November 10, 2014

Hey guys, just wanted to announce that my little shop is officially open! Yaaaaaay! Happy Holidays!

The new version (debuted last spring) of the 50 Promises collection has been re-stocked in time for Christmas! They always sell out fast, so come on over and grab one for a gift or for yourself :) Who doesn't love a good set of flash cards? With this collection, you are getting 50 mini prints for the same price as one normally priced print. And these mini prints are loaded with handpicked, faith-building promises that God wants us to be using daily. These are not merely nice tips for nice living, these are the gospel. Believing in Jesus means believing that He keeps His word. 2 Corinthians 1:20 -- all the promises find their Yes in Him! If there is one thing that the Lord has taught me lately it is that faith is the greatest gift, and I'm thankful for the way Jesus has used these promises over the past 3 years to sustain and deepen my faith in Him!

The promises collection makes a sweet, meaningful gift for sisters, moms, friends, new mamas, and anyone who wants to see Jesus prove His faithfulness! :)

God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; He intended that they should be used. Our Heavenly banker delights to cash His own notes. -C. Spurgeon

September 21, 2014
Heyyy! Long time, no see my dear blog friends! I'm sorry I left without a word. Things in life are really great, leaving me little time to sit at the desk and write, but I also wanted to try getting away from this spot for awhile to find out what I would gain or miss. But I'm very active on instagram (@summerharms) with posts about life stuff, food we're eating, things I'm learning, and captive thoughts about growth in Him. So come on over there if you want to catch up!

I wanted to mention to you guys that I'm going to be a part of this lovely project called "Autumn On Purpose" with my sweet, expectant-mama blog friend Laken Nix. I'm so excited and honored! Each Monday morning throughout the fall season you'll receive an email with encouragement about living intentionally and wholeheartedly this autumn. It all starts tomorrow morning! If you'd like to join in, head to peach and humble to read more or sign up -- I'd love to have you be a part of it with me!

August 20, 2014

Honestly guys, this peach crisp is what brought my mind around to finally blogging again. Couldn't wait to share it with you. It's so great! I'm no stranger to apple crisp, but this is my first experience with it's summery sister edition, and I'm sold. My mother-in-law made this crisp the weekend we were packing up at camp and sent us home with a deep, heavy dish of it. We chilled it in the fridge and ate bits of it after every meal until it was gone. (which was a sad moment.) It was fantastic warm too, but I loved how jellied the peaches got, how intense the flavors became, and how refreshing it felt when we ate it cold. Yum. If you give it a go, you'll see what I mean. Just savor every sweet bite.

So I know that some of you guys already know and love Grandma Marian's famous apple crisp, and in that case, you'll be happy to know that this recipe is based on that piece of perfection. Big thanks to Mom Judy for creating the masterpiece and giving me the ok to share it here! You're wonderful, Judy!

Mom Judy's Peach Crisp
gluten and dairy free 

5 peaches, chopped 
1/4 cup coconut sugar or raw sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. tapioca flour
2 T. melted coconut oil

1/2 cup rice flour or a gf flour blend
1/2 cup coconut sugar or raw sugar
1/2 cup gf rolled oats
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 T. coconut oil (or palm shortening) 

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Arrange chopped peaches in an 8x8 or 9x9 dish and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca flour. Drizzle coconut oil over this and mix it up a bit in the pan. Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl, cutting in the coconut oil last. Scatter the topping evenly over the peaches. 

Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden and crunchy on top and peaches look bubbly-caramely. Serve warm with vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream. Or set it in the fridge until it gets good and cold - it's truly delicious when eaten cold. Leftovers are awesome and get better by the day. Double this to make a 9x13. 

July 9, 2014
Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know that every summer my husband Grant and our camp staff friends make a music video. And they turn out amazing! I'm always so proud to know these guys who aren't afraid to entertain us. Without further ado, here's the 9th annual Maintenance Men music video...

