June 30, 2011

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

My name isn't Betty Crocker, Paula Deen, Julia Childs, Martha Stewart, Duncan Hines, Davy Crockett or John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

What does that have to do with anything? I have no idea....

I'm pregnant, remember? I think I'm losing my mind.

This week I tried to make a Rhubarb Meringue pie. This isn't something new to me. I've made this pie for years now, since it was first introduced to me by my mother-in-law. I love this pie. It's sweet, and tart, and lip-smacking delicious.
Problem is, for whatever reason, no matter what I tried to do.... something went wrong.

I was originally going to make the pie on Monday night. However, that didn't happen since we had a baseball game that night. "No problem!", I told myself. Next morning (Tuesday), I made the pie crust and baked it. The crust was perfect! Hooray! But, then I got busy, and the pie making had to be put on hold. "No problem!", I told myself. The next morning (Wednesday), I diced the rhubarb up. I was planning on finishing the pie, but it was so hot here that a trip to the pool sounded better. "Hmmm....", I told myself. "I hope that pie crust doesn't start to taste stale."
I woke up this morning (Thursday), looked at the pie crust and pushed it aside. I just wanted it to go away. Then, I opened the fridge. There was the diced rhubarb! Just sitting there, waiting for me to pay attention to it. I also pushed that aside. I honestly was done with this stupid pie! Why can't it just bake itself?!!??

So, tonight, I finally made the dumb pie. But, not without forgetting to add a key ingredient, the cream. Phooey!
So, what did I do? I had to make another pie, just because I love it so and I wanted it to taste right! Plus, I hate it when I do stupid things like that. And, I also had the cream poured. I wanted to have a taste of that cream in this infuriating pie!!!
I quickly made the pie crust, only to have it shrivel down when I baked it. Phooey!
I made the filling for the second pie anyway, put the meringue on top, and called it good.

We had two Rhubarb Meringue pies for dinner tonight. The children were pleased with me. Even if they weren't perfect, they still tasted good.


So, now I'm challenging you to see if you can make this Rhubarb Meringue pie in less than a week's time. If so, I will give you the honor of being called Betty Crocker for a day.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie
1 baked pie crust

Filling:
3 T. butter
4 cups rhubarb, diced
1 cup sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Add rhubarb and sugar, cooking until tender. Combine the following ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup cream
1/8 tsp. salt

Add this to the rhubarb mixture in saucepan, and cook at medium heat until thickened. Cool and pour into baked pie crust.

Meringue:
3 egg whites
3-4 T. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat egg whites until frothy. Slowly add sugar, beating on high until egg whites are very stiff. Add vanilla. Pile meringue on top of rhubarb pie and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

June 27, 2011

8 in 48

I'm stealing this idea from my friend Jan. She does a "10 in 10" every now and again. Her posts feature 10 beautiful pictures... things that had happened in 10 hours or so. I'm going in a little different direction, mostly because my pictures aren't beautiful, and posting a long blog about 8 random things that happened this past weekend, maybe even accompanied by some not so wonderful photos. So, it's not quite "10 in 10", but more like "8 in 48". I don't know if that sounds so catchy, but it is what it is...



1. Sitting in bleachers, watching little boys play baseball, can cause permanent nerve damage. I know this because it has happened to me.

       I'm sure that being pregnant hasn't helped this situation. Also, having two games (each 1 hour 45 minutes long), back to back, probably doesn't help.
       After sitting through one whole game, I tried to stand up, only to realize that I had no feeling in either one of my legs, or my backside. I think I'm still feeling effects from this a few days later.

2. I hate driving in the mountains. It scares me to death.

     Saturday, our eldest boy Samuel, had a baseball game early in the morning. It was in Evergreen, which meant I had to load up the van and drive up I-70, into the mountains with the 7 kids because Adrian had already left early to take Sam. I am a land-lover. A flat-land lover. I love the mountains too (once we're to our destination), but I hate driving up and down them.
      When I drive in the mountains, I have horrible visions of me driving off a cliff to our death. I have crazy thoughts about the brakes going out in our van and me having to use the emergency lane, but then still, somehow, me driving off the cliff to our death. I have panic attacks of our big, heavy van, losing control around a curve or steep hill and then careening off the side of the mountain to our death. Catch the theme here?
       My knuckles were white and beads of perspiration were on my face while I drove, but we made it up and down the mountain without falling off the side of a cliff. No pictures to show the glory of my driving abilities, because that probably would have caused me to drive off the side of the mountain.

