Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fresh Corn Salad

I cooked corn on the cob yesterday for supper and made about four extra ears for a fresh corn salad.  I'm grilling chicken tonight and having fresh green beans from the garden too.  Then, we're going swimming!

Fresh corn salad

about 4 ears of corn, cut off the corn with the a sharp knife and then rub the dull end of the knife down the cob to get out the milky part.
1 large tomato or about a cup of cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup either italian dressing or ranch dressing, depending on your taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for about a hour before serving. 

This is also great served on a bed of lettuce with grilled chicken.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sweet Corn

A good friend of mine got me a bushel of sweet corn while I was away at camp! The same good friend that gave me my kefir start.  She is some good friend! 

While I was outside, sitting under my big oak tree shucking corn, (this was the same tree I killed the BIG snake a few weeks ago), I was thinking back to childhood.  My mom would buy several bushels of sweet corn to put up for winter.  My sister and I were supposed to shuck the corn while my mom was blanching the corn and putting it in the freezer.  Invariably, we would start throwing corn silk, shucks and eventually, the worms at each other.  Mom would have to run outside and yell to get us back on track so she could get the corn put away.

I don't put up corn on the cob for winter.  It takes up so much freezer space I'd rather use for blueberries and blackberries and such.  I say, eat corn on the cob all summer long so we're tired of it by fall! 

I cooked up a pork tenderloin tonight and served it with old german tomatoes and corn on the cob.  Perfect summer meal!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sweet Home!

Well, I made it! I survived four days at kid's camp.  Sure wasn't as bad as I had imagined.  I truly thought it would be the worst four days I would ever spend.  Yes, it was hot.  It felt like it was over 100 degrees each day.  Yes, I did sign up to sponsor the canoeing.  Met new people, had a great view and got to sunscreen over twenty kids each day.  Plus, I got to tell stories about fishing and boating on the lake I grew up on.  Yes, we had campers get really homesick.  Helped them through it so they conquered it and now feel like they are well on their way to being a big kid!

I had a few first times too.  Take one of our showers for example.  I had never taken a shower with a garden hose.  Turns out, it kind of feels like a shower pic.  You know the ones that massage your back?  Well, one of the showers had no head, just a metal pipe that stuck out of the wall.  Actually felt pretty good and really rinsed the soap out of your hair!

Another plus, I really prayed.  Most of the time, I was mentally praying for someone or something.  Example, when I was showering with the garden hose, I was also praying that when I closed my eyes to wash out the soap from my hair that a snake would not come up the uncovered drain.  I also prayed and prayed that I would not have to eat macaroni and cheese (not my favorite food!), the cooks thought they had run out when I got up to get my plate! They found the extra pan just as I was walking away! God sometimes works in big ways and little ways!

It was really a joy to see campers grow in their faith while at camp.  It was also a joy to see campers come to know Christ at camp.  It was a joy to get away from the cell phone(very little service), tv, newspaper and all the other stuff that grabs my attention. It was a joy to have my daughter come up to me, hug me and say 'I'm glad you're here'. 

Kid's camp.  Something I'll never forget!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Church Camp

By the time most of you read this, I'll be on my way with over fifty very high energy third through sixth graders to kids camp.  Please pray for me because being a camp counselor is not something that I think I do well.  The last time I was a counselor, my own children were not even born!  I get tired of the late nights, the never-ending activities and the early mornings.  I tend to like things a little more in my control and more orderly.  I always end up having a good time, learning new things and getting in touch with God in a more personal way though so this time, I do have a bit more positive attitude than some times before. 

The other counselors that are going are friends so I'm looking forward to spending some time with them.  I know most of the kids that are going and looking forward to getting to know them a bit more and it's my daughters last year at kid camp so I'm going to enjoy seeing her finish her last year at a child's camp and enter into the world of youth!  I am also looking forward to some quiet alone time with God.  I need to sort out what He wants me to do next year. 

