House Wishlist

Happy Groundhog Day! We’re lucky enough to have a snow day (and my hubby took the day, too!), which is our first one of the year. Definitely a great day to hunker down, drink hot cocoa, bake cookies, and generally appreciate the warmth together.

That said, we love our house, but we’re hoping to start up a house hunt just about when the snow melts. It’s strange to admit it out loud (or, for all the internet to read), but the good thing is that we’re not in a hurry. Our current situation is fine, for now, but because we’re not rushing to find something, we have time to work on little areas of ours that need work and won’t feel quite as pressured to buy something we don’t love.  

It’s not a huge move; we’re still going to be in the same relative area, but hopefully safer and with more space for the little guy to play. That said, I thought I’d share Had’s current thoughts on the house situation (which, quite honestly, change a little depending on the day). He has consistently asked for the following:

– More land to “run and run and run.” I’ve asked for awhile now whether he wants a house in a “town” with people around to play with or in the “country” where he can have lots of room…and this is what he says.

– Places to play. We take this as either a room that’s big enough for him to use also as a playroom, or a specifically designated place that IS a playroom

He doesn’t ask for much. Gotta love a 2-year-old. His mom and dad, however… Well, here’s what we’re hoping for:

– More space, but not too much. We currently have a 3-bedroom, 1-bath house that clocks in at around 1,000 sq. ft. If we could have a house with an extra bedroom (or a 3-bedroom with an office or playroom area, or finished basement) and maybe an extra half bath, we’d be happy.

– Bring on the charm. Our current fixer-upper is charming. There are soooo many cookie-cutter homes that lack things like substantial woodwork or built-ins or, well, much of anything. I personally prefer homes from the first half of the 1900s. I’m flexible…but within reason. 😉 I will also gladly work to bring it up to modern standards, while maintaining its character.  

– Centrally located. We’d like for our commutes to be 30 minutes or less. Currently, Dave’s is around 25 minutes; mine’s 15 minutes.

– A bit of land. Again, not too much, but enough that Had and any future siblings or friends have space to roam. I’d like to be able to garden. It’s also a bit of a dream of Dave’s to have a barn or garage for strays. Just call him St. Francis of Assisi. But, if we didn’t get a country home and instead had a nice backyard in a safe neighborhood, we definitely wouldn’t mind.  

There are other things on our list, like particular townships near friends or a particular price-range or yes-to-hardwood-floors-no-to-oil-heat, but everything is flexible to an extent. We’d like it to be a place that we enjoy for many, many years to come, so we’re picky about some things, but willing to work with others. Certain aesthetic issues can be remedied, but other bigger updates may not be in our budget long-term. But, seriously, I’m so glad that we don’t have HGTV right now — watching the house hunting couples walk into a place and put their foot down over bad wallpaper or easily-amended ugliness is frustrating!

That said, I thought it’d be fun to share a couple of the “wow, that would be AWESOME” mental wishes for a future home. I can’t wait to get my DIY on and put some fun, love and life into a gem of a space.

via

For some weird reason, I’m really into bungalows from the ’20s and ’30s. It’s not a deal-breaker, but these have me weak in the knees.

 
Then, there’s my husband. When we drive around the neighborhood where he grew up, he swoons over these cottage- or English-style houses. I’m not against them, but they’re not my favorite. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker, but these are the styles that make us sit up.

Let’s head inside our “dream house.” I don’t have an idea of specifics (unless I’m thinking about “the one that got away” last year; it was the perfect size and had no work to be done, so of course it was out of our price range), so I’ll just share a couple of things we’d love to have or create over time.

Our current kitchen is a pretty good size and has amazing light, so it’s going to be hard to find something by comparison. However, it doesn’t always function very practically (hello, 1925 dwellers). So, given what we’ve already seen on the market, I’m pretty much positive we’ll have to do a makeover in the kitchen. Enter subway back splash, stage right. I love this stuff, and chunky open shelving comes in a close second.

This may not be exactly what we’re thinking, but the idea is here (and isn’t it gorgeous?). Wood floors? Yes. Fireplace? Definitely. (Bonus points if it works.) Space for entertaining/hosting holidays? Hopefully.

We currently use an entire bedroom as an office. We’d LOVE to be able to have similar (or more) space for another one, or even part of the basement, but if we need to be creative, this set-up is awesome and simple (and cheap).

A kid space is pretty high on our list. The zillions if ideas I’ve seen floating around online have me itching to create a fun place for Hadman (and any future siblings). Chalkboard paint + homemade tent + reading area + art area + dress-up/stage area = fun. I’d also LOVE to put a piano in this space, as well, since our current place can’t accommodate one. (sigh) Plus, if we decide to homeschool, it could double as a learning room.

So, what do you think? Are any of these items on your wishlist? What are some must-haves for your dream house?

