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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!

Freelist

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!):
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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!
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Phil placing tiles in the dining area:
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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?
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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?

a new house, a new home

Well, hello again. After a brief intermission (the year 2013), I am back on the blog!

I guess the reason is, I’ve been thinking a lot about stewardship again lately, and then I thought, “Hey, wait… I used to have a blog of loosely themed posts around that topic!”

So, where did I leave off?

2013:
–Moved to WA with hubby
–Bought a new house (and waited for it to be built)
–Lived with in-laws while house was built
–Learned how to (sort of) enjoy (or deal with) a real winter
–Enjoyed having a relationship with God no matter where we lived!

2014:
–The snow thawed, and we watched our house go up (going to check out the progress with flashlights every night!)
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–We moved into our new house in March
–Have been enjoying getting settled, putting in a lawn, and making it a home!

It’s funny how we moved from a house built in 1960 to a brand new house, but it needs work and stewarding all the same. Especially because we opted to do a lot of things ourselves instead of paying more for upgrades.

So, in the weeks and months to come, I’ll be posting a lot about our house adventures!

How long have you lived in your abode? Are you still coming up with new projects? 🙂

cleaning like a maid.

I found this post about how to clean like a maid, written by a former professional. I like some of the tips, so I thought I’d share. If only I could get really motivated to clean the whole house, and then not get distracted halfway though and stop to do something else. 🙂

how to clean like a maid

Anybody have any good cleaning tips? I’m loving our DustBuster to pick up black doggy hair. And I recently put baking soda and vinegar down the kitchen drains and it seemed to make them fresher.

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!)

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well updates

So, they drilled and they drilled. Supposedly the average in our area for well depth is 150-250… don’t you just love it when you’re above average ;). They went 300 feet and got a mere 1 gallon per minute. Bah!

Oh well. Our pump guy Walter said that will be enough for us since we will have 300-400 gallons saved up in the well at any given time, but we will still have to be a little conservative about our water usage so we don’t run it dry. There goes my dream of doing laundry, running the dishwasher, taking a shower, and running a sprinkler system at the same time. Haha, just kidding. We should be fine. We don’t use that much water and we are only 2 people. And we can take full showers again!

It was pricier than we had hoped because they had to drill so far down (and we haven’t gotten the pump bill yet…) but I’m just glad we are getting it done and we know God promises to supply all our needs, so we are just trusting Him. I would have rather spent the money on a bathroom remodel or a fancy vacation to Europe, but hey, I’m really blessed to have water again soon!

As I promised, here are some pictures I snapped of the process. It was messy, but thankfully they protected some of our yard with their barrier they set up and laid down big mats for the truck tires to sit on.

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…chicken invasion part 3.

I had hoped there would be no part 3 to this series. I had hoped the chickens would stop coming into our yard, stop hopping over the fence, and stop their invasion.

But, alas, yesterday there was a new category of chicken invasion.

Dead chicken invasion.

I looked outside in the morning, and there was a dead chicken lying right in the middle of our garden with another bird pecking away at its body. Gross!

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Thankfully I told the neighbor and she came and got rid of it. Either that or an animal took it. Haha. Not really sure.

I don’t know why, but I was surprised when I saw the open chicken body and it looked just like raw chicken at the store… Makes sense… Haha. But it was interesting.

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Okay no more pictures of dead animals! I promise! 🙂

As for our sad garden, I’m not sure if we will really get any produce out of it this year anyway. We tried… but the broccoli hasn’t even formed any broccoli yet and here we are coming up on the frost date. We’ll see. The kale at least has small leaves. I’m glad the dead chicken wasn’t on the kale. I can’t wait to build nice raised beds this winter and have a nicer crop in the spring hopefully.

P.S. I promise we did not kill it with our airsoft guns. It either died in the storm or some animal got it. It should have stayed in its coop where it belonged!