Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love summertime meals! Last night we had salad. The produce is almost all locally grown...and my own garden is close to producing cucumbers. I've been eating my own yellow and red grape tomatoes but only 2 or 3 a day are ripe. But it's looking good!

Our weatherman said there is no foreseeable rain for at least a week...yikes! We are already pretty dry. So I'll keep moving those garden hoses!

Today was a long day for me and I came home emotionally whipped. Now that I've had a good cry and a time of prayer and reflection, I'm feeling much better.
Several times a year we will be driving on our dirt road and come across a straight black stick lying across the road. This guy wasn't so straight...so I knew in a second he was a black snake!

They always take awhile to move out of the way.
But once they get going, they take off! As long as he stays out of my raspberry patch, I'm fine!
Maggie usually has her appts back to back, one at noon and the second appt at 2 pm...with barely enough time to get to the second one on time. Today we got a call asking us to come in a half hour later. So that means we had time to meet Mike for lunch! We decided on mexican food at Monterey Restaurant.
This is Maggie's chimichanga, her favorite at this restaurant.
And this is Mike's steak fajita. I really wanted guacamole and chips for lunch but they only had guacamole with dairy sourcream already mixed in. Then I realized I really wasn't hungry at all, so I just chatted while they ate.
On the way home, I stopped at the amish store to pick up 40 lbs of fresh blueberries. We had fun eating them by the handfuls. These are the best I've ever tasted!
My Dad gave me this jar of Zatarain's crab boil...similiar to Old Bay seasoning...but much spicier! How spicy? Cayenne pepper is third on the list of ingredients! I was disheartened to see MSG on the list...no wonder it was tasty. (I took the picture of the mustard next to it so you could see how large the container is.) I sprinkled a bunch on my corn on the cob...it was delicious! Thanks, Dad.
For years I have told my children about when I was a child, living down the street from a Snowball stand. It was always a treat to be allowed to take 50 cents and bike on up to get a snowball. My favorite flavor was always chocolate syrup with marshmallow topping. Yummy! I have been amazed at how few people have tried that combo.
Today when I was in Walmart, I found a nondairy chocolate syrup and an eggless marshmallow topping. Ruthie made the snowballs on our commercial snowball machine (a gift from freecycle.org), and we had fun pouring the toppings on. Delicious! I was immediately transported back to the bridge on Meadowbrook Road in Glen Burnie, Maryland. We always sat on the bridge and dangled our feet over the edge while savoring our snowcones. What a good memory.

Just a note about the marshmallow topping: if you want to try this recipe, do not use the fake Smuckers topping as shown above. Find a whipped marshmallow topping that has egg whites...much tastier although gooey-er. (Is that a word?!)

Years ago on PBS, I watched a show that featured a snowcone stand in Hawaii that sold snowcones that were layered snow+ice cream+snow+syrup! People drove for miles to come to that stand. Someday I want to be brave enough to try the snowcone/ice cream combo.

So ends another eventful day. Oops...I had just typed those words when I got a phonecall from Sarah, who was sitting in her truck on our driveway. Copperhead! Everyone grabbed flashlights, shovels, and camera, and ran out the door. We saw him...but he got away. I drove everyone around in the truck searching for him, but he was gone. So exciting!

We are having a few days with beautiful weather in the 80s. It's wonderful! Hope you are having nice weather wherever you are.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anna's home!

She's home! Mike went to pick Anna up at her drop-off point in VA. They got home late but we all stayed up until midnight or so talking. Anna had a good week at camp and had much to share.

Earlier in the day, Mike took Allen and Lizzie to a Youth Sportsmen's Day up in Waldorf. They had a wonderful time learning about archery, shooting, animal tracking, fish identification, etc. They got home around 6 pm, lightly sunburned and happy. We were a very tired family this morning.
Last night, Sarah decided to have some friends over for dinner after church this morning. It was very informal, and we had roast chicken, sourdough cracked wheat rolls, corn, turnip greens, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, watermelon, apple dumplings...and lots of lemonade.

I made these apple dumplings based on a recipe that was recently posted by my friend MaryAnn over at A Joyful Chaos. You can see her recipe here.

This is my version:

Apple Dumplings

6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (several varieties)
2 cans (8 oz each) crescent rolls
1 stick butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz mountain dew or sprite
cinnamon or apple pie spice

Place 5 or 6 slices of apples on each triangle of dough; wrap loosely. Try to use one slice each of several kinds of apples in each dumpling. Place seam-side down in a well-buttered 9x13 glass dish.
Melt butter, then add water and vanilla. Pour over all making sure each dumpling gets coated. Pour soda around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon or apple pie spice. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Our family enjoyed eating this when it was almost completely cooled...and the dumplings had absorbed most of the juices. When serving, be sure to spoon some sauce over each dumpling. Enjoy!

This is a wonderful dish to make with children since there is a lot to do: peeling and coring apples, rolling up dumplings, etc.

