Posts Tagged With: Summer

The Independent One, That’s Me

Go on a mission trip to Europe with 95 other people that I’ve never met for a whole summer? Sure, why not? Move to North Carolina to go to college when I’ve never been there or even visited? No problem. Move to Switzerland to be a nanny for a year(ish) and live with a family I don’t know? Bring it on. I’m an independent kind of gal. I mean really independent. Like, it’s-a-wonder-I-ever-got-married-because-I-didn’t-want-to-be-tied-down  independent. So can you imagine what one of my favorite holidays is? Independence Day!

Our holiday was quite low key this year. On Sunday night, we took Beau & Bella to watch the fireworks in a nearby small town. Crazy I know because they’re cats, but Beau loved Christmas lights when we took him, Bella & Brady around to look at them last year, so we thought he might like fireworks. Turns out that fireworks are Bella’s thing. She sat and stared at them for the entire show…Bella usually doesn’t sit still for any length of time, it’s not how she rolls. But evidently, she takes after me (yes, I still know she’s a cat) in her love for fireworks. Michael says that Bella and I watch fireworks with the same look on our faces.

Since I can’t take a weekend off without a DIY project or two, my mom came for a visit and to bring me a new hosta on Monday. One hosta closer to filling in a part of our yard with a garden! We also tackled a project that her and McDad had also tackled last year. Those trees just came back again

Behind those trees that keep popping up are some peonies and a few cone flowers too.

Obviously, we’re going to have to do a little planting there, but what to plant? All that work called for another one of my favorite summer traditions – sun tea

I’m starting to think that this is a Midwest thing to do. So my dear readers from anywhere else, do you make sun tea or is it really a Midwest thing? If you’ve never done it, you should definitely try it. Take 10 bags of tea and put them in a gallon of water and set it out in the sun for a few hours. It’s just that simple. Of course in our house, we also heat a couple cups of water on the stove, dissolve a cup of sugar in it and then add it to the tea once it’s done. We’re a sweet tea household ya’ll!

We broke in the new grillagain. Michael is trying his hand at a blog post tutorial on the grill for ya. I tried to eat my first hot dog in over 15 years. Yeah, I still can’t do it, but I gave it a try. My dad, Cora & my niece Mikayla came for a visit. Well, a visit and for Mikayla to feed Beau & Bella some treats

and for Dad and Michael to climb up on the roof and do some measuring

I so can’t wait to get started on that project and share with you the step by step of how to do your own roof…yikes.

But until then, I’ll share some of my other favorite scenes of summer and Independence day. My hydrangea all bloomed and pretty (see the before here)

My lilies that I planted last year waited to bloom until Independence Day – gorgeous!

My hosta called Patriot

Monday night we went to another small town and sat in the car and watched more fireworks. Actually, Bella and I watched the fireworks, Beau looked out the window at the lightning bugs flying around and Michael tried cleaning the the bugs off the windshield with napkins and sweet tea. Disclaimer: These fireworks pictures are not from this year. I just love these ones!

Most importantly the biggest and best symbol of our Independence

Hope ya’ll had a fabulous Independence Day, I know we did!

Categories: It's Our Life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our pet zebra

Last weekend Bella and I spent some quality outside doing some yard work. Last year I planted hostas around two of our trees on the west side of the house. For those who are directionally challenged like me, that’s the right side of the house if you’re looking at it. Remember from this post that I want to make that entire side of the house a shade garden? Last year I bought quite a few varieties of hostas and planted them with some help from Beau & Bella. Well, Beau & Bella sat in their tent and watched me. That’s right, I said their tent. A few years ago Michael and I thought it would be a good idea to take Bella camping. (This was before we adopted Beau…or Brady.) We bought a play tent for her to chill in when we weren’t out and about or sleeping in the regular tent. We found it on clearance at Target and she still likes to go out in the yard and just chill in it. People drive by or walk by our house and slow down to marvel at it. I must say it is a little humorous. It’s our pet zebra – or rather Beau & Bella’s zebra

