Friday, July 23, 2010

A Few Giveaways To Share

Found this great giveaway and blog from Terrye French and painting friends. I just love her patterns and have an addiction to collecting them! LOL! Anyway, this sweet prim pillow is being generously offered as a giveaway for a lucky blog follower. Be sure to stop by Paintingwithfriends blog and enter but hurry as the deadline is July 31st.

This fantastic prim gathering is being given by Ronda at TheCraftyCrow blog. Be sure to stop by to get your entry in as the deadline is July 31st. Also be sure to check out her post about her sweet little kittens that she has so loving cared for the last six weeks...what cuties they are!

And last but not least be sure to stop by Harvest Moon Primitives blog to check out the great prim apples and cat she is giving away. Entry deadline there is August 20th.

Gotta love the talent and creativity of all these ladies. Kudos to you all!

Hope everyone is staying cool and safe in the hot weather.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Love You To The Moon & Back Again....

Each year July brings not one special day but two for my hubby and myself. We got married 25 years ago, not once but twice! Yep, he loves me that much! LOL! I've teased the hubby over the years that he would have to divorce me twice, so he'd better think twice! LOL!

Really the double wedding days had more to do with geographical locations of our parents. Both sets of our parents have long since been divorced and have moved to different parts of the country. So we got married on the 12th in Baltimore, with my mother and mother-in-law in attendance, then we got married on the 21st in Las Vegas, with my father and father-in-law in attendance. The trip to Vegas also double as a honeymoon.

Last night we got to go out to celebrate our anniversary. We went to dinner at a local favorite restuarant, Silver Spring Mining Co. They have pretty good food at a reasonable price. One of their specialties is a soft pretzel covered with crab, then melted cheese. Oh it delish! I only ate 1/3 of the crab covered pretzel and brought the rest home to the share with the boys. The steak I had was perfect, the white cheddar mashed potatoes were really good too. The hubby went for a bison burger and ate every crumb on his plate. He also helped me to eat my ceasar salad that came with my meal. For dessert, the hubby had a piece of apple pie drizzled with carmel sauce and topped with whipped cream. I had a few bites, but after all that I ate, who had room left, well I guess the hubby did as he ate the rest of the pie. Geez, this is starting to sound like a food critique! LOL!

We stopped by Wegmans to pick up milk on the way home...see, reality checks back in after a few short hours away! Anyway, it was an enjoyable dinner out, just the two of us. Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

All I Seem To Do Is Cook....

With 3 boys at home and a husband, I seem to be the only cook in the house. If they boil water to make something for themselves I'm lucky!

Anyway, it seems like at least once a week, I have to make some snacks for them to devour! The hubby is real spoiled as he doesn't really like packaged snacks and I usually make something to fill his sweet tooth. I guess in his defense I should also tell you that he has some food allergies, so most times it's just easier to cook from scratch, then to have to figure out if something is ok for him to eat or not.

Anyway, last week I whipped up some black bottoms. They didn't last long. Looked like a swarm of locust visited us as there wasn't a crumb left after 2 days. Thought I would share the recipe with you all. It's pretty easy and although it does have a boxed cake mix, I've been making these for so long and the hubby has been eating them, we are safe in regards to his food allergies.

Black Bottoms Bake 350 degrees

1 devils food boxed cake mix
8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 c sugar
6 oz mini chocolate chip morsels

Mix cake according to package directions. Set aside. Beat softened cream cheese, egg and sugar together. Stir in chocolate morsels. Fill cupcake pans 1/2 full of cake mix. Drop a dollop of filling mix into the cener of cupcake. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

OFG Kitchen Swap

The group that I belong to on etsy, Old Farmhouse Gathering, had a kitchen swap. The requirements were to include a vintage kitchen utensil, 3 recipes, and a small handmade or bought item.

I was paired up with Julie from Primcountrycreations . Julie sent the cutest little clay sheep ornie, along with a frosty little snowman ornie also made of clay. Julie also sent a vintage wire whisk spoon. I already have plans for how to decorte this little beauty. Oh and the 3 yummy sounding recipes. I can't wait to try the fruit dip one.

I sent to press time, her package was still in transit, a small wood sign that said "Julie's Kitchen" on it. A set of 3 canning jar lid magnets that have a watermelon body chicken on them. I use to paint this chicken all the time and they were always a big seller for me. I think the vintage kitchen tool that I sent was a melon ball maker, but not quite for sure but it's cool and different. I also shared 3 recipes for baked goods...all of them are my favorites.

