Top 4 Best "Plan Ahead" Ideas When Building a New Home

 Hey Friends!

This month is the 4 year anniversary of moving into our new home and our 18th anniversary of our marriage.  Yay :-)

We've had 6 homes in those years, 2 of them we got to build completely from scratch and 1 partially from scratch.

I've learned quite a few things about building a home.  Of course if I put everything I learned on one post it would become a novel, so today, I thought I would just cover a few little items that we did that I have REALLY ENJOYED. (-:

My hope is that you can save this post as reference if you ever have a chance to build your own home. :-)

First Fun Plan Ahead Item:

We added electrical sockets to the eaves of our roof rafters.  This was quite simple to do, we just had to plan ahead.  It makes Christmas lights a lot cleaner and simpler.

We also added a socket right next to the pergola for string lights.  This has been AWESOME!!!!!! It looks so clean. Adding string lights to my backyard has been one of my favorite features of the house.  Perfect for entertaining guests on a warm summer night.

There is the electrical socket - right at the top of the pergola!

We also made sure to tie in a power switch INSIDE so that we could turn the Christmas lights and the hanging string lights off with the flick of a button.

Second Fun Plan Ahead Item:

This might seem a little silly but I LOVE that I purchased a nice looking doorbell chime! The standard one installed is just an ugly plastic box.  For just a few dollars more, they installed one that actually looked pretty in our home.  I also think spending a bit more on a decorative doorbell ringer is worth the money too.

Third Fun Plan Ahead Item:

I'm not sure if I would call this one as much "fun" as I would just "smart" :-)  My husband and I have issues with air conditioning :-)  I like it HOT and he likes it FREEZING. (We also had the hot/cold issue with our bed, you can check out that post here.) In our old home, we had just one unit/zone for the house.  His office was upstairs so he would BLAST the air conditioning to keep his office cool while the rest of the house was cold enough to produce snow had there been moisture.  Ha! So with this house we did a MULTI zone air conditioner.  We actually did four zones; the downstairs, main level, our master bedroom and the upstairs. Each one of those areas has its own air control system.  It wasn't that much of an upgrade and FINALLY, I don't have to wear my down jacket in the peak of summer. :-)

Fourth Plan Ahead Item:

We saved money by building bedrooms into the roof rafters.  Not only is it a GREAT use of space, I love the look of a room with cool nooks and crannies!

This may be a part 1 of 2 series but for now, I think that's a good start.  :-)  It can be overwhelming building a new home. Thankfully the internet/blogs can help some with some of the planning.  Also get ready to spray for pest like ants and spiders in your new home!

I hope I helped a bit!  If you have any other fun "plan ahead" items to add, let us know in the comments!!!!

Have a great weekend!

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A Virtually HOT Mid Week Post

Hey Friends!

OK, right now I'm listening to Girl From Ipanema from my Island Girl Playlist. (Yes, I do have an Island Girl list) ;-)

Is there anyone else who is ready for WARMTH??!!!!

We still have SNOW in our forecast.  :-/

I really enjoyed the snow December 20 - 27th LOL, but now it's nearly February and I'm ready to move on to the warmth and sunshine.

So, I'm doing an virtual mid week warm travel post for us :-) "VIR-TU-AL:  Not physically existing as such, but made by software to appear to do so."  Hee,hee.....that is my mission for this post ;-)

Really, all I want to be able to do is.......

Read on the beach:

Put pineapples on my head:

And flowers on my eyes:

Is that too much to ask for?  ;-) 

I have my 40th birthday this year (shhhhhhhhh!!!!) My husband promised to take me somewhere tropical though.....probably to take the sting off. ;-)

On our last trip to Mexico!

This place in Thailand looked gorgeous.  My friend just got back from there and honestly, what excited me most was him listing off all the amazing abundant tropical fruit there!!!  Has anyone else tried JackFruit?  OH MY WORD - favorite fruit in the world and it's cheap and plentiful there!

There is also a place in Thailand where you can go swim with the elephants!  Who needs dolphins when you have elephants - ha!!

