almost beekeeping

Last week, a swarm of bees showed up in my backyard. My husband frantically said,ย  ” Get the kids and dogs in! ” Then, we watched from the screen porch as the swarm began to settle 12 feet up in a tree in our yard. After 24 hours, I began to grow concerned with their presence and my mind began playing scenes from grade B 1970’s horror movies. So, I started calling people. I was surprised to find a lot of people wanting to do the job for free, I left messages and sent emails and finally, got a hold of a man named Jim.

When I asked Jim if he’d be willing to remove them, he said:

“Sure I can, but why don’t you just keep ’em?”

I explained I had kids and dogs… he said that was fine.

He went on to tell me all I need to do is spend about $200 dollars on equipment, and I’d have myself 40 pounds of free honey every year. He didn’t sell the equipment, but he said it would be easy to find.

Forty pounds of free honey intrigues me briefly, so I said, “Well, I’ll have to talk to my husband first.” (That’s my favorite line to use to end any conversation, by the way. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  )

Then, Jim stated; “Well, you better decide quick. Sounds like them bees are just a restin’ there. They probably be gone soon.”

And, just like that, they were.

I never even got to talk to my husband.

Maybe next time.

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DIY garden boxes

Lately the hubs and I have gotten into a urban homesteading way of life….it started with me wanting chickens and a cow so I could have lots of eggs and butter without going to the store. Unfortunately, cows are “outlaws” here.ย  So,ย  we decided to create some garden boxes. Garden boxes are necessary where I live; due to poor quality soil and the giant tortoises in my yard. If you have good soil where you’re at, you could probably just ignore this post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I decided to try my hand(s) at lasagna gardening; where you layer assorted biodegradable materials (cardboard, leaves,lawn clippings, kitchen scraps,etc) in a box. (the “lasagna pan”)

My husband did the assembly- not that I can’t use a drill, he just jumps at the chance to use power tools.ย  Ah! His “man toys”.

We secured the boards together using “L” brackets.

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Depending on how deep you want your boxes, you may need to use more. This is an 8″ deep box.

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After we made two of these, I decided we needed a bigger one.

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This one is/was huge. Good thing I have watermelons growing in it now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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After the big ones were made,ย  “someone” wanted their own. Which was great… mainly because random seeds were being planted with my veggies. Now we have a cute little flower bed/random veggie box.

I need to take more updated pictures for y’all. Now there’s more greenery.

The cost of these is very reasonable. Depending on the size (and how many) you want and materials you chose to fill it with it will cost between $8-35. I filled mine using the lasagna gardening method, which takes time to build up and decompose down into compost. You’ll need to add some vermiculite to the compost once it’s broken down, to aerate the soil and assist in drainage. If you don’t want to invest the time in the lasagna method, you can also fill it with a soil mix.ย  Mel Bartholomew author of Square Foot Gardening suggests 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost matter.ย  From what I’ve heard, it’s a pretty decent mixture.

 

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treasures in daily life

This poor little blog. It’s always getting overshadowed by it’s other half (you know the one with the recipes?) But. Not. Anymore.

Because I have life going on, and some of y’all don’t always need a recipe in your face.

Sometimes, you might just want a peek into someone else’s world. Maybe to see that you don’t need a dishwasher… or that fancy perfectly decorated and organized home… sometimes it’s nice to see life just how it happens. Because there are treasures in everyday life.

That’s real life.

So, we got a puppy. Or… a puppy got us.

I think it’s the latter. But… there was also an Easter egg hunt this week… my daughter wouldn’t let me take her picture, so I had the kid with the basket head.

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I snuck outside the doors before the crowd of preschooler were let loose to hunt. I knew she’d be distracted and not have time to get her basket on. (heh, heh, heh….)

 

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And……

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Total score.

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So, this puppy found us… I wrote about it here

I need to get some pictures of my stepdaughter with the pup, but unfortunately… the puppy’s “homecoming” kept her interest for only a half hour. Preteens. Go figure.

My youngest daughter, however… has not let up.

 

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Which, I’m fine with because it gives me some cool photo ops. I have all these old 1940s pictures of my mom when she was little with her fox terrier, it’s kind of neat to get these pictures today. I’m thinking of making some sort of display, with the old an the new. Yep, I’ll add that to the “list”. My ever grwoing list of crafts and ideas for when I have a “free day”. Then, when ever I get a “free day” I end up organizing the junk drawer. Ugh- my priorities get so screwed up sometimes.

Today I’m attempting to make some royal icing decorations for our Easter cake.

Bunnies and carrots and stuff… you know.

 

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But, even if I never get to my list… I’m content that I was able to capture these moments……

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fondant fall leaves

I had big plans for cupcakes this weekend, and these little leaves were going to adorn the tops. Well, they eventually will…as of now, these little leaves are still out on my counter as I still try to find/create the perfect cupcake recipe for them.

I’m thinking maple spice.

 

I made these by gently mixing assorted colors of fondant… you can buy pre-made & colored fondant- or save lots of money and making your own.

Here’s how to make your own:

Homemade Fondant

Of course, I can’t take full credit for the leaves. My daughter walked in and immediately assumed I was working with Play -Doh and had to join in on the fun. Which was perfectly fine until she wanted to make other shapes, then I had to explain how we needed just leaves.

Then I gave in and let her makeย Christmasย  Autumnย  trees.

To make these:

Gently knead tinted fondant together.

Roll out to 1/8″ thickness.

Cut with desired mini cookie cutter.

Place on wax paper or a Wilton Drying Rack (pictured above) to give more curl.

