Our Backyard Project.

Who’s got a backyard that needs some serious help? This gal. In April we will be celebrating Abram’s first birthday. I’m overjoyed that our tax return was so large because this means that we can actually throw him a birthday party, and pay for it ourselves! Now, we aren’t going to go crazy or anything, but we do want to invite all of our friends and family from all over the place. My first thought was to have it at Daniel’s parents house, which is five minutes down the road. They have a giant backyard with a nice deck and a grill. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to have it at our home. We have plenty of space, and with the some work (well, a lot of work) we can get our backyard looking decent. It really does have great potential, it’s just overgrown and wasn’t kept up for about 15 years. Sooo….

We have all of the trees around our house, which provides excellent shade, but boy is it the worst when it comes to the leaf count.

Our patio is spacious. I have big dreams for it, but first….

We have to get rid of the spider haven. The entire roof of that overhang is covered in spiderwebs, where they all lurk and hide during the day. And the stuff on the patio isn’t necessarily junk. We got rid of the junk part last year. But it’s just stuff we need to move and find a place for. Now granted, there is still some stuff we need to throw away. Like that ridiculous pot. And the three paper/mail boxes.

 

Daniel’s fixing to build some shelves for me and a rack for his recording gear out of all that wood.

Yes, that is a bin of old mason jars. And yes, I am crazy for not having taken them out already and using them. But soon my friends, soon.

We are guessing that this is where Daniel’s great aunt Lois had her garden. Now it is just an overgrown poop box for our dog Titan. I bought some organic seeds at Lowe’s on Saturday, so my hope is to turn it back into the garden it once was.

Really?

There are currently two giant holes in the backyard. Daniel and Roger were on a quest to find the septic tank because our toilets have been backing up. So that’s a fun decoration.

Our shed, that I never looked into until Saturday, is an interesting part of our backyard. The eagle on the top is my favorite. Hopefully we can shove all the stuff on the patio that we want to keep in here so that we can start to clean it up. I don’t want to have a birthday party where spiders are raining on our guests heads. It just can’t happen.

 

What house projects have you been working on lately? What are some you want to start?

Coffee How I Like It.

Well I didn’t post yesterday or Wednesday, which is a big fat FAIL. I’ve been having a rough week, and during weeks like this I tend to not do anything that I should do. Fear and laziness. Plan and simple.

I know I should be writing about what I’ve been going through, but I’m just not quite ready to do that yet. Instead I’ll prolong the inevitable and talk about coffee.

Hey, I’m just being honest.

So I’m not a big hot coffee drinker. I will drink the scolding lava every now and then, but I’m a iced-drinker at heart. Maybe it’s because I run hot, or perhaps I’m just a wuss. Call it what you will. Iced coffee is better.

I’ve found over the past several years that coming up with a time efficient and not-watered-down iced coffee recipe has proven to be difficult. I almost threw a cup of soggy coffee on the floor once because I was so mad that a COFFEE SHOP had no idea how to make an iced coffee. I’ve also had a few friends share with me their iced woes. I found a blog that talked about freezing ice cubes of coffee and putting that into your hot cup, but I just don’t buy it. You’d have to use A LOT of ice cubes to get it to at least room temp. And I’ve tried making a big batch of coffee and putting it in a pitcher and letting sit in the fridge. But that just leaves the coffee stale.

Are you ready for this? I have found the solution. Well at least for me. Here is a simple and pretty convenient way to make iced coffee at home. And yes, you SHOULD be making your own. Don’t be wasting your hard earned bread at Starbucks everyday (but do waste it sometimes…..)

Ok, here we gooooo…..

First brew your coffee (duh.) I put a picture up of a coffee grinder because you need to be grinding your own coffee. Vacuum packed Folgers is not acceptable. I know that grocery stores and coffee shops offer to grind the pound for you, but it will just never be as fresh as grinding your own. You can get a grinder for as cheap as $10 at Walmart. Make the investment.

Pour your coffee into your mug, and set it in the freezer. As you can see, there have been some coffee spills that I’ve chosen to ignore. Gross. Anyway, leave it in there for one hour. If you wanna get a little crazy, shoot for the stars and go for the hour and a half. Your coffee will have some frozen froth in there. Yum.

 

While you’re waiting, do something fun like stare at your cute baby. If you don’t have a baby, play with your pet. Or get ready for work. Or take a couple of laps. Or do whatever you like to do for an hour.

