They Add Such Sparkle to Life...

...and they pull your tablecloths off.


Glad there was nothing on it! He was doing this, and I happened to catch him in the act, when I came around the corner. No more tablecloths for this grandmommy. That makes me sad, but only a little.

He's so worth it.

Superfood Breakfast - steel cut oats

Oatmeal is a known "superfood", but not the oatmeal you might think. Not the kind in the little packets, that comes in "flavors". Not the instant kind.

Think steel cut, whole grain oatmeal instead. The difference in appearance is big. The difference in nutrition is big. Difference in taste is....big. Think margarine-versus-butter-kind of big difference in taste.

Steel cut oats. Beautiful.

It's a big deal, people. Superfoods are a big deal. I have been incorporating them into my diet more and more, with the goal being almost every meal featuring a superfood. It is a slow process, because I also prefer to eat I won't be eating alot of pumpkin (also a superfood) until the fall.

Guess what else is a superfood? Blueberries. Guess what goes together beautifully? Oatmeal (the steel cut kind) and blueberries.

How to prepare steel cut oats? A pre-soak is best. About a cup of water, to 1/4 cup of oats (for one serving), and soak it overnight.

Next morning, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer it for about ten or fifteen minutes. (If you don't presoak, make that thirty minutes). Add some butter, some brown sugar, some salt, and even some cream...I do it. Not everyone does it, but everyone should.

That's my motto.

...and lots of blueberries.

Local Church 101

"Some are called and sent.

Some got mad and went."

Which are you?

Gluten Free Dessert Deliciousness - Zabaglione

If you are into summer berries or peaches, if you are a lover of cloud-like creamy awesomeness, and if you need your desserts to be gluten free... on. Imabouttatellya my new favorite indulgence.

Zabaglione = love. Egg yolks + sugar + Marsala = zabaglione, which is love at first bite. Therefore, zabaglione = love. It sounds fancy, it sounds difficult, but it isn't. Here are your ingredients:

4 eggs (you'll be using only the yolks)

about 1/3 cup of sugar

about 1/3 cup Marsala wine

a dash (1/4 to 1/2 tsp.) vanilla

...and berries or peaches or whatever. I had blackberries, just picked last night. Yum! Okay...on to the easy-easy instructions.

Create your own double-boiler, by putting some water on to simmer...not boil...just simmer it.

Get your big metal or glass bowl out, put it on top of your saucepan, and have your whisk ready!

Put your egg yolks in, and start whisking! (save your whites in a small container! "Waste not, want not".)

whisk, whisk, whisk, and while you do, add your sugar, your marsala, and your vanilla...whisk, whisk, whisk...

...and whisk...

keep whisking...

...for four minutes straight, at least. Whisk until the egg yolks nearly double in volume, until you don't see any of the brown Marsala wine, until this stuff gets luscious and thick and fluffy-cloud-like...

Pour some over your berries (this will make enough for about 4 people)

Enjoy. You will so want to hug me, if you make this!

Happy 4th of July

Last week, we received an invitation to be the guests, this 4th of July. We haven't been the guests very often in the last couple of years...we are usually the hosts. We like it that way - however, I do admit that I was relishing the idea of being guests.

Honestly, we became torn, because our good friends the Buycks have moved back to Knoxville and to Harvest, and the whole church was invited to their home, where they provided most of the meal for everyone, plus water festivities! But we had already accepted our other today, we happily loaded up the whole family, grandson included, Jonathan and Sarah too, (Isaac and his sweet girlfriend had already committed to the 4th at her family's house)

...we spent the afternoon with some new-ish members of Harvest. We were treated to ribeye steaks, shrimp, homemade salsa (two kinds, one hot, one mild), salad (two kinds), corn on the cob, baguettes with garlic and butter, an amazing homemade cake...and I seriously could go on.

Timothy loves swimming in Mr. Don's in-ground year, he will be big enough to go down the slide!

Heartmeltingly adorable. Tim shot some video of Timothy "swimming"...I hope to be able to post it. He really does think he can swim. In fact, if Hannah takes our hosts up on the open invitation we have, he actually will be swimming by the end of summer, even as young as he is. He totally "gets it" and is unafraid to put his face in the water.

Tuckered out daddy and son...

