Oct 21, 2014

3 Things for Today

Over the summer I packed up the last of my childhood things from my Dad's house (long overdue at my age I know!), and I've been trying to figure out what to do with the things I kept. A lot of the boxes went into the basement and were recently organized. These 3 things made it upstairs - I'd like to put them out.

I've always loved this picture of pressed flowers. The little oval frame with gold edging, the flowers on a green background. It's just very charming and feminine, timeless in the sense that it appeals to a child and an adult. It's just pretty - so I need to find a good spot for it.

On the other hand, it will be easy to find a use for a makeup case.

Rocks and gems are all over Anthropologie these days. This is just a paperweight in mineral form, but I do love the splash of aqua in the coloring. I think it might look nice out on my dresser or desk.

Oct 20, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Candle Holders

When I see those little bags of pumpkins at the grocery store, I can’t resist them. A pile of little pumpkins feels so Fall. They look nice enough in a bowl, so I’ve never done much with them before. Then over the weekend I fell (on our new curb! So embarrassing!) and sprained my ankle. The no-walking, lots of icing, there's an orange on the side of my ankle - kind of sprain. I was laid up for most of the weekend and still can’t do more than hobble around the house. We have a million things on our to-do list and all I could do was lay around… so I put my energy towards crafting.

My first thought was to do something with those mini pumpkins. First I just carved holes in the top to make them into candle holders. It was pretty but not very Halloweeny… so I added a couple fuzzy mustache stickers (from Target’s dollar Halloween collection) and drew on eyes and mouths with a sharpie. I think they came out cute - though they would look even better with black candles.

Oct 17, 2014

Friday in the Fall

The Fall color is so beautiful right now - we can't get enough of it on our walks. There's nothing better than a sunny day in Autumn... excuse me while we go back outside.

Oct 16, 2014

Apple Picking

I mentioned yesterday that we haven’t been doing a lot of work around our house that’s photo-worthy or blog worthy (unless you want pictures of garbage from the garage, messy tubs in the basement or tubs of clothes), so… I thought it would be fun to share pictures from apple picking this year. It was a cold, cloudy day, but we actually were glad to go in less-than-ideal weather because it kept the weekend crowds away.

Oliver loved every second of it. The animals, the apples, the tractors, the pumpkins.

We found rows of these dark purple apples, the color of plums. They were so good - my favorite of all the apples we picked. I wish I could remember the name...

I used a bunch of the apples to make a tart, and I still want to make some apple sauce (as it says on my list). Also maybe an apple crisp? So many recipes, so little time...

Oct 15, 2014

Fall Lists: An Update

We’re halfway through the month of October, so I thought I’d check in on our Fall Lists, the fun stuff and the stuff that needs to get done.

On the fun front we’ve decorated for Halloween inside and out (and it looks good!). We’ve gone apple picking, we’ve picked pumpkins, Oliver’s bonded with many farm animals. We’ve walked and walked and walked through the Fall foliage (we’ve been walking champs this Fall!). I’ve made pumpkin spice coffee and an apple tart. I still want to make some applesauce with all those apples and I’d like to bake something with pumpkin. After that it’s just our Halloween celebration - pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating, both of which should be easy to do… unless catastrophe strikes yet again.

On the work side, things have been slower but we’re progressing. I planted the mailbox garden which is (so far) still alive. Mike continues to clean out the garage and every week we get rid of more stuff. He also got all the AC units out of the windows for Fall which is a huge pain (when keep-the-windows-open season is over we need to put up some insulating plastic next). We went to the FHRS which we love. I got half the garden pulled up but I’m still waiting for a frost before I can really start pulling up the rest. The same goes for the rest of the yard too - until we get a good hard frost to nip everything (which makes the plants so much easier to pull up and clean up), I’m just taking care of other things. Unfortunately they are boring, un-photo-worthy things. Like organizing a bunch of boxes that got dumped in the basement I’ve been avoiding. Switching out everyone's the summer clothes for winter. Organizing two more tubs of clothes that Oliver has grown out of. Planning out this year’s Christmas card (it takes work to set up scenes like this and this!).

I do feel a little bit like I'm making excuses, but then again...we are busy ALL. THE. TIME. We just don't do as much as we used to because we're just trying to balance things a little bit better, especially with Oliver. Apple picking and going on a long bike ride or a walk through the park are just as important to us now as a light in the attic and shelving in the kitchen. Especially since the To-Do List isn't going anywhere and childhood is way too short.

Oct 14, 2014

October Garden

The season is wrapping up, as the garden always does in October. It’s been a really great year, as good as our first year, which is very encouraging (bad years aren’t exactly motivational for next year’s garden plan!). The garden is currently about half pulled up, all the heat-loving plants like tomatoes and vines are gone. I also chopped down the sunflowers. I gathered all the green tomatoes to ripen - we’ve had so many tomatoes, it’s been such a great year! We’re still trying to eat up all the cucumbers I couldn’t give away and we even got to enjoy a few small watermelons that actually ripened. It was really great!

What’s left? The carrots (that I stuck in the vine bed last spring). The rainbow chard and green beans will will keep producing until we get a good frost. In that same bed I’ll once again over-winter the oregano and thyme in hopes they’ll come back next year. In the flower bed I’ll dig up the dahlia bulbs after the first frost, and the zinnias should produce flowers until then as well. So there’s still a few things left to enjoy which is always nice.

Once the frost hits and everything is pulled up, all the towers and poles removed, I’ll prep the beds for winter. This includes removing all the drip hoses and putting down a fresh sheet of black plastic.

