Strawberry picking.

1 Jul

IMG_7872I went strawberry picking today.

What am I going to do with the berries? No idea, really. But it felt right to jump in the car this morning and drive to the nearest pick-your-own patch.  My local weather app said the rain would’t start until the afternoon but the sky grew darker as I drove. I still managed to pick a fairly full box before the rain began.

Strawberry picking is just one of those things I love to do. Summer doesn’t feel right if it doesn’t happen. It’s most likely because I grew up doing it. I remember going with my friend, Lynn, when we were in high school. I’d bring the berries home and make strawberry pies and freezer jam until the counters were full. I remember once, before I was able to drive, when my Grandma Vera was sick and unable to pick herself, she drove me to the patch and sat in the car while I picked her ice cream buckets of berries for her. I’m pretty sure the jam-making drive came from her.

I’m okay with that. Dave is too. I’ve finally convinced him that strawberry rhubarb jam is something to be revered and enjoyed. Perhaps another batch is in my future.

I can do hard things.

24 Jun

I saw a sticker with those words and it’s a good reminder. (My new favorite Etsy shop has it.) I’ve done a couple hard things lately.  Here are two:

I push mowed the lawn. Now, you might be thinking, what’s hard about that? Maybe it’s not so much hard  but new. I’ve never push mowed before. (Gasp.) Once, while in college, I worked for the grounds crew, I got sent off with a classmate named Adam to push mow a Luther property in town. He attempted to teach me how to work the mower and – I don’t quite remember why or how – but I failed. And he suggested I wait for him to finish by sitting in the truck. That is the extent of my push mowing.

Don’t misunderstand – I have mowed lawns before. It’s just been for large lawns with riding lawn mowers. But our lot in Wind Point can be mowed just fine with a push mower and that’s what Dave has. A couple weekends ago, Dave was out of town and the lawn desperately needed mowing. Desperately. I placed a call for a phone tutorial and then – wait for it – I push mowed the lawn. I did it. And the neighbor across the street yelled over to tell me it looked great!IMG_7813

Second: I recovered camper cushions. I’d been putting it off for forever because – well – zippers. I don’t have much experience with zippers and they are scary for this sew-er. With our first camping trip planned for last weekend and, you know, currently being unemployed, I decided it had to be tackled. A youtube video later, I was on my way and zippers aren’t so scary anymore. It felt wonderful to get the gross standard brown cushion covers off (photo on right) and add some color. AND I had just enough fabric left to make a matching shower curtain. (Another new thing: button holes. Never have I ever sewed a button hole until the shower curtain. Verdict: kind of fun.) Next up: new dinette table.

We gave the cushions their first spin this past weekend. We pulled the camper to Stevens Point where we snagged the very last (first-come, first-serve, not-reservable) campsite at a county park. This specific park was the destination as it’s just a short drive from Dave’s sister and her family, as well as his visiting parents. We had a lovely weekend in the camper with lots of family time to boot.

Kitchen update.

10 Jun

I feel like we are finally getting a grip on the kitchen. A full kitchen remodel is a couple years down the road for us but we’re making some cosmetic and practical changes to help use and enjoy the space as it is now.

Before:
IMG_7789

(The wallpaper is subtle but it’s there – covering every. single. kitchen wall surface.) The wallpaper was stripped and the glue remained. The glue was the tricky part. Three different methods were employed, along with sanding, repairing, and a whole lot of elbow grease. A couple coats of primer. Paint (lemongrass green) above the cabinets and the full wall. Today REMOVABLE wallpaper was added as a temporary, economical backsplash/accent.

Next up: update outlets and wall switches, decor, and a new kitchen island will soon follow. As cool (not) as it is to have an indoor grill installed on the island and a circle on the other end, the current island is simply not practical.  *clapping hands emoji* We’re getting there!

Home improvement updates.

