Thursday, June 30, 2016

In the Garden 6.30.16

Blackberries! They are some of my favorites!
Striped little tommy-toe called 'chocolate sprinkles'
More ripening on the vine.
Black beauty eggplant
More trellising green beans... If only we would get some rain, they would take off! 
Itty bitty, tiny baby cuke. Most of my veg is coming along a bit later due to late planting on our part. As usual. Sigh. 
Zinnias are beginning to spring up! I love the variety and the colors of these sweet little flowers.

I hope your week is a lovely one! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Freshening up, the library and the spirit!

I love hometown book sales and local markets, you might just find what you need. 
And maybe I didn't *need* this little illuminated, rotating globe... but it certainly did spark an excitement to clean and organize the home library. 

Saturday morning, our little town had a homeschool used book sale and I knew there would be a good chance I might find a few new books for our home. And who better to buy from than your friends?!?! 

A few moms banded together to set up the sale. They had sections for grade levels, library additions, extracurricular activities, games, maps, a freebie pile and even fresh eggs! It was wonderful and even if I had not bought my sweet little globe above, I was so blessed by several moms who are just kindred souls that just by being with them for just a little while, helped to refresh my spirit and my enthusiasm. And I pray that I may have been that kind of refreshment to someone at some point as well... 

Homeschool Mom... it's a difficult road, but it is an important one. Keep on keeping on. 

And like I said, the addition of a few new books and the globe, I was spurred on to a little refreshing in my home too. Which is always a happy sight to me and my learners.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cake Decorating and Recipe

Over the weekend we celebrated an early birthday for my Dumplin. Being born on the 6th of July proves to be a busy time for our family. Most often, we spend her birthday while at Constructors for Christ. This year with Shannon and Cameo's mission trip being so close, Constructors is not an option for us. 

She had asked if she could have some friends over and if she could have this cake! 
Grandma's Peanut Butter Cake. 
Without a break in agenda for the next couple of weekends, we knew we had to act fast to make it happen for her, so we chose Friday and I think we contacted friends on Wednesday or Thursday. Talk about last minute, huh? Good thing we have some friends who were able to make it. Several weren't and they were missed. 

True to my sweet girls nature, she wanted in on the decorating of this cake. She wanted to make it mostly ALL by herself. So, I tried to loosen my reins a bit and let her have it. 
I showed her and Eli how to make rosettes from the icing and using a decorator tip and icing bag. 
She was completely taken with the process and wanted to do everything. I just filled in a few gaps here and there afterwards. 
The finished product was a masterpiece and she, the girls and the rest of the family enjoyed it immensely! 
12 years old? My how time does fly.... 

Grandma Jean's Peanut Butter Cake

For Cake:
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 box of jello instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups reese's cups chopped

Preheat oven to 350* and in a large bowl mix everything except reese's. Batter is VERY thick.
Add reese's and pour into two greased and floured 9" cake pans. Bake cakes per box directions plus 10 minutes. Use the toothpick test to make sure of doneness. 

For Frosting:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup shortening 
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream

In mixing bowl, cream peanut butter with shortening until smooth. Add sugar, cream, salt and vanilla and whip til fluffy. 
Garnish however you like...  with smooth frosting and more chopped reese's, with rosettes like we did, or however you wish! 
Have fun and enjoy!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Fun 2016

Do you have a summer bucket list? It can be a fun way to try to accomplish some of your hopes for the season. I've seen several floating around pinterest and some blogs, but I knew that mine wouldn't fit in any of their parameters, so I thought I would write out my own for our family!

  • a trip to the river
  • a picnic in a cool spot
  • swimming (several times hopefully)
  • a field trip to a neat location
  • reading at least 3 books 
  • watch the fireworks on Independence Day weekend
  • have a cookout
  • go to the bookstore
  • stay home on a rainy day and do nothing but play games
  • rearrange my living room (I love doing this once or twice a year)
  • make homemade ice cream
  • go bowling
  • make a homemade slip-n-slide
  • can veggies
  • pick our berries and make jam
  • identify at least 10 birds at our bird feeders
  • do a science experiment (one a month would be great!)
  • go watch a sunset from on top of the mountain
  • catch lightening bugs
  • and ???? 
If we do these, great! If not, that's ok too. These are just a few ideas I had to help us make the most of our summer and enjoy time with one another. I hope you make your summer special too! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday in the Garden 6.23.16

Heirloom tomatoes on the vine. Not close to being red just yet, but we are definitely getting there.

