Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Awesome 2nd Grader

We have a 2nd Grader!!!

 I'm eating cake as I type this.  Because cake makes everything a little sweeter.  It's always a bittersweet day when Brody starts school.  I'm thankful for how far God has brought him, but I'm also a little sad at how quiet the house is.  I really enjoy having someone to take care of all day, but I am also very proud of how confident my son walked into his class today.  Brody was so certain everything was going to be fine, and that is a wonderful milestone he hit this morning.  Can't be selfish when he is being successful!  No tears for me today (yes, my heart hurts a little) because I am truly happy that he is happy.  We're excited about this year, and we love our awesome 2nd grader! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Getaway- Youth Camp

Who ever said, "Time flies when your having fun" was not kidding!  Where did June go?  I blinked, and it was like a whole month was gone.  We have been having fun though.  Last week at the beach was a blast.  My favorite part was catching crabs with Brody.  We tied chicken necks to a string, and then we slowly pulled the crab in to catch with a net.  We laughed and cheered each other on the whole time.  We also went to see Monsters University at the movie theater...such a cute movie.  One of Brody's favorite parts was seeing a man catch a small hammerhead shark on the pier.  It was one of those once in a lifetime kind of moments.  The ocean was great.  We jumped waves, body surfed, boogie boarded, and found some cool shells. We are looking forward to more beach time later on this year. 

The garden is wonderful. We have been canning and freezing.  Yesterday Brody and I picked 4 pounds of blueberries.  Today Ryan will make some jelly with it.  Picture below is Brody pulling up potatoes. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gardening Fun & A Few of Recipes

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  ~Marcelene Cox

Summer has brought some sun to our fun and a lot of rain to our garden.  We have had to water very little this year due to all the rain.  The garden is producing quite nicely.  Brody is loving the picking part.  So far we have picked carrots, potatoes, squash, zucchini, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes.  The miracle of watching things grow is such a wonderful gift to give to a child.  And of course his stomach also reaps the benefits of his labor.

Ryan built a net to go over the blueberry bushes to keep the mockingbirds away from our delicious berries.  Mockingbirds are very smart, and they still find a way of getting into the net.  It has become an activity of keeping the birds away and freeing the birds daily. 

Want to make an easy Blueberry cobbler?

In a 9x13 lightly greased pan, put in around 5 cups of blueberries.  Toss them in 1/3-1/2 of cup of sugar depending on your like of sweetness.  Pour a box of yellow cake mix evenly on top.  Drizzle a stick of melted butter over the top.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes until topping is brown.  This is so so easy and good!  Just add ice cream! 

Something I make during the summer is squash casserole.  I get asked often for the recipe so I thought I would share it with my bloggy friends.

Cristy's Squash Casserole

1 lb. yellow squash
1 chopped Vidalia onion
1 egg
Black pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Dash(es) of hot sauce
shredded sharp cheese
Small sour cream 8 oz.
Cream of celery
Stick of butter
Ritz cracker crumbs

Cook squash in boiling water 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash.
Sauté onion.
Add egg, sour cream, cream of celery, cheese, hot sauce, and seasonings in medium bowl. Stir in squash. Mix cracker crumbs with melted butter. In 9x13 pan, coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of ritz cracker mix in bottom. Pour mixture. Sprinkle more cheese on top. Top with remaining cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

It freezes great! I just put clear cling wrap on top of the crackers before covering with foil to make sure there is no freezer burn.  This allows our family to have a great squash dish during the winter time.

Tomato plants are growing up the netting.
My mother in law, Becky, has a great recipe for frying zucchini. 

She slices zucchini into very thin pieces. About 2 zucchini.
In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs and add 1/4 cup of milk.
In another bowl, mix 1 c. of Italian bread crumbs (Progresso), 1/2 c. Flour, salt, and pepper.
Dip the slices individually in the egg mixture then in the bread crumb mixture.
Fry in oil till lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.
Should be eaten right away!!!

Happy Summer and hopefully Happy Gardening to some of you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Brody Gets A Medal

There was much excitement in the air as Brody was getting ready for school today.  Today was Awards Day, and Brody knew he would be getting a medal for AR reading.  A year ago during his Kindergarten awards there was one awesome kid who got a medal, and Brody wanted it bad.  So I told him that if he worked hard in first grade he would get one too. He couldn't hardly wait to read and take tests. Many nights he would read two books then take two tests the next day.  Boy oh boy did he work hard at reading!  In fact, he tied for the highest points in his class.  After saying he would get a medal over and over for a year, his moment finally arrived.  When his name was called, Brody leaped into the air.  Seriously folks, he leaped, hopped, and sprung with joy. I couldn't get a good picture for Brody jumping in the air so much with excitement.  Many cheers went up around the room, and I think he managed to make everyone smile.  It was a moment I will never forget.  A moment of accomplishment!  A moment Brody thoroughly enjoyed!  I loved how his teacher put it, "Brody wasn't acting silly.  It was just pure joy and excitement going across the stage!"  Ryan and I were (and are) very proud of him!  There is nothing like have goal and seeing it completed!!!
Lots of smiles today!  I hope all my friends and family have goals they are working towards. Goals that will bring joy and excitement to life!!!  Brody lived out Carpe Diem before all of our eyes. I don't think he could have celebrated any more than he did. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coconuts and Strawberries

