The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up with Canadagirl

Yay!  I'm participating this week in Weekly Wrap-Up!  I'm a beginner in the blogging world, but thanks to my blog angel my blog is really my blog.  I know she understands; I hope you do, too!  It has been a busy, upside-down week.  As I sit here in front of the fan trying to refuse to think about turning the a/c back on, I'll wrap things up.  :)

In my Home
Daily cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. are all running smoothly, thanks to the help of my young men.  They've been great about grabbing the dry laundry and folding, sorting, and distributing it all.  It's nice to walk back to the task room (my pantry/laundry/mud room) and see mostly empty baskets.  Due to my compulsion to get things done, it's nice to check these chores off my list for the week.  I've accomplished something!  :)

Joe has come down with a nasty cold, and I think Danny and Thomas are next.  Joe is doing better today, but the others still have a few hard days first.  I feel so bad for them, while at the same time praying that I don't get sick!

In my Homeschool/College
Jacob is enjoying all his classes at the community college, which began this past week.  It helps that Danny is taking Rhetoric with him.  Their teacher is rather free-spirited, and doesn't care about grammar, which of course is both good and bad.  Danny has declared that she's weird, because she showed off her new tattoo (don't worry; it was only the already-exposed shoulder), and used "colorful metaphors" (Danny's words).

Thomas and I have worked together a bit this week, easing into full-time academic work next week.  My little guy is already 14 and doing all high-school level work now, which is practically incomprehensible to me.  We've already had some good times together, and even enjoyed a walk together to the bank then the grocery store.  He was in a chatty mood.  It was fun.  'Nuff said.

In my Kitchen & Garden
I picked lots of tomatoes this week, but as I've noticed white flies here and there, I don't think I'll have too many more.  Yesterday I had a pot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove, and it went into the freezer.  The beets are actually growing--I left them in since they sat like lumps all summer.  I'll check on them in the next few weeks.  I also picked a few carrots; they were slim but not too terribly bad.  I'll let them grow some more, especially as we're supposed to have more hot weather in the next several days.

Next year I've decided to limit my three raised-bed gardens to just a few different veggies, instead of a little of everything.  It was fun to try new things, but I need a year of sticking to the basics.

I tried from memory a mostly-veggie pizza with great success, from a recipe I had lost.  You basically shred zucchini, add an egg and some Italian spices, pour it into an edged pizza pan that has been liberally sprinkled with cornmeal, and bake it for 10-15 minutes.  Then you remove it and add your normal pizza toppings; I added sauteed onions, olives, chopped green pepper, and Italian sausage from the farmer's market.  Top with sauce and cheese, and back in the oven.  It turned out fantastic.  One piece is left in the fridge, for me!  :)

At my Project Desk
I'm not a needlecraft person, and haven't really completed any other projects this week.  I did make an engagement card for the daughter of a church friend last week.  In the next few weeks I have to make a wedding card for the same young lady.  I hope to use the tissue-paper flowers she had included in her wedding invitation, as well as some of the invitation paper.  We'll see how that goes.  I always agonize over the design!

On my Nightstand
My Bible is usually the only book on my nightstand, and I've enjoyed reading through Galatians with my husband every morning at 7am.  It's a nice way to wake up--together, talk, read the Word, pray, talk some more.  I'm thankful that he has to drive only four miles to work; we usually have time to be leisurely every morning!  This week, I've expressed thanks to the Lord for not having to be under the Law.  A few verses that have stuck out:

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Galatians 3:27

"And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise."
Galatians 3:29

I've had the sense that the Lord is leading me in a different direction this year.  Just in the last three weeks, He has removed most of my tutoring jobs through one circumstance or another.  No Spanish class, no French class.  No new flute students.  And of my returning flute students, two sisters will come every once in a while, and the other one will be here every other week.  I've gone from teaching every day except Wednesday to teaching Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that only every few weeks!

My husband commented, "Y'know, the Lord gave you all that tutoring business last year, which enabled you to buy all your camera equipment.  He might be leading you in that direction."

Now, when my husband says something like that to me, I usually perk up.  Fernando is so good about keeping the extraneous out of my life, whereas I am the one who wants to say "yes" to everything.  God has given me a good protector!  So when Fernando came out with that statement, I filed it.  I'm now waiting to see what God will do in the photography department!

Typical Thomas.  It looks gross, but it's just a giant pink marshmallow.

