Monday, April 30, 2012

Shameless Plug for My Mom's New Business

Hey everyone!

Sorry my posts have been a little spotty lately...between colds and ear infections and work trips with my husband and getting ready for this new addition to our family (6 weeks!  woohoo!), I haven't had a lot of extra time on my hands for creating stuff for the house or blogging about it.

But I did want to take some time to give a little shout out for my mama.  Here's the background:  she retired from AT&T several years ago and then went to massage therapy school to establish her second career -- this time, one in which she's working for herself and out of the corporate world.  She's pretty good at it, least, I love getting one of her massages ;)

Anyway, a few months ago, she was off to a regular client's house to give an in-home massage, but forgot to bring her massage lotions home with her.  So, being the resourceful woman that she is, she decided to use a combination of essential oils instead.

Long story short, this client has been dealing with frequent and very intense hot flashes for years.  But after my mom's massage, she didn't have any for a day and a half.  So the two of them got their heads together, and have now created a product which really does reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.  She's been selling for about a month and already has some repeat customers.

Her company is called Kuul Ravi.

I did some product photography for her last week so that she had some clean pictures for her company's Facebook account and her (soon to be up) website.  These are what I wanted to share with you guys today.  I am totally not a professional photographer, don't have any real equipment beyond my basic SLR and edited these guys in a standard photo editing program which came with my computer -- no photoshop here.  So that's my disclaimer.  I would love to hear any advice you guys might have, because I will probably be taking more (she wanted some taken at the beach) and tweaking these a little further.

Here we go.  I took several outdoors, and I think these are my favorites.  I love the juxtaposition of the clean lines of the bottle with the rustic and organic backgrounds I used outside.  This first was taken on an old kitchen chair that we've left on our back patio and has become very weathered.

This next one was on a fence post.  Again, I just love the weathered look with the clean bottle.  What do you think?

These are on a tree stump.  I particularly like the angle that these were taken at.

Same place; different angle.

Still the same place, but this time I only photographed one bottle and changed the perspective slightly.  I kind of love the texture of the tree stump in this one.  I also think this is a great shot of the label because it's in focus and easy to read.

The next few were taken on my kitchen table.  I wanted to give some to my mom that were completely clean and all about the bottle instead of the bottle competing with other elements in the picture.  I tried a few with an extra bottle in the background, but...

...thought that looked a little too busy.  Then I took out the background bottles, and...

...oops.  Left the flash on.  This pic is my least favorite.  Because the flash is one, the colors are muted and the label is difficult to read.  Everything looks kind of boring and unalive (is that a word?).

This next pic is pretty nice, though.  But the top is cut off :(

Ahhh, here we go.  I love how this one turned out.

I would really appreciate any feedback you guys have!  Comments or advice -- thanks!

Also, if you'd like, I can totally hook you up with my mom -- her name is Shelley McLean and the company's email address is .  If you are having hot flashes, it's really worth checking out.  I haven't gone through that yet, but from everything I hear, it's kind of miraculous.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunroom Redo, Part 3 -- Fill 'er Up

Okay, I want to preface this post with two important things to remember...maybe three things.

1. This room is far from what I would consider "done."  There are still a lot of goals on my to-do list, which I'll explain as I go, but for now, just know that these pics represent progress.
2.  This is a shared space.  This room not only houses all of my craft stuff, but it's also Dave's music room and surf storage space.  In designing the layout of this room, we have to consider all three functions (and hopefully end up with a space that we also like to sit in and enjoy our morning coffee).
3.  Okay, there might not be a number 3.  I just wanted to make sure all my bases are covered before we get this party started.

Before I show you where we're currently at, let me remind you of what this room looked like last month:

Pretty awful.

Then we painted:

And I painted some laminate cabinets and set them up on the east wall (the wall without windows).  The left cabinet is Dave's and is nearly empty.  As time goes on, he'll probably be putting music equipment inside; things like his music books could find a nice home here.  The right cabinet is mine, and I've got present wrapping supplies, camera equipment and old photo albums stored, among other things.

After setting up the cabinets, we took a minor two week-ish break, and one night (sort of on a whim), we decided it was time to continue the transformation.  This was mostly spurred on by Dave's guitars.  They had been sitting on guitar stands in one corner of the room, and Daniel loved to sneak in here when no one was watching and "play" them.  A two year old with a guitar on a stand usually only ends one way; luckily, I was able to catch him before the guitar took more than one or two spills, but something needed to change.  Fast.

