May 092017
 

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!)

Before:

After:

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.

Before:

After:

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:

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: Between 450-600 depending on chicken size

From: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/7486821187/my-sisters-phenomenal-grilled-green-chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1¼ cups packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves
  • ¼ cup Red Boat fish sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest from 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade by blitzing the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice in a high powered blender until smooth.
  2. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. The marinade can be pretty salty, saltier than if the marinade is used as a sauce.
  3. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it.
  4. Store the chicken in the fridge and marinate for at least an hour and up to a day.
  5. When you're ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the fridge an hour before you're going to grill it. (If you are baking the chicken, roast on a wire rack for ~35-45 minutes at 400 F. Start with skin-side down, and flip skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)
  6. Set the gas grill on high and after the chicken is placed on the grates, decrease the temperature immediately to low.
  7. Grill the chicken for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F), turning every 5-7 minutes. But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface – otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!
  8. Serve the drumsticks with lime wedges.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=52086

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. 🙂

Aug 232016
 

Sunday I had a quickie breakfast and then went swimming a little earlier than normal and then we hit the road for Hood River. Thankfully the 100+ heat wave in Portland was lessening and it was only in the high 80’s. Much more comfortable!

I love Hood River. It’s so picturesque! This time we wanted to hit some breweries since Michael’s dad is in the beer business and likes checking out new beers. We went to lunch at Full Sail Brewery. The guys went in and got a table while I sat in the air-conditioned car and fed Logan before I joined them.

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I got the the turkey/bacon wrap with a salad and their IPA. The wrap was really delicious! I want to try and create a similar wrap at home for lunches. It was really simle–turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce and a chipotle ranch dressing. Yum!

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Then we went down to the waterfront and checked out the pFriem Brewery.  I’ve been hearing about their beer for over a year but I was pregnant at the time and couldn’t partake! Finally, I was able to try it. 🙂

Michael and I both got the IPA and I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite beer but I enjoyed it from start to finish. Michael felt like it was too malt-y. Michael’s dad got the lager and wasn’t a fan. But it was still a nice afternoon just hanging out.

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We sat outside because the wait for a table (to get food) was over an hour and we just wanted to try the beers. It was kinda nice being outside in the fresh air, shade and breeze.

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Then we went down to the waterfront and walked the path along the water for awhile. It was really sunny, hot and windy. Hood River is VERY windy, all the time. It’s a great place for kites, surfing, kiteboarding, SUP, etc. and it was a super popular place on Sunday!

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After we walked around in the sunshine for awhile we stopped at Cathedral Ridge Winery. Michael was kind enough to take care of the baby while I got a tasting! It’s been soooo long since I went wine tasting! I think the last time I was at Cathedral Ridge was my bachelorette party. Again, when I was pregnant I kinda missed it and thought about going wine tasting once I could…and we just never found the time to do it. So it was kind of nice to go to one of my favorites.

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might have ended up joining their wine club. It’s been a zillion years since we belonged to a wine club and we both missed it. Sooo we signed up! And got to take a box home of a few favorites.

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After I was done tasting the four of us sat outside in their garden for a few hours just enjoying the summer sunshine and breeze.

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It was so delightful, I didn’t want it it to end…

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But it had to. We had to get back to Portland and drop Michael’s dad off at the airport. It was a really nice day and it was fun doing something different.