Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up :)

Hi, friends! I hope you each had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated Mother's Day with each of our moms, and continued on with our neverending to do list around the house. Tell me we're not alone in that, right?

Before I chat about the weekend, I wanted to share a couple of fun, new things we have around the house. We picked up some summery scented candles at Kohls last weekend, and while we were at it, I had to grab this adorable pineapple candle sleeve. How could I have left it there? :)

Also, I've been really trying to up our garden game, including inside, so I wanted to pick up another indoor plant to plant in this pretty white pot I had. It's really an indoor pot, since there is no drainage. I grabbed a croton plant at Lowe's last weekend and got him planted and by the window to get plenty of indirect light.


This weekend, to celebrate Mother's Day, my sister and I planned a lunch date for our mom. We chose a restaurant by the lake, with a great deck and tables close to the water. The weather was perfect, and it's a beautiful spot!


Of course, we ended our lunch date with some ice cream on the docks. My favorite ice cream spot is open for the year, and I'm pretty pumped. I will, inevitably, eat more than my fair share of my favorite dessert there this summer. You win some, you lose some.

We have so many things popping out of the ground, growing leaves, and even blossoming every day! It's such an exciting time of year, as we have new things growing from bulbs that I planted late last summer and all kinds of things coming back.





Also, I have to share this beautiful sunset with you! Sigh. So colorful!

I hope that your weekend was wonderful! What did you do? Anything popping up in your garden? Do tell! 

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Painted Birch Garden Markers

We have had a small vegetable and herb garden each summer since we've lived in our house. This year, we decided to move out of the raised beds that Rich built and into a larger space, directly in the ground. Since we're planting from seeds for the first time, lots of the sprouts look the same, even as they grow a bit.


I wanted to make some colorful plant markers to label each row of vegetable plants, so Rich got to work cutting up a birch log. I decided to keep them simple, so I wrote the name of each plant in a different color on a marker. I just used a super tiny paintbrush, but I think a paint pen would work well and be faster, if you wanted to use that instead.


Before they go out in the garden, I'll spray paint them with an outdoor clear coat to protect them. I love how they turned out, and that we used things we already had to make them. I love a free project! :). Once I put them outside, I'll be sure to show them off! 


Do you have markers in your garden? What do you use? Have you made any projects with things you had lying around?


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Our Spring Vacation Week

 Hi there! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The weather here was lovely, and we've spent tons of time outside. Rich and I were on spring vacation this past week, so we've been having lots of fun and taking a break from the busyness of school. This is the first vacation in two school years that I haven't been taking a grad class, so it was so nice to not have to worry about writing a paper instead of playing. :) I had several things on my to-do list this week, and I was bound and determined to be productive, but have fun too.

I started my vacation week off with a trip to JoAnn Fabrics, to use my expiring Teacher Appreciation coupon. I ended up picking out some supplies to make a bright and cheerful spring and summer wreath to replace the more wintery one we had hanging on the inside of our front door. You can read more about that project here. Wandering the aisles of a craft store first thing on a Saturday morning was a perfect way to kick off my week.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Chocolate and peanut butter are a pretty delicious pair. When I was looking for a recipe to make for a peanut butter-loving coworker, I knew that these peanut butter cup cookies that I had pinned would be perfect for her! I have been eyeing them for a while, and now that I have a set of mini muffin tins, I could finally give them a try!

I chose to use this recipe, from Bakerella, found on Pinterest. I doubled the recipe, since I was also sending some cookies into work with Rich. I chose to try both of the methods on the original recipe, both in the muffin tin and on a cookie sheet.


The biggest difference between the two is that you put the peanut butter cup into the cookie when baking it in a muffin tin before cooking, and press the cup into the cookie after baking when using a baking sheet.


If I made these again, I would definitely use mini paper baking cups, since I found that even with a greased pan, the cookies were a bit tricky to get out. If you don't have a mini muffin tin, baking them on a cookie sheet worked well too, just roll them in sugar first for that traditional texture.

