Author Archives: wisemaliha

Planning a new construction home

Hey ya’ll! Long time no see!

The new house project has begun…kind of. So, we put our house on the market. Link to the listing is below the photo for anyone looking in the North Little Rock, AR area.


Once our house sells (I’m praying and hoping it will soon) we will move into the small apartment that is connected to my dad’s granite shop. With a 100 pound golden retriever and a toddler that should be interesting; the apartment is maybe 500 sq ft. Please pray that I don’t go completely nuts! I’ll need to buy my wine by the case. HA!

Once we are in the apartment we should be able to start the build. One of the benefits of the apartment is that it is close to our land so going to and from to check on this or that will be easy peasy. I’m dying to get started and so excited I might pop!

Here is a refresher of what our little piece of land looks like:


It’s right under 4 acres of trees up on a hill. If we plan it just right we should have a view of a small lake.

We have been working with an architect to get our house plans just right. We started with just a picture of the floor plan of Southern Living’s Sugarberry Cottage and are making changes to fit our family. I love the cottage/farmhouse look!

Here is a screen shot of what we have so far. First draft of floor plan with my notes for changes.

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1st floor

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.01.55 PM

2nd floor

What would you change/add? This is our first house from scratch so I’m new to all this!


Free Christmas Gift Planner

Hey Ya’ll!

We have had a lot going on. I’ve been doing contest prep (one of these days I will do a progress post). And we put in an offer on some land that we will be building a house on (contracting it out ourselves). My goal is to try to share as much of the building process as I can to help anyone who is looking at building a house.

But for now, I’ve been thinking Christmas will be here before we know it. Truthfully, I am really looking forward to the holidays this year, because Mr. Middle Sister will actually be here with us to enjoy it.

So, I plan on giving good gifts. I made a gift guide last year that I really didn’t get to use. Last Christmas sucked without Mr. Middle Sister here with us. I kind of didn’t give gifts with the excuse of saving money.

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This year, I’m planning ahead. I have already wrote down a gift on my guide! So I’m giving ya’ll my guide for FREE! Enjoy!


Get the gift planner here

Planked Fireplace Update

Hey ya’ll!

What’s new?

We finished the fireplace redo last weekend…or was it the weekend before? I’ve been putting off caulking around the tiles, but I’ll get to it sooner or later.

We used 1×6 pine boards and had Lowe’s cut them to the length we needed. Luckily, we had two studs spaced just right to screw the boards into the wall. We used a nickel as a spacer. We pre-drilled the holes to avoid splintering the wood and so the screws would go in deep enough for me to fill the holes and smooth them over. We put a vertical plank on each side to give it more of a finished look, as well. The color is Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal.

I did paint the area behind the planks darker to avoid white wall peeking through.

Check out my awesome handyman screwing the first couple of planks in.


Progress…this project was spaced out over at least a week. IMG_0482

It was like this for 3 or 4 days. The top plank had to be cut down because it was too wide. I had to wait until I remembered to take it to the shop with me and then use the big scary saw without losing a body part. I managed, but was a little scaredy cat.IMG_0485

Here it is all done! We glued the side planks on with Liquid Nails since there were no studs there. IMG_0490

So far, it seems to be holding up. IMG_0489

Now I’ve just got to figure out how to decorate this. I don’t want to screw anything into the boards to hang anything. I’m thinking command strips to hold up a boxwood wreath with deer antlers in the middle…? Ok I have no idea really, I need to scour Pinterest for some ideas.

I do love, love, love our new fireplace. 

Before and after: (the before is the pic from the MLS listing when we bought our house since I didn’t think to take a before pic)

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Our walls were tan before, they are cream now, but this photo reads more tan since we took it at night.

On to our next project. I’m toying with the idea of tackling our master bathroom next. I plan to change out the tile on the tub surround and change out the granite. Maybe we’ll plank the wall behind the vanity…oh the possibilities.

We will just have to see!

What project are you working on?

TTFN ya’ll!

Fireplace project progress

Hey ya’ll! I have been keeping busy with projects. We are in the middle of redo-ing our fireplace and I’m already trying to plan our next project. 

Mr. Middlesister wishes I would just sit still, but I told him I ALWAYS have to have a project. It’s how I work. 🙂

So here is an update on our fireplace so far. We re-tiled it ourselves with a small marble subway tile from Lowe’s. It was a total b-word to work with. It kept crumbling when we would go to cut it. 