15 May

I haven’t shared a whole lot of details here yet but our house needs help. Projects that will make it all the more lovely inside and out.  And those projects are my life now. (Until I get a job of some sort. Projects + daily walk to the lake with the dog = my life.) Here are the current project stats —

When we first looked at the house and put an offer in to purchase, it was the end of winter. We could see that the backyard had some landscaping but we weren’t sure what exactly. As spring has (finally) arrived, we have learned that – OH MY YES – it has landscaping. Bulbs, hostas GALORE, and all sorts of questionable plants cover the garden areas. My mom came to stay last weekend and helped us get a lot of the garden under control – raking, weeding, and lots of “I wonder what that is”/”Why would they put that there?”  It was a great start; I continue to spend a little time outside each day to make a bit more progress.

There is wallpaper; I’ve told you this. The wallpaper in the kitchen came off no problem; we had that done the first weekend.  There was still the matter of the entry hall and guest bathroom. (Plus two bedrooms but those are projects for down the road.) My younger brother’s other, Jenny, is in the continuous 48 for a brief stay; she came over last weekend to help too. She VOLUNTARILY peeled wallpaper. (Round of applause.) She peeled the hallway and the bathroom which was awesome. Now, today, I attempt to remove glue from the hallway, whose wallpaper left a particular thick residue. (Can you see the discoloration below on the left photo? It’s glue that needs to go.) All the more closer to a coat of primer in all these places and PAINT! What a difference that will make. (See the super cool yellow shower in the bathroom? Totally keeping that. Everything else will go but that, my vintage loving friends, will stay.)

Other projects?
One block wall of the basement is covered in dry-lock; many more walls to go.
My sewing room is close to organized.
I’ve been to Home Depot and Menards more times in the past three weeks than I have in the last year … and there are many more trips to go because we’re home improvement people now. So far it’s exciting and only slightly overwhelming.

Ask me what I think in three months (or next week) and my answer may differ.

 

We’re in.

9 May

IMG_7750We closed on our lovely home on Friday. As TJ on Gilmore Girls would proclaim, “I’m in esss-ga-row!” (He didn’t really know what it meant but he shouted it a million times in a single episode. If you’re a GG fan, you might know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, simply move on. It’s really not important.)

We moved in the things we had in our vehicles, including but not limited to: a dog, an air mattress, cleaning supplies, and five pinball games. (These pinballs got a priority ride in Dave’s trailer; they are too nice to be trusted to movers, you know.) Throughout the weekend, we —

+ welcomed our first visitors
+ toured the village of Wind Point
+ made the first of many home improvement store runs
+ put contact paper in the cupboards
+ tried the pizza place just down the road
+ slept on an air mattress
+ stripped the wallpaper in the kitchen
+ tried a new coffee shop
+ readied a straw bale garden
+ met a few neighbors
+ began to dream about what our first big project would be to undertake
(Answer: master bath.)

Then Monday morning, the boxes happened. A semi rolled up with our favorite moving men and here’s how it went down: They would load boxes/furniture/what have you on their dollies, roll it into the house, look at Dave or I and we’d tell them where to put it. I literally sat at the kitchen island for the morning and pointed. Oh, the boxes. And the paper. As I began to unpack the kitchen that afternoon, everything was wrapped in paper. Everything.

A cord. Wrapped in paper.
A rubber spatula. Wrapped in paper.
Plastic glasses. Wrapped in paper.

The same routine happened on Tuesday with the second semi of garage items and pinball games. They rolled the pinball games to the basement and then asked us what we would like them to unbox. Simply to get some boxes and PAPER out of the house, we had them unbox a couple rooms. Obviously, they don’t put anything away because they don’t know where it goes (Goodness, I don’t know where it goes yet either.) but it was helpful to not have to do the unwrapping. To give you an idea, here’s the current state of my sewing room —

IMG_7749

That is a project for another day.

More house posts to come!

Emmett: FFF

2 May

Current status: As of 11:30 last night, I arrived – tired, sleepy, zombie – in Wisconsin at the hotel where Dave has been staying for the last two and a half weeks while working. Today, Emmett and I are chilling at the hotel – napping, Netflix-ing, and ordering a new return address stamp.  Today is the day I feel I can exhale and begin to process it all. Deep breath.

