Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A giveaway at "Add More Chocolate"

Giveaway at "Add More Chocolate" website! My friend Renee is giving away a cool Paula Deen cookbook (a fellow southern gal) and a cute cookbook stand. Click here to try. I just love the name of this website!

Update: Guess who won? Yes!!! I am so excited. Thank you Renee! I'm feeling pretty lucky! Maybe I'll ask my husband for that new stove now. Hmmmm.

I would love to do a "Scooba" Review for iRobot Corporation

I have determined that I really, really want a "Scooba" bad. Most of my house is now tile or Pergo and I spend a good chunk of my cleaning day mopping. My Pergo gets so disgustingly gross over just seven (7) days. I just can't justify spending $250+ on it right now. Single income family, blah, blah, blah...

I've reviewed a lot of products on this website. Some are favorable reviews, some are scathing. I don't get paid for them or get any kind of advertising kickback. But I'm putting it out there iRobot company hot shots, I would love to review this for you in exchange for a handy, dandy Scooba. The idea of waking up every morning to freshly mopped floors sounds like a little bit of heaven! It would be also cool to see my dog freak out over the Scooba! Entertainment and a clean floor. What a deal. Call me guys!

Clean up your mess

Despite the fact that we live in the suburbs, there is "wildness" all around us. Recently I've noticed spots in the yard covered with small feathers. I cursed the cats in our neighborhood for killing the birds that frequent our bushes. However, I recently found the culprit. It was a falcon of some sort. There it was dining in my front yard on some birdy delicacy. It was too quick for me to get an identification. But it left evidence of its meal. Yuck! Just thought I would gross you out today. You're welcome. Bear with me. (BTW - It is not "Bare" with me people. That means get naked with me and that is not where I'm going with this.) This is a segway into an actual point...

One of my pet peeves are grownups that leave a fast-food restaurant table in a mess. Why do totally capable, uninjuired, adults leave a fast-food restaurant without picking up behind themselves? There isn't a good excuse. The people that work at fast-food restaurants are tired just like you. They don't want to have to clean up your sloppy mess. Take a second and clean up your hamburger wrappers and wadded up napkins and dump it in the nearest trash can dude. Then take a CLEAN napkin and wipe up the table. It will only take a second and will make a big difference for the people that come after to you to that table. Teach your kids to do the same thing puhhhhleeze. This shows respect for others.

See... I was going somewhere with that. Roundabout, I know, but we all got there safely and fully clothed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To plant or not to plant...

To plant or not to plant, that is the question. It never fails. I plant a beautiful flower garden and veggie garden and the weather turns cold and I have to cover my baby plants. Never fails. It's a sure thing. Call Vegas.
I waited and waited to plant my garden this year. This weather won't trick me this time. I'm too smart for it. Others planted their gardens but, oh no, I won't fall for it. I kept waiting. OK, its really warm. High 70's. The trees are starting to bud. The trees can't be wrong. Can they? I still waited.
The veggies came out at my favorite nursery. Still, I waited. We had a hard winter this year. Was it over? OK, maybe its over. The grass is growing again. OK, it's time.
I planted and planted. I done wore myself out ya'll. Two days after I planted, it hovered near freezing. I had to cover my baby plants. I am not smarter than the weather (or a 5th grader).

Here is what I planted this year:

Flower Gardens in the front

Alyssum Easter Bonnet - Violet - very sweet smelling. The bees love this. 















Delphenium





















Verbena but a trailing one to fill in the garden floor.






These two beautiful dew covered flowers are Osteospermum in Astra Pink. I took these pictures on a cloudy day. I love how the background is so dark. The beauty of these flowers stands out.

Snapdragon - Solstice Purple

This little fuzzy guy is a Verbena
Salvia - a nice variation on the ones I've had in the past.
It doesn't smell like cat pee either so that's a plus.
 

I love this Angelonia in "Serena Purple"

Provence Lavender. I bought a lot so I
could have a "field" of Lavender. My favorite smell.
 
The Spring Veggie Garden:

This cabbage is actually leftover from last year. It is so beautiful! 
The Old Garden 
Nothing much to look at now. My Oregano, apple mint, a sturdy cabbage, some parsley, rosemary and my father-in-law's green onions are holdouts from last summer. Oregano anyone?

The Pioneer Garden. Nothing flashy here except my two broccoli from last year. 

Cilantro

Yellow squash. After last year's zucchini takeover, I've opted for a nice tame squash. 

Cucumber. They didn't have burpless so
be warned all ye supper visitors. Arggg. I slipped into Pirate speak. Sorry.

Marigold - to keep away the bugs from the tomatoes.
Does it really work? I don't know but I like to keep the tradition.
Basil
Parsley
Bellpepper
Tomato - I've had a love/hate relationship with them. I've tried lots of different kinds but they always end up with some sort of leaf rot/fungus. I'm determined this year to win.
This picture doesn't have anything to do with my garden. This is Billy, our neighbors dog. He's so cute. I was outside taking pictures and he and his owner walked by. I just had to put him here and make you smile. Aren't you smiling?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Patio Furniture on the Cheap

There is no doubt about it, patio furniture is expensive. I can't reconcile shelling out hundreds of dollars for something that will sit out in the rain. Not going to happen. A fellow homeschooler posted that she had some old white wicker furniture she wanted to get out of her house for free. Free is my middle name! I was glad to oblige. She gave me several pieces that were still in good condition. They included two chairs, a computer desk, and a small round end table.

