Tag Archive | cleaning

Getting the Garden Going

After such a long, cold winter I’ve been anxious to get going on our garden. It’s as if I can see green then somehow that will force spring along. This method doesn’t seem to be working out for me at all (when I woke up it was 30 degrees and felt like 19… brr!).

On top of the weather not being too interested in our spending time outdoors, with all of the work that happened on our house from November to March, our backyard was pretty much trashed. We weren’t thrilled about the plants that were crushed by construction supplies or the giant mud pit that used to be the grassy side of our yard, but most frustrating was the state of our garden plots. The one closest to the house was in particular trouble as it had gone from wonderful, clean soil (after much hard work by my husband) to being filled with clay as well as bits of insulation, nails, staples, and trash—just what a girl wants to grow her food in the midst of…

As soon as it was warm enough, my hubby was outside cleaning out that plot and during the past two weekends we have been able to plant all of the items we wanted to start from seed. (Due to the construction, we didn’t bother with seedlings this year so we will see how our growing season goes.) We’ve planted almost everything we are hoping to grow this year—with tomatoes and peppers being the exception—including salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, and a variety of flowers. Of course, we managed to do this just in time for the weather to dip more than 50 degrees and provide us with yet another frost last night.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the frost blanketsphoto-2 I already had out to keep the birds from simply eating all of the seeds was enough to keep those little guys alive. We also brought in the strawberry plants and flowers that were in pots of the front porch and redecorated our entry hall. Lovely, isn’t it? I figure this great “spring” weather can’t be any worse than last year when I did grow seedlings only to plant them in late March and have it snow the very next day killing them all (despite the frost blankets) because I was departing for 2 weeks in Turkey and Greece and would not be around the care for them.

Only time will tell what will become of all our little plants (and spring for that matter). Hopefully next week when I pull back the frost blankets to water I’ll start seeing some green!

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Mini Monday: Five Month Hiatus

April-14-Blog

Hi there! It’s me again. I know we haven’t connected this way since early December … sorry about that! I’m mulling over the list of things I should have been blogging about since then and it’s a good one. So here’s a rundown of what’s been going on and I am hoping with this mini post, I’ll get my blogging booty back in gear!

Since my last post:

• Our house renovation has been completed! And it looks amazing! We are just starting to get used to having (and using) our new space. It’s wonderful to have the extra light and a much more open feeling to our floor plan than we had before the remodel. It’s leading to some interesting projects … more on those in a future post!

• In other “addition” news, my hubby and I found out in January that we are expecting our first little one in September! I’m so grateful that, despite being tired and hungry, I haven’t had any morning sickness or complications so far. At the beginning of the pregnancy the baby was making me so hungry that we nicknamed him/her the hungry, hungry hippo. Hopefully tomorrow our little hippo cooperates and we will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. I can’t wait to know!

• Okay so back to the house, the contractor’s portion of the work was completed in mid-March. Now we (and I use the term “we” loosely as it is mostly my husband) are still taking care of all the little things — re-arranging rooms, hanging art, putting things away, yard work. Thankfully we received A LOT of help from my amazing in-laws and my mom who were all visiting in March. Quite a few things got crossed off the to-do list during their time in DC — painting, cleaning, hanging new ceiling fans, the list goes on and on. Now it’s just the two of us plowing through what remains of the list, so thank goodness for weekends allowing us to continue making progress!

• After a terribly long winter (it snowed like crazy on March 30!!) spring has finally sprung in DC. While our yard was a total wreck because of the construction, the garden beds have been cleaned up and planted (with the exception of tomatoes and peppers) and we have flowers going in pots and planters, too. The other side of the yard is still in need of a lot of TLC. One thing at a time!

• We briefly escaped DC for a long weekend in Florida, in fact we managed to depart while it was snowing and returned just in time for yet another snow storm. It was great to catch up with the family and friends we visited in the Sarasota/Tampa area and I made a new friend while we were there — Cliff the Penguin!

 

Phew! I told you that we have had a lot going on! It may be a Monday, but I can still say I’m grateful to have ice cream in the freezer (hey, I’m pregnant, don’t judge my four different pints…okay, okay there are five…) and for being able to have the windows open while I work. Hope you are all having a great start to the week!

