Making an Open Floor Plan Work for You

Back in our grandparent’s generation, the most common home layout included many small rooms rather than one large space. This architecture style was a practical choice as heating and cooling a large room was very difficult. Today, most floor plans being built are open concept, as seen in many modern contemporary<span Continue reading

style=”line-height: 1.5em;”> homes, meaning that there is one big central area, such as a great room, that attaches to a few smaller rooms in a home. Having bigger rooms is excellent for resale as it allows for more natural light to enter, making a space feel larger. Open concept homes are also excellent for entertaining, as there is a much larger common area for your guests.


While open concept homes are in high demand among buyers, what should you do when your home is too open?  Sometimes, furniture configuration in large, unrestricted spaces can be tricky to arrange because there are fewer walls to back your furnishings into. If you are having a difficult time making your open areas function, make the most out of your space by breaking your living area up into smaller, more manageable sections.


If you have a very large room in your home, make it do double duty by visually converting one room into two. Rather than building up walls to reconfigure your floor plan, there are many other options to maintain the open feeling of your room while designating it as two separate areas.


Permanent Solutions


If you own your home, one way to section out your existing room is to build out a permanent partition wall. If there are many windows in your space, this is an excellent way to maintain all of the natural light in your room while also splitting off the space.


If you are building one small pony wall, this is a very cost effective method to create a permanent floor plan change as any handy do it yourselfer could take this on as a weekend project. If you plan on working with load bearing walls, or installing any beams to support other floors, it is a good idea to get a general contractor involved in your project. A construction professional can come in handy when making many smaller rooms out of one larger space, and they will have great advice on how to define the structure of your home.


The only difficult aspect of adding a pony wall would be if you would like to add outlets or other electricity to your new partition. If electricity re-routing is a requirement, it is important that an experienced and licensed electrician completes this work.


Temporary Solutions


Another great option for breaking up the space is to integrate a non-permanent partition. There are many different materials that can be used to create your temporary divider. Bookcases and shoji screens make practical and beautiful additions to any space in order to help break up your room. You can also create a semi-permanent divider by hanging a sliding barn door, curtain or other temporary wall structure to create boundaries in your larger areas.


Open concept homes are great for resale, and if you own your house, you can make top dollar on your next move. By not blocking off your large rooms and defining your current living space, you are appealing to even more buyers in this already seller-dominated market.



Chicken Gnocchi Soup

DH will attest to being dragged out to Olive Garden almost every time we have a date night. I always order the Chicken Gnocchi Soup then take my main entree home for a meal the next day. While I love this arrangement I think Hubby has decided he’d like a little Continue reading

more variety so he made me this very yummy copycat version of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

Great soup for chilly nights.  Pairs well with garlic bread. As an alternative swap out the chicken for a lightly seared firm tofu and the chicken broth for vegetable broth for an excellent vegetarian dish.

What are some of your restaurant favorites you wish you had a copycat recipe for?
chicken gnochi soup copy

  • Prep time:15 minutes
  • Cook time:20 minutes
  • Serves: 8


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
1 (16-ounce) package ready-to-use gnocchi


Melt the butter into the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the half-and-half. Simmer until thickened. Whisk in the chicken broth. Simmer until thickened again. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, the thyme, parsley, carrots, spinach, chicken, and gnocchi. Simmer until the soup is heated through. Before serving, season with additional salt, if necessary.

Supply Your Concession Stand and Feed the Baseball Team with Crowd Favorites

Supplying your concession stand candy stock is easy once you get to know what your customers enjoy most. Then you can find an online seller who can help you make sure you don’t run out of your crowd favorites. One example of a full-service candy and concession stand supplier is Blair Continue reading

Candy. This company, and others like it, offer you all kinds of candy that kids and families will love at any event.

Whether you need candy for an upcoming fundraising drive or your customers show up to your concession stand during some of the bigger events for school and the community. You won’t have to worry about running out of your favorites as you learn to watch the purchasing patterns of some of your most loyal customers for each kind of candy you keep in stock. Whether your customers want chocolate, hard candies, nostalgic candies or something else, you will find something to satisfy everyone.

It isn’t all candy at concessions supply websites. If you need to find something healthy for a group of Little League baseball players, peruse the most popular items to feed these young athletes, along with some fun candy treats. Try David brand sunflower seeds, cans of assorted snack size treats such as Cracker Jacks, Airheads Bites, Swedish Fish, Gummies, Sour Patch Kids, Laffy Taffy, Fun Dip, Atomic Fire Balls, Jaw Breakers, Wonka Bottle Caps, Marshmallow Candy Cones, Slo Poke candy and much more. Of course, adult baseball players tend to use their chew products, but kids have a huge array of bubblegum from which they can choose to help keep concentration, retain hydration or simply blow some bubbles while out on the field or up at bat.

