Monday, December 27, 2010

Peanut Butter Bites

This is the second of the two new cookie recipes I tried for cookie exchanges this year. I was particularly attracted to this Peanut Butter Bites recipe because it involves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (mini). How could you go wrong when Reese's are involved? Yes. This was my theory, and it turns out I was right. The recipe is basically a light peanut butter cookie - I say "light" because it isn't quite as heavy as a regular PB cookie - with half a mini Reese Cup in the middle. Here are some pictures from the making of these gems.

The dough doesn't really spread at all, so I was able to fit quite a few cookies on each cookie sheet. So, you should know that however they look going into the oven is pretty much how they'll look once they're cooked .

Peanut Butter Bites right out of the oven.
I decided to take a picture of one of the cookies cut in half, so you can see what I mean when I say there's a peanut butter cup on the INSIDE :)


And the final picture I took was of all the cookies ready to be taken to the cookie exchange. There are actually a little over 3 dozen cookies in the dish even though it doesn't look like very many.

I really liked this recipe because it was super easy to follow, called for ingredients that I had readily available(except for the mini Reese Cups), and incorporated one of my favorite food combinations - peanut butter and chocolate! The cookies were a hit at the party. So, if you want to make these I have only one warning for you: be sure you have an event to take them to otherwise you may gain a few unwanted pounds within a couple days because these cookies are irresistible!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mint Crinkles

This year I was invited to 2 cookie exchanges. Until this year I don't think I had ever even HEARD of a cookie exchange, but I was excited nonetheless. For the second party I needed to bring 2 different kinds of cookies, so one of the cookies I chose to make are called Mint Crinkles. You can find the recipe here.  I needed to make 3 dozen of these cookies, so I doubled the recipe.
The very first step in the recipe requires you to melt little mint candies (like those little Andes mints).

These aren't quite melted, but don't they look delicious?
The part about "let the candies cool for 15 minutes" - yea - they mean that. I touched the chocolate after about 8 minutes and nearly burned by finger. I don't suggest you try that at home.
Anyway, here's my dough ready to be chilled for 3 hours.

Being the genius that I am I left my spatula in the dough and I didn't cover the dough with anything while it was in the refrigerator. It turned out fine, but next time I think I'll cover the dough with plastic wrap so the top doesn't dry out.

The first batch of cookies I made the were a little too big - they ended up running into each other. They also didn't "crinkle" as much as they should have because I used too much dough.

Luckily, the second batch turned out much better even though they weren't all the same size.

The cookies turned out well and were pretty good. If you like mint flavored things these are definitely the cookies for you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Curtains - Take One

This past summer I decided I was going to make curtains for every room in the house. I decided I would start with our living room, so I went to the fabric store, chose a pattern, chose some fabric, and came home. At the time I was in the middle of working on my quilt and wanted to hem another set of curtains before I started on this set, so curtain making kind of got put on the back burner for a bit.
Then my mom came up in early October (or was it September?) and helped me pick out lining for the curtains. After she left she asked about how the curtains were coming along every time we talked on the phone - unfortunately, every time we talked (until very recently) I had some reason why I hadn't started them. I finally got around to cutting the main panels a week or two before Thanksgiving. Even just cutting the panels took a good bit of time because I don't have a large workspace. Anyway, I took the panels home over Thanksgiving for a little help from my mom.
The pattern I bought was pretty confusing. They assumed I had a lot more sewing knowledge than I actually have - and I don't feel like I'm a novice. Alas, my mom helped me figure out what I needed to do in order to get these things done.
So, fairly soon after I got home from Thanksgiving I began piecing these suckers together. I sat down one night and began working on the tabs for the top of the curtains. Making those darn tabs is going to take a long time. I completed about 8 tabs in one hour - I still need 24 more :-/
Here are a few pictures of the progress I've made so far...
The first 8 tabs after they'd been cut, sewn, inverted and ironed.
While inverting the tabs I realized I should have left enough thread at each end to tie off the seam, so I had to be careful about holding the seams together. But it turned out ok - now I know to make sure to do that with the rest of the tabs.
I also had to iron the tabs so that the seam was in the center on the back of each tab. Here's what that looked like.

Sorry if the photo is a little dark - the only way I could get the seam to show was by not using a flash.

