Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eenie meenie minie moe...

Well--it sure has been a while! The world of bloggers does not stop does it?
Every time I try to update I get busy uploading the latest pictures to the notebook--and check in to the Blogger--and just start reading everyone elses blog--and run out of time to write my own! And then I take more pictures and have to start all over again!
So here is a quick update on what we have been up too:

Easy Living!
We pretty much finished the to do list! A few months ago I decided not to keep adding to it so we COULD finish. There is still a few random items we have deemed unimportant or else too costly to take care of at the moment. So in the meantime--we get to enjoy ourselves. Finally!
The garden has kept me pretty busy, 2 hours a week is not really enough to keep it pristine like last year-so I stopped pulling weeds :) 2 hours has been plenty of time to harvest!
Actually I have been a bit disappointed in it this year--with the aphids and lack of curcubits and the bolting Chard.

I have grown plenty of tomatoes! They say this is terrible weather in PNW for growing tomatoes these last 2 years---but I haven't had any problems. Given it was my first 2 years--and my crazy gardener gave me 17 & 13 plants during these 2 years. I guess the trick is just to grown MORE!
Seas of cherry tomatoes--that I am not giving out this year--just too tasty and short lived!
I have plucked a colander of cherry toms every week for about 6 weeks!

And the big tomatoes! Oh my--here is last week! About the same for the last 3-4 weeks.
With these jalapenos and gorgeous tomatoes below I made salsa for a party! Red Salsa and Green Salsa.

This year I have made zucchini muffins, tzatziki and many a tomato, basil and cheese melts.
 I also used my own crushed tomatoes in chili with all the splitting tomatoes.
Tzatziki was so easy I will definitely make it again!
All you need is Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, lemon, garlic & a pinch of dill.

We planted the entire back row (30ish foot) of Kale, Collards and Chard--but the aphids got the kale and collards, leaving me with lots and lots of chard. I was so disappointed I failed to harvest for a while and managed to get some decent size leaves. Last year ours were little more than palm size--where as the stuff at whole foods was bigger than my head and I could barely cram it in the produce bag.
Here is a decent head size harvest:

I will try and go more in to the garden woes when I get to G, but I really am not excited this year with the garden.

Travis had a few more projects up his sleeve--and tools play heavily in that--
Being able to find a tool--is MORE important than actually having the tool itself.
 If you cannot find it--what good is having it?
So this lovely shelf has been dubbed our "tool shelf" (really creative right?)
It was a mess! Travis was constantly changing his game plan because he couldn't find the specific thing he was looking for. It is also in the center of the kitchen because we have yet to revamp the garage for more central tool-dom space.
So on to the TO DO list it went!!!

Here is the before:

And here is after:
Not a huge difference but the one saving grace was my need to organize things. So I bought 3 matching bins for Travis to sort some tools in to for easy access.
I started one day and realized there are more than 3 categories and I was going to need a mans help for this project.
The solution once found was so logical!
Cutty, Pokey, and Squeezy solved all the worries. Everything else fell in line.

Travis said he thought I was crazy--but in the end I was (*GASP!*) RIGHT!!!!

Other categories include: Safety gear, fasteners, chemicals, larger tools and everything else.
And all painting supplies made it to a shelf in the garage, since we are done painting for the moment.

Organizing the tool shelf probably SHOULDN'T take 2 days, but it is the central hub of all work around here so I guess it makes sense. It is much more pleasing to the eye too!

Also pleasing to the eye--is this creation made by Travis:
Fancy right?
The air conditioner came with a silly plastic insert made of grey plastic that keeps out no sounds and looks terrible. So he cut some plywood to the correct size, painted it to match our trim(we had extra paint from the deck) and used weather stripping around the edges to keep it sealed!
It is still not the  prettiest--but it is so much better!

