Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life Changer: February

Nesting dolls: a gift from my sissy!
We have some news...

As you can tell Scout may be just a little nervous about his new role as big brother...or maybe just wasn't too thrilled about yet another photo shoot.

SIDE NOTE: Some of you stinkers guessed it when I was filling you in on what was to come from Let's Just Build a House. So then i panicked a tiny bit and then I kind of--sort of lied to you in this post when I said I didn't mean to give out baby vibes! Ok, not really lied... I steered you off track and instead told you about a different life change we accomplished this year: becoming everything-but-the-house debt free. Which was big news itself.

Anyway, this of course is a really super big life change too. We are happy to finally share the news! More info on the new addition to our family, and house stuff to come! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Outdoor Space: Staining and Sealing our Back Deck

Thanks to Thompson Water Seal for Sponsoring this project!

Last time we showed you our back deck the house was still in progress.

It's been through just a few changes since then...

Although we spend a ton of time out here in the Spring, Summer, and Fall we waited a little bit longer than we reallllyyy wanted to stain the back deck. We didn't want to do it before the house was finished, and the summer after we moved in there were 1,000 other projects that got in the way. As usual.

This summer we decided it was time to get this baby stained so the wood would be protected. Luckily, waiting the extra year to stain didn't hurt us since the back deck is covered--it already had plenty of protection from the sunlight and harsh Illinois winters.

Thompson Water Seal graciously offered the supplies we needed to get this tough job done!

Step 1: Clean!
This was a really important step that should not be skipped. (Photos were skipped because it went by SO FAST) Even on a new deck like ours--there's dust and grime. It needs to come off.
They sent us deck cleanser to use prior to setting the stain. This was fairly easy and quick. Well, it looked easy, it was more of a 1 person job and Adam did it all. I supervised.

Basically you just follow the directions on the container and mix with water, use a large broom to brush the cleanser, then spray off with the hose.
We saw so much grime come off the deck with just one application!

We waited the instructed 48 hours for the deck to dry before we began to apply the stain.

Step 2: Stain!

We started staining the underneath of the deck first. This may have been the wrong way to do it, but we thought it worked out well for us. We were able to do the bottom and underneath, then later just touched up any drips that came down when we applied the stain to the floor above. Touch ups were easier than covering up any hug drips this way.

 Thompson Water Seal let us try one of their newer semi-transparent tinted stains in Desert Brown.

 When we first applied our first thought was  'OH NO, why is this pinkish toned?' But when it dried it was the perfect tint.

We used brushes to do all the edges, and then a foam roller to do the smooth parts.

Drying nicely.

Since we have a walkout basement, if we didn't stain the underneath and bottom of the deck at all, it would look goofy if you were downstairs or in the backyard. Yay, extra work for us.

Scout supervised, as usual...

This was a 2 weekend project. Although it's been a mild summer, we once again patted ourselves on the back for building a covered deck. It wasn't it too bad (with the fan running) the entire time we were working outside, but it will also protect the stain from harsh weather and sun. This should prolong the time between treatments.

 We started the top of the deck by doing the railings and balusters first.

Don't you just love how the color turned out?

 Gotta get every inch!

Then on the floor we started from the edges, then filled in the middle part all at once.

This...was the easiest part of the staining process!

We were extra lucky and HomeRight provided us with a new tool for this job. We were able to test out their StainStick with Gap Wheel for this HUGE project! It was put to good use and we have a a full review of this product coming soon!

Come back for our completely honest review of the HomeRight StainStick with Gap Wheel and of course the final reveal of our outdoor living space!! I can't wait to show you our favorite summer spot!

We were provided with the supplies for this project. As usual, all statements in opinions in this post are mine. 

Do you have a favorite outdoor space?
Anyone else stain or seal their back deck this year?
Any big weekend plans? We are headed to a Jimmy Buffett concert! Woohoo! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 dollar Flea Market Revamp: Lacy Animal

So last time I went to my most favorite flea market, the 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington, IL I only purchased ONE thing.

ONE THING! I only spent 5 dollars. Unheard of in my book. But sometimes it's just really fun to look! Well, I spent my 5 bucks on this ugly thing.

It could be cuter. And it was about to get much cuter...

First, Adam helped me remove the shoddy and dirty cover. It was only held in with a few brad nails.

Then I went upstairs to see what kind of fabric I have been hoarding in my craft dresser.
I chose lace.

I covered the old fabric with the lace doubled over. I secured it with some hot glue and only burned my finger in one spot. Victory.

Adam helped me brad nail the new cover on. And then we decided it should go into the dining room. So there it went. (Pay no attention to the wall color, it is not REALLY this scary yellow color, I just hate my camera sometimes)

Done! Easy 5 dollar project!

They are surely not perfect, but it was an easy half hour project that only cost me a few bucks. And now I am in on the cool antler/animal head trend.
I'm thinking of adding a little gold leaf to the edges of the wood it's mounted on. Yes or no?

What do you think of my new antlers? 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Life Change: This is now a blog about being a Princess. Sorry.

