Friday, October 30, 2009

a weekend getaway

Our bags are packed
And we are ready to go...

Traveling with my husband here for the weekend. There are plans to hike some mountain paths. We shall see shades of changing foliage and enjoy our time together.

Of course, there will also be some knitting while riding in the car; an easy take along project, and music, and loads of conversation.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This day tempted me with its ripeness. The warm sun rays, the balmy temperatures and the crackling leaves under my feet as a table was set outside for supper.



A fat pumpkin and a collection of red maple leaves added the essence of this season.


A quiche made with red and yellow peppers.

Plans were to read of Martin Luther and the nailing of his 95 Theses to the church door. However, the leaves sang to us and the sun painted lovely shadows as we allowed the peacefulness of such a beautiful evening to roll over us.

After darkness falls I shall read to them of this great man of the faith and how he "turned the world upside down".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

double birthday fun

Maybe because my husband and I share the same birthday month, or maybe because there seems a special tied up neatness in it all, whatever the case may be, my attitude concerning couples sharing the same birthday month is well... delightful.

Witt's birthday is October 26th and his lovely lady's is on the 24th of the month, so both families joined together for a birthday bash celebrating their lives on Sunday the 25th, a happy meet in the middle place.

I made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for Witt, and Claire's mother made a cheesecake topped with bittersweet chocolate for her.

The lighting of twenty-seven candles was a group effort.



Interestingly enough both of them asked for a coffee maker of some sort. Claire requested a regular simple coffee maker since her old one-cupper took forever to brew a cup of coffee in the mornings, and Witt asked for an french press coffee maker, just because...?



There was all kind of fun going on along the sidelines too!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

art lessons

Since I believe art should have a place in every student's life in some form or another, my intentions of finding a teacher that could give Rose and Charlotte art lessons this year were strong. That's when a friend of mine informed me her college-aged daughter was planning on giving art lessons and would be happy for my girls to be a part.

This is where we find ourselves every other Thursday afternoon.

We climb the stairs to arrive at her third-floor apartment. The tables are covered with protective cloth while the pencils, pads and tubes of paint with their variety of colors are all within everyone's reach. For one hour creative juices flow along with helpful instruction.

But there is another entirely different masterpiece in the making here too, this particular art instructor just happens to be the lovely young woman Witt has fallen in love- yes, "the one". Count on hearing more about this in the days to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

beyond badminton

I was sitting outside, a bright sunshiny day, literally soaking in the ray's warmth. A mug of Celestial Seasons Apple Cinnamon Spice Tea, a granola-nut crispy cookie, and a newly arrived cookbook itching to be read, were my immediate companions as the girls entertained themselves around me with their various activities.

Then Charlotte brought me a badminton rack.
"Play with me".
Volleying a birdie back and forth.

It was a moment worth catching.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Basil Pesto

Another telltale sign that frosty weather is coming and I better get a move on, is the final pulling up of my basil plants to be made into batches of pesto in the food processor.

No true "recipe" used for these batches; basically it consists of garlic, basil and olive oil. I dole them into my plastic ice trays to freeze. The next day they are removed and the little dollops of pesto are zipped into freezer bags and placed on the freezer door for convenience sake.


Over the course of the winter and up until I have fresh basil growing once again in my garden, they are frequently tossed into soups and tomato sauces.

*Campbells* tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches is one of my most favorite hot lunches. I can not help it, it takes me back to my childhood when this was a mainstay lunch in cooler weather and personally as much as I enjoy eating homemade tomato soups, I truly like this canned one too.The only difference is now I have basil pesto floating around in my soup which makes the plain good outstandingly delicious.

Such satisfaction comes from an hour or so in the kitchen on a fall afternoon preparing something that will bring loads of summer flavor later.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

visions of this season

Leaving childhood behind is never easy. Reminders of this are present before me every day as I see my thirteen year old going back and forth from playing childlike games with her sister (a huge benefit are little sisters in this matter) to that stretching out to new interests and solo events. I try to give her hugs, lots of hugs.

Rather like the month of October I am thinking. Indian summer days, sunny and warm, shorts on still sun-tanned legs, and flip-flops on bare feet; then the very next day the thermostat is flipped to heat, warm slippers are dug out from the far corners of the closet and sweaters are wrapped around shoulders to keep the chill off from these changing cooler days.



There's a camellia bush near my driveway that softly displays white blooms edged in pink...lovely. It drops blooms onto the left behind flip-flops, that started out on the bare feet.


Visions of this season to which poets have penned such laudable words.

