Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Mom...I'm bored!"

That's what I heard from Ryan all afternoon long! I had him go to The Crafty Crow and pick out a project. He decided he wanted to make paper, so we gathered up all the supplies and I set him to work on the back porch!

When he ran out of newsprint and construction paper, he decided that shredding his homework would be TONS of fun! Ummm, I guess it's better than throwing it away...

Say hello to my little friend...

Every morning and late afternoon, this cute little lizard climbs up our Mary statue in the garden. He suns himself on top of her head and catches any bugs that come by. I love to watch him from our kitchen window as he is out there every day without fail!

John Paul says he's a Holy lizard and has named him Greenie Creamer.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can you dig it?

I spent the late afternoon weeding our Mary garden to get ready for our dedication on May 1st and John Paul took the opportunity to dig for worms! We were finding them by the handfuls (yes, I said WE!) and finally JP decided to make a home for his collection. He very carefully layered dirt, leaves, and grass all mixed in with a little water and sticks and dubbed his jar "The Worm-ary."

It totally RAWKS!
Guess what little boy is getting a manicure tonight!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Can I get a WOOT, WOOT?!

My gardening books assured me that my lettuce seeds would NOT sprout if soil temps were above 65 degrees. I thought that I'd still take a chance and plant some (despite our 80 degree temps!) and if I failed, I'd only be out the dollar it cost for the seed pack. Well, look what I found this morning...

A great big bucket full of gorgeous lettuce seedlings! I'm just so stunned they even sprouted! Maybe this week's cooler temps will give them the boost they need to keep growing.

It doesn't matter that they so close. I'll cut them when they are just a few inches long, while they are still tender, just like in the fancy-schmancy restaurants. Get the vinaigrette ready!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

More Saturday Fun!

During this time of year, the sunset blasts squarely through our back door windows. While it is gorgeous, it can be quite blinding if you are sitting at the dinner table! I have recently decided to not buy anymore fabrics until I have considerably thinned my enormous stash of, I made some curtains for the door windows out of these awesome hand stitched vintage pillowcases I got at an estate sale.

They look a little kitchy on the window, but I just love them! The open bottom allows the little ones to peek outside at the bird feeders, and allows just enough light in!

Check out what other kinds of fun I have with pillow cases HERE and HERE.

Rainy Day

It is a dreary, rainy and windy Saturday. Kyle's baseball game was canceled. Instead of letting the kids veg out in front of the TV, I nabbed this clever idea from The Crafty Crow on making mini-books. I whipped up 12 in no time at all!

John Paul has had a creative morning working in his book...writing about Under Dog, of course!

Yard Sale Saturday!

Not a bad weekend for this yard sale junkie! Ryan and I went out Friday morning and scored this cute little side table (for a mere five bucks!)

I think I'm going to take some heavy grade sand paper to it and scuff it up a bit instead of painting it. We also got this very cool magazine rack for three bucks.

After a torrential storm last night with the rain continuing this morning, I thought the sales would be canceled, but we found ONE that was open and I got these amazing brass candle sticks for only ten bucks!

Now to find some big chunky candles in fabulous colors to top them with!
Not a bad haul for only 18 bucks!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bring it on, Punks!


Angry Food - part 2!

I think someone at the Malt-O-Meal factory is having some serious fun jacking around the the machines! There were still a dozen or more just like these in the bag...don't ask me how I know!

I'm gonna git you sucka!

I'm not talking about the totally HILARIOUS 1980's blaxsploitation film, which you should definitely rent sometime, I'm talking about suckers on tomato plants!
I read about these little things in a gardening book Doug bought for me. These suckers grow in between the main stems of you tomato plants and literally suck energy and nutrients away from your precious tomatoes!

You can leave the plants alone and nothing earth shattering will happen. The suckers themselves will grow and produce flowers. The result is that your plants will have a large quantity of fruits of small to average size. If you pluck your suckers off, the nutrients feed the main stems. This results in fewer fruits, but they are BIG since all of the good stuff goes to making the tomato! I have eleven tomato plants and I'm going to pluck suckers off of six of them. I'll come back in a few weeks and compare tomato sizes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A gardening experiment

I want to grow lettuce, but it is a late fall crop here in Texas. There are varieties that grow in warmer climates, but I don't have the patience to wait the 4-6 weeks for shipping that the mail order will take! So I decided to see if I could grow some in the shadiest, coolest spot of my backyard - my back porch. I emptied out one of JP's old toy buckets, drilled a few holes in it for drainage, and filled it with detergent containers and milk jugs (this takes up space so you don't need so much soil!)

