Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holiday meeces...

This year I have tried to be a bit more creative which is why I hosted YOE.
We are in the last quarter now and looking back, I am so glad I did it. Not only have I had fun and met new people, but I've tried new crafts and had fun in the process.

I always make at least 2 ornaments and choose the best one to send off to my partner.

This month's ornament was the mouse.

First, I made this one...it is about 3 inches tall.
I used a pattern that I bought last year and added a little crocheted scarf .




and this one..I was inspired by an ornament off Calamity Kim's blog. I was going to link to it but can't find it!...anyway, here is what I did...


I sent the first one off because it was more difficult to make and looked so sweet holding the little Christmas tree....but I love them both!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Forest Friends aprons.......

Shawnee hosted a fun forest themed apron swap that I decided I just HAD to join.....

I made my partner this apron fashioned after my Ontario apple apron I got a few years ago. It is such a workhorse style but I love it.

You can't see by the photo, but there are three pockets that run along the bottom.



here is a close up of the ladybugs....I love this fabric. I thought the trim was just "enough" dressing.


Here is what I got in return....I just LOVE it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Ginger!

Ginger turned another year older on Thursday.....and she is starting to show her age....not just in the gray hairs either.

She doesn't jump up on the beds to sleep with the kids anymore.
She doesn't run with Dean anymore.
If I throw the ball, her arthritis flares up so badly that she limps for at least 2 days....so I don't throw the ball for her anymore. (well, not much....)
But don't feel too sorry for her, just see how happy she is!!!


besides, that tail of hers can still clear a coffee table in 2 seconds flat and those eyes can still melt your heart...and she still loves to chase bubbles!
There she goes..the bubble is in the bottom right corner.


Thursday when the kids got home, we piled into the car and took her to the pet store. We do this for her birthday every year and she really enjoys it.

Once at the store, she happily walked up and down the aisles...TWICE...looking for the treat she ALWAYS picks....no luck....they had MOVED THEM to the top shelf!

not there....
leaving a trail of destruction in her path....(yes, we picked it up!)

not there either....
nope.....dang, where are they?



THERE they are! Those yucky yummy gooey dogs bones covered in goop.

See? The nose knows!

after sharing with Mojo...


...she settled down to enjoy her birthday treat.


Happy Birthday Ginger!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quick trip and a snooze

This past weekend, we ran to Florida for a quick trip to see my family.

My parents were amazed at how tall the kids were....Matt is now 5'11" and Kaela is 5'1"


We had such a good time but left a bit late........which took its toll the next day.

See?


Monday, I was doing some laundry and other chores before starting dinner. Kaela was in the family room doing her homework so I went in to check on her to make sure she was on top of it.
I can't imagine being so tired I would fall asleep in this position!

As you can imagine, I didn't have the heart to wake her. So I readjusted her so she wouldn't break her knees and let her sleep for a couple hours....



Napping...it does a body good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sometimes you can go outside
into your very own yard
and cut your very own
bouquet of flowers to put
in a vase and set on a shelf.......




and then you smile.

Monday, September 13, 2010

NOLA and the toy drop

Saturday, we went into NOLA to visit some friends. Before meeting up with them, we dropped a couple pins to remember 9 11
we dropped them both along the River walk.....I think next year I'll make more. I was a little sad to see that very few people had pins on....



Then we caught up with our friends at the aquarium. We didn't have the heart to tell them we'd been TWICE in the last month!
They hadn't gone in almost 4 years so their kids really enjoyed themselves.


Here they are peering into the front aquarium....Kaela was in her element playing big sister. The boys are actually the same age! Matt is getting TALL!!!
I looked up to take photos of the sting rays. I love these guys...they are always smiling! Speaking of love.....I've always loved clown fish...even before Finding Nemo made them popular.
This tank always gets a lot of attention from the younger children.

They have another rescued Kemp Ridleys baby in this tank. The green seaweed in the photo is actually the tail of a moray eel. There are 4 of them in the tank and they are HUGE.

this photo gives you an idea of how small the baby truly is.

I had to take a photo of our kids as they checked out the river...

this tank is one of everyone's favorite.


It is 2 stories high and built to show how a reef is created around oil well pilings. It has the really BIG guys in it. Its a big enough tank that these guys take about 6 minutes to school around each time.

Here it is from another angle
...

This time, the sharks weren't up front.....they've got some really big guys...hopefully I'll get some photos of them next time.


