Friday, September 28, 2007

Happy Chocolate Day, Mom

Yesterday was my birthday, so Maggie made this delicious chocolate cake. Every time Maggie tries out a new recipe, she always declares it a flop. It's become a family joke. So let me say that this is her best flop yet.
Ruthie wanted to be a part of the kitchen scene, so she made ice cream sandwiches. She spread soft tofutti ice cream between two chocolate graham crackers, froze them, dipped them in melted chocolate, then froze them again. These, too, were delicious.
Yesterday was a strange day. We were supposed to meet Mike at Hog Point (see earlier post) for a picnic. But we got a late start and Mike had to teach. I couldn't get my allergy shots because I still have a good rash and swelling from my last shot. Then I took the twins to get their military ID cards, but the computers are down for a few days. The only successful part of my trip to town was the Dollar Store! We found cheap cupcake papers for Maggie, and I finally found what I was looking for this past spring ~ orange flowers to attract Baltimore Orioles (our state bird). Next spring I will screw these platters (I bought three) to the posts of my porch, if I can do it without looking gaudy!
This is the picture that my brother, Simba, took in Virginia. He took the picture with his cell phone. I call it "Five Monkeys on a Kayak."
And this is a picture of my baby, Little Black Guy. See his little white slipper? He has the shiniest coat and loves to be spoiled. LBG used to live up on the porch and we brought him in the house most everyday. But once we found out we were allergic to him, we put him out with the other bunnies, which he enjoys more. But I sure miss him.

All of the bunnies are shedding and putting on their winter coats, so Anna and Maggie go out and brush the bunnies regularly. There are bunnie hairs floating all around the woods out there!

Have a good weekend. I hope to catch up on my chores and schoolwork that didn't get done yesterday. The weather will be superb, but we are desperate for rain.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Broccoli Cole Slaw Recipe

Yesterday (Monday) was a very busy day around here. We did school all morning, then my children were gone for two hours doing piano lessons, while I ran around town. All the while we were doing laundry and chores.

We live in a wonderful neighborhood tucked away in the woods. There are 8 lots that range from 15-25 acres (we have 23). Well, one of the neighbors has decided to move, so she wants to subdivide her lot into three lots, and get as much money out of her property as she can. The rest of us are against that, so we are in the process of trying to stop it. It took Planning and Zoning almost two months to file our appeal, now in two weeks I have to make a 2x3' sign, send certified letters to everyone involved, and deal with P&Z. To make matters worse, our chances of winning the appeal are slim. But at least I will know that I have done all I could to stop it.

Anyhow, I say all that to say this, yesterday's dinner had to be fast! So Maggie made the most delicious tortilla soup. Simply tasty. Definitely one of her finest. I myself am going to post the recipe on her blog...as soon as she remembers what she did to make it! (Later note: I have now posted this recipe on Maggie's blog. It is on her post dated 29 Sept 07.)I did my part by making a Broccoli cole slaw that I saw on the cooking channel while at the beach. It is a Paula Deen recipe. It was very good. As usual, I forgot to take a picture, so I am using the picture from Paula Deen's recipe file.



Paula Deen's Broccoli Cole Slaw

2 bags (3-ounce) Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental (other flavors will work, too)
3/4 stick butter 1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 bags (12-ounce) bags broccoli cole slaw (in the bagged salad section of the grocery store)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Dressing Mix:

1/2 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noodle seasoning packet

Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat). Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Yes, this recipe does have a lot of fat. Unfortunately, Paula doesn't give the nutritional values for her recipes. (She is known for adding lots of butter, sour cream and oil to her recipes.) But for a quick occasional salad, this recipe is wonderful. My entire family enjoyed it.

Also, this recipe calls for 3/4 cup oil, but I only used 1/2 cup oil. I read all the reviews on Paula's website, and the most common complaint was that it was oily. I tried cutting the butter down to half a cup, but it didn't work.

Yesterday Dad gave me 20# of pork butts to cook up for BBQ (tomorrow is his day to cook for church). I put it in an 18 qt roaster overnight and woke up to the most delicious smell! This morning I am a bit groggy. I stayed up late proofreading Sarah's paper for World Literature. Her papers are so good. I was happy to recommend a few commas, but that's all it needed. I'm finally using my English Degree!!:-)

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're home!

