Friday, July 27, 2007

Hog Point, NAS Pax River

Every Thursday afternoon, four of us go to the clinic on the nearby naval base to get allergy shots for dustmites. One of our favorite spots on base is the beach. When the Navy moved to southern Maryland in 1942 and forced the local farms out, they took over miles of prime beachfront property in the county. In fact, the opening of the base was the end of an entire town called Paradise, MD. We've been reading in our local paper about what the Navy base cost the locals in terms of completely obliterating their town.

Anyhow, the only road that goes past the beach has many little "fishing holes" of which we enjoy Hog Point. I guess the main reason we like it is this bridge which lets you see far. Hog Point is also where the Chesapeake and Patuxent River converge.
This Thursday we saw a huge skate, a baby skate, an eel, many crabs and jellyfish, and a few fish that look like baby swordfish, but I doubt that they were. The best part about the beaches on base is that not many people use them. We have never had anyone share Hog Point with us. If you want to visit Hog Point, there are a few picnic tables and a primitive potty, but this is not the beach to go swimming or walk barefoot. This is the beach for serious fishing and we have found many hooks and lures with multiple hooks. Also, this beach is at the base of the bridge (above picture) and the beach drops off quickly and deeply. When the tide is rushing out, I'm sure this could be a very dangerous spot with a strong undercurrent. We were watching from the bridge as the tide was going out and we saw lots of animals trying to desperately escape the current.
This is the beach for swimming (above picture). This is the beach just past the Officer's Club. You will find other people here, but not many. Our favorite time to visit this beach is in mid September when everyone is back in school and we have the entire beach to ourselves. The jellyfish are gone by then but the water is wonderfully warm. There is also a nice bathhouse and a wonderful playground nearby.

I must warn you about being on this navy base. We always get the feeling on these beaches that we are in the middle of nowhere. Be forewarned, you are being watched. The cameras are well hidden and the helicopters keep a nice distance so that you can't hear them, but they are watching!

There are many little points along the main road, so make sure you take the time to drive down each one. Each one has something special like a huge platform overlooking the river, or a nice playground. All have picnic tables.

So if you live locally and have base access, take an afternoon when the temp is in the mid 80s and go have an adventure. If you don't have access, make a date with us!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is Ruthie making whole wheat flour from wheat berries. This has been Ruthie's job since she was two years old. I bought this grain mill from Kitchen Aid back in 1990 and it has been going strong ever since. I still think it is the best grain mill on the market. Why? It was cheap ($99) and it still sells for that same price on eBay, 17 years later! Secondly, it is not loud. Most grain mills have a terrible screeching sound. Thirdly, the heat from the motor is in the mixer, not against the wheat, which would kill off most of the nutrients. Fourthly, the adjusting knob is simple ~ just turn it! I don't have to turn off the machine to adjust the coarseness of the wheat. Are you convinced?!

Whole wheat flour that is sold in stores is not really whole wheat flour. It is still missing a good part of the grain. This is a little grain demonstrator that I use when trying to teach friends about what's really lacking in white flour:

One Sunday when Ruthie was four years old, her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Bonnie, asked the class who made the flowers. Ruthie excitedly answered, "I do, Mrs. Bonnie!" Fortunately I was there to explain that Ruthie was talking about making wheat flour!

Unfortunately, when I get busy in life, the first thing to go is nutrition. I know it shouldn't be that way, but nutritional meals take time. Two slices of my homemade bread give you a whole day's requirement for fiber. The best part of grinding your own flour is that you can add secret nutritional punches while the mill is running. I've added a tablespoon of beans or flax seed.

I never used to like cornbread until I made it from freshly ground corn. Ever wonder why cornbread mixes have a lot of sugar? Because the corn is rancid! For the first five years after I got my grain mill, I milled my flour minutes before I needed it with baking. But then I had twins, and I had to get my baking done quickly. So ever since, I have milled the flour and stored it in the fridge in an airtight container. It has always been a Saturday morning ritual for the youngest child to mill the flour and fill the supply bin.

If you have any questions about how to get started milling, please ask. I have had friends come over and let me take them step by step through the whole bread making process. I have done this more times than I can count.

