Friday, July 24, 2009

Feeling Blue

Ah, blueberries. One of our family's favorite fruits. I'd tell you that this is a part of the crop from our yard, but I'd be lying. Our four young bushes have bore about 3 berries so far this summer. Thankfully, we live about 5 minutes from a farm that offers "pick-your-own" produce, and the blueberries are ripe for the pickin', as THEY say.
We invited some unsuspecting friends to join us in the hunt for the perfect berries, and they obliged. We neglected to tell them, however, that once we start picking blueberries, we have a very hard time stopping. Hopefully, they'll still be our friends.

Emmy may have eaten more than she picked...her teeth are even purple!

After a hard morning's work of picking, we went back to the farm market and treated ourselves to cider donuts and peach crush slushes. We had to go for the full experience.

They have picnic tables and a Petting Zoo at the market. Oh yes, the kids love the petting zoo. See for yourself:
Yes, the animals are all wooden cut-outs.... Read the sign....and then note what the kids decided to do...
Girls, be carefully not to smudge the camel's beautiful pink lipstick!

And really, what petting zoo is complete without Big Bird?

Thankfully, all of the blueberries were real...and the donuts....and the fun we had!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Can This Be..

My 100th Post?

Perhaps I should do something special in honor of the occasion. Fireworks? Too over the top (and how would I get them on my computer without blowing it up?) A Giveaway? Too assuming (assuming people would leave a comment, that is) A special song? Too repetitive (see post# 99)

Perhaps I should mention to you that today is my little sister's 30th Birthday. If you have been reading my blog for longer than a month, you may recall that I was doing her "30.lbs by 30" challenge with her - only I was shooting for 10 by the time she turned 30. I was doing really well, having lost 9. something lbs. And then we went to Disney World in June.. and had the dining plan...and then I went to the beach for the 3 weeks, with last week being Keith's vacation week there. And I had my ice cream maker with me... All this is my great big excuse for why now, on the day that the challenge ends, I only lost about 2 lbs. Truly unfortunate. But we won't dwell on that today because this is supposed to be a celebratory post.

Perhaps in honor of my 100th post, and the fact that I lost almost 2 lbs. in the past 5 months (dispicable) , and it is my little sister's birthday, I should share a recipe with you that was part of my demise. I even have photos.

Have you ever had Strawberry Pretzel Salad? It used to be one of my favorite dishes growing up. My mom even made me a batch to bring back to college my freshman year after a break, and I did not even share it with my 3 roommates (maybe one of the reasons we don't keep in touch..hmmm) I had not eaten it for a very long time and decided that I HAD to have it on Memorial Day - at the beach house. So I made it. And I loved it. And I did share it. But I'm not sharing THAT recipe with you today, oh no. I came across something even more beautiful in my blog reading travels....

Strawberry Pretzel Salad Ice Cream
(adopted from

Just typing it makes me want to run and get my ice cream maker back out of the pantry.

Here she is:

You'll need to run out and get one of these if you don't have one already. Mine has a 1.5 Qt. capacity.

Okay, first you'll need to crush up about 1 1/2 cups of salted pretzels and throw 'em in a pan with 1/4 c. melted butter and 1/4 c. sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 350.

Then let them cool, and break them all up again.

While they are in the oven begin making your vanilla ice cream base. I whisked 2 c. heavy cream, 3/4 c. of sugar, 1 T. vanilla extract, 1 c. of whole milk and a pinch of salt and poured it in my ice cream maker and started her up.

After about 20 minutes, when the cream is at soft serve consistancy, it's time to add the mix-ins.

In addition to the crushed up pretzels, you'll need to combine 5 oz. of strawberries (partial frozen - cut into small pieces) with 1 T. of sugar. And you'll need 4 oz. of softened cream cheese, mixed with 1/2 c. sugar. FIRST add the pretzels and the strawberries, then turn off the machine and fold in the cream cheese.

(Now, please keep in mind that if I wasn't at the beach house when I made this, I think all of these ingredients would have been artfully displayed in matching bowls - perhaps)

Don't let your doubtful husband try to sneak a taste before the right time, or add any boogies, for that matter.

Now pop it in the freezer and let it harden overnite - if you can wait that long.

Wait for it.....

Ta Da! Okay so I didn't make it look all beautiful. We were at the beach, and I really didn't even want to stop to take the picture before inhaling all of the deliciousness in that bowl. But if you did want to make it more beautiful, you could throw, I mean, place a few strawberries and pretzel sticks around the sides.

Even the doubtful husband ate his in seconds flat, and then suggested that it would be best if we finish the rest right then and there.

Very Celebratory.

Perhaps next time I may try chocolate-coverd pretzels to just "kick it up a notch". Or maybe put homemade chocolate shell on top. Because I can't really have dessert without chocolate.

Perhaps I better go out running now. Perhaps. I do have 8. something lbs. that I have to loose by August 21st now. And okay, I don't run, but I do need to get reaquianted with my trainer, Bob...

Perhaps I'll just go make this ice cream and celebrate my sister's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Annie!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Checking In

with sand between my toes....

Below is a video of a song I love that I can't find to add to my online playlist. Don't really know how songs get to be a part of that whole web thing, but no bother. I can listen to the song here. Or actually buy the song so that I have it.. hmmm.. I'll put it on The List.

Anyway, change the guy's and girl's eye and hair coloring, make the car a minivan, lose the rabbit foot, change the sunglasses and forget that I don't know how to play the guitar -yet, then add two kids - and a few pounds... well, just watch the video - you'll get the idea....

Such is life at the beach. And in a few short days, it is time to pack it all up and head on home.

....Hmm.. and change the hat, too...I really need to get a hat. Wish my head wasn't so small...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Days Remembered

Last Thursday, the media turned inside out and upside down over it's announcment and coverage of Michael Jackson's death, his life and his global impact of which one would think might stir Al Gore to write another book. I will not jump up on my soapbox about the media here, or any political figures, for that matter. That is not what this is about. Aside from the fleeting thought that I preferred the "Jackson 5 " years to the "Thriller" years, in my little world on Thursday, something of much greater significance had tragically occured.

A wonderful woman named Sandy Steckler, wife, mother of 4 young children, and my friend, died suddenly last Thursday. Without warning. Needless to say, the past week has been very foggy for me, and I find myself having difficulty - for the first time on my blog- finding the words to express what I want to express. Yesterday, I spent time with her family and friends remembering her life and saying goodbye - for now. I am going to miss her very much but so grateful for the time that I had to know her, confide in her, laugh with her and cry with her. Sandy's family is going to have a hard road to travel, and so if the Lord should put them on your mind, would you pray for them?

All of this occured while I was at the shore. On the 19th of June, I packed up my life - well, the important stuff anyway - and my kids, and headed to the beach with the idea that I would not be returning to reality until mid-July. God has had a different plan, but I'm thankful that I got to return today. Being at the beach is my solace, where I find calm in the storms. It is where I ran after 9-11, and after my dad's accident last fall. And it is where I have spent time replaying conversations with Sandy in my mind, and thinking about how I can best honor her and help her children. It is here, at the beach, where I spend time with my Lord and Savior, and allow His peace to wash over me like the waves on the sand.