Monday, May 4, 2009

Crazy Day!

Today is one of the craziest days this spring, and it is scheduled almost down to the minute! I feel like my feet hit the floor on Thursday, and I haven't stopped running since.

So why do I pick this day to start blogging again? Guess I am feeling the energy!

This afternoon is like a finely tuned machine - work for 2 hours, pick up daughter #1 from school, go to the orthodontist, drop daughter #1 and son #4 at T-ball game, work for 1 hour, feed son #2 and son #3, pick up daughter and son from T-ball, drop off sons #2 and #3 to their Little League game (thank the Lord they are on the same team), feed daughter #1 and son #4, work 5 more hours and hope the man picks up sons #2 and #3. I have racked my brains thinking of something that is quick and easy, can be modified for the budding vegetarian son #3, and can be reheated and still be yummy, thus serving dinner in at least 3 shifts. Oh, and of course, something that everyone likes, which is a tough job lately.

So, today I am throwing together No-brainer Twice Baked potatoes with bacon (or without!). Yeah, it's not exactly Nutrition Police-approved, but today, I don't care. Maybe daughter #1 can whip up a fresh green salad to go with.

I just now threw in some bacon onto a sheet pan and into the oven for those that still eat meat (most of us) and maybe even all of us once I torture him with the smell of bacon.

I then washed 12 small potatoes (some red and some small bakers) and put those on a cookie sheet after stabbing them with a fork (get some aggression out) and put those on the second rack.

After I take them out in about 40 minutes, I will let the potatoes cool. On a quick break from work, I will halve them and use a little scooper to hollow out the insides (5 minutes) then mash the potato guts with some cheddar, sour cream, a little butter and some bacon (first scooping some on the side for vegetarian boy). I will broil them off as needed this evening.

Oops - that bacon is smelling more than ready - be right back!

Anyway, here's the basic recipe idea, adapted for our family: - No photos yet, but I will try to take some later and share with you.

Bye - gotta work (I love my job, working from home!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hey! I figured out how to reset my password, because it has been so long since I posted, I forgot it!

Maybe I will post again, but then that way, I wouldn't win the worst blogger ever award!

Monday, June 23, 2008

And the color of the day is . . . .!

Aw, you peeked!

A royal color! A velvety color. Endless variations, from almost pink to almost blue. Soft or strong, I love purple!

Here is my alium, honestly, regally purple. The queen in my garden. Well, actually, I am, but we won't tell her, because then she wouldn't bother putting in her presence next year, so we shall let the pretense continue, shall we?

Lush lupine. I cannot decide whether I love it more for its stalks of color, or its charming leaves, little spokes of delight.


The wallflower - so delicate-looking, but so hardy, so strong! The lowly maid of flowers. Works diligently all summer long, under difficult conditions, not asking for much, but making things beautiful.

Lovely lilac, so delicate in color, so heady in scent. It does NOT get better than this! I don't understand that glue-sniffing I read about, but lilac-sniffing -- now we are talking! I could stand here all day and hyperventilate trying to take in all this perfume, and never get enough!

Okay, okay. I'll bet you have figured me out. I am going to come clean. I don't think it is DECEPTION as much as it is just FOCUSING ON THE BEAUTY. Yes, that's it. I am taking close-ups of all these georgeous, colorful blooms because they are beautiful and we want to look at BEAUTY!, not at the weeds, the bare dirt patches,the paint peeling off the pickets, the pavers that have yet to be sunk into the ground and have TALL grass growing like crazy all around them because they are too high to mow OVER and my weedwacker has run out of that acrylic string-stuff. And then there's the FUNGUS I am not purposefully hiding; the mushrooms that keep popping up, growing taller than my basil, almost, because of the dreadful, unrelentingly damp eternal spring we are experiencing. I said damp, okay? I am not kidding. The high we hope to get to tomorrow here in the Puget Sound is a whole, whopping 67 degrees! And that is why I am still taking photographs of lilac and lupine and aliums - because we are stuck in spring mode here in the Pacific Northwest, and while good portions of the country probably have tomato plants as high as their hips and with fruit on them, here I have 4 drowning little tomato starts that are about 1 inch taller than when I put them in the ground 6 weeks ago!!!

