Thursday, June 13, 2013

Howdy reader! 

I hope that you're enjoying a lovely day.  It's a bit rainy here in Pennsylvania at the moment, but by the weekend, things are supposed to be sunny and nice.  Woohoo! 

We have a trip to Philadelphia this weekend, which both of us are looking forward to.  I will be sure to post some pictures after we get back.  Neither of us is really comfortable driving in the city, so we've opted to take a tour bus trip.  All the fun of the city without putting the miles on your car, getting lost, or (yikes) getting into a bad neighborhood by accident. 

This past weekend, we stayed at hubby's family cabin.  It is two miles off the main road, up a windy and steep dirt lane.  The property borders with a State Game Lands, so it's very quiet.

These past few weeks have been tough, with Beverly passing away, traveling, and trying to keep caught up with everything.  We all needed a bit of time to rest and recharge.  The cabin is a perfect place to do just that.

Scott and Wayne (my father-in-law) fished in the pond.  Actually, they are trying to catch as many fish as they can, because my hubby's great uncle, who owns the place, is draining the pond and is going to dig it out.  In the meantime, they've dug another smaller pond, right behind the old one.  Eventually, they will connect the two, but right now they're trying to get all the fish they can out of the big pond and into the small one! 

As you can see in the photo above, it's pretty filled in and the lily pads and cattails have kind of gone haywire!  These will all be dug out and the area with the cattails will actually be turned into a beach area so we can all swim in the pond again. 

Here are a few of the critters we spotted-

This lovely butterfly was outside of the cabin Saturday morning.  There were a whole bunch of them, but this one's picture seemed to come out the nicest.

And this cute little 5-lined skink.  He was pretty small.  This picture makes him look a lot bigger than he really was! 

We had to get a family shot before we left.  Here we are, refreshed and ready to head back to civilization.  (Okay, none of us really wanted to leave, but being responsible adults, we realized we had to come home. lol) 

Before we left, I made a few baked goods to take along with us.  My favorite was strawberry coffee cake.  It was delicious and very easy to make- it took hardly any time at all to mix it up and have it popped into the oven to bake.  Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Coffeecake

½ cup milk 
1½ cups sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons  butter, softened
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt 
Crumble Topping:
 ¼ cup cold butter
1 cup all-purpose flour 
½ cup sugar 
In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir to mix. In another bowl, add the egg, milk, and butter; stir; add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish.Place strawberries evenly over the top of batter.With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until consistency of coarse crumbs.Sprinkle mixture evenly over the strawberries.Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Take your time!

Last night, I was hurriedly cleaning the bathroom, when I suddenly stopped.  Why was I in such a hurry? 

Well, I was in a hurry, because, naturally, after working an 8 hour day, I wasn't really thrilled about cleaning the I had laundry in the dryer, and needed to get supper started. 

I decided to stop hurriedly scrubbing and stop and think things through.  When I slowed down, I found I was less frustrated and that cleaning, while not enjoyable, certainly became less bothersome. 

Work your way down.  I started by dusting the cobwebs around the tops of the walls/ceiling area. (I wonder how long it has been since I've cleaned up there???)

Next I dusted the light fixtures, took all the stuff off the stand that sets around and above the commode, dusted all the shelves, dusted and cleaned the window and window sill, then work my way down to the toilet, cleaned the sink, and finally swept and mopped the floor.  I will be tackling the tub tonight. 

I found that once I decided I was going to clean in a certain manner, things went a lot better for me.  I wasn't so hurried and unhappy. 

When you clean your house, you are helping your family.  Yay!  :)

I threw together a stir fry for supper last night, which was both filling and light on fat and calories.  It's a good time of the year to start thinking about setting aside recipe ideas for warmer weather.

Those of you with central air probably don't like having your cooling unit running full-out in the summertime, and turning on the oven certainly can add to the burden of the unit. For others, like me, who don't have air conditioning (well, we have a window unit in the bedroom, but that won't help the downstairs at all), you know how miserable it is to come home to an 85 degree house and then have to turn on the oven.  Phew!

At any rate, stove top cooking seems to keep the kitchen cooler, and still produce an edible meal.  I know a lot of people enjoy grilling.  I like to eat grilled food, but I've never been comfortable operating a grill alone.  Call me a wuss.  Go ahead, I know you want to.  lol  At any rate, when it is 90 degrees outside, standing in front of a flaming BBQ is also not my idea of a fun time.  Hubby does grill occasionally on the weekends, but I'm afraid our gas grill is more a lawn ornament than anything.

Anyway I digress...

The other day, I googled warm weather recipes, hoping to find a few new ones to add to the old file.  What I found were oddities like BBQ Miso Eggplant or Squash Souffle.  Um...that might suit some people just fine, but I prefer more...human style food.
Here are a few of my favorite warm weather meals:
Tacos/Taco Salad
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Cook meat all day in crockpot, come home, shred, add BBQ sauce, eat!)
BBQ Chicken in crockpot
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Green Salad with cubed chicken, strawberries, and feta. (Throw in a handful of sliced almonds if you have them)
Greek salad (diced tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber chunks, feta, and olives tossed with italian dressing)
Baked potato bar (microwave taters till done, then top with all kinds of fun stuff)

So, anyway, those are just a few ideas.  We like eating most all of them and they don't heat up the kitchen much. 

I wanted to leave you with this lovely sunset over Briar Creek Lake.  Hubby has had off the past couple days for bereavement and we've been going there around 7:30 or so to get some exercise in.  The view was stunning on Tuesday night. 

May God bless you, dear reader.  I pray that you are healthy, happy, and having a great day.  :)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A tribute to Grandma

I wanted to blog a little bit today about my husband's grandmother, Beverly.

She passed away last Tuesday, May 28 from cancer.  She was 83 years old. 

We celebrated her life yesterday at a beautiful and moving funeral at Calvary Baptist Church, where she had been a member for 50 years. 

I didn't know Grandma well until I married Scott, which was in 2004.  She has instilled a few lasting impressions- I'd like to share a few of those now.

Sunday Dinner- This is my favorite memory of Grandma.  Every Sunday, she would have the entire family (that includes 8+ family members when I joined the family) over at 12:30 for dinner.  She cooked everything from scratch and the menu varied.  Some personal favorites were: Chicken and Waffles (it's a Pennsylvania Dutch dish- think chicken and biscuits, but fresh, crispy homemade waffles instead of biscuits), Pork and Sauerkraut, Hamburg BBQ (that's East-ylvanian for Sloppy Joes from scratch), Chicken and Rice Casserole, and so many others. 

The meal was prepared with care and served piping hot to anyone who came for dinner.  We had a family blessing before eating and everyone truly enjoyed spending time together at Grandma's house Sunday afternoons.

I always helped wash dishes afterward- after all, if someone is kind enough to cook a huge homemade meal for me, the least I can do it help by cleaning up!!  

Sour Cherries- The first year Scott and I moved to Bloomsburg, I remember going to an orchard to pick sour cherries on July 4th.  We spent the day in the sunshine, filling our pails with the red, tangy cherries.  Afterward, we went home and helped grandma take the stones out.  She rewarded us with a big bag of cherries, which I promptly turned into cherry pudding!  (I will definitely have to share that recipe, because it is delicious.) 

Above all, Beverly was involved and active in her church.  She was a true prayer warrior and prayer daily and constantly.  She was loved by her family and friends.  She will be missed very much.