Friday, March 21, 2014

2 years later...

You know when you run into an old friend that you haven't seen in years and you start talking and it is like you have never been apart?

Well I doubt this relationship will be like that...but we can pretend, can't we?

When I left y'all we just moved into a 1000sq ft apartment in Geneva, IL with a preschooler and a kindergartener. 

Now we live in Atlanta, GA with a kindergartener and a 2nd grader and our now unfinished basement is bigger then the apartment.

Ahhh, sweet breathing room.

Do I miss the apartment?

That will be a big fat H E double hockey sticks NO! Maybe one day I will go into detail about our adventures in the apartment, just not today. I will leave you with this little tidbit. Our alarm clock was our upstairs neighbor morning bathroom break. :/


Do I miss Geneva? 

Oh how I miss my friends so much, I miss our boys school, and strangely I miss the library.
That library was awesome! But, I am glad we got out of Chicago before all the crazy winter weather started. I do not miss the extremely cold wind.

How was the move?

It was a horrible, no good, bad move. Anything that could go wrong... did. It was a stressful, financially draining, bad move. Cured us from wanting to move for a long long time. 

But like childbirth, I am sure we'll forget. 

Soon I WILL write a post about this move. So when we do mention that we are even thinking of moving again. I give you all permission to print out that post and staple it to my head. Yes, staple it. It will feel better then moving again. 

Are you going to paint furniture again?

Do my boys have burping contest at our dinner table? YES! I actually sold 80% of our furniture with the plans to search Craigslist and garage sales for old furniture to redo. Plus I do plan to start up my business again. 

How is the blog going to different this time around?

Well, I am glad you asked. This time around. I will mix furniture, decorating, DIY posts with personal posts. After all this is my blog. I can write what I want to write. One reason I stopped blogging was because people only came to see pictures of redone furniture. So one time when one of my boys almost cut off his thumb and had to get stitches only one person made a comment about my son everyone else had questions about furniture! Sigh, so this time around I am changing that. My focus will not be to drive more traffic and get more sponsers but to just tell what is going on in our house. 
To start off with this new phase of the blog. I will actually introduce my family...with their REAL names. 


This is my husband, Matt. AKA Mr. Genius 

This is Conner (wild man). My scholarly second grader. 

This is Mason (Romeo). My lover of life kindergartener and expert hand farter. 

Please note, this is the ONLY photo I could find of him where he isn't making a silly face. This little guy has turned into quite the handful. He also sports a brown front tooth and a pretty scar on his forehead. Don't let that angelic look fool you. I know only see that look when he is talking to or about a little girl.

And this is me...Katie, but you already knew that, with the fam.

Well it is good to see you again. This time, I hope we will not be strangers again. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Half bath mirror frame

Yesterday I was scrolling through my pictures and I saw ALOT of pictures I took that I planned on writing a post about.

Oopsy Daisy!

So right now while I sit here and watch the Oscars being awarded I will get some of the pictures together for you.

These pictures that I am about to show you all are over a year over due!

I know when it was because I finished this project right before we started potty training Little Romeo.

Which also means that we have been diaper free in the household for over a year!

Oh what a blessing diaper free can be. Almost as refreshing as debt free. :)

This time around I threw a Potty Party for little Romeo. Where I decorated with Yellow streamers and balloons. Gave Romeo as much Kool-aid as his little heart desired and let him pick out which big boy underwear he wanted to wear.

Yes, people we go straight to big boy underoos in this house. No pull ups, not even at night!

I am CRAZY that way. 

Romeo was completely potty trained in half a day! Wild Man being the stubborn first born that he is...took 3 days.

But after all the festivities, we sat Romeo on the potty with toys that he loves around him, waiting for him to do the deed for the first time.

Here is Wild Man trying to explain to him how going on the big boy potty works.

Then here is is playing on his Mobi go waiting until he is an official big boy.

Anyways, I thought I took a before pictures of the bathroom. But I just can't find one.

So here is how it started. On my dining room table.

Then I painted it.

Must have been taking down my Christmas decorations at the time...

Here it is all glued up!

I also painted the cabinet...again sorry no before picture.

I added silver hardware. There wasn't any hardware before.

I don't think the cabinet was dusty. I think it was just how the pictured turned out. But then again it was a year ago...I can't really remember if it was really dusty or not.

If you want a real step by step tutorial on how to frame your own boring mirror. I made one a while back. Click here to see it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My black hutch

Here is a story about a hutch.