The best part of making homemade bread is that a little bit goes a long way. When I was on bedrest (well, let's just say when I slowed down) with my twins, I bought whole wheat bread from the store. I was amazed at how much we could eat of it before we were full. Try eating more than two slices of my homemade bread and you'll be miserable!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that when both my Dad and my aunt started going to cardiologists after their bypasses, both of their cardiologists recommended eliminating all white flour from their diets. They were told that if they followed this one recommendation, then they would probably eliminate all unhealthy calories. I agree.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share this with you. Have a great day. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, July 23, 2007

On Saturday, Maggie and Allen spent time with Mike learning how to use the lathe on our shopsmith. Actually, Maggie already knew how and a few years ago she made me the nicest rolling pin that I have used many times. It is my favorite rolling pin. But on Saturday, Maggie made me these four spatulas that I enjoy using for sauteing and for stirfries. I'm not sure if you can tell, but the end two spatulas are scooped slightly. This morning I oiled them and they are ready to go. Thanks so much, Mags!

I like wood things, especially in my kitchen. I have a collection of wood cutting boards that I started a few years ago when our family was eating crabs and we only had 2 or 3 boards. Since then, I have bought a dozen or so for $1 or less, usually 75 or 50 cents a piece. Here is my total collection:

The huge cutting board in the front is 20x14x2" that is my most expensive cutting board for which I paid $4. It sells in Walmart for $79. We use this board every Sunday to cut our roast. The board on the right that is made of maple and walnut was made by Mike just before we were married 24 years ago. It is getting worn. Anyhow, this is one of my few collections.

Also, this past Saturday, was my father's annual family reunion, called the Graham Reunion. This year was our 72nd reunion. We didn't go this year because we've been too busy, but we go to more of them than we miss. This year there were about 100 people there. We've had as many as 250 and the lowest was 75. You can read about our family on our webpage that needs to be updated! Go to I encourage everyone to have annual reunions.

In 1935 we had our first Graham picnic because Grandmother Sarah Graham had died that year and all the siblings wanted to get together. Since there were 10 siblings, each sibling took a year to host the event. That means every 10 years it is our turn to host it. It is such a major event, that once a decade is enough!

There are many traditions at the Graham reunion. Some of them have gone away (such as the smelly outhouse and the wonderful hand pump that we kids congregated around, and Uncle Hubie's piggie back rides), but some of them are still going strong (such as the baseball and volleyball games, the children's games, the 3-legged race, etc.). Most of the reunions are held at Shawnee State Park near Pittsburgh, PA (usually 8 out of every 10 are here).

There are three favorite traditions that I want to mention. Every Graham reunion has a waterballoon contest where we form two long parallel lines and you have to take turns throwing the water balloon back and forth, but each time the line has to step back so that you get farther away. Half of the people therefore end up soaked. The second tradition is the tug of war game between the Grahams and the outlaws. Anyone whose last name is Graham gets on one end, and of course, all others on the other end. Since I am a daughter, we are outlaws! This picture shows a third of the line.

The third tradition is the ugly red bull contest. There is always a table set up for "paperwork" where you sign in (to keep track of attendance and get your nametag) and update your family tree info. But on that table is a huge jar of candy and you have to guess the number of candies in the jar. The winner has to take home the red bull that is huge and ugly! I always beg my family to make sure they lose!

It is obvious that my Dad gets his humor from his family. The Grahams are very funny people. Last year at our reunion there were some Amish people having a picnic nearby, so we invited them to play baseball. Now our claim to fame is that we are the only family to get creamed by the Amish!

Well, have a good week. We are busy here, cutting out quilts kits and cleaning out the basement...still. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hope you are finding time to be out in this beautiful weather this weekend. The storm that brought in this blessing took down two of our trees. Of course, the largest tree landed across our driveway! Thankfully, we have two driveways. The second tree missed the children's playhouse by an inch. It probably would have done some damage, so we are really blessed. Mike and the children spent yesterday afternoon clearing out some of the mess. They hope to finish today. I got the job of cleaning all the leaves and acorns out of the pool. Hey, someone has to do it!

I got my latest issue of Family Life today. I can't give you a link because it is put out by the amish. If you want the subscription address, email me. There is a poem published this month that is one of the best I have read in a long time. If you are a mother, especially a homeschool mom, a Sunday School teacher or a school teacher, then this poem will touch your heart (or you are probably in the wrong business).

The Difference

She did not see the silent tear
That trickled down his cheek;
Nor did she feel how tired was
That hand so small and weak.
She thought his frequent mischief was
Because he didn't care.
At night she did not lift his name
To God in earnest prayer.

His strength and courage ebbed away;
No longer did he cry.
The boy was growing to a man
Without a will to try.
And so he lived, and so he died;
The bad in him prevailed.
A boy, a man, a life was lost
Because one teacher failed.


