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Road Trip Prep

3 Jun

I knew it had been a long time since I posted on our blog, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted since Jonah started Pre-K. He’s finishing 1st grade now! I don’t have time to post all that’s happened since then, but I thought I would post about our big road trip this summer. We took our kids on a 7 day trip from Dallas to Pigeon Forge, TN when he was 2 – 1/2 and she was only 6 months old. At the end of the trip we thought, “Wow… that really wasn’t that bad. I’d actually do that again!” So we did. When he was 4 – 1/2 and she was 2 – 1/2, we made a 9 day trip to Michigan. Again, we had a good time and managed the car time pretty well. I think we only watched 2 movies during that whole trip!

So with those two relatively good road trip experiences under our belt, we’ve become a little more ambitious for this summer, since they’re now 5 &  7 years old. We have some friends who moved up to Seattle last summer and thought driving out to see them would give us a good excuse to see some of the major sites out west that Jason and I have never seen ourselves.  The list of places we wanted to see kept growing and so did the list of friends and family we’d visit along the way. Next thing you know, we were planning a full 3 week road trip…. that’s longer than any vacation any of us have ever taken before! Did I mention we’re camping 7 of those nights?

Of course, now when I tell people we’re taking a 3 week road trip… with kids, people give me the jaw dropped look and then either tell me: You’re crazy. You know that right!? OR How in the world are you going to do all of that!? Hehe, yes I’m crazy. I do know that. I also thought this post would be a good way to answer the second question on how we do it. We’ve learned a few tricks from our previous trips, so we’ve just scaled it all up for 3 weeks. In no particular order, here’s a run down of how we roll.

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canvas cube with a kitchen trash bag

We used to have a small car trash bag made for that purpose, but it was never big enough for road trips. We’ve actually replaced it permanently with this because it holds more and is a bigger target that the kids can both hit when they are throwing away their own trash.

pockets for small toys on the back of the front seats

pockets for small toys on the back of the front seats

I found this little 6 pocket “shower organizer” in the Target Dollar Spot and attached it to the back of our seats so the kids can keep a few small toys for playing with in the car. Putting it behind the grab bar helps keep it from flopping around.

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extra box of small toys

To keep things fresh, I have a box of small toys to swap out what’s in the pockets every day or two. If I gave them access to the whole box, they’d make a huge mess and get bored with everything quickly.  Some of the items have been put away for months, so when they see them again on the trip they’ll be excited to play with them. Some of the items are new and will be wrapped as surprise gifts along the way.

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contents of small toy extras box

Magnetic stuff: dolls, words, tangrams, swizzle eggs, trapeze men desk toy.

Tactile stuff: squishy light up spider and puppy, koosh ball, fuzzy bracelets, noise putty.

Fidget stuff: push button collapsing animals, push button action happy meal toys, bending links, balancing bird, mini slinky, pop open calculator, Jacob’s ladder, mini top, ball and cup.

Visual stuff: light up wand, oil and water I Spy wand, fractal kaleidoscope, light up happy meal toys, mini puzzles, ball maze.

Creative stuff: create a face, etch a sketch, Rory Story Cubes, mini play dough kit.

Imagination stuff: Polly pockets, mini play mobile sets in travel soap dishes, littlest pet shop, micro remote control car.

between the seats box

between the seats box

We have a second canvas cube between the kid’s seats to hold a few bigger toys that won’t fit in their small pockets.

contents of the box between the seats

contents of the box between the seats

Color wonder markers for them to share, 3-4 play sets I prepackaged in zipper pouches, CD and DVD wallet, a big slinky (it’s always a big hit), a hobberman ball, hot wheels and squinky barn  play sets that don’t fit in the zipper pouches. The kids are each going to practice their new found stitching skills by making a felt stuffed animal. I put those supplies in a regular ziplock bag so we can throw it away once they’ve completed their projects.

the pre-cut pieces for their stuffed animal sewing projects

the pre-cut pieces for their stuffed animals

Aren’t they going to be so cute?! Once we finish them, we’ll use them like Flat Stanley and take pictures of them at the various landmarks.

