pinning: small house solutions

well, it’s official … we released the house yesterday.. as it turns out, to obtain an FHA loan here in alabama the cost of the house can’t exceed a certain amount – and this house definitely did. and with our credit history (well, mostly casey’s), a conventional loan just isn’t in the cards right now.

i’m not going to lie. even though we’d already sat down and made the decision to wait if we were denied, it still broke my heart to call yesterday and tell the sellers we were letting go. but i know that there is a house out there for us. the Lord has a plan for us and that house wasn’t in it, at least not right now.

so, i’ve decided to throw myself into working on the house we’ll be moving into. as i mentioned, it was damaged during last years storm. while we’ve repaired all of the exterior damage and the interior structural damage – the house still needs some love. i’ll be working with my parents over the next couple of weeks cleaning, painting, and making some minor changes to the interior layout.

i may not have mentioned, but the house is pretty tiny. just around 1000 sq. feet. we’ve lived here before, so now we know what we need to change to make the house more functional for us. there’s a second door leading to our bedroom from the kitchen that we’re going to close up to allow for more storage as well as add a couple of storage solutions to the laundry/bathroom area. for the most part, i am excited to be ‘living small’ again (we are in a 1700 sq. ft. house now) and condensing some of our things.

now that the final decision is made, i can’t wait to get started! of course, my first instinct was to browse pinterest – so here are a few great finds i’d like to use in the house to help maximize function/space.

Source: via Brandi on Pinterest

Source: via Michael on Pinterest

Source: via Abigail on Pinterest

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

isn’t that bookshelf amazing? i’m obviously behind because all of the research i did on them says they’ve been popular forever – but i’m totally going to try and build a few for my best books (i just can’t bear to put all of them in storage!)

i’m getting so excited. only six more weeks to get everything squared away and moved!

  • are you the type of person that dreads a move or do you get excited like i do?
  • what storage solutions work best for you in your home?
  • would you be excited or intimidated by downsizing?

making grownup decisions …

i’m sure that some of you have noticed my absence on this little blog lately. i haven’t lost interest and i’m not quitting by any means but i have definitely had other things on my mind.

the lease on our rental house is up at the end of august and we’ve ben scrambling to make a decision about where we’re going to go. we set a goal when we signed the lease last year to be ready to by a house by this time. but things  this year haven’t really gone 100% as planned (do they ever?)

first, i had to have a car. then, he had to have a truck. and when i say this – i mean because our vehicles were pitiful and old and just not working to suit our needs anymore. no, we didn’t have to buy the vehicles we have – we could have chosen less expensive solutions but we chose to have something nice. they may be more expensive now, but in the long run we should come out to the better (maintenance, etc.)

second, with the scare we had with c’s health and my decision to work less hours to spend more time together (and the fact that one day i hope to work from home or not at all) we haven’t been pocketing as much as we should and it’s really made us think about things. are we ready to go into this much debt?  is a house worth draining our savings and living month-to-month?

we’ve found nice houses. we’ve thought about building a house. we even put in an offer on a house. and when the loan we thought we could get wasn’t available, we decided to stop. i’ve looked over our accounts, weighed our debts, and used some great tools from here to set up a game plan.

we’ve decided the best move at this point is to move back into the house we left after the storm and live rent free for a year or so while we pay off the debts we have and save more cash for a down payment. a larger house payment isn’t quite so scary when you don’t have the car notes and such on top of it and a depleted savings account, right?

okay, i know debt is always going to be scary. but i feel like making this decision now – even though it means a few more months of sacrifice – will help us in the long run. the house we will be living in is relatively tiny and no place to start a family, but it’s perfect for the two of us. what’s one more year in the grand scheme of things, right?

sometimes all this money talk makes me crazy. c hates to even worry about it. his thoughts are that it’s there and we should just enjoy life. i think he’s right to an extent – but we’ve had nothing before and i’d prefer to have a plan to prevent us from hitting that point again. money used to put a giant strain on our relationship and it’s still something we hate to discuss – even though it’s part of life.

i’m excited about this new step we’ve chosen to take and can’t wait to start paying off things and building up our savings. if any of you out there have tips and tricks for this sort of thing, i’d love to hear them!

