Friday, April 27, 2012

Spa and Concrete Bar-B-Q area (part 2)

Yesterday was a long day making sure that everything was ready for when the concrete delivery truck arrived. If you missed yesterday's post you can read it here.

My hubby and sons had to make sure that the forming was done correctly, had to add a drain for water run-off so that it wouldn't collect on the concrete when it got wet, among lots of other little things that had to be tended to.
We hired two guys to help with the concrete when it was poured. That is a lot of work, shoveling and pulling and pushing the concrete in all directions and also making sure that it is all level. Talk about a muscle building workout!

Let's see I left off here~Concrete is being delivered.

 First pour from the concrete truck.

One of my sons helping~boots covered in concrete.

Still has form boards on~they will be taken off shortly.

This is where the retaining wall is needed.
Charlie, the cat, is checking out the drain hole.

Cinder blocks being set for the retaining wall with re-bar drove into slab/ground

A peek at the brick that we're laying around the Bar-B-Q area.

It has been a busy, busy day. 
Needless to say, I've not gotten around to finishing my other project that I have going. Remember, the one that I was hoping to have finished by the 25th. Right now, there is no crafting for me and also very little cooking (sad as it is) until our back yard project is complete. Hopefully sometime next week I'll be able to get back to my other project. Until then, you can find me in the back yard working. One of my favorite places to be.

Soon, I'll reveal the finished area~that is when we get it finished.

From the Heart,
Jana

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spa and Concrete Bar-B-Q area (part 1)

We are onto another project in our backyard.

It seems like lately that we don't finish one project before starting the next. Is anyone else like that?

You see, it all started when my hubby went by a Spa store. He came home and then convinced me that we needed one so at the end of the day we could sit back and relax. Relax~is there such a word when we're into so many projects around here?
I have to admit, it sounds good. So we went to the store this past weekend, picked out which spa that we wanted, paid for it and had it delivered Tuesday. Well, between the weekend and delivery we decided that we had to change just about everything under our pavilion so the spa would fit nicely and not have water everywhere in the pavilion every time someone used the spa.

First thing we had to do was remove the half walls on three sides of the pavilion, which my hubby installed just last year. Then he had to dig a trench and lay new electrical wires for the Spa. Then we decided that another concrete entry into the spa would be better than having lots of water under the pavilion so that area had to be dug up and form boards laid for concrete to be poured. Then in our thinking our project evolved into something bigger. We thought since we're having more concrete poured anyway that we would like to have a Bar-B-Q area also with a nice little walkway out to it. Also wouldn't it be nice to have bricks laid around the Bar-B-Q area on three sides and while were at it, the slope in our backyard also needs a retaining wall built.

So the job begins~Is there an end...I don't know. It seems like when we start a small project (like getting a spa) it always turns into a major ordeal. I'm going to love the new area though when it is finished.

Here are a couple of pictures of the work in progress:

Cedar half walls taken out so that spa could be delivered.

Pavilion cleaned out of most of the furniture so that we can begin the work. My little Yorkie, Libby had to get in on the fun.

Trench dug for new electrical line to feed the spa.

Forming up the area for concrete.

Area beside spa to catch water from feet in and out.


Walkway out to the Bar-B-Q area.
Concrete is being delivered today. I'll be back tomorrow with more pictures.
Yes, can hardly wait until the relax part of this project is happening.

From the Heart,
Jana
 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Monday Morning


Good Monday Morning

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. We had a busy one as usual, the weekends do fly by too quickly don't they? 

We celebrated another birthday, my eldest son turned 20. Not only do the weekend fly by but so do the years. It really does seem like just a year or two ago he was born. Makes one realize to enjoy every second they can with their children.

I wanted to share a few of the flowers in my backyard. I love walking into our yard and seeing all the lovely splashes of color.

 The colors just make me happy when I walk around the yard.
 They just calm the soul and are relaxing to me.
These little pink beauties just bloom and bloom.
Flowers don't ask for much. Just a little TLC but they give back so much with their beauty.


