Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Growing Potatoes in a Barrel

If you would happen to drive by my house, this big blue barrel at one corner may catch your eye.

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What in the world is growing in there?

Potatoes, of course.

I had found this article on Pinterest this spring and was pretty intrigued by the idea.

So, we followed the instructions from there and a couple of other sources, using this big blue barrel as our container. (Apparently you can use a lot of different container options to grow potatoes in. Who knew?)

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I believe they’re almost ready to dig up.

Actually, scratch that. When you think they’re ready, you can simply dump out the contents of your barrel/container and the potatoes can just be picked up.

Pretty cool, huh?

We did plant a good bit of potatoes the “regular” way, over at our garden plot, which is on my in-laws’ farm. My big boys and I, along with the help of my father-in-law, dug up a bunch of red-skinned potatoes about two weeks ago.

Some other things we’ve been picking lately:

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Beets. Lots of them. I love beets, which is a good thing since we’ve had so many!

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Beans. These are some really cool purple ones that we tried out this year. When you cook them at all, they turn green!

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More beans. This is a haul we picked one morning last week. Here we have plain old green ones, yellow, purple, and flat Italian green beans.

Oh yes, there’s nothing like picking beans in almost 100 degree, humid weather. When we were done, my son Andrew offered me a long drink from the water hose. Um, that’s okay dude, I have a water bottle! I did tell him he could spray me down with it though. He got excited and was like, “Really?!?” Believe me, I could have used a good hosing down after that picking session!

We snapped our beans down in the basement later that day, and I ended up being able to freeze quite a few quart bags.

We also have some squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes are just starting to turn. Sweet corn is getting ready too, so I’m sure we will have a huge corn-freezing day coming up soon. In August we usually also can peaches and lots of tomato products.

Last year our homemade spaghetti sauce was the BOMB, so maybe I’ll do a tutorial on that sometime soon.

Points to Ponder


This is a true story. A true story about me–ON my wedding day.

I’m writing this, not as a serious piece or wannabe public service announcement, but to make you have a little chuckle at my expense.

You see, today is my 14th wedding anniversary.

Ah, the memories…

Here’s the things that stick out most in my mind when I think back on my wedding day:

It was hot. REALLY hot (just like today!). And humid.

The church we were married in was small and not air conditioned. Plus we were brainiacs and chose to get married at 2 in the afternoon on a mid-July day. Why not, right?

While I was waiting for my “big moment” after getting my wedding dress on, I waited in a basement room of the church, parked in front of a box fan with my dress hiked up over my knees. I was such a classy bride. Somehow a photo of this did not make it into our wedding album.

When my handsome groom was repeating his vows, I focused on a droplet of sweat that was making its way down his nose and hung on the end of it. Oh, and a fly buzzing around his head. Not because I’m shallow or  flippant about my marriage, but because I was nervous about being in front of the crowd watching us. Something to focus on, you know?

Apparently he was just as nervous because when ring time rolled around, he was trying to put his ring on me. Um, it was way too big. Finally we figured it out and put the correct ones on each other. See, I told you we were brainiacs.

Since our reception was outside under a big rented tent, my wonderful parents had arranged for buckets of water ice to be available as a snack while we had our pictures done. People LOVED this idea. You know, in that awkward time span after a wedding while you’re waiting for the real food to start.

During cake time we were so NOT nice and sweet. Somehow I ended up with wedding cake up in my eye. A picture of this is in our wedding album. We kissed afterwards, so it’s all good.

After the cake and all that stuff, we were just about getting ready to go in, get changed into real clothes, and finally leave for our honeymoon. Just at that moment, my Aunt Beverly called us over to tell us something. That’s when the kidnapping occurred.

Yep, it’s really true. I was actually kidnapped on my wedding day.

Now, before I tell anymore, I have to explain a little more about who kidnapped me. To fully appreciate the story, you have to get a word picture of my uncles.

My Dad comes from a long line of farmers. So, pretty much 95% of his family is involved with farming somehow. And, at 6’6″, my Dad is the “little” one of his brothers. They’re both just about that tall, but much bigger than him. Not fat, just big and burly and farm-boy strong. They also have always had the mountain man beards going on, sorta like these guys.

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Anyway, are you getting a picture in your head?

Good, because here’s what happened next….

My Aunt Beverly calls us over. At that moment, a friend of ours (also extremely big and burly) grabs my new husband from behind. I was all like “What the…?” when I feel myself being lifted up by my elbows and see my Uncle Wayne on one side and my Uncle Frog (his real name’s Bob, by the way but I’ve always known him as Frog) on the either side of me, both with an iron grip on my arms. They half toss me (only because they’re super strong;)) into my Uncle Frog’s farm pickup. “Well Raquel Welch, (that’s been Frog’s nickname for me since I was little. I have no idea why, other than the fact that my name’s Rachel. Rachel, Raquel.He also calls my Dad Jesse James and my brother Honky Baloney. Everyone gets a cool nickname in this family.) we’re going to go for a ride.” Before I know it, we’re pulling out the parking lot of the church, and I still have no earthly clue what’s going on.

