Monday, July 22, 2013

So Many Pickles!!

Wow so our garden has taken off!  We have had so many squash, zucchini and cucumbers!   I have given some away I have frozen and processed some and I still have some!  I am pretty sure we are going to be feeding squash to our animals to get rid of in the winter!  We have had fresh squash or zucchini for dinner like almost every night!  I am thankful so what we have and that I have had an abundance of veggies!

Just last week alone I shredded and frozen 24 cups of zucchini, chopped and blanched 60 cups of zucchini and made squash "chips" that i froze of about 30 more cups....  all together 114 cups of frozen squash....  I will be giving some away so everyone come visit!   I still have about 10 yellow squash to cut up and freeze and I have stuffed 12 and frozen them for dinners..... it feels awesome!   So cutting and blanching and freezing pretty simple you can do it with most vegetables but what in the world do you do with the ones you can't!  My problem a ton of cucumbers I can't give away fast enough!  So I decided to make pickles!  I love pickles, Josh will not eat them he doesn't like vinegar so everyone plan to get pickles for Christmas this year as well!!!  So far I only have actually canned 12 pints of pickles, the problem is yesterday I picked 12 more cucumbers and I still have some sliced to can...................  need lots of jars!!!!!!!!!!  Did I mention my tomatoes haven't started yet...........  my life will soon be consumed!

So canning is a very very new thing to me I have never done it alone before in my life and have always heard horror stories, I am sure we all have...  I did a lot of research and of our course had to buy the materials to get started.  The overall process was actually pretty simple you just follow the recipe you want to use!  I have made two different kinds of pickles Sweet and Garlic Dill Pickles!  Both smelled yummy!  I have to wait a week before I try them but I am sure they will be good!!

Here is the link to the Garlic Dill Pickles: Blue Ribbon Pickles

Here is the link to the Sweet Pickles: Sweet Pickles

I made the first batch of Garlic Dill Pickles and I followed the recipe every step.   The reason I choose this recipe is because is gives you step by step details and I also loved that it told me everything to get ready before I started slicing and dicing pickles and making the brine!  The whole process took just a couple of hours so don't think they can be done very quickly!  Here is the final Dill Pickles!

Overall I think my first pickling experience was a success!  Nothing was broken and all 33 of my jars sealed the way they were supposed to!  My next big adventure pickling the beets out of the garden!!!

Thank for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mini Vacation!

Wow! What a crazy week it has been! Josh worked in Atlanta all of last week but instead of a project I got to go with him From Wednesday to Sunday!! Happy mini vacation to me!  We had a blast when he wasn't working!   The weather was terrible but that didn't stop us from having a great much needed small getaway!

Reagan (Josh's boss wife) and I drove down Wednesday and stayed until mid-morning on Sunday!!!  We had so much fun!  Wednesday we just went out to dinner hung out because we were all tired.  Thursday we spend most of the day at the Georgia Aquarium! It was magical, I got to see thousands of fish and we got to see giant stingrays and 4 enormous whale sharks!  We also got to see them feed the whale sharks!  So here are a couple pictures and you can view the rest from the Aquarium here: Georgia Aquarium!

So Friday the guys worked and Reagan and I spend the morning being girls! We shopped got coffee and got Pedicures! Then we met the boys for lunch!  We ended up ordering in for dinner because the weather was really bad so when we were out we bought a board game, Sour Apples to Apples, it was a blast you should try it!!!

Saturday was such a great day!  We got up early and we to the Atlanta Zoo!!  We wanted to beat the crowd and the rain and we were very successful!   I took about a million pictures of everything and at least 3 of each animal! Below are a few but vie them all here: Atlanta Zoo!

After the zoo we went back to the hotel and ate leftovers from the weekend and took long naps! We were so tired them we all gathered for dinner at the Medievel Times Dinner Tournament! This was an awesome experience!  Our knight won the competition and he was half of my favorite color which made it wonderful!  Below is a picture of him and you can view the rest here: Medievel Times!  The food was awesome, you eat everything with your hands!  I was so stuffed by the end you could have rolled me out of there!!!