From the Heart,
Jana

Friday, April 20, 2012

Loquat Picking Time~Cobbler Recipe

Our Loquats are ready to pick even though they're ready about a month early. It must be the shortened winter that we had this year because they normally aren't ready until mid May. Our tress are loaded with wonderful fruit. In fact the branches are bending down with all the weight. Each Loquat tree is supposed to put out about 80 pounds of fruit. I believe it.

In the past, I've made Loquat jelly, which is a lot of work but worth it. Also, If you've never eaten a Loquat cobbler you're really missing out on something great. The flavor of the cobbler is like eating a slice of heaven. It is delicious! 


Loquat Cobbler

Ingredients:
Filling
  2 lbs loquats, seeded and quartered
  7 TBS Sugar
  1 TBS All Purpose Flour
  1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon juice
 
Topping
  3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  3 teaspoons sugar (reserved)
  1/2 cup Buttermilk 
  3 TBS Cold unsalted butter cut into pieces

To make filling: Toss all filling ingredients together in a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate and let stand until juicy, about 30 minutes.
 
Preheat oven to 400°F. 

To make topping: Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl.
Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Stir in buttermilk with a fork just until combined (do not over mix).

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough over the loquat filling, leaving spaces in between to allow topping to expand.
Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake cobbler in middle of oven until fruit is tender and topping is golden, about 30 minutes.
Cool slightly, about 15 minutes, and serve warm. 
Then Enjoy :0)


Sharing with:
Feathered Nest Friday
Inspiration Friday
Frugal Friday
Stuff and Nonsense


From the Heart,
Jana

Unusual hail storm today

Strange weather today
Hail Storm


The weather the last month has been some what different for this time of year. Lots of rain, practically ever other day we've been getting rain. But today, we received a hail storm! And wouldn't you know it happened about an hour after I got everything set up for continuing my painting project. 

I had the saw horses pulled out under the garage with my project sitting on top of them just working away when the sky started getting a little dark. So I came in the house to check the weather and sure enough we were under a severe weather alert...again. When I looked at the weather last night we only had a 30% chance of rain today...let me tell you it turned into 100% . 
It first started with a little rain and then the heavens opened up and poured a hail storm. It was quite scary sounding especially since we have a metal roof. Anyway, I had to take my project off the sawhorses, put everything back up and move everything back in order under the garage so that my hubby would be able to park his vehicle when he got home. He ended up getting stuck in the hail storm downtown and took cover under a metal awning. Long story short...No working on my project again today. You just can not paint when it is raining or hailing for that matter.

I doubt that I make my 25th deadline date that I set for myself. This has been a lesson to me not to write a certain date for completion. Mother nature is not working with me on my painting project. Until I can continue on painting, I guess I will have to find something else to get done. Which reminds me...the laundry is calling my name. :0)

From the Heart,
Jana
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Wow...what an honor to find out from my dear blogging friend Allie from The Inspired Momma nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. How very sweet of her~Thank you so much Allie. Allie is a new blogger, like myself. She has a wonderful blog~Please go check her blog out.

