Outside my window...sunny and low 80s this afternoon with clouds forming for scattered t-storms later in the evening.
One of the family's favorite things...Humpback Rocks is a favorite hiking place of ours for a fun excursion. The view is always terrific!
We always remember to take our jackets for the evening picnic, because even in August the air chills on the Parkway after the sun goes down. Here I am with Sarah making S'mores using her homemade marshmallows:
I am thankful...for safety on the roads...so much traveling this summer, and the Lord has answered our prayers and brought us back home safe and sound!
In the kitchen...as usual Fridays are Sarah's baking days...homemade marshmallows, blueberry pies and apple pies, cupcakes, linzer tart, lemon cheesecake, and cashew brittle all line the counters and table...waiting for labeling and packaging.
I am wearing...navy skirt, aqua tank, aquas and blues plaid blouse, silver sandals.
I am creating...absolutely nothing sewing-wise! The last time I sewed was in March! But I'm hoping to set up my machine after this weekend and re-start my Row-Along. That's good news, I'm sure, for my Row-Along partner!
I am going...to SC to pick up Granny in late-September. She'll be back in just another month!
I am hoping...Jonathan can get started building his house soon. The lot was being cleared today! (This picture doesn't show much, but we'll keep you updated as things start to happen.)
I am looking forward to...this weekend!! Tomorrow is our 34th anniversary, and Tom and I are spending the weekend in northern Virginia ~ Manassas. I'm especially looking forward to our Sound of Music concert at Wolf Trap. Happy Anniversary to us!
Around the Garden...uh,oh...Hannah was picking tons of tomatoes this week for canning and ran into this character eating a frog for his supper...and now I'm wondering how long it will take for the Snake Be Gone to arrive from Amazon!
I know, I know...folks say garter snakes aren't poisonous. But I'm thinking a bite might make me pretty sick...so I've not been down to the garden since! I have an anniversary trip to enjoy!
Capturing my love of foods, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A collection of photos from the center of my home.
Three females sharing a kitchen and scheduling who gets to use it at what time of day...can definitely be tricky...especially with so many activities going on. Everyone needs the kitchen!
Yesterday morning Sarah was busy doing this. Can you guess what these little guys will be? After lunch Hannah took her turn in the kitchen. First, she stopped by a neighbor's roadside ditch and picked some Jewelweed which she uses in her Nature Friend poison ivy soap. Here's what she came home with: She wrote a post last year about Jewelweed here.
Yesterday she also made some shampoo bars with a lemon scent after a market customer requested this new fragrance. It takes 4 weeks for the soap to cure before it will be ready to sell at market, so we'll show you those pictures later.
Okay, girls...can I get in the kitchen in time to make supper?
Of course, you can guess what my meal plan was by this photo--it's the famous meatloaf recipe I posted a few years ago and which gets the most clicks of any post we've ever written in the 10 years that we've been blogging!I'm not at my normal plenty-of-room spot on the counter because soap making was actually still going on when I started the meatloaf. I had to manuever my way around all the canning that took place this week, too: Did you notice the lids on Hannah's canning jars? It's the first time she's used the Tattler Reusable Lids.
You can purchase them from Amazon here, and if you use our link on the left sidebar anytime you purchase anything from Amazon we get a few cents back. Thank you to everyone who has clicked through our link in the past.
And what did I bake yesterday for our dessert to go with our meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, and carrots? These delicious Ghirardelli brownies. Yep, Sarah is the bake-from-scratch person, whereas I just open this box of Ghirardelli! Okay...who snitched a piping hot corner piece?? Now that you've had time to think about it...back to my first question on Sarah's little dough balls...did you guess what she was making?
Here's what those little cuties will eventually become...mini-blueberry pies! Unfortunately, not for us, but for folks at market...lucky ducks! Well, that's what went on in our kitchen yesterday!
And what's on the docket for today? Well, Sarah always makes her cheesecake for market on Thursday nights, so she'll do that later today. Hannah will probably make more soap, and I'll shop for more groceries to stock this kitchen!
And we'll all be preparing the house and food for weekend guests who are arriving tomorrow. Should be a fun and busy time!
