Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Splendor

We recently took a little break from the house and all of the projects to enjoy some summer activities...finally. We have been so busy moving and renovating that we haven't really taken part in any of the typical warm weather fun. Until this past weekend. My Stepmother asked if we wanted to spend a day on their new pontoon boat. Although Ian and I had a Sunday filled with tasks around the house planned, we jumped on the idea. I felt a little guilty thinking we really shouldn't be wasting a day. That all went away as soon as we hit the water. We desperately needed a day to relax and enjoy ourselves. Of course we talked about the house and our current or upcoming projects...but we did so while floating on rafts with a drink in our hand.

Definitely NOT a day wasted. Ian and I felt so relaxed. Admittedly something we had not felt in some time. We spend most of our days working somewhat stressful jobs, then coming home to work a few hours on the house. Most weekends are spent making several trips to Home Depot and Lowes, painting furniture, mowing the grass...etc.

Something to always remember...
Although we enjoy doing things ourselves and getting our hands dirty, we realize that taking a break is as much of a necessity as finishing the bathroom. Not only taking a break, but taking the time to do something fun! Ian and I immediately felt the difference within ourselves and how we were relating to one another after a day spent in the water with family. Reminding ourselves that the house will always be here, what comes first is us. None of this matters if we don't take care of ourselves.  
We're building a life together...not just a house.

On Wednesday we are leaving for our long awaited summer vacation. Then we'll get back to work :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make your own tomato sauce - It's easy!

Hello fellow DIYers! let's pop into the kitchen for a bit.

I decided to take a break from the renovations to share one of my money saving tips...make your own tomato sauce! Not only does it taste so good and fresh, but  making a huge batch of sauce to portion and store in your freezer will save you time and money!

I have been doing this for a few years now, and I kept telling Ian that I wanted to stock the fridge shortly after I moved in. So this past Sunday I finally took the time after painting our dumpster table (post coming soon) to make the sauce.

Don't be intimidated. Or feel that you can't make sauce if your Grandmother isn't a feisty little Italian woman from Sicily. It is really easy.

 I am not an expert and I am sure there are tons of other recipes out there. I was given this recipe a few years back and it seems to work just fine for us. My point to the post is that you should make your own sauce to save money and have the convenience of reaching into your freezer whenever you need sauce. Feel free to explore other recipes, this is just what I do...


  • 4 tbs of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • A bunch of basil and oregano - I usually make a big batch of sauce during the summer when I have fresh herbs planted. It tastes better and is again, cheaper. You can plant herbs for about $2-$3 and have them on hand whenever you need. If you don't have any fresh herbs the dried will work.
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste
  • 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes - I buy the cheapest can of the above ingredients I can find. Each can is less than $1!
  • BBQ - Just a little. It depends on how sweet of a sauce you like. You'll know.

Saute all of your dry ingredients with the oil in a pan on low until is breaks down a bit. 
In a large pot, throw together all of your canned ingredients (do not add the BBQ yet).
  • Boil for 2 hours.
  • Add the BBQ 
  • Simmer for 45 mins.  
Turn off the heat and allow your sauce to cool. Then divide it up into containers and freeze. I break mine up  into serving portions for spaghetti dinners and a few larger containers for lasagna and ziti nights. 

Enjoy your savings and impressing everyone with the sauce you made from scratch!

Friday, July 20, 2012

No Sew Pillowcase Bag

When Ian and I had first merged our linens I ended up with a large pile of stray pillowcases. Ian was just going to toss them, but then I remembered coming across a pin on Pinterest a few months back. Someone had turned an old pillowcase into a bag. Kudos to the originator of this idea because it really is genius and so simple.

The tutorial I first found included cutting and sewing the pillowcase. I hate sewing and will find any way I can to avoid it. It's not that I hate sewing actually, I am just really terrible at it and do not really have the patience.  

So...why not just cut the pillowcase and tie it? They will make handy and responsible shopping bags. I just throw them in my purse so I always have one on hand at the store.

No Sew Pillowcase Bag


1. Fold the pillowcase in half.

2. Decide how deep you want the bag to be or how wide an arm hole you would like. Then cut.

3. Tie the two ends together and pull tight in both directions to make sure that the knot is secure. 

That's it! 

I have tested them several times with my groceries and so far, so good! Now I always have a bag on-hand!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Wicker Redo

I've showed you the before pictures of the house, now it is time to get to the good stuff...all of the projects we have been working on. Some projects have taken a day to complete, some a week, a month and some are still going and will be for a long time. Let's just say we have a lot of eggs in our basket!

The first project that I began tackling was the search for outdoor furniture. Most of you would probably focus on completing more practical projects like maybe the unfinished bathroom...well we're getting to that part. We needed somewhere to relax and enjoy the wonderful yard while working on the inside. Sitting outside reminds me of some of my favorite conversations with my father and stepmother. Anytime I visit them from around April to late September or October you will find them on the porch. It's a great place to visit and chat with one another.

So when Ian's Mom so generously offered us their old set of wicker patio furniture, we jumped on it! Although the set was a little faded, everything was still in pretty good condition. She gave us enough to furnish the deck and the covered patio...2 settees, 2 tables and 6 chairs (2 rocking). Clearly we were very lucky and appreciated their hand-me-downs because we all know what this would have cost us had we purchased new patio and deck furniture. 

With a little paint and new cushions, they looked good as new!

I am currently still searching for cushions for the set we placed on the deck. The cushions pictured above were found very inexpensively at the Christmas Tree Shop.
We love sitting out on the covered patio, especially during a thunderstorm. I cannot wait until next year when we can actually fill the porch with hanging baskets and flower pots (we're skipping all of that this year).