Can you tell that I’m not very good at pouring things? Take the coffee out of the freezer, and pour it into a regular glass. I’m kinda anal about this. I don’t like to drink my iced coffee in a hot coffee mug. There’s no particular reason. Usually I pour it into my cute teal iced coffee tumbler, but unfortunately it is sitting in the back seat of our car parked at Daniel’s office.

Now for the sugar and cream. Here’s where it gets debatable. I like to add my sugar in AFTER it’s gotten cold. No, it doesn’t desolve as well but I like it that way. It leaves some sugar granules at the bottom of the glass for later, and I love the crunching texture of sugar between my teeth. But of course you can add the sugar before you put it in the freezer so it melts first thing. Also, I don’t usually use heavy whipping cream to lighten my coffee, it’s like drinking love handles. Usually I use Organic Valley’s Half-n-Half and somehow justify that that’s healthier.

Add some ice cubes and drink up!

I go through this process every morning and it has worked out just fine. No watered down or stale coffee. It’s worth the hour wait, and I have that time to kill anyway. Most people wake up at least an hour before they go to work, so just brew that cup first thing. If you simply don’t have the extra sixty minutes in your morning, then you can make your coffee the night before. But only make enough for one serving and make sure you cover or put a top on the glass while it sits overnight. I just hate a skunky, dried out cup of coffee. It tastes like bad beef jerky.

So how do you like your coffee? Any good recipes you’d like to share?

Lyrics That Stick With Me.

As I was on my way to pick Daniel up from work yesterday evening, Piano Man by Billy Joel came on the radio, and I will listen to it every time. There is one particular lyric in that song that I just love. He uses the word “bread” to replace the word “money.” I don’t know why, but it is so good to me. It got me to thinking about other lyrics that have moved/stayed with me. I wanted to share.

 

“They sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and say, ‘man, what are you doin here?'” – Billy Joel Piano Man

“Some days aren’t yours at all, they come and go as if they were someone elses days…” – Regina Spektor Somedays¬†

“Why’d they kill my dog and man I miss my Uncle Charles, ya’ll…” -Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Crossroads

“As the lover knows his beloved’s heart, all the shapes and curves of her even in the dark…” -Audrey Assad Known

“I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back… The less I give you, the more I get back…” The Civil Wars Poison and Wine

“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off, whoa!” – Florence and the Machine Shake it Out

“All the vampires walkin’ through the valley, move west down Ventura Boulevard…” Tom Petty Free Fallin’

“Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” – Avett Brothers Murder in the City

“There will come a time I will look in your eye, you will pray to the God that you always denied, then I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun I’ll say, ‘You haven’t met me, I am the only son.'” -Mumford and Sons Dust Bowl Dance

“In a many dark hour I’ve been thinkin’ about this, that Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss, but I can’t think for you, You’ll have to decide whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.” -Bob Dylan With God on Our Side

“You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness, you got yourself into your own mess.” Wilson Phillips Hold On

“All these hit men look like organ grinders to me, Rock Stars on golden chains, little monkeys dancin’ round their feet…” -Edwin McCain Gramercy Park Hotel

“As the music at the banquet, as the wine before the meal, as the firelight in the night, so are you to me.” -Eastmountainsouth So are You to Me

“Now the diner in the morning for a plate of eggs, the waitress tries to give me change I say, ‘nah it’s cool just keep it.'” -Ryan Adams The End

“You’re as white as snow, but you were as bloody as a freshly cut throat… it’s the dirt in my lungs that brought You here to me, to save.” -The Lilies and Sparrows The Dirt

“Lord have mercy on my soul, I’ve had a good run but I can’t run anymore, just put me down…” -Every Time I die For the Record

“We are, we are, home for a season…” -Gasoline Heart That Girl

“Your first dawn blinded you, left you cursing the day, entrance is crucial and it’s not without pain…” -Nickel Creek This Side

“Until the sea of glass we meet, at last completed and complete, the tide of tear and pain subside, laughter drinks them dry…” -Switchfoot Restless

“When I get older losing my hair many years from now, will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottles of wine?” -The Beatles When I’m Sixty Four

“And this life sentence that I’m serving, I admit that I’m ever bit deserving, but the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.” -Relient K Be My Escape

 

What are some of your favorite lyrics?