Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yard Sales and Other Adventures

Hello again! 

It is hot, hot, hot here in Ohio.

Wanna see how hot?

That is just how hot it is here!!!
Weather bug on my laptop says the temps are 91 degrees.
Weather man says it's only gonna get hotter until Tuesday when a cool front rolls in with some storms.

I can't complain though! We are having absolutely glorious weather.
On top of that, my hubby's vacation started yesterday (Friday). 
He doesn't have to go back to work until June 1st!!!
Yay for family time.

Speaking of family time, my family LOVES to go to yard sales. I'm not really sure if it the curiosity of seeing other people's stuff or if it is the great deals that can be found. But over the past two very glorious and hot days we have been following yard sale signs and we have come home with some pretty good deals.

First, we have this wonderful hand crank ice cream maker. This is a very old ice cream maker. I had been pricing them online but the reviews for the newer ones were not very good. This ice cream maker I got for only $10. It has a plastic outer bucket. With an aluminum inner bucket.

This pictures shows the inside of the inner bucket. 
I bet my family is really gonna have a blast making their very own ice cream this summer. I know I can't wait.

Next we found this golf practicing net. We paid $3. My hubby and I dabble in the game of golf a bit so this is really gonna help us be able to practice in our own yard. (We just hope we don't hit OVER the net)

My darling son Sj loves all things puppet like and he has been wanting to get a nutcracker for a long time. So we found this little 8 inch tall nutcracker for $2. Sj loves that he can move this "King's" mouth with the little lever in the back.

We also found a brand new bike at a yard sale. This bike in stores ranged from $50 -$75. We paid only $25 for this bike for my oldest son Eddie. He desperately needed one since his was stolen off of our front porch last summer.
We did buy a few more things I haven't photographed. I found a tshirt and a nice skirt from a girl I knew. I think I paid $1 each for them. My oldest daughter bought an antique jewelry box for only $0.75 and she bought a wallet for $1. The wallet was a steal because my daughter found a $20 bill and some change in the wallet. However, we promptly returned that money to the seller who welcomed it back with tearful joy and the words of " You just don't know.....well thank you so much" with a sigh of relief. I am so proud of my daughter for not wanting to keep the money. It lets me know she is learning a few of the morals and values we are trying to get into her thick skull..:)

My hubby brought home a surprise Thursday from his job. You see, he had been talking about a momma cat who had had kittens in a pallet at work. They brought the kittens under some shelter but the momma just wasn't a very good momma. All but two of these kittens died. Well his boss lady had been trying to find someone who would throw these poor little kittens in the trash compactor (yes horrible!) and on Thursday she had finally found someone. Well my hubby just happened to walk by as the guy was opening the compactor and rescued the kittens!

This little guy here is the sickest of the two. When he arrived here he was on death's door. He was so weak he couldn't walk around or eat. So we warmed up some cows milk and dropper fed him. Yesterday afternoon we finally got him to eat some canned cat food!!!!!! He has more pep now but is really scared. My daughter named him Doemo.

This little stinker is the 2nd kitten. She was better off than the first. She is solid black! She loves to play and cuddle. (She is laying right beside me on the couch right now)

Luckily, these kittens are fitting in with the others. Daisy is starting to let them suckle with her babies AND she is cleaning them and not hissing them away. She is a great mommy.


The kiddos and I also went to the skate park on Thursday. While we were there we noticed some baseball games beginning so we decided to watch one. Luckily they knew some of the kids playing and I knew some of the parents who were there.

Here you can see my boys watching the game.

When we got home from the baseball game we were all famished so I started making dinner. My boys wanted to help.
Here you can see Eddie at the stove browning the hamburger meat and Sj at the sink stirring up some mashed potatoes.
Our dinner that evening was Sloppy Taters.

Want a recipe?

You will need:
1 1/2 - 2 lbs of hamburger meat
1 can of sloppy joe sauce
instant mashed potatoes (make enough for 6 servings or how ever much you need for your family)
parmesan cheese
shredded colby jack cheese

Brown the hamburger meat and drain. Add sloppy joe sauce and heat through.
Prepare mashed potatoes with milk and butter as directed on the box.

On a plate put a spoonful or two of mashed potatoes in the center.
Top with a spoonful or two of sloppy joe mix.
Shake some parmesan cheese on top of the mix and then top it off with a handful of the colby jack cheese.

I serve this with sweet corn ( I always use fresh or frozen)

Well that is all for today my friends. I'm gonna go cool off somewhere! 
Warm hugs 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Around the Yard and in my Garden

Hello again my fabulous followers! Can you believe I am posting 2 days in a row? I can't either!

I decided since today was a wonderfully gorgeous day; the first day of summer vacation, I would do a post about some of the things going on in my wonderfully small yard!


My last post talked about my view from my front porch. My front porch wraps around one side and that is where I like to sit. I have a full view of the alley way, the empty lot beside us, the main road through town and our wonderful high school, Edward Lee McClain High School. (Some great info about our lovely high school can be found here)

Do you want to see my view?

