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?

Summer Daydreams

We spend so much time stockpiling gifts, planning fun times and decorating that, in addition to the actual enjoyment of the holidays, it’s a pretty big letdown when it’s over. Many of us (myself included) even experience a mild depression when we bid adieu to Christmas every year. It sometimes takes awhile to get over, with winter weather adding “blah” to the bummer.

Almost as if an annual routine, I start to get the urge to plan the fun times that we hope to have when the weather turns warm. I think about the activities that Hadley will be able to enjoy (at his stage in development/maturity) and even start to mentally plan for his July birthday party. Family often makes fun of me for over-planning and over-thinking things, but it actually helps me a) keep mentally organized and feel on top of things, and b) get enjoyment out of the experience. The excitement is half the fun!

So, although nothing is in stone for our general Spring/Summer 2015 plans, I thought it’d be fun to have a little brain dump of the things we’d like to undertake in the spring and summer. Here goes!


CSA – We’ll finally be joining a CSA for some regular, local veggies. Yay! Now is the perfect time to do our research to decide which farm we’ll be choosing. It would be awesome if it was one that we could visit or even do some work on so that Hadley has an idea of where some of the food is from, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Either way, I’m excited to try some different produce and recipes with the family.

Utica Zoo membership – Last year, we LOVED our zoo membership. It only makes sense to support their cause and enjoy it with the little guy again. Plus, they have an awesome playground setup that Hadley will love even more this year, with his longer legs and better stability. And the monkeys. Oh, the monkeys.

Trip to Western Mass – Hopefully, this doesn’t have to wait until summer! Hadley’s been asking about his little buddy in Massachusetts every few days, so we feel awful that we haven’t been back sooner. (Oh, and we want to see our old friends there, too!) It’s Dave’s old stomping ground, so it’s like a second home full of happy memories for us to return to regularly. Plus, they have the Eric Carle Museum, which is a family favorite.

Beach – Last year, the only place we went with sand was a small beach in Old Forge. On a chilly day. With occasional drizzles. It was far from ideal and involved no splashing, no sunbathing, no playing. This year, I’m hoping that we can get to one of the family-friendly beaches closer to home. (Last year, there were some red algae issues, so there were lots of “no using the water” warnings. Hopefully, there will be fewer this year.) I can’t wait for Hadley to play in the sand and splash in the water (hopefully he’ll be less terrified by water in his face if playing is involved), and admittedly I can’t wait to get my toes in some sand, too. Fingers crossed!

Old Forge – Speaking of Old Forge…we try to get there every year to wander and sight-see, but last year was by far the worst I can recall. Between places being non-stroller friendly and the chilly, rainy weather (in August?!), it was kind of a bust. We made the best of it and found coffee and donuts for the trip home (best part of the day!), but I’m already assuming that anything will be better than last year. I don’t expect every trip or experience to be the best thing ever, but when it’s far less than mediocre…well…it’s disappointing. Even the farmers’ market was too soggy and full of imported produce to get excited over.

Time to try a city? – I’ve talked about the fear of bringing Hadley into a big city because he’s still not great at listening and following directions. (Okay, some days he’s even worse at it.) So, I’m still wary about this, but I’m wondering if we go to a city in the middle of a week, we might be better as far as crowds go. I’m partial to Boston (and NYC and Philly, but those are still a bit nuts to consider), especially with the Freedom Trail as a way of getting some history in without having to try to force good behavior in a museum. Their aquarium might be a hit with the little guy, too. But, if we can’t do that, maybe another smaller trip like our Concord excursion last year (but to a different spot).

Local adventures – For awhile now, I’ve wanted to get the family into the local experiences that make our area unique. We often forget about the historical and natural gems in our own backyard, so I’m hoping that, whether it’s just a farmers’ market, a nature walk, or a stop at a nearby historical destination, we’ll be able to do this weekly. Again, fingers crossed. I hope to make a list

THREE! – Dudes. Can you believe it?! Our little guy is turning the big 3 this July! I’m sure I’ll do yet another brain dump of fun stuff I’m drooling over on Pinterest (and if I’m lucky 50% of it will make it to the party – Hadley’s a mind-changer…but what 2 1/2-year-old isn’t?). The only thing that he’s told me definitively has me adamantly agreeing: strawberry cake. Damn straight, child. You shall have your cake. (And it will be organic and from scratch. Shh. Guests don’t need to know.)

