Monthly Archives: July 2010


BananagramsI think I have a new favorite game.


It was one of the gifts opened at our recent big double birthday bash – and I think we’ve played it almost every day since!

It comes in a cool cloth banana pouch which is filled with little alphabet tiles. The goal is to take your tiles and use them all to make your own connecting words.

One niece described it as “speed Scrabble.” I would call it addicting!

You don’t take turns, so there’s no waiting for another player.

It’s fast.

It’s intense.

And it’s educational (but please don’t tell! )

A sure win in my book!

What’s With the Dead Plants?

Mostly Dead Plants Just look at what I got at the grocery store!

What? You’re not impressed?

My husband wasn’t either – until I told him they were free! 🙂

You still might question what possessed me to bring home some mostly dead plants – even if they are free.

I’m so glad you asked!

First of all – they’re perennials. That means that they will come back year after year from the roots.

These have already blossomed for the year and have died back – leaving behind seed pods full of seeds – which is the second reason I grabbed them.

So not only can I plant the roots, I can harvest those seed pods and plant them as well.

And plant them I will – all of them!

My plan is to plant some of them in my flower garden, and the rest of them – and all the seeds I can gather – will be planted and sprinkled into the deep ditch in the front of the house.

This ditch is too deep to be mowed safely, so I’ve been trying to get wildflowers started in it. Ideally – the plants will naturalize and I will have my own beautiful wildflower garden.

But for now – I am thrilled with my free plants!

Sometimes a little knowledge can  turn what others see as trash into a real treasure!

I’ve linked this post up with Works For Wednesday over at We Are That Family.

Crunchy Marshmallow Bars

chocolate marshamallow barsThings have been just hopping here at my house! We’ve had almost steady company for a few weeks now – mostly kids.

That means I’ve served up a lot of food.

A lot.

Being the good aunt that I am – that means every meal needs a sweet treat! 🙂

And – since it was so hot – I didn’t want to run my oven. So we’ve been enjoying lots of no-bake and little bake bars.

Dagmar and her cousin Molly found this recipe in one of my Taste of Home cookbooks and whipped them up one afternoon.

Several giggles and BLT’S (bites, licks and tastes) later – they presented us with these yummy bars.

Crunchy Marshmallow Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 butter or margarine
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup plain M & M’s

Cream together the butter and brown sugar. beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add to the creamed mixture until it resembles course crumbs (do not overmix).

Press into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Immediately sprinkle with marshmallows and bake another 2-3 minutes or until the marshmallows are puffed. Cool on a wire rack.

Combine the corn syrup, butter, and peanut butter chips in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Stir in the vanilla, cereal, nuts and M & M’s. Spread over the crust.

Cool before cutting and serving.


Fresh Raspberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Vinigrette I’m gonna get all fancy on you today! I feel a little bit like this country gal had gone “Food Network” with this gourmet recipe!

But this fresh raspberry vinaigrette is a winner!

My mom mixed some up and brought it to our family camping trip over the Fourth of July and it was a BIG hit.

She emailed us all the recipe – and I made a batch using the fresh blackberries that the girls picked.

We served it at Dagmar’s birthday supper and got rave reviews! My husband even poured it over his grilled pork loin and ate some on his ice cream!

It’s versatile – you can make it with fresh or frozen berries and you can use strawberries, raspberries, or even blackberries.

And it’s easy! Just a quick whirl in the blender and you are ready to impress!

Fresh Raspberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Original recipe from Terri Nordaker

Mix in blender (food processor works, too)
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar  or  1 cup raspberries + 1/3 cup white/wine/or regular vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon grated onion or dry onion flakes

Slowly add 1 cup oil (any kind will work – I used vegetable)  Note – if you use olive oil you will need warm to room temp before serving because olive oil thickens when refrigerated.

Stir in 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds.

Pour into a pretty serving container and enjoy! Refrigerate any left-overs.

I have no idea how long it will keep in the fridge – we eat a batch as fast as I can mix it up!

I’ve linked this post up with Mouthwatering Monday at A Southern Fairytale, Tuesdays at the Table over All the Small Stuff,  Tuesday Tastes at Crazy Daisy, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday over at Blessed With Grace.

Blackberry Picking

Just what would make my daughters don long sleeves, jeans and boots in the 100 degree heat and tropical humidity of an Iowa summer?

What would make them venture out on the four-wheeler through hay fields, over trails and into the ravines where ticks and poison ivy are rampant?


In one word – blackberries!

Luscious, sweet wild blackberries.

Last year we found the mother lode patch at the edge of the hay field and down into the ravine.

We’ve been anxiously watching them all summer long.

They are finally starting to ripen and Dagmar and Angel Girl have ventured out every other evening to pick until they get so hot their glasses steam over.

Fresh blackberry scones, blackberry pie, blackberries on ice cream, blackberries syrup on pancakes … <happy sigh>

Some things are just worth the extra effort!