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How to Install Laminate Floors

Posted by Alyssa on September 30, 2017

laminate floors

If you can learn how to install laminate floors you will be able to save yourself a lot of money. My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper for our first home and knew that we wanted to swap out the old teal carpet for new flooring. Laminate floors matched the look we were going for, but we didn’t have room in our budget to pay for the installation and the flooring. Luckily, we found out that installing laminate floors isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds, and we were able to do it ourselves! Keep reading to find out how we (my husband) did it. 

How to Install Laminate Floors

laminate floors

Our living room before we installed the laminate floors. The hardwood floors under the carpet were totally trashed and we had to replace them with new flooring. Notice all our attempts at trying to find the perfect gray

First, it’s important to know that if it’s your first time installing laminate floors it’s going to take you longer than professionals who do it on a daily basis. There’s definitely a learning curve, but once you get into the swing of things it goes much more quickly. According to my husband, the key is patience. 

laminate floors

Getting started!

You’ll need a few tools to get you started, so make sure you have them handy. You can rent most tools you don’t own, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the budget to purchase everything you need.


Tape measure

Jamb saw

Chop saw


Utility knife


Nail punch

Carpenter’s square

laminate floors

The finished product

Laminate floors need a fairly flat subfloor, so make sure whatever surface you’re installing it on will work before you get started. We had a pretty big dip in the subfloor near one of the doors, but we used self-leveling concrete to get everything even and it worked great. Don’t skip out on the prep work if you want your floors to look nice longterm.

For the actual installation, check out the video below. Like I said, it’s pretty simple once you get going. One last tip! To quote my husband’s grandpa, measure twice and cut once. This is a project that is worth taking your time.



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Refrigerator Buying Guide

Posted by Alyssa on September 25, 2017


Seeing as refrigerators can last up to 13 years, it’s important to know exactly what you are looking for when you buy a new one. Knowing what you need and want will help you sort through the countless options available and end up with the best refrigerator for you and your family. 

Refrigerator Buying Guide


Determine Your Needs

Assess your current situation and ask yourself some questions. Do you eat out a lot and have little fresh food to store at home? Do you make most of your meals at home with fresh food? Do you eat a lot of frozen foods? The answers to these questions will impact what refrigerator style you will want, so it is important to know your needs before you buy.

Determine Size

Refrigerators come in all sizes and configurations. General guidelines suggest having 4 to 6 cubic feet per adult in the household, although if you buy food in bulk you may want more space.

Measure Your Space

Measure the depth, width, and height of the open space from a variety of locations to make sure there are no cabinets, chair rails, or baseboards that could impact the fit of the fridge. Determine which direction your fridge door will open and make sure there is at least 2 inches of extra space for the hinge to work properly. You will also need at least 1 extra inch of clearance around the top, back, and sides for airflow, so be sure to factor that in when measuring your space.

Not only does the fridge have to fit into the space, it also has to fit through your door and around islands, counters, and interior doorframes to get to it’s spot. Make sure the refrigerator you buy will fit the pathway you’ll be taking to the kitchen so you have a painless delivery and install.


Freezer on Top


This is one of the least expensive refrigerators with the most space for it’s size. As you may have guessed, the freezer is on the top of this fridge with the fresh food storage beneath it. The shelves in this refrigerator are wide and can fit large platters or trays easily. This style of refrigerator is great for people who use a lot of frozen foods, as the freezer storage is easiest to reach and getting things out of the fridge requires bending over or crouching down.

Freezer on Bottom


Fresh food storage is at eye level with a freezer on bottom refrigerator, which makes it a great option for people who use fresh foods more than frozen. The shelves of this fridge are wide, easily fitting platters and trays. Look for a freezer that has a drawer with baskets to keep things organized and visible as finding food in the freezer can sometimes be a challenge.

Side by Side


This refrigerator is made up of a freezer on one side and a refrigerator on the other. Because the narrow doors don’t open wide, it easily fits into smaller spaces.  For a family that uses a fridge and freezer equally, this is a good option as there are equal amounts of space for both the fridge and the freezer. This is also a good option for someone with physical limitations who can’t reach or bend for the freezer. The shelves of this fridge are narrow, which makes storing wide or oversized things a challenge. If this style is your choice, make sure you get the largest option you can fit, so you can have the most storage possible.

