Dirt! The Project

IMG_5145

You know how when you clean a room, I mean, really clean it, organize it, etc, and it seems to get worse before it can get better?  Doing a big yard project is like that, but worse, because there’s dirt everywhere.

And so continues our outdoor projects.  I was a little disappointed on Saturday because Zach and his dad spent most of the day doing this:

IMG_5144

IMG_5146

Stump removal.  It looks like a bomb went off in the corner of our yard right now.  And it took a lot longer than we all expected, and it was a lot harder than expected.  But, at least it got removed, mostly.  Zach was happy his dad was there to help, and I was happy I didn’t have to be there with the noisy chainsaw.  Apparently, the dogs didn’t mind though.  The Wii terrifies Penny, but not a chainsaw, so I have no idea what goes on in her head.

So by the time they finished that, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work on moving the garden dirt.  Plus, Sunday, we were going to have to bathe the dogs and take them to get their nails clipped, so I was a little stressed, initially, that we weren’t able to do more.

To top it off, we woke up Sunday to a super windy day.  Moving dirt in the wind is not fun.  Not only that, but all the cardboard I had laid the evening before had blown all over the place.  And trying to lay newspaper down in high winds, even when you wet it, is one of the most irritating things ever.

All that said, Sunday was amazing.  Our awesome friends showed up to help move dirt, and that made all the difference.  We got more done than I had even planned!

IMG_5141

IMG_5142

IMG_5143

We were able to even cover most of the area we are using for a front flower garden.  Totally unexpected, but very welcomed.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the dirt, but we were so busy, I barely had my phone on me all day, so I forgot to take any pictures.  Most of these were taken by Zach.

We are almost ready to plant.  We are building removeable panels this week so we have something to keep the dogs and rabbits out of the garden, but are easy for me to remove when I tend to the garden.  I guess a lot of people will get short chicken wire and then bend over it to weed and harvest, but my back is way too bad/I’m too short for that.  We need something nicer and easier.

I already planted wheatgrass in a planter box because I was impatient, and it’s coming in already.  I need extra green for my smoothies!

Until next time.

Monster Raised Beds

IMG_5048We’re getting started!  This was our first day of major yard work/yard construction.  It was a ton of work, mainly because Zach is a bit of a perfectionist, but also because we built a huge garden bed with huge 6X6 lumber pieces.  We wanted a bed that would last, not bow out eventually from the weight of soil, and we used cedar because it’s safe for the food, and won’t rot nearly as fast as other woods (which are generally treated with cedar to prolong their lives).  Surprisingly, it wasn’t much more expensive than building a nice regular raised bed, because we called around to lumber yards and found one with great deals on shorter, 4 foot-long pieces.

The only things we have left to do with this particular bed is to build up a stone retaining wall around it, to keep the dirt from falling, to fill it with garden soil (and prep it for that), and to create a mulch path around the bed so we don’t have grass around it, and so it’s nice to walk around.  We will put in the irrigation system in May, along with a new sprinkler system in the backyard.

Anyway!  I’ll just post pictures and let them mostly speak for themselves.

My dad drilling holes for the rebar.  We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
My dad drilling holes for the rebar. We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
It took quite a while to level out the ground.  That was actually the most work.  Shoveling and tampering for hours...
It took quite a while to level out the ground. That was actually the most work. Shoveling and tampering for hours…
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach putting in the rebar.
Zach putting in the rebar.
I was terrified that my dad's duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer...
I was terrified that my dad’s duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer…
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere.  They were committed to the project.
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere. They were committed to the project.
The "semi-final" product.  It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
The “semi-final” product. It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.

There is still quite a lot to do, and I’ll try my best to document everything, at least via pictures.  Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Until next time.

 

 

“No Soliciting”

I seriously need to get a “no soliciting” sign for my house.  Although, to be honest, I doubt it’ll help.  Yesterday, about half a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses FANNED OUT on my street distributing flyers and knocking on everyone’s door.  It looked like the scene in Lord of the Rings where the wraiths go after Frodo at the top of the watchtower.  I have never seen anything like it.  And as someone who has slight paranoia about most things, it kind of terrified me and I hid and let the dogs bark.

