Archive for June 2014

Fresh Blueberry Crisp   Leave a comment

5 cups fresh blueberries

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal

3/4 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup butter cut up

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Wash and drain blueberries and put them in a 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with the lemon juice.  Mix all the remaining ingredients together and drop onto the blueberries.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Serve warm with peach or vanilla ice cream.

I like this better than pie because I really think it is tastier and then there’s the added advantage of its being much easier than having to mess with a pie crust.

Breyers peach ice cream is the best topping, but if you can’t get that, vanilla ice cream will do.

We had this last night for dessert.  It’s one of my favorite summer treats.  I hope you like it as much as I do, and that it lasts longer at your house than it does at mine.

Posted June 25, 2014 by swanatbagend in food

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Yum   Leave a comment

Must — stop — picking — blueberries!

Cannot make self stop picking blueberries.  It’s just too easy.

There is something so satisfying about feeling a ripe berry come off in you hand, and then seeing it drop into your bucket.

Or even better as my experience today at Blueberry Hill Farm north of New Castle, Kentucky, where I got to experience that repeatedly, and at times had up to 6 or 7 berries in one hand as I pulled them off the loaded bushes.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many ripe berries in clusters as I did this morning.  There are at least two varieties being picked now, and it was a good morning, not too hot, and with some cloud cover.  My daughter and I gathered two gallons in about 75 minutes of picking.

I had brought a folding stool and I would set it up in one spot and literally could pick for probably ten minutes without having to move it, the bushes were that loaded.  My daughter filled up two-thirds of a gallon bucket purely from one large bush!

Now that we’re back home and have sampled our work, the flavor is really good also.

Sigh…what a lovely way to spend a morning.  And now I’m thinking of all the great things I can make with them, besides of course the basic pleasure of just eating a nice sweet chilled blueberry.  I’m making crisp tonight, crepes for tomorrow morning.  I also love just blueberries in slightly melted vanilla ice cream. That’s how my grandmother and I used to eat them on a hot evening in Oklahoma City when I was there for my summer visit.

Anyway, if you’d like the pleasure of the easiest berry picking you’ve seen in a while, here is the website for the berry farm I went to this morning.


Posted June 24, 2014 by swanatbagend in diet

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Welcome to the Land of Expectations   Leave a comment

Would that I could escape from the endless trips I take to the land of expectations.  Even if you haven’t read Norton Juster’s book The Phantom Tollbooth, and don’t know what this quote refers to, you may be able to guess what this blog post is about.

I have known for many years now that I have a tendency to have specific and high expectations of myself, others, and reality.

I have “learned” this through painful experience, over the years, and because of that I have chosen to maintain realistic expectations of events and people, so that I will not have to go through the cycle of joyous anticipation, ending in heartfelt disappointment, and repeating endlessly.

A basic example would be the expectations I had as a child of what Christmas Day would deliver.  Sure it was wonderful to feel the anticipation, see the beautiful Christmas tree lights, and get presents, but some situation always reared up to spoil the supposed/proposed expectation I had of having a beautiful, wonderful, almighty perfect day. (Like for example the reality that the day would come to an end….)

So — I’m not that 8-year-old child any more and I know better than to have ridiculous expectations!

It follows that I should not have any problems feeling disappointed when things don’t work out….the way I thought they would…wait a minute, I have basically just admitted that I still have expectations, every single day of my life.

As much as I don’t want to have them, because I don’t like feeling disappointed, I can’t seem to eliminate this variable.

I suppose at some level it is impossible to have no expectations, because the fact that I go to the grocery store with list in hand means I expect to be cooking for and feeding my family for another two weeks.

I pay the mortgage and electric bills for this month because I fully expect to be living in the house and needing its shelter for the next month.

I sit down with a new library book because I fully expect to enjoy reading it.

I call a friend because I expect to enjoy our conversation.

Maybe it’s not expectations per se that are my problem, maybe it’s just unrealistic expectations.  Hmmm.