June 30, 2014

Hey guys! Every year I look forward to getting a couple postcards from my sweet blog friends during mail call. I love it so much! If you'd like to drop me a line while I'm here at camp, you're sure welcome to! You know that camp mail is the best kind. My friend Kami already sent me this lovely little piece :)

For those of you interested in a camp life update: Today we switch gears at camp. We're all done with the groups that travel down from Minneapolis to rent our campgrounds in June -- that is when our staff simply provides the meals and facilities. The first week of July we begin "our camps" - where our counselors arrive and our staff runs all the programming; the schedule, games, chapel, etc. This is also when Grant jumps into his role as the videographer! And me? I'm helping Casper get through a rough teething patch (so. much. drool.), waking up a lot in the night, rejoicing over a regular nap pattern, and helping Hadley learn how to put her undies back on by herself, to eat her meat and veggies before getting full on fruit, to not run through the camp kitchen, to stay in bed once we've said goodnight, and to share with her cousins. :)

The past 2 weeks have been full, rainy days and late, late nights. Grant and his fellow maintenance men have been hard at work recording music and filming for their annual music video. I'll be sure to post it for you guys once it's finished and debuted at Skit Night on Friday!

June 26, 2014

Hey guys! So, last weekend I had the opportunity to speak at Camp Shetek's Ladies Camp event... which explains this mid-sentence photo that my mom snapped of me behind a podium. :) I'm sorry you have to see me looking unenthusiastic and kinda nervous, because it was such a great time and I don't think I stopped smiling all day. I got to talk about food! (you know how I love that.) I talked about the top 10 healthy choices our family makes; the things that we've learned or have put into practice in our household that really, honestly help us. It was really fun and I loved getting to chat with the ladies and my mom and sister (who made the long trip to be there) afterwards! I thought you guys might like to see my presentation also, so here are my slides and speech:

Hi, I'm Summer Harms! (and this is my family - cue slide with our pictures on it) I get to talk to you about food today. Which I’m really excited about because I love food (obviously) and I love to cook and feeding my family is one of the biggest ways I show them that I love them. I was asked to speak about making healthy choices today, and was having such a hard time trying to nail down a particular topic under this umbrella. I just love it all! Then Grant suggested making a list of the 10 most practical, important things that we’ve learned or that I try to do for my family when it comes to food. I thought this was brilliant. I know I love hearing how other families get through 3 meals a day, so here's how we are doing it. Eating healthy is a lifestyle. And lifestyles are built on little things - the choices we make throughout the day and small changes here and there. So these are some of those little things that have helped our family, or that we’ve learned along the way as we try to be healthier eaters. I share these things not as an expert, just straight from our family’s experience, with the hope that there might be something in the mix that’s helpful to you. 

1. If there’s junk in the house, we’ll eat it. So we don’t have junk in the house. Grant helps me with this one a lot because I’m easily tempted at the grocery store and he sticks to the list. We don’t buy much snack stuff at the store because we know we can make our own snacks and treats at home. That way we know exactly what’s going into our bodies and get the most nutrients out of our snacks. (Our favorites are homemade popcorn, bananas or apple slices and nut butter, pickles, nuts, chips and guacamole, homemade muffins or cookies, or trail mix.)

2. Fats are good. And use the good fats. Our brain is 60% fat and the fats we eat strongly influence our levels of brain function, as well as cellular health. Most processed foods contain the harmful kinds of fats, while healthy types of saturated fats provide a major source of energy, the building blocks for cell membranes, vital hormones, and they help your body absorb important vitamins, including A, D, and E. Coconut oil is our favorite for cooking and baking and we love olive oil for dressings and marinades. Just a few other good-for-you fats that we like are avocados, eggs from pastured hens, and grass fed meats. I know from experience that I feel a lot better when I’m eating enough good fats. When we first started eating less processed foods and having a lot more healthy saturated fat (specifically coconut oil), I noticed that I had more energy and better mental clarity, and felt more full and satisfied for a longer time after a meal. 

3. Take a good probiotic and fermented food. Gut health is something that has been a really big deal for our family, because we’ve experienced tremendous health recovery benefits by focusing on cultivating good bacteria and forcing harmful bacteria out. You can tilt your balance toward the good bacteria simply by eating more of them, in the form of probiotics, which are live bacteria contained in foods and supplements. We take a strong probiotic supplement and also eat probiotic-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles and kombucha in order to boost the beneficial bacteria in our guts. 

