Friday, December 16, 2011

Funky Chair Redo

On my weekly trip into town I almost always stop in the local Goodwill and check out their chairs. I've been on a hunt for some chairs with personality,

My desk and sewing table need new chairs and I want to make them fun.

Right inside the door I found a pair of 1970's chairs with really cool curves and details. Sold $10! I pulled out my trusty Heirloom White and got busy painting. I didn't prime because I knew I wanted to distress and bring out the wood underneath. It took about 3 coats of paint.

I recovered the cushion and took out the basket weave material. It was in bad shape.
Funky soft animal print perfect for my desk!

I used nail heads for the first time. Looks easy... NOT! It was very hard to get them in straight and they were bending all over the place. Next time I'll try something else.

Here they are side by side.

I love the back and the great details. Little Caroline wanted to get in on the fun!

I'm not sure what to do with the 2nd chair. Any ideas? I was thinking egg blue with a burlap seat cushion. It will be my sewing chair.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade Gift Ideas

My favorite gifts are homemade one's. I also prefer home cooked meals to out to eat. Something about the time people put into making something makes it a ton better.

I have this frame I painted a while back. I got it at a garage sale for $1.

I added a bit of fun to it. I see these fabric flowers all over the places at boutiques. We've been looking at fabric for window treatments so I have a ton of scraps. I found a use!

This is how you start. With a triangle glued to a small felt circle or square.

Then you just twist around and glue. You could use fabric glue but I have burned finger tips immune to burns....

I added a 2nd fabric for some contrast.

This is another frame I finished.

There are a lot of printables online I'm thinking this is a great gift for teachers, family and friends.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Boys Room Before/After

My favorite part of makeovers are the before and after shots.

This is Will's room. Lucky guy got Daddy's big book shelves from his old office. It give him a lot of storage and display. This is what it looked like when we looked at the house.
Boring white walls and a bed on the floor.

Will loves his new room.

He especially loves that he has his own bathroom and doesn't share it with any girls.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Monday

Can you believe how grocery and eating out prices are going up?

A couple weeks ago we visited Chili's and all menu prices up.

To counteract this we do most meals at home... we also live 20 minutes away from the nearest restaurant.

Monday: Crock Pot Brisket - easy and better than most BBQ joints

Pick up a center cut brisket trimmed

1 jar of Claudes brisket marinade

Cook it for about 5 hours

Take out once cooked put in fridge for an hour

Cut and put in oven for about 30 minutes (This makes it that dry BBQ)

Enjoy! Costs about $13 compared to take out BBQ at $35

Tuesday: Leftover BBQ

Wednesday: Frozen Pizza

Thursday: Freezer Purge

Friday: Grill Burgers at the Barn

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Goodwill Bench Transformed

I'm baaackk! I felt like I should shout that out as I was painting a piano bench I found for $5 at Goodwill.

For those of you who've read for a while know I loved to spray paint and transform things. Well baby #4 and a move held things up a bit.

I found this messed up and gooed up bench and knew it had potential. Solid wood, score!

We've gone back to the tube TV. Our friends graciously let us borrow the tube while we try to figure out what the heck to do. Remember we had a 55 inch flat screen and had custom built in's at the old place.

I regress, back on subject....

See it was pretty shabby. I kept it with a basket of our shoes for a whole day before I prettied it up.

I used my favorite Heirloom White paint and English Chestnut stain and bingo a new side table.

Caroline can't contain her excitement over mommy's new pull up bench.

Gotta say it again, I'm back and ready to paint.

The girls and I are heading to Canton this weekend to turn some trash into treasure.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Look

What is frugal living?

To me it's living within or below your means.

All of our means are different and with time it changes. We've had our ups and downs financially as most families do.

As you can tell our family has had some major changes. We recently bought our dream home and property.

Without frugal living for many years it wouldn't have been possible.

It's important to make goals and know where your headed. For our family a country home was important. We scrimped and saved and did it with a lot of hard work and saving.

I've had people say you can't be frugal Jen living in that house.

My answer, yes I can. I'm still as frugal as ever. I'd love to decorate the house immediately with all new things but I can't.

We live on a strict budget and we don't live beyond our means.

Frugal is a way of life. You can make it drab and boring or your can make it fabulous and an adventure.

Cheers to new adventures!

Fall Fun

Life with 4 kids is seldom boring. Mostly we're busy going from one activity to another or working on the property.

Each Tuesday we make a trip into our old town for gymnastics and lunch with Daddy. Here's my little gymnast. Will's turned into a pumpkin head.
We spent or family night out at our barn. We carved pumpkins and hung out by the fire.

This is our 2,400 sq ft bonus building/barn. It could be a charming house. We laugh and say it's where we will live when we get old. One of the kids can move into the main house.

