Saturday, June 29, 2013

Field Trip: Wesley Forest

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I spent last week at a summer church camp.  I've been going to camp since I was in 4th grade.  I believe that I've only missed two years.  The camp that I've been going to the longest is a music camp.  We bring together a choir of students and a small band to sing and a play a concert of 9-12 songs at the end of the week.  When I was too old to be a camper, I volunteered as a counselor for a few years.  Then I became the choir director, and the last few years I have served as the accompanist.

The camp site that I go to is just a few miles from where I grew up.  It's called Wesley Forest.  Wesley Forest is a really special place.

In addition to learning the music, we spend the week having Bible studies and worshipping around one theme.  This year our theme was "Radically Different."  We kept coming back to the word "radical" all week.    It was a great way for the kids to connect to the theme.

One of the best things about camp is that it's a time when you get to "unplug" and spend some time in nature.  It's quiet.  It's a time to reflect.  

We spent one afternoon cleaning up the teepee area.  We raked out all of the leaves, and made the path nice and clear.  We also built a new fire pit and put in some benches.  We're hoping that many campers throughout the summer will come and enjoy this space.

I love checking out the new things in camp.  There was a nice little area between some of the trees with some saddles on an old tree.  I think the elementary campers will really enjoy this.  There was also a really nice outdoor board game set up.  There are three games to choose from, and the games use stones as game pieces.  

I hope you take some time to "unplug" this summer and enjoy God's creation!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Resolutions

Hello!  I'm just getting back from an invigorating trip to church camp.  It was a great week with beautiful weather in a beautiful place surrounded by beautiful people!  I'll be posting a little more on that later this week. Now, I feel like I'm finally able to start my summer vacation.  I have so many things to do on my summer list.  I don't know if there is any way I can finish them all.  The good news is that I have already finished two of the things on the list.  Here's the breakdown.

1.  Finish the entryway in the kitchen.
2.  Find and hang thrifted plates in the kitchen.  Finish the kitchen in general.  I'm so close!
3.  Paint the kitchen door and garage door black.
4.  Create a pea gravel patio in the upper corner of the yard.  (Done!  Post coming soon!)
5.  Try to make a few concrete spheres for the garden.
6.  Finish the black rub-n-buff around the fireplace.
7.  Repaint the side tables from the bedroom.
8.  Clean and organize the garage.  (Done!)
9.  Clean and organize the bathroom closet.
10.  Make a chandelier for the pea gravel patio. (Started!)

My husband and I have some fun things that we are going to do this summer too.  We're heading to Washington DC this weekend, and we'll be going to the beach for a week later in the summer.  I hoping we can go on a few picnics, and we'd like to go to a drive-in movie.  I think we'll take a trip to Hershey Gardens some day it's not too terribly hot.

Wow!  That's a lot for one summer.  I need to get to work!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quick and Easy Pickle Mix

Here in central Pennsylvania we have a sandwich restaurant called Isaac's.  They serve a delicious mix of pickles as you are waiting for your sandwich.  I've been thinking about trying to make these pickles for years.  I think I finally cracked the code.  These pickles are very mild and slightly sweet.  They are the perfect thing to gnosh at a picnic or any kind of get together.

You'll need a jar of mild pickle mix, a jar of your favorite dill pickle slices, and a medium sized cucumber thinly sliced.  You'll also need water, distilled white vinegar, salt, and sugar.

Drain the garden mix and dill pickle slices of all of the brine, and thinly slice the cucumber leaving the skin on.    Mix these three things together.

Now it's time to make the new brine.  I like to use this pot that I got last summer.

It even has measuring marks on the inside so there is no need for a measuring cup.

For the brine you need:

3 cups of water
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup of distilled white vinegar

Bring the water to a boil, and add the sugar and salt.  Stir so they completely dissolve.  When it boils take it off the heat and stir in the vinegar.  Let the mixture cool.  Once the mixture is cool (about an hour) tightly pack the pickles in any container and pour the brine over the pickles.  Refrigerate over night.  These pickles should last a week or two in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Field Trip: Winterthur

My sister, brother-in-law, husband, and I took a trip to Winterthur this weekend.  It's the estate of one of the DuPont's, a well-known wealthy American family.  The DuPont's also started Longwood Gardens which is nearby.  Winterthur has an extensive garden and a mansion that you can tour.  The gardens are much more casual than Longwood, but still impressive.  Here are a few highlights from the trip.

Winterthur has a children's garden that we had a lot of fun playing in.  Below you'll see my sister, Larissa, peeking her head out of an enormous bird nest.

The fish pond looked beautiful in the sunlight.  We even had a few koi come up to say "hi."  I think they were hoping for some food.

The peonies were in full bloom, and they were gorgeous.  My peonies are young.  I can't wait until they bloom.  Maybe next year.


After we toured the garden, we went on a tour of the mansion.  Mr. DuPont was a collector of American antiques.  This was one of my favorite rooms.

He had this staircase moved from another house and put into his.

There were many beautiful chandeliers.  This is just one.

This mirror belonged to George Washington.  It's a beautiful piece.

This stein was made by Paul Revere.

After we were finished at Winterthur, we made a quick stop at Terrain just to check it out.  It was very cute, in true Anthropologie style, but it was way too expensive.  It's a nice place to go to get some inspiration.

It was a great day!  I hope you have a chance to check it out sometime!