Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Devotions -

Here's a little piece of verse that carries a wise message:

If your lips you would keep from slips, 
Five things observe with care:
Of whom you speak, to whom you speak, 
And how and when and where.
I don't know who wrote this rhyme, but he or she may have been reading a verse in the Bible that says, "Be...slow to speak" (James 1:19). All of us have had the experience of saying something and immediately wishing we hadn't. But words, once spoken, are gone forever. And if they were hurtful or unwise words, our regret is all the more real.

Heeding the Bible's advice to choose our words carefully will keep us from feeling that sting of regret. Better yet, it will nurture our efforts to speak helpfully and lovingly into the lives of others. 

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Down to Counting Hours....

We've had a countdown in our house for over a month. And today I'm finally counting hours instead of days because sometime in the next 24 hours'ish' my mom, dad, brother and sister in law will be here to visit!!! Yay!! 

Christmas was the last time we saw them and we have been really missing them!  My parents drug us to all kinds of museums when I was a kid. 

Yes, that's my mom.
She doesn't look old enough to have a 35 yr. old daughter does she?
Hmmm, I seem to have inherited the habit of museum hopping from them. Ha! Goodness knows I've blogged about enough museums! Well, it's my turn so this week I'll probably drag them to a bunch of little, local Kansas museums. We're heading to a rodeo in Dodge City this week too which I've heard is great! I can't imagine any rodeo I ever went to in Indiana could compare to one in Kansas. If we are lucky with the heat, we might even go back up to the Chalk Pyramids again too. 

I think my boys are just excited for their 24 year old uncle, we'll call him John Deere, to get here and wrestle with them. He's my younger brother but by no means my little brother anymore. I'm excited to spend time with his wife, Melinda Sue too. 

I love her to pieces and because we've always lived so far away since they've been married I never felt like I've gotten to know her well enough and she's such a wonderful woman! She's so intelligent, a teacher and full of energy. Hopefully we'll get lots of girl time this week. 

My family doesn't dress like what you see in the photos all the time. They were celebrating their 125th anniversary of the founding of our church back home in Indiana. I thought they looked great in the costumes don't you? 

The only thing I'm worried about when they all do get out here is the heat. Most of the past two months have had temps above 100. One hundred degrees in Kansas and one hundred in Indiana are two different things. Out here the heat is so dry that it doesn't feel too bad, which is deceiving, but takes more energy from you during the day than you realize. By afternoon there are times when you just have to take a nap because you are so zapped. In Indiana when it gets that hot the humidity kicks in early during the day and a body just feels lousy, enough not to do anything all day long and so you don't get wiped all at once. I'm just hoping that none of my family gets sick from the heat because they aren't acclimated to it. My family  are pretty hardy though I'm sure they'll do fine. 

Yahoo told me the other day, while eating yogurt, that she was going to save the rest for Papa. HA! My dad doesn't like yogurt but I wouldn't be surprised if he ate some for her. The power of grandchildren! 

How many more hours? Oh, I don't know if I can stand the suspense. I'll probably laugh and cry at the same time when I see them pull in the driveway. I love my family! (At least the ones coming to visit 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Playing in the Garden

The garden is like their own little jungle. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Zucchini, Beans and Watermelon...oh my!

I've been pretty darn happy with our garden. We are under water restrictions in our town and can only water our garden on odd days of the month. I didn't really think our garden would do well but it's doing much better than I expected. 

Ha! These are some decorative mini gourds that grew accidentally. We spread compost on it in the spring and I'm pretty sure I threw some mini gourds in the compostor last Halloween. Ah well, they are a nice addition to our garden. 

Look! A watermelon!! And it's pretty big...I can't wait to cut into this juicy guy! 

I picked my first batch of beans this week. Boy, oh boy, and fresh garden beans are so, so much better than canned store bought beans. 

