February 22, 2012

Our New Home

Ok, I have something to admit.
I've been hiding something from you.

Well, most of you. Some of my nearest and dearest know and have been sharing my excitement.

And no, it's NOT a baby. (Once you get married, every upset stomach and every big announcement means you're pregnant, apparently...)

Nonetheless, besides marrying the love of my life, this is the most exciting thing that has EVER happened to me! And I have been bursting at the seams with excitement and couldn't wait to share what's been going on in our lives for the last few months.

And now I can!

My husband's father (Lee) and step-mother (Melonie) flip houses, generally in the winter when his pressure washing business slows down because of the cold and icky weather. I had told Lee that when they were looking to buy their most recent house to flip that I wanted to help with the process. I wanted to learn more about home repair/renovation/design. He definitely welcomed the help! They found a foreclosure in the area and they saw a lot of potential so they snatched it up and got to work.

Adam and I had seen the house online (in all of its foreclosed glory) and could see that the 1970's house had good bones. We were excited for them because it seemed that they came across a steal of a deal! The Saturday after Thanksgiving we stopped by to see the house for ourselves. And despite the damage from pets (and an angry, possibly mentally unstable previous owner), rotting back porch, hideous wallpaper, vanity IN the master bedroom, holes in the wall, disgusting showers, and the blood red formal living room...

we sort of loved it.

We really liked the layout, the big backyard, the HUMONGOUS master bedroom, and the classic look of the exterior. Lee and Melonie also told us that the people in the neighborhood were so friendly and that they all felt very safe letting their kids play in the area. Most of the people in the neighborhood had been living there for a long time.

Our plan all along has been to mostly look at foreclosures for our next home so we could get a great price and fix it up and make it our own. Visiting this house made us realize that if we were going that route, we may need to consider buying our next house BEFORE selling our current house, because most foreclosures need a lot of work before you can even move in. I contacted a realtor and asked if she could meet with us to get the ball rolling. You can read about all that and what happened afterwards here.

So while we worked on getting our house ready for listing, our realtor began to look for places for us. What we kept finding was that if it was in our price range it was either 1. in need of major renovations that would put us WAY over budget or 2. they were like 100 square feet bigger than our house now. I'm sorry, but I am not moving for 100 square feet. The other thing we kept noticing?

We kept comparing it to the flip house.

I would lay in bed almost every night thinking about how to arrange the furniture in the house and how amazing it would be to paint the front door red. And the entertaining we could do on the big back porch!

We talked and prayed and thought it over... over and over again. And we kept coming to the same conclusion. So a little over two weeks after we stepped inside the house for the first time, Adam told his dad that we had made a decision: we OFFICIALLY wanted the house! It was something we had discussed here and there with Lee and Melonie because they knew it was in our price range and because they were willing to let us make design decisions along the way if we wanted to buy it. But now it was for real.

And then the real fun began!

The house had been essentially gutted, and they had repaired damaged ceilings, walls, and subfloors. But that left us with... nothing really. Which meant every. single. thing. that went into the house would be something WE picked! I mean, who gets do that?? Flooring, paint colors, vanities, light fixtures, kitchen cabinets and appliances, and more! For weeks I carried around a bag filled with tile and hardwood samples,  a paint sample book, and random notes about ideas and plans. We spent some quality time at Lowe's, Home Depot, and Southeastern Salvage. I spent practically every lunch break searching the internet for lighting fixtures and backsplash ideas. While we were super busy with our own house, any spare time we had was spent at the new house tearing down wallpaper, painting, laying tile, etc. etc. I'm pretty sure I have a blob of paint on every article of clothing I own. But oh my goodness was it fun! We both feel so blessed that we were given this opportunity. The very thought that all major home improvement projects will be DONE in our next home is so exciting! From here on out, anything we do will most likely by minor for quick updates (new paint colors, changing out light fixtures, etc.). It just makes my heart happy.

So... basically we helped design a house and I haven't told you guys until now. And I am thrilled that it's not a secret anymore! I'm sure you can understand why we didn't tell everyone. When you have a house on the market, you don't want the whole world knowing you're in a hurry to sell. Bad news for the seller's wallet :)

I'm so proud of the work we've done (and when I say WE I mean everyone who has done anything at the house. My in-laws and the people they choose to work with are AMAZING and I am so so so grateful for everything) and I have been looking forward to sharing pictures with everyone. I can't wait for you to see the befores and afters, because it will blow your mind, and hopefully inspire someone to tackle their own major home improvement project(s). I want to do separate posts on different rooms/projects, so for now I will just share the front exterior shot of our new, made-with-love, this is where we'll start our family one day HOME.


The first picture was taken from Adam's truck in December, soon after renovations began. You'll notice the dumpster in the driveway that collected monumental amounts of awfulness. The second picture was taken just a couple of weeks ago. It would have been more dramatic had I waited and taken a new picture more recently with the final touches (new kick plate for door, updated light, new landscaping), but if you know me you know patience is not my forte...



I am in love with this house!!!!

Finally, here's a shot from a bit further back which shows some of the two-car garage. Please know that the large bush on the right side has been significantly reduced in size and will eventually be replaced. I know that makes you feel better!

February 15, 2012

Pretty things for the home

Since we're about to move, I've been kind of consumed with decorating and furniture ideas. I'm so excited for a fresh start and to work towards having a home that I'm really proud of. One thing that appeals to me when it comes to home design/decor is filling rooms with things that aren't mass-produced. I am drawn to vintage items and one-of-a-kind pieces. I like things that have a story.

