Monday, June 30, 2014

...peaches for free

On Friday afternoon I put a shout out on Facebook inquiring about our local peach orchard, "Does anyone know if Brazelton's has peaches yet?"

Well, nobody knew if Brazelton's had peaches yet but a sweet friend did offer as many peaches as I could pick from her tree..."ripe and ready to pick". So I set some time aside on Saturday to swing by and pick peaches.

I meant to go peach picking early, in the cool of the morning...but seeing as how I can't seem to get a move on until around 10am these days, and "early" is a relative term...I got there in the afternoon. And yes, it was hot. But I picked a ton of peaches. And came home covered in dust, dried leaves, a few ants and sticky peach juice. I was a happy girl.

As I was leaving my friend warned me, "You need to do something with these today...they are ready to go." So I got to thinking about what I'd make. The verdict? Slicing some to freeze for later use, a peach dump cake that was so.dang.good (but, of course, I used fresh peaches because I had them and made my own syrup), and at Chris' request...peach jam.

I decided on freezer jam since I'd never made it before and (if I'm honest) I didn't want to heat the kitchen up with a hot, boiling canner. I peeled and pitted a ton of peaches, mashed them up, tossed them with lemon juice to stop the browning then mixed in a LOT of sugar. I let that sit while the pectin dissolved in boiling water then added that to the mix. According to the directions I stirred for three minutes then ladled the peach mixture into canning jars, leaving enough space for expansion in the freezer. The directions also said to let the jars sit for 24 hours at room temperature, then freeze. So, I did.

[Insert birds chirping.]

I was quite pleased with myself. I took Instagram pics and smiled a lot with a bounce in my step and made Chris come in and look at the glorious jars of peach jam goodness. I was feeling quite productive. Homemade peach jam was setting on the counter, a dump cake was baking in the oven...I was like Suzy Homemaker.

[Now insert the record scratching.]

Unfortunately, I'm sad to report my jam didn't turn out. After 24 hours, it didn't gel. It's still very runny. And I'm thinking that, yet again, my aversion to measuring things worked against me. I have a feeling I had too much peach mixture for the amount of pectin I added...and it just wasn't enough to get it to gel. I have runny peach juice with pulp in canning jars.

BUT, maybe all is not lost. Here's my plan...

I'm going to put the peaches in a saucepan and see if I can't boil it down a bit in hopes of thickening it up. Maybe even add some apple peel to add more natural pectin. Hopefully it works. If not? We have three (good size) jars of peach ice cream topping. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, I suppose.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

books, lists and should vs. want

One of the things I want to add to my summer manifesto (that I keep mentioning but have yet to write) is reading...a book, or two (or three or four)...from start to finish.

I have been reading other people's reading lists and perusing the book aisle at Costco now and then to see what I might like to read. So I'm sitting here thinking about books I need to look into, and thinking about the manifesto and the summer break and how I know it's gonna fly by so fast I'm not even going to believe it and how I really should do my should-do's before my want-to's, when it occurred to me...

...I have a stack of books on my very own bookshelf (and on my nightstand and on my other book shelf) that I have yet to read. Why is it I am looking for ways to gather more reading material when I haven't even read the material I already have? Isn't this always the question? I blame Pinterest...constantly gathering ideas and inspiration but never making the time to execute any of it. (Except recipes...I execute those, thank goodness or I'd feel like a total Pinterest fail!)

So...along with the manifesto, I will be writing a list of books I already have in my possession and I will make my selections from there. Novel idea, eh? (Get it? Did you see what I did there? Man, I crack myself up.)

Another thought just occurred to's looking like I am going to need to make a list of the lists I need to make. Have I mentioned how much I love lists? Maybe once or twice, I'm thinking.

How about you? What are you reading this summer? Maybe I already have it on my bookshelf and we can compare notes!

Sunday morning...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

every summer.

Every summer I dread that it's summer. (And I'm pretty sure that every summer I blog about dreading summer!) It starts in the Spring...the dread, the fretting...that in a few short months it's going to be so dang sweltering hot in my neck of the woods that I'm going to be forced to stay inside in an air-conditioned space for the next three months.

No matter my attitude...or my meager little tinge of holding out hope that it might just maybe possibly not be that hot this year...the summer arrives with a blast of hot air. And that, is that.