Anyway, now I have to seam together the main panel with the lining, iron that and then figure out how I want the tabs spaced before I sew them on. Making these curtains is going to take a lot more time than I originally thought it would. I'm fairly certain this will be my first and last set of curtains I ever make.
Since making those 8 tabs I haven't really had time to work any more on the curtains as I've been busy with getting ready for Christmas (a few recipes coming soon!) and getting through some remodeling we're having done on the house (posts about that soon, too!). But, I promised my husband I would make the curtains my priority as soon as the holidays are over - and now I've said it on the internet so I'll have to keep my word.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Organizing and Purging Old Food

Yesterday I woke up in the mood to clean. This was weird for me. I generally have to force myself to clean, but occasionally I just get into a mood where I feel like clutter is taking over my house and I just can't stand it for one more second! So, I started with the basement. We're having the carpet replaced in the basement which means everything has to come out of the basement - minus the couch (hopefully) and the pool table. We're replacing it with tile, so I think it should be possible to work around those.
I diverge.
Anyway, I set to clearing out all the boxes I have stashed down there, but I didn't want to get rid of them all because they're useful for shipping/wrapping things. And let's be honest 'tis the season for wrapping and shipping! So, I organized them a little better and moved them into the storage area under the stairs. I suppose that's where they'll stay until I can find a better place for them.
In the midst of this I realized we had a heaping pile of laundry that needed to be attended to, so I got started on that and was working myself into a frenzy going up and down the stairs finding random things that were out of place then figuring out where they should go. I almost let myself start on the front room, but that's a whole week's worth of sorting in and of itself, so I stuck with the rest of the house - something I could accomplish (for the most part) in one day.
Anyway, since we had just gotten home from Thanksgiving I desperately needed to go grocery shopping (I had let most of our staples run out before we left). So, I eventually took a break from organizing and ran to the store. When I got back and started putting away the food I realized the cabinet was getting full. This was crazy because we JUST had extra cabinets put in a few months ago. There's no way they could already be full! My husband and I don't eat THAT MUCH food. *Sigh* But apparently we ...errr...I BUY that much food and don't eat it... That's when I noticed all the expired food we had in our cabinets.
Since I was already in "purge mode" I started going through all the food in our cabinets and fridge and made a pile of everything that was expired. Sadly, the pile was pretty big. But, we have a lot more space in our cabinets now :)
I was also able to find a few items that are going to expire soon if we don't use them. So, I pulled them from the cabinets and put them on the counter so I can make sure we use them before they expire.
After the purge, I was curious what the oldest expiration date was. The oldest item I found was some ground Cayenne Red Pepper that expired July 28, 2006 . Sadly - that was not the only thing that expired in 2006 in our cabinets :-/
Does anyone else out there have any spectacularly old food sitting around in their kitchen?

Butternut Squash "Fries"

Since we're now fully into fall (it's sometimes hard for me to admit that summer is officially over) and that means we get to enjoy all the yummy flavors of fall. Butternut squash is one of my favorite parts of fall, and I have recently tried to find new ways to cook the squash. I had the idea to make "butternut squash fries" one day when I was reminiscing about how delicious sweet potato fries are - a sweet potato and a butternut squash aren't so different, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
I bought a butternut squash then peeled it and cut it into "fry sized" strips. I then put all the strips in a bowl and seasoned them with a little bit of olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar. I then cooked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
I served them up with some chicken for dinner and both my husband and I agreed that they were good enough to make again. The "fries" didn't turn out very crispy, so next time I'll either up the oven temperature or maybe I'll actually try frying them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweet Potato Quesedillas

I got this recipe from my sister one Christmas when she gave me her "Casa G Recipes" cookbook. It's a cookbook she and her Jesuit Volunteer roommates made of their favorite recipes from their year serving in San Antonio. There are lots of great recipes in the cookbook. One of those is this Sweet Potato Quesedillas recipe.

1 1/2 C onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T vegetable oil
4 C grated peeled sweet potato (you don't actually need to do the grating, I'll talk about this later)
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
generous pinch cayenne
1 C grated cheddar
8 tortillas
salsa, sour cream and whatever other "mexican" toppings you like

Saute onions and garlic in oil.
Add sweet potatoes, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.
Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat.
Spread 1/2 C filling and 2 T cheese on each tortilla.
Serve immediately or warm in oven.
Serve with "mexican" toppings.

