Bonnets of Blue

On my morning commute into work, I have these brief moments of creative brilliance. For instance, this morning, I was sitting at a red light, as one does when driving in the city, and I came up with several bullet points for a blog post. I knew for sure, I would remember them and be able to jot them down as soon as I got to the office. But once I stepped into my office and sat down at my desk, I was suddenly mind blocked. Work things started taking the place of creative things. Which is probably a good thing, since work things pay the bills and creative things only entertain me. But it’s a bummer when I wanted to record those creative things for later use. Staring at a blank note pad, pen in hand didn’t bring the thoughts back either. So, they’re lost…until tomorrow on my next morning commute.

All that to say, I don’t have anything cool to say. But, I do have lots of photos to share…

Remember in this post I promised lots of bluebonnet and wildflower photos from my trip to the great state of Texas this past April. So here we go…

We went in early April, so it was a little early to see a lot of different wildflowers and I really didn’t get to see the sea of Bluebonnets like I had envisioned. But I still got to shoot lots of them despite how sparse they kind of were that time of year. On the bright side, the route we took gave us a good tour of the Texas hill country.Texas as a whole really is one of my favorite places, but I seem to have a special place in my heart for central Texas and the hill country in particular. I can’t explain it, but it just feels right.

We left fairly early on a Monday drove through New Mexico, West Texas, and finally arriving in the Austin area. From there we went south to New Braunfels, because Buc-ees, I’ll have to tell you about that later. It’s not just a gas station by the way. From New Braunfels, husband and I decided it was time to move further north, so we headed up to Waco. Which by the way is a super charming town, and had me at all the great eateries (Health Camp anyone?) Then sadly, it was time to head home. But today, lets focus on the reason for the trip, the flowers!

These were taken lakeside in Waco…

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butterflybluebonnetsNotice the butterfly in the center of this photo? I didn’t have a macro lens to properly capture that quick moving sucker. Maybe next time.

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These were taken outside Austin at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. An awesome stop if you ever get the chance. They have beautiful grounds.

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I have tons more photos of these beautiful blues. But for now this is what I have to share. I’ll be talking about the little Texas towns I had the pleasure of visiting along the way. So there is more to come!

Also, any of you know of an easy to use photo editing software? I am using a pretty clunky system now, it’s very time consuming, and apparently I can’t seem to get my watermark to be consistently less intrusive. I have played around with Photoshop and enjoy using it, but it’s so expensive. I’m leaning towards purchasing Elements since it’s a little more user friendly and not as costly. Any thoughts?

Honey Bears and In-laws

So, I’ve finally been going through the zillions of photos I’ve taken over the past several months and came across a trip Bubba and I took down south to Las  Cruces over the long President’s Day holiday. Yeah, I know it’s June, and these shots were taken waaaay back in Feburary, let’s just say I’m behind, and losing at the game of catch up.

Instead of getting all wordy like I always do I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Okay, I lied, I am going to get wordy, but only to explain the photos, because some of them really can’t speak for themselves. Well, they can but I’m a chronic interrupter. So anyways, that sandy stuff in the middle of this photo is the Rio Grande River.  And those mountains are the Organ Mountains, very pointy.

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Here’s another view of the Organ’s set in contrast to an alfalfa field.

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Here’s where we almost got married. From another view you don’t see the green houses, but instead see the surrounding gardens. The grounds are operated by the local college, and quite often you’ll see some pretty interesting plant life. One year they did an entire ornamental pepper garden. It was gorgeous!

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And here’s a giant rooster. Bubba wouldn’t let me bring him home. Maybe one day I will surprise him like the Bloggess (may contain four letter words, and I don’t mean words like “skinny jeans”) did for Victor.

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And here’s a bench made from a Ford tailgate. I couldn’t fit it into my trunk so it got left behind.

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And an old church, I love old churches.

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This one is in Old Mesilla, Basilica of San Albino, gorgeous church.