On Thursday afternoon, my children and I went to our favorite store at Bethany Beach. It is filled with lots of unusual and reproduction vintage items. The first of my two finds was Kawlija, the wooden indian. Ever since I heard the song called Kawlija (sung by the Sons of the Pioneers), I have wanted a wooden indian to place outside my front door. Of course, it would look better if my home were a log cabin. I had Maggie stand next to the two Kawlijas to show you how massive these were. Maggie is 5'8-1/2"!
My second find is this sign. Since I love most things that are Native American, I loved this sign showing Geronimo! We wanted to buy it, but it was too expensive. So someday we will burn it onto a piece of wood and it will be better.
Friday morning we piled into our van for the trip home.
We still can't figure out how we came home with more than we arrived!
Anna held a sleeping bag in her lap and we were able to fit.
Maggie did a really good job of keeping us in hysterics for the first hour. She's gonna have a cow when she sees this picture. But she wore everyone out and they slept soundly for awhile. Be sure to ask Maggie where you can buy a neck pillow hat for yourself!
We stopped for lunch at a chinese restaurant. We have been very successful finding chinese restaurants that don't use peanut oil.

This restaurant had a wonderfully big koi pond.

The big event today was this black snake that Anna came eye to eye with while picking foliage.Have a great weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day 7 Bethany Beach

Today Mike took four of our children sailing. They had a good time. Mike said it could've been a little windier, but they still enjoyed it. Mike's parents had a summer home on a lake in Massachusetts where he spent his childhood water skiing and sailing. So Mike was reliving a little of his childhood today.
Tomorrow morning we leave for home. It's been a fun week here. I am still amazed that we had no hurricanes.
Have a nice weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day 6 Bethany Beach

Today it is nice and warm, more like the Bethany Beach that we know and love. Mike and Maggie got in last night around midnight. So glad to have them with us again.

Mike took the children to play golf at the "Shell We Golf" seashell shop today in Rehoboth Beach. He won. The pictures above are from their website since I forgot to give my camera to Mike. Everyone had a great time. I stayed home since my head hurt from my cold, but once my Ibuprofen kicked in, I felt much better.

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Tomorrow we go sailing, and I will be sure to take my camera. Have a nice day ~ Kathie

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day 5 Bethany Beach

Today was another windy, cool day here at the beach. This is the view from our 2nd story balcony. We had fun sitting on the beach watching the huge waves. There were a lot of people on the beach (considering it's off-season and cold) and the lifeguard was on duty. But no one was swimming. I'm not even sure the lifeguard would have allowed it. After being on the beach, we spent the afternoon in the pool which was 86 degrees and perfect.
We've been playing a lot of board games while we've been here. Today I finally came down with the headcold that everyone else had, so I don't feel like doing much. I can't believe this is my second cold this year since I rarely get one.

We've been eating cowboy style, as in one-dish meals. We had dry granola for breakfast, homemade biscuits for lunch, and mashed potatoes for dinner. Lots of carbs, I know, but hardly any cleanup!

Maggie and Mike have just left home to come here. We are so thankful that Maggie was able to bring her math exam home to do. Tomorrow Mike plans a day of miniature golf, which is one of my children's favorite things to do.

Have a nice day. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Day 3 Bethany Beach

Today was cool and windy, so my children flew kites. This is Maggie and Anna flying little finger kites. The younger children went out on the beach and flew full-size kites. So today we spent mostly inside playing board games (this condo is well stocked!) and taking trips to the beach and the indoor pool. The hot tub felt good on a day like this.
So tonight we decided we would go to downtown Bethany Beach for dinner and walking around. There are many quaint shops here, but most of them are closed for the season. I enjoy the many flower beds around town.
We walked all around but couldn't find any dairyfree food to eat. There were two places that sold wonderfully healthy wraps, but they were expensive and loaded with dairy.
This is the town center where they hold concerts during the summer months.

The boardwalk is very nice with lots of benches for sitting and watching the waves. Every time we sit there, we always meet folks visiting from another state. It is interesting to meet them. But tonight was too cold to sit, much less talk!
We finally decided to drive away from town to try to find a place to eat. We ended up a mile away at a Chinese restaurant. It was delicious and the folks were so friendly. We at General Tso's Chicken, Sauteed Broccoli, Rice, and Beef LoMein. Highly recommend it. The waiter took our picture, but somehow Sarah got hidden behind Mike.
So we are having fun and looking forward to warmer weather. Tomorrow Mike, Sarah and Maggie will drive back home for classes (Mike to teach, the girls to learn). Mike and Maggie will come back late Tuesday night. Mike told me to email him if we want him to bring anything from home. Our list is short ~ piano, sewing machine, violin and pets. How's that?!

