Yard Transformation- Part 2

After finishing Part One of our yard transformation, we couldn’t wait to start on Part Two- expanding our patio area with pavers. The existing patio that was put in was SO TINY. Basically, our grill fit and nothing else. Not very conducive to spending time outdoors in the hot Colorado summers with kiddos and a dog. We needed enough space for our grill, table and chairs, and whatever summer toys we had. 

Let’s just say the project was a little more labor intensive than the husband anticipated. The project was quickly started, but, once day-to-day life stepped in, our progress slowed down. Plus, we underestimated how many pavers we would need to complete the expansion! 

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Yard Transformation- Part 1


The past few months have been so busy! It’s amazing how quickly time goes by and how behind I can get on things. I had so much planned for my blog, and then, poof! Months have gone by! Add in a new baby and it gets crazy.

After deciding to purchase a brand new home that was just built last fall, we knew we were going to have some additional expenses- a fence and landscaping to name the biggest ones! Our front and backyard were just fine sandy dirt and we wanted to make it look beautiful without breaking the bank…we did just buy a house after all!

It’s still a bit in progress, but, a HUGE improvement from what it started as. Even better, we’ve been able to keep a pretty reasonable budget for all of it which is most important!

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End of the Summer Canning & Cooking

We have had a wonderful summer here in Colorado. A little hot throughout, but, we’ve lucked out with decent weather and tons of sunshine! Sunshine is always a good thing, right!?

Since our homestead plans changed drastically (just a little home renovation, no biggie right?), our planned garden was a no-show this year and we’re okay with that.

We’ve got next year to plant and harvest goodies (in a new home hopefully!).

Canning and storing food is not only a great way to use up excess veggies and fruits before they go bad, it’s also a good way to have a good stock of healthy, preservative-free canned goods for quick meals and snacks!

Those canned veggies, fruits, sauces, and other goodies are perfect for quick and easy meal prep! A mom's lifesaver! ;)
Those canned veggies, fruits, sauces, and other goodies are perfect for quick and easy meal prep! A mom’s lifesaver! ;)

Another way to use up excess garden harvests is freezing! It’s great to have veggies and fruits on hand that still taste fresh when you thaw and cook them! Plus, frozen fruits are amazing in smoothies :)

If you’re feeling neighborly, you could even bake some goodies for your neighbors.

Donating to a local food bank or shelter may be an option as well, and, you’d be helping to feed others who may not have much to eat that week. Talk about a good feeling- I love helping others.

For now, I want to share some awesome recipes for those end of the season veggies that you may have an excess of!

*(Keep in mind that most of these recipes are for large amounts for canning- adjust appropriately if needed)*

Canning & Other Recipes

An entire index of delicious & creative recipes from Food in Jars

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Mild Tomato Salsa

Apple Pie Jam

Cinnamon Blueberry Jam

Grandma’s Dill Pickles

Photos by Taste of Home
Photos by Taste of Home

Most of these recipes are super simple and you can make and store a lot (even gift some if you’re feeling generous!)

This is also a great time to can and store some goodies since the holidays are right around the corner!

What is your favorite recipe (canning or otherwise)?

Tell us below! :)


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“Renovation on the Cheap” Series- Post #1

If you missed the story about our renovation, check out our first post below for the details!

 Household Renovation on the Cheap!

To kick off our first series post, we’re going to fill you in on the projects we are working on and planning on doing before listing our house on the market.

Our biggest tip so far is find a realtor you can TRUST and make sure you feel that they have YOUR best interest at heart. We love our realtor and she is not only an established and accomplished realtor, but, one of the most knowledgeable people I have met in regards to the real estate market in general! If you are in Northern Colorado and need a wonderful realtor, look up Jenny Kindsfather with Coldwell Banker and you will not be disappointed!

Now, the reason I started with the realtor point is for this reason:

Before you go all crazy with upgrades and remodeling your home to sell it, have your realtor come by and assess your property. Knowledgeable realtors know the market and will know what comparable homes are selling for along with what features they have. You, of course, want to make your home stand out among the rest, but, you don’t want to go overboard with upgrades and overprice your home. This will most likely turn into a situation of having to reduce your sale price and lose out on lots of money that you put into your home. You do not want to upgrade your home to the point of it being “too nice” for the area and not selling or becoming “stale” on the market.

