The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe. EVER.

I know, I know….cheap shot right? Such a classic, “blogger” move. Use the phrase, “Best Ever.” , and throw all caps in there somehow. It’s a shameless move to get you to click on this post. But, I’m only slightly ashamed of myself, because I actually believe this. I can confidently say that I will never make another recipe, or buy another box mix for pumpkin/banana bread.

This pumpkin bread recipe is seriously the best. I have been making it for actual YEARS. It has been made for playdates, bible studies, class snacks, gifts for neighbors, and family breakfasts. I have vivid memories of myself from when Carolynn (now 8 years old) was a newborn and I would eat this bread and drink coffee, and stare at my perfect baby. This bread helped me through many a sleep deprived day, and since then has been a staple in our home, wherever that home has been. It is perfect everytime.

The recipe in it’s original form comes from Bethenny Frankel’s book, “Skinnygirl Dish”. She has truly perfected the banana bread recipe. I use several other recipes from this book on repeat (taco seasoning!) and recommend it for those healthy recipes, as well as her no nonsense take on how to stay “naturally thin”. Spoiler Alert: there’s no magic pill or anything….she just tells it straight up…things you already know, but she delivers it with a sarcastic, witty sense of humor.

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Here’s my take, step by step, on what she calls, “Boo Boo’s Banana Bread”:

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Gather all your ingredients, they’re all just going right into the bowl together:

  • 1 cup flour
    • I use whole wheat usually, but I have used coconut flour, and AP flour in the past.
  • 1 Cup Raw Sugar
    • You can use any sugar you like, but I love the texture of raw sugar and use it in all my baking.
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
    • I have used bananas, applesauce, applesauce and shredded zucchini, and pureed butternut squash.
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla (or almond extract is SO good.)

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To make mixing easier, I chop the butter into small cubes.

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 Make sure all ingredients are mixed well.  This batter isn’t overly wet, so put your back into it!

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Getting there…..

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If desired, (duh.) add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I always use semi sweet and love the mini ones. They do cost a bit more, but they really are just better for baked goods in my opinion.

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I make this both as a bread, and as muffins. If you’re in more of a time crunch, muffins will cook quicker. Whichever pan, or tin you cook it in, it won’t last long.

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Bake at 350 degrees: 18-24 minutes for muffins.

For bread, cover with foil for 30 min, uncover for 20 min more. (I have found that this time varies based on how deep your bread/loaf pan is. Add time under the foil if your loaf pan is shorter in length. This way you won’t have a doughy center.)

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 A food photographer, I am not. An eater, I am. All 12 of these muffins were devoured at our last Sunday breakfast. These also freeze well (wrap two together in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.) for quick home-baked breakfast on rushed mornings.

Please give this recipe a try, and go check out Bethenny’s book from your local library!

Happy baking, and thanks so much for reading!

Steph

The Forever Fence

Since moving into the Yellow House almost two years ago, putting up a fence has been on our project to-do list. It hasn’t just been on the list. It has been a big, looming, item on that list and has been repeatedly, intentionally moved down because….gulp….you have to dig deep holes in the rocky Texas soil (God Bless it)! You have to mix cement! Set the posts! You have to cut posts for goodness sake! It was a huge job. HUGE.

But, luckily for me, Mr. Yellow House is a project tackling beast. And just like you eat an elephant, we took on this intimidating project one attainable step at a time. First of all, I would like to mention that I am using “we” generously here. I did help, of course. But, Mr. YH deserves the credit, along with his parent’s, our friends, and anyone else who came and helped in the sweltering August heat. People love you if they’ll dig holes/cut posts/attach field fence in a Texas summer. We are so blessed.

If you have been a reader of this blog for a while (thank you), you may remember that we put up a barb wire fence about a year ago. You can read my post, “How the Cows Convinced us to Put Up a Fence” here. (Why are we always putting up a fence in the hottest part of the summer?) We knew that first fence wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. So, you could say, the cows are to “thank” for the forever fence as well. Once that barb wire started to droop, they were in our yard like it was their job. Eating our garden, the kid’s soccer balls and chewing up our garden hose. To stay positive, we’ll say that they motivated us to get the ball rolling. In reality, we yelled at them and shooed them out with serious frustration. “There is literally grass everywhere!”

