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April 2011

Is Spring FINALLY Here?

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we've been getting going in the garden here in Seattle, we've discovered some volunteer tulips mixed in our raised bed.  More specifically, mixed in a couple of holes in the cinder blocks we used to contain our raised bed... we're not sure if the squirrels put them in there or what, but they are a surefire reminder that Spring is here... or at least, is supposed to be!

This year has been one of the coldest and wettest April months on record here in Seattle.  Our beautiful sunny days have been few and far between, and we've had to be...well... patient.  

The Weed Patch

I went outside this afternoon and found this beautiful tulip just opening up.  What a glorious sight!  And welcome, Spring - maybe?  (*note that the weather is calling for lots of mountain snow over the next couple of days, with overnight lows here in the 30s - again... *sigh*)

Has Spring Sprung where you're at?  
What the first thing that makes it truly feel like spring for you?


Our Beautiful Easter (2011)

The Weed Patch

What a wonderful Easter we had this year!  

To start with, we had some really exciting news this prior week - but that's just going to have to wait for another post, because it NEEDS the justice of its own post... ;)

This year we drove down to Janene's parent's place in Union, Washington.  It had been quite some time since we were able to get down there, and it felt like coming home.  Don and Esther have a beautiful home, and it's so easy to just fall into relaxation mode.  Of course, Janene went down on Friday night so she could spend all day cooking Easter dinner (by choice - it's one of her favorite things to do, cooking), so by the time I got down there Saturday after work there wasn't a lot to do... (and thank you AGAIN, Marcia, for covering Saturday afternoon so that I could leave earlier - I can't tell you enough how much I appreciated that).

Saturday afternoon Grandma and Ben spent some time dying eggs.  I think both were in seventh heaven!

The Weed Patch The Weed Patch The Weed Patch The Weed Patch The Weed Patch

Sunday we got up and went to church.  Well, Janene attended - Ben was quite fussy (he's growth spurting) and there was really no way I was going to do that to the poor gals at Sunday School - so Ben and I wandered Shelton a bit, spending no small amount of time on the historic train (Ben's STILL talking about that...).

Dinner was a relaxed affair, mostly because Janene cooked all day Saturday.  I don't know why, but we didn't get any pictures of the food - weird.  But it was GREAT!  Flank steak seasoned with fresh herbs out of our garden, roasted veggies, fresh roasted asparagus, broccoli grape salad... yum! (And yes, I ate too much, again.)  The company was wonderful, too - of course!

The Weed Patch The Weed Patch

We finished the evening with relaxed conversation, The King's Speech, and TWO fantastic desserts!  Janene baked Martie's Dark Chocolate Cake as well as this FANTASTIC Strawberry Lemon Tart (recipe here, on epicurious.com) - holy cow we were spoiled.

We're so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing family and friends - and most importantly, a personal relationship with God - who sent his one and only Son to DIE for our evil.  As a father, this point has truly come home - the sacrifice was greater than I could ever have imagined before having a son.  If you haven't experience the amazing love that only comes from God, we'd be happy to share it with you - just let us know.

2011 is already into its second quarter.  And it's going to be an absolutely insanely busy year for so many reasons.  But this year, even more than in the past, we're giving it all up to God, and letting him take the wheel.  Won't you join us?

 

The Weed Patch


Color Us Inspired...

We truly hope that you enjoy reading From The Patch, and we thought we'd share with you some of the blogs that we regularly read and enjoy.  Generally both Janene and I read similar blogs - but to make this list a little easier to type out, I'm going to break it down based on which of us suggested it.  Also, we asked (on our Facebook page) for some suggestions from our online friends as to what blogs they like, so we've included some of those here.  Please note that each blog we're sharing is its own entity, and not tied to The Weed Patch in any way; some of the things they share may or may not mesh exactly with our own opinions or beliefs.  Also, these are mostly in no particular order. And now that the little disclaimer is out of the way, on with the fun!

Chris' List:

  • http://chiotsrun.com/ – this is one of my favorite blogs – I’m addicted, and read it EVERY day.  It’s inspirational, the photography is insane, it’s informative, and it’s well written...
  • http://www.soulemama.com/ – another lovely blog, with fantastic photos and very inspirational “just living life” kinds of posts.  I love this blog.
  • http://www.maryjanesfarm.com/farmgirl-connection/  - one of our favorite magazines (for which Janene gives me grief regularly...) – this has links to the various blogs.  I haven’t read ‘em all, and don’t follow them religiously – but they always have good information and are inspirational from a “simple life” perspective. 
  • http://www.mygardennursery.com/Heucheras/ - this is a newfound joy for me - anything you've ever wanted to know about Heucheras, from our favorite nursery around!
  • http://sinfonians-garden.blogspot.com/ - a local (Seattle) square foot gardener, he has lots of great information in there!

Janene's List:

 

Facebook Friend's List:

 

What are some of your favorite blogs or websites, and why?


