May 30, 2011

Weekend Recap- Surprise!!

This year some of my favorite tomato plants were killed due to one of my kids yanking them up out of their little containers. Several of them as well, they had already been squashed as seedlings, the second batch finally made it past a couple inches tall before their life ended. I had no more seeds as I gave them away to a couple friends , and  have never found them in the stores around my area. Last year I harvested the seeds , the year before as well so losing these were frustrating. I thought my Cherry Tomatoes finally came to an end! They were the perfect little tomatoes you could just pop in your mouth. Oh so yummy, full of flavor, I would get hundreds of them all summer and fall long.

Pretty little things aren't they? These were from my 2009 Garden in which I had tons to harvest for seeds. They became my 2010 garden and, so on for this year, only no more seeds :( Or so I thought!


While working in the garden this weekend, I uncovered a bunch of these little guys. Look in the top right hand corner, that yellow skin is from a cherry tomato that fell and dried on the ground.



The more I looked, the more seedlings were being found near the yellow skins! They were coming up all over the place! 
Between rocks, behind an old stump and even in some roses near the porch steps.
I was excited, totally unbelievably excited to find these! They must have fallen off the plant towards the end of the season or were just missed all together.  I dug a batch of them up, and will see if I can find space for them in the backyard, as the front is full as it is.  If I can save just two plants, there'd be enough to harvest for seeds and save for next years garden. 


 
 Cherry Tomatoes are rising everywhere! YAY!
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May 29, 2011

Weekend Project- Save it, don't throw it away

We got this kid bench a few years ago, which has been used outside the most. During the winter though, it sat on the porch where it turned to a ugly looking thing that the kids didn't want to sit on. The porch is damp, it's unheated and open to the elements, so all the rain and storms we've gotten beat it up along the way.

Wood should be taken care of, wooden playgrounds need to be covered at least once a year to protect the wood, fences, gates, you name it. Otherwise the wood starts cracking, gets weak, and looking like it's about to fall apart and then well it does fall apart. I don't know about you, but with four kids replacing big items isn't an option. Besides,I was brought up to either take care of something we wanted, or we loose it,either it broke or it got lost, no matter what it would not be replaced. Money is needed elsewhere, so you learn how to keep what you have and how to take care of it so it'll stay around longer.

How to repair an ugly looking weather scared bench (or any other wood) and Bring it back to it's original luster.

Pretty sad looking bench :-(

What you need-
 Sander
Weatherproof wood finish (or wood paint whichever you want for your project as long as it's for wood and is some sort of finish)

If the item needs to be taken apart, take it apart and set the base of it aside. Sand each wood slat on both sides, till the worst of the wear is gone and the wood is smooth and not discolored. If the wood is warped and or split, it needs to be replaced. After sanding the wood use what ever wood finish you picked.  Our bench needed a total of three coats. Let the wood dry completely after each coat or as the directions on the finish state.

After wood is dry you can piece it back together! This is what the finished bench looks like, nearly brand new!

Once again it's a happy bench!






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May 28, 2011

Winners!

Congratulations to Deanna and RockinMommi on winning the What To Expect When You're Expecting Giveaway!!



You can pick up the 4th edition of What To Expect When You're Expecting,  yourself at Amazon.com

 Check out the new website What To Expect.com , wonderful for expecting Mom's and already Mommies with growing babies :) Enjoy the community area, shopping deals and more


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May 26, 2011

Holding on to some Hope

Those of you who were following last year know my Persimmons tree fell over during some heavy storms. We had to cut most of it, and we we're really sure if it would live or not. It buckled under the weight of it's own fruit and the roots had come up out of the ground partly. After my husband heard enough of my  pleading to help the tree, he finally agreed to try something with it. Though I'm pretty sure he would have just cut the thing in half, haha. It was a lot of work, it really was, the man that helped cut it down even said he wasn't sure it was worth all the trouble.

 So, with me begging and on his case, hubby grabbed some tools and went to work. He jacked it up, used pulleys and then used some railroad nails to stand it fairly upright. There is sat for about three months just a plain long dead looking thing in our yard.
  Hubby wanted his materials back, and started pulling the nails and brace support, out, while I held my breath. The tree didn't budge, in fact it didn't move. Without any support the tree was finally standing up again! So I held on to some more hope, maybe the tree dug it self some new roots, maybe it just needed a long break from growing and snoozed all along. After all it was winter, so who knew what spring would bring! Weeks passed, nothing happened, then spring passed and still nothing. I still held some hope the tree was just waiting for the right moment. Turns out,



Hope grew :)






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May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I Love these Flowers :) My girls take care of these, a huge corner of the front yard just covered with these. Small but oh so bright and pretty.







