She works with willing hands.

Living With MS…and Hope

I’ve been quiet for a while. It has been nearly 10 months since I was diagnosed with Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis, and it has taken me all of that time to process the news, and adapt to my “new normal.” When I was diagnosed last fall, I was scared and overwhelmed. I had a few anxiety attacks (a new experience for me), and I cried a lot. I had no sensation in my right hand for many months, and as soon as I opened my eyes each morning, I curled up my fingers, hoping to feel them again. I didn’t know what my future would look like – and the truth is – I still don’t. But then again…none of us really knows what tomorrow will bring.

Today I feel well. Like most people, I have good days, and not-so-good days. I tire easily, and sometimes my brain is a bit foggy. (However, don’t most mothers feel tired and foggy?) I experience frequent transient symptoms including numbness and tingling, mostly in my hands and feet. And every once in awhile, I have strange symptoms – like when my face went numb while riding in the back of a convertible – or when I lost feeling in my tongue while eating water ice. Despite these sensory symptoms, I am able to do everything that I did before I was diagnosed. I manage my household, care for my children, teach exercise classes, and lead a large women’s Bible study.

I am thankful that I recovered well from transverse myelitis (which was what landed me in the hospital and led to my MS diagnosis). Two-thirds of folks diagnosed with transverse myelitis end up profoundly to moderately permanently disabled, and I praise God for my outcome. Much like the persistent widow in Luke 18, I will always pray for complete healing and no MS relapses. I will not lose heart.

Just as I did when I was diagnosed last fall, I trust God and His plan for my life. The suffering that I have experienced in connection with this disease is not a random bout of bad luck. It is according to God’s providence, and He will sustain me through it. I am His child, and His plans for me are good, even when they feel bad. I do not doubt His goodness, for I have seen His goodness throughout this entire ordeal. He met me in the night when I was desperate and afraid, and His word was (and is) like cold water to a weary soul.

Although I hope that my medication works well, and I hope that my diet will reduce inflammation in my body, and I hope that I’m taking the right supplements, and I hope that frequent exercise will keep my motor and cognitive functioning on point, and I hope that this disease won’t ravage my body…that is not where my hope ultimately lies. My hope lies in Christ, His life, death, and resurrection, and His eternal promises.

When I opened my eyes this morning, and curled up my fingers, I felt them. After I use them to write this, I will rise and drink my coffee, take my children to the grocery store, and then the park. I will do all of these things with a deep appreciation that I never experienced in the past. I am thankful for sensation in my digits, and for hands and feet that work as they should. I am thankful for God’s sovereignty over this disease, and for his sustenance. I am thankful for the cool fountain of His word, where I drink and find refreshment. I am thankful for my hope in Christ.

Peace That Surpasses Understanding

Several weekends ago, just prior to receiving my MS diagnosis, a few of us Supper Club gals went to Avalon, New Jersey for an overnight. It was a hurriedly organized 24-hour trip. We set off for the shore at rush hour, and got tangled in heavy Philly traffic along the way. By the time we reached our friend’s family house, it was cold and dark.

After settling in and enjoying a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free dinner (lovingly prepared by my girlfriends, who carefully accommodated my newly restrictive diet), we wrapped up in sweatshirts and blanket scarves, and walked one block to the beach.

The moon was full and bright, lighting our path as we headed over the dunes. Because of the MS, my feet had been numb for several weeks. What little sensation I did feel was tingly and uncomfortable. Once we reached the fine beach sand, however, I slipped off my flats and dug my toes into the sand.

And I felt the cold.

It was incredible.

I walked down to the biting water, stepped in, and wept.

moonlight

Overcome with emotion, I stood in the moonlit waves, my dear friend Karen by my side. And through my salty tears, for the first time in many weeks, I felt peaceful.

beach-at-night2

As the sea water rushed over the cuffs of my pants, I think I tasted a sliver of the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for me, and it was overwhelming.

We sat on the beach for hours, my friends and I, cold feet in the icy sand. We talked, and laughed.

moonlit-beach

Our time on the sand was interrupted by heading to the house for only a few winks of sleep before returning to watch the sunrise. And a glorious sunrise it was.

sunrise1

sunrise2

sunrise3

sunrise4

sunrise5

As the sun emerged over the horizon, we read from chapter 38 of the Book of Job, and I was reminded of God’s enormity, and my smallness.

me-walking

I walked the beach, delighting in the sensation of the soft sand between my chilly toes.

me-on-sand

me-on-sand2

toes-in-sand

I collected shells and a beautiful silver fish that the tide pushed on shore.

collecting

tiny-fish

It was nearly translucent, and looked as if a skillful craftsman had deftly painted thin silver and black pinstripes down its side.

