Cute Summer Centerpiece

Hope you all had a great weekend!

We spent a few hours building some benches for the deck at my Mom’s house!

If you had asked me 20 years ago if I could imagine doing woodworking projects with Mr. S…I would have been laughing pretty hard!  But we actually do pretty well together as long as I let HIM do the measuring….

Of course I forgot to take pictures of the new benches…but maybe Mom will do that for me…HINT HINT MOM!

I thought you might like to see this cute little Summertime Centerpiece!
I grow wheat grass for Smoothies that I make in the VitaMix.
I cut the grass….
 the new mown smell was amazing!
I got out some of the little green flower thingies you use to keep roses fresh…I always save them….but you can actually buy them at craft stores.
Then out to the garden to pick some Dahlia blooms that have pretty short stems….
I filled the green thingies with water….added the flower….tucked it into the dirt!
That was yesterday and they still look pretty fresh!
Actually, I got this idea from the centerpieces at my nephew’s wedding a couple of years ago….
they had similar glass containers with Gerbera Daisies..
I couldn’t find any photos of these either….
but there are lots of great photos of similar arrangements on the Internet…
So……if you want to grow some wheat grass check out this post…..
and for making the smoothie click HERE
Then….you are on your way to a simple centerpiece……for yourself or an event!

Since I always seem to catch Marvin munching on the grass, I was quite amused to find this photo….

So TRUE!!!!
Have A Great Day!
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Super Easy Almost Homemade Shrimp Salad

Summertime Salads are one of the best parts of Summer!
Cooking….however is not!
Here is a quick tip that lets you have your Shrimp Salad….
but….not have to cook it!
(well except for a little boiling of water)
TAH DAH….The Trick!
Who doesn’t love CostCo?
 They have a pretty good shrimp salad in the deli section.  Just enough dressing….nice big shrimp!  But at around $13 for the container…it wouldn’t be a good economic choice for a entertaining.

Just by adding some pasta and frozen peas… can double or even triple the size of the salad without losing any of the yummy goodness of the shrimp!

That took all of 10 minutes…..and a skill level of zip….but the salad is restaurant quality!

I do this with the Chicken Salad from CostCo too….by adding some additional ingredients like nuts or grapes the salad goes further (and tastes better too)!

I  just read this The I Love Trader Joe’sCookbook written by Cherie Mercer Twohy​…..

She takes Trader Joe ingredients and does sort of the same thing as the shrimp salad!

I found at least 20 recipes that I took screen shots of on my iPad!

Somebody should do a cookbook like this about CostCo!!

I would love to hear about your favorite shortcuts using deli food or other “almost homemade” recipes!

Have a Great Day!


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A Bloomin’ Great Day

It is a gorgeous summer day here at Sweetwater!  I thought you might like to see what’s BLOOMING around here!

The flowers are pretty gorgeous right now…..but there is more to our life than having dinner parties and enjoying our flowers!

We seem to be doing a lot of small and annoying maintenance tasks around Sweetwater these days.

We bleached the mildew of the siding….actually kind of fun…a grown up way of playing in the sprinkler on a hot day!

And while we were at it….we scrubbed the deck so now all the green slime is gone and it looks nice and bright!
Then, I have been working on refinishing the Adirondack Chairs….at
least now I can since I got a new sander to replace the one that I
burned the transmission out on!  They are turning our great!
Actually…I will do a longer post about the whole process another day.

Mr. S put these little screens in all the gutters….standing on the ladder with a tin snips….bless his heart!
And….I put mulch in the gardens to cover up the weeds!!!!
And then……
I was “just sittin'” in my newly “summerized” powder room…..admiring the new rug I found that just perfectly matches the little paisley towel…..SEEE?
AND…..I realized that my feet AND the new rug were getting wet!!!!  EWWWW!
 It is a very good thing that I know someone who “speaks toilet”!
So after a couple of days of drying out the wood floor….Mr. S fixed that problem…..with only 2 trips to the hardware store! AND….who said Flowers and Jewelry were the way to a girl’s heart?
So enough about MAINTAINING!!!
Out to the garden!
We always wait and wait to see the Lillies in Bloom….
And the Deer always wait and wait until the blooms are tasty little morsels…and then they chomp them off….in fact even when we spray obnoxious smelling stuff on them….they take a bite….and spit them on the ground!
This year we seemed to have found something that is working….(at least until they get used to the taste….)

It is called Ortho DEER B GON

and it even smells a little like cinnamon!!
We have been religious about going out to spray the Lillies….just the Lillies….as we figure that to spray everything is futile!!! (and expensive!)

This year we are actually getting a chance to see the Lillies in bloom!
(Maybe the fairies in my new Fairy Garden are working their magic on the deer?!)
 You probably noticed that I didn’t take pictures of the weeds….and there are certainly enough of those out there….
But I am not in the mood for any more MAINTAINING…..I think a nice glass of ice tea up on the clean shiny deck…..way up too high to see the weeds….is a better option!
Have a Great Day!

