Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For a little bookworm:

From the beginning of time, I've always wanted any kid I have to be a bookworm like me. The adventures I went on as a kid while reading are some of my fondest memories. I hold those books close to my heart. I remember them fondly (see here). They shaped who I am today and I want that for my kids. I want them to experience that joy. So, when we were planning the nursery, I knew I wanted some book ledges to display Baby M's ever-growing library.

I liked these from Land of Nod, but at $24.95 each, they didn't really seem cost effective. We planned to have 4 (2 on each side of the window) but didn't want to pay $100+. Not in the budget. So, we used these as our inspiration and made our own.

We went to Home Depot one morning and picked up a few 1x4s and a 1x2 and had them cut into 24" pieces.

Since all our piece were pre-cut, assembling the ledges was really easy. Andrew pre-drilled some holes and we used 2" screws to screw the 1x4 pieces together.

Once that was done, we used 2" finishing nails to attach the front lip to each ledge. And we used a little wood filler to cover the nail holes.

After we let all that sit overnight, it was time to paint. So we spent one morning out in the carport putting a few coats of white semi-gloss paint on all 4 ledges (Andrew actually did this part --  I tried to stay as far away from the paint as possible). We let that sit for a few days, just to be sure everything was nice and dry and then it was time to hang them.

We marked their placement on the wall and measured up from the floor to make sure they were all the same. Then we used a stud finder to make sure we would be drilling into studs so they'd be extra secure. We used a level to make sure everything was nice and straight. And then we just screwed those puppies to the wall.

Then the fun part -- decorating! We filled his ledges with books and a few small toys. I am excited to see how the contents of these ledges rotates and changes as he grows and his tastes and interests change. It will be fun to see how he displays his favorite things -- a map of sorts of his ever-evolving little personality.

Our cost for the entire project? $33.84. And that includes the gallon of paint that we had to buy. That's like a $70 savings. And it was such a quick and easy project. We knocked it out in a weekend. Can't wait to tackle the rest of the projects we have for this space. We're getting so close to being done. Get ready for the big reveal coming soon!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


After procrastinating for weeks, I finally got my crap together last weekend and packed my hospital bag. I think one of the reasons I put it off for so long is because it seemed a little overwhelming. I didn't know what I would need and most of the articles I read online seemed like they were suggesting that I pack pretty much my entire house. Is that really necessary? Let's be realistic here. What would I actually need? So I made lists, debated, discussed it with Andrew, packed, and then repacked. I tend to over-pack by nature, so the repacking step was vital for me to pare everything down to just the essentials.

Here's what we ended up with:

As far as clothes, go, I went with:
  • pajamas
  • socks
  • undergarments
  • flip flops
  • robe
  • a going home outfit (leggings and an oversized light-weight sweater)

In the toiletry department, I packed:
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • deodorant
  • dental floss
  • moisturizer
  • makeup (blush stick, tinted moisturizer, mascara, hydrating lip balm)
  • comb
  • facial wipes
  • hair ties and headband
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • body lotion
  • face wash

I packed a few things for the baby, including:
  • hat 
  • socks
  • two outfits (in two different sizes, so all our bases are covered)

Some miscellaneous items:
  • phone and charger
  • magazines that I have intentionally not read yet
  • journal
  • gum
There are a few things that aren't pictured, including Andrew's clothes, car seat, pillows, blanket, and some treats for the nurses (highly recommended by a few nurse friends).

I feel like we're pretty prepared. I don't think I've left anything major out. What about you? Is there anything that I need to add to my list? Anything I can do without?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Skirting the issue:

This past weekend, I finally got around to making the crib skirt for Baby M's bed. A few weeks ago, I picked out this fabric:

I think it will pair really nicely with the crib sheets I made (see here and here).

The fabric for the crib skirt arrived last week and I decided Sunday was the perfect day to tackle this project since Andrew went into work for the morning. I set up my sewing machine on our dining room table (which is currently the only place that can accommodate a sewing session) and got to work. It was pretty simple. 

I had originally thought about making a traditional skirt but after thinking about how the height of the mattress would be lowering as he got older, I decided against it. I needed a way to adjust the skirt as I adjusted the bed so it wouldn't pool at the bottom. I didn't want to make a skirt for each height (way too much work) and I didn't want to have to hem the skirt every time we adjusted the height of the mattress (that would make it unusable at the higher settings for any additional babies down the road). So I did a little research and came up with a solution: make panels with ties. 

