Monday, June 29, 2009

Good golly, gourds!

I think I mentioned my volunteer gourds from last years planting, in the garden. They are small ornamental gourds. This year I planted large bottle neck gourds. Well it looks like the volunteers have pretty much choked out our bottle necks. Not enough nitrogen for both I suppose. Here is a pic of two large ornamental gourds and a few of our cucs that were picked today . We have also harvested about 4 pounds of beans, green snap and wax, this week. I see the pumpkins are also starting to fruit. God is good and I thank Him everyday for blessing me, my family and my humble garden.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Early ending

My daughter and her family left yesterday in a rush, putting an early ending on their visit. She received word that her husband had been injured at work and was in the hospital. He had a blood clot on his brain and needed surgery. Since then she has called to let me know that all went well and he should be able to come home by Wednesday. I have been praying and can't even imagine the feeling of being four states away while your husband is having brain surgery. My daughter is a very brave women and I am proud of her. Here are some more photo's of their visit. These are from the Discovery Center in Murfree Springs.

Here is dd and grandson playing on the excavator.

Grandson loved this so much he didn't want anyone else to play on it.

Here is twin dd playing on a crane.

Grandson's big sister had to give the crane ago as well.

Oldest son also on the big red crane.

Lastly, here is oldest dd on the crane, what a popular gadget!
We did get to take all the kids and grandchildren to the drive-in movie's and saw "UP". It was a totally awesome movie and I can't wait to buy it! We don't buy many, but this one is a must. We also got treated to a spectacular lightening show as we waited for the movie to start. When the rain came it didn't last long and we just moved into the back of our Durango and dd's van, when it ended out came the camping chairs again. It has been so hot and muggy here that no one wanted to stay in the cars, we were not alone, many a lawn chair was spotted at the drive-in that night - LOL
Keep all in your prayers and blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, June 26, 2009

still here

Just a quick check in. My oldest DD and her entourage arrived Monday, about 5 a.m. YIKES! LOL Since then it has been complete and utter chaos, but loving every moment of it. So far we have spent many hours in the pool, good thing since today is like 99 here - zoinks! Wednesday I ended up cooking for our church dinner. One of our church members was in a severe car accident and her grandma was the cook for the night, but was needed to step in and take care of our injure member and her 8 month old baby. I brought all my kids, including oldest DD, her kids and her friend that is traveling with them. They all helped me cook. With one church member falling off the roof and now another in a car accident . . . well lets just say I am watching myself and my family. Lost twin DD Wed. night, but that ended OK. Yesterday we went to the Discovery Center, those pic's coming soon, and tonight is the drive - in movies to see UP!

Here are a couple pic's of my grandson to hold you over. J with a huge smile and a sippy cup of chocolate milk, what more can one ask for? J with his grandpa K and Uncle E building a marble tower.
Will keep all posted.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beautiful Bean Booty

I am so a nerd. I am so jazzed about our garden. Here is a pick of the beans we picked last night - "Roll that beautiful bean footage!". Awesome right?!? I planted both wax (yellow) and Kentucky Kings (green). After cleaning them, snapping them and blanching them; whew, I had 17 1/4 oz. LOL Still, their our own beans and there is plenty more where they came from. Our tomatoes are doing so good that strangers are coming up to our door to ask about them. I think the cucumbers are almost ready also. Last year was a bust on cuc's, so this year went with the bush variety instead. I also paid a little more and ordered everything from Burpee, can definitely see the difference this year. The peppers are getting there but have about 3 banana peppers to pick already. I planted some bottle neck gourds to do crafts with, but not many of them germinated. On the other hand, I planted ornamental gourds last year and bunch of them came up this year as volunteers. Weird huh? Next year I think I may try beets and some summer squash and zucchini. Anything I can blanch/freeze I am great with, it's the pickling thing that gets me. I may try making pickles when the cuc's are ready but it seems time consuming to say the least and a tad over whelming, not to mention the jar/lid/seal investment. Sigh, what is a gardener to do?
Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Still waiting . . .

