Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sweeter Muffins



Growing up, my Mom used to make these muffins all the time and they were such a favorite of mine. But somewhere along the way, I stopped making them for my family.  Actually, I stopped making muffins period.


But recently I started making them again and everyone really likes it when I do.  These muffins aren't an explosion of flavor but they are a delicious addition to soups or even salads.  Also, it would be easy to add blueberries or raspberries.  I even think it would be fun to had rosemary or thyme to the mix!

Sweeter Muffins

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Break up egg with a fork and add milk and oil.  Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a separate bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix till just combined.  Bake in a muffin tin for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Only makes about 8 or 9 muffins but I've doubled before to get more muffins.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ballet... currently


I'm not sure that I ever shared how Grace has approached her dancing this year so I thought I'd give a quick rundown of how it's gone...



At the end of last school year Grace was dancing almost 6 days a week (exclusively ballet).  She was in a program at her ballet school where the focus was on becoming a professional dancer and the intensity was only expected to ramp up in the years to come.  While on our trip, after giving it much thought, Grace decided to take a step back from that intense schedule in order to fully experience high school.  She was worried that she would miss out on activities, dances and friends.


While Grace loves to dance, and is very good, she has never had aspirations to become a professional so I thought that this was a very good decision on her part.  As a parent, it was a bit hard because there was that little nugget of "what if" but, in the end, I think it was the best decision for all of us!


But here's the best part!  The beloved director of the ballet school left after 30 something years and joined a new dance school in our town.  Grace and another former student were offered the opportunity to take class with her two nights a week!  It was the absolute best possible outcome and we couldn't feel more blessed.  Grace has the opportunity to continue pointe with an amazing teacher but it's local and only two nights a week!


The school had a recital this weekend where Grace had an opportunity to perform and it was such a lovely show.  She also performed a modern piece which is totally new for her.  She was beautiful in it!





Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day


Five Mother's in this shot!


Yesterday, Mother's Day, was a lovely, full day for us.  We started with breakfast in the library, attended Grace's dance recital (more on that to come), and ended with dinner at my sister's house.  It was a good day!



I do not understand why Harris is so swiftly moving away from my kiss in this photo?  Is he twelve or something?




Friday, May 12, 2017

First Harvest- Radishes


The garden is coming along, slowly, but surely.  It's been a huge time commitment to get everything in place and ready for planting.  While most of the beds aren't planted yet, our last frost date is around Mother's Day, I have sown some cool weather crops that are coming along just fine.  One of those is radishes!  I didn't eat radishes growing up, but I've come to appreciate their peppery bite and Grace loves them!  This year, I've planted several different types.  Radishes are a quick and satisfying vegetable to grow because some varieties mature in as little as 28 days.  Here we have Easter Egg Radishes.


I wanted to enjoy our first harvest by letting the radishes have their moment so I simply slathered a thick layer of salted butter on delicious bread and layered thin slices (a mandoline works beautifully) of radishes atop the bread.  A sprinkling of salt is the perfect finishing touch.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Two Velvet Sofas


Finally, after what seemed like a very long wait period, my green velvet sofas arrived a few weeks ago.  I love them as much as I thought I would.  Perhaps what I love most is how the green changes throughout the day, or even depending on the angle one looks at it from.  It seems to glow!


Most everyone recommended I rethink the velvet, or at least not get 100% cotton velvet, mainly because it shows everything and supposedly won't wear like synthetic.  I can attest that it does show everything in that whatever touches it can leave a mark on the velvet, but I love that (and it goes away with the swipe of a hand)!  I want it to get spots of patina and use!  Everyone is welcome to lounge on them (except Rosie!) and, in fact, two days after we got them, Harris managed to get some of his Easter chocolate on them.  At least we got that over with and they are no longer precious!


I'll post more pictures as the room keeps coming together... I'm not going for a big reveal here.  It's taking a while to get everything in place and figure out how I want everything.  However, I will say that this room is quickly becoming my favorite place to be.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Barn Roofs and a Shed Roof


When we had our home's roof replaced we had the barns reroofed as well.  They too had been cedar shake and were clearly in need of replacement/repair.  For all of the same reasons that helped us decide to not use cedar on our home's roof, we decided to not use it on the barns as well.

Before

Instead, we used standing seam metal.  In our travels this past summer, we saw hundreds of barns dotting the landscape and my very favorites always had metal; especially raw or galvanized metal.  I also liked the idea that sense we would no longer have the same roof material on all of our buildings, they would at least be the same color(ish).



Remember the chicken coop we moved?  It's slowly but surely getting a transformation and while it might not look like much now, this building is going to be wonderful!




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Sweet Story


Over the weekend I stopped at an estate sale and picked up the above painting for $5 because it reminded me of a romanticized flower farm.  When I got home, I looked up the artist and discovered that it was painted by the homeowner who at 92 died peacefully in his home.  His beloved wife of 62 years died exactly a week later. He was a teacher, an avid gardener and loved to travel.  She was a librarian who loved to entertain and take care of her home.  I am certain that I would have loved them had I met them and I'm so happy to have gotten this painting!


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Longview


Our vegetable and flower garden is tucked behind our field but even though it's set back from the road one does hear and see road traffic.  When we decided to put the garden here, I envisioned a "secret garden" and wanted a hedge in front of the deer fence that was tall.   My wish was to even have a door/garden gate that blended in with the hedge.

I started researching hedges and kept coming up short with options that fit all of my requirements: deer resistant, tidy, green year round, fast growing and pretty.   The obvious choice was boxwood but it is certainly not fast growing, plus, it's rather expensive and I had a long space in which to fill.


