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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When Life Gives You Too Much Spinach...

... make a spinach quiche!


My kids thought I was out to get them for sure, but I just HAD to find a way to use up all of the spinach that I had purchased for a little salad bar at the graduation party.  Granted, it might not be "salad" to you, but at our house, it is the salad green of choice (mostly).  We don't have anything against other greens, but spinach seems to stay nicer longer at our house.  Therefore, it was what I chose for the party -- for better or worse.

My kids would tell you "for worse," because now I had to think of ways to use it up.  We couldn't consume it fast enough by just eating a little salad with our dinners.  I decided to cook it all down, and make a spinach quiche of some kind for dinner.  I chose a crustless "Impossible Spinach Pie" recipe that I found HERE. I changed it up just a bit by adding a few strips of leftover bacon, cooked and crumbled.  It was delicious.  I loved it.

My husband was kind (though cooked spinach is not his favorite) and was ?glad? (I think) to eat it knowing I was being thrifty and using up what we had on-hand.  The kids?  Not so much.  While we eat raw baby spinach, cooked spinach has not really been in our repertoire -- if you know what I mean.


Here's the recipe with my variations.  Of course, all credit goes to Cooks.com, and to Bisquick before them. Once upon a time, I was a card-carrying member of The Bisquick Recipe Club.  I saw a million variations of this Impossible Pie idea.  I'm sure the recipe originated with Bisquick.

Impossible Spinach-Bacon Pie

{* my variations}
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, chopped*, and drained
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 handful chopped green* onions
4-6 slices bacon*, cooked and crumbled (I used pre-cooked)
1½ cup milk
3 eggs
¾ cup Bisquick baking mix
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375F.  Grease pie plate.  Mix spinach, cheese, onion, and bacon in plate.
Beat remaining ingredients until smooth.  Pour into pie plate.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool five minutes before serving.





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Today, I'm thinking a lot about friends far and near who are experiencing hard times in one form or another, be it health issues, financial issues, kid issues -- or a combination of them all.  As I write this, I just received an e-mail from a blogging friend who said she prayed for me today.  I've never met her, but we enjoy a sweet on-line friendship, and I am ever-thankful for her friendship and yours, friends.

Life is hard, and let's be honest.  It gets harder every day.  This world is so messed up on many levels -- and you all know we could go on and on about that.  It could really drag us down if we let it.  I don't know about you, but I choose to look for the good.  I choose to find the joy.  I choose to make Spinach Quiche... when life gives me too much spinach!

Now, go forth and encourage one another.  Pray for one another!
Oh, and eat your spinach!  xo


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Long Live the Blimp!

No matter how long we live here, we won't grow tired of seeing "our" blimp: The Spirit of Goodyear.  It lives in the neighborhood, and (as I'm sure I've mentioned before) it is often seen in the skies overhead.  O-F-T-E-N.  Just sayin'.  


One day last week, we headed out to our favorite flea market, and found that the blimp was following us along the way.  Reminiscent of our balloon-chasing days [okay, it was ONE TIME], we made a few quick turns, and found ourselves hot on the blimp's trail, trying to reach it before it touched down.  Unlike balloon-chasing, we knew where the blimp would land.


Well, let's say we assumed it would land.



Or not.  It seemed to be teasing us.  It got close, but... the ground crew seemed to be busy with other things -- so we knew it was a no-go.

And off it went again -- into the wild blue yonder.



Well, okay, it didn't really go all that far.  It swung a wide circle -- all the time within view, and then, next thing you know, it disappeared behind the hanger and reappeared close to the ground.


While we had been waiting for it to circle around, the ground crew made their appearance.  Everyone got into place.  Also, a shuttle bus dropped off a group of people, likely there for a ride.  There was much activity around the gondola.  And we took the opportunity to take some pictures!


An interesting side note?  My hubby had pulled into a parking lot at the hangar so we could watch the goings-on.  He was still in the driver's seat calling out pictures for the kids and I to take just a few steps away at the fence, while the kids and I were following his bidding... more or less.  "Get a picture of Mom with the blimp!" he called.  Right.  Then, Mom gets home and reviews all the pictures.  Once again, we didn't get Dad in any pictures.  And Dad didn't offer himself up for any photo ops.  He is very sneaky, that man!  Someday, I hope his great-great-grandchildren will know that he was a part of this family.  *humpf



All aboard?  Stations everyone.  Here we go again!


Long live The Spirit of Goodyear!


