Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You Live & Ya Learn

First time home owners make mistakes. We've made a few. Probably the first few mistakes I've ever made in my life. Ok, kidding. Maybe I've made a few more than that, but who's counting? First it was the wrong color paint for the porch, but thank goodness it's a color that blends in enough that you can't tell. But our second mistake? Doing all that landscaping design, planting everything, and then deciding to get a sprinkler system. Oops.

Now we have trampled hydrangeas, uprooted shrubs, and our driveway was demolished to get the two front yards attached (thankfully they patched it right up!). We've learned our lesson...
sprinkler system first, planting second.

Trust me, we have no problem admitting the errors we've made already. Yes, I know. It seems like step one and two would be a no brainer, but obviously we had a case of "excited homeowners" to get the yard nice looking that we jumped the gun a bit too soon. Things happen. 
We live, we learn, we move on. Now you get to learn from us.

And here's where we're at for the moment. Excited to see these guys up and running later tonight!

these poor hydrangeas and shrubs were looking much perkier before the digging
began. Now we've got flower petals and limp plants.

I'm super excited to have the sprinkler system connected to the raised bed garden area
as well as run right by the chicken coop. Life is getting way to easy for all our
watering needs!

eventually we want to put in a flower garden specifically for cut flowers on the side of the
house. Our guy is hooking us up with a mini drainage system to water the flower garden!

With the amount of yard we have, it will pay for itself in saving not just our time but
the amount of time we're spending watering. And did I mention how many times I've already
forgotten about the sprinkler in the backyard and soaked one area more than another?
I'm pretty sure it will cut down our water bill as well as be a little more earth friendly.

Stay tuned for our next adventures of the first time home buyers in the next couple months.
There's always something to share, something to learn, and fun projects to come out
of it all!

♥The Stanleys

Monday, June 23, 2014

Treat In The Mornin', Treat In The Evenin'

I like easy. I like on-the-go. I LOVE anything that reminds me of dessert. I'm obsessed with this easy, on-the-go recipe that can be purposed for breakfast and then repurposed as a dessert with the leftovers. And since I was challenged to another whole30 for 30 days for a friend's 30th year being alive (Happy early B-day Melanie!), I can't keep away from this. Fair enough, right?

As promised, I said a few days ago I'd get around to posting the goodies that go into this but be sure to test out your own version...if you're feeling like some dairy free chocolate chips, throw some in to spruce up the dessert. If you've got some other fresh fruit, dump a handful into the bowl. I'll leave the "goodies" in the bowl for your cravings, but below is what I've done as my go-to.

The Treat In The Mornin' & The Treat In The Evenin'

What's In It?
1 C full fat (canned) coconut milk, kept in the fridge overnight
1/2 banana, chopped
1 handful of fresh picked raspberries
1 handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 handful nuts of choice
1 dash of flax or chia seeds
1 dash of cocoa protein powder 
(protein powder is not whole30 approved, but I'm doing my own version this time around ;-))

And for those of you not on whole30...add things such as:
1 drizzle of honey
1 small handful of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1 dash of chocolate protein powder (mix well with coconut milk)
1 (or 2) paleo cookie(s) to scoop up your treat in a bowl

Place all ingredients into your bowl. Eat it like cereal for your breakfast (don't forget to add a side of protein in the morning as well). For dessert, throw your bowl in the freezer until hardened
(at your preference of hardness) for a dessert. Or be lazy like me and just do the easy cereal way. It makes life that much easier. Enjoy!


PS-always remember to keep a can of coconut milk and coconut cream on hand in the fridge.
I was once given that advice and it's saved me a million!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Landscaping Design

Remember when I was trying to find some ideas for our front yard? I searched and searched, downloaded app after app for landscape designing, and I even took it as far as downloading an app all about plants. That actually happened accidentally. I didn't read the fine print or was it the large print? I don't even know. But if you have questions, I have answers...and if I don't have an answer, I have about 10 apps you can look through to see what you can find. I also have the best piece of information you could ever wish for as a homeowner wanting to redo your landscaping design....

After all those late nights and long days of research I came across a local, family run nursery who guess what??? They do FREE landscaping! Even though I did all that research I'm pretty sure I would've ended up with the wrong plants, wrong ideas, wrong look for the house, and all around wrong.
But FREE?! You don't have to tell me twice!