Here's hoping that lots of fun activities will take place in your kitchen, too!
Today I've joined the Kitchen Blog Hop that takes place weekly over at Beauty That Moves. Hop over to see beautiful pictures of food preparation in others' kitchens.
We're trying to get back into the swing of things after being away last week, and what better way to settle in than to fire up the grill and prepare some delicious Santa Fe Burgers.(Photo courtesy Sargento Foods.)
We recently re-discovered this very flavorful Mexican burger in our trusty blue recipe binder, and it's now become our go-to burger recipe every time we grill. When I saw that cumin was in these burgers, I knew they had to be good!
Here are the ingredients and instructions compliments of Sargento:
Combine ground beef, 1 cup cheese, 1/4 cup salsa, tortilla chips, green onions, cumin and garlic salt in medium bowl. Shape into 4 patties, 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick.
Preheat grill or broiler. Grill patties, 5 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Grill or lightly toast hamburger buns. Place burgers on buns; top with remaining salsa; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve with lettuce and tomato.
For some additional spiciness, try some Bold Fiery Chipotle Gourmaise by Boar's Head as your condiment. This is hot stuff so go lightly your first try!
Let's mix those ingredients all together...and you can see below that we substitute torn slices of Pepper Jack Cheese for more spiciness instead of the shredded 4 cheese that's listed in the recipe: As you form the burgers, gently fold the cheese inside the burger as much as possible so it won't melt on the grill: Then it's time to grill, and this is usually my job. Burgers are looking good! Everyone is always listening for the call: "Time to eat!"
We passed along this recipe to friends recently, and they thought these burgers were delicious as well. I hope you have a chance to try the Santa Fe Burger recipe. I think you'll love the Mexican yumminess!
On Monday, July 28, my Grampa, Ed Girotti, passed away after battling cancer for just a couple of months. This week we traveled up to Connecticut to be with family and attend the wake and funeral.
My Grampa was a hard-working man who loved his family! He was married to Grandma for 31 years until she died of cancer before I was born. They raised 4 children together - Dad was the oldest son.
He loved baseball and was actually offered a contract with the Boston Braves, but he turned it down because he wanted to help his father who was having health issues. Whenever we visited him, he would update us on the status of the Red Sox. :) He was also a huge music fan and played the upright bass in bands for many years.
He was a World War II veteran and fought in France and Austria as a member of the 66th Black Panther division. We never knew a whole lot about that time of his life, as he never liked to talk about it. Jonathan tried to interview him once about his service, but didn't find out very much - he saw a lot of things over there that he didn't want to remember. On the way out of the church after the funeral, the organist started playing the Army Song and there were full military honors at the burial.
Grampa was so hilarious - he loved to crack corny jokes! The last time we were able to talk to him over Facetime last week, even though he was in pretty bad shape, he was still trying to throw in some funny lines. I'm so glad we were able to see him on Father's Day weekend and then have some video chats before he passed away.
Talking to Dad, Grandpa described a time when he came to the realization that Jesus Christ loved him and gave him faith in Him. In the last couple months, he told Dad that he was trusting in the grace of God and thought that this time was God's plan to take him home. "I've had faith in Him for so long; I'm not going to stop now."
We would appreciate your prayers for our family and for the extended Connecticut relatives - we'll all miss Grampa!
Click the above picture to see a slideshow of more pictures.
Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers And sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.
Our church gathered at the local river to witness 5 people give testimony to their faith in Christ. It was a beautiful day for a baptism and picnic!
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
"...there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
" And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."
Speaking of breaking bread, we did just that after the baptisms.
Decker and Sons Grilling Co. took charge of the main course.
Sarah created this special cake for the occasion:
Afterwards there was plenty of fellowship and playful activity as part of the joyful celebration.
Today has been a very hard day as we all said goodbye to our dearly loved dog, Pepper. She has been declining in health lately, and while we were gone on vacation this last week, she took a turn for the worse. After arriving home late last night and seeing the state she was in, we knew she was not going to last much longer. It was a hard decision, but we decided it would be best to put her to sleep today.
