Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In the Garden: Lemon Squash

Four seeds. It took just four tiny seeds to produce dozens of these cute little Lemon Squash. My children and I love going out each morning to pick these little beauties. Every other day there are a few more that have ripened to the size of lemons.

Lemon squash are so mild and so tasty that my kids eat them raw. Yes raw! I have become gluten free and use them to replace crackers. They are crisp and light and can be topped with all kinds of little things. I like mine with egg or tuna salad.

If you ever get a chance and have room in your garden, plant these little golden gems.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In the Garden: Japanese Snowball Bush

Over the years, every Spring, my husband and I have admired a bush growing on the side of the road near our home. A dark green bush that is filled with large white snow balls. Each time we would drive by, we always made a comment on how pretty it was. So, last year I started investigating on the Internet what type of plant it was. It was so gorgeous.

I found out that it was a Japanese Snowball bush and my honey surprise me one last April for my birthday. Poor boy drove all over creation to pick it up, only after calling every nursery in St. Louis!

When he got if for me, all the snowballs had already faded. But this year, it is looking gorgeous. We planted it behind the magnolia off to the side of our front porch. It will eventually grow to 8 feet and give us some nice shade on the right side of the front porch.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Watching Daddy...

I just had to post this cute picture. The kids love watching their Daddy mow the lawn. Here they are, all lined up, watching their Daddy. He always stops by the window and gives kisses through the screen. They eagerly await him to stop and chat.

They also love preparing him ice water and running it out to him. Sometimes he lets Double D walk slowly behind him when he mows the grass. That is a big deal around here.

The kids sure do love their Daddy...but then again, so do I!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

In the Garden: Nanking Cherry

Ok, so there isn't much to say other then my stick now has leaves! I planted this a month ago now and it has so many green leaves on it. It also starting to branch out. So, I am actually impressed that the stick plant has leaves!

In a few years, I am hoping it will be packed with little cherries.

In the Garden: Alpine Strawberry

Every morning, the kids and I walk around the house inspecting the things that we have recently planted. It is a great way to talk about God and all the things He created. This morning we found a few little strawberries on our Alpine Strawberry plant.

So far, I am loving these little bush type plants. They have no runners and every few days have more and more blooms.

Here is Double D holding a little bitty strawberry. The kids love watching the flower turn into a strawberry. It is fascinating!

In the Herb Garden: Rosemary Topiary

I have to say, after all these years of growing herbs, I never realized that a Rosemary bush would bloom. Because of our milder Winter temperatures here in the St. Louis area over the last few years, my Rosemary Bush has not died. They use to die every year, and I would have to replace them. However, for the last three years, it has not died and continues to do quiet well.

Last year, I was trimming it and decided to cut it into a topiary. I am so thrilled with it, and continues to surprise me. This Spring, I noticed a tiny purplish bloom on a few branches and with further inspection noticed that the bush was full of tiny blooms ready to explode!

My kids love to walk by and grab a few Rosemary leaves and pop them in their mouths. They are going to have quite the herb palette when it's all said and done!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In the Garden

Ok, I am a starting to get a bit excited with the warm weather we have had lately. But to make my days even better, the door bell has been ringing like crazy with all kinds of wonderful little packages containing my plants.

When the Nanking Cherries arrived, they looked like little sticks.

The Alpine Strawberries that I got from Burpbees, arrives looking full and healthy.

The Chandler Blueberries where tall and had some blooms already on them.

This stick like character is suppose to be an Apache Blackberry bush. This is a thornless blackberry. I am hoping this bad boy produces lots of blackberries for my little ones!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby

This weekend we celebrated Maddie's second birthday with a Dora Birthday party.  We had so much fun celebrating Maddie's little life with her Mamaw and Papaw Ellard.  Jason and I are so proud of this little girl.  She is so loving and sweet.  We always talk about if we could have 10 more babies, we wish they would all be just like The Moo Bird (as we call her). 

