Trying to Hustle!

Our networth is ALMOST in the -40K range! I think we’re around -53K. At the end of the month we should be in the high -40s!!! I’m really excited about it, because we’re that much closer to being debt free!

I’m trying to take on some side hustles to increase our income. I’m an Uber Driver, and a Rover sitter. Uber is excellent because it is so flexible but being pregnant it is hard to put the kids down, turn around, and go drive around for a few hours making unpredictable income. Rover is nice because I can sit pooches at my own home and my schedule is not impacted any differently than normal since I have dogs I go home and let out, play with, etc. I’m looking into a few other side projects and if I make any progress, I’ll share it here.

In other news, I worked my butt off and bought a washer and dryer super cheap. It cost us $1100 for the set and they will fit UNDER the kitchen counter, so we’ll be able to double our countertop space. We’ll be making and installing the countertops ourselves, so look for a post soon. Should be Monday!

Be well and enjoy the holidays!


ZEE LIST – Fall 2016 style

We’ve got projects to tackle this fall and hopefully they will bring a smile to our faces and make our 1000 square foot rectangle feel more like home.

Without further ado… here’s what we’re planning for fall!

  1. Make a wreath on the cheap with Big Girl. We found a wreath hanger at Walmart off season for 28 CENTS last year. I should have bought 20.
  2. Move the kids into the third bedroom. They fit perfectly in their little 10 x 10 room but I am looking forward to adding kid #3 and seeing how we’ll organize their space.
  3. Turn what was the kids bedroom into a functional organized office space (this may turn into a winter project as well! We have so little storage space and the C.R.A.P. has been accumulating. That’s what we wanderers should avoid but we CANNOT BE STOPPED)
  4. Finish the kitchen laundry conversion – tile, paint, steam hose to outside, cabinet extension?
  5. Box out the carport. I’d love to take our skinny little legs of carport posts and make them nice and chunky, with square columns. We can make that, easy! Just cut to length and screw together.
  6. Paint the brick wall in the carport. I’ve already bought the paint!!!
  7. Landscape, landscape, landscape! Remove the big trees around the house plus all sorts of great stuff.
  8. Shutters for the windows? Maybe from reclaimed pallets – so we can afford it???
  9. Create a snazzy headboard
  10. Sew some faux roman blinds in the kitchen and dining room. I  have some table cloths that are cute that I no longer use since I have a fabulous table that I never want to hide 🙂 So I have fabric options!
  11. Install the cabinet I moved by removing baseboard and mounting it flush, painting it, ad screwing i in the wall.
  12. Hang shelves on the blue wall (and mount the microwave? Countertop spaaaaaace!)
  13. Biggest project we’d love to tackle… building a pergola on the back porch! But how to do it on the cheap…
  14. Clean out and organize the pantry! I’m thinking dollar store…

So that’s what we’ve got in the works! Stick with me and let’s hope I can knock some of these projects out! Some of them are a real doozie… I’m sweating… and salivating over them all at once. 🙂 What’s on your to-do list???

Sharpie Subway Tiles!

Well my little kitchen’s recent laundry reno still needs work and while working on finalizing it I wanted a quick feel-good update. That of course costs nothing 🙂

So I added subway tiles. How can that be free? Well you read the title – I sharpied them on. 🙂

I had some gold, bronze, and silver Sharpie pens leftover from a Christmas project I did last year, so I decided to use the silver to draw the grout of my tiles. I am not concerned about sharpie on the wall because I know rubbing alcohol removes Sharpie AND we own our home. We hope to actually tile over it before we sell it. So

Here’s my before kitchen – which really needed some work! Call me inspired by all the fabulous real bloggers who shared their real life homes on their blogs recently.

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Ok ok ok so that was honestly my kitchen before. then I cleaned it up and that was almost enough for a reveal in itself hehe.

I grabbed two Sharpies and a level.
Hmm I need to re-paint my nails.


Then I simply took the level to set straight, level and plumb lines, horizontally along the wall. I didn’t mind that I Sharpied the sides of my level as I worked. Soon, I had lines set. I just kept things simple and used the level as the spacer for the height of my tiles.


And yes, those are painted-over wall anchors from previous tenants. I am not sure what to do with them so I just left them and painted over them myself. They bother me in the picture but not in real life. 🙂

Once I had my lines, I just stood the level on its head to make “tiles” that were six inches wide, set off 3 inches from the row above.


