our wee home

musings by michelle

Is it spring yet?!

The trees are starting to bud, and we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow.  Yep, it’s definitely spring in Denver!

With our basement out of commission (due to the flood, and lack of progress while we wait on insurance checks to be endorsed by our mortgage company…), our new (bigger) house is starting to feel small.  I think Matt and I always start hating our house this time of year, because we’re itching to GET OUTSIDE!

So I’ve started daydreaming and planning for some outdoor improvements on our house.  Our first project will be rototilling and putting down grass seed in the backyard.  The backyard is currently a big patch of dirt.  Now that Norah is so close to walking, I desperately want a backyard that she can safely play in.  But our curb appeal right now is horrendous.  We won’t have a lot of funds to work with for a while, so I’m dreaming up cheap improvements for the front yard.  Here’s a photo of the house from before we bought it last fall.  Since then we have replaced the garage door, and obviously the for-sale sign is no longer in the front yard.  =)

Exterior, August 2012

Here’s my to-do list for this year:

  • Either remove or paint the shutters.  Matt wants to remove them, but I’m a bit leery because they are not only screwed into the brick, there is also some adhesive or glue behind them that does not look like it would be easy to remove from the brick.  I figure we can paint them now, and if we figure out how to remove them later, we can do that.
  • Remove the decrepit (and ugly) storm door.  Eventually we want to get a replacement (same as I put on the last house), but not sure we want to spend those 300+ beans this summer.
  • Paint the front door.  I’m a little hesitant here, because it’s a beautiful wood door… but still.
  • Plant flowers (water-wise perennials), add mulch & rock to the area between the driveway and the entry sidewalk.  We already planted a bunch of bulbs there last fall (hopefully they survived our dry winter!).
  • Remove the two shrubs by the front steps.  I have two wooden half-barrels that I plan to put there and plant flowers in.
  • Get a new mailbox.
  • Get new, modern, house numbers.
  • Update or replace the outdoor light fixture.  We’ll probably want to save up for something we really like, so I may just update the existing one with some brushed nickel spray paint.
  • Over-seed the lawn with grass seed, just to make it healthier and thicker.

Here’s my feeble attempt at a sketch using google docs to give a vague idea of what I’m envisioning:

Copy of house

Curb Appeal update?

What do you think?  Do-able?  Any suggestions or ideas?

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | DIY, Green living, Home Improvements, On the cheap, The Outdoors | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-toddling

Norah is 13 months old and we are seeing more and more of her personality every day.  I am so grateful that she is still such a happy person most of the time!  She is good-natured, and turning into a bit of a ham.  She’s developing a “silly streak,” and of course we are starting to get small glimmers of a more willful side.  Every once in a while while she’s fussing or upset, we start to see glimpses of MAD. From what a hear, this could peak at the age of 18 months, right around the time we are expecting wee one #2.  =)  Good times.

Her favorite activity these days are taking things out and putting things in.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  Every few days we just find a new vessel: a basket, a bag, a box… and she’ll put toys in and take them out.  Over and over again.  She’s very observant and aware of changes in her environment and exploring new things.  We have slowly been “expanding her world” at home by removing baby gates to give her more room to explore.

She’s still a good eater, for the most part.  And she’s very good at communicating what foods she wants more of (pointing, and if we’re not fast enough, screaming), and which foods she is done with (throwing it on the floor for Luci).  She eats all kinds of fruit, tomatoes, turkey, hummus, broccoli (plain, even!), beets, cauliflower, raisins & prunes, bread (toast, egg salad sandwiches), eggs (poached are her favorite), chicken, salmon.  We learned when she was around 5 months old that she has a peanut allergy, so she doesn’t eat any nuts or nut products.  We have also not given her any shellfish (like shrimp) since that is another common food allergy.  We’ve had one episode of hives that we couldn’t explain, so we will likely take her for more extensive allergy testing.

Now prepare yourself for a Norah-photo-bomb.  Here’s an outtake from her 13-month-photo session.

13-month photo outtake

13-month photo outtake

She’s cruising all over the place, and pulling up even  on walls.  Still not walking, but she’s close!

Who's that?

Who’s that?

Let us in!

She loves her buddy, Luci!

This is MY bed.

This is MY bed.

There’s been a lot of gnashing-of-teeth around here…

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

peek

peek

Looking at the geese and ducks on the Platte River.

Looking at the geese and ducks on the Platte River.

March 18, 2013 Posted by | Just Life, Parenting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on cloth diapering

We’ve been using cloth diapers on Norah since she was just a couple months old.  She’s now nearly 13 months old, and I thought I’d share an update on how things are going and what we think of the whole thing.  My first post on cloth diapers gives info on our stash, if you’re interested.

Overall we’ve been really pleased with cloth diapers, but It took us a while to figure out our washing routine — if you look up advice on washing cloth diapers, you can get lost in the interwebs for a few years, I think!  What ended up being the magic bullet for us was bleach.  As much as I wanted to “stay natural” and use green cleaners, using bleach once in a while definitely solved all of our problems (ammonia build-up and some staining, mostly).

I do use disposables when we’re out and about, running errands, etc.  Or when we haven’t kept up on laundry and we run out.  I’d say we’ve had fewer blowouts with cloth diapers, but more soak-throughs (although we should probably be putting an extra insert in now that she’s older).

I’m so glad that our diaper stash will serve us all the way through toddlerhood until she’s potty trained – we have saved so much money this way!

March 6, 2013 Posted by | On the cheap, Parenting | , , , , | Leave a comment