Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Mint

Adding to our mint collecting - we found some chocolate mint (bottom), apple mint (not pictured) and ginger mint (top)! Will be interesting to see how invasive these variations are to the spearmint/peppermint variety we have currently. I love the chocolately scent of the chocolate mint and the dark colored leaves and stems. The ginger mint doesn't have as distinctly different of a smell as the chocolate but the leaves have a fun yellow variegation to them. The apple mint is fun because it's leaves are so fuzzy - doesn't really smell like apples - at least not the fresh picked leaves - maybe if they are dried.

I didn't realize there were so many different types of mint out there: grapefruit mint and pineapple mint are still on our list to add!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Etsy Finds Friday

Loving this little handmade cupcake-shaped trinket box from Etsy seller fruitflypie! Definitely a must-have for our nursery bookshelf (up high from little hands of course!).

$25 from fruitflypie

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pretty Peony

We planted our first peony plant last year only to have it not bloom. :( But this year we were greatly rewarded - looks like we will have three blooms this year! The plant is still young and small but it is so nice to see the flowers! I walk out every day just to stop and smell the blossoms. :)

I ordered two more peonies from Spring Hill that just came in the mail - will need to get those in the ground here soon! But probably no blooms on those till next year either. They are white and pink or white and red - gorgeous!

It is so fun planting things I remember being in our yard growing up - so far I've been able to check off quite a few things off my list including - bleeding hearts, daffodils, rhubarb, peonies, snowball bush, mint and lilies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Update: Late May 2010

Not sure what happened to my carrots or onions - had to replant rows of them here this weekend because the first ones never came up. We did get a heaver rain right after I planted the seeds and I had to rack up the soil a lot because of unwanted volunteer seedlings coming up from the compost - so I think they got racked in with it.

Radishes are done - crazy how quickly those sprout up and come to harvest! I've planted yellow onions and green onions in its place.

Growing now is peas in the back row, broccoli and cauliflower, green and red peppers, lettuce and cherry tomatoes!

Had a little fiasco with the peas here a few days ago. I was tying the vines to train up the trellis and when my back was turned our little chihuahua, Lola, was up on her front paws reaching into the garden bed and pulling the pea vines out and chewing on them. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what would possess her to do that - she is so good with our garden. But I do remember her watching me very closely when I was messing with the vines - and I did accidentally break a branch off - and the branches smell like the pea snaps themselves - which she LOVES to eat. Last year and the year before as I harvested the peas I would break one in half and let her eat them. She must remember that and when she smelled the broken branch think that there were peas or something - I dunno! But now I have to leave the white trellis up behind the peas to keep her from pulling any more out! Crazy dog.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

21 Week Baby Bump Update

I'm 21 weeks today! The baby is now the size of a banana - last week it was a cantaloupe. I think they are going more for the comparison in length than in overall girth - because a banana is awful scrawny. :) The Bump's "How Big Is Baby?" webpage is so fun to visit each week! Amazing how our baby goes from smaller than an apple seed up to the size of a watermelon!

Craving Update: I finally found my peaches folks! You can all rest easy now - just don't buy out Kroger's latest shipment or I will find you. :) And thank you to everyone who was out on the hunt for me! :)

Other fun news from the pregnancy front - terrible, awful, almost crippling bloating is no fun and comes out of nowhere - also, apparently random skin rashes are borderline normal - Dr. just had me take benedryl after I called freaking out over a crazily spreading itchy rash. Started out on my arms and legs, and quickly went to my back and chest. Scary! Two days of benedryl and it pretty much cleared up!

Energy is spiking back up a bit this weekend - though I did fit in a two hour nap in between garage saling, bike riding and finally getting out in the yard to plant our other garden bed (sweet corn, zucchini, yellow squash, watermelon, cucumbers and cantaloupe) and get our cannas and glads in the ground.

Baby is still kicking happily away - I love feeling her move about! :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Garage Sale Find of the Year! Matching bicycles!

