Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Summer's Here?

Today it got up to 83 degrees outside! Two weeks ago today we had 3 inches of snow. That's Arizona for you. I have been loving the sunshine; it calls me outside to sit in my patio furniture while Bree picks "flowers" (weeds). When it's winter, the outside projects get put on hold. But with this turn of weather, I've been outside working on my plants, my paverstone walkway, and finishing up painting (yes, the back of my house is STILL not painted!). I hope this doesn't mean we're in for an extra-hot summer (for those of you non-Globe residents, extra-hot translates into 115-120). We'll see!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My first delicious garden

I have never had much of a green thumb, but I have come to realize that this excuse really just translates into "I'm too lazy to water and care for my plants." So, after successfully growing my Lady Banks' Roses until they are now climbing up my front fence (I've helped them survive fire-blight and a thrip infestation), I figured it was time to move onto something else. Arizona is a great place to grow a winter lettuce garden, so I bought a few seeds, and my grandpa gave me some, and about a month or so ago, I planted them in a sunny place. I've been watering and watching, and finally yesterday I had my first harvest! Well, actually I was just thinning out the lettuce, and I made a huge delicious salad with the Romaine, Red Leaf, and Arugula that I pulled up! The photos below are Romaine (left) and spinach (right). I also have carrots and cilantro growing, but they're still tiny. I'd like to thank everyone who made this garden possible: Chad, for building the retaining wall that houses my 8x8 garden; my grandpa Kelly for the Arugula seeds; Ace Hardware for the rest of the seeds; and Home Depot for the store-bought dirt that is necessary to grow anything in this town!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mason's unintelligible babblings

Cookie Canning Wednesday

Last week Fry's grocery store had 3-lb bags of apples on sale for 99 cents! So my friend Joanna and I each bought 4 bags, and today she taught me how to can apple pie filling! She had given me a jar of her delicious filling months ago, and the resulting pie I made was so delectable, I knew I had to learn how to make it.

Today I was also introduced a wondrous thing called an apple parer/corer/slicer. With this gadget in my kitchen, I will never be daunted by pie making again!

Thank you Joanna!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This past week:

Last Friday I took the kids to the urgent care because what were just colds turned into fevers and Strep throat. Then I came down with a cold too (apparently there's an epidemic around here). So, for the past week, I've been home with the kids, and Chad has been taking care of us. Tuesday morning we got 3 inches of snow! But, of course, we were all too sick to play outside, which was a bummer, because Bree is almost 3 and has never played in the snow. Chad braved the icy roads (mostly melted/cleared by that time) to pick up our new dishwasher (our old one was leaking), and he skillfully installed it the same day. I love it! I've been experimenting with the "Soak and Scour" and "Sani-Rinse" settings to see what works best. We're trying to suppress the urge to rinse/pre-wash (our old dishwasher basically just sanitized), and it's really saving time and work! Of course, now that we have new counters, a new sink, and a new white dishwasher...our old off-yellow and black oven is looking pretty sad. But since it still works, and Chad really wants a second vehicle (just a cheap old beat-up blazer), a new oven will have to wait. Today for Valentine's Day we watched an old favorite, "The Notebook" while the kids were loud and distracting (not romantic, I know, but Chad had to work 4pm to midnight so what do you do?). Oh, and we made cookies together (the Neiman Marcus recipe, which are really yummy). Bree's prayer this evening was so adorable, and she did it with no prompting from me at all, which really impressed me: "Heavenly Father, making Valentines Day, making Valentine cookies, and Daddy take them (he took the leftovers to work), and Daddy be safe at work; bless Gramma and Papa; name Jesus Christ, amen." Anyway, we're all pretty much recovered, and I just officially finished e-filing my taxes! I swear, when January 1st comes around my thoughts immediately turn to that blessed influx of cash, and I start working on the taxes as soon as possible. We are so excited for our return this year--it's our biggest yet! (having kids really pays off!) Since we already went on our big vacation for the year, we plan on using the return to pay off our Home Depot card (a small balance from kitchen improvements), buying a second vehicle (this is really for Chad's convenience--I think we're doing fine without it), and keeping the rest as our emergency savings fund (isn't there some guideline that says you should be able to pay 6 months worth of bills from your savings?). So, even though we've been feeling crummy, some good things have happened this past week.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valentines in the mail

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Wallace for the Valentines!

We love you!

Happy Birthday Mason!

I can't believe he's one already! I thought Bree grew up fast, but time goes even faster with two. At 12 months, Mason is healthy, is walking like a pro, and loves being outside. He babbles a lot, but doesn't say anything except for mama and dada (and even then, he doesn't really know what that means yet!), and occasionally something that sounds a little like "hi."

We had two little celebrations for him, one with my Mom on Sunday evening (where he made a chocolaty mess with his birthday cupcake), and one with some friends on Monday evening. I decided on cupcakes since we were having cake twice, and also because they're great for portion control (I only had 1 1/2...somehow stopping at one is really hard!). They were so moist and delicious; I used my cake mix bundt cake recipe with mini chocolate chips, and delicious butter cream frosting. After pizza dinner, while the kids terrorized the nursery, the adults played games. I think Mason had a great time.

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