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TAKE A BREAK FROM LIFE & BE A KID AGAIN BY PLAYING FREE GAMES!

TAKE A BREAK FROM LIFE & BE A KID AGAIN BY PLAYING FREE GAMES!

Free game website

The last few months have been so stressful, between home projects, chores, and moving our girls to college… it’s been exhausting.  It seems like our to-do list never ends, and at some point it really starts to get to you.  I’ve definitely taken notice how scheduled life seems to be lately, and for this reason I’ve been on a mission to practice good self care and relax.  Unfortunately it’s not always that easy to relax.  I really enjoy relaxing on the deck with a nice drink or reading a magazine but before long my mind wanders away to my to do list.  It’s such a struggle!

I’ve already taken up a new Pilates fitness routine which has done wonders to help me de-stress, but I’m always looking other ways to have fun and relax.  Pilates is great but it’s also hard!  Sometimes I just want to veg out, ya know?  While looking for new ways to relax at home I found an amazing website that offers free video games.  Plays.org is a no strings attached game website, just fun free games!  Honestly I can’t remember the last time I played a video game, so I indulged.  I poked around playing a few different ones trying to get my over 40 gaming groove back… and I’ve got to say it’s fun to feel like a carefree kid having video game fun again!

Free games at Plays.org

Free games at Plays.org

I love how playing these fun games keeps me really engaged, my mind doesn’t get a chance to wander, and I truly get to unwind!  Plays.org has so many games to choose from it’s so fun, and honestly addicting.  I’m not the best with all the games… I never scored well as a kid on Super Mario Brothers or saved the princess so not all games work for me.  Luckily there are lots of different games to choose from.  I love the simulation category, it’s perfect for me.  Tap Supermarket is such a fun simulation game where you earn money and build your supermarket.  The goal is to grow your store, keep your customers happy, eliminate long lines, and make money!  As you continue to play the store gets really hectic and the goal is to keep up with demand… it’s really fun!

Open Restaurant is another fun game too, although you have a time limit with daily quotas so it’s a little more faster pace.  Brian is obsessed with the Flight Sim game, where you land helicopters and airplanes like an air traffic controller.  Unfortunately he’s stuck on level 9 and probably not too happy I’m telling the world!

Free games at Plays.org

Whether your trying to de-stress or fight boredom I really want to spread the word on how awesome Plays.org is!  They have so many different games to choose from, including classic arcade games and educational kids games too.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an active gamer or not, either way the free games will be so fun and enjoyable you’ll feel like a kid again.  Do me a favor ok?  Go have some fun at Plays.org and tell me what your favorite game is.

HOW 2020 CHANGED THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

HOW 2020 CHANGED THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

Colorado housing market

2020 was definitely an unforgettable year that impacted the lives of many people.  Due to the effects Covid-19 not only was our health affected but also our jobs and the real estate market market too.  Real estate naturally fluctuates from year to year, but 2020 has changed the housing market in a significant way causing struggles well into 2021 and beyond.

Although we live in Colorado my husband Brian has a real estate centered business in Texas.  He himself has witnessed an imbalance of people needing to buy versus people wanting to sell, which what is most commonly referred to as a seller’s market.  A seller’s market dramatically causes real estate prices to increase leaving those looking for a new home only to struggle.  Another example of this scenario unfortunately is my sister in Arizona.  Due to the extreme demand in real estate her rental home was recently listed for sale on the market, and it instantly sold.  Hearing these stories from around the country made me want to look around at my local real estate market to see if we were experiencing the same effects.

Fascinated by the inflating real estate prices, I decided to look up the real estate data in my own county of Larimer County, Colorado.  Much to my surprise I saw a that our county had experienced a 14% increase in real estate prices since 2020.  This piqued my interest so I decided to do a little bit more research the data about larger cities in my state.  As I searched I noticed that real estate values in larger cities actually lost value while that in the smaller more rural cities gained value.  I believe this is due to Covid and the job market.  Many Americans nationwide found themselves unemployed and searching for jobs.  Some areas were better able to provide employment than others, which made them attractive to job seekers, as opposed to other areas that had a harder time.  This caused a migration of workers to these new job centers which created a spike in demand for houses, unfortunately increasing the price of real estate in that area.  To quote Coloradoan, shopping for real estate in my county is like the Hunger Games of real estate.  While sellers are gaining from this situation the buyers are clearly suffering, and many are turning to rentals.

