Garden Success

Now that my garden is pretty dead looking, I figured I should blog about a gardening success, to counter my many gardening failures.

As I mentioned in a previous post, our watermelon plant produced 3 watermelons. One rotted on the vine. And one we cut one open way too early. So in order to prevent that happening again, we left the other one on the vine until the vine was literally dead. By that time we knew there was not much more growing that it could do. It was time to cut it open. So we picked it and brought it inside.


The outside looked nice.


We cut it open, and, tada!

Legitimate watermelon! Yay!

It was quite tasty, though really really seedy.

One good one after 2 spoiled ones is not too bad I suppose.

No excuses needed

I haven't blogged in a while.

Sorry about that faithful readers (if there are any)


The non blogging may last a little while longer. Mostly due to lack of inspiration. No other reason. Well, I guess sort of one other reason - Mon Amour has had to use "my" computer for his homework recently. Mine is the one with all the pictures. No pictures = no blogging.


Except in this case. Sorry folks, no picture to go with this one.

Just a few quotes that I have found inspirational of late. Both are from my totally awesome Bible Study, sponsored by my totally awesome new (ish) church, which I fear I have told you nothing about. Hmmm... Perhaps more on that next week. In the mean time....


"God is just as glorified by our disabilities as our abilities"

"Contentment is a matter of the heart, not a matter of affairs"


Soybeans

With the corn being gone, all that is left in the fields (besides the cows) is the soybeans.


They look kind of dead ish. But I guess that it what they are supposed to look like.




I still find it really interesting that soy beans are fuzzy.
You can almost see the fuzziness.

Corn No More

All this corn is gone now.

And by the time it grows tall again next year, we hope to be somewhere else.
Not living in a corn field.
Or at least not this one.

Good bye corn.


Baby Dedication

This past Sunday we to our friends' baby's dedication service.

They looked like real legit parents standing up there with their little one.


We went to college together. Crazyness.


Here is there adorable little one. She slept through most of the service, but was awake for the party afterwards.

Adorable.

Ghost Marge


Marge has decided what she would like to be for Halloween.

She would like to be a ghost.

In this picture you see her modeling her costume (we didn't have the heart to tell her ghosts don't typically have floral prints on them)

She climbed into this sheet totally unprompted and unaided.

And she stayed there for quite some time.

It was pretty much adorable.


video

Excuse the high pitched laughter. If you had been there you would know that it was totally uncontrolable. It's impossible to watch ghost Marge without laughing out loud at the adorableness.


In actuality, Marge climbed into the sheet because she was cold. She is practically cold blooded if you remember. And this was before we had caved in to turning the heat on (which helps only slightly). She was kind of desperate for warmth.

Corn Cops

Last weekend (not this past cold and rainy one...the one before that, which was much more pleasant) I had a friend over for the weekend. Mon Amour was in charge of his company's corn maze fund raiser for the weekend - so he was stuck there every afternoon. Which allowed my friend and I to spend some lovely time together catching up!

We didn't abandon Mon Amour for the whole weekend though. We actually helped out for a sizeable chunk of time.

We got to be "Corn Cops" - which meant that we got to wear these terribly unflattering bright yellow vests,
while we stood on an elevated platform in the middle of the of the maze and rescue people when they got lost.
Marge was our rescue dog. 99% of the people liked her. We only traumatized one little kid.

By the end of the weekend my friend and I could have navigated that maze blindfolded. We were pretty pleased with that accomplishment, until we realized how ridiculously useless such a skill is. In 2 weeks, the maze will not even exist any more... oh well.


But the best part of the weekend was that for once in our friendship, we succeeded in getting a picture of the two of us doing something together.


That's pretty much a first.
Go us!

Not so content

Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?


This cow sure thinks so.



And there is no convincing her otherwise.

Learning to be thankful

These are our cars.

Back at the beginning part of the year, we had some serious trouble with both of them. Some times when a car needs a repair you have to decide if it is worth the cost, or if it's time to invest in a new car. Well, during this particular set of car troubles, that question was further complicated by the question of - should we (and could we afford to) replace both cars. And if not, which one do we fix and which do we replace. They were both equally (seemingly) dead.

