Saturday, June 30, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/01

This weeks items: Sunset, Sweet, Hanging Around, Funny Face, Space

 

Sunset

sunset-3

 

Linked up with:

your sunday best

 

 

Same sunset different exposure and perspective.

 

sunset-2

 

 

Sweet

Blueberries on our Blueberry bushes.

blueberry

 

linked up with:

simple things

 

 

Hanging Around

When she’s not in the pool, you’ll find this girl hanging out around the blueberry bushes.  And if you ask her about it she’ll give you an ear full!

 

June 20`12

 

Funny Face

The toughest part about this prompt was choosing from the myriad of goofy face pictures I have of my boys.  Try as I might to get a decent picture of my boys I always have at least one clown in the bunch.

 

boys

 

 

Space

This photo was from my most recent photo shoot with the “K” family.  I love to take family photos out in the fields around my house.  I love the open space and all the interesting country structures that are at my disposal!

k-14

 

 

 

Linked up with Ashley Sisk for Scavenger Hunt Sunday

4795223164_aa1eb66c07_o

 

 

 

My submission for Shoot. Edit. Submit.

coneflower

 

Linked up with:

SESBUTTON

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cookin’ When It’s Hot?

Where I live you never know what type of weather you’re gonna get. 

At the beginning of this week we woke up with goose bumps.  It was 60 degrees in the house, the wind so refreshing and cool was blowing briskly through the windows and all my curtains were billowing out.  It was beautiful!  But, our summer weathered bodies weren’t used to it. We were scrambling for our sweatshirts.

Today it is supposed to be  100 degrees… hot, hot, hot for were we live. And when these hot days are upon me I always scratch my head for what to feed my family.  Cuz, in this frugal household we don’t turn on the AC until we can’t stand it and then there is this understanding that you don’t heat up the house by using the oven.  And on top of that the man can only eat so much pasta salad and such before he is needing a meat and potatoes type meal.

Enter center stage my crock pot. Which in itself can put off a considerable amount of heat, but I have a way around that.

I get my meal all prepared and then stick it in one of two places.  1) Out in the mudroom which I can close off from the rest of the house by shutting the door  OR 2) Outside under the awning on our deck.

 

DSC_0155

 

If you have outside outlets, I highly suggest this!  I just always make sure I put it either on the north side of my house of under shade of some sort.

The other day was just such a day.  We all had had enough of pasta salads and quick stove top meals.  It was definitely time for something substantial to fill my hungry boy’s bellies!  So Scalloped Potatoes and Ham was on tap for  dinner.

 

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes ( this feeds my family of 6 with left overs. It can definitely be cut to fit any size family.  Also I used my 5 qt. crock pot for this.)

9-12 medium potatoes peeled and sliced thin

3/4 cup chopped onion

White Sauce:

6 Tablespoons butter

6 Tablespoons flour

3  3/4 cups milk

1   teaspoons salt

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon pepper

2  1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

 

For sauce cook onion in butter until tender.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Add cheese and stir till melted.  Remove from heat.  Grease crock pot with butter.  Place small amount of sauce in the bottom of your crock pot, then layer potatoes on top.  Continue with layers, ending with sauce on top.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

 

I happened to have a ham steak on had so I fried that up and placed chunks of ham in with the potatoes. Meat is often a must with my guys.  What I love about this recipe is that it is also good with hamburger or ground sausage with this recipe (just cook and drain the meat first before you add it to the potatoes).

 

DSC_0148 

 

 

If you have a helper when you make this recipe then you are in luck, because they will do a fantastic job of cleaning up for you. Done to the very. last. drop!

        DSC_0149 DSC_0150 DSC_0152 DSC_0154

 

Once you have your crock pot filled and cooking away all you have to do is make up a yummy simple salad.  We were enjoying lots of Romaine lettuce out of the garden until heat and drought conditions made it bitter.  I loved that I could pick bunches of it and just serve it with a simple dressing.  Super easy and amazingly yummy.

 

DSC_0169

 

Raspberry Balsamic Dressing

1/2- 3/4 cups sugar (start out with 1/2 and adjust to taste)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Raspberry Balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

 

Combine and refrigerate.

 

So, if its hot where you are break out that crock pot, fill it, then sit back with a cold ice tea….that is after you hang up the laundry, pick up the house, scrub the tub, make that phone call, feed your children, vacuum the floor…again, etc, etc, etc.

