I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I have this dream where I'm this fantastic gardener, and I get "Yard of the Month" award from our town newspaper (yes, that's a real thing), and that one day it grows into this amazing space and Southern Living is calling me asking to send a scout because they are considering me for a feature in an upcoming issue.

You're laughing right now if you have ever been to my house though, because 'sad', 'dying of thirst', and 'choked by weeds' are pretty accurate descriptions of my current garden state.

Cut to two years ago, and you'll see a scene of me sitting on my couch, reading articles about easy to grow plants and flowers when I see this magnificent picture of hydrangeas highlighted at the bottom. You know the ones

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Image Via: Southern Living

So I start reading all about how they are just the quintessential southern flower.

I'm sold.

Then I read more.

They require moist soil, amended with lots of organic matter. *Red Flag*

They do best when planted on the North side of your house *Red Flag*

They require sun to bloom, but not too much sun or they'll wilt. *Red Flag*

These plants are easy to care for once established *BIG Red Flag*

So naturally, french 'Nikko Blue' hydrangeas, the hardest to grow and care for, were my number one choice for the flower bed directly in front of our house

After 2 years, here is what they look like today
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Here is a better close-up view of the little nugget in the middle

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So today during nap time, I set out to try, one last time, to right my wrongs and please, please, please let these things grow before my husband rips them out of the ground, Amen

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I have had a lot of success with Lady Bug products, so I picked up a bag of their compost, some Hi-Yield Copperas because I read that the reason my leaves are so light/bright green is because of an iron deficiency and that stuff is supposed to help, and then some pine mulch to smother the weeds I'm too lazy to pull create a moisture barrier and cooler environment for the soil below.

P.S That is not red pine mulch, that is red colored mulch. Very likely not the same thing, but it's what was loaded in my car, so that's what I used.

I dug a little trench around the drip line

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Elvis supervised

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I filled it in with the compost, then I applied the Copperas

(Sidenote: I have no idea what 'Copperas' is, it's just what it said on the bag and I know it's the iron stuff, so yeah)

The directions said to apply half a pound per two foot of height for the shrub

So being the type-A personality that I am, I applied the very scientific measurement of 'some'

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This of course brought out the weirdo kid in me that did things like seances and played with Ouija boards, and I felt super cool like I was laying out a chalk circle to keep bad voodoo spirits out. But you don't have to do that though, you can just put your stuff around the drip line, water it in and call it day. Whatevs.

Then I laid out the mulch.

I had help
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And this was the final result

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Light a candle and say some prayers, y'all. They're gonna need it.

Juggling

Monday, September 23, 2013

The best analogy I can think of to describe motherhood, and really life in general, but especially motherhood, is juggling.

You must keep constant vigilance to keep the balls going. You can't sit down, no matter how tired your arms get. Well, you can, but then your balls are all over the floor and it's sometimes even harder collecting them and getting them going again then it was to just keep going.

The last few weeks have been a struggle for me to keep everything flying high. Little man has been incredibly fussy, he gets frustrated constantly, usually because he is pushing a walk behind toy and gets stuck. When he's not frustrated then he's crying at my feet for me to hold him, and I don't dare walk out of a room where he can't see me. Ah, the joys of separation anxiety x teething x going through a big developmental milestone.

Today we went to Ikea to get some things for the kids bathroom. I ended up with half the stuff I planned for, and a bunch of stuff I didn't. One of those impulse buys was this SOCKER terrarium thing. (Fun Fact: I literally just Googled 'glass with plants' because I couldn't think of 'terrarium' that's how tired I am right now)

We decided to plant some beans that our oldest daughter sprouted at school and play outside for a bit

Things started off well

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My oldest was having lots of fun packing dirt in and planting her seedlings


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And then Little Man's shoe broke. I didn't take pictures because I was too busy taping it back together. I wish I was joking

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Things went well for about 36 seconds. Then, because he was on the gravel, he'd get stuck and this, of course, ensued


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I really wanted to get some good pictures of him because today he is 11 months old! Yayyy!!!

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Nope.

Is that not the most pitiful face you've ever seen?

And in case anyone is wondering, he's crying because his toy got stuck on the bump between two slabs of concrete. Also, I didn't just stand there and take pictures while he was crying, he was smiling then a split second later, screaming, so this is what I got.

We went inside after this.

I guess sometimes you just have to admit that all your balls are on the f#*!ing floor, and like when Little Bear has a bad day, you just need to go to bed.

For the record, I did totally just throw out an f-bomb and quote Little Bear all in the same sentence. Come to think of it, I think that is the best analogy for motherhood.

