Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Great Memorial Day Weekend...and Finished Play Kitchen!

We had a great week and weekend here.  During the week, Samantha and I had some fun at a picnic, a concert at the lake, and going for some frozen yogurt.  I also got to spend a couple nights with my book club (I know Samantha always has fun with Daddy those nights!). 

Our weekend was incredibly productive.  The biggest accomplishments were staining/painting the deck and finishing Samantha's play kitchen. 

Chris was busy with beer - stringing up hops, brewing, and of course drinking some too.  He was wonderful and watched Samantha a lot during the weekend so I could get a lot done. 

I started out getting the deck ready for staining and painting.  I had to recess all the screws since the lumber shrunk since installation.  Once that was done there was some sanding on the railings and then a good thorough pressure washing.  Here are a couple "Before" pictures.

We chose a darker brown stain for the railing and floor boards.  The balusters and posts are (will be) painted white.  I finished the staining and about 75% of the painting.  I'll post the "After" pictures hopefully next week.

We selected some great furniture for the basement this weekend as well.  It is going to be delivered on Friday so we'll finally have somewhere to sit besides the floor. 

I spent quite a bit of time in the basement finishing Samantha's play kitchen.  I started this just after her birthday and now three and a half months later, I'm done.

I think I'm going to write a post just about the kitchen so here are just some pictures of the whole thing.  When Samantha saw it the first time, she played with it for over an hour before I was able to drag her away for lunch.  I consider it a success!

 And of course it wouldn't be Memorial Day weekend without some patriotic outfits and grilling.

Next week will I post some fully finished deck pictures?  I hope so!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Weekend of "Re"s

We had a great week here.  I got to go to a Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) meeting with my friend, Diane.  It was a lot of fun (we may have had to perform a "synchronized swimming" routine) and I got to meet some of the people I would be seeing at the Relay for Life on Friday. 

Samantha and I were busy during the week.  My mom's group put together "I Spy" books and we had a play date to exchange.  I made a woodland scene which turned out pretty good (especially since I drew it all in PowerPoint).

We also got to enjoy a nice concert at the lakefront.  Each Wednesday through May and June they put on free concerts at lunch time.  It is a great place to take kids - they love the music and running around.  We will be going to every one we can!

Chris and I had a date night on Tuesday for a wine event at Friends and Farms (where we get our weekly food basket).  It was great!  They taught us the proper tasting techniques and then had four flights (two wines each) with a small plate of food.  We had our neighbor watch Samantha and she did really well so we'll be taking advantage of that again in the future!

I participated in the Relay for Life on Friday night.  I walked for two hours and had a good time.  They had to move the venue that day due to a bomb threat.  For a change that large they did a great job.  We wore "SuperMom" capes while we walked the track.

Saturday morning was exciting with the opening of our new Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  We spent a while there and walked away with some great stuff (the highlight for Chris was the $5 Kennedy tool box).

The rest of the weekend was spent working on small projects - nothing worth writing about.  During the week though I noticed how neglected our windows have become.  Samantha stands at the front window at least twice a day (when Daddy is leaving and coming home).  There are a TON of finger prints all over it.  The sun was shining just right that I was so embarrassed that I had to clean it. 

Once I started cleaning, there wasn't much to stop me from cleaning and organizing more of the house - it needed it!  Hopefully we can keep it in better shape.

I'll leave you with a picture of Samantha with her "bling" from the dollar store. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Post-Solar Enery Bill

We finally got our first post-solar electric bill.  It is fantastic!  For the month and a half that we've had the panels, we have generated 482 kWh over what we used.  This will be very helpful during the winter!  So from the past two months, our electric bill has been $40 (and that's only because we didn't have the panels on for the first half of March).

On Saturday, I participated in the Color Run in Baltimore.  It is a 5K run where there are "color zones" where people throw colored corn starch on you.  It was a lot of fun - and I came home very dirty!

Mother's Day was nice and low key.  Chris made me multiple meals and a bunch of cupcakes - it was a yummy day!

Chris also spent part of the weekend working in the yard - cleaning up branches, cutting the grass, etc.

During the week, Samantha and I had a lot of fun.  She had her first snowball and we went to the Howard County Conservancy.  Of course she had to wear her new shades since it was so nice out.

We also got to play at the playground near the airport - Samantha really enjoyed watching the planes land.  After that, we went to Clark's Elioak Farm where she had fun with some friends and got to check out all the goats, cows, sheep, and horses. 

She has really been such a joy - her personality is really starting to come out.  She is almost always happy and very silly too.  She had a good time trying on Daddy's running shoes (and work gloves) last week.

She absolutely loves books.  Here is a video of her "reading" to herself this afternoon.

 I'll leave you with a fun photo of her "chillin" in the den.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Keuka in Bloom

We had a pretty typical week at home - work, play dates, etc.  Though on Friday we drove up to the Finger Lakes to have some fun. 

My parents and some of their friends have gone to the "Keuka in Bloom" event a couple times and really enjoy it.  They invited us along this time and we're glad that they did! 

We stayed in a historic house with a great view of the lake.  There was a lot of "front porch sitting" throughout the weekend!

The event was on Saturday and Sunday.  We visited seven wineries over the weekend (four on Saturday, three on Sunday).  It allowed for a nice leisurely tour.  At each winery we got a flower, an herb, a small plate of food, and of course multiple wine tastings.  So by the end of the weekend we had 14 flowers and 14 herbs to take home.  Now I just need to plant them!

Of course we ended up bringing home a lot more than we brought with us.  Besides bottles of wine, we came home with empty wine bottles (for Chris' mead), a keg, a glass carboy, a CO2 tank and tap, and a rocking chair for Samantha.  I'm happy to report that I did not make a single purchase - this was all Chris.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Spending time with Daddy (the stain is from grape juice - we're not bad parents!)

 Playing on the swings with Pap

Pretty tree in bloom

No, she wasn't drinking...

We drove back home on Monday so we're a little behind this week already.  It looks like we'll be having fun this week too!

And I'll end with a picture of Samantha saying goodbye to me one night this week (Daddy gets waves and smiles):