Friday, July 30, 2010

Cucumber Dip Craze

Have you ever eaten something new that was So Delicious that you just couldn't get enough of it?  So, you went on some kind of temporary feeding frenzy where all you wanted to eat was this new culinary delight???

We have been that way with Creamy Cucumber Dip and Baked Pita Chips!

When we were at the Georgia Coast last week, after a BUSY morning of house hunting, we finally took a break about 2:30 pm.  By that time we were weak with hunger, overheated and mildly dehydrated!  We stopped at the first little cafe we saw and ordered plenty of Cold Sweet Tea to drink and Alan ordered us an appetizer -- Cucumber Dip served with Baked Pita Chips.  We had never tasted anything so cool and satisfying, and quickly devoured the whole thing!!

When we returned home, I couldn't get that delicious cucumber dip out of my mind, and decided to attempt to re-create that refreshing snack. After some internet searching combined with some in-home experimenting, here is my recipe for Creamy Cucumber Dip and Baked Pita Chips!

For the dip:

2 packages cream cheese, slightly softened
1 large cucumber
1/2 bunch of green onions
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon dill

Peel and dice the cucumber. 

Wash the green onions and slice or dice.

Cream the cream cheese in a mixer.  Add the diced cucumber, onion and mayo and mix well.  Add the seasonings. 

Scrape the mixing bowl and mix until creamy and well blended.  Chill well in the refrigerator (or in the freezer for a bit if you are impatient!) and serve with baked pita chips and/or raw veggies.

For the chips:

Take stack of  whole wheat or multi-grain pita bread and cut through all layers into eighths.  Toss pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Serve warm with cucumber dip.

This is just so yummy that I have already made it four times!  It makes a great afternoon snack when everyone comes in from swimming . . . . and is a great side dish for a simple dinner like sloppy joes.  Enjoy!!!

raising olives button

A Surprise Showing . . . and a Secret!

After receiving yet another disappointment yesterday, I could not motivate myself to spend the day cleaning and organizing around here.  I just wanted to forget about both ends of the moving saga for a little while.  So, I went swimming in our pool instead!  :)  Some of the children's friends came over to swim, too.  It was a beautiful, but HOT day, and it was fairly cool in the pool! 

Alan had a meeting that evening, so I made Crockpot Sloppy Joes and Creamy Cucumber Dip with Baked Pita Chips and Raw Veggies for supper and we planned to watch a favorite old movie, "Move Over, Darling" with Doris Day and James Garner. 

Our plans for a quiet evening were shattered with one simple phone call -- a realtor was in our neighborhood with a family that saw our house and wanted to see it within the hour!!!!  Yikes!!

We flew around like crazy, and with everyone working together as a team, we performed a miracle!  We had our house looking Great and even had time to turn on all the lights and light some candles before the folks arrived.  We were leaving just as they were arriving, so it was perfect timing!

We saw this as we were leaving the neighborhood, and sure hope it is a good sign!!!

While our house was shown, I drove the children over to the nearest Chick-Fil-a and ordered a gallon of sweet tea and cups all around!  We were all hot and thirsty after our 45 minute cardio workout and that sweet tea sure hit the spot!!  I thanked everyone for working so hard together to make it happen and couldn't resisit the opportunity to "analogize!"  I told the children that when they work together like a well-oiled team, it is such a sweet sight and gives me such a good feeling inside that it is just like the enjoyment we all get from a nice cold cup of good sweet tea!!!   LOL!!

Psalm 133:1-3 -- "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

Now, I'll let you in on my dirty little secret!!!!

This is a picture of the trunk of Joshua's car -- filled with all of our dirty laundry!!!!    :)

And here is all of our clean laundry -- in the back of the van!   :)  While not ideal, this strategy enabled me to leave the house knowing that the laundry room was looking GOOD!   :) 

If you've ever sold a house, while also living life and homeschooling a house full of children, I'd love to hear your secrets for keeping your sanity while also keeping your house ready to show at a moment's notice!  Please leave me a comment sharing your best kept Secrets!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Whirlwind of a Day and Another Disappointment!

