Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sea Venture

"Is this like the sea?" asked Caleb

"The sea is salt," said Sarah. "It stretches out as far as you can see. It gleams like the sun on glass. There are waves."

Sarah, Plain and Tall
Patricia Maclachlan

Venturing to the sea tomorrow. I am scurrying around like a squirrel gathering nuts as he prepares for winter. However, I am digging out bathing suits and colorful beach towels.

Oh, how we will drink in the salty sea which stretches out as far as we can see as it gleams like sun on glass. Maybe we will even jump in the waves. They will be cold, I am sure.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Playhouse

Ever since I was a little girl I have entertained lasting dreams of playhouses.

Therefore, it only seemed fitting that my daughters should have a little cedar house tucked under the corners of the trees, for moments and days of imagining and playing.

With sleeping lofts crammed with pillows, blankets and favorite things.

A step ladder for singing or resting, when not needed for climbing above, of course.

And a gently creaking swing on the front porch perfect to share with a sister.

My dreams have come full circle.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Roasting Peppers

Is it not true and taken for granted by most the fact that a large variety of fresh produce can be bought at the local grocery store every day of the year? It might even be an inconvenience if we can not find the right ingredients for a particular recipe we were hoping to make for our family's dinner. But I can remember when this was not always the case. Certain foods would not be expected to be found in bins or cooler shelves during the off season.

But is it not also true that nothing can beat the flavor of fresh food in season? I just picked my first tender spinach leaves, washed them three times, and tossed them into the salad bowl for supper. And my thoughtful friend brought me fresh eggs from the country. I sorely miss my laying hens. Not only for the rich, savory, golden eggs they gave me, but for the joy of watching their antics, and listening to their lively constant music throughout the day. If the city ordinances did not state otherwise, I would most definitely keep a backyard flock of hens, rhode island reds and barred rocks cackling and strutting, nourishing our souls as well as our bodies with the fruit of their labor.

I decided to make a frittatta for supper. A very simple meal. Firstly, I roasted a red pepper. To do this you must make sure you stay wandering off or you may burn your pepper to a crisp. Set you pepper on a baking tray, broil on medium making sure you turn it often so it will cook evenly on all sides. As soon as one side is black, turn until all sides are blackened. After the pepper has roasted, immediately place it in a plastic bag and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. This will make the peeling come off beautifully. Discard the peeling and the seeds which slip out with ease.

Simple, but a meal fit for a king.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The" Wedding" Dress

Rose and Charlotte will be in the wedding of a friend's daughter on May 23. I was able to walk into the bridal shop and purchase a junior bridesmaid's dress for Rose with complete ease. However, Charlotte's flower girl dress is being smocked and sewn by yours truly. (What was I thinking???)!

She sees me working on it and innocently declares,"Oh, you're working on my wedding dress."

The cognizable thought that runs through my boggled mind is I probably should be working on it. If I start on it now, I might have it completed by the time she gets married.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Traveling Horse Judges

A twenty-six hour whirlwind drove us several hours away in order that 16 of our 4-H'ers could participate in competitive horse judging. It was fun, exciting, and very tiring.

The whirlwind has returned to familiar ground. The comfort of sleeping in my own bed tonight is indescribable.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Brief Glimpse

There was yesterday......
And then there was today:
  • I made lamb stew with Sunday's leftover leg of lamb for supper tonight.
  • Even though that seems like a cold blustery day meal, and today is cloudless with gentle breezes, and I've seen my children run by in the tall green grass with barefeet.
  • Buttermilk biscuits were made with tablespoons of butter cut into bite-size pieces.
  • When the hot biscuits came out of the oven, I could not resist and ate one.
  • Slender stems of asparagus roasted in the oven with a tad of olive oil. By the way, asparagus can be eaten with the fingers, I personally was delighted to find this bit of information.
  • After calling the children and my husband to come eat and waiting for at least 10 minutes without results, I ate alone. The longer days and warm, sunny weather keeps them satisfied outside until either darkness falls or everyone else goes in for supper.
  • Yes, it was different, but I had Bing Crosby on CD to keep me company. It was fine until he began singing "Jingle Bells" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas". I laughed alone too.
  • Came upstairs to discover my husband in the office, it seems he did not hear me call, so I will now go and fix his supper. But I will sit with him and smock....he will not need to eat alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Still and Breathtaking Beauty

Still retaining the enjoyment of the pearly white dogwood branches abiding on my dining room table from Resurrection Sunday.

This morning as I was making my way into the kitchen, I glanced outside and the aura of the dogwood trees in the backyard was luminous.

I stop breathing just for a moment, the beauty was breathtaking.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Triumphant Promise

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took out of the way, nailing it to His cross;

And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
Colossians 2:14-15

( NOTE: I was busily preparing our Easter meal and then cleaning up when these pictures were taken....and irregardless of criticism......these were the pictures so graciously taken by others). However, on the bright note, it was a glorious day with family and friends, celebrating the resurrection of our LORD....and everyone certainly looks BRIGHT! HALLELUIAH!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cupcake Fancy

Inspiration taken from the sweet shiny jellybeans.

Colors taken from Wilton concentrated gels. It was deeply satisfying to see how these color gels put on such a fancy show of glossy finish. It would make any sort of day brighter, which I shall keep in mind for future reference.

