Planting Rose Bushes

A couple months ago, I read the book Sand in My Eyes by Christine Lemmon.  The main character in the book, Anna,  quits her job in New York City and moves her husband and children to Sanibel Island, Florida where she meets her older neighbor, Fedelina.  One day Fedelina shows up on Anna’s doorstep with an armful of flowers.  Not just any flowers though, roses.  The book goes on to talk about Fedelina’s rose garden and about her cutting roses from her garden everyday and putting them in vases in her house and also giving several to her new neighbor.  The book also talks about how taking care of roses can be so much like taking care of our own lives.  How not only do we have to take time to prune the rose bushes but also taking time to “prune” our own lives.

I got so caught up in the rose bushes and how wonderful they must be that I started dreaming of maybe having a rose garden of my own.  I checked some books out of our local library about roses and did a little research.  When I say I did a little research, I mean very little.  My idea of research is pretty much looking at the pictures and reading the caption underneath.

So when I was at Lowe’s one afternoon and saw they had rose bushes for sale for $5 each, I knew it was meant to be.  I knew that was a sign that it was time for me to start my rose garden.  So I bought 3 bushes.

I got a white one called Pascali, a blue one called Blue Girl and a red one called Oklahoma.

If you are looking at my house, this would be the left side and we don’t have much planted over there yet.  I had a calla lily that we planted a few years ago and my brother-in-law just helped me cut it completely back.  I hope it comes back this year.  I also have another bush that I planted that my son’s 4th grade teacher gave me but I have no idea what it is called.

This area gets lots of afternoon sun so I thought it would be a great spot for the rose bushes.  Not to mention, we will be able to see them coming down the road to our house.

I started by clearing away the mulch.

I then placed the rose bushes on the spot where I wanted them to get my spacing right.  The plan was to plant them about 2 feet apart.

Thanks to all the rain we have been getting the Georgia clay was nice and soft.

I then dug a hole.  I hadn’t taken the rose’s from their packaging yet so I wasn’t sure exactly how deep the hole needed to be.  I just tried to guess.

Once I got the roses out of their package, I realized that the roots were not that long inside all the packaging.  I mixed some potting soil with our dirt and then planted the rose-bush so the base is just above the soil.

The instructions said not to plant the base completely under the dirt.  That part apparently needs to be up out of the ground.  I then packed all the dirt around it and pushed it down really hard.

I continued in the same manner with the other 2.  The one on the far left is a little skimpy so hopefully it will grow ok.  I’m not usually one for having “green thumbs” so it will actually be a small miracle if they grow at all.  I’ll have to send hubby out there to touch each one and rub my bad-plant-growing-luck off of them.

I then put all the mulch over them and wish for the best.

I had to get them in the ground because they were already starting to get new growth on them from being in the garage.  We’ve had very warm weather down here this month so I guess they thought it was Springtime already.

I’m so excited about the possibility of having my own rose garden.  I have visions of being able to clip roses from my bushes and having fresh roses in vases around my house this summer.  We’ll see if that happens.

If you’re looking for a good read to inspire you to plant your own rose garden then pick up Sand in My Eyes.

It’s a great book.


Birthday Dessert

Yesterday was my hubby’s birthday.  I usually like to make him something sweet for his special day and since cherries are his favorite, I try to use them as much as possible.

I pinned this on Pinterest the other day.


I just so happened to have a can of cherry pie filling around and this would be a perfect use for it.  He also loves brownies so these should be a big hit.

Hubby coaches my daughter’s basketball team and we just so happened to have a game last night.  I thought it would be great to make several of the brownie bites and take them to the game to share with the team.

I started by making a double batch of brownies.  I just used the mix from a box.


I made a double batch so I could bake them in my 9 x 13 inch jelly roll pan instead of the smaller brownie pan.

I baked them at 350 for about 30 – 35 minutes.  They had to bake longer because they were so thick.  I also did the brownies using the cake-like recipe.  I really should have done the fudge-like recipe.  I don’t think they would have been so thick but that’s alright; live and learn, right?

After the brownies cooled a little bit, I used a scalloped cookie cutter and started cutting the bites.

This gives you an idea of how thick the brownies are.  See my cookie cutter in there.  That thing got pretty warm after a while.

I got all the pieces cut out and put them on the cooling rack to cool completely.

I was left with this…

The outside edges.  I put it on a cooling rack also.

That is until the kids got home…

After they all cooled, I put a cherry on top with a dollop of whipped topping.

I did one on a special plate just for the birthday boy.

Hubby also asked for homemade pizza for dinner.

We had fun in the kitchen making his birthday dinner together.

So much cheaper, tastier and better for us than takeout.

Happy Birthday Scott.  We love you and hope you had a fabulous day.

Oh, and on a side note:  The girls won their basketball game and now go on to play in the championship game on Thursday.  After the game I had all the girls sing Happy Birthday to coach.  His face was so red.  I shared the brownie bites with them and they all loved them.  Teenage girls can put away some food 🙂

Easy Dinner Plans

Last week I started my e-Mealz subscription back.

