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post off: what’s your new year’s home resolution? here are my five

So it’s January 7th yet and I haven’t really thought about resolutions yet. I thought I would use this post to carve out a few things that we have been talking about doing to our home this year. It’s so easy to forget all the things you casually toss off at dinner “We really should get a generator this year” or “What about in-wall insulation?” that having a starting list would really help.

Here are a few things that I would like to accomplish in our little dwelling in 2013.

1. Find a new way to display our kid’s artwork. As Isadora gets older, her masterpieces are becoming, well, more masterful! Right now we display the best of the best in her room, but there’s a bit too much in the mix there — what with photos of friends, local artwork and a rotating selection of posters on her closet door. (Yes, it’s starting already! Luckily we’re in the Magic Tree House phase and not a Justin Bieber one yet.) I like this wall that I spotted on Houzz.com. It has a mix of frames, canvases and cut-outs.

2. Make our attic a fun place to hang out. We finished our attic off when we moved in two years ago and honestly we haven’t done much to it since then. It holds our old couch, a cast-off rug and bare white walls. Isadora loves playing up there even though it’s colorless, and it’d be great to start moving some of her toys upstairs.

3. Organize our kitchen. Our place usually looks pretty tidy — until you open a cabinet. Pots and pans are stacked haphazardly and the pantry is worse. We keep buying foods we don’t need because they’re buried. We’re wasting time and money and it’s got to stop!

4. Make our backyard livable for the dog and us. Last year we spent a lot of energy (and money) planting pretty things around the border of our yard. Then we got a dog. Now we have a bunch of mud holes where there used to be plants and the grass is a spotty, clover field mess. How to fix? I don’t know — rocks? But we gotta figure something out.

5. Be ready for the next Sandy. This one is probably at the top of the list. We had a real wake-up call in October when the storm hit our area. We were insanely lucky to not have any property damage to our house, but we realized how little supplies we had to live without power for a few days. We are stocking up on water, firewood, non-perishables and more. We have hired an electrician to help us get set up for a generator, and must get that done before July. That’s our goal.

I could go on, but I don’t want to over-commit and then feel guilty that I wasn’t able to keep my resolutions.

What about you? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions for your home? Please share!

From our partners

hobbit houses: taking design tips from bilbo baggins

One of the many movies on our holiday watch list is Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. We confess to being complete LOR junkies, and read the Tolkein novel until it was dogeared in our youths. Our dreams have been fueled by these images that we spotted over at Houzz, featuring Hobbit-like houses that bring the charm of the Shire to modern life. Architect Simon Dale constructed this home not as a tribute to Bilbo but more to enjoy a low impact way of life. A plastic sheet waterproofs the roof’s insulating layer of straw bales. Click through to Houzz to see more images of Hobbit-like houses.

From our partners

a gorgeous new way to filter your water: soma via kickstarter

Water filters are one of those every day objects that desperately need to be redesigned. They take up too much room in our fridge, the filters fall out or leave black charcoal flakes in our glasses when we pour them, and worst of all, they are unattractive plastic pitchers. That’s why we are happy to be endorsing Soma’s water filter via Kickstarter. With a sleek, glass carafe and an equally sleek compostable filter, it creates clean, pure water that is filtered naturally with three layers of materials: malaysian coconut shells, a food-based PLA composite and a vegan silk from India. Soma claims that the filter removes heavy metals, chlorine and other contaminants. Visit Kickstarter to see a video about how the Soma filter was created and the team behind it. Make a pledge of $50 and you’ll receive a glass carafe and a 6-month filter subscription.

From our partners

ready for anything: trapdoor kitchen winecellars

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this past week, it’s that you can never be too prepared. Post-Sandy, we are busy stocking up our pantry with water, canned goods, boxed milk, and of course, a stash of our favorite wines. This post over at The Kitchn has us thinking about storage in a whole new way. It’s about a company called Spiral Cellars, that constructs hidden storage space for your favorite vinos. A trap door in your kitchen leads to a spiral staircase that can store about 1000 bottles of wine. Though we are not such wine aficionados that we’d ever need this much space, we can see the advantage of having a secret spot to hide your cherished goods. Of course this set up will cost ya some bucks: Like $30,000. Perhaps a bunker would be more practical. Or a teardrop trailer so you can take it with you when the storm hits!

Want to see more? Visit thekitchn.com for the full post.

From our partners

post off: are you ready for a weather disaster in your house?

Even though we heard about Sandy’s approach days before she arrived, we were still surprised by the wallop she punched in our community and neighboring areas. Luckily, our house was unharmed, but others, like the ones around the corner in the photo above, were not so fortunate. We thought we were ready. We had a big box of tea lights, plenty of water and a pile of firewood. By day four without electricity and rapidly dipping temperatures, we realized weren’t prepared to last more than a few days without power. Now we’re investigating generators and putting together a must-get list of survival supplies. Topping that list: portable gas cans. Who knew that gas stations couldn’t run without electricity? Having a generator is pretty useless if there is not fuel around to charge it. Rather than tough it out in our cold house, we fled to Ohio to visit family. We should be able to return soon, now that things getting back to normal. Hopefully before the next storm we’ll be ready!

What have you done in your home to get ready for the worst? Do you have a stash of supplies in the basement? A bug-out bag?

From our partners