First, we needed deep holes for our support posts. We went through some trials, put the auger on my dad’s tractor and went to work. Nope. Maybe if we….nope…how about…nope. It’s a serious tractor, but it just wasn’t going to get through that hard ground. We went back to the drawing board, and this is where we got discouraged. We called someone out to give us a quote on building the fence for us. This decision caused some conflict, but also gave us some real insight, and tethered me back to our mission. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Obviously, we didn’t hire him and moved on with new vigor.

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Brian found this local guy who owns a skid steer with a rock auger.

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We let kids play in the deep holes. We did not make them wear appropriate clothing for a picture we intended to post publicly. 😉

Next, Brian and his dad (Thank you dad!!!) set the support posts-those on corners or those that would be supporting a gate, in the deep holes using cement. What has already been done at this point is, we have collected and/or cut all the posts already and they are in a pile by the house. (Big thanks to our friends, The Pearsons. They came out for a day and helped us harvest some posts!)

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Once the posts were set, Brian used the chainsaw to cut divots out of the support posts.

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The kids water-proofed the tops of the posts, and the fresh cuts.

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For posts set on the corners, or anywhere that could be supporting a gate, you have to create an H brace. This helps the fence stay upright when you put pressure on it by hanging a gate, or when you pull wire across. We shimmied/shoved a horizontal post into our divots.

I will not attempt to describe this process too thoroughly, because honestly I’m attempting to simplify months of work. If you’re looking to do this…YouTube.

 

We used 12 gauge galvanized wire  to wrap around the top of the outside post and the bottom of the inside post (closest to where the gate will hang). Friendly advice: invest in a serious, no messin’ around pair of wire cutters to cut this stuff.

We used barbed staples to attach the wire to the post. Then we used a piece of rebar to twist the wire and provide resistance and stability. We attached the rebar to the inside, and middle of the cross post with a staple.

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We did this a total of ten times. We have four gates (1-2 braces for each) and the rest are on the corners.

 

We set the rest of our posts using a tamper. If you don’t know, a tamper is a heavy, cumbersome, arduous pole that breaks up the ground on one end and smashes it compact on the other. It is hard, hard work and is how we stay “ranch fit”. It’s likely this is some kind of Cross Fit work out.

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Here we are using the tamper to dig a trench for the cattle guard.

We bought two rolls of field fence and ran it along all the posts, attaching with barbed staples.

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BIG thanks to Brian’s mom for helping us keep the posts in line. She did a great job!
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Planning a post about how we built that darling gate! I love it!

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One of my grandmother’s written goals for our ranch was, “To have an eager and willing spirit to learn” and ” To have the quest for knowledge…”

Hiring someone, who I’m sure would have done a great job, and saved our sore backs, would not have accomplished either of those goals. Not really. Do you know what we have knowledge about now? How to build an H brace, how to unroll a huge roll of field fence without smashing all our toes, and how to cut 12 gauge wire without breaking your hand.

Y’all it was hard work. Such hard work. But I think the fallacy is that hard is the same as bad. I have not found that to be true on this ranch, or in this life at all. I’m so thankful I had a partner in this adventure to remind me of that. Hard can be fun, and a learning experience…and a great story to tell. Thankfully, Brian kept his head on straight and helped us start, and finish this fence because I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I am so proud of him, and us, and this beautiful fence with it’s crooked gate. It brings a tear to my eye to look at it.

Thanks for reading,

Steph

How to hang a Barn Light anywhere!

I have had “barn light” on my House Project To-Do list for over a month now.  I have been having a hard time 1) deciding where it should go and 2) Figuring out how I was going to get it functional without taking on any electricity. I have seen other bloggers that hang a barn light and use battery operated lights to make it a functional source of light, as well as a touch of character. While that’s a great idea, and also avoids calling/becoming an electrician, I was looking for a different option. Mainly because my experience with those lights is that they need new batteries uh…in the ballpark of once a day. So, since I would rather not spend bookoos on batteries, I came up with a solution that was amazingly easy and I can’t believe I waited this long to do it!

You will need:

Barn Light (Mine is from Wal-Mart, but this one is very similar, and similar price)

Hanging Pendant Lamp Cord (It is only $7.50!)

Black electrical tape

Drill (We have a Ryobi and LOVE it.)

 

First, I decided on my spot, and pre drilled my holes.

