Update On Starting The Seeds

Hey there! Just a quick update on how my little seeds we planted are doing. It has been about 2 weeks since I planted them and they have been outside for about a week now. We started them inside until I could tell they were reaching for the sun. They are doing great! Here is what your plants should look like after about 2 weeks since planting seeds.  If it’s warm enough outside keep them out there until you are ready to plant.  Bring them in on nights colder than 40 degrees though.  We don’t want skinny tall stems if you do then that is an indicator your plants aren’t getting enough sun.

Here they are! It's been hot in Nashville so I was able to put them outside so they can get a full radius of sunshine. If you do this just be careful when they are little like this. They can't get too dry or too wet or too cold. So pay attention to the weather and bring them in when necessary.

Comments are welcome... Let me know your gardening process or any questions. I do this as a hobby so am by no means a professional but am always willing to help when I can!

Pizza Night!!!

My all time favorite thing to do is spend time with family.  Another one of my favorite things to do is cook. So tonight because of a TON of drama and stress that has gone on over the last few weeks I have decided to combine some of my favorite things to do and have a Diehl Family Pizza Kitchen! Yes. This is as exciting as it gets on Friday nights for me. :) 6 years ago my Friday nights where a wee bit different but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Just so you know pizza dough is simple to make.  The trick is to have the patience to allow the dough to rise.

Pizza Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Corn Meal
  • Pizza Baking Stone (to make a good pizza you really need one of these!)

Poor your package of yeast in 1 1/3 bowl of warm water. Give it a little stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

In your mixing bowl add the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil to the yeast. If you have a mixer with a dough hook mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Scrape sides and put mixer on knead speed (low) for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer knead by hand for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. I decided to mix the yeast with a little bit of the flour before putting all the dry ingredients in. It helped with the mixing process.

It’ll look like this at first… that’s OK

And then eventually look like this. P.S. Get a Kitchenaid mixer if you don’t have one. Yes, it’s a lot of money but it will last you forever and it really is amazing. I got one for Christmas and my life has gotten SOOOOOOO much easier since.

Drop a little bit of olive oil and coat bowl.

This is what it should look like. Smooth and elastic.

Make into a ball and dribble a little bit of olive oil. Seriously a little bit. I usually put way too much. Don’t do that.

Put plastic wrap over it and put in warm place (75-85 degrees). Let it rise for AT LEAST 1 hour. I let it rise all day. I did this at about noon and we used it at 6PM. It had risen! Oh, that’s my grass I’m growing for my Spring decor in the house.  We’ll get to that later :)

*It is very important at this point to cover your pizza stone with the corn meal, set your oven to 400 degrees and put the stone in the oven.  You want the stone to be as hot as your oven because that is what will cook your pizza dough. If you don’t have one get one, they aren’t much money and worth it.  But, don’t use it for anything else other than pizza because it will ruin your stone. But, if you’re going to be stubborn and not get one then do the same with a cookie sheet that you can fit your pizza on. But, seriously, get one.

After the dough has risen punch your dough lightly in the center. Coat the dough ball really good with flour. By the way that isn’t my hand. Promise. Anyway this recipe is enough for 2 large pizzas.  For this night we did 2 large ones and one small one for the wee one. So, split your dough up to the sizes you’d like.

Now, make a nice round shape.

After you get a nice round shape, lay dough flat on board and push extra air out with your finger tips, starting away and moving towards you. Be sure to maintain that roundness. Next, you will make a crust by pushing down with your index finger on the edge of the dough and pushing a small edge back over your index finger from the outside of the dough.

Make sure you add corn meal and flour to the board you are working on. This will allow movement while working with the dough.

After you have made you pizza dough this is what it should look like! Now, we are ready to have some fun.

Up, Up,

And away!!

It’s a pizza just for her!

Place sauce in center of pizza dough.

Grab a ladle and in a spiral motion spread sauce. Spiral motion allows the sauce to go on evenly.

Saute up your favorite toppings. This is red, green, and yellow peppers with a little bit of onion and garlic.

We did Italian Sausage and Peperoni for the meat. You have to cook the sausage and not the peperoni… I added a little beer to my Italian sausage. It was yummy!

After you have the pizza you want it’s time to put it in the oven.  This part freaked me out a little but my husband assured me that because we have put the corn meal on both the board and the pizza stone it will slide right on. So take a breath, and with confidence gently slide the pizza onto the stone.  Let it cook for about 15minutes depending on where you live and how you want your dough.  Keep an eye on it if you like crispy pizza then obviously put it in for longer.

