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free? yes, please!

You may have heard it said that nothing in life is free. Well, people that say that obviously have never heard of the free gift of salvation through Christ, and they clearly have not spent any time on Craigslist.

Lately, I’ve been semi-obsessively checking the Free list on Craigslist everyday (sometimes a few times a day). Why, you ask? Well, because among the heaps of old mattresses and free kittens, there occasionally are some very useful things that people need gone ASAP!


Just last week, we scored some free wood, a free rustic wooden table top (which is going to be a sweet coffee table that I’ll be posting soon), a free work bench, and a free buffet cabinet that I’m going to paint. Bounty!

The real scores are when people are moving tomorrow and they just need someone to haul their crap away. This happened to us when we were about to move across the country and needed to get rid of an old bike, an art table, and some area rugs.

Also, check on Sundays for yardsale extras that people don’t want to bother to drive to Good Will.

You have to be ready to hop in the car at a moment’s notice to be the first one there, and don’t even bother trying for most things across town–just go for things you can get to in 10 minutes or less or you probably won’t get anything, since most of the time it’s first come, first served. But, once in a while, you can get some pretty nice things that just need a little elbow grease or paint and they are good as new–for FREE! Just make sure to watch out for things that could have bedbugs and the like. No thanks.

Our neighbor recently picked up a free mower that just needed a little tune up and is working like a charm.

I think Craigslist is such an awesome resource and has really revolutionized the way we can buy and sell things, or in this case, learn about free things! It is a great chance to be a good steward, keep something out of the landfill, and give it new life.

Have you scored anything for free on Craigslist?


before & after: vinyl tile

You really see the benefits of being a good steward when you go to sell your house. I’m talking a cold, hard cash reward for making it nicer than it was when you bought it.

Our first house in NC was built in 1960, and a lot of it was still dated (wallpaper, old linoleum, and other “vintage features”). It also really just needed some TLC and cleaning, since it was unoccupied for about a year before we bought it.

Before we moved in, we ripped up the old, gross, and sticky carpet (I do NOT want to know why it was sticky) and refinished the beautiful old hardwoods hiding underneath. If you ever have this opportunity in an older home, I recommend it, as long as the hardwoods don’t have too many major/deep stains. When we went to sell the home, the real estate agent we worked with said the hardwoods were probably the one thing we did that added the most value. Score!

But, the other half of the house still had these awesome mismatched floors (the puppy makes it bearable–get it? His name is Bear!):

Well, before we put the house on the market in the fall of 2013, we just knew we had to update those bad boys. As with all home improvement projects, we wondered why we didn’t do them a long time ago so we could enjoy them.

Since our floors were kind of uneven (consequence of an old house), we decided to go with a vinyl tile, since they are flexible and forgiving, and also easy to cut. BUT, when they are in, they look almost exactly like real tile! It’s sort of a nifty new invention–you still use grout between them. Plus, did I mention they are very affordable?

So, we began our tiling adventure. It took a long time to do approximately half our little house, but we made it!

The bathroom, half way done, and already so much better. Goodbye, 70s “stone floor” linoleum!
photo 1

Phil placing tiles in the dining area:
photo 2

Phil trapped in the kitchen! Did I mention he is amazing and cleaned years of mysterious stickiness off the floor from under the fridge before we put in the tile?
photo 4

After putting in the tile and grouting it, we finished up with new white quarter-round trim and new silver-tone transition strips to the hardwood floors.

As you can see, it was a much needed update! I’m confident this vinyl tile, costing us some hundreds, helped us get thousands more when we sold the house. A little hard work really paid off!

Have you done last minute improvements before selling a house?


rooted_tail copy

Here it is, our handcrafted jewelry store! We officially launched Rooted (and by officially, I mean Facebook officially, just like when all relationships get serious) on Thursday night, and we got just under 100 likes to our Facebook page in the first 24 hours. It was exciting. We are really thankful for all our friends and family and their support.

Oh, right, the links! 🙂

Here’s our website for our store of handcrafted jewelry.

And here’s our Facebook page.

Orders have started pouring in even faster than we anticipated. It’s all very exciting! Phil is so good at bending the wires (after 8 years of orthodontic lab work bending retainers and appliances he is extremely accurate!), and I am loving working on all the web-related stuff and packaging.


So far, we are really digging Storenvy, where we are selling our necklaces. It’s kind of like Etsy, but not exclusively handmade/vintage stuff, and instead of charging fees, they are free. We like free! And I just like their whole atmosphere and their support, etc. I think they are going to grow. So, it’s a nice place for us to start.

