Harvest Sunset 3 column

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Garden Planting

Oh how I LOVE Spring! This past weekend we had gorgeous weather, the high was about 80 degrees. Perfect for getting the rest of my vegetables purchased and planted and a few flowers too.

I first started this year's Spring Garden about a month ago. I planted 2 types of potatoes, cabbage seeds, arugula, onion bulbs, and broccoli. After about 10 days I took these pictures of the cabbage and onions. It's amazing how quickly everything starts growing.

Cabbage sprouting from seeds

Onion bulbs sprouting

And here they are, about 2.5 weeks later.

Onions-growing crazy!

Cabbage-still not looking like cabbage yet but definitely growing!

Today I snapped some photos of the rest of the plants first planted. In just one month they have grown tremendously.

My potatoes took about 2 weeks to have sprouts peeking out of the dirt. 3 plants are a good size and then one is a little behind the rest. Here they are now:

Arugula when first planted

And now!

In just another couple weeks I should be able to start harvesting the Arugula. Can't wait to have it for salads!

And check out the Broccoli, oh my goodness!

At planting time:


Also I noticed one plant has a small crown on it!

Now that the weather has warmed up a tad more, I planted a few varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and one okra plant (I had too much last year!) and one strawberry plant (no luck last year, giving it another try).

Here are a few photos of these.

I hope we can have some good results this year. We love strawberries around here so it would be nice to not have to buy them so much!

Boxcar Willie Tomato-isn't that a fun name??

Patio Tomato

I like cooking with green peppers and had good results with these so thought we'd plant them again. Red peppers are great for cooking or as a snack. This is my first time to plant these. Last yr I also did banana peppers but my husband loves jalepenos so we planted one of those plants instead.

Peppers-Jalepeno in front, then Red and Green is in the back.

And here is my lone little okra plant.

Last year I had 2 plants and they produced more than enough okra. We actually got tired of eating it and gave lots of it away. Okra thrives in the Texas heat though so it's probably always going to make it in my garden. We love it fried!

I still have room for a few more things so this week I plan to plant my squash and zuchinni from seeds as well as some green beans. I'm hoping it's not too late for the green beans because they didn't last too long in the heat for me last year. My squash and zuchinni did awesome til July when it was 100 almost every day! I also have to plant my herb seeds for Basil, Cilantro and Parsley and a small Rosemary plant. That should complete our Spring garden this year!! I wish I had room for even more. If these do well we may add another raised bed next year. Currently we have 2, 4x4 beds and as you can see, there is a lot you can plant in a small space!

Are you planting for Spring? What is your favorite food to grow and the best grower in your area???

I'm linking up at


Homestead Revival's Barn Hop

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 3/26-4/1

This weekend was busy and fun, especially with the gorgeous weather we had! 80 degrees all weekend! Needless to say, I enjoyed so much time outdoors, I didn't want to come inside to cook :( We planned on eating out one night as we usually do so we went out for tacos on Friday. But also on Saturday after the day outdoors we stopped in at one of our favorite bbq places. I was craving their fried okra, sweet tea and free frozen yogurt cones! I think the baby enjoyed them too :)

This week I am using up a few things I have in the pantry, mainly for the minestrone soup and then planning a shopping trip for Tues or Wed to help round out the week. Here's what's on our menu:


Baked Breaded Chicken tenders
Cheesy Rotini & Broccoli steamer
Ranch style beans


Minestrone Soup
(There are so many variations of this I have made. I changed it up a little every time I make it, depending on the ingredients I have)


Spring Salad
Garlic Bread




Frozen pizza


Dinner Out


Lemon-Thyme Crusted Pork Chops
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
(Recipe from Southern Living, April 2009)

I'm linking up & sharing menu ideas at Menu Plan Monday! What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baby Update-35/36 weeks

I can't believe I am in my last month! Time is flying by and I'm beginning to get excited and anxious to meet this precious baby boy!

At this point I'm going to the Dr every week. Last week I had a sonogram which showed he is in head down position, yay! Having not had a c-section before, I am hoping we can make it one more time with #3. I saw the Dr again this past Wed and she told me that based on the sonogram he is measuring around 5lbs 11oz and is in 70th percentile. Both my girls were under 7lbs so the idea that he can be 7.5-8 lbs or more is hard to imagine. I just hope he's not over 8lbs! Better to have that big baby last though right?

