My Home Checklist: Seeding Grass Project

Kevin and I have some outdoor renovations planned for this spring/summer, and this passed weekend we got to check the first project off the list: seeding grass. Kevin spent some time most evenings last week prepping the yard, straightening out some areas, pulling out old cement blocks and putting them in other necessary areas. Two weeks ago he also cut off a beautiful pine tree that was right in the center of our backyard. We loved this tree, but it was growing bigger and bigger every year, making our backyard smaller and smaller. So we finally decided that it had to go. 🙁  

On the weekend we had soil delivered, and we worked really hard to straighten out our front and backyard, and finished by seeding grass. Our bodies were SO sore by the end of it, but we felt really accomplished and also really enjoyed working on our yard together. There’s just something about spring, sunshine, dark and rich fresh soil, working hard, seeding, nurturing the seeds, and then waiting with anticipation to see new grass sprouting up everywhere. We were so thankful for the perfect weather that accompanied us the whole time! Here are some pictures of the weekend. I have to remind myself to document our life and our every day kind of moments more often. These pictures will bring back many memories in the years to come.

Luna loved every second of her time spent outdoors!

Here are some semi-before pictures, as I’m hoping that the look of the back and front yard will change drastically over the next few years. To get the real before picture, imagine a pine tree right in the middle of the yard, and where the soil is lying, there was old grass, with a fairly bumpy and uneven surface. Leading towards the gate, there were broken cement blocks, forming a path.

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Our plan is to remove the chain-link fence completely, and replace it with a taller, wooden fence for more privacy (and to hide the not so appealing back lane).

I realize that I never showed you an “after” picture of the new deck that Kevin and my dad built last summer (2016). It isn’t fully finished, so I might to another post on it in the future showing the before and after pictures. But here is what it looks like for now, and we’re really enjoying it. Now we’re dreaming and working on turning the whole backyard into a nice hang out space, and eventually also an area for gardening.

   

I felt a strong urge to take off my shoes and work in the rich soil barefoot! Yes, my feet got incredibly dirty, but with a little soaking, and a little bit of soap and scrubbing, it all came off! They were almost as good as new!

Kevin taking a well deserved break.

Adding the sprinkler and watering the seeds felt like the final rewarding touch. Kevin finished up the backyard in the dark, while Luna got a much needed bath inside.

Thank you for following our little and big adventures. Wishing you all a great week!

New Feature: My Home Checklist

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For the last three years or so, Kevin and I have been renovating the house that we’re renting on and off. We are now at the point where we’re SO close to being done renovating our main living area. Trust me, this whole process hasn’t always been that much fun, but we have done most of the work ourselves (and with the help of our friends and family) to keep the cost down. Even though it hasn’t been all that fun at times, it has been very rewarding to see the house slowly transform. Plus, it was a good way for Kevin and I to learn to work together, as our ideas and ways of doing things don’t always match up. 😉  

Now that we are so close to finishing our main-floor renovation project, it seems like there are many little things that need to be finished, or retouched, plus a whole lot of organizing and decorating to do. If your home is like mine, there is usually at least one VERY messy room, that stores all the things from another room while it’s being renovated/organized, or holds things that you’re not sure what to do with. In this case it was Kevin’s office. Last school year I made it a point to make my piano studio a more inspiring space for myself and my students, and I also moved my office into the same room. This meant that a lot of the things were temporarily moved into Kevin’s office. It became a very messy and dusty room that served as a huge closet, haha. As a new school year is just starting up and Kevin is going back to teaching, I wanted to make sure that he could also enjoy a cleaned up and inspiring space this year. Which brings me to my next point:

Lately, I’ve been very inspired by the following two articles on decluttering the home, and getting rid of unnecessary stuff. You can read the articles here and here. Cluttered spaces feel overwhelming, unsettling, and restless, as they are always reminders of all the work that is awaiting you. So why not declutter? Today’s post is a little different, but I hope that it will inspire some of you to declutter your home as well.

