Monday, June 30, 2014

Yellow Squash and Bell Pepper Bake

Syd and I had some friends come over for the afternoon - eating lunch together and kids sharing in refreshing, summertime water hose fun while the moms just talked.  Sometime that's just what the doctor ordered.

Our neighbors had shared some of their garden splendor in the form of zucchini and yellow neck squash a short while back.  I had five of the yellow left so I threw together something that my mom-friend told me I needed to share here on the blog - for another yellow-neck-squash idea.  So upon her suggestion, here's what I did:

5 yellow squash sliced into 'coins'
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced orange bell pepper
1 Tbls finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced ham
1-2 cups grated cheese (I had mozzarella)
8-10 eggs (beat together)
fresh, sliced tomato and avacado
salt & pepper - to taste

Layer squash on the bottom of a 9x13 pan until covered (oil or non-stick spray is not needed).  Follow this layer with the green and yellow bell pepper, ham, cheese, and finally salt and pepper.  Repeat layers until all veggies and cheese are used. Pour eggs, evenly, over the entire contents of the pan and sprinkle the finely diced red pepper over the top. Cover pan and cook on 325 for about 45 minutes.  Remove cover and broil until top browns slightly (maybe 10 minutes).  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with fresh tomato and avocado on the side.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Outside working on the "secret project" the other day and we heard the cutest sound coming from the field right next to us.  Looking over this is what we saw...


I raided the chicken scraps and brought over a little extra lettuce for the DEAR.  Bambi here almost ate right from our hands!  So cute!  Have I told you that I love living in the country?

I DO!!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sink

I can't tell you how stretching and humbling this whole renovation has been so far.  We've done several renos, but none that stretched ME as far as using a bucket, digging a hole, and doing dishes on the side of the house in a dishpan.  But it has also made me extremely thankful for the little mundane things we take for granted, as Americans, each day... a toilet. a sink.

I was gleefully happy to stay up late and do the dishes [gasp!] by hand last night when hubby put in the kitchen sink.  I tell you what - I really think I heard the hallelujah chorus from above when he said the words "it is finished".  And equally as happy to wake up to....

I was even more enamored with it when my view was this:

And OH! so excited when I found a place for some hand soap and a pretty.

Speaking of that pretty... Sydney brought this blow-flower in to me and we were both in awe over its size.  And... it's my favorite kind of flower; the kind that wont die - because it's already dead :o)

In all honesty... I really wanted an apron front farmhouse sink.  You know the ones - that are all over the web right now - in everyone else's kitchens?

 I even considered the IKEA version, which was decidedly cheaper than the "real thing",

DOMSJĂ– Double bowl IKEA 25-year Limited Warranty. Read about the terms in the Limited Warranty brochure.

 but still more than I wanted to spend.  I just couldn't get myself to spend more on a kitchen sink than I did on butcher block counter tops and flooring put together.  Even though Daniel left the decision in my court - allowing me to do what I wanted to do, but either of the above choices would have cost us far more.  So where did I find "my sink"?  None other than Craigslist itself.  Just about everything we've replaced has come from that online treasure trove.  For a mere $100 we got ourselves a nearly brand new cast-iron sink with faucet.  Sprayer is the new addition - it wasn't included.

And although it will never look the same as the country living magazine photo shoot... I have the better part of an extra one thousand dollars in my pocket to allocate other places around the homestead.  And it will serve the exact same purpose and do the job just as well as it's popular, over-priced counterpart.

(counter-top, as you can see, is coming along, but not completely finished.  I'm still applying the oil each night before bed, but absorbing less and less each day.  I'll be done when it stops absorbing.)

And if you're one of those folks that pays really close attention... you'll notice I have a different bottle of soap on the window sill in this picture from the above picture.  Truth is... it's the same soap just watered down.  Mrs. Meyers is one of my favs (especially in summer when they put out Honeysuckle), but it's beyond what I like to spend so I went to a discount store bought a bottle of foaming soap for $1 and dumped out those awful ingredients.  I refilled it 3/4 of the way with tap water adding six pumps (1 Tbls) of Mrs. Meyers hand soap.  I replaced the top and turned it over a few times and wah-la - Mrs. Meyers foaming soap (which is on the Target shelf for $3.85).  I figure I can get another ten uses this way which makes "mine" about 35 cents per bottle.  Huge savings!  And by the time it's gone - it'll be time to get a more seasonal appropriate scent.

