September 1, 2014

Men washing the dishes

What's the first thing my brother-in-law does when he comes into down?  Yep.  He volunteers to wash dishes!
Olivia with her little cousin, Thedore.  He looks up to her.  ♥  They have a lot in common, they were both the second child, and weighed 7 # 2 oz. when born, 19.5 inches long, are animal-lovers and most of the time very mellow.
We had some strawberry coconut milk ice cream from Trader Joe's.

August 22, 2014

A month of summer left...

 Just one more month left of summer.  Fall officially begins Sept. 23rd. 
Our backyard this morning...picked some tomatoes (gave a few of them to the chickens), carrots and cucumbers. 
Last night we went to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" put on by Shakespeare in the Park.  It was really great!  We brought some soda with us...for a treat and Hannah tried one of the Minute to Win it challenges...see if YOU can balance a pop bottle on an angle like that!!! 
We had gnocchi twice this week, we ♥ it.  I'm going to use this recipe to try to make it ourselves.
One of my favorite pictures from camp last month.

August 11, 2014

Is it really August?

Time has flown by this summer.  We spent July in Illinois at church camp.  I helped with arts and crafts.  We used yarn and a plastic mesh to make crosses, drew with charcoal, painted rocks, tie-dyed bandanas, decorated Russian matroshka sugar cookies, worked on "scrapbooks" with the kids (using 15 cent 3-prong folders and photos), and made prosphora with the kids.
 We spent a week in Florida after camp.
I made this wonderful simple beet salad today.  We have lots of basil and I made pesto (using cashews instead of pine nuts), too.  I'm going to make a bunch and put it in the freezer.

July 21, 2014

A tiny praying mantis

 We made friends with a tiny praying mantis in our backyard!
 We named him Fred.
Hope you're having a wonderful summer!

June 30, 2014

Nerd glasses

New glasses for all?!!!  Nerd glasses are "in." 
 We painted people on rocks, inspired by this photo.  Below are ours, Olivia did the French guy with a mustache...and Hannah the pretty woman on the far right:
I made vegan tapioca a few times this week.  This time I used almond milk, following this recipe, but making a triple batch.  Honestly, I prefer using coconut cream (in a can) instead of almond milk, as it's creamier and tastes great!
Our gladiolas are wonderful this year!  And our garden is growing tomatoes, peas, lettuce, squash, carrots, beets, onions...are you growing vegetables or fruit?

June 27, 2014

Getting her ears pierced!!!

Hannah's officially a teenager.  For her 13th birthday, she got her ears pierced! 
Before...and after!  She choose 14k gold 5mm cubic zirconium studs.  After, she said "I know it sounds silly, but I really feel like a princess!"  
 Hannah with Peepaw and Grammie ♥

June 25, 2014


We have 4 grape plants that have grown like crazy this past year.  The grapes are small and green right now, but the leaves are ready for picking.  I picked just 25 and blanched them, following the directions here:
Dolmas is what we call stuffed grape leaves.  Next time I'll try to pick the leaves earlier in June, as they were a bit tough and chewy.  Or maybe I just needed to blanch them more than 3 minutes in boiling water?  They were still very good! 

Olivia ate 5 of them while rolling them up!!!  Here's the basic recipe we followed: 
If you want to try to make them, and don't have a grape vine, you can buy canned grape leaves.  I'd like to try to make them stuffed with meat and rice sometime in the future.