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{Friday Favorites} Lawn and Garden Edition + VOTE!!

Well…it’s Friday and another week flew by! I am looking forward to spending the entire weekend on building that giant garden I overcommitted to last weekend. Plans for the weekend include weeding, buying lumber, weeding, building raised beds, amending soil, weeding, and getting a few crops in the ground. #wishmeluck Today’s Friday Favorites will be quick, because I have to get outside (in the rain) and…you guessed it…weed.

We’re Finalists  –  We Need Your Votes!!


If you’re stopping by today from the Andrea, Erika, or Narci’s blogs and are new around here (Hi! and Welcome!), we would love your help! My family and I have three photos in Steamboat Ski Resort’s Then and Now photo contest and if one of them wins, we win a ski pass (which is a huge deal because they’re crazy expensive)! I made the handy dandy map above so you know which photos are ours. Here are the links to vote. You can vote for all three photos every day until May 15th. Thanks for your help!! XOXO
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Magnolia Home Paints!


Chip and Joanna from Fixer Upper have some serious business savvy and are actively creating all sorts of product lines as their show continues to gain popularity (stores, B&Bs, furniture, rugs) and now they have paint! I was so excited to see this come out – now we don’t have to guess what color palette Joanna used…we can just go get it. I can’t wait to try some on our next project!

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Ryobi Electric Mower


Our new yard is substantially smaller than our old house (we have more land, but less grass …yippee!!) and because of all the stumps and hills our old-school riding mower won’t cut it. Cut it. Hehe. Get it? We needed a push mower and having previously worked for a sustainable lawn care company, I wanted to go back to electric equipment. There are definitely limitations to the electric (mostly in terms of how long the battery can hold a charge), but you have substantially reduced noise, emissions, smell, and weight on the mower. I did some research and picked up the 40 volt 16″ Ryobi electric mower and then grabbed their 40 volt string trimmer (with a 2nd battery). For the same price as their 16″ mower with two batteries, we got a mower, trimmer, and two batters! The two batteries provide enough of a charge to get through our lawn if you’re efficient (~80 minutes of run time). I LOVED the mower! I rarely mowed the lawn at our old house because TimTheFarmer loved his riding tractor time (and the mower was a bit touchy), but I have mowed lawns my whole life and have always had to fight with the big, heavy gas mowers. This Ryobi was SO light and SO maneuverable. It’s deck is small at 16″ and while I thought that would be a problem, it actually allowed me to get in and out of tight spaces where other mowers wouldn’t fit. And, it’s super easy to start! Nothing to prime, no cord to fight with. I am super happy with this choice!

Garden Planning Tool

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I mentioned this Monday when I laid out my crazy ambitious plans for our home garden, but I love the garden planner from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s making this huge project feel totally doable. We’ll see how I feel about it in early June 😉

Ok, I’m off to weed! I’ll see you on the flip side friends!

{Friday Favorites} It’s The Small Things

This is a Friday that couldn’t come (or end) soon enough. It’s been a doozy of a couple weeks and I am so ready for a break this weekend. It’s currently 5am and I’m sitting here trying to work through IT issues so that we can host a webinar for prospective students in India. I have heard, “Can you hear me?” at least 100 times in the last 30 minutes….ackkk!!

This marathon of a week has been all about finding joy in the small things.



Panzur is a local restaurant run by family friends and seriously talented chef. Everything he makes is the best version I’ve had of that dish, and his burgers are no exception. He makes a homemade brioche daily and the burger is a blend of short rib and brisket. I texted him on our way back home from Syracuse to see if he had them on the menu last night and here’s the response I got:


I will always quit paleo for brioche, FYI. TimTheFarmer topped his with bacon jam and pork belly and I topped mine with manchego and bacon jam. Both were out of this world and totally made an otherwise mediocre Thursday.


A Thoughtful Place’s Fixer Upper Takeaways

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I LOVE Fixer Upper. And now I have a new blogger I love. I’d bookmarked A Thoughtful Place a year ago because she had some great blogging tips. I just clicked on her site again and discovered a whole series on Fixer Upper Takeaways. For my fellow Fixer Upper junkies, this is fun recap of episodes that also pulls out the key design takeaways from each project. Courtney does a great job of pulling tips out of these huge projects!

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Easy Peel Clementines

Speaking of the small things, I really really love it when clementines are easy to peel. I have no idea if these are genetically engineered to be this way and I do wonder what sort of stuff they’re doing to clementines to make them such a great snacking food, but I’ve decided I don’t care. They’re a favorite snack of mine, and it’s amazing how much it makes my day when I can get the peel off all at once and without getting fingernails full of orange pith. You never know which ones your buying, so when I start to peel one and it peels easily, I’m a happy camper.