Not only that, but as I left my house, a man cornered me as I was getting into my truck to try and collect names for something that I couldn’t quite understand what for (a lot of fast double talking and ambiguous language is a red flag for me).  So yeah, unless I had a “no soliciting” sign on my truck, I was screwed there too.  And in the case of this last guy, it was highly suspicious and more than likely a scam of some sort.  Luckily, somehow my hair got frazzled before I went outside, and I had angry, crazy eyes on, so he took my “no” to heart.

Okay, enough of that.  How’s the backyard coming?

We’re taking a break for a couple days because the weather is yucky.  We’ve been moving dirt from one side of the yard to the other, to level out an area for the garden beds.  The dirt is from a former playground area from a previous owner.  It was covered with mulch, which we managed to dispose of last year.  Now, we’re dealing with the dirt.  We’re almost halfway through, so we will definitely get everything done in that area by the end of this weekend.

The former playground.
The former playground.

For those that might be worried about weeds or grass that grew in this area and us reusing it, don’t worry.  The dirt will be covered so it’ll all die, it won’t be used as the actual garden dirt.

The future garden site.  Penny is checking for quality control.
The future garden site. Penny is checking for quality control.

It looks like an even bigger mess right now, but after all this crappy work is done, it’ll change a lot faster and more dramatically.  Basically, after the tilling project.  Tilling will feel like a breeze after spending a month moving dirt and rock all over the place.

Until next time.

One Man’s Garbage…

Oh hi, allergy season.

I’m sitting here writing with a box of tissues next to me and blowing my nose outside.  We’ve been leaving the windows open lately because it’s been so nice, but now my allergies are going insane, and my current medication is doing nothing for me, except preventing me from taking something else (damn you, 24 hour Allegra).

Spring is weird.  It’s just the sight, sound, and smell of nature getting it on.  And I’m allergic to all of its sexy wonder.

But on the plus side, today I’ll be mixing in some new soil into my planters, because my Russian sage and echinacea are already sprouting.  Thankfully these are hardy plants, because we have snow coming in a couple of days.

Our projects are coming along nicely, and one of my personal ones is dealing with certain “garbage” left at our house by the previous owner.  The back yard was truly a mess.  There were 3 car batteries, a dangerous shed, car tires, rusty garden hangers and a scary looking dog kennel…

While we’ve managed to sell off or properly dispose of most of it, there are a few things we decided to keep and use.  The rusty hangers were one of them.

IMG_4955I mean, we’re going to have a lot of gardens, so why not keep these hangers?  I bought some red spray paint and used a sandpaper block to clean off the rust and any chipped paint that was left (although, there was hardly any paint left, mostly rust).  I wiped them clean and then started spraying.

IMG_4957I did two coats each side, and it took about a day to dry.  I picked the red color because of my desperate and constant hope that it’ll draw back the hummingbirds.

IMG_5003No more rusty hangers!

I’m glad I didn’t throw these away, because initially, I tried to get them into the big dumpster we rented last year, but we ended up keeping them.

Now, to turn the tires into something usable and pretty:

IMG_4866

Although Penny seems fine with their current dumpster quality.

Until next time.

Yard Work Begins

FullSizeRender

Finally a new post!  The past two weeks have been insane for me.  It’s all been a blur.  One week leading up to my trip to Arizona, and then a week there.  I’m drained, to say the least, and have never been so happy to do yard work.  I love road trips, but two days where we spend 16 hours each in the car can get rough.  I’m all off on my eating schedule, and my sleeping schedule.

So for the next several weeks, I’m going to share my progress with the back yard (and a little with the front).  It’s pretty exciting, really.  We are doing a complete overhaul.  Last night, Zach dug up one of the sprinkler lines (which was not something he planned on doing) because it ran through where we want to put the raised beds.  But while he dug it up, we discovered they didn’t bury it deep enough (it was buried around 2″ deep, when it needs to be 6″).  In fact, there was sprinkler line running in a lot of random places in the yard, with seemingly no reason.  There aren’t a lot of heads, but damn, they zig-zagged the hose everywhere in the yard.  What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when they had that conversation on the best way to install a sprinkler system.

So, basically, after the yard is tilled, we will lay down a new system.  One that is up to code, works, and will actually carry water to the grass…

One of my “demands” after we bought the house, was I wanted every area in the yard to be groomed and safe.  I know this might seem like a weird demand, but I grew up in a “wilder” setting, as in the outdoor space blended into the woods.  There were always spots in the yard that were scary, and probably contained a trillion black widow spiders.  Even parts of the yard we don’t see/use often, I wanted to look nice, and I wanted to be able to access them without issues (like spiders, of course, but also overgrowth and weeds).  When we bought the house, the outdoor space hadn’t been taken care of in years.  It’s totally wild.  That’s why we’re doing work now, so it’s all done before summer comes and we have no chance of winning the fight against overgrowth.

