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57 In Life/ Recipes

Lately & A Recipe

Good Morning!

First, Happy Birthday to my sweet Paiger! You are a joy to have in our home, you continually crack us up and we simply cannot believe you are FOUR! What a sweet, squirrely, & shy little girl you are… we love you!


Second, I have a recipe to share! A recipe for an easy, fresh and delicious summer side: Creamy Corn Salad. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe and we all love it. And it’s a perfect garden recipe to use up your cucumbers & tomatoes {in our case grape tomatoes which seem to be the only tomatoes we can grow well}! Here are a few pictures followed by the recipe.




::Creamy Corn Salad::
1 can of Shoepeg corn {I drain mine but you don’t have to}
1 handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half {you can use any tomatoes here}
2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and diced {you can use more or less if you like}
1 red onion {cut in rings if you’re a weeny and just want the flavor}
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
salt {I prefer Jane’s Krazy}
2 to 3 tablespoons dill pickle juice
{my mother-in-law adds celery seed too… but I didn’t have any and it’s good with or without!}

Mix veggies together in large bowl and add to it sour cream, mayonnaise, and pickle juice. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit in fridge for a few hours before serving. You can also garnish with bacon crumbles…. mmmm! This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd! Enjoy and trust me… it’s DELICIOUS!!

Now, here’s what we’ve been up to…


Lot’s of reading. Our favorites continue to be Rosemary Wells, Richard Scary, and the Usborne books for beginner readers!


Little Paiger seems to be feeling much better and I could eat her  happy little cheeks off! She has requested that she grow her hair out because she wants a ponytail! Yesterday I had a sitter for a few hours; a sitter/friend that knows how to operate my camera {really well} and I came home to a camera full of fun shots… including several of these!

We’ve also been playing our VBS cd really loud on the cd player while we clean…


Don’t let the picture deceive you, this is not a common occurrence. In fact, I don’t remember this ever happening before! But I am learning that a little music can work wonders to get little worker bees to help out around the house… the more fun you make it, the more enthusiastic they will be. I only had to dry the kitchen floor with 2 or 3 bath towels when they were done. It didn’t bother me too much though, I was grateful for their help and I noticed my dishes have never been so clean before being loaded into the dishwasher!



I love the morning light that shines in this window! The girls have been so  busy doing puzzles. It’s been so very hot we’ve had to get a little creative on inside activities… puzzles have certainly been a hit!


I still haven’t managed to work on my Italy pictures yet… but Justin did snap a picture of me and the girls in dresses that I found for them when we were in Florence. They’re sweet little linen dresses {with pockets!} and the girls love them… and I do too! We tried to get Rover in a picture but this is the best we could do…


You’d think Morgan saw a ghost!  Paige thought if she’d tickle his neck he’d smile… no such luck! 🙂

Before I go I want to share a website of a family in our community, the Harrisons. Jared worked for our church for a season and their family is going through the horrific experience of childhood cancer with their 4-year old daughter, Hannah Grace. I’ve asked for prayer for their family in the past and I come to you all again to ask that you pray for this family. Hannah Grace has had a long {nearly 2 year} battle with brain cancer and in the last week they found out that it is back. She is at home and in the care of Hospice and I would just ask that you all pray for this sweet family as they care for Hannah Grace and that the Lord will be mighty in mercy towards them.  Jared’s most recent post has a video at the end of Hannah Grace at her princess party and it is so very powerful. Jared and Marci have clung to the cross through this entire battle and have an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness in spite of their struggles. Thank you for thinking of and praying for them!

69 In Life/ Recipes

Getting Ready & Sweet Crunchy Dills


My little warrior found a bag of marshies yesterday and helped himself.  He’s trouble with a capital T. My mom & grandmother will be journeying down to the Deep South from Illinois tomorrow to keep the rovers for MANY days while I am away. I warn Mom often that the children, although mostly sweet, can also be rotten. This includes the Rover. I feel inclined to leave notes in drawers and behind cabinets to warn them of things that might make them a little crazy…

  • as soon as you pour their juice in a cup and hand it to them they will get upset and want a different cup
  • as soon as you pour orange juice in their cup they will want apple juice
  • as soon as you hand them the princess fork they will want the Dora fork
  • as soon as you put them in shorts they will decide they want to wear a dress
  • as soon as you take Rover’s diaper off he will tee tee all over the floor and has been known to poop as well
  • Rover doesn’t really like words, he prefers animal sounds and all of his animals are half-bred dinosaurs so every animal has a “roooaaarrr” to it… even the cows sound ferocious
  • be prepared for at lots of wardrobe changes
  • Rover can climb the bar stools and then climb onto the counter top
  • Paige likes bandaids and will likely have lots of “boo boos” that need bandaids

