Summer Reading

I accidentally happened upon a crazy good book: 

The back cover reads: 

I was invited to join a summer book study the morning it started, with this as the book of choice. I jumped at the chance :)

The basis of the book starts with the real biblical short story of Benaiah, a man who went into a pit, to kill a lion, on a snowy day.  

It's an easy read with extremely thought provoking and revealing insights. 

We all have crazy fears in all shapes and sizes or failures or major crisis...and how do we handle them? What are the qualities of men like Benaiah when faced with great fear? 

One out of dozens of great quotes in the book, love this one: 
"God is in the resume-building business. He is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those God-given opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions. And how we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny." 

Highly recommend for all humans ;) 


Summer in 4 and 6

June is my absolute favorite month of the year. The very sweetest part of summer. Bright beautiful warm mornings, and late nights when the sun doesn't set until way after 9, fireflies visit and vegetables start making their first appearances in the garden.  (my rosy sentimental side) I can't help it, I love summer. 

Nicholas and Christiana rush outside after breakfast each morning to ride their bikes down the driveway and sidewalk. And every morning Avila throws a fit trying to follow them, mad that she can't get her two year old squatty body to make the trike go. The minor tantrums are usually a nice break amid the quiet morning silence. 

The two biggest highlights for the kids this week:  
1. Finding lady bugs in the yard. 
2. Visiting the water fountain four blocks down. 

They RAN and SQUEALED at finding lady bugs and gazed for ever. Christiana told me the story TWICE that she found a grasshopper on her swim towel. 

They started long and hard at the flowing water and rode their bikes around the little park no less then 48 times. 

 3. Couldn't forget Birthday girl's big trip to DQ...getting ice cream is a very special treat in this house. Definite highlight. 

 I love their WONDER at creation, their simplicity to SEE the everyday ordinary amazing works of art in the earth. 

This summer, I'm getting a taste of living it again as 4 and 6, looking at bugs and water, and dandelions all over and new again.


4th of July Menu!


Lemon Blueberry Bars via IHOD

We LOVE the 4th of July around here. We have 8 out of  my husband’s  9 other siblings coming down to celebrate and watch fireworks off the Lake.
I started dreaming about  what the big summer holiday menu would be in May. (I know, I’m weird, and my brain thinks in food sometimes).
In my own family, the food on the fourth always included something on the grill, something cool and refreshing, and something patriotically sweet.
So here we go with a Firecracker Menu!
- 50 Stars Barbecue Chicken
- Avocado Cucumber Salad
- Lemon Blueberry Bars
We’ll also make sure there’s lots of Grillin’ Beans,  Chips and Dips, and Sweet Tea on hand!

50 Stars Barbecue Chicken
I’m not kidding when I promise you this will be the best Barbecue Chicken you will ever taste. I can’t claim the recipe, it was gleened from my friend Marcy Kee, who is FAMOUS in our town for her cooking and smoked meats.
1 Bottle of Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce
1 Stick of Butter (don’t be scared, good food is made this way)
2 packets of Italian Seasoning
Dash of Basil
14 Chicken Drumsticks
How To:
1. Preheat Oven to 350. (you will use grill a little later).
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Wisk in Italian Seasoning, Basil and Bottle of Barbecue Sauce. Bring to a Boil.
3. Dip Drumsticks generously into sauce mixture. (There should be a good amount left over for later) and place in a 9×13 pan.
4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and Preheat Grill on Medium Low half way during baking process.
5. Remove Drumsticks from oven (your house will now smell amazing), and give them one last dunk in the barbecue sauce and place them on heated grill. Grill for an additional 15-20 minutes. I like them just slightly charred.
You can fully cook the chicken in the oven if you prefer not to grill, just increase baking time to 45 minutes or until chicken is done.
Hot Wing Variation
Add 1 Bottle of Hot Sauce
Use Wings instead of Drumsticks

Avocado Cucumber Salad
Servings: About 10 -12  1/2 cup servings
This salad is so pure and fresh and a great mix up from the ordinary. I came up with it when I did my Paleo 30 Day Challenge. My kids usually ask for seconds!
2 Cups Each of Chopped:
Tomatoes, Cumbers, Ripe Avocados
Juice from 1 1/2 Large Lemons
2 Tbs. Chopped Garlic
1 Tsp. Sea Salt (more to taste)
How To:
Toss the vegetables in a bowl and stir in chopped garlic and salt. Drizzle lemon juice over salad and toss again. Best if chilled for 15 minutes before serving.
Lemon Blueberry Bars
Servings: 16-20 Bars (Depending how small or large you serve your squares. They are rich so I tend to keep mine small.)
I’ve made these a dozen times and everyone always asks for the recipe.  This is a golden Kraft recipe I found. It’s been tried and tested and they are AMAZING. Serve on a red napkin or serving dish and you have a beautiful 4th of July themed dessert ;)
1/2 cup  butter
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
2 eggs, divided
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup  sugar
1 Tbsp.  zest and 3 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
2-1/2 cups  fresh blueberries
How To:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on High 1 to 1-1/2 min. or until melted. Add dry cake mix and 1 egg; beat with mixer until blended. Press 2/3 of the dough onto bottom of prepared pan.
Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add remaining egg, zest and juice; mix well. Pour over crust; top with berries. Pinch small pieces of the remaining dough between your fingers; press lightly into cream cheese layer.
Bake 55 min. to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars.

Light up those fireworks, and the grill while you’re at it, and thank God for our freedom! Happy Almost 4th of July!!
Food Philosophy: Because the effort to make good food is a gift to those around me.
It’s happy memories, togetherness, the living part of life.



Potty Training Two Days In...

SOMEBODY....is very much like her daddy.....