Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weedless Wednesday

Despite the teeny tiny plants in my garden, I am beginning to get some actual veggies! I picked these just this morning.

I also noticed that I have tomatoes growing, as well as some flowers on the cucumber plant.

So far this week, I rearranged the soaker hose so that it now follows the rows, and also Miracle Grow'd everything. That's all the goo news.

The less than good news is that I'm having some trouble getting ahead of the weeds... and also Matt saw a squirrel in the garden this morning. We've never had squirrels before. Rabbits? Yes. Squirrels? No. It would figure that I finally put in place a relatively permanent solution to keep the rabbits out... and then the squirrels move in.

Happy Gardening!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hmmm.... what could this be for? Is it possible that we made a recent purchase of something awesome for our family?

Yep!!! We bought a pop-up camper! We here at Chez Keowdie love to camp.

But... in the last couple of years, some of the camping has been a little less fun. Camping in a tent is difficult with 2 young boys. Sleeping on the ground is difficult with a thirty-something-year-old body. Sleeping in a tent when the temperatures are chilly (like, 30's) at night is difficult when you're not an Eskimo.

So, after a little cranking, chocking and popping...

We figured it out, popped it up, and started making a list of everything that needs to be moved into/purchased for our new home away from home.
Here's another picture of the interior:

Riley couldn't wait to explore.
We have to get license plates for it before we can take her out on her maiden voyage. I definitely forsee some more camping trips in our future!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fiber Friday

I finished the last pair of Soldiers Angels socks! In case you missed the story about these, I'll put it in a nutshell. We adopt soldiers through Soldiers Angels, and the soldier we are currently supporting will be coming back to the States in August for the birth of his first child. Since he is currently deployed in a still-active part of Iraq, he will have very few (if any) opportunities to shop for a gift for his baby girl. So, I knitted two pairs of socks for him to bring home. They are small & portable, and will be easy for him to bring home to his wife & baby.

Here's the first pair:
The pattern is my own, and is a great stash buster. I don't even know what yarn I used, although I think the bright pink was some that I dyed myself. This first pair turned out slightly bigger than I planned, and are actually too big for a newborn, so...

...I made a second pair:
These are much smaller, and I think will be perfect for a newborn baby's tiny feet. I guess they'll have a pair for now and a pair for later!

I have another quick project I hope to cast on today, before beginning another baby blanket for my niece/nephew who will be born in December.

In addition to knitting, the boys & I have been spending most afternoons (which are now 90+ degrees) in the back yard. I toss the kids in the pool, pull up my lawn chair, stick my feet in the water... and relax.
It's a great way to kill an afternoon and unwind after a day full of housework & running around.
Ahhhhhhhhh. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weedless Wdnesday

You can tell from the following picture that I've been busy, weeding the garden. I weeded for about an hour & got two rows done before I had to quit. There's still a lot to be done, but it's a start.

I also picked up some gardening shoes today. Now, I am generally against the whole idea of Crocs (except for the little baby ones - those are so cute!) but I needed some shoes that I can just hose off. These were $9.00, so I gritted my teeth & bought them.

In general, I'm not too happy with how things are growing so far. The veggies in the garden are growing painfully slow, and I think it's because of the really bad soil we got. Matt picked up some Miracle Grow yesterday, so I'll be dousing the garden this week. Maybe that will help.

We had our first garden casualty already. The sweet peas didn't make it. I think they got too much direct sunlight, and not enough water. Even though it hasn't been too hot (until today), it seems that the direct sun for most of the day was too much for them.
Yellow/brown pea plants = not a good sign. It tried to move these guys back under the porch, but it was too late.
I'll be pulling out the deceased peas & replanting them... in a better spot with more water & less sun.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tidy Up Tuesday

Much has been going on to improve and beautify our home. First up, I finally made some time to hang up my cross collection. (I know it's not very big, but it's a start. The big one was a gift from my MIL, who made it in ceramics class a long time ago; the smaller one was a purchase during my recent trip to Phoenix.)

I also rearranged some of the baby gates & barricades on the first floor. The top of the basement stairs was really cluttery. The whole area had been blocked off, so we had kind of started lobbing things to go downstairs over the gate... where they sat & sat. It's nice to be able to get to the window again.

The same thing happened with the entry table. It tends to collect stuff to go upstairs, but the stuff sort of sits there longer than it really should. I purchased two small baskets at Walgreens that now sit on the stairs. The baskets collect the stuff to go upstairs & are emptied several times each day.
I wish I had thought to take before photos so you could see the great improvements that were made.

Much of the tidying that happened this week was of the organizational kind. I reorganized Tyson's control journal... well as my own. We needed to accommodate for summer break. I love this idea, which I got from the FLY Lady. Having my routines and daily to-do lists helps to keep me on track with the housework, and spreads it out. We do a little each day, and then on "Home Blessing Day," we've only got about an hour worth of cleaning to do. We use the timer method FLY Lady recommends, and amazingly, it all gets done (when we stick to the program).
We've got a lot to do this week. I'm trying to tear through all the hidden spaces this week (closets, cabinets, etc.). Once the nooks & crannies of our family living spaces are clean & organized, we can move on to cleaning up the basement & decorating the bedrooms.

Have a Tidy Week!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flag Day Weekend

Happy Flag Day!

Well, Flag Day was yesterday. We are a patriotic bunch, so we celebrated with some patriotic activities. The first order of business was for Matt to hang up our new flag pole. Our last one broke in the fall & we thought this weekend was a good time to hang up a new one.

