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Monday, August 30, 2010

Campfire Pies - Easy and Delicious!

Fall is our favorite time to go camping as a family.  The cool crisp air, the roaring campfires, hikes around the park, and making delicious food over the fire.  Nothing else tastes like food cooked over an open campfire - wouldn't you agree?

Some of my favorite memories are from my childhood when my parents would take us camping in Michigan.  We would take two weeks every summer and camp right on Lake Huron.  Daddy would make eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee right over the open fire a few times while we were up there.  I'd awaken to the wonderful smells of bacon cooking and that was just the thing to get me out of my warm sleeping bag!  If I close my eyes even now (I'm 40-something!) I can still smell the bacon and the coffee and hear the sound of the lake lapping at the shore. 

My brother and I would sit at the picnic table under our yellow and blue canopy while Dad cooked and Momma made sure we ate our vitamins and had orange juice to go with our breakfast.  We huddled there with toes curling in our shoes and snuggled into sweatshirts first thing in the morning because it was rather cold on the lake first thing.

Those were some of the best times of my life and I'll always be thankful for all Mom and Dad did to get us there every year.  Now that we camp with our two girls, I understand even more what it takes to make a camping trip memorable.

Campfire pies are a delicious and easy way to enjoy a main meal or a dessert at the campsite.  This is a recipe for a personal campfire dessert pie - it's delicious and oh-so-easy to make!

Campfire Pie 
  • Pie Iron - also called a sandwich maker
  • Butter (or margarine)
  • Your favorite pie filling 
  • Bread - your choice 
The campfire should be hot, but not blazing.  This one is a bit high for cooking a campfire pie!  However, it's perfect for roasting marshmallows for S'mores! 

If you've already enjoyed lunch or dinner over the fire, it shouldn't take too much to get it good and hot again to cook your campfire pie.

Butter one side each of two pieces of bread.

Place the buttered sides down into the pie iron.  (This photo also shows the pie filling added...I forgot to take a photo of just the buttered bread in the pie iron.)

Next, spread your favorite pie filling on one piece of bread.  We love apple pie filling, but you can use cherry pie filling or anything else you like.

 Close the pie iron, secure it, and head for the campfire.

Hold or place the pie irons over the fire for about 10 minutes or until your campfire pie has reached desired "doneness".  It doesn't hurt to flip the pie iron over after about 5 minutes to get both sides nice and brown.

You can make delicious ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, and pizza sandwiches with pie irons too!

Campfire cooking is fun and easy if you have the right tools available.  Take the time to cook over the fire together as a family.  Your children will have those wonderful memories for years to come!

All my best to you,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fruit Smoothie

As I mentioned in a post about a week ago, I was frustrated with my health and feeling so fatigued.  I want to thank those of you who commented or e-mailed me to let me know you were thinking of me or praying for me.  Your kind words were much appreciated!

Thankfully, I am back on track and feeling much better as of this week.  I am incorporating some rest time into each of my days whenever possible, even if it is just 20 minutes, so I can re-focus on the tasks for the day and to give my mind and body some down time.  So far, it is working out well.

I drank a few smoothies during the time I was feeling so fatigued and wanted to share the recipe with you.  I love smoothies because you can use almost any fruit or vegetable, they're packed with vitamins and nutrients, and taste delicious.

Fruit Smoothie Recipe

I raided the refrigerator and found cherries, blueberries, yogurt, and milk.  I tossed about 1 cup of blueberries, 2/3 cup cherries, two individual size containers of yogurt, and enough milk to make it smooth into a blender.  Just blend the ingredients until they're blended well. 

It tasted great and it's pretty too!

I've also used frozen yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and milk together with good results.  You can add flaxseed, protein powder, or vegetables to your smoothie too.  Just raid the refrigerator and pantry and see what's in there!

All my best to you!

Refurbished Metal Shelf

I'm not ashamed to pick up perfectly good items from the curb on my street.  At this point in time, my children are not embarrassed when I do this (that will come later I'm sure!), so I take every opportunity to turn my neighbor's trash into something useful.

For example, last week I left the house before my family awakened so I could pick up a few groceries.  On the way home, I spot this ugly metal shelf sitting on the curb beside the trash cans about a block down from my house.

 I have been thinking about getting a shelf for the back patio area so that various things that are lying around could be more organized.  So, I was a bit excited to see this shelf on the curb that day!  My first thought:  spray paint!  I must admit to having a love affair with spray paint this summer.  It's so versatile and can turn just about anything drab into something beautiful!

I tossed the shelf into the back of my van, rust and all, and brought it home.  When my husband went outside and saw it, he wanted to know why I picked up such an ugly looking thing.  I explained the method to my madness and then he understood perfectly.  He knows I just can't resist something for free!

I used sandpaper to remove the rust around the edges and then washed and dried the entire shelf to remove cobwebs and dirt.  

Here is the shelf with one coat of spray paint.  I used Krylon spray paint in the color "Nickel".

The transformation took the entire can of paint, but for $2.97, that's not a lot of money for a refurbished shelf!  I think it was roughly two and a half coats of paint over the entire shelf.

I love how it organizes my empty flower pots, candle holders, gardening gloves, and other odds and ends.  I purchased a few S-hooks for the side - they hold my trowels and tablecloth clips (well, at least most of them).

I'm tickled with my "new to me" shelf!  It's just what that back area of the patio needed for organization.

Have you found interesting things on the curb? 

I'm linking up with Amy at New Nostalgia for Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays.