My hubby and I have been on the hunt for new bikes for quite some time now. I was able to locate the bike I had when I was younger - but the  tires needed replaced, etc, etc and we did find a cheap mens bike with nice tires but with missing back brakes at a garage sale last year. But each bike ride was a tad stressful - especially since we would have to spend a good 20 minute airing up my tires first and there was the constant fear of a flat or some mishap resulting from the lack of brakes on his bike.

Well, we found an excellent set of matching bikes at a garage sale this weekend for $20 each (a set of new tires would be at least $30 alone for my bike) - great tires, great condition, both are matching maroon in a vintage style, both have a back bike rack on the back and each came with a little bag - one bag even has a little repair kit inside. They even came with a bike lock and chain! They sit up straighter so less strain on your back - great for both Matt and I and they are more built for just cruising around on the street - exactly our style!

We also purchased, for an additional $10, a car bike rack so we can take them with us on any trips - imagine just parking the car and then biking around to garage sales, or biking around Brown County - where-ever!

As soon as we got home we aired up the tires, packed our phones, keys, wallet, snacks and a drink (and a library book we had to take back) and headed off! An hour or so later and we already have 5 miles under our belt! We meandered around our community and even found out that we can easily bike to the nearest Dairy Queen! :) It is so fun and relaxing to peddle through town on a bike - you see things from such a different perspective than if you're in a car and you can obviously go farther, faster on a bike than just walking.

I have so many great childhood memories of peaceful evening bike rides with my family - exploring country roads, stopping and playing in creeks, watching the bats fly overhead - so much fun! I can't wait to share those kinds of memories with our soon-to-be expanding family!

So of course I have spent the evening (now that the sun finally went down and I was forced to come inside) browsing fun bicycle accessories - here's a few fun ones!
One of the things about bike rides that makes me feel bad is that we really can't take the dogs. Both pups get so exciting seeing us put on our shoes - thinking that we are going for a walk - that it breaks my heart leave them home while we go out. I am a little leery of this Walky Dog Bike Leash - I can just see Showbiz jerking and the bike going down. But this model is supposed to put the bike rider more in control - would fun to at least try it out! ($37.95) Takes paypal!

The Buddy Basket would work to tote around our smaller dog - Lola - and would work to carry books and things for days I don't bring her. It even has fun little side pockets and a little place to carry a water bottle! ($49.95 on Amazon)

This metal basket might work best. I can add a liner and even secure Lola's leash through the wire so she can't jump down and it would work for other things well - books, drink, snacks, etc. And at $20 - it is easier price to justify! From Chubby's Cruisers

A rearview mirror is almost a must when biking around busy streets. $7.99 from Chubby's Cruisers

Handle bar mounted water bottle cage. This would be nice! $5.25 from Chubby's Cruisers

As if, with my basket, I would really want to carry more! These grocery panniers would be awesome! $17.95 on amazon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lazy Days

With the crummy, cool temps and drizzly rain we've been having AND with my recent round of growing-a-baby tiredness - there's been a whole lot of this going on in our house...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raspberry Party Lemonade

Another missed photo opportunity from last Monday's deck warming party - but my best party secret is how I prepare my drinks. I have several of these large 2 gallon glass apothecary jars ($12 from Walmart  - you can find them in the same aisle as where the random kitchen utensils are - like paper towel holders, etc) - these work perfect for party drinks because you fill the container mostly full of ice so the drink stays cold throughout the whole event.
  1. Starting with an empty 2 gallon jar, fill the jar about 1/2 or 1/3 full of water - add your mix (I use the store bought Country Time Lemonade) - use enough mix for 2 gallons - stir.
  2. Slice 2-3 lemons and add to lemonade mix. I do this usually the night before the party so the lemons have time to marinate in the mix - making it taste more like homemade lemonade than a powder mix. Everyone always asks me for the recipe and are so shocked that I just use Country Time - it's the lemon slices - makes it so much better!
  3. Depending on what flavoring you want to add to your lemonade or if you just want to add color - add a bag of frozen fruit. I love adding frozen raspberries because they add a lot of flavor and turn the lemonade a pretty shade of pink - but if left over night they do bleach - the berries turn an unsightly white. (All the color leeches from the raspberries into the lemonade. You could add frozen raspberries and let them sit overnight, then strain them out and add new fresh ones right before your party for looks. Or just add the raspberries along with the ice just a few hours before your party.)
  4. A few hours before your party - not too early because the ice melts fast - fill the jar with ice completely to the top and stir to mix the sliced lemons and fruit throughout the ice. Serve!
The variations could be limitless! But here are a few I've used:
  • Strawberry Lemonade: I would add a bag of fresh quartered strawberries over a frozen bag because frozen strawberries tend to look a little smashed and not very pretty.
  • Raspberry Iced Tea: Add a bag of frozen raspberries to tea! Yum!
  • Blueberry Lemonade: Mix Blue Raspberry Lemonade Koolaid mix (I can only find these Koolaid packets at Kroger - not anywhere else) with sliced lemons and whole fresh blueberries.
Now you know my secret!

