Valient Viewers of Braver Homes and Gardens

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tex Mex Party

Last weekend my mom threw her Second Annual Summer Theme Party.  Last year's was Polish everything which included a visit from my uncle from Texas and his family.

This year, my Texas uncle did NOT come.  Naturally, my mom's theme was, Tex-Mex.  There were a lot of little buckaroos that showed up including:

Bran Muffin and

My Dear-O

We, of course had a pinata

and my Grampa had a little fun with one of the pieces

My aunt Mardet from Las Vegas made it into town for a fun visit.  She's on the right, my sister Carrie is on the left.

They are eyeing each other as if to say, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us!"

Here's the star of the show, my mom, with her Mexican peasant blouse and skirt on complete with south of the border jewelry and hair.  Way to go mom!! 

As for me, I used Simplicity 5595, a favorite go-to pattern of mine, to make a gingham top.  I whipped it up in less than two hours:

And here I am with my favorite ranch hand, The Conductor.  (I tried to get him to wear a cowboy hat but he was a little too bashful). 

Nobody throws a theme party like my mom. !Ole! !Ole!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Walk

Would you like to go for a walk in my garden?

Here's a view of my side yard which I intended to be a serenity garden.  (Odd because the brick house next door belongs to my VERY LOUD Puerto Rican neighbors.  Good people.  JUST REALLLLLY LOUD). 

The serenity garden isn't very serene.  Not because of my neighbors - but because it's overgrown with weeds.

It's downright embarassing.  But in my defense, we had nearly two weeks of intense heat and humidity and I just couldn't get outside. 

My poor cherub is being swallowed by a volunteer trumpet vine.  I better dig it up or it'll be taller than my house in no time!

My pricker weed thistle plant is starting to brown up.  If you let those hard, crusty pricker weeds grow, they get about 5-6 feet tall and get lovely thistle purple flowers on them.  I always get one in this patch and, since it's on the side of the yard, I let it grow.  The flowers attract yellow finches.

Unfortunately, I didn't see a single finch this season.  But the bees love it as you can see here.  My yard was FULL of bees tonight which is so encouraging considering the colony collapse issues out there.

(Mr. Bee is atop the flower mooning me and my camera in case you can't spot him).

My rose of Sharon are doing wonderfully, bursting with lovely lavendar color.  They're the first thing I see when I pull my car in back - a very lovely "welcome home".

And there's BIG things happening in the yard.  Check out the size of thes squash leaves!!  My foot is next to one to give you some perspective.  Yes, I wear old lady gardening shoes.

And my hibiscus have popped.  They are the size of saucers - or, my hand.  They're happy faces smile at me as I round the corner to head to my car for work each morning. 

And that's our walk today!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This Tuesday I am grateful for:

Squash blossoms and little baby squashes starting to form.

Five varieties of tomatoes starting to color up.

Raspberries coming in faster than I can pick them.

Add it up:  Spinach with e-coli, salmonella in eggs, Wisconsin's recent tainted turkey recalls, pesticide laden apples...and so on... It is truly a blessing to have a plot of land that I can grow my own food on.

My yard is chemical free and prospers well enough for me to gorge on all the fresh veggies I want - with plenty left to share. 

I joke that my yard is the size of a postage stamp.  But it's amazing the amount of nutritious, healthy, un-fooled-around with food you can grow on a postage stamp.  And for that, I am grateful.

I'm linking this post to the Gratituesday link party.  Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Domestic Goddess?

Wow. Blogs can really go neglected when you're not looking!  What happened?  My main computer monitor died and I don't like the way my laptop sorts pictures. It was just too much of a project to learn the new photo sorting system.  Ugh.  But I finally got a new monitor and I'm back in business!

So what's been going on while I've been out?  Well, I got engaged! 

Actually I got engaged on May 14, 2011.  But we didn't say anything to anyone because I really wanted my dad to be the first to know.  He always says he's the last to know anytime anything happens to me or my siblings. 

The Conductor did a marvelous job picking the ring.  I didn't go with him because I think an engagement ring is a gift - and a gal doens't dictate what kind of gift she wants.  But he did ask for guidelines.  I told him I wanted a thin band (so my short fingers don't look fat) and that I'd like a band with some curvy lines (as opposed to a boring, straight line).  I also said I'd like gemstones of varying sizes, not just one big honking one.  And I said no pointy gemstone cuts since I didn't want to freak about the stone catching on fabric. 

And he nailed it.

So, we went out to eat not too long ago.  And the Conductor spilled some food on his shirt.  We're engaged - but not married.  I don't do his laundry. 

Yet some part of me stupidly felt the need to show him what a great Domestic Goddess I am by getting that food splotch out.  I told him to leave his shirt and I'd clean it.

He protested.  It's silk, he said. 
So what, I replied.  I sew.  I know fabric.
But it's dry clean only, he said.
Don't spend money on dry cleaning, I said.
Really, it's no big deal.  I'll clean it myself, he said.
Nonsense, I said.  It'll take me mere minutes.

So he reluctantly left it.  And, while cleaning, I found another bowling-style shirt that he left at my house that also had food splotches on it.  Perfect!  I can clean him two shirts at once and dazzle him twice with my mad laundry skills.

I put both shirts in Oxy Clean, soaked them, and hung them to dry.

And that's when I went from being a Domestic Goddess to being a Domestic Dumbass.

He's only ever dry cleaned these shirts.  I macihine was dry clean only garments all the time  - but that's because I get them from thrift stores.

Bowling style shirts alternate colored panels with ighter colored panels.  So as soon as the water hit them, the colors ran.  And after they dried, they were not soft as silk.  They were stiff as cardboard.

Add to that, the blue one is a Bobby Chan shirt that retails for about $50; the black shirt is a Nat Nast that retails for closer to $100.

Even better, these are two of his absolute favorite shirts.  You can totally see how good he feels when he's wearing them.

And the topper - the blue one reminds him of his late grandmother who told him he looked as handsome as Charlie Sheen in it (before Sheen went psycho, of course). 

Moral of the story:  If you have a guy that knows HOW to do laundry and doesn't MIND doing laundry:  DON'T BE A HERO!