When I (and my sister) cook this I don't bother to grate the sweet potato. That takes some serious effort and time and it makes quite a mess. Instead I just cook the sweet potatoes in the oven. I also just serve it up like a burrito (I'm not exactly sure why it has "quesedilla" in the name).  Here's are a few pictures from when I made this for my husband and I last week.

peeled sweet potatoes with garlic and oil
(my husband doesn't like onion, so I cook mine without)
Sweet potatoes with spices mixed in - ready to be served up!
My sweet potato "quesedilla." I usually have lettuce, tomato and maybe some black beans,
but we were headed out of town the following weekend so I didn't buy any new produce.
My husband didn't even complain that there wasn't any meat in the meal (although he did have some chicken wings after dinner)! Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010


A few weeks ago I had a couple friends over for lunch and decided to try my hand at making quiche. It's a dish I have always liked, but never tried to make. So, I went online and found this recipe. Although I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I made sure to keep the key ingredients (butter, eggs, salt, flower, and milk) and changed out the rest. For my friends I put in onion, ham, tomato and cheese (a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella). But, you can put in any combination of ingredients you like. When I cooked the quiche for dinner I put in potatoes, ham and tomatoes the first time and potatoes, ham and spinach the second time.

By the way - for the ham I just went to the deli counter at the grocery store and asked them to cut me 1 slice of ham as thick as they could cut it. One slice turned out to be nearly 1/2 pound. I took that slice and cubed it for the quiche each time, but you could always buy a ham or use of leftover ham or no ham at all (of course).
Also, I decided to serve the quiche with cinnamon rolls each time. We all know how much of a sweet tooth I have and just having quiche for dinner wasn't gonna cut it.

The spinach, ham and potato quiche before it went in the oven.

My favorite part of this recipe is that it doesn't require that you purchase or make a crust. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out at first or if I would like it, but the flower sort of sinks to the bottom and makes a quasi-crust on the bottom of the pan.

This recipe will definitely go in the "rotation" of meals I cook because of how easy it is to make and because I can use random leftovers in it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stink Bugs

I'm sure you've all heard about the explosion of stink bugs this year. The funny thing about these little creatures is that they don't have any natural predators in the US, so they just keep reproducing and there's not really anything to control how many of them there are. For any other bug that presents this problem one would typically just squish them and throw them away when they become a nuisance. Unfortunately, as their name implies, they smell when you squish them. Instead I have resorted to simply vacuuming them up. So far, this seems to have worked. I haven't seen any of them hanging out by the door waiting to come in lately.
Below you'll find a picture of my husband vacuuming one of them out of the light in our living room. (Thanks, honey!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Planting Tulips

A couple weeks ago I finally had a chance to go out and plant the tulips I bought when my mom was here Remember? I was delayed on planting them because of the sawfly fiasco and then had to deal with the weeds. Anyway, it took me 2 days to plant them.
The first day I started by digging one hole, putting a bulb in, covering it and moving on to the next hole. I quickly realized that this method was going to take FOREVER. So, I decided to dig out a whole row and plant an entire row of bulbs at once. This method was much quicker. I got through about half of the section where I wanted to plant the tulips before I called it a day.
The second day I decided I would just dig up the entire section that was left and plant all the tulips at once. Yes, this was the best idea I had yet! Hooray for efficiency! Here's a picture of the tulips before I covered them back up.

As you can see - this was definitely the way to go. That whole side where the pile of dirt lies is where I planted on the first day. Can you imagine how long it would have taken me if I had planted each tulip one by one? I probably would still be working on planting them...
I can't wait to see them bloom in the spring! I shall post pictures as soon as they sprout :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pecan Encrusted Chicken

I was on a walk today with a friend and we were talking about some of the meals we like to cook for dinner. Sadly, my list seemed to be very short. I think that's because my husband and I both like routine, so we don't mind having the same (or nearly the same) meals every week.
One of our favorite meals is pecan encrusted chicken - I make it almost once a week.

I don't have an exact "recipe" for the chicken because it was more an attempt at me remembering a recipe in one of my cookbooks. I remembered a vague combination of ingredients for some sort of fish/seafood dish in a cookbook I was thumbing through once and decided to try it out on some chicken since I wasn't able to re-locate the recipe (I tried - I swear!).

For the topping/chicken coating I mix approximately equal portions of flour, brown sugar and chopped pecans. The brown sugar gives the chicken a little sweetness and helps keep the chicken from drying out, and the pecans give it a good crunch.
Next I coat the chicken with the mixture and place it on a baking tray. I then cook the chicken for approximately 20 mins in a 350 degree oven (although thicker pieces of chicken may take a little longer).

