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Friday 5+1

Happy Friday!

I hope you've had a great week, and I apologize for being off the grid this week.  Memorial Day has thrown me off completely, and I've been busy cleaning the garage and trying to get my flowers planted and garden ready.  More on that next week...

In the meantime, here's another edition of 5+1 (5 Things I Love + 1 Thing I Don't).

A Fractional Tape Measure
I stumbled upon this brilliant tool at Lowes, and absolutely love it.  I surely can't be the only one who doesn't know all of the little fractional measurements off the top of my head when using a tape measure.  Sure, I know the easy ones, like a half inch, but when we're talking 5/8", this tool saves me the trouble of trying to count the little lines by putting the fractional measurements on the tape measure.  LOVE.

And you can't beat the price - $6.98 for this little gem.

I have been using it this week to construct some of these...

Ana White
While we're talking construction, can I just tell you how much I love Ana White and her site?  I have been using her plans on building raised garden beds, and she makes me look like I actually know what I'm doing.  Not to mention that her plans for these beds are uber-economical, using fence pickets as supplies!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Source: Ana White

One of these days, I would love to use one of her mud room plans:

Life Lessons from a Navy Seal
I read this article over the weekend, and printed it out for my oldest son to read.  I have always been fascinated with the physical and mental strength required to become a Navy Seal, and these life lessons are equally compelling.

On Parenting Teens
A great and funny article on parenting teens from Jen Hatmaker.  Love.  Trying to embrace where I am with my teen, rather than feel anxious and sad about the dwindling years we have before he heads off to college.

Old House Charm
In keeping with my real estate stalking history, I had to share these listing photos from Hyde Park (near Cincinnati).  Such amazing charm and character in this town, I love it!

Like this awesome butler's pantry - would you just look at that sink?

Or this?  Again with the sink (and the gorgeous cabinetry isn't bad either).  Take a closer look at the sink - there's actually two of them, each with their own faucet.  Fantastic.

Or this built-in bed with oodles of storage.  Yes, please.  My daughter would absolutely adore this room.  And the floors aren't too shabby either...

For the +1 thing I don't like, I'm going with customer service this week.  More specifically, Arhaus' customer service.  As you know, I'm a big fan of their cushion replacement program, and much of our furniture has had nine lives as a result.  Awhile back, I called to get a replacement cushion for our sectional, since the center seat cushion was looking rather deflated, compared to the rest of the cushions.

To make a long story short, I'm on my 4th attempt to get this cushion.  Yes, you read that correctly.  They keep sending me the end cushions (which are different than the center cushion).  I now have four of these:

The last time I talked to customer service, she was about ready to send a "technician" out to our house to take cushion measurements.  For real?  A cushion technician?  But, she supposedly figured it out with the help of a supervisor, so hopefully the 4th time is a charm, and I'll get the right one.

It's a petty complaint, I know, but really frustrating since it seems like a pretty simple request!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday 5+1


Are you ready for the holiday weekend?  It's going to be gorgeous here, which rarely seems to happen on a holiday weekend, so I'm excited!  Especially since I'll be watching a whole lot of baseball.

Some great things to share for this week's edition of 5+1!

Tintable Chalkboard Paint
I found this at Lowe's recently, and thought it was so smart!  Tintable chalkboard paint by Valspar.  It gives you some fun options when it comes to color - with 10 color options.  Love this!

My only request would be for more colors, like they offer at Hudson Paints (although there are a limited number of retailers, so I would have to order online).  But look at their selection - 30 colors!

Source: Hudson Paint

My friend (whose Knotty Pine redo was featured here), is the one who first showed me Hudson's tintable chalkboard paint.  They did an entire chalkboard wall in their girls' third floor playroom.  So cute.

Cleaning Your Top Loader
I have a top loading washing machine, and recently found this tutorial on how to clean it.  Be thankful I didn't take pictures.  All I can say is ew, gross.  But now my washer is clean and shiny!
Source: Practically Functional

Ditching the Formal Dining Room
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the "Death of the Dining Room" and how homeowners (in this case, luxury homeowners) are ditching the formal dining room altogether.  I could jump on that bandwagon, as long as I had a large kitchen with ample eating space.

I'm thinking of something along these lines.  I would ditch my formal dining room if I had a space like this.

Or this?

Or even this - it's still kind of a room, but not off by itself like what you normally see with a formal dining room.  It's connected to the heart of the home - the kitchen.

