Sunday, August 30, 2009

So much for my plans...

Isaiah 55:8 says, " For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." I always think of this verse when my life takes a sudden turn. This past weekend I expected to get a lot of housework caught up...but God had other plans for us. Ruthie had been congested after playing with our kitty, but I had no idea how poorly she was feeling. I tried to take her to the dr on base, but after one look at her grey face, they directed us to the hospital. At least we were spared the ambulance ride.
When we got to the ER, Ruthie's oxidation level was I knew in an instant that we were not coming home anytime soon. (Children are admitted at 96%.) It took two hours of nebulizer treatments to get Ruthie's number up to 96...while she was still hooked up to the nebulizer.
I thought she was looking much improved by the time she was taken upstairs to her room. This is about 4 hours after starting steroids.
What is the worst thing about hospitals? Being awakened every hour for vitals and treatments. By about 3 am, your body takes the hint and refuses to return to sleep.
It was disheartening to see that since our last visit 2+ years ago, this hospital has learned nothing about dairy and eggfree foods. Almost everything on their dairyfree menu had dairy and eggs. We finally asked for lettuce salad and fruit salad...and they sent us freshly cut fruit and salad! It was wonderful. The above food is what arrived for Ruthie...breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She loved it! (The fruit was too much for Ruthie's tummy, so I had to eat it. Someone had to do it!)
It was nice when family arrived to play with Ruthie. Since the hospital was barely occupied, we had a lot of opportunities to share our testimony with the nurses and respiratory therapists. A couple of them were able to share with us their testimonies...PTL!
Mike enjoyed the hospital's free Wi-fi (I'll have to ask him if I spelled that correctly).

Ruthie got discharged Sunday at 1:30 pm. I have been moping about all afternoon...too tired to do anything, and too tired to nap. Hopefully tonight I will catch up on my sleep.

Thank you for your prayers. We received several emails from praying friends. Pastor came by to visit us on Saturday. What a comfort to know that God is control of everything.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recently, my sister in law, Natalie, mother of darling Abigail, gave me a large box of baby food that had gone past its expiration date. Well, those dates never faze me...unless it's a perishable item. The box contained 6 containers of carrots, six of sweet potatoes, and 6 of green peas. Yummy!

I used the green peas and made creamy green pea soup. It was so delicious! I just added ricemilk and a few tablespoons of potato flakes for thickening. I let each person add salt and pepper according to their tastes. Easy as pie!
I then tried three different recipes using up the rest of the carrots and sweet potatoes. They were all three good. There are hundreds of recipes online for using baby foods.

Anyhow, because I needed to make my cakes dairyfree and eggfree, I finally settled on this recipe as my favorite (I made up the recipe myself).

Sourdough Baby Food Cake

Mix in 4-cup measure:
1 cup ww flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves (opt)
1/2 tsp ginger (opt)

Mix in 8 cup measure:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup oil
4-3.5 oz containers baby food, carrots or sweet potatoes

Mix each mixture well. Combine, beat until smooth. Grease and flour a 9x13 dish. Bake in 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

Deep in the woods, we have a spring (actually we have two). Allen is trying to take advantage of it to make a fish pond. So far his experiment is working. He just needs to find a way of keeping the leaves out. (The pond isn't that dirty...this pic was taken at late dusk.)

I would like to see Allen make a huge ice skating rink using this spring. Wouldn't that be fun? Hint, hint.

Today I had a doctor's appt on base with Ruthie (we think she may have Lyme disease). We had just gotten into the exam room when a call went out for Code Black! Do you know what that is? Bomb Scare! It was unnerving to watch so many people scurrying out the building. I will let you know if I learn anything about what happened. Always something going on! Added later: it was just a drill!

A friend of mine posted this quote on his Facebook wall: "The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts to work the minute you're born, and never stops until you get up to speak in public.” - John Mason Brown. I think that is hilarious, but I would change it to "...until you get up to sing in church!"

I hope to get a lot of deep cleaning done this weekend ~ washing windows, blowing all the birdseed off my porch, and washing the vinyl siding and patio furniture. We'll see how it goes.

The public school children had their first day of classes yesterday. We have been invited to two Labor Day picnics, so we've decided not to host our own. I hope I don't regret it.

Well, I've cleaned my kitchen, so I'm going to grab our floating pool light and go for a refreshing swim. The pool is 82 favorite.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recently I heard about a rice that contained lime and cilantro. That sounded so I googled it and found several recipes. I took the best parts of two recipes and came up with my own recipe. We ate it last night for was tasty! (I added 1/4 cup orzo just because I wanted to finish up the last of the box.)

