Friday, April 17, 2009


The newest issue of Hemmings Classic Car features the Nash Rambler. Its even smaller cousin, the Nash Metropolitan, is one of my dream machines. Imagine the sheer incongruity of my dream garage: 1, a black 1968 Dodge Charger; 2, a blue Cadillac from between 1914 and 1930 (not quite brass radiator); 3, a two-tone, pink-and-white or turquoise-and-white 1954 Nash Metropolitan. Muscle, Beauty, and Girly!

....while riding in my Cadillac, what to my surprise
A little Nash Rambler was following me, about one-third my size....

Junior Cookbook Thursday- Hotdog Wrapups

The 1978 edition has several variations on how to prepare and serve hot dogs. Maybe they were particularly popular in the 70s, but I'm too young to remember!
This recipe had the advantage of using bread instead of regular rolls, and since we're trying to make food come out as even as possible before moving, anything that doesn't require buying anything additional is good.
Cheese went on the bread, then the hotdogs, and they were baked after having the bread held closed with toothpicks. It's pretty quick, and it makes a slightly different taste to the frankfurters than when they are boiled or grilled.
I thought of my mother's old favorite broiled cheese sandwiches when some of the edges of the cheese were browned. That was never something I cared for, however, but she does! I thought the finished product was all right, not stellar but reasonable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anne Frank's Diary

I'm reading The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. You may or not be aware that the original book was considerably edited, for several reasons. Her father, Otto, felt that some of her discussions of her mother Edith, Edith's and Otto's marriage, sexual matters, and even of some other people, were not appropriate for the public. Later, with Otto's approval and editorial help from others, a complete edition of the diary was published. (I think that was published right when my eighth grade English teacher had the class reading the earlier version, for what it's worth.)

This is like reading an almost entirely different book. Some sentences I recall from previous readings are worded differently, as well as entire passages that I've never read before. I'm also glad that I had recently read The Hidden Life of Otto Frank and have gthat much more background about the building. It is difficult, even with the floorplan in the book, to picture the Secret Annex and the rest of the building at 263 Prinsengracht, but I've read enough now to understand somewhat.

Nothing about the Holocaust is ever an easy read, but I do recommend these books.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Really late about Junior Cookbook Thursday!

This past Thursday we made Scalloped Salmon from the 1958 edition. Cracker crumbs and canned salmon made up the bulk of it, and it was surprisingly good when complete. Bluebonnet actually helped get most of the salmon out of the can into the bowl and of course she stirred.

I think can sizes have changed somewhat over the years, because the recipe called for a 7 oz can of salmon and what we found in the store was 6oz. Ergo there was a little too much of crackers in the dish, but that can be easily altered. This might be a good thing to repeat.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vintage pattern dress for Bluebonnet

All three of us will be in the wedding of My Knight's best friend, hereinafter known as Harley Guy, and his dear fiancee, whom I'll call Color Girl. It'll be a pretty retro (creatively anachronistic, if you like) wedding. The pattern I found for Bluebonnet's flowergirl dress is actually from the 70s but I think it will work for soemthing older. I'm trying it out now in some fabric left over from one of my own dresses, a blue-and-yellow vertical stripe cotton. That dress has been a favorite of mine for about five years. Bluebonnet's dress will look pretty cute with rickrack around the bottom.
There's still enough fabric left that I think her ragdoll will have a matching dress, too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Once-a-Year Citrus Cake

Every year for about ten years I've made a certain "Rainbow Citrus Cake" some time in the spring. I can't really call it a tradition, because it has moved around from one occasion to another over the years. I think the first time I made it was for Mother's Day, and then it stayed as a Memorial Day staple for several years. 2008 saw it grace a PEO luncheon table.
I've been making desserts every week for the Wednesday suppers at our church here in Virginia, and I plan to make the citrus cake for tomorrow. There's nothing special about tomorrow, as compared to any other Wednesday, but I want to get a chance to make it once here.
To describe it as "once-a-year" may be a bit misleading, because I try so many new recipes that very few things are made more than once in any given year. Something that does get made each year is usually a favorite, and those that are several times a year are definite favorites.
The citrus cake is labor-intensive, and the finished product doesn't freeze well, which is why it has to be for a group. A tricy part is dividing the batter into thirds and getting them even! Each third gets a different citrus rind and color to match. The filling between layers is lemon, and the frosting is orange.

