Kitchen Remodel

As I posted previously, we downsized in the past 2 years and with most of the children on their own, there are now 3 of us (My husband, myself and our youngest daughter) living in a less than 800 square feet condo. Because it was somewhat of a fixer-upper, we got a great price and have been slowly making improvements. Flooring was first, everywhere but the bedrooms; and the kitchen is happening right now.

Our old kitchen cupboards were in fairly good shape, so we donated them to Habitat for Humanity. Here is a photo of them. Definitely dated, but you can see why we donated them instead of throwing them away. You can also see the old flooring from when we moved in. That seam in the middle of the room was necessary because the kitchen floor had layers and it was higher than the living room floor.

With the new kitchen the goal was investment/efficiency and beauty. The upper cupboards go to the ceiling, giving extra storage space. We also added a pantry for more storage and value… and the counter has been separated to create an island. We purchased an 18″ Edgestar efficiency dishwasher and downsized the sink from a 33″ double to a 23″ single Sinkology copper sink. The cupboards (ours are called Showplace EVO) are a beautiful rustic alder, which my husband chose. I think the knots are so cozy! We went for the natural finish with a Pendleton door style. The countertop will be replaced with a sparkly quartz countertop called Laneshaw, by Cambria. Pictures below are of the different steps leading to the final kitchen upgrade, including the rich Costco laminate flooring we put in last year.

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The final picture here is of all the cupboards and dishwasher in place. That’s a temporary sink. It will be a couple of weeks before the countertops are installed and then the copper sink and the tile backsplash will be put in as well. The finished kitchen pictures will be in the second half of October! Stay tuned!

Frugal Friday: Saving on Laundry

There are several ways we save on laundry around our household.

First is how often we do laundry. Here is how we choose what and when to wash an item:

1. The only time an item of clothing goes into the laundry basket is if it smells or if it has a spot on it. It is not an automatic worn once and then washed.

2. Bathroom drip rugs, and towels are washed about once a week or every other week, depending on how many uses. If they smell musty, they are washed. Or if someone is sick.

3. Sheets and pillowcases are washed about once a month, unless otherwise needed.

4. Hand towels and kitchen towels, napkins and washcloths, bathroom washcloths also are washed every 2-3 days.

5. Blankets are only washed if someone is sick or if they are stained, so, rarely.

6. Curtains are washed once or twice per year.

7. Underwear are put in the laundry after every use.

8. Rags are washed as needed.

All of this adds up to about 2 average sized loads per week for my husband and I. A little bit more on the weeks we wash the sheets or towels. The exception is if someone is sick, then clothing, towels, sheets and washcloths are washed daily or when the person is well, depending on how many other people would be touching the item. Our one child who still lives with us does their own laundry, so I am not counting that.

The second way we save is by using an efficient washer. In our tiny home we do not own a full size washer, but the washer we have uses very little water or electricity.

Third, we use a concentrated laundry soap, which lasts a very long time and saves money.

And finally, we hang our clothes to dry. In the winter, we put up a rack in the bathroom by the heater and hang closet clothes on hangers to dry. In the summer, the rack goes out on the patio and several loads can dry in a few hours. I love the way clothes smell after they are hung out to dry!

I hope this helps! If you have any laundry saving tips, share with us! We love to hear from you!

Wednesday Wellness: The Importance of Fiber

That’s a potentially scary picture!

Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? How can you tell? What kind of fiber should you have?

These are good questions and I hope to give you some helpful information in this post so you can be confident that your body is getting what it needs.

As a Certified Health Coach, I have studied a variety of health related subjects, some more thoroughly than others and this one I believe is one of the most important! Many of our diseases, including heart disease, come as a result of an unhealthy gut. It is SO important to cleanse the gut with your daily fiber intake!

According to Everyday Health, “The national fiber recommendations are 30 to 38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women between 18 and 50 years old, and 21 grams a day if a woman is 51 or older. Another general guideline is to get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories in your diet”

Medical News Today says “…most people in America do not meet this goal. The average fiber intake in the United States is 17 g, and only 5 percent of people meet the adequate daily intake.

People need to get both soluble and insoluble fiber from their diet. Eating a varied high-fiber diet means getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain”

Check out this link for a list of foods that are high in fiber.

If eating that much food to get your proper fiber intakes sounds overwhelming, another option is to take a fiber supplement. In our household, we have one of the best out there! It has 4X as much fiber as Metamucil – using 7 different sources of fiber, psyllium, soothing herbs and antioxidants. It’s amazing! I love it because it also promotes healthy weight loss and helps lower cholesterol! (Not to mention it tastes delicious in an Orange Julius!). Oh! And it’s gluten free!

