Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Garden

We have had our fall garden planted for several weeks now.  I love fall gardens because the bugs aren't usually a problem.  Our fall garden is always just an eating canning required!  This is also another reason to love gardening this time of year.  We have broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, lettuce, and cauliflower planted.  I meant to plant peas and spinach, but I forgot to pick up the seeds. 

God and the rain brought back our flowers these past few weeks.  I am enjoying the last few bits of color that these flowers are bringing in our world.  Hope y'all have a great weekend.  You can find me in the herbs pulling the weeds!

grace and peace,

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Day of Fall

Our second grader came home from school today and reminded me that today is the first day of fall.  I am so thankful to see the heat of this past summer melt away into the cooler days of fall.  Tonight we will be enjoying our high school football game.  The cooler weather makes for a much more enjoyable football experience!  Our oldest son will meet us at the game so I will get to wrap my arms around him.  I am looking forward to seeing him even if it is just for the game. 

On Saturday, we will be throwing a birthday bonfire to celebrate Hope's special day.  That day will find me cleaning house, grocery shopping, and making food for the party.  I plan on keeping things simple for the bonfire, but I do want to spoil the kids that come a bit.  I ordered a birthday cake from a bakery because Hope asked for a bakery cake.  She shares my love of bakery cakes!  Dessert will be the simple part.  I plan on serving hot dogs that the kids can roast over the fire.  I guess that counts as simple too.  I will have a crock pot full of Pulled BBQ Pork along with another crock pot of Cowboy Beans.  She has asked me to make my Chicken Salad, which doesn't go with anything else on the menu.  I will oblige her since it is her 13th birthday.  Otherwise, I would throw that idea right out the window!  I will also serve Hot Apple Cider, Hot Coco, and a few appetizers.  Of course there will be fixings for Smores.  

I am looking forward to spending some time hosting a get together for her friends.  Since I am at the high school, I don't get a chance to spend as much time with Hope's friends as I would like.  This will be a great opportunity to enjoy seeing some kids I haven't seen in awhile, and it will be fun doing something big to celebrate Hope's birthday!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hope Shalom

It is hard to believe that our baby girl is celebrating her 13th birthday today.  Once again, our house has three teenagers!  We are going to really celebrate her birthday this weekend with a good old fashion bonfire and friends.  Josh did check out of school today to go pick Hope up from her school so he could take her out to lunch at a local restaurant.  I am thankful that he was able to do something special with her on her actual birthday.

Happy Birthday, Hopie Shalomie!!!!

grace and peace,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hot Apple Cider Recipe

Before you attempt to make my Hot Apple Cider recipe, you need a cold, dreary day like the one in the above picture.  This is the perfect setting for a nice cup of cider.  Hope you enjoy!

Hot Apple Cider

Place 18-20 whole cloves and 4 cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth.  (On occasions that I haven't had a cheesecloth, I have just placed the cloves and cinnamon sticks in the cider without putting them in the cheesecloth.  When it is time to take them out of the liquid, I use a slotted spoon. It is a bit more trouble, but it works when I am in a pinch).

In a large stock pot, add 1 gallon apple cider, 1cup mild honey (This makes the cider very sweet.  If you don't like things very sweet, you may want to cut back on the honey), and 1/2 cup orange juice.  Add the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. 

Heat slowly until hot. Simmer 30 minutes.  Let stand 2 to 3 hours before serving.  After an hour, remove spices so the cider doesn't get bitter. 

I sometimes make this cider in my crock pot if I am hosting a large gathering.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  Reheat to enjoy.  Take a mug of Hot Apple Cider to the front porch with a good book and enjoy the beauty of fall!

grace and peace,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Treats

Fall has to be my favorite season of all, but I say that about every season.  There are so many things that capture my heart during the fall:  the crisp weather, the outside beauty, and of course the food!  I love the smell of hearty soups and stews simmering on the stove or the aroma of fresh baked bread in the oven.  Who can resist a slice of apple pie and a cup of coffee? 

One of my favorite quick snacks for fall is to combine candy corn and peanuts in a pretty serving dish.  Everybody loves this simple sweet and salty treat.  The English Mastiff that lives here especially likes this combination so I have to make sure it is out of her reach!

Don't be fooled by her sleepy eyes.  Trust me she is watching and waiting for us to leave any goodies unattended for her consumption.  She finished off a bowl full of jolly ranchers recently.  On the upside, she did have fresh fruity breath!

Next post, I will share our family's fall apple cider recipe with you.  Our second son loves this warm concoction so much that I keep it made up and stored in the downstairs refrigerator.  All he has to do is heat it back up a cup at a time.  When the outside temps recently dropped down into the 70's, Josh was asking for me to make Hot Apple Cider for him!

grace and peace,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall is in the Air

We finally had a break in the heat this past week.  I was so thankful to see rain and cooler temperatures.  Our grass was thankful too!  This past week has had a fall feeling to it.  I have been celebrating the feeling of fall by burning candles and baking treats.  This morning I made homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  This afternoon I made yeast rolls and a peach cobbler.  Since I have started working, I find that I enjoy baking on the weekends.  I don't have time during the week to bake much, so I take advantage of the extra time I have on the weekends.  My kids are very appreciative of the weekend treats. 

I have also spent a large portion of my weekend time sitting on our front porch enjoying the breeze and grading papers.  The hummingbirds have been in full force these past few days.  I guess they too are enjoying the fall weather!

The cooler weather also made our Friday night football game more enjoyable.  We played in Knoxville so Matthew was able to drive down to watch the game with us.  One of Joshua's friends also came down to watch the game and to spend the weekend with us.  I love it when friends from Greeneville come and spend time with us.  We spent ten years getting to know the kids from Greeneville, and I miss them now that we have moved. 

Well, it is time to prepare for another week.  Bedtime is calling my name for sure!  I hope you have a blessed week.  Let's not get so busy that we forget to enjoy the journey!

grace and peace,

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Remember the Moments

The last month has been pretty much a blur in my world.  Going to work has eaten up more brain cells than I have to offer.  I sent the 7 year old to school without studying his spelling words.  I didn't even think about it until the day after the spelling test.  I sent the 14 year old to school without any lunch money.  He came asking me for some money at school and I had none. I had to send him to find his brother to give him some money.  Which reminds me, I still owe that 17 year old $25 for a parking sticker.  I find myself forgetting to lay out the meat for supper, and I seem to be always  behind on the laundry.   I am enjoying my new job, but I am having to adjust the way I do things on a daily basis. 

As I was working on the computer this afternoon, I realized that it was September.  Keep in mind that it has been September for the last four days, but it startled me to realize that August had already passed.  Then I remembered that I forgot a very special day.  I haven't forgotten this day for the last 5 years.  This was the first time, and I was saddened a bit that it could slip my mind so easily.  It also scared me because I don't want to let the memory of a father be forgotten.  It has been six years since my father went to be with the Lord...six years since I heard his voice...six years since I saw him smile...six years since I heard him say, "Julie Bell".  

I know that forgetting to pause and mark the day of his death doesn't really mean much in the grand scheme of life.  I know that just because I got busy and forgot the day doesn't mean that I will get busy and forget him.  I also was reminded of a card that was given to me this summer by an  old friend.  The front of the card read,  "We do not remember days, we remember MOMENTS."  I hold those moments with my father close to my heart, but I can't tell you what days we shared them.  The same holds true with other people in my life.  I may not remember the days, but I most certainly remember the moments. 

grace and peace,

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A Happy Gift

I was sitting at my school desk one morning this past week when I heard a sweet voice say, "Julie."  I looked up and saw  a friend that I just met several weeks ago.  She had this GREAT garden bag in her hand as a gift for me.  I was so surprised!

When I turned the bag around, I saw that she had filled the other pockets with all sorts of school supplies for my classroom!  She wrote me a special card with a very kind note, and this gift just made my day.  I smiled each time I looked over at my desk and saw it. 

Thank you, Marcy for such a kind gesture.  You just have no idea how much this meant to me!

grace and peace,