Oh, summer...why must you be so cruel?

However, over the past few years I've come to the realization that I can either fight summer (futile) or I can embrace it (realistic). Unfortunately, being realistic has never been my strength so this change in attitude has taken lots of hard work, lots of crazy self-talk and lots of blood, sweat and tears. Mainly sweat. (In case you haven't come to this conclusion on your own by now...being dramatic has been a strength of mine all my life. My mom and dad will attest to that.)

Honestly, what it's taken is a realization that not of summer is sweltering. There are many nice days that don't go above 90 degrees. And if I'm honest, and pay attention, I realize that I'm really OK up to about 90. I don't necessarily love it. But I'm OK.

Another summer life saver is our garden. The knowledge that garden plants need heat to grow and produce amazing vegetables, that tomatoes won't ripen without the heat, is the knowledge that gets me through summer without too many major meltdowns. (Get it? Get it? I know...I'll be here all week.)

So every summer I become full of more angst than usual. Every summer I mope and whine and complain that it's summer. And every summer, in spite of my bad attitude and the sweltering heat, we grow zucchini. Number one because it's good. But also because it's so easy to grow and it's great for one's gardening ego. Zucchini grows big and lush and makes you look like you really know what you're doing as a gardener. And it produces! One day you've got nothin' and the next day you've got several zucchini the size of your forearm and you wonder where the heck they came from!

So every summer we harvest lots of fresh, organic, delicious zucchini from our very own backyard. And every summer we make Ryan's Fried Zucchini Cakes. They are delicious and we all love them! They are a bit labor intensive what with the grating of the zucchini and the draining of the zucchini and the squeezing out any extra moisture from the zucchini. But once you get through all that? Smooth sailing. And worth the effort. They're even good if you mess 'em up! Forgot the minced onion? No problem. Not enough parm in the fridge but you make 'em anyway?

I'm telling you, if you like zucchini, and I'm thinking even if you don't, you will love you some fried zucchini cakes. I made them for dinner the other night with a marinated London Broil and an Asian slaw and it was fantastic. The four of us ate as a family and there was very little conversation. Just lots of chewing and a few "will you please pass the {fill in the blank}?"

Have I convinced you yet? Wanna make them and see for yourself? Here's the recipe case you breezed past it earlier. You won't be sorry...I promise.

slow morning.

*this was written yesterday...forgot to press Publish.*

A slow morning. I've been waiting for this for weeks...months...

...Bon Iver playing in the background, doors and windows open, ceiling fan whirring, one kid still sleeping and the other on the road for a big adventure with a friend and his family.

There is nothing I have to do only "plan" for the day is to move slow, to breathe deep, to drink write...and take pictures. I might prepare a meal. We'll see...

I'm sure I'll meander out to the garden...and visit the chickens.

Slowing down...switching gears...from running, running every day from start to this...

Quiet. Stillness.
Refreshing and decompressing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I say bruschetta...

Mom and I went to our local farmer's market last Saturday morning. We got some delicious peaches and plums and some gorgeous, ripe tomatoes. I knew as soon as I saw them that I needed to make bruschetta. ( you say bruSHETTA? Or brusKETTA? I never know how to say it so I say it both ways every time I say it.)

I already had everything on hand...sliced sourdough, fresh garlic, a beautiful basil plant out back and these luscious tomatoes from the market...not to mention a handful of cherry tomatoes from our garden.

I got the sourdough toasting in the oven while I assembled the tomato mixture. I had no idea how easy bruschetta was to make! I mean, yes, I've known that it was just a few ingredients on toast. But I mean...this is one.easy.recipe. (I followed this recipe loosely but omitted the parmesan. Just cuz.)

Why have I not made bruschetta sooner?

It was so, so, so yummy. And I can't wait to make it again and again all summer long. Between my new love of bruschetta and Chris' delicious homemade salsa I really hope we get a good crop of tomatoes this summer! We're gonna need 'em!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

one day at a time.

I was getting a little nervous that the day would never come. But it did...finally. As of Tuesday I am officially on summer break! I think it's gonna take me a week or so to unwind and ease into a more relaxing schedule.

I have been thinking of all the things I want to do during my break...things around the house mostly. Maybe a few creative things, too, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Maybe once my brain gets out of work mode and into summer mode some of those ideas will surface.

Unfortunately, the only things I can think of to do during my break are projects around the house...scrub this, repair that, finish fun. But things that need doing nonetheless.

I need to make a list. (Of course I do! Would you expect anything less?) "Summer manifesto" keeps coming to mind. I didn't realize that me wanting to write down everything I wanted to do this summer actually had a name...summer manifesto. But my dear friend brought it up last week and I decided to follow suit. I suppose that list should contain a few fun, creative things as well. We'll see...

Until then I will finish helping Ian get ready to go out of state with a friend for a month (!!)...putter in the garden...sip hot coffee on cool, quiet my morning shows, Joyce Meyer and Kelly and Michael...drink more water...and remind myself to take one day at a time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

That baby is me.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14

God doesn't make mistakes. 
There is no "oops" in God's vocabulary.

No matter the circumstance in which it took place, 
you were planned by God to be on this earth for such a time as this. 

You were created for a purpose. 
There is a plan and a purpose for your life.
There was from the very beginning.
You are not a mistake.

just me.

Chris took the boys on a camping trip for the past couple of days...just the three of them.

"Why didn't you go, too?", you're probably asking.

Well, because as much as I try and wish and pretend, I am just not a "roughin' it" kinda girl. I like a nice, hot shower. And a bed. And a a bathroom...with a door...that doesn't smell bad.

And they weren't just camping...they were going deep...apparently having to put it in 4-wheel drive to get to the actual campsite...with no running water...and bear tracks and bear poop...which was perfect for them. But...not so perfect for me.

So they packed a cooler full of burgers and hot dogs, loaded up the truck, strapped the canoe to the top of the shell and headed off to the mountains on an adventure.

And I stayed home.

And mopped and vacuumed and went in to work one last day to finish things up. I watched girly movies and had total control of the remote. I had an early dinner with a friend then sat in her backyard sipping iced tea until the sun set, sharing funny things on our iPhones like we were teenagers.

While I was home, just me, myself and I, I decided to try and make something that only I would eat...Mushroom Bisque. I say "bisque" because this is what it was called at Panera several years back when they sold it for a short time. It was SO GOOD. Rich and thick and so flavorful.

Unfortunately, what I made was not any of those things. I mean, it was edible. I ate it. But the whole time I just kept asking myself, "What is missing?"

I chopped up mushrooms...just your regular button variety because it's what I had. (And maybe this was the problem? Not using a more robust and flavorful mushroom?) I chopped up a yellow onion and minced two cloves of garlic. I heated up my dutch oven, drizzled a generous amount of olive oil into the bottom of it, topped by a pat of butter. Once it was warm and a little bubbly I added in the mushrooms, onions and garlic and let it saute a while.

In the meantime I grabbed a carton of chicken stock and a sprig of fresh thyme from the backyard. I added both to the dutch oven along with salt and pepper and let it continue to simmer. Once the vegetables were good and tender I stirred in a spoonful of greek yogurt and some half and half. I was hoping the yogurt would act as a thickener, and it did, just not as much as I'd hoped.

After about 20 minutes or so of simmering I decided I was too hungry to wait any longer so I ladled the concoction into a bowl and sat down to a dinner for one. And while it was fine and edible and a little bit tasty even, it was not what I had in mind and it was nowhere near the bisque I'd had at Panera.

My thoughts are time I will use tastier mushrooms, I will create a bit of a roux before adding the stock, I will use beef stock rather than chicken and I will add some wine to the mix. I will let you know how it pans out when I get around to trying it out.

And hey, if you have a good mushroom soup recipe that you would like to share with me, by all means, do so!

Monday, June 23, 2014

More later...

It's Monday. And I'm going in to work one last day. 

My summer was supposed to begin last Friday. 
Unfortunately, the piles of paperwork didn't do themselves 
and there was too much for me to be able to finish.

So...I'm going in. 
I'm finishing up. 
And then? 
Let the summer begin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Saturday, June 14, 2014

note to self...

Good reminder. 
Slow down.
Breathe deep.
One thing at a time. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's in my blood.

The carnival came to town a few weeks ago and since I can't ride the rides anymore, I settled for a quick visit to get a freshly made corn dog. And don't forget the extra mustard. Hubby and I actually made it a mini date! Add cotton candy and it's instant romance. Well, OK, maybe not romance...but it was definitely amusing. (Get it? I didn't either at first...give it a minute, it'll come to you.)