What I will tell you is that they have a giant selection, great service, and are very opinionated for the right reasons (they know what they're talking about and most of us don't, let's be honest). Now is your chance to pinch those pennies by heading to the nursery for your free landscaping design. We purchased all our plants, trees, and shrubs from them and why not? Their prices are fairly comparable and why not give them the business after all their hard work in designing your yard?

I mean, look at this's huge. And this is only the back half of the nursery.

 All the employees know me now considering I go there about three times a week for more plant education, tips, tricks, and design. In fact, I kinda like to think I'm friends with them now...
I mean, I did get a personal drive by for exact tips at the house, spray painted lines for exact places
to plant everything, and at the end he even started planning out the backyard. And again...
did I mention it was fo' FREE?! I think this guy deserve a big present for all his work, don't ya think?

Now is the time to get your landscaping dialed in. Head to Yard 'N Garden Land in Vancouver (NOW) before all the others beat you to it! Tell Tim that Cori sent you...and he may hate you for a minute or I guess maybe hate me for a minute if he gets a million people in line for his work. It will
be worth the wait and worth every penny you spend on the best looking plants, shrubs, and flowers!

Happy landscaping!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Deal Of The Day: Porch Addition

Slow and steady is how everything is coming. I get all these days off from work, but it becomes a little difficult when it's a two to three man project....and nobody is around except me. That's the real issue. Just me and me as a new homeowner. I don't exactly know what I'm doing. I'll be completely honest. So instead, I am constantly finding more things to do around the house and coming up with more projects that could happen over the summer. Heaven forbid I continue to think of any more projects
or we'll die doing projects. Seriously.

I was telling my patient at work the other day that I'm constantly learning patience as I have about 50 projects on the to-do list (ok, maybe not that many) that I want to accomplish like now.
Her response was this...
"I always told my husband that if I wanted to order it to be done two weeks from now, I would've ordered it two weeks from now. But I want it now, so I'm ordering it now!"

I like the way she thinks.
Ty told me in this very slow voice, "We'll get all those projects done......(long pause).....
in the next thirty years." You can only imagine I about died. I'm too much like my mom
when it comes to this stuff. Come up with a project and we've got to get it done. Soon, real soon.

Anyway, the porch is coming along. One thing at a time. First the paint job for a temporary fix until we decide what the heck we want to do with it. Then came planting a few shrubs and some of my favorite lavender. And now we've come to the decor, which is the "deal of the day":
adirondack chairs!

In all that time I've had on my hands, unable to do a two man project, I searched and searched the world wide web for various chairs....all of which I loved seem to cost nearly $400 for two chairs. A bit on the pricey side, but of course, they are well worth the money when a woodworker is making them. But Home Depot pulled through. 2 chairs made of nice, new cedar wood, each $39!   That leaves it up to the chair owners for the stain or paint color to make them unique.
How cool, right? And what a steal!

If you're in the market for a good deal on adirondack chairs made of cedar and are willing
to put them together on your own, hit up Home Depot on your next outing before their gone!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Transformation Tuesday & A How To

Can't beat a quick transformation, right? Sometimes we just need that quick fix (and not like the illegal quick fix unless that's what you're into). That quick fix for a home project. Duh. It definitely comes
into play when your porch was once blue astroturf, then it was ripped off, and then it was left
with red, white, and blue cement. It's a job that later down the road we may want to
make a nice wood porch or redo it in some other way. But until that
day comes, we did this for the time being.


1 gallon Behr bonding primer
1 gallon Behr concrete/garage floor paint
paint supplies
(if you want to use a roller, be sure to get the 3/4in so it reaches all the crevices in the cement)

Day 1. pressure wash the area you plan on painting.

Day 2. paint the area with your bonding primer.
(allow to dry for at least 4-6 hours on a warm day, up to 8 hours, or over night to be safe)

Day 2-3. paint the area with the concrete floor paint.

Day 4. put your furniture on the porch and decorate the area.

Day 4 evening. have dinner and a drink while you relax on your new porch. 

Isn't it amazing what a quick paint job can do for the home? And how easy, right?
Quick to paint, quick to dry, quick enough project to enjoy your new view from the front porch.

Have fun making your porch your own!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Gimme S'more!

I have nothing to say at the moment about these because I'm still cleaning my drool up from all
the mouth watering that's been ongoing since I last ate one of these. They are a graham cracker
that tastes like a cookie that are better than real grahams that everybody should buy and then
eat all of them in one sitting. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. And that was a run on sentence.
I hate when people don't use punctuation and I just did it.

