Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Green Thumb, Black Thumb, Sore fingers

This last weekend I was able to get some more yard work in, although, I'm not gonna lie....kinda wished it would have rained a little more than it did. Now before you start yelling, "WHAT?!" at me; hear me out. I have been working hard in our yard for a few weekends now.  Literally till my fingers are numb and sore.  I'm trying to get my curb appeal back up to par, since we've neglected it for a little while now.
However, my neighbors over grown weeds/garden has been leaking through our fence.   Like, I said, I had not been staying on top of it.  To the point that some raspberry bushes have decided to grow take over the area.  As well as this incredibly tall grass.  As in, I swear I could have bucked it and rolled it into hay; it was awful.  My sore fingers will gladly whine tell you all about it too, if you just ask. 
This...is our before:
Do you see how all those weeds, raspberries, and who knows whatever else, is totally choking out my iris'?  Yes, there are iris' in there.  I did move most of them to a new spot in our backyard.
Here...is the after: 
All that green, is actually on the other side of the fence in the neighbors yard

Yes, in the midst of all this weeding and yard work, I did find FOUR, yes 4, basketballs!!  Long lost basketballs!  Super embarrassed to admit to that but it is what it is, right folks.
It's pretty bare right now, but, I do have a plan for this area.  I can't wait to get working on it.  I'll give you a hint.  It will involve stones, edging, bushes, color, lots of color and compost.  Maybe a little yard, art projects done by the kids.
We are expecting rain for the next few days. 
I wonder how many more weeds I can pull up, now that the ground is getting softer?  :)
Next on the list:  Greening up that grass.   I think the neighbors dog is using our grass as their potty when we are not home.  Grrr! 
Do you have any suggestions or thoughts on how to:
A) Keep the dogs out of our yard?
B) Green up our grass?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 6/24/2013

Have you ever just sat back and said, "Where DID the weekend go?"

Man, oh man, that is totally how I am feeling today.  Where did the weekend go?   Where did MONDAY go?

I hope you had a great weekend.  I was able to get some more yard work in, which is always good.  We also had a birthday party and a BBQ to go to on Saturday.   Plus Hotrod, was off with his Boy Scout Troop on a hiking/backpacking camping trip, and The Mister went off to Ohio on a red eye last night for work.  With all that said, I just figured out where our weekend went.  Yikes!  It sure goes by fast. 

So before Monday completely slips away from me, here is our meal plan for the week:

Monday:  Burritos bowls (Chipotle style)
Tuesday:  Scout Olympics Side Dish: Fruit Salad
Wednesday:  Breakfast for Dinner 
Thursday: Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps w/ Cantaloupe  
Friday:  Teriyaki Chicken Burgers w/Pineapple slices
Saturday:  Grilled Steak w/ Chef Salad and Rolls
Sunday:  Grilled Salmon w/ Roasted Asparagus and Salad

Have a great week everyone!  That summer weather should be back mid-week and around all weekend again!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Camping Birthday Party

If you know anything about our family, you know that we love to go camping.
Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring.
We love it.
It's our family activity/hobby, if you will. So it was no surprise to me when Bubba announced that he would like to have a camping themed birthday party, earlier this month, which of course was a sleepover party.

Unfortunately, because The Mister was working on the day of Bubba’s party, I was busy getting everything ready and completely missed taking pictures of everything, bad blogger, I know, still getting the hang of it.  Sorry. 

I had a whole selection of fun games lined up for the boys to play, but they really just wanted to play on the trampoline and the rope swing in our backyard.  Which was fine, because tiring them out was a good thing.  :)

We had your typical camping food set up.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, macaroni salad, some Kool-Aid for the kids, water, and fruit.
The cupcakes I made were adorable.  Again since I didn't get any photos of it, I don't really have any to share.  However, here is where I got my inspiration for the tee-pee cupcakes from

I was most excited for the boys’ gift bags.  They are little hobo packs that I made. 