4. Say no to sugar. This is another big one that has dramatically improved how I feel in terms of overall wellness. We’ve learned to stop when we’ve had too much sugar, and try to view it as a treat. We also like to use sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or even just fruit to make things sweet, instead of using sugar. These alternatives are real foods found in nature that actually contain health-giving properties, where as sugar is so ultra processed that it is stripped of any nutrients. Not only that, but it’s extremely addicting, and it feeds the bad bacteria that live in our gut. 

5. Be prepared. Have a plan for dinner- whatever that looks like at your house. At our house, we often have meat thawing in the fridge for tomorrow night’s dinner. When 5:30 rolls around, if there’s not a plan in place, it’s just way too easy to start eating whatever you can find fast. Don’t wait until you’re starving. Also, bringing snacks with you wherever you go has been a big help to us. If we have enough food with us to get by until we get home, we can avoid the drive-thru. 

6. Quality foods. We love to know where our food is coming from. We buy organic produce whenever we can, we love to hit the farmers market as much as possible, and we switched to buying local grass-fed beef without hormones or antibiotics. 

7. Don’t give up on something- and when in doubt, roast it. 
A few years ago I found out that if I cut back on sugar, everything else started tasting better. Before that time, my tastebuds were so trained and dependent on sugar for flavor that I was a really picky eater. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but as my sugar dependency went down, I was so encouraged, because suddenly I started liking so many new things! And now it’s hard for me to find a vegetable that I don’t like- especially when it’s roasted. Roasted vegetables are the big favorite at our house. So if there’s a food or meal that you haven’t liked in the past, I want to encourage you: don’t give up on it. Try preparing it a few different ways- you never know if you’ll find a new favorite. For us, that was the case with brussels sprouts. We tried roasting them one night and now we can’t get enough of them!! 

8. Read labels as you shop. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you should probably put it back. For me a “proper diet” means eating real food... wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. The longer an ingredient list gets, the more likely it is to have undesirable stuff and the less likely it is to be nutrient rich. We try to buy things with as few ingredients as possible or single-ingredient food items like eggs, rice, apples, avocados, etc. 

9. Make meals that stretch.  If you make dinner big enough, you can use it for lunch the next day. This one is kind of just common sense, but we just put it into practice this past school year and it made a huge difference. At my house, especially on week days, lunch often ends up being a scavenging kind of meal, unless there is something already made. Which is why having leftovers is perfect - it doesn’t get much easier than that. And planning one big meal always beats planning 2. 

10. Have the right mindset. Know why you want to eat healthy. A healthy mindset about eating is just as important as the food you are choosing to eat - because eating matters to the Lord. Our motivation for eating well can be found right in 1 Corinthians 6:20: ”You have a body, but it is not yours. You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 

I loved this quote from John Piper that I found the other day about Worshipping Christ through eating.

-Don’t think worship services when you think worship. That is a huge limitation which is not in the Bible. All of life is supposed to be worship. Take breakfast, for example, or midmorning snacks. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Now eating and drinking are about as basic as you get. What could be more real and human?” You are always in a temple. Always worship. -John Piper

-What does worship look like when it comes to eating? It means getting the proper diet your body was designed by God to have. This is how we applaud and enjoy His design and understand that He made us stewards of these bodies. We honor Him when we take care of our bodies!

June 24, 2014
How we've been crafting a gluten and dairy free, good-for-you burger lately:

Udi's gf buns, local grass-fed beef (no hormones or antibiotics, yay!), thick slice of tomato, a little lettuce + a spoonful of homemade sauerkraut, mustard and plenty of mayo (without partially hydrogenated soybean oil). I'm a cheeseburger girl at heart, but I didn't even miss the cheese here. We did miss the bacon, though. Where is the good quality bacon in our local grocery stores?! Here's hoping for better selection in the future. The Harmses are missing their bacon. 

Since we are currently living at camp, we get to eat food from the yummy camp kitchen, but on the weekends we still like to make ourselves some burgers. We usually serve them with baked beans and grilled veggies + onions or some roasted home fries. Perfect.

June 23, 2014

-- Here are a few pics from Hadley's very first summer at camp. 
(she moved out to camp when she was 8 days old and we were there through her first 2 months!)-- 

Awww! Remember when she looked like that? My sweet, energetic, imaginative girl is 3 years old now! She had a birthday last Monday. Her gifts this year were some new puzzles and a balance bike!