I have to thank Brenda of therustythimble for putting this swap together. She does a super job of thinking up cool themes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My First Car...

Well really it's a truck! My middle son Josh bought his first vehicle today.

He saved and saved and saved some more til he had a nice nest egg. If you ask him he'll tell you it felt like forever saving!

If you had asked me last week I would have told you this deal was tenuous at best, but things worked out for him. So after 2 trips to Lancaster, the first to look at the truck, the second to pay for it and pick up the title, today was the payoff.

It started early this morning with an 9 am wake up call. Anyone that has a teen or a twenty yr old knows that 9 am on a summer day is just too early....3 hours to early to be exact!

After the 1/2hr. drive to the Department of Motor Vehicles and then the hour wait to get the title transferred and new tags, we were on our way to Lancaster again to pick up his truck.

Doesn't he look so proud? When he got home he had to bring his brothers out to show off his truck and of course as brothers do, they started goofing around. There are a few minor things to fix on the truck, but so far we haven't found anything major. One nice thing about this truck was it just went through PA inspection 2 months ago, so there shouldn't be too many unknown surprises for him when he takes it to get inspected here....Now to just teach him to drive!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Towson Farmers Market

On Thursdays, our local Chamber of Commerce sponsor Towson Farmer's Market from 10:45-3:00 pm on one of our local downtown streets. Living in a college town, which also happens to be the county seat, downtown Towson is a beehive of activity during the day. Towson's Farmers Market is just one of many that are scattered around our county bringing local farm fresh produce to the residents.

All the participants are suppose to have grown the produce that they offer for sale at the market. Most comply but there are a few that don't, trying to pass off produce that they picked up at the local wholesale foods distributors. Savvy buyers know the difference and buy accordingly. This and the picture at the top are from one of my favorite vendors at the market. That's Jennifer, Ian's wife. Ian is the owner of the farm, Richfield Farm located in Manchester, MD. Isn't she just adorable? Jennifer and Ian just got married at the end of last year. And Jennifer is just the sweetest and so have been the cantalopes that we have bought from their stand. Last week we bought 6 nice size cantalopes on Thursday and by Monday there wasn't a slice left...that's how good they were!

We bought 6 more this week along with a dozen ears of corn, which was also delicious. I can't wait til I get home to have the boys husk the corn and steam it up in the big old pot. Yummo. I could make a meal out of farm fresh steamed corn. Jennifer said that they don't currently have a website but it's in the works, so for now, you'll have to find them at the farmers market in Towson.

The hubby found another local farm to try some of their corn. I don't recall them being at the farmers market last year or having bought from them, so we decided to give them a try. We bought 1/2 dozen ears of corn and boy were they yummy! So we will add Pahl's Farm to the list of vendors to buy from. They also have their own farmstand at their farm located in North Western Baltimore County.

Another favorite vendor is one of the local orchards...Reids Orchard. They are located in Orrtanna, PA, which isn't too far over the MD/PA line, otherwise know as the Mason-Dixon line. We bought 3 different types of plums this week from Reids. Hope they are as good as last weeks little Methly plums that we purchased. They were super sweet and tasted just like candy.

One of the nice things about going to the farmers market to get my produce, is that the vendors are some of the nicest people. The hubby and I are committed to supporting local farmers/growers who produce quality fruits and vegetables. Buying local not only ensures freshness, it cuts down on the carbon footprint of transporting produce over long distances, like most large supermarkets tend to do.

Although, I will give credit to some of our local supermarkets who are working out contracts with local growers to get local produce.

Another favorite vendor of ours is Wilson Mill Orchard, located in Darlington, MD. We have gotten some of the sweetest peaches from their stand. While Wilson's doesn't have a website to track them down, one of the other local venues they will be at is Darlington Apple Festival, held the 1st Saturday in October. Their location there is at the entrance to the school grounds and they will have different varities of apples for sale. I'll be sure to stop buy and pick up some apples to eat when I set up at the apple festival selling my handpainted wares.

We also again this year are growing some of our own vegetables. As you can see the beets and carrots, need to have some weeding done. I hope to get to it tomorrow if the weather cooperates. It's either too stinking hot and humid to do much outside or it's pouring down rain....I know I said I wouldn't complain about the rain...just sayin'

The boys have done all the work again this year on the garden. The hubby and son are trying a growing experiment with the tomatoes. They are trellising them up a tubular piece of conduit pipe, cutting off the side shoots, making one main stem. The tomatoes are setting in clusters and sort of remind me of a garlic clove braid.

