If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Projects, Projects, Projects!

This past few days have found me doing all I can to cram a few more projects into my last free days.  I cannot reveal everything that I have been working on but here is a little preview...

I'll share more tomorrow!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Growing Up

Our oldest granddaughter is getting taller and taller and growing up!  Today is her birthday and she is a big old seven...
Happy Birthday, Lillie!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Puttin' Up Produce

It's that time of year again!  Produce is ripe and it is time to can and freeze it so that we can have delicious foods all year long.

My brother-in-law, Jim, went to the vegetable auction again like he did last year.  You can read about that HERE and HERE.  So, I have been canning and freezing like we have in the past.  You can read about that HERE.

This time my kitchen has been full of yellow squash, zucchini, onions, and cucumbers (the pepper is from the local grocery store).  So, I have been making Sweet Pickle Relish today.  Lots of chopping!
Chopped Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper
Chopped Onion

I used THIS recipe and made eight pints and nine half-pints.
The jar lids are popping to seal as I am typing this in!

We now have a bushel and a half of yellow squash blanched and in bags, frozen in the freezer, a bushel of zucchini in bags, frozen in the freezer as well.  This time I grated some of the zucchini up and froze it raw in hopes that I can use it for Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon Glaze.  I also sliced some and put it up raw in hopes that I can use it for Zucchini Gratin.
Isn't relish a beautiful sight?

My pantry and freezer are full, my floor is sticky, and I am pooped!  Sweeping and mopping will have to wait till tomorrow..

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fireworks Spectacular!

Every year Stephen, Mike's son, and his wife, Bonnie, invite friends and family to come to their house for a Fireworks Spectacular evening.  This year really seemed to top all the others I have attended.

The food was delicious!  They had Bar-B-Q and Mike grilled big, fat, Ballpark Franks.  Folks brought side dishes and desserts and we all chowed down.

Then, just after dark, Stephen and his crew crept up the hill.  We all drug our chairs out from under the shed overhang of the man-cave barn and sat in the middle of the driveway.

Then, with the first explosion, we all became silent and enjoyed the show.  HERE is a link to part of what our friend, Tammy recorded with her phone.

We came down the hill to home at about one o'clock in the morning on Sunday.  It was a beautiful way to wrap up a holiday!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Romantic Dinner

Knowing that my sweet hubs was working hard on Independence Day, I prepared a delectable, romantic, patriotic dinner.

We had my copycat version of Outback Steakhouse's Alice Springs Chicken, The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes, and a tossed salad.  Then, we had Lemon Zucchini Bread for dessert.

The thing is, the romantic, patriotic dinner was postponed...

I wound up eating at around 7:45 after I gave up on him getting home and Mike ate when he got home at around nine o'clock.  Not so romantic.

We do plan to celebrate together and even dine together tonight while watching Stephen and Bonnie's fireworks.  Ahh...smiles!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day Celebration and Zucchinis

Well, the nation's birthday celebration sloshed by me.  Mike had to work.  Yuck!

He said, "Maybe if we work on July 4 we can have off Saturday AND Sunday."

I paused only briefly to think about that.  Don't you think something is wrong if he has to work on a national holiday in order to have two days off that he is supposed to have off anyway?

My gripe session about that is over but I would like to have caused a few fireworks with the powers that be over there at the warehouse!

Anyway, yesterday was a sloshy, mushy, rainy day here at the ole homestead.  So, Toby and I spent the day in the kitchen.

Yesterday we had put all of that bushel of yellow squash in the freezer.  Lots of slicing, blanching, chilling, and bagging going on over here.
This was only the first batch...

Then, today, we (meaning I) began work on the bushel of zucchini.  I sliced up some zucchini and dipped it into buttermilk and tossed it into a cornmeal mixture and laid the slices out on a wax paper/cookie sheet.  You can see a tutorial HERE.

I also made Lemon Zucchini Bread using a recipe by NancyCreative.  It is absolutely divine!

I tried another zucchini bread recipe that my friend Joann G gave me.  It is delicious and she says it freezes well.  You can see that recipe HERE.

I pinned a couple more recipes on my Recipes to Try Pinterest Board that I'm going to give a try.

On another note, Bridgette and family have gone on V-cation and Lillie and Lydia sported their 'zucchinis' (really it was a tankini but guess what was a more familiar term...)  today and went to the hotel pool!

Finally, when Mike got home from work at about eight-thirty, he told me to look out front to see what was going on and this is what I saw:
Yep, there was a roadblock set up right in front of our house!

Stephen and Bonnie fired off a couple of fireworks up on the hill - a warm-up for Saturday, I guess.

Here is what Toby did all day:
Then, when folks started shooting fireworks all around us, he had to look out the window of the back doors and give a few woofs!

Hope your day was exciting and festive.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Decorating for the holidays

I remember when I was a bit more youthful than I am now.  I decorated elaborately for every holiday.  The inside of our house would showcase what the holiday season might be - New Year's Eve, Ground Hog Day, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter...you name it and I had home decor.  This extended to the entry doors - both front and back - and to the lawn with flags and to the mailbox with some sort of decor.

Somehow, life got faster-paced or, and this is more likely, I got a lot slower-paced.  The all-out decorating isn't quite so popular for me these days.  However, this year I did decorate a bit for the Independence Day.  I decorated the kitchen fireplace.

I went all out.

It started when I remembered that I had some of those little inexpensive flags that come about six to a pack from the craft store and I began searching for them.

I didn't find them but I did find the plaque I made a couple of years ago that was inspired by Suzanne over at Just Another Hang Up and her Plaque Attacks.  These make quick and easy hand-crafted, personalized gifts to give to folks that are quick and simple to do.  Here is one I did for myself:

I just swapped out the one that usually sits there describing our household for this patriotic one.  It looks really festive there with the blue Ball jars and the old red tea kettle that belonged to one of Mike's relatives doesn't it?

It says everything I can think of to commemorate Independence Day.

I have squash to freeze and cucumbers to chop in the making of sweet pickle relish.  Mike is working.  So, we will be celebrating with the children on Saturday up on the hill when Bonnie's Barnyard rolls out their Fireworks Extravaganza.  Hope the day is a little different than it is today.  Here is what it looks like today:
Wet, wet, wet!

The rain gauge says we have already gotten over two inches today and it is still falling steadily.

Hope you have a happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 1, 2013

How do they do that?

Nope.  This isn't a post about that TV program that shows and explains how things are made.  It is truly a question.

You see, Mike recently got a new phone.

It is a smart phone.

That is a big deal.

You see, this is the kind of phone that he used for years.

Oh, not the same phone year after year.  No, that wasn't the way it was at all.

You see, he is rather rough on phones and has used no less than five or six during the three years we have been married.

How do they do that?

And each of these phones has been almost exactly like the other.  A flip phone that he is familiar with and can quickly snap open and talk on or take a quick little photo of a tomato and send it to Bryan as a taunting text message or something like that.  One of these phones...

A couple of them were silver colored.  One of them was orange.  The one shown above is a manly, rough-and-tough black.  And he likes to carry it clipped to his belt in a nice leather case.  Again, something manly and rough-and-tough looking.

Well, a few months back, half the screen on his phone went black somehow.

How do they do that?

You see, this isn't the first time he has had a phone to just mysteriously develop some quirky problem like that.  Thus, several phones over a short three-year period.  Well, the quickest, most economical fix was for him to use the phone I had set aside a couple of years ago when I upgraded to a smart phone.  He carried it even though Stephen told him it was a 'sissy-phone.'

He just slid it into a new (to accommodate the different size) manly leather and camouflage thingy that clipped onto his belt and went on about his business.  Since this phone would slide open and reveal a keyboard, his text messages moved from pictures of tomatoes to pictures of tomatoes with a few quickly keyed words in the taunting text messages.

Then, somehow this phone started having issues.  He could only hear an incoming call if it was set to speaker.  Another phone biting the dust.

How do they do that?

Plus, when Mike acquired an email account and joined the twenty-first century entered the world-wide-web, he needed to move up to a smart phone.  Look out techies!

You see, Verizon was offering specials on iPhone 4 models.  It was free!  So, that was the deal for us.  Of course, that also meant we had to add an upgrade to our plan which accommodates a smart phone.  That also meant we had to increase our data package to accommodate web use.  So, was the free phone really free?

How do they do that?

Of course, Mike also needed a new case for this smart phone because those models have a reputation for being a bit more fragile than his former flip phones.  So, after an Amazon browse and about forty dollars and three days later, he had a new Otter Box and belt clip for his phone.

How do they do that?

The case is a manly orange and camouflage and black and tough.  He has bragged about dropping it (accidentally, of course) on the concrete floor of the warehouse right beside his lift truck and it bounced but didn't break.  Yet, after only a month, I get a call asking me to track down a new clip for his manly phone and case because somehow his has broken.  Yes, this tough accessory that came to us in a package labeled 'the defender' has been broken somehow.

How do they do that?

Like any good wife does for her man, I searched online and found a new clip for an inexpensive price and ordered it.  Plus, I stumbled across astutely discovered a bargain on a recent jaunt to the local Goodwill!  I found a clip (which was a story for another day) just like the one which had come in the mail (for $6 plus free shipping - bargain!) at the local Goodwill for $2.  What a deal!  So, you see, now we have a back-up just in case the manly phone clip thingy somehow gets broken.

How do they do that?