While we were in town we stopped by to visit my Bubba-in-laws.

grandpababy2Father-in-law with Bubba niece.

neiceyIsn’t she the cutest? I couldn’t get an un-blurry shot though, the little rascal moves like lightening.

momandbabyHere she is with her momma, enjoying some chocolate cake.

motherinlawSpeaking of momma’s, here’s Bubba’s mom.

After visiting with family it was time to head home and bail our brat girls out the kennel, which is actually considered a pet boutique. Yes, I’m that weird dog lover that can’t bear the thought of my beloved pooches spending any amount of time in a kennel. This place allows free range dogs, so the girls are part of herd while we are away. I think they like it…they come back exhausted as one usually does when away from home and ones favorite chair.

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Or ones most prized sunny spot near the fridge….

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Anyways, getting on with it…

helencorbittbrowniesSince the three day weekend fell around Valentine’s Day Bubba made my favorite brownies from my favorite cookbook by Helen Corbitt. The recipe can be found here.

As I munched on the most delectable of brownies and decided skinny jeans just weren’t in the cards for me I enjoyed gazing at the red tulips that Bubba surprised me with.

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And unloading all the sweet honey goodness I found while poking around a farmer’s market while visiting the southern part of the state.

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I couldn’t resist the teeny honey bears.

And now I’ve run out of pictures and words…how’s that for an eloquent ending?

Pretty in Pink

Since apparently I have taken to posting once a week, and that once a week happens to fall on what I call Friday Eve which also happens to be Thrifting Thursday around these parts, I’ve decided to give Thrifting Thursday a break for a little while. It’s not going away forever, heck, you might even see it next week, but I want this blog to be more than just about thrifted goodness. Yeah, I could post more than once a week, and I always plan to, but then life and work come into the mix. Honestly, after staring at a computer all day at my 9-5 ,the last thing I want to do is look at another screen once I get home. Okay, I do look at the TV and that’s considered a screen, but you catch my drift.

So this week, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the backyard. Particularly, the magic that’s happening with my apricot tree.

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Here she is mid-March, in all her pink blossom goodness.

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A little over watering has caused some shoots at the very top, I’m thinking they should probably be trimmed at some point. But for now they make for a dramatic shot reaching towards the sky.

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Here she is in early April, just about ready to show her summer green.

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I haven’t gotten out there to take a picture of her this month, but she’s in her full summer greens now.

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Which means the dogs can wrestle under the tree without worry of knocking off any pretty in pink blossoms.

Spring has Sprung

Happy Spring everyone!!  As most of you know, today is the first day of spring, and honestly I couldn’t be happier about it. I am certainly not a winter girl, the cold short days really take their toll on me. But now that the days are getting longer, warmer and the opportunities to get out and play in the sunshine are more abundant, I can shake those winter blues like Annie shakes off the dead winter grass from her back. It’s quite exhilarating, shaking the winter blues that is, not shaking grass off my back.

With spring upon us, I’ve been enjoying a few spring-y touches around the house.

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Daffodils, they’re so sunny and bright, they almost smile.

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They make me smile right back at them. I’ve also discovered glitter covered eggs from the dollar store.

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They maybe a little tacky, but at least my table looks Easter-y.

Recently, I’ve been seeing my sweet momma a lot, and finally got to give her the Valentine’s gift I’d stitched up for her.

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The scarf came out huge, apparently I have gauge issues.

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But sweet momma tried it on, anyways. Under Goldie-dogs watchful gaze, of course.

Oh, and spring not only brings with it daffodils to my table and finally a grass free dog, but also new birds to my yard!

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A male Northern Flicker Woodpecker.

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Guess the bugs living in between the stepping stones didn’t stand a chance. I couldn’t get a shot of him flying, so I borrowed a shot taken by Laura Meyers, who obviously has a quicker shutter finger than I do.

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Doesn’t this guy have a gorgeous undercarriage? The one munching on bugs in my backyard had more of an orange-y undercarriage than the one pictured above. But he still took my breath away. It’s not too often we get birds other than pigeons and doves hanging out back there.