Hopefully our little "project" [that has been rained out for the past couple of days] will be complete over the weekend and I'll have something BIG to share.  Exciting stuff....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Black Raspberries

I grew-up most summers at our family lake home in Minnesota.  Around there berries were plentiful, but so were bear.  According to those who had been around much longer than we had - picking berries meant a sure fire run-in with a bear, therefore berry picking didn't happen often.

The back of our property is lined with fresh black raspberry bushes in full bloom right now.  And they are scrumptious.  Tonight I picked just enough to be an after dinner treat, but picking does not happen without consequence.  Although we aren't sharing with any bear (that we know of), wild black raspberry bushes are plentiful in natural defenses; thorns.  The blackberries are next up for the pickins, but not quite ready yet.  God is truly the master gardener - it amazes me!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Something Very Exciting Has Happened

We have counter-tops!

I'm not a huge fan of IKEA, unless your talking about the Ektorp or Numerar series.  We ordered these several weeks ago and decided it was worth it to have it shipped; it was suppose to be here on June 4th (the day before our family arrived for Ali's graduation), but as Murphy would have it - the stock ran out at the warehouse and we were rescheduled for June 18th - eleven days AFTER graduation :( ....  [then] the day before graduation (June 6th) we got a call that the tops came in after all and they could be delivered the Sunday AFTER graduation.  Really...............

Then graduation happened, then a little down time, then kidney stones....  Needless to say - I've been learning patience in this matter.  BUT - a friend sent me a text the other night offering [her husband's] help to get the top on. Yay!!!  Just so happened that God provided us with a "helper" that used to actually do kitchen renovations (I'm sure he had to bite his tongue walking into ours).  So really... he did the work and Daniel simply assisted (I opened and closed doors when carrying the tops in and out).  I know we've said thank you many times, but just once more  - thank you Bryan!!!

He (and Daniel assisted) measured, cut, and installed a beautiful specimen of butcher-block counters.  Oh and how I love them!!!  We were going to put the sink in place last night, but I didn't have the surface treatment done and I KNEW once there was sink - we would use it and I'd probably never get it done. SO... when Daniel gave me the option - I decided to wait a few more days until the surface is completely ready for use.  After all, it's been this long what's another three or four days?!?!

My treatment of choice is: mineral oil.

By the way - Bryan has an incredible gift with wood-working. He makes the most beautiful, reclaimed wood furniture including farmhouse tables and cabinetry.  You can see his work at the company website:  Concepts Created

And... I had to take a picture of Mr. Toby; Sydney's cat that 'thinks' he owns the place - even when it doesn't belong to us.  This was our "helper", Bryan's, truck - Toby took up residence.  However, he did move when Bryan started to drive away :o)

 At this point we have applied two coats of oil to the wood and the color is getting deeper and richer...  we have about another five or six applications to go - to install the sink (Friday?).

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I think we have greater reason to ask the Lord to impress more deeply upon us the 
truth we have received than to ask him to give us more truth; for what we already 

know might suffice us if we did but know it better; and if we kept in mind the things 
which we have already heard, we might almost be satisfied even if we heard no more.                                                                                                                             Charles Spurgeon 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Garden Without A Garden

Because of the time of year we moved and because of the amount of renovation we wanted to do and because of our first home school graduation we didn't get a chance to put a garden in.  Something we wanted to do, but just not the right time.  Anyhow - considering that and the fact that we had friends giving us extra veggie plants and no 'actual' garden to put them and the finances don't allow for all the big beautiful hydrangea bushes that I want across the front of the house - I thought I would marry the two dilemmas and use every little space I have available for some fresh veggies.  The end of the clothesline and a metal grid for our cucumbers serve as a fine space for some yellow squash to vine.

Along the south side of the house I planted some much LOVED perennials that we will enjoy for years to come....  fresh sage.


garden mint (we've already made wonderful tea from this...

the south side of the front porch has tomatoes growing

across the front south of the stairs we have LOTS of different pepper plants

and to the north of the stairs we have brussel sprouts

We've had some friends give us beautiful bounty from their gardens to keep us in wonderful, garden-fresh produce; peas and lettuce, YUM!

Although... there's another important project in process right now.  It should be done by the end of the day tomorrow - weather permitting.  Can you guess what it might be?

