Thoughts for Thursday: Landscaping Overhaul

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I would die if our yard (and house) looked like this

When we moved into our house, it was flipped and the landscaping had been redone before we moved in. It looked so clean and crisp and we didn't mind the plants that were picked but we soon learned that it wasn't done 100% right. Apparently our previous owners were European and loved to garden - looking at google maps, you could see plants all on the side of the house and front yard and our back yard was an absolute disaster. Everything was cleaned up and kept nice when we bought it but a few months after moving in, we realized that none of the old plants were properly dug up.

Our yard looked so crisp when we moved in! (We still need to pressure wash the driveway and sidewalks)

Certain types of plants keep.coming.back; no matter how many times we pull out the roots, they always come back. Last year, we decided that we wanted to redo most of the landscaping but wanted to do some of it ourselves. After pulling out the plants on one side and the back of the house, we quickly realized this was more than we could handle so we agreed to hire a professional to give our yard a total overhaul.

Here are some of the highlights we'd like for the yard:

  1. Remove/redo all the plants in the front yard but keep the green/yellow plants and shape them up into short hedges
  2. Get rid of all the mulch and replace with dark rock
  3. Redo all of the concrete "trim"
  4. Get all of the tree beds cleaned up
  5. Get the back yard cleaned up where we removed previous bushes and plant new ones
  6. Keep things clean-lined and simple for minimal upkeep
  7. Remove 2 pine trees in the back yard (Stephen is desperate to get this done)
I love the clean(er) lines and staggered plants in the two pictures below and I'd love to add some color like in the 3rd picture.

So instead of it being a quick project, it's turned into basically a total overhaul. We got a quote last fall for some smaller adjustments but the company never got back in touch with me which makes me glad because we actually need more done than we thought. I'm sure our neighbors will be thrilled once we get everything cleaned up - one lady gave Stephen a passive aggressive suggestion on how to clean up the weeds lol

We're hoping to visit a few nursery's this weekend to get an idea of what type of plants would be best for Florida (I would die for some beautiful hydrangea bushes but I don't think they'll stand a change in the FL heat) and prices before going out to get quotes from landscaping companies. If y'all have any tips please let me know!!

Linking up with Annie and Jessica.

Easter 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It only took me 4 days but I'm finally blogging about our Easter weekend! We didn't get home until late Sunday night and the rest of the week, we've been trying to catch up. It's funny how if you miss your Sunday chores, your whole week is thrown off.

Friday, we had a pretty low key night and I packed for our little road trip south. Saturday, we kind of slept in and then headed out towards Stephen's parents house for Easter. We stopped by the Restoration Hardware outlet and it had some amazing pieces but nothing we needed. They did have some beautiful cribs and I was so tempted to go ahead and buy one to save for one day ;) We will be going back there once we're pregnant to see if they have any good cribs then. We also stopped into J Crew Factory - I found nothing and Stephen found some pants. I did realize that my 3" chino shorts are looking a little too short so now I've got to start buying the longer ones :/

We finally made it to Stephen's parents house and they bought our niece a high chair so we put that together. Gotta get some practice when we can ;) They also surprised all of us and upgraded their badminton set so Stephen and I got out there and played his parents. They also surprised Stephen and I and got us rocking chairs for the front porch! I asked for them for Christmas but Home Depot didn't carry them during that time so we got them this past weekend! We love them but unfortunately, it's been rainy so we haven't gotten to use them yet. After our Home Depot run, Stephen's little brother came into town and we made burgers for dinner and spent the rest of the night hanging out.

Proud Uncle with the assembled high chair lol

It's not a trip to Okeechobee without a vanilla coke and boiled peanuts from the drive thru

Sunday we were up bright and early for sunrise service. We all thought it was going to rain but it held out! Unfortunately, it was muggy as ever but thankfully it was only 1 service outside lol After the service, we had our traditional pancake breakfast that some of the church members make and then we headed to Sunday school. Right before 2nd service, my BIL & SIL arrived so it was great catching up and playing with my niece before the service.

She found my watch and LOVED it... would not let it go - it was the cutest thing

Trying to make Siena smile

We're almost getting too big to fit in the frame!

After 2nd service, we headed home for Easter lunch and crafting. Usually, we dye eggs but Lauren had the idea to do a craft with the girls since the eggs just get wasted. She came up with the idea of making an Easter flag for the front yard! Such a good idea and they turned out so well! The rest of the day we played with Siena, played badminton and finished up crafting. Before we knew it, it was after 6pm and time to head home.