The instructions for this award is that I'm suppose to tell you 7 things about myself. So here goes:
  1. The number one thing to know is that I'm a True Chocoholic! I eat at least one piece of chocolate every day. My favorite is dark chocolate, I don't really care for the milk chocolate flavor. At the moment I have stashed in my kitchen 60 pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. The store had them on sale and I just couldn't help myself. Yes, even my daughter thought I was a bit crazy for getting so many.
  2. I've been married for 23 years and have 4 wonderful children. We were told we would never have children but after a couple of surgeries and the help of fertility drugs we proved the doctors wrong.
  3. I'm a procrastinating perfectionist, I can have the best of intentions of getting something done but it takes me a bit of time to getting whatever the task is accomplished because I want it to be just perfect. This is a habit that's not a good one to have, I must say.
  4. I hardly ever watch T.V. I don't get into all the soap operas out there but I was a very loyal All My Children fan. I never missed a show in at least 20+ years. If I wasn't home to watch AMC, I would always tape it, that is until TiVo came along and I could record at least 70 shows before taking the time to watch them. Now that was fun. I thought I would go through major withdrawal when the show went off the air but I've managed to go on. 
  5. My main phobia are spiders. I just can't stand the thought of one being anywhere close to me. I've always had a fear that a spider would jump long distances just to get on me. My husband laughs and tells me there aren't any jumping spiders~but I know differently.
  6. I home school my children. We are in our 13th year. I had my husband build a school house for us after our first year of schooling. That way all of the books, computers, learning material etc have a place all their own. It also helps to not have interruptions while the kids are studying.   I love our school house and think it was a very wise investment. (Plus one day, when the kids are finished with their eduction it will be my craft room~I'm looking forward to that!)
  7. My favorite seasons are Spring and Summer. I stay outdoors as much as I can during that time. I love to garden but don't like to touch dirt. I always wear gloves no matter what when working outside. There is no telling how many pairs of gloves I go through in a year.
Now you know a little more about me. I hope I've not scared anyone away. :0)

The rules if you choose to accept this award are:
1. Grab the Versatile Blogger Award button.
2. Thank the person that nominated you.
3. Include a link back to their blog.
4. Share 7 things about yourself.
5. Pass along the love~Nominate 15 of your favorite blogs.
6. Inform each nominee with a comment on their blog so that they know that you awarded them.
7. In the same post include this set of rules.
Here are the 15 great blogging ladies that I'm nominating for this award in no particular order:

Linda and Carol from Two Succulent Sisters
Sharon from Mrs. Hines Class 
Debbie from Refresh Restyle
Linda from It all Started with Paint (already won the award so picking another great blogger)
Debbie from Debbiedoo's
Peggy from PJH Designs
Aimee from It's Overflowing
Carolyn from Carolyn's Homework
I love to visit each and every blog listed above for great crafts, recipes and encouragement. Please take the time to visit them when you can, I know that each one would love to have you come by. There are many more that I visit but couldn't list them all.

From the Heart,
Jana

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fun color for project in progress


So what do you think of this color? The color is called Botanica. It's such a pretty minty green. I'm loving it~it is a fun pop of color for the project that I'm working on that I mentioned here. I'll give you a little hint. The project that is in the works is for outdoors. It's fun~it's bold~and it's colorful! I can hardly wait to show you the finished pieces.

Will I be able to make my deadline that I've set for myself of the 25th of April. I don't know...with the weather the way it is with rain about ever other day it's hard impossible to paint with the moisture in the air. I'm still hopeful though. But painting is out the window, so to speak, for today because of the rain...again.
Sing it with me now....Rain, rain go away.
                             Come again another day!


From the Heart,
Jana





Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Monday morning~weekend up-date

 Good Monday morning everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend and was able to enjoy your days. We spent the better part outside working in the yard getting some planting done and regular maintenance. The weather here was quite breezy for the last two days and pretty stormy late yesterday evening.

I was able to get my pepper,tomato and squash plants in the ground. Also was able to get some new seeds planted for zucchini that I will put out in a week or so. Our corn, purple-hull peas and pinto beans are all looking good. I'm sure the rain that we got yesterday will help them to grow even more.

Went to Lowe's again...don't you just love that store? I really have to restrain myself when I'm there.  I did found a couple more pots for some of my herbs, got those transplanted also.

Another project that was done this weekend was that my hubby extended the canopy over my raised bed area. He built onto the existing one and made it another 25 feet long in covered space for me. I LOVE IT! Now it will be able to shade my tomato plants. With the hot..hot Texas sun, they will sure need it. Maybe I'll get around to posting pictures of it sometime this week.

Although I was able to get a lot done in the yard, I wasn't able to get a thing done on my painting project that I have going. There's just not enough hours in a day and most of the time I just have to pick what's more important to accomplish first. This weekend it had to be the yard. There is rain in the forecast for today, so I doubt there will be any painting going on around here...at least for today that is.