Lime Cilantro Rice

1 tbsp butter
1 cup rice (any kind but instant)
juice of one lime
zest of one lime
1 tsp salt (if using water or salt-free broth)
2 cups water or chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

In a skillet, melt butter; add lime, rice, and salt, cooking for one minute. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Turn heat on low, and cover. When all liquid is gone (about 15 minutes) add cilantro, and fluff with a fork. Enjoy!
Last week Anna and I were driving somewhere and we saw a Garage Sale naturally we had to follow the signs. We ended up in another cute little village called Colton's Point, which is on the Potomac River (pronounced pit-oh-mic). The tiny houses were crammed together. The garage sale was a joke (one small table of clothes) but the drive was worth it. Just seeing this cute log cabin was worth the trip.
This is another log cabin. It was hard to get a picture because of all the bushes blocking the front yard.

Yesterday we had a storm that was so windy that my brothers' port-o-potty (for their construction company) blew over. Today we are about to get another whopper storm. The good thing is that we need the rain badly.

I answered a freecycle ad for some yellow daylillies...and the next day the lady called back with some sedum plants. Wow! Everything is planted and will hopefully survive the heat. I love freecycle!

Have a good weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow, what a whirlwind summer this is! I just can't seem to slow down. But today Maggie's appt got canceled, so my goals are to do this post and to write my friend Betty. I will start by catching you up to date.

Last Thursday night, Sarah (my 22 year old daughter) had a sudden inspiration to take a trip to Washington DC (only 70 miles north). But Maggie had a dr appt on Friday. So Sarah took my youngest four children up to the metro station which they rode into DC. Mike took Maggie to Waldorf to her appt for a painful test (which is why she wouldn't let me take her). I picked Maggie up after her test and brought her home, while Mike drove up to the metro to meet the gang in DC. Are you totally confused now?
I will show you a few highlights of their trip. Sarah does a better job on her blog here. Allen enjoyed the insect zoo and thought it ironic that Orkin sponsored it.
Sarah and Ruthie went to the Art Gallery while the rest of the gang went to the Museum of Natural History (one of my favorites).

Ruthie enjoyed this tiger.
Afterwards they all walked to Sarah's favorite eatery, Chopt. This is a salad place. You can choose a certain salad or choose your own ingredients. Then the chef comes and chops everything to uniform size. Lizzie and Allen got the Cobb Salad (w/o cheese, of course) but the rest chose their own ingredients. I can't wait to try it. Everyone said it was the best salad.
Look at this vegetable platter I found online. See the longhorn steer? I love it!
One of my best buys recently has been a vacuum cleaner. I bought this Eureka (The Boss) at True Value for $67. (Walmart sells this model for $69...but I've never seen it in stock.) The best things about it? It has 12 amps instead of the usual 11. It has an extra long wand (or whatever it's called) so vacuuming the ceiling for cobwebs is a breeze. The 12 amps are powerful...what a big difference from the 11 amp vacs. The downside? I like automatic cord winders, but this model doesn't have one. I also have a home where 4 of the rooms are 32 feet long...and this only has a 20 foot cord...but I realize that won't bother most folks. But am I pleased overall? You betcha!! I bought for each level of my home.

Allen just reported that a fox got 2 of his chickens. Too bad. The chickens are scheduled to be butchered Friday.

My Dad is at the hospital this morning getting his shock treatment for his heart arythmia. Mom just called to let us know that he is took only one shock to correct his arythmia. PTL Dad was supposed to have this treatment two weeks ago, but his dr forgot to schedule Mom and Dad went to Texas for a week, but gave up by Wednesday and drove home. They said it was too hot and they had become prisoners in their home. So I guess what they say about the heat in Texas is true!

Well, the bread has just come out of the machine, so if I hurry I can grab a slice. Smells so good! Hope you are enjoying your last few days of summer. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I realized recently that while I live in my van going to all of Maggie's appts, my children are stuck home with cabin fever. So yesterday I took them for a drive thru the country before Maggie's 2 pm appt.Every Sunday on our 35 minute drive to church, we pass a lot of roads that we would like to explore. So yesterday we drove down each little road on Rt 231. We drove through 4 counties...Calvert, Charles, Prince Georges, and St. Mary's.
Our favorite? The little seaside town of Benedict.
We got a laugh out of this swan with his foot up in the air. That's how our ducks sleep...on one foot.
We loved the cute little homes and cottages. We even got to see Mrs. Bonnie's home! (No, it's not the one pictured.)
And we found this restaurant tucked way back in the village. It looks like it has seen a hurricane or two.
Most of the roads dead-ended like this.
We even drove through a high-end neighborhood (5 acres per home with huge, brick homes and miles of mowed grass) and found this lone picnic table out by the road. We have been trying to imagine why it is there.
Of course, we had to get a picture of this railroad track. It was nice to see I've passed on my love of trains to my children. We spent two hours driving, then splurged on $1 hamburgers at Burger King. We could've spent another 2 hours driving was a lot of fun.
I took a picture of this sign so you'd believe me when I tell you the amish were selling their watermelons for $1 each. We bought two. This is a new amish family who has moved in across the street from my neighborhood. They sell only organic foods...but usually charge $4 for their watermelons.

