Archive for September, 2012

Google Street View….

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

They’re pretty much everywhere you can find pavement, even the mailbox at Grandpa’s Farm.  Google Maps is such a great resource and you can see the “street view” with one click of practically any address in the country, so you are bound to catch someone’s dirty laundry somewhere, sometime…or even at your own home?

Imagine seeing this coming down the street…what would you do?

Clearly there are no privacy laws against this and to be honest I loved having this while searching homes for sale here in Greenville while still living in Houston.  You can do a 360 view to see what the house looks like for real instead of how the seller wants you to think it looks, how many cars are parked in the neighbors yard, or if there is some kind of dog food factory or biker bar across the street.  Thankfully our street view back in April/May looked very normal, nothing stood out.

However, one of these vehicles was driving through our current neighborhood updating the photos of my particular street in April so we did not get to see how the natives treated the vacant property for sale…The other day out of curosity I looked up our address again to find this:

Ahhh, so pretty, everything was blooming in April, the Azaleas on the left blooming in white, the grass looks great, the Japanese Maple on the right by the mailbox beautifully red…

For curiosities sake we scooted the image, down the street to get a better look….

Hello nice lady, and what a cute little dog…

Clearly the car with the big camera on top caught her attention….her pup had business to attend to on our mailbox.  Busted!

It was very nice of Google to blur out the puppy’s private business from the world wide web….if only they cared about other areas of privacy as much as they do puppy private parts.

As the car drives away she keeps watching, I think she got a kick out of it…I think you can see a smile through that privacy blur

I kinda wished she would have waved goodbye…we have yet to meet or see her or her pup.  But we appreciate her diligence keeping an eye on the creepy alien invasion google camera car going on in the neighborhood

Well, good job Google Street View; on your one decent photo of our place.

So, go check yours…anything worth sharing?

 (all photos courtesy of Google)

Rain gutter Regatta

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Do Your Best

The twins are officially scouts now – they wanted to sign up in Kindergarten – too young, first grade started in Canada – they have scouts there too but home school didn’t sponsor a pack, can’t remember what the reason was in 2nd grade other than camping in Texas seemed ridiculous.

First event (after new scout pack meeting) was the Rain Gutter Regatta, it’s been the talk of the house all week

Check out that very debonair smile on Mr. Logan.

The boats were lined up for a “Best in Show” contest before the races began

Dad jumped right in too helping out with registration which included tech inspection – which would have been much easier had the boys known the rules when they were building – he only got yelled at once.  There were probably around 50 boats total.

The cheering section was in FULL support.  He loved every minute of this.  It is so fun to watch him experience stuff for the first time.  When we got home last night his head hit the pillow, eyes closed and he announced before falling asleep, “That was so much fun, Mommy.”

Isaac received second in his den, and Logan received third.  Not bad for asthma suffering boys!  The winner from their den also won the overall pack final.

   

They also got some nice bling on their brand new uniforms. (the triangle is actually a sailboat – you have to look close in person to see it too).

Of course being a scout means selling popcorn – it’s the only fundraiser they do and it’s more of a donation to support scouting with a free gift of popcorn.

Support Scouts Online – Get Delicious Popcorn

Presto!….Pesto!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

After school yesterday I asked Logan if he was interested in helping me make some pesto with our abundant harvest of basil.  He took on the whole project himself with very little help from me.  I printed out a simple recipe…

3 clove of garlic

1 1/2 – 2 cups Fresh Basil

1/3 cup Pine Nuts

1/3 cup Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Whatever was left in our Parmesan Cheese container…( we used about 1/4 cup)

He collected and washed the basil then added all the ingredients to the food processor…

Not sure why we waited to make this when we could have had this all summer.

So yummy.  We had it with some olive oil and bread along with our Butternut Squash Soup last night.

I think tonight we plan on using it as pizza sauce with lots of fresh veggies!  Yum.

Taming The Wild (Progress)

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Trying to balance our time between indoor and outdoor projects while the weather is so nice here at the Casa de Grilliot  (Carolina edition), here is a little update on our attempt to tame the outdoors

Our deck was in need of a little TLC.  Replacing some rotting boards went from “Let’s just do the whole thing” to after a weekend of Harry sweating and laboring over several boards to, “Lets just do what is necessary right now, sand it down then paint it”

This is how it looks today, we are letting the boards dry out a bit before we paint it to match the rest of the deck.  We figured we could replace the entire thing over the course of a year or so tackling it board by board as time (or rotting boards) demands.

Harry staggered the boards on the step so the boards would not line up on purpose.

Down the other set of steps from the deck we had this pretty ugly area where not only does rain water pile up here but it is also where we normally leave the slightly leaky hose reel.  You can imagine having the hose on while sitting in dirt created a great mud pie mix.  Not something we want to look onto right out our kitchen door.  So Harry laid landscape fabric then added some while marble chips along with a landing spot for our hose cart.

