Pizza Nachos | Recipe Link

Go here and make this yummy creation.

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Yup, right now. You can’t lose with Pizza Nachos. Especially when Garlic Cream Sauce is involved.

You’re welcome. :D

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True Freedom

Happy Independence Day!

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I’ve been thinking about freedom lately, in the spiritual sense of knowing truth and being free in it. Jesus said it best,And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. [John 8:32]

I am grateful to live in the free country of America — how much more grateful should I be for the gift of freedom that Jesus offers us? Instead of living in the land of bondage and lies, He has made a way for us to live in the land of true freedom. Only through His shed blood and our acceptance of His gift, is this possible. He also sends His Spirit to guide us into all truth.

Have a fun day of fireworks, family, cookouts, fun, and celebrating freedom, both in this country and the far-away country that we are pilgriming towards!

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These Days

These days I usually get up early, as in 6 am or earlier. I’m discovering that the sun comes up way earlier in Pennsylvania than it does in Ohio, at least in the summer anyway. It’s hard to sleep through blazing sunlight coming  through your window — plus, garden work & weeding is much more bearable in the cool morning hours. (However, I *gasp* slept ’til 9 am today. One has to sleep off stress and late nights sometime, right?)

These days I faithfully water my wee little strawberry plants. The merciless 91+ degree sun dries them out so fast! I am determined they will survive. ;)

These days I thank God for friends. Friends that text verses, that call to see how we are, that care, and that sit out in their backyard with us and chat all evening long. :D They truly are God’s hands and feet.

These days I catch tractor rides with my favorite farmer. :D

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…and tramp through soybean fields.

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These days I browse Pinterest and find yummy looking recipes like this and this to try. Usually within an hour of lunchtime.

These days I thank God for His mercy and grace and peace. He is the Wonderful Healer and Comforter.

These days are perfect for cutting and arranging floral arrangements.

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These days I do piles and piles of laundry. If you get just a little behind… it’s hard to dig your way back out.

These days we have pea picking parties. And there are coffee breaks. And breakfast. And pea shelling parties on the porch. :D

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These days I remember those far away FREEZING cold winter days and how I longed for hot summer days. Well, they’re here now! (And I’m thankful for air conditioning – lol!)

These days I have the travel itch. All in time, my husband tells me.

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And someday I will look back on these days and smile and remember how good God was (and is!) to us.

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Calla Lilies & Hope

Hope is a reoccurring theme, it seems.

A friend sent this card last week, and as I was out snapping pictures a couple days ago…

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…the calla lilies caught my eye. They just started blooming in the past week, and I hadn’t photographed them yet. {Not many flowers go unphotographed around here — it’s still somewhat of a novelty that I am the one growing these flowers ;)}

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See — these callas weren’t supposed to be alive. We neglected to dig the bulbs last fall, and then winter set in. {Need I remind anyone how COLLLLLLLD and bitter it was?!?!} This spring, they didn’t come up. Surely they froze, we thought. Why, oh why, did we forget to dig them? we thought.

Well what do you know. They came up!!! Quite belatedly, but never mind that. They came up!!!

And it reminds me of hope.

From the frozen, snow-covered ground, a dormant bulb slowly arose and dared to poke its green shoots through the ground. And isn’t that how it is with us? If we dare to hang on, amidst the barren, frigid winter — spring will come. And with it, tiny green shoots of hope, eventually blossoming into a beautiful lily. God is faithful.

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

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Joy in the Ordinary

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Sometimes when life is heavy and hard, it seems like there isn’t much joy to be found. There might not be huge joyful events happening, but there are little things to rejoice in. :D Everywhere!

We found this little frog while picnicking on Sunday. Turns out there were dozens of these little guys hopping around. [And apparently when frogs are scared, they wet themselves. Teehee!]

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These yellow lilies are delighting me over and over. I was pretty sick last year when they bloomed, and didn’t remember what they even looked like. When we redid our flowerbeds, we decided to leave this plant and see what it was. Gorgeousness!! I’m so glad we left it. :D

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Might as well make your chicken pot pie look pretty, right? :D

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One of my hanging baskets… I’ve been so happy with how they’ve been growing and thriving.

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Apples + red checkered cloth + wooden bowl.

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More lilies + my purple butterfly bush.

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Polka dotted cupcakes.

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Stripey straws + mason jars. :D

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My favorite way to stay hydrated [mason jar] + favorite garden salad.

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Adorable succulents from Marlin & Rhoda’s wedding.

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Open your eyes. Joy is all around.

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Storms

“God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm when peace could not be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds.”

[He Already Sees]

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A friend sent a video link to this song yesterday, and I couldn’t help but think of the song when this magnificent storm rolled in last night. The clouds were ominous and looming. (As we frantically tried to finish our strawberry bed prep before it rained)

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It’s comforting to know that God is in control of the mighty storms — both physically and also the storms of life that rage against us.

Flashback to a double rainbow we saw back in May.

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Snippets From My Garden

I am enjoying gardening this year like I never have before. Something about watching those little baby plants grow up and get bigger and bigger, and then WHAM! They are producing all sorts of fruit. Okay, veggies, actually.

