Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Please Stand By...

Hey y'all, I am experiencing some technical difficulties. My modem has died and I can't post at the moment. I've come to borrow a computer to let you know where I am. I'll be back in business as soon as my part comes in the mail. Should be hard at work by the end of the week. Talk to you again soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've been putting up some butterbeans. The kids don't like the smell. They say they are butt-uh-beans. I guess I know who won't be eating them. Any big plans for the weekend? Not me, it's a birthday party, yard work and church. A little bit of quiet sounds good.

I need your opinion on something. I came up with the idea of making bookmarks with the blog address on them to give to people when they ask about it. I'm always rumaging around in my purse for a piece of paper or a pen to write it out. This way I could just flip on out with the address and it's useful besides. My dilema? Should I make them whimsical or more classic? Free-hand and quirky or watercolor and dainty? Help me decide.

I guess we'll continue with a little bit of Bible study on Fridays. Remember we're looking at Romans 12:9-21, one command at a time. Last week we looked at the first, "let love be without hypocrisy". Today we'll dive into the second, it's two sided--"abhor what is evil; cling to what is good".

These words paint for us a beautiful picture of the attitude God wants from us. Abhor means to shudder and shrink aways from in disgust. We are to hate what is evil. The thought of or sight of sin should make us sick to our stomachs. And the presence of sin in our lives should make us run to our Heavenly Father for forgiveness. Our Holy and sinless Father abhors sin in our lives. He loves us and wants better for us than that. It should be no wonder to us that, when we continue in sin, we no longer feel connected to His presence. He abhors sin. He has shrunk away from us in disgust! That ladies (and gentlemen), is a frightening and sobering thought.

Thankfully, the next part of the verse is a little more upbeat. "Cling to what is good." To cling, according to the dictionary, means to (1)hold fast by or as by embracing, entwining, or sticking; adhere; (2)to be or stay near, as if holding fast; to be emotionally attached. The best way to keep away from evil is to be stuck on what is good. We can't run after the wrong thing if we're glued on the good! Don't settle for less. The specialty of Satan is almost. Almost perfect--but almost perfect is all wrong. If Satan can get you to settle for almost of what God wants for you, he has you trapped. To choose almost is to miss all of the blessing God has to offer you. Almost all the puzzle pieces means you'll never finish. Almost all the ingredients means you're sure to fall flat. Almost all the railroad track means you're sure to derail. It changes everything. And it's a choice we all must make. Don't settle for almost today.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...

My kids love it when I wear this shirt and thought y'all would get a kick out of it too. Only problem is, when I wear it I feel like I have to be super productive. Oh well, I can use all the motivation I can get.

Speaking of motivation (to get crafty) and inspiration, I want you to go over and look at a blog I saw. Such a wonderful idea she had and beautiful things she's created. Plus, she's having a give away of one of her bird nests soon. So hurry on over and visit Vicki at

Don't forget it's Thankful Thursday. What are you thankful for today? Here's my list:

1. I'm thankful God doesn't always listen to my suggestions.

2. I'm thankful for watermelon and peaches, yummy summer time.

3. I'm thankful for the blessing of freedom.

4. I'm thankful for the encouragment of friends, just when you need it most.

5. I'm thankful for laughing 'til you cry at the dinner table with your kids.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Freebie for Followers

I was just outside giving some of the roses a hair cut. My beautician duties were cut short when I realized I was standing in ants--barefoot. Moral of the story, never clip your Southern garden barefoot after a rainstorm because you can't see where the ants are moving.