I'm so sad that I can't ride the rides anymore. I have loved rides since I was 9 years old and rode The Tidal Wave for the first time with my dad at Great America. That was it, I was hooked. And the faster, the better. It doesn't matter, roller coasters, giant swings, Gravitron, even the jankety Zipper where you just know that this is gonna be the time that whatever you heard clanking around inside that cage was the very bolt needed to keep you attached to the ride.

Give me any roller coaster that goes upside down, any, love, love it. Throw in a corkscrew for good measure...maybe even two...and I'm in heaven.

Sadly, it's been about five years since I rode a roller coaster. We had gone to Six Flags with family that was visiting from out of state. I was fine all day riding rides. But then came the last ride of the day...Medusa. Talk about upside down and corkscrews...not to mention crazy, steep was great! But...about halfway through...I began to feel...ill.  I couldn't believe it. The last time this had happened was about 10 years earlier, my last ride on The Zipper...I don't know what it was... age? hormones? (I'd just had Ian a few months earlier), equilibrium? I don't know. All I do know is that I couldn't wait for the ride to stop so I could get off. (And to think, in the past I'd always been the one screaming, "Faster!! Go again!")

Well, Medusa finally stopped. And I got off, feeling green, clammy and nauseated; I wobbled my way off the ride, taking deep breaths and willing myself to NOT throw up, as I slowly made my way out of the park, stopping periodically to lean on something, take deep breaths and hope for the best. Thank goodness we were on our way out anyway. I slept all the way home, went straight to bed when we got home and slept for two solid hours. When I woke up, I was good as new.

But man...I haven't forgotten it. And I haven't gone on Medusa since. I've been on other roller coasters...Kong, Roar, Boomerang, Hammerhead...but not Medusa. Not yet, anyway.

There is a kicker to the story...that day I rode Medusa, my back was really hurting. My brother in law offered me a Tylenol with Codeine. And...I took it. It was fine, and it made the pain go away, but I think it was also what made me feel so ill on the roller coaster. That's my theory anyway. I have yet to prove that theory as I've been two scared each time we've returned to Six Flags to ride Medusa again to test it out. Ya know, just in case the codeine isn't to blame and the reality is that I'm just too old.

I mean, that's gotta be it, right? The codeine? Right? wasn't my intention to write about roller coasters. My intention was to write about corn dogs. And extra mustard. And cotton candy. And how the carnival is in my blood. (Have I mentioned I'm part carnie!?)'s late, I'm tired and I got off track. So I'll have to save that story for another time...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
    mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Psalm 144:3-4

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cooling off.

I put a frozen 2-liter bottle in their water to help cool them down.
Poor things...trying to cool down by keeping their mouth's open.
It's been 106 degrees outside for the past two days. 
Thank goodness it's cooling down today to a nice, refreshing 95.

(Heat brings out the sarcasm in me.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Chipotle Chopped Salad

A few weeks ago my boss treated our entire staff to a Chipotle lunch. It was the whole shebang...chicken, steak, black beans, pinto beans, guacamole and chips, several different salsas...make a taco or a salad bowl...your choice. It was delicious...but my favorite part was the Roasted Chile-Corn salsa...a combination of corn, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice. So simple and SO GOOD.

Well when my BFF was planning her son's graduation party with a taco bar theme I offered to bring a salad. She was delighted. I knew right away that it needed to contain something similar to this corn salsa. So I got online and headed to Pinterest...always a go-to for yummy recipes. After reading several recipes I came up with what I'm calling Chipotle Chopped Salad. It may already be out there somewhere...but I'm calling it that anyway!

I started by making the corn salsa...a can of corn with jalapenos, black beans, red onion, bell peppers, cilantro (originally I forgot...!), lime juice, cumin and salt. I let it marinate a while so all the flavors could combine. Not only was it was also pretty.

At the party just before the guests arrived I piled some chopped romaine in a big salad bowl, spooned lots of lime-y corn salsa over the top, doused it with jalapeno ranch dressing (store-bought...I cheated), tossed all that goodness together and voila...Chipotle Chopped Salad.