How is that for you? You can see the railing from  my porch in the foreground, my chain link fence, the alley, the empty lot, the main road, and the wonderful high school....Not too shabby, huh?

My friends, I have been meaning to do a garden update for sooooo long now and I finally got around to taking some pictures of the numerous plants around my yard!

First of all, I want to show you the beautiful little faces of the pansies I potted up early, early this spring. They sit in nice deep red pots on my front porch. Don't you just love their faces?

I also wanted to show you the HUGE spider plant. This is the same plant my mom wanted to just throw out!!! Whenever it produces babies, I pinch them off and put them in the pot. This plant is deliriously happy in this corner of my front porch!

Next we have the poor, poor fern my mom was just letting die. She said she hated that it dropped it's leaves during the cold months and set it out in the cold to die!!! I rescued it and divided it and I thought I had killed it BUT Lo and behold!!!!!!! It is sending off new little baby fern leaves!! It also has its own little corner on my porch during these hot and humid months!

This picture shows a new addition to my yard. I had bought this basket of pansies for $3 on the discount rack at Lowes! I dead headed them and look how beautiful they look just hanging there! (I bought 4 of these baskets, I have two and I gave my mom 2 for her hooks on her porch) I also have a bird feeder on the hook and below I have bulbs of daffodils, some violas, some pansies, and some impatients that my mom had given me.

Now I am moving on to my garden beds. As you all know from last year's gardening posts, I have 3 8 foot by 4 foot by 8 inches deep garden beds all lined up in my side yard. There is 3 feet of space all around the beds. I use the square foot gardening method to grow food for my family.

Here is bed number one! I have snow peas and sweet peas growing up the trellis. I also have cantaloupe and watermelon in between each set of pea plants. I have zucchini and squash plants in the middle of this bed and I have carrots and chives in the front squares.

Garden bed #2. 
I have red and green onion, tomatoes, pumpkins big, small, and white. I also have a variety of peppers. Mixed colored bell peppers, serrano chili peppers, Tequila sunrise hot peppers, and jalapeno peppers. On this end I have broccoli plants.

Garden bed #3
I have Kentucky Wonder Pole beans and cucumber that will grow up the trellis. I have egg plant, some more peppers, spinach, leaf lettuce and iceberg lettuce. I eat salads all the time and I still have tons of lettuce and spinach! I need more recipes :)

This is an existing bed that is along the side of my house, just beyond my garden beds. There were already 2 knockout rose bushes planted here. Last year I put in 2 blackberry bushes. They are growing nicely! I can't wait for some fresh blackberries....YUMMY

In yet another corner of my yard I have this little strawberry patch. I have been able to eat 1 strawberry from this patch. The very first ripe strawberry, my oldest ate and didn't offer me a single bite ;o and the rest has pretty much gone to the roly polys. They love strawberries. I have been treating them with DE (diatomaceous earth). It keeps the bugs away but washes away with rain so I have to keep treating.

Here on this section of my back deck I have my poor little mint plants. They got infested with some little bug so I treated them with Naturia (i think that is what it is called) so they are just starting to perk up gain. I have from l to r: Orange mint, peppermint, and chocolate mint. Before it was infested, I enjoyed using these mints in my warm green tea at night.

Just below my mint I have 2 tomato plants. These the heirloom tomatoes, Mortgage Lifter! I have heard wonderful reviews of them! I also have some basil planted with these tomatoes to keep the BUGS away!

I have tons of herbs in post on my back deck as well. Here you can see l to r: parsley, oregano, chives, and cilantro.

The herbs in this picture are l to r: rosemary, basil, sage, dill, common thyme, and spearmint.

On the upper level of my deck I have some flower seeds planted. From l to r: California Poppy, African Daisy, Jalapeno, Forget Me Not, and Petunia.

Below the flowers on the upper level I have green onions.

Whew I know that is a lot. I didn't photograph my potato bins. I have red and russet potatoes growing as well.

Here is a lovely picture of most of my tiered back deck. This is taken from my back door. It is one of my favorite places to sit.

Oh Yeah! Hanging on hooks on my back deck I have my other basket of petunias and another spider plant.

As everyone who knows me knows, my ultimate goal is to have an edible yard. I want every decorative spot in my yard to be edible. With the exception of a few annuals and bulbs that have been planted.

So what do you all think? 

Hugs and warm wishes to you all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Night of Summer Vacation

Ahhhh, my friends we finally made it through this school year! I tell you, these past few weeks have been so jam packed with activities, I feel like we have barely had time to breathe. 

Tonight is the first night of summer freedom and my kiddos are taking advantage of it. They have been riding scooters, skateboards, roller blades. They have been  talking to friends and neighbors. As I write this, just after dusk, 3 of my kiddos are in the empty lot next to us throwing dirt balls toward the local bats. They get a kick out of watching the bats swoop down to catch the dirt balls.

I am enjoying the "no schedule" already. I am sitting on my front porch watching the traffic go by the main road on the other side of the empty lot. Admiring our town's high school as it is being lit up by lights. 

