Monday, June 21, 2010

Decisions and Home Remodels

All right - let's talk home remodeling. Now when we bought out home a year ago, we knew this house would be a "project house". The bones were good, and had a lot of aspects we loved - walkout basement, tons of windows/natural light, open floor plan, etc, and at the right price, especially with our down payment.

Still, we knew that we wanted to gut the kitchen, and redo the flooring in the living space. We decided to hold off a little while due to a new babe and do a lot of minor projects our house needed.

We continued to debate whether or not we should put the project a little further down the list when we found out that L's company was doing some pay cuts, as we didn't know if this was the start of worse things to come (things have since picked up, and his full pay restored). Finally we came to the point that we just decided to save and go for it - ripped linoleum, and broken, unusable cabinets put us over the edge.

We started saving, and researching flooring options, cabinets, countertops ideas. We decided that we would not buy anything unless we had the cash, got a good deal, and liked it. L had his heart set on wider planked wood flooring, and surprisingly enough, we found maple planks that we both loved on clearance. It's in now, and it looks even better than I imagined.

The cabinets were a little more difficult decision for us. I'm cheap. I'll admit it. We looked everywhere for cabinetry, and boy, boxes that hold stuff is expensive! We both liked the shaker style the most, and we liked the painted maple the best (painted wood is an upcharge). After a little more deliberation, we just decided to buy it, only to find that there was a special on painted wood that week. We were a little more than excited. We were able to get our cabinets for $2000 cheaper than we were originally quoted.

The last "big" decision was countertop. We have a lot of countertop space, and found that the solid surface was priced between laminate, and granite, and we liked the look. We were a little nervous to put that in ourselves, as that can can be a pretty expensive fix. We looked, and looked, and waited, and waited some more. Finally we were at Home Depot and found a solid surface priced at the lowest we had ever seen - and that was installed. Praise God.

In between those purchases, we had a dishwasher to buy (also on sale, with an energy rebate), a sink, faucet, knobs, and lots of other miscellaneous items. At times we were burned out just deciding and debating. I'm not naturally someone who just knows what they want and can visualize how it will look, so it was a stretch for me.

But here we are, in the middle of our remodel, flooring completed and some of our cabinets in. We wonder if we made the right decision doing the work ourselves, but know that we could have easily doubled the cost to pay to have it done. We have gotten burned out, and doing a remodel with two little ones underfoot isn't easy. Still, we can sort of see the end now - and boy, it's going to look so so so nice when it's done! Can't wait to share how it looks once it's finished.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some Green News

Our first strawberry off of our own plant! Yay!

It's been six months since my last blog. Yikes! Let's say life has been full - some family stuff, saving for, picking out, and gutting our house for our kitchen/living space remodel (more on this later), adjusting to two kiddos at work (this was harder than I thought it would be), and just the day to day wonderful stuff like having two kiddos who are too cute.

Anyway forward to fun stuff, this summer I was bound and determined to try our hand at gardening. We built two raised beds and filled them - perhaps a little too much - and we've seen a lot of good growth. We're growing peppers, broccoli, peas (lots of these), green beans, watermelon (crossing my fingers on this one), zucchini, cucumbers, and lettuce.

We also have some containers plants going - strawberries (shown above), blueberries, grapes, and some basil. Sadly, my last three are not doing so well. I bought them in an attempt to nurse them back to health (since they were such a steal), but no luck so far. Needless to say though - I am excited for harvest.

Honestly, I thought my garden would be dead by this point, since I don't have a green thumb, but weather conditions have worked in our favor thus far. I'm excited that we can continue our quest of eating clean and local food (what's more local than your own backyard?). It started with our CSA a couple of years ago, and has grown ever since. We've bought local grass-fed beef, eggs from church friends, and once this house project settles down (a kitchen is such a blessing we take for granted), hopefully some raw milk in the future. I love supporting local farmers, and love being able to grow our own food to know exactly what is put into (and onto) the plants, and cutting down on or food bill.

Isn't my garden pretty?