Overall, even with the weather our "vacation" was awesome!!  Even though Josh did have to work a little we still found time to do all the things that we wanted!  Thanks for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homemade Healthy!!

Happy Independence Day everyone!!!  This week I made a sweet treat to celebrate the holiday with that most people love but don't realize how bad they are for you!!!   This world it full of fruit flavored things, so I ask why not make them out of the actual fruit instead of flavoring that has been processed and died and stuffed with sugar....  well we all know the answer that is why so many of us are making these items our self!!

If you know Josh at all, you know he loves anything fruit related and I mean anything!  His newest love is the Watermelon Cook-Out milkshake...  I find it horrific he thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread...  to each their own I guess!!!!

On his trips to Atlanta for work he always stops and gets snacks like the fruit gummies that are filed with sugar so I decided for this trip I was going to make him a special treat to take with him.  Homemade Strawberry fruit roll-ups! They were actually very simple to make and only had three ingredients.  I found the recipe on Pinterest from a random search, here is the original link Homemade Roll-Ups!  She has an awesome video that walks you through each stage it was really helpful!

So the reciepe,

8oz Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Sugar

Frozen Strawberries need to be thawed completely you don't want to much juice.  Puree the strawberries using you preferred method, blender, food processor, I used the stick blender I have!  Put the berries in a sauce pan and add the sugar and lemon juice and cook on Med-High for about 15 minutes...  this time will vary depending on how much juice you have from the strawberries.  The goal is to cook most of the liquid out until the mixture gets the consistency of jam! Then you just spread the mixture to about 1/8 inch think of silicon baking mat, wax paper, or parchment paper ( I used this).  Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for 3-4 hours.  If you oven doesn't go down that low 200 will work it just takes less time.  I checked mine every 30 minutes for texture... it will take at least 2.5 hours for sure!

The hardest part about this is getting the right texture.  I did mine right at 3 hours and 20 minutes, you want it to be tacky but not sticky and to much time will turn it into hard candy which wouldn't be terrible!  This is what mine looked like when I pulled them out of the oven.

If you use a silicon baking mat to make the roll-ups you will need to transfer it ti wax or parchment paper to roll up.  Just use a pizza cutter to cut into strips and roll up!  It is really that easy!  Here is my finished product.  It doesn't yield much but you can double and triple easy! I got 4 two inch roll-ups about 12 inches long.  Enough for Josh!  I tasted a tiny piece and they are actually really good, taste like a strawberry!

I will be making these again in bigger batches and I can't wait to try different types of fruit!  I would love to hear everyone suggestions!  Thanks for reading!  Look out for more fun and yummy ideas from our house to yours!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

While Josh Is Away... the Wife Will Paint?

Happy almost Friday everyone!  This week has been an exciting week for us!  We got our first pick of the garden!!  Three green peppers and one cucumber!  We had the peppers in spaghetti and quesadillas and the cucumber in a salad last night!  

As you can guess from the title, Josh has been to Atlanta again for work since my last post....  So I painted not one but two whole rooms!  The first is the bedroom.  I themed it after the Grove Park Inn Spa, I have only been once and it was the most amazing thing ever!  I have done zero decorating and I still need curtains but I thought I would share some pictures of the colors that I choose!  Josh really liked them, and yes he approved the colors!!!

I love the way it turned out!!!!  Exactly what I imagined and it has such a modern feel to it, it just makes me happy to be in the room!!!  With decor and curtains it is going to look awesome!  So I said two rooms the other is my bathroom!  I had already painted my bathroom once before and Josh said he didn't like it once it was painted and it didn't reflect my personality...  Of course I have no before picture, but it was a color called pear just a light creamy color nothing really to it.  I had a mostly plain brown shower curtain and some leaf paintings hanging over the toilet.  Very very simple.  Now it is bright and reflects me more and I absolutely love it!!!!  Yes Josh approved the color and the shower curtain believe it or not.  I still have to get some decor for this room as well.  I am thinking two black shelves over the toilet and I found two awesome pictures at Target that I am going to get next time I go!  They match the old glamour look I am going for!