Enough of the rain rant. Sorry. As I was saying, I feel like focusing on the beauty rather than the raw, naked truth about the weedy, naked, disrepair of my garden. So, close-ups are all you are going to get right now, okay? Then maybe one day, when I am strong enough, you will get the WHOLE picture. Kinda like a garden version of what Martha did a few weeks ago here, baring herself in all her natural glory:
She's a brave one, she is. She tells it and shows it like it is. Me, with my tunnel vision, I am just going to have to focus on the BEAUTY!

Monday, June 16, 2008

True blue flowers are few and far between; I do have a few real blues, though. I don't even know the name of this one. It is a groundcover. It dies back brown in the winter, but comes back early in spring and is covered with these beautiful little blue, star-like flowers, as small as the eraser of a pencil.

Here's my favorite blue flower; I can't say it is my all-time favorite bloom, because I am drawn more towards scent, and lilacs and roses are definite contenders there, but this ranunculus is just so beautiful I could stare at it all day.

Such a little bit of work for such beauty! These were a gift for my birthday last year from a friend. I just stuck the bulbs in the ground last October and up they all popped this spring! And I think they will continue to do so for years.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Color in the garden

I love summer. I love the weather (although here in the Pacific Northwest, our weather has been more March-like lately, cold and wet and blah). I love the gardening. I love that my husband, who is a teacher, is home all summer. I love that volleyball, baseball, cub scouts, and schooling are all taking a break for a while. We can kick back and just enjoy each day, and each other, without running around at breakneck speed.

In the spirit of summer (and in the hopes that it eventually arrives to the Seattle area), here is a garden tour by color. Today, our color is red, one of my favorites, and especially striking against the everpresent gray of the sky (okay, I guess I've made my point about my disgust with the weather, right?)

Here is the red of our maple:

Here is the red of our front door:

Now, a lovely gerbera daisy that was a present from my sweetie-pie 5-year-old on Mother's Day:

Here are some little red glass marbles in our mosaic house numbers; whenver we come home, they greet me cheerfully:

That is our red garden tour for the day - tomorrow we will have my other favorite color, blue.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ha! A post to say I will post soon!

Okay, I am going to start keeping up on my blog better. I cannot believe nearly a year has gone by without any substantial posts. Life just flies! I have been trying to work full-time and homeschool 3 kids, and there is not a lot of leftover time. But I will dedicate a few minutes a few times a week - that's not a lot, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cozy, yet fuzzy, living room

Here's a peek at our new, warm, and cozy living room. You only get a peek because my daughter's phone (the only current working camera in the house) does not come with a wide angle lens, or even much of a plain, narrow, blurry lens. So while we enjoy a warm, cozy living room, you get to enjoy a fuzzy one. Perhaps by day I will be able to get a slightly better photo. I will try again soon. In the meantime, these are what I have.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She lives!

I have been gone a LONG TIME! At first, summer just took over and the hours and days and weeks flew! Then a new full-time job, training away from home at the end of the summer, and then incorporating working full-time from home with homeschooling 3 boys and keeping house - a juggling act I could not possibly add another ball to, or risk having everything fall down around me! But now we are in a rhythm, things are as smooth sailing (as much as they ever will be, anyway), and so I have decided I need to journal our adventure, so here I am again.

Summer was wonderful, our corn grew tall and we had 2 meals from our tiny crop (7 whole stalks!). We had paste tomatoes and Early Girls (yeah, right!) and they grew taller than I had ever seen, and so bushy, but the tomatoes were green until SEPTEMBER! I must have picked at least 100 pounds of tomatoes from 7 plants (really, no kidding!)in September, most of them green, and for 2 months every few days we checked them and turned them in their boxes, and brought in the red ones - we made roasted tomato sauce, and oven-dried garlic tomatoes in olive oil, and regular tomato sauce. We had BLTs, and tomatoes on sandwiches, and every day my sweet husband would come home from work and pluck one from the pile, wash it, get the salt, and eat it like an apple. We also gave them away to family and neighbors.

We also grew pumpkins and zucchini - the kids started looking at every dinner suspiciously, trying to find where I had hidden the zucchini that night - shredded in a tomato sauce, in egg burritos, in chocolate "surprise" muffins. We also had our first experiment in growing broccoli and I am not sure if we were doing something wrong - the yield from 10 plants was not even enough to feed us 2 meals - not sure if we will grow the broccoli again. We also have a good (yes, almost out-of-control) pile of mint going and now I know what I am going to do with it next year - we have discovered mojitos!!

