Saturday, July 18, 2009

Catching Up

Thank you all so much for your anniversary wishes!! We had a lovely time celebrating. We had dinner outside on a rooftop overlooking the city. Despite the very cold temperatures and the windy storm clouds above, we enjoyed some really good food:

Cornish Hen with blueberry sauce:

I'm afraid this post is long -- I've been taking so many pictures and just want to post them before we leave on vacation.
I made some cakes for a shower for Margaret this past week. This one was a lemony white cake with cherry filling and cherries on top. Very bridal looking:

The most popular cake was this carrot cake, which I'll need to share the recipe for someday. It is so good!

I managed to find something pretty to wrap my present in:

We had a scrumptious pizza earlier this week -- pre-cooked homemade base, spread with ricotta cheese, topped with assorted veggies such as mushrooms, red onions, then mozzarella and then zucchini on top. I sprinkled herbs and lemon zest on top after it was cooked:
The garden is flourishing!!! I'm going to pick our first squash today. I think the tomatoes and beans will start arriving when we return from vacation:

I've spent several days washing all the wool I ripped out from thrifted sweaters. It took awhile to get it all through the process, but I now have plenty of wool for winter knitting. I wonder what the neighbors think?

We pitted and froze 30 pounds of cherries this week. A messy job, but the kids enjoyed it. :)

Another knitting project is off the needles:

Summer food is so beautiful and delicious!

The first peppers from our garden:

Sunday afternoon tea:

How strange to look down and notice one is eating an entirely YELLOW dinner!

Suze and I had a food fun night where we made various items. Suze brought several types of shrimp -- I made pizza. Well, we didn't plan beforehand, but it was still good together!

Another yummy summer meal of fresh pasta, salad from the garden and roasted sausage with veggies:

It's so fun to pick lettuce from the garden!

London Broil was recently on sale for $2 a pound. Four pounds fed us and company for 2 meals!!! Definately a good deal:

Tomato quiche (More With Less Cookbook) -- a good summer dinner:

And now, I am off to shop, pack, cook, organize, email, pay bills, plan Sunday School, and otherwise prepare for being gone for 2 weeks. See you in August!

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Years

Today Michael and I celebrate 10 years of marriage!!! Amazing. I can hardly believe that much time has past. Then I think of our kids and the fact that Rachel will be 9 this year and most likely that is half of what her time at home will be. I don't want to think about it.....
Marriage has been better than I hoped for, despite the fact that together we have weathered several difficult storms over the past 10 years, poor health being one of them.
God has been very good to us and I am just so thankful to have Michael as my husband. And now, on to the next 10 years of marriage!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reasons Not to Move to the Country

Just finished this hilarious little read: Reasons Not to Move to the Country: One woman's calamitous attempt to live the rural dream, by Judy Rumbold.
Rumbold uses humor to contrast her previous life in London with her new life in the English countryside. Chapters are very short and topic-related: using the Aga, rural shopping, chintz, noise, smells, driving.
Rumbold's writing would be hard to take in large chunks since she uses such extreme and plentiful adjectives. However, I found it entertaining to read in bits and pieces.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time is Fleeting

Time is flying by and I feel I scarcely have time for blogging or keeping caught up on my blog reading. Summer is happening.

Aren't these radishes pretty?! They are the best of what came out of the garden (as far as radishes go). Next time I'm going to stick with regular red radishes, and hope that they won't be as spicy as these varieties.

This week is very busy, getting ready for our vacation and everything else going on around here. Poor Michael had to cancel going out to the wedding he was to be in! He's been very sick with this virus and is still not over it. The doctor has promised him improvement soon, so we hope he is right!

Cherries are on sale for 97 cents a pound this week (Marsh) so I bought a bunch to freeze. It was fun to look at the receipt and read that I'd saved $109 on cherries. :) What a gimick! I also bought a cherry pitter, since I've put it off for 3 years. Let me tell you, they are worth the money!!!

I've got a sewing project I must tackle tonight -- a surprise for the kids for the vacation. Michael needs a haircut as well and tonight is the only night. I think I'll be busy for a few hours.

Oh, good news in the eye department. I don't need bifocals. It appears that my astigmatism has gotten considerably worse. A new prescription should fix the problem and clear up the headaches!! I hope the doctor is right.

Well, I better get started on the bedtime routine for the kids.

Calm My Anxious Heart

I just finished Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow and recommended to me by Catherine. This book is every bit as good as Catherine described, and I have followed suit in ordering a copy for myself, and actually another to give away.
Calm My Anxious Heart deals with the issue of contentment and trusting God with whatever circumstances He has allowed in your life. Some of the chapter titles include:
Content with Circumstances
Content to be Me
Content with my Role
Content in Relationships
Worry is Like a Rocking Chair
Trusting God with the What Ifs
Trusting God with the If Onlys
Trusting God with the Whys
It wasn't until I got to the middle of the book that I found what she was saying to be very applicable to my life right now. I had never really thought of contentment as the opposite of anxiousness or of worry.
This book is challenging and comforting all at the same time. Dillow is a very transparent and real writer and shares many lessons from her own life. I do highly recommend this book.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How To Pick A Peach

I have really enjoyed reading How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons. This is a great book for foodies, and those interested in knowing more about the food we buy at the grocery store, how to pick out the best fruit and veg, how to store and prepare your purchases.

