Big Purchase

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today we purchased our lawn mower and weed trimmer (or as we Wisconsinites like to say, weed wacker!).  A whopping $463…yikes!  But definitely needed.  There was a really nice associate at The Home Depot that helped us determine what kind of weed wacker to get (we were clueless!).  He also mentioned that the lawn mower Kimm picked out was a good one.  Kimm said she would try to mow this weekend.  As far as the weeds go, we don’t see much difference today after the weed treatment. Hopefully with a little more time we will see a difference.  Otherwise that was like throwing $10 away.  So frustrating.

100_1485

It’s a Lawn Boy–love the green color!

100_1486

The weed trimmer is a Ryobi–gas (which we learned was the best)

I’m disappointed that my three days off are pretty much up.  I feel like they went so fast.  And I always feel so discouraged when I have to go back to work.  Probably because I don’t get to see Kimm.  For the majority of the time I have off (from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm) Kimm is working, unless it is my weekend off.  So now Kimm is excited because she only has one more day of work and then the weekend off, while I am dreading tomorrow because I have to psyche myself up to work three days in a row.  And I have to be ready for the Orkin man to come tomorrow at 11 am and do some laundry (towels).  So I’ll be busy on my last day off.  Today I didn’t really do much just because I was so tired and achy.  The cats didn’t let us sleep much last night, along with my sore body and my allergies (couldn’t breath!)  Hopefully tonight is better.

I’m trying to be in a better mood.  Working is really not all that bad.  I just wish I had more time to spend with someone when I had off.  It’s kind of lonely.  Well, this is the last three day weekend until June because my parents will be visiting in THREE weeks!

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Apple Crisp

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We had some apples that are past their prime, so I decided to make some apple crisp.  It turned out wonderful.  I used the Betty Crocker cookbook, with only a few changes.  Here is the recipe with my adaptations:

5 apples, cored, peeled and sliced

1 lemon

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

To make:

Place the apples in an 8 x8 x 2 glass cooking pan.  Squeeze juice of one lemon over apples.  Zest the lemon and add to apples; toss to coat.  Mix all other ingredients in a bowl until crumbly; spread over top of apples.  Bake in 350 degree oven.

That’s it–super simple and the thing that I really liked about this crisp is that the topping stayed nice and crisp.  I stopped at the store to pick up some ice cream to go with it and got a new flavor that I never tried from Ben and Jerry’s–Cinnamon Buns (caramel ice cream with cinnamon bun dough pieces and a cinnamon struesal ribbon).  All together it was DELISH!

100_1481

Right out of the oven!  The whole house smelled so good while this was baking…

100_1484

Doesn’t that look GOOD!

Today was a productive day.  Even though I got up much later than I wanted to.  I usually get up with Kimm and we have breakfast together while we read our email/blogs.  She usually takes her shower and I’ll get up when she comes back into the bedroom.  Well, not today!  When I finally rolled out of bed, it was 9:30!  I never even heard her come back in the bedroom!

So I did a few loads of laundry and my biggest task of all–rearranged the living room!  I just wanted it to look a little bit nicer.  We were kind of holding off on decorating at all until we got the room painted and the new furniture, but then I thought, “well, that’s silly…we should enjoy the room even now, because WHO KNOWS how long it will be until we acutally get the room done!”  So after Kimm left for work after lunch, I got to it.  And it looks a lot better.  I took pictures, but they really don’t do it justice.  It looks much more homey than it did before.  I was a little bit nervous about what Kimm would think since I did this all on my own, but when she saw it, she really liked it!

100_1468

Before, there was nothing where the DVDs are, the DVDs were in the corner where the lamp is, the desk was across the room, and a small table was under the window.

100_1473

The TV and DVD player and stereo–that didn’t move…basically I put the vase with the orchids on top of the TV…we STILL miss our red vase that Madeline broke!

100_1479

Side table with cool little Asian-like bowls, next to the chair that you can’t really see 🙂

100_1471

Here you can see the chair better, and the hockey stick coat holder too!

100_1470

Still the old couch (boy that was SO worth $25!)–in back of the couch is the screened in porch

100_1477

The monkey finds a home on our coffee table–it’s growing on me

100_1482

The cats love when things are rearranged–they are checking everything out!