The first thing we had to do was move the pea gravel out of what used to be a dog run area.  We are putting a raised bed there, and the area needed to be cleared and leveled.

IMG_4860

 

We also have an insane weed problem there.  They survive so well in that gravel.  I pulled weeds there every week last year and they just got worse.  Nothing worked.  I used both natural and chemical weed killer, to no avail.  When the gravel was moved though, they all died.

Since there was a billion pounds of gravel, we decided to reuse most of it for one side of the house.  On the east side, we have our A/C unit, and that area was used as a dog kennel and they let it get out of control (there used to be a crazy bush back there, but it was removed last year.

The ground also did not fall away from the house, which might cause water damage down the line.  Zach dug at the ground to even it out and make sure it set against the house correctly.

Then came the cardboard.

IMG_4856

Why cardboard?  There were so many weeds on the ground.  Too many to pull, and too many for me to be comfortable slamming it with chemicals.  The cardboard is to kill the weeds, and act as a buffer for the weed block so it didn’t get punctured.

IMG_4858

And finally!

IMG_4876

It was a ton of gravel.  We spent a lot of the time cleaning it up, taking out weeds and worms, but it paid off!  Now it’s cleaned up, and when we eventually go back there to clean the A/C we won’t have to bring a machete to bush wack.

It’s such a tiny space, but at least that part is done.  We reused the dog run gate and have this area gated off, mainly because I worry about the dogs so close to the A/C unit.  And they can’t be trusted.  We will most likely do the same thing to the west side of the house.

Speaking of which!  Next week, I’ll blog about finishing the west side of the house, repurposing bigger rock from other parts of the yard (this house doesn’t lack in the rock department), and I’ll also talk about actually building the raised bed.  It’ll be a picture heavy blog for awhile.

This week, I’ll continue to show our progress with prep work.

Until next time.

Mattress Shopping and IKEA Mysticism

It’s been a busy couple weeks for me.  We’ve been preparing for a lot of stuff.  With so much prep going on, I thought I’d lose steam right about now, but in fact, I’m gaining momentum.

Yesterday, we went to IKEA to get a mattress for our guest room.  We had a memory foam mattress, but it was too thin, only 3 inches.  When I sat on the edge of the bed, the frame hurt my butt, so I decided we needed a different mattress on it.  Good thing too, because a smaller box-spring mattress paired with the memory foam on top, actually made a perfect combo.

I know that there are tons of jokes and whatnot about IKEA ruining relationships.  But, we’ve shopped, bought, and put together several pieces of furniture from IKEA, and never had a problem.  However, we do know what we want before we go there, but also don’t have any unreasonable fantasies about leaving the store with ONLY those pre-decided things.  We know to grab a bag when we walk in.  Maybe even a cart.

I think they pump experimental chemicals in the store though, because we ended up leaving with kitchen plans.  We’ve been talking about re-doing our kitchen for a while (it’s kind of a mess, it hasn’t been updated since the 90s).  We were going to refurbish the existing kitchen, but we decided we might as well just gut the whole thing, and make it the tiniest gourmet kitchen ever.  So yeah, that was unexpected, and definitely doesn’t fit into a yellow bag (to be fair, we started considering a complete remodel when we decided to re-tile the floors with stone, and since a previous owner laminated around the cabinets, they’d have to come out anyway).

One thing at a time.  That’ll be next year.  This year, it’s all about the back yard.

We are strongly considering building our patio this year as well as putting in the gardens and sod, even though we originally planned on doing it next summer.  But – the crappy sunroom has a leak in the roof, and I worry constantly about the glass panels falling through the frames because they did such a piss-poor job of putting the room together.  There is evidence of previous glass panels that have broken through.  They didn’t even bother to clean out the old glass.  We’re going to patch the roof this weekend, but everything else makes me nervous.  Oh god, so nervous.  Besides, we already have buyers for the glass panels, I’d like to get them out before they break.

