Our September Project Challenge was to get our hands dirty, and our first objective was to do some major yardwork.

We’re in an old old neighborhood in the city, so we don’t have crazy suburb yard police like Amy does. In fact, our neighborhood is really quirky, so we haven’t been motivated to do much outside during the almost two years we’ve lived here. We’re city mice. Nature and the Andersons don’t mix all that well (one of the reasons we’re okay with having a postage stamp sized yard).

But we succeeded in keeping our herbs alive despite having the blackest of black thumbs, so we decided to take the next step and improve our sad little front yard.

Little Red Wagon Full 'o Flowers

For Round 1, Eliza, my mom, and I walked to a local hardware store and packed our little red wagon full of three burning bushes, mulch, a few mums, and pansies. (My mom helped out by chasing Jonas so Eliza, Jake, and I could plant without worrying about him getting run over.)

Burning Bush

The burning bushes remind Jake and I of our families; his dad’s house has three and my great-grandpa has one. They’re such a beautiful deep red in the fall.

Burning Bushes

They’ll get huge! I love that Jake measured them out so precisely.


We wanted to mostly plant stuff that’ll last, because we’re on a tight budget here, but we let Eliza pick out some flowers to plant on her own. She chose pansies to put in her little garden area.


She decided where to put them in all by herself; so they’re random and pretty.

We put our sage bush in there too.


We planted a few mums near our retaining wall, then ended up picking up a ton more over the next weekend for Round 2 of gardening.


Jake measured those our precisely too. We alternated yellow, orange, purple-pink, and dark red. I love them and can’t wait until they’re all in full bloom!

Curb Appeal

Jake did a ton of work making the little mum garden two levels. We’ve still got more to do; we need to buy more blocks so we can close them in.

We can’t believe how much of a difference the plants make! Our house looks 100 times better. We’ve got curb appeal now, for sure.

Eliza <3s Bugs

Eliza also had a ton of fun finding bugs while we were gardening. She used to be creeped out by bugs, but now I think she categorizes them as science in her brain and is thus really into them.

Eliza <3s Bugs

She caught a centipede. He was her favorite.

Eliza <3s Bugs

She also collected a fair amount of worms.

Who knew we could have so much fun doing outdoor stuff?