Saturday, July 24, 2010

Delicious Fruit & Vegetable Dip

a delicious treat from my friend, Janelle (Louisville, KY):

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 T honey

That's it.  Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.  

(Tip:  If you lightly spray measuring cups/spoons with nonstick cooking spray before you put peanut butter or honey in them, they come out a lot easier.)

You could double this recipe for a crowd or cut it in half for a smaller amount (though I'm personally not sure why you would want to!)

Wonderful on apple slices, celery sticks, pretzel sticks, fingers & I'm sure there's more.  Much, much more!  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

wordless wednesday: july backyard

I was sitting in the swing outside the back door, bare feet in the sun, relaxing and enjoying a good book when I noticed the enormous weed in the fire ring.  First, I considered how long it's been since we've had a fire and how many we planned to have this summer and that it is July already.  Secondly, I mused about how darn Big that thistle is and how hard it will be to pull and how easy it would have been if I pulled it when a baby.  Nextly, I noticed the other weeds, saplings, overgrown grape vines, sad looking rhubarb (no cobbler this year!), unweeded flower beds, wholes in the lawn, pine boughs dragging too low and general yard care I have neglected most of the summer.  *Sigh...*

I reached for my camera - to chronicle my laziness? my lack of respect for the yard?  

Through the lens I saw first the thistledown.  And the sunshine through the grape and poplar leaves, the wind helping them flutter to gain my attention.  The little green apples are just starting to show red where the sunbeams kiss the tops of their heads. 

I smiled, rearranged my pillows and turned my attention back to my book.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fabulous Fourth

For the 1st time in a long time, I didn't take a single picture on the 4th.  Not a one.  And didn't make many plans.  Didn't carry many out either.  Didn't even insist on reading the Declaration of Independence or making my kids do it.  ~Ha!  That's funny.  Get it?~  

I just realized I didn't even break out our copy of the Declaration (wonder where it is...  one advantage of an annual national holiday is that I find it at least once a year!)  We did read about Jefferson's early draft that used the word "subjects".  Not a big shocker, but still interesting.  And we read about celebrations throughout the country.  We did this, Jamie, Nate, Alex and I, while the boys were making supper together.  Southwestern Soup.  A menu item we'd put off for several days in a row due to life.  The boys really did an excellent job.  They are scheduled to cook a meal once (or perhaps twice, or even more!) each week this summer.  They did a great job and the meal was delicious.

The boys making supper was yesterday - the day after the 4th - the day we didn't realize would really be another holiday for most people.  But not Jeff - he went off to work just like clockwork.  However, the phones were slow enough in the afternoon for him to come home early and paint some more in my new office-in-progress, do some other stuff, help the boys get supper on the table and join the plan to take Jamie to see "How to Train Your Dragon" at the Safari Theater!  Fun movie!

On the 4th.  Jeff had breakfast with Marissa and delivered her to the airport to take off for a visit to Texas.  We had some lunch (can't remember what it was right now) and took off to camp to get Jamie.  She had 5th & 6th graders last week.  Their camp ended Friday morning then the women arrived for Ladies' Retreat which continued through Sunday noon!  They finished cleaning up camp by about 3 and she loaded up to head home for a break.  Turns out to be about four days.  She has to be back on campus by about 11:30 Friday.  

We got home, unloaded Jamie and Jeff made some delicious burgers for supper.  Jamie is staying (with her much stuff) in Alex's room.  Alex is staying with Nate in the basement.  We're finishing up the painting in Jamie's room to make it my new Mary Kay office - a couple of lovely pinks!  We decided to paint the closet so what remained of Jamie's stuff is in the living room.  whee!!

The boys went shopping Saturday (and stayed within the budget) for explosives which we - and the neighbors - enjoyed Sunday evening!  We had been pretty noisy for about 20 minutes before our across-the-street neighbors came out to join us. Kathryn came over for awhile, too and we decided to invite everyone back for next year - with perhaps a little more planning for a dessert & iced tea to share!  This was Alex's first year to light his own fireworks.  I didn't find out until it was all over that he got a couple pretty burned thumbs - nothing serious that a little practice won't cure.  ;-7    Our "hens" were duds this year, but the crazy hedgehogs never fail to amuse and the night parachuters were pretty cool.  Nate got a REALLY good tank that shot it's own separate little show in the driveway.  My favorite for a second year in a row was the Memory Lantern.  Love it.  A beautiful, quiet, thoughtful conclusion to our personal pyrotechnics.  