Here's what I did:

First, I measured the length of the mattress frame on both the long side and the short side. Then I measured the distance from the frame to the floor. Once I had those measurements, I added a 1" seam allowance to each measurement for a 1/2" seam on each side.

Then I used those measurements to cut out four pieces. I only needed 3 pieces because only 3 sides of the skirt would be visible at a time (the back is against a wall) but thought since I was making 3, I might as well go ahead and make one more. Didn't take any longer and this way, if I ever want to move the crib around, I don't have to worry about having an exposed side. 

After cutting the pieces, I measured 1/2" around, ironed, pinned, and sewed the sides down so that each panel looked nice and finished.

Once the panels were done, I cut the pieces for the ties. I cut 10 strips of fabric about 2" wide and 20" long. The ties may be a little on the long side but I wanted to make sure they were long enough to attach the skirt securely. Once the pieces were cut, I just pressed them in half, opened them up, ironed each side in toward the middle, folded them over, and sewed as close to the edge as possible. 

Then I attached the ties to the panels. I used 2 on each short panel and 3 on each long panel, spaced equally apart.

Then all that was left was to tie it on the crib. Since it's at the highest setting now, I just tied it far enough down so that it just skims the ground. As he grows and we adjust the height of the mattress, I can just tie it up higher to make it shorter. No cutting, no hemming, and it can be used again at any length. Done and done.

So, that's how we made a custom fully-adjustable crib skirt for the nursery. And the cost? We bought 3 yards of fabric for $21.45 but we had a lot left over. So, in the end, the skirt probably cost us less than $20. Not too shabby considering comparable skirts sell for over $50. Score one for being thrifty!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, everyone! So glad another weekend is upon us. What are you lovelies doing with your free time? Anything fun? We have home improvements to knock out. With such a long to-do list, it seems like we just live for the weekends now so we can get stuff done. Such is the life of a homeowner though, I guess. Welcome to being a grownup.

I'm hoping we can start on building our bookshelves this weekend. I'm getting really tired of staring at all those boxes stacked in the living room. I'm also determined to pick up some curtains this weekend because well, it's about time. We've been in the new house for over a month. It's past time for that, really.

Here's a little of what's been going on in our universe lately:
  1. Our doctor appointments are every 1-2 weeks now. That means we're getting so close to meeting our sweet little guy. We're nervous (!) but very excited.
  2. My sciatic nerve has been KILLING me the last few weeks. I feel like I can hardly put weight on my right leg sometimes. I've been trying to do what I can to alleviate it and some days it feels better but it means that pretty much all of my exercise and physical activity has come to a grinding halt.
  3. Kristin, one of my oldest and dearest friends (and 1/4 of the Order) is in town with her kiddos for spring break this week. Getting to see her, even if just for short periods of time, has completely made my week. I miss her when she's all the way over there in Delaware. 
  4. We washed all of baby M's new things and put them away in his room. I cannot get over how cute all of his tiny clothes are! I have always had a minor obsession with things in miniature (thus my childhood infatuation with Polly Pockets), but this is just taking it to a whole new level. I can't believe they make people small enough to fit that stuff.
  5. The guys Andrew works with threw him a little "guy shower" this week. They took him out to lunch and gave him all kinds of dad advice. It was probably the sweetest thing ever. The guys he works with really are some of the most decent guys I know. And Andrew really enjoys working with them.
We're taking some time off from our busy home improvement schedule this weekend to hang out with my nephew. An afternoon of exploring museums, burgers and shakes, and Mario Kart is desperately needed (and well-deserved) by all.

Have a great weekend, friends! Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Having one of those days. I'm exhausted and my back hurts. I desperately want to crawl back into bed and stay there for about a month. So bear with us this week. We're a little behind... in everything.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wall art:

Back in the initial planning phase for the nursery (before we had even moved into the new house), I came across this photo and immediately started making plans to create a polka dot wall for myself (well, okay, for Baby M):
I tracked the source to Land of Nod, which I love, but 48 decals (yes, they're actually removable vinyl decals) for $25 seemed a little ridiculous to me and didn't make sense for our budget. I knew I could do it cheaper. I considered making a stencil or a stamp and paint to get the look I wanted but it seemed so permanent and left no room for mistakes.

