CSA Box #7 & Weekend Wrap Up

Where is this month going? I can’t believe June is almost over and I’ve barely had a chance to get any blog posts up. When not working, this month has really been dedicated to getting all those ‘homeowner’/adult chores out of the way, and I wouldn’t want to bore you with them anyway. I’ll spare you the numerous screens I repaired this weekend or the outlet covers I’ve swapped out. Oh, and not to mention all those little springy things behind the doors (my technical jargon for a door stop), yeah…I’ve been busy changing those out too. Turns out the previous owners were a little tough on their doors and busted most of the bumpers, and the ones that aren’t broken are missing altogether. For some reason they never ranked high enough on the ‘To Do’ list until now.

 

Not to worry, I’ve been making progress on a few other very important things too. I finally organized all my nail polish. ::sigh:: That’s actually not a joke, I built boxes to organize my nail polish which I’ll show you in another post. I also did some gardening and the Spare Bedroom moulding has finally been primed and painted. I hope to have the headboard up this week. Then I can move to the very fun task of ceiling fan shopping (why are they all SO ugly?).

So at the moment, I’m covered in paint (and hives, although that is unrelated to the paint) and I’m getting ready to put my shoes on for a run, so I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the weekend.

 

My local Farmer’s Market

Temecula Farmer's Market

The cute little Old Town that I visit every 2 weeks to pick up my CSA box.

Old Town Temecula

 

Speaking of CSA…lots of green this week.

CSA Box_5

CSA Box_4

I think it’s time to turn some zucchini into Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread…Yum!

CSA Box_3

…and some delicious berries

CSA Box_2

CSA Box_1

Baxter and I both dig into the CSA box like it’s Christmas morning. I go straight for the strawberries and he likes to split his time between sniffing the box itself and begging for carrots.

He’s just too cute.

 Dark Chocolate Lab

I don’t want to give too much away right now, but the Spare Bedroom is making some serious progress. The brown wall color is going to change and new bedding/window coverings are in the works, but I LOVE it so far. That’s huge, since I’ve painted this room 4 times so far. Finally a design success for this room.

Spare Bedroom Primer_1

I also thought I’d give you a little update on the garden since a few of the plants are doing really well.

I’ve been eating tomatoes out of my own backyard this week, they are amazing. Sweet & delicious, and that’s coming from someone that doesn’t like tomatoes. I have an Early Grey 50 plant in harvest right now, and a Brandywine Pink that’s flowering.

Tomatoes_1

Tomatoes_2

Garden_1

This plant stumps everyone that visits. They always want to know what I’m growing in the trash can.

It’s Potatoes!!

I never did a how to on the potatoes since I didn’t expect them to survive. However, they have done incredibly well in the trash can (although I haven’t harvested yet, so we’ll see what they produce). They still have a month or two until they’re ready.

Potatoes_1

That’s it for the edibles right now, although I do have some herbs growing and I’m planting onions and zucchini next weekend. I also have some thriving succulents outside right now. This is my favorite.

Succulents_1

 

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Eco Challenge – Dog Grooming

It has been a really weird day. I had the most vague call with my boss in which they implied that I still had a job, but they couldn’t really tell me (for those that don’t know, we’re going through layoffs right now at my company). I’m also being assigned a new project, but they couldn’t tell me what it was about. I’ll find out more later this week. Looking forward to it, since I know nothing based on that conversation.

I’ve also had a sinus headache this evening which means I spent most of the evening laying on the couch doing a lot of nothing. However, I did crawl off the couch for a bit for today’s eco challenge.

When I put together this list of eco ideas, I wanted to try a few that weren’t on the typical ‘going green’ lists. I think this one falls in that category. The goal is to start brushing my dog more often, at least once per week.

Grooming

Why?

Regardless of the weather my dog sheds A LOT. I’m pretty sure I could make another dog just out of what I pull from the lint trap in the dryer. Not only does it make a mess around the house but it takes a lot of electricity, not to mention physical energy, to be constantly vacuuming the house. By brushing him more often (preferably outside) it will reduce the need to constantly run the vacuum, reduce containments in the house and improve breathing conditions. Let’s face it, it’s not just dog hair, it’s any other dirt, pollen, etc that he brings in from outside.

Grooming

Grooming

Grooming

On the plus side, he likens it to a spa level massage.

A sleepy dog is a happy dog.

Baxter

My Doggie Valentine

Since this little man is my beloved Valentine this year, I thought I’d share a little about how he came into my life.

IMG_0033

In 2005 I lost my my last dog to cancer. It broke my heart and took me almost 3 years to work up the courage to get another dog. I knew I couldn’t get a beagle again, it was just too hard for me, and I wanted a running partner so I set my heart on a Lab. For my birthday in 2008 I told my Mom that I was finally ready to get a dog again and that in lieu of presents, I was accepting donations to the ‘Puppy Fund’. I also told her that I was 100% certain I wanted a Chocolate Lab Puppy.

