Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yogurt Freezes

Above you see the recipe for Yogurt Freezes. We like peach the best.

1 large carton yogurt, favorite flavor
100 percent fruit juice, or other juice

Mix 1 carton yogurt with 1/2 yogurt carton of juice. (Two to one ratio.) Pour into small cups and set into freezer. Freeze until hard. Slightly thaw and scrape out to eat with a fork or spoon. Refreshing.

This last batch was great with peach yogurt and apple juice. I did not think the apple juice would be good, but apple was the only light colored juice I had on hand. I also added a 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Really good combo! These work great for an afternoon, evening or car snack. The cups can even be reused after washing. (Dishwasher works!)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

My first ever strawberry/rhubarb pie. Pretty good. Only one piece left since making it yesterday morning. Better warmed up with ice cream...

Endless Blooms

The Valentines orchid is still producing blooms. Right now it has 10 blossoms on it, and they are gorgeous. We marvel at it daily on our kitchen table. Husband certainly got his moneys worth on that one! The interesting care tip is that you water it once a week by putting 2-3 ice cubes on the soil to melt. Apparently it is the right amount of fluid and the cold shocks it in some way to promote blooming. Seems to work. I've started "watering" my African Violets the same way, and they started to re-bloom again, too. I do also give 1/2 rate fertilizer regularly.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Yesterday's moments of joy:

It's a treat and a laugh to have your father-in-law ask where the kids are, and find out he means your 48-year-old husband and 53-year-old brother-in-law.

Daughter W. (6) was treating her mosquito bites. They are all over her legs. They seem to love her. She says, "Skeeters love me because I am skeeta-tastic."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Air Show

We spent Saturday at the air show. We loved the F22 and the WWII era fighter plane. The F22 is so cool. The Blue Angels were excellent as usual. (Click to enlarge.)

Clothesline Fort

This week I taught the girls how to make a clothesline fort. A winning idea. The weather has been so nice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Singers

Daughter M. and L. had their final Summer Singers today. This the second year for this 8-week-long (once per week) girls choral group through our homeschool assn. Today they did a taping for a TV church service and a performance for an assisted living home. This group and its leaders are one of the many joys of our homeschool group.

Around the Yard

Last night we were out in the yard. Daughter L. in the mulberry tree (her natural habitat) , one of our window well toads, the cornfield next door, farm structures, and burning the "hole."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Potluck

Today we had our annual Sunday School picnic in the park. Services at 11:00 and pot-luck at 12:00. After lunch, we took the traditional stroll through the Japanese gardens next to the lake. (Ginkgo trees, foot bridges, and captured fishes.) The day is topped off by swimming and sunning. Ahhhhh, summer!
I took my classic Potato Salad recipe. I got this recipe from one of Husband's great aunts years ago. She is gone now, but everyone still raves about "my" potato salad recipe. So easy.
Ruth's Potato Salad
6-7 potatoes, cooked with skins on, chilled
5-6 hard boiled eggs,chilled
2 c. Hellman's Real Mayonnaise (do not substitute)
1 T. vinegar
3 T. sugar
1 green onion
1/4 onion, diced
Peel and cut potatoes and eggs into cubes. Whisk together Hellman's, vinegar and sugar into a sauce. Cut one green onion and add it and diced onion to potatoes and eggs. Pour mayo mixture over all and stir. Let set (refrigerated) a few hours or overnight before serving.

Dutch Oven Cooking

Last night we had supper with our couples club. We were treated to Dutch Oven Cooking by our cousins Steve and Nancy. Dutch oven cooking is a hobby of theirs. They cooked us whiskey pork loin, homemade buns and applesauce cake in their dutch ovens. Nancy is an expert bread baker. The rest of us filled in with sides and other desserts. Delicious!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lemon Pie

This is a favorite recipe to make and eat! I usually make a double batch for two pies. Just as easy and works fine to double. There is no topping, just the lemon. Takes 10 min. to make and 20 to bake.

Lemon Pie

1 c. sugar

2 T. flour

4 eggs

1T. grated lemon rind (opt.)

