Handyman Wednesday: Installing a Screen Door

Hi everyone! Kevin’s here as a follow up to my last post on buying a screen door.  It is now installed in the Little House and it was a pretty painless process.  I had my awesome dad in town to help me, so that made life SO much easier (thanks Mom and Dad!)


I’m going to keep this pretty high level because every door is different.  Most importantly, read ALL the instructions before you start.  I put a couple of screws in the wrong place because I didn’t read everything first.  A couple other things to remember:

1. You can’t do this alone.  Don’t try.


2. You need plenty of space.  Like a yard to lay the door down in.

Door in Yard

3.  Assemble all tools before starting.

More Tools for hanging a door  Tools

4. Don’t try to hang the door when a storm is coming in (we may have made this mistake).


Here are the basic steps.  It’s quite easy if you have the tools and the people to help.

Step 1.  Determine if the door is right hung or left hung (see the last handyman Wednesday for this)

Step 2. Measure and cut the trim pieces for the door using a hacksaw.

Cut Trim PiecesStep 3. Hang the trim pieces using the included screws.

Hang Trim Pieces


Step 4. Hang door and hinges on trim pieces (there should be a diagram for this in your instructions).

Step 5. Drill holes for hardware.

Screen Door Hardware Template  Holes for screen door hardware  Drill holes for screen door hardware


Step 6. Install faceplates.



Step 7. Install hardware.  This was way easier than I thought.  Basically it came in two pieces and you just have to tighten one screw to make the whole thing stay together.

Install Door Hardware


Step 8. Install the slower-downer-bar-thing-that-makes-the-cool-noise (yes, that’s the official terminology…trust me).

IMG_9082  IMG_0376


That’s it.  Test out your new door!  I would say for your first door allow about 3 hours.  The directions will inevitably be confusing and you’ll have to refer to Mr. Google for some advice (or in my lucky case Mr. Dad).

Here’s a picture of the finished product (we need to paint the trim now!!!):




Let us know what you think!  We love this door because our cat and dogs can look outside without jumping on anything, and if we ever have smoke in the kitchen (cough, never happens, cough), we can lower the screen on this bad boy and air the house out.


If a bee is allergic to pollen would it get the hives?  Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?  Why does a dog get mad at you when you blow in his face, but stick his head out the window when you take him for a car ride?


Saleing… Yards, That Is

You’ve probably heard me complain about the city of Dallas’ absurd rule requiring homeowners to have a permit for their yard sales… and an expensive permit at that.  The point, so I’m told, is to keep people from having habitual yard sales every Saturday and bringing down the neighborhood (or some such nonsense).  To me, it just seemed to be a way for the city to get an extra $50 from homeowners and it made me mad. Fightin’ mad. So mad, I vowed never to have a yard sale in the city of Dallas. Ever.

And I still haven’t… but as it turns out, the rules have changed. Your first yard sale in a calendar year is free and the second is just $25 for the permit.  So… I’m eating my words.  We’re having a yard sale at the Little House… eventually.  We haven’t decided if we want to squeeze it in before or after the bathroom remodel, but it’s happening. We’ve already started a yard sale pile in the garage and began doing a little market research (aka. yard saleing on a Saturday morning).

Armed with coffee and breakfast tacos, we spent three hours scouring yard sales in the Lakewood and M-Streets neighborhoods in Dallas Saturday morning.  We took $20 and spent every penny of it (along with $2 in quarters I found in the floorboard of my car).

Yardsale Finds

We brought home a genuine Talavera planter for $5 (it says “Hecho en Mexico” on the bottom, so it has to be genuine, right?) to go with all our other Talavera on out back patio. Talavea’s not exactly cheap, but this is the second piece we’ve found at yard sales for $5 or less.  The planter has a chip on its lip, but I think once there’s flowers in it you won’t be able to see it.

Chipped Talevera Pot

We found three coffee table books about London, French chateaux, and French villages, all places we’ve visited on our travels. The jackets were a little worn, but the cloth covers on the inside are great colors. I can’t wait to find a place to use them.  We got all three for $10.

