Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Thank you to all who have served

during war
in peacetime

to protect and preserve our land.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Welcoming Yard

Well I finally wrapped up my “weekend project”. Funny how it took me more that a weekend?????? It seems most projects take me longer than I anticipate. That must be why I’m still painting the dinning room. Urg. That project was to be done by the beginning of May. Hmm, just a little off.

Anyway, I managed to get all my plants into the ground or their designated pots before I killed them.

We’ll start the tour on the back deck. It gets full sun all day so not too many meals are out here but we do watch the sunset as often as possible. I’m hopping that the colors of the flowers will entice some humming birds. We had two birds visit repeatedly a few summers ago but haven’t seen them in awhile.

Now down on the ground this is the back wall. It too gets full sun all day. I haven’t had anything planted here before but I got those trellis/arbor things on sale in the fall and wanted to try something here this year. Do think the trellis is big enough for those pepper plants??? Now if I can get hubby to “hide” his mower somewhere else.

I love the color combination I picked for the mailbox. I think the contrast is so eye catching. It makes me happy to pull in my driveway. I can’t wait until all the plants are full. Those colors are just going to pull people right in.

I put a planter around my light post too just like the one on the mailbox. These vinca vines are from last year. I can’t believe they came back so nice. I added the grapevine to the post just to give it a little interest. I used to plant a vine that grew up the post but couldn’t find them last year and since these guys came back on their own I figured I’d keep them even though they don’t grow as long or trail up the post as nicely.

I’ve wanted to put some sort of ground cover in this rock garden for years now but could never find the right plant to jump up and say, “buy me”. Last year I even gave up on pulling the weeds there and let them take over like a ground cover. (My father-in-law had a field day with that one). The weeds got pulled after that. This year I finally just grabbed something and I think it’s going to work well. We'll see how they fill in, I might go back and get another 6 pack. Now if I can just get around to that park bench. It needs a little love. A fresh coat of stain and maybe some paint and it’ll be good to go.

These are the steps that lead up to my front door. I think I have put a different flower in these pots ever year. These are Zinnia. So far I like them.

Here’s the front entrance. (I’m hiding this time). Ooops, my helper is driving into the shot.

This is the chair on the right of the door before I planted. (You can see how I made it here). We’ve been collecting pinecones at the bus stop over the winter. I like it much better with flowers planted.

This is the wash tin to the left of the door. I gave the ladder a fresh coat of whitewash. Basically just some watered down paint to brighten it up a bit. I also replaced the grapevine and the lights for new ones this year. I thought I would try my basil and parsley here this year. I usually put herbs on the back deck but it’s too sunny there and they don’t care for it much. Maybe I’ll have better luck here.

Pesto anyone???

Now at least the outside is ready to welcome guests. I just wish I could get the inside finished.
OK, I’m off to paint the dinning room…wish me luck.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekend project here I come

I finally picked up all my plants to get the house/yard dressed for the season. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the time this weekend to bring my little corner of the world out of its gray, winter doldrums look and into a happy, colorful “bring on the sunshine” look.

Here are the goods ready to go…

Now let’s see where they’ll be residing…

The back wall needs dressing now that we have a patio back there and furniture to sit and enjoy the out doors (aaa-choo) BTW- I have allergies so time there comes with a price.

Here’s my rock garden. I built this seven years ago. Then our back yard was a big ditch and a mountain of rocks, weeds, overgrown trees and dirt from when the neighbor made space for his pool. I carried rock up from there and put them in place here. I’ve wanted to plant something here but just never got to it… until now. I like to sit here when the kids are riding their bikes or scooters, sip some tea and read the mail.

This is our boring mailbox. I had hubby cut a hole in a plastic planter and we placed the mailbox through the hole and into the ground. Now it looks like I’m growing a mailbox.

Here’s my sad looking front entrance. Let’s hope I can bring some life to this spot.

What are you doing to get ready for summer?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pasta Salad

I stole this idea from my cousin’s wife. She made this for a family picnic once and Hubby loved it. The best part is that you don’t spend a ton of money on all the ingredients and it’s made in the time it takes pasta to cook. I also like that you can make it a day ahead of time (it’s even better if you do).

Our local grocery store has a salad bar in the prepared foods section. Just like any salad bar, you pick just what you want. They change by weight so for this salad I spent $4. and change on all the goodies. (Can you imagine what it would cost if I bought all of the ingredients separately????). I get the stuff here that I only need a little bit of like purple cabbage. Who uses the whole head???? I used all this stuff and half the box of pasta. I feed three adults and three kids and I have a bunch left over. (I love that part!)

I try to get as many different items as I can and a good variety of color. This time the recipe included…

Purple cabbage
Grape Tomatoes

From home I also added…
Black Olives
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

You can put in whatever you like. The more ingredients the better. (Remember to add lots of color.

