One of our Christmas traditions is to take our Christmas tree stump and write a memorable event on it. I read about this in Better Homes and Gardens five years ago and then implemented it that next year so we have stumps dating back to 2011. This year and last year I’ve displayed the stumps in our pallet box. It serves as a great divider from our living area and the area of our living room that we’ve sort of zoned “the office area” with our big desk. You’ll see more full room shots in our house tour (meaning: after all the bags and boxes are put away and I’ve finished decorating the living room :)).
Normally I’m not a red lover but for some reason this year I was excited to bring in pops of red in tiny doses. I had some inspiration from the apples sitting on our counter and decided to see how I liked them mixed into our mantle greens and in this pallet box. I loved them even though the mixture of the apples and the pine cones felt very rustic. To add interest to the box I decided to mix four different kinds of greens… all of which were free (that’s my kind of decorating). The boxwoods and prickly pine (honestly, I have no idea if it’s actually a pine) came from our yard. The fir came from our Christmas tree and the holly from an incredibly overgrown bush from our church. I simply pruned all the branches that were dragging on the ground and getting tangled into the surrounding trees.
I chose two noteable events for this year’s tree stump and neither were directly related to our kids, which was a change from stumps past. This year, in May, we purchased a fifteen family in the neighboring town. If you’ve read the blog for a while you know that AJ and I are both real estate agents and we’ve dabbled in flipping but primarily own rentals. I’ve never mentioned this last purchase on the blog becauase I never wanted it to seem braggy. AJ started learning about being a landlord before I even met him and had this plan for our family that eventually he would be able to quit his job and focus on the rentals, real estate has become a real passion for him. The purchase of this fifteen family has been a huge time committment on AJ’s part for the past year and a half. The broker AJ and I work under, Peter, has really taken AJ under his wing in the past four or so years. Peter purchased the fifteen family in May of 2013 with the goal of selling it to AJ and I the following year after training AJ how to run a building of this size. He put some great improvements into the building so we wouldn’t have to worry about it and constantly communicated with AJ about everything that was happening at the building. AJ cleaned bathrooms every week over there (some apartments have a common bath) and went around with Peter to collect rents, paint units, etc in an effort to get to know the tenants and the building. I wrote that down as a big event for us because we hope it to be a catalyst for AJ doing more of what he wants to do in the next three to five years.
The second thing I wrote down was adding on a front porch. We didn’t do anything else major to our house this past year, except for new windows, but the simple addition of the porch was a moral booster. The front of our house is now charming… not literally falling down (I’ve told you how I heard this great bang a little over a year ago and one of the pillars had just fallen off the old front porch, right?). This summer it was heaven sent to be outside but not in the sun. I’ve had a blast decorating that space and making it as welcoming as possible.