Lessons Learned From My Garden, part 1

I was really having trouble thinking of a catchy title to this post. That’s about as good as you’re gonna get at this point! Anyway, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a thing or two on what I’ve learned from gardening this year, for my sake as well as anyone else who might be interested (that means you, Cara! just kidding).

1. You shouldn’t dig up your garden when the soil is too wet. This can create big clumps of dirt that turn rock hard when they dry.

2. Lettuce is so neat! It grows and then you cut it, and then it grows and you cut it, and then it grows and you cut it, and so forth. I don’t think I’ll be growing this next year though and will explain why below.

3. Radishes and lettuce do not do well in hot weather. When the weather gets hot, radishes get hotter (spicier I mean) and have a woody taste. Lettuce begins to flower and that’s how you know it’s done for the season. You can grow this again in the fall when the weather starts to get cooler.

4. For a family of four (three of which don’t like zucchini), 9+ zucchini plants is a little, shall we say, excessive. I had NO idea that zucchini plants produced so much zucchini. For next year, even if I do plant zucchini, I will probably only do one or two plants.

5. Zucchini plant leaves get HUGE! I had a strawberry patch in my garden and also an area where I planted some jingle bell peppers. They are now lost underneath the leaves of my zucchini plants.

6. Green onions are great from the garden! We have had green onions dipped in ranch dressing as part of our dinners this year and there have been quite a few mornings where I’ve woken up with onion breath. Combine that with morning breath and it’s amazing David still wants to be in the same room with me! But I digress…

7. Lettuce, though really neat, has little creepy crawlies on it that are the same color as the lettuce leaves and are hard to see. After David found a caterpillar in his salad one night, my excitement kind of dwindled over the lettuce. I will probably not plant lettuce next year and plant more spinach. The spinach tasted great. I used it to make a vegetarian egg casserole. Yummy!

8. I need to get over my issues with bugs. Those of you who know me understand how difficult a feat this is. Sigh. Regardless, since gardens are outside and bugs live outside, bugs are going to be in my garden despite my dislike of them.

9. If you want to grow peas, they need to grow up something, kind of like a vine. I didn’t know that they needed to do that and my peas ended up in this twisted up pile. I got a few pea pods off (they were SO good!) but not as many as I could have because some got piled underneath the vines.

I am going to go do some dishes and will continue this post another time. Good night!

Things That Make You Go GRRRR!

I hadn’t had any spam in my comments since David set this blog up for me…that is until this past weekend. Now I’m getting slain in the spam! So far this morning, I’ve cleared out 10 comments and most of them were from places like motorola or verizon for free ring tones. I just want to tell those companies that stuff like that doesn’t want to make me buy your products! I’m going to ask David if there’s anything to do about that…

I Don’t Like Math…But I Do Like Cobbler!

Updated to add the recipe!

Mobile home skirting + super duper weed whacker + inexperienced handler of said weed whacker (a.k.a. me) = hole in skirting.

*sniff* I am told it’s an easy fix though. We have extra skirting in our shed. I just don’t like our shed because I’m afraid that a spider will decide to land in my hair…

I hope everyone gets their fill of barbecue and fireworks today! We’re going out to the lake for a barbecue at a friend’s house. I am bringing a side dish. It’s more like a dessert I guess. It’s a cobbler, and not just any cobbler either. There’s a secret ingredient lurking underneath the yummy layers of butter, flour, and sugar. And I’ll give you a hint…it’s from my garden! Give up? Zucchini!!! It’s supposed to be a mock apple cobbler. I made something similar to this last year when a friend gave me some of her zucchini but made a mock apple pie instead. The neat thing about it is that you really can’t tell it’s zucchini and not apples!

Here’s the recipe:

Zucchini Cobbler
8 cups peeled and chopped zucchini
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, chilled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10×15 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour and the remaining 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two forks¬†until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of butter mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust, and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve with ice cream!!

Grocery Shopping – Great Deals!

