One Year Later…

It has been one year at Nellie Mae, whew!! As of today, we had over 20,000 visitors to our site! We have both really spent the past 12 months figuring out how to simplify. And we finally accomplished our goal!! It was very frustrating at first to try and fit our life into a house 1,000 square feet smaller than our last. That and we have 2 very small children and a dog. Ikea is known for this statement and its 100% true: Your house doesn’t have to be big, just smart. I’m not a huge fan of all things Ikea, but I like the way they think. I have spent so much time studying, analyzing, and researching ways to organize and simplify our life.
You really have to let stuff go and purge regularly, knowing that it is just “stuff.” And finding systems for the parts of your house that need one. Laundry, mail, toys, and any type of clutter. This house has made us efficient and easy. I would give my right arm some days for just one more bedroom and closet, but learning contentment where ever you are is a huge life lesson to embrace. I am thankful for this house and very proud of how it turned out. Next projects are a deck, new roof, and a fence.
We are undecided when we will sell and flip it. The more we do to the house, the more we love it. We are taking it season by season! Here are the final before and after pictures, enjoy!
The Family Room

Secrets about this room: the end table on the left is my filing cabinet since there is no room for an office. The end table on the right is our dogs nighttime crate since there is not a spare bedroom to put it in. The coffee table serves as a storage ottoman.

The Dining Area

The Kid’s bedroom

Our Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

Tim turned the backporch into a small 3rd bedroom we use as a playroom.

There is also a closet to the right that has a stackable washer and dryer.

The kitchen

This is a half-bath that Tim created instead of a hallway that was here.

The backyard

Thanks for all our faithful followers!!

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The Farmer and the Dell

One of the first things I wanted to do at this house was have a garden! The renter that lived here for 40 years had one every year. So, it was perfectly prepared for us to use.  It is also 1 acre so what else am I going to do with huge amounts of open space during the summer?!! I realized earlier this week that we had not yet started our garden. We are still cleaning out tree debris in the backyard from the last post! So, I got crazy one night and stayed up and tilled the whole garden with a shovel. I know you are supposed to use a tiller, but that involved us going to get my dads and who knows what else. It was easy to shovel for hours and shovel frustration away, ha! My husband always says I do things the hard way, but you know what? We have a garden now =)

I didn’t really know how “into it” the kids would be, but holy cow, they think it is the coolest thing ever. I guess I never realized what a neat lesson it would be to teach them how we get food. David is just blown away by the whole thing and the first thing he asked was if we could grow candy. Did I mention this will be a great lesson?! They also go ouside everyday and just watch it. And watch for food to appear. They haven’t quite gotten that it will take a couple of weeks!

Here is the garden stats:

It is a 12 x 20 foot long rectangle

We’ve planted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, sweet potatos, cantelope, watermelon, eggplant, squash, zucchini, and pumpkin.

I have planted marigolds and grated Irish spring soap to keep away bugs, deer, and bunnies.

And I sing to it. Just kidding, but I have no idea if this whole thing will work so I’ll keep you posted. I grew grass, so I figure it can’t be rocket science. I also feel like it’s in my blood since my mom grew up on farmland. And since my grandpa and great grandpa built Nellie-Mae, it has to work out, right?!

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Nellie-Mae had some dead trees that needed immediate attention! We had kind of overlooked them until 2 weeks ago when one dropped a 25 ft long dead branch across the yard 5 minutes before going out to play (Thank you Lord!) Anyway, that plus the tornado season, we decided to get them taken out! This is one DIY that I would NOT recommend. Out of all the things you can pay someone else to do, pay someone to chop trees down! We had a bad experience with this at our first home! That’s another story for another day!

I had 3 different quotes. Always get three. And make sure they show you proof of being licensed and insured. We had most companies wanting between $1500-1750 to take down 3 trees and haul away. Finally, we found Xtreme Tree Worx, my parents had used them years back. They were fantastic! He only charged $650 to get the trees down. He gave us the option of us doing our own haul away.

We had a plan. We would burn the branches (small brush fire) and chop up the logs for firewood. My dad has a log-spliter (you can also rent them cheap at Home Depot). And bam! We’d be done!

The owner really helped us out. For an additional $100, he used his chainsaw and sawed off all the branches and cut the tree into firewood sized logs we could split. The whole thing went streamlined. Awesome.

However, did I mention they were INSANE?!! This tree was 60 ft. tall. They climb it, rope it, and saw down chunks of the tree. Unbelievable. Seriously. No fear in tree removers.

Obviously, David had the time of his life. The owner also said we had about $2000 of Red Oak firewood we could sell this fall from these trees. So, not only was this project super cheap, we will actually make a profit. I wish all projects could work out like that.

And that is how its done!

Cost- $750 for tree removal and chainsawing them up

Log Splitter- free, borrowed from my dad

Profit from firewood- $2000.

Total project profit- $1250.

