Meals in a Jar

Let’s play a game, okay? Do you remember when you were little and Sesame Street was teaching it’s young viewers to recognize patterns and they would sing songs asking which one was not like the others? Well, this time I want to ask you what do these two jars have in common?  Picture me singing – which of these things IS like the other?

Can you see it? Can you figure it out? Are you willing to play? Yes, the lids are white and the contents look pretty. But the real answer is, these are meals in a jar.  Amazing meals in a jar. I shared the Overnight Oatmeal with you before and you can see that post here. Paul and I eat this every weekday morning and it gets our day off to a great start.

The other jar is a salad in a jar and Paul and I eat one every weekday for lunch. It is the most incredible concoction that my sister-in-law, Pam, introduced me to. It works so great. When the ingredients are put in the jar, the dressing is put in first and then the other vegetables, chicken, nuts, etc are added on top. The lettuce is added last so it doesn’t touch the dressing, that way it doesn’t get gross and soggy. And when you put it on a plate to eat, it looks like this.

Now I know this isn’t the prettiest picture with lovely dishes, cloth napkin and pretty placemat cause I took this at my desk at work where I only had a paper plate and paper napkin, but isn’t it huge? That little jar made this huge, delicious salad with walnuts, grilled chicken, blueberries, low fat cheese and low fat raspberry vinaigrette dressing. It’s incredible and so filling. The best part is Paul and I take an hour together each Sunday to put together ten of each of these jars and we conveniently have breakfast and lunch for each work day and it makes life so much easier.

Now does anyone know how to make dinner in a jar?

It’s Been a Long Time and Porch Project Update

art on porch4

Wow has it been a long time since we last updated our blog!

Spring and the end of the school year was very hectic for us and we decided we needed to take a break from our blog. Then summer came and we were busy with house projects, family activities, recreating and spending time with friends and extended family.  And suddenly, before we knew it, summer had ended and it was the busy back to school season.

Through all of this, we realized one valuable lesson. Once you get away from blogging it’s harder to go back then you’d expect. While we enjoy working on our blog, it is a  lot of work and we found that it was really easy to put off posting again until “tomorrow” but tomorrow never came! But finally, we’re back and we thought we would share with you some of the projects we did over the summer.

Our first project and the one that has probably given us the most pleasure is the screening in and updating of our camp porch. We have a little camp that is about 35 minutes from our home and we absolutely love spending time there. When our children were small, we had a motor home and we would spend about half of the summer camping at various state parks along the eastern United States. We loved doing that and our kids have very fond memories of those trips. Once they got older and our son became more involved in baseball and golf, it became much more difficult to lead that summer nomadic lifestyle and our motor home sat unused. We decided to sell it and replace it with a camp that was reasonably close to home. Our thinking was that having it close and always set up for use would enable us to go, even if it was only for one night. Over the years that we’ve owned our camp, our children’s visits have dwindled but Paul and I go as often as we can. We love it there. It’s incredibly peaceful, beautiful and a great escape from the chores and responsibilities that are always with us at home.

One of our favorite features of our camp is the porch. It’s a deep and long porch so there is a lot of seating on it and room to for a table to eat at. It also has two ceiling fans which feels really decadent when it’s hot outside. Our only problem was we couldn’t use it long after dark as the bugs and moths would dive bomb us and therefore this summer we decided to screen it in and make it more lighter and more appealing.

Here are some before photos. They are not real great as they were taken with the camera on my IPad and then I forgot to take new ones before we started the redo.  Also they were taken during the “blue hour” when the lighting turns blue on a camera even though it is daylight. As a result I had to turn the brightness on the photos way up which makes them grainy. But hopefully, you’ll get the feel of the porch before we fixed it up.

As you can see, the porch had some comfortable furniture on it and some more “campy” furniture. It was also rather dark due to all of the wood finishes on the fixed parts of the structure like the floor and porch railings and walls. We really wanted to lighten it up as we are surrounded by trees and the setting is naturally darker due to the nature around it. I think we achieved our objective in the following “after” photos.  (Warning: Very Photo Intensive)

As you can see, we painted as many things white as we could to lighten the area. We also laid large berber rugs in a soften golden, yellow color. Lastly, we hung white sheer curtains to further lighten things up.

One of my favorite things about this porch redo is that we were able to do it rather inexpensively. We had bought several pieces of wicker at an auction for $15 a piece. They were in very rough shape but we painted them and I recovered the cushions. We also bought a table at the same auction which Paul painted in a fun, lively style and it adds a lot to the porch. Here are some photos showing the cushions before I recovered them, then the finished wicker and finally the table Paul painted.

As always, we added lots of Paul’s artwork to the porch. And we love how that touch makes the porch look more like a living room. Here’s some photos showing the art.

I have the best story about the beautiful clock shown in the last two photos. Paul painted this clock while we were at camp one weekend and when he was done, he told me had painted the ugliest thing he’s painted to date. When he showed it to me, it took my breath away it was so pretty. I couldn’t believe he thought it was ugly! Crazy man!! It’s one of my favorite paintings that he’s done.

Lastly, I finished my first quilt for this porch. It’s only a small table covering but I’m proud to say I completed it from beginning to end – the piecing, quilting and binding. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s still mine and I’m thrilled to have accomplished all of the new things I learned while doing it.

We had such great fun on our porch this summer and we look forward to many more years spent here.

Thanks for visiting. Please come back soon. (We promise to be here in the future!!)


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