Spring means a number of things. New life. Green grass. Buds on the trees. Flowers blooming. A time of phenomenal renewal.
It’s also a time for me to get my hands dirty. Yes, spring means time to get in the garden. And this season, the hubby and I have several projects to complete outdoors.
First up: fence repairs.
Our home is 15 years old, and with age comes some needed makeovers. You’ve probably read about our carpet install a few years back and then the amazing transformation of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets when I redid them two years ago. Then last fall I painted the entire house. Every wall and ceiling. It looks great by the way!
So after so many indoor projects it was naturally time for us to turn our attention outdoors. Our 15-year-old fence is starting to show its age. It doesn’t help that we have a 100-pound chocolate lab that takes his toll on it also.
In recent weeks we had to rebuild sections of the fence that needed new posts, pickets and runner boards. As we opened up sections, Dirk naturally thought we were enlarging his yard. He was eager to explore the neighbor’s yard and even peer in their back patio window. Repairs to our exterior fence meant he had to be left indoors as we didn’t want to risk him taking off down the street after neighbors and fellow four-legged friends.
Even random fence boards had to be replaced as Dirk showed no mercy when he was trying to greet a new neighbor. Did I tell you how strong this dog is?
Now that the fence repairs are complete it’s on to the next phase of power washing and staining. It’ll be a looooong process and I’m open to volunteers who would like to help.
Second: garden box repairs.
When we bought our house 11 years ago the previous owners had already put in some small garden boxes along our back fence It took me no time at all to put them to use right away. But as time went on, I desired something more than the minimal 2×4 boards anchored in the ground. Six years ago we upgraded to raised garden boxes that have allowed us to grow tons of vegetables every summer. We’ve harvested bushels of zucchini, dined on fresh lettuce, and enjoyed tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and more.
What we didn’t think of when we built those beautiful boxes was putting in support for the long 8-foot boards. As the years progressed warping got worse. Last season we lost so much dirt between the warped boards that I felt we were always cleaning up dirt.
The boxes needed a little TLC.
In the last week we made a few trips to the local home improvement store and stocked up on new 2×8-foot boards to replace the warped and damaged boards. We also pulled our leftover wood pieces from other projects and cut them as supports on the interior of the box.
The hubby had the great idea of lifting the boxes up and flipping them over to make repairs. I figured the dirt left inside would fall everywhere once the box was lifted. To my surprise, it mainly stayed in tack while the hubby made repairs and we lifted the box back in place.
After replenishing each box with fresh dirt the planting season is ready to begin. Lettuce is already planted, and in another box I’m trying out seed paper that was given at church as part of our Easter message series. We’ll see if it sprouts. Either way, I do feel blessed in this beautiful life.
Melted witches, worms and magical hats were all a part of Halloween this year. No, they aren’t the latest costumes, just tasty creations for a potluck at work. For people who know me I’m all about trying new recipes. So when I scoured the Pinterest boards for fun and creative ideas, these certainly caught my eye.
Melted Witch Brownies
Brownie Recipe: You can either make your favorite box mix or try these scrumptious homemade ones! I doubled the batch to make them super thick!
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used dark chocolate)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 40 minutes. Since I doubled the recipe I used a 9×13 pan and baked for 50 minutes. Cool completely in the fridge to allow them to set for easy cutting. Pull out the entire parchment paper and then cut into squares.
Food coloring in green and orange
Start by cleaning out the filling from the sandwich cookies reserving just the cookie part for the witch’s hat. Then make orange icing and put into a decorating bag and make a circle to set the chocolate kiss into. Then mix green food coloring into some more icing and microwave it for about 15 seconds just to melt it slightly. Drop it over the top of the brownie square and then place a witch hat on top. You’re all set!
Witch Hat Cookies
These cookies were super easy to make!
- 1 box devils food cake mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup vanilla frosting
- food coloring – orange and green
- Chocolate kisses
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, oil and eggs until soft dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes on sheets and then remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.
Tint frosting with desired food colors. Place into decorating bags and pipe a circle onto the top of the cookie and then place a chocolate kiss in the center.
We grew up on this fabulous treat! While I found several variations that included several ingredients, I kept true to the way I remembered it best with simple ingredients.
- 3 large boxes of instant chocolate pudding
- 6 cups of milk
- 1 8-ounce cool whip
- chocolate sandwich cookies
- gummy worms
- green food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl mix the pudding and mix and stir with a whirl wisk until it starts to thicken and then refrigerate. Meanwhile, remove the cream fillings from the chocolate sandwich cookies. Using a food processor grind the cookies until they resemble the consistency of dirt.
In a trifle bowl, layer the pudding and cookies (dirt) until you fill the bowl. You can also add worms in the layers!
For something different this time, I used green food coloring to tint the cool whip to look like grass for my top layer. Then I added some extra dirt piles and worms coming out of them.