So, just in case you've been racking your brain trying to think of a housewarming gift, here's some things I've "hearted" recently on Etsy. (Totally kidding. Cash would be fine. Just kidding again.) Some are vintage, some are just handmade and awesome.

I love this set of lotus bowls. They would be cute for use in the kitchen, but I can also see them in the bedroom to collect rings or change. Love.

This make me an old lady, but I love these blue and cream vintage curtains. I have a thing for birds, and I'm always drawn to these colors, so its only natural... I don't think my husband would care much for these!

Totally diggin this vintage enamel container and think it would be fun touch in the kitchen... or pantry :) 

There isn't much to say about this runner other than its so pretty! And SO me.

On my bed. Now. It's just precious. I know I could probably make this... but I'm not going to. haha

On my couch. Now! it's so cute it HURTS. So much time went into making this and I love that aqua blue.

February 13, 2012

Chili...with pumpkin!

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking. Pumpkin in chili does sound kind of grody. (I don't think I've used the word "grody" since I was in middle school. I'm not even sure I spelled it right...).

But, trust me- it's pretty good! I love the idea of adding canned (or fresh) pumpkin puree, because it doesn't affect the flavor really and its a great way to add some good-for-ya stuff without it feeling too healthy. I got this recipe from skinnytaste and just changed it up a bit. I have an upright freezer FULL of organic, Angus beef, so I used it instead of turkey. For my beans, I used great northern beans that I cooked and threw in the freezer a few months ago. I also threw in a small ziploc bag of corn leftover from dinner a few weeks ago. I knew that corn would come in handy! As usual, I also used my homemade chicken stock in place of the canned/box stuff.

One important note... I personally found the original recipe to be pretty bland, so I doctored it up with quite a bit of salt, chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. We also topped ours with sour cream, cilantro, and some shredded cheese. I served it with some homemade corn muffins. (Am I the only one who would rather eat a couple chunks of cornbread than a bowl full of ice cream??)

We both agreed that this tasted way better the next day and was a keeper...with my adjustments :) I think this is a great options for a cold winter night! And may or may not be DELISH with some fritos...just saying...

Crock Pot White Bean Chili with Pumpkin
Recipe from skinnytaste

cooking spray
2 lb 99% lean ground turkey (or ground beef)

1/2 tsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp chili powder, to taste

2 bay leaves

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

2 (15 oz cans) of white northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained

15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

4.5 oz canned chopped green chili

2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth (I used about 3 cups)

fat free sour cream for topping (optional)

chopped cilantro and chives for topping (optional)

1. In a skillet, brown and drain the meat. Throw in crock pot.

2. Cook the onions in a garlic for a couple of minutes until onions become soft. Add cumin and cook for another minute or so.

3. Add onions/garlic to crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Once done, remove bay leaves and give it a taste. Add more spice/salt to your liking! Top with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and/or green onions.

Linking up...

Masterpiece Monday
Tuesday Talent Show
Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods

February 2, 2012

Our life as of late

That's right, folks. We're under contract! On January 19th we received an offer, and after a quick no-drama negotiation of sorts, we were under way! Including our buyer, over three weeks of our house being listed we had 8 showings and an open house (four couples came to that). We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the showing requests came in, and we were very hopeful that the perfect buyer would come along soon, but we never imagined it would happen in less than a month.

A week after we struck a deal, we had our home inspection. I was a nervous wreck. I had heard story after story of how every single inspection comes back with at least a few things (or as many as twenty), and I was nervous about finding out about something that was wrong that we were unaware of that may cause the buyer to back out. The day after the inspection our realtor called and said:

"Your buyer would like for you to clean out the back gutters."

Holy cow! ALL HE WANTS is for us to clean out the BACK gutters! Not even all the gutters, for crying out loud! I laughed hysterically out of joy and once again had a conversation with God... because I have seen Him clearly working throughout this experience. There's just no denying it at this point. God is amazing...and hilarious.

A few days ago our house was appraised, and that also went well. Now we just have to have a termite inspection, and our house should be done being explored and examined. Our contract lists February 29th as the closing date, but we know that could change depending on what his underwriter decides or how quickly his loan can be finished. And I am not totally naive. I know things happen all the time, and his loan could fall through or a million other bad things could happen. But I know the One who holds the future, so I will not worry!

Yesterday marked FOUR WEEKS until we close, and I am starting to mentally prepare for all that has to be accomplished in the next month. What stresses me out the most is the fact that I will be out of town two out of the four weekends between now and then, and those are the days where the majority of things could get accomplished. (I will, however, get over this stress because those out-of-town weekends mean visits with sweet friends who I just don't see nearly as often as I should!). I know at the end of the day everything will get done and it will be so worth it. I just can't say it enough. God has been so good to us, and I have learned so much about trusting in Him and finding peace in His timing. I would never have thought that less than two months after putting our house on the market we'd be relocated.

Anyway, that's why the old blog has not been #1 priority on my list lately...and probably won't be for a while. I'll be busy boxing up, throwing away, and giving away all of our belongings. And I'll be spending some time thinking about all of the wonderful memories we've made in this house together.

Oh, and you may have noticed how I haven't mentioned our plans for house hunting...

... and THAT is the BEST part of the story!

More to come soon :)