DIY Plans


Back when we were in escrow on our new TX house, we did what every prudent buyer does and had a home inspection completed. The list of things that needed fixing was small, but all the items were necessary. Luckily, we were able to get a couple thousand back from the buyer in order to complete some of them.

In an effort to save money, we have been venturing deep in the DIY waters. We (okay, Jesse) have already replaced the toilet, fixed the leaking shower, and, just today, added two exterior electrical outlets (there were none on the outside– a problem when you have an electrical car!). One of our good friends used to be an electrician, and he and his wife came over for around 5 hours this afternoon to help us out for free (well, I did make them a kick-a dinner). I gotta say…pretty glad that we didn’t end up having to attempt something like that for the first time on our own!

Then, I had another church friend pick up five garden beds for me from Craigslist! I’m so excited to get growing, although the thought of filling 5 giant garden beds full of seedlings is kind of daunting.

On our list, we also have to DIY some sort of garage and driveway to come from the alley in the back, along with adding on a family room at the back of the house (although I think we’re gonna have to pay a contractor to do most of that!). We have many DIY plans, as you can see (would you look at that big backyard?), but most of them are going to have to wait until summer vacation. We just took care of the necessities for now.

We are currently tossing out the idea of eventually getting chickens OR a dog. Or both! (don’t get mad, Jesse!). What’s your vote?

We Love Our New House

Fuller House living room 1

We moved last Saturday, right before a huge winter storm blew into Dallas Sunday night. School was shut down for Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday due to the freezing rain and snow, so essentially we moved right before a 4.5 day weekend! The house was well-kept thanks to real professionals; due attention was paid to servicing gutters. We couldn’t have planned it any better, although I must admit I still have an eye on a Property for sale in Hua Hin. I also had some graciously awesome parents step up and offer to sub for me in my online class, meaning that I haven’t had to teach for the past few days.

Having weather in the low 20s for a few days straight enabled us to test the quality of our windows and heating, and boy did they pass the test! Our heater didn’t even need to run continuously in order to keep the entire house at an even 72 degrees (what…I like it toasty!). The inspector had told us that the previous owners had put in top of the line windows, and he was right. Siding Syracuse NY did a great job!

The boys’ room is almost fully set up, mostly because if they have a nice place to play, they will be occupied and I can get more done in the other rooms. One of the challenges that we knew we’d have with this house (or with any old house) was storage. We are coming up with creative ways to effectively store our clothes until we build on a bigger master closet and bathroom (coming this summer, most likely). Click here for artistic remodeling ideas! Zerorez Sacramento carpet cleaning specialists refresh your surfaces without the use of detergents or harsh chemicals, which means your carpet and upholstery stay cleaner longer.

Until then…here are a few snapshots of our new space! More of our cozy cottage to come! We love our new house.

The Boys Reading on Snow Day Fuller House snow

I’ve Got A Crush

To be honest, my brain and sanity are just completely fried. It’s been a long hard week, and the next 36 hours will be brutal as our buyer will either back out of the escrow or give us a long list full of expensive things she wants fixed. Our heater on our rental here in TX is STILL not fixed, and as this is probably the 10th repair that we’ve had to wait months on (our water heater took them 3 months to fix), we’re just frustrated and kind of mad at our landlord. Having a freezing cold house on top of all the crazy escrow stuff is just the “icing” on the cake.

In the interest of distracting myself from the stress of all the living situation stuff, I compiled a list of pretty things that I would love to get, either for my birthday (hear ye, hear ye, husband!) or save up for.

Last week, Jesse and I finally caved and bought an actual platform bed from Craigslist. This duvet cover by Society 6 would match oh-so-perfectly, but at $99 I’m not just going to run out and buy it.
society 6 duvet arrows

American Eagle moccasin slippers— all of AE’s clearance is 60% off until Monday, making these slippers only $12! On top of that, they also offer free shipping right now on any amount purchased! I had a little eBay money I’ve been saving, so I went ahead and got them.

American Eagle slippers


Fairbault Throw— Can you believe that Target sells such a beautiful blanket? Okay, I can. It’s $80 though, so it’s hardly cheap. Wouldn’t it look so nice with the duvet cover above??

Fairbault throw

Speaking of Target, I tried on this moto jacket there last night (a little “mommy needs to get away to save her sanity” excursion!) and it was dreamy. Like a glove, I tell you.

Moto jacket

And then it would be nice to get the perfect Tribal / Chukka Boots like these from Toms. I also found some similar ones for only $29 at DSW shoes.

