Pumpkin Bread

The kids all started school this week and I wanted to make some bread to pack in their lunches.

IMG_0915

Two of three loaves of pumpkin bread.

These are just out of the oven yesterday morning…

IMG_0916

The first of three loaves of pumpkin bread.

This was part of breakfast and I packed some in each lunch bag.  After school they came home and devoured the rest.  I guess I need to make some more today!

Protein Rich Corn Bread

We have three chickens and I am always looking for different things to feed them for their health.  Sometimes I make a mash with oatmeal, cranberries, dried worms and garlic powder which they love.  Recently I saw a corn bread recipe on a blog (I should have written the address down!) for chickens and decided to try it out.

IMG_0913

Protein Rich Corn Bread

I used the recipe on the bag of corn meal, but substituted plain yogurt for the milk and added 1/4C of flaxseed, 1/4C crushed cashews and 1/2C of dried blueberries.  This bread is very dense and was intended for my chickens.  I made it two nights ago and left it on the counter to cool.  Well…before I could give it to the chickens, three of my kids cut pieces and declared it delicious!  I did give one little piece to the chickens and they like it as well.  HAhaha!!  My oldest daughter wants me to make more because she likes it as a snack at work.  Haha again!

Dinner Last Night

Dinner last night pleased everyone!!  It is not very often that I hit a home run like that with seven people to feed.

IMG_0902

Vegetable Medley-Chicken Hand Pies

These are a really good, quick meal.  I used left over chicken from dinner the previous night, frozen vegetables from the freezer, and buttermilk biscuits.  All you do is cut the biscuits in half through the middle so you have two rounds, lightly roll them out and place the chicken and veges in the center of the bottom one.  Place the top round over and seal.  Then bake.  Easy Peasy and apparently a win.

IMG_0904

Caramel-Stuffed Monkey Bread

These were incredibly delicious.  This picture was taken before they were drizzled with both fudge and caramel ice cream topping.  They have little Rolo candies inside of them are are cooked in the slow-cooker.  The recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications Slow Cooker Spring Fresh magazine that I picked up at Costco.  I am a huge sucker for cooking and baking magazines!

Gourds

I have always wanted to grow gourds to make into bird houses, but have never actually done it.  This year I was at my local gardening center and found seeds for gourds that are specifically used for bird houses and feeders.  I was so excited to bring these home and plant them!  It seemed to take forever for the plants to emerge from the ground.IMG_0861

I didn’t notice this one at first.  It is hidden in the middle of the plant.  I just love the different colors and I wonder if after picked and dried if the colors will remain.IMG_0863

There are tons of these guys all over their plant.  I hope they grow big!  There have been a couple that have stopped growing and rotted, but there are still many that look great.  I am crossing my fingers for these!IMG_0862

This is the only gourd produced by this particular plant.  The vine is beautiful and big, but only this one fruit.  It is a nice shape, though.

Birdbath Finish!

I have been working on this on and off for a LONG time!  I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted it to look like, but getting it there has been a process.IMG_0896

First,  I picked out my terra cotta pots.  Three big ones, one little one, one big dish and one little dish.  I washed them to get rid of the dust and glued them together with Liquid Nails.  Then they were painted with three coats of black acrylic paint.  I did not paint the insides of the dishes.

The flowers and hummingbirds are from napkins I found at Diddams and cut apart.  After cutting out the motifs from the napkins, I decoupaged them with mod podge all around the outside of the bird bath.  This took quite a bit of time because I wanted something that was not too crowded, but covered just enough to be interesting and not sparse.  I did this part over several months – I would work on it continuously and then take a break because I didn’t like it, this went on and on.  Finally, I felt good about the design.

While the decoupaging was going on, my kids were weighing in about the dishes that would hold the water for the birds.  Some of them wanted me to paint them like the ocean, others wanted me to use mosaic tiles.  I had never used mosaic tiles and wanted to give that a try.  Doing mosaic is quite an experience.  I purchased the tiles and the adhesive and went to work placing each tile.  I had a general idea of what I wanted – the kids all helped – and it turned out pretty much like I thought.

There were two more sticking points for me where this project languished.  The first was grouting the tiles.  I had never done that either.  After a couple of months I bit the bullet and bought the grout and just dove right in.  Easy peasy, nothing to worry about.  I had both dishes grouted in under an hour.  Why did I wait so long!!  The second sticking point was what to seal it with to protect it from the elements.  I chose a satin sealer from Alleen’s that I purchased at Michael’s.  This needed three coats to make the item totally water tight.  I did the first coat and the bird bath was no longer shiny (I totally hated it!).  I did the second coat and it was even worse – now it looked like there was an opaque film over the entire thing – UGH…I was so upset I was actually crying.  My husband suggested marine varnish – I thought there was nothing to lose since I hated my project anyway.  We came home from OSH and I applied the first coat.  What a difference!!  It was shiny and the opaque quality now just added to the over all appeal.  I needed to do two coats 24 hours apart.  After the second coat, I am totally in love with the bird bath again!!  It is sitting out in my front courtyard garden, right in the middle and looking at it just makes me happy!IMG_0895

The only drawback to the marine varnish is that it has a slightly yellow tint to it so the grout and the white tiles now look slightly yellow.  I can live with that!!  Next time I’m going to try to find something for sealant that is shiny and completely clear.

Stocking Progress and a SAL

First, I have joined some very talented people in an interesting SAL.  I have done SALs (Stitch-A-Longs) before – where each person participating stitches the same design over a period of time.  Those a super fun,  This one is different…I get to choose something that I am currently working on and post my progress every three weeks.  Then link up to the other people in the SAL so we can all share our progress with each other and with others.  I am looking forward to this as hopefully it will keep me on track.  I have chosen the Candy Cane Santa Stocking that I started mid-July for my son.  This is my first post for this SAL and I am excited to be joining!IMG_0824

This is where I am right this minute.  This is the header where my son’s name will be stitched.img_0745

This is where I was not too long ago.img_0744

This is the pattern I am stitching.  I am hoping to finish this by the end of the year so my son can use it at Christmas time.

If you get a chance, please take a look at these lovely blogs and check out the progress on some fantastic projects!

Avis,ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristina,KathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary MargaretTimothyHeidi,

More Ripe Vegetables

This was taken yesterday morning as I was outside watering.  Our cucumber plants are still giving us lots!  As are the tomato plants.

This is what I did with the tomatoes. By noon there were only the two biggest ones left.  I prepped them and froze them.  They will be made into sauce when it gets cooler and I have more.

Last night, we ate dinner outside and I noticed more cucumbers ready to be picked.  Good thing we love cucumbers!!