Old Chairs New

When we bought our house, it was an as is purchase.  This means that the owners were not going to do any clean up, repairs or removal of personal items at the home.  Obviously, we had a home inspection done to find out the condition of the home.  A lot of the personal items, we planned to just toss but I decided to give these old plastic chairs a second chance rather than tossing them.  

None of them were cracked/broken so I thought it might be worth a try to clean them up.  Enter the pressure washer.  

I managed to get completely soaked in this process.  But it’s worth it!

This chair I planned to toss because the stain was so bad but after seeing how the first 4 turned out I decided to try.

Excited to keep these cute chairs out of the landfill for a while longer!

learn, brooke 

Half a Decade

My sweet, itty bitty baby boy turns five years old today and he is no longer a baby boy.  Instead, he is over 4 feet tall and it pains me to say/realize that I can’t pick him up much longer. He has grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much in his short life.

When I think about myself in those terms… I have also grown and changed so much in five years. Physically, I’m way smaller than I was after I had him (thank goodness 😳😂) and I’m stronger (probably from trying to pick up a 50lb+ kid). Mentally, I’m much more laid back and go with the flow.  I think having a boy chilled me out a bit. I still have anxiety but very rarely is it about being a mom. Sometimes I suffer from mom guilt but I try to keep things in perspective and know that extra screen time isn’t going to hurt him (I hope).  Emotionally, well, it depends on the day. Some days I feel confident and happy and others I feel incompetent and worried. I guess some things may never change.  

Over the last five years, I’ve been blessed to make many mom friends. We have banded together to love each other’s children and support one another. The hundreds of weekly texts checking in with one another, praying for one another, cracking jokes and offering support are invaluable. It truly takes a village to raise a child and I’m grateful for such a solid one.  I’m also grateful to have a wonderful husband who happens to also be a fantastic father. He picks up the pieces where I’m unable. He rounds out JB’s life in so many ways. When I want to helicopter parent, he nudges me to let JB’s independence shine. For the most part, we make a good duo.

Motherhood definitely changes you. It makes you patient, crazy, happy, sad, calm, and stressed… often at the same time. You learn to be flexible. You can’t control nap times, illness, diaper blow outs, or separation anxiety. But, life is more fun having this precious little boy in our lives to keep us on our toes… even if there is less sleep than before.

Today, I’m grateful for the little boy who made me a mom, his dad who loves us both so much, our families who are always cheering us on, and our friends who are full of nothing but love and support.  

love, brooke

DIY Emotions

Anxiety 😬

Which contractor should we hire? What unforeseen issues are going to come up? What’s wrong with this house since no one else bought it? Is my budget going to be busted? Will our timeline work out? Will my painter bail on us? Which color should I choose? Will those fixtures get shipped here in time? It rained so much last night, will the basement be dry?

Relief 🤗

Thank goodness that paint color matches the brick. I’m so glad the handyman showed up today since he was a no show yesterday. Whew, I only needed one gallon of $50 paint after all. That repair cost less than what was expected, So glad that wall we demo’d didn’t have an unexpected pipe running through it. Yay for the rain holding off today so we could work in the yard. Woohoo for the electrician working with us on the budget. Thank goodness the county yard waste workers picked up all our yard trimmings. Yay the basement is dry!

Excitement 🙌🏼

I can’t wait to make this house a home. All of our planned projects are going to turn out well. This yard is perfect for our son to play in the sprinkler with friends. I can’t wait to have our housewarming party and have all of the work behind us. I wonder what memories we will make in our new home. We got so much accomplished this weekend!

Annoyance 😫

I’ve done four coats of paint on the inside of these cabinets and they still need another one. We measured twice and cut once but it still need lots of caulk. The one spot I missed on the shutters is right next to the front door and I look at it each time I walk in the house. I’ve bought the wrong light bulbs twice for this fixture and have to return them again. This house is 60 years old and I feel like I’m putting lots of lipstick on a pig.