Also at my last appt she checked my cervix and there is no dilation just yet. I think that's normal for me and maybe next week there will be a little progress. I was trying to remember with the girls and I think around 37 weeks I was 1-2cm dilated. I have plenty of amniotic fluid so no worries there. So far everything is going great, thank God!!

So far my total weight gain 26-27 lbs. Pretty normal for me and pregnancies. I seem to be carrying him way out front and he's pretty low, so my belly just looks gigantic to me!

The baby belly:35 weeks 3 days

Of course wearing orange too I think just makes everything look bigger!

He is still very active and so funny to feel and watch my belly jumping all around. I wish I could just *peek* inside and see what he looks like during all of this.

I'm sleeping ok but was having some hip soreness and feeling my ligaments pulling some on the lower sides of my stomach when I'm on one side or the other. A sweet friend who just had her baby let me borrow her pregnancy pillow which has been a huge help. But, oh my goodness is it HUGE! Like a worm as we call it and takes up over half the bed. I feel sorry for my hubby! The kids thought it was the coolest thing when I brought it home and each wanted to try it out. I wished I would have snapped a pic, they looke so cute snuggled up inside there like a cocoon.

My bedding is due to come in this week, I can't wait!! I got a few paint samples from Lowe's but am having a hard time deciding on the final color. I'm thinking of waiting til the bedding arrives so I can really tell rather than using the tiny swatch.

On another note, tomorrow is my last day of work!! I decided to take off several weeks before his due date to prepare in case he came a little early. This will give me some more time to get all of my to do list done. I love the people I work with and have been there part time for 5 years, since Keira was one. I will miss seeing everyone and having that adult interaction I'm sure. But for now we thought it was best with 3 kiddos to stay home and I still have part time work I do for another business from home. Who knows, maybe when they are all in school/preschool I will go back at least part time. The extra $$$ would be nice!

For now I'd better get to bed so I can make sure and enjoy my last day tomorrow. Night!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beef & Vegetable Pot Pie

So Sunday night as I was trying to figure out what's for dinner at 5:30 in the evening, I came across this recipe on Allrecipes.com. After not having a menu plan for last week, I was scrambling to get something made and to not eat out again! The only meat item I had not frozen was some lean ground beef. We had already had mexican the night before so that was out. This recipe seemed easy enough and sounded like some good comfort food!!!

I had 2 frozen pie crusts, mixed frozen veggies and the ground beef. I was missing several other items needed for the recipe listed so I just changed it up to suit what we had :)

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 of an onion, chopped (didn't have onion powder, plus we like onions!)
1 cup diced, peeled potatoes
1 cup frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 14.5 oz can vegetable broth (beef broth might be better as recipe suggest but I didn't have any)
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (I did this since I didn't have beef broth to add more flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste

2 frozen pie crusts- set out to thaw slightly for 10 min.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees & preheat metal sheet pan for baking. Brown beef and onions in a medium skillet. While browning, add worschestire, salt and pepper. Drain any excess fat. Pour beef into one pie crust, followed by the potatoes and vegetables on top. Set aside.

Using the same skillet as browned beef, melt the butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Slowly add the broth. Bring to a boil & continue to stir for 2 minutes, until thickened like a gravy. Pour the mixture over the vegetables & beef. Put the other crust on top and pinch the edges together to create the "pie". Cut a few slits in the dough on top. Put the pie on top of your heated baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for approx 30-35 min, or until the pie crust is browned and the insides are bubbling.

*Quick Tip* To cut down on the baking time, I boiled my cup of potatoes in a bowl of water in the microwave for about 3 min, just to slightly soften them before putting them in the pie.

Also one more note, as some reviewers said on the original recipe, they needed more gravy/sauce. So in anticipation of that I added just slightly more flour, broth & butter to make a little more gravy. There ended up being plenty so I may have been able to use the original amount listed. It is up to you how much you like!

This was a hit with my husband and even my 5 yr old, who at first look said "I am not eating that!" I convinced her to give it a try and she loved it. My 2 yr old was a little tricky but that's with pretty much everything! I did get her to eat a few bites. One pie made enough for our family of 4 with one serving leftover. I'm wondering if this can be done with an extra pie & all of the steps followed except baking and then freezing it for another meal??? Planning ahead for meal ideas once the baby is here!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 3/19 - 3/25

I didn't have a menu plan last week since we were out of town for half of it over Spring Break. Then we ate out Friday night and Saturday night too, even though we were home. Not having a plan can be expensive! So I'm happy to get back in the swing of things this week.