Then I added a good soil since I don't have any compost yet.

Then just spread your seeds evenly over the dirt. I'm planting a sweet mezclun mix and baby spinach. Cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil and tap down so that the seeds are in good contact with the dirt. Water and keep moist.

I think it would be awesome to walk out to my back yard and cut some greens, mix in a few cukes and 'maters and serve my family a delicious and healthy salad with our meals! We'll find out in 8-10 days if these little seeds will sprout and grow in 80+ degree heat!
Stay tuned...

As for my tomatoes,


Look closely...

The guardian of the squash!
I thought about shooing him away until I saw him gobble up the bug on the branch beside him. Now he and all his little green friends are more than welcomed in my garden!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yes, it WAS that hot today!

Angry Food!

John Paul had Honeycomb cereal this morning for breakfast and noticed this one looked a little mad!
So he bit his head in half!

Monday, April 21, 2008

At work in the garden!

The garden is coming along great! Today we finished up the cucumber and cantaloupe trellises and caged all the tomatoes!

I absolutely LOVE how these little boogers just *know* how to grab on to something and grown on it!

We also put manure and black plastic over the area we will be planting our watermelon patch! A few good days of bright sunshine and the soil will be warm and moist for planting.

Doug also got me another apple tree. The one I already had was a Golden Dorsett. I don't think Doug likes the idea of eating yellow apples, so he purchased this Red Delicious to go along with it!

I think I'll brew a pitcher of tea and sit outside and watch the plants grow!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

7 facts about me

Therese from Aussie Coffeshop tagged me for a meme: Seven Facts About Me.

1. I am a hardcore homebody. I'd much rather be at home in my lounge pants and stained t-shirts than anywhere else on earth...with the exception of my garden!
2. I love stupid movies from the 70's and 80's. Caddyshack, Stripes, Animal House, Pretty in Pink, I've seen them a hundred times and they RAWK!
3. I cannot tell a joke to save my life!
4. I put myself through college by working as a waitress/bartender.
5. I've always wanted a tatoo.
6. ONE glass of wine and I'm three sheets to the wind!
7. I'm awful at these meme's!

So now I have to tag seven more! Tell me seven facts about yourselves Sonya, Cassandra, Sal, Dana, Karen, Kalona, and Rachael

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cue 'Top Gun' music!

Ryan and his CAP wing went to the Brazoria Air Show today. They had a bake sale to raise money for camp this summer and a few of the young men got to take O-flights - Ryan was one of them!
He got to take off and fly the plane all the way back to Wharton. He actually flew near enough to see the tennis courts of our neighborhood! He had a great time and we are so proud of him! Ryan's next O-fly will be in Galveston in a few weeks.
Here's a picture of the plane he flew:

Friday, April 18, 2008

A sign?

I had to feed my addiction and make rounds to all the local thrift stores today. I walked into one and literally gasped when I saw these two precious statues standing together!

They are old and heavy and chipped and I LOVE them! I immediately knew the female was St. Therese (what good Catholic wouldn't know that one?) but I wasn't quite sure who the male was, so I turned him over...

I literally gasped again! We just lost our little Dominic at 11 weeks gestation and here I am holding a statue of the saint he is named after!
I'm taking it as a sign from God that all is well and my child is safely in the arms of his Heavenly Father.
I don't think the St. Therese statue is any coincidence either! Several months ago, my friend Dani from DCF mailed us a package with all sorts of wonderful holy cards, blessed salts and holy water. The day we found out we had lost our Dominic, this card found its way to my nightstand:

All those long days and nights that I layed in bed and cried, I would look at this card and know that so many people were praying for me when I couldn't even pray for myself. I took the greatest comfort in that!
Therese is also my Confirmation name.
I don't believe in coincidence. And I don't believe that God shouts when He speaks...He whispers...and if you listen closely enough, you can hear Him.
I think He whispered to me today...and my soul is comforted.

Check this out!

This lady is cooking a meal every day in the crock pot for a YEAR! I cannot wait to go through her recipe list! I love cooking in the crock. It's almost effortless, usually cheap, and keeps from heating up the house in the summer time, plus, cleaning up is a breeze!
I know what I'll be doing while the kids are napping today!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting ready for the fair!

The boys are busy putting together projects and practicing recipes for the upcoming Wharton County Youth Fair today! Ryan and Kyle decided to submit entries this year and I'm very proud of both of them! Ryan is submitting two types of breads to be judged, a white loaf and an artisan sourdough loaf with rosemary, and an apple pie. Here is Ryan working on his white loaf today:

Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of the finished product! By the time it was done, we had a house full of neighborhood kids and I was doing my best to keep some sort of order among them...that and the fact that Kyle cut into the loaf just minutes out of the oven! The bread was REALLY good, though, and totally worth having to scrub flour dust off of all the counters and kitchen floor!

