Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cool As A Cucumber---NOT

Triple digit temperatures have arrived here. The humidity here in the deep South makes the heat index even higher. It's too hot to spend much time in the kitchen. But we still have to eat. Last night we just wanted a cool supper. I also wanted something quick and easy because Baby Sister was right under me, determined to "help."

Cucumber salad (along with our leftovers) fit the bill. If Daddy-O was willing to walk out to the garden to pick the cucumbers, I could at least peel them! A favorite local restaurant (sadly, it's closed now) used to serve "cucumber salad" fairly often and we were always happy when that was on the menu. We've made the same thing for years but we didn't have a name for such a simple dish. I like that it's an official recipe now.

One cucumber from our garden nearly filled the bowl. If you are buying pickling cucumbers at the store, it might take two or three.

Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 slightly-rounded tablespoons sugar
sprinkle of salt 
cucumbers, peeled & thinly sliced
sweet onion, thinly sliced & separated into rings

Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumbers and onion. Place in refrigerator for an hour or longer before serving.

I like to use a glass bowl for this because of all the vinegar. Does that really make a difference? I don't know but that's how I do it. You can adjust the amount of sugar or vinegar to suit your family if you want it sweeter or less sweet, or not quite as tart. But these measurements are a good starting place.

I'm watching the weather forecast this morning as I type this. Looks like we might be eating this cool salad all weekend. Please be careful in this heat!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


We've been so busy here the last couple of weeks, as Mommy is getting her family ready to move far, far away---okay, so it's really more like four states away, not across the ocean or anything. Part of these final days here have included doctor visits for Baby Sister. She had some of her two-year-old appointments a few weeks early so that she could see the same doctors as usual. They included a trip to the orthotist and the Children's Hospital here to have final evaluations of some issues related to her premature arrival. She was dismissed by both doctors and declared to be perfectly fine!

But as I waited at these specialized places, I watched mothers coming in and out with children with true "special needs." There were challenged twins coming out as I pulled in the parking place beside their van--one in wheel chair and the other walking with difficulty. They were about twelve, I would guess. As I watched the mother getting them into her car, I thought about how many years she had been doing this and how many more years ahead she would continue to do so.

There was a little boy in a stroller yesterday, hooked to tubes and wires in all directions. The nurse was helping get all of those tubes arranged so they could leave the doctor's office. And there were other moms and children, each with a different set of problems.

I counted my blessings for this healthy child we have. And I said a prayer for the families who work harder to tend children who face great challenges. 

So today when I hear "Hoppa?"(hop up?) for the thousandth time, followed immediately by "Down," I will be happy we have a child who is perpetual motion. A tired grandmother--who is tired out by normal baby activity--is a happy grandmother.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easy Ice Cream

Big Sister spent a couple of weeks right after school was out visiting family in another state. She came home talking about the good ice cream they made. And she told us exactly how they did it. We tried it this weekend at the lake. It was as good as she said. And it was incredibly easy, too.

Homemade Ice Cream with Cookies

4 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 package Goya Maria cookies

Whip heavy cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. (I beat it a little more with the mixer.) Break cookies into pieces. (We left them in good size pieces, not crumbs.) Stir the cookies into the cream mixture. Pour into a 9x13-inch pan. Cover and place into freezer until frozen.

This is VERY rich! But very good. I think I might try it next time with half-and-half. I think you could use mashed strawberries or peaches or maybe bananas instead of cookies for a different version.

It was nice to find a recipe without raw eggs since that is a concern for some folks. And since we used a foil pan, there was almost no clean-up. A good recipe for a lazy weekend.

(We planted mint in our pots by the front steps this weekend, too. Fun to get to use it so quickly!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012


The top photo was Mommy with her daddy when she was about 18 months old.
The bottom photo is Daddy-O in the lake today with Baby Sister, who is 22 months old.