(You can also gently curl the leaves by hand after they have dried 1 hour. )

Use them to decorate pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes… your counter…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will keep you updated on the progress of the baked good that these will end up on.ย  Until then, head over to The Village Cook for an easy Sicilian Tart

 

 

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fall recipe round up part one

Can you believe it’s almost Fall? I have to admit, as much as I love watermelon, cook outs and going barefoot, there’s something so cozy about Fall. It’s a little less hotter, you can open up the house and dust off your favorite boots once again. Not to mention the harvest of caramel, cinnamon and all things apple and pumpkin.

There’s a harvest of candy corn, too. We can’t forget that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today I’ve rounded up some of my yearly must makes and my must try recipes for the season:

Yum, cocoa cookies with spiderweb icing… spooooky.

Pumpkin squares….

Since we’re talkin pumpkin…how about pumpkin waffles?

Pumpkin waffles with cinnamon syrup? I’ll take ten.

Pumpkin fudge with macadamia nuts.

And, finally Pumpkin pop tarts with a maple crust.

I hope you enjoy my collection, now- what’s on your must-make for Fall list?

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rose cake

I made this cake for my daughter’s 5th birthday… wait. I realize I have some explaining to do. What happened to summer? Where have I been?

Well… for starters, swim lessons started which kept us busy 1 1/2 hours every day… then there was vacation, and well… life.

Anyway, I’m back now and I have cake. So will you forgive me?

I almost feel guilty accepting compliments on this cake. They’re undeserved, because if you can draw a spiral, you can totally make this cake.

The secret is in the tip. It’s a 1M tip, and you can find it at craft stores and cake supply shops. My cake… err, frosting isn’t perfect; the frosting was a little too dry… that’s why there are ragged edges on some of the roses. I should have scraped them off for a re-do, but I was attempting to accomplish a weeks’ worth of tasks on this particular day…. and I knew my family wouldn’t mind. If it were for a client… well, I wouldn’t be cramming it into a one day project, that’s for certain.

To make the roses, it’s as simple as starting at a center point and swirling around it. You can make them as small or large asย  you wish, I like the big ones, that makes it look like a rose blanket was draped over the cake.

I tossed in some sugar pearls to distract from the less than perfect frosting consistency… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sugar fixes everything.

For the frosting recipe I used this one: Wilton Buttercream

I’ll be honest with the cake: It’s a basic vanilla cake mix that I doctored up but substituting the oil for melted butter, and the water was substituted with milk. I added a tablespoon ofย  orange zest also ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the secret to almost homemade. Shhhh….

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dollar store crafts

dollar store crafts

Over the weekend, my daughter and I camped, ate s’mores and went on some adventures… one of them was the dollar store.

I never have enough cake stands…so I made a couple. It’s pretty self explanatory:

At the dollar store, get yourself two candle sticks, then go to the plate section and find some that “match”. Of course, you could get totally creative and spray paint the glass, but I preferred the clear this time. Glue the two pieces together. (Make sure you use a heavy duty glue that’s good for glass and waterproof)

Next, I want to try some white spray paint, for a classic milk glass look. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You could also try local thrift shops for other bases: cups and glasses, wooden candlesticks, etc.

I could go crazy and make two dozen, I just don’t know where I’d store them all… hmmm.

I guess there is always under the bed…

๐Ÿ™‚

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summer collages

So… I haven’t been documenting everyday, because honestly, I think it will get narcissistic and boring. So, I will be sharing highlights today… all via iPhone pics. Fun, huh?

 

We took the boat out & met up with friends at Lake Boca… and there was a nice patriotic service at church.

We went on a hiking trip… then made cookies.

And… we made a wreath for Independence day. We also scored big at Goodwill with some vintage cast iron (Griswold, and no heat ring!) and a brand new (with tags!) helmet. Of course I couldn’t resist cheap cookbooks. ($2.99) ๐Ÿ˜€ Yay to that.

I manages to knock a few things off my Pinterest boards, as well. I made these cute little charms & a AMAZING ICED COFFEE ~ I’ll share the recipe and link it up shortly.

I have this huge craft box under my bed with random supplies for assorted Pinterest crafts I saw. I have vowed to not even get one more craft item until that box is empty. Let’s just say I’m going to be all crafted out soon & very soon. :p

If you can’t tell from that pic above… that cast iron is in desperate need of a re-season. So, that will be a tutorial as well. But, to be honest- it’s summer. Turning on the oven to re-season cast iron is not tops on the list. (For now…)

Maybe the next rainy day. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a wonderful day, folks. Enjoy today & all that it is for what it’s worth. xoxoxo!

 

 

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summer weekend

Ahhh… nothing like a surprise boat adventure.

Thanks to me copping a little attitude. Sometimes, a little attitude fixes everything. When my hubby called to say he was going to ride on his buddy’s boat to make sure it “sounded okay” , I said “Awww… I was looking forward to hanging out with you this afternoon” Which, I know is totally NOT an attitude. But it’s a whiny complaint- something I seldom do. So, it’s was different than my “usual” attitude.

Anyway, it worked… because five minutes later he said get dressed for the boat- we’re all going.ย  It turns out, his buddy’s girlfriend was going , too – and we ended up making an evening of it.

Yay for attitudes!

I LOVE the flip around camera thingy on my iphone. It keeps ups entertained quite nice.

I need to paint my toes … the spots on my kids feet are the stamps she gets after each swim lesson.

The “stamps” on my legs are permanent.

I LOVE going to restaurants by boat. It’s so Florida…

And, it’s awesome to come back from the bathroom and find a Mojito waiting there.

After the first place… it started to look a bit rainy… so we went down the intracoastal to resturant #2

I love docking signs…

Man, I’m glad I had my shirt on.

Saturday ended up being homemade pizza day.

And… on Sunday after church we avoided tornadoes.

… and I made tater tot casserole.

As for today, there is a VBS starting, which means three free hours for ME. I decided I’m NOT going to do chores.

๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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