The book is organized by seasons and is further broken down into small chapters on each fruit or veg available in that season here in the USA. Parsons gives the names of the varieties available in our typical grocery store and the genetic histories of these foods. While it may sound boring, it's really not. For instance, the varieties of strawberries we eat change almost constantly as new and better (for mass-sale) varieties are developed. On the other hand, we are still buying the same variety of lemons that our ancestors were purchasing 100 years ago.

At the end of each chapter Parsons includes a few appetizing recipes and suggestions for using each fruit and veg. All in all, it was a great book to have near the kitchen and read in snatches as I had the time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I love summer! And today was a nice summer day -- cool enough to wear jeans in the morning, enough rain to water the plants, and a lovely sunshiney evening with perfect temp. Everyday doesn't always bring such pleasant weather, but I have been enjoying the cooler summer this year.

And, it is so nice to be out of school! I wake up in the morning without that responsibility on my shoulders of getting the kids through their lessons. It seems we spend quite a bit of time on housework though, and 90% of the time I feel like it doesn't even make a dent! I was reading over at Sally Clarkson's blog and she said something about how her house is "always in the process of being in and out of messes." That's my house for sure. But, maybe that's where life takes place -- in the messes. So maybe I should be happy that there's a lot of "life" going on around here.

I've decided I need an eye checkup. I'm admitting that I've been avoiding knitting because it strains my eyes and gives me a headache. I hope it's not time for bifocals! I thought that was a nother 10 years down the road!

Preparations are underway for a family vacation in another week. We are actually GOING AWAY for vacation this year. This will be our first trip away since returning from Scotland. I think we are all excited, despite the 20 hours of driving each way. It sure takes a lot of organizing to ready 6 people for being away from home for 2 weeks. Next week is going to be hectic with a bridal shower, our 10th anniversary and family birthday celebrations (oh, and all the packing too!).

Maybe I won't think about all that tonight. Michael is sick with whatever the children had last week. He's due to leave for Pittsburgh first thing in the morning for a wedding this weekend. I need to go get that suitcase packed and then maybe sit and do something relaxing (not knitting) to try and get rid of the headache I incurred this afternoon.

Back to the subject of this post: summer. It certainly is flying by quickly. But there is so much to enjoy! The colors around are just gorgeous, the fruits and veg are amazing, beautiful and inspiring, and watching the children have fun makes me happy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July

We managed to have a fun Fourth of July, despite the cool weather and rain. I think it's a tradition now to watch the Sheridan parade:

This was an elaborate float:

And a very cute red fire engine:

This is for Lovella especially:

This one too:
The parade ends with the tractor parade:

It's fun to watch tractors of all shapes and sizes and colors roll by:

The best part is catching all the candy that is thrown:

After the parade we headed to the local park for a picnic under the trees. The children played on the playground for awhile and then we went home for naps.
Christina hosted an indoor BBQ at her house in the evening.
Bethany and Rusty (soon to be married) put together the trifle:
We had strawberry pie, raspberry pie, blueberry pie and sugar cream pie, along with trifle:

The children enjoyed it all!

And before we headed home there were sparklers in the garage (out of the rain). Maybe next year it will be warmer and sunnier. But, we all still have some good memories!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Felted minis are out! I must admit that I like them even more than the full-sized felted flowers. They are so cute!!! These are attached to alligator clips, just perfect for little girls' hair.

I don't have any in the Etsy shop yet, but am still trying to decide how to sell them: in pairs, single, etc.
And, a price has to be determined. They take as much, if not more, time than the large felted flowers, which is a shame, since I think minis could be even more popular than full-size.

The flowers pictured are all gone now, but I think I'm going to have to make some more very, very soon because they are just too cute!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

From Skirt to Dress

Rachel and I have been working together on a summer dress for her. The dress was originally a Ralph Lauren skirt that I couldn't pass up at a Goodwill 50% off sale. I knew the skirt wouldn't look good on me, but I figured it could be turned into something.

We used a store-bought pattern but adjusted it here and there to fit the shape we had to work with.

Rachel is pleased with the results, so that's what matters! :) (You can click on the picture to enlarge it -- we utilized the button band that ran down the center of the skirt, adding a few additional button holes to the bodice. We also kept the bottom of the skirt in tact, cutting it to the height of the original pattern and just gathering it up a lot.)

On the sewing front, a friend sent me the link to the sewing blog of Paula Prass. Paula is from our area and her blog is beautiful! She also has some terrific links to other sewing sites.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Making Jam

Christina and I got together to make jam last week. It's something we love to do. Cooking up fruit and ladling it into jars makes us feel like we are "playing house." It's a lot of work, and perhaps not extremely cost-effective, but it pays dividends in "feel goodness."

Tea was a necessary companion.

We made jars and jars of strawberry freezer jam and then took the plunge with the cherries we picked to make some proper cherry jam. It came out quite well!

The color of fresh strawberry jam is just amazing!

Now we are contemplating what's next. Black raspberries are in season, but it takes hours and hours of work in our woods, over days and days, to pick enough and I just don't feel like pushing for it. Perhaps raspberries will be the thing.