Monday, May 31, 2010

I Saw God Today

My husband and I often take walks late in the evening along the roadside in front of our Big Woods.
These are photos that I took during a recent walk.
This is the remains of a dandelion puff that had been blown away by the wind.
These trees were blooming everywhere along the side of the roadway.
Beautiful moon...
Beautiful moon II...

This is the end of our trip. 
This is my husband's machine sitting on a trailer in front of our woods.
Thank you dear God for the beauty of this day.
Thank you for the freedoms that we share on this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer Sunday Fun Read

I thought we would take a break today from our usual Sunday Fun Read for kids and talk about a book for us ladies to enjoy over the summer.  I am so...so...excited to have purchased a copy of this book just yesterday.

     Ree Drummond began a blog a few years ago about leaving her city life to marry a rancher in Oklahoma.  It features some of her favorite recipes.  You can find her blog, http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/, listed in my favorites's section.  The recipes are wonderful; easy to read and follow.  She has more than just recipes included in her blog.  There are funny stories, lessons on photography, and discussions of family life.

Ree recently turned parts of her blog into a new book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I have been wanting this book for quite some time, but just hadn't gotten around to purchasing one.  After receiving a gift card to one of our local book stores...I knew this book would now be mine.  I have only begun to read the first few pages, and I love it.

The pictures are wonderful, the recipes are tempting, and the stories are fun to read.  If you get a chance to purchase a copy for yourself, you won't be sorry. 

I am even thinking with all of this time on my hands this summer, I may even be able to try out some of the recipes.  I'd love to start with the homemade cinnamon rolls.  Yum.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Five Flavor Pound Cake

There are some recipes that are just too good to be true.
This is one of those recipes.

I got this recipe from a dear dear older lady that I knew during my childhood.
She was a wonderful cook, and I have several of her recipes.

You will need:
1 stick oleo, softened     1/2 cup solid Crisco
3 cups sugar         1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweet milk         5 eggs, beaten
3 cups plain flour     1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a bunt cake pan.
I greased my pan with Crisco...next time I will oil my pan like the recipe says.
Cream oleo, crisco, sugar, and salt.
Beat eggs to lemon color; add to shortening and sugar mixture.
Add flour and baking powder, alternately with milk.
Add the flavorings and mix.
Bake in oiled tube pan at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
Let set in pan 10 minutes after cooking.
Remove from pan and punch several holes in cake with ice pick.  Pour glaze over cake while hot.

Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar and water and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add all flavorings.  Put on cake while hot.
Serve plain
or
with strawberries
or
with cool whip
or
any other way you choose.

Sometimes when I make this cake I vary the flavorings.
I might leave out the rum and use butter&nut instead.
There are endless possibilities...you can add more of your favorite flavors.
Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Serenity...School's Out for the Summer

The most wonderful thing I have learned from Attic24 is the art of putting flowers by my bedside.  They offer such peace, such calmness, such serenity.

And oh what serenity we shall have for the next few weeks...
because...
school is officially out for the summer.
I love this feeling at the beginning of summer.
Life has been so incredibly busy, and then suddenly it all stops.
Then, the summer looms before you with endless possibilities.
We often worry about the chance that we might get bored, and then the next thing we know, it is time for the first day of school.

I stopped and picked the beautiful roses in the picture above on my way home this afternoon from the side of the road.  We have wild roses growing everywhere this time of year along the country road sides.  I always know it is time for my Lynchburg sister's anniversary when I see these roses, because she actually used them to decorate for her outdoor wedding.  Wild roses and queenanne's lace made for a beautiful wedding.

It was a great school year.
I taught an exceptionally smart and respectful Sixth grade.
Tomorrow, my own kids and I will sleep late and then go swimming.
Happy summer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What's In the Tree???

Would you believe that our dog, Annie, was looking at a groundhog in the tree???

See...

Here it is...

Here is a different shot...



It was about 25 feet up the tree from the ground. 
We first saw the dog looking at it around 4:00. 
We left the house and returned about four hours later, and it was still in the same spot in the tree.
The next day it was gone.
Who knew a groundhog could climb a tree?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hiding In the Trees

This is our dog Annie.

Yesterday, she was terribly interested in something that was in one of our trees in the Big Woods.


Do you have a guess at what may be high in the tree Annie is watching???

Have you ever heard of a Whangdoodle???

Only one and a half days of school remaining for us...whohoooooo.


We handed out over 20 tropheys at Awards Day on Friday to our Sixth Graders for Accelerated Reading.  Tomorrow we are having a "Buy to Build Your Own Sundae" Party.  Kids who got their AR points for the nine weeks get a bowl of ice cream.  Then, they buy the toppings for their ice cream with their AR points.  Chocolate syrup costs 2 points, m&m's cost 4 points and so on.


I really believe in Accelerated Reading...if you know good books to read.  That is the key.