There once was a hutch on Craigslist for $30.

When my eyes laid upon its ad, I had to have it!

The longer it stayed in my garage the more stuff accumulated on it and then it started to become a permanent fixture in the garage.

Then it came time to move and I thought I would sell it so I spray painted it black put some black and white damask wallpaper in the back, and painted the handles heirloom white. Then put it on Craigslist.

I can't even remember how much I was asking for it any more, but it didn't sell. Not even one inquiry. Which is extremely rare.

I had a bunch of neighbors comment on it, but no bites.

Then we found the new place where we were to lay our heads. I saw a small kitchen and stressed over how much stuff we would be able to stuff into the kitchen and how I would be able to continue my addition to junk drawers.

Did I mention I have a love for junk drawers?

I mean how can you not love a drawer to just throw things into it when it can make your counters look neat and clean?

Then when we drove back to our old house and opened the garage door. I saw my solution right in front of me.

Ding, ding, ding!!

So I took the hutch off of Craigslist and got to keep it for myself!

Here is it in our kitchen.

When we were registering for our dishes and such while Mr. Genius and I were engaged. Instead of getting china we decided on plain white dishes. Because we are not very formal people and white goes with everything! Best thing we could have done!

We also have an "everyday" set that is colorful. But it is in storage right now since we had to be limited in what we brought in.

While this piece was sitting in the garage it somehow got the paint rubbed off. I think I set down a towel that had a little bit of paint remover on it.

And now look my fix!

If I am anything...I am easy. ;)

Fixer that is.

Today little Romeo and I made a treat for our bible study group tonight.

Super easy... huge marshmellows, white chocolate to dip in and then dip them into sprinkles.

Easy peasy.

But the best part of this hutch is that I get to have not 1...

 not 2...
But 3 junk drawers!

I know, I know, I know. I need to organize my junk drawers. But then they wouldn't be junk drawers, they would be neat drawers.

So it kind of defeats the purpose then, right?

Anyways, I really like this hutch.

It is supper easy to put our dishes away. It allows me to save my counter space by putting items on it rather then leaving items out on the counter.

We also have room to put the boys cups and plates. The great things is that it is down low, so they can pick their own plates and cups (and take them out of the dishwasher for me and put them away).

I love the detail on the top!

So there it is, my hutch!

What do you think?

I am linking to these parties.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life as a Renter

Whoa where did the last 3 months go?!

Well let me tell you we have been busy!

I know a lot of you have been asking me how life is now and well I thought I should tell you. I am not going to sugar coat it either. 

Moving to this apartment has been...well...a challenge. To say the least.

At first we were really thinking, "Holy Moly, did we make the right decision?"

The first challenge was the boys sharing a room.

Great googly moogly. We went from the boys going to sleep with NO problems at 8pm and waking up at about 6:30-7 while at the house to moving here and having a "playmate" in the bed next to them. Which caused them to not go to sleep til around 10-11 and waking up at 5:30! No one in this house was a happy camper during the day.

The lack of alone time was an issue for me. Being more on top of each other started stressing me out. I was snappier with the boys and with Mr. Genius. But the snappiness could have a little to do with the lack of sleep too.

But the biggest problem since moving into this apartment is that we have been sick... ALOT!

The first time I walked into this apartment the smell from the chemicals they put in the carpet literally took my breath away.

I quickly opened all the windows to try to air it out. Then bought LOTs and LOTs of baking soda to pull up the smell. Which did help. But the chemicals were still in the carpet. 

Since moving in we have since found out that the previous tenants had 4-5 dogs! So the chemicals was to cover up the smell. Yuck!

Well I have told you all about how Romeo had a horrible cough for over a year and nothing would get rid of it until I changed our cleaners to Shaklee cleaners. Well...lets just say the reaction to the chemicals in the carpet or whatever is in the apartment has been worse the just a cough. Mr. Genius has been the only one that hasn't gotten sick. The boys and I have been VERY sick with upper respiratory infections. So sick in fact that we have spent more in medical co pays in the past 3 months then we have spent in the past 2 years.

But it hasn't been all horrible.

The first little light at the end of the tunnel was when we got our first gas and electric bill. Combined they were $90! Which is amazing to us, considering that we were paying 4 times that a month in the house, especially in the winter. 

One of my real concerns about living in the apartment was the fact that we would not have a garage.

