Friday, January 30, 2015

Shot through the heart, um, Mason jar

Larry made me the sweetest thing to put on my Valentine tea cart.  He drilled two holes in a Mason jar and using a little magic, put a little wooden arrow through the jar!  Then he put some Sweetheart conversation hearts in the jar, half full so that the arrow wouldn't get lost.  I love it.  And him, too!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rub a dub dub, there's cheese in our hot tub

900 gallons of water and $150 later, our hot tub is beautiful!!  We have had the hardest time with this thing this week!  We never could get the water balanced and my rash still ain't gone away so we decided we'd just drain the water and start fresh.  We did that and then the water wasn't clear and the filter wouldn't clear it.  We did everything we knew to do and couldn't get it right so we went to the experts, a local pool and spa store, all sad and defeated, carrying a Mason jar full of water from the tub for them to test.  They suggested that we purge the system, a process that deep cleans inside the plumbing, components and jets, and replace the filter.  Larry did that Tuesday.  The purge is eco-friendly and biodegradable but the stuff that came out of that hot tub most definitely was NOT.  It was the nastiest orange cheesy-looking stuff I have ever seen.  I 'bout DIED.  And then I 'bout DIED again.  And then I got mad.  Really??  No way was that tub clean when we bought the house, like we were told.  We should have known, though, with the house being in the condition it was.  Lord, don't get me started again.  I wouldn't even be surprised if chlorine wasn't just thrown in there at the last minute to make it appear clean.  It looked like it had never been deep cleaned.  Arrrggggh!  Anyway, Larry worked on it most of the week, purging, draining, cleaning, rinsing, more cleaning (we even had to buy a wet/dry vac) and last night, we replaced the filter and started the refill again.

Stuff we had to buy and the instructions from the spa store 

And now we have beautiful crystal clear water!!!  Yay!!!

By the way, we are now taking donations for next month's water bill.  :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Navy bean and ham soup

I got this idea from my cousin Rebecca's blog.  It looked so good and I couldn't wait to try it!  I did a few things differently, though; I left out the carrots and I threw in the bacon.  :)  It was absolutely delicious!  Larry and I ate the whole pot.


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • 6-8 bacon strips, cooked crispy and crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place beans in large Dutch oven and cover with cold water, with water about 2 inches above beans. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, discarding liquid.


  1. In large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and celery and saute for five minutes.
  3. Add garlic and saute for thirty seconds.
  4. Add chicken broth, bacon, beans, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves and diced ham.
  5. Add a little freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1-1½ hours. You may need to add additional stock.
  8. If you want to thicken the soup, remove about 2 cups of beans and puree in a blender then add back to the soup.
  9. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cleaning house with a smile!

It's been no secret that I'm a cleaning nut.  I drive Larry crazy with my constant cleaning but I say you have to stay ahead of it or you'll be living in squalor.  It happens that fast.  :)  I vacuum, mop, dust and scrub bathrooms every week and my kitchen gets cleaned every day.  I am my mama's child.  Anyway, lately, I've been watching a lot of QVC on the weekends and through them, I discovered a little tool that helps me clean with a smile!  Literally.  It's called Scrub Daddy!  I ordered mine from Amazon only to find out that my local Bed Bath and Beyond carries them, for a lot cheaper ($4!).  Look at it.  It's just so cute!  But don't let that cute face fool you.  It's a scrubbing dynamo!  It's soft in warm water for light duty scrubbing, hard in cold water or dry for tougher jobs.  What I really like about it is that it works without ANY cleansers or cleaners, just water.  It's completely scratch free, too, so you can use it on your nonstick pots and pans and on glass or ceramic stovetops without worrying about scratching them up.  And it'll take stickers or labels off with almost no effort.  We try to buy food in glass jars and avoid plastic whenever we can.  We keep the jars to use for leftovers or just any old household use for them.  This little guy takes the labels right off in a flash!  With absolutely no real effort from me.  I just love it.  Just wanted to tell y'all about it!  Go get you one!  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Pizza!

Larry and I both are eating the South Beach way these days.  We've both lost seven pounds!  One of his friends on Facebook posted a recipe this morning for a no-carb pizza so we tried it this afternoon.  