Milkin’ It

Not to get preachy or disrespectful to the memory of MLK, Jr., but I have a dream. No, really, I have a pretty random dream (among others) that probably comes from my not-too-distant farmer ancestors.

See, my dad grew up on a farm. My mother’s family owned a farm for quite awhile during her childhood, too, but Dad’s was a working dairy farm with several family homes on the property. That’s probably why it was nicknamed “Homestead Farms”, and that’s what I look for when searching local antique stores for my touchstone to the past – the original glass milk jars, scrolled with the aforementioned, or “Brown’s” (my grandmother’s family owned the place; my grandfather took over).

I even had quite a bit of experience on a dairy farm from 3rd grade to around 8th grade. Yep, I scraped $#*! and took care of stray cats and got to name cows. It was a fun time.

No, my dream isn’t to own a dairy farm…although I’d love to start with my own chickens someday, but that’s a whole different dream. 😉 THIS dream comes more in the form of a question (well, more than one): In this age of convenience, why can’t dairy farms deliver straight to people’s homes like “back in the day”? Why must they sell to a corporation that travels hundreds of miles to further process, fill chemical-laden plastic jugs that allow light to leach nutrients out? Why can’t we have reusable glass containers with fresh milk from local farmers?

This dream or wish or whatever you’d like to call it, in my mind, solves several problems. a) Keeping the money local while helping friends and neighbors in their economic endeavors; b) Supporting local farmers who are all too often forced to sell the land that their families have owned for generations; c) Providing local consumers with a high-quality product of convenience. Lots of economic, environmental and moral issues solved, in my mind.

As I see it, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump before this could also relate to door-delivered CSA contributions and, one of my all-time HUGE dreams, creating a Central New York-based program like Vermont’s Vermont Fresh Network, linking local farmers with local chefs and restaurants, providing consumers with fresh, all-natural, local ingredients. But, yeah. That’s a different post. *ahem*

I’ve heard that urban areas such as NYC are utilizing this, which I think is fantastic. But, what sense does it make when we’re surrounded by dozens upon dozens of milk-producing farms within, heck, a 30-mile radius.

And this is the point in our rambling post when I state that I LOVE MY HUSBAND!!! He knew of my silly little dream, and over time obtained the knowledge that there are stores near Utica (Byrne Dairy, if you’re from the area) that provide locally-provided milk in (reusable!) glass containers. It wasn’t the answer to my dream, but it was partway there. And, since Dave works in Utica, it wouldn’t be a huge bother for him to grab milk on the way home.

One day, he excitedly contacted me that he would buy some on the way home. Honestly, he was way more excited than I was. I assumed they wouldn’t have the 1% that I prefer using, but when he arrived home, I was pleasantly surprised.

He was also quite excited that he’d get 50 cents back when he returns the bottle, although he immediately recognized that he’d paid the 50 cent usage with the price – which he said was $1-something, so it was $2-something (not quite sure how much), total. That’s still better than the stuff we buy at Hannaford. Although I wish I could be guaranteed that this is hormone-free. *sigh* The burden of knowledge. Update #1: I found out from Dave as well as the bottle cap that growth hormones are NOT used in the production of this milk. Wahoo!

I have yet to taste the milk, but Dave insists that it tastes really, really good. This is impressive because, well, he’s a man, and even he would admit that he’s not usually a milk drinker. I tend to think, “Okay, big meal, tall glass of milk with it.” Since meeting Dave, that’s turned to “big glass of water” or “small glass of wine” or what have you. Seeing that I have osteoporosis in my lineage, I’m hoping this stuff tastes as good as he says!

And while we’re at it, here are a few other beverages that have been keeping us cool during the start of quite a heatwave. (I’m not complaining, though. My brother lives in Chicago – I hear it’s hell out there!)

I used to make homemade organic iced tea, but we’ve since discovered this “Sweet Leaf” organic tea, which is delicious and costs $1.99 (and, of course, is tax-free). Mix it with a bit of the Newman’s Own all-natural lemonade and you’ve got a refreshing Arnold Palmer. Why does that sound like it should have alcohol in it, too? Hmm.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sure to post a follow-up when I taste the milk. Probably a note riiiiight here…hoping to try it in some cereal for breakfast tomorrow. UPDATE #2: Okay, so I didn’t have cereal ‘cuz I wasn’t feeling it, but I DID have an organic English muffin with peanut butter and jelly – is that not calling for a tall glass of milk, or what? The second that I tasted the milk, it brought me back to my childhood kitchen table with a large Sunday meal (why do I automatically think of roast beef?), in a good way. It. Was. Delicious. I’m sold! Had to text the hubs immediately with the great news – which he seemed just as happy about. 😀

What about you guys? Are you consistent milk drinkers? Or don’t you use it at all? Do you go for skim (ew, watery), 1%, 2% or whole? Do you purchase what’s cheapest, or look for organic or hormone-free? I’m interested in milk trends amongst my friends, what can I say? It’s in my blood.