French Door


The french door style, two narrow doors on top and the freezer below, is a very popular option right now. The narrow doors need less room to swing open, meaning it can fit in smaller spaces easier. Because you only need to open one side of the fridge when getting what you need, this is an energy-saving refrigerator.

 Four Door


This refrigerator has two doors on top for fresh food storage and two doors below. While one of the doors is a designated freezer space, the other door can be used as a freezer or fridge depending on your needs. When the bottom door is used as a refrigerator, this has the most cubic space for fresh foods.



This refrigerator is made to fit flush with cabinets and counters. If you have space requirements, this may be a good fit although these refrigerators are generally the most expensive. This is an appealing option from a design standpoint because panels can be fitted to the front of the refrigerator to match the kitchen cabinets giving it a hidden look.


Counter Depth


If you want the look of a built-in for a more budget friendly price, you may want a counter depth fridge. This is a shallower fridge that doesn’t stick out past the countertops, mimicking the look of a built in. The shelving of this refrigerator is not quite as deep as other options, but it creates a sleek look in your kitchen.

Compact or Mini


Just as the name would suggest, these are small refrigerators perfect for a kitchenette, dorm room, or office. The temperature performance may vary, so be cautious when storing perishable foods. This fridge is best for drinks, sodas, and snacks.


There are many extra features available in refrigerators, so consider which ones are a priority to make purchasing easier.

  • InstaView Windows - These refrigerators have a glass panel on the front door that, once you knock on it, will light up and illuminate the contents inside. This technology helps you to quickly get what you want without leaving the door open longer than necessary.
  • Exterior Touch Screens - With an exterior touch screen you can organize your calendar, create a grocery list, listen to music, or look up recipes from your refrigerator. You will be able to connect it to your mobile devices as well.
  • Interior Cameras - By connecting your refrigerator with your phone, you’ll be able to check and see what is in, or missing from, your refrigerator wherever you are.
  • Filtered Water and Ice Dispensers  - Having a fridge that dispenses cold or hot water and crushed or cubed ice made from the ice maker in the freezer can be extremely convenient. These dispensers can be found in almost every style of refrigerator now and are very popular.
  • Door in Door - An exterior door will open only a small portion of the fridge allowing for easy access to small, often used items. The inner storage portion allows for storage of larger, less often used items.  
  • Temperature Control - A dial or panel that allows you to control the temperature of the refrigerator. Note: recommended temperature for refrigerators is between 37°F - 40°F and freezers between 0°F - 5°F
  • Shelves and Drawers - Shelves can be moved, adjusted, folded in half, and removed completely to fit your needs. Bins are able to be removed as well. Look for shelving with a spill-proof lip to keep messes contained.
  • Door Alarms - An alarm that will beep if fridge door isn’t completely closed. This not only helps prevent food waste, but also aids in conserving energy.  
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Trend Alert: Victorian Modern

Posted by Andie on September 24, 2017


Mininimalism has been the "It" style for a while now in the design world. ...... I for one love certain elements of the style: white walls, clutter-free book shelves, and streamlined furnishings.  But I'm ready for something a little more exciting.  Are you?  I kind of thought minimalism would never go away, but it looks as if it might get dethroned real soon.  The culprit is so unexpected I can hardly believe it myself: Victorian Modern!

Say, what???

Yes, you read that right.  Victorian Modern!  Traditional victorian is a style that can fall under the umbrella of maximalism, which is literally the exact opposite of everything that minimalism stands for!  To give you a taste, think: everything in excess, dark, moody colors, florals and small, intricate patterns, luxurious materials and textures (velvet!), ornate and grandiose furnishings, and lots of attention to the littlest details.  Everything is larger than life!

If you're hating how this is sounding, hang tight.  The best part about this seemingly up and coming trend is that it is not just plain victorian- it's with a modern twist!  It's taking what you love about Victorian, and mixing it with the things you appreciate about modernism/minimalism.  It might sound crazy, but I actually think the results are pretty cool.


via my scandinavian home

via pinterest


via pinterest

via pinterest


via pinterest


McGee & Co via pinterest


via amber interior design

What do you think??


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How to Get Gum Out of Carpet

Posted by Alyssa on September 23, 2017


The last thing you want to see is a piece of chewed gum ground into your nice, clean carpet. Knowing how to get gum out of carpet will save you a lot of time, money, and heartache. Don’t pull out the scissors to get the gum out and ruin your carpet at the same time. Check out our tips for keeping your carpets gum free instead! 