As a teacher that quit mid-year last year, I'm itching to find out what's next for me.  So far, God has pretty much been silent on the subject.  I feel like He's been asking me questions about why I feel the need to find something else to do besides being a mom, a volunteer for everything under the sun, a wife who's not nearly as stressed as when she was working, a homeschool teacher for my son and the list goes on and on.  I seem to need to fill every waking minute with something and maybe He needs me to take a break and just be still.

I'm hoping that this week, I can work through some of my questions and get to some answers.  Pray for me and my little charges.    We can look forward to a fun, frantic and hopefully, soul-searching week!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blueberry Salad

Love this salad for supper during blueberry season!  It also works for strawberry, blackberry, peach and whatever fruit is in season.  It's just especially tasty with blueberries! 

I usually serve it at a entire meal with maybe a little bread on the side by slicing a grilled chicken breast on top.  It can be hot or cold. 

Blueberry Feta Salad

Fill a plate or bowl for each person with a couple handful of greens, you choose how much and what kind.  Baby greens or spinach is good
Add a handful of washed blueberries or sliced in-season fruit
Add 1/4 cup toasted pecans
2-3 tablespoons feta cheese
Slice a grilled chicken breast and lay on each serving.
Drizzle with homemade poppyseed dressing (see my post on  April 4 for the recipe)

This is best served outside! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Camps!

I don't know what I was doing back in April but apparently, there for just a little while, I lost my mind.  I volunteered to be a sponsor for two camps and teach bible school!  Bible schools not bad, I really enjoy doing it and getting to know the kids.  But overnight, sleepaway camp! And two of them! I'm questioning my sanity on that right about now. 

My daughter's last year at kid's camp is next week.  I won't be posting next week for obvious reasons.  Went to the sponsor meeting Sunday.  Why do we have to get up so early for camp?  Why do we have to stay up so late?  These are kids on summer break! Having breakfast at eight in the morning sharp is insane!  This may be why no one has ever asked me to do camp before.  But it's only for four days, my son's first Falls Creek experience is for seven full days! Not working full time has warped my brain.  Being with teenagers for a full seven days my be the end of me.  Maybe God's testing me like he did Job.  No, this might possible be worse than anything He did to Job! (that is a joke!)

I keep telling myself I'm building memories of this time and it will be so short that I'll be glad I did it.  I'll look back on it once I recover from the lack of sleep and laugh at all the good times.  I just hope I'm coherent the last few days of both camps to remember what happened!

I think next year, I'll volunteer my husband to go also! He! He! Misery loves company!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer in Oklahoma!

I know it's not officially summer yet but it sure feels like it in Oklahoma! With temperatures hovering around ninety and the humidity in the seventy percents, summer is here doesn't matter what the calendar says.  This is the time of year when I thank God that we have air conditioning and the money to pay for it. 

Gardening takes on a whole new meaning when it gets hot out.  I get outside by seven and hopefully, am done by ten or eleven.  Then, it's stay inside chores that will get done until after dinner.  After dinner, it's outside time either chores or pool time until it's bedtime.  I sometimes feel like a lizard that lives in a hot, hot dessert.  I stay under my rock until the sun goes down. 

One good thing about where our house is located is that it always has a pretty good breeze blowing around it.  I can sit out under a shade tree and feel really comfortable.  I used to ask my grandparents how they managed it when they were kids in the heat.  They actually would drag out the beds and sleep on cots in the backyard.  Everyone would!  If you lived in a neighborhood, the entire neighborhood would be sleeping on cots in the backyard.  I always thought that was funny, kind of like a giant church camp sleep-over!  I'm glad I have air conditioning and the ability to pay for it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My husband is a birder.  He loves to identify the birds by sight and song.  I like birds but really butterflies are more interesting to me.  We do have several feeders for seed eaters and nectar drinkers throughout our yard and lots of different nesting boxes too.

