Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Announcement Outtakes and more info on Baby N

Thanks again for all of the messages, emails the last few weeks after we made our announcement. We are having so much fun planning for the baby! We've had a ton of questions too, so we figured we'd fill you in...
Scout patiently waiting while I took some test shots...
When we found out:
We found out the day before Father's day...and we told our immediate families on Independence Day weekend. We told the rest of our families and friends mid to end of August.

Scout was a good big brother and helped us tell our family and friends with a special scarf...
Ordered from this Etsy shop
However, he wasn't great posing for our photo shoot. He was not good at sitting still so we had to do what we could...

So we ended up with this as our favorite shot. Scout is basically saying "enough with this photo shoot already...." but we still liked it.

How have I been feeling?
This is the question everyone asks me: "How have you been feeling?" 
I've been feeling fine, really! Tired. So sleepy, and really super duper tired for awhile. For weeks I only wanted to nap after work. I was like a panda bear. The last month that has been slowly going away. I have energy after work again.

No cravings like pickles or dirt or anything goofy like that. However, there has been more than once where I've been grocery shopping and just happen to walk by the bakery and spy some delicious looking donuts...and buy them..when it was 6 o'clock at night. And then I eat one two in the car.

Adam has been great about bringing home a few treats here and there for me. Chocolate in the house is always a good thing.

Will we find out if we are having a boy or girl?
Yep, most definitely. We have to know. We will hopefully find out at our next appointment. Cross your fingers Baby N cooperates for us!

Will this become a 'mommy blog'?
God no. It will stay mostly home, DIY, a little family and lifestyle stuff just like now. We haven't even really decided how much we will share our kid on the internet.
Even though I'm a blogger---I'm not big on over-sharing and neither is Adam. So we are going to kind of wing it when it comes to personal stuff with our kids on the world wide web.

Heck, we will probably wing it a bunch when it comes to raising our kids in general...

What's next?
We have about 100 DIY projects on the 'to do list' (and a few already finished we will share soon!). Some of them will get done before the baby arrives, and some will not. 
Some of them are baby related, but most are not. I 'm looking forward to decorating the nursery!

Coming soon:
  • Outdoor Space reveal: back deck
  • Nursery Inspiration
  • Flea Market Finds
  • Gender reveal

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Do you need the HomeRight StainStick with Gap Wheel when you stain and seal your deck?

Hi guys! Thanks for all your sweet words and messages last week when we made our big Life Changer announcement. We will be sharing more on our new addition very soon.

But first let's go back a few weeks when we showed you one of the larger summer projects we finally crossed off our list. We stained our back deck.

It was a ton of work but worth it! We will be posting a final reveal of the outdoor space very soon. I can't wait for you to see where we spend our summer evenings! But first I wanted to give our honest opinion of one of the products we used for this outdoor DIY.

Adam working the stain magic with the HomeRight Stainstick with Gap Wheel!
HomeRight provided us with a tool to try out when we stained our back deck. We were of course thankful for the tool and the opportunity to try it out, but it wasn't all cupcakes and sprinkles.

And now, what you've all been waiting for: The pros and cons of The StainSick with Gap Wheel from HomeRight! Do you need this tool to stain your deck?

Less mess
Gap wheel worked great in between boards
Completed project quickly
Smooth finish

Pad could have been a little longer
Can't control the squirt (hah)

Adam's way of solving the 'squirt' issue we had.

What would we do to make the StainStick with Gap Wheel Better?
I'd make the button you use to squirt the stain come with some kind of gauge or lever so you can choose how much stain comes out at once. I'd also make the stain spritz fan out more instead of in one straight line. This would make it easier to spread evenly. We ended up spraying one long line of stain with the stainstick, then going back over it with the pad.  I don't think that was the intended way to use it, but it solved our problem.

Would we use this product again when we have to stain the deck in (hopefully several) years?
Yes. Even though we had some issues, it was still a pretty smooth process once we got the hang of it. We were able to fill the gaps between the boards, and the surface of the deck mostly at the same time. We'd use it again, but hoping reviews like these help improve the product, or even come out with something better!

Would we try other HomeRight Products for other DIYs?
We would try out other products for sure. We are thinking of purchasing a paint sprayer from HomeRight. We can think of about 1,000 things we would use it on.  I see so many good things about them in blogland. Your reviews work people!

So in the end we are thankful we had the StainStick for this project. It definitely saved ourselves time and probably helped make the end result what it was. Thanks HomeRight for making a great product, even if it wasn't 100% perfect, we are sure it would have been a tougher job without it. To answer my question: Do you need this tool to stain your deck? Yep, I think it would be on the supply list next time we do a job like this!

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

The final reveal of our outdoor space is coming very soon!

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!

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