Now that spring has sprung and the sun is shining brightly, I’ll be taking my leave out of doors. (And maybe cut back on my BBC viewing.)

Happy Spring Everyone!

31 Days: Clearance Plants Part 2

Remember my first Getting it Done post, I talked about purchasing some clearance plants? I planted a few of them in my front yard.

And was about to plant the others in my backyard when, I decided to do a little more research on my new green friends.

And found that they were poisonous to dogs if consumed, that is. Considering my little chewers would likely be munching on my new green friends, I had planned on returning the rest of the clearance plants.

Then I thought about all the other potentially poisonous plants that had been  lovingly chewed on and ultimately destroyed, most of which I inherited when I bought the house. (The plants not the chewing, the chewing came with the arrival of the dogs.) Let’s see, what has been on the toxic menu over the years, there was the Cherry Tree, the Spanish Broom, the Rosemary, which if you look closely in the pictures to follow you’ll see the remnants of. All of these were eaten over a year ago, without any odd reactions. The brat dogs haven’t really seemed that interested in the vegetation in the yard lately so I am hoping they have outgrown this phase. With those hopes in mind, I decided to keep the remaining clearance plants. So, I buried, I mean planted them a couple weekends ago. So far, they are still there, with all branches and leaves remaining undisturbed and uneaten.

Don’t you think they really set off my cinder block wall? Really makes the place seem less prison like doesn’t it? Actually, I’m pretty proud of my fortress (you can read more about that here.), it provides us with lots of privacy, and it keeps the prisoners at bay.

The planting of the shrubs went pretty smoothly, there were no unfortunate water line surprises 3 inches below the surface or anything. I see that as a huge success. Plus, I’m super proud of the three huge holes I dug.

Don’t you love how the dirt and surrounding background is in perfect focus, but the shovel and hole have a lovely bokeh? Apparently, digging a big hole then having to make a nice picture is just too much for this little gardener.

All three shrubs are Privets, I can’t remember the variety of the Privet that lived a year in the big white bucket as his tag fell off during the winter.

The other two are Golden Vicary Privets. All three should get to be 8 to 10ft tall and 8 ft wide, that is if they can survive a dry New Mexican winter. I hear they are pretty hardy, so I have high hopes, and look forward to a nice green and leafy looking wall in a several years. And healthy doggies, let’s hope they can keep their paws off the green stuff.

New around here? I’m participating in a massive linky party for the month of October, if you would like to learn more read this post.

Clearance Plants

Here we are on day 2 of 31 Days of Getting it Done, and it appears that this 31 day challenge will really be a challenge considering it’s 11:30pm on day 2. Maybe I over estimated the hours I have in my day, between 8 hours of work, nearly 2 hours of dog time, and an 1 hour for dinner and dishes (I won’t lie, most days I let the dishes build up during the work week.) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time left over to blog and do a project. But it’s only day 2, so I can’t throw the towel in yet!

Anywho, on this second day of Getting it Done, I had planned on talking about this great organizational project I had completed, but then the clearance carts in the Lowes garden center happened.

Yup, I managed to fit 4 large shrubs and three smaller ones in my trunk. Bubba (my husband) thought I’d never fit them all in there, but I showed him!

I ended up with:

Two of these, for 7.50 each. They will live in the backyard, and they’ll be pretty big guys once they grow up.

Two more of these, for 5.50 each. These flowery gals will live in the front yard.

Two of these, for 2.50 each. For the front yard.

And one of these, I didn’t read the label and thought this guy was another boxwood. Since, these get pretty big he will live in the backyard.

After unloading everyone it was time to get my dig on. Everything went well, until a few minutes into it, I hit a small road block.

Actually, it was a water line 3 inches below the surface. Why they put a waterline right smack in the middle of a flower bed and at such a shallow depth is beyond me. All I knew was that this posed a slight problem, and I had to change my layout slightly. And when I say change my layout, I mean digging all of my holes three inches closer to the outside edge of the flower bed.  Hopefully, the roots of the my new sticks won’t cause problems with this water line down the road. I guess only time will tell. But in the mean time, this is what the front yard is looking like now.

