Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Late Christmas 2012!

If anyone is still out there, Merry Late Christmas! I have been been a total blog slacker lately. As I've said many times, I'm sick of my blog and it feels like work lately. Thanks for the emails checking up on me, all is well.

I can not believe we are at the end of December - man time really flies! I still feel like I am running two weeks behind in life and trying to get everything caught up. Thanks to all for the well wishes for us, especially Travis and his family on the passing of his mom. It certainly was not unexpected, but the timing around the holidays threw us all off. However, we have to chuckle at her timing. She hated the holidays, so getting out of one last season had to be in her plans. :)

Preston was really sick on Santa picture day. At first I was ok with it, thinking he's too old anyway. But when I got there with only Parker and there were lots of older kids around, I was missing him. Getting the pictures back without him in it, and setting up my Santa picture table, I decided it really sucked. 
I will make sure my then 12 year old son's Santa picture makes it on the Santa picture table next year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bug up my.......

For some reason about a month ago I got a bug up my butt that I wanted to refinish furniture. I am not entirely sure why. I have never refinished furniture in my life. My aunt did some cute tables a while back, and I've seen a few cute pieces on various blogs, but at the time it didn't hit me. It hit me when I was out shopping at various thrift shops in October looking for Halloween costumes. Anyway, I saw this little hutch/secretary thing one day for $10 and for some reason I put it in my cart and left without buying any Halloween costume stuff. This is what it looked like to start out with:

Plain and boring. 
And after. 

I think for my first refinish it turned out fine. I chose the color from a blog called All Things Thrifty that I was reading and the girl used this color to refinish end tables. They looked very cool. Well, hers looks way better than mine. I am not really sure why I even did this, besides that bug up my butt, because I have no place to use this and the color matches nothing in my house. Right now it is sitting in my mud room. I will say that I would like to refinish a dresser, something we actually need. If I find one cheap I'll give it a try.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It aint no Disneyland!

This spring we had a decision to make.We could either put our backyard in or go on vacation. Honestly, it was a tough decision. We talked to the boys and Parker instantly said he wanted the yard in. Preston at first said the yard, but then halfway though spending the money on the yard changed his mind to vacation. Yea, too late dude. So it really sucked not going on vacation, which for us always means Disneyland, but at least the yard is mostly done. We were able to do sprinklers, grass, most of the fence, and put in the forms for the basketball court and the patio. The major lacking we have is cement. We eventually need to pour cement for the patio and the basketball court. The amount of money we need for these two things equals a new car.  I don't see it happening....ever! It is so nice to have the grass in! Our yard was always either a dust bowl or a mud hole. So just having everything cleaner made it totally worth it. The thing that Travis and I are happy about is that we did all of the work ourselves. For one, we love to do yard work, and two, if we had to hire it out we would not have gotten very far. It is so expensive to hire it done. The heat was a killer this year so that made it so hard. Travis would work all day then come home and install sprinklers until bedtime. I would go out after dark and move dirt around, back-fill trenches, remove rocks, etc.  I can't handle the sun or the heat so nighttime was my time to get things done. Next summer we are kicking back....Yea, right!
This is how the yard looked not long after we moved in.
This is first thing this spring. The trampoline is in, the patio formed, and the garden in. Oh, and the weeds are happily growing.
Digging for sprinklers. ZZZzzzzzzzzzz.....boring!
 Sprinklers in and dirt sorta back in place.
 On the right side of the picture is the someday basketball court.
 Ready for hydro seed. Anyone out there looking for lawn, do hydro seed. The cost is very low and you get much better grass than you do buying sod. Our entire back yard cost 1/4 of what our tiny front yard cost in sod. The back is thick, even and a good color. The front where we did sod is the exact opposite. I hear people say they don't want to wait for the grass to grow so they spend thousands getting sod. It took ours 2-3 weeks to be walkable and about 4-5 weeks for it to be thick and useable. Personally, I can wait 4-5 weeks to save that much money. 
Ready for seed.
I took this right after the guy finished spraying the seed on. I took the picture with my iPhone so not great color
Drum roll please...we have a lawn! The dirt at the bottom of the picture will be the fire-pit someday. This picture is taken from the west looking east.
This picture is from the east looking west. 
Again, it aint no Disneyland but it's mostly done!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Harvest!

As I have mentioned several times, I really missed having a garden over the past few years. I missed having fresh veggies outside my backdoor, and I really missed growing pumpkins. I love Halloween and the more pumpkins I have the better. I ended up with a lot of little ones, and designer ones, but not one carvable one. Hmm...I guess I need to pay more attention to what plants I'm buying next year. Just last week when were doing our fence line, we made another area for me to plant pumpkins. I went overboard with plants this year and had pumpkins planted in the garden, and flowerbeds. They were taking over the yard! My plan is to use this new area for pumpkins and not the flower beds. Yea, we'll see........

