Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Front Yard

We are just starting to work in the front yard to get it ready for landscaping - yea!  Travis and I are both very into yard work and we are both itching to get started. We were out tilling the other day and I took some pictures so we could remember what we started with.

We started talking about how we wanted it to look and each drew what we had in mind. Being the computer junkie I am, I did mine in PhotoShop so I have a few more details than Travis. This is what I came up with:

My goal is I don't want very much grass in the front yard because we have such a big back yard. I am all about little maintenance so I like ornamental grasses & day lilies for color. My clip art is corn stalks & sunflowers because that is all I had.  But you get the drift.

This is what Travis came up with. He went all out! You can just see his line that he drew with a purple pen. I wonder if he is going to have any plants?  :-)

As far as the front our next step is start digging for the sprinklers. We are just going to dig the front by hand because there is not much to do. Our goal is to have the front completely done by the end of June. Not sure what, if anything, we'll get done in the back this year.

We have been getting bids for the fence (OMG!). I am so thankful that the back and most of the west side is done. Thank you neighbors that were here first!  Just to do the east side, the gates and 35' more feet on the west side it is just over $6,000.00. Yes, that is me you can hear choking!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Preston's Room

Besides the little bathroom, Preston's room is the only room that is finished (except blinds). He was a champ unpacking his boxes and putting his stuff away. He had a very hard time in our homeless state. He likes to be organized, he likes his "stuff" and he likes that stuff in its place.  I think out of all of us, he had the hardest time with the move.  He was so relieved to get his things out of storage & get it all put away. After we were mostly settled, we did not see him for about three days. He stayed in his room enjoying every minute of it.

We had wanted to buy him a full-sized bed but money ran out before we got it. Hopefully next year we can get that and a new dresser, both in dark wood. I totally think that the foam finger on the little shelf looks like it is holding up its middle finger! The little shelves came from Hobby Lobby & I love them. They were easy to hang and affordable. I don't like shelves that you can see the brackets and these are hidden.
He loves books. His old bookshelf was too small so I went and got him this one at IKEA. It is almost full! He has recently started liking posters.  I sooo wanted to tell him that he couldn't hang them.  But, I always had a room full of Shawn Cassidy, Michael Jackson, Charlie's Angels, and Grease posters so I didn't say anything. For now, I'll just be happy that his posters are of Harry Potter & Mario, not girls!

I want to get rid of his firetruck comforter, but he loves it. I found him a cute, more grown up one at Pottery Barn Kids but he didn't want it. When we get him a bigger bed he won't have a choice.

Preston has had this stop sign for years, but when we moved he added the "if brother" on it. Too bad it doesn't actually stop Parker from going in there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fish & Water

When we had our old house for sale Preston kept asking to get a fish tank. We had the great excuse of not getting one because it would be too hard to move. This Christmas we didn't really have an excuse anymore (damn!) so he got one knowing he'd get the fish once we were settled in the house. I am afraid he has my OCD, and had his room together and organized before we had the truck unloaded. He was asking for fish the first week.

After things were a bit settled, Travis and Preston got the tank set up. It sat for a week to stabilize the water & temperature then they went and got a few fish. They started with two just to make sure the water was clean & the right temperature for them to live. They were fine. They lived, were happy & swimming. The following week they went and got a few more and within about two hours of the putting them in one of them died. Preston was so upset! The next day Travis took a water sample to Pet's Mart to have it analyzed. Cause of death: hard water. The funny thing about this, if you can call it that, is I have been complaining about the hard water in this house since we moved in. It tastes disgusting and we can only drink bottled water. Also, I can't clean it off of anything. I can scrub and scrub and nothing comes clean. The dishwasher does not work properly and clothes come out of the washer with soap still on them.  We have bronze faucets and they are covered in white residue that I can't get off. Of course, this would all fall on deaf ears with Travis. He can't taste the disgusting water and he thinks the water spots look the same as the old house. Glad he noticed how clean I kept the old house! Anyway, back to the fish. At Pets Mart Travis bought some water drop stuff that you add to the tank to make the water softer & the fish happier. This past Sunday Preston & Travis cleaned the tank and added some fresh water to it. Within two hours we had another dead fish even though he used the chemicals. So no more fish until we get the water under control. Obviously, fish are not long term pets & you expect them to die. But since they are dying so quickly of being exposed to the water we are pretty much killing them instead of them living out their short lives.

On my things to do list this week is to call a plumber and get bids on water softeners. My "issue" is that I absolutely hate soft water.  Obviously, this water is too hard to keep using, but I can't stand soft water. I hate how you are left with slimy skin and stringy hair when you get out of the shower. Granted, my hair and skin are extremely dry right now from the water, but I'll take that any day over slimy & stringy. Ugh! Anyone out there have lots of knowledge on water softeners? I know I want the saltless kind, but beyond that I am clueless. Email me if you have any words of advice.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Half Bath

I am finally getting around to putting up some of our decor and I've finished the half bath & Preston's room.  A lot of the decor style & colors that we had at the old house do not work at this house. I am using what I can & buying a few new items as I go.

At our old house Travis had his own bathroom. I decorated it in prints from The Tour de France, and various bicycle decor. At the new house our master bath is much bigger so we share (verdicts still out on that one). I wanted to use the same bicycle stuff from the old house at this house in our bathroom by the mudroom. However, the prints were too big so I redecorated. It is a very small bathroom and hard to get good pictures of.

I got these two metal bikes at Hobby Lobby.
The bikes are on the main wall & the shelf is above the toilet. The shelf also came from Hobby Lobby.
These pictures are on the shelf above the toilet. I made the pictures out of blocks of wood and this finish stuff you put on them to make them look like a canvas. I tried to get a good picture of the finish, but I couldn't. The pictures are of Parker, Preston, Travis, my dad, and cousins Liam & Nick all on their bikes.
Towel hooks from Hobby Lobby.

As you can see, I buy a lot of home decor from Hobby Lobby. I love that store! They always have great sales where their decor is 50% off. I never pay full-price for anything there because if it is not on sale one week, it will be the next. The decor for this bathroom was only $28.00.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Last Saturday we went to the St. Patrick's Day parade at The Gateway. It is the only parade we go to during the year. It absolutely cracks me up! There are no restrictions on who can enter, and no rules to follow as far as what is entered. Pretty much you show up and you can be in it. I have to question how many entries have already hit the green beer as they prance down the parade route in their shamrock boxer shorts. There are several beer trucks going by, and not one ward float. I love it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You've gotta have a belt!

For weeks now Parker has been asking me to take him to buy a belt. No clue why, he just wanted a belt. So Thursday after school his begging wore me down and we went to Wal-Mart to get one. I was going cheap since I figured he'd wear it once and be done with it. Well, he's had it on since last Thursday, along with the skates, and he wears it with everything!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Window Cleaner

Slow week on the blog front!

Years ago I just happen to be at my mom's house when some guy came over to clean her windows. I got to talking to him, and asked him what he was using to clean with. He said he was using a mixture of water and liquid Dawn soap (the blue kind). He said the key was not to use Windex, or any commercial window cleaner, because it leaves a build-up on the glass.  He was getting them streak free with what seemed like little effort. I used it for years, until I came across this mixture:

2 cups water
1/4 cup vinegar
1.5 t corn starch
Use a little funnel to add the corn starch to the spray bottle, then add liquids. Shake well before each use.

It works great! I clean all of our glass and mirrors with it. I love how cheap it is and it does not take a lot of elbow grease. I tried using it with paper towels (total waste of money) but it streaked just a little bit. I then used a terry cloth cleaning towel and it worked fine, but even better if you use microfiber towels. I found a package of 35 at Costco on coupon for $11.00. They wash up great and that one package should last me for years.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oink, Oink!!

A few weeks ago it was mid-term and parent teacher conferences for the boys. I told them (Parker) that if they (Parker) got a good report, and good behavior (Parker) that I'd take them out for a treat of their choice. We breezed though Preston's conference, and then went to Parker's. The kid is not lacking in the brain department, but I was braced for a bad behavior report and it didn't come. I even asked his teacher if she was talking about our Parker, or the other Parker in kindergarten.  He clearly behaves different at school than at home where he can often be found bouncing off the walls. The boys picked Leatherby's and I was more than happy to take them there. I love their Tracy's Sundae with the melted peanut butter, hot fudge & vanilla ice cream. I ate every last drop. Oink, Oink! I am already plotting as to when we can go back.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ski Bums!

On Sunday the boys decided to take advantage of the 5' of new snow and hit the slopes. The boys were thrilled to spend the day with Travis. This past week he worked over 70 hours so we didn't see him much. It snowed a bit in the morning then it cleared up & they had a blast!

This video is really shaky, but it cracks me up. Parker is a total daredevil!