If you had a good picture of what Uncle Frog looks like, I’m sure you can imagine his pickup. Yes, my friends, I spent a small part of my wedding day sitting crunched (in my wedding dress on a 98 degree day, no less) between my mountain man uncles, gear shift in between my knees, and old Mountain Dew and green Skoal cans rolling around my feet. Oh, and baler twine and straw flapping around the back.

See, I told you I was a classy bride.

Anyhow, they start driving around the back roads near the church that I was married in, discussing crops and the weather like they hadn’t just snatched a newly married bride a mere 5 minutes before. I still had no idea what the heck was happening, but since I’m usually an easy going person, I was rolling with it. After a few miles, they looped back around to the church parking lot. They slow down and drive by the reception tent, where I see the guy who had held down my groom with a microphone in his hand.

“Did they get enough money yet?” one of my uncles hollers out the rolled-down window. “Nope, keep driving!” the other guy yells back. I also see my husband with a hat in his hand and a miffed expression on his face. Okay, so I’m starting to get a clue now. Apparently I’m being held for ransom. Why, I have no idea. But all of our wedding guests look like they’re enjoying themselves (as much as you can on such a hot day), so I guess it’s all some kind of big joke.

After more riding around and discussing farming, we pulled back around to the church and they were informed that I could be released now. I hop out of the truck in my wedding dress and see what’s up.

So, I guess my man had to go around and ask the guests for money to buy back his bride, then they planned to give us the money to spend on our honeymoon. My poor husband, who is very proud, especially when it comes to money, was mortified. Every time my uncles see him, they still love to tease him about it.

Right after this happened, and even for months afterward when the subject of our wedding comes up, people thought we were somehow in on their plan.  A couple of people were like, “Rachel, you must be a good actress, because you looked really surprised.” Um, that’s because I WAS. Definitely no acting going on here.

So, there you have it folks. How I was kidnapped on my wedding day. It’s a pretty funny memory, and our kids just recently heard the story.

A day that will live in infamy. Ha ha, not really.

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This picture was snapped a little while after, when we really WERE leaving for our honeymoon. This is one of my absolute favorite wedding day pictures. I’m sure we were like “Finally!”

Thanks for tuning in, and try to keep cool!


PS-And they lived happily ever after.


Lemon Ice Cream

Today I am sharing a repeat post from this time last year. It is a really good recipe and since we have been in ice cream mode here lately, I thought I’d share it again!


I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all today.

In the summertime I am an ice cream  junkie and this one totally gave me my fix for the day.

That is, until the day after that, when I remembered how darn good it was and wanted to make more.

This is a sweet, rich, tasty ice cream that’s a snap to make.

Oh, and you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker to whip it up either. Sweet!

I got the recipe from Taste of Home magazine, which called for it to be made into popsicles. I tried that and they didn’t freeze hard enough in my popsicle molds, so I just scooped it out and put it in bowls.

Works for me! We savored every bite of this dessert until it was all gone.

These are all the ingredients you need to make some for yourself:

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Spoon into smaller bowls and freeze for 6-8 hours. Enjoy!

Hope you’re having a sweet summer,


Craft/DIY Ideas

Adding Length to a Dress

I was excited to find this pink knit cotton dress on the Kohl’s clearance rack for $2-something this winter.

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The first time I put it on this summer, it fit just right. Comfy, and most importantly, just the right length. My husband came home and admired it on me, calling me his Pinkalicious woman.

As you can probably see, it has the high-low type of hemline (higher in the front, longer in the back).

Well, after one washing, that hemline rose, I swear about several inches! I tried to wear it again, but thank God I didn’t go anywhere but out in our yard. At 5’10”, most dresses or skirts that look like a modest length on other women fit me about mid-thigh or so. Yep, I can rock the long stuff, but have to be super careful about how other things fall on me. So, after bending over to weed a flowerbed and feeling like I was overexposing myself, I went in the house and quickly changed. That’s when the idea to add a fabric band around the bottom came to me.

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Upon raiding my fabric stash, I settled on this pink and white striped cotton. I measured the circumference of the bottom hemline, then cut that much plus a bit extra, while making sure it was a few inches long as well. After cutting, I folded one long end in 1/4″, then another 1/4″ and pinned along the whole thing. One straight shot of sewing and the new bottom hem was complete!

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Once that was done, I measured what I had against the bottom hem of the dress. They had to line up exactly for this to work out!! I made one short seam along one side of the new fabric band to make it a circle. Then, pinning right sides carefully together, I sewed the new band onto the bottom of my dress.

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This method could be used on almost any basic skirt or dress. I even did something similar to a pair of knit cotton shorts that I had bought for my daughter. (I won’t even start on how improper some little girls’ clothing in stores is!! I couldn’t find one pair that were a decent length. A post on modesty may be in the works…)

My newly updated pink dress, blowing in the breeze.
My newly updated pink dress, blowing in the breeze.

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After doing this little alteration, I felt much more comfortable wearing my pink dress, and it is now a great length for me. Yippee!