*sigh* waiting is always the hard part. I think he wants to help? OR maybe it’s he going to sneak a bite…

And here’s our pizza! Enjoy your pizza night!

Mmmm…. It was delicious!

Spring Is Here ~ Starting The Seeds!

I grew up with fresh vegetables all my life.  I also grew up with a garden since it was one of my Dad’s passions (he has many as do I)  So, when we moved into our home 4 years ago my Dad helped me build my garden.  2 years ago I decided to build my own herb garden!  If you love to cook and eat fresh veggies take it from me it really is great walking outside and picking what you are going to make for dinner that night. So, now is the time to start growing it where I live… indoors! This saves money and again is a great activity to do with your wee ones.  Plus, you can get the satisfaction of knowing you grew it from a seed.  The rule of thumb is to plant the seeds indoors 4 weeks before planting time. Look up your area and see when is the last freeze of the year on average usually after that you are safe to begin planting.

There are many ways to do this, here is how I do it:

At Walmart you can get seeds for 20¢ (thank you to my mother-in-law for showing me how to do the cent sign, she thinks she full of useless information, I think she's smart) For 20¢ you can get a seed package of 25 seeds. That's potential 25 plants that can produce TONS of produce. Anyway, they don't have an awesome selection. If you want something like chocolate mint seeds or boxwood basil you aren't going to find them at the 20¢ kiosk. They were hidden at the one I went to so I had to ask where they were.

Here is what you'll need, plus a watering can or container of WARM water.

I know there are tons of "cheap" ways to grow seeds indoors going around on pinterest that doesn't involve this but... Let me tell you this is worth it. You don't have to get the one with 72 they have smaller ones, I got the one with 72 because I can use some for next year or give the rest to my Dad, who by the way I got this planting bug from and learned a TON from. So, it's around $5 and will save you tons of time plus in my opinion money. But, if you want to use cut out Styrofoam cups then go for it! I like this because it already has the soil in little disks that my daughter likes to watch it grow.

This is what you'll need to label where you are putting your seeds. This is not a cool cute label with wine corks. Not necessary for the preliminarily planting process. I am planning on making them for my veggie garden so look for a post for that later.

She's such a great helper!

Cut them in strips and stab with toothpicks.

So We decided to put them this way instead... ya live ya learn. You may want to put them this way as well.

Here are your disks...

It's a lot. Not to worry they come in sections that are perforated and you can only do the amount you want. Make sure you take out the ones you aren't using for the next part because when you water the soil there are holes at the bottom and well, it will all get wet.

Fill your watering vessel of choice with warm water and pour until you see the water just hitting the top of the disks. Now, I have vowed to tell you my mistakes so you don't make them to. This water in the photo isn't warm and the disks did not fluff up hardly at all. Make sure it is warm.

After about 5-10 minutes (15 if you don't use warm water at first) This is what they should look like.

After they look like this take them out fluff them up a bit and gently pull back the white netting.

They grew! It's pretty amazing, at least my 5 year old thinks so.

Melon Seeds!! Can you believe huge juicy melons come out of these teeny tiny seed? This is why I love gardening.

Take a little of the peat off the top and place the seed in the middle, you can put up to 3 seeds depending on size.

Cover up the seed with the peat you took off. This tiny finger is my secret ingredient.

That's all folks! Now, we let Mother Nature do what she does.

Put the plastic cover on for a few days in a place away from the sun. My husband is doing his home brew and I thought my plants next to his beer would be the perfect spot :)

Note from my Dad, the expert gardener:

You have to have an adequate light source once the seeds come up or all is in vane.  From the first hour they pop out- if you don’t have and adequate source of light you can use a florescent light  or you can put them outside IF IT IS WARM  but watch the water – drys fast and if it rains.

 

 

Spring is here!!

Every Season has it’s own wonderful quality.  I have my favorites as I’m sure you do and Spring is one.  I love seeing my flowering trees starting to bud, my flowers popping out from the ground after hibernating all winter, and hearing the bird’s excitment for the warmer weather.  I also love that we can be outside and my daughter can play outside for longer than 5 minutes.  She loves the outdoors as much as I do.

