July 31

Because I am such a pleaser, I went outside foggy bright and early this morning to get pictures of my lovely Rose of Sharron ‘fence’.

And now I feel compelled to tell you my saga of these poor bushes. This group that you see here were planted 5 springs ago. Superman and I planted them in the rain.

I hadn’t ordered enough, so the shortest one that you see was where we had to stop. (For that year)

We also planted them on the other side of the house.

Interestingly, the neighbor’s 2 dogs faithfully watered the other side and they all died.

So, I purchased some more, and 4 springs ago, found Superman planting again.

Superman is my hero, because he hates to plant these things.

I make him talk to them.

At that time, 3 little boys lived 2 houses over and they ran their motorized Jeep all over my freshly planted ‘fence’.  Only 3 survived.

I was. not. happy.

We also replaced the ones on the other side as well, and did all manner of things to discourage the dogs from watering my ‘fence’. It helped, but some died.

3 springs ago, I purchased my last batch of Rose of Sharron ‘fence’, daring anyone or anything to kill my plants.

Superman and the boy planted them, and I made them both talk to them.

This is why you see varying stages of growth, and varying colors.

I love them all.

This year, just before Superman left for Columbus, he mowed and weed whacked my lawn for me. He got way to close to my ‘fence’ and shredded the bark on the dog side. A few stems have died.

I have suggested to him that if he wants to plant more of these things, please…continue to weed whack my bushes.

I seriously doubt that the weed whacker will ever be seen on that side of the house again.

https://i2.wp.com/i29.photobucket.com/albums/c257/chocolatechic/smilies/roses.gif

Now for the give away.

We all have fears of baking something. I was always afraid to use yeast. I stubbornly refused to even try to make bread, or any other baked good that used yeast.

Then bread machines came along.

I got one.

I used it.

Fresh baked bread was so much better than that nasty store bought stuff.

That machine gave me the courage to try to bake bread on my own, and I have never looked back.

So, today I am giving away a King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cook Book.

To try to win this lovely book, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you are afraid of in the kitchen? What are you afraid to cook or bake.

I will turn to the trusty number generator and have it pick a winner, which will be announced tomorrow.

July 30

When we moved to town almost 6 years ago, it was a huge change for us.

We were used to quiet peaceful evenings.

That doesn’t happen in town unless it is 23º outside.

We were used to letting the kids go out and play whenever they liked and not have any fear that they would be harmed.

In town, you keep your kids close by.

We were used to fresh air.

That doesn’t happen in town, period.

We were used to not seeing neighbors unless you walked at least a half mile down the road.

In town, the neighbors sit on their front porch and stare into your living room through your middle class Victorian windows that almost reach the floor.

When I began to notice the neighbor’s watching our every move on a daily basis, about 3 days after we moved in, I got the idea to plant a lovely “fence line” of Rose of Sharron hedges. They grow marvelously fast, and are outrageously beautiful.

They are now tall enough to block pesky neighbors from viewing me blog every morning, and watch Law and Order CI every evening.

Now if I could just find a way to keep that little girl off her scooter at 10pm….

PS. There is going to be a give away tomorrow.

July 29

This TWD is a Peach Galette.

I had to look up the definition of galette.

A galette is a fancy-schmancy way of saying ‘free form tart’.

Which also means no pie pan to wash.

Score!

This recipe called for some sort of jam to be spread in the bottom of the crust.

Some sort of jam that would correspond pleasantly to peaches.

What kind of jam corresponds to peaches?

Dorie suggested ginger preserves, and I thought ‘ooooOOOOOooooo that sounds delicious. I want some’.

Do you know that Pothole, Ohio does not have ginger preserves. at. all.?

I was so disappointed to be doing without the ginger preserves that I have never tasted before, never even heard of before.

So I sent the boy to the store with my debit card and said ‘get something that will match. I do not care what it is.’

He brought home some lovely seedless red raspberry preserves.