Everything about that time was beautiful, serene, and lovely. It felt as if the cold sand, the mighty sun, and the delicate silver fish were telling of the glory of their maker.

I don’t know exactly why, but that 24-hour trip to the beach was transformative. I arrived in Avalon a sad and fearful woman, and I departed with peace.

Today, almost six weeks after my diagnosis, I am mostly peaceful about having MS. Although I don’t like the diagnosis (and I will do everything in my power to improve and maintain my health) I know that nothing in my life happens outside of the providence of God. The one who made the sand, sun, and silver fish also made me, and he planned each day of my life. I believe that MS is part of his plan for me. I don’t say this to sound like a spiritual rock star. In fact, my own pet tendencies are anxiety and worry, so I know that this peace I have is not of myself. I know that the peace I feel is a gift from God, and I will rejoice in him.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

feet-in-sand

Photography by my gifted friend Lindsey Calabretta Clark.

lcc2

Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

Well folks, October 2016 has officially been one of the hardest months of my life. As I recently shared with you, I was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with myelitis and spent several days in the hospital at the beginning of this month. At the peak of the myelitis, I could not feel my body from my clavicles down (with the exception of my left arm and hand, which, for unknown reasons, never got very numb). Since that time, I have experienced dramatic physical improvement in certain areas of my body, while other areas remain numb and/or tingly. Specifically, my right hand remains profoundly numb. However, all of my motor functioning remains intact, and I can again feel my feet, legs, pelvis, and abdomen.

On Thursday, October 20th, I visited a specialist at Penn Neurology, and he assigned to me the diagnosis that I so desperately feared – Multiple Sclerosis, or MS. The type of MS that I have is called relapsing remitting, meaning that exacerbations of the disease, or relapses, come and go. If you are curious, you can read more about the disease here.

Even before I was diagnosed on the 20th, I started taking Vitamin D and fish oil, and I reluctantly began modifying my diet, largely cutting out sugar, dairy, gluten, and a host of other potentially inflammatory foods. I am currently following a modified paleo diet, and I am learning as I go. In fact, Saturday night I prepared my first paleo meal from scratch, start to finish. Because I delight in food and all things related to the table, changing my way of eating and cooking is a huge lifestyle change in and of itself. I hope to share my new recipes and techniques with you in the coming months. For now, however, I am learning…slowly but surely.

But beyond the diet changes, physical symptoms, doctor visits, future MRIs, and the MS drug that I will now inject myself with three times a week, the events of this month have left me emotionally shaken, and mentally overwhelmed. And in some ways, I am grieving.

I am grieving the life that I thought I had.

I have no medical history of which to speak. I have always been healthy, and with the exception of overscheduling my way into periods of physical exhaustion, I have taken care of my body. I teach exercise classes and I eat whole foods. I wasn’t supposed to end up with a chronic disease, for which there is no known cure.

But here I am. MS is my new reality, and I don’t understand why.

However, during this awful October, I have experienced God’s love in powerful and tangible ways – ways that I’ve never experienced before – ways that I will share with you in the days and weeks to come. I desire to share my experiences with you because even in the midst of my suffering, I know that God is good. He is sovereign over all things, including my MS diagnosis, and I trust Him. I may not understand His plans for me, but He is my strength, and my hope is in Him.

isaiah-40

Photography by Lindsey Calabretta Clark.

An Empty Vessel

My prayer over the past many months has been that I will be an empty vessel for the Lord to fill and use as He wills. This prayer of mine comes from the Bible. Throughout Scripture, people are often described as vessels, or jars of clay, in the the hands of God. He is the Almighty potter.

Last week, Jersey Boy, the kids, and I were immersed in the frenetic swirl of a Disney vacation. Our time together in Disney World was thrilling, exhausting, energizing, and depleting. We had many activities planned, fast passes scheduled, dinner reservations reserved, and princesses to visit. At the Magic Kingdom, we had dinner in the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and in the evening we observed giraffes and zebras outside of our hotel balcony at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. At Epcot, we ate dinner in Germany and we fell from the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. It all felt surreal and overwhelming, even as an adult.

