Sunday, March 7, 2010

ADVENTURES IN NATURE

Good morning everyone! How are you doing this bright and beautiful day? I’m good really… hurting but good. I see we have 3 more followers and yesterday we had lots of comments! YAY! Hello to all my new friends and thanks to everyone for your support. I came home and read all the comments and just couldn’t stop grinning! And to Hazel, I’m TRYING to tempt you LOL! That’s why I am holding the March Gardening contest now… so you can start your seeds INSIDE your house and by the time the snow clears, you will have precious baby plants to put into your garden… however big it may be! So go ahead and plant away… cause I’m gonna keep tempting you! LOL!

So, yesterday was a very busy day for us, but we had a wonderful day out. Family time enjoying the spoils of nature… we ended up taking the clothing to donations, metal to the scrap yard, then to Maas Nursery, the Fish Markets, and finally to Houston Garden Center to round out the day. Sit back and join us as I share my adventure!



Here you see me looking through all the plants at Maas Nursery with my DS14. They had so many good vegetable plants and they were in such good condition. They were very healthy and if I had tons of money, then all those plants you see around me would have came home with me LOL!



Here I am again all swollen and looking terrible. I’m holding some poblano pepper plants but I put them down to think about purchasing them and when I came back, they were gone! I was rather upset with myself for not keeping them in the first place! Oh well… maybe next time! NOTE TO SELF- next time buy the stupid plants and don't second guess myself LMAO!



Look at this gorgeous green plant… with the ginormous lizard! This lizard scared the tar out of my DS14 LOL when it jumped up onto the leaf. He tried to “call” it “Here lizard” but it went away LOL. He wanted to catch it and bring it home! Oh the weird things little boys put in their pockets LMAO! I hate to imagine what would have happened to the poor little thing had Alex actually caught it! Eww... yuck ok I need another mental image and fast! LOL!



Check out this beautiful butterfly that we saw at Maas… he (or she LOL) was flying around all the plants. It was the first butterfly I have seen this season and I hope to get tons in my garden very soon!



The DS18 thought he would be funny and act like he was hugging and talking to the fish and I snapped the picture! He was like “Oh very funny mom!” I couldn’t quit laughing! This was the first time he’d ever been to a plant nursery or a fish market. He says he actually enjoyed himself. Its so hard to find things to do that teens think is interesting nowadays… making sure its not totally lame in their standards… guess I just got lucky with some really great kids!



Here is DH, DS18, and DD!5 with the plants they got at the Houston Garden Center. They each wanted a plant of their own to car for and you see what they picked out LOL. I told them its their responsibility so don’t kill it! LOL and if the DS18 kills a cactus… well that will be interesting!



While at the fish market, we picked up a couple of pounds of fresh colossal shrimp that were on sale. This bad boy in my hand was about 8-9 inches long. I think it’s a beautiful site. DS18 and I cleaned them when we got home and plan on making some shrimp kabobs for the BBQ today if the weather is nice. (Note to self, check the weather when I am done here LMAO!)



And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for because all of you who know me know that I probably brought something home from one or both nurseries LMAO! You would be correct!! I brought home 4 celery plants (I have NEVER seen these before so I brought them home just to see if I could grow them!), another baby Roma tomato plant, 2 cabbage, and 6 pks. (which had more than six plants each) of butternut squash, scalloped squash, straight neck yellow squash, okra, and green bell pepper. Isn’t that neat? CELERY! Never ever seen it but I’m really not surprised I found it at Maas LOL. I love that place! So the garden is ALMOST full… but not quite LOL… gotta figure out what to put in that foot area right in the middle LOL! Shoot, if all my seeds take, I might have to build another container LMAO!

So there you have it. I wore everyone out but they all said they enjoyed the day… which made it all worth it. I told them in a couple of weeks when I need fresh veggies again that I would take them up to the Farmers Market in Houston. That autta blow DS18’s mind, dontcha think? LOL… he never got to experience any of this stuff before he came to us, so I’m trying to broaden his mind now while I still have him.

Okie dokie… craft time! Now my mom brought up something in her comment I need to address… Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 4th… yep the first Sunday of the Month. Yesterday we covered centerpieces… floral mainly. Today I want to cover a few different ideas you can use for decorations.

Craft Ideas of the Day: Easter Decorations



Jelly Bean Carrots

Supplies:

cellophane cone shaped bags or clear plastic icing bags (these are usually available at Michaels, or sometimes in the cake decorating aisle; in a pinch, you can fashion your own from a rectangular, clear plastic bag of some kind - simply fold the bag diagonally to form a triangular cone then secure the lengthwise seam with transparent tape)

orange and green jelly beans

green tissue paper

green curling ribbon

Instructions:

1. Fill the bag about half full with orange jelly beans. Add a layer of green jelly beans. Prop the bag inside a narrow vase or wine glass to hold it up while you work on the next steps.

2. Cut a strip of folded green tissue paper that is a little wider than the length now available from the top of the green jelly beans to the edge of the bag. Make sure the double-layered tissue paper strip is long enough to roll easily into a loose circle that will fit nicely inside the top of the bag. A generous overlap when you slide the ends of the circle together is fine and will add a little body to the top of the carrot.

3. Roll the tissue paper strip loosely and fit it inside the bag, pushing it down to meet the top layer of green jelly beans.

4. Tie one or two strands of curling ribbon around the bag, just above the green jelly beans, so that the ribbon cinches the bag tightly and holds the tissue paper in place.

Curl the ends of the ribbon.

Suggestions:

-- Fill the carrot with other orange colored candy, or with cheese puffs, and top with a layer of green Easter grass.



Egg Topiary

Supplies:

18 inch foam cone
approximately 31 plastic eggs
Spanish Moss or Easter grass
Hot glue gun and glue
Pedestal Vase
Large Sewing Needle
Large Mixing Bowl

How to:

Place the styrofoam cone into your container, pushing down firmly, as shown at right. If the vase or container doesn't provide a tight fit, you may need to glue the cone to the inside of the container.

Once the cone is securely in place, begin gluing eggs to the cone. You can do this randomly or in layers beginning at the bottom. Leave gaps large enough to accommodate Spanish moss between the eggs.

You can hot glue or use floral pins to attach the Spanish moss. I used glue. Fill all open areas of the cone with moss. That's all there is to making a pretty egg topiary for Easter.



Paintbrush Bunnies

Supplies:

2 inch paint brushes with wooden handles
white craft paint
google eyes
plastic scoop (i.e. recycled kool-aid or small laundry detergent scoop)
scraps of felt or craft fun foam in red and light blue
ribbon
ribbon roses or other small floral decoration
tiny pink pom pom
2 small brown or tan pom poms
artificial animal whiskers, string...or pull a few bristles from the paint brushes before you start this project!

Instructions:

1. Begin by painting the brushes - even the bristles - with white paint. Let dry and repeat if the coverage is a little thin.

2. Use paint or a permanent marker to make a broken line (a line broken by spaces) down the center of the handle.

3. Check the photo for details, then paint the inside of the bunny's ear on either side of the painted center line. Use pink paint for the girl bunny's ears and blue for the boy bunny.

4. Assemble the bunny's face on the metal part of the brush, above the bristles. First, glue whiskers in the middle, followed by the tiny pink pompom. Under the pink nose, glue on the two brown or tan pom poms.

5. Cut a small oval from red felt or fun foam, and glue on beneath the brown or tan pom poms.

6. For the girl bunny, glue on a bow and a small ribbon rose, just below the tongue.

7. Next, glue on the google eyes, where the metal meets the wooden handle. For the girl, add another small bow just below the ears.

8. Make the boy bunny as you did the girl, but leave off the bows and roses. Instead, take a piece of square felt and cut a triangle out of two opposite sides to make a bow tie. Glue the bow tie under the tongue.

9. For the boy's hat, cut a plastic scoop in half and cover it with two coats of light blue paint. When the paint is dry, glue the hat above the eyes, as shown in the photo. And enjoy!

Alrighty so there you have some cute ideas to make for decorations. Be watching for many more things to come! Now lets get to the absolutely sinful area of my blogs… FOOD!! Do you remember those MONSTER potatoes I got at the Farmers Market the other day? Well last night I baked them (took longer than a normal sized potato HA go figure LMAO!). I also took that strip of brisket I found clearanced the other day and cut it up into thin shredded strips. I cooked it and simmered it in BBQ sauce for as long as the potato needed to cook.



Took those potatoes out of the oven, loaded them with butter, sour cream, cheese, onions, and the beef on top and OMG! I thought I died and gone to heaven! Now THAT is a loaded BBQ baked potato! I had one of these at a restaurant and I thought it was awesome but now I kinda like mine better LOL! A half of a potato with all the topping and a couple of rolls on the side was enough to stuff each person to the gills!

You probably don’t have super monster potatoes, but you could do this with regular baking potatoes too… but in case this is not your “thing” I have another recipe for you that you might enjoy! Try this one…



Cajun Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 cups of sliced okra
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Creole seasoning to taste
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 rotisserie chicken, boned and shredded

Directions

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, whisk in flour. Continue whisking until the roux has cooked to the color of chocolate milk, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the roux. If you see black specks in the mixture, start over.

Stir onion, bell pepper, celery, and sausage into the roux; cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning; blend thoroughly. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken, and simmer 1 hour more. Skim off any foam that floats to the top during the last hour.

*** NOTE- the roux color is really dependent on how you would like it. I used milk chocolate as a reference as that's our family preference. If you would like it darker then you would just keep a stirrin until it's a color you would desire-it also intensifies the flavor. Also, if you do not like it thick then reduce the flour/oil ratio to maybe 1/2 c. flour to 1/2 c. oil. You can also substitute or add Shrimp to your gumbo.***

So there you have it everyone… fun adventures, great crafts, and good eats! What more could ya ask for in a blog? Not much, I think LOL! I hope you got inspired today and will come back tomorrow for another great day. As for me? Well its cooking and cleaning and relaxing outside enjoying my garden and listening to the birds and such all around me! Wish ya could join me for a nice glass of homemade lemonade… OMG LEMONS! Now I want to grow lemons! LOL… ok I’m out of here before I get more crazy ideas! Always remember to leave me a comments with any questions or ideas or whatever! Peace, Love, and lots of HUGS!!!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM" DonahueMarch 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    OMG!!! I didn't even think about the potatoes until today. They are huge, aren't they. I think I will have one, or maybe half of one, for my dinner tonight. YUMMY!
    Your garden is looking good. Just remember that small container gardens have to be maintained rather often so some of the plants dont choke out the others. Remember how mangled my green beans got? If you can train them to grow up vertically or on a support you'll be happier with your results. Growing seeds will allow you to keep your plants rotated out when others have been spent for the season. You Go Girl!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there... how big is your raised garden? dont want to critize BUt lollol you have so much in there.... I am afraid it might all be packed when things get big.... but . who am I LOL
    good luck
    antoher queston... why are you swollen? is it those diet pills? take care of yourself, Your OHio MOM

    ReplyDelete