Monday, May 17, 2010

HTC Incredible Review

Haven't had many phones to review here lately - been a little preoccupied with all this baby business and, honestly,  I know I can't get a new phone until my New-Every-Two is up in October of 2011! So, the idea of playing around with cool phones that in the end I can't have until a year from now is just a bit of a bummer.

But for the reader's sake and for everyone else out there who IS in the market for a new phone, I have to give props to the HTC Incredible. I had the opportunity to review the HTC Incredible from Verizon and while I was expecting another Droid-like phone - I was honestly blown away.

The Incredible is truly that- incredible. The processing and internet is insanely fast, the ease of use is remarkable, the Android Market of apps is ever appealing and the little weather icon on the front screen - makes my knees weak! I was able to set up the phone to my gmail and facebook in under 3 minutes - it was that easy people - very user friendly! I love how effortless the Incredible synced my contacts and calendar with gmail - what a dream! The phone feels sleek and slim in your hand - very unlike the dead weight of the Droid - this phone is very lightweight and cool.

With every new phone out there you do have a few shortfalls - but with the Incredible it is really slim pickings trying to find something not to like. I did notice that when put to full-use - browsing the web, checking email and facebook, etc the battery is dead in a day. The screen has amazing touch screen technology unlike that of any other phone I have come across - but it does smudge up pretty bad. Either that or it had a run in with my lip gloss in my purse - but the smears just would not come off! Other than that - this phone is a keeper! [insert huge, huffy pout about how I can't have one until 2011 here - boo!]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Midway Milestone: 20 Weeks

Here's a quick pic we took today to record the official halfway point in my pregnancy! I'm 20 weeks today - only 140 more days till my due date. Our little girl is now the size of a cantaloupe and she's kicking and moving around in my belly like crazy! She's pretty calm at night which is nice, as I've been sleeping pretty good here lately.

Still craving fruit - lately I've been concocting smoothies - blueberry/strawberry and peach/blueberry with vanilla yogurt! Yum! Still hoping to find the ever-elusive fresh peach or nectarine at the grocery store - still haven't had any luck. :(

We've started our baby registries - exciting! I didn't realize how frustrating that process can be though. The baby tub and stroller we like are only at Walmart, Target is the only place I can find the pack-n-play and swing we like, and Babies R Us has things you can't find anywhere else either! So we decided to have a registry at each place (Babies R Us, Target, Walmart and even Buy Buy Baby). Phew!

Haven't done much to the nursery yet either - I think we're going to hold off till later in the summer when we make one more IKEA run. :) 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

19 Weeks & 4 Days: Where Did My Energy Go?

During the first trimester I had no energy at all. I'd come home and go almost straight to bed and on the weekends, I just snooze away. But right around 16-17 weeks my energy came blaring back and it was fabulous! I was outside pulling weeds, up and about cleaning the house, etc.

At first I thought that the excitement of the ultrasound, staying up late, putting in the new deck and completing our registry at Babies R Us was wearing me out. But now I am starting to think that isn't it - I am exhausted. I can barely keep my head up, my eyes hurt and I don't feel like doing much of anything.

