Thursday, June 23, 2022

Summer and Ideas To Go With It


To say our garden isn't doing very well is an understatement - only two radishes out of many planted!  They were tasty however.  LOL  : )

It's Summer!!  It's what we wait for isn't it?  We've had some hot days and today is no exception - lots of watering going on around here.  I'm grateful for a rain barrel but if it doesn't rain, it doesn't help!  It seems like almost everyone is letting their lawn go and just concentrating on the plantings, trees, and bushes.  We always see dollar signs flying out the window if a plant dies.  But then watering all the time makes for a high water bill, so..................?

The lettuce has bolted because of the heat, and something keeps getting into the potatoes during the night even though we have a cover over them!  The only things that are doing well are the tomatoes, herbs, and green beans.  Wow.  If we had to depend on the garden for survival, we won't survive for long!!!! : o

The other part of summer that gets a little difficult is the high cost of electricity.  My husband and I like a cool house so the air conditioning is on especially at night for a better sleep.  I'm trying to keep lights off as much as possible which is easier to do in the summer because of the nice long days.  It's wonderful to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and it's already getting light outside.  It energizes me.  : )  I'm also hanging out the laundry more because allergy season is gone and hanging laundry is a great energy saver.  With this heat it sure doesn't take long for everything to dry.  The only things I don't hang are the outer clothes - I do use the dryer for that but for a shorter amount of time.  

I have been keeping very busy.  Just keeping up with the household chores, cooking, managing, etc. - before I know it the week is gone.  I love going to bed at night and looking back on the day knowing that I got those things on my daily lists checked off.  Towards the end of the week like this, I prefer to have my housework done so that I can concentrate on more personal items like writing letters, sending cards, e-mailing, writing, stitching, Bible study.  We also have a couple of birthday parties to plan and then we throw the 4th of July in there!  Is anyone else but me surprised that we're talking 4th of July?  

After the 1st day of summer on June 21st, we joked that from now on the days will be getting shorter!  That's a "glass half empty" attitude, isn't it?  So we enjoy these days that are given us and keep busy and keep planning for a few fun things to do.  : )

When we were raising our son, one of my greatest joys was planning things to do and places to go.  I loved it.  I had file folders of ideas from which to choose.  There was one book that I went to time and time again for ideas:

I haven't looked to see if this is still in print, but if you have children/grandchildren I would highly recommend this book if you can find it.  I used it ALL the time as a springboard for ideas and activities.

Now, I know that this is really geared for families with younger children (I'd say up to 8th grade).  But I'm sure you could improvise - we made sure in our family that when our son got into high school we still did things as a family.  There is an A-Z section in this book that covers almost everything your family could do or get interested in doing.  There is another section that breaks the year down into month-by-month activities.  It promotes adventure and saving up for that one big trip.  I used the section where it encouraged us to have fun without spending a lot of money.  And so it goes.  I STILL take this book off the shelf and look at it from time to time.  Such great memories were made from this one book.  I hope you can find a copy and buy it for your own - like I said, even if you don't have children at home anymore it would be great for doing things with grandchildren!  Actually, when I've said in past posts that I want to keep learning as I get older, this book motivates me even with just my husband and I.  Or just myself in studying things that my husband might not be interested in.

I'm going to give a few ideas that we did over the summer months as a family and because we also homeschooled I took advantage of the learning opportunities that went along with it - and our son didn't even know he was learning - sneaky.  LOL  : )

*Camping - there is nothing like the great outdoors for learning all kinds of things!  Just how to set up camp is good to know.  Learning to cook outdoors is important (especially if the grid goes down or we have those rolling blackouts they keep talking about). There are a lots of trees, animals, bugs, stars, clouds, grasses, wild flowers, etc. to learn about.  Getting those small guidebooks to take with you while walking around helps to identify things.  Let your kids/grandkids take photos of everything.  

*For cost-saving ideas, look to your own area.  Go to parks and have picnics.  Get a fishing license and teach your kids how to fish (it can be catch and release).  Find local historical places to visit.  Are there any museums?  Remember, this is for the benefit of your kid/grandkids - you may think you're too busy or you, yourself, won't be interested in any of this - but this is for your family.  These kinds of things are important and sometimes you just have to do it whether you feel like it or not.  Believe me, once you get going you'll be having just as much fun and you'll be learning things too!

*Summer is a great time to learn manners.  I've said this before, but I'm dismayed at the young parents nowadays.  They aren't taking the time to teach manners.  Sometimes I feel bad for the teachers who are getting these little people in the Fall at school!!!

When you're camping you need manners.  You can't talk loudly at all hours of the day and night.  You  can't run through other people's campsites (believe me, it's been done).  You can't leave the bathroom/shower room dirty.  You can't leave the campsite dirty.  And so much more.  

When you are visiting historic sites or museums or anywhere else other people are going to be, you can't let your kids run wild.  It ruins the visit and experience for others.  Teach them to say "excuse me", "thank you", "please"..............

