Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yard Work - Love this time of year!

Monday Darin & I decided to do some landscaping in the front yard, pulled up the cactus, moved the cannas from between the hedges out into the circle flower bed & walkway flower bed, worked on both flower beds and then today Darin planted some new grass in between the hedges close to the house. We decided to get rid of both flower beds right in front of the house and allow the hedges to grow together (once they are big enough) will make maintenance of them a lot easier and hopefully give the cannas & hedges more room to thrive.

Here are a few photos that I took the other day before we started any work in the front
the walkway beds are very unbalanced right now, I used to have a mirror image of each flower on each side but the snow killed most my plants, this year I tried seeds and they are just now coming up

This flower garden looks kinda like it was just thrown in the middle of the yard now that the huge pine tree is gone. Thinking of either a bird bath for the middle or a big potted plant/tree. Eventually we will dig out the old stump and plant a new smaller non sap tree.

this is an area by our side door (dinning room) that was nothing but mud so Darin added some grass squares so hopefully by next spring it should be all green and pretty

And these are some after shots

you can see on the right side of the house that we haven't dug out all the old mulch yet, Darin must have dug up a good 6 inches of it on the left side already

after removing LOTS of old mulch, the small old worn out white "fence" and my cannas, then adding grass squares

the walkway flower bed a little more balanced, added some cannas & moved some of those white plants from the right side to the left to balance it out more

and two pictures of my pretty lillies


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The boys ABC book & Paper Coterie product review

A few weeks ago I learned about a new company called Paper Coterie that offers photo books, posters, journals and things like that. From May 4th - May 6th they were doing a grand opening special where they had given out a code for a $40 credit to their online store (you just pay shipping and anything over $40). After looking around for a few minutes I decided to give them a try since their products were so cute and with a $40 credit what was the harm in trying. I decided to make an 8x8 hardcover photo book  for the boys and a 80 page journal for Darin to take when he deploys next year. I went $4 over my credit (because I wanted a hardcover book instead of softcover) so with shipping & the extra $4 they cost me $22.83. The design process was pretty simple and it really allowed me to design each page from scratch so I didn't have to fit my photos into a premade mold like most companies.It took about only about 9 days from the day I placed my order until the books arrived. Walker was so excited when they got here.The quality of the books are really nice, thick pages and very vibrant photos. My only negative comment is that they put a bar code on the last page of the book that covered up a few letters in the sentence written on it. I wish they had the bar code placed in the template so you would know not to put anything in that area. But other than that I am extremely happy with my books and will visit them again.

Here are photos of the books after we got them

inside of Darin's journal, got him one last time but it wasn't lined so he never used it.



Monday, May 16, 2011

How does your garden grow - month 3

Checking the garden this morning we were surprised to find a ton of green beans and peas with a few ready to pick. The tomatoes & squash have exploded but none are ready to pick yet, Darin can't wait for the tomatoes to be ready he eats them like apples. He has done a great job with the garden and it is really neat to see how much it's grown over the last 3 months.

Walker with his HUGE squash plants

and with his tomato plants that he grew from seeds

these cucumber plants are also some that Walker grew from seeds

this is our 2nd harvest of radish, but the 1st of green bean & peas - we just picked the ones that were big enough to come in.

**also as you can tell I've decided to start watermarking my photos. Anything that has a photo of us or the boys will have a watermark across the body just to protect the photos from being stolen. I don't do this on my private blog but for this one I decided that would be the best way to be able to have photos of us & the kids on here.**


Sunday, May 15, 2011

ACU diaper bag redo

Back when I first got my sewing machine I made a diaper bag out of a pair of Darin's old ACU's that he wore while in Iraq. I was pretty proud of myself that I did it from scratch with no real pattern and having no idea how to make a purse/diaper bag. It took me 3 days to make and I was happy with it for the most part but there were things I didn't like that I didn't know how to fix at the time. Here is what my bag looked like when I first made it

*the biggest thing I didn't like was the lining, I didn't know how to do a traditional purse lining like I do now, I hated all the seams showing.*

Well after months of learning and sewing and making 2 other bags since the first one I have learned how to do things that would help improve the look of my bag so I decided to fix the things I did wrong.

It still isn't as good as if I had known all I do now then but I'll get another shot once Darin goes through the rest of his worn out can't wear anymore ACU's.

My other purse I made a few months ago from ACU fabric that you can get at any craft store. I wanted a smaller purse that was still roomy enough to carry a few diapers & a wipes case for like a trip to the store or something, but small enough that on the few occasions I don't have monkey with me I can still use it as a purse.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beignets & Rolls

Today after making rolls I decided to give Beignets a try using the leftover Challah dough that was refrigerated. They were not what I expected but since I have never had one anywhere before I'm not sure how they are supposed to taste lol. They were easy enough to make especially with the dough already made up in the fridge.

All you do is roll out the dough to about 1/8th of an inch and cut into 2 inch squares using a pizza cutter. Then you let rest for 40 minutes. Once rested heat up some vegetable oil and cook them about 3 at a time until they are browned on each side. They do puff up and are very airy inside. We had them with honey instead of traditional powdered sugar. They were not that sweet but I'm sure had we covered them in the powdered sugar they would have been. Darin said they tasted pretty similar to sopapillas and little man really seemed to enjoy them so that's what matters right.

Also while Challah makes amazing bread it however did not make very good rolls, they were really dense and didn't taste like the bread loaf did. They look pretty but weren't near as good as the first batch of rolls using the basic boule dough.