well we are still waiting on my oldest daughter to arrive. She has had a string of bad luck like you wouldn't believe. Well, maybe you would if you know my family! LOL We are hoping today is the day she leaves MI and heads down south to our waiting arms. When ever she gets here we are ready. I took the kids for haircuts last week and am going to force her and the grand kids to sit with my youngest four for a family picture. That was the only thing I wanted for Mothers day, a new family pic, and now is my big chance! Again, anyone who knows us knows that my oldest son has not had a hair cut for six months - for various reasons. Here are some of my most recent photos of him:

At work with the vet crew, he is the one with the hipster hat : )

Here he is modeling a parting gift from Grandpa D

Here is a black and white cell phone self portrait - love the fedora, crazy man, crazy

Stay tuned for a new photo with his hair cut and for family pic's with big sister K! Sorry I got your hopes up, just no current pic's now.

It has also been brought to my attention that I have as of yet not posted any pictures of our new feline addition. If you remember we agreed to take on this cat because she is paralyzed from the waist down. The vet knew we had experience with that because of my mini doxin. Her name is Bubbles and she is amazing. She can drag herself around the house using her front legs, at about 60 miles an hour! She can also pull herself up on any piece of furniture with her front paws, which one has six toes and the other seven! I think we need a ramp before all my furniture is shredded - LOL We have to take her outside to express her (pee) like we used to with Howard, the doxie. Howard is almost back to normal, 3 years latter, but still has some bad days and needs pain pills occasionally (don't we all). Howard even was able to scratch his neck for the first time in 3 years, last week (as best as a mini dog can : ) ! But the prognosis for Bubbles doesn't seem so cheery. We have been crating her in Howard's old pen and do see some slight improvement with that. Guess her future has yet to cast in stone .

Here is Bubbles, hard to tell from this pic but she is a gray tabby

This is a classic Bubble pose, she is always demanding something! She actually quiet the Diva for someone who needs so much help - LOL

Well maybe I will spend the day taking more pic's of cats and kids with hair cuts. What else am I going to do while waiting for my daughter? Ok, well maybe I'll take the pic's after I get out the pool. Been hotter than Hades down here for past week or so. Will keep you posted.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life is a Yurt

yurt [yurt](plural yurts) n Asian tent:

a collapsible circular tent of skins stretched over a pole frame, originally used by Central Asian nomadic peoples and now used more widely
[Late 18th century. Via Russian yurta from, ultimately, Turkic jurt .]Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This past Sunday we went to a cook-out at one of our church members . . . homes? Yard? Mountain? Yurt? Yea, yurt. Several families went. Despite being invited before, this was still our first time. Interesting. Why does our British friend live in a yurt on the side of a mountain? Well he is used to it and loves it. In his youth he traveled all over Britain, Africa,and Europe giving land tours and that is how they lived.

The fellowship was good and the children had a blast. When asked their favorite part of the picnic however I was surprised to hear 'chips'. I thought for sure it would be horses. Some friends from down the lane brought their horses over and gave the kids rides. All the kids enjoyed it, especially our youngest twin daughter. However despite now declaring himself a "cowboy", I guess our twin son enjoyed the "chips" more, an almost forbidden food at our house - LOL

Here is our host . . .

Here is our cowboy, with the Yurt behind him

Here is twin daughter on like her third ride : )

Middle daughter had a wonderful time too and wished she could do it more often

Oldest son surprised us, we didn't know he was so good a riding. Good thing since he has decided that when he goes to Vet. college, he will be specializing in large animal husbandry.
Only thing missing was oldest daughter and grand kids, but they will be here late tonight or early in the a.m. What wonderful blessings I have.
Beth Ann

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Wanted to share this photo essay of our black cat, Joe. He adopted us about a year ago, and didn't commit himself fully until about mid October, when it got to chilly to sleep comfortably outside apparently - LOL Since then, well I can't really remember NOT having him. He is fiercely independent and his only furry friend is our white cat, Tina. My husband has claimed him as his cat, not sure Joe knows this. Joe does not appreciate our dogs, especially the healer, and enjoys teasing the crippled mini doxin - yea, he's that kind of cat. So to avoid the big dog, or our fury at his treatment of the little one . . .

Joe has taken to new heights, the top of the kitchen cabinets to be exact.

Many times we don't even realize he is up there until he sneezes (no I don't dust up there, well . . . anywhere else either - LOL )

From this vantage point he can survey his domain (and the damage he has wreaked)
Ah, the sleep of the convicted (in more than one sense).

That in a nut shell is Joe. His other favorite activities are: sleeping until approx 4 a.m. and then wanting to play. He will jump up on your chest/shoulder, depending on how you sleep, and patting your face until you wake up. He is also an avid bird hunter and has started an outreach program for other inner city cats, teaching them how to catch birds. Joe has brought home everything from a hummer (bad Joe) to a starling (good Joe) and leaves them (well their feathers) on our door mat. Apparently this is not a sign of the feline Mafia (ala Godfather and horse heads) but a sign that he like us; really, really likes us - according to my husband. So we take Joe with the good and the bad, since he babysits our narcoleptic cat who is younger and stupid, we appreciate him just the way he is.


Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, June 12, 2009

Random smiles

I just thought I would share these random pictures that make me smile with you. I swear they look better on the phone when I take them then they do here, sorry, but I think you get the idea.

Money has been tight, but I splurged on a table cloth for the back deck. This is our most favorite spot to spend time. I can sit at this table and do anything from eat breakfast or work on shopping list and still see the kids. To the left is our pool, connected to same deck, and to the back is our yard with a ginormous play set. I love having a screened in deck, we even do our school work out there and have been known to sit through the remnants of hurricanes as they pass by as well. So I thought my little oasis deserved a face lift : )

Here is the same back deck, with a view to the back yard and the play area. Here is the twins play kitchen, complete with a rug in front of the oven like mom's : ) We had this stored in the basement over the winter but brought it up and cleaned it up with the anticipation of my grand kids coming to visit. Best thing is that when you do that, the kids feel like it's a brand new toy since they haven't seen it in 6 months! LOL

Finely, here is a picture of our oldest cat = Pumpkin. We don't talk much about her, she is just quiet and old. But thought this was a great pic of her on one of the sofa pillows that someone left in Grandma S's rocking recliner. S gave it us two years ago, but it will always be hers. Pumpkin always wished she belonged to S, so I think she knows who's chair it is! So Grandma S, this pic is for you! Even though your in Vegas, your not forgotten! : )
Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It has been a few days since I have posted. My only explanation or is it defense, is that it has been crazy around here. I finished working at the church on Tuesday and promptly got sick. I have been feeling poorly for the past two days and believe it is a combo of heat and bad diet. While cooking for others I felt to busy, hot and tired to keep my eyes on what I ate. Not to mention that it is getting closer to payday and that means the cupboards are bare. So we have settled for some convince foods to get us through. Been two months since any child support has come, little as that is, but that would help. Anyway, got a big crock pot of chili going right now and some zucchini bread in the oven. There goes the rest of my energy for the day . . . I do still have my WW meeting to get to tonight, hope I feel up to it. I was down another 2/10 last week. I just keep nickle and dimming it . . .
Ran the kids into the library today for their summer reading program. We missed it last week, and like to go early anyway to avoid all the chaos. Twin son has some real mild SI (sensory integration disorder - can't stand loud nosies and needs to feel textures, ect.) so it's best to beat the crowds. While we were there a severe thunderstorm broke lose (had no idea we were even under an advisory) and a tree limb (big one) feel on a ladies car in the parking lot. Lot's of action. Came home and saw that our neighbors tree had split in half and had missed landing on his car and fence by mere inches. Only thing in our yard to get a beating was the garden, but think it will bounce back. At the very worst we lost maybe 3 bean plants and a bottle neck gourd vine.
Well only 6 more days until my oldest daughter arrives, late at night, counting today. Can you tell we are excited? I see her once a year if I am lucky and the children miss her sooo much as well. Words can't even describe how I am feeling about her visit. Oldest son is acting up alot recently and we feel it is over some anger issues with his birth father, so we are hoping it will help to see his big sis and share some of the pain. I love my kids and am soooooo excited about this visit!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Friday, June 05, 2009

Feeling blessed

I am sitting here just finishing up my menu and shopping list for the church roof crew - and sometimes more : ) I feel blessed to have been a part of this project to fix our church roof that was blown off during the Good Friday tornadoes that plagued middle TN. this year. First, it gave me a chance to get to know a few of the church members better. Just seeing each other on Sundays and Wed. sometimes doesn't give you the chance to mingle out of your element so to speak. Second, it got me out of the house and out of myself - part of a bigger cause. Third, the insurance company is paying the workers, and that includes cooks. I can't tell you what a blessing that has been. Twice we were worried about grocery money, never any after paying the bills, and twice we were provided for with this endeavour. So many other blessings come to mind that it is hard to organize them all. I LOVE to cook and felt so at ease that I opened myself up to others who might have found me standoffish. I just have a hard time being social, hard to believe I know, especially if I don't know people or new situations. It seems to take me awhile to feel accepted. I have enjoyed teaching and sharing my food knowledge to others ( I worked with food professionally for 15 years before the chance to be a SAHM arose) who didn't know (maybe didn't want to - LOL) quit so much. Although the conditions were deplorable! No muffin pans, no cooling racks, 100 year old stove, disappearing ice . . . LOL Just kidding all, I loved every minute of it. I will be sad when it is over. However I will be thrilled with our new roof, lack of mildew smell, and all the deeper friendships! VBS will be starting in a couple of weeks, no telling what I can get into then : ) I am teaching the 3-4 graders, I am thinking of a couple of rambunctious boys right off the top of my head!
Maybe I should be a caterer? Hmmm . . . Have to think about it. What do you think?
Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Nut Shell

It has been brought to my attention that while friends and family are glad for the updates on my oldest son's health, they are left feeling confused and overwhelmed with the information. Sorry, not much more I can say besides that. So I have decided to try and put his health issues in a nut shell, so it will be more easily digested by all.

Back in February my son became deathly ill. He was first diagnosed with tonsillitis and then mono. Then anything that could go wrong did, including the release of some nasty secondary infections when the puss bag (the size of a fist) was removed from behind his tonsills via emergency surgery. Basically his immune system was compromised and then essential wiped out when he had his blood transfusions, due to bleeding out. He is now totally recovered from the surgery, yea! And doing better everyday with his chronic pains that he developed due to the Barr Epstein Virus (mono).

This is what we have learned by doing our own research and trials. More than likely DS was boarder line hypoglycemic to begin with, then due to the illness the situation became life and death - litterly. Then with no immune system, his body was no longer able to fight off four very common food allergies. Every time he ate these foods, and they are in everything, he would experience chronic pain. So with the use of an elimination and rotation diet we have discovered what food allergies he has and what to avoid. He has a yeast allergy (common with hypoglycemia), which also means no fermented food such as vinegar and anything containing vinegar - i.e. ketchup, mayo, ect.
He also has a wheat allergy, so we follow a gluten -free diet, he does well with brown rice products, and cashew or white bean substitutions.
He also has a dairy allergy, so no casein. Again, we use rice milk in very small quantise.
Lastly, he is not to have sugar in any way shape or form, including honey or aspartame - even splenda. Only stevia.
Ice water and caffeine free herb tea are the only safe beverages.

We are all adjusting. Some days are better than others and yes he trys to get food he isn't suppose to have - he's a teen! LOL But he is also learning there is a price to pay later if he eats the sugar/allergy food of your choice here now. Guess that is part of growing up.

Hope this helps and don't hesitate if more questions accrue.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, June 01, 2009

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 1st. edtion

Greetings all, from the hot and humid south. Today we are starting day one of week 6 on our rotation diet. I have made many things from scratch recently, including cashew butter, blue berry preserves, beannaise (to replay mayo), dairy free block cheese (also good for shredding), rice tortilla's and the list goes on and on . . . Please join me and my family on our journey of eating allergy free/sugar free. This week our menu looks like this :

Monday: B~Hot Oat bran cereal
L~ Bean soup made with leftovers from "Low Country Boil", so more of a chowder really : )
D~ Home made pizza (with spelt crust and non-dairy cheese) w/salad and watermelon

Tuesday: B~ Faux cheez Frittata
L~ Turkey noodle soup, sweet potato salad and rhubarb crunch
D~ Dressing Casserole, steamed cauliflower and cantaloupe

Wednesday: B~ Buckwheat pancakes w/home made maple syrup replacement
L~ Chicken casserole w/veggie sticks and carob cupcakes
D~ Leftovers so far from the week : ) and bible study

Thursday: B~ Cream of rice hot cereal and organic raspberries
L~ Cabbage soup w/home made barley crackers and zucchini bread
D~ Rice w/ salmon gravy and quick drop biscuits and green beans

Friday: B~ Oatmeal w/dried cranberries
L~ chicken fingers and grapes
D~ Beef and vegetable filled meat loaf w/baked potatoes and steamed veggies

Saturday: B~ Blueberry muffins w/bananas
L~ Cheez sandwiches and tangerines
D~ Turkey salad w/steamed asparagus and bread machine rolls

Sunday: B~ Granola w/blackberries
L~ Tuna salad and crispy potato wedges
D~ Chicken and dumplings w/salad and blueberry pie in a spelt crust

For more menu plan Monday visit
Let me know if you have any questions about our menu,
Blessings, Beth Ann

Random info ~

I meant to post this yesterday . . . you know how that goes. Yesterday we had a "low country boil" in celebration of our twins birthday. If your not familiar with a "boil" it's a bit like a clam bake/or boil, depending on your mod as operand : ) It originates in the low country, coastal South Carolina and there abouts. Traditionally you do this on the beach, we used our pool deck and many palm tree decorations from the $Tree, felt like we were right there! LOL YOu bring a huge pot of water to boil (DH used his turkey fryer) and some pickling spice, then toss in what you like , again traditionally sea food. We had some red potatoes, corn on the cob, crab legs, shrimp and smoked sausage. Oh and don't forget to add the Old Bay Seasoning. It turned out perfect! You drain it and pour the whole kit-an-caboodle out on some newspaper to absorb the liquid. My friend had brought a big crock of home made bake beans and hummus. I had made a giant salad, home made lemon Ade and threw in a watermelon. A day to remember for sure. We had about 24 people over (thought the deck might not make it), and the kids played in the pool and on our giant swing/fort set. Besides our twins there was another birthday boy there, so there were two cakes! Yes, count them two cakes! But his Grandpa (who is younger than me) ate half of it - LOL But there was plenty of vanilla ice cream orange sherbet swirl - YUM. It was much fun, but the clean up, well . . . not fun. : ) Glad it only happens a couple times a year, and when Whole Foods has sea food and watermelon on sale the same week!
Now speaking of all that food . . . aye ca rumba! I ran into my WW meeting last week, just to discover it was sign up time again - so had to write them a ten week check. I weighed in and was down 4/10 of a pound? How does this .4 work? Did they devise the digital thing to keep fat old ladies from rioting when they lost nothing on a regular scale? Just saying . . .
So my first ten week WW total loss is 13.4, or 13 and a half boxes of butter quarters. Must be working, noticed my rings fit better as I got ready for church yesterday.
Other randomness I learned this past week: My oldest son (16) has lie 8 hairs on his chin and one of them is a curly red hair that is like 2 inches long - LOL DS does NOT have red hair, but I do! : )
Oh, and most people in Bentwood are snobs. Other than that, not much else.
Will do the grocery thing and shopping thing later.
Blessings, Beth Ann