That’s why you get 3 quotes. Can you imagine if I paid the first guy $1750 for removal and haul away? So funny.

Here is the tree, and David with his chain-saw.




Mackenzie found her home on the tree stumps and here is me sitting next to the log to show the comparison of how huge the tree was!  


David also used the logs as balance beams.

And here is Lumberjack Tim. He was a firewood splitting machine. Can I just make one side note *** Our neighbors probably think we have lost our marbles b/c

1. Its May and we are chopping firewood

2. We have no fireplace.

Just wanted to note that. Anyway, our firewood will be seasoned Red Oak, ready this fall!

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April Showers bring Nellie Mae Flowers

 I can finally say we are getting near the end over here…. now the outside is starting to look more like the inside, ha!

I wish I could say we are done with projects, but this summer we will hopefully put up a fence and build a deck…. I’ll keep you posted on that. Tim is about to break into the busiest season of the year with HVAC.

We are VERY pleased with how the yard is coming. Everything is a baby here: baby grass, baby plants, and baby shrubs! So, I’m spending a lot of time watering, fertilizing, and I am going to have to overseed the lawn just to thicken the grass up.

Our grand total for the house renovation was $19,997.48. Not bad, huh?

We are hoping to spend $800 for the fence (obviously Tim’s building it himself) and around $600 for the deck (yep, Tim).

And the complete Yard Re-Haul was right at $1000. That included : A bobcat, 3 dumptruck loads of topsoil, 2 dumptruck loads of slag rock for the driveway, FREE mulch from Cobb EMC, and some grass seed and hay.

All in all, our final budget on the house will hit right under $24,000. And that’s with the un-necessary fence and deck we just feel like adding on here! It will definitely make it nice now and nice for the re-sell later!

Happy Summertime Nellie Mae! We have a love/hate relationship with you because you have many joys, but bring us many pains!

Oh, and dang it. We will re-roof this fall with surplus shingles for $400. I’m going to stop blogging before I think of something else.


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Yard Renovation

Since it’s springtime, we’ve decided to take on our yard! Once again, it was a much bigger job than we thought!

Our lot is 1 acre. We left the woods alone and mainly focused on the front and back yard. The problems were that our yard was un-level and we had massive roots everywhere. We also only had weeds!

So, we called a hauling and grading company and they helped us out! We had 3 dumptruck loads of topsoil dropped and 2 dumptruck loads of slag rock poured for a driveway. A bobcat came along with them and completely re-graded our yard!

The next phase was our job to get some grass growing! I took on this task for a few days during the kids naptime and while Tim was at work. It included:

1. Spreading starter fertilizer everywhere so that when seeds were planted they would grow fast!

2. Spreading a one time bag of Rye grass. This grass germinates the quickest and gives you instant grass coverage until fescue makes its debut.

3. Spreading tons of Kentucky 31 Fescue!!

4. Covering our entire lot with hay. This helps keep the seeds in place and birds from eating it.

5. WATER!!! Main goal is to keep the soil moist. Too much water will rot the seed and too little water will dry it out. The grass has been my baby to take care of every day!

These pics are from a few weeks ago, so I can’t wait to post pics hopefully this week of our transformed yard! Once again, our hard work paid off!! I have never been more excited about grass =)


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Building Built-Ins

This is our latest and greatest project at Nellie Mae. Before…. it was just a huge blank wall and for the left side, my Christmas tree looked good there for a while! We were in desperate need of storage and these cabinets and built ins saved our life!!

Tim, once again was the master mind behind this. I showed him a picture of what I wanted and BAM, here it is!!

The project only cost us $125. Which is kinda ridiculous! These are probably worth $2,500.

We found the cabinets on craigslist for $40, and the rest of the wood and paint came from Home Depot. I had a 10% off coupon of course. I decorated with everything we already had.

*Tim might be mad I posted this b/c he has one piece of trim left to put on the bottom. It’s okay, I’m all about the big picture.

Here is our wedding bouquet, unity candle, and photo album. The other side is a family pic, basket, and my great grandmother’s tea kettle. My huge fork and spoon I found at a yard sale this summer for $1 each. They sell at Pottery Barn for $150. Other than that, this serves as our bookshelf housing all of our books. The left side is also a mini desk area with our printer and laptop!


Thanks so much Tim, storage is the way to my heart and he has it =) We have big projects to come. Theme: YARD.

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Just Country Boys and Girls…

Getting down on the farm!!! We live about 5 miles from the Marietta Square, but across the street there is a horse farm, ha! And everyone on our street has a barn or shed. And I have a little secret….

We have one too. I have always left it out of pictures until we could “deal” with it! It was the only one we left standing on the property and we figured we could use it for storage and tools.

So, here is the lovely before and after pictures. Praise God He has blocked out all the memories of what was in this shed. I honestly don’t even remember. Tim built some doors and we painted it this weekend, and I finished the trim today. Not too shabby, huh? Any old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. Our shack is shapin up!

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