And that was summer. We did not travel anywhere. My daughter went to Oregon for a choral festival, and my eldest son went to Colorado for a baseball tournament. And my sweet husband and I slowly but surely kept on working on the living room.

First, we stripped our ceiling beam of some hideous, water-stained 1960s veneer and then cleaned and sanded the beam. Next, we scraped the hideous popcorn ceiling and patched our gouges in the drywall, and then we textured the ceiling with a rustic look. Then we painted the ceiling a fresh white and painted the walls several colors before we settled on the current green (and that may change, but not now - we am living with it for a while). Then we started on our "built-in" bookcases that were to flank either side of our fireplace and then we built the mantle on top and attached it all to the wall. Then the molding went up around the beam and the ceiling, and around the floor, and then we caulked and painted the bookcases, and I think the only thing left to do in the living room is to decide which tile to use to tile around the fireplace. I am leaning towards a small, tumbled travertine tile; we will cover the wall surrounding the fireplace and the raised hearth, which we thought we might remove but have to work around - it is NOT coming out of that wall. It took us almost a WHOLE YEAR! just to do that - in little bits and pieces, here and there when we had an hour or two.

I will post some pictures of the work in progress over the next few days, and then I will get ahold of a camera and give you a final, as it is for now, version.

A view of the yucky ceiling, in process:

Choosing the right color is not an easy thing:

Time to build the bookcases:

Yes, I helped, too. Really!

One down, one to go.

Okay, now what do we do?

Uh, now to find a piece of wood that goes all the way across - what do you mean they don't make them that long??!! (unless you want to special order, and it will cost you an arm and a leg!)

Next, to figure out how to build up the mantel - what do you mean they don't make crown molding that long, either?? Who planned this, anyway?!

Almost done, just some finishing touches!

That's it for now -- tomorrow I will give you some updated photos with it done (except for the tiling, which we will get to after the holidays!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gardening Galore!

Whew! We did so much gardening on Sunday and Monday! I had to wait until my Sweet One could help me take up some grass before I could plant the vegies because my back is rather quirky, and I didn't want it going out on me again, so - I had to wait. And the patiences paid off. I had some sodless soil, and after loosening it up and adding lots of rich compost, I filled it up quick!

I put in 8 tomato plants (I want more but don't have the room right now), 7 corn stalks (for fun for the kids), lemon balm, golden oregano, 34 basil plants (hey - I like pesto!) pumpkins, squash, and green beans. Right now they are all tiny, but I am hoping they take off fast!

I also have a little patch of garden where I have spread cosmos and calendula seeds, and something is sprouting, but I am not sure if they are the flowers or weeds; we shall see soon.

I think I have a handle on the black spot that was threatening to devour my climbing roses. It might be because I have been spraying them with non-fat milk (a home-made remedy I recently heard about and had to try - yes, really!) or it might be because I have removed every leaf that had some on, which felt like half the leaves on my 4 poor climbing roses. But they look a lot healthier now just after a week or so of this treatment, and I am about to be the proud momma to 60+ blooms.

I also have over 30 oriental poppies growing, 20 hollyhocks, gerbera daisies, salvia, rosemary, lavender, wallflower, begonias, dahlias, and a few annuals that I could not resist. I had promised myself I would not buy anything other than perrenials this year, and would try to grow as much from seed as possible. But walking through a nursery makes you kinda forget that annuals are NOT on the list! But I only spent $6 on annuals. Really. Don't you believe me?

Anyway, the weather is finally heating up around here! Yesterday was georgous and the rest of the week is supposed to be nothing but sun and mid 70s and that is saying something! I am going to be out in the garden all week weeding and pruning and watering, and I am happy.

Monday, May 28, 2007

And the winner is . . .

Sorry it took so long to get to this! This weekend turned out to be very busy! So late Saturday evening we put everyone's name into my Mexican blown-glass pitcher

and we drew out . . .

Ele at "A Bit of Pink Heaven."

Congratulations, Ele!!

Please excuse the photos - my "real" camera is on the fritz and these are high-quality photos taken by my phone!