A Fairy Garden House from A STUMP!

You have probably already seen the Fairy Garden in the old birdbath….but if you haven’t…

Well I was at Tonkadale Nursery the other day….and I was lusting after the Fairy Houses….

I think I have the perfect spot along the front entry walk for a Fairy Garden.
Maybe I would splurge and actually by a Fairy House….
Well…that’s what I thought until I saw the prices…
Where else would you go to shop for a fairy house than
Appropriately named “Mary’s Cottage”….this one was only $227
Even cuter,,,,this one for a mere $314
So pretty obviously….that wouldn’t be happening at Sweetwater!!!
I wanted cute….
I wanted rustic…
I wanted CHEAP….
What could be cheaper than an old tree stump….
We have plenty of those…

I found the perfect one….

It even has a little moss growing on it…

And a little root extension….

I was ready to get started…

The stump was perfect….it was the darn roof that was the problem!!


I had an old cocoa mat….and thought that would work…..
Mr. S:  “that looks like a really bad toupee!”
Me: “Well. do you have a better idea?”

Mr. S.: “Can this wait until later?  I just got home!”

a little later……

Mr. S: “Okay…how big does this thing need to be? What angle do you want for the roof?  Have you measured the stump?  I can cut some of those wood blinds and you can attach them like shingles”

Me: “Well….no….I thought I could just eyeball it.”

Mr. S:  “sigh…..I’ll go get the tape measure.”

Goody Goody….it was time to use the power tools…

Mr. S ran the saw….

Mr. S ran the tape measure…

Mr. S did the math


I did the power

I love me my power stapler/nailer!

It worked perfectly….


 Except……The roof was really, really UGLY!


NOT what I had in mind…
But they do say….Love is patient…Love is kind…
 Mr. S just shrugged his shoulders….put the tools away…and went to get a beer!!
I was NOT giving up on this thing….. but it could wait until the next day….so I went to get a glass of wine!

Maybe the wine was inspirational….
The solution was in the wood pile…..

I could just attach some pieces of bark to a piece of log that was split to have a peak…
Like a roof!

Well…that plan was working great…until I melted my glue gun….arghhhh….
I went to the store the next day and got a new glue gun….
 The roof looks very rustic…just like I wanted….
The doors and windows….thank Mr. S for that….
he knew there were windows in the old box of LEGOS…perfect after a coat of spray paint!
The side door is made from the piece of log with the moss growing on it….
I have been having fun adding little bits of moss and some plants.
I even found a tiny “pine tree” seedling growing in the rocks by the woodpile.
Me: “Isn’t this the cutest fairy garden?”
Mr. S: “Well, I guess, if you like Fairy Gardens….”
Have A Great Day!


Propagating Basil!

I bought this nice big Basil plant at the Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago.
 It was a steal at only $5….but I knew I could stretch that into an even better bargain!
I will tell you how in a moment….
BUT….in the spirit of “the more you know”….I thought I would share a few Basil tidbits I learned this morning….
  • Basil is a member of the mint family
  • Basil was used as an embalming and preserving herb to preserve mummies of ancient Egypt…who knew….maybe we should be using this on our wrinkles!!!
  • Basil is also known as St. Joseph’s Wort
  • Basil is rich in Vitamin K and low in calories
I guess you just can’t have too much Basil…..and obviously one plant isn’t enough!
I have a way to solve that problem without buying more plants!

I always have a bunch of cuttings from the “Big Basil” plant rooting in water on the kitchen counter.

I think that this Fitz and Floyd pitcher is perfect for the task.

(Funny….this was a Good Will find some years ago….the $2.99 sticker is still stuck to the bottom)

After sitting prettily in water the cuttings soon have lots of healthy roots….

Then all you need to do is stick the cutting into some dirt somewhere…..
and like magic….multiplying plants!!!

I am already taking cuttings from the cuttings….on this plant!

These new basil plants are filling in the little bare spot left when the pesky cilantro plant went to seed!

Here are more cuttings filling in spaces in the raised bed on the deck….safe from the bunnies!
How cute is this?
I rooted a cutting from this interesting “Boxwood Basil”
 It grows in little “bushy” clumps….
when the roots formed….it looked like a little tree!
It is kind of hard to see….but I planted it next to the houses in the Fairy Garden!
Look closely to the far upper left!
Now I have a never ending supply for cooking….if I ever cooked!!
Finally….I am lusting after this beautiful water color of a Basil Plant that is for sale at this Etsy Shop…..
It is only $21….hmmmm….
maybe since I have been saving so much money NOT buying Basil plants…I can buy it!
Have A Wonderful Day!