Sunday, August 19, 2018

My End of July Garden 2018

I know what you're thinking:  "It's almost the end of August and I am first posting my end of July Garden pictures now?"  Yes,  I am.  It was a crazy end of July/early August in our household.  My kids were visiting us, we had a out-of-town romantic rendezvous, a wedding, plus a heat wave all rolled into a two/three week period.  I haven't even stepped in my garden in three weeks, I've been so busy.  I can only imagine the weeds and other mess waiting for me.  The weather is suppose to cool down this week, so I'm hoping to get outside and clean the beds up a bit and take more photos.  In the meantime, here are some late July garden photos I've haven't shown you yet:

At the end of July, Day Lilies are the stars of the garden, and they were beautiful this year!

 This red day lily with a bright yellow throat is my favorite daylily in my garden.  It is so vibrant and produces so many blooms.  I've bordered my lower sun garden with this daylily.

In the next two pictures you can see what it looks like as a border plant.

I also have this light yellow daylily bordering the other side of the same garden.

This is a garden I just finished renovating this year, hence all the empty space.  That was what was left after I removed all the tall phlox and weeds.  Next year, I will add more flowers.

This purple daylily really surprised me this years.  It too had many gorgeous, large blooms on a single plant.

This years my feathered friends gave me the sweetest gift:  they planted sunflowers outside my kitchen window.  Every time I looked out my kitchen window I saw their sweet faces smiling at me.  Even my daughter and husband commented on what a blessing it was.  My daughter could not believe that I didn't plant them myself, they looked so perfect.  Now their blooms have faded, but I'm enjoying watching all the finches eat their seeds.

I have to show you this unique marigold I found at a nursery this year and I absolutely love it!  It's colors are so unique for a marigold:  they look like fall colors.  They produce a mix of golden yellows, oranges, and red.  They even change color as the bloom ages.  I got to my local nursery late this year, and there wasn't much left.  I only bought one pack of these because that's all they had.  I have enjoyed them so much, next year I'm going to the nursery early and buying a lot more!

Here's the same marigold, but in a golden tone.

The gardens in front of my house.  This is my next project I will be tackling.  I want the gardens in front of my house to be mostly annual beds.  I know it might be costly so I will try and grow a lot from seed, but I feel the front garden beds should have the most "wow" impact and annuals give the most color all season long.

Begonias always grow well for me.  I love the way the first garden bed that greets guests to my home turned out this year.

We will be re-doing this front porch next year.  The roof needs to be replaced and we are considering screening it in.  Jackson will love a place to curl up outside but be safe from all the feral cats in our neighborhood.

I always use begonias and coleus in this garden bed because they grow best in the partial sun.

For the first time in the 25 years we lived in this house, I put a hummingbird outside my dining room window.  I use to have a seed feeder here, but it left such a huge mess of seeds all the time, plus it attracted possums and raccoons.  They would then dig in my garden for more seed droppings and destroy it.  The hummingbird feeder only attracts hummingbirds (and unfortunately ants), but it has been such joy watching them come to the feeder everyday!

I also have a question I'm hoping a reader might answer.  I planted Morning Glory seeds throughout my gardens and they all grew green and lush, but none of them bloomed!  Not a single one!  I planted this Morning Glory so it will cover some ugly utility pole on my house wall, and it grew and covered the hall wall beautifully, but it still did not bloom.  I've never seen Morning Glory grow so tall before.   It's almost up to the roof of my house!  Does anyone know why it never bloomed?  It's an annual in my zone, so I'm expecting it to die over the winter and not come back.

I love how my wheelbarrow turned out this year.

I used more coleus and begonias for the pots on my side porch.

I normally have a wreath on the wall in this spot, but this year I chose a bird house.  And of course the birds promptly filled it with twigs.  No occupants though.  I put a round container of shade pants on the table below it.

This is a side garden at the front of the house I was working on, but had to stop.  My husband said he needed to dig in this area, so I will leave the rest for next year.  You can see where I stopped where the paper is exposed.

This unusual lavender bee balm is in this garden.

Other late July blooms were Purple Liatris.

The Black Eyed Susans started to bloom in late July and are currently in full bloom now.  I will take pictures today!  You won't believe the difference from this photograph to now.

And the Black Eyed Susan's favorite companion:  Purple Coneflower.  It's also in full bloom now, and a Goldfinch favorite!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

What I've Been Cooking Lately: Salads and Desserts!

It's been a long time since I've done a recipe post.  I'll be honest, I don't cook much between May and October because I'm outside working hard in the garden!  The last thing I want to do after coming in from the garden all hot, sweaty, and covered in dirt is stand in front of a hot stove for hours!  haha!  And because of that, my diet consists mostly of what I can grab quick out of the fridge instead of planning a hot meal.

I absolutely love cold salads in the summer just for that reason.  I can mix them up ahead of time, and when I'm in a hurry I just pull the bowl out of the fridge and eat!  The problem is finding healthy ones that aren't soaked in mayonnaise!  I was thrilled to find the two salads I'm sharing with you today.  Both are very healthy and loaded with protein.  

This salad is absolutely delicious!  It has avocado, chicken, bacon, and boiled it's loaded with protein.  You can substitute the regular bacon for turkey bacon if your looking for less fat and calories.  You can actually substitute or add other items in this recipe too.  When reading the comments, some people didn't like the corn so they substituted cherry tomatoes or celery instead.  I didn't really care for the corn in the recipe either so I might try that...or peas!