   Yes, we had to piece the hardibacker together because the insert or the mantle (or both) isn’t straight.  Pre-grout.

We have also started painting it.

  Post-grout, but not siliconed (just made that word up) yet. Here we are with one coat of paint. The color is Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore. 

Next we are planking the wall above the fireplace and siliconing (there I go making up words again) and painting a second coat on the fireplace.

More to come…

Kitchen Update: Before and After

Hey ya’ll!

Long time no see. 😉 I’ve been waiting to write another post until I could update ya’ll on our kitchen progress.

Initially, we weren’t planning on changing the kitchen, seeing as how we bought the house brand new at the end of 2013. After living in it for a year or so, I caved and painted the island as you may remember in my Kitchen Island Problem post and my solution here.

The island ended up looking a lot lighter and there wasn’t enough contrast between it and the rest of the cabinets. After a few months, I got fed up and sold it on Craigslist. While I looked for a replacement this little old console thingy sat there covering the wires coming out of the floor so my child couldn’t get to them.

baby island

baby island

It took months and months for us to decide what to do. I knew that ultimately I really wanted to replace the granite. The builder grade granite with that ogee edge just made me sad every time I looked at it. No snooty-ness intended, my job is granite so I know what I like in that department.

I finally convinced Mr. Middle Sister to agree to get new granite and a new backsplash. The ONLY reason we were able to afford this was because all we had to buy was the material. I reckon thats one of the perks of being a granite/marble/quartz/natural stone fabricator. Soooo…..I went with Crema Delicatus Granite, I really-really wanted (and still do someday) Carrara Marble, but our cabinets and walls are cream and Carrarra is white and gray. I knew it just wouldn’t work for this house.

Crema Delicatus Granite

Crema Delicatus Granite

I was debating on sink colors with those two little squares in the front. I ended up choosing a totally different one when I went to go pick up the sink. I ended up with a Blanco Precis Single Bowl in Cinder and I absolutely love it.

Wuv my new sink: Blanco Precis Super Single in Cinder

Wuv my new sink: Blanco Precis Super Single in Cinder

Our old sink was a 60/40 Stainless Steel and it was fine, but now that I have this baby, I’m never going back. Super Single bowl is the way to go. I can fit all my big pans and my kids dishes and more in there and keep my counter free of clutter. It is Aaaaamazing!

We did splurge on a restaurant style faucet. The brand is Danze. It was kind of an impulse buy, which we should be avoiding, but I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon with our frugal living. I need an intervention! lol, j/k. We will soon be forced to get back on said wagon so we can beef up our savings. I love our new faucet and am glad we didn’t keep the old one. I love the single hole in the granite. Our old faucet was two holes and I feel like that would’ve take away from the overall look.

Fabulous Faucet

Fabulous Faucet

At first, I wasn’t sure about it being stainless when our cabinet pulls are oil rubbed bronze. But once it was installed, I got over that real quick. Our appliances are stainless steel so I feel like that ties it all together.

It’s so exciting! Oh one more thing…we ended up having an island made and I stained it myself. I love how it turned out and I am now toying with the idea of putting in a planked wall above the fireplace in the living room stained in the same color. Whatcha think???

Feast your eyes!


I just love it so much!DSC_0210

Every morning when I walk into our kitchen, my heart jumps for joy!


Did I mention our new gray subway tile?DSC_0224

I love it as well.


A friend of mine does tile and she came and helped me with the backsplash. She did a lot of it, but she did teach me how to do it. I plan on retiling the fireplace soon with the same gray subway tiles. I alway have a project to work on. 🙂 I’m toying with the ideas of adding some variations of cabinet pulls and I’d really love to pull the microwave out and put in a range hood made of wood stained in the same color as the island. But, I may be getting ahead of myself here…as usual.

One more pic to show Before and After:

Before and After

Before and After

‘Til next time then. Thanks for stopping by!

What do you think, would you trade out your granite for something else? If so for what?

Checklist Progress

Hey ya’ll!  So just to update you, Mr. Middle Sister is finally home and I did get our bedroom and bathroom painted before he got here. Yay!

Photo on the left with Maverick on the bed is before. Photo on the right is new paint color. I’m thinking I still need something above the bed.