Here’s my goal, which I am hoping to complete by the beginning of next summer. I am planning to go through each room in our house with the following check list:

  • Finish renovating/retouching
  • Organize and declutter
  • Get rid of things that I don’t need, that don’t bring me joy, or that I’m holding on to for the wrong reasons
  • Finish decorating 

I will be making this into a new feature on my blog, along with before and after pictures. You can follow our renovation, organizing, decluttering, and decorating project as it unfolds. I hope that sharing my goal with you will keep me accountable, and inspire you along the way.

And just to make things clear, these posts are in no way meant to shame the messy corners in your home (trust me I have plenty of those). Along with wanting to have a decluttered and organized home, I am also challenging myself to be OK with people entering my home, even when it’s not cleaned up. I find this hard, as it seems to be so deeply ingrained, especially in women, that the home needs to be sparkling clean for it to be visitor friendly. I strongly believe that we need to stop modelling this behavior to future generations. I’d rather learn to be welcoming and have friends in a messy home, than no friends in a tidy home. I’m also not saying that it’s wrong to have a clean house (some people are naturally tidy and very organized), but it should be for the right reasons, and not out of fear for being judged. I read this article on “Scruffy Hospitality” a while ago, and it really spoke to me. Maybe some of you can relate as well.

Wow… so many words! OK. Let’s move on here before I write a whole essay! Here are some pictures of our office before being renovated, our office renovated but very messy, and our cleaned up office. I don’t have any immediate plans for decorating the room. For now, I just want it to be a tidy and non-distracting office space. I do plan on eventually painting the inside of the closet white.

For the renovation part so far we painted the walls a neutral color, painted the doors, trimming, curtain board, and ceiling white, installed a new light fixture and door knob, installed new outlet and light switch covers, and put in new laminate flooring.

From this:

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To this:

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And finally there’s nothing to trip on anymore! Haha!

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One last thing: I would LOVE to see your decluttering projects! It doesn’t matter how big or small your goals are. So here’s the deal, if you’re on instagram use the hashtag #sbrdecluttergoals to share your accomplishments. 

Thank you for reading along! 🙂

Life Update & Mango, Pineapple and Coconut Yogurt Popsicles

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Hello my lovely readers! I’ve been having a little too much fun trying different popsicle combos. I quickly wanted to share a flavor combination that I really enjoyed. I won’t even make a recipe card, because it’s really that easy, and doesn’t require much explaining. Using a popsicle tray, fill each slot a quarter of the way with mango juice, and two quarters with coconut flavored yogurt (I used Activia brand). Then, simply pop in a piece of freshly cut pineapple, and place it in the freezer until frozen. 

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Hmmmm… my human is holding something strange… wait a minute, perhaps I recognize what that is… could it be? No… I doubt it… oh my goodness… I think it is… it DEFINITELY is! Popsicles!!! 

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As I was trying to take pictures of the popsicles, Luna must’ve seen what I was holding (she usually get’s part of my popsicle), because she got really excited and was desperate to have some! She started jumping, trying to reach for the popsicles, photobombing my pictures in the most adorable way! No worries, she definitely got some in the end! 😉

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Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, all of Luna’s hair got chopped off! She looks so different with short hair! Needless to say, we were pretty amused by her look right after her hair cut. Especially since we were only used to her cute teddy bear look. It’s definitely nice and fresh for the summer though!

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I also wanted to update you a little on what’s going on at the Kampens these days. Kevin started tearing down our old deck on Saturday. It is in pretty poor shape, and needs replacing. The reason why we’re tearing it down now, is because my parents are coming for a visit (so exciting!), and my dad wanted to help us build a new one!

My last update, which might make some of you a little sad, is that I will be taking a break from blogging (this will be my last post for a while) for two reasons. First, I want to be fully available when my parents are visiting, as I don’t get to see them that often. Second, Kevin and I are travelling to Thailand!!! What!? Yes, it’s happening! We’re really looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to show/tell you all about it!

Now you know, and don’t have to wonder why I suddenly vanished from the face of the earth! I will miss sharing posts with you, but it is also important to disconnect sometimes. Plus, this only means I will have a lot of new content to share with you. 

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I want to thank each one of you for following me, encouraging me, and reading along. It means a lot to me! May this summer make you as happy as the popsicles make Luna happy. Here’s to summer! Cheers!!!!! -Erika