Monday, June 27, 2011

The Menu Board

In the last few months, I've found that it is increasingly dangerous to have a laptop on the kitchen counter in the presence of food preparations and a toddler.  I've also found myself being sucked in by the shiny screen and going off on recipe chases and toddler activity scavenger hunts and losing large amounts of time.   It is also the information center for many of my day-to-day activities: recipes, weather, calendar, communications.

As I try to balance a home, toddler, work and life in general, I'm finding that sometime this wonderful tool is more of a hindrance than a help.  As I work on finding balance, and in an effort to save it from getting a bath in strawberry jam,  my cute little netbook is getting grounded.  I'm trying really hard to only fire it up when either a) GBaby's asleep or b) it is a designated working time.  (Read: I'm hiding somewhere and HandyMan, or some other gracious soul, has eyes on the tot).

When I tried implementing this type of limit on myself in the past, it worked great for about 3 hours until I was setting out to prep a meal and needed a recipe online.  Then I'd jump on the computer really fast to pull it up.   Then since I was already on, I needed to check the weather and the news and blogs and, oh yeah, the calendar too to see if HandyMan is home for dinner tonight... You get the idea.

So, as a solution to this problem, as well as to encourage myself to more reading and less surfing, I recently got a new toy, er, I mean organizational tool. It has basic web capabilities which is great for pulling up those recipes.   So, I've added a new page to my little corner of the internet here: The Menu Board.  See the tab up at the top?  If you click, you'll find all the recipes that are on my menu for the week with links, and a few other categories of recipes that I like to have at my fingertips.  Think of it as a notepad you might find on my kitchen counter - because there's not much glamour or organization to the page [yet].  I've bookmarked the page on my new toy and have my recipes for the week one click away.

Someday I may take the time to actually organize it into one of those nifty Monday Menu posts, but for now, I'm keeping it simple!  So if you're in need of some menu inspiration, check it out and click around.  There's some yummy stuff there!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sunshine: Iced Coffee & Quiet Time

Practicing contentment by remembering the gracesof the week(s) and practicing gratitude by giving.

This weekend is marking the beginning of a brief summer schedule for our family.  While it has been great a baby-sittee in the house during the weeks, it will be nice to have a break from it for the next couple of months.  I continue my work for camp and for candles which has helped us save towards our "one of these cars is going to die soon" fund.

I love this time of year when fresh produce abounds: strawberries, spinach and asparagus have all arrived on our table fresh from the garden.  Ripe tomatoes and fresh green beans are right around the corner!  GBaby loves to help water.

In this season for outdoor activity, I'm so glad that GBaby will happily endure sunblock and bug spray.  She is very conscious of "bad bugs" since she seems to be a walking bug bite since the end of April.  As soon as we call out "bug spray" she knows it's time to go outside and with come and hold out her arms and legs.

Life is full.  I am blessed.

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Treats

The weather is warming up, this is the last week of school in our area.  I know - they go so late up here! I thought I'd put up a few of my favorite summer goodies that are pushing their way onto our menu and into the cooking line-up in the coming weeks.

Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam - Strawberries are in peak season right now and we've already picked about 15 pounds worth that have been put in the freezer.  I'm planning on going back on Saturday to get some more for jam.

Fajitas - This wonderful grill meal has already made it on the menu in June and will be making an encore appearance in July.  It is such an easy meal that can keep everyone happy!

Dozen Layer Finger Jello - When I asked HandyMan back in May what he wanted to see more of on the menu, he said "jello".  Go figure. I guess it's time to make finger jello again!

Peanut Butter Cup Freezer Pie - This is a go-to easy recipe for a quick, easy, cold summer dessert.  I just have to figure out what occasion to make it for.