Then, I tucked in the cord from the hanging pendant light around the spot for the bulb. This is inside the barn light itself:

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I used electrical tape to hold the light socket on the cord, to the inside (as much as I could) of the socket provided in the barn light.

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I know, it’s not beautiful….yet!

The bulb will hang out a bit more than it would have had you used it as intended. You may want to consider using a bulb that isn’t ultra bright.

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We traded the bulb in this photo out for a “vintage” Edison bulb and it gives off a softer light.

I tucked my cord behind the furniture and left my switch accessible.

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You could do this anywhere in your home! The spot I chose was close to a plug, but the cord lights come in longer lengths, (mine is 12ft) if you needed to run more cord.

That’s it! A quick and inexpensive way to add a custom look, charm and character! Let me know if you try this out, or if you have any other tricks like this. I love to hear from y’all!

Thanks for reading! -Steph

 

 

A letter to myself as I drop my youngest at Kindergarten.

Hey mama,

You did it. You made it. You grew, birthed, and prepared two kids for school. You’re here. It’s time. You’re going to take them to their school, drop them at their class, give them a squeeze and let them go. Let. Them. Go. You will be home alone and it will feel so strange.

You are crying as you write this. Straight up ugly crying as you think of that day, quickly approaching, and wishing the summer would stay just a little longer. Or hell, forever. Just one more summer, one more year, just a little longer.

You quit working, at a job you were good at, and stayed home all day, everyday with your babies. Some of those days felt like YEARS. Some days you were impatient and then filled with guilt. You couldn’t wait for them to go to bed, but then missed them immediately. Well, maybe not immediately.

You wish you’de spent less time on your phone, and less time cleaning. You wish you spent more time playing with them, reading to them and just been MORE PRESENT. You wish you had been more patient, said yes more, and never yelled.

You remember all those well-meaning grannies at the grocery store saying, “Cherish every moment.”, “These days go by fast.” “You’re going to miss this”…(*read in granny voice for proper effect.)

At the time you thought, “Take a hike, granny!” because you were throwing snacks at your whiny toddler and “shushing”  your fussy baby in the carrier. But bless those grannies, they were right. Those were the days.

But mama, these are the days too. You are going to be challenged and blessed in the next season too. Do not mourn too much. You still have work to do.

You are going to let go of your regrets. You are going to feel proud of your kids, and yourself. You are going to joyfully guide all of you into the next season. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GRIEVE ABOUT THE PAST BEING OVER AND MISS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS. You did more good than bad, mama. You have done so much. You taught them to share, sleep, use a toilet, eat vegetables, blow their noses, and put on their own shoes.

Your husband missed dinners and bedtimes so you could do this. You are filled with gratitude for the time you had. You are excited to see what they’ll do, and devastated that they’ll both be gone all day. It’s okay to be sad. You’re going to miss them and that’s okay, too. You want them fly, but stay in the nest. You want them to be successful, but still need you. That’s motherhood.

You don’t feel ready, but you can do this. You’re going to encourage them, and smile through your tears and tell them they’re going to love it. And you’ll mean it. You won’t cherish every moment in the next season either, but dangit, you’ll try to. Time just goes by too blasted fast. You know that now.

Go home, drink a whole cup of coffee while it’s still hot, close the door when you go pee, go for a run,  take a nap, read a book, go to the store by yourself. Try not to count down the minutes until you pick them up.

These are the days.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

You Need a Wet Brush!

Happy Monday! Last year, on my birthday I shared this post, where I share some of my favorite things. Those things remain my favorite things, this year, and probably forever. But, I’m dying to add a new item to the list….You know how when you try a new idea, or product that literally changes your life and you think, “why didn’t I know about this sooner?” , or “how have we been living without this?”  Like sliced bread right?! My new favorite thing is one of those things. This summer, I found The Wet Brush. Halleluia!

I’m not sure the science behind this brush, but it is far better than any brush I’ve ever used. Magic…science…whatever. I’m a believer. During the summer, we usually adopt the motto, “Summer Hair, Don’t Care.” for Carolynn’s long locks.

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Carolynn has long, curly hair and brushing out her hair after a swim, shower or bath has always involved tears. It would get so tangly after swimming, we would have to pull it up in a top knot (which she hates), or leave a limp pool pony tail until her next shower. Now, I keep a Wet Brush in our pool bag and brush her hair out with ease after each swim.

