Slow down and think.

I am generally very good at doing my devotions every night, but sometimes I end up doing them without thinking.  I once challenged myself to complete a Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year study.  Well, I did quite well in the way of completing it, but do I remember it? I was just checking the verses off.  I was succeeding. But did it do me any good?  What is the purpose of my goal if I attain nothing from it? Isn’t the Bible supposed to be a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path?” (Psalm 119:105)   If I don’t remember it, how will it light my path?  So I tried to take is slower.   I stopped looking at the dates, instead of reading three different passages each evening I read one.  Well, this helped slightly.  I was doing better, but was I understanding, was I meditating on it?

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1: 1-2 (emphasis added.)

Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians? Not to just read the Bible, but gain knowledge and wisdom from it? To learn from it!  When I was in school and reading a text book, did I just read it to get it done? (Well, maybe. 🙂 Sometimes.)  I read it to learn, to be able to answer questions about what I read, to take a test on it.  Isn’t the Bible much more important to my life than a school textbook? Then I was given a weekend devotional written by Donald Whitney. (Tabletalk October 2011)  It was entitled The Gospel and Journaling.  Whitney said a few things that really helped my dilemma.  “As opposed to the kind of daily experience with the Bible in which we pass our eyes for two seconds over each verse on the page, not remembering a think we’ve read, journaling can help us to slow down for a few moments and actually think about and absorb the passage we’ve just read.”  He goes on to explain how writing things down clarifies our thinking.  Just like in school when you think you know or understand a subject until you have to explain to to someone or write it down.

DSCN0165

It makes sense, doesn’t it? So now I have a journal.  I am going through Psalms, slowing down and thinking about what I am reading.  I use a study Bible and read the notes to help engage me. And I also don’t leave my devotions to the two minutes before I go to sleep.  I am not that clear-headed in the morning so I still do my devotions before bed, but I give myself more time and do it earlier.  How can I think and meditate on it if I’m too tired to think? And you know what, my devotions have made more of an impact in my daily life.  Because I remember and recall what I have read.   James 1:25: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (emphasis added.)

So, slow down and think.  And be blessed by the Word of God.

In Christ,
~Mindy~

A Second Dose of Fun

Here it is!  Bag Number 2!

IMG_0087

I quite like this one.  Its more on the plain side, but I LOVE the bright colors.  I decided that since I needed some projects to test out my new sewing machine I’d make some “beach bags” for my sister in laws.  This one is for Maria (hence the big “M” on the back, see below).  She loves orange and bright and unusual things.  I hope she likes it!

My felt squares and lining fabric for Maria's bag

My felt squares and lining fabric for Maria’s bag

I got the fabric and some pre-cut felt squares at a local fabric store.  I also used some white canvas type fabric for the outside of the bag.  This will make it a little more sturdy and hold its shape a little better.  The colored print is just a cotton.

I started out by cutting two squares of the lining (colored print) and the white canvas.  I also cut some pedals from the colored felt.  These I arranged on one of the white squares.  I took a picture so that I remembered how I had placed them when it came time to sew them down!

IMG_0076

I really wanted this to be in the corner of the bag, but at the time I neglected to leave myself space for the flat bottom of the bag and the “side.”  I ended up seam-ripping a LOT and inserting a 4″ section to the bottom of this piece.  Otherwise my flower would have been mostly hidden when the bag was finished.

The pedals all sewed down!

The pedals all sewed down!

I sewed down the pedals one at a time.  I tried to sew close to the edge, but you have to be careful with felt as the thread will pull right through it if there is too much stress on it.  I decided after I had finished that I should have used a smaller stitch that what I did, but I wasn’t about to rip out all of those seams and start over!

Now its time to assemble the bag.  I started with the colored fabric, right side to right side.  I sewed down two opposite sides (like I did with my first bag).  The first two stitches will make the fabric into a loop.  Flatten the loop so that the two seams are on top of each other, in the middle of the fabric.

IMG_0078

Then sew across the length (this will be the bottom).  Then its time for a box corner.  This time I took a picture!  Press the corner into a triangle.  Sew across.

Box corner

Box corner

The seam that you see in the picture above is the 3rd stitch, or the bottom.  I used the ruler to make sure that the corner would be square, then drew some guidelines.  We will stitch along the ruler, all the way across.  I did this for both corners.

