In May of 2002, the stars aligned and two perfect strangers met on the dance floor of a local bar. 
I bought a house soon after, at the ripe age of 23, and taught Brent how to lay ceramic tile, paint and refinish the hardwood floors.
He taught me to lighten up and relax (still working on that) and to be less and cheap (still working on that too). Brent asked me to marry him and we sealed the deal in May of 2005.

A job transfer soon after the wedding took us to Omaha, Nebraska which meant selling our home. And then CHA-CHING $$$$$, we found out we made quite a bit of profit on it. When it was time to buy a house in Omaha, we looked for the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood we could afford, and boy did we find it. Green carpet, similar to that of the Emerald City, a terrible kitchen, pink marble floors and more stained wood than I could possibly stand.
Over the next 3 1/2 years, we spent our nights and weekends transforming a 70's throwback into a house we could love. In that time, we also managed to have a baby girl, Emma, so the remodeling had to stop while we figured out how to care for this tiny human.
Once we had perfected parenting (**cough cough, #yeahright) we picked up where we left off and decided to give Emma a playmate. When we found out Owen was on the way, everything got packed up for the move back home, to Sioux Falls. Thanks to the Omaha house, a decent real estate market, and tons of sweat equity, we padded our pockets once again.
So here we are, in a 75 year old home about 30% smaller than our house in Omaha, with a small mortgage thanks to all the profits we rolled over. Small houses mean less cleaning (my weak point), less taxes, smaller scale home improvement projects and lots more family time, since there really isn't anywhere in the house to escape to. Over the past 15 years, Brent's home improvement skills have grown to encompass almost every aspect of a renovation.
Freedom from debt is our family motto. No car payments, no student loans, no credit card bills. We really are "that family" that has a written budget and actually follows it, once you get used to it, you'll feel a little lost without it! Does that mean we have to make some sacrifices? Yep. Our cars are pretty crappy, our house is pretty small, new clothes for Brent and I are pretty seldom, our fridge is almost empty at the end of the week. But we're happy. Because we don't have to work high stress/high paying jobs that steal our attention from our children and each other.

So this blog isn't just about DIY projects - it's about all the other stuff too. Learning how to be better parents and a supportive spouse. Living a healthier lifestyle full of exercise and food that fuels our bodies. We are aware that there are 4 little eyes watching what we do, so we see it as our job to give them the best possible role models they deserve.
Thanks for following our journey. I can assure you that it's only going to get better.


In case you're still reading, here's a list of all the random jobs Brent and I have held over the past 15 years.  I think we've hit almost every industry!  Neither of us could ever answer the age old question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"  Turns out, we're happy doing a bunch of crazy stuff.

Brent: Bore Machine Operator, Delivery Driver, Window Installer, Commercial Construction Laborer, Commercial Cabinet Builder, Machinist, Residential Cabinetry Builder

Heidi: Coffee Barista, Commercial Construction Laborer, Retail Manager, Office Manager, Real Estate Agent, Accountant/Bookkeeper, Executive Assistant to a school district Assistant Superintendent.


  1. You two are a inspiration, our house is small as well and plenty of improvements to work on. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Just wanted to say thanks for all your projects you have posted. It keeps us retirees busy. I enjoy it. One question I wanted to ask is, "Are there printable versions of these projects that I can print? I wanted to print the plans for the outdoor party table with the built in coolers but couldn't. Thanks for your time.