As Ready As We Can Be…

We often get the question, “Are you ready?”

We have been blessed with many babies in our lives. Jesse’s brother has a son and daughter, my brother has a son, many of our friends have babies, and some of our friends have many children.

In the past few months we moved our office downstairs. We painted the nursery. We set up the crib. Jesse’s mom made curtains. Friends and family have generously lavished us with gifts.

Still the question remains, “Are you ready?” The honest answer is probably not, but ready or not Lil’ Sprout will soon be on the way.

From our Annual Second Grade Hobby Lobby trip
My sister-in-law, Alaina, helped us paint the fun dots on the wall.
A librarian can’t just have a bookshelf…I needed a book wall.

    There’s A Name For This…

    This past week we had our 20-week ultrasound. We did not find out if Lil’ Sprout is a boy or girl. The next day I had a mini-meltdown about all the baby things we need to do. Right now we don’t have a nursery. We haven’t picked out names. We haven’t bought anything for the baby. We haven’t registered. You get the idea.

    Jesse kindly agreed to start cleaning out our office this weekend to begin making room for the baby. We decided the first step was to move everything out of the closet. This required emptying our other closets to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

    The Office Mess
    The Red Bedroom Mess
    The Guest Room Mess
    “Extra” Things

    About halfway through the project, we sat down for a break. I said to Jesse, “You know, there is a name for this.” Jesse replied, “Nesting, right? Except I feel like I am doing all the nesting.”

    At the end of the day, Lil’ Sprout has a closet!

      I Finished a Pinterest

      If you haven’t heard of it, Pinterest is a visual directory of all things crafty. There are thousands of posts for recipes, decorating, fashion, etc. When you are on the website, you “pin” ideas to your different boards. I currently have seven boards and a total of ninety-two pins.

      Similar to other social networks, you can follow the “pins” of your friends to see different ideas that they are finding. In speaking with my Pinterest friends, we are always complaining that we always “pin” ideas but never make the recipe, complete the project, or wear the outfit.

      I am proud to say that I have finished a Pinterest project. Many months ago I saw a great idea to collage scrapbook paper on canvas. I saw another idea for a fun wall of picture frames. I combined the two ideas above the dressers in my bedroom.

      Now, will someone please pin my project to Pinterest?

        To Do List…

        At the end of every school year, I start the summer with a to do list of all the house projects I want to complete before the next school year begins. These projects usually involve deep cleaning, errand running, and decorating…things I usually need time to sit down and think about.

        Last summer, I only completed one of the projects on my to do list: deep cleaning the entryway. This involved taking my area rug to be cleaned (this took 4 weeks…long story), vacuuming out the entryway closet, thoroughly cleaning the baseboards and banisters, and repairing cracks and repainting the wall going upstairs. I intended to get the area above the closet decorated, but I am still working on this.

        If my summer to do list remains undone, it usually waits for the next summer. But this year, I have actually been motivated to continue some of my projects. I deep cleaned our laundry/utility room and re-organized one of the downstairs linen closets.

        Another project on my list is photo albums. My mother-in-law always prints out pictures from each year and puts them together into an album. I enjoy computers, but it is nice to look at photos in an album or photo book, and it is so much easier to share those photos with other people. For one of our anniversaries, I started this project for Jesse and I but never continued it. This winter I began again. I am now current through 2009 including some of our big vacations.

        But, of course, every project has multiple steps. Every time I look at the photo albums, I have to take them off the shelf to determine what year I am looking at, so I have also always wanted to label them in a cute way. On President’s Day, I enjoyed a day off making labels for my photo albums. If only I didn’t have two more years to finish before I can check this item off of my to do list…


          A few weeks ago, I joined Pinterest and began pinning with the rest of the women my age in the Midwest. I read a Star Tribune article about the growing popularity of Pinterest about a week after I joined.

          My co-worker, Anna, is also a huge fan. She and I decided to set aside a Saturday afternoon for crafting. We began by spray painting a Christmas star my parents gave me (it was gold and my Christmas color is silver). We also fixed the ties on my guest room curtains. Lastly, we decided to reuse a teacher gift we both received.

          As a Christmas gift, we both received this bear.

          The bear was a little awkward and plain. We decided to repurpose the bear as a Valentine’s bear. I think it turned out very cute in the end.

          Maybe my cute bear will one day show up on Pinterest???

            A Dream Realized…

            You may remember my post from two years ago about the kitchen remodel. If you weren’t traveling the Sutherland Road at that time, you may read about it here.

            At the end of our project, I wanted a new microwave, but we were unable to afford it. At the end of last year, we decided to use our credit card reward points to purchase a new microwave. Jesse and a friend went through the process of installing it (I didn’t want to stand there holding something heavy for any period of time), and we gave our old one away on Craigslist. It may take awhile, but we always finish our projects eventually!

