Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sky Watch Friday #11

Welcome to my 11th contribution to Sky Watch Friday! This week we went peach picking, and I was able to get some pretty shots of the sky with the peaches! Hope you enjoy!

For more Sky Watch photos...or to join in the fun...head on over to the Sky Watch blog!

Peach Picking

Tuesday we had a fun day going to an orchard about an hour away. We went to pick peaches with some of our good friends. Here are some pictures from our fun day (by the way, the mountains you see in the background on part of the Blue Ridge Mountains!)

One of the many peach trees in the orchard.

Kids picking peaches.

Beth and Raven

Ben and Jamie

Orchards are also a great place for racing!

Ben trying to decide which peach to pick!

Our friends picking peaches.

My good friend Jackie!

The store also sold candy...of course the kids had to have a stick!

Hmmmmm....decisions, decisions!

Peaches all picked and ready to sell.

After picking peaches, we went back to Jackie's house (she only lives 15 minutes from the orchard) and had lunch. After lunch she made a Peach Crisp, and it was SO good! She bought lots of peaches, but I only bought a "peck" (a pretty small bag...maybe 20 peaches or so). I made a cobbler last night and it was a huge hit. We've also had peach and blueberry oatmeal for breakfast.

It's worth it to go to this orchard just for the views! It was beautiful!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hot Day in July

Uh, oh! When is it gonna come?

"Hee, hee, hee!"


Summertime Fun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

How Do You Meal Plan?

The Heart of the Matter is having a "How Do You Meal Plan" meme today. Here's an excerpt from their blog: "Every Friday we will feature a different topic for our meme. Mr. Linky is set up below so please share with us your How Do You Meal Plan? We would love to see recipes of all kinds! I would especially love to find some new homemade bread, crockpot, and meatless recipes." So go on over to The Heart of the Matter and see what's cooking!

I've tried different ways of menu planning. Sometimes I plan for an entire month. I'll print out a blank calendar for the month, and write down the supper on each day. On the back of the calendar I'll write out all the ingredients I'll need from the store. That way I can go through that list and make my grocery list. This works out nicely, but it takes the effort of sitting down for a couple of hours and making the menu. I'm always glad when I do it though!

Another favorite way of mine to menu plan is to sit down and decide on about 14 meals, make my grocery list, and purchase everything and have it on hand. I post the meal list on the side of my fridge and then in the morning choose which meal we'll have that night. This works great. I like having the option of which meal I can serve that day, and not be tied to "today is Tuesday so we must eat...."

It truly does help to plan ahead and have things in stock. It saves time and money.

Here is one of my favorite meatless recipes. I make this mostly in the winter, but it's good any time!

This comes from Betty Crocker's Easy Vegetarian Classics Go Meatless (one of the little cookbooks you can buy in the grocery line)

Pasta and Bean Skillet

1 cup salsa
2/3 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
3/4 cup water
2 tsp chili powder
1 can (15 to 16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Heat all ingredients except cheese to boiling in 10 inch nonstick skillet; reduce heat to low.

2. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until macaroni is just tender. Sprinkle with cheese. 4 servings.

We like meat and we usually eat more than the "serving size" so this is how I usually adjust it:

1/2 lb ground turkey, cooked and crumbled
1 cup salsa
1 1/3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups water
4 tsp chili powder
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese

Follow directions above.

Today in our Yard

After reading about the Farmer's Market at 2nd Cup of Coffee, I thought I'd take some pictures of our garden and yard. We are very blessed to have enough property to have a garden, and some pretty flower beds. My Mom lives in our terrace apartment and enjoys planting the flowers and taking care of them. I only took pictures of the flowers in our back yard today. All the flower pictures were taken from my back deck (some I zoomed in on). We have at least five more flowerbeds in addition to what I took pictures of! Mom is incredible!

This is a picture of our corn. We planted a sweet, white corn this year. It is very yummy!

Mom planted flowers at the edge of the garden, too! I told her yesterday that when I look out at the garden it makes me smile. They look much more vibrant in person. (if you click on the picture you can see the flowers better)

This is a look at the whole garden. On the left is grown up asparagus. We ate off of the asparagus for 7 or 8 weeks this year. There are lots of "rules" on growing asparagus. The older the patch the longer you can eat off of it. It was so good!

These are some of the veggies we've picked. Right now I have our card table set up in the kitchen to hold the vegetables. My counter was being overrun by zucchini and squash earlier in the summer and I came up with this idea. It may not look too good, but it frees up my counter! Here we have a small spaghetti squash in the back left corner, and we have zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and cucumber.

This is the flower bed that runs right next to Mom's patio. I'm looking down on it from my deck here.

This is a little flower bed next to Mom's shed. She used to keep water in her bird bath, but her cat would jump up on it and knock it over. We were afraid he'd get hurt, so she planted flowers in it!