So, Dave headed over to a music store here in town, came back with some wall mounts, and now we have this:

After we set up the guitars, we went ahead and moved my craft table into the room and, as you can see, it sits just underneath.  One of my not-too-out-of-reach goals is to add some shelves onto the wall adjacent to the guitar wall so that I gain even more storage for craft items -- especially those things that are not child-safe (scissors, anyone?).

You may also be eyeing a conspicuous, super ugly piece of office furniture which is my craft chair.  This is the sister chair to this beauty, sitting at the kitchen table:

I have similar plans to reupholster the remaining chair the same way, different fabric.  This was a super easy project, and I have no idea why I haven't done it, yet.

Okay, let me back up a little.  This is the view of our sunroom as you walk in.  I took this picture while standing in the laundry room, just off the kitchen.  Just beyond the sunroom is our swimming pool.

You'll notice that our large wing back chair has made a move (it used to be in our living room -- more on that in an upcoming post, promise).  You're also looking at a few more random pieces of furniture -- our old coffee table, a dining chair, and a cute little teal-y green chair.  I love the little green chair.  It's actually an antique folding chair.  My mom rescued it from a literal dumpster and had it refinished with new fabric.  She said that when she pulled it out, it was all faded with rusty hinges and looked pretty bad... but look at it now!  She gave it to me for my birthday this year.  I'm not sure where it's final home will be, but for now, it's keeping company with the other random, mismatched furniture.

I'd love to turn this into a finished corner with furniture which looks like it was meant to be there, but this is the stuff I had sitting around the house.  This will have to do until more cohesive furniture becomes the priority.  Right now, it's pretty low on the list.

Also in this corner is Dave's music set up -- two large speakers, his amp, a microphone, and some sort of control panel.  Don't ask me to be more specific...I don't know exactly what all of his equipment does, but I do know that it does something and that it needs to be a part of the set-up.  And Dave has been awesome about making it as neat as possible.  If you're into playing music at all (or know someone who is), you know that it's just messy.  There are cords everywhere.  It's not exactly aesthetically pleasing.  But Dave has hidden a lot of that pretty well, I think.

Here's a shot from a slightly different angle.  The picture above the doorway is a photograph I took in Virginia on a trip there years ago.  I need to get this framed and to find a more permanent home for it, but for now, I enjoy seeing it every time I look into this room.

Okay, moving on.  If you walk into the room, and turn back around to your left, you'll see my art shelf.  A friend of ours actually built this shelf a little while ago, then moved into a smaller place.  So we're storing it for him and his wife until they get back into a larger place again.  It makes for pretty great storage, though.  It's ginormous, and almost all of my stuff fits on this thing.

From the top down (not including the record player on top), I've got: 1) odds and ends, mostly things that I don't want to put on a lower shelf to keep things child friendly-ish.  A basket of notions, another basket of yarn, cards I've made, paintbrushes, pin cushion, etc.  2) bins with various supplies, including paint, markers, crafty things for my kids, and various adhesives and Mod Podge.  3) my sewing machine (I know, I need to get a cover for it), spools of thread, a box of tools (scissors, glue gun, etc.) and my craft paper supply.  4)  my fabric.  5) paper scraps in the wine box and more crafty supplies in the green metal box.  Oh, and a couple of records.

My organization may not make a whole lot of sense to others, but I know where everything is and it doesn't look half bad, either.  These are the important things, right?

The opposite corner, diagonally, is where we'll be storing Dave's surfboards and leashes.  Dave has plans to build a simple storage rack for these guys.  They'll eventually stand vertically, probably next to the blue cabinets to get them away from a window (and the sun).  But for now, they're doing all right leaning against the window, blinds closed.  We've also got a few pieces of music gear over here which we'll need to figure out how to store.

And that's it -- you guys are now officially up to date on our sunroom progress.  I really love the changes this room has seen in the last month.  I think my very favorite part is being able to open the doors to the laundry room and into the sunroon (there are two) to let the light come through.  It really does brighten up the kitchen with those doors open, and it doesn't look like a dungeon back there, anymore.  It's actually given me the itch to transform the laundry room into a space I love as well.  Right now, the laundry room a very boring utilitarian space with so-so appliances and little to no shelving.  And, until recently, no natural light.  Hmmm....

