Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Here are our costumes. Well I should say the kids costumes. Hubby and I made Busters costume. He is Link from Legend of Zelda and little Sis is his fairy. I just love looking at these pictures. This is a little snippet of what my days are like around here.

Pumpkin Patch

Daddy was sick so we got to have a special Mommy and Buster Day. We went to the pumpkin patch and it was really fun. We go pumpkins, fresh cider, apples, pumpkin doughnuts, caramel apples, and barbecued chicken.

Mine is the top pumpkin and his is the bottom one. I hope you all guessed that. I love how his bat is flying in front of the pumpkin.

Autumn On Our Street

I just love our street. It is so beautiful in the fall. I love all of the trees and old houses. Every time I drive home even if it is not practical I go down our street.

One of our baby trees in our front yard, and some pumpkins on our porch.

We just love our neighbors, in fact they are some of our closest friends. I don't know what my little guy would do without his buddy next door.

My helper. So serious.

Trees we can see out our windows.

Pumpkins on our porch.

How Our House Looks Now

 Here is how our house looked when we bought it and moved in 20 months ago...almost 2 years ago. We have been working on what I call phase I. We have replaced our old oil tank furnace with a brand new natural gas furnace. We have also replaced an old ghetto electric panel that was on the outside of our house by the back door. It had aluminum insulators or something like that. Not only could anybody access it but it was also extremely flammable. At the same time we replaced some old knob and tube that ran outside to the garage as well as all of the garage wiring. I have been working on restoring our original wood double hung windows. I have four finished storm windows and am currently completing one of the kitchen windows. We also have plans to fix the big window in the front of the house next Saturday. We also have enlarged the back yard by bringing up the fence to the front of the house. Up to come is re-wiring the entire house as well as updating the plumbing and some more landscaping. Somewhere in all of this we are having another baby and need to find some room to have her live with us. This means we are going to have to try to finish part of the basement (which was supposed to be in phase II).  Hubby tells me its not phase one and that calling it that is stupid but I cant help it. Plus I think it makes it sound cooler than calling it what it    
really is...updates.

Here is what our house looked like at the begging of October. I started painting the hand railing before I found out I was pregnant back in early April. I was always bothered by how our address numbers were not visible from the street so I decided to paint the ugly screen door and add them underneath, nice and big.
You can also see that we have ripped out some ugly bushes and the nice new white fence along the front of the house. In the future we are hoping to have all of our trim and windows go back to its original white as well.

Here is a close up of our screen door. Sorry I don't have a picture. Just imagine it dingy and grey. As you can see someone around here always has her eyes out for mommy and I think it was her pet peeve that I would go outside with out her.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Little Catch Up

I have gotten behind in posting fun picture of what the kiddos are up too around here. We have a lot of fun and are starting to be adventurous and have some pretend play. I love watching them interact (as long as big brother is being nice). On of my favorite sounds is their laughter and they sure do get into stuff together.

This is from the beginning of the summer and we went to feed the ducks. Something we should do more. Let me tell you it is pretty fun!

There is a pretty cool children's museum here that we went to and someone got to be a firefighter!

Oh and here he is again doing some construction, running a BACKHOE!

Our little sweetie, doing her favorite thing... eating.

Favorite thing, dancing with daddy

And another new favorite, getting ready for bath.

She does a bear crawl, and sometimes she puts one knee down. She has a hard time wearing pants and jammers they get all tangled up and then she gets stuck. Its kinda silly.

This is one of my favorite things around here lately  Lunch time when everyone is happy and eating. All I hear is smacking noises.

I love my two cuties.

My Produce Garden...

My garden is a work in progress. I knew that I liked this house when we looked at it but I had no Idea just how much work the property needed to have healthy, fertile soil that could grow all of the things I had been dreaming of for so many years. We ( or should I say "I" because Hubby is not that interested in the yard) pretty much started with a dull blank slate that had a lot of old unattractive plants that needed to go. And go they did. We pretty much spent the whole summer last year pulling out large ornamental hedges that were dying, and pulling up black plastic that was used under crummy bark mulch as a weed barrier. Keep in mind that I was pregnant with baby R at the time and had no energy. 

