Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We have a house full of people for this Thanksgiving holiday. Relatives came up from Florida and our house is full. The weather was in the 30's and 40's this morning but it warmed up to the 50's and the breeze died down. We made a really good dinner and ate outside. My brother-in-law wanted to have a real Thanksgiving outdoors just like the Pilgrims did. I think we got the correct weather down here. We had 3 portable heaters outside in our pavilion so we could eat comfortably. It was a great day! Good food! Good people! New friends were made!

Our little nephew wanted to collect chicken eggs from our hens. Our hens aren't laying and they haven't been laying for a long while. We didn't have the heart to let him come back empty-handed so we planted a few for him. He was so ecstatic to get the eggs. It was too cute to watch him. He's the kind of kid that talks in exclamation points. "I got four eggs in one nest!"

I  hope all of you had a really great day, too!

Take care.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Curtains

Here is a pic of the curtains mentioned in a previous post that I made for the kitchen. I love the pattern. It is the same as the set I made for the guest room but it is in light green.
Kitchen Curtains
The green is very light. Some time in the near future, I'll be painting the walls a light green like this. I plan to split the wall with a chair rail and paint white on one side and green on the other.

Take care.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Before & After - Project Completed

Here is the project I mentioned a couple of posts ago. We started with this coffee table which we rescued from the swap shop.
Rescued Coffee Table - Before
This shows the extensive water damage and messed up veneer. We sanded this then I remembered to take a picture. Hubby sanded it again then fixed the chipped veneer with Bondo.
Bondo on Coffee Table - Before
Here is the Bondo job hubby did and he finished it beautifully. First of all, I wanted to stain each section of the design in different colors of stain. After seeing how bad the veneer was messed and chipped, I decided to paint it instead. Hubby put long legs on the table and replaced the apron under the table with solid wood. It was previously particle board that had moisture damage. Paint would definitely take care of all of the problems. Angel, our oldest, is under the table. She loves to be under things.

Rescued Coffee Table - After
Here is the table. Using the design from the original veneer, I taped and painted the brown. Then, I taped and painted the almond white. Then, I measured and taped off for the pinstripe. Then, I put on 4 coats of satin polyurethane. Then, I waxed and buffed the whole thing. Now we have a pretty darn nice breakfast table that we can sit at when we eat. It's more of a bar-style and we'll have a view of our back yard in all seasons. As you can see, it took about a week of after-work work to finish this project. Worth it!

A lot of project planning will take place around this table.

Take care.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Baking

Here are a couple of things I baked for us this weekend. Baking is one of my most favorite things to do.

A is for Apple Pie
I had some left over apples which weren't good enough to eat nor were they bad enough to throw out. Yum!

Then, for our company coming in a couple of weeks...
Coconut Butterscotch Cookies
This is one of my most favorite cookies in the world. It is butterscotch chips and coconut. What a combo!!! Yum!

Take care.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Work - Hardie Board Pics

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we had a problem with Hardie Board. It was rotting and coming off of the fascia on the house. Here are some pics I took of the process. Sorry they are late in coming, but I wanted to show you what I was talking about.

Hardie Board Joint Rotting
This pic is of the front of the house where the Hardie Board was soaking up water and growing mold. This is rotting because of the water wicking and the mold growing.

Hardie Board Rotting in General
This pic is of the Hardie Board after it soaked up water and the paint was peeling off. We've had a few pieces laying around the yard from other projects and it does soak up and hold water. It takes a few years to rot, as this has done. The next pic will show you how the Hardie Board did not protect the backer board.

Hubby Working
Hubby was pulling off sections of the OSB backer board a little bit at a time. He was working in about 12 foot sections so we could replace the OSB board with pine lumber and cover it with vinyl. Personally, if I was the manufacturer, I wouldn't have used the OSB board anywhere on a house. I'm also betting that the roof wasn't finished properly so I can't blame all of this solely on the Hardie Board. I still don't like the stuff nor do I like OSB board. I don't think I'll ever pay to buy this stuff again.

Extra Framing
Since the roof joists are 2" x 2", Hubby made blocks which wrap around the 2" x 2"s so we can nail a solid backer in place. I would never have made a roof with 2" x 2"s. In SC, we have hurricanes and I don't know how this kind of building passed the requirements for strong winds. We are now concerned that the walls and the rest of the house will have to be repaired little by little.

Vinyl Fascia
Here is a picture of the vinyl clad board we put up. It's not the best job in the world but it should keep water out. We used construction adhesive on the board to attach the vinyl. Then we stapled the vinyl onto the new backer board. Then we caulked all of the seams and the dents the stapler made. It may be overkill, but it should last until we can replace the whole roof, which looks like it will be in the near future.

While we were up on the ladders, we noticed some of the shingles were lifting. Not good! I hope it was lifting because of the heat, but I think I know better.

Oh well. I guess you live and learn and do a lot of work.

Take care.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Work Weekend

This work weekend is a pretty good one. Hubby and I have been revamping a table to use in our kitchen for meals. We have a really nice and huge dinner table, which is posted on a previous blog around last Thanksgiving. However, it is too huge for just two people to eat at. This one will be taller and I'll put it near my kitchen window so we can look outside and enjoy the view of our backyard. The only thing is, we've Frankensteined a coffee table and it is probably going to be heck trying to get chairs to match. If worst comes to worst, I'll cut down a pair of bar stools and rehab them, too.

The weather is getting a bit cooler, which is a really welcome relief from the hot weather we have in the summer. The leaves are falling and the yard looks fluffy in spots. The pine needles are dropping by the basketfuls. I'll need to pick them up for the flower gardens. Down here, they use these for mulch. People actually buy them in bales to use. I have a free supply for the raking.

I put in a small flower garden and used some of the pine needles for mulch. Let me tell you about the plants I scored at Lowe's this weekend. I've been looking to get some crotons and pansies for color. The crotons grow outside all year long. They are expensive! The pansies, not so expensive. So I decided I'd get a couple of large pots of croton and a flat or two of pansies. Then I saw my favorite clearance cart in an aisle. So, I drug hubby and his buggy to the clearance rack for a browse. SCORE! Small crotons, like I wanted...cheap! Pansies, like I wanted...really cheap! Mind you, the crotons are weepy, but I think they'll pull through. The pansies are really in good shape, but most of the flowers are gone.

Now, the fun part comes. I have a small flower garden near our fire pit. Hubby pulled weeds from it last week. This week I'm planting these flowers in it before they decide to croak. I spread some compost over the soil and started turning over the soil. WRONG! There were roots galore from spreading vines that we've been killing and pulling out. The roots are still spreading. They are poison ivy roots. Oh, yeah! They are thick and kept me from turning the soil. So I had to cut each shovelful of dirt before I turned it over. Then I pulled out the roots and filled two 5-gallon buckets with the roots. So far, I haven't got a rash. It would show by now. I planted the garden and it's going well after only two days.

Busy weekend!

Take care.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Weekend Work

More work for us this weekend! We saw that the fascia on our house is rotting and falling off, as I mentioned in a previous post. Hubby took down part of the fascia, which is Hardie Board, and saw a whole bunch of new problems. The backer board is OSB board and that is rotten. The Hardie Board wicked the water into the OSB backer and it is like a sponge. One more headache with this Hardee Board saga. So, not only is the Hardie Board falling off, the backer board is rotting AND...the roof was made with 2" x 2" joists. Guess what? The ends of the 2 x 2's are rotting! Go figure. Yesterday we made a trip to Lowe's to get our supplies for this mess. Hubby is making supports to wrap around the 2 x 2's so we can nail a new backer board on and clad it with vinyl. He did about 24' of replacing today. I helped where I could. I was a holder and a nailer and a climber. We will be at this a while. Moral of the story, if you see Hardie Board on a structure you're thinking of buying...RUN! That's my opinion and only MY opinion.

I made another set of curtains. This time it was for the kitchen. I'll be getting some pics in here as soon as I move the other project I'm working on. That is polyurethaning an old entertainment center. I have the shelves done and now I'll need to do the body. The entertainment center is in my kitchen between the wall and the windows where the new curtains are. This is going to be  pretty tight. I'll have to take down the curtains so they don't get anything on them.