I’m so glad that I did because dinner all week was quick, easy and tasted great.  Not to mention we had enough leftovers for lunches over the weekend.  I don’t think we went out to eat 1 time last week.

We started off the week with Ginger-Apricot Chicken and Crock Pot BBQ.  Both dishes were super easy and delicious.

We finished out the week with a Pizza Casserole, salad on the side and fresh homemade French bread.

For the pizza casserole you just brown some ground chuck with a little onion and garlic.  Then add the spaghetti sauce to that along with the cooked pasta and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.  Stir well and pour into a 9 x 13 inch dish.  Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Bake the bread along with the casserole and make your side salad while the other things are in the oven.

On Friday, I made Sweet & Sour Meatballs.  I had actually just made these for New Year’s Eve.  They are cooked in the crock pot for 4-5 hours on LOW.  This is another one of those 3 ingredient dishes.  Frozen meatballs, 18 oz jar grape jelly and 12 oz jar chili sauce.  Combine the grape jelly and the chili sauce in the crock pot and cook on HIGH until the jelly melts.  Add the meatballs and stir to cover them with sauce.  Turn the heat down to LOW and let cook for 4-5 hours.

Serve the meatballs on top of cooked egg noodles with a side of green beans & almonds.  I’m not a huge green bean fan, but I actually liked these.

On Saturday, we had BBQ Stuffed Potatoes.  I used the BBQ that had been left over from the Crock Pot BBQ I had made earlier in the week.  This recipe did take a little longer to prepare because of baking the potatoes.  They take about an hour and a half.  Once they are baked, slice them in half and top with the BBQ, some cheese, sour cream, butter, salt & pepper; anything you like, actually.  I served the potato along with carrot chips and dip and some steamed broccoli.

This meal was so filling and  perfect for a Saturday night.

No one can say we aren’t getting our veggies in this house.  We have definitely been eating some veggies.

So what have you been cooking this week?  Have you tried e-Mealz yet?

Crock Pot BBQ

This is probably the easiest dinner that I have ever made.

The hardest part of this meal was realizing that my oven was broken when I went to cook the Texas toast.

I just put it on the griddle and it was even better than if it had gone in the oven.

The BBQ takes 3 ingredients:

Go buy a 5 lb Boston butt.

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and put it in the slow cooker.

Pour an 18 oz bottle of BBQ sauce over top.

Follow that with a 12 oz soda drink.  You can use anything here.  I had Diet Coke so that’s what I used.  It calls for 12 ounces but I used the entire bottle of 16.9.  I don’t really think it made a difference if I would have used the smaller can.

Set the slow cooker to high, put the lid on and let it cook for 8 hours.  You can turn the Boston butt over a couple of times throughout the day if you think of it (or if you are around) if not, it’s really not a big deal.

After it has cooked for 8 hours, the meat will just fall off the bone.  Your house will smell so good and you will end up with a plate full of this.


I served homemade coleslaw on the side.

I started by combining sugar, salt, pepper and mayo then mixing it with the prepackaged angel hair slaw from the grocery.

Super easy and it was a great compliment to the BBQ.

Put a slice of Texas toast on the side and call it a meal.

I gotta say, after being forced to cook the toast on the griddle, and it turning out so good; I think I will be doing it that way from now on.


5 lb Boston Butt

16 oz bottle BBQ sauce

12 oz cola drink

Place pork in slow cooker.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour BBQ sauce and cola over pork.  Cook on high for 8 hours (or low 12-16 hours) until pork is tender and meat shreds easily.  Stir occasionally to prevent sauce from burning on side of crock pot.  Shred pork and separate from fat before serving.


1 pkg. angel hair slaw

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup mayo

Combine sugar, salt, pepper and mayo; mix with slaw.

Ginger-Apricot Chicken

This week I started back with my e-mealz subscription.

I had missed it.

I started on Tuesday with Meal 1.

Ginger-Apricot Chicken with white rice and stir fry veggies.

It was delicious and easy and a no brainer.

I love not having to decide last-minute what is for dinner.

I love having a menu and since I went shopping for everything on the menu at once, I had all my ingredients on hand.

I start with about a pound of chicken breast.  I had it already thawed because I knew what was for dinner in the morning and it has been sitting in the fridge ready to go.

I added a little salt and pepper to the chicken then put it in the baking dish.

I then combine a bottle of Russian dressing, 1 cup apricot preserves, fresh ginger, cornstarch and onion soup mix

Pour mixture over chicken and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the chicken is almost finished prepare the white rice and stir-fry the veggies in hot oil.  Add soy sauce to the veggies and cook until they are crisp-tender.

Plate up and enjoy!


1.5 + pkg boneless chicken thighs or breasts

8 oz bottle Russian dressing

1 cup apricot preserves

1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 tsp corn starch

1 pkg onion soup mix

Place chicken in baking dish, plump side up.  Combine dressing, preserves, ginger, cornstarch and soup mix.  Stir well and pour over chicken.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min – 1 hour or more until tender.  Serve over rice.