Friday, July 8, 2011

are you there, universe? it's me, nestissa.

I began playing Everquest 2 in March of 2006.  My boyfriend (now my husband) had been playing, and I wanted to know exactly what was taking up so much of his time.  Immediately I was addicted! My very first toon (aka - character) was named Nestissa. I still play her on just about a daily basis.

I tell you this story because this is what I spent most of my free time doing.  Playing this game.  My husband and I bought our first home in September of 2007, and I am a bit embarrassed to say this, but I neglected to do any sort of decorating or making the place personal for us.  Instead, I spent all of my time playing on Nestissa.  About two months ago, I finally became fed up with having such an impersonal home.  Mostly, I was inspired by the Thrifty Decor Chick and her amazing blog.  So, I started taking time away from Everquest and working on planting a flower garden, sewing new curtains for the windows, and finishing the remodel of our bathroom.

Within a week of me starting this home-improvement movement (that sounded kind of cute!), the universe turned against me!  We live within a mile of the Missouri River and it started FLOODING!  There is so much snow melt and rainfall north of us that we are, and have been for over a month now, 6+ feet above flood stage and will stay that way for another 2 or more months! That is a ton of water! Now, our levees are still about 6 feet higher than the river is at this time, but the problem isn't so much the level of the river but the fact that there is and will be so much water moving at such a high velocity that the river is eroding the levees and forcing incredible amounts of water into the soil. At any given spot of land along the river (that is not already flooded) is wet to the touch. Not just moist, but sopping wet.  There have already been close to a dozen levee breaches both north and south of us.

Here is a shot of the river and levee and flooding about two miles north of us. (this picture is looking south)

We are obviously in some significant danger of flooding and losing our home.  All of this began at exactly the same time that I decided to cut back on everquest and start sprucing up my home.  So I apologize profusely, Midwest, I will return to my gaming and set the Universe to rights again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

my *almost* finished garden

About a week after my last post, I got out and planted my flower garden.  My first step of course was plotting where I'd plant each flower.  Here was what I came up with:

 The lilies ended up being swapped around, but the layout is the same.  I didn't get a picture of them actually planted until about a week later and by that time the lilies had lost their flowers.  Since I am new to this whole gardening thing, I didn't realize bulb flowers only produce flowers once a year for about two weeks.  I felt kind of gypped.. At least I got a pretty picture of one of the lilies before they all disappeared for the year.

The annuals I bought for the front part of the garden, I let my daughter pick out.  I figured, "What does it matter? They're all annuals, they'll be fine together."  Wrong!  I am really amazed at my lack of knowledge of gardening.  The scary part is, most of what I "don't know" should be common sense!  

Some of the things I "learned:"  1-Not all annuals like lots of sun - impatiens are shade lovers.  2-Each species has different watering needs; some need to be watered daily and some weekly.  3-Different breeds of annuals don't look great when grouped together.  This is because each breed spreads differently - impatiens stay low and crawl along the ground, (my) petunias are staying thin and growing tall, and marigolds grow both up and out like a bush.  Marigolds seem to be thriving better than anything else in my garden.  I think next year, I'll only be plating marigolds as my annual.  And maybe some impatiens in a window box? 

Here are my pretty marigolds.

I am still not *finished.*  I have to install the rest of the buried border thingy, add some mulch, and find some decorative pebbles to surround the garden.  But the work that I have done has made a drastic difference in our backyard.  The change has inspired me to want to do more!

Monday, May 9, 2011

accountability; do you have it?

I have admitted many times in my life that I am a procrastinator.  My poor husband can attest to this.  I am not proud of this ..quirk(?).  But it is what it is.  My senior quote was: "Why put off until tomorrow, what can be done the day after?"  Sad, I know..

Thus, I have decided though that I need some accountability for the goals that I set for myself.  Otherwise, I will procrastinate my way straight through without a backward glance.  For years now, I have wanted to plant a flower garden along the front of our house, but I'm always hesitant (ok, scared) to start because I do not possess the experience or the confidence to take on such an endeavor.  So, last week, I decided I'd plant the garden in the back yard.  That way I'd get the experience and the confidence I seek without having to worry about what other people think of my gardening talents, because no one else will ever see it back there.  Perfect logic, right?  Oh yes, we forgot about the first part of this post.  I'm a huge procrastinator.. 

Here is my solution to my procrastinating problem: I will post before pictures on my blog, and that will force me to step up and do something.  I know posting a picture doesn't seem like much motivation, but in doing this, I am releasing to the world wide web some not so flatter pictures of my yard.  And out of pure embarrassment I will be obligated to post new pretty pictures of my new yard!! Yay! I'm excited just talking about it! :)

Now to the space.. There is definitely a lot of work that needs to be done to the yard, but at the moment, we're focusing on the area between the sidewalk and the back fence. 100% of that space is infested by weeds.  So, it seems the only way I can go is up!

In this picture, I'd already started some of the work to get this transformed into my perfect flower garden, but there is plenty of ugly even so!