Laughing at the guy who is obviously drunk who just fell off of his bicycle. (horrible of me I  know but the way he was cussing was kind of funny and he lost his phone which we politely removed from the middle of the road and placed by the fence where he wrecked)

Our little town is sure busy tonight. There is so much traffic on our main road. All different kinds of vehicles. Vans, cars, trucks big and small, semis, buses, even smart cars. Since we are a farming town, there are tons of big, diesel trucks on the road. They just love to stomp on the gas and make black smoke roll out of the pipes. (pretty annoying)

Anywho, we have lots of things planned for this summer. I just hope our finances will allow us to do what we want to do. AND I hope the kiddos keep up with the new chore chart to take the load off of me.

That is all for now my friends. I am going to enjoy this evening with my kids.

Hugs and warm wishes to you all

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shepard's Pie

Man we are having a busy evening. We have done chores, gardening, homework, and we have to go to the school for an introductory band meeting. Faith, who will be in 6th grade next year, wants to join the band for her 6th grade year. She wants to play the flute. So we have to go to a meeting tonight that explains what she will need and it will answer questions I have.

On busy evenings like these I love quick to make foods. If I know we are going to have a busy evening, I will usually put something in the crock pot in the morning. However, I do have a few quick meals I make and the kids love. Shepard's Pie is one of those meals. So I thought I would share this recipe.

You will need:
1 1/2-2 lbs hamburger meat
16 oz package of frozen mixed veggies
1 family size can or 2-3 small cans of Cream of mushroom soup
Instant mashed potatoes (plus whatever the package calls for to make them)
2 cups shredded cheese

First,  preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Then you brown and drain the hamburger meat.

After you drain the hamburger meat you mix in the mixed veggies and the cream of mushroom soup

Stir until mixed completely (I made a mess) and cook until the mixed veggies are heated through.

Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes using the instructions on the package. I usually do the instructions for 6 servings.

Once the veggies are heated through, put the hamburger mixture in a casserole dish.

Top the hamburger  mixture with the prepared mashed potatoes.

Top with the 2 cups of cheese.

Pop it into your preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbling.

And there you have it. Easy and Cheesy Shepard's pie.

My kiddos and hubby love this recipe. It is super simple and doesn't take much time to cook. Plus, the cream of mushroom soup kind of masks the taste of the mixed veggies so even my pickiest eater will devour it. Happy eating!

Love and hugs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In the past week.

 Isn't this a funny picture? Roxy just finished backing herself up to Tinkerbell to flick her hind legs at her. Roxy looks mighty proud of herself, doesn't she?

Last week was a nice week. We spent a lot of time outside as the temps were a little cooler. Faith (Daughter #2) asked me if she could use my camera and take some pictures while we were outside. She is quite the photographer!

 A wonderful picture of our fat cat Wickett.

 This monkey is from my shower curtain. I love looking at this silly, colorful shower curtain when I get myself together in the mornings.

 One of the flower pots that sits on my front porch.

 Bleeding heart flower.

 Gorgeous sky.

So what do you think? I think Faith did a wonderful job taking pictures!

As of today, the little kittens are 5 weeks old. They know how to climb out of their box. They love to play with mommy AND they just love chasing the dogs and boys around the house. Just a couple days ago they were introduced to kitty chow, watered down of course. I hate to say it but we have grown quite attached to the little ones but we must find them new homes as soon as they are weened.
 We have 4 kittens, 3 of them are boys. This one we call Sampson. He has a sister that looks just like him except she is a tad lighter in color. We call her Delilah.

 Here you can see the proud mommy nursing. This kitten we call Junior. He looks identical to his daddy, Wickett.

 Mommy is being super loving to her babies.

 Ahhh..see the kitten on top of her mommy? That is Delilah. 

 They are so cute.

Last Saturday was prom night here in our school district. Our school does a Parade of Gowns. Here are just a few pictures.

This weekend Rainsboro School (the school in town doesn't have 5th grade so the 5th graders are shuttled to one of the sister schools) had a Luau and Fish Fry. They had games and raffles. The kiddos had fun.

 Here you can see Sj handing the lady his ticket so he can do the 2ltr ring toss. Hope, in pink, and Faith, in the white and black dress, are right behind him.

 Here you can see Hope and Faith in front of the dunking booth. The lady was dunked and the water splashed them.

 Sj waiting in line for the ring toss again.

 Eddie, in all black, waiting in line for the bounce house.

 Two of the little prizes they received for doing the games.

 I'm not sure why Sj is making this face. 

 Sj playing with some of his prizes.

 Faith was nominated again to represent her class and compete for Queen of the Luau. 

 Faith all lined up waiting on her turn to walk to the stage.

 Faith with Roland. The boy her class chose to compete for king.

 Here are all of the contestants. The dark haired boy is Faith's cousin by marriage, Devon. The girl in plaid is Faith's best friend. The boy in the Hawaiian shirt is Faith's crush. 

The crowning.

 Queen Kaeli and King Ethan.

Here is Faith. Glad the crowning is over. She said she didn't really want to be nominated and she knew Kaeli would win since she had won last time.

Sending love and hugs.