Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Tale of Three Mailboxes

When we moved in to our house, the mailbox on the front was black and quite the sight for sore eyes.  There must have been some decoration on the front that had long ago fallen off.  We weren't really sure if we could work with this mailbox and those three obnoxious little holes in the front.  That being said, all of the mailboxes we looked at were so expensive!  So last summer we painted it silver hoping that we could learn to love it.  No such luck.  Over the past year, the paint has slowly come off and the poor thing was looking very shabby!  Also, the paint we chose had a sparkly side to it, which was not working for us.

You can see where the silver paint had started to come off, which we knew would happen eventually.

A couple of weeks ago Oliver and I were out buying wallpaper for my corner cabinets and drove past a rummage sale in a nicer area of town.  We decided to stop in and see what they had.  We looked around a bit and were almost ready to leave when I saw a stainless steel mailbox, which was exactly what we were looking for!  I snatched that baby up for three dollars and drove home a happy girl.  Jason took the old mailbox off for me.  I almost wish we didn't have to put a mailbox on that pretty stone!

While I was cleaning it off, I noticed a sticker on the bottom of the mailbox.  Apparently this mailbox was from Restoration Hardware.  The price on it said it originally cost $69.00.  The name of it is the Pewter Horizontal Mailbox and they actually still sell it (or a close version of it) and it costs a little more now.  Seriously though, I can't imagine spending that much money on a mailbox!

I really like it.

Do you want to know what I like most about it?

This little beauty only cost me three dollars.  Not sixty-nine.  Yippee!

Have a great day, friends!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Date Night with My Three Boys

Last night was one of those nights when you are too busy to realize what time it is and supper sneaks up on you.  The kitchen was hot and no one knew what they wanted to eat.  Everything I suggested was turned down with a "no."  Basically, we were all a little on the crabby side!  So we went out!

The food was perfect for a hot, summer evening!  Not a green vegetable in sight, unless you count the pickle on the hamburger!

Dad even treated us all to custard!

Two scoops of vanilla for Jason and Ollie...

and two scoops of chocolate for Henry and me.

It was pretty late by the time we got home, but that's one of the great things about summer, isn't it?  This ordinary evening turned out to be so much fun.  Then again, pretty much anything is fun when I spend it with my three boys!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Freezing Green Beans

This post might be a little early as far as the time of year, but not by much.  Fresh green beans and other garden produce will be ready for harvest in a few short weeks!  The following pictures are of beans from our garden last summer.  I love having a garden and being able to pick things from it instead of going to a grocery store.  There us something so comforting about knowing exactly where the food came from and how it was grown.

When we harvest our beans, we mainly eat them right away.  However, there comes a time in summer when we've either had our fill after eating them for every meal or we can't just keep up with the bounty!  That's when I freeze them for use in the winter.

To begin, I blanch them in boiling water for three minutes.  That's all it takes!

I then immediately put them into ice cold water to stop the cooking process and help the beans to retain their lovely green color.

I lay them out onto clean kitchen towels to dry.  This process is important!  If you don't dry them thouroughly enough, they may develop a large amount of ice crystals, which could alter the taste.  Believe me, in the dead of winter, you want your beans to taste as fresh as possible!

I then divide them up into quart size freezer bags and label them with the year, just in case they get lost in the depths of our freezer.  :)

That bag on the left doesn't quite have enough, but I added more another time.

These beans are wonderful in soups, stews, or just as a side dish to a meal.  If I didn't have a garden, I would still buy fresh beans from a farmer's market and freeze them.  They just taste so much better!

Blessings on your weekend, friends!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Henry's Birthday

We celebrated Henry's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  I know that all parents say this, but I can't believe that my little boy is four already.  God has truly blessed us with a sweet, loving, little boy.

He woke up quite early on his big day and began opening presents right away!

He is currently into firefighters and loves this little set of rescue heroes!

He also got an air compressor, just like Dad's!

Although I'm sure Jason would not do this.  Poor Oliver!

He wanted blueberry muffins for his birthday breakfast.

The weather was hot and humid, so we had lots of water fights.

We also got out the "big pool," which the birthday boy requested.

They played there all day long!

Henry's after lunch treat was a root beer float.

When I asked Henry what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he told me he wanted a cake with green frosting and chocolate chips.  That sounded pretty easy to me, unlike last years' request for a dump truck cake.

We had a nice, quiet dinner with Henry's aunt and uncle, who live in the same city as we do.  He wanted steak and broccoli for his dinner and I also made some risotto.

After dinner and cake the boys wanted to go for one last swim before bathtime.  They were showing us in this picture that they were a little chilly!

Then it was time for one last water fight with Auntie Amelia and Uncle Ryan!

Oliver is wearing his auntie's sunglasses.

In the words of Ollie, "Happy Booday, Howie!"
Happy 4th birthday, Henry-boy!  We love you and are thankful to God for you!  May He grant you many more happy, healthy birthdays!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cute Little Birdie Dish

I found a little dish for my jewelry the other day.

I love it.

I'm thinking that little birdie can make sure no one takes my most precious jewels!

(That means you, Henry and Oliver!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Extra Kitchen Storage

We try to make the most out of the space in our kitchen.  Unfortunately, there isn't much in the line of storage space.  I was browsing Craigslist one night last fall and found a picture of an old "phone stand."  You know, back in the day when people actually had a big ol' phone with an answering machine, phone books, etc. they needed a classy place to hold all of that "stuff."  I'm guessing the man who was selling it had downsized to a cell phone like most people and no longer needed that huge thing to hold his tiny cell.  Well, I saw that ugly old thing and said, "We need that!  For our coffee pots and ugly cookbooks!"  And we bought it.

Wouldn't a couple of Yellow Pages fit so nicely in those cubbies on top?  Not anymore!

I gave it a coat of primer and painted that phone stand a nice, crisp white.

I love you, white paint.  You make just about anything prettier!

Now I use this bad boy as a place to store my cookbooks and our coffee maker.

The pretty cookbooks that get used the most get the prime real estate space on top.

Our espresso makers and coffee press fit nicely inside of this section.

The ugly, awkward cookbooks belong behind this cupboard door.  Sorry, Betty Crocker.  I love your cookbook.  However, the fact that you come in a binder makes it difficult to play nicely with other cookbooks.  Basically, you take up a lot of space.  I also store my Food Network and Cooks' Illustrated magazines in there.

Thanks for selling us your phone stand, sir.  We really appreciate it!  So do our countertops!