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“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”        Ephesians 3:20, 21

We decided to take a stay at home vacation this summer.  I usually prefer to go to the mountains where the nights are cool or spend time on the beach enjoying the ocean breeze on early morning walks.  But with the cost of everything skyrocketing, it seemed like a wise idea to stay home. I wasn’t sure how much fun this would be, but I was sure that God always does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”  Following is a list of some of the fun things we’ve done in our back yard during past summers with our children and grand kids.

Big Box Fun:  

My husband brought home a large refrigerator box and the grand kids had a ball rolling down the hill in our back yard inside the box.  It is possible to also use it for a clubhouse cutting out windows  and a door and letting the kids paint it with poster paints.  There are so many things you can make with a big box.  It can be turned into a lemonade stand, a rocket ship or used as a sliding board, the possibilities are unending.

Huckleberry Finn Fun Rafting:

It just takes a little imagination, a few inner tubes and a creek.  We are blessed to live in the woods on a creek and it has always provided fantastic  entertainment for our children and grand kids.  It is only about a foot deep and on hot summer days, it gives hours of fun rafting with just some peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches for a picnic along the way.  Add in a little imagination and oh the wonderful places you can go!

Croquet Games  

Our kids have always enjoyed a good game of poison croquet.  Regular croquet is   better for very young children who do not appreciate having their ball sent rolling away when they were just about to tap it through a wicket.  But the older ones understand the humor and advantage of playing a challenging game of poison croquet.  Our biggest problem is keeping our Golden Retriever from retrieving the balls.

Delicious Dinners

Evenings provide endless opportunities for delicious meals of grilling out  hamburgers and hotdogs which seems to be everybody’s favorite.  Another favorite of mine is shrimp brushed with a little garlic butter and grilled to perfection.  Frozen pineapple chunks make a great accompaniment and so do raw carrot sticks, celery, broccoli and cauliflower served with a sour cream, parsley and dill dip.  Fresh corn on the cob and a few chips finish out an easy summer meal that never requires heating up the oven.  My husband sometimes likes a grilled pineapple ring placed on top of his burger which gives it a taste of Hawaii.  Grilled chicken with pineapple is another favorite of ours.  While waiting for dinner a little down time in the hammock is always great.

Sour Cream, parsley and dill dip,                                                                                 (a favorite of mine)

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1Tbsp. dried minced parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. beau Monde seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried minced dill weed

Stir together and let chill in refrigerator over night to blend the flavors.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe:

Desserts have always been my favorite part of any meal and what could be better than homemade ice cream!  This is the recipe for strawberry ice cream we made when I was growing up and it is yummy!

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • few grains salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pt. half and half cream
  • 1/2 pt. whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 qt. strawberries

Scald 3/4 cup of milk, then add flour which has been thoroughly mixed with 1/2 cup of the sugar and the salt.  Beat the egg with remaining 1/4 cup milk, then add to the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly.  Cook while stirring about 3 min. or until mixture coats the spoon.  Thoroughly cool; and add vanilla extract.  Place mixture in refrigerator to chill.  Put strawberries thru food mill to puree.  A blender can also be used but the food mill gets out most of the tiny seeds.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar to the strawberry puree (sometimes I add a little more sugar and sweeten to taste).  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.  After dinner pour the puree, custard mixture, cream and half and half into your ice cream freezer can adding a little extra cream or milk until mixture reaches fill line.  Be sure to have plenty of ice and a box of rock salt on hand and mix together according to manufacturer’s directions.  I usually buy an extra bag of ice and extra rock salt just in case we don’t have enough.  Enjoy!  

Basketball In The Driveway

After dinner the kids all like to play basketball in the driveway.  But as for me, I’m usually ready to sit down and relax for the rest of the evening with a good book.  This summer I plan to read “Stillmeadow” by Gladys Taber again.  It is a charming book with some delightfully funny moments .

The grand kids never get tired and after running and romping all day long they only sit quiet for a moment before asking, “what can we do now?”   Lightning Bug Lanterns  

I try to keep on hand a supply of clear plastic jars with lids for these lanterns.  Empty plastic peanut butter jars are great for this.  Cut a few breathing holes in the lid and turn the kids loose to run in the back yard. Thankfully this always gives  the adults some much needed quiet time to relax and enjoy a little dog therapy.

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