We did a quick little yard project recently.
Remember how I said I wanted a BIG pot filled with huge plants to fill the wall of our garage? Well, the pot I wanted was gonna be expensive. And I have other plans for that money! (Hint: The kitchen) So…we decided to make something that would be downright cheap.
Actually, it was free.
To find this lovely pallet, we drove through the alley behind Grand Street, the main drag in our neighborhood, full of shops and restaurants…and pallets. I thought it would be hard but we hit the mother load and drove by three others before eyeing this beaut. Stu jumped out, asked permission to take it, and one of the shop workers was happy to help carry the pallet to our car. Luckily it was only a short drive home because the thing hung out the back of my trunk, making my car do a “BEEEEEEEEEP” noise for the whole two block drive.
Stu sprung into action cutting down and screwing in “shelves” out of 2x4s left by the previous homeowners. These shelves would be where our plants get…planted. He then cut down a huge piece of plywood, also left in our garage, for a backer. After adding some “feet” to raise the pallet a little, it was ready for plants.
I had plenty of left-over potato vine, some creeping jenny, and countless petunias (Stu went a little crazy buying plants a couple weeks ago) so those went in first. They will get all ‘droopy’ and ‘climby’ soon, really filling up the planter. Then I transplanted our dill, mint, rosemary, and thyme from their boring, too-small terra-cotta pots into the pallet. I left plenty of space for the plants to fill out, but it already looks very nice.
And does quite a nice job filling up the huge empty space!
We are pretty thrilled with the result!
And our sprinkler system (never had one of those before!) will surely help keep all our hard work alive, even when Stu, aka Water Boy, is traveling.
He’s famous for telling me “Don’t forget to water!” as he heads out of town. I suck at remembering.
Ethan and I also finished the vegetable garden last week. Spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce now grow in our tiny space. I cannot wait to make our first “harvest!”
So there is my FREE solution to the large-empty-wall issue. I hope everything survives!
Thank you to everyone who emailed, text messaged, called, commented, and Facebooked about my back issues. You are all SO sweet! I went to the doctor on Friday and found out it is not sciatica, it’s a disc issue. I’ve been dealing with degenerative disc disease for many years and it seems things may have progressed past the “maintenance” point. So I’ll be going back on Tuesday for x-rays and, most likely, a round of tapered steroids to get the inflammation down and the nerves calm. After that some physical therapy will be in order. Not sure how that’s going to work with Ethan in tow, but I’ve got some ideas. Hopefully I will be on the mend soon, before I turn into jello from lack of activity. :)
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The rain is over, the sun is here. And it’s getting HOT.
I’m afraid summer is coming upon us sooner than expected. We’ve been spending as much time as possible outside exploring, playing in the water every day.
I’ve been dealing with a major pain in my butt.
No seriously, I have a massive pain in my left butt cheek that hasn’t subsided for over two months. I’m convinced it’s sciatica but it could be my lower discs getting worse. Whatever it is, it’s bad bad bad. I’ll be visiting an orthopedic doc tomorrow and have all my fingers crossed that something can be done. Being in pain while planting lettuce, picking up my kid, climbing around playgrounds, and just sitting in a chair is wearing on me. Fast.
**Update: So far I have tried stretching, strengthening exercises, and seen my chiropractor numerous times. She even says it’s time for the doc. But please keep the advice coming!!
Moving around or sitting in a crazy-lazy chair is what helps the most…sitting up straight or laying down is what causes excruciating pain (if I were working in an office I’d be in BIG trouble).
So until I’m on the mend, I will be so grateful for super-fun-yet-not-painful afternoons relaxing in our back yard doing this:
This kid is gonna be T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
He could play with water ALLLLLL day long, so putting the hose on the “Mist” setting helps keep the water usage under control.
Ok, so not to be all complain-y, I’m really handling it just fine. But if anyone has experience dealing with sciatica issues, I’d love to hear about it. Unless, that is, your story involves someone telling you “There’s nothing you can do” or “Just wait it out”. I don’t want to hear those.
Let me just kid myself about there being a possible solution.
What are your favorite fun and relaxing back yard activities?
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I was afraid we’d missed them.
But last week, they were still there.
The Jewel Box Tulips at Forest Park.
After weeks of “We’ve gotta go!” and “It’s going to be too late!” I threw Ethan in the car and we drove the few miles over to Forest Park to see this sight. Just one of my favorite parts of our sprawling and magnificent city park.
We’ve been spending so much time in our new neighborhood that we’ve just not made it over to Forest Park much since we moved back.
