Oct 1, 2014

31 Day Challenge ... One Year Later

Hard to believe it's been a full year since I participated in the 31 Day Challenge. If you weren't following along way back when, I wrote about organizing my home over the course of a month.  You can see a full list and links of every post here and I wrote a wrap up of the whole experience here.

I'm not going to participate again this year for various reasons. I didn't have a clear subject I wanted to write about and we have so much going on with the preparations for the Badd Baby. But I thought it would be fun to look back a year later and reflect on the experience.

One year ago when I started the challenge our lives looked a great deal different. I had a full time job and we had no idea we were going to be expanding our family. We've had to make a bunch of changes around the house to make room for baby. Some of the rooms we worked so hard on last year have been totally changed again. I'll be revealing these rooms over the next few weeks.

At the end of the challenge I felt so much better about the state of the house. I had gone through every cabinet, drawer, and closet to purge what we weren't using. Amazing, things accumulated again and we had enough to purge into a full yard sale.  I swear our things are multiplying some how. For the yard sale we actually went into the attic and pulled out some things. Last year I didn't even get a chance to go up there and work. It was needed and still needs to be organized.

Some areas I worked on pretty much stayed the same and were easy to maintain (laundry room). Other areas fell back into chaos (pantry, I'm looking at you). Overall it was a great use of time and I went into the holiday season knowing exactly what I had and feeling confident about my house.  I even enjoyed the challenge of having to post every single day. I need to figure out a routine that ensures more regular posts here. Maybe not every day, but at least several a week.

I am excited about a new challenge I'm taking on this year.... the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling It Home.  I've followed along with several bloggers over the years who have participated and always been in awe of their talent and stamina to complete the challenge. Their rooms are always stunning.

Tomorrow I'll have my first post up regarding the One Room Challenge so check back in to see what space we are tackling.

Sep 30, 2014

Garden Update

It's that time again. Time for a garden update. Honestly, not much has been happening back here. We get some cherry tomatoes and an occasional full size tomato. Lately it's been a bit slow back here.

A couple of carrots and beets have sprouted. Although I'm a bit disappointed so far at their sprouting. Carrots can take several weeks and I'm guesing beets do too. So far I've spotted two beet sprouts and a handful carrots. Hmmm... Should I be soaking these seeds?

No spinach sprouts either. I will soak the seeds before I plant some more later this week. I'm slowly harvesting my spring carrots. I'll pull a few for dinner tonight this afternoon.

Basil is still out of control. I'm a bit over it. Don't be surprised if there is no basil in the next full garden update post. We have been getting fewer and fewer peppers. When are peppers done? This is the first year they've done so well for me.

The back bed continues to thrive. Except that apple mint to the front left. It's starting to look a little dead.

I noticed some young green beans the other day. Guess we'll get another round of beans!

There are still some green tomatoes on the plants in this bed. Last year I harvested tomatoes up until our first frost. I'm looking forward to getting a few more fresh tomatoes before this season ends.

I'm still planting spinach, beet, and carrot seeds every other week for the fall. Pretty soon I'll start cleaning up a few more beds for the winter.

Sep 29, 2014

Yard Sale and other Weekend Haps

This weekend Bryan and I checked off one of those things that every couple has to do once. We had a yard sale.

It was a long time coming. It started when we first found out we were expecting and realizing that we were going to have to turn our house upside down. Even before we met with the designer and started implementing our new plans I started cleaning out closets and cabinets. As things started accumulating I toyed with the idea of a yard sale. It seemed like we had so much stuff and we were spending money on updating things, so maybe it would be nice to get some money for our things.

I wasn't totally sold on the idea and neither was Bryan. We kept piling up things and putting off making a decision. It wasn't until last Tuesday that we decided to go for it.

This is what I've been living with for the last few months. Well, it hasn't been this bad the whole time, but it's been a couple months since I've sat at my dining room table.

I tried to keep this sale as simple and low key as possible. I could have done a better job keeping things organized pre-sale, but we just piled things up as we went through different areas of the house. I found some poster board in our recycle paper pile and I used those as signs.  We also didn't price anything until the morning of.

Saturday morning Bryan's brother and parents helped us drag everything out to the yard. With two big desks there was no way I could have helped Bryan get those and everything else to the curb.

It took about an hour to get everything outside and semi-sorted. I had three pricing tables: $1, $5, and $10. Other items were priced individually.

We didn't make a ton of money, but we were happy to get a little bit back and more importantly clean out the house of any unnecessary items.

Afterwards I might have danced all around my dining room table. Just because I could.

The sale wasn't the only thing we did this past weekend.

We saw the Memphis Dawls at the Levitt Shell Friday night with Brett and Sarah. (Look for a new music review when their new album comes out later this fall.)

Saturday afternoon I laid around while Bryan went for a run. Charlie and Roux snuggled. They are already great pals.

Sunday night we went back to the Shell to see St. Paul and the Broken Bones, who were fantastic. If you get the chance to see them live, do it.

Tell me: Have you had a yard sale? Will you do it again?