You may have heard of various rental websites over the years, but there is a new kid on the block in Zumper.com.  Zumper has rental data for markets all across the country and should be your first source when researching rentals where you live.  Whether you’re single, a couple, or a family struggling in today’s real estate market, Zumper can help.  Naturally a sensible solution is finding a quality rental home or apartment until you can decide if purchasing a property is best for you.  Some people find that renting is best for their long-term solution, while others can use it for a short-term fix.  The bottom line is that “home is where the heart is”, and if you are finding yourself in need of a new home Zumper is ready to help you.

8 TIPS FOR SURVIVING MOVING DAY

8 TIPS FOR SURVIVING MOVING DAY

Moving is stressful, yet it’s one of life’s unavoidable events.  Our family has moved so many times over the years, and as the big day approaches so does the stress and anxiety!  Here we are again preparing for another moving day, although this big day is a little bit different.  

It’s our daughters who are moving this time, several states away for college, only adding more to my stress and anxiety.  With each major family move I’ve been able to pick up tips here and there that can be a major help toward surviving a move!  So I thought I’d share my 8 helpful tips below.

ELIMINATE ALL CLUTTER

I’ve moved a lot in my years and one of my biggest regrets is moving things that I don’t need or want.  I recommend going through your items and creating groups that no longer serve you.  Consider donating items, having a yard sale, or listing things at online sale sites.  Not only will this help cut down on the amount of expense and work, you might make some extra cash and you’ll be helping others in the process.

MAKE LISTS

When it comes to moving there is a lot that needs to get done!  Never underestimate the power of lists!  When I’m stressed my mind can easily become overwhelmed and race with everything I need to do.  Having a visual to-do list will calm your mind and let you efficiently get things done, plus it’s so satisfying each time to cross off a finished task!  Consider creating several task-oriented lists if your workload is large and you’re feeling overwhelmed.

PACK UP ALL NON ESSENTIALS FIRST

Naturally it’s easy for our eyes to become overwhelmed with the amount of items that need to be packed up and moved.  One helpful way to overcome this is to slowly pack up non-essentials.  If you haven’t used it in the last month then chances are it’s a not an essential item.  This is a great way to get a jump on boxing stuff up early on while still creating a calm atmosphere. 

CLEAN & MOVE YOUR HOME IN PHASES

Packing and cleaning our home in phases has been extremely helpful in our many moves.  I like to start with low areas in our home such as a spare bedroom, office, or dining room and then seal them off.  I do this by organizing, decluttering, boxing items up, and then cleaning.  Once a room is complete I lock the door or seal it off with tape and then I focus on my next space. 

FOCUS ON THE EXCITEMENT

Moving is exhausting, plain and simple.  Instead of focusing on any negative emotions focus on your future!  You may be excited about your new home, a job, or a great new city to explore.  By focusing on your positive future you’ll be happier, more energetic, and ready to get the work done! 

PRACTICE GOOD SELF CARE THE WEEK BEFORE MOVING

I can’t stress enough the importance of good self care before moving, you need to be kind to yourself leading up to your big move.  Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious food.  Exercise or take a yoga class or an extra long bath.  This will help you to stay feeling your best and ready for the big day.   

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

Taking care of your body and keeping it healthy is crucial during any move.  Make sure you’re wearing proper attire and good shoes to support your feet.  Use proper lifting techniques and take breaks to rest as needed.  Taking breaks to rest can be hard when you don’t have much furniture left in your home.  It’s a great idea to have a few folding chairs around when you need to relax.

CALL IN PROFESSIONALS WHEN YOU’RE BURNT OUT

It’s only natural to become overwhelmed during a move and moving professionals can take over the heavy part for you.  If you live in the Northern Colorado area, Taylor Moving and Storage, LLC, is a full service moving and storage company that has been serving the Boulder community since 1997.  Their simple all-inclusive hourly rates can provide peace of mind with no hidden fees.  Not only can they provide the moving services you need, they also provide shipping containers and self storage.  This honest and reliable moving company is readily available to help you with all your needs.  I’d say that this professional Boulder, Colorado, moving company takes the stress out of moving!

