Friday, April 22, 2016

5 simple ways to make your home feel Spring ready


Hey everyone! Our weather lately is really feeling like Spring, so I've been in the mood to add a little more of that Spring feeling to our home.  Each year I like to make a few changes around our home to make it feel a bit brighter and happier for Spring and Summer.  I thought I would share five of my budget friendly tips with you today.

Tip #1 - Open your windows!


When the weather is nice I love to open up all the windows in our house so that it can breathe!  The feeling of fresh air rolling through the house is so soothing to me.  I also love to hear the sounds of Spring coming through the windows, especially the birds!

Tip #2 - Switch to lighter & brighter curtains



Each Spring I like to switch out our heavier winter curtain panels for light weight white ones.  Our home is instantly flooded with tons of light and feels much more airy.  We have old drafty windows so we have to use heavy curtains in the winter.  As soon as the weather breaks, switching the curtains is one of the first things I tackle.  I like to add table runners that are lighter as well for a fresh look.  My favorite white curtain panels are the Vivian panels from Ikea.  They are very inexpensive and come in sets of 2.






Tip #3 - Add a Spring wreath to your front door



One of my favorite ways to decorate for a new season is to switch out my front door wreath decor.  To save money and storage space, I use the same exact grapevine wreath each time, and simply switch out the decor.  I tie everything on with twine instead of using glue so that everything can be re-used.  This Spring I decided to go with lavender, a faux hydrangea, and an "O" that was given to me as an Easter gift.  Everything except the lavender was purchased from Michael's.

Tip #4 - Add two matching potted plants or flowers by your front door



 This year I chose ferns because I had great success with them last year, which was a first for me!  They are a little sad looking right now because I just re-potted them, but they will pep back up in a day or two.  I love adding symmetry and a splash of color to our front entry.  The tone for the rest of the house is instantly set as soon as you walk onto our porch.  It's a nice way to be greeted when you come home or when you have guests. If ferns are not your thing, try an arrangement of colorful flowers!

Tip #5 - Bring the outdoors in


My final tip for today is to bring the outdoors in with a vase of fresh flowers.  In my dream world I would have fresh flower arrangements in every room of my house every day!  Something about a vase of fresh flowers always brings a smile to my face.  Sometimes I run across a pretty bundle of flowers at the grocery store that have been discounted, but usually I find something outside on the farm to put in a vase.  This week I pulled up some of the peas we planted to grow and bale for our cows.  Not exactly flowers, but I love the splash of green they add to our kitchen.  You could also clip a couple of small tree branches, think outside the box & get creative!


That wraps up my five simple ways to make your home feel a little more ready for Spring.  I love this time of year, and I love making our home a happy place to be!  Do you all make any decor changes to your home for the Spring and Summer seasons?  I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!  I hope you have a very blessed weekend!

You can also find me on Instagram & Pinterest!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover


Hey everyone! I hope you all have had an awesome week! Today I thought I would share a few updates that we've made to our upstairs bathroom.


This bathroom is located upstairs in our farmhouse close to all the bedrooms, so we all four share it.  There is another full bath on the first floor, but we rarely use it right now.  I'm sure as our kids get older that will change.


This room was one of the first rooms I shared of our farmhouse and I've made a few changes since then.  I decided to apply a concrete overlay over the sinks because the white tub and tile paint that I used on them wasn't holding up as well as I had hoped.  Even though I thoroughly followed all the steps, they started to dull and chip after about a year.  I'm sure it's because we have hard water, so I'm not saying the product wasn't good because I think it is! I've read many posts where others had great success with it.


After applying the concrete overlay I went ahead and updated the faucets as well and lightened up the counter top paint a bit by sponging on a little more white.  I followed the same steps as I did with our painted kitchen counter tops. 





I found a larger jute rug on Overstock that covers the floor much better than the previous one we had did.  I love the fringes on the ends.  The shower curtain is also a new addition and I found it at Family Dollar!  I think I paid around $10 for it, and I love it!  The color is a very close match to the color I chose for the cabinets and I love the pattern.


The cabinets are still the same color, but I decided to distress them some to add a little character.  I also added a curtain made from a drop cloth to connect the two cabinets.  I think it adds to the farmhouse feel I'm going for. 



 

My husband's grandmother gave me this deer painting and I think it adds the perfect splash of color in an otherwise neutral space.  I almost painted the frame, but I'm so glad I didn't!  The wooden frame along with the wooden shelves keep the room feeling balanced and cozy.  I like to add a few wooden elements to every room.


And lastly, here's a couple of shots to show how this bathroom ties in with the rest of the upstairs.



This bathroom is definitely on my list of rooms I hope to one day fully renovate, but for now I'm content with how far it's come, and I'm happy that we were able to bring this space back to life on a budget!

Here is a look back at this room before.  I hope this inspires you to fix up what you have and enjoy your home even if a complete remodel isn't in the budget.  Creating a space you enjoy is important! If you have any questions, please email me or comment below! I will be happy to help!



Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by.  I hope you have a very blessed weekend!

You can also find me on Instagram & Pinterest!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Simplifying our Finances - Our Story

Happy Friday! I'm so ready for the weekend, what about you? It's been a long week for us, so we are looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning and hanging out at home.  Thanks so much for your sweet responses to last weeks post on simple decor.  I'm so happy I'm not alone in my quest to simplifying everything!  Today I want to share with you my thoughts on simplifying our finances.  I've already shared with you our desire to live life more simply, and what that means to us.  A huge part of achieving the life style we so desire is to simplify our finances.

 

Not long ago we were up to our eye balls in credit card debt, had no budget or plan for our money whatsoever, we had no savings, and we put very little thought into what we were spending our money on.  I've always been rather thrifty and a good bargain shopper, especially when it came to decorating our house, but what I didn't realize is that just because something was cheap or a good deal didn't mean I needed to buy it. It sounds pretty simple, but I struggled, and didn't even know it.

For example, if I found throw pillows marked down to five dollars at Target and they were sort of cute, I'd buy them!  I mean five dollars for a nice throw pillow is too good to pass up, right?  Who cares if I don't have anywhere to put them, I'll find a place! Yes. That was my thought process. Then I would buy them, find a place to put them, and then a couple months later realize that they didn't really go with the look I wanted for our house, and I would give them away.  This doesn't seem like such a big deal, but over time these small purchases add up.

Early on in our marriage my mother-in-law encouraged us to attend a class offered at her church.  The class was called Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace.  Did we do it? No.  We were too busy, and we thought we had it all figured out.  We didn't really see the need for a class to tell us how to spend and budget money.  Wow, we were wrong!  We could have saved ourselves so much stress if we had just taken the class, but then again maybe God allowed us to go through financial chaos so we could really appreciate and understand financial peace later on.


A couple of years ago my husband was blessed with an amazing promotion at his work with a pretty substantial salary increase.  It was the very same year we purchased our farm which had always been our dream.  We felt so excited that things were turning around for us.  I was so eager to begin fixing up the farmhouse.  Since I only wanted to do small things like paint, switch a few lights, etc. and do major renovating later on, I thought I was being very budget savvy.  But here's the thing, I needed a lot of paint at once, and I couldn't stand the carpet in our upstairs hallway, it absolutely had to be replaced with hardwood floors or we simply could not move in. No way.  So, I decided to open up a credit card at Lowe's.  After all, my husband has this great salary so it won't be a big deal to pay it off, right? Oh my goodness, if I could go back in time and smack myself I totally would!

"Unless you control your money, making more won't help. You'll just have bigger payments."  -Dave Ramsey

Within a couple of months I had maxed out my Lowe's credit card, and my limit was $6,000!  And that was just one credit card.  We had several. What I didn't consider was all the money that our farm needed.  We bought a fixer upper.  The house, the farm, everything. Total fixer upper!  We run our farm as a business, so there were things that had to be repaired or replaced immediately just so we could operate.  Here's my point.  Even though we had more income coming in, we were spending more than ever, so we were in a worse position financially then we had ever been in before.  Also, we still had the mortgage to our first house, because it just wasn't selling like we had hoped it would.

Talk about financial chaos, yes we had plenty! We needed to be grown ups, get responsible with our money, and get a plan, fast.

 "Change is painful.  Few people have the courage to seek out change.  Most people won't change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change." - Dave Ramsey

One week my dad brought over some books he was getting rid of for me to go through.  In the box was Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover.  I began reading and simply couldn't put the book down.  It was so good and such an eye opener.  I kept blabbing on and on to my husband about everything I was learning and he was soon on board!  We were ready to become financially fit, and super motivated to make it happen!

 We put all Dave Ramsey's steps into action and really got serious about budgeting, saving, and paying down our debt.  I put a complete freeze on spending money on our house.  I went almost 6 straight months without even stepping through the doors of Target because I knew it was a weakness for me. It was during that time that I began to realize how much we were truly blessed with.  God had blessed us so much and we knew we were not pleasing Him with the way we were managing what we had been given.  I am so happy to say that today we owe zero dollars on our credit cards and have no plans at all to use them in the future.  We also have some savings built up now, and I have found way more enjoyment out of giving money and saving money than I ever found in buying new throw pillows.

"God tends to pour blessings on people going in a direction He wants them to go."
-Dave Ramsey

We are not completely debt free.  We still owe on our farm, and we have a small mortgage left on our first house which we decided to rent out rather than sell.  But, we are free from what Dave Ramsey calls snow ball debt, and we now have a budget and a plan for our money and our future, and it is so freeing!

