What I'm Into: July 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In The Garden

As much as I love the garden preparations that happen each spring,  the green that summer brings reminds me of the beauty of living things!

In the flower beds: The bachelor buttons need some serious deadheading. The morning glories are creeping right up toward the top of the arbor. The cosmos are as beautiful as ever. The other flowers that I don't know the names of are keeping right up! My mums are confused again...They've been blooming for over a week.

In my little vegetable patch: The last of the snap peas are coming on. I'll keep them as long as they stay green, but they're dying off one by one. I've harvested green beans twice. I love going out to the garden to pick beans and then taking them inside and serving them for dinner that night. I haven't had a cucumber yet....but surely they'll be coming soon!

I'm thinking about putting in a second batch of peas and MAYBE trying to grow some zinnias yet. Fall is coming QUICK, but I always garden on the side of believing that there will be time.

In The Kitchen

This Leek Soup was pretty good alongside BLT's. My sister added bacon and cheese to her soup.

I organized all the recipes in my recipe book. I had a bunch of tried and true recipes tucked here and there that needed hole punched and filed. I also had a pile of recipes that I haven't tested yet that needed to be sorted and categorized. After about 30 minutes, the recipe part of my brain was ALL in order!

Watermelon, blueberries, lime, and ginger found their way into my Vitamix and the result was SOOO good.

Last week, my sister made this cake. It was her first time at making a cake from scratch by herself. She really set the bar high! Jay came over to help us cut into it and stayed for a game of Mille Bornes (which he won, btw). You must make it. You better invite people over to share it with or you will proceed to eat it all.

My Reading Chair

I finished  five books: "The Melody Lingers On", "The Mapmaker's Children", "The Children's Story", "Holy Is The Day", and "The Prayer Box". You can read my thoughts on each one here.

I gave up on: "Lost In A Good Book".

I'm working on: "Keep In Step With The Spirit" and "The Story Keeper".

Around The Internet

These cutting garden tips are something I'm going to keep in mind. I've come to love the idea of English Cottage Gardens ever since I started my own cutting garden three (ish) years ago.

Apparently, they dumped some planes in the ocean after WWII instead of taking them back to America. Looking through the pictures of the aftermath made me think about the men who spent so much time on and with and in these planes and the lives they returned to (or didn't) when the war was over. The planes may be at the bottom of the ocean, but the memories live on. It seems like the perfect picture of the absolute absurdity of war.

Last summer I discovered "chocolate birthday cake" milkshakes at my favorite diner. Maybe I can make my own with this marshmallow sauce

Moms letting their toddlers pick out their clothes taught them one thing: nobody really cares what we have on.

What have you been into this month?

As usual, I'm linking up with Leigh

Summer Style Pork Roast

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This summer, I put together a four week long meal plan that we've been using more often than not. I tried to come up with recipes that were heavy on seasonal fruits and veggies, the use of the grill, and the meats I already have stored away in the freezer.

I have plans to tell you more about building your own plan, but for now, I've got to share this recipe that is PERFECT for summer before any more of it gets away from us!

When it's hot out we want to avoid heating up the kitchen. We want food that fills us up and yet feels more like a snack than a full on feast. I love putting a hunk of meat into the crock pot and deciding what to do with it later - you can shred it up and wrap it in a tortilla OR put it in a bun OR just serve it up with a few sides and you're good to go. The thing is...I've never actually used a recipe or turned out a PERFECTLY juicy roast. That is, until Tracy showed me the ropes.

I'm calling this summer style pork roast because that's exactly what it is. During the summer, I lean more towards pairing my pulled pork with BBQ sauce, buns, coleslaw, and beans. When the weather cools back down, I might heat up the oven to make  cornbread or I might change up the seasonings and turn on the stove top for mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and the whole Sunday Dinner style roast. 

It's summer and we know what we want! Let's get it cooking!

When one of your favorite food bloggers tells you this recipe begins with a rub...You listen up! Grilling has taught me that rubs can accomplish A LOT. This roast is no different. Make the rub.

Garlic and onions are two things I've ALWAYS paired with crock pot cooking. They're going to go in first. Big chunks are just fine, you won't be serving them up with the meat. 

Onion and garlic are in. The roast is rubbed. Take a moment to admire your work!

Here's the SECRET: MORE THAN 3/4 CUP OF LIQUID. For whatever reason, I've had it in my head that 3/4 cup is enough...It's not. I'm telling you, you'll be taking this roast out with tongs because it's going to be soooo tender that it will literally be falling apart. That's exactly what we're going for.