Another benefit to "no tutoring" is that I get to spend lots of time with Thomas, who is just entering high school.  We are going to be spending lots of time together, one-on-one, and we've never had that much before.  He is such a people person, and has always stuck his elbow in on everything his three older brothers are doing.  Now he gets me all to himself.  And I get lots of him.  Thomas is my most fascinating son, in that he is always busy, and loves to laugh.  He has a quick mind, and isn't afraid to use it.  We butt heads a lot, since we're opposite in personality.  It will be interesting, and challenging, but I know the Lord has worked out my circumstances for the good of our relationship.  What a great year it will be to establish a solid one-on-one relationship with my "little guy!"  I'm looking forward to treasuring up chests-ful of memories.  :)

Back to life,

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blueberry Breakfast Bake


Nice morning.  Aaahhh, and enjoying a cup of coffee (rare for me; it's usually tea) and a little cup of oatmeal as I sit and reflect on this past week.

Life is still overwhelming, with getting boys settled either at the junior college (Jacob full-time, Danny part-time), settled in homeschool (Danny, then Thomas full-time), and trying to help Joe feel better (bad cold, poor guy).  My arbor bench is calling, but so is my garden, the laundry, school schedules, flute arrangements for church...  I'm overwhelmed.

I recently discovered this wonderful recipe, which I've now made a handful of times, when we picked our blueberries last month.  It makes a wonderful breakfast with a little pure maple syrup drizzled over.  Or, you really could have some for dessert!  I modified the recipe, as I tend to do, to fit our nutrition needs and tastes, and here is what I came up with.

I made this up at the Lake this year, which meant I got out my camera and snapped a shot.  :)  I like the recipe because it doesn't use too many blueberries--we have to ration those to last the year--and it's just sweet enough for breakfast.  I think of it as French toast with some blueberries and cream cheese.  Yum.

Blueberry Breakfast Bake

loaf of firm bread, sliced and cubed (I use homemade fresh whole-wheat), divided
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided (can use more if you like)
6-8 ounces cream cheese (to your taste), cut in cubes
12 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cube bread and cream cheese.  Grease (I use olive oil) 13x9 baking dish.  Place a little over half the bread cubes in the dish.  Scatter cream cheese cubes and one cup of blueberries over the bread.  Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries.  In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, maple syrup, and butter.  Carefully pour over bread mixture.  Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about one hour, covering with aluminum foil if edges brown too much.  To serve, cut in squares.  Accompany with additional maple syrup, if desired.

The last time I made it, I ended up with too much bread; if that happens, scramble some more eggs and add them over the top.  It was still good, though.  Can blueberries be bad?!?

Time for gardening then baking bread!

Back to life,

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Love: A Commitment to Steadfastness

Because I've been experiencing camera withdrawal symptoms all week, I've been thinking about my blogs--especially this one.  Looking back through my photos, I realized that I captured several great shots of my parents.  So I've been thinking about them, and the legacy--the heritage--they've given me.

Just the fact that they're married, and have been married this long while (48 years), is a testimony to the heritage they've created, even if they haven't realized it.  Though my own marriage is very different from theirs--anyone who knows my darling husband would know this--their steadfastness of commitment to each other shines through, and is reflected in my marriage to Fernando.

I've seen them laugh together.  I've seen them kiss.  :)  I've seen them fight and make up.  I've seen that love isn't a mushy gushy feeling; it is a solid, everyday commitment to one's spouse, in good times and bad, with ups and downs, all along the way, no matter what.

I grew up with safety and security in the knowledge that dads and moms stay together.  I never even thought about it until my adult years.

Their life isn't perfect.  Whose is??  But they are together.  The two as one.

A beautiful heritage of steadfast love.

Back to life,

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Few Calm Evenings

While at Lake Bonaparte, we enjoyed simply being away from home. For me, everyday life can become a bit tedious--especially when I lose my focus--but when I do those same things (wash dishes, prepare meals, etc.) at a different location, somehow the tasks transform themselves.  Part of that is because when the task was done, I usually grabbed my camera and headed toward the birdfeeder, or the dock, or the boat...  You get the picture.

We had a couple quiet days at the Lake, and I took only a few photos of sunsets.  That was mostly because there were no clouds.  Now, no clouds is nice, weather-wise, but for sunset photos, clouds really make the shot.  The Lord paints His beauty on the sky with so many different colors.  Especially when clouds drift by, one sunset can change a hundred times in 20 minutes.

Still, a cloudless sky makes for a peaceful, calm evening on the dock with my honey.

 Captured a bird in this one.  :)

Back to life,

visit my photography blog!
Captured by Christine Anne

Monday, August 23, 2010

Havin' Fun on the Lake

I've already posted my vacation photos on Facebook; however, since getting serious about photography, I've edited them all to reflect that leaning.  So, I'm reminiscing about our very recent vacation, and wanted to show y'all where we were and what we did for two weeks.  It'll be in small chunks, in case you get bored--who wants to see someone else's 200 vacation photos all in one sitting???  Or at all??  :)

So, if you're interested, early on in our vacation, we spent some time on the Lake.  My cousin Al freely lets us use his pontoon boat, which is super because there are six of us.  We boated, a few of us cast lures or roped (see below), Danny kayaked, we swam, and of course, we all played Frisbee.