 

Stay cool!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Memories Bursting on the Scene at 3 AM

In the past I have read that if you want to make your blog “The Best” then you should find your niche’.  If you love to cook then write a cooking blog. If it’s crafting you excel at, then write about that.  If you homeschool have a homeschooling blog, etc.  Well, I’m three and a half years into this whole blog thing and I’m pretty sure I haven’t located my niche’ yet.

If you have been reading this little ol’ blog of mine for any time then you know I jump all over the board on what I write about. 

I guess if anyone ever forced me to describe what I blog about, I would just have to say LIFE.

My blogs about life.

My life, my children’s lives, my married life, my mommy life, my homeschooling, baking, gardening, photography, my Jesus lovin’ life.

And other important life  stuff like….

At 3:15 in the morning when I am up trying to run a 328.6 MB update on my computer.  You know I “must” do it at this time, when most sane people are sleeping, because this is when I can download without it eating up my download allowance for the day, cuz I only get a certain amount from the company that we have our internet through .(How’s that for a fantastic run-on sentence written from a sleepy brain that should really be sleeping!) It is at this time when a whole new blog post pops into my head, about my life.   Really what else is there to do while you lay on the loveseat waiting on the computer to do it’s thing?

As I laid down on the loveseat that used to be my mom and dad’s and actually was the loveseat that was in the living room of my parents house when I was growing up, a funny memory popped into my head.

It was Christmas 1980-something and there was unbridled excitement surging through the living room of my parents home.  My sisters and I had been up probably since dark-30 and you can only lay on your back ohhhing and awwwwing at the Christmas lights and trying hard not to stare at all the presents, just in case by some slim chance you might guess what was wrapped up inside before you even got to open it, which would in turn ruin the surprise factor.

At 6:00 AM one of us tip-toed into my parents room to wake them up.

It always seemed an eternity before they finally made it into the living room.  As a mom, I now know why.  There are important things to do like bathroom visits and coffee and well when you get old you just move slower.

If I remember properly, my younger sister and I were sitting on the floor. 

And this next part, I know I remember exactly.

My mom began handing out presents and there was lots of excitement in that room.

My oldest sister was sitting on the fashionable burnt orange love seat.  And she was bouncing.  She was so full of Christmas joy she couldn’t contain herself; she was giddy, my friends!

In the midst of wrapping paper and squeals of joy, my mom began looking for the camera.

It was nowhere to be found.

A halt was called on all unwrapping.  A camera search was mounted.

It didn’t take long to discover it.  For as my sister stood up from her perch on the love seat we found the lost camera.

She had inadvertently sat on the memory catcher and in the process had taken a few pictures of her backside. 

Still makes me laugh out loud, even at 3:30 in the morning!

So when people wonder why I have a funky orange plaid couch in my home, I can tell them it’s a memory catcher.

 

DSC_0079

 

Plus, it works perfectly fine to still hold the bottoms of my family, orange, funky, 70’s plaid, and all. Why throw it out when it is still perfectly functional, I say!

I have, however, given it a bit of a different identity.

 

DSC_0081

 

 

Orange just clashes with my d├ęcor.  But, don’t look to closely at my attempts to cover it up, because on the sides this baby still sports some blazing plaid.  And in the process brings out a whole bunch of treasured childhood memories!

 

(You can all thank me later for the randomness of this pre-dawn post,  you’re welcome in advance! Smile)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberries From My 95 Year Old Neighbor Alters my Heart

 

Some how, some where, I lost a whole week here!

I think it must have been due to my writing assignment that I must complete, two photo shoots (one at the last minute), editing said photo shoots, gardening, outdoor work such a deck sealing, leading Bible studies, no internet for almost a week, homemaking and mothering.

 

garden

 

potato flower

 

pea blossom

 

Whew! This list wears me outSmile

With every thing on my list I figured I needed to lay my blogging aside and focus on just being a mom and wife.  Blogging is one thing that I can say no to if I need to. 

And right now I think I need to at least for a little bit.

 

 

 

coop

 

reds

 

My family needs me.

I’ve been far too busy and I can get way to consumed with this virtual world.

I need to spend more time playing Polly Pockets, coloring, and snuggling.

 

 

sis-polly pockets

 

I need to be intentional about  talking and conversing with my boys. Really listening, instead of saying uh-huh, while my eyes are glued to the computer screen. 

Honesty isn’t always pretty, it has a way of waking you up to what you really are all about.

I need to remember the important things.  God first, then others and last myself.  How does the order of that always end up flipped in my life.

I was just reminded of the importance of this.  As I was typing this post up our 95 year old neighbor stopped with two quarts of strawberries for us.  Strawberries that he picked himself….for us!  All bent over in the strawberry field with a back and joints over double the age of mine. It blows my mind.  Why didn’t I pick two quarts of strawberries for him?

