Enough with the trees!

So, like I was saying earlier this week, we are cleaning up the back 4 acres of the property which has not been maintained for the past few years.  I am currently using just a regular riding lawnmower which takes forever.  We plan on upgrading to something more appropriate for this size property but, like everything, that costs money and we are trying to figure out what is a need versus a want still.  I would hate to spend a ton on a mower and then find out we actually needed a new A/C unit or something like that.  All in good time.  Also, using our old mower, I don’t feel as guilty when I take out the little brush trees and stuff that gets in the way.

I do have to give a shout out to my Dad for the majority of the yard work and tree removal that has been going on.  I will do work here and there but he gets out there and busts his butt daily.

It started off that we were only going to remove the 12 or so brush trees and about 20 crap trees that are growing in the random sections of fence we have in the yard.  Then we started planning my husbands garage/workshop building…  To make that project not be in the middle of the property and weird we have to add at least 5 huge gorgeous pine trees to the list as well.  We are going to be planting a lot more to make up for everything we are taking out.  We just want to make sure they are in good places. Lugging branches, logs and brush to the burn pile is a hard chore!

Speaking of the “burn pile”…  When we first looked at the house and property we were told that this huge 80×15 pile of leaves and brush in the middle of the 4 acres was a compost pile.  I don’t know what kind of compost pile has treated fence posts and railroad timbers in it but, mine does!

So, we made a make shift fire pit and started picking through it and burning what we can little by little.  Obviously, we have been setting aside all the treated stuff to dispose of or use elsewhere since it can’t be burned.  As we get part of the pile down, we add more to the fresh cut tree pile to burn later.

I know i need to be patient and realize that this is all a work in progress.  It just seems so huge right now!  I feel like we are getting nowhere, fast.  If only I could wiggle my nose and have everything be done!  Ahh, that’d be amazing!

Have you started taking on huge spring cleaning jobs, inside or outside?  Do you have any thoughts or tips for what I am doing?

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

Advertisements

Bugs!!

Since moving into the new house, and being here for a few months now, we have found some of the issues the property has that no one told us about…

The property hasn’t been appropriately maintained for years.  We have been slowly mowing and taking down trees in the back 4 acres.  I knew this house was going to be hard work and I thought I was ready for anything…  I am finding out exactly how out of shape I am!!  Don’t get me wrong, I love the work, it is all totally worth it, but holy hell.

The house hasn’t been maintained as well as it looked either.  We have those Asian beetles and boxelder bugs living in our siding and finding ways into our house.  All winter we have been dealing with these guys!  I was searching for a safe and more natural way to handle these guys since I have a slew of critters in my house that I don’t want to harm.

We are trying Diatomaceous Earth first.  We took apart the draining track area of all of our windows and sprinkled it in there, under our siding, and basically anywhere that wouldn’t get wet.  Supposedly, if this stuff gets wet, it is no longer effective.  We will see how this all goes.  The way it works is basically it dehydrates the bugs and they die.  If they eat the DE it’s super sharp and cuts up their insides as well as it dehydrates them.  It sounds horrible and writing it down makes me feel bad about it but, I know that if any birds, dogs, cats, or anything eats these dead bugs they will not be harmed from the DE!

Has anyone else used this before?  Was it successful?  I would LOVE to know if this is going to work rather than waiting and seeing!!  As usual, let me know if you have any thoughts, ideas, or opinions on what I am writing about!  I love hearing from you!!

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

I’m BACK!!!!

Holy cow.  After a LONG and chaotic road there is so much to update about!

First, the reason I haven’t posted in forever, within a few days of each other both my home computer and my laptop took a dump.  We had a pending sale and purchase on our house and the house we will be moving into in a couple weeks so I was not making any purchases that could possibly affect that.  So I have been waiting…  And waiting…

As of Friday our house sold and closed!  Naturally, the first thing I did was go out and buy a computer.  I am hopefully getting back on track. So here is a recap from posts I should have updated as time went by:

My best friends wedding.  So much has happened and changed!  They are doing a destination wedding in Las Vegas now.  I am so excited about it!  It’ll be the first time Kevin and I have ever headed towards the west coast and, let me tell you, destination weddings are so unbelievable easy to plan!  Her dress is gorgeous, we made her invitations, her bachelorette party is in a couple weeks, our bridesmaids dresses are amazing, and the hotel in Vegas pretty much takes care of the rest!