With The Wet Brush, she hasn’t shed a single tear, and hardly even a wince. It is actual, real life magic for less than $10.

You can buy one of your own original detangling brush, or you can buy one for use with blow drying (this is a pretty ombre version), or this one made for thick hair.

You may just want to go ahead and get the two pack of detangling brushes so you can have one for your bathroom and one for the pool/beach bag. I also keep this leave in conditioner by Aussie in our pool bag.

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Go get yourself one (or more!) of these brushes and you can thank me later. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Steph

*I have not been paid for this review. It is my own humble, and honest opinion. I have attached the links to these products should you wish to purchase them. If you do decide to use my link to purchase one of these amazing brushes, I will receive a small portion of your sale. This is at no extra cost to you. Thank you!!

 

How to love your ugly light fixtures for less than $30!

I’ve mentioned before that we never wanted to build a house. It was not on either of our bucket lists, and the decision to build was only made because honestly, there wasn’t another reasonable choice. (You can read about the house already on property where we lived/camped during the building process here) We wanted to live on this ranch, to be good stewards of this property, and we wanted to be able to do that everyday. (Read my favorite post, How We Got Here for the full backstory)

When we realized that being here on this blessed property meant *gulp* we would have to build our house, we dreaded making all the choices that go along with a new build. Of course, it was mostly pleasant and like we always knew, it’s not really about the house and all it’s bells and whistles anyway.

Throughout the whole process, the only choices we made with true reluctance were our light fixtures. We just didn’t like any of them. Oh sure, you can have any light fixture in their whole showroom…..for thousands extra. Looking to keep a reasonable mortgage? You silly, you can only choose from the, “bug bowl collection”. Ahhh yes, crispy bugs in all my light fixtures totally fits my style. One in every room please!

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It’s especially appetizing to look up at all the crispy gnats, communally entombed above the place you eat. Mmmm. As a solution to this (complete first world) problem, for my dining room, I purchased 5 of these small lamp shades from Wal-Mart.

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Quick side note, Wal-Mart has really upped their game in the home decor department. If you’re looking for something for your home, looking at Wal-Mart is not as bottom of the barrel as your high school former self might believe. They even offer 2-day shipping, or ship to store if you order online. We ordered a full sized mattress and box spring from Walmart.com and it showed up at our front gate in 2 days. The world we live in!

I purchased my shades in store, and I believe I paid $4.88 each for them. If you order online, they’re only $3.29! If you have five lights like me, that’s less than $20 to change the whole look of that light.  Buy some here.

These are actual lamp shades, so they look like this inside.

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This worked with my light fixture since it matched up well with our lightbulbs. If you’re using chandelier/candelabra bulbs (they are pointed on top and look like a flame) then you may have a smaller spot to screw in your bulb. (don’t worry, there’s a solution for that!)

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That’s it! I think it makes a huge difference, and I like it so much better now. Plus, the added bonus of it being inexpensive and pretty darn easy.

If you’re looking to complete this project but have a smaller spot to screw in your bulbs (is there an actual term for that “spot”?) , you may need actual Chandelier Shades. The inside of those shades uses a piece that clips onto the light bulb. Here’s some linen, and burlap shades I like from Amazon. (click on photo for link)

                       

 

I also LOVE these from ShadesofLight.com. They come in 9 different colors, and are a little bit of a splurge at $19 each.

4" Horizontal Ticking Stripe Chandelier Shade navy

Now, I’m coming for this crispy bug filled, weird boob-looking entry light next:

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I just love using the ladder to scoop…err, wipe…out the bugs. (How can you clean those things?!) Who are we kidding, I never get out the ladder and this chore never gets completed. Welcome home, bugs!

I can’t wait to show you what we have planned for this light! We are still working on the logistics, but it involves a piece of a washing machine. Sounds crazy, but I think it just might work…..

I hope you can use this idea in your home to make the most of what you have! Please let me know if you try it out, I would love to see it!

Find your adventure,

Steph

 

Pesto is the Best-o!

How, oh how can it already be July? We have been having a fun, and busy summer so far! I overcame a fear of mine, and took the kids to Schlitterbahn, the so called, “hottest coolest time in Texas.” Although Brian and I had both been many times, I wasn’t looking forward to taking the kids. Lots of people, lots of water rushing around….Anyway, we had a really great time and it wasn’t at all what my overactive mom brain said it would be (drowning, kidnapping, loss of limbs, other assorted unthinkable tragedies)! We visitied my grandparents, spent a week at the lake, and got a new puppy!

