Just Noodling Around!

Hey everyone!  I sure hope ya'll are having a great week.  Busy & hot around here, but that's nothing new.  I'm so excited to be participating in this great party that our sweet "always thinking outside the box" friend, Debbie at DebbieDoos & her co-hosts have cooked up -- "Summer Pool Noodle Party!"  Come along with me while I share my creation, & then get yourself over to Debbie's & check out all the rest.

I seriously didn't think you needed to see the pool noodle before I used the very sticky duct tape
to form my wreath shape.  After that I wrapped the entire wreath with strips of burlap, hot gluing as I
moved around the form.  I had to be careful to keep most of the hot glue on the burlap & not get much on the actual noodle -- it melts!


On This Day, I Thee Wed!

Hey everyone!  Today's the 43rd Anniversary of the day I said, "I Do," and I'm so glad I did!

I can't believe how young we looked!  We were young, who am I kidding.....lol!
 I was 20 & The Man was 22.


A Bit of Mantel Tweaking

Hey everyone!  Hope your week is going well.  We are really heating up here in the Arizona desert, but that just makes more time for inside projects.  Today it was our gathering room (aka: the family room) fireplace mantel that needed a bit of a change.  I didn't buy or even make anything new, I just shopped the house & my stash, & rearranged some of what was already on the mantel.  So let's take a look, shall we?

My light and airy summer look.  Oh, that's our sweet little Abby.  She's actually almost hiding in plain sight.........

if not for her rusty ears and striped tale, she would just blend right into the carpet!  That itty bitty object off to the side is one of her favorite toys, but she's always losing it in or behind my magazine basket.  I had just found it for her, again!

It's only 4 P.M., so it's hard to tell I have the battery-operated candles on.  The ruffled wreath is one I made a few months ago.  You can see all the details HERE.  I thought the space needed some height, so I simply fastened together some branchy-things I had & just tucked them in behind the candles & the moss ball.

There was too much blank space in the center of this wreath, so I took a little photo that I had copied from The Graphics Fairy, & placed it in a little frame which I then hung inside the wreath.

I love that this gives me a bit of a patriotic look for the 4th of July, but not the typical red, white & blue.

Don't you just love the crown & that very serious, almost pouty little face.  I think someone told her she wasn't getting any ice cream unless she posed for this photo....lol!

Thought I would take another shot without the flash this time.  You can see the candles
just a bit better.

So, there you have it.  Zero $ spent for a new, lighter look for summer.  Thanks, everyone, for stopping by.  I look forward to seeing you next time.

I'm happily linking to:
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Jenny at The NY Melrose Family for Whimsy Wednesdays
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Katie at Katherine's Corner for Thursday Favorite Things
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Emily at 52 Mantels for Your Mantels


It's a Smash of a Deal!

Hey everyone!  I just have a quick shout out to anyone who will be participating in the Smash Book Linky Party, which you can read about HERE.  I just made a run (well, actually I drove) to......

for something completely unrelated to Smash Books.  But, ya know, as long as I was there I thought I would just see if they were carrying any of the products.  Well, I'm sure people thought I was very strange when I was doing the "happy dance" in the aisle -- they not only had a big variety, 
but (wait for it).......

it is ALL 50% OFF right now, including the books!  So I suggest you RUN, don't walk, to 
your nearest Joann's & check it out.  Anyone want to join me in the "Happy Dance?"

Okay, I'm off to do some "smashing!"


It's a "SMASH" Party-Full of Fun!

Hey everyone!  Wow, two posts in one day is a new thing for me; but when I read that Ricki Jill from Art @ Home & Angie from My So-Called Chaos were hosting a Smash Book Linky Party, I just had to get in on the fun!  I'm new to Smash Books, but it was "love at first sight."  I just recently bought my first book, and I'm so excited to participate in this party.  You should definitely pop over to both of these blogs to get all the details.  You won't be sorry!
Join Ricki Jill @ Art at Home HERE and Angie @ My So-Called Chaos HERE for some great summer fun.  Smash Books are SOOOO..... much fun.

It's going to be a "SMASHING" event!