So I did this over all three days!  Saturday I spend the day with my sister and her kids and babysit while they went out to dinner!  In return she helped me recover my cushions for the back porch!  They are not completely finished yet so maybe next week they will be done we will see!!!  

Josh is leaving for Atlanta again this week but this time I get to go see him for a couple day since I have a long holiday weekend myself!!!!   My dad is also coming up to go to an Asheville Tourists baseball game next week!  Next week is going to fun filled!!!  Thanks for reading!  Look out for more yummy and fun ideas from our house to yours!! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Garden Update!

Hey everyone!  Hope you all had a great Father's Day weekend and that your week has gone good so far!  Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!!

This week has been very special for Josh and I, 3 years ago we were getting married!!!!  Yesterday was our actual Anniversary!!!!  So happy end of 3rd beginning of year 4 to my wonderful, loving and supportive husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I am so blessed to have found you, I can't wait for the rest of our lives, just hope it doesn't go to fast!!!!!!!!!!!!

So this week I wanted to show the progress of the GIANT garden that Josh and I planted.  My very first post I showed you a picture of it and I look back and everything was tiny!  Like really really tiny!!  Josh and I check on it just about everyday and it seems like things grow daily!  So far the garden hasn't been to much work, you do have to keep up with the weeds and water and fertilize but it isn't that bad...  except bugs... and by this I mean Colorado Potato Bugs...  they are and will forever be the death of my potatoes.

Little tip, just don't plant potatoes, we tried and tried to get rid of these guys, but one day we came home and I guess all their eggs hatched and they had eaten like 80% of the plants!  Oh did I mention they are resistant to a lot of pesticides and the more you use the more they get used to it!!  I was extremely disappointed.  So we did our research and the only real way to get rid of them is to remove them, so we set out to remove the entire plant, bug and all, and put them in our giant trash can so they could die out.  We found a couple on our Tomato plants which they also like (heads up), so to us tomatoes trump potatoes! If you do have them you have to pick them off make sure there are no eggs and kill them don't just flick them off they just come right back...  I learned from experience.  The little red guys are what I had they are the larva that eat the plants the stripped guy he is the adult version and you wont see many of them, once fed they bury themselves into the ground.  So, lesson learned, potatoes are cheap no need to grow them ever again!  I did however get about 30 pounds of new potatoes to eat and they are really good, so there was positive in all this!!!  Luckily you can freeze them or we would be eating potatoes for every meal for about a month or so!!!  So about 25-30 meals portions for us which is pretty good I think!!!!

Besides that everything else has grown like ten times bigger than it was to begin with!  The before picture was taking Memorial Day weekend and the after picture was taking last night, so in four weeks this is what it looks like!!


As you can see we have added climbing posts for the beans and peas, and everything that I had planted by seed that was just poking through is giant, at least to me, it still has a good ways to go!   So I took some close ups of everything but the cucumbers...  somehow I missed them!  But I thought I would share them with you guys!!  As of today, I have about 20 baby tomatoes, six baby green peppers ( I planted red & yellow too) and what seems like hundreds of blooms of cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini!  My onions are just about ready to be dried and stored just waiting for them to be fully brown and fall over, the beets are getting big you can see them if you get really really close and my carrots are about half an inch thick!!!
Enjoy the pictures!! 

Onions, Beets & Carrots! 
Squash & Zuchinni
(I have 2 rows!)


Beans & Peas

Corn (I have 2 rows!)

This is the best shot that I could get of my baby peppers, not so small any more, this one is almost the size of my fist so in about a week I will have a fresh green pepper!!!  Some of the tomatoes are about golf ball size so they have a couple weeks to go!  I am super excited about all these fresh veggies!!  

Thanks again for reading!! Josh is traveling out of town tomorrow so you can probably guess what my next  project is!!!! Yes painting!  Two rooms this time!  Also, going to be spending some quality time with my wonderful Niece and Nephew!  Can you say party while the parents are out!!  Yeah like a veggie tales party they are 4 and 6!  But I love them to death!!!!  So much fun!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!!  Please feel free to give me any garden advice!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Special Workout Challenge!