3. Little League Baseball. Play fair. Play nice.



       We play to win. Okay, maybe Sam and Than don't always play to win, but I am always hoping for a win. I can't help myself. I like our team to be in first place. It's this competitive thing I've always had that courses through my veins. Ask anyone who played soccer with me during college, and they'll tell you that I liked to win. I hated to lose. But, I'm fairly quiet in the stands. I try to stay in control and remind myself that it's only a game. Only a game... only a game....

       Sam's team has done well this year, but they've hit a rough patch. I hope we can keep it together enough to take the league championship. But, even if they can't, I'm going to tell myself that it doesn't matter. And, truly, it doesn't matter. Because, I'm ready for baseball to be over with for the summer.

       Than's team has been in a hot streak lately, winning the last four ball games. It's great to see them winning a few now and also understanding the game of baseball a little better.

4. Elk wander into Denver and pretend to be cement statues. Seriously, if they weren't munching grass, you'd think they were hideous lawn ornaments.

       These elk were huge. And they had velvet on their antlers. They were awesome to see. And, strangely enough, they were smack in the middle of a neighborhood, only a block away from the field where Than had a game.
       I tried to make Joanna go stand by the fence so I could get a picture with her close to elk, but she's too proper. She went into some dialogue about how the game warden told them at Hunter's Safety class not to get too close to elk because they can trample you and blah, blah, blah.... Safety schmafty. So, I got out of the van and walked pretty close to them. They didn't flinch. And, why would they? They had to keep the disguise up that they were lawn ornaments. Otherwise, the neighbors might call animal control.

5. Racing hermit crabs is the newest, hottest trend.

       After Than's ball game, we all needed to cool down. It was hot. The umpires were lousy. Our tongues were parched.
       One of the coaches owns a bar in Lakewood, called Paradise Cove. Go there if you want a beer and a hamburger. It's a nice place and they are nice people. They offered the boys and their families free ice cream! Who can pass that up? So, we took our kids to the bar this weekend. Aren't we great parents?
       They also offer up a crazy activity that suits kids and adults alike. Hermit crab racing. Bet you didn't know those little suckers are fast when they get sprayed with water, did ya? Well, I certainly didn't. If I had known that hermit crabs could be so fun, I would've tried harder to keep ours alive when we had it.


6. Church softball is intense.

       Well, not really. It is supposed to be fun. And relaxing. However, I'm not sure it ever happens that way. These boys like to win as well. And they've been having a rough season. So, maybe the only thing intense about it is how quickly they can make it to the cooler with the beer in it after the game.


7. Swimming is a great way to cool down after an intense church softball game.

       Maybe I need to rephrase that. Swimming is a great way to cool down after an intensely HOT church softball game. That ball field looked and felt like the Sahara Desert to me. Not that I wandered onto it or anything. I was in the dugout, taking pictures and hiding in the shade. But, it sure looked hot out there.
       So, we headed to the pool afterwards for some relief. I'm glad we did. The children instantly became less cranky and Adrian and I had some time to relax a bit together. Because that rarely happens.

8. Ants are gross.

       We unearthed an ant pile, a little outside of our 48 hours, accidentally. They were angry at us. They tried to climb up my leg and bite me. It was terrifying! Seriously, have any of you seen Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull? I was afraid they might try to carry me off for lunch.
       They were big ants.
       After steering clear from their path, we watched as they tried to scurry around and carry their larvae into safety. It was a good homeschooling moment. You know, the kind of moment when the kids are totally intrigued by nature and being mini-entomologists. That is, until one of the children declared we should pour scalding hot water on them to make them die. That was perhaps more of a Wild Kingdom moment.


That was our weekend in a nutshell. Crazy. Busy. Fun.







      



      

      
       
   

June 22, 2011

Baby Shower

This past weekend two other girls and I hosted a baby shower for a good friend.



Our color scheme was green and pink. Is it obvious? I love the crepe paper balls hanging from the ceiling. I think I have a new, weird obsession with them.

We decided to have a mid-morning party to make it stand out a little from every other baby shower. Mini muffins were one of the items on our serving table.


So were fresh fruit kabobs.... on mini skewers. We had to make it "mini" because it's a baby shower, remember?



One of the ladies made these cute pretzel sticks. Cute. That's a total baby shower vocabulary word.




The other one of our gals purchased a cake and cupcakes from Whole Foods. The cake had fresh berries in the middle. Fruitalicious! And, the cupcakes were soooo good. Pistachio icing for the green with a vanilla cupcake and strawberry icing for the pink on a strawberry cupcake. They were beautiful.



Of course, there was some booze available. We couldn't skip that, right? Champagne next to the orange juice for Mimosas. This baby shower was first class the whole way!



