Making Our House a Home

Moving from a brand new house to an older house has been interesting, to say the least. We knew there were problems before we moved in. We made the owners buy us a home warranty and we knew we would probably be using it! Which we have – two times already!

First, the master shower leaked to the media room below. And the drain backed up and flooded our basement leaving the carpet useless. We’re guessing the main drain had never been cleaned out . . . ever. That was when we decided to upgrade the warranty. Because it sounds like they’ll probably be back!

It’s clear this house and the yard were sadly neglected. But when we were looking at it we saw huge potential. And we knew with a little work, we’d build a good amount of equity right off the bat.

When they did the appraisal we found out the house was already worth more than we were paying for it. Now we’re seriously thinking we landed on a goldmine.

The house is already so much better than it was when we bought it. I remember coming into it for our final walk-through. The owners had already moved everything out and they weren’t living there anymore. It was completely empty.

Sure, the hideous paint colors were still there but it was much easier to imagine us living there. Our kids playing in their playroom. Our new sofa fitting into the media room. The huge fireplace mantle decorated to my taste.

Potential to be a wonderful home for us for years to come. With plenty of projects and hope for a new chapter of our lives.

I was sad about leaving our last house. I cried a lot of tears wondering if we were making the right decision. But I’m not sad anymore. I’m happy about our new start.

As of today we’ve been in our new house for two months. The sun is shining down on the new flowers we’ve planted. And I think our family is happy here.

Happy is a word I wasn’t sure I would be using ever again.

But here I am. Believing that I deserve happiness too.

3 Tips to Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Room

3 Tips to Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Room

I just love summer, don’t you? I feel much happier and more relaxed during this season. Since the weather is warm it’s so nice to spend time outside soaking in some sun. With each new summer season I always want to spruce up our patio so we can enjoy it as an outdoor living room.

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of amazing outdoor living rooms. I drool over them daily and finally decided to bring the indoors outside where we spend so much time. Here are three things I did to create an inviting outdoor living room.

3 Tips to Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Room

Bring indoor elements outside

Break all the rules and bring things from inside your house to your outdoor space. There are so many things you can buy now that can be used both indoors and out. Add color that pops with a rug. Or give it a festive feel with string lights. If you have a pergola, like we do, you can even add curtains creating more privacy.

Evoke all five senses

You can increase the positive experience by evoking all five senses. Place citronella candles in your surroundings for a pleasant aroma. Invest in a cute bar cart or rolling cooler and stock it with your favorite drinks. Use a Bluetooth speaker to play relaxing music.

Make it comfortable

No one is going to want to spend time in this space if it’s not comfortable. Thankfully, the stores have so many cute accessories to make it so you or your guests will never want to leave. Maybe it’s a conversational set with stylish cushions. Use colorful pillows and pepper them around the area. There are plenty of ways to make outdoor settings feel comfy. Who knows? You may end up taking a nap.

An outdoor living room increases the amount of useable space within your home. Large or small, these ideas can be used to make your patio beautifully inviting for the season and help you enjoy summer even more.

Unique Photo Canvas Giveaway

I’ve tried very hard over the last year to change our home decor to more of our tastes.

One of my primary goals was to put up more photos of our kids around the house.

Canvases are all the rage right now. And I happen to have a friend who is a talented graphic designer offer to create a few for me.

Only these aren’t just any old photo put on canvas. These are amazing pop art created from photos I gave her.

Aren’t they so cool? I swear I’ve never received more compliments on any piece of home decor than I have on these! Everyone wants to know how they were made/where I got them!

Josephine owns Retrospective Design and she creates these as well as awesome prints and invitations.

If you’re feeling lucky, she has offered one 12×16 canvas featuring 1-3 people. All you have to do is visit her Facebook page (linked above) and comment here who you would put in the photo! I’ll pick the winner in one week. This would be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

Also, be sure to like her instagram feed for more of the great, custom items she offers!

Good luck!

4 Easy Tips to Stretch Your Family Budget

As someone who is paying off student loan debt I am always looking for ways to save money. If your family is struggling just to save some money, a few tips might help you out. They are pretty easy to do, and the best part is they always work! So if you are interested in these tips that will let you stretch your family budget more, let’s get to them right away! I can bet that you will indeed save some money you can use on big family purchases. Good luck!


