Wednesday, November 11, 2015


My little herb garden has done really well this summer! I grew oregano, sage, dill, basil, rosemary, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and serrano peppers.  Overall my little herb garden did very well, but the dill did not survive. Not sure if it didn't get enough sun or if it was a bad plant from the get go.  The basil and rosemary did well, but they were on the bottom and got less sunlight.  Next year I will put the basil and rosemary on the top. 

I love using fresh herbs in recipes and cooked with basil, sage, and oregano the most.  I used sage in a chicken saltimbocca recipe and it was delicious! The oregano I used in a one pot pasta recipe and the basil I used in a caprese pasta salad. Fresh herbs make all the difference. 

The oregano grew like a weed!  I had so much oregano, that I decided to dry some of it. 

I cut a bunch of oregano off, washed the dirt off, and bundled it into 4 sections.  I tied each bundle with some rope.  I then hung the rope by a hanger inside to dry. This made the kitchen smell so good!

...  and 4 days later the oregano was dried.  I removed the dried oregano from the rope and pulled the pieces of oregano off and crumbled them to make smaller pieces. My dried oregano filled 2 spice containers- this should last a while!!!  It would cost more to buy dried oregano at the store than to buy the plant and I had fun in the process :)

Now that the leaves are falling and it is chilly in the evenings, I decided to move a few of my herbs inside.  I planted the rosemary, basil, sage, and oregano in small pots and placed them in a window sill that gets sun.  An ideal location would be in a kitchen window, but our house is so shaded that it was hard to find a place that gets sun.  So the great room window now houses my little inside herb garden. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lets get fired up!

We love having fires in the fireplace and curling up with the pups on the couch!  

My mom had given us a few fire starters that she made years ago and they work like a charm! We were almost out, so she came over and helped us make our own.  

She used newspaper before, but since we don't have any newspaper we decided to use a role of paper instead.  We cut into 18 inch pieces, folded in 3rds, and rolled them up and secured with twist ties.  Wine definitely helped this process!

We placed metal coffee cans in a pot with water- enough water to boil but not allow the can to float.  We then melted a mixture of chunks of wax and old candle sticks in the coffee can until all melted. This took longer than I thought it would.

We attached a binder clip to the end of a piece of string and used it to dip the rolled up paper into the wax.  We let them dry some and then dipped each one a second time.  I'm sure there is an easier way to dip them, but this is what our German minds came up with!

Thank you to my grandpa for providing us with all of the materials to make our homemade fire starters and my mom for showing us how!

  Looks like we are ready for many fires in the fireplace this winter!!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Something shiny and new

Dishwashers are a girls best friend!  A dishwasher is one of those appliances that I won't live long without. Senior year in college, I lived without a dishwasher.... never again!  Our dishwasher hasn't been working well since we moved in and it was only a matter of time before it needed to be replaced.

Matt found a nice Jenn-Air stainless steel dishwasher on clearance... half off the original price! When your husband comes home with something shiny (even a dishwasher), it makes a very happy wife.

My favorite feature: my oversize wine glasses fit!!!  Cheers to that :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

The adventures of painting

Our painting adventure continued by tackling the most complicated area yet... the hallway! The hallways needed be painted- we had some drywall patching to do and were finally ready to get rid of that orange wall in the staircase.

The hardest part of painting was picking out the colors!  I wanted a greyish tan to take the house out of the 70s and make it feel more modern.  I put 4 paint samples up on the wall on both floors and stared at them for over a month.   I think this drove Matt crazy :)  I was trying to find one color to paint the 1st floor hallway, stairwell, and second floor hallway.  It is amazing how different the colors looked on each floor!  Our first floor has hardwood floors and wood trim while upstairs has white carpet and white trim.   Our solution...2 different paint colors.  We decided to go with Revere Pewter for the staircase and upstairs hallway and Edgecomb Gray for the first floor hallway.  

Now for the prep work. We removed the intercom from the first floor hallway which left a huge hole in the wall.  We also had some settlement and nail pops in the staircase that needed some attention. I can't wait credit for the drywall work- Matt did an amazing drywall job!

Painting the hallways was fairly easy- Matt would edge and I would roll.  Bailey even tried to help paint and ended up with paint all over her tail :)

Bye bye orange wall..... Matt set up the adjustable ladder on the stairs to that he could reach the top of the ceiling above the staircase.  This made me nervous, but I was glad I didn't have to climb that ladder!  Painting the staircase was definitely teamwork: Matt would paint while I held the ladder and handed him the paintbrush.

It took us about 3 days to finish, but I absolutely love how it turned out!!! And now to show off all of our hard work..before and after pictures :)

First Floor Hallway:
Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

2nd Floor Hallway:
Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Next project: replacing the tan outlets and light switches with white ones and hanging pictures on the walls :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Herb Garden

Even though it rained the last 9 out of 10 weekends, we managed to do some gardening!

Typical Saturday afternoon... Bailey digging and Lilly sunbathing.

My herb garden! I love to cook and have been wanting my own herb garden for a while.  We were at SAMS the other weekend and picked up this herb garden on clearance.  I planted oregano, dill, sage, peppers, basil, and rosemary.  

I also wanted to create cute herb garden markers without paying a fortune.  I took drywall shims and spray painted them with black spray paint.  After a few coats and letting them fully dry, I wrote the name of the herb in silver permanent marker.  The result: cute herb markers.  The price: $2.  :)

Now it's time to see if I have a green thumb! I already used Oregano and Basil in a few recipes and can't wait to use more!

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's time to take back the yard!

It's time to take back the yard!!  We have been waiting for the nice weather to get here so we can work outside and now our projects have begun!

We are officially a John Deere family... we love our new tractor!!

Matt carrying away the rocks that lined the driveway

Even Bailey loves the tractor :)

The rocks.... oh the rocks.  These rocks lined the driveway and we have hated them since the day we moved in.  We thought they would be easy to remove, but we soon found out they were like icebergs!  Matt spend many hours removing these rocks.


Half of the rocks removed!

No more rocks!!!  Can't wait for fall so we can put down grass seed.

Bye bye brass

We love our house, but we are slowing removing everything from the 70s!  

This hall bathroom light fixture on the left looks like something out of Harry Potter.  We replaced the light fixture and the best part of it... it was free!

The door knobs were on sale and we have been wanting to replace them for a while.  We installed oil rubbed bronze knobs, and I love how they turned out! 

Everyone always says if you go shopping with your wife, you will spend more... well this is even true at the hardware store :)  Matt and I went to Lowe's last weekend to get a few odds and ends and left with new door knobs for the house.  Matt always jokes that he should start paying Lowe's rent because we go there so often.  This visit he asked a worker where a roundup sprayer was because he couldn't find it in aisle 7 where it was before and the employee asked if Matt wanted a job at Lowes... this made his day. :)

I removed the hardware from the vanity in the hall bathroom and spray painted it just like I did to our master bathroom a few months ago.  Someday we will replace the vanity, but for now we have an updated look and it only cost me $4 :)