I gotta was yum-my. And would also be good as a side with grilled chicken or steak. I may just have to do that for tonight's dinner!

Chipotle Chopped Salad

1 can corn with jalapenos - drained
I can black beans - drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion - minced
1-2 bell peppers (I used red, orange and yellow) - chopped
chopped cilantro to taste
juice of 1-2 limes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
2 heads romaine - chopped
Jalapeno Ranch Dressing (I used Marie's)
Tortilla strips - optional

Combine first 8 ingredients to make the corn salsa, mix well and refrigerate for an hour or so to let flavors combine. (It will make enough for a few salads...or as an addition to tacos...or even to munch on by itself!)

In the meantime, prepare the romaine - wash, spin, chop. Place in large salad bowl.

Spoon corn salsa over lettuce, as much or as little as you want. Drizzle with the dressing, toss well, sprinkle with crispy tortilla strips and enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday morning...

My weather app says it's supposed to be 106 degrees today. And will remain hot for the next couple of days. Luckily, I have air-conditioning (I couldn't live without it, Denise!) so I will just remain indoors doing my Sunday puttering.

I spent a little time in the garden this morning...wanted to get out there before it was too hot. I watered, pinched off a few tomato suckers, gave everything a good once over.

I've got quite a few tomatoes coming, and two cherry tomatoes that are just about ripe. We haven't had the best luck with heirloom varieties, but so far the two that we planted (Black Krim and Green Zebra) have quite a few flowers and some little tomatoes coming right along.

The beans are growing and sending out their lovely of them is even using a sunflower as a support. They are also beginning to flower...can't wait for those fresh green beans. Mm mm mmm...they're one of my summer favorites.

The zucchini are doing well...we've already harvested three good sized zucchini and have a few more just about ready. I sauteed one of them the other night for Chris and I (Ian was at a friend's house) with some butter, olive oil, garlic powder and was very tasty. Not bitter at all like the ones at the grocery store can be.

Unfortunately, the peppers don't seem to be doing so well. Not sure if they don't get enough sun? Or what the problem is. I'm kinda thinking that peppers just get sort of a slow start. I'm not giving up on them yet...especially since one of the jalapenos has two peppers on it. I think they'll be OK.

So I gave everything a good soak this morning...saw a few ladybugs eating some bad bugs, stood still as a giant bumble bee buzzed around the zucchini and me (he was HUGE, I always try to get a photo but they never seem to land for me), admired the honey bees busily working away on the lavender.

It was so nice and peaceful, I love early mornings in the garden. I went to grab my phone to snap a few more photos and when I rested my hand on the deck rail I put my finger right in a fresh bird dropping. It took me a few seconds to realize what it was, but once I did I quickly rinsed it off (thoroughly!) with the hose, causing a bit of a mud puddle which I then proceeded to slip in thanks to no traction on the ol' flip flops. (Note to self: buy garden clogs.)

Luckily, I didn't fall completely on my arse but mud did splatter all over my pj bottoms, sludged all in between my toes, covered my flip flop in sand and mud...oh dear. I must have been a sight.

If I were a cartoon you'd have heard the "Morning" song from Looney Tunes as I flitted around the garden watering my vegetables, birds happily chirping, bees busily buzzing. Then comes the harsh record scratch as I skid and slip in the mud, flailing my arms in an effort to stay upright.

Keeping it real and staying humble folks...stay cool today. xo

For the Lord takes delight in his people;

    he crowns the humble with victory.
Psalm 149:4

Saturday, June 7, 2014

long week, long day.

Can you see his tongue? lol
Last week seemed to go on forever. I wasn't sure if the weekend was ever gonna get here!

It was the last week of school so I was busy with graduation stuff for the seniors at my school and busy at home making sure Ian got some studying time in for his finals.

In the midst of it all I went to a James Taylor concert on Tuesday night with my mom, my aunt, her sister-in-law (and my friend) and her daughter, my cousin and her friends, and a few of my aunt's friends from work. I think in all there were 11 of us. It was so much fun! Out to dinner beforehand, sitting under the dark blue sky listening to was a good night. And worth not getting enough sleep!

Not surprisingly, the weekend did get here. Today is graduation day at our local high school. And a few of my friends' kiddos are I'll be heading to their parties later this afternoon to share in their celebrations.

