Currently… (Home Progress Edition)

It’s been a crazy week, friends — but pretty much all GOOD-crazy!

First, I’m waiting to hear from the title company any time now because we’re closing on our old house in Nashville today (over a week early)! It’s going to involve a lot of running around today to get the papers signed and notarized and FedExed back, but then it is DONE. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders to have that house sold.

Second, our new house here (the one we’re remodeling) is coming along BEAUTIFULLY. We hired a contractor to install our wood laminate flooring, remove an old (unused) wood stove chimney, and do some plumbing for us. The flooring is down (the trim just needs to be added) and the difference is amazing

Living Room - Before // Life In Beta

Living Room After (So far) // Life In Beta

Obviously there’s still work to be done (the trim and door need to be painted) but overall I can’t get over the difference a little paint and flooring as made! It’s so much brighter and more “fresh” feeling. I can’t wait to take some good photos in natural lighting so you can really see what I mean! (This room gets amazing natural light through the big east-facing windows, and I love it!)


WATCHING // I haven’t watched it in several seasons, but this year I’ve found myself sucked back into Dancing with the Stars. There are so many talented dancers on there this season! Randy Couture was my immediate favorite for me. I had goosebumps when he danced! I wasn’t expecting him to be nearly so light on his feet. Sadie Robertson is probably my favorite out of the ladies. I’m also loving Tommy Chong and of course Alfonso Ribeiro.

READING // I started reading  The Natural Homestead last night. It was part of the Healthy Living Bundle that I picked up a week or two ago when it was on sale. There were SO many good books in that bundle — I’m going to have lots to keep me busy reading!

WORKING ON // Apart from the obvious (home remodel), we’re also starting to work on selling some things at our house so we can downsize and move. We have to be moved out of our current place by the end of October! (Eeek!)

PLANNING // I’m still daydreaming about my hobby farm/homestead/whatever you want to call it. My plans for a chicken coop are falling into place — I’m starting to compute measurements and draw plans. I really can’t wait! I’m hoping to get my chicks early in the spring (April -ish) and have the coop ready by the time they’re 8 weeks old. So I need to be ready!

LOOKING FORWARD TO // … Time with friends! I get to spend time with my friend Melanie this weekend. She’s been such a huge blessing helping with the new house — she’s a superwoman when it comes to painting! I’m looking forward to lunch and some more painting and laughter with her on Saturday. Our friends Erica and Alan also found a new house and will be moving up from Pittsburgh in a few weeks! I am SO looking forward to having them close by! That also means Amelia will be here, so Myles will have lots of play dates starting soon! So much to look forward to…

Erin Condren Life Planner Review

My Erin Condren 2014-15 Planner // Life In Beta

You guys– I’ve been wanting to share this with you for SO LONG, but as excited as I’ve been, I thought I ought to use my new planner for a couple months first to give a fair review. Suffice to say: I am just as in love with my Erin Condren Life Planner now as I was on day one!

I am a paper-planner-person. I love technology and I DO use my phone for some reminders and calendar events, but for day-to-day tasks and reminders, I still prefer a paper planner. There’s just SOMETHING about being able to see everything spread in front of me in a week-long spread that I can scribble all over that helps me make sense of my time management. I don’t get that same satisfaction or peace from viewing it on my tiny phone screen in the Calendar app, or even on my bigger laptop screen. So if you’re a paper-planner-person like me, you’re going to love the Life Planner!

My EC Planner, Closeup // Life In Beta

(Imagine glowing light and angels singing here.)

NOTE: I am receiving no compensation for this review, and all the opinions are my own. However, you can get a $10 off coupon code if you use my referrer link (and I’ll earn $10 as well–thanks for supporting this blog!) .

Erin Condren Life Planner - Week Spread // Life In Beta

This thing has become my BEST FRIEND over the last few months. It’s the perfect balance of prettiness and functionality. Let me give you a quick tour…

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Wordless Wednesday: Ben’s 6th Birthday

Ben with Myles // Life In Beta

Ben Opening Gifts // Life In Beta

Myles meets his first character-in-costume // Life In Beta

Currently… (Overheated Edition)

I learned something about myself this week: when I’m hot, I become a raging, nagging mess of a human being. (Oh, poor Mike this week. He felt my heat-induced wrath.) It’s been a mild summer, and now that it’s September, I’ve been ready to welcome autumn with open arms. Instead, it’s been hot, rainy and humid — and then our A/C decided to DIE. (More accurately, the fan/blower in our furnace died, killing the A/C and the heat.)