Moving is stressful, plain and simple, but with these tips it’s quite manageable!  You’re exciting new location awaits!  If you have any helpful moving tips to share please comment below!  Happy moving day friends, you’ve got this!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SALTER FAMILY

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SALTER FAMILY

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I wanted to share some highlights from our Christmas card photo shoot.  We tried to take our photos this year at the Stanley hotel but the weather would not cooperate at all.  Not only was it freezing cold, the winds were insane.  If you’ve ever visited Estes Park in the winter you’ve probably experienced some crazy wind at some point.  We literally couldn’t get a single photo without our hair blowing around crazy.  After some major hair brushing in the car we decided to drive around town and look for a spot sheltered from the wind.

Eventually we ended up at the YMCA camp.  Brian hiked down to the frozen pond and found a spot that was mostly wind free.  He set up the tripod and motioned us down to the frozen pond, I stepped out of the car and that’s when fear set in.  Are you kidding me?  We’re taking family photos here?  The spot where nearly 10 years ago I fell walking down to the pond and fractured my spine?  This is really happening?  I guess Brian saw my look of panic on my face and walked up to help me down… I had a death grip on him.  The good news is I didn’t fall again, we were able to get some family photos and I conquered my fear of the YMCA frozen pond.

My son Corey visited us back in August and I wish he could of visited us for the holidays but he’s busy with his own plans and I have to respect that.  He was greatly missed though.

Haley recently turned 18 this year and was accepted into University of Texas, and she’s so excited to study medicine.  I’ll talk a little bit more about her below.

Ashley is doing great living here.  She’s taking culinary classes and has a new found love for cooking… and that means she’s usually making a huge mess in my kitchen!  She turns 16 soon and I can’t believe how the time has flown by.  She absolutely loves living here with all the beautiful nature around us.

I need to be honest this has been a very hard year for me.  Acclimating to this new life was tougher than I thought it would be.  Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love living here but it’s been a transition.  New house, new climate, trying to find new friends but not really having time because we’re so exhausted working on home projects and then there is Haley.

I haven’t really talked much about our situation because it’s been so hard.  After a lot of back and forth she decided not to move to Colorado with us.  She was onboard at first but she changed her mind and wanted to finish her senior year in Texas.  She has a late birthday and turned 18 soon after the school year started and as an adult we gave her the choice to stay.  Even though she flys down to visit every 6 weeks or so it’s been extremely hard on me emotionally.  I’ve felt unbearable guilt and that on top of the moving and remodeling stress has been a lot to cope with. It’s caused a little bit early empty nest syndrome and I’m trying hard to be strong.

Like I said it’s been a hard year and I’m excited to start a fresh one.  Brian and I have started going on winter hikes up in Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s been great, almost like therapy.  Nature therapy.

I’m taking a blog break for several weeks, a much needed holiday break, and to spend precious time with my family.  I’ll be back blogging sometime in January.  I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  2020 is going to be a beautiful new year for us all!

CABIN UPDATES & CHAOS

CABIN UPDATES & CHAOS

Happy August everyone!  I should have updated the blog weeks ago, but with all the dust and dirt July just slipped by… it’s been pure chaos here.  Things haven’t been going smoothly in terms of our cabin remodel… everything has taken 10 times longer than we thought it would, and we’ve ugh… had some issues with our workers.  I’m pretty sure we’ve survived the worst and things are starting to turn around because honestly I can’t take anymore stress.  For me to be happy, sane, and function properly I need things to be clean, organized, and pretty, and I’ve had the exact opposite.  We’ve had workers in our home nearly every day for almost 5 weeks, and that includes some weekends too.  It’s really taken a toll on me, there is literally nowhere to go for privacy, and every night I, or I should say we, collapse into bed from exhaustion.  I do have some updates to share though.

Colorado Cabin Estes Park

First of all, we sanded and repainted the metal deck railing.  We chose Benjamin Moore Appalachian Brown, this color is going to be used on all our exterior trim and garage, and indoor on our spiral stairs and railing.  I love the way that it looks, I took this photo recently after a rain storm.  Now we just need to add the deck wood floor, but were waiting on our new glass and sliding doors first.