Last night 5:30 rolled around, and since I didn't have a plan, I didn't know what to make. The only meat item I had not frozen was some lean ground beef. I did some searching on Allrecipes.com looking for something different to try. I came across a recipe for Beef Pot Pie. I had the meat, potatoes, and mixed veggies on hand so I decided to give it a try. Even though I had to make several revisions to accomodate the other ingredients I had on hand, it came out delicious!!! I will post this recipe tomorrow :)

Here is what we have planned for this week.

Mexican Chicken Casserole
Black Beans
*We needed a quick & easy meal since we have our daughter's first open house at school tonight, she is so excited!!!

Spring Salad
Garlic Bread

Dinner w/family at my Mom's


Grilled Steaks
Sauteed Mushrooms
Baked Potato
Spring Salad

Dinner Out

Roast Chicken
Wild Rice
Steamed Broccoli

I'm linking up over at OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We Signed up to Sponsor a Child Through Compassion International!

The thought of this is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm not sure why it took me a while to finally make the leap and jump in. As a long time reader of Money Saving Mom, I have read her posts about the children she sponsors through this program and more recently how the proceeds from her first book are ALL going to support a very special program at Compassion International. In reading her more recent post detailing her trip to the Dominican Republic to meet some of the women and children she will be helping, I was moved to tears. While reading this with my 5 yr old daughter sitting nearby, I decided that God was speaking to me that now was the time to sponsor our own child. Keira is at the age where she is understanding more and more and wanting to do things to help others. I showed her some of the pictures from Crystal's trip, of the extreme living conditions and she was shocked that there are people who have to live that way.

As soon as I suggested we should sponsor our own child, she was excited to get on it right away. We went to the Compassion website where you can learn all about how to sponsor a child, the cost and what it provides for them and how to communicate with the child you are sponsoring. You also choose which child you want to sponsor by searching through the photos and information of children seeking sponsorship. We didn't want to go through narrowing down by a certain country of residence or age, but instead chose to choose a child who was designated by a red heart on their picture showing they had been waiting longer for sponsorship. We chose a 6 yr old girl who has been waiting over 196 days. Also her birthday happens to be next month so we thought it was perfect timing!

Now that we have signd up to be a sponsor, we should receive a packet in the mail in 1-2 weeks with more information on the child we chose and more details on how the sponsorship works. It doesn't take much to get started and the whole process is very quick and easy. Basic sponsorship begins at just $38.00 per month, per child.

Per the Compassion website, this amount provides so many things, including:
- The opportunity to hear the Gospel and learn about Jesus
- More Christian Training
- Education opportunities
- Supplemental Food if needed
- Health Care
- Hygiene Training
- Loving Christian environment & Guidance

Besides the monetary contribution, you are encouraged to write to your child, send photos and pray for them and their families. I can't wait to get our packet and the girls are so excited to write letters and draw pictures to send to her!! I know this is going to be an ongoing blessing to all of us as well as a teaching opportunity to our children. I'm looking forward to the journey!!

Sharing at:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beginning Our Spring Garden

It's been a pretty mild winter around here and the sunshine and warm temps we've had the past couple weeks got me itching to get my garden going. That and the fact this baby is due in 6 weeks!!

We live in Texas, Zone 8 where it is usually safe to begin planting many seeds and plants anywhere from Feb or March through April. The summers get so hot that many things just stop producing or die altogether. I decided to start with a few of the cooler weather plants first and then will add more in a few weeks.

Last week I planted Potatoes, Onions, Arugula, Organic Cabbage (from seeds)and Broccoli. All of these were new to me except for the Onions. Last yr I got started just a little too late to plant all of these so I'm excited to see how they turn out.

I use a raised bed for my garden since our soil here is pretty hard and clay like that it is difficult for many things to grow. I did some research and this seemed like the best option for us. Next week I will show you how we started our garden in our back yard using a raised bed.

For now, since our bed was in place from last year, in only took less than an hour to plant all of these vegetables.

I started with the potatoes and having never planted them I had to look online to see what depth they needed etc. A friend of mine gave me her leftover seed potatoes for planting so they were free!!

First I dug an 8 inch deep trench across the length of my bed. Then I placed a seed potato every foot so there were a total of 4, 2 red potatoes and 2 white.

Then they are to be covered in several inches of soil, but still maintaining somewhat of a trench. Once a sprout emerges, then you can add an inch or two of soil each week as the plants grow, until the dirt forms like a mound around the base of the plants.

