Summertime Eating

Summertime eating is my favorite. I think it’s because there is all that fresh garden produce around and meals seem to fall together so easily.

Corn on the cob.
Tomato + zucchini sandwiches.
New potatoes.
Roasted broccoli.
Just picked peas.
Fresh salsa.

I like to try to find things to make that don’t take the oven, as that can really heat up the house. I need to find some more crockpot and stovetop recipes. Anyone have one to share?

A few tried + true favorites.

Texas Philly Cheese Wrap, topped with Southwest Spicy Mayo on homemade tortillas. Yummers! I don’t usually spend this much time on supper prep, but today is hay-baling day so we are eating supper much later than normal.

Of course, there is the old faithful Tomato Pie that I so adore. (If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you knew it’d come up sooner or later ;) ) I make a version of this recipe — caramelizing the onions and adding a few more seasonings.

Crispy Corn Fritters always put a smile on the husband’s face. Whenever I ask him what he’s hungry for, this is his answer. :) They are especially good with fresh chives and parmesan cheese added to the batter.

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps is another favorite. I like that you can make the filling ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. When you’re ready to make your wraps, heat up your filling, stuff your wraps and voila — quick ‘n easy lunch!A few edibles I want to make this summer:

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Spicy Paprika Lime Chicken
Grilled Pizza
Bruschetta with Tomatoes + Basil
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

What are your favorite things to eat in the summer?

Sweet Summertime

I love summer, there’s no doubt about that. My only complaint is that it seems to fly by and last half as long as winter. Which is rather sad, as there as twice as many fun things to do in the summertime.

It’s crazy — it seems like my summers usually involve sickness or stressful things. For example: last summer there was stress related to church stuff, early round of lyme’s disease for the hubby + a run-in with bed bugs, then morning sickness hit in mid-July and I couldn’t stomach much of anything, especially the fresh herbs that I look forward to the rest of the year. The summer before, I had mono and had to watch that I didn’t overdo it. Other past summers have seemed to involve difficult relationships with people or work-related stress. So far the beginning of this summer has mainly been revolving around my mother-in-law’s heart surgery and trips into the hospital. Now this week things seem to be getting back to “normal” and I want to enjoy this summer before it slips away. :)

These are a few of my favorite things  about Summer Twenty Fifteen.

  • Watching the little one discover the big world around her. Her latest thing is “playing” with her jungle gym toys with her feet. Guess it’s easier than maneuvering her hands – ha! I never imagined I’d be excited about my baby learning how to play with toys. ;) She’s still too little to really “get” most things — but that doesn’t keep me from introducing her to new experiences. She’s already held a strawberry in her hand and felt the grass between her toes. :)
  • Running outside to the garden in bare feet to pick chives + fresh basil + cilantro + onions for the morning’s eggs.  The plants have just exploded with growth in the last few weeks, since we finally got some rain. I faithfully watered every day when we were so dry, but there is just nothing like some good ‘ol rain to foster growth.
  • Cutting flowers for bouquets from my very own garden. My perennials are still getting established, and I dream of the day when my peonies and hydrangeas are big enough that you won’t even be able to tell that I cut any. :) The cala lilies grew like crazy the last few weeks — I can hardly wait ’til they start blooming!
  • That fresh sweet strawberry scent. MMM! And of course lots of strawberry pie, jam, shortcake, salads, chocolate-covered, and parfaits. We have our first strawberry patch (ever!) this year. Super fun to have our own berries! We’re already dreaming of expanding to a second raised bed so we have even MORE next year.
  • Lush green grass, after a soaking rain. This was especially needful after several months of dry weather. Our front yard was starting to look like a brown straw field.
  • All kinds of fun people visiting us. The end of May we got to hang out with Deron + Rae for an evening and morning, then a few days later John + Sarah came. (A business acquaintance) Sarah so nicely babysat for me so I could be at the hospital while Jonathan’s mom was in surgery, as you could not have children in that particular waiting room. The next week we hosted my brother Jesse while he was in the area for a food show + my sister Rose came along to spend some time with me. So fun! And then a few days after that, Alyssa + Rachel came for a day– such fun times walking in the park, chatting in a little cafe, and just being together. :)
  • Sitting on the front porch after dark, watching it rain. Or sitting out in the quiet evening hours, chatting away with our iced coffee, ice cream with fresh strawberries, and the baby. :) We’ve been so occupied the last few weeks, that we haven’t been home most evenings. I think our porch missed us — or at least I know I missed it. :)
  •  You know those Mondays when  there are piles of dishes and way-too-high weeds in the garden and more piles of laundry? Well I had one of those Mondays this week, and then I got a phone call and a sweet friend came over and helped me for a couple hours. And — she brought this along for breakfast the next day:Pancake batter that fried up into delicious pancakes, topped with greek yogurt + strawberries + maple syrup, along with peaches and iced coffee concentrate. Thanks Cherie, for brightening my day and giving me such a boost to my week! :)

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Summer is sweet! And there are so many things I am hoping we can experience before fall comes our way: tennis (every summer we are like, we’re going to play lots of tennis this summer!! And every summer we don’t. :/ ), fireworks, camping, fresh produce, lots of jars sitting in my canning shelf (full, not empty like they are now), singing around the campfire, a neighborhood picnic…

Happy Summertime to you!

My Friday Exhaustion Plan

The little one is snoozing in her car seat, where she’s been ever since we got back from taking her daddy breakfast in the field. The humidity is building to it’s 91 degree climax today. (A little sticky in this un-airconditioned house) I woke up with a sore throat and cough, and two weeks worth of tiredness. Definitely ready to get back to a normal schedule of being at home and not commuting to the hospital every day.