Europe Coffee Table BooksWe also snagged a brand new fondue pot (everyone needs a fondue pot) for $5 and a shabby Scrabble game for $2. I plan to cannibalizing it for some craft project or other in the near future.  All in all, we thought it was a pretty successful day (none of what we bought will likely end up on our own yard sale) and we gained some good insight into what brought people in (signs on the right roads, music, free coffee!).

What did you do this weekend?

Handyman Wednesday: We Bought a Door

Hi everyone!  Kevin is here for a 2-part Handyman Wednesday.  Today, we are going to discuss doors.

I know, you have them, they’re very useful for keeping people out of your house.  However, if you don’t have a storm door or screen door, you can’t let the breeze blow in without letting the pets blow out.  Therefore, a door with a screen is a must.  The Little House lacked these doors.  With my parents in town this weekend (love you guys!), I had the handyman of all handymen here to help me pick out and install a door.

My Dad said there are 5 things to consider in a new door.

1. Size.  Please measure your door-frame.  Our kitchen door-frame was 32″ wide and 80″ tall.  This is the standard door size.

Door Frame Size Guide2. Decide what kind of door you want.  There are storm doors that are all glass, doors that are glass and screen, and then all screen.  With us, we wanted the screen, but couldn’t do the full screen or the Fievel would sharpen his claws on it.

Storm Doors and Combo Doors

Combo Screen/Storm, and Full Storm Doors

Screen Door

Full Screen Door

3. Make sure you know if your door is right-hand or left-hand.  This is easy.  Look at you door from the outside.  If your hinges are on the right it is right-handed.  If your hinges are on your left it’s left handed.

Hinge Side

4. Decide your budget (Doors range from $90 – $300+).

5. Have at least 4 hands available.  I would NOT install a door by myself.

We had a budget of $150 for our door which severely limited our choices of prettiness to this:


Then we found a clearance sticker at Home Depot.  When I see a yellow sticker at Home Depot, I get more excited than Thor at a 2-for-1 sale on hammers.


Did I read that right?  Is it $103 off?

Did I read that right? Is it $103 off?

Here’s our pretty door.  Come back next week for the install tips!

This is our door, except replace nickel with Brass

This is our door, except replace nickel with Brass


Here’s a link to Home Depot of our door:

EMCO 400 Series Door



What do you do when you see an endangered animal that is eating an endangered plant?  If you put a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, what color would it turn?  Can an ambidextrous person make an offhand remark? 

Partially Ensconced

We’re at T minus not-very-long until we start the bathroom (or at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves).  Recent life events have pushed out the start date, reeled it back in, and left it basically in limbo.  Honestly, it has me a little frustrated that it’s so indefinite… I’m ready for a little sledgehammer therapy session.  Instead, I have to be patient and content myself with sourcing our materials (which, to be honest, has to be done first… I just really need that sledgehammer therapy).

Lately I’ve been pondering sconces for our bathroom.  Right now we have one of those $20 cheapie unibrow sconces the previous owner installed. It’s not centered over the sink (seriously, none of the lighting is centered in the Little House) and the more I look at it, the more I’m pretty sure I want to do something different next time around.

Beals Bathroom Before 1

I’m leaning towards two single sconces flanking our new medicine cabinet, like the photo below.  I’m all about symmetry and that part of me likes how balanced it looks with a single sconce on either side.  Also, I might be able to convince the hubs since it’s one light bulb less than our current arrangement… less light bulbs means less electricity used, right?

Pottery Barn Recessed Hotel Medicine Cabinet

I’m loving these sconces from Shades of Light. They’re vintage, but not too much so. And at $62 each, more affordable than I expected.


I also really like this one from Destination Lighting. It’s a little cheaper at $50 and I think I might like the shape more than other. I’m just a little worried about the scale though… it seems to be a lot bigger (and we can’t do bigger in this bathroom… we have to do tiny and compact).


Hopefully we’ll get the ball rolling soon and start swinging the sledgehammer, but in the meantime we still have to decide on tile, purchase it, get sconces, and a ton of other things.  We’ll keep you posted on all the riveting developments.


Stooling on Some Changes

Sometimes things don’t work out like you planned (especially if your plans never really get off the ground in the first place).