I think I'll make up some part of it this afternoon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Showers and all that

The sky was iron-grey early this morning, and we had a good thunderstorm between 8 and 9 a.m. It was still raining for a good portion of the morning when Bluebonnet and I set out for our errands. Happily, however, I have a nice new colorful umbrella that I was given for my birthday. I am of the opinion that umbrellas ought to be colorful. What's the sense of having a black umbrella to add to the colorlessness of a rainy day? They should also be large.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Sale Pt. 2

We found another Carolyn Haywood on the return trip! That alone made it worth the going. We also found several other good books, both picture books and others. One I couldn't pass up was Round Trip by Ann Jonas. It's a fascinating picture book about a day trip- when you come to the back of the book, it literally turns around (or upside-down, to be more precise) and the pictures are standing on their heads, turned into something else entirely. As I recall, it was a Reading Rainbow book years ago, and I'd had it out of the library when I was a little girl. Delightful to find the same thing now.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Before Nabby beat me to it, I ought to say that today is my husband's and my fifth anniversary. That seems startling, in one sense, but not so surprising in others. He's missed a few years for deployments or training, so our anniversary isn't that big a deal in truth. I have written small "updates" each year in the section of the book that was our wedding guest book, an idea that I think L. decided she'd adopt too.
That brings me to another point- it's really not needed to have something that's sold as a guest book for that purpose. Any nice book will do, but I think it's important to have that. Unless you have a very small wedding, you won't remember all of the people who were there. Guests often have something special to say. And it's a wonderful way to remember people who are gone. Alas, in only five years gone there are at least four lovely people who have died, including the Epples, whose messages are there in our guest book.

L. also had the Epples' favorite flower, daffodils, on the guest book table at her wedding, in their memory. I think that was very special.

Book Sale Pt.1

The county Friends of the Library is having their book sale this weekend, so we went over yesterday and will likely go again tomorrow. We came away well, with several additions to my collections (including the ever-elusive Carolyn Haywood!) and some for our homeschool and general reading shelves. We also got two cds, one of Christmas music and one of carousel music. All in all, a successful time. I hope we'll find more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CPSIA rally is happening now

Live streaming at

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ugh, the moving gear-up

The Army life is, in a word, transient. People are forever asking me if I miss that place or I'm looking forward to that place. Well, here's the thing: when we love something about a given place, we only have the chance to enjoy that for about two years. If there is something we really can't stand about a place, we only have to put up with it for about two years. (Just call us Alec Bings. And I tip my bonnet to anyone who recognizes that reference. That includes you, "nabby", which ought to be your screen name.)

The part that is troublesome is the actual process of moving. We have to decide what goes into the vehicles we drive, mark those with labels saying "do not ship" and otherwise try to help have the process streamlined. The lovely organizational tips people have for DIY moves (as Michelle Duggar described in their new book) aren't any help when movers take your things out of your storage boxes and put them in their own boxes! The best we can do is to put like with like and consolidate. We stack pictures from the walls on the guest bed. We put all the knick-knacks in the china cabinet, bag up outgrown clothes, etc. It's a nuisance either way, although I'm definitely glad we don't have to move our large items of furniture around ourselves.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I love these books!

The artist we're learning about in our homjeschool right now is Ruth Heller. When I went looking in the library I only found one book under her name in the Easy Books section,and then I recognized the artwork as the same ase in the books about the parts of speech. Behind a Mask, Up Up and Away, and several others are books she's written and illustrated that ewxplain the parts of speech, done in rhyme. I was framiliar with them beforehand, obviously, and then I found several in the junior non-fiction section. I would highly recommend those books for any homeschooling family. Parents will learn something, as well as everyone enjoying the pictures. I imagine they could serve as a good introduction in grammar.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Please tell me you've been here!

Would everyone mind just leaving a little comment to tell me how they found my blog?

20 years. Right.

