Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Roasted Acorn Squash: Fast, Easy Prep, and Delicious!

We are smack dab in the middle of a brewing thunderstorm and I'm wondering if we aren't going to lose the power in, say, the next twenty seconds. I'd better type fast. Because I've clearly got my priorities in perfect working order. =)

There are a gazillion different recipes and methods for baking/roasting/cooking/preparing acorn squash. I wanted easy, fast, and not quite so sugary and fattening that it no longer counts as a good-for-you food. Which in fact a veggie or fruit should always be. Well, almost always. Here goes!

Here's What You'll Need:
1-2 acorn squash (squashes? - that doesn't sound right...)
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp butter, melted
coarse salt
black pepper
dash cinnamon, optional
shallow baking pan/ cookie sheet
aluminum foil or parchment paper

Here's What You Do:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Slice squash into 1-inch wide slices and remove seeds and pulp from center; cut in half again and place on prepared pan in a single layer.
 Drizzle or brush melted butter over each slice; salt and pepper as you like, and sprinkle brown sugar (I use my fingers to sort of pinch it), and cinnamon if desired. That's it! Super easy, right?
(You might notice that I didn't use foil or parchment paper here- I suggest using it because it makes cleaning up easier, that's all.)

Bake about 10 minutes and turn over each slice; bake 10-15 minutes more or until tender. If they cook too long the sugar will start to burn and you will certainly smell that- that's not exactly what we're going for here, but it has happened to me a few times and it really isn't a big deal. They still taste great! Let sit a few minutes and serve warm. You can use a fork to eat them straight from the slice, simply removing the flesh from the skin; or you can scoop the flesh and mash it like a sweet potato casserole. Enjoy!

Tonight is actually the first time it has rained in about a week, and we sure have enjoyed the beautiful sunshine! Field trips, family trips, and trips to the lake, beach and mountains...the perfect first week of summer!

I think my beach pics have all been on instagram- look for me under 'roseandruffle' if you'd like to find me there. I'm outta here because I happen to know there's a root beer float with my name on it in the other room. Have a great night!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Cute Tote Bag & the First Day of Summer (Plus Our Summer Fun List)

I've been thinking about adding some small and medium tote bags and zippered pouches to my Etsy store, but...I'm not sure. I made this one as a gift (well, if it didn't turn out right, then obviously it would never have seen the light of day), and I think it ended up looking very pretty- and with all those pockets on the outside, quite useful too!  =) Here is a pic:

(I'll post more photos over at Rose & Ruffle if you want to see// okay, they are HERE)

Isabelle adored her teacher this year, and while she was happy about summer beginning, her little eyes would tear up at the thought of not seeing her beloved Mrs. A everyday. So sweet. I know exactly how she feels, both as the student and the teacher. Change is exciting but also sad, too.

Of course, as is tradition with us, the very last day of school is celebrated with ice cream sundaes for dinner (the main course is dessert). Yum! I got the new Celebration kind which claims a likeness to ice cream cake. It was pretty good, but nothing can take the place of real ice cream cake, even if the cake is made out of, well, ice cream. We also pooled together our ideas for summer fun and have our official list completed and hanging on a door in the kitchen where we can see it all the time. I love love love summer fun lists!

Ethan has already pointed out that I included a repeat, ha. So maybe we'll do that twice!  ;) Do you see it?

The stinker also created the best tie-dye shirt. Me, on the other hand? Not such a knack for the ol' tie-dye. Until inspiration hit, and then I got an idea to do little twists all over and it came out muuuuuuch better than my first attempt. Truth be told, for the mess and mishap involved, not my favorite activity. But it was on The List so it gave me something to cross off. That totally makes it worth it.  =)

I woke up super early this morning for no particular reason, and after getting sick of not finding a comfortable spot (or being able to shut my brain off), I couldn't stand it any longer and just headed downstairs. Before I knew it, I was organizing sewing things, cleaning the kitchen, working in the yard, taking a nice walk, all before 6 AM. Then it was time to make apple pancakes, per request of my new little 2nd grader. Gulp. I'm not going to say that, write that, or think that again until I absolutely have to, two months from now. At this very moment, she is upstairs in the bath belting out her little heart along with the Frozen soundtrack.

So is Ethan, sitting down here near me, though he'll tell you he's only singing along to make fun of it. HA HA

I'm not buying it- he knows every word by heart.