Before we started on our bigger wishlist projects, we contacted our realtor and she pulled comps before even coming by our home. When she came over later in the week, she had already familiarized herself with other homes nearby that were for sale or had sold recently. She gave us solid input about our project list and what upgrades she felt were necessary and which ones she thought were unnecessary.

So, first rule of thumb- FIND A GREAT REALTOR WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING (even better if you get some solid recommendations from people you trust).

Now, onto our projects and timeline…

  1. Complete the lower level of our tri-level home which will include adding:
    • 2nd bathroom
    • Large 3rd bedroom or family room
      • Walk-in closet
    • Office/den space
      • Small closet
    • Enclosed laundry room
    • Storage closet
    • Plus, the givens such as painting and adding flooring
  2. Landscaping in front yard and backyard
    • Cut down a dying tree in the backyard
  3. Reinforce side fence
  4. Painting and adding shutters to the front of the house
  5. Possibly repainting the house and front door- we aren’t decided on this since our realtor didn’t feel it was necessary, but, we feel the house needs it!
  6. Touching up paint/filling holes on walls
  7. Replacing a piece of trim in the bathroom
  8. Swap out any fixtures that we are planning on taking with us to our next home

Ready for our timeline!?

You may think we are insane (maybe we are!), but, we are planning to start the renovation downstairs at the end of this month and have it completed by the first week of August (give or take a couple days).

Yep. Reading that definitely makes us look insane when we have a ridiculous list of things to do while balancing work and a rambunctious toddler who chooses not to nap lately. Oh. my. goodness.

So there you have it. A quick look into the projects we will be completing before listing our home and jumping into the madness of home showings while trying to keep a routine with your dog and toddler.

Next week, we’ll fill you in on how we are keeping the cost of these projects low, while some are even FREE. If you’re thinking of jumping in the same boat as us, you’ll want to check it out!

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Household Renovation on the Cheap Blog Series!

Renovations. Remodeling. Upgrading. Household renovation always sounds a little daunting and A LOT expensive.

When we purchased our home a couple years ago, we snagged a GREAT deal. It was a HUD foreclosure listed at $95,000. We couldn’t believe it, especially when we were able to buy it on ONE PART-TIME INCOME. Yes. You read that right. My husband (fiance at the time) was the only one working and he was making a pretty minimal hourly wage. Our offer of $106,500 was accepted (we offered over asking price since HUD foreclosures are typically done in a bidding style so whoever offered the most, got the house and you only got one chance to offer your best) and we moved in, while paying $7 more per month for our mortgage than our previous rent cost us!

We love our little house, but, now that we have our daughter, our sweet little starter home is beginning to get small and we want to be closer to family (even though they’re only 15 minutes away already!).

Our home is a tri-level, but, the lower level was never completed so we are the ones who get to finish it before listing it to sell…terrifying. All we could think about was “How much will this cost!?” ‘Should we just stay and figure it out in few years when we really need more space?” “How are we going to get the money for this!?” “Are we going to have to hire a bunch of expensive contractors?”

Sadly, all of our fears revolved around the money. We knew that if we wanted to sell, we’d need to get this level finished so we could actually get a decent offer. If we didn’t finish it, we’d be here a few more years and that just isn’t what we want.


Thankfully, my family is close by and my parents are fronting us the money (which will be paid back after our house sells). Now, just because WE aren’t paying for this up front, doesn’t mean we want to go crazy and spend $50,000 to finish the lower level! NO WAY! So, we are doing our ‘reno’ on the cheap with a little extra hard work and my amazingly talented dad doing the majority of the work (if you need house projects done, he’s your guy!).

I hope you’ll follow us along this journey over the next couple months so that you can also get some tips and know-how about doing a household project on the cheap! Plus, we’re also going to be documenting other upgrades and projects we’re doing to get our house market-ready!

This will be a great series, especially for our frugal homesteading fans! :)

Have you ever done a home renovation on the cheap? Did you have a budget and stick to it? What tricks did you learn along the way? Tell us below!

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