In an effort to save money on groceries, I’ll check out reduced-for-quick-sale items at Dillons quite a bit. I’ve gotten some great deals on lunchmeat, ground beef, produce, and other things. It’s kind of fun to see what they’ll have. On Saturday I went to Dillons because I was in the area, with the intention of only buying a couple of things. When I walked by the dairy section, they had a refrigerated case in the middle with Lender’s bagels.¬† I paused to take a look and did a double take when I saw the price…$0.25 per package!! The sell-by date was coming up and they wanted to get rid of them. We love bagels but I don’t buy them very often so I stocked up and got 7 packages for $1.75 plus tax! Right next to the bagels was Sargento sliced Colby jack cheese, reduced fat. These things usually run $3 or more and they had them out for $0.99!! I don’t know how many packages I bought of the cheese because I just grabbed. I was so excited! The cheapest I’ve found for sliced cheese is at Aldi for just under $3 (it may be more now since I haven’t bought that in awhile). The next things I found were store-brand hamburger buns for $0.49 per package. It was fun! And now we’re stocked up for awhile. I’m thankful I have a freezer to put all this stuff in. And my freezer is definitely getting full. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the new Hy-Vee store here in town for the first time. They had a crazy sale that day. I got shredded cheese (8 oz.) for $1.25 per package, Hy-Vee frozen pizzas for $1.43 each, hot dogs for $0.50 a package, I think (healthy stuff, huh?), and a few other things. It was great!

I will probably post some other deals I find if I get to the store this week. I never used to think grocery shopping could be this fun!

Home Sweet Home

This post is mainly for family who have not seen our place yet. It’s a nice day outside so I thought I’d take a few pictures of our place to show you around a little. Enjoy!


This next one here is a picture of my garden. The zucchini plants have really taken over. In fact, that is what’s mostly in this shot. I made a makeshift fence out of chicken wire after I planted to keep the critters out. The idea was courtesy of my friend, Gale.


Another picture of the garden. The lighter green patch is my lettuce. I was all excited about it until one day I fixed a salad, having washed each leaf carefully (or so I thought) and David found a caterpillar on his lettuce. The excitement of my lettuce has since dwindled considerably…

Here is a picture of my tomato plants. I’m so excited about these! No bugs have gotten to them yet and if things keep going well I’ll have lots of tomatoes!


This is a picture of my rhubarb plant. I’ve picked some already and made a strawberry-mulberry-rhubarb pie. It turned out really yummy! I think I may be able to pick some more rhubarb here pretty soon. It is growing my a tree stump, kind of protected and out of the way a bit in our back yard.


A picture of my other rhubarb plant (and weeds…). I have not been able to pick any from this plant yet. I’m not sure how well it will turn out.


This is the mulberry tree in our back yard, where we picked the mulberries for the pie. There are quite a few on this tree and our neighbor said the kids could come and pick some from her tree as well. It brought back memories!


This is our shed behind our house. The picture is sideways but you get the idea. It’s nice to have a place to store stuff.

Our shed

And now to introduce you to a friend of Miriam and Isaiah’s. This is General Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller. The family we bought the house from left him for the kids to have. Miriam and Isaiah have fun riding on him.


Here is the back of our house. I restained the back deck on Friday. It was looking pretty shabby.


Here is the front flower bed. I have no clue what all is growing here but it sure is pretty! I know that clematis is growing up the trellis and on the far right is a day lily.


And there you have it! That’s pretty much the outside of our house. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures. I’m excited that I actually figured out how to put these up! Come on out for some zucchini! I am going to have tons of it.

When the Dawn Comes, Tonight Will be a Memory Too…

June 15th was the 9th anniversary of our first date! Sigh. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years already. David was only 21 back then and I was 19! He used to tease me and call me a teeny bopper. Take a trip back with me if you will to the summer of 1999…gas was dirt cheap (as low as $0.75/gallon on Fort Riley), the economy was good, and I was on cloud 9! That was probably the best summer I’ve ever had. Who knew six months from that time we’d be hitched? On our first date, David picked me up in his Nissan Stanza. That car had definitely seen better days. :o) It leaked some sort of fluid all the time and couldn’t go too fast without being really loud. But it got us from point A to point B most of the time and that’s the important thing! I was SO nervous that day and my stepmom was trying to calm me down a bit, to no avail. Anyway, he picked me up and we went to Subway and then after that to the park to eat. I was too nervous to eat anything, only taking a few bits of my 6″ sub while David snarfed down his 12″ sub! It wasn’t until I got back home that I realized how hungry I was. After that day, we slowly got to know each other more, a lot of the time staying up way too late talking on the front porch. That was so fun. And that was the very beginning of our relationship. It truly has been a blessing all along. Of course we’ve had some difficulties, but David loves me so much and shows me all the time. He loves our children as well and is a good daddy. I am very thankful for him. It is fun to think about that first summer we were together. It seems so far away but just like a blink at the same time. When I was dealing with fussy babies, changing diapers, teething, sleepless nights, tight finances, and all that, sometimes I would wish to go back to that time when I didn’t have all the responsibility that I do now, all of the cares and issues that accompany being a mother and a wife. But, I can’t go back, and there really is no use in thinking those thoughts. I strive to be content with the day that God has given me.

