Archives for October 2015


We got the house!!! Closing December 18th. So exciting!  And what a crazy time of year to be moving…

This morning I’m off to look at cabinet choices for our current house.  Our goal is to put it on the market January 1st.  What a lot we have to do!

On pins and needles

Well, after several weeks of looking for just the right place, we’ve put in an offer on a house. It’s much closer to John’s work, and on a much smaller property, but has a big common area to run the dog and have picnics and host our annual 4th of July bash.  My favorite part is a mega-huge living room– perfect for having our mob over for Sunday dinner.

It’s a foreclosure property, and we’re crossing our fingers that the bank will accept our offer.  We think we may hear something today, so I’ll keep you posted.  Meanwhile our painting efforts have moved upstairs, and we have a someone coming in today to measure our kitchen for new cabinets.

Something about using a house hard for 22 years leaves the cabinets less than stellar, and prevailing wisdom these days is that kitchens sell houses. So here’s what I’d love to hear from you today: in your ideal kitchen, what color would the cabinets and counters be?   Here are some ideas that appeal to me at the moment.


But I thought it would be fun to take a poll and see what you all think makes a pretty kitchen. Here’s a photo of the current kitchen so you can get an idea of the space I’m working with.

Kitchen Before


It actually doesn’t look bad on the surface–we’ve thought of leaving the cabinets and just adding granite.  But the insides of the cabinets are very worn– lots of chips and broken bits as well as water damage under the sink. All that wear would be a real turnoff to a buyer, especially at the price point at which we hope to sell.

So tell me:  lighter or deeper cabinets?  What tones of granite would you have in your dream kitchen?  By all means share pinterest links and photos if you have ideas.


The painting that never ended

I was trying to figure out today why after only one night of work I am so exhausted.  Then I realized that probably it is not just the night of work.  It is the fact that for the past five days anytime that I haven’t been scurrying around running a million errands, I’ve been painting.

I’ve painted halls and doors, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, the entry way, and the staircase to the upstairs. For at least two days while working on the living room, I was having anxiety attacks about the grey paint not being right.  But honestly, I just kept thinking, I don’t care if I hate it. Get it done.

However, once we started getting the white trim painted, it all started coming together in a hopeful way.  The grey popped in a really nice way against the white, and it really grew on me.  I found a fun art print to put on the living room wall that does a nice job tying in the grey with the tans on the couches.  I have some new throw pillows coming.  And– oh, the glory!– after 22 years with the same green carpet, we have new carpet being installed in two weeks.

I am resisting the urge to show you photos right now in the middle because I want to show you true ‘after’ photos instead.  But it’s coming together!  Hooray!  And maybe someday I will find time to sit down and actually write again.  Are you enjoying your fall?  Do you have any fall projects in the works?

By the way, for anyone who noticed that some of my recipes weren’t working lately, that problem should now be resolved.  So print away!  But do remember you can also get a whole book full of my favorite affordable and family-friendly recipes right here: Family Feasts for $75 a Week.



buzzing around….

Hello!!  Yes, I’m still here.  Just buzzing around doing all sorts of interesting things.  At least once a week I’ve been enjoying that sweet new grandbaby and playing with her older siblings so mama can nap. We’ve been homeschooling and keeping up with all the normal stuff around here, including 2 night shifts a week at the hospital.

As an addition to our homeschool learning about refugees, the girls and I have been volunteering with a local ministry that helps new refugees settle into our community.  We have very much been enjoying getting to know a family that just arrived in Boise from Malaysia, and have had fun learning bits of each others’ languages.

Along with all that, John and I have been noodling around the idea of selling our place here and moving to a place in town.  And after 22 years of beating down the weeds and doing the upkeep on our three acres, we are realizing we may be getting a little weary of having so, so much land to tame.

The chickens and the cow and the huge garden and greenhouse have been lots of fun.  But we’re wondering if maybe we’d like to shift some of our time in other directions during the coming years. This house is just about paid off and the difference in property cost between here and a place in town would be a great jump on the start of our (someday) ocean dream.  And a smaller yard is sounding more and more appealing.