We have big plans to finish it out for a guest room, home office, shop and entertaining space. Our favorite part is the huge deck out front which overlooks our pond.

Our little country girl Caroline.

It's not Texas if we're not playing baseball. In between watching the Rangers world series games we were watching our favorite ball player. His nickname is "homerun Will". My dude has some serious skills. Since we moved to an ultra competitive city he's improving daily. I love to see the joy in his face while he plays.

I've fallen in love with drinking out of mason jars. I ditched the old glass cups.

I don't know what happened to my city husband but he's seriously wanting to buy a big tractor. He was checking them out at the state fair. As you can see Will thinks it's a good idea. We have a new search on Craigslist for tractors.

Our open living room and catwalk have a sniper you have to be careful of. He's a sharp shooter with a nerf gun. I know he's coming if I hear screaming girls.

We are enjoying out time at our new home. It's a dream come true to have some land to roam.

Honestly the first couple months I thought.... what have we done, I want to go home. After time I'm loving it. I don't do well with change but now I pull up and breathe a sigh of relief, I'm home.

We laugh we still have a home in the "city". Our old home didn't sell during the selling season so we put it up for renter. We have renters in until the end of the school year. Not sure if we will sell or continue renting it out. Rentals are in high demand so the extra $$ is nice.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dining Room Progress

I've been so busy I've neglected the blog a bit.

I underestimated the amount of time I would be busy.

This is our dining room taken this morning. I'm slowly picking out decor.

Something funny has happened to me, I actually like the gold accents.

Call me 90's Jen but I really like it. A year ago I would spray paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze.

I see some tall tablescaping in the future too.

We've had the hardwood floors refinished twice, yep twice.

Seems our inlay was week and required some replacement. Didn't want anyone stepping through our floors.

You can see in the below photo the floors before we did the 1st round. The wood was a little light for our taste.

We've been busy.

Gone is the wall paper.

We put white bead board and had the walls textured to match the rest of the house.

The floors got a dark refinishing.

This is my favorite part the chunky molding.

It's been easy to get overwhelmed because there is so much to do. Our last house was completely done decorating wise.

It's exciting and fun to pick out new items although I'm a little impatient because I can't buy it all at once.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Grocery Challenge

I've done a little experiment with grocery shopping.

Over the past couple years I've gone to Wally World (wal-mart). I started to wonder what was up when my grocery bill gradually went up. It quickly got to the point of out of control.

Each time I visit I have to go from one side of the store to the other.... that's where they get you.

I was picking up candles, craft items, kids clothing... etc.

My bill in the meantime had gone up almost $100 a week. Out of control I tell ya!

So, after we moved I visited the new Wally World, same deal.

Then I decided to go back to the grocery store get a saver card and all.

In 2 weeks my grocery bill is down $75 a week and I'm getting more food. Yes some items are more expensive but I'm saving money. I've also noticed the high quality of meats and produce.

I'm saying so long farewell to my weekly trips to Wally World! Hello little ole small town Brookshires.

P.S. I love that I get help out to the car!

Coming soon, back to coupon Frugal Jen.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Monday

I forgot what a schedule was like...

We're back on Menu Monday.

Country living doesn't mean no evening activities it just means we drive futher to get there. However I LOVE the drive. It's beautiful driving in rural areas with no traffic. We see many sunsets and beautiful bluff views.

Ok on to food:

Monday: Grilled Burritos (yeah a night at home!)

Tuesday: Frozen Pizza (baseball practice)

Wednesday: Crock Pot Brisket, come and go (youth group)

Thursday: Leftover BBQ (Dance and baseball practice)

Friday: Burgers at home with a movie night... relax from the busy week

Gotta share some decorating and I need ideas. This is our casual dining off the kitchen. I'm looking for fabric for a valance.

I'm stuck on what to do on the back wall. I don't like the mirror it doesn't seem to go there. I'm looking for a country idea. Any ideas?

This is our oldest daughter who seems to be missing from blog posts. I'm so proud of her. She's adjusted great from the move. She's got a great group of new friends. This past weekend she went to homecoming, the dance and also had a slumber party with new friends. She's a busy girl.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Family Addition

Since we're country folk now we had to get a dog.

Saturday we surprised Will for his upcoming birthday with a basset hound pup. He quickly named him Gus.

Madeline is loving Gus too.
I had to throw in a cute photo of Caroline. She's growing up so fast!

This is where Gus loves to relax next to the shrubs in the back. He perches up on the ledge and howls at the sky.

Our oldest Kate is enjoying Gus as well. She didn't have makeup on when I took photos so I was forbid from putting them on my blog.... teenagers.