The cucumber plant is a monster again this year. We planted a variety called 'diva'. No need for pollination nor for more than one sex of flowers to set fruit. We have gotten a bunch of cucumbers so far and have given away quite a few to the neighbors already.

We planted these broccoli plants early this spring and have had quite a bit of broccoli from them already. They keep producing little florets through the summer and hopefully they will make it into the fall and keep producing. They have really greened up since we have gotten some rain recently. Amazing what all those little drops do for plants...they seem to grow overnight.

Our beans got a later start this year than last. The boys decided to add another layer to the raised beds which then required hauling additional soil in to fill the beds. The first truckload filled the first bed and half of the second. Before we could go down to get more dirt, my front perennial bed had to be constructed so it would make the trip and time worth the effort. We are currently putting in the last raised bed that we can in the backyard and need to get dirt for that one. It's going to be a mulit-tiered bed, that is in the sunniest part of our yard. I can't wait for it to be filled so the rest of the veggies can go in....most likely some fall crop ones at this point.

I think after the last bed is in we will be all maxed out in the backyard....maybe the hubby will get all 6 acres we own in the country planted....nah! It will never happen! Well maybe....I keep after him to plant some sweet annie so I can sell it over the internet and some small bottle gourds too....maybe some day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Few Giveaways To Share

Thought I'd share a few giveaways I found with you. The first is from a positively prim blog... Primitives From The Attic.
It's a great handmade pumpkin and crow center piece made by Wendy. Hurry on over as there are just a few days left to enter. Drawing is July 14th.

Next up is a cute gingerbread made by Brenda at The Rusty Thimble Brenda is always so generous with her giveaways. She has 2 a month and to get all the entry info on them make sure to follow Brenda's blog. Hurry as her giveaway is on July 15th.

And the last giveaway I found sounds good enough to eat. A rootbeer scented soy candle is being given away over at Briar Ridge Farmhouse. This giveaway makes me long for a trip to an A&W Drivethru but alas we do not have any closeby. Guess a trip to the store will have to suffice...note to self, get A&W and vanilla ice cream! This giveaways drawing is August 1st so hurry on over and sign up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Old Man Is Snoring!


Sorry, I couldn't resist! The hubby decided he was loving the rain so much he'd take a nap on the couch! Love how men can fall asleep at the drop of a hat! As you can see he thought to cover up so he could enjoy his nap longer.

All I can say is it's about time! We haven't had rain in forever! It's so nice to see, and I'm sure my thirsty plants and grass will be glad for a little drink. It's so nice not to have to spend the 2 hours or so watering in the morning. This is one of my newest tea roses. It's called 'Fragrant Cloud' and boy does it live up to it's name. We haven't planted it yet, as it's suppose to go into part 2 of my new perennial bed.
We finally purchased the lace leaf Japanese Maple that will gracefully drape itself over the pond in my perennial bed. It's a real beauty and looks so much at home there. It will have 2 waterfalls, one on either side of it, when the whole project is finished. I'm so excited because we are finally in the home stretch on this part of the project.
And no trip do I make to a garden center that I don't seem to come home with still another echinecea! LOL! My son says I'm a "plant junkie"! I guess I could have worse vices. This echy is called 'Magnus' and it has a fragrant smell to it. Love plants that do double duty. It is much like it's 'Purpurea' cousins but the cone head seems to be much larger and fuller.

Isn't this Rudbeckia just gorgeous? Such vidid colors. It's called 'Autumn Colors' and I got it on my second visit to The Perennial Farm. I do have the normal or more common 'Goldstrum' but when picking perennials I wanted some that were familiar but with a twist.

Here's another echinacea. This one is called 'Pink Double Delight'. It's a double blossom one, that is suppose to be visually artistic once it's established. I love that the cone head is much different than my other echy's. In fact, I have 2 others that are similiar, one called 'Milkshake and the other 'Hot Papaya'. These 2 haven't bloomed yet, but I will share the pictures once they have.

And now back to the reason for my dead grass and lack of rain...It's been some time since we had an appreciable rain. According to the local weather service we are 4" down for the year so far. Couple the no rain with the 90+ weather for over 2 weeks.... UGH! I'm planning on replacing the dead grass, not because it's browned out, but because there are too many weeds in it to control without using herbicides. On the the list of next projects.

