Sunday, July 31, 2011

My roots are showing

My southern roots, that is.

Exhibit A: Tomato Pie

(we had this for dinner tonight)


And just so y'all know how southern I truly am, the side dish was okra straight from the garden.


The recipe:


Tomato Pie


1 batch of biscuit dough*
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2-3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. flour
1 small sweet onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup mayo-mustard blend (I use 1 part dijon, 2 parts mayo)


Pat bicuit dough into bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

Toss tomato slices in flour; arrange one layer of tomato slices over cheese. Sprinkle evenly with half the onion, basil, salt and pepper. Repeat procedure.


Stir together the remaining cheese and mayo-mustard blend, and spread over top of pie. Bake at 400 degrees for 24 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


*My biscuit dough:

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 butter/shortening/oil (use whatever you prefer)
3/4 cup milk

If your garden is gifting you with tons of tomatoes too, I highly recommend this pie! I look forward to making it every summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good to Know

"God is true: he has a long memory for his own promises and a short memory for our failures to keep ours."

---from the morning readings in my Magnificat

Yarn Along: New Territory

I am joining Ginny again this week since I have just cast on a new project.

My tendency is to knit small, quick projects that give near instant gratification. I do try to learn some new technique each time and I have definitely jumped into uncharted territory! Actually, I am knee deep in chart reading! That's new. So is lace. So is lace weight yarn! And I am going to be adding beads in a few not so short rows. (363 stitches on the needles right now!) I am trying this pattern from Ravelry, but will add beads instead of the nupps.

The yarn is so fragile, so delicate and soft, and so colorful. The more closely you look, the more colors you notice.

I am ever so nervous about messing up. Hopefully this will become more relaxing as I gain confidence!

I am still reading "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. The bookmark lets me know that my time with this story is almost over. I will miss the story, the people, the land. Don't you just love it when a book can make you feel like you are right there, living it?





Friday, July 22, 2011

Seven Quick Takes

--1--


One man's logic: If I can get a free bag of M&M's at the gas station when I buy at least 8 gallons of gas, then I should only buy 8 gallons of gas at a time, thereby maximizing my free M&M intake.


It logically answered my question as to why my husband was only partially filling the gas tank in my van for the last couple of weeks. Oh, and I do appreciate that he does this for me!


--2--


Nature is brutal, but amazing. While driving to swim lessons with the kids, we were stopped at a traffic light on the water's edge. We saw a bird dive down to the water's surface, skim the water with its feet, and as it flew upwards, we saw that it had caught a fish in its talons! That fish was struggling mightily and the bird was fighting to stay aloft. The bird was the victor in that battle of nature, and we drove on to the pool in awe of what we witnessed.


--3--


My daughter just called to let me know she made it to work. This was her maiden voyage as a licensed driver with no one else in the car. How do other parents do this? I was on pins and needles, not to mention on my knees in prayer, from the moment she left the house till the phone rang.


--4--


Sometime between 10 and 1 today, the A/C repairman will show up. How about that for bad timing? As we lay down last night to go to bed, the temperature inside the house was a balmy 89. A good and generous neighbor lent us their window A/C unit. We had a sleepover in our bedroom. I am praying that this will be a quick and inexpensive repair.


--5--


Fort Monroe is where my husband has been stationed for the last couple of years. Maybe we are just lazy when we say it, or maybe we are just too southern.


Jack: "Fort Monroe. I almost get it. I mean, it's a fort and there's men, but I just don't get the row part."


--6--


It's almost too hot for coffee this morning.


--7--


It is too hot to bake zucchini bread today. I'll have to make a change of plans. I have seriously contemplated bringing the kiddy pool inside!


Thanks to Jen, our wonderful host!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

28/52

A few nights ago, Tony was grilling our dinner, when a storm blew up rather quickly. All day, the air had been oppressive and weighed you down like a heavy burden. The storm rolled in on cool bursts of wind that swirled the tree branches mightily. I opened the back door to listen to the storm, with it's brilliant lightning and thunder like cannons. And when the storm had passed, the air was crisp and new and light.

I feel just like that: renewed.