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I always have some conflicting feelings about July. It’s summer, so I can’t be mad at it. It’s also my birthday month BUT, this is also the month where the ads on TV start telling you it’s time to shop for back to school. Why so soon? Let me enjoy my summer TV ad people. So rude.

One of the summer herbs we’re enjoying, and I’ve still got growing like crazy right now is basil, (We also have tomatoes and zucchinis and okra! Read about our garden in this post) and I really want to share with you a pesto recipe I’ve been making with all that basil. Want to feel like a real life farmer? Grow basil.

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See? You will be ready to quit your day job, put on some overalls and milk your own cows. Too much?? Well, at the very least, your gardening self esteem will be boosted,  big time. Anyone can grow this stuff and it’s so yummy on, and with, so many things. (Caprese ensalada anyone? Margherita pizza? YUMMM)

A great way to use basil, especially when you have lots, is to make pesto. Pesto goes great on chicken, in pastas, spread on warm slices of french bread, and my favorite way–on pizza. Forgo the sauce, spread the pesto on your crust and top with shredded chicken, or just veggies and cheese. This is my new favorite pizza for our Friday family night tradition: homemade pizza and movie nights. (A post on family pizza night coming soon!)

To make pesto, pick 2 packed cups of basil.

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Add 1/3 c pine nuts to basil and pulse. Then add 1/2 c parmesean cheese, and 2 tsp garlic (more or less, according to your taste).

(How do you like my “vintage” food processor?)

I get this bag of pine nuts from Costco:

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And yes, it is $19. Nine. Teen. American dollars. So, if you would rather not buy all this, I’ve seen recipes that substitute cashews or walnuts for the pine nuts. I haven’t tried it, so let me know if you do, I’de love to know how it turns out! It could save me hundreds.

Once you’ve combined your basil, garlic and nuts, put the lid on and slowly add 1/2 c of olive oil as your processor runs. Stop a few times to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Once it’s combined, taste and add seasoning as desired. I always add salt and pepper of course, but we also like to add jalapeno slices, pickled jalapeno juice, and/or red pepper flakes to make it spicy. Give it a few pulses if you add anything at the end.

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The pesto will keep well in the fridge for a week. Make sure to place a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the pesto before putting the lid on your jar or container. This will keep the air out and maintain freshness.

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I am a huge proponent of freezing things, so of course I also have some frozen. You can use ice cube trays to freeze smaller portions, or use a freezer safe jar or container.

We’ve had it on pizza, on pork chops, with veggies, on pasta, with chicken and as the sauce on a zucchini lasagna with sausage.

Here are a few other ideas I’de like to try, and for you to try at home:

Pesto hummus 

Pesto Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Pesto Egg-in-a-hole with Bacon

As always, I love to hear from you, so let me know if you try the pesto recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by!

_Steph

 

Garden Update: Summer 2018

Hi there! Long time no read huh?! We’ve been finishing the school year, and summer-ing it up over here at the Yellow House and although I have three different posts I’m working on (it is a creative junk drawer in my brain right now) in my drafts folder for the last month, I haven’t finished one of them….until now.

Before I share what’s going on in our garden-which we are VERY excited about-I want to share some other things I grew, and am VERY proud of.

Landon graduated from the sweetest little preschool of all time.

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He did so well in school this year. He had the best teachers, he learned so much, and I am confident he is ready for Kindergarten. We are so proud of him.

Also, he is currently in his awkward, unnatural smiling phase accompanied by goofy thumbs up. In every picture. It’s like a reflex now, it’s like he can’t help himself. *mom holds up her phone to take picture* = *goofy smile and thumbs up*. SO many things we’ll never understand.

AND, Carolynn finished First Grade.

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She is that kid that just does school. She likes learning, and wants to do well. I had to make her laugh for this picture because she is still residing in “awkward smile for posed photo phase”.

After her class party, we met daddy for lunch at one of their favorites places for Carolynn’s favorite food-burritos.

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This picture cracks me up every time. They are so goofy.

They smile all the time, I swear. Getting a smiling, serious picture from these two is akin to getting a picture of bigfoot, or a unicorn.

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There’s also this, which does capture Carolynn’s genuine feelings in the moment.