When Kevin and I remodeled our backyard we had plans of installing a drink ledge along our longest deck railing, as shown in our very high quality plan below.  It was going to make use of some unused space on the deck and give us another conversation area with more seating.

The New Backyard Plan

We even went so far as to buy the stools for the bar and to put them along the railing where the bar would be (in hopes, I think, of motivating ourselves to push through and finish the deck).  That was a year ago.

Metal Stools Overstock

That picture’s not from a year ago. It’s from yesterday. As you can see, the stools are still in place, waiting on the drink ledge that (still) hasn’t appeared.  For what’s it worth though, it’s on the list of projects that MUST be finished before we start the bathroom and we have the materials bought for it. So there’s that.

The stools haven’t taken their one year stint outside very well.  The clear coat on the top has started to break down and rubs off in a white powder that’s hard to get out of clothes.  The color on the top has faded, too, leaving them looking not so hot.  We don’t want to get rid of them since they weren’t exactly cheap and structurally are still in really good shape (there’s no rust, thankfully).


Metal Stool Top Problems

I was really excited then, when I saw these stools at Target the other day.  It was a serious lightbulb moment. I grabbed the stool and ran halfway across the store with it to find Kevin and show him.  He wasn’t quite as excited as me.

Target Threshold Metal Stool Wood TopAdding wood tops to our stools would hide the faded tops, while making them even more awesome than they already are. Win! I mocked it up on one of our stools at home with some cedar we had laying around in the garage last night. I really like the effect.

Wood Top Metal Stool Preview

It’s probably an after the bathroom project, but one we’re definitely adding to our list… so stay tuned.

Have any of your purchases not worked out lately? Have you procrastinated on finishing a project before (maybe not for a year like us)? Do you also get ridiculously excited over Target finds?



Ft. Worth Weekend

Our weekend was so good that I never got around to working on the blog, so please bear with us as things are still on the move around here!

In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m blessed with (quite possibly) the best husband ever.  I know, I know.  You have an awesome husband, too (or maybe you ARE the awesome husband in question and kudos to you!), but hear me out.

On Friday, Kevin surprised me with a date weekend in Ft. Worth to see three of the performances of the Ft. Worth Opera. Everything started with shared plates and craft cocktails at one of my favorite restaurants in Ft. Worth, Bird Cafe. Their lavender gin Fitzgerald was incredible (I think I’m going to replicate it soon for a cocktail of the week)!

The Fitzgerald at the Bird Cafe Ft. Worth

Next up for the weekend was Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers,” a beautiful opera about (who’d have guessed) a love triangle. The costumes were gorgeous and the music was perfect. Luckily they had an English translation projected above the scene (everything was in French!).


We ended Friday night with drinks on Sundance Square.  If you’ve never been to Ft. Worth, you really should go. It’s such a fun downtown!  Isn’t Kev dapper in his blazer?


We got out of our hotel pretty early on Saturday morning and headed to the Ft. Worth Zoo. It was early enough in the morning that all the animals were still up and moving about, so we got to see some of them playing and walking around (instead of sleeping in the warm sunshine like this guy).


After the zoo, we headed to Rahr and Sons Brewery for a tour and tasting of their local craft beers. We are, after all, beer nerds at heart.


A nice dinner later, we headed back to Bass Hall for a perfomrance of Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte,” a comedy that I absolutely loved (along with it’s 1920s setting).  On Sunday we were home for a big event at our church, but then headed back to Ft. Worth for one last opera called “Silent Night,” a story of the Christmas cease fire during the WWI. It was incredibly beautiful and moving!

We ended our weekend by celebrating May the Fourth in our backyard by watching Star Wars on our new projector and blowup movie screen (just when we thought our backyard couldn’t get any better).


All in all it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and definitely proof that I have the best husband ever… or close to it, anyway.

How were your weekends? Was the weather in your neck of the woods as gorgeous as ours was in North Texas? What do you think of the new header? We’re open to (and hoping for) suggestions!

This entry was posted in Family.

Temporary Fix

Hey Guys!

Thanks for sticking with us! As you can see, things are changing a little here around LHBH. We’re working hard on the site design and hope to have things ship-shape by Monday! If you run into any bugs or have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to let us know! We appreciate the feedback!

Have a great weekend!

