Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Birthday Presents

Summer always brings a lot of birthdays!  I am excited this summer b/c I have the great book sling idea to make and give away as gifts.  Abby loves to pick out the fabric at the store and she even helps a bit with the pinning.  This was the latest one we made.

We are all about butterflies around here!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Swiss Chard (or Kale) Feta Pasta

So far EVERY week we have recieved Swiss Chard in our CSA share.  I try to do a different recipe with it each week.  This was a family favorite.  The original recipe called for spinach, but I think Swiss Chard or Kale would/does work great!

Spinach and Feta Pasta      Recipe by Our Best Bites

Box of pasta

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

3 c. fresh spinach ( I used one large bunch of Swiss Chard)

1 onion, finely chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

A handful of fresh mushrooms, chopped

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. In the meantime, heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add tomatoes, heat through, and then add drained pasta and crumbled feta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat through and serve; you can crumble a little extra feta on top if you feel the urge.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden Post #15 First Harvest

Our first Harvest of the year!  Peas.  Small, but it is something!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Friday!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week!  It is just to darn hot. 
Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Impromptu Beach Day!

It was hot, we were bored.  We only live minutes to the ocean. 
Daddy suggested we skip nap and head to the beach.

It was cold when we got there!  Ahhh, Maine-you never know what kind of weather you will get!

The end result!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spudnik or dinner?

Kohlrabi on the left and Bok Choy on the top right.

Our CSA has started and we are very excited. We took part in a CSA-Community Supported Agriculture share last year as well and we learned how to prepare certain vegetables we had never even heard of before! We pay a set fee in the winter to the farm and then June thru Oct we pick up our weekly share at the local farmers market.

This year our share started off with Bok Choy, Kohlrabi, white radishes, red radishes, spring garlic, two different kinds of head lettuce, broccoli, beets and Swiss Chard. I had ideas on how to prepare everything we brought home (we are sharing with another family-we could never eat what we get each week before it went bad), but had NO idea what to do with the Kohlrabi. Thank goodness for the internet!

I had a few left over potatoes and decided to just roast them together with the Kohlrabi - added some of the spring garlic from our share, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was wonderful!
I got the idea over at A Veggie Venture.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fathers Day!

We celebrated Father's Day yesterday.  Abby brought home this gem of a project from pre-school just for daddy.  Somewhat like my Mother's day card were I was pegged as a 25 year old-if only.

That would be a tie on the right-something my husband NEVER wears!  My favorite part is the comment "His favorite place to go is to a movie".  I have NO idea where she got that one-I don't think he has been to the movies in about 5+ years!!  Funny, 5 years, just about the same age as Abby, must have something to do with having kids and getting out of the house...............

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberries are here!

Happy Friday!
There is also about 10 more gallons of strawberry juice tucked up under that chin!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Pizza

Sweet potato pizza!  What, that does not sound good to you??  Let me tell you it was wonderful.  My 2 year gobbled it down, but the 4 year old thought the sweet pots looked WAY too much like the dreaded vegetable called squash-so she nibbled around the crust.

Here is the recipe from over at Hand Thy Hath Provide.  Super easy and yummy!

Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion and Feta Pizza

2-3 cups thinly sliced (and peeled) sweet potatoes

3 cups thinly sliced onions (I used the sweet onions-I can eat those plain! yum)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups roasted tomatoes (I did not have tomatoes-so I just used a jar of spag sauce)

1 1/2 cups feta cheese

pizza dough to cover a 17 x 13 inch baking sheet (see my EASY pizza dough recipe)

Place sliced sweet potatoes in a large bowl and toss them with 1 tbsp. olive oil, thyme, pepper and salt. Spread them on a greased baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until they soften, checking frequently to avoid burning them.

In the meantime, saute onions in 1 tbsp. oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium and saute for another 15 minutes.

Spread pizza dough out on a greased baking sheet. Spread pizza sauce on the dough (or if you have the roasted tomatoes).  Next, lay roasted sweet potato slices on top.  Top with Feta.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is slightly browned.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garden Post #14. THE FENCE

The garden fence in progress.  My husband's goal is to keep out every animal in every shape and size.    On another note, we replanted some summer squash and cukes and have actually picked TWO peas!  whoo hooo

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last day of school!

Abby's last day of pre-school was yesterday!  I can't believe the whole year went by already.  I know, I know everyone says that, but it was just yesterday that I was teary eyed as she took her first ride on the bus.   And now I have 2.5 months to prepare myself errrr Abby for kindergarten. 

Last day of school 2009-2010

First day of school 2009-2010

Last day of school 2009-2010

First day of school 2009-2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wedding cakes and cupcakes!!

My mother and I completed our first wedding cake assignment over the weekend. We were invited to a long time family friends wedding and my mother volunteered to make the cake! The wedding was a nice, simple outdoor wedding on the lake. Table center pieces were wild flowers and the cake seemed to be the perfect fit. We both let out a sigh of relief when the cake was delivered in one piece and safe on the table!  I don't know how professional wedding cake makers/designers deal with the pressure!!

On another note, my mother hand made 50+ frosting flower for the wedding cake and in the end we did not use any of them. Luckily Abby is bringing 20+ cupcakes into her classroom on her last day of school and we put them to good use! They might indeed be the fanciest cupcakes these pre-schoolers have ever seen!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dinner for three!

