Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Psst!  Opening day is tomorrow!  Go Tigers!


My next door neighbor is a really great guy.  He's very nice, a good dad, very personable.  We don't talk a whole lot, maybe wave to each other over the fence, or acknowledge that we pass each other in the street.  But he's always very nice.  This makes me wonder if he realizes that there's a war going on between us.  Obviously, its an unspoken thing, but there is a competition to have the better yard. 

I swear that no matter when I mow my lawn, he'll be out soon mowing his lawn.  It doesn't matter if he just mowed it two days ago, if I mow, its almost completely predictable that he'll be out within 12 hours to mow his lawn again.  He can't let my lawn look better than his for even 24 hours.  I'm completely serious here. 

When we moved into this house 14 years ago, the backyard was filled with spindly (but very tall) pine trees,  which means there was very little grass.  The neighbors who lived next door at the time had a very lovely yard with beautiful landscaping and lovely, soft green grass. So already, the new neighbors had the advantage when they moved in shortly after we did.   We took out 36 trees the first year here which opened up the yard to more sunlight, and allowed us to try to grow grass.  The operative word in that sentence is "try".  The following spring, there was a wind storm that knocked over a few more trees.  (Actually, we had two windstorms, 2 days apart.  So many trees were blown down that it changed the landscape of much of the county.)

Here are some pictures after that windstorm. 

You know what?  Only that first picture is after the windstorm.  The other two were from when we had even more trees cut down.  Anyway, it gives you a general idea of how bad the yard looked.  Every time I mowed the yard back then, I ended up covered in dirt because the grass was so sparse. 

Every year I've tried to plant more perennials and add shrubs and bushes to the border to make the yard more appealing, but 3 years ago we hired a landscaper to come in and do it all in one shot.  He did a nice job too.  He put in underground sprinkling in the backyard, fixed the sprinkling that already existed in the front yard, and added more shrubs, bark and edging.  It looked great for my daughter's open house that year. 

Looks much better, doesn't it?  So now that its graduation open house time again, I have to start thinking about sprucing up the backyard again.  Many of those shrubs have grown larger than I should have let them, we need new bark, and the grass needs to be reseeded.  The reason this is all fresh in my mind right now is because right outside the window where I'm sitting here at the computer, I can see my neighbor working out in the yard.  Its 29 degrees here today!  By 10:30 a.m., he had already aerated, thatched and mowed his lawn.  The war has begun. 

It is on buddy.  Bring it. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fail. Again.

Have you ever cooked something that tasted so bad you had to just spit it out of your mouth onto your plate? Right in front of your kids?  Yeah, me neither. 

OK so I lied. 

That happened to me Saturday night while trying to make a recipe involving flank steak and mediterranean spices.  It tasted like soap.  It. Was. Awful. 

I did learn a valuable lesson from this though;  Pizza Hut is really quite busy on a Saturday night. 

The last few weeks have been less than happy around here for reasons too numerous and private to mention.  However, there are a few things I'm quite overjoyed about. 
  • Bell's Oberon beer is back for the season. 
  • Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is also back for the season.  (And while these are both beers, I'm really not a lush.  I just like what I like. And it just happens to be my luck that these are both seasonal beers.)
  • My bathroom is really going to be remodeled.  Let me say that again:  MY BATHROOM IS REALLY GOING TO BE REMODELED!
  • The backyard is completely snow-free and ready to be tended to.  If only I didn't need a parka to do so.  Still pretty cold out.
  • The Detroit Tiger's opening day is March 31.  Thats just 3 days away!   Oh Tigers!  How I've missed you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bathroom Progress

My kids had a day off of school yesterday which gave me the perfect opportunity to go shopping with my personal shopper, a.k.a Bethany.  As I've said before, I'm not good with decision making so if I have her along to offer opinions, I feel more comfortable.  We picked out a shower curtain from JCPenney but I've already decided I'm taking it back.  There's a different one at Bed Bath & Beyond that I like better. 

