Monday, June 27, 2011

Manic Monday! What is that in my garden?

Mother Nature continues to play games with us. We thought for sure once the many volunteer squash plants started to look more grown up that they were cucumbers. Well, weeks went by with no fruit. I was beginning to wonder what was going on when we started spotting these.... not exactly cucumberish. Well, another couple of weeks went by and it became apparent that we were dealing with a much larger fruit....

Watermelon. Lots and lots of them! I don't like watermelon, but everyone else in my family does. I was so hoping to make pickles this summer.... hopefully my two little cucumber plants I grew from seeds will produce. I really don't know how well the watermelons will do. We set them up to climb like cukes.... not to sprawl and have room to rest on the ground!

Yesterday we spotted our first tomato hornworms of the year, one of which had nearly decimated one of our grape tomato plants :(. I started using a tip I'd read many times from other organic gardeners to carry around a bucket of very soapy water while harvesting your garden. If you find any bad bugs in your garden, simply drop them in the bucket. The bugs won't be able to get out! So add "bug killer" to my list of occupations... we got rid of lots of June bugs tonight.

This was part of my dinner tonight. I love caprese salads! I wish I could say that these beautiful tomatoes came from my garden, but they didn't. The basil did, though! We also had frozen pizza... and I nearly fainted when both my girls tried the spinach pizza! They both went back for seconds, too!

Sorry I did not post last week. We had VBS at church in the evenings last week. This is my 4th year in a row being craft leader (whatever gave them the idea that I like crafts? ;) ). The kids had a blast! I'm exhausted, though!

I went to a little reunion with some of my Sigma sorority sisters Saturday night. It was so nice to see everyone after all these years (I graduated in 1995!) I hope we can get together again soon!

Have a great week, friends!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and Photo Friday! Chicken House...

My chickens have seemed much happier after some recent new additions to their house. They now have a chicken run (although some minor improvements need to be made, mainly to secure any gaps along the bottom), and they also now have a real door to the coop where there was once only a screen of rat wire secured by nails. The fencing my husband bought off of Craigslist. The door came from my uncle-in-law's stash of useful stuff he couldn't get rid of (Thrifty!). He and my aunt-in-law came over last week to meet the chickens, and he offered it to us! The coop itself was made from salvaged plywood. My husband is having a shed built in the next couple of weeks, and we will use the leftover siding to finish off the coop. Now the chickens can stay outside all day and play without anyone worrying about how safe they are! And now they are also truly secure at night :)

I am very grateful for the recent rain we have gotten! There was lots of rain last week, just not by my house :( Hopefully, we caught up a bit!

I bought these books last night:

They should be good reads :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Manic Monday! Cuticle Oil...

This is the homemade cosmetic I use the most... unless you count my baking soda deodorant, but I don't really feel like I "make" that! I use this cuticle oil on my fingernails and toenails... especially in the summer! I choose not to polish my nails... I like them buffed and natural! So the first day I could really wear my flip-flops, I decided to make a new batch. The ingredients are as follows:

*1 small container (glass is preferable because it is non-reactive, but a plastic travel shampoo bottle from a hotel would do. I used a syrup bottle from Cracker Barrel!)
* Jojoba or sweet almond oil (about 1 T)
* Tea tree essential oil (4 drops) (anti-fungal)
* Lemon essential oil (4 drops) (whitens nails)
* Vitamin E gel capsules (2 small or 1 large)
* Other essential oils for fragrance as desired, 2-4 drops each. I used Lavender and Rosemary, both of which have antiseptic qualities.

Start by pouring the Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil into your container. Jojoba is heavier in texture and a bit more expensive than the almond oil, but both absorb easily. Add the essential oils as desired. Add your vitamin E oil by puncturing with a pin and squeezing the oil into your container. Put the lid on, shake gently, and your cuticle oil is ready to use! With a container this small, you can use your finger to apply the oil, but a Q-tip works as well. Massage the oil into the nails and cuticles to keep your cuticles smooth and your nails shiny!

Most grocery stores with a natural foods/healthcare section will have sweet almond oil. I bought my almond oil at Whole Foods, but I have seen it at my local Martin's. The Jojoba oil came from Trader Joe's. I buy some of my essential oils from Lavender Fields Farm. The Aura Cacia oils came from Vita Cost, but they are readily available at Whole Foods. I found the prices are much better at Vita Cost, and you can certainly purchase all of these supplies there, although you must pay shipping.

If you try making this, I'd love to hear what you thought about it!

In other news, I have to brag about my kindergartener.... she won an award for "most likely to become an actress." My little drama queen. :)

Also, my husband, father-in-law, and I have almost finished some significant upgrades to our chickens' home! They now have a proper door to their coop and a chicken run! I'll tell you more about it on Thursday!

Have a great week!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Friday! Creepy stuff....

That, my friends, is a black widow. We are assuming this one is a girl, because she was attached to that beige ball toward the end of the stick that looks very much like an egg sack. My husband found her in the wood pile. EEEK! We have so many spiders in the yard, you would think it's fall, not summer!

This one is a much friendlier orchard spider. He had spun a beautiful web between a brick wall and one of our rain barrels! We've also found many spiders in our garden, and for that, I'm glad! We left those alone so they could do their work in the garden.

The black widow, however, didn't make it.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thrifty Thursday!

Look at the plates I found over the weekend! This is a Mikasa pattern called "Blue Bird." (They should have called it "fantastic blue rooster"!) My two favorite colors right now... turquoise and pea green! I even have pyrex to match this pattern! I only found 2 dinner plates and a salad plate, so the hunt is on.... the sugar and creamer are the turquoise blue and white. I'd LOVE to find those (insert husband's eye roll here.... ) I also found a skirt and a shirt...

Did you find any lovelies this week? I'd love to hear about them!

Stay tuned tomorrow for some interesting finds in the garden....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Manic Moday! Harvest!

Although it's on the small side :), our first garden harvest was sugar snap peas! I sauted these with a bit of butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper... yum!

We should have some grape tomatoes soon. I think mother nature is playing games with us... of all of the 30something volunteer tomatoes we had, all but one seems to be grape tomatoes! The one unique plant I think is a brandywine, which is great! I think my dreams of canning tons of salsa and homemade marinara sauce are dashed, however!

This was dinner tonight... a white turkey chili! I adapted the recipe from one I found online. It needed a kick of something, though. I'll have to try this one again... the cilantro is from our garden, and was another volunteer!

I hope everyone is off to a great week!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photo Friday! Butterflies...

Yesterday when I came home, this beautiful creature greeted me! He was kind enough to pose for several pictures :)

This morning began less than ideally... my younger daughter woke me up because her throat hurt. She also had a bit of a fever. Now, I dutifully take my kids to get checked for strep every time they have a sore throat and a fever, and this is the very first time we have ever had the test come back positive :(. We have meds now, though, so I hope she'll be feeling better very soon!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thrifty Thursday!

I'm a day late with this, but don't blame me! Blogger was having problems uploading photos last night! I can't complain about such a wonderful free service, though!

Today I'm sharing some purchases over the weekend... some awesome vintage fabric and ticking stripe fabric as well as a plate stand (I've always wanted one!) I picked up from my church's yard sale.... and another white divided Pyrex casserole and a small glass dome from the thrift store. :) I will use the dome with a small cake stand. Now I feel the need to throw a party and use it!

Have you found any lovelies this week? I hope so! :)