Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lighten Up Lasagna Soup

The fifth full day of Spring embraced the greater Philadelphia area with a universally reviled dose of snow.  As I mentioned previously, I am a fan of winter and the weather that goes with it, but a white Easter is not my idea of fun.

The March snow fall got me thinking about what I will miss when warmer weather is finally here to stay.  Soup.  Homemade, hearty, hot soup.  And that is where my list ended.  My mind was made up to enjoy one last bowl of soup while looking out of the window at snow covered branches.

Don't let the name fool ya, this soup is as hearty as they come, in addition to being on the healthier side of the fence.  Accompanied by a shrimp Caesar salad, it filled up my husband, who can pack away more food than makes sense.

 Looks good, right? Make yourself a batch!  It even freezes well if you don't have a crowd to feed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

(Snowy) Daffodil Garland

The abundant daffodils in my garden began to sprout in late January when the weather was abnormally warm for a few days.  I covered them with a pot and put a brick on the pot to keep it in place.  A few weeks ago, I discovered the daffodils had continued to grow and were now starting to push the brick-laden pot upwards.  They desperately want Spring to arrive.  I second that motion.  

Normally, I would be the last person to rush Winter along, (it is my favorite season) but this year I am excitedly awaiting some warmer temperatures and time outdoors.  I am fully ready for the winter hibernation to end.

Since cold temperatures and snowfall ushered the Philadelphia region into the first full day of Spring, I needed a little pick-me-up to remind me that Spring is indeed, around the corner. 

These bright and sunny paper flowers look great strung on natural twine to make a great Spring time garland.  Here is how it's done:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Love Story: Part 1

I can remember getting to know, and starting to date the man who would become my husband like it was yesterday.  I remember so many seemingly insignificant details with ease.  As much as it pains me to say it, I know that won't always be the case.

Our "dating anniversary" just passed at the end of January - marking 9 faithful years together and our 6th wedding anniversary is approaching in May.  As we slowly build our lifetime of memories together, the older ones grow more faint and less familiar.  I love nostalgia and all that comes with it, but I haven't kept a regular diary since I was 12 years old.  Even then, I'm pretty sure I was terrible at journaling the undoubtedly riveting events of my tween years. 

I do wish that I had kept a diary during the first few months of the fledgling relationship that would grow to last a a lifetime.  The thoughts, confidences, doubts and feelings I experienced during that time of my life are unlikely to be paralleled by anything that the rest of my lifetime has in store.  As much as I long to re-live those beginning months through the words of my younger self, I also appreciate the perspective I now have, knowing how one tiny chapter of our story ends.  So begins my retroactive diary...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irish = Shamrocks

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I know I am a day early, but Sundays are my day of rest.  And by rest I mean watching too many episodes of Downton Abbey (I'm still on season 2 - please no spoilers!) while cuddling with my dog on the couch.  This is usually followed by a trip to my Mom's house to visit with her, my Mom - Mom and my niece - hopefully for more cuddling.  Lately, if I'm lucky, the new kid on the block (my nephew) makes an appearance with his mama for some quality family dinner time. 

Anyway, back to Shamrocks.

Part of my job is to be festive.  For every single "holiday" that rolls around I do my best to roll out a new set of decorations and accents to force encourage everyone else to be festive. What better way to recognize the patron Saint of Ireland than shamrocks in a bouquet?  Certainly, there are a multitude of better ways, but I'm gonna stick with shamrocks.

My residents and I crafted these darling little centerpieces during the week and here is how:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome Back!

After a lengthy hiatus, (read: I was too lazy to keep up) I am back.  Clearly, I've been missed desperately in the blog-o-sphere, so no longer will the internet be deprived of my particular brand of nonsense. 

You'll notice (or maybe not) that The Backyard Boutique has undergone a facelift and is now looking more fabulous than ever.  The re-design was done by Whitney at Heart & Arrow Designs and I happen to think she did an amazing job!  Check out her design business at the link above, or her equally fantastic blog

My New Years Resolution this past January, was to devote more time and attention to the areas of my life that make me happy.  Luckily for me, that means I have a ton to focus on!  To help me achieve this resolution, I needed a way to truly hold myself accountable. 

I love being creative.  I love tackling home improvement projects.  I love cooking and baking.  I love my husband.  I love my family & friends. And I love writing. 

What better way to FORCE myself to focus on the awesome and forget the rest, than to make a commitment to write about all of the things I love? 

Maybe there is a better way - but this way is what works for me.  I hope you stop by from time to time and perhaps find somethings that work for you, too.