Anyway, it gave me an idea (besides just to put on some shoes). I've been wanting to do something for my followers and my clipping job reminded me of something that would be perfect. I'm going to make some rose petal jelly. It's something I haven't done in a really long time. For all who are currently following, or sign up to follow before the 30th of June, I'll send a little jar of rose petal jelly. It's a wonderful, delicate flavored treat. Followers, email me the address you'd like it sent to. I'll let you know when they're on their way. Remember, I'm giving others until the end of June to follow, so it'll be the beginning of July before you get it.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tomato Troubles and Trash Pile Squash

As you can see, my tomatoes are growing big. They're taller than me, although that's not saying much. I even have a good number of tomatoes. The problem is the quality. They just aren't doing so great this year. Last year we had a bumper crop of delicious tomatoes. This year's crop is spotty, prone to bruising, and all around disappointing. We've fertilized, we've sprayed for bugs, all to no avail. We've got squash and cucumbers in one of those Earth Boxes. They did great at the beginning, I had them climbing a trellis to keep them away from the ever growing rabbit family that lives in the neighbor's hedge (who knew there could be that many rabbits in a subdivision). It too is looking pitiful. They are past the point of salvation. The bright spot in my gardening is a little squash plant that has popped up in my brush pile. He came up right next to the trash can and is small but very prolific. If I can just keep those rabbits away, I'll be soon picking squash from it.

Oh, I tried that new recipe for Tomato Cucumber Salad last night and it was good, and super easy. It called for italian or ranch dressing. I used a vidalia onion vinegrette instead and added some black pepper. I would've added bacon bits too if I'd had them. They'd be great in it as well, especially with the ranch or vinegrette. This was just a really simple, quick way to use some things from the garden.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

1 large tomato
l cucumber
2 green onions
1/4 c. salad dressing, italian or ranch

Peel and chop tomato. Slice cucumber and onions. Put in bowl and toss with salad dressing to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

See? I told you it was easy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's Cookin'

I can't believe it's Monday again. These Mondays get here faster and faster. We've been busy with swimming, day camps, visits to the library, and playing with friends. I'm still waiting for that slow pace of summer everyone keeps talking about. Wait...did I say that? I must've been delusional. Maybe it'll slow down once school starts back. Yeah, right.

How do you like my saucer hibiscus? It had belonged to my uncle years ago. He liked to garden too. My mom got a seed from his and started this plant and then when she moved, I went over and dug it up and brought it home. It's been around but I'm so glad to have it. The ones he'd planted got destroyed one year, so this is the only one still around. It's a nice remembrance of him right at my door.

So what's for supper this week? Something quick and easy for all these busy days.

Monday--Teriyaki Grilled Chicken, Tomato Cucumber Salad, Green Beans, Watermelon
Tuesday--Angel Hair Alfredo with Ham, Salad, French Bread
Wednesday--Beef & Bean Enchiladas, Yellow Rice, Sliced Tomatoes
Thursday--Grilled Sausage, Creamed Corn, Glazed Carrots, Rolls
Friday--Baked Pork Chops, Cottage Potatoes, Vegetable Casserole, Rolls
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, June 18, 2010

Food for Thought Friday

Supper last night was great! If you're looking for a little something special to fix for Father's Day, those kabobs would do the trick. They look really nice and tasted even better. I should've thought to take a picture. Tonight's dinner is a simple one. I don't think y'all need the recipes for that.

I feel like all I've been doing lately is talking about food! I do have other things I'd like to talk to y'all about. So, I thought I'd start doing something different on Fridays. And since I do spend so much time on recipes and food, I'd just call this Food for Thought. I had been working on writing a Bible study for ladies to use at our church but had to take a hiatus because of my commitment to another study. I'm going through what I've gotten done so far and it made me think. I'd like to share some with you. Would y'all like that? The Bible study is on the fruits of the Spirit, but what I thought I'd share is a section on the first one, love, and its practical applications. We'll take a look at a different one each week. That'll give you an idea of some things I've got going on besides just stirring a pot. It'll be a mini Bible study for us to do together on Fridays.

Let's take a look at Romans 12:9-21 for the basis of our little study.

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.'
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Sometimes it seems we can buy into the mindset that the Bible offers general concepts for us to live by but we have to work out the specifics for ourselves. That simply isn't the case! Many times the Bible is very specific on what we should do. There are twenty three instructions given just in the verses I listed above. That's twenty three ways to show your love for those around you. We don't have any excuse for not bearing the fruit of love when we are given this handy growing guide. Let's look at each one more closely each Friday so we can know just how to grow, and love, effectively.