I also ran across a white wicker love seat at a neighborhood garage sale. I think $10.00 was a good buy for this piece. It was in great condition. A word to the wise... make sure you have room in your vehicle to transport a large piece such as this before purchasing it. No, of course I didn't think about it until after I purchased it! We ended up carrying it home on our heads through the neighborhood. We must have been a sight!

This furniture is easy to find and is usually very inexpensive. I see white wicker furniture at garage sales all the time. Also check flea markets and Freecycle. None of my pieces are actually a matching set. It is amazing that a little paint can camouflage that nicely.

I purchased a new wire brush for $1.00 at my local discount store. This is the kind you use for scraping the grill. I put all the furniture outside in the grass and scraped the white wicker furniture down to get off all the loose white paint.

I coated each piece with a light first coat. It is important not to be too heavy handed here or you will end up with drips and not have good definition between the wicker weaving. A light second coat followed after the first had dried in about an hour. I flipped each piece over to get the bottom. I let them dry and my job was complete.

I really liked the Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Gloss in Leather Brown. It was the perfect color for my patio. Black would also be very beautiful. I have had to touch up in a few places on the furniture after a year. But a quick once over with the wire brush and a few squirts of paint did it. I found some pillows on sale last year at our local Garden Ridge store. I spent $34.00 total on the entire set including paint but not including pillows. Now we have an inexpensive and comfortable place to entertain or relax.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Making Guests Feel Special - Part II

My original post "Making Guests Feel Special" needs an addition. After staying with our dear friends in Arkansas this weekend, my friend reminded me about another thing that can be done for guests. The "long drive home" package. I sometimes overlook this, but I think it is super special if you do it. Our friends sent us home with coffee in a "to go" container, grapes, strawberries, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, lemon cake, cheese puffs, chocolate candy and cashews. It was a delight to indulge in a little more of the weekend yummies as we drove home.

It is the crowning touch to a weekend for those guests that have a drive back home. You can put in several beverages (bottled water is best) and a few ziplock bags of chips, nuts, cookies and fruit. I also put in a ziplock bag with damp paper towels so that sticky fingers and hands can be taken care of easily without stopping.

Why I gained 3 pounds in 1 weekend in Arkansas!

We had a wonderful time this weekend visiting our friends in Arkansas. They are also from Louisiana and transplanted to Arkansas. We celebrated our friendship with food, food and more food! That's the Louisiana way!


Reason No. 1 I gained weight: On our way, we stopped in Hope, Arkansas at a little place called "Big Jake's Bar-B-Q". Wow was it good! I am dreaming about their brisket right now.

Reason No. 2 I gained weight: Our friend is an excellent cook. We must have been practice for a future Bed and Breakfast because we got the hugest breakfast buffets ever seen.

Breakfast No. 1: hot croissants with the jelly of your choice, grapes, cantelope, coffee & juice.


Breakfast No. 2 wasn't pictured because I cooked it. I just made a quick cornbread. Our friends supplemented it with fresh hot doughnuts and kolaches (much to the delight of my boys).


Breakfast No. 3: Frittata*, biscuits and leftovers from the previous day's breakfast.

*The breakfast frittata was amazing good. Click here for the recipe.

Reason No. 3 I gained weight: We ate out one night at a place called Genghis Grill. It was so fun to pick your meat, veggies and starch and watch it cooked.


Reason No. 4 I gained weight: The delicious dinners made at home. Yummy! Did I mention the lemon cake she served? I think I ate the majority of that cake! She knows me well! She even sent some home with me. Guess what I had for supper last night. Yup!

Did I mention I fell in love this weekend? Yes I did. And my husband doesn't mind. He fell in love too. This is what we fell in love with. Aren't you in love too?

We did a lot of walking and hiking on this trip. Despite that fact, the scale still snickered when I stepped on it.

We thoroughly enjoyed a day in Hot Springs. My boys had never been so they delighted in the fact that scalding hot water came up out of the earth naturally. We took a tour of an old bathhouse being used by the Visitor Center. Check out my "artsy" photos.












We also hiked down to the Cedar Falls waterfall at Petit Jean State Park. Tylenol was our best friend for the next two days. Our heartfelt thanks to our friends for hosting a wonderful weekend. Tag, we are it now. Can't wait for your visit.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why motorcycles are hot




When I met my husband twenty some odd years ago, he was a big motorcycle fan. My mother was not. I was forbidden to ride the motorcycle. My boyfriend was so cute and dangerous on a motorcycle. What do you think happened? mmmm hmmm

The picture above was taken before we were married. He saved up and purchased this Honda Interceptor. It is my favorite bike. I love this picture of my proud boyfriend.

After several trips to the hospital and several totaled bikes early in our marriage, he gave it up. Recently, however, his interest has again peaked. I encouraged him to get back on the old horse so to speak. Yes, I encouraged him. He saved and he saved for about a year. Finally, he had enough to purchase a bike and he started shopping. He found the ugliest bike I ever saw. I think he figured out I hated it and he didn't purchase it. He did finally purchase a very nice bike. He was thrilled. I was thrilled he was thrilled. But more importantly, I found him irresitible on that bike. Holy smokes, I forgot how hot he looked on a bike. I found myself totally checking out my husband again. It makes me giggle like a teenager to write that.
Motorcycles are hot. I'm partial to a sports bike because that's the style my husband has always had. Lots of chrome, steel, leather and heat.

CHROME, STEEL:






























LEATHER:


HEAT: (YOUR WELCOME)







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