Monday, June 30, 2014

Little Red

We celebrated Little Red's birthday last weekend, she is three. She is the youngest of our four grandchildren and full of energy, and like most "babies" of the family, works hard at keeping up with her three older siblings.

Her aunt created a "Frozen" wonderland for her birthday complete with costumes and a cardboard castle she made out of cardboard boxes. Little Red and Little Miss (her older sister and BFF loved it)

Little Red is not so red anymore, her hair has turned a strawberry blonde. She loves to sing and will never be found far from her older sister, they're like a matched set. She loves to cuddle and will grab you around the neck without warning to give kisses. She likes to help me do whatever it is that I am doing in the kitchen and one of her favorite dishes is hummus. She will scrape the bowl of my food processor after I'm done making it, as if it were cake mix.

I love to hear her sing "Jesus Loves Me"

Do you remember the words? Simple truths

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

Little ones to him belong, we are weak but he is strong

Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me

Yes Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so

Jesus loves me! He who died

Heavens gate to open wide;

He will wash away my sin;

Let his little child come in

Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus love me

Yes Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so

(I know there are other verses but we are keeping it simple for now)

Happy Birthday little Red...we love you!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Summer's Day

There are days I bring my camera with me on an outing with the intentions of getting a family photo, and then there are days when photos just kind of happens. Today the photos of my grandchildren just kind of happened.

We planned a day at the Garden's today. The Garden's have trams to ride, a large children's area with fountains and water and plenty of areas to picnic. I always take my camera to the Garden's but usually it's to take photos of flowers.

This photo is one of their Mom and Dad's favorites, they have asked me to duplicate this of the four children if the opportunity ever presented itself again. 

After our picnic it occurred to me that it might be a nice time to get some photos. Miss B suggested we get a photo similar to the one we got at the beach almost 3 1/2 years ago.

They lined up and walked, holding each others hands. Don't they look sweet? Everyone cooperating!

It looked too contrived to me...these weren't MY grandchildren. I wanted a photo that was more fun, I had them turn around and race each other to the other end of the field. They were happy to comply.

Then I had them turn around and run down the field a second time

The competitiveness came out...and so did the photos. Hope you're enjoying your summer days!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cooking From My Basket

Isn't this the cutest little cabbage, it's called a Cone Head Cabbage and I've been getting them in my CSA basket for the last several weeks. The taste is the same as cabbage, just a little milder.

I'm indifferent about cabbage, I don't hate it ,but it wasn't a vegetable I would normally buy at the store unless I was making cole slaw. That has changed with the CSA. (one week I got three small heads in my basket, I can't eat that much cole slaw) I had to find other ways to use cabbage.

One way we cooked them was to cut in half and core them, baste with olive oil and sprinkle with fennel seed and broil or grill...that was pretty tasty both hot and cold the next day.

But our favorite way to use this cabbage so far, has been this recipe using ground pork. It's kind of a cabbage pork stir fry.

Skillet Cabbage and Pork 

1 onion chopped (I had green onion in my basket so I used those)
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon oil
1 small head cabbage, chopped into bit sized pieces (1-1/2lbs)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4-1 pound of ground pork
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onions and garlic in oil till tender or translucent
2. Add can of tomatoes and cook until liquid is evaporated
3. Add ground pork, cook until no pink in meat
4. Add cabbage, cook 5-10 minutes or until cabbage is tenderness you like.

The ingredients are very flexible. I have made it twice. The first time I had two small heads of cabbage and 3/4 pound of pork, the second time I had a pound of pork and one medium head of cabbage, both times it turned out well.

You can also vary the type of sausage you use. The first time I made it I used plain ground sausage. The dish reminded me of the filling that you would get in an egg roll and husband seasoned his with soy sauce. When I made it this week, I found some pork apple sausage to use (the pork had apples, raisins and nutmeg in it) and it was delicious. I might try italian sausage next time, if cabbage keeps showing up in my basket...we shall see. 

This is a one dish meal, add some bread and you are set for dinner.

Recipe adapted from Sauteed Napa Cabbage with Pork from Pansang Pinloy

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Day With No Schedule

Every now and again you need a day when you have nothing on the schedule, no list of things to do, no places you need to be...sometimes you need a day to recharge. My husband needed one of those days last week. He had his usual responsibilities at work but in addition we had two broken air conditioning units that he had to work on after he got home, and of course, it was in the 90's most of the week, making our house pretty hot and difficult to sleep in. We knew by Friday there was nothing else that he could do to get them fixed, he done all that he could do, it was now time to step back and wait for the calvary...in the meantime, he needed a break.

We decided to have a "No Schedule"  day. We started our day at a local sandwich shop that had recently remodeled. We had lunch outside on a picnic table under a shade tree, (can you think of a better place to drink ice tea and eat sandwiches? )After our lunch we decided to head to the beach. It's early in the season so the crowds are still kind of light, there are plenty of places to park and places to sit when you want to rest. We walked the boardwalk, did some people watching, took photos and called it a day.

