Wednesday, July 27, 2011

VBS Prep

The kids have been very helpful in preparing for our Parish's Vacation Bible School.
We outlined five bible verses (one for each day) on poster board and then colored them with markers.
We worked at Vacation Bible School as a family last year and had a blast. I was delighted to be asked back and again wanted to to make it a family project.
We started the decorating the week before. The theme is a "Wilderness Adventure Through the Sacraments". Our Director is putting together a hiking mountain man who resembles John The Baptist.
Sam brought in his Halloween prop of a left hand which is attached to the nylon hose stuffed arm.That's Sam's  new tent in the background which ties in well with a "hiking in the wilderness" theme.
There were a couple of wigs to choose from to make our mountain man look rustic which entertained the helpers.
It has been nice having the kids at church many nights this week, helping to set this big production up. My hope is that if they jump into the "middle" of joining church related functions, it will be harder for them to "fall off" the edge of practicing their faith. Besides all that, it's fun to be involved!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On the Potty Train

We have been helping our little guy to be successful in the traditional rite of passage known as "Potty Training". The method used, which is working extremely well, is to remove the paper encumbrance below and leave it off, and cover up with a long tee shirt.
He has been wearing a variation of this outfit for a full week now (except at bedtime) and has almost no accidents. He thinks he is playing "Madden" with Grandpa here but has no idea that his controller isn't hooked up!
Aunt Kristy provided some reinforcement by making a little sticker chart for this fellow, who will be 3 in four months.
His Mom cleared her schedule and they stayed at home for the first few days of training with frequent reminders. He can now travel a bit and stay dry. On his own, he takes himself to the bathroom, preferring not to be nagged about it. Congratulations, G-man.

Coffee and Books

I like to say that " Books are my one addiction" or that "Buying books is my only vice". This of course, is not true. I  also am crazy about drinking coffee!!!! Unfortunately, the living room was starting to look like a used book store. We were able to find a solution in this interesting and unique coffee table.
My mother says " If you are going to have readers, then you are going to have books." I value the reading of good books.
 I am not bothered too much by visual clutter, but many people are. I wanted to be able to manage the books without tucking them into a bookshelf every time we put them down.

The reason I love this table is because the glass surface can be clear and clean and ready for a cup of coffee, while the shelf  4 or 5 inches below it can hold the books that we are currently reading. When the kids or I sit down, it is easy to SEE and grab our book. After all, "Out of sight, out of mind". That's what we don't want!
The drawers could hold games or a basket of toys ( maybe the toys that are crowding the fireplace hearth!)
We purchased this coffee table for the other side of our living room but it seemed too bulky there. Moving it to the this side worked much better especially after bringing up these almost matching end tables from the basement. The cherry finish appeals to me against the green couches.
It has been wonderful to be able to relax and place a cup of coffee on a smooth surface while still being able to reach for a favorite book.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Peach Cobbler

 I brought my peaches with us on our visit to see our extended family, but there were quite a few that didn't get eaten. That surprised me because they were soooo juicy and good!
Because they were "overripe" when I bought them, it was time to make a cobbler.
I have a recipe for "Lazy Man's Cobbler" and we used that. It is made up of Ones.
1 cup flour                                   
1 cup sugar
1 teas. baking soda                       
1 stick of margarine ( or butter)           
1 cup of milk                                 
1 can of fruit             
                                 Melt the butter in the bottom of a 13x9 pan.                   
                                 Mix the dry ingredients all together in a bowl
                                 Then add the milk, stir, and pour into the pan over top of the melted butter
                                 Do Not Stir again.
                                 Dollop the fruit out on top of the batter
                                 Bake at 350 for 45 min to an hour

I doubled this recipe and added some extra flour.
Here's what it looked like before it was baked. The fruit is sitting on top of the unstirred batter ( all the melted butter is still at the bottom of the pan).
I cooked it on a cookie sheet because these peaches were so juicy that I didn't want a clean-up later. it took every bit of an hour, probably longer. This cobbler is very delicious, if you like that sort of thing, especially with ice cream (or milk) on top! I wish the kids liked this stuff as much as I do!

