In Our Neck of the Woods….

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Life has been very busy, but it’s the fun kind of busy (mostly). As always, my husband and I have been working on household projects, which never seem to end. For example, when we were remodeling our bathroom, we considered replacing our old, but very large mirror, because the silver backing on the edges was eroded and discolored.

See? Ugly.

Unfortunately, we priced replacement mirrors and learned that a mirror of the same size would cost around $150 – closer to $300 if we wanted it framed. And of course, this was a burr under our frugal saddles, so my husband decided to build a frame for the existing mirror, to hide the discolored edges.

He made this simple, pretty frame with pieces of decorative trim moulding, painted white, for only $28, and the mirror looks like new! Also, I found these 2 little frames at a garage sale for 50 cents apiece, and I thought they were perfect for this room.

Since the shower curtain and rug are ocean/fish-themed, I framed a picture of the girls at the beach, and also the really cool jellyfish we saw at the Mall of America aquarium. The girls love it.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to completely clean and revamp my laundry room. I moved absolutely everything out, except for the shelving.

For about a week, I had this dreadful, depressing mess, and I was chastising myself for even starting this project, which I tend to do when I feel overwhelmed. There were many days when I felt like bawling (and a couple days when I DID bawl).

I’m not sure how I even managed to get all this crap into that small room.

However, after some SERIOUS purging, I was able to make enough room to put my clothing inventory boxes on the shelves (much easier to file clothing now!) and I carved out space for another free, found shelving unit next to the washing machine, which is exclusively for surplus pantry goods.

It’s so nice to have this project done. It’s been a long time coming, and so has painting our hallway, which I’ve been meaning to do for years. I finally started last week, but while I was up on the ladder, painting the ceiling, DJ was up to no good. He filled cup after cup with water from the fridge dispenser, and poured it out on the floor, creating a literal river from the fridge, around the corner, and out the sliding door onto the deck.

That same day, when I completed the second coat on the ceiling, I took my paint pan and roller out to rinse them under the spigot on the side of the house. I put them down, and went back into the house for one minute to grab a drink. When I came back out, DJ was busy rolling paint on his Daddy’s new car, which his Daddy loves and is very proud of (because we scrimped and saved for 7 years to afford it without a loan).

Having learned my lesson from these 2 events, I decided to paint the walls slowly, in small sections during DJ’s naps, so this is all I have done so far.

The color is Benjamin Moore “Revere Pewter,” which our local Ace Hardware was able to match for $15 less per gallon (this is a little-known, but valuable service). I chose this color because it’s soft, subtle and unobtrusive – a good transition color between rooms – and it makes artwork look fantastic (I learned of it in this House Beautiful article). It has a lot of personality, and changes with the light.

This week has been filled with end-of-year activities. Bee’s last day of school was yesterday, and on Monday she had a recorder concert and variety show at school. Afterward, her class invited their parents to the school library for cupcakes, and to watch their Powerpoint presentations about insects. Bee chose the rhinoceros beetle, which I had never heard of, and hope to never meet in person.

My husband spent way too much time laughing and making poop jokes with the boy who did his presentation on the dung beetle, and DJ, who missed his nap, was wound up like a 50-cent watch. He ran around giggling and being generally rambunctious – clearly he gets this behavior from his father.

Like father, like son (Don’t worry, the mower blade is off. He’s just driving DJ around a little bit, because he LOVES machinery of any kind. You probably already guessed that by DJ’s enormous grin).

Also on Monday, DJ and I went with Cakesie’s preschool class to visit a local pond, and we had so much fun! We saw baby turtles on a stump,

thousands of tiny tadpoles along the banks,

and a frog peeking out of the water.

But I think the best part, as far as the kids were concerned, was running down this hill, which they did over and over again.

Even DJ joined in – see him?

Today was the annual preschool picnic at the park,

and now both girls are home for the summer! I have lots of fun activities planned for us this year, including visits to a fossil gorge, and the natural history museum, and a day trip to a vintage, 50s open air roller skating rink on a lake. Also, since Cakes starts kindergarten in the fall, I’ll take her to paint pottery, which is our tradition before each child starts school full time.

In other big news, DJ has moved from his crib to a big boy bed! His bed is one of our best garage sale finds – the solid oak headboard with built-in reading light was free (yes, free!), and the mattress, which, according to the seller, was used in a guest bedroom and slept in only twice, was $20 (it’s immaculate). We got both at a moving sale almost 2 years ago, and have stored them in our back shed all this time. We decided to buy a steel “Space Base” frame, instead of a traditional box spring because it’s very sturdy (DJ is all boy), and has more storage space underneath.

Pay no attention to the $19.99 price tag on this tailored bed skirt – I got it at a garage sale for $1.

I had enough sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and even a twin-sized blue and white comforter (from another garage sale? I honestly don’t know where it came from), so I was able to put together a complete, full-sized bed for DJ for only $125 (even on sale, a twin mattress and traditional box spring set alone costs between $200 and $300). And here he is, sawing logs in his big boy bed, of which he’s very proud!

I was worried about how he would do without crib bars to contain him, but we only had problems the first night, when he was up 5 times in one hour (kicking the wall, “reading” out loud to himself, standing outside our door and breathing loudly, and barging in twice with requests for “fwesh water,” and “a fwy-swatter” because he thought he saw a bug), and came into our room at 5:00 AM to ask, “Can we go to gwahge sells? Can we get donuts too?”

We’ve already got him on the garage sale bandwagon.

We’ve had such amazing luck at sales already this year. I got so many great clothes for Cakes and DJ last weekend that when I dumped them all out on my laundry room floor, the pile was a literal mountain, and I’m just now getting to the bottom of it. I know that many of you like to see our garage sale bargains, so I’m working on a detailed post for next week.

Summer reading kickoff  is tonight, so I’d better go start some dinner. Hope you’re all having a great week!

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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5 comments… add one

  1. Kamani May 23, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Wow!  You did get a lot of great stuff so far.  It’s already in the 100′s here so I don’t see too many garage sales.  Do you have any ideas for things do to with kids inside? (On a budget of course)  It’s just too hot here to do anything outside in the summertime.  I have a few things planned but not much.  Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Mindy Christenson May 23, 2012, 10:19 pm

    I’m reflecting a lot as I

    Reply
  3. Michelle May 24, 2012, 1:28 pm

    What sweet times.  I love that picture of your husband and DJ… both of those smiles…:)  Have fun jumping into summer!

    Reply
  4. Srsartwork May 24, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I’m so encouraged and inspired by your creative and frugal solutions to home projects not to mention your expert bargain shopping.  I was glad to see that DJ bounced back from that sleepless first night in the big boy bed and has done better since (I hope our kiddo can do the same soon).  It sounds like you have exciting summer plans — love the 50′s open air skating rink idea!  Have fun and enjoy every minute.

    Reply
  5. AmFriend May 25, 2012, 1:29 pm

    When your husband was installing the nice new, frugal trim around the mirror, how did he work around the clips that hold the mirror in place?

    You definitely have gotten some awesome bargains over the years. DJ’s entire bed set is one great example of that.

    Reply

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