We’re doing all this house planning on top of a trip to Arizona for my sister’s dad’s memorial.  I’m using it as an excuse to do “spring cleaning” and going through closets and storage and getting rid of things we don’t want or use.  When we get back, I’ll be starting a bathroom project to convert our shower/tub upstairs to accommodate dog baths as well as bubble baths (for me).  Again, a previous owner did a shit job at installing a TUB (seriously, it’s not that hard).  He forgot to include things in the tub that make it stop up, and the fix is not cheap or easy, so I’m going to try and disengage the existing stopper (because it constantly catches and is annoying) and put in old fashioned baskets and a removable stopper.  It’ll do until we eventually renovate our bathroom and put in new everything.

Zach asked me last night why I hadn’t named our house yet (I name everything).  I think when the garden is done and we lay down [literal] roots, I’ll probably name it.  This little old house has so much personality, and it is good to us, even if it needs a little fixin’.

Until next time.

How Does She Do It?

I don’t.  I just don’t.

While I won’t say I’m the worst blogger out there, lately, I’ll admit I’ve definitely been one of the most unreliable.  I seriously have no idea how those “mommy” bloggers do it.  They come up with amazing recipes, take care of children, craft things, and some even have a 9-5 on top of everything!  I have dogs.  Yes, they are difficult sometimes (like right now, one is crying at me for something), but I can ignore them or tell them to stop being assholes, and no one will call CPS on me.

The holidays are busy for almost everyone.  Even if you don’t do holidays, chances are, whatever your line of work is, probably just got a lot busier for whatever reason.  I’ve crafted a few things, but right now, I have a lot of “fix-it” projects that are slowly swallowing me whole, in list form.  I’ve done a lot of cooking and baking.  But here’s the thing: I never remember to take pictures, because I’m so busy trying to do at least 3 other things at the same time, trying my best to not burn the house down or fall down the stairs.

I’ve also slacked on my favorite part of my blog, the Friday Film Review.  Mainly, this is because I haven’t been streaming movies lately.  For whatever reason, November is my animated film month, so we watched Wreck-it Ralph and we will be going through the Toy Story series.

But these are all excuses.

I’ll try harder, but I will not promise anything.

For instance, I’ll be refinishing a table, starting this week, so maybe I’ll post stuff about that.  Maybe.

I also need to sew a button on a shirt, but I read online that most sewing machines have an app for that.  Is that true?  I will find out.

I’ll do reviews, but they may not be streaming for a while.  I’ll compromise though: I’ll look for possible free places to view it.  All for you.  As for Wreck-It Ralph:  It was OK.  I felt like it was missing a lot, but all in all, it was cute and entertaining to watch, so I’d still recommend it.

Until next time.

Oops, I Did it Again

I’ve failed at the daily posts!

Last week, I was under the weather and really didn’t have any motivation to post anything.  Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much, and I’ll update you on the happenings that you did.  I’m still not feeling great, but I’ll try my best to keep up with daily posts.

First and foremost, I do regret not doing a Friday Film Review.  To make up for that, I’ll be doing a double feature this week.  In the meantime, I did watch quite a few scary flicks last week:

Insidious and Insidious 2
Netflix does not stream the first one, but you can get it on DVD.  And you must watch the first before the second, because honestly, the first is a little scarier, and the second literally starts the second the first ends.  We think they might have been filmed at the same time.  You can look that up if you’re curious, because I’m like, eh.  Anyway, I actually liked these movies, directed by the same dude who did Saw and The Conjuring.  They are a little weird, not too scary, and pretty creative.

The Awakening
This is streaming on Netflix.  It’s OK.  The protagonist reminded me of a female Sherlock, so that was awesome.  She even had the jacket and popped collar.  The acting was really great, and I realized I had never seen a British horror film before this one, done by BBC films.  It’s not that scary, so if you want more of a drama and a light creep, this one might work for you.  Also had some creative moments, and a nice twist ending that’ll leave you scratching your heads.

The Addams Family
A nice family film.  No horror and it’s still fun.

Sadako
I believe this is the 3rd in the Ringu series.  It’s a 3D film.  I don’t have a 3D TV.  So… yeah… crap.  It’s not scary, the plot is confusing, and we were very close to turning it off halfway through because it was just so awful.  I like the American adaption of Ringu the best, to be honest.  They’re just not the best Japanese horror out there.  Too much camp.