Chop your ingredients while the pasta is cooking. (You can use any pasta you like.)
I try to cut things to a similar size. It mixes better, looks prettier and is easier to eat. Once the pasta is done, run some cold water over it and drain it well. Mix everything together and dump at least half the bottle of salad dressing over it. (We like Ken’s Italian dressing for this recipe). Salt and pepper to taste.

If you make it a day ahead, give it a good stir and maybe add a little more dressing just before you serve.


What’s you easy fast recipe?????

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Spread

With the hubby out of town for most of the weekend and no other grand offers, the choices for a Mother’s day meal were slim. No sibling(s) to host my Mother and me. The idea of taking three kids to a nice restaurant after getting them to sit still for a hour of church just seemed to be along the lines of cruel and unusual punishment. So…. That left things to me…The Mom.

Not having a strong desire to cook for my own Mother’s day I decided to go with the prepared food section at the local grocery store. Coming home from church with my Mom and three hungry little mouths, I needed food that could heat up on it’s own and be ready when we all got here. Hubby was expected home about the same time we get back from church so I didn’t want to count on him for too much set up.

Saturday, (in gale force winds) I made a trip to the store and came home with some salmon cakes, twice-baked potatoes, caramelized brussel sprouts and the ingredients for a pasta salad. (I’ll post that recipe soon).

Knowing what chaos ensues during church mornings I did all my prep Saturday evening. The brussel sprouts, potatoes and salmon cakes were each placed into foil pouches of their own. A few minutes of cutting and chopping and I had a fruit salad, a pasta salad and some cut up peppers ready, wrapped and tucked into the ‘frig.

On Sunday, I skipped my morning coffee and set the coffee maker up on the timer to start brewing about the time we should be pulling back into the driveway. Before we scooted out the door I slid the foil pouches into the oven and set it to turn itself on while I was gone.

The night before I had organized all my serving dishes and labeled each one with a post-it note (I’m a little OCD like that) so I knew what food went in what dish. (Or by chance if hubby was home he could get started).

Sure enough, we walked in the door and coffee was ready, Hubby was home and showered and the food was hot and ready. I popped some brown and serve rolls into the oven for 10 minutes while we got the kiddos ready to feast.
Grandma (aka "Mimi") brought some danish for dessert. Yum!!!!

Not too bad for no time and not wanting to cook. I sure did enjoy myself. I hope your day was a nice one!!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

'Til the cows come home.

A few weeks ago I accompanied my daughter to her preschool field trip. We went to visit a local dairy farm called the Spring House. It’s been a family owned and operated business for more than 35 years. They have the dairy farm run by one daughter, the market and bakery run by another daughter and they also have a catering business that another daughter manages.

It made for a fun morning out and some good hands-on learning. We were given a tour of the farm as our guide explained the milking process.

Then my own little milkmaid got to have a turn.

Then we went to visit the new additions to the farm and give them their breakfast.

These girls were done giving up their milk already and were now busy enjoying their breakfast.

After the tour was finished, we went to the market area and gobbled up our free ice cream. While we sat there I thought about some of the things our tour guide said. My oldest daughter had been there a few years ago for her field trip. At that time they had twice as many cows as they do now. The woman giving the tour said they had to cut down their herd because of the cost of feed. She explained that because of "the price of corn and the demand to turn it into fuel for all the gas guzzling oversized vehicles" they couldn’t afford to keep as many cows.

Boy, that ice cream was good.
And their milk is so fresh.
I wonder if that other Mommy there felt at all bad about that huge escalade she drives????
I mean it doesn’t seem to bother her that she can’t maneuver it very well or that she always takes up 2 spaces at the school drop off/pick up. Hmm, I bet she won't be bugged at all about her fuel consumption or the farm selling off cows.

I hope they are still in business when my little man goes on his field trip.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I got a feeling...

…tonight’s going to be a good good night!

Do you have one of those days where you look around and think is this really where I want to be? You might look back and think is this all the further that I’ve gotten? You might look ahead and wonder where will I be in another year?

You know those days… days that mark a milestone or the days that put life into perspective. Sometimes you anticipate these days with excitement. Sometimes they can be a real let down. Sometimes these days creep up on you. Sometimes you might dread the inevitable occurrence.

Oh, you can try to ignore them you can try to forget them but they will come no matter what you do. My day is today. I always review the years gone by and where I was way back then. I always think about where I am now and the hurdles that I maneuvered to get here. I always wonder what will be a head for me and how I will approach it.

There have been some… not so good days that have gone by. But they are gone. I was a little unsure as this day was approaching but now that it’s here… It’s going to be a good good day!!!!

I have a phenomenal family! I have amazing friends! I have a life that is full. I may not have always enjoyed the journey but I am so happy to here. I am so ready for what might be next and excited to see what it will bring… whenever it gets here. No rush. This is a good place.

25 was terrible. 30 was tolerable… barely. 40 was a blur. 42, so far… it’s great!!!