Tyson baked some cookies for the soldier we adopted. These Flag Day cookies will be going to Iraq, and will conveniently arrive to our soldier by Independence Day.

Ty & I also baked a Flag Day cake. It's a yellow cake with white icing. We used blusberries & strawberries to give it the stars & stripes.
Of course, Matt & Riley helped with the cake a little, but mostly they just ate the leftover icing.
After the baking was finished, we worked on weeding the out of control garden, inflated the kids' little frog pool and watered all the plants.

The day ended with a Flag Day BBQ - grilled chicken & veggie kabobs, baked mac & cheese, and (of course) our Flag Day cake!

Other fun parts of the weekend included Ty's tennis class...
...and my tennis class on Saturday... well as a short road trip to IL to look at something. More on that later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest Post

Hi, Ya'll! It's Riley, here... I'm posting for my Mommy today. She says she's too exhausted to post. I have no idea why. She claims that she is tired from keeping up with me, but I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about.

In my own defense, I have put together a photo montage I have entitled "A Day in the Life of a Wild Thing." ("Wild, Thing," indeed... again, I don't know what they were talking about when they slapped that nickname on me, but for some unknown reason it has stuck. I'm trying to embrace it.)

I'm just like any other kid. I love a good snack, and I can eat it all by myself. Nothing for Mommy to do here...

After a good snack, I like to spend a bit of my day helping my mom. This morning I helped with her spinning wheel. There was all this wool hanging out of it, so I relieved said wheel of said wool.

I like to stay near my mom, especially when she's working on the computer. Pay no attention to the dog's legs next to me. I most certainly was not under the table because the dog was napping there & I was curious about how he'd respond to being bludgeoned with my toy.

Okay, occasionally when something doesn't go my way, I have to lay down the law. I have to show them who really wears the pants in this family.

Anyway, I do my fair share of helping out around here. I'm constantly running the Swiffer around, and I keep all my toys in constant circulation around the entire first floor... you know, to avoid dust build up.

I am very good about using my words. I have about 15 signs I use on a daily basis, and I am never impatient or demanding about using them. I mean, come on. I understand that it could take as many as 2.5 seconds for Mommy to respond to my request for cheese and juice. (Any more than that & the woman is just being lazy...) I'm a patient man.

And, here I am trying to clean the lense of Mommy's camera while she tried to take a picture of my big brother. Since my fingers are usually a little damp & sticky anyway, I just thought I'd help out. I also help my family kep their eyeballs, ears and nostrils clean by frequently poking them with my damp, drooly fingers as well. What can I say? I'm just doing my part.

And, sure, I might want to be carried around nonstop, like every minute of almost every day, but that's just so that Mommy doesn't get lonely. I know she must miss me terribly when she's cooking dinner, changing the laundry around and going to the bathroom. My cries are simply to remind her that I'm still out here and will never leave her alone. Ever. So that she will be comforted. And not lonely. And not afraid that I have suddenly disappeared.

I like to work on my skills whenever possible, too. Learning to do things like dump things out, open gates and climb will undoubtedly benefit me later in life. And I'm fortunate, that opporunities to practice these skills seem to build on one another in this environment. For example, I had to learn to dump out that big hamper my mom put in front of the gate so that I could then learn to open that gate she put in front of the stairs so that I could then practice my skills at climbing to the top of the stairs to declare myself King of the Mountain.
And of course, there's always time for a little goofing around.

I also enjoy the outdoors. Mostly I enjoy overturning the still-empty flower pots...

...and rearranging the furniture...

...and sometimes digging in the sand. Although it's a lot more fun to watch Mommy get grossed out when I eat the sand. Her reaction is well worth the price of gritty teeth!

And who doesn't like to kick back at the end of the day with a cool beverage? I pilfered this particulr gem out of the recycle bag the other day. Too bad my Daddy had already finished off the contents and rinsed out the bottle. Otherwise, it would have been a great night!
All in all, I'd say that I'm the one who should be exhausted by the end of the day.

I mean really, I'm the one who is constantly in motion, all day long, from the time I wake up until the time I fall asleep without ever stopping or slowing down for even the briefest of moments.
So why is Mommy too tired to post today? I still don't get it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tidy Up Tuesday

Well, last week's Tidy-Up projects were a bust. I just can't seem to motivate myself to clean when I'm sick. Actually, it's all I can do to motivate myself to feed and clothe the children and myself when I'm sick.

So this week started off well. I have managed to clear the clutter from my kitchen, and to stay on top of the dishes. Inspired by my dear friend, Becca, I also cleaned out the fridge (including wiping down the shelves & drawers!) And, thanks to this program, I am much better at keeping a shiny sink than I used to be!
Next, I tackled a job that has been building up and making me crazy for weeks: the dining room table. We have an open floor plan, so when that table (which is rather large in size) is messy, the mess is all up in yo' business, no matter where you are on the first floor.

When I began, it was completely covered. I mean, completely. It started with a few innocent stacks of "things I need to go through" but by the end of the school year and my out of town conference, the "stacks" had multiplied, become "piles," and had slid into one another to create a mountainous region of odds & ends. It was not pretty.

But now it's very pretty!
That stuff at the end is my summer work station. This way I can bring small amounts of work up from the dungeon... er, I mean office downstairs... so I can work on work-stuff, but still keep an eye on the boys.

And speaking of the Boys... post would be complete without a photo of my littler "helpers." I'm trying to instill in all of us a habit of picking up all the toys in the living room before leaving the house, eating lunch, and going to bed... as well as any time things just get really out of hand. Not a lot of success so far, but we'll get there! Does anybody know where I can buy a whistle?
Happy Cleaning!