But before we hit the road yesterday, Emmett had visitors. While the moving crew loaded the last of the house, some of his favorite people came to shower him with belly rubs, gifts, and frisbee throwing. People who call him a FFF – Fur friend forever. Just look at him eating up every single minute –

Jessica was our go-to puppy/house-sitter extraordinaire. Anna and Lacey, her cousins, would come stay on the house-sitting gigs and visit Emmett in the yard whenever they were at church. They all love that furry beast.  And Emmett loves them!

Things are going to be a bit topsy-turvy for the furry one – long car ride, hotel stay, new house (probably with fewer squirrels – oh the horror), new bay window in which to lay. Now he has a new pillow and blanket from his friends to see him through. And maybe they’ll come visit or we’ll go visit sometime. Not the end of this fur friendship.

Just for fun – current status of the furry one. Transition is exhausting.IMG_5670

 

It’s happening.

30 Apr

Two red semis and four men rolled up to the parsonage yesterday morning and got to work. Boxing, taping, wrapping, packing, moving. As of today, we live in a sea of boxes and gathered furniture. (Top right photo is our dining room!)

It’s crazy how quickly they got things packed up and well on their way. Tony, Eric, Josh, and Matt (We’re friends now. After someone packs your every – EVERY – belonging, I suppose you do grow on a deeper level. We bought them pizza for lunch because we’re friends … and to slightly bribe them into taking good care of our things.) are hoping to knock this four day job out in three. That means tonight, Emmett and I are on an air mattress in the living room and on our way to Wisconsin as soon as everything is loaded tomorrow. (Dave heads back this afternoon and to work tomorrow.)

We’ll see our moving crew again on Monday when they unload our every belonging (and 38 pinball machines) into our new home. I learned yesterday that, as a part of the package Dave’s company ordered for us, they will also UNPACK our belongings. We’re not sure we’ll take them up on that completely (and Matt said they love it when the customers don’t) but, sure, we’ll cash in the offer to set up a couple beds and unpack a couple wardrobes.

Deep breath. Let the sea of boxes (and furniture. and pinball machines.) meet us in Wisconsin.

We’re moving.

15 Apr

It’s been official for awhile; many of you probably already know.

We’re moving.

We are excited, a wee bit scared, and sad all at once to be heading out on a new adventure. Dave has a new job (which he started TODAY) that is taking us to Racine, WI.  I will follow the first week in May (for a yet unknown job).

IMG_7695We are in the process of buying a house. The above house. A house which will need color, landscaping help, removal of wallpaper, and gradual updating, much to Lindsay’s amusement. A house with a basement which will require work to turn it into the best pinball lair yet, much to Dave’s excitement. A house which is a ten minute walk from Lake Michigan.

We are thrilled to be closer to our families and ready for a new adventure. There is sadness too; I can’t yet think about my last Sunday because there is work still to do before the crying begins.  (And who thought moving the week after Easter was a good idea?)

Posting of our adventure to come right here! Stay tuned.

Scone business.

27 Mar

We’ve been all about scones here at this parsonage lately. Dave, the not-a-sweets lover, discovered he loved scones. (I love scones too! You’d think we were meant for each other!) (Okay. Fine. Maybe not so much fate because, really, who doesn’t love scones? No friend of mine.) So Dave loves scones. And thus started asking occasionally, Why don’t you make me scones? (It’s a question prompt that is a regular part of conversations here. Why don’t you … make tater tot hot dish? Play pinball with me? You get it.)

Being in the first year of marriage as we are, I still aim to please. (Four months from now, maybe not. But who are we kidding? Probably so. People pleaser. *points to self*) We’ve made our rounds through a few scone recipes; here’s how they break down:

Blackberry Lime: These were decent. We didn’t love the combo and the lime didn’t stand out as much as I’d like. Next time: more lime. And maybe a glaze.

Blueberry lemon: Classic. Go-to. Always delicious. I’ve been making them for years and they’re still great.