Then I found this website where you can buy rolls of vinyl super cheap. So I bought a roll of white 24" removable vinyl to the tune of $4. Then I ordered this 3" circle paper punch for $2.92 (I had a $17 Amazon credit). I actually ended up having to order 2 additional yards of the vinyl because one just wasn't enough to get the project done. The total cost for 3 yards of vinyl came to $12.

I spent a evening last week punching out all my circles (I got way more than 48, btw) and last weekend, we spent a few hours putting them up on the wall.

We decided to make a sort of grid pattern. We started with the top row, measuring between dots to ensure they were evenly spaced. Then we worked down the side of the wall using the same method. Once we were happy with the placement, it was just a matter of using those dots on the top and side as a guide to fill in the rest of the wall. 

Andrew took the top half of the wall while I took the bottom. It took a little longer in the beginning because we were still trying to figure out the best method but once we had a system down, it only took about an hour to finish and because they're pretty much vinyl stickers, we can take them off to re-position them or remove them altogether if and when we get sick of them. 

And that's how we made the polka dot wall of my dreams for a whopping total of $14.92. I'm pretty excited to start layering on all the art, shelving, and curtains we have for the walls in here. And our new rug (yep, we finally bought a rug for the nursery!) arrived last week. I can't wait to bring it all together!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, guys! Can you believe it's Friday already? This week has blown by for us. But we've been so busy, I feel like I haven't had time to catch my breath. Hopefully we will be able to do just that this weekend.

Have anything fun happening this weekend? Today is my baby shower, thrown by my very lovely coworkers. And tomorrow is my other baby shower, with lots of my sweet friends, family, and running buddies. I am looking forward to catching up with everyone and celebrating Baby M with some of my dearest friends. It's a baby shower weekend!

Here's a little of what we've been up to lately:
  1. I've been having a hard time sleeping these days. Sciatic nerve problems + loose tendons and ligaments + general restlessness = a grumpy preggo lady in the morning. Poor Andrew.
  2. Have you ever put jam on your vanilla ice cream? I discovered it last week and have been doing it pretty much every night since. It's my new favorite thing.
  3. We changed out all our winter clothes for spring/summer ones this week, so naturally the temperature dropped and we're back to frigid temperatures. I think we may have jinxed it.
  4. We had our childbirth class last weekend. There was a lot of information we already knew but being able to tour the hospital and see where we needed to park was a huge relief for me. I can't believe it's only a few weeks away!
  5. We have been doing a lot of yard work lately -- chipping away at the mess of weeds, leaves, and branches that some people call a backyard. We're making progress and I am looking forward to a summer of bare feet, cookouts, and naps in a hammock.

Hope your weekend is lovely. Have a great one, friends!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We love:

Have you heard of Canopy? Do you use it? It's a new design-focused web shop that "unearths Amazon's rare gems". Users post finds and you can link directly to the items to snap them up. We have an account and I am absolutely obsessed with it. I look at it pretty much every day. And then I add about 90 million more things to my wish list. That beautiful candle or sleek teapot -- do I need it? Nope, but I definitely have a strangely intense desire to own pretty much all of it.

Here are just a few of my favorite things I've discovered using Canopy:

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

You should definitely check it out. But forewarned: it's beautiful and completely addicting -- a dangerous combination.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The master:

We've spent a lot of time discussing the master bedroom situation lately. As of right now, a bed is the only thing in the entire room and while we'd like to dive right into the whole decorating process, we have been focusing on other rooms (read: nursery) up until this point. Only recently have we diverted our attention to this space where we get our rest on every night.

We've done a lot of debating about what kind of feel we want the room to have and what we envision the room looking like when it's all said and done. I tend to play it safe when it comes to colors. I don't want to do this with our room. So, I have created a palette of deep, calming colors to make the space feel warm and inviting. I really want to be able to relax in this space, especially since very soon, this will probably be the one room in the house in which we will be spending the most time. I want to be comfortable. 

Here's where we landed: I love the wall color (I think it's called black pepper by Benjamin Moore). I think it will warm the space up and play off the wood tones of our bed nicely. For a pop of color, I think painting two small chest of drawers a deep rust/pumpkin color would pair well with the wall color -- maybe do some interesting knobs on the drawers.

I like the idea of having sconces on the wall above the bed but since our bed is positioned between two windows, once the curtains are up, there might not be room. Speaking of curtains -- we have some white sheers that we might reuse but I think I'd like to explore some pattern. Nothing too wild, just a subtle, tone-on-tone pattern to bring some texture into the room. Pair those with some blackout roller shades for sleeping and privacy and we're in business (as far as window treatments go).

