A Little Q and A

We asked you, you asked us and now we’re answering your questions.

Q:  How did Ben and I meet?

A:  Through a mutual cousin.  Yes, I said mutual cousin, not friend.  I swear though, we’re not related.  My mom’s sister married Ben’s mom’s brother.  Ben and three of his brothers were visiting Minnesota.  I was working as a real estate agent and my cousin lived in the building I was hosting an open house in.  I met Ben and his brothers and wanted to get to know him better.  After realizing he liked me, too, we carried on a long distance relationship for 8 months before getting married in June 2006.

Q:  Will we have any more adorable kiddos in the future?  A little princess perhaps?

A:  That has yet to be completely determined.  We’re both content with our two boys.  A little girl would be nice, but we’re still in the baby phase with Everett, so we’ll see how we feel in a year or two.

Q:  What does Ben do for a living?

A:  Ben works as a private contractor.

Q:  What made me want to start blogging?

A:  It’s not really a question of what, more who.  My cousin, Jenna and my two sisters visited us the beginning of May 2010 to meet Everett for the first time.  Jenna asked if I had ever considered writing a blog.  In truth, I hadn’t because I didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading something I wrote.  Admittedly, I’m not a great writer and I think I’m often too matter-of-fact.  After discussing it with her, she convinced me to give it a try.  So, on May 14, I wrote my first post and I’ve been at it ever since.  Turns out, I enjoy writing this blog and sharing our ideas and home improvements with anyone who is willing to put up with me.  I guess that’s you.  Haha.

Q:  How did we increase our ‘viewer-ship’ to the level that it’s at today in a year?

A:  A lot of hard work and some luck.  First off,  write about something you enjoy and are enthusiastic about and stick to it.  I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true.  If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing about, why would others?  Most of the blogs I read are home improvement because that’s what I enjoy.  It was natural to begin writing about home improvement, so 90% of the posts we write are home related.  Know your market.  Secondly, blogging is a community, so be active.  Comment on other blogs, guest post, send links of projects to other blogs, ask to be added to other’s blog rolls.  If you don’t spread the word about your blog, how can others?  Be yourself and remember that your blog is just that, your blog.  If you don’t enjoy it, stop or make a change.  Try to write as often as you can without spreading yourself too thin.  Keep posts interesting and if you’re feeling uninspired, take some time off to regroup.  That’s what we’ve done.  Really though, we’re not experts.  We’re still in the beginning stages and we’re figuring things out as we go.  We’re like Nemo in the blogging ocean, tiny and sometimes lost.

Q:  Can we tell you a little more about the area (city, neighborhood) that we live in?

A:  I know I’ve never shared which town in Montana we live in.  In all honesty, I’m a little paranoid about people finding our house.  So, without sharing which city we live in, I’m happy to give more details about our neighborhood.  When our house was built in 1960, this area was on the fringe of the city.  It has since expanded, but the majority of homes nearby were built in the same time frame and are also humble ranchers.  I’m fairly sure we’re the youngest homeowners on our block, with most of our neighbors nearing their 70s, so its quiet.  But, we’re close to downtown and many shops, including our favorite pizza place, MacKenzie River Pizza.  If you ever visit Montana, stop in for a gourmet pizza.  You won’t be disappointed.

Q:  If there was one thing we could change about our house (that is physically impossible for us to do), what would it be?

A:  We have been able to make the interior of our home pretty much what we would like, the exterior, however, is a different story.  If I could magically make our home a little taller, I would be happy.  Landscaping a rancher is difficult, for me, at least.  And, I would love to have an actual porch, not a walking path from the driveway to the front door.

Q:  If money wasn’t an issue, what would we do to our house?

A:  If money weren’t an issue, we would have renovated our kitchen already.  I dream of a kitchen with white cabinets, marble backsplash and an open feeling.  Hopefully soon, we will have the time, money, and energy to tackle this project.  Because we have a little rancher, I don’t think an extravagant interior would suit the home.

Q:  What is my favorite spot in our house?

A: This is pretty easy, my office.  I’ve only had it for a year and I love everything about it.  I have tons of storage for books, accessories and work supplies.  Everything in that room is there because I love it.  I don’t have to run anything past Ben to get his approval.  I like that.  Ha.

Q:  What part of our house do I hate most?

A:  Hands down, our kitchen.  The previous owners (who also had the house built) renovated it around 1997 and everything in it is something my grandma would like.  No offense, Gram, but I just don’t like it.  And it is starting to fall apart.  Most of the hinges have snapped a piece off that keeps the doors open, so we have self closing doors, which is annoying.  The countertops are stained, the floors are a pain to keep clean and the appliances are almond.  I think that sums that up.

Q:  What do we think most people think when they walk in our house for the first time?

