Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Update & Menu: April 29 - May 5

Spring has been a hard season for me. I started doing physical therapy for my knees, neck, shoulders, and upper back. Trying to keep up with even half of my treatment plan took all the time and energy I had outside of menu planning and keeping up on chores.

We finally got the garage 80% converted to our Lounge area, which we are calling the Bat Cave. It is now at about the level of completion of the rest of the house, which is both thrilling and a little depressing. It's been nice to have another place to hang out besides my bedroom and still have some privacy, plus fresh air. And being able to play video games hasn't been bad, either. 

Speaking of depression, I'm not sure if it's a Vitamin D issue or just the nature of the disease, and certainly some of it is circumstantial, but Spring was bad for me this year. It's almost May and I never even got a bunch of my seeds started. Now I think I'm going to have to go through my seed stash to very carefully select what I'm going to try to accomplish for this year, and what I'm going to let go for next year. Mostly this Spring has been an exercise in self-care and grace for me, learning to be gentle with myself and trust that my body is telling me what it needs--and then give that to it. 

Mr. Moon and I have been discussing the concept of a few different things: upgrades to the house that are desperately needed, attention to our hobbies and goals that have fallen off the priority list, and carving out free time in the schedule. After a year of projects and chores, just trying to get the house under control a little bit at a time, we have finally caught up enough in the main-target areas that we can scale back our chores somewhat. The bathrooms no longer need much more than a wipe-down every week, the kitchen no longer gets as out of control as it was, and we've even started skipping the vacuuming at least once a week. We are focusing on streamlining daily routines, and starting up some other projects that had been shoved down the to-do list in favor of others. But most importantly, finding Mr. Moon some quality Free Time for relaxing, both together and apart. 

It was discussion of that possibility that lead to me saying I'd like to make sure he gets one day a week that is totally OFF. No chores, no projects, no work outside the house, nothing. We weren't sure it was even possible. Then the schedule just happened to settle in this week that Free Day is exactly what happened. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can stick to the list well enough that Saturday won't become "catch up on all the missed chores" day instead, but I am hoping that the promise of Free Comic Book Day and a picnic in the park will be enough to keep us motivated. 



What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Bagels, muffins (apple spice muffins in the freezer), waffles (corn meal, homemade in the freezer), yogurt and granola.

Lunches: Roast beef sandwich, Tuna sandwich, Grilled cheese.

Snacks: Cheese, salami, veggies and dip.

Dinners:
Monday: Sunny, cool.
Bathrooms. weeding, Mr. Moon works the evening shift.
The 'Rents: Leftover split pea soup. Mr. Moon and I: Leftover Tortellini and Hot Brats pasta salad[Leftovers; vegetarian; meat;]

Tuesday: Sunny, cool.
Vacuuming, bedroom. Pool in the morning, an appointment in the afternoon, and in the late afternoon we have some folks coming by to take some crab-apple trees out.
Curry Chicken Salad sandwiches for everyone, plus a side of sautéed swiss chard for myself and Mr. Moon. [chicken; sandwiches; fresh from the garden; freezer]

Wednesday: Sunny, warm.
Kitchen. Mr. Moon works the lunch shift, then grocery shopping and kitchen cleaning afterward and date night in the evening.
On Your Own Night. Mr. Moon and I are having Tikka Masala for date night. [OYO; chicken; Indian]

Thursday: Sunny, warm.
Dining room, laundry room, and Batcave. Pool in the morning, Mr. Moon works the evening shift.
Lasagna. [Vegetarian; pasta; casserole]

Friday: Sunny, warm.
Bedroom, Living room, laundry day, vacuuming (from Saturday). Mr. Moon works the lunch shift.
Baked Whitefish and sides. [fish; traditional; freezer]

Saturday: Sunny, warm.
Somehow we ended up with an entire day off with no plans, no work shift, one chore, and some good weather on the horizon. We are going to take advantage of it and find something to do. Outside. Even if it's just grabbing subs from the store and having lunch in a park. Adventure time!
On Your Own Night [OYO]

Sunday: Sunny, Warm. Cinco de Mayo!
Mr. Moon works the lunch shift, then we are having some friends over for Taco Bar and Mexican Beer Night.
Carnitas Taco Bar [pork; tacos; freezer]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quick & Dirty: The first lawn-mowing of the season!

