Friday, June 29, 2007

Oregon Pictures

We are headed to New York state to spend the 4th of July with family. In the meantime, please enjoy browsing these few pictures from my recent trip to Oregon!

I pray that all of you have a safe and happy holiday as we celebrate the wonderful freedom God has given us in this country!

Graduation Day: My brother Nathan. We are so proud of him!

Agate Beach along the Pacific coast.

My mom and dad.

It was the perfect day for flying kites on the beach!

My little nephew, Knox, playing on the beach. As you can see, one must often wear jackets when visiting the Pacific coast!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dill Pickles

Thought you might like to take a peek at my first canning experience of the season- 6 quart jars of dill pickles!

These were very easy to make. From start to finish was just under 2 hours. Some I put in the jars whole;others were sliced in chunks and spears. We'll see which ones we like the best!

I'll be sharing more of my canning days with you as the summer progresses. Canning is a fun and useful art to learn and while I've helped my mom and sister do a lot of canning, I've never done a whole lot by myself! So I am excited about learning more about canning and preserving this summer.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blessing My Neighbors

As a stay-at-home wife, it seems that I really do not come in contact with too many people on a regular basis. So in the past several months, I've been praying that God would show me who to build relationships with and bring me into contact with those that He would like me to reach out to. How interesting that in the past week or so, I've had a real desire to get to know my neighbors!

We've lived in our neighborhood for almost 3 years. In that time, I have met a few people on our street and that is pretty much it. We live at the very end of the street with no neighbors directly across, so it's almost impossible to see when people are out in their yards. For us, it requires a more intentional approach. Yes, we can stop and chat if someone happens to be out when we are walking by but otherwise, we don't see that much of our neighbors.

As often happens when I am dealing with a certain subject, other friends in the blogosphere are discussing the very same thing: how to get to know your neighbors.

I am really quite introverted and even if I feel strongly about doing something, I will try to get out of doing it if it's out of my comfort zone. I've thought for a long while that I should share some goodies with my neighbors when baking. While baking zucchini bread yesterday morning, I knew that it was the day to reach out! I had no excuse but that I was too shy and I would feel uncomfortable. I asked God to show me 2 houses to go to and He brought to mind a new family down the street as well as an elderly gentleman who moved in this winter. (We had met the man and often speak with him when he is out walking his dog.)

I am a very friendly person in passing but knocking on someone's door totally unannounced was another story! I thought about waiting until my husband was home to go with me but realized that I would be using his outgoing personality as a crutch.:-)

So in the afternoon, I wrapped two small loaves of zucchini bread in plastic wrap, and tied a cute bow with a simple little card attached that read, "Welcome to the neighborhood."

Both were very appreciative and surprised. The new family immediately invited me in to meet the whole family! I didn't realize but they have a 2 week old baby as well as two other little ones. I am so glad that I got to meet them! Now I am excited about sharing with the others in my neighborhood!

Here's the zucchini bread recipe that I used. It is a wonderful old-fashioned Amish recipe that I love to make each year!

Zucchini Bread

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups grated zucchini squash
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup raisins, optional
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Sift first 5 ingredients together. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Beat until well-mixed. Stir in flour mixture until smooth. Stir in raisins and nuts, if desired. Pour mixture into greased bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Makes about 4 small loaves or 2 larger loaves. (Adjust baking time for larger loaves.)