His biggest fight in the summer is with the resident sparrows who try to take over every box on the property.  He has tried several ways to discourage the nasty birds with very little success.  Mostly, he traps them and disposes of their bodies in the woods.  I know it sounds cruel and gross but these birds will kill song adult birds and their babies.  They are quite abit like a noxious weed!

He has been quite successful fighting the sparrows.  We have had two nestings of bluebirds so far and one of titmice, cardinals and several wrens.  It is interesting to see the eggs become babies and the babies become youth who leave the nest.  Most of the young birds are quite ugly, kind of like middle school kids.  I know that was the most terrible looking part of my life!  Everything seemed to be growing at a different speed.  Those poor birds look about the same.  Feathers of all sorts of colors, sticking out all over the place! I'm glad that part of my life is over! Now it's just all graying and drooping!

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my hummingbirds were missing.  They were nesting and now they are back, they have brought the new teens with them.  I thought one had the mange the other day but I realized that it just hadn't developed the colors of an adult.  It is fun to watch them interact with their parents.  Sometimes the parent will still feed the child but mostly, the parent is trying to get the kid to do something on his own. 

I can't remember if I'm writing about the birds or my own children! Sounds a bit like parenting teens.  I guess we're all in the same animal kingdom so parenting is very similar whatever animal you are. 

I'm looking forward to walking around tonight and checking the boxes.  It's a fun alone time with my husband. My birds will stay in the pool and wait until I bring them something to eat!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Easy Cream Pie!

This is the hit for summer around my house! As soon as I start getting strawberries in May, this pie gets made about once a week. sometimes I just make the cream filling and put it into little cups and dump berries on top.

Pet peeve of the week:  Alright, I know it's only Monday, I'll probably have five more before the week is out! But my recent pet peeve is people who go and pick or buy fresh berries and then go home and cook them!  Are you crazy! Eat those things just like God created them.  don't coat them in sugar or bake the soup out of them.  Eat them on cereal, in cream pies, by the hand fulls....they won't be around forever and then you can get the frozen ones out to bake with! Ok, I'm better now....back to the cream pie recipe.

Easy Cream Pie

1 graham cracker pie shell - I buy mine but you can make your own if you are so inclined.  I also sometimes make little ones by putting a nilla wafer in the bottom of a small bowl. 
1 large box jello cook pudding - Do not use instant, YUCK! This takes eight minutes to make in the microwave!
3 cups milk
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, I use the low/no fat kinds

Make pudding like the box says.  I use the microwave so I don't have to stand over it.  When the pudding is cooked, cut the cream cheese into 12-16 pieces and place in the hot pudding and stir like crazy until it has melted into the pudding.
Pour the mixture into a pie shell. 
You can let the mixture cool and fold the berries into it before adding it to the pie shell but since we don't eat an entire pie at one sitting, although I'd like to! The berries will get soggy and so will the crust.  I put the mixture in the pie shell and serve the berries on top.  This way, everybody can create their own berry pie by using various berries, mango, peaches, etc.  Top it if you want with whipped cream. 

This is also really good for breakfast if you can eat it before the kids wake up!

Friday, June 11, 2010


It's blueberry season in Oklahoma!  I love blueberries and used to pick gallons to put away for winter.  Then, my kids were born and spending hours out in the sun picking gallons of blueberries just didn't seem to work for me.  That's when I discovered that for just a few dollars more, the farm will pick for you! 

I've located a few reliable farms within an hours drive that I can call ahead and pick them up.  I have several friends that I also pick up gallons and gallons for freezing and just eating now.  I individually freeze the washed and drained berries on waxed paper on cookie sheets.  Once they are frozen, just a hour or two will freeze them, I put them into gallon bags.  They can be scooped out and used in various things over the winter.

It's so nice to have pancake night in December with a big bowl of blueberries to put all over the top!  We also use them in smoothies, muffins and to top off oatmeal.  I used to cool the oatmeal down when the kids were little by just throwing in a handful of frozen berries.  Now, the kids can handle the oatmeal a little warmer so I thaw them before adding but they taste like fresh and add so many nutrients to a bowl of homemade oatmeal. 

