house to home–wallpaper removal

I know that wallpaper is coming back into style; however some "designs” have gotten way outdated.

Exhibit A, B, and C- my kitchen, living room, and dining area


I am not a country girl. We decided that the kitchen was our most vital project. We planned on having a month to renovate before we moved in. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes as I plan. Fortunately, my in-laws have an RV that they let us live in for 6 weeks. We couldn’t really move into the house because we had no appliances. Hence, the options of heating an RV and a house or just heating an RV. The latter won out much to my dismay :)

So the first thing I had to do to prep the kitchen for renovation was to strip the walls of its country-day glory.

Tools Needed

  • Handheld Steamer – my mom had a Bissell (found here) that she let me borrow – which reminds me that I need to return it.
  • Putty Knife
  • Clean rag
  • Elbow Grease


  • Start at a seam or in a corner of your wall
  • steam your wallpaper – the heat loosens the adhesive and the water aids in a clean removal
  • Take putty knife and slide it between a corner of the wallpaper and the wall – be careful not to puncture the wall
  • pull away with your fingers what you can using the putty knife to aid as you pull
  • Use the putty knife to scrape any extra adhesive and if necessary, use some more steam shots
  • clean area with a rag when you are done

Tips and Hints

  • the removal was easier in an area that saw less sun
  • I moved about ten feet in an hour
  • It usually took me two rounds of steam on an area
  • I would steam an area, pull the first layer of wallpaper off and then steam ahead a bit so that had time to soak and then would work on the left over residue on the first area
  • using the putty knife was great!

As I unearthed the wall behind the wallpaper there was a grapevine stenciled behind it – oh the 90’s! – I laughed because my mom had the same stencil in her kitchen with some frilly lace curtains at one point

PS- if you ever paint a room that has wallpaper, please just remove the wallpaper before you paint. Whoever lived in this house painted the living room three times after the wallpaper was up – and didn’t use tape. So there were three layers of paint over the wallpaper and it was awful to clean. After we removed the wallpaper we had to sand the wall, but there is still a pretty prominent line across my living room. Since we have plans to someday put a fireplace in that room, we just painted over it for now.

Good luck and let me know if you have questions!


book review–the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

well if that isn’t a mouthful, I don’t know what is!

I read this book as recommended by my mom and a good friend of mine. And I was not disappointed! It was a sweet, story with great emotion. I loved the layout of letters written instead of chapters. I found myself laughing out loud at parts and really pondering on other parts.

Some of my favorite quotes from it are the following:

  • men are more interesting in books than they are in real life
  • reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books
  • I think you learn more if you’re laughing at the same time
  • does it ever give the pause that men used to have a soul – not by hearsay alone, or as a figure of speech; but as a truth that they knew, and acted upon! Verily it was another world then… but yet it is a pity we have lost the tidings of our souls … we shall have to go in search of them again, or worse in all ways shall befall us.  isn’t that something – to know your own soul by hearsay, instead of it's own tidings?
  • and through some queer sort of intuition, I always know where she is, just as I know where my hands are – and if I didn’t, I should be sick with worry.
    • I felt like this one was so true of being a parent. I always know where my girls are and those moments of silence in my house is just asking for me to get up off my chair in search for them.


article - a homemaker

a friend of mine posted this on her blog. it came to my reader on a great night when I was feeling so “underpaid” for my work as a homemaker.

How Much Is A Homemaker Worth?

InvestopediaBy Porcshe Moran | Investopedia – Mon, Jan 16, 2012 1:23 PM EST

The life of a homemaker is one that includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos. Depending on the size of the home and family, the position of homemaker can go well beyond the usual nine to five. We examined some of the tasks that a homemaker might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers. We only take into consideration tasks which have monetary values and use the lowest value for each calculation.

Private Chef
Meal preparation is one of the major tasks of most homemakers. From breakfast to dinner, there is plenty of meal planning and cooking to be done. The American Personal Chef Association reports that its personal chefs make $200 to $500 a day. Grocery shopping is another chore that needs to be factored in. A homemaker must drive to the supermarket, purchase the food and deliver it to the home. Grocery delivery services charge a delivery fee of $5 to $10.