Baby must be going through a growth spurt! This growing a baby business can wear a person out. :)

Hoping that my energy comes back soon - I still need to plant my cannas, glad and start the second garden. So tired....

Beachy Blue Table by the Sea, But Without the Sea Part

My wonderful husband not only built me a 16x21 deck this past weekend, but he also whipped out a lovely picnic table! We're going to stain the deck a dark brown and paint the table turquoise! Going for a beachy, tropical look! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer Pie Project

I know I post a lot of recipes on my Web Finds Wednesday posts - but really I don't bake or cook all that often to be honest (you're shocked and appalled I know!). I just like to save the recipes on my blog in case I get the itch to do so - but really - eh, not so much.

As many of you know, I am pregnant - and anyone who's been pregnant before or around pregnant women - you know that food is important. I mean, OBVIOUSLY, you gotta eat well to be healthy for both you and your baby, but what I am talking about is how your food tastes are altered and changed, etc because of all those crazy pregnancy hormones coursing through your system. Sometimes is hard to find anything that sounds remotely appealing to eat - other times you're so hungry that that old wedding favor full of stale nuts and chocolate that's been sitting in your car for at least 2 months sounds divine. Ha!

Lately, I live on watermelon, fruit in general, granola bars, starkist from Dairy Queen, and anything grilled and pizza - yum! I always tend to crave the one fruit that is out of season and hard to find (i.e. current craving is peaches and I've been to at least 5 grocery stores and cannot find fresh peaches or nectarines for the life of me!!). And the thought of sugary, sickeningly sweet canned fruit or icecream with fruit is huge turn-off. Icecream yes, but peach icecream no. And then random things you've always loved suddenly tastes terrible. I thought a batch of chili would be good this weekend with the cold temps - but could barely down my bowl - I love chili - stupid taste buds. And don't get me started on smells, I can smell someone's lunch from through 2 walls I am pretty sure! Sheesh!

But one thing that sounds particularly good to me lately is pie! Sweet tooth + fruit + crumbly topping and flaky crust = NOM!

 (not a pic of my pie, sadly I forgot to snap a pic before our party and both pies are gone!)

I've experimented lately with strawberry rhubarb cobber, and strawberry rhubarb pie (going to try it minus the cinnamon next time and I put a crumb topping on top instead of lattice pie crust) - but am thinking about joining this fun little project that the fabulous blogger over at Butter + Cream has in the works! Not that I need to be making and eating pies all summer - but I figure with all our family and friend cook-outs, reunions and our church small group that meets on Sunday nights - I can divy up the wares across everyone and not eat the whole pie myself!

Want to join the fun?? Here's a little blurb about it from the Butter + Cream blog:

So bakers/bloggers...  Anyone interested in a little summer pie project?  Maybe we have a pie assignment every couple weeks, and then blog and compare our experiences?   Shoot us an email at if you're interested!

Anyone going to join me?? :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's a Girl!

We had another sneak peek of our little bundle of joy this morning at our second ultrasound! (We had our first one around 6 weeks because I was measuring small and they wanted to have a more accurate due date. And they did end up pushing my due date back two weeks). Anywho, my husband and I knew almost right away as the image of our baby starting flickering up on the screen - but several snapshots from the tech confirmed it - our little one is a girl! And a feisty one at that! She never did suck her thumb or anything while we were watching through the ultrasound but she started off the show with rearing back and giving me a swift kick. It was so mesmerizing to watch her move around - I could have sat and watched her all day. She obviously wasn't too happy about the ultrasound wand - she kept moving away from it. But she did sit still long enough two very sweet and adorable profile shots! Look at that little button nose!!

We have a couple of names picked out already - but aren't quite sure what one we're picking quite yet. It is funny, because when we first started out we thought we had our girl name set in stone, but like my amazing husband said to me last night - as we get to know her that name we had picked out just doesn't seem to fit or feel quite right rolling off our tongues. It is weird to say that, because obviously we haven't held her or met her in person yet - it is hard to explain - maybe all my fellow mommy bloggers understand what I'm trying to say...