6 T. lemon juice

1/2 c. butter, melted

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 t. almond extract

1 pie shell

1/4 c. slivered almonds (opt.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Position oven rack in bottom 1/3 of oven. Stir sugar and flour together in bowl. Add to eggs in another bowl and beat 3 min. until light in color and slightly thickened. Stir in lemon rind, lemon juice, butter, vanilla and almond extract. Pour into pie shell and place on a baking sheet. Bake in lower 1/3 of oven for 20-25 min. until filling is set and lightly browned. If desired, toast slivered almonds in a skillet over med-hi heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 4-5 min. Sprinkle almonds over pie and cool.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Farm News

The farm has begun building a new bin for grain storage. The crops are looking good here with all the rain and warm weather we've had. The beans look good and we have seen our first tassels on the corn. There has been hail and wind damage in the area, but we have not had any. Husband is almost done with spraying and is doing crop scouting and bin checks. He has also been golfing a few times, all in the line of duty, of course.

A Little Distracted

"You seem to be distracted today. Where are you?" Someone asked me this in church last Sunday.

I am with two sister-in-laws in their hospitals.

In the last 4 days, two of my beloved sister-in-laws entered the hospital in separate cities, on the same day. One had a heart attack, tests, and two stents inserted into a fully blocked artery. She is 50. The other became violently ill after a bug bite and entered the hospital and has had three surgeries and fluid on the lungs due to a raging Strep A Necrotizing Fasciitis (so-called "flesh eating") infection. She has been on a ventilator in critical condition in ICU. We are beginning to see slight improvement. She is 43 with a 5-year-old daughter and husband.

This is in additon to my regular life. I have three adult children-one married, one in the throes of divorce and one at school. I have a teenager, pre-teen and six-year-old at home. I have a full time job as an educator, a full time job as a parent and a full time job as a wife (although I recieve much more than I am able to give in that job!) I am in charge of preparing 3 meals a day, running the house and a child with a chronic medical condition (generally minor, potentially major) that requires daily monitoring, (for the last three-four years.) We are considering the pros and cons of surgery for this condition. I have parents and in-laws with aging issues. Did I mention menopause?????

And yet, I am one of the most blessed people I know. This is a charmed life I live. I have more than I need or deserve. But, I guess I must remember that it is OK to sometimes to be a little distracted. Perhaps a little distraction might even be considered normal? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mulberry Jam

The mulberry pickers stripped the trees on Sunday, and we made jam on Monday. Hopefully there will be enough for another batch.

Here is the recipe I used, from my new favorite, The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook. (See earlier post.)

Master Recipe for Freezer Jam
4 c. prepared fruit
2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 pkg. powdered pectin
1/2 c. cold water
Wash and dry fruit. Pit if necessary.Chop/crush with potato masher.
Add sugar and lemon. (For sour cherries, increase sugar to 3 c.) Let fruit mixture stand for 30 min. Stir pectin into water in small saucepan. Bring to a full boil and cook for 1 min. Pour into fruit mixture and stir 3 min until well combined and cooled.
Ladle into sterilized jars or other containers. Seal. Let stand at room temp. for 24 hours, then freeze for up to one year. Can also refrigerate for a month or two.
Update: The girls have been picking more mulberries, but not enought each day for a batch of jam, so I froze them flat on a plate for a few hours, and then put them into a zip bag for later use. Turns out they taste great frozen! Yum. We mat not get another batch of jam after all!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fairy Crowns and Donkey Ears

I used my latent florist talents to design the fairy crowns for the Midsummer Nights Dream play. (See earlier post.) Design dilemma: How do you design masculine fairy crowns?! We settled on flowers and ivy for the women, and ivy, sticks, pine cones and raffia for the men. I also made Bottom's donkey ears--fashioned from paper bags that were sewn , then stuffed and taped over shish kabob sticks onto a headband, then painted. (Machine sewing paper is a handy trick for many crafts.)

I had a "joyful moment" when my 13-year-old saw my finished play crafts and told me I was a "genius." Thank you, dear.

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream

Daughter L. participated this week in Shakespeare immersion camp at Friend B-Henebry's acreage. Camp was 6 days from 2-8 each day. They did A Midsummer Nights Dream.

The fifteen Jr. and Sr. High kids from our home school group did an outstanding job. They came to camp with their lines learned, and after a week of practice put on a most professional and entertaining show. They sounded as though Shakespearean rhyme was their every day language. Mrs. Kane directed to great success.

Performance was last night on the yard. The costumes, designed and sewn by our hostess during the week, were enchanting. It was a lovely week for the kids, a lovely evening for the audience, and a lovely learning experience.