Cast Iron Skillet Scones: I loved that these didn’t require turning the dough out and making a mess. Dave’s comment: cakey. *shrug*

Mango Chocolate Chunk: These are *hands down* our favorite. Such a crazy combo and we gobbled them up. We’ve only recently discovered fresh mangos (Thanks, Aldi.) and decided we loved them even more once we googled how to cut them.

I’d really love a celebratory reason to make these or these. Sprinkle scones!

Some Saturday we’re just going to celebrate sprinkles and eat them for funsies.

People often ask me if making scones is hard. No. Not hard. But cutting butter into the flour mixture is never too much fun for me. (I haven’t tried the food processor method so that’s a possibility. I usually use a pastry blender.) And they get messy when you form them/knead/cut them after mixing. Other than that, easy peasy, light and breezy. Not too many dirty dishes and we can almost always make a batch with what we have on hand. I have discovered that you can mix the night before, cut and place on cookie sheet, refrigerate and bake the next morning. A super time saver for when you want Saturday morning scones but you don’t want to wake up early to mix. (*raises hand*) Note that scones are best the day they are baked so invite friends to share. (Or eat four or five yourself. No judgement here.)

Scones, people. They’re wonderful.

Storytime!

25 Jan

Cozy up, kids, and I’ll tell you a story.

It was a cold winter’s night … okay. It was last night and it was downright frigid. Cold air + wind = feels like -30. Freezing for all God’s creatures.

Like birds.
How do I know?
One tried to come stay with us.

Picture this. Dave is on the phone with his mom; I’m on the couch, facing away from him. He breaks his conversation with his mom to ask if I’d gotten the mail. Nope. (It was cold out. I wasn’t going out there!) Expecting some sort of pinball package, he decided to brave it and walk to the mailbox. So I’m hearing noise. He’s talking to his mom, shoes are shuffling, I think I hear the door open.

Then I see something fly over my head. My brain tells me, Oh. Dave didn’t go outside yet. He’s throwing Emmett’s duck. The throwing of Emmett’s blue duck is a super regular occurrence. Makes total sense. Only then I realize it’s not the blue duck. It’s a live bird. Not blue and not a duck.

Somehow, this bird was right at the top of the door when Dave opened it to go get the mail and she snuck her way in. (You really can’t blame her. It was super cold! Did I mention that?) Registering that this is a LIVE BIRD, I jump off the couch and run towards the door. Emmett is the dog who will chase a blue duck but is actually scared of real bird things close up so he’s running with me. Dave returns from the mailbox and I announce the presence of the bird. He doesn’t believe me … until she swoops into the kitchen.

He tells his mom goodbye, that he has to go catch a bird. Once he’s hung up, I ask him how one catches a bird. (Seriously. I had no clue.) His idea is to open all the doors (Remember it’s -75 or something ridiculous like that.) and direct the bird towards them. Well, birds, it turns out, are not great at directions. After some small shrieks (me), hiding (the dog), and Dave waving his arms after the bird, she goes towards the front door. Yes! Victory is ours! So close!

It flew upstairs.

Dave runs up after her; the dog follows (to be curious and cower, not to actually help). I stay downstairs until I get yelled at to help (I don’t perform well in situations like this without clear directions.) and head up too. Luckily, there is a door to a small balcony on the upper level. We opened it … and the bird exited. Followed by Emmett. (Again, not helpful, dog.) I slam the door shut, excited at our luck. And then realize the dog is outside on the balcony, trying to regain his dignity by angry barking at the bird once it flew away.

We let the dog back in (no bird this time), close all the doors, and note that the temperature in the house has dropped a good 10 degrees. (Sorry, furnace. Sorry, gas bill.) I didn’t get photographic proof of the bird because, well, we were busy cowering/chasing/opening doors. But this morning while cleaning I found some lovely bird poop on the wall and the smallest of feathers near a lamp she perched upon. Proof of the bird who visited this house on one chilly Thursday evening.

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