Wednesday, April 29, 2009

{springtime sprucing & we have a winner}

Is there anything more exciting than digging around in the dirt,
in those early spring months,
when everything is so fresh and vibrant with color???
I've been spending my spare time sprucing up my container gardens
and cleaning outdoor spaces.

The fern below was beautiful, but the green plastic basket dampened it's slender.
I repotted it in a wire basket with mesh lining and it looks much better.
....and it will be healthier in it's "new home."
I noticed after I hung the fern on the shepherd's hook, that the wire stand holding the cactus was brown, and the frog was well...icky!What I thought was probably bird poop, was actually the finish flaking off.

So, I touched up the frog and painted the wire stand with black spraypaint.
...Much better, and the pieces around the tree are unified.
Notice the red shoot/blossom on the cactus. This particular cactus doesn't flower for the first time until it's third season. My uncle passed it on to me.

I feel like I am waiting for an egg to hatch, checking it so often, as to not miss it's bloom.
...still waiting! :)
The flower below, is a new one for me also, called Crimson Mandevilla Bush.
The color is a beautiful, vibrant red. The pictures do not do it justice!
The iron bench below was a birthday present years ago from my dad, who found it at an auction. I moved it from the lake, gave it a fresh coat of black paint.....
...and it now sits on my front porch.
I found the giraffe print outdoor pillows at Wal-mart, and the new "G" flag was a birthday gift from my mom.
The weather has been so nice this week. I have to resist the urge to plant too many flowers. I have a tendency to do that every spring, and then when the super hot, humid days of summer creep in, I am miserable trying to take care of them all.
Am I the only one guilty of this???
And now for the Winner of the Ronald William's Print, celebrating my
ONE Year Blog'aversary & 2ooth Post .....
.....Julie, from Orchard Street Cottage.
Congratulations Julie!!! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

{strawberry memories}

This weekend, a little town in our county will once again be host to The Annual North Carolina Strawberry Festival. ....celebrating ripe, red, luscious sweet strawberries for the 77th consecutive year! Thoughts of the festival bring back fond and slightly amusing memories for Kevin and I. Although, at the time they weren't so fond....

Years ago, while in high school, I participated in the Strawberry Princess Pageant. As you may well know, in the south we have pageants that represent most anything....Azaleas, Dogwoods, Tobacco, Peanuts, Yams, and yes, even Fireants. That is, just to name a smidgen of the wonderful, albeit quirky southern royalty showcased. I could do an entire post on the subject alone, but I'll save that for another day!

So back to my story....I was running for the Miss NC Strawberry Princess and as participants, we were involved in all of the festivities for the weekend festival, including the Friday afternoon parade through the quaint little town. Each contestant was responsible for finding a convertible car and driver to drive them through the parade. Kevin had the prettiest midnight blue corvette, with T'tops. Not to mention, he was one fine hunk himself. (reverting to my 80's lingo, "smiles") Kevin was a year ahead of me in school, and although I knew him, we'd never said said two words to each other. For weeks, I perfected with much practice my "pageant wave," know the one! :) I imagined myself on top of that gorgeous car, in my big, beautiful fuchsia pink gown with crinolines galore, being driven by that one good-looking, dark haired boy. After the parade, the contestants were scheduled to attend a dignitaries luncheon and I intended on asking Kevin to escort me to that as well.

I was intimidated by Kevin. My dad knew his dad well, and I begged Daddy to call and ask if Kevin would drive "his only, and most favorite daughter" in the parade. Daddy did, and Kevin agreed. However when the day arrived, it quickly lost it's sparkle and fell quite short of the fantasy I had envisioned. Kevin's ex-girlfriend decided to tag along, making the atmosphere awkward and tense. I knew there was no chance he would accompany me to the luncheon, I didn't even ask. To make matters worse, my then 11 year old brother wanted to ride in a vette, so he was allowed to ride in the parade with us. However, half way through the route, my brother felt the wind was too strong on him, and rolled my dress up in the window, which wasn't discovered until AFTER the parade and viewing the pictures taken.

.....I lost my quest for the crown! I didn't even place as a runner up. So home I went, without the guy, and without the crown. But the saga didn't end there.