Over in my patio pots I have a few peppers left, there are two last bell peppers in a race against time. Will they ripen before frost and turn orange or will they have to be picked green? The lemon and lime trees are in that transitional period where we bring them in on cold nights but leave them out during the day so they can soak up the last of the warm weather and sunshine before a long winter.

I’m borrowing some extra hay to throw our strawberry patch this winter. The fig tree has some ripening figs finally - I can’t believe how much both trees have grown this year (since one was super tiny and the other died back to the ground). When the frost nips them and the leaves fall off, I’ll wrap them up. I need to trim back the blackberries and raspberries, but I want to wait until it’s a little colder - plus I have to pull up all those ridiculous sweet pea vines to even reach them.

Oct 13, 2014

Mailbox Garden

Last week I complained about the curb and how we’d have to postpone the mailbox garden until Spring. We had no clue when it was going to happen, and we were running out of time. And then that very day, as if the construction company was listening, they cemented the curb. The next morning they were back and filled in everyone’s yards with dirt, grass seed and hay. The holes and destruction were neatly wrapped up, they cleaned up, the only thing left for them to do is repave the street (but that's scheduled for later this fall)

So on Friday afternoon… I planted the mailbox garden I said we wouldn’t be planting until spring. I wasn’t planning on doing it, but it was a now-or-never/seize-the-day situation. Half the sod was already gone. The ground was soft and wet. The weather was warm but cloudy, rain was in the forecast to soak it in... and it felt like a good day to do it. So I did.

It went really fast in the ideal conditions, I knocked the whole thing out in a couple hours from start (digging up the sod) to finish (mulching). I think it looks great. I transplanted the hostas, the two sedums, the echinacea and the anemone. I ended up breaking up the anemone and putting it in two places to fill things out a little bit. I have some space reserved for a butterfly weed bush - I didn’t order it because I didn’t know when we could plant it, so that will have to wait until spring. I might also have to fill things in with a couple annuals next spring/summer until the perennials are bigger, but I think overall it looks great. I’m so glad it’s done.

Fingers crossed that these plants have enough time to take root and get over their transplant shock before the frost nips them. I really hope they come back in the spring. In the meantime I'll be doing an anti-frost dance.

Oct 10, 2014

Autumn Afternoon

Just hanging out, guarding the tricycle.

"I'll be here if you need me..."

Oct 9, 2014

How to Make a Spooky Ghost (on a budget)

Remember those outdoor curtains I bought from Ikea that I thought looked like a wedding veil and then bought dye only to realize I couldn’t dye polyester? Well, I finally found a use for them! A spooky ghost!

All I needed was a pair of Ikea Lill curtains, a balloon, a sharpie marker to draw on a scary face and fishing line to hold it all together. Since I already had the curtains and supplies this was free for me, but anyone could make this for super cheap since the curtains are $4 a pack.

First I drew a face on the balloon (make sure to do it upside down for easy hanging). If I could do it over I might have used an orange balloon for a pumpkin head or a white balloon for a ghost head, but I was going for a bogeyman look with the glowing neon green. Oliver really liked the scary face (he totally “helped” - hence the smear on the ghost’s cheek) so we went with that, but one could totally make it a happy ghost to be more kid friendly.

To hang it, I tied fishing line to the end of the balloon, then poked the fishing line through the center of the first curtain (since it’s mosquito netting it’s full of holes). I used a small piece of fishing line to gather the fabric underneath the balloon as a “neck” and tied it off. Then I pushed the hanging piece of fishing line through the center of the second curtain, so there were two layers.

Outside I hung the ghost on a tree. I pulled up a piece of fabric from the outer layer on both sides to look like ghost arms and secured those to the tree with more fishing line. It was really easy and Oliver loves it. I have to admit when the wind blows it moves around a lot in a ghostly way and looks just as nice (if not better) than a lot of the ghosts from the store.

Oct 8, 2014

Fall Decor + Halloween

Two weeks ago I started getting all the Fall and Halloween decorations out and finally finished this past weekend. Our house is Fall festive and spooky all at once.

I also put up a strand of Halloween lights (pumpkins and ghosts!) over the TV and stairwell railing, sort of like what I do at Christmas with the garlands (only more haphazard). Oliver LOVES it, it’s his favorite part of all the decorations and he’s always asking me to “turn on the pretties.”

Outside it’s all about Halloween. Our neighborhood is really into the holiday and the decorating is almost becoming competitive. This year everyone’s putting out lights and hanging ghosts, inflatables and scary spiders. It’s so festive, we love it.

This year we picked up 3 Halloween signs from the Target dollar spot - witch parking and zombie warnings. They are awesome. We also added a hanging skeleton this year (also from Target) to the mix with the hanging bats and spiders. Last year on clearance after Halloween I found some cute window decals.

We still need to get a few real pumpkins to mix in on the steps, it’s on the list for this weekend.

At night, we swapped out our regular porch bulb for an orange one and it casts such a creepy light. I love it, it’s perfect for the silhouettes of the hanging skeleton/bats/spiders.

We also hung a string of skeleton lights from an old box of decorations I inherited from when I was a kid, they still work! They flash every 6 seconds, which actually makes the zombie signs look even scarier in the dark.

On Halloween night we’ll light up the plastic jack-o-lanterns with fake candles and the real pumpkins with real candles. We’ll also bring out the indoor decorations like the noisy ghost and skull light for the porch. I love Halloween… and it’s even more fun now with a kid who loves it too! (Oliver is not afraid of the scary Halloween decorations. He’s only afraid of our neighbor’s happy fuzzy spider that was made to be preschooler friendly... I don't get it either.)