Installing a Timer Switch

March 19, 2014

So, we have been working hard on getting our shed finished but Mother Nature doesn't seem to want to let us finish this project. We are just finishing up our third straight day of rain, so we have obviously halted any outdoor projects until it dries up a bit.

Thanks to the rain we have moved our focus inside and wanted to share a quick and super easy way to have indoor or outdoor lights on a timer. The set it and forget it kind. Before we got rained out we put one of these on our shed for the coach lights we installed (we can't wait to share it with y'all- we just have to catch a rain break to finish it up) and decided to carry on to the coach lights on our front porch and at our garage. We never kept our outdoor lights on because I habitually forget to turn them off. This way we don't have to worry about turning them off at night.

We grabbed all our essentials from Home Depot. The timer we used was this one. We went ahead and grabbed a standard decor switch (which is just fancy talk for the rectangle shaped switches) and plate cover since we are planning on changing out all of the switches to the fancy decor ones.

Installing and programming the switch is super easy. I promise. Here is a quick rundown of how we did it.

MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure that there is no power running to the switch you are working on. Flipping the breaker off is the best and safest way to do this.

1. After the power has been turned off to the switch. Remove the switch plate cover and all switches that you are replacing. We removed the the switches by just cutting the wire since Matt likes to start clean.  This is not a must do but makes for a cleaner job.

2. Strip wires to expose the copper wire underneath that will be used to make the connection. For each switch you will have three wires. One white, one black, and one non coated or green, even though the painter tried his best to make them all white. You don't have to do anything to the ground wire, yet, since it is just copper with no casing. If you are just replacing the switch like we are here you wont do anything with the common (white) wires either.  They should all already be connected together.

3. Now it is time to grab your switch. The best way Matt described this to me was totally not technical but it made sense. Imagine a draw bridge. Go with me, I promise it will make sense. When the switch is off the draw bridge is up not allowing cars, in our case the electricity, to pass and when the bridge is down the cars, electricity, can get were it wants to go to, light.  

4. Secure the ground wire to the green screw. You will only have one green screw. The best way I remember this is ground to green. Both start with g's!  

5. Next, secure the other two wires to the switch. So the live, one of the two black wires to be connected, which you will be able to tell by either two ways: 1. When the switch is off that wire will still have power, 2. If there is more than one switch in the box, it will be connected to a group of black wires. The group of black wires are connected so that all of them can have electricity. The live wire is connected to the bottom screw and the other black wire that is running to the light is connected to the top screw.  Make sure you look at the switch to see which is the top. It usually says right on it.

6. This step is for the programmable switch. This one is a little different from the last switch, you don't secure the wires to the screw on the switch you secure two wires together with a wiring nut, with the switch came with. On our switch there is a black, blue, and green wire.  These next steps might change depending on which switch you get but it will be labeled in the instructions.  In our case, the blue wire is connected to the live wire and the black wire is connected to the second black wire running to the switch and as always the green wire is connected to the copper ground wire. Remember ground to green!

Now that the switches are installed. Let's give a collective: Hooray! We can start to put everything back together. 

After all the wires are connected, the switches are just hanging there. Matt uses his electric drill for this because it lets him get them tight so they don't move. You really don't want them to move because it can compromise the connection. Then it is my turn to step and and finish the easy stuff. Grab a flat head screw driver, switch plate, and the teeny-tiny screws that the switch plate came with and get to screwing. If you are OCD like me all the screw heads have to be pointing the same way, don't judge. Now that everything is secured, go flip that breaker on and test that bad boy out! One of the reasons I love this switch is that there is a manual on/off switch that works even when the light is programmed. So, if I order a midnight pizza I can still use the switch. But who does that? 

Our switch was super easy to program. We programmed it to come on and go off at the same time everyday. We read some reviews that people were upset that this switch wasn't back lit but I wouldn't want it to be lit. Once we set it we don't have to mess with it so not having it back lit is actually a bonus for me. It is like it isn't even there.

There you have it. An easy install on a programmable switch.

I wanted to share a picture of the result of our hardwork but the rain has really gotten in the way of that. As soon as I can I will get it up. I love coming home to the house being lit up, it is definitely a nicer feeling than a dark house.

A Year and Some Change

March 10, 2014

Sorry we were MIA last week. Life gets in the way some times doesn't it? It also didn't help that I have been under the weather for the last few days. I came down with strep. Ick! I mean really, what adult gets strep? Much less twice in a 6 months. Well that would be me! But I kicked strep's butt and am back at it.