On a different note we are so proud of her. She made the homecoming princess nominees. She was 1 of 10 out of a class of 500. Awesome for a new girl!! She found out today that she didn't make the top 2 for the award but we are thrilled with making the list. Let's just say she's adjusting very well!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bugs and Wildlife

Yipee I'm connected to the world! We just got our internet hooked up today.

Let me tell you this is a HUGE adjustment, nothing could have prepared me for the many differences of living in the country.

Scorpions, wild hogs, deer, skunks, snakes, and lots of bugs. Oh yeah and a 50 pound beehive in the roof. That's only the wildlife.

We've had many unexpected breaks and we are learning really quick how to take care of things ourselves or just call the warranty company (which gets nothing done).

The positives are great! Our kids love the new schools and are fitting right in. They are even riding the bus. I've met many wonderful people everyone is kind and slower paced. My anxiety has gone and has been replaced with a bit of loneliness but that will be soon fixed when I start the moms group next week.

I hope to upload some photos and get back to blogging soon. For now I'm filling all the cracks in the house and sealing up the doors to get rid of the stubborn scorpions. Apparently they are smart creatures and have evolved to be resistant to Terminex bug spray. Anyone have tips?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hellos and Good-Byes

This week we say Good- Bye to our city home Hello to our new home in the country
(Can you tell we like red brick?)

This week has been bitter sweet. It was the kids first week of school in our new district. Since we were still having work done to the house we drove the kids into school. On Tuesday I put 115 miles on my car!

The first day was filled with tears and wondering.... what have we done.

On Tuesday a bombshell was dropped. The sell of our home fell through the buyers had financing issues. Only 6 days before closing.....

We lowered the price of our house hoping for a quick sale. We've also listed it with a leasing company to have the option to just lease it out. Our realtor says we have a great rental market so we think that's what will happen. The positive is we get to keep the house.

Back to the kids..... day 2 was much better. Our oldest who's in 9th grade LOVES the new school. She's made friends quickly and likes it better. She's already joined several clubs and has made plans for her first sleepover and football game.

Our son is enjoying it. He started his new baseball team this week and has made fast friends.

Today, we say good bye to our old home and city. First thing in the morning the movers come to move us to the country.

I said bye to our wonderful next door neighbors. We've been pregnant together and both have 3 girls. Our evenings have consisted of riding bikes in the cul de sac and chatting as the sun goes down. They are also moving. I had my share of tears today.

We've really done it. We're moving.

Tonight is our last night in the house. That makes me very sad. It's been a wonderful home with so many memories.

I'll see you in a couple weeks after we've settled and I have my new Internet set up.

So long city living!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dining Room Before/After

This is my favorite room in the new house.

I'm thrilled to have beadboard in the dining room. The chocolate brown pops with all the white trim. I'm in love!!!

Don't you love our fancy dining room table? Kidding..... we haven't moved our furniture yet.

This is what it looked like before with 1990's wallpaper:
It's very exciting to see the transformation. Each day it gets better. Today they stat refinishing the hardwood floors. Tomorrow carpet!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Thankfully, I'm not the one getting up on that to paint. Glad our painter has insurance!

Monday, August 15, 2011

We actually did it!

This is a view from our back porch to the left.
We closed on the new house on Friday. It's really ours, I can't believe we did it. We actually did it!

I'm a country girl!

We spent the weekend working on the land (my husband and son did). The girls and I picked out fun paint colors for their rooms. I remember how much I don't like painting a whole room.

I prefer murals and fun stuff. Photos coming soon of the progress.

We had the most simple moments out at the house. I was painting looking out of the window and saw 2 of the kids playing and running in the backyard. 10 acres is a lot more than our previous 1/4 acre lot.

It was a simple moment where I just smiled and knew this was the right decision.

Each night when it was time to drive back to our home in the city the little one's cried and didn't want to leave.

In 2 short weeks we will close on our house in the city and we will be all moved.

Our oldest daughter when to "Fish Camp" at the high school. She had a blast and even met a girl who is new they hit it right off. God answered a simple prayer request from me, a friend for her to sit with at lunch. This girl and Kate have the same lunch and 4 classes together.

I'm learning when things are meant to be... all the details just fall into place and your left with peace.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Choosing Paint Colors High Ceilings

We are very excited to be closing on our new house in the country on Friday. As you can see it's not really a country style.

Here in Texas we seem to plop down a southern style home out in the middle of no where. We bought the house because of the land it's on. I'm going to turn this into a cozy home.

It's so different from our current home. Currently we have 8 ft ceilings this one has 20 feet in the main areas.

This is the formal living room and entry. I LOVE the chunky moldings.

They just need some paint to pop! I also think a darker color will bring the ceilings down for a warmer feel. Here's a few from the other side.
We have some major work to do. My goal bring this 90's gem to 2011!

