Monday, January 28, 2013

Adventures in Gardening: Starting out!

I ma so excited!  My wonderful hubby is building me some fantastic planter boxes.  This is a project that we have been talking about for a couple of years.  I am so excited that he's getting into it.  He even did research and designed my boxes.  I am so proud of him!  I also love that my kids have been involved with this project.  

Ethan helped me clear out the majority of the weeds and grass that was growing is an empty section of our backyard.  He did such a great job. . . especially since it was sooo cold the week we worked on it!
Once we got the area clear, we laid down a barrier that allows moisture to go through, but doesn't let the weeds go through.  Ethan thought this was cool.  We put rocks in the corner, because that's where the water comes off our patio when it rains.  
Weston loved helping put rocks in the corner, especially since as the ice was melting that morning, water had been collecting in that corner, so now there was a big puddle.  Splash!  (Yes. . . water and dirt make 2 very happy boys!)
 Here is the first planter (we are waiting on tax money to do the other two).  We used redwood and didn't treat it.  Have I mentioned lately, how much I love the boys that God has blessed me with?  It is so much fun being able to include the whole family in this project.  And look, Can you see that I have lemons? It's my favorite time of the year!
We moved the box in over the top of the barrier. . . 
 and filled it with rocks.  We happen to have a section of yard that the previous owners filled with rocks (which we are planning on changing anyways), so we put a small layer of rocks to help with the water drainage.  We also made a barrier along the sides so dirt can't escape from the bottom.

 Then we filled it with some organic soil made specially for vegetable gardens.  It took 2 containers to fill up, but now that it's been about 2 weeks it has definitely settled about 2 inches.  We will probably add more soon.
 Here are some of my baby seedlings.  It's too cold for them to stay outside all night, so they get a bath and sun during the day.  They are growing beautifully!  I can't wait to show you!  I chose to plant my seeds in egg shells because they are compostable and I will just be able to stick them in the soil.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's about time you meet these guys

I honestly can't believe that I never posted these last year. . . but I think that I will just declare 2012 as a year of slacking off when it comes to the blog realm of my life.  I created these monsters to keep my boys company while I was in Wyoming last June.  Seriously, I was so excited as I worked on them and I can't wait to make more.  
The green dinosaur one was the first one I made. . . he went to Weston.  He is just the right size for cuddles.   Math Whiz on the Left was made for Ethan.  He was the second one and I got more creative with that one. . . the wheels in my head kept on turning. Like I said, I can't wait to make more.
Ethan's also has a really cool letter E sewn into his butt.  Super cool feature.  I am tempted to sell these on Etsy. . . but that's a topic to be discussed at a later time.

Hope you all are having a great day!  Thanks for taking time to read my blog. . . off to work on some birthday preparations. . . my baby will be 2 next week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms: a tutorial of awesomeness!

I love stuffed mushrooms.  I especially love the ones you can get as a small plate at the cheesecake factory. . . it is a guilty pleasure my mom and I enjoy every year because the men in our lives just don't agree with our love of mushrooms.  In fact, my husband, will probably disagree on my title of awesomeness.  But, these ARE awesome!  I promise you.  

I made these for some family gathering back in November and my sister-in-law, Kristal, keeps asking for the recipe.  Since, I made up the recipe and it was all in my head, I decided it was time to get it down electronically so that it can be enjoyed by all.  (So, Kristal, in case you are reading this. . . this post is for you!).  

The first step in every recipe is gather and prep your ingredients.  You will need some bread crumbs, white wine (I like the sweetness that a moscato has to offer), parsley (dried or fresh work), Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, garlic, \ a shallot, and mushrooms, of course.

First, take your mushrooms and wash them very carefully.  Pull out the stems (it's okay if one mushrooms break apart).  Heat your pan to medium with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Allow to heat, while you chop your veggies. Set your stems aside and chop them up.   Then chop up your shallot. 
Add to the heated oil, your chopped shallot and mushroom stems.  Also add a few cloves of garlic, chopped (I love my Pampered Chef garlic press for this job!).

As your shallots start looking soft, pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine into your pan with the mushroom mixture.  Allow it to simmer/cook for about 10 or so minutes.  A lot of the liquid will evaporate during this time, which is what you want. 

While you are cooking down your wine, in a small bowl, combine your cream cheese (you can use 1/2 to 1/3 of a block.  It's up to you how cheesy you want it to be.  You can zap it for a few seconds to make it soft if you need it to be.  Add your parsley and a few handfuls of Parmesan cheese.  I honestly don't measure too much here, just however much you feel is necessary. Using a spatula, mix that up as well as you can.
After 10 or so minutes of simmering, your mushroom stem mixture should be soft and the liquid should be reduced to about 1/2 of what it was when you first put the wine in.  Pour into your cream cheese mixture.  The heat, will melt everything and make it easier to stir.
Spoon the mixture into the mushrooms.  Mine are usually overflowing with goodness.  Then sprinkle your favorite bread crumbs over the top and stick in the oven at 350 for about 10-20 minutes. . . keep an eye on it until they have a nice golden top.  
Oh, don't they look wonderful?  It makes me want to go make some  Seriously, they are that good!  And they are way cheaper to make then ordering them at Cheesecake Factory.  That makes me happy.  Very happy!
Okay, one last picture. . . i'll bet you are checking your refrigerator for ingredients. . . don't lie. . . you know you are.

Now, that I am done blogging for the day, I am going to go sew on some buttons. . .

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

2013. . . random thoughts to start the year

Welcome to 2013. . . it's a new year.  One that I am looking forward to with anticipation.  (I think, though, that I may feel this way every year. . . I don't know?).  This year will be a year that includes some changes, some trusting, and some new goals.

Last week, my husband and I each made a list of our goals and things outside of our budget that we wanted to do. . . then we shared our lists. . . we now have one big list, and I know for a fact that not everything will get accomplished.  But, we can dream right?

I hate resolutions, because they are usually not doable and most often are forgotten about within the first few months.  I do, however, enjoy the sales that come with people trying to lose weight. . . Special K is always on sale in January and that makes me very happy!  Plus, they came out with one this year that is chocolate and strawberries. . . it's a limited edition. . . maybe I should stock up?

Here are some of my goals for the year:
Slow Down (yep. .  . this is going to be a hard one for me)
3 quilts.  One of which, you will see a block each month.  (I should probably start getting to work)
More card making. . . I miss it.
Albums need to be caught up. . . seriously, I am so behind.
Try new recipes (and I am already on a roll with that).
Garden. . . i am super excited about this one. . . I will have to share my journey with you.

This year, I chose a word that is my ultimate goal.  To SHINE.  Yes, I want to shine for Jesus and I want that to be clear in everything I do.   I want to shine to my boys and to other moms.  I want to not be so busy that I miss out on meeting a need or passing out some kindness.  I am super excited about this one!

Okay, so I have some work for you. . . I want you all to comment (please) and tell me about your plans for the new year. . . ready . . . set. . . go!


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