It hasn't been easy, but it is so worth it! Now that we are making progress I do go to Target occasionally, but if I buy something for the house it comes from my house budget or my personal miscellaneous budget envelope, and the purchase is well thought out.  The next big purchase for us will be a vehicle.  I currently drive a 2001 Jeep, and sooner than later I'll have to get something else, but for right now it serves it's purpose while my car fund is building.  Eventually when the right car comes along we will be able to just buy it.  

"Don't even consider keeping up with the Joneses. THEY'RE BROKE!" - Dave Ramsey

"The average millionaire drives a two-year-old car with no payments." 
- Dave Ramsey

 Cutting back on spending has really helped maintain our house clutter as well.  I mentioned last week that I used the Kon-Mari method to organize our home, but that I am doing it all over again now that I am more aware of what I'm bringing back into our home.  I plan to talk more about that next week. It's funny because now I see things so differently.  I like having less stuff rather than more. I've also found that I'm happier saving and purchasing one high quality item instead of sporadically spending on a bunch of cheap stuff I don't even need.  I feel happy and I can breathe a little easier.

Through out this process I've learned to find contentment in what I have today, right this very moment.  We seriously have so much to be thankful for. In the grand scheme of things it's not about the amount of stuff we have, after all when we leave this world none of it comes with us.  It's about how we manage what we have been blessed with, whether it's a little or a lot, and how we love and give to others. Let's be thankful today for what we have been blessed with right this very moment!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  If you are seeking to make a change in the way you are managing your money, I encourage you to read Dave Ramsey's book.  It's life changing! 

You can also find me on Instagram & Pinterest!

P.S. I am not affiliated with Dave Ramsey in any way.  I am only sharing our experience in hopes of encouraging others who may benefit from his plan as well! 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Simple Decorating - Our Master Bedroom Progress


Happy Friday! I'm a little late posting today.  My daughter is having her friend over for a sleepover, and for some crazy reason I decided to completely clean out her closet today.  Not the best planning ever.  When I start a big project like cleaning out a closet I usually don't plan it.  I usually wait until it's driving me absolutely crazy and then I tackle it right then and there.  That moment happened today.  Then I had to clean my mess up and get everything back in place before they came home from school.  I made it! Barely! And now her closet is nice and neat. :)  If you follow me on Instagram you saw my mess!  Her closet was the last one on my list to clean out, so now I can breathe.

Anyway, last Friday I wrote about simplifying many areas in our life, and one of those areas is our home.  This is a journey I'm still on as I have completely changed my mindset on how I approach decorating.  Since I recently started decorating our master bedroom with this new mindset, I decided I would share my progress with you today.


My journey to simplifying our home began with de-cluttering our home.  I really thought our house was clutter free and pretty organized, but then I read Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo.  I learned pretty quickly that I still had a ways to go to achieve the level of simplicity I was aiming for, and she seemed to have all the secrets.  I loved the book!  I spent a large amount of time de-cluttering our entire house the way she explains how and I finally felt like our house was where I needed it to be so I could breath a little easier.  Fast forward to now, and I'm starting the journey all over again.  Our house slowly managed to get all cluttered up again within a year because we had not yet simplified our finances.  I was still spending and bringing more stuff into the house and little by little I ended up right where I started. I'll go into more detail about my de-cluttering process in another post.


Since I'm applying the Kon-Mari method to our home AGAIN, I'm only through step one, which is clothing.  Audrey's closet was the last clothing area to organize, and I finished it today!  

Now, back to the decorating.  Our Master bedroom was one of the rooms that kept getting put on the back burner, but once I had our closets and dressers all nice and neat I was motivated to continue working on the space. 


I'm really craving simple decor these days.  I once loved to browse magazines and look at all the beautifully styled images and attempt to create those looks for my own home. It didn't take me too long to realize that it just wasn't realistic and I was never able to maintain anything that I did.  I still want my home to look and feel pretty, just not so unlivable, does that make sense? 


These days I try to keep table tops mostly clear, and that makes me happy.  I opt out of elaborate table settings and centerpieces, excessive accessories, etc.  A simple lamp and a meaningful picture frame is all I need for my night stand.  The drawer holds a few books, a notepad and paper, & chap stick.


Simple white curtains and bedding keep everything feeling bright and fresh.  I change around the throw pillows every once in a while when I want a new look.  I like creating an overall house color scheme so I can switch throw pillows and accessories from room to room when I need a change without spending extra money.



I painted my dresser and nightstands with leftover paint from our exterior makeover.  Painting this furniture completely changed the feel of the entire room. I really really love painted furniture.  My dresser is probably the most cluttered up spot in our room, but it's happy clutter because it's all meaningful and it makes me smile, so it gets to stay!


No room makeover of mine is ever complete without a gallery wall!  Here's what I put together for this space.


That wraps up my progress so far.  I still have a few things to finish up, and I would like to eventually find matching lamps for our nightstands, but overall I love our room now!  It's my own little get away space.


You can see before photos of this room on our farmhouse home tour tab.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you have a blessed weekend!

You can also find me on Instagram & Pinterest!