1 butterfly net (from the Dollar Store)
1 juice box
1 box of animal crackers
1 flashlight (Target, Dollar Spot)
1 combo whistle, compass, lanyard (Target, Dollar Spot)
1 Bandanna
I simply put all the treats and gifts into the butterfly net, and then tied the bandanna around the net and it instantly made an adorable Hobo Pack.
Most adorable group of campers you'll ever see
The boys were so worn out, that we actually didn’t get to make the S’mores in our backyard fire pit.  I was a little disappointed but thankful the boys were ready for bed.
They actually slept outside in a tent.  On our deck.   Right outside my bedroom window.   Four little men crammed tightly into the tent.  It was pretty cute.   One of his buddies gave him a wind-up lantern as a gift, so they rigged it to hang from the top of the tent and fell asleep with it on, since they were trying to scare each other with ghost stories.  I think they fell asleep mid-story telling.
Of course, the kiddos were up bright and early and out there jumping on the trampoline again till their parents came.

Bubba had a great time and we are so blessed for him to have such great friends.   Thank you to those that came to help celebrate him turning 8!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wedding Memory Box

My little sister, Emily, got married last October.   I had planned on making her this shadow box with a scrapbook page for a while and I needed to collect some things that were from before her wedding and from her wedding, so I could put them in the box.
I wanted simple but classy, because that's the way she and her husband are.  Simple and classy.  
Her dress had a lot of beautiful lace on it.   Before the wedding I had asked my mom if she would be able to get some of the extra lace from Emily's dress and unfortunately, they didn't have any after the alterations.  Like always, my mother to the rescue, while she was unable to get any lace from the dress, she was able to get nearly identical lace from the fabric store, just for my scrapbook page.
I wrapped it around the page and glued it to the back of the card stock.  The plum sheer ribbon that is in the middle there, was the ribbon she used to tie up our bridesmaid's gift bags, on the day of the wedding.
The next step is A L W A Y S my hardest step.  The layout of the pictures and embellishments.  I have to move them around and around and reposition them until I find a layout that I just love. 
I LOVE to use embellishments.  I think it helps tell your story.  I use them all the time on my scrapbook pages along with journaling.  
I think every page should have a small amount of journaling to express that memory.
The saying in the upper right hand corner says:

Marriage is love walking hand in hand together.
It is the realization that there is no one else in this world
that you'd rather be with than the one you're married to.
The rose flower in the corner, was a flower that my sister had made and given to each of us bridesmaids when she asked us to be in her wedding. 
The broach and the light purple ribbon was actually off of my bouquet.  I thought it was so perfect and a nice added little touch for her page. 
Once I finally found the arrangement that I liked, I adhered everything to the page.
I glued it down to the backing inside the shadow box.  I didn't want it to tip over when she got it.

Now, because I've had a lot of things broken or damaged by the time they have reached my parents house, I decided to just wait until either I went down for a visit or they came up here. 
As luck would have it, my mother had a business trip up here last week and was able to bring it back home to my sister.   She just saw it this weekend for the first time and she loved it. 
I love how it captures the love between these two and it's a sweet memory of their beautiful day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lego Tray for a Lego Kid

Bubba went to a birthday party yesterday for one of his good friends.   His little pal loves Lego's.  I've gone over to their house, in the past, and have seen their family room full of his creative mind going to work with the Lego's building all kinds of things; and when his little pal had completed these projects and tried to carry them to mom and dad to show them off they had broken and fallen apart.

I got to thinking about how we could give him a pretty cool gift with some Lego's.  We came up with the idea of a portable tray.


Plywood cut 18 x 18  $15.00 (approx.  Mine was 24 x 48 piece, I plan on making about 2 more of these trays for 2 other little boys)  $5/tray
Trim piece 1.5" x 6'  $1.48
Nails  (had on hand at home)  -- Free
Wood Glue  $4.99  (won't need to buy for awhile now)
Lego base board   $20.00
2 handles  $1.02 each (clearance at Lowe's)

Approximate cost: Under $30

Step 1:

I started with a piece of plywood, cut to 18 x 18.  

Step 2:

A piece of trim that was 1 1/2 inches by 6ft long. 
I cut (2) pieces of the trim 15 inches long and (2) pieces 18 inches long.
You will have the (2) 18" pieces parallel with each other and the (2) 15" pieces parallel with each other.
Step 3:

I used Gorilla Wood Glue and ran a strip on the bottom of the trim and clamped them together.  I also put a dab of glue on the ends where the pieces of trim meet.
Step 4:

Flip the board over and nail the plywood into the wood trim.  I wanted the nails on the underside of the tray, but I wanted this to be secure.
Step 5:

Sand it down.  Sand it until the wood is smooth.   This is for a child, we don't want them to get any slivers.
Step 6:

The Lego baseboard (15x15) should fit inside your tray perfectly.
Gorilla Glue the tray to the plywood.
Step 7:

Attach the handles

I wish I was at the party to see his reaction, but I've been told by all my kiddo's that Bubba's buddy really liked the tray.