Also you don't want to start with really wet soil or else it will cause the potatoes to just rot. My soil was pretty dry. For my other plants I did wet the soil a little to make it easier for the new plants to stay in place.

In my other bed I planted several rows of onions. Since they do not require much spacing between each plant, you can have a large amount of onion plants in a pretty small space. In the background you can see a few onions I have leftover from the Fall. I use the green onion tops for cooking or salads. I thought they all had died but once we had a few days of warm weather they started sprouting again!

On the other side of the onions I planted my broccoli. I had 4 small plants and they are to be spaced around 12-18 inches apart. My girls love broccoli so I'm really hoping these plants do well.

Next to the broccoli I planted a half a row of cabbage seeds according to the package directions. They only need to be planted at a depth of 1/4 inch which is basically nothing! I sprinkled them across the dirt and covered them lightly & then watered. The seeds are so small, not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Amazing how it can grow into a large plant!

Last I planted my 4 small Arugula plants in the first bed beside my swiss chard that has been growing ALL year!

Here they are next to each other.

I planted this swiss chard last yr in April and it is such a hearty, easy plant, it survived our 100+ weather and then continued to grow through the Fall, surviving freezing temperatures and now it is thriving! The swiss chard started out as 2 small plants, about the size of these arugula plants. It didn't take long for them to start growing like crazy. Now they are taking up so much space I need to cut them back!! Also I'm on the hunt for a few recipes to use up this swiss chard. When the leaves are small I just use them like you would spinach in a salad. The large leaves taste more bitter though and are best cooked (so I've read).

Well that is the start of our little home garden :) I will post pictures of the progress in a few days. I'm already getting a few sprouts!! YAY! By the end of the month I hope to plant tomatoes, peppers, zuchinni, squash and then later okra and eggplant. These last 2 love Texas summer heat!!

If you have a garden, what are you planting this year? I'd love to hear about it!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 3/5-3/11

Happy Monday!

Wow what a busy week I had last week! I'm really looking forward to this coming week, because after Friday starts Spring Break here!! We are taking the kids to Sea World for a quick trip before baby's arrival. They have never been to Sea World and I think they will love it. At almost 6 and 3, it seems like the perfect age. Some people think I am crazy for attempting a trip being this pregnant. It's a four hour drive so I feel comfortable with that, not being too terribly far from my Dr. But I'm going to try and take it easy and not overdo it. Wouldn't want to have to jump in the dolphin tank to have this baby!!!

I only had one carry over menu item from last week. Sunday Kevin ended up having dinner with a friend so the girls and I just kept it simple and they had fish sticks and sweet potato fries and I had leftovers. So we're pushing our pasta and chicken sausage to this week. I'm hoping to make only a small trip to the grocery store to help round out some meals.

Here is our menu for this week:

Frito Pie
(I have a meeting so hubby is in charge. Wanted to give him something easy :))

Chicken Sausage and Whole Wheat Pasta
Spring Salad
Garlic Bread

Tacos! Our favorite meal around here :)
Black Beans


Pizza- We'll probably order out and pick it up since we will be packing for our trip and I want the kitchen clean!!

Out of town

Out of town

As you can see it will be a fairly easy dinner week with nothing fancy. I so needed that!

I'm linking up for Menu Plan Monday over at Orgjunkie. If you need some meal inspiration, check her out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Busy & Productive Week!

What a week it has been! I have so many posts I want to share and just haven't had the time to sit down and write and upload pictures!

*In the past week my husband hung our new curtains in our living room which I have been eyeing in the Ballard Designs catalog for months! I LOVE them! Picture soon :)

*I participated in my first big children's consignment sale event which was a ton of work but ended up being worth it in the end. I have some great tips for anyone interested in doing a consignment sale like this to help purge their children's closets and make some extra cash!!

*I also got started on my Spring garden with several things planted :) So excited!!

*I had my 32 week Dr appt which went well!

*Finished my 8 week Beth Moore study at church on the Book of James. Still have some homework left to do!

*And, last but not least, I had a fabulous baby shower yesterday hosted by my awesome sister!! She did such a great job and I can't wait to share! I'm so thankful for my family and dear friends.

I hope this coming week slows down a little for me so I can sit down and upload pictures and share what's been going on around here :) But somehow I have a feeling the weeks are only going to get busier the closer it gets to baby delivery time!

Stay tuned!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...