Up the liquid. You'll be glad you did!

Last but not least, diced tomatoes are going to add a lot to this dish! Diced tomatoes are something I've added to my pantry over the last year or so. I've only been using them for pizza sauce and now this roast, but that's enough to warrant having them on hand!

We put the lid on. Set the temperature to LOW and the timer for 6-8 hours. Then, we walk away and feel the freedom that comes with knowing that dinner is already going!

The roast comes out pretty and nice and ready for a million possibilities. Slice it or shred it. Eat it the way it is or dress it up with a favorite sauce. Serve it with fresh melon, your go-to salad, beans, rice...Whatever you're in the mood for!

Tracy says to save the stock you've created, but I'm a little unsure of what to do with it. I redenered off the fat and stuck the stock in the freezer. I'm thinking a mexican soup would be PERFECT, but I'm not sure if I can bring myself to add chicken to it. I'll keep you posted!

In the mean time...I've got a bit of the meat left over and it's going to be turned into pork fried rice tonight.

Summer Style Pulled Pork
slightly adapted from Tracy Benjamin

2 1/2lb pork roast
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
smidge of ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 c. chicken broth (more if you have a larger roast)

Combine salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, paprika, and garlic powder. Rub all sides of the meat with this rub.

Place the pieces of garlic and onion into the bottom of your crock pot. Set the roast on top of them. Pour the tomatoes and the chicken broth into the crock pot, avoiding the meat itself and making sure that everything is evenly distributed around your roast.

Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours. (If your roast is larger, you may need to cook it longer. Tracy cooked her 4 lb. pork shoulder on HIGH for 8 hours.)

Take the roast out of the crock pot and process the meat however you want. Shredding it with two forks and topping it with BBQ sauce is my personal favorite. You can also skip the shredding and serve it in slices if that's more your style!

Skim the fat off of the cooled stock and use as a base for soups.

What's your summer cooking style?

What are you favorite ways to use a roast?


Monday, July 27, 2015

May 10, 2015

It's the last Monday in July and our life got turned upside down over the last few weeks. My dad is no longer a business owner (he sold it and we don't really know what's next). The camp that meant a week of vacation got cancelled at the last minute. Friends had car trouble and ended up spending a long weekend with us while they got it figured out (only they didn't and ended up borrowing another friend's car until this Friday - the story is long and full of God working everything out). So...God is doing all kinds of things and none of us really know what is going on!

In the midst of all of this, I'm making my way through Packer's "Keep In Step With The Spirit" and Paul's letter to the Galatians. It's what I call God's perfect timing. These books have been showing me what the Gospel is (and what it isn't) and teaching me more about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God's people. Packer puts it simply by saying that the Spirit exists to mediate the presence of Christ.

Christ told us to abide with Him and then He promised that when He left He would send the Spirit. Packer's words make total sense, but somehow, I've been walking around with allll the wrong ideas about this Spirit. It's strange how you can be walking with God for so long and yet miss something so major. Understanding the Spirit is going to change things...It's already changing things. Being AWARE of the presence of Christ and the very real ministry of the Spirit happening all around me is something I can't quite describe and I haven't even experienced to the full yet.

At that conference that changed it all back in 2006, Adam said, "Ignorance is miss, not bliss." And he was so right. My ignorance in this area has had me totally missing out on being aware of this piece of God's work in my life. BUT, no more!!!

My Mom has been listening to a sermon at the kitchen table this morning. The pastor opened with this question, "What voice would you like to tune into?"

And that is my question to myself and to you this morning...What voice would you like to tune into?

This summer I've learned that the Holy Spirit is the most important communicator in my life. He has been there comforting and leading and pleading on my behalf and mediating the presence of Christ. Up until now, I've been totally unaware of it all! Christian, do your soul a favor and think about the voices that you are tuned into. Join me in really tuning into the voice of the One that Christ has sent to His people to open their ears to His voice.

And then. Listen.

Ask & Answer pt. 5

Friday, July 24, 2015

May 11, 2015

On my last call for questions, my Mom sent along three of her own! Today's round of Ask & Answer is brought to you by those three questions from my Mom and one from me. I'd love to hear your answers, so be sure to leave me a comment with all four!!!

If you could go anywhere and eat anything...what would the scenery/atmosphere of your place of choice look like and what delicious morsels would be set before you?

