Friday, August 28, 2009

Storing up for winter... or

Stealing from the squirrels...

or just decorating for fall?
Photobucket
A few weeks ago, I found this outdoor living candle holder/thingamajig on sale at Walmart for $10. I wasn't sure what the original price had been, but on the size smaller than this, the original price was $20 (or more, I can't remember exactly...) I bought it not because I needed it, but as we sometimes seem to do - because I liked it. Did I have a clue what I was going to do with it? Nope. But, I liked it and that was all that seemed to matter at that moment in time.

I brought it home and into the house where it didn't seem to fit. Then I took it out and put it on the table on the patio. It was from the Outdoor Living department after-all. ;) I popped a candle into it and called it good. But, there's one thing I hadn't really paid that much attention to. It's still technically summer and that table can get a heaping helping of hot sunlight in the middle of the day. Can you guess what happened to my candle? It started to melt so I had to pull it.

I was sitting out there this afternoon looking at my empty thingamajig and wondering just what I could put in it. Five minutes later, R came from the backyard and dumped a handful of acorns onto the patio. *lightbulb moment* We went around and gathered this heaping helping of acorns.
Photobucket
I like how it looks and probably won't have to worry about the acorns melting! I was a little worried about them molding since some are still green. So, after snapping the photo, I opened the door and let them all fall out. I'll leave them out on the table for a day or so to dry and then replace them.

I will have to admit that I had a few pangs of guilt while picking the acorns to fill the holder. I thought about the squirrels and felt like we were stealing from them! I decided that when I'm finished with the acorns as decoration, I'll put them back out for the squirrels and maybe my guilt will go away.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mmmm, homemade ice cream!

Photobucket
I haven't made that much of it because I thought it always took too long. I finally figured out I wasn't putting enough SALT in with my ice. After listening to my dad about that, I've had several successful tries at homemade ice cream. It's so good and so easy (when you add enough salt. ;) ) I went the easy route with vanilla the first time I made it this summer.

The boys love it!
PhotobucketPhotobucket
I've gotten a little more experimental. The last batch I made, I pureed fresh blueberries and we had blueberry ice cream. I bought the ingredients for mint chocolate chip for the next batch. I can already taste that.... Mmmm... Maybe I should make that batch soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crafty, Frugal and Resourceful

I have learned over the years that I can be all of those when the need arises. I've also learned that I can be neither of those if my mood isn't just right. Lately, with all that we've had going on, my moods haven't been "just right" for anything! I'm coming around though. I'm letting go and trying not to worry. I know things will happen (this house will sell) in their own good time and I'm just sitting waiting in the process. I've decided to try my very best not to sit in limbo or work in limbo mode.

So, with that in mind, I bought some plants (mostly mums) at the store recently to decorate a neglected and quite ugly spot on our patio. I didn't put anything out there over the summer because I knew with our trips, the pots wouldn't get watered and the plants would die. What was the point? None. I opted to be neither crafty, frugal or resourceful then, but was smart and didn't waste the time nor money. ;)

When I bought the plants this week, I realized I had no clay pots left for transferring but I decided I wasn't wasting money on any more at this moment in time. I'd just find another way to display the mums in the black pots they came in from the nursery. So, I bought a few different ones.

Photobucket
That pot on the right is off of my front porch and held a pink geranium, a spike and some dangling greenery during the summer. I replaced all but the dangling greenery with that big mum sitting there and plopped it back out on the front porch steps. Then I got to work on disguising the ugly, plastic, black nursery pots. I found a section of burlap in the shop. I almost took a photo of it hanging from the rafters, but I was scared of scaring you. I was also scared of holding my camera in my hand while pulling it down for fear of some spider falling on me and me dropping the camera on the run out the door! LOL That didn't happen though. I found it, pulled it down and then plopped it outside the backdoor while I went in to get the scissors and the rest of my supplies.

When I came out, I saw this. He's so spoiled he thinks it would hurt him to lie on the concrete. *rolleyes*
Photobucket
Much to his dismay, I made him get up so I could have my burlap. My plan was to cut circles to encompass the pots and tie it all together with raffia. This all fits the title of this post (crafty, frugal and resourceful) because it allowed me to use things I already had around the house plus my imagination. :)