On Mother’s Day this year, my mom and McDad (commonly known as a step-dad, but we don’t go with conventional names in our family) came out to our house with a truck load of wood chips. I was thrilled! Now I just need to talk my brother or my dad to bring me a truck load of cow poo and I’ll have my own little distorted version of bliss. We spread the wood chips around the trees with hostas planted around them and along the deck where there are hostas and day lilies. But by last weekend those pesky weeds had found their way through the chips. It was time to show them who was boss. When I started planting hostas last year, my aunt Delta told me that I should create some sort of map so I know which one is where. Instead I just made plant markers and knew that would be okay. In case you’re keeping score it’s Delta – 1 and Amy – 0. Wooden plant stakes with Sharpie are evidently no match for an Iowa winter. So this summer begins the task of finding out what’s what on some of these and making a map. I also found these plant tags (thank you Pinterest) that I think will hold up a little better

You know that mine will have to be painted copper and I’ll put a coat of poly over them too. So who wants to send me their juice can lids? Or I’ll just have to find some juice coupons and we’ll become a juice drinking household. I could also use some help identifying some of my hostas. Anyone?


Carolina Sunshine

Lemon Lime?

In fairness to me, I never knew the names of these next ones. Who has a hostapedia and an extra few hours?

When we were done with the hostas, Bella and I went for a walk around the yard. The first time we took her for a walk was on that same camping trip where she got her zebra. She went to the zoo and the botanical gardens in Madison, Wisconsin like in this (sorry it’s not a bigger picture, this is uber cropped)

Yes, that is her cat carrier held into an umbrella stroller with bungee cords. You should have seen the looks we got. One lady stopped us and said “Good for you for spoiling her.” She actually went hiking by herself at Effigy Mounds, well on a leash. This is one of my favorite pictures of all time.

Now the “kids” have harnesses instead and they like to go out roaming in the yard…with supervision. When we were out wandering the yard, we found all these little Maple trees. I love our great big trees…these little things that I find everywhere, not so much.

We took a look at the Hydrangea bush out front that my mom and I thinned by about 50% last year (truly, the thing was massive). Imagine this twice as big…no exaggeration!

I can’t wait until it starts blooming again!!! We’re getting close

We checked out the new lights that Mom & McDad brought back from their trip to Canada…but I think these are from Minnesota

Oh how I heart them! And yes, they are solar. While we were sitting there picking Maple tree wannabes out of the front pots, I remembered that we didn’t have an after picture of the sidewalk to the east, so I quick snapped one of that. Sure the after is a year later, but it’s still a HUGE difference.

Sidewalk to the east – Before

Sidewalk to the East – After

See the other before and after sidewalks in this post. The best part was just spending time with my little Princess

I know we’ll have more outdoor adventures this year…plenty more!

Categories: It's Our Life, Projects | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

summer = BBQ

About a month ago,  Michael opened the door to our three seasons porch and looked at me and said “It smells like lilacs.” I had to break the news to him gently but our lilacs were not blooming yet thanks to a very cold spring here in Iowa. To which he responded “When I say lilacs, I mean any flower.” I love him because he makes me laugh folks…among other reasons. To me, the first sign of spring is blooming lilacs. When I was little, we had a row of lilac bushes at the back of our yard and the smell of that flower takes me back to my childhood. I can’t wait to figure out what we are going to do in our yard so I can put up a bunch of lilac bushes. Right now, we just have this little bitty one that I’m trying to get to grow.

Once the lilacs are blooming it’s time to plant. I don’t know if that’s actual and true, but I guess I just don’t feel like playing in the dirt until I smell those fresh lilacs. It also means that it’s time for me to start planning our summer BBQs. We grill from spring to fall (and occasionally in the winter). Last year our first BBQ of the summer was on Memorial Day and you know I had to do some decorating. Of course there was this big change (post here)

But there were a couple other decorating things that had to be done. This sign went up on the three seasons porch

This lantern helped to keep some of the bugs away

This year we’ll be breaking out the lawn chairs and sparklers to have a great time with some of our family again. But as we BBQ we’ll remember the reason for the holiday. Not only to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom that we are able to enjoy, but to thank those who have protected that freedom. Michael and I have so many family members and friends who have given and continue to give part of their lives for the country that they love. This Memorial Day, don’t forget to thank a veteran.

The most important thing we added before last Memorial Day

Thank you to our brother-in-law Jeremi, my cousin Mike, my cousin Brent, my uncle Bill, my uncle Jim, my grandpa Bill, my grandpa Herb, my grandpa Dale and all of our friends who have served. May God richly bless you for all you have given.

Categories: It's Our Life, Tour | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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