Now that might not seem like a horrible thing to some of you. But let me remind you what our driveway looked like at almost exactly a year ago.

Being that we live in Chicagoland where we get a lot of snow, and then me being still not very accustomed to the snow. It caused me some stress about not having a garage.

But miracle of all miracles, just like the rest of the country we have had the best winter this southern girl could ever ask for!

I mean look! It is February and we are not wearing gloves or hats! and there isn't any snow on the ground! This winter has been a true blessing!

Also this apartment has really grown on us. Mr. Genius came home one day from work and said, "Is it weird that I am starting to really like our little apartment?"

I sat and thought about it for a second and said, "No, I am really starting to like it too!"

We feel like it is our little warm cave. Yes, I do wish it had one more bedroom and updated appliances. But we are really starting to enjoy it here.

On a side note, we got a air purifier and have been using all our Shaklee cleaners. So far we haven't been sick for almost 3 weeks! Yippee. We are crossing our fingers that we stay that way.

Having a smaller place has its perks. It takes me about 30 minutes to clean this entire place bathrooms and all. Not having a yard to worry about opens our weekends up. We have been able to spend more time together as a family. We really are enjoying that part.

I know there will be more trials and challenges that I plan on sharing along the way!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Closing

As we are getting more settled into our little apartment and we are getting closer to Thanksgiving I thought I would use this time to tell you all how our closing went.

Selling our house to downsize I am fully aware is not the norm in our culture. Everyone is pushed to want bigger and better.

Selling our house and moving into an apartment doesn't mean that I do not want bigger and better too! For instance I dream to have a kitchen like this...

Or my own little craft room/office that has every color in the rainbow.


What it does mean is that I want to have those things when I can pay for them out right.

So many people have left sweet and concerned comments and emails saying are you sure that you should be selling right now? There might be a better way to get our of debt. And other things that I would totally be saying a little over a year ago.

And no this is not the best market to sell in, but I will say that God blessed us by selling our house so fast. We are one of the very few non short sales that sold in our neighborhood or even our area. In Chicago I know is a lot worse then other areas right now with the housing market.

But I will be honest even when we got a contract on our house for almost our asking price and then the inspection when AMAZING. All we had to do was clean the chimney. 

Did you read that... ALL we had to do was clean the chimney!

But I also started doubting our decision. 

When we drove to the office for our closing I was so sick to my stomach. I was seriously doubting our decision. I didn't want to leave our pretty house with all our great neighbors. I work hard on that house and I had sooooo many more plans of what I could do with it. But alas, we were now stuck with selling the house.

So I told myself...fine then I don't have to like the people taking my house from me.
I even told Mr. Genius that if they say one bad thing about my house I am calling the whole thing off. 

I am sure I said it with my bottom lip sticking out and my arms crossed and my feet stomping the floor...just like a mature Christ-loving woman should be acting.

So we sat down at closing and the couple buying our house walked in. And of course to my dismay, they were nice people. 


And the wife was holding an adorable 4 week of little girl.

Double Drat!

They walked in shook both our hands telling us how excited they are to be buying our house and how much they love all the things we have done to it. Talked in detail about how the colors were perfect and the trim work we did.

Then I thought well they must be pretty ok if they compliment all the work I have done. 

So I reluctantly talked to the wife in between signing all the papers. 

We found out that there were moving here from the a suburb of Washington DC. They have a 3 year old that has the same birthday as my Romeo. 

By the end of it I felt like we were friends. I was ok with handing over my house to them. Not happy about it, but ok with it.

But my friends it gets better...this next part showed me that God's hand was in every detail of this sale. 

While we were waiting for the HUD. Apparently that is the last thing you need to show that the sale is final. 

I turned to the husband and asked what he did for a living, he said that he sold telecommunication systems.

I half smiled and solemnly said "Aw, that is what my dad sold."

Then Mr. Genius asked, "Did you happen to know Ted Spottswood (my dad)?"

The guys face turned white and his mouth dropped open. 

He said, "Uh yeah, I worked very closely with him the last 5 years he was with us. I knew him very well."

I was in shock. 

"You know my dad?" in a small almost little girl voice, is all I could get out cuz I just broke down and cried. 

The husband stood up and said the most wonderful things about my dad. Things I already knew about him, but it is just refreshing to hear them from other people. 

He then too started to cry and came over and gave me a hug. 

His wife knew my dad's name due to the fact her husband was very upset when he found out my dad died.