Maddie is a dream child and is always wanting to give hugs and kisses.  Her sweet spirit just oozes out onto anyone she meets.  She loves to learn and is trying to keep up with her big brother and sister.  But the first thing she wants to do is say Good Morning to her baby Joey brother.   She loves him to death and showers him with lots of kisses. 

My hubby and I always talk about that Maddie looks just like the little girl we both dreamed of having.  Big dark brown eyes and looking ever so much like her Daddy! 

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweetheart!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pretty little things

My hubby called me yesterday saying he had a surprise for me, but wouldn't give me a hint as to what it was. So when he got home and handed me a little package, I was surprised that it contained this sweet little apron. I was delighted! I have been wanting a pretty apron for a long time. He came across this one on the Internet and said he just had to get it for me.  He said it just looked like me.  What a sweetheart!

I love aprons and I love to wear them throughout the day.  However,  the ones I do have, have been worn and washed to death.  This one will be perfect for Spring and Summer.

I love the fact that my hubby often surprises me with pretty little things. He always understands me and my old soul.  I love the fact that he just gets me!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quirky Kids

I love my kids but they have the funniest little quirks. One of them is that they can not have anything out of order in their rooms. I have purposely never allowed them to have toys in their room so they wouldn't get distracted from sleeping. So, their rooms are always tidy. But if something gets out of place, no one can rest easy.

For instance, I found this the other day outside Katelyn's room.  It is the book I was reading to her and her empty water cup. I had mistakenly left them on her nightstand. She can't go to sleep with something out of order in her room, so she put them outside her door.

She is not the only one with night time quirks. Danny was crying the other night and Jason went to check on him. He was crying because one of his draws was left open! As soon as he shut the drawer, Danny was fine and went to sleep.

He also needs his cuddle blanket folded in thirds and tucked under his chin!

I love my kidlets and discovery what makes them tick! It always makes me smile.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Searching for Simplicity

Over the past few years, I have been searching for ways to simplify our home life.  One of the areas I struggle with is laundry, lots and lots of laundry.  Always multiple loads each and every day.  I came up with a practical solution which was changing all the material items (not clothing of course) in our home to the color white.

White is an easy color to wash and if it gets stained I can use a little bit of bleach.  Now our cloth napkins, dish towels, hand towels, bath towels, sheets, crib sheets and our comforter are all white cotton!  This saves so much time and I don't have to do multiple loads of laundry every day!  Plus, white is so easy to replace or add additional pieces.

I would love to hear how you simplify things in your home.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Monday Friends,

This weekend I took an inventory of my storage stockpile and my freezer stockpile.  This menu comes from what food I have in the freezer!  As always, trying to save money for our future! 

Monday:  Baked Tilapia with roasted cauliflower

Tuesday: Pork and Saurkraut

Wednesday:  Turkey Burgers and red onion jam

Thursday: Sesame Noodles

Fun Friday: French Bread Pizza

Saturday: Pork Cutlets and Broccoli

Sunday:  Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy 35th Birthday Darling

My darling and the love of my life turns the big 35 today! As his wife, I am so proud of this man. He works so hard and always puts us first.

He is my dream come true. I love him more each day and thankful the life he provides for us.
My honey with our little lastest creation!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In the Garden...

Currently, the garden is sleeping.  But we have big, big, BIG plans for the her this Spring.  While we are in the final stages of planning, we have already ordered all the seeds and berry plants!  Can you tell I am just a little bit excited?

I have big plans and so does my hubby.  I know it is going to be a ton of work for him, but he is amazing at building and recreating my dreams.  I am one lucky girl!

So, in the next few weeks, we should be showing you a brand new raised garden.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Don't ya just love a snow day!

I have never met anyone who loves snow as much as my darling hubby!  He lives for cold and snowy weather.  That's why we plan on retiring to Maine when we are older.
Hope you are staying warm on these cold winter days.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Good Monday Morning.  I am back to giving my meal plans for the week.  My hubby always loved when I did this so he could look back at the meals that we have had to see what he wants for the upcoming week.  The past two months, I have actually planned out an entire month worth of meals and it works out rather well.  I came up with a system and for the most part, we are sticking to it!
Here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Simple Tuna Noodle Casserole (this one is for my hubby who loves it!)