Do you have a favorite landmark or sight where you live that you never get tired of seeing?


Sunday, July 28, 2013

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Well, my sweet hubby goes back to work on Monday.  The stay-cation is over.  It was great -- and really like a vacation in some aspects.  I didn't work very hard all week.  I didn't have to cook much due to graduation party leftovers and shared cooking duty with some other folks (who might have been restaurant/fast food cooks).  I didn't get much laundry done.  And, we enjoyed a few adventure days.  The best part was that we were able to take some drives, and have some adventures with even our security guard along for the ride!  Best adventures ever when he is a willing participant, because that means we're all together.  There's nothing that makes this mama happier -- even if we're all together doing nothing in particular, like flip-flopping through the local flea market bartering for Wii games.  (Me and my bad self might have totally stepped in to show my girl some bartering bravery.  Because really?  I'm never going to see these people again.  What do I have to lose?*  LOL)

*Please do not take this opportunity to remind me that I might see them on our weekly visit NEXT week.  I'll totally lose my nerve!


We also enjoyed some rain last week, and some cooler summer days and nights that reminded me of the summers of my youth. Remember?  When you used to take a jacket if you were going out in the evening? That is not typical for us around here.  But, I love those cool summer nights.  We call it "great sleepin' weather!"


Because of these cooler temps, the air-conditioning has been mostly-off.  Unless you count the night that I had just laid down, only to hear the hum of the mosquito truck.  Do you have those where you live?  It's a humming yellow-lighted truck with a sprayer on the back.  Kills bugs dead.  Well... that might be somebody else's slogan, but you get my drift.

It was kind of like The Night Before Christmas with a clatter out on the lawn, except this time, Mama rose from her bed to see what was the matter.  Oh holy cow.  Let me tell you that when the mosquito truck comes around, you don't want your windows open.  El-Stinko!  Luckily, it was really on someone else's "lawn" that I heard the clatter, and we battened down the hatches before it got to us.  Yep.  Air-conditioning on that night.


I've already shared about the graduation party, and time spent with family.  Also, we got to enjoy a mostly spontaneous visit with friends when we returned things we'd borrowed for the graduation party.  Old, old friends.  Iced tea.  Shoes off.  Reclining sofas.  Yep, it's just like home when we go there. Every time.


One day, we headed out on an hour-long drive to find a burger place.  We found it.  We weren't all that impressed, and we agreed that it wasn't worth the drive.  Plus: ZERO atmosphere.  Sorry, but I am totally into atmosphere.

The drive, however was beautiful -- like the photo below.



Okay, we got a late start and were taking the fast route.  But, on the way home...

Aaaaaah, yes.
Country roads, take me home.



Oh.  I am home.

Is that laundry I hear calling?  It might just be the wrong number.  *wink
Stay tuned.  I'll share more adventuring on Tuesday!



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Staycation

We are enjoying some much-needed down-time this week.

My sister-in-law asked me if we had done a lot of fun stuff this summer.  I said it kind of felt like we started with a bang: GRADUATION.  Then we waited and prepared for our daughter's trip to Chicago.  Then we waited for her to return home.  Then we waited and prepared for our son's graduation party.  Now, our big summer events are past, and we are just being.  It feels kind of good, I'm not gonna lie.  I'm not planning or waiting for anything.

So far this week, we enjoyed one fabulous fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants day with my hubby's sister and her family.  We visited and ate lots of graduation party leftovers together, and then headed off on boy and girl adventures.  The dads went to see a movie, while the moms took six girls to a butterfly exhibit.  Really.  I couldn't wait to get some pictures with the girls and the butterflies... But alas, we arrived to find that they were closed on Monday, so it was off to a park for a little activity.  Luckily, I was able to get some pictures of the girls there before the rain came.

Cousins: 7, 9, 10, 8, 12, and 15 [my girl].

More rain came yesterday, but we got some things checked off our "TO DO" list.

I can't wait to see what today brings!  I guess I AM waiting for something.... some Staycation Adventures!  Bring 'em on!

What are you up to this week?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Body of Christ

Perhaps when you think about "the Body of Christ" you think about communion.


I think about these verses from Romans, too:

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."

THIS is the way I saw the Body of Christ exhibited during the past week [in fact, the past few weeks]! People offered to make, and brought food to our son's graduation party.  People offered up extra crock-pots, and serving dishes.  Many offered up tables and chairs.  The list goes on, including [but not limited to] the use of a volleyball net and volleyball from two separate families!  The party was truly a group effort.

