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July 29, 2014

Family Reunion and a Recipe

Over the past weekend I traveled down to see the family and attend a family reunion on my Mother's side. 
 The night before I prepared this Seven Layer Salad.  (It's more of a 7 ingredient salad) I've had the recipe since the 90's and it's always gone over real well whenever I take it to a party.  This is the "recipe" if you want you can print it.  I went to a place that supplies restaurants and bought this large aluminum pan so I wouldn't have to transport anything back home.

I have to apologize for using my cell phone- I forgot to bring my camera.  Pictures are okay but not great.
 My cousin and his wife created their own backyard mini theme park.  They built the pond themselves and have a water slide, trampoline, paddle boats, various areas to sit and lots of garden accents.  It's nice in the evenings to hang out but this year we couldn't stay late.  They've also got music playing through outdoor speakers, a changing area and bathroom.  There used to be a lot more shade but they've lost a bunch Ash trees because of the emerald ash borer that's plaguing trees throughout Michigan and other sates.  There was a chance of rain but it just went over us so we didn't have sunshine but it was in the low 80's and humid.

Although I never got a picture with everyone in it I believe we had about 35 people there.  I think about 10 were missing. 


We took the opportunity to have cake and sing Happy Birthday to my mom who's turning 92 in a few days.  
 
I even brought my insulated cup I won from the blogger Ron at the Uptown Acorn! 
As you can see we enjoyed a variety of food!  This was a two rounder since you couldn't try out everything you wanted with just one plate!

 You can see the long table with everyone's dishes that they brought.  
That's my cousin Ron (the host) in the center, his brother and a niece.  Usually we're outside with tables spread around the lawn but because of the threat of rain we were under a covered pavilion area. 

My mom and my 3 sisters (It was not a good hair day- high humidity!)  
I'm the one in pink.

So that was my (500 mile round trip) weekend and I've been trying to catch up ever since!

  
 

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July 25, 2014

This Week's Ramblings #6

I kept myself a bit busy this week with a few posts. I also had to get my head in gear for a family reunion party on Saturday and prepare to head out of town for a couple of days. 

 On Sunday I put together a quick post about some super easy cookies I made using a cake box mix as seen "here"  Excellent quick way to make delicious cookies- especially convenient and very little ingredients needed!

On Monday I posted once again about some decorating I did with the fireplace mantel.  I didn't expect to make such a quick change from the week before but it happens!
 You can see that "here"

On Thursday I put together a quick post about my kitchen window which I called "Windowscaping"  as seen "here"


Friday I focused on the groceries I needed and the family party I was going to on Saturday.
I hope your weekend was great!

 

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July 24, 2014

Day Lilies and Hydrangeas

My Day Lilies finally started blooming.

I only have a couple of varieties 

"Sunday Gloves"

"Razzamatazz"

I had this fear that someone would walk off the side of the half wall that borders this patio area so I planted the Holmstrup Arborvitae (Slow grower- Avg. 5 to 7 ft. tall x 2 to 3 ft. wide) and some flowers in-between to hopefully help that from happening.

It keeps people from walking through there so that makes me feel safer.  

 The ferns have made their way around and fill in behind and on the sides of the hydrangeas.



 I'm always tickled to see the Hydrangeas start to bloom.  These Endless Summer Hydrangeas never disappoint!  I cut mine down quite a ways each fall because of the snow load that ends up on them- and they don't seem to mind.  A lot of people said theirs didn't bloom this year- this happened to mine in 2012 when we had a freak warm up in March to the 70's. After a week of that the plants had started growing and then it gold cold and we had several frosts.  It seemed to ruin the chances of any flowers that year.  One person at the garden center told me it may help to go ahead and cut them down if you experience that kind of scenario and the plant may just bloom for you.  Endless Summer hydrangeas bloom and both new and old growth so you can't really loose for trying!


 

Before and After Planters

I was browsing through pictures and realized how some of these planters had changed so I thought I'd post some before and afters!  Of course we're not done with summer but it's always fun to see how things have changed.


The Sweet Potato Vine is aggressive and causing the Geraniums to fight for their light and space. I usually use Vinca Vines but thought I'd try the Sweet Potato Vine this year.  The birds have been pulling out fiber from the coco liners for nesting.  I never realized they were doing that until I saw one on the planters by the house.


I had these under the eves of the house but moved them out early in July. These begonias are designed to take the sun and they seem to be doing better than they had been before in the partially shaded area.  


I already showed this last week but it shows the difference between the before and after


The Browallia has taken forever to start blooming.  The Sweet Potato Vine is filling in heavily here too.


The Supertunias always do well.  They've dwarfed the spike in the center.


This hanging basket looked better a couple of weeks ago with more flowers.  It seems to go in waves of blooms and then backs off a bit.  I've read that some plants don't like rubbing elbows with certain other plants.  Perhaps they don't like the geraniums!


These are my favorite.  The Gartenmeister Fuchsia have really grown nicely and the hummingbirds love them.  I was worried I'd have to stake them but so far they are doing fine. They are supposed to be able to tolerate the heat better than other Fuchsias although our summer has been mild so I can't say for sure. 


My rusty buckets of impatiens have grown a lot.  These are the same impatiens as are around the fountain area.


I am happy with how well these have come along.  Love the color combo.  I haven't seen a lot of butterflies this year but they do love the Lantana


The Begonia has spread out and the Diamond Frost has filled in nicely.  There are some Caladiums in there but you can hardly see them.  See the violas popping out?  I've let them get leggy but they wouldn't show up much otherwise..  


The foxtail ferns have gotten a bit larger- they seem to fit in here nicely.  I cut a few pieces for an arrangement and they really last a long time.


 These "Sunpatiens" have been doing well.  They show signs of stress easily and definitely like to be kept watered.   I think they are heavy feeders too and need more fertilizing.


My first succulent garden attempt.  They are growing well and looking better than they did when I started. These only get the morning sun.  I read that they shouldn't be put in too sunny of a location.  I just wonder if I could give them more. 


The Violas are doing great.  I've had some trouble with chipmunks planting sunflowers seeds in them and also digging the plants causing some to die off but generally they are doing well.  We've had a mild summer so they haven't gotten to that point where they stop blooming. I just realized their coloring is different- probably because they're getting a lot of sun.   Perhaps I'll move them over to a more shaded area and see if that changes them.


This planted has gone wild!  The center has a white Supertunia but it's all but disappeared in the middle of these petunias.  I think I'm going to dig it out and give it it's own pot and let the petunias fill in.  

Well this has gotten long- there are a few more pots but I will stop here!

     

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