I'm dreaming of all my favorite places, but I'm also feeling adventurous. I'm thinking I'd head straight for New Orleans (it's number one on my list of travel dreams right now)! I've got to try Beignets, a true Po' Boy, a little of their gazpacho, and whatever else Yelp or the locals told me was good. And then, I'd tell Joy the Baker I was coming and get her to teach me how to make a pie crust. I'm sure she's just waiting on me to call!

What is your favorite scent?

Meat loaf about 30 minutes into its bake time. Also, the first whiff of sea air when you get out of the car after the long drive to the beach. And last, but not least, a really good cologne. I have a few favorites, but I only know them by the wearer, not the actual name. 

What memory is triggered by your senses alone...and what is it?

My Grandma and Ghiddu's basement had a pleasant musty smell to it. It's been YEARS since I've set foot in that basement, but whenever I smell that smell, I go right back. I can practically hear Ghiddu coming up behind me to lead me on to whatever it was we went down there to get. And then there's Grandma, leaning over the railing to tell us to check the dryer while we're down there. It never gets old!

Give me a sense, any sense, and I show you how the root of that sense is a memory of Grandma and Ghiddu. (Said in my best Mr. Portokalos voice!)

What are the top three places you've never been that are in your travel dreams right now? 

The first three that come to mind are: New Orleans, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and St. Augustine. I've gone international and added the French Riviera even though I'm pretty sure I'll never make it there.

I can't wait to hear your answers! As always, if you have more questions, be sure to leave those in the comments or email them anytime.

Jayda Juice: A Recipe

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last fall, my friend Jayda took a trip to the maritimes and she came back raving about some juice that she had while she was away. I waited ever so patiently for watermelon to come into season so that I could taste the combination that she had described.

This juice is so refreshing! The best part about it is that making it is a BREEZE.

With all of the smoothie and juice crazes going around, I need to say that what goes into this juice is an amount of fruit that I would feel comfortable putting onto my plate. I cringe when I see people put a whole produce drawer into their blender and then proceed to drink it all. I'm no health official, but I just don't think that can be good for one person. All that to say, we're going to end up with a nice glass of juice!

I told you this was going to be easy...Gather up your ingredients. We've got fresh watermelon, some frozen blueberries, a lime, and ground ginger. I'm sure your blueberries and ginger can be fresh, but I went with what I had on hand!

Next up, we just put everything into the Vitamix. 

In goes the watermelon.

Then the blueberries.

A little bit of fresh lime juice comes next.

Last, but not least, a bit of that ginger goes in. Tthen we put the lid on and blend it up. I let mine run until it was VERY smooth. I didn't want any chunks or pulp.

Pour it into a glass, top it off with a lime wedge, and take it outside to enjoy it while you can!

No fuss. No mess. I even left the board game in the background because I thought it was the perfect picture of summer.

Jayda Juice
serves 1

1 cup watermelon cubes
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
scant 1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Put all ingredients into Vitamix. Blend for 30-40 seconds increasing speed gradually until you reach the highest speed (mine is 10). 

Pour (or strain) into a glass, top with a fresh lime wedge, and enjoy!!! 

Feel free to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your tastes. 

Jayda, thanks for inspiring me to try to recreate this juice!!! I don't know how close I came to the ACTUAL juice you had on vacation, but I sure enjoyed it! 

Have you ever recreated a dish or drink that you were served?

*I mentioned Vitamix in this post because it's a product that I use in my own kitchen. They are not aware of this post and did not sponsor it in any way.

A Saturday At The Library

Saturday, July 18, 2015

While we were out shopping in the city last Saturday, I asked if we could swing by the library before heading home. My Mom and I went in while everyone else decided to go get some food and make some stops of their own. This turn of events meant that we had as much time as we wanted.

The little bookshop where they sell used books for a song and a dance was open, so that was our first stop. I found a little book of short stories by Herman Melville right away. As we continued looking through the shelves, a lady came with another cart and left it by the entrance. I wandered over and almost immediately my eyes fixed on "Fitzgerald". I turned to make sure that these books were allowed to be sold and then snatched it right off the cart without a second thought. My Mom settled on a copy of "My Antonia" because we keep hearing about Willa Cather, but neither of us has read any of her books. 