Everyone got an abundance of Easter candy!

Loving her new chair and sitting at the table like a big girl for lunch!

Working on our Easter craft

The engineer in me came out...

3 Generations of Hirst girls sewing watching my MIL sew

Our finished products! Can't wait to hang our outside next year!

And what's Easter without the boys' raw Easter egg toss? This year it broke on Stephen

We had a great Easter with family celebrating our Lord's resurrection! Hope everyone else had a great Easter (although I've already read most of your posts and it looks like y'all did ;))

Linking up with Jessi.

Five on Good Friday

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Good Friday everyone!! Even though it's more of a somber Friday, it truly is GOOD! Jesus died on the cross for US so that we may spend eternity with Him - Praise Jesus!!

While we were out walking the other day during lunch, we stumbled upon this TINY baby deer! Oh my goodness, he was the most precious thing ever and he was just laying out in open grass!! We couldn't believe it and were wondering where his mom was. We took another lap and by the time we got back, he was gone so we're saying he went into the nearby woods with his mom and is safe and sound.

Is he not the cutest thing ever?! I was dying to go over and pet him lol

I've been having a little bit of a rough week and I was so surprised to find a package from my mom with these adorable placemats!! Could they not be more perfect!? I'm obsessed and it definitely made my day yesterday :) She also sent us some yummy Easter goodies - I love that she still sends us Easter "baskets"

I couldn't find a link to these online but she got them at Homegoods

Have y'all noticed the new changes to Bloglovin? I'm not going to lie, I'm not a fan of the whole "all the articles your followers like, shows up in your feed". I get the idea but now my feed is filled with all sorts of blog posts that I didn't necessarily want to follow and it's taking me forever to get through them. Does anyone else feel this way or am I being cynical?

Stephen is in charge of the operations side of building and controlling the arm (Arm Control Engineer - ACE) that the astronauts will walk out on in order to get into the capsule for the new human launches that his company will be doing next year. On Monday, they had a big press conference and the Orlando Sentinel did a piece on it. The article and video turned out alright but it's still cool! The article and video is HERE. You can see a quick snip from Instagram here.

I can't believe it's actually Easter weekend already! Since Stephen's dad is a pastor and since my family is out of state, every year we go down to his parents in Okeechobee for Easter. It should be fun seeing everyone again - especially our niece ;) We always go to the sunrise service since Stephen has to help setup, then we go home, eat Easter lunch and color eggs (the boys never did this growing up - my SIL and I had to show them how it was done). Usually within that time, we have an egg toss contest and the brothers do a raw egg toss. This year, my SIL got a craft for us to do instead of painting eggs - can't wait to see what she picked out!

Let's take a quick walk down Okeechobee Easter memory lane with crappy pictures lol

2013 - We were engaged this Easter

And we took our first air boat ride!

2014 - Our first married Easter


Lauren (my SIL) was newly pregnant and was hiding it from everyone last year - can't wait for Siena's first Easter this year!

What Easter traditions do you have?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

I confess that our admin filled an Easter basket with candy and I've been making frequent stops... granted I take candy to add to my stash for when I'm crashing in the afternoon ;)

I confess that I've joined my work friends for some lunch workouts and it's been so much fun! Unfortunately, it'll probably be going back to the 90's soon so not sure how much longer we'll be doing them with it being so hot

I confess that I wouldn't be all that upset if it rained on Easter morning and we had to move sunrise service inside... it's neat having the service during sunrise but it's always cold outside, the ground is wet which gets my feet wet, I can't wear heels because of the grass and we wouldn't have to set everything up and tear it down - we could just use the sanctuary. I sound like such a total complainer but hey, I'm confessing ;)

I confess that with Stephen's launch on Tuesday night (11:05 pm to be exact ;)) I definitely did not get enough sleep and am totally off. Hopefully, we'll get back on track this weekend

I confess that I started watching Gossip Girl and I'm addicted. The show is totally unrealistic in that they're like 16 and go to hotel bars and restaurants and just have straight up alcoholic drinks - unless I'm out of touch with reality in the upper social circles of NYC. While Stephen was working late Tuesday night, I watched like 4 episodes and finished season 1 - holy cow, that did not end like I thought it would've!!

Linking up with Jessica.