One suggestion:  don't mix well like it says in the instructions.  It turns the salad brown and visually unappealing.  When you look on the website, the pictures are so pretty and bright, and it's because the ingredients are not "mixed well" but separated or slightly folded in.  If I were to make this recipe again, I'd just mix the dressing with the chicken, veggies, and bacon and then layer the avocado and egg to the side as pictured on the website.

Because of the avocado, the dish doesn't keep long in the fridge.  It needs to be eaten within a day or two, or it gets even browner.  So it's probably best to make this dish when you have a crowd of people over to help you eat it.

This bean salad was a hit with my granddaughter.  She saw me eating this and begged to try some.  I think she was attracted to the bright, pretty colors.  It was great finger food for her.  I could put some beans on her plate and she picked them up herself and put them in her mouth saying "Yum!"  every time!  Great nutritious finger food for toddlers!

It has three kinds of beans, red pepper, and feta cheese bathed in a red wine vinegar sauce...what's not to love?  Another high protein salad with no mayo:  win, win!  And, unlike the chicken salad above, it  looked pretty and kept for a long time!

I know there is nothing original or creative about this recipe, but I'm sharing it with you because it is the first time in my life I've made Rhubarb Crisp.  I have memories of my husband's grandmother cutting the large, strange, weedy plant from her garden and creating a delicious dessert with it.  It always amazed me that something so odd looking could taste so good.  Fast forward thirty years and I was in my friend's garden when she asked me if I wanted some rhubarb.  I said "Sure!  I'd love to try making some Rhubarb Crisp!"  So I looked up some recipes and gave it a try!

It tasted just like "Grandma use to make" and my hubby was thrilled when he came home from work and saw his grandma's Rhubarb Crisp waiting for him!

Wednesday was my husband's and my 31st wedding anniversary.  We already celebrated two weekends ago when we went to The Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but I wanted to do something to mark the actual day, so I made him a card and this dessert.

The dessert taste delicious and was easy to make, my only issue was that it called for a lot of flour and sugar, and I ended up not even using it all.  When I was assembling it, it seemed the ratio of flour mix to cherry filling was way off.  So I followed my better judgment and didn't use all of it and put the excess in the refrigerator to make an apple crisp another day.  If you make this recipe, I would suggest only three cups of flour and then omit the appropriate amount of sugar as well.  Or, just save the excess for another dessert like I did.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Stitch Fix Review #19: Cold Shoulder Dress And A Baublebar Necklace

 For my 19th Fix I asked my stylist for a dress that I could wear to an August outdoor wedding.  I already purchased a dress for this wedding, but when I tried it on for my husband his response was not enthusiastic to say the least. 🤣 So I thought, why not mention the wedding to the stylist and see what she comes up with up.  Maybe she will send me something my husband and I like better.

Now, if you watch my Instagram Stories on Instagram you may have seen my first impression of this dress on video.  I was not in love with this dress at all.  It was pretty small and skimpy to me;  not to mention the cold shoulder and open back.  But when hubby came home from work and saw me in this dress he was like"VA VA VA VOOM!".  So, I kept the dress.  I figured I could at least wear it on a date night for him.  Because of the colors, I could also wear it in the fall with tights, tall boots, and a jean jacket.  But I still was unsure of wearing it to the wedding.  So, I went dress shopping again, and still didn't find anything.  Then, the weather got really hot and humid.  Hmmm, I thought, maybe I should wear that skimpy dress after all.  So I did, and I was so glad I did.  I was as comfortable as I could be in the steamy weather.  And guess what?  Most of the other women at the wedding had skimpy dresses on as well.  I ended up getting a lot of compliments too!

 The dress is by Collective Clothing and is called "Marina Cold Shoulder Dress".  It has a ruffle top, a tie waist, and is above the knee.  It is lined inside.  The color is a gorgeous emerald green with a pretty blush pink floral print.

The back has both a zipper and a tie.  At first I thought the tie was kinda weird, but then I realized how helpful it is to keep your straps up.  You can also adjust it to make it tighter or looser on your bust/back.

The second item I received in this Fix was this Baublebar Pearl Statement Collar Necklace.  I really liked this necklace and it went perfect with the dress.  I really wanted to keep this necklace, but the price tag of $48.00 was too steep for me.  So I sent it back.  I also thought it looked a little "cheap" for a $48.00 necklace.

Following the advise of my stylist, I wore my own 9 West nude wedges with my dress (old).

 I also took her advise and carried a blush pink clutch (old) from Charming Charlies.  I echoed the pearls in the necklace with a very, very old pearl bracelet.

I did get three other items in this Fix:  a pair of white jeans, an off-the-shoulder top, and a Tie-Front Blouse.  I kept two of those three items, so it was a pretty good Fix for me.  You will see those items and Stitch Fix reviews soon!

Finally, I want to show you some pictures from the actual wedding.  Here I am with my husband in the exact same outfit except I wore my own double strand pearl necklace.

And here we are with our beautiful granddaughter Alethea wearing her stunning blush pink tulle dress and our handsome son Jordan.

And these are Alethea's parents:  my daughter Ashley and son-in-law Jason.  If Ashley's dress looks familiar to you, it's because it's one of mine.  I just featured it on my Instagram Round Up post last Friday.

I planned on taking lots of gorgeous photography of this wedding to do a blog post about it, but my DSLR camera battery died when we got there.  I could have cried!  I still had my IPhone and did take plenty of pictures, but the quality is just not the same.  I will still show you a few highlights soon!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

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