Toms Tribal Boots


Speaking of shoes, I’ve really been wanting a pair of rain boots, but we don’t get enough rain for me to justify this $50 purchase…maybe someday! These boots by Dirty Laundry have both black and brown on them so they can match almost anything.
Dirty Laundry Rain boots


Alright, there’s my little list of pretty things to buy. Granted, I can’t really buy any of it for a while, since our housing situation is costing an arm and a leg right now (have I complained enough about this lately? no? I can keep going….), but I know that someday we will have spending money again.

What about you? Any of these things on your wishlist?

Our Yellow and Gray Kitchen

White and Gray and Turquoise Kitchen

The kitchen in this town home has been the most challenging part of living in our temporary rental situation, but it’s come a long way so I thought I’d share pictures anyways 🙂 When we moved in, most of the appliances didn’t work and a refrigerator wasn’t provided. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to buy the refrigerator of my dreams– a GE retro inspired bottom freezer one. I found it new and still under warranty on craigslist for a few hundred less than what it costs at Home Depot!

There was no kitchen additions such as hoods and microwave, so we added that. The tile has rust stains, so we added rugs. None of the cupboard doors hang straight or close all the way (see exhibit A underneath the sink), so we removed the ones above the dishwasher since I was constantly banging my head on it (doors that won’t stay all the way open OR shut kind of drive me crazy!) and added contact paper. Since we have only a few counters, we also added about $20 worth of Ikea stuff to the walls to make more space. We efficiently handle problems with your main sewer line.

Rast shelves over sink

Open Shelving with contact paper

Birds on shelf

We added the fruit basket to make counter space as well. Up on top, you can see a narrow strip of dark brown. Can you believe that the kitchen used to be covered in this color???? I missed this little spot, and haven’t gotten around to painting it. It serves as a thankful reminder for how much nicer things look now.Hanging Fruit Basket

Remember how I said that we moved the dining table out of the “actual” dining room and into the kitchen nook? This area used to be my office, but it was too hard to get things done here while the boys were running around. I thought I would be able to work while the boys played in the sunroom just beyond, but the windows are such poor quality that they barely blocked any of the noise. My office is now in a corner of our master bedroom, which is already working a lot better.

I also mentioned that I love all the natural light we get right here.  I turned off the lights for this picture, and it is still very bright. Ignore the ugly yellow cord at the bottom– one of the outlets doesn’t work, so in order to keep our fish tank there we have to run a cord from somewhere else (sigh, not even one of the biggest problems we’ve had).

Gray and Yellow Dining Room

And here’s the other side of the kitchen. I really don’t like galley kitchens because it’s hard for more than two people to be cooking at the same time in what feels like a hallway with appliances (we had the same problem with our kitchen in CA). But my mom and I did manage to make our entire Thanksgiving meal here, so it’s quite functional!

Yellow and Gray Kitchen with stove


Chalkboard Labels

My beautiful fridge! My one luxury 🙂 And a bonus lego to the left, what a treat!

Retro Refrigerator

To the left of our fridge is a pantry, and to the left of that is the other side of the kitchen nook. I set this up as my command station when my office was here, but left most of it even when I moved my desk. It’s much easier to grab papers and file mail when it’s near the back door. The dry erase calendar and meal plan chart are hung on a large sheet of metal from Home Depot.Kitchen Wall Calendar

Kitchen Command Center

And, once again, across from this is our dining table (it has two large leafs that can extend it, which enabled us to host my entire family for Thanksgiving).


Chalkboard Wall in kitchen

Table from below


My burlap table runner and Christmas centerpiece.Burlap and mason jars


Right outside the kitchen nook is our sunroom.

Looking out the kitchen


Since the weather turned frigid, I moved all of my plants in here onto a $20 sofa table.

Plants in the sunroom

On the other side of the sunroom is the boys’ playspace. After one nasty fall from this contraption (that made my heart stop!), we shelled out $40 for super thick mats. I love that we’ve been able to keep this space mostly clear, since we’ve been able to host friends and their kids and have a large place for them to set up a tent, throw balls, and run around like crazy, despite the fact that our entire place is only around 1200 square feet.

On the left, you can barely see the four or five storage containers we have for school binders, books, and holiday decorations. One of the upsides to not having a garage or storage unit? We have NOWHERE to store junk, which means we had to get rid of it. Sad? No.

Out the door to the right is a little bit of yard and our gated carport.

Long sunroom

Don’t hate, but I got this BRAND NEW sand table for $5 at a garage sale 🙂 It’s pretty dirty now though! I love that this keeps them entertained for hours at a time– I super dislike the fact that sand gets everywhere. But we have a rug before going into the kitchen, so that stops the majority of it from getting tracked into the house.

Sandbox in the sunroom

One final look back towards the kitchen door:Toys in the sunroom

So, there you have it! Our yellow and gray kitchen, along with our sunroom/playroom. It isn’t my favorite, but it’s good enough for now 🙂