July 19, 2018

Not long into life with toddlers, I learned having a fenced in portion of our yard was the dream. As pretty ambitious diy-ers, we wanted to do it ourselves, and I can report it went pretty smoothly! And we like seriously love having it.

With the traditional colonial look of our house, I knew instantly it had to be the classic white picket fence. We have lots of coverage from the trees in our yard, so it did not need to be a privacy height.

Just a sweet little three foot-er that keeps babies in. We placed it in part of the yard off of the sunroom, around the basketball court area. This is what it was like before, sans fence.

EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-5EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-4


These materials are for about 125 feet of fencing. We saved up $1,200 for our fence and came in under budget at $834!

  1. Fence posts ($163): We needed 21 posts for our yard that would be five feet tall (three feet high out of the ground and buried two feet underground). David bought eleven of these ten foot beams and sawed all of them in half to get our five foot posts.
  2. Fence panels ($536): The fence styles I like are flat or “dog-eared” (where the corners are cut off). We were unable to find those readily available, so we bought these affordable gothic ones from home depot and sawed off the tops for a flat look. That was a huge money saver while being convenient and took very little time. We looked and looked and were willing to pay more to find pre-primed or painted fencing, but it just does not seem to exist! (Weird.) In my book the fence had to be white. And we aren’t into the plastic feel of vinyl fencing, so we were definitely going with wood. For price comparisons, vinyl would have been $2,875 and compared to our $536 for wood. We could have saved even more by not buying pre-made panels and cutting and screwing wood together ourselves, but those materials would have cost $393, so paying about $150 more to have all that work already done was an easy choice.
  3. Posthole digger ($0): This was borrowed from David’s parents. Electric ones are available for renting or if you don’t have too many posts to dig you could use the manual ones (not for the faint of heart).
  4. Stakes ($4)
  5. Mason twine ($4)
  6. Pebbles ($11)
  7. Wood deck screws ($25)
  8. Paint and primer ($75)
  9. Gate hinges ($8)
  10. Gate latch ($8)

Total cost: $834


Stake out fence line using the stakes and string, accounting for any gates you want to make. From there is the (by far) biggest part of the project – digging holes for the posts. We used an electric augger to dig two feet into the ground, poured pebbles in the bottom of the hole (for drainage), placed the post inside and poured in more pebbles, and then filled and tamped the dirt. Repeat! Our biggest obstacles were hitting lots of roots while digging because our yard is so wooded. (Something I love all the rest of the time!) And, that our yard has slants, which means you can’t span the full eight foot distance of one panel and have to dig more post holes to keep your fence level.

Once all the post are in, you screw the panels into them. From there, we built a door and used some extra pickets (disassembled pallets would work too) to cover the opening under the sunroom. Our two favorite tutorials that we learned a lot from to execute our fence dreams were here and here.

Then, we painted! One coat of primer and then behr porch and floor paint for the top coat. We used a brush and roller and working together it took David’s mom and I just one day each for prime and paint.

The fence is an utter game changer. It was hard to play in our yard with little ones before and now this area really works for our family. It has completely changed how we experience the seasons too. GOING OUTSIDE IS RELAXING instead of a ton of work corralling tiny people.

I know we will take every single day out here we can until the cold weather really hits. And even then snow play is going to be so special. And of course summer sprinkler and water play. We heart you, fence! Love, The Schultzes.

My New Cookbook



July 16, 2018

WE ARE AT PEAK SUMMER. It’s really rocking my world how much the produce at my local grocery stop is, well, rocking. I am more and more convinced that although grocers a little bit know no seasons, your personal kitchen benefits from cooking in sync with the calendar. Hear me when I say I’m no produce elitist.

I buy non-organic more often than not. But, the flavor and quality of even something as simple as the pre-packaged bag of carrots I bought last week is far from the bag of water-y, tasteless carrots I bought in december.

Thus salads have become my routine because I’m loving summer and kind of not wanting to think about winter produce right now. For midwesterners that is a long six months with a short list of fresh options. But I won’t be sad because I love autumn cooking and winter baking. And peach salad for today!

Peach Quinoa SaladPeach Quinoa Salad
Serves four

1 cup quinoa
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
15 ounces corn
15 ounces black beans
3 peaches, diced
2 shallots, diced
1 cup cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
A dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. Toss all ingredients together.

Peach Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 15 ounces corn
  • 15 ounces black beans
  • 3 peaches, diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • A dash of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Toss all ingredients together.


My New Cookbook



July 12, 2018

There was a book I read last year that I completely adored but forgot to include in my best books of the year summary. But then I realized I was really okay with that because what I learned from this book and how it is applying to my routine is worth at least a whole post. It’s a little different than most books I read, but it was SO GOOD I need to let people know about it.