Before dinner, we went outside and did some yard work.  We got two major things accomplished–I raked up all the the fallen magnolia flower petals and Kimm applied Ortho Weed B Gone to the lawn for all the weeds (especially the clover and dandelions).  Supposedly the Weed B Gone will kill the weeds in 24 hours, without harming the lawn.  We shall see.  All I have to say is that raking and picking up the flower petals was HARD work.  My legs and back are killing me.  Who needs the gym with this kind of workout? 🙂

The weather was beautiful.  Much cooler than yesterday–in the 60s.  And fewer bees as well.  Although there was one that was stalking Kimm while she was spraying the yard.  I read online that bees don’t like mothballs so I may buy some to hang in nylon stockings on each of the four corners of the fence.  There also was the cutest bunny in the yard watching us do yard work.  I will definitely be doing my gardening early in the evening.  Much better than slaving away in the hot sun.

Right now we are relaxing in our living room while watching HGTV.  One of our goals this week, probably tomorrow, will be to purchase a lawn mover and weed wacker.  Exciting, huh?

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

HOT!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The temp hit 95 degrees today!

All I can say is that it was OPPRESSIVE!  I’m not a huge fan of really warm weather.

Good thing I spent the majority of the day in bed, with the fan blowing on me.  However, it was still very stuffy.

When Kimm came home from work we decided to go out to eat because it was too hot to cook.  We headed to the mall and got our usual…pizza and some fries.  Then we headed to Target to do some shopping.  We had nothing in mind–just looking.  We bought a few things–a garden pad (for kneeling on the hard ground), a new pair of garden gloves for each of us, a lettuce knife, a wine stopper, a knife sharpener, a fly swatter, and Kimm found an interesting monkey tea light holder.  She loved it and since I had pretty much rearranged the dining room with no input from her, I told her that if she loved it, to get it…we would SOMEHOW work it into our decor somewhere 🙂 Kimm says, “My monkey ROCKS!”

100_1461

I have to admit it is kind of cute!

Right now the temp is down to 69 degrees, and breezy.  The perfect weather…we are airing out the house from all the stale air and the cats are happy.  They are sitting by the windows, looking out.

Just to show you how crazy this weather is, tomorrow the low could get down to 36 degrees (can we say 60 degrees difference…whoa!)

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hornet in the House

Monday, April 27, 2009

Have I mentioned that I have a true fear of bees, wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets??

Well, if I haven’t, I am saying it now.

So of course one of the main goals of every spring/summer is to avoid these flying, stinging creatures.  But in an old house, there is always the chance that some crack allows them to come in.  And today Kimm noticed one in the kitchen by the window (thankfully this was right as she came home from lunch!).   I am SO glad that she was there because I would have probably FREAKED out and not been able to do anything.  Well, hopefully not, but who knows.  So anyways, she grabbed the bug killer spray we had conveniently located on top of the fridge, and sprayed the heck out of it.  But the darn thing WOULD not die.  It kept crawling, and crawling…and crawling.  Eventually it did die.  So now we have to figure out some way to keep these things out, because I have noticed a lot of them flying around outside.  I will have to see if there is a nest somewhere.  But I believe the Orkin man was supposed to take care of all these PESTS.  How frustrating.

I REALLY wish I could be that person that is not bothered by bees.

The other day I was getting into my car as I was going to meet up with my friends, and I was putting some drinks in the trunk and a big ol’ bumblebee was buzzing around my trunk and of course I screamed like a baby and ran from the car.  Then I quickly jumped in the car and slammed the door.  I think all of my neighbors were like, “who is that freak?”

I also have this rule, no matter how hot it is, NO opening of the windows until the car is moving.  I provide NO opportunity for these things to get into the car.  That would NOT be a good thing 🙂  And I NEVER leave my car windows open.  NEVER.

Anyways, in different news, I managed to get a good amount done today.  I cleaned out the entire dining room, which was becoming a dumping ground for everything we purchased and were going to eventually use for the house (forgot to take a “before” picture).  So I made MANY trips to the basement, getting everything down there.  Then I dusted and mopped the floor.  And then I brought down my old bureau and put it in the corner of the dining room.  I think it looks pretty good.  I placed my favorite nesting bowls on top.  The drawers will provide lots of storage.  And then I placed the two tables that we used for nightstands originally (before getting our bedroom set) underneath the two painted pictures that we originally bought for the bedroom (but turned out to clash with the comforter).  Maybe in the future we’ll put some plants on them.  The good thing is that it is an ongoing process 🙂

100_1454

The bureau with nesting bowls on top…

100_1455

Two tables under pictures…eventually we’d like to purchase a buffet and place it here

100_1456

This was the baker’s rack that is in the corner next to the bureau (the first item that we ever placed in the room, besides the table!)