The lawn! It's been cut! I know it seems silly to be so joyful about something so simple, but the lawn had gotten OUT OF CONTROL the last two weeks. It drew quite a bit of attention to the fact that our front yard is half overgrown with clover and moss, when the grass was getting a foot high in some places!

But, finally, FINALLY the rain had stopped for a long enough period of time at the same time Mr. Moon had time off work, and he was able to get out and hack the top off the greens, making them at least all the same height out there. It's still a bit long, and will need to come back a bit more later in the week, but it's bad to cut the grass too much in one go so he left the mower at the highest setting which seems to be about 6 inches. I know. Shameful.

The back was and still is worse, and the flower beds have had so much grass-creep that they look horrible. Looks like edging the beds is going to have to be our highest priority project.

The day even started early today and we got some time in at the gym, taking advantage of more than just the pool this time. Gym, lawn mowed, grocery shopping done, food prep in the works, I'm calling that a productive day! We didn't get the bathrooms done which is today's chore, and we were supposed to fold the giant pile of clean laundry that's been hounding me since last week. All in good time, I suppose. All in good time.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Menu: April 15-21



Mr. Moon and I will be celebrating our three-year anniversary this week! His parents will also be celebrating their 36 years wedding anniversary this week (the day before ours, in fact). Three cheers!

Last week was busy busy busy with getting the garage set up as a lounge space for Mr. Moon and me, so we have some space to entertain without bothering his parents. It has been a year in the making, and still has a couple more smaller projects to go before we take the "After" pictures, but it is now in a state of functionality that makes me extremely happy. Soon enough it will even be warm out there! Ha ha.

As of tomorrow, we are past the last frost date in our area, so I will be planting seeds outside on Tuesday. I'd wanted to get them planted indoors prior to now, but Life works in mysterious ways, and we had other priorities. Now our schedule happens to include some days off that are sunny, our seeds came in, and we've gotten to the nursery for potting soil, so plantings are in the works. I just wish we had a bed edger, as that would be much easier than edging the beds by hand.

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What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Same as last week! Hash, eggs benedict, cottage cheese, waffles.

Lunches: Turkey sandwiches, tuna melts, and mediterranean salad.

Snacks: Fruit, cheese and crackers.

Dinners:
Monday: Sun Showers, 57 degrees.
Day off! Swimming, Grocery shopping, Food prep for the week, folding the existing clean laundry, maybe planting seeds.
Mexican Rice Casserole [vegetarian; mexican; casserole; batch]

Tuesday: Sunny, 58 degrees.
Parents' anniversary! Coffee date in the afternoon, Mr. Moon will do Wednesday's chores and works the evening shift, maybe planting seeds.
Pork Roast Dinner with mashed potatoes and carrots. (I'll be taking leftover pork for pulled pork sandwiches when Mr. Moon and I eat dinner later.) [pork; traditional; freezer]

Wednesday: Sunny, 59 degrees.
Moon's-iversary! We Are Taking The Day OFF!!! Swimming in the morning, then No cleaning, No cooking, maybe a walk on the beach and definitely dinner out somewhere. Hmmmm maybe if we get up early enough it would be worth it to drive to the ocean?
On Your Own Night [OYO]

Thursday: Sunny, 61 degrees.
Mr. Moon works the day shift, after which he will be MOWING THE FREAKING LAWN! It's gotten wild but it's been too wet to mow. After a couple days of sunshine, it should be safe to get out there.
Mushroom Swiss Chicken Sandwiches, Salad. [chicken; sandwich]

Friday: Rainy, 57 degrees.
Day off, Laundry day.
Seafood Lasagna [fish; pasta; casserole; freezer]

Saturday: Sunny, 62 degrees.
Mr. Moon works the day shift, more yard work?
Spaghetti soup (marinara, veggies, noodles, broth)--or maybe just spaghetti? [vegetarian; soup; pasta; freezer]

Sunday: Sunny, 66 degrees.
Mr. Moon works the evening shift.
On Your Own [OYO]. I'm thinking about ribs and greens, for myself.

