Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Project Rule

Yesterday Joe and I joined some dear friends of ours at the Braselton Antique & Gardening Festival.  We came home with a couple of good finds that were already on the list...we managed to walk away without any impulse buys. :)  Stay tuned to see how we use our finds to add our own personal touches to our home.

And the most exciting part for Joe was that he got a super great deal on the Japanese Maple tree he has been drooling over for years!  I am so happy he finally got one!  If you know my Joe, you know that he will NEVER spend a penny on himself.  He always talks himself out of things, so I am so glad he got his little sapling and I am sure he will baby it into a beautiful tree.

Of course this got me all excited to start a few more projects!  Joe was quick to remind me of our One Project Rule that we agreed on when we moved into the house.  At the other house we always had a million un-finished projects going on at one time and it would drive me crazy!  We even left some of those un-finished projects to the new renters because we never could get them complete.  So in the new house, it is only ONE major project going on at a time (all my little ones don't count :).

The one project we have already committed to is the pantry make-over.  Our pantry is a pretty big focal point in the kitchen and it is SOOOO boring!  We are going to work this summer to give it a little touch of our own personal style (which I have begun to call Antique Chic :).

Stay tuned throughout the summer for pantry re-model updates!

I also have been seeing so many blogs about beautiful outdoor spaces, so two more projects I have added to the list (but we won't start until the pantry is done :) Are the front porch and the front flower bed. 

I bought this house for three reasons: the shop, the huge fenced in back-yard, and the FRONT PORCH!!  I absolutely LOVE my front porch and it is even better with the beautiful University of GA rockers that momma and daddy got us for a house warming gift, but I am determined to make it have more style.  ** Please ignore the pollen I haven't washed off yet...arg!**

And the other biggy on the to-do list is a space that urks me every time I pull in the drive way.  This front flower bed drives me nuts because it is just some random bushes placed in no particular order.  It makes no sense to me! Thank goodness this is a pretty easy fix to make it look beautiful to match the rest of the house.  I don't actually have a plan for this space yet....still mulling it over....but hopefully you will see some major improvements here soon!

One final, off-topic, note:  Our BackYard Turkey Buzzards (which we all despise, but can't seem to get rid of) have gotten really brazen lately....anyone have a paintball gun we can borrow!?  You can see poor Harley looking at me like, "Please save me!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pawsitivley Mommy's Girls

I have been having fun with the pups the past couple of days.  First, since the weather is getting hotter, it is definatley time to break out the Frosty Paws. Willow knows all about some Frosty Paws, but this was Harley's first experience.  She took to eating frosty paws like a fish to water :)

Willow says, "Let me show you how to do it."

Harley says, "Mmm, this stuff is good!"

"Keep your paws off my Frosty Paws!"

"Ahhh, bliss!"

"Uh Oh - now what do I do??"

Then last night while I was crafting (stay tuned for another post about that this weekend :) the pups had to hang out in the basement.  I looked over the craft table and saw two of my favorite things so I just had to snap a picture....Harley and Books!

And today, just to make their Daddy cringe a little, I bought the pinkest bandanas I could find for my girls.  Don't they look so beautiful!? (sorry the lighting is so bad - it was starting to get dark, but I couldn't wait to get those pink bandanas on them :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Carver Family Recipe

I have to say that one of the greatest blessings of marring a great man, is getting to call his family your own.  My mother-in-law always makes some of the best dinners and even if you weren't expected, there is always enough for you to join dinner.  One of her go-to items is fried salmon patties.  I am not going to even pretend that these are a healthy choice, but they are definitely delicious!  I don't even do fish and I can scarf down a couple of Vickie's salmon patties any day.  I had tried to make them at home for Joe a few times and failed miserably.  Finally I just bought the supplies and went to Vickie's house for a cooking lesson.

I was so proud of my first successful batch of salmon patties!!  Now they are a special treat at our house. :0)  Below are the steps to make the famous Carver Salmon Patties.  (words in red are quoted directions from my sweet mother-in-law :0)

All you need is flour, oil, eggs, and canned or packaged pink salmon (boneless and skinless).  Usually one large bag will do for Joe and I, but I bought two small ones this time because they were on sale at Kroger this week.

First you need to heat your oil.  Make sure it is really hot, but not too hot

You may have heard this trick before, but when I cook my salmon patties I do this to make sure my oil is the "just right" temp.  Just take a pinch of flour and drop it into your oil.  If it sizzles, your oil is hot enough.

