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Showing posts from August, 2011

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

I've been listening to Together For the Gospel Live in the van this past week.  As we've run errands, shopped for groceries and clothes, and driven to church and other events, these wonderful hymns sung by 5,000 worshipful pastors have ministered to my soul.  There's something about the male voices.  It gladdens my heart to know that there are still men in the world running after Jesus Christ in strength and humility, being spiritual leaders.  I'm thankful for these men, these good shepherds, and the ones like them who are in my life.  But it's the good "old words" that really move something in me.  I don't know.  Maybe it's just because I like words.  Big ones.  Rich ones.  I love to write and I love to read and good words can capture my heart, be they arranged in prose or poetry or song.  But I think it's the truth of God hidden in those good words that my heart really rises to.  Jesus is exulted in these songs, and I am not.  I need that. …

Peach-Berry Crisp

A farmer's market sets up Thursdays and Saturdays just down the road from us during the warmer months of the year.  I stopped by this past Saturday morning and came home with a bag of soft, fragrant peaches.  Several needed to be used immediately, so I looked at some recipes and put together this crisp.  Fresh, juicy fruit topped with crunchy, crumbly topping with flavors of cinnamon and almond.  Do I even have to tell you it pairs well with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream?

Peach-Berry Crisp
4 large, fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced 1 c. blueberries 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional) 1-2 T. flour (use more if your peaches are very juicy) 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. AP flour 1/2 c. white sugar 1/4 c. brown sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. (heaping) old fashioned oats 1/4 c. + 2 T. butter, softened 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.Grease an 8x8 baking dish.  In a small bowl, toss together fruits, 1 T. flour, almond extract, and lemon juice, and layer in bottom …

Thrifty Kids: Outfitting 2 Kids for Fall/Winter for $160

Did you know the average American family will spend over $600 on back-to-school shopping?  That includes clothing, shoes, supplies, and electronics.  The National Retail Federation estimates about $220 of that spending is made up of clothing purchases and just over $100 is shoes.  But what was really interesting to me was this chart:

Really?!  Less than 12% of parents and college-age shoppers plan to hit up the thrift stores for back-to-school?  This is sort of baffling to me.  I love thrift stores.  I've documented some of my favorite finds on this blog before.  Frequent thrifting has meant we can wear quality clothing items at a fraction of their original price tags.  So while I happily admit these statistics mean well, more for me, I am sort of wondering why the thrift store snub?  It's certainly not the place to get electronics or pencils, but for clothes, thrift stores are hard to beat.

With the exception of a few items that have been given to us, or that I've purchas…

Fruit Pizza

Until recently (within the past few years), I think I only really liked 5 fruits.  Grapes, pears, apples, bananas, and watermelon.  Ridiculous, right?  While I admit I still have texture issues with things like oranges (yeah they taste good, but all those bursty little cells filled with juice make me cringe) and pineapples, I ate every last bite of my slice of this fruit pizza the other night, which I definitely would have turned my nose up at in childhood (and probably chocolate or peanut butter?!).  This dessert, which I made with my mother-in-law this past Thursday, was topped with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, peaches, and a citrus glaze...notice the total absence of my favorite 5.   It was delicious anyway.  And pretty.

If you need more inspiration for the fruit topping, check out all these fabulous variations.  Could there BE a more beautiful treat?  It seems like everyone has a take on this dessert.  Lovely!

Fruit Pizza (adapted from Taste of Home
Shortbread crust: …

All Ears (How Our Garden Grows, Early August Edition)

Even with deer and field mice taking generous portions for themselves, my hubby's hard work is coming into harvest.  Here are some peeks at what's been growin' on around here.

A Week at the Shore

Hi friends!  I'm back from a vacation at the NJ shore and hope to resume the regularly scheduled program here soon.  Our family had a sweet, relaxing, and refreshing week together.  The waves were perfect, the sand was soft, my kids stayed up entirely too late every night, we all got a nice golden glow from Mr. Sun, I got to see a Red Panda (my favorite animal ever and what I would be if I were an animal or at least the animal I respond with when someone asks me what animal I would be if I were an animal as an awkward ice breaker question) and a peacock in a tree at the Cape May Zoo, my son ate at least 3 fistfuls of sand and seemed to enjoy it, I got caught out in the most hilariously and enthusiastically wet thunderstorm of my life during a shopping trip with my awesome sisters-in-law and mother-in-law, and I ate a lot of pistachio gelato.   So all in all pretty much a magnificent week.

Pan-glazed Chicken with Basil

Often on Friday nights we pray that God would help us to steward our time well over the weekend and work hard, and we're grateful for those answered prayers this past weekend. We had a full weekend (well, a full Saturday) of cleaning and reorganization.  I think every room in the house was affected--there are two new bookshelves in the office and a new "reading nook" in my daughter's room, pads on the bottom of the dining chairs, and a new (relocated from elsewhere in the house) storage system in place for all the toys in the family and living rooms that has made both rooms neater and more livable.  Even the basement got some new shelving, and we're slowly rediscovering books that have been boxed up for years.  But on top of this whirlwind of productivity, my poor son is cutting molars and battling a cold and in general releasing a lot of fluid from his face (TMI, sorry) and being extra needy.  Normally a wonderful sleeper, he was up until 1:30 last night and I&#…