Didn’t think I still had the problem but guess I do…..thought last school year would obviously be easier, how could it not be, as I only have two instead of three students.  Nope, didn’t pan out that way.  Thought that summer vacation would feel like a vacation all the time, but has not happened yet.  Had hoped to go on a camping trip west this year, or somewhere, but, nope, that is not going to happen.

I am an adult and can cope with changes in my personal plans or wishes. (Repeat to self as needed.)

I’m not broken up about these things, but I do find that my adjustment to my current reality is not as smooth as I would like.


Posted June 20, 2014 by swanatbagend in reality

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What’s This Supposed to Look Like?   1 comment

Zach came home from college on April 28th and I haven’t written much since then due to spending my time trying to figure out how it works to live with an adult child in the best possible way.

I think I know what I ought to do and what I want to do, but I’m not sure it’s actually working out that way.

It is clear that a child who is now over the age of 18 and has been eating, sleeping, studying, working, and traveling without you for the past eight months, clearly does not need your help.  He is a paid employee of the university he attends.  He went to a country on another continent and back, which you have never done.

But since you’re the mom, and you’ve been refining your mom instincts and your mom gig for the past almost 19 years, it’s very difficult to just put that down and set it aside.  It’s programmed.  It’s biological. It’s common sense.  It’s your life’s work here.  You’re good at helping, shepherding, cleaning, feeding, directing and loving.

How do you do that only enough to be supportive and useful, not annoying?

As an adult child, I know what I like from my parents.  I like encouragement , respect, and an attitude of confidence that I’m doing well and I can handle things.  I also like to know that if I change my mind about being able to handle things…..they will be there as backup.  Of course, it’s possible that my adult child has a different list for how he wants to be treated now that he’s an adult.

Zach and I have talked about it a little, and there have been a few times since he’s been home when he has let me know, usually with a little gentle sarcasm, that he will survive if I will back off.

Like the evening last week when he left for a night tutoring appointment, and apparently I was  hovering too much, because he told me he was unlikely to get killed traveling there and back, that I should go to bed instead of waiting up for him, and that he had the sense to call me if he needed something.

At the same time that he requires respect and autonomy, he is glad to be home enjoying home cooking and hugs from his mother and father.  He needs time with us, to enjoy our company, and get some TLC after a challenging first year of college.

It’s not either/or, it’s both/and, I guess.

Posted June 18, 2014 by swanatbagend in parenting, transitions

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Father’s Day   Leave a comment

Greg grilled bratwurst for dinner last night, and I made potato salad and asparagus. We had baked beans as a side.  Mom and Dad came to celebrate with us.

We inaugurated a new era in ice cream making here because last summer Dad gave me the hand crank ice cream maker we had when I was a kid and provided a new bucket to go with it.  So we broke it in last night making vanilla ice cream, all taking turns cranking it.  It really does taste better when you have to work to make the ice cream happen.  I also have to say that if you substitute heavy cream for the portion of the recipe that calls for half and half, so that you then have almost all cream, and just a tiny bit of milk that you warmed in order to dissolve the salt and sugar, it really is an improvement.  I don’t think I’ll even bother with half and half in the future.  It was the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever eaten.

And then Mom made Grandma’s hot chocolate sauce recipe and we had that over the ice cream, and more whipped cream on top.

Games ensued afterwards including chicken foot dominoes, which, OK, I have to admit, is fun, if stupid.  I never even got to play on my train the whole time we played the first round.  Everyone else kept playing on it but every time it got back to me it was always a number I didn’t have.  Then I attempted to continue what used to be my winning streak in regular dominoes but I was sitting to the left of my oldest son with few to no copiers and was wildly outscored by said son.  Alas, for my glory days have passed me by.

After half of us were in bed and Mom and Dad had gone home, I went outside, and witnessed the party tree by the pond decorated in winking firefly lights.  It’s a large tree and it was flickering all over magically.

Amongst all the rest, it’s worth noting evenings like this — and that’s why I wrote all this down.

Posted June 16, 2014 by swanatbagend in gratitude

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