Graduation is so bittersweet, isn't it? We want it for our kids, we want them to succeed and accomplish good things, to move on and make good lives for themselves...we want that. But all the while, we pine for the days when they were little and life was a bit easier. I miss bath time routines and those cute little jammies...I miss tucking them into bed and reading the same stories over and over and over...I miss preparing them little boy plates and taking them for little boy haircuts.

Sigh...I miss those little guys...but I sure do love my big guys!

So, anyway....yes, today is full. But after all that? Nothing. Nothing at all. Rest. Rest. And more rest. And by "rest" I mean...staying home, doing laundry, tidying up around here, puttering in the garden, tidying the chicken coop, getting ready for another work week, cooking a healthy Sunday know, that kind of rest. (OK, maybe rest isn't the right term. Maybe more just like not leaving the house.)

So far today, I woke without an alarm, which was on my "to-do" list. I sipped my coffee slowly and caught up on blogs, also on my "to-do" list. I'm feeling so accomplished!

On that's time to get a move on. Have a good day...stay cool this weekend (it's supposed to be 106' here tomorrow...all the more reason to stay IN), and we'll talk soon!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

happy girls

The girls enjoying a little freedom while I clean out their coop.
The area behind them is our "nursery"...for baby plants, sick plants
or new plants waiting to be planted.
The chicken coop got a good cleaning Saturday morning (finally...yes, I know...I've been threatening to do it for weeks.) and the girls are so happy...calmly clucking away, scratching in the new pine shavings and straw, and admiring their new digs.

Our lavender is growing like mad so I trimmed a bit, chopped it up and put it in the chicken coop. Supposedly it helps with the flies...but if nothing else, the coop smells divine. (Which isn't always the case, lemme tell ya.)

I noticed a few of the eggs are weak at the tips and are cracking at the slightest touch. So I crushed up all of the dried egg shells I'd been saving and sprinkled them around the coop...something for the girls to scratch and peck at that will, hopefully, strengthen the egg shells.

When Libby died I was ready to get rid of the girls for good. I have to admit, I'm not good at the ugly parts of animal ownership. When she died I felt awful that I couldn't help her, heal her, save her. I figured it would be best to just give them away so I wouldn't have to deal with that again. As you can see, I haven't gotten rid of them.

Sickness isn't the only negative when keeping chickens, I also don't like all of the flies that they attract. But that is remedied easy enough by just keeping their coop tidy and cleaning it on a more regular basis, especially in summer. With diligence on my part, flies shouldn't be (that big of) an issue.

And I mean, can I resist the beauty of walking out to my own backyard to gather fresh, organic, brown eggs from my very own chickens?

June 1.

June 1. Already. Time sure is flying...

Today is our anniversary...we celebrated by going to breakfast then having a date at the local home and garden store where we bought shade plants for the border along our back fence. It turned out lovely...ferns, hostas, astilbe, scotch moss, sedum, a few succulents and a huge fuschia that now hangs in a rusty planter attached to the back fence.

I dug up two azaleas that just weren't doing well in the same shade border and replanted them in a pot. They are now living in our nursery area in hopes that I can nurse them back to health and eventually find them a new home in the garden.

There were also two society garlic's in the shade garden that were fine and healthy, just never bloomed. So those got planted along the chicken coop fence where there's morning sun. Two wasn't enough (you know, the whole design thing where odd numbers are better) so we dug up a third from the front yard (from an area that will eventually be a hydrangea hedge...sometime in the fall, I'm thinking) and added it, too.

This whole spruce up started when we finally planted our mandarin the ground...on Saturday morning. The mandarin was a gift from Chris to me either last Mother's Day...? Or the one before, dare I admit? Either way...the poor thing has been in a black plastic pot for far too long. So, yesterday, we committed and stuck that sucker in the ground.

(Apparently, we have commitment issues?)

But really what it's always been with this house is that we thought of it as "temporary" for too long. It was our "starter home"...uh, 16 years ago. Each time we thought to do something permanent to make it nice we'd talk ourselves out of it saying, "No. Let's not waste the money. We're going to move anyway."

But we didn't move. And things didn't get done. So now...we're doing things. We're planting things in the ground. We're making a commitment to our little house to love it and take care of it. And I gotta's growing on me.