Now since Hill upon Hill asked for the recipe of Hot Cross Buns served at my house yesterday;

You will need 2 cups of flour, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup milk, 1 Tablespoon yeast, 1 egg, pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (or any variety of cinnamon and allspice). First sift the flour, salt and spices into large bowl. Dissolve the butter and sugar in warm milk, and add the yeast. Leave for 3 minutes, stir and add beaten egg. Pour the liquid in the flour mixture and beat until smooth. I use a mixer for this. The dough will be very moist. You can knead in your mixer or on a floured surface ( be careful not to add too much flour as this will make for drier buns). 1/4 cup of lemon or orange peel and 1/2 cup raisins may be incorporated into the dough at this time. Put a spoonful of oil into a plastic bag and place the dough into the bag. Set in a warm place to rise. When it has doubled in size, thump out all the air, leave to rise once again for 30 minutes (I have left this stage out in a hurry-and all was well). Remove the dough and shape into round buns; place in greased pan. Depending on now long you have for rising will determine how many buns to form. In 20 minutes you may have 4 buns or if you have the time, make smaller buns, I make 8, and allow rising time to get desired size of buns. (about 1-1/2 hours). I like to take food scissors and gently cut a cross into the top before slipping them into the oven, but you may want to cut the cross before rising. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I mix up an icing of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract to dribble on the cross since my family appreciates the touch of sweetness.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Tea

They were hot from the oven, they had crosses of confectionery sugar dribbling down their sides, and they were buns shaped from the yeasty dough laden with spices.

It was Good Friday afternoon and time to remember the Lamb of God sacrificed on the Cross. Time to pause, feast and read scripture.

Eating the top of the bun first, the icing cross. There is symbolism in there somewhere for me, but for her it was pure sweetness from the start.

I love teaching my children using special events and things that they will hopefully associate and remember in years to come. It is intentional and purposeful and certainly more than just tradition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Making an Easter Basket

It appears I am not the only one who likes to make a go of weaving baskets. Charlotte started her very first basket this week. With nimble fingers she manipulated the under and overs of the wet strips which were dyed pink and purple. Colors that speak of five year old girls and Easter baskets.

Yes, she had help, but for her initial attempt at basket making I believe it will be a grand basket to be used for gathering eggs at the Easter Egg Hunt at the church on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lemon Yellow

This time of year shouts yellow to me, specifically lemon yellow. Therefore, I had been thinking about tasting lemon things and I would find myself puckering and salivating with just hints of yellow things before me....and in my world yellow abounds!

My eldest son knows my love of books, old and new, so he gave me a bookstore gift card for my birthday. I had so many choices to make, but finally decided on Jane Brockett's, The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I chose wisely because I literally pore over this book and it rewards me by pouring out a magnitude of things that seriously satisfies my need for domestic well being.

There was a recipe for Lemon Cake in this book that I could not resist. And it did the job splendidly for meeting any need I had to eat something lemony; the icing alone was confectionery sugar with lemon juice.....very lemony. However, you must go here to get the corrections for the measurement conversions if you own the first edition US printing of this book.

I do believe hunting through our supply of gourmet jellybeans to get out all the yellow ones added a nice touch too. I will now think lemon because of the lack of yellow in the candy dish Sunday, but Lime Cake is on the menu.....and by the way this time of year shouts green to me!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Handy Gadgets

Do you know what this object does?

Several years ago Mothers Day slipped the mind of the husband of a good friend of mine. She bought herself a handy gift for compensation of his forgetfulness and she graciously loaned it to me. If you have ever in your life attempted to press puffed sleeves, then this is the gadget for you. It attaches to your ironing board securely

and as you roll the sleeve around the hard stainless steel knob, being very careful not to touch the metal because it gets as hot as an iron,

little puffs of steam escape and the sleeves become something that would even make Anne Shirley proud. I like this tool very much. I went to Charlotte's closet and pressed all her sleeves this afternoon. I believe my friend received her fair reward! But I do not wish for my husband to forget Mother's Day in order to acquire one, therefore, I will make sure the children are given the adequate amount of hints along the way.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Resurrection Tree

Traditions of preparing for Resurrection Day in our home:

A sprayed white branch placed in a clear vase held with blue marbles,
colorful and sometimes sparkly decorations of eggs and lambs dangling from its tiny limbs.

With wonder and awe, Charlotte observes her father place some of the ornaments.

It is intentional to be eye catching as it sits on the dining room buffet. We will gather here many times throughout the week as additional symbols of the Holy Week will be added to the tree by the children.

For many year this glass cross has hung on our Resurrection Tree. It is made of twisted beads of glass, fragile yet strong, clear yet frosty. The contrast speaks volumes to me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An enlightened moment

As Holy Week is rapidly approaching I am consciously preparing myself to be drawn into the passion of next week's celebration events. Also looking for ways to draw my children that they too may grasp the eternal truths. We began with a study of Passover as recorded in Exodus 12.

Sitting in the warmth of the morning's sunshine, Bibles opened in blue jean laps, reading aloud, a light comes into her eyes, "Mama, the blood, the doorposts, the cross........".

Yes, darling daughter...... you see.

Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of your law."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tiny Blooms

A break in the rain to enjoy a romp down the road and through the woodsy areas. We must not bemoan the superfluous amount of rainfall because the rains will bring more flowers in May. Not included are pictures of the colorful tulips, red buds and dogwood trees which are making their entrance on Spring's stage.

Rose took the picture of these delicate fanciful wildflowers picked from their beds scattered among the dead leaves. I slipped them into a buttonhole of my jean jacket (see header above) while she chose to tuck hers behind her ear in true maiden form.

Not wanting the life of these tiny beauties to end, Charlotte gingerly plucked a few and I came home to place them in a jar of water to rest upon my kitchen windowsill.

My fingers are tightly crossed, please root.

let's talk Shakespeare

And Shakespeare? He, indeed, is not to be classed, and timed, and treated as one amongst others,—he, who might well be the daily bread of th...