Friday, June 4, 2010

Letting go of perfection.....

I looked at the table and gave a little shudder. I saw the tub of butter, a bag, and mismatched bowls. My deck was not cleaned up. A squirt gun lay beside my left foot and my flowers were not where I wanted them to be placed.

Its funny how things pick up momentum. I had invited my friend, whose husband is in law school, and her two small children over for dinner. She was wanting to talk preschool and buying a new house. I thought that the kids could play together in the backyard while we chatted.

Then I realized that one of my best friends, who had a brand new baby and toddler, was going to be alone due to hubs golf night. "Why don't you come over for dinner....the more the merrier!" I proclaimed.
Going out to the mailbox before I started to fix dinner, I ran into my good friend and neighbor. She had just gotten back from vacation and her hubbie was working know that a invitation followed!

That is how my lonely night turned into a mama and kids dinner party. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Till I opened my fridge. I had this and that to fix. Nothing impressive to be sure. Chicken tenders for the kids and a simple pasta for the mamas.

Nothing was organized. Nothing matched.

Except our hearts on my messy back deck.

We laughed and watched our kids run around. (Mine half naked. I am so proud.) We talked and then slipped out for a long walk to get ice cream.

The dirty dishes sat in my sink and I never blinked an eye. I was watching my little lick her cone with such delight.

We all mentioned how this night went by so much faster and with more joy then if we were all in our own homes eating by ourselves.

It wasn't till after I had put the kids in bed that I realized that I was the one filled with joy. In trying to be a blessing to my friends, my sisters, they had blessed me.

It wasn't the dinner that I had wanted to fix, the presentation or even the setting. I could have chosen to run around and tried to make things perfect.

But I would have missed all those great conversations and laughs.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Keeping the critters out of the garden!

I confess that there has been more than one year that I have spoken a curse upon all things furry in my backyard. There is nothing more frustrating than to plant a garden and think of all the veggies that your labors will yield, only to see it gone the next day. I have tried many, many things. Some have worked....some not so much. (But it gave my family and friends a good I will share!)

* Inflatable snake- I got this at our local lawn and garden shop. You simply blow it up like a beach ball. (Just an FYI- It looks real. I have gone to the garden more than once only to let out a scream. Yes....the neighbors LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE me.) The idea is that as the wind blows the snake will to, making the creatures believe its real.

I can tell you that the first season it totally worked! Then it got a hole in it and the creatures were not so impressed with a flat snake. Go figure.

* Hair clippings- I have been told that animals get scared around the human scent, especially hair. (I know this applies to deer, which we have in our backyard.) I just happen to cut my hubbies hair and I lose a boatload of hair so I have tried this. I just put it around the perimeter of the garden......I didn't want to deal with hairy plants. You know how it is :)

The only problem is you have to be diligent in being a hair collector which can be a real pain in the tushy. If you have a hairdresser that's a friend you will be in business.

* An owl- You see these owls silently "whoo whoo'ing" at you almost everywhere. I can tell you that our house came with one. I know people who say they work. The birds land on ours and use it as a hangout. Nuff said.

*Urine- They sell animal urine spray for the perimeter of what you want to keep safe. I have decided to use my sons gift of peeing outside to my advantage this summer...maaaawahhhh. (evil laugh) I'll let Y'all know if it works!

* Fences- This is a tricky one. We have one of those green mesh fences over our strawberry patch. It seems to work except that my baby girl takes it off to pluck her bounty only to forget to put it back on. I also have had many a critter dig a whole under the fence.

* Natural Fences- I have been told that certain animals hate onions and certain flowers. You could do a pretty perimeter and see if works. I did this with onions and it seems to be working!

* Scarecrow- I heard that the trick is to make your fake man with clothes that have been worn with "scent" on them. (For the record, the first thought that comes to mind is.. ewwww.)

* Foil- I have recently read that you can take strips of foil and attach them to your fence or posts. The wind makes them move and catches the sun which is a deterrent for critters.

* Homemade sprays- I don't want anything chemical on my plants. I have heard you can make a spray of 1 gallon water and 1 TBS of hot sauce. You can spray directly on the plants which makes not so yummy to the four legged. :)

Veggies and fruits from my backyard means healthy choices on the table and more money in my wallet...and that works for this mama!

For more great WFMW ideas visit We are That Family!

Mama Knows best: Fathers day craft

We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Some how we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!

This was the kids fathers day gift last year. It was such a hit with the men in our life that I thought I would post it again.!!

I have been trying to brainstorm about how I could combine a kids craft with a fathers day gift. We have 1 daddy, 3 grandfathers and 2 great grandfathers. That's alot of gifts! I was making coffee one morning when in my non coffee groggy state, I had a wonderful idea. (Maybe I was still half asleep and it was a dream.. not sure)

Coffee comes in such nice containers these days, I just can't bear to throw them away! The idea is that these are really handy containers for dads to keep all those screws, nails, nuts and bolts. It will keep their garages (aka: man space) cleaner and the container has a handy lid to keep every thing in its place.

I took the containers and spray painted them black. You can totally use any color, especially if your hubby has a certain sports team that he loves. (I got my spray paint at JoAnn's because they have 50% off coupons right now! )

I then dug out some of my "manly" tool scrap booking stickers and paints that I had. You can also print off stencils or make your own sponge stamps. Use anything that your imagination comes up with... or better off let your kiddos come up with some ideas!
I then let my little guy apply the tool stickers to the paint cans and go crazy with the paint.

Big mama then painted on "FROM DADDY'S LITTLE NUTS" and super glued some metal nuts around the letters. (You may want to superglue the stickers so they are not removable.) If you have older kids they can paint the words on themselves! I also put the kids names and ages along the back.

You can fill yours with little boxes of screws, nuts and bolts. Or you can really surprise daddy with a cordless tool or some new screwdrivers / wrenches.

The kids had a ball and I am sure daddy will be thrilled with a little cleaner work space!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Grilltastic!

Its in the high 80's here in Ohio and it makes me want to fire up the grill!! I wanted to try some basic marinades and rubs this week. I hope they are as tasty as they sound! Happy Eating Y'all! (And THANK YOU to those of you who have served our country so that we can have the freedoms we do. May God bless you and keep you!)

Monday: Ribs (Rub below), baked beans, Italian coleslaw (Recipe below), corn on the cob

Tuesday: Stuffed shells, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: Chicken Kabobs w/ peppers,mushrooms, zucchini and squash(marinade recipe at bottom.) Potato packets on the grill

Thursday: Chicken basil tomato pasta, french bread, spinach salad

Friday: Pizza Night!

Saturday: Leftover buffet- If its not movin, you can eat it but mama is not cookin!

Sunday: Flank steak, baked potatoes, green beans

Rib Rub
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
25 grinds fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat over to 300 degrees F.

Mix the rub ingredients together well in a small bowl.

Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs, then rub the vegetable oil onto the ribs. Pour the rub over the ribs and work the rub fully and evenly into the ribs. Spread the ribs out evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake until tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Italian Cole Slaw

1 sm. head green cabbage
1 sm. head purple cabbage
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 lb. bacon
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
Fry bacon until crisp. Drain and set aside to cool. Finely chop 3 cups green cabbage. Finely chop 1 cup purple cabbage. Finely chop green pepper and onion. Combine both cabbages, pepper and onion. Pour salad dressing over, then mixture and toss. Let sit overnight in refrigerator. Just before serving, crumble bacon into cole slaw and toss

Kabob Marinade
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
5-6 slices onion
1/2 tsp. oregano
Marinate 2-4 hours. Put chicken pieces on skewer alternating with pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook on BBQ.