Take care.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Zentangle

I've found another project to do in my spare time...whatever that is. Actually, it only takes a few minutes here and there during the day to make something so interesting. At least, I think it's interesting. Have you ever heard of Zentangle? I didn't until I saw it featured on Squidoo (the only other place I like to blog). What it is is structured doodling. Here are my first couple of attempts at it.

Zentangles
I have NO artistic talent whatsoever. I wouldn't call what I did here artistic. To me, it's actually like Dr. Seuss stuff and it's all from the depths of the mind. Whatever is in the imagination you put on paper. Fill up the paper and you're done. This has been going on for a few years and I've only just heard of it. Hmmm. It's a little addictive, too. You can find patterns all over the web and that's where I got most of the center and righthand piece drawings. The one rule I love is that nothing is wrong. Every line and mistake is correct. You can mess with your mistakes more to make it more interesting or you can leave it be and fill in around it. It is a bit addictive. I find myself wondering what the next doodle will look like and what can I do different.

Oh, yes. There are 'official' papers to doodle on for Zentangling. My pieces are not those. My practice paper is a one-pound bag of scrap paper for scrapbooking. It is heavyweight paper cardstock. My pen is a fine-point Sharpie I use when I send postcards. Yes. There are 'certain' types of markers you can use to color in. I'm not going to color anything until I like something really well. My markers will be Sharpies. I've seen a pack of 24 really cool 80's Glam colors that I like. I'll go after those in a little while. For now, I'm enjoying creating. There is a 'philosophy' behind it, too. I don't know about that yet. I'm having fun playing!

The left piece is before I went web searching for patterns. The middle and right are after web searching. Like I said. I have NO artistic bone in my body. So, for me, doodling is the way to go!

Maybe you'll give it a try?

Take care.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Work

This weekend we didn't do much work to prepare the house for company. This weekend was mainly focused on, for me, inside work. Cooking, cleaning, laundry. For hubby, he spent his time in the barn working on a small Case tractor we inherited from a neighbor before he passed. He was a really good man and we miss him.

Today we went to Wal Mart and picked up some more fabric for curtains.More pictures will be coming soon as they will be for a bedroom and kitchen. I got an extra piece of fabric for 'just because'. I don't know what I'll do with it. Maybe make an extra set for the kitchen or maybe our bedroom. I enjoy collecting fabric I like. I always find something to make with it. Right now, I have a lot of fabric for quilts. I guess I better get a move on those. Quilting isn't one of my most favorite things to do, but I like doing it, nevertheless.

Food-wise, I made kielbasa and kraut on Saturday. Sunday I made a beef pot pie. We'll be eating well this week! I've also promised Hubby to make a sugar-free dessert that I'm sure he'll like. I've never made it before, but it has bananas in it. That makes it a sure-fire winner. Actually, I had it when I was a kid and it was my favorite then.

Friday we had a birthday at work. I made a Pretzel Jello Salad. Check it out. This was another one of my favorites when I was a kid. I remember having some at a neighbor's house and I fell in love with it. My mother never made it and I almost forgot about it. I never made this before and it was a HUGE hit at work. Hubby liked his sugar-less version. It wasn't sugarless, it just had less sugar than the original recipe called for. It was also pretty easy to make. Hubby already had a request for it for Thanksgiving dessert. He's already mentioned a bunch of pies he'd like. LOL! He's my big kid.

We had a little bit of rain last night. The weather is getting cooler here. It was in the 60's this morning and probably in the 70's the rest of the day. I didn't look at the thermometer outside to see.Autumn is coming! I LOVE autumn!!! It's in the 60's again at 10 pm. Nice!

That's all the excitement we've had this weekend. So, all of you, take care.

Until next time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Before and After Project Completed

This is one of my 'before and after' posts. Here is a project I completed last weekend. I finally have a picture to show as I mentioned this in a previous post.
Before
When I found thid, I had no idea what this thing was. It looked like it was an end table and a coffee table. There were cup marks on the short and long sides. That hole in the back makes it seem like it was a TV stand. Someone made it. The wood is good and the craftsmanship is pretty good. So I decided to make it into something I've wanted for a while.
Bench in the Bathroom
I've wanted a seat in the bathroom which will hold magazines, towels and supplies. The area between the toilet and the sink is a weird size. So when I saw this, I had to bring it home. I painted it white and distressed it. I made a cushion from the curtain fabric. I put legs on it and put a few coats of polyurethane all over. Now, when company comes, they can put on their shoes here, sit down to do something else or put clothes here while they shower.

Take care.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Curtains

Here are pictures of the curtains I made last weekend.
Bathroom Curtains
I wanted something different for the bathroom. If you look back in my posts a while ago, you'll see there were beige curtains in here. Now there's a little bit of country color. That's my whole idea is to get this room a little bit in the country style. Paint chip on the wall to the right of the picture. Planning to paint the room this color soon.
Den Curtains
I ended up putting these in the den. It really brightens up the whole room. On the rocking chair is a bit of the material that was left over. I made a small cushion with a bit of stuff I had in my sewing supplies. I have two more cushions ready to stuff which will go in this room. One more similar to this one and one plain beige one. Yes, we cover our chairs because of the dogs. Trixie is the only one who gets up on the furniture and this is her favorite chair (on the left). Her other favorite place is on the linoleum bathroom floor, which is the bathroom picture above. It's cool in there and she can lay flat and not be bothered.

That's my curtains for this go-round. I'll be sewing some for other rooms soon.


Take care.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Today's Work

Today Hubby and I worked on our den. We took out the furniture, cleaned blinds and windows, swept and rinse 'n vac'd the floor, cleaned the lampshades. We've just moved stuff back into there a little while ago. Now we're figuring out what to do next. This room will need only a good sweeping when company comes. Maybe we'll rinse 'n vac again. Oh! I just remembered. I have to clean the fireplace and oil the woodwork, clean the oil lamps and clean the mirror above the mantel.

I guess I'd better get going.

Take care.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Work This Weekend

Once again, we've been busy with yard work. Here are some pics of our porch and pavilion that we've been working on. I can say that we're done except for picking up the supplies and moving them to the barn.
Revamped Porch
Here's the porch we've updated a bit. Made new steps and made them wider. New handrails. New top rail on the bannisters around the deck. Used Restore on the deck. Added solar lights to the stairs. One more thing about Restore: the white stuff is sand on the kick plate. If Restore clumps, the sand will wash off with the color. What's left is white sand sticking to the porch. I'll have to knock it off and repaint that area again.
Solar Lights on Stairs
We bought some solar lights from Lowe's. A two-pack is $11 bucks. These throw off a lot of light and is well worth the money. Also, I'm glad we didn't have to run a wire. I LOVE solar powered stuff!
Picket Underpinning
Instead of cheap lattice or plastic stuff, we went with fence pickets for around the base of the deck. It was very inexpensive. Took little work and went up fast. We got three 24" slats out of each board. I repainted all of this today. It was two different shades of Canyon Brown stain. Now it's closer.
Picket Privacy Fencing
We put this on one side of the picnic pavilion to keep the setting sun from getting in our eyes. Works great! Cheap fix! If you look to the left, I've scrubbed the eaves on this pavilion. If you enlarge the photo, then you'll see the mold I was removing from the eaves. One side is white and the other is blackish. Mold grows everywhere down here.
Picnic Table Revamp
Hubby worked hard on this one. A couple of years ago, he made this picnic table. It only weighs about a hundred pounds. No joke! He cut off part of the legs and added wheels this week. He sanded the top and added the white apron. I put four coats of polyurethane on the top and stained the legs. Hubby is so handy with stuff!

Well, that's some of the stuff we did to prepare for our company in November.

I hope you had a productive day, too!

Take care.