These were the favors that we made for the tables. They are paper strawberries filled with homemade mints. I had so much fun making these that I'm going to have to host another party just so I can make the favors! They were so cute!!!! (There I go again, using my baby shower vocab word of the day.)



The girl who came up with the favor idea also made this banner for the new mommy. It was beautiful. I wish that I had half of her creativity and vision when it comes to working with paper....



These are frozen babies. I know, I know... a little creepy. But, in my humble opinion, it was a rockin' baby shower game.
First, you need to buy little babies at a craft store and put them in an ice cube tray. Freeze 'em and then, when you're ready to play the game, pop 'em out of the freezer tray. Give each person a frozen baby. The first one whose "water breaks", which means, the first one to get their baby out of the ice cube, wins.
I had visions of this game taking forever to declare a winner, but people were creative. The first water broke in less than 3 minutes!!!!

It was a happy, fun-filled morning. The food was nice, the company was great, and the gift giving was supreme.

Congratulations to our friends, Nathan and Elisabeth, who are due to welcome their new little one into the world soon!!!

June 20, 2011

Imagination

First of all, I am glad to announce that all of the bananas are gone from my kitchen. Now, if only the nasty little gnats would follow suit and get outta here.

Secondly, this week is Vacation Bible School at our church. If my posts don't entirely make sense, the most likely reason is that my brain is fried from having to wrangle kids all morning. We are studying the book of Daniel and the Babylonian culture. It should prove to be an interesting week.

Thirdly, I'm a little tired of posting recipes for days and days in a row. I figure you all need a break from that. I know I do.
Maybe some humor on a Monday?

Here's a good story to share, just to give you a little peek into life with my kids.

A few days ago, the children decided to play "house". They divided up into families (which I found hilarious), and promptly made the declaration that everyone could choose their own new names and ages. I should also include here that both "families" were missing a mom and a dad. Apparently, in one family, the parents were killed in a car crash. And, in the other family, the parents were killed in a fire. Both seem like rather gruesome endings, and I don't know if I need to fear for my life now or not. But, I think what it came down to, is that nobody wanted to be the parent!
The first family included Joanna, Ben, Peter and Annie. The second family was Sam, Than, Susie and Maggie.

Now, I'd like to argue here, that I like the children's names that we've chosen. I think most of their names fit them pretty well. And, I guess I just figured they were all happy with their names as well. So, when it was announced that new names could be given out, I was intrigued to see just who would decide to change their name.
It should come as no surprise that Ben and Peter were the first ones to pipe up. Peter yelled out, "My name is Tony! And, I'm 10 years old!" Second was Ben, not to be outdone, yelling, "If Pete is Tony, then my name is Donny, and I'm 18 years old!" ( silence ) "Wait, I don't know how to drive yet. Maybe I'll just be 12 years old." And, almost in sync with each other, both Ben and Pete agreed that Annie should now be named Joey.

Now, the first question to ask here is this. Have Ben and Peter been watching the Sopranos late at night without us knowing? Why are they picking Mafiaesque names? Or, even worse, has someone introduced them to The New Kids On The Block? Should I be worried now about Ben wanting to wear Calvin Klein undies?

The next child to change their name was Maggie, who (no surprise here either) exclaimed, "I'm Cinderella! And I'm 3 years old!" Hmmm... I guess that's close enough to reality.

The other children all kept their names, except ages were changed, jobs were given out, and the game continued... In fact, the game continued for almost an hour, with minor inter-family disagreements. I even think some mudpies were made and baked on the sidewalk.
And, just so you know, the game didn't end with a whole family being shot to death and thrown in the river. I think it came down to boys wanting to play baseball and the girls wanting to do some girly thing.

It was good to see them using their imaginations and having fun together. Although, every time I look at Ben and Pete, I can't help but think of Donny and Tony... And, I wonder, just what are we in store for in the future with those two???? 

June 18, 2011

Blueberry Banana Bread

Banana bread is a comfort food for me. Just slice me a piece right out of the oven, while it's still warm, and smear it with butter and serve it with a glass of cold milk. Yum.

Most women know how to make banana bread. It's relatively easy to bake.
I have lots and lots of recipes for banana bread. Most of them are pretty similar. I do have a few favorites. But, I have found that here in Colorado, my most favorite banana bread recipe doesn't do the trick. It sinks in the middle. I blame it on the high altitude.
So, that made me have to switch to a different recipe. And, boy oh boy, if you live in high altitude, you've got to try it. It's wonderful. And adaptable. Add nuts or don't add nuts. Add fruit or don't add fruit. It's always a winner.

Here's a recipe just for my high-altitude friends.




