Month: April 2015

Backyard transformation

Backyard transformation

At the beginning of the month, Bradley and I received two wonderful gifts from my older sister and parents: a washing machine and dryer. Unfortunately, this meant losing our primary storage area in the house: the laundry closet! Though we are enjoying our rental house, it is severely lacking in both indoor and outdoor storage. To accommodate the new machines, we have to re-arrange pretty much the entire house, and we realized the necessity of purchasing a shed for the backyard.

We searched online and found a fantastic deal on a 6 ft by 8 ft shed that we would be able to dismantle, move, and re-assemble in the future whenever we leave this rental. It was shipped and arrived in two massive and extremely heavy boxes. Fortunately, my parents were able to come over and help us move the boxes to the backyard and put the shed together. In the beginning, the instructions were a little confusing, but we managed to get the floor and walls up on the first evening. My parents came back the next day to help finish the shed.

Due to the extreme sun and heat of the summers here, we put the shed under the gorgeous mesquite tree (the only shade tree that is in the backyard) to provide as much protection as possible. The trailer in the third picture actually belongs to my older sister and brother-in-law. They recently moved to a new house (hence the free washer/dryer) that did not have space to store the trailer so we offered a corner of our large backyard.

Since the shed went up, we have slowly been moving our outdoor, camping, and other extra items into the shed. Just this evening, I moved two metal shelving units into the shed for storage. The first is a 6-tiered wire tower kind of like this smaller one and the other is a 3-tiered unit this one. I moved a battery-operated light into the shed as well. Things are coming along nicely!

Bradley has worked hard over the last few weeks pulling weeds and cutting the grass corner. I’ve cleaned up some grass piles and cut the grass along the walls. Just Sunday, my parents brought a pick-up truck full of wood from their trees over and my dad also helped Bradley put brand new bricks around our fire-pit. Our backyard is almost ready to host summer parties!

Now we need to work on the major re-organization of the inside of the house. Having moved the 6-tier shelving unit out to the shed means that our kitchen table is filled with stuff. Our office is crowded with everything we had to pull out of the laundry closet to make room for the washer and dryer. Our guest room has been taken over by camping gear. With the progress we’ve made with the shed, we’re slowly improving our storage situation and reclaiming our house.

Next on our list to do is organize/re-arrange the following areas:

  • Laundry closet shelves
  • Linen closet
  • Guest room
  • Dining room
  • Office

Hmm… No small task, but do-able! It is kind of funny how getting a washer and dryer can throw the organization of the whole house into chaos. But what wonderful chaos it is. You will not hear me complaining, because a washer/dryer means clean clothes whenever we need instead of having to haul our laundry every two weeks to my parents’ house in Chandler!

Another project we finished today was cooling off the master bathroom. Our bathroom is small – just large enough for a small sink, toilet, and shower. No air conditioning reaches the room and the small window faces due west, directly into the harshest and hottest afternoon/evening sun, which makes that small room feel like a sauna in the summer. And our rental does not have screens on any of the windows, which makes keeping the windows open to save on electricity difficult as the flies and mosquitoes will invade the house. Today, we put sunscreen up on the bathroom window with the goal to block out the heat of the desert sun and to prevent insects from intruding. Since we do not want to put money into a rental that we don’t own, we are trying out heavy-duty outdoor Scotch dual lock mounting tape. If successful, we will put sunscreen up on the three large windows in the backyard that we want to keep open: the master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room windows.

In addition to the sunscreen on the master bath window, we purchased a small fan and extension cord and set it up in the small bathroom on a plant stand we were not using. This should help keep air moving and help dry the room after showers. (The landlord won’t fix the exhaust fan because the room “has a window”.)

So… progress!! 😀

Book Review: Bambi

Book Review: Bambi

BambiBambi by Felix Salten

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My husband surprised me yesterday with a gorgeous 1929 hardback copy of Bambi by Felix Salten. Salten’s writing style is beautifully descriptive and fluid, pulling you into the world of the woodland creatures. The coming of age story of Bambi, a deer, is thoughtful, poignant, and subtly shares the importance of respecting nature. Once I began reading, I could not put this book down until I was finished. I would highly recommend this book for families and youth. And for those, like me, who did not realize that the Disney movie of the same name was loosely based off this story: the book is phenomenally better.

View all my reviews

The above images were taken from an Ebay posting as it is the same, hard-to-find edition Bradley brought home. In poor condition, it looks like it is selling online for $40-$50, but ours is in surprisingly good condition. I love collecting old books!

Of course, from the moment Bambi and his mother approached the meadow in Chapter 2, I was filled with apprehension since Bambi’s mother is shot and killed in the Disney version in the meadow. It did not help that, very obnoxiously, Bradley randomly decided to make a shotgun sound. I nearly smacked him with the book! 😉 As I mentioned in the official review above, the book is phenomenally better than the Disney version. You are given a glimpse into deer society as imagined by Salten and get to experience the interactions with various woodland creatures as Bambi himself does. You worry about the health of his cousin Gobo, feel the fear and sorrow when the hunting party comes into the forest, and admire the Old Prince, who always seems to show up when Bambi is in danger or need of guidance.

This story could be used to teach youths lessons in morality, obedience to parents, independence, the dangers of pride, compassion, respect for nature. Scatter very subtly throughout the story are references to the Creator and a future in which the animals will have no need to fear humanity, for there will be peace and joy. The fluid style of writing also make this book excellent to read aloud.

I absolutely loved this book, and now I want to find Salten’s sequel Bambi’s Children.