Tag Archives: making a house a home

The Last Time We Rent

Our last rental before we buy a home.

In the five years that Justin and I have been married, we have lived in five places…all rented apartments (with the exception of my parent’s basement). Each move came with a reason, and none too lightly.

Our first apartment was a tiny, tiny married student apartment near BYU. It was perfect for us as college-aged newlyweds. When I got pregnant with Rhys and hired at a charter school 40 minutes away, we knew we had to leave our one-bedroom apartment.

Our second place was a very nice, cozy, large townhome in Sandy. True, it was a bit outside our budget, so when I quit teaching, we struggled to make ends meet on just Justin’s low salary. But, we loved it. And it is still my favorite place we have lived thus far.

Our third place was my parent’s basement. We lived there for 5 minutes, trying to build up our savings. It was comforting to live with my parents and have all the luxuries of a well-established household. Plus, no rent. But then Justin and his entire department was let go. Thus, began our search.

Our fourth place was in Texas. I spent hours on end looking at apartments online, pouring over reviews, and calling for availability. We finally found a place good enough for our needs and moved in within two weeks. It was great for never seeing it before we moved in. It was great quality and definitely one of the best apartments of the complex. It was close to everything, especially Justin’s work. However, it was only about 750 square feet. And, with Evelyn growing and becoming mobile…and the fact that both kids will continue to do so, made us realize we needed a bigger place.

So, here we are. Our fifth place in the five years of our marriage. It is almost as big as the townhome we had in Sandy. It is beautiful. It is at the very top end of our budget, but we have the means to continue to live in it for a long while. And, that is our plan. We plan on living here until we can own a home. Continue Reading

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Welcome Home to Texas

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

We have been here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for almost two months now. And, last weekend, we finally unpacked the last boxes and put away the last decorations. It feels like home, now.

It is definitely smaller than our town home in Sandy, but we are so grateful that we can be in our own place again rather than my parents’ basement! We are very lucky to live in the apartment complex that we do. We have some friends from Utah/Virginia that live two doors down from us (they moved in just last week!). The mall, stores, restaurants, our church, all of our doctors, the airport, the hospital, and the library are all within 10 minutes of us! Our apartment is in the first building, right next to the office, so it’s one of the nicer ones (and it’s right next to the pool).

We have a year-long contract and will be staying out that contract, even though Evelyn will be born in January. We will just have to squeeze our little infant girl into what space we have available…which means, she’ll be sharing our room and sleeping in the pack-and-play until we move.

Living Area

I absolutely love how much light comes into our living area. We have three windows and then a screen door which leads to our porch. We don’t need the lights on during the day, which was the complete opposite of our Sandy home. It is probably my favorite feature of the apartment. I also love the faux wood floor–it’s gorgeous. The color of the walls is nice, too. I don’t really like plain white walls, but I like this soft, neutral color since it still lets light in.

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

Kitchen

The kitchen is quite small, but not as small as our very first apartment. However, we are able to fit everything in it. There is a coat closet sized pantry, and in the utilities closet is even a washer and dryer! Hallelujah! I hate the cupboards…it kind of cheapens the rest of the apartment since everything else is updated. I also don’t like that we have electric spiral burners for the stove top. But, beggars can’t be choosers. I do like the open window by the sink. It separates the kitchen from the rest of the area, but still keeps it open.

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

Rhys’s Bedroom

Rhys’s bedroom is actually technically an office. But, they are able to call it a “bedroom” because it has a window and a closet. However, there isn’t even a light fixture in the room. And, it is tiny! There is no way I’d be able to fit a crib and toddler bed in there! I even have to keep Rhys’s dresser in the closet as it is! And, it doesn’t get cool, even though there is an open vent in his room connected to our AC. But, we are perfectly able to fit all of his toys (like his car play area, racing tracks, and Lego bin) (and a standing fan) in the corners. And, Rhys loves it, so that’s all that really matters.

We recently transitioned Rhys’s crib to toddler bed, and let him choose his own sheets. It was a tough choice between Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, PAW Patrol, and Lion Guard. His bedroom is also in the front of the apartment, right next to the front door, so he likes to look out his window and watch kids play soccer in the common area. He spends the majority of the day playing in his room independently.

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

Our Bedroom

Our bedroom is a decent size, with a nice walk-in closet. It also has a huge window that looks out to the pool. We kept it kind of plain in decoration and space since we will be fitting a little dresser, pack-and-play, and rocker in there come January.