Kyle was busy at work as well. He is submitting a drawing of the newly renovated Wharton Courthouse (in the middle of our town square) and two photographs. Here he is wedged in between the couch and coffee table drawing:

And here is one of his photos. The kid has a great eye!

We'll let you know how it goes! Hopefully there will be blue ribbons in it for both of them!

Honey custard

I love, love, LOVE custards! I have never made one at home because I thought they were too difficult, and 'tempering' eggs does NOT sound like fun to me! Well, I came across this honey custard at Cook.Eat.Think it's foolproof and simply divine! You MUST try it!
Resist the urge to eat it right out of the oven! It needs to cool to room temperature, or better yet, let it chill in the fridge a couple of hours. We drizzled honey over ours before eating!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm not green...I'm just cheap!

There is something about a Swiffer duster and mop that just make the kids want to clean! A while back, I posted about making your own REUSABLE dusters (Click here for the tutorial!) This morning I sewed a few more dusters for our stash when I thought, hey, why not make some mop replacements, too? You'll need half a yard of that fuzzy fleece blanket material-it will make about six mops!
First, take your mop head and cut around it leaving approx. 3-4 inches extra for the width:

Fold the ends over the mop and pin, then sew around the outer edges to make a pocket for your mop:

Slip in the mop head and you're ready to clean! When you're done, just throw them in the washer!
The kids LOVE to dust and mop with these things! Maybe it's the supa-stylish colors:

Or maybe it's simply because they make really good weapons after you're done cleaning!

Here's another fabulous tip for all my peeps! Here is a picture of my extremely disgusting microwave:
Embarrassing isn't it? Well, you just fill a cup with water and put in a few slices of citrus zest:

Cook for five minutes and then let the cup sit in the microwave for ten minutes to "steam" the inside. All that crap and crud just melts and easily wipes off with a paper towel! It also leaves behind a nice citrus smell!

I really like this method because there are no chemicals involved that might leach into our food, it REALLY works well....and it's totally cheap!
My work here is go clean your house!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mmmm muffins

Ryan discovered some blackberry bushes in the woods near our house and yesterday he went out and surprised me with some! He only managed to get a couple of cups (because most of them were still unripened!) but it was just enough for some wonderful muffins this morning for breakfast!

While I'm sitting here enjoying my muffin and tea, it just dawned on me that berry picking in the woods is not such a good idea! But Ryan reassured me that he took his BB pistol "just in case" there were snakes out there. Umm, just in case?!?! We both know that there are PLENTY of snakes in the woods! Something makes me think that the berries were only secondary in his excursion... in the country with boys!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My "new" cabinet

We found a yard sale this morning where I got this super ugly sewing cabinet for a steal at five bucks!

After a coat of paint, new knobs, and some decoupage, I have a new phone/message station for the kitchen!

Friday, April 11, 2008

What happens when little soldiers don't take naps...

...they fall asleep at their posts!
Hopefully, by being under the table, he will avoid detection by the enemy!
(and yes, that gun is as big as he is! YOU try telling him he's only 3!)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I was productive today!

I guess I really should be taking it easy, but when I'm resting, my mind is wandering...not a good thing! Aside from getting the 4000 loads of laundry that have accumulated washed, folded and put away, I have been having doing a little experimenting with the food dehydrator.
Doug's mom gave it to us a couple of months ago because she never used it. I was so excited to get it because I have always wanted one (those late night Ronco commercials still play in my head!) I decided to start out simply by drying some herbs from the garden. They turned out great! Here are some dried sweet basil and cilantro:

Then I saw the recipes in the instructional book for fruit leathers! My kiddos go crazy for the pre-fabbed ones in the store (which I doubt have much fruit in them at all!) So I got some packages of frozen fruits-no sugar added, and went to work! I blended the fruit in the food processor with citrus zests, juice and honey, and I think we came up with some winners!

The tray already in the machine contains strawberries with orange zest and the juice of one orange with 2 tbs of sugar. The one on the right is peach with honey. It is by far my favorite! Only two simple ingredients, but soooo good! The one at the bottom is apple and cinnamon. The one on the left is blueberry with lemon zest and the juice of one lemon and honey.
I felt so good making these because I controlled the ingredients AND the sugar content (or lack thereof!) It will take approx. one day for these to be done and then I will cut them into strips and store in ziplock bags. For more fruit leather recipes and a simple oven drying method, click HERE or HERE