Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Garden Update

While the weather is cooling down I still have some plants growing in the garden.  I have plenty of pepper plants left, but they are starting to look a bit ragged.  The heirloom tomato plants are growing well.  I might have mentioned that it is not uncommon for me to be harvesting tomatoes as late as New Year's Eve.  This is outside - not in the greenhouse.  I may be moving these plants into the greenhouse though as were planted late and not leftovers from the spring garden.


This is one of two apricot trees I have.  I need to get some bamboo skewers to stake them both up.  I started both of the trees from seed.

I had to move my pot of chives into the greenhouse.  The chickens found them and were snacking on the tender tips.  You can see where the chives have been clipped.

These pots of herbs are also in the greenhouse to prevent them from becoming chicken snacks.  I LOVE the pots which I bought on clearance at Lowe's last month.  I had plastic pots which fit perfectly inside them.  In the second picture you can see another tomato plant.  This one came up in the herbs which were planted in dirt from the compost pile.  I suspect that it is a yellow pear tomato since I only dumped a million or two seeds in the compost pile earlier in the year.

I was thrilled to discover one of my pineapple plants was blooming again.  This plant is a pup off the first plant that produced a pineapple.  It has taken just a year to produce a bloom!

This is the ginger plant that has grown from the piece of ginger I planted.  It makes quite an interesting plant, and eventually I will be able to harvest some ginger.

This is a non-edible portion of the garden.  I discovered that my local Lowe's discounts the succulents as winter approaches.  I bought a few at 50% and a few more when they marked them 75% off.  I will repot these in the spring and put them around the goldfish pond.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Holiday Grand Plan - Week 8 Review

This past week I worked in the kitchen.  I had already worked a few days in the past couple of months doing some organizing.  During this session I relined a section of kitchen cabinets.  I cleaned out the refrigerator/freezer.  The freezer portion is much better organized now.  I also reorganized the final section of kitchen cabinets.  All of the others were done at an earlier time.

No freezer cooking was done as the main freezers are still very full.  I did very minimal grocery shopping.  I ordered two Christmas gifts and also decided to skip making the crayon rolls.  I am not sure I will really have time and they are not a must make gift.  I found myself putting it off and dreading it.  I knew at that point it was time to mark them off my list. 

This coming week I will be focusing on the pantry.  It is a mess and needs some serious organizing.  I want to go over the upcoming holiday events and plan what foods I will be preparing so I can keep an eye out for grocery sales.  In the gift area I will work on the personalized cups and wrap the gifts I will be mailing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Furry (and Finned) Friday

Last week we had a rainy day, and the animals were in a lazy mood.

Paris' favorite new sleeping spot is the laundry basket.
Leo prefers to curl up on the couch.
While out shopping last week, W picked out a new, larger aquarium.  We moved the plants and fish over, and he added in new gravel and a log.  The filter is so much quieter than the old one.  We hardly can tell it is even running.

We wanted to get some more fish to add in.  The owner of our local pet store suggested we wait six weeks to give the tank time to "settle".  It is nice to have a store owner who is interested in what is best rather than making a sale.  Of course, we will return to the store to purchase fish in December.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 7 and More Baking

Last week was not a good one for cleaning.  Between being out of town and then under the weather I did not get much accomplished.  The craft room is clean again though, and I can actually see both tabletops.  The animal ABC books are done and all of the Christmas cards are addressed.  I did a check of the gift list and feel okay at this point. 

This recipe for pita bread was on my to try list for last month.  I did not make it last month, but I had some free time over the weekend and decided to give it a try.  The first two pieces did not puff properly.  The other six did great though.

My wire rack has a plastic coating so I needed something different to bake them on.  I did have a pizza pan with holes which seemed a suitable substitute.

I mixed the dough in my bread machine and then rolled it out.  After a rest of about 30 minutes I baked it in the oven.  Overall I found it to be a quick bread recipe and one I will definitely make again.  I love pita bread but store bought leaves much to be desired.  It is nice to know that I can make it myself!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Decorating

My Halloween decorations have not been put out yet.  First I was waiting to see if tropical storm Karen was going to hit my area.  Then when I went to the storage building this past week, I opened the door to find a huge wasp nest.  I decided it was best to wait until W could spray it before I go stirring around in there too much.  I did have a couple of items stored inside which I put out.  First is the snake wreath from last year.  It held up much better after I wired on the snakes and then spray painted it black.  The snakes blend in with the grapevine wreath which makes it look like a huge pile of snakes.

While browsing on Pinterest a while back, I sold a BOO hanger for sale on Etsy.  It was cute but definitely out of my price range to purchase ($35-$55).  It was easy enough to recreate though.  I ordered the wood letters, painted them orange and tied the letters together with black yarn.  The original version had a bow at the top.  A bow did not work in the area on the porch I planned to hang it so I left it off.  I think I had $7 in the materials.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Baking Day

I mentioned yesterday that I made oatmeal cookie dough to freeze.  I did bake a dozen of the cookies but the rest of the dough was measured in cookie size balls and frozen in a baking pan.  Once frozen it can easily be put into a container and the necessary amount of dough removed and baked at a later time.  I actually did a double batch of the dough as it took no more time to mix. 

While I had the oven on for baking the dozen cookies I also baked hamburger buns and two loaves of bread.  The bread is a bit odd shaped as my bread machine messed up and went through the initial mixing twice.  It still tasted fine just rose up a bit more than normal.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 6

It is hard to believe that last week was one-third of the way through the Holiday Grand Plan.  It seems like I just started.  Technically last week was the children's rooms, but I have no children so I decided to change things up.  I did some cleaning in a few areas of the kitchen.  It was mostly organizing.  In the craft room I made an attempt to dig out the countertop. 

Freezer room is a bit limited since one of our big freezers died.  I did make oatmeal cookie dough to freeze (more on that later in the week). 

I have all of the animals cut out and put together.  The plan is to (finally) finish the animal ABC books.  I am ready to start working on a new project.  I think the next project will be a couple of crayon rolls using this tutorial

Much of my week was focused on Operation Christmas Child.  I did finish all of the crocheted wash cloths. I put together the fishing kits and sewing kits.  W and I started packing boxes.  Unfortunately two rooms are a bit taken over by the shoebox stuff.  I expect it will take another two weeks to get everything done and out of the house.  It will all be worth it when the boxes are turned in and on the way to blessing some children around the world.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Holiday Grand Plan Weeks 4 and 5

A couple of busy weeks and MORE Internet problems (with another technician visit) and computer time went out the window.  Here is a quick update on the past two weeks.

Week four I worked in the bedroom.  I had done a bit of cleaning in there recently so it was not too bad.  The worst job was cleaning out the huge desk so we could replace it with a smaller one.  I had to do a pile of decluttering.  We now have some extra space in the bedroom which is nice.  Week five was easier as I cleaned our tiny bathroom.  This was another room I had worked on earlier in the summer so the decluttering was done. 

I am switching things around this week and will be cleaning some in the kitchen.  This will actually be part one of the kitchen clean up.  I have scheduled two weeks for the kitchen as I have a long list.  I want to reline all of the cabinets, do some organizing, and declutter. 

For holiday prep I have addressed more Christmas cards.  I have four pages left in the animal ABC books.  I am ready to finish those so I can move on to some other handmade gifts. 

I will soon be in full swing packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  I still have a few items to finish making.  On my list are 12 wash cloths, 8 sewing kits, 10 fishing kits, and 10 weaving loop headbands.  I also need to pick up some more toothbrushes this week.  I will be packing the first set of boxes this week. 

Another busy week, but I am working to make things easier when the really busy holiday time arrives.