It is actually the coolest temperature-wise in our apartment, especially when the AC and the ceiling fan is on, and I spend a lot of afternoons on my bed when I am feeling hot and pregnant. The water color painting above the bookshelf was actually a Christmas gift from Madison, my sister who is 3 years younger than me. She is quite talented at art. It is one of my favorite Christmas gifts I have ever received.

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

#blogtemberchallenge 2016 Day 8: A tour of our first home in Texas!

Sorry, you won’t get any pictures of our one bathroom, or our porch (it’s kind of boring…).

So, that is our apartment. It is our 3rd place we’ve rented since getting married, and our 4th place we’ve lived.

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

October 2015 Goals | Homemaking Skills

Holy cow, September went by too quickly! But, I was able to enjoy ushering in fall with decorations, candle scents, a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and some rain!

Last month’s goal was to Work From Home. Here is how I did.

Sub Goals:
Find a sell-from-home job and learn all there is about it
I haven’t done this yet…I see that most starter packs a bit on the pricey end, and I’m not ready to pay some to get some just yet.
Find work-at-home freelancing or transcription jobs
This is where I rocked it! I have 1 continual tutoring job, helping a senior with SAT and her English and history classes for the entire school year! Hello Black Friday deals on iPhone 6! I’ve also signed up and applied to about 5 other free lancing and transcription sites. I’m waiting on approval for a few and still need to take the transcription test for a few.
Join blogging campaign sites and participate in campaigns and join affiliate sites and learn all there is to it.
I joined US Family Guide Moms Connect program which allows me free tickets to different local activities or museums, etc. in exchange for a review on the blog. I know there is a lot of debate about whether or not bloggers should be paid in addition to free products, but I am just fine with free products! Other than that, I haven’t joined any affiliate sites yet. What are your favorite campaign groups or affiliates to work with for smaller bloggers?
Learn more about couponing and money-saving skills
I haven’t done couponing just yet, but we are currently working on different money-saving strategies, especially with grocery shopping. I also joined swagbucks for a few extra $$.

October 2015 Monthly Goal: Improve Homemaking Skills

October–Improve My Homemaking Skills
The house is organized, we have a routine set down, I’m getting to work on WAHM stuff, I’m learning more with my camera, my blog is growing and I’m on top of my game, and the holiday seasons are coming quickly. So, I want to take this month to do all I can to prepare for them, so that I can get ahead of the curve for December (and have a lot of posts to share for the Christmas season).

Sub Goals:

– Finish and mail off my ornaments for the Morrell Ornament Exchange
– Bake some fall treats
– Decorate for Halloween
– Redo picture wall in the living room
– Make a new recipe a week
– Make sure the house is clean and a treat set out for when Justin gets home every weekday
– Create at least three DIY activities for Rhys
– Actually use and update a family calendar/planner
 

What are your goals for this month?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

June Goal // Organize My Home & Sell Lesson Plans

This past month has been one for the books. It hasn’t necessarily been busy or chaotic, but it’s been ridiculous. We’ve had unexpected, huge medical bills. A city park tree fell on our old car and totaled it, so now we’re going through all the red tape for claims, etc, to get our money from them. It has rained continually most of the month with cooler temperatures (and my mental and physical health has both been affected by that). I’ve had a low dip, a reprise of my mild PPD. Numerous Pepsi’s have been downed in an effort to stay patient with my 7th graders. Baby illnesses, teething, and minor sleep regressions have occurred. So, I guess it was a busy and chaotic month, just full of minor things.

I decided that this year, my word would be motivation, but there was absolutely no motivation. It was hard enough just to survive, and we didn’t even do that very well…

May’s goal was to Sell My Lesson Plans.

Sub Goals:
– Organize my classroom binders to make sure they have full copies before I leave
– Redo all my unit plans and format them into PDF’s
– Upload and update my shop


I didn’t do any of those. But, what I did do was grab all my school unit binders and take them home so I can start…then I’ll return them during summer office hours.

I’m certainly hoping that being done with school on Thursday at 10AM and then having the rest of the weekend will help me have the motivation to begin June’s goals next week…that and the fact that I won’t be working anymore!! I’m still unsure of how I feel…

June–Organize My Home

It will have been almost a year since we’ve moved in. Rhys will almost be a year old. Seasons will have come and gone. I scrub every Saturday, but it needs a good deep scrub. I’ll also need to reorganize a bit and pack away some now unneeded baby stuff. If I do this, I will feel less stressed as a SAHM, and ready to dive into that role head on and totally ROCK it!