I don't like chucks of meat in my salmon patties, so I first take a fork and break the salmon apart in a medium bowl.

Add one egg for each packet of salmon that you used, and mix well.

You add a heaping spoonful of flour...maybe a little more, maybe a little less.  If you like it more bready you add more flour.  I added another heaping spoonful (two total) to my batch tonight because I like more bread than fish in each bite.
Mix well, and you will know it's ready when it looks right.  I always hate recipes like that.  I need exact measurements please!  I can't believe I actually have managed to make these salmon patties multiple times without exact measurements!!
Put your patties into the hot oil by spoonfuls.  Pat them down to flatten them out a little and let them cook 3 - 5 minutes on each side.  You should see nice sizzling bubbles around the edges of your patties when you put them in the oil, but your oil shouldn't be so hot that it splatters all over the counter.

You will know your patties are ready to flip when you see the golden brown color coming up the side.  Cook until both sides are golden brown and then place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain some of the grease.  Eat them while they are still nice and warm! 

Puppy Love!

Harley has been obsessed with Enzo since the day we brought her home.  About three days into her living here, Enzo came out from under the bed and attacked Harley.  She has been scared of him ever since, but is still enamoured by him.  When he took over the dog bed the other day he was so proud of himself he even let Harley sneak in a little kiss.  I love my fur-babies so much!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

$10 Makes a Big Impact

So you all know I love Pinterest! :0)  If you don't, you must live under a rock.  Well I get really serious about my pins.  I will work on actually doing those things I pin!  I don't just pin and dream....I pin and complete! 

This project was pinned out of necessity.  We have a beautiful painting over our fireplace, that took forever for us to agree on.

We also had a huge empty space over our couch (on the opposite wall from the fireplace).  We wanted something to put on the wall, but didn't want anything that might clash with our painting.  So I found this project on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea.  I think it looks perfect!!  All we need now is some antique gables to turn into wall sconces and the project will be complete!

So this project really did only cost me $10.00!!  Below are the down and dirty steps I took to create the simple, cheap project that made a big impact on our living room. (I adapted my steps from this blog post on the Shanty 2 Chic blog)

Materials:  8 - 40 inch pieces of poplar wood (we used scraps from Joe's mom's house)
                  Dark stain (already had it from previous projects)
                  sock filled with misc. nails and screws
                  Sanding block (fine grit - already had it from other projects)
                  Letting cut out of the Cricut Machine on Clear Contact Paper (Vickie has a   
                           cricut machine, and had some contact paper laying around the house.)
                  wood glue (already had it from previous projects)
                  foam brush (already had some in my craft desk)
                  off-white acrylic paint (already had some in my craft desk)
                  Wall Mount Kit ($7.00 at Ace Hardware)
                   Foam backing disks ($3.00 at Ace Hardware)

1.  Cut all your boards to the exact same length.

2.  "Distress" the wood.  I took the bag of nails and banged it on the wood.  I also scrapped the edges of the wood on the driveway.

3.  Stain the wood pieces the color of your choice.

4.  Use wood glue to glue all your pieces together.

5.  Cut out your lettering from the Cricut machine onto contact paper.  You could use a stencil and an Exacto knife if you don't have a lettering machine.

6.  I first placed the actual letters from the contact paper onto my wood panel to make sure they were the right size and placement. (I had to re-cut letters b/c my first letters were too small).

7.  Place the outline of the letters from the contact paper in the proper place and use the white paint and sponge brush to fill in the homemade stencil. Let dry completely.

8.  Use a sanding block to lightly sand over the wording so it looks more blended with the wood.

9.  Place 8 felt disks on the back of the piece to avoid scratching the wall.

10.  Have your husband add the wall mounting kit to the back of the boards, and have him hang it perfectly on the wall. :)

The best part is that you can customize this project to fit your family perfectly!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Kudzu Bug Take-Over!

I must admit that this has been the most beautiful weekend (extending into Spring Break...) that we have had in a long time.  I am hoping it doesn't get any hotter any time soon, but we have enjoyed the weather so far. :0)  We have been trying to get some stuff done in the yard while the weather is nice and the main accomplishment was getting the "trash" (an old creepy dog kennel, a rusty old grill, and a roll of rusty old fencing) out of the back yard.  This junk was covered and buried in living, growing kudzu when we moved in and Joe worked all winter on killing the kudzu and getting it cut back.  The creepy dog kennel just had to go!  So my sweet hubby worked for a good part of the day taking the thing apart and dragging it out of the yard.  It no longer looks so creepy in the back corner and I don't have to worry about the dogs getting hurt.  Yay!