We'll start with the first one today. "Let love be without hypocrisy." Hypocrisy is the opposite of sincerity. We can't fake love. If we're trying to fake it, we aren't really loving at all. And let's face it, when we do try to fake it, the only ones we fool are ourselves. If you think you can't feel love, you need to go to the source of love and work it out. The Bible tells us in I John 4:16 that God is love. Sometimes we come from backgrounds or go through experiences that make loving, or even feeling loved, seem impossible. But what does Matthew 19:26 tell us? "And looking at them Jesus said to them, 'With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" All things are possible. That includes your ability to love.

So that's your homework for this weekend and the coming week. Love, and do it sincerely. Don't just put on your Sunday morning smile. Really stop and look at the people God has placed around you. They're there for a reason. He put them near you because they need something you have to offer. They are desperately searching for something that is real. Don't give them something fake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oops, It's Gettin Late

Sorry y'all. I've had a phone call wanting to know where my post was. I didn't realize how late it had gotten. I was getting supper ready. I didn't get to the store earlier in the week and swapped my menus around. Tonight I've got steak kabobs on the grill. If they taste half as good as they smell, we've got a winner. I guess I'll keep our tradition going of Thankful Thursday. How can I skip a post about being thankful?

1. I'm thankful for my family. What a blessing they all are! My family, my husband's family--they are so special to me. I know that it is a gift to have so many wonderful people in my life.

2. I'm thankful for Marie and Ruth, who were so sweet to pick up some blueberries. You know how much we love them, especially Meredith. She's the only one I know who eats them straight from the freezer.

3. I'm thankful for summer days where I have all my little ones at home and can hear them playing. (Remind me of that in a few weeks after they start to get stir crazy and bored.)

That's all I've got time for tonight. Supper's ready.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So You Think You Can't Dance

I admit it. My favorite show is "So You Think You Can Dance." Maybe it's because they told me when I was little that I couldn't dance. I think I'm probably the only child in the history of the world who got kicked out of dance class at the ripe old age of three for "dancing to my own beat." I guess I was just a Mia Michaels kind of dancer trapped in a ballet school. I'd rather dance to my own beat anyway.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It felt like Too-sday today. That's because it felt like Monday all over again. I didn't get my Monday stuff done yesterday because I took the kids swimming, so I had all that to do today. The days are going much faster than I wish they would. Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer?

One more picture from my trip. Can you believe this rose!?! I took this at the home of my sister-in-law Karen. Yellow roses are so pretty and this one was especially big. I thought you'd enjoy it too.

Here's the recipe for the steak kabobs, I found this in an old issue of Taste of Home. We'll give it a try together.

Vegetable Steak Kabobs

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, and rosemary
1 1/2 lb. boneless beef sirloin, cut in cubes
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
2 onions, cut in wedges
2 small green peppers, cut into pieces

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine oil, vinegar, ketchup, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings; set aside. Add meat and vegetables to marinade. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Alternately thread beef and vegetables onto six metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill, uncovered, over medium-hot heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn kabobs; cook 4-6 minutes longer until beef reaches desired doneness. Serves 6.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Southern Staple, Banana Pudding

It was a great weekend, getting some things done around the house, spending time with family, making a special treat. And I thought as I started making it, that I should share with y'all. I really wish I could spoon you up a big bowl full and we could all sit around the table and have some, but I guess I'll have to settle for sharing the recipe. It's banana pudding, real Southern banana pudding, like your granny would've made (if she was Southern). There is no substitute.

The first step is the most vital. You can do it on top of a double broiler or just on a lower temperature in a regular saucepan. Whichever you do, be sure that your egg yolks are at room temperature. If you put cold eggs in a hot pan you'll end up with cooked eggs instead of pudding. You don't want to stand and stir for all that time to end up with that. Separate your eggs, put the whites in the fridge, and leave the yolks out for a little bit while you work on something else.

When your pudding is thickened and you've added the vanilla, you need to put a tiny bit in the bottom of your dish. You need just enough to keep the Nilla wafers from sliding around. Make your layers. You want bananas that are very ripe. Ever so often Winn Dixie will put out bags of bananas that are getting ripe for just $1.00, that's when I know it's Nana Puddin' time.