Tuesday was clouded with disappointment, as we learned that the owners of the house we loved on the island had decided not to lease their house to us.   That evening, my husband received a call from a homeowner in the same neighborhood who wanted to lease his house.  He told my husband all about his house; while my husband told him all about our family and our plans.  It sounded like a good fit for both of us.

So, yesterday, filled with anticipation, we loaded up the five younger children and took a whilrwind trip to the coast and back to check out this new possibility.  The house was a bit smaller than we what we were hoping to find  -- but after looking at it and taking some measurements, we felt we could make it work.  Plus, we really fell in love with it!  An adorable English-cottage style house, it had wide open living spaces, an incredible screened porch across the entire back of the house, and a secluded back yard in a neighborhood we loved.  And, the rental price was in our budget!

But this morning, before we could make arrangements with the owners to sign a lease, they called my husband and said they had talked it over and they had changed their minds about leasing the house!!!  (Deja-vu anyone?) They had decided they didn't want to lease to a family with so many children.  :(  Well, that is understandable, but my husband told them how many children we had and how many would be living in the house from the very start!  So, I just wish they had come to that conclusion before we spent an entire day and a tank of gas driving to the coast and back. 

big sigh

I'm sure God is closing these doors for a reason.  We choose to trust Him, even though our hearts do feel heavy with disappointment.  He knows the beginning from the end, and we don't!!  He knows what the future holds and He has a house just for us.  Don't you think?!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Backtracking to the Last Week of June . . .

A few weeks ago, when I still had my head above water, I was sharing about my parent's 50th Anniversary Celebration.  Remember??  After posting the slide show I put together for their reception, my life got so crazy that my blog was quickly demoted to the Things to Do When I Catch My Breath List.  Since I've now come up briefly for air, I decided to go ahead and finish blogging about my week in South Carolina that culminated with my parent's Reception.

My parents bravely hosted my sister and her family plus me and half of my family all at the same time!  That was thirteen people for the entire week, with the stragglers joining us for the weekend!!!  We spent the week catching up and enjoying each other's company, while also planning, shopping for, and putting together my parent's reception.  Instead of blogging about the fun things we did that week, I'm just going to send you over to my sister's blog and let you read her entertaining posts about our week together!

One day, Rebecca and her husband took all of the children to Sliding Rock up near Brevard, NC for a chilling adventure!   I think they should be awarded a Medal of Honor for their bravery!!  We also went swimming a couple times at my parent's community pool, and Burlin even took the kids there all by himself a time or two to give us time to plan and shop.  (Give that man a standing ovation!!)  One of the highlights of the week for me was our mother/daughter shopping trip to SAMS.  It was no ordinary SAMS run!!!  :)   Believe me, we turned a mundane shopping trip into a memorable excursion!!!!!!!   :)

Finally, the day of the reception arrived!  Despite being bed-ridden earlier in the week, my Mom was able to make the reception in her honor, and looked tired, but beautiful by my Dad's side, where she has faithfullly served these last fifty years! 

I love this picture of my parents with their pastor's son and his beautiful wife and baby.  They serve together as the Music Minister and Church Pianist, and they are a precious family!!  It was a joy to meet them!

My Mom is a very wise woman, and perhaps she was sharing a nugget of truth here -- but from the look of things, I don't think the little fellow agreed with her point of view!!  He looks a bit skeptical, doesn't he??  ;)

I was too busy during the reception to take any pictures, but someone had the inspiration to gather everyone together for a big family picture when the reception was over.  Unfortunately, Amber, my sister's oldest daughter is missing from this picture, as she was serving as a Camp Counselor in Wisconsin.  However, the rest of the family is there -- my parents and their two daughters, two sons-in-law, and fourteen of their fifteen grandchildren!   That's a pretty good return on their investment, isn't it?  ;)

Here is a closer view:

And last but not least -- a Crazy Pose!  It seems that my family feels right at home with the "Go Wild" pose, while Rebecca's family seems to be a little worried about that other side of the family!!!   ;)

After the last picture was snapped, it was time to clean up!!  If my niece sends me some of the pictures from her camera, you will see how crazy a bunch of cousins can get when cleaning up a church after a reception!  Limbo anyone???