By the grace of God, after 2 weeks of stressful misdiagnosises, repairs, and repair bills - both cars seemed to be fixed. (At least mostly, mine lost its cruise control and Mon Amour's its radio in the process. A small price to pay).

The point of this mundane car repair story is not just that we have two functioning cars now, but rather that somehow through that unpleasant two weeks I learned how much I have to be thankful for.

I try to take time to pray every morning - either when I am walking the dog, or when I am driving to work. While praying I always try and pray through things I am thankful for, and, with life being rather ordinary and routine these days, I wasn't finding a whole lot to be thankful for.

Then I remembered that I was in my car, and that it had not needed a repair in a long time. So I thanked God that I and my husband both had cars that got us to work (and back!) That triggered thoughts of many other things that I take for granted that I should be thankful for. Such as:
  • Jobs to go to that pay the bills
  • A freezer and pantry full of food
  • An amazing husband
  • Loving Family
  • A great church
  • An adorable dog
  • Free bread
  • A season of life where we can sleep in on the weekends
So yeah, in summary, these days every time I get in my car it dawns on me that I should be thankful; so I thank Him for my car and then for whatever else comes to mind.

Who knew car repairs could teach you so much.

A much less lame shopping trip

This past week at my favorite grocery store, there were some really amazing sales. Normally this would have been a week when shopping would have gone by the way side - I didn't get the circulars, I was rather busy, and we weren't particularly low on food.

However, this week, the deals could not be passed up.
So I stopped by the store to pick up a circular (looking at the add online is just not the same)
And I printed off / clipped lots of coupons
I made a list, I rewrote it a couple times to make sure that I knew exactly what my bill should be after all the money saving dust had settled (I find calculating this ahead of time saves me the stress of reading the whole receipt at the end to make sure everything was the price it was supposed to be .

Off to the store I went (with my super-helpful husband in tote)

This is what we came home with.
(You may want to click on the picture to enlarge it - there are fun details included on the picture)

I always get a little anxious about a trip like this where I am combining sales with instant rebates with coupons. Something is pretty much destined to be out of stock, or not on sale like it is supposed to be, and I either have to talk to a manager, or revise my list on the spot, and it never goes as well as I would hope.

However, this trip, I cannot complain. Only two things went "wrong":

First, they were out of the Quaker Bars (which I kind of thought they would be) - so I got a rain check, which I wasn't sure would work since sometimes at-register-discounts don't work with rain checks, but the manager told me it would work. But, turns out it didn't matter, because Mon Amour went to the store for me the next day - and they were restocked! Score!

Second, there were two types of pasta on sale - Healthy Harvest, and Smart Taste. Most of my coupons were for Smart Taste, but one coupon was for Healthy Harvest. And I got all Smart Taste. So that coupon didn't work. I could have asked if I could switch out the pastas and saved that extra $1; but I figured the cashier would hate me, so I decided it wasn't worth it.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the shopping trip! Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this shopping trip. I am waaay to addicted to grocery shopping.

Side note: I do know that a lot of this food is overly processed (*cough* Hamburger Helper *cough*) or unnecessary (*cough* cake mix and soda *cough*) but I don't think it will kill us, and it was ubber cheap, and I can guarantee we will enjoy eating it :-)

Lame Shopping Trip

This picture epitomizes the lame shopping trip that I had the other day.
These 2 lowly and shrivelled sweet potatoes were pretty much how the whole store looked. I don't know why I keep shopping at Food Lion. Oh yes, I remember, because from time to time they put Perdue Boneless Chicken on sale for $1.67 a pound. That's why I keep going back. Tomorrow (or some time in the near future) I shall tell you about a much less lame shopping trip.

Traveled many a mile

This was my speedometer a couple weeks ago.
It reads 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. I was pretty pleased with myself for setting up that moment. I was trying to get the 9 in there too. But I wasn't thinking 78 miles in advance, so there was no hope for that. My speedometer is now way up at like 126K miles, and I am kind of proud of it. My car that is. I still think of my car as fairly new (it's a 2003 which is the newest car I have ever owned), so whenever something goes wrong with it, I get upset that it would have such trouble early on. But then my car hit 125K miles. And suddenly it occurred to me that my car is not new. It has a ton of miles on it. If it dies soon, it will have lived a fairly decent life. That said, I would like it to last for at least another year or two, but if it doesn't I guess I can't complain; we've traveled many miles together.

