Monday, June 30, 2014

thrifty girl

Bee's an entrepreneur, a wheeler and a dealer if you like.  The neighbors were have a yard sale last weekend and she saw an opportunity to make a few bucks.  She sold lemonade until it got too hot, then she recruited the neighbor kids to man the stand.  Wait until I tell her that her blog could make money!  You may have seen her selling pretzels, cookies, kettle corn, and flowers, or center pieces made from yard trashcookiesand art, always selling art and her famous hankey blankeys, patent pending.

Speaking of my thrifty girl, this past week, we went to the theme park with some friends (actually last year's student and her family).  Bee and the friend used their goggles to collect things from the wave pool and lazy river bottom.  In addition to the bobby pins and earrings, keychains, beads, and broken necklaces, they found money.  Over the course of about 6 hours, they found $8.00! 

After we used our season passes as a discount, it was just enough to buy a few ice creams and a cotton candy!  The cutie in pink was a student last year, and her brother, the boy between Bee and Lou, may be a student next year!  They have a younger brother too so I could have three years in a row of this awesome family!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

movie and dessert

In the summer, I sit at the pool while the kiddos swim and I devour magazines.  I have to get them at the recycling center because I go through at least two a day.  I tore out a picture and recipe for this delicious strawberry peach rustic tart like free form pie yumminess.  I think it was from Woman's Day or Family Circle or Real Simple.  I read lots of different magazines and sometimes they're old.  I read a wonderful article the other day from a 1995 Healthy Cooking magazine.  I can't use them for fashion advice, but the cooking doesn't change.   I tell the kids its safer when they have friends over if I'm on the deck instead of in the pool.  I'm not sure I can support that with evidence, but it works. 

Anyway, then I misplaced the torn out recipe.  No worries, pinterest saved the day.  I found a few similar recipes.  I ended up using a recipe from Sally's baking Addiction for this rustic galette.  (I found other similar recipes at Couple of Cooks and Simply Recipes)  We had peaches on the counter and strawberries in the garden.  The low producers I mentioned the other day, have recently sprung forth with a new round of berries.  And since I always keep butter on hand, lots of butter, we were ready to make this.

Rustic Fruit Galette
3 ripe peaches (peel, and slice thinly),  2 cups fresh strawberries (sliced- Bee's job),  2 T  sugar,  1 t vanilla (the real stuff if you can! My brother gets mine from Mexico- ask your brother for some- or ask my brother.) 
-Combine these items in a bowl and set aside while you prepare the crust.
Whisk together- 1 and 1/2 cups flour,  3 T sugar,  1/4 t salt
Cut in:  1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (I throw it in the freezer for 15 min)
Add:  1/4 cup ice water, plus more as needed  (I added an additional 2-3T)
Knead his dough gently and quickly until it's not sticky.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour... unless you're in a hurry, or really hungry, then refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Pull out of fridge and unwrap.  Using additional flour as needed, roll out into a thin pie crust like shape.  I rolled it right on my baking stone.  I know lots of people like parchment paper, I'm a fan of the stone.
Add fruit (use a slotted spoon) to the center of crust circle and then fold up edges over the top.  If you want pictures to guide you here, use one of the links above.  I was too buttery at this point to take pictures.  Pour about 2 T of the remaining juice over the fruit portion. 
Optional:  Beat 1 egg for an egg wash over the crust portion.   You could also sprinkle a little sugar on the egg wash.
I also made a simple glaze to add to the top after it was slightly cooled.  I mixed the remaining fruit juice, which was about 1-2 T with enough powdered sugar to make a little glaze. 
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown at a 425 degree oven.  Allow to slightly cool before serving.

This dessert put us all in such a nice mood that we suffered from some temporary insanity and invited some neighbor friends over for a late night movie.   Unfortunately, movies can't be started until 8:20ish and that makes for a late late night.  It's hard to get up for  early church when you're 7 and were up until 10:00 pm.

In these pictures, the kids are singing along to Frozen sound track while we wait for the sun to set.  The popcorn was gone before the movie started. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

the late birthday party

My happy little man finally had his birthday party.   It was two weeks late, but nonetheless, we had it.  This grump face is just shortly before the party when he was convinced that he wanted to cancel the party.  He's drama. 

It was a total low stress, low prep, easy, at home party.  That seems like an oxymoron, but it really was.  He wanted friends to come swim, watch a movie outside, have a few sparklers, eat hotdogs, play hide and go seek, and have a water balloon fight.  Just like that, the party was planned. 

I kept the camera put away most of the evening, but ended up with just a few pictures.

I had just planned on sending home the sparklers and snap-pops, but the kids broke them out of the goodie bags as soon as it was dark.  It ended up being really fun, albeit a tiny bit dangerous.  Did I use the word albeit correctly?  Spell check feels ok about it so I will too.

A few of the kids had never done sparklers before and didn't know sparkler etiquette. 

There were a few close calls with hot, spent sparkler sticks.

We watched How to Train Your Dragon, which Lou just recently watched for the first time.  The dads were especially mesmerized with this movie.

The menu was easy too, Lou's favorites- hot dogs on the grill, watermelon, cheetos, homemade mac and cheese, and cherry limeade.  Instead of cake, he wanted root beer floats.  I don't think he's had a cake at his party since his first birthday maybe. 