The houses.  Our house went on the market way back in July, we sold it within a week then it was just inspection after inspection, hoop after hoop and oh shit, we need to find a house to move into!  We found 5 acres about an hour north of where we currently are and conveniently are able to close 2 weeks from now so we aren’t homeless for long!  Obviously, we aren’t actually homeless.  My parents lived about 4 blocks from our old house so we moved in here for the couple weeks till we make the big move.

We are off to a good start on the homestead plan!  The 5 acres will be able to hold a large garden, horses, chickens and ducks, maybe some goats, a pool and all the extras that we want, plus a monster garage for my husband to do his car stuff in.  It currently has none of those things though so we will be starting off with a small 2 car garage and building everything from scratch.  I have yet to decide if this is a curse or a blessing…

The house it self is awesome.  It just hasn’t been updated since the late 80’s.  I will post pictures once we move in.  There is more than enough room for the other big change.  My parents will be moving in with us.  When people hear about this they react in one of two ways, they are either understanding and think that it’s a nice thing that we are all doing together or they think I am completely nuts and my husband is a saint.  The verdict is still out on this one too.  I know that we are all doing the right thing and that everything is going to be awesome at the end.  It is getting to that point where all the stress comes into play.  Like I said, the house is big enough for all of us.  It is a raised ranch so essentially two units in one.  That is going to help keep us all out of each other’s hair.  My parents will be adding to my already large brood of pets, we have 4 dogs, 2 cats and a tortoise, with their 4 dogs and 1 cat.  Luckily, we are at least doubling the size of our house, not to mention all that land for everyone to run around on!

Now that I am up to date, I think, I am going to try to stay on this!  We will see how things go once we get closer to moving day and then Vegas right after that.  I have some projects and things I will be talking about in the weeks to come that I am pretty excited about.

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com

My Best Friends Wedding!!

 

Holy cow, I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time!  A while back my best friend got engaged and I am helping her plan her wedding!  There are a few reasons as to why this is the best news ever.  

  1. Obviously, she is my best friend so I am super excited for her.
  2. Planning weddings is my thing!  I absolutely LOVE planning weddings!
  3. I have always wanted to plan a winter wedding and she wants to have a winter wedding!!!!

So, we have about a year to get everything done.  It’s going to be amazing!  When I am working with someone to plan a wedding, usually the first thing I do is figure out exactly how much help they want from me.  Some people want you to take charge and do everything, while others only want help with design or décor type stuff.  So far, it sounds like I am going to be helping out a lot! Her, her fiancé, and I are going to look at venues on Monday.  I have been doing research on local venues that do winter weddings, since everything has to be indoors and it is not the usual wedding season, some places shut down in the winter.

Everyone, regardless, gets my wedding to do list that I customize to each person I am helping.  Some people want more casual events than others, so sometimes the list can be cut down substantially.  Regardless, I am attaching her list for everyone to see.  I think it gives a good timeline for brides to follow to keep themselves on schedule and not drop the ball in any area of their wedding.

They have already picked their prospective dates at this point and we have a basic guest list to work with.  So while we are looking at venues we will start talking about her dress, what colors she wants to use and the formality of the whole event.  As of now she is looking at a dark blue, red, purple, or teal with white and silver.  I have an entire Pinterest page of ideas to run by her… ☺

I will have random posts as time goes on so you can see the whole thing as it unfolds.  There is so much to do.  I can’t wait!!  Do you guys have any tips or thoughts you would like to share from planning your own weddings?  I would love to hear from you!


 

Wedding Checklist

Nine Months and Earlier:

  • Start making your guest list
  • Select a venue
  • Engagement photo shoot (if you want the pictures for invites or whatever)
  • Set a date for your wedding
  • Determine the type of wedding you want
    • Formality
    • Time of day
  • Determine a budget
  • Select a record keeping system for payments made
  • Select your officiant
  • Select and order your bridal gown, shoes and headpiece
  • Determine your color scheme
  • Keep track of important dates and activities and payments in a calendar (if you don’t have one I have one for you)
  • Select and book your photographer
  • Order your marriage license (about 1 month before for Kane county)
  • Select your bridal party
    • Maid of honor
    • Best man
    • Bridesmaids
    • Groomsmen
    • Ushers (usually 2)
    • Flower Girl
    • Ring Bearer
  • Choose and send “Save the Date” cards (if you want to)

Six to Nine Months Before:

  • Select attendants dresses, shoes and accessories
  • Select and book caterer, if needed
  • Select and book ceremony musicians or DJ
  • Schedule fittings and delivery dates for your dress
  • Select and book videographer (if you want one)
  • Select and book florist