Friday, October 4, 2013

More Work

We're getting some more work done to prep for the company coming in November. Hubby put the final touches on the deck. He painted the stair treads with Restore and I came home from work and stained the railing. The only problem we have is that the stain is 2 different colors even though it has the same name on the can. I HATE THAT! Our first 2 cans of Canyon Brown is a reddish brown. It looks really nice. The last can of Canyon Brown is really a dark brown. Totally different from the other cans. Must've been from a different lot or a different plant. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend? I can't stand all of the different shades on one project. I can handle 2 shades, but not three or more. Also, the wood we just bought (still from Lowe's) is taking the stain differently. How lovely is that?! If I restain the wood, all will be well.

A few years ago, I got Hubby into solar lighting. I love the fact that there's no wiring to it. We've bought a bunch of sets for the yard flower beds. I just bought 4 for the deck stair treads so we can see where we're going. It'll help our little one, too. She's supposed to be going blind, but she sure doesn't act like it. Her eyes are just starting to get milky. Also, the people coming in will need to see our steps to get in at night. They're supposed to arrive at midnight so we'll need this lighting for their safety.

Today I'm working on the curtains I wanted to make. I'm almost done with one set. I don't know whether to put this set in the one guest bedroom or the dining room. It's a brown/green/blue flowered print with a beige-y background. Whichever room I choose, they will brighten things up a bit. The bedroom has a crocheted yellow bedspread (thanks Yuri) and beige and white walls. The dining room has the same walls but the furniture is very dark brown and rustic. Either way, I'll blog about it later.

Next sewing project will be the curtains for our company bathroom. That is a medium dusty blue background with dark pink, blue and white/cream flowers. I'm hoping to have enough to make a cushion for the project I have in this bathroom. I can't wait to get it done so I can show you.

I'll have more projects going this weekend, I'm sure.

Take care.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

RIP...Lulu

Well...my last Barred Rock chicken passed away today. She was about 6 years old or so. Probably 'or so'. I can't remember when we got her and her sisters. 6 years is pretty old for a chicken. Especially since most people eat theirs after about 2 years of laying. I have 4 hens and 1 roo left. These will live their last days in retirement. I have one still laying. I think it's my Salmon Leghorn. She's looking a bit sluggish, too. I haven't gotten an egg in a while, so it may be her who's laying.

At this time, mine are just layers. I'm considering raising the next batch for the freezer. I'd be doing the 'chicken tractor' thing to make it worthwhile to raise for meat. I need to get in touch with the abattoir to see what they charge to 'do them in' and prep for the freezer as I'm too much of a softie.

Now, if we're talking rats...that's a different story. I CAN 'do in' rats. ; )  Speaking of that, I haven't seen any rats for most of the summer. I haven't heard them in the coop nor seen them in the yard nor smelled them peeing anywhere nor seen them in the compost heap. I consider that a pretty good summer!

So long, Lulu. R.I.P.

Take care.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Work...continued

Well...we've finished our deck. At least the woodworking part of it is done. Now, all I have to do is paint it and add some solar lights to the steps. Pics to come.

I finished my project for the company bathroom. I just need to get some stuff for it at the fabric store. Pics to come.

Next project will be to repair the fascia board on the house. We have a double-wide trailer. It's pretty nice. Inside, you'd never know it was a trailer as the roof is not 'cathedral' style. They are 'residential' style, which means flat. However, the Hardie Board that is on the fascia, has rotted through. It was painted and taken care of. The blasted stuff isn't any good. Water must've gotten into it and weakened the cement. It's not supposed to do that. The Hardie Board is only 10 years old! IMHO, if you're thinking of using this to side your house, think again. You may have to replace it. We have a couple of sheds and our barn sided in Hardie Board. It's OK and not rotting. The siding on the barn gets weak if it gets wet. So it's porous. The two sheds we have sided in it are OK. They have been painted with about 4 or 5 coats of oil-based paint on them. This works well. If you do go for the Hardie Board, make sure you put on a few coats of oil-based paint on it. Maybe if the span between the framing boards are closer together, you'll have good luck. That is how our sheds are built. So good luck if you use Hardie Board. Not to dis it altogether. It has good and bad qualities. For short framing spans, it seems to be good.

Take care.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Work

As I mentioned before, we're getting ready for company this Thanksgiving. We've been doing loads of work on the weekends in order to get ready. So far this weekend, we've accomplished a lot of things.

We started repairing our deck. It's about 10 years old and is still in pretty good shape. There are a couple of boards we needed to replace. Hubby replaced the railing boards. They were warped and twisting. I painted them and the railings so everything looks fresh. We demo'd the steps and put new ones in. Hubby wanted to reuse the stringers, but I thought they were too shabby to reuse. So I went to the local hardware store and bought three 3-step stringers. My bill came to $29 and some change. SHOCK! When we last bought stringers, they were about $4 a piece! Whoa! $9.25 is what they were today. Double Whoa!! So I hauled them home. The steps look really nice. There is a lot of room for sitting on them and watching the bees, butterflies and butterfly moths drink from the lantana. That will probably be my favorite spot to sit at night.

Previously, we had covered our deck floor with Restore. It is that new stuff that puts a coat on the surface of the wood and fills in some small cracks. Remember...what you see on TV is after they put down a brand new surface then painted it with Restore. What actually happens is your surface will have some small cracks filled in with the larger cracks remaining to a certain degree. This stuff doesn't level any boards out for you. You will need to check your fasteners before you apply this stuff. It will coat the head of the nail and screws. We may not be able to unscrew anything when we demo in the future. One very important thing to remember...THIS STUFF GETS HOT HOT HOT IN THE SUN!!! We get upwards of 90 degree F weather here for most of the spring and summer. Since this stuff is a kind of plastic, it heats up quickly and stays hot for a long time. The dogs won't even stay on it. One good thing is that it is a clean up with water. It is easy to use. Just roll or brush it on. It is relatively inexpensive for what you are getting, which is a fairly new-looking deck. It gives a non-slip surface, which is a real plus.

We put a new underpinning around the deck. We used 6' pickets. We stained them and cut them into 3 equal pieces. It is cheap and looks great! We applied them about 2" from the ground and it should last a long time, too.

I've been working on another piece of furniture for our company bathroom. Pics to come soon!

What's nice about us is we work well together. He does the nitty gritty stuff and I'll help him if he needs it. I do the finishing stuff which usually isn't all that hard but it takes a lot of time. We're knocking off our chores rather quickly. I can't wait until he helps me get the house ready. That will be a great big blessing!

Take care.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bumblebees

This morning was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining...70 degrees...slight breeze...dewey. Perfect morning.

Hubby and I were outside near the barn getting some work done and I noticed the strip of grass next to the driveway was buzzing with life. There were small bumblebees flying in and out of the grass strip. I couldn't figure out what the deal was. They were minding their own business while I watched them. There was a small swarm of them. Probably 20 to 30 of them. While I watched, I tried to figure out what grass meant to them. There were no flowers for them to tend. They climbed up and down the blades of grass. Then they took off to the next one and the next one, etc. Then I figured it out. They were collecting dew from the grass. We haven't had rain for a while and they got their water from where they could. Dew is good.

This is something I've never been privy to before. It was really an amazing thing to watch. There were so many of them all working in harmony. It was a perfect orchestration of life and how things can work together for the good of the community.

It's a shame that we humans don't take our cues from simple creatures. Why can't we work together to take care of each other? Rather than being a 'me' society, we should really think of what we're doing and how we're accomplishing it. We should take care of 'us' if we're to survive for any length of time. It's funny how we can lose track of the really important things in life.

Those bees had a plan to help their whole colony. We don't even have a plan to help ourselves. We just live from day to day and paycheck to paycheck. Funny isn't it? Who's smarter?

Take care.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rain? Not yet.

We've been having tropical fronts coming through the area. There has been rain in some areas. However, we haven't had any rain on our property for quite a while, now. It's rained a mile or less away several times. It sometimes seems like where we live, we live in a bubble. We get dark skies and thunder rumbles. Then we get sunshine within minutes. If the whole day is overcast and there is thunder, we still didn't get any rain.

