Blackberries

Ahh..the wonder of the late summer blackberry.

Almost as big as my thumb, these beauties topped our ice cream, landed in our oatmeal, and were luscious in our scones.

BerriesBut ohh…the pain of picking the late summer blackberry!

It’s bad enough that it grows smack dab in the middle of the poison ivy at the edge of the ravine. But then you have the thorns – or should I say spikes?

Those bad boys are so nasty you almost need almost full-body gear for protection!

And of course – there’s the heat and humidity – making that full body gear almost unbearable.

So why do we bother?

Because the warm, sweet deliciousness of a freshly picked blackberry – that stains your hands, your tongue, even the kitchen counter – is just that good.

It makes that kerplink – kerplank – kerplunk in the bottom of the bucket music to our ears.

Some things in life are just worth the extra effort.

Mystery in the Miracles

Once again we pulled off a one day – all day – Vacation Bible School – and had a great time doing it!

The youth group kids and the entire church family jumped in to help create a day of mysteries.

VBS DagmarI had some seriously wonderful help from start to finish.

VBS detectiveWe learned who Jesus is by studied the mysteries in His miracles.  (Yes – that is my oldest son Matt and yes – he is growing a beard. gulp)

VBS puppetsWe had hilarious puppet shows with an Australian goat and a hillbilly donkey.

VBSAnd we went around the world gathering clues to solve the mystery. Miss Dorothy really rocked the Bolivian look!

VBS PedroWhile Pedro took the kids to the Antarctic to go iceberg bobbing.

VBS water slideAnd we had water. Lots of water. Lots and lots of water. Which was good – because it was a hot day. So hot that the Australian waterfall was a big hit.

We sent the kids home soaking wet but grinning from ear to ear.

They heard the gospel, learned about the Savior, and had a wonderful time!

Mission accomplished.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

smoothieIt’s hot.

Really, really hot.

I mean beastly hot.

And of course it’s time to bale hay.  So when the guys have been out in the brutal heat all afternoon – I like to have something really cold and refreshing waiting for them.

Something like this frozen strawberry lemonade.

It took seconds to whiz up in the blender and was a big hit with my hot crew.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

2 cups of lemonade
1-2 cups of frozen strawberries
2 cups of ice cubes
1-2 tablespoons sugar (as needed)

Dump all the ingredients in the blender and give it a whirl for a minute or two. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

Serves 4 normal people but only 1 hot and thirsty kid whose been haying.

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Digging Out

After the craziness of the fair died down (By the way – the kids did great – a thank you to everyone who wished them well!) – it was time to dig out the garden.

Once I found the plants again, I had some pleasant surprises!Corn stocksThe corn has been  growing fast and already has tassels and silk. My mouth waters just looking at it!
MelonsI found several baby watermelon tucked away under the leaves.
PlantsThe winter squash, pumpkin and some volunteer gourds have taken over the bottom section! I see several little pumpkins  and butternut squash forming, but absolutely no zucchini or summer squash.

Am I the only one in the world who can’t grow a zucchini?

BeensBut I can grow cucumbers! I had to pull a lot of weeds before I even uncovered the plant – and very excited to find this guy hiding in the leaves. Isn’t it beautiful?  🙂

Cucumbers

And then there’s our summer staple – the fresh green bean. We’ve had just enough to eat fresh –  lightly steamed and served with butter. Yum!

Somehow all the sweat and hard work is worth it when you see those fresh veggies on the table!

I’ve linked this post up with the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

DessertIt’s summertime!

The days are longer.

The temperatures are higher and my days are busier!

It sounds like the perfect time to make a yummy ice cream dessert!

This recipe was the inspiration for two of our family favorites, Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Dessert and Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert.  Both of which we’ve enjoyed often.

But would you believe that we have never made the original?!

It was past time to try it.

And it was delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Dessert

1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 cups chocolate ice cream, softened, divided.

Filling:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter, either crunchy or smooth
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped (I cheated and used about 4 ounces of Cool Whip)

Line the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 inch x 3 inch x 5 inch) with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped peanuts, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Press half into the bottom of the foil lined pan. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Spread half of the ice cream over the crust and freeze for 1 hour.

(Here’s a hint for the ice cream: a half-gallon carton is the perfect size! Open it up lengthwise and cut the rectangle of ice cream in half. Then cut one of the halves into thirds and squish them into the loaf pan. Put the rest of the ice cream in the freezer till later.)

Meanwhile, for the filling, beat cream cheese and peanut butter in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream.

Spread over the ice cream and freeze for 1 hour or until firm.

Spread with remaining ice cream – the pan will be very full. (Just cut the remaining half of the carton of ice cream into thirds and start squishing it in!) Press the remaining crumb mixture on top. Cover and freeze for several hours of overnight.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving. using the foil, remove the loaf from the pan and discard the foil.

Cut into pieces with a serrated knife.  It should yield 10-12 large slices, or 15 smaller ones.

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.