Monday, June 30, 2014

back door neighbors....

We had a new family move in behind us this Spring.    The speak no English.....but we have something in common.  Gardening

They turned their entire back yard into a veggie garden.    One day I stood on a stool and handed them an aloe plant.  Ours had gotten so huge that we broke off all the babies and had to give 11 of them away!      That was how I discovered they didn't speak matter.  They understood and were happy to take the aloe baby home.

Last week when I was weeding a young man poked his head over the fence and said his parents want me to have this:

okay....this is seriously the largest zucchini I've ever seen. 

I was thrilled of course and asked him to wait a moment.  I gave him a couple jars of blueberry jam in return.  He was very excited about it.   I love good neighbors....

As for that giant zucchini?  Dean loves it so Jill gave me a couple recipes to try.

Zucchini for us...both are tasty!

and one for a friend who just had twins...

And zucchini sweet relish...equally yummy!

Jill, thanks for the recipes, Dean is one happy man!  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

dates with kids....

This week split our family in two different directions.

Dean took Matt and attended his college orientation and registration at LSU.   Not gonna lie here, LSU wasn't actually his first choice.  With an ACT score of 33, you'd think he could pick and choose.  Well, sure, if we were rich!   Amazing how little that score helped him out the gate.  Am I irritated?  You bet I am.  

Okay.  I took a few deep breaths and calmed down.  Let me start again:

Ah yes, it is OFFICIAL.   Matt is a fully registered college student....and all that goes with it.  
People think of LSU as a football and party school but their statistics in education aren't shabby either....and they are steadily increasing.  
Among the accolades, LSU graduates between the ages of 42-47, prime of their careers are 34th in earnings in the US. (Alabama is 79...take that Tide!)

I think you'll find us at Death Valley a few times this year!

Kaela couldn't find anyone to take her shifts so I stayed home and took her to and from work

I know...right?  Best summer job ever... if you can't work at a beach.  And having a brother who works there too is a bonus.

Her first official paycheck....

and someone got her driver's permit!  

After days of weeding, we watched movies together while I pondered what to do with this....

I'm still pondering.......what to do?  

Friday night, the boys came home and Dean brought a few goodies.   

Oh how I love fuzzy socks!

 I had to put my name in something...or it would be stolen....


I'm not being stingy folks.  She already HAS one just like it.  But she would take mine too....that's how she is.  If it fits and she wants it, she snags it.  Even if it DOESN'T fit and she wants it, she snags it.... I swear this girl has no boundaries!  

Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

of weeding and water...

Mornings are the best time to weed......the sun isn't high yet.  Sometimes I'll get lucky and there will be a small sprinkle to keep me from getting too hot mid morning.

I put on my hat and gloves and grab my I go, to visit with my little toady friends.

picking and pulling my way through the beds....sometimes I strip something.  

That lemon thyme on the left?  Yep, I hated to do it but pulled out a third of it.  There was a dead woody spot smack in the middle that just had to go.  No worries, it still looks and smells lovely....especially when stepped on.  

Sometimes I have to push things aside and pull from waaaay underneath....and sometimes, I have to cut around King Toad so he can be visible again.

With the lovely weather comes the torpedo grass.  NOTHING can stop it.  It shoots straight up through 2 layers of weed liner like butter.  I pulled a piece that was shimming up the edge of the was 4 feet long.
The best defense (in my humble opinion) is to plant close together and choke it out.  Like this Hawthorne where Benjamin lives.  
He happily holds a bit of water for the lizards and butterflies that visit....

The birdbath accommodates the birds....entire families convene.  Loudly fussing at me as I weed, disturbing their bath time.

even the mailbox needed a bit of weeding...

after three days and 3 hours each, success....

I'd like to say I hate weeding.  But I don't.  I hate getting started  but once the first day is behind me, I look forward to the time alone, just picking and pulling and thinking my way through the morning.  The front and side are done, tomorrow I start on the back....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

chronic crafting....

Okay, so since getting done with school, I've been perpetually sick.  And yes, I am ready to be DONE with it.   I am not a good patient.  I don't like missing out on things.  So now I take horse sized antibiotics in an effort to get better sooner rather than later.

I have had time to craft though....oh, and read.  And do laundry....and take credit for fantastic brisket sandwiches.

I made this scarf with a skein of  Blick Fang. What a name, right?  

Anyway, it is super soft and lush and "springy."  I know it looks a bit "camo" in the photo, but in person it doesn't.  The red is dominant in the yarn, I just didn't feel good enough to try and take a decent photo.  Basically, even when I TRY to take a good photo, I suck so I just don't worry about it any longer....

It is a gift for someone who looks terrific in red and happens to live somewhere cold.  I think she will love it.  I made it with a simple HDC stitch.