I was outside after work today and was wondering what I could do for a short time before dinner. So I started pulling weeds. The weeds came out so easily because the ground is turning to powder. As I pulled, the weeds nearly begged to get out of the ground. They were the most pitiful weeds I've seen in a long time. Mind you, we have very stubborn weeds here in SC. Nothing much phases them. They will die if you spray them with herbicide, but they come back. These weeds didn't look like they wanted to come back. I got one of my nursery beds pulled. This is the one with my herbs in it. I gave the remaining plants a good watering tonight. Tomorrow I'll do the same. Probably the next day, too.

We got our Lehman's shipment today. It was 4 Dietz lanterns that were on sale. Some replacement parts for lanterns and some wicks. If you haven't gone to Lehmans.com, you ought to do so. Especially if you love old-timey stuff for the house. You know...stuff that brings back memories from childhood. That is, if you're over 50. Also, if you need supplies for hurricane season which don't need electricity, this is the site for you, too.

I'm in the middle of baking red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing for work birthdays tomorrow. I wish you a good day!

Take care.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Before & After Project from the Dump

I've finished one of my small projects this evening. I mentioned before that I got a wine rack from the swap shop at the dump. Here it is in all of its dirty, moldy glory.
Salvaged Wine Rack
It was really grungy dirty. I washed and rinsed with a damp rag. I let it dry and gave it a pretty decent sanding.

Getting off the subject a little...this cement table under the wine rack is the one we just painted gray. It was mentioned in a recent blog post. Nasty, wasn't it?!

Here is the wine rack after a priming, light sanding, 2 coats of interior white latex, more sanding to distress, 2 coats of latex polyurethane and a final coat of paste wax.
New Loo Rack
'Loo rack' sounds kinda better than a magazine holder for the toilet, doesn't it? You know, sometimes you just have to have a morning cuppa joe and a magazine while you're in the midst of relaxing. I wanted a small table for in the bathroom. I couldn't find a small table. So when I saw this at the swap shop, it jumped into my Big Girl Truck and came home with me. It looked like a puppy had a bit of fun chewing on a leg and shelf, but who's going to see it in my water closet? What do you think? I think it's the perfect size for a small space. It does the trick for right now.

Next project in the works. Stay tuned!

Take care.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Anniversary

Happy anniversary to us!

Today is our wedding anniversary. 22 years and still going.

This morning I had a hair appointment. The whole way there, I bet myself Hubby forgot our anniversary again this year. He's usually the one who remembers. He slipped up once and I keep thinking he'll slip up again. So, I came home and made lunch. Then we discussed what we were going to do today. He suggested going to the furniture store for a piece we've been looking for. I said we should do some yard work first then we can go. I also suggested we use a restaurant gift card that we've had laying around for a while. He thought about it for a second then agreed. So we went to work in the yard. I finished up sanding the picnic pavilion. He finished edging the driveway.

By the time we got ready and got to the restaurant, it was time to eat. We were seated and I held his hand and looked into his eyes...ready to spring a 'happy anniversary' on him. He 'happy anniversary'd' me first! He didn't forget! Yay!

We had a nice meal. Found our piece of furniture. Went to the mall for something we didn't find. Came home and vegged out.

What a nice day!

If you're married, may you have many happy ones like we've had.

Take care.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Birthdays Today

I took in the cupcakes I made yesterday. I also took in the waffles and syrup I pre-made last night. I put them in the breakroom on the ground level. I brought a lot of waffles home. All of the cupcakes I took were eaten. The one guy who wanted the cupcakes was not here today. He went to a training session off-site. I wish someone would've told me that. The guy who wanted waffles, ate some. He liked them. I thought they were a bit on the tough side rewarmed in the toaster. I left a note for the guys and gals not to reheat them in the toaster for too long. The waffle guy was surprised that the syrup was homemade. He liked it so I gave him the unopened quart of it to take home. I have a lot of it left in my fridge at home.

All in all, I guess they liked the cupcakes best. They did eat some of the waffles, too.

Next week is Red Velvet cupcakes. That should be a real treat since I've never made them. I'm planning to make them the original way. I'll get a box cake in case I can't get the original recipe to work.

Take care.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Birthdays at Work

This month there are a lot of birthdays at work. The reason I mention this is tonight I spent a couple of hours making stuff to celebrate a couple of them with.

First off, one guy wanted waffles for his birthday, which is this weekend. OK. Waffles. Hmmm. So I made waffles from my own recipe. I also made some vanilla syrup to go with it. Yum!

Secondly, the next guy with a birthday this weekend, he likes chocolate cake. That's normal. So I made chocolate cupcakes and vanilla icing from scratch. My recipe made a LOT of cupcakes. 34 of them. A regular box cake mix you'd be good if you got a couple dozen. My cupcakes have chocolate chips in them, too. They were supposed to have cream cheese filling, but I skipped that. The cream cheese filling makes them take a lot longer to bake. I didn't want to spend all night in the kitchen tonight. The cupcakes turned out just fine.

I hope the guys and gals at work appreciate some good home cooking. I know I do.

Take care.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Recently Made Foods

Here's a few food items I've made that may be interesting. First off is this...
Hubby's Birthday Cake
 Just as the caption says, it's Hubby's birthday cake. Made from scratch, including the icing. It's his once a year splurge. Mahogany Chiffon cake from a very old Betty Crocker cookbook that I picked up at a yard sale. The couple bucks I spent for that was really worth it. I use it a lot and the recipes are really good. Of course they're not all heart healthy. But, back when this was made, no one was dying much of cancer and heart attacks. So, in moderation, all is good!

Next is this baby.
Unstuffed Cabbage
That's what I call it. All of the ingredients you'd normally put into a stuffed cabbage you put into here. Fry up the meats, add the cabbage, kraut, onions, garlic powder, salt & pepper and tomato sauce. Simmer until it's done. Add a bit of pre-cooked rice. You're ready to eat! It takes only about an hour to get all of this done. So it's doable on a weeknight.

This one is a bit more complex.
Vegan Meal
Punjabi Chole (left) and Curried Potatoes right) served with tomatoes. YUM! I love Indian spices. I just mix what I have on hand in the proportions with what the online recipes call for and it turns out yummy. I don't have all of the Indian spices called for, so I just leave them out. There is usually enough spice in it anyway. I don't know the difference because I've never had the original. So I don't think I do too bad. At least, a former Indian co-worker said it smelled authentic.

That's about it for now.

Take care.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Work Day

After yesterday, you'd think we had enough of working out back. Well, we rolled out of bed this morning. Actually, my dog made me get out of bed because Hubby was already up. She won't stop barking until we're all together. Anyhow, when I rolled out of bed, I found out I had muscles I haven't used in a while. It wasn't all that bad, but I had a workout yesterday.

Today, we got up and went out back again. Hubby pressure washed the cement picnic set we have. It had a nice thick layer of black and brown mold growing on it. So much so that when Hubby pressure washed it, there was a bit of a raised area between the clean part and the moldy part. It was noticeable to me. The picnic set hadn't been treated before and we had it for about 8 or so years, so we decided to put a finish on it. We bought gray cement paint for our pavilion (which is almost completed) and I painted the picnic set today. Here it is.
Cement Picnic Set Just Painted
Looks pretty good, doesn't it? This was a few hour job because we had to wait until the cement dried before I could paint it. I didn't paint the bottom bit of about 1-2 inches because it was in the dirt or close to it. We're going to level it an put rock around the base so you won't be able to tell.

Hubby and I started our fires again after calling in another burn permit. We got some more stuff burnt up. It looks really clean out back. Next, we're going to get the rock for under the picnic set and enough for around the fire pit. Then, we'll be making some Adirondack-style chairs for around the pit. Hubby made two already, but they need a couple of coats of paint. He only got one coat on before the rains came. Now the things are starting to mold.

Thursday night, we got our order of bug spray. It is heavy duty stuff. We must be the last customer on the route. Our delivery guy comes around 7 pm. Our mosquitos are so bad we can't be outside for long. We sprayed immediately after we got the order. We were able to work outside yesterday and today WITHOUT MOSQUITOS! Yay!!! This stuff is supposed to last for about 6 weeks before we have to apply it again. We may have just found a way to get our yard back! It also took care of our mole crickets. One of the dogs kept picking up the dead bodies. I hope she didn't eat any. She likes to eat bugs for some reason. You'd think we didn't feed her. Blah!