I did have doubts as to whether it would taste good or not. I shouldn’t have. It was divine.

I love that boy.

After you get your jam/preserves spread in the bottom, some lovely graham crackers sprinkled over that, you can add your fruit. You can use any fruit you like.

I chopped the required amount, but I found that it was just to much fruit to fit into my dough.

Then you get to add a lovely custard. I put some vanilla paste into mine. It just adds such a lovely flavor.

This free form tart galette is best eaten right out of the oven or at room temperature.

I tried it both ways, and right out of the oven is best. But don’t take my word for it, head on over to Michelle’s blog and get the recipe for yourself.

Michelle, thanks for picking a winner.

July 28

I didn’t realize it when he got home, but the boy was in some serious withdraw.

In Panama, he had no electronic devices at his disposal. No laptop that he could hop on any time he liked, no TV, nothing.

After he recovered from his lack of sleep, and hugged his mamma, he hugged his laptop, and it hasn’t left his side since. I think he is making a side holster for it.

I kid…oh, I kid.

Yesterday, all I heard was laptop, blah~~blah, iTunes, yadda~~yadda, resync iPod, techno~~gobbldigook

Which really meant that he wanted to unhook the modum from my computer so he could attach himself to the internet. Which meant that I had to unattach myself from the internet. Which means that I go into withdraws, and that internet, that isn’t a pretty sight.

We have been discussing getting a Wi-Fi thingie for quite some time, but this time, the boy offered to go halvsies.

I sent him to Stuffmart forthwith.

Verily he came home and we began the process of uploading, rebooting, connecting, moving wires.

Nothing happened, except that now neither of us were connected to the internet.

It got ugly, quick.

I punched in the 1-800 number to my ISP to get some vital information that was missing from all the uploading, rebooting and connecting.

For two. and. a. half. hours. I was on the phone with the Philippines (thanks Kent, your English was perfect).

2 ½ hours of her telling me to type in this, and me obediently doing everything she asked.

Go here, ok.

Click enter, done.

Are you connected, no.

Near the end of the 2 ½ hours, she began to realize that it just. wasn’t. working.

We said goodbye, exchanged vital information, and we now are sending each other birthday cards because after all that, we are BFF’s.

Sarcasm internet, it is what gets me through.

Near the tail end of Kent and my conversation, Extrachips mom popped in and I asked the boy to please call the other 1-800 number to FINALLY FIX THE STUPID THING OR IT WAS GOING BACK TO STUFFMART.

5 minutes later, after talking to India, it was fixed. 5 minutes, internet, and I know exactly what my problem was. I wasn’t talking to India. I wasn’t chatting with someone I could barely hear or understand.

So, the next time you call tech support, and you reach someone you can understand, ask to be transfered to India.

Immediately.

July 27

The boy was glad to be home till I said some fateful words to him. Son, Superman isn’t home and the lawn needs mowed.

After that, not so much.

Bless his heart, he mowed. Then for the rest of the day, he rested, and ate, and rested and ate, and fell into bed at 7:30pm.

He brought his sister a bracelet, I received a cell phone holder, and he also brought home some coffee~~Panamanian coffee~~the stuff that they sell to Starbucks. I am not quite sure if it is for him, or for Superman, but my motherly instinct says it isn’t for Superman.

But let me just show you the prize he got for himself.

Yep…yep…yep! Told ya. Very male.

He couldn’t wait to show me this, tell me all the virtues of this knife with brass knuckles and  “knock out knob” on the end.

I asked him when or where would he use it, seeing as how we aren’t violent people.

He had no answer.

Please don’t come to Pothole, Ohio with malicious intent, you will most certainly meet with some resistance in the form of a a blue handled, much polished lethal weapon.

Yes, it is very good to have him home.

July 26

He’s home…he’s home…he’s home.

It was so good to get up this morning and see his car parked in front of the house.   I waited as long as I could (8am) and tip-toed downstairs to his room and just watched him sleep.

