Why We Decided Not to Move

Last week I shared a post where I briefly mentioned that we had considered moving. The decision to stay in our blue house was not an easy one, and it was definitely a decision where we considered multiple factors. Arriving at the decision to take on adding two expensive outdoor features (pool and detached garage) was not easy. In fact, we spent years studying the housing market in our area, crunching numbers, and weighing the pros and cons. Ultimately, we decided that moving was not our best option. I’m sure I’m not the only adult who has faced (or is currently) facing life-altering decisions regarding whether or not to sell, so I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few of the deciding reasons we decided to stay.

Location, Location, Location

Our county is fairly large for our area, and moving to a different location within our county would drastically affect where we live. Currently, we can be to the interstate in 7 minutes. Our county has several interstate on ramps in different areas, and the one we live near gives my husband an extra 40 minutes every single day. That time adds up over the course of a week, month, or year. Not only are we near the interstate, we have an easy drive to the interstate with zero traffic lights. We are also five minutes (or less!) away from Walmart, multiple grocery stores, Hobby Lobby, our favorite movie theater, my gym, restaurants, and multiple family members. In my family, we’re the nearest to my grandmother who was just diagnosed with dementia. Knowing that I can be to her in three minutes is priceless. Our subdivision is also just outside of the city limits, but there is one house within our neighborhood inside the city limits. Because of that one house, our entire subdivision is zoned to receive city services without the higher taxes. In addition to all of the above, we have wonderful neighbors and live in a community where I feel safe. All of the homes in our neighborhood are well maintained with spacious lots. I just can’t imagine finding a better location.

Numbers

There were a lot of numbers that factored into our decision-making process. First, we have a fair bit of equity in our house. This was the trickiest part of the number game to consider. Having equity meant that we could cash in the equity on this house in order to upgrade to a house that met more of our wish list items. (More about our wish list in a moment.) However, equity also meant that we had a safety net and a low monthly mortgage payment. Selling our house and cashing in on the equity was a gamble that I wasn’t willing to take without doing my research first. So, I spent a couple of years watching the market. Housing prices in our county have remained steady – and honestly a little high – for the past few years. Our blue house wasn’t in the best shape when we purchased it, so we bought it for a low price. Finding another low-priced house that met our needs just wasn’t financially feasible. Similarly, purchasing land and building wasn’t fiscally responsible either. Numbers don’t lie, and they were telling me that we needed to stay in our blue house in order to live comfortably within our means.

Flipping?

I should mention that we also considered selling this house, moving into a smaller house, and flipping it for a quick profit. This was not an ideal solution for a number of reasons. First, I don’t want to downsize just to upsize again in a year or so. That would mean storing our furniture or selling it all just to repurchase something similar. Second, neither of us wanted to put in the labor required to flip another house. Getting our house ready to go on the market would take considerable work, and then we’d have to deal with keeping it spotless until it sold. I can’t even imagine having to get our 3 pets out of our house each time someone requested a showing. Then, we’d have to sell things, move, and completely renovate another house while living in it. This is not the quality of life we want for ourselves, so this option was quickly eliminated.

Wish List

No house is perfect. Even a house built just for us would have flaws. When considering moving, we had to take a hard look at our house and the areas in which we wished it could improve. In no particular order, our wish list for this house included:

  1. More garage space.
  2. A larger dining room.
  3. Separate office space for me.
  4. A pool.
  5. A larger laundry room.
  6. A second living room space for gaming and family gatherings.

However, our blue house has so many wonderful features that I have not seen in similar houses in our area, such as:

  1. A very large master suite.
  2. A completely renovated master bathroom that suits our needs and taste.
  3. A gas stove.
  4. A perfect location.
  5. A large, flat corner lot.
  6. A large, fenced-in yard.
  7. A color palette, fixtures, and furnishings that we chose for ourselves.
  8. Just the right amount of square footage.
  9. Potential to grow.