I've been following the CPSIA debacle pretty closely, thanks greatly to Deputy Headmistress over at The Common Room and a few others. The latest absurdity is that the commission claims that children's books have a useful life of 20 years. If, which is not specified, that means that a given copy might wear out after that much time, I can see an in-some-cases point. But just as the whole rest of this mess, nothing is spelled out as being so narrow.
The Headmistress' response was extremely well done, as always. She included a book called The Story of the Bible. This is a retelling of the Bible, as the name implies, but at an older reading level than the Children's Story Bible
by Catherine Vos. It was first printed before the turn of the twentieth century.
We have in our posession a copy of that book, which I think is the 1911 printing, that is the one and only thing I've ever seen, let alone that I have, that belonged to my great-grandfather John Towson. (This would have been Father's maternal grandfather.) It's beautiful, bound nicely, and a very good book for teaching Bible. Guess what: I fully intend to use it when Bluebonnet is older. We have my mother's copy of the Catherine Vos book, which we've been using for Bible since she was born (we're on our third read-through already). As a matter of fact, the 1950s Vos book is in less-pristine condition than the older one; evidently Mother et al used hers more. (A good problem to have with a book of Bible stories!)

Congress- have a reality check.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Early in the morning, around 6:00, I was very surprised to hear at least one owl calling. It seemed to be close by the open windows, and another bird of some variety joined in after a few minutes. Like most noises that break otherwise silent time, they likely seemed louder than they truly were.
Perhaps this is one of the blessings of the early time change, that there is darkness in the early morning such that we can hear owls. I happen to like owls particularly, so for me this is more enjoyable than for someone ambivalent about owls!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Junior Cookbook Thursday- Cocoa

We made cocoa and had it with some toast for breakfast this morning. I don't think I'd ever made cocoa from this recipe before, but it's surprisingly similar to the in-my-head, just-do-it "recipe" I've been using for a few years, with a dash of salt and some vanilla. In my own version, I occasionally substitute almond extract, to make it that much more decadent. Both my husband and I really like almond extract to flavor anything sweet. Within reason, of course. I don't think it would improve peppermint ice cream!

Bluebonnet poured almost everything into the saucpan, and stirred before I turned the heat on. I think she could have safely stirred with the heat, had she been able to reach fromt he angle where she was standing on her stepstool.
I think I would leave out the water from this recipe the next time; it made the finished product taste a trifle thin.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


It seems that in Virginia, as in south Jersey, no one seems to think that snow has ever happened before. They all act like it's a calamity. The base was shut down altogether yesterday, and my husband didn't go in until 10:00 this morning. The library was closed yesterday, the mail came quite late, and the YMCA has had cropped hours both days. And the parking lot of our apartment complex wasn't cleared, nor were sidewalks. Without Bluebonnet having any wellies, we can't get out for a walk farther than the mailbox. Wellies are going to be very necessary, and I hope not horrifically expensive!

From this, we'll be going to upstate New York, where snow stops nothing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Eggs post at Words-Elizabeth

I also have a post discussing the preparation of eggs over at Add any egg-y ideas you have!

Use-what-you-have Pizza

Last night's supper was one of those meals designed to use up stuff in the kitchen. We'd had some chicken sandwiches that used a partial bottle of pizza sauce and some mozzarella cheese, which were left. Aha! Pizza!
I made individual slices of pizza on large slices of sesame-seed bread, which I toasted with a bit of olive oil on a pizza stone before putting toppings on. The sauce and cheese were joined by canned mushrooms, chopped onions and chopped peppers. A vegetarian choice, which we enjoy from time to time. Especially being improvised the way it was, I think we had a hit.
One thing I enjoy about homemaking is the experimentation and the hands-on learning I encounter. I didn't know, going in last evening, how well my ideas were going to work. And they say this is a mindless job!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some hooters, courtesy of the Historian

The Historian gave an exam a couple days ago. Among other things, he got answers such as:

"The Exodus was the Hebrews' concept of Paradise."

"The Exodus was the journey the Egyptians took out of Egypt."

"The Domesday Book was a collection of religious tales about the end of the world."

...right. I love when he shares these with me!

