Sunday, January 10, 2016

{Side Yard} Ivy Control

While working on our bathroom this summer, Doug and I also got one outside project check off our to do list. We seem to do smaller projects at the same time as big projects. Anyone else do this? I think we had done most of our bathroom and were at the waiting stage (paint drying or something similar) and so we completed one small project. I can't wait to see how it looks this year once some more growth is added.

But… we tackled our side porch's ivy issue. I love the English Ivy and have cut it back a few times to control the growth. It's an amazing plant and we figured we could use it's growing power to block out our neighbors. I'm hoping it'll block out some of their smoke but that's more wishful thinking. I can dream, right?? 

So not only do we have a giant patch of the ivy, there's also another, more boring, type of ivy mixed in with a plant that seems to want to take over the world. I think it's Rose of Sharon and it'll be gone this summer. It's a pretty plant but is in my way. And grows like crazy. This is what we had after I chopped the Rose of Sharon a lot. The ivy is growing up and around the white edge to our porch. 

And so with a few boards, white paint, and some clothes line, we created a zig zag like pattern for the ivy to grow up. It filled it a lot more since this photo but I apparently never took another photo. You can see the saw horse and other bathroom related items that we used this summer. 

 And while cleaning out a lot of the ivy, this big (seriously like 5") praying mantis wanted to defend his territory.  

And yes, we need to paint all the white window sills and trim around our house…

Do you have ivy? How do you control it if you do?  

Monday, January 4, 2016

{2016} Goals

Happy New Year!! 

The past few years, I've written about house goals (you can see 2015's here, which recaps 2014 as well). Obviously I've been a tad optimistic in my goals. So let's see what we accomplished in 2015…

2015 was definitely the year of the bathroom! Maybe some day I'll actually do a full "tour" of the area. It's definitely the best looking room in our house and only needs some finishing touches like art. 

I also was pleasantly surprised by how our backyard changed from nothing but weeds to a nice little garden with free galvanized containers, recycled stepping stones from our front yard, mostly free plants (I think I spent around $100, plus I transplanted a lot), a gutter run off "creek" and edging blocks from my parents. The corn looking plant in the back is a type of bamboo that is in a buried bucket, to prevent spreading like fire, but will hopefully grow tall enough to hide part of our neighbor's house. I'd like to find some big barn stars for the brick wall. 

We had great luck with our raspberries, cucumbers and tomato plants (once they started at least). We hope to add a few more plants next summer, but aren't sure what yet. 

2016 will hopefully see some makeovers outside, mainly our shed as we finally (fingers crossed) turn it into a chicken coop. I primed the sides of it last summer, after washing off some rust, but then the roof got me confused and then the weather came in and rained a lot, plus then school/work. But we have plans this year and I think Doug's on board with it. I'm thinking a paint sprayer may be in our future. 

The other big thing for outside is gardening. We want to switch some things around, add some more beds, and generally grow more produce. It may see some major changes, it may just be different plants here and there. Time will tell. 

And the last thing I'd be happy to have done is our basement makeover. Nothing super fancy, it's an old basement that has some issues but I think a nice cleaning, coat of paint on everything, and then storage and furniture for a craft studio. My current "craft studio" is our office upstairs and there is no room. Plus, I'd like to change it to Doug's "man cave" aka his office (and maybe where my computer stays) by moving all my junk art supplies to the basement. This one is huge but not challenging. There's no building or major issues - just some new lighting and everything else I mentioned. But our current situation isn't working and makes creating projects with Lily nearly impossible. I'll write about plans soon. 

As for this old blog - I hope to blog more. But my blogging past isn't the best. However, I would like to change that. It'll be a mix of everything - family, home life, recipes, trips, anything that we do basically. I'm not it in for money (no ads), I'm not in it for fame, I'm in it to simply share our story and to look back on. But… I also work full time as a teacher and am a mom to two young kids. Time and money aren't exactly flowing around here! 

I hope to be back soon! School starts tomorrow and I get a bunch (150 is a "bunch", right?!) of new kids. Wish me luck as we head into the Spring Semester! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

{Food} Potato Sausage Kale Soup


Have I got a great recipe for you today! But first, some back story. Last year (and even the year before too), Doug would occasionally have the afternoon off and he'd bring me and my coworkers lunch from Olive Garden. This was a treat because we work about 25 minutes away and we never go, but since Doug was coming back, he'd bring us a nice treat. And this is where we fell in love with this soup. And then I needed to find the recipe, pronto. 

The original recipe, which I normally follow, is found on Organize Yourself Skinny. Go check it out if you want. 

I doubled the recipe this time so we had extra for lunches. As I cooked the sausage, I added baby portabella mushrooms and let them soften. I then added the rest of the ingredients like she says, changing for taste. I did add extra potatoes and kale, because I'd rather have a chunkier soup than runny. But feel free to change it up - her original recipe is pretty good too, I just wanted to try it with mushrooms! I use regular pork sausage too because that's what we buy. 

And now I know what I want for dinner again! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

{Upstairs} Mini Gallery Wall


I finally got around to taking photos of a little gallery wall I've been working on upstairs. It needs something else to finish it off to the top left between the wooden frame and the circle art but I haven't found it yet. But, I think it looks better than an empty wall, right?!?!