The tears did not escape her eye;
She saw the trembling chin.
She knelt beside his chair and said,
"I'll help you. Try again."
Nor left him till he overcame
His trouble and despair.
That night she lifted him to God
In loving, pleading prayer.

The boy took heart, and labored on,
He grew into a man;
And on the Word of truth and right
He firmly took a stand.
God chose that man, and through his lips
The Gospel news was shared.
A hundred thousand souls were blessed
Because one teacher cared. ~K.B.

It is easy to recognize the children with obvious handicaps such as the Downs Syndrome child or the mentally retarded child. But sometimes children have other handicaps that are not obvious. These are caused by many different things including known or unknown food allergies or even genetic misprints. These can manifest themselves as hyperactivity, or inability to focus, etc. Don't write these children off as naughty brats. They are probably just as frustrated as you. Yes, I am speaking from experience. If anything, these children have bigger love tanks to fill. Unfortunately, these children are also usually the most unlovable children.

Anyhow, this poem offers a lot to think about.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Today is the Wednesday that my children go and help their Granddaddy cook dinner for his church. They had about 90 people last month, so it'll be interesting to see how many show up this week. Everyone loves my Dad's cooking, so they tend to get record turnouts on his night to cook.

Last week when I went to the thrift shop, I picked up two of these "jelly bean" jello molds for 10 cents each. You fill them with the recipe to make twizzlers (use half the amount of water). Here's what they look like:

They are about the size of a penny. So we've declared them a success. We have also decided that we are going to make a bunch of different kinds and put them together in my trifle dish. Our local amish store sells jello in bulk in all the usual flavors, plus pineapple, apricot, grape, blueberry and cranberry. I'll let you know how all these flavors taste when combined!

Ruthie was glad to have the kitchen to herself today and made the best BLTs for Sarah, me and herself.

I didn't realize until today that she has to reach up for the stovetop! And she's been cooking for several years now! (Ruthie is seven.)

Today we got to do one of our favorite pasttimes ~ baby watching! This darling angel's name is Makayla and she is the baby of Sarah's friend Karlie. Isn't she adorable?! We had so much fun. We found our trusty baby rattle, the hardback baby books and a few noise toys, but 3 month old Makayla wasn't interested. I sure hope we get to see lots of her before she grows up.

Hope you have a cool place to enjoy during these hot days.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Last night was Lizzie's first violin recital. It was nice. I really enjoyed all the pieces performed which included several violin duets and piano/violin pieces, as well as an Appalachian Waltz that was played like a fiddle. Lizzie has really enjoyed violin this year and mentions often that she is thankful that God has given her the ability to play. To God be all the glory.

Maggie made an eggless angel food cake today. Evidently it flopped because she didn't whip the fake eggs long enough. To be sure, it didn't look like much, but it sure tasted delicious!

This morning the girls and I sang in church. As always, people want to know where we get our songs. Almost all of our songs are found on Marshall Family CDs or cassettes. You can see them at This morning we sang Tis A Fount. The other songs we have sung recently are I'll Be Gone and I Am Going Home To Heaven from the I'd Do It All Again CD. We are working on several other "Marshall" songs. Sometimes we sing songs from Ron Hamilton's Patch the Pirate books, especially if we need an easy or last minute arrangement.

Hope this answers your questions. Have a wonderful week.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, July 13, 2007

Everyone's Home!

My hubby and our five oldest children went on a canoeing trip with 30 other people from our church. They had a fun time even though the low water levels made for tough canoeing. They returned home last night at 10:30 pm. We spent an hour catching up, then had family devotions, then the three youngest (and smartest?) children and Daddy went to bed. Sarah, Maggie, Anna and I went downstairs and talked and laughed until 1 am. It's times like this when I feel sorry for the mama's of only boys!

Sarah took a disposable camera on this trip, so when she gets the pictures developed, I'll scan a few here. Until then, here's the fallout so far:

This is a picture of my mud room, probably the most used room in my home. I managed to get all these clothes washed in eight loads. I am so thankful to have two dishwashers and two clothes washers (shown below). The hoosier belonged to Mike's Mom. I keep detergent and cleaning supplies in it as well as all my gardening supplies.
Whenever people come to visit and they walk into my mudroom, the first thing that catches their eyes is my shelf of boots.