Oh well. I’ll play some sudoku, take Ginko Biloba. Maybe I’ll just remember their natural smiles. *sigh*

Anyway, we are so blessed with two great schools where we had another great year.

Since the title of this post is “Garden Update” I think I should probably get to that….I’m so excited to show you!

Back in the spring, I posted about our garden, (read it here) and how we (Brian and the kids) prepped it, planned it and planted it. Here’s a picture of the garden from that post. (we built the beds last year)

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These are our potatoes and onions.

And here’s the potatoes we’ve pulled up, and eaten since then! We’ve never grown potatoes, and it was so fun to pull up the plant and count how many spuds we’de grown.

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Another first, we grew cucumbers! We were so excited to see these beauties on the vine.

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We’ve picked two of them so far, and used them to make refrigerator pickles. We haven’t eaten one yet, and we are not so patiently waiting for them to be ready to eat in…32 hours. But who’s counting?

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We’ve also got lots of tomatoes coming in and I have many ideas for these tomatoes. My first idea is to EAT THEM. But also, freeze them, sauce, tomato jam, sun dried tomatoes and learning how to can/preserve them. I am nervous about the canning…but not the eating.

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Last fall, we had a random spaghetti squash plant come up in our compost. Carolynn with her blessed, childlike hopes, planted it in the garden and it actually produced several spaghetti squash. When we recently found another little sprout, we planted it and hereis it’s little baby. Hopes grow spaghetti squash. But we also water it and stuff.

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Brian recently put up this shade cloth to protect the plants from that scorching afternoon sun.

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In this bed, we also have onions, 4 okra plants, roma tomatoes, 2 green bean plants and two cucumber plants.

In the ground, we’ve got some tiny little melons growing. Look how cute:

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And some tiny zucchini:

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Like everything we’re trying to establish here, this season’s garden has been a learning experience. We have read a lot and tried a lot and we are still getting the hang of it. We’ve watered, and wiped off aphids, pulled weeds and walked through the garden everyday looking at each plant. There is such a joy, and personal satisfaction of caring for the plants that grow actual food.

We have made three batches of pesto (a pesto post-o is one of the above mentioned drafts I’m working on) from the basil we’ve grown in this garden:

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This bed also has cilantro, dill, rosemary and strawberries. We haven’t had a large strawberry harvest, but both kids have eaten their fair share of them plucked right off the plant.

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Having this land gives us the opportunity and space to have a garden, and having a garden is another way we can honor this land and be blessed by it.

Do any of you have a garden this summer? Anyone know how to can? Want to show me, or direct me to any good blogs on the subject? I’m ready to add another skill to my, “Adventure Life Resume”: “Master Canner”….Or maybe just, “Canner”…..Or “Can if she has to”.

Thanks for being here, and keeping up with our adventures! Always, always glad you’re here on my little blog, to follow along with our adventures.

Steph

 

 

The ONLY place you should be buying baskets, and a Dining room chair makeover

As I’ve shared before, I love finding thrifted treasures. And I may be biased, but I am sure that my local Goodwill store is the best Goodwill store there’s ever been.

I know there is a bit of an “ick” factor to using someone else’s old stuff, but besides the fact that most things can be washed or cleaned after you purchase, I love the unique look you can give your home with things you’ve repurposed. I often feel proud of how little I’ve paid for an item that I’ve been able to turn into something I really enjoy using in my decor.

Like this old tool box. (It was $8 in case you’re curious)

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That basket with the pillows is also from Goodwill.

Or this basket I use for my cook books:

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Friendly PSA: DO NOT buy baskets from anywhere that isn’t a Goodwill. It is a basket-a-palooza at that place. You can find any shape, size, and style of basket to fill any need you have. Laundry hampers, trashcans, decorative…the one pictured here was meant to hold a 9×13 dish. I have a basket of some kind at every door for shoes. All from Goodwill, all for less than $10, and likely less than $5.

My kids know better than to say they can’t find their shoes. If they’re not in a basket, you better keep it to yourself. I have set you up for success little people. Shoe. Baskets.

Also, lamps. Will you find the lamp of your dreams at Goodwill? Probably not. But I love the warm, cozy look of lamp light and for much cheaper than new, you can find many styles, colors and sizes of lamps any day at a Goodwill.