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May 24, 2011

Did you Know Tuesday- Strawberries

Our strawberry patch was started about five years ago with just about 8 plants. Within a year it became 15, by the next it was over twenty. Last year I was given 25 half dead suffering strawberry plants that were headed for the garbage. I couldn't believe it! The owner was set on throwing them out so after I took the lovelies in I did what your supposed to do. Treat them with care.
Strawberries are grown either from seeds, or are bought as bare roots, which are well just a bunch of ugly roots.

You should soak them in water before planted. Spread those ugly brown hairy roots out carefully after trimming them. Pick off any dead leaves and keep them in a bucket with roots submerged under the water.



     Strawberries are a magical thing, they do great in containers, so if you think you have no room, Think again. I have them all over the place, lost count of them too.
   From the plants I bought I have begun to grow and reproduce my own from not only seeds but runners. First year plants produce the most runners, they look something like this to start with. Usually a long stem with a little green or knot at the end.
 
From these runners you get new plants. Find the runners and set them down on the dirt or in a cup of dirt, but do not cut off just yet.


After just a few days of sitting against dirt they start to get little nubs , those nubs or bumps turn into roots. The one on the far right has it's roots, the others are at an early stage. It takes only a few days for roots to form as long as it's sitting against some dirt. I'll take a runner and lay it down with a small rock against it to keep in place. Once it's got long enough roots it's time to plant.  Just snip it off from the mother plant and set it's roots into some moist dirt.
Once a runner is seen, make sure you start watch it and get it into the ground as the "Mother" plant is feeding it. If the runner is left there and not broken off the Mother plant , the Mother plant may die off as it's too busy feeding the new plant. You won't see many berries off of either as well, so make sure to look for the runners.

These were all the runners I had from last years strawberries, as you can see, they really do multiply!

  Strawberries should not be planted where peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes have been grown since these plants can harbor verticillium wilt, a seriously bad disease for strawberries. Mulch and or straw needs to be put down after planting. Not only does it keep the moisture in, it keeps the berries off the dirt.

Keep your Strawberries Pest Free
   A little trick to keep slugs out, save all those egg shells and crush them up, sprinkle the egg shells all around the plant to keep the slugs at bay. Cause who would want to have a slimy body stuck of egg shells? ha
Other pests--
Tarnished Plant Bug- Feeding by the tarnished plant bug will result in disfigured, nubby berries

Birds- Birds will inevitably get some of your berries. Plant more than you'll need and cover the area with bird netting. I put a plastic netting over all my berries as well as sticks in areas where I know a annoying squirrel likes to steals my berries.
  You can check out my simple solution of water and soap to get rid of bugs on plants that's kept my berries pest free!

Happy Tuesday!


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May 23, 2011

Weekend Recap- Easy Berry Ice pops

It's been super busy around here!
 The garden is just starting to burst with green everywhere, and suddenly red too. My Scarlet Beans are showing their red , which will soon turn into a a huge show of red flowers.





The strawberries are being picked each morning, which makes a great breakfast treat before school,As well as afternoon snacks on hot days.


 I made some berry ice pops this weekend. Our local farms are fully loaded as well so it's easy to come by berries this time of year, so with my garden and the berries on sale, it's a great time to make a bunch of pops!

These are strawberries and raspberries and then I ran out of strawberries, the middle is with added blueberries. :)

Ingredients
2 cups yogurt (I used plain but you can use any you want)
2 cups fresh fruit cut if needed and washed


Directions:
Puree the fruit in a blender and then mix in yogurt. Pour into ice pop molds,(or even plastic cups) Freeze over night!

Enjoy!


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May 22, 2011

A Recipe from my Son! - Pizza Sandwiches

My Son joined a cooking class for after school and has been in super over drive wanting to make things lately. It's been a fun, yet messy adventure that's for sure. The kids always help when they can but this time around it was my son's turn to do some magic in the kitchen. He came up with Pizza Sandwiches!!

