Monday, June 22, 2015


When we bought our home in 2013, we were stuck with PMI (Mortgage Insurance). We were told we could be rid of it in 2 years if our home appraised higher (by a percentage) than what we purchased it for. Well, with the baby coming, we knew we needed to get it done! So on my due date (haha!), my amazing mother-in-law came over and helped me scrub my entire house! I had spent the previous 2 weeks getting done all the projects I had put off for 2 years and it was time for a deep clean!
Then, the next day, we had our appraisal!
Aaron wanted to celebrate by "walking to the restaurant where I can play with my friends and Audrey and eat french fries and chicken nuggets." So off to McDonalds we went!
Well, we FINALLY heard back and guess what?!? WE PASSED! Yahoo!
That'll save us a considerable chunk of money each month!
I figure, now's a great time to show you some before and after's of our home!

To start, here's a list of all the things we have done since the last appraisal.
Here's some crazy wood transformations using fresh lemon juice and canola oil. Crazy, huh?
Here's a reminder of the pantry Eric built for me! 
And here's some crazy yard transformations...
Let's start with the front:
 We started by moving plants around ... My brother was a big help with that prior to his mission.
We took out the 2 big trees by the front door (well, I listed them for free on craigslist to whomever wanted to dig them out), added a porch and a porch swing. Soon, we'll build an awning so we can watch the rain without getting soaked.
Then we added bricks between our home and the neighbor's home - and along the side of our house.
As you can see, it was needed!

Again, a big thanks to my brother - he and his companion and the sister missionaries helped with this! I weeded it all and then they came and laid all the bricks and rocks on the sides of the house and in the "cave" (the area between our home and the neighbor's home that turned into the dead marshes after it rained. Aaron named it the cave).
p.s. I had put up ads on craigslist for free bricks and pavers, so all of these bricks and all the beautiful rocks we used for our patio were free :) We just had to pick them up (though the bricks, Eric and I had to remove from the ground... but hey, free is free!).
We put in the flower bed and added pots of plants (I think some electric wires run along where the flowers to the left of the yard are because nothing I plant there grows...).
 Reminder - this is how it looks now:

 Ok - here's our old backyard:
 Crazy, huh? We fixed it last April/May
 I started by weeding it. This took maaaaaaaaaaaany hours. Thank heavens for my children's long nap habits. Incase you can't tell, there is a dramatic slope in the back and a drop off . 
 Here it is all weeded and the trees were given away free on craigslist to people willing to dig them out. 
Eric built a retaining wall and then I put up a wanted ad for free dirt on craigslist and got several hits. Eric and his friend Tyler helped me with the first load. We emptied our van, drove over, and loaded it. Then we brought it back to the house and wheelbarrowed it around to the back. I then did several more trips for more dirt (one where my neighbor and his truck joined me) until I had leveled the backyard. To hold in the dirt in in the back of the yard, I picked up free treated wood on craigslist and lined it against that wire fence.
Let me tell you ... I got a massage after this. And I feel I deserved it!

Then, Eric ordered a ton of gravel that was delivered to our driveway and I wheelbarrowed it to the back. (Eric helped finish that up when he got home from work that day and Aaron helped me with his little shovel as I worked in the afternoon.) Then, Eric took a compactor to the back yard to get it all in place and I built steps down to the lower level of the yard.

 After all that, Eric rented a U-haul and drove down to Scio, Oregon to pick up some used football turf. We found out after he got there that they would have delivered it... oh well. It sat in our front yard for a while and the kids had fun jumping on/off of it. 

Then it came time to move it to the back. Again, not sure what we would have done without my brother... Thomas rallied the troops in the ward and Eric's friend, Tyler also showed up to help! First, we cut the grass to the dimensions we needed in the back. Then we rolled it up and they tried lifting it. However, it was full of rubber and close to 2500lbs. So, we needed a new plan since they couldn't get it off the ground. We ended up turning the grass over, banging out all the rubber, carrying it to the back, and then raking the rubber all back in.
 We then got a crazy good deal on a shed that once again, my brother and his companion helped us build.
 Now our yard looks like this:
 There are no weeds - there is no mowing - there is no raking (though I do have to vacuum it every once in a while). When we let the kids play in the sprinkler, it never puddles. We can leave toys out and the grass under them doesn't die. They can play outside year round. They don't need shoes since there is no dead grass to poke their feet. Down by the shed I now have a garden which I love!
 Is your mind blown yet? 
The ultimate DIY project and it turned on better than we could have possibly imagined!
One day, I'll show you my craftroom (as I still have yet to post pictures of it here) but I think I've scrambled your brain enough for one day.
We love our home. It's perfect for our family!

1 comment:

I love to hear from you! Leave a comment!