Pride 💪🏼

After three hours of sweat, the yard looks so nice! We really can DIY a shiplap accent wall! The shutters turned out so well. The cabinets I painted look so much nicer. Our neighbors are so happy we are cleaning up our curb appeal. This house is looking so much cleaner and updated.  

Exhaustion 😴

If I never go to that house again, I’ll be ok. I didn’t know I had muscles in that part of my back. Is it ok if I go to bed at 8 pm? I didn’t know my feet could hurt this much without doing a half marathon.  

Endurance 👊🏼

I just slept nine hours… I’ll jump up and be at Home Depot when it opens to beat the crowd!! Oh, painting without climbing a ladder?!… I can do that all day! I only have three more yard waste bags… let’s go ahead and fill them! Even though I’ve been pressuring washing for an hour, I really want to finish the driveway today, so what’s another hour?! My arms are about to give out but I want these painted shutters up NOW. So what it’s dark outside?!… I can still finish painting the mailbox with the flashlight on my phone.

Hangry 😡

It’s 4pm… why am I starving?! Oh, because I didn’t eat lunch. Who ate the last granola bar?! WTF!! How long will it take Papa John’s to get here?? I should probably wash my hands before eating… but I need pizza in my belly NOW. Why did I just eat half of a pizza?!

laugh, brooke

More Curb Appeal 

Last week, I shared about our efforts to clean up the front exterior of our new home by painting the front door and shutters.  Since then, I’ve been working on some other parts including cleaning, gardening and more painting.


We have this cool front yard lantern that reminds me so much of my grandmother.  She had one in her front yard at the same spot as this new house.  As you can see, it was pretty faded and a few different colors.  I had leftover paint from spray painting the fireplace insert, so I used it on this project too.  The hardest part was getting the lids to come off (rusted screws) so I could spray paint those on the ground.  It took a few coats and couple climbs up the ladder with some blue tape but it looks SO much better!

Sadly, I don’t have a before photo of the mailbox.  Just imagine it being a faded white and the planter box being exposed wood.  The numbers were there already, although, the 7 was actually stainless in color but had been wrapped in black electrical tape to match the rest.  Now, they all match after a coat of the leftover spray paint.  I also painted the post and wood planter Chelsea Grey (same color as shutters and front door).

Pressure washing

Wow, this is a lot of work/time but the difference is astounding!  So much cleaner and newer looking.  Thankfully our kind friends let us borrow their pressure washer so we didn’t have to buy/rent one!

My Tips:

1.  Start on the highest point and let gravity help you.  Once you do a section, go back to the start of it and make sure all the dirty water is blown off.  Otherwise, it will just sit and dry on your freshly washed driveway.

2.  Wear sunglasses or safety glasses.  Trust me, you don’t want mud/dirt/trash blowing into your eye at a fast speed.

3.  Wear closed toe shoes for protection.  Know that they will get wet.

4.  Wear clothing that you are ok with throwing away later (if necessary).

The day after I did the driveway, a friend texted me to say he had an attachment I could use to make the driveway go faster.  I’ll remember that for next time 😉

I also pressure washed this walkway to our back yard.  It had a slimy/slippery coat of dirt on it that made walking dangerous.  Thankfully, it’s not slippery anymore and the wood is in better shape than we expected.


The house came with four giant planters in the front.  Each had a basket of plants put on it but none were actually planted and most of the baskets were on their sides.  I took a few minutes to remove the baskets and plant them appropriately.  The are all doing well now!


learn, brooke

Painting Shutters & My Front Door

Our new house has beautiful wooden shutters but man were they in need of a face lift!  I knew that I wanted to paint them but went back and forth on choosing a paint color for several days.  I wanted something lighter than black that would help update the exterior look without painting the brick.  I decided to go with grey but there are SO many shades of grey.  It’s super overwhelming.  After debating between five color swabs, i finally just decided to go for it with Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey.  I went with a semi gloss finish in their exterior paint.  It was about $40 for a gallon but it was so worth it!  The paint goes on like a dream and the coverage after one coat was at 90%.  I highly recommend that paint!  Plus, since we did the labor, spending only $40 to update the exterior of our home was a great price!