I generally cut my chicken into strips that way I can get a better topping-to-chicken ratio :) I also tend to scoop any of the extra topping mixture I have left over onto the chicken because I'm not very good at getting it to stick, and that way I have as much of the topping on the chicken as possible (but you definitely don't need to do that).

So, I realize this isn't the most appetizing-looking picture,
but  it's the only picture of the pecan chicken I have.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bringing a little structure into my life

Let's be honest - staying at home all day every day can be awesome (every teachers knows this during the summer). Having a wide open schedule to do whatever I want whenever I want is (usually) pretty sweet. But lately I've found that I'm craving structure. I want a little routine. Being the type A person that I am means that having all this free time can drive me a little crazy sometimes. So, I've decided to plan out my days in order to create set goals for each day.

Before my idea to structure/plan out my days (ok, so Will suggested the idea to me) I had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish in the long run, but I never put any sort of time line to anything. 

I started this week by making a list of everything I wanted to accomplish by the end of the week. I then sat down and wrote out what I needed to do each day. For example, on Monday my schedule looked like this:
9:00-10:00 - go to mass, pray, eat breakfast
10:00-11:00 - run errands
11:00-11:30 - workout
11:30 - shower
12:00 - eat lunch
1:00 - organize the shed
2:30 - leave for soccer

I didn't plan out the evening because my evenings are pretty routine by now.

I was able to stick to that schedule pretty closely, but I think I may have switched "eat lunch" and "organize shed." And I didn't actually get to finish organizing the shed because it was raining. But I did put the shelves together to go in the shed. Now the shelves are ready for all the stuff to be organized.

So far the schedule has been most helpful for me with planning out meals, making sure I take time to pray each day, and (trying to) make sure I workout. Yesterday I didn't set times for everything because laundry is done in smaller chunks of time throughout the day, and my schedule wasn't quite as tight in general. So, I just made sure I completed all the tasks on my list. I also decided that I'd try to leave Friday's open for anything I didn't finish during the week (that means I'll finish organizing the shed this Friday). That way it would be a sort of incentive for me to actually accomplish what I scheduled for each day so I would have Friday "off" to sleep in, lounge around, or do whatever I want.

Next to my list of what I wanted to accomplish for each day I wrote a list of "other stuff" that needed to get done at some point during the week (mostly scheduling appointments, making reservations, etc.). And, as I have time to do these things I just do them. Most of these items aren't time-sensitive.

So far I'm doing pretty good with my schedule. We'll have to wait a few weeks to see if I'm able to keep up with it, but so far I'm liking the structure. And, if I ever decide I don't want the structure anymore I can just throw the schedule out the window :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Tree is Gone

Will and I have been wanting to cut down a tree in our backyard for a while now. We talked about it a little bit in late spring/early summer then let the idea percolate in our minds a little before we decided we were actually going to go through with it.
I called a couple different people to give us an estimate and finally settled on one. The guy didn't give me a definite date, but said he'd call before he came out. Since I'm home most of the time I figured that'd be fine. So, he called me on a Tuesday night a little over a week ago and said they'd be able to come out the next morning. Sweet! I was excited that this was finally going to happen. We needed this tree down before we could even think about re-grading or re-seeding the backyard. So, here are a few pics of what the backyard looked like before the tree was taken down (sorry about the poor lighting - it was getting dark out).

See the really huge tree right in the middle?

view with the tree on the right and porch on the left

view from the porch
Now for some pictures of the after. It's kind of funny because I took these during the day so it's nice and bright. It reminds me of those "before" and "after" pictures you see in adds where the lighting is different and makes a huge difference. But, I don't think it's JUST the lighting that makes the yard look better in this case.