It’s still looking a little sad, I need to put in new mulch and would like to lay a little sod out there to green things up a bit. Living in the desert has given me a greater appreciation for green things, well maybe not the scary fuzzy green things that seem to lurk in the fridge. I see a fridge cleaning post in the near future.

Once I got the four shrubs planted, I was too pooped to start digging holes in the back for the Privets and the Holly. Plus, it was time for the season premiere of Once Upon a Time, is anyone else hooked on this show? Honestly, I can’t get enough of it.

Anywho, the last three shrubs have been sitting on my front porch for nearly 3 days now. Which has given me a little bit of time to do some research, I found that both Privets and Holly shrubs are toxic to dogs (!). Yeah, toxic.to.dogs. I have two dogs that consume just about everything that enters their yard. So, sadly, my beautiful ,new and cheap plants will not be going in the backyard. In fact, I’m considering returning them, if they are that toxic to my doggies, I’m not sure I want them in any of my yards. Although, after researching the Boxwoods a little more, (after they have been planted) I found they were also toxic to dogs. Actually, it turns out a lot of shrubs aren’t good for little dummy dogs who insist on taste testing everything.

So, I learned a valuable lesson, always research plants before buying them or in my case planting them. You never know what could be harmful to the little dummies you love.

Summer Time

Summer time has got to be my most favorite time of year, along with spring, and fall. Honestly, I could do without winter, the short days of winter, and scraping ice off the windshield on cold mornings when I’m already late for work, and  all the extra layers you have to wear to keep from freezing ones bum off. Yeah, I could live without all of that, but those warmer seasons are bliss for me.  I love the warm weather, especially baking in my car after being in a frigid office all day, the long evenings spent sipping iced tea in the backyard, just perfection. Lately, I’ve been watching our apricot tree spit out fruit like a baseball player spits out to-baccy, not a pretty picture? Well, lets just say our apricot tree is being very productive this summer.

I’ve picked two of those so far, I know it’s not too impressive to some folks but it’s a big deal to this little desertrat.

Do you know how many Silvery Minnows we killed using up their water from the  to get these suckers to grow?

Aside from growing apricots, we’re also growing some water conscience yarrow.

And some Holly Hock weeds, well, they aren’t weeds but they grow like weeds in that they never grow where you want them too. But I’ll take it, they bring color to my barren yard.

I’m not really sure what this little green bush is called, his tag blew away over the winter. I currently have him growing in a pot until he’s big enough to not be rolled on, run over, or eaten by my brat dogs.

Oh yeah, and you may remember my grass fiasco from last year, which can be reviewed here, here, here, and here. Well, the drama continues this year. Although, I must say I am pretty impressed with how things have rebounded this spring. Maybe my grass drama is coming to a close. If only I could keep stinking brat dogs from digging ankle breaking holes in the middle of the yard. Let’s just say I don’t say many nice words when walking across the yard in the dark. I owe you a more complete post on the yard and the grass situation, and how we’ve tried to conserve more water and therefore save more Silvery Minnows that reside in the Rio Grande.

But for the time being, a shot I got of  a bare spot in the grass this year. Looking back at some of the grass posts from last year, makes me feel a little better about the state of things this year. But I am still battling the  stupid brat dogs who keep wrestling over my baby grass so I keep re-seeding in the hope that something will survive.

I complain about falling in dog holes, fighting with destructive wrestling dogs, and worry about the plight of the Silvery Minnow, but all in all, I really do enjoy our yard. And I love that it’s summer time so I can while away my evenings tinkering with grass, avoiding the canyons that my dog-brats have carved into my beloved backyard, and just enjoy the fact that I don’t have to scrape ice off my windshield the next day.

Tastes like burning…

A thousand points to anyone who can name that T.V. show!

