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!