After the tedious task of choosing a color, the next step was remove the shutters from the house.  Thankfully, two sets of our shutters are on working hinges and they just slide up and off. Only one set is screwed into the brick (aka slightly more difficult to remove). Peck took them all down for me.  I opted to remove them to paint on the ground in the shade of the carport instead of hanging off a ladder in the sun.

Next, I used our electric sander to smooth them out.  One shutter had English ivy attached to it so I used a Sheetrock knife to help scrape those remnants off.  I like to sand wood (especially old wood) before priming because I think the primer adheres much better and then the paint does too.

The next step was to prime them with a grey tinted kilz (leftover from kitchen cabinet painting).  I’m a big believer in primer.  If you do a really good first coat, it prevents extra coats of paint (which is more expensive than primer) later.  I had a fan running in the carport to keep me cool and help dry the primer more quickly so it only took about 2 hours to dry completely.

Next came the paint.  I was relieved to see the paint color and realize I wasn’t making a huge mistake.  I let them dry over night and did a second touch up coat the next day.  It was pretty easy once I got going.  I found that using a brush to hit the joints in the wood first and then using the roller was a good use of time.  I let them dry for about 3 hours and then they were ready to hang!

In hindsight, my only regret for the project was I wish I would have numbered them and marked which way was up.  This would have made rehanging them a bit easier.  Nonetheless, we figured it out with minor complaining from my tall husband.

You will notice that I also painted the front door the same color.  I mean, I had a whole gallon of paint- so why not?  I used wood putty to fill in holes, then sanded, primed and painted it.  I like how the door details stand out more prevalently now.  

learn, brooke

Prepping to Move- Part 3

Last week was my final packing push before we bought the house.  As predicted, since we have closed, I have been spending long days at the new house painting, cleaning, and shining things up.  I am very happy that so much moving prep has already been done, but living in a moving zone is slightly depressing.  Hopefully, in 4 weeks, I will be much happier about how much less I have to pack and it will make up for living in a half decorated/boxed up house! 

Packing Liquor

I tackled my husband’s liquor cabinet.  This was quite a feat.  The man loves bourbon.  I figured he wouldn’t need ALL of it before we moved.  So, I managed to pack up 32 bottles and only this remains for him to “car carry” to the new house.

Packing the Coat Closet

I am slightly obsessed with these giant wardrobe boxes.  They have a bar in the top, so you can just hang your clothes directly into them.  No need to take off the hanger, fold, and box… only have to rehang once you move.  I got lucky and found these 4 boxes for $9 total from someone who recently moved!

Cleaning Out the Garage

Next up was cleaning out my garage storage area.  It was great because we were able to sort out all of our tools, paint supplies, and other things needed for the new house work.  We put them all together and I’ve been able to slowly bring them to new house as work has been done. Then, we consolidated other boxes and put it back in the storage area all prepped for the movers to move in a few weeks.  It felt good to go through all the stuff that we have just been storing for the last two years and remember what we have.  Plus, it saved a good bit of money on not buying supplies for new house since we already found/have them.

Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet

I went through all of our medicines and pulled out anything that has expired.  Then I separated out JB’s meds, adult meds, and the first aid supplies.  My organizer took the old medicine to be recycled appropriately.  It felt great to be able to see/access everything so much easier!

Organizing Jewelry

Everyone knows I have tons of diamonds and it can be overwhelming to organize.  NOT!  More like, I have lots of cheap, costume jewelry from Target that needs to be cleaned out every few years.  Plus, I wanted to go ahead and pack as much of it as I can.  

