Well...a busy summer has shifted into a crazy autumn so far. Does this fall seem especially busy to everyone else too? The weather has been gorgeous lately, though I haven't had a ton of time to get out and enjoy it. In addition to getting between 24-40 hours a week at my regular job, I am now driving a friend's kids to school Monday-Friday. This means getting up at 6, arriving at their home by 7, helping the kids get ready and dropping them off at school/preschool, then getting back home a few minutes after 9. It's tiring, but the kids are good and I'm glad to help out...AND - I get a car!! :) Meet my new buddy:
It's a 2004 Mazda3, and I'm having a blast driving my own car around! My friends bought this for me so I could transport their kids; I'm paying it off by keeping track of the time I watch the kids each week. By the end of the school year, it'll be entirely mine! This was definitely the Lord working, as I didn't see any way I'd be able to afford a car for at least another year or two!
Another big part of my life for the last several weeks has been embarking on a low-carb diet with my sister. It's been about 9 weeks now, and I've lost around 21 pounds - which is SO amazing! Anyway, this diet allows nuts, so natural peanut butter has become a life-saver for both of us. Would you believe that on this diet we can have treats like this?
All you need are brownies (we had ones made with soy flour), whipped cream and peanut butter cookies. A sliced-up banana is yummy too. Here's our simple peanut butter cookie recipe:
“One” Peanut-butter Cookies
1 C sugar (or 1/2 to 3/4 cup Splenda)
1 C peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together and place by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
This is a super fast, easy and tasty recipe! It made about 20 cookies with a very small scoop. The cookies are a little crumbly, which makes them perfect for crumbling over the brownies. I'm sure they'd be great on ice cream too. Random question...why is it necessary to criss-cross peanut butter cookies with a fork? Why don't we do this with other kinds of cookies? I wondered this the two or three times I made these but decided not to balk at the tradition. Any theories?
To finish up with the recipe, gently heat your brownie in the microwave (or better yet, make fresh ones and get a warm one out of the pan!) and squirt/dollop/glop a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Then crumble 1-2 peanut butter cookies over the top and enjoy!
There are, of course, plenty of variations you could try with this...like I said, some banana slices are amazing, and we sometimes slap a little more peanut butter on top of the brownie before adding the whipped cream. For additional decadence, you could drizzle the entire creation with some hot fudge sauce...but we might be getting a little carried away now. ;)
In a recent post I shared the long, sad story of the pond pit. Here it lies in its early days, pretending to be a tiger pit or a landfill or something of the like.
Then after a year or two or four I enlisted my brothers, the Talented Tunnelers, and with their outstanding digging skills, we soon had...a bigger pit. Complete with honeycomb caverns in the sides! As I recall, we found some mysterious metal object and were trying to trace it to its source. We never did reach the end of the thing...maybe there's even a car buried under the hill! You never know in our yard - we've found bottles, pottery shards, bricks, metal pieces, broken china, pens...you name it, it's probably buried somewhere in our yard. Evidently occupants of some previous decade or century didn't believe in going to the dump. In fact, that plastic bag in the foreground was full of glass and china shards.
Anyway...the work progressed after another year or two and we finally had something that was starting to look like, well, something. Don't you think so?
No? Well, how about now? Yesterday I had a day completely off - which doesn't happen often! Usually when I have a day off from my normal job, I go clean a friend's house or help another friend with heavy-duty yardwork, etc. But this day I had all to myself. So what did I do? Landscaping! I managed to cross off most of my to-do list, which is one of the most spectacular feelings ever, especially cuz that doesn't happen often in my world. :) A couple days before, Dad and my younger brother and I moved this giant rock - with the help of our trusty van, some rope and lots of levers and wedges - from where it had been sitting in the middle of the yard for several years. It is now a bench. Then we went to our handy-dandy rock pile (every home should have one!) and collected a bunch of slabs of granite, hauling them back to the pond pit. Yesterday I utilized the rocks to finish the stone wall around the pit; now I just need to fill in behind it with dirt and add some flowers. I also moved these two Dwarf Alberta Spruces from other parts of the yard and excavated the stone steps headed down the hill on the right (you can see in previous pictures that they had been reclaimed by the grass).
I also pruned all the plants along the front of our house, raked up the debris, moved a tiny evergreen to a new place in the yard, moved a daylily to the front border, swept another stone path clean and re-piled our remaining rocks. All in all, it was a spectacular day off...and I slept very well that night! :)
An Opportunity: Budding archaeologists, alert! Would you like a site to rent? Come check out our place and find a treasure trove of goodies to dig up, catalog and preserve for posterity! Set up your dig almost anywhere in the yard and you're sure to strike gold (so to speak)! Hone your skills before setting off for your field of choice. Rental fees are very reasonable.
Well, just kidding about coming to dig in our yard (Mom and Dad would not be happy with me!), but as I mentioned earlier, it's true about finding stuff almost anywhere. Below are pictures of two of my finds just from digging holes for those small Spruces!
Well, that's it for today... join us next time for: A Decadent Dessert...Despite a Diet!
I was looking through some of my older pictures and was amazed at the power of the water in these waves! I wondered if there were any Bible verses that talked about crashing waves; here's a neat passage:
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their pounding waves. More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty. Your testimonies are fully confirmed; holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore.
I wonder if the psalmist was standing on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea when he wrote this?
I've made more progress on the stone wall around the pond pit (see previous post), but - alas! alackaday! horror of horrors!!! - I forgot my camera in the back of my sister's car! We shall soon be reunited, but I noticed that as soon as I realized the camera was gone, I had a desperate need to take a bunch of pictures. Anyway, that explains why I had to scrounge through old photos in order to put a picture in this post.
I hope everyone is having an enjoyable beginning of September! :)