Lizzie is baking sourdough biscuits, and I am getting ready to give Mike and Allen haircuts. Then Mike takes Maggie to Walter Reed for her accupuncture appt.

Finally a break in the humidity and 90 degree weather. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last night's company was fun but lowkey. Three people couldn't come at the last minute, so we ended up having five. Usually this crowd is vibrant and full of energy, but last night they were very mellow...but still fun. I guess they couldn't have been too tired...they stayed until 2 am. That's not a record for us, but it is for them.

Our menu was pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, fruit salad, veggies and dip, and my homemade salsa with chips. For dessert, Ruthie and Anna made no-bake cookies (our guests call them "plops"), and Anna made some fake cheesecakes...that disappeared quickly.

Wow, are we in for it tomorrow! Today is breezy and beautiful, about 85 degrees. Tomorrow we could easily hit 100 degrees. Yikes!
My Mom is entering her piano students in a Baroque recital where they will play on a harpsichord. Isn't it beautiful?
This is another view. I think Lizzie is one of the students. I can't wait to see how it turns out!
I found this book at the thrift shop recently, and it's another winner! It's called, "Lost in America ~ How you and your church can impact the world next door." I have learned a lot about "intentional" relationships...meaning, those relationships that you nurture with the intention of being able to lead these folks to Christ. What an inspirational (and convicting) book this is.

We are busy cleaning, mowing, mending and choring today. Mom and Dad are an hour from Corpus Christi. It took them 30 hours straight. Dad said they have run into every construction slowdown (5 lanes into 1 outside of Atlanta!), and lots of accidents...and it is very hot outside. But I still wish I were there!

Enjoy your Sunday. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well, it's the cat days of August. The humidity is affecting everyone, even Ranger and Ollie. Ranger finds the oddest places to curl up. Here she is curled up next to our schoolbooks.
Can you figure out why we had to move her out of the mudroom? Yes, she enjoyed chewing on flipflops and leather boots. Now she lives in the mudroom bathroom...until she gets her rabies shot...then she goes outside. Only 4 more weeks until she's old enough to get her shot.
Anna finished piecing two quilts recently for Maggie's friends, Laura and Natalie.
And this is the second one. The pattern is called Yellow Brick Road. I love the color coordinates.
Tonight I came home at 6:05 after being gone all afternoon, and the house smelled yummy! Sarah, Lizzie, and Anna made Spanish tapas. What are tapas? Any food can be a tapa, as long as it is a bite-size serving and is served with a drink.

Recently, Sarah went to a Spanish restaurant in Washington DC, and she and her friend made a dinner out of 4 tapas. Sarah loved the food and the idea of little snacks. (Somehow this is supposed to be different from appetizers.)

So Sarah made these four tapas for our family (only they weren't bite-sized servings!): baked mushrooms, roast pepper salad, chicken paella, and sauteed spinach with raisins and walnuts. It was all delicious. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite.

Last week we had Sarah and Maggie's friends over for fellowship. We enjoyed it so much that we're having them back tomorrow night for dinner and more fellowship. Most of them have to return to college soon, so it was a last minute invite.

Maggie only has one appt tomorrow, so we will have plenty of time to clean and cook. Summer is sure flying by. Mom and Dad left for Texas today, so we are feeling their absence. Dad expected to stop by on their way out, so we were going to grab a bunch of empty suitcases and line them up in the driveway as if we were going with them...but they didn't have time to stop. Oh well.

