Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dad's Garden, Part 7

Even considering the beating that the garden has taken over the last week or so with the frequent thunderstorms and a hail storm, the garden is producing like gangbusters right now.

The garden is gorgeous!  A real work of art.

Although the foliage on this tomato plant isn't impressive,
this heirloom tomato makes amazing fruit.
It evidently is more concerned about putting its efforts
into the tomatoes, not the leaves.

This isn't a row of weeds, it is a row of barley.
Dad is growing it to use in his pond to control algae. 
Who knew?

The okra is coming along.
This particular variety that Dad grows is really nice - the pods don't get spiny as it grows.
Okra is one of those veggies that I love just about any way that it is cooked - boiled, pickled, fried, just about any way but raw.

These snaggle-toothed rows are a sign that cabbage season is coming to an end. 
Between the heads of cabbage that Dad has harvested for them, church, neighbors
and your's truly he has picked about 60 heads.

There are a few of these beauties left. 
This one was particularly pretty with the rain dotting the edges of the leaves.

As the cabbages fade out, the sweet potato mounds are starting to take off. 
Over the next couple of weeks these vines will take off.

Dad spends a lot of time picking blueberries because the birds want to help pick the berries.
He told me he looked out his window and his blueberry bushes looked like
Christmas trees because of all of the cardinals munching on the berries.

Lovely, productive time of the year in my folk's yard.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Scout Camp Prep

Son leaves very early in the morning for a week of scout camp.
He has all of his gear packed and ready to go.

All that is left to do is to make our customary Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

He has taken these just about every year that he has gone to camp.
They are his favorite and a favorite of his troop.

He tells me that he shares.  I want to believe him.
They are very yummy - crispy, buttery, with nuts and chocolate chips.
I am glad that he is taking them all with him.
I have no control around these cookies. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dinner Party!

I am really stoked!

Bruce and I are hosting a dinner party tonight with our new pastor and his wife
and our minister of music and her husband. 
We have been looking forward to this evening. 

But I gotta tell you - I am really excited to get to use all of the china that I acquired

Isn't it pretty! I love the china that my grandmother picked out 70ish years ago. 
Great choice Nannie!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Continuing on a theme...

Peaches, in self-less service to our family, takes it upon herself to make sure that our dishes
are truly rinsed and ready for the dishwasher.

With a tongue like hers she can practically lick both sides of a spatula at once.

She loves her job.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thank You Maranatha!

Reason #46 that I am glad that Ben has been junior staff at Maranatha.
At camp he puts in a lot of time doing "grunt" jobs like kitchen cleaning, mopping, sweeping,
cleaning bathrooms, in addition to the more glamorous jobs like lifeguarding.

After dinner tonight he helped to clear the dishes from the table, as per usual.
Bruce and the kids generally will put the dishes in the sink
or into the dishwasher and clear the table.

Tonight Ben stayed in the kitchen until all of the hand wash items were washed and left
to air dry and wiped down the countertops. 
He put soap into the dishwasher and started it.

Um, wow. 
A mom could get used to this.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Connect the Dots

Something about all of those freckles makes me want to grab
a sharpie and start connecting the dots.
Rest assured it would be a full-contact activity. 

This is not the face of a dog who wants to have her dots connected.
At all.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Derby Time

Tonight our family did something totally out of the ordinary for us.
We went to the roller derby.

Turns out that our town has a pretty impressive roller derby team.
They are called the Dixie Derby Girls.
They have great derby aliases like "Lola Pirhana", "Mshell-o-Bombher",
Disgrace Kelly", and "Bama Bruiser". 

There were several hundred people who turned out for a special night tonight.
It was the "Skate Wars: The Fempire Strikes Back" night where
a perccentage of the profits went to charity.

Two of the women on the team are moms from my kids' past school.
Just ordinary career women who skate for the derby for sport and exercise.
And to occassionally to support a good cause.

This is a pretty easy game to figure out so it is fun to watch and keep up with the scoring.
And let me tell you - these girls need every bit of protective gear that they wear.
This is action packed and fast-moving.

If you want something completely different from the usual movie and dinner out
you should consider giving it a try.

*Sorry these pics are so grainy and blurry - they were taken with my iphone zoomed all the way out.

Iphone 4 Fascination

So a few weeks ago I got a new Iphone 4.

Allison has enjoyed using it immensely. 

I wonder if she knows that it makes phone calls. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fun with a Purpose

This week I am having the privilege of being camp nurse for Maranatha Camp and Conference Center in Scottsboro.  It is the Presbyterian camp for our area.

What is extra special to me this week is that I am here with my children.

Ben is one of the junior counselors.
Junior meaning that he is too young to take a group on by himself so he gets to help
 with all of the other tasks that need to get done to make camp run smoothly.

Like lifeguarding, kitchen and dining hall cleanup, the ever elusive "other duties as assigned"...

and helping to run some of the activities, like the very popular slip-and-slide.
And this is a volunteer position.

I am telling you, this kid justs might turn out alright.
And BTW, he is getting a terrific tan - not an ability he inherited from his English/Irish mother!

Allison is a camper this week and chose to be part of a very special group.
The group goes by the acromyn SWAT, standing for "Servants With A Testimony".
These campers have chosen to participate in a mission project as their main activity during the day.
They get up, have breakfast, and load up to go to New Market to be part of
the big playground build at Sharon Johnson Park.

Their days have been spent in the heat waterproofing lumber and stacking it
for the men and women who will cut and fit it into place.
They also placed the stakes around the entire worksite and stretched the orange temporary fencing.

These campers have worked very hard this week and have a great sense of accomplishment.
I can see it in their faces when I speak to them about their work.

I am proud of my children. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun In The Sun

This week I have the big privilege of spending lots of time with some 

impressive campers and staff at Maranatha.

It is nice to see children that I have known since they were little bitties growing up 
to be lovely, well-adjusted older children, teens, and young adults.

I am also impressed with the facility at Maranatha. 
 It was improved so much over the last few years since I was here last.

Gene Joiner and his staff have transformed the camp into 
a full outdoor programs camp complete with a terrific high ropes course, 
archery, paintball course, swimming, canoeing, 
knee boarding, and some giant water toys. 
 There is something to keep these kids interested and happy all day long.

It is also fun to watch the kid's confidence grow with the activities that they begin to master.

Big time at Maranatha.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dad's Garden, Part 6

So - after church today the family and I went to my folks' home to celebrate Father's Day.
Turns out it isn't Father's Day.
Oh well, at least we weren't late.
We enjoyed lunch that included cole slaw, green beans, and squash casserole -
all made with veggies fresh out of the garden.
We might just have to celebrate Father's Day again next week, you know, when it is really Father's Day. 

The green-to-dirt ratio is shifting rapidly.
I love the way the garden looks now.
Very green and orderly.

The tomatoes are coming right along.

When these babies start ripening there are going to be lots of tomatoes to deal with.
Canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, BLTs.
Mmmmm, sounds good to me!

This pretty silvery foliage belongs to the broccoli. 
I asked Dad if it was going to be able to head before the heat gets to it. 
He tells me that it is a heat-tolerant variety.
Good thing, it has been crazy hot lately.

Cute, huh?

The Grandma Parham's beans are producing now!
I love these beans.
I think these are the only green beans that I have actually craved.

The Grandmas Parham's beans start off with these cute little flowers...

And turn into these lovely magenta beans.
They turn green when you cook them, but they start off the prettiest color.

Speaking of pretty - this cabbage looks like a giant rose.
Just lovely.
Pretty darn tasty too.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

One Tired Counselor

Ben came home Friday evening following his first week at camp with campers. 
He spent the week lifeguarding, helping with the high ropes course,
helping in the kitchen and pretty much else anything else that he was told to do. 
He was tan and tired. 

This is what he looked like for several hours this afternoon.
He started out watching a movie, but once he got still sleep won. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Haiti Mission Team Reunion

Today most of the Haiti mission team were reunited.
Becca was asked to preach at a local church and as many as could attended.
After church we all came back to my home for lunch.
We had 5 team members, 5 spouses, and 1 teenager, and 8 assorted children.
It was a lively bunch.

We had lots of time to catch up and meet spouses and kids.
This is Karren (aka Karreem) and Becca.
Karreem is our pharmacist extroidinaire and is a very sweet person.
Becca was our math teacher/permetherin application specialist on the trip.
She is the one who preached today - and did a mighty fine job.

Not pictured is Jenny - she was behind the camera today.
Jenny is a physician and she organizes our trips.  Great leader!

Thanks for commandeering the camera Jenny!
Being the one behind the camera, I don't usually appear on my blog.
It figures I would be talking in the one picture that was in focus!

There were fresh pizzas made by yours truly -
and were pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

This is Courtney - one of my new friends from the mission team.
She is a nurse and has become a close friend.
She has a lovely snarky sense of humor - like me!

The team is already talking about out next trip together - probably in September.
I am ready!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sibling Bonding Time

Ben came home from camp on Thursday evening. 
The camp director wanted all of the counselors to come home and have a weekend at home
before camp begins and kids start showing up in droves. 

A week or so away from home has made Ben appreciate his sister a little more. 
I have always known that they really do like each other, they just forget sometimes.

Given a little time to reset every once in a while isn't a bad thing.

Ben is back to camp on Sunday for the first week with campers.
I won't see him again until next weekend.

Stay safe and have fun son!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Game Night

During the power outage following the tornados last month
hubs and the kids rediscovered how fun board games can be.

Tonight Parcheesi was the game du jour.

It was much fun, although it is one of those games that can go on for hours!
Just when you start thinking that you are rounding the last corner and headed home
someone knocks you out of play and you have to start over. 

Come to think of it, this might not be a bad life lesson.
We have to learn to roll with the punches, huh?

Allison, as usual, feels obligated to give my wine a try.
This is the usual face she makes.
I don't have a problem that she can't stand the stuff.
Nope, not at all.

By the way, was is a coincidence that her game pieces
were the same color of her fingernail polish?
I think not!

And I would like to say that I am thoroughly enjoying having Ben home for the weekend.
He is having a great time at camp, learning so much and gaining confidence in his abilities.
He earned his lifeguard certification last week and
has been doing staff training for the last week.

He isn't a finished product yet, but he is growing and maturing nicely.
I am very proud of him.

OK, and in my usual unbiased fashion, I think this is one handsome kid.