The tray in the bedroom looks a lot bluer than it should, something about the lighting…our house turns everything blue. I have a sneaking suspicion it is the tan ceilings. (Not a fan-but there’s no way I’m painting 12 ft ceilings either…)

Here is a photo of the blue tray (unfinished). I really drug that project out way too long…


Bathroom with new paint. Again this is Gray paint but the ceiling in here is tan for some ridiculous reason and I wonder if that’s why the walls look blue-ish. There’s my cutie pie in the bedroom trying to photo bomb.

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If you remember from my Productivity Slump Post, the bathroom was tan before I painted it. Next weekend, a friend of mine is going to come over and help me change the tile around the tub. I’m thinking subway tile because we are changing the granite on the vanity when the shop isn’t too busy to do it. That, and I’m a bit obsessed with subway tile. 🙂

I also got wild and decided to paint the tan ceiling in the separate potty area in the master bath. I went with the same blue that I painted the tray with in the master bedroom. I am ok with painting ceilings in small spaces, I may go ahead and paint the ceiling in the laundry room too. I’m thinking planked walls in there. Yum!

Here is that potty room’s pretty new ceiling, I mentioned to Mr. Middle Sister about putting a prettier light in there and he laughed. Men, they have no vision. 😉


I am so excited to get the tub surround done and new counters in. I’m thinking of putting subway tile up the wall behind the vanity too. Thoughts? Yay or nay? Anyone have that in their home?

Thanks for stopping by ya’ll!

Productivity Slump? Plan ahead instead!

Hey ya’ll.

So, I’m feeling a little bummed lately. So far I have not made 2015 as productive as I should have. I’m struggling with a couple of things. Last night, I was looking at my goals for this year and so far, I have accomplished NOTHING. Granted, most of our/my goals are more of the long term variety, but I’m worried. Why have I hit this slump?

The only thing I can think of is that I have put life on hold. Mr. Middlesisterproject will be home next month. If you are a milspouse who has gone through a deployment you know what this is like. The ability to deal with this should have been passed down genetically (even though I have no clue if my mammo had to endure a deployment.)

Here is my granddad in his WWII pilot gear. So handsome!

granddad in AF WWII pilot gear

The excitement of having your spouse back home after a year away, mixed with the anxiety of learning to be a “couple” again is an unsettling combo. I have spent the last year being a single mom; I’ve been independent and self sufficient, but now I’m thinking I have to just switch into doting wife mode. In theory, this shouldn’t be difficult, I love my husband and am so proud of him for serving our country for the 18 years that he already has. We milspouses are forced to be tough and resilient, but I fear it has made me disconnected and cold. I digress…

A lot of the goals I/we have for 2015 require a joint effort. There is one wall in our bathroom with a splotch of gray paint on it, and I have started cutting in in our bedroom too with a pretty cream color. But, now things are at a stand still. I know I won’t be able to go any further on either of those projects until my man gets home. I can’t exactly paint with a wild toddler running around (Lord knows everything in the house, including Puppy Brother, will end up covered in paint). I feel stuck; at least I only have a month left of the “I can’t do that till he gets home” mentality.

I’ve also been thinking of adding a goal to my list: Entering a Figure Contest! It is something I have wanted to do ever since I really got into working out several years ago. My body is nowhere near ready to stuff into a tiny booty bearing bikini and strutting around on stage (and I doubt if it ever will be). But, I would love to take a year to train like I’m going to enter a contest. The only thing stopping me is that doing this would require a coach, which would set us back around $200/month. Considering that we are trying to get rid of debt, I just don’t think I can commit to paying $200/month for a coach. Maybe, I can add this goal to 2016  instead?

I think the best way to get out of this funk is to focus on the projects I need to tackle before we can put our house up for sale.

I also have big plans for the laundry room. I plan on DIY’ing a light fixture for in there to replace the current boob light. I was liking schoolhouse pendant DIY from

schoolhouse light

I want to add some color, storage, organization to the laundry room as well. And since I have connections, I was thinking of having the guys cut me a granite piece to sit on top the washer and dryer like a counter.

Like this:



I will probably just spend the next month planning all my projects and start tackling them the day after husband gets home. That would be semi-productive. It will give me the opportunity to make lists, and I do love lists!

I’ll keep ya’ll updated on the DIY projects I will be conquering soon. Do ya’ll have any suggestions for the laundry room that will help our house sell? It is currently plain, blah-tan contractor’s choice paint on the walls, pretty small, and has a cabinet above the washer and dryer.

TTFN ya’ll!