Books With Bluebonnet

We've been reading some very good selections in our homeschool this week. For starters, the artist we've been looking at for the last two weeks is a favorite of mine, Tasha Tudor. We have several volumes of hers ourselves, and we also checked out Thistly B from the library. It seems to be one of the less-available Tasha Tudor books, but it's just as pretty as any of her others. It's the story of a canary and his mate, raised in a nursery by a brother and sister.

We also have read The Hullaballoo ABC by Beverly Cleary, and Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong. The two choices are nothing alike and both very good! In the first, farm children have more clean and grubby, noisy fun than you could imagine, going from "Aha! I see you" to "Z is for Zoom!". This looks like a great choice to read to a group of children.
The second shows vignettes of the life of a Chinese-American family, with the narrator identifying things in several shapes, from both cultures. My favorite is the part where both a pizza box and dim sum are described as square.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Junior Cookbook Thursday- Orange-Applesauce Salad

Having performed "Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise" for a talent show this past week, I've been getting a lot of ribbing at home and from friends about anything related to Jello. Nevertheless we made "Orange-Applesauce Salad" yesterday. It's very similar to an old family recipe, almost eerily so.
Jello can be prepared with almost any clear liquids, as long as you have one hot and one cold. This recipe called for hot water, applesauce, and a half-cup of 7-up for liquids. Applesauce as a liquid, you say? Yes, it works. The aforementioned family recipe has applesauce as the hot liquid! Along with the 7-up we stirred in chunks of raw apple. It turned out pretty well. I have no gelatin molds, so any jello recipes are made in ordinary bowls around here.
Bluebonnet accorded herself very well by spooning the applesauce from the jar into the measuring cup. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well she did with that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In father's words, I about blew a gasket!

You need to understand several things about Father.

1.He is known for some odd turns of phrase (such as the above.)

2. He can be dramatic.

3. He will tell you unequivocally that Theodore Roosevelt stands as the greatest of our presidents.

4. He does look a little bit like TR.

Now that you know that, the story will make some sense. I have an old copy of Theodore Roosevelt: Man of Action, one of those orange-covered biographies that were available in the 60s. My original copy was library discard from the school where I went for grade school; that one we had gotten rid of but then my uncle got me a new copy as a joke several years later. At any rate it's a very good child's biography of TR.
Bluebonnet pulled that off the shelf today and looked at it. Next thing I knew, she was looking at an illustration of TR playing with his children, and telling me "Opa, Opa"!

Father will laugh fit to kill when I tell him this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Playing Dress-Up

Bluebonnet has just discovered the idea of playing dress-up. We gave her a bunch of dress-up clothes (primarily things I didn't want any longer, which make the best and longest-lasting dress-ups) a while back, but she hadn't really been aware of them. Then I borrowed back some things (another post in itself, to follow) and the box was out where she got to see it and use it a lot. She's been having all kinds of fun with silver shoes, a black tam'o'shanter, several scarves, and the like.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Very Interesting!

Happy 100th birthday to Miep Gies. As you may know, she was one of the people who protected the Frank and Van Pels families in the Secret Annexe, as chronicled in Anne Frank's diary. There was a very nice piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer telling about her. She thinks she's gotten far too much praise over the years. She was not the only person to help Jews hide, which is true. She's just the most famous. Of course, manyh Christians know of the ten Boom family and what they did to help other Jews. Still, i find it pretty impresive that Miep has lived so long and been such an impressive presence.

We were speculating what would have happened if Otto Frank had not survived the concentration camps; would the diary ever havebeen published? I think that would be quite a topic for alternate history discussion.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Junior Cookbook Thursday- Chicken Pot Pies

We made this for supper tonight. Cooked chicken and mixed vegetables went in with a milk-and-flour sauce, and were covered with refrigerator biscuits. Bluebonnet stirred, dumped in vegetables, and helped lay pieces of biscuit over the top. We cut the biscuits in quarters which allowed them to cover more of the casserole dish. The filling was a bit runnier than I'd like, so we had to serve it in bowls. Next time we'll have to reduce the amount of milk or increase the flour.
This is one of those home cookin' meals that feels like rich comfort food, but it really isn't. We use skim milk for most purposes, so there wasn't much fat in it. The chicken was white meat, left from something we'd had earlier in the week.

