Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Expanding My Suburban Garden

This spring with high hopes of a more bountiful garden, I set out to make an additional raised garden bed. I found easy to follow instructions here and my bed came together like this. The new bed measures 5 x 10'. The cost for materials was about $30, with the same amount needed for suitable fill. I set the new bed pretty much perpendicular to an existing which has made the chore of watering a whole lot easier.

The last two pictures, taken about 2 weeks ago, show the gardens with all their plants which include: zucchini, snap peas, spinach, sunflowers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. We have since enjoyed the spinach and are currently enjoying the snap peas. The tomatoes and sunflowers have grown rapidly in those 14 days and I now see some fruits setting on, so am hopeful we'll actually get some ripe red ones this year before temps cool with many green tomatoes on the vine. It is so satisfying to eat produce from your own garden and I am also glad that at least for now, the garden beds add an element of green to the backyard which is sorely lacking from what should be our lawn area. A lush green lawn in Colorado seems like such a luxury, but I'll just focus on the delight of productive garden this year.

Little Bathroom Project

This little project was for a little bathroom in our home. I've been on the hunt for over a year for an inexpensive, but good-looking, cabinet we could install over the toilet for the bare necessities, but had come up with nothing. So I needed to come up with Plan B. In this case, brackets and a shelf for non-concealed storage.

I didn't take a before picture because I think we can all envision just a blank wall. Here is the finished project.

2 IKEA brackets - $5
pre-cut finish grade board from Lowe's - $8
paint - on hand
hardware - on hand
installation - my good husband

I love projects like this that are finished quickly, cheap and yet provide lots of functionality with a little bit of style. I did resist the urge to first paint the whole bathroom before hanging the shelf. That is a project for another day. Who says beige can't be beautiful?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Because a Girl Just Needs to Accessorize

A few months a friend sent me a link to this doable Martha Stewart craft that held the promise of corralling all kinds of girlie things for my daughter. We modified to what we had available, but it turned out well and has helped (notice I didn't say "cured") the problem of having these items laying all about the house.

What we used:
unfinished 9 x 12" frame - free from an auction box stash my mom had
wood cutout - $.25
paints - on hand from previous projects
paint applicator - for such a small project, I found that facial foam rounds work well, we had some around but they would be inexpensive in the cosmetics section of Walmart/Target
ribbon - on hand
hot glue and gun to secure ribbon - on hand
good quality hooks - $2 at Walmart for way more than we needed for this

The only unfortunate thing is that she could really fill at least another full frame like this with all the stuff she has.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

BIG Summer Trip '09

a.k.a. 60 Hours Together Enjoying North America's Highways!

Tons of photos ahead, but actual text does follow the images.

In June we took our first ever road trip (with children) to visit my husband's family. The kids did great with most of those 60 hours in the van. We put in 4 long days, partly due to limited vacation time and partly to save lodging and on-the-road dining expenses. But every mile was worth it to be able to visit a few different parts of the family, in the places they call home, and to see old friends from university, too. We were away 2 weeks and logged over 3500 miles. And now the kids seem to really understand just how far it is to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Flying again is looking better and better.

The number of photos in this post could be likened to an infamous vacation slide show, but really, this is just a small sampling. We enjoyed beaches, splash parks, beautiful family gardens, finding ladybugs, reading books, celebrating Smiley's birthday on multiple occasions, going to a great indoor aquatic center, seeing extended family, attending a BBQ at the home of friends, getting out for a date with friends to The Keg, visiting a historic site in the vicinity, croquet, letting the kids run free in the big backyard and visiting friends at their homes, among many other things. Oh, and hauling home 200 lbs. of wheat berries from Wheat Montana in Three Forks, MT.

Some things that helped make this possible:
- Our van's DVD player. We were always the type that resisted them, but when it was included with the van, well, we put it to use. The kids watched 3 movies on the way out and 3 movies on the way home, so the movies weren't on all the time, but something they had to look forward to as the days were dragging on.
- Packing meals for the road on the way to our destination. We crossed the border into British Columbia after 2 days of driving with only $20 of dining out expenses...and that was only because ham sandwiches were getting a bit old. We did not do as well on the way home, but find it is just easier to have food with us and stop at a park or rest area during the time we are not moving forward to let the kids play and refresh all of us. And we had lots of snacks in the car along the way, too.
- Welcoming family who warmly host us in their homes.
- The summer season with lots of daylight to drive by. A trip of this length during the winter would take several more days.

After a shorter trip over a much shorter distance over the 4th of July, we are happily home for the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

We squeezed in a little Canadian festivity today in celebration of Canada Day. The kids are loving their new shirts and pinwheels from Grandma and seem to have a good affection toward Canada, as it should be.

The boy on the right cracks me up! He really does live life in a "full speed ahead" mode.
Happy Canada Day!