100_1457

Another view, now you can see both the baker’s rack and the bureau…

100_1458

A shot from the living room, looking directly into the dining room (we still need to get some kind of curtains…maybe something light and breezy, or maybe some blinds???)

100_1459

Looking at the lone, bare corner…we were thinking maybe putting some kind of tall, narrow bookcase on a slant…to hold liquor, wine, extra glasses, maybe some cookbooks…or maybe a tall potted plant…we’re not sure yet…as you can see, this angle from the dining room looks into the kitchen…I LOVE how everything is so open.

Well, I have to hurry and fold the last load of laundry, make dinner, do the dishes, get in the shower, and get to work.  I swear the days that I go back to work I do a lot and the time just DISAPPEARS.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

First Grill Out of the Year

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today we headed over to “the parents” (meaning Kimm’s parents!) for a grill out.

The destination time was for 4 pm.  Which meant that I didn’t get much time to myself during the day since I didn’t get up until 12:30 pm!!  That’s what happens when you stay out until 2:30 in the morning.  All I have to say is that I am NOT a bar person.  I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends from work, but the minute we started doing the bar hopping, I pretty much checked out.  I have to say that this is for a few reasons–one, drinks are so expensive at bars, two, I am not looking for anyone at a bar, third, you can’t really talk at a bar because the music is so darn loud, four, I usually don’t like the music at the bar, and last, I find that the people at bars are kind of mean.  I just don’t have a good time.  I really need to learn my lesson.  Everytime my co-workers want to get together, this is what we end up doing, and EVERY time I say to myself, “this is the last time I do this,” and then EVERY time they ask me to go, I end up going.  When will I learn 🙂

Anyhoo…

So we had a really wonderful meal at Kimm’s parents house.  We had veggie burgers (the classic Griller’s original from MorningStar–really tastes like a real burger) with American cheese and fried onions (her mom had a regular burger, her dad and brother had hot dogs–which I have to say I REALLY miss a good hot dog–they smelled good–and there ain’t NO tofu/veggie hot dog that can compare to a real hot dog).  Then there was potato salad, deviled eggs, chips and dip, Cheetos, baked vegetarian beans and cornbread (my contribution!), mixed raw veggies, salad, grilled veggies (onions, peppers, squash, carrots).  And of course dessert.  We had cake because we were celebrating birthdays.  It was so moist and actually very flavorful for a store bought cake.  And ice cream.  And maybe random bites of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups.  It was all VERY good, and I ate WAY too much, as my pants can attest to!

100_1443

The spread…

100_1445

My plate…

100_1447

Kimm enjoying one of her favorites…deviled eggs!

100_1450

The cake…

100_1451

My cake and ice cream (fudge swirl!)

And now the weekend is over.  Very sad.  I find it highly ironic that the days you want to last the longest seem to fly by the fastest.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Yard Work

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We finally got out and did some yard work today.

Of course first we had to go back to Rocky’s to get some tools.  We got a shovel, a rake, a trowel and spade, pruner clippers, and smaller branch clippers.  Everything we got was highly useful.

We weren’t sure where to begin.  We have a lot to do outside.  I told Kimm, let’s just start small.  We decided to start by our small shed, near the fence.  However, we couldn’t even start and there were already the big, fuzzy bumblebees flying around us, freaking us out.  So we put everything back in the garage and were about to head inside.  But then I said, “NO,” we can’t not do anything.  So we decided to stay nearer the house and work on taking out two bushes and some weeds by the back side of our house.  There were still bees flying around, but not as close to us and after a while, we sort of got into a rhythm and sort of ignored what was going on around us.

100_1437

So this was our starting point…our goal was to take out the two larger bushes (both were pretty much half dead, and not only that, I know that those rhododendrons attract bees like crazy and I didn’t want something like that so close to the side door)

100_1439

Here’s just a SMALL pile of the weeds we pulled out…we filled two large yard bags with weeds and the bush branches

100_1438

As I was digging out the weeds with the shovel, I kept hitting all these rocks and bricks that were randomly placed in that bed.  I moved them all over to the side of the garage.

100_1441

And the final result…we were not able to get the roots of the two bushes out…they were too deep.  But it looks 100% better in our opinion.  Now we can go back in there one more time to get any last weeds and then maybe have someone come out and remove those stumps and then put in our own stuff.

When we were done my legs were shaking, I had sweat running down my legs and into my eyes, and my face felt like it was about 100 degrees.  I had no idea that pulling weeds was such a good workout. It took me about a half hour to cool down.