Handyman Wednesday: Ditch the Cable

Handyman Wednesday Returns (sort of).  Jess and I were online the other day when we saw that Best Buy was giving a $25 gift card for ANY Windows XP laptop that worked.  We just happened to have 2 of these laptops sitting around doing nothing.  Why not recycle them and get paid to do it?


Then came the problem: what do we buy?  Fortunately, I already had an idea.  The Roku Streaming Stick for $50 (Amazon Link).  If you’ve also been on Amazon the past couple weeks, you’ve noticed they released Fire TV.  This is basically a streaming service for your TV so you can watch Amazon, Netflix, etc on your TV without connecting your laptop to it.  The Roku Stick, which launched in late March, does the same thing… only better (because it’s so much smaller, cheaper, and you don’t need to find a place for the box!).


All you have to do is plug this little guy into your HDMI port and USB port on the back of your TV, and connect to the wi-fi (there are on-screen instructions to help you).

roku stick TV Installation

It was PAINLESS.  Your grandma and grandpa could set this up on their own.  Then, using the included remote (which is an AWESOME little thing and works from anywhere in the house), you can stream your Amazon Prime content, your Netflix, your Hulu Plus, and over 1000 other services directly to your TV.  Plus, there are 4 buttons that launch the most popular apps.


Honestly, you’ll only use 5-10 of these 1000 services, but who’s counting.  Here’s my favorite channels:

1. Amazon Prime (it’s AWESOME)

2. Netflix (We will be getting this when we ditch DirecTV at the end of our contract)

3. Hulu Plus (Don’t have this yet either).

4. Pandora

5. Blockbuster Movie Rental (No need to go to the store any more)

6. RedBox

Previously I had a ChromeCast and I found it useless.

Roku Stick vs Chromecast

You can’t stream videos from your laptop easily with the ChromeCast, there is no remote so you have to use your phone, and they don’t have Amazon Prime.  Trust me, pay the extra $15 and you’ll be well rewarded for your investment with Roku.  Disclaimer: I did NOT get anything for writing this.  No freebies, no money, no anything.  I paid for this just like you would.  I did, however, get a lot of enjoyment for my nerdy self.

Any questions or thoughts?  I’d love to hear them!  How does a shepherd count his flock without falling asleep?  Why do people say heads up when you should duck?  Have ex-cowboys become deranged?


Mirror, Mirror

Do you know that feeling when you put on a jacket you haven’t worn in ages, put your hand in the pocket, and pull out a $20? It’s the best, right?  Kev and I had that happen to us this weekend… except the jacket was a dresser drawer and the $20 was two gift cards.

The first gift card was to Lowe’s and Kevin used it to buy a 20V DeWalt jig saw. Woot.

The second was a $50 gift card was to Pottery Barn… which got the wheels in my head a-turnin’.  I have been coveting this recessed medicine cabinet from Pottery Barn pretty much since we decided to remodel the bathroom. But at $250, it was more of a splurge than I was willing to make, especially when Home Depot has a similar-but-not-recessed version for $109.

Pottery Barn Recessed Hotel Medicine Cabinet (via)

Now I had $50 off that $250.  Things were starting to look more attractive. And then yesterday morning when I got an email from Pottery Barn for 20% off a single item, I knew it was a sign from God (assuming God busies himself with things like Pottery Barn sales and bathroom renovations).

With the $50 gift card and the 20% off, the cabinet was down to $150.  As usual, we checked Gift Card Zen and scored just the right amount of discount gift cards to get us another 8% off, meaning we paid just $138 before tax.  I won’t lie, I did my happy dance when Kevin wasn’t looking.

All in all, we saved $112 on the medicine cabinet. If you combine that with the $186.85 we saved on our console sink, we’ve saved $298.85 so far on our bathroom renovation!

This has inspired us to add a new goal for our bathroom remodel:

Save $1000 on what we were already planning to purchase for the remodel by getting creative with sales, coupons, and discount gift cards.

It’s an ambitious goal since we don’t have too many major purchases left, but I know we can do it. Only $700 more left to save!

How was your Easter weekend?  Have you ever had that found $20 feeling?  Have you gotten creative with sales or coupons lately? Do you think saving $1000 is too ambitious?