We also eat about a gallon a week while they are in season.  Cheerios and blueberries are so good during the months of june and july!  My daughter will mix up a bowl dry and eat them all day long!  I've also got a great cream pie recipe I'll share next week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Homemade Smoothies

My kids love smoothies and they are low fat and easy to make.  I can throw in all kinds of fruits to make them really healthy too!  The only problem is that they require me to make them and now that it's summer, each of us get up at different times! So this week, I've been planning to play with the recipe I have for smoothies to make an easy, kid-friendly recipe for one that each kid can make without me. 

Here's my latest version.  I really don't like using yogurt that is laden with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners so I use the plain yogurt.  You could use any yogurt though. I have a friend who is giving me a kefir starter so I will be trying it with that once I get it going.

Homemade Smoothies

2 Tablespoons frozen yogurt - this is plain yogurt that I have frozen on waxed paper by the tablespoon.  Not frozen yogurt like in ice cream!
1 cup frozen fruit- like blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cut up bananas, strawberries
1 1/2 cups milk, if milk is a problem, you can use juice and just omit the protein powder.
2 tablespoons sugar free instant breakfast powder or any protein powder.  I use the splenda instant breakfast in either vanilla or chocolate.

Blend in blender well. This makes enough for two medium smoothies or one large one for my son!

I have put the two tablespoons of frozen yogurt and the frozen fruit in baggies labeled smoothies in my freezer with the rest of the ingredients listed on the bag and have run through the blender instructions to my almost fourteen year old and twelve year old.  They are getting quite good at making their own!

I don't think this would be a good idea for younger kids but you could premix the yogurt and fruit for yourself and make it easy for you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Kate, my big black german shephard, is shedding.  I read somewhere that german shephards shed only one one time of the year, 365 days! I can believe it.  I've been brushing her every other day or so and each time, I get a hairball the size of a soccer ball off her.  I can't believe that so much hair can come from this dog.

She doesn't look as menacing as she did a month ago, she is beginning to look downright skinny.  Now I know why she looked so fat before.  She was carrying around fifty pounds of extra hair!  I could keep all the hair and stuff a comforter for winter with all the hair I've taken off.  But, alas, I haven't been keeping it.  First, the idea of stuffing something with it is just plain old gross! I can't believe I even thought about using it for something like that.  I guess that's just the way my mind wanders.  Secondly, I have to quickly take it away from her or she tries to eat it.  I think she thinks it's cotton candy or something.  I don't think she actually swallows it, no, she just chews it around in her mouth and I have to eventually pull it all out.  Gross again! 

If you actually knew me, and some of you do, you'd know just how absurd this last statement about me pulling out gross wet dog hair out of her mouth is!  I just don't do that! But, there I am, picking out dog hair from this dog's teeth......what has she turned me into!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Garden Update

I've been picking my first cherry tomatoes this week! I planted two different varieties of cherries and have been pleased with both.  I should be getting roma and old german before to awful long as hot as it's been! 

My striped zuchini is also coming along nicely, I've been picking and eating them also.  I made my sunday night frittata and used zuchini and onions from the garden.  I made an greek one using sauted zuchini, onion and garlic, some jarred brushetta and feta cheese.  If my spinach had made it one more week, I would have used that also but it got pulled last week to make way for swiss chard and lima beans.  My daughter likes lima beans so I planted some.  I'm not a great fan but I've never grown them before, I might change my mind when they are fresh!

I should be harvesting an eggplant and purple peppers this week and my pole beans are giving me a handful of beans almost every day.  I'm seeing a ratatoiulle in my future by the weekend!