Cooking From the Garden

Hey everyone!  I hope ya'll are having a great week.  Things are good around here, & I've been having some fun cooking from our garden.  It isn't a large garden this time around, but it has been producing like CRAAAZY!  Shall we take a look?

No, it's not a baseball bat, but it might qualify as a lethal weapon....lol!  I truly try not to let them get this large, but these zucchini were hiding in the big plant & I almost tripped & fell over them!  Totally true!  There were several yellow crooknecks, too, but they are a little hard to miss in all their lovely 
mellow yellowness.

I'm getting a basketful of these little beauties every day or two.  I wash them & keep them in a bowl on the counter so we can grab & munch any time we pass by.  Sooooo good!

I had been waiting & waiting, watching all these big green lovelies;  then, YIKES, they all ripened at the same time.  Now what?  

What shall I do with all this bounty?  I decided to make Marinara Sauce -- yum!  I used the tomatoes, of course, both big & small.  I also cut up zucchini, the red peppers that were ripe, fresh basil, oregano & rosemary.  I cut up onion & lightly chopped several garlic cloves.

I loaded everything into the crockpot, added kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes & drizzled on some olive oil.

I cut everything in chunks & didn't peel anything except the onion & garlic.  I did remove the seeds from the tomatoes.  I started the crockpot on high for about an hour & then cooked it the rest of the day ( like 8 hours) on low until all the veggies were very tender.  This smelled sooooo good.  I then ladled off the excess liquid & used my Cuisinart Smart Stick to emulsify all the veggies.  I did a taste test & added a bit of sugar, & it was good to go.

As soon as the sauce was cool enough, I put it into 2 freezer bags with 4 cups each.   I also froze the extra broth which I will use in a soup or stew.  Oh, I feel so "Betty Crocker-ish!"

I've also been trying some vegetarian dishes once-in-awhile.  The one I made this week was
Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadillas.

Check it out at Health.com.  Even The Man, who was so skeptical, thought they were very good.  Super-easy to make, too!

My other new recipe is THIS Mock Apple Pie made with......

ZUCCHINI -- I'm not kidding!  This was a great way to use up one of those "club-size" zucs
that I had.  I pared the squash, sliced in half length-wise, removed the seeds (a grapefruit spoon works great for this little job), & then sliced it up.  Looks like apple slices, doesn't it?

It has a crumble topping & no pastry crust.  Sorry, I forgot to take an After pic.  It was very good!

I was kind of on a roll at this point & decided to try THIS recipe for Iced Coffee Concentrate.  I know, not exactly anything from the garden, but I did need a "pick-me-up" after all of that cooking!

This is a "cold brew" method which is supposed to be the best for iced coffee.  Just as an aside, you may remember that I gave up coffee (caffeine) a few months ago.  I still do not drink coffee in the mornings & have no cravings for it, but I do enjoy an iced coffee "sometimes" in the afternoon.  It's my special treat.

You do have to plan in advance for this, because the coffee & water needs to sit on the counter & brew for a day or overnight.  I strain mine through a fine wire mesh thingy lined with a double layer of cheesecloth.  This recipe is a stronger version of The Pioneer Woman's, which you can find HERE.   I keep mine in a couple of Pampered Chef pitchers in the fridge.

I fill my insulated tumbler with crushed ice, then fill about 2/3 to the top with the coffee concentrate, add milk & then top it off with a flavored coffee cream.  Because I was feeling very naughty (& because I had the ingredients), I made my own sweet cream using Dulce de Leche (melted slightly in the microwave) & Half 'n Half.  Dulce de Leche is the Mexican version of our canned sweet cream, but it is caramel-like.  It doesn't take very much of this delicacy to make my "tumbler runneth over with sheer joy!" 

Well folks, that about wraps up today's post.  I love throwing in a little cooking session every once-in-awhile just for fun.  If you have any good zucchini recipes you want to share, I would totally appreciate it.  It's amazing what one lone zucchini plant can produce.....lol!

Thanks so much for stopping by, & I will see you next time!

I'm happily linking to:
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday

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