I think I'll base my first garden at the new house off of this post! How to Choose Plants for Your First Vegetable Garden - My Frugal Adventures. all from seeds: green beans, cucumbers, lettuce seed mix, and tomatos!
This woman tells how she painted and sealed her counters to go from the laminate in the top to the natural stone look in the bottom picture. About 120 bucks. I'm not a big fan of painting laminate but this tutorial intrigues me.