Archive for January, 2012

The Pioneer Woman, I Am Not

January 27, 2012 @ 5:27 pm | Filed under: Food

I bragged about my granola and Charlotte asked for the recipe. It’s a bit tricky, because this is the one dish I make where I don’t measure anything, I just eyeball it.

9×13 baking pan + stick of butter + 350 degree oven. You can melt the butter right in the pan in the preheating oven, or you can speed things up and melt it on the stove, whatever you like.

To the melted butter in the pan, add about 2/3 cup honey. Or less. Or more. I like it sweet-ish but not too sweet.

Then dump in some old-fashioned (not quick) oats. Um, a quantity might be helpful here, but I have no idea. Six or seven cups, maybe? I fill the pan to about an inch from the top. I think. You know, until it looks like a good-sized batch.

Then I add sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted), flax seed, and lots of chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans (or a mixture).

A sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mix it all together, making sure to scrape up the honey from the bottom and work it into the oats.

Toast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (Stir once or twice in between.)

So yummy.

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Dear Blog, Forgive Me

January 26, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Filed under: Bloggity

Whoa. I totally missed Bonny Glen’s seventh anniversary. Seven years! Jiminy crickets!

I meant to do something retrospectivey. I meant to do something, period. But I forgot all about it until I saw Melanie’s anniversary post—our blogs share a birthday.

Well, I’m forever sending birthday cards late. Maybe I’ll rustle up something next week. Right now I’m too busy putting the finishing touches on my GeekMom post for tomorrow—we’re a stop in the Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary blog tour; do stop by tomorrow and take a peek—and squeeing over interior sketches for Inch and Roly. So: my big nostalgic stroll through blog-memory lane will have to wait.

But, golly, seven years. Thanks for sticking with me, gang. You’re still my favorite part of blogging.

 

Together we make a full glass

January 25, 2012 @ 9:20 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

Me, at the end of a discussion: “Well, that’s what you get for marrying an optimist.”

Him, eyebrow arched: “That was inevitable, wasn’t it? I mean, only an optimist would have married me.”

Made Me Smile

January 24, 2012 @ 9:27 am | Filed under: Family, Photos

My cow creamer (which we’ve never actually used for cream) on the kitchen windowsill, adorned by Rilla.

(Yes, my windows need washing again.)

A drawing of me by Rose. I wish I had those jeans in real life!

(It is awfully nice to have a daughter who thinks you are the most gorgeous girl in the world.) 🙂

A photo that begs a caption.

Other happymaking things:

* Lesley Austin’s wonderful new endeavor, Wisteria and Sunshine. Have you visited? Are you contemplating joining? I am there and thoroughly enjoying myself. And my desk area, heretofore known as as the Cedar Chest of Shame, is now tidy enough to satisfy even Marilla Cuthbert. (Lesley rechristened it the Cedar Chest of Possibilities. This is much nicer than the Cedar Chest of Probably Going to Fill Up with Paper Clutter Again.)

* Downton Abbey. (Obviously.) Favorite storyline: Edith finally beginning to like herself (rendering her much more likable).

* Scott’s breakfast smoothies with strawberry kefir.

* Old Scottish ballads.

Blanket Revisited

January 23, 2012 @ 6:36 pm | Filed under: Sewing and Handwork

Two and a half years ago, I made this. Cotton quilt top and fleece bottom. No batting, no quilting. A quilt for corner-cutters.

Oh my goodness, how delicious was she??

As it turns out, my handiwork was shoddy: every time we wash it, another seam pulls apart. I bet I’ve stitched up (with big, ungainly, totally visible stitches) a dozen or more gaps.

As it turns out, that doesn’t matter. It’s everybody’s favorite blanket. I snuggle under it every morning and evening (and a fair amount of time in between). The kids fight over it.


Sorry, Jane.


Its surface seems to attract books.

The other day, I was thinking about how Valentine’s Day is approaching, and although I seldom do seasonal decorating outside the Advent-Christmas stretch, I was walloped with a wave of desire for pink. Pink pink pink. I remembered all the yummy rosy fabrics stuffed in bins in my messy laundry room/storage area—bins I pretty much haven’t touched (except to shuffle them from place to place) since Huck was born. We should make another snuggleblanket, I decided. And by “we,” I mean I intend to foist most of the work upon my offspring.

(Does this sudden plan have anything to do with the fact that Jane had friends over last week and they raved about my blanket, patched seams and all? Probably. I am highly motivated by praise.) 😉

Step 1: Assemble all the pink fabrics in the house. Check.

Step 2: Wash the ones that haven’t been washed yet. Check. (Thanks, Scott.)

Step 3: Press fabrics. Check. (Thanks, Rose.)

Step 4: Locate rotary cutter and that plastic ruler/cutting guide thingy. (Jane’s on it. Thanks, Jane.)

So far, so good. I think we’re on track for a Valentine’s Day snuggle. (I won’t speculate as to which year.)

(Hey, Alice, see that teapot fabric? I bought a whole bunch of it on sale three years ago, intending to make you something sweet for a new-baby gift. Whoops. This is like that time I made you a chicken pot pie after B. was born, but so many friends had brought you dinner that your freezer was full, so I said I’d keep it in my freezer for you. And then I ate it. I’m an awesome friend.)

Sometimes It Rains

January 21, 2012 @ 7:14 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Family


Photo of my bedspread by Rilla. I like the filter she used!

Huck woke up from his nap early, aka crabby. He snuggled with Scott on the couch for a long time, watching Wonderboy play Wii Party. It was cold and rainy here today, a stark change from the past 874 days (a rough estimate) of sunny blue skies. After a while, Scott got up to fold laundry, and I took a turn cuddling with Mr. Grumpy—who brightened considerably at the prospect of a peanut-butter-and-honey tortilla.

Beanie started making him one, and I summoned the rest of the troops for a quick tidy-up. Rilla was delighted to be assigned Wiping the Table—until I told her she couldn’t crawl all over it in the process. (You should have seen her feet. Oh my. She and Huck had been out in the rain earlier, barefoot. It’s still Southern California, after all.)

So there was Miss Rilla crabby as can be, and all of a sudden Huck was wailing like a banshee because Beanie had evidently committed the capital offense of folding his tortilla the wrong way. The nerve. He jumped down from his chair and threw himself on the couch. My sweet, sanguine Bean was understandably a bit put out, and she collapsed over the back of the couch in an exaggerated expression of frustration—and then caught my eye and we both started laughing. It’s hilarious how suddenly it all falls apart. You know, about thirty times a day. And then you refold the tortilla and light a candle on the grumpily wiped table (standing on the FLOOR, how BORING), and it all comes together again. Scott came out from the back room and serenaded us on the ukulele while the rest of us (except tortilla-munching Huck) finished up the tidy, and Rilla set out to draw All the Kinds of Candles in the World. (She came up with: birthday candle, the skinny taper in a cup of glued beans Wonderboy made as an art project, the fat beeswax pillar I found in the cabinet over the pantry, and a candelabra. Oh, and a little lantern we have that holds a tea light.)

Now it’s after dinner (and the table probably needs wiping again). Scott and the older girls are watching Ever After (I just heard a burst of laughter and I bet you anything Drew just picked the prince up over her shoulder and won the hearts of the gypsies) and Rilla is snuggled up next to me in bed, playing a Waldo game. She is wearing a fancy purple Easter dress that belonged to one of her big sisters. Huck is playing with his Thomas trains; Wonderboy’s writing notes on my iPod. Scott brought me a mug of cocoa. The rain has stopped.

I think I use the word ‘snuggled’ a lot when I write about my family.


Also by Rilla. This is my view.

Today in Books

January 19, 2012 @ 7:56 pm | Filed under: Books

Yesterday I was looking for a book for Beanie—Diane Stanley’s Michelangelo—and I kept coming across picture books I really really really need to read to Rilla. It’s that fifth-kid thing again, where I’ll suddenly realize she is missing out on one of our favorite books because I’ve read it so many times to the four above her that I forget there are kids in this house who haven’t yet had the pleasure.

I wound up with a stack of must-reads in the middle of the living-room floor. Rose teased me. “Every time you look for a book, you wind up with a pile of twenty.”

Guilty as charged.

Rilla and Huck and I squoze onto the couch (technical term, you know) and read several of the found treasures. I plopped the rest of the stack into a cloth basket and vowed to return to my habits of old: filling a basket with picture books every week or two, rotating new ones from the shelves.

Here are the books that went into the basket for this week—no particular theme to the selections; none of them new; most of them quite well known. This list is for our family chronicle more than anything else.

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (that crabby voice is such fun to read aloud)

James in the House of Aunt Prudence by Timothy Bush (one of our family’s most beloved picture books)

One Hungry Baby by Lucy Coats (see the comments for my take on this charmer)

 Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola (like I had to tell you that)

Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman. (Rilla’s the one who added this to the pile—it’s a special favorite of hers.)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin. (Huck’s first time! Egad! It made him chuckle—a delighted, delicious huckleberry chuckle. The teacher page especially—I don’t know why.)

Meanwhile, Wonderboy continues to love Elephant and Piggie best of all. Understandably.

We did eventually locate Michelangelo; Beanie enjoyed it. It will not surprise you that today I gave her From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler. Rose recently finished Pride and Prejudice for the first time and announced that she would have liked it very much if only it contained more fantasy and adventure. If, in short, it had been more like a Warriors book. 😉

We have one chapter left in The Family Under the Bridge. As for young Mr. Copperfield, he has only just arrived in Yarmouth, where his vague misgivings about Mr. Murdstone have been swept out of his mind by the miracle of a house made out of an old boat.

“…The wonderful charm of it was, that it was a real boat which had no doubt been upon the water hundreds of times, and which had never been intended to be lived in, on dry land. That was the captivation of it to me. If it had ever been meant to be lived in, I might have thought it small, or inconvenient, or lonely; but never having been designed for any such use, it became a perfect abode.”

I knew I had another Rilla story today

January 17, 2012 @ 8:43 pm | Filed under: Rilla

Well, not a story, really, just a funny moment. She misheard me about the title of Katy No-Pocket: “Kangaroo Market? That sounds like a good story.”

It does, rather! Hmm…

Middleman

January 17, 2012 @ 5:56 pm | Filed under: Family, Rilla, These People Crack Me Up

Today Rilla asked me to “draw something for her to copy.” I wasn’t clear what this meant, at first. She explained that she likes to find drawings by her big sisters and copy them herself. Now she wanted to copy one of mine. “A ballerina, please.”

I began to sketch a head, trying to keep it simple. But I’d barely reached the shoulders when Rilla shook her head, distressed. “Um, not that kind, Mommy. Not the kind that looks like a real person.” (Worth noting: there was no danger of my lopsided ballerina looking real. Or even human, really. There’s a reason I’m a word person, not a picture one.)

But it was clear she had something specific in mind, so I pressed for enlightenment. “What kind did you want?”

“I’ll show you. Like the one in this picture.”

She scurried off and came back with a lovely crayon rendering of a pink ballerina. That she had drawn herself.

“Draw it just like this, Mommy. So I can copy it.”