I will tell more later….after he tells me, but let me just say…….his souvenirs for himself are very male.

July 24

Got an email from the youth leader from Panama.

I’m going to c/p it here. (protecting the names, of course)

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

Hey all,

Greetings from Panama! Our trip has been great so far and we are all looking forward to finishing out our time well and seeing our famlies. Daily each of us are being challanged and depending on the Holy Spirit! We have got a lot of projects accomplished and also had the opportunity to love on the people that we are around.

Just to highlight each member:

M is seeing patience and helped with stitches
B is seeing patience and oraganizing the clinic
R has done a great job with tutoring and crafts
H has welded and painted
S is doing mechanical work (mostly on a massive trailer)
The boy is currentely digging and grading dirt(I want to know if he is doing this manually, or has he acquired some sort of heavy machinery~~regardless, I am quite sure he is in the absolute height of fun)
D is digging and a great assistant to us adults
B worked on trailer fabrication, electical and supervising projects

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support! We could not be doing what we are doing without you! We will be arriving home on Saturday about 3am. I would say that the best part of our trip so far is our time sitting on the pourch at night taking in the view and sharing in each others lives!!!! And as it relates to serving <I believe we would all agree that going to the school and delicing and loving on those kids was AWSOME!!!! We love you and thank you for everything!

B
Youth Director

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

Bad segue back to me….

I generally do about 12-14 loads of laundry a week. This just barely keeps me from being avalanched by Mt. Washmore.

Barely.

Since the boy left on Thursday, and Superman early Saturday (he will be gone till the end of the month) I have one 1 load of laundry. One. And we had to scrounge for that one.

This means that the females in this house only generate 1/12th-1/14th of the laundry.

I think we need to go shopping.

July 23

The boy finally called yesterday afternoon. I was so excited, if I could have, I would have done a jig.

A few weeks ago, the boy went to spend the day with my parents. He came home with 2 flags to retire. You should never fly a flag that is dirty, faded, or torn in any way.

He asked if I’d like to help. I had never seen a flag retired before, so I said sure.

The first thing you do is beg to use your mother’s best Gingher scissors, and cut the stripes out.

Then you cut out the field.

After your flag is all cut up, you must start your fire.

No flint and steel for this Boyscout…it is cheating fire starter all the way.

You burn the stripes first.

Then the field.

Always being respectful to the flag.

Bury the ashes when they have cooled.

You don’t have to be a Boyscout to retire a flag. You just need a pair of scissors, fire starter, and respect.

July 22

I think the best thing about doing TWD is the fact that I get to try new things. Things that I would never, ever do without prodding.

Today’s TWD is just that. Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.

There are 2 basic things wrong with this.

1. I do not like cherries. Oh, I love cherry flavor. Cherry juice, cherry candy, cherry pie~~minus the actual cherries~~, cherry cough drops, but please don’t make me eat cherries.

2. I do not like rhubarb. Rhubarb is green. Green= good for you. I don’t do ‘good for you’ in dessert….blech….

However, I would. not. be. deterred. I’m kind of stubborn like that. (Don’t faint dad)

Thank you Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake for getting me out of my comfort zone.

Then I found a third thing that was a huge problem. Fresh cherries.

My dad’s favorite pie is cherry pie. Whenever mom made dad a pie, she did the ‘open the can and dump’ thing. This recipe called for fresh cherries, and I uhhhhh had to uuuuuuuh pit them? How do you pit cherries?, but more importantly, how do you pit cherries without a pitter?

I put out an SOS to the TWD group. I had lots of advice,(hair pin, unbent paper clip, and even a chop stick) but it really wasn’t clicking. Then I got some pictures. It was the pictures that did the trick, ’cause this girl is a visual learner. It was a picture using a metal ice cream spoon~~like one you would have used 50 years ago at an ice cream parlor.

A turkey baster was the closest thing I could find, and it worked.

