Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Outdoor Dining

When we lived in Maryland, we had a deck on the back of our house conncected to the kitchen. We ate outside almost every meal all summer. It was wonderful. I would go out there before the boys awakened and just sit and enjoy the early morning. Then we moved here. We have a lovely back yard, but no deck or patio, and the kitchen doesn't open to the back yard. We did have a picnic table for a while and would eat out there sometimes, but never like we had previously. Then, a few years ago, the picnic table finally fell apart. It was splintery to begin with, so none of us were particularly upset by this. But I missed the outdoors. There's something about eating in the fresh air. It makes everything taste better. I tend to linger over my food and conversation instead of finishing and starting the clean up. So yesterday my wonderful husband took me to get some outdoor furniture. We bought a wonderful iron table and chairs. When we got home, I started our picnic lunch while Chris, Peter and Fred put the table together. It was the perfect day. The temperature was in the low 80's with a nice breeze, and the sky was bright blue. The hamburgers had never tasted better. I think dinner lasted about an hour rather than the usual 10 minutes. What a wonderful Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake

For more years than I care to remember I missed strawberry season. It seems to come so early here that it catches me by surprise. Nevermind that I've lived here for going on 19 years! This year I was ready. I kept an eye out for the ad and had my day planned. Then it rained, and rained, and rained. Finally on Friday after a great Bible study I made it to the plantation to pick strawberries. It was a cool day and the clouds were beautiful. The fields were nearly empty since it was a Friday noon. The smell when I walked into the field was so sweet. So I spent a quiet hour picking about 20 lbs. of strawberries. When we lived in Maryland, a friend of mine, Debbie Toth, said once that she had given up on strawberries. She said that they usually disappointed, and she couldn't take that kind of disappointment. They always looked and smelled so good, but then the taste just wasn't there to back it up. I had to agree with her then, but not this year. These truly are the best berries I've ever eaten. They are so sweet and juicy and perfect. I think they are a foretaste of Heaven. So yesterday I made 13 jars of freezer jam and strawberry shortcake (rather shortbiscuit as Chris calls it). Hot fluffy biscuits, lucious strawberries and real whipped cream---ahhhhh---exactly how it should be.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Washington D.C.

We spent Saturday with some imposing figures! All of the games and practices were cancelled because of all of the rain we had during the week. The fields were too soggy to play, according to the county, but it was a gorgeous day. We decided to take a trip up to the city to see some of the monuments. When we lived in Maryland, we went a lot more often, but the 95 North/south corridor is so daunting at times that we have cut way back. We do go, but the last time we took the boys to see the monuments Sam was about 10 months old, so it was time. I just love the mall! The history is so rich and the area is very beautiful. It is a real oasis in the crowded city. Ben and Sam had studied the Civil War this year, and they all study Abe Lincoln each year, so they could appreciate the Lincoln Memorial. We walked past the Vietnam Memorial, but only Fred and Chris went along the wall. We talked about Grandpa being in the war and saw the new Nurses memorial nearby. Ben just finished studying World War II. The WWII monument is relatively new so none of us had seen it. It was well thought out and picturesque. I think what they enjoyed the most, though, were the tame squirrels and ducklings who weren't afraid of people. We watched them for a very long time. It was so nice to do something together without the worry of schedules and obligations. And a little history never hurt anybody!

The Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

World War II Memorial
Each pillar has the name of a state on it.

World War II Memorial
This is the Atlantic side of it and has the names of all of the battles fought in the Atlantic on the fountain below. The Pacific side is the same set up on the other side of the Memorial.
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Mother's Day visit

My parents came up for Mother's Day weekend. They haven't been here since November, so they were surprised at all of the changes. My mom and I went shopping on Friday after my Bible study. We used to go shopping together when I was living at home, but we haven't for some time. She was looking for some specific things, so I would look through the rack for her size in things and then bring them to the dressing room for her to try on. Surprisingly, my dad doesn't do this for her while they are shopping! When she exhausted all that was on the racks we went through, she came out with an arm-load of clothes. I asked which ones she thought she would get. She looked at me and said, "All of them!" That's a true shopper! My dad has forbidden me to take her again for a while, but we had a lot of fun.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finished at last!

Chris's office before
And after
Chris went golfing last week in South Carolina with men from our church. They go each year and stay from Sunday after church until Wednesday night. Since we had the floors done in Chris's office, I wanted to finish it for him while he was gone. I had to paint while he was here, and it seemed to take an eternity. I painted one or two hours each day for about a week. Things are just very busy now and there wasn't time to do more. When he left, the room was empty, but painted. I had a plan. I changed the sockets and the light switches Monday and got things ready to move in. My friend's husband and son were going to come over on Monday evening to help move some of the heavier furniture back into the room. I was walking back to the truck after Peter's soccer practice Monday evening when I saw Fred walking toward me. He had locked the keys in the truck and the other set of keys was in Myrtle Beach with Chris. Plan B. Thankfully my friend's husband came to rescue us at the park. He got the truck opened as I prayed behind him. Then we adjourned to our house for furniture moving. On Tuesday I picked up Chris's new desk at the furniture warehouse. Wednesday evening my neighbors carried it into the office for me just minutes before Chris got home. He was glad that it was done but seemed less than surprised. The room looks completely different and it feels so good to have it finished!
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Saturday, May 3, 2008


What a busy week it has been! I guess I could say that about every week. I have been trying to paint Chris's office all week, and it's taken me that long. Each day it seems there is something else that needs to be done. I have gotten started around 1 or 1:30 each day, only to have Ben come home at 3:30 and then dinner prep. Finally this morning I worked on the closet and doors. I think I may finish by the end of the weekend.
I feel like I'm bombarded by articles, books, radio shows, etc., that tell me I need to simplify. I need to get rid of the clutter and the business. I sure would like to know how to do that with 4 children. I guess if we just didn't let them participate in sports we would have more time--but probably a whole new host of problems stemming from kids with too much time on their hands. I thought about this this morning as we get set to begin another jam-packed day, and I wondered if simplifying would make my life easier/better. I'm not so sure. In about 10 years things will be MUCH quieter here, but I'm not sure that it will be better. It has taken many years, as Chris can attest, but I think I'm starting to enjoy having the boys involved in things that they love. Isn't that part of my job--to introduce them to things that will challenge them and build them up? So when I start to complain, I'm hoping this will remind me to cherish these days. Each of them is a gift from God. My mother-in-law used to always say, "This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." How much better life is when I can have that attitude! happy Saturday!