            Microwave from 1987


            New Microwave!


              I tend to not be the most creative person. I always like things to look cool, but I never quite have the right vision or materials to complete crafty projects.

              I have recently been inspired by a few of my co-workers to try some outdoor holiday projects. It began when I attended a workshop on making a kissing ball.

              You begin with a foam ball and attach ribbon. You soak the ball in water and begin filling it with evergreen pieces that are all the same size. One of my co-workers donated all of the evergreen from her outdoor trees.

              Next you fill in the gaps with two different kinds of greens. I purchased these in bundles at a local Home Depot.

              The next step is fun add-ins. I added mini red ornaments, silver sparkly pinecones, and thin silver wire.

              When it is all done, you hang it as a decoration. I opted to hang mine outside because it should last longer.

              I’ve always seen kissing balls and admired them at the store before but thought they were too expensive. After the cost of materials, the time spent on the project, and the mess, I now know why they are so pricey.

              After finishing the kissing ball, I decided to add spruce tips to my outdoor pots. I am very pleased with this year’s outdoor Christmas decorations!

                New Ideas…

                I received two new purchases this weekend to help me be more “green”.

                One thing I have been interested in is making my own compost. Each spring when I need dirt for my gardening projects, we have had to buy compost from Home Depot. Every time I have looked, though, compost bins have been very expensive. Last month, I saw a small ad in our Eagan newsletter about rain barrels and compost bins for a reduced price. After buying it and paying for it, I picked it up over the weekend.

                The Earth Machine

                Two years ago for my birthday, Jesse bought me a new bike. Until that point, I had still been riding my childhood bike, and I was having trouble keeping up. Last summer I tried to ride my bike to more places (the library, out to dinner, etc.). I wanted to run more errands with my bike but had no way to carry any of my purchases home. My friend Jody is an avid garage saler. This spring I asked her to be on the lookout for a bargain bike trailer…and she found one. My goal this summer is to bike to all of my errands within 5 miles of our home…and carry my things home in my Burley.

                My new grocery cart!

                  A Big Job…

                  This past weekend Jesse helped me accomplish another crazy project. I only received a few murderous glares during the process…

                  When Jesse built me the raised vegetable gardens, we placed them on the east side of our house. When I decided I wanted more garden space, he built me two more raised beds on the west side of our house. Because of the hot afternoon sun, the vegetables and fruit on the west side of the house have grown better than the original vegetable beds. For this reason, I had the great idea of moving the original vegetable beds to the sunny side of the house.

                  Original East Side Vegetable Beds
                  Original West Side Vegetable Beds

                  We decided the first step was to shovel dirt out of the vegetable beds to be moved. We then moved the wooden frame together with the chicken wire into place. Next, we ripped up the grass under where the new bed would go creating sod for where the vegetable bed came from. After that, we shoveled dirt back into the frame ready for planting. Lastly, we transplanted the grass to the other side of the house. We are hoping it grows, so we have minimal seed to plant.

                  Ready, Set, Go!

                  When the moving was finished, I planted my vegetables. This is the first year I am trying pole green beans. The other back bed has strawberry plants. The far front bed has tomato and pepper plants. The near front bed has summer squash and will have bush green beans for staggered planting.

                  Finished Project

                  For those of you not interested in my gardening projects, you will be happy to know I will soon be chronicling our next adventure. Jesse and I have a 10 day trip to Italy planned in June. Check back soon for more details!


                    Jesse likens me getting ready in the morning to a tornado. I wake up at the last possible minute and get ready as fast as I can. Tonight I feel like a tornado went through my house and turned it upside down.

                    My spring break began on Friday. Jesse and I decided to spend the first half of spring break painting our guest room and the second half in Durham, North Carolina visiting our friends Ross and Megan. Little did we know that painting our guest room would involve buying new bedroom furniture and replacing almost all of the light fixtures in our house.

                    Our plan has always been to buy new bedroom furniture for our bedroom and put my childhood furniture in our guest room. My recent business (teaching kindergarten library, tutoring my homebound student, and teaching an after school class) has allowed me to save some extra pennies. On Friday we decided to buy the new furniture now, so we could paint and update the guest room. On Saturday we looked at furniture stores, Sunday we bought furniture, and today (Tuesday) it was delivered. Below is the transformation to our bedroom over the years.

                    Our Original Bedroom
                    Spring Break 2008 (Painting our bedroom and office)
                    New Bedroom Furniture
                    More Drawers...YEAH!

                    After purchasing new furniture, we began priming and painting the guest room. Today we finished the last coat of paint, replaced the light fixture, and put in the “new” furniture. We are ready for guests!

                    Original Guest Room
                    Lamp and Pillows from HomeGoods
                    Updated Guest Room (Smokey Slate Wall Color)

                    Now we are headed on our next adventure…North Carolina! Good-bye snow!