“Help Jenny With Her Garden” Party!

Last Saturday, six friends came over to help me build a new garden in the front yard. They were bribed with food and booze did it out of the goodness of their hearts. Why was I building yet another garden? Because we finally figured out the problem with my stunted veggie production. The location! Here is how their days were going:

Sun rises, birds sing, music  from nowhere serenades the start of the day

Wow this shade is great!

Arggggggggg my eyes! My skin! I’m burning! I must be in hell! (aka it’s noon and the hottest part of the day)

Whew! The heat is gone. But I’m too fried to produce anything. I’m just going to curl up and protect myself. Sucks for the other plants that have to get sun until nighttime.

And there, my friends, was the problem. The plants need sun all day from the minute they are planted. That helps them acclimate to the increasing heat. A garden in the front yard would be south facing and receive sun all day, especially during the winter when the sun patterns change. So a new garden bed in the front it is! Bonus – it’s irrigated out there. Woot woot! Here are some snaps of the fun:

Manly men digging up the hard soil


Yes, us girls actually did work, not stand around looking cute.




Sweaty and fed


Thanks everyone! You're the best!

Kitchen Efficienizing (Part 2)

Backsplash Edition:

Ok, so this isn’t really efficienizing anything, but it sure is giving the kitchen some pizzazz! We’ve been thinking and exploring ways to put up a backsplash that are a) doable with our limited handyman skills and tools, and b) inexpensive. I read an article on Apartment Therapy about DIY Backsplash Ideas that pointed us in the right direction. Then somehow I came across this post about snip and stick tiles. Ooooh, seems just like something we could handle! So we set off to find the best bang for our buck. We liked these but when we added up the total it was pretty pricey. So off to Amazon we go! And we found what we wanted: brushed aluminum tiles (real metal, not plastic) that you stick on the wall, and affordable!

Handy Wall Tiles  (As seen on TV, according to the package…)

I read all the reviews (A first for me. I never think to do that, and then Mr. P asks why I didn’t!). We were good to go. I ordered 2 packs, figuring I’d we’d do this in little installments to make it even more budget friendly, and less overwhelming to get done. I even ordered a matching light switch cover! Although, I didn’t check to see that there were two light switches that would need to be covered. Sigh.

They arrive, Phil freaks out bc I didn’t consult him for the final decision, I get upset, he lays them out and sees that they will work, all is right with the world again.

Our counter(s) before: (please excuse the crappy pictures. Hopefully, you know, from previous blog posts, that I can take good pictures!).


After (still in progress!!)

Oooooh, so schnazzy!

Yes, this is a different counter than the before, because I didn’t think of this blog post until after we had started.

p.s. See those cute little gnomes? They are salt n pepper shakers! Felipe gave them to me on our anniversary. All together now: Awwwwwwwww! I think they may be making future appearances.

Obviously we aren’t finished. We need to cut some tiles to go around the switches, but I’m really scared to do that because it has to be very precise. Did I mention these tiles are (supposedly) cuttable with scissors? Neato!

And that area didn’t even take up a whole pack. If we decide to do another row up, then it probably will. But I ordered two, so the other side of the sink can be done too. Yay!

Kitchen Efficienizing (Part 1)


Yes, I know that’s not a real word.

My latest project has been to efficienize the kitchen. Felipe would always complain about how hard it was for both of us to make dinner together in there. He said once, “We need a more efficient kitchen!” So that got me thinking… I couldn’t do anything about the actual space, but I could do little things here and there to make working together run more smoothly. Now don’t assume we had a messy, cluttered kitchen. I actually keep a very tidy kitchen (excluding the usual pile of dishes that need to be washed…). I had already de-cluttered the kitchen counter. I had organized drawers and cabinets. My space where I stand to cook is actually an ideal triangle between the stove, counter/sink, and fridge. But there was definitely room for creative improvement.

So my first goal was to make a pot rack! Those ones made out of pegboard. I really am quite proud of this solution I came up with. I HATED squatting down and reaching in a deep cabinet for a pot or pan. And then if I emptied that cabinet, I would have room for our food processor, ice cream maker, and ice tea maker. Don’t judge. Those are necessities in our life. Those 3 appliances were crammed in whatever nook I could find. I researched how to make a pegboard pot rack and set to work. Note, if you are a cute girl and you go alone to home depot and *ahem* non-flirtatiously ask the lumber guys to cut wood to precise measurements, they will.




I gorrilla glued. I drilled. I painted. I knocked over the board and scuffed it. I sanded out the scuffs. I painted again. I knocked it over again. I sanded. I painted. Kiki knocked it over. Sigh. I’m such a handyman girl! Dot dot dot. I let Phil do the installation after all that.

A few weeks later and I am very pleased with this solution. I love just walking over and grabbing a pot off the wall. I love the color it brings to the kitchen. I love having all my appliances neatly tucked away and not next to toppling tupperware or precariously balancing on the edge of a shelf. Huzzah!

Saying No to “NO”

Phil Cooke has a great piece of advice that serves as an excellent followup to a recent post of mine, Working In a “NO” Culture.

Most “no” people have taken the job because they don’t know how to inspire or motivate people – so they figure they might as well be good at something – and saying no is pretty easy to do. The challenge for you is to know which “no” people to listen to and which ones to ignore.

Phil Cooke – Start Identifying the “No” People In Your Life