I spent my younger child's naptime working on deweeding. I came close to finishing, but I guess it will have to wait until another day. Yes, another day, NOT another year!!  Still, I was happy with the progress!

Soon, I promise, I will be posting pictures of my lovely flower garden!! Please, please, please... hold me accountable to this!!

cake: her favorite present

My little girl turned three this year. *sniff, sniff* Her birthday was over a month ago, and I'm finally getting around to posting birthday cake pictures.. It was a simple cake, so this won't take long. :)

We started with 2 - 9 in. rounds and 2 - 6 in. rounds of strawberry (boxed of course!!) cake mix. I did one of each size pan per box of mix. I ended up with this:

I iced with buttercream icing (store bought once again). I tinted the icing pink, and of course once the cake was completely iced, I realized I should have added more food coloring. Oh well, she didn't realize her cake was pepto bismol color!

I inserted lollipops all over the cake, including a larger one on top with her new age!!! And ...Voila!

It's safe to say that the birthday girl was impressed! She's the only one that counts, after all!!

She even thought it tasted okay. :)

My son's birthday is coming up in September and I have some really cute inspirations/ ideas for his cake! I can't wait to share!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

butt paste and a big screen

My children have begun a new obsession with butt paste..  My two year old has learned how to unscrew the cap from the tube, and she and her one year old brother stick their fingers into the tube and proceed to "draw" on everything within their reach. *sigh*  You would think one episode of such mischievousness would be enough to teach me to keep the paste out of their reach, right?  Apparently it has taken TWICE before I learned my lesson.  Unfortunately I learned this at the expense of our <Ladies, cover your husband's ears> ...LCD TV.  Not only did I find butt paste on the TV screen, but also finger prints (no surprise there) and CRAYON!!

(Please ignore the laundry baskets and toys in the reflection. Thank you.)

I was horrified, to say the least, when I saw our television in this condition! Luckily (?) I had another experience with "drawings" on our TV last year when I found that my daughter had used her banana to draw pictures on the screen. That nastiness came off easily enough with a very lightly damp cloth diaper, so as not to scratch the surface.  I tried the same approach this time, and believe it or not, both the crayon and the butt paste came off relatively easy, but those darn oily finger prints will not budge! I only spent about 5 minutes cleaning it, but I think it turned out fairly nice.

I suppose I'll have to break down and get a specialized LCD cleaner to get the finger prints and the rest of the smudges from the butt paste, but I'm REALLY happy and relieved about this outcome.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

celebrating life

My little girl is coming up on her third birthday. That means it's time to start gaining inspiration for a cake.. Daunting, I know. I guess this is a good opportunity to revisit last year's cake to show myself that I am capable of something cute in the least. We decided on a farm theme last year because, like almost every other two year old, she LOVED any and all animals. We did a farm yard, barn, silo, and animals to populate the area.

The two 8" rounds were made by me, the pound cake was pre-made and bought at my local grocery store's bakery. I also made two dozen cupcakes.

The 8" rounds are placed together and iced.

The barn and silo get "sided and shingled" The barn is the pound cake and the silo is three cupcakes with the tops cut off and stacked on one another.

I placed the buildings on the "yard"

The animals were my favorite part of the cake! They were three different decorations on cupcakes.

And the finished product:

The cake was a hit, and quite delicious! For step-by-step instructions here is a link to the website I followed: Fun Farm Cake

Now if only I could decide what to do this year..

Sunday, February 13, 2011

death of a coat

One Sunday morning about a month ago, my husband had just come in from shoveling our neighbor's sidewalk and driveway.  Very chivalrous, I know!  I offered to boil some water for hot chocolate, as it was quite nippy out.  I turned on the burner, set the tea kettle on the stove, and turned to continue conversing with my husband.  After about 5 seconds we hear WHOFF...  Well, I had apparently turned on the wrong burner and had also apparently set an oven mitt on said burner.  I turned around to find the oven mitt engulfed in flames.  Already the flames were easily a foot tall.  I grabbed the oven mitt with my hand, put it in the sink, and ran water over it.  I couldn't believe I had just picked up a flaming oven mitt with my bare hand!  My husband was chastising me about the entire situation when I happened to see my winter coat starting to catch fire!  The oven mitt had dropped burning bits of itself on the way to the sink, one of which had found home in my coat!  It is a down coat and would only take a few seconds to be completely ablaze, so I immediately swatted the small fire with my hand, which quelled the incident.

Whew! What a morning! It was an adrenaline filled two minutes and because there was so very little damage, we were able to laugh about it immediately. But after all this excitement, I'm stuck in the middle of winter with a coat that bleeds feathers..

Needless to say "she" was done for until I could fix her.

It's a month after the fire, Sunday once again. The husband and kids are sick, so church is out of the question. I decided to tackle the coat patching. <insert dramatic music> I started at 9 am and finished up around 4:30pm. *sigh* It's no wonder I've put it off for so long!

Here's what the patch looks like:

Can you believe that took seven and a half hours?! Hehe, just kidding. Well, not about that being the patch, because that is what closed the hole. Here is the finished product

I think I like my "new" coat better than the deceased one! :)