I love the idea of a plush rug since our hardwood floors are cold in the mornings. I like this one from West Elm because it's plush and has a pattern while still being neutral enough to not compete with the rest of the room. Plus, look how pretty. I'd like to have some kind of sitting area as well. Maybe a chair or two with a small table. And some greenery. Plants would really bring some warmth to the space as well. We get plenty of light (we have three windows) so I think they'd thrive there. 

For bedding, I'd like to do lots of layers of white and grey -- mostly solids with a few light/small patterns thrown in. And texture. Lots of texture. It would really make that bed inviting. And with a newborn, that's probably where I'll be the majority of my days.

Now that we've got an idea of what we want the space to look like, we need to get to work painting and collecting all the different elements. Easier said than done when my back is hurting so badly these days I feel like I can barely walk. Thank god for online shopping.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let's shop:

It's been a while since we did any kind of imaginary shopping so let's get back into gear with Provisions, a super cool kitchen and home goods online shop. I seriously love everything here but it's mostly out of my price range so imaginary shopping is about as far as I'll ever get. But look how pretty!

  1. The Original Whirley Popcorn Popper -- Andrew loves making popcorn on the stove so I know he would love this.
  2. Walnut Utensil and Knife Box -- We don't currently have anything to house our wooden spoons, whisks, and other utensils in so this is something we could definitely use. I love how it's wooden and square -- and completely beautiful and unique.
  3. Gold ladle -- We got rid of our ladle because it was plastic, gross, and I think we'd had it since our college days. Definitely time for an upgrade. Plus, how pretty would this one look sitting on the counter in that wooden utensil box?
  4. Citrus Press -- I want this so badly, I don't even know how to put it into words. Not that we have a lot of oranges hanging around or anything. I can't justify buying it in any way. But I love it.
  5. Farmer's Pitcher -- I can totally imagine this on our table, used for milk or juice during Saturday morning breakfast. 
  6. Walnut Pizza Peel -- I love a good pizza peel and this one is no exception. It's made from beautiful walnut and would get plenty of use at our house shoveling pizzas in and out of the oven multiple times a week (I may have an obsession with pizza). It can also serve as a cutting board and we all know tools that can multi-task are the MVPs of the cooking and food prep game.
  7. Pizza Stone -- We had a pizza stone but it finally bit the dust and since then, our pizzas just haven't been the same. I am interested to see how this soapstone one would hold up. You could use it for baking other things too (read: cookies).
  8. French Rolling Pin -- We don't have a rolling pin but we need one desperately. I only have eyes for the solid wood, keep forever, ages-well-and-looks-good-while-doing-it kind. They're hard to come by but this one seems to fit the bill nicely.

Monday, April 14, 2014

New reads:

This week I'm reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I didn't even know this book existed until the ladies in my book club suggested we read it for a short, relaxing read before summer break. And apparently, it's being made into a movie? And there are actually four novels? How did my radar completely miss this one?

I welcome the change of pace from the tomes I've been reading lately (see here and here). Have you heard of this story? Have you read it? I can't be the only one who had never heard of it.

In case you're like me and somehow missed the boat on this one, here's the brief summary:

"When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He's surrounded by strangers -- boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It's the only way out -- and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying."

It's definitely interesting. And once you get through the first few chapters and all the story set up, it gets pretty good. I've heard a lot of people compare it to Divergent and The Hunger Games series and I'd say I have to agree. It's sort of a hybrid of the two. So, if you liked either of those, you'll probably be really into this one. I'm glad I gave this one a try, even if I didn't love it. I don't think I'll read the rest of the series though. I'm a little tired of the whole dystopian society thing, truth be told.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! Can you feel it? Spring is in the air. The trees have buds on them, the robins are out in full force, and there is a cool breeze. I am so ready to get outside and enjoy the (finally) warmer weather.

Got anything fun planned for this weekend? We are taking a childbirth class this weekend (yikes!) and are a little freaked out by it. Things are happening! We've also got a very long to-do list that we'd like to tackle. A few things on the list: painting the quarter round and trim in a few of the rooms in the new house. And sewing a crib skirt. And working outside, weather permitting.

