Haley Homemaker: White Cake Cookies and Construction(!?)

Hello there friends, Happy February and Merry March! 

I hope this month’s Haley Homemaker article finds you doing well and enjoying the little bit of sunshine and birds chirping that we’ve been experiencing here in Southwest Michigan. 

As I sit down to write this out, my husband and I are currently right in the middle of a bathroom renovation. And not just the updating paint colors and fixtures type of remodel, but more like the tearing down walls type of remodel. After much deliberation, we have finally decided not to move from our current home, but to start molding it into the way we want. We started this past spring/summer by making some cosmetic improvements to the outside of our home, which included redoing our front porch, painting the exterior of our house, and installing a new front door which also received a fresh coat of paint. Now we are ready to tackle the inside. 

We started with the bathroom. Our bathroom wasn’t particularly large with just enough room for a very small tub and an awkward linen closet. We decided to move the wall that is between the bathroom and our guest room out a foot into the guest room giving us not only more floor space but also giving us room for a larger tub. We will also now have exposed shelving in place of a linen closet creating a more open and welcoming space. If you’ve ever done a home renovation project, especially when doing a lot of the work yourself, then you know these projects never go quite as planned—including this one!

I do have a super quick and easy recipe for y’all this month but I also wanted to include a few tips for when you’re ready to start any of those home renovation projects that you’ve been putting off.  

Below are some things I’ve found to be important and useful during our project that will hopefully be helpful to you!

1. Create a Vision Board

This might seem obvious but I found myself picturing things and then later down the road struggling with remembering what exactly I had in mind. Once I got my thoughts and vision organized it was much easier to see what direction I really wanted to go. Websites like Pinterest make it really easy for you to gather your thoughts and ideas in a visual way. Having your vision organized will also come in handy when working with a designer or contractor, as you can easily show them what you have in mind. I actually took my vision board to local designers and builders IG: @nestfix to run my ideas by Kali and she was a great resource. 

2. Create a Budget

When deciding that you want to start a home renovation project make sure you get quotes ahead of time so you know what you’re getting into, and can create a budget you can work within. Even if you’re doing most of the work yourself it is still best to set financial parameters for yourself. 

The actual task of creating and figuring out a budget might seem obvious but what I want to make sure to remind you of are the not-so-obvious expenses to take into consideration. Oftentimes, you will need more supplies than you originally thought, and we also found ourselves spending more money on things like getting food to go. If you’re like us, and you’re doing the bulk of the work yourself, you might not feel like cooking dinner after working all day on the house. Just make sure you are thinking outside the box when budgeting. 

3. Create a new normal

This one has been hard for me. In our home we like things to be organized and consistent. We like to know what the day will look like, and what we will get accomplished. This is just not very practical when doing a home renovation project. So give yourself some grace and create new normal throughout your day. Do what you need to do to stay sane but it’s also important to be mentally prepared to live in discomfort for a while. Try and stay positive and focus on the end goal. Your house will NOT be as clean or comfortable as you might like it to be but having a brand-new bathroom or kitchen or what-not will be so worth it in the end. Try and take the time to enjoy the process, take pictures everyday so you can look back at when you first started and see the progress you’ve made. You won’t regret it! 

4. Know your limits

My husband and I are really big into getting projects done ourselves. My husband has been doing construction/renovation type work since he was 13, and I on the other hand am just a really good assistant (unless we’re hanging drywall). That being said, we don’t know everything! Although the internet is a very valuable resource it is totally acceptable and encouraged to reach out to someone when you feel like you might need help! 

When deciding to tackle a project yourself think ahead to the things you might need help with (i.e. plumbing), and reach out to someone before you start to get their input and guidance. Factor help like this into your initial budget too; sometimes it’s just easier to pay someone to help you instead of spending the time doing something incorrectly and having to redo it. Not only does that waste time, but also money. For this project, we asked for help from fellow Watershed columnist Torrey Brown, and he has been worth every penny!

Hopefully these few tips will help make your project just a bit easier.

OK, enough about all this building stuff. Let’s talk about food!

When having people help us with home projects it’s always important to me to have snacks and stuff on hand to keep everyone’s spirits lifted. I totally snagged this recipe from “I am Baker” (Amanda Rettke, IG: @iambaker) and am literally obsessed. These are probably the easiest cookies to make, and you might even have the ingredients in your pantry already. They are the perfect dupe to a cookie that can typically be found in the deli area of your local grocery store, and comes in those plastic containers with seasonal frosting and sprinkles. (We all know which ones I’m talking about.) 

White Cake Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg white cake mix
  • 3 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer for about 2-3 minutes. (Do not use the ingredients list and directions from the box.)
  2. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out cookie batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I rolled some into balls by hand too and that was super easy as well.
  3. Cookies will spread, so space at least 2-inches apart.
  4. Bake at 350ºF for 8 minutes. You do NOT want the cookies to brown. 

You can eat this with or without frosting. I topped some of them with buttercream frosting but I honestly prefer them plain… I know, I’m weird. 

I made a couple dozen, and I keep them stored in Tupperware in the cupboard. It’s nice having this super easy treat on hand for anyone stopping by to help or see how things are going with the remodel. 

If you’re interested in more foodie/homemaking content then look me up on Instagram @Haley.Homemaker. I would love to get connected! I’m keeping a detail account of the bathroom renovation on my Instagram stories so you can follow along there.

Haley Hogoboom
@Haley.Homemaker

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