Friday, May 31, 2013

Kitchen Cupboards: Part 2

Today, you get to peek inside the cupboards by our sink (not under yet, that's another story).  Here's a reminder of how it looked when we bought the house:

With some paint and TLC, we turned it into this:

But, as I mentioned yesterday, things just kind of got thrown in the cupboards randomly.  Add in a mouse mishap, and more things getting moved, and we had some very messy drawers.  (Tee hee!)

Above the counter, we have most of our dishes.  This is where I'd like to eventually have a plate rack like this one - it would use a lot more vertical space, which will be nice when we have kids and our dishes increase exponentially.

On the counter, I have this tray from my grandma, where I keep my rainbow mugs, jars, and a cute bowl for odds and ends.

Underneath, our top drawer is for silverware (yes, we do have a lot of spoons).

The middle drawer is for plastic wrap, aluminum foil, bags, etc.  When we first moved in, a lot of boxed foods and spice mixes got put here, and there was a mouse incident.  We moved everything that survived, and the mouse hole got closed up, but I'm still not sure I ever want to put food here again!

Until recently, the bottom drawer was for our plastic containers (which you saw yesterday in a much more convenient location), but they'd always get stuck and there was barely enough space.  Now, the bottom drawer is for towels, cloths, hot pads, and some oven mitts.  Yes, we also have a lot of towels.

See you next week for more of our kitchen!

Love and Stripes,
Leah Joy

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kitchen Cupboards: Part 1

Number 36 on my 101 Things in 2013 list is to organize my kitchen cupboards.  My mom and sister came over to help me work on some house projects, and though they had to leave shortly after we started this one, just that little kick inspired me to finish the whole thing.  There are still a few organizing gadgets I'd love to have eventually, but they're not in the budget right now, and we still have enough room without them. 

So, for the next few days, I'll be taking you through our kitchen cupboards, one section at a time.  Yes, that's right, folks, you get to snoop inside all my cupboards!

Also, in order to make up for not taking before pictures of the awfully organized cupboards ("Throw everything from the 'Kitchen' boxes into a cupboard" may be an efficient moving technique, but is not the best method for organizing.), here's a before-before picture.

Here it is painted a much nicer color, and with new drawer pulls!

There are still boxes on top - I haven't organized that far.  

And inside:

A lot of empty space, I know, but since we plan on having kids eventually, we're okay with empty space now.

On the left, from top to bottom:

Top shelf: kitchen linens.  I'm sure someday we'll use some of our 19 placemats.  I've actually decided that I like using a tablecloth, though, which isn't something I thought I'd ever say not at a picnic.  We have three tablecloths, but I don't think I'll be bringing out the white one very often.  (Have you met us?)  To the very right of this shelf are a few parts to kitchen gadgets that I don't use very often.  (Like the pour spout for our blender that only works if your beverage is as thin as water.)

Middle shelf: kitchen scale and a container that I haven't decided how I want to use yet.  This is also where opened bags/boxes of snacks go, but right now, we don't have any.

Bottom shelf: Saltines, peanut butter, honey, and the butter.  More snacks could go here if we had them.

And on the right:

Top Shelf: Cereal (usually we just have Raisin Bran, but we had guests coming and I wasn't convinced they were as monochromatic in their breakfast choices as we are), oatmeal, syrup, and cookbooks. 

Middle shelf: Aprons and ice cube trays (and ice cubes - the reusable kind)

Bottom shelf: paper and plastic-ware, including straws.

On the counter:

No, our toaster oven doesn't get any cleaner than that.  (And where has the infamous chore chart gone?  Don't worry, he'll be back.  He's just been moved to a more prime location.)  And check out my new ring holder!  I wanted one for the kitchen for when I'm cooking, and I had a little strip of leftover fabric from my curtains, so....

Below the counter are two drawers.  On the right:

Containers for lightbulbs, batteries, rubber bands, and tape - typical junk drawer stuff, but corralled.  Then our clips, some various spatula-type things, sharp kitchen tools, etc.

Both drawers are lined with liner from the Dollar Tree.  The rolls are pretty small, so I would say I probably got about 1 drawer from each roll.  I had to tape it down, though, so it wouldn't scrunch up.

Left drawer: measuring cups/spoons, funnel, rolling pin, and more spatulas and whisks.

Below that are two big cupboards.  On the left: Apple peeler/corer/slicer (yes, Mom, I am aware that when we have children this will need to be moved up), salad spinner, and plastic containers.

On the right: Beans, rice, pasta, unopened canned goods, and Caleb's powdered shake stuff.

Stay tuned for more exciting kitchen updates - including our silverware!  ;)

Love and Salsa,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Improv Everywhere

Have you seen any of Improv Everywhere's YouTube videos?  They pull random pranks/skits in the middle of big cities.  In one, they get a whole bunch of people to dress in khakis and blue polos and go into a Best Buy, where, of course, all the other customers think they're employees and ask them questions.  They've also staged a red-headed protest of Wendy's, organized hundreds of people to walk backwards through Times Square to make it look like time is in reverse, and hosted a synchronized swimming 'tryout' in a public fountain.