Approximately eight years later, Kevin and I met again, did alot more talking than that first encounter. This time, I did get the guy, .....and he treats me like a QUEEN. Most of the time, anyway! "smiles"

Oh, and I still have my big pink dress, and he still has the vette, but neither is what you could say "functional." :)

Strawberry Recipes from a few of our local folks...

~Strawberry Supreme Heath Bar Cake~

1box Strawberry Supreme cake mix, 1 can of condensed milk, 1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip fat-free, 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix, 2 cups of fresh strawberries, 2 Heath bars, 1 cup milk

Prepare cake as directed. Bake in a 9x13 pan. Cool slightly. Stick holes in cake 1" apart, pour condensed milk over cake. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, puree 1 cup strawberries. Pour over cake. Sprinkle crushed Heath Bar over berries. Spread topping and refrigerate 4 hours before serving. {Topping} Prepare pudding mix using 1 cup of milk. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Garnish with 1 crushed Heath bar and 1 cup sliced strawberries. (by J. Shaw)

~Death By Strawberries~

1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cup white syrup, 1 cup water, 3 tbs. cornstarch, 1 box strawberry Jello, 1 pie shell, lots of strawberries, 1 container of whipped cream

Combine first 4 ingredients. Heat to boiling and add box of Jello. Fill pie shell with strawberries. Pour sauce over berries and refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving. (by P. Skinner)

~Strawberry Crisp~

1 cup oatmeal (uncooked), 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 cups fresh strawberries (sliced)

Mix together oatmeal, flour and brown sugar. Add nuts. Cut in butter until crumbly. In separate bowl, mix strawberries and white sugar. Grease an 8 inch square pan. Spread half crumb mixture on bottom. Cover with strawberries. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream. (by a good friend of mine, R. Ward)

....Enjoy, Rhonda :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

{life is like a garden}

I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil,
to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon
Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 NKJV

Life is like a garden. Every day God gives us opportunities to plant seeds for the future. When we plant wisely and trust God completely, the harvest will be bountiful. you live in the present and look to the future, remember that God has an important plan for you. And while you still have time, it's up to you to believe-and act-accordingly.

The horizon leans forward,
offering you space to place new steps of change.
Maya Angelou

~Entire Excerpt Above, Taken From
"hugs, Daily Inspirations for Mom"
(Howard Books)

Thanks to all that have entered for the Blog'aversary Prize Print I am offering. There is still time to enter if you haven't.

Flowers above are more Irises from my Uncle and Aunt's Garden. The third one pictured is my personal favorite. To me, it resembles "live watercolor art." God is the most awesome artist and creator! :)

~Rhonda :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

{a giveaway, ...and another year over}

...and a new one just begun!

I celebrated another birthday this past week. Not just "blog-wise," but "age-wise."
The funny thing is, turning 40 didn't bother me, but 41 did.

Ashley has inherited my love for throwing a party. Monday night, she invited my parents over to celebrate with homemade Chicken Parmesan, and a cake that she also baked. We were all pleasantly surprised out how delicious the chicken was. ...really, really good! I can't recall her ever even frying an egg, and years ago, she made an individual serving of microwavable macaroni and cheese, leaving out the water in the noodles. It was so burnt, we had the throw away the bowl. {LOL!}
She decorated my cake with candy Spongebobs and Patricks.
I love these silly little guys! :)
And what party is complete, without a few balloons and festive decorations!
THANK YOU, Ash! :)
My Uncle Larry has an amazing, magical garden of beautiful iris and daylilies. My Aunt Janet brightened my day with a purple and white one.

So what else has been going on this week, in my world???

Ashley was invited to model for a luncheon sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce.
I was positioned so far from the runway, that the pictures did not turn out well.

She modeled a prom dress from a local shop, and below she is pictured with the owner.
And moving right along..

Everything is suddenly green and blooming around here.
I encountered a "visitor" when I went out to water and fertilize my flowers this morning. Thank goodness, I am not afraid of lizards, but if he'd "not had legs and crawled instead," you could have heard me hollaring from wherever you are, ...right before I passed out from fright!
My perennials are back and showing some color.
I decided to try something new.
I usually buy beautiful, big flourishing plants in the spring.
I'm impatient that way, pun intended, lol!
But by mid-summer, the annuals just seem to peter out. This year I planted smaller, but healthy, hearty plants in my pots. I am hoping that they last longer. They are already bunching and filling out nicely.
It's pretty neat watching them grow so quickly!
...periwinkles and a "walking stick" plant, below.