Simply offering nostalgic candy goes a long way toward attracting kids’ parents, as well as the kids, so don’t shy away from Banana Split Candy Chews, Bonomo Turkish Taffy, Bit O Honey Bite Size, Black Cow Bite Size, Boston Baked Beans, Candy Buttons, Circus Peanuts, Candy Necklaces, Red Hots, Coconut Slices Candy Bar, Gobstoppers, Gold Coins, Good n’ Plenty, Lemon Heads, Mary Jane Candy and so much more.

For the chocolate lovers in your midst, choose from the large selection of candy bars that you can buy in bulk. Candy bars often give customers more of a substantial feeling, so order some Three Musketeers, 5th Avenue Almond Joy, Butterfinger, Kit Kat, Milky Way, 100 Grand, Reese’s, Snickers and many other favorite crowd pleasers.

The Benefits of Quality Toolboxes and Tool Chests

In the 19th century, a toolbox was usually crafted by the person who carried it. They were typically made from inexpensive wood or scraps left over from another job. These homemade toolboxes offered little in the way of organization or security, and they normally had room for just a few basic Continue reading

tools. The tool chests used in shops were often considerably larger, but they still lacked true security features.

Modern toolboxes and tool chests have little in common with their ancestors. Today, metal is the material of choice, and the variety of styles available might prove overwhelming to an artisan from the 1800s. From wall-mounted hutches to cantilever toolboxes, there are options that are perfect for the professional as well as the average homeowner. Tool chests and toolboxes offer two important benefits, whether they are carried in the family sedan or used in a professional repair shop.


Every professional knows the importance of being able to find the desired tool quickly. As the adage states, “Time is money.” When it is necessary to waste time looking for the desired tool, activities that generate income must wait.

Even if the tools are not used in a professional capacity, the ability to locate a tool easily can save frustration. It means that the task can be accomplished faster, freeing up time for more enjoyable activities, such as spending time with the family or just relaxing.


Tools typically “disappear” in one of three ways. They may be stolen from the home or workplace, they may be lost or they may be borrowed by a family member or coworker. A tool that is out of sight may be overlooked by a thief or borrower, while one that is clearly visible may be taken.

Similarly, a tool that is not stored properly might be knocked into the trashcan inadvertently or fall behind a worktable. In such cases, the tool might be lost forever. It might also be damaged from the incident.

Whether lost, stolen, borrowed or damaged, the result is the same. The tool is not available when it is needed, and time may be lost searching for it. If it is not found, or if it is too damaged to perform properly, it will be necessary to invest both time and money in securing a replacement.

Choosing a Toolbox or Tool Chest

The toolbox or tool chest selected depends on the specific needs of the purchaser. Some buyers need a large cabinet with multiple drawers, while others need a smaller chest on wheels. Toolboxes can be as small as approximately one foot in length and hold a single layer of tools, or they can be 20 inches or more in length and have multiple drawers or cantilevers.

Vendors such as carry a wide variety of styles and sizes. One way that shoppers can narrow down their choices is to browse the selection online. Click here to view examples of the toolboxes and tool chests sold.

Madison Reed Hair Dye review

kh photo Madison Reed is a subscription based service that will send you a box of hair dye every month.  This is great because you don’t have to remember what color you ordered, plus having it ready to arrive for your touch ups. One of the nicest features is they ask you Continue reading

a />series of questions to help you find a color that would be suitable for you. This looks at skin tones and many other aspects that effect the color that would suit you best. They then provide a selection of choices suited to choose from, but you don’t have to follow that if you don’t want to.  There is also a color translator to help you match the colors from existing brands.

The dyes are Handcrafted in Italy, and come in 27 colors.  I chose Vesuvius Red.  The package arrived in a very nice box with all of the things I’d need to apply the color.   The box contains;

  • Instructions
  • Barrier cream to keep the skin around your hairline clean
  • 2 pairs of gloves, one to apply, one to rinse
  • Color and Activator
  • Hair cap
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Shampoo and Conditioner

Things I liked:
It’s thick
Two pair of gloves
Barrier gel – kept any runoff from dripping

Color suitable shampoo and conditioner was enough for several washes

As listed above, some of the things I like were that this hair dye is thick.  That means it stays where you put it.  If you’ve ever used a cheap box dye you know they can run everywhere.  Unfortunately, that meant I felt like I really had to work it to get good cohesive all-over coverage.  I liked that it came with two pair of gloves which were salon quality instead of those cheap gloves in box dye that you rip through almost instantly.  That way I could just toss the first pair out instead of trying to preserve them, rinse them or just go without during rinsing.

Overall I was pleased with the application and the color turned out nice. The instructions were very detailed in order to help you get the professional look at home, the color was vibrant and they even have  sneaky freebie in the box. All you need is a QR reader on your phone to get it :D

If you are in the market for hair dye and would like the convenience of having your dye shipped to you every month, on line consultants to help you choose the right color and, no more trying to match shades each month; then Madison Reed is definitely the site for you with its easy to use process, checkout and instructions.




Back-to-school at Zulily is more than just clothes


Disclaimer: I received payment for an honest review, this did not influence my review in any way. This post may include affiliate links.