The coming storm


Orange Cinnamon Loaves
Sophie requested these for her birthday
recipe coming soon!

We returned to Busch Gardens yesterday, with a stern lecture about NOT trying on hats this time around! I don't want to bring home more uninvited guests.


It's best to capture Jack on film candidly. I'm thinking I should have cropped this one!


Oh, how she loved the little fountains of water coming out of the ground! She squealed with delight and tried to catch the water in her sweet little hands.


All I can say is...I am glad it is not me on this ride! They even went a second time and it would be hard to say who had the better time, Tony or Jack.


She talked her dad into playing the whack-a-mole game with her, and look what they won!



We all had a great time just being together. Too soon, she'll be headed back to Steubenville.


Here is Olivia, reluctantly agreeing to take Anna on the "Roman Rapids". It was no longer hot, and you have high odds of getting drenched on this ride.


See, I had a very good excuse why I couldn't go on the ride!


Back for more dizzying fun on the teacups!


Soaked, but still smiling! Thank you for making your little sister so happy!



Monday, July 18, 2011

19 Years Ago

Nineteen years ago, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I became a mother. That was the beginning of my vocation, although I didn't think of it like that then. I was awed and amazed at the tiny baby they placed in my arms. She was ours. I was overcome with tears of joy. My sweet Sophia Marie made us a family, made us parents, and has definitely made me a better person.

I will never forget that while in labor with Sophie, the nurses left the door open and I could hear their conversation in the hallway. It went something like this:

"She would deliver that baby in 15 minutes if the doctor would let us break her water."

"Yeah, but he is still on the back 9 of the golf course."

Had I not been a mere 21 and had no clue that I could or should speak up, I would have! Thanks to my doctor, I labored for 14 hours with Sophie. The rest of my babies have all been extremely short labors, the next longest being 4 hours, the shortest being 2 1/2 hours!

Today, she is such an amazing young lady. She has a job as a liveguard, she is studying math at a "passionately Catholic" university, and as of this very afternoon, is a licensed driver in the state of Virginia. Will I be a nervous wreck the first time she goes out on the road alone? You betcha!

Today, she requested Chicken Artichoke pot pie, but someone put my bird in the freezer when unloading groceries yesterday. That chicken has been "thawing" all afternoon and is still a solid chunk of ice. So, her birthday dinner will have to wait until tomorrow. Dessert, though, will be a pumpkin dump cake. It is more than decadent and delicious! No wonder she requests it each year. I will be going on the assumption that my dear friend who taught me to make bread knew what she was talking about when she said that anything you make in your own kitchen has no calories!

***edited to add the recipe***

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 29 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 12oz. can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first six ingredients until well blended, and pour batter into a 9x13 inch greased pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top, and then cover with pecans. Pour melted butter over top. Bake for 50 minutes. Top with whipped cream, or serve with ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yarn Along- Stashbuster Edition

Does anyone else have a basket full of leftover yarn? Every so often, I get the urge to purge our house of clutter. Now is one of those times and all those balls of yarn? Yep. They are on my list.

I found this quick and easy pattern for a market bag on Ravelry. I may keep it or it may be given away if I am still in the purging mode when I am finished knitting. Either way, I like it.

I took Ginny's advice and started a Willa Cather novel. Each night, after I read to Jack and Anna, I sit in their room while they fall asleep. I bring in my book and read a chapter or two, until I hear the soft, rhythmic breaths that let me know my children are peacefully resting. Sometimes I read one more chapter in the soft light coming from their little lamp, enjoying the quiet moment.

Thank you Ginny for recommending this author, and for being such a lovely host!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

27/52

I really like the idea of a weekly photo journal. I just don't seem to be able to keep up!


Here we have paper flowers that Anna made for me. With most of our toys either in bags or in the freezer for a while, she has returned to her crafts.


The haircuts.


"If you don't know what you are doing, why are you trying to cut my hair?"


Tip of the week: Don't let boiling water splash on your stomach. Don't, I tell you.

My boy and his train.


This is now in the freezer, just in case.

It's a market bag in the making.


Today's harvest from the garden!!


