19 June 2011

Garden Suprises

When we bought our house we inherited many things like wooden planters and a huge hydrangea bush. I had no idea if I took a piece of that bush and stuck it in some dirt that I'd get another bush. It was really that simple and such a great surprise. I'm going to transplant it next year! :)

18 June 2011

Chess Set for Dad

We made these for father's day. It was inspired by this post over at Gail's blog, but instead of making a set of dominoes, we did chess pieces. :)
I have 2 daughters. One did the black pieces and the other did the white pieces :)

17 June 2011

On Top of Spaghetti

 I've been making spaghetti sauce for over 10 years b/c my family doesn't like jarred pre-made sauce. I've tried many recipes and have mastered what my family likes, not that there isn't room for improvement, there always is room for something better.

I've always hated the recipes that didn't give exact quantities, so I'll try to be clear, though my recipe has become sloppy in that regard.

side-note:When trying to get measurements for a recipe from an elderly person you might try to ask how much they pour in their hand for dry ingredients, or how much in a coffee cup for wet... or some other measuring implement they may use.


2 cloves garlic
 1 T olive oil
29-oz can of Hunts Tomato Sauce
12-oz can Hunts Tomato Paste
1 beef bone
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 t salt & pepper

1 1/2 lb ground beef
small bits of pork meat (from a roast or chops)

French or Italian Bread
or Nation Bakery anything b/c they are the bomb

 Angel Hair Pasta

The secret to the sauce is to cook it all day. I mean start this baby after breakfast and cook it for at least 5 hours.

Basically it goes like this:
Saute garlic and 1 medium onion in the olive oil. I didn't list onion above b/c one of my family member is allergic to onions. When onions are clear or garlic begins to tan, then add sauce and paste. Use the 29-oz can to measure water and use it to rinse both cans and add to sauce. Add the bone and spices. When it comes to a low boil add the meat balls a few at a time. When the sauce is at a low bubbly boil again, I turn it down as low as I can on the stove.

If using a crock pot, you can add everything to the crock after your onion and garlic is sauteed. Use hot water. Keep the crock pot on high until everything is at a low boil, then set it to low. If possible take your meat balls out of freezer and have them in the fridge overnight to defrost.

I make my meatballs another day ahead of time. When ever I have a lil left over ground beef I'll make a few meat balls, put them on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. After a few hours I put them in a freezer bag. I make mine compact and small. Before typically rolling a meatball, I squeeze the meat in my hand. I call this making turtles, b/c that is sort of what they look like when you squeeze the meat in your hand. LOL My girls think it is gross to call them turtles, I'll have to show you in another post :P I add the bits of pork meat to my meatball freezer bag that can't be used for chops b/c they are so small. This will sweeten your sauce. (The beef bone will give your sauce a rich dark color as will simmering it all day.

Getting back to the sauce... When you see some of the meatballs getting dark, then you can stir it, before that if you stir you might mess up some of your meatballs. I don't brown my meatball ahead of time, they cook in the sauce and are less tough than if they are browned in a skillet or in the oven. I got alot of tips for my sauce from my Italian mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They tasted it for the first time over this past winter and said it was very good. So, now I think it's safe to say its good enough to try :)

Please let me know if you tried it :) If you have any advice or questions please let me know.

16 June 2011

Bird feeders

We've had this bird feeder station for well over a year now and it's still effective at keeping the squirrels off them. It's especially effective when they are all empty for a few months, lol.

15 June 2011

Photos taken by Beez


a rainbow

Both of my girls love to take pictures. These were taken by my youngest, Beez, who is 9, going on 10 in  a few weeks :) I think she is doing very well with the camera :)

14 June 2011

Hawk Mountain

We visited Hawk Mountain a few weeks ago and my daughter had a great time checking out the birds and hiking.... I had a great time sharing this time with her. I think she saw a few red tailed hawks, lots of turkey vultures, an indigo bunting, and black and white warbler who was singing his heart out.


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