So thankful for today's rain. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lizzie took this beautiful picture recently. It's nice to see Lizzie hasn't inherited my knack for out-of-focus pictures. At first I thought it was a professional picture...then I saw the date. Only my camera has the year 2025! It's just that every time I change the batteries (every few days) I have to reset the I tend to skip that. This week I decided to try a new fruit...a casaba melon. A casaba is a type of muskmelon that is closely related to the honeydew melon. They are originally from Kasaba, Turkey, hence the name, but now are grown in CA and AZ. We loved the taste. The inside looks just like a honeydew. This was an expensive casaba. I saw that the sign said $1.25. What I didn't see was that the sign said $1.25/lb!! I didn't see my mistake until I got out my receipt and saw that I bought an $8.21 casaba! I called the store and the produce man confirmed that I was charged correctly. Oh well, lesson learned.
Somewhere I found an idea to do wet paper embossing and showed it to Ruthie and Anna. So when I came home, I was delighted to find these finished projects! Talk about a cheap art project...just wet tissue paper and rubber stamps. I can't find the original article that gave me the idea, but I did find a very nice photo step-by-step here. To read the directions, go here.

Everyone is busy with projects here. It is disheartening to hear so much talk of school supplies and back-to-school sales. Let me enjoy summer!

Make the most of these last carefree days. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Photos of Beach House, Pax River, MD

I always say you can find anything on the internet, it's just a matter of searching with the right words. Well, when I tried to find photos of the beach house, I came up empty. So I am doing my part and listing photos and info. This is the pavillion. There were a total of 32 tables here and in the beach house.
The baseball field is closeby but the children's playgrounds are across the street. If you rent the pavillion ($150 in summer), you get the sports equipment free (for every sport imaginable...horseshoes, baseball, badminton, volleyball, kickball, etc.). You can pick up the sports equipment at 5 am on the day of rental. Plenty of dumpster that gets emptied every weekday.
Lots of trashcans everywhere. You supply the bags...but I was told we could use any of the supplies in the back room (where there were lots of supplies).
There is plenty of space between the pavillion and the hot grills. You may drive your car around back for easy loading/unloading. The beach access (the one photo I forgot to take) is to the left of the grill. Nice steps to the beach. The beach house is wonderful...but NOT air conditioned. (Does have heaters for winter use...and a fireplace that looks questionable.) Plenty of windows that open where there is usually a breeze coming off the water.Two large serving windows if you prefer to keep the food in the kitchen and serve through the window. We had a lot of food (160 people) and used 3 tables end to end to serve the food. We used the two serving windows for drinks (one for tea/lemonade, the other for coffee). We kept the bottled water and sodas in large coolers, but I would've preferred keeping them in the refrigerated display case.
The ice machine was a lifesaver. I am sure we used 100# on our hot July picnic.
The bathrooms were nice, clean, and stocked with lots of soap, paper towels (no hot air dryers!) and liquid soap. The room does get warm and stuff with no air circulation.
This is half of the refrigeration units. Lots of space.
When you first get to the beach house, plug in the refrigerator in the main room. This is a nice display for bottled water and sodas and cuts down on a lot of traffic since it is located at the opposite end of the room.
The sink is the one disappointment. All three drains connect into one drain, so you have to be careful about clogging up the system. And the draining is slow.
I took this picture to show the location of the electric outlet to the window. The cords to my coffeemakers were barely long enough. But my large 18 quart roaster/slow cooker would've reached. Lots of nice countertop space. But NO utensils or anything. You have to bring your own of everything.There is a tall shelf with 5 shelves in the kitchen area. We packed this with paper goods, rolls, etc. I took a lousy picture but was trying to show that you the electrical outlet near the shelving area. Seemed important at the time.
Nice commercial oven and a huge steamer (not shown). Oven cooked crabcakes in record time. Gotta love those BTUs!
There is a handsink in the main kitchen area that is handy.

Hopefully this gives you a good picture of what to expect. The Monday before our Saturday picnic, we borrowed the keys from MWR and took a look; however, we were told that we were lucky since the beach house was rented for all the other days that week. In fact, there were only 8 days of the entire summer that it wasn't rented.

Cleanup was a breeeze thanks to the large brooms.

So what did we remember to bring that was a big help? Flyswatters, extra fans, lots of hand towels, lots of serving utensils, and cutting boards.

And what did we forget that was a pain? Power strip, can opener, trivets (although we thought our large towels worked better). I might add a larger ice bucket. I must have refilled the ice bucket 30+ times...but I'm not complaining since I was SO glad to have that ice machine!

Would we do it again? No...only because we need the air conditioning. But that is the ONLY reason. Had it been a cooler or breezier day, I wouldn't have minded. The humidity was just unbearable. (Our July picnic was 90 degrees with 100% humidity...typical southern Maryland in July!)

Many blessings ~ Kathie

PS ~ Any questions, feel free to email me (see the "View my complete profile" on upper left column).