This is my How To Deal With Friday Exhaustion plan. (At least for today)

1. Sit on the couch and drink coffee and pretend all the strawberries, laundry, dishes, lunch prep, weeding, watering, and supper packing up aren’t staring you in the face. (Okay, so ignoring the work isn’t going to make it go away, but giving yourself a breather is important.)

2. Make a list. Put even the smallest of tasks on the list, to give yourself the satisfaction of crossing off completed items. :) Include things such as blog and make that strawberry pie crust that has been pushed to the back burner for days. (In other words, work that is more pleasurable to the taste buds and creative).

3. Be very very thankful for the extremely long nap Avi is taking. And hope she’s happy for the rest of the day!

4. Listen to online podcasts to make boring tasks more enjoyable.

5. Promise myself a reward when work list is completed. Iced coffee and a good book? Yes please. :)

 How do you cope when exhaustion comes to visit and you need to motivate yourself?

Things I Understand Better

There are some things that I just didn’t fully understand before I experienced them myself.

Like how much it would mean to have people bring me meals after Aviella was born. Gifts are definitely appreciated, but food was way bigger of a deal. One of those necessary things and it was nice to have husband fed well and not have to be worrying about cooking when Avi was just tiny.

Now I want to take baby meals to people, because I know how awesome and helpful it was.

Like how much it means to have people come see you when you’re spending day after day in a hospital waiting room. (My mother-in-law is recovering from heart surgery) The days get really long and boring, and it’s nice to have people to hang out with + talk to. Several people brought us snacks, and a whole supper came rolling in last night. So good to taste home-cooked food! The cafeteria food is good, but it’s just not quite the same.

Now I want to do things for people sitting in waiting rooms, because I know how much it means to have support + care.

Like how much it means to have someone iniate friendship when you are the new one in the community. It’s hard to start over, and I didn’t fully realize the extent of that until I moved to another state. I’ve made some wonderful friends here — it just takes awhile when you’re adjusting to a new area.

Now I want to make sure I reach out to new-to-the-area ladies , because I know how it feels to be that new person and how much it means when someone iniates friendship.

april13Where have I been? We’ve just had a week marathon of graduation, two weddings in one day, overnight company, family gathering, more overnight company, chorus practice, strawberries, surgery, days + days in ICU waiting room, crockpot meals for waiting room, more strawberries, and are now coming up on more waiting room trips + two more rounds of company.

In other words, we’re going through alot of coffee these days. :)

Come Sit On My Front Porch…

Come in the cool of the morning,
 and we'll enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee.
Guatemalan or Ethiopian --roasted just last week.
The morning traffic hums by, the birds are chirping, 
and the morning air is refreshing.
We'll sit out there 'til the baby wakes up for her breakfast.

If you come in the afternoon,
the sun will kiss your skin (work on the tan?)
 and a tall glass of meadow tea 
would be just perfect.

If you're lucky, we might even have 
fresh strawberry pie stashed in the fridge 
or I could always whip up some hot pepper jelly dip.
(Can you tell what I'm hungry for right now? ;) )

And then there's evening.
That's when hubby & I sit out and enjoy
the freshly mulched flowerbed and talk about our day.
With another cup 'o coffee, of course.
Or ice cream, on occasion.
It's cool and quiet and peaceful.
If you join us, we'll add a couple of chairs 
and hash out life's problems.

Why wait til we're old to sit on the front porch?
Let's enjoy it now!
That's our theory, anyway.

We found these porch rockers at a garage sale the beginning of May.
"A Mother's Day gift! " Jonathan said.
Come to find out, he likes them as much as I do.
So we decided that one is for Mother's Day and the other is for Father's Day. Ha!!

Come sit on my front porch!

Mother’s Day Musings

I am still getting used to the fact that I will be celebrating Mother’s Day this year in a different way than I ever have before.

I look into the innocent eyes of my precious two-month-old and tell her the important things of life she will need to know someday. (Like, “You’re going to love chocolate some day too!” as I munch on a handful of chocolate chips. Ha!) Often I will look up from a task and she is staring at me, watching every move I make. When I look into her eyes, I can see a mini image of myself  reflected in her dark pupils. She is so impressionable. I can teach her anything. I can teach her to love Jesus, and to talk to Him about anything. I can teach her Scripture. I can teach her to speak gentle words, to treat others kindly, and to work diligently.IMG_2489When she fusses while I’m trying to finish supper, I finally wrap her in a blanket and we sit on the porch rocker, waiting for her favorite daddy to come home. I sing and she drifts off to sleep contentedly.

I suddenly realize that these are the moments I will look back on with fondness.april11Sure, it’s not all easy and idyllic. Any mom would tell you that. There are those bleary-eyed 2:45 am feedings. There are those times when you’re both writhing miserably with an awful stomachache and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep, but you can’t because the baby is wailing. There are so many hours of sacrifice and the times when she decides to be hungry too, just as you are sitting down to eat lunch.

But I  know that the good moments far outweigh the tough, and it is worth every hard, sleepless, frustrating day.

: : : : : :

I have new admiration and respect for mothers, since Avi was born. It takes so much grace + wisdom + strength to go through nine months of pregnancy, then the trauma of labor and delivery. And that is just the beginning of motherhood!

Thanks Mom, for all you went through to give me life and to pass on a legacy of faith to me. I love you!

Friday Five

Five favorites, for Friday. (Alliteration, anyone?) :) IMG_2479may1IMG_2460IMG_2505IMG_2534

1. A little green in my kitchen.
2. Soft evening light + new favorite place to sit with my coffee.
3. New favorite coffee, freshly roasted by an acquaintance in South Dakota.
4. Baby feet + yellow polka dots.
5. Hanging beauty on my porch.