This company also makes two kinds of donuts that I've only seen at Chucks here in Vancouver.
Both are again, something you'll want to eat the entire box of. Thanks goodness we only buy these
things on special occasions or we'd be 1) broke and 2) overweight.

That's all I've got for ya today. Go get yourself a box of grahams and two boxes of donuts 
because it's that time of year for BBQs, s'mores, and campfires. Kinnikinnick 
donuts and Kinnikinnick grahams is where it's at. 
You won't be mad.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Take A Moment

I've been sitting in front of the computer wondering where to start such a post after the tragedy that occurred at Reynolds High School yesterday. I believe that all the personal posts on Facebook yesterday were well said and very heartfelt coming from both individuals who went to Reynolds as well as those who felt some sort of impact. It's truly amazing how a community of people come together after such an event, but many of us can walk away and praise the Lord it wasn't us and that our family all came home safely tonight.

In fact, I selfishly had those exact thoughts. When calling to make sure my brother wasn't teaching up at the high school today and there was no response, the fear and panic set in. Was he subbing there today? Could my Dad have been up at the high school for any reason rather than the middle school? Who was "the teacher" that was wounded? Could it possibly be a teacher I personally know? The thoughts and fear, the sickening feeling, and the wondering....all to find out my family would still be around last night and future nights. Again, I thank the Lord for the future days I get to have with both my dad 
and brother.

But last night and all upcoming nights, the family of Emilio won't have him home ever again. They will remember and cherish those memories of him. Friends will remember who he was and all will grieve the loss. No parent expects to lose a child. They don't expect to live many, many years longer than their child. They don't expect to never again have them at home and in their bed. Prayers to Emilio's family tonight and forever as they grieve their loss and move through a future that does not contain their son here on Earth.

(For those interested, the link below will take you a website where you can donate to the funeral expenses)

Time and time again, we will thank Todd Rispler, our teacher and our family friend, for risking his life to save the 2,000 plus kids and teachers. By racing to the main office in a completely different building and taking a gun shot that wounded him, he saved what possibly could have turned into something much bigger. And while all those websites come out with "the top facts about Todd Rispler", I think they continue to miss the most important things about him....he's not only a great teacher, a wonderful coach, at one time was an athlete himself....but he is also a father, a husband, a brother, a friend to many, and a wonderful man.

I can most likely speak for everybody out there when I say "Thank you" to that man and we are happy to hear your wife and your kids get to be with you for many more days to come.

I ask that today and in future days, we all take a moment of silence to send those prayers to Emilio's family, to thank the Lord you have another day with your family, and that there will not be a 75th
school added to that school shooting list.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

S'mores, Forts, & Tiny Tots

Imagine all three of those things. Not outside. All of the above, inside.
Glorified camping is what it is. It's wonderful. A quicker set up, quicker clean up, no planning
ahead for a big trip, and it keeps them busy for hours doing the same thing!

Our normal Friday dates are the two kiddos and myself, but this special Friday my best friend Kari got to join us. And for those of you who didn't know this, Kari is an expert fort builder. The kids couldn't get enough of her! So our normal, simple Friday dates turned into a big event: a Friday "camp trip."

Between all the arts and crafts, bike riding, park playing, reading books under the fort, munching on lunch under the fort, and making gluten free s'mores in the oven....I'm pretty sure those kids wore the two of us gals out! With no doubt, I'm pretty sure we'd both do it over again and again.
Thanks for hanging with us, Kari!

(Side note: this was several weeks ago when the rain was in town so we had to come up with an indoor activity)

Above: the fort
Below: heads of two little tots with my nursing pen lights used as flashlights in a fort

Nothing like lunch under the walls of a fort...

Oven baked gluten free s'mores.
Not quite the same as a fire roasted marshmallow,
but when you're camping indoors it sure does the job!

I will do this time and time again. If you're ever free on a Friday, feel free to join.
We'll be here.

♡Cori & the two Sparrows

(Stay tuned for the gluten free graham cracker info post tomorrow!)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Celebrating Another Year: HBD Mom!

Happy Birthday to this special lady...
We Love You Mama!

This lady couldn't be more excited to be another year older if you ask her...she gets to move up in the Crossfit age group. As she says, it's probably the only time in life that one would wish to be older. Who says getting old is all bad? She looks like, feel great, and doing pretty darn awesome at the young age of 54. Thank the Lord I got her genes...I just pray they follow through in my old age!

We wish you the happiest day, a wonderful month, and a fabulous year to boot! 
Looking forward to celebrating you.