However, one of my favorites that I just discovered is this surprise wedding reception they held in New York City.

And check out more of the story here.  How fun!

I'll probably share more of their videos in the future, but check out their channel on YouTube in the meantime.

Love and Rainy Days,
Leah Joy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Earring Update - May 28

May 21 - These, like so many pairs, are from Claire's.  I bought them because they were so much fun (and probably on clearance.)

May 22 - These came with a set of "Peek-A-Boo" earrings (where the back hangs down with some design while the front is just a simple post.  Those earrings are long gone, but they came with matching flowers in pink, blue, and purple.

May 23 - These fun spirals came with a set of faux hoops I really wanted.

May 27 - I have these in pink, blue, and purple - also from Claire's.  

Love and Thunderstorms,
Leah Joy

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope you get to spend time with your friends and family today, but don't forget to take time to remember those who died defending our country.

Love and Thankfulness,
Leah Joy

Friday, May 24, 2013

Under the Lilacs

Last year in Michigan, we had 80-90 degree weather in March, then a snap freeze.  This killed all the things that thought it was Spring and came out early: the apples (very sad), the lilacs (also sad), and the mosquitoes (actually very nice) - just to name a few.  This year, as if to compensate, the lilacs have burst forth with twice (if not more) their normal gusto.  (Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are doing the same. *scratches knee*)  (Hopefully, the apples will follow suit and we will be eating pie all winter long.)

So, last week, as I drove around to work and church and back, I noticed huge lilac bushes.  I'd never seen them so tall - almost like trees!  Then, on my way home from church, I noticed a very very large grove - and it's on our property!  Check it out!

This is a shot of the full thing; I had to walk a long way away to fit most of it in the picture!

They are just so abundant - and perfect!

And while the blossoms are gorgeous and so wonderfully fragrant, even just the leaves are a work of art.

They look like a watercolor painting!

Needless to say, I have a new computer wallpaper. :)

Love and Allergies,
Leah Joy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our Yard...

We had plans to garden this year.  We were going to make at least one raised bed and plant a million (or at least 8) things.  That never happened. However, a few plants we had in our garden last year miraculously survived, so I was able to transplant them. 

Like this raspberry plant:

And this blackberry plant which was pretending to be alive, but is now not so much:

But our strawberries look like we might eventually get something from them:

We also salvaged two rhubarb plants - which will probably take this year to acclimate themselves to our front yard, and then next year make us lots of pie.

Our yard is so pretty.

I actually think dandelions are very beautiful.
And then there's this section where about 100 little trees are trying to grow.

My parents also gave us some myrtle to let spread under some trees: 

And a baby lilac bush: 

But more on the lilac situation tomorrow.  

Love and Leaves,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Perfect Weekend

This past weekend, I got to have two of my favorite people ever stay in our home.  Alysha and Alexandria were two of my roommates (rooms-mate) at the Contemporary Music Center in Martha's Vineyard, and much to the surprise of all the cynical adults around us, we have remained in contact through letters, packages, and occasional visits.  See, they live in Ohio and go to school in Indiana, and I kind of just stay up in Michigan.  I drove down to visit them once in 2010 and again in 2011.  And they came up for our wedding in late 2011.  But it really needs to happen more often.  

Regardless, it was a perfect weekend, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Alysha on the left, Alexandria on the right.

Oh yeah, did I mention they're twins? :)

They arrived on Friday, after which we pretty quickly headed out to hit up three local thrift stores in search of white things to tie-dye the next day.  We followed that up with homemade pizza and the movie Standing Ovation, which is incredibly terrible.  We loved it.

On Saturday, we tie-dyed some shirts, jeans, and pillowcases, then hit up some local garage sales.  We all got new wallets (50-cents each) in addition to some other great items.  We also spent part of the day at my cousin's open house, where Alysha was hit on by a 15-year-old DJ-wannabe who claimed to be "very popular in Ohio."  After that, we went home to watch The Princess Diaries and eat copious amounts of popcorn.

On Sunday, we went to church, then visited the local library's book sale, which was running a 'Bag of Books for $2' sale.  We picked up 2 bags between the 3 of us.  We then headed to Lake Michigan (Grand Haven, to be specific), along with apparently everyone else in Michigan.

It was so much fun to take them to a Great Lake.  They kind of thought it would be lame (Alexandria brought a sweater just in case), but they ended up loving it.  They could not stop exclaiming over how soft our sand was!

Or how many people there were!

We also walked down to the end of the pier.

"You can't see the other side!"

We then came home to eat some of Caleb's famous hamburgers and watch The Princess Diaries 2.

On Monday morning, we realized that we hadn't yet played with their Skip-It, so we walked across the street to a parking lot where we could play.

And then it was time to say goodbye.  :(

But check out our cool tie-dye shirts!

I miss them already, but I'm so glad I got to have a wonderful weekend with them!

Love and Sunburn,
Leah Joy