Have a relaxing but also productive weekend! Hope it's magical! XOXO.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New projects:

With all the home improvement projects going on around our house lately, I'm starting to feel a little worn out. So much of it is physical labor (not that I am doing much physical labor these days) and I really needed something that was more creative to exercise that part of my brain. Enter our new project. It's a pretty amazing idea, centered around Baby M. I'll share more in the coming months, but until then, here are some of the fabrics I picked out to get our little project started:

I'm pretty excited about this one. But did you know how hard it is to pick out fabric for a boy that isn't too babyish or just plain strange? It's been a challenge, but one I have really enjoyed. I am pleased with our picks and can't wait to tell you more about it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chill out:

Just a quick note to say: WE HAVE A FRIDGE! It got installed on Saturday afternoon and we have been celebrating ever since by stocking up on groceries, organizing the kitchen, and cooking. It currently resides in a temporary spot in our kitchen (as does everything -- the washer and dryer are occupying the fridge's final resting place right now) but it's here, it works, and we are enjoying it.

We keep walking into the kitchen and opening the doors just to look at it. We are a little giddy with our new appliance. Look at us, getting this excited over something as commonplace as a fridge. We're such grown ups.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The List:

Now that we've been in the new house for a while, we decided it was time to compile a list of all the to-dos that we'd like to see happen in the space. We've broken it up by room to make it easier to follow. So, without further ado, here's what's up next for us on the home improvement front:

  1. Till yard, add top soil, and lay grass seed
  2. Paint front door
  3. Replace door hardware
  4. Rip out old landscaping (especially those horrid holly bushes) and replace with new landscaping (bushes, flowers, etc).
  5. Repave driveway
  6. Replace storm doors
  7. Upgrade outdoor light fixtures
  8. Replace mailbox
  9. Buy rolling garbage can
  10. Trim low hanging tree branches
  11. Add raised garden beds
  12. Reinforce weak spots in fence/replace
  13. Replace old gas grill
  14. Remove metal awning on back of house
  15. Remove ivy from brick in back
  16. Power wash siding and brick
  17. Replace chimney flashing

Living room:
  1. Build wall with wide doorway to create separate entry area
  2. Remove double doors to hallway
  3. Add light fixture to entry
  4. Build built-ins along back wall for books/storage
  5. Add recessed can lighting
  6. Window treatments
  7. Find area rug and artwork
  8. Upgrade furniture (couch + two armchairs?)

  1. Demo existing cabinets 
  2. Remove old appliances
  3. Replace flooring with hardwood
  4. Remove phone/phone line
  5. Demo pantry closet
  6. Remove paneling
  7. Install new cabinets and countertops
  8. Install new appliances
  9. Add subway tile backsplash
  10. Paint trim
  11. Add pendant lighting above bar
  12. Upgrade existing lighting to recessed cans
  13. Chalkboard wall?
  14. Artwork, accessories, etc.
  1. Frame out walls with water line/electrical
  2. Add pocket door
  3. Drywall, paint, and trim
  4. Tile floor
  5. Install washer/dryer
  6. Add floor-to-ceiling storage cabinet beside stacked washer/dryer
  7. Run dryer vent to carport
  8. Hang coat hooks

Dining Room:
  1. Clean brick on fireplace
  2. Paint mantel
  3. Remove ceiling fan and replace with large pendant light
  4. Remove other light fixtures
  5. Paint paneling
  6. Paint trim
  7. Add chair railing
  8. Replace flooring with hardwood
  9. Build built-ins on both sides of fireplace
  10. Add sconces above built-ins
  11. Find art for above fireplace
  12. Build wall with wide doorway to space?
  13. Window treatments
  14. Find rug
  15. Upgrade furniture (farmhouse table + buffet + chairs)

  1. Remove laminate over original hardwood and refinish
  2. Replace/upgrade light fixtures
  3. Remove telephone shelf
  4. Upgrade thermostat
  5. Change linen closet hardware
  6. Add shelving/storage to bottom of coat closet
  7. Paint
  8. Paint insides of closets
  9. Runners?

