A few things we are celebrating and grateful for this week:
Time with friends: This weekend I had a chance to have lunch with a girlfriend, and later to visit other friends at their home and swim with their children. At the lunch, I hugged my friend and she said, “Oh! I think this is the first hug I’ve had from someone outside of my house in over a year!” She squeezed me with intention. I looked around the small cafe to see many others doing the same. People seemed so truly happy to be together.
Swimming with the Mason boys was a delight. Their hunger to learn is constantly bubbling up around them, as they hear words in conversation and ask for definitions. “What does ‘vocabulary’ mean?” They remind me how the simple things also delight little boys. “Aunt Kelli, I just pool burped! That’s when you burp after drinking too much pool water on accident.” And so on. It was fun to listen to them laugh and splash.
Travel: I’m preparing for a trip to Croatia with friends. We leave next week. The closest I’ve been to this part of the world is Israel and Palestine, and they aren’t exactly neighbors. I’m nervous to be gone from home for a spell without Jason, but also delighted to dust off my passport. I can’t wait to see the sea.
Watching: I’m enjoying “Atlantic Crossing,” on PBS. The costumes alone are worth watching, but the storytelling and portrayal of the the Roosevelts is entertaining.
Growing: the tomatoes are starting to wind down. We’ve had bags and bags full this year, which has been nice. I’ve canned and frozen some and given away more this week to friends and neighbors. I’m reminded that once it gets over 100, it will be nice to close up the vegetable beds for a few months and not have this outside chore. The roses, on the other hand, will need more attention. They are still blooming and starting to climb up the trellises. I’ve always wanted a rose garden, so it makes me happy to see this come to life.
This took several months, but boy are we glad it is done. When Jason moved into this home, we knew the master bedroom would need some help. The woman who lived here before was obsessed with greek themes. (You may remember the column in the bathroom.) Hence the drapey olive green curtains, lots of wallpaper, and the throne.
A throne. But I knew that if we were going to add our personal touches to the room, using these resources were going to make all the difference to the bedroom once it was complete.
So, we took it all down and started with some fresh paint, including bright green beneath the chair rail. I think we just needed a break away from the wallpaper, hence why we decided to go with paint instead. When we redecorate again in the future, I’ve already thought about the type of wallpaper that I want. I’ve recently come across some different types of marble wallpaper, and I have to say that they look really good and I would love to see that sort of style in my home. But for now, we’ve decided to go with some fresh paint instead. And by “we,” I mean Jason. I picked out the colors and helped remove a bit of the wallpaper, but he did the vast majority of the work. Although, I did give the carpet a quick clean using the vacuum we found online at Bissell which was very easy to use.
We bought some blue drapes to replace the others, and I splurged on a piece of art from House of Belonging. Those lyrics are from Hillsong’s “Ocean,” which is our wedding song. Decorating a master bedroom is always hard work, but if you want to give it a try, there are a lot of places you can check out, for example, if you’re looking for a place to get the best mattress, there are websites for you to check out.
I love the crazy mix of colors, the homemade quilt from my mom on the bed and on Nelson’s bed, and how happy this room is now. We are sleeping better with the heavier curtains, and we managed to clean up some clutter in the process. It was a simple update, but one much needed.
This furry cuddle monkey came to stay with us last week for a few days. He is one of the sweetest pups. He is just the right size to hold and loved resting in my arms or on my chest when he was trying to get back to sleep.
Inspired by Master of None, I borrowed a friend’s Kitchenaid pasta maker attachment the other day with the high hopes of making J ravioli. Several hours later, we ordered takeout.
The sauce was great. My trick is to use ground beef and ground pork, and to cook it all day with diced vegetables and a large handful of basil from the garden.
The pasta was under cooked and gross. The ravioli weren’t pinched tightly enough, so a lot of the filling escaped, and I didn’t roll the dough thin enough. Sadly, I am not the master of homemade pasta.
Jason finished up the addition to the garden bed this weekend, including a new irrigation system — which will come in handy as soon as temps climb over 100 and hauling buckets of water gets old. I am thrilled! Three weeks ago, I planted cucumbers and zucchini by seed, and with the addition, I was able to thin the starts by replanting them in the new bed. Additionally, we planted more tomatoes, onions, and I’m trying melons for the first time.