Ribbons on a Fan

Now, if we lived in a house that had descent air flow, that might be OK, but our house got up to 85 degrees and didn’t drop below 80 all weekend long. No amount of open windows or fans helped. I was so happy when the repairman came Wednesday morning and replaced the relay in the furnace that was causing the issue. WHEW!

WATCHING // Mike and I have been binge-watching Bob’s Burgers on Netflix. I can’t believe I never watched it before! I totally love Tina.

READING // I was excited to get Happy Handmade Home by the ladies from A Beautiful Mess in the mail. I’ve been reading and marking pages with post-it notes. It really couldn’t have come at a better time, with us being in the midst of our house remodel!

WORKING ON // We’ve been doing a LOT of painting at the new house. The bathroom and living room are almost done! (Thanks to Mike and my friend Melanie for all their help!) Any spare time that I have a babysitter, I’ve been working at the new house. Thankfully we’re having some contractors (one of whom is my uncle – yay!) come next week and knock out a few big items that would have taken us WEEKS to DIY. Hopefully then I’ll finally feel like we’re ahead on the project!

PLANNING // What am I NOT planning right now? I feel like so much of my life is in a holding pattern till after we move. I know you can’t spend your life waiting for someday, but at the same time, I have a lot of projects that I don’t want to start while we’re in the midst of a remodel/move. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning about this blog and my freelance business, and the pros/cons of splitting or combining them, and how to manage and grow both. I’ve been researching homesteading, gardening, and livestock-keeping. I have grand plans for our little half-acre next spring! My planner is full of lists and notes right now and I’m itching to GO GO GO on all those dreams!

Pinterest, It’s What’s for Dinner

From time to time, I get bored cooking the same old recipes. (Don’t we all?) I decided recently that it was time to finally start trying a few of the recipes I’d been hoarding on Pinterest for months. Below are my reviews of a few of those recipes…

20-minute Spicy Sriracha Shrimp and Zucchini Lo Mein

20-minute spicy sriracha shrimp and zucchini lo mein

The Results:

First, I felt STUPID buying zucchini. Isn’t zucchini usually one of those things you have such an abundance of that you can’t even GIVE it away? Well, no one I know grew any this year, so I had to buy it. Which felt silly.

That aside, this stuff is burn-your-lips-off GREAT. I left out the ginger and sesame oil (they were optional) and the cilantro and green onions (I forgot to buy them), and it was still fabulous. I also doubled the recipe because I didn’t think the noodles looked like enough. (Poor judgement… we had plenty leftover.) The spice is not for the faint of heart. I can’t say that it burned in my mouth or stomach, but my lips were on fire! Sriracha + red pepper flakes = yum!

Skinny Lasagna Rolls


The Results:

I blatantly ignored the “skinny” part of these rolls and added ground beef to my pasta sauce for these lasagna rolls. Aside from that, I prepared it pretty much by-the-book. I did double the recipe because I didn’t feel like having leftover ricotta, and who doesn’t love leftover Italian food!? (It just gets better the next day, amirite?!)

My one criticism here was that the filling seemed too thin to me. Even having drained my spinach well, it gushed out when I cut open the rolls with my fork. If I were to do it again, I’d mix some mozzarella in with the filling as well to give it a little more body and stick the noodles closed a bit more.

One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

The Results

I don’t have a fancy family chili recipe, and I’ve always wanted to have one that was my go-to for cold winter days. Plus, an excuse to use (1) my home-canned tomatoes, and (2) my new dutch oven?! YES!

I overdid it on the noodles on this one — whoops, that’s what I get for “eyeballing it” instead of measuring! But it was still tasty, especially when I added in some shredded cheddar cheese. Yum! Next time I’ll hold off on the noodles a bit.

Have you tried any recipes you have found on Pinterest? Have they been successes or failures?