Sub Goals:
– Deep scrub the entire house
– Organize all cupboards, dressers, closets
– Organize the household files
– Do a Deseret Industries (like Goodwill) run
– Reevaluate budget


Also, I will be completing May’s goal as well.


What are you going to work on this month? What is your motivation for that?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bring It On, 2015!

Every year, I do resolutions. I keep with these pretty well until about mid-spring, then begin to forget. I’ve tried being specific, and I’ve tried being general. Neither have really worked. I’ve also used the excuse of being a busy college student or full-time worker. So, this year, I’m doing something different.

If you’ve followed this blog a while, you know that I love The Happiness Project and have wanted to do my own for a long time. Well, I’ve decided that this is the year to do it. But, before we get into that, let’s review this year’s resolutions…

Resolution #1 Improve in my daily scripture reading

I struggled with this the first half of the year. But, since Rhys was born, I’ve done great (except the past two weeks of vacation). I just use the first morning feeding–the peace and calm–to read and reflect.
Resolution #2 Continue blogging at least 4 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri, and on weekends)
For the most part, I’ve done pretty good with blogging at least 3 times a week…until busy weeks came up or when I was sick.
Resolution #3 Cook at least one new meal per month
I did really poorly with this because of the chaotic-ness of being pregnant, moving, teaching, and being a mommy.
Resolution #4 Read at least 1 book for myself each month
I read a few books this year for myself…definitely more than last year!
Goal #1 Have my baby in July and recover quickly
The birth went without a hitch! Although I feel like I physically recovered pretty well, my energy was significantly lagging.
Goal #2 After having the baby, get back to my regular weight
Umm…I lost half the pregnancy weight…but I still quite a bit to go. True, I’m currently the average weight for my height, but I miss my old weight.
Goal #3 Reach 200 followers on the blog (or at least 150!)
I wish! I tried–I networked, I redesigned, etc. etc. But, at least I’m over 100!

This year, I'm going to do my own happiness project and have monthly goals, rather than year-long resolutions.

My Word for 2015:
Motivation–This will require the word I had previously–patience. But, I have a lot of goals and hopes for this year. To be able to accomplish them all, I need to stay motivated. There will be different motivations–being a better mom, wife, Mormon, teacher, self, etc. I am doing this for myself. I am doing this for others. I want to improve and expand. I will have to remind myself each month why I am doing what I am doing. 
My Prerogative for 2015:
I want to become the woman I’ve always dreamed of being, the one everyone looks up to, the one that can only be complimented and have nice things said of her. I have plenty of examples: family members, friends, church members, blogger friends. I want to be more like them. And, as cliche as it sounds, I want to be this type of woman from Proverbs 31:10-31. I want this for myself, so I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished this year.
My Overall Goals for 2015:
1) I want to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and Mormon.
2) I want to end my last teaching year with a bang.
3) I want to improve my physical and mental/emotional health.
4) I want to have time for hobbies and talents, and create new ones.
So, without further ado, here are my monthly priorities and their sub-goals.
January–Grow My Blog
I want to seriously grow my blog. Not for income. I never expect to make anything over two-digits a year with the blog. But, out of pride and friendship, I want to. 
Sub Goals:
– Organize all my info with a planner, binder, spreadsheet (post calendar, groups, link-ups, sponsors, etc)
– Learn how to and implement scheduled posts on all my social media platforms
– Redo my Pinterest boards
– Be more active in blogging groups
– Reach out to bloggers and create 1 linkup and 1 giveaway
– Understand Google Analytics

February–Magnify My Religion
My religion has always been part of my life, but I want to be better and not take it for granted.
Sub Goals:
– Daily personal and family scripture reading with a scripture journal
– Daily personal morning and evening prayer, as well as daily family prayer
– Read an General Conference talk once a week
– Hold a full FHE every Monday
– Participate in church at least once every Sunday
– Find at least two times to perform charity or service to someone else

March–Improve My Health
Since the early fall, Rhys has been cranky when I would take him on runs, and then it got cold, and I got busy with school. I used that as an excuse to stop working out. I also because to excuse the quality and quantity of what I ate. No more.
Sub Goals:
– Run and exercise at least 5 times a week
– Try new types of exercise, such as kickboxing or yoga
– No sugar this month
– Try 1 new veggie recipe
– Try 1 paleo recipe
– 1 green smoothie a week