And so...we have today's Sunday Fun Read.

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles was written by famous singer and actress Julie Andrews.  This book is a wonderful book of imaginative fiction.  It is one you cannot put down because you really want to find out what a Whangdoodle is....

Happy Reading!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hostas

Finally...

I have had some time to work in my yard.

I love springtime...but things get so busy at school.  It seems like life just stops every where else while we end the school year.

It felt so good last evening to come home and plant a few flowers.
I also took a few pictures while I was working in the yard.
There are very few flowering plants that can be used in a shade garden.
My favorite green plant has to be the hosta.
Hostas look especially nice after they have just come out of the ground. 
This blue hosta is one of my favorites. 
 I purchased it several years ago, and I have divided it several times.
It adds a little different coloring to the shade garden.
Hostas are very easy to grow.
I'll take some pictures of the flowers I planted once they have had a chance to grow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sausage and Cream Cheese Breakfast Casserole

This has become my most requested recipe.
It is so easy to make.
People like that it is a breakfast casserole minus the eggs.

You will need:
     2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 ounces)
     1 pound sausage
     8 ounces cream cheese
     8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

First spread one package of crescent rolls out in a glass baking dish as follows.  Pinch seams closed.

Then brown sausage in a skillet.
Drain sausage.
Place cream cheese in skillet and melt over low heat.
(I know...this is the only time I have ever melted cream cheese.  Extra hint...low fat cream cheese will not work.)
Add sausage to melted cream cheese and stir together.
Spread mixture out on top of crescent rolls.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of sausage mixture and then top with second can of
crescent rolls, pinching seams as well as you can.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve warm.
Yum!!!
Enjoy!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We Survived Spelunking and Sleeping in a Cave

Hip Hip Hooray...
We finally got to make up our trip to the Cumberland Caverns and the Renaissance Fair.
After being canceled because of the Nashville Flood, we were able to make up my daughter's LEAP Field Trip yesterday and today.
Our first stop was spelunking at Cumberland Caverns.
That is my daughter crawling through the test box that you have to prove you can make it through before you can actually go spelunking.
O.K. so, I did not actually go spelunking.  I opted to wait for the walking tour.
My daughter loved the adventure of the spelunking tour. 
Then, we spent the night in the cave.
I cannot believe that I actually spent the night in a cave.
Today, we go up, ate breakfast in the cave, and then headed to the Renaissance Festival in Murfreesboro.
There was jousting, joking, juggling, and jolly merrymaking.
We saw people dressed in all kinds of period costumes.
We were surprised by how many people visiting the fair were dressed in the clothing of the day.
The highlight of the day was finally seeing the castle Gwynn up close.
It was a beautiful two days,and we had great fun with our LEAP friends.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Squirrels in the Big Woods

I do believe I have discovered what has been stealing my flowers.
We have squirrels all over the Big Woods.
We have never had a problem with squirrels until this summer.
We are pretty sure it is because of the passing of our cat, Chase.
Chase was a beautiful cat.
He was very good at keeping squirrels, mice, snakes, etc. "chased" away from our home.
We lost Chase over the winter.
Now, we have lots and lots of squirrels.
The Big Woods may be short on flowers this summer.
We miss you, Chase.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Potato Salad

My Mother-in-law makes the best potato salad.  I didn't like potato salad until about three years ago, and now I love it.  She shared her recipe with me...I can get close, but hers is the best. 

You will need the following:
     potatoes                                  pickles
     8 boiled eggs                           mayonaise
     salt                                          mustard
     pepper                                    onion

I believe one of the secrets to good potato sald is dicing the potatoes really small.  Cook them in water over medium heat until tender when touched with a fork...don't cook too long.

After cooking, drain the potatoes in a strainer, cool, and then place them back in the original pan.  Another secret is to let the potatoes cool before you start adding other ingredients.  First add salt and pepper to taste.

Next chop about 1/2 of an onion and some pickles to taste.  I like to use vidalia onions, and if you have access to chunk sweet pickles, they will make your potatoe salad delicious.  I am very lucky that my Nashville brother makes chunk pickles from the cucumbers in his garden and gives them to us every year for Christmas.  I count on these pickles for my potato salad and my chicken salad.  (Brother if you happen to be reading this, I have a very special "pickle" gift for you the next time you are home.  And no, it is not canning jars so you can make me more pickles. Ha)
Be sure to dice your pickles and onions super fine.  Nobody wants a big bite of onion when biting into their potato salad.



You'll want to boil 8 eggs ahead of time and let them cool.



Also, dice your eggs super fine.


Now it is time for the mayo and the mustard.

Add a small dab of mustard and larger dabs of mayonaise.  Once again, add to your taste...just enough to make the potato salad moist but not liquidy.

And there you have it, a lovely bowl of potato salad.  Be sure to refrigerate when complete.

Enjoy!!!

 

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