How To Get Gum Out Of Carpet


If there’s a glob of gum on your carpet, get a plastic bag full of ice and put it on top of the gum. After the gum has frozen, you’ll be able to use a butter knife to gently scrape it up. You might need to use some carpet cleaner to get any remaining residue up.  

This works best if the gum hasn’t been rubbed into the floor too deep. Make sure you are careful when you start picking at the gum that you don’t ruin your carpet fibers.



When you see the gum in your carpet, grab your hair dryer. Aim the heat directly at the gum, but make sure you are watching it closely so you don’t melt the gum all the way. As soon as you see the gum start to slightly melt, use a plastic bag to lift up the gum. The gum should stick to the plastic and lift off the carpet. You’ll need to use a carpet cleaner to finish cleaning up anything left behind from the gum.



Watch this video below to see how a professional gets rid of gum with things you probably have at home.

How have you gotten gum out of carpet?  


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Wood Floors in Kitchen Pros and Cons

Posted by Alyssa on September 21, 2017


There are so many benefits of hardwood floors in your home, but are they right for your kitchen? With tile or laminate as the go-to flooring type for most kitchens, it might be a hard decision to change directions and go for hardwood floors. Don’t be afraid! Hardwood floors in kitchens are completely doable, as long as you keep a few things in mind. Below we’ve listed all the pros and cons of having wood floors in your kitchen. 

Wood Floors in Kitchens Pros and Cons


  • Hardwood floors are beautiful and can add great value to your home. It’s a timeless look that won’t be going out of style anytime soon.
  • There are so many different types, colors, and textures of wood available that you will be able to find something that works with any style of home. If you’re worried about dents or scratches, pick a wood floor with a higher texture and it should conceal most imperfections.
  • Wood floors are extremely comfortable to stand and walk on. Unlike tile, which is cold and can be hard on your back and feet if you stand on it too long, wood floors are a warm and cozy flooring option.
  • Certain wood floors can simply be clicked into place when installed. This can be a lifesaver if you need to replace boards - just swap out the damaged board without having to tear out the entire floor.




  • Standing water on hardwood floors can warp or damage the boards, so leaks from sinks, refrigerators, or dishwashers can really wreak havoc on your floors if you don’t clean up the water as soon as possible.
  • Hardwood floors are some of the most expensive flooring options available and you will need to sand them down and refinish the floors about every 10 years to keep them looking nice.
  • Because hardwood floors are softer than other flooring types, dropping heavy objects can dent or scratch the boards.


When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t be afraid to put hardwood floor in your kitchen. You’ll need to be a little more aware of how you’re taking care of your floors to keep them in good shape, but as long as you sweep and clean the floors regularly, and use rugs or mats to protect from leak or dents, your floors should look great!

What do you think? Would you want hardwood floors in your kitchen?

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Smoke an Apple Pie on Your Traeger

Posted by Andie on September 20, 2017



Everyone can't stop talking about pumpkins around this time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I love pumpkins..... but I don't think apples ever get the credit they deserve!  Fall is for apple picking and baking apple pies in my book!   While I grew up watching my mom make apple pies, in my own family my husband has sort of taken on the roll of apple pie maker at our house.  Obviously I'm thrilled about this!  A few years ago he experimented one day and cooked an apple pie on our Traeger grill.  Needless to say, we haven't baked a pie in our oven since then!  Smoking a pie on the Traeger takes a little more time than simply baking it in your oven, but the results are so worth it!  You get everything you get by cooking it in your oven, plus more!  There is a perfect hint of smoke that you can taste on the pie that is really almost too good to be true!  

My husband has tried several different recipes, but always seems to go back to Grandma Ople's apple pie.  Make the pie as directed, and place in a skillet to bake.  Instead of baking it in the oven, throw it in your Traeger for a couple of hours, and VOILA---- you've got yourself a delicious smoked pie.  It'll change your life.


And if you don't already have one, check out RC Willey's awesome selection of Traeger grills , and add it to your Christmas list!  It's a game changer! 






Excuse my iphone pictures, but you get the idea!




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Sack Lunch Ideas

Posted by Alyssa on September 19, 2017

sack lunch

Now that school is in full swing and it’s time to keep track of homework, backpacks, school pickup and drop off, assignments, and so many other things, the last thing you want to do is come up with sack lunch ideas. If you’re in a PB&J sandwich rut, we’re here to help you come up with healthy, delicious sack lunch ideas. 

