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Showing posts from May, 2012

Mama Kat Prompt:What I Miss Most About School

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What do I miss? Well, first I have to consider which school I'm even talking about before I get into missing anything. I don't think of grade school much---aside from colorful memoir material, like being accused of swearing when I said it was "hailing" outside or being so gullible I was easily misled into believing all sorts of falsehoods.  So moving on to high school---do I miss anything about that? I have to say there's a lot about high school I don't miss as far as the social environment goes. I did enjoy the academics---except algebra---I couldn't get algebra. I just couldn't wrap my mind around it at the time. I loathed P.E. since I couldn't hit a softball or dribble a basketball and I was as graceful as a pig on ice at gymnastics. Ugh. Torture. I couldn't get more then a C in P.E. and I think that was just the teacher's mercy. I was an athletic incompetent. I believe, when it comes to gym class, every student should get an A for

Garden Pics of the Week: Hibiscus & Flower Arranging

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I have 2 garden pictures for you today plus instructions on how to do your own flower arrangement! First up: a photo of my very tall Hardy Hibiscus! Hardy Hibiscus comes in red, pink and white. It's a very good investment for the garden because it comes back from the root every year as tall, leafy stems that bloom all summer. Multiple stems. Being so tall, Hardy Hibiscus is a good background garden plant, though it looks best against a structure, a fence or needs staking to keep it upright. It also tends to re-seed itself readily, however, here in the deep south, mine don't spread themselves around. They just come up from the same ol' root every year. However, my Mother leaves in Indiana and hers spread themselves by seed everywhere. They will thrive in any soil and prefer full to partial sun, that is more sun then shade. To avoid this you just have to dead-head the finished blossoms. Now my Hibiscus in this photo below are unusually tall---7 to 7 1/2 feet at

Mama Kat Prompt: The Big-Time Liar

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The Mama Kat's Prompt for today: "write about a time someone duped you," thus the title of this memoir: The Big-Time Liar      As a child, I was quite gullible. Dupable, you might say. Being that I was the oldest girl and the fact that we lived far out in the country, made me accustomed to honest communication with just my parents. Being lied to was a foreign concept, which made me the perfect patsy when I started school.       When I was in 3 rd grade, I was completely taken in by a classmate with a special penchant for story-telling. Her name was Robin, a copper-haired girl gifted with both ample imagination and a silver tongue--plus me, the willing believer. It was a fatal combination. I remember sitting at a table with Robin and 2 other girls playing go-fish one day when she pulled out “the item.” She kept it hidden in her hand as she whispered, “ I have a fairy.”      We leaned in, fascinated as she opened her hand to reveal a small clam shell abo

Wednesday Garden Pics: Flower Bed Views

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The Garden of Pics of the Day  are a couple views of my flower beds and a shot of my tomato plant laden with tomatoes. First up, my front flower bed: This is what people see when they park in the driveway or pass the house. It's a corner bed, triangle shaped. You can see my large pot sitting on the stump that once was a pine tree. This is the pot that has the little blue ceramic cat in it and also has the creek stones I brought back from Indiana. This bed faces east and just gets morning sun.  I took this photo around noon, which is why it's so bright.   Next, a view of the flower beds on the opposite of the driveway from the front bed: You can see the gravel parking space we built below. In the foreground is one of my Rubeckia plants full of blossoms. My house is on the left, the neighbors on the right. In the background you can see a very tall, leafy plant with grassy pampas behind it. That tall thing is my Hardy Hibiscus, which is just starting to bloom

Good Eating Monday: Jello Dessert

Today I have a light, cool and summery Jello dessert for you! It's called, " Orange Dream Layered Squares " The directions below are for a 8 x 8 square baking dish, but I want to do a 10 x13, so I'll be doubling it. Ingredients: 6 HONEY MAID Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 1 cup) 2 Tbsp. butter, melted 1/2 cup orange juice 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Orange Flavor Gelatin 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened, divided (Use Lite for less calories.) 1 tub (8 oz.) thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided 1/2 cup cold milk 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding 1 tsp. orange zest Directions: 1) Mix graham crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate until ready to use. 2) Microwave juice in microwaveable measuring cup on HIGH 1 min. Add to gelatin mix in small bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Gradually add to half the cream cheese in medium bowl, beating with

Wednesday Garden Pic: Lilly of the Nile

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Today's Garden photo is one of my garden favorites: agapanthus or Lilly of the Nile. I like it's because it's a blue flower, considering true blue flowers are a minority in the flower world. Mine are light blue. They do come darker to nearly purple blue and also come in white. It has a circular head full of these small flowers that open a few at time over several days. No, they don't bloom all at once. I grow mine in a pot, but they are fine in the ground. They're a common landscaping feature here in Florida. They bloom once, but their grassy greenery remains as nice texture in the garden till frost, which is why they're so popular in landscaping. They're a fine cutting flower for vases,  though you will need to clean up dead blossoms at they fall off. When I change the vase water, I snip off expired blossoms, which gives the head a interesting pin-cushion look that's nice texture in a vase. That's a little flower-arranging secret: it's not