One thing that has been incredibly frustrating is the amount of junk and trash around our property, then add in all our construction demo and we’ve had an absurd amount of trash.  We had a HUGE commercial grade dumpster delivered and it’s been emptied 2 times and it’s ready for another.  Wasn’t it nice for the original owners to leave us a broken microwave in the garage from 1987?? #kindness

Colorado cabin remodel update

We decided to remodel the downstairs bathroom first, we’ve nicknamed it the bathroom from Hell.  This is where literally everything has gone wrong.  We had some workers redo the plumbing, HVAC, and move a gas line (the ceiling was too low because of the gas line).  After nearly 3 weeks and still no progress we told them not to come back.  They did almost everything wrong!  We had plumbing parts put in upside down, and our favorite was the bathtub faucet at chest height.  This is a bathtub shower combo mind you, and they knew that.  Yet they still argued with us they were right.  Can you imagine taking a relaxing bath while water falls 4 feet down into the tub, and then having to stand up to turn the bath water off??  I mean come on!  After paying a lot of money to those guys and getting very, very upset, our wonderful general contractor had Brian2 come fix it.  Brian2 has been a true gift!  He’s so nice and full of knowledge, he’s been teaching Brian1 (my hubby) lots of helpful skills!  By the way it’s taken Brian2 10 days to fix all the wonky plumbing Dumb and Dumber did.

Colorado cabin remodel update

The stairs have been a nightmare to deal with, both sets.  The spiral stairs had old dirty carpet glued down, the glue was so thick that it took me FOREVER to strip it off.  Then we had to get a grinder and smooth off the chunky welding spots, it was bad.  From there it’s been a blur of more sanding and patching of the rough uneven metal.

stripping carpet off metal stairs

Our main entry stairs are metal and concrete and go straight down…  y’all we fall up and down stairs all the time!  These are a huge injury waiting to happen so I’ve decided a nice carpet is the way to go.  The floor company argued it couldn’t be done but Brian determined never to give up found a solution that lets the stairs be carpeted and still up to code.  The stair company finally agreed it would work but we would need to prep the stairs ourselves and chisel out the concrete.

stair demo

Luckily Brian2 let me borrow his amazing chisel tool thingy.  I took out all my frustrations and chiseled up all the concrete myself!  Brian1 just finished building the wooden stairs and as soon as the construction calms down I’ll be having carpet installed soon… and I have an awesome wooden branch handrail I can’t wait to install!

stair demo

My original plan was to have a red front door, with our house painted a richer shade of brown.  I quickly realized that was a bad idea, after testing a few shades of red I just accepted it wouldn’t work.  It clashed horribly with the stone and just felt wrong.  My backup choice was teal, we decided on Home Decorators Sophisticated Teal, the blue color on the left… now if only my new craftsman door would arrive!

teal front door

As for the living room, we’ve enclosed the closet, that is now in the master bedroom, and brought it up to the ceiling.  What a difference it makes!

Colorado cabin remodel update

The gas fireplace is installed and waiting inspection so it can be completed.  I’m a bit frustrated our ceiling is still not installed… it’s been in the garage for over a month now!  It had to acclimate, be stained, and now we’re just waiting on everyone’s schedules to clear up.

Colorado cabin remodel update

Our master bedroom is coming along nicely.  This photo was taken right before Brian2 fixed all the wonky bad wall texture, and Brian1 has built my new closet.  We’re planning everything to be super space efficient… I refuse to give up my king sized mattress, so it’s definitely tight.  I’m just waiting on baseboards and my doors to be stained, it should be up on the blog within a few weeks.

tiny master bedroom planning

We did have some drama with these pine doors.  This is after staining with a natural colored stain, NOT OKAY!  What is with those zebra stripes??  We returned all of our doors and bought knotty alder.

ugly pine doors

We removed the large cabinet along the wall in the dining area.  My plan was always to take out this window, we have plenty of windows and it’s not needed.  Because of our open floor plan I won’t have a chandelier over my table… which is so weird for me but it will be so much easier taking tablescape photos without a chandelier knocking us in the head.

Colorado cabin remodel update

We bought a larger deeper table and I have plans to add banquette seating and possibly sconce lighting for ambiance.  When we do our kitchen remodel the cabinets will need to be moved left slightly to accomodate a dishwasher so I’ve got to design this space knowing in a year or so the pantry and cabinets will move down a foot or two.

Off topic but I’ve mentioned our house is framed all in steel, isn’t it weird how you can see the beams coming through the walls and ceiling?

Colorado cabin remodel update

Out of sheer frustration I added cabinet knobs and pulls.  Seriously it was hurting our hands to open them and they open in weird unexpected directions.  It made such a difference!   Those tacky lights are next to go.

It’s so funny Haley and I were cooking in the kitchen, it’s tight but doable.  She’s like me and loves to cook.  I asked “So what are your thoughts on the kitchen.”  She said “it’s ok, it works, but I wouldn’t plan on cooking Thanksgiving dinner in it.”  That evening my sister texted asking about cooking Thanksgiving together at the cabin.  We laughed so hard… I mean maybe it’s possible I don’t know.  It was just a funny coincidence.   I will say I HATE cooking on this electric stove top, and it’s a nightmare to keep clean.  I can’t wait until I get a gas stove top again!!

