Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wheelbarrow campouts

We came home from church last night to our first power outage in this house.  I generally think blackouts are kind of fun, but then again, I've never had to deal with one for more than a few hours.  I'm sure I would think differently if it went on for days or weeks like some people deal with.  Anyway, my oh-so-smart husband bought a night light several months ago that automatically comes on when the power goes out and can be used as a flashlight.  So there's no shuffling around looking for a flashlight because it's the only light in the house that's on.  Great idea whoever came up with that one! 
We used the nightlight to find a couple of other flashlights.  I'm not a big fan of candles, but we lit the few that we had received as gifts.  Then we remembered our camping lanterns!  We were given a couple of really nice rechargeable lanterns a couple of years ago and we have some smaller ones too.  So we got into our camping boxes and found more light.  After calling the power company, gathering more blankets for the bed, and making sure that we had an alarm that would go off, I started getting ready for bed.  Then the heater came on- bummer, the blackout was over.  I turned on the lights, got ready for bed, blew out the candles, folded the extra blankets, and laid down for the night.  But I couldn't sleep...
Using our lanterns and digging through our camping boxes made me long for a good campout.  It won't be long until it's warm enough to camp around here, but we may not have much time for it until the summer.  Then my mind turned to backyard campouts.  I've always liked the idea, but we've always lived where neighbors could see us and that's just seems a little weird to me.  But now, oh my, we have a nice BIG yard where no one can see us!  Why hadn't I thought of this before?!?
My mind started thinking of all the great spots on our property where we could clear a tent pad and set up camp.  It has to be a spot where we can't see the house or the road.  Shouldn't be too hard.  We can grab our tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, lanterns and a book or game, put it all in a wheelbarrow and wheel off to our campsite!  I'm getting all excited just thinking about it!  Friends and family could join us if they wish, we could roast hotdogs and marshmallows, oh I could go on and on!  I laid awake for quite awhile last night thinking about all this.  I ran my wheelbarrow campout idea past Josh this morning and he was all for it too- of course he was, that's why I love him so!  We have been missing being outdoors and this will be the perfect solution until we have more time this summer.  Anyone want to join us?

Monday, February 15, 2010

My new favorite room

Let me start off this post by saying that I don't believe that I have any decorating style at all.  I pretty much just pick a color scheme for a room and try to make things match.  I remember the first time my parents visited our tiny little duplex in OK.  My Dad was sitting in the living room and he looked around and simply said, "It's comfortable."  I don't think I ever told him that this was one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.  Those words have stuck with me and have become my decorating goal.  I want our home to be comfortable- for us and our guests. 
Along those same lines, I have tried to keep our house pretty gender neutral.  It's not a bachelor pad or a frilly, girly house either.  I always feel bad for those husbands who live in homes that are so fancy and flowery that you would never even know a man lived there.  So even though Josh is a botanist, I try to keep flower fabrics to a minimum and make sure I run most decorating ideas past him first to make sure he's comfortable. 
Now, on to the reason for this post.  When Josh and I bought our 4-bedroom home we decided to designate the rooms as master bedroom, guest bedroom, office, and workout room.  Shortly after moving to TX we decided the workout room just wasn't practical for many reasons: laziness, lack of time, lack of equipment, and the fact that we have 10+ glorious acres to run around on if we so please.  So the question arose, "What do we do with room #4?"  We tossed around several ideas and finally settled on this:  the office could be Josh's man room and room #4 could be my craft room!  Oh how wonderful!  Josh now has his manly leather office chair, his gun cabinet and fishing poles in his map/globe decorated office.  It's not completely done yet, but we're getting there.
On to the craft room...  I had a whole room to decorate any way I pleased!  I could be as girly and flowery as I wanted!  I wanted something fun that would inspire me to be creative.  I decided to start by finding a great tablecloth for my 6ft table, and then I could accessorize to match the tablecloth.  After months of searching for the perfect- read: affordable- tablecloth, I decided to just find fabric I liked and make my own.  I've had my eye on a certain fabric at Hobby Lobby for other projects, and decided I loved it so much that it should be the theme for my room.  After all, it was on sale!  I bought the fabric a little over a week ago and I finished the transformation this last weekend.  I LOVE my new room!  Now remember, I am no decorator here, and I'm sure that I'm way more excited than anyone else will ever be, but bear with me and allow me to give you a little tour of my new creative space. 
View from the hall

Notice: pegboards are not just for the garage!  They are great for organizing craft supplies!  Also notice girly tablecloth and coordinating curtains.  The ribbon around the pegboard also matches- oh, it's so exciting!  My table is perfect for laying out patterns, cutting fabric and wrapping gifts.