I am thrilled with this crazily (perhaps suggestively) shaped garden. It was my Christmas gift and I am so happy Santa heard me! And really happy we are all heirloom and organic. I mixed egg shells into the soil this morning and sprinkled everything with a heavy dose of bone meal. We are going to have a bounty of vegetables in a couple months. I’m dreaming of an early-summer tomato party, and trying pickles again with all those cukes.
A house feels like a home to me when I can get a garden going, especially one where I’ve had the time and resources to work the soil. I know with time, this will be my best garden yet.
The people who previously owned our home loved LOVED wallpaper. (And white carpet.) Come to find out, 1980s wallpaper makes a small bathroom seem much smaller. We planned to strip the wallpaper, add a fresh coat of paint and update a few of the fixtures like the lights and faucets. I’d seen a lovely drum light fixture as well as some more elegant faucets whilst searching for inspiration so I knew those would be changed immediately, making the space look calmer and prettier compared to the previous fixtures.
And as house projects go, this took way longer than expected and required more repairs than anticipated. However, the new yellow bathroom looks so, so much cleaner and bigger. I considered doing a shower remodel but in the end, I decided the shower we had was fine. It’s a little old and tatty but it’ll do! The main issue was the decoration.
Welcome to 1989. Bangs are big, Molly Ringwald is always sad, and Michael Jackson is blaring on the boombox. Why yes, that is two types of border wallpaper glued on top of a base layer of wallpaper. It took a lot longer to get off the walls than we anticipated. (Also, this is the kids’ bathroom, so it is inherently a bit messy.)
Week 2. Yellow paint! Leak fixed. Wall fixed. Kids annoyed to still be taking showers in our bathroom.
Done. The changes other than the paint:
Curved shower curtain, giving the kids a bit more space in an otherwise small shower. Friends recommended some 3/8″ Glass Shower Doors, but they just don’t fit the aesthetic. Also kids!
A new to us mirror I found on Craigslist for $40
A new catch all for all of their counter items
Mason jars for their soap and toothbrushes
New to them art — thanks to Finny
I can’t tell you how much bigger this tiny bathroom feels. The kids are happy, and we are happy to have that much less wallpaper. Win! Maybe next I can also get my bills down with a new quote from Money Expert (https://www.moneyexpert.com/gas-electricity/). My friend told me he saved a bunch of money through changing quotes. Only one way to know for sure!
We are wrapping up marmalade season at our house. I made more than 120 jars, some setting up much nicer than others. By the last batch, I could tell by the color of the jam when it was done. I’m looking forward to giving these away as the year goes by — a bit of canned Arizona spring sunshine.
This week was Jason’s birthday. He eats so few sweets, but loves a small slice of key lime pie. Luckily, I like a large slice, as do the kids.
Are you making bone broth? I feel like I go on and on about how easy this is and how quickly it ups your cooking game. It also makes the house smell comfy cozy when it is cooking. Broth is easily stored in mason jars in the freezer (only 2/3rds full or the glass will break) and then you have your own for soups, rice, etc. I like to make ours spicy — with cayenne and tumeric.
And I’m finally knitting another Abalone sweater. I hurt my back this week and spent several days on the couch. I got this project started and finished the last season of Mad Men. It’s been a long time since I watched an entire show, and I will miss these characters. (I still think of the Soprano family from time to time too. And of course wonder how my buddy Leslie Knope is doing in DC.)
January in central Arizona is citrus season. You’ll see citrus trees with arms bowing, full of fruit. And there are trees nearly everywhere — medians along major streets, parks, and plenty in backyards. Our trees didn’t do great this year; it’s normal for citrus to have an off season, even though they received ample water and fertilizer.
Thankfully, when we were out running errands this weekend, we noticed a small farm stand with bags of lemons for $1. (Considering we too have to pay about $1 a lemon at the market come July, I grabbed a bunch.)
With a bit of time, the oranges from our navel tree became the season’s first batch of marmalade. I like to add a full jar, with a diced onion and some garlic, to the crockpot when slow cooking pork roast.
The lemons were juiced and saved. We use these cubes in ice tea, cooking and baking. It makes the January bounty last well into the year.
(And bone broth. Do you do this? It is so easy, and I swear it’s upped my cooking game. We keep our rotisserie chicken bones and slow cook them with vegetables and spices. After several hours, I strain the liquid into mason jars, which go into the freezer. We use these to cook rice, beans, for the base of sauces, etc.)
An update from the Heirloom Hacienda. Tomorrow: what’s happening in the garden (including the addition of another bed!)