But along the way, I started losing feeling on the right side of my body. It was a strange, creeping sensation, that started with mild tingling in my feet but rapidly progressed to total numbness. I ignored the sensation for two days, hopped up on adrenaline and attributing my loss of feeling to a pinched nerve or sore back. By Saturday evening, however, I realized that something was very wrong.

After a frightening visit to the ER in Florida where the doctor confirmed that I was not having a stroke, I was advised to head home to Pennsylvania and seek further medical care. The Lord sustained me throughout the day on Sunday as we awaited our late afternoon flight. As soon as we landed in Pennsylvania my dear friend Maggie gathered me from the airport and drove me directly to the hospital, where I was joined by two other dear friends, Lindsey and Jenn. Jersey Boy brought our littles home, and tucked them safely in their beds as the doctors admitted me to the hospital and told me that I was most likely suffering from myelitis – a rare and potentially debilitating neurological disorder.

I spent several days in the hospital, surrounded by friends and loved ones. I underwent MRIs of my spine and brain, and the doctors confirmed the diagnosis of myelitis, finding an active lesion on my cervical spine. I had a spinal tap and many blood tests, the results of which are still pending. The doctors treated me with five days of high dose IV steroids, and the Lord spared me from experiencing extreme side effects from the medication. Those few days in the hospital were scary and dark.

I do not know what my future holds. I do not know what is causing my myelitis. In the coming days and weeks more answers will likely come as I visit specialists who will try to understand what is going on inside of my body. Some of the possibilities are highly treatable, and others seem more ominous.

But during this time, the Lord has fully displayed his mercy and loving compassion towards me. All of our family’s physical needs are being met by our local friends, both inside and outside of the church. People are bringing us meals, friends are driving my children to their various activities, and loved ones are sacrificing their own personal schedules and plans to take time and just BE WITH US…even in this muck…amidst my tears, and fears…in the sadness, and suffering. People are praying with us, and for us, and I feel God’s love in tangible ways.

I am praying for complete healing, if the Lord wills it. I am praying for God to give me the strength I’ll need to make it through each small step of this unexpected journey. I feel weak and small, like a delicate jar. I am acutely aware of my own fragility, and I am clinging desperately to the potter.

Above all else, my prayer remains the same as before all of this started. I am an empty vessel…a lump of clay in the hands of my God. And I trust Him to have His way in me. I trust Him to fill me and use me as He wills.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Trader Joe’s Highs and Lows

As a foodie, I heart Trader Joe’s, and it’s been a while since I’ve done a TJ’s Highs and Lows! Here’s what I’m digging (and not so much) right now.

My high:

mango candle

Okay, it’s not a food item, but you should immediately go buy as many of these mango tangerine candles as possible. At $3.99, they smell every bit as fantastic as far more expensive candles. I have an unlit one in my powder room, and the space smells amazing. Go buy one. Or twelve.

My low:

jalapeno olives

Okay, these TJ’s jalapeno stuffed olives aren’t awful. They’d be just fine in a pinch. However, they aren’t nearly as tasty as Mezzetta’s jalapeno stuffed olives (which I love and devour). (Is it strange that my current late night snack obsession is jalapeno stuffed olives?)

Honorable mention:

yuck

No, Trader Joe’s. Just no. This is a low if I ever did see one.

 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

After a long hiatus this summer, I’m happy to say…I’m baaaaaaack. I continued writing this summer, but just in other places and ways. I hope to share all of that with you when the time is right. But in the meantime, let’s talk about one of my favorite things – Supper Club!

This was me last night, fully embracing August’s Supper Club theme, “When Life Gives You Lemons.”

lemons

Lemon drop in hand, checking out my girl Erin’s fab greenhouse, my calm appearance belies the fact that I have a raging summer head cold. But when life gives you a summer cold, what do you do? You make a dish containing lemons and go to Supper Club. It is one Friday night of the month not to be missed.

I’ve written about Supper Club in the past. We are a group of nine friends – wives, moms, and children of God – who share a passion for community and food. One Friday each month, we gather at one of our homes to share dishes that are meaningful to us, while we talk, laugh, and discuss life – both the sweet and the sour parts. There is always a theme, chosen by the host, and each of us brings at least one dish to share.