Kids Bathroom: Before

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Today I thought I'd give a little tour of another room that I plan on working on soon, and that's the kids' bathroom.

This bathroom was redone by the previous owner and is painted in some really great neutral colors. This is fantastic because I am hoping that I will just need to organize, add some shelving and decor and call it a day.

Why has it taken me almost 4 years to come to this conclusion? Well, there are some things in this universe that I guess will just have to remain a mystery, like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, and my inability to make a decision about home decor.

Ok, so remember when I said a "little" tour?

I wasn't exaggerating

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Old house = small bathrooms, which I completely don't understand because didn't everyone have like 15 kids 80 years ago? Do you know how hard it is for me to just bathe two at a time in here? Especially living on a farm. The dirt! Yeesh.

Anyway, our bathrooms may be small, but they do get the job done.

And I think with the right touch, they can seem cozy and welcoming.

View of the wall I plan to put some shelves on

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My one lonesome and very random piece of decoration

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Ha! I just now realized my finger was in this picture. Sorry folks, this is clearly not a very well thought out post.

The bathtub desperately needs to be re-caulked, and I am going to replace that towel rod with individual towel hooks

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No worries about the Rapunzel doll, she was at the spa, and that is not mold growing in the grout, it's just leftover bathtub paint.

This mirror I have actually already replaced with a mirror that I bought at my mothership, Ikea. It is much larger than the one shown in the picture below, and I can actually see my hair from the top of my head, to the very ends without having to step up on a stool, then back down to get the full effect, and my children can see themselves brushing their own hair and teeth

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And last but not least... the sloppy disorganization that is me:

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Clearly these photos are not edited and I swear it's because I'm trying to convey an authentic feel to my pictures, and not at all because I'm lazy and who cares because when I put the edited 'After' pictures next to them, they'll just look that much better. Nope, not that at all.

Alright, well I hope I didn't lose you anywhere. I mean, I know it's a lot of space to take in so I'll let everyone marinate on it for a while and I'll have an after post hopefully in the next week or two and maybe a status update in between.

I have a baby with a very stuffy nose who keeps waking up but I think is now down for the count, so I'm going to try and treat myself to some really luxurious pampering, like a five minute shower before I fall asleep standing up.

Goodnight.

Summer Hedgehogs

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

While dinner was cooking this evening we did something we haven't done in months.

We went outside to play.

 It is has been so incredibly hot, muggy, and mosquito-y that it's not even worth it after about 11 am unless a sprinkler or hose is involved. But this afternoon, with a pretty wicked breeze and the sun tucked in behind some gray clouds, we got our learning journals and crayons and went outside to look for any signs that Fall just might actually be approaching.

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I told the girls to go and look for anything they thought was a sign of the seasons changing, even though a few scattered dead leaves is about all we have to show around here.


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This was little man's first real adventure outside on the ground where he wasn't relegated to his stroller. He didn't scream or cry because of the weird textures, and he only tried to eat 6 crayons, 4 rocks, and one bug. I call that success.


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We made leaf rubbings and tried to guess what kind of trees they came from. (Hint: Mommy has zero clue about trees, so we just started making up names. These leaves came from a Snauzeberry tree)


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And we drew the things they couldn't pick up. Like the rain and the wind be invariably get before it goes from miserably hot, to kind of cold but we think it's the Arctic Tundra outside.


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Have I mentioned how much I absolutely adore having a boy? Not that girls can't play with trucks and tractors, but there has been a definite increase in those toys since he's arrived in our home.

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His little hand is so smooshy I could die

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And her little face is so smooshy I could die

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Then we did one of my favorite things. We went to get eggs.

This baby cannot put her shoes on the right feet to save her life, even when I put them on she tells me "No! Dat one goes on dat foot!" We tried the sticker thing once, where you cut it in half and makes the two sides match to put them on, but that lasted about .3 seconds before she ripped them up and stuck them on her cheeks

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The big girl rite of passage... Crossing the cattle guard without help or holding on to the rail

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And there are the chickens. Ok, so, if you don't like chickens you should maybe reevaluate your life. These things are AWESOME. They are like mini velociraptors running around in your yard!

Look me in the eye and tell me that doesn't look like a dinosaur

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Whatever, you just clearly haven't seen Jurassic Park enough

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She a bad broad

And while I collected these things...

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The girls did this, which, knock on wood, has still not resulted in some crazy rash

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I felt like we were the Summer equivalent of the groundhog. Maybe a hedgehog? Those things are so cute as babies. If you don't know, Google it. Seriously, Google it right now.