Marge's Addiction Part 2

We only ever buy Marge one kind of toy any more. It's these hard plastic bones that are apparently chicken flavored.
It is the only thing that she will chew and not destroy in a matter of minutes.

Kong toys don't work because she doesn't particularly like them.
And everything else, including these, she destroys in minutes.

So we get her these bones.


And she loves them.


Which makes Mon Amour and I happy.


She does destroy them slowly.


But usually she doesn't swollow too many pieces, and it takes a couple of months for her to completely destroy one.

Puppy Face

I recently took a whole bunch of adorable pictures of Marge.
But because I can't decide which ones I like best....I am only posting one.


At least for now. Maybe there will be more later.
Who knows, maybe my lack of decisive-ness will prompt me to post all of them.

Uncomfortable Nap

It was quite cold and rainy when I took this cute picture.


This little one was napping some distance from its mother.

That is its mother off in the background there, keeping a watchful eye on her little one.

I was able to get a few cute photos before the little one got spooked and ran back to momma.

video

And knocked the little moveable fence down on the way :-)

Spider-less

These make for really cool pictures.
But I wish they came without the spiders.
There are way too many spiders in my house.

Down-Grading

Have I ever told you how much I love my shower curtain?
Let me show you:

My beautiful shower curtain was one of my favorite wedding registry items. I am kind of wishy washy when it comes to decorating my house, but when I saw this curtain, I knew, without a doubt, that this would be the inspiration for my bathroom.

The brown, the tan, the various blues and the circles. It was perfect.
Our towels are blue and brown and beautiful

I had plans for pain on the walls to match the colors. It was going to be gorgeous.

Unfortunately it was not to be.

Between the water damage in our little bathroom and my own procrastination, this bathroom is not going to be painted. And it was very evident that this shower curtain was not going to make it to the next house. It was ripping at the top...

...and molding at the bottom.

Mon Amour and I were just hoping that it would do the trick long enough that we could just pitch it when we moved and start afresh. However, this curtain was in bad shape and I was stretching the limits of my tolerance for gimpy-ness.
The original holes from which you hang the curtain had ripped, and so had the ones I had punched in the curtain a little bit lower. That's when you know your curtain has outlived its day.

So we caved in and got a new one.
However, since its going to be some time before we can move somewhere where we can actually decorate the bathroom, we didn't feel like spending a lot of money on this new curtain.

The cheap options at Wal Mart were oddly limited.
We ended up with this one.

It's blue and it was cheap. That's why we picked it.

But it makes me sad every time I think of it. Not because I don't like it (though I wouldn't call it beautiful and the clear part at the top is oddly unnerving) but because I liked my old one so much. It's distinctly possible when we move and I can decorate my bathroom, I will go out and buy the exact same shower curtain that I just threw in the dumpster.

Tiny Pasta

Barilla recently came out with a fun new line of pasta called "Piccolini", and I am addicted.


Usually I am a pasta-is-pasta-is-pasta kind of person. Not picky at all.
But there are so many reasons to like this pasta.
  1. It's pasta
  2. It's small (I prefer smaller varieties of pasta to, say, Rigatoni and the like)
  3. It's new - which means they are putting out great coupons for it! We are talking like 50 cents of 1 box. Doubled that's $1 off 1 box. Considering the original price is only like $1.29 per box, that's a deal. I don't even have to wait for it to go on sale.
  4. It's adorable. What can I say, I have a weakness for small things.

A Guest in the vegetable garden

This might be a long story, so we will get right to it.

Last weekend I was out picking some tomatoes, standing right in the middle of my garden, when it a random thought entered my mind, "I wonder if there is any thing else in this garden with me". I don't know what I thought it would be - a snake or a large bug I suppose - but the thought was enough to get me to look up at the garden as a hole

Imagine my surprise when, less than 2 feet from me was a large black furry lump, laying next to the house. It goes without saying that I jumped. I did not scream though. I am not the screaming type.


This is the furry black lump next to the house. I was to the left of it - where the tomatoes are.

