Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Eatin'

Big Mama is hosting a "what in the world can we cook in the summer that does not require lots of prep or cooking in the heat besides hot dogs ideafest!" Well, she might not be calling it exactly that, but that's the gist of it! My favorite thing in the summer is a quick, easy pasta salad, a great salsa with fresh tomatoes and an easy dessert ~ just to name a few. Don't know if Caroline or P will eat this ~ but there's always more hot dogs!!!

Two of my favorites pasta salads are:

Shrimp Pasta Salad:
1-2 bags baby shrimp (frozen, put in colander and run cold water over to thaw)
sm. box tri-color rotini or bowtie pasta
cheddar cheese cubes (the new Kraft crumbles are great)
salt and pepper to taste
add a few scallions if you like them
toss all together with enough mayonnaise to coat
Serve with a loaf of french bread

Easy Pasta Salad:
28 oz. cheese tortellini (fresh)
2 sm. jars artichoke hearts
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 sm. can sliced black olives
one bottle Girards Light Caesar Dressing
Mix together and let sit a while to marinate if possible

The easiest pasta salad is just picking out what you like. Pick your pasta (tri-color, bowtie, penne, etc) and toss in whatever you and your family like. (Broccoli, artichokes (canned), grilled chicken, cucumbers, carrots, black olives, onion, spinach, bell pepper, mandarin oranges, almonds) The best dressing I've found is Kraft Creamy Italian or Girards Light Ceasar. Simple, cold and stores well.

Monterrey Jack Salsa (watch out, it's addictive)
1 can green chilies (chopped)
1 can black olives (chopped)
4 green onions (chopped)
*1 pkg. shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1-2 tomatoes (chopped) more if desired
½ cup Italian Salad dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)
juice from one fresh lemon and lime
Blend all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips. *Better with Monterrey Jack/Colby shredded cheese). If serving just a little at a time, add cheese as served.

Orange Fluff Dessert (or side salad)
1 small carton creamed cottage cheese
1 large carton cool whip
1 large can pineapple chunks - drained
1 can mandarin oranges
1 small package orange jello - dry
Mix all ingredients in order listed and chill. This can be put in a graham cracker crust for a pie of sorts. And I promise the cottage cheese does not make it gross.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Life!

I have an ugly dying fern hanging on my porch because of this ~

I work very hard every year to keep the birds out of my ferns because once they build a nest, the fern ends up being a mess and dies. And before you attack me about not loving nature, our house is surrounded by trees and woods, so there are plenty of places for birds to start their little families.

However, I would never destroy one that got past me and built a nest. I love watching the progression. I never touch it of course and get on a step stool to look at the nest. I leave it hanging so the neighbor's cat won't get it!

By the way, if you want an easy way, foolproof way to keep birds out of your plants, especially ferns ~ here's my handy-dandy sure fire way. Put hair in the fern. Except for this year obviously, I go to my hairdressers and get a little sack of hair, then put it down in the ferns. Works every time!!!

I will post a pic of the babies once they are born!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jamaica Mission Trip

We returned late Friday night, early Saturday morning from our Jamaica Mission Trip. Words can't express what we experienced. We had a very successful trip and accomplished everything we hoped to. We have become very close to some of the members of the Port Antonio Circuit of Churches and it was great to see them. We are all tired, but feel so very blessed.

To get an idea of what we do I invite you, actually urge you, to visit our Minister of Education's blog about Jamaica. Phillip posted a journal everyday and a final one will appear on Monday. Phillip has written several Sunday School studies, Lenten studies, etc. for our church and his words will give you a better idea of what we experienced than I could ever do!

Visit the blog at I will try to post some pics throughout the week as I get them from others that attended.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jamaica Mission Trip!!!

I leave this Friday morning at 6 am (this is not good as I AM NOT a morning person) for a mission trip with my church to Jamaica. Several years ago our church partnered with a circuit of churches in Jamaica. It was our pastor's idea to share in a true partnership, modeling the 21st century church, working with the people there, not for the people!

It has been just that. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go on the initial visit and covenant with them and we've been another time since. This year, we will go with the youth choir and some other adult members. We visit schools, churches, infirmaries, etc. and do concerts. We will also do work at the church and in some homes. I always come back humbled and blessed beyond measure ~ even leaving through tears as we say goodbye to our friends there.

I ask that you pray for our little group as we minister to and with our brothers and sisters in Jamaica. Pray for our travel and the we glorify God in all that we do and say.

I've had this image on my desktop for several years to remind me everyday to pray for our friends in Jamaica. It was taken from the top of a mountain and the movie Blue Lagoon was filmed in that little cove.
This is a typical house there!

Friday, June 6, 2008


Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer is having a hum-dinger of a giveaway!!!! Courtesy of the folks who were responsible for WOW Hits 1 ~ TWENTY winners will be chosen to win a boxed set of 17 CDs, one CD for each of the artists represented on WOW Hits 1!!!!! That's some SERIOUS music peeps!!! Check out WOW Hits here!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Part Two of the New Do!!

Last week I told you about our new floors! We now have the new countertops!!! They are beautiful, even though the pics don't really do it justice. The only problem is ~ now I have to figure out what to do with the backsplash and I don't like the old stuff on the new countertops!!! hhahahahahahahahaha

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge

Old and New

I have to admit, I will miss the 3 hole sink ~ but this new undermount was free!!!

Old Cooktop and New cooktop
The new hardware looks kinda dull here, but it's really pretty

Closeup countertop and a new light fixture
Okay ~ any economical ideas for backsplash!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sisterchicks Go Brit!

Sisterchick n.: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you are being a brat.

It's another hit for Robin Jones Gunn. I love the sisterchick books. They focus on friends getting together encouraging each other to follow their dreams, face their fears, let go of their pasts, etc. They are humorous, sweet, easy reads that lift my spirit every time I read them. There is always a wonderful message of Christ's love and presence in our lives and how He protects and guides us.

Sisterchicks Go Brit! features two friends who, because of an eccentric older lady, go to London. It is a gift of a lifetime and so very sweet. Reminded us that it's never too late to follow your dreams and take risks. The only downfall of the whole book is that I really would love to travel to London and the book made me just want to all the more!

Check out the upcoming Sisterchick cruise! The Sisterchick website is cool, too! Robin Jones Gunn also has a great series for young people ~ the Christy Miller and the Sierra Jensen series! Check it out here!

This was one of the last books on my list from the Spring Reading Thing at Callapidderdays. Look for more book reviews here!