Monthly Archives: April 2011

7 Quicktakes Sunday #5: Progress!

1) When we saw our house for the first time with our realtor, we fell in the love with the front porch. It was the first room of the house we saw, and the first indication that we had that this house was a lot more promising that the pictures online showed.  The porch, though, has been the hardest room to get unpacked and settled.  It was where we dumped all of the boxes we didn’t have a place for and, without heat, it wasn’t somewhere we were jumping to spend a lot of time this winter. But now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s time to get it ready!

We spent a few hours yesterday cleaning, hauling boxes, and rearranging…In the end, it didn’t take much time, but the difference is amazing! We can’t wait to spend many hours out there over the next 3 seasons

2)  Coat rack: Another area that has driven me crazy this winter is our lack of a coat rack in the mudroom.  i wasn’t sure what I wanted, so coats ended up dumped on our dining room chairs. This week though I bought a coat rack at Target and Mark hung is up for me!  Just in time for us to put the coats away for the winter  It’s probably a little big for the space, but it was what I could find and I liked it and I forgot to measure :).

3) I found a new website this week to track pictures of things that we like…ideas for the house and garden, etc.  You can see what we’re dreaming of at Pinterest.

4) I bought panko breadcrumbs this week to make panko shrimp, but also came across a recipe for mozzerella sticks and fried zuchinni.  Really really bad for you, but oh so yummy.  I think we have to try this.  You can find the recipe on Pioneer Women’s site

5) I started using the french coffee press that Mark gave me for my birthday. After a few rounds of experimenting, I think we’re getting somewhere with it!  I’ve made reasonable tasting coffee twice this weekend- progress!

6) While I was in Cleveland, Mark worked on our outdoor garden space, turning soil and pulling ivy.  We still have a long ways to go, but it’s a good start!

7) One thing that we haven’t made progress on it Maggie’s loud noises in the middle of the night, the middle of the day, any time basically that Mark is out of her sight.  She’s convinced that Mark should come play ball with her at 1 or 2 am.  He doesn’t think this is a good idea.  We’ve even tried taking the soccer balls away at night, which helped for awhile, but now…not so much.

My family is coming on Thursday to spend Easter weekend with us and we’re super excited! we’re looking forward to a fun family weekend and hoping that the weather cooperates…eek!

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7 Quicktakes Sunday #4: Perspective

1) Today, I had to drive to Cleveland in the afternoon for a week of meetings and time in the office.  It’s amazing to me to think that Mark and I did this trip 2x/weekend almost every weekend for 10 months.  I really don’t know how we managed.  In reflecting on it, I think it’s true that life has different seasons and it’s remarkable how we adapt to those seasons and we just get done what we need to get done.  During those months, we fit our lives into Monday-Friday and Saturday & Sunday were in many ways special days that were outside the realm of our normal lives.  Now, it’s all a lot more blended together.  There’s not the distinction of “my life” and “his life” and “our life”…those separate lives now occupy just our working hours and the rest of it is “our life.” The divisions have changed significantly; before, it was always a bonus to get a few extra hours in “our life” and now it’s strange to lose those extra hours and go back to the way things were.  (I’d much rather live with the way things are now!). Still, I know the next 5 days will go quickly and then I’ll head back to Ontario Friday night, in another flashback of the good old days, but this time, I’m going home, and I don’t have to do the drive again on Sunday! :).

2) We get asked a lot what we’re working on the house these days, and really, my answer is: “trying to get it clean.” (See last week’s post!) I’m encouraged though that, even though we didn’t get it much cleaner this week, the part we cleaned did stay clean.  So, it is possible…it just takes a little bit of extra diligence. (I realize that’s just a really dull update…but it was seriously a highlight of my week)

3) Our attention, though, in terms of projects, is turning to the outside.  When my parents visited in February, my mom suggested that we remove some overgrown bushes, and this week, we had them pulled out.  It’s SUCH an improvement.  I don’t have great pictures, but you can see here where Mark started turning over soil today where some of the bushes were.  I’m hoping to put in some flowering bushes or maybe some climbing roses or other such flowers.   This particular bed eventually winds its way from the side of our house next to the driveway all along the side and front of our house, so there’s a lot of potential. It’s right near the gate, too, where people would enter the patio/backdoor area.