Sewing area:  matching sewing machine cover and matching pin cushion on my spool rack.  The matching ribbon is also around the edge of the spool rack, you just can't see it from this angle.  Coincidence:  the plant even matches because it has pink edges along each leaf and we've had it for a couple months!  Too perfect!  The sewing table (and machine inside) belonged to my grandma (Mom's mom) and the sewing machine on top was Josh's grandma's (his Mom's mom).  I like having a piece of both of these women in my room.

My keyboard also lives here.  Some of you don't know that I took 9 years of piano lessons growing up.  Also notice the lion scratch-art on the wall.  My brother made this in high school.  I've always loved it but had nowhere to hang it until now.  The black and white don't exactly match the room, but they match the keyboard.  For those of you who have seen the room before, notice the football light switch is gone!  The little ivory box to the right of the lion is part of the intercom system that came with the house.  Every room has a little speaker and the main switchboard is in the kitchen- sometimes it even works!

Wall #4- ironing center.  I didn't have any other place in the house for the ironing board, so it lives here.  It's actually very convenient to have nearby the sewing machine.  I do way more ironing for crafts than I do for clothes anyway.  Also notice the rag quilt on the wall.  Our church in WA made this for us when we moved away.  Each family personalized a square.  This has been hanging on the wall for months now too, but wouldn't you know, the 2 shades of green actually match the fabric I chose!  Seriously, does it get any better?!?  I also have my stereo and small bookcase here.  Note, there is a closet to the right of this picture that is full of all kinds of fabric, wrapping paper, and other crafty things.  Love it!

Of course you wanted to see a close-up of the fabric, right?  So girly!

So that's my new craft room.  I love that this room reminds me of so many loved ones, and I look forward to spending time among their things as I create new things for other loved ones. 

Side note- our living room has been finished for about 6 weeks now, I have just neglected to post updated pics.  So here it is complete with curtains, pictures, plants, and tables.  Again, ignore the blue carpet.  Thanks for hanging with me for this long post!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Better-than-girl scout- cookies

Ok, some of you already know about these cookies, but I felt the need to share again since it's girl scout cookie time.  My favorite girl scout cookies (in order) are: tagalongs, samoas, trefoils, do-si-dos, and thin mints.  I haven't bought girl scout cookies in years because the prices are outrageous, but I have found a cookie that has topped my list and is available year-round and is much, much cheaper.  Keebler makes a cookie they call "Peanut Butter Filled."  I don't know about you, but I think this is a stupid name, not really even a name at all.  But they are soooo good.  They're like tagalongs, but the cookie is chocolate, so they're even better in my opinion.  That's why I have renamed them "better than girl scout cookies."  There's only 18 in a package, but they are much cheaper than girl scout cookies, especially if you find them on sale.  The catch is that they might be hard to find in your city.  In WA, I could regularly find them for $1.68-$2 a package.  I haven't been able to find them in Abilene yet, but I haven't checked everywhere.  I did notice that Walmart has a version of this cookie, but I haven't tried it yet.  Why?  Because my Mom gave me 15 packages of these little beauties for Christmas!  mmmmm  Try them frozen too- even better!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rain, rain, rain

The man that first owned our home was HUGE into water features.  He dug a 1/2 acre pond in front of the house and filled it with water and fish.  To make it a more permanent feature, he put concrete all around the sides.  He installed a ladder in one of the concrete sides so that you could easily climb out after swimming.  He even added an island, complete with trees, a picnic table, and a little bridge so you can access it from shore.  We have 3 wells on our property, 2 are dried up and 1 still has water.  We assume he dried up these wells keeping that huge pond full all the time.  I can imagine many happy summers spent in this front yard lake with all of his kids.  I can imagine his wife looking out the front windows and hearing her children squeal with delight as they play.  Sadly, his wife passed away and he later remarried and moved out of this house.  (He built wife #2 a house that is built into a hillside so that all you see is the front of the house.  Then he built a moat, yes a moat, around the front yard of that house.  Like I said, he was HUGE into water features.)  Anyway, recent owners of this house (including ourselves) have decided not to spend enormous amounts of money to keep this pond full of water.  So it sits as a big hole in the ground that has become overgrown with plants.
Well, in the last 2 weeks we have received quite a bit of rain, and now we have ourselves a small pond in this enormous hole.  We've had thoughts of making a smaller pond someday, but we're still a little undecided.  For now I'm enjoying our tiny pond while it lasts, and I'm thankful it's not mosquito season!

Adam, Josh and Titus in the empty pond at Christmas


Adam, Josh and Titus on the island

Our little pond (you can see the bridge and island in the top right corner)

And just when you thought this post was not about Titus...
Here's a video of him destroying some air pillows I brought home from work last night.  This dog cracks me up!  He only left 1 pocket unpopped- not bad for 45 seconds!