In the meantime, I was battling the onslaught of kudzu bugs!  The bad boys are in for a fight with me.  I am not allowing these little guys in the house to hunker down and come back later!  I had never seen this type of bug until we moved into the house back in October.  I started research and here is what I found out about them.

File:Megacopta cribraria.jpg
Wikipedia Picture

Can you see them ALL OVER the front window?? (click on the pic to make it bigger and look for the little black dots)

"Megacopta cribraria, also called the Bean Plataspid, Kudzu Bug, Globular Stink Bug or Lablab Bug, is a shield bug native to India and China where it is an agricultural pest of Lablab beans and other legumes.[1] The bug, while harmless to houseplants and people, often enters houses. It is attracted to white surfaces such as the walls of houses or white vehicles where large numbers of the insects congregate." ~

"In October 2009, large aggregations of an insect (Megacopta cribraria (F.); Heteroptera: Plataspidae), commonly referred to as the kudzu bug, bean plataspid, lablab bug, or globular stink bug, were discovered on the exterior of houses in nine northeast Georgia counties.  By September 2010 the insect was confirmed in more than 60 north and central Georgia counties as well as limited distributions in North and South Carolina." ~ UGA website

"UGA entomologist Wayne Gardner said pesticides will work on the kudzu bug, but there are so many of them in metro-Atlanta that replacements quickly fly in to replace their dead brethren.   The cold weather will slow them down," said Gardner. "We'll get a reprieve when we get a killing frost." Eliminating kudzu around your home could help, but the bugs can fly long distances, so there are homes with infestations that aren't all that close to a kudzu patch. On the plus side, the bugs have reduced the amount of kudzu in Georgia by one third."

And the best part....

"University of Georgia entomologist, John Ruberson, said releasing a tiny wasp may be the best way to control the spread of the Kudzu bug in United State's southeastern region. Dr. Ruberson said researchers plan to file a permit application with the United States Department of Agriculture to release a tiny wasp called Paratelenomus saccharalis. The wasp is the Kudzu bug's natural predator in Japan, but is not present in the United States.  "

Great!  Just Great!  First someone brings Kudzu over to America thinking it would make a great houseplant and instead it takes over the south in 3 seconds flat!  So then here comes the Kudzu bug to kill the Kudzu and they multiply so fast that they are swarming people's homes and my poor dogs don't even want to go on the porch because of them. And now the smart thing to do is bring over some tiny wasp (that we can't even see!) that isn't present in the US now, to kill the kudzu bugs!?  How long will this cycle go on!?????!!!!????  

And really?  I am already having nightmares of these tiny wasps flying in my ears.... OH mercy! 

Meals for Bestie

This weekend I had such a great time making meals for my bestie, Jamie.  My beautiful sister-in-law Jill and my amazingly sweet friend Hayli came over to the house on Sunday and helped me cook meals for the Lind family.  We made them a hot meal, yummy dessert, and 5 frozen meals (of their choice) to last them a while, and to use when they need them the most.  It was such a great time spending a few hours with my amazing sister-in-law, who I don't get to spend enough time with.  It was nice to have girl time, but even nicer to see how amazing my sweet Jamie is doing.  She is a million times better than she was when I saw her last Monday.  We got to spend some time with Jamie when we delivered her meals and it was great to see how fast she is getting back to herself.  I even got a little baby love from Miss Avery too (which always makes your day a little brighter :0).

Here is my meal plan, with all the recipes and an attached grocery list. Feel free to use it if you ever need to make meals for friends (our yourself) :0).  You can easily print this excel document from Google Docs (here).

 We also made recipe cards that included all the ingredients in each meal, the expiration date,  and how to cook the frozen meals.  We attached these recipes on the top of each frozen meal.  We used the HP free recipe card templates and printed them at home.

The best part is that we used Glad OvenWare.  I love using these when delivering frozen meals to friends because it has lids to help with freezing, it can go straight from the freezer to the oven, and they can throw away the pans when they are done (no dishes - how nice!)
Oh one final amazing plus to this meal makes TWO of each frozen meal!  So I came out of the whole thing with 5 frozen meals for my freezer too!  Now Joe and I have some meals already made for when we get home from vacation!  Hooray!