"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." Angela Schwindt

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Yummy Pie With A Surprise

A couple of years ago our zucchini plants went INSANE!  We had zucchini all over our kitchen counters and could not come up with ways to use it fast enough!  We felt like we were shredding and freezing all day long.  We would beg people to take just one.  I distinctly remember taking several five gallon buckets full of zucchini to a pool party our 4H club had and praying I did not have to take them back home.  That was the day I got an amazing recipe that used zucchini.  Our 4H leader asked me if I had ever tried mock apple pie.  I asked what it was and she explained that it looked and tasted just like an apple pie but you used zucchini.  I expressed my doubt that this was even remotely possible, but she swore it was true.  I had the recipe in hand within 24 hours, and a pie baked within the next 24 hours.  I am here to tell you people that yes this pie does taste and look just like apple pie.  I love this use for zucchini!  I now freeze some of my zucchini in the slices required to make this pie along with shredding for bread.

We love making these pies for unsuspecting people.  We let them eat happily believing that they are enjoying a yummy homemade apple pie then we spring the news on them.  My husband took some to work and did this.  People argued with him when he told them it was zucchini.  They told him he was lying.  LOL!  Cracked me up!

So here is the recipe for what I like to call "Zapple Pie".

Zucchini “Apple” Pie
Use big zucchinis, but still tender enough that you can pierce the skin easily with your thumbnail.
Peel, cut in quarters lengthwise, remove the seeds and slice crosswise.
Toss together:
4 cups zucchini, cooked until tender crisp (I do this in the microwave)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Dash salt
Mix in a bowl:
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
Dash of nutmeg
3 tbsp. of flour
Add zucchini and mix well. It will be runny, but that’s okay.  Dump the filling in to a 9 inch pie crust and dot with butter.  Add the top crust and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown. 
Recipe may be doubled to make the jelly roll pan size pie “slices”.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Got Dirt?

What is it about dirt that makes boys just gravitate to it?  We own a sandbox with nice play sand from Menards and lot of buckets and shovels but if this boy finds a patch of dirt he would much rather play in that.  We have mole issues and every once in awhile they will create mounds of dirt in the yard while they are tunneling.  Jadon loves to play in these. 
I watch him amazed.  He does not even need a shovel.  Nope.  Why waste time going to get a shovel when your hands work perfectly fine?  Ugh.......
It does not take long before the other boy in the yard becomes curious about what Jadon is up to.  As soon as he realizes Jadon has a watering can full of dirt they are best buds. 
Now they are on the move.  John's container is empty so I am sure they are scouting out another good place to dig up some dirt with their hands.

Who needs a sandbox? 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Smoky Mountain Vacation-Post 2

One of my favorite things about our vacation was our cabin. I loved it! It was so cozy and relaxing. I highly recommend that if you are looking for a long weekend getaway that is not a horrible drive from home that you stay here. The bed was so comfortable and I LOVED having a hot tub to soak in after a long day of exploring the area. Here are some pics of the cabin.

There was a charcoal grill that we used twice to cook our meals.  We always bring ingredients to make most of our meals when we travel.  Saves us a lot of money by not eating out.  We ate dinner out once and lunch one not counting the days we were on the road from home and back.

The screened in back porch had two rocking chairs and a swing and my favorite....the hot tub!

There is only one bedroom room with a very comfy king size bed and a good sized tv, a vcr (with a whole cabinet of VHS kids movies), and a dvd player.  There was also a little stereo and the air hockey table in the room.  There were two rather large closets but one had the stackable washer and dryer in it.  LOVED being able to do some laundry and not have to go home with a huge pile of clothes to wash.

This is the living room.  The couch folded out into a queen size bed and that is where the big kids slept at night. 

Kitchen had just about everything you could need in it.  Coffee maker, blender, pots, pans.....
Not very big but when we were only there in the mornings and for a couple hours of the evening it was no big deal.
We had fun challenging each other to rounds of air hockey. 
Oh and were you wondering where our little peanut slept?  Each night we made him this little nest.  We figured he would not sleep in the pack n play anymore now that he love his big boy bed.  We used the mattress part of the pack n play on the floor and just put pillows around him.  He went to sleep easily every night.  He is such a good boy.


The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It is the time of year when all that planting, watering, weeding, weeding, and more weeding finally pays off! The garden is exploding with zucchini and pickling cucumbers right now. We haul in new ones everyday.

There are lots and lots of tomatoes so close to being ready. Any days not the tomato explosion will begin. The spaghetti squash look to be about ready also and there are the cutest little baby watermelons out there. Jadon gets really excited about the watermelon. He LOVES watermelon or "water meme" as he calls them.

Jadon is a good little helper out in the garden. I captured some cute photos while we were out picking the other night.

As you can see our squash and melons are going crazy!  The zucchini plants are bigger than Jadon!  Because we were gone on vacation for a week some of our cucumbers where way too big for canning but we did find enough we could use to make several jars.  We made dill spears, dill hamburger slices, and some dill stackers.  Matt made the stackers by thinly slicing the cucumbers that had gotten too big to use as spears.  Maybe that is why the pickle companies came up with stackers! 

Oooohhhh, so pretty!

Another one of our favorites this time of year is sweet corn!  We love, love, love sweet corn!  This weekend we picked up 19 dozen ears of corn from Matt's uncles farm.  Yesterday was all about corn.  We shucked it, blanched it, removed the kernels from the cob, bagged it and put it in the freezer.  It is so good in the dreary months of winter!

Matt cooked some of the ears because we had to taste test it!  This is the first year that Jadon can eat the corn straight of the cob.  We showed him how to do it and he caught on quick.  Before we knew it he was saying "Done Daddy" and holding the empty cob up.  The bonus to eating corn off the cob is that it is a two handed job so Righty gets to help! 

Looking at it as if to say "Hey, this stuff if pretty good"!

We also went to our first Normal Cornbelters baseball game on Friday.  I will post pics of that later and of course some more vacation pics!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Beating The Heat

Mother Nature is really heating it up out there! Wow! I hate to have the kids cooped up inside when the sun is shining though. There will be so many winter days when we will be wishing for this weather. I hate to waste it. Really the only way to tolerate the heat is to get the hose out and start playing....

Jadon took a break from water to play to ride his bike.
That my boy!  He loves being outside no matter how hot.  Can you tell?
Water break!

Hope you are finding ways to stay cool on these hot summer days! 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Smoky Mountain Vacation-Post 1

We are fresh home from our trip to the Pigeon Forge area of the Smoky Mountains. It was an interesting trip. Not quite the relaxing getaway I was looking for....

We had an unfortunate incident happen while we were off hiking to a waterfall the afternoon of our first full day there. When we returned to our vehicle after hiking we found one of the back windows of our truck smashed and my purse gone. Why one human being would do this to another human being is beyond my comprehension. I will never understand why someone feels that this is something they want to do. I just wonder how a person like that sleeps at night? Do they think about the people they have robbed and stole from while these hard working people are on a vacation that they have looked forward too? I just don't understand....never will....and I am not going to give this horrible experience anymore time here on this blog. We managed to move past this and still enjoy our vacation. I may not have been able to control this situation but I can control how I respond to it and these people were not going to ruin my kids summer trip. Here are the happy memories from our trip.

For dinner the night we arrived we ate at an awesome bbq place called Bennett's Pit Barbecue.  It was delicious!

The rest of these pics are from our first day exploring the Smoky Mountain National Park.  We drove up to an area called Clingman's Dome but it was way to cloudy to see anything so after that we drove to another area of the park to hike a 1.5 mile hike to see some falls called Laurel Falls. 

I have TONS of pics so I will be back with more!!