I can hardly make the connection between these precious pics of a tiny human I was just getting to know and the little girl-lady Hadley is today. We know every nook and cranny of her 3 year old character now. She's an enthusiastic greeter (shaking hands with everyone at church) with her own language and a huge imagination. She loves to run up and say hi to everyone she sees while shouting their name, whether they really exist or not. (Mom! Dad! Grandma! Mickey! Sophia! Tinkerbell!) She always acts like it has been ages since she has seen you. She's also a skilled actress and doer of puzzles. She's got a great memory and a deep love for her baby brother, wearing sunglasses, chips and salsa or guacamole, and fruit of all kinds. This summer she's a busy little camp-wanderer and just discovered somersaults and Sophia the First. A few of her numerous interests are books, capital letters, mail boxes, traffic lights and stop signs, animals, gardens, all kinds of produce at the grocery store, balls, babies, flowers, lotion, and anything at a desk or in a kitchen. Some of her current catch phrases are:

"Pixie dust, away!"
"Mom? I need... hmm... let me think..."
"Ohh, so nice!"
"Chap-oss!" (Casper)
"Uh-oh, I gotta go potty."
"I so much!" (I missed you so much!)
"Mom, can I have have apple ee peanut bubba?" 
"Sing Jesus Wuve Me So"

She's the best! I love her.

June 10, 2014
In the midst of walks on the gravel with our cousins, eating Grandma Judy's good food, endlessly pulling sandals on and off, and watching the maintenance men working the grounds, the Lord has been answering my prayer for our summer at camp. I'm happy to report that He has provided a sweet window of quiet time with Him every day so far. And not only the time, but He planted the desire for that fellowship with Him in my heart. He is so faithful. (I haven't made it out to the dock yet. It rained this weekend. Hopefully soon!)

I'm currently reading my usual devotionals (*see note at bottom of this post for a list of my favorites) as well as the book of Mark- which has been so, so good. This is the first time I've gone through one of the gospels as an adult, and with the addition of a study bible. It feels like a whole new ball game. Jesus is bringing me so much deeper and I just appreciate everything so much more and I crave the studying part of reading my bible. I'm keeping notes as I go, but I want to get better at journaling and meditating on what I read each day. I chose to start reading Mark because of something I read in Elisabeth Elliot's wonderful, useful book Keep A Quiet Heart (one of my big favorites) and I instagrammed about it a few weeks ago:

--- I should know how to study my bible by now, but... do I? Do I really? I love (um, really love) my daily devotionals and gain a lot from them, but I've been missing out on straight up, bare-bones bible study. I'm getting back to basics and loving this simple instruction: 
"Take a single book of the bible. If you've never done this before, start with the book of Mark. Pray, first, for the Holy Spirit's teaching. Read a few verses, a paragraph, or a chapter. Then ask, 'What does this passage teach me about 1) God 2) Jesus Christ 3) the Holy Spirit 4) myself 5) sins to confess or avoid 6) commands to obey 7) what Christian love is?' Keep a notebook. Write down any answers you find and share them with your spouse, your kids, your friends." 
by Elisabeth Elliot, from her article Tips For Quiet Time ---

*Summer's devotional faves: 
1. Morning & Evening by C.H. Spurgeon
2. the Solid Joys Devotional App by John Piper 
(I am currently reading these two each day)
3. Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot 
4. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

I've also heard great things about A Closer Walk With God by Matthew Henry, so that's on my to-read list, and I'd also like to start doing The God of All Comfort by Hannah Whitall Smith in small daily doses. p.s. if you're interested, check out my Goodreads page. I love books, and they're even better when I get to share them. 



about this blog

Hello, I'm Summer. A people-loving introvert whose hope and life is in Jesus. His promises are my passion and my ministry is homelife. This blog is a place for me to write about everyday things. Especially food. My favorite thing to do is sit around a table, lingering over a long meal with good conversation. I live with my husband and our 2 littles. We like blizzards, thrifting, grammar, guacamole, cheerful hearts, nice manners, good movies, and making simple, real, nutrient-dense food.

"If Christ be anything, He must be everything."
-C.H. Spurgeon

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