Well, I hope you had a great day.

Take care.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Work Day

Hello everyone! Today was work day on our little patch of Earth. Saturdays usually are work days outside for us, but today we accomplished so much. We are expecting a lot of company for Thanksgiving and we're trying to get our yard in order so we can all spend time outside.

First of all we planned to burn brush. Hubby called for a burn permit, which is required in our state, and gave our information. If we don't call in to burn brush and a fire starts and spreads...BIG FINE! We make sure we always call in a burn permit. Then we get things going. We run a water hose out back, just in case we need water. We get supplies loaded into our garden tractor and yard trailer, like a pitchfork and axe and chainsaw. Now this was about 8 am. We worked and worked for what seemed forever. Hubby asked me what time it was. It was 10:28 am. Holy cow! We accomplished so much during this time. I brought out one of my painting projects to work on while stuff was burning. I almost have the first one finished. Now I need to do the second one. Both of these things will go in our house and I'll give you pics of the before and after.

I packed lunches in my work cooler. Not just lunches for me and Hubby. The girls get some too! It was pepperoni and mozzarella rolls, soda and doggie biscuits for lunch today. Yum! Well, I can't say 'yum' for the biscuits, but they didn't last long.

We finished up around 4 pm. We're wiped out!

Hubby went into the house with the girls and I finished up a couple of rows of sanding between the cracks of our picnic pavilion. We're using polymeric sand. It is good stuff and shouldn't let the weeds grow between the cracks. That's looking really good!!! Pics to come.

Tomorrow will be more of the same. Up early, burning and a project.

I hope you had a productive day today.

Take care.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

More about the Dump

In the last post, I mentioned that I go to the dump for useful items. What we have is a VERY large recycling/dump center which is across from the landfill site. I guess this helps out with the travel portion of refuse elimination. Anyway, the center has large bins which are marked for metals, wood, household trash, household items, plastic, paper and plastic bottle and aluminum, oil and reuse. Like I said, this is a large site.

The reuse area is like a backyard metal shed. It is a decent size where you can put stuff that still can be used by someone. It's like a yard sale without the prices. You take what you need and leave the rest. I like this option because it benefits those who leave stuff and those who need stuff. Saturdays and holidays are the busiest times. Everyone is out on Saturdays. Some people come for gifts they can give for the holidays. This is the time I especially like to leave stuff. One time, I left a video game racing wheel with the programs to go with it. A couple of older women came behind us and took it home. It made me feel good. But at the same time, it made me sad. For me, I like the challenge of getting something and remaking it and giving it to someone who needs it.

I like the fact that they recycle oils that would normally get pitched into the landfill or loosed into someone's yard. They take any oils...car oil, cooking oil, etc. I'm surprised how many people actually use this portion of the site. Every time I visit, there is someone being responsible and dumping oil into the bins. Yay!

Also, they remove what is left in the swap shed at the end of the day and take it to the appropriate bin and put it into the landfill. Nothing sits overnight.

Quite a few people work the site during the day. That's good for our area. They wear orange vests. If you need help lifting something into a bin, they'll help.

Do you have something like this in your area? If not, see if your county will sponsor this. It never hurts to ask.

Take care.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Freebies

I went to my favorite place the other day - the swap shop at the dump. No, I'm not destitute or anything. I'm not rich, either. I just like finding stuff I can use or stuff I can fix up and give to others. I usually do a drive-by after work to see if there are any interesting items in there that I could use. I've been doing this for a while and I enjoy it immensely. Especially when someone I give something to really appreciates the item.

OK. Last week I picked up a small plastic rocking horse. I have to give it a good scrub and bleaching. It needs a little refurbishing, but not much. Then I'll give it to a friend of ours who has a small child. I gave them an adjustable walker last year and the baby loved it!

I also picked up a wooden box with one side open. It looks like it had been used as an end table and a coffee table. I'll be recycling this into an item I can use in my bathroom. Pictures later!

Monday or Tuesday of this week, I don't remember which day, I picked up a wooden wine rack and a nice serving platter with no chips. And to think I was in the process of talking myself out of stopping there. Oh boy! I have a good use for that wine rack! It's something I've been looking for for a long time. I think you'll be surprised what I'm going to use it for. Pictures later on that, too!

Here are two websites I frequent for ideas and a good browse. Trash2Treasure is a really great one. This lady has a couple of booths in a couple of different antique malls. She makes really cool things from other things. I've mentioned this site in a post last year or so ago. Check out Miss AJ's site and see what she comes up with!

Here's a really cool site for refurbishing furniture and other things. This is the first time I've mentioned her site on my blog. BetterAfter is the name of the blog. Miss Lindsey is interested in how people reinvent items found in the trash or items that were not loved any more. Lots of the furnishings are painted, which is fun to see. This stuff is far out!!! You MUST check this website out.

Comment below to let me know how you like these blogs. I'll be interested to know if YOU'VE gotten any inspiration from them.

Take care.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reprieve from Rain!

Yay! Saturday was a little sprinkly here and there. Nothing that would keep us from being outside.  We went to Tractor Supply for straw for the chicken coop. We also went to Lowe's and got some cement to finish off our pavilion wall. Hubby laid block and I stained a fence.

Sunday was superb! It was under 80 degrees F with a breeze. It got a little over 80 degrees and still had a breeze. There was an overcast sky, which made it really nice.

I had a lot of outdoor chores to do. I trimmed the large cactus growing into our driveway. I also got rid of all of the berry bushes and pine trees growing in that cactus. Well...my arms look like they were in a fight and the bushes won. I also got a bug bite which turned into a biggie. I trimmed the willow tree growing over the driveway. It was rubbing the tops of the trucks as we came in to park. I also trimmed up the trees growing up the side of the ditch. They needed it. Now our driveway looks pretty good and our ditch looks better. I couldn't stop there so I trimmed my Weeping Holly a bit. Then I pulled weeds from around it. I have a LOT of weeds to go to finish out my flower gardens. Did you know that termites will live in your mulch? I found that out. They are living in my composting pinestraw mulch. A little bug killer and that is that. I know I just got the ones on the surface, but I'll go back over it with some more later.

Now I'll mention that Hubby cut and weed-whacked the grass, laid block, started preparing our garden for fall planting, plus a few other things. He got a Dietz lantern out and we sat out under the pavilion Sunday night. This was the FIRST time this summer that we were able to do that. The rest of the summer, it was either too wet or the mosquitos ate us up so bad that we couldn't sit out.

We're expecting company in November and I have lot of things to get done beforehand.  Mostly getting the yard in order so kids can play outside.

So, three days without rain and we're back to working in the yard.

Take care.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rain

I don't know if any of you have kept up with the weather in the Southeast, but it's raining again here. So far this summer, it's been one rainy summer.

We have mosquitoes to the glory. Around here, we can't have any standing water. In 3 days you'll see mosquito larvae. That goes for any standing water. I've seen larvae in the dogs' indoor water fountain. We have one of those 1.75 gallon waterers. I only fill them half way so I can give them fresh water every couple of days. I was taking the lazy way out. I don't do that any more. That was just plain nasty. The girls get fresh water every day, even twice a day.

Another effect of the rainy weather is frogs. LOTS of frogs. We have tree frogs here and lots of them. They like to hang out around our porch light at night. I also keep a small container for the compost pile on the railing so I can put my coffee grounds and scraps in it every night. Then I empty it the following day. Well...sometimes a day or two after I should. The frogs find out that flies and gnats love to do their thing in the compost tin. They'll sit around it at night and snatch up the flies and gnats. Right now, we have frogs the size of pencil erasers coming around. You know the pencil...yellow #2. Yep. Frogs that little get around pretty well. They crawl up the siding and hang around the porch at night. They're fun to watch on the window. Last night, I watched one stalk a small fly of some kind. Frogs sure do have patience, don't they?! I hate to say this, but they pop when you step on them. Yuk! I didn't do it on purpose, mind you. It was a bigger frog a couple of years ago. I watch going out in bare feet now. Uh huh. Sure do!

