Sunday, May 29, 2011


Homemade things watch: mobile (by me), teddy bear (by G-Aunt Cecelia), quilt (by Mimi), sweet little baby (by brother and sister-in-law).

Now I think the brother is just taunting me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My brother and his wife welcomed Julia Jean into this world yesterday! I can't wait to meet her in the next couple weeks. (Although I do have to wait, we got a plane ticket for me.)
But she'll be just as precious then (that's how I'm keeping myself from hopping in the car, as difficult as it is) . This is just how it is when you live far away. (I tell myself. I may or may not have cried about this yesterday.)

So, if you go back and read projects on the blog, it is "Julia's mobile," "Julia's room," "Julia's quilt."
Speaking of which, see this for updated pictures of Julia's mobile in Julia's nursery with Julia's quilt that my mom made. :)

I am so proud of Sean and Trisha. They will be amazing parents; they are amazing parents. Trisha just sent me a picture of Sean and Julia sleeping together in the chair and I couldn't help but think how incredibly blessed this little munchkin is. Her life will be filled with love, nurturing, and laughing from a lot of people. She is in for big things.

I love her already and I can't wait to get my hands on her. I'll kiss those cheeks and count her fingers and toes and sniff her head and sing her songs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Window sill experiment

Like ANYONE in my family cares about what I do anymore now that there is another baby to watch blink, grunt, sleep...

I was going to call it a window sill garden, but let's be real here. This is a glorified 5th grade science project I'm working on. That's probably too generous, in reality it is more like 1st or 2nd grade. I provided my own adult supervision with the sharp objects.

But I digress. I'm growing things in the window sill:
One of them is a violet. I will call this the Resurrection Violet. After being neglected for 6 months (I am not exaggerating, ask my mom or Nate) it is blooming. Blooming at least three groups of blooms. It's unbelievable. Nate bought me that pot while we were dating, and I bought the violet a bit later. This pot is magic, seriously, magic.

Since I was feeling cocky, I decided to try starting two violet plants from cuttings from my healthy Resurrection Violet.
Two tiny terrariums, trigger tubers. (I just said that.)
The leaves are still green, so it's not technically dying, right?
Next experiment:
I have often wanted to try growing an avocado tree from a pit. I looked up some instructions and it was pretty simple. You gently poke some toothpicks in the pit, suspend it in a glass, and partially cover the pit with water, pointy side up. Change the water and if funk started to grow on the pic, wipe it off.
So here it is. The stem got super tall, like so.
I had to cut it back, but as you can see it's still growing!
I didn't put it in the window sill for a while because I was afraid the sun might fry it, but it's been growing for a few weeks, so I think we're safe.
Nate kept saying, "You are growing a TREE on our refrigerator."
In ten years we'll be able to harvest avocados.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First fruits

Er, first fruit I should say. I harvested our first onion today! It is curing in the shed right now. These Georgia Sweets sure do smell sweet.
Why yes, I did just show you three pictures of the same onion.

It is a little small, but that's ok. I don't know if we should have planted them further apart of something, but I'm ok with the size. My in-laws' onions were about this size too if I remember correctly.
This is the bed they were in. You can see that we used straw to mulch. You can also see from the lush grass growing between the beds what a huge failure that was. We are planning to pull the straw up and put down more newspapers. If it doesn't rain this afternoon we will get right on that. After Nate finishes building saw horses.

I have really come to love onions. I don't eat them plain like my grandparents, but they really add a lot when cooking. Nate thinks so too, and neither of us consider ourselves "onion people."

I also have some pictures of the teeny-tiny bean pods forming on one of our plants. I really tried to get it in good focus, but I couldn't. I'll just show you one so you can get the idea.
Ok, I'll show you two.

We had really nice, hard rains (not apocalyptic, like April) the last two nights so I think you can see how everything looks so green and lush. It's beautiful.

I have to say that it did rain hard enough for the cat to hide under the bed and shoot us looks that said "Screw YOU!" when we tried to coax him out.

I have a lot of catching up to do on here with the gardening and growing things in general. I'll be honest and tell you that there were a couple weeks where I didn't want to share what was going on because there was this time-period with gardening (I am 100% sure that it's not just one time period) where I was afraid that nothing was going to happen. So, I didn't share any pictures, and to be honest I didn't take all that many. It was just a lot of waiting. But now things are growing and blossoms and new shoots are forming. It is all very exciting. We have 1 billion tomato plants that I'm sure will produce fruit all at the same time. Then I will need to learn to can very quickly.

