Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quiz Nationals

We are in Illinois this week so the girls can participate in the national competition for our denomination's Bible Quizzing program.
On our way here, less than an hour from our destination, we spotted a team from our conference broken down on the side of the road. They had been there 15-20 minutes, stopped by a bad alternator. They were trying to reach a towing service they had been told might be able to fix the car on the roadside when they saw we had stopped. A trip back a few miles to the nearest town, some tools and an alternator purchase later, we were back at their van.
As we realized we had the wrong tool, a Marine named Samson, who had all the necessary tools, stopped and offered his assistance. He and Clarence got it fixed quickly enough that the team was able to make it to registration on time.
This incident was a tangible reminder to all of us that God orchestrates the details of our lives perfectly, usually without our awareness. You see, we had planned to start out at 6 that morning but didn't manage to leave until 6:30. We had a 3-hour window for registration, so we weren't stressed about it. Had we left as we had planned, we wouldn't have been in the right place at the right time to stop and help our friends. We would have missed seeing God work out the details of providing the tools just as they were needed.
Samson accepted only our thanks and asked that we pray for our servicemen. It was a great reminder and now we have one more serviceman to pray for personally.
As for the quizzing-the kids are doing round robin competition yesterday and today. Tomorrow the double elimination tournament will start. They were undefeated yesterday and still are, so far this morning. Tonight they are performing in the talent show. Prayers appreciated as this is stretching their comfort zones a bit!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two potato salad

For Father's Day, we invited Clarence's parents over for lunch. When Western ribs and country ribs were on sale a few weeks ago, I bought some, crock-potted them until tender, put them in zip bags with BBQ sauce, then froze them in anticipation of Father's Day. A quick reheat on the grill and the meat would be done. I wasn't sure what else I wanted to serve so I asked Clarence what he would like.

He chose baked beans and potato salad as sides. Sounded good, but his dad is a diabetic and I was concerned about carb overload for him.

I remembered some three-potato salad I used to buy at the deli. I think it had white potatoes, redskins, and sweet potatoes. I first bought it because it looked cheesy and the deli lady wouldn't tell me what was in it. She urged me to just try it. I laugh now because that's the only time I remember something like that happening but I probably would have kept walking had she told me what was in it. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I thought using sweet potatoes would lower the glycemic index a bit so it would be slightly more diabetic-friendly for Dad.

I've only made potato salad a couple of times-ever-but this recipe was a huge hit, especially with my girls. I decided to blog the recipe so if I forget how I made it, I can re-create it again.

The leftover meat made great BBQ beef sandwiches to serve with the potato salad.

Two Potato Salad

3 1/2 to 4 pounds potatoes (I used russets)
3 pounds sweet potatoes (2 large)
1 medium Vidalia onion
1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Wash potatoes and sweet potatoes. Boil potatoes and sweet potatoes in large pot of water until fork tender (I did them separately). Place in cold water to quick cool, changing water as needed.

Peel and chop into bite sized pieces; place chunks in large bowl. Dice onion and add to potatoes.

Stir together mayonnaise and rice vinegar. Pour over diced potatoes; stir until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.

This recipe is easily halved. It filled my largest bowl and we ate it for several meals.
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

A happy Father's day

They don't look like much, do they?

Clarence thinks they look like magical buckets, though. A couple weeks ago, he spent quite a bit of time talking with the lady who sells them, asking questions and learning. He seemed very interested in getting some, but wasn't sure he wanted to spend the money. I offered to buy him some as a Father's Day gift, if only he would promise to be surprised.

Clarence has long wanted to try hydroponic gardening so yesterday we picked up a starter kit. Clarence agreed to erase the memory of the purchase and be surprised for Father's Day.

He is hoping the romaine he planted yesterday will do well. He was already checking it today to see if it was growing yet. He's just sure he'll see something by tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I think it's working again

After encountering various issues, I called our isp for help. They told me to make a change on a modem setting and call back if my problems persisted. Unfortunately, the change was to slow down the modem-as if dial-up isn't slow enough already. However, there are positive trade-offs to the move, so we'll try it for now.

One of the positives is that my pictures seem to post correctly again. I did a "make up" post for our FIAR group's day from May (here) and since it was successful, I decided to post this month's get-together.

For June, we decided to review. The kids chose their favorite title from all our years together and wrote a paragraph or two about what they liked about the day, then drew a picture, too.

Then, it was all play. Here the girls are all swinging together...

while the boys found other things to do.
The parents enjoyed the opportunity to visit and catch up with each other. We came home sunburned, never having given sunscreen a thought due to the clouds, and with more happy memories of time spent with friends.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Discovering my gifts...or not

(I decided to go ahead and let this post, funky pictures and all. I'd still appreciate any insight offered to resolve the problem.)
Clarence and I decided a couple years ago that we'd rather grow food than have to mow our steep front yard between the house and the sidewalk. He was laid off that spring, so he hauled rocks out of our woods and used them to terrace that section of the yard.
Since then, practically no area of the lawn is safe. We tried lasagna gardening at the far edge of the front yard, under a huge oak tree. We didn't have great results due to the shade but the potatoes did better than the grass that used to be there.
Clarence's folks came over the other night and his dad helped him get his tractor running again. Once that was done, they worked on taking down a couple of trees that were shading the lasagna garden from another direction. I'd like to use that area as a nursery bed for a few perennials that need a home for the summer as we dig out around our foundation. (Yeah, that's gonna be fun.)

Since then, we've been working on getting the trees ready to use for firewood. Clarence cuts it into pieces, then he and Allison split it (she LOVES splitting wood!). I help load it in the trailer and stack it near the house.
Stacking wood is not one of my gifts. Friday, I stacked the previous night's load on top of some already stacked wood. After I finished, I walked away to pull some weeds. I turned when I heard what I thought was the door opening, expecting to see one of the girls poking her head out to ask me something. Instead, I was just in time to see almost all the wood I had stacked fall to the ground.
I turned back around and started pulling weeds. I figured I could re-stack it, but why restart the vicious cycle? I think I'm more gifted for weeding, anyhow.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aack! I need help!

I use Picasa for uploading pictures to my blog, as it seems to work best for me with my dial-up internet service. I wrote a post and saved it as a draft on Saturday. When I went to edit it, my pictures were really messed up.
One picture had color about halfway down, then it was just shadows of the picture. The other picture was full color but looked like it had been cut into pieces and then mosaic-ed back together.
I've spent way too much time trying to repost (and deleting), as well as trying to research answers on the blogger and Picasa forums. So far, I've been completely unsuccessful.
Any ideas? Tell me I'm not the only one?