Good Eating Monday: Healthier Spaghetti Sauce

  Sunday's mean fixing a meal for 10 people weekly for me and this past week we had spaghetti, so today's "Good Eating" recipe is making a more nutritious spaghetti sauce. The key is using lots of vegetables: broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. My spaghetti sauce recipe is for 10, but you can reduce or increase it to quantities you need. Ingredients: 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey, browned 4  24oz cans Hunts or Del Monte sauce, such as  mushroom or garlic/pepper or a combo. (Not the meat or 4 cheese kinds) 1 small to medium onion of your favorite kind, chopped. 1 container fresh baby portabello mushrooms, sliced thickly. 1 zucchini, sliced into thin strips. ( sliced in discs, then stack and slice pile of discs into strips.) 1 fresh clove of garlic, minced 1 cup frozen Bell pepper strips or 1 fresh Bell of your favorite color, chopped. 2 teaspoons dried Basil (2 Tbsp fresh or to taste) 2 teaspoons dried Oregano (2 Tbsp fresh o

Mama Kat Prompt: 10 Favorite Things

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Today's prompt is:   List your top 10 favorite things about summer growing up . I had a great childhood. We lived way out in the country. My family owned 22 acres of forested land that included part of a valley with a stony creek running through it. It was a vertitable fairyland of adventure. So here's my 10: #1)  Not being in school, of course, is number one .#2)  Putting on our suits and running down the trail to the creek for a cool swim. It was a shallow creek of just a couple inches wherever it was running, but in certain bends and turns it would develop pools about 8 to 12 inches deep. #3)  Family vacations where we'd camp on our way to Minnesota to visit family. #4)  Eating fresh strawberries and veggies from my mother's vast garden. #5)  Drawing out imaginary adventure maps with my sisters, then taking turns "following" them. #6)  4-H Camp at Shakamak State Park. We stayed in with cement floors and rows of metal bunks, went to project worksho

Wednesday Garden Pics: Day Lilies

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I have 2 special pictures of the week for you ! Last fall, I planted an assortment of 10 new Day Lillies, each a different and unique color. Now, one by one, they're blooming and I've been photographing them. Each has a name and I very smartly kept record of those names and where each is planted. First up:  Blueberry Candy It's peachy colored with a purplish-maroon watermark and lime throat. Pretty. Next:  Black-eyed Susan This one is a brilliant, dark golden yellow with the red-orange watermark. This photo is not touched up--it really is this color. Notice the slight ruffling along the petal edges---these lillies are classed as "ruffled daylillies." Most are re-bloomers, meaning they'll put up fresh stems to bloom again later. These are strictly for outdoor beautification. Each blossom only lasts a "day," thus their name. Not a good cutting flower, though I have put broken stems in a vase before. Every bud will

Good Eating Monday: Grain-Up

Today's "Good Eating" tip: how to "grain-up" ordinary rice! By "grain-up" I meanupping the whole grain value of a thing.  I'm also speaking of regular, whole rice. Not Uncle Ben's or instant types. Brown rice is recommended, but---I don't really like plain brown rice. Do you? It takes so much longer to cook and lacks "fluffiness." So, what I do instead is I mix my white rice with brown rice about 50-50. I store my rice in a cannister and what I do is pour it about half full with regular medium rice, then add half a bag of brown rice and mix together. This combo then cooks normally and retains fluffiness. To up the whole grain further, I also  add 1 Tbsp of Bulgar Wheat to the pan once the rice starts boiling. I use oneTbsp of Bulgar Wheat for every 1/2 cup of rice, which = 2 servings. Once steamed, you have a pretty whole grain dish ready for whatever use you have planned. This works on the stove top or in a rice s

Garden Pics Wednesday: Front Flower Bed

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  The Garden Pics of the Day I have for you are a couple from my front flower bed.  This bed is nestled in the corner space between the sidewalk and the driveway. It's not immediately in the corner--we laid in about 9 or 10 pavement blocks many years ago, filling in a wider walking space directly in the corner, so the bed extends 5 or 6 feet out from those blocks, running the length of the sidewalk to the corner, around 10 or 12 feet probably.  Even though this bed is at the east front end of the house, there's not entry way here. Just the garage and the bedroom bay window. (The narrow end of the house faces the street.) The front door is actuall on the long, southside of the house, down the longer section of sidewalk after you turn the corner, so it's actually size at a glance is misleading.  All my windows face either east, south and west sides of the house. The north side is a solid wall, which is good, since if a window were there it'd only offer a boring