Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Napping Outside

I would love to be able to nap outside in the crisp cool fall evenings... mild winter days (remember I live in the heart of the deep South.. rarely are we cold)... spring breezes.. and even on those rare summer days when a shower cools things off.  I recently saw this swing at a local outdoor store..

Can't say I love the colors, but it sure looks comfy to me!

Oh course the ideal thing would be an old fashioned sleeping porch!  Maybe the next house...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Fourth!

Our Fourth of July was different this year, but a lot of fun. Normally our kids are here.  We have a parade and gathering that morning in our neighborhood and our church has a big community cookout and fireworks that night. Well our daughter was out of town.. our son was here, but he was gearing up to take our youth to camp.  And we were invited to participate in a new-to-us event. A year ago my husband changed jobs. Funny thing.. he has worked with the guys at his new place of employment for over 20 years, so it was really a lot like going home. They are a very tight knit group who do a lot of fun things together. Including hosting a 4th of July Parade and party. So we skipped our norm and marched to the beat of a different drummer.

We were actually in the parade.. no pic of us.. sorry. Next year will be different!  My husband often catches the eye of children who think he is Santa. He is a big tall guy with curly white hair and a full white beard.. and he is jovial and his eyes twinkle!  So he was dubbed Santa on Vacation at the parade. We road on the back of a convertible and tossed candy to kids. It was fun. Hubby ho-ho-hoed all over the place! But next year we have big plans.. not just us, but our drivers.  Christmas music.. decorations.. the works. We are going to play up the Santa on Vacation idea!

Afterwards we went to one of the hosts' homes.. to the "back 40" where he has a great boat house that looks out over the lake. There was a program with prizes for floats and music and poetry and just a lot of fun.

We stopped to pledge allegiance to the flag and sing the national anthem.. it was very moving.

There was even a furbaby in on the fun!  (I can only imagine the fireworks Mac and Mia would have caused!)

Then we chowed down on a burgers and sausage dogs and roasted pig with all the sides and desserts. It was yum!

And we got to visit with folks we knew and meet others we didn't know. Just a delightful time and not nearly as hot as a typical 4th of July here. A lovely new addition to our 4th of July traditions.. especially as we enter this next season of life where the nest will be empty.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Green Monster!

So in spite of (or maybe because of) the homemade ice cream in the last post, we are striving to eat healthier here.  Note: that was the only ice cream made so far this summer no matter how temped I have been to make a gallon every week.

I have seen articles, Facebook Posts and Pins on Pinterest about all kinds of smoothies and both my kids have been drinking them lately, so I decided to give it a try.

How's this for a colorful drink!?

Green Monster Smoothie!  Oh my!  Sooo good!  There are a number of recipes and variations for Green Monster, but here is how I make mine... place 1/2 a banana (frozen), 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 a container plain or vanilla Greek yogurt into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Blend in 2 cups raw spinach.  I add a cup at a time and use a spatula to scrape sides as needed.  I also add 5 or 6 ice cubes at the end and blend to make the smoothie thicker. I like mine thick like a milkshake.

The original recipe doubled all these ingredients, but was just too much for me.  I love this for breakfast or lunch. You do NOT taste the spinach. In fact, the main taste is the peanut butter. It is a bit sweeter with vanilla yogurt, but I like it with plain also and plain has fewer carbs, so that is what I use most times.

I am totally sold on Almond Milk!  I use unsweetened vanilla in smoothies and in a lot of cooking.. and on cereal. I love just plain unsweetened also for cereal and cooking.  And Silk makes a Dark chocolate one that is amazing when you just want a sweet treat! The calcium in Almond Milk is double that of cow's milk and the calories are a fraction! A great alternative to dairy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for .....


A massive love for ice cream is an genetic condition my husband inherited from his mother and had passed right on to our kids. LOL!  And homemade ice cream is the best in his opinion.

Now I am a good cook.. not bragging.. just being truthful.  But there are a few things I have not mastered and just don't really do well at all.. pie crust.. artichokes (don't really want to master them!).. homemade ice cream. I have made it a number of times over the years, but it is always too bland or grainy or just not good.

Earlier this summer I got a hankering and I decided to try again. I got online and read recipe after recipe and finally found one (through Southern Living I beleive) that sounded good and so I went for it.
And oh man!  Was it good.. to good!  I really could live off this stuff! It was firmer than regular homemade ice cream, but not hard and the taste was amazing.

Poor Mac couldn't understand why he couldn't at least lick the bowl!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Late & Mild Start to Summer

Spring hung on here .. something that rarely happens. We had mild temps and low humidity really up until the first of June. And while we have experienced good ole summer heat and humidity, our temps have not pushed any records this summer as they usually do.

