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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summertime Locavore {sort of}

Summertime is here which means one of my favorite things is happening: farmers markets! We have our own garden, but all of the farmers markets are a few weeks ahead of us when it comes to having vegetables ready so I am shopping there for now. I consider myself a summertime locavore. I do realize that all-year "true" locavores would be disappointed in me since I only buy local beef (from a family member's farm) and produce, but you have to start somewhere right?!

Two weeks ago week we ate our first plain tomato. We simply washed it, sliced it and ate it plain and to the delight of my taste buds, it was incredible. The tomato came from an orchard less than one mile away (very lucky for me).

So, reap what you sow (if you have a garden of your own)! We have been eating all homegrown lettuce from our garden for a couple weeks now. The flavor is unlike anything I've ever tasted, but don't come to our house if you don't like lettuce that packs a punch.

We're actually going to plant more in place of our onions, which are very strong and pungent as onions should be, so we can have lettuce longer through the summertime.

I have been picking and shelling peas everyday and sometimes we put them in hot water for a short time to soften them up or we put them raw into our salads.

The cucumbers are ready too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time Out Tuesday: Baptism

Our son was baptized on Sunday and it was emotional for us as parents. Here is one photo of him looking a bit angelic :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

$11 at Harris Teeter

Yesterday I stopped by Harris Teeter to pick up a few grocery items. I will preface this by saying that the trip was not on a whim and not for my weekly shopping. William is being baptized on Sunday so after the service we will be having more than a dozen adults and a handful of children over for lunch. Only one other time have we had that many people over and I did not have a newborn, but I digress.

I get Harris Teeter's eVIC emails since I am part of the program and shop their regularly. I received one the other day that told me a few things:
raspberries BOGO
shredded cheese BOGO
asparagus $1.99 (instead of $3.79)
Texas Pete 10/$10
Coupons doubled up to $1.98 face value (usually it is only $0.99)

After doing 98% of my party food shopping at Costco earlier this week, I went to Harris Teeter to get a few last minute items and some of these newer things that caught my eye. I was armed with my short list and my coupons. Here is what I bought:

The Hershey syrup wasn't on my list, but I remembered my husband requested it for chocolate milk so I added it to the basket.
The total cost of my purchase was only $11.27!! How did I do it?? Why, let me tell you :)

- If items are BOGO or x/$x at Harris Teeter, the price divides out. So, I only bought one container of raspberries which is all I needed, and paid $4 instead of $8
- The asparagus was only $1.99 which is a discount of nearly $2. Why is it always so pricy??
- The Texas Pete was $1 for the bottle, plus I had a $0.40 coupon that doubled so it only cost $0.20
- I bought the salad dressings in case guests don't like what we have here on Sunday and because they were BOGO at $3.25 and I had a $1 coupon that doubled so I got two dressings for $1.25
- The shredded cheese s good on top of hot tomatoes, pizza, salad, etc and since it was $2.79, but BOGO, I only paid $1.40
- I needed the concentrated OJ ($1.67) and lemonade for one of the beverages I am making Sunday and the lemonade one was less than $1
- The Nabisco Triscuits were BOGO $3.89 and I had a $1 off coupon that doubled so I got both boxes for $1.89.
- And then there is the Hershey syrup that did nothing for me except add $2.29 to my total.

My receipt says that $24.36 in coupons were redeemed because a few of the in-store deals are considered eVIC coupons. In reality, it was $16.31 VIC savings and $8.05 in coupons.

Yes, I am pleased with myself considering I got fruits, veggies, dressing, crackers, cheese and salad dressing! AND I am done shopping for the party!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tour of the Gardens

Since we moved into our home in November 2009, this is only our second spring/summer growing season. In April 2009, my husband did build and plant a vegetable garden on our property even though our house wasn't built yet.

Our vegetable garden has really grown...extending well beyond the borders of our original vegetable garden area. This year, we actually planted the tomato plants outside of the fenced in area since their scent typically makes them deer resistant (we did lose two so far). Since the tomatoes grow so large, this gave us more fenced in space to try new plants and more of them.

My flower garden has grown since last year. A few months ago I did a brief post about my early spring flowers. Well, those flowers have passed their prime and others have continued to grow into beautiful summer blooms. This is a photo of my flower area (which really needs to be weeded). We have two rose bushes, a red and a light pink. Right now, several groups of gladiolas (purple, orange, and pink) are growing and will probably bloom in a few weeks. Those are the tall plants in front of the roses in the photo below. Last year they were beautiful. Then, the leafy plant in front is a daisy and the really small plant is a lily, next to the other variety of lily on the end.

We also planted berries this year! We have blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Two plants are growing fruit already so hopefully we'll at least get to taste a few berries this summer. Like many plants, the berries will be more bountiful the second year after planting. Next to the berries on the side of our house, my husband planted 11, yes, eleven, pepper plants. There are at least five varieties of peppers and if you have never tasted a homegrown one, you are missing out. My garden taught me how flavorful green peppers can actually be.

The front of out house is all flowers: lilies, sweet pea, spiky purple flowers, a boxwood and white otto lucan. We also have some basil mixed in. I am all for symmetry in the front, so that is the same on both sides.

Along the other side of our house, next to the driveway, is where my three birthday hydrangeas live along with some sedum, catnip and several herbs including rosemary, tarragon, mint and oregano.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tech Update

Well, after 3.5 years I finally got a new phone! My Samsung Juke has been replaced. Since I had a Blackberry for work, I didn't care if my personal phone was just a phone. But. Since I left my job to be a stay at home mom with this little guy:

I decided it was time to upgrade. We will see how posting works with apologies if the photo doesn't appear after the colon above where I wanted it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beach Babe

 We took our little babe to the beach for the first time and he didn't seem to mind one bit! we were only there about 30 minutes so mommy could take some pictures, but we'll be going back with some friends soon for a longer visit which probably means more beach time.

Look how cute he is! :)

We also put his feet in a pool for the first time. Since we're in Maryland, the water is still cold so I don't think I'll actually be bringing him in this year, but we'll see.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Pillows!

My home now has some updated summer pillows thanks to this quick tutorial over at A Pretty Cool Life. Cheryl said it takes ten minutes, but it took me about twenty. Why is it that cutting and pressing always takes longer than the actual sewing part?! Let's just say I learned my lesson in the past when I wasn't careful on these steps and had to start over. So I guess that is why I am so careful about it now!

I actually made two sets of pillows: one for the rocking chairs on our porch which originally had this pattern, and a new pair for our couch which I just completed. I even made a pair for my mom's living room while she was in town!

The tutorial I used this time was even easier than the one in my previous post because it is only one piece of fabric and you only sew two short edges (the flap) and two long edges. I'm going to let you visit the original tutorial for more details, but here are some of my photos.