A:  Most often, people say something like, “I didn’t expect this based on the exterior.”  I think most of the time, that is a compliment, too.  Maybe because we haven’t spent much time on the exterior, or because it seems like the run-of-the-mill 60s rancher.

Q:  What 5 items would I buy right now if I could?

A:  A Silhouette machine, a Canon Rebel with macro lens, Peekaboo Clear Nesting tables from CB2, a rug for my office, and I’d hire a maid to clean my house once a month.

Q:   How do I accomplish so much and have time to blog with two kiddos? I would love to know your secret!

A:  Our kids are great.  They usually hang out and watch what we’re doing, whether home improvements, crafts or playing toys.  I try to write posts during nap time, but usually I’m holding Everett.  If I have a post idea, I create a post title and a brief description.  Sometimes, these posts are in the draft for months, just waiting to complete a project or take photos, so I’m not always quick.

Q:  What is on the wall between the upper cabinets and my desk?  Looks as though it’s magnetic…

A:  It is magnetic, magnetic primer by Rustoleum, to be exact.  Seven coats of primer and two coats of paint later and my backsplash is magnetic!

Q:  Where do we come up with these wonderful ideas?

A:  We get inspiration everywhere.  From magazines, blogs, open houses (yes, we frequent open houses) to fabrics, store displays, and materials.  When I see something I like, I save it or take a picture.  Then, I analyze it and see what we can make.

Q:  How do we budget our household to allow for home improvements/decor & still be a stay at home mom?
A:  This is a long, multi part answer.  First, our mortgage and interest rates are low.  We pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first, then move on.  We don’t have fancy cars, our newest car is 7 years old, but they’re paid off.  We limit our unnecessary expenses by shopping at Costco to get bulk rates, going out to dinner once a week (or less often), and we rarely, like twice a year, go to a movie theater.  By keeping our daily living costs as low as possible, we save money for home improvements.  We also use credit to our advantage.  When we make large purchases, most often, we’ll put it on our Home Depot credit card, if they’re offering no interest for a year or whatever time period.  That allows us to use the products and pay a little at a time.  Also, Home Depot offers a discount if you open a card, which comes in handy for a large purchase.
When it comes to budgeting for a renovation, we do our research to see what our material costs will be.  For example, our main bathroom renovation, from gutting to completion, cost $2000.00.  Then, we save money until we’re ready to tackle that project.  Because we do all the work ourselves (we’ve done every improvement except having a well drilled and cutting the concrete foundation for larger, egress windows), we save ourselves at least 50% of the cost of hiring the job out.  Do as much of the work yourselves as you can to keep the costs down, while retaining great workmanship and quality materials.
Most decorating is done as cheap as possible, again, by doing it ourselves.  If I see something in a store or magazine, I try to figure out a way I can make something with a similar, if not exact look for cheaper.  Or, I find new ways to use materials we already have.  Try to avoid impulse buys, unless you really love the item.  Don’t buy something simply because it’s cheap, you’ll probably waste money on it.
I know that wasn’t completely helpful, but Ben is our financial advisor and there are so many tiny details that I can’t even begin to get into.  And we’ve been fortunate that Ben’s job has been stable, which in today’s market can be rare.
Q:  Can you borrow my husband for a week to tackle some building in your house? 
A:  Oh, sure, he wouldn’t mind.  Haha.  Now, I have a question for you. Have you voted? Today is the last day, so let’s give it our best shot.

7 thoughts on “A Little Q and A

  1. That was my question! You’re so cute, thanks for humoring me. And tell the hubs that I need him for the month of June. 😉 And he should bring his own tools. You and the boys are more than welcome to join us, we can supervise. 🙂

    I enjoy keeping up with your family and your home improvement. I’ve gained tons of inspiration from you and am looking forward to more.

    Happy anniversary!

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie! I’ll be sure to add that to Ben’s schedule. 🙂 We’ll definitely supervise, though I’m pretty bossy. I’m still so flattered when people say they’ve been inspired by our home and projects, so thank you so, so, so much. You guys are the reason this blog has continued and has grown. Your encouragement is astounding! We’re looking forward to the next year, too. Happy Friday!

  2. I love that you had a long distance relationship before getting married… we were the same way. Tough, but so rewarding in the end! Fun little Q&A post, thanks.

  3. Thanks for this, I love reading more about my favorite bloggers and how they got started! Happy anniversary 🙂

  4. Thank you for posting this! Some answers totally cracked me up! A cleaning lady once a month…if we had one weekly I still fear it’d be a mess and thats before this baby comes! We’re totally screwed for when Baby G arrives! I really hope that I can stay home (working on that) and manage to accomplish our home renovations like you have, it’s definitely inspiring!

  5. I stumbled across your blog through another one and thank you for the pizza place recommendation. We will be driving across country this summer and plan on staying in two town in Montana, and they both have one.

Now it's your turn! Share your thoughts and opinions, stories and links. We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s