Monday, March 26, 2012

The Front Yard.

So, it turns out Nick had the Fire Academy all day on Saturday. Which means that no yard work went down this weekend. lame.

Okay, I gave you a glimpse of the project we started last week, but lets take a better look shall we. With the beautiful weather we have been having we decided to start working on our front yard. All the houses around us have luscious green grass, trees and plants. Our yard is a bit of an eye sore what with it's lack of anything green and boasting only dirt, dirt, and more dirt. Oh and I guess I can't forget the dead grass as well. It desperately needed life brought back to it and we were up for the challenge.

This pic was taken in May of last year, before we had even started any renovating. There was still a bit of green in the grass, but trust me it is dead, dead, dead now.

This pic was taken last Saturday after the diamond block had been removed from below the windows and the sidewalks had been removed. It is looking worse now, but it has to look that way before it can get better.

We also have a small strip of grass to take care of between the front sidewalk and the street. This strip is full of dead Bermuda grass and it has been such a nightmare to get rid of it.

First we talked Brandon into tilling it up for us. He somehow gets stuck with the worst jobs, like removing the linoleum tiles in the kitchen

and now tilling the front yard. He must really love us to keep coming back and helping out.

After Brandon finished with the tiller it has been my job to rake and shovel until every last chunk of grass is gone. As you can see by the photo below, which was taken today, I'm still not finished. Soon, very soon.

Once we had dug trenches and installed the sprinkler pipe and then filled the trenches back in, Nick started smoothing the yard back out and getting it ready for top soil and then sod. This photo was taken today as well.

Next on the to do list:
- pour a cement step that will wrap around the front porch
- pour a cement step up to the kitchen door.
- build planters out of railroad ties. below the windows, along the driveway and along the fence on the right.
- lay sod.
- put large stones on the grass for a walkway to the house instead of cement.
- level the driveway out. Lay road base and then gravel on the driveway

With Nick having all day Saturday and Sunday to work on the yard I am very hopeful we will get a lot done.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A bit of yard work.

Okay, so I have been completely M.I.A for that last two weeks. Sorry, first off we all got sick last week and I guess I needed this week as well to recover. I am full of excuses aren't I. Anyways, the time wasn't completely wasted we did get started on a very large project last Friday. Yard work. Woot!

We borrowed a tractor from my step dad Dee and when he and Massimo dropped it off they both of course got right to work helping us out for a minute before they had to leave. I was surprised with how easy the cement just lifted right up.

After Nick got off work that evening he and a friend got busy preparing the ground for sprinklers. While I took the kids out to my mom's for a sleepover. I then took advantage of the fact that I didn't have the kids with me and stopped by the new Dick's Sporting Goods. Wow, what a store. I picked myself up a green running shirt for my race in the morning. It was St. Patty's day I just had to.

We were able to get the sprinklers done last weekend and I am hoping upon hope we get the sod put in this weekend. Happy Friday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

i'm loving: st. patty's day.

While I generally don't endorse physical violence, as my good friend once pointed out about March 17th . I do support wearing green (and going green), that's a day I can get behind.
With that in mind. Here are the green outfits I wish I (or in the case of #4, my child) could wear this St. Patrick's day- or any day really.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Working on a little project over here.

I bought these wooden letters a few weeks ago and had planned on painting them until I decided to take them in a different direction. I finally got started on them this weekend, but ran out of yarn halfway through and was too lazy to make a trip to the store yesterday. Hopefully I will be able to finish them this week. fingers crossed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Luck of the Irish.

St. Patrick's Day is next week, so I thought I would share a few fun projects and treats I have seen around the internet lately. I can't wait to try a few of these out with my little ones.

First up is a fun craft from zakka life that only requires a bit of green paint and a small thumb..

How cute is this one from it is what it is. Plus who doesn't love a little treat.

I love this idea from One Charming Party. A little treasure hunt, how much fun is that.

This idea from Mustard Seeds would be fun at the end of your treasure hunt.

My kids would love to wake up to this from Thoughtfully Simple. Lucky Charms with green milk. so cute and so simple.

How about a fun subway art print from eighteen25.

And last but not least a delish shamrock shake from your homebased mom. Doesn't this look oh so good.

Hopefully next week I will be back with our experiences trying a few of these. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homemade Cheese Pizza.

I love me some pizza and have been wanting to make my own for some time, but I just haven't gotten around to it until now. Yesterday I came across a recipe for crust that looked too simple and good to pass up.

Easy Pizza Crust:
-1 cup warm water                                                     -2 teaspoons salt
-2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast                                   -2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
-1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}                                    -3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup}

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour mixture and mix.

Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn't stick to your hands.

Next turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes, turn a timer on and walk away. Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes. Apparently that is the magic number. When the timer goes off your dough should be smooth and easy to work with and the bowl should be clean.

Lightly grease the bowl and dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with pan inside.
Roll out dough on lightly greased parchment paper{it makes it easier to transfer to pan}.