Then I just worked across the wall. I decided to terminate the tiles where the upper cabinets ended above my stove. That makes it like a wall of tile over there. A Wall of Tile that Makes Me Smile. #poet #thatsterrible

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Yep, I still have lots to do in the kitchen. But as for the tiling – It’s subtle but it sure is nice. 🙂


And its a great backdrop for my chore-loving kiddos 🙂

What have you been up to? Any updates on your end that are affordable or free?


New front doorski + the power of friendship

Just listened to the Young House Love Has a Podcast episode where Sherry raps. It’s fabulous!!!!

Now on to the post: My home has so much more light than my previous apartment with a window in the kitchen, a window in the dining space, a sliding glass door and a large window in the living room.

But it was still  bit dark as soon as the sun is on the other side of the house in the afternoons and I was hoping to find a door for cheap that had some kind of window in it to just let a teensy bit more light in in the late afternoons since all our windows are east or south facing.

Enter my friend Jennifer, who just commissioned a fancy new door for her home and had a front door she no longer needed. Well guess what. She was glad to bring the door over! So after her boyfriend and my hubby fought the hinges and 1/2 too long a door size, they installed it and I love it. It needs a fresh coat of paint – I’m thinking a limey, yellow-y green, and maybe a different doorknob. The one on their doesn’t really go with the rest of the house, it’s ornate or country where my house is simple – but it’s great. And here it is!



Now this post looks like its about a door, but it’s not. It’s about the power of love between true friends. Jennifer and I used to work together and one day over lunch she described her house as being messy “to the point where you could see the dog hairs piling up by the baseboards.” Well, as anyone knows, clean, tidy, organized and cute is a badge of honor and super hard for me. I am always looking for the Next Thing To Start! And I’m a terrible finisher. I get very bored with cleaning stuff very quickly, and normally I’d like to think I’m more mature than this, but FULL CONFESSION: I am almost mentally unable to actually finish the dishes. I get to the last dish or two, certainly a few spoons – and boom. I’m in the bathroom. Hanging art. Or Googling how to sharpie art-up my shower curtain.

So this immature behavior coupled with that thing called life means my home is rarely clean. And when Jennifer was honest with me on that level – the uncleanliness of her home at that point (normally it’s definitely a Better Homes and Gardens magazine type home, so beautiful!) I felt like we were instantly kindred spirits. Turns out we were.

So not only does she get me, but I’m not afraid to confess my shortcomings as a mom and homemaker. I am definitely neither of those things naturally, thank you 9-5 job that gives me an out when my husband asks “are the dishes STILL not clean?!”

So that honesty in our lives has led to honesty with our finances, an she knows our goals and our burden of debt. So, with my in-laws coming in seven days for the first time, she gets that I don’t have a big budget to spend on sprucing up the place and she gets that I have a lot to spruce up in a little time. So not only did she give me the door, she is coming over this weekend for a cleaning pow-wow. You can’t ask just anybody for help like that, but I guess I don’t have just any friends.

I have the best friends.

Affordable updates!

Well folks, I have come to learn the secret, and the secret is this:


Paint makes a huge, huge impact. For so little cashola!

I ran to the paint section at Lowe’s to hunt in the reject bin. Handsome Husband and I each get spending money (Money to just blow wherever we want – guilt free! That’s how you make a budget work for you. 🙂 ) and invariably I spend mine on home DIY stuff. 5% of the time, it’s shoes or clothes – the rest of the time it’s home decor.

In the Lowe’s cheapo treasure trove I found:

Pink test paint – 1$

Seafoam blue green, satin (quart) – 9$

Peacock blue chalkboard paint (quart) – $3.50

They were cheap because… they were in the reject section! I loaded those suckers up along with a gallon of white paint for the bathroom – $30 (I think it was satin, or maybe semi-gloss – either are good for bathrooms) and ended up spending around $50.00 – all of my spending money for a month plus a chunk that we carved out of the budget for updates. (we’re trying to keep paying off debt our #1 gazelle-intense goal so this kind of stuff rarely ever happens.)

But what did happen was FANTASTIC.

I used only half of the seafoamy green and painted the ceiling of our bathroom, inspired by the Petersik’s showhome office (remember – $3.00! or since I used only half the container, $1.50!)