I started seriously thinking about other options but none of them sat right with me (plus we have a beautiful boxwood hedge in front of our house and you know I like to carry on a theme :)).  The problem was that I decided to go with boxwood on a day (week? month?) that I was very tired of the money we were spending on the renovations of Frog's Hollow.  This lead to one of the sillier choices that I have made here.

I went small, very, very small.  I ordered 10 American Boxwood plants on Amazon for $49.99!  Can you even?  They are cute, very healthy and in 15 years they will look amazing!  You know, when Grace is 30 and Harris 27 years old.  Obviously, we are taking the longview.  



 




Friday, April 28, 2017

Important Movies


We recently watched Hidden Figures with the children and I couldn't believe how good it was.  Truly, we all enjoyed it and it was something I considered important for my children to see.  Which got me thinking about the movies that I would really like to share with Grace and Harris, not because they are full of adventure or because they are funny, but because they are important.  Important because they deal with social injustice, war, basic human rights for all, working hard toward an end and even movies that simply set good life examples.

Years ago, someone told me they thought everyone should see the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan when they turn 18.  He thought it was the closest thing (at the time) he had seen to the true horrors of war instead of the romantic version of war.  I think this can be true of movies, that they get us thinking and dreaming and teach us lessons even as we are entertained.  They are also a good way to show children things they can never experience (adults too of course).

And bonus!  We are to the age where the children can watch most movies, understand what is going on and even enjoy them (though Harris recently informed me that I did not need to make a gasping/hurumphing noise every time someone cursed).

The problem is that we are not exactly caught up on movies as we don't often go to the movies!
Here's my list of movies I want the children to see (some we've already seen) but I'm just positive I'm missing LOTS of good ones.  In fact, as I sit here I can't come up with many at all so if you can think of one you would add, please list them/it in the comments and I can update the list.  Thank you!

Selma
We are Marshall
Rudy
Schindler's List
The King's Speech
Forest Gump
The Passion (I barely made it through this one the first time, so not sure about a second and with my children)
The Perfect Game
The Blind Side
Ghandi (heard it's good but I haven't seen)



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Narcissus


The previous owner of our home didn't do much planting besides some very basic plants.  I'm not sure that I blame them considering the deer pressure that we have here, but I don't think I can do without some pretty flowers and shrubs around!


Fortunately, Narcissus, or daffodils, are generally left alone by the deer.  Therefore, this past fall I planted about 100 daffodils in a patch in front of what we are using as a workshop.  I thought the combination of stone and flowers would be beautiful and it has not disappointed!




It will surprise no one that my favorite variety so far, Replete, has a pinkish center and ruffles.



Also, I've started a new Instagram account!  It's going to focus more on the growing of Frog's Hollow as we work to flush out what the farm is going to grow into!  I'm excited about the possibilities and thrilled with a few of the ideas we have in the pipeline.  If you are interested, we'd love to have you follow along at the_flowerfrog

Friday, April 21, 2017

A New Roof



When we were looking at this house to purchase, a major concern of ours were the roofs of the house and the barns.  All the buildings on the property had cedar shake on them and while they looked rustic and charming, they were also clearly in trouble.  You could see daylight from inside the house (typically cedar shake does not have underlayment) and there were obvious signs of former leaks. Moss was also growing rampantly on the roof, especially where trees were keeping it shaded.  All of this to say, we knew going in that one of the first things we would need to do would be to replace the roof.

(old roof)



The question was what to replace it with?  We both felt that we could not replace it with asphalt shingles.  There is not a thing wrong with asphalt shingles, all of our other houses had them, but it just didn't feel right with a house of this age.  We seriously looked into using cedar again but, unfortunately, we were given the advice over and over again that cedar just isn't the same as it used to be (no more old growth!) and that we would probably have a lot of upkeep and might have to replace it in 15 years!  So that was a no go.



In our area, you often see beautiful slate on old homes.  Unfortunately, it didn't make financial sense to put slate on the house, but our roofer introduced us to engineered slate (fake slate).  At first, I was adamantly opposed to using any material that wasn't real.  However, our roofer had us go look at other homes that had used the product and I was impressed with how great they looked.  So after research and discussion and field trips and more discussion, we ended up using the product.   Now that it's done, it looks really lovely and beautiful.


 It feels good to get such a major thing done and accomplished.  We are trying to work on the basic foundation type of issues with the house, after all what's the point of a new kitchen if your roof doesn't keep water out?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017



Our Easter was really nice and filled with laughter.  After church in the morning, we came home to get prepared for family plus friends for Easter dinner.  I had plans to have a long table (eating outside since our inside is, frankly, a mess) with daffodils down the center.  However, Mother Nature had other plans as the wind kept knocking all the flowers over causing the tablecloths to be soaked and the flowers to be a bit pitiful.



It was so windy that as we were bringing forkfuls of salad to our lips the wind would knock it right over to the unfortunate person sitting next to us!  Towards the end of the lunch, we even had a very surprising rain shower (two surprising rain showers in fact).



Those unexpected events didn't seem to bring anyone down and, in fact, added to our day.  It was lovely.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bryce's Birthday and a Walk



Yesterday was Bryce's birthday!  While we didn't do anything extravagant, we did go for a very lovely walk along the canal.  The weather was perfect, the light beautiful and it was great to be together with no end game in mind except to enjoy each other and the out of doors.





Here's Grace's gift to Bryce.  I think it's so fun, especially for someone who has multiple weather apps and a weather station running at all times!



 
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