Organizing Memories

I realized I have been keeping JB’s photos and artwork all over the house.  We worked to put it together in one box.  Mentally, it feels much better to know where it all is being stored.  My memories also needed to be organized together and to remember what all I have.  

I have a wonderful box of my grandparent’s UGA memories from them going to all the football games in the 70’s and 80’s.  Their tailgate group was even featured on the front page of the Athens Banner Herald!  It was fun to look through those memories!

What I am learning through this process…

I am self motivated to do a good bit of this cleaning out and packing.  But, the things that I have continually back burnered and that cause me to want to crawl in a hole… I have recruited my organizer’s help for those projects.  For instance, the garage storage area… yuck.  It’s hot out there, lots of bugs, and heavy boxes.  But with her help, we were able to knock it out in an hour!!  If I had been on my own, it would have taken probably 3-4 hours and would have been much less pleasant.  I also have ad a box of real estate paperwork from 5 years ago that I have been moving all over this great city with us.  It’s a box that needs to be shredded.  So, when I told her about it, she suggested we sit down and shred it right then.  It took us about 15 minutes but it felt so good to get rid of those files and no longer move them to a new house!

learn, brooke

Whitewashing a Fireplace

We have been working SO hard this weekend in our new house… painting cabinets, wacking shrubs back, erasing spiderwebs, and painting shutters.  It’s been amazing to see how much we’ve been able to accomplish in just a few days!

The first project I want to share is updating the fireplace.  We still need to paint the mantle and do some wood work from the mantle to the ceiling… but this was a huge face lift on its own!

I present the before photo:

The brass surround really made it look outdated.  I recruited my awesome baby sister to help with this part.  She did a fantastic job taping the windows and covering the brick so the spray paint wouldn’t go everywhere.  Once it was all taped, she spray painted it in about 2-3 coats but it dries really quickly so she was done in less than an hour.  We used a high heat Rustoleum in BBQ black- matte finish.  I really like the matted look versus going shiny.

Once it was dry, I took ALL the tape off and saw how awesome it looked. Next up was the brick.

The original brick kept things dark and I knew our room color was going lighter/brighter so I wanted the fireplace to keep up too.   I decided to whitewash it to lighten things up.  It was a bit nerve wracking to paint over brick.  Previously, I painted (think 7 coats) a large fireplace in our first home and I knew I didn’t want to be that extreme with this fireplace (nor work that hard).  Next came taping up the freshly painted black surround to keep it from becoming white.  After some Pinterest searches for some advice/inspiration, I finally just decided to go for it!

I used a 2-1 ration (2 parts water to one part paint- interior latex flat) and mixed it all in a plastic jug.  Then I went to work painting/mopping it on.  I kept a rag close by for spills.  I went a little too thick at the beginning (went over a brick more than once) but then realized it and went less heavy handed on the rest of the project.  I think it turned out really well.

The after photo:

learn, brooke

Closing Day

IMG_3673For me, a real estate closing day is a whirlwind of emotions. Excitement, nerves, fear, exhaustion, and adrenaline are just a few of the feelings.

The ending of one chapter and start of another is nothing to downplay. In the past, I’ve been so excited about what is to come that I’ve forgotten to reflect on what happened in the “old” home. When I slow down to do this, a flood of memories hits me. We’ve gotten married, adopted a dog, lost a dog, had a baby, lost friends, made friends, dealt with theft and been given so much while in our past homes. I think it’s important to recognize the love that made it a home while still being excited about what’s in store.

Thinking ahead to the new house stirs up a flutter of emotions too. What’s going to break that we aren’t expecting? How much will it cost? What updates make the most sense? Which contractor should we go with? Will JB make new friends on our street? Will he transition ok into a new house/room? Are we going to be able to sell it when we want to? Yes, there are lots of concerns but we are excited to see what God has in store!