And as for never giving up ...
I have several oleander trees in pots around the pool, one of them is pictured below.
They died over the winter, and I broke some of the branches looking for any green or sign of health/life, but there appeared to be none. The only reason these trees are still here, is because I haven't had time to toss them. But literally overnight, they shot out new foliage!
Oh, happy day! "smiles"

Unfortunately, I haven't seen the same promise from my bougainvilleas. I think they may be too lost to save.
One Year Blog'aversary...
A little over ONE year,
and 198 posts ago,
I began this journey of blogging.
This has been a wonderful way to preserve the everyday moments of my children's lives,
as well as gaining much inspiration for making my house a home, swapping ideas with the many talented bloggers.
And the friendships I've made along the way have been invaluable.
I unfortunately don't have to time to maintain my blog or blogging relationships as I would like anymore, but I just can't seem to give it up either.

To celebrate my One Year Anniversary and as a way to say THANKS for visiting my blog, and being such great friends, I am hosting a Give-away.

The Prize....
A matted 5x7 print pictured below.
...entitled "Porch Rockers"
It was crafted by a local artist that grew up near my MIL in Wilmington, Ronald Williams.

You can visit his website if you would like to see more of his beautiful art (watercolors), depicting life in North and South Carolina,

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment before next Wednesday.
And as a bonus...the first person to leave in my comments, the title of the song my opening title derived from will have their name entered three times.
{another year over, and a new one just begun.}

Here's to another year and new beginnings! :)

On Another Note, Please be in prayer for our neighboring SC towns, North Myrtle Beach & Myrtle Beach, and surrounding areas, for the devastating fires they are battling....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

{month in review}

It has been a crazy, busy month for us!

I am now working part-time, which I wasn't looking to do. But as the saying goes, "You have to do what you have to do!" :) And so far it has been going well. I don't have a lot of extra time for hobbies such as blogging...unfortunately. But I am actually able to keep up with my housework, which I believe is due to better management of my time. That is a positive! :)

Below are highlights of what has been going on in our lives this month....

{Harlem Globe Trotters}
I was about David's age when I last saw the Globe Trotters.
Several weeks ago, they were playing at the local college, and Kevin and I took the kids.
They were very entertaining and David thought it was the best thing ever!

Oh, yes, it is that time of the year again.
Last year, just a bunch of the girls from Ashley's school went together. This year, they had dates with guy friends from their class. Being 5 minutes from the school, our house turned in the central dressing and meeting place, i.e. GRAND CENTRAL STATION! After the prom, Ashley hosted an After-Formal Party at our lake house. They are a great group of kids and we always enjoy having them....and feeding them! LOL!
Below, Ashley primping until the last minute....
Ashley and her date share a laugh,
...and I caught the moment!
I think the kids get a little annoyed that I always have a camera in hand, but they are getting used to it! LOL!
Ashley and Zach
Our niece, Katie and MIL, Frances came down for the afternoon.

One bunch of happy girls...

The limo arrives...
Ashley's date rented a limo for all to ride.
(Just a few have their licenses.)

Loading up...

And they are off to the prom....
Ashley and David continued the tradition of coloring eggs.
Ashley's creations....
I finally found my Easter Decorations.
They were in Kevin's warehouse, between two old tractors. I think they had "help" getting there, and it wasn't by me! Leaves me to wonder....
I just happened to find them by pure accident!
Today, I am cleaning and packing them away for another year.

Soap dish in the Guest Bath

My Grandmother B. made the ceramic eggs years ago when I was a child. They are certainly a treasure of mine!
$2.00 Yard Sale Pillow! :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

I missed my ONE YEAR Blogging Anniversary, which was at the end of March. And I am quickly approaching my 200th post! So I will be hosting a Give-Away next week to celebrate the two! ....stay tuned!

Sorry I'm not able to blog and visit consistantly! Miss you all, and will be around when I can!

~Rhonda :)