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My latest, and perhaps greatest find is a dining room table and four chairs. We have been on the look out for a new, rectangular table for our dining room. We have even discussed making one ourselves, which is still the plan, but for $150 and a little diy-ing these chairs went from someone else’s old stuff, to my new dining room set.

Here’s a look at their old seat cushions, with help from my awkwardly posed assistant.

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Here’s another, in case my adorable model threw you off a bit.

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Under the chair, there were 4 screws holding the cushion on. Unscrew each one, and set aside for when you’re ready to put it back together! Don’t forget where you put them. Just sayin’….I gave each cushion a wipe down with a damp, slightly soapy rag and sprayed with febreze before covering.
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Cut your fabric so you have 2-3 inches of border around the outside. I chose this tan ticking because, 1) I already had it and 2) ticking is classic and timeless, but mostly because I already had it. 🙂

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I started at the top with a staple right in the middle. This gave me some leverage to pull the rest of the fabric around. Don’t stress too much about the perfection of this first staple. You can go back and give it another tug and another staple if it needs it.
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Fold the corners, “gift wrap style” and staple. I kept a hammer close by to really ensure those staples were in good, and tight on the corners. Keep the fabric pulled as tightly as you can with all the staples following that first one. You don’t want it bunchy.
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My photographer, who is also my husband, is taunting me in this picture saying things like, “work it. work it. Nice stapling…” and things to that effect. He’s hilarious.
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This is a crucial step! Spray the living daylights out of your newly covered cushions with this  blessed stuff.  It seems too good to be true, but I can wipe off drips, drops and spots with a wet cloth and I’ve been really pleased with how clean the cushions have stayed. Buy some here.

 

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We’ve had these chairs for almost 2 months, and this is Landon’s seat. See what I mean about the Scotchguard?? Why haven’t I been Scotchguarding all the things??

There you have it! This project took less than 2 hours, and including the applying and drying of the Scotchguard spray, it took 2 days to finish. I am happy to give this table a new home here, at the Yellow House and make some happy meal time memories around it.

Do y’all shop at Goodwill, or other comparable thrift type stores? What are your favorite things to get there? Is the “ick” factor a dilemma for you? Love to chat with y’all about it.

I’m always so glad to have you here, thank you SO much for reading! -Steph

Pool side Reading List

People, people, we are SO close to the summer. So.close. We’ve got less than 30 days of school left (but who’s counting?) and the summer is calling to me. I love the summer with a big, big love. It’s my favorite season, by far. (I’ve already gone into the many reasons I love it, here, on this post , entitled, “Summer, I love you.”)

I’m ready for lazy mornings, longer days and the pool. That pool is my happy place. So many happy memories are made there. My great grandfather built this giant pool in 1960 for his two grown daughters, who swam for exercise. Like to swim laps, it’s a huge pool.

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I mean, come on. Ok, now ask me if I think you should get a pool…..Hell no. Unless you’re going to get a pool boy, in which case, go for it. BUT, since it’s pretty much a family heirloom I plan to enjoy it to the fullest. Which puts me here, doing this:

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In heaven, I will be by the pool. Reading, and probably eating Twizzlers.

As the summer gets closer, I’ve been putting together a list of books I plan to read, poolside of course, and want to share them with y’all! If you plan on reading anything other than my blog this summer (ha ha), I’de love to have you join me in reading one of these books and let me know what you think! Some of the books I’m listing are books from last summer’s reading list, and several books I haven’t read, and am looking forward to picking up.

Last summer, I read  America’s First Daughter, based on Thomas Jefferson’s daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I love historical fiction, and if you do too, this is a good choice.

I haven’t yet read, but am planning to pick up another by Dray, and Kamoie: My Dear Hamilton 

Also, Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

Another amazing read from Fredrik Backman and from last year’s Summer Reading List,  is A Man Called Ove

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Also GREAT, by Kristin Hannah, and from last year’s Summer reading list, is The Nightingale. 

Let me know if you plan on picking up any of these books for your summer reading pleasure, and I’de love to chat! Let’s start a book club! What should we read first?

What are y’all planning to read this summer? Are you anxiously awaiting the summer season, like me?

Looking forward to hearing from you, thanks for reading!!-Steph

*I have attached the links to these products should you wish to purchase them. If you do decide to use my link to purchase one of my favorite things, I will receive a small portion of your sale. This is at no extra cost to you. Thank you!!