Here is where you get to be creative. I drizzled a thin layer of olive oil and then garlic onto the dough. I love garlic.

Next came the tomatoes. I used crushed tomatoes with oregano and basil. But you could use them in just about any form you'd like.

Then I loaded it up with finely shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. I was going to put fresh basil leaves on as well, but as luck would have it when I pulled them out of the fridge they had gone bad. lame.

Lastly pull pan from oven and place pizza on it cook for 10-15 minutes.

It turned out pretty dang good. Next time I will lightly grease the parchment paper as my crust stuck to it in places. Can't wait to try this recipe out again and play around with the toppings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

Bloggers Sherry from Young House Love and Katie from Bower Power decided it was time they stopped pinning and started doing. So they created the Pinterest Challenge and invited everyone to join in with them. The concept is to find something from your long list of pins and create it, putting your own spin on it. I immediately headed over to Pinterest to find the perfect project for me.

We have lots of windows in this house, large glorious windows. I love them all because they let in so much light, however sometimes you just want to cover them up and walk around your house in peace. Que the Pinterest Challenge. I plan on putting curtains on just about every window, but I have a large window over my sink that I wanted to do something different with.

I have been loving the look of roller shades all dolled up. So I set out to Pinterest for some much needed inspiration.
First up is a stenciled roller shade.


Then there is always the option of a fabric covered roller shade.


Or I could always just add a bit of trim to an otherwise simple shade.


The possibilities are truly endless. Check back next Wednesday to see what I finally come up with.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

h is for hayden

I have been wanting to get a letter for Hayden's room for sometime now, but I could never quite find what I was looking for. Then as I was watching Friends the other day I found it. The perfect letter for my baby girl. I figured I could probably make my own, so that is just what I did.

Now I have never actually done a tutorial and I'm not sure this will even count as one, but here we go anyway. First trace your letter out on paper figuring out the size and shape you want it to be. Next fold your fabric in half and place the paper letter on it with the top lining up with the fold in the fabric. 

Then trace it out with a pencil and cut it out.

Next turn the fabric so the right sides are touching and start sewing the edges.  Make sure to keep the bottom edges of the letter open so you can stuff it easily. That's my new sewing machine, isn't she cute?

Now I am new to this whole sewing business, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to sew a somewhat decent straight line. ha.

Next trim the corners and make small cuts where the fabric curves, making sure not to cut any seams.

Then it's time to turn your letter right-side out. It will get wrinkled, but that is okay we will give it a good pressing in a minute.

Now iron it really well, so it lays nicely.

Now it's time to stuff it. Make sure you make it as smooth and lump free as possible.

Fold bottom edges in, pin and sew.

That's it, you're done. 

Now, I just need to get a shelf on the wall in Hayden's room to put this on.

Monday, March 5, 2012

living room

Ever since we moved into this house our living room has been anything but livable. We barely spent anytime in there, it just wasn't inviting. As we shifted things like giant piles of trim around we were able to make it a bit more comfortable, but it was still lacking style as well as function. 
Then a couple of weeks ago I made Nick go to DownEast Home with me just to look at their couches. We walked out with a new sofa and a new t.v. cabinet. That same weekend we found a rug we loved online. I was so excited. But it took me a while to list our old couch on Craigslist so our living room looked like this for about 2 weeks. lame.

Finally our new rug came and I stopped being so lazy and finally listed that blasted couch. It was gone that same night. sweet.

The next day I got busy rearranging some furniture. There are still things that need to be done, but I am so so happy with how things are coming together.

Still on the to do list:
- finish the trim
- new ottoman
- a fun and comfortable chair or two
- new pillows, I'm thinking something bright and fun
- art work, art wok, art work
- curtains

It sure is a never ending process. Good thing I'm having so much fun along the way.

Friday, March 2, 2012

i made it: painted spoons

Remember how people are crazy. And are selling things like painted wooden spoons for $30 because they are vintage, and with the handle of the spoon painted homemade too. I feel there are some things that you should not buy "vintage". And wooden spoons would be one of them (bed sheets would be another).
But I still think the spoons are cute. so.....
$FREE. (I already had the spoons & paint)
 What else should I make because it costs way more than it should?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

I came across a very cool tip the other day that I just had to try out for myself and then share with you. So, I set out to make Shredded Chicken Enchiladas just to test it out.
I have made my own version of enchiladas before, but this one was a bit different. First it included cilantro, which I just love.

 And second it required cooking the chicken in the enchilada sauce. Normally I just boil my chicken in water, shred it and then add the sauce and cheese. I liked this way much better, it gave the chicken a great flavor and by heating up the sauce first, which I don't normally do, it had a richer flavor.

Now for that amazing tip. Apparently if you take your still warm chicken and place it in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment it will shred your chicken up real nice. Genius. Why didn't I think of that?

I can't tell you how happy I am to know this, I hate hate hate shredding chicken. It is the worst, so time consuming and tedious. Not anymore. You are welcome.