We ate (and ate and ate) and I was invited - nay, pressed upon - nay, forced! to peruse our hosts' lush and large garden. I was prevailed upon to pick a bucketful of blackberries from a thornless blackberry patch, pick at least ten beautiful squash, a half dozen cucumbers, and to harvest all the herbs I wanted. Later, there will be about thirty tomato plants ready to pick, at which time I will get canning lessons. Then, potatoes and garlic and corn will be ready to harvest.

And I haven't even told you about the sewing room, with its four top notch sewing machines plus a serger. Not even lying. Or all the Belgian hand-embroidery going on in that room.

Or the beautifully landscaped property outside.

And I haven't even told you about the fireworks we were treated to, as the sun went down. And I've been asked not to tell you about the cinder block that the men blew up....accidentally. You see, Mr. Don is a former cop, and a firearm safety expert (he trained the men who patrol our southern borders!), and this couple wants to host our teenagers and our families with little ones, and so they don't want anyone thinking that they don't care about Safety First.

So I'm not going to tell you.

Now, it is eleven o'clock, and we are back home...and here is what we are doing:

Cut-throat. These people are brutal board gamers.

Lastly, we miss our son Josiah. We are so proud of his service to this country, as a United States Marine...he is at Camp LeJeune today, unable to come home for the holiday weekend...

We sure wish he could have enjoyed a big ol' ribeye steak with us today. Our hosts would have welcomed the opportunity to spoil him, as they spoiled us.

Happy 4th, everyone!

In Loving Memory

Gerda Blizzard was my pastor's wife, in the Bible Presbyterian Church, when I was a very little girl. From the time I was four years old, until I was about eleven, she taught me the Bible every single Sunday morning...after playing the piano for the whole church, as we sang from our hymnals.

I think she told me every Bible story from Genesis to Revelation, via felt board. She assigned me memory verses every week, and patiently prompted me with only one word when it came time to recite. I was so motivated to please her.

When I was older, I well remember Paul's missionary travels, taught complete with maps that pulled down like shades, small footprints on them, traversing the then-known world.

With the wonders of modern technology, I googled Mrs. Blizzard just now. She was so fondly in my thoughts, I've been thinking all afternoon of her, and of how much I owe her.

She passed away one year ago today.

Tearfully, I am one year too late to tell her how much she meant to me. She taught the Bible faithfully to a little girl who, I am sure, seemed a frightful and precocious mess. I was a mess. But praise God for His great grace, for Presbyterians, their doctrinal views on election, and their emphasis on teaching the Bible to children.

All of it has been used of God to make me the woman I am, the wife I am, the mother and grandmother I am, the pastor's wife I am.

Wow. I am a preacher's wife, just like Gerda was. I could only hope to be so effective and selfless.

Livin' The Dream

I spent the better part of the day outside, today. I transplanted three tomato "volunteers" - plants that self seeded in crazy places. Only the birds could have carried seeds there. So I dug them up and re-planted them with my Kentucky Runner pole beans.

Strawberries are on the vines, herbs like mint and rosemary and basil are bustin' loose. There's squash and cantaloupe and cucumber out in my garden. And today, I put garden soil in some bushel baskets and planted some quick-harvest bush beans. They should be on my plate in about 40 days.

So much to love about summer at the cottage, not the least of which would be Tracker rides, my grandbaby, and my cute new-ish cowboy hat. I wear it when we take those top-down rides, and when I work outside in the sun. It is made of straw, and Tim thinks I'm adorable in it. That trademark cowboy hat-brim dips low in front, keeping me from squinting overmuch. I caught a glimpse of myself the other day, in the window reflection...hat, skirt, tank top...and purple rubber gardening boots.

(my Mother's Day gift from Sarah, and I use them pretty much every day, lately!)

Today it was cut-off shorts, T-shirt, hat, and those purple gardening boots.

Oh, dear. My grandbaby is way, way, way cuter.

This shot taken by his momma (my daughter), with my Nikon, just this past week. Hannah takes better pictures with my camera than I take with my camera.

Cute, or what??

This shot was taken on daddy Justin's birthday. I think this boy makes all our hearts ache with pure joy.

It rocks to be me, in spite of the fact that I wear purple garden boots and cowboy hats.

Oh, and summer has become my favorite season! If you only knew...that is huge. Autumn has been my favorite time of year all my life, previously. Summer is my husband's favorite season, and the sentiment was never shared by me. But the song of the cicada and garden chores and gardening boots and long days and Tracker rides on summer nights have won my heart.