When you compare the lists, there’s obviously more to love about this house than there is to dislike. Plus, we knew we could overcome the majority our house’s shortcomings through renovations. Adding a pool and detached garage would solve numbers 1, 4, and 5 on our list. We could expand our laundry room into our attached garage if we no longer needed that garage closet space directly on the other side of the laundry room. We can gain a second living room space by finishing the bonus room space above our current garage. And, we can swap my office and dining room spaces if we find that we need more space in those areas. The sunroom I use as my office is long and narrow, which would accommodate our dining room table. The current dining room has more wall space that would help me to gain better office storage while also separating my workspace from our living area better. Alternately, I could use some of the bonus room space for a totally separate office space.

When we thought about our home desires, we realized that we already had everything we needed right here. Not only did our house have the potential to meet all of our wish list items, it just makes financial and practical sense to stay here. In our first house, we tackled every project with the resale value in mind. Even the paint choices in our first house were selected with the future buyer in mind. It paid off, but we never totally felt at home there. In our blue house, we made decisions for us, and it feels like home.

Backyard Inspiration: Pool & Outdoor Kitchen

We’re considering tackling a LARGE outdoor renovation later this year that would entail adding a pool and a large detached garage to our yard. We have just under two acres in our subdivision, so we should have enough room to add these projects. Arriving at the decision to take on adding two expensive features was not easy. In fact, we spent years studying the housing market in our area, crunching numbers, and weighing the pros and cons of moving vs tackling a large backyard renovation. Ultimately, we decided to tackle the renovation instead of moving.

The plan is to add a fiberglass pool with a saltwater system as well as a detached garage on the side of our house. This allows us to keep the footprint of our large, fenced-in back yard. Our lot is one of the largest in our neighborhood, and the land directly beside our house is the largest and flattest making it the best option for the pool and garage. Plus, it’s a considerable distance from our septic tank and field lines. The garage will house a large workspace for vehicle maintenance and tool storage, loft storage, pool storage, a closet for my business storage, a bathroom, and outdoor kitchen. Yes, we’re hoping to cram a ton of function into this space! The bathroom, kitchen, and pool storage areas will be accessible from the pool. The tool and business storage areas and workspace will be accessible from a garage door facing the road. So the pool and outdoor living areas will be separate from the work and storage spaces.

We still have a lot to figure out, but I thought it would be fun to share some inspiration!

Clockwise from top left: fiberglass pool, hanging lights, inflatable lounge, outdoor kitchen, outdoor screen enclosure, shuttered kitchenette passthrough, hanging daybed. To see more of what I’m considering, check out my Pinterest board. I’ve already pinned a bunch of inspiration, and I’m sure I’ll pin much more.

2017 Goals and My Word of the Year

This year, I’m planning to simplify my goals a bit and only concentrate on a few for our home. Instead, I’m going to focus on a word this year. In years’ past, I’ve definitely had a major, overarching goal that could have been summed up by one word. For example, last year would have been school or MBA. But I’ve never publicly shared that word — until now!

My Word of the Year

This is going to be my year of WORK. I’ve finished my master’s degree, and it’s time to crush it professionally. This means I plan to work extra hard this year to make myself indispensable to my company. I work remotely, and I absolutely love my job. I want to make sure this year they know just how important they are to me. After having a career with some serious ups and downs, I feel like I’ve finally found a workplace to call home. Working from home sweetens the deal!

I also purchased a small business at the end of 2016. I know, Crazy! I haven’t decided how much to share about this new business venture here on the blog, but I’m sure there might be some crossover at some point. For now, let me just summarize a bit: I purchased a consignment event business from a person who started it from the ground up. This meant I purchased all of the equipment as well as the intellectual property. I have a business partner, and I really love knowing I can lean on her. She’s definitely part of my tribe. However, my business partner and I definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re changing the business name, creating a new website, implementing new banking and tax procedures, and moving the consignment sale events to a new town all while learning how to run a business.

Additionally, I’m setting a goal for myself to blog a minimum of 18 times this year. This means I must post at least once a month. I would really like to find a blogging rhythm this year. I have plenty of post ideas to share!