....the past is in the paaaaaast...  ;)

ps- some favorite summer fun posts can be found here and here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Major Progress with our Front Yard Transformation

Good morning! This is sure to be a long, picture-filled post, so maybe I'll keep my yakkin' to a minimum. First time for everything, right?

This was in a somewhat early stage of our renovating...

Last spring, I found myself in the unenviable position of figuring out what to do with, well, all this. Then, suddenly, I was in the throes of building not one, not two, but three rock wall gardens! All the rocks were coming from the haphazard rock wall that was here when we moved in back in November 2012. There were a LOT of rocks!




Now here's where we started out. This was on a walk-through in late September 2012:

At the time, I remember thinking, "Oh, that's a nice forest-like garden-thing in the front yard." Naive girl. We all came to call it the "pet cemetery" because it grew less and less endearing as time wore on.

Some winter shots:

It may look all Norman Rockwell pretty, but I promise you, it was such a disastrous mess.

That following spring, I formulated a plan. That's laughable...I change things as I go. Always have, always will. After several days of blood, sweat, and yes, of course tears!, this is what we accomplished:

We dug out the grass and made this a large flower bed. On the right side is the new rock wall with more plants and flowers. Oh those hideous steps drive me batty! In time, in time...


We also had begun with the first round of tree removals. Thanks Dad!  =)
We hired a local guy for some huge trees that were nearly dead- I was so relieved to get those out and away from our house!

These may look little, but it felt like there were thousands of them, lurking at every corner. UGH.

I'm including this photo because A. She's irresistible; and B. You can see how quickly the trees and shoots fill in if left untouched. I was beginning to doubt that we would ever get this project finished!
You might also notice that a ton of rocks are missing from the original wall. Those babies were heavy heavy heavy!

Another angle of all that growth. Seriously, I was fretting big-time by this point. How on earth were we going to get all that out of there???

These guys. All three boys worked so hard alongside my Dad. This project actually ended up being wonderful because of all the time they spent together. I realize none of it would have happened if we hadn't begun homeschooling this year, and I'm so thankful for the many blessings it has brought us.

This is what we'd tackled last year, and it was looking much better.

But...the garage door finally broke, which needed to be dealt with immediately. So everything else was forced onto the back burner, including plans to change out those front steps, argh!

This spring, which took for-ev-er arriving, we got straight to work, and I am so impressed with all that these guys have done!

The colors seem a bit wonky- it was raining, then sunny, then cloudy, then...

And here is what it looks like now!!! These are probably The Worst after pictures ever because I've still got the kayak and canoe out of place, the wheelbarrow never gets put back, cars are always in the way, etc etc etc, but I'm showing them anyway because I honestly cannot believe that it's all done!

I removed these two Heuchera plants from the foundation garden because the colors just didn't work there. I adore them here! They are in dappled sun much of the day, and they really pop all by themselves against the mulch and {future} grass.

I'm going to grow zinnias, cosmos and some other annuals in the flower bed up front- I think it's going to look gorgeous! We're still planning on leaving here fairly soon- it was never meant to be our forever home, and I think the improvements will pay off in the long run. I sure hope so anyway! I'd love to completely redo the entire lawn because it's so overridden with weeds and clover, but, I think this is good enough for now.

I have two quick questions for you:
1. The roof doesn't actually need to be replaced even though it looks like it- 20+ years of pitch and poor air circulation has done that. Does anyone have a recommendation for a product or technique to clean the shingles without damaging them?

2. We are debating the front steps again... Structurally they are okay, they are just stupid. If I have to paint them instead of replace them, I'm at a loss as to what color they should be! White? Grey? Dark grey? We will be replacing the storm door to a much more modern looking one, which will stay white; but the front doors will be painted a rich, cheerful yellow. Help, please!  =)  Thank you!

Have a great day!

You can read about the rock wall beds that line a serious slope in the backyard here .

sharing with Thrifty Decor Chick

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Good Eats for Great Dads

What better way to celebrate the great Dads in our lives than by tempting their taste buds with savory, sweet, and otherwise delicious food fanfare? None, right? I know! Here is a round-up of some of the all-time favorites in our home...

(This is so good as a topping on yogurt!)

(This pie makes my man weak in the knees!)

(My Dad's all-time favorite!)

It's one adventure after another around these parts!
Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy in the whole world!

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