SANDBOX VS. PEBBLE PIT

August 12, 2019

One thing we’ve loved about our backyard is the great tree cover for shade and privacy. But with the shade has come difficulty planting grass in one specific dark corner of the yard. After putting grass seed down last year and seeing it fizzle out for lack of sunshine, we thought that spot would be ideal for a sandbox – we wouldn’t have to cover any existing grass, and the corner would be put to good use. 

Rachel’s direction for outdoor design is that family backyards feel best when they look summer camp-y with natural and simple elements. She’s going to steer away from what she calls the “JCPenney catalog” outdoor settings with hugely impractical rugs and pillows and throws. So she and the kids made our sandbox with natural elements they found around our property.

The next big question was to go with SAND or PEA GRAVEL.

Reasons for sand is that kids have more fun in it and it doesn’t upset a lawn mower as much as pebbles can. Against it is that it is messier and gets EVERYWHERE. Even more of huge con is that animals mistake sand boxes for litter boxes. UNCOOL. 

Pebble pits are cleaner and easier to get stray pebbles back into the pit should they “escape.” Because we don’t need to mow that close to this area, we did pebbles. I think we’re happy with it. Either would be fine. I think the deal breaker for sand was the litter box situation.

The good news either way is sand and pebbles are both the same price!

MATERIALS

PROCESS

  1. Lay out landscaping timbers to form borders of the pebble pit.
  2. Drill 10-12 holes in the bottom of the plastic bucket with a 3/8” drill bit. Take care not to crack the bucket.
  3. Fill bucket 3/4 full with gravel.
  4. Fill bucket with water and allow to drain. 
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4.
  6. Dump gravel into pebble pit.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5 with all gravel. (We filled our pit 2 inches deep and needed 12 bags. There’s a calculation for how much gravel you’ll need on the Home Depot product page.)

Making the pebble pit was a victory for our backyard. Inexpensive and easy for kids to help with, it was a good saturday summer project.

Without much effort, there’s a new dimension to our yard that has been a main attraction all summer. And if we ever want to expand or change the shape of the pit, it’s as easy as picking up a few more supplies and redefining the border. 

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PAINTING A STAIRCASE WHITE

August 8, 2019

ALTERNATE TITLE: Refurbishing the Stairs: Part IV: A New Hope. I sort of thought part III was going to be our final installment, but our stairs needed a change. (Who are my long time readers that remember the first three parts of refurbishing the stairs?)

What you need to first know is that I LIKE the classic look of stairs with white risers and wood stain treads. It’s classic and it’s beautiful. The second thing you need to understand is that was the GENERAL look of our staircase, but it wasn’t fully capturing it. IT LOOKED BAD. Because the stain was uneven where the carpet used to be and then where I freshly stained more. Also it didn’t totally match the rest of our wood floors. It couldn’t work. I painted it all white!

Here’s a (way) before photo and a present day comparison.

To paint we did three coats of behr porch and floor paint. I feel like I talk about this type of paint all the time, and I do really like it. It gives a hard strong finish to things, indoor or outdoor, and is totally latex so not odorous or intense. Very good for painting furniture!! My little trick for painting steps is to do it in two nights, alternating doing half the stairs the first night, then the other half the second night. That way you have a place to stand that isn’t wet paint, of course.

I have lived with the white stairs for some time and I am very happy I did it. I love the wood stain concept, but it wasn’t ever going to look good here unless we fully replaced the treads. And our entry isn’t huge, so chopping it up with contrast felt cramped.

I already know your question which is, IS IT HARD TO KEEP THEM CLEAN. Which is a question I get constantly about lots of white paint in our house. My line of thinking with this is that things are not more clean when they’re a color other than white, it’s just that you can’t see the dirt.

And so there’s a part of me that’s like, I want an actually clean house. Not just like a shades of brown everything so it can be so utilitarian you never see discoloration. So I make my design choices and then weigh the cleaning that comes along with it.

It’s not FULLY form over function. I like having a patterned dining rug so little stains of art supplies or foods don’t permanently ruin the whole thing. But as for sweeping stairs or spot cleaning walls, I do not mind because I want my house to be truly clean not just the dirt is hidden. It really isn’t that much to upkeep, even so.

Lastly, I’m not really a details person so many types of little imperfections just don’t seem to bother me. A dose of that probably helps too.

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ZUCCHINI TORTILLAS (NO GRAINS OR DAIRY!)

August 1, 2019

As a friend of mine puts it, I don’t eat desserts, except when I do. I am sort of that way with grains. I dabble in the fruit and vegetable based lifestyle – when I feel like it. Or just when it is fun! Like doing taco night with these tortillas for something new to mix it up.

They can be eaten hot or cold too! Just sneaking in vegetables one dish at a time. But these are good. Like, make-them-even-if-you-don’t-normally-do-grain-free level of good.

Zucchini Tortillas (No Grains or Dairy!)
Serves eight tortillas

2 cups grated and strained zucchini (about 8 small zucchinis)
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together grated zucchini, eggs, almond flour, coconut flour, oregano, garlic salt, and ground pepper.

Divide dough into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Press dough into a thin tortilla shape.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.

ZUCCHINI TORTILLAS (NO GRAINS OR DAIRY!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups grated and strained zucchini (about 8 small zucchinis)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together grated zucchini, eggs, almond flour, coconut flour, oregano, garlic salt, and ground pepper.
  3. Divide dough into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Press dough into a thin tortilla shape.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.

 Adapted from Sweet as Honey.

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