Oh, here is another up-date on the lettuce. Man oh man, that stuff grows! We are really enjoying fresh lettuce for our salads and sandwiches.



So, how was your weekend? Was you able to do what you wanted?

From the Heart,
Jana

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grilled Mushrooms

With grilling season upon us I thought I would share a simple recipe for grilled Mushrooms. I happened to have used Mini Portabella mushrooms today because the store was out of the larger Portabella mushrooms. Although either size will do.

All that you need for this simple dish is:
Mushrooms
Olive oil
Butter
Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning (McCormick brand)

grilled mushrooms,montreal steak
Transformations From the Heart


Wash your mushrooms then pat dry, remove the stems.  Place a little butter on the undersides of mushroom, drizzle a little olive oil over the mushrooms then sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning.
Place some aluminum foil on grill, med-high heat. Cook mushrooms for about 8-10 minutes flip them and sprinkle a little more seasoning onto the other side of mushroom and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
So easy to make but very flavorful! My family loves these every time I make them. 

Transformations From the Heart

Sharing with:
French Country Cottage
Frugal-Friday
Melt in your mouth Monday
Mix it up Monday
Mop it up Monday
Homemaker on a Dime
Wow us Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
It's a Keeper Thursday
Foodie Friday
Show & Tell Friday
Shine on Friday

From the Heart,
Jana

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is this a bargain~Really Now

This made me laugh....

My husband loves going through the advertisements from sellers through our local thrifty paper. It's like Craig's List online in our little community. Anyhow, below is the ad that he came across that made me laugh. All information is as printed except for omitting the phone # of course.

Bricks


200+ reddish Landscaping Bricks, used 10 years, paid $1.78, want $1.25 each Ph.# 000-000-0000

_______________________________________________________

 

Is it just me... do bricks not depreciate in value over a 10 year period?
I'm envisioning someone sitting with their receipt in their hand from 10 years ago to know what they gave for each brick. And just think...only 10 years of use. Ummm... Did they un-earth each of their bricks or maybe un-stack them because they just never used them. I have the same bricks that the person is advertising and it boggles my brain why I would think that I could get $1.25 each AFTER 10 years of use. That would mean that I would have used only 0.053 cents worth of use each year from each brick. That's five cents!!

Oh well, my 2 cents (sense) tells me I'd better just pass on this deal. 


From the Heart,
Jana

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Project in the works~It's a fun one!

Even though I haven't posted any crafty items lately, I've had a very busy last couple of days working on a new project.

Last Friday I went to Lowe's and picked out some new paint for the major project that I'm working on now. I didn't think it would be a major one until I started it. I want it to be a surprise and list the entire project at one time, so no pictures of what it is yet that I'm working on. I will say that my arms have ached from all the sanding that I'm doing. I did complete one piece of the project~only 5 more to go. Whoo~hoo!!

Here are the colors that I picked out for my major re-d0. What do you think?? I love the bold fun colors and can hardly wait to show everyone the finished pieces.


Let's see...today is the 11th. I'm shooting for the 25th to be finished. That gives me 2 weeks to work on the project and deal with all of the daily living things like cooking (why oh why does everyone have to eat) and cleaning (same can be said for making messes).
Let's see if I make the dead-line I've set for myself.

Wish me luck :0)

O~kay, back to work I must go!

From the Heart,
Jana
 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate~Coconut~Oatmeal Cookies...OMG

Do you ever watch any cooking shows where no matter what the host is about to take a bite of they always say "Oh my gawd" before they ever have a chance to actually taste the flavor of the item? Most of the time to me, it always sounds so fake.
Well~I had one of those OMG moments when I tasted this cookie. It was a true OMG moment as soon as this little gem got close to my nose...yes...just mere nano-seconds before I even tasted the flavor of this wonderful cookie. You can smell the wonderful aroma of the coconut, oatmeal and chocolate before it ever hits your lips. It has a very satisfying taste. You know, the feeling you get where you don't need anything else.