Hope you had a restful weekend. Dad is here for tea and fellowship (Mom fell asleep). So I will go enjoy his visit, then we will head over to the pool for swimming til 10.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Day 2 Bethany Beach

We started off this morning by taking Ruthie to the hospital at 2 am. She has a head/chest cold and was having trouble breathing. So we gave her a nebulizer treatment and then headed 20 minutes away to see if she was in trouble. This is a picture of Ruthie in the ER. Fortunately her oxidation level was 98%. What a relief! But the doctor said she was wheezing a little, so he sent her home with steroids and tylenol for her fever. Thank you so much, Lord!

When Ruthie found out she was going to the hospital, the first thing she thought of was the dread of the IV drip. So we prayed and claimed our promise verse, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee"~Psalm 56:3. Immediately she relaxed, and that was the last she thought of it.

Sarah, Mike and Lizzie also have headcolds, so the rest of us are very paranoid about touching anything!
Allen had a lot of fun playing with his cousins on the beach, and surfing in the ocean. Allen may not have any brothers, but he has lots of boy cousins!


The ocean is so soothing. I enjoy listening to the waves. It is breezy enough to keep the windows and doors open. I ran out of battery power for my camera, so Monday I'll go buy new ones. We were going to walk on the boardwalk tonight, but it is pretty cool and windy, and the family members with colds don't feel well, so we had a nice, relaxing evening eating chicken and rice soup and watching good movies on cable (yes! we found a few!).

Have a wonderful Sunday in worship. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, September 14, 2007

We're Here!

We left home this morning around 9:30 am and arrived at Ridgely, MD, for Maggie's hang-gliding trip. Sarah bought this as a birthday gift for her. Now that Maggie's feet are back on terra firma, I have to admit that the whole experience was pretty impressive. But I almost lost my nerve when the plane went much higher than expected.

I'm showing you these two pictures so you can see how Maggie is attached to her instructor. If he has to use his parachute because of a malfunction, then Maggie goes with him. I gave my camera to Anna to get pictures, but she didn't get any pictures of the plane towing the glider. Mike had the video camera running the whole time. (...and I could see his green eyes of envy!)

Hopefully you can see how high they are! They were in the air for 20 minutes. Once the plane detached from them, the instructor let Maggie have the control until it was time to get ready for landing. He also did a few tricks for her. He enjoyed the fact that Maggie has no fear!

This is just before landing. Both the takeoff and landing were so smooth that Maggie wasn't sure when either had happened.

When Maggie was finished, we found a Subway sub shop to eat lunch. We arrived in Bethany Beach shortly before 4 pm. My family decided to go out tonight for our annual dinner at Harpoon Hannah's restaurant. Even though I can't eat eggs or dairy, tonight I had the best meal that I've ever had there. I had three appetizers ~ shrimp spring rolls, bacon-wrapped scallops, and caribbean-spiced jerk chicken. So delicious! The rest of the family got french-onion soup (Mike), steamed shrimp and salad (Ruthie), chicken strips (twins) and I still haven't found out what the older girls got. The fellowship was nice. There were 21 of us in all. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Right now the three oldest girls are out on the boardwalk with their boy cousins, while Mike and the three youngest are in the pool. The pool and hot tub are open til 10 pm.

Can you tell how much we love this place?!

Have a nice weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bethany Beach, here we come!

Every September, my Dad rents three condos at Bethany Beach, Delaware, for him and Mom, my 3 brothers and their families, and our family. It is wonderful. Everyone comes for the weekend, but last year Dad was able to rent one of the condos for the whole week at no extra cost. So my family was able to stay for a week. It was wonderful. This year we are also staying for almost a week. For those of you who have never heard of Bethany Beach, it is a few miles down the ocean from Ocean City, MD.

We always stay at the Sea Colony where we have been renting since the early '70s. The Sea Colony is made up of nine huge buildings. One of the buildings has an indoor pool year round. We've gone there in January and had fun swimming in the warm pool when it was freezing outside. Wonderful! In the summer they have 5 big olympic-size pools and kiddie pools.

The best part about going to the ocean in September is that we have the whole beach and even the indoor pool to ourselves!!

We will be staying in the building named Island House. So if you want to take a day trip and come visit us, we will be there this Friday to next Thursday. Bring your swimgear! (Let us know you are coming by email ~ I will be online lots.)

To see a list of all the amenities and services of Sea Colony, click here.

Tonight I made one of our favorite meals, pizza! I goofed badly (forgot the honey), but everyone still enjoyed it. This is my favorite crust recipe:

Pizza Crust

Put 2 cups flour in food processor (I use 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/3 cup semolina flour and 2/3 cup whole wheat flour). Add 1 tsp salt and pulse two or three times to mix.