The Springlike start to summer provided some lovely days outside enjoying flowers and birds and other past times.

My husband's Star of the Nile (I forget the scientific name) came back in full force!  This is just 1 of the plants.  So tall (like my fella!).  I love the color!

Daisies!  My daisies are too thick and the plants around them have grown so that they don't get the sun they need. Our yard is a do it yourself landscape project. The back yard is great and we have started on the side yard (we have a corner lot).  Once we make our way around to the front, daisies and daylillies will move to sunnier locations where they can bloom to their hearts contents!  In the meantime.. I had a lovely surprise one day this May when I found these greeting me with their cheery faces!

One of my favorite past times during our Springish Days was to sit outside a bit while Mac and Mia explorer or just bask in the sun.  I would eat lunch or read or, as on this day, work on Bible study. This was the perfect setting to dig into the Word!

The Confederate Jasmine has taken off this past year and was lush and full of blooms and provided Mia with the perfect spot to hide!  She loved nestling down in the vines and sleeping.

These days the heat keeps my outside time limited, but in 6 - 8 weeks, we will start having hints of fall. And there will be moments where the weather will entice me to stay outside and play a bit. And maybe, just maybe, there will be a late blooming session among the flowers!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Continuing to thank Him....

71. Tex-Mex... really... my husband and I have loved Tex-Mex from day 1 and over the years as the budget was tight and eating out was not an option, I learned to cook a lot of things and one of my "specialties" is Tex-Mex.  My kids love it.. there "others" love it... it is a family favorite.  And we do it on various levels.. tonight the hub and I are having quick skillet beef tacos, some tamales we picked up at our local tamale place, queso and chips... easy not terribly healthy but oh so good!  Our menu also often includes Beef Enchiladas, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Tacos, homemade queso (tonight it is from a jar) and my special Mexican rice.  So good!

72. Pricking of the Spirit... you know what I mean... recently it was cool and damp and I was piled up on our couch with the pups, a quilt and a book... pure heaven!  My husband came in and asked if I would do something for him. It was a very reasonable request... not mean.. not out of line in anyway.  And he was busy at the time and needed this thing done. So I did it.. but as I was "doing", I was grumbling in my head. "I was all warm on the couch.. reading my book.. he could do this himself later..." and BAM it hit "Whatever you do whether in Word of Deed, do it as unto the Lord" (My b;ended version of Colossians 3:17 & 23) Whoa!  The Holy Spirit reminded me that I was not really doing this for my husband, but for the Lord and my grumbling spirit was aimed at him.  It was a humbling moment and it also reminded me that God is always with me and aware of what I think.. speak.. feel.. etc.

73. Spring.. yes it is March 8, but where I live Spring is in the air and doing its best to burst forth in glorious song!  We still have cool night and mornings, but from lunchtime until the sun goes down it is just the right amount of warm.. not hot.. not humid.. and the grass and bushes and plants are turning green and there are buds showing... and yes with it comes a tickly in my throat forewarning of allergy season... and there will be sneezing and watery eyes and pollen but it is sooo worth it! (I will hurt anyone who throws my words back at me when I am in the midst of an allergy attack and whining!)

74. A Husband who does Yard Work.. right now the windows of the house are open and I can hear my husband edging our yard. We have a lot to edge because we live on a rather large corner lot.. so lots of curb. And my husband is persnickety with the yard. It always looks amazing and I have no doubt I take it for granted. I don't do yard work.. that was established from day 1.  I wheeze around fresh cut grass. He did try to teach me to use the weed whacker.. he decided it was safer if I didn't!  I do weed flower beds and help pick up sticks and such.. I just don't get to play with the big toys. (And I am fine with that!) But seriously.. I appreciate all my sweetie does to keep the yard looking so nice and clean and inviting.  And now that the nest is almost empty, he is back to doing it on his own most days.  For a while he had some teenage helpers.. but they grew up.

75. Thursday Night Bible Study... I lead a group at my church on Thursday nights.. ladies from 20 something (which happens to include my daughter, which is an added blessing!)  to 60 something (I don't think anyone is older than that.. the older ladies do a daytime Bible study).  I love the ladies who come. It does vary from study to study, but there is that core group that keeps things going.  I love their hunger.. their openness.. their real-ness.. sweet ladies and a sweet sweet time together in the Word.

76. "No".. LOL!  I am so thankful for that word at times.. and the ability to say No to somethings and not always Yes. I use to say Yes to everything and I confess I still struggle at times with wanting to do that, but it is so important to say No sometimes.. even to good things. We must seek God and only say Yes to what HE wants us to do.