Like I said, keep your egg whites in the refrigerator until your ready to whip them up. It's best if you put the mixing bowl in the fridge too. The colder it is, the easier it'll work.

Be sure to keep an eye on the pudding when it's in the oven. It only takes a few minutes for it to get where it needs to be. You don't want it to be burned on the tips.

Here's the recipe so you can try it at home too. Let me know how you like it.

3/4 c. sugar
5 bananas
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
dash of salt
4 eggs separated
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 box Nilla wafers

Combine 1/2 c. of the sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir in 4 egg yolks and milk; blend well. Cook, uncovered, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Place a small amount on the bottom of a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers; top with a layer of bananas. Spoon about 1/3 of the pudding and spread over bananas. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of pudding. Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add remaining sugar. Beat until still peaks form when you pull out the beaters. Spoon on top of pudding, being sure to seal the edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

So what do you all think of the new layout? It was another of my weekend projects. It may be that now the following will be a little easier. I'm so thankful for all of you who come to visit so often, whether you get the follow button to work or not. And for those of you who've asked, no, I didn't photoshop the hearts on the cows. That's the way God made them. I didn't even notice them there until I went to show y'all the pictures.

I got so busy thinking about banana pudding that I almost forgot to give you the menus for the week. I don't think you need the recipe for any of it.

Monday--Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Biscuits
Tuesday--Vegetable Steak Kabobs, Rice, Fruit Salad, Rolls
Wednesday--Turkey Salad, Croissants, Chips, Grapes
Thursday--Baked Ham, Potato Casserole, Creamed Peas, Salad
Friday--Chicken Enchiladas, Yellow Rice, Salad
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Window Panes, Eldreth, and Yard Sales...Oh My

I feel like it's been show and tell this week. I've got a few more from you from my visit with my friend Jen. I did take a tour of her garden, but got so busy talking, I didn't get a lot of flower pictures. Sorry about that. I did, however, get some nice pictures of a few things she has and of some places we spotted along our way.

Her cute little Eldreth cat in the flower bed. Eldreth Pottery is something we all love to collect. I visited the store while in Pennsylvania. I have a lot of the tradional, but all their new stuff is making it hard for me to stick to just what I've been doing.

This is definitely on my wish list. The ever talented Ken Krauss makes them from old window panes. If only it could survive a trip in the car with three kids...And below is another cat enjoying the warm summer day, except this one's real. I wish I could nap in the roses, don't you?

I almost forgot to give y'all the recipe for the French Dip. It came from my Fix It & Forget It cookbook. It's all recipes that you can make in the crockpot. I highly recommend it. It's so helpful to be able to go to that book when you know it's going to be a busy day.

French Dip

3 lb. roast
2 c. water
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
4 whole peppercorns

Place roast in slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cover. Cook on high 5-6 hours. Remove; shred beef. Strain broth and serve with meat. Serves 8.

These are a couple of places we spotted on our yard sale adventures. Also, I took that cow picture I showed you earlier in the week then. The cows were right next to the road. I did find a few things. I couldn't get much, I knew I had to have somewhere to sit on the ride home. I did buy a couple of books (one to read and one to use in projects), a couple of cd's for the boys,and a really nice old drawer that I'm going to use for display. Jen was the yard sale winner that day with her Eldreth santa and her Brighton belt. We had a great time.

Wouldn't you love to drive past sights like that everyday!?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Photos...More Thankful...and Some Buttermilk Banter

Another day and another batch of pictures. These are a few more of the things I love--old barns, little streams, farm land. Tomorrow I'll have pictures from the home of another sweet friend, Jen. We started a couple weeks ago having Thankful Thursday. I thought I'd continue the tradition today.

1. I'm thankful that I'm getting my house back in order. It's so nice to have the piles of things put away after a trip.

2. I'm thankful for another day, for me, for my family. We always seem to forget what a tremendous gift it is simply to be.

3. I'm thankful that Jack is loving tennis camp. What a delight it is to watch your child discover something that they love.