Start couponing

Couponing is becoming a trend for a reason. With thousands of coupons in newspapers, magazines, online and elsewhere, it would be silly not to try this out. Especially if your family has only one income or two tiny ones. Couponing is also very easy to do, simply because as mentioned, you can find coupons everywhere. And no matter where you shop and what you are buying – there is always a coupon you can use to save your money. For example, everything from clothing, groceries or to car parts or cheap tickets can be bought a lot cheaper if you have a coupon for you. For instance, check out these amazing Kohl’s coupons. Kohl’s is a favorite of mine and where we buy a lot of the kids’ clothes! So enjoy it and don’t forget that if there is a product – there is a coupon for it as well!

Generic food brands for the rescue!

Another tip you should keep in mind is various generic brand products. While shopping for groceries they can be quite a miracle maker in your budget! Usually, every bigger food retailer has its special generic brand line that sells most standard products. Also, usually, these products are lot cheaper than other brands, and this is the most important reason you should buy these! In fact, if you are afraid of the quality of such lines – don’t worry. There are some examples that big-name brands use the same product as big food brands. Hello, that’s why I shop at Aldi! They just add their logo on the package! So you will get exactly the same product but in the different package and smaller price. It is a win-win for you!

Shop with cash only

No matter what you are shopping for – big purchases like furniture or small ones like food – always bring only cash with you into a store. This is the easiest way to save money and stick to your budget because you literally won’t spend more than you brought with you into the store! So, always bring that amount of cash with you that you feel comfortable spending and don’t forget to leave your credit or debit cards at home. This will keep you away from overspending, and also let you save money too. Simply perfect!

Where possible – buy in bulk

Finally, every time you are capable – purchase products in bulk. It can be absolutely everything that doesn’t have an expiration date or has one, but long. All the home essentials like paper towels, toilet paper, and toothpaste and so on can be bought in bulk. Food products that are canned frozen or can stay fresh for a long time (like oatmeal and so on) can also be purchased without any problem in big numbers. It is nothing new to tell that buying in bulk pays off, so if you weren’t shopping like that until now – it is the right time to start doing it.

What are your budget-stretching tips? Share it in the comment section bellow and let’s all save money!


Creating a Kids’ Pantry

Creating a kids pantry |

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Back2SchoolReady #CollectiveBias

We’re nearing the end of summer break and there comes a time when you’re more than ready to get back to a routine. Not just for your kids but for you too! We have less than a month until school starts and I’m already stocking up on things that will help make the back-to-school transition easier.

I have to tell you, school mornings can be stressful. I wasn’t great at planning last year and it made things more difficult for our family of five. The last thing I want is for the first meal of the day to be rushed or unpleasant. So I set out to create a kids’ pantry!

Not only does this solve the problem of me fixing breakfast every morning (I mean, hello! I have a toddler too!). It also helps teach my kids to be more self-sufficient. Sure, we will have some mornings where I have time to fix bacon, eggs and fresh fruit. But let’s be real, okay? It can’t always happen.

Creating a kids pantry |

Creating a Kids’ Pantry is so easy! What you’ll do:

+ pick a cabinet and clean it out
+ buy some baskets that will fit
+ choose some easy breakfast and after school snack options
+ explain to your kids the pantry’s purpose and give them rules for when they can open it

Organize a kids pantry

I chose easy options for the kids to grab. Even if your kids are young (mine are 7 and 5) they can fix a bowl of cereal. I put Raisin Bran in separate baggies and bought some smaller bottles of milk since they can’t lift the gallon. Put it down low in the fridge so they can reach it.

kid's pantry

When we showed the boys that they had their very own pantry they were SO excited! It feels good to give them the tools they need to make choices on their own. We’re trying to do more of that in this house!

Creating an organized kids pantry |

The awesome bonus about this project is when you purchase select Kellogg’s products you can redeem your codes to get one free book per code! My kids are beginner readers so practicing how to read is super important! Especially with my sons starting kindergarten and first grade we really picked up the pace on reading each day and night.

redeem your codes for books

The process of redeeming your code and picking your books was super simple! First we created a Kellogg’s Family Reward account. Then we entered the codes found on the inside of the box and they helped pick out one book each, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Peppa Pig, and they are so excited to get them. You also have the choice to donate books to a school of your choice.

Be sure to check out more books available via this Kellogg’s offer. There are 80 titles of books available for beginning readers to teens. I’d love to hear your favorite book offered! You can be #Back2SchoolReady with a stocked kids pantry while also getting free books to build your library at home.