The House

What a Mess!

One month ago I gave you a sneak peek of what was going to be happening at our house in the near future with the installation of new floors on most of the main level (everything except for the three spare bedrooms…the guest room, my craft room and my office…and the tiled bathrooms and laundry room).

Although I didn’t mind the color of the walls throughout our house, they could definitely use a refresh as there were many patched holes left behind by the previous owners and it had been five years of wear and tear. So we decided to take the opportunity of painting all the walls prior to the installation of the new floors. We could paint without worrying about dripping paint on the floor. We chose a “greige,” a beige with a grey tone instead of the gold tone beige that was on the walls prior.

9.28.19 Painting

While we were painting and moving furniture around, we ended up taking down all the decor on the walls and throughout the house, including all the window curtains and piled them up in the craft room and guest room since we knew the floor demo was going to be a dusty mess.



To save some money, Carl, Zack and I took care of removing the old carpet. Carl did lots of prep work by removing the carpet tacking around the perimeters of the rooms ahead of time. Then the night before the hardwood demo, we all pitched in to cut up and remove the carpeting and padding.

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We also moved all the furniture off of the hardwoods.


We emptied out closets and moved all the junk into the master bedroom.


On Wednesday morning, the floor guys came and did more prep work.



They also removed all the quarter round around the baseboards.


Then it was finally time for the demo to begin!


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When they were all done, the floors were a blank slate.

The new floors will be installed next week. Just a few more days of household chaos and then I can get things all back to normal again. I can’t wait!

The House

Walk This Way

BIG CHANGES are coming to the house over the next few months.

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It’s gonna have to get a whole lot worse before it gets better though.

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Can you guess what we are doing?

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Stay tuned for updates!

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P.S. Isn’t that website that I found cool? It gave us a great idea of what things will look like “after,” although it’s not the exact product that we are using but definitely a similar look.

It's About Me, Praises, Rental Properties, The Husband


Carl and I still have one rental property (a two-bedroom townhouse) in Minnesota. When I wrote a post about our properties in May, 2017, I stated the following:

I do not believe that we will ever recoup the money that we paid for that property. It has slowly climbed up to around $100,000 to maybe $110,000 (if you believe Zillow) but it will be many, many, many more years before it makes it back up to what we paid. 

So I was happy to go on Zillow a few weeks ago and see that the Zestimate was now around $142,000, which is close to what we paid for it. But I also noticed something new…a box telling me to “Get a Zillow Offer.”


Turns out that Zillow is now buying homes in select markets, making minor repairs and then reselling them for a small profit (more or less flipping homes).

I figured “why not?” and wanted see what they would offer but had very low expectations and figured it would be a totally low-ball offer. Imagine my surprise the next day when my initial offer came back at $150,000 (which is the number that Carl and I had had in mind and had stated that when it ever reached that, we would sell). What? That’s even more than their Zestimate! After getting over my shock, I read the email and saw that the next step would be an in-person inspection by a representative by Zillow to adjust the offer for repairs needed. I again figured it would be an unrealistic deduction off the initial offer. A few days after the inspection, the revised offer came in and was quite reasonable and comparable to what we would spend on necessary repairs.

After comparing the estimated costs of a traditional sale (with realtor fees, travel, repairs, weeks of hard work by Carl and I and the hassles of coordinating showings from afar) and the final Zillow offer (with zero hassles or effort on our part), it was very close. So it was a no-brainer in our minds. SOLD! 

Since we do have a tenant on a month-to-month lease, we had to give her notice and time to find a new place to live. She did so quickly and will be moving out September 1st. We will close the sale with Zillow on September 6th, at which time we will pay off the rest of our house here in Jacksonville. Yippee!!

We are amazed at how God has moved the past month in clearing this path for us. We weren’t even planning on selling this property at this time but God made it so easy and hassle-free for us that we couldn’t NOT do it. We are grateful and it will be awesome to be debt-free in just a short time.





Florida Life, Praises, The House, The Husband


After 33 years and 15 jobs, mostly in the professional sports field, my husband is GOING TO RETIRE from full-time, professional employment at the end of this month! After taking the job with SMG, he has not been loving it. And thanks to the opportunity to continue with the NFL medical insurance plan until 65, as long as he is not employed full-time, he has decided to resign while we are still eligible for the NFL insurance plan. YAY for Carl!

