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Recipe: What to do with all that summer squash

GreenBeans1It’s almost like reverse burglary. They bang on the door and push it into your arms. It may be left on your stoop or even in your car. Your neighbors, your friends, sometimes strangers- they practically beg you to take some! What is it? PRODUCE!

As a Yankee who relocated some years ago, one of the things I appreciate about living in the south is not only the abundance of fresh produce, but people’s willingness to share it.

No one could go hungry here!

Recently, we helped a friend when her corn came in. All afternoon long we were picking, shucking, de-silking, blanching, cutting it off the cob, and finally bagging to freeze it for the winter. As much as it sounds like work, when you’re with friends, it’s not at all so. Our reward was paid out in golden goodness which we greedily devoured that evening.

Then there were the bags of yellow summer squash which my dad brought to me. Because someone brought it to him. Loads of it. What was I to do with so much squash?

Summer SquashNext came some green beans from a neighbor. Now my fridge was really filling up! I had to figure out something to do with this produce before it went bad.

And so, a new recipe was born. Well, not exactly new. I adapted it a little from a recipe I love from Gooseberry Patch which I was not able to locate online. It uses canned green beans and corn (which needs no cooking beforehand) instead of fresh beans and squash. Although I don’t like this quite as much as the original, at least I was able to knock out some of that squash!

Ready?

Do this the night before or at least early enough for the veggies to cool before the next step.

Get a 9 X 13 pan (preferably glass) and measure enough raw green beans to just cover the bottom, and then throw in a few more. Put them in a large skillet. Put in a half cup of water or so, cover and start steaming. If at any time this gets dry, add a little more water.

Start chopping squash, and again, you’ll need cover the bottom of the baking dish. Then you’ll need at least a handful extra, because this stuff cooks down to nothing. Throw them into the skillet with the beans. Again, if it’s getting dry, add water. Simmer at medium heat until it all starts to get soft, about 15 minutes or so.

Drain any extra water. Spread along bottom of baking dish. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Now you will need:

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup sour cream (reduced fat is ok)
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained well)
10 1/4 oz can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup (one stick) butter melted
1 sleeve round butter crackers (like Ritz) crushed

In a big bowl, mix cheese, onion, sour cream, water chestnuts and soup
together; spread over the vegetables. Combine butter and crackers; sprinkle on top.
Bake 400 for 35- 40 min or till golden brown.

AND HERE ARE THE RESULTS! Mmmmmm…….

Green Bean Casserole In the Oven-YUM!

And a close up of the buttery cracker crumbs…my favorite part….

Crumb Close Up!

Are you getting hungry yet? Go make some!

Green Bean Casserole

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Recommended Resource: Kids-In-Mind Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews: Kids-In-Mind“If you wanna be my _____…..”

“WHAT!?!?! Where did you hear that song?” I hissed at my then 4 year old son. Did any of the other “park mom’s” hear him? I looked around cautiously. What would they think of me?! My sweet boy looked at me with innocent blue eyes, “It was in Chicken Little, mom.”

My husband had taken him to see it the weekend before. How could a movie with a G rating contain such content? How could I miss this? What could I do?!?

If I had been fortunate enough to know about Kids-In-Mind then, I would’ve already found out that Chicken Little would expand a child’s musical interests to include the Spice Girls. This website is one of my very favorite resources. Sure there are other movie review sites, and sometimes I consult them, but I make sure I visit K-I-M before every film that we plan to watch.

This site has very detailed info, and that’s important to me. For instance, I feel like not all violence is equal. Slap stick type cartoons don’t bother me much, but I was told in a review for one popular animated film that a character had a knife to another’s throat. That bothers me. The violence found in The Patriot is not equal to the needless violence in some movies for teens which make killing people look as fun as a trip to Six Flags.

Kids-In-Mind helps to sort through this, and also informs me about nudity, profanity, and substance use. If you’d like to avoid an embarrassing experience at the park, check out their free website here. They also have an app you can purchase found here.

Beat Summer Boredom: Ultimate Water Rocket!

I don’t mind telling you that my husband is the coolest dad on the block. What makes him so cool? Is it a red sports car with all the bells and whistles? Nah. The suave way he dresses? Not a chance. What is it then? It all comes down to one highly sophisticated toy.

Behold: the Water Rocket!

Water Rocket @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.comOk, so it doesn’t look like much, but this is totally the kind of thing that MacGyver would have used to keep cool in the summer (remember him?). Kids gather from all over the neighborhood to watch my husband shoot it off, and to hopefully get sprayed. The water rocket is even more popular than fireworks come Independence Day. A boy who visits his Grandparents across the street annually remembered it from last year. He begged us to bring over on the 4th. His grandpa, who teaches physics at the university here, is equally amazed– “It’s so scientific!”

If you’d like the plans to make your own, click here to go to the This Old House website. You can get plans and there’s also a video to show you how it’s done. You might tweak it a little. I’m told that it would be better to attach part of the string to each side of the trigger mechanism instead of one side as planned.

Now you too can be the the coolest. Only if you don’t live on my block 🙂

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Ruth

Book of RuthRuth is a book that I’ve never thought much about. We all know the story, and it’s just a short little book with few chapters. How much could there possibly be to know about it? More than I thought!

I’ve really been enjoying a series of podcasts from Alistair Begg lately, and wanted to share it. I won’t divulge many details and spoil it, but boy, it’s been a really timely message for me. If you can believe it, he’s stretched that little book out into 10 insightful sermons which you will find here.

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Beat Summer Boredom (and the heat!): Ice Skating

Ice Skates

Ice skating has long been one of our favorite summer activities. Yep, you read me right. Typically a person would only think about ice skating as a winter thing– but let’s face it, it’s hot outside and you don’t want to be out there. Where we live, it’s just a real special kind of life-sucking humid sort of heat, too.

Now, imagine how wonderful it feels when you enter that ice rink and suddenly your lungs are free to breathe in all of that fresh crisp air. It’s like a brick has been lifted right off of your chest! Have I convinced you yet?

We’re very fortunate here in that ice skating is very reasonably priced–only $2 each if you bring along a group. Our rink requires only 10 skaters for this, and it’s not hard to convince people to go! A quick email through our homeschool group’s chain made for about 30+ skaters yesterday, and we had a blast! Some rinks even have free days. So why are you still reading this? Call your local rink and see if you can make a deal!

Bookworm Friday: Viking Quest Series

Raiders from the Sea: Viking Quest SeriesOne thing I’ve struggled with is finding interesting books with appropriate content in them. This has become harder and harder as the years go on and my son gets older. I have long wished someone would make a good list. Assuming that I’m not the only one, I’ve invented “Bookworm Fridays” to outline some of the books we’ve enjoyed. I’m hoping that as you nice readers come along, you’ll leave a few suggestions in the comments section below. PLEASE!

Well, I can’t talk long about books without mentioning Lois Walfrid Johnson. I love her. WE love her- me and my two guys. This is funny because all of her book series involve a female as the main character, but the themes found within and the adventures included are very exciting for boys as well. She also includes a healthy dose of good male characters you can really appreciate. As an added bonus, she’s done extensive historical research in order to create a vivid picture for her readers and all of her books are loaded with true to life details.

Our very favorite series from her is The Viking Quest Series. It follows an Irish girl, Bree, and her brother Devin, who have been taken captive by a young viking with a big ego! They sail the seas and when Bree’s brother is freed, he immediately begins to plan her rescue! Along the way she meets many interesting people, and her captor learns lessons that just might change him forever. Bree also has the privilege of hitching a ride with Leif Ericson as he finds and names new lands!

This book was so exciting, and the places and people that Ms. Johnson describes really come to life. One of the places mentioned in the book, Aurland Fjord, piqued our interest so much that we “Googled” it to find pictures. When my son saw it he was awed. “Wow- that’s beautiful! Will you take me there?”

As you can imagine, this won’t be the last time you’ll hear about this author from me. Still, I do want to mention one thing. There is a sort of hint at romance and finally some wedding planning that comes along later in this series. ***spoiler alert: there is also a small kiss at the end if I remember right!*** I know some parents are not thrilled with the idea of their kids getting excited about these things very early so I wanted to mention it. Still, I feel like I’m pretty strict about what we read and there was nothing I was uncomfortable with nor was it the central theme.

And now that I’ve shared with you, I hope to hear from you below. Thanks in advance!

 

PS You can find out more about Lois Walfrid Johnson by visiting her site: http://www.lwjbooks.com/

Beat Summer Boredom: Printable Paper Planes

Printable Airplane & Helicopter PatternsSome years ago, I found this great site for printing out plane and “helicopter” templates. I’ve found that they never, never cease to amaze kids. The planes have varying degrees of difficulty, but the helicopters are so simple, it’s ridiculous, and they’ll keep kids busy for EVER- especially boys. And just a warning: if you make a boy one of these copters, he’ll want you to make more. Many more. You can make them fly just by throwing them up, but if you’re a cool mom you’ll let the kids stand on a chair.

*note: you’ll need a paper clip for each little helicopter.

Find the templates here.