See the pile of mulch? That's where the tree used to be.
So much more sun!!!
view from the porch
Our backyard gets so much more sun now it's insane! I think grass will definitely be able to grow now. And I plan on using the mulch from the tree in our flower bed in front of the house :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010


This past spring I started to see a few ants here and there in the kitchen. It was never more than a few ants at a time, so I never really worried about them too much. I would just kill them and continue with whatever I was doing. I tried to be very conscious about wiping down the counters and not leaving anything that would be enticing to ants laying around. This seemed to work well until one day in August I was really busy. I don't even remember what all was going on but, I do remember that one of the things I was doing was baking some cookies to take to my husbands softball tournament and my friend's party later that afternoon. So, we went to the tournament and I left after their first game to head to my friend's party. When I finally got home it was fairly late so I cooked up something quick for dinner and when I went to wash the dishes (remember, I didn't have time to do them that morning because I was crunched for time) there were ants everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE!!! Hundreds of them. Clearly they had found the crumbs I had left then gone back to their nest and let the whole colony know about this gold mine. I stood by our sink squishing ants for a good 30 mins. I must have killed at least 150-200 ants.
After that incident they kept coming back looking for more food. It was really frustrating, so I was talking about this at our labor day party and one of my friends said she had a similar problem (with ants in her kitchen). She said she read online that ants hate cinnamon, so she created a line of cinnamon where they were coming from and she hasn't had a problem with them since. She said she even had ants waiting to cross the cinnamon coming out of her pantry!
So, I took her advice and created a wall 'o cinnamon to deter the ants.

As you can see the wall has been messed up a little bit, but it still serves it's purpose of keeping the ants out. They all came from that corner. I have only seen one ant since putting the cinnamon there almost a month ago - and I think he was already in the kitchen when I put the cinnamon there so he couldn't get back to his nest.
Lesson learned: If you ever have ants in your kitchen all you need to do is figure out where they're coming from then create a line of cinnamon for them to cross and you'll never see them again :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black Bean Cakes

I recently tried this recipe for dinner. I was excited to try it because I used to eat black bean cakes in college, and I loved them! The fact that this recipe didn't contain any weird ingredients was also a plus.

The recipe was super easy, and I really liked that I could use prepared salsa (aka - salsa in a jar) instead of having to chop tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

First I had to mix together mashed black beans, salsa, corn bread mix, and some chili powder. Here's a picture of what the mixture looked like before cooking:

black bean cake mixture
Next I put about 1/2 cup of the mixture in a skillet for each black bean cake. Actually - I put a heaping scoop which I later learned wasn't the best idea :)

black bean cakes before being flattened and flipped

Flipping the bean cakes wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be. Next time I'll definitely use only 1/2 cup (or less) per bean cake. The black bean cake at the top in each photo is about 1/2 cup.

black bean cakes after being flipped

As you can see - flipping the black bean cakes turned out to be a little messy. I had in my mind that flipping them would be similar to flipping pancakes. What I didn't take into consideration was the fact that black bean cakes are much denser than pancakes, and I never put more than 2 pancakes in the skillet at a time (I'm just not that skilled yet).  So, flipping 4 oversized black bean cakes was a bit tricky, but all-in-all they turned out well.

Will's plate (note that the black bean cakes are plain)
My plate (note the delicious salsa and sour cream topping!)
I served the black bean cakes over a bed of lettuce - just like they used to do at Furman! I also served them with a sweet potato which worked really well as a side dish, but really half a sweet potato (instead of a whole one for each person) would have been plenty.

The black bean cakes turned out really well and were delicious! I really liked the salsa, bean and corn bread flavor combination.
My husband complained that there was no meat on his plate, but still liked the black bean cakes. He said he would prefer them as a side dish instead of as the main course. I thought they worked well as a main course :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sawfly Larvae

Just as a forewarning what I am about to write about is kind of gross - especially if you don't like bugs.

My mom came up this past weekend to help me with house stuff. One of the things she helped me with was the front yard - the flower bed in particular. She showed me how to weed more efficiently and effectively than I had been doing before. We also spent some more time trimming the bushes - particularly the ones closer to the ground that I wasn't sure what to do with before. And she helped me clean up the flower bed in general by raking, etc. After about 10-15 minutes into working on the flower beds my mom asked out one of the bushes. Can you tell which one??

Upon further inspection, and to our horror, we found this (or these depending on how you look at it).

Ummm, EEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! WORMS EVERYWHERE!!!! We looked some more and they were all over the poor bush eating it to pieces (if you couldn't already tell from the first picture). 
Mom was adamant that we needed to find out what these were and how we could get rid of them - ASAP. So, we clipped them off the healthier bush (they were just beginning to infest the bush to the right) and put the clippings in a bag. We then took the clippings to Lowe's to figure out what we should do. They had a professional arborist who was really helpful and told us that my bush was infested with "Sawfly Larvae." These little creatures eventually grow into wasp-like bugs, but they don't sting. 
The solution? Spray them with this soapy liquid. The sawfly larvae apparently breathe through their skin, so the soap adheres to them and basically suffocates the larvae (fine by me!). So we bought a couple bottles of the soapy stuff, went home and began spraying away.
I have continued to go out every day and spray any remaining larvae I can find that are still alive. And we now have what I like to call our "Sawfly Graveyard"...