Though my first thought was definitely "large ferocious rabid dog"; it didn't take me long to remember that I lived on a farm, and therefore, this black fur ball was probably a baby cow.

Armed with this knowledge, I went straight for my camera to take some cute pictures.


This one from my bedroom window:

This one from right next to her (clearly).
She didn't move, and for a moment I was afraid she might be dead. But upon closer inspection, I found she was blinking, not moving, just blinking.

Though this little cow was clearly on the wrong side of the fence, like the well seasoned wanna be cow farmer that I am, I didn't want to panic, or even worry unnecessarily. However, it didn't take long before I realized that I was very close to this baby cow, and there was no momma cow hollering at me. That is not a good sign. Momma cows are VERY protective. The whole herd, in fact, was on the other side of the pasture, totally unaffected by this little one's absence. This called for a text to the landlady.

She called, said not to worry, and not to do anything they "thought they knew who it was" and would be down soon.

Well, it was a solid 2 hours before they came down. Poor little cow didn't move during that entire time. When the landlord and landlady arrive, the explained the whole story.

Earlier that day a momma cow was screaming up a storm; she was a very unhappy momma for some reason. But they couldn't figure out why, and she was bothering the other cows, so they locked her up in her own little pen. Their theory was that her little one had wandered off and was lost. The little one that I had found, was quite possibly her baby.

The most heartbreaking part was when the landlord tried to get the baby cow into the calf cart; the baby wouldn't move. She looked in the depths of despair. I suspect she was, and that she had resigned herself to dying. For all I know she had been in the garden since earlier that morning, with nothing to eat all that time.
Fortunately, the story ended happily. The momma cow took the baby cow right back, clearly happy to be reunited; and the baby cow ate like there was no tomorrow!

I tired to get a picture of the happily reunited family, unfortunately, the momma cow was in protective over drive; and every time I got remotely close to the pen, momma cow would charge me making very angry noises. Obviously she couldn't get to me, but I still feared for my life, and charging momma cows make for very blurry pictures.


Best Breakfast

I have unofficially begun the tradition of making something special for breakfast on Saturday mornings. A couple weeks ago, I slept in, went for a long (relatively speaking) walk/run with the dog, and by the time I got back to the kitchen it was kinda late in the morning. Somehow though, that didn't stop me from making this:



delicious coffee cake that takes an hour and 15 minutes to bake. I was hungry before it went in the oven, and very very hungry by the time it came out. But it was worth it.


My mom used to make this particular coffee cake just about everyday Sunday - it was our Sunday afternoon "dinner".

I am pretty sure that for most of my childhood, I thought that this was the only thing that bundt pans were made for. That this coffee cake had a pan made just for it, cause it is just that good.

I have since learned that some people do use their bundt pans for other things.
But mostly, I use mine for this cake. Cause it's that good.

Simple Pleasures

Some times the simplest things can be exciting. It has to be the right certain thing though

For me, one of those certain things is high-quality good-smelling detergent.
I don't buy expensive detergent - I buy the cheapest kind possible (and one day when I not working outside the home, I hope to make my own detergent). The cheap kind gets things clean, but it doesn't always leave things smelling beautifully - it leaves them nice an neutral.

However, I love sweet smelling laundry. So I get really excited when I freebie like this:
comes in the mail.

I usually save it to was my sheets in. And it is sooo worth it. There is nothing quite so lovely as sleeping in clean and beautifully smelling sheets. This Hawaiin Aloha scent was particularly lovely.

Brownies

For some time now, I have been on a hunt for a brownie recipe that I liked enough to call my own. Not to take credit for it, mind you, I just wanted a default brownie recipe for my recipe book. Until this week I had been passively looking for such a recipe. But had yet to land upon the perfect recipe.

This week I decided to dive into the search more purposefully - it was brownie making time.


I started with this recipe.

And....that's where my search ended. That is going in my cookbook, and will now be my default brownie recipe.

They are AMAZING!

They fit all the criteria:
Quick
Easy
Not many ingredients
Fudgey without being under cooked.
And room to customize.

Doesn't get any better than that.

Sorry for the lack of picture...but the brownies are gone. I ate most of them. Mon Amour helped.