"Do I have to go to school tomorrow?"
"The next day?"
"The day after that?"
"Nope, nope, nope."
He knows the answer. He just gets such a charge out of hearing it.
From this point on, my time will truly not be my own. I plan to post once a month for the summer. Even now, I can barely peck out this post on the keyboard without the "mom alarm" sounding.
This year I had planned to sell our excess strawberries. I didn't have a stand or even a sign, I just did it by word of mouth, and it was more than enough. I put the word out: Strawberries picked fresh twice daily, sold at half the price of my competitors. A sweet variety. Contact me for pick up!
I quickly found joy in handing out boxes of plump, juicy fruit, meeting friendly new faces, and experiencing my first ever repeat customers. The satisfaction of selling good, clean, nourishing food at a fair price. Your berries are so good. I don't even need to put sugar on them. Will you have more?
Oh, I really like this, I thought.
At the same time, I was meditating on a message the Lord sent me through a friend, and the message she gave me was this: Your joy is your strength. What a foreign idea to me it was that strength could be powered by joy. In a world that values fight, dominance, and intellectual debate it never once occurred to me that joy and strength could be intertwined in a way that produces might, at least not for this woman. I'm still learning more about this and am working to keep my joy filled at maximum capacity this summer. I want to be able to fill my cup with joy and pour the blessings out for others.
The dilemma: You've got exactly two very brown bananas and no, you can't make another banana bread, it's too boring. What you do have is a potluck coming up or a crowd to feed and, now, a way to stretch those two bananas into a delicious sheet of fudgy-cakey banana goodness. We really enjoyed this banana-chocolate combination. I even got a request to make it again before the cake pan was empty.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (2 large or 3 medium)
1 cup sour cream
Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until fully blended. Add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture, alternating with mashed bananas and sour cream. Beat well after each addition.
Pour into a 13x9 baking dish and bake at 350 for approximately 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup*
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix 1 cup of sugar and the cocoa in a saucepan. Stir in milk, butter, and corn syrup. Heat until boiling, while stirring continuously. Boil for 3 minutes and remove from heat. Using a spoon or whisk, stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla until the frosting is completely smooth. Allow the frosting to cool slightly, checking until it is a spreadable consistency. Pour onto the cooled cake and spread evenly.
*If you don't have corn syrup or simply prefer not to use it, substitute honey or 2 Tablespoons of sugar dissolved in 1/2 Tablespoon of warm water.