  • who handles the finances in your house – you or your hubs/wife?
  • what tools do you use to help you budget?

happy fourth…


i hope everyone has a fabulous independence day holiday filled with family, friends, and food! but while we’re at it, let’s not forget to give thanks for the soldiers – past, present, and future – who have sacrificed everything to bring us the freedom we often take for granted.

I’m linking up today with four wonderful ladies for the Red, White, and Blue Follower-Fest ! Hop on over and check it out between burgers and fireworks! 🙂

Happy Independence Day!!

reading list: handle with care

this post could have easily been titled the mother of all headaches, but that would have been a little pitiful. i’ve been pretty down this week because i haven’t been able to shake this headache. it’s not really a pain, per se … more like just PRESSURE on the side of my poor little head. i’ve basically just been laying around being lazy and reading.

this book, for example, only took me a few hours to read. i just couldn’t put it down. i’ve been reading books by Jodi Picoult for as long as i can remember and they never get old. she really does her research and her books are always loaded with facts, even though the characters may be fictional – the story is always great and i always walk away feeling like i’ve learned something (without being beaten over the head with it, no pun intended).

here’s a brief description, per the author’s website.

When Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe’s daughter, Willow, is born with severe osteogenesis imperfecta, they are devastated – she will suffer hundreds of broken bones as she grows, a lifetime of pain.

As the family struggles to make ends meet to cover Willow’s medical expenses, Charlotte thinks she has found an answer. If she files a wrongful birth lawsuit against her ob/gyn for not telling her in advance that her child would be born severely disabled, the monetary payouts might ensure a lifetime of care for Willow. But it means that Charlotte has to get up in a court of law and say in public that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she’d known about the disability in advance – words that her husband can’t abide, that Willow will hear, and that Charlotte cannot reconcile. And the ob/gyn she’s suing isn’t just her physician – it’s her best friend.

Handle With Care explores the knotty tangle of medical ethics and personal morality. When faced with the reality of a fetus who will be disabled, at which point should an OB counsel termination? Should a parent have the right to make that choice? How disabled is TOO disabled? And as a parent, how far would you go to take care of someone you love? Would you alienate the rest of your family? Would you be willing to lie to your friends, to your spouse, to a court? And perhaps most difficult of all – would you admit to yourself that you might not actually be lying?

this book gets a little touchy in places, but i think it’s a good read for anyone, no matter what side of the pro-life/pro-choice movement you’re on. i feel like a loot of women could inadvertently end up in this same position if some of the proposed bills against abortion that are on the table right now are passed. i can’t say what i would do in such a situation, but this book really makes you think about where you stand.
each chapter is told by one of the main characters of the book, as if it were being written as a letter toward the little girl with OI – a great strategy for a story like this because it really helps you get into the mind of everyone and see their opinions on the issue. i also love that you get exactly enough info on OI to understand the impact it’s having on this family without feeling like you’re reading a medical textbook.
if you’ve seen My Sister’s Keeper (Picoult wrote the book the movie was based on) then i can tell you the story runs along the same lines of making difficult choices. there are parts in which  started to drift off a little bit, but overall i enjoyed the story. if you decide to read it, be on the lookout for a twist at the end!
  • have you read this book or any other’s by Jodi Picoult?
  • if so, what did you think?
  • what are you reading right now?

weekend in photographs 6.18.12

whew. this weekend was a lazy one (i feel like i’m saying that a lot here lately). i’ve been feeling a little under the weather, so i’ve been taking it easy. my parents came and spent a few days with us and we spent sunday with casey’s family just hanging around the house. next weekend is going to have to have more excitement or i may just go crazy… 🙂

here a few photos from the weekend … enjoy!

tyson was a little overexcited to see ‘poppy’.
p.s. my daddy doesn’t always look that ferocious. i just caught him in an awkward moment 🙂

my mom always gifts each pup with a mt. dew bottle while she’s visiting. as you can see, it’s a highlight for them. i swear, i give them toys – they’re just caffeine fiends i guess (wonder where they get that….)

harley was so excited he fell over with joy. yes, he did turn up the bottle to see if there was any left. no, there wasn’t. i’m not that terrible of a puppy parent. 🙂

this is from sunday. that’s three generations of casey’s family crammed on one golf-cart – with a grill. it was a good day.

this is a silly picture, and yes he is taking his shirt off (woot) but i just had to post it because i love it so much. this is the first photo i’ve taken of him since he’s been sick that he actually approves of. doesn’t he look healthier (look at those arms!)?