At the time I was living in an apartment that charged about $1000 pet deposit plus another $35 each month as pet rent so I needed a little upfront money. Since I wasn’t expecting to actually get the dog for another few months, I didn’t tell anyone else about wanting a dog.

Less than a week later I received an email from a good friend asking me to pass along some info about a dog that needed a home. He had sent it to me as an after thought, not knowing that I wanted a dog, just knowing that I loved pictures of cute puppies.

This little one needed a home.

Baxter 03

So a week after deciding that I wanted to get a chocolate lab puppy, one showed up in my email inbox. It’s funny how things work out. Another family was originally going to take him, but the father lost his job so they decided against getting a dog. The mommy dog had accidently stepped on the puppy’s leg and broke it which is why he was in a cast. Within about an hour, I had agreed to get the puppy.

Baxter 06

At the end of May 2008 I brought Baxter home. He was 3.09 lbs with dagger nails and teeth. His eyes were an amazing blue, he had no hair on his belly and didn’t yet know how to pant. I honestly don’t know how old he was. I was told 8 weeks, and he was the runt, but he seemed more like 4-6 weeks old.

I took him to the pet store on the first night and the only collar that would fit him was a tiny pink kitten collar.

Baxter

sssttttrrreeetttccchhh

he looks so innocent...then he got up and pee'd on the carpet

He kissed up to my parents that first weekend, falling asleep in their arms and fitting into the palm of my dads hands.

Sleeping in Grandma's Arms

Yes, I really am that cute!

“Oh yeah, I’ve got them wrapped around my little bitty paws!”

Grandpa and the Pup

In the coming weeks he perked up and developed his incredibly playful personality. Even now, almost 4 years later, he still things he’s 3 months old and 10 lbs.

Innocent lil puppy...or so he seems

I'm not getting into any trouble...yet ;)

I'm gonna get that camera...

My frog is almost bigger than me!

Yum Yum...frog legs

Couch Potato…

Lazy night watching TV

I may have annoyed him with the camera more than once…

Kisses Mom!!

I love the spotlight!

I wish he would have stayed this size, I believe he was about 15 lbs here…

Bax02

As he was getting bigger we made many trips to dog beach (it’s the thing I miss most about having moved inland)…

Doggie Beach Aug 02 09

Baxter at Dog Beach

Hitting the Waves at Dog Beach

…but he’ll live with dancing in the sprinklers until I can get him to the beach again.

He's in heaven when he finds sprinklers

He loves his walks, but I learned the hard way he wasn’t the greatest running partner. He likes to find big sticks and smack me in the back of the legs with them.

“Go FASTER Mom!” He’s such a drill sergeant.

Baxter and his walking stick

At the apartment, my couch was right next to my desk. He used to sit like this all the time.

Couch Potato

…and he’d sit like this if I wasn’t paying attention to him.

Baxter

It took till about 3 years old for him to calm down and turn into ‘America’s Favorite’ dog breed.

Baxter

Up until then, he often spent his time like this…

Is there any left?

He did all of that while I was taking a shower one day. He shredded mail, packages, trash, magazines, then found the empty food bag.

I cleaned up…he took a nap. He has such a tough life.

93/365: November 1, 2009

So that’s my little Valentine. In the past 3 1/2 years he’s gained about 90 lbs and while he’s calmed down, he still has the same playful personality he did at 3 lbs. He still thinks he can fit in my lap and that I should carry him down the stairs. Big baby.

In honor of Baxter, my puppy Valentine, I took the money I would normally spend on a Valentine gift and put together a doggie donation package for my local animal shelter. Animal shelters often need the basics to take care of the animals that come in on a daily basis. A lot of people will bring in food, treats, unused leashes/crates, cash donations. All of which are GREAT. However, I decided to fill a few other needs for them and put together a package of towels, rope toys, dish soap & laundry detergent. You can get a list of needed items directly from your local shelter.

Valentine Doggie Donation

It seems odd to include dish soap and detergent in a donation for animals, but we forget that the shelter often needs these things to keep food dishes and bedding clean. Hopefully it helps, ever if only a little bit, so that my local shelter can keep doing great things by taking care of these amazing animals.

 

Baxter and I hope everyone had a very Happy Valentine’s Day.

Much LOVE to you all!

Baxter 3 years old

Labor Day Weekend Kick Off

First off…THANK YOU to the hundreds of people that came over to my little blog and saw my PB Workbench Bar Knock Off. Welcome new readers, I hope you’ll stick around.  I love how interactive the blogging community is, so feel free to introduce yourself in the comments. If you have a blog, let us know, so we can check it out!

