The Good Stuff

September 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

Well, School is in full swing, now, and it’s been a rough couple of weeks. We’ve had a few bathroom accidents during school, a few forgotten homeworks, one completely missed project (in an email, the teacher sweetly asked why my child’s project wasn’t there. I had never even heard of this project! Not a great start…), and  some major meltdowns here and there. Outside of school, my youngest got eight stitches in her forehead one Friday night, we’ve had two chickens die in the last week (pretty gruesome), and I’ve been laid out for days with the flu. Sometimes life just kicks your butt. But, I know it could be worse.

There have been great things, too, however and, in effort to dwell on the beautiful and good (something I’m working on),  I’m going to list them:

~While I was sick with the stomach flu recently, my oldest totally came through, rousing everyone from bed,  making lunches, and fixing breakfast for everyone, so that I could just roll out of bed (curled up in a cramping ball) and get in the car to drive them to school. I was touched by her kindness to me.

~My son’s teacher sent home an “award” for his performance in the math part of class that day. He really gets excited by solving number problems.  We see some geeky coolness in his future, but this is not breaking news with him.

~My second daughter, June, loves to read out loud (loudly), and has recently taken to reading the non-readers stories.  Bedtime, mealtime, in the car time…she’s reading to someone.  She likes to be in charge and I’m hoping this is a good way for her to be.  Plus, the younger ones are being read to more. I’m so appreciative of that.

~I couldn’t be enjoying all the time I’m getting with my youngest any more. We are having a blast working our way through a book, practicing the formation of letters, going to the YMCA (where grandmotherly types read her books, she makes clocks to learn how to tell time, etc. all while I’m getting some exercise), reading books while eating warm roasted peanuts, and baking something almost every day (thesethis, and this amazing thing, for example).  See what I mean? I’m just reveling in it because she goes off to kindergarten next year. Sniff.

Speaking of granola (one of the links above), we have been eating it on a pretty regular basis as I continue to try to reduce our sugar intake (I know, I’m one of those people.  But read this article and tell me what you think) by making our own cereal.  I have no hope, nor wish, to eliminate sweetness from our diets entirely, but I can do what I can, right?

I kind of just wing the granola at this point, dumping the dry stuff into a big bowl (seeds, nuts, flax meal, dried fruit or not, salt, cinnamon or nutmeg) and mixing it with some wet ingredients (maple syrup, vegetable or grape seed or even olive oil, honey, vanilla extract).  If it’s too dry I add more wet stuff.  If it’s too wet, I add more dry. Then I bake it on a sheet pan at 375 degrees for ten minutes, stir it, see if it needs to toast more, and go from there.  It’s pretty foolproof and you can customize it to your tastes. Oh, and your house will smell like it will in heaven.

Other Stuff to Love:

This version of Jane Eyer, lent to me by my friend, Angie. I’ve only watched it three times this week. (what?)

Daydreaming over this beautiful, little bed and in what kind of dream world it would fit (can you imagine how dirty that could get? still…).



A Dress For Me!

May 13, 2011 § 4 Comments

A quick post to show you my homemade dress (and my bunions on my feet. nice.)! It’s a little summery number made from this pattern that I hope I’ll wear a lot in the crazy FL heat. My goodness. You would think I would get used to it, but no. I’m always saying “IT is SO HOT!” to everyone, like they don’t know it.

I love the way this pattern is designed. The side panel (seen in detail below) actually becomes the inside of the pocket. See:

And, here’s a view (photo by Georgie) without the mom-from-the-eighties belt.

Over-all, I think I like it. I used the red and white seersucker b/c I didn’t want to buy anything new, but I’d love to make it again with something else. Great for summer, if a tad too “ice cream social”.

Finally, a picture of some new chicks that were given to us today. We have become the place where people bring chicks they don’t want anymore. More eggs, I guess! I’m not sure exactly what breeds they all are, but I think the white one is a silkie.  They’re fancier than our regulars, though (they have feathers on their feet!), and super cute at this stage. Crossing our fingers for no roosters!

Use It Up

January 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s been a, shall we say, lean week around here. and I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t buy anything food related this week.  We would make it on what we already had in the pantry, freezer, garden, from friends…wherever it came from, I wasn’t buyin’ it.  So, this week there has been a lot more bread baking, a lot more home-made snacks, and one dinner that involved whole wheat pasta and was, primarily, the color of Dijon mustard.  Yick. But it didn’t cost any extra money!  No one else was as excited about that as I was.

This meal, however, stuck to the “mission” of the week, is about as easy as a home-made meal can get, smelled great while cooking, was pretty, AND tasted great (by everyone’s standards)!  Small victories feel pretty big sometimes.

Chicken in a Pot (inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken for Lazy People)

1 whole chicken

Salt and pepper

herb sprigs (thyme and rosemary are the most aromatic)

Several garlic cloves

1 lemon or orange, cut in half (optional)

Assorted vegetables (potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions)

Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F

Take a whole chicken.  Dry the chicken inside and out and season with salt and pepper (if you want extra succulent chicken put it in a large bowl the day before and salt liberally. Refrigerate until the next day when you are ready to cook. If you don’t have time, don’t worry about it).  Tuck its wings if they aren’t already tucked.

Place sprigs of herbs, and garlic cloves in the cavity of the chicken. (I also put a small orange in there for fun, but it’s not necessary).

Take a dutch oven or a large roasting pan with a tall lip and drizzle some olive oil in the bottom. Place the bird in the pan breast side up.

Roast uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes.

While you wait, cut up vegetables in pieces of approximately equal size and toss together in a little olive oil, salt and herbs (again, whatever you have. I used thyme b/c I always have it from the garden).

When 45 minutes is up, toss the vegetables into the pot with the half-cooked chicken.  Roast for 45 more minutes (90 minutes total for the chicken).

When you remove the pot the vegetables with be tender and the chicken will be a caramel color on top.

Now turn the chicken over (still in the pot) and lean it up against one side of the pot so the breast is down and the feet are up. This will let the juices run down into the breast and make it more juicy. To do this, I used a carving fork and my hands, but you can use tongs, spoons, whatever.

Let the chicken rest, covered loosely with foil, for 15 minutes.

Serve with good bread.

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