Pineapple Skewers

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Last weekend, I asked Stephen to grill out this recipe for pineapple chicken skewers and he wasn't sure about it. Thankfully, he obliged and ended up loving them!! They're sooo good and perfect for summer! We will definitely be making these again!

- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp minced ginger (we didn't have this)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1.75 lbs chicken breast, chopped into 1.25 inch cubes
- 3 cups of fresh pineapple, cubed
- 1.5 large green peppers, cubed
- 1 large red onion, cubed

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Add in 3/4 tsp pepper and a little salt

2. Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag. Reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade in the refrigerator and add the rest to the bag with chicken. Seal bag and marinate for 3 hours

3. Soak 10 wooden skewers sticks in water for 1 hour

4. Heat the grill to 400 degrees and assemble the skewers. Brush the grill with olive oil and add the skewers; grill for 5 minutes and then brush the marinade along the top. Rotate the skewers and brush with the remaining marinade. Keep rotating every 5 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees),

Linking up with Jessi.


Monday, March 21, 2016

We had a great weekend! We had some plans and weren't sure about others but everything worked out great!

Friday, we headed out to Target for a big restock run after work. I did really well resisting the BOGO 50% off sales - Stephen is so proud ;) We got some bins for our closet and it is so nice having things placed in those instead of in boxes or thrown about our shelf. Afterwards, we came home and watched Mockingjay Part 2 and we agreed that it was alright... the ending was a little anti-climatic and not what I expected at all.

So many adorable birthday cards in the $1 section at Target!

Saturday we were supposed to go to a spring training game and then have dinner with some co-workers. The weather was pretty questionable but we thought we would be able to get a few hours in at the game. That morning, it was becoming more clear that the game was going to get rained out so we met my co-workers for lunch instead and went to an Estate sale. There wasn't much there but I found some beautiful plates for $1 each and had to snag them since I adore the pattern. After relaxing for a little at home, we headed out to meet Stephen's family friends for dinner. We celebrated one of their sons birthdays at their grandparents house - it was so great seeing them again and catching up. The last time I had seen them was the weekend Stephen and I became boyfriend and girlfriend!

Since we were going to a baseball game (until it got rained out) we had to get hot dogs 

We were all ready for the game and we were so bummed it got rained out!

Since Sunday was Palm Sunday, our pastor decided it'd be fun to bring a donkey to the church lol! Of course we had to get a picture with the donkey. We then did the usual, Publix, laundry, ironing... it was a thrilling day. It was the perfect weekend of relaxing and accomplishing things :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend as well! Linking up with Biana.

Five on Friday

Friday, March 18, 2016

One of the good things about living near Orlando is that friends and family come here for vacation and spring break. One of my childhood friends and his girlfriend are at a beach north of us for their spring break but came to Orlando for the day for the golf tournament and I was able to meet them for dinner after work. We met at Rainforest Cafe and we had such a great time catching up! Stephen's even got some family friends in town and we're hoping to meet up with them this weekend.

The other day my sister sent me this article... there might be a Princess Diaries 3 at some point in our future!!! Oh my, we loved this movie and would die if they did a 3rd movie!

To celebrate the Bachelor finale, the girls who did the bracket at work decided to do a little breakfast Tuesday morning so we could talk about the finale (and have an excuse to bring in breakfast lol). My friend made blueberry, lemon french toast which was delicious and I made Brittany's strawberry bread and it was delicious!! Everyone at work loved it too!

It looks a little gross in this picture, but it was so delicious!

I don't know if you saw this, but Chick-fil-a recently rolled out their frosted coffee drink.. oh my, it's delicious! So the other day, Stephen and I decided to do a post-dinner Chick-fil-a run so I could try it and he could get a milkshake. We were total cheeseball and sat on the same side of the booth but I think we scared the middle school kids who came in and sat right across from us because they moved after 5 minutes lol! I won't mention that they didn't have decaf so I paid for it that night with not being able to sleep and a racing heart.

The other night, we made these apple spice pork chops and they were delicious!! They're really more of a fall dinner so I'll probably wait until then to make them again but Stephen LOVED it. The only thing is you have to cook with veggie oil and it got EVERYWHERE. I had to mop everywhere... does anyone have any tips for cleaner cooking with oil?

I hope everyone has a weekend!! We're supposed to go to a baseball game with some of my co-workers but it's looking like 90% chance of rain so we'll see :/