Vegetable Garden Closed



I’ll be spending the day closing out the garden.  Frost it hit Friday night, so it’s done for the season.  This is my second year gardening, and I’m really enjoying it.  There’s nothing better than picking fresh vegetables in your back yard and preserving them for future use.  This year I planted a variety of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, green beans and Sugar Baby watermelons.  

I love sliced tomatoes with a little mayo.  I freeze the green beans to use with green beans and corn for holiday meals and family gatherings.  This year I froze a variety of peppers and tried my hand at pickling them.  I have to say the pickled peppers are the bomb.  I sent a few jars home with my daughter and in-laws and they received great reviews.  They are so good the cleaning lady at my office chased me down as I was leaving with two empty jars asking me to refill them, lol. 
I eat them on nachos, in chili and anything else that I can find to put them on.   I made fresh salsa and canned it.  It’s a lot of work, but so worth it.  I love being able to pull out a jar of garden fresh salsa during the winter and it tasting like I just worked down to the garden and picked the ingredients.  I’ll be munching while reading my kindle when the cold weather sets in.  What I’ve enjoyed most is having my grandson involved in watering and harvesting the veggies. 

Here’s a picture of one of my prized tomatoes weighing in at 1.136 ounces.  It was huge and delicious.  I managed to harvest at least 6 colanders of green beans putting away 5 – 6 quarts in the freezer.  Probably the same amount for peppers.  In addition to the frozen peppers, I’ve canned (pictured below) 30 – 40 pints/quarts of pickled peppers, most given away.  
 
I’m working on 12 pints of salsa this week-end.  I’ll be putting them in baskets along with salsa chips and homemade cookies and brownies for Christmas gifts.   Do you have a garden?  How productive was it?  If not, are you interested in planting one and exchanging gardening techniques and seeds next season?  Please leave me  a comment and let me know your thoughts.  You can find my gardening blog here

Celebrity Baby Nurseries We Love


It’s been a year since we decorated Zarriah’s nursery.  I was browsing pictures of celebrity nurseries that I found adorable, and thought I would share them with you.  I love taking ideas from various rooms, they may inspire you or give you an idea for a baby shower gift.  

This is Buddy Valastro’s, Cake Boss, nursery.  I love anything chocolate, and feel in love with the Espresso colors used in the nursery now.   We used the Espresso furniture in Zarriah’s nursery with lavender and pinks.  Not on the scale of a celebrity, but you can see our ideas for her nursery here: http://mother-2-mother.blogspot.com/2011/10/decorating-nursery-on-budget.html

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This J.R. Martinez and his wife’s nursery for their new daughter Lauryn Anabelle.  They too used the Espresso furniture.  I love how the name is spelled out and the angels above the crib watching over Lauryn is adorable.  This may be one of my all time favorites.  Simple, but elegant. 
 

This is a picture of P. Diddy’s twin daughters nursery.  They went with the off white furniture.  Check out the mural on the wall.  They too incorporated angels into their nursery theme.  Talk about bringing the outdoors in, I love it

This Dr. Phil’s granddaughter’s nursery.  I personally don’t know any grandparents who have a nursery in their home especially one of this caliber, but it is absolutely beautiful.  I love the window seat and the colors are soothing. 

This is Mel B’s nursery.  I love the pastel colors.  The canopy and bows are adorable.  It has just a hint of color, but it’s bold enough to bring the room to life. 

I hope these celebrity nurseries inspire you!  Leave me a comment, and let me know which is your favorite. 

Easy Recipe – Fresh Salsa Recipe

recipes, party recipes, salsa recipe

First, I made 5 pints of fresh salsa this week-end and it was delicious.  Trying to get the salsa into the jars was quite an endeavor.  Simply because I kept eating it.  This recipe is great served fresh too.  I serve it with chips. When I decide to serve it fresh, I place the salsa in bowls.  The next step is to chill it for several hours. It is so delicious.  Fortunately, I have other great backyard vegetable gardening tips too.  Be sure to check them out before you leave.

Next, if you have tomatoes, fresh peppers and onions that you want to use, I urge you to try this recipe.  Be warned, it’s addictive. So, head to your local farmer’s market if you don’t have the ingredients.  It’s great if you’re having company or if your children are salsa lovers too.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Ask for seconds at your local farmer’s market.  They sell them at discounts because of a blemish, discoloration,  or deformity.  Your recipe won’t know the difference.