Our suppers are not about perfection or showing off for each other. Kitchens are often messy, toys decorate living rooms, and sometimes we help each other salvage recipes that went a little south. We aren’t all awesome cooks, and it doesn’t matter, because that’s not the point. The point is to open our doors, push together our tables, pull up the mismatched chairs, and thank God for our relationships, and for the messy imperfection of life lived in community. The point is to live life together, through both the sour and the sweet.

Don’t let your desire to be perfect prevent you from throwing open your door. Just do it! Love the people around you, in their own imperfection. Love them right where they are. (This is Jenn, looking beautiful. I love her so much.)

jenn

Last night, we started off with a quartet of hummuses prepared by Karen. They were beet & lemon, spicy carrot, garlic, and herb with sweet potato.

hummus

They were light, fresh, and delicious.

Then there was this:

lemon basil butter

Maggie prepared this lemon & basil butter, and if no one was looking I would have eaten the entire roll myself. It was INSANELY yummy.

Lindsey made citrus sangria.

citrus sangria

citrus

How pretty is that?

Before we gathered at the table, Maggie set out these amazing little lemon sorbets as palate cleansers:

palate cleanser

They were such a gorgeous little treat.

That’s us.

assembled

We laughed until our bellies were full,

e&j

and then finished the meal with lemon cheesecake, and one of Amy’s famous bundt cakes. (This was her gluten-free lemon poppy seed version.)

Amy's bundt

Our night came to a close around the fire pit, where we spoke about joys and struggles, and sought advice from each other. We comforted each other, and reminded each other that we’re not alone in this life.

fire pit

As women in our mid-thirties, we’re beginning to comprehend that all of us, without exception, will taste the sourness of life’s troubles. Collectively, we have faced health problems, miscarriages, marital conflicts, familial estrangements, career transitions, financial hardships, and parenting challenges. We understand that life is hard, and trials are many.

But life is made much sweeter in community, and through our shared hope in Christ. We point each other to Him, and to the promise of the Gospel, which has the power to change the sourness in life into the sweetness of a relationship of reliance upon God.

Without question, life will hand all of us lemons, but what will we do with them? Will we close our doors tight, and avoid the imperfection of relationships? Will we fail to love each other? Will we refuse to be known? Or will we throw open our doors, and our hearts, to each other, and to Jesus – who has the power to turn lemons into something much sweeter than lemonade?

fire

Many of the photos in this post were taken by a woman that I love like a sister, Lindsey Calabretta Clark. As a camerawoman she never gets much face time, so here she is, in all of her sweetness (making me laugh, like she always does):

LCC

What I’m Digging Right Now

TGIF, y’all. I’m tired as all get out after serving as a preschool bible camp counselor this week. I got to know a bunch of precious smalls (there were seven five-year-olds in my group), and we played, learned about God’s creation, sang songs, ate snacks, heard Bible stories, and made cool art. I majorly love teaching little ones about Jesus, and this week was loads of giggles. But now I feel like I could sleep for days.

FOR DAYS, y’all.

But before I snuggle into my pillow, I thought I’d share with you a few things that I’m digging right now. Here’s what I’m reading, wearing, eating, drinking, watching, and where I’m going.

Reading:

glimpses

I just ordered it today and I cannot wait to crease its pages.

Wearing:

athleta

I want to wear Athleta’s Stripe Swagger Skort every day. Not too short, and not too long, this adorable sport skort takes me from play dates, to errands, to t-ball games, and then to my exercise class. It’s comfortable and flattering, and I want one in every color.

Eating:

pimiento cheese

I’m majorly craving my Basic Pimiento Cheese, so I’m making some this weekend.

Drinking:

cucumber sangria

My dear pal Amy made this cucumber sangria for June’s supper club, and I can’t get its taste out of my head. The recipe (by Better Homes and Gardens) is refreshing, light, and oh so drinkable. A pitcher of this tasty-ness will accompany my pimiento cheese.

Watching:

southern charm

Jersey Boy and I cuddled up to watch the season finale of Southern Charm this week, and let’s just say it was explosive (the show, not Jersey Boy and I).

Go ahead and judge.

Going:

finding dory

Our family is headed to the theater tonight to see finding Dory, and we’re all pretty pumped!

What are you digging right now?

