Wednesday, June 25, 2008

All Time Favorite Chocolate Wonder Cake

The following cake recipe is a favorite in my family. For my sisters and I, it was always the first recipe you got to try solo!! :) It is sure a great recipe for kids because, with no eggs, they can lick that bowl to their hearts desire!! This is the cake I always requested growing up for my birthday (and my husband bakes it for me still) and my kids always request for their birthdays.

Chocolate Wonder Cake

3 C Flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 Tbl cocoa
2 cups sugar

3/4 C oil
2 Tbl vinegar
2 Tbl vanilla
2 C boiling water (We always believed it had to be boiling, but warm works just fine!)

Mix dry ingredients. Make 3 wells. Put oil in one, vinegar in one and vanilla in one. Pour water over top. Stir completely. Put in 9 X 13 and bake at 350 F for about 50 min or until cake tester comes out clean. When cooled, frost or simply sprinkle confectioners sugar on top.

Monday, June 23, 2008

15 Years Ago Today

Fifteen years ago today, I gave birth to our first child, our son Tyler!! I can't believe it has already been 15 years!

If there are moms of young children reading, hold those babies tight. Snuggle and play with them and snuggle some more. You'll look one day at a baby and the next at a young man! Cherish every moment that God gives you!

World's Best Baseball Season!!

Christian's baseball season officially ended this past Saturday. It was the best season ever! Our coaches were incredible! They set such a postive and fun tone for the team. If you could overhear the boys when they play you would hear comments like "good job" or "your awesome" or "great try". The boys truly supported and befriended each other and it was a joy to watch. Christian came home happy and excited from every game.

A little over half of the families are from our church. It was a great opportunity to get to know some of the other boys from church (as well as other friends too!).

All this fun led to a great record: 11-1. We won 11 games and lost 1! :)

Here is Christian with his favorite assistant coach, his dad:

Christian with his trophy:

Rounding home plate in the last game:

What a blessing this baseball season was!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's Strawberry Season!!

Yes, it is officially strawberry season in Maine!! But before I talk about that let me give you a little household tip... Do you want to keep the inside ledge of your windows clean? Here is a foolproof method:

Yes, that's right...get a Shih Tzu!! Oh and they like to listen to Christian music...LOL!

On to strawberries... Yesterday we went strawberry picking. I definitely plan to go back often! In 30 minutes the kids picked 8.75 pounds of strawberries. The views are beautiful too.

This farm is not even 10 minutes drive from our home. I do love having locally grown food. The owner of the farm was working the stand and he just gushed about being a farmer. He told about his winter trip to Costa Rica and all the wonderful things they grow year round. You know you love your job when you go to see what others do in the same profession on your vacations!!

They are having a good year and I pray they continue to get the right weather. The owner said they expect to be picking strawberries all the way to October! That is quite a statement for a Mainer to make!

Ahhhh...the fruits of our labors!!

Oh I just LOVE summer. There is just so much to do. Our schedules are busy but they are busy with getting together with friends and family, not so much about endless activities. It is busy with relaxing by a lake or local pool or the ocean, campfires and smores, barbeques and family days, and on a hot cream with STRAWBERRIES on top!! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Gardening Fun...

Yesterday we were able to get more gardening done. By "we" I mean, my kids got more gardening done! :) Whenever I say "we" need to do..., my oldest son always says, "Who is this *we*?" He's a smart boy, lol!

Rachel and Christian worked on getting the tomato plants and marigold plants in on one side of the raised bed. At some point Rachel did have to ditch that apple!! Gardening and eating an apple really don't go well together!!

Ta daaaaaa...

Tyler cleared the other side and rototilled it with a shovel.

Then he planted the peas, onions and cucumbers. I hope they grow!!

Rachel was in charge of making labels to help us remember where everything was planted. She used popsicle stick for our labels.

Today we plan to go strawberry picking at a local farm. I am very exciting to start bringing fresh grown fruits into the house! I just found out that this farm sells fruit trees and fruit bearing plants. I need to give that some serious thought.

I still feel like a novice when it comes to gardening. At our old house, anything grew! You could throw a flower that you uprooted on the ground and it would root and grow. It was too easy. Now I have terrible soil, very sandy and very acidic and it is a whole new experience. Plus we had almost 3 acres before and now we have just under 1/2 an acre. My goal is to grow as much as I can to eat and still have space for the kids to play. It will be an ongoing learning experience!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Around the Yard...

Gone are the days of snow storms and activities being cancelled for snow! Thus, my poor blog has suffered! We'll see if I can get myself on a good pattern of blogging again! :)

Our spring activities are winding down. Dance is over and this is our last week of baseball AND there is only one more additional week of premier soccer!! I don't know if I ever believed this time would come.

Here is Rachel in her jazz costume as we got ready for her "Picture Day." It represents a close of the dance year! (You'll notice alot of pics of Rachel on my blog. I love all my kids the same but she is the one who follows me around, looking to join me in whatever I happen to be doing! :) )

Anyway, I thought I would give you a tour around my yard because this has been my focus for spring. I do have a few more things to do though!

But first...I want to show my new rage...

I love warm weather because I get to put berries in my cereal or oatmeal!! I need to cut down on coffee but it is hard with such modern marvels as flavored, fat free cream...LOL!!!

Okay back to the yard... Rachel and I took off for the greenhouse on a very hot and muggy day. It was the perfect day to go if you want to watch your spending. You're just not going to stay too long if you can't get oxygen out of the air! Rachel picked out all of our flowers this year. She plants them as I can't with my back problems, so I decided she deserved to have a say-so with just some guidance from me.

I think my favorite annual is the Tuberous Begonia! They look like a rose. Rachel and I picked this one because we loved the yellow color. Last year we chose pink and red. I'd like to get more if I can afford it. :)

Each year we plant these two barrels. This year we decided to put a tall perennial in the middle. It is from the phlox family but does keep its blooms through the summer. I do need to get one more impatien for each pot for the back. I miscounted! I do keep the barrel light because I have learned that as these flowers grow they really expand and get nice and crowded by themselves without buying too many!

I just love phlox, by the way. I have the creeping phlox in my "early spring" flower garen. It is a circular garden with phlox on the outside and irises on the inside. It has passed it blooming season. I also have tall phlox in another garden. It blooms in clusters and is white. I'll show those another time. They are up but bloom in late summer.

Now here is my mint. Notice how it is crowding my rhubarb right out! I need to figure out what I want to use this mint for as it needs desparate thinning. It is like a weed! I'll definitely be potting some up and finding nice homes for the extras. We have 3 married couples in our College/Career Bible Study so I'll start there! Oh, and maybe my pastor's wife would like some...

Another weed-like herb is Oregano. This was here when I bought the house and I have divided it twice and the other bunches are as big or bigger than this one! I plan to give some of this away too. Today we will cut some of this and dry it.

Now here is my "To-Do List"

I bought a couple of strawberry plants thinking I had the patience to wait for them to multiply. Silly 43 years old I ought to know myself better! LOL! I hope to buy more soon. One of these plants has a wee little strawberry popping out proving I may actually be able to grow strawberries!!

These are my tomato plants and marigolds that I hope to put in today. I never plant tomatoes without marigolds! The marigolds keep those tomato worms away! ...And they look pretty and are hardy too!

Now this is a new spot for veggies. I need to clean up behind this fence so all is pretty! In the back are Daylilies. They have been there a couple of years. Now I have horrible soil. I am starting to compost this year so help with that. But, for now, I had Tyler dig a spot and we filled it with good potting soil and planted peppers. We'll see how they do there. Last year I planted them with my tomatoes in my raised bed and they got crowded out and never even flowered. Let's see if they like this home that they have all to themselves.

For seeds, I have peas, onions, and cukes. I may add more. I thought I had bought green beans but I bought onions! They had these organic seeds right at the grocery store so I could not resist!!

There's lots more I could show you but I will save it for another day. I am trying to figure out how best to use our 1/2 acre lot for beautiful flowers and yummy herbs and veggies!

How is your garden growing?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Twice Tagged!

I have been tagged twice! First by my friend Nicole at and then by my friend Linda at . This is a blessing because I needed something to get me blogging again! I go through "quiet spells" and then have a hard time breaking them. Okay, here goes...

The Rules:
~Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
~Link the person(s) who tagged you.
~Mention the rules on your blog.
~Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
~Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

1. My *conditions* must be perfect in order to sleep. My pillows have to feel a certain way, the fan needs to be on, sheets straight, certain weight of blankets, and I must be able to see the time when I open my eyes. I can't get back to sleep if I wake up and don't know what time it is! My husband thinks I am an OCD sleeper! I can so tell if someone switches my pillow!

2. I love light and hate my windows being covered! I got a storm door in the livingroom that is one big window pane so that I can open the door and get the light in!

3. I am with Nicole in hating ebooks. I gotta hold that book!! I also have a hard time paying attention to audio books. My mind drifts!

4. I am like a fish out of water if I visit someone too long and don't have a home to care for! I get depressed if I have no housework to do for too long of a stretch. Weird huh?

5. I like having my kids and husband around me all the time. If one my little chicks are not in the nest, it just doesn't feel good!

6. Cleaner scents make me really sick, even *all natural ones*!! Flowery candles make me sick too!!

Okay, I stink at tagging people so I'll come back and edit and tag some people later today! :)