Four to Six Months Before:

  • Reserve rental items needed for ceremony and reception
  • Select and order wedding invitations, thank you cards, seating cards and programs (if you want to do programs)
  • Reserve a hotel block for out of town guests
  • Start planning your honeymoon
  • Register for gifts
  • Start breaking in your shoes

Two to Four Months Before:

  • Select bakery and order wedding cake
  • Order favors
  • Select and order decorations
  • Book transportation for the wedding day if needed
  • Shop for his wedding ring and your wedding band
  • Purchase wedding attendant gifts
  • Finalize guest list
  • Select and order attire for all the dudes
  • Set date, time and location for your rehearsal dinner

Six to Eight Weeks Before:

  • Mail Invitations
  • Record RSVP’s as the come
  • Send thank you cards as gifts are received
  • Determine your hairstyle, nails and makeup and schedule appointments
  • Finalize shopping for wedding accessories; toasting glasses, ring pillow, guest book etc.
  • Wedding Portraits
  • Find “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a six pence (or shiny penny) for your shoe”
  • Finalize your menu and drink order

Two to Six Weeks Before:

  • Confirm ceremony details with your officiant
  • Arrange final fitting for your gown and headpiece (make sure everything is EXACTLY how you want it)
  • Make final floral selections
  • Pick up rings
  • Finalize rehearsal dinner plans
  • Make a detailed timeline for your wedding party and service providers
  • Confirm details with all wedding providers
  • Decide if you want to form a receiving line and who will be included in it
  • Contact guest who haven’t RSVP’d yet
  • Meet with photographer and videographer and confirm all special must have photos
  • Meet with musicians/DJ and confirm all music to be played during special events
  • Make sure the entre wedding party has gotten all attire
  • Determine ceremony seating for special guests for ushers
  • Plan layout of reception seating with venue and caterer
  • Finish place cards for assigned seating
  • Do final guest count and notify your caterer and reception site manager

One Week To Go:

  • Pick up wedding attire and do one final fitting to make sure everything is perfect.
  • Do final guest count and notify your caterer and reception site manager
  • Gather everything you will need for the rehearsal and wedding day
  • Review the schedule of events and last minute arrangements with your service providers.
  • Confirm all honeymoon reservations and accommodations

Rehearsal Day:

  • Give your wedding party their gifts
  • Arrange for someone to bring accessories to the ceremony/reception
  • Arrange for someone to return rental items the day after the wedding if you are going on your honeymoon the day after the wedding
  • Give wedding party timeline for the next day
  • Review ceremony seating with ushers

Wedding Day:

  • Eat breakfast!!
  • Give rings to Best man/Maid of Honor
  • Follow your schedule
  • Relax and enjoy your wedding!

 

 

Weekly Food Prep

I am sure I am preaching to the choir when I say that my weeks are insanely busy.  Tuesday through Friday I work from 9am till at least 7pm.  I know, 9am isn’t that early at all, but I am NOT a morning person regardless of how hard I try to be.  So on those days, I don’t have time to do much of anything but take care of my pets and work.  I am very fortunate to have three day weekends and I do not take them for granted.  Just like every other part of my life, my weekends are super scheduled.

Saturday is usually my cleaning day.  I take a couple hours cleaning the house from top to bottom and do laundry.  Sunday is either a chill out day where I do any crafts or projects I am working on, and about once a month, it is dog day.  I have 5 Shih Tzu’s that I groom and a few other dogs I do nail trims on besides my own herd.  I will tell you all about them another time.  Monday is food day.  I do all my grocery shopping for the week, start dinner in the crockpot and sometimes chicken and things like that, that I can precook to help my week to go as smoothly as possible.  Then the “fun” starts.

My husband Kevin and I have been trying to eat a lot healthier so there is a lot more food to prepare lately than normal.  The past two weeks we have been on a salad kick.  On Monday, I prewashed and tore up heads of romaine lettuce and stuck them in a huge bowl in the fridge so that we can easily refill our bowls each day when we get home from work.  I cut up a whole bunch of peppers, carrots, and cucumbers to toss in the salads.  I have also been boiling a dozen eggs every week to either add to the salads or just eat as a snack between breakfast and lunch.

I try to plan out dinners two weeks at a time so that I don’t have to do major grocery shopping every week.  Every other week will just a fresh produce run.  I like to plan things out so that if we are having something that takes a long time to cook,  like chicken, on Mondays I can make like 5 or 6 breasts in one of my  crockpots and then season them however I need during the week.  That way I am not taking so much time when I’m making dinner waiting for them to cook through.

