Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bloomin' Beauties

Can I just say I am so tickled at how nice my garden looks right now.  It usually looks pretty good this time of year, and by mid to late summer it seems to all go to . . . well, you know . . . 

By that time, 'round here, the heat and humidity, lack of rain, or in some years too much rain, and my just not being able to stand the late summer heat to weed, water and generally care for the plants/flowers, makes my garden look just darn nasty.

I have been spending a bit more time than normal this spring trying to get the perennial garden in good shape.  And I think it's paying off.  I'm really hoping I can keep it up and have it look good all year long.  At least mostly weed free and hydrated!

My most favorite flower in the whole wide world is blooming now. Peonies.  Oh, I love their fragrance, their shape, even the way their petals feel, all silky and smooth.  Actually, they're starting to wind down their blooming a little.  I wish they bloomed just a little longer.  

I try to really appreciate them when they are blooming by stopping by their bushes and taking in nice long sniffs, and cutting some to bring inside.  

They're even gorgeous before the blooms pop open!

One of the best bangs for your gardening buck below . . .

 Knockout Roses.

Above is the view of the perennial garden from the pond area next to our deck, with just a corner of the vege/cutting garden visible.  That's what I worked on this past weekend - getting my veges planted. Can't wait for garden fresh tomatoes!

The view from above is what I get to see when I'm sitting on the couch in the family room.  I love this view best of all.  It really shows off all that's blooming now.  Pretty soon, I'll have Rudbekia, or Black-Eyed Susans, Coreopsis, and Stella D'Oro lilies blooming.  

It's definitely a challenge to make sure there's at least a few things blooming in the garden all season long. But, I would have to say, that my spring/early summer bloomers are my favorite!

I'm super-excited to be sharing my garden for the first time this season at
Ms. Jean's linky party, Bloomin' Tuesday
Tracie from Fishtail Cottage's
Cottage Garden Party

Be sure to pop over at both blogs and check out some other great gardens.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

DIY Ice Cream Cake

Yesterday was a special day here in our family.

It was Son No. 3's birthday!  He turned 14.  

How on earth did that happen???  
Time is flying by waayyy too fast.

For his special day, I decided to try a new - new to me - cake recipe.  He loves ice cream cake.  And frankly, they can be expensive and I'm personally not always fan.  For me, they tend to be too much ice cream and not enough cake.

Well, while perusing through some back issues of my Kraft Foods and Family magazines, a recipe caught my attention.  An ice cream cake made from ice cream sandwiches.  
It looked and sounded super easy.
I decided to give it a try.

Ice cream sandwiches, Oreo cookies, instant pudding, ice cream chocolate fudge topping and Cool Whip. Easy to find ingredients, and ingredients that have so many variations of themselves, one can create an ice cream cake to their liking. 

I stuck with the basics, for the exception of choosing chocolate and vanilla mixed ice cream sandwiches, and low fat and/or low sugar in as many of the components as I could find.  And, as you can see from the photos, I bought all store brand ingredients and they all worked out just fine.

I'm please to say this cake was a huge success!  Very easy to assemble, although, as you can imagine, you have to work pretty quickly so the sandwiches don't start melting too much.  

And it was extremely tasty!  Better then any ice cream cake I've ever purchased.  REALLY!!!

Below I've listed the ingredients and instructions, but if you'd like to view the info with video online, 
go here to Kraft's website.


1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed

1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed and divided (I bought two and used part of the second tub when frosting the finished cake.)

1 pkg (3.9 oz) Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding

8 Oreo Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)

12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches


Pour fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.
Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long sheet of foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining COOL WHIP. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.
Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother kept a garden,
a garden of the heart.

She planted all the good things
that gave my life it's start.

She turned me to the sunshine
and encouraged me to dream.

Fostering and nurturing
the seeds of self-esteem...

And when the winds and rain came,
she protected me enough--

But not too much because she knew
I'd need to stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example
always taught me right from wrong--

Markers for my pathway
that will last a lifetime long.

I am my Mother's garden.
I am her legacy.

And I hope today she feels the love
reflected back from me.

Author Unknown

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who "mother" in any way.  
Whether it be to your own children, family members, 
siblings, nieces, nephews, godchildren, friend's children, etc. 

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Saturday, May 12, 2012


Has it really been over 2 weeks since I last posted?  Wish I could say it was because I've been mad busy getting all sorts of things done around here, but I can not.

I have gotten a few things done in the way of some small changes on a few of my walls.   Nothing super-major.  Just a bit of rearranging here and there.

It's funny how I'm always changing table top vignettes all over the place to reflect the seasons, my mood, whatever.  But I almost never change anything on the walls.  And I'm amazed at how so many of my favorite bloggers do that - change their wall vignettes often

I guess, for me, it's the thought of "gotta fill those holes, then touch up with paint", and it just seems like extra work.

Well, I couldn't take it any more!  I've been realizing that for, well, as long as I can remember, I've had the same things, in the same spots on my walls in the family room.  

So, I finally made some changes.  Nothing wowing or jaw dropping, but change just the same.  And change is good, right?

The first place I changed was the wall above the couch.  Gone are the mirror, bird prints and little shelf thingy holding a potted plant that have been there for, I bet, a dozen or more years!

I shopped my bedroom for the shelf.  Gave it and the Family Rules sign a coat of glaze to tone down the bright white a bit.

I'm loving the Family Rules sign, by the way.

An inexpensive Walmart find.  Eleven bucks!

A couple $3 lanterns picked up at Lowes, and real abandoned bird's nest from last year.

Nothing too exciting, but certainly different then what was there before.  I'm sure I'll probably be changing the shelf a lot.  Which is better then having to fill holes and touch up with paint ever so often!

Now, what I'm really excited about are my new herb boxes below.

When I saw them in Country Living's Bargain issue, I immediately ran to the computer and ordered them from Farmhouse Wares.  Love their stuff!

Took me a couple weeks to get them up on the wall after they arrived.  I had to find the right spot for them.  I'm hoping to pick up a few faux herb plants to fill them.  But for now, I can live with what I stuck in them.

I changed a few other things that really were much less exciting then what I've shared in this post.  All in all, I'm happy with the changes.  Even if some of the changes were moving things to different walls.
As I mentioned earlier, change is good!

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