That’s about it on the movie front.  I also made a wreath:

photo 3
The final product
photo 1
First, I sprayed the wreath ($5 at Michael’s) with ultra matte black paint.
photo 2 (1)
I bought rubber snakes, painted them black, and re-painted their eyes and tongues.

 

I also got some costumes for the dogs.  I don’t have Layla’s up as a picture, but here’s a preview of Penny’s:

We need to add wire to the wings to make them more... Devilish...
We need to add wire to the wings to make them more… Devilish…

 

And that was my week.  Not a whole lot.  Didn’t have a ton of energy, and I’m running behind on many things.  BUT – I may do some cookies and bread this week, so we’ll see how things go.

Until next time.

My Halloween Throw-Together Post!

Sorry, apparently I didn’t want to take the extra 30-60 seconds to try and come up with a more creative title.  But here it is!  My non-extensive list of all my favorite Halloween things!  Decor, recipes, movies… ALL THE THINGS.

Let’s start with food since I’m currently shoving my face full of it.  I will not overwhelm you with long lists, just a few things to try (despite my “all the things” claim).

RECIPES!

Breakfast:
Why not try this lovely gluten free pumpkin waffle?  I’m gluten free, so all my recipes will reflect such, but if you happen to love gluten, have no fear!  Add pumpkin (or sweet potato puree) to your favorite waffle recipe.  I’m currently eating leftovers for lunch of this waffle.  I threw it in the toaster and gobbled it up.  It’s delicious and filling.  It goes great with chicken and maple sausage.

Lunch:
It’s my own warm salad recipe.  Sorry, I unfortunately haven’t made it yet this year, so I don’t have any pictures yet, but as soon as I make it again, I’ll re-post my recipe.
Ingredients:
Salad
2 cups quinoa
Couple handfuls of baby spinach
1 can garbanzo beans, toasted in olive oil and salt in the oven – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
1 cup pecan halves, toasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar (sprinkle over), and cumin – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
Dressing
4 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Pure maple syrup
3 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
Directions
Cook up quinoa. Shake up the dressing in a small jar, or mix well in a bowl.  Toss all ingredients together with dressing, adding the spinach last.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Dinner:
Another easy favorite of mine.  Easy Crock Pot chili (I’ll add a recipe page for this later too).
Ingredients:
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
2 small cans of jalapenos
1 1/2 tsp chili
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 can water
1/4 cup stout beer (optional)
Directions:
Add all ingredients together in a slow cooker, using only the juice of the cans of the jalapenos.  Mix well and set for 6 or 8 hours.  Serve with your favorite corn bread (mine is Pamela’s gluten free mix).

MOVIES!

My all-time favorite thing to do during October – watch spooky movies!  So grab some hot cocoa, or something pumpkin flavored, your favorite snuggly blanket, and try one of these:

Scared Shrekless: This is seriously my favorite Halloween “movie.”  I know, it’s for kids, but I think it’s hilarious, and I really adore the Shrek world.  It’s not very scary, so it’s perfect for little kids, or if you want a silly laugh after your terrifying slasher, pull this one out.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!: This isn’t exactly my FAVORITE, but I feel obligated to watch in on Halloween every year.  Somehow, I just don’t feel complete without it.  And it’s depressing!

The Nightmare Before Christmas:  We are watching this one tonight to officially ring in the Halloween season.  Not only is this movie fun, but it’s beautiful and the music is magical.  I’m jealous I don’t live in Halloweentown!

Sleepy Hollow: We’ve actually already watched this one for the year, we couldn’t wait.  It’s fun, spooky (maybe a little too much for little ones!) and even a bit of a murder mystery is involved!

The Frighteners: I watched this for the first time last year, and I must say, I loved it.  It’s on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it.  It’s a tad dated, but it’s actually not too bad after the beginning sequence.  It’s rated R, but there isn’t anything too over the top in it (I think the rating is mostly language, to be honest).

A Tale of Two Sisters:  This one doesn’t have a rating, but it’s spooky as hell.  It’s an Asian horror flick, and my all-time favorite.  There’s a mystery and twist ending.  It’s not overly violent, and there’s just enough scare in it to keep you white knuckling it the whole movie.  The acting and writing is great, and so are the special effects (they don’t show too much!).

The Happiness of the Katakuris:  If you want a zombie musical, here you go.  It’s campy, weird, a little morbid, and not too scary.  If you don’t know Japanese, you’ll wish you did, because the songs are incredibly catchy.