Friday, June 20, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

discussing and deciding on more chicken names

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homemade Pizza

 Up to this point making homemade pizza - my crust would not cook all the way and stick to the point that we had to eat our pizza with fork.  A friend of mine made a pizza in a different manner the other day and it changed my entire outlook on homemade pizza.  She dampened her pan a very little water, placed some parchment paper curl down and pressed the parchment to the pan (the water held the paper).  Putting a little oil on her hands, she lightly greased the parchment and handled the dough on the paper - spreading it with her palms.  THEN - using spaghetti sauce she made her pizza.  

I'm a person who doesn't like the strong zest of actual pizza sauce, so using spaghetti sauce was a given.  Using your favorite crust recipe and adding as many toppings as you can pile on... create pure yumminess for you and your family. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lazy [almost] Summer Day

Things around here have almost come to a halt.  Daniel has been plagued by a case of kidney stones which I've never had personally, but if they are as bad as what he says... I'd rather not experience it.  No pictures of his "ugly face" to share, but believe me - it's not been a pretty sight.  Lots of moaning and groaning and even some tears shed.  What can make a grown man cry?  Kidney stones in the ureter.  Anyhow - he started drinking straight lemon juice the other day and I personally think he had several large stones and the lemon juice broke them up since it seems that he's been peeing dirt.  But this one right now - it's bad - and it's taken a long time to pass.  Lots of water going down him, but that's about the only natural things to do.  He did sit in a magnesium bath the other night - yes I said BATH because we have the shower up and running, I just haven't gotten around to posting about it due to graduation, family visits, kidney stones, etc.  Anyhow - kidney stones are believed to be [in part] formed due to a lack of magnesium, however, too much magnesium supplementation can cause diarrhea.  I found out a long time ago that you can get a much larger dose  (50,000 units) of magnesium without making you run to the toilet by getting it transdermally (through the skin).  So I added about one cup of my magnesium oil to a hot, hot bath and let him soak.  Magnesium does SO much for our bodies that we don't even realize - and yet we don't take the time to make sure to have enough in us.  Nothing that we've found helps to make the stones pass faster or easier, but due to our recent projects - health, nutrition, and water haven't been on the top five priority list :o(  We reap what we sow!!!


I'm sitting outside on the front porch on a gorgeous 85 degree Monday afternoon while Honey takes a nap.  The chickens are getting bigger and bigger by the day.  Daniel decided today that they need more time outside, so we put the cats and dog inside the house and let them free-range.  Of course, chickens don't like the bright, intense, HOT sun so they kept going back to their shade.  Syd wanted to make them more shade - and since we don't have the official coop built yet (remember Daniel's been down and out) we had to improvise using some leftover drywall.  Introducing a true Virginia style coop.

We haven't gotten a whole lot done around here since graduation, but I'm looking forward to Daniel feeling better so we can get back to it.  Counter tops are in, sink and faucet are here, shelves and brackets are ready to be primed, painted, and installed.  Looking forward to sharing more pictures very soon.  Until then... xoxoxo

Friday, June 13, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by SouleMama
just born

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game Time... a VERY important time when Granny (on the left) is around.  Granny is known to teach each one of us a very important lesson; how to cheat.  It was Sydney's turn this day...  (LOL)  love ya Granny!!!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Family Visits, Graduation, and Down Time

If you've wondered where I've been - I've been here all along just behind the blog doing other things :o)  We had family to visit for our first home school graduation this past weekend and can I just say that I'm glad the stress of it is over.  We are taking a few days off to simply relax and recoup, but we are by far not done here and there will be many more posts coming as to what is going on in this little house.

Daniel's mother and grandmother

presenting her with her diploma

they sang together, just like they always do...

A few pictures and goodies

a few cherished friends!

Some wisdom given

what would life be without playing?

a friendly conversation

the graduate with one grandma

the graduate with her only living GREAT-grandma

the graduate with another grandma

grandma and grandpa with the graduate

the youngsters blanket

an intense super scrabble game

it's always intense with Granny (Daniel's grandmother)

the proud (and thankful) parents of the graduate

group *hug*

the graduate with her daddy... we thank God for him!

the aftermath!!!

We still don't have the kitchen sink installed so we are doing dishes at the side of the house.  There were quite a few to do once everything was over.   More updates to come...

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