After we were done, we had some water on our front porch (screened in!–thankfully!).  The breeze felt so nice.  The kitties were so funny exploring that new space!

Then I took a short nap on the couch and now I’m getting ready to go out with some of my co-workers.  Not sure exactly what we’ll be doing, but I know we’ll be having a few drinks!

Last night girl’s night was so much fun.  Good food (cheesy fries, brownies, lemon tarts), a few drinks, and good conversation with lots of laughs.

Published in: on April 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Images of Spring…

Friday, April 24, 2009

Unfortunately I did sleep a good portion of my first day off!  I hate that!

But when Kimm came home from work I eventually woke up and we ordered food from a local hole in the wall called Valenti’s.  We were in the mood for veggie grinders and fries and decided to try them out since we had heard good things about them, even though we absolutely LOVE our veggie grinders/fries from Paramount Pizza in Holyoke.  So we ordered the grinders and then headed outside where I couldn’t help but take a few pictures to share with you some of the beautiful sights in our yard…

100_14301

Our pink magnolia tree on the side of the house…

100_1429

Our white picket fence!

100_1435

And the picnic table that the last homeowner left…a quiet place to sit and enjoy the beauty…

100_1432

Kimm sporting her shades and her fabulous new iphone!

100_14332

Small purple and white flowers in the grass…I’m sure it’s some sort of weed 🙂

100_14341

RED tulips on the side of the house where the daffodils are!

It really is nice to see all these beautiful things popping up around the house!

Tomorrow the plan is to do some yard work.  So we need to get up early and get some tools at the hardware store.

Now, back to the eats.  I have to rate this evening’s meal at Valenti’s as “POOPYSHIT.”  That’s right, POOPY. SHIT.  As in, NOT GOOD AT ALL.   First of all, a picture…

100_1436

Doesn’t look too bad, right?  On it…lettuce, tomato, peppers, mushrooms, onions, American cheese, and mayo…with a side of fries.

Okay.  So here’s the breakdown.  They said the grinder was going to be toasted.  Maybe we are spoiled rotten at our Holyoke place, but there all the ingredients are warm as well, sauteed on the grill.  But here it was like the sandwich was just thrown in the toaster with cold ingredients for about a minute or two.  The bread was not bad, but nothing on the inside was warm and gooey.  Not to mention, the mushrooms and the red/green peppers were both from the can.  I HATE THAT.  I find that when you eat just vegetables, you really need them to be fresh.  Also, they had red onions, not my favorite, and also enough to knock anyone off their feet with your breath…read, a LOT of onions.  It really wasn’t good.  The fries were okay, but not as good as the ones we normally have.  I think they put their fries in the same oil as fish because I could taste a slight aftertaste of fried fish.  All in all, not very satisfying.  Definitely won’t be getting grinders there in the future.  We will still give their pizza a try though.  Just not right away 🙂

Now I’m going to hop in the shower because we are heading over to our friends house (like ONE minute away, literally!) to have GIRL’S NIGHT.  Basically just catching up with old friends, while enjoying a drink or two (or more!).  And probably a snack or two as well 🙂

Enjoy your night!

Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Impatient!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why am I so impatient you may wonder???

Well, because I have only one more night of work and then THREE days off.

Because those three days are supposed to be BEAUTIFUL (in the 70s on Friday, and in the 80s on Saturday and Sunday).

And also because I have things that I’m looking forward to doing during those days off–Friday there are plans to have a GIRL’S NIGHT (which we haven’t had in quite a while), then on Saturday the chicas from work want to go out for some fun, and on Sunday we are going to Kimm’s parents for a grill out.  Then throw in some yard work (finally!), and possibly some painting, or at least picking out the paint color (!), and three whole days of time with my sweetie, well, that would make you impatient too!

So I only have to get through tonight.

And by the way, my first goal for Earth “Year” is to use my coffee mug/plastic container at work.  I did pretty good yesterday at work–I used my coffee cup and it was actually nice to drink out of an actual mug, rather than styrofoam!  A few people asked me about it, so maybe I will be able to influence a few more people to follow suite!

Okay, I’m off to bed…

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth_day

In honor of Earth Day, and becoming inspired from all of the wonderful ideas presented in the blogs I read, I’ve determined that I’m going to try to adapt 12 new habits this upcoming year, until next Earth Day, to do my best to nurture the earth.

In no particular order:

1) Start a garden (I can’t wait to eat my own veggies!)