House Goals

  1. Add deck skirting to the front porch.
  2. Paint the last door in our house black.
  3. Tile the kitchen backsplash. (Check out some of the options I’ve been considering here.)
  4. Work on the overall curb appeal of our home.

It’s definitely going to be a busy year, but I’m really excited for what’s ahead!

2016 End-Of-Year Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Then, I checked in again in June to see if I had made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year. Now that the year is over, it’s time to see if I accomplished the goals I set for myself back in January.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD. December update: We will NOT be moving, and my job situation is looking good. 

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left! December update: there’s only one door left! The weather got too cold to paint this last door. Overall, though, I’m very pleased with this progress!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018. December update: I’ve begun ordering tile samples! Curious about what I’m considering? Check out my Pinterest board!
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress. December: I actually just finished going through ALL of Travis’ clothes this week. I’m continually making steady progress reducing clutter.
  • Update the guest bathroomDecember update: Throughout the course of the year, this became a very low priority.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch! December update: The front porch is stained! We’re considering several different options for the back deck including remodeling and hiring out staining. 
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch. December update: we added risers but ran out of time to add the deck skirting. Hopefully, we can cross this task off in the spring.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue houseDecember update: we’re getting there! I’d like to make a big push in 2017 to work on the outside of our home.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 December update: I just sold off the previous furniture that occupied this room, and I hope to have a completed space soon! However, I’m already enjoying spending much of my spare time in this room. I can’t wait to blog about it!
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. December update: as soon as the front porch is finished, I’ll be sure to take loads of pictures of the front of our house!

Personal

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  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. December: I’m finished! I graduated at the beginning of this month Summa Cume Laude. The only picture we took was a Snapchat selfie in the car after graduation. #photofail
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though. December update: Poor July didn’t have a single post. 
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area. December update: still searching!

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

December update: It has been quite a year!

Goodbye Rusty

I wrote about our new garage door awhile back. When our old door finally gave out on us, we decided to upgrade to a carriage-style garage door.

New Garage Door at BetweenWeekdays.com

We love the windows at the top of the door, the panel details, and, of course, the hardware. However, we were not loving the lights on either side of our garage door.

new-garage-lights-at-betweenweekdays-com

This was how I was greeted to my home every single time I pulled in the driveway. This is what greeted all of our guests. This was bad. This had to go.

After a quick trip to Lowe’s, I fell in love with this beauty:

The Portfolio Brayden wall lantern checked all the boxes for my lighting needs: updated style, brighter (two bulbs), bigger, and it was in the correct color. Plus, it was a great price at just under $60. My electrician husband was able to quickly wire the new lights in place, and we were left with a much improved outdoor space.

New Garage Lights at BetweenWeekdays.com

Now I’m greeted each day by these beauties which dramatically help improve our curb appeal. We still have a lot left we need to do to improve the outside of our home, but this was an easy, quick fix to help us get motivated to tackle the other, larger outdoor home improvement tasks ahead. I’m looking at you overgrown shrubs!

(Linking up to TDC.)

Sitting Room Inspiration

A few months ago I realized that I had a desire to create a retreat within our home for me. Now that I work from home, I spend the majority of my time in our home’s office. I absolutely adore working from home, but sometimes I find myself craving a change of scenery. At first, I considered creating a backyard ‘she shed.’ But, then, that seemed overwhelming for a lot of reasons. First, I know I wouldn’t consistently use it if it wasn’t attached to the house. Secondly, a ‘she shed’ would be a tremendous expense and require more energy and time than I cared to give. Creating a backyard ‘she shed’ oasis simply wasn’t a good idea.

