8/13/14

An update here, and update there

All I wanted to do this weekend was be in my house. Is that weird? I feel like we spend so much time at work and out with friends that on the weekends I love to take a day or two to just nest and putter around with projects. Ben was away at his brother's bachelor party all weekend so I got to do just that!

I managed to get our new (to us) couch in the door and my old one out . . .

no puppies allowed!
Paint this hand me down cabinet a deep, rich blue (we had way too many contrasting wood tones going on in the living room). 

 

And I got to spend one of the days thrifting with my friend, Leah. She got an awesome patio chair for her new house and I scored this retro clock along with some fun, wedding decor for Jen and Josh.


My not so fun project included taking down all the outlet faces in our kitchen and scrubbing our tile within an inch of its' life so we can paint it. Eeeeep, any takers to help me?!


Have you done any house projects lately?





8/8/14

The Kitchen Plans

I have a sneaking suspicion that this blog is going to take a turn into DIY land over the colder months.  I had initially planned to conquer the bathroom, however the more I thought about it, I decided since I spend most of my time in the kitchen (and even more in the winter!), so my efforts would be better appreciated in there. 

Let's take a walk around my tiny kitchen and talk updates!

<< yep, still no pictures in most of those frames
First thing's first, I need to replace the tiles I was randomly chipping off when I thought we'd rip the tile out. Typical get-ahead-of-yourself-Heather, but hey! You live and you learn. B brought up the idea of painting the tile the other night and I've been obsessively reading tutorials ever since. He's on his brother's bachelor party this weekend so you know what I'll be up to . . .





This is the picture that seriously smacked me upside the head with a vision and got this kitchen ball rolling. The white tile. The navy lower cabinets (hello dogs, spills and future toddlers!) and the modern, sort-of-nautical fixtures.

Beautiful #kitchen dark blue cabinets bottom and white top

Like the kitchen of my dreams above, our plan for countertops is to go white (but maybe with some gray swirled in there?).  Laminate because, budget.





 Onto flooring. Our floors are actually in terrific condition minus this little split you see below.


However, I'd loooove to do something like this someday:

Herringbone porcelain tiles for the floor - maybe with darker grout
As for lighting, I want to replace this big honker with 3-4 recessed lights, possibly on a dimmer if it's doable. This low hanging light doesn't give off much brightness and it makes my already small, warm kitchen feel even hotter. 


So, there you have it! Paint the tile, paint the cabinets, and eventually replace the flooring, counter tops and lighting -- no big deal, right? ;-) One thing at a time!

ALSO! Before I forget, you see in the last picture with the light, that the wood extends from the upper cabinets to the ceiling? Are we thinking I paint that white to match the upper cabinets or rip it out? Maybe paint it a completely different accent color? All opinions are welcome!

8/7/14

Homesteading // Preparing for Winter

Last weekend we rushed home from Lancaster to help my family split wood from a fallen tree at my grandparents' house. When my mom-mom told me we could take as much as we needed, I jumped on the chance to help out.

Our oil heating bill was outrageous last winter so this year we're taking some strides to really lower it. First, we're obviously planning to use our fireplace for our primary source of heat. We need to keep some low oil heat on during the day so the pipes don't freeze but at night, we plan to bundle up fireside.



All this wood still needs to be split into smaller, more manageable logs, but it's a start! We put it right on our patio because I didn't want to A) kill our grass and B) trek all the way across my yard when there's two feet of snow on the ground (we're praying for minimal snow this year though!).

We're also sealing our windows with this stuff to keep the draft out. Our windows are really old and I'm getting a quote to update them this weekend, but if the prices are anything close to what I've researched, then we'll be relying on this method over the winter.

M-D Building Products 0.5-in x 10-ft Gray Closed-Cell Foam Window Weatherstrip
source

How are your preparing your home for the colder months? 

Any tips for weather proofing or lowering our energy bill?

Thursday Afternoon Randomness

I have absolutely no focus today, so there's that. My brain is chasing butterflies if you will. So! Random musings and thoughts that my big ole brain wants to tell you . . .

++ When buying wine last week, I offhandedly mentioned it was for a girls' night (because when you're buying that much wine on a Tuesday, you should probably have some sort of excuse) and the cashier says excitedly (with hand motions), "turn down for WHAT". You're invited to girls' night, sir. Also, what does turn down for what mean?

++ We tried out a new church last week (success!) and I only dropped my birth control pack twice out of my purse while sitting in the pews. We still got aggressively "peace be with you'd" from everyone around us, though so I think we're all good.

