Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween


Sadie posing for fall

It was a nice and sunny day today (Halloween!). Probably the last sunny day for a while. So I grabbed the camera and walked around my neighborhood to find pretty spots to take pics.

And here are a couple random pup pics.
Sleeping is bliss
Sadie getting her butt scratched
Here I am with my friend, Michelle, making out with Sadie. She's not impressed.
The duo
And more blissful sleeping.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bath Time!

Minor House Updates

This one happened a couple months ago but I'm a little slow in my presentation. We replaced the skylight with a big window that opens. It doesnt open much (to my big disappointment) - a mere 6 inches. But that's 6 inches more than I had before and this small change has helped tremendously with air movement up there. This is in the converted attic space so it gets pretty damn stuffy and hot up there.

Before (it's just a big skylight)

After (it opens!!)

We also managed another (small) update just this morning! We brought in an electrician to install a 2nd outlet for us in the basement so we can bring in an upright freezer. I want to go shopping at costco more often and also make casseroles and soups and store them in the freezer so it's less enticing to go to Burger King.

One more thing - just a thought I've been mulling around in my brain for the past 2 nights since I've been an insomniac recently. That converted attic space that has that new window (pictured above, in case you're slow) has a wall that separates this weird space from the bedroom we sleep in.


I think this spring we may do some tweaking to this space. Tear down that wall and make it one big space and turn the whole area into one big bedroom. There is the chimney that is boxed in on the other side of that wall that would have to get removed and the process would leave me wondering what to do with the carpet. Right now I'm leaning towards rip the whole damn thing out and lay down bamboo or laminate and then put down some big throw rugs. And paint. My god this room needs new paint.

The stairway leading to the upstairs

I can finally turn this space into a nice ADULT sanctuary. I think the previous owners used this space as their kids play area. Besides the obvious crazy paint job that covers every inch of the space, there is also the crawl space that was obviously used as a child's fort. We put the catbox behind that curtain :)

The best thing about my plans to do all this? Finally having room for a king size bed.

Posting this picture for inspiration. Right now these are the tones I'm picturing in this space

 And I'm liking the DIY upholstered headboard.
I don't know why I'm even looking at headboards. The ceilings are sloped and we can't have one.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pizza Casserole

Tried a new recipe courtesy of

Pizza Casserole

  • 2 cups uncooked pasta of choice (I used penne)
  • 1/2 pound cubed chicken breast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced turkey pepperoni sausage
  • 16 ounces pizza sauce or pasta sauce
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • a handful of sun dried tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chicken with the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Drain excess fat. Stir in the noodles, pepperoni, pizza sauce, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and milk, and mix well. Pour this mixture into a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, top with the cheese, then bake for 5 to 10 more minutes. 

Original recipe here:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anniversary Vacation

Warning - this will be a long post.

For our 2nd anniversary we decided to go on a little road trip. I wanted to go someplace sunny, warm, and beachy. So we packed the car, loaded the pups and went to a little town called Mendocino, CA (northern Cali). I don't think I'd vacation there again, but we still managed to have fun.

Day 1: One night in Bandon, OR

Day 2: We drove from Bandon down to Mendocino, CA

This picture was taken somewhere along the oregon or cali coast. I think it was southern Oregon but I can't be positive.

We tried to be nice and let the girls burn off some energy.

This was taken somewhere along northern cali coast. Near our destination, but I had to stop because the twisty roads were turning me green.

I kiss Sadie...

...and Sadie kisses me back. Aww.

About 40 minutes later we arrived at our bed and breakfast. It's cute, near the water, and dog friendly. All wins in my book. We got there on Day 2 (Sunday) and did nothing for the rest of the day. The dogs approved.

Violet looks a little drunk here

And Sadie? Well, Sadie just looks insane. And sweet. And happy. 


And here's Miss Violet watching TV with Rob

Day 3: We wandered the local area, down to the little cove down the road. We took the girls here a couple days in a row just to let them off leash and romp around. A little fetch, a little swimming, a little (a lot) barking,  and then home for breakfast.

This was Vi's first real exposure to water without restrictions. We let her run around, explore and have fun. She liked it :)

This is how fetch works:
1: Sadie gets the chuckit while Violet watches from a safe distance...
2: Violet steals the chuckit once Sadie comes closer to shore
3: Violet returns it to us so we can throw it and start over again. Somehow I feel like Sadie gets a little cheated in all this. She has to do the dirty work.