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box of extra play sets

Just like the box of small toys to trade out in their pockets along the way, I have several other play set pouches to trade out too. I use the zipper pouches because they are more durable and hold their shape better than regular ziplock bags. We tried that one year and it was still hard to find stuff in the box, not to mention that the kids had trouble closing them. I’d seen this pencil bag idea on Pinterest, so I’ve been collecting them for a couple years, in preparation for future travels. It definitely makes my OCD happy too, seeing them all lined up in this box. 😉

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contents of extra play sets box

These pouches could have anything in them, but here are some of the ideas I’ve done. Weaving loom, mini doll house nursery furniture and babies, mini play kitchen set from the Dollar Tree, farm animals and wild west figurines, small building set like k’nex or legos, playmobile pirates, my little ponies, army men, kaleidoscope, view finder, their beloved Minecraft action figures, felt flannel board, finger puppets, and their sewing kit.

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books and activities saved for later

We have these books and activities saved for the 2nd half of the trip stored in the bottom of the extra play sets box too.

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a few items going into their backpacks

We’re each going to have a car back pack with a smaller bag/purse for carrying essentials inside. I haven’t gotten those entirely together yet, but here’s a peek at some of the stuff I’ve got set aside. Pencil box with map pencils and dry erase markers (I have an altoid box of crayons to keep in my purse so they never get left to melt in the car), scissors, glue stick, and a dice (for some of their binder activities). A head lamp, book light, mini fan, sunglasses, lanyard with compass and magnifying glass to pin their Junior Ranger pins to, walky talky, mini journal/sketch book, and a little slug bug car counter I made for our last trip.

location of their binder boxes

location of their binder boxes

I found these metal desk file boxes that make good use of the space between their seats and the minivan door. I used a bungee cord to keep it from sliding around (not pictured).

binder box filled

binder box filled

Each of the kiddos has their own box that will hold their stuff. They both have a cookie sheet lap tray, an eye spy book, an atlas kind of book, a stencil book (he gets to design cars and she gets to create outfits), a color wonder coloring book, a paint with water book, and a car bingo game board.

contents of his binder box

contents of his binder box

He also has a neon drawing board, an Ed Emberly drawing book, brain quest cards, a dry erase game board, and license plate game.

contents of her binder box

contents of her binder box

She has a magna-doodle, water marker book, and a frozen book to practice reading. We will be adding some other readers for both of them too, I just haven’t got them yet.

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the explosion of our office while sorting and packing all this stuff LOL!

My husband really hates clutter, so I had to put a warning sign on our office door the day I decided to tackle organizing all of the stuff to keep the kids occupied. Hehe

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the car packing configuration minus the snack box, water jug, and the roof rack bag on top

I’ve also done some planning on how to pack the car to make everything easy to get to and keep it tidy (hopefully). I made a master packing list for the clothes a few months ago (more on that later) so I know I’ve got one big bag, 2 medium bags, and 4 small bags for all of the clothes and toiletries. In the back we’ve also got the cooler, camp stove, a tub of camp kitchen stuff, a tub of general cleaning stuff, a stroller for sight seeing (because the 5 year old will tire out and they are both still under the weight limit), and a Luggable Loo for camping and emergency potty stops. All of our camp stuff like tent, cots, chairs, sleeping bags, and pillows fit in a car top carrier we got.

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I also found this two compartment canvas tote with pockets that’s supposed to be a trunk organizer. I’ve got it’s handle tied to the 3rd row seat belt so it won’t slide off, but we can still lift it off to get into the cooler. The pockets are nice for paper plates, napkins, and utensils. Most of our daily snacks and drinks will be stored in a soft sided cooler up front, but the rest of our “pantry” will go in here.

jackets for restaurants on the back of their chairs

jackets for restaurants on the back of their chairs

Our kids always freeze when we go out to eat, and then they don’t want to eat because they are so cold. Our solution is to keep jackets in the car year round.

the driver side door

the driver side door

This is another feature we keep in the car year round. I found this wipes/sanitizer/tissue holder in the baby section at Wal-mart. We keep the first aid and barf bag up front too, just in case of emergencies.

the swim box and pit stop box

the swim box and pit stop box

For the trip we are adding these two boxes right behind the kids’ seats for easy access when we stop.

the contents of the pit stop box

the contents of the pit stop box

We’ve got a zip up picnic blanket, 4-square ball because it’s the most versatile for kicking/bouncing, sidewalk chalk (in a re-purposed frosting container), no-spill bubbles (I need to get a refill bottle though because they’re empty LOL), jump rope, frisbee, an oball, and a mesh bag to hold a couple of small sand toys so we can shake the sand out afterwards.

the contents of the swim box

the contents of the swim box

In the swim box we’ve got their inflatables, her puddle jumper life jacket, and another mesh bag for their goggles and dive rings.

the cleaning box

the cleaning box

The cleaning box will be right behind our cooler and contains all of the supplies for the car, camping, snack packaging, and doing laundry.

