Friday, 19 July 2013

This plus This plus This Equals......


2013 COUSIN VISIT!!!



Four pairs of feet, all shapes and sizes.  Can you believe that it was hard for them to hold still for this picture?  The largest feet are missing from this picture....the 14 year old opted for the peace of the basement


However,
....on with the story....



THIS.......

'Crack the egg' at its' finest!





PLUS THIS......


Just ever so slightly out of control.....
 
 
 
 
EQUALS THIS!!!!
 

Seems I didn't get a picture of this cookie pizza in time!
 
 
 
 
 
 
...AND THIS.....
 
 
Just keep bouncing, kids, Aunty needs her coffee!  (and, apparently, a comb....)
 
 
 
 
 
 
AND, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, 
 
.......THIS......
 
Cousinly love!  The best kind of friend!



I looked forward to this week for a long time. The cousins were coming to town!  We are a small-ish family and are blessed with 2 nieces and 1 nephew.  We planned a beach day, a trip to the movies, went bowling and, for a grand finale, we got to have the nieces and nephew at our house for a sleepover in the trailer.  Such fun!

Mennonite Girls Can Cook came through rather nicely for me on Monday with an inspiration for a sweet treat that I thought might be fun with the kiddos.


I made it in time for our beach day on Wednesday.

....and we ate the whole thing.



So I made another one for the sleepover on Thursday.

.....and we ate the whole thing again!


Seems to be a hit!

Thank you, MGCC!!!



Here's the recipe, mooched from their website, straight up:

Smartie Cookie Pizza

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Smarties or M and M's to decorate (I used 2 boxes of Smarties and that was generous)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. Line a 14-inch round pizza pan with a circle of parchment or generously grease your pizza pan.
  3. Cream butter and sugar with mixer until smooth. 
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. 
  5. Add flour, baking soda and salt together. Mix until smooth.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Put the dough into the pizza pan and press it into a circle...leaving a generous 1 inch gap around the rim.
  8. Press Smarties into the top.
  9. Bake on center rack for 20 minutes or until cookie is golden and set.
 
 
I will definitely make this treat again.  For a homemade treat in the summer, it mixed up and baked up quickly so the house didn't get too hot and I didn't stand over a cookie sheet forming cookies all night.  The dough is soft and yummy and I bet that any chopped up chocolate bar/candy treat would make a nice topping.  We cut the pizza into 16 pieces, and they were generous portions.

We're left with sweet memories of a nice summer visit.  Lots of young smiles and laughs to reflect on.

And, of course, lots of time to catch up with my sister-in-law.  Love that, love her.  Missed her crazy hubby though.

All in all, happy sigh.


<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/9931855/?claim=2ry977ttq48">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Post From A Lazy July Morning

Here it is, July the something - 8?  9?  10?  9th.  Yes.

I got smart(er) this summer - instead of picking up a BUNCH of extra shifts so that "we can all get the vacation time we need", I have hardly picked up ANY.  I usually end up working more in the summer than I do in the winter.  My motivation is good in April when I accept the shifts but, in July, when everyone's home except me, my enthusiasm wanes.  This year, it's "I-don't-care-if-we-eat-macaroni-every-day-for-a-month" - I'm considering myself unavailable for that place I love to work at but dearly need a break from.  Yay me.  I don't have to set my alarm clock again for 0520 until August 1! 

We have company coming tomorrow, dropping in during the afternoon.  The irony of preparing for summer company - if it's nice, we'll sit outside.  If it's not nice, we'll sit inside.  And, thus, we have to clean both the entire yard AND the entire house.  There's something inefficient about that.  ;)

My hanging pot is slowly dying.  I kill hanging pots.  Every year.  I should be banned from hanging pots.

I got up early this morning (ha ha, 0820?) and was out the door by 9 a.m., heading to the grocery store.  You see, we had no cream for our coffee.  First World problem.  However, I did manage to go to two grocery stores with my pajamas on underneath my hoodie, unbrushed teeth and unbrushed hair AND I DIDN'T RUN INTO ANYONE I KNEW!!! Small Victory on this 9th day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2013.  Happy sigh.

Don't you just love when you go clothes shopping and you really want to find a white and blue striped maxi skirt and you not only find it, but you find it for less than $20!!! 

Last week, Andrew was at camp for the week and we planned a special day at the lake with Ben and friends.  This week, Ben is at camp and we decided that we would take Andrew to Saskatoon for some shopping.

Andrew likes lake days, too, but, even more, he loves trips to the music store where he spends his hard earned cash on drum sticks and other such drum nish-nosh.

At the last minute, we wrangled ourselves a hotel room and made it an extra special 'mom and dad getaway with Andrew'.  Andrew had just returned from his week at camp and, well, we had some 'lovin'-on-Andrew' that we needed to catch up on.

I think I will remember that getaway for a long time.  The sun was warm and bright; we had a terrific Italian meal at Chianti's that did not disappoint, the hotel is new and the pool was refreshing.  We all climbed into bed with our gadgets; I fell asleep and Andrew woke me up twice with his giggles as the video he was watching tickled his funny bone.  We shopped shopped shopped and indulged in some fun purchases.  And Andrew seemed to like us and our company.  He talked with us on an adult level and communicated some things with us on an adult level with no teenage angst attached to his words.  We laughed at his jokes and he laughed at our jokes and he commented "Mom, you're enjoying my company, aren't you?" and, yes indeed, I was.  I so love this kid.  I always want his company.  Teenage mood swings have robbed us of some compatability lately.  But I love this guy and I want to love him in a language that he understands and wants and accepts.  Lord help me, I don't always know how to reach through that shell, but I try.  And fail.  And try again.  And, so, this overnighter was precious and happy and sweet and I shall not forget it.  Today, my mission with him just might be to find the best ├ęclair this city can buy - a recent like of his.

A couple of weeks ago, I started to panic about preparing for our camping trip in August (I know, silly waste of panic).  The weather was cool that day so I baked a few batches of cookies and froze a bunch (don't tell my family) to pull out at the lake.  This recipe was Andrew's favorite and definitely one that I will have to make for him again and again, so he says.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus more for rolling)
 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 egg
 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375┬║ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugars, and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg, beating to combine. Stir in the flour mixture and stir to combine, blending well. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mix together powdered sugar and peanut butter until smooth.
5. Pull off a heaping tablespoon of cookie dough and flatten with your hands. Take about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and place it in the center of the chocolate dough. Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter center, pressing to seal. Roll the cookie into a ball and roll the cookie in the sugar. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each cookie to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes. Let stand on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.

They are a bit of work, but are so tasty.  I got about 3 dozen or so out of the batch and the cookies are quite rich so I wouldn't try to make them bigger than recommended.


I guess I better get at my to-do list.  I came home from the grocery store with 3 packages of blueberries so that I could make jam, but forgot the pectin.  Guess I'll try to get dressed properly this time....don't want to tempt fate....

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Simple Thoughts From the Pea Patch

I've been busy, harvesting my dill.
 

 


Aka, weeding the garden!


Dill weed grows prolifically in our garden space.  When Dean and I were giving the garden a good weeding yesterday, I looked in the pea patch and banned Dean and his hoe from coming closer until I had had a chance to pick out the small dill plants.  It seems such a shame to eliminate them from the garden now when I will so enjoy dill later in the season when it's pickle season, etc.  I carefully picked the tiny plants into a cereal bowl and brought them into the house where I picked through them and then put them out on waxed paper to dry overnight.  Today, I picked through it some more, chopped it finely with kitchen shears, and I have beautiful dried dill weed and it makes me wonder exactly how much money I could get for "organic" dill weed. Surely a small batch like this could fetch me a few dollars.  It smells so good. It was an easy thing to harvest.  I might find this "picking and drying herbs" thing kind of addicting!

I was out in the garden again this morning.  I only managed to get through a couple more rows before the thunder chased me away.  While I was out there on my hands and knees, hurrying to get done before the storm rolled in, batting mosquitoes away, conscious of my sore legs from yesterday's garden session and occasionally itching my sunburn, I wondered to myself "Why do I do this again?  Do I really like this?  I'd rather be...."

My mind started to think through the things I'd rather do, or, at least, things that I often do instead of garden stuff.  I started to get a little defensive as I argued with myself..... "but I LIKE looking at things on Pinterest....I LIKE looking at other peoples' creativity...."

.....And then I looked at the tiny beet plants that I was weeding through.......

And a voice from the Heavens quietly whispered into my soul ....  "I like to be creative too"....
 
 
 
"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth."
 
Dorothy Frances Gurney
 
 
 
I think,
      ...........that in this world
           ..............of distractions......
                        .......and time wasters......
 
 
My soul ......
       ........NEEDS.......
             ......to be found in God's garden.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

O Canada!

 
Every Canada Day long weekend I think that we should to something special.
 
We seldom do.
 
Canada Day = annual 'day of regret'.
 
;)
 
This year, we made some plans and other plans just happened and we had a great weekend!  Happy sigh!
 
 
 
On Sunday, these wonderful people called us spontaneously and offered to spend some time with us at our house and, by the way, could they barbecue some steaks for us as well?  We sat outside until the rain chased us inside and then sipped our Three Region Blend Starbucks coffees until the night was over....far too soon.
 
Canada Day dawned sunny and hot - perfect day to head to the lake.  We were joined by another family - friends who have slipped into our lives over the years via school, music, youth, archery, God - and have become very dear to us - all of 'em! We headed up to Waskesiu, the national park in our backyard for some fun!


We managed to get a front row seat for the park's annual Canada Day Parade!  Bagpipes led the procession.  I don't know what it is - the bagpipes, our loyal RCMP decked out in their red serge - these things bring a lump to my throat, never fails.  How beautiful.




Kids in the park met earlier in the morning and decorated their bikes.  It was a sea of red and white.  I liked these girls in the pink tutu's and wings.  Fly girls, fly!! 

The yellow tandem bikes remind me of last summer when we rented a couple and biked all over town with the boys.  Such a fun time, lots of laughing and new eyes, seeing Andrew 'taking care of mom' as he chauffeured me up and down the streets.  Yes, I pedalled, but not that much...  ;)





Ah, these guys make me smile!  Naturally entertaining!!!  Well done!





After the parade we got ourselves outta town and went to a quieter beach within the park.  Here is my main squeeze, enjoying a beach day like he always does - from the shade!
 





Meanwhile, mischief and adventure and lots of giggles!!!





The water was clean and cool.





And the company was thoroughly enjoyable!!!



Kathy took it upon herself to clean up the beach. Wow, makes me feel lazy!





And sunset came and the day had to come to an end.  Boo.


Let's do it again!