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Create an Animal" Painting Project

This project was a little bit of a whim for us.  I had a doctor's appointment midday and was planning on dropping the kiddos off with my dad and stepmother so that I wouldn't have to take them with me.  But we had an hour and a half or so to kill after getting ready and before leaving, and I know Natalie's been really wanting to paint, so...

I found this project in a craft book that we have.  It's pretty simple.  Basically, you draw a paw or a tongue or a tail shape, cut it out, and glue it to a piece of paper.  Then you give the paper to the child and let them finish the animal.  I told the kids that they could make a real animal or they could use their imagination and come up with a pretend animal.  

Natalie didn't really know where to begin.  I anticipated this, so I made an extra picture with a tongue shape and used mine to draw the rest of a dog.  Which seemed to give Natalie just the direction that she needed.  Daniel didn't want any direction at all.  I gave him the paper and he just went for it. 

First I let them draw out their animal with colored pencils.  I forgot to take pictures of this part, but these pictures that I took after they started painting show you what they came up with.  This is Natalie's:

And Daniel's (the rocks are for holding his paper down since it was windy this morning):

After they finished drawing, I let them use watercolors to paint the animals.  Watercolors, by the way, are my new favorite medium for kids.  Not only are they super easy as far as clean-up goes, but they also allow kids to put a lot of paint on the paper without it immediately turning into a brown muddy mess.  In fact, I'm often surprised by just how much I like the finished product.  Even Daniel, who just turned 2, does well with them.  Well...with some guidance.  At first, he was just spreading water around on his paper.  But by the end today, he seemed to get the idea.

 Daniel decided his was a kangaroo.  You might notice that he isn't wearing pants in this picture.  Here's another tip: don't let your toddler paint anything in white shorts.  It will inevitably go badly.

And here's Natalie's finished picture.  I actually really love the way hers turned out.  It's a fish, she says, and the paw is for hopping along the ocean floor.

This was a lot of fun and a super easy project!  It's a great one for filling up an hour here or there, especially since it doesn't take a lot of set up or clean up the mess.  And if you haven't bought a set of watercolors for your kids, do it!  They're awesome :)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Weekend

Hello Friends!  I need to apologize for being a little absent over the last few days.  Not only have I had family in town, but I've been kind of a sickie as well.  Nothing too terrible, but enough so that all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and let my kids watch "How to Train Your Dragon" for the 17th time.  I'm still a little bit down for the count, but I wanted to get these pictures up to show you guys what kind of Easter we had this year.

We kicked things off on Saturday with an Easter egg hunt.  I really wanted to take my kids to a hunt this year because I figured they were both old enough to get it.  Last year, Natalie understood what was going on, but Daniel just sort of wandered around and Dave put some eggs in his basket.

The only problem was that Dave had to work a Saturday shift last weekend (he's required to work a Sat. every 4 to 5 weeks), so if I wanted to get those kids to the hunt, it was up to me.  Super Mom.

I had no idea how super I needed to be until I got there, though.  I was expecting a largish hunt with a couple of bounce houses, some face painting, and maybe 100 kids at the most.  As soon as I arrived and saw police directing traffic, I knew I was dealing with a different kind of animal.  There were hundreds of kids there.  Easily.  And even more adults.  And blaringly loud music being pumped out of speakers at the center of everything.  I soon wished I had leashes on my kids.  Not even kidding.

But I didn't.  And we were there.  And Natalie, at least, was so excited.  So, out of the car we went, and bravely marched toward the chaos.

It wasn't that bad.  There were times that I panicked a little bit because I lost sight of one of them; then a kid would run in another direction, and there they'd be.  Then there was the complete meltdown that Daniel had because I took his basket away.  Sounds like a terrible mom, I know, but I took his basket because he was just staring into it and shaking his eggs instead of paying attention and walking with Natalie and me.  He was falling behind, and no amount of pleading with him to keep up worked.  That boy is a daydreamer.  No idea what's going on around him sometimes.  So, we sat on a curb for about 10 minutes while he got the tantrum out of his system, and then moved on (basket in my hand).  I know the kids had fun.  I also know that I will not attempt this event by myself again.  Next year Dave must come with me.

