My Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation to Work on My House!

Mar 10 2019
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For the first time in the nine years I’ve been at my day job I took more than four days off in a ROW. I took the 21st-26th off over my 33rd birthday in late February. Everyone asked me, “Where are you going?” Because, during February in Minnesota, if you take that much time off, you are almost certainly going somewhere South. Even my family was like, “We’ll feed the horses and fill the pellet stove! It would be so great for you to get away!”

And I was like, “UMMMMMMM….. so I know its crazy but…. for my birthday vacation…. I want to work on my house.” *insert sheephish grin* No one understands me lol – but that’s ok!

I almost convinced myself I was going to go on a real vacation last fall. Even started a blog post devoted to the places I was researching and how excited I was… but I realized that I’d rather be home.

And I’m not hauling or heating with wood anymore either so I felt spoiled and happier this winter than I have in many years… maybe EVER!

Every single surface in my home (if it couldn’t be literally WASHED) needed to be repainted after that horrible wood stove. So, during my “stay-cation”, I tackled my entryway and my kitchen. Reclaiming, cleaning and repainting just felt wonderful!

Like an itch that I haven’t been able to reach for years! I can’t imagine a better gift to myself especially on my birthday!

My friend Rachie came over and helped me paint out my entryway, it was DISGUSTING and so wonderful to have it clean and bright again. (I promise the full reveal is coming soon but, first, the finish and reveal of my “new” laundry room is up next!)

My Birthday Present to Myself: A Vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains, moving forward with my remodel, how we faired this winter!My Birthday Present to Myself: A Vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains, moving forward with my remodel, how we faired this winter!

Not to mention, I had some really exciting plans for my kitchen now that the wood stove was gone and I just could not wait a second longer to tackle it.

I didn’t work the whole time, of course. I never got out of bed before noon on a single day!

I spent a bunch of time with my aunt and my mom which was totally wonderful! My mom made my favorite dinner by request: tater tot hotdish (I know, how cliche Minnesota is that?! LOL) and then she surprised me another night with king crab legs *drools*

And I received so many wonderful flowers – which were such an awesome burst of life and spring in our current winter nightmare!

My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!

I spoiled myself with my favorite pizza which has been a major NO NO in my life since I cut out dairy and bread. Of course totally eliminating either is almost impossible if I eat outside my home but its helped me SO much.

I’ve also been focusing on making sure every meal I eat is at least 2/3rds plant based. And I’m also making sure I get my 25 grams of fiber every day.

(Seriously, if you think you’re eating enough fiber you will probably be shocked to realize that you’re not even close. I certainly was! I was NOWHERE near where I needed to be!)

The difference in my body has been really amazing – I just feel so much lighter and better.

A major perk to my diet change also means that, when I do spoil myself with pizza, it doesn’t totally destroy me. In fact I can splurge a little now and not have any problems!

I can even drink wine again! YAY!!!

I actually don’t have a gluten intolerance like I thought. It turns out that I have a shitty bread intolerance. I can eat unprocessed bread and I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it is to have a little bread back in my life!

I missed it!

Many of you have asked so I wanted to mention that I am still really happy with my pellet stove. It kept up just fine even during the polar vortex.

I ran out of pellets though! 120 bags turned out not to be enough which won’t surprise anyone because our first snow was in late September and our winter really began in October with sleet, snow and freezing temps. Meaning: as of right now OFFICIALLY we have survived FIVE MONTHS of winter weather and over four feet of snow and it hasn’t left yet.

It’s been rough!

My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!

If we return to a more “normal” winter I can see now though that I will have no problem getting by with 120 bags of pellets so that’s good news!

This year I ended up needing 35 bags more to get me by. (Fortunately, where I buy them, is literally on my way home.)

It was a relief to be home because we saw -20 degrees (AGAIN!!! ARGH) as well as two pretty serious snow storms over my stay-cation. How wonderful not to have to drive in it!

Last summer I covered my septic line under my deck with old hay so I had no problems with my septic freezing like it did last winter. My horses powered through the awful weather and their water heater didn’t die so it never froze!

Bunnies have been cleaning up the grain my horses drop and I wondered many times why they didn’t make a home under the hay in the horse shed. Turns out, they did lol I spotted the opening to the burrow during the polar vortex and started leaving oats out for them.

My two crows (that knock on my window if I’m late getting bird seed out) also made it through the cold. I bring them up because I saw them doing something I have never seen before.

They were squatting! They “sat” wherever they were at, keeping their feet and legs up as tight to their bellies as possible.

Even when they flew in and “landed” I never saw their feet! They just “plopped” lol I didn’t blame them, it was SO cold! But it was kinda funny looking 🙂

All in I had a good winter and a really great birthday! Cheers to spring coming hopefully VERY SOON!

My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!

LOL Oh I just have to share this! Last night I stopped at my friend Rachie’s house after work for a visit. During that time I watched her husband and a friend manage to get their snow blower on to their roof!

Besides having our ALL TIME COLDEST DAY EVER in January we also ended up with the all time snowiest February on record getting over 3 feet just in that month alone! Our poor houses!

There was many a comment of, “This is why women live longer than men.” and, “Do you have a life insurance policy on him?”

But they got it up there with very little trouble!

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10 Comments

  1. March 10, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Happy Birthday! I sometimes prefer a staycation too! People don’t understand it because working on their homes isn’t relaxing to them like it is to us!

    Tania

    • March 12, 2019 at 8:04 am

      Thanks Tania! Hope you have a great week!

  2. March 10, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    Tarah, I just love reading your DIY adventures! And I’m so glad to hear you can eat REAL bread! Bread is one of my favorite things to make.

    • March 12, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Thank you Jean! Yep, I’ve been really enjoying some real bread back in my life, I may have to try making it someday too!

  3. March 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

    …. Just Happy Birthday Tara! Glad you enjoyed the break.xx

  4. March 12, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Happy birthday! Did you remove some of the snow on your roof? That’s a lot! Nice you’re feeding the critters

    • March 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks Nancy, no I have not touched the snow on my roof and yes its a lot lol! Fortunately it hit 40 degrees today so we will finally see our snow diminishing now!

  5. LINDA MARTIN
    March 13, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Happy belated birthday! Congrats on getting more stuff off your to-do list. Good luck with the nasty weather. It’s been cold and rainy in Arizona and I’m afraid it’s probably headed your way soon. Keep up the good work GF! 😊

    • March 13, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks Linda! We are FINALLY seeing temperatures above freezing and now we’re all worried about our basements flooding and having to take our kayaks to get to town lol I’m really just so excited to see a change in the temperature, bring on the rain and the wet!

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