Very easy to do, the kids can make these up till the point of frying them!


All you need is:
 Hot dogs buns,
Mozzarella Cheese (shredded is fine, but sliced can be easier)
Pepperoni or salami


Lay the hotdog buns out and place some cheese on both sides. Either two slices or just enough shredded to cover the bun. Place the pepperoni or salami over cheese and close the buns up. Place on a hot skillet or sandwich press.


I used a cast iron skillet  to flatten the buns, placing it on the buns to press it down. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and flip for another 2-3 minutes until it's toasted and flattened. Cut and serve!

These can be great snacks, afternoon treats, finger food for movie nights and much more! Kid approved of course, coming from a almost 9 year old himself :)

Enjoy!!

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May 21, 2011

Planning a Trip?

For a list of great Bed & Breakfast Inn's use BnBFinder!  You can find the Top places to stay as well as specials that are always showing up. Get a gift card and give it to your loved one, or family and let them pick where they want to go! You can choose the amount, personalize it and then the recipient can choose from the list of places in their area.



 The site is easy to use, just pick your state and town or the place you'd like to check out. You'll be shown a list with pictures and information about each location. Check availability, even their website to check out more local interests in the area for you to do during your stay. I love how it's just kept simple, you can easily find a place to go, and you can even check out their recipes!

This bread I made from McGee's Inn so yummy :)








BANANA BREAD
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter or margarine. Beat the egg slightly, and mix into the creamed mixture with the bananas. Mix in sifted ingredients until just combined. Stir in milk and nuts. Spread batter into one greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan.
. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until top is brown and cracks along the top.


Enjoy the Bread and the next time your planning a trip check out The BnBFinder site!!
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May 20, 2011

Cars 2

My kids can't wait to see Cars 2!! We loved the first one, and everything I've seen about the second one says it wont' be a let down! It'll take Mater and Lightning McQueen on an adventure over seas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. There's nothing like detours though , and they hit many hilarious ones  along the way.

There's a newly released featurette for the movie I thought I'd share!








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May 19, 2011

Rolls , Rolls, Rolls, Come and get them!

Can't believe I have no rolls on the blog yet. If it's one thing I make a lot besides bread, it's rolls. Yet somehow, they never made it on here. Now they made it, so come and get them!


You just want to eat them all up!
These Dinner Rolls are a family recipe, a must to share as they are truly amazing in every way.
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1/2 c, Luke warm water
1/4 c. cold water
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. butter
2 tsp. salt
2 c. scalded milk
7-8 c. flour
2 eggs, well beaten

Soften yeast in warm water ** mix water in the 1/2 water and let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast "poofs up" ** In large bowl mix sugar, butter, salt, and milk. Add 1 cup flour and beat until smooth. Add cold water and mix. Add softened yeast, mix well. Add about half of remaining flour. Beat dough until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
   Turn over on the flour board. Let stand for 5 minutes. Knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put in greased bowl, turning over to bring greased side up ** just spray the bowl with Pam and place dough in, spraying the top of the dough) Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk. (DO NOT RUSH)
Punch down and cover again letting rise for 1/2 hour.

Turn out on lightly flowered board. Shape dough in balls, or cloverleafs, fans or any other dinner roll shape. Put on lightly grease baking sheets or pans. If desired as with my Mom's Famous White bread brush with melted butter on top, you will not be disappointed, trust me!) Add poppy seeds or sesame seeds if your heart desires as well.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
You can freeze these amazing things which comes in super handy on busy nights, or some holiday dinners. make days before hand and cool completely on racks. Lay in a single layer in freezer bags making sure all the air is out. I double bag mine and freeze them in bags of ten (I double the recipe to make more) That way for dinner I can take out a bag and won't worry about wasting the rest! <-- as if they'd ever go to waste, HA, right.

 I dare you to eat one and not grab for another, seriously, I dare you. :)




ENJOY!!





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May 17, 2011

Recycled Bottle Caps Craft

The kids loved this one over the rainy weekend, but I think they loved making the mess the most. We painted the bottled caps, once, twice, three times and they couldn't wait for the paint to dry so guess what? Sticky painted fingers poked and rubbed, smudged paint everywhere. It isn't even washable!