__________________________

Ah Saturdays…I love weekends! Especially this weekend, because it’s three days off of work, and my parents are bringing me their truck to hit up Lowe’s.

My tiny little car doesn’t do that store justice.

image

Before they get to my house I took the little pup to the happiest place on earth.

2011-09-03 07.37.30

The Dog Park!! It’s his Disneyland.

I really love this Dog Park because it’s a very un-landscaped, natural environment. When I was living in Orange County the closest dog park only had wood chips, and others only had grass. This Dog Park has dirt, mud, grass, trees, water (in a bucket big enough to fit my dogs entire head, which makes him VERY happy).

2011-09-03 07.36.20

This morning he made plenty of new friends. In fact, a little pup named Roxy really, REALLY liked Baxter. He’s such a charmer. 

2011-09-03 07.36.50

Baxter hasn’t been to the dog park in a while since it’s been over 100 degrees everyday. He doesn’t understand the weather, so I think he was getting angry with me, but…

 2011-09-03 07.48.56

He loves me again.

Guess who else loves me?

Mom and Me

Awww, isn’t that cute! I love my Mom. (I can’t find a picture of me, Mom, and Dad…so, sorry Dad. I’m sure he loves me too.)

 

They’ll be here soon, so I have to clean. I’m buying lots of goodies today for at least 5 very cool indoor & outdoor projects, so check back later.

There may also be an impromptu BBQ!

Whip Cream Cake & Puppy Playdate

Yesterday’s BBQ was a load of fun, and we had some really great food. (Don’t worry, the Whip Cream Cake is below!)

The morning was spent sleeping in and running a few errands. I picked up some new flowers from Trader Joes, potted not cut. While their cut flowers are beautiful, they only seem to last a few days which saddens me.

But these will stick around for a while.

IMG_1173

I also stopped at Cost Plus for some BBQ goodies and HomeGoods, well, just because they own a part of my soul. I stop there nearly every week, just to browse. I picked up a few Moroccan style candle stars which you’ll see when I debut the finished Master Bedroom. I also grabbed some sweet hot pink dish washing gloves. I hate doing dishes, so maybe the pretty gloves will make it a little more fun.

Water Stop™  All-Purpose Gloves - 2 Pair

Source: Casabella

A little later the family arrived for the BBQ. Since it was in the 90’s I had fabric fans set out for my guests.

IMG_1178

And some chips and salsa. Three cheers for Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Salsa, it’s seriously amazing!

IMG_1176

Drinks were made, with Lime vodka and the obligatory paper umbrella.

IMG_1180

Then we broke in the brand new grill with steaks and corn on the cob. It was all fabulous!

IMG_1182

But let’s face it, the highlight was dessert.

IMG_1205

Have you ever seen these chocolate wafers in the grocery store, and thought ‘what the hell do you do with those?’ Well you could check out the steps below..or just follow the recipe on the box…whatever floats your boat.

IMG_1157

Ingredients are simple: Cool Whip (Or any whip cream), Vanilla, Chocolate Wafers.

IMG_1152

Mix the Whip Cream and Vanilla until combined and smooth.

 IMG_1153

Sandwich the wafers with small scoops of whip cream, stacking them on end. The recipe calls for a single log, but I find that the cake works better in two logs. It helps the rows stand up if you put the edges of the wafers in the whip cream of the other row, alternating the cookies.

 IMG_1158

Mid Assembly, depending on how big you want the cake, you can stop at any time. Reserve the leftover cookies or another purpose.

 IMG_1159

Full package cookies turned into a cake.

 IMG_1160

Use the rest of the whip cream to ‘Frost’ the cake, be sure to cover all the cookies.

 IMG_1161

You can decorate any way you want, but I like to grate any broken cookies over the top of the cake.

 IMG_1162

Now, place in the refrigerator overnight. This is a key step because the moisture from the whip cream and will turn the cookies into cake. If you don’t leave it overnight, your cake may be a little undone, still good, just a little crunchy.

 IMG_1204

The next key to this cake is to cut in on the bias. It will taste good any way you cut it, but it will hold up and look better if you cut at an angle.

If you happen to have any leftovers, store it in the fridge, covered. But I doubt there will be much left.

 

Since I don’t have any kids, this was our version of a ‘playdate’

IMG_1183

Baxter had a blast playing with his ‘Aunt’ Shelby and ‘Uncle’ Jake (they are my mom’s beagles)

IMG_1195 IMG_1200

Shelby took very good care of her brother while they were relaxing. She likes to clean his ears for him.

 IMG_1201

Which wore her out so she napped on my kitchen rug.

IMG_1190

But I think all involved had a really good time. (Jake is such a camera hog, poor Shelby could barely get her head in the shot.

IMG_1192

 

Addison