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Project Progress: Garage Lounge

Mr. Moon and I have been working for over a year on a project to turn the garage into a lounge area, second living room, game room, whatever you want to call it. We have a name all picked out, which will be revealed when we have AFTER pictures.

We agreed to take a futon from one of his aunts who is moving out of the area, and somehow we ended up getting obligated to take a second couch. Not sure where the misunderstanding was, or if that was the couch Mum was going to use to replace the one in the living room she doesn't want, or what exactly happened that we have more furniture than I'd originally planned in there. All I know is that with the couch we found on the side of the road in the subdivision, and the futon and couch from the Aunt, we were supposed to be fitting three couches in this garage. Which would be fine, without the chair that Mr. Moon insists on keeping, and the massage chair that will not be gotten rid of so long as it works because the thing is delightful. Or without the formerly-kitchen table that got moved out there. Or the giant TV that we stumbled upon at a garage sale and couldn't pass up. Did I also mention we have two filing cabinet/end tables and two coffee tables? Though one of the coffee tables is in our bedroom at the food of the bed right now. Oh, and we have a set of glass shelves that's going to be our bar if we ever have room to put them up. Plus of course the CDs, DVDs, and records, and the beer fridge.

We were able to get some of the shelves cleared off and moved out, so that I can now have the herb garden on shelves by the back door, and get a cover for it to make it a green house. So that made some extra room. At least six car loads of STUFF has been donated elsewhere. A number of things have been moved to the shed since they're outdoor gardening or camping gear anyway. One of the coffee tables will either get donated or stay in our room, though I was hoping to clear the area at the foot of our bed for easier physical therapy exercises for my knees. But that will never happen so having the coffee table there gives a nice shoe pile area without tripping over them, and a nice place for the pile of extra blankets and pillows.

As it stands, we have two sets of shelves holding the tools and building hardware that won't be going anywhere, but I'm really impressed with how organized and pared down it is. There's Pops' work bench for his Ham radio and computer projects, which has all those supplies and equipment on it (though organizing it is a project for a different day!). There's a freezer and two shelving units full of dry food storage. For the lounge, we have an area with the table for cards/tabletop gaming, and an area with the TV for video games or watching movies.

One of the other sets of shelves will be cleared out and put into our storage unit for easier storage access. 3/4 of the things on that unit are for the bar anyway, so that works out fine. We might get rid of one of the three couches (including the futon), or be able to convince Mum to put one in the living room in place of the one she wanted to get rid of, but we shall see how that goes. I also had the idea to put the futon laid flat in front of the couch that faces the TV, with a couple trays on it for hard surfaces to be used as a combination ottoman and coffee table, but then we could sit it up to either have conversation-area seating, or a second row of movie-night seating.

What I need more than anything in there is an area rug. Preferably one I can throw in the washing machine. Which means it would have to be a few area rugs I suppose.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Running To Do List: April Quarterly Update


A nice, updated list after the first quarter of the year has gone by. I highlighted our highest priorities in red, the things we are working on now or will be in the next few weeks.