April–Learn My Camera
I got a Canon E05 T5 Rebel (at least, I think that’s its official name). I want to learn how to use it, as well as editing my photos.
Sub Goals: 
– Participate in (or even create!) a photo-a-day linkup on Instagram
– Do a fashion-post with my own photo skills
– Read all the manuals and watch all the instruction videos for my camera
– Explore picmonkey more and do the free-month trial

May–Sell My Lesson Plans
Every single unit I have taught, whether history or English, I have created a full-blown unit plan for (that’s just how I was taught, as well as being a Type-A). Well, most are on my computer, pretty unorganized, and a lot were lost when my school laptop died the blue death last year. So, I’m going to redo them and format them all professionally and upload them to my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. I’ve already sold a handful of lesson plans and projects, so I can’t wait to put my full unit plans on.
Sub Goals:
– Organize my classroom binders to make sure they have full copies before I leave
– Redo all my unit plans and format them into PDF’s
– Upload and update my shop

June–Organize My Home
It will have been almost a year since we’ve moved in. Rhys will almost be a year old. Seasons will have come and gone. I’ll need to reorganize a bit and will need to rescrub deeply!
Sub Goals:
– Deep scrub the entire house
– Organize all cupboards, dressers, closets
– Organize the household files
– Do a Deseret Industries (like Goodwill) run
– Reevaluate budget

July–Explore My City
There were a lot of things Justin and I never saw or did in Provo and we regret it. So, I want to explore Salt Lake County and get to know it’s history more.
Sub Goals:
– Go to the library once a week
– Have a picnic twice, in different locations
– Visit one new place (aquarium, park, museum, local restaurant, historic site) per week
– Visit the Community building and try to get involved
– Go to Bear Lake for the Morrell Family Reunion!!

August–Strengthen My Family
This month will be my 3rd anniversary. Rhys will also be 1 year old in July, and more cognitive.  I want to focus on my nuclear family. But, I also want to try my best to strengthen relationships with my parents siblings, in-laws, and other relatives.
Sub Goals:
– Plan a small anniversary
– A date a week (doesn’t have to be spending money)
– Visit the temple once with Justin
– Have sibling dates
– Have deep and honest conversations with my other relatives
– Do learning games/adventures/activities with Rhys every day

September–Hire Myself
Since I won’t be teaching after the first week of June, I still want to help earn some sort of an income–some play/date money for the family. I currently have one student I tutor on Saturdays–I want more. I also want to start selling something–maybe Scentsy. I think since I will have time, also learn more about and sign up for blogging campaigns and affiliate programs.
Sub Goals:
– Find a sell-from-home job and learn all there is about it
– Join blogging campaign sites and participate in campaigns
– Join affiliate sites and learn all there is to it
– Learn more about couponing and money-saving skills

October–Improve My DIY and Cooking Skills
I felt pretty impressive with DIY skills this December and I want to improve. I also want to explore more the recipes. So, this way, I can get ahead of the curve for December (and have a lot of posts to share for the Christmas season).
Sub Goals:
– Finish and mail off my ornaments for the Morrell Ornament Exchange
– Create a festive banner or decoration for the Fall season
– Create Rhys’s Halloween Costume
– Make a new recipe a week
– Handmake one new Christmas decoration

November–Write My Book (NaNoWriMo)
This month is NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. The last time I participated in this was when I was in high school. So, I really want to this year and think I will have time, especially when Rhys is sleeping. But, you know what they say–you have to read a lot to be able to write well.
Sub Goals:
– Read and finish a book per week
– Complete NaNoWriMo

December–Enjoy My Holidays
I want to end the year on a good, enjoyable note. Rhys will also be old enough to begin to comprehend the season. So, I want to go all out.
Sub Goals:
– Buy and watch old Christmas movies with Rhys
– Do Elf on the Shelf with Rhys
– Decorate the house with the family
– Visit Temple Square and see the lights
– Post all my DIY stuff on the blog
– Do Christmas cooking with Rhys and make plates to give to neighbors
– Host a Christmas party

Now, just because a month is over doesn’t mean I’ll give up on and forget the previous goals. And just because the goal hasn’t come up in the year yet doesn’t mean I won’t try to work on it. But, this way, I have one main thing to focus on each month to improve myself and my life. These will also help me to have patience. I’m pretty excited for this year!
What are your goals or priorities for 2015?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.