Wednesday, February 29, 2012

how does your garden grow?

Here in Midwest we've had a little bit of a warm spell these past few days.  So much so that we were able to get out and enjoy a little sunshine, clean up our overgrown yard, and prep our recently expanded garden. Not to mention, spend a little time working TOGETHER

After a day outside, we were pumped to finally start some of our spring garden.  Over the winter, Dan turned one of the rooms in our basement into a growing room, complete with a few tables left from the previous owner and a brand spankin' new grow light!

We spent an afternoon last weekend making a bazillion {okay, maybe only about 40} paper pots.  We opted for a bigger size than last year.  

We planted a variety of peppers, carrots, onions, a few herbs, and lots of spinach!  I'm trying very hard to be patient, but find myself wondering down to the basement to check on them daily!

And just for fun, a little puppy love....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

book love.

Here in the Ankney household, we LOVE books!

I know, I know, OCD much?! But don't they look great on that bookshelf?  That bookshelf was a major selling point for the house, and it didn't take long to fill it up.

When I set a goal to read 12 books this year, I thought, no big deal, I can read one book a problem!  But here it is the end of February and I have yet to finish ONE!

So tonight, after visiting to order a few new reads.  I cuddled up with the pup for an evening of relaxation with my current read.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Usually, I spend my Saturday mornings at the grocery, along with 1/2 the city.
Not this week.

Today I slept in, took my time getting up and around, and am now relaxing at home, with nothing on my schedule!

All because this was delivered Thursday...

It's our first delivery from Green Bean Delivery.

 Just look at all those wonderful fruits and veggies.

All of this for just $35 - it's organic, local(ish) *all grown in the US, ripe, and delivered right to my door.  Not to mention coming in this reusable box and packaging.

The eggs were an addition to the Fruit, Vegetable, and Grocery bin, which changes with the seasons.  You can set up a weekly or biweekly delivery choosing from a variety of sizes and have the option of substituting items you may not want (either don't like, won't use, or already have!?)

I just love seeing all these fruits on my counter every morning - not to mention being able to just grab one when I need a snack.

Already looking forward to next week's bin!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

bathroom remodel.


this photo was taken before finishing the window
in love with the new curtains

Still need to finish the flooring and baseboards, but overall the room has turned out better than expected.  I think that's mostly because we've just gone with our instincts, not too much planning - just numerous trips to Lowes and Home Depot (and lots of returns!).

Looking forward to warmer weather and motivation to finish our downstairs projects, get started on upstairs, and head back outside to work on our garden!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

kitchen update.

It's been a while since we shared some updates on the kitchen.  So here are some recent photos for your perusing pleasure.

**please disregard the mess...I was home on a sick when I took these photos and didn't feel like cleaning! 
the window ledge makes a great spot for the fun
basket that my mom made
still need to install a third shelf above the two here, but I love how
they look between the windows

check out the window boxes, courtesy of the previous owners
I LOVE the light above the table...the table, however, will be
replaced in coming months.
picture collage in progress...still working on prints for 3 of the frames
Remember when the kitchen looked like this???
May 30, 2011
February 22, 2012

It's hard to believe that this is the same house - it feels so good to see how much we've changed and made it our own!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

what knot to do...

start a crocheting project without the sufficient materials!

I started this blanket a few weeks ago hoping to use some beautiful alpaca yarn I bought this fall at the Johnny Appleseed Festival.  Unfortunately, when I decided to roll the skeins into a ball I had tossed the tag telling me the exact length, so I had nothing to tell me whether or not these yarns would be enough to make this particular project.

Oh well.  I'll wing it.  I decided to just go for it and would find a random similar color to create a chunky stripe on one side if I ran out.  I also opted for the baby blanket size vs. the throw blanket, hoping that by doing the smaller pattern I'd have enough yarn.

Now that I've run out, I'm kind of regretting this decision.

I LOVE the blanket, but it's not finished!

I LOVE the colors and the stripe pattern.

Yesterday I decided to get online and see what I could find to finish with.  I browsed Etsy for a while, ohhing and ahhing over the fabulous natural alpaca available, but nothing seemed to quite fit. {I'm also a little picky in my yarn selections}

With no success on Etsy, I headed to google and stumbled upon The Loopy Ewe.  Instant love.  They seem to have all things yarn - patterns, kits, roving, and of course beautiful yarn!  They even had the handspun natural alpaca yarn I've been looking for. Check them out here.

I found two colors that I think are close.  They are each look to be nearly double of what I've already used for the blanket, so worse-case-scenario : I start over and have enough to actually finish the blanket with the new yarn and unravel the current blanket for a future project.

For now, the blanket is on hold - although not forgotten.  I look at it daily, loving the lines and texture...can't wait to finish it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

40 breads // oatmeal sandwich bread

the bread no.3 oatmeal sandwich bread

our changes : none.

our thoughts : Easy, but time consuming.   I was looking for a recipe to make regularly as a supplement to our sandwich bread needs.  This, was not the solution, the time invested was much more than I can spare on a regular basis.

the verdict :  So yummy with some melted butter or honey right out of the oven.  Started to lose it's deliciously moist texture over the first 24 hours {stored in a plastic bag}.  I'm not good at slicing bread thin enough to use for sandwiches, though I'm sure this would have been a great sandwich bread had I not eaten it all with honey!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

a clean slate.