I'm sure this would be me, somehow I'd fall off it :-)

Blue Elephant Tours

My 8 year old daughter just saw this picture and said, "Couldn't they just smash you if they don't like you?"  (HA!! I was actually thinking the same thing - hee, hee.....dolphins are sounding pretty safe right now.)

I also have on my bucket list to sail around the Greek Isles.

I can feel the sunshine now :-)

Crete, Greece

Is there is anyone else ready to be so hot you have to turn on your air conditioning? (and that has to be HOT for me!)

Well my friends, I hope this out of the ordinary mid week post has brought some warmth to your day :-)  You are now closer to Friday than Monday :-)

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Getting Crafty with Birch Logs

Hey Friends!

In my last post, I showed you how I used birch logs in my own home decor.  (I LOVE birch logs!)

I had fun looking around seeing how other people used logs in their home.

What about using the logs to fill an ENTIRE unused fireplace.  What a wonderful and warm statement it creates!  It brings life back into a very white surrounding.

I love how they played up the fact that the birch logs are white and put them against the red poinsettias. A very fun winter decor idea!

You can use these birch logs as table decor - vases, centerpieces anything!


My friend just send me a picture of a gift she got. She said the log was simply hollowed out and a pretty plant put in.  :-)  She mentioned that the "pot" is porous but it's stayed alive and she LOVES it!  Isn't that a fun gift idea!

This is her friends centerpiece in her own home that she made. :-)

This is a very traditional way to use the birch logs - just take a drill bit that makes a hole and put in your own votive candles!


How about putting tea lights horizontally on the log!  This would looks so pretty along the center of a rustic set table.


What do you think!  I would add just a bit more of the greenery under the logs.

And since we're talking about candles and using natural (maybe even free) resources, this is one of my favorite candle making project - come stop by and check out the easy ice candle tutorial :-)

Have you ever made anything out of birch logs? Are you one of the lucky ones who have a birch tree in your yard?

Tell us in the comments!

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Healthy Molten Lava Microwave Brownie!

Hi Friends!

So, how is the New Year's resolution eating going? :-)

I have some friends that REFUSE to make any New Year's Resolutions and others that have every list on their mirror ready to achieve!

I think I'm somewhere in the middle, I like using January to re-set goals and focus again but I don't go "crazy".  Honestly, trying to eat well during the holidays for me is like trying to take a nap while my son is practicing his saxophone.  (LOL, I just had that happen, I had the most disturbing dreams my 1/2 state of saxophone sleeping) It doesn't work! ;-)

Anyway, I wanted to help those who have set their New Year's eating expectations high by giving you this AMAZING recipe that is incredibly healthy, has great macronutrients AND will satisfy that crazy sweet tooth without being "bad"!

(done in the microwave!)

I have to say, this is a CRAZY tasting chocolate treat that can be baked in a single serving in the microwave  - what more can you ask for!

Did I mention that each ONE serving is under 300 calories AND full of protein! (a whopping 27.5 grams) A 4 oz chicken breast has 36 grams. 

OK, I'll stop tempting you with pictures and give you guys the recipe. :-)

Chocolate Molten Lava Protein Brownie

1/4 c. oat flour (just blended up oatmeal)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
22 grams (usually one scoop) Chocolate Whey Protein
NuNatruals Stevia Powder or stevia drops to taste (if using packets try 2)
dash of salt
1/4 c No Sugar Applesauce
1/4 c egg whites (from a carton is easy)
1 Tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 tsp vanilla
16 mini chocolate chips (either put IN the mixture or save for the top)

spray coconut oil in jar or mug

(for those that are adventurous - try adding a tbsp of chia seeds or coconut flakes and letting it sit a bit - DELICIOUS!)

Each microwave will be different but if I want it cake like I cook it for 90 seconds, if you want it like molten lava (which I MUCH prefer) cook around 60 seconds.  Watch that it doesn't overflow though!

Nutritional Information - 1 serving
Protein: 27.6 grams
Carbs: 32.1
Fat: 5.4
Fiber: 2.8
Calories: 283

This is cooked only 60 seconds....ahhh, I want to eat this right now! :-)

Let me know if you try the molten lava brownie and leave me a comment!  Even if you mix it up and try a variation.  I'd love to hear about it.

