Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Dream Higher, Mama!

We have a new addition in our backyard and it greatly (greatly) pleases the youngest member of our household.

Yep. Kenton’s first swing.  We’d been on the lookout for one for a while, hoping to find a great deal on Craig’s List or at a local kid’s consignment store. However, while walking through Costco with Meme (Jason’s parents are Meme & Pepe), she spotted this one and declared she had to buy it.  No argument here! Super-daddy got it up in about five minutes… with an observer in the distance.

The squeals of delight that come from this child while he is swinging (preferably high and fast… yikes!)… are so precious.

He loves it.

The only (major) bummer – the Dream has east/west exposure and so swinging is limited to the morning hours.  There’s simply too much direct sun in the afternoon/evening – not to mention it’s getting to be “that time” of year in Arizona so it’s also too darn hot. It does cool down after the sun sets, but our little man is long lost in his own dreams by that point.

So, for the next few months, if you need us in the morning – we’ll be out on the back patio with a cup of coffee checking out this delighted face.

How about you?  Anybody get a fun, easy project done this weekend?

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HOA = Not so Dreamy

The Dream is in a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA). Everyone who has experience with a HOA knows this cuts both ways. It protects us from having to deal with our neighbors painting their houses purple – but we have to DEAL with the HOA and their sometimes over-the-top demands.

As far as HOA’s go – ours could be worse.  We only pay $165 a year, for one.  Also, they approved our new door – which is basically the only door in the ‘hood that’s no longer original.

HOWEVER, they go completely over the line in some cases (in our humble, first-time-homeowner’s opinion).  For example, we had to repaint our side yard gate or face a fine.  The kicker was that even in its less-than-perfect state it was better than about 90% of the other home’s gates – which makes us wonder why we were picked on.  Also, our neighbors had to replenish their landscaping rock because they had “bare spots” – which were not noticeable to anyone but HOA inspectors, apparently.  (Landscaping rock is very common here in the southwest – we detailed our “rocking” fun time here.)

At some point, someone in the high court of HOA-dom decided that all fences in our ‘hood had to be one color.  Up until now, they’ve been the same color as the house – one of three paint choice colors (another reason HOA’s stink – three choices don’t leave a lot of room character ifyaknowwhatI’msayin’.)

So, that nice uniform look is now no bueno.  Our white house needed a brown wall.  We ignored the notices for a bit – until the one with the threat of a fine came.  FINE!  We’ll paint the darn thing…

our white house

...with white fence

matchy-matchy, joy-joy

cue: an unhappy painter

also cue: a borrowed paint sprayer (that ended up not really working)


ready to go...

the completed project...

no longer matchy = sad dreamers, but satisfied HOA

This little side project didn’t come cheap either.  The paint cost us $190.  Only about 15% of our neighbors have complied with this order from the HOA on high.  This weekend was the deadline to get ‘er done.  We’re very curious to see what happens to those who do not comply… fines? flogging? shameful signs posted in their yards?  nothing?  (The latter would INCREDIBLY frustrating!).  We’re still new to this game… so, we shall see.

Any one else have HOA frustrations to vent?  Please let us know that we’re not alone!!!

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This weekend, we had our friends over for dinner.  With the Arizona desert temps finally dropping below 100, we enjoyed our meal outside.  By candlelight.  Chowing down on the all-important Fall staples – cornbread & chilli.  Bowdoin the Bulldog drooled with jealousy.  It was a fabulous time!

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We can hardly believe our Dream is a year old!

Okay, that’s a lie.  She’s actually 23 years old.

But, she’s a year old to us.

Today, we celebrate ONE YEAR since we signed our lives away and got the keys to our Dream.  In honor of this special day, let’s look back on what we’ve accomplished in our first year:

Whew!  Now, we’re tired.  But, no rest for the weary!  We still have A LOT to do to make the Dream truly dreamy (including a tad more work on the landscaping, eh?  Hey, give us a break, the average temperature here right now is 104!).  Here are some of our future projects… which one do you think we should tackle first?:

We definitely have our work cut out for us.  Help us decide what to do next!

Thanks, hopefully we’ll get to all of these projects in year 2 of livin’ in the Dream.   But now, we’re off to eat cake and toast year #1!

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For our first official post of the summer, what better topic than the backyard grill/BBQ?

Who wouldn’t dream of having a custom-built BBQ on your patio?  Nice feature, huh?  Kinda pricey though.  Unless you “inherit” the sad shell of a former such luxury with your foreclosed home, which you bought with your super-handy hubs, whose ultra-super-handy-pops is always willing to lend a helping hand.

surveying the scene

So… here’s what we started with…

Ugly.  Sad. Pitiful.  EYESORE.

So bad, in fact, we put up plywood support and duct-taped plastic tablecloths over this thing in an attempt to sheild it from view during our Open Dream Party.  It was the perfect spot to serve drinks, including this YUMMY sangria, but we would never force our guests to see the extreme DIY home improvement project that awaited us underneath.

But once we did have the time/energy to tackle it – we think the results are quite impressive!

Here’s how the Dream boys got ‘er done:

filled a gaping hole in the back with recycled pavers we found in the backyard

the hole in front was measured, cut and filled so that our existing grill would be a perfect fit

after the el-crappo tile on top was removed.... the surface was re-enforced with plywood and Dura Rock

new tile went on that surface like a breeze

it took just a couple of hours to set and grout

after a little paint to cover the new stucco (DIY) job...

voila! the eyesore is now quite nice to gaze upon

The BEST part?  The entire project, which the pro’s would charge thousands to do, cost us less than $150.  Here’s how:

Mortar = $6

Bricks/Pavers to fill holes = Free!  Recycled from ones we dug up on the backyard

Plywood/wood = $19

Dura Rock = $16

Tile/grout = $90

Paint = already had

Grill = already had

Labor = FREE!

Total cost = $131

Yep, you can color us happy and know that we’ll be enjoying many a grilled meal in the future.

Happy Summer!

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Hiya!  Remember us?  Yeah, we’re The Dreamers.  That fun couple (probably friends of yours, lucky dog) who started this blog about renovating their new home (a foreclosure) all by themselves… who then got so lost in that DIY process they stopped blogging for a whole month!  SHAME. ON. US.

But, we’re ba-a-a-a-ack!  And boy oh boy do we have some progress to show you.  Here’s a glimpse…

Yep, we’ve been sweating up a storm transforming our hideous landscaping into something, well, not so hideous.  Actually, we think it looks pretty darn good.  I mean it wouldn’t take much to improve on this:


We’ve never done the landscaping thing before.  After getting a couple of estimates from the pro’s, we thought – to heck with their several-thousand-dollar-pitches, we can tackle this puppy ourselves.  And we are SO GLAD we did.

Just to prove to you that we are serious about this blogging thing, we’re saving the good stuff for a few different posts.  Here’s a sample of what’s to come in the coming weeks:

how we handled 45 tons (yes, TONS) of rock

the demo process (mr. dreamer had way too much fun with mr. bobcat)

the bulldog's take on the process

how we transformed this ridiculous eyesore into a beautiful and functional bbq

the awesomeness of helping hands (read: free labor)

which plants we chose, why and the GREAT deal we scored

Worth the wait?  We thought so!

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Pile of Dreams

Sorry we’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks.  VERY exciting Dreamscaping progress is taking place.  So, we haven’t actually been “missing” – just lost in our own backyard.  However, after this weekend, we may lose it.  Check out what just landed at the Dream:


…and that’s just half of it.  Srsly.  This is the first truckload of the 45 tons – yes, 45 TONS we ordered.  Please send ibuprofen our way.

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