 Here is a picture of part of our back yard where I grew my veggies last summer. I knew I wanted to grow more than this but I needed to watch the yard for a year to decide where I wanted to build our garden. This bed was here along the fence and there is actually a very large pine tree growing back there in the left corner. I was concerned about sun and shade because of the tree but as you can see most stuff grew very well. So in the fall I had Hubby build me these garden boxes.

As always we had to build our garden on a very tight budget. I had a hard time figuring out what to build them out of. I knew I didn't want treated lumber because of the chemicals that leech into your soil but I also didn't want them to rot. At the suggestion of my dad I looked into cedar fence boards. They were 5 foot boards and they were around a dollar each. The nice thing is that cedar rots very slowly. Some sources say that it takes 20 years or more, and I believe it because that fence back there is cedar and I know it has been there for more that that. We used stakes to screw the boards too and support it from the inside, which you can see. We built them 4x5 feet and two boards high (making them almost 12 inches tall). We did spend the big bucks on good quality outdoor screws.

Lets talk dirt. We built the beds in the fall and I thought about dirt all winter. I thought we were going to have to buy dirt which I didn't want to do. I did some reading and learned about sheet composting or lasagna gardening. I decided I could do this to basically build my dirt from scratch. Lucky for me I had collected and kept all of our fall leaves along with a neighbors and after I was healed from having baby R, I went to Starbucks and collected coffee grounds at least once a week. Then when I could I layered cardboard or newspaper, coffee grounds and leaves just like you would in a lasagna. From what I had read it said you could plant right in it but it would be composted dirt within six months. I also had some compost that I had made from the previous summer that I added to the mix.

In the end we did buy two yards of organic compost from my favorite garden nursery. I topped the beds with six inches of the black gold and also topped off the long bed by the fence ( it went in some of my flower beds too). The compost went a long way and it was super worth it to buy it. I would spend money on compost any day, it is so good for your soil and your plants. So all in all we spent about 60 dollars on the wood and 120 dollars which included the delivery of the compost. It was a pretty good deal if you ask me.

This is what the garden looked like when I got back from my parents house in July. it was out-a-control. I love the tall triangular trellises that I got at the garden expo. They add a lot of character, functionality and visual interest to our garden. You can see the chicken coop in the background.

I planted a lot but as always wish I could plant more. I have plans to add about three more planting areas/garden boxes back there. Over by the chicken coop there is a lot of unused space that needs a little love and TLC.

I think after two seasons I have a better idea of what we eat and what works for our family. I planted 9 tomatoes and have learned not to get seduced by all of the fancy heirloom varieties. I love regular red tomatoes so the plan next year is to get pretty much that. We eat them and I can preserve them. Also I think I am giving up on carrots because even the organic ones at the store are really cheap, I just waste the precious space growing them cause they don't grow well for me in our beds. The list goes on and on.
I am planning on showing more of our yard and gardens as well as how they look next year when some of them should be nearly complete.

As Promised!

Phew, it has taken me a very long time to get back to this blog. I have had such a busy summer. We have tons of work to do to the house and everyday I feel like I am just a little crazy for trying to tackle it and all I do is play catch up. Life is good we have gotten much accomplished and I am excited to show everyone pictures of some of the changes we have made to our little house. Before I left I promised to share some news and then left it hanging (although I suspect most of my viewers already know). So are you ready...

BABY THREE is on the way!

I am a little slow in sharing but I am getting ready to enter the third trimester here soon and the time is going by so fast. We hid it for a long time because it was so soon after baby girl was born and I really wanted to feel like I was still not pregnant for a little while. Lucky for me I show a little slowly. We did go ahead and find out what we were having this time because we felt we needed to and it is a GIRL again and I think it will be so fun for them because they will be a year apart. Irish twins I guess. We still need to pick out a name but we are feeling ready and excited.