The Giving Tree

You know the old saying "Good things come to those that wait?"  Well, as Creepy Dead Tree stood there for years looking all dead and creepy, waiting for a rewarding repurpose, good things did come from this tree.  As Sean and I discussed the hope of making some things from this tree, we thought that it would be great if we could ask Adam to cut a few stepping stones out of the trunk.  So, we asked and Adam cut away.

Since the tree was pretty knotty, there was only a small section where he could cut slices without hitting too many knots.  He was able to get 9 stepping stones cut, which we were very happy about.  

Then there was a section that was super knotty and super cool-looking, where the bark came off, and it just so happens to be the perfect height for an outdoor side table.  So I asked Adam to set that aside with the stepping stones.  He offered to move the future side table and stepping stones to the back for us, and before I could even think about what I was saying, I blurted out, "oh no.  Please.   Just leave them there, Sean and I can move everything."

What was I thinking??!!  That really-cool-future-side-table is beyond heavy and is still sitting down on the east yard.  But the rest we were able to move.

We decided to put these stepping stones in our garden, but first, I needed to seal them to protect them from weather.  

I painted on two coats of polyurethane all over each one, letting each coat dry completely.

When the sealer was dry, I moved the stepping stones into the garden.

Of course the garden will change and evolve in the spring, but I think these are a great addition.

Creepy Dead Tree turned into the Giving Tree.   The tree went from creepy, to what will be a great side table; garden stepping stones, and some wood for our fire pit.

True definition of reuse and recycle.

Taco Tuesday - Steak Soft Tacos

Taco Tuesday seems to be a staple event in many households these days.  For us, we only joined this band wagon only a few months ago, and it just might be the kids' favorite night of the week.  

Since we've been doing the Taco Tuesday thing, I've tried to mix things up each week, experimenting with the taco theme.  I've mastered a couple taco recipes that certainly hit the piñata in the right spot. 

Tonight for dinner, I'm going to make Steak Soft Tacos.   And for a side dish, I decided to make what my Mama made every time she made tacos for dinner: Marinated Garbanzo Beans.  This Taco Tuesday, a bowl of nostalgia only seemed fitting.

Give these 2 recipes a try!

Taco Tuesday, it's what's for dinner.


There was a strange looking tree on the east side of our house that had seen its better day.  Apparently it lost its top during a bad storm, and things for this tree went downhill from there.  Some people liked the tree and thought it added "character," and other people thought it was an eyesore.  I fit in the latter group, and dubbed the tree Creepy Dead Tree.

We've lived in our old house for only four years, but still, I'm not sure why it took us so long to make a decision about Creepy Dead Tree.  Sean landed in the "character" group.  He was kind of partial to Creepy Dead Tree, so that may have had something to do with the undecidedness.  

We were at a birthday party a couple weeks ago, and struck up a conversation with Adam.  Turns out, Adam is a landscaper, specializing in tree work.  Before I knew it, I was in deep conversation with Adam, telling him all about Creepy Dead Tree, and between the two of us, we were able to convince Sean that it was timber time for Creepy Dead Tree.

Two days later, Adam was at our house, ready to cut down the tree.  He prepped the tree, wrapping rope around the top so as the tree was getting cut, it would land on the yard and not on our house.   

He cranked up that chainsaw and started cutting.  And cutting.  Then with one little tip, he called out to his helper to pull the rope and Creepy Dead Tree was down.

And since the top was pretty rotten, it exploded when it his the ground.  And too, as the tree was a pine, he suggested we not burn in our fireplace as sap would accumulate in our chimney.  So he salvaged what he could, chopped it up and stacked it by our fire pit.

Adam finished cutting up the rest of the tree, and when he had me come outside to see his work, he left us with a gift from Creepy Dead Tree:  Adam shaped the trunk into a chair, complete with an ottoman.  

The kids were beside themselves when they saw it, and the chair has become home base for hide-and-seek, and kick the can.  Perfect.

So although the tree was creepy, and dead, and needed to come down, it certainly provided a few other gifts as well.  Stay tuned for that post!

Dirty Decanter - Quick Tip Friday

One of my pet peeves is residue on glass.  Drives me nuts.  And decanters and narrow-mouthed bottles are such a challenge to clean.  I can never find that perfect brush, and even if I tape a paper towel on the end of a skewer to help me get inside the bottle and scrub; well that never works out either.  But never fear, I have found a tip that works really well!

Enter today's Quick Tip Friday.

Fill the decanter or narrow-mouthed bottle with hot water, a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and a cup of uncooked rice.  Swirl the rice around for a few minutes to remove the residue, rinse with hot water and air-dry.  

It's like magic.  And a heck of a lot better than using bleach.

Enjoy today's Quick Tip Friday!