With our new treasures in tow, we headed into the actual library. I went in with a list of books on my phone. My Mom sat right down at the computer to look for whatever books she had in mind. After browsing my way through the shelves and coming up with NOTHING (all the books on my list were checked out), I went back over to have her work her magic with the computer JUST IN CASE something was not shelved yet.

When we both realized that none of the books we had hoped to check out were available, we started browsing together. I pointed out books for her, she found random books that looked interesting, and then I was reminded of a the next book in a series that I had been saving for later. She went to look for something and came back with the newest book in another series that I got hooked on this spring.

We walked out with a stack of books. When we got into the van, we looked through the loot and one of the books in the pile was one I never noticed as we were checking out. I said, "This one looks REALLY good!" And she smiled and said, "I'm going to read it, but I got it for you."

I love my Mother! And I absolutely adore slow Saturdays at the library with all the time we need to weave our way through the shelves looking for the perfect stack of books.

What's your library strategy?

What's your go-to genre? 

The Circle: July 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I never know what to say in these introductions that I haven't already said before! Today, we're going to do this FB quiz style. 

Before we get going, I'll tell those of you who are new around here the basics:

My name is Victoria (after my Great Aunt). I'm 24, but 25 is creeping up quick. I became a Christian at 9 and it's the most important thing about my life. I love summer and fall. I'm an ENFJ that really enjoys getting to know people, photography, gardening, cooking, and everything to do with words (except when it comes to deciding if there is supposed to be a double consonant or not). 

If I was a man I'd look like this:

The type of coffee that reflects my morning personality is this:

The summer cookout I should prepare is a:

If I was a Smithsonian Museum I would be the:

My dog personality is: 

If I was a day of the week I would be:

And there you have it! They're not wrong with the day of the week (I love Mondays, mostly), the Smithsonian (I love American history), the Burger Bar (if I go out to eat, I almost always order a burger), or the Espresso (I settle into mornings after I've had a minute to myself). The man thing cracked me up and German Shepherds are my least favorite dog, but that's okay!

I'd love to hear your answers if you take any of the quizzes. Or, if you're better at introductions than I am, I'd love to hear all about who you are! In the meantime, I'm linking up with Kiki for The Circle

A Month of Saturdays: June 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The four Saturdays in June went by with a whole lot of fanfare!!! We've had one of the hottest Junes I've ever experienced  which seemed to get everyone into the summer spirit right away. We kicked off June by taking my brother to get his learner's permit and having0 lunch at my (our?) favorite Mexican restaurant! As the "baby" in the family, his firsts are always our lasts, so both my Mom and I got a little teary eyed as we all walked out the door at the DMV.

Two weeks later, he had his first drive in Driver's Ed and my Mom and I geocached our way through town while he was out cruising. It was a beautiful day and we found all the caches we were after, plus one extra! At the second cache we were trying to find, our GPS systems were saying different distances. My Mom followed her machine and I followed mine. I found the cache and walked back to tell her, when all of a sudden, she said, "I found it!!!". I said, "Um....Did you TOUCH it?" (thinking that she had watched me find it and was now teasing me.) She said, "Yes! I touched it!!! Why?" And I said, "Well, I found it! And it was back over there where I just came from." So, then we both started cracking up and watched as we each found the one that the other had found. In all of our geocaching that has NEVER happened!

After we finished all of our caching, we decided to go through the store to get something to snack on. We settled on donuts, a chocolate malt for me, and chips and dip (BBQ with Cheese Dip) for her. We like to keep it healthy!!!! We took our snacks to the park that made it very easy to pretend we were in Savannah, GA for the next 45 minutes while we ate and read and tried not to read every perfect line to each other.

The last Saturday in June was peaceful. I got some blog work in (stuff I still haven't shared, even though I was planning to share it all right away), went through my weekly spit and polish routine, and really enjoyed the day.

June went by with a flurry of school and gardening and milestones. All of sudden we're in the middle of July, it's cooled way off, the wheat trucks are headed in and out of town with their bounties, and summer presses on!

A Novel For You

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"The Mapmaker's Children" by Sarah McCoy may be historical fiction set in the time of the civil war, but it truly is a one of a kind.  There are some books that you just can't put down even though you're enjoying them so much that you don't want them to ever come to an end. That was this book!

You'll flip back and forth between a group of Union supporters from the 1800's and a woman struggling through life in the present day. These characters have histories that have been researched (some of them were real people) and carefully constructed. Their lives, though centuries apart, are tied together in a way that is mesmerizing.