Of course zucchini...tons of it. I do believe zucchini could grow anywhere! And I'm learning that okra is just as hardy. Both okra and zucchini just grows and grows! I can look at the plants on Monday and there won't be anything on anything but by Wednesday they'll be full. 

We are thinking of trying to put in some fall crops in the garden, which I've never done before but I think it will stay warm enough to perhaps put in cabbages or something. I've really enjoyed having a garden again :) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to ME!!! 

Yep, today is my birthday. My 35th birthday...woo hoo! 
Yep 35 and proud of it :)

And here's my birthday present, a cowgirl hat, from my wonderful hubby DR. Isn't it cute? Thanks honey! It has that pretty heart on the front and has a trim of lace all around the edge of the brim. It may be cute but I've learned hats are essential out here in Kansas. 

The sun is so bright out here all year long I can't go outside without a hat or sunglasses on. Well...sunglasses don't survive around me for long; I'm always losing them or breaking them. So I've resorted to hats. 

My Budweiser hat. I love this hat, but seriously I always feel weird wearing it around all the Mennonites in our town. 

Or my cammo hat. It works great keeping the sun out of my eyes but it isn't very feminine is it? 

A bucket hat?? Nah, it just isn't me. 

But my cowgirl hat? I love it!! It fits perfect and is breezy! I wore it all afternoon yesterday and I felt like there was a cool breeze rushing across the top of my head. And with highs up to 109 here lately a breeze across the top of my head was sure welcome! 

Happy Birthday to me! Bring on the next 35 years...I'm ready and raring to go! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our County Fair

Our county fair was this past week and despite the heat the kids and I were at the fairgrounds at least three different times. I grew up in 4-H and was a 10 year member in Kosciusko County, Indiana and have gone to all kinds of county fairs back home, big and small. But nothing quite prepared me for how small our county's fair is.

There are only two buildings for livestock. Half of this building is the show arena and the other half is devoted to the large animals.

There are only a couple dozen swine. Poor guys, those misters were going all the time.
I grew up with a barn full of hundreds of hogs. Boy what a shock this is!

And as for sheep and goats, there were probably a couple dozen of those all together.

Only beef cattle at our fair. It's Kansas, do expect anything different? But only about 10 or 12 of them.
Boy do I sure miss Holsteins though. I grew up in a county with a beef barn and a dairy beef barn, both barns were full every year.

The second livestock building, right off the show arena, houses the chickens and rabbits.
Chickens on the right, rabbits on the left.
Yep..that's it.

As for the exhibit hall there is one building with two large rooms.

The first room is full of tables and a concession stand. Behind the tables on the left are the few clothing projects; 4-H and open class and the framed artwork on the right; 4-H and open class together here too.

On the other side of this room, one small display case houses all of the foods projects; 4-H and open class.

In the second large room, that the rest of the year is a gymnasium, are 4-H and open class projects such as gardening, models, photography and quilts. Around the exterior of the gym merchants from around the area have booths set up the whole week.

And that's it. There you have it. You've seen every thing there is to see at our county fair. Pretty small isn't it?

Okay, I can't end this post without bragging just a bit and showing a few projects by Yip and Yap.

Yip carved the pink soap boat in the back and they both exhibited dipped candles that we made over the winter. Whoops! One of them fell.

And Yap exhibited a Lego castle. Whew, was he glad to get this back. Yap was going into Lego withdrawal after a week!

So, how what was (or will) your fair like?

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Dry Is It In Kansas?

I've posted over and over about how dry it is in Kansas. I've been looking for humor in the situation and was awarded by a chuckle when I opened my paper this week.

Rudy, the editor of our town paper, shared an e-mail sent by a reader..How dry is it in Kansas? I thought it too funny not to share with you too.

How Dry Is It In Kansas?

A buddy out of Salina said he'd killed a mosquito that was carrying a canteen.

A man in Wichita said the chicken farmers were giving the chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs.

In Lake Keystone, they caught a 20 lb. catfish that had ticks on it.