Anyway, enough talking.  How about some pictures?  The first thing they saw when we walked into the event was a large playground.  Since this is one of their more favorite activities, we spent a considerable amount of time here.

I love the expression on Natalie's face, here.

So hard to get a still shot of this kid.

We didn't get too far up the rock wall.  She's asking for my help in this picture, but this particular wall was pretty high.

Then we wandered over to the egg hunt.  They had several hunts going on, divided by ages, so we were in the 3 and under group.  Needless to say, the only hunting they did was to scan to ground to find eggs sitting on the grass.  Each kid was allowed to find 10 eggs.  I think they had a lot of fun during this part.

The Easter egg love affair began mid hunt.  Daniel was almost too enamored with his first couple of eggs to hunt around for any more.

A kind volunteer offered to take a picture of all of us, which was nice.  Sometimes I feel like there will be no record of what I looked like during these years because I'm always the one behind the camera.

And taking a break.  This was right before I said to myself, "Enough!  We're heading to the car."  I wanted Natalie to get her face painted because she was excited about that, too, but I could tell that Daniel really would not be able to handle much more.

Easter morning was fun, too.  In fact, the whole day was pretty nice.  We went to church in the morning and then Dave and his brother grilled out and we had a yummy Easter dinner of grilled pork, grilled corn, and mashed potatoes.  Maybe not the most traditional dinner, but it was delicious.  And it was an easy, laid back day.

Anyway, I took a few shots of the kids coming out to their Easter baskets.

First, the scene.  This was the cleanest the playroom was all weekend.

Natalie's reaction...

Daniel's reaction...

You can't give a kid their Easter basket and then not let them eat anything.  Natalie and Daniel both consumed waaay more candy last weekend than normal.  But, I figure, that's part of being a kid.  Sometimes you get to eat a little more candy.

I wonder what she's looking at here?

Mouthful of jelly beans.

Dave's mom sent them both bunny ears.  Daniel wore his around the house for awhile and said, "hop, hop, hop," to himself, almost as if that was the sound that hopping made.  They actually fit his head a little better than Natalie's.  I think that boy is going to be bigger than his older sister before long.

How was your Easter?  Did you have any stressful Easter egg hunt stories that you'd like to share?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Featured over at Days of Chalk and Chocolate!

I want to send out a huge thanks to Jenny over at Days of Chalk and Chocolate for featuring my laminate cabinets!  If you haven't checked out her blog yet, hop on over to see what's going on there -- leave a comment and share a little love!  She's got a great site; I've been loving it, and I know you will too :)

If you'd like to see my feature, you can find it here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Master Bedroom -- Gulp

So, I can hardly believe that I'm posting these pictures on the internet.  Most of the time, when people post strange pictures design-wise, it comes with a giant "before" stamped somewhere on the picture.  I'd love to say that these are before pics, but since I don't really have any after pics (and no major plans to make an after happen anytime soon), I feel that that would be dishonest.  No, people, this is just my bedroom.

It's not that there aren't some little plans in the works.  This is why I'm writing this post, as a matter of fact.  I'll get to that part later.  But, largely, what you'll see here is what we'll be living with for awhile.  Sigh.

So.  The Master Bedroom.  This is one gigantic room, with one gigantic bathroom to the left as you walk in.  I don't really have any bathroom pics for you today, but I took all of these pictures while standing in the doorway to the bathroom.

This is our bed.  This bed is part of the suite that my husband bought 10 years ago (used).  If you look carefully, you'll see that the headboard completely matches the laminate cabinets that I painted here.  Imagine those cabinets on either side of this bed.  Do you see why I had to get them out of here?  Even if I don't do anything further to this room, the fact that they're gone just makes me so supremely happy.

I'm not the biggest fan of the headboard.  It's not that it couldn't be doctored up into something cool, it's just that it's not something I would have chosen.  It does have hidden storage, though, so from that end it's super practical.  And Dave loves all things practical... in other words, he doesn't want to get rid of this headboard. So... of the small-ish plans that I'm going to be tackling within the next week or so is adding some upholstery to it and painting the sides and top a creamy white.  I bought some fabric at Jo Ann's (30% off) the other day and when I came home I threw it up there just to see how it might look.