High Altitude Banana Bread
4 T. butter, softened
2 eggs
2-3 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 cup blueberries, or raisins, or chocolate chips (your choice, optional)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl. Add bananas. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in fruit or nuts, if using.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until brown and middle is done.




June 15, 2011

Banana Poppy Seed Chocolate Chip Muffins

I tried to shorten the name on these, but I just couldn't find the right words.
Banana PoSeed ChoChip? BPSCC? NanaSeedChip Muffins?
See, it just wasn't working for me. And, I couldn't really leave out "poppy seeds" or "chocolate chips" from the label because, well, they are both one of the main ingredients that makes this muffin. So, I hope you have a big enough recipe card simply to fit the title on. Or just write small. Or, if you are witty enough to come up with a good, short name for them, go ahead.

I love this recipe because it's simple, yet different from just a plain, ole' banana muffin. These muffins have become one of my children's favorite treats for breakfast or just as a snack. We make them in the mini muffin tins and in the regular muffin size. They freeze well too if you just don't think you can eat them all at one time.




Banana Poppy Seed Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
2 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix together egg, sugar and vegetable oil. Add milk, poppy seeds and mashed bananas. Mix well. Sift into a small bowl the dry ingredients. Add this to the banana mixture. Mix well. Using a wooden spoon, fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into paper lined and greased muffin tins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake regular size muffins 20 minutes, mini muffins 10 minutes.


See? Don't they look like something you'd like to try to make and eat?
So simple, really. And, there's one more thing I should tell you about these muffins.... they won a 4-H blue ribbon at  county fair and were alternate to state fair. I'm pretty sure that seals the deal for most folks.

June 14, 2011

Banana Split Cupcakes

This is a recipe that I found when I typed into google, "Too many bananas. What should I make with them?"
I sometimes find it interesting to type in things like that to the google search and see what it spits back out to me.

Well, interestingly enough, a blog named "Annie's Eats" came up with this fabulous looking cupcake recipe on it. Then, I also remembered that my friend Jan had made these earlier and posted it on her blog. So, I decided that I had to make them next!

Honestly, the presentation of the cupcake is enough to want to at least try to make them once...


Banana Split Cupcakes
Cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
12 T. butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 T. buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed banana

Filling:
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and diced small
2 T. powdered sugar
12 oz. crushed pineapple, drained

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ganache:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 T. corn syrup

Sprinkles
Maraschino Cherries


Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to medium-low and add in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl. Mix in banana. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with dry ingredients.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes.

For the filling, combine the strawberries and powdered sugar. Toss well, slightly mashing with a fork. Allow berries to macerate 20-30 minutes. To fill cupcakes, cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife. Add a tsp. or two of strawberry filling. Top with a tsp. or two of crushed pineapple, filling to top of cupcake.

For the frosting, add heavy cream to a chilled bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Blend in vanilla. Pipe a swirl of whipped cream onto each cupcake, covering filling. Chill cupcakes in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

For the ganache, place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and pour hot cream over chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until thick, smooth ganache forms. Blend in corn syrup. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before decorating.


Whew! There's a bunch of steps involved in these cupcakes, isn't there?

I almost didn't make them for that exact reason. Because, seriously, at our house there are only a few steps involved in making cupcakes. Open the cake mix box, mix it up, pour batter into the cupcake tins, bake 'em, frost 'em, eat 'em. Yum.

So, the fact that more was expected from me for this recipe was a little daunting. But, it wasn't really that bad. I made the filling while the cupcakes were baking. Then, after the cupcakes were filled I made the frosting and frosted the cupcakes. They stayed in the fridge overnight and I made the ganache the next day. It was pretty simple.

There are, however, a few suggestions that I would make concerning this recipe before you try it.
1. If you are looking for a big banana flavor in the cupcakes, you need to add more banana or flavoring or something. Lots of cupcake testers felt the same way. Although, the cupcake itself was very moist and yummy.
2. If you don't like bittersweet chocolate, switch up the ganache a bit. I might even suggest just skipping making ganache and buying a jar of fudge topping instead. I think that is what I will do the next time.
3. Don't be afraid to load that cupcake full of filling. It really makes the cupcake interesting and all the more delightful to eat.

That's all I have to say! I hope you have the chance sometime to make these for your family, or a potluck, or some special event. Their presentation is beautiful and they are sure to be a hit!







June 13, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a recipe that is worthy of being called tremendous.
The qualifications for me to call a recipe "tremndous" are this:
1.) Ingredient list is simple
2.) Preparation is easy
3.) There are no changes that need to be made to the original recipe
4.) It's something that always, always turns out just how you expect it to, and
5.) It's so delicious that you can't wait to eat it again.