I came across this idea for Valentine’s Day with a heart shape and thought an egg shape would be cute too.  My kindergartener helped so this is a great Spring activity if you get stuck indoors because of the Spring showers and storms.

What you’ll need:

  1. Black Construction paper (the colors show up really well with black, we tried white and other colors and decided this would be best.)
  2. Assorted color of buttons found at your local craft store (Walmart has them too)
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Paint Brush
  5. Frame (you pick the size, I’m not going to tell you how big to do your egg)

Story of Rescue

Countless dogs are found and rescued everyday. I’d like to tell you my story of rescue. A rescue that seemed as though there was no way to save a life. And because of a place nestled in the heart of Mount Juliet this life was saved. As I was trying to find a home for this kind soul I began to feel discouraged and that I was spitting in the wind. About a month ago my husband and I decided to volunteer at the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter.  I couldn’t officially be a volunteer until we go to their orientation, which I had gone to 10 days prior to where this story begins.

On a typical morning our American Bulldog Bruno always takes a while to wake up usually stretches, slowly opens his eyes, and gets up once the last person in our family wakes up… which is frequently me.  This particular morning he was very eager to go outside and seemed somewhat agitated. So I open the back door and immediately hear barking.  Bruno was excited, he thought we got him a new friend to play with.  This “new friend” was not as excited to see him or me.  After I separated the dogs I had to pinch myself.  Was there really a dog in our FENCED in backyard? I mean I have a weird knack for finding people’s lost dogs and lost dogs finding me but this was just very strange. I looked her over and immediately realized she recently had puppies, she was very thin, and a little scratched up.  I decided to leave her alone hoping maybe she would lead the way to her puppies.  She just sat in the first position with her drooping ears resting on the walkway for about 10-15 minutes.  I walked my property to look for holes where she could have dug her way through.  No sign of forced entry.  This dog was dumped in our yard.  I’m wondering the same thing… how could anyone dump a dog and momma dog at that?

I called the volunteer coordinator at the shelter I was volunteering at asking him what I should do.  He suggested we go ahead and bring her in to the Shelter so she can get the medical attention she needs.  So we (my angel of a Mother and I) did just that.

The Mount Juliet Animal Shelter has strict rules on jurisdiction. Unfortunately we weren’t within the city limits so they sent us to a local animal rescue.  While on the way we called and called until someone finally picked up, they informed us that they were full and told us to go to a facility that also takes in dogs. With a 3-year-old and a momma dog in tow we continued our adventure trying to find directions to this place.  When we finally got the directions this sweet momma dog got really sick and made a huge mess in the car. While my mother was calling friends and family for directions I was calling this place over and over again.  The answering machine said they were OPEN from the hours of 7:00AM-3:30PM. So we just assumed that someone was busy and unable to answer the phones.  When we finally got to where this facility there were no signs other than that we were entering a Landfill. The sign said to please stop for the landfill before entering.  Well, we weren’t going to the landfill so we didn’t stop.  Why would we if we were going to a place that takes in dogs?  When we got to the building there were 5 cars there but no one answering the door.  I walked the property while numerous dogs were serenading us with their howls, kinda reminded me of  that scene in Lady and the Tramp when they were singing along with a dog in the pound.  I was thinking these people couldn’t hear us because of the dogs. My Mom looked at 2 outdoor fenced in kennels that were covered with shade, had a doghouse, water, and food. These kennels had no dogs in them on a perfect Spring day. It was also unlocked. The decision we made next was based on a few things:

  1. We were informed they were a place that tries to adopt out, like a rescue. We didn’t know any better because there was absolutely NO SIGNS ANYWHERE.
  2. Based on the fact that there were 5 cars parked at the facility (that was in the middle of a landfill in the middle of nowhere) and the message said they are open until 3:30 (it was about 12:30-1:30 PM) we thought someone was there just too busy to answer the phones and door.  Or maybe couldn’t hear either because of the loud dogs.
  3. We had a small child in the car and the dog got very sick.  It was a mess and we didn’t want to take the chance of this dog getting this child sick also.
  4. There were 2 kennels in the front shaded, and unlocked.  We thought they were there for this very reason.
  5. The rescue we previously spoke to is well-respected in the area and if they told us this was the place to go well, we thought we were leaving her in the right hands.