For this batch I used:

  • 15 – 20 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped (I used a mix of yellow, purple and red tomatoes)
  • 2 large red onions finely diced
  • 15-20 chilies, remove the veins & seeds, finely chopped
  • 5 chilies with the seeds if you like spicy
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
 *NOTE:  I didn’t include the lime juice.  If you’re going to can it, please include all ingredients listed.  Also, see my tips on how to remove the skins from fresh tomatoes.
 salsa recipes, fresh salsa
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving.

If you want a smaller batch, cut the recipe in half.  I recommend Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes for salsa and sauces.  However, whatever is available will work for this recipe.  I used a mixture of Roma and slicers this time.  As a result, the salsa was quite watery.  Fortunately, the problem can be solved by placing the salsa in a colander and allowing it to drain for about 30 minutes. You can gradually add the liquid back in until you reach the desire consistency.  When I’m serving salsa for a party, I like for it to be chunky and to have very little water.  I don’t want my guest having salsa dripping down their clothes.

Christening Day

 

 

Last month we lifted Zarriah to the Lord.  It is such a blessing to know that your children and grandchildren will be raised as Christens, and the icing on the cake is being a witness to the event.  We chose this adorable 2 piece Shantung Dress from Pink Princess for the big day.  I’m glad we did, the picture doesn’t do the dress justice.  The price was great, and it was exactly what we were looking for, simple but elegant.  I’m going to have it cleaned and boxed for Zarriah.  We ordered an adorable bracelet; however, it wasn’t shipped.  Pink Princess did give me a refund promptly, but when you’re counting on using a particular accessory for a special occasion it can be disappointing when it is not received.  Thankfully, a friend of my daughter’s had given Zarriah a bracelet as a gift.

 

 

I must say, my little Zarriah was an angel during the service.  Because we had the huge carnival party the day before, we only had a small family gathering after the service.  We used the ladybug cake made for the carnival party for dessert.  Zarriah is enjoying her cake along with her God mother, who is a friend of my daughter’s from college.  Amazing lady, she was juggling a 3 month old and a 4 year old that week-end, but still made time to celebrate the Christening with us.

We were so blessed to have so many family members join us at the service.  I will always cherish this picture.  Zarriah will be able to look back one day, and see how much she is loved and those who stood as a witness to help raise her as a Christian. For other Christening Day ideas, click on this link, Christening Day – Make It Special

 

Children’s Carnival Birthday Party Ideas


kids carnival birthday party tips

We celebrated Xavier and Zarriah’s birthdays a few weeks ago.  We decided to combine their parties this year since we were having guests from out of town.  Zarriah’s Christening was the following day, so we decided to have a week-end of festivities.  I had a blast planning it, and it was the party of the year.  At least for a kid’s birthday party.

We decided to go with a carnival theme party.  So, if you’re looking for carnival birthday party ideas you’ve come to the right place.  Before we decided to combine the parties, we had planned a Ladybug party for Zarriah.  My daughter wanted me to incorporate the ladybugs into the carnival theme, which presented a challenge.  If you know me, you know that I’m always up for a challenge.  We decided to include a ladybug cake in addition to the bright colored cupcakes.  We decided to use carnival themed toppers on the cupcakes.  Didn’t both turn out adorable.

 

 

Next, we rented a huge tent from a catering company.  We used bright and bold colored tablecloths on the tables.  The lot included red, blue, yellow, green and pink.  In addition, we used 3 banquet tables to feature the cakes and finger foods.  Our menu included chicken salad sandwiches, wings, ladybug crackers, butterflies orange slices, which I forgot to get a picture of, and the kids loved them.  The butterflies were orange slices cut in half, turned in the opposite direction and a slice of strawberry set in the center.  Additionally, we served potato salad, veggies and dip, chips and hot dogs.

 

 

Here’s a picture, although not very good,  of the ladybug crackers we served.  The base is a Ritz cracker topped with chicken salad, a cherry tomato sliced for the wings, and a black olive held on with a plain toothpick.  Both the adults and kids loved them.  Click here for the creamy chicken salad recipe.  We

 

 

 

You can’t have a carnival without a clown.  So, we hired two clown to entertain the kids for an hour.  They were great.  This is Bubbles B, she made a balloon hat for granddaddy and his birthday girl.  In the picture above that, Zarriah is studying Bubbles B.  This was her first experience around a clown.  We were wondering if she was going to cry in the picture above, but after studying her for a few minutes they became good friends.

 

 

We set up a balloon dart board, and secured it to one of the storage building.  It was the perfect height for all the kids to participate.  That’s my niece, she was the dart board champion.

 

 

The kids couldn’t leave the carnival with out a bag of popcorn or a sno-cone.  As a result, we rented a popcorn machine and a sno-cone machine.  They were both hits as you can see.  We were able to get a good deal along with the bounce house.  We gave tickets to all of the kids when they arrived, and we had an adult stationed at each event.  Each event or item required 3 tickets.