As a Frugal year-round Home Schooling family back-to-school sales mean as much to me as any other mom with kids nearing school age or already in school. However, I Continue reading

not only look for normal school supplies like paper, pencils and glue, but I am on the look out for workbooks and educational games as well. So a site like Zulily that offers great discounts on those types of items is always right at the top of the list or places to go. The great deals there are year round so it is a site I frequent throughout the year, not just at back-to-school time.

The deals are great for Home Schoolers, Teachers, or any parent looking to help a student do better.  There is usually a great selection of materials for all subjects and most age groups from pre-school up to about 6th grade.  I have found Math, Science, Reading, Writing, Geography, Musical Instruments, Foreign Languages, even Critical Thinking and Physical Activity books and games there.

Some of the great educational items I have found at Zulily in the past include;


1) Bilingual Baby: French – A great basic teaching DVD for beginners
2) Sign Language Flash cards (set of 160 cards) - s teaches greetings, manners, directions, verbs, adjectives and phrases
3) 45 piece K-1 appropriate coloring/craft kit – Great deal on some awesome supplies
4) Student Entry Level Violin with case – An investment for when my oldest is ready to learn it
5) Alphabet Bean Bag game – fun activity that helps get the kids moving while they are reviewing their letters or working on spelling

In the end, sites like Zulily offer a great resource for a variety of educational products.  You will also find great deals on clothing for Mom, Dad and the kids and home decor items at some excellent discounts.  If you haven’t checked them out already I suggest you go check them out.  New sales start all the time, so the inventory is always fresh.

Adding Value with a Renovation

Property owners have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to maintaining homes or apartments. There are plenty of things that can go wrong, especially if specific elements on the property are aging. When this happens, different types of renovation can be the key to saving money on repairs while adding Continue reading

value to your property.

Simple Remodel
A simple remodel is a way for property owners to make everything look like new without having to replace everything on the property. This type of remodel can include replacing fixtures, flooring and installed components such as kitchen cabinets. This remodel will also typically include changing the wall color or covering, replacing aging appliances and making sure that all structural elements are still sound. It is also important to understand what types of products are available to be used in your remodel so that you can choose whether you want to upgrade a little or upgrade to the best products currently on the market.

The one thing a simple remodel usually does not require is architectural changes to the interior or exterior of the building. That type of remodel will be a little more complex and will require a number of consultations and work permits before remodeling can begin.

Complex Remodel
If you are interested in making significant changes to the structure of your property, you may have more complex remodel job. This type of remodel usually requires a number of permits based on where the property is located and what type of work is being done to the property. A complex remodel will usually need an architect’s consultation and approval before any major work any begin. An architect is responsible for letting you know whether certain elements of your remodel plan are feasible, such as removing walls, moving doorways and relocating plumbing or lighting fixtures. Once the architect approves your plans, the work can begin.

Renovating your property can make your place look like new and still provide the value that you and your tenants will come to expect. If you are interested in renovation services for your home or apartment building, contact Knockout Renovation today.

Trendy Kid’s Bedroom Designs

Trendy kid’s bedroom designs portray a more sophisticated atmosphere than the child-like designs of the past. Many features that are incorporated in a master bedroom or guest room are now becoming prominent in a child’s bedroom. Your decor options are varied ranging from vintage to modern, with refinement, functionality, simplicity and Continue reading

sophistication being dominant factors in the design plan.

Daybeds are an ideal piece of kids bedroom furniture. They fit perfectly into the children’s bedroom designs that are so popular today. One of the current trends in kid’s bedroom design is to make the bed an outstanding focal point of the room. Daybeds are an attractive piece of furniture that can be further enhanced by the type of bedding you select for them. You can add themed bedding on the bed or opt for solid fabric in neutral colors that can be accessorized in multiple ways.

Modern and contemporary bedroom designs highlight the importance of organization. Many times, a child’s bedroom is relatively small. This can pose some storage and organization challenges. Including a daybed with storage in the furniture design plan will provide a space-saving organization opportunity. Some daybeds are designed with storage underneath the bed. There are also designs that include under the bed storage and headboard storage. Both you and your child can enjoy the convenience of shelving and drawer storage as part of the bed design.

Daybeds are available in styles that feature defined lines and the espresso or white finish that is typically associated with modern and contemporary decors. However, if you would like to create a vintage style decor or provide your child with the very popular vintage modern theme, there are iron daybeds available to help you achieve your goal.

From a financial perspective, it is wise to select a bed for your child’s room that can transition through numerous decor changes. The bedroom decor and the bed itself can be accessorized to fit the growing stages of your child. Daybeds can be a playful retreat for young children. They can also become a restful reading location for teens.

Daybeds are a versatile piece of furniture that can accommodate the needs and design ideas for a kid’s bedroom. Many times, when teens move out, their bedroom becomes the new guest room. That same daybed can be accessorized with elegant, gender neutral bedding to become a beautiful focal point of the guest bedroom.

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