But then I realized that I have a perfectly suitable space already in my home: the back guest bedroom. The majority of our guests choose to sleep in the front guest bedroom because it has a larger bed, so it wasn’t being utilized very much at all. Plus, due its location, it feels pretty separate from the rest of the house. Which makes this room the perfect location for a quick escape.

blue-house_BackGuestBedrom at BetweenWeekdays.com

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my new sitting room to function, look, and feel. I knew it needed to work as a space where I could watch Netflix, read, and work on craft projects and gift wrapping on the floor. But the room also still needed to be able to function as a guest room when needed. I also needed to accomplish this on a small budget. In terms of the look and feel for this room, I knew I wanted it to not clash with the rest of our house but to still feel unique. Since this room’s purpose is to be an escape of sorts, I decided to decorate it with light pink accents throughout so it would stand out from the rest of our house. The first step in deciding how I wanted the room to look was creating a Pinterest board. From there I pulled the below images to create a mood board of sorts for my new sitting room. So, what are the plans?

1. Pink!

I plan to paint an accent wall Quartz Pink by Valspar. I’ve heard that designers are tired of the accent wall trend, but I still love an accent wall from time to time. The rest of the walls will stay Montpelier Madison White by Valspar keeping the walls all very soft in color. (Our front guest bedroom and the hallway connecting the two bedrooms is also painted Montpelier Madison White by Valspar, which helps the spaces feel cohesive.) I also plan to sprinkle pink accents throughout the room with decor.

2. Daybed

In order to keep the functionality of a guest bedroom while also providing a lounging space for me, a daybed is in order. I plan to keep the existing mattress and box springs and add them to a daybed frame. I really like the black metal frame on this particular daybed, because I think it will help the sitting room fit in with the rest of our house, which has a lot of black accents throughout.

3. Pillows

Daybed Pillows at BetweenWeekdays.com

In order for the daybed to feel like a couch, I plan to add a lot of pillows of various sizes. In the photo above, the first pillow is a euro sham, the second is a large decorative pillow, and the third is a smaller, faux fur accent pillow. I would also like to add in some purely decorative pillows like this or this.

4. New Lighting

I came thisclose to purchasing this light for my sitting room. It’s beautiful, but I’m on a budget with this room. I already own something that I think will look absolutely perfect in this room once it’s given a little makeover using the light above as inspiration.

Here’s hoping I can get this room pulled together before football season kicks off in earnest. I definitely need a retreat from my husband’s football viewing schedule.

Blue House Tour: Dining Room

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

When we bought our first house, a dining room was on the wish list, but it wasn’t meant to be. (I made the most of what we did have, though.) Before we even moved into our blue house, I was beyond excited to finally have a dining room and spent some time dreaming up a mood board. You can read about my intent with the mood board here. I actually did end up purchasing similar curtains and the buffet from the below mood board around the time we moved into our blue house, and I absolutely still adore both of them to this day.

Dining Mood Board at BetweenWeekdays.com

Our dining room has come a long way since we purchased our blue house back in December 2012. (Click here to see before photos of the entire house!)

Dining Room Before at BetweenWeekdays.com

One of the main reasons we fell in love with this house was the floor plan. The dining room is right off of the kitchen, but it still has easy access to the rest of the house. This has been a perfectly functional layout for us and all of the entertaining we do — especially around the holidays.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

After we moved in, we made a few changes to the dining room. We moved the light fixture seen in the before photos above into the hallway leading to our master suite, added a new chandelier, painted, changed out the window treatments, added our furniture and called it done for a few years.

Dining Room Sneak Peek at BetweenWeekdays.com

We also replaced the large window within the first year of living here. The seal had broken, so it had begun collecting moisture between the panes of glass making it impossible to see outside. A family friend volunteered to replace it for free, so we only had to pay $150 for the new window itself. The new window lets in so much more light, plus it’s not a total eyesore anymore. I thanked our family friend with a tin of frozen cookie dough.

