Sunday, May 16, 2010

Middle of May

Look what's blooming in my yard this week!


  • Get out your iced tea/lemonade pitchers so they're easily accessible. Stir up a pitcher of your favorite summery beverage. Need to make room in your fridge so the pitcher will fit?

  • Is it time to throw away your bedroom pillows (or those of your children) and buy new ones? This should be done about every two years due to dust mites and oils building up inside the pillows. I just picked up two perfect, down-free pillows (I'm allergic) at Costco for $10.

  • Sort and process mail. Any bills that still need to be paid?

  • Look over your birthday list for the second half of the month. Write and send any cards, wrap and mail gifts, order flowers if needed.

  • Have time to take your dog on an extra-long walk today?

  • Make the kitchen sparkle. Remove everything from counters, spray and wipe down counters, replace items. See if you can find a new home for one thing previously living on your counters.

  • Vacuum any carpeted rooms. That's one less thing to do tomorrow during your workweek.

  • Slice and enjoy any fruit you have in your fruit basket. Make room for new fresh fruit from your next grocery shopping trip.

  • Fridge and freezer maintenance. Clean, sort and sanitize two door shelves, or one drawer, or one shelf in your fridge or freezer.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Preparing for Outdoor Living

It's been absolutely beautiful here in Seattle the last few days. I've been enjoying spending a lot of time outdoors, especially now that I have puppies. I entertain outdoors frequently, but I also love to be out there by myself reading or doing projects in the sunlight. Today I'll prepare my outdoor spaces (lawn, upper patio, lower patio) for relaxing and entertaining in a lovely manner.

I need to rewash all my windows, inside and out, to fully take advantage of the sunlight that's streaming in. I did this over a month ago, but they sure get dirty again fast, particularly my kitchen windows. I also have kitty kiss marks to get off my office window where they sit on the ledge.

Next, my back porch needs to be hosed off, scrubbed of mold, patio chairs hosed down and dried in the sun, and patio tables washed. My fire pit table needs to be cleaned out, ashes removed, table washed, and the cement patio it stands on should be hosed down and swept too. The firewood stored nearby needs to be examined for wetness, and a few misc pieces of trash need to be thrown away.

Today I absolutely have to mow my lawns, especially the front one, visible from the street and to my poor patient neighbors. I've been waiting for a dry day, and though it isn't sunny, today is the day. My front lawn only takes about 20 minutes, but the back lawn is huge and I dread it immensely. Since I haven't mowed the back at all this season, it's longer and will take a lot more time.

I don't hire gardeners (although once in a while I pay my kids) because it's really good to do it myself while I'm still young and healthy. Mowing the lawn isn't a weight loss or cardiac health solution, but it does get me out there working hard for a few hours at least every two weeks. And I do feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when I sit back and look at my neat yard afterwards.

As a finishing touch, I'm getting out my light blue, lime green, and bright yellow candles, summer pillows, and dishes. Tomorrow afternoon I hope to be sitting on my (slightly moldy) patio chair, with a yellow pillow behind me, sipping iced tea out of a lime green glass, reading a magazine, while my blue candle stands ready to be lit in the evening.

I'll pretty much be exhausted after I finish, so I can't expect to get any other projects done tonight after it gets dark. I'll still have to make dinner and clean up after it. I expect to take a nice long shower after mowing and dinner, then flop down to watch TV and flip through magazines.

LOVELY BATH & BODY Fresh's Citron de Vigne

Generally my favorite shower gels are citrus, especially grapefruit. So I was excited to see (and smell) this new shower gel by Fresh. It's inspired by champagne - even cooler!

Citron de Vigne, at


Advanced Chocolate 201 (The Food Channel)

Fall 2010 Accessory Report (

Forbes' Guide to Worldwide Travel? Early Summer (Forbes)

Fresh Strawberry Cake With Strawberry Glaze (Calla's Creations)

Fresh Strawberry Daiquiris (The Food Channel)

Make Arts & Crafts From Old Books (Ladies Home Journal)

Mango and Berry Cobbler (Baking Bites)

Perk Up a Plain Bathroom (Better Homes & Gardens)

Rhubarb Crisp That Stands up to Pie (NY Times)

Try Martha Stewart's Tasty Fruit Tarts (Today Show)

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