Yeah, I could make that sacrifice. ;-)

Raised Garden Beds
I'm hoping to install raised garden beds this year (yes, I'm behind the curve, I know), and I love all of the great ideas out there on how to do it.
Source: Positively Spendid

Or these beauties from Ana White's amazing blog.
Source: Ana White

The Shark Sonic Duo
I admit it, I first found the Shark Sonic Duo via an infomercial, and I was hooked.  Since my husband is amenable to purchasing products that increase the likelihood that I'll do more cleaning and/or organizing, he surprised me and bought it.  It really does the trick to keep your carpets looking fresh, without having to give them a deep shampooing.

For example, I had a couple of spots on the basement carpet that were driving me crazy.

After I took my Shark Sonic Duo to it, it looked like this. :-)
No, I'm not getting paid for any of these endorsements - they're just products I like, and I thought you might like them too.

As for the one thing I don't like, I'm fairly certain I'm not alone with this one.
But I do love the skits on Saturday Night Live:

They're getting married this weekend you know.  I'm sure this one will last, right?

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


Our Second House: A Tour

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a great weekend and are gearing up for a fab holiday weekend.  I can't believe it's almost Memorial Day already!

After sharing the sad foreclosure situation at our first house, I thought I should share a tour of our second house.  I started this blog just as we were in the process of selling this house and moving to our current home (which I never plan on leaving, btw).
  We lived in our first house for seven years, and that's how long we were in our second house as well.  This house was just what we needed at the time we moved.  Our boys were 5 and 3, and we were craving more space big time.  Space for the boys to play, that didn't creep into our every day living space was high on our priority list, and this house had a fantastic basement that had us at hello.  Plus, we were thinking about having a third child, and needed more room before taking that leap.

Most of these photos are shots that I took for the listing because I'm a control freak like that.  But there are also some in there which show the changes that we made over time.

We added the window boxes to this house, and I miss them so much that I'm hoping to add them to our current house at some point.  What is a big bummer is that the new homeowners never fill them with flowers.  I love the character and charm they add to the exterior.

The backyard had a lot of great trees, a screened in porch and paver patio.  The trees made for great "bases" for my boys to play baseball.

I added some raised garden beds to the back as well (and am hoping to do so at our current home too).

I can't find a great photo of our entry, so this is as good as I could get.  You can see a peek at the stairs in the upper right hand corner.  The dresser was a craigslist makeover.

To the right of the entry is what should be a "formal" living room, but since we're not formal people, we turned it into my husband's office.

To the left of the entry area is the dining room.  

Before putting this house on the market, we did some updates, including a mini makeover in the powder room.  Here it is before:

During - took down the monster sized mirror and replaced the pork chop counter top with granite.

And the after - not a huge change, but enough to make it look a little more current.

The back of the house was really the heart of this home, with a nice open kitchen and family room area.  There used to be a little pony wall that separated the breakfast room from the family room.  We removed it, and it's amazing how much it opened up the space, even with such a small change.

You can see why I was ready for a white kitchen.  I had cherry cabinets in my first and second home, and while I loved them at the time, it's nice to have something different the third time around.  But I do love this great window over the kitchen sink.  I spent a lot of time looking out that window, watching the kids play in the backyard.

We did update the island before we listed the house.  The counters were originally all a light colored Corian, but we wanted to change out the island with something different.  I scored this granite on craigslist for a steal.

Here it is before:

And after:

Taking down the pony wall, painting out the built-ins and mounting the tv within the built-ins, really gave us a lot more options in furniture placement.  Such an improvement.

You can see a bit of the pony wall in this shot (when we first bought the house).

Like I said, the basement was a huge selling point for us when we bought it.  Lots of space for everyone to spread out, and not worry about the kids' toys scattered in the family room, upstairs.

As you can see, I've been a fan of chalkboard walls for a long time. 

This space also went through an update before we listed it.  As you can see, I remembered to take some photos as I was in the middle of painting.  I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I painted this space green and gold.

Our master bedroom (yes, I know the headboard is hung too high and I am missing a bedskirt). ;-)

The master bath used to have carpet, which we replaced with tile.

I also trimmed out the mirror in there.

I did the same thing in our kids' bathroom.

I'm cringing at sharing my daughter's bedroom.  When it was a nursery, it was a pretty shade of green (which I can't find a photo), and I went and painted it a horrifying shade of pepto bismol pink.  I swear, it didn't look like this on the swatch.  I should have left it alone, I know.  I think I got carried away with it since she was my first girl, after having two boys.

I claim temporary paint insanity.  And I don't think the exposure on this photo is doing the color any favors.

Fortunately, I didn't fall into the same pink pitfall in our new house.

One last thing - I've updated and changed the look of the "My Favorite Projects" page so that it's more organized and easier to navigate.  Take a look if you get a chance!