Total cost for services: $1,005 per five day work week x 52 weeks = $52,260 per year.

House Cleaner
A clean and tidy home is the foundation of an efficient household. Typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing sinks as well as loading the dishwasher and making beds. Professional maids or house cleaning service providers will charge by the hour, number of rooms or square footage of the home. For example, bi-weekly cleaning of a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment with five rooms, costs $59-$124 . A 1,300 square-foot, single-story home with seven rooms runs $79-$150 . A 2,200 two-story, three-bedroom home with nine rooms averages $104-$180 . Additional tasks such as oven or refrigerator cleaning and dusting mini blinds can run an extra $20-$25.

Total cost for services: $118 per week X 52 Weeks = $6,136 per year.

Child Care
Homemakers provide full-time, live-in child care. This type of service from a professional provider would usually come with a host of perks including health insurance, paid vacation and sick days, federal holidays off, dental and vision coverage, and bonuses. The International Nanny Association's 2011 survey found that nannies make $600 to $950 per week in gross wages, on average.

Total cost for services: $600 a week plus perks/benefits x 52 Weeks = $31,200 per year.

A private car service might seem like a high-end luxury to most, but the beneficiaries of a homemaker get this service on a daily basis. Companies like Red Cap, which provides personal drivers that use the client's own car as the means of transportation, offer a glimpse into the cost of this homemaker task. An elite membership which includes 365 days of unlimited, round-trip service is $1,000 a year plus 33 cents - $2.03 per minute.

Total cost for services: $1,000 per year + [(estimated miles driven 8000 miles / 50 MPH) x 60 min/hr x $0.33 per minute] = $4,168 total per year.

Laundry Service
Clean clothes come at a cost when you have to pay for the service that most homemakers do for free. Professional laundry services charge by the pound. For instance, Susie's Suds Home Laundry Service, Inc. in Texas charges 90 cents to $1.00 a pound to wash, dry, fold, hang and steam your clothes. Items that take longer to dry such as comforters, blankets, rugs and winter clothes are assessed at a price of $12-$15 each.

Total cost for services: $0.90 per pound x 4 pounds of clothes per day x 5 days per weeks x 52 weeks = $936 total per year.

Lawn Maintenance
Basic maintenance of the exterior property is a less common, but possible duty of a homemaker. This could include things such as mowing, debris removal, edging and trimming the lawn. These services cost about $30 a week on average.

Total cost for services: $30 per week x 52 weeks = $1,560 total per year.

The Bottom Line
Total for a year of all services is: $52,260 + $6,137 + $31,200 + $4,168 + $936 + $1,560 = $96,261 per year.

The daily work of a homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace.Homemakers in general contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs.


What do you as a homemaker that you wish you were paid for?

How do you combat the feelings of under appreciation? or being “underpaid”?

What can you do to delegate more this week?


fashion–never too old

I came across this on a blog that I read. I thought that it was really great. While watching, it really helped me challenge my ideas of why I get dressed up, my paradigms on who can be fashionable, and my opinions on where I live when it comes to the fashion world.

I would love to know your thoughts on this-

click on the link below to watch

Advanced Style Film


house to home–buying a hud home

I have so been out of commission on this blog for like the past half year. not only did I have a beautiful baby, but we also house hunted and bought a home in this time frame too.

this is our first home – we looked at over 400 homes, and went through around 75 in a 50 mile radius. we wanted to stay strictly under budget… so we could make ends meet, make payments, and still have room to be comfortable. It didn’t leave us with great move-in ready homes to look at. It was a long road and crazy to do with a newborn. We were out looking at homes when she was three weeks old. Anyway, we decided that if we were going to move into a home that I would want to decorate we would move into a home that we needed to do a lot of work on. And that’s what happened. We bought a hud home. A HUD home in layman’s terms is pretty much a government funded home and the owners defaulted and lost the home. Usually because it was government funded the owners don’t take care of the house… at all. We went through some homes that had vomit all over in the carpet, holes in walls, bathroom completely shattered or stripped. They were nasty.