Window with Broken Seal at BetweenWeekdays.com

New Dining Light at BetweenWeekdays.com

Earlier this year, we made a big change to our dining room: we ordered a completely custom dining table and chairs! This has long been a dream of mine. When we were first married, we borrowed a table and six chairs from Travis’ parents. It was beautiful, and we were so fortunate to not have to make a major purchase early in our marriage. We used the borrowed table and chairs for about eight years. As seen in the above photo, the borrowed table and chairs were beautiful. However, they were not fitting in with the new style of our blue house.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

We custom designed our new table and chairs at Braden’s Lifestyles to our exact preferences. Our dining set (excluding the two head chairs) was designed by us and built by Palettes by Winesburg. We love that this furniture is 100% American made and is solid wood. It should last a lifetime… at least. We have three, 12″ leaves we can add to the table, which means 12 people can sit comfortably in our dining room for holiday meals. For everyday use, we leave one leaf in the table and store four of the dining chairs, which were also custom made by the same company.

Braden’s Lifestyles made it so easy to design our table to exactly what we wanted and needed. We designed the furniture on Black Friday of last year, and it was delivered to us about four months later since each piece had to be built to our specifications. Since the table and chairs are natural products that are still living and breathing we had to let it acclimate to the conditions in our home for about a month before we could find places to store the extra chairs and leaves. We keep two of the extra chairs in the dining room corners most of the time for extra seating, the other two extra chairs in a closet, and the leaves are stored under our bed.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

Decorating our dining room has been a lot of fun. I added a plate rail from a local store to one wall, and I enjoy changing out the decorative plates for different seasons. Currently, I have plates from The Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart. Pretty soon, I’ll change the plates out for a fall look.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

Next to the plate rack, I have two black and white prints from one of our favorite cities: St. Augustine, Florida. We spent part of our honeymoon in St. Augustine. My grandparents also honeymooned there and brought back our entire family year after year. We purchased the prints during one of our many trips from a street artist. I added the prints to some simple black frames, and they’ve lived in our dining room for several years now.

In the above photo, you can also see the metallic sheen of the walls. We used Valspar’s Brilliant Metals product in a color the seems to no longer be available. This was a finicky product to use, and I’m not sure I would recommend it or ever use it again. However, we receive so many compliments on the wall in this room that the difficulty of using this product may have been worth it. After having this color on the walls for nearly four years, I’m still not tired of it.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

The opposite wall displays a large-scale Ikea piece. Typically, I don’t like purchasing art from Ikea, but when I saw this canvas art piece a few years ago I immediately fell in love with it. I still love it, and I expect to love it for a very long time. One of the spoons looks like it has an “S” on top. Our last name begins with an S, so I enjoy sneaking in another “monogrammed” element to our home.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

The buffet from the mood board sits in the corner by the door to the kitchen. I had glass cut for the top, and it’s definitely helped protect this little piece during the years. The sign on the top was purchased from a craft fair in Georgia and reads, “Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen.” I love the little reminder to be thankful for all that we have. The topiary is a preserved boxwood purchased 90 percent off after Christmas several years ago. It needed some minor repairs and a new ribbon. The boxwood leaves are dusted with a silver glitter that is so pretty in this room year around.

Our dining room is one of my most favorite rooms in the house, and I am so excited to dress up our new table for Christmas this year!

Source List:

Table and Chairs: Braden’s Lifestyles
Buffet: Amazon
Chandelier: Home Depot
Sheer Curtains: JCPenny, Aqua Dust
Gray Curtains: JCPenny, Techno Gray
Plant: Gifted
Plant Pot: IKEA
Table Runner: Target (no longer available)
Rooster Candle Holder: Yard Sale
Candles: Hobby Lobby
Dinner Plates on Display: Walmart
Salad Plates on Display: Walmart
St. Augustine Prints: Purchased from street vendor
Spoon Art: IKEA (no longer available)
Lamp: TJ Maxx
Sign on Buffet: Craft Fair
Topiary: Burkes Outlet, after Christmas sale
Art Above Buffet: Gifted

Paint Colors:

Above Chair Rail: Valspar’s Brilliant Metals
Below Chair Rail: Mark Twain House Ombra Gray, Valspar

To see some of the other posts from this room, click any of the links below:

Favorite Things Christmas Brunch

A Pretty Black Christmas Tree for the Dining Room

New Dining Room Art & A Fall Table

Navy and Orange Tablescape Celebrates the End of Summer

Happy Birthday Tablescape

A Pretty Spring Buffet Table

Thrift Shop Challenge, Part II: A Parisian-Inspired Tablescape

A Baby Shower Menu

The Great Lighting Shuffle of 2013, Part I: Dining Room

Dining Room Dreaming

Simple Update, Big Difference

Linking up to TDC.