High-functioning Flood Control Systems

When we bought our house, we were blown away by the seemingly-overkill B-Dry system in our basement. There are three sump pumps, an always-on dehumidifier, multiple trenched drainage pipes, and plastic going 5 feet up the wall. I don’t know anything about these systems, but my FIL, who runs a construction company, said it was the most elaborate system he’d seen. 


Well, when we drove in last night from Syracuse, there was flooding in places we had never seen standing water on our property from 2 days of rain. Hmmmm. When I went down to check the oil tank to ensure we weren’t going to run out (again), I stepped over the threshold and unknowingly into 4 inches of water. Tim!!!!! After looking it over, we realized the crazy elaborate system is working. The section where the oil tank is, has standing water, but it’s contained to that room and the rest of the basement has been kept dry as the sump pumps cranked. We still have lots of unpacked boxes down there, so we are super grateful this system is working! It’s definitely a kick in the pants to get them organized and off the floor, just in case. It’s a bit hard to see, but there are 4 inches of water on the left and it’s dry on the right.


Alright, I’m off to have a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend – hope you do too!

This and That

No, I didn’t fall in. I know you were wondering.

To provide some context to this, my parents are a little sassy, and apparently when I was little, if someone was gone a long time, they’d say “I wonder if they fell in.” (referring to the commode, of course). Apparently I picked up on the phrase—when I was 3 or 4—and more than once, asked if an adult had fallen in, in front of a bunch of people, which was simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing for all involved, particularly if said adult had been in the lavatory.

Aaaaannnyway, no I didn’t fall in, but I’ve missed you! I had a fantastic trip home to Colorado and then came down with the cold that my sister and her kiddos had and have been running on fumes the last week. So, I thought I’d do a quick and easy reentry to the blog today to let you know I haven’t forgotten about you.

First, not sure if you heard, but the Broncos won the Super Bowl!! It was fun to be in Colorado in the lead up to the game, except for the nasty guy in the grocery store who mocked me for looking at Broncos t-shirts. Apparently he didn’t think we stood a chance, along with the rest of the country…ha! People who talk smack to strangers always baffle me. I’m simultaneously highly offended and slightly impressed with their chutzpa, but mostly offended. It was hilarious (and noisy) watching the game with my nephews because they mostly were trying to get us to do anything other than watch the game, but Benjamin had an amazing moment of loyalty:


Nobody can stop our team. #gobroncos

A video posted by Katie@Isn’tThatGrand? (@kt_co) on

His hand gestures are AWESOME. #thatkid #wheredoeshegetthisstuff

Eighteenth, in the middle of all that, we found out Otis had a couple infections (roundworms and giardia (I know, dogs get giardia?? I thought that was a backpacking parasite for silly people who drink unfiltered water??)) that we’ve treated. I guess they’re super common in kennel dogs, but I’m posting here as an FYI. They can spread to your other pets, so when you adopt (because I know you won’t shop) your next pet, make sure to get them to your vet right away to be tested. Seems like we’re all healthy around here now (except for me), but this is today’s PSA. You’re welcome.


Sixth, it got REALLY cold this weekend. Then it got REALLY warm this week. We had windchill temps in the -20º range over the weekend, a snowstorm turned icestorm turned rainstorm over the last 48 hours, and temperatures in the 50s yesterday. Moral of this random story, weather is weird everywhere. Everywhere I’ve lived (and on all the blogs I read), people always say how they have wild weather there, which is a unique feature of their region. Nope, we’ve all got wacky weather folks. Except maybe if you live in the tropics, things are a bit less wild there, until hurricane season comes.


Finally, it turns out the kiddo is a big HGTV fan. All the sudden he started watching The Property Brothers and Flip or Flop. I’m stoked! A) there is now TV on that I approve of and don’t mind listening to, B) he’s picking up info on remodeling houses and real estate which is interesting to see him apply to our home (he might start reading this blog yet), and C) we are totally spending our weekend nights binge watching home improvement shows, which is really cute and fun (don’t tell him I said he was cute…he is 13). I introduced him to my favorite, Fixer Upper, and he loved all of Chip’s antics. He’ll rock a “I can’t believe that house would go for $350K in that market.” or a “I would really move that wall and add some recessed lights.” Oh, and a hot tub and pool; to him, every house needs a hot tub and pool…which I guess he’s not wrong about. Also, can we talk about how old (or how much like my mother) I sound when I talk about approving of TV shows??


Happy hump day friends!