Fresh Corn Salsa

Last Sunday night, Jersey Boy, the littles, and I headed to Lindsey‘s house for an impromptu summer dinner. She invited us over because she had some extra steaks lying around, plus some sugared strawberries, and a chilled bottle of Prosecco (which was in desperate need of being drunk). Faced with such a paltry menu, it was hard to say yes to her invitation, but we didn’t want to seem ungracious, so we piled into the SUV and headed straight over to the Clark Ranch:

clark ranch

Completed right after the Great Depression, Lindsey’s home is granny chic in all the best ways. With a huge backyard filled with raised garden beds, herb patches, tidy compost areas, zip lines, trampolines, playhouses, several patios, and a sweet outdoor fireplace, the Clark Ranch is the perfect property for Lindsey and her hubs to slowly renovate to meet their large family’s needs. We love spending time there.

This was waiting for me when I arrived:

prosecco

Not a terrible way to greet someone.

I contributed to the meal by making my fresh corn salsa. I had the equivalent of three-and-a-half ears of boiled corn left over from the day before. Not one to let good food go to waste, I grabbed the corn, plus this stuff:

corn salsa ingredients

I used one-third of the red onion, and the limes were small, so I used two of them. You could also make this recipe with one large lime. The green herb is cilantro, and those are jarred jalapeños. Add the peppers to taste, depending on your heat tolerance.

I also used extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.

sea salt pepper

Begin by cutting the corn off the cobs.

coc

Separate the kernels, and throw the corn into a bowl.

Now pop open your can of black beans, and pour the beans into a strainer.

cob

Rinse off the slimy yuck in which the beans are canned. Then throw the beans into the bowl, too. Take a sip of your beverage.

beans in bowl

Next dice your jalapeños, nice and small. The number of peppers you use in the salsa is purely dependent on how much you enjoy their tangy heat. I like to add more, rather than less.

Dice your red onion. I used one-third of a large red onion. Again, the amount of onion you add is really a matter of preference. Salsa making is far from an exact science.

Throw the jalapeños and red onion into the bowl.

in bowl

Next chop two tablespoons of fresh cilantro. (I prefer to chop mine finely. I don’t love big chunks of cilantro.)

Juice your limes, and pour their juice in with the other ingredients. Then add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Give it all a nice toss to combine, and dig in.

salsa with chip

This is so tasty that tortilla chips are optional. Eating it with a spoon, or as a side dish, are perfectly acceptable options. Make some this weekend and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

3 and 1/2 ears of cooked corn on the cob

1 can black beans

jarred jalapeños (to taste)

1/3 large red onion

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

juice of 2 small (or 1 large) lime(s)

3 tbsp. evoo

sea salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

Fifty-One Things To Do This Summer

It’s upon us, folks. Summer is here, and I’m already basking in its glory. My typically pasty complexion has turned a pleasant shade of pinkish-beige, and I smell like chlorine and sweat. It’s marvelous.

The kids and I enthusiastically dove headfirst into our summer routine, and with only nine days of summer behind us, we’ve already crossed numbers one through twenty-five off the list below. How will you be spending the summer? Please add to my list!

1. Pick strawberries.

littles in strawberry patch

2. Make Strawberry Cobbler.

3. Wade in a stream, and explore it.

explore creek

(Make sure you have a cold Coke on hand in case you get parched.)

coke

Pick up the creatures you find tucked amongst the mossy rocks.

turtle

Don’t worry about getting wet and dirty.

4. Go swimming, as often as possible.

5. Grow a garden.

garden

Or just herbs in a pot. (That’s spearmint.)

mint

6. Forage for wild berries (but confirm that they’re edible before you eat them).

7. Swing on a tire swing. Don’t be scared.

tire swing

8. Plant flowers.

9. Create an outdoor space that you love. Spend time there.

outdoor space

10. Go to the beach.

11. Ride an amusement park ride that scares you. Don’t be ashamed of screaming. Loudly.

12. Find a new favorite ice cream, sampling many flavors in the process. This lavender & cream from Chester Springs Creamery at Milky Way Farm is to.die.for.

lavender and cream

13. Go to a family movie night at a church or park. Sit on a blanket with your kids.

14. Run through the sprinkler. (Yes, even as an adult.)

15. Visit a farm.

farm

16. Have a water balloon fight.

17. Watch Mary Poppins. It’s still a magical movie.

18. “Camp out” in your basement.