What fun summer recipes are you dusting off as the weather warms up?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Favorite Kind of Day

Today I am working my hours at Made in Chenango.  It's a great little crafter's co-operative in Norwich NY.  As  part of my candle business, I am a member here and part of the requirements are to sit hours manning the store.  After an unfortunate incident in March, involving rain pouring into our first floor store, the co-op was closed while we determined what we wanted to do next.  After a lot of work on the part of our board of directors, they found a new location that is beautiful.

Over the last three month's I have missed these days working at the store.  I've realized how much I enjoy these days of going to work and getting a break from the multiple hats I wear at home: mom, baby-sitter, cook, house-keeper, gardener, and the list goes on.

Today, rain falls, soft music plays and I get to work - uninterrupted - on my stack of projects.  It is absolutely wonderful!  And the icing on the cake of the new location: WIFI!  It is a good day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Garden's Gaining Steam

This year I really have not put much energy into my garden.  I've put in seeds and plants, offered up a hope and a prayer and just hope to end up with produce.  I started the season with great energy as I planned and prepared my early bed.  Our tomatoes were even more of an experiment as I planed two under the cover of my early bed and HandyMan had two in the wall-of-water type protectors.  Both are doing great - although the two in the water walls needed stakes right away after the walls were removed.  I am totally thrilled with the progress on these tomatoes - we have blossoms already  I'm hoping to have tomatoes to pick before August this year!

In order to stagger my tomato crops, I planted the rest of my tomatoes a week and a half ago.  They look so tiny!

My hills of squash are looking well and we should have strawberries ready within the week!

My early green beans are thriving too:

So far so good!  The rain we've been getting regularly is helping too!  How is your garden doing?

This post is linked up at An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party.  Check it out for other great garden ideas!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Sunshine

Practicing contentment by remembering the gracesof the week(s) and practicing gratitude by giving.

This week I'm thankful for work and for needs being met in excess.  I had a wonderful day out of the house at a craft fair on Saturday.  While the clouds threatened the show all day, the rain held off until I was packed up and on the way home!

Today was Children's Sunday at church and it was a great celebration of the involvement of the children and youth.  It was particularly great to have one of our high school guys give the sermon.  He did a great job!  I'm also so blessed by the Sunday School teachers who work so hard!  I know G-Tot has thoroughly enjoyed Sunday School this year.

I have blossoms on my tomatoes and strawberries that are almost ripe - both of these things make me very happy!  We continue to be blessed by friends who will take G-Tot for an evening or afternoon so that HandyMan and I can get some time together.  We had a great movie and icecream date last week.  (Thanks W's!)

Kiddie pools, sprinklers and bubbles also bring great joy on the hot summer days we've had lately!  We also had a wonderful afternoon with friends on Friday, complete with great food, sunshine and some r&r next to the kiddie pool.

Our lives have been full and blessed.  I hope you can find the blessings in your week!

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.” (James 1:16 -The Message) May the light of the Father brighten your week!

This Little Prayer of Mine

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony De Stefano and illustrated by Mark Elliot is a wonderful work that takes you through a bedtime prayer, through the eyes of a child's faith.

Beginning with the question of if God will hear them, and then touching on decision making, bad behavior, loneliness, generosity, kindness and gratitude, you walk life through the eyes of children.  The text of this story takes children through many types of prayers and gives them the encouragement that they can approach God about anything.

The soft illustrations naturally depict the activities and situations of the children this story focuses on.

DeStefano and Elliot have teamed up again for a wonderful work of text and artwork that provides a path to exploring faith and prayer with your child.

I received a complementary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of the Blogging for Books program.  The opinions and thoughts of this are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Stage Of Life

I'm in the midst of a season as summer ramps up where much of time is spent outdoors in the sunshine, in the garden, sitting by the kiddie pool, or playing in the yard or park.  When I have dedicated time indoors or on my computer, it's usually for work, bills or skimming sites I enjoy reading.

At the end of the day when my day has been full of...

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...there's not much energy left to write.  Hence the long stretches between posts.  Hopefully you've been outside enjoying the beginnings of summer and haven't even noticed!