Even when you water every day some things just still succumb to the sun. A few of my annual impatiens won't make it, but that's ok as I have some replacements for them. Overall my perennials have survived. I know we longed for the lazy days of summer when we were digging out of the 48+ inches of snow in January, but do we have to go from one extreme to the other?

Oh and in case you are wondering why this post is finding it's way to my blog on a bright and sunny day, I had it 99% done when our internet service went out again, seems like our internet service doesn't like the heat either. We have had intermittent to no service the last few days....I guess this too shall pass.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Turning 20 Today! Oh My! Where Did The Time Go?

From the day you were first born, we knew you were going to be something special. That day was like a lot of summer days hot and humid, but they were calling for terrible t-storms. Well they came and then some. In fact, a mini tornado came through Sparks Valley that day at almost the exact time that you were born, shearing off the tops of 70 year old pine trees that lined our driveway, tossing them about like they were tinker toys.
Luckily the old farmhouse we lived in escaped damage. We were cleaning up down trees for weeks after that storm. I don't think you were too happy on your homecoming though as you can see, you were howling loudly as your big brother Sean, got to hold you for the first time. God, he loved you then and still does very much so now. For awhile he got to be the big brother. The one who protected you.
At one you learned to walk at the same time you learned to play baseball. You would put the ball on the tee, hit it with the bat and most times, go crawling off after it, only to come back and do it again...until the day you forgot, and walked, toddling after the ball you just hit. You took your first steps playing a game you have come to love.

As you grew, so did your passions. You loved to go fishing. You would even bait the hook yourself as I refused to do it for you. You would pester me or dad to take you to the Gunpowder or anywhere there was water to fish. I remember a boyscout summer camp that you attended and you received your merit badge for fishing. Mr. Wetzleberger said you not only caught the one fish as it was required, but you caught 37, the most that had ever been caught for a merit badge.
As you grew so did our family. Your little brother Ian was born. Now you had a big brother and a little brother...while you were the middle child, you never acted like one...well I take that back, you did at times. But at other times you acted like the older brother, protecting your 2 brothers, Sean and Ian.
You were my daredevil child. I'd find you climbing the tree in the backyard, hanging there by the rope that we had the baseball hanging from. You'd climb the swingset we had to the very top. The piles of plowed snow higher than the fence. You did some pretty crazy things. In second grade you broke your leg. Not just a simple break, no, but a major one. Where we lived we had a dusting, well 3" of snow, and you were excited. You stayed out sledding all day til almost dark. That's when I went to call you. You had just gone down the hill again and that's when it happened. You were so brave that day. Explaining to the doctors how you broke your leg. They couldn't figure it out as the area where the hospital was, there was barely a dusting. You had that cast on your leg for 10 weeks.
That spring you were ready for baseball again. You lived, ate and slept baseball. You were always out in the yard, hitting the ball, having a catch with the bounceback or your dad. Your dad was able to coach your team, just as his dad had done with him.

We did cubscouts since you were in first grade. It was right up your alley. Camping, hiking, fishing, all the things that boys love to do. We even managed to win your dens 1st place trophy in the Pinewood derby and 2nd overall in the pack. Of course that was your last year. It took us 5 years to get it right!

You continued to play baseball. That was the one constant in your life. The year you were 11, you made the travel team made up of 12 yr olds...only 11 yr old on the team. Mr. Chris coached you well expanding on your skills, encouraging, supporting and guiding you.

You became a great catcher playing first for your father, then later in travel and down the road in high school. In your junior year, it was amazing that you got named as the only junior to the all county team. Dad and I were very proud of you. Too bad that you hurt your shoulder in your senior year of high school. We would have loved to watched you play in college but it wasn't meant to be.

As you grew so did your role of protector for your brothers. You would never let anyone say a unkind word about your brother, Sean. At times almost coming to blows. You grew into his protector.

You finally made Eagle Scout with days to spare. Your father and I were very proud of your accomplishment. To stay in scouts from 1st grade through 12th and to finish when less than 2% do, that is a testament to your strength, dedication and determination.

You have since graduated high school and have gone on to college. In the fall you will be in your third year of college and most days we can find you either out in the backyard sunbathing, playing video games and watching movies, texting or working but mostly texting and sometimes texting while working! Oh or chasing the many girls that are your friends. So son, as we celebrate on your 20th birthday, and you are off watching the Hereford parade and fireworks, maybe we'll even save you a piece of birthday cake. Happy Birthday Josh!