, and can't put together complete sentences.  This is probably the most difficult one for me.  I can always cut back on a half hour of sleep- that's what coffees for! But being chronically tired really does impact your health, your immunity, and down the road, it will add up! Shoot for at least 7 hours.  And if it means going to bed 15 minutes earlier to start making sure you get that, do it, and then add to that 15 minutes to increase your sleep.

I hope you are all off to a great September.  Happy Labor Day!

June 16, 2014

thrift shop SCORE!

In honor of the World Cup going on right now, let me share with you my "hat trick" of finds at the thrift store that are great for the kitchen. 
Originally, on this journey towards living more secondhand, I was so against thrifting anything for the kitchen! I was nervous about picking up some bacteria, or just the thought of someone else's food or mouth being anywhere on something just grossed me out.  But hey, it all gets washed and maybe it would do me good to expand my mind a bit and check out what sweet finds the kitchen section may have.
Here are the 3 great finds I've scored this month for the kitchen!
1.  A small non-stick skillet, perfect for making scrambled eggs ($1) which we desperately needed!
2. Set of six napkin holders that are real wood and look to be in great condition ($1)!
3. A set of four cutting mats, each with a cute picture to show you what food you should cut on it ($1.50)!  They also have a nonstick backing to stick to the counter when you're cutting away!

^^aren't they fun? The other 2 are for fish and beef and 
since I've gotten these mats, I haven't made fish or beef.^^

I will admit that these cutting boards would have been especially questionable had they not been in pretty great (most-likely unused from what I can tell) condition.  But I definitely have learned that there can be some really nice finds, even in the kitchen section of Goodwill.

*have a good monday and thanks for reading*

June 4, 2014

olfaction satisfaction

One of my favorite things about a kitchen is the smells.  I love the smells of chocolate chip cookies in the oven, a savory casserole baking, or fresh coffee brewing first thing in the morning. And in the same vein, the kitchen can produce some HORRENDOUS smells- think food scraps in the sink drain, meat packages in the trashcan... the trashcan in general.

I recently had the pleasure of trying my hand at homemade soap.  It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, but turned out that my sister's bridal shower favors were a great place to start.

I started with organic goats' milk soap base (found on Amazon here).  (I may still try my hand at working with lye, but having been in a time crunch, already made base was great!) After melting the base in the microwave, I added dried lavender and about 20 drops of pure essential lavender oil (this was mixed in the amount of soap base to fill a 9x13 brownie pan with 1/2 inch thick soap).  I also made a lemongrass/ginger tea soap, and eucalyptus/sugar scrub soap.  All three flavors(?) have an exfoliating element that are great for your hands, too.

I will say over the past several weeks, the essential oils have been keeping the freshest smell in my kitchen. And that wonderful soap base is pretty soft on my hands and makes them smell good too! Aaaaand of course you can choose the smell of your choice by getting creative (coffee, lemon, etc.)

^ looks like butter^

^^sorry for the poor quality photos- after I can prove I won't break a nice digital camera, 
the pictures may improve!^^

The other great idea that I've heard of involves filling a small container (mason jar or smaller) 1/4 full with baking soda and about 10-15 drops of essential oil.  Let the container be open to the space you want it to fill and it will slowly emit the lovely smell for your satisfaction!  I haven't tried this yet, but came across it recently and loved the idea.

**thanks for stopping by**

June 2, 2014

June and a theme.

I am happy to announce that this month I am working on a themed project, the first of a few, focused on one room in the house and/or one aspect of life that could be more gumptious. This month we are starting in kitchen! Over the next 4 weeks, projects and posts will be focused on ways to be more thoughtful, less consumptive, and more resourceful in the kitchen.
To kick start the month, I am going to go brew a pot of coffee from a local roaster in Pittsburgh.  One of my favorite grocery stores features primarily local products, from veggies to candy, to pickles and coffee. And I am going to make a commitment to shop there on a weekly basis for our food needs.

What are you doing in the kitchen that is gumptious?

**happy june**

April 16, 2014

1 year blogiversary

I can't believe it's been about a year since I started this blog! Whew! Time sure flies!
I had originally planned on doing something HUGE this month, like giveaways and cool projects I have tucked away in my brain, but alas, life hasn't provided much unused time lately.  Check that, I haven't taken the time.  Between my husband starting a new job (YAY!), me interviewing and accepting a new job (YAY!), house hunting (YAY!), and continuing to live out of boxes in my in-law's basement, trying to make life as normal as possible, it's been hard finding much time for myself that doesn't involve a glass of wine and zoning out on the couch.
But what I will share with you today as I reflect on the past year are the ways in which I was changed by starting this blog!  I have definitely changed my consumption practices and habits when shopping for stuff, and for that, I'm grateful for this place that I can share my thoughts and be inspired.

1.  I have learned that thrifting is so fun if you have time to peruse through the store and shop around! There are deals to be had, not to mention a great way to reuse what's already out there.  Someone else's trash is my treasure!

2.  I can be creative when it comes to my wardrobe.  I have made more items to wear this past year than ever before. If I see something I really like in a catalog or store, I like to think of ways to be able to either create it myself or thrift it.
^^scarf project with Emily (here), and my favorite project of the year (here)^^

3.  It is fun to work for something that you really want.  I don't think I've blogged about this before, but Seth and I have "workout jars" that we add to every time we workout.  It is our spending money, good for anything we may have our eyes on.  This is total motivation to save for something important, rather than just buy on a whim. It helps keep spontaneous shopping at bay. 

4. I love small business.  This may sound totally rediculous, but having a blog has made me appreciate small businesses all the more! I know my blog isn't necessarily a business, but it is something that I pour myself into (even if it's just dribbling right now!), and I appreciate when others comment or visit the blog.  Similarly, small businesses are providing either products or services that they are passionate about and want to be recognized for that and appreciated for that product/service.
^^my sister's wreath business (here), and the local thrift shops^^

5.  We are responsible for the earth and our country is the top consumer of resources in the world! Let's change that by being a little more globally minded.  Buy less, create more, and be mindful of how we use our resources!

Thank you for reading!
 More blog celebrating and fun to come!