{{SPOILER ALERT: Oh goodness, I did not mean to throw out any baby vibes in my last post about what is to come from Let's Just Build a House. Oopsies. The post I promised and teased "Big Thing Checked off our Personal To-Do-List of 2014" is not a baby announcement. Thanks for all the babysitting offers. We'll take you up on those one day.}}

C-YA SmellsFargo.
One of the many student loans we paid off this year.
We are debt free. 
Ok, kinda..debt free.
I say kinda because we do have a mortgage. But that’s it. Nothing else. 

No credit cards.
No student loans.
No car payments.
No piled up medical bills.
No furniture payments with that zero interest until 2030 business.
None of it!

Everything but our house has been paid for in CASH. Cold hard earned CASH. (and to be honest, a large chunk of the house was paid for in cash too!)

This is Lassie.
Even my (new to me) Jeep, we purchased in the Fall was paid for in cash and a trade for Blanche, my beloved Malibu.

Goodbye Blanche
Here is the thing. We don’t like owing people money. Some people don’t care. Some people are okay with having bills to pay every month. That’s okay. But that isn’t us. Trina and Adam don't like having debts.

And don't get me wrong, ...we do still have bills. Power, water, cable and internet, cell phone…homeowner’s & car insurance. Geesh, that’s still a lot of bills! But I guess we need water and power, even the internet. And we still have our house payment each month of course. We didn't knock that one out....yet.

How did we do it?
Well we have a rich long lost cousin that left us his fortune. 
Oh and also, we found out that I am the heiress to the throne in Genovia. This blog will now be only about Princess stuff…Hope you like it!

Nope. Not really a princess. No long lost cousins leaving us their billions (that we know of yet...still have our fingers crossed).

We did it the hard way.
We saved our pennies. We don’t make big bucks. We have pretty average income for our age and the area we live in.
We didn’t read a book, or listen to a radio show, or any of that business. Although, we know some of those things work for others. But for us, it was simple: budgeting and saving.

Inexpensive Vacation on a budget. Still a BLAST & beautiful
Some of the other things we did that helped speed up the OPERATION: PAYOFF ALL THE DANG DEBT:
  • Adam worked extra hours on Storm Team when it was offered. Sometimes he had to go to different states for a week at a time...but the extra money on the next paycheck was worth it!
  • We skipped a few vacations. We really wanted to go to Mexico, or a cruise on vacation. But we planned a less expensive trip with our friends. We rented a beach house in gulf shores, Al for a 1/3 of the cost.
  • We moved money every single month to savings. No matter what.
  • For " fun & shopping" spending money I took old clothes and household items to consignment.
  • Our stuff is not brand spankin' new. One example: Our 4-wheeler was a used purchase off craigslist, which Adam used his extra storm and savings of "fun money". 

We are big planners.
Now here is the thing. I get it. Not everyone is in the same boat. We don’t have kids yet. We don’t have the cost of diapers or daycare (which I hear is comparable to tuition at a University! YIPES.) But everyone has different debts. We had over 20k in student loans to pay off. That's a big debt for us.
We chose to build a big house, and tried to throw as much cash at that during the build to give us a break on our mortgage payment each month.  We started with paying cash for the land.

Why was it so high on our list of 2014 To-Do List?
  • We are more comfortable when we have a plan for the future.
  • We are trying to get ahead of the game before we have kids and have to spend buku bucks on daycare and diapers. 
  • Adam and I are working on getting our retirement plans situated now --so we will not be working until we are 95 years old.
  • We like to save for things like future cars and future appliances, way way way before we need them.
  • We hate owing people money.
We probably could have done it sooner if we hadn’t built this house. Or maybe if we just built a smaller house. Maybe if I didn’t make as many trips to Target. Maybe if we didn’t choose the custom cabinets, or if Adam would've just skipped a few of his “MEN ONLY: BBQ, Blues & Beer” weekend trips to Memphis. But we did do it. That’s all that matters!

Do you have a plan to payoff debt? 
Have you paid off a big debt recently? How did you feel?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Busy Summer = No Good Excuse

Surprise! We are still alive! We have been soso very very super duper incredibly busy with projects--big and small, life changes, work, family stuff, fun summer parties, weddings, allllll the excuses we can come up with. Yes a good blogger would have a bunch of blog posts cued up for busy times like these but I do not.
Darn me. Honestly I don't have a good excuse, except we let life get in the way.

this is me this summer.
I'm exhausted just thinking of how busy our summer has been. I need a nap. But we have not stopped working on house stuff. The plus side to us being busy bees is that we have a million things to blog about. Oh no, we have not let you down. There is more to come at Let's Just Build a House blog!

We will fill you in soso soon. Here is what's coming very shortly on Let's Just Build a House:
  • Small teeny flea market flip-a-roni project
  • Mirror wall update
  • HUGE outdoor project crossed off our list
  • Entry way update
  • Something MAJOR crossed off our personal list of "2014 Do's"
  • More even bigger (and the most fun!) news!
I know we are being sneaky and not giving you many clues. We are rude like that. Guess you will have to check back soon! 