Zucchini


Okra, bean and cucumbers, with some volunteer tomatillos

Tomatoes, and another view of the cucumbers overflowing the beds.


Thanks to the very sweet Barbara for hosting, even if I don't join in every week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hope

"In the evening, when our strength is worn low by the day behind us and the darkness of night awaits us, it is easy to grow downcast. Let us then put our hope in Christ our Savior, our strength and our joy."

-from the Prayer for the Evening in my Magnificat


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

From the Trenches

After the one week mark of finding head lice on Anna, we are still deep in battle with these bad bugs. On Sunday, I put our coconut oil treatment on her head and waited the eight hours to comb it out and check her hair. I had hoped that I wouldn't find anything in her hair and life could resume. But when I combed through her hair, I found two more bugs! ARRRGGHHH! I broke down, I will admit it. It was not pretty. It was pathetic. And then, I found a bug on Jack. I broke down all over again. I knew it was coming though...

Sophie had agreed to watch Jack and Anna while Tony and I took an evening walk. Therese was already in bed. All she had to do was read them a bedtime story. Only problem, she put herself to sleep! We came back home and could not find Jack or Anna. We looked in their bedroom, my room, the downstairs, nothing! I was growing panicked, thinking they left the house to look for us. I went through the den again and noticed the closet door was ajar. They were lying there together, sound asleep, with their heads touching!!!


So, I hauled Jack into my bathroom and pulled out the clippers. He is a boy, a soldier's boy, and a buzz cut is what he got. Not that I would do that to Anna, but it sure is a lot easier than combing through her thick hair every day!


The laundry. Oh, the laundry! Every day, all the sheets, all the towels, all the clothes. Not to mention the diapers. It takes me about 90 minutes each day to vacuum the house and furniture each day.


To add to that, the zucchini is coming in. I am so glad for that, but the timing is bad. I made eight pints of zucchini relish this week, we have had zucchini muffins for breakfast, grilled zucchini with our dinner most nights, and tonight? Zucchini lasagna folks! The cucumbers are right behind them, and I am really looking forward to making my grandmother's recipe for pickles.


We all have cabin fever here, but I so scared to leave the house. We did not go see the fireworks, and I knew the kids would be disappointed, yet God helped me out on that one. Thunderstorms in our area forced the cancellation of the fireworks. So it wasn't me that was the bad guy for once this week.


I long for the day that we can officially say this is all over. Till then, here we are, hunkered down in the trenches of bug warfare.











Oh, and by the way, look who decided to start walking before she is 10 months old!!!!



video

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rolling with the Punches

The other day, I was pondering how to recognize God's will vs. my own. I hadn't really come to any conclusion until Sunday morning. That's when Anna came to me and told me her head itched. I know, it doesn't sound like it could lead to a spiritual breakthrough, but that's where you'd be wrong. I had recently read another blogger's woeful tale of head lice, and Jamie's story is what prompted me to look at her head. My heart sank as I saw a little critter in her hair. How could this happen? What was I going to do?

After determining that Anna seemed to be the only one with this predicament, I went into action. (Well, actually first I cried.) I got on the internet and started researching what to do. This is how I cope with things, I research them ad naseum. I sent Tony for the special comb and then decided to send an e-mail to Jamie to seek advice from someone actually living it. She was an absolute angel. I was pretty distressed about the whole thing, for the amount of work involved in getting rid of lice effectively is daunting to say the least. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say I am pooped!

Back to God's will vs. mine. I came to the conclusion that it is not so much trying to figure what He wants, but how we handle what He gives. I have had some good moments and some very not so good moments this past week.

Here are some good things that came out of this yucky situation:

1. with most of the toys either in the freezer or in bags in my closet, the house is much neater.

2. I got to talk to one of my virtual sisters in Christ and I can say that she is such a sweetheart that it almost makes me want to go to Minnesota. Almost. I don't like cold.

3. I spent lots more time in prayer this week.

I thought the head lice thing was enough, but God realized I need lots of practice handling His will with grace. The A/C went out this week too. Thank the Lord it was simply replacing a worn out part. The other thing I am not ready to talk about, but it is a biggy, and I need prayers people. Hopefully I can share this with you in a few weeks.