Monday, April 28, 2014

Tea Time Wedding Shower

The girls ballet teacher and our pastors daughter Katie-Beth will be getting married in June, so some friends of hers wanted to have a wedding shower.  With her love of Jane Austin's, Pride and Prejudice and the Bronte sisters writings an afternoon tea was appropriate as a theme for this party.

I was asked to make cucumber tea sandwiches and strawberry ones as well.  Have to admit I wasn't too thrilled with the assignment as they sounded dull and bland.  So I began to check out sites that showed how to make tea sandwiches to be sure I did them right and how to give them flavor.

I decided to use a strawberry flavored cream cheese and make them look as fancy as possible for all over appeal.  This was the process and result:

The cucumber sandwiches were made with garlic and chive cream cheese and cut in fourths for max number and appearance when serving.

Finally, I wanted something that had some real flavor and substance, while looking cute.  So I found this recipe for Chicken Salad Wonton Cups and made them to add to my presentation and collection.  They were surprisingly easy to make and really delicious.  Just click on the name and you can download the recipe from their site.  Here was my process and results:

Here's how they all looked together:

With all the preparations done, I packed everything up and headed over to join the other ladies for a nice afternoon of talk, shower games, presents and of course FOOD!!!!   It was a really nice tea for all, especially Katie-Beth who got some really lovely things to start out her married life with.

FUN day, good food and great company!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cute Season Decor

Just wanted to share a few pictures of these decorations from this Easter time that I have had for years and put out on some years.  These cute little guys were purchased by Kevin and I pre-kids on a trip to the artsy village of Idyllwild when we lived in California.  We found them while searching through one of the many specialty shops in this mountain community.

I paired them with flowers the girls got for their Easter morning dance performance.

Now it's time for them to go back in the box for another year, until the baskets come out once more and they'll again make their appearance.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Weekend

This past weekend we were able to spend some time with some of Kevin's family who came down to Florida to visit.  On Saturday we had dinner at Grandma and Poppie's home.  It was nice spending time visiting and enjoying a wonderful meal.

Grandma got the girls some Barbie hair styling models and Aunt Jen went to work to tame the manes into pretty styles
Steven, (upper left), Poppie and Kevin and Patrick in the bottom photo.

Janice with her "baby boy" Shane.  Think he's outgrown moms lap : )

Early Easter morning the kids inspected the baskets we had set out for them, and then later
Sunday morning we joined our church family at their traditional Easter in the Park service.  It sprinkled on us a bit at the beginning, but fortunately the skies cleared and the rest of the day was really nice.

The girls joined the others from their dance class to perform their dance to the song by Matt Maher, Christ is Risen.  They did a beautiful job and we thoroughly enjoyed watching them.


Lauren and Hannah with their group

Pastor Mike's message

Kid's looking for Easter Eggs

After the service it was home to relax and do nothing but enjoy the remainder of our weekend.
Hope you had a wonderful one as well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Garden Inspiration

This week was the last week our annual passes for Disney were valid, so we headed out on Wednesday to spend the day at Epcot park the place we started almost a year ago and have been able to enjoy many days of being entertained over the past year, in the wonderful world of Disney.  The Flower and Garden show is still going on and Kevin had managed to do fastpasses online so we had times to go on some rides we really wanted to do before we take some time off from our Disney visits.  We began at Soaring Over California, then stood in line for a half hour to go on the boat ride through The Land.  Next, we headed to the Nemo ride where I took some really terrible pictures of us, but since I failed to take more of the family on this day they are the only ones I really have to share.  OOPS!!!!

Later in the day we did the Mission Space ride, then after lunch had to treat ourselves to some funnel cake for dessert!!!

Funnel cake, Yummy!!!
This was a photo Cameron was able to capture of the sun and the corona around it that was in the sky as we toured the park for a good part of the day.

We walked and enjoyed the absolutely beautiful day that was pleasantly cooler due to a nice breeze blowing.  I took a lot of pictures of the creative gardening ideas that were on display.  These were creative, pretty and really produced some wonderful food as well.  So I thought I'd try many of these in our landscape and garden projects, especially as I'm finding there to be lots of challenges in my landscape and garden projects I've started already.

Here the gardens are planted in wheel barrow or the one in the wagon is done in pots and planting bags. These show a lot of plants in small spaces.  The benefit of this too would be the ability to move your garden if light or weather became an issue.

The picture on the left is a garden in the mini hay bales.  Love that full size corn can grow in this environment.  The garden on the right is a open style garden wagon that has moss used as a liner to hold the dirt then is filled with vegetable and edible flowers.  Pretty and practical.
These gardens show intensive plantings in large pots, stock tanks and the lower right is a collection of more warm weather plants and small trees in multiple pots pushed together to make a nice collection.  There's banana, pineapple, strawberries and again edible flowers in the collection of the warmer weather plants.
Love the extra large teacup planter with tea mixes growing and surrounded by these gorgeous amaryllis flowers.

Our goal is to produce as much as possible in more intensive growing environments, so these will work not only for us, but as ideas for others as well.  So I was really interested in the many displays and the beautiful presentations we found at the park.

We also made a point of visiting the booth with the compact aquaculture system.  The company that put this together is a local one and in visiting their website I found several places that feature these systems that are close by.  This was exciting and definitely inspiring to us to keep moving forward with the plans we have to include this on our property.

The tank of tilapia is connected to several tanks that filter out more solid waste and run the nutrient rich water through the planting beds then run the cleaned water back to the fish tank creating a looped system that benefits both fish and food production.

Website for the company that created this display, a closeup from the sign they had up.

So after another wonderful day spent in Disney's World called Epcot, it was time to head home and take a break for awhile before we renew our annual passes.  Will use these next few months to explore other Florida destinations and learn more about this State that we call home.

Hannah was walking with me and we were behind Cameron, Lauren and Kevin as we headed out of the park.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aero Garden Seed Starter

To help get our seedlings started Kevin took advantage of a special he found online and ordered the Miracle Grow Aero Garden Seed Starter.  It uses a wicking hydroponic system with a small grow light to get seeds started quicker or grow bulbs.  Some advertisements showed this being used for small apartments to have a small hydroponic garden.  Our purpose for this is to get seeds started for transferring to our tower gardens.

The setup was very simple with all the pieces snapping together quickly.

Kevin then placed the unit on the old trunk in the sun room where we planned to have it set up and he added the water and nutrients as well as the prepackaged seeds that came with this unit.  We plugged it in, turned the light on and there it was ready to start growing the herb seeds.

Seed starters in place and grow light on.

It's now been a week and here is the progress so far.  Once these get a little bigger I'll transfer them to our tower gardens and start some other seeds.  This has proven effective in jump starting the seedlings for us.

As a side note here's a quick Bea update.  We had her to the specialist 3 times following her laser surgery last Monday.  They took extra fluid out of her eye on each visit and with the medicine and drops she has shown improvement and still has sight in both eyes.  So we keep praying for her healing and doing all we can to see her get the best results possible given the dangers that glaucoma presents.

Bea this morning out for a walk.  She's definitely been taking advantage of and enjoying the extra attention.

I'll show the amazing growth we've had in our tower gardens and vertical hydroponic units in my next post.