McCoy managed to tell everyone's story in a way that makes her readers eager to keep reading! Just when you think you'll predict what's going to happen next, you'll be surprised to find how McCoy directed the story. I especially enjoyed reading about the Underground Railroad, the family of John Brown, and the beauty that a sleepy West Virginia town holds.

I laughed. I cried. I was horrified. I gasped. McCoy's book shows a certain excellence that is missing in a lot of writing that is being published today. Whether you think historical fiction is your thing or not, pick it up and get ready for a novel you'll really enjoy!

Pick up your copy here!

Have you read any of McCoy's books? 

What's a book that you've really enjoyed recently?

* I was provided a review copy by the publisher. All thoughts are my own, honest opinion! 

That Time We Made It Out Alive

Friday, July 10, 2015

On Monday, my Mom and I decided to do some geocaching while my brother was doing driver's ed. It started out just like it always does. I drove us through the countryside, down this paved road and that gravel road until we were within a few hundred feet of the cache. At that point, I pulled over and got out to take pictures while my Mom fiddled with the GPS.

We found the cache, signed the log, and traded a marble for a little army man. I started heading for the van when I realized that the church was practically begging to have its picture taken. That's when everything went wrong...

My Mom said, "Did you try the door?" And I said, "No! It's locked. Why would it be unlocked? We can't go in there." She said, "Try it." So, I put my hand on the knob and continued telling her that it was not going to open, when all of sudden, it did. No sooner did the door open, than I quickly slammed it shut and started heading for the van as quickly as I could.

At the sight of an open door, my Mom started making her way from the van to the church. The next thing I knew, we were standing in the vestibule signing the guest book. Because when you break and enter  go through an unlocked door, you go ahead and make sure they know who you are.

She started wandering around the church and telling me to take pictures of this and that. I'm just WAITING for some old lady to pop out from nowhere and say in the creepiest voice possible, "Can I heellllllp you?" In short, I'm basically freaking myself out while my Mom is celebrating this little piece of history and our own private tour.

I've convinced her to leave  She's finished looking around and I'm starting to be sure that we'll hear our van start up and drive off leaving us stranded in the middle of nowhere any minute. That's when she discovered another door...Which is also unlocked. Do you know where this door leads? Down into the darkest, most horror movie worthy, basement EVER. This time, I didn't give her an inch. As soon as the door opened and I saw where it led, I slammed it shut and said, "NO! We need to get out of here."

She laughed at me and said, "What?!?!? Are you afraid?"

Yes, yes, I was. That's the stuff horror movies are made of. And I'm not 100% sure that we weren't trespassing. But...Like any good blogger, I further incriminate myself by posting about it.

The church was beautiful. The pictures on the wall were fun to look at. Slamming the basement door and getting out of there was golden. I visited a creepy old church and lived to tell about it.

Looking Back To The 4th

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

June 20, 2015

It's Wednesday night and I felt like blogging because it's been a few days! :)  Over the last week or so, I've tried new recipes, hosted a last minute 4th of July cook out for 12, battled ants (at Alice's), and spent some time writing my way through a few issues that I've been studying.

The cookout started out as "Let's not go anywhere for the 4th this year..." to, "Let's see if Ron and Julie want to come over for hot dogs and watermelon..." to, "Is there anyone you want to invite?". And pretty soon it was 7pm and Ron, Julie, Jay, Jerry, Kay, Alice, and Velma were all pulling up to our house and making themselves comfortable in our backyard. We supplied the hot dogs, watermelon, chips, and banana pudding. Julie brought a green salad and strawberry shortcake and Velma brought a grape salad.

We sat around visiting and eating and passing around the iced water because it was still sitting right around 85 degrees. It was a 4th for the books!

What did you do for the 4th?

What are you up to? 

What I Learned in June

Friday, July 03, 2015

June 14, 2015

* Rubbing alcohol takes sap out of clothes. I did have to apply a stain stick to it and wash it again because the alcohol left a ring where it was used on my khaki skirt. Just so you know,  I got sap on it YEARS ago. I washed and dried it, soaked it, and tried every treatment I could come up with, all to no avail. UNTIL now!!! ( The credit for this amazing discovery goes to my Mom via the internet!)

* A solvent is something that dissolves things. Makes total sense, but I never knew that! (via Al Mohler on The Briefing. You learn things in the most unexpected places!)

* Mary Higgins Clark was first published at 28 and she made $100 for that short story. Keep writing!