I finally got brave and  popped one of those fresh cherries in my mouth. Wonder of all wonders…cherries are good. I like fresh cherries. Canned cherries leave a lot to be desired, but the fresh ones. Wow! oh! wow!

I pitted almost 3 pounds of cherries, and afterwards, my fingers were the color of my cherry stained headboard. I know this because I checked.

I wondered who was the first woman that looked at her hands after pitting 3 pounds of cherries and said to her man “hey, this would be a great color for my pie safe your making me. I’ll go pit 5 more pounds of cherries so you can make the stain.”

She obviously didn’t have enough to do, because it took me well over an hour to pit the 3 pounds I pitted. No wonder ma opened the can and dumped.

I love the fact that the topping on this particular cobbler was made with whole wheat flour. This would have to be the very first time in my life that I have made a dessert with whole wheat flour. Dessert is not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear whole wheat.

I gave this lovely cobbler to my dad for his birthday present. Love you daddy.

I made him try it before he went home so that I could tell you what he thought, because there was absolutely no way I was going to try it. Fresh cherries or not, it still had that rhubarb in it, and this girl will just happily go on through life blissfully unaware of what rhubarb tastes like, thankyouverymuch.

Some things that he noted were, that the juice was good, but needed more sugar, and that the topping was good, but needed a bit more salt.

If you happen to love cherries and rhubarb, please go check out Amanda’s blog, as she has the recipe.

I am just going to have to be content with my Dove Dark.

July 21

When I was in college~~about 450 years ago~~the guy that I was “seeing” at the time took me to meet his family in Kansas for Thanksgiving.

While I was there, I had the most wonderous pie I had ever eaten. It was a pecan pie with chocolate in it.

I. was. in. heaven. and I have been searching for a pie like that ever since.

Yesterday I told you I had these pie crusts I needed to use.  So I was trolling through recipe sites to find a pie that would fit my requirements ~~read, anything that I had ingredients for…which consisted of eggs, flour, and chocolate.

I found one that might be like the pie I had in Kansas, and score! I had all the ingredients too.

I weighed out my chocolate. I mixed my milk and semi-sweet. I’m an equal opportunity chocolate eater.

Chopped my walnuts.

Both of these were dumped into the bottom of my new favorite pie crust.

I get my eggs from a friend at church. Aren’t these lovely? You need 2 large eggs, some flour, some sugar, salt and vanilla.

Whisk that all together and pour over your chocolate and nuts.

With the leftover dough, make dodo’s. These things are almost better than the pie.

Bake your lovely pie for about 40 minutes. If you can wait, let it cool. If you can’t, dig in.

Kentucky Chocolate-Pecan Pie

  • 1 9″ pie shell, unbaked (recipe below)
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels (if you don’t have enough semi-sweet, feel free to mix them like I did)
  • 1 c. chopped pecans (if you don’t have enough pecans, use walnuts)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ c. butter, melted
  • ½ c. flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Spread chopped nuts and and chocolate over the bottom of the pie crust. In a small mixing bowl, whisk rest of ingredients and pour over nuts and chocolate. Bake at 325º for 35-40 minutes.

My new favorite pie dough.

Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough~~Dorie Greenspan

(9″ crust)

  • 1½ c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 c. butter~~this needs to be either frozen or very cold, chopped into tbsp. size pieces.(no margarine allowed)
  • 2½ tbsp. shortening~~again, very cold or frozen, chopped into 2 pieces
  • about 1/4 c. ice water

Put flour, sugar and salt into your food processor. Pulse to combine. Drop butter and shortening and pulse till fat is cut into flour. Don’t over do. Dribble a few tbsp. of water in and pulse. Don’t add to much water. Refrigerate for at least ½ an hour before rolling out.

This dough goes together so quickly and with so little effort, and the flavor is the best I have ever had. Before I start mixing any of this up, I cut off about 2 tbsp. of my buttered flavored crisco stick, and put it in the freezer. By the time I am ready for it, it is ice cold, and perfect for the recipe.

