Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 1 of Yard & Garden CleanUp

The first day of Spring Yard CleanUp is complete. Hubby and I were outside most of the day being very productive. His job was to get the mower going and cut the grass. I don't think we have ever had to cut the grass in March before. He was very thorough in his job, he picked up all the sticks in the yard, edged with the weed wacker, and of course mowed.

My job was to cut back all our ornamental grasses, which I love the rest of the year when I don't have to do anything to them, but because I have a lot of them they are not my friends when I have to cut them all down. I also cleaned all the leaves out of the flower beds, and cut back anything else that needed it.



The flower beds are one more thing that I have a hard time finishing each year. I start out really strong in April and May, but in July when it is 90+ degrees and more humid than a sauna, I just give up. When it comes to fall and cleaning up the beds, I am so over it that it doesn't happen. I am going to try and do better this year. I think if I break it down bed by bed and day by day, I won't get so overwhelmed with it all. Plus I have this blog to keep me accountable. So stay tuned for pictures over the course of the WHOLE Spring, Summer and Fall seasons!

Scout was supervising from the deck!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Details - P52 Week 13

I struggled a little bit with the theme for this week. There were many things I would have liked to have done, but most of them required my macro lens. Even this shot would have a little bit more detail with that macro lens.

But alas, my macro lens lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my daughter until the beginning of May, then it will come home along with her. The sacrifices we make for our children :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bathroom Closet Makeover

I am so happy to be back on track with my projects, and completing projects. This bathroom closet has been driving me crazy for a while, so now that things have settled down I went to work organizing and cleaning.


I purchased most of the cute and highly functional baskets at Target. I have made a few trips there in the last week, but I hate to buy more than I need, or what I don't need and then have to return it. I would rather get a couple to see how those fit and then continue to adjust as needed, either bigger or smaller depending on the need. Height also was a determining factor, based on how big the shelf was and what was going in the basket.






It was amazing after organizing everything in the closet I had a whole shelf left over, so I was able to clean out drawers in the bathroom vanity and store some of that stuff in the closet as well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A BIG Finish today

Today I got the joy of going to our local bank and paying off our one and only car loan.  Our goal was to get this vehicle paid off within two years of when we purchased it. One month shy of that two year mark, task completed.

For a couple of weeks, maybe a month, we will enjoy this moment of no car payment. The reality is that we will have one again soon. My husband's 2001 Toyota Avalon has 312,XXX miles on it and is getting very tired, and he of it. Since he is on the road all the time for his job, the hunt begins for a newer vehicle for him. With any luck we will be able to pay that vehicle off in 2-3 years and maybe enjoy a year or two of no car payments. Just in time to pay for a wedding, we do have a daughter in college so anything is possible :)

The feeling of "Finishing" this project is awesome!! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hunger - P52 Week Twelve

I have a absolute hunger for reading and learning!

I have always loved reading, some of my best childhood memories are of going to the local public library and roaming the rows and rows of books in the children's section. There was a stationary reading carousel in the children's section with wood cutouts of cute story book animals attached to each reading station. I loved to sit there for hours and look at huge stacks of picture books. Fortunately that carousel was still there when my daughter was little and I got to relive all those wonderful memories over again with her.

Reading lets you escape your own life for a little while, transporting you back in time (I am partial to the early 1900's-1950's) or you can travel to a different country without all the stress of actually planning a trips. Books are a great way to learn new things without the pressure of a schedule to keep or homework, unless you want it. Learn at your own pace and go back and reread things as many times as you need to until you have it down.

In our family the continued debate is books vs. e-readers. My husband has an ipad and he bought me a Kindle Fire for Valentine's Day. I do love the feel of a book in my hands, but after being on our cruise last week, the convenience of having all my books for the trip in one slim, space saving device  was extremely nice.

I still love to go to the public library and explore the rows and rows of hardcover novels in the fiction section. Whether choosing to get transported to the Netherlands in the 1700's or the Island of Nantucket in the 2000's, nothing can ever replace that experience.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The "Eyes" of March - P52 Week Eleven

I am a little late in posting my P52 photos this week, but I have a very good excuse. We just got home late last night from a week long Caribbean Cruise. We had a fun trip, filled with warm weather and sunshine.