Just this week in Garden City, a fire hydrant was seen bribing a dog.


the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling...
the Methodists are using wet-wipes....
the Presbyterians are giving out rain checks....
and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water....

Whew! Stay cool out there!

Foody Friday - Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

I found this recipe in last Sunday's newspaper and thought it an appropriate summer dish. I just wish I had tomatoes in my garden to use. Ah well, the grocery store is only a block away.

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

2 tomatoes
6 T ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t. dried thyme
2 T Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Combine ricotta cheese, chopped fresh spinach, garlic and thyme. Top each tomato half with about 2 T of ricotta mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 10-15 minutes. Serves 4...or just me...I ate them all...yum!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wha' Do T'Day?

Yahoo is just about 2 1/2 years old. It cracks me up to look at her then look at photos of Yip and Yap at the same age. They are all so cute.

Between the boys 2nd and 3rd birthday we lived in southern Indiana in the middle of nowhere three miles off the paved road. I loved our home there and that year holds a lot of special memories for me. We lived on a couple of acres surrounded by trees and fields and although we had three neighbors all within a half a mile away I couldn't see any houses. We had a couple dozen fruit bearing trees and plenty of room for two toddler boys to play in. Our neighbor had horses that we fed extra apples to. Another neighbor urged us to explore his wooded trails around his home. Although they kept me busy and were quite the handful I must say my favorite age of children, so far is 2 and 3 years old and that year we lived in the perfect place to explore.  

Two and Three year olds have imaginations that grow by leaps and bounds, it's hard to keep up. Their personalities take on a strength never seen before in their young lives and they become such unique individuals, even twins. Young children want to know and learn and explore and they can find joy in the simplest moments! I just love this age! 

After Yahoo was born I was really looking forward to her getting to this age of exploration. Now she's here and...well, I do believe handling twin toddler boys was easier than corralling Miss Yahoo...or Miss Thing as Yap calls her. Yes, she has a bit of a diva attitude, as though she is "The Thing", the ruler of the roost! She's pretty stubborn too. Of course, in hindsight, I think having twins spoiled me. Honestly! Twin toddlers do so well at entertaining one another that moms and dads don't have much to do except breaking up fights.

Having a single toddler in the house is an entirely different dynamic. She has to entertain herself or I have to. Although I love this town I can't just allow Yahoo to walk outside on her own the way her brothers did at that same age. She doesn't have the chance to explore her world the way the boys did either. But the thing that cracks me up about Yahoo is her daily question;

"Wha' do t'day?"

Technically it isn't a daily question because it's a question she poses numerous times a day. I've learned I have to interpret her meaning depending on the time of day she asks it. If it's in the morning then she means, "What are we going to do today?" but if she asks in the afternoon or evening then she means, "What did we do today?" Usually then in the afternoon she enjoys reciting to me the various activities we did that day. Library, shopping, swimming, etc.

But the deeper meaning her early morning question of "Wha' do t'day?" means she is ready to go and ready and raring to start in on her day. Full tilt at 100% speed at all times. She never. stops. moving....or talking. And it's my job, most of the time, to keep her engaged and entertained and busy. I'm also her main source of conversation about just what we did or going to do today! She wears me out!

Sometimes, I admit, "Wha' do t'day?" makes me cringe. There's a lot expected of me in that question!

I never thought I'd look back on this photograph my twin two year old boys and think this was an easy stage of life but boy, there are days, when I wish I could have them back just like that. Because, believe it or not, Yahoo makes twin toddler boys look easy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teasing Rain

As DR and I were headed out for a date Saturday night we drove under tons of beautiful dark clouds. We could even see rain coming down in the distance. It was bittersweet though because it wasn't falling on us. I hope whoever it was falling on though got a bunch! And I know whoever it was falling on that they dearly appreciated it.