Last time we showed pictures of this area we had just planted a little herb garden, something close to the kitchen.  We kept it simple, Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, Oregano and Cilantro.  The area was bordered with a steel garden border that was sporting sharp corners, looked terrible, was rusting and did a terrible job keeping in the dirt in place – which is what it’s supposed to do.

 So in an effort to use what we have first before going out and buying something new we decided to use these stones that were out in the yard for the previous owners “garden path”  The path was hiding…half the stones were covered by the wild once we found them all we still needed 4 times as many in order for that path to actually look good and work.

Over the course of a couple weeks the boys helped me collect them, load them into their dump trucks and push them up the hill.

Last weekend, I spent some time carving out the area here while Harry ripped out the steel border and added the rock.

Here is how it looks as of this morning…

The Basil has grown taller than Jonah…

Making Pesto is on our to-do list.  It is starting to flower and we will no long be able to eat it after that.

We also love little surprises like these caladiums that keep popping up in the yard…besides the weeds.

As do we love all the nature that loves….well nature!  Looks like he is hugging the lavender!

So back down the hill where our jungle was out of control it looked like this just a few months ago….

to this…

and before…

To this today…

It is a little more cleared out thanks to lots of trimming, pulling, weed-wacking, weed-killer and hauling out the old to clear a path…County Sanitation Dept. runs a once or twice a month yard waste curbside pick-up, so all that has disappeared is now turning into mulch or compost, we would have had to rent a dump truck already to get rid of everything we’ve cleaned out so far otherwise.

Ivy has been the hardest thing to get rid of especially since it’s best friend poison oak is growing along with it.  Ivy kills trees if you let it take over, so slowly we have removed all the ivy off of the trunks of the trees and this trellis that is made for a garden swing…someday.  We are still waiting on the ivy on top to die off to make it easier to pull it down.

The area has been named “Azalea Garden” a majority of the bushes on the right are Azalea’s (clever right?)  The sad thing about them is that they only look good for a couple weeks a year then look straggly the rest.  I’m going to cut them back, level them off and try to convince Harry we need to remove them completely and replace them with a more shade loving residents.  Hostas, Ferns, Hydrangeas etc.

This was a very confused bloom but beautiful on it’s own…it is the only bloom out there….

There is still lots to tackle out there but we are making progress.  I’m sure when I’m not 32 weeks pregnant weed pulling will go a lot faster…then again I will be tending to a more important growing one.

Speaking of growing…

My sweet little helper.  We took pictures then played a little golf.  Perfect 65 degree weather this morning.

And last but not least I had to include the “wild” cable that was taking over the exterior of the house, giving the ivy a run for it’s money.  I really don’t get how people need to have cable in every room of their house…especially with a yard like this to tend to…who has time to watch TV….ever?  If all the cable in the house was hooked to a TV you’d need 7 TVs!

This was probably half the extra that we did not need…we have satellite in the family room and the basement, and the old cable to the basement wasn’t working anyway when they installed it so MORE NEW CABLE.  The mess you see here started at the back of the house on the deck, went up on the garage room to a 3 way splitter, then through the wall to 2 bedrooms through 2 different holes, and on around the front of the house all the way to the other side to a 3rd bedroom through, you guessed it, another hole in the wall.  The house is looking a lot better too with out all these cable lines strung under the soffits and entering various window seals of the house.

Now stop looking at the internet and go outside!

Fall

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Per my BFF’s request….

Two days in a row we have woke up here to very beautiful crisp cool mornings (low 60’s) For the first time in a long time I can actually justify throwing up a little fall decor and not feel like I’m forcing it.

Yesterday the boys helped me with a little more customized art

I downloaded and printed this tree onto cardstock and added the word Thankful to the bottom in PhotoShop.  We had some fall colored ink pads that the boys used mark with their fingerprints.  When the wee one comes later this fall, his prints will be added too.

I hung it in the family room next to the entry way.  This morning when I made my way downstairs this is what I saw, it is the perfect thing to help start off our day.  Being Thankful for all that we have, all that God has lavished us with.

I kept our mantel pretty simple, I’m sure I will add a bit more next month for Halloween but I love this so far.  I have tried to stick to simple stuff that I can use for every holiday…like the silver candle sticks that came from Ulta 3 as a free gift…a long, long time ago.  The candles are battery operated (you never know with boys running around)

The silver vase I picked up for less than $10.00 at TJ Max and the large twigs came from the yard.

I love the crows, they freak out adults more than the kids.