Dinner for three!   Happy Friday.

Full belly.  Do you think I should enter him in the Fatest Cat Contest or what? 
I am thinking we would surely win!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garden Post # 13. More trouble........

And it is called powdery mildew:


Powdery mildew is a fungal disease which affects many types of plants. Cucurbits like zucchini, squash, pumpkins, melons and gourds are all susceptible to powdery mildew. It usually appears on leaves as small round white powdery spots which quickly spread and cover the entire leaf. In our garden here at the yardstead we've lost many zucchini, squash and pumpkin plants to powdery mildew.    (source from

Yup, that would be us.  It has affected the zukes, summer squash, butternut, gourds and pumpkins!  AHHH and it gets worse:

 It can be controlled with quite a bit of effort and regular applications of a fungicide. Once you get it in your EarthBox (garden bed) though, it will stay there. The next growing season you either need to plant veggies that are not susceptible to PM (i.e. tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) or you need to get rid of your potting mix and sterilize your box with a mild bleach solution. This would be why you get it two years in a row.  (from Earthbox forum)

Double AHHHHHHHHHHHH   Empty out all the soil, bleach and start all over.....................   that sounds like way too much work!   And would definitely increase the price per vegetable to way past ridiculous!

For now we are trying an organic (and cheap) solution of 9 parts water and one part milk to try and ward off this awful stuff.   We'll see what happens next...................

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jelly fish craft idea!

Abby brought this idea home from school.   Using a paper plate cut in half, tape/glue and ribbon- the girls made cute little jelly fish.   A quick, easy project that both the girls were able to do by themselves!  (Very important to a two year old trying to be like her big sister)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Garden Post # 12. Trouble

JUST when things started looking good we are under attack!  It appears there is a critter sneaking into the yard at night nibbling on the goods.  First our peas were munched, then the sunflowers were beheaded and now the ONE and ONLY cuke that we have was completely mowed down! 

What USED to be a cuke plant.

Sunflowers with no flower buds left.

Up goes the fence!

So at the rate we are going- cost for wood for raised beds, cost for soil, cost for lobster compost, cost for seeds and now cost for fence we are looking at our tomatoes costing about 25 bucks each to raise, basil at 85 bucks a handful and with our small amout of surviving pea plants- 100 bucks a pea!  Would anyone care to join us for our million dollar salad at the end of August??

Saturday, June 5, 2010's hard.

There have been a lot of things changing around here lately.  The weather- spring to summer.  School ending and enrolling for kindergarten.  A neighbor has moved in nearby with a child the same age as Abby (4-5 years old) that has proven to be challenging with boundaries and Abby has been on several playdates without me with other kids from school.  While all this stuff is exciting, it also has been emotional.    After speaking to an older friend the other night who has three children (now all grown up with children of their own), she hit the nail on the head for me.  She said it is tough because this is the age where you are starting to let the world in.   Talk about an A-HA moment for me!  She was so right.    Up until now the girls and I have participated in everything together, I make up all the fun, I decide who they will play with, when, where etc.  And now, there are other influences in the world that I can't control.   I am not saying this from a controlling point of view.  I say this from the protective point of view- how I want my children to be raised, what influences they will have, to be kind and courteous to others, when to say yes and when to say NO.

I know the best I can do is teach them at home with my husband and family and when they head out into the world HOPE what they have learned at home stays with them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have really been getting into coupons lately!  I can save $5-$10 per visit to the grocery store with coupons.  I know that does not sound like a lot, but over a year that can really add up.   The best site I have found so far is:   I subscribe to the daily email news feed (I guess that is what you call it) and I get emails that look like this and I can click on each line and get the link:

New Printable Coupons: Huggies, Lawry’s, Eggo + More

Old Navy: Additional 50% Off Clearance + Coupons

Freebie Friday: American Apparel, Waffle House + More!

$10 off Tim Burton’s Disney Alice In Wonderland Printable Coupon + Rebates

Shutterfly: 3 FREE Greeting Cards (Father’s Day!)

Ask DSM Readers: What Are Your Favorite Survey Sites?

Giant Eagle Deals Week of 5/27/10

Target: Venus Razor Money Maker!

CVS: FREE Ban Plus Deals on Claritin, Gillette Pro-Glide + More Next Week

Car & Driver Magazine FREE Subscription

New Nivea Happy Sensation Body Lotion FREE Sample
I print out the coupons from this site, I enter to have free samples sent to me and have gotten several magazines for free such as Family Fun and Oprah!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The BEST easy and tasty pizza dough!

I have been looking for an easy and tasty pizza dough to make from scratch for a long time!   A recipe that even when I only have an hour till dinner time-there is still time to make it without it having to rise hours and hours.   I found it!  and modified it a bit!  This is where I found the orginial recipe at


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
 2 1/2 cups bread flour
 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. * I let it rise for about 30 min.*

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garden Post #11

The plants are in the ground!  Finally.  And we (well that would be my handy husband, not actually me) had to build a few more raised beds to accomondate it all.

We have "pumpkin hill" on the left and the octagonal shaped garden is the girls "flower" garden with Cosmos and one watermelon planted!