Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garden Update: Week “will we ever get ripe tomatoes?”


We have approached tomato jungle status. This picture is two weeks old – we’ve since pulled the zucchini plants up and the tomato plants are now officially taller than I am. And – best of all – they’re actually starting to ripen their fruit without birds eating it all. We planted super early so we’d have tomatoes in July and here it is the end of August and nothing. Well, close to nothing. I harvested a basketful this morning, though. I have grand plans for dinner tonight. BLT’s, baby.

And I started our fall crops – lettuces, kale, and a replant of some cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage starts. I planted the first round last week, but I think it was just too hot for them.

This year has been a learning experience for me. I now more about insects after this summer than I’d ever learned in my previous 30-some years (hello there, pretty white moth – corn earworm, what?). I know all kinds of vegetable diseases (early blight, powdery mildew) and what you can prevent and what you can’t.

We’ve also learned a bit more about what we want to plant next year and how to go about it. Tomatoes and squash need to be farther apart. We left three feet, but could have left five and still needed more room. We don’t like black beauty eggplant. I’m still going to try some fingerling eggplant varieties next year, though. No sense planting carrots – while fun to see them grow and pull them up from the dirt, no one here ate them, either.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We got to go back, back to school…again…

I’m singing the opening number from Grease 2, in case anyone missed that.

Wednesday, August 25 marks the first day of 4th grade,2nd grade and kindergarten for three of my four kids. Kindergarten in our state is all day, every day for everyone, so Miss S is gone just like the big kids. The Viv and I will not know what to do. Just me and her for the next three years. I’m scared.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All good things…

must come to an end. Tomorrow is the first day of school. There’s still a little bit of summer to be had, but the carefree lazy days (I woke up at 7:30 this morning, but stayed in bed until 8:30 – just because I could) are more or less gone for another year.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Christy’s Kit of the Week: Little Rabblerouser

As previously noted, I’m a sucker for a kit that uses primary colors. Even more so for one that uses primary colors  in a boyish way. Girl kits are easy to find, but kits that I don’t have to work too hard to make work for my son are much harder to find. So when I saw this grab bag at the Digichick for only $3.00, I had to buy it.

dje_littlerabblerouser_pp_previewdje_littlerabblerouser_ep_preview  dje_littlerabblerouser_stackables_previewdje_littlerabblerouser_wordart_preview

Friday, August 6, 2010

More mysteries:

I’ve been reading right along for the cozy mystery challenge on Goodreads. I’m at 8 out of 51 (you know, plus DC, which is actually one of the ones I’ve read)

Here’s my list with a quick review:

Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay (Arizona) – A cupcake store owner finds the body of her best friend’s fiancĂ©e and ends up a suspect in her murder. She investigates to save herself. This formula seems to be par for the course for most of the books I’ve read in the past week, but I supposed it makes sense since they’re all the first in a series so the author needs to give a strong motivation for her character to become an amateur sleuth.

I actually figured out whodunit before the book had to spell it all for me (normally, I miss every clue and have to wait for the book – and tv show’s reveal – I would make a crappy detective), but that didn’t detract from the book. I loved the characters (I’m a huge fan of Monk and Psych,which to me are less about the mysteries and more about the characters) and I love cupcakes and can’t wait for the next one in this series.

Dead In the Family by Charlaine Harris (Louisiana) – this is the latest in the series about Sookie Stackhouse and the basis for the True Blood series, which I’ve never seen. I’ve read all the other books, though and I’ve enjoyed them. This one fell kind of flat for me. I kind of hate Eric, so that might be why. Or maybe the whole thing has gotten a little stale or maybe it felt like this was written specifically to be on TV.

Wreath of Deception by Mary Ellen Hughes (Maryland) – A new craft store owner finds the body of a clown she hired and ends up a suspect in his murder. She investigates to save herself. This one was set in my home state, so it was fun to get a couple of real local references. I had an idea about the murderer in this one from very early on, which – as I mentioned above – doesn’t normally happen. But I wasn’t sure until it was actually spelled out, so it only partly counts. I would read the next one if I find it at the library, but I probably wouldn’t pay for it.

I Scream, You Scream by Wendy Lyn Watson (Texas) – An ice cream shop owner ends up accused of murdering her ex-husband’s new girlfriend and ends up investigating the crime to save herself. I loved the Southern accent in writing. I don’t always enjoy reading accents – this can be over the top at times. But it was well done in this book. I could hear the characters’ accents without being distracted. The story was good – and I had no idea who did it until the end. I’ll probably read the next one.

Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss (Virginia) – Two girls who can’t cook take cooking lessons and witness a murder. Contrary to the formula established in other books, neither is accused of the murder. I guess they’re just nosy. The story wasn’t my favorite, although I like the concept. I probably wont’ seek out the next in the series.

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy (DC) – A White House chef is the only person who can ID a hitman. She doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself from investigating a little, although she doesn’t do as much active detecting as some of the other “detectives” in the books I’ve been reading. I liked it. I’ll try to find the next one at the library.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It’s come to this…

My house is in desperate need of some style, organization and decluttering. We live in my husband’s grandparents former home (they now reside at the Junior Order cemetery). We’ve been here for two years. And in that time, we’ve sort of existed. There is no mark of us on this house at all. I think we’ve been sort of terrified of making a change that won’t be accepted due to the emotional nature of us living in the childhood home of my father-in-law and his brothers, except that all the major changes have already been made.

I think we’ve moved beyond that and I want to make some (minor and non-permanent) changes. Like a new rug in the living room instead of two mismatched cheapo Wal-Mart area rugs. I lost my initiative to decorate when we moved here and the notion of painting walls was a no-go. Without paint, how could I go on? Yeah, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.

So I’m trying to find a style that I like and can afford. I have a love of all things vintage, so I really want to work that in, but I’m not sure I can on my extremely limited budget. Hopefully the old blog here will feature lovely photographs of a beautiful new space. Or at least some crappy snapshots of something different.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August and Everything after…

My birthday was Friday. It was a day well spent. I canned zucchini relish and made more zucchini bread (because we seem to only be able to grown monster zukes now and bread seems to be the best use for them).



Then I made marinara sauce from scratch from tomatoes I picked out of my very own garden. Never has a meal tasted better. I used this simple recipe The Best Marinara Sauce. I sauteed some of our smaller zucchini and tossed them together over pasta. Fabulous. The only better birthday meal is crabcakes, fresh corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes. That’s the menu at my mom’s.


I baked myself my favorite raspberry cake, a redux of last year’s cake, with a few modifications. I dropped the raspberry buttercream in favor of cream cheese frosting, to cut the sweetness a bit. I used a new cake recipe that I really enjoyed. Tom said it tasted like wedding cake, which is basically the only reason I attend weddings (plus the opportunity to dress up), so that was awesome.

The night before my birthday, I made Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, which has also been deemed one of my best efforts in the cheesecake category.

Now Birthday Week has given way to Shark Week and I have a problem. Lots of leftover cream cheese frosting that I need to use sooner rather than later. I don’t know how long this stuff stays good. If it will make it two weeks, then I’ll somehow use it for the church’s peach festival. If not, I’ll come up with something. The scale may hate me, but I’m not letting cream cheese frosting go to waste.