This is what my fridge looked like when I got home from the grocery this evening....
disorganized, expired, and overflowing.

I've been meaning to clean the fridge since the new year - you know, one of those resolutions to start the year with a clean slate...that didn't happen!

Since I have been re-charged and am tackling this Sugar Detox head on, I decided today was a good day to clean out the fridge - to truly start with a clean slate.


Step one was to remove EVERYTHING...only those items worth saving would be returned.  It's amazing how things can get lost and forgotten about in a fridge - I was amazed at how many things had gone bad or were past their expiration date.  Then, I wiped scrubbed every shelf and drawer {I have no idea how it gets so yucky inside our fridge}. **Starting with an empty fridge is much easier than doing one shelf at a time, then when you're all done, you can put each item back exactly where you want it.  Most items will be fine for the short time that you're cleaning the fridge, but if you're concerned just pop them in the freezer to stay cool.  There are a number of methods to organizing a fridge, but functionality and accessibility are most important to me.  I gathered a few ideas online, but I mostly based my organization off of this list.

Here's the run down...

Beverages, Bulk, & Leftovers
I changed the height of the top shelf so that I could put our milk, water, and OJ there.  I put bulk items like big bags of cheese, and rarely used items like yeast in the back.  I then added leftovers stored in clear containers on the right.  **I highly recommend investing in clear containers to store leftovers're more likely to pull it out of the fridge if you can see what it is - "out of sight, out of mind".

Salad, Fruit, & Eggs
The next shelf houses quick foods like lettuce & spinach, hummus, eggs, and berries - all cleaned and ready to be eaten {check out this site about ways to clean produce to prolong it's shelf life}.

Meat, Cheese, Beer & Lunch.
Lunch meats, bacon, and cheese are all kept in the meat drawer.  The bottom shelf is perfect for Dan's beer, our Artisan Bread starter and my packed lunch for tomorrow. **Packing my lunch the night before has been super helpful in the AM, I am able to focus on breakfast rather than preparing another meal.

Fruits & Veggies
The drawers are organized by high and low humidity fruits and vegetables, here's a site with some useful information on where to store what.

Toppings, Cooking Sauce, & Extras
The door is organized by purpose.  Jelly and spreads under the butter box with salad toppings next to them.  The second shelf is made up of sandwich toppings and cooking sauces.  Finally the bottom shelf has all the extras that don't fit into any category....salsa, wine, whip topping, chocolate sauce, and wheat germ.

It feels so great to look into the fridge and be able to find what I'm looking for...let's see how long it lasts! I hope to hold myself to keep it at least somewhat organized based on the above system, and do a deep clean once a's hoping!

**note: We've been slowly replacing processed food with all-natural, organic foods...however, we're not the wasting type and have found it hard to just throw away foods that we have purchased.  We plan to use up what we have, but replace them with better alternatives when they're gone.  So, that whip topping and chocolate sauce may just spend some time hanging on the shelf - or like the ice cream we devoured this weekend, it may disappear soon...either way, we don't have the will to just pitch it.

finding motivation

After Phyllis commented on our blog last week, I stumbled upon this video she recommended on her blog.  Since we were both home last night, we decided to "veg out" and check it out.

If you're at all interested in the whole "Real Food" movement it's a must see.  It's an inspirational story of two men with an autoimmune disorder that was running their lives...they were highly medicated and lacked a healthy lifestyle.  Through this documentary you see their amazing transformation and their inspiration to others through a "Reboot Juice Fast." 

The video has inspired both of us to include more nutrient-rich foods in our diet.  Though we feel we've been eating a very balanced diet of late {with the occasional treat}...the amount of nutrients in the foods we're consuming could be a whole lot higher.  

We're looking to borrow a juicer from friends or family to try for a few weeks to see if juicing is something for us - I don't think either one of us would benefit from a long-term "Reboot Juice Fast" like the men in this film, but a short-term cleanse can't hurt.

We shall see.

Monday, February 6, 2012

lacking motivation.

I've been finding it hard to sit down and blog about my sugar detox experience, mainly because it's been such a challenge.  Most of the time I feel like I've failed the challenge, want to give up, and begin to wonder what's the point!  The point's not easy, fun, or even all that rewarding {at least not in the short term}.


Well, not completely.  I took a week off.  I had to.  For my sanity...and health.  It became the most difficult when I hit week 4 - No Refined Sugar.  Giving up sugar may seem like an easy task, until you realize that it's in nearly EVERYTHING!  It was in the tortilla chips I had with my taco soup, and the stewed tomatoes I used for my margarita pizza. I started to realize that instead of eating healthy alternatives to sugar, I wasn't eating much at all.  So I gave in...I had a few cookies, crackers and soda...oh yea, and a few handfuls of M&M's and finished up the ice cream in the freezer {sharing with hubby of course}.  To be honest, none of it was all that satisfying.

After a few days away, I feel a renewed sense of purpose and am ready to tackle the last few weeks of this Sugar Detox Challenge.  I've decided to re-start at week 4 - No Refined Sugar/ week 5 - No Quick Breads {breads without yeast}....we don't eat a lot of quick breads so I'm good to do there.  I'll move on next Sunday to tackle week 6 - Limit Natural Sugar to 1tsp daily {that's going to be rough!}.

Here's hoping the coming weeks are full of challenge, satisfaction, and learning.