Tuna or Chicken Noodle Casserole

Simple Chicken Casserole from The Weed Patch

A simple and homey meal, this casserole is kind of a follow-up to our last casserole recipe (View Post Here).  The same principles apply – carbs + goo + meat + veggie = casserole.  Although a really boringly easy recipe, everyone needs one of those country-cooking, just-like-grandma’s fall-back recipes for busy nights.  Again, you can jazz up however you want – add peas, blanched asparagus or broccoli, experiment with cheeses, etc.  Last night we were very very basic.  Here’s what we did:

Egg Noodles (we used about ¾ package, of the whole wheat variety)
Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 can undiluted (we used a lower sodium kind)
Sour Cream or Mayonnaise (as needed – we needed about 1/3 cup)
Cheddar Cheese, shredded (maybe 2 cups?)
Leftover cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped or torn into pieces (about 1.5 cups)
 *NOTE:  You can also use tuna (usually 1 can, drained), or a can of chicken (drained)
A can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped a little smaller
Salt, Pepper, and a favorite seasoning blend of some kind
*Another good option that we didn’t do this time but have others is one can drained mushrooms (pieces and stems)

 

  1.  Cook the noodles according to package directions.  Be careful not to overcook, because they’ll cook more in the oven and absorb more liquid, and you don’t want them to turn to mush
  2. Mix together the drained noodles, mushroom soup, about a cup of cheese, the chicken, the chestnuts, and add some pepper, a dash of salt, and a dash of seasoning (ours was Mrs. Dash Garlic & herb).
  3. You want a nice creamy consistency.  We found it was a little dry with one can of soup, as we had quite a few noodles there, so we added about 1/3 cup of sour cream.  Perfect.
  4. Pour into a casserole dish.  Ours fit perfectly into a deep  7 x 10 dish.  The size you use depends on how much  you made – sometimes mine fits fine into a 9 x 9 glass dish (almost to the top), and other times we use a 9 x 13 (for larger batches, and it doesn’t usually go to the top).  Whatever you use will be just fine – just remember that if the casserole is thinner, it may take less time in the oven.
  5. Sprinkle the top with cheese, so you have a nice thin even layer on top.  It will melt and fill in all the holes.  No need to cover your casserole, because of the cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 until heated through, cheese melted, and maybe even a little browned on top.  I check after 20 minutes, then it is usually 5 – 10 minutes after that.  Yum!

Do you like casseroles?  What's your favorite recipe?


Carolina Smoke Turns 2!!!

Hey all you BBQ fans!  This weekend, here at Country Village, our favorite BBQ shop (Carolina Smoke) is having its second birthday party!  Now, if you haven't been there yet, Carolina Smoke has some of the most amazing BBQ ever - and (owner) Dave REALLY knows how to throw a party!  There's gonna be live music, food and drink specials, and more!  Check out http://www.carolinasmoke.com/content/carolina-smoke-bbq-shop-two-year-anniversary for some of the juicy details, and in the meantime - here's a pic to make your mouth water!!!

Carolina Smoke at Country Village

Janene's favorite is brisket and smoked macaroni - yum!  Chris loves their pulled pork sandwich and corn bread - but really, it's ALL good!  And in addition to wonderful food, they've got brews, and they've got a huge flat screen TV... can you say SPORTS???  This is a seriously sweet spot to come hang out, guys.  And heck - head up there while the women shop - it's the perfect combination!

From their website:

Carolina Smoke in Bothell's Country Village "Carolina Smoke is owned and operated by David Hayward, who originated from Charleston, South Carolina. He moved to the Northwest in 1971 bringing his home-style southern cooking with him. He has been sharing his delicious BBQs with family and friends in Western Washington for 20 years and after rave reviews he decided to start his own business. 

 

Carolina Smoke in Bothell's Country Village The specialty that David brings to his BBQ style is unique. The grill that he uses is not only big enough to serve large parties, but it also grills without gas or charcoal, therefore preserving the food's natural flavor. David uses mesquite, alder, hickory & cherry wood pellets to grill his food which allows for more control of temperature and taste. In addition, the meat, fish and vegetables are fresh and cooked on site. All of this adds up to fresher, cleaner and better tasting BBQ meals from the Carolina Smoke grill."

Carolina Smoke at Country Village

We really hope you'll make the time to come by Country Village this weekend!  Plan some time for a party up at Carolina Smoke, and then head down to your favorite shops around Country Village!  Here at the store we've still got some Easter left - and that wonderful day is coming up QUICK (so don't wait!)

What's your favorite type of food?


Facebook Contest Winners!

Hello everybody!  If you're not a fan of us already on Facebook, then you just missed out on a simple contest!  We set a milestone of 300 fans, and as soon as we hit that - which we just did - we did a "random" drawing from our fans to give away 10 $10 gift cards to the store!  And here are the winners - if your name is on this list, be sure to contact us right away so we can get your card activated and off to you with instructions on how to use it!

Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Rachel Woodward
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Marsha Levy Merrick
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Cathy Swan Cleveland
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Sandra Nix Sutton
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Patti Peterson
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Amber York-Truitt
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Sylvia Judge
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Timi Weathers-Bottorff
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Crystal Santos
Facebook Contest Winners April 05 2011
Vanessa Fleming

 

Are you a fan of The Weed Patch on Facebook???  
Our next give away will be when we hit 500 fans!!!


The Sensitive Plant...

We have recently become addicted to houseplants.  I know, it's a little silly given the fact that Spring is on our doorstep and the garden is starting to take shape, but the fact of the matter is that houseplants are simply wonderful.  We've accumulated several plants in the last couple of weeks, with an eye towards aquiring plants that will help purify our air.  There are several of these readily available - keep your eyes here for an overview of some that we have found (coming shortly!), and that we love.

Today, however, we would like to share what is perhaps our most entertaining houseplant - the aptly named sensitive plant.  These don't clean the air or anything, but they are good for a laugh - and Ben simply can't leave the poor thing alone!  Rather than trying to explain it to you, here's a fun video that does this little beauty justice.  We hope that you enjoy it, and that it brings a smile to your face!  And for those of you who are local to us, we got this little guy at Flower World for $3.99... :)