This doesn't show up very well, but Mom planted flowers along the edge of the woods. Depending on the time of year, this is a very vibrant flowerbed. All of the rocks you see in the edging in her flowerbeds were collected from our property.

I don't think I'll be canning as much this year. We had lots of canned green beans and salsa left over from last year. However, I have canned 14 quarts of green beans so far, and for the first time I've frozen corn. We usually don't have enough to freeze, but we did this year. I cut off enough to freeze two quarts. We will can some salsa, but not as much as usual. We enjoy canning the's usually an all day project.

Well, that's a tour of most of our yard. I hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sky Watch Friday #10

It's time for Sky Watch Friday again! The time of week each of us "Sky Watchers" pull out our favorite sky shots and display them for the world to see. :o) This week was kind of disappointing for me. I had some gorgeous skies to shoot, but my camera did not bring out the beauty in the shots. So what you see here was 10 times prettier in person...the colors were much more vibrant.

This is a tree that is about a mile and a half away from my house. I love this tree. Builders cut down so many trees these days and I was so happy they left this tree out in the field for people to enjoy!

To see more Sky Watch shots, or to join in the fun, head on over to the Sky Watch Friday blogspot!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heard At The Breakfast Table This Morning...

Raven: "Do I have to eat this? It's mushy."

Ben: "It's food. You don't ask questions, you just eat it."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nourishing Frugal Food Carnival

This week the carnival includes nourishing and frugal sides, salads and desserts. Here are my contributions:



½ cup butter (I usually use less than 1/2 cup)
8 oz 1/3 less cream cheese
2 10-oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach (you do not want to thaw this)
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix (often I use half a package so that it's not so salty)

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add spinach. Break up and stir. Add cream cheese and onion soup mix. Stir well. Place in a casserole and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. 6.8 carbs per serving.



1 stick of butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour (freshly ground if you do that)
1 cup sugar (I use sucanat with honey)
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
2 1/2 cups peaches (if fresh or frozen, mix peaches with ½ cup of sugar and refrigerate overnight)

Melt butter in baking dish. In separate bowl, mix sugar, flour, milk, baking
powder & salt. Pour batter over melted butter. Pour peaches on top, DO NOT
MIX. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. or until golden brown.

Head on over to The Keeper of the Home for more nourishing, frugal recipes!

** Instead of using packaged soup mix, you could play around with your own spices/ingredients...maybe some finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic ***


*** Michelle asked about the seasoning packet. It's probably about 1/2 cup, but it's only for seasoning, not for thickening. I think the cream cheese helps thicken it more than anything, and then baking it. Since I've always used the packet, I'm not sure how much in the way of the other ingredients to would probably be a "taste and see" thing. Hope that helps!

For Stephanie - I don't like cooked spinach either, but I love this dish. My kids and husband like cooked spinach and like this dish, too. :o)

Sarah - the Zucchini Parmesan down below was very good! It's a great way to use some of the bigger zucchini. My favorite way this summer to cook the zucchini was to grill it. I cut up large bites of zucchini, yellow squash, mushroom and onion. Lightly coat with olive oil and put in grill basket. Grill at a high temp stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Yum!***

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

It's Sky Watch Friday again (but once again I'm posting it on Thursday!). These pictures were actually taken from the passenger window as I was riding down the road.

I love the silhouette of this church here.

If you want to see more Sky Watch Friday pictures...or join in the fun...head on over to Tom's blog!

Pastor For Sale?!!!

Seen on Ebay:

"You are looking at/bidding on a very contemporary out of the box Pastor. As you can tell by the pictures He preaches and teaches in a very unorthodox manner. He does it without compromising the true written word of God. He and his family has chosen to go this route of putting themselves on the market in hopes to find a church that is untraditional and is ready to reach their community. He and his family will consider relocating in the contentinental United States. For any questions or more information feel free to email Pastor Chad at or visit his my space at"

Only 14 hours left! You'd better get on over there and bid:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zucchini Parmesan

My Monday meal was Zucchini Parmesan. My sister-in-law, Janet, told me she made this the other night and I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't have a recipe, so I kind of made it up as I went along. Everyone enjoyed it.

First, it's best to use a big zucchini. Slice it into somewhat thick slices.

Then dip each slice into an egg wash and dredge in a crumb mixture. I used fresh ground whole wheat flour, Italian bread crumbs and garlic salt (Janet used bread crumbs)

Next I "fried" them on my griddle. The ones on the left I coated with a butter spray. It made the slices a bit crisper.

Finally, after putting spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan, I layered the zuchinni slices and covered them with freshly grated parmesan. Then I covered the pan with foil, and baked about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Unfortunately we got so caught up with eating that I forgot to take after pictures! :o( I fixed some elbow macaroni and heated up the rest of my spaghetti sauce. I served the zucchini on the side next to the pasta dish. Neal put his on top of the pasta and then put the sauce on top. Whatever works for you!

I served a salad with this, and that was our meal!