Mysterious Item

In his diary, The Naturalist talks about making "an electric bird chart". I cannot begin to imagine what he made that fits this description Amdittedly I have yet to ask The Historian if he has any idea about this. What an odd concept....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I'll miss most after CPSIA has requested blog posts about the 5 things we'll miss now that the vile CPSIA is in place. Without further ado:

1. Old books. The out-of-print treasures of libraries. Carolyn Haywood and Lois Lenski are just two authors about to be unavailable.

2. Freedom not to have to make most of Bluebonnet's clothes. I can, and enjoy doing it, but I like to be able to do some of both. Now we'll mostly have to make things, buy only what we can't make, and do with intra-family handmedowns. (And most of those are starting to cross the line from handmedown to heirloom, since my cousins wore my clothes....)

3. Things made by other people that we could buy at craft shows.

4. Logic. This law killed most of it.

5. The freedom to pick and choose what things our family has.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lesson Learned

It does not work to make baked beans using kidney beans.

We love having what we call "Boston supper," baked beans and steamed brown bread (I usually serve pineapple and some vegetable with it.) It's a marvelous meal that has to be planned well in advance because the beans soak so long. However, for some reason I got kidney beans this time, rather than navy or great northern beans. The product was less than wonderful. Edible, but not very good.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Time travel, of a sort.

My father-in-law (hereinafter, The Historian) and I have a wonderful rapport. As you might surmise, there's a shared interest in history of many kinds, as well as several other shared interests (cars, cooking, etc.) We also get along very well. He loves to tease me, as do most people, and at least with him I can give as good as I take.
The Historian followed his father's example in keeping a diary for many years. His father, whom I'll call The Naturalist, was not a man I had the privilege of knowing. The Naturalist died in early 2006 and had Alzheimer's disease for several years before. While I met him once, it was only once and he was, I was told, only a shadow of his former self.
The Naturalist's diaries are in posession of The Historian, and I have been allowed the privilege of reading some of them. (I'm sure I'll be permitted to read all of them, but have only just begun.) It is a thorough privilege indeed. The Naturalist taught in a rural school in upstate New York, among many other things. I've been reading his diary for 1940 right now. His writing style is wonderful- I can picture just what he's describing, and laugh at the sight that it brings to mind some of the time. (He had work painting a garage, which he described as "sloppy work" for which he was wearing "an old raincoat and boots." I'm picturing this man in one of those wonderful bright yellow Mackintoshes of the 1920s, painting this garage. It's even funnier when you know that he had hair the color of a copper penny.)
This is unusual reading, but very well worth it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coffee and Tea

Elizabeth posted about serving coffee and tea today. That was a cozy post for a grey, rainy, generally icky day (at least, that's what we had here.)

I am the proud owner of a Reverware percolator, courtesy of Mimi (my third grandmother, as it were). She didn't intend to give it to me- I just managed to be visiting when she was clearing out her cabinets and she didn't want it anymore. Well! Am I ever glad she didn't want it! The percolator makes wonderful coffee, far better than what comes from a drip pot. It stays hot when freshly made, too, for quite a while. When we make a pot of all-decaf (when company comes for dessert) it's hard to tell that it is all decaf, which would be obvious in drip-made coffee.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two weeks' Junior Cookbook Thursday- Oven-fried Chicken and Lemon Pie

Bluebonnet was exceedingly helpful with supper tonight. The Oven-Fried Chicken consisted of breading the chicken with crushed potato chips, which were mixed with garlic powder and pepper. By themselves that tasted good! If we ever make this again, however, I'll buy baked chips instead of ordinary ones, because there was just too much grease in this. Maybe that wouldn't have fazed Grandmother in 1958 but it sure bothered me! (No offense meant to my grandmothers!) At any rate, Bluebonnet crushed the chips and actually did a fair job dipping the chicken in the breading. We served the chicken with a mixture of green beans and carrots.

