Wednesday, July 23, 2014

3 Questions that are GUARANTEED to Improve Your Marriage

to improve your marriage.

Who wouldn't want that??
I've been married for almost 10 years {how is that even possible?!?!} and I am proud to say that my husband and I work hard to have a good marriage.  We make time for each other, we talk to each other, we enjoy being together and we celebrate with each other.  It's tough to do those things now that we're parents, but I know it's worth it.
We've moved 5 times, lived in 4 different cities, had a variety of jobs, gone to grad school, adopted 2 cats and had a baby girl.  Lots of exciting things, lots of day to day life and a few tough times in between.  We are better off because of this adventure we call LIFE.

Without further adieu,
Here are the 3 little questions that will make a BIG difference in your marriage:

1. What can I do to help you?
 This always makes me feel loved and helps me to remember that we are a TEAM in life.  I'm not great at asking for help so I really appreciate this one.  It's guaranteed to put on a smile on my face and makes me feel like any task is doable.

2. How can I pray for / encourage you?
It's always nice to know that someone has your back and is praying for you.

3. What's your day like tomorrow?
We always end up talking about our work/home current events that we could use some encouragement to take on and work through important things.  It helps us to map out our time and gives us an idea of what is planned for the day.  Plus, we always feel like we know what is going on in each others lives because we communicate.

These questions will start great dialogue, encourage conversation and help you to feel close to your spouse.  I'm sure there are more questions that I could add, but these are the ones we use consistently.  Find the questions that work best for you or tailor these to meet your needs and your marriage will benefit!

Monday, July 21, 2014

DIY Delicious Donuts

I have a mini donut pan and I'm always pinning donut recipes to try.  I've made pumpkin, chocolate and vanilla and this recipe is definitely my favorite.  Here's the recipe I used from

Here's my interpretation of her recipe in pictures :)

 Olive had never eaten a donut so I thought it would be fun to let her in on this yummy treat.  She kept wanting to poke it but seemed to enjoy it.

 Do you ever make homemade donuts??
I'd love to try your recipe.
Leave me your recipe or a link to your favorite recipe in the comments.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stair Climber

 Olive was thrilled that our new house has STAIRS.
She'd never really had the opportunity to climb stairs so I was shocked that she had no trouble at all climbing to the top (with someone following right behind her).  I knew this was going to be an issue so we had to block it off or keep her behind closed doors upstairs until we figured out the baby gate situation.
We met at an attorney's office to do our closing on our house and the attorney randomly asked if our new house had stairs.  We said yes and she said she had a really nice baby gate in her trunk if we needed one.  She explained that her kids were older now and no longer needed the gate.  She stuck the gate in her trunk hoping she'd find someone who needed it.  I'm still amazed by people's generosity and it definitely makes me want to look for opportunities to be generous to others.

 I had to look up a video on youtube to figure out how to get the gate open!  It makes me think it's pretty baby proof :)  I set it up and we talked about how we'd install it.  The woodwork was in the way, the studs weren't exactly where we'd hoped and my dad only had a hand saw to work with.  He took lots of measurements, drew some diagrams and made a list of supplies he'd need.  He built a frame out of 2x4s and I helped hold things in place so he could drill.  I marked spots for the nails and made sure things were lined up.  He was wishing he had white paint to paint the frame to match the woodwork, but I assured him that it was just fine.  
Olive was not pleased with the addition of the gate.  She go up to it and just shout at it.  I have a feeling that this gate is going to keep me sane and keep Olive safe.

Carpet MIracle Workers

I've made it known that the green carpeting isn't my favorite thing ever but it's not in the budget to replace the flooring in the entire house right away.  So we've ordered some rugs and rented a super carpet shampooer in the hopes that we could work some miracles.

We paid for a 24 hour rental, bought the extra strength cleaner and the special pretreating spray in the hopes that it would make a dent in the dirt.  It cost about $60.

BEFORE of the Dining Room:
Yuck x10
 My parents brought down their Dyson and vacuumed really well before shampooing.  Then sprayed pretreating spray and went over the carpet multiple times.  The instructions say to keep going over it until the water in the tank is clear.  It was probably 6 or 7 times before it was clear!

What a difference!!
It looks, smells and feels SO much better.

BEFORE of The Family Room:
Definitely lots of high traffic area markings
A million times better!!

 The carpet in the bedrooms was much cleaner
but it still benefited from a deep shampooing :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Devil's in the Details

 I mentioned before that our house has 9ft ceilings and great woodwork.
The downside is that the home is 20 years old and all of the woodwork needed caulked because it started to separate ever so slightly.  You could see tiny gaps in it all around the home.  Many people might not notice or not care enough to do anything about it.  

Lucky for me, My dad is a perfectionist.
He likes things done right and he's happy to make sure they are.
He came to the house armed with a tall ladder, caulk and a caulk gun.

My mom was a spotter and helped identify areas that needed filled, dusted woodwork and corralled Olive.  I did some dusting and took care of Olive.

Notice the gap in the woodwork where the corners meet?
No more gaps!!
The whole house got this treatment and looks SO much better!!

True Story:
My Dad would be working on a project outside and would almost immediately attract all of the older ladies in the neighborhood.  They tried to recruit him as their handy man and were eager to talk his leg off.  My mom and I would wonder where he'd gone and then we'd see him out talking to the neighbors.  I think they were disappointed to learn that he wasn't moving into the neighborhood - haha.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Backwards Fridge

 Our fridge opened from the dining room and not from the middle of the kitchen.  Clearly it was awkward and we all agreed that it would be nice to have it open from the kitchen.  My Dad did some checking and it had all of the whole on the other side to be switched.  Hooray!!
He got a burst of energy late one night and decided it was time to give it a try.  He said he'd maybe switched one fridge door many years ago, but he felt confident he could figure it out again.

I was his assistant and really held doors up, put washers on and located tools.  He was the brains of the operation and I was just along for the ride.  Noticing a theme here??

The whole project took 30-40 minutes.
Started with the freezer door first.  There were many screws and little parts so it's important to have a bowl or designated area to put them in.  We also wiped off parts as we went.
Refrigerator door next.  Make sure both doors are completely empty.

 Switch everything.
Plug up holes and keep track of lots of pieces.
It might be helpful to snap a picture or two to make sure you're putting it back correctly.
 Make sure you don't have any left over parts.
We had to back track a bit to get all of the washers and hole covers in the right spots.
It's also important to tighten every screw so that the seal on the fridge remains tight.

 Dad showed me how to take off the cover at the bottom and said I should vaccum it out at least once a year.  Yuck!  Maybe I'll tell Kevin's that's a perfect job for him :)

 Hooray!!!  The fridge now makes sense.
It opens from the kitchen and you don't have to walk around the door to get into the fridge.

My parents also decided we should pull out the fridge...
holy moly... that's a nasty before shot.
Rest assured it's perfectly clean now thanks to my Mom :)

Another project done...