It was ok though, I spread newspaper everywhere in preparation of those sticky smudging little fingers. The only place the paint got was the work space and all over their art clothes. All is well :)

These are fun as you can do pretty much anything you want, just be creative, and let the kids come up with their own designs! 
I came across this project for Plastic Lids here

Materials Needed:
Bottle caps, different sizes, any will do (make sureyou wash them and rub off the dates if the caps have them)
Craft or fabric paint
Any buttons, yarn,  eyes, to make faces or designs
Hot Glue Gun
Craft Magnets
Cork for the smaller bottle caps


Directions:
    If your using small caps, place the cork in the bottle cap and cut it so the cork is level with the rim of the cap. Hot glue the cork in the cap and set aside to do the others. If your using a bigger cap, you can use a small cap to fit inside, just hot glue around the rims and set into the bigger cap.



This is how I did most of mine. Glue on the magnets and set aside for at least 20 minutes till completely dry.

You can decorate it however you want, we just used paint to do a smiley face, hearts, rainbows and flowers. We also made a Tic Tack Toe board.


Using Four colors Popsicle sticks. Line them up how you want them and hot glue them together to make the board. Glue on two magnets onto the back and let dry. While it's drying make the Tic Tack Toe bottle caps out of paint or anything to make X's and O's . Buttons would make great O's and you can glue yarn for the X's if you want.

Reuse all those bottle caps you have laying around and make some fun magnets with the kids! You can even make a non-magnet tic tac toe board the same way, which is great to take along with you on trips, or to the park :) Enjoy!!
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May 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

Been a busy week and weekend around our house. The storms came in over Friday night, bringing hail, wind more hail and rain. It wasn't easy to get anything done in the garden, but I did get most plants planted finally.

 My Garden seems to be stopping people during their walks. I've had a good handful of people ask what I planted and then they just stare. While I spent all the time worrying about the neighbors cat, the squirrel and trying to make it so the kids won't trample over it all, I didn't realize that it came out looking neat at the same time. That wasn't really what I was aiming for.

It's hard to get everything into one picture, but I love it. When you step back it looks neat and when you look closer you see the sections of plants. You can click on the pictures for a bigger view.

In front of the first Tomato plants, are the cucumbers, and the squash. Already blossoming and there's 3 zucchini already growing. I'll put in the peppers and eggplants later this week, they just aren't tall enough yet.

The Beans are climbing just as I planned :) Yay!

Peas are climbing as well. It's been chilly so they aren't taking off like they normally do. When the heat stays they'll take off quickly.



New Project was started over the weekend. My husband is building me a Garden bench. after sitting on a kid bench for so long I've finally had enough and he offered to build me one :) I cannot wait! It'd be nice to sit outside while the kids play and be able to sit in something that isn't made for a three year old. :)
I'll post the progress along with the plans for a DIY Bench . Coming up tomorrow is a recycled kids craft so stay tuned!




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May 15, 2011

Spoil Him & Her- CVS Collage Mug Review

I love my coffee in the morning, but it's even better when I can enjoy it in a mug with my amazing kids pictures on it! CVS has different mugs to choose from, I picked the Collage mug which is 13.99, a great price!

 You can select up to 15 pictures to arrange on the mug, and I just love that. It's hard to pick your favorites sometimes, so CVS made it easy to put several on the mug. I only used 4, one of each of my kids (cause if I did anymore they'd start nagging, "Mom, you have two of her and not me, Mom that's too small of picture of me," and on and on! haha) So four pictures it was!
Pictures show the mug at each side. I love how it turned out, very clear. I've made other photo mugs before and the pictures weren't as clear, and even were cut off, so CVS does it right.



If you want to make one for Father's Day, head on over to CVS Photo and upload some of your favorite pictures. This is a great gift that the kids can put together themselves or at least help pick the pictures and the different mugs to choose from.

 A great thing about CVS is you can pick up many of their photo gifts as well, most can be made express which is in an hour. Since ours is right down the street I can order prints, books, other photo gifts like the calender I got the very same day I uploaded and put the gift together. I'm switching from my old online photo service to CVS as there's more to choose from and they print as is, (as in no chopping off someones head ) I've always hated that, so CVS won me over and I can't wait to make some more gifts for people :)


Go Spoil Dad or yourself with CVS Photo Gifts!!!

**Disclosure- I received the products mentioned above from CVS in order to write an honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this post. I did not have to write an honest review, Any and all opinions are and will always be my own.*






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