We have about four weeks of projects to complete on the new home before we move in. I’m excited to share the process and the projects on this blog.   I’m nervous and hopeful about these next few weeks. However, I know it will feel great to move in after projects are completed instead of moving in now and completing once we close.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement during this time! Oh, and JB starts preK in the middle of this and we are going to Texas for a family wedding. Fingers crossed for everything to go smoothly!

love, brooke

Prepping to Move- Part 2

This week, I have continued my packing prep work.  We are still 4 weeks away from our move, but I really want to pack as much as possible now.  That way, when we close on the new house, my attention can focus to projects there.

IMG_3455Pack Non-Essentials

I focused a good bit on closets this week.  My winter clothes and shoes are now packed up.  JB’s dress up clothes and hats are now packed.  Next up will be our coat closet.

Since my house is in such disarray, I have no plans to throw a dinner party any time soon.  Because of this, we went ahead and packed all of my “fine” (aka Martha Stewart Living) china, platters, champagne flutes, and wine glasses.

IMG_3380Continue Decluttering

With the help of my organizer, we got half of my kitchen packed in an hour on Tuesday.  We whittled down vases (I dropped off six at Goodwill today), kitchen appliances (sayonara salad shooter), and packed muffin pans.  Of course, that evening, I needed to bake cupcakes.  I got creative and used my bundt pan (which should have probably been packed in lieu of the muffin tins).  

We also pulled out all of our casserole dishes, Pyrex, etc and I was able to do an inventory of what all is here.  This helped me realize that I could donate a few items that I’ve never used and free up some valuable moving box space.  It was really helpful to see it all at the same time to really get a sense of what we have.

IMG_3384Don’t forget to declutter under sinks.  If you are like me, you throw random things in sink cabinets to get it out of the way quickly.  I used this early packing time to organize cleaning supplies, toiletries, toss junk, and pack up anything that we won’t need soon.

Packing Tip: When a kitchen cabinet is empty, put blue painter’s tape on the knob.  This will prevent you from going crazy checking cabinets 23 times each to be sure they are empty.

Pack wall artwork

This part was a bittersweet portion of moving prep this week.  I love our artwork and I feel like it makes our house a home.  But, I decided to go ahead and pack it up to save precious last minute packing time for essentials.  

Packing Tip:  I’m sort of obsessed with the 3M velcro strips that adhere to the wall and frame- which make for easy removal.  Then, when it’s time to re-hang, you just need one new strip to adhere to the current strip and press onto the wall.  As you remember, we are moving to our 4th home in 27 months, so easy artwork displaying and removal is key.

Command Picture Hanging Strips Value Pack, Medium, White, 12-Pairs (17204-12ES) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW1APOC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_HxwCzb56D95XA

Good luck with your move!

learn, brooke

Two Weeks of Pinteresting

I’ve been anti-Pinterest for awhile. I think I’m pretty creative and did not want to see others’ ideas and stifle my creativity.  

From what I’ve gathered, it seems Pinterest has helped put lots of pressure on having the “perfect party”. In my opinion, the perfect party is good food, good friends and a good time. A million homemade DIY projects doesn’t factor into this equation.

But, as we are about to embark on a new house… I decided to join in hopes of easily accessing decorating ideas. Our new house needs paint: EVERYWHERE. I’m talking cabinets, moldings, walls, ceilings, etc. I’ve been learning that there are numerous paint companies with their own paint colors. And you can buy paint from several different locations. That’s like exponential math; it’s overwhelming. Did you also know there are dozens and dozens of grey/biege combos?! I joined Pinterest to help with this.
So this is how I have been Pinteresting…

Yes, those are screen shots. My friend P tells me that this is not how one should Pinterest… something about projects and pins.  But so far, it works for me.  Oh, and apparently I should get the app.  

I’ve successfully narrowed wall paint choices down to four. It only took two hours. I feel accomplished. Then, today, JB tells me that he wants a yellow room. YELLOW?!? I guess that means a few more hours on the Pinterest. 

So, that’s my review of two weeks on Pinterest. I give myself a C-.  Definitely room for improvement.
laugh, brooke