My mom is big-time into gardening, and I have to smile and think about that sometimes when I’m out piddling in my garden. She especially enjoyed it back when we lived in Lima, and spent hours & hours with her flowers and vegetable garden. I never dreamed I’d be the same way. ;) Maybe it was all those times Jesse & I went along with Mom to the gardening club when we were little. Of course, the highlight back then was when this particular nice lady named Marilyn was there, because she would smile at us and give us candy. :D

Now, the thrill is in watching these green plants grow and thrive.

Tis fun to watch my lettuce go from seed planted in the soil to this:

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And then to this:

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In which Kristin finalllllly harvested the lettuce, spinach, and kale. We will be eating salad for days and days.

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And then it appeared on our table for lunch looking like this:

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My FAVORITE salad with a twist: season chicken with garlic pepper & parmesan cheese, then fry in coconut oil and add to salad.

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Weeding is a never-ending work in progress. Lots of rain last week and then high humidity & temps this week is making everything grow like crazy. Except it’s making the weeds grow faster than my basil!

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L-R in photo. Broccoli plant, weeds, weed bucket, tomato plant, parsley, chives in corner, mild Hungarian Wax peppers, the gardeners feet ;), a few more weeds, and part of the handle of my garden scratcher hoe thingy.

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Cilantro and basil seeds were planted at the same time. See the smaller yellowish looking basil in the right corner? That is ALL they have grown. This perspective isn’t the greatest for comparing sizes, but trust me, the difference is phenomenal. The basil is barely an inch off the soil and cilantro is… 2 feet? I think it was too cold when I planted the basil seed, and I should’ve watered it more. I got tired of waiting for it to grow, so I bought a couple more plants at a greenhouse sale yesterday. [Pictured in the left side of the square.]

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So excited to have fresh peppers! :D These little guys are going to be made into hot pepper jam, marinated, and used for fresh eating and canning.

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And tomatoes…

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I have big plans for my 23 tomato plants. Lots of salsa [fresh & canned], pizza sauce, V8 juice, and juicy BLT sandwiches. Not to mention Tomato Pie. :D

Our soil is very rocky, so to add fertility we’re applying Aeromaster humus compost and watering with compost tea extract. Ha, just had to put in a little plug for the business there! ;) It really is doing good things for the soil and the plants. Yay for growing organically!

New plant I’m trying. Does anyone know what this green plant is and what I’ll be using it for? (At least, I hope it works. :D It’s still in the experimental stage.) I’ll send a small prize to the first person who guesses it correctly. 1-2-3-GO!

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Annnd… my new potted porch plant. Snuck some thyme in there.

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How ’bout you? What is your favorite thing to grow?

Happy Thursday!

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Summer & Strawberry Pie

In the words of my brother-in-law: yes, this is another “foodie” post. ;)

I can’t help it, I just love strawberry pie so much.

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Summer! I adore this season. Nothing quite like it! I spotted the first firefly tonight and upon investigation, those thumping noises I keep hearing outside are fireworks. Must be somebody else celebrating this warm summer evening? Summer is running outside barefoot in the lush green grass, picking cilantro from my garden, and puttering in the flowerbeds for hours. It’s open windows, strawberries, picnics, and fresh meadow tea. :D

Ahhhhhhhh, breathe it in.

Blink, and it’ll be autumn already. But let’s not talk about that yet.

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This is my favorite strawberry pie recipe. Credits go to Char Smith, who put it in the Elida cookbook. Mmmmm. Our favorite!! Sure-fire way to make your husband/boyfriend/brother/dad’s eyes lighten up when you tell them what’s for dessert. :D (Worked here!)

What is your favorite thing about summer?

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Real Life | | One Of Those Days

On those days when skies are gloomy, rivers of salt leak down one’s face, and there is a tunnel, and you can’t see much light at the end of it…

Listen to some audio Bible Psalms.

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.” -Psalm 96:1-6

Spend an hour in your favorite greenhouse, with the rain pitter-pattering up above.

Dig in some dirt.

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Make a scrumptious asparagus dish.

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Visit your favorite library.

 Water some flowers.

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Listen to Kisses From Katie, and be reminded of what following Jesus passionately looks like.

Let those nearest and dearest love on you.

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And remember that tomorrow is a brand-new day.

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Recipe || Salad Dressing

I love salad. Jonathan loves salad. We eat it alot, especially in the summer. I thought I’d share a couple of our favorite salad dressing recipes.

Parsley Herb Dressing

1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/3 c. fresh parsley (I just dump some dried in)
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 tsp. mustard
 

Blend all ingredients and serve with a tossed salad. Delicious and savory! Our favorite salad to eat with this dressing has lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and hardboiled eggs. Recipe is courtesy of my friend Cherie.

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Note: This is the only picture I had of this particular salad, and the picture shows a different dressing. Just so ya don’t wonder why it looks different than the picture.

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Spinach & Fruit Salad

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 c. oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
 

Layer spinach or lettuce, sweet onion, strawberries or mandarin oranges, toasted sliced almonds/pecans, and feta cheese, then pour dressing over salad just before serving. Recipe courtesy of my friend Marty.

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