In case you aren’t familiar, Forest Park is over 1,300 acres of museums, ponds, bridges, golf courses, a zoo, jogging paths, and historic buildings…like the “Jewel Box”. It dates
The Jewel Box was built in 1936 and, while kind of as expected on the inside…beautiful and the perfect space for a small wedding ceremony or private event, spectacular on the outside. It’s where the “magic” happens. Tulips in the spring, lily pads in the summer, covered in leaves in the fall, glistening with snow in the winter.
The tulips, my favorite feature, are perfection every year. The mix of red and yellow popping agains the wide expanses of green. Reminds me of the Wizard of Oz sometimes…if only they were poppies.
We spread our picnic blanket (always ready in our trunk) over some freshly-cut grass and basked in the sun amongst snacks, Dr. Seuss books, and dinosaurs—things Ethan packed for our trip. Of course I had to get a long-arm photo (or I don’t make it in any) and am seriously questioning my hair… brontosaurus on the other hand, looks great (can you see him?).
After writing this, I couldn’t help but look back to my first post about taking Ethan to this park. He was the tiniest Peanut, fresh out of the NICU, sleeping in the stroller for our long walks.
Makes me wonder how the heck I carted such a bitty baby all over town. It was I could do to get him fed and to bed but now I’m trying to keep him from falling in the reflecting pools. Feels like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time. Watching him running down the paths on his own, exploring, all the while I’m whisper-shouting “Don’t TOUCH the tulips, just look!” as he dashes about.
Loving this age.
I’m betting the tulips are just about done, but if you hurry there may still be time to see them in full glory.
St. Louis readers, what’s your favorite part of Forest Park?
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Turret windows, gorgeous right?
From the inside or outside, they add interest and architectural detail to a home.
I’ve loved our turret from the moment we laid eyes on the house…or “grapefruit squeezer” as a very cute antique dealer called it (due to the shape on the top). Sure it makes our living room a tad smaller than it could be. Sure it caused not just a little amount of panic about whether or not our new couch would fit in the room. But it’s worth it. The light just streams in.
We have six total turret windows—three in the living room, three in Ethan’s room upstairs. Each six feet tall set in 10 foot walls. In other words, they are some big ass windows that need a treatment. I mentioned a while back I was having some anxiety about dealing with the “covering” aspect of these windows.
I HATE buying window treatments.
It’s really hard.
Therefore I like to keep things simple. And I did have an idea of what I wanted. It was up there in my brain, swimming around, festering. Getting it done though, was a bit of a mystery. It involved one continuous curtain rod, of which I found just a couple examples:
We thought about ditching curtains all together and going with shutters, but after getting an estimate for the plantation beauties (Gasp!), I was fully determined to figure this continuous curtain rod thing out. Plus, I love the softness fabric brings to the room.
I don’t know why I didn’t just start there, but of course my answer came from Ikea. After scouring the internet I gave Ikea.com a quick search and BAM, exactly the part I needed for the most unbelievably cheap price.
And even more unbelievably, it was available for online purchase!!! So I quickly bought four (two for downstairs, two for Ethan’s room) along with six Racka rods—they were $2.99 each (I’m serious. Curtain rods for less than $3).
I chose the black finish to go along with some other inspiration…
That pop of black against the wall just sings to me. And I knew it would look great with my wispy white sheers (which had still not been located at this point). I had planned on using my favorite $9.99/pair white sheers from, go figure, Ikea but unfortunately they don’t come long enough. I needed at least 108″. You’d think a company that shows high ceilings in every page of it’s catalog would provide extra long draperies, but no. So I found these on Amazon. They aren’t amazing, but they work just fine. Hard to beat $15.99 a panel.
Add to this combo the curtain rings I stocked up on during our final Virginia Ikea run and I was all set.
There was some downright unsafe ladder climbing and questionable drill usage, but when it was all done I can safely say I’m pretty darn thrilled with the result.
Simple, but perfect. And my total cost came to around $100, about $1400 cheaper than shutters (nothing against shutters, they are gorgeous, I’m just cheap). All that’s left for the living room is a console table behind the couch…for which I have a plan (insert evil plan laugh).
As far as privacy goes, these curtains don’t offer much. Since our house is set up on a slight hill, no one can really see into our living room from the sidewalk and barely from a car driving down the street. When closed they just “blur” things a little, but I don’t anticipate them being closed very often.
I know this stuff is no-brainer for so many people but man, it threw me for a loop. I’m downright shocked that after only 1.5 months I have ANY curtains hung. This room just called to me, saying “Curtains! Curtains! Cover me!”.
Next on the list curtain-wise is Ethan’s room. I’ll be using the same hardware, just different panels…something in a yellow or orange stripe seems to fit the bill. It’s gonna be a while—picking fabric is yet another impossible task.