A Chance to Spend the Night

The boys had enough money in their allowance to buy a tent for a planned visit to see our cousins.
 Since all of our family lives within an hour or so of each other, the adults never make a plan to spend the night, but instead, just drive home.
 This visit would be different. Three families of moms and kids, ( sisters and cousins) would stay overnight so that we could visit the next day, too.
A "Tent City" was erected and the fun began...
A scrumptious meal of spaghetti and meat sauce, salad and garlic bread hit the spot on our first evening!
The visiting Moms brought some food but most of the food for this crowd of 21 relatives was supplied and cooked to perfection by our hostess,
Aunt Cecilia, shown cuddling her youngest, who had just awoken from her nap.
Swimming was the main recreation.

 This pool is close to ten years old. Most people would have "disposed" of it after one season or two but not this family. They have taken great care of it and have been able to swim in it for years.

The teen-agers had a lot of fun hanging out for an extended visit.These kids, like their parents, are busy people. This window of dedicated time to just be together was really special and they were enjoying it.
Natalie was testing to see if a Big Red Wrapper really is painful when stuck to one's forehead. She was the only one who didn't think so and wore it all evening.
Unfortunately, a "bobcat" ( teen-age cousin?????!!!!) spooked the would-be campers and everyone bedded down in the basement. I retired with the nine middle cousins at midnight but the other aunts and teen-aged ladies were up 'till 3 am chatting and hanging out.
Because we were in the country and partly in the woods, I didn't even notice that it was a 100 degrees outside!
Aunt Nancy gave us an in-depth tutorial on the theory of coupon shopping. She has gotten very proficient at it and is saving her family big bucks at the check-out. Sometimes, she even gets  her food or health and beauty products for free and the cashier has to pay her money back at the end of the order!
There is a definite science to this extreme couponing. Helpful web-sites are available that  plan your shopping strategy based on store sales and recently printed  coupons.  I am not sure if I could find the time to get good at this but I do know that everything is getting more expensive and it would be wise to try this new way of shopping.
After a great lunch of hot dogs on the grill, we had s'mores for dessert, which each person just heated up in the microwave.The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this overnight visit with our cousins and aunts (Thanks to all the Uncles and Dads who were at work keeping the ships afloat).It was such a different idea- to have local folks spend the night in order to prolong a visit. I hope we can do it again sometime!!!
Thanks, Country Cousins!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Over-ripe Peaches

In preparation for a visit with lots of cousins, we stopped at an orchard on the way home from the noon Mass to buy some fresh fruit to bring as a snack. These gorgeous peaches were offered for half-price because they were very ripe.
We happened to have a large jug of ice cream in the freezer, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa! Peach milkshakes made for a fantastic summer lunch!

Koi Pond

Unlike today, with the temperature at 102 in the shade, last Saturday was another one of those perfect summer weather days.
I had a three hour block of time to spend with Juby while waiting for Tori to give her speech in front of a live class  for her on-line course in communications.
After a lovely visit with  friends who took us on a long walk on the bike path to the playground, we returned to wait for our college student.
We then spent a relaxing half-hour at this very healthy koi pond.
The sights and sounds were so pretty.
This is the pump house. This cute little house was built to cover a modern day pump.
Likewise, the water line is disguised inside this hollow log.
A blue dragonfly, (which is a popular decoration on girls' clothing this summer), hovered over the pond and alighted on a leaf.
 The lilies were in bloom. The pads must be "lily leaves".
The bumble bee to the left of center in this photo was as attracted to the heavenly scent of this flowering bush  as I was. The fragrance reminded me of a hedge bush called "Bridal Wreath" which it may be.

Observing this pond was an extremely pleasant way to pass some unhurried time...
while we waited for Tori,
who got an "A" on her speech!