And more DIY art too, I wanted a deer head for a long time.  Harry reminded me how quickly I can grow tired of certain looks and I agreed.  So I improvised by painting the silhouette on an old canvas we had lying around, the cool thing, in an art thief from the movies sort of way, is that there is already another painting under that deer.  So until I tire of him he will stay, and he was free to boot!

Twin’s Room (Progress)

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Sharing a room between siblings I’m sure for most kids is not necessarily a fun thing (from what I hear) For the twins, they could not imagine it any other way.  In fact they didn’t want to bring the bunk bed they had in Canada back because they couldn’t see each other.  They slept together nose to nose a majority of the first year of their life and if you would separate them they would wake up immediately.  I don’t think I will ever understand the dynamic bond these two have between them. Enough of that on to their room…

here it is prior to moving in…

and today

We keep everything simple to help them keep up with it all.  This is how it looked when I came in to take pictures…ok maybe I smoothed out their quilt a bit…but really that’s it.

More fun art…the picture over their bed was made by their awesome cousin (who is off traveling the country evangelizing to teens for the next year) I think the twins got that for their first birthday

the room kinda took on a mind of its own with something the boys love dearly…the beach

The skim board is from Academy, it was a fun and cheap accent especially after their last trip to Myrtle Beach, it was hard to forget about the ocean.  I have plans of blowing up some beach pictures to add to the walls…

I can hear a little Jack Johnson playing when I see these…

they are not just decoration, they actually get played…

No toys in the bedroom but books are a must.  Most of these are this weeks library picks.  Yoda keeps them on time (Get Up for School You Must!).  We have always kept toys out of their room.  It just makes it harder for them to clean up having extra stuff lying around.  We were never fond of any big (or little) plastic toys, like anything made in China, or lots of stuff animals (terrible for their asthma).  Lots of toys end up going to a new home after Christmas and Birthdays overload them with gifts from every corner of the family.  They always end up playing with most stuff for a couple months then it becomes old news.  I’m not a fan of picking up toys no one wants.  Less is more.  It’s easier for them to stick with keeping things ship-shape (Harry’s beachy reference for clean and tidy)

They had wanted a big chair to read in.  That was out of the question for a long time as anything fabric will just help Isaac’s asthma flair up.  We steer clear of lots of blankets, carpet etc.  We found this awesome bungie chair at Target last month and Logan bought it with some of the money he earned over the summer from his weekly allowance.  It has a very tempting Angry Bird spring launcher feel to it but they haven’t launched each other across the room yet…

They are so happy to have street clothes for school this year…

their closet works for them especially since they tend to share most of their jeans, shorts and some shirts…they never dress alike anymore since so many people still have a hard time telling them apart.

We usually find them here reading too

 

We have plans to paint their room with a cool accent stripe near the ceiling per their request but for now it is perfect for them.

 

Check out the big air!

Small Entryway Updates

Friday, September 7th, 2012

With school starting and the immediate need to make room for backpacks, lunch kits, jackets and things we don’t want to forget as we make a mad dash out the door in the morning for school I knew I needed a central location for the boys to keep their stuff organized and not all over the kitchen table, or floor…or anywhere they decided to dump their stuff upon the completion of homework.  The days of, “Mom where is my jacket”  or “Have you seen my shoes?” all ended in our last house when we had an amazing laundry room makeover.  There is a place for everything in our home and although I may not be as organized as some of my inspiring friends (yes you Stephanie) we had a great system down and we did not want to waste any time getting them out of the habit of putting things away.  Especially when you have important school things to be responsible for.  And yes 8 year olds are very responsible people…if you give them the right tools.

This is how our Entry Way closet looked up until about two weeks ago.  It was a dumping ground, some shoes, folding chairs, boxes yet to be unpacked, a shoe cubby left by the previous owner, pictures, some jackets and curtain rods (also left by the previous owner)

After a quick trip to Lowes $45.00 later, a little bit of paint, L-brackets, closet board, and some hooks our entry closet now looks like this

We cut the rod almost in half and braced the top shelf with a divider so the boys would have a place for their backpacks.

We mounted them on extra wood we had lying around in the garage after we primed and painted the wood white.  It gives the hooks extra support for heavy backpacks

The crates at the top were lying around so they got used to store empty lunch boxes on the weekends and a box full of extra school supplies in case they tell me on the way out the door they are out of something, it is right there.  It is also where we keep all the supplies they need to complete their homework without having to dig for a sharpened pencil every day.

We also switched out the mirror in the entry way for a DIY Sunburst mirror project I made out of door shims from Lowe’s and a small mirror from Michaels.

I had intentions of hanging it on our front porch but on the way out the front door I stopped and held it up against the wall and decided this was a better fit.