 

 

The kids participated in a sack race.  Needless to say, they had a ball.  We purchased the sacks from Party City.  I use them for my July 4th cookouts too.

 

 

Somehow, we had to include a ladybug activity into the festivities.  This is the buggy bus.  We taped ladybug wings to the back of the bus.  And we placed eyelashes over the lights to get our ladybug some character.  The kids loved it.  I had to station an adult at the buggy bus, because the kids were fighting over her.  I was so happy to incorporate the ladybug into the carnival theme.

Get creative, and you will come up with plenty of carnival birthday party ideas too.  We had a Duck Pond game as well, however, the kids had other plans for it.  They decided to stand in it and cool off.  FIY – if you are planning to use this game at a party, make sure you use weighted ducks so they can float.  Additionally, we also had a Veggie Can Toss.  Unfortunately, it rained and we were unable to play that game.  The kids headed to the Bounce House and we were unable to retrieve them after that.  We had to literally start deflating the tent before we could get them out.

 

 

My grandson showing off his balloon hat.  Balloon hats and animals are great carnival birthday party ideas too.  The kids enjoyed watching the clowns make them.  We gave each kid one as they were leaving as a part of their goodie bag.

 

I’m glad birthdays only come once a year, but the memories of my grandson and granddaughter will be forever.  I plan to do a scrapbook, my other passion, so they can look back on this great child’s carnival birthday party.  I hope you found my carnival birthday party ideas helpful.  Implement a few, and you will be able to throw the birthday party of the year too.  You may also like Chuck E Cheese party ideas or Kid’s Birthday Party Ideas.
                                   

Squash Casserole

Need to use up that squash and zucchini from the garden or that pile that you found on your porch from the neighbors?  You’ll love this recipe.  It’s quick, easy and delicious.  My garden didn’t produce an abundance of squash or zucchini this year.  I started an abundance of plants inside to get ahead of the season, but I got hit with vine borers and squash, but I was able to salvage a few for this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 – 10 ounces of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • bread crumbs.

Cube squash and zucchini
and saute for 10 – 15 minutes along with the chopped onion.  Mix the mayo and
eggs.  Add the cheese to the mixture; blend well.  Drain the squash and zucchini
and add to a greased baking dish.  Mix in the mayo, egg and cheese mixture.  Top
with bread crumbs and drizzle the butter over the bread crumbs.  Bake for 30
minutes at 350 degrees
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Follow my garden adventures at A Diva’s Garden, http://adivasgarden.blogspot.com

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Look Who’s 1

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted.  I took a much needed break to focus on my grandchildren, rest and just figure out where I was headed in my life.  I ended a long term relationship, got tired of being in it by myself.  I did a few home improvements, planned and hosted the grandchildren’s birthday parties, planned and hosted my little Zarriah’s Christening party, planted a garden and harvested and canned my crop, vacationed in St. Croix and the list goes on.  I’m feeling energized and have lots of posts for you so lets get on with it. 

Look who turned 1 August 28.  My little preemie, Zarriah, who weighed 2lbs 10 ozs. when she entered this world is thriving.  Miss Muffin is weighing in at 20 plus pounds as you can see.  She’s not walking yet, but she’s crawling, pulling herself up and taking steps while holding on.  She has become quite a handful.  She’s no longer on formula and we’ve moved to stage 3 foods. The doctor said her eye sight is fine and they don’t foresee any vision problems in the future.  She’s had an ear infection, but other than that she’s a picture of health. 

We decided to celebrate big for her 1st birthday.  We felt so blessed that she had survived and was doing so well, we wanted a big birthday bash for her with family and friends.  Celebrate we did. Stay tuned for pictures and all the happenings with the children and my journey as a 50 plus single mother.   It’s so good to back. 

Veggie Tales – Robin Good & His Not So Merry Men Review

My grandson and I love the Veggie Tales.  We had the opportunity to review Veggie Tales’ Robin Good and His Not So Merry Men DVD.  A long time ago, in the faraway town of Bethlingham, roved a band of merry men, led by the fearless Robin Good.  Their mission:  to help people by fundraising from the rich and giving to the poor!  But when a greedy Prince starts stealing the townspeople’s hams, donations are down and Robin’s friends take off and decide to give robbing from the rich a try.  Feeling rejected, Robin thinks can’t get any worse, until he finds out that the ham-hoarding Prince has also captured his friends.  Can Robin overcome his own hurt, rescue his friends and restore the townspeople’s hope?  Find out in this fun Veggie Tale story where kids learn that there’s no hurt too big for God!  God will take care of you.  It teaches children to give their burdens to the Lord.  I think this lesson is so important to children these days.  They need to know they have someone they can always talk to about their problems. 

