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3 Important Tips Home Improvement Projects

Any home improvement project to your house can be a stressful time. Having just gone through the process of getting quotes to completion, I thought I would share what I learned. Keep reading for 3 very IMPORTANT tips that apply to any home improvement project and can help make it a little less stressful!

First let me tell you about our house. We moved in with hollywood dreams and a list of home improvements we would do. Then life happened. First we had to remove the awful smelling carpet. New flooring downstairs was put in before me moved in. A new wood burning insert was put in within a year. We painted some rooms and customized it to our liking! Thanks to some hail damage, we have a new roof too! We added new windows and door to the front of the house as well. All these improvements have been successful!

At this point we have unfinished hand rails on the stairs, counter tops that were past being dated, and brass hardware that had to go! While we love our first home, situations in our life have changed and we are needing to relocate closer to my husbands dream job… the farm! This was part of our new year goals for 2019! However, this means it is time to get these other projects done to sell the house!

Let the work begin! We started with updating the hardware since that was easy and done within a day! Next, painting, which has been a learning process. Maybe more so for me than my husband. So here are my tips that I learned, kind of the hard way!

Get Multiple Quotes

When obtaining quotes for your home improvement project, get more than one! Do not settle for the first person that promises you the moon. Going through this process will not only give you a range of price points to work with, but also ideas. When we began getting quotes, I wanted to whole house painted, top to bottom! The goal again is to get the house ready to sell. Painting everything is not what was going to help get us ready. The painters that came to do the first few estimates did not seem to be mindful of my true needs or budget. They were than willing to quote me almost nine
or ten thousand to do everything I “wanted”, not “needed”.

It took one very honest person to come in and set me in the right direction. Pointing out that the trim and doors are gorgeous and do not needed painted. The kid’s rooms were good and did not need any changes. I do think that job then became to small for him to take on as he is a larger contractor because it took a while to get the quote back. By the time I had received it, I had already given the business to someone else. I did however follow his advice to only paint what really needed to be done!

Getting second quotes from the same contractors are not a bad idea either. You may change your mind on the scope of work to have done with the original home improvement project and they may need to adjust cost. While this may not seem beneficial and annoying to the contractor, it is important to know exactly what you will be paying for. Which brings me to the next point!

Communicate The Specifics

When we were getting quotes, I often did It on my own due to my husbands work schedule. I thought we were on the same page as to what exactly we wanted. I thought that we had agreed firmly on what we were having done and our time line to have it done in. When it came down to it, he did not know that I wanted the living room and our bathroom repainted.

Likewise, communication with the contractor is important. The painting company that we used came once and did a quote. I really liked the owner. He was polite, professional and had children around my kids age. Not to mention he is a veteran and I love supporting veterans whenever I can. When I called to schedule the work, I asked if he needed to come requote since it had been a while or what we needed to do to move forward. He called back 3 days later and was ready to schedule the work.

I did research on my own on paint colors that are good for resale value. My husband and I went and picked them out, and I TEXTED them to the company. Never once did the painter come and confirm what work was being done or verify colors. This stressed me out to be honest. However, when you hire a professional, you put your trust in them. Day one he calls and confirms work, suggests more and tells me he misunderstood what I wanted when quoting. This conversation added $1100 to our total. While I agreed to all the extras, I failed to discuss it with my husband. This caused tension between all three of us the rest of the project. I felt like I was walking a fine line to keep both my husband and the painter happy.

Ugh! Talk about a tough situation. The lack of communication between the three of us inconvenienced all of us. The strain it placed during the 5 days that our house was a mess was not worth it. The takeaway here is to make sure you and your significant other are there for the quote and be very specific on what you are needing or wanting done. Always request a second quote from the contractor you select for any home improvement project. This gives you the opportunity to make any adjustments before the project starts and you will not be caught off guard. Lastly, select a contractor that is willing to assist you in this process. Make sure they are willing to come do a second quote. Do they help in selecting the colors or even to meet you to select them?

Don’t Settle For Less Than Perfect

After this home improvement project was finished, we began cleaning up our home. Being satisfied with the overall job done, we overlooked thee imperfections and we decided to fix them on our own in order to “be done” with painting. The house is brighter and looks clean and complete for the first time since we moved in A day later we noticed white paint splatters on the floor and stairs. Tiny, but there.

Anyone that has redone any part of their house knows that you take great pride in it. You also know that it is not cheap. I had originally told the owner of the company that I was going to clean the floor myself, I quickly changed my mind. We paid good money, that we worked hard for to have a good quality, professional job done. I will not be spending my time cleaning up their mess! Nor should anyone else have to!

I hope that the lessons I learned will help someone from making the same! It is easy to get caught in the excitement of a project and miss small and minor details. Make yourself a list and don’t settle!

Good luck to you as you take on any home improvement projects! I would love to hear any more tips, tricks, or lessons from you all! Please comment below with any advice or recommendations you have!

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XOXO- The Squirrelly Mom!


5 Ways To Stay Connected With Your Spouse

Life is busy, the kids are active and require hours of your attention, the house needs cleaned, dishes need done, but what happens to our marriages?  We often set our spouse to the side thinking they will be there when life slows down, when in reality we cannot guarantee that. I want to share 5 ways that you can stay connected with your spouse during the busyness of life.