Sadly, this pie tastes nothing like the pie I had in Kansas. If anyone has a recipe for a pecan pie with chocolate in it, I’d love to try it out.

I have an extra pie crust.

July 20**updated**

STILL….no word from the boy. Maybe this morning I can beg some information from someone that has heard from someone who has heard from someone. I am quite sure he is fine, but still…

Yesterday, the girl and I watched some chic flicks, I painted my toes a lovely shade of dark pink, extrachip C. came over to check on us, the girl did some embroidery, and I made a pie~~which I will tell you all about tomorrow.

I had these 2 pie crusts that the boy made before he left. I was going to make Superman a blueberry pie for him to take to Columbus.

Sadly, the blueberries were all green and fuzzy when I got to them Friday evening, but I still had those pie crusts, so a pie was begging to be made.

This pie crust recipe is so very tender. It is my new favorite. Not only does it taste great, but you make it in the food processor, which is absolutely the best…especially for a lazy woman like me.

I have always folded my dough into quarters to get it into the pie pan just like I watched my mom do for years. This method has served me quite well, till my new favorite dough came along. Because the dough is so tender, it really doesn’t want to co-operate, even with my foolproof method.

How do you get your pie crusts into your pie plate? I need a rip proof method, because I can not give up this new favorite dough recipe. I refuse.

Oh…and any suggestions on what to do with this last pie crust? I want to use it before it gets all green and fuzzy.

**Update.   No one has heard from anyone in Panama.  This morning Pastor called the head of the mission there in Boquete and asked him how everyone was.   Allen said that they all are doing well.   It rained yesterday so they went to the closest town and went shopping.

July 18

I have heard nothing from the boy…not a little text saying “Here. Flight wz gr8. ❤ U. ” or a little email saying “Were here, mom, long flight, tired. Don’t worry.” or even a little 30 second phone call saying “We’re here safe, I love you”. Nope…not a blessed thing. sigh.

Aaaaanyway…..

It is Friday, internet, and I am nosy.

Tell me one thing you miss about being a child.

For me it is the closeness that my sister and I had. We were super close, now that we live so far apart, it isn’t easy.

Yep….I miss my sister, and my John Boy and Mary Ellen paper dolls.

July 17

Leaving.

The boy is leaving on a missions trip to Panama.

This picture was sneakily snapped late last night as the boy was rushing about packing for his second missions trip to Panama.

We had a conversation that sounded something like this…

CC: Did you get shampoo

Boy: *dramatic sigh* Yes mom

CC: Deodorant?

Boy: Forgot that

CC: Soap?

Boy: Mom!

CC: Towel?

Boy: (running upstairs to get one) Guess that might come in handy.

CC: What would you do without me?

Boy: *major eye rollage*

We set our alarm so that we could get up 2:30 this morning to kiss him good by, where we had a conversation that sounded something like…

CC: Love you son.

Boy: Love you to mom.

Superman:Did you pack your toothbrush?

Boy:I have a travel one.

CC:Don’t drink the water, and don’t brush your teeth in the water.

Boy:Mom!

CC:*major eye rollage* (or would have if my eyes had been opened)

I stumbled back to bed, and didn’t move till 6:30.

They left the church around 3:15 so they could get to Pittsburg and leave at 7am.

They are in the air now, flying to Panama City, Panama. So, if you see a huge Delta flying overhead, give it a wave. My boy might be on it.

When they get there around quarter till 1, they will sit and wait till 4pm to hop on a little puddle jumper and fly to Davíd (Da veed).

Where they will then climb onto a bus and make a 1-2 hour drive up the mountain to arrive at Bouquete (Bo ket a) around 7pm.

They will spend a week, ministering to the local people. Roofing, pouring concrete, electrical work, and sharing God’s love.

On the 25th, they will reverse the trip and come home.

If I seem a bit distracted, it is because my thoughts are in Panama.

July 16

Oh internet, I had plans. Plans like you wouldn’t believe.

Remember this?