There’s another fabulous story on the DVD, Lenny & the Lost Birthday.   Lenny is sad because he thinks everyone has forgotten his birthday, which is March 1.  Because it is Leap Year, February has 29 days.  Lenny is not aware of the extra day and doesn’t take the extra day into consideration when counting the number of days to his birthday.  His mother explains Leap Year, and tells him that his birthday is the next day.  Lenny realizes that he is not forgotten, and all is right with the world. 

I love the lessons on this DVD.  I think it’s important to teach our children Christian values.  My 4 year old grandson loves to go to church.  He understands saying prayers and counting blessings. 

We would love to give away a copy of this wonderful DVD to share with your children.  Here’s how you can win:

Let us know your favorite Veggie Tale character- 1 Entry
Tweet about this give away – 2 Entries (Leave a comment with your Twitter Name & that you tweeted about the give away)
Follow Mother 2 Mother – 2 Entries  (On Left)

This give away will end April 6 at mid-night.  The give away is open to US Resident only.  The winner will be selected randomly, and notified via email.  Please make sure your email address is current. 

Beyonce Uses Harness For Blue Ivy

Looks like Blue Ivy is about to loose a slipper.  Aren’t they adorable.  Beyonce takes advantage of the beautiful weather we’re having on the east coast and strolls with her bundle of joy in New York.   Blue Ivy is becoming a big girl.  According to her grandfather, Matthew Knowles, she’s going to be tall.  Granddaddy said,   ‘You just want to love and kiss her, but the great thing with grandkids is that you can give them back.’

I agree with Matthew on that note.  You allow your grandchildren to get away with things th at you wouldn’t let your children get way with.  Extra treats, sweets, late nights with the TV and the list goes on.   Blue Ivy is the second grandchild for Matthew and his ex-wife Tina Knowles who divorced him after 31 years of marriage.  He has a grandson, Daniel “Julez” Smith, by his daughter Solange Knowles.  Thanks to the Daily Mail for the picture of mother and daughter. 

Kristi Yamaguchi Book Give Away – It’s a Big World Little Pig

It’s been awhile since Mother 2 Mother has sponsored a blog give away, so we’re going to give away a copy of Kristi Yamaguchi’s adorable book,  It’s a Big World, Little Pig.   Dream Big is the message that Kristi Yamaguchi sends in her new book.  Poppy the pig is an ice skater, and has been invited to skate at the World Games ice skating championship in Paris.   Poppy is nervous about heading to Paris.   She lives in New York, and becomes anxious about heading to France. It’s so far away. She is encouraged by her friend, Emma, who tells her to “Dream Big, Pig!” Poppy’s grandparents said, “You go girl!” and her parents give her comfort by letting her know that they would be with her every step of the way.

Emma gives Poppy a good luck charm, and Poppy heads to Paris. Once she arrives at the World Athlete Village, she is nervous and bumps into a snowboarder from China named Li. Li and Poppy become friends and walk the village together to find the athlete check-in. Poppy becomes hungry and decides to head to the dining hall. The dining hall is full and she scans the room for a seat. A skier from Italy waved to Poppy and offers her a seat at her table. They too become friends.
Poppy leaves the dining hall and heads to the practice rink. There she meets another skater from Japan. They admire each other’s costumes and become friends. Poppy skated from her heart during the competition and remembered all the friends and discoveries that she had made during the trip. Her parents were there to support her and decided they would stay for the remainder of the week so they could visit the Eiffel Tower, museums and eat French food. It turned out to be a beautiful trip, one that Poppy would always remember.
We would love for you to have a copy of this beautifully illustrated book.  It will make a great bedtime story or gift.  Here’s how you can win:
  • Leave us a comment on why you would like to have Kristi’s book and who you will be giving it to – 1 Entry 
  • Tweet about this give away – 2 Entries  (Retweet lower left corner of this post.  Leave your Twitter name in your comments and that you retweeted the give away  ) 
  • Follow Mother 2 Mother – 2 Entries  (On the left)
  • Follow @sugarkisses on Twitter – 2 Entries  (Leave your comments with your Twitter name and I’ll follow you back)

This give away is open to US Residents only 18+ only.  The give away will end April 6 at mid-night.  Winner will be selected randomly and notified by email.  Please ensure your email address is valid; otherwise, you will be disqualified and another winner selected. 

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