I already had the framed photo of the mountain from a trip we went on years ago to Colorado. You can see it on the table, below. The frame with the kids' pictures was bought at TJ Maxx and I had it laying around, waiting for the right photos. The canvas was blank and I painted it with blues, greens and white to give it an ocean type feel. It may have some work done on it but it's a nice bit of color for now. The round flower art is a trivet my grandmother had from a trip to Europe. It's beautiful in person and I never knew how to display it. I simply put some command strips on the back and put it up there. 

What do you think? Better? It needs some more color but I'm still adding in blues and greens. The other side of the window needs help too but this room is the last room on our list, even though its all a part of our master suite. You can see this wall as soon as you come up the stairs, which is our entire master bedroom area. This little area is our TV area but has been boring until now. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

{Lily's Garden} October Update

Hello Monday!

Yesterday was Nate's second birthday and we had a bunch of family and friends over. It was a great way to celebrate our baby boy, who is growing up way too fast. Today was his wellness check and he's a solid 30 pounds and almost 3 feet tall. But with that check up, I decided to take the day off work. Once we got home from running errands, I decided to put Nate down for his nap and take some pictures on this very beautiful fall day! And since I've been seriously lacking in garden updates (I know, I know, the bathroom needs it too!), I thought I'd take advantage of some down time. 

We'll start the tour through the trellis that is overgrown with moon vine and morning glory. 

To the right of the trellis is our butterfly bush. It's a miniature variety because I can cut it back every year and it'll grow to a nice 5-6' across but only 2-3 feet tall every year. 

My Gerber Daisies. I just have to have them in my garden.

Looking towards our small, cute garage that needs some TLC. The lantana went crazy this year and I'm pretty sure this is all just one plant. 

I know for sure that this moon vine was just one plant and it took over. It and the lantana are a great place for the local bunnies to hide under. 

I will always have coneflowers and daisies. They are perfect color all season long. 

Looking back towards that lantana from a slightly different view point. This was our mini evergreen that is over 3 feet tall now. There's another one, maybe 8-10 inches tall behind the coneflower. 

The moon vine has gone crazy. It's gone from our trellis, through the hydrangeas and towards our dining room window almost. It just keeps growing! 

An oak leaf hydrangea now covers most of this corner. There's a climbing hydrangea behind it that'll cover the trellis. It's reached the trellis and has grown maybe 1 more foot since the beginning of summer, so it's about 7 feet tall now. The oak leaf also hides two other smaller hydrangeas. 

Two of the hydrangeas that I planted two years ago, while pregnant with Nate. There's the mop head, to the left, and the lace type variety (cannot think of the name!) to the right. 

And because it is fall… here are our pumpkins! I just love the green variety and the orange one will be a jack-o-lantern soon. The little white ones are the kids' and they always have to have small ones. 

We bought the bi-color mum at a local festival. It's in one giant pot and is just beautiful in person! 

How's your garden? We're about to have to cut back things here seeing as it's almost November and frost has been knocking on our door lately. We've been lucky so far but I know it's about time! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

{Bathroom} Cabinets

Happy Wednesday!

On Monday night, my parents came over for dinner (my mom made it AND then brought it over for us!) and my dad hung up our two new cabinets. I posted the image on Instagram and am absolutely in love. My dad built them from scratch after the two we ordered from Home Depot came in broken. These are so much more special and better because they are REAL wood and made with love from my dad. I think if/when we ever move, these babies are coming with us! 

And then there's this hardware. My dad's brother and his wife have some of the best collections of all time and they are always keeping odds and ends that they find or buy. We were given these two old cabinet catches and look at how pretty they are! They are super old, as in maybe over 100 years old, and look great with the bright white cabinets. We did buy new hinges online and then specialty screws from our local hardware store so they were the right size and color. To refresh your memory, check out what our old bathroom looked like before we tore out everything

I promise to take better photos soon (as in not at night because that's the only time I'm home lately). There's two more things to add to our bathroom and then it'll be ready to actually decorate and have fun with. I'm hoping we get it finished soon because Nate's birthday is Sunday and we're having everyone over. 

I'm now into figuring out what to do with the one "big" (as in blank) wall in our bathroom. Maybe some art or photographs. I may live with it empty for now just to see what comes up some day. Suggestions? 

Friday, October 16, 2015

{Friday Five} Life Lately

Happy Friday to you!!!

It's been one busy week and a busy weekend ahead. Lily is in her last soccer game and she's so excited because she's going to get a medal. Yes, they give medals to everyone. I don't like this but we've already talked about medals for winning vs medals for participation. After soccer, we may go to a chestnut festival - we'll see how that is! 

What are you up to? 

This has been my life lately: 

I love being an art teacher but some days, that bottom right is all that I seem to do. Or behavior management. I teach middle school people. Middle. School. 'Nough Said.

But then there are moments like the below photo, that makes me so happy even if it's just a brief moment in a crazy day. Lily's Garden is blooming like crazy lately. The sunflowers have come and gone, as have many flowers, but these coneflowers are going strong. If you need a good, long lasting flower, coneflowers are it. I love them. I add them to my gardens every year and just can't get enough. 

And then my girl brings home these colorful birds and I just adore them. I've seen the project and find every version of it adorable. Hubby does want to know what's up with the blue bird though... 

And then, speaking of my kids, Nate has found out about the show DinoTrux. It's on Netflix and you can see that the trucks are made from dinosaurs. He loves it. He also loves Chuggington and Thomas. He's definitely a typical (almost) 2 year old boy. 

And because the play tonight, go Royals!!!!! 


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