the contents of the cleaning box

the contents of the cleaning box

Paper towels, car leather and glass wipes to keep our space clean, lysol wipes for the plastic stuff, hand and face wipes, laundry detergent, hand and dish soaps, camp stove propane tank, canister of bungee cords/twine/clamps, toilet paper and trash bags, 3 pop up Dollar Tree hampers for sorting laundry, wash rag and towel, baby wipes refill for the front door as needed, ziplock bags in various sizes, whisk and dust pan, lugable look bags, and the propane hook up for the camp stove (so it doesn’t rattle inside the stove).

the camp kitchen box

the camp kitchen box

I have a really awesome wooden chuck box that I built for camping, but it’s huge and heavy and just can’t come with us this time. So I’ve got my camp kitchen essentials consolidated into one tote for this trip.

inside of the camp kitchen box

inside of the camp kitchen box

This is what it looks like under the layer of table cloth, griddle and cutting board.

 

contents of the camp kitchen box

contents of the camp kitchen box

I’ve got a collapsible mixing bowl, my whole set of nesting pots and pans, a set of stainless steel plates/bowls/mugs, some small snack cups, kettle, 2 dish pans, dish drying rack and drying pad. I use the dish towels/rags/potholders to keep stuff from rattling inside the box. I re-purposed a crystal light container to hold our silverware/can opener/knives. In our box we also have our telescoping marshmallow roasters, lighter, scrubbing brush, salt/pepper, tablecloth clips, retractable clothesline, foil, apple slicer, and some basic cooking/serving utensils.

the binders are a work in progress

the binders are a work in progress

I suppose next I could tell you a little about the travel binders I’ve been putting together. The kids will each get their own with travel iteneraries, brain work, and fun activities for them to do. I’ll have a master binder with the schedules, reservation numbers, packing lists, etc. too.  I’ll show you theirs so far. This next section is mostly just going to be pictures because they’re kind of self explanatory.

daily map and list of things we'll do that day

daily map and list of things we’ll do that day

state fact coloring sheets for each of the 10 states we'll travel through

state fact coloring sheets for each of the 10 states we’ll travel through

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various roll-a-drawing activities

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how-to drawing pages of several regional animals

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loved how the instructions included animal facts and daily scripture

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printable junior ranger work books to do before we get to those national parks

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wild west sticker scene set found at the Dollar Tree

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“paper doll” cut out cars and roads for the boy child

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a play dough mat for making silly faces

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parts and pieces for a patriotic craft

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various coloring and activity pages that somewhat related to our travels

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punch out 3d paper craft dinosaurs

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printed materials to make a home school style lap book about the oregon trail

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oregon trail trivia file folder game

No, not as cool as the computer game we all played in elementary school, but I do plan to buy the kids the ipad version to play too. 😉

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a velcro play set my daughter made at school to sing the 5 little monkeys song

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another set of lap book materials about desert animals

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frozen paper doll set from a friend’s birthday party

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melissa and doug reusable sticker scenes (color forms) I punched holes and folded them to fit in the binder.

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reusable stickers in baseball card pocket pages protectors

I’m sure I’ve got other stuff I could add to this post, but I don’t have pictures of any of the rest of it at this point. If it seems like a lot, well that’s because it is. I didn’t do it all at once though. We’ve been thinking about going on this trip for over a year and half, so I’ve had a lot of time to brain storm, plan, and to gather ideas and stuff. I always try to have a really good plan in place with back up options and then once the trip starts, it allows me to be completely flexible with it not going the way I planned. My philosophy with plans… better to have and not need than need and not have. The kids may not play with half the stuff we’re bringing, we may slack and not do as much of the educational stuff we brought either, but at least we will have it. Besides, I just enjoy the planning process.

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Back Into the Swing of Things

7 Mar

So it’s just me and the kids again this week. We’ve been fortunate to have Jason home with us for 6 weeks, while they worked on their project from here. Now it looks like he may be jumping back into the frequent flyer club. After 12 trips up there, from May-December, I have found myself getting a little more comfortable with holding down the fort on my own. At first, I was heading to Tyler, to hang out at my parent’s house, for a week or more at a time. Now that this is all kinda familiar, I’m staying at home, taking the kids to playgroup, hosting Bible study, and keeping things running as usual. Yeah, we eat a lot of left overs and more frozen dinners and fast food than I care to admit, because the chef is out, but we are even getting better about that too. I made a meal plan for this week, so I won’t get discouraged and unmotivated to cook.

