summer ’13 days 1-3

As I write this, I am nursing the worst headache I’ve had in months. I took an Advil, (no, this isn’t a sponsored post) and I’m hoping that by the time I finish writing, I can get out of my jammies (tank top and shorts) and continue with my days’ plans. I need to find a palm for our patio, buy some mulch, buy some detergent ’cause I can’t avoid laundry with that excuse anymore,go to the post office, and pay some overdue fines at the library. I’m dreading the last part because I always get a lecture from the librarian about the easy ways to avoid the fines. I know I can renew online… I just wish I could pay my fines online as well to avoid the dreaded lecture. ( Note: This post was started on one day, completed two days later)

Anyway, funny thing about life.

Sometimes, God removes people that are unhealthy to us, and we may not even realize it. Relationships end. People grow apart. In all the heartbreaking agony that sometimes trails these situations, it helps to reflect on circumstances in the past where there was a loss… it may be the first “love” at 15 and he/she smashed your heart like a ketchup packet, it may be the “best friend” that didn’t prove to be that when she stabbed you in the back at prom… whatever the loss or situation was, when you look back on it, you realize it was all for the best. And, in turn, it saved you from destruction.

Now, I’m not writing this because I’m in dire straits at a loss. I’m perfectly content with my current “loss”.  Sometimes it’s okay to rejoice in the removal of people that you always felt didn’t really “like” you all along. And, there is freedom in that. I’m not talking about harboring hatred, or malice toward someone either…. because that’s outright wrong. However, boundaries are not wrong. If someone triggers emotions or unhealthy attitudes in you,  establish a peaceful distance in the relationship. Peaceful distance is the object here.

Sometimes you might need to be the trigger man to establish a boundary, sometimes the other person might help it along. Either way, if it needs to happen, be content, and be at peace.

After all, nothing in life is permanent.

In the past I have lost many people, that end up resurfacing years later bigger and better than before. It’s a blessing.

So…. that was part of my personal first day of summer. As far as activities go….

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There was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Science Center & Aquarium, being a “foodie” I was thrilled that there was (FREE!) food for everyone. There was even bagels, cream cheese, yogurt and croissants…mmmm

2013-06-07 10.09.00There were also cake pops, but they didn’t stay on their stick very well.

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We marveled at the prehistoric skeletons, and gazed at the creatures from the sea…

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Then, we went home and the rains came again. It has been raining here for days on end… the grounds are soggy and there are several flooded roads, so much for “The Sunshine State”

So…. we made doughnuts:

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(It happened to be national doughnut day) I NEED a calendar that has all the national food related days/months/weeks. Because it seems like I’m always finding out it’s national _______ day too late.

The next day, it rained once more. So, we opted to go on an indoor adventure with Dad.

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We had a hard time deciding on toppings.

Me: “Hmmmm, how about mushrooms and olives?”

Her: ( see face above)

Me: “Pepperoni and cheese?”

Her (see face above)

Finally: (a decision was made)

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We were totally blessed because we had ordered a small (4 slices/$8.50+toppings) and the waitress brought out a medium that they ended up making on accident. But then she said the magic words: “We won’t charge you for it, though”

Oh yeah! Woo-hoo! Love saving me some $$$$$!

Then we went home and I had made a poolash earlier. In case you don’t know what a poolash is, it’s basically an aged yeast mixture for making crusty, chewy bread. (Think Panera)

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I made a olive & thyme bread. I’ll post about that and the doughnuts over on The Village Cook  

For now, I’m in scrapbook/blog mode. I’m scrap booking my summer and blogging all at once. I know that there is a company that can print your blog posts and bind them in a book, so I can always do that one day if I need something to hold, but for now, this works perfect for myself.

So, I have wrapped up the first three days on Summer so far- the fourth day was spent at church where my husband finally officially became a member. (I had been one for years already) It was a nice event, they had a gorgeous breakfast set up (I forgot to snap pics) and some local donuts that were out of this world…. mmmm .

I have to share how excited I am that he’s finally walking the walk with me… but that may be a whole new blog or series in itself. The amazing changes that have taken place in his heart and mind- things that could not have ever happened without a divine intervention. I have been blessed by being able to witness this extraordinary event first hand.  It’s pretty cool, to say the least. 🙂



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Summer Bucket List

I love Summertime. No waking up to make lunches, and rushing out the door to drop kids off at two different schools, and no sitting in lines in my non air conditioned car for hours in the afternoon. No arguments over homework, no worries about accidents on the playground at school, and no random amounts of money due for assorted field trips and fundraisers.

Summertime usually means our family unit is reduced by one,  since this year my step-daughter will be with her mom for the first half of summer, so she can be there for the birth of her new brother, (who could pop out any moment) and then she’ll take her usual trip to Virginia for the remainder of the summer with her Grandmother.


Summertime is when the seas are calmer here and my hubby will surprise us with an afternoon fishing trip. It’s when I’ll fillet fresh tuna in my front yard, and have a sushi snack with my daughter.

2012-07-27 12.11.23 Summer is homemade ice cream at noon on a Wednesday…

untitled (1 of 20)Summertime means camp outs and my “once a year” hot dog* that I will eat.  And,I justify most of the calories will get burned of by the summertime heat…right?

*Note: Last year I had two, due to a Chicago trip 😉


camp weekend

 Last year, I had attempted to document the summer days as they passed, and I have a stack of photographs to prove it. So, my daughter and I are taking the stack and making our first scrapbook together. Ah-ha! Summer project #1 underway. Making a scrapbook with a 5 year old should be interesting.. I’m going to guess there will be glitter and stickers everywhere.

This year, I’m going  to document our days via Instagram, and a post here every few days. Because Summertime means not many adult conversations. I’m going to need an outlet. 🙂



Now, if you need some ideas for summertime, here’s my unofficial list (so far)

  • Free movies at the local theater
  • breakfast picnics at the local parks
  • homemade Popsicles, ice cream, and waffle cones
  • the beach
  • the boat
  • the pool
  • local water playgrounds
  • the fishing pier
  • the zoo
  • the science museum
  • take a trip to the Keys
  • backyard camping
  • re-arrange rooms
  • lots of BBQs
  • the spiderweb game- using painters tape to make a web and have kids throw items at it
  • water pinata- make a pinata out of water balloons
  • homemade gummy bears
  • homemade cinnamon buns like IKEA
  • a road trip to nowhere
  • a train trip to Tallahassee to see my family
  • the dog park
  • flea markets and garage sales
  • mini golf
  • bowling
  • make homemade pickles
  • make rock candy


Of course, some I won’t do, or I will run out of time to do…. but that’s my start for when I wake up next Monday morning thinking… what shall we do today?
Now: what’s on YOUR list?

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almost beekeeping

Last week, a swarm of bees showed up in my backyard. My husband frantically said,  ” 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. 😉  )

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.  So,  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. 😉

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.  Ah! His “man toys”.

We secured the boards together using “L” brackets.




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


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


This one is/was huge. Good thing I have watermelons growing in it now. 😉


After the big ones were made,  “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.  Mel Bartholomew author of Square Foot Gardening suggests 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost matter.  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.


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….)





Total score.


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.



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.



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 make Christmas  Autumn  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…. 😉

I will keep you updated on the progress of the baked good that these will end up on.  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. 😉

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 as  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… 😉 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 of  orange zest also 🙂 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. 😉

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…


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