This Banana Cream Pie is just that. TREMENDOUS!
And scrumptious.
And, full of calories.
But, who cares? Did I mention that it tastes delish?


Banana Cream Pie
Crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Combine flour, butter and pecans. Press into bottom and up the sides of a greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 oz.) ctn. Cool Whip, thawed and divided
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/3 cups cold milk
3 large bananas

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust. Arrange sliced bananas on top. In a bowl, whisk pudding and milk. Immediately pour over bananas. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Garnish with pecans if desired. Refrigerate.



This pie is one of my favorites. The crust is reminiscent of pecan sandies, and the creamy, rich layers with bananas sandwiched inbetween make your taste buds jump for joy. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!


Bananarama Bo Bama....

Bananarama Fo Fama, Mi My Mo Rama.... BANANA!

I have a very generous friend, who also has a very generous friend, who gifted her with a whole box of organic bananas. You read that right. A WHOLE BOX.

So, because my friend realized that A WHOLE BOX of bananas is really quite a lot of bananas, she asked me if I would like some. To which I replied, "Oh boy! Great! We love bananas!" Which is totally true. My children love to eat bananas and even our one year old can muster up the word, "Banana" when she wants to eat one.
But, A WHOLE BOX of bananas is quite a bit of bananas. And so is HALF A BOX of bananas. More than I had anticipated.
We've eaten our fill of bananas this past week. I'm sure that our potassium levels have to be out of this world. And, as we've watched our bananas grow spots the past few days, I realized that we are running out of time to eat these wonderful, free bananas. And, now we're moving onto the time when these bananas need to be made into other things, like banana bread and pie and muffins and cake.

So, lucky for you, this week on the blog will be all about bananas! Because, frankly, my bananas are starting to drive me bananas. I've had these yucky little gnats buzzing all around my kitchen for the past few days...

So, get your bread pans out, your pie plates ready, your muffins tins greased. It's time to bake!

June 8, 2011

Raspberry Muffins

I love this time of year.

The days are getting longer, and warmer.
The children can play outside all day long!
The grill is in service again, and mealtime is easier and lighter.
Berries are beginning to make their appearance on sale in the grocery store.

I like fall and spring, but summertime is the best!

Our grocery store had raspberries on sale a week ago for $1/pint. Now, for those of you who happen to live in an area where berries grow easily and you can just go out and find a place to pick them, you might laugh at my idea of them being on sale. But, in Denver, that was a good price. And I wasn't about to let it go by without bringing a bunch of those berries home with me.

I like raspberries. They just kind of seem like a "feminine" fruit to me. Is that silly?
I especially like raspberries and cheesecake together. Ummm...  But, I'm not a "cheesecake maker", so I had to find another quick use for some of them before I packed them away in the freezer.
I came across this simple recipe for Raspberry Muffins and thought I should try it.


Raspberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

1.Heat oven to 400° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or coat it with cooking spray, vegetable oil, or butter.

 2.In a medium bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and combine. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined; the batter will be lumpy. Toss the berries with the remaining flour in a bowl. Gently fold the berry mixture into the batter.

     3.Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining sugar. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.




They turned out looking very pretty and quite yummy. The only issue was that the children didn't really like the "seeds" left behind by the raspberries. I think our family would enjoy something with a puree of raspberry more than the whole berry in the muffin. Otherwise, this was a really easy recipe and simple to make.

June 1, 2011

Picnic Table Extraordinaire

Our church is under construction right now. We are in the middle of renovating the sanctuary, which first meant some demolition and now the guys are putting it all back together. It's looking great. And dusty. All at the same time. I can't wait until the workers are done and we can get in there and clean!!!

So, what does a picnic table have to do with all of this?
Well, the aforementioned demolition meant that there was a bunch of scrap wood laying around from tearing the altar area apart. Adrian, of course, brought it home with him. Our backyard is starting to look like a lumberyard.

We've had these huge pieces of wood laying around for a few weeks, and the children have been begging daddy to build them a clubhouse. So, when he got the saw out of the shed last week, my first thought was that a clubhouse was in the midst of being made.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn, however, that the project he was starting was not a clubhouse, but a picnic table! And, not just some dinky, little picnic table, but a massive one that could fit all of our family plus a few more!!!!



Adrian had lots of help on the project, as you can tell. I think they all had fun helping daddy make this table. And there were only a few splinters that occurred during the building of this table!


Adrian sanded the table and stained it this week. Doesn't it look great? It fits just perfect on our patio. And the children have enjoyed sitting out back (in the shade) and playing games or beading. I think this picnic table is just what our family needed and I see many, many years of enjoyment and use!