What is your house decorating nemesis?
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Coming at ‘cha with another fun toddler game for What I Love Wednesday!
A few weeks ago I posted about ThinkFun’s Roll & Play Game after we stumbled upon it at a local toy store—Ethan is still loving it. Well ThinkFun contacted me about trying out another fun game, so I said, “Of Course!” How could I to say no? We couldn’t wait to try out their newest toddler centric game “Hello Sunshine“.
The cute, snuggly sun toy helps teach kids positional words like “up”, “down”, “behind”, “on top”, during an engaging game of Hide & Seek.
To play, we draw one of the visually descriptive cards, talk about what it says with Ethan, and then he runs off to hide Sunshine.
“On a Chair”
“Behind a Door”
“On Top of (his) Head”
Overall I think it’s a really cute game and would make a perfect gift to any toddler 18 months through 2.5. Ethan caught on in about five seconds…he is very in to hide and seek these days.
Let’s be real here, any toy could be used to play this game for free. BUT, I think the suggestion cards come in extra handy if several kids want to play this game together without an adult running the show—I envision siblings having a blast hiding and seeking all over the house. AND, since deciphering symbols are a big part of two year old development (as I learned this weekend) taking part in reading the cards while playing can only help in our kiddo’s development.
Want to give it a try?? Well from now till June 1 you can use the coupon code PEANUT on ThinkFun’s website to order your own game and save 20%! Choose either Roll & Play OR Hello Sunshine.
Thanks to ThinkFun for thinking of our little guys in your game-designing! And thank you for offering my readers this great discount.
Disclaimer: Please note the product reviewed in this post has been gifted in exchange for reviewing. That said, I don’t endorse anything I don’t love, and all words and/or opinions expressed are directly from Preparing for Peanut.
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Thought a house post was in order!
After over a month of living in St. Louis, we’ve actually made a lot of progress, making things look pretty darn homey around here.
We’ve been doing a little yard work…when the weather allows of course. We’ve had about two full days of no rain in the last month (slight exaggeration but not much) and I’ve been lucky enough to have more back issues and TWO ear infections…one in each ear. So I’ve been doing a lot of staring and planning in preparation of the day when I actually get my hands into some dirt.
We’ve managed to complete one BIG project…notice anything?
Yes, that carpet of green is brand spankin new sod, installed by Kate’s dad John. He is amazing—we actually did none of the work. It’s not something we knew we needed, but once things started turning green it was clear there was more dirt than grass in our little back yard. Here is the before:
Yikes. What we’ve heard from ALL of our neighbors is the previous owners had two very bark-y dogs that just tore the yard to shreds. Bad part about buying a house in the winter. But oh well, it’s done and looks fab and all the rain has helped the new sod get acclimated. We’ve never had nice grass before!
It’s just so pretty.
This is only about a week in, so it’s still pretty patchy looking
So now we need to plant stuff! A few hostas and ferns have already gone in, a few petunias, sweet potato vine, and a decorative grass too. MUCH more potato vine is in our future…it’s my favorite annual. Check out that gonna-be-amazing hydrangea. Another favorite, all mature and ready to bloom big this year. Not sure what that little tree is yet.
We dumped the majority of our yard gear when we moved to Virginia, so we are kind of starting from scratch with the new place. PAIN. The only yard-related items we held on to were all the pots we’ve collected over the years. Too bad nothing we own is quite right for the giant brick wall of the garage. I envision a ginormous pot or “area” bursting with elephant ears and cannas, such as…
I’ve been envisioning it for weeks…
The hunt is on for a big pot that isn’t a small fortune. Any suggestions?
And then there is Ethan’s garden. We read the book “The Man Who Cooked for Himself” about 200 times this winter so he’s pretty pumped about getting some veggies in the ground. Starting small this year with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and peppers—some of the only veggies Little Man will eat.
Till stuff really gets going, Ethan has a rock garden to tend…complete with big AND small rocks. I can’t wait to put some trucks and tunnels and other fun stuff in there for tons of backyard fun.
And maybe there is space for a little play house in our “grove”. The trees are just begging for a little toddler village to be build at their roots.
We (Stu) spent a little time in the front yard too. Mulch, weeding, pruning, and house washing. With some balcony plants on the to-do list.
So that’s our progress and some of our plans for the new yard! It could not be more perfect for us size- and maintenance-wise so, other than the unexpected sod purchase, it should be fairly economical. Unlike our last yard, aka “The Money Pit”.
I enjoy my role as “planner”. Man am I glad Stu is good at playing in the dirt!