Now you could paint this any color that you'd like, or even stain it if you'd like.  I happened to like the look of the natural wood, so we stuck with that this time.  But I think I might paint it a fun color the next time around.
What do you do with your Lego's?  Do your kids keep them on display for weeks on end?  Think you will be making one of these for a child in your life?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 6/17/2013

Good Morning!!  I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend and had fun celebrating those father's in your lives.   The Mister was on call for work all weekend, so we laid low on our activities.  Which was fine.  He ended up not getting a call at all yesterday and he was able to enjoy his special day in a very relaxing way.
I, on the other hand, was busy working in the yard.  Working with the garden and more importantly, I was working on sprucing up the front yard.  I also managed to sneak in a little birthday gift for a little buddy of Bubba's.  Which the birthday party is today, so I will post that gift later this week.

As for our meal's, I hope that this week is much better than last week.  Since I was cramming for my test last week, my family had to pretend I wasn't around.   I noticed a few things from that:

1)  Planned meals, unless pre-made by me, were a no go.  They just didn't happen.
2)  Grocery shopping by The Mister and the kids....less than desirable for "good" foods, but he did use coupons (coupons -- for the win!)
3)  Spent way too much money, way too much convenience foods, and way to much take out/restaurant pick up's, etc.

So, since last weeks menu was a FAIL for most of the days, I am going to bring back a few of the items that weren't eaten, before my produce goes to waste.

Monday:  Rotisserie chicken with kale salad, and cantaloupe
Tuesday:  Slow Cooker:  Chicken Enchilada's
Wednesday:  Teriyaki Steak kabobs
Thursday:  Slow Cooker: Garlic Chicken and Couscous

Friday:  Slow Cooker: Greek Chicken Pita Pockets
Saturday:  Chef Salad with dinner rolls
Sunday:  Salmon with herb butter, corn on the cob and Caesar Salad

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!!  There is only 4 more days till the official start of S U M M E R!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 6/10/2013

Happy Monday everyone!  The sun is shining here today, although we are expected to get some rain this week, our kids are officially on summer break and outside playing.  In celebration of summer we escaped a little bit this last weekend and I got some studying in before my test, which that date is quickly approaching.  
So because I'm limited on my time with my breaks while I am quizzing and cramming, this will be quick.
**I try to serve a healthy green salad with all our meals.  Just a small variation on them each time.

Monday:  Lasagna, corn on the cob, garlic bread and green salad
Tuesday:  Slow Cooker:  Chicken Enchilada's
Wednesday:  BBQ Ribs with potato salad and green salad
Thursday:  Slow Cooker:  Garlic Chicken and Couscous
Friday:  Teriyaki Marinated Steak Bites w/ baked potatoes and green salad
Saturday:  Weekly Leftovers
Sunday:  Chicken Marsala with Angel Hair Pasta

Have a great week everyone!   I'll be back...after my test is completed!  Wish me luck!  :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Living Room Makeover: Rearranging Part 1

I'm dreaming of giving my living room a makeover.  New paint.  New art.  New curtains.  New area rug.  Along with many more things.
I have been living with these red walls for quite some time now.   I like(d) them.  But not enough to keep them around anymore.  I loved them when we first moved in....8 years ago...when accent walls with deep rich colors were the "in" thing to do.  It created a nice, warm and cozy feeling; on a beginner decorator's low budget.  (New house, brand new baby, unpaid maternity leave didn't leave much for a decorating budget).   But as the years have gone by my style has changed.  I am wanting lighter and brighter.  Yet still want the nice and cozy feeling.  I am a firm believer of working with what you have and the easiest thing you can do to change any room is to paint it. 
However, painting this room, leads into a much bigger project.  You see...there is no clear stopping point to these walls.  They connect to the hallway, which then connects to the entry way, and then right back into this room.  I have some accent pillows and I want to keep it at that...an accent.
I have been trying to figure out what color would look best in this area.  Grey?  Tan?  Beige?  White?  Or should I go bold with a navy?
So, while I haven't painted the walls...yet, I did do a little rearranging.  Until I can figure out what color I wanted to paint the room and to find new curtains that I just can't live without.  Not to mention it was a distraction from all the studying I've been doing.  :)

I took our china hutch out of the waytoosmall kitchen/dining room and moved it into this room.  I'm not sold on it. 