Once Thomas got the hang of the rope, he used perfect form
Danny caught it on film; uh, print; uh, digitally, I guess.

Danny wished he could've kayaked more...

One of my favorite photos from vacation!

My dad followed behind us in the Cadillac (it used to be his dad's)

Yeah, we joke that Grandpa (my dad) is getting old, but he sure still does have fun!

A flower on the dock

I love these mailboxes.  Every now and then, someone actually gets mail!

My cousin's son fishes with one of Fernando's poles.

Two fishermen (and one photographer getting in the way).

End of day.  I took sunset pictures almost every evening.

Back to life,

visit my photography blog!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cookbook: The Source of What's on Your Plate


I'm so excited to finally post something for Friday Farm Girls!  (Note to Lori:  Sorry this is a day late!)

And a note to everyone.  I'm not really a farm girl; I live in the suburbs, across from a grocery store, movie theater, and strip mall.  Not exactly farm country.  But I do love the heart of a farm girl--cooking from scratch, scouring for new recipes, gardening, etc.

Today, I wanted to share my cookbook with you!  This is actually the new, updated version of the original cookbook I created several years ago.  The original expanded into two books, with recipes hanging out of the top.  So, organizer-at-heart that I am, I purged outdated recipes, and ones I'll never use again (changes in health and nutrition).

I ended up with this beautiful binder, filled with my absolute favorite recipes.  I still have work to do on it; for instance, I do have other cookbooks with recipes I use, and I need to get those into this binder.  But most of my recipes are included here.  I simply bought a set of tabs, sorted through my recipes, and then made tabs according to what types of recipes I had.

Some recipes are typed into pages on the computer, and some are just taped into my binder.  I do love pictures, and have either scanned them in with the recipe, or taped the recipe/picture into the binder.  I also used page protectors, which I wipe down as I spill things on them.  (My signature cooking move is to let the pot boil over before I turn it down.  I somehow manage to do that almost every time a pot is on the stove.)

No more searching for the right cookbook--it's all right here.  And that makes me happy.

Back to life,

captured by Christine Anne

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vacation Reminiscing: Time for Treats

While at Lake Bonaparte, we are required by family rules to visit a little place called Treats & 'Tiques once per week.  Um, make that at least once per week.  Treats for their ice cream treats, 'Tiques for the various antiques they display.

It's on Route 3, just as you enter Natural Bridge.  Of course, if you drive two more blocks, you'll leave Natural Bridge.  But you can't miss it; this tiny place is always packed on a summer evening.

Dad has a hard time deciding.

Now, if you ever visit, keep in mind that their sizes are a little different than what you'd experience in the suburbs.  Yes, they have small, medium, and large.  But unless you have a bottomless pit for a stomach, don't order those sizes.  Stick to the baby, kiddie, and extra small.  Trust me.
Not exactly a small.

Jacob enjoys his cone.

Thomas has a bottomless pit for a stomach...

 Jacob does it his own way.

The living-room-sized shop boasts two little tables; most people stand around outside to eat.  And that's okay.

Ice cream made us happy this evening.  My dad and mom were in a very silly mood!  Maybe the mood was enhanced by the fact that we picked up the tab--which, by the way, was about $22 for eight people.  That would make anyone happy.  :)

One word to describe our after-dinner festivities:  Yum.

Back to life, Christine

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tomato Time

It's a day of tomatoes.  Besides picking three bowls of them, we just finished skinning and chopping 10 quarts.  I know it's not a fantastic amount, but to have any amount is just fine with me.  And the tomatoes are one of the few veggies that are proliferating in my garden.

So, I'm taking a break and going to the store to get some onions and a few green peppers, neither of which are doing much in my garden.  Salsa-making, and hopefully canning, await us this afternoon.

Back to life,
who is thanking the Lord for helpful teenage sons  :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog Blog Blog!!! (and some pictures...)

I have a very dear friend.  She spent all afternoon yesterday playing with me and my blog.  I think I remember 5% of all that she showed me I could do on this little ol' page!!  But, I'm still excited about the changes that will be coming soon.  Really, it's just in how this blog looks, but it's still amazing to me!  And Lori is amazing. 

I wish I could take some pictures, but alas, my dear camera is getting repaired.  However, I can post some pictures!!

Since I have shutter withdrawal, here are one or two pictures from vacation--upstate New York.  And for those naive folks who think "upstate" means you can hop in to the city whenever you want, remember the up in upstate.  As in north.  :)

These pictures are a few of the birds and critters I discovered at the Lake.  There was no comparison to sitting on the south porch with my camera and a cup of tea, the air filled with birdsong as I waited patiently to see what came to visit.  :)

Back to life,