In my post about our backyard party, I talked  about the joy of sharing our home with our friends and family for the first time, the work that went into preparing the house for such a gathering, and I touched on some of the stress that went along with such an undertaking. Like working for 3 solid months to get the yard slightly presentable, by planting grass seed then when the seed didn’t take,  having to sod over the seed just to get the dirt covered up. Then on the day of,  running to the grocery store to pick up my pre-ordered cupcakes, only to realize I really needed to go to another one a few miles further down the road. But thankfully the sweet ladies at the first grocery store kindly called around until we located the elusive cupcakes. Thank you thank you for such kind and professional people!

Unfortunately, losing the cupcakes was not the only sweat inducing obstacle of the day.  Remember in my party post I’d mentioned another stressor that involved law enforcement, the fire department, and a very sleepy April?

Well, it all started at 6 am that warm and sunny morning. You see, Bubba and I decided it would be  nice to have some home smoked brisket and pork loin so that there would  be some balance between store bought dishes and homemade dishes. So, a week before the party Bubba and I ran to the store to buy nearly 30 pounds of brisket. (No worries, we kept both of them nice and chilled in the fridge that week, so no spoiling.)

The morning of, Bubba woke bright and early at 5am to start the smoking process. Having smoked meat before, and not having any problems in the past, Bubba decided it would be fine to take the doggies on an early morning drive/stroll. While leaving me in bed asleep. By this point, I had only been in bed a couple of hours, staying up late to do some very last minute cleaning. So off Bubba, Annie and Goldie went on their adventure, while I lay peacefully asleep dreaming of a perfectly clean house with a meticulously manicured yard to host my garden party. Until I was rudely awakened.

At 6am, an hour after the meat had been put on the grill to smoke, I heard a ring at my doorbell. Thinking it was just another salesperson or possibly a Jehovah’s Witness, I ignored it and went back to sleep. 5 minutes later the door bell started ringing again, this time the door bell was accompanied by a bang on the door. I got up in a sleepy daze with my eyes barely opened, grabbed a cardigan and shuffled towards the front door. Not wanting to catch the attention of the rude soul who woke me from my slumber, but still wanting to see who it was, I peeked around the corner. Not seeing the rude soul at my door, I stumbled into the kitchen hoping to find my husband (I didn’t know he had run off with the dogs for an outing). Peeking into the backyard, I saw the grill with a few flames coming out the sides. Before I could grab my cell phone to call Bubba, or run out there with the garden hose,  I heard a bang on the living room window.  I turned around to find a police officer, who was quite perturbed it had taken so long for someone to answer the door.

Again, not really knowing where Bubba and the dogs were, I answered the door fearing the worst.  Upon opening the door , I found a police officer on my front porch, with 4 others blocking my street. Quite shaken I honestly can’t remember what the police officer’s exact words were, but it went something like this:

Officer: “Did you know there is smoke coming out of your grill?.”

Me: “Meh?”

Officer: “There’s smoke, coming out of your grill in the back.” *In a rather condescending and perturbed tone*

Me: *Rubbing my eyes to focus and actually see who had woken me up.* “There might be, my husband was going to be smoking some brisket. There’s supposed to be smoke when one is smoking meat.”

Officer: “Not that much smoke! I could see it from the highway!”

(Which highway I am unsure of, surely it couldn’t be the highway that is more than a mile from my house.)

Me: “Well, let me put it out with my garden hose. It’s not that bad.”

Officer: “Ma’am you need to get out of the house, I have dispatched the fire department.”

From there it gets blurry again, but being half asleep I still understood that he was being over cautious, which I am grateful for,  and slightly over zealous.  I told him I would be out in a minute, I just needed to grab my cell phone.

Even half asleep and in immediate “danger” of getting my eyebrows singed off I still considered my cell phone another appendage. However, there was no time to grab the cell phone, the officer grabbed my arm and not so gently guided me out of the house and across the street. Apparently, the two very large very heavy, and slightly expensive briskets had caught on fire. Which would explain the fairly small flames I saw shooting out from our beloved grill.