But, manners really begin at home.  If you don't enforce it there, you will have a hard time out in public.

*Plan your summer together.  Each person should have a say in what they would like to do.  Have someone write the ideas down, look at the calendar together and come up with a plan that will be fair for all.  That way you can begin budgeting and looking things up on-line or in any books you may have.  Actually, this is a good winter project so that once summer begins, you will know what you're going to do and where you're going to go.

*Always have a "Plan B" - things just have a way of not turning out whether it be the weather, or someone isn't feeling well, etc. - having another plan is a good idea.  Or, maybe even better.......this is a good lesson for the kids to learn that not everything does go as planned and we have to learn to be disappointed once in a while.  That is life and a good life lesson to learn.

*Have LOTS of summer reading.  Keep your kids/grandkids into books.  SO important.  They can range from storybooks, to books on researching a particular topic of interest, etc.  You read to them, they read to you, all of it.  Read, read, read.

*If you are taking a longer trip, remember the journey is just as important as the destination.  Look at the map and see what things are on the way.  Get out of the car often not only to stretch but to actually do something and see something.  For us, sometimes, a four-hour drive could easily turn into a six-hour drive because we took our time to get there!  And picnics along the way are great - time to burn off energy, get some fresh air, and it also tires the kids out so they take naps in the car!  : )

*Remember that what your interests are can build an interest in your kids and it can last a lifetime.  I've already said fishing and camping, but how about antiquing?  Maybe they will develop an interest in collecting something.  How about gardening?  They can easily grow things on their own to learn the responsibility of taking care of it.  Or, how about creative outlets - woodworking, stitchery, sewing, painting.......this is something that they can take into their adulthood and be a source of comfort and pride in knowing how to make something on their own.  Summer is a great time for these kinds of things but they need YOU to come along beside them and be their helpers.

*Use your own home and yard to have friends and neighbors over.  Hospitality is a wonderful thing to teach your children.  It can be very simple - a fire night with dessert, a game night, a movie night.  Whatever you like to do, I'm sure others will enjoy it as well.

These are just a few things that we have done as a family over the years and I hope you can grab hold of these ideas and try them out.  We look back on those times (and all those photos!) as the best times of our lives and don't regret for one moment the time, attention, and money spent that we put into it.  It's really, really, important.  Don't let the busy-ness of this life rob you of spending time together.  Say "no" once in a while to some of that stuff you busy yourself with or all those things you sign your kids up for.  I think we let others and other things take care of our kids instead of investing that time together as a family.  Maybe let this summer be the summer of change and see if it doesn't make a positive impact.

As for me and my personal time, this is how far I am on my cross stitch sampler:

This is my own design stitched on 14-count Aida - I've already made two mistakes (which I'm not going to point out, but that you can probably tell) but I'm not going to stop because of that.  I have a long ways to go yet and I'm enjoying every stitch.  : )

While stitching, I'm listening to Marcia Schuyler by Grace Livingston Hill.  I read the book years ago, so it's fun to have someone reading it to me!  I'm enjoying it.

And I always bring this out for one of my summer reads:

Every year that I read it, I find more in it.  Love it.

Well, it's getting close to the suppertime hour, so I will stop for now.  I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit - I appreciate it so much.  : )  What kinds of things are YOU doing to keep busy?  Take care and God bless your weekend ahead.  See you next time!

Monday, June 13, 2022

A Couple of Recipes, A Little Visit Away, and "Homesteading"

The first Peonies of the season - one of my favorite flowers.  : )

Hello ladies!  How are you doing these days?  I hope you can take a moment with a beverage of choice and humor me for a while as I share a few things with you.  : )

As the title of my post suggests I have a couple of recipes for you, we went back home (my home) for the weekend, and a bit of news from the "homestead".  : )  We woke up to a cloudy sky this morning with slight chances of severe weather but fortunately did not get that.  However, we got a little rain for a couple of hours and that was much needed but UNfortunately it wasn't enough to get down deep but I'm not going to complain - we'll take it!!!  : )  Now the sun is peeking out and the humidity is up so I'm doing the indoor work today.

About an hour ago I went out to look at everything in the gardens to see how it was coming along (one of my favorite things to do is go out and look at everything).  From vegetables to the flowers to the herbs.....things are coming along very nicely.  Early last week something got into one of our 5 gallon buckets and took the seed potatoes out, so I just replanted those - the other two have potatoes coming up already so I covered them back up with soil per the directions.  Isn't it exciting to plant something and see them come up?!  I love it.  That's where my term "homestead" came from.  Each time I go out to check on things, I feel like I'm a part of a little acreage that I can tend and grow things even though we are a first-ring suburb of a city.  Everything from working with the chicken wire to put around our plantings so the critters don't get to them, to actually putting seed into soil, to "fetching" water from the rain barrel to water some flowers with, to going to the little composter to put our scraps in, to picking things such as fresh herbs for my marinade for tomorrow to working with the flowers, to pulling the weeds..........all of it feels so special and natural and homey and right.  I feel deeply blessed for all of these little things.  I am in no way doing what a lot of people are doing and there are times when I feel I have NO idea WHAT I'm doing!!!  LOL  But that's part of it too, isn't it?  The researching, the actually doing it, the failures, the successes.  It means a great deal to me and I thank the Lord for it.  : )