Yes - those are the dead larvae. There are several patches of them below the bush. I don't feel sorry for them at all. Here is what they did to my poor bush:

They ate EVERYTHING! The guy ay Lowe's says our bush has a 50/50 chance of surviving :(
Here's to hoping it survives!! I will continue to diligently go out and search the bush for any more of those darn sawfly larvae. I shall let you know what happens with the bush.
Hopefully it will be strong enough to regenerate...

Happy healing little bushy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fruit Salad

This past Saturday my husband and I hosted our first party in our new home...and our first party as a married couple (if you don't count our wedding). While preparting for the party Will had the great idea that I make a fruit salad and use the shell of the watermelon as the bowl. Well, the idea progressed and with the help of a couple friends I ultimately decided to make the watermelon into a basket.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do this, but I had a general plan that evolved as I went. Will wanted all of the melons in the fruit salad to be balled using a melon baller. I tried out our melon baller a couple days in advance and decided that was going to be too much work and that simply cutting up the fruit would be much easier and more efficient.
So, here's the process I used to make this watermelon basket. I started out by cutting out two pieces thus making the "handle" of the basket and giving the guidelines for where I would make the jagged edges.

Making the horizontal cuts was much harder that I thought it would be and they didn't exactly give me the right angle I was aiming for. I started out with small pieces then cut it down bit by bit to where I wanted it to ultimately be. I figured it would be easier to cut more out if necessary, but putting pieces of the watermelon back would be basically impossible.
Unfortunately, during this process of cutting the opening down to where I wanted it I accidentally cut one end of the handle :(

Oh - and I cut out the watermelon in the handle using a steak knife. Any smaller knife would do. I just needed a small blade for the more detailed work. As you can see my horizontal cuts aren't exactly perfect, but that's ok.
Before fixing the handle I decided to go ahead and make the jagged edges and hollow out the melon. I figured I could use the flexibility of the handle at this point to my advantage.

After cutting out the edge I attempted to cut out the center using a couple different knives, but none of them were working, so I resorted to the melon baller. It actually was pretty easy to hollow out the melon using the melon baller, but it was a little tedious. Since I was doing this only a couple hours before the party started I had several other things that needed to be done, and my husband asked if there was anything he could help with, so I put him to work hollowing out the watermelon. I tried to take a picture, but he left the room every time I lifted the camera to take a pic. So, you just have to trust me on this one :)
Once the watermelon was hallowed I filled it with fruit. 

After filling the melon with fruit I finally fixed the handle using toothpicks.

Everyone loved the fruit salad! I originally didn't cut up all of the fruit I had thinking I had bought too much. I refilled the watermelon with what I had cut up and everything was eaten.

fruit salad in watermelon basket = success!!
If you have any suggestions for something you'd like me to try let me know - I'm feeling fairly confident after finishing this lovely fruit salad :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trimming the Hedges

I have lived in this house for a little over 9 months now, and my husband and I have really done only the bare minimum when it comes to taking care of our yard. And by bare minimum I mean we have mowed the lawn....that's really about all we've done (just ask our neighbors!). And, so far it's pretty much been my husband's domain. Unfortunately, he doesn't have all that much time to devote to the yard. Pair that with the fact that I'm too cheap to pay someone to do it for us (why should we pay someone to do something we are fully capable of doing ourselves?) and you end up with me taking it upon myself to help Will out in the yard.
Our poor hedges are one area of the yard that needed some desperate attention - they hadn't been trimmed in nearly a year! So, this was one of the first tasks that I decided to tackle. Here are a few "before" and "after" pictures.




So, as you can see it made quite a difference in both the appearance of the hedges and in the ability to see the porch. I was amazed at how simple (and satisfying) it was to trim the hedges back and shape them (except for that last one - it refused to let me shape it).

What will my next project in the yard be, you ask? Take a look at this:

Unfortunately the weeds have taken over our yard (and footpaths) so I think I'll tackle them next. And in the process of tackling the weeds I hope to re-grade and re-seed our back yard....I guess my husband and I have a lot to learn about taking care of our yard!