Yard Makeover and a Recipe

I wanted to share some photos of our recent yard makeover! I am ridiculously excited about it. Our yard is very big. It’s a great space for a dog to run around. The problem is that the upkeep is very hard. Every year we end up spending the entire summer working on battling the blackberry bushes and weeds and we barely make a dent in it. That’s no fun AND it means we have to make a decision every weekend–do we do responsible adult stuff or go for a hike and enjoy the summer?

So this year we decided it was time to bring in a professional. I got a name from a friend and Oscar came out and gave us a good quote. We hired him on the spot. Him and his crew came out and in one day they transformed our entire backyard!

I wanted to share the photos because I’m so excited about it! (And if you live in Portland and want Oscar’s info, message me!)



They managed to get rid of all the ivy and blackberry bushes that were clogging up the fence and bushes (and edged the lawn).

And in the other corner of the yard, the blackberry bushes had completely taken over.



NO BLACKBERRY BUSHES! Not a weed in sight! They trimmed the trees and bushes and it looks amazing! We were so happy with Oscar’s work. There is no way we could have even come close to making the yard look like they did.

The next weekend we had Johnson’s Bark come out and put down bark. We went with the dark Hemlock. About 5 years ago Michael had done it all himself and it was a back-breaking, multiple day effort on his part. This time? They used a giant hose to spray the bark around the yard.

After the bark dust:

How amazing does it look now? We LOVE it!! Our yard makeover in addition to have the deck rebuilt last year means we are going to spend a LOT of time outside in the yard this summer. I’d really like to get a firepit and spend as much time out there as possible.

The next thing to do: plant our veggie garden and some other plants in the yard. (I also still need to plant our living Christmas tree, ooops!) Then we are going to build a little rock path through the yard. We’re also talking about building a fire pit.

Well the weather has been kind of nice lately. Last night we sat outside on our new deck to eat dinner and enjoy our yard! Here’s the amazing recipe we used:

It was so nice sitting outside on the deck in the warm, sunny evening.

I had a salad and a glass of wine. Logan was refusing to go to sleep (we really need to get some black-out curtains).

The chicken was really, really delicious! This recipe is a winner. Definitely recommend. 🙂

I Hate Low-Carb

Dinner last night was low-carb. We are attempting to limit our carbs for a few days this week leading up to Friday’s Carb-Loading dinner! Let me just say, I absolutely hate the concept of a Low-Carb diet. It’s so frustrating. There’s carbohydrates in everything: fruit, grains, oatmeal! I think I’ve officially said “Whatever” to the idea of limiting them this week.

For dinner I made chicken with pesto on it (Pesto only has 3grams of carbs). I tossed the chicken pieces (see above picture) and then put them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

I baked the chicken at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. It turned out a tad dry. I would make this recipe again but I’d do at it 375 degrees instead.

I made a salad and steamed some broccoli as our sides. The salad was:

Baby Spinach


Craisins (yes, they have Carbs, grrr!)

Oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette

And I had a glass of wine. Yes, I know there are carbs in wine. I didn’t really care at this point. I really don’t understand how people can survive without carbs!

My Favorite Wine

I topped the baked chicken with some Mozzarella Cheese. We realized we didn’t have any Mozzarella so Michael brilliantly grabbed a few of the string cheeses he bought from Costco and cut them up. Worked great!

Dinner was tasty. I enjoyed the chicken, even though it was a tad dry. There’s just something wonderful about the pesto-Mozzarella combo!

Yesterday’s post turned out to be a hot topic! So many people had wonderful suggestions about shopping and buying clothes during weight loss. One thing I forgot to write about was that my SHOE SIZE also changed! For as long as I could remember, my shoe size was 8 1/2. When I lost weight I was suddenly not fitting in 8 1/2 shoes. For a short while I went down to a size 7 1/2! I didn’t stay at that size for long, though and I’m now a size 8. It was definitely a strange happening. I had never heard of losing weight and losing shoe sizes!

Since I had pretty much given up on limiting my carbs, I made Oats for breakfast. I tried a new kind today. It has Oats, Barley, Wheat, and Rye!

Oats, Barley, Wheat

I mixed in some protein powder, Benefiber, and brown sugar.


I’ve been sniffing and sneezing since this weekend. I think it’s allergies. But just to be safe, I drank a raspberry Emergen-C.

While I was waiting for my oatmeal to cook, I snagged a few strawberries.

Gimme Carbs!

QUESTION: Have you ever tried a low-carb diet or Atkins? What did you think?