Yesterday we returned from South Dakota. While going out (it's a six hour drive from here) I was thinking of car trips and how much we enjoy them.  It's enjoying the journey that matters to us.  So many people have no patience for car trips but I love them.  I always have.  As in past posts I will share what I noticed along the way and what we did:

We saw:
*small towns - the kind you have to slow down for
*wide open spaces - there is nothing like getting out of the "city" and out in the country - I grew up with that and miss it
*old barns
*beautiful purple wildflowers in the ditches
*trains - we love trains 
*lots of American flags

We did:
*stopped and had a picnic about half way into the trip - SO much better than sitting in a restaurant
it was the perfect day for it

*stopped at a cute little ice cream shop that we've been driving by for years now

I had an espresso ice cream, my husband had strawberry.   : )

Please allow me to suggest something while you are staying at a hotel when on vacation.  Most hotels offer a "free" breakfast (we're still paying for it as part of the cost of the stay).  Some are pretty elaborate and some are simple, but there is always someone who is there putting things out and cleaning things up.  Please remember to thank them for their service.  They have to come in very early and get things going and they have to clean up after some very messy people, so just saying "thank you" will make them feel appreciated.

Whenever we stay at a hotel, I'm constantly surprised and saddened by the growing lack of manners in people.  They let the doors slam shut late at night or early in the morning, they talk very loudly in the hallways late at night or early in the morning, and they are messy in the eating area.  I find that many people don't care about others anymore.  And a lot of them have their children with them - what kind of example is that?  There.  I vented.  I feel better.

My husband and I are trying the intermittent fasting type of eating.  We are on a 16:8 schedule and we are really liking it.    It means that from we eat in the 8 hour window of time and we fast on the 16 hour window of time.  We make sure that we finish eating by 7:00 p.m. so that we can fast in the evening hours and throughout our sleeping hours and then the morning hours so that we can eat around 11:30 a.m. the next day.  So, in fact, we skip breakfast and just have lunch and supper.  I've been reading up on it and I must admit that we feel better.  I'm not as tired and I'm losing a little weight (which I've been wanting to do).  Since we love breakfast meals, we tend to eat those for lunch - things such as pancakes or eggs and bacon, or whatever we would normally have.  And then our supper is what we would normally have as well.  It works for us but, again, you need to be careful with this if you have an underlying health issue such as diabetes or heart disease, etc.  I'm not a professional health care person so you do need to check with your doctor first.  We didn't check first because we don't have any health problems (as far as we know!).

Now on to the recipes.  I posted about my Rhubarb Custard pie last time so I'll share that one with you, and then last week I made some of my no-churn Raspberry Ripple ice cream (and I forgot to take a picture again!).  Here we go:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. flour

Stir in:
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

Mix well.  Pour into unbaked 9" pie shell.  Set aside.

For the topping mix together until crumbly:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt

Sprinkle on top of rhubarb filling and bake for 1 hour.  
Really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  : )

NO-CHURN RASPBERRY RIPPLE ICE CREAM (from "Marsha's Baking Addiction)

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the raspberries and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until the raspberries have broken down and the mixture has thickened a bit.  Push the mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl and discard the seeds and pulp.  Allow to cool completely (I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes).

Using a mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks.  And the milk and vanilla and slowly incorporate - the peaks with deflate and that's okay.

Pour half of the ice cream into a 9x5 loaf pan and then pour a little of the raspberry mixture over that and swirl it.  Pour other half of the ice cream over that and then finish off with leftover raspberry mixture and swirl again.

Cover tightly (I do plastic wrap first and then foil) and place in freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.

This is SO good in a waffle cone!!!!!!!  I hope you can try it.  Enjoy!!!

Well, as I'm writing, it must be clouding up again because the room is darkening!  I usually close our westerly blinds in the summer because of the hot sun coming in, so I'll have to open them again!!!  

I'm working on a new cross stitch pattern (I'm, again, designing this one myself).  The last one I was working on I had made 3 mistakes which threw a couple of things off and I didn't have the patience to unpick those mistakes!  So, I'm giving it a break and starting something new.

Just starting, but I have big plans for this one - LOL.  I love primitive samplers and that is my plan!  : )

I think that's about it for this post.  Not a lot, but I wanted to check in again with what I did have.  Thank you SO much for stopping by and I hope you all have a good upcoming week.  Enjoy your home and enjoy your work in your home.  It's all important.  We're called to be good stewards of what God has given us whether it's your home, your car, your yard, etc........take good care of it all!  : )

Sorry this is so blurry, but this is from Memorial Day - the clouds were so awesome.  We had quite the tornado outbreak on that day up towards cabin country - fortunately no one was harmed.

See you next time!  God bless.