Any how, every few days the frogs mate in the ditches. They sing so loudly for about 3 days until they get their stuff done. The noise is so deafening that you can't sit out and talk. Then you see little frogs everywhere. It's like magic.

Well. Because of all of this rain, we lost a lot of tomato plants. The tomatoes rotted on the vine and the vines are losing leaves and are growing spindly. It's time to plant winter crops, anyways.

The strawberry patch is holding on. The plants are losing leaves from the heat, but they're alright.

The elderberry plot has grown by leaps and bounds this year. We had two flowering stalks which were promptly eaten by birds or something. Next year should bring some good heads. I didn't gather wild ones this year, yet. I'll be hard pressed to find some still holding on to the stalk with all of this rain. What's funny is, everyone born down here thinks they're poisonous. I love to make jelly from them.

That's how things are going here in our piece of heaven.

Take care.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Postcrossing

I've joined an online group called Postcrossing. "What is Postcrossing?" you ask?

First, here's a little info about my life as a younger person. I always liked getting mail. Any mail. I used to rush outside when the postman came just to get the mail so I could see what came. To me, this was like opening a present every day. It was kind of a secret addiction which no one knew about until this very post. When I found out there was such a thing as a pen pal, I got one. Back in those days, you had to write to someone to get a pen pal. Then you received a postcard with a name and address of another person in the world that you could write to. My pen pal was a girl in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It was so fun to send and receive mail from her. I still have the trinkets she sent to me for my birthday and such. I don't remember what trinkets I sent to her. I hope I did them justice.

Fast forward 35 years and I found out about Postcrossing from a lens on Squidoo. (Did I say I'm an information junkie, too?) I went to the Postcrossing site and joined. What it is, is a bunch of people from around the world register on this site to send postcards to whoever is randomly selected for them. Random! Cool, ain't it?! I sent my first two out last week - Poland and Germany. I received my first one this week - Philadelphia. I have two more to go into the mail this week - Russia and Washington state.

Yes, there is a cost to it. You buy the postcards. You pay the postage. That's all unless you want to donate to the site crew for upkeep. US postcard postage is 33 cents. International postcard postage is $1.10. This will be my little contribution to help keep our post offices running. Every little bit helps, eh?

This is going to be so much fun! Feeds my not-so-secret-now addiction. Check out the link above and see if you'd like to do something like this.

Take care.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

3 Bean Salad

I made this last week for something to take to work. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but just never got around to it. It's 3 Bean Salad and it's pretty yummy. It's a different take from the vinegar and oil based salads I've been making most of my life. When I was working in a family-style steakhouse, we bought this stuff pre-made in cans. It's so simple to make and costs a whole lot less. It also tastes better than the canned stuff.
3 Bean Salad
As you can see, the three beans are green, waxed and kidney. The green and waxed beans are the staple of the salad. If you like, you can replace the kidney beans with cannelli beans or limas or whatever you'd like. Black beans or black-eyed peas would be pretty and probably taste really good in here.

Here's the recipe:

3 BEAN SALAD

1 can cut green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cut waxed beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed - I used dark kidney beans for the color contrast
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

Dressing
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil - if you use olive oil, it will coagulate until the salad warms up
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the dressing ingredients together. Add to the beans. Stir and put into the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

*You may need to double the dressing ingredients as this is just enough for my taste.*

This is pretty good to serve with just about any type of meal. It's nice on a hot day when you don't want to heat beans on the stove. It also is good to whip up if you know company is coming soon and you don't have much to serve. As long as the sugar dissolves, you can serve it lukewarm. In my opinion, it just tastes better if it's chilled.

Enjoy!

Take care and happy cooking.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Cake Recipe

A long time ago, I ordered a Hershey's cookbook. If you sent in so many Hershey's chocolate chip packages, you'd get a cookbook. Well, the cookbook was REALLY nice. It was a hardback and spiral bound cookbook. It had glossy pages. It is one of my 'go to' cookbooks for baking...especially for cheesecakes ; )

Well, we have a couple of birthdays at work this coming week. So I'll be baking a couple of cakes to take with me. I decided to try this chocolate cream cheese cake recipe, which is baked in an oblong pan. However, the recipe in this link shows for cupcakes, which would be much better to make. It's the exact recipe I had in my cookbook.

The recipe tasted really good, but I had a few problems and I have a few suggestions to make it better.

First of all, I should've made it in the oblong pan as the recipe suggested. I decided to make it in a bundt cake pan. By making it in the bundt pan, the baking time increased dramatically. What should've taken 55 minutes to bake, took almost 2 hours to bake. This made a tough crust on the bottom of the cake. It is almost too tough to cut.

Next, my recipe called for nuts sprinkled on top of the cake. So with the bundt pan I had to put the nuts on the bottom before I added the cake batter. The nuts baked into the cake and had no flavor. I used chopped almonds. I'll skip the nuts next time.

Then, the cream cheese filling didn't sink like it should have. I'll have to dunk it to get it into the middle of the cake. What happened is the cheese colored brown because of the length of time I had to bake the cake for. The filling didn't get hard, it just colored brown and made it look like chocolate. I didn't have a nice contrast between the chocolate and the filling.

What I'll do different is make these as cupcakes as the link shows. If I make it as a cake, I'll skip the nuts and add a simple glaze or ganache. And I'll dunk the cheese filling.

All in all, this cake was a winner. Being it was the first time I made it and I didn't follow the directions exactly, it's my fault I didn't have a pretty cake. I usually make a first recipe like it says the first time. Then I'll fix it up to my tastes. Live and learn!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Take care.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Banana Pancakes

Did you ever get a bunch of bananas and not get them all eaten? I'm sure all of us have had a bunch over our lifetime as a housekeeper. Right? It must be so since there are so many banana bread recipes out there. I made about 3 double batches of banana bread over the course of a month. Yeah. That's a lot. Each of my double batches makes one very long loaf, which I have a special pan for, and 3 mini loaves. A lot of these were given away.

SOOOO, this time, I decided to make some banana pancakes instead.
Banana Pancakes & Sausage
Were they good? Yep! Were there leftovers? Yep! Are they in the freezer for later? You bet!

I have my own recipe for the batter, which I've perfected over the years. The standard batter from cookbooks just don't turn out good for me. But the banana pancake batter is a little different because of the bananas. Here's how I did it.

BANANA PANCAKES

Dry Ingredients
2 cups white flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon


Put all of this in a bowl and stir it together. If you decide to add chocolate mini-chips* to the batter, add them now, to the flour mixture and stir until they're coated.

Next
2 very ripe bananas mashed well with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix this together in a separate container.

Wet Ingredients

In a 1 cup measuring cup, put two eggs.
Put in a heaping tablespoon of sour cream or unflavored yogurt.
Stir together.
Add enough milk to this cup to make 1 cup of liquid.

Add the banana mixture and the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.
If you want your batter to be a little looser, add some more milk, a little at a time.

Cook on a greased hot griddle and serve with your favorite syrup or jelly.

I got about twelve 6" pancakes from this recipe. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to portion the batter.

In my opinion, these turned out really well. You can add chocolate mini-chips to the batter*, if you like. Also, I wanted to add nuts, but I didn't have any walnuts on hand. Raisins are good to add, too.

If you decide to try this, please come back and let me know in the comment section. I'll be very interested to see if you liked them.

Take care.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

One of the Last Strawberries

Ok. You're going to think I'm goofy. Well...

Heart Strawberry
Here's one of the last strawberries we got from our strawberry patch this year. I thought it was cute. I've never seen such a pretty heart-shaped strawberry.

I hope this put a smile on your face today.

Take care.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Under the Weather

We're having some kind of weather here. It's extremely hot one day and raining the next. Sunny one minute and cloudy and raining the next. I guess this is taking a toll on some of us down here.

Last week, my boss was sick and stayed home a couple of days from work. Before he left, our safety director got ill. Then one of the engineers came down with something. See where this is going? Yeah. I got a head cold from all of this. Lovely! So a small bunch of us are running around with runny noses.

They say summer colds are the hardest to get rid of. I really hope not. I've been taking echinacea tincture at night and waking up good in the morning. A few hours after waking, the sneezing comes and I'm no good for the rest of the day.