We just used things we had on hand.  Cheese, eggs, pepperoni, onions, jalapenos, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, olives, garlic and some cubed ham left over from breakfast.

Here's how we did it!

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  We made our crust from four cups of shredded Mexican cheese and four eggs.  Mix together and press onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Add whatever toppings you like!  Pop back in the oven for five more minutes.  That's it!  Sooooo easy and so good.  

Larry couldn't resist smelling the cheese crust when it came out of the oven!

Here's the finished product!  It was sooooo, SO good.  And we didn't feel that bloat that pizza usually gives us.  We will definitely be doing this again!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

No matter how long the winter...

...spring is sure to follow.

That quote makes me smile.  We're having our first really cold weather right now.  19 degrees this morning but it felt like 7 degrees with the wind chill.  Way too cold for me.  I don't necessarily hate winter because there are some good things about it.  Hot chocolate, fleece-lined boots and sweaters are a few.  I even bought a new pair of leggings that has fleece in the legs for added warmth.  They are so comfy!

I hate 19 degrees feeling like some 7, though.

I may not be able to have springtime outside right now but I know it's coming.  I have so much planned for the yard this year!!  An herb garden!  Tomatoes!  Squash!!  Calendula!  Daisies!!  Just all kinds of stuff.  

I may not be able to have springtime outside today but I can have it on our bed.  :)

And that'll do for now.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

We did something a little different this New Year's Eve.  Instead of fireworks, we released a Japanese sky lantern.  One of my coworker friends gave me a pink one for Christmas.  We'd bought some last year but decided against lighting them since there were so many trees in our neighborhood.  But this year, we're in a new neighborhood with a huge open space in the backyard so we did it!  And it was so much fun!!  


We stood there and watched it until it burned out, about five minutes.  It was beautiful against that New Year's Eve night sky.  The neighborhood children, oohing and ahhing over their folks' fireworks, squealed at the sight of our lantern floating overhead.  It really was awesome. 

We started this 2000-piece puzzle New Year's Eve night, too, and it's gonna take a while.  We've got the easy stuff done!  I cooked the traditional Southern must-haves for New Year's Day.  Black-eyed peas and fresh collards plus our own tradition, Cornish hens and wild rice.  And we had German chocolate cake for dessert.

We watched a beautiful sunrise while we enjoyed our coffee this morning just before the bottom fell out again, and we had an hour of heavy, heavy rain.  I'm ready for some sunshine!

I broke out with a really red, itchy rash around Christmas and we couldn't figure out what we'd done differently.  No new detergent, no new soap.  I have really sensitive skin anyway so it could be anything.  Larry decided to check the levels in the hot tub since we've been using it a lot lately.  Sure enough, the pH level was too high.  So we've worked with it for a couple of days, adding this and adding that to try to get it right.  And we haven't been in the water.  And my rash is clearing up.  :)  It's such a delicate balance to getting the water right.  We're probably just going to drain the thing and start over.  We don't know how long the water's been in there or even when the filter was replaced.  We do it now, do it right, and we'll know.
Our camellias in the front yard are blooming and I'm so excited!!  Bright pink blooms everywhere and tons of buds.  

I sold my old desk yesterday.  I listed it on a yard sale Facebook page and within the hour, I had it sold!  We found a bigger one that Larry uses in his office and we just really didn't have a use for my old one.  I wanted it to go to a good home and the lady who bought it told me she was going to use it in her sewing/craft room.  That's perfect.  We had put it in our bedroom for the time being, until we could sell it or give it away so now we have this huge area to fill.  I have an idea for it.  I want a reading nook.  Loveseat, table, lamp, maybe a small bookshelf.  Another estate sale regret is an adorable little hippie loveseat we saw at a sale last summer and they only wanted $50 for it!  I kept saying we just didn't have room for it anywhere and Larry kept saying we should get it.  Well, we didn't get it.  Dang it.  It would be perfect there!  It was very similar to this one.

So this year is going to be the Year Of The Cute Hippie Loveseat!  We are going to find one.  And some lady heads, too.  :)

That about catches you up on the life and times of Larry and Ginger.  Hope you all had a wonderful New Year and are excited to see what's in store for your own lives.  No matter what comes, I know ours is going to be sweet.