Our house was just a happen chance home. It dropped into our price range on a Thursday. On Friday I was at my last straw on looking through the MLS system yet again. I vowed it would be my last time searching because we were so tired of the house hunt. I found this house, called my realtor who set up someone to come open the house for us, packed up the girls and drove the two hours just to look at this home. We walked in and we knew it would work. We knew it would work us too. Fortunately it wasn’t as nasty as some of the other homes we had looked at. Within two crazy months – hopefully I can post about what I learned about the home buying process – the house was ours. On a side note: our realtor hadn’t even seen the house. He just barely came this month (after us being here two months).

We moved in on November 16th… to an RV on the side of our home. We woke up the next morning and started working… and haven’t stopped yet.

So in this series, I plan to take you on our home journey. I hope to get up to date within a couple of weeks. But I want to talk about all the things we have had to do and all the project details. Maybe they can inspire you in the house you are in now, or for the future. I want to post about the ins and outs of purchasing and being a home owner… just from my perspective. I am sure I have had a completely different experience that everyone else who has purchased, so I will already say that, as a disclaimer, this is not the way it works with everyone else.

To start this out right, I want to show you some photos of what my house looked like when we came to see it the first time… thankfully I am saving you from the smell :)

the front living room


the entry way


looking into the dining area from the front door


the kitchen from the dining area


the pantry


looking down into the family room


the girls’ bathroom upstairs


the master bedroom


the master bathroom


the girls’ bedroom


the office/ third bedroom


the family room again


the main bathroom and wash room


looking into the basement


the playroom/nook


the guest/craft room


looking at these photos I am already amazed at our progress in the past two months… I can’t wait to talk more about everything we have done.


family - eating together as a family

image from google.com

This past weekend I attended a conference on strengthening your family. We talked of various things you can do, but one that I wanted to share was strengthening your family by eating together.

It can be really tough to get a family around the table. Between sports, dance, school, work, and personal attitudes getting a family together can be a pain sometimes and may not seem like it will make a difference. However, it does make a difference. Here are 8 more reasons you should keep pushing for family meals 5-6 times a week:

  1. model manners – mealtime as a family is a perfect place for you to show your kids the appropriate table manners for when they are in a place not so forgiving. Try to keep the mood light and don’t criticize. Try to teach by example.
  2. Expanding cultural views – mealtime is a great way to introduce cultures besides your own. it takes about 10-15 times for a child to accept a new food so keep on putting it on their plate. In our family we have a rule, you can have a lot or a little, but you have to try some. When allowing your children to help out with the meal (see number 4) they will also be more likely to try the veggie if they prepared it.
  3. nourish – when you eat out, you are rarely getting a balanced meal… not only that, how do you know the ingredients and how they cooked it? home made dinners are lower is sugar, salt and fat; and higher in vitamins and minerals.
  4. self sufficient teaching – it is the perfect place to teach your children how to be self sufficient… have them help plan dinners, make dinners, and clean up dinner. Heck, you could even have them help shop (even though you know you will spend more when they come :). Even your younger children can sit on a stool and tear lettuce, or mix batter. Having your children help gives them a sense of “ownership” to the meal and can be proud. this builds great self image.
  5. destructive behaviors – five or more family dinners a week are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in teens. So you know what this means… schedule!!! It can get tough with your teens, but if you want them to succeed, you need to show them you care and want to work around them.
  6. communication and well-being – conversations at the dinner table (or counter in our case) provide greater bond between parent/child relationships and even child/child relationships. it is a chance for each child to get extra and special attention from the parents. ask questions and give good and positive feedback. Again. restrain from negative comments, and criticism.
  7. improves grades – children do better at school when they eat with their parents and family. But it has to be four or more times a week together to make a difference in performance in the academics.
  8. saves money – meals purchases away from home cost 2-4 times more than meals prepared at home. I know families who eat fast food every single night, even sundays. I can’t imagine the percentage of the income in the family that goes to this habit.

Some other ideas

  • have your children have a night when they plan and prepare a meal…
  • be flexible on your menu
  • create a menu – you will save SO much money and time