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 (www.csehy.com). 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!