Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Share Your Christmas Card and Link Up!

Today I am co hosting a link up with Kara from Ramblings of a Marine Wife to see all of your Christmas cards.

 photo christmaslinkup_zps5800f5af.jpg

It has been more years than I want to admit since I have sent out a Christmas card. We receive so many wonderful cards every year from friends and family from all over, sometimes from around the world. We always enjoy them so much, especially the ones that have a picture on them. So I thought, why don't I order some cards and send them out this year.....So I started searching our pictures trying to find one that would work. Found nothing taken recently that would really work. Forget asking the teenager to pose for a new picture just for a Christmas card, no way, such a rebel, cough, cough..... I decided that a card, even without a picture, would be better than no card. Now to find one....Oh boy.... I found one that I really liked, simple, the graphics and the colors used were nice so I ordered them. When they arrived, I did not like them at all! Too simple and did not convey our message. Now what????
After getting reassurance that they were not THAT BAD, I decided that they would work if I wrote a little something on each one. So that is what I did and now I am glad that I sent them out. A new tradition is born!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bloody Mary’s Count As A Salad

I am so happy and excited to be the special guest co-host for the Bloody Mary's Count as a Salad blog hop! As you know, I am pretty new to the blogging world and I honestly am having so much fun learning how to blog, finding new things around Maggie's Garden to blog about, and the best part, I am realizing, is meeting all the wonderful fellow bloggers out there! Thanks again to my wonderful daughter-in-law for encouraging me to try again and stick with my blog. Be sure to check out her blog, Ramblings of A Marine Wife So make sure that you visit all the blog hosts, enjoy their musings, and say hello!

Welcome to Bloody Marys Count as a Salad # 23

Bloody Marys Count as a Salad

What's with the name?  We named it Bloody Mary’s Count as a Salad, because anything goes in this hop! Need to vent? Go for it! Need to say something snarky? DO IT!  Or do you just want to share your blog and/or a specific post?  We'd love to read it!  Anything you want to share, we want to see it!

And introducing a social aspect of the hop!  Each week we will feature a different social media linkup.  This week is Instagram!  Link up your blog in the first linkup and your Instagram URL in the second linkup!  

Of course, there are a few rules, we aren't going for hop chaos here!

  1. Follow your hosts and each weeks special guest co-host.
  2. Link up your blog or specific blog post.  Whatever you’d like to share is ok with us!
  3. Visit 3-4 other blogs and say hello!  Try to be nice and follow those who follow you.  And don’t forget to say hi to your hosts if you are new!
  4. Grab the link up button and put it in your side bar, in your post, or put our link on your link up party page.
  5. Not mandatory, but we’d love to have you share our hop with others.  Tweet it, post about it, or share it on Facebook.  We’ll love you forever if you do… And it might help you grab a co-host spot next week.

Don't Forget to follow your Hosts and special Co-Host:

               A Girl                                                                           Erin                                                                        Kara
A Boy, A Girl, and the Marine Corps                 Unconventional Mommy Tails                             Ramblings of  Marine Wife

Special Guest Host: Maggie- Maggie's Garden 

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Table

This year for Thanksgiving we  headed up to my husband's Godparent's house for some wonderful food and company. We are never disappointed!
We also got to meet a special new guest at the ranch that day. Meet Vinnie. What a cutie pie!

 The Godparents live on a 40 acre ranch about a 45 minute drive from our house. When I met my husband 23 years ago, he lived in a caretaker's residence on the ranch.
We got married there and lived the first year of our marriage in that caretaker's residence. Loving, happy memories are happily relived when we go visit.

But I am getting way off subject here.........Our family celebrated Thanksgiving on the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day so that all of us could be together. Reality of blended, divorced families. I say whatever works for us to be together!
 So, hubby smoked a small turkey and a ham. I made a pumpkin pie and all the usual side dishes. Everything turned out delicious and we had a good time being together as usual.
This year I wanted to do something a little different. We usually all sit around, eat way too much, then do not want to do much after that. Big E, our 9 year old granddaughter always wants to play games while all the adults are sitting stuffed around the table talking. I decided to make it so everyone was happy. I printed out some crossword puzzles, word search, and word scramble pages related to Thanksgiving with prizes for the person who got the most words correctly in 5 minutes. It was a big hit, especially with Big E!
Here is the link if you want to take a look and save for next year.

I also wanted to do something a little different for my Thanksgiving dinner table setting. While I love my farmhouse table, I have wanted to change the top for a long time. I plan on removing the existing top and replace with pine plank boards. Until then, I wanted something different and fun.
  It has been used and abused over the years and looks worn and dirty, not distressed like I want. Water spots and stains are an eyesore. As you can see from this picture. I usually hide this under a table cloth when company comes.