One of my favorite parts about being a mom is seeing my son experience something for the first time.  Sometimes the anticipation of experiencing something new Brody will be excited and other times terrified.  I think we as adults experience the same thing with the unknown.  This week Brody wanted to try a coconut.  I'm a huge fan of the coconut...Ryan is not.  After tasting it, Brody decided he does not like coconut.  Bummer!  He did however have a great time watching and helping get the coconut open (which is quite a task).

Our family made strawberry jam for the first time.  It's a lot of fun to make, and it turned out great.  I love jam on my toast so it is a treat to me. Food always seems to taste better when you make it yourself. We have some other canning projects in our future this summer like blueberry jam, pickles, tomatoes, etc.

All the "firsts" this week made me think of AJ. I cannot wait to have him home.  So many things will be new to him.  While I have missed his first steps, first words and countless other firsts, I will get to see him experience many firsts.  Maybe even see his first taste of coconut or strawberry jam.  It's exciting to think about all the things AJ will get to do with our family! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Brody's First Baseball Game

Brody asked...begged, to play baseball.  I was very unsure how he would respond to baseball, but I signed him up anyways. I see now what a good thing it is.  Brody is very excited about it.  On Saturday, he had his first game.  It was a "fun disaster." Brody had a lot of fun, but he did get distracted a lot.  "Oh look!  A Bird!" The first two times up to plate took many pitches before he made contact with the ball.  I was proud of how he didn't get discouraged.  His third time to bat was very successful.  He hit the ball well and ran very hard to first base. I think he will get better with practice.  The important part was he felt successful and had a good time.  I'm proud of my boy!   

I love this picture!  His face is priceless!

A little dance on home plate.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Riverbanks Zoo

I have been told on numerous occasions how wonderful the Riverbanks Zoo is, and I was not disappointed!  It truly is a great place plus it is also kid friendly.  The Riverbanks Zoo is not the biggest zoo we have been too, but it very thought out and has a lot of animals available.  It was clean, and the extra attractions were reasonable in cost.  Brody loved it!  It became his new "best day ever."  He really enjoyed climbing the ropes course.  My favorite part of the zoo was the penguin exhibit. After we went through the zoo twice, we took the tram to the botanical garden. it was such a beautiful place!!!  No extra charge for the gardens.  Brody and I made a whole day out of it, and we made some great memories!

 A cup of Nectar was $2.

 Brody said his wish came true by seeing Paranas.

 The cost of the course was $7.

 Pony rides were $5.
Giraffe feeding was $3. Of course we picked up leaves other children had dropped and feed the giraffes. A lot of kids got scared of those really cool tongues and many leaves were dropped. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Everyday is a New Day

Enjoying our first watermelon of the year on the front porch.
No two gardens are the same.  No two days are the same in one garden.  ~Hugh Johnson

It's true gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.  There is always something to learn that helps us grow in life.  I walk out to our garden a couple of times a day.  The first thing Brody does when he gets home from school is go check on his carrots.  Ryan gets home from work, and he goes to the garden.  Why?  Because it's changing daily.  The plants look different every day as they grow.  

Everyday is a new day.  It's different.  This growing and changing brings hope.  Hope in that no matter what yesterday was like, it will be different today.  And tomorrow brings change as well. 

There are still consequences that will be carried over into each day.  Like when I don't water the plants they will die.  Just as if we do not take care of our bodies we will suffer too.  And when heavy rains comes, like last week, sometimes things get broken.  So we will replant and start again.  We don't just leave a section in our garden empty because something bad happened.  Just like in life, when bad things happen we pick ourselves up and start again. We know tomorrow will bring sunlight and water and everything we need if we just plant the seeds.

I've enjoyed watching our beans grow the most. They really are different every day.

The potatoes in the back left are over a foot long now.  Brody planted carrot seeds, and he keeps track of their growth on the top right in the picture. 

 The salsa box is looking pretty good. 

 The boysenberry bushes are growing everywhere!

 We planted four Azaleas in the front to add some color.

Our porch where I like to sit more than any place in the world. I become more thankful for it with each day that passes.

This garden was an investment, and it is giving more than just vegetables and fruit.  So many life lessons are taught through watching things grow.  I'm proud to be sharing these lessons with my family.  It's refreshing to be reminded daily that tomorrow will be different!