These Peanut Pumpkins are cool. At the boys' school the fourth graders run the greenhouse and have a plant sale each spring. I felt obligated to buy something so I got a few pumpkin plants. I had no idea what a peanut pumpkin was, but I'm so glad I got one. One plant grew 15 pumpkins and pretty much took over the west flower bed. I saw these pumpkins at Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they were $10.00 each. I was feeling pretty good about my $2.50 purchase. I will be back for the sale next year. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Wine Bottle Labels

Besides my candy corn gourds, the only Halloween project I got around to this year was making some Halloween wine bottles. I saw some similar bottles at the store and thought I could easily make those. I made three for me and three for my sister's October birthday. I had a specific label in mind for my her :)

I used empty wine, tequila and Bacardi Silver glass bottles. I colored them with stain, Mod Podge, and glitter to make them brown. I created the labels in PhotoShop and wrapped the tops in twine. Very easy. It took a while for the stain to dry, so it felt like weeks to actually get the project done. 
Read sister's special label.
After I spent weeks working on mine, Parker ran upstairs to do a craft. He came back with is own Halloween bottle. Yep, it's sitting there right in the middle of my display. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gourd Wall & Halloween Gourds!

When we were designing our yard, I knew I wanted some sort of plant climbing wall at one end of the patio. We had one at our old house and I loved it. We decided to put it at the west end of our some-day patio. On the west end it will provide a bit of shade, and most importantly block part of our patio from our nosy next-door neighbors. This year I decided to plant gourds on it, and I love how it turned out.

We cemented these 8' tall, 4x4 posts in and I painted them brown.
The boarder you see along the ground with the gravel inside will someday be our patio.
We then attached pieces of lattice. We left a little walkway between the house and the gourd wall so we can easily get to that side of the yard. 
The gourds grew great, but I definitely planted too many of them!
View from the west side. Nicely blocking the view from the nosy neighbors.
Harvest time. I got about 15 good sized gourds.
I painted them to look like candy corn. Well, they are supposed to look like candy corn anyway. My dad drilled holes in the top and I hung them all over our front yard. 
I like how they look in my grasses.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kickin' Back at Bear Lake!

Ok. I've made it forward a month. Let's not mention that it really is October.  :)

Every August we take a trip up to Bear Lake. We all love it up there! Normally we can escape a bit of the heat, but with this record hot summer, it was hotter than normal up there as well. It was nice at night. It would cool off into the 50's. I would freeze everyone out of our cabin. I had all the windows wide open and all three boys would have to pull their sleeping bags up over their heads. It was great!

We like to stay on the Idaho side of the lake. Normally it is less crowded on that end, but I think people have caught on. It is a much nicer beach and for us it means easier access to real alcohol.  Hey, you've got to get the non-watered down, more affordable, liquor when you can.

 Our first night there we just hung around the cabin relaxing. The boys played in the river all day.  Parker is such a water rat. As long as he has water to get in he's happy. I have no idea what this little creek is called. It is right next to our cabin, and it keeps our campsite nice and cool. The water is freezing.
 Good morning big hair.
 This kid likes fire a bit too much. Scares the hell out of me!
 Roasting Burning Marshmallows!
  Water Rat found this in the river. I think it was maybe a craw fish. Not sure though. It only had half a body when we found it. Parker was totally amused by it. 
 The boys, all three of them, spent hours upon hours building in the sand.
Our little beach site. For some reason, after a record dry winter, the water was really high. It made for a great beach, but the walk to the beach sucked. Normally you can drive right on the beach, back your truck in and unload. You can see the cars at the top of the picture where we had to park this year. It is really not all that far, but when you are carrying multiple coolers, chairs, totes, the shade canopy, clothes, floaties, sand toys, etc. it made for a very long walk!
 Water Rat has a tote full of sand toys. He worried about them the entire time we were there. He kept thinking they were going to get stolen. Dude, your toys are fine. Get over it!
 Travis Kickin' back in the shade!
 Perfect water temperature & the sandy bottom makes for a perfect day to play!
 Got floatie?
 Peace, Love and Brothers!
 I love these boys!
 Travis drowning Preston and Parker is heading out to sea in his fish.
 They love spending time with their dad.
 Frisbee on the beach. Not a bad gig!
 I bought Parker this fish the first time we went to Bear Lake. He is way too big for it now, but he loves it. Unfortunately "Fishy" has seen his last trip to the lake. He got a hole in him on our last day there. Parker cried and cried and wanted me to run up to the store to see if they had another one. The store is about 45 minutes away, on the Utah side of the lake. Yea, I'll just "run" up.
 Dude, you are going to burn the top of that head.
 This is what I love about Bear Lake. As you can see we are clear out in the water. Standing here the water is about up to my waist. It is very shallow water very far out. It is so nice because you can walk out, or "go to sea" as the boys call it, and just walk around or float around. When we are hanging on the beach the boys can be out in the water, and quite a ways out, and you don't have to worry about them. They can go a long way with the water only up to their tummy. The bottom of the lake is all sand for as far out as you can walk. The shallow water also means it stays very warm.

On the last day we were there we surprised the boys and rented Wave Runners. It was a blast! I didn't have my camera with me though so you'll just have to take my word for it. Now the boys want Grandpa to buy them Waver Runners for Christmas. Come on Dad!