Saturday, February 26, 2011

Katie Update

Katie has been a very busy little girl as I imagine most toddlers are. I have been looking a lot at art activities and things to do with toddlers and one thing I have read in many places is that they learn and function best creatively if their feet are on the floor or a flat surface. The recommendation is that they sit with their feet on the floor or stand. Naturally an easel seemed like a good idea. While at Ikea I got Katie one. One side is a white erase board and the other is a chalk board. I also got her some chalk so when we got home Grandma showed her how to use it.

Katie loves her easel. She brings her chair over and sits at it drawing and coloring. I like the chalk because there is not much else she can draw on that can be damaged like with the crayons.

Katie has also been riding her tricycle, her feet are really close to being able to push the pedals all the way. She has figured out that if she pushes one down the other one comes up and she can push it. Her rides have only been inside due to the cold weather, luckily we have plenty of room.

Katie also got her very first hair cut ever. Her hair has finally gotten long enough that it needed to be trimmed. She now has bangs so her hair will not hang in her face as much and the back was evened up, the longest part cut off was about 1.5 inches. Her Uncle had to hold her but she handled the process of getting it cut very well.

Her hair now curls up and hits her shoulders, also it no longer gets knotted up in the back at night. We all think she looks adorable and she seems to like to too.

There was a pair of overalls that Katie had and loved but she recently outgrew them and she was upset that she could not wear them. I went on a hunt and discovered how difficult finding overalls for a girl is. I spent awhile looking on ebay and everywhere else I could think of and found they were quite expensive. Eventually I did find some and after some shipping drama they finally arrived this week. I think she loves all the pockets!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have been wanting to get some curtains up in the house to make it feel a little more home like. I have not put curtains up at any of the places I have lived so it feels like a big things to do. However it is a hard decision to make with all the colors and options that are out there. I finally did decide to head to Ikea and get something simple and inexpensive to cover the windows, maybe add a little something to the decor and hopefully give a little insulation from the cold. I went with a simple white color and got all the same curtains for the living rooms, I had planned to get the same ones for my bedroom but miscounted. Those will require another trip. The curtains come in a set width and very long, they are available even longer but at 55"x98" that was long enough. My brother was recruited to put up the hardware for the curtain rods.

The curtains are sold to be hemmed and come with some iron on tape that lets you decide where to hem them. You measure and iron. I thought this would be simple but it was quite a task. Last weekend we put up seven sets of curtains and it took quite awhile but I think it looks more homey now.

The widow in Katie's part of the living room. There is also a bay window in this area but I have not figured out what to do with it yet.

The other living room window.

The second living room area, my library.

Around the fireplace.

This is in the sewing/office/guest room. These curtains are white with blue flowers but the pictures look pretty bad since the sun had gone down way before I finished.

The curatins are a little long right now but are supposed to shrink with washing. They also have creases since I did not take the time to iron the whole things, just the bottoms. The only windows left are my bedroom, the bay window and the dining room window. I think for the dining room I will make a valance which should be fairly easy. Hopefully I can get my windows covered soon since the morning light shines right in which can be nice but I would not mind taking it down a little. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beginning the Garden

The weather has been warming up and spring is coming so of course it is time to start the garden. My brother is the master planner of the gardens this year and has started a blog about it. He started by building a shelving unit that has lighting for the seed germination. 

Last week on my day off we started planting the seeds. I was able to get a bunch of these trays at the end of last summer on clearance so they were quite a bargain.

Katie was very excited about this process and was as always very willing to help.

She helped Uncle by putting the seeds in the holes he made. The seeds were going night night and had to be covered up so they could sleep.

Once all the seeds were planted the trays were put on one of the shelves just under the light. One tray has a seed heating pad underneath it as well. The light is set on a timer so the seedlings get the proper amount of light each day.

Half a week later we already have the first seeds that are waking up. Katie and Uncle like to check and see which ones have woken up yet. The beets are exciting because Katie loves beets.

So far some of the beets, cauliflower, broccoli, oregano among others are coming up. By the end of the week round two of the planting will take place.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


A compost bin is a great way to get rid of yard waste and kitchen garbage and get some great mulch. As a housewarming gift we got a compost bin. In December Katie and I put it together.

We put it in the back yard and filled it with the leaves that accumulated in the yard, trimmings from around the yard, grass clipping from the two times the lawn has been mowed since we moved in and kitchen scraps. My brother and I have turned it once. The hope is that some of it will be ready for the garden in a few months.

Here is a peek inside, with some fresh kitchen scraps and its ready for some more turning.

