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Painting Partner: A Review of the Ryobi Backpack Tool

16 Aug

From the first time we stepped foot in what would become our first house, one thing was for sure: We had a LOT of painting to do. While we knew we would need some help, we were determined to do most of it ourselves. We did this, of course, to save money, but I should have known that Husband would need the flashiest tool he could find at Home Depot – the Ryobi Backpack Sprayer/Roller.

Although I rolled my eyes when he pleaded for it, I have to admit it came in rather handy. The “tank” holds a gallon of paint and is worn in backpack fashion. The tool is powered by a hand drill battery, which pumps the paint from the tank into the roller. A trigger on the roller allows you to squeeze more paint onto your surface – saving time and your back! If you ever have a large amount of painting to do, we recommend it. Here are the pros/cons:


  • Backpack design saves your back from having to constantly bend over for more paint
  • Roller and sprayer heads allow for different types of painting
  • Backpack canister holds plenty of paint
  • Battery-powered pump allows for continuous paint flow


  • When the roller is full of paint, it becomes quite heavy
  • Cleanup is quite a job – paint has to be cleaned out of the tank and hoses
  • You will need a compatible battery – which can actually be a pro if you already have one
So, if your next painting project calls for more than your average paintbrush, this may be the tool for you. And at $50, the time and backache it saves you is well worth it!

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, You Found What In the Tub?

7 Aug

Buying a house that was in serious need of some TLC has been nothing less than an adventure. During the first week after we moved in, we gave the house a deep clean, and that included cleaning out one sink and a tub that we thought weren’t draining as fast as they should.

Husband took on the challenge – I do NOT have the stomach for removing wookies from the plumbing – with one of his niftiest tools: the BrassCraft Zip-It Drain Tool. It’s a fantastic little tool that will pull just about anything out of your clogged drain.

Anyway, it didn’t take long before we discovered where the kids’ bathed because we found a collection of little toys in our tub drain. I could only snap a few pictures before I gagged, but our tub works like a charm now!


Let There Be Light

25 Jul

Wife’s version of the story:

When the previous tenants left the house, they stripped it down to bare bones. The phrase “they took everything but the kitchen sink” certainly applied, and that included the light fixture in the breakfast area of our kitchen. I decided the very first project on Husband’s honey-do list was to remove this eyesore.

Husband’s version of the story:

I didn’t think the light bulb suspended from the ceiling was that big of a deal, but I could tell by how frequently she oh-so-subtly commented on it that she wasn’t going to let it go. After walking into it a few times, I decided that it would be my first project in the house.

Husband is extremely skilled at all electrical wiring, so hanging the light fixture was a cinch.

I fell in love with this fixture from Home Depot - it even has matching pendants and sconces.

From House to Home

19 Jul

For those who know us, Husband and I are not people who jump into things quickly or without a great deal of thought. Some may call us slow, but we prefer stubborn. Neither of those traits, however, can describe the way in which we purchased our first home.

We had been saving for months, pinching pennies where we could, in order to move out of our noisy apartment complex in Dallas to the quieter suburbs. Although we’ll always remember that little apartment that nurtured the first years of our marriage with fondness, it was time to take another step in our journey together.

So, once we saw that we were going to hit our savings goal, I began to research. I looked at several cities and narrowed it to one. Then came zip codes. Then, after spending weekend after weekend driving through our new berg, I finally narrowed our search to several neighborhoods.

When the time approached, we contacted a  family friend, who also happens to be a fantastic realtor. She made a list of houses for us to visit based on our interests, and our first day of house-hunting was scheduled for the end of January. That’s where the whirlwind began.

On our first day of house-hunting, we had 8 houses to see. The first few were nice, but we just didn’t get the feeling that we were “home.” Then came the 5th house. We walked through the front door, and Husband didn’t make it past the entryway. He stood there in silence, and after a few moments said something I’ll never forget: “This is it.”

My jaw dropped. For a man who never does anything quickly, this seemed like a pretty major decision to start on. It was a foreclosed home, and the cracks in the walls, broken window, missing appliances, and dirty floors looked like a pretty tall order for first-time home buyers. But I had to admit, I saw the beauty in the floor plan, and it had that homey feel.

Although I was charmed by the architecture, the very apparent structural fixes that were needed had me hesitant to agree on the house. The following day, we drove to the house again – this time by ourselves – and parked on the curb out front. We prayed that if this was meant to be our house that God would make it abundantly clear to us. Then, we drove home.

We weren’t home 2 hours when we received a call from the realtor in a tizzy. Another offer had been made on the property, and if we wanted to make it ours, we would have to make an offer that same day. We exchanged one meaningful glance, and never looked back. 72 hours later, the bank had accepted our offer (even though we were lower than the first offer!), and we were under contract on the house. We closed a month later.

So, that is the story of how we came to own our first house, and the rest of the stories that follow are our adventures of turning it into a home. Enjoy!