And that’s all folks. Until next time, adieu.

Shopping at CVS

Life has been busy and maybe the novelty of this blog is wearing off slightly which may be why I haven’t written in awhile. But, alas, here I am again!

I promised that I would write about my shopping trips to CVS Pharmacy. Here is my feeble attempt at it. They have certain things on sale each month where if you buy them, you get all or part of your money back for that item in Extra Care Bucks. For example, I bought two boxes of CVS brand band-aids for $1.99 a box. When I paid for them at the cash register, I got $1.99 back per box in Extra Care Bucks which is “free” CVS money to use on your next purchase. If you have coupons for the item you buy, you can reduce your out of pocket expenses. I bought some Listerine mouth wash for $3.49, used a $1 off coupon making it $2.49 but got $3.49 back in ECB’s so that ended up being an even better deal. On my first shopping trip there, I spent $29.40 out of pocket after coupons and got $18.49 back in ECB’s! It was fun, a little confusing at first, and I don’t think I have it all completely mastered yet but I am hoping this will help with non-grocery items to reduce our expenses a little. I was also able to get Johnson’s Buddies soap completely free with a $1 off coupon! Yay! Free soap! So, I may be posting more about my purchases there in the future.

It’s a tarnader!

People talk about the weather a lot and so I’m not exactly looking for this blog to be Lisa’s Official Weather Spiel, but springtime in Kansas has been giving me quite the sudden and long-lasting surges in adrenaline of late. We had gotten home from church a little bit late last night because we ended up going to Dairy Queen afterwards (waffle bowl sundaes rule!). We also hadn’t eaten dinner before church because I made a stew and my potatoes weren’t quite done yet. So after a very late dinner (after 10pm) we bedded the kids down and I was looking over some coupons I’d just received and then went back into the kitchen to do some last-minute cleanup when…the sirens went off. I ran into the kids room, grabbing socks and shoes for them, trying to rouse them. I kept telling them they needed to get up, very loudly in fact, but those kids were out! Isaiah especially. After a few minutes of me breathing rapidly, my husband trying to tell me to calm down, and the kids dazed and confused, we managed to get ready to head over to the storm shelter. David told me to go ahead and go as he was trying to cram some blankets in his bag. I grabbed the kids’ wrists and started to run. The storm shelter is just across the street so it wasn’t a very long run but one of them managed to fall down twice. I was probably going too fast and the fact that I had a vice grip on both of their wrists probably didn’t help either. But I was trying to save their lives…they’ll thank me later. Anyway, we got to the storm shelter, dodged some bugs that were hanging out by the light, and found out we were the first ones there. Someone wisely put a radio in there so i turned it on to hear…weathermen excitedly telling folks to head for a shelter because the tornado was in Topeka…NOT! They were still playing music. I was trying to find a station that had the weather report and finally found one, only to hear the man say that the city of Topeka would not be affected by the storm. Huh? That was a bit frustrating. We walked back outside and headed back home. The sirens started to go off again when we got across the street but the radar showed the storm to just pass us to the west. Of course, it was not easy to go to bed after all that. I ended up staying awake until after 1am. Unfortunately, I heard this morning that the town of Chapman was heavily damaged. That town is pretty close to where we used to live and we actually know some folks there. As far as I know, they’re okay and so is their house just barely as the tornado destroyed houses just a couple blocks away from them. The tornado was 1/2 mile wide, pretty big. According to the weather folks, we may have some severe storms today, tonight, and tomorrow. I am thinking we should just camp out at our friends house for the next couple days. They have a basement (here we come, Cara!).

I need to go get some lunch underway. On a side note, I am listening to the kids talking to each other, if you can call it that. They are pretending to speak in a different language and some of the words they are saying are very…interesting to say the least. On my next post, I hope to go into some detail about my CVS Pharmacy shopping trip the other day. It was fu-un!

Lesson Learned

Note to self: Next time I decide to tiptoe through the tulips in a tank top with the goal to get a tan, knowing that my pasty, white Anglo-Saxon shoulders have not seen the sun in years…wear sunscreen! Zoinks! It hurts!