This is the one I bought but will be returning:

I think the biggest issue I've had with this whole bathroom remodel thing is what color to make it.  I really like blues, and cool tones.  Or even bright ones, but when I go into someone else's house and they have a bathroom done in browns or darker colors, it seems really classy to me.  So I've decided to go with a darker color scheme.  The cabinets will be white, but the wall color will be darker.  Too much white and a person'll go blind! 

I looked for a picture of the one I'm getting instead but Bed  Bath & Beyond doesn't have it on their website.  Oh well. 

I also purchased 2 light fixtures:

Not exactly like this, but really similar

And two mirrors to replace the 5 foot long one we already have:

The frame is a silvery grey but will go well with the shower curtain I picked out. 

We also picked up some paint samples to start making that decision.  Bethany and I decided that there's something really exciting about looking at paint chips.  Its like a whole world full of opportunities right there in the hardware store, and really, paint is cheap.  You can change a room entirely by just changing the paint color.  So I'm pretty thrilled that this bathroom is almost ready to start!  And I'm really lucky that we do have another shower to use while that one is under construction.  Yay!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is that grass I see? And why is there a sock in the middle of the yard?

Spring is finally truly around the corner (can I get an Amen?) and the snow is melting at a pace I can live with.  Every day I see a bit more of my yard which both excites and terrifies me.  Excited, obviously, because that means that soon I'll be planting stuff and making things look beautiful.  Terrifies, because, well... I'll be planting stuff and making things look beautiful.  And thats a lot of work.  But as the snow recedes, it leaves stuff behind.  Like socks.  And silverware.  What? Why is there a frosting knife in the front yard?  And why is there a lone sock in the backyard? 

I think that today, I'll plant some peas in the garden - peas love cooler weather and I've heard you can plant them as early as St. Patrick's Day so I'll give it a try.  I don't have much luck with peas usually anyway so might as well fail early as late.  That way it frees up space for other veggies.  This year I will NOT be renting a garden and I'm ok with that.  We will be having a graduation open house in June so I'll be concentrating on making my own yard presentable.  I'll have enough garden space to grow a few things and I'm going to try more things in pots on my deck.  Last year I grew salad greens in an antique strainer on my deck and that worked really well.   It was a bonus that it was right outside the back door by the kitchen.  

The contractor came over the other day and brought a plumber.  They both had samples and booklets so I could pick out my tub, cabinets and countertop.  I hate making decisions and it makes me a little anxious to have to do that, but I made my choices.  Even the choice of whether to have a two handled faucet as opposed to a one handled faucet was a little too much for me, but its done.  Now I have to go buy 2 mirrors and some light fixtures.  At least this looks like progress to me.  Yay! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Hey!  I was given the Stylish Blogger Award from Southbel At Southern Style.  I'm tickled pink!  You should go check out her blog because it is gorgeous!  She has fabulous pictures and some pretty nifty posts.  Be sure to check out pictures of her plantation... so beautiful!

The rules of the award say that I must share seven things about myself:

1. I love to play music.  I've played the piano since I was 5, and its still my stress relief.  I'll play anytime, anywhere, for any reason.  I also play the trumpet and I sing.  I've been known to play the pipe organ in church but only if absolutely necessary.  (Not a favorite activity)

2. I love to garden.  Last  year I went a little overboard and planted a 1000 sq. ft. garden in a rented space about 20 minutes from my house.  It was fun but a lot of hard work.

3. I believe that God puts people in our lives at certain times just when we need them.

4. Although I love all kinds of Michigan fruit, I detest cherries, which is really quite sad because they can be found in abundance here where I live.

5. I'm an insomniac

6. When I was little, I was hit in the chin by the propeller of a small Cessna plane.  I still have the scar. 

7. My dad won the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes once.  For real.  He won $67,000 and the government took about $31,000 of that. 

I get the opportunity to give this award to seven other blogs. If you haven't visited them, take the opportunity to do so as they are some great ones!

Stylish Blogger Award....


-Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

--Share seven things about yourself.

--Award seven recently discovered new blogs.--Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award