We are slowly getting settled and that means we finally can hang some artwork!!
It's like I just moved in all over again.
 After 18 months--we hung the first item on our wall!!!
I also scoured craigslist and found 2 doors for free that fit the pantry--and broke down and bought the matching door for the coat closet.

 This is a great relief to me!
Now when I walk past the pantry I do not have a million thoughts running through my head.

Reoccurring thoughts such as:
I really should straighten and organize my small appliances
I don't even drink tea--why do I have so much?
I should pick a new recipe out of one of these books
I need to learn to make pasta salad with all this pasta
Don't forget to buy more breakfast bars
Franks redhot sauce, Mmmmm!
Need to dump those old Sake bottles and make vases.
Don't forget to take that dish out and put in the good will box
I wish I could find a container big enough to store 20lbs of rice
Which blender should we get rid of?
Remember to buy popcorn seeds to make popcorn
Mmmm Soup-I'm cold
I should buy more straws
Let's make cookies.
oh Popcorn! Lets stay in and watch a movie!
and on and on and on....

Okay--so finishing up the to do list we had set out for--it was all in preparation for another BBQ!!

This was for Travis' 4th annual housewarming!

We had the music all set up:

Along with home made salsa, cherry tomatoes and my very own home grown flowers decorating our vases---I made special treats for our guests:

Castle Debauchery will now live forever!

Burnetts Sweet Tea vodka is the house drink

And after the party was over:

After reviewing all the photos I took (close to 100)
I found one that stands out but is not picturesque-
 Our to do list included installing the last outlets in the kitchen,
but come party day--the outside temp reached 80
and inside was not a pleasant environment for working any longer.

Here we have our priorities straight:

In other news Travis had a birthday!!!
Here is some of his loot--
Master Fantastic himself in his Lincoln pose wearing his new awesome shirt
and a gag gift in the background that looks oddly a lot like him.
Does Travis approve this? We shall find out?

Thanks for visiting! I miss all your love and comments.  I know I have been scarce and spend all my time reading other blogs instead of writing my own! This whole alphabet thing is harder than I thought--I must be over thinking it.
I want to get thru the alphabet before 2012 so hopefully I stick with this!


  1. It's so great to see a post from you! I've been reading posts too lately, instead of writing them (it's so much less work). I'm thrilled that you've made it through your to do list. And your garden looks wonderful! I had lots of aphids this year too, they are such yucky bugs, almost as bad as slugs. You cannot knock getting organized, no matter how long it takes.

    Happy Birthday Travis!

  2. Hello!!! Good to see you are well. Love the shot of the garden from above. You did good even if aphids invaded. There is always some crop that just won't come through. I like how you organized the tools (pointy...). I too bought bins for stuff and organized it by 'this paints,' 'this cuts,' etc. It works. Many good reasons for putting doors on the pantry. Glad to see you're enjoying your home. Hope you keep posting but I totally understand the time thing. Do I read or write. I face the same problem at times.

  3. I've been horrible about writing in my blog as well. Always so much to do over summer... and then I get lazy come fall. I love the updates and imagine the letter thing would be more difficult then not having them.

  4. April, you crack me up. Pokey, cutty and squeezy, ha!! Great ideas for organizing. If I could organize Carl's stuff we'd need huge dumpsters to store everything, but that's another story, we won't go there, it's a scary place.

    Your tomatoes really produced, wow. I managed to get 25 quarts of tomato sauce, but that's it. Nothing like yours.

    Love the Castle Debauchery drink ware. I think I will have some made up for our ol' Castle Aaargh here. And Happy Birthday to Travis, who indeed does look Awesome.

  5. Those labels are hilarious! My husband likes to toss everything back in a big pile, when it does actually get put back away, so I just grabbed a big shallow bin and tossed it all in. Every once in a while I go in and toss away the garbage and sort it, but mostly I just avert my eyes as I pass that part of the storage room! LOL


I always appreciate input, advice, ideas and telling me I'm doing it wrong. So chime in!