Monday, June 29, 2009

Infinity Pool

We installed our new infinity pool this weekend and the kids just LOVE it.

pic removed

OK, so maybe calling it an infinity pool is a bit of a stretch, but it is perched on the steep slope of our front yard.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!

I really wanted Nick to experience what I had with Ladybug and GreenEyes so we woke up at 6:40 AM today to do some berry picking. Having learned our lesson last time we got out there early and there were tons of ripe blueberries and raspberries for picking. The prices are unbelievable and it's such a great time with the kids.

This time Ladybug held the basket as I picked and Nick picked with GreenEyes on his back. We came home with combined total of 6 above-the-brim pints: 3 pints of raspberries and 3 pints of blueberries. All for less than 8 bucks!!

What does one with all these berries? Well, tonight, it was a Berry Tart.


Simple Berry Tart

1 pre-made pie dough
1/2 cup sugar (plus additional to sprinkle)
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups raspberries/blueberries/strawberries (or any combination there of)
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 425. Lay dough in pie or quiche plate (I prefer a quiche or tart plate). Prick with a fork. Line with tin foil and put rice or beans in the center to keep the surface flat. Bake 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Lower oven temp to 350.

Mix cornstarch and sugar. Toss with 2 cups of the berries crushing some of the berries to dissolve the sugar. Dump mixture into the pie crush. Finish the pie by putting the remaining 2 cups of the berries in. I find it looks prettier if you put the open side of the raspberry down and arrange it. **Brush on some egg white for color along the exposed part of the crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the fruit mixture is bubbly. Cool, then serve at room temperature. We ate ours with a dollop of ice cream. Unbelievable! The best part is there is still a pint left in the fridge to eat plain and fresh. Yummo!
**I decided to add this in because the crust could stand to look a little prettier!

After we went berry picking, we were up early, so we went to the Charlottesville Farmer's Market. We picked up some squash and things that aren't quite ready in our garden. We didn't need to pick up any green beans though. We picked our first batch of green beans last night. We have two varieties, a yellow variety called 'Soliel' and a generic green. They were way better than anything we could have bought!

As I told Nick, if today were any example, everyday at our house is Father's Day. Not everyone gets a yummy tart baked for them. He agrees.

Tomorrow, it's blueberry waffles for dad. Happy Father's Day everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Camping and Cutie Pies

GreenEyes will be turning one in a week. We had planned a small party/camp out for him but it turned out being a bad weekend for everyone so we will be celebrating it ourselves next weekend. GreenEyes is at a great age. He has met some interesting benchmarks. First, we have gotten rid of the bottles and he's officially using sippy cups.

pic removed


He's also started saying "mama." I'd say this is first intentional word. :) He's technically been saying "dada" but it the same way he's been saying baba or gaga... i.e. jibber jabber. This one, he's been doing with some prompting. Ladybug's first intentional word was dog. Check out the video below.

video removed


Nick's been working really hard the past couple weekends getting a trail in and small campfire area going in anticipation of our party. Below is a pic of the trail he cleared. We are going to get a trial fire going when we finish it this weekend.


Nick and GreenEyes on the cleared trail.


The family hanging out at the campfire site. Nick isn't quite finished with laying all the stones. We are also going to be adding logs to sit on. We have a good bit of left over logs from trees the previous owners took down.

Below is a pic of the stumps. We will take another pic when it's all completed and put together. I'm looking forward to the smores already!

Garden Update

We have two grape tomato plants and one heirloom (old german) tomato. Our first grape tomato has been producing ripe tomatoes since Sunday (earlier than I thought). The one we picked up at the local gardening center has been AMAZINGLY prolific in it's fruits. This picture doesn't do it justice.

The green beans are looking great and we should be eating those in the next couple of days or so. They are pretty big, but Nick thinks we need to hold out on them yet before we start picking.

Ladybug picked clover while we looked through the garden.

As you can see our summer squash is doing really well. GreenEyes took a crawl through part of the garden.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hubby Rocks

Hubby was in on the saving action yesterday. On his way home, hubby popped into Harris Teeter to pick up three of these great deals:

It pays to pay attention!
Charmin Bath Tissue, 8 giant rolls- $5.99
e-VIC members are eligible to receive $3 off this product at checkout.
Use .50/1 coupon from 6/7 PG insert (there are a million coupon sources for this).
Final price: $1.99 (UNIT PRICE: .10 a regular roll or .24 a giant roll)

Bounty Paper Towels, 6 giant rolls
- $5.99
e-VIC members are eligible to receive $3 off this product at checkout.
Use $1/1 coupon from 6/7 PG insert.
Final price: $1.99 (UNIT PRICE: .24 a regular roll or .33 a giant roll)
I'd like to get us off of our dependence of paper towels and start using the cloth kind but Nick doesn't want to budge on that. I'll keep working on him. Even if this is "cheap", it's not a necessary expense and it's certainly not a sustainable one.

