Monday, April 12, 2010

We have to pay for that?!

As I woke up early on Saturday morning, the beautiful April morning sunlight was streaming into the bedroom.

I was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed because I knew that we were going to start landscaping at our new home that we bought just under a year ago.

Because I couldn't contain my excitement anymore, I moved the cat off my legs and rolled over to nudge my husband.

After a series of groans and grumbles, he got up and we headed out to breakfast at a local diner to feast on omelets because we knew we had a big day ahead of us.

We then headed to Lowes to pick up our shrubs and trees.

We had gone out a few weeks ago to look at the various garden centers to see exactly what we wanted, so we would have an idea when we got there to buy.

The first place we headed was right to the fruit tree section.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but I think I am suffering from a disease that I like to call Marthastewartitis. This is where I think that I want to be just like Martha and raise my own chickens for eggs, and thresh my own wheat for bread and of course, have my own reserve of fruit for all sorts of baked goods and yummy jams.

So we purchased two apple trees (a Johnson and Fuiji) and two Pear Trees (a Moonglow and a Keifer).

Then we bought two burning bushes and two evergreen bushes (not sure offhand exactly what type) to place around our back deck.

For the front yard we bought two Mediterranean Heather bushes and two small Azalea shrubs.

(About a month ago we also purchased a pack of four berry bushes from Sams Club to add to our ever growing fruit garden.)

After we loaded up our cart, we realized there was a slight problem: even if we would fold down the seats in our Jeep Cherokee, we still would not be able to fit all four trees and eight shrubs into the jeep.

Luckily, I called my parents who were also on their way to Lowes and they helped transport some of our new foliage.

So as we were waiting in line to purchase all of our greenery, my husband was adding up the cost in his head for how much everything was going to cost. The conversation that ensued went something like this:

Kev: Wow. All of this stuff is costing about $200.
Me: Is that too much?
Kev: No. I just can't believe that this stuff is costing $200. Don't trees and shrubs just naturally occur in nature.
Me: Well, yes, but not at our house. The previous owner was probably afraid that the something might fall on her house and decided to remove all of the trees.
Kev: Couldn't we go and just dig some stuff up along the side of the road and plant that.

My husband also received further shock when he found out that we would have to buy bags of dirt for the shrubs and trees.

But, after all of the spending and backbreaking work, Kev and I know it was worth it to buy the plants and to "decorate" our yard.

I can't wait to see the fruits of our labor spring to life in a few years!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Easter Bunny has Come and Gone

Here it is 3:14 a.m. and I am awake.

My husband, Kevin has to go to work at 3 a.m. on Sundays and usually I can fall right back to sleep, but for some reason I was up before he was today and I am just not tired anymore.

Last night I fell asleep to the dulcet sounds of Mr. T and the Flavorwave infomercial around 10ish, so maybe my sleep bank is all full.

Anyway, I guess I will use this time to talk about how our Easter was and to catch up on some emails.

We had a very nice Easter.

After staying up until 2 a.m. Saturday night to finish making paska bread and rolls we were pretty tired when the alarm went off around 7 a.m. But alas, we needed to get up so we could get to church on time to get a seat.

We munched on some homemade raisin toast and then decked ourselves out in our Easter finest. I had gotten a new flowered dress on sale and Kev bought an awesome shirt and tie combo at Burlington that was an orange sherbet in color. (It is a really good color on him).

Then we went to church to meet my parents and aunt.

Church ended up being very crowed and hot. I swear I thought I was going to see some people pass out.

We then had to leave, which was a nightmare. Imagine trying to play Frogger with elderly people who are trying to get home in a hurry to make Easter dinner.

We came home, changed clothes, visited Kev's parents for a few, went to my parents' house to drop off the stuff we had made and then visited with Kev's side of the family at his aunt's house.

Around 1sh, we went to my parents' house for a small celebration full of good food and then everyone came over to our place for awhile.

The cats played with their new toys from Grandma and Grandpa and enjoyed the day as well. (I will have to get some pictures of them and their new toys and post them.)

After everyone left, Kev and I were feeling reminiscent and watched a few old home movies of when we were younger.

Watching the old movies made me miss being a little kid.

Back when you were younger, Easter, and holidays in general, were so exciting.

Each Easter morning, I would wake up so excited to find my basket from The Easter Bunny, go to church and then over to my grandparents' house for a traditional Hungarian dinner and an Easter egg hunt.

This year as I struggled to find a recipe for a traditional Easter cheese that my grandmother would make, I really regretted not being old enough to learn her recipes before she passed away. (But, thank God for the Internet and I was able to find a recipe online. And surprisingly it worked wonderfully!)

As I made my nut, apricot and poppy seed rolls I couldn't help but look out my window and see the house that my grandparents lived in when I was younger and really miss those Easters that were so long ago and seemed so magical.

I am sure that once we have our own children some of the magic will return, and we will be able to make our own family traditions.

Today is my mom's birthday, and I am not sure what exactly we are going to do, but I am sure that we will be having cake and the giving of presents later tonight.

But, until then, I have to run some errands, Kev is going to cut his parents' grass, maybe run the car through a car wash since it hasn't been washed since our wedding in 2007 and maybe squeeze in some grocery shopping.

Since, it seems like it is going to be a busy day, I am going to try and get some sleep.

I hope you and your family had a very enjoyable and blessed Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The continuing of an Easter Tradition

When I was growing up, my grandmother would always make those delicious mini nut, apricot and poppy seed, nut rolls.

The buttery and sweet taste would just melt in your mouth and the sweetness of the nuts and fruits would just make you weak in the knees.

I had made the rolls once for Christmas when I was still living at my parents' house, but this year was the first year I was going to do it on my own.

I decided to make the dough yesterday, break it into five different patties, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.

When I took the dough out this morning, to my dismay, it was as hard as a rock. I mean it was like clay that a kid left out in the sun for a few days.

Now, these Hungarian and Slovak women who originally made these rolls must have been built like battleships because rolling out this dough was really tough.

After rolling out the dough, I had to make the filling for the nut rolls.

Pretty much you get a bag of walnuts and grind them until they reach the consistency of a corn meal.

Then you add milk and sugar. I don't have an exact measurement because it is according to your taste.

My grandmother would say that you make it sweet to the point that you almost can't stand how sweet it is.

Once you make the filling you cut the pieces of dough to the size you want, put a dollop of filling and then pinch together.

The trick to making them stick together is to wet the point where the two overlap with water and then pinch. The water almost acts like a glue.

Put the rolls on a cookie sheet, lined with foil for easy clean-up. Put the cookie sheet into a 375 degree oven for about eight minutes. You will need to check the bottoms of the rolls to make sure they don't burn.

And of course, I decided to bake on the day it has reached record high temperatures for the month of April.

All in all, everything worked out, even though I started to run out of steam about halfway through.

Just like our little Finnegan, I think I am ready for a small cat nap.