I also made this fun little pincushion with a find from the local thrift shop.  You know those Limoges box knock offs?  Yep, that was what this was.  I just cut the top off with pliers and made the little pincushion to sit inside it.  I added a little paper clay pin I'd made.   

I love this little cutie...
I'm not keeping it though, it is also a gift and should be in Texas by now...

I made this gorgeous infinity scarf using some Blitzen yarn that I picked up on sale early this year.  It is big and soft and fluffy....and I keep thinking it would be perfect for Halloween with a black dress and a spider hanging off of it somewhere!  That being said, I'm not 100% sure I'll be keeping it...hmmm.

here is a close up so you can see the color better...simply gorgeous!

I've wanted a shawl for ages but they all scream "old lady" to me.

This is the first one that I like. I'll use it for those occasions when a sweater is too much.   This stitch is so easy, it works up very quickly.

I used a variegated ribbon yarn, Versa by Berroco.  The colors go from a muted teal to a blue grey to a light green to a soft buttery yellow.  All the colors I wear. 

I just need a reason to wear it now........

Friday, June 20, 2014

Easiest Brisket ever!

Okay, so with me being sick and all, I didn't feel much like cooking.  But this time of year, I go through our freezer and use all the meat up.  It's Hurricane Season y'all!  I discovered a 9 pound brisket in there and decided it had to go.    

The slow cooker is a sick girl's helper. Seriously.  I got tons of credit and did very little work. Love it.

Here is how you do it.  

Take a BIG ziploc baggie and put this in it:

2 cans beef broth
4 oz. soy sauce (yes, that is a lot.)
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider or white)
3-4 chopped garlic cloves (I use the stuff in a jar and put a big glob of it in there.)

Into this, carefully set the brisket that you have trimmed most of the fat off.  (You won't need it since it is going into a slow cooker.)  You also don't need to hack the meat up to absorb the marinade but Dean does it anyway....

Now seal it all up and put it in a dish and refrigerate it over night.  I flip it over at bedtime.

In the morning, put the brisket along with the marinade into the slow cooker.  Set it on low and forget it.  All day.  As in 8 hours.

My crock-pot is oval but I've done this in an old round one just have to cut it in half and switch the pieces mid way through the day.

When it is done cooking, use tongs and pull the meat out, it will shred by itself.  At this point you decide to make gravy or make sandwiches....

This go round, we made sandwiches!  We love brisket on croissants...lucky me found croissant sandwich cool is that.

Now don't toss out the juices.  If you buy a large brisket like I do, you will have leftovers.  Separate the meat from the juice and refrigerate separately.  In the morning, pull out the juices...see that layer of fat?

Yep, grab a thin spatula and carefully slip it off the top.   It will come right you can throw it away.

Then you can make gravy with the rest and you can have mashed potatoes to go with that leftover brisket.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mr. Turtle on his way to the pond but roads and paths aren't the safest for turtles now a days...

So Dean and Kaela helped him along...

We always point the turtles in the direction they are headed....if you don't, they simply double back.  Quite stubborn little critters.

Monday, June 16, 2014


What do you do when you have an abundance of lovely blueberries?

You make blueberry jam of course!

 I've put up several jars to give as gifts...with plenty to keep for ourselves.  

And the taste?


Father's Day!

This past weekend was Dean's weekend.   

On Saturday, we did a little dad shopping and had an unexpected dinner out at a new place.  We were so happy to have found this place....

On Sunday, Dean took Kaela golfing....

and had a little surprise when he got home....

Matt was in rare form....he is starting to realize how much he is going to miss our crazy family.

For this month's cheesecake of the month, I made a Praline cheesecake. 

It was very pretty...

 I didn't taste it (yuck) but Dean said it was one of the best I've made.

Over all, a simple but fun weekend........we love you honey!

Friday, June 13, 2014


I love it when the flowers in our yard start blooming.....the little angel garden self sowed this year.

the glads did too....we had actually pulled them up but must have dropped the bulbs because they are EVERYWHERE!

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” -Victor Hugo, Les Mis'erables

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A day in NOLA

We decided to go into NOLA for a little day trip.    We hadn't been in quite a while and wanted to see the new Mayan exhibit (sadly, it was a little ho-hum.)

I made a frog bean bag to drop at the Aquarium....haven't done one in a long time...we dropped it in the frog exhibit...

I don't think the Gar was supposed to catch the Spoonbill!

I love the seahorse exhibit

this guy was in a tank full of brooding males.  They were ALL hiding so getting a photo was difficult.  Just look how big his belly is!  

Love these guys...

As always, the turtles steal my heart....this is a juvenile.  There is a big chunk of shell missing from the back of his shell so he may be here permanently.

They had another turtle tub toy in the gift shop so I added it to my collection.

a few photos of the family that WEREN'T blurry!

After the aquarium, we headed to the River walk's grand re-opening and then on to Superior for an early dinner. It was a great day, full of smiles!
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