It sounded like MSUM was doing it's usual fantastic display, but we had had enough fun of our own and sat it out this year.  The kids said something to the effect of skipping the "sing along" this year.  A Front Fenders (great local cover band!) concert in the grandstand.  Jeff does tend to "sing along."  A little.  Ok, that's exactly what they said.  And he does.  ALOT.  ;-D   At least we've got plans.

shoot!  maybe we'll just be in California with Julie and the kids!  

Friday, July 2, 2010


We've been out to the camp every weekend since Jamie left to go to work at Pine Haven right after graduation the first weekend of June!  Kathryn took her out.  Then we took Nate out for camp. Then we all went out for an overnight to pick up Nate and drop off Alex.  Then Jeff went out to get Alex.  We'll go out Sunday to bring Jamie home for a week (YAY!) and back out next weekend to take her back!!  Wow.  Who made that plan??  After next weekend we'll likely have a fairly long stretch - with maybe a visit or two - until she comes home in August to get ready to leave for school.

Jamie has been working so hard.  Her days start about 6 am in the kitchen helping prepare breakfast and end about 11 after the campfire.  In between she's doing all sorts of things inside and out including cooking, cleaning, canteen and camper hunting.  I'll try to put her in front of the computer for a few minutes next week for a blog entry!

Alex seemed to enjoy his week at camp last week (9th & 10th graders).  They had about 60 campers - a much more laid back week than the 160+ at senior high school week.  He only forgot sleep pants and a towel.  It could have been worse.  Nate was last week's only child - he got along pretty well, but I think it's a good thing he's not last-born.  He misses his siblings.  

Kathryn is enjoying her job at the fitness center - and is picking up some weekend shifts back over at the bowling alley snack bar.  She prefers the smaller, more laid-back staffs.  She was in the small choir for the combined Salem-Bethel worship services at Salem last weekend.  She looked great and the service was really good.  The worship leaders and choir all sounded excellent.  We had lunch together at Taco John's (Nate's most favorite!) after 2nd service and enjoyed the visit.  When will I get used to having grown up children?  

I'm looking for a good flight for Ashlee's visit in August - she's getting in right between my Mary Kay trip to Dallas and Jamie's departure for school in St Paul.

Our family has started planning for an all-family trip somewhere for my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary in 2011.  We've narrowed it down to summer.  And somewhere we can all enjoy together - from my retired, but active parents, 4 40-something-ish adults (yes, Matt, I know you're still a baby and not quite 40 - thus, the -ish!), 2 college-aged girls, 2 high school boys and let's see... an 8 year old girl and 6- and 4 year old boys!  woohoo!!!   The suggestion box is now open.

This week's favorites:

  • iTunes podcasts - ridiculous how much I love having my favorite programs just show up in iTunes!  wonderful technology
  • Grocery Gadgets - this little gadget for iPod with web interface promises to be my new favorite little tech tool - AWESOME grocery (and any other) shopping lists with potential to set up aisle by aisle shopping which (you have NO idea!) could be perfect for me
  • Project Free TV - have I mentioned this one before?  If it's free, it's for me and if I'm going to watch TV, I like to do it on my schedule.  Our current guilty pleasure:  The Big Bang Theory (we're on whatever is the current season, but rent it from the beginning).  
  • Franklin Planner - I'm an office supplies junkie.  And the planner/organizer has to be one of my most favorite things.  I went Crazy this year and ordered BOTH refill AND new binder.  I know.  Insanity.  And I almost lost it when the box came in the mail this week!  squeeee!!
  • I'm reading (and enjoying) The Bookseller of Kabul (Asne Seierstad), trying to read For Richer, Not Poorer (sigh!) by Ruth l Hayden, and loving Good Poems (selected & introduced by Garrison Keillor)

Please share your favorites!  Have a great week,