So, we left the momma in the kennel that had food and water I called for about the 10th  time still no answer and left a message with my name, contact information, and short story about what had happened.  We drove away thinking we did the right thing. After doing this I spoke with animal control in Mount Juliet and asked if that was OK… I was told yes, that is what those kennels are there for.  They could have been out on a call and are understaffed.

At about 3:30PM I received a voice mail demanding I call this facility immediately. I did.  I was berated, scolded, and accused of abuse, abandonment, and neglect.  She continued to tell me I was a liar and this was in fact my dog. She said that she is going to call the police and press charges. I was not given the opportunity to tell my side and when I forced my story on her I was told I was trespassing and not allowed anywhere near this facility.  We don’t go to them they come to you. How was I supposed to know this? There are NO signs anywhere indicating that this is even any sort of animal control or government-run place.  NO signs saying no trespassing. NOTHING.  She then asked me where are the puppies and I should be ashamed of myself leaving a mother without her puppies. I was being bullied. I kept thinking this was a nightmare; I had to wake up at any moment.  After a pretty good reality show type yelling match I took a deep breath and asked if I came and got the dog if she’d continue on pressing charges.  She said no and to come first thing in the morning because we are now closed (how convenient).

I had a panic attack.  All the emotions I was holding on to the whole day came pouring out.  After I pulled myself together I called the director of the Mt Juliet Animal Shelter thinking he’s a great witness because he knew everything that was going on and knows this is NOT my dog. The intention was to ask him to call her and explain to her that my “story” was true.  I tried to hold myself together while telling him how I was treated (didn’t work), He tried to call with no answer and left a message. I thanked him then explained to him how I didn’t know what else to do because she obviously needed immediate medical attention and I didn’t have the money to pay for this. I was at the end of the road helpless, had no clue where to go from here.     He paused for a second and in a very calming demeanor said, you did nothing wrong.  Go get that dog and in the morning bring her to me, I will be at the shelter waiting.  He didn’t have to do this, his compassion and love for animals is evident to me and it warms my heart to know that the animals of Mount Juliet whether they be someone’s lost dog or a stray are all treated with dignity and respect.  Even the folks bringing these animals in are treated without judgment and respect.

The way they treated me at the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter vs. the way I was treated at this facility was like Heaven and Hell.  I don’t even want to say night and day because there are great things about the night.  There was nothing great about this facility. The fact that they will bully you so you will never go near that place again tells me there is a lot of bad things going in there. Something has to be done.

I want to say thank you to the Mount Juliet Animal Shelter.  Immediately when I brought Momma (that’s her name now) they began to look her over and got her to the VetMed right away.  She has been given her shots along with a clean bill of health. They are working on fattening her up and moving her on to the next adventure.  You all need to know how blessed the citizens of Mount Juliet is to have a facility like this.  It could be your dog who gets lost, your cat who wonders too far.  Mount Juliet Animal Shelter has fantastic Animal Control Officers with a passion and love for our furry animals along with over 300 volunteers who also love and care for these animals while they try to find the owner and/or a foster home, rescue, and forever home. I was excited to become a volunteer at the shelter. I’m still excited but now I’m honored because I know first hand the awesome job they are doing and I witnessed the lives they are saving.  I am blessed to be able to be a part of this.

Save an animal, do the right thing even though it may not fit in your busy schedule because that is how we change the world.  Doing what you know in heart is the right thing to do.  Take it from me rescuing a dog is never convenient. But it needs to happen. 

Here is Momma about 5 days after she was found.

The Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter has adoptable animals both cats and dogs waiting for their forever home.  If you are thinking about getting a furry new member for your family please consider first the Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter or your local shelter/rescue.  They are waiting.

“The Lorax”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”

We went and saw The Lorax today and it was great.  I highly recommend seeing it in 3D. This is how we all should think.  Dr. Seuss has a simple way of putting things don’t you think?

Hello There

I have been wanting to do a blog for a while but never thought that I had enough material to do one.  I think I do now.  I have grown so much since I had my daughter, found love of things that I never thought I’d love before I had her.  Like cooking.  This might turn into a Pioneer Women wanna be website because I love cooking so much.  I also have found out I’m not too bad at DIY.  I will be posting these great ideas I find on pinterest and tell you the truth about how to do it.  It’s never as easy as most these super women make them seem.  I’ll show you my mistakes and hopefully you won’t make them like I did and it will be just as easy for you.

I’ll be posting a little bit of this and a little bit of that.