My realtor had left the room for a second and then saw I was upset and well pretty much everyone in the room but the 4 week old baby was crying. 

When she came in we told her about the new buyers knowing my dad. She of course was amazed but she grabbed my arm and starting shaking it saying over and over. "Katie, this is AMAZING! Katie, This is just a God thing!"

Which I totally agree with. 

I mean just thing about it. A couple that is originally from TN and another couple that is from DC move and meet up in a far suburb of Chicago over one house! Then what we have in common is my dad!
This was the confirmation I needed to absolutely know with every fiber in my being that we are doing the right thing by selling our house right now.

Although it really made me miss my dad even more. I wanted to call him so bad to tell him what happened.

So friends, if you are rolling around in your head about making hard decisions to get completely out of debt. Do it! And then come here and tell me what blessing that God gave you and revealed to you in the process.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Pictures

Today was a pretty day here in Chicago.

The sun was out!

It maybe the last day we see the sun this year, so I took advantage of it.

We got the boys out to take their pictures for our yearly Christmas cards.

Can I say that those of you that are photographers...I tip my hat to you.

It was a job and a half to get these boys to look in the same directions.

Here are some outtakes from today.

Really big tree, two little boys...

This is when I remembered that Wild Man had been smacking on gum.

Here they are debating over who has the biggest belly.

Then they just started getting loopy.

So I asked then to stand still...


Then they were just over it and we called it a day.

Out of the almost one hundred pictures we took, we have one that is Christmas card worthy.

Thank goodness we have one good picture, so it wasn't a lost cause.

Have you all taken your Christmas pictures yet?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Repairpal Mobile app

Last week I was asked it I wanted to review an iPhone app called RepairPal 2.0 Mobile.

This is how it was described to me:

RepairPal 2.0 Mobile is a new app that tries to make car maintenance and repairs as simple and painless as possible. Also, It could save you money! The new app helps you:

  • Make sure you get a fair price on auto repair
  • Know the fair price for your auto repair 
  • Find shops and dealerships near you 
  • Get expert advice from real professionals

Well I have been having some funky stuff going on with my minivan and in our family I do the house stuff and Mr. Genius does all of the car stuff. Seriously if any light on my car turns on I call him in a panic. And for the past 2 months I have had two lights on that won't go away.

Plus two maintenance phrases that keep coming up.

The low brake fluid light is still on even after the Mr. Genius filled the brake fluid up to almost overflowing, and it isn't leaking.

So I got the RepairPal App and started working it.

You set it up and put in what kind of car you have what year your car is.

Once you set that up you can put in reminders. Which would have been wonderful to have when we lived in the house cuz Mr. Genius did all the oil changes and brake pads and routers. This would have helped up to keep up with how long ago we did those things.

Then I went to my local car repair shop...BY MYSELF!

This was very scary for me cuz I know these guys are going to talk about things I do not know about and I feel like they are going to take advantage of my ignorance and tell me I have to get things done that I do not need.

So I went and asked for a diagnosis which only costs $12.

As I sat out there they came out and said that they think it is the Master Cylinders. I smiled and pretended I knew what they are talking about, then when he went back to put my car back together I looked up on the RepairPal app what a Master Cylinder is.

Not only does it go into detail what the Master Cylinder is, it also gives you and estimate of how much it would be.

The estimate my local Firestone gave me was on the high end of what RepairApp said it would be. But it was within the range.

They also recommended a bunch of other things to do that ended up equaling out to be over $1100!! Yeah right!

So I circled the two that needed to be done with the replacement of the Master Cylinders and when you do that you have to get your Brake system flushed. RepairApp did mention that too!

I took this quote home and then looked at what places around me that where recommended.

When I called the recommended places then were $100-200 cheaper!

I ended up going with the Ollie's Garage and made an appointment for next Friday!

The only thing I let my husband know about was what I decided to do!

This app definitely did give me the confidence boost I needed to feel like I can do "car stuff" on my own. So now when he is out of town I won't be as worried about car repairs.

If you and your husband do not know a lot about cars or your husband is gone A LOT and it makes you sick to your stomach when you have to take your car in for repairs. I definitely recommend this app!

The RepairPal 2.0 Mobile app sells for US$4.99. Click here to purchase the RepairPal 2.0 Mobile App or to learn more about it.

On a side note: We are settling into our apartment. It is a little adjustment moving from a 3600 sq ft house to an 1100 sq ft apartment. But it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. 

Have a good weekend everyone!