Because I have twins, I have two of many things, including boots. That's nice now because when we have visiting friends who need boots, we have always had the right size! When I was putting up the two sets of coat hooks, my brothers told me I was overdoing it, that I would never need all those hooks. Were they ever wrong! And this is what it looks like in the can imagine what it looks like in the winter! The little white hook/clip is where I clip my mittens. Everyone else keeps theirs in a bin in the closet.

Yesterday, Ruthie and I picked up our 20# box of fresh blueberries from the amish store. We have been snacking on them ever since. I will probably freeze 10#, dehydrate 5# and the rest will get eaten quickly.

Don't they look delicious! Not a sour or red berry in the box!Enjoy your day. We are having a beautiful day with mid 80s and a slight breeze. I just got a 25# box from UPS that has fabric in it. It is from an Ohio customer who wants it cut into 5" squares. Time to get busy!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Today my brother Mike married his bride Leslie. It was a beautiful wedding in a tiny chapel on St. George's Island. This island goes under water every time we have a hurricane or strong storm. Everyone looked happy and lovely.

This is Johnny and his sisters, Jennifer and Colleen. I wish Johnny's grandfather, our adored Uncle John, could've been here yesterday to see his grandkiddies (as my Dad calls them). I still can't get used to him being gone. Anyhow, Johnny sure kept us smiling thru the wedding service *smile*.

After the ceremony, everyone drove the half-hour north to Mom and Dad's home where there was a cool pool for the children and a cool house for the rest of us. There was too much food but lots of good fellowship. I was asked for my spinach dip recipe twice, so I'll give it here:

Spinach Dip

2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup dry leek soup mix (has to be Knorrs)
1 tsp dill
20 oz chopped spinach, thawed
1 tsp Good Seasoning's salad dressing mix
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Combine well. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

My daughters enjoyed singing while Aunt Marilyn played the piano. I played the piano for my Uncle Ron while he played the violin. We played through most of a violin book by Tracey Ann Collins titled, Ever in Joyful Song. I found a CD of these songs on Old Christian Radio that I am going to put on my wishlist. I was driving around town one day and heard one of the violin songs from this book playing on the local Christian Radio (88.1 FM). It was so beautiful that I bought the book hoping someday Lizzie will be able to play it. I'm sure it is advanced level. Anyhow, I sure enjoyed playing through it with Uncle Ron.

If you go to my CD link above, you can read the testimony of Tracey Ann Collins. It is worth the read.

Well, this morning I am home from church with Ruthie. She ate some chicken that had egg in it and suffered all night. I didn't realize the chicken had egg. She has welts and her lungs sound bad, so between popsicles that make her feel good, she is taking nebulizer treatments and I started her on steroids. I am praying so hard that we don't need to make a trip to the hospital. I have a terrible feeling in my heart that the two of us will need to stay home from our canoeing trip this week. The temps are supposed to get into the mid-90s with mid-70s in the evening. Ruthie just can't breathe well in those temps. Her little heart is sure gonna hurt when she finds out.

Enjoy this Sunday worshipping our Lord. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Last night after our picnic, our children didn't want to go home but wanted to take a chance on being able to see fireworks. We had watched ominous-looking clouds pass by all day. So the Lord blessed us and we got a prime seat by the high school, arriving a few minutes before the display. The breeze was blowing and the weather was absolutely perfect with no mosquitos. I was truly amazed at the fireworks was beautiful and magnificent! Usually the display starts off slowly and lasts for 15 minutes with a grand finale. But last night the whole 15 minutes was spectacular. I am so glad we went.

I tend to avoid public places where there are many people close together. There is usually the rock music or the immodesty or the foul language or some other thing to avoid. But last night there was nothing offensive. Thank you, Lord!

We got our latest issue of No Greater Joy today and there is an article written by Gabriel Pearl about making your own knife from a piece of scrap or junk steel. Allen enjoyed the article and set about looking for some junk steel in our garage. He didn't find any, but he did find an ax that needed some TLC. Here are the before and after pictures. I think it looks nice! The girls picked raspberries for an hour and got 6 cups of wild raspberries. We also grow heritage raspberries that are sweeter and have more of a red color. The wild berries are good for cooking.