Well, after about a year of procrastination I went out to hang laundry and was treated to a worse sight.

Scary.

I put it back together to make it look better, and to appease the horror at my procrastination.

It was time to call someone.

Did you know that 90% of my foundation is not block? Who knew that Victorians preferred clay tile over concrete? What were they thinking?

So, Mr. Contractor said that he would be out sometime Saturday afternoon. Superman and the girl had a Stuffmart fashion show to be in, but I had plans.

I was going to blog in detail the restoration of my foundation. I had witty things I was going to type. It was going to be great!

I also wanted to be there for my family. So because I know that contractors are notoriously late, over budget, and take months longer than planned to finish a project, I told the girl that I would go to Stuffmart to watch her.

I just knew Mr. Contractor would be late and I would have plenty of time to capture the restoration process in full digital glory.

I came home an hour and a half later to this.

I guess Mr. Contractor didn’t get the memo.

July 15

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can talk about chocolate till eyes begin to glaze over and someone stuffs a Hershey kiss in my mouth to shut. up. already.

I have had French chocolate, German chocolate, Belgian chocolate and Hershey chocolate. I love all chocolate, but somehow I keep coming back to Hershey. German chocolate is a very close second. Sorry Jacqués Torres.

About 2 months ago, I scored.

I scored big.

I found Scharffenberger chocolate, at Odd Lots of all places, for $3 a bar.

I have been wanting to try this chocolate for like, forever. Score!

After I slowly nibbled my way through the first bar, I decided to wait, savoring the knowledge that this was in my chocolate stash till I found something worthy of using it for.

Today’s TWD was just the thing.

Melissa chose chocolate pudding, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Chocolate!

I am ashamed to say that I have never made chocolate pudding except out of a box. Jacqués will never like me now.

Making this pudding was fun.

It was mostly made in a food processor of all things, and it only cooks for 2 minutes.

After about 30 seconds on the stove, the pudding had thickened so much that had I cooked it any longer, it could have been used to make bricks.

Because of it thickening so quickly,  it had the consistency of fudge.

Who cares. Chocolate is chocolate is chocolate.

The taste of this is beyond any other pudding I have ever tasted. Had to be the Scharffenburger.

I seriously doubt that I will go back to a box.

July 14

Last Monday was the first day of school for the girl.

Yep, we started school early this year.

We have a lot to accomplish this year, and I get a case of major burn out come March/April.

Because I know this sad fact about myself, I always begin school so that we will be finished around that time. This year, we had to start last Monday.

Last Monday was a day of firsts for us.

It was the first day that she did school as a 10th grader.

It was the first time I took a ‘first day of school’ picture, and there was only one child standing in front of me.

It was the first time that the boy wasn’t down there making us laugh.

It was the first time she was learning alone, and it made her sad. I knew how teaching her alone would affect me, but I had no clue how it would affect her.

I went downstairs for something and she had tears streaming down her face. She told me later it was because she missed her brother, and she put a picture of herself and her brother in a picture frame and put it on her school desk so “her buddy would be still with her”.

It is amazing how one person can affect so many.

Go out and affect people for good. Let them remember you with pleasant thoughts. Make such an impact on those around you that they are sad to see you go.

July 13

The boy is leaving Thursday morning for a missions trip to Panama.

To raise money for the trip, the youth are being sold as slaves today.

Since the chips already know how to be proper slaves, it won’t be any hardship on them.

I am offering a gift certificate for baked goods, one a month for a year.

How much do you think it will bring?

I will let you know later on this evening. I sure hope it is more that $10.

July 12

All this summer, life has conspired against me to keep me from going to watch the boy play church soft ball.

Last night, I looked at life, said “pfthththhthth”, and went anyway.

The boy plays catcher.

Cheerleader.

Coach.

And point maker.

After the first game, (which they won) the girl and I left.

I had much needed beauty sleep to catch up on.

They lost the second game.

I think it was because I wasn’t there to cheer them on.