Summer Time Fun

I have grand plans every summer of stuff I want to do while the kids are out of school and every year I fail miserably at doing any or even most of them. Time just gets away from me. At the beginning of our second week of summer break I felt myself beginning to panic that summer was almost over. Ridiculous I know but I couldn’t help it. So I took a deep breathe and did what my beloved suggested and made of list or plan of sorts. It’s really kind of a bucket list of things to do this summer and I have absolved myself of any guilt if we don’t get to everything. Trinitas is a great school and I wouldn’t want my kids anywhere else. But it’s rigorous and they work really hard during the school year so I want all of us to relax and just have fun. But I don’t want to get so relaxed that before you know it we’re back at it buying school supplies and gathering uniforms and hitting the books and we didn’t really do anything but laze about.

However, one of the things we really want to do is laze about at the beach or lake at least once a week or so. The weather didn’t cooperate much that third week of break but we have gone to the beach and the lake once already and it’s been nice to laze about on a rainy day reading and watching Merlin, America’s Got Talent, and American Ninja Warrior.

Last week Rob and I were out of town to the yearly conference for Classical Christian Schools and the kids stayed in the pool a lot. The had friends over and kept themselves busy and out of trouble.

We grew up at the beach with sand and lots of open space and big open water. Having spent most of my life here in the south with only a few trips north and northwest I have never spent any time on a river other than Blackwater. Rob assures me that a mountain lake would sway me over from beach baby to a lake lover in a heartbeat.

But as of right now with my limited knowledge I am not a fan of the river. I don’t like snakes or alligators and I kind of feel we are invading their space way more than we invade the space of sharks and jellyfish in the gulf.

So I was a little unsure how I would feel about visit to the local lake. But a couple of friends asked me about going a couple of weeks ago and since the gulf was a little stirred up from Tropical Storm Colin we loaded up and went.

The first thing some kid says to me is that somebody had just found and killed snake under the dock. Well, boy howdy that sounded dandy! But I held my panic in check and  refrained from loading everybody up and we found a good place to settle down.

We all just kind of looked at each other and just assumed, rightly or wrongly and please don’t correct me if it’s wrongly because ignorance is bliss, that with so much activity and so many people that the wild life would steer clear of our area.

We also chose to steer clear of the darker parts of the water. There was plenty of clear water near the docks and the kids had a blast jumping off and splashing around. Claire about gave me heart failure by swimming under the dock and was disappointed when I told her she wasn’t allowed to do that again.

The weather was perfect and the water was refreshing and none of us missed the sand when it was time to dry off. (They have a section with sand but we went across to the grassy side because it had more of a shallow section for wading. Otherwise you were immediately in water five feet deep.)

There is also a really nice boardwalk nature trail that was just long enough to walk so that everyone was good and dry before getting in the van. It really was a pretty place.

All in all it was a lot of fun and I think we may do it again. The kids certainly loved it.


Pinterest Test Kitchen # 87 ~ Homemade Pretzel Bites

Technically this could be filed under the Sundays With Sarah posts but since I helped I am putting it under the pinterest test kitchen. It’s one of the perks of being both the blog owner and mom so even though Sarah mixed and made the dough I’m still claiming it 🙂


Plus we tried it once before and it could have been submitted to that pinterest fail site. But we read up on homemade pretzel making and figured out what to do differently and easy peasy we had a delicious treat for this summer’s first ladies swim night. (What is a lady’s swim night? An evening moms and ladies eighteen and older bring a favorite finger food and beverage to my house and come float in the pool. It’s so fun and relaxing!)

We served them with both sweet (chocolate and caramel) dipping sauces as well as two different kinds of cheese sauces. I couldn’t choose a favorite…it was all good!

What you’ll need:
1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
1 TBS sugar
1 cup of warm water
1 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour 
4 TBS unsalted butter, divided
3 TBS baking soda
coarse salt
What you’ll do:
Mix the sugar and yeast together in a small bowl
Add in warm water and stir until the sugar completely dissolves
Put it aside and let it sit for 10 minutes
Mix the salt and flour together
Chop 2 TBS of butter into chunks and add to the salt and flour mixture.
Mix on low speed until it becomes coarse crumbles. 
Still on low speed slowly add in the yeast mixture just until combined.
Using your hands gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead until it is no longer sticky.
Place the dough into a bowl, cover, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in the baking soda.
Cutting off small pieces of dough roll it into about 1/2 inch thick ropes.
Cut the rope into bit size pieces.
Boil a few pieces at a time for about 30 to 45 seconds until puffy.
Remove from the boiling water and place on baking sheet.
Brush with melted butter and top with a sprinkle of coarse salt.
Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Bake on 350 degrees until golden brown, about 8 to 11 minutes.

The original recipe did a few things differently. Firstly, they left the dough in ropes and made sort of long pretzel sticks instead of bites. Secondly, they also had a second  20 minute rest before they boiled the dough.

Hope you enjoy!

