Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring...In Full Bloom

I've been taking more walks around the park during down time at the office to keep myself away from the computer and off my ever-widening behind lately. I've made sure to bring the trusty Canon along for my walks because you know I'm all about the visuals. I've been able to catch some really nice shots of the flowers in full bloom.
The park is gorgeous right now and the Knockout Roses we have planted in front of the building are out of control! these things just don't stop growing. I'm not really a rose girl but the colors on these things are so vivid they sort of exude happiness, and ya know I LURVE to share my moods with y'all.
So, here ya go-happy flowers just for you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Garden: 30 Days In

Over the weekend the garden passed the thirty day mark and so far things are going well. The Spinach, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Peppers are all still in the starter tray. I have transplanted the pole beans and snap peas into pots. We've had an abundance of sun over the last few days which is really helping to mature the plants. I usually water them in the early morning and a bit more in the early evening. Its not good to water at night in our humid climate because it can lead to mold and fungus attacking the plants.

I used some bamboo skewers to help give the peas some support, they have been sprouting little vines like crazy trying to find something to latch onto.

I had pinched back the original leaves on the bean plants and within a couple of days they had doubled the amount of leaves.

Brand New Obsession

Decoupage Collage! Like painting and scrapbooking in one! Messy scrapping. I love it. OK, maybe I'm strange but I love peeling the dried polymer off of my fingers afterwards too.

Today I spent the day doing forced fun at work and it turned out to actually be FANTASTIC. We did these collages at the art place. Love it, because ya know crafts are my therapy.

Anyway, the project is really simple and you only need a few supplies: a canvas (the one I used was 8x8), acrylic polymer, paint, and whatever else you want to add. things like concert tickets, newspaper articles, photos, buttons, marbles, old jewelery, ribbon, papers, sheet music, old keys...anything!

First you paint the canvas, then allow it to dry. You can use a hair dryer on low setting to help speed the process. then you put polymer on the back of the items you want to include in your collage and press them onto the canvas. Layer away, and as you place items on your canvas paint more polymer on top of them to help seal them onto the canvas. the polymer will dry clear.
Here's my first attempt at decoupage collage:

I was thinking about buying a bunch of picture frames and covering one wall in our home office with pictures, but now I think I'm going to make a sort of border around the room with these collages.

I found the supplies for really cheap here:

Monday, April 21, 2008

This Old House

I love this old house. Its located within a block of the town square right on the main street. Its nestled amongst other old homes that have had owners that have resisted the trend of remodeling and updating. All of the houses on the road have massive front porches with ceiling fans and rocking chairs. The elementary school is on the same road and its the same road that the town parades take place.

If I have to live in a suburb-can I live in a house like this? Its not fancy its not big. Its just what I need. Its got potential.
It would be so nice to have big giant potted topiary style trees on that porch and black wicker furniture with thick comfy cushions. I could walk to the used bookstore or the little java joint on the weekend. I could watch a parade from my own driveway. I could walk Red to school in the morning and still make it to work on time. I could sit on that porch sipping on an icy glass of honey lemonade and paint or scrapbook or read books to myself or Red. I could blog on that front porch! We could go to the Mexican Restaurante and have salsa and chips and sangria and get a little tipsy and walk home safely!

Did I forget to mention its for sale? Yeah, its for sale. Ahhhh if only. Its just not in the deck of cards right now, but eh-one can dream right?
I bet it has wood floors too. Doesn't it just scream "I HAVE GORGEOUS WOOD FLOORS!"?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Domestic Violence

I had to put out a restraining order against Red's basketball hoop yesterday. For reasons unbeknown est to me, this angry hoop felt the need to clobber my seedlings! The audacity. Imagine my surprise as I arrive home and look outside to see this deranged hoop lying on top of my feeble seedlings just suffocating them ruthlessly. The hoop wouldn't stop its attack on the seedlings so I was able to snap this pic as evidence for the cops.

Horrific to see that kind of violence isn't it? I had to take the little guys inside. Sadly, some of them didn't make it. I won't allow this to happen again. The hoop was hauled off to the basement on charges of domestic violence.

I did have to take all of the plants in yesterday as the winds were a bit strong.

I had to reposition the brussel spouts and spinach because they were becoming a tangled mess. I also pinched off the initial leaves from the pole bean plants to allow them to begin to branch off and get really leafy. I'll put them all back out on the deck today, for more sun time.

The Peas are beginning to develop the little vines and they have started curling around each other. I'll probably get something to use as little stakes for them to attach to for support.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Georgia Springtime Classic

Yep, its that time of year again. The time of year when Georgia looks as though it suffered a nuclear attack and bright yellow-green radioactive fallout is covering everything. You can't open your windows or it will be covering everything in your house. Its pointless to wash your car and whenever you have to go outside for anything you come back in feeling like you've got a gritty film covering you.

It will be nice to get some good soaking rains to wash away this mess.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mud-licious and Puddle Wonderful?

"The world is mud-licious and puddle wonderful!" -E.E.Cummings

After having such a drought the last couple of years in Georgia I'd have to say I agree with that statement. Its nice to have mud and puddles again instead of dry dusty cracked earth. We hope the rains will keep coming. We desperately need it in this part of the country.

All the mud is fun for the kids too. Kids love the mud, its squishy and messy. When you grow up into an adult you do NOT (normally-I know there's an exception to every rule) love mud. Mud becomes one of those things you DON'T want on your clothes, body, or hair-that is unless you've paid for that sort of thing at a swanky day spa. When your child insists on splashing in the puddles on your way into a store or running through the mud before you take them into school-it does nothing but make you want to scold them for getting dirty. We parents take the joy out of everything do we not?

Well, when I walked in to Red's pre-school this afternoon, the kids were all out playing in the yard around back. They were in the far back corner and I couldn't see Red right off the bat. The teacher walked up to me and you could tell she was nervous as she started to tell me, "Um do you see that big mud puddle right there?"

I shook my head yes...and watched as her face grew bright red.

"Well, he just went over and dunked his head into it and then slid right in."

At first I did that parental sigh when you have just heard that your child did something wrong. Then I looked over and saw him-he was laughing and playing. His clothes were covered in mud-but his face was covered with a smile. So I laughed too. I mean we were going straight home. The clothes can be washed, and so can his body. That's what being a kid is all about. Experimenting, playing, laughing and getting messy along the way.

I think the teacher was relieved that I laughed about it. They must get sick to death of parents coming in expecting their kids to be shiney and spotless everytime they get picked up. Now, I wouldn't have wanted them to let him stay that way-that's what the change of clothes is for in his cubby box at school.

There's a muddy pair of shoes, socks, jeans, and shirt in the washer right now and there's a kid in the tub smiling thinking about the squishy mud he rolled around in today.

When I first started this blog, oh about 4 long days ago...I thought it was going to just be a blog tracking the progress of my first REAL attempt at a vegetable garden. Thus the name "" As you see though, I've already thrown a wrench in that plan when I shared the fabulous Honey Nut Chicken recipe. It was too good NOT to share. At first I thought, well that doesn't even go-but ah-ha! the whole "food" being in the title was my "in" for that entry.

Well today I've got a funny (well I think its funny) story about my son that I want to share and of course pics to go with it. Its almost a requirement for me that a blog include pictures. Sounds like a first grader wanting to know where the books with all of the pictures are at right? I want to see what you are writing about and compare it to what I've already got pictured in my mind-or build a story around the picture(s) you've shared.

So anyway, I can include the funny story about my son-because I LOVE him and he is a child that is GROWing. I have decided that "" can really encompass anything and everything in my life. I can write about all the things I love, the people I love, the way I love and want to be loved. I can write about growing and garden, my child, myself, my relationship, my mind, skills, etc, see? The list can just go on and on. So the basis of the blog is going to be around this little vegetable garden but I'll always throw in random passages about the other goings on in my life. After all, the purpose to this thing called life really boils down to those three words "" anyway, right?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Baked Honey Nut Chicken

This is delicious. I modified it just a bit and made it with Panko instead of regular plain bread crumbs. Well, I think I used a little more butter to-but it was Blue Bonnet LIGHT margarine.

Baked Honey Nut Chicken

2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup dry bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts- sliced into smaller pieces
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a bowl, beat eggs and honey together until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, toss together pecans, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
Dip chicken pieces in egg and honey mixture, then dredge in pecan mixture, coating thoroughly. Arrange chicken side by side in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle melted butter evenly over chicken.
Bake approximately 40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear.

YUM! We are eating it plain, but I think it would taste great with a honey mustard or even a sweet BBQ sauce as a dip.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Peppers Are Coming! The Peppers Are Coming!

Yes, Yes! I know! The excitement of it is almost too much to handle right? Really though, I was beginning to think those little peppers weren't going to cooperate-but today those seedlings are going strong. There are at least two sprouts in each pod and they look like they have potential. Not bad for a $.30 seed pack.
The broccoli on the other hand is starting to look a little iffy. My husband had a heavy jiu-jitsu gi hanging to dry directly above the tray and I went to move it and dropped it right on the broccoli sprouts. This of course will be his fault because he chose to hang the thing in that particular spot, right?
We had a large amount of rain today and they are calling for more tomorrow. I might bring the pole beans in tonight to keep them from getting water logged. The bin they are in right now has no drainage so I don't want to drown them out. What they need more than anything right now is sun and lots of it. If we get a nice sunny day this weekend they will definitely start producing more leaves.

Transplanting Pole Beans with a Junior Helper

April 2, 2008

Now that I've given you all of the background on my extremely feeble and limited gardening experience, I'll share my gardening journey with you. Its doubtful that this will be a journey full of adventure, excitement and mayhem-but eh, its a gardening blog what did you expect?
I've enlisted the help of my almost 3.5 year old son, Red to help with the task of transplanting the bean and pea plants today. We found an "organic" potting soil compound to use-here he is "modeling" the soil and being tired of his mother trying to get him to make a nice face for the picture...

With limited funds we're opting to use a rubbermaid shallow bin for now-just to get a root system started on the beans. I need to scope out some 4x4 timbers at home depot and maybe rent a tiller to till up the hard clay dirt I have in the backyard in the next week or so. I really want to though, make sure the plants are hardened off and well established before I put them in the ground.

We will remove the skeletons from last years basil plants and use those plastic pots for the peas. I'll have to head to the store and pick up some more of these if possible this weekend. Walmart has them for about $.88 a piece-that's a steal. I can grow 2-3 plants per pot in the beginning stages.

Red being a wonderful little mini-gardener and removing the old basil skeletons and root balls:

We'll keep the pots and the bins on the deck for awhile as they need lots of sun in the beginning to really establish themselves and strengthen their root system and stems. Plus it helps to keep them away from too many critters and weeds.

We just put about 3 inches of soil into the bins and a bit more in the pots since they are taller and then hollow out a nesting area for the pods. Place the pod into the hole and then add about an inch more of potting soil and lightly pack around stems for support.

He seems to enjoy it, no? Boys love dirt. Fun while learning and discovering. He loves to come home everyday and see what the plants have been up to all day while he was away.

Right now with all the rains, I probably won't have to do much watering. In a few days I will pinch back some of the leaves. This will help to encourage new leaf growth and help the plants begin to branch out and mature.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Starter Garden

I'm really a newbie/wanna be green thumb. This will be my first attempt at really trying to grow some vegetables in a real garden. I did attempt tomatoes in buckets two years ago and they failed miserably-I just didn't care for them the way they needed to be cared for and thought too much sun was bad for them-big mistake on my part. They ended up with some sort of disease and I just sort of let them go after that.

I tried some herbs last year in the Jiffy starter trays, they all started out really well. I transplanted them into some terra-cotta pits then found out later that terra-cotta just is not good for growing in my climate. They suck up all the water-ha! Makes complete sense now-but at the time I was oblivious. Then a strong storm came along and knocked over all the little pots and they were pretty much history. I had some basil that I had put into large plastic pots that survived the hit. So last year the only survivor I had was my basil.

This is the basil at about 4 weeks into the growing process:

That basil grew into some pretty good size bushes and I really had too much to even use on a daily basis. I got a good amount of pesto out of it to throw in the freezer though.

So after the initial mistakes with terra-cotta pots and sun requirements-I think I've got a good handle on the basics and hopefully (fingers crossed) will be successful with a small vegetable garden this year.

This blog is starting a few weeks AFTER I already started the seeds so I'll back track a bit to get caught up on the progress.

I'm starting this year with spinach, brussels sprouts, peas, pole beans, peppers and broccoli. I tried to pick veggies that could either be blanched and frozen, or those that we could consume on a daily basis. I want to get as much use out of them as possible. If they grow the way I plan-I want to have frozen batches of beans, brussels, peas and broccoli. The peppers can be used in maripoux and the spinach can be used on sandwiches in salads and in casseroles and such.

I'm also considering getting what's called a Topsy-Turvy. It is used to grow tomato plants upside down. Apparently it grows more tomatoes than a standing plant due to better distribution of water and nutrients to the fruits on the plant. We'll see. I've got to pick up a couple of them next week and try it out.

Anyway, I started the veggies from seed in the Jiffy pods again on March 18.

I left the basil out because I am going to just start another tray of herbs in about a week.

Its really simple to use, just add water to the pods so that they expand. Pull back the netting and loosen the soil on top a bit. Tuck in 3-4 seeds per pod (this helps to ensure against a wasted pod should you have some dud seeds). Cover loosely with the soil and then place the dome onto the tray and let sit in a warm place inside the home for a few days.

I like to use mini craft popsicle sticks to help mark the rows. I just use a marker and write the name of the veggie on it and stick it next to one of the pods in the row.

I keep the seed packets to either make small labels for each row-so that you can remember what you have planted where and also to give you info on transplanting like depth of sowing and width between rows for seedlings. Most of them indicate a 10-14 day germination time. I have found that these Jiffy trays produce a much faster germination.

March 20, 2008- two days later we have sprouts! The spinach, brussels and broccoli were the first to sprout.

March 22, 2008-Four days in and everything has sprouted except for the peppers. They seem to be a little more stubborn than the rest. I can now remove the dome and move them to a sunny area of the house. I water them when they start to look a little light brown.

March 28, 2008-Ten days in and the beans are growing like crazy! They really took off. The peas are doing well too. Still no sign of any peppers though. Not sure if it was a dud seed pack or they just need a little more time and sun. Time will tell.

April 2, 2008- Now at the official two week mark. Its time to go ahead and harden off and transplant the beans and peas. We've got some rains and storms in the forecast so I'm going to wait a few days before I put the spinach broccoli and brussels out. They are still fragile seedlings-not quite ready for the outdoors yet.

Its hard to tell from the pic-but we finally have some peppers starting to sprout! Not a dud seed pack after all. It seems they just needed a bit more sun to help them out.