I love the different wood tones in this room.  We painted the walls (and closet) Comfort Grey by Ben Moore.  The updating of the ceiling light is on the list of things to do.  More than hanging pictures or mirrors on the walls however getting organized especially in a new place is super rewarding to me.  The boys have yet to ask me where anything they need for school is.  They are up, fed, teeth brushed, medicated, dressed, packed up and ready to go every morning 30 minutes after waking up.

Nothing better than smooth mornings to start the day off right!

iPhone instant replay…

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Sunroom Reveal

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

When we moved in our sunroom off the side of the house was looking very red….too much brick in my opinion

 and although the floor is extremely sporting that 70’s cracked tile look, it just was not something I would choose today.

it was not in the budget to change anything about this room and although I threatened to paint the brick…Harry encouraged me to wait.

the room gets great light and it is awesome to sleep in at night since it is covered with windows on two of the walls you can hear nature all around you.

Soon it looked like this, and stayed this way for a long time.

So after day long trip to Charlotte, NC round about Asheville to borrow Harry’s brothers truck (thanks Eric) we headed to Ikea on a tight budget to outfit this room.

I have always wanted to have a library in the house, a place for all our books and a quiet place to just escape and read.  So here is how it looks today

It was easy to throw down a rug from Lowes that cost less than $70.00 to lighten the floor.  The bed opens up like a regular daybed to a “king” and has awesome storage underneath but serves as a great landing spot for an afternoon nap or chill time with a favorite book

I found the pillows at the Pottery Barn outlet in Gaffney, SC.  The curtains are from Ikea, they really soften everything up and filter the sun that comes in the morning.

We added Billy bookcases from Ikea, five total.  I have plans to customize them a bit by adding a piece of trim between them (see the gap) to help them look a little more custom.

My mom bought me these chairs years ago and have been painted many times so they were use to another coat of paint going on.

I painted them a creamy color and covered the chair cushions with an ivory denim that I also plan on slip-covering another chair in the house with.  One bolt goes a long way.

Accessorizing the shelves was the fun part.  I wanted the kids to have their books as well as mine in the room but I did not have plans to over-crowd each shelf.  I love how I can add irony, whimsey, beloved keepsakes, practical references all while not being permeant so we can switch-a-roo stuff at any moment.

My little growing globe collection have all come from either Goodwill or were on major clearance.  I don’t think I paid over $8.00 for any of them

My “Catholic Reference” section with non other than fish to represent!

The windows make for great bird watching.  The boys are always looking up something new that flies into the yard.  And Mrs. K….didn’t they make these ladybugs in your class?

I have yet to read these books but thought the classic book by Munro Leaf was an appropriate fit next to the series

and speaking of kid books, I have two baskets filled with the boys favorite paperbacks along with two shelves.  We have a house rule so they help me keep everything in ship shape.  After they read a book instead of putting it back they just drop it in the basket by the door and once a week we put them all away together

Harry only needed one  shelf for Physics, Beer, Engineering, Romance and WWII aircraft, his recipe for a perfect evening!

We have plenty of art around here to never have to buy a custom piece or something random off the shelf at a store.  The top drawing was gifted to the boys years ago from one of their talented second cousins…I had it custom framed when we got it because I loved it so much.  I’m sure her artistic talent has grown since this drawing but it is priceless to me non-the-less, as is the drawing by my own boy gifted to me this past Valentines Day.

It’s a great place to read, rest, check out nature rain or shine or just be a crazy kid

I love how the room evolved not knowing what it would look like when we were done but we went from this

to this

Apples to Apples

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

 

It’s September, and what better way to celebrate the beginning of the month other than going apple picking.  The boys love apples, I mean really LOVE them.  So when some new friends of ours suggested we go apple picking it was a no brainer.

We headed to Sky Top Orchard on Sunday which was less than an hour away from home.  Not really sure what to expect we were all pleasantly surprised with the size and variety offered at the local orchard.

J-man got help from his big brother putting on his apple pickin’ boots

 

Of all the varieties available the twins headed to the Golden Delicious section first and raced each other up the hill to check out the best selection

 

 After the rest of the crew caught up we got down to business.

But it did not take long for those clouds beyond the orchard and mountains to reach us, we had a major but brief downpour.  I begged Harry to take my camera back to the car and I finished taking pictures with my trusty iPhone

So we slipped into some trees to let the rain slow down.  It was fun moment I won’t ever forget with my guys.

How do ya like THEM apples?

 

 We covered lots of ground gathering as many types of apples as we could – Golden Delicious, Red, Gala, samples of Cortland, Mustu, Jonagold…everything was mixed together at the end.  We had to dodge another brief downpour before heading to the weigh-in.

I think we ended up with over 100 apples (41 pounds!).  They will be gone in a week.

This last picture was a request by the boys to send home to their BFF Miss R.  We miss you!