My meal plans get a little on the fluid side in the summer months because of my garden.  I use what I've got so I'm generally only planning a nightly meat or bean to add to the bounty.  I love summer!  Some nights, I just put out what I've got with a little thinly sliced lunchmeat and cheese and we eat what I call 'antipasta', in Okie terms I think it means, 'whatever I've got plus some pickled veggies'!  My kids love that night because we usually eat out on the porch and it's totally finger food.  We tend to linger longer for dinner when we eat outside.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Learning new chores

My daughter is learning to mow.  She is extremely excited, pretty much all she talks about.  My husband is working with her to go slow and pay attention.  Everytime she gets the opportunity, she is sitting high on the old grasshopper waiting to mow!

My son thinks she's crazy.  He's been mowing for about three years now and it's no longer new and fun.  He was laughing at her the other night because she would rather mow than swim right now.  We had to remind him that when he first learned to mow that he loved doing it too.  He said, 'but that was when it was fun, now I HAVE to do it!' And he's correct.  He's been given that chore for several years. 

That seems to be most of our problem.  When we first learn something new, it's fun and exciting.  But when it suddenly becomes a chore, we lose interest and begrudingly do it.  I feel that way about housework.  Right now, I'd much rather be outside doing almost anything, even mowing!  The problem with housework is that it never seems to get done because once you're finally finished, it's time to start over!  I have worked this over in my mind and finally came up with the idea that I am blessing my family by keeping a clean and orderly home.  I am teaching my children what a home should look like.  I am blessing my husband when he comes home from a hectic day at the office with a serene, well sometimes serene, home. 

Housework will never be fun for me.  I will always rather be outside.  But I can look at this everyday chore as a way to bless my family.  For me, it takes the chore out of housework and puts the joy back in!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Have you ever looked at clouds? Not to scan the sky for tornadoes but laid on a blanket out in the back or front yard and did some serious cloud watching?  It was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid.  I'd usually get sidetracked by looking at the tree I was laying under but I guess that's part of the fun.  Just doing nothing.

Today, my kids don't do that often enough.  They think doing nothing is laying in the living room with the television showing some mindless cartoon or something on the disney channel.  Doing nothing to me means laying under a big tree on a blanket without my cell phone or an ipod.  Not knowing how much time has passed.  Not caring. 

Today is a good day to watch clouds.  Lots of nice fluffy ones going by.  Maybe I'll see an elephant or a castle in the sky.  It would be ok if the clouds move on, taking a nap under a big tree is pretty good too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mission Trips

Pray for me today.  My baby girl is leaving the state on a mission trip.  She's only been away from me a few times and always someplace safe with people that are either family or almost family.  Never on a mission trip to a homeless shelter.  Of course, she is with caring and loving adults. 

She's only going to be gone until Sunday night.  I know that she'll do well and this will be a learning experience. It's just really hard to see them grow up and do things without me! They are still supposed to be babies that are totally dependent on mom! 

Oh, I know in my heart that she still needs me, both of my kids do.  It just seems that this is the beginning of growing up and I don't think I'm really ready for this.  I'm proud that they both are involved and willing to volunteer to help others.  My husband and I have tried hard to show our kids that giving to others is very important.  It does seem to be working....but I'm not really sure that I like them doing it by themselves!

I just need everybody today to pray for me and for her and the other kids.  Especially me!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Call Me Snake-killer!

Ok, you know I don't like snakes.  Not just don't like, I hate snakes!  Any snake.  Last night, I had to kill a snake who had taken up residence in my yard.  And not just any snake, it was at least four feet long! 

It has turned really hot in Oklahoma the past few days and we're in for at least a week of over ninety degree days with very little rain.  I spent the last few days setting up my irrigation system for my extensive flower and vegetable gardens.  I have them on timers so I don't spend the entire day dragging hoses around.  But last night, I just felt like dragging a hose and doing a little watering and checking in on things around the garden.  I had drug the hose across the yard several times and finally set up my water system on one of my perimeter beds.  After doing all that, I was a dripping wet, sweaty, stinky person who needed a dip in the pool.  My daughter was already in the pool and the men folk were playing an evening round of golf. 