Colorado cabin remodel update

Those are my updates for now.  We’ve been through the worst so fingers crossed things should start moving along quicker.  Hopefully I’ll regain my sanity and keep the blog regularly updated again.  After our bedroom is done our next focus is to finish the downstairs bathroom, Ashley’s room, then the living room and deck.  Plus I’ve got to try to get the cabin exterior painted in the next month of two before cold weather really hits.  You might could say I’m a bit overwhelmed.  Click here to see more of our cabin before photos.

Taking a break from cabin drama, Haley and I came up with an interesting twist on a new strawberry shortcake themed dessert, so expect that to be on the blog next!  Take care!

THE STRESS & REALITY OF MOVING

THE STRESS & REALITY OF MOVING

It seems like I’ve been saying we’re moving for months now… or at least it does to me.  As of yesterday it’s official, we no longer own our house.  We are paying a month’s rent, though, so we technically have this house until the last day of May.  Yesterday was so emotional for me, on the way up to our closing I was almost in a trance like state… just very weird.  I’m truly excited to move but this month is full of obstacles.

Yesterday we were supposed to close on the new cabin in Colorado but it was delayed 2 weeks, which is especially frustrating because renovations were originally supposed to start this week.  It’s actually getting kind of comical at this point all the delays with the cabin.  It took over 2 weeks to finish the inspection (they usually take half a day) but it couldn’t be finished because the furnace needed a new part to turn on and the only company that still made the part they needed was in Texas, but they were behind production because a tornado hit their warehouse.  We finally got the part but geez…. these are just some of the absurd situations were dealing with!  Agh!!!!

We have a roof over our head but emotionally I feel homeless.  Our Texas home belongs to another person and our new cabin technically isn’t ours yet, and it’s making me feel out of sorts.  Plus our house is all torn up and empty.  We decided to sell off almost all our furniture, and people keep asking me why we’re doing that.  First of all this cabin has a different vibe decor-wise, and most of our stuff won’t look good, plus since the cabin is smaller we will need more space-saving furniture, and also we don’t want to haul a ton of furniture up there that we probably won’t use.  I need to be very efficient in decorating and designing the cabin.  I have some ideas how I want to decorate but I really need to live in the cabin a while and let it speak to me.  Word of advice- mistakes are made when you decorate too quickly!  You end up wasting time and money.

It’s crazy all the stuff we’ve sold, many things sold to the new owners which worked out great, our other stuff pretty much sold instantly on Craigslist and at our garage sale.  I’m taking my smaller kitchen table, our mattresses, and my ivory sofa and chair, that’s really it… and some little decor stuff that I love.  I’ll probably end up selling those after we get settled in the cabin and I redecorate, but we need a spot to eat and a sofa to sit on until I find what I want.  I’ve felt sad selling some of my favorite pieces but at the same time it feels good to get rid of everything.   It’s crazy how much stuff we had in this house, I’ve packed up so many boxes already.  I’M SO OVER IT!!!

I had fun with the monthly loves category but it came to an end naturally.  I was purging and selling stuff off once we went into contract, and the last thing I want to do is buy more stuff that I would need to pack up, so that’s the story with that.  I haven’t really wanted to do outfit posts either, I haven’t wanted to shop plus I’ve gained a little bit of weight and nothing fits good.  I’ve just been stress eating way too much lately!!  I’m about to get the weight off, I actually had just started dieting a few days ago and then our realtor gave us tickets to the all you can eat porch at the Rangers game tomorrow.  I’ve dreamed about the all you can eat porch for years!  Screw the diet and pass the nachos please!

I feel like we’re all in survival mode right now, the girls are stressed out with school and just ready for the year to end.  They work and study hard so naturally they’re burnt out… poor Haley had 5 AP tests this week and the SAT is tomorrow.  As soon as we close on the new cabin we’ll go up and take some before photos, I’m excited to share it with you, but I’m also a little mortified how it currently looks.  Mentally I have it decorated and remodeled and it looks amazing though… haha!  So far we’ve picked out stone for the new fireplace and we’ve redesigned the window wall and ceiling.  I can’t wait to share cabin photos and projects with you!  It won’t be much longer!