So we’ve been dipping our toes in the local real estate waters. We’ve begun looking at houses to see what we might be able to get in town that would leave us some equity to put toward our beach house dream.  Lots of house-hunting has netted some possible options.  But nothing so far feels decidedly ‘ours’. I’ve fallen in love with a house or two.  So far we haven’t been able to find out that would give John some good shop space.  Maybe we’ve lived here too long to get that ‘home’ feeling about anyplace but here. But maybe there’s something out there.  We’ll keep looking.

We’ve also been looking at our own house with resale value in mind, just in case we do find a good place in town.  We bit the bullet and replaced the elderly furnace. I did some major decluttering in the garage, with the plan of eventually texturing all the walls and shooting a fresh coat of paint on everything out there.

I’m cleaning out closets and giving away all sorts of things that we don’t need. The linen closet with half its contents removed looks incredibly more spacious and well organized. I need to paint the shelves and put the door back on, and then next on the list is a similar makeover of the master closet.

Useful grey by Benjamin MooreI’ve repainted all the doors and much of the trim on the main level of the house. The trim is just a plain white, and for the walls I chose a Benjamin Moore paint in a nice soft neutral tone called ‘Useful Grey.’  Funny name, eh? To the right is the color in someone else’s home.

New paint and door knobsAnd here’s a picture of our hallway showing the contrast between grey and white.  So clean and crisp.  (It proved crazy-hard to get the paint to show up as the right color on my camera, though– thus the photo above.)

This photo also shows our new door knobs. I bought new doorknobs and hinges for the whole house, to replace the brassy ones we’ve had since the 90’s. The grand total of that project was $280, and they really update the doors, I think.

We have new living room carpet coming soon.  Our current carpet is a very worn teal green that just screams 1990’s.  🙂  I got bids from a bunch of places but settled on RC Willey since their cost was the absolute best, and their work has been recommended.

As is typical for me, I want to do ALL.THE.THINGS. at once.  (Except, apparently, blogging–oops!)  It could be that after more house hunting we will just decide to stay put here– who knows?  Or maybe just the right house will show up during the next few months and we will make the leap to a new place.  But in any case these new fix-ups on our house are really fun and fresh, and (except for the boring furnace) not even all that spendy.  I keep forgetting to take pictures of my projects, but I will share more soon, because there’s lots happening.

Until then, thanks for sticking with me and checking in even when life gets busy and I don’t post often.  I appreciate your visits here!


My latest Stitch Fix

Last week I got rather a cute batch of Stitch FixBlue items that I thought you might like to see.  This first item is a silky blue blouse that was quite pretty, but looked a little boxy on me and just didn’t quite feel like my style.  It kinda felt to me like it should be paired up with heels and a business suit which is just not me.


StripesNext up is a black and white striped elbow length top that is actually quite similar to several others that I have.  But the cozy t-shirt fabric and the flattering style won my heart once again.  I know it is something I will wear regularly.


BagThis luscious green bag was another item that was love at first sight for me.  As you can see in the photo, it is actually two bags, with the smaller bag snapping into the larger bag, depending on the size of bag that you feel like carrying around on any given day.  The leather feels beautiful in your hands, and the bag is big enough for travel.


SkirtCardiganThese final two photos actually show two items. First is a maxi skirt in a fun pattern.  I am such a sucker for maxi skirts, as they are some of the comfiest items of clothing that I own and can be dressed up or down, depending on my mood.  I think I have about hit my limit on maxi’s though, and will probably ask them not to send me more after this fix.

SkirtCardigan2Finally there’s this black t-shirt knit cardigan.  It has a fun folded-over neckline that swoops down to form pockets at the  front edges, similar to the turquoise sweater in this fix.  The fabric is stretchy and soft and being black will of course go with lots of different outfits.

I really loved this fix, and ended up keeping everything except for the blue top.  Fun, fun!  Have you tried Stitch Fix? Click here if you’d like to see the other ‘fixes’ I’ve been sent over that past couple years.  And if you’d like to give this service a try, just click on my referral link.