All my best to you today,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Patience is a Virtue...or So I've Heard

I wish I could just accept that my body needs rest.  I am not a patient person!  I've been struggling with flu-like symptoms since Friday and after three solid days of rest - yes, me, I rested for 3 whole days - I thought I felt good enough and was past it, so I was pretty busy on Monday.  Well, today I am paying for that decision and I am frustrated on so many levels.  I want to be patient.  I have always wanted that character quality, but alas, I don't seem to be able to wait around until the Lord can allow it in me (wink).

So, given this turn of events, I have been trying to pray more often and to spend more time with my girls.  We have accomplished school the last two mornings, even if it was with me holding my head up with one hand and helping with school work with the other.  The Lord has allowed me to get that much done and I am so glad.  Perhaps He is trying right now to teach me patience.  To try and show me that I must slow down now and then in order to focus on the things that are most important in my life.  I want that, I really do!  My challenge is not to look around and see all the things that need to be done and not get completely frustrated.  Well, perhaps that's something else He is trying to show me, 'eh?

I have always been the person who pushes, pushes, and pushes some more.  My Momma has told me for years I need to learn how to relax.  Now there are other loved ones in my life, both family and friends, who tell me the same. there a pattern here?   

Then there is the guilt.  The guilt about all that I'm not accomplishing...all that I'm not doing each and every day.  The worst adjective someone could use to describe me would be "lazy".  I have always disliked (intensely) the phrase "Lazy Susan"!  Ugh!  Call me normal, call me frumpy, call me almost anything else, but lazy would be the ultimate insult for me.  Is this pride?  Is it?

Is this normal?  Am I the only mom who home educates and works from home who feels this way?  I think I just heard a resounding "no!" in blog least I hope so...

Would you be willing to pray for me this week?  Please pray that I would learn what it is the Lord wants me to learn and that I could try and focus my energies on those things that He would have me focus on each day.  Please pray that I would learn patience and that I would truly learn how to rest.  That I would somehow understand and know in my heart and mind that it's ok to rest and relax and put my feet up now and then (and not drown in guilt while doing it!).

I appreciate your prayers, if you're willing to join me on this prayer journey.  And, just for reading my rambles, I thank you.  Going to lie down again for a bit and rest (still not sure that isn't a 4-letter word of sorts...)

All my best to you and yours,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things I've Learned This Summer

The leaves aren't crunching beneath our feet nor is the air cool and crisp, and yet the school year has begun seemingly without notice.  Has your summer gone terribly quickly? 

I feel as though we have once again blinked and it's time again for getting the girls up on time, school work, field trips, co-op, soccer, and much more.  Before I know it, the holidays will be upon us!  I am so not ready to think about that yet.

I've been reflecting on the things I've learned this summer and thought I'd share them with you. 

  • Hospitality isn't about my home being perfect - it's about the door being open, friends and family being greeted with a smile and perhaps a hug, and making each and every person who comes through feel welcome.  I've had such fun with friends and family this summer!  My girls love spending time with their friends and I think this summer has created some great memories for them.  At least I hope so.
  • Inexpensive potting soil is just that - cheap.  Miracle Gro is my brand from now on! 
  • My girls don't care what I look like in a swim suit - they just want to spend time with me in the pool!  I've gotten past my own insecurities and been in the pool with my family and plan to do so a few more times before the summer ends.  This may not sound like much, but considering I have not been in a pool or swimming with my girls for probably 8-9 years, this is huge for me.  My girls were hugging and kissing on me and it was great!  Ok, so much for vanity - in I go!  
  • Sitting still and doing "nothing" is okay now and then.  I confess this is a frustrating concept for me.  For some reason, I feel guilty about relaxing.  I am working on it...and I must say that I've put my feet up a few times this summer and tried to relax.  It's not easy for this Type A personality!  
  • Badminton is so much fun!  Love playing with my hubby and girls!  We played too with my sis-in-law and husband and it was hilarious.  I think we have started a new tradition! 
It may not seem like much and none of it is mind-blowing, but they are lessons for which I am thankful for this summer. 

Have you reflected on your summer at all yet?  Lessons learned?  Great memories?  I'd love to hear about them! 

All my best to you today,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Popsicle Stick Puzzles

It's that time of year again - school has once again begun for many students or is going to start very soon.  When my girls were younger, they made popsicle stick puzzles. They had a blast making them and then putting them together.  This is an easy craft and one that could be used for both preschoolers and younger children.

How to Make Popsicle Stick Puzzles

You can collect popsicle sticks throughout the summer and wash them or you can purchase sticks brand new at your local craft store.  I bought ours at JoAnn's and used a coupon, so they were very affordable.
Each puzzle we made used 10 sticks, but you can use as many as you like.  Just make sure you have enough room to draw a picture on one side.  Tape the sticks together in a row and number the backs 1-10 (or to the number of sticks you use).  You can see the little "H" next to the numbers here - that was so my girls knew whose puzzle was whose and the pieces didn't get mixed up.

Once you have the sticks taped securely together, turn over the whole thing and draw a picture on the front with markers.
 It doesn't have to be a complex picture, just something simple.  Some ideas for pictures:  fish, dolphins, flowers, shapes, numbers, bears, cats, dogs, trucks, etc.

Remove the tape when you're done with the picture and mix them up.

Now watch the fun while your children put the sticks back together in the right order.  Encourage them not to look at the back where the numbers are!

We found these simple popsicle stick puzzles were a hit not only with our girls, but with our Junior Church students as well, so if you teach a Sunday school class or work with children in any way, this could be a fun and inexpensive craft for you.