++ I want Fall to be here and I don't care who knows it! In the same vein, I need these boots.


And this Halloween get up for Ivy:

with non toxic, doggy-specific paint of course ;-) 

8/5/14

New Series! Homesteading

In an effort to be more self-reliant by using everything from our gardens, I decided to can sauerkraut this weekend. When I started my garden I thought I'd be lucky if I managed to dry my herbs and can tomato sauce (tomatoes are coming in so watch our for that post!!).

Drying my herbs turned out so much easier than expected and since I'm still waiting on the tomatoes, I thought I'd try my hand at jarring something else in the interim- sauerkraut! We LOVE sauerkraut in this house. I always forget to make dinners that use it because the stuff in the store in always down one of the aisles I don't usually go through - canned fruits and vegetables. Yuck.

With all these domestic activities swirling around in my brain, I thought it'd be fun to do a "homesteading" series here on the blog to document it all. 21st century homesteading can be summed it with the following practices:


1. Grow your own food -- I'd say we didn't do too bad for my first year of having a garden. It was a learning experience and I definitely plan to change things up next year and expand. 

2. Alternative energy resources -- 
  • Although we don't have a windmill in our yard or anything, we've seriously cut back on our A/C usage
  • We have about two cords of wood stacked in our backyard for fires this winter. We want to cut way back on our oil consumption this winter.
  • I'm actively seeking quotes for new windows to help lower our energy bills.
3. Farm animals -- 
  • My brother started raising chickens (free local, eggs!). 
  • This winter I plan to buy bulk-buy local, organic beef and chicken and freeze it. Also, lots of venison!
4. Waste Reduction -- 
  • We use our neighbor's compost bin for all of our fruit and veggie scraps
  • We recycle religiously, but I plan to cut waaaaay back on our plastic use. Canning everything will help! And I also want to start burning all of our paper recyclables. 
5. Use Alternative Transportation -- 
  • Fail. We're a two car family and we both drive to and from work. We do however, rarely drive separately for other activities.
6. Live Simply
  • This is a whole other post, but I want to declutter our home by going through both of our wardrobes, our electronics/media collection, and simply get rid of anything we're not using. 
7. Collect Rainwater -- I'm inheriting a rain barrel from my grandparents so we can water our gardens using that water rather than our township water!

8. Work at Home -- We wish! ;-) 

9. Be a Good Neighbor -- We regularly chat with our neighbors and I try and remember to check on them even when the weather doesn't have us outside all the time. We swap lots of produce and baked goods with them and I generally feel like we have a great little group of "community". 

10. DIY -- We try and do almost everything by ourselves in and around our house so I'd say we're winning at this one. 

Do you perform any homesteading practices?



8/4/14

Drying Herbs, Part Two

I harvested my second round of herbs recently and let's just say, the old drying method wasn't going to cut it this time around. It was scorching hot out, so leaving the oven on and open was a no go and if I were to lay all the herbs out, they would have covered every inch of my (minimal) counter space.

basil
basil
sage
oregano
(Not pictured: rosemary and thyme).

All of this to say, I took the plunge and invested in a dehydrator. It was really simple to put together and I like that it was four tiers so I can dry multiple things at once.



That BAG of basil yielded about half a mason jar of seasoning - crazy. 


So far we've got oregano, rosemary, sage and basil dried. Thyme just isn't worth it to dry because you get almost nothing from it. I think I have about two more harvests to go and we should be set for the winter!

Have you ever dried herbs?


8/2/14

Friday Night // Date Night

Ben wanted the chance to sleep in this morning before we head out to Lancaster for a wedding so I thought I'd take the chance to blog about our date night last night! I had initially planned a picnic in the park but it down poured the second we got out of work so I made us a picnic in our living room instead! Ivy was a big fan because she got to be in on the snuggling action ;-)


We ordered in from our favorite Mexican place, El Cactus and B mixed us up some margaritas while we waited.




 
The food was k.i.l.l.e.r. I, of course, doused everything in hot sauce and we both stole bites off each other's plates. I'm a firm believer in "family style" dining and I'm glad my husband puts up with it haha.
jalapenos rellenos
mexican trio - two cheese enchiladas and one beef taco
chicken chimichanga
We had big plans to play a game after dinner but we decided to "digest and watch one episode of OITNB" yeah....that turned into like four. Netflix, you got us again! I'll take the cuddle time, anyway.

How was your Friday night?

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