A Roller Coaster Ride

Trying to find a house to lease/buy and trying to sell a house are both a lot like roller coaster rides!  There are so many ups and downs, plus times when the bottom falls out and your stomach lurches into your throat, and you hope the contents of your stomach stay put!  

Right now I have that dizzy, dazed feeling that you experience when you get off the ride and try to regain your equilibrium. 

After looking at many houses with our realtor, one house kept rising to the top.  This house was for sale, but also available to lease, and we were so excited about it!!  It had an open, inviting floor plan with 4 bedrooms and a huge bonus room, 3800 square feet, a driveway that would accomodate all of our vehicles, and a wonderful location on the island just 15 minutes from the beach!!   We were already "arranging our furniture" and picturing ourselves in this cozy home. 

Then the bottom fell out.  The owner changed his mind about leasing, and has decided to leave the house on the market, hoping it will sell.  Our stomachs are in our throats, as we strive to regain our equilibrium.

Fortunately, even in my disappointment, I know that God is in control.  If He has removed this house, He has another one.  Perhaps one that is even better. 

Recently, the following verse "jumped out at me:" 

John 14:1-2:  "Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father's house are many mansions.  If it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you."  

I felt that God was speaking to me to not let my heart be troubled, because He was preparing a place for us in our new community.  Not necessarily a "mansion," but a place hand-picked by Him!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catching Up: Where Do I Start?

Wow!  Time flies and I can't believe it has been over three weeks since I have touched this blog!!  So much has happened that I don't even know where to begin!!!!!

The biggest, most life-changing news is that We are Moving!!!  My husband has been offered a great new job with a county on the Georgia coast, so that means, generally speaking, this will be our new "back yard!!!"

We are Excited, Overwhelmed, Apprehensive, Full of Anticipation -- all rolled up together! 

I have been spending every spare second and ounce of energy I can muster cleaning, decluttering, throwing out, organizing, beautifying and trying to get our house here ready to go on the market.  Meanwhile, my computer time has been pretty much limited to emailing realtors and looking up MLS listings, hoping to find the "perfect" house in our new community -- one that we can rent for the next year or two, with the potential for purchasing down the road.

Here are some pictures from our recent house hunting trip to our new community:

The marshes are beautiful!

We looked at many lovely homes, but finding one that fits the unique needs of our family and also our budget is proving to be quite a challenge!  One unanticipated obstacle is trying to find a house with a driveway big enough to fit our fleet of vehicles!! 

An unexpected blessing has been working with Marcia, a realtor with endless energy and enthusiasm for helping folks find the right house!  She has really gone above and beyond in searching out houses for us!!!

Looking at different houses and floor plans is fascinating, but we've found that after looking at several properties, the specifics start getting all scrambled together in your mind into a hopeless jumble, so Joe helped us out by taking pictures of some of the houses we were considering.

This pond graced the entrance to one neighborhood!  Notice the Warning signs!!!

We found some good possibilities, but the search for the "perfect" house continues!  I will try to do a better job of keeping you updated!!  I also have quite a bit of catching up to do, so check back here frequently for updates to my blog.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Celebrating 50 Years!

After much trial and error, I finally figured out how to upload the slide show that I created for my parent's 50th anniversary reception.  It takes awhile to load, so you might want to get it started and go fold a load of laundry or wash the dishes in the sink, and then come back and watch it!  :)

Update:  Apparently, this is not taking as long to upload as it did when I tested it, so don't be afraid to watch the slide show!  Also, be sure to click the square thingie that expands it to a full page.  It is much better that way!  :) 

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