Hall Bath:
  1. Clean grout
  2. Repair/replace missing tiles
  3. Reglaze bathtub
  4. Upgrade toilet to low-flow
  5. Remove towel rack/tissue holder
  6. Remove soap and toothbrush holders
  7. Add towel hooks
  8. Change cabinet/drawer hardware
  9. Upgrade mirror?
  10. Window treatment
  11. Change sink/tub faucet and showerhead
  12. Extend tile in shower to ceiling
  13. Hang floor-to-ceiling shower curtain
  14. Paint
  15. Add artwork

Office/Guest Room:
  1. Paint trim/quarter round
  2. Install built-in desk
  3. Paint
  4. Change light fixture
  5. Add more shelving/storage in closet
  6. Window treatments
  7. Find rug, artwork, office organization
  8. Furniture (sleeper sofa + desk chairs)

  1. Paint trim/quarter round
  2. Paint
  3. Add wainscoting?
  4. Put crib together
  5. Bring in dresser
  6. Build side table
  7. Change light fixture
  8. Add more shelving/storage to closet
  9. Window treatment
  10. Build book ledges and hang
  11. Get rug, artwork, accessories

Master Bedroom:
  1. Replace ceiling fan (for one without a light fixture)
  2. Add more recessed can lighting
  3. Replace closet doors with french doors
  4. Add closet organizers
  5. Add canned lights to closets
  6. Remove built-in behind door?
  7. Remove cable wiring
  8. Paint trim/quarter round
  9. Paint walls
  10. Window treatments
  11. Find rug
  12. Furniture (side tables + wall lamp over bed + arm chair)

Master Bath:
  1. Change toilet to low-flow
  2. Replace mirror
  3. Upgrade light fixture
  4. Add lighting to shower stall
  5. Replace sink and faucet
  6. Add electrical outlet(s)
  7. Retile floor and walls (subway tile?)
  8. Remove shower door and replace with curtain
  9. Remove towel racks/tissue holder
  10. Remove soap and toothbrush holders
  11. Add towel hooks
  12. Remove upper cabinet (find other storage?)
  13. Remove handrails from shower
  14. Upgrade showerhead
  15. Replace shower faucets
  16. Paint
  17. Enlarge shower by taking space from built-in on other side of wall?
  18. Window treatment

We've got a few things that need to be done throughout the house too, including replacing the windows, changing out the floor vents, replacing doorknobs, and upgrading electrical outlets and wiring.

It's a big list, isn't it? We're making plans to slowly hack away at it though. We've made progress already.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Last week, we headed down to Lowe's and picked up a new Nest Learning Thermostat. Our old thermostat was on its last leg (I was convinced that it wasn't gauging the temperature properly) so we decided it was time to upgrade. We had heard great things about the Nest and really liked its features, so even though it is pretty pricey, as far as thermostats go, we decided to bite the bullet and get one.

Apparently, the entire city of North Little Rock heard we had decided to make the move and there was a rush on Nest thermostats. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were completely sold out. We had to truck it over to the next town just to find one. And because our search took so long, we didn't get back until after dark. And because we were too anxious and excited to wait until the morning to install it, we did the entire installation in the dark. So, while you're looking at these photos, picture Andrew and I standing in a dark hallway -- him with a bunch of tools in his hands and me with my phone in mine and a flashlight between my teeth -- and Tillie looking at us like we are mad.

The Nest has a really great compatibility checker on their website, so we knew ahead of time that the thermostat was compatible with our system. And they give you everything you need to do the install -- including a screwdriver, level, and screws -- which made installation by flashlight that much easier.

The Nest is actually super simple to install. We took the cover off our old thermostat (after being sure we turned the entire system off first).

Then we took a picture of the placement of the wires and cut the power to the house. Once the power was off, all we had to do was use the stickers they provided to label each wire, disconnect them, and remove the old thermostat. From there you mount the new thermostat, using the level to make sure everything's straight, reconnect the wires, snap the cover on, and give it some power. 

The system connects to your wi-fi and walks you through the setup. It's very simple. I would say the whole process took us less than 30 minutes.

We've been using it for about a week now and so far, we really love it. It lets us see our energy usage over time, so we can see how much energy (and money) we're saving. I love the little green leaf that pops up every time we're being energy efficient. The thermostat has an app that you can download that allows you to remotely control your thermostat. So, if you're in bed and don't feel like getting up to change it, no problem. And if you're out of town or at work, you can let it know that you're away and it will adjust so you don't heat (or cool) a house that's empty. After a while, it learns your habits (hence the name "learning thermostat") and makes adjustments automatically. So the days of forgetting to adjust the settings on your way out the door are over. 

It does about a million other cool things as well. Check it all out on their website. I am looking forward to seeing how much it can cut our electricity bill this summer once the temperatures skyrocket.