P.S. You can always keep in touch with me on Instagram! Add me!

Friday, June 27, 2014

New Art: Dad in house!

We have some new semi-DIY Art in the living room/hallway. Adam has been on me to get stuff hung up in this house. I guess he's tired of staring at bare walls. Hence my golden mirror gallery wall--which already needs some updated photos, we've added more! Lots more!

But today I'm sharing something different on the walls.

If you've been a reader for awhile you know my dad did our beautiful stonework on the front of our home, and the fireplace. By himself. Just my dad.
He pretty much moved in with us for a few weeks at a time and worked 12 hour work days jamming out to the radio, cutting the stones, mixing the mortar, and placing the stones to the fireplace and exterior of the house.
He doesn't do this for a living or anything, it's sort of a hobby for him. When we told him we were building we nicely asked for his help with the stonework. Not sure if he knew what he was getting into...however, it's our favorite feature on both the inside and the outside of the home. It's very special to both Adam and I.

So I was playing around with the Waterlogue app, and turned these photos:

into these photos:

I emailed them to a buddy at a local print shop, and ~bippity boppity boo~...I have some beautiful prints!

I spray painted some old wood frames from the thrift store (which I forgot to take a BEFORE photo of! I'm slacking lately!) and also spray painted mattes white since they were an ugly peach color.

I'd say I spent less than 20 bucks for both prints and the revamped thrift store frames and mattes combined. Not bad for some large art pieces with meaning. Am I right?

We hung them in the living room hallway. It's a nice reminder of my dad's hard work, and it's nice to have meaningful artwork in our home for us to see, and our guests too!

PSSSSTTTT! Read more about my dad doing the stonework himself on our home Here and Here!

Do you have meaningful artwork in your home?
Have you tried to Waterlogue any of your favorite photos? 
Are you late to the Waterlogue party too?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summertime Kabobs ((perfectly paired with CK Mondavi Wines!))

Summer food is my favorite part of summer. If I were a teacher, lounging in the pool would probably be the best part, also if I had a pool. But I did not pick the right line of work---I am not a teacher. I don't have a pool either. So, food it is. Food; the best part of summer.
Summer always makes me think of grilling out, fresh veggies from the garden, wine, ice cream, strawberries, wine...did I say wine already?

Today I'm sharing a delicious marinade we put on our summertime kabobs. But it's so yummy and scrumptious, you will probably want to brush it on all of your favorite grillin' foods.

Chicken Breast &/or Pork Sausage
Green Apples
Red, Yellow, & Orange sweet Peppers
Kabob sticks

Apple Cider Vinegar 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar 1/4 cup
Olive Oil 2 tablespoons
Soy Sauce 1 tablespoon
Honey 2 tablespoons

I pretty much threw together what we had in the fridge for the kabobs. Pork sausage, chicken breast--with bacon wrapped around the chicken. We are serious about our pork in this house. I stuck a few green apples on there too. They were great with the sweet peppers!

We brushed on the marinade right before we put them in the oven. It was rainy the day we cooked this meal, so we decided to cook them in the oven. It was not a mistake.

Ready for cookin'!

Perfect summertime meal. Wine & kabobs.

I think they'll be great on the grill too this summer! I made a quick (pinnable!) recipe card so you can add it to your summer party food pinboards!

Ck Mondavi wines was nice enough to send us 4 of their wines to pair with our favorite summer recipe!
Sometimes, it pays (in wine) to be a blogger!

This treat made the kabobs 1,000x better. Honestly, wine makes everything better!

Their brand new Blonde Five was my favorite and reminded me of summer the most! I could have finished the entire bottle on my own.  It’s light and airy with a hint of pear and honeysuckle.
CK Mondavi Blonde Five recommends accompanying spicy chicken dishes, shrimp, and mild cheeses. I was smart to pair my bottle of the Blonde five with a chicken dish…and I have to agree with them!

I can’t wait to try the other white wine CK Mondavi offered me. They say to try it with roasted chicken and pastas. I’m a pasta girl, so this one will be next on the menu!

Adam is more of a red wine dude. He tried the Cabernet Sauvignon first. This one is a classic red, perfect for a chicken kabob dinner. It boasts a strong cherry & blackberry flavor with a hint of oak.

My new go-to wine is CK Mondavi. Yours should be too, here's why:
  • CK Mondavi is the only American made/grown wine in the “supermarket wine under $10” category.
  • CK Mondavi Winery is a family owned and operated business. Made in America!
  • CK Mondavi is the only wine in this price point to be 100% American made & grown
  • The perfect wine to serve on Independence Day: They participate in the Intrepid Fallen Heros fund a percentage of their sales goes to supporting Veterans! #CKMondaviHeroes
  • BONUS fun fact: Owner Marc Mondavi was born on the 4th of July and 2014 marks his 60th birthday!

CK Mondavi wine can be purchased in every state! Pick it up for this year's fourth of July party! Don't forget to make it with your favorite summer recipe! What will you make?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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