One thing to keep in mind. Fiber and vitamins should not be taken at the same time. Taking them 1-2 hours apart will allow for maximum benefit from each one.

Monday Minute – Outdoor Hygge

I have blogged on this topic before.  It’s a favorite of mine!  It encompasses nearly every aspect of my life!  You can read that hygge article  here, where I define it and explain why I am so passionate about it.

Today I want to talk about creating a hygge outdoor space.

Where we live, summers are short, so it’s important to make every moment count!

The first step in creating your hygge space is to decide what you want it to be used for.  Will it be a quite place to read?  A place for the family to gather? Will you nap there?

After you have that part figured out, you can add the furniture.  I utilize local second- hand shops as much as I can.  There are many hidden treasures at great prices if you know where to look!  I highly recommend a hammock.  In my opinion it is one of the best outdoor luxuries and is very versatile.  I have two types.  One is the traditional long hammock, which I purchased in Panama.  Mine is tied to the railing on the front porch.


The second one is an upright hammock, which I purchased at a local art/craft show.  It resides on the back patio.  There is nothing like a hammock and a refreshing iced drink on a hot summer day.


I also recommend an outdoor fire pit.  Ours is in the corner here. We also want to get one for the back patio.  These can be purchased at Home Depot, Murdochs, or similar stores.  They create an atmosphere that draws people to sit down and chat.  It’s especially lovely if music is involved – guitar, fiddle, singing.  Add s’mores and it’s even better!

And my third recommendation is twinkle lights and sparkles.  I bought our copper-wired twinkle lights on Amazon.  You can buy the same type of solar powered twinkle lights here. ( I receive a tiny commission if you use this link – thank you!  😄)  The ones we have are solar powered.  They soak up the sun all day and shine all night.  I have them wrapped around the porch railing and leave them up all year round.  Also, if you look closely in the second photo up, there are some blue stones.  These are glow-in-the-dark stones that I have thrown on top of the gravel.  They aren’t super bright and I’m not sure how impressed I am with them, but they do glow a little bit.  On my list of things to get, is crushed glass.  The recycling plant used to sell it, but I’m not sure if they do anymore.  This glass is made from recycled glass and is crushed in a way that it sparkles and adds color, but does not cut.  I will also throw that in the gravel when I can locate a source.

What do you do to create a hygge (cozy) outdoor space at your house?  Comment below!



Frugal Friday: Ways to Save $ on Groceries

My mom is the coupon queen. Seriously. There have been times where she had so many coupons that the grocery store actually gave HER money. Isn’t that crazy? But what about those of us who don’t shop for name brands? Here are a couple of ideas.

1. Buy in bulk whenever possible. Most grocery stores will order bulk rice, oats or other things for you if you pay up front. This will save you a TON of money. Be sure you have proper storage so these items don’t get stale. Often times bakeries have 5 gallon buckets with tight seal lids that they will sell for $1 or 2. They make great storage containers.

2. Costco can be a great way to buy in bulk. There is an annual membership fee, but they also pay you a percentage back on your shopping, so you should at least break even. Not to mention you get to snack for free at all the demo booths!

3. Don’t shop the middle aisles. This is where the higher priced items are *and* the not as healthy items. The exterior aisles are the best for you and your budget.

4. Eat less meat and dairy. You have probably noticed that prices in both of these departments have skyrocketed. We really don’t need either of these food groups as much as we think. Our family has cut down meat consumption to about 2 days per week and it really helps out the budget. Plus it’s healthy!

5. Skip the paper products and plastic bags. (Except for toilet paper, lol). We use rags instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. This saves a TON of money. We also purchased a wire rack that hangs inside the cupboard under the sink and uses grocery store bags. You can buy your over the cabinet plastic bag holder HERE. (We make a tiny percentage when you purchase through this link) This is our kitchen garbage bag. It’s small, so has to be take out often, but the bags are FREE. We just reuse our grocery bags! We also use these to line the other garbage cans in the house.

5. Use the Fetch Rewards App. You’ll save on thousands of products EVERY time they’re on your receipt. Enter my referral code, AE5QR at the sign-up screen and you’ll get 2000 Fetch Points ($2 in points!) when you complete one receipt. Download it here.

6. Shop from home. This will save you gas money, time and you won’t be tempted at the checkout by all the last minute items. We shop monthly at a private online shopping club and in addition to these savings, we have also earned back almost $2000 in the past 4 years. It’s amazing!

What is your favorite place to shop bulk?