First order of business paint.
(Yes, I'm getting rid of the brassy lights. Except for the crystal chandelier turns out it's a Schonbek)

Our painters start the same day we close.

This is what we're doing to the entry ceiling to show off the barrel vault.

This is an inspiration photo from a model home on how we can warm up the spaces with a good neutral color.

Major anxiety over paint colors. I've NEVER had such high ceilings I don't know how to judge a good color. I tend to go darker but this time around I don't want to live in a cave.

I've got the paint narrowed down to Sherwin Williams Nomadic Desert. Anyone use that color?

Busy times ahead!

We're having the whole house painted (walls and ceilings).

Hardwood floors refinished and re-stained darker.

New carpet installed.

All in 2 weeks!!

Yes it's going to be crazy busy, especially since I'll be driving the kids an hour to school.

We can't move in until all the work is finished.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moving Sale

If you live in the DFW area and want to hit a summer garage sale this Friday we're having one. It's a big moving sale! Email me and I'll send you the info.

So I guess you can tell we are moving.... long story but a very exciting one!

Last spring we decided to move to the country. We found some houses we loved but they went under contract and a deal on our house fell through.

Wow, things have changed. One of the houses we loved came back on the market their deal feel through and we got it!!! We're working on something on our home now just after 2 weeks on the market.

Lot's of big changes. My blog is going to change.

I see things a bit more like the pioneer women but more green acres! I'll be living on a small ranch. We're going to raise animals and garden. My husband will still be wearing a suit to the city each day. When he gets home he will put on his boots and hop on his new John Deere tractor. Seriously... he is!

The first posts will be at the beginning of September once we've moved and I have computer access.

In the meantime, the city girl is exiting the concrete jungle...... to a new life in the country.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raising Children Today

A sweet friend of mine forwarded me this post. If you have daughters and you feel like it's you against the world read this.

I don't post a lot about my oldest daughter. I try to protect her from the cyber world. You see she doesn't have a cell phone or even a Facebook. She's the odd girl out. We try hard to preserve her innocence and childhood as long as possible. I'd rather her call friends on the home phone. Facebook is well, just a place for kids to slander one another. I choose to protect her from these negative things. Remember our role of parent is one of leadership and not one of "well my kids want it".

Having younger siblings help her stay young. She loves to play with them. We get many comments from friends and family about her babysitting the younger siblings. People always seem to say "What does she think about that or does she enjoy babysitting?"

I don't say much when people asked because it stumped me for a while.

My answer is she's she enjoys babysitting and spending time with her siblings and they adore her. The other part a little harsh of my answer is she's 14 years old she doesn't make the decisions in our house. Our life does not revolve around anyone ONE person it revolves around our entire family. Each person's needs are equally important and we weigh all needs when making a decision.

We each have roles and responsibilities in this large family. I think it's important to make things work. We have chores to do and we don't get money for it. We teach our children that the responsibilities in a family are shared. We shouldn't expect to get something for helping out. It's just what a family does. How do you think a family back 100 years ago did it? Only today we have entitlement issues.

We make decisions based on the whole not the individuals. In my opinion as it should be. This is opposite in today's society. But then again so is having 4 children and thinking about adding a 5th.

Our family is so very rich in love. We spend time together and enjoy each persons qualities and abilities. I can't tell you how many times we laugh so hard we cry. That is joy to me.

We pray and read the Bible together. Our children learn our faith and know Jesus through our family.

The world has become a dark place. Young teens are surrounded by such immoral things. We as a family feel called to be the "light" in the world. We don't give into things because everyone else it doing it.... actually we do the complete opposite because usually that is the "right and Christlike" thing to do.

So what's my point? This has nothing to do with frugal jen. I felt moved today to share my thoughts about raising kids in this world. Sometimes we feel alone in our thoughts and we aren't alone. Many time others would stand if only someone would stand up first.

I hope this doesn't come off as a negative post. You know tone is so hard to read in writings. I love having a large family and I love my family the way it is. I was an only child so this has been a challenge but it's one that is very rewarding! I love my family!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Fun

My husband and I made it out for a date night... at the Texas Rangers game. We were not frugal we enjoyed it from an air conditioning suite. I think this was the only time I went outside.

We've had many adventures this summer. With a family of 4 I'm all about bargains. We took a bike ride to the park and grilled hot dogs. It's was a ton of fun!

Every evening we ride bikes in the cul-de-sac with our neighbor kids. Sadly we are both moving. We'll miss them!

Sweet little girl loves playing in the water in the back yard. I call it old school fun with a slip and slide and a water hose.

Vacation Bible School has been the highlight of the summer. There is nothing like hearing my children sing praises with friends. I got teary eyed each time I head "How Great Thou Are"

It's always an adventure with us!

We're making up for lost time. Remember last summer I was on bedrest.