If you're a chocolate and peanut butter lover, I'd definitely suggest giving these a go! I chose to use dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which made them all the more delicious.

Are you a chocolate and peanut butter lover? What's your favorite flavor to pair with chocolate? I think mine is mint!


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April Showers Bring May Flowers: Springy Flower Wreath, My New Favorite Down Time Activity, and What's Popping up in our Gardens!

Hi, friends! It's been a little while since I was blogging regularly- sorry it's been so long! I'm aiming to get back into a more regular schedule, now that my grad school courses are finished for now. Let's catch up on a few things- some door decor, my new favorite wind-down activity, and a spring gardens update.

I was looking for something colorful and spring-like to replace the wintery wreath we had hanging on the inside of our front door. This isn't a place that I used to hang something, but I found a wreath at a Target this winter, on clearance, that I couldn't resist, and this was the best spot for it.

Now that it's time to really clear out anything with a hint of winter (the snow has finally all melted!), I knew I wanted to replace it with something more coloful, and that could last through the summer.

Last weekend, I took advantage of an expiring Teacher Appreciation coupon at JoAnn Fabrics, and picked up a grapevine wreath and some faux flowers to whip up a quick door decoration.

The sunflower I bought came with some leaves, but since you wouldn't have been able to see them when the flower was tucked into the wreath, I took them off and attached them to the wreath using some wire.

I knew I would want some of the wispy forsythia on the sides, and the bigger flowers along the bottom, so I just worked from the center and added on to both sides, alternating flowers, so things stayed even. I chose not to glue anything in, so I can rearrange later if I'd like, and since the flowers all had wire stems or clips attached, it was easy to just tuck flowers in or clip them on where I wanted, and then adjust as needed. If you wanted, you could hot glue things in place.

A few weeks ago, I had read something about coloring books for adults being a new trend, that promoted relaxation and a screen-free downtime activity. I love to color, loved the pretty floral coloring books available, and knew I had to give this a try. I ordered a flowers coloring book and a 50 pack of colored pencils on Amazon just in time for April vacation, and got right to work! 

You can choose to color in the book, or photocopy the pages, so you can do them more than once. I've finished my first page- it took me a few days, sitting down for a few minutes here and there, and I love the result! 

Coloring is definitely relaxing, and I like that it's something other than staring at the TV or my iPhone, which I'll admit, typically are included in my down time, when I'm trying to unwind. If this is something that sparks your interest, I definitely recommend giving it a try! 

We finally have some action going on in our gardens! We have several garden beds around our yard, and each have different, mostly flowering plants, in them. The crocuses always go first, both purple and white. 

I love the way they look right before they're going to bloom, and then also when they're open and soaking up the sun! I wish that they lasted longer. 

Usually next up are the daffodils. While driving for the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that most people's daffodils are already in full bloom, and have been, but ours are just starting to show their yellow in the last two days. We usually have both creamy light yellow and then bright yellow blooms. This photo from last year is one of my favorites!

The succulent leaves of our sedums are coming up, catching raindrops, and getting bigger each day. I need to go out and snip off the dead flower stalks and blooms! 

We also have several other plants coming up, like peonies, bleeding heart, columbine, tulips, daylilies, irises, lambs ear, and a few other things that I can't identify. Once they are up and blooming, if I still have no idea, I'll post a picture here and ask for opinions! We have planted so much, and so many things were already planted when we moved in, that I always am surprised by a few things each year.

We have a new vegetable garden laid out, with much more space. Instead of the two small raised beds, we decided to create an in-ground bed, and Rich did a fantastic job getting it all ready to go! We have cherry tomatoes, herbs, beets, tons of rainbow carrots, beans, lettuce, and a few others sprouting from seeds and waiting to get planted. 

What does spring look like where you are? Is anything in bloom yet, or just poking up out of the ground? Do you, too, have "mystery" plants, or is that just me?
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