Mini Monday: Random Thoughts

Living in DC, I have to admit that Veteran’s Day seems much more real than when we lived in California — the monuments, the military presence, and the connections that we have formed with so many people who have chosen to serve. Today as a nation we honor the contributions of the many generations of men and women who have unselfishly sacrificed for this country.

On this crisp fall holiday, I am thankfully reflecting on the sacrifices of our veterans. I am also grateful for the extra day to spend more time with my husband, more time trying to get over the world’s slowest progressing cold, and more time getting caught up on things around the house.

Thanks to the previously mentioned cold, I’ve been slacking off around the house since late October, so despite not being back to 100% I started cooking and baking up a storm on Friday. I even made dinner on Friday — quite impressive, I know — and when my hubby got home from work we enjoyed some fresh baked bread and chicken roasted with carrots, potatoes, and onions in brandy. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. I also whipped up two batches up mini corn and green chili muffins for a potluck and yesterday we kicked off the gorgeous fall day enjoying a toasty applesauce coffee cake with crumbly topping. Yum. Of course, it was all so tasty that I didn’t snap any pictures before the devouring began…

Apart from all the kitchen time, I’ve been doing my best to capture each phase of the work on our new addition (often by stealthy stalking the guys from the dining room — hey, it got cold last week!). The foundation has been poured and we will have our wall check this week. Hopefully next week there will be some really clear developments as the basement level storage room begins to take shape! Here are a few pictures of the progress:

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Day 16: Furlough Fun Facts

Capitol

Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:

• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!

• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)

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• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.

• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.

• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!

• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!

• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!

Day 3

It’s been an exciting week in the world of this freelancer and her pseudo-unemployed husband. Or not. As the Shutdown drags into day three, my furloughed honey is doing his best to keep busy (ie cross things off the very long list I made him on Monday). So far he has tackled a number of items — dusting in high places, cleaning up the bedroom clutter, breaking down boxes to recycle, and making a large batch of granola. But the biggest project so far started yesterday and is continuing into today. It is the exciting work of patching/re-tarring the porch roof (don’t be jealous). Basically he’s out there icing a very big cake, unfortunately it is a lot stinkier. Next up — he’s headed back to the kitchen to make a large pot of curry for dinner and to freeze.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I can get him to guest blog about the bacon jam making adventure we had a few weekends ago. Mmmm…. bacon jam…

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Mini Monday: The Shutdown

Capitol

Tonight at midnight we find out whether or not my husband, a federal employee, will be reporting for work tomorrow. At this point, it certainly doesn’t look likely. And we find ourselves in that catch 22 of flexibility versus money — we would probably have time to get out of town for a few days, but with no idea when my husband will be reporting for work again (or if he will be paid for all of the days that the government remains shutdown) it’s more likely that we will remain at home pinching pennies.

So I’m trying to embrace the positive side of this brief (I hope) unpaid vacation by thinking of all the projects around the house he can work on while this ridiculous stand off drags on. And based on what I’ve got on the list so far, it looks like I’m finally going to have the live-in maid that I’ve always dreamed of! I’m sure my husband just can’t wait to get started on painting the utility room floor, cleaning the stove, patching the porch roof, and cooking copious amounts of soup and sauces to freeze among other projects (it’s a long list). With both of us home all day I had to come up with enough tasks to keep him out of my office for at least a few hours a day so I can still get some work done!

And don’t worry, I’ve promised to pay him … in peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. He quickly agreed to the deal.

 

Hall Closet Re-Org

While our old house has a lot of “character” (such as fabulous hard wood floors, old-fashioned glass door knobs and, of course, a seemingly unending list of expensive projects) it unfortunately lacks the storage space that newer homes are built with. One of the best features of the second floor is a hall closet that allows us to store towels, sheets, toilet paper and assorted other toiletry items right across from the bathroom. I love it so much that I often include it when I am giving guests a tour of the house (weird, I know).

Closet_before

Despite my love for it, the closet tends to get cluttered really quickly so I took some time yesterday afternoon to straighten things out. The good news is that I now know we don’t need any toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, contact solution or, well, anything for the remainder of 2013 as you can see…

Closet-After

As I was re-arranging, I realized that I could utilize the unused space toward the back of the main shelf for the extra towels and sheets, which helped de-clutter the front portion of the shelf. I still need to take a look through the travel items box that is overflowing on the second shelf and get rid of expired or almost empty containers, but I’m definitely happy with the results so far!

closet after 2