Right now my nose is stuffed after a bout of sneezing. Just in time for swollen nasal passages just before bedtime. Try to fall asleep with that going on.

I hope you all are well and keep well.

Take care.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Easy Cinnamon Biscuit Roll

I'm always on the lookout for easy recipes to add variety to our meals. Here is one I found on Mennonite Girls Can Cook. It is their Cinnamon Biscuit Roll. This is the exact recipe I used without any variations except I didn't glaze my roll.

As you can see on my blogroll, I have the Mennonite Girls' website listed. Every recipe I've ever made from this site has worked out great and tastes great, too. I've also made the Rhubarb Platz for company and work. You can substitute fruits so I did. We don't have rhubarb here, in South Carolina, so I used apples and cinnamon one time. I used apricot filling another time. Next time I'll use canned cherry pie filling or fresh blueberries. It is really a pretty presentation and tasty, to boot. However, it is too sugary and I won't make it for home. This is just something special I make for others.

If you haven't ever been to this site, it's well worth the browse. The recipes are great. The pictures are great. They give you a bit of a background about themselves. They have a special Sunday "Bread for the Journey", which is very inspiring.

Here is what my Cinnamon Biscuit Roll looked like.

Cinnamon Biscuit Roll
As you can see, it turned out pretty much like on the Mennonite Girls' website. It is nice and flaky and not very sweet. It's more like a biscuit in texture. It holds together well if you want to eat it with your fingers. If I were to serve this for company, I would either glaze it after baking, or sugar it before baking.

I hope you'll give this one a try and browse the Mennonite Girls' website.

Take care.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The MOST Decadent Cake...Easy Too!!!

While I was searching for pictures of decorations for the scholarship program at work, I came across this cake at this site. It was so easy to make and is disgustingly sweet. If you ever have a need for a very easy and pretty cake for a die-hard chocoholic, this is the one for you! Well...I didn't feel like make 8 of these cakes for the scholarship program. I considered smaller cakes, but that would've been too much work and too much worry to transport them. Then I considered the cost - about $15 to make a 9" cake. That was a Little pricy. So, (drumroll please) ta da! My cake, with a lot of help from my favorite assistant.

Kit Kat Cake
It turned out pretty well, if I do say so. I don't usually try out gimmicky stuff, but it was for someone else's birthday. She liked it a lot but she couldn't eat but one slice of it. Yeah. It's that rich. It could be considered a 'death by chocolate' cake, for sure. That's one phrase I wish I could've coined.

So, if you go to the site highlighted above, you'll see a step-by-step progression on how to build it. If you Google 'Kit Kat Cake', you'll see a picture section. Expand that and you'll see many many variations of this cake. There are lots of good ideas you can do with this, as you'll see.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I liked eating this cake. (I ate several slices, but don't tell anyone.)

Take care.





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yummy Dip

The company I work for sponsors a scholarship program for high school seniors and college students whose parents work in the industrial site I work in. The scholarships are generous and the funds for them are donated by each corporation at the site. The program is in memory of a gentleman who tragically lost his life after being hurt at the company I work for. This gentleman, Tyrone, was really interested in helping children any way he could. He was a coach and tried to instill good qualities in the children by his example. It has been 16 years ago that Tyrone passed, but through this program, he'll never be forgotten. I, myself, never had the chance to work with Tyrone. I hear about him through my coworkers.

My part in this program is helping with the event. I ordered a spinach artichoke dip to be served at the scholarship awards ceremony. It was fantastic! Of course, I don't have the recipe for the dip served, but I found a really good one at the Kraft site. Here it is. I served it with lightly toasted pita triangles, just like at the awards ceremony. Anyhow, it's really good and simple. I made it by this recipe with no deviation. My take is that it needed a bit more garlic. I would use two cloves of real garlic instead of the garlic powder. There is something to be said about real garlic. I guess 'pungent' would be a good word. However, I like yummy. ; )

I hope you like the little bit I shared with you about one of the best parts of where I work. I also hope you'll try this dip. I think you'll really like it! If that doesn't suit you, then you should browse the Kraft site. I get a lot of recipes from there.

Take care.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Camper Cleaned

I got the camper ceiling textured and painted. I just went with white instead of the beige I was going to do. It turned out really well. Hubby has been cleaning a lot of the inside. I've been scrubbing walls and ceilings. Hubby got the outside all spiffy. We still have a bit of trouble getting the mold stains from the siding.

We are getting psyched! We love to camp, even though we've given up our tent and gone soft. Then, again, we had to find something more substantial than a tent to keep 4 dogs in line. We tented with 2 dogs and they gave us a fit. As soon as we jumped into our sleeping bags, they started fighting right on top of us. Literally. They don't fight. But they did that night. Put fear into us that night! Down here, we also needed a bit of A/C. Yep. We've gotten soft. But the dogs like camping with us. Sometimes they don't.

Take care.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cleaning Up The Camper

We've been cleaning up our travel trailer to go on vacation soon. Hubby found a soft spot in the roof where the antenna comes out. He fixed that from the inside since some water leaked into the ceiling. He did a pretty good patch job on the ceiling. Now, it's my turn to get the ceiling painted. First off, I'm going to do a little texturizing so the patch won't be so visible. Then I'll paint an area between panels a darker color than the rest of the ceiling. That color will actually be very close to a color in the wall paper. I think it will look great. Hubby is a bit skeptical. If it doesn't look right, I'll peel out the white and paint it all.

We've been scrubbing walls, floors, appliances, nooks and crannies. It is getting a really good once-over. We also bought an air deodorizer. It is in a tub and it is really taking the stuffy smell out of the air. Between the scrubbing with Simple Green and this stuff, which I don't remember the name of, it is smelling pretty good in there.

I still need to do the blinds, as well. THAT is a chore I really don't like. However, I'm going to try my household trick. In the house, our blinds are a plantation blind. The slats are about 2" wide with a wood grain that gets dirt and pollen stuck in them. I get a bucket with my ammonia water, dip a sock in it with the roughest side out and stuff my hand in the sock. I wipe both sides at one time which cuts down a lot of time turning each slat.

Then we have to scrub the outside. Down here, mold grows on just about everything. It especially likes vinyl siding and aluminum siding. Mold has no mercy. You can clean it one day and next week it will start coming back. Bleach works for a while, but you can't use bleach through the pressure washer because it degrades the seals in the machine. I have no idea what to use on it successfully. So, we're trying Simple Green and a pressure washer this year. Hubby did a little spot, but he didn't have much success. You can still see a mold shadow on the siding. If anyone has a suggestion that kills mold and keeps it away, please let me know in the comments section.

Wish us luck with this cleaning chore.

Take care.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tomatoes

Hubby and I took a walk back to gather strawberries when we stopped to check out our tomato garden, which is on the way. Last week I tied up the tomato plants and this week they need tied up again. They have grown so much with last week's rain! We also have some tomatoes on the vines. We counted about a dozen in various sizes. Some of them are bigger than golf balls right now. Whee! We're gonna have tomatoes soon! I can hardly wait to taste a bit of sunshine. Everything tastes so much better when we grow it ourselves. I hope some of the Black Krim tomatoes give fruit. They are a dark blackish tomato with a green halo around the stem part of the tomato. They are pretty but it's a little weird to think of eating a blackish tomato. Well, they're more like a purplish black.

Back to the strawberries...we got about a pint tonight. The second production has the nicest berries. They are hanging above the plant and aren't eaten so much by slugs. Now, the squirrels pick them and leave them laying around. It's annoying because they get the ripest ones and munch on them. At least they munch more than the birds do. Birds take a bite or two and go onto the next one. We lose less to the squirrels. The birds waste more.

We are supposed to get a bit more rain tonight and tomorrow. Just what we need...NOT. We need a bit of a break from rain. I'm sure we'll be begging for rain this summer during a drought.

By the way, the thermometer registered 99 degrees F when I got home tonight. It is hot and a bit humid. Sometimes a little breeze wafts through.