basement campout

19. Eat popsicles.

pops

20. Invite someone over for an impromptu meal, even though your house is messy.

21. Eat hotdogs.

22. And hamburgers.

23. And lots of salad. (It counterbalances the last two.)

24. Drink an abundance of My Perfect Sweet Tea Y’all.

final tea

25. Visit a public garden with your children. Let them roam and explore. We love Chanticleer.

26. Intentionally limit screen time. The world awaits.

27. Camp outside in a tent. (The backyard is fine!)

28. Roast s’mores.

29. Go to the library and let your children pick their own books. (I usually limit my kids to five books each.)

30. Write a list of the books you’ve checked out so that you can find them later.

31. Go to a parade.

32. Let your kids stay up late and see the fireworks.

33. Fly a kite.

34. Make ice cream. This recipe is divine.

strawberry basil ice cream final

35. Have a picnic.

36. Locate all of the playgrounds within a thirty minute drive of your house. Visit as many as possible.

37. Go to a splash pad. We like Bell Tavern in Downingtown.

38. On rainy days, go to Get Air or Sky Zone. Sky Zone in Oaks has a toddler time every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

39. Or bring your littles to Chatter Splatter.

40. Go to church every Sunday. It’s good for your soul.

41. Go to church when you’re on vacation. We always visit local churches during our travels, and it’s often a highlight of our trip.

42. Make Homemade Pesto.

bowl of pesto

43. Go on some day trips. (We take day trips to OCNJ throughout the summer.)

44. Find a park where your littles can safely ride their bikes without you being right at their side. (I’m seriously on the lookout for a park like this. The closest I’ve found is the loop at South Ardmore Park. Any other suggestions?)

45. Catch fireflies.

46. Go hiking.

47. Invite your neighbors over for dinner (or even just dessert)!

48. Play board games.

49. Make my Caprese Salad for Little Mouths.

seasoned salad

50. Wear your sunscreen, but try not to worry to much about its chemical content.

51. Have fun!

Strawberry Cobbler

My clan spent Memorial Day morning mucking around in a strawberry patch at a sweet little local farm. It rained the night before, and it felt earthy and real for us to get a little mud stained while harvesting our sweet strawberries.

A strawberry patch

In the warm weather months, I’m always keen to expose my littles to the realities of where our food comes from, and we regularly visit a rotation of local family-owned farms where hard work is a way of life. I want my kids to understand that many hands and sweaty brows go into delivering our food to the grocery store, and that strawberries don’t come from a plastic container. So we go picking. We get our hands dirty, and we appreciate our food a little more when we eat it.

strawberry patch

littles in strawberry patch

This is a simple cobbler recipe, and it’s perfect for using up a bounty of berries before they go bad. You can add vanilla extract or cinnamon to it to zhush it up if you wish, but I like this version’s pure simplicity. Making cobbler is less labor intensive than crafting a whole strawberry pie. There is no crust to fuss with; just throw it all together and pop it in the oven. It’s my kind of baking.

You’ll need three cups of fresh strawberries.

washed strawberries

My helpers cut up the berries.

helpers cutting

Pour your cut berries into a bowl.

pour berries

Grab your sugar canister. (Licking one finger and sticking it into the sugar bowl is sort of a tradition in our house. My sugar canister may or may not contain the germs of two little boys and one little girl. Accept a spoonful of sugar from me at your own risk.)

sugar fingers

Measure one-half cup of sugar, pour it in with the berries, and stir to coat them well.

stir strawberries

Set aside the strawberries.

Now you need one cup of all purpose flour.

cup flour

Pour the flour into a new mixing bowl. Measure two teaspoons of baking powder, one-half teaspoon of salt, and one-half cup of sugar, and mix them in with the flour.

Next measure one cup of whole milk,

whole milk

and grab one stick of butter.

stick butter

(That’s our dear old pup Lexis. At almost thirteen-years-old, she was our first baby.)

Melt the butter,

melted butter

and stir the milk and melted butter in with the dry ingredients.

My two youngest confirmed that the ingredients were well combined.

v taste

Grease a medium-sized baking dish (I used butter), and pour in the batter.

pour batter

Spoon the strawberries on top of the batter,

spoon strawberries

and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden.

final cobbler

Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream. What a perfect start to summer.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 stick butter