How I manage my home improvements.

We bought our house, pretty much site-unseen, about 15 years ago. We lived in Colorado at the time and my Husbeasts company was opening a new store only about an hour from where my parents lived in Arkansas. We bought our place for the porch and the backyard … the house just came with it. lol. We wanted a very nice place for our girls to be able to play outside, we wanted it close to Husbeasts work, near a grocery store, close to the school and on a public transit line. (just in case) Those have always been our criteria for our sense of safety. Well, as with anything, you have to make sacrifices somewhere. Ours came in the form of having to put on a new roof ourselves, removing old landscaping, settling for a VERY outdated kitchen with vinyl flooring that had pieces missing. lol. BUT, I did get beautiful, ORIGINAL crown molding, a fire-place, original weighted sash windows, attached garage and a floor furnace and window AC’s instead of central heat and air. *side note here: If you’ve never had a floor furnace, you’re missing out! My utility bills are 1/3 that of central heat/air AND my floor furnace works when there’s no power. So no worries about freezing to death! Down side to that though, in the summer, all the doors in the house have to remain open so that air can circulate. Anyway, over the years I’ve been able to do little bits and pieces of repairs and/or remodeling as I could. But since our kids are getting older (one is moved out with a family of her own now), we find ourselves with a bit more resources AND time. So, I try to pick a room to redo about every other year. I few years ago, I was able to gut the kitchen and get almost all new cabinets, new counter top, a new sink and a great paint job. But the flooring had to suffer and stay the same. lol

 
FINALLY though, this past year, I was able to get all new flooring in the kitchen AND add an entire room to the kitchen with new flooring to match! I got a new side by side refrigerator, a new chest freezer, a large pantry, a bar/island that overlooks the main living/TV room with even MORE cabinets, and a smaller pantry with space for the microwave which freed up more counter space! I also redecorated my kitchen with matching accent pieces and plants and even though I could get new pots and pans, I just can’t seem to make up my mind yet on what I want. Life of a Libra! lol Here are my project pages I did when picking out colors, flooring and appliances for the kitchen and addition.

kitchen1

 

kitchen2a

I have a household binder that I use to organize most everything I do and I especially LOVE my project pages. I know I could use pinterest but I’m a hands on type of girl and I love taking my binder with me when I’m looking at paint swatches or going thrift shopping for unique items. My project for the coming year is my dinning room and front living room. I pretty much love my dinning room as it is. Some years ago, I painted it a lovely (and risky) green with bright white accents. I literally had to stare at the open paint can for two whole days before I could make that first brush stroke. It was so far out of what I would normally choose! But, I absolutely FELL. IN. LOVE with the color once it was on the walls! The dinning room is the central room in our house and the place where we gather the most. I love that this room is lively with it’s green and white-painted walls full of family photos. There are three entrances to this room, plus two very large windows. This year, I want to install nearly floor to ceiling cabinetry on both sides of the windows with bench seating in between. I have hardwood floors that I want painted a soft chocolate and I want to move the dining table and chairs to the right of the room.

Here is my crude drawing of what I want around the windows in the dining room.

windowseatAnd this is my project page that goes along with my drawing. I use my projects pages for paint chips, printouts of pieces I may want to add, furniture, shopping lists, websites, prices, dimensions and a list of things I want to accomplish for that room.

diningroomI wont go in to it right now, but I’ve already started working on the project page for my front living room. This is the room you are in when you enter the house and the dinning room is seen from this room through a large double door opening. I want to add french doors to this opening so that the two rooms are more defined. The front living room also has the fireplace and is where we tend to stay when having company. The larger living room that is in the back of the house has the entire entertainment center and is more of a ‘man cave’ than a visiting room. Well, guess I DID go into it a little bit after all! lol. Anyway, project pages are a great way to stay focused and organized with big projects. 🙂 Poor Husbeast though, he gets all the work and I get all the fun of designing it! lol

frontroom

 

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Freezing Apple Pie filling.

With the abundance of apples right now, it’s a great idea to find as many ways as possible to preserve them for the winter/summer months. I don’t have my own fruit tree, so I make sure I catchpie8 them on sale and stock up! This week, I got Granny Smith apples for .63 cents a pound! There are many ways to preserve apples and since I’ve already dehydrated about 30 pounds of Ginger Golds, these granny smith apples are THE perfect apple for pie filling. You can also can the filling, but I didn’t have any quart jars or lids on hand and didn’t want to add to the cost of getting the apples for such a great deal by going and getting the jars. So, I googled around and finally found a recipe that looked like it had all the components I was looking for. I don’t remember where this came from, or even if it’s the original from where I got it. Who knows, BUT .. I do know that once I mixed up this filling, I just about died from the WONDERFUL SMELL. lol.

HERE’s the recipe, or you can find the same page in the Recipes menu to the right. 🙂 Happy preserving!!

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Make your own dehydrator clean sheets.

If you have a dehydrator and need additional clean sheets for sticky foods, you can make your own for MUCH less than purchasing more. I made two today to add to the two I already had that came with the dehydrator. It was super simple and CHEAP. The plastic canvas can be found at Hobby Lobby for $2.19, use their 40% coupon they have EVERY week and get it for $1.31. Just trace your store bought one onto the canvas and cut it out, wash and use it just like the original one.

cleansheets