Last week was a bit crazy with my in-laws and nephew coming, so the Lemon Pie that should have been that week's Junior Cookbook attempt never happened. No matter, it came around today.
The pie has a crumb crust. Because the graham crackers that were on sale when I bought some were the cinnamon type, I omitted the sugar from the crumb crust and used those. Bluebonnet loved crushing up the crackers and stirring together the crust ingredients. When it came time to make the filling she made a valiant attempt to squeeze the juice from a lemon. That takes more strength than she posesses! We had one whole lemon, of which we used both zest and juice. The rest was from the jar of lemon juice. The filling also comprised of egg and condensed milk. It turned out a little more of a custard than a pie, but it tastes tood.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Weekly" schedule

I put weekly in quotes because my housework rotation is not the same every week. That is, the work for Monday is not the same every week. I have five tasks that rotate over Monday-Saturday, so what I've done on Saturday is next done the following Friday, and so forth.

My tasks are cleaning, errands, mending, ironing, and baking. I generally do a load of laundry every morning, fit in among my other doings.

Cleaning: we change sheets, put things away, dust, wash the floors, put out clean placemats, clean the bathrooms, and my DH usually runs the vaccuum.

Errands: as you'd expect, this means grocery shopping, library, post office, and any other shopping that needs to be done. Often a long morning!

Mending- as laundry comes clean and I find something that requires work, it goes in a basket in our room. Buttons sewed on, socks and teeshirts darned, jeans patched, seams sewn up, and shoes polished.

Ironing- I do iron more than many, I suppose. Pillowcases, many clothes, and the napkins always are pressed.

Baking- As needed; I try to be sure to keep us in bread, muffins, and cookies. Yesterday we had chocolate chip muffins from a new cookbook (not the 1953 one) given me by my aunt for Christmas.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Homemaking updates- catching up

I got very behind on the Home Economics course, so I'm starting back at December 31st. (That explains why you haven't seen me around your blog lately, Elizabeth!)

I would love to be able to garden, even though it would mean learning from scratch. However, this is one of the frustrations of military life. About the best I can do is having things in pots, because we can't really give over the time to create a garden in a place where we'll only stay a couple years. It's a nuisance, for sure. I might try again this year, once we do move. Basil, mint, that sort of thing, at any rate. Maybe some peppers.

I will try to post more about recipes. I make way more than 20 new recipes a year- probably several times that! I just enjoy doing that, although rest assured my DH and DD get some familiar foods frequently. (Like that alliteration?) For me, it's going to include what might be called creative anachronism, or everything old is new again. My mother gave my cousins and me each a copy of the reprinted 1953 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for Christmas. We have all been having fun trying out Best Two-Egg Cake, Club Chicken Casserole, and the like.

Traveling this week

My in-laws picked this weekend to come visit, which made sense since they both had today off. But, instead of driving, they came on the train. On Friday night, leaving from 30th ST. Station in Philadelphia.
The inaugural train was leaving from Philadelphia on Saturday morning, but the soon-to-be First Family was arriving near the station Friday evening. Security was paramount, naturally, and the trains were significantly delayed leaving. I don't know what they'll run into, going through Washington on the way back.
We've had a fairly good visit; we're going over to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond this morning before they need to get back on the train to head home.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In the list of strange requests

The pastor called this morning to ask if he could borrow Bluebonnet's Duplos.

He built a little fortress for an illustration for the children's sermon.

You just never know, do you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Can't Do Everything

This isn't a "how-do-you-do-it-all?" post. I'm thinking about all the causes, all the evils, that come into our view. There are hundreds of things that need attention. There are vile, wrong, laws to fight (CPSIA, FOCA, and the like); there are attitudes that need to be changed, there are good things to support. It seems that every time I'm on the computer (and for a while, at the mailbox) there's some other cause to consider. So many good goals, and no one can work for all of them.
Right now I'm mainly concerned with fighting the CPSIA, because it's so urgent and could be so devastating. I don't know where to go from there.
With our charitable donations, my Knight and I have largely devoted ourselves to Compassion and to Csehy Summer School of Music ( That's a post in itself!
What are your pet causes and charities?

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Epples' Memory

Lawrence was a devoted member of the Rotary Club, and both Nancy and Lawrence loved their gardens. Fittingly, the Woodbury Rotarians are going to dedicate a portion of a garden as an Epples' Memorial Children's Garden.

If only they could have balloons there too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anne of the Island- spoiler alert in case you haven't read them!