So off I went, to stand in front of my neighbors house, in my purple polka dot pajamas, no shoes, old NMSU t-shirt, a purple cardi (at least the cardi matched my pjs!), and a grouchy I-only-got-three-hours-sleep look on my face. The officer charged with making sure I didn’t go berzerk and say use a simple garden hose to put the fire out, kept asking me where my husband was, where the dogs were, and why we were cooking so much cow. I remember grumbling something about the party, assuming my husband took the dogs on a walk, and not quite comprehending why I had to stand across the street from my home in my pj’s when not even 10 minutes before I had been blissfully asleep in a nice warm bed.

In between his questions and my rather grumpy answers, I had requested that Bubba be phoned so that he would know our feast had been ruined and his wife was quite irate. However, (yes, there are a lot of “howevers” in this story), the number of the dispatcher appeared to be several zeros instead of an actual number on the Bub’s cell phone. So, Bubba did not pick-up nor did the dispatcher leave a voicemail.

All the while, off in the distance I heard the sirens of the fire truck  getting closer and closer. With each wail of the siren and howl of nearby dogs, I  prayed that the neighbors didn’t come out to see what all the hub bub was about. (Oh, and also that the house didn’t burn down!) Thankfully, it was so early everyone was still asleep. Besides that, hearing a siren through our neighborhood is not an uncommon occurrence.  One point for urban living!

Once the wailing had died down and the fire truck arrived with its  FIVE firemen they pulled the huge hose out (that sounded dirty) and put our little fire out. It took all but 5 minutes, and the firemen and their red firetruck were on their merry little way back to the station. I heard one of them mumble something about just using a bucket of water as he climbed back into his seat on the truck.  Apparently, my pleas for leaving me alone with a garden hose were not unfounded.

After the firemen left, the original police officer checked the grill,  and declared the backyard and my home safe for occupation once again. Thankfully, there were no citations issued only a warning to be more careful next time.

Even though I felt the police officer had over reacted, I am thankful that he did. We could have lost so much more than a couple pieces of burnt bovine and grill brush if this police officer hadn’t been so attentive. I certainly commend those who serve and protect our city, it’s certainly a difficult and under appreciated job. Oh, and our grill was saved to live on and smoke the pork loin we served at the party instead of the brisket.

Here’s a shot of the grill a couple weeks later, I was too shaken to take a picture of the charred brisket and ash after the “rescue” workers left.

(Don’t pay any attention to the crack in the patio, or the innocent Annie-dog in the background.)

Party Pooped

Finally, the much awaited party post!!! Unfortunately, there aren’t too many pictures of the party itself. As mentioned here Bubba and I were much too busy hosting to snap all those artistic photos I had hoped to capture. You wouldn’t believe the last-minute running around involved in setting up for a little party. Or maybe I’m just an inexperienced hostess with poor time management skills…. Naw, that couldn’t be it!

Anywho,  the photos I plan to share with you will be a mix of  the few photos I was able to snap. But most  have come from my sweet uncle and my Bubba’s brother, who is also very sweet. They did an excellent job of capturing the “essence” of the much planned for party.

It all happened in our little casa’s back yard…

(Wish I had remembered to put my luminarias along the walk way. That would have really dressed things up out there!)

This was the scene before we laid the food out or any of the guests arrived.

All those milk glass vases came from my Goodwill and thrift store collection. I didn’t realize how many I had hoarded collected over the past few months.

I decided to go with a lemon lime theme, so everything was shades of yellow and green citrus-y goodness.

All of the tables had a grouping of my milk glass vases filled with my favorite yellow flowers.  In the background of this picture you can see that we used plastic dinnerware. For the next party, I think I will use real dinnerware if possible. It really classes things up, plus a metal fork won’t fly away in the wind like a plastic one will.  But, it was nice not having to wash a kazillion pieces of cutlery. In hindsight, those table runners really didn’t work in my breezy backyard either. Things to note for next time…if there is a next time, I had no idea how stressful this little event would be!