This is Us

I love my husband and I love spending time with him. However this time of the year it seems like too many days go in between. On top of hi“day job” he also farms. He stays very busy and often times is not home until almost 10 PM. When he is home I am busy with our two kids, cleaning, cooking,blogging, and working on doTerra. We have often come to a point where we felt so disconnected because of life. We hadn’t had time to sit and talk to just the two of us in a week! Knowing that life is never promised, we try to make the effort to stay connected and show that we care. I am sure that we are not the only ones going through life, right? So, here are some ways that we try to stay connected that may work for you all too! 

Make Breakfast

food plate sandwich meal
Photo by Angele J on

I know that Brain is a cranky, irritable man when he does not eat soon after he wakes up. He wakes up at 4 and leaves the house by 4:30 and making sure he had a healthy breakfast that would keep him fueled for a few hours wasn’t always promising. So I started making his breakfast. I used to meal prep breakfast sandwiches or burritos for him and he really liked those. They were quick and easy too! Then I decided that I really enjoy being up with him and having even a two-minute conversation, so now I make him breakfast sandwiches every morning. Breakfast does not have to be fancy. It could be as easy as pouring cereal into a bowl! Don’t overthink it! Your spouse will really enjoy it and it is a small act of service that lets them know you are thinking about them and care for them. After all, the way to a man’s heart is food, right?

Pray for them

During this time of the year, it is easy for Brian to get run down and worn out. I pray for his strength to keep going, his patience with the kids (let’s be honest, we are all irritable when we are tired), and I pray for his safety.  If life is so crazy that you can only get one sentence out to your spouse, tell them you prayed for them. Brian recently stopped and asked if he could pray for me. It was the sweetest thing and it made me so happy. He prayed for me in areas I don’t even pray for because he can see it through another perspective.  Praying for your spouse does not have to be complicated either. Just pray that they feel God’s love and comfort. Letting them know you prayed for them shows them that you thought of them and care enough about them to ask for God’s help in caring for them.

Do a task for them

Brain and I have fallen in to pretty set roles with the housework. He mows, takes care of all things outside and does the laundry. I cook, clean, do the grocery shopping, and do the running with the kids. Whenever Brian steps in and cooks dinner for me, it is priceless. Sometimes I just don’t want to cook and then have to clean up. Brain will come in a take the cooking part and it gives me that time to either rest or do something else. Last week I mowed for him. I did this so he could enjoy doing something else, which was farming then going to the lake. I also have done the laundry this week so that he  does not have to worry about doing it when he gets home from the farm. These little things may seem to go unnoticed, but they really don’t (especially when it is 4:30 in the morning and their work clothes are dry)! Helping your spouse out should be something we do every day, not just every now and then. When you take on a task they normally do, it takes so much pressure off them!

Plan a date night

My friends tell me that Brian and I have more date nights than any other married couple they know. I love hearing this! I love making time for Brain away from the kids and life. I love focusing my attention on him instead of making sure the kids eat! Having time with your spouse is so important. When we stop making time for them, we stop making time for the health of our relationship. Our marriage comes before our children because they will grow up and leave and then it will just be us! It is important to us to not let ourselves become so disconnected and focused on the kids that we forget how to be a couple.  By us making time for each other, we are also showing our kids how to have healthy relationship and to put their loved one as a priority. Date nights do not have to be expensive or elaborate. Go have a cup of coffee, get ice cream, go for a walk, have a picnic, or go out for dinner. Whatever your budget is, there is something you can do that will allow you to spend a few hours alone with your spouse! Try arranging it all and surprising them, there may be some planning involved to make sure the night works for you both, but come on, it will be worth it! 

Touch them

man and woman holding each others hand wrapped with string lights
Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on

I know this one is out there, but did you know touching someone is a great way to connect with them. Have you ever noticed your doctor comes in and touches your shoulder or that you embrace a friend with a hug? These simple ways of touching someone helps you release tension and build a connection. When we talk about touching our spouse,we can be a bit more intimate with them to connect with them.  Often times at dinner, Brian and I will hold hands for a minute or two before or after eating. Hugging and kissing your spouse allows for a moment of just the two of you. Brian and I both enjoy our backs to be rubbed, so we will find time to rub each other’s back. If your spouse likes their feet rubbed, rub their feet! Making an effort to touch your spouse and embrace them is a great way to connect with them and show you still care about them. I know after I had our first child, I was annoyed with being touched. I didn’t want Brain to touch me because I had been holding baby all day and just wanted time to myself, but looking back, Brian was trying to show his love and support by hugging me. When your spouse is trying to connect with touch, don’t push back or reject the offering. Embrace it and the effort given by both of you will help keep the connection you have!

Don’t let the busyness or stresses of everyday life get in the way of having a healthy marriage. There are enough odds against it that we need to make the effort to prove them wrong. Take time and be intentional with your spouse, give them the love and attention they need just like you do your kids.  This is something that Brian and I work on and we are not perfect at. The effort is worth it though, we appreciate each other more and that only helps grow our love for one another!

Dear Lord,

You know all my squirrelly followers and their needs with their relationships. I pray that they put the effort into them and focus on the greatness that you have blessed them with. Help them to get creative as they stay connected with their loved ones!




The Squirrelly Mom