* Glenn Miller's career only lasted about 3 1/2 years. He got his start in the spring of 1939 and then he was killed in a plane crash in the fall of 1942. You never know what you can accomplish in the time you've been given!

* Sparkling Lemonade = YUM! Alice treated me to one of these after we finished pulling the flowers off of her family graves from Memorial Day. It was strange to accompany a 91 year old woman and realize that she has said goodbye to so many people whose lives here have all been lived.

Jamberry Accent Manicure - week 1

Jamberry Accent Manicure - week 2

* Jamberry nails aren't weird after all. Have you tried them?

* A capsule wardrobe is an excellent idea and I CAN do it! You can too, here's how!

What did you learn in June?

*I'm linking up with Emily!

Sisters: A Guest Post

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Today, I bring you a guest post from my sister. I logged into my account last night to figure out what kind of posts I had drafted for the rest of the week. Sitting on the top of my draft folder, was this post, complete with pictures. So...Maybe I shouldn't post this, but I know it's one I'll enjoy looking back on. 

Hello to all of my Sister's readers! She left her account logged in, so I thought I would stop by and tell her how amazing she is. :-)


I am SOO glad that God chose us to be sisters. It is weird, as I have experienced a couple times, when you aren't here. Even when you are only gone for a couple hours. Sometimes I have some random fact to tell you that I learned in school or just want to know what you are up to and I have forgotten that you left.

I enjoyed making ice cream with you the other day and I hope that we get to do it a lot more throughout the summer. I love our little picnics that we have, the times we go get smoothies or lunch for no reason, or even just hanging out in your room simply enjoying each others' company without saying anything. 

You are AMAZING! I know that sometimes I act like you aren't, but you are and always will be by the grace of God and if it is His will. (I sure hope it is!!)

Hopefully one day we will actually get to take our imaginary road trip. And just so you know I like going places with you just for you - not so that we don't get lost. That is a fantastic added bonus though. :-D

Well....I better get my school done so that we can do some fun stuff later!!

Love you!

Your Sister

Currently: July 2015

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Jupiter and Venus Align // June 30, 2015

It's been one of the hottest Junes ever and yet this month kind of went by without all of the regular festivities. My brother and sister are finishing up school, so we haven't done a lot of the extra fun stuff just yet. Last night, we went outside to admire the night sky and to witness Jupiter and Venus lining up. Did you see them?

My Dad's birthday was a hit with ribs, beans, broccoli salad, cornbread, and crockpot mac and cheese. Our Father's Day cook out was easy and a good day for all. We grilled hamburgers and I "made" BBQ beans and watermelon. Julie brought along potato salad and ice cream bars too. The sweet tea has been in steady supply, as always.

My brother has been taking driver's ed and is quickly improving! One day after class, we went into a little thrift shop that was HEAPED with stuff. We found two games that I've been looking for (Mille Bornes and Backgammon) and one that I didn't know I needed (Mise en Place which is a cooking trivia game) - for a total of $5!

They'll be finishing up school in another week or so and then summer will hit us in FULL force! Until then, you'll find me puttering around in my garden, reading a book, or cleaning something during the early evening hours. All of sudden it's July and time to link up with Jenna and Anne to talk about what I'm currently...

Craving: Fruit: salad, trays, salsa, smoothies, everything! Do you have a fruit salsa recipe you love? Also, these Italian Ices which are wonderful! We picked them up at Wal-Mart, just so you know. :) 

Grilling: Pork Burgers, Rib Steak, Top Sirloin ( I only used the steak portion of this recipe, plus I rubbed one side of the steaks with minced garlic), and T-Bone Steak. This grilling guide has been a huge help.

What I've learned so far is that for almost every food, you need to give the grill 12-15 minutes to heat up to 450-550 degrees. Once it's ready, you stick your meat on and in the case of steaks, pull them off before you think they're done (within 6-8 minutes for most cuts). I'm learning!

Listening: I've been studying Galatians this way and listening to John Piper's sermon series on it after I've studied each section.

Planning: A little vacation for July...So far, I've got a coffee shop, a Greek place, and a pizza place that I want to go to. Maybe I should start thinking about something other than food?!? :)

Decorating: I pulled out the summer decorations a few weeks ago! Now, I'm adding fresh cut flowers every now and then. Thanks to Jenna, I know how to keep them looking fresh.

What are you currently craving, grilling, listening to, planning, and decorating?