In the tree we hung tissue paper pom-poms in shades of yellow, green and white. Along with yellow and white lanterns that looked oh so romantic when lit up.

As the guests walked into my urban oasis, they were greeted by the Wedding Tree, one of my first Etsy finds!

Instead of going with my original plan of the thumb print tree, I decided having the guests sign their names on a leaf would be much less messy than sticking their thumbs onto an ink pad. Plus it saved everyone from worrying about getting finger prints on their pretty clothes. And I still have a sweet memento to hang on my wall and enjoy everyday.

Going with my lemon and lime theme, I found a sweet seller on Etsy to design a tree in yellow and green. Can you believe I ordered the Wedding Tree the morning before the party, and that evening the PDF file was waiting for me in my inbox?! After I was over my shock of such quick service, I planned on popping into Staples the next morning to have our tree printed. And print they did. If I ever need any type of graphics work done, I’ll be sure to contact that Etsy seller again and have it printed at Staples!

The green bowl you see  is one of Bubba’s Goodwill finds, the pen holder is a crystal vase my mother gave me for Christmas. And the verse in the frame…

Is my father’s favorite verse:

“But they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 43:31

And above that, I hung an airplane from Dad’s collection. Since my father passed away several years ago, it was so very important to me to have an element of Dad incorporated into the celebration.

After everyone had signed the tree and oohed and ahhed over my flower arrangements and pom-poms (not really)  it was time to eat!

On the menu was smoked pork loin, potato salad, pasta salad, and bbq’ed beans. And for dessert, cupcakes in three flavors: chocolate, carrot, and vanilla. Along with oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip and lemon cookies. I also threw in some brownies for good measure. You can’t have a party without some cavity inducing sweets!

(If I had thought to take some shots of the food, you would find those photos here. Instead I’ll share shots of everyone enjoying the festive feast.)

All of the sides and desserts I picked up at the grocery store, but  not after visiting two different grocery stores the morning of the party. Being the scatter brained little party planner I am, I had forgotten which store I’d ordered the cupcakes from! Thankfully, the sweet ladies at the first grocery store were ever so helpful and called each Albertson’s in the area until we located the right store. That saved me so much time and frustration!

Unfortunately, that was not the only sweat inducing obstacle of the day. But I plan on dedicating an entire post to that story. Let’s just say it involved law enforcement, the fire department, and a very sleepy April.

All in all, the party was a success. Both Bubba and I enjoyed sharing our home with friends and family. Our guests enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. My fears of cops coming in and breaking up the party, or angry neighbors calling said cops to break up the party were all unfounded. Everyone enjoyed themselves, there was lots of good food, and lots of good company. That’s really what a party is all about anyways right?

Both Bubba and I are so very thankful for the guests and all those sweet people that helped out. Those that helped in the set up and those that helped us take it all down, and for those who simply graced us with their presence. I know a lot of our guests traveled from far and near and sacrificed money and time to be in attendance. Not only am I thankful for our sweet guests, I’m also thankful for local law enforcement who saved our house from being burnt down (again, that’s for another post), and for the sweet ladies at Albertson’s that saved me time that I didn’t have.

Before I sound like an actress tearfully accepting an award and thanking all those that ever “spared a square”  (thousand points to anyone who can guess which television show that’s from!), let’s share some advice.  To all of you who are planning a backyard party or any type of event at your home, if someone offers to help, take them up on it. Yes, you can do it yourself, but do you really have time? The answer is a loud and resounding NO.

Between landscaping the yard, scrubbing the kitchen, and pulling Bubba’s dirty socks out from underneath the couch I had no time. There was hardly enough time to buy the food and other party supplies, design and mail the invitations (which by the way were not mailed until 3 weeks before the party!), plan on the decor (I forgot to put lighting up, instead of the cozy romantic evening I had planned on, we ended up with a dark and spooky evening), or have an impeccably clean or at least moderately clean  home (There were parts of my home that were used to stash clutter and other I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with items while in my mad frantic rush to clean two hours before the party. I just know some of my guests saw what horrid conditions my washer and dryer live in!). Aside from those things, relax , enjoy your guests and all of your hard work! And remember, cupcakes can be tracked down, fires can be put out, but memories cannot be remade.