Coppertone Spray, 6-7 oz- $7.49 (something we needed desperately for our runs)
e-VIC members are eligible to receive $3 off this product at checkout.
$3/1 printable coupon (thanks to my sister for having me print this out a month ago!!)
Final price: $1.49

Total paid for everything above was 5.77 (including tax). I think I may have spent MAYBE 80 dollars at HT total this year and so far my VIC card statement says I've saved over $410. That's funny.

While we were in DC, I scored some free deodorant from Target for Nick and even my MIL.
Cost= 2.34
-1.50/1 Redplum.com coupon (it's a Target Store coupon you can stack with a mfg coupon
-1.00/1 mfg coupon from newspaper insert
= FREE or moneymaker depending on your cashier!

Got some free mayo (reduced fat Olive oil) too. Sweet!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Raspberries

We went with mom's club this morning to a raspberry/blueberry pick-your-own farm. We got there at 9:15 (apparently they open at 8 AM) and all the blueberries were flat out gone. Apparently, posh Charlottesville restaurateurs were out there picking well before we got there. As we arrived, I saw one guy haul off 22 cases. Bummer for us, but good for the farm. I'm glad to see they are doing so well.



Nolan road on my back while Ladybug and I did the picking. At some point ladybug lost both of her shoes. In true bad mom form, I did not notice until we were done picking. :P

We paid a whopping .80 cents for something that would go $5.00+ at the store. I'd say they were a frugal find and they are delicious and nutricious! You can't beat that. I think we will be heading there again soon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Delectable Surprise

On our way home from DC, we picked up some fresh vegetables from a local farmer off the side of the road. While we were there, we picked up the usual... some green beans, some awesome orange/green peppers, yams, and a large tomato. She had some good looking turnips and beets but I'm not a fan. Maybe I need to have these prepared for me now that I'm an adult, but the kid in me wants nothing to do with them.

Anyway, while we were at the farmer's stand, we noticed a white squash we were unfamiliar with. I asked the lady what they were called and how to make them. She told me they were pattypan squash and they cooked up just like zucchini. Well, that sounded easy enough so I picked up three of them and thought I'd give it a try.

I found a recipe on the internet here.

Simple Scallop Squash Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 3 medium Squash, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 dash Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Minced Onion
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Milk
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (unless using microwave.)
  2. Spray 1 1/2 quart casserole with cooking spray.
  3. Cover bottom with squash.
  4. Dot squash with butter.
  5. Season with salt, paprika and onion.
  6. Cover squash with grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Pour milk on top.
  8. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until squash is tender or microwave on High Power for 5-6 minutes; stirring occasionally.
Serves 6


This recipe got a thumbs up from Nick and I... and GreenEyes too. Ladybug didn't feel like experimenting today so she didn't eat so much as a bite. If she had, I'm sure she'd have loved them. I will be stopping by that stand next week for sure. I never thought squash could taste so good!!!

Nick tells me, as I write this, that we should invent a Swiffer that attaches to a baby so our floors will clean themselves as GreenEyes crawls around. He is speedy and crawling forward like nobody's business these days.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Intermittent Internet

We continue to have issues with our internet service. It seems that our modem is at fault. We get about 10 minutes of internet and then it dies because the modem overheats. This is my guess of course. Hopefully, it will get resolved tomorrow.

Anyway, we had a great week. I spent the week with the kids in DC while Nick was away on business. Nick's mom watched the kids one night so I could get a break. The night was a much needed mom's night out. I'm already looking forward to the next one. I'm much more relaxed after this business trip then the last one. The only issue I have with visiting the City is that we all seem to come down with something within 5 to 7 days of our first day there.

We have been busy this weekend and have been trying to catch up on all our to-do's. We just finished mowing our lawn. Our garden is looking great. I think it will be a matter of a couple weeks before we have tomatoes and green beans. :)


Oh, and my deal of the week. I got 18 Tombstone Pizzas yesterday at Kroger. In order to get rock bottom prices I had to combine 3 different promotions/discounts.
First they were on sale for $2.50 (we consider anything under 3 bucks a great deal.)
-then take $.50 ea. coupons (I used 9 $1.00/2 coupons technically)
-rebate of $15 off WYB 17 (I bought 18... I know, crazy, but mind you that I'm married to Nick. Hopefully, it will last half a year.)
=$1.16 ea. OOP

I have had great luck with the rebates, so I will continue to do so. The other week I got $37 bucks in the mail (the free ham from Easter that you may remember) and money back for a free cleaning instrument.