This is the least I've written about one of the kids birthday parties, but really we kept it simple.  Like I mentioned, there was a lot of drama concerning the party for Lou.  I'll protect Lou's privacy a little here, but we're back at the therapist office this summer.  He's had tremendous concern that someone would throw up at his party.  It's weird. And frustrating.  And causes his mama to worry.  Now that the party is over, we've started worrying about bible school.  People probably throw up there a lot too. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

dresses for uganda

I was able to participate in something really amazing at my church this week.  About 100 ladies met one evening and after enjoying a nice meal together, we sewed together.  We sewed pillowcase dresses for the little girls at the Rakai Children's village in Uganda.  Our church sends groups there several times a year.  My class at school sponsored one of the students, Lillian, as our Christmas gift to each other this year.  I'm hoping some day to go there myself and meet Lillian. 

There were 32 sewing machines going and then many ladies cutting fabric, ironing, stringing ribbon through, and sizing and sorting dresses.  My cutting partner and I made 7 dresses- we had a system and major flow going.  I don't know the number of the total dresses, but if each machine made even 5 dresses in the evening, that's a bunch of little girls in pretty dresses come August. 

This isn't all of the  dresses.  I think many ladies were keeping theirs at their station to deliver them all at once.  While the goal was quantity, I kept seeing dresses come in with little added special details.   I loved that because it meant that the ladies were concerned with how pretty and special each dress was.  They wanted each little girl to love her dress and think it was the best.  I made a really pretty pink paisley one for Lillian.  I'll just pretend she's the one who gets it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

garden tales

We downsized the garden a bit this year.  We're using the smaller upper garden and instead of the larger lower garden (we live on a hill), we have two raised planting boxes.  I always wanted some and when the neighbors next door moved this spring, I jumped on them. 
I have green beans in one box and sweet peas and strawberries in the others.   We have tomatoes in the upper garden. 


There's a little something going on with the green beans.  The edges of the leaves look burnt on the edges.  The new leaves are ok, so I'm not going to worry.  I wonder if they got sun burnt from a mid day watering?  
The logan berries are two weeks later than they have been in the past three years, but they're here now and Bee and I are devouring them by the bowl full. 

 We planted new strawberries this year.  The others are so buried under the thorns of the logan berries, they are impossible to get to. 

They new ones were not great producers this year, but I think next year they'll be better.
I can't wait for the tomatoes.  I don't really eat them off season, they're so disappointing from the grocery.  I planted several varieties of heirloom tomatoes. 
After my plants were coming up, I put newspaper down and then straw on top just like I've done the past few years.  It's my favorite gardening short cut!  Few if any weeds and it helps keep the moisture in the ground.  Here's more about that from two years ago.
And my favorite flowers are blooming.  It's the best part of the yard!

The goal for the garden this year was low maintenance.  Hopefully low maintenance still can be high producing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bee's Blog!

That little Bee of mine has decided to start a blog.  My dad mentioned it to me on father's day and I mentioned it to Bee. She got right on it.  You can find her at her new blog, Little Bee.  I'm sure there'll be a bunch of overlap from stuff here, but she will put her own spin on it.

Monday, June 16, 2014


On the way home from visiting my sister at the farm, we stopped and bought boots.  The kids watched the billboards signs for the boot store for over an hour.  We saw 14 signs that last hour before we got there! 

  Bee sort of had a love affair with her old boots, which were cheap ones from Target.  They had gotten all skinned and scuffed and looked pretty yuck.  I was more than happy to buy them real ones. 

Plus it means that Lou will wear something other than sports pants.  Can't wear sports pants with boots. 

Five years ago, the kids had a thing for boots too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

a visit to my sister's

The kids and I went to visit my sister.  She lives on a farm and it was pretty much wonderful for all of us, at least on our end.   Look how happy that pup of ours is to run free.  No leash, no collar, just freedom.   I don't apologize, but here are about 92 pictures. 

The kiddos enjoyed brief moments of peaceful playing!

This creek runs through the woods behind the house.  We hiked over here a few times.  My sister only fell in once.   She's a teacher too and also on summer break, so we were able to go up a few days and just hang out.

There is this park nearby her place where it's set up like a 1920's farm.  You can go and visit the farm and help out with farm chores, gather eggs, milk cows, etc. 

We got to bring the horses back in from the field,

get the oats ready,

feed the horses,

and stack hay.

Then we got hot and tried to get out of anymore work.  Here's my mom, sister, Bee and of course, Lou.  I took about 6 pictures and he's doing something like this in every one. 

The kids always enjoy visiting my sister.  

Just so you don't think we're something we're not. 

That loving moment, turned into this.

We had a campfire and enjoyed smores and good company.   That's my sister boyfriend. 

Bee was disappointed that no one had a guitar.  Apparently that's what you do around a fire.

Lou had heard about a 'dirt bike' and pretty much begged until he got a chance to ride it.

Tippy just roamed around and enjoyed himself.  My sister has her little dog and then there are two other farm dogs. 

Lou fell in love with Molly the border collie.  They played soccer together.  They played tag.  They laid and cuddled.   Lou fell in love, and I think Molly did too.

My sister's little dog Harley has been so happy since moving to the farm. 

I guess Tippy's a farm dog at heart.

Lou came home and drew these pictures of the dogs he was missing.  We will be visiting again this summer whether of not we're invited.