Beans growing up my trellis! 

Jalepeno poppers... I can hardly wait!
Squash bread... today. This fella grew overnight I think. ;) 
Mint tea this afternoon. 
My zinnias are not growing as much as I would like. I need more seeds and try again. I planted a ton of seeds, so I am not sure what is going on. 
Black eyed Susan, you are a beauty! 
A small patch of wildflowers.
Apples with just a hint of blush on the top.

It may be small, but it makes me happy and it will provide a little bit of our food to our table. Hopefully we will become better gardeners as life goes on, but every year we learn a little more, we may try something new and see if it works for us. It's important to learn to do things. Even on a small scale we are teaching ourselves and our kids how to grow things. How to be responsible, how to grow food (even if only a little), and to take care of what we have and those are all good things to know. 
So don't think you have to have an acre of vegetables to be able to learn from a garden. Plant a tomato plant in a pot. Plant a pepper plant beside your front door if you don't have much of a yard to make a garden. Grow a few wildflowers in a small patch in your back yard. You'll be glad you did. 
Just grow! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A word for the wise...

Daisy ~ Bellis Perennis

To anyone who may want to listen, here's a little advice. 

Take time to look. 
See, observe, appreciate, enjoy. 
As the old saying goes, 
"Stop to smell the roses" 
Purple Coneflower ~ Echinacea anguvstifolia

This world is quite often a difficult place, but there is still much, much good. God has created an amazing world. He created incredible people too. Invest in people, see the good, encourage, teach. 
The Bible says, 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 
Genesis 1:27

We are all VERY different, but we were all created in His image. Maybe there is anger, hate, hurtfulness, but we will never overcome this darkness with more anger, hate, and hurtfulness. It can only be overcome with the things that God gives to those who belong to Him. The fruit...
Are we as believers displaying these characteristics? 
I've had to look long and hard at my life lately. I want these to be so evident in me. Much more so than they are right now. 
Hydrangea ~ Hydrangea macrophylla

So that means letting go of me, and displaying more of Him. 
That means changing perspective, changing my attitude, choosing to let Him have complete control. And for someone that is controlling (sigh... that is me oftentimes) it can be a difficult task.

Lupine ~Lupinus polyphyllus

Friend, be the change. 
You won't be perfect.
Heaven knows I am FAR from perfect, there has been people I've disappointed, hurt, and let down. That saddens my heart. I've even done this to those who are the closest to me! You know why? Because I am fallible. I am just a sinner who is saved by the beautiful grace of Jesus. 
So, yes, I will fail because I am me... But with all my heart, I am striving to be more like Jesus. 
And even through my finite-ness, I can help point you to One who never will fail, never disappoint, never let you go. 

My life aches to magnify the Lord. 
In everything I do, I want to bring Him honor. To bring Him praise.

Starting there, I believe there can be beautiful change. 
Love people like Jesus does, friend.
Point them to Him with your life and your words. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Big Hearts Farm: Where God's Love Grows

You may be noticing the lack of posts lately, well, it's not because I have nothing to say, it's because I am so stinkin tired. haha! We are nearing the end of our weeklong VBS! It has been a BLAST so far, and so well worth the weariness I feel. This year I've had the opportunity to teach the 5 year- Kindergarten age kiddos and I am reminded just how much I LOVE this age. It truly is one of the best. Eager kids. Helpful hands. Just all around sweet hearts! 
Our theme this year is Big Hearts Farm- Where God's Love Grows!
I think it is completely adorable. Such great decorations and a great theme. We have had fun with this one, for sure! 

I love that we have so many 'big kids'! The picture above shows our 5th-6th grade class and it is HUGE! 
Great music, which is always a fun part!

Another thing I love is that my whole family  takes part. Carlie and Abe are still in VBS age, so they are participating and Shannon, Cameo, Eli and I are workers. Everyone has a part and it takes a lot of people to make it work! Are you helping out at your church? I encourage you to do so. Things can not run properly with only one or two. It takes many hands to make light work! 

 Game time is great and there are wonderful lessons to go along with the games! 

Little sweeties! 
Fruit for snack time, to go right along with our farm fresh theme! 

It has been a ball! It's always a lot of work, but it is ALWAYS a reward! Sharing God's love with others is ALWAYS worth it! So everybody say YES! Yes to VBS!!!!