His plan is to go back to working for SMG part-time as an independent contractor, at least for a while. One of the main reasons for doing this is that no one else knows how to do the project that he has been working on since being hired by SMG. So he is willing to help them out with it until someone else can get trained or for as long as they want him. Other than that, he plans on doing some other contracting work, finding a part-time job at a Scuba shop, finding a part-time job at the YMCA (for a free membership) or whatever else he decides to do JUST FOR FUN and some spending money!

This decision has been made possible thanks to our other BIG, EXCITING NEWS, which is that we have (almost) PAID OFF OUR MORTGAGE! Thanks to all of my husband’s hard work over the past 33 years and our diligent investing, we were able to pull money from our portfolio to pay off the the majority of the mortgage. The rest will be paid off next month and I’ll tell you more about that soon. Once it’s paid off, our expenses will be significantly reduced, thereby lowering the income that we need on a monthly basis, giving Carl the freedom to retire. YAY, again!

We are very excited about these major life changes and look forward to the freedom of setting our own schedules and living completely debt-free. We feel very blessed and grateful to God for His provision to us over all these years, making these events possible.

We are planning a big backyard celebration soon to celebrate!


Crafting, It's About Me, The House, The Husband

Finally, a New Project!

The problem with buying a house that you really love, is that there is not much that needs to be done. And I’m okay with that because it just gives me more time to float around the pool with my cocktails and Kindle. But there is one area that has been bugging me for the past year. I had a hard time finding a good photo of the area but finally found this one from a previous Christmas.

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It’s the kitchen bar area with these Craigslist stools that I bought shortly after moving in and recovered the seats with fun, colorful fabric. Over time, I fell out of love with the stools, mainly because they felt wobbly all the time, even after we tighten them. And the other issue is Zack and his apparently dirty knees. I’m blaming Zack because he is the only one that sits there on a regular basis.


You can see how dirty and gross the area was becoming (although the color is really bad in this photo).


So the first step was to find some cute, new beachy stools on Facebook Swip Swap. I found these 4 almost brand new stools for just $200 and made Zack get up at 9:30 am on a Saturday morning to go with me so I wouldn’t be accosted and murdered. (Thanks Zack!) I sold my old stools for $80. So the net cost of the stools was just $120!


The next step was to do something about the wall that would hide the dirt and grime in the future. I went to Lowe’s and had some 4′ x 8′ sheets of Luan (very thin plywood) cut down into 6 inch strips. After carefully measuring the wall and determining where the studs were, I cut the strips into various size lengths.


Next, I stained the wood pieces in three different colors.


However, after showing Carl my progress so far, my husband requested a somewhat more rustic look. Plus the dark and medium stain were really much more similar in real life. So I ended up putting some blue paint on the medium color boards and then sanding ALL the boards down to make them appear more worn and rustic. I then laid the boards out to plan out the installation and make sure it looked just the way that I wanted.


To prep the wall, since there will be a slight space between each board, I painted dark brown where the edges of the boards will fall so blue doesn’t show through and the wall blends in.


Next, I enlisted the help of the local handyman to actually put the boards up. Since the Luan is so thin and light, it went in easily with small finishing nails.


After just a few hours, we had a beautiful, new wood wall.


We finished off the raw edge on the left with a thin piece of luan.

img_1246With the new stools, it was the perfect, rustic, beachy vibe that I was going for!img_1243img_1244The wood wall cost $68 in materials (two sheets of luan and 3 cans of stain), plus $9 for two new bronze outlet covers for a grand total of $77 dollars. Quite a bargain for the big impact that it makes!

Now if only I could convince my husband to let me get a cute, new white, round dining table :). Then the area would really be complete!




The House

Guest Bathroom Update

When we moved to Jacksonville, I used the shower curtain and other items from the boy’s bathroom update from 2012 as shown below for our guest bathroom.

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Minnesota: Boy’s bathroom

That means that I had been looking at that same unironed, wrinkled red, brown and tan shower curtain, towels and bath rug for over 6 years.

Magnolia Falls House 033
Jacksonville: Guest bathroom

Sometime after we moved to Jacksonville and the photo above, I finally ironed the curtain and it made a world of difference. Ironing is just not my thing, people but jeepers, I can NOT believe that I left it like that for several years. How embarrassing.

This is another shot of the Jacksonville guest bathroom, after I affixed a border around the mirror and covered the ugly medicine cabinet with a piece of artwork but before we replaced that ugly light fixture.

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So earlier this summer, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to update the guest bathroom and asked him if he’d help me remove the ugly builder’s mirror and medicine cabinet. I also dreamed of putting shiplap on the wall across from the toilet. He said he would but not until the fall 😦 . He also said he wanted me to model the bathroom after our friends, Dee and Eddy’s newly remodeled bathroom since he really liked the style. Here is a photo Dee sent me of their bathroom.