77. Lemon Drops.. I mentioned in the Spring comments that my throat is tickly from allergies. I drink tons and tons of water. Truthfully that is all I drink cold. Occasionally I will have fruit or some ginger ale, but I have been a water girl for a long time.. I actually love the stuff!  Water helps the tickly, but sometimes I need something more.. so I will suck on some hard candy like a peppermint (only if desperate.. not a big fan of mint alone.. not chocolate mint is a whole nother story!), Werthers (yum!) and today I found some old fashioned Lemon Drops!  Oh my... memories rush back of eating these as a kid.  And they really do help soothe that niggly tickly in the back of my throat.

78. Raw Local Honey.. I have always loved honey..and I grew up eating raw honey.  My great-uncle had a bee apiary several hours north of us and he always kept up supplied with the golden goodness.  I have been buying local honey and using it in my hot tea and recently tried it on oatmeal (didn't wow me).  I have seen a "recipe" for making honey lozenges and am thinking of trying that.  I have a friend who swears that using 2 Tbsp of raw local honey each day keeps him from ever taking allergy meds. I am hoping he is right and it works for me!  No matter.. it tastes soo good!

79. Mysteries.. I have shared before that I am a lover of books.. devour them.. never have enough time to read all I want to read... and I love mysteries. Now I use to read really detailed intense mysteries, but in the past 10 years, I have mellowed and come to view reading fiction as downtime.. entertainment.. relaxing.. so I am not looking for intense. I love a good cozy mystery with enough twists and turns to keep me intrigued that I can pretty well figure out about 2 chapters before the book ends (no sooner.. that spoils the fun!)  I also like mysteries that are in a series and center around a town or group of people... Like the Gray Whale Inn series (so good!) or The Seaside Knitters (Love it!) and many many more! Think I will curl up and read after supper... and I have the perfect furbabies to keep me warm and plenty of quilts!

80. Life.. not just life here on earth, but Eternal life and the assurance I and every Christ-follower has.  Today a man from our church went home to the Lord.. he was 51.. he had a stroke last weekend.. totally unexpected.. his health was fine.. he was fit.. life was good.. he has a lovely wife and a great teenage son.. and now he is gone.. but not really.. He knew the Lord... knew Him personally.. Jesus was and is His Savior and so today without a doubt he is with Jesus.. whole.. healed.. rejoicing. Difficult time for his family, but they have peace knowing where he is and with whom and that they will be with him again one day.  Do you have that assurance? If not, please contact me.  I would love to tell you how you can. It has absolutely nothing to do with joining a church or a specific denomination... it has everything to do with love.. grace.. relationship.

Until Next Time.. be JOYful!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Caught a peep....

Saw this in the grocery store yesterday and I knew Easter is on its way!

Colorful... fun.. and totally nasty to me!  I love a marshmallow, but a Peep? EWWW!  No thank you! But I do know that they burst forth each Spring to announce the coming of Easter.  

And while perusing the seasonal aisle I caught a glimpse of this...

I have the clearest memory of my dad bring a bag of Reese's Pieces to my daughter when she was no more than 2.  I can see him putting one out for her to try and I can see her face when the taste hits. She was hooked!  She loves pretty much anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. Shortly after that, I discovered these Reese's Pieces Carrots and they have been in her Easter basket ever since. At 25, she doesn't actually get a basket any more.. but I can assure you I will be purchasing a carrot for her. (Remember traditions are big in our family.. and they often involve food!)

There will be a few other Easter goodies bought despite the fact that we no longer do baskets.  My husband will expect to have 2 or 3 of these goodies..

Snickers Easter Eggs.

My son's tradition has changed. For many of his 20 years he received these...

But a few years ago he discovered the Easter version of Lifesaver Gummies. Evidently the flavors used are not the regular ones and can only be found at Easter, so he tends to stock up.. though they never last him that long!  LOL!

And for me.. my favorite Easter candy is one I have loved since I was a little girl. 

My mother owned a pharmacy that was more like a general store and we sold Russell Stover candy there.  I remember when the Easter Candy came in and there would be the Coconut Nests.. NOT the eggs with coconut cream filling.. these nests are milk chocolate and toasted coconut shaped like a bird nest and then topped with 3 jelly beans to look like eggs. I usually fed the jelly beans to my dog!  (I hate jelly beans) Now I give them to my husband. :-)  You can now get a Coconut Wreath at Christmas, making this treat available at other times of year. But I still look forward to it at Easter.  Takes me back to my childhood.

Awww Easter candy.. need to up the walking to get ready!