FIREPROOF: From the creators of "Facing the Giants"


STORY: At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules.Growing up, Catherine Holt always dreamed of marrying a loving, brave firefighter...just like her daddy. Now, after seven years of marriage, Catherine wonders when she stopped being "good enough" for her husband. Regular arguments over jobs, finances, housework, and outside interests have readied them both to move on to something with more sparks. As the couple prepares to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's father challenges his son to commit to a 40-day experiment: "The Love Dare." Wondering if it's even worth the effort, Caleb agrees-for his father's sake more than for his marriage. When Caleb discovers the book's daily challenges are tied into his parents' newfound faith, his already limited interest is further dampened.While trying to stay true to his promise, Caleb becomes frustrated time and again. He finally asks his father, "How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?"When his father explains that this is the love Christ shows to us, Caleb makes a life-changing commitment to love God. And ”with God's help” he begins to understand what it means to truly love his wife. But is it too late to fireproof his marriage? His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt is ready to face his toughest job ever ... rescuing his wife's heart.

To see a trailer of this movie, hear music used in the movie and to find out when and where to see this go to Fireproof the Movie.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

This is something I've seen floating around in the blogosphere for quite some time. I thought I'd give it a try this week and see if it helped me organize my week a little better. Here's my menu plan for this coming week (this week I'm only planning suppers):

Zucchini Parmesan (like eggplant parmesan -- my SIL told me about this)

Soup Beans and Ham

Pasta and Bean Skillet (a favorite vegetarian dish...basically pasta, red kidney beans, tomatoes, mexican seasonings)
green beans, steamed

Homemade Pizza (using a homemade crust from freshly ground wheat)

Tex-Mex Lasagna (Light and Tasty recipe)

Spaghetti Squash (hopefully our spaghetti squash will be ready by Saturday)

Throughout the week fresh veggies from the garden will be randomly added to the menu...just depending on what is ready!

Cleaning the Trunk

We have a trunk (or chest) in our living room. Neal and the kids made it a couple of years ago. It was supposed to be a deck box, but when I saw it I wanted it for my living room. It holds most of our games (some are in the basement) and our afghans and throws.

Here it is:

It started getting so full that I was having trouble closing it, so last week I took everything out of it:(where's Beth?)

See how big this trunk is?

After I got everything out of the trunk I weeded through and made a few donations to Good Will. Then I reorganized everything.

Here's the way it's supposed to look!

Saturday's Supper and Weekend

First, Saturday's supper turned out great! Everyone liked probably the least. I'm not sure why, but to me it was missing something. I guess I'll have to play around with it some more. I would recommend it though. It was good.

Saturday morning I went yardsaling with Mom. I found some pretty good deals on some clothes for Beth and I. I spent $14.00 on clothes and ended up with about 15 shirts between the two of us...winter and summer. They're nice'd never know I bought them used. My favorite purchase, however, was a chair for Beth's room. You may remember that we painted her room back in April or May (can't remember)...we painted it blue and brown. Her bedspread (which we got her back in November for her 13th birthday) is blue and brown so we matched the paint to it. Two walls are brown and two are blue. The blue isn't a "true blue" however. It almost has a greenish tint to it, so it's kind of hard to match. We did find some curtain panels that Beth draped over a curtain rod, and it looks really good. She really wanted a blue chair to match her room (it would be sitting against a brown wall), but it was almost impossible to find one in the right shade. On Saturday I pulled up to a yard sale that had lots of furniture. I wasn't even planning on looking at the furniture, but at one point I looked up and there it sat...a blue (THE blue) chair with off white polka dots! It was so cute and I decided I had to have it! :o) The problem was that I didn't have Beth with me to affirm whether or not she liked it. I decided that if I could get it for $10 or less I'd buy it. I asked the lady what she wanted and she said $15. Hmmmmm..... "Will you take $10?" I asked. She gave the obligatory "hmmmm" and then said "Okay." Wahoo!!!!

So here's the chair sitting in her room:

This close up shows the polka dots.

This one shows bits of her bedspread and curtains. I was so pleased with how it matched! Beth was pleased overall...the chair's not very comfortable though. Now we'll be looking for a footstool!

I had to take this picture of Beth's cat, Symon. Beth said he was "sleeping on the Word." :o)

Sunday was spent at church in the AM and PM services. The afternoon was enjoyed by eating a yummy lunch (fresh corn on the cob out of the garden!) and taking a nap. After church we once again went out for ice cream (We've got to stop that!). We went to Da*ry Q*een this time and tried their new thin mint blizzard. I won't be getting it again. I'd rather eat the thin mints by themselves! Not terrible, but not what I was expecting.

We had our first baptismal service in our new sanctuary last night. There were about 15 people who got baptized. It was a wonderful service!

Well, that was our weekend. Today I've started in on laundry and will do a bit of housekeeping. Maybe we'll go to the pool this afternoon. I'll have to see if the skies clear up!

Have a great week!
Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."