Painted a wall in my kitchen for my kiddos who love it already just for the color and don’t yet know they can go to town chalkin’ it up ($9.50)

Painted both my grey/purple bathrooms CRISP BEAUTIFUL WHITE and now that pink tile can sing its song and not make me go insane.
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Plus I had enough paint leftover to paint two walls of my boring muddy blue grey kitchen white! It is not done yet but the part that has two coats looks awesome.

Then I came across another amazing idea via the Young House Love archives and I… painted our address in huge numbers on our painted brick. In my humble opinion, it’s splendiferous.

So that’s the secret. Paint- especially from the reject section. $50 for updates for days. Mama likey.

So what else would you do? We have tools, some scrap wood, some more random paint here and there – I’m thinking of sharpie-ing some walls for a faux wallpaper look, but I’m basically obsessed with finally making this place feel like ours. Plus I have that tiny bit of pink paint my daughter made a beeline for… not sure where it’s going yet. But between our seafoam ceiling, peacock blue kitchen chalk wall and pink something-or-other: Bold paint choices for us it is.

Oh and by the way, why is having a clean home after it exploded such a huge satisfaction?!?! Not sure but it was up there with a room reveal. And again- it’s free!!! What’s up in your world? Paint updates? Sharpie walls? Decorating with your scarves as you save your pennies and pay down that debt? Hey… my scarves would make great decor… gotta go try that! Let me know!

Paid off one more debt! (almost. ugh.)


At the beginning of this FIVE PAYCHECK MONTH (hallelujah) I realized we were going to be able to pay off one more debt. This was a $1300 Sallie Mae disbursement-turned-Navient that I am eager to rid ourselves of – it’s one of those loans the hubby co-signed with the in-laws. Oh, to have freedom from family in our finances! Or, to have freedom from financing in our family?! Either way, I’m GLAD TO SEE THIS SUCKER GO.

Until hubby said he needed:

New shoes.
To neuter the dog.
A new gun. (It’s a patrol shotgun for work – he’s a deputy.)
A gun safe.
And this and that and this and that and this and that and before you know it…

We’re $850 bucks into other non-debt paying off land. So nope. Only $913 went to  debt. Unggggg.

Out of frustration, I started feeling sorry for myself.

I may or may not have put all my spending money and some grocery money to Le Tote, a clothing rental service. (I LOVED skirt #1.)

But I feel guilty.

I probably won’t continue after this month (unless of course they credit me $25 bringing my after blow-money-budget to only $19 – then I’ll keep it around for one more month 🙂 🙂 :-))

DANG. That 5 paycheck month is GAWN.

Three new business ideas coming + one hopefully fortuitous meeting this month…???

So you’re thinking of selling?

Yesterday we had a GREAT lunch meeting with our awesome realtor who found us our current home. I had asked him to meet just to discuss the possibility of selling this place. Why, when we just bought it?

We bought our house only 5 months ago, and since then three or four houses on our street have sold, and one is listed currently around the block. We bought our 1015 sq ft place for $86,000, and the cheapest one next to that has been $120K. and the most expensive one was $159K! WHAT! That is almost double what we paid.

So I’m a gal on a mission to figure out how theirs sold for more and how to increase our value while putting the absolute lowest amount of dollars into it.

I can think of a few things in the kitchen right off the bat:


The countertop real estate is really limited. I’d like to extend it.

That rough shot (sometimes I’m good at photography…. sometimes I’m not!) shows pretty much all of our countertop space. We could add at least 25% more countertop space by extending the countertops to the wall where our washing machine sits. We decided to go with black concrete countertops so the kitchen will be black and white, and we’ll tile from the backsplash to the cabinets. The concrete + sealers cost $135, but I had an amazon gift card from work so it only cost us $85 out of pocket. Shazam!

Then, we have our washer in the kitchen and our dryer in the utility closet in our carport. That’s just silly to me and could be a turn-off to buyers. I’d like to know how much it would be to have a plumber add washing capability to our utility coset, and then our washer and dryer could be together.

So I’d like to have the plumbing moved to accommodate for a better place for the washer, and then we could extend the countertops AND install a dishwasher! Right?! The question is, how much would all of that cost… That’s part of figuring it all out. I’ll be asking around 🙂