I don’t care for Valentine’s Day and I don’t care for decks. But if you tear my deck out on Valentine’s Day, you’ll have won my heart.

img_2714

img_2716

I can’t stop raving about this cookbook. I love fresh bread, but had never made my own. I had a hand-me-down bread machine, but it was old and caught fire the first time I tried to use it. I stumbled across this book and suddenly, I’m making my own actual bread on a regular basis without all the trouble and fuss of a bread machine or the tricky science of rising and kneading and all that jazz. You mix the standard bread ingredients–flour, yeast, water and salt–and after an initial rise, the dough is refrigerated for up to two weeks. Anytime you want bread, you cut off a piece of the wet sticky dough, allow it to rise briefly and bake it up! So it’s just like traditional home-baked bread, only easier AND more convenient.

So far I’ve made round freeform loaves, crusty white sandwich loaves in a pan, and this incredible pizza dough that Tony used to make wood-oven pizza in his new Green Egg. Delicious!

100_9545img_1670

It goes without saying that my blog has been neglected (again). Rather than try and catch up in one heavy post, however, I’m just going to pick back up as if my last post was really written yesterday and not six months ago.

So! Remember how we were stripping wallpaper to have our home painted? Yeah, well we finished that project and now we have a lovely family room and play room up front, all in the perfect shade of blue (you may also remember, mama don’t do beige). In the playroom we added a FLOR area rug, and the TV room got a large oriental rug that one of Tony’s clients left behind. I like that rug, it’s very nice, but I think I’m going to move it into the dining room and put another FLOR rug in the family room to match the one in the playroom.

You can see our playroom here as it looked on Christmas morning. A riot of sunshine, torn paper, champagne and toys. I love this room.

img_15182

Please excuse my blogging absence! Needless to say, it has been busy here. I’ll have updates soon of everything.

Tonight we celebrate Anthony’s second birthday with an outdoor picnic. How did he get to be two? I just can’t believe it.

We’ll be watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics later. Excited to watch sprinter Tyson Gay, a Kentucky native.

This weekend Tony’s playing in the Wolf Challenge, a charity golf scramble held by Fuzzy Zoeller. He’s excited! He’s been really busy with work lately and it’s going to be a beautiful weekend, I’m glad he’s getting to play.

Rosie will be starting Pre-K in a few weeks, new teacher and all. I always love back-to-school time. Back to school means new clothes, new shoes, new books, new pencils and clean new paper…. pretty much five of my most favorite things.

Check back next week for lots of pictures and updates!

Well, thank god that’s done… our porch is all put back together and looking lovely! Tony painted the floor a beautiful sea green.

Another project finished: shades in the tv room. Unbleached sheer hanky-weight linen and twenty (!) yards of grosgrain ribbon on spring rods. And you can’t even tell that the seams are not perfectly straight…..

Also in the finished category: all the wallpaper glue is now officially scrubbed from the Library walls. We are rounding the clubhouse turn on this project, with the hardest part pretty much behind us. We spent some time measuring our furniture to figure out what we’ll have in the Library and what we’ll have in the Parlor… the only other thing that really needs to be decided is window coverings. I’m tempted to make four more shades like the ones shown above, but those windows face the street, so part of me thinks they should be fully covered. Especially in the room where the tv will eventually be… I think it’s tacky to look in a window and see someone’s tv.

Last week my sister’s husband was called to fill in as an umpire for our local Triple-A team, so we spent a few nights out at the park watching him work. Both kids were completely enchanted with the fact that Uncle Nate is an “empire.” Of course Anthony loves baseball anyway, and I’ll never pass up a chance to go out to Slugger Field either, but the weather has been gorgeous so it was a whole lot of fun.

{nate in action behind the plate. i think that’s homer bailey pitching.}

{back in my day, cotton candy only came in pink. those were simpler times.}

Nate tossed Rosie a ball after the game was over. Anthony has been carrying it around calling it “nate-ball” and taking it to bed with him at night. Have I mentioned how much he loves baseball?

There is a lot happening on the Parkway this week.

Our porch is just about finished–the floor is down and the columns need to be put back in. The floor–primer white in the picture–will need to be painted as soon as possible. We chose a muted green. The shutters are also going to get a new coat of paint, changing from that very unlovely shade of rust red (oh how i hate that color….) to a much more flattering green.

Tony finished stripping the last few shreds of wallpaper out of the Library and front hall, getting us closer to having those rooms painted, hopefully within a month.

So we’re finally back from vacation, having learned a few very valuable lessons:

1. Rosie likes rides that go very high and very fast. When we go to Disneyworld later this year, Space Mountain is a go!

2. Anthony does not like rides that spin around extremely fast. When we go to Disneyworld later this year, the Teacups are a no!

3. Without the benefit of a nap, and up hours past his bedtime, Anthony will lose his shit and holler “BOOBY!” in a nice restaurant. This is very embarrassing.

MOVING ON. Bright and early Monday morning, our porch renovation began. The columns were removed, and the rotting floor torn up. Unfortunately (although not surprisingly) the joists and other structures below had also rotted, so today they are being removed and rebuilt. If all goes well with that, the new floor should probably go in later this week.

The house looks kind of funny with no columns out front, like a kid who’s missing her front teeth.

The six roses I planted two weeks ago are leafing out beautifully, all but one, who is kind of inching along. This week we are finally done travelling and it’s not so soul-crushingly hot, so I should be able to put in all the rest of my new plants. I’ve got purple coneflower, daisies, black-eyed susans, pink and yellow coreopsis, chamomile and verbena all waiting patiently, under Rosie’s watchful eye.

I’m not sure if it’s love or lust, but I do want this rug very badly. So modern, and I love these sunny faces. It reminds me of the modern art my grandparents collected.

{la fonda del sol by FLOR

Cute colorful storage tubs.

{by tubtrugs}

Possibly too pretty to sit on.

{at anthropologie}

This might be the one item on this list I will definitely get. Solar powered nylon-covered LED party lanterns. I don’t know if I’m going to hang them from every tree in the yard or hang them from the ceiling inside, but I think this is the best idea. How pretty would these look at night around the picnic table??

{soji nylon solar lanterns at allsop home & garden}

I threw this window shade together this weekend with a few yards of scrap fabric and satin ribbon, and a spring rod. If anyone ever touches it (likelihood: high) it will fall down, but I wanted to experiment with the concept before making similar shades for our tv room (soon to be dining room). Only those will actually involve cutting and sewing (yikes!).

The weather was idyllic… the company was entertaining… the work was quick and easy… the beer was cold… if the unofficial First Weekend of Summer is any indicator, this might turn out to be the greatest summer of all time.

a new glove

floorboards must be primed on all sides before installation

progress-day one

child learns to fetch drink from cooler. survey says: awesome!

while waiting for the primer to dry, child helped clear overgrown ground cover. number of worms eaten: 3.

progress–day two