4. I'm thankful for encouragement from friends--notes that brighten your day, phone calls at the exact minute you need them, just knowing that they're there.

5. I'm thankful for a garden that I can watch grow. It is always a delight to me to check on my vegetables. I know, I'm easy to please.

Now for supper tonight. It's breakfast for supper, a fun thing we love to do. I didn't figure you all needed a recipe for pancakes. You can holler if you do, I'll be happy to share. I did, however, want to share a tip for making them better. Buttermilk pancakes are better, fluffier. The key to great buttermilk pancakes is quality buttermilk. I'm usually all for what's cheapest, most of the time the store brand's the same. This is one instance where you want to splurge. Buy the more expensive brand, whatever it may be for your area.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pictures from Joey's

Today in my travel pictures we're going to take a peek at my friend Joey's flower beds. She has such a wonderful way with plants. I don't know what I'd do without her, she's the greatest friend in the world. It reminds me of a quote from Anais Nin, "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive..." Great friends do that. They make our world a better place. Our lives are richer because of them, we become stronger people because we know they'll always be right there. They see us for who we are and like what they see. They make our souls glad.

All-American Chicken & Vegetables

1 foil bag
1/4 c. water
1 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
9 pieces of chicken
3 ears of corn, halved
1/2 lb. green beans
1 onion, quartered

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place bag in a 13x9 pan; add chicken. Mix water and flour; pour in bag. Mix cheese and spices; sprinkle half over chicken in bag. Mix vegetables with other spices; layer over chicken. Close bag. Bake one hour. Serves 5 to 6.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Travellin' Tuesday

As promised, here are a few of the pictures I took on my travels in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Below that is my recipe for meatballs. You bake them in the oven instead of frying them. I always make a mess when I do them that way, so I was glad to finally find a way to make meatballs easier. I did get all my corn done last night. I think I can develop a new exercise routine after the workout all that shucking and scraping gave my biceps. Maybe we could call it the Farm Girl Workout, there could be putting up vegetables for strength training, chasing after chickens for cardio, bending to plant for pilates. Y'all don't want me to keep going...
See that giant teapot? It's made from pansies!


1 lb ground beef
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. parmesan
1 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients. Shape into balls. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moovalous Monday

You all know I love cows. Apparently these love me back. Can you see the white hearts on their heads? I thought we could all use a little extra love since it's Monday.

I had a wonderful week visiting family in Maryland and going down just about every back road in Lancaster county, all that farm land restores my soul. I've got lots of pictures to share this week. I'll start sharing them tomorrow. For now we'll just have to be satisfied with menus. After all, I've still got a lot of unpacking to do. And, my mom's on her way with a couple of bushels of corn for me to put in the freezer. Y'all have a moovalous day!

Monday--grilled sausage, corn on the cob, tomato dumplings, watermelon
Tuesday--spaghetti with meatballs, french bread
Wednesday--All-American Chicken & Vegetables, bread, applesauce
Thursday--buttermilk pancakes, bacon, blueberries
Friday--French Dip, kaiser rolls, home fries, carrot sticks
Saturday--homemade pizza

Tomato Dumplings
Now this isn't my aunt Jean's tomato dumplings, I've still got to wrangle that recipe from her, but it is a yummy second. If you've never had this, it deserves a try. It's a little on the spicy side. It'd also be a great accompaniment for a cajun dish as well.

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
1/4 c. chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. parsley

Melt the 1/4 c. butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, celery and bay leaf; saute 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and basil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer 3 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add egg, milk, and parsley, stirring until moist. Drop dough by tablespoons into tomatoes. Cover and cook over medium-low for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. 4-6 servings

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Hello everyone! I know I don't usually post on Sunday, but I wanted to let you all know I did make it home and will be back at it in full force tomorrow. I love to go and visit with the people that I love who are far away. I also love that first moment when you open the door after you've been away. It just reminds you what a nice place home is. (Although it does require a little frantic cleaning before you leave.) Have a good Sunday and I'll meet you back here tomorrow. I've missed you all!