The result?  I could sit back and enjoy the celebration, and the time with friends and family.


We are so appreciative to friends and family who shared their gifts of "serving," "encouraging," and "contributing to the needs of others."  They helped us meet needs that we had, as well as going above and beyond our need.

At the end of the day a friend said, "You must be exhausted."
I could honestly say, "No, not at all!"

Of course, that's not to say that I didn't hit the snooze bar more than a few times the next morning!


I summed it up Saturday evening on Facebook:

"I'm so thankful for my team of "life cheerleaders." You know who you are. Thanks for coming alongside me and helping me do life better. I love you all! #WhatAGreatDay

Monday, July 22, 2013

How To Host a Successful Outdoor Party


LOL.  That title really sounds like I know everything, doesn't it?  Well, I'll be the FIRST to admit THAT'S not true.  But, I did learn something in the process of preparing for this gathering.

You know how they start reporting weather on the weekend for the week to come?  Well, I didn't listen.  It's been a weird summer, weather-wise.  Cold, rainy days.  Lots of rain.  Then stifling heat, with a promise of relief after what?  More rain.  And I was gearing up to host a graduation party for our son?  I told myself that weather was not going to dictate my blood pressure last week as we prepared for the party, and that worrying wouldn't change the eventuality of what would happen anyway.  I told God, "I'll let you be in charge" -- and I meant it.  I didn't watch a lick of weather reporting during the week.  I hardly watched any news at all!  [I didn't want to take any chances of an encounter with the weather man!]  However, knowing what the previous days had held, we had to be prepared for the R word.

We couldn't count on being outdoors, and I didn't have room for everyone indoors.  That might sound like a bad game plan to you, but we decided to go for it anyways-- and God blessed it.

When I got up early Saturday morning, it was raining lightly and I said, "God -- that's okay.  The party's not until 4:00."  It was a somewhat overcast day with bits of sun.  The drizzly rain stopped before noon -- and it hadn't been enough to make the yard soggy.  The heat wasn't unbearable as it had been the week before.  By party time, it was all systems GO!

And GO we did!  We had over thirty guests, and the weather was fine for being outside.  The food seemed to be a hit.  In fact, I had so many comments to that effect that I told my daughter, "In three more years, we're using the very same menu for your party!"

I took a lot of notes on quantities, and of things I did along the way to help ease the workload on the day of the party -- including enlisting the help of some family and friends.  {More about that tomorrow.}

All in all, it was a great day, with a great mix of people -- and not one drop of rain during the party!  As my hubby and I looked around at our guests, we couldn't help but smile.  Sweet success!

p.s.  See?  I don't really know all the answers.  I'm just learning to roll with it. *wink

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I loved this post from Vee: "Use Your Words"

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sweet Peas

I found these beauties a couple weekends ago at the side of a walking path.
A lovely surprise!



Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's Up -- and What's for Dinner?

I see great things for our family in the future.
You probably can too, if you look close enough.

For starters, I see Stuffed Peppers and Bacon-Cheese Dreams -- two of my favorites!



These green Bell Pepper and Roma Tomato plants came back from the edge.  We bought them in the very early spring, knowing full well that there were still frosts to come.  And sure enough, one of the late spring frosts zapped them pretty good.  We thought they were goners.  But somehow, they made it back from the edge that we thought they had gone over.

Here they are today.  The pepper is moving along slower than the tomatoes, but seriously?  Who could've known there would be this much green in their future?



Are you growing veggies in your garden this summer?
If so, which ones?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Vee's note card parties are the best.  The ladies that participate are a sweet and responsive community unlike any other blog-partiers that I've ever partied with.  Thank you, ladies... not just for your kind comments about my note card photos, but also for your kind wishes of sunshine & happiness for this weekend's graduation party.

God has assured me that it's all under control!

I'll tell you all about it on Monday.  (As if I could wait any longer.)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Note Card Party 7.17

This is a busy week as we prepare for our son's graduation party over the weekend.  Luckily, I had my note card entries ready for Vee's party today!  I don't know how much more I'll be posting the rest of the week, but don't worry note card friends -- I'll be checking out your note cards as I get the chance!

We're in the middle of a near heat-wave.  (I heard the weatherman say 3 days over 90 degrees is officially a heat wave -- and I don't know if we've actually met those requirements.)  I'm not usually a FAN (pun intended) of this kind of weather but I confess, I will take heat over rain at this point.  Lots of people are coming for the party, and I have room for food or people in my house, but not both.  Praying for a great day on Saturday, and trusting.