Becoming a homemaker was a very different pace and lifestyle from my previous life phases. Once I saw I needed to build my wardrobe differently, I was much less frustrated. I’m generally interested in organizing and style stuff, so I feel pretty aware of what is out there for strategies with clothes or purging possessions and still, The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees was BY FAR the best advice and system I have read.

What I love about refining this stuff is that it fits with an attitude that is the home is a place that’s worth looking nice. The home is worth doing a lot of things for. Also, side note, my husband didn’t read the book, but I explained the concepts to him and he has really liked them for himself too.

How to Dress as a Homemaker Everyday

In college, I was out and about every day, constantly at places in public and going to social events, so it was normal to get dressed nicely everyday. Then when I became self employed and worked from home everyday, I found it kind of weird and conflicting to get dressed.

Previously if I was going to have a whole day at home that was more rare, so I’d stay in something lounge-ish. But that didn’t work with being at home everyday. I wanted to feel better than wearing sweats, but wearing the types of outfits I used to wear to class or my internship or parties felt silly and not right for the types of tasks I’d be doing to take care of the home and babies.

This book talks about “outfit formulas.” To make your formulas, you first think of all the different settings you go to in a given week. I have:

  1. days at home,
  2. casual social events (like a bible study or party in our home), and
  3. church or dressier events (like a date night).

I thought about what my ideal outfits to wear for those occasions would be. This was a very helpful and important part. What do I actually reach for during each of these times because it is comfortable and how I want to look. Outfit formulas are a version of the same “uniform” you can wear over and over by mixing and matching the different pieces of the formula.

Next you add up an average two weeks of your life. How many times are you in [each of the above settings] every two weeks? I could see how many of each piece I need for a two week cycle. (When our family was smaller I did laundry every two weeks. Now I still like operating on a two week cycle for the frequency I like to re-wear.) Then I count up how many I have in my closet and compare the number. This showed me my wardrobe holes and has completely guided my clothes shopping in a much more focused way.

If you’re like me, I found I had way more nice dresses than I need and not enough at home cute basics. It was kind of just leftover from my previous go somewhere everyday lifestyle. So when shopping now, I know to prioritize buying well fitting comfortable t-shirts with feminine details because that is the current biggest hole in my wardrobe! I buy versions of everything that all fit into my overall style feel (that the book helps you form for yourself), which for me some words for my vibe are: classic vintage, easy, comfortable, feminine, retro.

This is a summary version of mine. I have a separate version for maternity too. (I don’t like high waisted bottoms then, which you will see are normally a staple!)


summer: 1) t-shirt dress or 2) high waist shorts with cute t-shirts
winter: leggings and cute t-shirts


summer: 1) t-shirt dress, 2) high waist shorts with cute t-shirts, or 3) high waist skirts with cute t-shirts
winter: 1) joggers or jeans with t-shirts or 2) skirts/shorts with layered leggings or tights and cute t-shirts


summer: a-line dresses with short or 3/4 length sleeves
winter: add tights

In this list I specified the t-shirts “cute” every time. I’ve found I much prefer finding shirts that have feminine details or a cool vintage graphic or design. So by cute t-shirts, I mean some kind of element that makes it special. They feel a lot better than solid color, almost unisex stuff!

Another concept is creating a color palette for your wardrobe. At first that feels restricting, but really you’ll like it. Because realizing the colors that look good on me has simplified things. It’s so old school, but enough older women have stopped me in department stores to tell me I’m a textbook “winter” that I looked up what that means online and it was actually very helpful. I wear jewel tones and cool pastels. I love blush pink, but it just does not look good on me! So I can stop trying. Shopping decisions are much faster because of this.

Curated Closet Book

One more thing I have to mention the book does really well is help you go through your clothes (to get rid of some) in a way that is the best, most realistic method I have ever heard. You will end up with all perfect clothing, but it’s not rash, where you get rid of a ton of clothes that you need to function each day before you can find and buy your ideal things.

There is really so much more I could say about what is covered in the book; it is just so good. I felt like so many strategy things clicked in to place while reading it.

Implementing this has been slower for me because I am in the pregnancy years where I need two sizes for everything (maternity and normal) and then also summer and winter versions of both. So I am working toward building kind of four wardrobes! But I have much more clarity about my strategy and getting dressed well makes me more productive and happier.

And this is unrelated, but I also realized recently that mascara just is not really going to be part of my life anymore and I am all about eyeliner (which I used to never do). Adapting my hair and make up choices for what works best now too!

My New Cookbook


Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2018