When my cousins and I got into one of our book discussions about a year ago, we got on to the Anne books. My uncle, overhearing us, commented that he's always rather infuriated with Anne for the length of time it takes her to decide to marry Gilbert. I laughed at the time, nodded and thought my uncle was right.
I'm re-reading my falling-apart copy of Anne of the Island right now, and am even more convinced that he was correct. For the first time in my memory I have found myself crying over one of the Anne books. Gilbert is so incredibly patient, and loves Anne so thoroughly, that my heart breaks for him even though I know what will happen in the end. I think Anne's "relationship" with Royal Gardner is extremely ridiculous- the sort of thing that she would have imagined for herself, and indeed did imagine for herself. In light of Philippa falling in love with someone so utterly unlike anyone she thought she'd marry, it's painful to see Anne insisting that she must have only her ideal herself. How utterly blind she is!
I was reminded, by Gilbert, of R., the man who's about to marry my lifelong best friend L. in a couple months. L. and R. had met while L was involved with someone else, and from all I can tell it was similar. R. didn't push anything- he just waited until L. made up her mind. Same as Gilbert. I have no idea if R. has any knowledge of the Anne books, but I sat down and wrote a note, which I dated the day of their wedding and will put in with the cards at the reception, mentioning Gilbert and more or less telling him to take good care of one of the best girls ever.

P.s.- there's a hilarious chapter that immediately follows Anne's rejection of Gilbert. In that regard LM Montgomery did a very good job of comic relief. The same is missing from after Jo's rejection of Laurie in Little Women.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A rather unpleasant experience

Last night about 6 I was getting supper ready when there was a banging at the door. Someone who I suppose must live downstairs but whom I've never seen scolded me to "get my kids to be quieter" because they were "tired of running and jumping all day long" and their "pictures were shaking".
By the time he'd finished telling me all this, Bluebonnet had followed me to the door, and I responded that if he'd like to tell my two-year-old daughter that she may not run or jump, to go ahead. Not too surprisingly, he didn't speak to her.
He managed to pick the one evening in a hundred that my husband was out for several hours, so I was the one to have to deal with this nonsense. My husband talked, this morning, to the people in the leasing office here and they told us to forget it. There have apparantly been a lot of noise complaints going on all over the complex. They agreed with him that a single 25-pound toddler (yes, she's tiny!) couldn't shake pictures by running around in her stocking feet on a carpeted floor.
I'm still a little afraid that we'll have a repeat performance of this some time.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Junior Cookbook Thursday for 1/1/09- Butter-toasted sweet rolls

This was another absurdly easy idea. All we did was to slice sweet rolls (in this case, some cinnamon buns my mother sent home with us after Christmas) in half, butter them, and toast them in a skillet. Bluebonnet is just learning to spread the butter, which was thoroughly softened. They were pretty good. It was also an "aha" moment about how to make leftover buns taste a bit better!


We spent a bit of a whirlwind week back home over Christmas. We divided our time between DH's family and mine, meaning between Wenonah and Medford/Brigantine. Bluebonnet was still the star attraction at my parents' big party the Sunday before Christmas day. They've given this thing every year since 1986, and it has grown considerably. Several friends have said that Christmas really begins with that party, which I think is quite a compliment. My cousins and I have appointed ourselves as The Help for the party for the last few years. We have a high old time washing up the dishes, replenishing the cookies, etc. Maybe we have a curious idea of what is fun.

Christmas Eve was spent with DH's family, visiting, eating, and singing but not going to church. I don't think I'll ever be quite accustomed to that. My in-laws and another household within their family are Christians, as well as us, but not everyone, and I suppose churchgoing hasn't been the highest priority in their celebrating. It's not an unpleasant time, by any means, just not what I'd choose if it were up to me.

Christmas Day we spent part of the day in Wenonah with my family and then had dinner with his, in Medford, before heading to Brigantine the following afternoon.

Bluebonnet got some interesting presents, such as a top, some drawing toys, and a Raggedy Ann doll as well as small pink Converse high tops to match the ones Momma got. I'd wanted some for several years!

I also got the reprinted 1953 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (the grown up one.) My mother got copies for all four of us girls. This will be lots of fun!