August 27, 2014

End of Summer

And so it is official.  Time for teachers to report to work.

We always wonder what the year will hold.  Will the kids arrive knowing how to be respectful, how to be kind, how to work hard, and how to work together?  Will they come to school well fed?  Can they read?  How many kids will have a parent in prison this year? Will they go home at the end of the day to warmth and love, or chaos and screaming? Will there be someone at home to cook them dinner and monitor their homework?

Another year begins.

My aim is to make our own home a place of peace and comfort, a place of solace and good food and laughter and dreams to fill our souls to meet the intensity and demands of each new day.

August 26, 2014

Dried Herbs For Our Potatoes

I couldn't stand it any longer.  The herb garden beneath the front window was completely overgrown and a total embarrassment!  We've just been too busy this summer!

So I dug in and pulled weeds and cut back.  And sweated like crazy.

I did crack a smile in that dusty, scalding heat, finding several nice bunches of parsley.  Into the dehydrator they went, along with several more trays of rosemary and oregano.

THE BEST PART: roasted potatoes this winter!  A pile of red potatoes, olive oil, dried parsley, rosemary, and oregano, and the tiniest dash of sugar...all mixed up and baked at 425° for 45 mins until browned...very good, indeed.

August 25, 2014

Off to the Coop

The girls heard me step outside, and for the first time they didn't come running - they took off for the coop!  They had treats on their minds!  They are such creatures of habit.

But then in the next second, there was a quick about-face as they realized my steps were a bit delayed.

They let me know I was to pick up the pace, please and thank you.

August 22, 2014

Sitting on Cows

County fairs are just the best - animals, animals, more animals, kids that love animals, and kids that sit on cows.

I am always amazed and just a bit jealous.

August 21, 2014


It's been one of those weeks, with too much going on at home and at work. I think I might show up to work in the exact same clothes I wore yesterday.  Ugh.

But we discovered a gift, a tiny spot of peace in the midst of everything.  The hanging basket hasn't done so well but it is home now to a beautiful mourning dove.  She is sitting on 3 little eggs and is the quietest, most content bird I've ever seen.

August 15, 2014

Dinner is Served

We have a young man in our youth group who likes to cook.  I do not.  And so it didn't take me long to figure out a win-win opportunity. (I'm a quick one!)

We bought the groceries. He brought his chef's hat and coat, and pans and seasonings.  As I stood and watched the washing and chopping begin, there was a brief moment when I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into.  But as soon as he started flipping those potatoes, I knew this was going to be a good thing. It was quite impressive (as was his willingness to do it about 87 extra times so I could try to get a good shot).  Before long we were asked to sit down, and plates heaped with potatoes, onions, and fish were served with style and ease. And then bananas foster.  It doesn't get much better than that! But then it did get better - he cleaned up.

As my father always used to say, "We'll put you on steady!"

August 14, 2014

Brownie Bananas!

Woohoo! A new camping creation! It was a brilliant stroke of genius, if I say so myself.  Let me introduce you to Brownie Bananas.

Slice a banana peel open lengthwise and eat the banana.  You now have your new baking dish. Pour in some brownie mix.  Homemade, double chocolate zucchini brownies, to be exact.
And yup, I know who's belly that is.  4 families, 8 kids, and many cute bellies.  And they rated this new creation a 10.  TEN.  Oh, the angels in heaven were rejoicing with me!

Sorry, I'm still reveling in the memories.  =)

Anyway, wrap those bananas in foil and place them over the campfire.

They're done in 15 mins.  Or maybe 20.  Or even 40.  But there's no harm in rushing things, because scooping out plenty of gooey chocolate is pretty darn fabulous.  And I don't mind admitting that when the kids all left and no one was watching, I cheated.  I ate a whole banana dredged in a couple tablespoons of batter.  I could hear the angels sing.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownie Mix
2 c whole wheat flour
1-1/2 c sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
1-1/2 tsp soda
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 c zucchini, grated
1/2 c canola oil
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

August 7, 2014

Homemade Fresh Lemon Rind

Lemons feel exotic, perhaps because they don't grow on trees up here. So when a recipe calls for the juice of one lemon - and it's an organic one to boot! - I never know exactly what to do with the leftover rind.  I can't just throw it away!  So here's the easiest solution I discovered to save it for the next recipe that calls for the "zest of one lemon".

Take the used lemon...

...and cut it into wedges.  Filet the rind away from the pith.  (White = bitter)

Freeze in a baggie.

To use, simply toss the frozen rinds into the food processor near the beginning of a recipe to grind it up. 

VoilĂ !  The tastiest, zippiest lemon rind available!  

August 5, 2014

Bath Time

Oh, she fooled me!  She is such a wonderful dog, full of softness and sweetness and love.  She's a dog with a soul! But the master was gone, she knew it, and she decided she did NOT want a bath.  As in, catch-me-if-you-can-because-I'm-not-getting-in-that-tub-if-my-life-depends-on-it.

74 pounds of pure muscle, determination, and the smartness of a hunting dog 

It was a true test of wits and strength. 90 minutes later, I won.  Better than any gym workout.

August 4, 2014

Too Hot For Mildred

Oh, it's been warm and muggy.  Even Mildred has been panting to stay cool.

Yesterday the ladies thoroughly enjoyed a couple of huge watermelon rinds - cool, sweet, and quite interesting. =)