After a crazy week with many trips up and down the road to day camp, doctor appointments, meetings, etc., we all escaped to the lake for a couple of slow days. Spending time enjoying the water like we used to with our own two little girls. Having Baby Sister there was like a "do over" of when her mommy was the baby.

Except there was no Big Sister then to help us keep up with a baby. Good thing we had big Sister this weekend---because we are much older. And slower!

Yes, Mommy was there, too, but was busy grading papers most of the weekend. At least it was a most pleasant place to work.

A few more photos from the weekend....

Monday, June 18, 2012

The City Mouse And The Country Mouse

When my girls were little, one of their favorite stories was about the city mouse and the country mouse. This weekend, like the country mouse in the story, we left the farm and headed to Atlanta to spend the weekend with Jessica.

We ate wonderfully different flavors at Cakes & Ale
where everything is fresh.

We visited places we had never seen.
This was nice because we remembered almost everything here.

We admired the gardens and the city view.

We had lunch at the Vortex, an Atlanta landmark. 
Excellent burgers, by the way.

We tried a new restaurant that opened less than a month ago.

I dressed in something besides blue jeans 
for three days in a row.

It was wonderful to spend time with Jessica and see her world.

But it was oh, so good to get home last night,
where the traffic is an occasional truck 
passing by on our farm-to-market road.

The city is a wonderful place to visit, 
but I'll take living the country life any day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How We Learn

The beans came from a neighbor's garden. Daddy-O said he would snap them if I would cook them and asked Baby Sister if she wanted to help. She watched him carefully and then did her share. 

Turns out she was better at snapping the beans than eating them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pitter Patter

It has been quite a while since we've had the constant noise of little feet around the house. Toys and picture books are scattered everywhere. Having Baby Sister here full time is great fun. She is rarely still, chatters happily most of the day, sings, wheels her plasma car through the house like a NASCAR driver, and finds anything that we can't. Trying to keep up with her has left little time for blogging. Right now I usually have little hands helping me at the keyboard when I type. We're going to miss this in a few weeks.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Keeping Mimi On Her Toes

Blogging time has become chasing time, reading time, feeding time, play time and so on. Busy days here at the farm. Lots of encouragement mixed with a healthy dose of "No, m'am."

Thank goodness I put several things in the freezer from my cooking a few weeks ago. The salsa chicken I made in the Crockpot made excellent chicken & cheese quesadillas this week. Turkey spaghetti sauce from the freezer was a quick supper last night. 

Don't forget to take advantage of your freezer this summer. I've done the big batch cooking but decided that for us it works better just to make a double batch, or even divide a normal recipe--eat half and freeze half. A month's worth of one recipe was too much for us.

Ooops....there she goes again. Gotta run.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kiddie Knit Lit

My grandmother gig has taken a different turn for the time being. Baby Sister, her mommy, and big sister have moved in here for several weeks as their furniture has moved to storage. All of this is in preparation for a move far, far away. Well...the middle of the country sounds like the other end of the earth to Daddy-O and me. (Daddy's job is the reason for the move and he is already out there.)

So my knitting has been mostly tucked away for now, out of the reach of little hands. My knitting time has turned into reading time---not a bad exchange at all. Imagine my surprise when nearly every book that Baby Sister has brought to me the last few days has a knitter in it. She picked these books. Not me. These are from her regular stack. No plan on my part to buy her books with knitters! A couple of these belonged to my own little girls. So glad we saved them.

I love it when she reaches up with a book and says, "Ree?" (If you don't speak "baby" that translates to "Would you please read this book to me, Mimi?")

Can you recognize these books? Leave me a comment if you know them. I am betting KNOW that some of you have read these books to your little ones, too. (See if you know the book before you look at the answers at the bottom.)






Answers:  A. The Lady With The Alligator Purse, by Mary Ann Hoberman & Nadine Bernard Westcott; B. & C. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown;  D. The Happy Lion, by Louise Fatio; E. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, by Stan & Jan Berenstain.