Monday, May 5, 2014

Photo Dump Posting!

I've gone almost the entire month of April without posting, because it's been a crazy few weeks. Let's take a no particular order...

Coby has had no new run-ins with strange dogs, no visible injuries. He has managed to train the dogs quite well to bend to his will.
This cat is next to impossible to photograph. With a flash, he glows. Without it, he disappears. 

The old man...
This is his usual position. It gives him the best ability to snore and pass gas at the same time.

The demonic one...holding onto his tennis ball so the others can't get it.
Did you know that "red-eye reduction" doesn't work in a case like this?
And finally, trouble...
Spoiled rotten. But look at that smile. 

We got a new one of these! Aren't we lucky?

Okay, we're lucky that we could afford it and that RDub is handy enough to put it in without paying someone else, but seriously! We just had the outside of the house painted this week ($$$) and now this (more $$$). This homeowner stuff is seriously cutting into my fun doing things like this...

I've decided owls are my new thing. They make me happy.
I don't know if I'm totally done with the table, but I realized a couple of weeks ago that I don't have spring stuff in my house. All my colors are golden/orange/brown, and I needed to lighten it up. I had the buckets and the napkin rings already, so the burlap, chargers, and flowers are new.

And look what my sweet friend made me!

I drooled over the one she had at her house, and when I found out she'd made it, I begged asked nicely if she's make me one if I got her the stuff. She said she'd show me how to do it myself...nope, I'd rather exploit my friendships whenever possible.

There was also quite a bit of this going on in the yard:

All of the wax myrtles and vitexes had to be trimmed so RDub can even mow without being whacked in the head by branches. Of course, the day after we did this, the yard guys were coming to treat for this pile had to be moved to a corner...a far corner of the yard. We're big planners over here.

There was a somewhat impromptu Happy Hour at our started as a simple invitation to the housesitter for our trip this summer to come meet the animals. Others overheard the conversation, and decided it had been too long since we'd had a gathering. That's how stuff usually happens around here.

So we grilled a few kinds of wings, I made some dip, threw some cheese and crackers on a plate, and called it good. Of course I took no pictures...

But we did enjoy sitting out here around with a fire in the firepit. It was just chilly enough to be pleasant with a fire after dark. I think cameras are banned at Happy Hours because of blackmail material.

The next day was spent in final preparations for a wedding shower for a sweet young couple at church. I had already made the lemon cupcakes I was responsible for, so now it was time for the final stuff.

Actually, the previous Saturday had been the day for these:
When you see those lovely Pinterest pins with wedding cookies,
don't kid yourself that you can just follow instructions and have them look as good as the pros.
Trust me on this. 
I made the vanilla-almond sugar cookies, got them cut out and cooled, then started on the royal icing. I'd not done this in a while and needed to practice my decorating anyway, so I expected to "waste" 6 or 7 cookies, leaving a couple dozen to take to the shower. I worked out the designs I wanted, and finally got the first dozen "keepers" done before I had to leave for a couple of hours. Then I'd finish the last dozen, get them in the freezer, and be all set.

When I got back to the kitchen, I noticed the parchment paper I was working on was folded over the cookies on the counter. When I moved the paper, I realized it was only covering the 6 or so practice cookies...I logically asked RDub what he'd done with the other cookies.

You know that phrase you read in books--"the light dawned"? I have now actually watched the light dawn as the person you're looking at realizes what must have happened. That's right...the counter-surfing husky had helped himself, not to the less-attractive cookies, but to the pretty ones.

The entire process has to be repeated the day before the shower, along with making 10 pounds of butter/cream cheese icing for the cupcakes. Lemon, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes--and not too many left!
We also had a candy table, but my pictures didn't turn out well.
"Purple" candies - M&Ms, jelly bellies, taffy...funny how many kinds of
candy you can get in specific colors.
That's a wrap on April, people! Spring is finally here (and summer keeps knocking at the door), so now it's time for workouts and new recipes.

How'd you spend your April?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Quite the busy weekend.

[I started this post last weekend. Does that give you any indication of how my week has gone?]

To recap a few things from the past 10 days or so...

I did some party food demos for a group:
Pinterest for the win -- homemade mac and cheese made into cupcakes. Pretty tasty.
Tortilla rollups, and of course I forgot to take a picture when the platter was full.
Fruit pizza made on individual sugar cookies

...which actually started the day before with a lot of prep, and was followed by a bit of this:
Visiting with a sweet group of girls and women and discussing hospitality
The rest of the day was spent doing stuff like this:
Basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, and thyme -- planted in something that I hope the dog will leave alone.

Rearranging and cleaning the porch for the season. We bought this set last year and still really love it.
Jumping ahead to the current weekend, we continued the party with a little of this:

I love our baskets - petunias and some other stuff. We usually manage to keep them alive if we pay attention.
We went nuts on the crazy overgrown shrubs - vitex and wax myrtles now allow
RDub to mow the yard without risking losing an eye!
But THIS was the most hilarious part of the yard work. Meet my favorite version of a redneck garden:

We've had the raised bed (the bottom part) from a few years ago, but it was just impossible to maintain. Between the dogs, weeds, rabbits, and birds, anything we grew was quickly trampled or eaten. When we saw this somewhere, it seemed like the perfect solution. RDub got a pallet and 2x4s for free and built the "table." Two bags of dirt, with drain holes, and that's it. I decided to start simply. Dwarf cherry tomatoes on the right, red onions on the left. 

I cannot wait to see if this works! No risk of weeds, and I don't even have to bend over to harvest anything! We're planning to put okra in the bottom bed--and cover it with chicken wire to keep the goofy dogs out. RDub also has watermelon planned for that part--we'll see how that works. 

I got a tiny sunburn on my neck from Friday, and then today I'm bundled into a jacket and wrapped in a blanket because it was "cold" again (50s). I said before that I will make it be spring through sheer will--and I've got the plants to prove it!

Hope you've had a great couple of weekends. Now let's get to the weather that lets us sit outside enjoying all the work.