Hopefully that’ll help keep me on the right track with my focus word for this month too, Health. As I may have mentioned, or not because I’ve kinda been a slacker blogger lately, my New Year’s Resolution for the year was simply one word. Focus. I have a lot of areas of my life that need improving, but I think to succeed at any of them and not get burnt out and fed up with it all by mid February, I have to focus on them one at a time. So after thinking about the changes I wanted to make, and grouping similar ones together, I came up with 6 words to be my focus for the year. One word per month, twice a year. So although I intend to attempt everything on the list, the focus word of the month is my fall back plan. Failing all else, I WILL FOCUS on this one thing. It’s worked for the most part and I’m excited that this month’s word is health, because with 2 weeks of winter storms and 2 weeks of flu all around, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things.

So far in this journey I’ve had:
January:Education – spending more time making and following lesson plans for the kids, kinda home pre-k if you will. Plus, learning some new things myself! I did pretty well with the pre-k thing and developed a system for putting my plans together quickly that allowed flexibility during the week. I also took the belly dance class I’ve wanted to take for a while, which was a lot of fun! 
February:Productivity – the idea was to get into the habit of doing my FLYlady routines around the house, and generally declutter some things. I jumped right on board with de-cluttering and spent the first 2 weeks going through baby clothes and toys and listing them on craigslist (I’ve made over $200 so far!) My one track mind was so focused on that, though, that I didn’t do any cleaning to speak of, which was the whole point really. I kinda felt like I failed the mission on that word and got into a major funk about it and didn’t feel motivated to do anything. Which is why I’m so glad it’s finally MARCH! The warmer weather, the spring flowers popping up, and a fresh start on everything is making a huge difference. I’m actually better with my cleaning this month than I was last month when it was supposed to be the focus.

I think for April I may go with Devotion. I really want to start doing a pre-school aged Bible study with the kids, get better about praying at every meal and throughout the day with them, and doing the same for myself. I want to dig into His word and grow in our fellowship with the family of our new church we’ve just joined. Being that Easter falls in there some where too, that’s probably a good motivator  to stay on track too. 😉  That would leave Discipline (focusing on using love and logic tactics with the kids and getting penny into obedience class finally) and Companionship (date nights, shared hobbies, weekday mornings together as a family, dates with the kids, etc) for May and June before I start all over again.

This post is kinda all over the board I know, but it’s where I am now, and where I plan to be. I’m excited that I’m back in the swing of things in so many areas right now… home maker, home school teacher, athlete (just ran a solid mile, this week, for the first time since my high school knee injury!!!), wife, bargin grocery shopper, and most importantly, child of God.

And now for a few parting pictures!

Jonah and his friend, Lincoln, on the tire swing.
I finally found a bedding set for Jonah’s room that I liked!
“Riding” the elephant at the Dallas Zoo
Carly feeding the giraffe was pretty cool.
A fun but LONG day (for Carly) at the zoo.

And because I am making a lot of scrapbook pages these days, here’s a few others I’ve made since my last post! Enjoy!

New Project for the New Year

3 Jan

New Year’s resolutions are always a tough thing, and I think that goes for everybody. You want to be gung-ho and do everything, then you fail miserably and give up on all of it. I have a lot of areas in my life that I want to improve on, but trying to do it all at once is overwhelming and I find myself burnt out quickly. So this year, I’m taking a different approach.

In the photography community, there is the 365 project (which I did for Carly’s 1st year) the 52 project (the once a week photo) and the 12 project (for one photo a month). I had already had in my mind to step it down this year and just do the 52 or even just 12, when I heard about Ali Edward’s (fairly famous in the scrapping world) “one little word” project. Instead of resolutions each year, she takes a word and makes it her mantra for the year. So I decided I’d glean from that idea, the 12 photos and combine it with all the resolutions I wanted to make.

My word for the year is going to be FOCUS. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a racoon, attracted to whatever is shiny and cool. I have a hard time staying on course because SQUIRREL!! … uh, because stuff distracts me easily. So I think FOCUS is going to be a good word for me to meditate on this year. With that in mind, I decided to break my resolutions down into themes so that I could choose a theme each month to FOCUS on. That way, when life gets crazy and I find that it’s just not realistic for me to keep ALL of my resolutions up at the same time, I have a fall back plan. A failing-all-else-I-WILL-focus-on-this kind of plan. I came up with 6 themes to my resolution. Here they are and kind of what I intend for them to entail, because if I tell you, then I have to keep accountable for them.