So I used a new product for me called Klean Strip Sander Deglosser that I purchased at Home Depot. I liked how I did not have to do any sanding to remove the shine finish and water stains.

After I wiped this off, ( I recommend using TSP if you have alot of built up on your project ), it was ready to paint. I wanted to have a chalk board surface so that family and guests could have some fun while sitting at the dining table.
I applied 3 very thin coats of chalk board paint with a small roller letting each coat dry for at least 4 hours.

After letting the paint cure for 3 days, I then used chalk to cover the surface to "season" it and make it ready for writing on.

I also found a table runner on Pinterest that I liked and it looked simple to make. Check it out on my Pinterest Board, "projects I want to try"
I purchased some burlap. I already had the stencils and black paint. Then I did some research on how to "wash" or prepare the burlap for my project. So many sites said to wash the burlap in the washing machine, and an equal amount of sites said to never wash burlap. Now I was really confused. Then I found a wonderful site that explained that you can remove the odor of the burlap and "wash" it all in one step by ironing the burlap on the highest setting with alot of steam. It worked great!!

Now I wanted to add a frayed edge to my table runner. Just gently pull out a few of the strings of burlap on the edge until you have the look you want. Easy!!!

Then I aligned a straight line with painter's tape on the burlap for my stenciling. Once the letters were exactly where I wanted them to be I used a small sponge to dab the paint on the burlap to form the words THANKFUL and on the other end of the table runner GATHER.

I was really happy with the end product and it was so easy to make!
Here are some pictures of our table set for Thanksgiving.

And of course, the table would not be complete if it did not have a special place setting for our military who could not be home for Thanksgiving with their families. All gave some, some gave all. We will never forget.

As I said before, we played the word games after everyone was finished eating. I also made circles under each plate and once the plates were taken away, I set out chalk and asked everyone to write what they were thankful for in the circle. I took pictures to keep them forever.

By the end of the day, the table was a big hit with the family. We sat around and laughed, told stories, gave each other a bad time ( especially the oldest grandson ), wrote out our blessings, doodled, drew pictures, and loved. 
What a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving And Resolutions In November

As I try to finish some long overdue chores and brand new projects I find myself reflecting on Thanksgiving and this past year. Then the natural path of regrets, worries, sadness, stress of unfinished business creeps into my mind. Always does, and maybe, always will. That's who I am. Then, acceptance and new resolve to change some things creeps into my mind. For that process, I am proud and full of hope.In the past, it did not happen that way, I would always allow the first, negative, thoughts to creep into my mind. It would stop there, and I would feel horrible. Now, I allow the second process to take shape in my mind. Wonderful progress if I say so myself!!

And this is the conclusion I have come to for this Thanksgiving; I am truly grateful for so many things.

First and foremost for me this year is the simple fact I am here to be thankful. My brush with cancer this past year has renewed in me the wonder of my life and how blessed I am.

 My family. We are a mixed bunch who have evolved in some many wonderful, heartbreaking ways to become who we are now.If nothing else, we have survived and now, we thrive!

I am grateful that my son, husband, and stepson served our country in foreign lands during deployment and made it back home.

I am grateful that my son, daughter-in-law, and 2 youngest grandchildren live in the same state as we do now and not half way around the world.

I am grateful for the most kind, loving, funny husband this girl could ever ask for. Seriously, after 20 years I am still pinching myself about how lucky I am to share my life with him! AND, as a bonus, I am loved and accepted by his wonderful family who, over the years have become my family.

I am grateful for this guy. Blake has made us young again and we love his wit, sense of humor, kindness to others, and all around awesomeness.

I am grateful for my Sissy, who has been my biggest advocate, friend, and fan my whole life. She now suffers from Alzheimer's disease and as I watch her fade away I am so grateful for her love and loyalty. I treasure our time together and always will.

My friends. You know who you are.

So after counting my blessings, I resolve to try harder. To be a better wife, mom, Jamar, sister, aunt, in-law, friend, and human being. I resolve to enjoy my blessings and bask in the love. I resolve to be happier with me.