I followed similar steps with the white fabric, except that I left the side seams on the side.  Same basic process, but more seams end up in the corner.  Once I had both pieces sewed into a bag-like-fashion, (and adjusted for the bad placement of the flower) I decided the bag needed more.  I printed a big “M” onto a plain piece of paper, the same size as some extra felt that I had left over.  Instead of trying to cut out the “M” and sew carefully just inside the edge (like I did for the pedals), I cheated.  I pinned the felt AND the paper right to the bag!

IMG_0082

I pinned the felt and paper “M” strategically and started to sew.  Using the printed “M” as a guide, I sewed right on top of the lines.  It made some nice crunchy sounds and was a bit difficult to maneuver.  At this point I wished I had thought of the “M” before I sewed the two white squares together to make the bag.  Having to be sure I didn’t sew all the way through BOTH pieces of fabric was just another difficulty that could have been avoided, but oh well!  After i finished sewing all the way around, I ripped off the paper (carefully, though).

I still wasn’t quite pleased with the amount of color on the bag so I decided to roll the top of the bag over, exposing the lining material.  This wasn’t in the original plan, nor was the big “M” on the back.  I sort of made it up as I went along, bugging my husband for his opinion while he tried to run on our treadmill in the basement.

I actually sewed the lining to the white fabric, good side to good side, with the white fabric on the inside.  I sewed around the top, leaving a hole to flip the whole bag inside out.  This essentially hides the seam I used to attach the lining to the fabric.  Then I folded the top over, and sewed 1/4″ from the edge, all the way around.  This holds the folded over part in place.  I like to do double seams, so I sewed a similar stitch 1/4″ around the top.

I used some of the white canvas for handles, and sewed these in place, trying to sew in line with the double seams holding the flap in place.  I think it looks cleaner this way.  I hid all of my “starting” and “ending” strings inside the bag by hand with a spare needle.

The front of the bag

The front of the bag

The back of the bag.  "M" for Maria!

The back of the bag. “M” for Maria!

And there you go!  This one turned out MUCH different than I had planned… but I think it ended up better.  That is a lot of what I enjoy about sewing.  I actually have a plan, but really you never know how its going to turn out.  You don’t have to be super awesome at sewing to sew.  And it doesn’t matter if you mess up, which I did!  Because I seamed ripped and even added some extra pieces of fabric to make up for it.  It still turned out just fine 🙂

I do have a plan for another bag… but its quite complicated and I’m not sure I have the patience for it just yet!  Maybe this summer sometime 🙂

~ T ~

Bye Bye, Mitsubishi

Thats right folks; the Mitsubishi is gone.  And honestly I’m a little sad about it!

My "first" car

The day I took my car home! I didn’t even know how to drive a manual, but half-way home dad pulled over and made me drive. Trust me, I learned fast! I actually killed it at a corner of two major highways and couldn’t get it started again! But here we are, safe and sound at home 🙂

Drew and I have been searching for a little bit bigger car for me for a while; something that drives better in the winter and has room for the groceries.  Let me tell you I was a bit sick of trying to get all my groceries in and out of the backseat.

Dad helping me install my amp and subs.  We really had no idea what we were doing, but believe me, we figured it out! (Actually the radio didn't work, we had to enlist the help of a certain brother-in-law to figure it out!)

Dad helping me install my amp and subs. We really had no idea what we were doing, but believe me, we figured it out! (Actually the radio didn’t work, we had to enlist the help of a certain brother-in-law to figure it out!)

We actually started looking over a year ago but didn’t find anything we really liked (that was in our price range, anyway).  We decided to try to make it through one more winter with my car.  Winter came and went, and summer came and went.  Then we were back to winter again.  We started looking a little harder; but before we knew it winter was about over again!  Well recently Drew found a Chrysler Pacifica nearby at a small shop.  We looked at it a couple times and took it home 🙂  (Pictures of the new ride to come later!)

One of my senior pictures.  What a beaut :)

One of my senior pictures. What a beaut 🙂

We pretty much had my car sold to a relative of someone that Drew works with before we even had a new one bought.  We took home the Pacifica, cleaned out both of our vehicles, and the next day we left my car at Drew’s work.  Just like that…. my car is gone :(.  I feel a little silly about how much I already miss my car… but I did have it for like … umm… 7, no 8 years?

The steering wheel cover ripped into pieces as we took it off.  I guess it was about time.

The steering wheel cover ripped into pieces as we took it off. I guess it was about time.

Anyway, the new car drives pretty nice.  Not nearly as good of gas mileage as the 5-speed I’m used to, but getting groceries this afternoon was wonderful.  Throw it all in the back!  Technically it does have a 3rd row, but its small (only a 2 person bench).   With the back seat down there is a big open space for lots of grocery bags!

I’m still in a bit of a nervous/excited phase.  Its exciting to get something new, and yet I’m a little nervous that I won’t like it as much as I hope too… but people keep telling me its about time to grow up and get a big-girl car :).

~ T ~

P.S.  It snowed again today.  All the snow/ice from the previous storm was officially completely melted, so I guess it was time for some more.  I was pretty thankful for a bit bigger car and some AWD!

More snow! April 18, 2013

More snow! April 18, 2013

Day 1 of Clean-Up!

As many of you now, we had a major ice/snow storm this April!  Tuesday started out with rain which quickly turned to sleet or freezing rain.  This lasted all night!  At about 6pm we lost power for an hour.  After digging out our candles, the girls and I played dominos by candlelight!  By bed-time the lights were back on.  Not for long, though!  At 9pm  we lost our electricity for good.  Sleeping with no nightlights, fans or any noise, but the freezing rain and cracking branches, was tough for the kids and quite eerie for me!  Wednesday morning we ate breakfast in front of the fireplace and then decided to wait out our ‘no power’ at grandpa & grandmas.  You see… we only have well water for our house, so no power means no water…  no flushing the toilet, no showers, nothing!   So, we packed up a few things – intending to only stay some of that day.  Wednesday night brought on the second storm with 8-10 inches of snow!   So…. our 1 day turned into 2 days, then 3 and by the end we were living at grandpa & grandma’s for 5 1/2 days!!  (Our house was without power for a total of 5 days).  We made a few trips back to the house to get more clothes, unpack our freezer to bring over, and to assess the damage.  Here are some pictures of our yard….

DSCN6932

Look how much ice!

Look how much ice!

We should be able to see right across to our neighbors!

We should be able to see right across to our neighbors!

DSCN6968

After the snow…

DSCN6960

This past weekend my husband’s parents came to visit.  With their help, and my dad and his chainsaw, we started Day 1 of our clean-up!  Even the girls pitched in by dragging branches to the fire!  (We have a burn permit -MN law!)  By lunchtime, we were thinking this would take all summer to clean up!  It was very slow going.

The girls helping.

The girls helping.

So, after starting out again in the afternoon, the guys decided dad needed to go get the tractor.  It’s amazing what you can do with a tractor!  Now, we started dragging the branches to a long pile in the back and dad would push them all the away across the yard to the burn pile.  Oh My…. how much easier and faster that was!

DSCN6991

Coen had to check out the tractor!

‘C’ had to check out the tractor!

Then, too, dad would park the tractor by a tree, get in the loader bucket, and cut down the big branches that just wouldn’t give up.

Dad in the loader - cutting down the branches that were still hanging on.

Dad in the loader – cutting down the branches that were still hanging on.

I was so amazed how much the guys got done during that afternoon.  We had quite a fire and have many piles of future firewood!

Our fire at the beginning. It got a lot bigger!

Our fire at the beginning. It got a lot bigger!

Now… don’t be upset if you didn’t get to help this weekend, we still have plenty left to clean up and you can always help the next time! (he, he)

I, also, just want to say I am so thankful for my family who is willing to give us their Saturday  – or evening – or whatever it may be –  to help us!  We are so blessed!

~ M ~

Garlic-Alfredo Pizza

I love to make home-made pizza.  But sometimes I get tired of the same ‘ole recipe.  Thus, I try to recreate one from a pizza place that I really like.  Lately we have discovered a place called Fatty’s Pizza.  They have really good pizza for a decent price.  And they have a garlic-alfredo pizza that is absolutely delicious.  So I did a little research and tried it out on my husband.  He said, “This tastes like that one pizza from Fatty’s.” Success!! So here is how I did it:

Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a small sauce pan.  Add 1 clove of garlic – chopped really fine.  (The term “clove” is ambiguous as some are large, some are small.  I used one that was about as wide as my thumb.  And I didn’t think it was too much.  More would have been okay too.)   On low to med-low heat, stirring constantly, simmer the garlic-butter sauce until garlic is soft. (If the garlic is starting to turn brown, go no farther. It will taste fine, but you’re getting close to burning it.) Let it cool.

In the meantime, roll out your pizza dough. I make whole-wheat dough in my breadmaker using the recipe in my breadmaker recipe book.  But any crust will do. Spread the garlic-butter on the crust and then add the alfredo sauce. (Sometimes the alfredo and butter don’t mix very well, just do your best to even it out.)  Add shredded or chopped chicken, tomatoes, onions or whatever you would like and add a light layer of mozzarella cheese.  I just put chicken and cheese on this particular one. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes!

DSCN0130

Delicious!

Garlic-Alfredo Pizza

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • pizza dough for one pizza
  • alfredo sauce (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  • shredded/chopped chicken & any other toppings you prefer
  • mozzarella cheese

To make garlic-butter sauce: melt butter in small saucepan and add garlic. Simmer on low to med-low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic is soft. Cool

To Assemble pizza: Spread garlic-butter sauce on prepared crust and add alfredo sauce.  Add chicken and other toppings. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

~Mindy~

Winter again?!

Well its April and Winter has come back for one last “ah ha!”  Remember earlier when I had said that my hubby cleaned out the garage all by himself?  Well when he did this we re-arranged a bit.  We put the snow-blower in the way back and moved the lawn mower to the front.  That was a bad choice apparently.

Blowing off the driveway - one more time!

Blowing off the driveway – one more time!

We had a pretty good storm.  First lots of rain, which clung to everything.  It didn’t take long for the trees, roads and mailboxes to be covered in ice.  Then it started to snow.  Everything was actually quite pretty.  But then you could start to hear the trees creaking under the weight.  It was a little eerie.  As I was coming home from work I saw the powerlines bouncing around wildly under the weight of the ice and blowing wind.  I actually saw them hit eachother, causing a huge BRIGHT blue fire ball with lots of sparks.  I’ve never seen that before.  The wind didn’t stop, and the power lines kept hitting each other, causing more sparks and more bright blue balls.  It was a little scary.

Ice on our truck; notice it hanging off the hood?  This is after about an hour in the garage.

Ice on our truck; notice it hanging off the hood? And you can see it on the bumper; yes, thats ice. This is after about an hour in the garage.

No the truck isn't dirty.  Drew drove to the hog building and back and this is how it looked when he got home.

No the truck isn’t dirty. Drew drove to the hog building and back and this is how it looked when he got home.

I started writing this without electricity.  Good thing my laptop battery was charged!  I got home from work the other day and we had no power in the house.  Of course my hubby had to go out and check on our hog building (which didn’t have power, either) so I was at home by myself.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself.  I was starting to get hungry and was trying to think of what I could possibly eat for supper.  Its funny how I thought of quite a few good ideas but couldn’t carry any of them out without electricity.

The tree in our back yard, less a few limbs.

The tree in our back yard, less a few limbs.

The lights came back on soon.  With all the ice we were getting I wasn’t getting my hopes up.  I plugged in everything that I could think of… laptops, ipads, cell phones…  I even turned our furnace way up just in case!  Sure enough, power went back out about 10 minutes later.  This time I was thinking a little more clearly.  I went in search of a flashlight, and to my surprise it actually worked!

The neighbor's tree nearly split in half.  You can see it between the two houses, thankfully missing both.

The neighbor’s tree nearly split in half falling between the two houses, thankfully missing both.

Anyway as I was thinking of all these things I thought I should go find some candles too… but I don’t even have any!  I probably have some old ones from my wedding somewhere… but then the power came back on!  I had to act fast.  I put a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave; the power went back out just before it finished.

My bowl of popcorn.  I sat here in the half-light by the windows while I tried to decide what to do.

My bowl of popcorn. I sat here in the half-light by the windows while I tried to decide what to do.

As I sat in the dark I started to reminisce about the “good ‘ol days.”  Whenever the power would go out Mom would put a big candle on the dining room table, and another in the bathroom.  I also remember one time when the power went out for a long time… when I was young.  We lit the gas stove in the old kitchen and locked ourselves up in there.  We played cards by candle light to pass the time.  It was the only warm room in the house.  I was still cold, so our wonderful brother offered me some long-johns… but they were in his room.  We ran out of the kitchen as fast as I could, grabbed more layers, and ran back in.  I’m pretty sure I wore his three-sizes-too-big long johns for days.  All us kids slept on the basement floor just outside the old kitchen.  It was kinda fun… a slumber party with all my big brother and sisters and no school!  Thats about all that I remember.  The long johns will never be forgotten.

My kitties watching me finish this post.

My kitties watching me finish this post.  They really enjoy watching the mouse on the screen.

Anyway the power ended up coming back on a few hours later for a while.  I did manage to have a warm supper before going to bed.  Since then the electricity has been a little unreliable.  I’ve been taking really fast showers and the laundry is piling up, as well as our dishes.  But my husband and I are safe, our house has been staying warm, and no damage from falling limbs, so here’s me, counting my blessings.

~ T ~

Oven-Baked Potato Wedges

Grilling season is here 🙂  Boy I do like the spring weather  we are finally getting.  I really enjoy hearing the birds sing again, but I remembered today that I really don’t enjoy them pooping on my car while I’m at work.

After my hubby cleaned out the garage (all on his own, without my suggesting it!) he flipped on the grill.  Mmmm burgers!  The dilemma at our house is always what to have with the burgers.

This quickly became one of my husband (and my) favorites.  We both like potatoes (especially french fries!) but baking wedges in the oven mixes it up a little bit. Plus it makes me feel a little better about myself since I’m not eating fryer food every time we want some potato with supper.

I generally pick out two potatoes, and and a third little one.  Cut the potatoes into wedges.  My hubby always says the smaller the better, I try for about a 1/2″ thick (at the base side).  There is some truth to that, but too small and they get hard…. like beyond crunchy.  Then again, we like ours crispy.  If you like yours softer, then cut them bigger.  Be careful cutting, those buggers are sliippery!

IMG_0089

Throw the wedges into a bag of some sort and add 1-2 tbsp of oil.  I go for more around the 2 tbsp because I use a big gallon baggie… a lot of the oil stays there.  It really doesn’t matter how much you use, the point would be to get all the wedges coated.

Dump the wedges on a cookie sheet.  I would suggest one with sides in case you have a little too much oil 🙂  FYI – my 2.5 potatoes nearly takes all the space on my smallish cookie sheet.  They take up way more room than I would have guessed.  Lay all the wedges on one side.  I like to point them all in the same direction.  Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.

Lawry's seasoning salt

Lawry’s is the go-to seasoning in our house.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Take the wedges out and flip them all over.  This is why I lay them all the same direction – so I know which ones I’ve flipped and which ones I haven’t!  They do sometimes stick to the pan, moreso the first time you flip them than later.  Just take a metal flipper-deal (I’ve forgotten what you call those?) and slide under the wedges.  Add more seasoning if you’d like.  Bake another 10 minutes on this side.  Repeat!  You should bake them about 40 minutes total, flipping 3 times.  Timing depends on the size of your wedges and how crispy you like them.

Beef! Its whats for dinner! (Supper, actually)

Beef! Its whats for dinner! (Supper, actually)

Eat them like fries with ketchup, or with some butter, or sour cream, or whatever you like on your potatoes 🙂  It takes a little while to bake but they sure are good!

~ T ~

Scrapbooking and Iris Folding

As you may know, I love to scrapbook and make cards.  Occasionally, I go to an Archivers Scrap Night with some co-workers (Karen and Sharon).  Often, we’re joined by Leanne, a long-time friend of Karen’s.  It is great fun!  And it’s probably one of the few nights I ever stay up until midnight!

My main goal of the night was to make cards, so here are a few of them:

 

DSCN3734

I really enjoy using some embossing (using embossing folders rather than powder) on cards when I can.  One of my favorite ones is a cupcake with a candle.  This is perfect for a birthday card!

 

DSCN3735

After making about 14 cards, I thought it was time for scrapbook pages.  You can tell I’m really behind (as they’re from when Ally was about 1 1/2 years of age), but here they are:

DSCN3731DSCN3732

While I was there, Leanne was making one of the most beautiful cards I’ve seen.  It’s using a technique called “Iris Folding”.  I love it!  I didn’t quite have enough time to work on it there, so the next day, I gave it a try.

First, I googled to find a pattern.  (This is a necessity for a beginner!)  I found a wonderful little onesie pattern which I thought would be perfect for a baby card. Before I could begin, I printed off 2 copies of the pattern, traced one and cut it out (using an X-acto knife), and taped the 2nd pattern behind it.  I picked out 4 coordinating papers, cut 3/4 inch strips (although I learned it would be better to do 1 inch strips), and laid them out.

DSCN3726

Then, I scored each one in half, and I was really ready to begin.  🙂  I taped portions of the paper (with the fold facing to the inside), on numbers 1-3.  It then looks as follows:

DSCN3727

When I was all done, it looks like this.  Pretty, right?  😉

 

 

DSCN3728

Okay, that was the back side.  Now to flip it over for the front:

DSCN3730I LOVE IT!  That was fun to do!  Time-consuming, yes, but fun!  I can’t wait to add an embellishment or two and use the card!  I have another pattern which I might try to get done yet today.  If you like to try something new or want to make a card really special/unique, I highly recommend giving this a try!

~D~

Starting a Garden

Well, I’ve lived in California for almost three years now. Now that we own our house I decided it was time to plant a garden.  Did you know that in California people BUY soil to plant a garden? I’m just used to that rich, dark Iowa soil that grows everything.  Well, I didn’t buy soil.  I just decided I would use miracle grow instead. 🙂  And to be economical I decided to buy seeds rather than buying the small plants that have been started for you already.  I can get many more plants with a lot less money, if I prosper.  I wanted to be successful with the seeds, so I bought a starter-grower thingy. Also known as a seed starter tray.  I planted tomatoes (the skinny little plants) and pumpkins (the big ones.)

DSCN0126

Then I ran out of room!  So the rest of the seeds will just have to go straight into the ground. While I left those plants to grow, I began digging up the weeds and grass for my garden.  I made a little bit of progress:

DSCN0120

So there is my partially dug up garden, which took a lot of work. There were a LOT of weeds.  First I dug it up and pulled the grass and weeds including their roots.  It was a lot of work.  But my little helpers, 2 year old Isaac, and 4 year old Abigail would take the weeds and put them in a pile for me.  Until they got bored, of course. Saraiah came over and helped me plant some seeds.  I purchased 10 year old Saraiah’s services as Mommy’s helper at my church’s silent auction.  So we planted cilantro, watermelon, and sweetcorn.  But alas, as I was digging up more of my garden to remove weeds I saw a long piece of grass about 2 feet outside my garden wiggle to and fro and then disappear into the ground! I took my shovel and slammed it into the ground as hard and deep as I could.  Did I get the rotten gopher? I do not know.  I brought the subject up to my husband, Josh, who promptly told me I better gopher-proof it.  *Sigh* More back-breaking work.  I did my research and decided the best course of action would be to dig up 8 inches of soil and lay down wire.  Josh had leftover wire from when he built an aviary in the back yard as a high-schooler, so I already had that at hand. (We live in the house Josh grew up in.) So I found boards to lay around the garden to staple the wire to so it wouldn’t shift. It was difficult since I had part of the garden already planted.   I couldn’t just dig out the entire garden, but had to do it piece by piece.  I had to be careful not to throw dirt on top of the already planted areas and I felt as though I ended up doing double work. Here is the first section completed.

DSCN0124

And what did I find as I dug? A gopher hole.  Running the entire length of my garden, smack dab in the center.  Now I’m very thankful to my husband for telling me to gopher-proof. Most of time I worked I had my wonderful helpers at my side.  Not that they were actually helped. Just observing.  Or getting in the way.  Abigail peppered me with questions, and repeated the questions when she ran out of new questions.  Why are we digging up the garden? To lay the wire.  Why do we need to lay wire? To keep the gophers out. Why do you want to keep the gophers out? Ahh!!! It about drove me nuts! But I know she’s just curious and it was a great time to explain about gophers, how they live, what they eat, etc.  Science lesson in the garden!  Abigail would also wander around and was rather a nuisance getting in my way, sitting where I wanted to dig, standing in the pile of dirt watching it cascade back into the already-dug area.  She did help dig slowly, since her shovel was only a small spade.   But she was helping – in her own way, even if she did end up putting dirt back where I had just dug it out.  Is that what God feels like? Watching us try to do something, thinking we are doing good when we are actually undoing the good that was there before? But anyway, back to the garden.  My legs are killing me.  My hands have blisters.  And Abigail’s inquisitive mind is coming up with question after question. But I made more progress! Pushing the dirt over the first section, digging out the second.  Then I ran out of wire. 😦

DSCN0127

Well, it’s getting there, and meanwhile Abigail came up with a new topic of conversation.  Jesus’ crucifixion. Since it’s Easter time, she has been hearing the story of Jesus’ death quite a bit.  Why did Jesus die? Why did they want to kill him? Did he have to die that way to save us from our sins? Did he want to die?  I was amazed at some of her questions.  Especially when some of them I had never thought of myself.  DID Jesus have to die on a cross to save us from our sins? My response: Ask your daddy, because I don’t know. But then the repetition begins again.  I just wanted to tell her to stop asking questions.  Yet it brings to mind Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Would I be hindering Abigail by refusing to answer her questions?

Back to the garden: so, the plants are growing.  What is growing? Sweetcorn!!!!! DSCN0128

I hope the gophers don’t destroy it.  (It’s in the non-gopher-proofed area.)

Now my husband comes to help, yay!  He wired the overlapping pieces together so there is virtually no way the gophers can get in.  He has been battling mice in our aviary and has learned that rodents are quite smart and can get through the smallest of cracks.  So now the wire is pretty tight and when pulled acts like one piece of wire.   So we can finally put the dirt back on!  And plant more plants!!   I did buy soil for my already-started tomatoes and pumpkins.   So I dug a small hole, filled it with store-bought soil and then planted the small plant in the soil.

Gopher-proof garden! (left side beyond the board buried is NOT gopher-proof)

Gopher-proof garden! (left side beyond the board buried is NOT gopher-proof)

Ahh…success.  Feels so good to see if after all that hard work!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkins - the kind that are great for baking

Pumpkins – the kind that are great for baking

Watermelon - in the non-gopher-proofed area

Watermelon – in the non-gopher-proofed area

Sweetcorn - it's getting bigger!!!

Sweetcorn – it’s getting bigger!!! With strawberry plants in the background.

The cilantro I planted still has not popped up.  I hope it will, I’m being patient.  Trying anyway.  And now my garden has turned into an experiment – since only half is gopher-proofed.  We shall see if the gopher proofing was worth it.  Do the gophers eat my watermelon and sweetcorn? Is the gopher-proofed area really gopher-proofed? We will find out in a couple months!

~Mindy~

Everyone loves chocolate!

Everybody loves chocolate…  in our family anyways!

Brownie bites!

Brownie bites! (salt just to show size)

The past several weeks I’ve had the privilege of coaching volleyball for some wonderful teenage girls.  This past weekend we went to state and had a great time.  I thought I’d bring a little snack along because it can be a long day.  What else is there to snack on besides chocolate!?

I like brownies, but the corners are my favorite.  My problem is that I like the corners so much that if I made a whole pan of brownies I probably wouldn’t eat the middles!  So I came up with a solution.  I bought the mini baking cups (the size that fit in my mini muffin tin) and I made brownie bites!

Brownie bites!

I actually bought the wrong size recently.  These are just a little BIGGER than my mini-muffin tins, but they’re aluminum cups so they stood up on their own.  I just filled them and baked them on a cookie sheet, about 25 at a time!  They’re like a two-bite brownie now, but still delicious!  Between my volleyball girls and my brother-in-law, this is all I had left!  So delish!

~ T ~

P.S.  I just used a box of brownie mix … I’m sure whichver way you make brownies would work!  I like to use my rounded tablespoon to fill them, same basic rules as cupcakes – fill about 2/3 the way full.  These I baked (as I said previously) on a big cookie sheet so I wasn’t too worried about anything terrible happening in my oven if they spilled over – which didn’t happen!