Around the House

This post is going to have a lot of photos since there are just so many things I need to show you. First of all, we had a fantastic Valentine’s Day. We agreed to keep the presents homemade. Our main “gift” was to spend the entire weekend together working on projects around the house together. So, for Robert, I made a fancy Valentine’s Day breakfast. He was at the fire station on Friday evening so Saturday morning when he came home he found a cute little sign on the door, alerting him that he was about to enter “The Valentine Cafe.” The dining room table was all set up in a cozy cafe atmosphere…

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The table setting even featured firefighter friendly LED candles and a small bouquet of flowers.

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The menu consisted of mixed berries (some of them from the freezer), champagne mimosas (one of the last remaining bottles of champagne from the wedding) and homemade donuts because my sweetie loves donuts. They had heart-shaped holes in the center and then we had heart shaped donut holes.

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The donuts were super simple to make quite honestly. The only problem was that I got the timing a bit off and had to set an alarm for 3am to switch them from the warm rise to the fridge. So, that wasn’t too fun. But, it was worth it. Robert really enjoyed his surprise. I also worked with Daisy and she made a valentine for her Daddy, featuring her paw print. I decorated up a little wooden box and filled it with about 30 notecards all full of ideas for various date nights. I also made a simple card and wrote a nice note inside.

When Robert came in to the Valentine Cafe he brought some beautiful multicolored roses and an extremely sweet card which almost made me cry.

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My Valentine’s Day present consisted of the most yummy dinner of chicken with lemon caper cream sauce and asparagus in brown butter not one night, but two. Such a delicious meal. And, it was followed by some lemon cheesecake. Oh. Which made quite a nice breakfast for the rest of the week! And, the other part of my Valentine’s Day present was new, larger garden beds. Three of them to be exact.

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I also got dirt and compost to fill them up. When we were out looking for seeds and bulk dirt, we ran across the little portable greenhouse. It is seriously nifty and very useful since we weren’t sure where in the house we could possibly put all the seeds we wanted to start. I am trying to start as much as possible from seed so we don’t need to go buy a bunch of plants from the nursery. Last year we had good luck with the herbs, but not much else. So, we will see how it goes this year.

We have restarted obedience classes with Daisy. She went into heat after the second class so we took about three weeks off and have started a new class. She is much more well behaved and calm in the pet store now when we go to class, which is very nice. She’s overall extremely well behaved at home too, which is very nice. We are certainly not experts on dogs, Robert had one dog when he was a kid and I have had none, so I think we got very lucky with Daisy having a very laid back temperament. She is very happy to go outside with my when I am hanging clothes out on the line or working in the garden and just sniff around the yard, chase a butterfly or two and roll around in the grass. It sounds pretty normal until I mention that we don’t have a fenced in yard at all. She is happy to hang out with us and not run off and if we look up from our work and she’s wandered out of sight or too close to the road, etc. we call her and she comes happily trotting back by our side to see what’s going on. She is so incredibly sweet and calm and laid back. Hopefully when we go camping this spring she will be a little less timid and enjoy it more. I think she will. She is much more confident in us now as well so it should be easier for her to be confident in varying surroundings.

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March is going to be a crazy month. I will be in Indiana the first week for a family quilting retreat and then home for about two days before heading to Austin for the SXSW interactive festival. After all that, I’m guessing I’ll be very happy to come home and sleep in my own bed, snuggle with my husband and my puppy and just relax. Of course, I’ll be about two weeks behind on work so there won’t be too much time to relax. The garden will be ready for planting by then too. Hooray!

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My favorites

robert-and-daisy2 My husband, and my dog. My two favorite things. They both make me extremely happy, love me unconditionally and cause me to smile over and over each day. With these two, my simple life, my writing, my books, my sewing… I feel like I lead a charmed life at times.

I have started some garden things. Planted seeds for three tomato varieties in pots, cut apart some seed potatoes to dry and this weekend we will be putting seeds into garden beds and planting onion sets if all goes according to plan. We are really hoping for a bountiful harvest this year and I am trying to figure out just how to do it all. Sure my parents had a garden, but I was about 5 or 6 the last year they had it. Anyway, I need to work on planting other seeds as well – peppers, herbs, lettuces and on and on. We have a huge variety of things to plant. Or at least, it feels huge! I am determined to plant some flowers this year as well. I think morning glories climbing the posts on the front porch would be perfect.