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Happiness is Birch Logs in Your Home

Hey Friends!

Is there anyone else out there who will see a birch tree and want to chop off a limb just so they can place the logs in their home? :-)

You see, I ADORE texture and I ADORE barked trees.  Honestly is there anything more beautiful than rippling crumbling bark full of white, tan and black?  OK, no need to answer that question ;-) I guess I just have this strange passion towards logs - ha!

I had a landscape friend that collected a bunch of logs for me.  It was awesome.

Here are a few pictures of what I did with the birch logs for my decor.

I picked up that iron log holder for 2 bucks guessed it, the thrift store.

My fireplace isn't even real, it's gas.....but I just like to trick people that it's real - hee,hee.

I also put a few log settings on my front porch. 

Can you see why I love them so much???

They are just full of amazing character.

As far as CRAFTS related to birch logs goes - well there are a TON, to many for me to add to this post so I promise I'll do a birch log craft post soon.

So who's thinking, "Who do I know that can get me some BIRCH logs!!"??

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New Year - New Living Room

 Welcome to 2016!!

Due to some unfortunate puppy events - I had to buy new living room furniture. (and replace a few eaten Christmas presents - ha!)

All I can say, is I must REALLY love my daughter, not the dog, my daughter, to put up with everything that that puppy has chewed and eaten.

See, it's HER puppy......we definitely didn't get another dog so that I could care for just ONE.....MORE.....THING.  (ha, I sound like a puppy scrooge, I'm not, promise, it's just I can only handle SO much ruin) :-)

I am not joking when I say she is probably on her 15th pair of eaten shoes (if you include this summer's flip flops it's more like 20!) It's like she has this stinky feet's actually quite bothersome - LEAVE OUR SHOES ALONE! ;-)

But it was coming home to THIS that really made me have to apply my de-stressing breathing techniques. (ha, I know there is such a thing like that but I'm not sure I know how to do it)  It's just called yelling for me - that seemed to de-stress me just fine. ;-)

You are a BAD BAD puppy.  (sigh, she KNOWS it too and immediately will roll over on her back with her feet just sticking up in the air.)  /-:

She chewed on every corner of our coffee table AND a section of our beautiful area rug.  WAAAH!

It doesn't matter that I got both those items off Craigslist for a GREAT price (although that helps a tiny bit) BUT, now I have to get a new table.

I searched on CL for quite a while until I just accepted that OLD HONEY OAK was taking over North Idaho. Next I looked around in the local stores but things I didn't really like cost 200 and the things I DID like cost 2000.  I ended up searching online and buying the table below off Overstock for $198.00 (total, including shipping)  I didn't want to spend a lot (Christmas time is always tough to spend extra money!) and I thought it was a good deal.

I REALLY wish it was a bit darker but that's the hard part with buying online....your computer screen rarely shows the true color.  Bummer.

It works though and I DO like it :-)  Someday when my ship comes in and the puppy is in dog heaven (ie I don't have to worry it will get eaten) I will buy a really nice one that is "perfect" :-)  (I hope you guys don't think I'm bad, as insane as I might sound, I actually really like this dog.)

I also ended up doing something I should have done a long time ago to the area rug.  I got an AWESOME rug pad.  Man, it makes the rug feel so cozy! Instead of feeling hard wood under it, it feels like a plush carpet.  As an interior designer I have known that having an area rug directly on top of wood can cause problems.  One of the most common problems is the fact that bottom of the rug (which easily collects dirt under it) can act like a fine grit sandpaper to your wood floor.  It's just best to take care of your investment and make sure to do it right.  The folks from sent me a pad and I've been thrilled with it. If you've been putting off getting a rug pad, they gave me this coupon that you guys can use :-)

Thank you Rug Pad USA!

Enter: PR15OFF for a 15% discount on all orders

So anyway, I just took apart the whole room, laid down the rug pad, put the chewed section of the rug behind the sofa and was good to go.  Whatever dumb dog. :-)

OLD table:

NEW table:

What do you think of the new table?  Do you have your own puppy horror stories?  They sure can be cute little bundles of trouble, can't they? :-)

Here's to an AWESOME 2016 
(and to puppies turning into dogs) ;-)

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