Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yard Work

I've been terrible about posting more pictures of our progress on our yard, but when you see the progess we've made you might understand. We've done a LOT of work, and thanks to a Herring family work party, Tom's labor, and my dad's time and expertise, the yard is done. Well, at least the hard part. No more digging trenches, no more crawling under the house, no more laying pipe.

I wish that I had taken pictures when we moved in of the waist-high dandelions and blackberry bushes that inhabited every square inch of the yard, but pictures of our progress will have to do.

Here's what we've done since I last posted.

Dug a shallow trench and laid a rock barrier for our soon-to-be walkway. Note: My dad said that this would take all day, but Shannon and I got it done in 2 hours.

Pounded in cedar benderboard to serve as the barrier between the grass and walkway and started hauling in gravel to fill.

Clare likes dirt. And watermelon. Check out how dirty this kid's face is!

Played with Papa.

Herring family work party! The WHOLE family came over to help us spread gravel and beauty bark and clear out and level the yard enough that we could spread grass seed. Everyone was an enormous help -- raking, shoveling rocks and old yard waste, hauling beauty bark (we saved the hauling of gravel for Tom), entertaining Clare...You name it, the Herrings did it. They were awesome - and look how much we got done.

Theresa, Ceci, Clare, and Madeline clearing rocks and other yard waste out of the corner of the yard.

Bex, Anna, and Berna shoveling and leveling.

Gravel walkway is laid and rolled. Beauty bark is spread. All in a day's work - literally.

Over the last couple of weeks we've just been laying more benderboard around the outside of the yard, pouring and packing beauty bark, clearing weeds from under the tree and the side of the house and pouring more beauty bark. My dad's been raking and leveling for what seems like forever, but the dirt was finally ready for grass seed! Here's what the yard looks like as of yesterday. The grass is growing in (still a little sparse in spots, but it's filling in little by little).

To get an idea of what this used to look like, imagine a moss/weed walkway bordered on the left by blackberry bushes and trash left over from the previous owners.

Blackberries no more! This is now home to what will become our little grotto for Our Lady.

Grass! A real lawn in the back yard!!!

Ummm...Ignore the laundry drying on the deck. Someday I'll have a real clothesline. But at least you can see the yard!

My dad and I were spreading and packing another layer of beauty bark yesterday while Clare was running around barefoot in the grass. I just loved seeing her able to play in the yard!

That's it for now. There's a lot to catch up on, but now that the major yard work is done I'm hoping to have a little more time for staying up-to-date on the blog.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Looking for an AMAZING summer salad?

Try this: Asparagus Summer Salad

Shannon and I saw this in the latest edition of Sunset Magazine and decided to try it. Um, yeah, it's definitely making it to each of our recipe books. I wish that I could find a picture of it, because in addition to tasting fantastic and being super easy to prep, it's a really pretty salad. :) It was my favorite part of dinner last night and I can't wait to make it again.

SERVES: 6 TIME: 20 minutes (plus some time to chill in the fridge before eating)

2 lbs. thick asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
2 tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil, chives, and cilantro
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop asparagus into water
and cook until bright green and slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain
asparagus and rinse with very cold water until cool to the touch.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, oil, and herbs.
Add asparagus, onion, pine nuts, feta, salt, and pepper, and stir to

PER SERVING 227 CAL., 71% (162 CAL.) FROM FAT; 9.7 G PROTEIN; 18 G FAT
(3.7 G SAT.); 10 G CARBO (2.7 G FIBER); 425 MG SODIUM; 8.4 MG CHOL.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A VERY share-worthy post for all you wives and moms!

I wanted to share with you a terrific post from one of my favorite blogs, Building Cathedrals. It's a great blog run by a group of Catholic moms, and this particular post struck me in particular as a stay-at-home-mom who is striving to live in the world but not be of it.

I completely agree with everything she says in this post, and I'd love to hear your take on it!