Sep 25, 2014

Restaurant Review: Schweinehaus

A few weeks ago a new restaurant opened in Overton Square. Bryan has been greatly anticipating this opening as he longed for liter beers and German food with a Memphis influence. So a couple of weeks ago we walked over on a Friday evening for a little date night.

Since it had only been open about a week or so we decided to go a little bit earlier than we normally would, about 5:30. We wanted to beat the crowds. When we arrived we were seated right away, but by the time we were done they were seating people ass to ankles.

The outside of the building, the old Paulette's space, features one of my favorite murals in the Square. (The one on the side of Bari is my other favorite.)

At Schweinehaus they do seat German family style, so you may end up sharing a bench with strangers. I don't mind this as it's always fun to get a closer look at what others are ordering and maybe even make a few new friends.

Let's talk about the beer. They have an impressive selection of German beers which I intend to explore intensively after Charlie is born. They also offer three different sizes which I appreciate. Bryan ordered a liter and I ordered an 8 oz of a hefeweizen. Behind Bryan you can see the bar area which offers bar seating as well as some standing room.

To start we ordered Brezel and Fried Brussel sprouts. Bryan really liked the brussel sprouts, but they weren't my favorite. I did enjoy the flavor and dressing, but I think fried is just not my preferred brussel sprout cooking method. The pretzel though... it is served with beer cheese and their house mustard. The start of this dish is the mustard. It's delicious.

Next up we shared the Eisbergh salad which I forgot to photograph. I was surprised to receive a wedge salad, but enjoyed the diced crispy brat bites which sort of served as a crouton.

Finally we split the Jagerschnitzel, pork schnitzel. We were a bit nervous about this choice, but were not disappointed. We received two large pieces of pork with large servings of mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage. I don't even like cabbage and it was delicious. This portion was enough for two. I couldn't even eat all of my half and took it home for lunch the next day.

We really enjoyed our dinner and look forward to going back. I definately want to try the patio while the weather is nice. It would be a great place to meet up with friends after work or on the weekends.

Scheweinehaus's website: http://www.schweinehaus.com/

Sep 22, 2014

Herbal Bouquet

Our herbs have been booming this year. It's been a blessing, but I also feel bad as I don't use them as often as they need to be clipped. Occasionally this summer I've clipped some back and tossed it directly into the compost pile. I feel so wasteful doing this, but at least it will be turned into some good dirt.

The other day I was going to a friend's house and decided I'd take over a little herbal bouquet as a happy. Who doesn't love fresh herbs?

It ended up turning out to be a really pretty arrangment. I had basil in the back, rosemary, sage, oregano, and mint in the front and sides. The oregano added a trailing component that made it extra lovely. Bonus: It's all edible and can be snipped as needed. I put the arrangement in a free drink cup from one of our local restaurants (doesn't everyone have a collection of these cups?) so the friend wouldn't have to worry about returning the vessel.

Have you ever put together a herbal bouquet? I think I'll put together another one today, just for me!

Sep 19, 2014

New Music: The New Pornographer's Brill Bruisers

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

I've been a fan of The New Pornographers for a number of years now. Sometime in college I heard Twin Cinemas and fell in love. But you know how in these days of Pandora and Spotify it gets easy to not listen to your own favorite music? This happens to me all the time. On our beach trip we popped in some old mixed CDs we found in the (inaccurately named) glove compartment. These CDs had several old New Pornographers songs. We danced and sang and rolled down the windows and sang louder.

Back at home I knew I needed to listen to some of their newer stuff. And they have a new album out! Brill Bruisers. They still have the same sound: powerful pop with group vocals. So if you love their earlier stuff, this will still sound familiar to you. Is it my favorite album, no. But that's okay. It's like visiting an old friend and knowing they are still the same deep down.

Favorite Songs: Brill Bruisers, War on the East Coast

When to listen: road trips, when you need to power through something (work, cleaning, etc)

Sep 16, 2014

The Potato Experiment: Part 2

Spoiler Alert: Utter and total failure.

It's been a few weeks since Part 1 of this experiment in which we were surprised to find potatoes in the garden bed. We had been expecting more potatoes from the buckets all along. At the time of our first harvest we got a bunch of Desiree potatoes out of our bed. We hadn't harvested the Desiree buckets and were eagerly anticipating what was happening in those buckets.

This past weekend we decided it was time. Here's how things were looking prior to dumping.

This large trash can (salvaged from the neighbors curb) "contained" the last of the yellow fin potatoes.

Three containers of Desiree potatoes.

We'll skip the dirt pictures and go straight to the harvest.

Yup. Two. The size of a small finger nail.

We were both disappointed, but not totally surprised after our first harvest. As we were cleaning up Bryan asked if we'd do it again. I think we will. We have decided to skip Yellow Fin next year and try Desiree and maybe another variety. I think we will still try containers again next year since we have them. We will also mess with the soil. Potatoes like a more acidic soil, so we'll experiment with the dirt we plant them in.

This was an experiment after all, so it's hard to call it a complete failure. What I love about gardening is that you learn by doing, by getting your hands dirty, literally. So while we may not have baskets of potatoes stored in the basement for winter, we now have first hand knowledge of growing potatoes and better appreciation for the potatoes we get from our farmers market and store.