Monday, March 28, 2011

The evolution of my garden

When we purchased this house I was excited about the two raised garden beds that were in the backyard.  We have so much to do yet to our backyard, but getting my garden planted took top priority this week.  I LOVE having a garden where I can just go out and pick herbs and veggies and bring them inside to eat.

The beds were filled with weeds and junk, so we first had to clean them out.  I did this last Saturday while Matt pruned a couple of the trees that are in this part of the yard (the cherry and apricot trees).  The weeds were THICK.  I also came across no less than three pincher bug nests which totally grossed me out.  I'm kind of embarrassed to show you the before picture because this back part of our yard is quite junky.  We still have stuff back here that we threw out during our kitchen remodel.  We are slowly getting it cleaned up.

 Here is the garden area up close....

This weekend Matt and I each tilled a bed and then worked in three bags of manure to each bed.  I then happily planted the plants we picked up at Home Depot just that morning.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why the wood is pink...
it's pink because....
I might have accidentally decided to spray paint frames for Alanay's room one day and not thought about the fact that my garden would be pink...

Here are the beds planted with veggies...
hopefully they will grow big and fill our tummies :)

I planted 5 different varieties of tomato, butternut squash seeds, 2 types of cucumber, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, crookneck squash... and several different herbs.

I absolutely LOVE having fresh herbs on hand, I use them all the time when I cook.  I planted basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, dill...

... and mint.
The mint got relegated to a pot because mint can go crazy and take over your garden.
Want to know my favorite thing to do with mint?
We like to infuse it in vodka...
it's declious.

I'm also really excited about this pretty little tomato...
I love heirloom tomatoes.

Oh, we planted this meyer lemon in the front.
I LOVE meyer lemons.
They have thin skin and are a bit sweeter than a normal lemon..
so much more flavorful.

Are you curious what our kids do while we are busy working in the yard???
They run around like maniacs and get filthy :)

I can't wait to watch my little garden grow :)


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cake stands and muffins

I made a couple of gorgeous little cake stands that are quite unique.  I found the plates and bases at various thrift stores and thought they'd look fun together.  Of course I didn't pay very much for the parts :)

This first one is quite delicate and I honestly won't be surprised if it breaks at some point.

This next one is tiny...
perfect for something rich and delicious,
perhaps truffles would be perfect for this little lady.


I thought I'd share my favorite banana bread recipe with you because I think it's pretty unique and yummy.  It's straight from Cooking Light.   I like banana bread alright, but this recipe is yummy because it has a coconut lime glaze and coconut and rum in the banana bread :)

This week I made it into muffins instead of a loaf so that we could take them along to Vegas.  They made a great hotel room breakfast :)

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

The tangy lime glaze cuts the sweetness of the bread. Substitute apple juice for the rum if you prefer.  I also used sour cream in place of the yogurt because I was out.

  1 loaf, 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk to combine.
Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool bread completely on wire rack.

CALORIES 193 (21% from fat); FAT 4.6g (sat 2.8g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.3g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 35mg; CALCIUM 15mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35g; SODIUM 179mg; PROTEIN 2.9g; FIBER 1.1g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2003


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edible bird nest craft

When I came across this cute little craft I knew I had to replicate it with my own kiddos.  We settled down and made these cute little edible bird nests one day last week.  It was quite messy with my two little ones, but I'd imagine with older kids it would be a bit easier. 

Really my kids were just excited to play with Peeps and then get to eat them.  Not to mention the frosting :)

 Alayna's masterpeice...
she got a little ahead of the game and ate the head right off the Peep :)

 Ethan's birdy in the nest

 He was very proud and wanted to save it to show Daddy.....
however it looked too yummy and got devoured a few minutes later :)

Alayna thought her nest and birdy were quite tasty :)

It was a quick and tasty craft.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Homeword Bound

We were officially in Vegas for 24 hours.  It was fun to have a change of pace but we are now happily heading home.

The kids slept decent...  Alayna was awake for a bit in the middle of the night,  but went back to sleep.

While matt went back to the convention this morning the kids and I hung out in the room so bit before checking out.  After checking out we headed over to a cool outdoor mall where we found the most awesome park.  It was really nice and even had little play houses complete with a play kitchen and bakery,  and a hedge maze.  We played for a while and then picked up Matt and hit the road.  A nice short trip... perfect for a first trip with kids.

I know you're dying to see some more low quality cell phone pics :-)  You'll probably appreciate the next time I actually post nice pictures :-)  I'm just stoked that I can blog while we drive home :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegas... with kids

Matt had to come to Vegas for a convention so the kids and I decided to tag along with him.  I would never plan a vacation to Vegas with kids this young,  but I figured since Matt was already going that it would be a nice change of pace.

So I'm sitting here in my hotel room with the lights off blogging from my phone.   Alayna is crashed out in the pack n play in the closet and Ethan is supposed to be going to sleep but is pretty amped up.   This is also our very first hotel experience with two kids.

Vegas with kids is a VERY different experience. 

We got here around 1:00 and Matt jetted off to the convention center.  The kids and I went out exploring.  Since we're staying at the MGM first stop was a visit to the lions. 

Next stop... the strip.  Cruising down the strip with a double stroller is interesting.  I received no shortage of smiles,  funny looks,  and comments galore.  Ethan crashed out after a while but apparently the 20 minute power nap Alayna took in the car just before we arrived kept her bright eyed.  I came across a Ross and couldn't resist strolling inside.  It was the biggest Ross I've ever seen.  I scored a super cute dress for $10.00 and some aviator sunglasses which I'm sure Matt will hate for $6.00.

We found a food court next door and bought some very over priced Frosties from Wendys and a huge iced tea for me.

We strolled down the strip some more and then went to the mall at Planet Hollywood.  I mean what else was I going to do but shop???  Lol.  The only thing I ended up buying was a few odds and ends at a "going out of business sale" at a kitchen store.

Matt finished up at his convention and met up with us.  We happened to be next to the PF Changs at Planet Hollywood,  so we got some food to go,  picked up a couple of cold beers, and came back to our hotel room.

So.... here we are :-)  Not very exciting,  but it's always nice to have a change of pace.  I would never pay to bring munchkins here,  but tagging along with daddy definitely beats staying home by ourselves :-)

And now... some very low quality and awful cell phone pics :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More cell phone pictures

While I'm at it I thought I'd post a few more pictures that are on my phone.

This was a couple of weeks ago.  We got to go play at Tumble Tots one morning with our TMOMS group.  The kids had a blast running around and jumping and swinging.

A few weeks back we drove through Oak Glen after it had snowed... it was so pretty..

A little over a month ago I had to drop something off at my mom's.  Actually she was sick so we brought her some comfort food.  I took the kids to the pond by her house to feed the duckies and they had a blast.  The ducks were not shy and came right up to us... those piggies.

Some sweet sibling love.  It melts my heart :-)