God certainly has a unique way of getting my attention!

I am so convicted right now. What are my priorities?  Getting readers and accolades for my writing and photography here in this vast internet world where everything is so virtual.

OR

Serving those who are a walk across the field, or a drive away, or a continent away with a heart that is full of love for God and His people.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Spur of the Moment, Pop Tart Making, Kinda Night

Sunday evening I was flipping through a back issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I was comfortable snuggled up next to my honey, enjoying a relaxing moment when I came across a recipe for homemade pop tarts.  I showed it to Joel and told him I wanted to make those for him and the boys some time.  His response, “Why not make them right now?”  (Isn’t that just like a man!)  So, I told him I would make them if he helped me! :) 

Out to the kitchen I went to start the first leg of the treat making.

The recipe in the magazine called for store bought pie crust. Well, if you know me at all, that just isn’t going to cut it.  I whipped out my favorite pie crust recipe.  Let me tell you!  I found this recipe two years ago in a  Country Living magazine.  It is the BEST! So flaky and flavorful.  My man is a pie conusour.  You can’t pull an okay crust on him. His grandma was one of the best pie makers ever, he grew up eating her pies…a lot!  Not many people can live up to her amazing pie making status, but when I make this crust I get rave reviews from him.

Katie’s Buttery Piecrust

2  1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled

6-9 Tablespoons cold water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cut butter into small pieces. Add to flour mixture and toss to coat. Using a fork or pastry blender work butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 3 Tablespoons of water and toss well with a fork. Continue adding water until dough holds together.  Chill one hour. 

***Note for the pop tarts I upped the sugar a bit.  For regular pie crust use 1 Tablespoon. Also I have notice that this makes more than two 9-inch pie crusts.  I get more like 3…which to me is a bonus. I usually bake the third one then stick it in the freezer for later use.

 

Now since I was in a hurry I didn’t let it chill. It was already 7:30 and I wasn’t up for dilly dallying over pie crust all night.

 

Homemade Pop Tarts

I separated the pie crust into two pieces. Rolled one out nice and thin and cut 3 inch squares out of it.  Joel took the squares placed them on a greased cookie sheet and then put homemade Strawberry Jam and Blackberry Jam alternately in the centers.  We didn’t measure this just plopped it in the centers till it looked good. 

We found that to make the tops stick better you really needed to wet the dough.  So Joel wet the edges of the bottom piece of dough with water and then put the top piece of dough in place. (Without the water the tops were not sealing to the bottoms).  Taking a fork he then sealed each pop tart all the way around.

If you want these to be gorgeous and picture perfect do this step yourself!  Ours ended up looking like…well, like a man who just wants to get them in the oven and baked so he can eat them, did them. ;)

The recipe called for a 400 degree oven with a bake time of 9 minutes.  We did the 400 degree oven, but the 9 minutes was way off for us.  I honestly don’t know how long we baked them because we just kept sticking them in until they looked done!  I’m going to guess 20-25 minutes, but don’t hold me to that.

When they are lightly golden take them out of the oven and let them set on the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks.  While they are cooling whip up a small batch of frosting. I would share my recipe with you, but the only amount I know that I used, was 2 Tablespoons of butter.  I never measure when I am making frosting.  So just grab one of your favorite recipes and use that.

Ideally you should let them cool, but we are an “anxious to try” type group around here.  We slathered on a bit on frosting and then decorated with colored sugar. 

OH MY!

These were fantastic!

homemade poptarts-w 

You have got to try this out those boxed thingys have nothing on these babies!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 06/03

This weeks items: Shine, Fast, Left, Peace, Plain

 

Well by this weeks photos, you will be able to tell what has been inspiring me lately!  Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. I love this time of year!

 

Shine

lilies-sunset-w

 

Fast

My Peonies bloomed and then we got super hot and humid days. I had to work fast to get some good pictures of them before they keeled on me.

peoni-6-w

 

Linked up with Nancy:

Your Sunday Best

Left

A bit of a stretch on this prompt, but this peony is on the left. :)

peoni-4-w

 

Peace

AHHHH! Breathe it in.  A hazy evening walking around our property, peaceful.

blackberry flowers at sunset-w

 

Linked up with Kim:

Shoot-Edit-Submit

 

 

Plain

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just fresh strawberries with plain ole’ half-n-half. MMMMM!

strawberries-w

 

Linked up with Ashley:

scavenger hunt

 

 

spider wort-w

Linked up:

scripture and a snapshot

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