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.