Hey guys!   Just a quick special workout challenge I have decided to do with one of my co-workers!  Saw it posted by a friend on Facebook and thought it was pretty awesome!  I am training to run a 5k hopefully in the end of July and I think will really help me build up the muscle to get me through it the whole without walking a step!  Feel free to join me I just completed day 1!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spare Bedroom Project!

Is it already Thursday?  This week has flown by, probably due to the fact I had a big project this week to complete.   For those of you who don't know every time that Josh works out of town I tend to paint or redo a room in the house to surprise him with!   This week he was only gone for two nights so I took it upon myself to paint the spare bedroom.  It started out this icky bland tan color that was really only primer they used when building our house.....  needless to say it was awful!   So the bedspread I have is white with blue and yellow flowers, giving to me by my wonderful Aunt Kim!  So I decided to paint the room a Navy Blue.   The pictures make it look a little darker than it actually is, like most pictures!

This standing in the door way as you enter the room: Click on the pictures for a slideshow!


These are the two dressers, with just decor that I had, this room is all the extra stuff has kind of gone in, so it needs some new stuff to make it more modern, which is our style!  This TV is not the one that belongs in the room it is the old one that doesn't work but Josh was busy watching the flat screen we bought in the office and he wasn't allowed out of the room so I felt bad to take it just for a picture so I used the old one so you could get the idea!!!

This decor was giving to me by Josh's grandmother and I really liked it, you can't see it very well but it has small Callie Lilies in it!


This is the window, I am not entirely
happy with the appearance, I think I
want different curtains, maybe something
with a small amount of yellow to bring it
all out?  Let me know what you think!                  


This is looking at the closet door and you can see the tall dresser again.  Just another angle of the room.  I had a small picture on this wall but i moved it because I thought the curtain would
come over more....  so I will have to play with it and see!  Everything can't be perfect right away then I would have nothing to do! The light makes this look a brighter blue than it actually is.

I am not entirely happy with the room as a whole, I think I am going to switch curtain rods maybe some more modern curtains but I do like the white color and I need a few more pictures to hang and replace some of the older ones I have and maybe some throw pillows for the bed.   I think I need some bursts of yellow in the room to brighten it up a bit, the lighting in the room isn't the best either.  I am open to any and all suggestions on what I do to make it a comfortable room for guests to stay in!

One tip I would like to share that I learned last night from my Aunt Kim is the easiest way to press a giant fluffy bedspread....  Lay it on the bed and steam the wrinkles out!!!  Now why didn't i think of that! Yes I was trying to iron it on my tiny ironing board!  It was not working at all!!  The pictures are not perfect and all the wrinkles are not gone, based on the fact it was late and I was tired and I ran out of water in the iron!!  So I will have to go over it again!

Target has become my new favorite place, around here, to shop for pictures and decor stuff!  They are reasonably priced and have lots of cute pictures!  I found several I would like to eventually get for this room. I am holding off because in a couple weeks I am going to Atlanta to visit Josh on a business trip and I plan to spend one whole day at IKEA!!!  If you have never been to IKEA it is an experience you should have.  It will take you a whole day to walk through just the models they have set up, then you go downstairs into the "store" and you could spend another day!!!!!!!!  Did I mention they have a restaurant too!  It is crazy awesome!  And they are super cheap so I can't wait to see what I can find there!!!!  So excited. :)

So on a complete side note, Josh and I tried something really interesting on the grill this weekend...  French Fries.   They weren't terrible...  you should probably use a grill pan of some sorts not just the grate, however lesson learned.  They were actually pretty good if you like a bit of the char flavor, which I do, he does not.  They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside like a fry should be! I doubt we will be doing this again but it was worth a try!  I have put a picture below!

Thanks for reading!!  Can't wait to hear everyones suggestions!  Next week I am going to show you my garden project Josh and I will be doing this weekend!!!  You will also be able to see all the tiny vegetables I have growing!   Look out for more yummy and fun ideas coming from our house to yours!