I was racking my brain all week trying to figure out what to do for this week's challenge. Finally on Friday, the last full day on the ship, the right idea came to me. I could photograph my sunglasses "my eyes" in different places that we have enjoyed on the ship.

So what follows are some of the places I visited this past week while on the ship:

Table at the back of the ship where we enjoyed many breakfasts and lunches.

Comfy lounge seating where we would enjoy a glass of wine.

Sun basking lounge chair

The Martini Bar - great place for cocktail hour.

Internet Lounge - only way to communicate with our daughter

Table on our balcony off our room

Lovely King size bed in our cabin

Our balcony - Wine and a sunset.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Everything Unfinished

I feel the pressing weight of all things unfinished most acutely whenever I are going away on a trip. It does not matter whether I am going away for a week or for only a weekend. The burden of everything unfinished, little or big sends me into a panic.

I am feeling that panic now as we get ready for a week cruise in the Caribbean. I know you are saying, sunshine and warm weather, how can you be in a panic? I am thinking I could have gotten this done or I should have done that, but it didn't happen. The past 10 years of Mallory's life in scrapbooks should be caught up on (big unfinished project), or I should have cleaned the windows of the nose marks from the dogs (small thing that I won't think about once we are home again).

Scout's window decorations

The good thing is that I am all packed, and I am not feeling like I forgot anything. The house is reasonably clean, vacuumed and dusted.

I know that those scrapbooks will still be waiting for me to finish when I get home next week, and the nose marks will still be there as well. In the meantime I am doing to try and soak up sun, read, and relax.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Be Still - P52 Week Ten

I have been doing yoga for just over a year now. I originally started doing yoga to strengthen my back and core abdominal muscles. I have had problems with my back and hips since my late teens. I have always heard good things about yoga and figured it was worth a try. My daughter and I started taking a class through our local hospital. We both fell in love with yoga. I feel so much better the mornings after yoga class. I have recently added a short 15 minute abdominal strengthening routine to my morning workout.

The best part of yoga is the relaxation time at the end of class and at the end of my 15 minute morning routine. Those 5 minutes that I just rest and relax, concentrate just on me and center myself, help me deal with whatever else is coming my way that day. Namaste.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Great Leap - P52 Week Nine

A Great Leap for me is that I have given up soda pop for Lent. More specifically I am giving up Aspartame for good. Aspartame is the artificial sweetener in many diet sodas and "0" calorie drinks. It has been linked to many health related issues. I was inspired to give it up after my yoga instructor gave her "diet soda" talk about all the negative health issues related to Aspartame.

Lent was fast approaching so I thought it would be a good time to try giving up my Diet Cherry Coke. Last year I gave up meat for Lent and that went really well. The nice thing about Lent is that it is a specific period of time, and that makes it easier to give up something when you know you only have to do it for 40 days. Even though last year I went back to eating meat after Lent was over, although I still don't eat a lot of meat, I highly doubt that I will go back to drinking anything with Aspartame in it even after Lent is over this year.

The challenge has been to find flavorful, healthy alternatives. I can drink plain water, but I do prefer something with flavor. So here are some of the alternatives I have found so far:

I had some natural lemonade up in Marquette last week and I really liked that. I couldn't find the exact same brand that I had up there, but I did find this one at the grocery store. Since it only has four ingredients and nothing artificial I figured it was a winner, and it tastes just like fresh squeezed lemonade.

I have always liked Cranberry Juice, and this is a new one with a hint of Lime.

Lifewater comes highly recommended by my yoga instructor. I haven't tried it yet, but she hasn't steered me wrong yet.

Good thing back in Week One of this P52 Photo Challenge my Resolution was to Drink More Tea. I have been drinking a lot more tea, I am on my fourth cup right now. I love trying different flavors, loose leaf, and boxed. The best part is that they all go great with my Dad's honey! And just so you know all honey is not created equal, I had some at the hotel last week, not even close to my Dad's.