how was your weekend? i’d love to see your photos, just put the link in the comments section and i’ll check it out!

from the heart: a little prayer

let me start by saying, in case i haven’t before … my husband’s job is pretty demanding. he works long hours that keep us apart for most of the week. i work a 9-5 and he works 6 12’s that often turn into 14’s. on a normal week, we see each other for a few hours on saturday morning and on sundays. occasionally he’ll wake me up around 4 am when he gets home. it’s been this way for a while. practically the whole time we’ve been married. i try not to complain and we savor the occasional off day.

recently the ‘bosses’ put out a schedule, offering each location one saturday off a month, on rotation. this saturday was a scheduled off day. i made plans. i got excited.

last night, his boss decided to transfer him to a different location, meaning he’s missed his rotational saturday off until next month. when he called me to tell me, i totally lost it. i ranted and pouted and whined and even told him to call in. i DESERVED that time off with him. of course, my temper tantrum did neither of us any good and we got off the phone feeling pretty lousy.

when i calmed down, i began to think… who am i to complain?

we are very fortunate to have this job. we’ve been blessed beyond measure that when he found out he was diabetic it didn’t effect his job (it’s a very physical job). where we are now is VERY different from where we were this time 2 years ago.

then i thought of the military spouses who only see their husbands/wives every 3 months, 6 months, or longer. i thought of those who have lost a spouse, only to see them again in heaven. i can’t even begin to imagine that pain. i’m humbled by the strength of these men and women…

but still i was feeling a little lost.

i decided to pray about it. i thanked God for bringing him this job, even though it keeps us apart. i thanked God for bringing him to me, my perfect match. for making our relationship strong enough to endure the time apart. i prayed for those special military wives and for those who have lost their spouses.

then i began to pray for peace and grace. peace from the loneliness i feel when we’re apart and the anxiety i feel when he’s on the road. grace to help me remember that despite the discomfort, we are still blessed. grace to not lose my temper when things don’t go my way.

in the end, i began to feel better. and i have a renewed determination to make every second i spend with my husband as amazing as possible. also, a determination to not feel so sorry for myself. to keep myself busy doing the things that i know i won’t do when he’s home. and then i went to sleep with a lighter heart and the knowledge that there’s nothing a little prayer won’t remedy. 🙂


  • do you sometimes forgot how fortunate you are?
  • what do you do when you give in to selfish thoughts?
  • also, i’m in the market for a new project to keep me busy. any suggestions?


#photoadayjune week 2

well, here it is. week 2 of the #photoadayjune challenge. you can find my photos daily on twitter and instagram and i’ll be posting weekly recaps here on the blog.

i have to say, i honestly wasn’t loving the challenge this week. i’m not 100% sure if it was the prompts or just my frame of mind – but i just couldn’t get into it. most of them didn’t actually find their way to my twitter or instagram. apologies.

(i’m always torn as to whether or not this challenge should be used as a way to document my life or as ‘artsy’/ normally wouldn’t take them shots. currently, it’s a mix of both.)

oh well. for better or for worse, here’s week 2. enjoy!

day five: sign; this is a truck we found for sale (obviously) a while back. i loved the truck, the sign was borderline hideous.

day six: hat; (confession – this pic is OLD. she’s not nearly so little now but still just as cute). she loved her hello kitty hat.

day seven: drink; my daily dose of diet coke. fun fat: when i put this on instagram, the official diet coke page “liked” it. cool!

day eight: 6 o’clock; back in the studio, trimming pots.

day nine: your view today; it was a lazy lazy day and after casey left for work, i sat on the bed and played in my craft paper supply for hours. exciting, huh?

day ten: the best bit of my weekend; do you have to ask? it’s always spending time with casey. (i’ve recently dubbed him boo-boo and i have no idea why. i’m not sure if he appreciates it, but he’s adjusting. so if you hear me refer to ‘boo-boo’ here, it’s not a hot new man – just the same hot man i married 🙂

day eleven: door; possibly the least creative photo i’ve ever taken.

what do you think? is there something you would have done differently with the prompts?

thanks for following my #photoaday posts here on my little blog! i love reading the sweet comments you leave and i hope that some of you will join me in the challenge!


Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley