Monday, April 15, 2013

Planning the garden. Part 1.

Spring is still a little late coming in KY this year. So, normally, I'd be a little behind planning the garden. But, this year, it's right on track. Many vegetables can't be planted outside until after danger of the last frost. Which is typically around Mother's Day for us.

The only real advice I want to offer is that you contact your local extension office or their resources on the Internet for planting.

Visiting local garden shows, I've collected printed information from the local extension offices and organized them in a 3 ring binder. I only grabbed those of interest to me so to streamline searching through the binder.

My approach to the vegetable garden planning is to make a "shopping list." What do I want out of my garden, what ingredients can I grow to cook fresh summer meals and preserve/store some fresh organically grown items for winter?

Here's a basic summary of my list. Though the actual preliminary list is pictured. My most basic goals are to store lots of tomato products (salsa, juice, paste, whole), pickles, beans, and others, to grow fresh salad ingredients, and my 10 year old son REALLY wants to grow some of our own pumpkins this year for Halloween. Going to try our best. (We'll share pics of progress, of course.)

I'm taking a different approach to salad items this year after doing some research over the winter. I plan to continually plant small amounts of items such as mixed lettuces, carrots and radishes each week. Once they start producing, I should be able to grow and harvest a steady amount of fresh salad for the entire growing season.

Another item I'm planting much more of this year is basil. We love pesto and I am looking forward to storing plenty!! If I could just find a cheaper resource for pine nuts!! Any tips?

A favorite vegetable of mine to grow is zucchini. It's easy We use it and yellow squash in many dishes: grill packets, stir fry, oven roasted veggies, raw with ranch dip. I like to freeze zucchini bread and muffins for winter treats also.

MY number one goal for the garden this summer: MORE STRAWBERRIES!!! You just can never have enough!!! :-) To walk out the back door, grab a couple to slice over cereal in the mornings....heavenly!

Looking forward to sharing some of my gardening journey this summer.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For the love of Quilts. (Part 1)

My Grandmother, known lovingly as Mamaw Mary Helen recently celebrated a birthday. We had a VERY small (relatively speaking) gathering of some of her handy work to honor her. Wanted to share some of this with you. I will follow up with more  of her quilts later in future blogs.

The Raggedy Anns & Andys are just a few she's made through the years. We have been blessed with gifts of her handiwork. The traditions are that her grandbabies & great grandbabies receive a handmade stocking the first Christmas, a Raggedy doll the 2nd. She has 12 grandchildren & 24 great grandchildren. (That's a lot of stitching with love!!!)
Also, she's made each of her grandchildren a full size quilt as we graduated from high school. Each great grandchild has received a baby quilt. All of those until the most recent baby quilts were quilted by hand.

She would set the quilting loom up and whomever stopped by would add a few stitches as they talked. I am the oldest grandchild so I received the first one. I cherish it. It's not included in these photos but, will be in the future. Several of my great aunts, my Papaw, my mom, aunts & several of my cousins took time to quilt a bit of my quilt.
My original Raggedy Ann is bald from being loved to death. She's the second from the left. And, YES, Mamaw made me a new one. :)

This is my niece's Dutch Girl baby quilt. This pattern was handed down to my Mamaw from her Mother.

Ethan's Nine Patch Cowpoke.

Caden's Robot Nine Patch.
My cousin Angela's (designer of my logo & background) Ohio Star full size quilt.

Brother Matthew's Lone Star Quilt.

Brother Jason's Double Irish Chain full size quilt.
Nephew Garrett's simple white fabric with quilted sailboats.

Hope you enJOYed!!! And, hopefully, we don't need the quilts for warmth too much longer here in the Bluegrass State since we are seeing signs of Spring. However, they are always great to spread out for a picnic beside the lake in the Summertime!!!!
Joy, Amy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Handmade Gifts.

Recently celebrated a birthday. Handmade gifts are always a favorite when they come from my talented family. It's so special when someone not only takes time to think of you but, hand make a gift for you. Wanted to share a couple pretty pictures with you for inspiration in your endeavors.

Add caption
Cherry Pie from my Mamaw. She makes the BEST pies!! I don't eat anyone's apple pie but hers. Period. And, apple is the favorite of most of the family. But, she knows cherry is mine. She rolls the crust so thin and bastes it with milk and sprinkles with cinammon and sugar. So, yummy!!!! 

And, my talented sister-in-law Tina made this wreath. She's always so creative. I love the combination of colors she used. It will be a nice transitional piece for my front door between  late spring and early summer.

Hope this inspires you to make something for someone special!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

If Lovers Place a Lock on a Bridge....Would You?

Who isn't a romantic at heart?!? Between my love for reading the romantic writers and dreaming of travelling to fabulous places, I am!!! The other night, my husband and I were watching a show on tv where a couple went to the Lover's Bridge in Paris. I teared up and said "that is so sweet!!! I've always wanted to go there one day and do that!!!" I've read articles about this bridge. I've posted photos on my online travel pinboard. Knowing that was a dream for now but, one day we could, that was the last I thought of it.

The idea of the Passerelle des Arts pedestrian bridge is that you and your lover place a lock on the bridge and throw the key in the Seine River. Here's a link to some photos of the bridge:

Well!!!! My amazing husband never misses an opportunity to let me know that he listens and I had a birthday coming up!!! So he made this piece for me. I LOVE nothing more than homemade presents that let you know the person gets you!! Since we couldn't physically go there now, he brought the sentiment of the bridge to me!! I've shared photos below. :) <3

Friday, March 1, 2013

You're a birthday boy, Dr. Seuss!

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?!?! NO ONE!! :)  Saw a picture on Pinterest of "Thing 1" cupcakes. Wish I knew who thought of them first to give credit. But, I made these "pinspired" by that picture. I used red velvet cake, cream cheese icing, and blue raspberry cotton candy. They were yummy!! Just used cake mix and canned icing this time. Though, I have made these items from scratch before. I think either way is perfectly acceptable!! Just depends on your mood and time. At least it does for me anyway.

What are some of your favorite Dr. Seuss books and quotes? Here are some of mine:

"Adults are obsolete children."-Dr. Seuss

"In my world, everyone's a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!"-Dr. Seuss

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."-How the Grinch Stole Christmas (a favorite Christmas quote of mine!!)
"When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad... you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie, you're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more... oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!"
-Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

One more thought for the day & my wish for you: "Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered."-Dr. Seuss


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine, Sweets and Whoopee(Cushions)

Had the best time dipping whatever we could find in Chocolate with Sawyer, my youngest son. And, we let the sprinkles flow. Every time I'd add sprinkles, he'd go behind me and add more. We sent these fun little sweets to his class today. Happy Valentine's Day!!! <3

Can never get enough uses out of the drink "machine" we found at WalMart last year. Taped a white heart doily to the front, filled with pink lemonade. Et voila!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry "Sundae" for the best teacher in the WHOLE world!!

Not exactly the most romantic Valentine. But, positive his elementary aged friends will love them. Sorry if you don't think it's in good taste. I grew up with 2 brothers and have 2 sons. Always try to be very lady like. But, hey, I get their humor!!! Found the free printable below at Cute blog too!

Hope your heart is filled with love today and always! Find someone that needs a hug, hand or smile today!!

L<3ve and Joy,

Update: Unfortunately, the "whoopie cushion" that we purchased at a local super store, did not hold up well at all. Most of them burst the first time they were blown up. I recommend going with another brand of mini whoopee cushions. What I originally wanted was the pink ones. But, couldn't find in town and didn't leave myself enough time to order. I found several links online where you may order them.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Little Mardi Gras Fun

Wanted to share a little Mardi Gras fun with you guys and gals! As you know, we are in KY not LA. And we really don't have any reason to nor do we "celebrate" it. I just like to do some cultural things with dinner for fun occassionally! We have a local bakery that bakes King Cakes every year and we just have to have one. They do 3 flavors: Cinnamon, Butter Rum, and Strawberry. We are equal opportunists and like them all though we only order one each year. This year we went with cinnamon. :)
The story behind the King Cake originates from the visit of the 3 Kings to the baby Jesus. Whomever gets the piece of cake with the baby Jesus figure in it is supposed to host the next party or buy the next cake. If you want to read more here's a link to a website with the story:
General info from Wikipedia:
I'm a bit of a history geek, so I'm always fascinated with the way customs start and evolve over time.
We didn't have a cajun dinner this year. But, have in the past. There's a wonderful place called Hebert's Meats where you can order and have it shipped on dry ice overnight. I really love their crawfish pie!! Here's the link to their page and menu:
Joy and Bon Appetit! Thanks for stopping by.