If you can figure out how to remedy all of these things before I get back, I’d LOVE it!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about first our weekend away {Justin and I without kids} and then the big journey to Italy but I also feel inclined to share that traveling, packing, thinking about leaving my children for what seems like will be forever has totally thrown me for a loop! I’m hoping the weekend of relaxation will prepare me for the BIG trip! I know for certain I will miss the fire out of Justin and the rovers… my goodness do I love them all with every ounce of my being!

My little ole laptop will be staying here, safe and sound where she belongs! I hope to post a few mobile uploads while I’m away and give at least a couple updates! And now… moving on to pickles! Was that a good transition?

Last summer I tried to share a few of my favorite summer garden recipes: Cucumber Dill Spread, Squash Casserole, Chicken Delight, & Baked Butternut Squash. So, I thought I’d continue the tradition this summer. My master gardener brought home about 4 pounds of cucumbers yesterday from our garden. I think we got a little over zealous with the cucumbers this year; we have 15 plants! Anyway, last night after the kids were in bed we had a hot date in the kitchen making refrigerator pickles and you just have to trust me on this one… they are DELICIOUS!!! We went for a slightly sweet dill recipe and we have the most delicious, crunchy, sweet, tangy pickles and I wish you all could come by to try them. {Recipe posted below with our modifications noted!}

We started with 4 pounds of cucumbers. We just used regular ole’ cukes from our garden. Not pickling cucumbers.


Four pounds of cucumbers yielded 10 pints of pickles.

This recipe does not call for the cucumbers to be cooked  or processed in a water bath… this keeps them fresh and crunchy but also means they should be stored in the refrigerator where they will last several weeks.

We packed each jar with thinly sliced Vidalia onions and cucumbers.



The recipe calls for fresh dill but I was fresh out of fresh dill so I used Watkin’s organic dill that I had in the cabinet and it worked great. I sprinkled 1/2 to 1 tsp on top of every jar.

You bring the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar and spices to a boil on the stove top and then pour it directly over the cucumbers and onions.


The recipe calls to leave them uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours before putting the lids on them. Your entire fridge will smell like pickles…


And speaking of lids, I found these gems at Walmart. I’m not sure where I’ve been but for some reason these have eluded me. They are brilliant.

plastic lids

I can’t decide if it’s appropriate to share that we ate an entire jar at dinner tonight?


Here’s the recipe {with my notes/modifications in BOLD} from Bon Appetit:

Slightly Sweet Dill Refrigerator Pickles


* 1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), thinly sliced
* 2 pounds medium pickling cucumbers, scrubbed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds {we used regular ole cucumbers}
* 1 large bunch dill, coarsely chopped (stems included) {used dried}
* 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds {used 1 tsp of mustard powder}
* 2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns {could only find black}
* 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar {we increased this to 2 cups}
* 1 cup water {increased to 1 1/2 cups}
* 1 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
* 2 teaspoons dill seeds

{We doubled this recipe and it yielded 10 pints but there wasn’t near enough liquid… so be sure to make note of changes above}


* Divide sliced onion between two 1-quart wide-mouth glass jars. Pack cucumber slices horizontally in jars. Top each jar with dill.
* Using mortar and pestle or resealable plastic bag and mallet, crush mustard seeds and peppercorns together. Place crushed spices in medium saucepan. Add vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, coarse salt, and dill seeds. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
* Ladle mixture evenly over cucumbers. Leave jars uncovered and chill 24 hours.
* Cover glass pickle jars tightly with lids. Do Ahead: Can be made 1 week ahead.
* Keep refrigerated.

You should try them, they are delicious! Ok, hope to get one more post in before I head across the pond!

142 In Life/ Recipes

Homemade Ice Cream


Hello patient blog readers. I apologize for my absence. I’ve been making ice cream, cleaning my house, watching tee ball games, reading, and hanging out with the rovers. {BTW they are hardly amused with Darby Doll, in fact, after the picture below was taken my little Warrior grabbed me by my leg and threw me on the floor! The audacity!}


Before I start on my post I feel the need to do a little housekeeping. Ashley’s awesome kitchen is painted WEEKEND GETAWAY by Benjamin Moore. Her beautiful CHOCOLAT print that is framed above her open shelves is from the Pottery Barn outlet, but she says it’s been a while, so good luck hunters!