So, that’s what’s been keeping us busy lately, on top of everything else we do. But who doesn’t love to be busy doing something they enjoy?

dollar tree is great.

I haven’t been updating as much lately, but that’s because… Phil and I are working to start a business! We are really excited and we want to have the online store running this week. We will be selling handmade jewelry. I’ll provide a link when it’s launched!

We are really looking forward to having our own business, no matter the forecast on small businesses. Thankfully God can cause us to prosper. I’m excited to see where it goes!

In other news, the chlorine is clearing out of our water so hopefully in the next week or two we will be able to drink it after it gets tested!

And yesterday I had an awesome time at dollar tree. It’s amazing how much you can get for just over $28… 27 items to be exact! 🙂 I got us a couple of cute stockings for just a dollar, and now I just need to find a tiny one for Bear 🙂


As you can see, I put a bow on mine so you could tell she’s a gingerbread WOman. I also scored a $1 wreath and a $1 red flowered garland to wrap around it to make a new holiday wreath for the front door. Not too terribly shabby for $2.


enjoying the present, and the Bear

Phil worked really hard this weekend in the front yard spreading around all the dirt they drilled up from drilling the well and making the yard level again. I helped for about one wheelbarrow full :). Bear helped by digging in the dirt. He got some on his nose.20121119-171402.jpgI’ve been thinking today about making the most of what you’ve got. I looked out the window this morning at our back yard, which is fairly large (we have over .6 acres total), and about all the possibilities of what we could do with it. We have this land that we own, and we can use it–how fun!

We are planning to put in raised beds this winter for the coming spring, and we found some nice pre-cut 4-foot wood at Home Depot on Saturday. We’ll probably use something like that to make some 4×4 beds. I suppose I’ll try out this whole square foot gardening trend. I like the idea of less weeding.

Anyway, I got to thinking that I usually don’t fully utilize what I have already, whether it be our house, our food, the gift of holy spirit, etc. 🙂 And I think there’s a lot to be said about enjoying what you’ve got. We have already made lots of improvements to our house and our yard since we moved in this summer, and this weekend I looked around and was really blessed by our home. It is really becoming our home, and it is really looking a lot better than when we moved in (with the exception of our torn-up front yard currently from the well drilling.) I’m just really thankful for what we have and so blessed that Phil and I have our first home together and get to make it our own.

In other news, the pup is teething! His big boy teeth are coming in! It’s so cute because he kind of looks buck-toothed right now hehehe. Check it out:20121119-171502.jpgAnd below you can see his little bottom teeth coming in front of the baby teeth hehe. 20121119-171213.jpgSo I guess this has turned into a puppy post. In other Bear news, he got a new dog bed today at walmart that he is loving. (And I’m loving that I finally found one for no where near $100!)


recipe: quick, healthy breakfast melt

Sometimes I want a warm, delicious breakfast, of the breakfast sandwich variety. Well, to avoid driving 5 minutes away to Breuggers bagels, spending $5, and eating way more calories than I need, I came up with this quick solution this week that I thought I’d share.

It involves cheese, so I consider it indulgent since I don’t allow myself a cheesy breakfast everyday. But, it’s only about 250 calories! And it sure beats a bagel with cream cheese on the health scale.

It also requires a microwave and a toaster oven for maximum speed of breakfast making :). Probably takes around 5-10 minutes to make. Not much cleanup either!

1 slice whole wheat bread
1 egg
1 slice cheddar cheese (I used medium cheddar)
Splash of vinegar

1. Set your slice of bread to toast light to medium in the toaster oven.
2. Fill a coffee mug halfway with water. Add a splash of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar). Crack the egg into the mug, poke the yolk with a fork, cover the mug with a small plate or saucer, and microwave for 1 min. This will poach the egg. ( I found mine was still a little runny so I gave it another 15 seconds. Don’t go too long though, or your egg might explode little bits of egg all over you when you try to take it out, as happened to me once… It was shocking. Definitely throws off the morning routine!)
3. Remove egg from water and place on toast. Chop up the egg and spread around. Put slice of cheese on top.
4. Re-toast until cheese melts.
5. Enjoy your lean, delicious breakfast. No butter even!

Mine was 260 calories since we have bigger bread right now that’s 110 cals a slice, but I know some bread is a lot less. I’m sure someone already came up with this, but I felt inventive so I thought I’d share 🙂

And the best part–instead of spending $5-6 at a bagel store, I spent around $0.75 to make this. Frugal!