2016 Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Since the year is halfway over, I thought it might be a good idea to check in to see if I’ve made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD.

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018.
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress.
  • Update the guest bathroom.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch!
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue house.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. 

In addition to this list, there are several other home-related tasks we will consider adding depending on what our long-term plans look like in a few months.

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. 
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though.
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area.

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

Summer Garden Update

I planted my garden back in March, and I promised to update on whether or not my new weed prevention methods work. So far, the new planting method is working absolutely perfectly! (Click here to find out how I protected my raised bed against weeds!) I hardly ever have to weed my small garden, and my veggies and herbs are growing spectacularly well.

Summer Garden Update at BetweenWeekdays.com

After my original planting post, I also added a cinnamon basil plant and a zucchini plant. My area was late to receive zucchini plants, so it didn’t go in the ground until about a month ago. Even though it got a late start, it’s grown extremely well and is already quite a bit larger now than it was when I took this photo merely a week ago. I will actually be able to harvest my first zucchini later this week. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with the cinnamon basil, but it was too lovely and fragrant not to add it to my small bed.

Summer Garden Update at BetweenWeekdays.com2

I chose to plant the cinnamon basil in a pot rather than directly in the garden bed for several reasons. First, I didn’t know a lot about this plant, and I didn’t have time to research it. I knew it would need to be transferred to some good soil before I would have the chance to properly research how to plant this herb. Second, I considered placing this plant on my back porch for decoration and easy access. However, after doing a small bit of research a few weeks later, I learned that cinnamon basil is a helper to tomato plants and can increase the taste of the tomatoes. So, I put the pot by the tomato cage. It receives better lighting there than it would on the porch anyway.

Speaking of tomato cages, my tomato plant has already completely outgrown its 5-foot cage! I’m sure to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with this summer, which is definitely a good problem to have.

Within the next week, I should start seeing veggies ready for harvest as I already have a red pepper waiting to turn red, a small zucchini, and several green and growing tomatoes. Happy gardening, friends!

Stripping is Hard Work

Here’s what I learned on Memorial Day: stripping stain off of an extremely weathered front porch is seriously hard work, ya’ll.

I wrote about my desire to tackle a front porch renovation more than a year ago. Since then, I bought a bench and a few other miscellaneous pieces for the porch, while the stain continued to deteriorate. It was seriously embarrassing. After pressure washing the layer of grime off the porch, we were left with this unsightly mess:

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com

This is when we knew we’d need to use a stripper on the wood in order to totally clean it and rid it from its terrible stain. We chose to use Goof Off All Purpose Stripper, which we found at our local Lowe’s.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com2

There are two things you should note about this product:

  1. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff burns if it gets on your skin.
  2. It does not remove stain as well as it removes whatever is pictured on the can. However, it definitely will remove stain from wood with a bit of patience and elbow grease.

We found it was best to apply a thick layer of the stripper with an inexpensive paintbrush, wait a few minutes, and then apply another layer before even attempting to remove the stain. If the stain was still somewhat thick, we could scrape most of it off. However, the majority of the stain had to be scrubbed off by hand with a stripping pad. We found it was best to keep the stripping pad wet while scrubbing and to work in small sections so the stripping paste wouldn’t dry.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com3

After many, many hours of labor, we now have a front porch that is mostly stripped of its stain! However, we still need to remove the stain from our stairs before we can move on to the rest of our porch renovation plans.

The next step in the process is to choose a new stain color! Then we have quite a few other projects to tackle before we’ll be able to call this space complete. I’m hopeful removing this huge project from the list is just the motivation we need to finally get this space finished up!

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