During our mini break I realized that we have been at this whole blog thing for over a year now. A few days after Valentine's day would have been the anniversary of our first blog post. Now you can see how I am with dates. Terrible.

We aren't famous nor did we think we would be but this little blog got about 15,000 views over the last year. I don't think our moms could view the page that many times in a year. I am sure they do make up about 10,000 views though. Thanks moms! But seriously, we appreciate every one of you that read our blog, either daily or by stumbling upon us through Pinterest. We just like to share our ideas and are super grateful there is someone on the other end listening to our rambling stories.

I guess it all boils down to THANK YOU! There may only be three of you and you may all be family. Kidding.. we hope. It would be more difficult to share if we didn't know there was someone other than us taking an interest.

We hope to see this blog grow in ways we couldn't imagine. We are brainstorming different ways to add more content and diversity. So please continue with us we hope you will enjoy it!

Now that we are done being all sappy. We promise to bring you some goodness this week. We took advantage of our first spring like weekend in SC to work on getting our backyard "Summer BBQ Ready!" Can't wait to share all those juicy deets with you!

Image source found here.

Cutting Back

February 28, 2014

Saving money. This seems to be on top of everyone's minds these days. We are definitely conscious of what we spend our money on. The more money we save day-to-day the more money I can put into projects and other fun things! Totally worth it, amiright?! So each Sunday I sit down with a newspaper and start cutting coupons. I have a confession. I use to be one of those Crazy Couponers with a huge binder full of coupons and a crazed look in my eye at the grocery store. It wasn't a cute look and it resulted in purchasing things we didn't really need. So I have simplified my approach and definitely want to share it because it works so well for us.

Each week I buy 2 sets of papers. I don't have it delivered because it is actually cheaper to pick them up. Two seems to be the magic number for us, I use to buy four each week. See I am improving! Two allows me to get doubles of the things I that we use the most of so that I can make sure to save the most money.

To start this little project, I grabbed an expandable file pocket from the $1 bin at Target. Don't you just love this chevron pattern?! They are always so cute and I like that it is long enough so I don't have to fold my coupons. It has 12 dividers and 13 little pockets for coupons. I not only use this little guy for newspaper coupons but also for store coupons, restaurants and general shopping coupons. I whipped out my label maker and made labels numbering 1-12. You can see the tabs aren't big enough for most words, so I opted for a numeric system.

This is where this project may be different for everyone. I sat down and divided the grocery store into categories that work for me, remember to save a few spots for the coupons that don't come in the paper. Here is my breakdown for my coupons:

1. Produce/Deli/Bakery
2. Condiments/Dressings
3. Canned Goods/International
4. Breakfast
5. Snacks/Drinks
6. Refrigerated
7. Frozen
8. Health/Beauty
9. Cleaning/Paper Products
10. Grocery Store
11. Restaurants
12. Shopping

The best way to determine what would work for you is to sit down and think about the layout of your grocery store and how you travel through it. You can see how we move through our grocery store, you can use more or less of the tabs depending on what works for you. I like having all of my coupons in one organizer so I can pick it up and head out the door easily. I swear I take this with me everywhere. You never know when you are going to need to make a quick stop or grab a bite to eat. Can't save money if you don't have it, right?

Remember how I said I have 13 pockets in mine? Well here is my little tip. I leave the front pocket open so that while I am shopping I can pop the ones that I am going to use during that trip in it to keep them safe and separated. Makes it so much easier to pull them all out at once for the cashier and not have to worry about holding on to them while shopping.

Of course, we have to make the front as cute as the inside is! I grabbed my Silhouette and printed out a vinyl label for the flap. (Yes, I am using my Silhouette on my island, no I have not created a place to use it anywhere else. We are working on the plans for our office though! Progress!)

I love how easy and inexpensive this project was! Doing this has helped us save at leave $20-$30 each week. That's about $120 to put towards other things each month! That also doesn't even include dining and other shopping. How great is that? Plus it doesn't hurt that it is stinkin' cute!

Anyone else have a great coupon organizer that works for them? How do you save money for your family? And most importantly what do you spend it on?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! It will be a chilly one for us! We plan on spending it with our arms wrapped around our sweet nephew and lovin' on him as much as possible.


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