Take care.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Riding Out a Storm

We had about 2 days of nice weather. The ground was just soaking up the last of the last rain. Now, we're having a pretty nasty thunderstorm with tornado warnings around us. However, we have to be aware of what's outside because the weather can change in the blink of an eye here. Our weather isn't very predictable, but the weather people try really hard. Since about 6 pm, we've had rumbling thunder and rain here and there. It's gotten so bad that the satellite TV blurred a few times.

The rest of the week is supposed to be off-and-on rain. Well, I'll be going for now.

Take care.

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Wilmington

From where I used to live, New Wilmington was about 45 minutes to an hour away by car. How did I ever find this town, you say? Well, a long time ago I went to square dances. Someone there mentioned they lived in New Wilmington. I never heard of it so I got out the map and away I went. I figured if someone from New Wilmington was coming this far to go square dancing, then I could go for a visit. There are not too many things in the town, except the college makes it productive.

The town was very quaint. There was a single street with shops lining both sides. I used to get an ice cream cone or a drink and find a bench to sit at. I liked watching people walk by. Mostly it was college kids with their brains too wrapped around something to even notice anyone watching them. Westminster College is the university in the town. Once in a while an Amish person would walk by. The women dressed one way. The men dressed another way. The clothes were the same but the people were different.

There was a Five and Dime on the main street. It was cool to go in there. It reminded me of the stores I went in when I was a child. Everything was neatly arranged in wooden cases or glass cases. There was everything in the store you could imagine.

Down the road a bit, there was a store called the Cheese Haus. Yep. Full of cheese. Some other things, but a long long case of cheeses. Some were made by the Amish. Some were commercially bought cheeses. There was old fashioned candy in a display. You got butter in a whacked off chunk because it was homemade. I used to buy a pound of cheddar port wine spread, a box of crackers and some coconut watermelon slices or coconut neapolitan bars. Yum! Most of the cheese never made it home. A half box of crackers got lost. The watermelon slices would disappear. And I'd be happy in my tummy the whole way home. For me, it was better than fast food.

I love reminiscing like this. Those were some really good times for relaxing.

Take care.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rainy Days and Reading

More rain. Lots of rain. What more can I say on this subject? Hubby said he went to the strawberry patch and felt like he was in a rice paddy because there was so much water between the rows. He brought back about a quart of really large berries. They are about quarter-sized and bigger. Yes. Bigger! The second round grows above the ground on raised stems. There is no rotting and no slugs eating them. Yay! They are really really nice looking strawberries.

I just finished reading a book called 'Alaska' by Tracie Peterson. It is Christian fiction. I enjoyed it very much. It was 4 short stories spanning a family's life in Alaska from late 1800's to sometime close to the present. It was pretty good. I'll be reading more from her.

Now, I'm reading a book from Leslie Gould called 'Courting Cate'. I call it a 'calgon' novel. It takes me away... Anyhow, it's Christian fiction about Amish families. This author writes a little differently than the rest I've read. I like her style. I've been reading a whole slew of these Amish novels because they remind me of where I grew up. I used to take long rides to New Wilmington, PA on my days off. It was a college town in an Amish community. It was interesting to ride the countryside and watch the Amish play and do chores. Of course, it's not polite to stop and gawk, so I viewed on the fly. There were also communities all around where I lived. Another was in Enon Valley. Now, when we go for a visit to my stepson's place in DuBois, there is an Amish community there, too.

I also checked out 3 novels by Suzanne Woods Fisher. A few more Amish novels in her Stoney Ridge Seasons series. Actually they're books 1, 2 and 3. I've never read anything by her, but I think I will be. Her story lines are a bit different from the others.

I hope you have something you enjoy that would be your 'calgon'.

Take care.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rain...Still

Today was a  pretty drizzly day. The skies were gray. The drizzles came down all day. Sometimes it rained pretty hard. A little thunder here and there made it interesting.

What I really feel bad for is the osprey hawks which had a baby recently. Well, the baby is fully feathered but I haven't seen it fly yet. I didn't see mom and dad hawk at the nest during the rain. They may be getting him/her used to the weather by not being there. Then, again, it may be that they were out hunting to feed the baby. It's really cool to watch them. I am on the 3rd floor of the building and I can just see the top of the nest so I can peek at them from time to time. Some of the other hawk babies are learning to fly. What a ruckus they make! They chirp and have a hard time getting used to their wings. It is funny to watch, but it is really interesting at the same time. After they get the hang of flying, they are SO majestic to watch. Sometimes they swoop pretty low over me when I pass by. Sometimes they carry food. Sometimes they carry sticks for the nest. It is so amazing to me to be able to watch them at a close range. I am so fortunate!

I hope all of you have a great day.

Take care.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Rainy Day

Today started out a little overcast but nice. There was a little sun peeking out from behind the gray clouds. Then, after I got to work, it started raining. Wow! Rain, thunder and a little lightning. The gardens are taken care of today. No maintenance needed today.  I like it when Mother Nature takes care of us. Not to mention, I love rainy days and nights. We're supposed to have a few more days of rain. : )

Take care.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Berries

Blueberries will be in season pretty soon. A lady at work asked me if I wanted some she had frozen from last year before she puts them up from this year. Of course I wouldn't be turning this down. So I took them home on Friday. Today I made a blueberry coffeecake. It is really easy, nice to look at and yummy. We added some strawberries to it and whipped cream. It made for a nice snack this evening. The recipe is from Ina Garten at foodnetwork.com. It is her Blueberry Crumb Cake. It is now one of my favorites. My other favorite from Ina Garten is Blueberry Coffeecake Muffins. I've made these as is and I also like to make them with a streusel topping. These always get rave reviews when I make them and decide to share. I should say, IF I decide to share.

I love anything to do with fruit. Give me fruit pies, cobblers, coffeecakes, etc. I love chicken with lemons and oranges. I'll try mostly anything as long as there's fruit in it. Glazed ham with apricot, pineapple, cherry sauce. Raisin sauce, too. Yummy!

Down the road a bit, there's a blueberry farm. It is only about a mile away. I am so psyched to go picking this year. I've never been there, but I pass it all the time. Next year, I hope to have some of my own bushes. Actually I have a wild bush growing out back. It looks like it'll be good for about 2 cups of berries this year. This is the most I've seen on it. Luckily Hubby hasn't chopped it down. It is located in a really weird place and we've considered cutting it down before. It never produced like it is doing this year. Being it's doing well where it is, I'll be planting a couple of other bushes near it.

Also, out back we planted some elderberry seeds. They are going to flower this year. There are two flower heads growing and that is a start. This is the second year for the plants. Next year we should see an abundance of them. I've been keeping an eye on the bushes at the roadside. They are flowering really well. Some are even starting to fruit. I'll be gathering and making some jelly this year. My brother-in-law, who visited last week, likes elderberry jelly. So I'll be making extra to take to him.

Strawberries are giving the second round of berries right now. They are almost all at least as big as a quarter and larger. Hubby is getting excited. So am I, to tell the truth. You'd think we'd get tired of eating them. NOPE! Ain't going to happen.

Wish us luck with our plants.

Take care.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back to the Grind

Well, it was back-to-work day. I got there a little late because I had to do a few chores before I left. I managed to feed the chickens, put clothes in the dryer, make coffee for hubby and clear the dishes out of the sink.

I give myself an hour to get ready for work. Here's how I spend my time.

Shower = 10 minutes
Hair & makeup = 10 minutes
Choosing and prepping clothes = 10 minutes
Getting breakfast and lunch ready to go = 10 minutes

OK. I have 40 minutes accounted for. Where does the rest of the time go? I guess playing with the dogs 5-10 minutes. Feeding the chickens for 5 minutes. Enjoying the outdoors before I go to work...maybe 10 minutes. That takes it over 1 hour. OK. I played around too much today.

After a long weekend, I really HATE going back to work. I really LOVE sleeping in a little bit. Mind you, I love my job and my co-workers, so it is not that. It's just that I got a bit lazy because I can call the shots with what I do at home. I work my butt off at home but it's something that I want to do.

Does anyone else enjoy doing hard work at home rather than at work? Or, is it me?

Take care.