Fortress of Solitude

Just like Superman, I now have my fortress of solitude! Yep, that’s right the wall is complete! Granted, one wall is a row of block higher than I had expected, but that just gives me that much more privacy. Which is quite lovely considering we had zero privacy to start with. Here’s a little reminder of what the old wall looked like before construction began.

Notice the ugly chain link that was serving as a trellis? That would soon be going away.

Here you can see loose bricks.

And more loose brick…

This is my leaning tower of terror. See, how the wall curves slightly? That’s caused from an old tree that had grown right next to the wall, and had been chopped down many years ago. It’s stump had been left, leaving pressure on the old block wall, causing a weakness. But the stump had been there so long, it was pretty much rotted away and came out of the sand pretty easily.

Here you can see how low the wall actually was, we could look all the way down the street into all of our neighbors backyards. In some spots the wall was 3ft high, in others it was 4 ft. The perfect height for neighborhood kids to look over and watch you water your weeds. I’ll miss the kids, they really were sweet. But, I love the privacy!

The morning work was to begin, they pulled up, unloaded, and started tearing down the old tittering wall right away.

Our old  bricks were so crumbly it didn’t take much to get it demo’ed.

Did I mention the amount of supplies needed to get this job done? This only shows half of the stuff they actually used, since most of it was still on the truck. Dummy me, I didn’t get a shot of the truck with all the brick and toys.

Remember that old chain link trellis? Yeah, I was happy to see that go down. I may or may not have done a happy dance.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get my fortress completed in the two days we had hoped. Apparently, the old bricks they had planned on reusing were too crumbly to be used again. They had to buy more bricks, and put in more reinforcement.

But on the bright side, the dogs liked having new things to sniff over the weekend.

Here’s what the wall looked like after two days of their hard work, and my annoying picture taking.

My plants got a trimming too, I hope the poor little things come back. They were already half dead before my yard became a construction zone.

After keeping the dogs away from cement, that apparently smelled too good to resist, Monday finally rolled around. The poor guys worked another full day, but finally, after 5 full days yard-less, and 3 days of a yard full of brick layers, the fortress was complete.

The doggies love their new lookie-loo holes. The neighbors, probably not so much.

Did you notice the wall seems to have helped with trash being blown in from the street? Well, probably not, since you don’t live here, and don’t see it in person. But believe me, it’s really helped. We’ve had a few windy days since completion, and I’ve had a lot fewer McD’s wrappers tangled within my Rosemary. There was so much trash blown in on these windy New Mexican days, that I just couldn’t keep up with it. I typically pick up trash once a week, when it really needs to be picked up everyday. Apparently the “trashiness” of my yard did not go unnoticed, one of the wall guys politely mentioned that he had hoped all of their trash had been picked up, because they were unsure what trash was already there. Talk about an embarrassing moment. I foresee much yard work in the near future.

Speaking of yard work, last Sunday I went to Wally World with my lovely mother (not the fanciest way to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it suits us), and the good folks over at W-world had all potted plants marked half off! It’s like the little plant fairy’s knew we were coming. And they knew it was a deal my mom and I just couldn’t resist. Certainly a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day with my gardening loving momma.

Three shopping carts full of plants later, 1 cart for my dear mother, and 2 for me. I ended up with 3 Spanish Brooms, 4 Snowball Bushes, and one green bush that I can’t remember the name of. Plus, several annuals that will go in pots in the front.

Yeah, we may have gone a little overboard, but boy was it fun.  And yes, I am the crazy lady that brings her fancy camera with her to Wal-Mart. You wouldn’t believe the odd looks I got while taking the photo above.

Well, off my fortress of solitude, to untangle wrappers out of my plants!