Tuesday: French Onion Soup by America's Test Kitchen (I have never tasted better..worth the work)
Wednesday: Homemade Rotisserie Chicken with roasted carrots
Thursday:  Cobb Salad with homemade dressing (clean eat)
Friday:  Chicken Tostadas (clean eat)
Saturday: Baked Tilapia with brown rice (clean eat)
God Bless,

Friday, February 8, 2013

Eternal Spring Fever

I'm not sure about you, but I get Spring Fever every year around December 26.  Once the holidays are over, my mind races with thoughts of tasting my first garden tomato and the sweet smell of lavender in the air.  Yup, I've got gardening on the brain.

This year, I started early.  Actually, I started in December reading gardening books.  While most people where holiday shopping, I was spending my evening pouring over fruit, vegetable and back yard orchard books and loving every minute I might add!

Since this is the first Summer in five years that I WON'T be pregnant, my honey and I have decided that it's finally time to add on to the garden.  Right now, I think we are going to redo the entire vegetable garden so it will give us a place to walk as well much more usable space.  We plan to have four raised beds and two of them having trellises for peas and green beans.

This year, I am planning on using Mel Bartholomew's square foot gardening method.  If you haven't heard of this method, here is a little brief summary.  I love, love, love it.  I think because it is a great way to organize and keep your garden weed free!  Did I mention organize?  LOVE-LOVE-LOVE IT! 

The books above are just a few that I read.  Out of all the books, (and there were many) I did fall in love with one particular book.  One that I kept ordering over and over again at the library.  The book Landscaping with Fruit by Lee Reich is a MUST read.  Not only are the pictures G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S, he simply explains how to fill your yard with fruiting trees and bushes.  Now thanks to him, I HAVE to have some fruiting bushes, right?  So along with the extended vegetable garden, I will be adding Nanking Cherry Bushes, Alpine Strawberry Bushes, getting more blueberries and if my husband's not looking add a red currant plant or two! 

If you get one book at all this Spring, I simply request that you look into getting the book Landscaping with Fruit.  I promise, you will want to rush out and plant every type of fruit tree and bush once you have read it, I know I did.  Jason has had to talk me out of several things already! 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Returning to My Magnolia Cottage

Currently my magnolia tree is covered in snow and the last time I blogged it was blooming.   I know I have been away from blogging for far too long.

What we have been up to lately is organizing our home to run smoother with six people, managing our money and taking better care with what we eat and finding time to exercise.

After this last baby, I wanted to set personal goals for myself.  Besides the usual lose weight goal.  I didn't want to just jump head first into my personal goals like giving up pop, take out food and junk food and exercising daily, all at one time.  But, I did need to start some where.  If I did too much, I was destined to fail.  So my hubby and I decided to take things month by month...and they are working!

First of all, back in October, my honey got a great deal on bottled water.  So, he had 11 cases of it delivered to our door (free shipping).  That was the end of drinking pop for me.  I quickly started drinking the water in place of the pop that I was drinking.  I used to drink a TON of pop.  Like, if pop was a drug, I was addicted.  So getting off of pop was the first thing I did.  By the middle of November, the bottles were all gone and I just drank filtered tap water now.  We are now a pop and soda free house! 

Next, we decided to stop fast food.  It was so easy to run through the drive-thru to full fill my pop addiction. However most times, I wouldn't just stop for me, I had to get the kids something, right?  So, the month of January, we have put an end to the drive-thru.  Guess what, not only did I last an entire month of not going through the drive-thru, but we made our budge goals. FIRST TIME ever!  All because we stayed  away from the junk food.  I had no idea how much going through the drive- thru here and there would effect our budget!  BUT EGADS..it did!

It is amazing how that all works hand in hand.  I also feel so much better with out the pop and the junk food.  I joined the lovely website called My Fitness Pal to keep track of my exercising and food in take.  I didn't work out every day of January, but I am working towards that goal.

So, that is what is going on here at Magnolia Cottage...I like to call it, Getting my act together.

Stay Tuned,