♥Sis & Ty

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let the Wedding Season Begin: Wedding Gift Idea

The wedding season has begun and oh how I love seeing people get married! Each wedding shows off their personalities as they shine through their ceremony, reception, decor, music choice, and what they place their importance in. I, of course, love the variety of food options (who doesn't) and dancing the night away with my husband! It's much better than hitting the clubs to dance the night away. In fact,
it's a million times better and you're surrounded by people you tend to actually know. But one of my favorite things is finding a gift that suites the bride and groom just perfectly...
and I must say, this was probably one of my favorite little baskets!

I have always given gifts straight off the wedding registries. It's what they want, so they should get what they want. Right? Well, my thinking has changed just a bit and no offense to you newlyweds. All you gift receivers get a little something off your registry plus some fun gifts to go along with it! And who says you have to buy everything on your own...why not go in with another couple or two to make a giant gift basket of fun for the newlyweds (help from the Bottomleys & J&A)!

These two lovebirds were easy to buy for, so when it came to deciding a theme of "fun dates" to put in a basket, they made my job easy. Check out the steps below to see how this basket was made!

Wedding Gift Basket: 
"Dates in a Basket"

Step 1: Figure out the total amount you're willing to spend and if you so choose, find another couple to go in on the gift with you and how much they're willing to put forth.

Step 2: Do your research. What does the bride like, what does the groom like?

Step 3: Decide how many dates you can afford with the total amount allowed.

Step 3: Match up a few registry items with their date plans.

Step 4: Go shopping. Get those gift cards, books, food, etc to focus in on the dates you've chosen for the couple. Be sure to supplement with items on their registry to fit each themed date (i.e. date night in: buy the food for pasta and supplement with the registry items like the colander, spatula, and garlic presser).

Step 5: Find a basket that will a) fit all the items, and b) can be utilized/repurposed in the 
couple's home.

Step 6: You may need some filler to plump up the base of the basket so the gifts stand near the top of the basket. Add labels to distinguish each date and a little something to symbolize the couple (i.e. a painted wood letter for their first names or just one letter for their last name)

Step 7: Finish off the basket with a personalized letter to the couple. If you're married, give them some marriage tips or some fun suggestions for their lifelong journey!

Step 8: Wrap it up with cellophane or call it good by leaving it open to the free air!


Some Date Ideas To get You Started...
*For the outdoorsmen: a book on hikes in the PNW and lightweight backpacking items to go along with them (i.e. a day pack, cups, etc.)

*For the tea lady: a gift card for two to the local tea shop, for either a lot of tea or a lovely little breakfast for the couple. Add in registry items such as coffee mugs, a coffee maker, or tea supplies.

*For a special night in: provide all the special, fancy ingredients for a pasta night that the two can make together. Throw in registry items such as a colander, spatula, and a garlic press.

*To get the couple out of their comfort zone: a gift card to the local climbing gym to learn a new skill together. Depending on where they're registered, you can supplement with outdoor items from places
like REI or your local outdoor store.

*Keep it simple: give them with a gift card for a movie night. Supplement with items such as candy (most likely not on their registry) and registry items like a cozy blanket or bedding.

That should get you all started. Have fun with coming up with date ideas and putting together
a great little basket for the newlyweds!

Congrats again to Shelby & Jordan!
Can you guys believe you're already nearly 4 months into your marriage?!

♥The Stanleys

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cape Cod Landscaping

If you read the blog the other day, I let you in on a secret. That secret: I have absolutely NO idea how to landscape. Give me some yarn, a DIY craft, a good workout, etc. and I'm good. But picking the right shrubs, trees, and flowers that all can be planted near each other or that do better in shade versus lots of brain can barely take it all in! I get sucked into the internet, one website after another. I feel like I'm in school again. No joke. I've got fancy pens to color coat everything and a pencil with an eraser in case I mess up my drawing of the front yard plans. It's almost pathetic. But I will tell you what...I can tell you the technique on how to water rose bushes, what hard vs soft lines in landscaping means, and the list goes on and on and on!

I've decided that wandering through the neighborhood for inspiration, staying up way past my bedtime googling landscaping ideas, and researching plants has been the way to go. And of course, becoming friends with Home Depot and the local nursery people helps a little as well. Curb appeal is the name of the game (or so all these websites are telling me), so we'll see what we can come up!

What I've learned about Cape Cod homes:

1. foundation planting should be kept to a minimum or it will take over the home.

2. use native grasses to keep the landscaping original. plus the native grasses require less watering,
saving us just a few dollars here and there.