Just Friday Garden City, KS got hammered with much in fact that water was rushing down the sides of the streets. But we didn't get a bit just an hour south here. A farmer friend of ours just a few miles out of our tiny town said they've only received 2 inches of rain this year. Two inches of rain since January; two inches of rain in 6 1/2 months. It is drier here in SW Kansas this year than it was during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. The difference is due to land conservation measures there aren't rolling dust storms, thank goodness!

Driving Saturday night we were teased with a few raindrops on the windshield.
I told DR, "If we could only get a good downpour! I'd send my kids out into a storm just so they could feel the rain! I'd wake them up in the middle of the night and make them stand in the rain! Oh, what I wouldn't give for a flood!"

There has been quite a few times the past couple of weeks where the skies have filled with clouds, dark clouds. I find myself straining to watch the clouds but sadly they move on by without leaving any moisture in their wake. I love the Kansas sky but sometimes its beauty exists besides a sense of bitterness. A sense that nothing will fall from the sky again.

I'm sure you are tired of hearing about how dry it is out here but it's hard to ignore when the 10 day forecast out here is calling for 105 degree days, everyday. I've never experienced a place so dry. Of course, I was raised in northern Indiana where it was common to have a summer day with 85% humidity. But this Kansas summer I've learned lotion is a household staple!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Devotions- Miracle Grow

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Matthew 13: 3-8

Last Sunday my minister preached on this passage from Matthew and I wanted to share some of his thoughts with you today.

When farmers prepare their fields or gardens they remove rocks and weeds and apply fertilizer and compost to make the soil as fertile as possible. Then after the seeds sprout farmers continue to care for the fields as much as possible to insure a bountiful harvest. You aren't going to see too many farmers plant a field then walk away from it for months expecting a bumper crop.

God's word can spring to life in a lot of different places just like the parable of the sower. God's word sprouted in rocky and thorny areas but wasn't able to last because it didn't have the right soil. But if God's word is sown in soil, our hearts, prepared at it's best then the crop will be a hundred times what is sown.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Conflict Resolution

Fighting Brothers....

Time Out until you two can solve the problem!! 

"How about we..."

"Or what if we....."

"Would you help me with...."

"Sure I'll help you, but you can you share that....."

"Wow, I never thought of doing it that way."

"Whoa, this whole talking it out thing really works. Mom, can we play now?"

Amazing what happens when they actually communicate!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Foody Friday - PDub's Marinated Tomatoes, my version.

I love to cook in the winter. Summer? Not so much. I'm finding that I just can't bring myself to cook anything in the kitchen when the temperatures are soaring above 100. The kids and I have been living off cold meat sandwiches and Popsicles. Last week I ate nothing but watermelon for dinner! Watermelon is sure cool and refreshing but it got kind of boring after a week.

So because of the heat I have been in a food rut. I dont' know what to fix. When I saw Pioneer Woman's Marinated Tomatoes they sounded so good I knew I had to try them. Of course I had to tweak it a bit; I used dry herbs rather than fresh (it worked just fine) and as I was mixing up the marinade I spied the two zuchinni I had picked that morning. Aaaahhh!!! Zuchinni would be great with the tomatoes.

So here's my version of PDub's Marinated Tomatoes.

1 cup Canola Oil

1/4 cup Vinegar
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 white Onion, Sliced
1/4 cup Dry Parsley
1/8 cup Dry Basil
1/4 teaspoon Ground Thyme

2 cloves Garlic, Minced Finely
2 pounds Tomatoes, Cut Into Quarters (if Big) Or Halves (if Small)
2 zuchinni, sliced

Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Whisk to combine, then add tomatoes and zuchs. (You can up the quantity of tomatoes or zuchs if need be.) Allow to marinate for at least 3 to 4 hours, several hours if possible. Tomatoes will give off liquid as they marinate.

Yum, I tell you these tomatoes were so cool and refreshing I ate the whole batch in two days. I can't wait to make some more but next time I'm going to add a jar of olives too! Yum, I'm drooling just thinking about it.

What is your go to cool food dish for hot steamy summer days? I need some more ideas!
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