2) Compost (I’ve been wanting to do this and it will work out perfect with the garden)

3) Use a water bottle/coffee mug at work instead of using all the styrofoam cups they provide (I figure I go through about 4-5 cups a night with my water/juice/coffee habit)

4) Use ONLY canvas bags when shopping (right now we primarily use them, but if we forget them, we’ll grab the plastic bags)

5) Make my own cleaner (I’ll have to find a good recipe online)

6) Install a water saving showerhead

7) Place a brick in the toilet tank to save on water during flushes

8) Plant a tree

9) Reduce my junk mail (by writing to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 3861, New York, New York, 10163-3861)

10) Install dimmer lights in at least one room

11) Buy an energy efficient appliance (hopefully that will be the fridge first, then the oven, then the dishwasher!)

12) Set our thermostat ONE degree cooler this winter during the day and wear a sweater instead! (this will be a tough one for me)

So that’s it for this year.  Hopefully I’ll be able to incorporate each one and then another 12 the next year, and so on.  I don’t want to try for too much and then give up.  I think all of these ideas are do-able for me and Kimm.

We’ve already done a lot so far (in my mind)–we’ve been recycling everything like mad since we moved since we couldn’t in our last place.  We’ve replaced all of our lightbulbs with energy efficient ones.  We turn off the lights when we are not in a room and rarely turn on lights unless absolutely needed.  We don’t run water when we brush our teeth.  We hardly buy new stuff.  We hardly waste our food.  We don’t travel unnecessarily.

We do what we can. And that’s what I wish for everyone this Earth Day.  Even if you can only make one change, that is change.  Remember, we must be the change that we wish to see in this world. Good luck everyone.  And get outside and enjoy this wonderful earth we live on!!!!

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Errands Galore, plus a B&N Trip!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I feel like I’ve been BUSY all day!  But in a good way. Actually after looking over what I did I really didn’t do THAT much, but it sure FELT like a lot 🙂

After going to bed early last night (went into the bedroom around 10 pm, read for about an hour–until my eyes wouldn’t stay open a second later–and then fell asleep by 11 pm), I was up by the time Kimm got out of the shower (8 am).  However, I can’t say that I felt well rested.  My eyes STILL burned.  And I got 9 hours of sleep!  But I know myself.  I need to consistently get around 9 hours of sleep to feel really good.  And not only that, I’m generally not an early riser.  But since I had an appointment for an oil change I got up.

As far as errands go, I did the following:

–picked up two recycling bins at the Department of Public Works (FINALLY, after having lived in this house for four months!)

–got an oil change for my car (overdue as usual)

–stopped at Barnes and Noble to look for a gift  (not really knowing if I would find anything, but I DID!)

–stopped at Target to look for an expandable file folder to get rid of some of my mini-piles of stuff that I have randomly placed all over the house before it gets eventually filed–I found one for $4.99, nothing fancy, but sturdy and it will do the job, and I also bought a pair of jeans (I haven’t bought any clothes I would say for about 6 months–these fit awesome and were only $24.99!!!)–now I have a thought that I will have to purchase some summer clothes coming up soon

–made lunch for Kimm and when she saw the signature green B&N shopping bag she was like, “You went to Barnes and Noble?”, looking all sad that I didn’t include her!  I felt so bad…I told her we could go coming up soon.  I was originally planning on going out with a few co-workers tonight to celebrate one of their birthdays, so it couldn’t be tonight.  But then UNEXPECTEDLY…one of them was sick so we rescheduled and then Kimm and I were able to go tonight!!

–so then in the afternoon I organized all my mini-piles (took FOREVER)

–made dinner (simple–cheesy pasta with garlic cheese toast)

–went to the library (to drop off and get some books)

–went to Barnes and Noble (my second time of the day!!)  We always love to browse the books–I get so many ideas there (I usually take a picture of a book I want, then when I get home I go to my local library website and request them from the different libraries in the area–great way to save money–if I really like the book then I can get it, AFTER I know that I will read it/utilize it again).  We had a treat in the cafe–me a Caramel Frappacino (I haven’t had that in a LONG time–I know it is mostly sugar, but it tastes sooo good).  Kimm had a peach drink (equally yummy, but I can’t remember the name!)  We both bought some books–me one, Kimm four (it’s funny, she always ends up walking out of there with more books than me, and I always thought that I was a sucker in that place!)

All in all, it was a FUN day!  Now we are home and just about to relax and have a drink and some chips and salsa.  A great way to end a productive day.  Now I have to work for the next two days and then three off…and the best news is that it is supposed to get up to 80 degrees this weekend!  WOW!!!!  What a treat if it actually happens:)

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment