Summer S’mores


The other night after a nice swim, Jeff built a fire in the fire pit and we brought out the S’mores ingredients.


Pretty soon there were marshmallows roasting over the flames –


I like my marshmallows completely charred.


Final result – at least one happy camper! Yummy!


Make some fun memories with your family today!


My Little Ballerina

Anna has recently traded in her ice skates for ballet slippers. She actually has been wanting to take ballet lessons for awhile now, but it just hadn’t worked out to do so. When it came time to register for the new session of ice skating recently, we had heard of a great ballet school and decided that this was a good time to switch. We left the decision up to Anna, who decided that she wanted to try ballet. I took a few pictures of her before we went to the first class –

She has had two classes so far, and I am really pleased with it. Anna is enjoying herself and I get to sit and watch. It brings back many memories of my 7 years of ballet classes growing up. I took this picture of Anna at her first class – my sweet little ballerina . . .

Have a nice day!


Blackberry Cobbler

This recipe is near and dear to my heart, as it is famous in our family. It is my Grandmama’a berry cobbler recipe – which brings back memories from my childhood of summer vacations spent at Grandmama and Grandaddy’s house in North Carolina, complete with cousins, roll-a-bat, and always – without exception – berry cobbler.

On one of those summer vacations, when I was probably about 12 years old, I asked my grandmother to tell me how she made the cobbler – she explained as she went and I wrote it down. Here is the original recipe that I wrote down that day all those years ago –

No, I’m not going to make you try to read that little piece of paper! I recently pulled out the old recipe and made a blackberry cobbler for my family using berries from our yard. I didn’t stay completely true to the recipe, however, as I used a refrigerated pie crust to save time. Here is Grandmama’s recipe as I originally received it, plus a few added notations. Keep in mind that Grandmama always made this without a recipe – knowing just how much of this and that to add by sight. I asked her to try to give me measurements, so they are here when needed.

~ Dough – Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, dash salt together in a bowl. Add a little (1/4 cup?) Crisco and cut into dry ingredients. Add milk until it is pastry consistency. I just pulled out my handy dandy pie crust from the refrigerator, but will definitely be trying the scratch version another time. Divide dough in half.

~ Grease 9 x 13 casserole dish or spray with cooking spray. I used (and always will use) Grandmama’s cobbler dish to make my cobbler.

~ Mash berries slightly.

~ Put half of the berries in the bottom of the casserole dish.

~ Add 1/2 – 1 cup of sugar all over top of berries. Add spats of butter on top.

~ Roll out one half of dough on flour (or lay out one of the refrigerated pie crusts). Cut strips about 1 inch wide.

~ Criss-cross strips over berries.

~ Make another layer of berries, sugar, butter and strips. Sprinkle some sugar over the top of the cobbler and add some more butter spats on top.

~ Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 400 degrees and bake another 30-45 minutes.

~ While you’re waiting, let your kitchen helper lick the berry bowl!

~ Remove from oven when golden.

~ Serve with ice cream. I always make a point to use Grandmama’s cobbler bowls – brings back good memories.

The refrigerated crust seemed to cook up thinner than the way I remember Grandmama’s. It was good to use in a pinch, but I will probably try to make it from scratch next time. Enjoy!

This makes me want to get up a game of roll-a-bat – maybe when it’s a bit cooler outside!


Thankful Thursday ~ July 8th

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

My Dad went to be with the Lord last year at this time, and my thoughts have been very much of him in recent days. I am devoting my thankful list this week to my Dad, who will forever be a part of me and will live in my heart and thoughts until we are reunited in heaven.

~ I am thankful for Dad’s comforting arms throughout my life – from the time I was born up until the day he passed away – being held by him always made me feel protected, safe, and loved – it is a memory I will treasure always.

~ I am thankful for the way Dad cared for and provided for his family – working hard his whole life to care for his wife and four children.

~ I am thankful that Dad grew his family up involved in the church, and was an example of service and leadership to us.

~ I am thankful for Dad’s listening ear – the way he lovingly discussed our troubles with us.

~ Along with that, I am thankful for Dad’s wisdom and guidance in my life and that he was always willing to help out when asked.

~ I am thankful that Dad taught me to be organized – maybe more caught than taught – he was a master organizer, which I always admired.

~ I am thankful for Dad’s sense of humor – I always loved it when he laughed and my memories of those special times are especially dear.

~ I am thankful for Dad’s faith in the Lord, especially in his later years. It was a joy to me to share that faith with him, and a true comfort in his passing – to know that he is with the Lord and is experiencing all of the joys of heaven.

I heard something on a radio program yesterday that really touched my heart. The speaker said that the people in our lives that we love – our spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, relatives – are gifts from God to us for a time. They are His and we are blessed to share our lives with them. Their passing away is only a temporary separation. The reality is that we will be with them again for all eternity, if they (and we) have placed our trust in Christ for salvation from our sins. I hope that this will bless your heart the way it blessed mine!

Thankful Thursday is being hosted this month by Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage. Please visit Lynn to find the list of participants in this week’s Thankful Thursday.

Have a wonderful day!


Berry Plants


Most summers growing up our family would venture to North Carolina on vacation to visit our extended family. We always stayed at my grandparents house, unless we all rented a cottage at the beach (that would be a whole other post!).

Summer vacation at Grandmama and Grandaddy’s house always included lots of playing with cousins, visiting with Aunts and Uncles, playing Roll-A-Bat in the large yard, digging in the sandbox, climbing the dogwood tree, or planning and putting on shows and “spook” houses.

Meals were always full of home-grown vegetables out of my grandfather’s huge garden, prepared lovingly by the womenfolk in the kitchen. Sometimes we would make homemade ice cream (hand-cranked) or consume huge wedges of watermelon at the picnic table in the backyard. One thing that we could always count on during our visit was Grandmama’s Dewberry Cobbler, made from fresh Dewberries, picked by my grandfather out in the garden. The berries were so delicious and it became a dish that we looked forward to every visit.

I have always dreamed of growing berries on my own land and making my own cobblers just like my grandmother did. We tried blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries last year. We lost all but two raspberry plants and all but one blueberry plant (and it is hanging on by a thread!). The blackberries survived, but just need to grow bigger in order to start supplying more berries. Here is one of our seven blackberry plants –


Imagine my excitement when Jeff called me one afternoon with the news that he had run across actual Dewberry plants at Home Depot and was buying six of them to plant around our pool fence. They were nice big plants that were already flowering and growing berries. I never expected to find Dewberries in Texas – assuming they were native to the East Coast. Since then, he has planted them along the fence – three on one side and three on another with the blackberries in between. Here they are still gathered around a stake – we will be untying them and attaching them to the fence soon, so that they can get better air circulation.



We are hoping that they will establish themselves and that soon we will be enjoying Grandmama’s Dewberry Cobbler once again. Somewhere I have her recipe, if you could call it a recipe. One summer I interviewed her as she was putting it together – ” about this much flour and that much sugar . . .”


Grandma’s Apron


The aprons in the picture above are from my collection – the fruit apron was actually my grandmother’s apron, while the other three are some that Jeff bought me – he likes to hunt for them on Ebay for me and usually buys those with hand stitchery or quilting, and, of course, gingham, because he knows how much I love it!

My Mom sent me this e-mail and I loved it so much I just had to share it here.

The History of Aprons

I don’t think our children know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the Fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron . . . but Love!!

I don’t know who wrote this, but it brightened up my day! I hope it did your’s too! And I’ll certainly be thinking about all of these things the next time I pull out one of my aprons to wear!

Have a lovely day!


Creamed Eggs

Several of you have commented about the Creamed Eggs in my Teenage Boys Appetite post, so I thought that I’d share the recipe with you. This is a dish that Jeff grew up eating, but I didn’t, so after we were married he told me how to make it – or kind of described it and I tried a few things and came up with this. It is basically just a white sauce with hard-boiled egg whites chopped up and added to it, and then crumbled up egg yolk sprinkled on top. All of this is served over toast.

You start by hard-boiling about 6-8 eggs. After removing them from their shells, slice them in half and remove the yolks into a separate bowl to be crumbled with a fork. Chop the whites into small pieces and set aside while you make the White Sauce.

White Sauce

8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick)
8 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon salt
4 Cups Milk

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and a dash of pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook quickly (high heat), stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Makes 4 Cups.

Once the sauce is thickened, stir in the chopped egg whites. Pour over 1-2 slices of toast on a plate (or – if you’re like Matthew – 5 slices on a platter!) and sprinkle crumbled egg yolks on top.

I double this recipe for our family. I actually started out making this before we had any children, and would make only about half the recipe. As our family grew, I kept increasing the amount of white sauce and eggs to the point where I now make 8 Cups of sauce with a dozen eggs. My recipe card records the history of Creamed Eggs in my family, which I love! –

It is tradition at our house to always make this after Easter, when we have about 100 hard-boiled eggs colorfully sitting in the refrigerator, and that is probably when I first made it for our family, but then we progressed to making it year round as a nice filling dinner. Hope you enjoy it!


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

On the 4th, we made our ever-popular homemade vanilla ice cream. This is a tradition in our family, going back as far as I can remember. I have fond memories of watching my grandfather hand-crank the ice cream freezer in his backyard, while my cousins, siblings, and I gathered around, taking a turn every so often and marveling at how hard it was to turn by the end. And then came the reward – enjoying that cold, creamy, sweet treat around my grandparent’s long picnic table, or maybe, sitting around on the screened-in porch, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and my own family.

These days we still enjoy this special treat – usually on the 4th of July. My brother, Boyd, usually gets the honor of cranking the ice cream, although a motor does it now and not his arm. This year his helper was Anna, who thought it quite fascinating that you could actually make your own ice cream.

My recipe for vanilla ice cream came out of the instruction book that came with our freezer – it is simple and always creamy and delicious.

Vanilla Ice Cream

3 Cups Milk (+ more to add to fill line – see below)
2 3/4 Cups Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Half and Half
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
6 Cups Whipping Cream

Scald milk until bubbles form around edge.
Remove from heat.
Add sugar and salt.
Stir until dissolved.
Pour into ice cream freezer canister.
Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream.
Add more milk until it reaches the “fill line” inside the canister.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

The actual freezing of the ice cream is something that has always seemed mysterious to me, although my brother laughs at me for this. He says it’s not hard – just layer ice and rock salt around the freezer and turn it on. (Don’t forget to buy rock salt in advance – I did and my other brother, Mike, had to brave a torrential downpour the afternoon of the 4th in order to nab the very last box of rock salt on the shelf! Yay Mike!!!) Keep adding layers as the ice melts to keep the ice cream tin covered and cold. When the machine stops – let it set for a bit and then start dishing it up for everyone to enjoy.

Over the years, my family has added in peaches, strawberries, and even a touch of lemon to our recipe. And, by the way, July is National Ice Cream month, so if you haven’t done so yet, be sure and have a delicious bowlful, homemade or not, on a hot, summer day this month – you’ve got 13 days left!


Thankful Thursday

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

This Thankful Thursday I am dedicating to my parents. God has blessed me with a wonderful Mom and Dad who have always loved and cared for me. They are kind and thoughtful and very patient with their daughter who gets so caught up in day to day life that too much time usually goes by without her talking to them!

Here are some of the many things I thank God for –

1. I am thankful that my parents raised me to know God.

2. I am thankful that my parents filled our home with traditions that bind us together even to this day.

3. I am thankful that my Dad always provided for us and always wanted the best in life for me.

4. I am thankful that my Mom stayed home to care for us and was always there for me.

5. I am thankful for memories of summer vacations at the beach, Friday nights with the Bradys and the Partridges complete with “fried tape” (popcorn, for those of you who don’t know), trips to the library to bring home our favorite stories (and a few new ones to become favorites), sledding down a snow covered hill tucked safely in my Daddy’s lap, watching my Mom sewing dresses for my sister and I, and being served ginger-ale and peanut butter crackers when I was ill – all of these memories lovingly provided by my parents.

6. I am thankful that my parents have supported me in my life and in the paths that the Lord has called me to.

7. I am thankful that my Mom and Dad have given of themselves, sacrificially, under good and bad circumstances to teach me and raise me to follow their example by providing a loving home for my children.

8. I am thankful for the great blessing you are to me, Mom and Dad – and just wanted to tell you so. I love you both very much!

Here’s the link to find out what others are thankful for this Thursday – just click the button and then click “Main Page”.

Have a lovely day!



There is a special place in my heart for dogwood trees.  You see, I was born in North Carolina and spent my first 7 years of life there.  North Carolina is prolific with dogwood trees – Texas is not.  The rest of my life has included many trips back to my birth state, usually in the spring or summer when the dogwoods were in full bloom with lovely white flowers or lush with green leaves.

When I was a child, my siblings and I spent many moments climbing and sitting in the dogwood tree in the middle of my grandparent’s beautiful backyard.  When we returned years later with our own children, the tree was still there, adorned in white beauty, beckoning someone to come and share a few moments in it’s branches – so, we placed our babies in its grasp and took pictures of them in our old friend.

Besides the sentimental value of the dogwood to me, there is also a spiritual value for me.  The flowers of the dogwood tree have 4 petals in the form of a cross.  At the end of each petal is a red pinched spot, which reminds us of the wounds on Jesus hands, feet and head as He was hanging on the cross.  This beautiful tree is a living reminder of the great love He has for us – so great that He gave His own life as a payment for our sin.

So why am I prompted to write about the dogwood today?  Because I planted 2 dogwood trees yesterday!  Somehow we came upon a brochure from the National Arbor Day Foundation which said that they would send you a tree to plant if requested.  Jeff requested one and it arrived in the mail one day last month.  Imagine my joyful surprise when I opened it and saw that it was a White Dogwood tree that they sent!

Imagine my even greater surprise when, upon unwrapping it yesterday, I discovered that they sent 2 trees rather than just one!  Mind you, these are small cuttings of trees, and will need to grow quite a bit to come close to the one in my grandparent’s yard, but I am excited anyway!  I have planted them in the corners of my vegetable garden (the baby tree nursery), so that they will be able to grow in a safe, protected environment for a couple of years before transplanting into the yard.

I don’t know if they will survive or not, but for right now, I am thrilled to know that there are dogwoods growing on my property!  Now if I could just get those berry bushes to grow, too – but that’s another story.