I will be heading off to Indiana in a few weeks for a visit with my parents, the family quilting retreat and some digging through the shed. I have a lot of stuff that was either left in my old bedroom at home or tossed in the shed before the move to Texas. It needs to be cleared out. Some of it I want, like the scrapbook I painstakingly made to document my 8th grade year but other things, like college textbooks, just need to be cleared out and donated somewhere. I am only taking a car, and not the truck, so it will limit how much I can bring home. I already have too much stuff and have been working to clear things out. Last time we went to Indiana we filled the entire truck with tools from my Grandpa’s workshop for Robert and some of his wooden toys and things to tuck away for our own babies. I also picked up some of my Great-Grandmother’s sewing things. I know Robert was groaning but honestly, there was so much more I wanted to save and tuck away that I didn’t. Of course, I brought those boxes home and tucked them into the closet, I need to get everything out, clean it up and put it away. I have made some progress on taming the closets lately. So many things just got shoved into them before the wedding and then after my move that we are still digging out. It will be easier to live simply and with less clutter when I just have less stuff overall to keep up with. I also need to figure out a good solution for my dollhouse. My Grandpa made me a dollhouse when I was 8. It’s about 3 feet tall and 5 feet long. My parents were quite happy to get it out of the their house and into ours and I was fine with it all, until we determined it wouldn’t fit through the closet doors. So, now it sits in the guest room, which will someday be the nursery. I certainly don’t want to get rid of it.. I mean, it’s handmade by my Grandpa over months and months, for me… but it’s so big, I am just not sure what to do with it. Maybe once Robert builds the shed we can make up a rack near the ceiling in either the shed or the garage for it. It will probably end up needing some painting and gluing afterwards to be ready for play again, but, that I can handle.

I have been no good at cooking at all lately. Robert has had no time to sit down and talk about what he wants to eat and I’ve used that as an excuse to not thaw things which them means completely random dinners or going out. It’s not horrible since we have not gone out much at all in the past several months, but, it is a bad habit to fall back into.

Here’s an exciting bit of news… We got our first electric bill that showed a whole month of having the wood stove. We saved almost 2,000 kwh over the same month last year. Robert figures it was about a $300 savings for one month. If we do that well this month also, by the end of next winter, it will have paid for itself in savings on the electric bill.

That’s enough from me. I need to get back to the laundry and the posting and such.

My How She Has Grown, and updates

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The little puppy I brought home in November has almost doubled in weight, grown taller and turned into a mighty fine dog. She is calm and relaxed most of the time, she is learning well in obedience classes and, best of all, is very good at going out in the yard and  being off her leash without running off.

Lots of things are coming up for me. I will be going up to Indiana for a family quilting retreat. Yes, we have created our own retreat. Shortly after that I will be going to the SXSW interactive Festival in Austin. I feel a bit nervous about that one… as if all my geeky online friends will find out that I’m really not so geeky after all!

I’m having a dreadfully difficult time getting things done lately. My brain is slow to percolate ideas and put words together into sentences when I am writing and it is getting very frustrating. Sure, I can write stuff, but frequently I write something, read it back and it is so utterly boring there is no way it will work.  My creativity, it seems, has left the building for the moment. I hope it comes back soon.

I am enjoying participating in Paperback Swap lately but I fear I am using it as a way to avoid going out to find friends close by, at least for the moment. There is a local book club that meets through the group but they meet up an hour from where I live and the two books they have read so far seem less than appealing to me. So, on the one hand I’d like to be social. On the other, a book I’d not pick up on my own and an hours drive, not so much…

The wood stove has been working out wonderfully for the most part. We really need to install the second one to keep the bedrooms and my office warm. We have been out to cut firewood a few times as well and we’ve actually had fun doing it together. We took Daisy the first time and she played in and around a pond with another dog. She was filthy but really happy, so, I didn’t mind giving her a bath. We are hoping to get a hydraulic, hand operated wood splitter soon. It just uses hydraulics and manpower to operate so that seems good.