Sack Lunch Ideas

There are so many sack lunch ideas out there! I’ve gathered together a couple of websites with so many lunch ideas that you’ll never be stuck last minute trying to figure out what should go into the lunch box.

sack lunches

Find 100 ideas for lunches at the site One Crazy House. You'll find so many creative ideas your kids will love!

sack lunch

Coming up with interesting sack lunch combinations will be easy with this list of 30 lunch ideas from Peanut Blossom.

sack lunch 

Sandwiches don't have to rule the lunch box! Check out The Pinning Mama for some non-sandwich sack lunches.  

You may want to print off this image below as a cheat sheet for quick lunch inspiration!

sack lunch

via Tastes Better From Scratch

Good luck with lunches this year! What sack lunch ideas do your kids love? 

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Cleaning Wood Floors With Vinegar

Posted by Alyssa on September 18, 2017

wood floor

Did you know that you can clean your wood floors with vinegar? Once again, vinegar is the go-to cleaning supply you probably already have in your cupboard. Read below for instructions on how to make a homemade, non-toxic and natural cleaning solution that is good for your family and the earth. 

Creating the vinegar-water solution used for cleaning wood floors is extremely simple and inexpensive. All you need is water and white vinegar! Make sure you use basic white vinegar when you are making cleaning solutions to avoid staining your wood floors.

cleaning wood floors

To make your cleaning solution, mix 1 gallon of warm water with ½ cup of white vinegar. How easy is that? Make sure you wring out your mop thoroughly before you start mopping! You should use as little water as possible on your wood floors to avoid warping or damaging your floors. You could use a spray bottle to spritz your floors with the cleaning solution to control how much water is placed on your floors.

Check out this post for more tips on cleaning wood floors and tell us, what’s your favorite wood floor cleaner?

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Paint Colors for Dark Rooms

Posted by Alyssa on September 17, 2017

dark room

Finding paint colors for the dark rooms in your house can be tricky. Hallways, bathrooms, basements, and rooms with little to no windows can feel dark and cramped. Finding the right paint color will help transform the room, but the trick is actually finding something that will work. Check out these tips and ideas of paint colors for dark rooms! 

Paint Colors for Dark Rooms

First of all, we’ve got to get rid of the myth that painting a dark room all white will make the room feel bigger. This is, unfortunately, not true! White rooms feel light and airy because the paint color will reflect back lighting. If you don’t have any lighting, white walls don’t have anything to reflect back and your room will look sad and dull. While it may feel counterintuitive, avoid painting a room with poor lighting white. It won’t have the effect you’re going for.

On the other hand, it is true that painting a dark room a dark, bold color will make the room feel smaller. This might not be a bad thing if you are wanting a cozy room. If that’s not what you want, a neutral with some color in it will be your best option. Emily Henderson, a stylist from LA, came up with some of her favorite neutral paint colors she uses in dark rooms we’ve included below.

neutral paint colors

via Emily Henderson

The most important thing to do, regardless of how much lighting your room has, is to test out your paint colors before you commit and paint all your walls. You’ll save yourself a lot of work and a lot of money if you make sure the color is what you want before you pull out the paint brushes!


Do you have a dark room you’ve painted? What colors did you use?


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Trend Alert: Sofas in the Kitchen

Posted by Andie on September 16, 2017


Which room in your home do you think you spend the most waking hours in?  According to a houzz survey, we spend around 12% of our lives, or an average of 2.8 hours per day in the KITCHEN!  As a society we are finally waking up to the fact that kitchens are less about just preparing food, and more about being a place where we can gather to spend quality time with friends & family.  Open floor plans, plus this awakening to the fact that kitchens should feel comfortable and relaxing, have helped spur on this up and coming trend in the design world: putting sofas and other living room furniture in the kitchen!     

At first I thought it sounded a little crazy, but I'm really warming up to the idea.  Who doesn't want to be able to take a power nap in the kitchen?!  If you're worried about spills (which will most likely happen, especially if you have children), then I would suggest staying away from light upholstery and opting for something a little more forgiving, like darker fabrics or full-aneline leather.  

Here are some beautiful examples....


Amber Interiors via Pinterest


via houzz


via pinterest


Amber Interiors via pinterest


via houzz


What do you think?   


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