We pop pieces of candy corn from the traditional glass candy dish that officiously resides on the dining room buffet. Unless you have mastered quietly replacing the glass top, it will give you away every time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cozy

Before heading out for my customary morning walk, the ingredients for buttermilk pancakes were set on the counter to be made upon my return for the girls' breakfast. I attempt to make a "special" sort of breakfast at least once a week. A strong request was made as I came in the door for hot chocolate, homemade hot chocolate...yummmm! The cooler weather is finding chili and hot chocolate in our life once again.

There is a simple recipe. I'll give it here just in case you may be like me and had to go and look it up.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
pinch of salt
Mix in pan until dissolved then add,
4 1/2 cups milk and heat until hot.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

You may add extra milk or half and half to cool it if it is too hot for immediate sipping.
I keep the extra in a mason jar in the refrigerator for afternoon warm and cozy breaks. Don't we all just need those sometimes?

But this afternoon, nothing said warm and cozy to me like a fresh cup of brewed coffee with a stick of biscotti for dipping, naturally. A drizzling cool rain was falling , a pumpkin spice candle was burning and chili was warming in the crockpot.

Have I used the word cozy enough already?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

bends in the road

An old Joni Mitchell song runs circles in my brain as I take my daily walk.



"Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
They paved paradise
and put up an parking lot."

Not a parking lot exactly, but my neighborhood is changing as they have cut down trees and shredded a variety of wildflowers in order to put in a large thoroughfare smack dab in our secluded residential area.

I've heard it is called progress. Convenience to shopping malls is not what I would necessarily call progress. I will have to go further afield to gather my natural dye materials and take my children on spur of the moment nature journeys. But I will be able get to some places in a lesser amount of time. Still, some days I weep inside.


Yet there are wonderful bends in the road too. We celebrated a good friend's fortieth birthday in the park with a picnic lunch and cupcakes.

Since Charlotte has learned to count in tens, the one candle for every ten years made perfect sense!

Monday, October 5, 2009

As Simple as "Pumpkin" Pie

A most favored pie in my household starting around this time of year is pumpkin. Canned pumpkin and evaporated milk are kept as staples on my pantry shelf due to the fact that this recipe can be whipped up as a quick and easy dessert for Sunday dinner or when an everyday supper needs to be raised up a notch for whatever reason.



On the recipe card I have written, As Simple as "Pumpkin" Pie because it is so ridiculously simple.

1 can of solid packed pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 9'' unbaked pie crust

Mix ingredients in order given. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes.

We love to top our piece of pie with either whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So delicious and "as simple as pie"!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Praying Treasures

"Order my steps in Thy Word:
and let not any iniquity have
dominion over me." Psalm 119:133

I have found that praying His Word has the most profound effect on me, and perhaps are the most treasured prayers of all.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Dyer of Small Things

Once upon a time I was a dyer of wool.

A collection of old enamel pots of various sizes and shapes were selected and filled with plants or nuts gathered in the fields and the woods, or maybe grown in my herb garden, and set on an open fire outside. A wooden spoon stirred the simmering mixtures, all pungent with their earthy smells.

Through a path in the woods I strolled this morning to gather flowering goldenrod. I snipped the yellow blooms and green leaves and stems to place in a stainless steel pot. The smell wafted throughout my kitchen and out the open windows as it simmered on my kitchen's stove top.

A small skein of wool sheared from my past flock of Romneys was carefully lowered into the dye bath.


The creamy white wool is now a sedate shade of yellow, not unlike some of the colors of autumn.


And on this beautiful Saturday in October I was a dyer with natural things once again, and I loved it as much as I love the word dye bath.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcoming October

There is a universal fact about children...they grow. New seasons mean new clothes and shoes, so with a mission to remedy having "nothing to wear", we headed to the shopping center yesterday afternoon.

After several hours of selecting clothes for both Rose and Charlotte, we were tired and slightly hungry for a treat.

*Coldstone* was running an afternoon half- off special on their shakes and smoothies. Rose chose a Caramel Latte shake. I can see a coffee drinking girl in the future since this girl already has such a distinct taste for coffee flavored anything.


A Pineapple Coconut Orange smoothie....that's more my style.


Charlotte, my sprinklely kind of girl, ordered watermelon ice cream with colorful sprinkles, she must appreciate crunch with her ice cream. The wrought iron chairs sitting outside the ice cream store were pulled into the dazzling sunshine and we basked in a beautiful fall day. Until it was time to head back to the parking lot, to the car, and take Charlotte to her ballet lesson.

A very good way to welcome October. Oh, and I must not forget the fashion show of new apparel the girls gave their Daddy later in the evening...

roasted chicken

... for supper  Most of my Wednesday mornings are spent rushing from here to there with Charlotte for violin and piano lessons; I hav...