Many tears are falling as we remember the past 15 1/2 years she has brought enjoyment to our family. God has blessed us with a loving and faithful pet!
All of us except Jonathan were able to be with her at the vet's office as she went to sleep for the last time, and we buried her down below the garden this evening.
Well, as most of you faithful readers know, Granny lives three months with us and three months with my sister in SC. That's where she is now for the months of July, August, and September.
My sister sent me these pictures from her phone a couple of days ago of Granny keeping busy at her house. Here she is out in my sister's garage all set up making baskets!And below are all the ones she's made since arriving in SC the middle of last week! 7 already! She's amazing! I'm sure by now she's not only finished the green one she's working on, but she's also probably made another! I love those yellow handled potato mashers. I found one of them for Granny in this little shop called 3 Seasons in Fairfield, Virginia, when my sister visited recently: Here's the little antique kitchen area in the shop where I found the yellow potato masher hiding. There were lots of other really neat items, too:And who would've thought of this....here's another clever way to use potato mashers! And now I'd love to find a cheap one to attach to one of my old birdhouses. Wouldn't that be fun out on the fence post?! So...when you think of Granny these days, picture her in a "basket garage" instead of the "basket shed." She'll be working away I'm sure! And Granny...if you read this, we miss you!
When we visited Tom's dad in Connecticut last month on Father's Day weekend, my sister-in-law Ellen took me to their local nursery, Smith's Acres in Niantic: Ellen is a flower lover like I am, so she knew I'd love visiting this place! Notice all the flower boxes on top of their roof:Here's the plant we were looking for and found...a Mandarin Lights Azalea: Here are Sarah and Aunt Ellen waiting for me to take some pictures as we head back to the car: Ellen and her husband Ed have two of these azaleas...different from most azaleas in that it grows tall instead of a round shrub. She said the orange blossoms are like big pom-poms and make a show-stopping display...so much so that passers-by stop in their driveway and ask what the plant is...never realizing that it's an azalea.
Here's the plant in the corner of her yard (taken Father's Day weekend after the blooms had faded):The instructions stated that this azalea should be planted in a sheltered location, so I planted mine against the back of the house on the corner of this flower bed...hoping I gave it enough room to grow! I'm looking forward to seeing some bright orange pom-poms when it blooms...maybe next year! Many thanks to Ellen for the yard tours and for introducing me to this new shrub and taking me to Smith's Acres to locate one.
And, yes, we drove home from Connecticut fully packed...and the new plant rode ever so carefully at my feet the whole way back to Virginia! No complaints though from this flower gardener! :)
No, it's not a used car sale down at the garden as I've been teased! It's just a colorful way to keep the deer away (we hope!). Plus, I like a festive garden, and the sound of the breeze blowing the pennants is quite relaxing. Here's a closer photo: Well, actually, we did have a garden party! My long-time friend, Nancie, came to visit, and we ate our lunch outside under the shade of the old oak tree: It was market baking day for Sarah, so she was quite busy in the kitchen and wasn't able to join us. Our menu: broccoli quiche, chicken salad, sauteed zucchini and squash, tomatoes seasoned with basil, homemade Italian seasoned bread wedges, grapes, and Sarah's coconut cheesecake for dessert. What a spread! While Nancie was here, Granny invited her to walk down to the basket shed to see her baskets. Nancie had ordered a trash basket from Granny, and she was picking it up on this visit.
I think she liked every basket she saw on Granny's shelves! I won't say how many she took back home to Richmond with her...but let's just say that Granny was pleased with the sales!Then Nancie tried her hand at dipping a couple of baskets, and Granny showed her how to make sure the walnut stain that's always soaking in her big trash can covered each basket:And then Granny made sure the walnut debris was wiped off the baskets before they were hung to dry in the sun for the afternoon:What a wonderful day with my friend! And this photo will go in our guest book along with many good memories:Thanks, Nancie!
Today we celebrate our dear mother's birthday! Hooray!
Independence Day and her birthday coming all together make for a very festive, red-white-and-blue celebration week. :) The streamers are up, the patriotic decor is everywhere, and it's almost time to get the traditional Peter Paul cake in the oven.