I cooled off in the pool awhile and decided that I really needed a dreamcicle.  The Schwan man has these low-fat dreamcicle bars that are to die for.  I grabbed my ice cream and went to turn off the water.  I started across the yard that I had crossed at least ten times already and froze.  I saw a very long black tapered tail!  It didn't belong to anyone who belonged in my yard!  I screamed, jumped and did my save me Jesus dance across the yard and ran to the garage in a panic.  Standing in my garage, in my swimsuit and flip-flops, holding my ice cream bar, I suddenly realized that the men were gone and I was on my own! 

I made a decision, I either had to kill the snake, or move to a different county.  I decided that I liked where we lived so I had to kill the snake.  I took off my flip-flops and put on my mudder boots.  I grabbed a post hole shovel, with a straight edge, and an axe.  Around the house I went.  My daughter had gotten out of the pool and was standing on the deck asking if I was ok.  I was still praying out loud and she was concerned. 

I called Kate, the big german shephard, thinking that she would be of help.  Boy was I wrong!  She took one look at the snake, who by this time was slithering up the oak tree, and went back to the pool.  Some guard dog!  I decided that the only thing that she will attack is a man with a beard carrying a stick or wand.  So if Merlin the wizard ever comes to attack me, she'll help me!

I finally decided to cut the snakes head off with the straight edge of the shovel.  I handed my daughter the axe and told her to 'stand back'.  I pinned that snake to the tree but it wouldn't die!  I'm sure if a person had walked up it would have made  funny picture.  A lady in big green boots wearing a swimsuit screaming and praying holding a shovel up to a tree!  That stupid snake wouldn't die!  I finally got it onto the ground and cut off it's head with the axe. 

After we were sure that the snake was a goner, I realized that I hadn't finished my ice cream! I apparently had just dropped it when I saw the snake.  All that was left was a very clean stick, my guard dog had eaten my dreamcicle!  I put all the snake-killing equipment back in the garage, took off my boots and got me another icecream bar.  I felt like I deserved it!

My husband said the snake was a good snake, that it ate rats and mice.  I don't care.  I think I like rats and mice better than snakes.  When it moves in my yard, it is as good as dead!  Just call me the snake-killer! Oh, and my daughter said she was proud of me, I killed it without help from dad!  But she did say I was pretty funny while I did it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Birthday

On Sunday, I turned 43.  Big deal! I've been saying that I'm 43 for a couple of months.  It drives my daughter positively crazy.  Apparently, I can't say I am older than I am.  I say, if I claim it, I own it and will get to be 43 for at least a year! I sometimes play mind games with myself to justify some of the crazy things I think!

Aging has never bothered me.  I think it's because I've always had an old soul.  I seem to always enjoy the company of older women.  Older women don't try to compete with one another as much.  They also just accept you as you are.  I think as we age, we tend to overlook other people's faults because we can finally see that maybe, just maybe, we aren't as perfect as we thought we were. 

I don't feel older.  I actually only feel like I'm in my twenties which would be weird since I have an almost fourteen year old and a twelve year old!  I can remember one of my grandpa's saying that he always felt about twenty-seven years old.  I don't know why he felt twenty-seven.  I should have asked him.  He used to tell me that even though his body didn't do what he wanted it to do anymore, his mind was as sharp as it used to be.  He was a very spry old man and a lot of fun to be around!  He played the fiddle missing two fingers on one hand better than most people with all their fingers.  I would dance around and sing and sing when he played.  I wish he could play today for my children but he passed away when they were too little to remember much about him. 

He also said that he knew that we had an eternal soul because his soul never aged.  As I get older, I understand what he meant.  Just as he felt twenty-seven when he was seventy, I don't feel any older on the inside.  My soul hasn't aged one bit all these years.  I think that's the age I will be in heaven and it does seem that I feel about twenty-seven.......