The weeks I precook crockpot chicken breasts, I try not to have them every night so that we don’t get burnt out on it, but in a typical week that I make crockpot chicken beforehand might look something like this:

Mon: Crockpot anything that isn’t chicken

Tues: Chicken Tacos

Wed: BBQ chicken pita pockets

Thurs: Spaghetti

Fri: Chicken Caesar Salads

Other weeks I try to plan out more complex meals for the weekend and then keep all my 30 minute or less meals for the 4 days that I work.  Since I have started prepping in advance for the week I have noticed a big change in my energy level and overall attitude about the week.  I don’t know if it’s because I am eating less processed crap food or if it’s because I just feel less rushed every day.  Let me know in the comments below, do you have any go-to weekday meals that are quick and easy that you like to make?  Do you do food prep to help save time?  As always, I would love to hear from you and thank you for reading!

January “Spring” cleaning

Hello again!  Let me start this off with an apology for the delay in content…  I am new to this whole thing and was expecting to have more time to write and edit during the week.  Apparently our clients didn’t get the memo that it is usually the slow season after the holidays. Either way, I will work on posting more often.  Thank you for being patient with me.

To me, January is the worst month of the year.  I have fewer projects to work on and I have to de-Christmas my house, which is so depressing to me. Also, it’s usually cold and gloomy out so there is nothing fun and exciting to do.  I already set up my 2016 calendar back in December and I know that I have the first of two big cleans of the house coming very soon.

Today is day 1 of de-Christmas-ing the inside of my house.  It’s usually a full weekend project because I start my spring cleaning at the same time. So not only am I cleaning all my awesome decorations and putting them away but I am also dusting, wiping baseboards and walls, and all that spring cleaning entails, minus the window cleaning, since it’s freezing outside.

I usually do two deep cleans of my house every year.  I clean every weekend, but not like this.  There are only two holidays that I decorate for, so I do a hardcore clean at the end of August before I put up Halloween decorations in September. Yeah, I said September, and then again in January when I take Christmas down.

There is no gap between Halloween and Christmas decorations. I take down Halloween the first weekend in November-ish, depending on the date of our annual party and then Christmas goes up usually the next day. I LOVE having my house all decorated for the holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Thanksgiving, I just don’t have anyone at my house or any events during that time, so I go straight into Christmas mode.  Also, this way there is no climbing on the roof with snow and ice everywhere when I decorate outside.

Anyway, there are a couple positives to this first major cleaning. One is how awesome the house smells once I’m done. I make my own cleaners so there is no chemical smell that I have to deal with the whole weekend. There are SO many cleaner recipes out there for people to make, but because I have a major sensitivity to smell, I have to be careful with what I use. The main cleaner that I use in my house for just about everything is plain old vinegar and water.

I purchased one of these empty spray bottles from Menards (I probably bought like 10 actually, I use them for everything) and I filled it about a quarter of the way with white vinegar and the rest of the way with water.  You can add 1-2 drops of an orange or lemon essential oil if you want it to have a scent.  I have not personally tried that yet because of my smell sensitivity. Without the EO it will just smell like vinegar till it dries completely and then there is no scent at all.  I have exact measurements and a recipe at the bottom of this post.

Spray Bottle
These are the spray bottles that I buy.  They have an open box on the back for a label.

The second plus to my first deep clean of the year is, it usually inspires me to start another organization project or to start another one of our many, ‘To Finish Before We Sell’ Projects.  With the goal of putting our house on the market this fall, we have many things to get done.  Most of them are time consuming projects that you never really want to do, like painting trim.

Ugh, let me tell you, I cannot STAND painting trim!  You are usually in the most uncomfortable positions, you have to be super careful not to hit the walls, floor or ceiling, and it just takes FOREVER!  I really wish we would have painted it as we were putting it up but we had so many projects going on at the same time and we really just wanted to move in so we just powered through thinking we would do it later.  That was in 2010…

Having 4 dogs and 2 cats means the amount of hair in my house is intense at all times.  We vacuum regularly but it seems like the tumbleweeds of hair never end.  The first deep cleaning of the year focuses more on living spaces.  I move the bed and furniture to clean behind and under them.  I wash everything that can come off of them and then steam what can’t.