We Now Have a Microwave

I understand for most people that living without a microwave seems utterly barbaric but we’ve managed it for five years without much trouble. Although I think it has caused a little hiccup here and there when family and friends have come over for some gathering or other and they couldn’t just warm something up.

We also did fine for several months when the dishwasher died. I found washing dishes to be quite therapeutic but I also found that I must be a better parent than I thought and I haven’t messed my kids up to the point that they need therapy. At least they don’t think they need dish washing therapy.

I kept a pretty stiff upper lip when the oven died figuring I could make the grill and stove top work if I needed to. But thankfully Rob found a really great deal on a set of appliances and some friends had an extra stove that we could use until our new stuff arrived.

Much to the joy of our offspring the deal Rob found included a microwave that could be installed above the stove. Losing counter space was my main reason for not having one. Rob still isn’t sure that they don’t give off gama rays that can cause bodily mutations but sense just about everyone we know seems to have one with no lingering ill affects he got it.

The kids have microwaved everything they can. Even hot dogs. I’ve never seen them move so fast to get lunch. Really, boiling a little water for a hot dog takes too long? Can you see my eyes rolling?

Popcorn? They are blowing through the bags like they’ve been endlessly deprived of nourishment.

I’m pretty sure Emily has pinned a gazillion cake in a mug recipes and it won’t be long before that gets tested. Hmm, maybe a pinterest test kitchen blog post on the best ones?

I did enjoy being able to heat up Rob’s dinner the other night when he was out late with a board meeting.

And reheating that cup of tea I forgot about has been pretty nice as well.

It’s kind of nice joining the microwave club. But it’s not nearly as fun as seeing the looks on people’s faces whenever I told them we didn’t have one.

Barbaric, indeed.

(The dishwasher works fantastic, by the way. Unfortunately, the oven had a huge dent in the top at

delivery so we declined it. A new one should be delivered in a couple of weeks.)

Any tips and tricks for keeping stainless steel appliances clean and shiny is appreciated!

Sam’s White Board Drawing

The oldest is about to turn twenty-one and the youngest is forever reminding me that she will soon be my last child to hit double digits for the first time. (We don’t do huge birthday celebrations every year but going double digits is a milestone we usually mark with some extra hoopla. Is anyone surprised that Claire is working her status as the baby and the “last one” to get a little extra something something for her celebration in November?)

What I am really coming to terms with is that my babies are babies no more. This year in particular seems to have been a tipping point when that reality is just so sharp. Because of the eleven years that stretch between the first and the last it’s not like we’re on the home stretch of parenting obviously. But we do seem to have moved into the late summer and early autumn season of child rearing. There’s weeding and pruning still to do as there always will be but it’s different than before when they were little.

It’s an interesting season of life. Having them home for the summer is putting their various stages of maturity into relief and it’s so easy to see how they’ve grown and matured. Oh, they still have moments where they are the best of friends or the worst of enemies but it’s just different somehow. They are growing up. They have grown up.

And oddly enough I feel like I have too. I was talking with a friend recently and we were sharing how humbling it is to be a parent of older children. When they’re little you have it all figured out…you’re the grown up and they are learning from you. At some point though they should be entering the battle with you, along side of you, fighting the same fight that you are as brothers and sisters in Christ. They begin more and more to join you in the labor rather than being so much a part of the labor.

Honestly, I didn’t mean to get all philosophical and meandering. I really just wanted to share one of Sam’s drawings with you and it just got me to thinking how much they’ve changed and that’s how we ended up on the stroll down that rabbit trail.

Anyway, this tickled me and I thought y’all might enjoy it as well.

The boy has insight, wouldn’t you say?

Oh, Hey There

Well, it has been a while hasn’t it? The end of the school year and beginning of summer came together for the perfect no-time-to-blog quietness that we’ve had here on the old blog.

I hope that is about to change. I want to blog. I enjoy blogging.

I have things I want to talk about.

Pictures I want to show you.

I have recipes to share like homemade pretzel bites, mango pudding and key lime pound cake.

I think maybe, just possibly, we are settling into some sort of routine so, maybe things will get a little more regular.

To get the ball rolling I will go ahead and share one of the sweetest moments I’ve had recently with Claire.

Last Sunday Rob, who is preaching through the book of Romans, was reading the first twelve verses of chapter seven.

I saw Claire write down Romans 7:18 and underline it three times in her bulletin. (She is a prolific note taker and is always jotting down questions or words that she wants to talk about later.) A little later Rob reached that verse specifically and Claire nudged me and ran her finger under the words as he read it aloud and she looked up at me with such a serious expression.

I leaned over and whispered if she understood what that verse was saying and she adamantly shook her head yes, relieved I think, that I understood her. It was humbling for me to meet her on equal ground.

It brought home to me how vital it is that our children be in church with us…so that side by side…sister to sister…we both know that we each struggle the same…face the same enemy…and turn to the same victorious Savior to strengthen us.