House hunt – I’ve mentioned before that we’re finally hoping to move to a new town (relatively nearby), namely to get a larger space for the family that we can hopefully own long-term. Given that our current space is about 1,000 square feet, we’ve always known that this wasn’t going to be our forever home. So, while I hope to hit up tons of the above, if we’re in the midst of moving (or obtaining a larger mortgage), we’ll see what we can do. Heck, maybe his party will be at a new, larger setting.

For now, though, we’re going to hunker down and enjoy the good that winter brings. I do enjoy snow (and the prospect of snow days!), drinking hot chocolate, and cozying up with a good book. Although, admittedly, I’ll be super happy when the sunset happens later than 4:30. Oye.

E-Zines

The Internet rocks. To some, this may sound downright idiotic; to others, it’s blasphemy. “Well, of course it rocks. Where have you been living the last 20ish years?!” says one side, while the other insists, “It’s ruining the moral fiber of our country, and others.” I totally understand both sides, I really do – I do worry that it, at times, has kept me from spending enough time with my husband or has been the master king of time suckage to my life. But, be that what it may, the Internet is still an awesome thing. Clearly. I’m blogging on it.

While I’m a user of Pinterest (I don’t think I’d have the nursery art inspiration and other ideas that I’m currently housing without it!), I’ve been able to keep myself from getting obsessed. As it is, the blogs that I follow (and, believe me, it’s not nearly as many as most folks…well, the folks who follow) provide me with enough eye candy and information to read on a daily basis. Oh, and if I miss a day or two, I’m set! It’s like winning some strange jackpot.

Not that every aspect of the Internet is da bomb. I’m not a fan of Twitter (but I have one…which I rarely use…@megactsout, holla), and have a love/hate relationship that I’m trying to break off with Facebook (but it DOES help me know more about folks following my blog, and to keep up with possible cloth diaper deals, etc). And the fact that the Internet has absolutely deteriorated the use of general manners and decorum in conversation and treatment of others is disheartening. See, lots to hate.

But, what do I love? E-zines. There are some awesome e-zines out there that I’m getting into – and most are currently free. SERIOUSLY! (Why does that impress me so much?) Normal folks are putting information and eye candy out there for the whole world to see, mostly because they’re uber passionate about the topic. It’s a wonderful thing!

I do get regular ol’ glossies, too, don’t get me wrong. Thanks to a few REALLY good deals, I scored myself Real Simple (a mainstay that I’ve been reading since college…although it can be hit-or-miss), House Beautiful (which has actually been a disappointment, but dirt cheap and provides some eye candy) and Better Homes and Gardens. I also get a stack of used This Old House and Consumer Reports mags every time I visit my parents. (Dave gets some mags of his own, and we share The Writer). Oh, plus the Newsweek that I get free for donating to our local PBS station. And, yes, I recycle old copies. 😛

But, there’s something neat about e-zines. They’re relatively eco-friendly (sure, you’re using a computer, but that uses a heck of a lot less energy than the creation of the paper versions), generally shorter (so you can easily read it in one sitting), and there are often links to cool products or places on the web that follow up with the story.

My new favorite is Kaia Magazine (and that’s not just because I recently submitted an article for consideration). It’s all about living realistically sustainably. The articles aren’t overwhelming, expense-inducing or even lecturey (yes, I made that up) like lots of green living magazines seem to be – it’s attainable. They’ve only released a couple of issues, but I hope they’ll be around for the long haul.

I also enjoy The Lettered Cottage Magazine. Of course, I’m already a huge fan of Layla and Kevin’s blog, but sometimes a magazine format gives you a case of the “oooOOOOooo”s. You know what I mean. It’s when you see something in a glossy that looks wicked professional or pretty or gorgeous and you have to say “oooOOOOooo”. Or, wait. Is that just me? Regardless, they rock.

And, lately, I just keep stumbling over new online magazines, mostly thanks to FB posts (sue me!) from other Kaia Magazine contributors/editors. I spent more time than I’d like to admit reading Green Child Magazine, for example. It’s a great place to pick up ideas for raising kids in an eco-friendly setting. And, now that I’m “with child” and expanding exponentially, how can I resist? The recent issue even had a great review of various baby carriers. Sweet!

See what the Internet has to offer? I know, there are billions of other cool things out there, but currently I’m sticking with a few new e-zines. It’s all my schedule can really handle, and I’m enjoying the process of learning new things (while not spending an arm and a leg on “regular” magazines).