White: The Melody of the Curse:  Sorry, this is the last of my Asian recommendations (for this year, muahahahaha!).  This is a great Korean movie with the whole “rage ghost” theme (think The Ring and The Grudge).  But in my opinion, they did it best with this movie.  I thought it was going to be a little dumb, because it’s about a Kpop group that sings a haunted song, but it’s really scary and fun.  The song is catchy too, you’ll be humming it all night.

Psycho:  I don’t watch this every year, but I love it.  Despite being made over 50 years ago, this movie still scares audiences.  I got the pleasure of showing it to Zach for the first time a few years ago, and he actually didn’t know the ending AND WAS SURPRISED!  That’s rare, and amazing!

American Werewolf in London:  I’m not really big on “monster” movies, but this is one of my favorites.  It holds up well, the wolf makeup is great, and I’d fit it into the “dark comedy” category.

 

DECORATIONS!

OK, so I don’t have a lot to put here right now (I’ll have some DIY projects up later), but I wanted to give some of my tips for doing up the spooky decor.  Since everyone has a different decorating style, I think these tips can be easily adapted for any needs.

1. Shop the thrift stores.  Especially in metropolitan areas, or high-end neighborhoods.  I’ve found some really beautiful pieces at thrift stores, including a cookie jar that I got for $5 that is gorgeous and the #1 thing people ask me about.

2. Shop after the holiday.  If you really need something new or want to build your collection faster, shop the Halloween stores after Halloween.  After a week, you’re going to get thrift store prices for new stuff.  Michael’s also does AMAZING sales after the season.  Stock up your carts!

3. DIY when you can.  What pisses me off more than anything are wreaths.  Seriously, THAT wreath is $50???  It looks like a 1st grade art project.  Wreaths are easy to make, and make them affordable.  So go to a craft shop, buy a plain wreath for $5, and decorate it yourself.  I promise, even if you’re not crafty, yours will look better than the ones I’ve been seeing in stores.  You just need a hot glue gun to make your life easier.

 

Well, I think that’s it for now!  I’ll be spattering Halloween tips and updates the entire month, so if you’re not really into Halloween, you should have left this blog long ago.  Share your favorite tips, recipes and movies with me!  I love finding new things for my favorite holiday.

Until next time.

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Excitement and Cleaning

So, I think maybe I mentioned I bought the pumpkin spiced coffee from Trader Joe’s to drink for fall.  Well, to be honest, it’s like, way too spicy.  I tried it a couple of times, once in the French press and once in the regular auto-drip, and both times were disappointing.  But I pushed through, and today, I tried one last ditch effort to make it taste good.  I added hot chocolate to it.  Bingo.  Sorry I said Bingo.  But yes, it worked well, and now I have an acceptable fall coffee drink.  Not the best, but it’ll do.

I’ve found myself lately in a “fall cleaning” mode.  I’m trying to get everything taken care of before the cold weather hits.  It’s not enough to just do spring cleaning.  It’s weird, but I’ve never been in this mode before, because there was always school, and I think it took a few years to get the hang of natural cycles.  We are borrowing a power washer and leaf blower from Zach’s parents in order to shine up the outside of the house a bit before it’s cold.  Zach sprayed some weird Halloween stuff on the window LAST year, and it hasn’t gone away, so hopefully this will help.  As for the leaf blower… we’ll eventually need our own, because we have a locust tree with tiny leaves that a rake just can’t pick up.

Today, I’ll actually be doing some raking, some weeding (the last of the season, everything is starting to go into hibernation) and I’ll start to cut back some of our plants.  And finally!  I’m going to look for some photo evidence of myself and my family that I can hang on the wall/put up in places.  It’s about time!

But all in all, the air is a mixture of excited and frantic energies.  Everyone is getting settled, but there’s so much excitement about the season, school, holidays – everything!  It’s an interesting time of the year.

I was going to post a recipe that I’m doing today, but I haven’t had the chance to make it yet.  It’s supposed to warm up to the 80’s today, so I want to get outside to do work before it gets too warm.  Which means the recipe will have to wait until next week.  I was also going to post a few pictures, but, again, I just haven’t made it outside yet.  Next week!  Tomorrow, I’ll have a Halloween-type movie to review.  I’m getting a head start on the season so you’ll have plenty of recommendations!  I’ll also put a list together at the beginning of the month of my favorite films to watch for Halloween.

Until next time.