Here is a very basic breakdown of my Post Christmas Cleaning list:

  1. De-Christmas bathrooms and kitchen; wash and dry all Christmas rugs and towels.
  2. Clean, remove batteries and box up all Christmas decorations and move boxes into the basement.
  3. Dust, wipe down walls, throw couch pillows, blankets, dog beds, and our bedding down to be washed.
  4. From here I start upstairs and vacuum everything. Baseboards, corners of walls from floor to ceiling, ceilings and ceiling fans, vents and returns.
  5. Deep clean both bathrooms.
  6. Move all rugs and furniture and steam floors.
  7. Put everything back and put out all normal décor.
  8. Once all the extra laundry is done, clean out dryer vent hose.

This all usually takes about 2 full days.  The most time consuming stuff is the laundry.  Waiting for everything to wash and dry takes forever.  It’s a great feeling once this is all completed.  It’s a lot of hard work all at once.  What are some things that you do for your spring cleaning routine?  Do you have any other tips or things you do that I missed?  I would love to hear from you!


 

All Purpose Cleaner:

  • 32oz spray bottle
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2 drops citrus essential oil

Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle and start cleaning!

      *   Add essential oil if you want a fresh scented spray.


 

 

Here we go, I guess…

Holy cow, I can’t believe I am doing this.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for over a year now.  Why I should, why I shouldn’t, and why I never would.  There are a lot of answers for each of those but the biggest thing that was holding me back, was the fear of failure.

People who know me personally know that I do not like to fail.  If I do fail, I would rather do it in front of as few people as possible.  I am sure that is how most people are.  It’s not like there are people who love to get in front of as many people as possible and see how hard they can bomb.  Well, I guess there is Nickelback… ☺

Anyway, looking at successful people and how they got there is because they took a chance.  So that’s what I am doing.  I am taking a chance in the hopes that there are other people out there like me, who want to read about good ideas, making cool things, and all the funny stories that happen in between.

In the past 7 years I have revamped a lot of areas in my life.  For some people my organization is a little over the top, (my husband is one of those people) but I have lots of tips and ideas for things that have and have not worked for us along the way!  I have helped others with organizing their homes by teaching them my 4 pile system for deciding on what to do with everything and learning when to just say “Toss it!”  I can honestly say I probably wouldn’t have started half of my organization projects without Pinterest.

Pinterest is amazing.  Does everyone love it like I do?  Most people I know pin everything in the world and then either never look at it again, can’t find it again (organization!) or don’t have the follow through to ever actually try it.  I am the opposite.  I can’t wait to show you all my Pinterest wins, fails, mistakes, projects, and recipes I try along the way!

Crafts, like sewing and knitting, are something new I am working my way into, as well as starting to play around with a lot of wood crafts and airbrushing projects. I also love photography. You are going to see WAY too many pictures of my pets I am sure, Exhibit A:

The Girls

This is actually not a photo I took.  This just shows off my beautiful, well behaved girls at their best!  A year or two ago I volunteered at a fundraising event for the wonderful people of H.E.L.P., Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets.  PawPrints Pix Photography was doing Christmas photos for people with their pets.  My amazing mother, sister, and her kiddos kindly took all 4 of my girls to get their picture professionally taken.  My family is pretty much the best and they mean the world to me, more on them in a different post.

My husband and I are currently making small changes here and there to transition to a less wasteful way of living.  We are both starting diets and fitness plans as well.  There are many reasons and motivators for us to get into shape again and lose weight, but the newest one is that my best friend will be getting married in the next year!!  I will have more stuff on our weight loss goals, diets, exercises and what is and isn’t working for us in the near future!

As an amateur wedding planner my best friend’s wedding is huge!!  Her wedding will be the 5th wedding that I will be doing.  I will have lots of posts on what we are doing, money saving tips, things you can easily skip or do differently, time management, of course organization, and all other things involved with wedding planning. Including DIY projects and things you should definitely spend the money on and let the experts handle.

All the of this happening brings me back to the title of this whole thing, From Postage Stamp to Pasture Land.  My husband and I both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and with the goal of owning horses, we both see the need for more land and less neighborhood.  We moved from 1/5 of an acre to where we are currently living on 3/4 of an acre and hope to make our next move onto 3 or more acres over the next year and a half.  There are going to be so many bumps, bruises, setbacks and achievements along the way.  Thank you all for being patient and supportive of me as I begin this new project.  I hope to be informative and keep you all entertained.

There are a few different ways to follow me and talk with me that I have listed below.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Email me at postage2pasture@gmail.com