Another funny thing about the ultrasound is this foot pic. My husband and I are notorious about our feet photos - we took a picture of our feet on our wedding day, took pictures of our sandy feet on our vacations, etc. The tech had no clue about these feet pics, but look what wound up on our print outs. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

DIY Cloth Canopy Ideas

It's not like we need to shade the sun any this weekend or anything with it being 40 degrees and all. But once it does warm up I am hoping to convince my husband that we need to construct something like this for our new deck:

From Apartment Therapy

Instructions for a DIY canopy from Martha Stewart

Outdoor Canopy
Create a cool spot for summer living with one of our easy canopies.

All by itself, a simple canopy can turn an empty space outside into a "place." While trees might take years to grow, an expanse of cloth goes up in minutes, providing shade wherever you need it most. When the outdoor season ends -- or a storm whips in unexpectedly -- you can take it down, quick as a wink.

Unlike a pricey pergola or arbor, which demands a permanent surrender of ground, a canopy requires scant commitment or expense. For the most basic version, spend a few dollars on a drop cloth from a hardware store, and a few more on the supplies you will need to suspend it overhead: a grommet kit, tent poles, stout cord, and sturdy pegs. These ideas can be modified for other settings and styles.

You can sew a canopy yourself, or have one stitched by a seamstress or sailmaker. You'll need a few things from a hardware store, garden center, or camping-supply store to put up the fabric you choose. The way you erect the canopy depends on where you want it to be -- it can be suspended from poles, or stretched between a wall or roofline and poles.

Tools and Materials
- A grommet tool makes it easy to punch sturdy holes in the corners of your fabric.

- Plastic tent pegs anchor lines from the tops of poles into the lawn or planting beds.

- An inexpensive canvas drop cloth can serve as a fine canopy.

- Stout clothesline or venetian-blind cord will keep a canopy in place.

- Wooden pole with dowel pin or bamboo pole with dowel

- Adjustable aluminum tent poles can be raised or lowered to fit your setting.

Attached to a Wall or Fence How-To
At a corner of the canopy near the house, a short length of cord extends from the grommet to a screw eye on the house. At its apex, the tent is anchored to the center pole; two cords tied to the top of the pole are pegged to the lawn. There is also a cord anchoring each of the shorter poles that support the sides.

To fashion a patterned tent, sew together two full-size lightweight cotton bedspreads, creating a reinforced 2-inch overlap in the center. Punch grommet holes in the corners, and one on each end of the center overlap. Cut a third bedspread to make full-length, 6-inch-wide border strips. Stitch one to either side of the fabric, which adds hanging borders. To put up the peaked canopy, use a tall pole for the center and shorter poles for either side; attach screw eyes in corresponding spots on the house.

Free-Standing Canopy How-To
If you don't want to secure the canopy to a wall or fence, create a free-standing one with four poles. You'll need four people, too. Start by installing a metal grommet at each corner of your canopy fabric. Stand four poles with long, thin tips (use tent poles; drill a wood pole so it holds a dowel pin or fit bamboo, which is hollow, with a dowel) on the ground. Hook the grommets over the tips. Then have each person simultaneously loop sturdy cord around the tip of his or her pole and stake the other end of the cord into the ground several yards away.

- Cut openings that allow wind to circulate through

- Grommets at the corners of the fabric fit over poles in front and are tied to screw eyes on the house

- Loop cord around the poles to keep the fabric in place and attached to pegs in the lawn for added stability

- Tie extra fabric to the cords to make them more visible so no one will trip over them

- Canopy poles get added stability by fitting them into lengths of PVC pipe and sinking the pipe into soil-filled terra-cotta pots

- Painted wooden dowels and colored cord make the canopy's mechanics part of the picture

- Take the tent down when not in use to discourage fading

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Outside Inspirations

What with the new deck my hubby and his dad are putting in this weekend, my mind is all full of lovely outdoor inspiration ideas!! 

From Coastal Living

And gotta throw some indoor ideas in there too!