I will have lots to show you in the next few days with things growing both inside and out. And by inside and out I mean the house. There are no ultrasounds from this household.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Help

He does laundry.

He hangs laundry.

He brings home the bacon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Things I have learned from the mothers in my life (Nanny, Grandmother, Mom and Mom in law) in no particular order:
  • People like it when you pay attention to them.
  • Even if things are awful, you'll probably feel a bit better if you fix yourself up for the day (hair, make-up, etc.).
  • Speak up, because what if no one else does either?
  • Sometimes you serve others when they are in your home, sometimes you give them a job to do. Either one is fine, but use both options. Letting others help you is a different kind of hospitality.
  • Jesus loves me and everyone else.
  • It's much better to know you have forgiven than to wish you had.
  • You can't un-say anything, especially in an argument.
  • Even if you've told someone how much you love them or are proud of them, it can't hurt (too much) to do it again.
  • When people come to you for advice. The very first thing you should do is listen.
  • It's much better to think you have given too much than to wish you had given more.
  • When you do offer advice, offer it humbly and respectfully.
  • One of the loveliest things in a family is a husband and wife who respect each other when everyone is watching and when no one is watching.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The house cookie

We found it people. If you come here and I make you cookies, these will be it. If you live near here and spend time in the hospital and I bring you cookies, it'll be these. If you ask me the quickest way for me to make a million dollars, I'll tell you I would sell these cookies. Not kidding. They are outrageously delicious. They are good enough to justify the sheer extravagance of two blog posts in one day. Our niece would say they are "a delicious surprise!" or "a taste explosion in my mouth!" She would be right.
I made chocolate chip cookies the other night because we had all the ingredients, and why not? I made them according to the Joy cookbook, which usually treats me so well, but they flattened right out, they were kind of papery and crispy on the ends. They tasted good, but I could never take them anywhere. They would be a shame to our family.
It has been bothering me all week, so I decided to give it another try, but not before googling "why are my chocolate chip cookies flat?" I didn't follow any of the advice there. Instead I went to the Cook's Illustrated site (remember the amazing magazine my awesome inlaws got us?) and found this recipe.
Perfect indeed.
You brown the butter then mix in the sugar and egg. So you sort of make caramel sauce, then mix it in with the flour and chocolate chips. The dough has a candy-ish texture to it.
I have to admit. This is considerably more labor intensive than any other chocolate cookie I've made, but to me it was worth it. If you have a babe on your hip and kiddos tearing up your house, this may not be the one for you. Unless one of those kids is the next Julia Child or something (in which case, why are you ever in the kitchen?).

I peeked in the oven and said to Nate, "I can't believe I made a cookie that looks like that!"
He took a bite and said, "Wow. This is the house cookie."
Stop what you're doing and make them.

Ok, I'm off to find new ways to wage war against ants. I'm still going to win.

What a difference a day makes; Turf wars

It's been more than a day, but things are starting to get back to normal around here. One of the roads that one might take to get to our house is completely flooded. I was amazed by it so I took a picture. Don't worry, a quick and easy detour is all we needed to get around, but this is what it looks like.

Garden trouble:
I planted green beans and tomatoes in the garden last week and I found a few places where we had fire ants. We have declared war and we are going to kill them. I avoided planting close to the mounds so we haven't had any plant loss yet. (If we did have plant loss from these plants, we have more seedlings that we would probably toss anyways. We'll hang on to them to see what happens.)
So far we have tried two insecticide-free remedies. Here is the second one. Nate pulled up the weed fabric and dug up the nest. The ultimate goal when exterminating a nest is to get the queen, and eliminate her (I have never spoken in such a militaristic manner about anything). We aren't sure if we did that, but he dug until he quit seeing larva.
I'll pause for you to gag a bit. Or say your "Blah"s and "Blech"s.
Are you ok now?
So anyways. He dug until he didn't see any more of those. What he dug he put in these buckets, which were then filled with soapy water in order to drown the ants quickly (see? I've never said words like this before). This morning they had burrowed into that hole again, but I think we'll try soaking it with scalding water again and hope that kills a lot of them off.
See? It's not all rainbows and sunshine around here.