On Friday, everyone headed over to my parents' home. Allen brought his friend Jeff along. They swam in the pool......and rode the paddle boat around the pond.
I walked down to the pond to take pictures. It sure was humid!
The pond has a vine growing around the edges. It looks awful from afar...like scum or something.
Here's a closeup of the vine. The fish love it.
I was surprised the paddle boat was able to cut a path through it.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Lizzie were in the kitchen helping Grandad bake up two recipes: sticky buns and blueberry turnovers.
Grandad did his share. Both my Dad and my aunt have (had for aunt Joan) a love of cooking. I will have to ask Dad where they got that. Probably watching all my many great-aunts (dad was 6 when his mother passed away).
Speaking of blueberries...the amish store is accepting orders for frozen and fresh blueberries. The frozen are $37 for 30 lbs. They don't know the price for fresh yet. These blueberries are the best! Usually the fresh blueberries come in 20 lb boxes...which takes my family 5 days to eat. If you'd like to order through me, let me know. We have been feasting on raspberries this summer. I never tire of that! This past week I was in Walmart and noticed a few senior citizens trying out the free samples of ham. It got my curiosity, so I made sure it contained no eggs or dairy, then tasted it. Delicious! No fatty parts or fake taste! So I asked for 4" unsliced. It cost about $10 but made a large bowlful. The brand is Sahlens. I diced it to put on top of our salad for dinner that night.
With the hot weather, we've been enjoying fresh and cool meals.
One night we had crab claws from Crabknockers. Only $5/bag!
I found this picture of "the cousins" in Sarah's folder. Love it!
I made two flower arrangements from my garden. I arrange flowers as badly as I take pictures:-)
They sure do brighten my kitchen!

This is a long post but lately I've been having trouble finding the time to get online. Allen is busy writing reports, Sarah has several blogs, and everyone else enjoys it too. It is one of the few things to do in this heat! Here in southern Maryland, we are breaking several records with our current temps. We will have a little break this week for which I'm very thankful. Meanwhile, I haul lots of garden hoses for watering the gardens.

Enjoy your week. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, June 21, 2010

This handsome young man from our church has just finished building a Prayer Garden on our church property. Tyler built the garden to help fulfill the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America. What an accomplishment! Tyler had to do all the work himself: finding sponsors and financing, finding workers to help with the actual building, and designing the garden. And here is the result: Isn't it wonderful?! I had no idea what to expect...but I wasn't expecting this much! Just beautiful, but mostly serene. Exactly what it should be...a place that draws you to prayer.
I really like the simplicity of the rock borders.
I would never have thought of chimes...but it's a perfect idea!
And this cross is lovely! I will definitely take another picture of this when it gets dark enough. When we left church on Sunday evening at 8:30 pm, it was still much too light out.Beautiful flowers. There are a half-dozen or so rocks that have inspirational words carved on them. You know what they say about location, location, location? It counts here. Look at those two big pine trees. That bush on the left is a lilac. Can you imagine how that will look next Easter?! Tyler really has his work cut out for him this summer with all these 90+ degree days.
More flowers. Of course, a place to sit and meditate. Our church has its share of weddings and funerals, so a prayer garden is definitely fulfilling a need. Thank you, Tyler! This is definitely a job well done, and we're proud of you!

I read today that there are 28 million scouts worldwide but less than 1% make it to the rank of Eagle. This rank requires leadership skills and commitment. So you can understand why we are proud of Tyler for this accomplishment!
Back on the homefront, we are enjoying this trailerload of hay. A local horse-owner gave it to us because it isn't fit for his horses. A few bales got musty. But it's perfect for our garden! So after dinner we rode up to Mechanicsville and had fun loading up the trailer. When we got to the end of our dirt road, we let the twins ride on top of the hay...the way they see the amish boys ride their tall hay wagons. Every year when we move hay around (around 6 bales or less), I always wish we had hay hooks to make it easy. So when I found out we had to move the 50+ bales of hay this week, I went to Stouffer's Feedmill in Loveville and bought two hooks for Mike. He thought I was a little nuts...
...until he picked up that first bale! He thanked me for them when the job was done.
Allen and Lizzie had fun riding around on the road.
I was teasing them about racing with their Daddy in Uncle Glenn's truck.
Abigail came over yesterday morning to visit with Sarah. She had lots of fun helping me fill the sugar and flour jars.
I had fun remembering how each of my children loved helping me in the kitchen.
Yes...it does look like she is trying to fall off the counter! We kept pushing her back but she liked that certain position. I was standing right next to her and stepped back for the camera, so I would've caught her if she slipped.

We finally got our high speed internet back, PTL! I tried to post last night but we had a whopper storm with lots of thunder and lightening, so I had to unplug the computer. I got lots of reading done instead.

Keep cool in this heat. Tomorrow is supposed to hit 100! I keep telling everyone I might as well be in my beloved Texas...but no one listens to me:-) Many blessings ~ Kathie