I wanted something with a subtle pattern and something that would tie into the bedspread.  I love this bedspread, by the way.  It counters the other crazy colors in the room.  For some strange reason, we painted the walls yellow with an orange accent wall.  I loved it for about a week.  Then I realized that it was a little bit garish.  Then I realized it was a lot garish.  But we probably won't be repainting them anytime soon, unless I do it myself.  And since I won't be climbing any ladders in my 3rd trimester (and likely won't feel like messing with it when attending to a newborn), this is what we have to work with.  And I do think these colors could work... if the furniture were different and if we didn't have green carpet on the floors.  All in good time.  That's our motto around here.  

After putting the fabric up, I got kind of antsy to fix some other problems in the room.  The problems being the amount of stuff that we had just thrown into corners (I've spared you some before pics of this situation, but trust me, it wasn't pretty).  Oh, and I decided that the time had come to give us some side tables.  So I transferred these little guys into the bedroom.  They were in the entryway before.

Then I decided that I was done with the flower picture above my headboard.  This was the picture that inspired the whole color scheme on the walls, by the way.  Turns out I love it in small doses and not so much in large doses.  I moved the picture and put those black and white numbers there in its place.  Those may be completely temporary.  Mostly, they're just there as a placeholder until I find something that I truly love.

But I still really like the flower picture.  I bought this for $5 at a yard sale a couple years ago, and I have no intention of getting rid of it.  So I moved it over by the window.  I like it over there much better.  So much happier to look at.  Oh, and yes, I know I have no curtains (the blinds are pulled up to let in light).  Adding some real window treatments is one of the small-ish things I'd like to do in the near future.

Here's a wider shot of that side of the room.  Again, please ignore the curtain on the door.  Real window treatments are coming.  This side of the room was a complete mess right before I took this photo.  It was impossible to see where the wall met the floor.  I spent about an hour and a half cleaning it up.  The boxes that you see beside the bed are destined for out attic; they just haven't made it up there, yet.  I'd love to add some seating to this are at some point... maybe a little table.  But for now, I like the openness of having all that stuff that we've been storing cleared out.

I dislike this bookshelf.  But we do have a lot of books and we do need to put them somewhere.  I'd love to get a different shelf which adds some interest to the room.  I'm currently looking on Craigslist for that, so if I find one, I'll post some update pics.  For now, though, I arranged the books in a way that pleases me, so this isn't such an eyesore anymore.

So that's it.  My master bedroom.  Thanks for taking a minute to check things out.  Stay tuned for some of those changes!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Word Search Birthday Card -- Tutorial

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to share a quick little project with you guys.  The other night I made a birthday card to give to my pastor for his birthday (today).  There are a few reasons why I like to make cards.  First, it's cheaper.  Does that sound bad?  Cards are kind of expensive...$4 bucks a pop, sometimes, or more if you buy those annoying ones with music inside (which I would never buy, for the record.  Just stating a fact).  Secondly, it satisfies my desire to make something.  And the great thing about making cards for people is that it's almost instant satisfaction -- they really don't take that long to make.  And thirdly, I love receiving hand made cards myself.  To me, it says that the person took just a little extra care, thought just a little more about you when giving you a gift.  It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  So I like to do that for others, too.

The problem with making cards sometimes is that there's a time limit.  You have to have this card done by a certain date -- pressure, man.  And it can be hard to think of a really neat design in the allotted amount of time.  Enter Pinterest.  What an awesome website.

I did a search on Pinterest earlier this week and ran across this little guy.  The idea comes from a website called Better Living Through Design:

I thought the idea was really cool, had some amazing potential and possibilities, and super simple.  Jackpot.

So I made my own version.  The longest part of this project, and the least fun (isn't that how it always works out?) was typing out the word search.  I did this on my computer, and just added the birthday message inside.  I considered adding other words, but in the end decided to just stick with the message at hand.  I also considered adding a word list and making my pastor search for the words himself, but I nixed that idea too, because I wanted to give him a finished piece of art.

After typing out the word search, I scrolled down a few lines and typed out, "We love you!"  all in caps.  Then I printed and cut both pieces out.

I liked the idea above, but thought it was a little boring.  And I also thought it would be cool if it looked like a word search from a newspaper; all old, perhaps with a coffee mug ring, something that someone had been working on.  So I found my coffee grounds from that morning and rubbed a few of them across my paper.  I've done this before with other projects, and the result is a pretty stained up piece of paper.  Then I spilled some coffee around a clean mug and sat it on top of the paper, making the coffee mug ring.  I apologize for not having pictures of this fascinating process... I totally forgot about the blog -- I was so enthused by the art. ;)

After doctoring up my picture, I Mod Podged it onto a piece of thick sketch paper.  I didn't happen to have a large enough piece of cardstock at the house, but if you do, I would use that instead.  My card ended up being a little flimsier than I would have liked. 

By the way, if you've never used Mod Podge (or your own version of it), the key to a really nice finish is making sure that you press out all the air bubbles after laying your art down.  I learned this the hard way -- my first few pieces were all wrinkly.

Anyway, here's the finished card:

I stained up the, "We Love You!" piece and Mod Podged that on the back.  So this birthday card won't open up like a book -- just one piece with the word search on the front and the message on the back.

Oh, and I realized as I was editing these photos that I totally forgot a letter somewhere in the word search -- there's just an empty spot.  It was late when I was typing this up, and I guess I was tired.  But that's part of the appeal of hand made stuff, in my opinion -- the quirkiness.  Can you find the blank spot?  

Here's another view:

I like the way it turned out.  Except the coffee mug ring.  In retrospect, I think I ought to have used less coffee because I would have liked the ring to be more defined... good to know for the next time I need to fake a coffee mug ring.

Anyway, have you guys been working on anything small?  Does anyone else like to give hand made cards?

Linking up to these awesome blogs here!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Changes on the South Side

So, we've been making some progress over on the south side of our yard.  If you aren't currently aware of the state of things over there, go check it out.  It's a little bit scary.  And shameful.

Here's a picture of how things looked last week:

Aaahhh... intimidating.  But it's only the beginning.  We are slowly making progress toward my vision of a cool little retreat.  As a way to keep track of what I'd like to do in this space, I've put together a modest list of some of the things I'd like to accomplish this season.  I've titled it...

My Modest List of Humble Endeavors:

(with reference photos)

1. Plant that orange tree.

2. Get rid of those awful weeds.
I worked on this today.  It was hard.  I worked for an hour and a half, all big and pregnant and sweaty    (there's a real image for ya), and looking at the pictures, you can't really tell the difference.  But consider that I mainly picked up a layer of sticks all over the yard and raked up a bunch of dead leaves and grass that had been covering everything.  Later this week, I'll get on actually pulling out a lot of the weeds.  I might do some research about weed and feed to see if this might be an appropriate option for me.  I'm such a novice.  If anyone out there knows a bit more than I do about gardening, and has any sage advice, I'd love to hear it.

Oh, and remember this yucca?

Well, right next to him were these giant weeds that had grown into small trees.  We dug those out of the ground yesterday.  And we also found something else: lillies!  I had no idea that we had lillies growing in our yard -- I love them!  And they kind of have some sentimental value to us because I decorated our entire wedding with lillies.  I carefully dug them out and replanted them yesterday in the back yard... which is an even bigger mess than the south side right now.  But now it's a mess that has some lillies!

Anyway, here's what this area looks like all cleared out.  I'd love to build a little house around the AC unit that you see there, but for now, I'm just so happy that those giant weedy trees are gone.

3. Encourage the pitiful grass that we have left to grow and fill in with weed and feed and watering.  If that doesn't work, we'll have to go to plan B.  I don't know what plan B is, yet.  This is a fly-by-the-seat-of-my- pants sort of operation.

4. Build vegetable frames, one or two of them.  If you look at the picture above, I'd like to build the frames right about where the bottle brush is standing.  Oh, and we talked to our neighbors, and they'd love to have this tree, so we won't have to kill it after all.  That does make me feel a little better... I was feeling slightly guilty over killing off a tree that's sort of thriving.  Or could be, with decent care.

5. Plant some veggies.

6. Take out the lava rocks and turn this part of our yard into a real flower bed.  Man, I hate those lava rocks.

7. Arrange the tree trunk stepping stones.

8. Add some sort of seating... benches... something.

9. Oh, and have a baby at some point in the middle of all of this.  Since I probably won't be done by June.

10. Enjoy the fruits (get it? Fruits!  ...because we're planting a veggie garden...) of my labor.

Thanks for reading!