4) Thursday, I happened to have some frozen bread dough that I needed to make into cinnamon rolls.  Mark was fascinated by the process and took some pictures/video. He thought it quite strange that I was using dental floss to slice them off the roll, so we have a video to demonstrate how it’s done (it’s in high speed cause we were running out of space on teh camera :)…)

5) Today was over 70 degrees! Mark walked home from church and I sat out on our deck/patio for awhile.  Maggie was enjoying the spring weather too.

6) Reading: I’m reading a biography of Mickey Mantle. Yup. Baseball.  I think my appreciation of the book is severely limited by my lack of understanding and background of baseball.  Still, it’s moderately interesting.  On my drive to cleveland, I listened to a podcast about cities and how one physicist (I think?) has cities reduced to a bunch of ratios and mathematical formulas. For instance, pick a city and all people within that city walk at the same pace roughly. AND….that pace is proportional according to some formula to the population of the city.  In the end, how quickly people walk, the number of libraries, how quickly people talk, etc are all predictable based on the population.   anyway- there’s apparently a book that explains it and i think it needs to be added to my reading list 7) New project idea?  What if we find an old library card catalog and rebuild it to be a dining room buffet?  I really don’t come up with these things on my own, but when I see them….how can I say no?

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7 Quicktakes Sunday #3: All things domestic

We spent a good portion of this weekend deep cleaning our house and getting things a little more decorated, settled.  I hoped to get the whole house clean, but that goal alluded me :(. Here are some quick highlights of the week/weekend: 1) Because the bulk of our floors are hardwood, we’ve talked for quite awhile about getting a steam mop. We finally picked one up a few weeks ago and then finally put it together this weekend.  I love it. No more buckets of dirty mop water! (We named it Edith) 2) The top of our stove has been  never ending battle to try to clean.  It’s a black gas stove and it shows every bit of grease and crumbs (not to mention all of the rice that I boil over!) Last time I was in Cleveland, I found some glass top, gas stovetop cleaner though and (finally) used it on Friday night.  My stovetop is SO shiny and clean now!! I don’t want to cook and mess it up 3) we spent a lot of time this week working on our mudroom space. We use the backdoor as our main entrance, but the space has been frustrating to figure out.  I need extra storage space for my crockpots but the mudroom isn’t that big. I decided I wanted window seats, but as an interim step, we found a bench at target that would work (and moved the crockpots and the cabinet they were in to the dining room).  the bench is nice; the cushion is ugly, but I found fabric that I like to cover it. (the cover’s not finished- but it’s still an improvement over the one that came with it!) (bonus- I have enough of the fabric for curtains in the kitchen too! I forgot I had that much of it stashed away!) 4) Part of the reason I didn’t get the cleaning done like I wanted was that I stopped to decorate a few times. (like hunting down the fabric above). One of the things that’s been bugging me are the curtains in the mudroom. They covered half the window (they came with the house). I don’t know what I want out there long-term, so I decided to take a temporary step to solve the problem. My solution? Safety pins.  (Only because the nail gun was in the garage!).  I still need to pin the middle a bit better, but it’s definitely a huge start!

5)  Switching to food (because that’s what my husband likes!)  We made poached eggs for dinner the other night. I was impressed because both eggs I cracked had a split yoke in it. Then I made brownies last night and the same thing happened twice again! Am I talented or are our eggs strange?

6) Speaking of brownies, I learned last night that you really do have to let them cool before you cut them or you just end up with a pile of brownie substance.  At least it still tastes good!

7)  We got some books out of the library this week on perennial gardening and shrubs and climbing flowers.  We’re excited to get started outside in the next few weeks, as soon as the weather gets a bit nicer!!

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