However, I AM sold on the space that it has opened up in the kitchen.  Hello blank white wall!!  (You can see in a picture below)

I tried to balance out the other side of the fireplace with some furniture, again, not sure if I'm sold on it.   I'm not bothered, but I'm not getting that WAHOO!!  feeling that I was hoping for.   I feel there may be more furniture moving in the near future until I do get that WAHOO feeling I'm looking for.  Consider yourself warned, there maybe another rearranging post in the future.  (***Update:  A few different friends have since been over to visit and love the China Hut in it's new spot...we shall see if it stays.)

There is still so much to do in this room, but unfortunately, because I'm studying every spare second these days, my shopping and projects are temporarily on hold.  So, a quick break and moving of some couches and tables caused a much needed brain break.

Do you see that plain white wall in the other room there?   That is the dining area and where the China Hutch was originally on.  I have a full blank wall to work with.  I am thinking of putting a gallery wall there, or maybe some floating shelves?
I have a big project for that wood wall in the background.  Can't wait to get it started!
Always, always, a work in progress!
Here's what I want to finish up in this room:
  • Bamboo blinds
  • Get rid of the sheers and red curtains, find something (or make my own?) contrasting (a print, maybe chevron? maybe quatrefoil?  Maybe a fun floral print)
  • Redo the leather chair (it was my husband's great-uncle's chair...we are keeping it, but it's in terrible shape, hence the wonderful folded blankets covering up it's problem areas)
  • New paint (a light, bright grey, is winning my heart over)
  • Fun area rug
  • Toying around the idea of turning that banister into a half wall (would that make the entryway too dark?  Box in the living room too much?)
Two things that will never happen as long as The Mister lives with me and I live with him...painting of the brick and painting of the oak china hutch (our first piece of furniture we bought with our wedding money and as a married couple)...and I really like the guy, so I'll keep him happy with those two things.

Is there a room in your house that you just can't seem to get right?  What are your ideas for this room?  Any suggestions?  Do you have a favorite grey that you've used and just love?   What is the name of it?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Meal Plan Monday 6/3/2013

Hey all!!  Did you have a good weekend?   We had a great weekend.  Bubba turned 8 and had a few of his friend's over for a camping themed sleepover party.   I'll post more on that later.
Yesterday, Dustin Lynch, Tate Stevens, and Little Big Town came to Portland for the Country Fest, in downtown Portland, right on the water for our Rose Festival.  So we decided the best way to listen to this concert was via the water.  We and our friends, grabbed the boats, the family, some food and headed out on the water for a fun afternoon.

Since I'm still studying, as the test date approaches, my meals are needing to stay on the easiest of easy sides.  No thinking involved.   This is what we will be having this week.  Anything I can make in advance, I will.

However, I will need to take one day as a break, since Tuesday is expected to be...wait for it...85!!!!!  So, in our house that means, boat night after work!

Monday:  Leftovers
Tuesday: Picnic on the boat (usually consists of some sandwiches, fruit salad, macaroni salad, veggie slices with hummus, a few chips and drinks)
Wednesday:  Slow Cooker: Pepper Steak with peppers and white rice
Thursday:  Chicken Kabobs
Friday:  Taco Salad
Saturday:  Steaks on the grill with this yummy looking broccoli salad.
Sunday:  Creamy Chicken Piccata with pasta and a green salad

I hope all of you have a great week!

What is your go to meals for your busy nights?  When you things, such as sports, homework, scouts, working late; keeping you on the go, go, go?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Oh where, oh where, have the years gone?   How can you possible be 8 already?  I don't even know where to begin with you.
You have completed our family and rounded us out.  We became a family of 6 and with a nice little mix of 2 boys and 2 girls, we were completed.
 I love how you love to snuggle with your dad and I.
I love how you are eager and willing to learn new things, no matter how big they are.

I love how you are so caring and affectionate with your friends and family.

I love how you love to play sports.

 I love who you are and who you are becoming. 
Your Daddy and I love you so much!

Happy 8th birthday, Bubba!  You complete us!


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