Into 1 cup of warm water (105 degrees) add 1 tblp honey and 1 tblp oil. Pour this into the food processor quickly while pulsing, then let it run until the dough forms a ball. This will happen very quickly, like 5 seconds or so.

Take dough out, knead into a ball for a minute until smooth, then let it rest for 10 minutes.

After resting, punch down dough and roll out. If you have a dough docker, run this across the surface. When your dough is shaped how you prefer, sprinkle some cornmeal on your work area and then lay your dough on top and press down. Place your dough on a greased or seasoned dark pizza pan, press down edges and brush with olive oil. I bought my Ateco (ATC-1357) dough docker on eBay and I think it is the best value for your money. (I spent an hour studying every brand on the internet!) I paid $7.45 and purchased it from Instawares.

Well, I need to go pack. We will be leaving at 9 am because Maggie has a gift certificate to go hang gliding in Ridgely, MD (emphasis on hang!). That should take an hour, then off to Bethany. I will have my laptop with me, so hopefully I will remember the cables and hookups to post here everyday.

My children are outside swimming. Now that the nights are cool, the pool has cooled off considerably. It will probably be time to put the pool away when we come home.

Have a nice week. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sushi Night!

Our family enjoys eating vegetable sushi but it is so expensive. Usually when we buy a small container there are 9 little sushi, so only one person gets seconds. So we read about how to make sushi and tonight we made it. It turned out perfectly! Below is Lizzie's plate.

And here is Allen's plate. For veggies we used our favorites ~ avacado, carrots and cucumbers. It was really easy making julienne carrots and cucumbers using my julienne blade on my Cuisinart food processor. Sure cut down on cutting time!

Even though our sushi didn't look store bought, it was delicious.

This week I wore out my rotary cutter that I use to cut out all my quilt kits that I sell on eBay. Fortunately, Joann's Fabrics had them 40% off, so I bought one. I decided to try the bigger cutter to see if it was easier. What a difference! I highly recommend the bigger cutter (65mm as opposed to the 45mm) for cutting through 8 layers of fabric. So what if you have lots of 45mm blades ~ the large cutter uses both 45 and 65mm blades. This picture shows both my new and old cutters.


So while I was busy in my sewing room cutting out a quilt kit for a dear friend in California, Mike and the twins were off to the other side of town picking up free firewood that I saw advertised on our county's local website. It is all white and red oak wood. Won't we enjoy those wonderful evenings sitting in front of our fireplace playing our ukes! Thanks, guys, for a job well done.



Maggie and Anna called from VA and tried not to brag about catching 8 sharks and a bunch of other fish. I am thankful they are getting this time with their Grandfather. Hopefully they won't be exhausted:-)

Well, Mike just came in from splitting all the firewood. Time to sit and eat dinner (yes, it's late for a Saturday evening) and then start on our Saturday evening routine for getting ready for church tomorrow morning.

I hope you had a profitable Saturday also. Many blessings ~ Kathie

PS ~ I thought I'd show you what the damage from dinner was. I have to admit, I was expecting worse considering we let everyone make their own sushi.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Can you identify this bird?

We so rarely see squirrels around here, so it was big news when we saw this cutie eating out of our feeder. I have a dozen feeders hanging outside my window where my computer is set up, so I get to watch birds a lot.
Now that my hummingbirds are going south, my impatiens are recovering. The hummers like to land on the petals which knocks them off. I only see 4-5 hummingbirds these days. This summer I had to refill my 4 hummingbird feeders twice a day! Mike made this "log" planter for me. I love it!Maggie and Anna went to VA with my Dad for the weekend, so I found some time to sew for fun. What a rarity. I want to use up some of my solid color fabrics, so I chose the difficult and time-consuming Grandmother's Flower Garden. I am piecing it with my machine which means I need to trace all the stitching lines onto the pieces first. In order for the "flower" to lay flat, the cutting and stitching have to be perfect. Yes, this will be a long-term project!

The hexagons for this quilt pattern are tedious to cut out. I have only sold one kit of this kind, and it was bought by a woman in Thailand! She was going to hang the finished quilt on her living room wall since it never gets cold enough to need a quilt.

This evening we are going to a concert performed by a quartet in which Lizzie's violin teacher is going to play. I can hardly wait. My mother is going with us.

Maggie and Anna called from the boat this morning while they were fishing. They caught a bunch of croakers and a shark, but have decided to throw them back in since no one feels like cleaning the fish.

Have a nice weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie