Wednesday, June 30

A day at the park

Summertime. The weather is hot, the sun is bright, and the water is cool. Perfect conditions for a trip to our favorite park. First a picnic lunch, then some play, and finish it all off with a wade in the creek. Then fall into bed without a complaint! 049016021046059071A bunch of very tired children!079

Tuesday, June 29

Camping in the rain

Between Mammoth Caves and Fort Boonesborough State park it rained. And rained, and rained. This was not just a soft gentle rain, no, it was a downpour that lasted all. day. long. We steadily drove east in hopes that it would be over when we got there. We had a wet tent, and hoped that it would be dry enough to set it back up for two more nights. We even thought about driving straight home. But, no Fiona was counting on seeing the Kentucky horse park and had waited the whole vacation for it. We had to stay.
As you can see it did stop. At least for a while. There were huge puddles everywhere, and so much damage from the flooding. This area had had enough rain. Parts of the campground were still closed from the damage.We managed to get our tent up and a dinner made when the rain came again. I washed the dishes in the rain and then we went to Wal-Mart for a while. Our tent never leaked so we were able to sleep. It was muggy and hot but we were so tired it didn't matter.
412 While we set up the tent the children found the puddles. Who can resist the mud when there is nothing else to do? 406 408410407Eating desert and trying to keep dry.  413This is the stuff memories are made of. 

Sunday, June 27

Thai Peanut Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

3 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped ginger root

3/4 cup chopped green onions

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

FREEZER STEP: Cut chicken into thin strips, mince garlic and dice ginger. combine into freezer bag and freeze flat. Dice green onions and prepare broccoli, freeze flat in another bag.

TO PREPARE: In a small bowl combine soy sauce, peanut butter, white wine vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken in golden on the outside, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium, and add green onion, broccoli, peanuts, and the peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is tender and chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

TIPS: Many times I just have the chicken prepared ahead of time and do the rest on cooking day. Either way its a quick meal to prepare.

A finished project

What a week this has been! With my husband out of town I decided to tackle a few projects. Out of the 6 I started I only completed one and am still finishing up the others. Due to a gas leak in the house my husband had to come home early and that threw off my whole schedule! Oh well it was nice to have him back a day early!
007 One of the projects on my list is this old door I found on the side of the road. It was lying in freshly cut grass when I found it and the finish was ruined. It also smelled like musty old basement.  So I painted it, distressed it, and glazed it. I wanted it to look old.
108 So much better! it really lightens up this little corner of the master bedroom. One more project checked off the list. Now to work on the other five I started…109
Sharing this with Donna at funky junk interiors.

Monday, June 21

Ice Cream for dinner

Being the first night my husband is off on his business trip I thought something needed to be done during the hour he is usually arriving home. Distraction always works wonders at these moments and the first night is the worst. So we went to the dairy and had ice cream for dinner. Yes, this practical eat your vegetables, we only have desert once a week Momma took my children on the best unexpected outing. They had a blast picking out their favorite flavor, and eating ice cream while watching the cows in the barn. It took the sadness away a bit and they have something exciting to tell their Poppa when he gets home.
Although my practical eat your vegetables, sugar is bad for you son insisted on toast and apples for a bedtime snack. :) I read the last chapters in Little House On the Prairie while they ate and bed time went smoothly. I am off to get something accomplished!

Sunday, June 20

Weekend recap and planning


I spent the day yesterday weeding the herb garden. I was working hard to get it done before my husband left for his business trip. I wanted all the outside work caught up as much as possible so I can work on inside projects while he is gone. While we miss him when he is not here and count the days until her returns, I don’t have to cook dinner in the evenings freeing up my time for projects!. The children and I will eat dinner at noon and then have a light supper of sandwiches or soup. Something easy to clean up. I have so many things I want to get done in the next 4 days! I have a door to paint, a craft room to clean, art work to frame, a hutch to paint, and a garage to clean. I know there is no possible way I will get it all done but I will try! Especially the things in the Master bedroom since I can make all the noise I want and not disturb my husband’s sleep. There has to be some benefit to these business trips. Thankfully he only takes one or two a year. If it was more I am sure I would feel differently about them.

Today for father’s day everyone took a nap or read quietly and then I make my husband’s requested dinner of meatloaf, home canned green beans, fresh onions, and cornbread. I normally don’t cook on Sunday’s so that made it extra special. He received his present of a new ax and hatchet on Friday since two of the children told him about his gifts. Little stinkers, they were just to excited to wait.

I am so thankful my children have such a good Poppa!

Saturday, June 19

Thai Peanut Chicken

Here is one of the recipes that many of you asked to see. It finally came up on the menu.
4 boneless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup dry unsalted peanuts
FREEZER STEP: Cut meat into thin strips, mince garlic, chop ginger, and freeze flat together in a Ziploc bag.
TO PREPRE: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.Heat oil in skillet or wok over high heat. Add chicken mixture, stirring constantly until chicken is golden in color, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add green onions, broccoli, peanuts, and the peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently until broccoli is tender and chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.
TIPS: Stir fry is a quick meal to begin with. It doesn’t take very long to prepare and it doesn't dirty many dishes. I find that by having the meat cut before hand, it makes this a 15 to 20 minute meal to prepare, just about the same amount of time it takes the rice to cook. It’s great for a busy night.
*Recipe from All

Friday, June 18

From the Garden and other things


This week we have been enjoying the new potatoes from the garden. It is so nice to go out and dig up our supper! I used some in potatoes with ham and peas, mashed some to go with baked chicken, and roasted some in Italian seasonings. We can’t get enough of their sweetness!

I have also been working in one of the flower beds in the front yard. We planted a new tree last month, and I finished up the mulching this week. Now to get some more plants and fill it in a bit more.  The plants in the pots are little peach trees my husband is growing.

022 This is currently what the front of the house looks like. I have little gardens on either side of the walkway. This one runs into the stone wall and raised bed we are starting. It’s currently full of composting grass so hold your nose if you come to visit. :)  When the soil is high enough and rich enough we will add some shrubs and flowers, and perhaps the window box for some extra curb appeal.029 This is to the right of the front door. We hung the bell right before we went on vacation. Now I don’t have to yell for the children to come inside. It will save my voice this summer. Pardon the rocking chair, she is a work in progress, even if she looks a bit tired, I assure you she is still quite comfortable, just kick the mud boots out of the way. 023 Every garden needs some friends don’t you think? 024  Ignore the clover in the yard. Someday we might get grass to grow. It’s rather hard when most of the soil is full of gravel, one of the problems with new construction. I do hope to paint the front door this year. It was never painted right to begin with and is starting to peel. Overall it is starting to take shape and look like all those ideas in my head. 028  I went to the goodwill and picked up a few new treasures today too.032It has been a good week with no school to teach, and no big plans. I finally packed away all the camping gear after washing it all and am ready for the weekend. I hope to tackle the herb garden next or perhaps one of the many projects I have going on. We shall see!

Thursday, June 17

Mammoth Cave National Park

Our next stop was the National Park. we arrived in the early afternoon, so we visited the Visitor’s center first. I am so glad we did. Mammoth Caves has a Junior Ranger program so the children were able to pick up a workbook and start earning their Junior Ranger badge. We also decided which tours of the caves we were going to take got our maps of the park. Then it was off to dry out our camp gear and set up the tent. Those junior Ranger books kept the children so occupied we hardly knew they were there! Even Gwen was able to do some of the activities. You don’t have to finish the whole book but my boys were determined! When they turned it on two days later it was complete. The Ranger was quite surprised they had finished it and my children are quite proud of their badges.
Deer and wild turkey are quite plentiful in the park. This doe came so close we could almost touch her. At this point we had all ready found 4 ticks on various little bodies so we tried to say away. 284
Before dinner we took a short bike ride up to the camp store for ice and stopped to look at the old train. It was build just for tourists to come visit the caves, They have been an attraction since the 1800’s when slaves used to lead people down in the earth for a tour.
243 The next morning we decided upon a two mile hike to see the Mammoth sink dome. This is the indentation above ground where water enters the cave. It was so beautiful in the forest!

That afternoon was our first tour. We chose the Historical tour which begins at the first discovered entrance. We saw where they used to mine saltpetre to make gunpowder, old graffiti form the 1800’s, some of the very large rooms where concerts were held, and even public restrooms! This tour is about 2 hours and two miles long with 480 steps. It had lots of low ceilings and curvy spaces. It was so much fun and so interesting! After our tour the children were pooped! They fell into bed without complaint!
The second day we took the tour from the New entrance. So called because it was dynamited out. This tour is also about 2 hours but it is only 3/4 of a mile in length and has 500 stairs. There was a lot of straight down and straight up! This tour has many more formations to see. We also rode on the park bus to get to the entrance. This of course was a highlight to our homeschooled children. They never get to ride on busses!
After our tour we had a quick lunch at the campsite and then went for a scenic drive up to the Nolin Dam and state park and stopped in one of the small towns for some ice cream!
We then came back for a bike ride, dinner, and then frantic packing as we could tell the storms were coming in! We just made it with packing the truck back before the rain hit. It didn’t rain to long that night but in the morning it poured! We packed up everything as fast as one is able in the pouring rain and drove to our next destination in hopes it wasn’t raining there.

Tuesday, June 15


It’s been a while since I have posted a recipe! I am still digging out from under the laundry pile, I think I have about 4 more loads to go. Mostly just the sleeping bags and towels. It will be nice to get it all put away and out of my living room. I am ready to move on to another project! 003   12 Large manicotti shells

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

1 egg

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided

1 Tablespoon basil

1/4 dried parsley

1 package frozen spinach

1 quart spaghetti sauce

1/2 grated parmesan cheese

FREEZER STEP: Partially cook noodles until they are just pliable about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Lay them out on a towel.

For filling, stir together 3 cups mozzarella cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, spinach, parsley, and basil. Stuff the shells.

Spoon half of spaghetti sauce into baking dish. Arrange shells and pour remaining sauce over the top. Top with mozzarella cheese

TO PREPARE: Thaw and cook for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 10 minutes longer.

TIPS: Undercooking your noodles helps them not get mushy during the thawing process where they absorb liquid. I make my own spaghetti sauce and can it. I think the store bought size is a 28 ounce jar. I also used my homegrown spinach and sautéed it before combining it with the cheese mixture. If I have zucchini on had I will add some of that too.

My boys love Italian dishes and this adds a nice variety since it is meatless. It’s also a time consuming prep meal and its always so nice to pull it out of the freezer knowing I don’t have to do all the work that goes into it! I usually serve it with breadsticks and a green salad. I will post the recipes for my sauce and the breadstick recipe I use is from HERE. I have mixed white and wheat flours or used white wheat and they still taste great. We never have any leftovers.

Recipe from my dear friend Catina in Illinois!

Sunday, June 13

The Creation Museum

We absolutely LOVED visiting the museum! It was so well done and a beautiful complex as well. We took in two planetarium shows, the museum, botanical gardens, and the petting zoo. We loved being in a place where God was glorified. I have included a lot of photos in this post. I just couldn't choose. I tried to put them into mini albums so if you don’t want to look you don’t have to.

Here is the view from the lobby.

The museum starts out with a room displaying the differences between human reason and God’s word. Then why God’s word is true.

Next is a room depicting the world forsaking God’s word.

You then move into God creating the world and progressing through Genesis room by room. 056

The Tower of Babel room that shows how man was scattered to all ends of the earth.

090 We then moved into the rooms proving evolution false. I didn’t take any pictures here there was so much to see and read! The children wanted me to read everything and not once did they loose interest, even Gwen. We learned so much form these exhibits. After we walked through we went and ate lunch picnic style off the back of  the truck. The museum does have a restaurant and a cafeteria but we were trying to save some money and it was fun to read the license plates and count how many vans and busses were in the parking lot.

After lunch we walked through the gardens until the storm came so we had to go back inside.

We walked through the museum again since everyone wanted to see some aspect again and the dinosaur room which we hadn’t seen yet. 

Then it was back outside to go to the petting zoo and walk through the gardens a bit more.

We were exhausted by the end of the day and stopped at a Mexican restaurant on the way back to the campsite. It was such a good day and the children are still talking about it and mentioning things that they learned. We packed up as much as we could and got ready to head to Mammoth Caves in the morning. 181 Hopefully I didn’t bore you will all the photos! If you are even in the Cincinnati area I highly recommend stopping in for a visit.


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