Don't forget -- as always -- you can click on the photo to take you to the original post.







Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way... to Making Scones!

I've mentioned that I'm not a blueberry fan -- and when I wrote it, I meant it.
My idea of delicious blueberries were the little blueberry nuggets in Jiffy Blueberry Muffins.
NOT the real thing.  There's just something about the texture of the skin that gets to me.


And then...

I was making Blueberry Lemon Oat Scones, and I popped a frozen blueberry into my mouth.


Guess what?  In frozen form, I can get past the texture of the skin, and enjoy the sweet deliciousness.

So, it's official!

I love frozen blueberries!  They are the perfect summertime snack food.



Monday, July 15, 2013

What's Up? 7.15

Black-Eyed Susans and Northern Sea Oats!

Around here, blossoming Black-Eyed Susans come around the time of our son's birthday.  Generally, they are open within a week of his day -- one way or the other.  Also, they sort of mark the half-way point of summer.   Hmmmm, let's just go with the birthday thing.  I'm not ready to think of summer as half-spent quite yet.


One of the things that I love about Black-Eyed Susans is how they unfurl.  Those petals get so twisted up.  It's hard to believe that they won't stay all knarly.


For a while, we really let these flowers take over the long stretch of garden at our back lot line.  You know who loved that?  The goldfinches.  We had a feeder back there amongst the flowers, and it was their happy place. You should've heard them sing!


Since then, we've thinned that area out a lot as we've acquired other plants.  It's been fun to see where the birds and squirrels have seeded the Black-Eyed Susans though!  They show up all over the yard when we KNOW that we haven't planted them there!


Since we started vacationing in The Outer Banks years ago, we've admired the many varieties of seagrasses that grow there.  This variety is called Northern Sea Oats.  We came across it late last year.  It did "okay" last year, but it didn't really thrive.  Actually, I kind of forgot all about it.  It's planted right next to our Oriental Poppies, so it could've really gotten lost in the shuffle.


One day in the early spring, I happened to spot something that (though not very big) looked established and healthy.  I happened to think of the Sea Oats, and left it alone.  Sure enough!  It came back.


I'm anxious to see how it changes when we move into autumn weather, but I'm not wishing the time away -- trust me.  I'm enjoying this beautiful show of green.  It's right outside my kitchen window, and I love to watch it sway in the breeze!


So, how about you?  What's up at your house?

P.S. For those of you who have been praying... the Chicago Team (and our girl) made it home safely Saturday evening!  We are so grateful to God for his watchful eye over this group of kids, and their leaders -- and for the things they were able to accomplish in HIS NAME last week!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Blueberry Lemon Oat Scone Success!

Last weekend, my hubby found blueberries for a great price, and he grabbed up a bunch.  We freeze them, and they typically end up in my husband's lunchbox as an extra thing to munch on mid-afternoon.  He's the only one who's really in love with them around here.


This time, though, he suggested baking scones, and so I did a search on Pinterest.  I ended up finding a recipe originally pinned from Chassie's blog that sounded delicious.  On Tuesday, I ran out to get lemons and buttermilk (supposedly the secret ingredient to scones).  When I got home and started gathering my ingredients, I realized that we had used the last of the butter.  Great.  Well, the baking needed to wait until another day.


On Wednesday, I remembered the butter -- but it was hot, hot, hot.  Not exactly a baking kind of day.

On Thursday, it was the perfect day.  Air conditioning off.  Windows open.  Cool breeze.  A different day, completely!

According to Chassie, this recipe originally comes from The Affinity Guest House
in Cowichan Bay outside of Victoria, British Columbia.
 

I will tell you that while I was putting this recipe together, I was already craving a taste of the finished product. Remember, I'm not a huge blueberry lover?  The aroma was pretty amazing.

I know... the lemon zest is a little on the large size via my cheese grater.  Apparently I purged our home of the maybe-used-once-annually lemon zester.  I cannot find it anywhere.  No worries.  Does the size of the zest matter?  I think not.


Am I the only one who thought of scones as dry and heavy?  Well, I was pleasantly surprised by these.  They are moist and light.  You'll want to go to Chassie's blog for the complete recipe.  Run.  Don't walk. They're that good... (said the non-blueberry lover).  Also?  The recipe has few ingredients and goes together really quickly.


Oh, and the glaze?  Just confectioner's sugar and lemon juice.  That's all.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!


Go forth and bake scones.

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