Backyard Improvements and Brief 2016 Review


Where did the last half of 2016 go?  I’ve missed you, friends!

Here’s a quick run-down of what happened in 2016 at the Upcycled Ugly house:

  • We hosted our last AirBnb guests- what a wonderful experience!
  • We worked… a lot…
    • I (Erin) started teaching music lessons again and playing with a local symphony in addition to flying, which is my heart’s work (but dips heavily into my project/blogging time!)
    • Aaron played gigs until he was blue in the face in addition to his already heavy teaching load
    • Because of that…
  • We met our goal of “debt free” except the mortgage (No Secret: Dave Ramsey+ YNAB+Work)!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • We scraped together a 6 month emergency fund
  • We got the backyard to the point of not being a mud-pit

So, in 2017, we plan on being less productive.  We plan on spending more time with those we love.  We plan on making time for “us” and cherishing the time we have together.

Perhaps we are the only people that are aiming to accomplish less?

It’ll be hard to slow us down, but we’re “tapping the breaks” for an excellent 2017.

Since I teased you about the backyard improvements, here they are in order of progress:







Like any garden, it will be a constant work in progress, but we have enjoyed this peaceful space so much already.

As always, we owe so many people a big thanks for supporting us and for understanding when we couldn’t spend time with them the last two years while we got our finances where we felt they needed to be.  It is by God’s grace only that we succeeded and with health and relationships intact.

“In a heart filled with gratitude, there is no room for discontentment.”

-Rachel Cruze

Blessings to you and yours in 2017!


Backyard Update & Gratitude

The Great, Ugly Backyard Cleanup of 2015 is continuing.

We tore down the last remaining old shed!  Click Here if you’d like to watch the video (thanks to my dad and mom for the mad construction, junk hauling, and videography skills- we seriously could not have done it without you).  Here’s a small preview photo in case you can’t watch the video:


Very exciting! 

Because of the shed’s removal, I was able to plant grass seed last week, which was also very exciting (if it sprouts)!

The wood used for the framing of that old shed was super cool, so we kept it and are in the midst of using it for another project.  Headboard brainstorming is in progress and we just inherited a ton of great wood from our awesome neighbors which makes our possibilities nearly endless (Thanks, J&A!).   DSC_0669 We scored the rug on a 75% off sale and are really enjoying it so far (like, the last 3 hours of today).   As an added bonus, our kitty supervisor Splat [the Cat] is camouflaged to the rug.  Excellent.  DSC_0671 We’re kicking our debt in the booty and are really proud of the progress we’re making.  Our blog posts have slowed as we find a balance between increasing our income for faster debt payoff and budgeting for the improvements we need/want on the property. 

AKA More Work=Less Time for Projects and Blogging About Projects

Every day we feel enormous gratitude.  We feel the most gratitude toward God for providing us with employment opportunities in order to pay down the debt and “cash flow” a few fun projects.  We feel an insane amount of gratitude toward the people in our lives holding us up and saying, “Keep going!” while understanding why we’re not as present as we’d like to be right now.  We also feel so much gratitude toward the programs/teachings of those who have enabled us to “see the light” at the end of the debt tunnel (Dave Ramsey + YNAB). 

We’re making each month a productive month, and it is solely because of God and the wonderful people we share this space with (you!)!  Thank you for your love, support, and accountability.