Where this is it~life is good and you can't imagine anything ever tasting any better.

Am I the only person that can get this excited about a cookie?  ~I sure hope not~


Pictures just don't do these justice but here they are anyway.
Transformations From the Heart

I sure wish you had "Smell-A-Net" so you could savor the aroma with me.

Transformations From the Heart

The recipe for these cookies are from Hershey's Recipe Collection cookbook.
NOTE: The only change that was done was add 2 cups chocolate chips to dough batter and an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the tops. Making a total of 2 1/2 cups chips. Really, can you have too much chocolate--big grin :0)

Double Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies.

Ingredients:
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
3 cups rolled oats or quick cooking oats
2 cups Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips, divided
2 cups coconut, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (we used walnuts)


Directions:
Beat shortening, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. In a separate bowl stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add alternately with water to shortening mixture. Stir in oats, 1 cup chocolate chips (or 2 if you're like us), 1 cup coconut and nuts, blending well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.


Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease cookie sheet or use parchment paper. (we use parchment paper)
Using 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Sprinkle cookie tops with remaining coconut. Top with remaining chocolate chips (about 9 chips each cookie) press chips into dough.


Bake 10-12 minutes or until set (do not over-bake). Cool slightly then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 1/2 dozen large cookies.

Transformations From the Heart
Transformations From the Heart

Sharing with:
Melt in your Mouth Monday
DIY Show Off
Mix it up Monday
Metamorphosis Monday
Carolyn's Home Work
Tasty Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
It's a Keeper Thursday


From the Heart,
Jana

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter Everyone

Homemade cupcakes my daughter and I made.

I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Easter.
 



From the Heart,
Jana
 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My own brand of water..who knew

While out shopping today one of my children came around the corner of an aisle and said "Hey, mom there's a brand of water with your name". Who would have thought, I just had to see it for myself. Sure enough. I had to grab my iphone and take a picture. I've never seen water sold in the brand of JANA. It made me feel all giddy just seeing my name printed. Also gotta love the "1st Place Winner" in print too. 

Just in case your wondering if I bought any~of course I did...ha,ha. I couldn't pass that up. Bought a whole case. I'm now feeling a bit famous even if it's just a name on a water bottle that has nothing to do with me.

Yes, it's the little things that excite me.


And here I was at the store just to buy some grape jelly.
 

From the Heart,
Jana

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake~yummy!


My daughter made this delicious Blueberry Cheesecake and I just had to share it with y'all. If you're a cheesecake lover, you will love this recipe. It's adapted from 3 different recipes that she tweaked until it was what she was looking for.

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs 
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter (melted)
Mix the 3 ingredients in a bowl then press into a greased 9" pie pan.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

For the cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese,sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into baked crust. Drop 1/2 cup of blueberry sauce (recipe below) by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the cream cheese mixture; cut through with a knife to swirl the blueberry sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until center in almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour then refrigerate for 3 hours. Cut into slices and dip blueberry sauce onto each slice.

Before cooking in oven with blueberry sauce swirled on top.


For the Blueberry sauce: (Reserve 1/2 cup for cheesecake mixture)
1 cup sugar
2 TBS. cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3 cups blueberries
Combine sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan. Stir in the water until smooth. Add blueberries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside. Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.
Blueberry Sauce 
This stuff is so delicious! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Garden update~Butter Crunch Lettuce

My Butter Crunch lettuce is doing great. It's really loving the soil mix that it's planted in this year. It's planted in rich mushroom compost. We have picked off of it and made a wonderful tasty salad this week. In fact, I had 2 bowls! With the warmer weather that we're having I don't know how much longer we'll have this flavorful lettuce. Until then, we will enjoy it all we can.


Here's what it looks like now.

Below is what it looked like on March 5th. The above photos taken 3 weeks later.

It won't be long until I set out our tomato plants. They're still to small yet, so in the greenhouse they will stay for a little longer.


How's your garden growing?

From the Heart,
Jana