Some exterior updates

I’m starting to feel like we aren’t making much progress on the house… We’ve been constantly working on it but it has been the small things that we have been up to lately. You know those little things that don’t look like they would take a lot of time but end up taking hours. Yeah that has been what we have been doing.

One of the things we have done is start revamping the exterior of the house. Some of the things are out of necessity and others are aesthetics. The first project was finishing out the railing of the wrap around porch. The only way to keep Amydog safely in the backyard was to finish out the railing at the front and put a gate in. I really didn’t want to do this because it felt claustrophobic to me… But after many discussions and we realized this was the only option for right now. So a before and after:

A close up of the railing and gate. Eventually this railing is getting moved but for now this will do. Side note, we have found out that Amydog can fit through the railings on the porch and get into the front yard… Yeah not cool. So deer netting is going up on the railing to keep her from climbing out. Good thing about AD, she doesn’t like going far. She gets to the other side of the fence and just sits there. Thankfully she is a great dog and doesn’t run off but nothing is scarier than looking in the backyard and AD isn’t where she is supposed to be. AD is pretty much our first child and I would die if anything happened to her.

We have also been working on the exterior of the Studio. So far we’ve cleaned up the massive pile of leaves that was out front (yeah it was like two feet deep), painted the front door and trim, made the stone path to the backyard visible (ha we didn’t even know that we had a stone path), trimmed up the jungle that was the side yard, and added some plants.

In the next couple months we want to add an awning like this one below to the front of the studio. We want the building to look finished and inviting. The front right now just looks so blah… in due time.

We’ve started clearing out the side yard/beds. The periwinkle and ivy that was previously in the bed started taking over the bed. And let me tell you, that stuff is crazy hard to get out. There are about a dozen other plants in the bed and the periwinkle and ivy had strangled all of them. We’re slowly making progress on killing that stuff and getting the beds back to square one. We have some big plans for the area but the heat of this summer has pretty much put off yard plans until the fall.

The ground was previously covered in vines and we are finding all types of stuff in this bed… like lava rocks

Look you can see through the jungle! And a stone path 🙂 Eventually we want to take the railing that is right be the house and the patio and pull it up to the driveway. Right now the patio feels like an awkward middle area and we want the whole yard and patio to flow together.

Here are a few examples of what we want to do with the space between the house and studio:

As you can tell, we want to take it very modern and clean cut. We plan on incorporating a lot of concrete, natural elements that are self containing (ie plants that aren’t crazy to maintain), a fire pit, and plenty of seating. We want the area to be visually pleasing, modern, and doesn’t require a lot of maintaining… We can’t wait to get started on it. Now if only the weather would cool down!!



What are we doing for dinner?

What are we going to do for dinner? The question that we ask each other every day and the question that we rarely have an answer for. We used to eat out about 5-6 times a week… yeah a lot. We don’t mind cooking, we actually enjoy trying new things and spending time together in the kitchen. But our schedule was pretty crazy for the first three years of our marriage and we just went with convenience. Plus I really didn’t like our old kitchen. Both our stove and oven did not cook evenly and our dishwasher did not clean worth a flip.

Then we moved into the square house and we had worked so hard on the kitchen that I actually wanted to cook again. We have all new appliances that work amazingly and we have been watching cooking shows that inspire us to get creative in the kitchen or in most cases in the summer, on the grill. We used to be vegetarian but we were running out of new things to fix all the time and I got so freaking tired of cooking the same thing over and over. So we are semi vegetarian… like 75% vegetarian these days 🙂

Tonight’s dinner was amazing. I found the base for the meal Pinterest but ended up changing it a bit based on what was in our fridge. The meal was simple, easy, and full of flavor! So many times I don’t want to cook because I feel like I don’t know how to add flavor and textures to my meals; our food just taste so bland all the time. As we have been experimenting more with flavors I’m slowly finding out how to combine the right ingredients to get the flavors we desire. Together we’ve also found out what we enjoy cooking together. I like finding new recipes and Philip enjoys grilling. Makes for a good team.

Here is what we had, Honey- Lime Chicken and Shrimp Skewers on a bed of Jasmine Rice:


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use gluten free since I have a gluten intolerance)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoon Thai chile pepper sauce
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks, keep the juice
  • 1 zucchini
  • broccoli florets
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 6 jumbo shrimp
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of Jasmine Rice


  1. In a small bowl, combine your ingredients, through the bell pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour marinade over chicken breasts and shrimp and turn to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Place all meat, veggies, and pineapple on wooden skewers alternating items on the skewers (we had enough for 7 skewers)
  4. Heat grill and cook Jasmine Rice
  5. Grill on medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear. (we cooked on a charcoal grill, loved the extra flavor the charcoal added)
  6. Grill Bell Peppers and serve with skewers.
  7. Serve over a bed of Jasmine Rice
  8. Enjoy.

What are your favorite recipes that you have cooked recently?