Later that evening my husband got a message from an old friend, he would be out the next day to look at the air conditioning units. In the end our friend was able to recharge one unit (it still has some life in it), so our downstairs is cool,  but the other unit is good and dead after 22 years of service.  (can't really complain about that)

I know this may not really sound like good news to some, but I actually think it all turned out pretty well, we only are going to have to replace one unit, and we got to reconnect with an old friend, and we were able to spend a day at the beach. There is always something that we can be thankful for in every situation, don't you think?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cooking Seasonally

Being a part of a CSA has taken on a whole new meaning to "eating your vegetables" for us. I've always thought we ate a lot of vegetables, then we started getting our weekly baskets from our CSA, I soon realized that I was mistaken on how many vegetables we REALLY ate.

The way our CSA works is you buy a "share" or a "1/2 share" at the beginning of a season. What you are seeing in the photo is "1/2 share" Each week I receive a basket of whatever happens to be ready for harvest and 1/2 dozen eggs...if the chickens are laying. (apparently the chickens don't lay as much when it's real hot or we have wide temperature variations, who knew?)

We decided to try this for a couple of reasons, first we wanted fresh local food, we wanted to do better with our food budget and the whole idea of getting weekly produce reminded my husband of the days growing up on his grandparents farm...back in the day, you ate what was growing out in the garden, days on his grandparents farm were good memories for him.

It's been about six weeks now and our eating habits are changing. Our meals are more "vegetable heavy" (a good thing, right?) and I have had to learn cook outside my comfort zone but we are loving it. I get an email each Thursday letting me know what's going to be in the basket on Saturday and I plan my meals accordingly. We see the same people week after week, often sharing stories and recipes, (what exactly ARE you doing with all your cabbage?) t's turned into more of an event than just picking up our produce.

I was told eating seasonally was a great way to get a wide variety of nutrients, you are always eating something different, this has been good for me, as I continue to try and rebuild my immune system. Another benefit is  my produce keeps for a longer period of time in the fridge because it's freshly picked, (with the exception of one lowly little turnip, I haven't lost anything.)

A CSA isn't for everyone, you and your family have to like vegetables, be willing to learn how to cook new things, and you have to be willing to cook at home most of the time. It has worked for us, but I have really had to keep on top of it, I'm always aware of what's sitting in my fridge, knowing there will be more coming on Saturday...I better get cooking. I'll be sharing recipes from my basket throughout the summer.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reflections on Father's Day

My thoughts are probably a day late and  a dollar short on this, but sometimes it takes me a bit to process things.

I'd been cruising through FB the last couple of days and had lost count of the number of posts I had seen by friends praising all the wonderful qualities of their dads or husbands, usually accompanied the smiling faces of the men and their children. I was going to do a post myself, but never got around to it. (such has been my life as of late) Now before you get the wrong idea, I think it's wonderful that these children/wives, honored their dads/husbands this way, but I was also keenly aware of the pain Father's Day day might be bringing some.

I thought about the friend who had just lost her husband and the pain her children would be experiencing as they celebrated their first Father's Day without their dad. I thought about those I know who's father's have been absent most of their lives, or abusive or were so involved in other things, that being a dad wasn't really a priority.. .For many people Father's Day was a painful reminder of what they didn't or don't have.

Then I was reminded of scripture

Those who follow Christ have a heavenly Father, one who is faithful, loving, merciful and just. He is always there to listen when you want to talk, he knows your heart, he knows your needs and desires. He will never leave you or forsake you...he will never fail you.

I enjoyed honoring the father's yesterday, what a blessing it is to have dads that are invested in their families and take seriously the role of father, but to those that this is not a reality, remember our Heavenly Father...we are told he is a Father to the fatherless, he can fill that void

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God"
1John 3:1

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling"  Psalm 68:5

"I will be a father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty"
2 Corinthians 6:18

Monday, June 9, 2014


In 1975

  • Gerald Ford was president
  • The median household income was 11,800
  • Price of a first class stamp was 10 cents
  • A gallon of gas would cost you around 44 cents
  • The average home price was 11,787 (we paid $150 month for a furnished apartment)
  • The Eagles and Chicago were popular music groups
  • Saigon had fallen, and the Vietnam War was officially over
  • Jaw's and Towering Inferno were some of the movies playing in the theaters
  • Leisure Suits were fashionable for men...as were blue tuxedos...really they were!

And in 1975 we were married, and just so you don't have to do any quick math in your head, that makes 39 years. We celebrated with a little getaway to Williamsburg, reminisced about days past and thought about what the future might hold for us. What a ride it has been...there has been good, bad and everything in between...I think it's called life...and I wouldn't have "written" it any other way!

Dinner  Saturday night over looking the York River