So, I plopped down in the grass with my supplies and cut my first square of burlap.
Photobucket
Sam was checking things over to see just what I was doing with the new blanket he'd found. LOL
Photobucket
From there, I took the square and folded it into a cone shape.
Photobucket
I had decided folding a cone and cutting the ends into a curve would be a whole lot easier than trying to cut an even circle.
Photobucket
I was right. It's not a perfect circle, but that's ok, it's sort of evenly round. :)
Photobucket
At this point, I looked up to see where Sam had gone since I was working outside the fenced in yard. I really had no worries. He hadn't gone far.
Photobucket
I sat my flowerpot back in the middle of the circle, then pulled the sides upward and tied it off with a piece of raffia.
Photobucket
What do you think, Sam? Does it look pretty?
Photobucket
I think he likes the idea! So, I plunged forward and fitted a few more pots with burlap covers. In the meantime, I was also spray painting a little plant stand we'd picked up some time ago at a yard sale. I've come to love black spray paint as of late. ;)
When all was done, I put it all together in this ugly little corner of the patio.
Photobucket
I didn't cover the creeping vine for the bug/car planter because I wasn't sure how that would look, but I may do that later.
Photobucket
What do you think? Simple and easy, all it cost was the price of the plants and a little time that came with a sense of accomplishing something!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Rider

Photobucket


DH has always called Barney, his rider, because the spoiled little thing loves riding. On anything! When the boys ride their go cart, Barney runs out and stands to wait until he's picked up to ride. When DH rides the lawn mower, he does the same thing. Same for rides on the four wheeler when we're at my parents' house. He loves being included and on the go. If he gets to ride in the truck with us somewhere, you'd think he was in heaven just the way he behaves! He is a nut.

Several months ago, R decided he wanted to build a cart with some old skateboard wheels. He and dh got to work using some old scrap wood and came up with the gizmo in the photo above. Then the boys decided it was a perfect cart for Barney. At some point, they tied a rope to it and pulled him along. He just sat there perfectly content to not be walking. Ok, he's a spoiled nut.

But then, wouldn't you know it? Boys decided to be boys and include poor little Barney in some of their stunts. Their favorite stunt is to go across the street (not a heavily traveled street - they play in the street quite often actually.... hmmm....) and up the neighbor's driveway, then skate down it on their boards. On this particular evening, they decided to give Barney more of a joy ride than a leisurely pull. And me, being the sensitive pet mom that I am went and got my camera instead of rescuing him. Don't bash me... it really was cute and he was unharmed through the whole thing!

Neighbor's driveway (I wish she'd close her garage doors so my photos wouldn't be so blah of the inside of her garage. LOL)
Photobucket

Does he look ready? Can you see the excitement in his face? Ok, you can't see his face, but trust me, it was there. ;)
Ready, set, GO!!!
Photobucket

D ran beside him making sure he didn't turn over or crash...
Photobucket

I really expected him to ditch the cart and head for cover when it came to a stop. He didn't though. He just sat there - probably reliving his life flashing before his eyes! LOL
Photobucket

Or maybe he was ready to go again. D took it to mean that and went again!

Are you wondering where Sam was in all of this? Well, he's the brains of the bunch. He was sitting on the sidelines watching and most likely thinking, "What an idiot! Never in a million years would I let them do that to me!"
Photobucket

Can you see that in his expression? I can. LOL

Friday, August 14, 2009

A scale that makes me happy

The scale I keep tucked under my bed to weigh myself doesn't always make me happy especially not after two trips home over the summer. :)

I've wanted an antique kitchen scale just for decoration more than function for a while now. The boys and I were bored the other day and so we went junking and I found this.

Photobucket


I think it'll look great someday on my Kansas antique possum belly cabinet. Did I tell you that story? The story of how I said one of my plans for living here was to acquire a piece of furniture that I'd remember as my Kansas antique. It all goes along with my need for things to have a story. LOL I have picked up a few things during our time here, but my ultimate favorite is my opossum belly cabinet. Or maybe it's my architect's drawing board? Hmm, tough call. I had the cabinet in storage until June when I pulled it out and started using the bottom portion as a desk. The top portion is still stored in the garage. I'll have to share pictures later. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer is over ...

at least it is for us as we started our schoolwork this week. Maybe that explains why I haven't taken the time to blog this week. Ack... it's just been busy. We've gotten off to a good start with our home-school work though. I look forward to a good year. I am not head over heels in love with the second grade curriculum, but that's because I have higher expectations for what my second grader can do and I don't like dummy-ing anything down. We'll stick to the schedule for a few weeks and then adapt from there maybe.

The sixth grade math is going to kick my hiney this year sort of like the fifth grade math did last year. LOL But, I got smarter and actually purchased the teacher's editions this year so I would be better prepared.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

buy me some peanuts and

Photobucket
I was shopping in Walmart Sunday afternoon when I walked by a three pack of Cracker Jack(s) (we always called them Cracker Jacks...) sitting on the shelf for the bargain price of 99cents. I asked Reed if he'd ever had Cracker Jack and he said no. Hmmm, some mother I am letting the kid get to almost eight years old without letting him experience Cracker Jack. In my defense, he has had caramel popcorn before, just not Cracker Jack specifically.

So, since at that moment in time, it seemed imperative that he have this right of passage, I threw the three pack in the cart. Besides, there's a prize inside!
Photobucket
When we got home, we tore into the package and found the much anticipated prize. (and our caramel covered popcorn and peanuts too, but it's all about the prize sometimes...)
Photobucket
I have been trying to remember. Were all the prizes paper things or did we occasionally get a plastic prize? I thought we had rings and such, but maybe my memory is cloudy on that one. Maybe my memory is clouded by the fact that a local department store back home always had a Cracker Jack sale on Black Friday. One year, my friend's mom tore open her Cracker Jack box and found a diamond ring hidden inside! Much to my dismay, I never found anything other than a 15% coupon in my Black Friday Cracker Jack boxes. Maybe that's why to this day I mostly boycott Black Friday sales. I felt jipped when I didn't get a diamond ring. Heck, I would have been happy with a necklace. *shrug* Maybe McRae's and Black Friday ruined Cracker Jack for me. Maybe that's why my children had never experienced them before now.

Maybe... Wait, where was I? Oh, Sunday afternoon of this week and our current treasure awaiting us from the inside of the Cracker Jack box. Our current paper prize. I do remember that whatever paper prize it was, it was always something "nifty" like............ Are you ready? Wait for it...
.
.
.
.
.
. Ready yet?
.
.
.
.
.
. It
.
.
.
.
.
. was a....
.
.
.
.
. pencil topper!
Photobucket
Yay! Just what we've always wanted! *insert sarcasm and try not to think of diamond rings here.* Hey, I suppose pencils need a little bling every now and then too.
Photobucket

When the response from the prize wears off and you munch on the sweet caramel popcorn and look for the peanuts settled in the bottom of the box, you realize it's not just about the prize. It's about the fun of a tasty treat and for us older folks, the fun of the memory.

Because, really, it:
Photobucket

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Being "blue" isn't so bad

Photobucket
For the past three years, I've thought of entering the Open Class judging at the local fair. But, I never thought of it early enough therefore never getting entries together or remembering until it was too late. This year, I planned ahead. Last Wednesday after taking DH to the airport, I made it home in time to get my entries down to the exhibit hall.

I was very impressed with the 4H entries. Some of those kids have really creative eyes and their photographs proved it!

I came away with three blue ribbons and was happy with those! The photos that ranked for the ribbon were:
My Little Guy as my entry for Photojournalism, Color:
Photobucket

Our friend, Carlos', junk tray full of all things Volkswagen as my entry for Unclassified, Black and White:
Photobucket

A baby from church as my entry for Portrait, black and white:
Photobucket


It was fun! I'm glad I finally entered!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grillin' (Saturday's lunch)

Photobucket
When we were deciding what things the movers should go ahead and take in order for us to have our things in Korea in the next few years, I went ahead and sent most of my cookware. Well, basically ALL of it minus the skillet that came with the set. I kept one iron skillet and the double boiler Mom let me have of hers a few years ago that I used to melt chocolate for Christmas baking. It all seemed like it would work out just fine in my mind until I realized that DH had for whatever reason tossed the extra cookware we had from the boat/camper a few months back. I wasn't a nag though and didn't ask him the question that resounded over and over in my head. WHY? Why? why....?

Instead, I have just decided to make the best of it. And the best of it includes the grill. Hey, it's summertime, so you're supposed to be grillin' anyway, right? I spent the better part of a day last week cleaning the grill, clearing away dh's messes and making the grill my own. I reseasoned the cast iron grates and made them look shiny and new. It was almost a shame to throw these pork chops on it and get it dirty again. But, you've got to eat, right?

Now, the sides. My monstrous zucchini plant is finally putting out zucchini.
Photobucket

Photobucket
Carole, I think of you everytime I have success with zucchini. Sorry...

Normally, I'd slice this and throw it into a skillet with onions and spices. But, care to guess where my favorite skillet for the job is? Yep, gone across the pond. So, I decided to try slicing, seasoning and placing them directly on the grill instead.
Photobucket
They were perfect! I had to bribe the boys to get them to even try one. I still owe them whatever I promised them if they'd try it. But they probably know by now that my bribes for trying food are not cash in worthy whether they eat the food or not. They sometimes learn that they actually like something so that's all that matters to me! Dev actually liked the grilled zucchini. Reed did not. Maybe it was because his "try" was not big enough to actually taste?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's sunflower time in Kansas!

Photobucket
I planted sunflowers in the garden a few years ago and haven't buried a seed since. But, we've had our share of volunteer sunflowers come up in the garden since then. I have even had to pull small ones from the garden so I'd have room to plant my veggies!

Today is a beautiful day with clear blue skies. I decided it was the perfect time for a snapshot of the flowers.
Photobucket