Everywhere, first step:
  • Get before pictures!
Front Yard:
  • Replant container bed by front door.
  • Remove the rose bush that is creeping into the walkway.
  • Re-edge the existing beds, and refill with wood chips as needed--not buying more though!
  • Prune roses. All the roses. Possibly use the pruned bits to grow roots on new plants, potentially even to replace the existing ones that aren't in the best shape. 
  • Fill the beds with flowers. What we have now leaves most of the yard bare most of the time, I'd like to landscape in such a way as to have something blooming most of the time and not ever have to look at a bunch of rotting yuck. 
Back Yard:
  • Plant the toilet planter or get rid of it. (Half done.)
  • Prune the roses along the shed, re-trellis them, or get rid of them.
  • Remove the tree by the patio, and the one by the compost.
  • Remove most of the plants (and wood chips) along the back of the house and re-plant that whole area with usefulness and patio parties in mind. 
  • Re-edge the existing beds. 
  • Break down firewood. 
  • Hang eye bolts on the hanging planter rail. 
Vegetable Gardening:
  • Pull out existing plants. Cover beds with newspaper and cardboard. 
  • Build compost bin.
  • Build raised beds. 
  • Plan and execute vegetable gardening plan! 
  • Install rain barrels. 
Outside House:
  • Power wash siding, concrete, windows.
  • Repaint wheelchair ramp. 
Garage:
  • Clean out garage.
  • Donate tools and such. 
  • Put away the final boxes that need moved into their homes.
  • Pick up two couches from an Aunt.
  • Arrange garage as lounge area. 
  • Related: Move to a smaller storage unit if possible. 
Inside House/Hallway:
  • Paint all the things! Every single room needs a paint job.
  • Scrub hardwood in entryway and seal it. 
  • Replace some/all of the flooring (esp. kitchen and bathrooms, also dining room, hallway, living room).
Kitchen:
  • Replace chandelier with globe light. 
  • Bolster the small appliance shelves.
  • Sand and refinish the countertop edges and backsplash.
  • Install a tile backsplash behind stovetop.
Dining Room:
  • Clean, reorganize bookshelves.
  • Sand and refinish the tabletop. 
  • Replace curtains.
Living Room:
  • Replace/Dye curtains.
Office:
  • Sort, scrub, and reorganize. 
  • Set up Mum's computer. 
Master Bedroom:
  • Install more lights.
Small Bedroom:
  • Put DVDs in garage.
  • Unpack records.
  • Unpack books.
  • Dust everything. 
  • Put up my jewelry and hair stuff. 
Laundry Room:
  • Sort cleaning supplies and store properly.
  • Move toilet paper and paper towels inside.
Cooking:
  • Lacto-fermented veggies
  • Kombucha
  • Sourdough and whole grain everything! Pretzels, pancakes/waffles, cookies, who knows what else
  • Yogurt and sour cream
  • Perfect the mozzarella recipe
  • Roasted chickpea snacks
  • Sprouts
  • Mr. Moon wants to get more into baking in general, and I want to get into baking with soaked & sprouted grains
  • CANNING! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Menu: April 8-14





What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Hash, eggs benedict on english muffin bread, cottage cheese, & pineapple, waffles.

Lunches: Tacos/quesadillas, turkey sandwiches, mediterranean garbanzo bean salad.

Snacks: Apple & almond butter, oranges, cheese and crackers, pears.

Dinners:
Monday: Recovery from our trip to Seattle, lots of laundry and the usual chores.
'Rents: Baked beans and ham; Mr.: Lamb curry stew; Me: spaghetti [leftovers; freezer]

Tuesday: Grocery shopping early, Mr. Moon works and the 'Rents have afternoon appointments, so a crockpot meal is in order.
Mushroom Barley Soup [vegetarian; soup; crockpot]

Wednesday: Big push day in the garage, but Mr. Moon will be home to be able to cook a dinner-to-serve for the 'Rents.
Sesame Chicken drumsticks with leftover orange glaze from the ham (which is on the same salty-level as soy sauce) and pineapple, coconut rice, and stir-fry vegetables [chicken; Chinese; leftovers; freezer]

Thursday: Early shift for Mr. Moon, Date Night! On Your Own night.
Mum and Pops are going out to dinner, Mr. Moon and I will be having mushroom swiss burgers [OYO; burgers]

Friday: Mr. Moon works the late shift, so a crockpot or freezer-soup meal is in order.
'Rents: Clam Chowder; Mr. Moon and myself: Tortilla soup [seafood; soup; freezer]

Saturday: Hoping to have people over for a game night in our new lounge.
Chili (vegetarian) & Hot Dogs (for me! Not sharing my hot dogs) [vegetarian; soup; pressure cooker]

Sunday: Mr. Moon works the late shift. On Your Own night.
Mr. Moon and myself: Baked pasta. [OYO]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!
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