Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Chili - Version 2.222

When it looks like this outside:

There's nothing like a bowl of chili to make it all better!  I'm calling this "Chili version 2.222", because there's two of each ingredient.  Easy to remember - easy to make.


2 jars of Classico sauce (Italian sausage with peppers and onions)
2 jars of Bush's best chili beans (mild or whichever you prefer)
2 tbsp of chili powder
2 lbs. ground round

Brown the ground round in a skillet.  In the meantime, add the jars of sauce and cans of beans to a saucepan.  Add the beef.  Season with chili powder.  Let simmer....serve with a loaf of bread and a salad and - Bon appetit!

There are so many recipes for chili out there.  You can make your own sauce (which I have done), and add your own varying spices.  This is the version we like best - with a football game, of course!

**Must give credit to Citylogger for perfecting this recipe - yes, he cooks too!:)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Just wonderin'.....

How long until April 15th, and I can follow Dad on the tractor, and chase the deer, and bark just because I can??

Just wonderin'....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Out and About!

So, we have been experiencing a milder than usual winter here - little snow, but very windy.  Today seemed like the perfect day to take some wintery photos of "The Land".  Again, I have our trusty sidekick with us...he never says no to a romp on the trails.  Let's start at the end of the driveway:

The end of our driveway is called "The Landing".  While Citylogger was restoring the property, this was the spot where everything "landed".  If we were meeting friends to romp the dogs, we'd say, "Meet us at the landing."
If contractors were coming to work, we'd meet here as well.

This is a fork in the trails heading west from the driveway.  We did not know how close this area would be to the house when we purchased the property.  Back then, the whole family would go for walks and try to find our way around.  In the summer, it's full of Daisies and Queen Anne's Lace.  I thought we should name it the "Lazy Daisy Trail".  But my thoughts go back to the first time we walked it and Kristen and I got lost.  We sat down in several feet of snow at the time, and said, "I quit.  Let's see if the guys will find us:)"  So the "I Quit Split" may win out as the trail's name.  We'll see.

If you go to the right of the split, you'll see these "babies".  We planted over several hundred seedlings when we purchased the property as well.  I can't believe how fast they are growing.  You can see them in proportion to Champ. Don't know what he's thinking???

This is "The Danny Pond".  That's because we rented a mini excavator last summer, and Dan spent some time back here digging this out. Nothing like working the land to let off some stress from studying for exams.  It's not finished, but it flows under a trail to the other side where there could be another pond.....could be another project for summer??

That up ahead is the "Reading Hill".  It's one of the first areas Citylogger and team cleared.  It's got a huge tree that would be just right for a swing someday.  It would be a great place to enjoy a good book:)

Here's a look back at the Reading Hill from the top of the ridge that lines the back of the property. You can see more trails as well.

If you are still with me,  this is the main trail looking back at the ridge from behind the house.

Back to home sweet home.
Hope you enjoyed our walk as much as we did. We try to take a little different stroll each time we go.  And it looks different each season.  Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Window Treatments

For me, one of the challenges of building a home has been all of the choices.  Some choices are more "permanent" than others.  For example, flooring, faucets, countertops, appliances, and tubs are less apt to be changed than paint, curtains, and accessories.  After choosing some of the more permanent fixtures, I must admit it is taking me longer to choose the accessories.  I've tried to stay with a color palette of grey, white, chocolate brown, and yellow.  That way, I don't stray too far off and get distracted with all of the choices that are out there.

We are in the process of working on window treatments.  We have great views all around us, but there's something about window treatments that just warm up a space.  So we are trying to compromise and not put up anything that would block the view, but would still add a layer to dress things up a bit.

Office curtains

I made these myself - straight seams are about as sophisticated as I get!  I am working on that though.

Dining room - looking out the front of the house

These panels were found at www.westelm.com.  They have an ivory background with a grey "chain" design.

This weekend, we will be working on hanging these:

Perhaps Champ will give us a hand paw:).  Anyway, the boxes contain blinds that are going downstairs:

Downstairs family room that's part of the walk-out basement. 

Those doors and windows lead out to the backyard.  We can keep the blinds open during the day to let in the light, but then close them when we are hanging out watching a movie and such.
Apologies for the poor photo quality, but hopefully you get the idea.  Wish us luck! 
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In the beginning...

There was "The Land".  Yup, that's right.  My husband came to me and said he wanted to purchase a piece of land.  You know...room to stretch, room for the dog to romp...room to blaze trails.  And so, he showed me this:

And this:

That's me with Champ.  Honestly,  I can't remember my exact thoughts at this time, but they centered around "mud, and more mud". And maybe, "He's losing it...should I be concerned?" See those piles of branches and such?  The land had been logged, but not necessarily the way it should.  Tree tops were everywhere, and the natural water drainage had been disturbed - hence the  "mud, and more mud".  And there was fill that had been dumped here:

Above turned out to be the future sight of our driveway.  Much of that fill was moved and used to be the fill for trails. But many trails still needed a facelift:

I kept thinking, "I don't want to burst his bubble, but I just can't see it".  I mean, give me a room with four walls and I can create the vision, plan the makeover.  But property this size - all I could envision was the green - the kind you have to work for, not the kind that grows on trees!!

That's where my husband, aka "Citylogger" came in.  He (along with indentured servants  other family members, and friends) worked for a year cleaning up the property, moving fill, and shredding tree tops and limbs to use as mulch for the trails.

So, that a year later, that same driveway that you saw earlier.....looked like this:

It's hard to believe and we still pinch ourselves.  This is our pond.  You see it as you come up the driveway. The curve up ahead is where all that fill used to be.
Gotta hand it to that "Citylogger" - he's got vision - superhero vision!  Guess it's true what they say, "Sometimes things have to look worse before they can look better."
Stay tuned.  I'll save the rest of the story for another day.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something to think about.....

Source: photobucket.com/images/bullying/

This is what we are focusing on at school today....and every day for that matter. Through assemblies and weekly class meetings, we are hoping to make a difference.  When you think about it, a little kindness goes a long way.  Have a good one!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Dan!

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays and many more to come!  Can't wait to see the progress on your new home!

Mom and Dad   xo

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Post Ever!

Champ waiting for us to come home by the pond - Summer 2011

Welcome to "Designing Acres".  I have long awaited this day as I have read and been inspired by many blogs out there in the blogosphere.  Thanks to my graphic designer daughter, I can now say with confidence that I will post again....as long as she is sitting here ready to assist!  I'm sure I'll get the hang of this, but until then - thank you Kristen.

My husband Tom and I have been married for 28 years.  We have two grown children.  Our oldest, Kristen is married to her favorite tall redhead and they have a loveable chocolate lab named "Chloe".  Our son Dan just recently graduated college, passed the CPA exam, and just purchased his first home.  We also have a chocolate lab named "Champ".

In 2010, my husband and I purchased 72 acres of land.  In the last 19 months, we built our dream home and it is a work in progress both inside and out - hence the name "Designing Acres".  While I am choosing paint colors, fabric designs, pillows, etc., Tom (aka "Citylogger), can be found out on the trails cutting wood, mulching and blazing new trails, and thinking of many projects.  We love Sundays with the family, whether it be fishing by the pond, walking the trails with the dogs, or watching football and enjoying Tom's chili.

Most days, I can be found teaching my fun and energetic fifth graders. They keep my on my toes!
I hope that this blog will be an outlet for me, and a way to chronicle our adventures.  Thanks for stopping by!