And… let’s chat for a second about the fruit roll-ups. I’ve heard of several failed attempts. First, 170° is fine if that’s as low as your oven will go and it will still likely take just as long to bake/dehydrate.  Depending on how long it takes your fruit to reduce and how thick it is as a result and depending on how thick you spread it on your parchment will all play a factor into how long it will take to cook. It could take up to 12 hours. If you pull it out and it seems to be sticky on top but firm, it is likely done already. You can take paper towels and blot the stickiness off the top before you roll it up. If it’s still squishy in some places and not firm like a fruit roll up, it’s not done yet. Put it back in the oven and let it bake until it’s no longer squishy.

And I’m suffering from what I call email debt, thanks for your patience as I slowly pay it off.

I am a very happy subscriber of Cook’s Country Magazine and when I saw the latest issue’s cover…


I immediately spotted this…

Magic Vanilla Ice Cream

Which was shortly after I told these frogs to jump out of my magazine photo shoot.


I will quickly remind the male readers, who also play the role of father, don’t forget your babies’ mommies this weekend {or your own mommy}. And if you’re at a complete loss… this magazine would be a fun treat for either of them! I believe the reason I love it so is because it’s super glossy, completely advertisement free, and chocked full of recipes, tips, and hints!


So… the ice cream claimed to be “ice cream maker-free” and since we used to have 3 ice cream makers and currently have zero, it was right up my alley! In place of the ice cream maker it called for heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. Have y’all ever made ice cream this way? Let me tell you, it’s super easy and as the Raiger would say, “it’s way GOOD!”


These are the contenders…


And I spiked mine with these two also… decaf so I could eat a big bowl at bedtime and not be bothered by it later you know that happens to geriats! 🙂

And these are my containers… {but any plastic ware that’s freezer-safe will do!}


FYI: One quart of heavy whipping cream will yield enough “whipped cream” to make 3 quarts of ice cream. With my quart of heavy cream I made chocolate {left}, vanilla {center}, and mocha {right}!


My favorite being the mocha. It was just going to be coffee and I got a little crazy and squirted some Hershey’s syrup in with it and I’m so glad I did.


And the chocolate really made the coffee flavor come to life.

In a nutshell, you whip heavy cream to stiff peaks and add it to a mixture of condensed milk, sour cream, vanilla and to that, if you choose, you can add coffee and chocolate!


You start by gently whisking a little of the whipped cream in and then gently fold the rest of the whipped cream in and it will leave you with a yummy, creamy, and smooth non-frozen ice cream. Then you contain it, try to keep your fingers out and then you freeze it and      w   a   i    t .


About 6 hours later you call your fairy princesses away from their toy-tornado-destroyed bedroom, let them put their grimy feet on the counter and have a taste !


But be sure to leave the mocha one in the freezer simply because you won’t want to share it with little fairy princesses!

The verdict: We LOVED the chocolate and mocha. I didn’t so much love the vanilla. I didn’t follow their directions entirely {I couldn’t find the Ghiradelli white chocolate they recommended so I omitted}. It’s likely my own fault but it wasn’t as smooth as the chocolate and mocha and tried to crumble as I scooped it out with the ice cream scoop. Again, could be my own fault for likely omitting an essential ingredient! But… the mocha and chocolate… mmmm!! Smooth and delicious.

Here’s their website. You have to subscribe to get the Magic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe but I made enough modifications to post my own version of the chocolate and mocha…

Yields: 1 quart
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 1/4 cups of heavy cream

Mix condensed milk, vanilla, salt and sour cream until well combined.  To it add…

for CHOCOLATE variation: add 5-6 tablespoons {or more to your liking} of chocolate syrup

for MOCHA variation:  mix 1 heaping teaspoon of instant coffee powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Add instant coffee mixture, along with a generous squirt of chocolate syrup to the condensed milk mixture

Mix your heavy whipping cream on high {it would love a cold bowl and cold whisk too} until stiff peeks form {3 or so minutes}. Whisk some of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture until incorporated and then gently fold the rest of the whipped cream in. Place in an airtight container and freeze 6 hours before serving!

Next I’m trying chocolate malt! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Another post in the pipeline… stay tuned, it’s important!