So for dessert tonight, Maggie made little raspberry tarts that were delicious. She used cream of coconut milk for the creamy part.
For dinner, Maggie and Anna made the same salad that they made at Missions Camp last week. It was sooo yummy! I almost forgot to get a picture before the last of it was gone. The dressing made the salad as well as the toasted pita bread. Here is the recipe for the above salad:
6 pitas
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper, as needed

4 T fresh lemon or lime juice
1 T red or white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 T olive oil
salt and pepper, as needed
2 T thyme, chopped
1/2 t cayenne (don't skimp!)
2 t sugar

1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 oz flat-leaf parsley, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
8 oz radishes, diced small (really small!)
1 green pepper, diced

Cut the pitas into small wedges. Toss with the oil, salt and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through the baking. They should be crisp but not crumbly.

Combine the dressing ingredients thoroughly and adjust seasoning if necessary. Reserve separately.

Combine the veggies with the dressing and toss until coated. Fold in the pita wedges. Adjust the salt and pepper. If the salad is too dry, sprinkle with a little bit of water to moisten.

Mom's comment: My favorite part of the salad is getting a little bit of each veggie in every bite. So when cutting, dice everything the same tiny size. Also, I didn't realize Maggie had cut the pitas in wedges. They came out so many different sizes, so I would rather have had the pitas cut in small 3/8 or 1/2" uniform size instead of wedges so I could've gotten a taste in every bite. The wedges were so big that I ended up eating them by themselves. (You can see by the picture that Anna got tired of chopping when it came to the radishes and cucumbers!) Also, serve the pita separately if you are gonna have leftovers because they will be soggy the next day.

One more comment: In our home we use health food store cayenne which is much hotter than regular store-bought cayenne. McCormick's cayenne has about 2000 heat units, whereas our healthy cayenne has 90,000. The reason we use the hotter cayenne is because heart disease runs in both of our families (both Dads had bypasses) and cayenne is excellent for avoiding the need for bypass surgery. I was pleasantly surprised that the cayenne did not trigger hot flashes for me but my throat only felt a little warm. It sure was delicious!

Maggie also made shrimp and chicken penne to go with the salad. It was a perfect combination. Ruthie and Lizzie had fun working under Maggie as Assistant Chefs.This afternoon we went to get our allergy shots and then did the shopping for the wedding reception on Saturday. While at the Commissary on base, we ran into two church families and had a fun few minutes of fellowship. Then we stopped by a home (built by my Dad and brothers!) of a freecycler who gave us some Popular Mechanics magazines. Allen and Mike are really enjoying them.

Tomorrow is Mike's last day of vacation. If he holds to tradition, he will wake tomorrow and realize that and then run around the whole day doing serious work! Tomorrow is my day to make the potato salad, fruit salad and spinach dip for Saturday. I will make the tea and lemonade Saturday morning.

Enjoy your weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Our family is taking the church youth group to Virginia next week to camp out and canoe on the Shenandoah River. So we put up all our tents to make sure there were no surprises. Since they were up, my children slept out in them last night. The temperature got low ~ 65 degrees! ~ and my children said the birds woke them up at the crack of dawn. Unfortunately the weatherman is calling for the evenings to be around 72 degrees in VA next week.

Today we are going to my parents' home to eat hotdogs and swim. We aren't sure if we are going to DEET-up and go watch fireworks.

Have a wonderful July 4th and enjoy this gorgeous weather! Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy 70th Birthday, Dad!

Yesterday was my Dad's 70th birthday so Mom had a small birthday party for him. It was originally gonna be a huge event (like his 60th birthday bash) but because my brother is getting married next weekend, Mom decided to scale it back to immediate family. We had 20 people, including Dad's sister, Aunt Joann and Uncle Norm. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze. Unbelievable for July!
This is a picture of Dustin and Allen in the little runabout boat on Mom and Dad's pond. Allen has always enjoyed being with his cousin. They caught a 5-gallon bucket full of fish. Dustin told me he and his Dad spent many hours wading through marshes and swamps looking for snakes and turtles, and learning to identify them all. One summer when my brother Mike was 11 or 12, he had cages filled with 24 snakes, many of them copperheads! Lizzie and Ruthie spent most of the time in the pool. The water was the perfect temperature. Dad cooked a huge prime rib roast on the grill, and we had a bushel of crabs which my family just finished up this morning for breakfast! Everything was wonderful, seeing Dad happy and healthy, catching up with family, and of course, the food. It was also a time for nailing down all the details for my brother's wedding next Saturday. Mom and Dad are going to host the wedding reception at their home.

Well, Mike is going to take off several days this week so he can work *smile* and try to catch up on some chores around here. Hopefully I am going to get some serious sewing done.

Have a nice week. Many blessings ~ Kathie