EDUCATION –
– making and sticking to a pre-k home school lesson plan of sorts
– spending one on one time with both kids each day to work on age appropriate stuff together
– to learn something new myself
DEVOTION –
– making time for a daily quiet time with God
– making prayers at meals and bedtime more regular and more meaningful with the kids
– getting and working through some type of pre-k devotional book so the stories are more prevalent in our house
HEALTH –
– staying within my calorie budget as much as possible
– exercising at least 3 times a week
– drinking 8 glasses of water a day
BONDING –
– having a rotation of weekly “dates” with each kid/parent combination, the two of us, and a family fun night.
– spend more time with Penny (our lab) since it sadly is an area we don’t prioritize much with two small kids.
– keep in touch with friends more (via FB, emails, phone calls, and *gasp* old-fashioned snail mail letters even!)
DISCIPLINE –
– sticking to what we’ve learned with the Love & Logic book
– actually making use of the chore chart and reward system
– teach our dog some manners!
PRODUCTIVITY –
– spending 15 minutes, twice a day, to keep on top of daily chores (like dishes and tidying up clutter)
– spending 15 minutes a day on a FLY Lady focus zone of the week (like doing some thorough cleaning in one area for the week)
– making sure I do the things I need to do before the ones I want to do.

To keep myself accountable for this challenge this year, because it WILL be a challenge, and to make it fun, I decided to follow Ali Edward’s idea of making a scrapbook about my one little word. So each month, as I shift my focus, I’ll scrap a page or two about my thoughts on the subject before and after and compare my results to what I had hoped to accomplish. I am hoping this kind of continual project throughout the year will keep me on track with my new goals.

I hope your new year is richly blessed and that you live it as He would have you!

Getting Ready for Galveston!

30 Aug

We are getting ready to go down to Galveston for the weekend. I know it’s not the most beautiful beach or anything, but it’s close, and it’s where Jason and his family has gone for as far back as they can remember. Here’s a little trip down memory lane!

Jason: About 3-4 Years Old

It was the first trip I ever took with Jason, in 2001.

Us on the ferry, headed to Crystal Beach

It also happens to be where Jason proposed to me in 2003…

My Ring 🙂

and where we honeymooned (at the San Luis Resort)!

From our Balcony

We took Jonah to the beach for the first time 2 years ago.

We went with our friends, Ben & Ginger that year.

Of course, we skipped last year because Carly was so small, but now that she’s the same age as he was for his first trip, we are all really looking forward to it. Before we get down to the beach though, we are going to take advantage of the free admission that Bank of America is offering to its customers at the Houston Children’s Museum and the Houston Zoo. This trip is really going to be cheap I think. The hotel rooms are all paid for by Jason’s Hilton Reward Points (from all these trips to NY he’s had to make for work) and with the attractions all basically free, we are really only going to have to pay for gas and food! Sweet!

Also, as the Labor Day Weekend approaches, I have some very exciting news (well, it’s exciting to me at least!) that will have several new people stopping by our blog. Since I’m expecting lots of visitors this weekend, I did some virtual house keeping and updated the kid’s pages and just generally tried to update our content! Hope you enjoy!

A New Foodie Initiative

30 Apr

In driving around at a local little strip mall to take Jason’s jacket to a dry cleaners and to ship a package to a friend, I realized there are a LOT of neat little privately owned businesses in our neighborhood. Just in that shopping center there is an Indian meat market, a carribean restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, a burger joint, and 2-3 other little hole in the wall restaurants I’ve never noticed before. I know there are restaurants like this in at least 6 of the 8 corners at the major intersections on either side of our house… so as bad as we are about always going to the same places over and over, we thought we might trying out some of our local fare and writing about it here. It’s an initiative to be different and support some local businesses, and maybe even discover a hidden gem of a place!

Plans for a North Facing Front Yard

26 Apr

I am by no means a green thumb. However, when we moved into this house almost 2 years ago, we had 2 problems taken care of at once… overgrown shrubs and a foundation in need of repair. Shortly after we moved in, the foundation repair guys were kind enough to remove our shrubs for us, and there it has sat… empty and bare, for the last year and a half or so.

What it looked like when we bought it.

Our painfully blank canvas.

So knowing nothing of what grows where, I’ve started trying to self educate by getting some library books, asking around, checking out plants at Lowe’s and other nurseries… man is it ever overwhelming. I consider myself a pretty good designer sometimes, but this plant thing is hard. I mean I can plan a room quite easily… furniture shapes don’t change, wall colors don’t change every few months, decorative accessories don’t grow and overtake a space… when you buy it at the store, it is what it is and you can count on that. Plants? The grow, they change shapes, they disappear in winter sometimes, they change colors…. it’s pretty hard to design around that. So here’s my kudos to successful landscape designers and avid gardeners the world around!