Day 4: The next day we made the girls wear their life vests so I wouldn't freak out every time they went into the water. I think the pink polka dots suit Miss Vi

Later that evening we took the girls to The Big River (it's actual name. Unique, eh?). The spot that enters into the ocean has lovely white sand, shallow water and gentle waves. 
We played fetch :)

We went home with dirty, tired pups. Good day.

Day 5: We decided to go kayaking up the big river with the girls. For safety reasons we opted for the outrigger. The girls rode in the middle. They were a little freaked out - well mostly Sadie. She's just a little noise box when she's excited and she wanted in the water. Plus I think they were a little nervous because they couldn't ride in our laps so we could only comfort them from a distance. 

That didn't go over very well so for a good while Rob was the paddler while I had two puppies in my lap. Violet managed to jump out once but I picked her up by the life vest and plopped her back in. We found a safe spot to stop at one point and let them run around, play fetch, swim in the water, etc. We wandered through the woods a little and just let them get the wiggles out of their system. 

Here they are clambering to get closer to Rob. Poor girls :(

When we finally opted to head back we decided to try having me sit in the middle with the girls. Definitely not how it's meant to be ridden in but whatever. It was blissful because they were finally quiet. They both clambered into my lap and promptly fell asleep.

We stopped at a grassy location. Man I am so glad we did because I love love love the pictures I managed to get of Rob and the girls.

The camera just loves Sadie. I was blessed with a natural poser.
Violet is not a natural poser so I'm always happy when she manages to give me a good pic. It's always a team effort though. I put her in a stay and Rob holds something in his hands to make her look up. Otherwise she'll stay but she looks down at her feet. The little shit.

Cute babies.

Day 6: I had a few tips and suggestions from friends who knew the area. One was to head down to Fort Bragg to some nice beach areas.
We wandered down the bluff to the beach and let the girls off for a good romp. We were all alone, no other dogs, so it was great. For those who don't know, Violet is dog reactive.  She doesn't like other dogs and if she thinks they're gonna be a threat (in other words, if they look like they're going to approach) then things get ugly. So having a nice, peaceful romp without distractions was great.
(I still kept the 30 foot lead on Violet because I'm paranoid. It ended up not being needed)

That was fun. The girls enjoyed themselves. Afterward we followed another suggestion and had lunch at a local place called Chapter and Moon down by the docks (also in Fort Bragg).
Home made bread, yo! Super thick cut. Carb overload.
One thing I really didn't like about our vacation location was the cost of meals. I live in Seattle - not the cheapest city in the world - and I found these meals to be EXPENSIVE! Like, 'nothing for less than $25 a plate for a run of the mill lunch or dinner' expensive. So I was pretty excited about this place. We found a few items in the $13-15 price range! And it was good, yummy, and fresh!
I ordered fish tacos :)

One thing I really enjoyed about our vacation location choice is the fact that it was warm, sunny, and there were tons of pretty things in bloom. There were also a TON of hummingbirds!

The end of day 6 - our view

Day 7: This is the day we packed up and left for the Oregon coast again! But while I was packing my suitcase I looked down at Sadie sunbathing and saw this:
For more information on this I made a post about it here:
But the jist of it she's having an allergic reaction. As I write this, it's now day 3 in a row where we have had to give her benadryl to keep the hives at bay. I'll write another blog entry in the future, but I'll be taking her to the vet soon if they don't go away now that we're home. 

Freak out aside, we finally made it on the road a couple hours later than planned and drove up to Port Orford, OR. We stopped along the way through The Avenue of Giants to admire the tall redwoods.

Day 8: We arrived in Manzanita, OR! I love manzanita. We got there in time to take the girls out to enjoy the sunset.
Day 9: The next day the beach was filled with other people and their dogs so Violet had to stay in for snuggles with Rob while I took Sadie out for a romp and play with the other pups.

I just love this area. I'm going to move here someday. Really.

Mysterious Goop. This stuff was all over the beach. Eggs of some aquatic creature? No clue.

We were on the road by 9am. We stopped at Seaside to pick up some fudge (rocky road. It's bitchin). We were home by 2:30. I wish I could say we relaxed but our cats are jerks.

If you got through to the very end, I'm impressed. The whole photo collection can be found here: Anniversary Vacation Photos