I did a little toy drop while in the aquarium. I made this little jellyfish.

It is much brighter in person but I was in a hurry to take the photo so took it at night.

I couldn't resist putting it in the jellyfish exhibit.
I was glad to see it was gone 2 hours later when we left. If you'd like to make your own, I put my pattern in my freebies category.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

day and night

This time of year, the heat starts to take a toll on my lovely morning glory vines.....






luckily, the moon flowers are still going strong...





with many more blooms yet to open...

I took this one late one night in a light drizzle....the flash reflected off one of the unopened pods, making it look like a light bulb.




Looks like a night light!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Basil and Olive Oil Ice Cubes!

Each year, I grow  Genovese basil and at the end of the summer, I make basil butter , pesto and these cubes.  I put it all into the freezer to use throughout the non growing months.
I use the basil/olive oil cubes in pesto, soups, stews, pastas...just about everything!  They are so small that they thaw immediately, imparting a wonderful flavor.  They are a great way to jazz up pre made sauces or soups.

This recipe is easily halved but for 2 ice cube trays, you will need:


20 cups of freshly cleaned basil leaves.  They don't need to be dry.
1 cup olive oil plus extra for "topping off."
2 ice cube trays
food processor
small cookie scoop


Harvest your basil and give it a rough shake. Make sure to get rid of any hitch hikers!

I dunk all the basil into a sink full of water and give it a good shake under water.  Then I start harvesting the leaves.  If you are only doing a little, you can pinch the stem at the end of the leaf...but that takes a long time when you harvest as much as I do.  
What I do is inspect the front of the stem I'm working on.  Then I flip it over and take scissors and clip the base of the leaves around the stems.  This works as a double duty....clipping goes fast and you can inspect the bottom of the leaf for anything that shouldn't be there.

After I am done, I have a bowl full of gorgeous basil leaves.
Notice the little fingers trying to get in the photo.....yeah, smack them so they go away....



PLEASE NOTE:
I work in two batches of 10 cups each because if I do it all at once, it overfills my food processor!  This works out to be 10 cups of basil and 1/2 cup olive oil for 1 tray 

Begin by adding large handfuls of the basil into your food processor along with a steady stream of olive oil.   Continue adding olive oil until you get a nice thick consistency. Keep adding basil alternately with the olive oil until done.  You'll need to scrape the bowl down.

Make sure you use plenty of olive oil or the basil will turn black. I like it when it is the consistency of a dip.


Scoop it into your ice cubes trays. 

   Drizzle each cube with a thin layer of olive oil to keep it from turning black. 



Then, pop them into your freezer for 3-4 hours. Once hard, pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag. 

 With my trays, they need help popping out.  I set them on the counter about 8 minutes and then use a plastic spatula and slip it behind each cube on one side.  That usually does the trick.  They can be stubborn though.  Whatever you do, DO NOT pour hot water over the back...it not a good idea!  

This is what they look like.  The basil is still pretty and green.....no black stuff.  


32 yummy basil ice cubes ready for service.....Use 1 - 2 cubes in your dishes.  Use a minimum of 2 when making pesto.

I use these cubes instead of dried basil, they are so much better...totally worth the effort.  

If you are thinking you can't do this because you live in an apartment, I started out in an apartment with 1 basil plant.  You just make fewer cubes...but it is STILL better than that dried stuff in a jar!

Monday, September 6, 2010

unexpected dinner guest

I adore gardenias....look at how gorgeous...and the blooms smell HEAVENLY.
We plant gardenias every where we go. These were slow to take off because the year we planted them was REALLY wet. Gardenias don't like to be wet but with so much rain, that is hard to avoid.

They are now thriving....and blooming all the time.



I've started to worry about them because the last couple of weeks have been really rainy.

Which is why I'm sure we had an unusual dinner guest in our back yard.

We wouldn't have noticed him except Suki was going bonkers attacking the window and making funny sounds.

Kaela (AKA Curly Girl) investigated and saw this guy through the window....I was thrilled so I ran outside to get a good picture of him.
He is a gorgeous black racer. They aren't poisonous...eat mainly rodents and lizards and frogs.

This guy was about 2 and a half feet long.

He wasn't concerned with me at all. He was focused on our window. This particular window is a major lizard magnet...don't know why.




Unfortunately, not long after taking this photo, he left the yard through a knot hole in the fence.
I feel pretty certain he will be back though as we have a water source and plenty of lizards and toads.




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