3. cape cod architecture is simple. keep it that way by using a simple lamp post (which is already
in place), gates or pergolas.

4. accent small areas with pots filled with color and texture. this is where annuals will go
to give the front yard some pop of color in those spring in summer months.

5. white, grey, cream, and yellow are great for the home while the other pops of colors come
from the pots.

Here are some lovely Cape Cod inspired homes of all sorts I'm slightly in love with. Whether it be a city style Cape Cod home or a beach inspired, it's so fun having endless ideas for this place!

love the green with white blossoms.

textures, colors, and shapes. enough said.
the greenery stays all year round, hanging baskets flourish in our sunny months, rocks
give a nice texture, and the extra growth gives it character without over taking this home!

simple greens and a fresh coat of pain to the exterior.
can't go wrong with the simplicity of this place to maintain the cape cod style plus
the maintenance is minimal.

the cape cod cottage style.
i'm in love with bush lined paths, but don't care much for a cottage style 
home for our home.

the city cape cod.
the cape cod home can clearly take on all sorts of looks. 
keep the cape cod architecture but landscape for the city.
gives the exterior a simple neighborhood city feel.

more depth and more color.
the option is there, however, I'm not sold on the the boxes for the front yard.
but maybe one would do for the back of the house?

absolutely simple.
there's something about keeping it all so simple that is worthwhile.

in love with so much color!
this home took on the color to shape around the house. only downfall is that these die off
in the winter leaving the front yard looking semi-dead. pick your poison, right?
but those shingles and deep blue with the thick white pretty!

Hours and hours of my time has gone into searching for all sorts of ideas. Can I choose a style? No,
of course not. Not yet at least. Have I decided what plants work best with each other? Negative. Have I taken about 8 trips to various nurseries and home improvement stores. You bet.
But am I learning? Absolutely! This is the part I love...getting old, owning a home, and learning.
My brain needed some new knowledge and it came at the right time.

Why are some of these photos blurry? I have no idea and I can't seem to fix them. Sorry for that.
Hopefully you get the idea. We're looking forward to the time we actually get to start working
on the front yard and of course, sharing the final product when it's all said and done!
Feel free to share tips and tricks...we're open to them all!

♡The Stanleys

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Day With Two of Our Favorites

We may have been gone from this blogging world, but we sure didn't let these two get away from us!
We're so fortunate we live near them, see them at Crossfit, and of course have our Friday dates. They can never get too far away from us and they, of course, can't grow up too fast between the days although sometimes it seems like those changes are day-to-day. We're only slightly biased in saying they are the cutest and best behaved children ever. Seriously. I'm pretty sure some people at the gym would vouch for that. We are going to be in trouble someday when we have children and they turn out to be maniacs. Not sure how to deal with the complete opposite of these two little folks. Until those days come, we'll continue to soak up Friday with Aunt Cori especially when Uncle Ty gets to join in all this fun!

What to do before nap time!
1) take your little people to the Vancouver waterfront path for some bike riding.
it is never as busy at the Portland paths can get, it's free parking, and you don't have to go far
to get yourself a snack afterwards. plus you can stop by and say hello to the Stanleys!

2) break for some sand time and to build whatever their little hearts desire.

3) Take a free dip in the Columbia River, even if it is a semi-warm spring day. they don't care.
just be sure to bring a change of clothes.

4) cruise up Main St. and give the kids a few options to chose from for a lunch date.
(Mon Ami is great for crepes, Dulin's for brunch-like food, Woody's for some tasty fresh-Mex food,
or try to find one of the upcoming food carts in the area!)

5) before heading home, stop for some frozen yogurt or for some of the best in the 'Couve...
Ice Cream Renaissance. All of which are on Main St. If you don't want any 'scream, hit up Treat or Sugar & Salt for all sorts of baked goods!
(as you'll see, we went to Steakburger but it is now closed so don't try to go there)

When in doubt, just climb through to find it.

Yay for putt putt!

Ok Ev, this is how you do it...

Still trying to get the concept that it goes out the other side, but again, when in
doubt climb under to find it.

They only hit the ball a few times, otherwise the game was to see how many balls
they can pick up and just put in the hole. So we played "put-put" the ball in the hole
instead of "putt-putt" golf.

And then the adults fell asleep. Ok, kidding again. Evelyn crashed in the car, Casey had
quiet time with me outside in the sun, and Uncle Ty did actually fall asleep.

Thanks for letting me share the photos, reading the play by play, and bragging for a minute
about how much we love these guys.