It turns out the delay was a good thing because other friends from church mentioned that they were driving to southern Illinois to pick up a truck load of old barn wood and said that we could have some for free.

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I cleaned off the wood and brushed on a coat of polyurethane to protect it since it was going into a humid bathroom.

The first step in our bathroom transformation was for Carl to remove the mirror and medicine cabinet and patch the wall, including filling in some holes and spraying orange peel spray over the repaired areas to match the rest of the texture on the walls.

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When he was done, Carl installed our gorgeous wood on the largest wall, going about two-thirds of the way up the wall.

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Then I painted the remaining walls the same color as Dee and Eddy did, but just slightly darker (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt/Comfort Gray).

Bathroom (3)

Next I placed a tile border, just like Dee and Eddy’s bathroom, but in a different, beachy style.

Bathroom (5)

Instead of patching the medicine cabinet with drywall, we decided to make an inset tiled shelf framed with leftover wood.

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This is after the outside molding was completed. We plan on putting a shelf across the middle but we haven’t done that yet.

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After the finishing touches, like a new free-hanging mirror, shower curtain, towels, rug, artwork, outlet covers, wastebasket, hooks and toilet paper holder, the bathroom was complete!

I love it so much!

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This is with the light off so you can see our light fixture better.

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And here is the wall across from the toilet and sink.

I thank my handy husband for his hard work in helping me complete my vision. And thanks again to Dee and Eddy for the inspiration. And to our friends, Ed and Brenda, for the beautiful wood. This room was definitely a group effort! I know that our guests will really enjoy it.

It's About Me, Rental Properties, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Thank you for Being a Friend

(Cue the Golden Girls Theme song)

While Carl was busy taping dance recitals all day Saturday and Sunday, I had a full schedule of visiting friends.

My original schedule had to be shifted around when Carl and I stopped at the Chaska Target first thing Saturday morning for some shampoo. We ran into the son of a couple from our church we had attended. He asked if we were going to his cousin’s grad party later that day. “Grad party? What grad party? No, I wasn’t going but I am now!” So after dropping Carl off at the high school for the video shoots, and stopping at Caribou, where I ran into more old friends, I crashed the grad party, which was awesome because I was able to visit with so many people from our former church.

I had intended to take photos of each group I visited but in my rush from place to place each few hours, I typically forgot. I am so bummed with myself. Boo…bad blogger.

After visiting the grad party and bringing Carl a plate of food from the party for lunch, we both visited with Carl’s friend, Paul, in between dance recitals.

After leaving them to visit longer, I headed off to visit with our old neighbors, Lou and Neil. Realizing I was running short on time, I shifted a visit to our rental townhouse to the next day. Then it was on to visit, Julie and Kent. And finally, it was off to Deb and Ron’s house. Phew!

Deb and Ron made me dinner and then we visited for a while until Carl was done with recitals for the day. After picking him up and feeding him a plate of food we saved for him, it was time for some cards with Deb and Ron.

So good to catch up with them after 3 years! I miss our card nights together.

The next day, we went to our former church for the worship portion. After dropping Carl off at the high school for his day’s shooting, I returned to church to meet up with a few ladies for lunch. We had a great afternoon dining at one of the newer restaurants in downtown Chaska and seeing the beautiful new Curling Center and recreational area around the lake there. What an amazing addition to our former small town! Well done, Chaska!

I then zipped over to our rental townhouse to meet the tenant and check out the place. I was grateful to learn she is not planning on moving out anytime soon. I was then able to meet up with my friend Tina and spend time with her and her twins at a local park on an absolutely beautiful Minnesota afternoon.

My final stop was for dinner and drinks with our friends, Steve and Kathy and kids.

It made me really regret not spending more time with them in MN because they are so sweet and so fun. I hope that I convinced them that we would love to have them visit JAX at any time.

I am extremely grateful to have been able to visit so many friends in a whirlwind two days. I love friends that you can just pick up your friendships like it was yesterday and the conversation and laughs are plentiful. I miss all of those wonderful people and loved seeing them all!

We are grateful we were able to stay with Kelly and Avram in their cute duplex.

We are especially grateful that Kelly had cleaned so well that her cat, Peach, didn’t bother Carl’s allergies.

Peach is a real loveable sweetie and we are glad that Kelly adopted her.

We are grateful for a productive and fun weekend in Minnesota. Thanks to all!