I have realized I might need to get a second one for when the grass starts to really grow and to keep a rotation  of new stuff and what has broken down.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend work

Last weekend was beautiful weather outside. It definitely does not feel like February. Of course this means its time to get out in the yard and start working. One of the first things I wanted to get done was pruning the roses, my Mom and brother had already done a little work but I wanted to do more. I had not realized that the warm weather has caused them to start budding already.



Next was to remove the stumps from the shrubs that had been in front of the bay window of the house and the small tree.


During (there was a lot of manual labor involved) 


Katie and Olive supervised the entire project

Katie examined the bugs that came out of the ground, here is a caterpillar

We also began planting instead of just tearing out. Here are two new rosebushes and a tulip plant that Katie picked out

The overall affect is it looks much cleaner and neat now, there is more light coming in the bay window and Katie can actually see out it. I have more plants in the garage to add here but that will take another day off.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Box

A few months ago I heard about a CSA that was actually in our area. When I lived in Anaheim there were several as well as many farmers markets. Where we live there are not nearly the amount of fresh fruit and vegetable options. Abundant Harvest Organics is the company that I learned about. In December I signed up and we have been picking up a box every Saturday. This has greatly expanded the variety of vegetable we have been eating as well as just being food that actually tastes good. Their citrus is amazing.

Here is what the box looks like, I picked up an extra leek this last weekend.

Now lets look inside

The first layer has a variety of citrus, lavender

Below that is some cabbage, broccoli and potatoes.

And finally there is another leek, shallots, butternut squash and carrots.

Each week the box contents changes and it is seasonal. They also have add ons which I have gotten a few time which add a little extra to the box and usually disappear fast, we have added grapefruit, beets and oranges so far. The web site has recipes for most of the items you could get in your box which help with a some of the more obscure items and gives ideas for new things to try.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Our House

After spending a large amount of last year looking for a house, bidding on houses, moving our belongings around and living out of suitcases Katie and I finally moved into our house in October. I have already posted a picture of the front of the house so now lets take some time to look around a little more.

This is the back of the house, you can see in the bottom of the picture part of the sand and gravel circle where there used to be an above ground pool. This is where our garden is going.

The pomegranate tree, definitely a selling point, this is located in the corner of the back yard.

This is the large side yard, these trees have been cut down, they were a little out of control. I still have not decided what will be happening here.

Here are a few inside shots before we moved in.

Both showers looked pretty nasty and discolored. They had been scratched, patched and everything else you would expect from showers installed in 1989. This needed to be fixed so I had them resurfaced before we moved in. Here is some before and after pictures. It was a total transformation.

Another large change to the house was to replace the entire heating/air conditioning system with a new energy efficient system. This was necessary when the heater died this winter and hopefully not a cost I will have to face again for a very long time. Also the electrical wiring in the house has issues, its one of those things they notice in the home inspection but might be a little problem or a big problem. We got a referral from a friend for an electrician who was at a loss for what was happening. After two days of work we eventually had power in all but one outlet in the house which is great. Small changes included door knobs and light fixtures. The house is always a work in progress but I can never say I have nothing at all to do. 

The garden is one of the main upcoming projects as it will be taking up a large section of the back yard. We (we being mostly my brother)  have been removing a lot of the existing plants that were beginning to damage the house and working on adding new ones. I am trying to incorporate edible landscaping, the plants I am adding will hopefully produce fruits or vegetables as well as look nice. These are all things that will be covered in upcoming posts.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Big Girl Bed

With my back problems and Katie's desire to try and sleep in my bed I decided that for her 2nd birthday Katie would get a bed. I figured I might as well skip the toddler bed and go for the regular size. After much deliberation I picked out Ikea's Hemnes Daybed. It took less then a day to put it together with myself, Katie, my Dad and Brother working on different parts of it.

Here is Katie hard at work.

She was ready to sleep in it even before I got a mattress.

Of course if she is going to have a big girl bed she will be needing a quilt to go with it. I found a pattern for a basic pinwheel design twin size quilt so we went to the store and picked out Katie friendly fabric which was cut into 10"squares. 

Next I cut down the center of the square.

The triangles were sewn together to make squares which were sewn into rows. The rows were then sewn together. I did the fabrics randomly but if I had arranged the prints the pinwheel affect would have been much stronger.

Once the top was done I again sent it to the longarm quilter hoping to get it back before Christmas. The quilted pattern on the quilt is a design of ladybugs and flowers. It did arrive in time so Katie got it between her Birthday and Christmas. The finished quilt came out cute I think and looks good with the bed. 

I also put a bedrail on her bed so she would not fall out. She has fallen out once but I know it would have been a lot more without it. She really likes having a big girl bed and soon I will probably take the crib out of her room for good.