Where was I? Right, Summer hedgehogs. We were like Summer hedgehogs, appearing from our cool dens after a long, bright, hot summer and we didn't melt, making it safe to announce Fall is coming, and there will not be six more weeks of Summer. And the crowd cheers! Hip hip Hooray!

... ok it's gettin' a little weird now. I should probably go to bed. So on that note, bring it Fall! We're ready for ya!

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Squash Casserole

Monday, September 16, 2013

I found my camera cord!

This squash casserole recipe comes from my mother-in-law, and possibly comes from her mother, and possibly comes from Southern Living. All I know is it's absolutely deliciously amazing comfort food that even my little ones gobble down. And while it does in fact have vegetables, it's not the healthiest dish on the block, but after you've had a bite, I promise the amount of butter in it will never cross your mind. OK, maybe a little, but it's so worth it!

Here are the ingredients. 10 bonus points if you get a photo-bombing babe in the shot, too

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Start your pot a-boilin'

I think the last of my sad looking college cookware need the see their way out the door...

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This part is optional, so if you prefer, peel you up some zucchini and yellow squash. You don't have to peel them though, you can just slice and dice once you've washed. Doesn't really matter how much of either, really depends on which type of squash you prefer, but I like to do 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash usually, and put it in a 13x9 pan. I think some of mine fell out of the bag at the store though, because this was all I had in the refrigerator after my grocery trip, so two is all you'll see in the pictures.

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Then chop those babies up

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Throw the squash in the boiling water until tender crisp... I forgot to take a picture of this step. Woops!

Next chop up a small to medium onion. Again, your choice. This recipe is like one of those choose your own adventure books! Dragon breath later? Chop more onion. If not, continue to next step...

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Melt some of the good stuff in a pan. I used way too much, as I was trying to pare down my recipe to match my amount of squash, but then again, I don't think 'too much butter' is a real thing

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Now plop those onions in and let them get nice and translucent

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They are swimming in a sea of butter. Mmmmmm mmmm....

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While they are cooking up, drain your squash that were boiling and let them hang out in the pan off the heat for a bit while you finish up the next few steps

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Get a medium mixing bowl and pour your butter with onion sauteed onion in

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Now add a cup of mozzarella cheese. Or cheddar. Or Brie. The choice is yours, and yours alone.
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Half a cup of milk. I used whole, but whatever floats your boat

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Add an egg (I am the worst food photographer EVER)

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Then mix it all together. The heat from the butter and onion will melt the cheese and make it one lumpy, goopy, scrumptious concoction (P.S "goopy" is too a word SpellCheck, just ask Gwyneth Paltrow)

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Now put a few tablespoons of butter in a pan and add a bunch of crushed Ritz crackers. For this I used one sleeve, but for a big 9x13 pan I'd say at least 2. Saute the Ritz until golden brown

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While the are sauteing, set your oven to 350*

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Now they're ready

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And now you are ready to put it all together. Hence, "casserole"

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Put the squash in first. Honestly, you can do this when it's done boiling, but for the sake of continuity, I am going to do it as one big step. Plus, I like the squash staying warm for some weird reason? (In the pictures, with just two pretty small squash, I used an 8x6 pan. And even though I still used one whole egg, etc. the recipe still tasted exactly the same)

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Next pour your onion, cheese, milk, egg mixture on top

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Yum-may! (5 points if you read that in an Ace Ventura voice)

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Now top with those scrumptious buttery Ritz

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Pop that lovely in an oven for 30 minutes... and VOILA!
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Fun story

When I was a kid my mom was cooking frozen veggies one night and I didn't like what she was serving, so she digs in the freezer and comes out with something different

 "Well, I have these green beans made by... VI-Oh-luh"

 "By who?"

"Vi-oh-luh"

"Mom, that says "Vwa-LAH"

"Ohhhhhhh"

I must say "VI-OH-LUH!", said in a thick southern drawl, just has a certain je ne sais quois to it

Wink wink.

Anyway

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Try not to eat the whole thing

Bon Appetit!

Recipe:

Squash Casserole

3-4 Zucchini and/or Yellow Squash
1 stick of butter
1 medium onion
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/2 a cup of milk
1 egg
2 sleeves of Ritz crackers

1. Boil water
2. Peel and slice squash, boil until tender crisp
3. While boiling, chop up the onion
4.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan and saute onion until translucent
5. Drain squash and set aside
6. Pour onion in a mixing bowl and add in milk, cheese, and egg. Set aside.
7. Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter and Saute crumbled Ritz crackers until golden brown
8. Place squash in bottom of ungreased 13x9 dish
9. Layer onion mixture on top
10. Layer Ritz on top
11. Bake at 350* for 30 min.


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