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I love to grow Pumpkins. I have always been fascinated by them and how they grow......I know, strange huh? When I was a kid, in 2nd grade, we grew a Giant Pumpkin at school. We had an area outside our classroom that we planted that special plant that was once a seed. I will never forget watching that seed turn into a sprout, then a plant, then watching as it literally took over a large area with it's large yellow flowers and it's prickly, itchy, long vines that would grow overnight it seemed. I lived right across the street from my primary school so I would always go take one last look at that Pumpkin plant at the end of the day.I was so excited about that Pumpkin plant!
And I can still remember how it felt to touch the vines with their prickly hairs all over them. Maybe it was because I was a little kid at the time, but that plant seemed to take over the whole school yard and produced the biggest Pumpkins! And that is how I fell in love with pumpkins and growing them.
A couple of years ago, I went to a small plant sale and the Sonoma County Master Gardeners were there selling GIANT Pumpkin seeds. I could not wait to plant my GIANT Pumpkin seeds! When the plant was big enough, I picked off all the blooms except for 4 of them. One for each grandchild. They advise doing this so that all of the plant's energy can go into the remaining Pumpkin blooms. I was so excited to see how big the Pumpkins would get. I envisioned having to get a forklift to pick up the Pumpkins so that I could win the grand prize for the biggest Pumpkin ever! Well, as you can see, I did not grow the biggest Pumpkin ever but they were pretty darn big and my oldest granddaughter, Big E, was thrilled. I could not have been happier with my prized Pumpkins! Well, as a side note, at the time my 2 youngest grand kids were living half way across the world so technically, I would have been happier if they could have been there to see their Pumpkins in person......anyway......back to the pictures......
I also tried something that I discovered in one the many articles I read about growing these wonderful gourds.
When these 4 Pumpkins were just beginning to grow, I carved into each one the name of one of my grand kids with a straightened paper clip. The article cautioned that there were risks with doing this such as carving too deep into the skin of the Pumpkin, thus allowing bacteria and pests into the gourd. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Little E and M's Pumpkins. I etched their names too hard and punctured the skin. Soon, these Pumpkins died. What you see in the above pictures are the 2 survivors. I made sure to save the seeds from the biggest Pumpkin for next year.
The next year's results reminded me again why you should always try to buy non-hybridized, heritage, seeds when you can. The plant did not flourish and all the Pumpkins were small. Seeds saved from hybrid plants do not do well at all. They are altered so that they produce something special for that season. That's why they are altered or combined with other plants to produce something different or special. Heritage seeds are tried and true to the parent plant's heritage and history. Nothing altered, you get what you get. Something true and comforting about that fact. So, what to do with alot of nice, small pumpkins? Especially after all the fuss and hype I created over last year's GIANT pumpkins. In a pinch, with Big E coming to spend the day to garden with me, and harvesting the Pumpkins, we created these funny looking guys and the day was a great day even without GIANT Pumpkins.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Going To Bloglovin!

Good Morning!

I have been busy on the computer the last few days working with a wonderful blog designer who is helping me spruce up my blog site as well as my new Etsy shop. I am so excited about all the new changes! I will write about Jane, my blog designer, and all that she has done for me later.

Now, back to me being busy on the computer. Trying to connect all the social medias together, creating new accounts, getting expert advice from my oh so smart daughter-in-law has my head spinning!
 As you can probably tell, I am not the most literate computer person. When I get stuck or do something unintentionally devastating while working on my computer, I always cry HELP to my go to guy, my 17 year old resident grandson/techie/ all round great kid.

So, I get great advice from the above mentioned daughter-in-law when I asked her about the best blog host site to be on. DIL suggested Bloglovin which has expanded her followers on her blog, Ramblings Of A Marine Wife , by quite a bit when she changed host sites.
 I am on Blogspot and like it but I am not getting the exposure or followers I would like. I set up an account, great. Now to finish and become a member I must post a blog about Bloglovin with the following link. So here goes...........

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Let's hope that this works! Before you feel cheated that there is nothing remotely connected to gardening or any pictures in this post, I promise another post soon about Pumpkins. I promise!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

La Coop Grand Hotel....Part 2

Way back in March of 2012 , I blogged ( and bragged ) about the great deal I bought via Craigslist. I scored a huge shed that was dismantled for $50!

My husband and his military buddies rebuilt the shed for my new chicken coop. This is what it looked like after they reconstructed the shed.

And this is another angle.

What a great shed, soon to become the chicken coop of my dreams, for $50!!

Now for the next phase of completion I needed help. I knew exactly who to ask for help.
My oldest granddaughter, Big E, and her best friend, Nicole. They are so cute together and inseparable.

Of course,  they were excited and happy to help me complete the chicken coop. So on a cold, foggy morning they got to work painting murals on the chicken coop. I gave them all sorts of different color paints, brushes, and told them they could paint anything they wanted to.

I could not have asked for cuter pictures of my chickens!
But the best part was their self portraits that they painted on one end with flowers, grass, and of course, BFF in big letters.

Notice the matching raincoats. Not because it was raining, it was to keep them warm AND keep their clothes paint free.....

We all had a blast that day, putting the finishing touches to the La Coop Grand Hotel. I also have special memories and murals to remember that day every time I go see my girls !

Thanks to Nicole (on the left above ) and to Big E, my sweet granddaughter, for a very special day and all your hard work to make my chicken coop one of a kind!!
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