Being that I’ve got a north facing house, I’m also finding it difficult to come up with a great shade loving plan, but after much deliberation, I think I sort of have a plan for at least half of my front flower beds. We haven’t finished prepping the East side of the house yet (to your left) but I think I sort of have a tentative plan for it on paper. That may change by the time we get there, but here it is thus far:

Actually I can tell you a good part of this has already changed in my mind, but here it is anyway!

The West flowerbed was pretty much ready to go, so that’s where we’ll actually start. I found it much easier to plan with photoshop than the pencil drawing so that’s probably how I’ll proceed when we start working on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in mind for our West side though:

Before.

My Plan: Summer Time

From left to right, back to front: Existing “Large Scale Monkey Grass” as I call it, pink Caladiums, Violets from my grandmother’s house, a Pink Camellia bush (not in bloom in the summer), purple looking Black Mondo Grass,  a few Dwarf Yaupon Hollies with Varigated Hostas and Varigated Grass alternating in between, and pink Impatiens in between that. Purple Iris from my other grandmother’s house (if she’ll let me have some 😉 hehe) (also not in bloom during summer), existing pink Crape Myrtle tree we whacked off at the stump to make it grow more like a bush and stay off the roof, a purple Chinese Fringe bush at the corner (not in bloom, but a pretty purple color all year) a pot of hot pink Geraniums, surrounded by the white Dusty Miller, with “Small Scale Monkey Grass” from my mom’s house around that, and Japanese Box Wood to line the West side of the house and obscure the AC unit from the street. Oh yes, and you’ll notice how much nicer the shutters will look once they’re black! Jason thought I was crazy when I told him we should paint them black. This picture convinced him I think!

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My Plan: Very Early Spring

I think this is mostly right, based on what blooms in the cooler months (Camellia, Iris, and Chinese Fringe), and what has died off (Caladiums, Hostas, Crape Myrtle, Violets, and the annuals)… could be wrong though. Oh, and I swapped out the pot of Geraniums (which have to come inside to avoid the frost) for some pink Dianthus.

My Plan: Christmas Lights

Because I am my mother’s daughter, making sure I had a good foundation for my Christmas lights was important too! 😉 Take the flower pot inside and put out a Christmas tree in the corner!

Anyway, we started working on it a little this past weekend, but I doubt we’ll really get much done on it until Jason is finished with school… TWO more weeks!!! I’m so excited for that!

The Swing Set Project

9 Feb

As spring approaches, it’s time to start thinking about a swing set for the kids, using the money given to them by relatives over Christmas and such. After looking at Wal-Mart’s cheapest wooden swing set, it became apparent that these things are by no means cheap, nor small. Most have a swing arm that, in combination with a slide tower, would pretty much consume our entire back yard. So… being the designer I like to think I am, I came up with a design for a custom built swing set, using parts and pieces from a swing set found on craigslist for free. The family that gave us this one has no idea how richly they’ve blessed us because, though the slide and glider are faded, they’re in good condition and buying them new would be about $350. The swings and other pieces I’d hoped to salvage are in pretty bad shape, but those parts are relatively inexpensive to buy at Lowe’s… they could even be put on the kid’s birthday wish lists for that matter…. while I’m thinking of it, here are those items for anyone who cares, in the order of most wanted:

Swing-N-Slide Multi-Colored Tarp $22

Swing-N-Slide Extra Duty Swing $35

Swing-N-Slide Ex.Duty Swing Hangers $35

Swing-N-Slide Steering Wheel $15

Swing-N-Slide Safety Handles $10

(10-15) 50lb. Bags of Sakrete Play Sand $5ea

Trapeeze (replace baby swing in future) $35

Anyway, as I was saying… we got the slide and the glider and a truckload of mostly un-usable wood this weeked, and not it’s sitting in a big heap in our back yard. Jonah asks us multiple time a day “we can build swing set now?” Poor guy… unfortunately, this is definitely a task slated for spring break, which is still another 3-4 weeks away. I think I do have the design figured out for the most part though… check this out… Google Sketch Up is an awesome tool for drawing out things in 3D, so this was pretty simple for me to put together:

View from the kitchen window

View towards Penny's yard

View towards the house

View from Penny's yard