Monday, April 23, 2012

Pictures of Our "Tax Return Dreams" Turned Reality

Every year Steve and I dream and joke about all of the things we could purchase with our tax return. On this list of items there is always talk of a hot tub, a sauna, a fireplace, new floors, a bunkhouse, a trip to Kilimanjaro or Europe, etc. But, usually when we receive our tax return there are more important things to take care of last year we were in desperate need of a new exciting.

So, this year we decided to finally make a few of our "tax return dreams" become reality by investing in new floors and a wood stove for our "cabin house." The girls and I spent the day watching two nice gentleman from Soo Fireplace and Stone intstall a wood stove into our living room that just had new wood floors installed in it this past week. It was fun to watch the process. It got a little boring in the middle, so we took a walk down to sunny Monocle Lake. Autumn found a few interesting aquatic bugs that we captured to study. When we returned we were greeted by a transformed living room. We haven't had our first fire yet because I want to make sure we have read through the manual and have all the proper tools and some really dry wood, but I can't wait! And the floors...Aaaahhhhh....I just can't express how wonderful and freeing it feels to be rid of that stained white carpeting! I am now actually looking forward to having company over.

I am using the little red trailer to the left of the truck below to meticulously sort through everything we moved out to the house, and I am loading it up with the items that aren't going to be needed at this house. Hopefully we can make one trip into town with these things and be free of a lot of the clutter that has been weighing our family down. It is really exciting, and the more I focus on this goal the easier the letting go becomes. My Mantra: "Less is more...Less is more....Less is more..."

Hopefully by the end of next week we will feel completely finished with the moving/renovating/cleaning/sorting process and we will be ready and free to enjoy summer to the fullest!
Here comes the stove...ME: "How heavy is that thing?" WORKERS: "lots and lots of grunts...HEAVY!"

Walking on the lake to get out of the workers hair. It was super windy today! Definitely needed those hats and gloves!

Here it is! Obviously we don't have our furniture back in....but the girls don't mind. They have set up camp with the couch cushions and lots of puzzles and board games. They don't want any furniture back in because they say this way is more fun. The only complaint I have is that blue tube coming off the back. It is the air inlet. I asked the workers why it couldn't be black? Anybody else have a wood stove with a blue air inlet? Maybe we will paint it?

Playing Stratego. I was trying to get a shot of the tiled entry. We still have to put trim up around the walls.

The house echoes right now since it is so empty. Last night I took an unpacking break to play guitar...It is fun to sing in an empty room. I thought to myself, "I sound better than when I sing in the bathroom!" Echoes make any voice sound better.

The ash pan came with a bunch of different tile options. We thought this one would be perfect for our place.

You can see our Forsynthia bush in full bloom (yellow) out the window. I was talking to my Dad on the phone and he said that their bush has already finished blooming. (They live five hours downstate.) It is so weird to think that those 5 hours make such a difference in weather!

I can't wait to have our first fire! Hopefully it stays a bit chilly outside for the next few weeks (at least in the evenings) so we can use it a lot. I have a feeling it will be extremely enjoyable this winter.

In the end, we are happy we were able to make a few of our "tax return dreams" come true. Its so weird that we get excited every year for this's not like it is a gift from the government...I have to remind myself that they are the ones taking money from us. But, at least they didn't keep it all.

What do you usually do with your tax return? Do you have any "tax return dreams" of your own?  Already Steve and I both agree that next year's dreams will include installing wood floors in the bedrooms!


P.S. If you have a wood stove, any tales of wood stove incidents, suggestions, tips, memories etc. would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Excellent use of a tax refund! The stove and floor both look awesome.
    Nice pics. The lake looks like it's up a little this spring. Is it?
    I'm afraid of what our dock might look like when we get up there. The spring ice shoves it around a little sometimes, and this spring the dock is 10 feet farther out.

    1. Autumn and I were debating yesterday about the water level. She thinks it is much higher this year, but I think it looks about the same. We should really get a marker and place it somewhere permanent so we could do measurements throughout the year...maybe that will be our next science project.
      Thanks for the compliments!

  2. I love wood burning stoves! The hardwood floors look great, and I hope you are able to get good use out of the stove. Great for soup...I noticed the beautiful Bodega bay sunset photo you have posted in your living room ;). Sadly (or maybe not, depending on which perspective I take), my tax return went straight towards student loans this year. Every penny! It was a hard fought mental battle, but in the end I feel better knowing I'm one step closer towards debt free life...

    Autumn, a very special gorilla has been going on adventures with me recently. Some photos might be coming soon...

    Uncle Craig

    1. I told Autumn about gorilla and she is very excited, so now you have to follow through :) I wish we had kept up those antics with giraffe. He is in plenty of photos from when Steve and I first met, and it is neat to have one little physical item that has been all over with you. Keep it up long enough and gorilla will turn into an heirloom of sorts to be handed down through the generations :)

      We miss you! When are you and gorilla planning to travel to Michigan?

  3. I love the tax refund, too. We have been using it for travel adventures. But this year we also bought a neat antique sideboard that actually just got delivered on Monday. The floors look great and I think the stove will be so welcome in the northern cold. I recall some summer nights that could have used a fire!

    1. Thanks Tricia,

      I would love to see more pictures of all of your travel adventures this year (and your sideboard)!

      Plus, I am still waiting to hear about your plans for the future!!! Please tell!



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