So exciting.. I have added to my blog a list of blogs I have been following for awhile. Some are family, others I have found referenced by a different blog. Some are near, several are in faraway lands, but creative people everywhere share a desire to make the world a better and more beautiful place. Many of them feel like my friends, and I really appreciate the time they take to post because I so enjoy the things they share. Thank you to all of you!
I had not realized what a slacker I have been as of late. I got derailed just before Christmas, and haven't been back since. What's been going on? Well... after my MIL took a nasty fall in November and there was much traveling to the hospital and rehab facility, we celebrated Big B's 24th birthday the second week of December. Then the round of decorating, parties, baking, crafting, and all things Christmas. Then, the new year brought Cab's sweet 16 (days and days of partying and girly stuff), Candace's 27th birthday, Little B's 18th birthday, Valentine Day, Job Hunting (daily), Susan's 41st birthday, Austin's 26th birthday, and Christy's birthday is coming saturday. We are two months into the new year, and, as life happens, some things have changed and other things stay the same. There continues the weekly routine of the now-you-see-me-now-you-don't, but, as I have said before; wherever I am, I miss where I am not. I am preparing today for tomorrow's quilt guild meeting which I have recently joined and really enjoy. Probably the top I completed sometime in the second half of 2008 that was started nearly 6 years ago for Cab's 4th grade pioneer project will be my show & tell. She calls it starry starry night for her favorite van gogh painting. Also need to prepare a little treat or something for Sandy whom I visit once a month, and the usual surprise for blomster man.
The following is a comment I posted to Allison of Scarcity and Abundance a few days ago. She had a post about bread and I suggested a particular wheat bread recipe that I love and I put cream cheese and pumpkin butter on it when it's cooled. My little B loves it. Allison asked for a recipe and I found this:
My Betty Crocker's Old Fashioned cookbook has a recipe for Honey Apple Butter. It could be easily converted. 1 quart sweet apple cider 8 cups pared, cored and quartered cooking apples (about 3 pounds) 1 lemon; peeled, sliced and seeded 1 cup honey 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Heat cider to boiling in large dutch oven. Boil uncovered until reduced to 2 cups - about 15 minutes. Add apples and lemon. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 1 hour until apples are soft. Mash with potato masher or ricer to remove all lumps. Stir in honey, sugar and cinnamon. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, simmer about 1 1/2 hours until no liquid separates from pulp. Pour mixture into hot sterilized jars leaving headspace. Wipe rims, seal with boiling water bath or steamer. Cool. Makes about 5 half pints. (My grandma taught me to make it in the oven in a giant roaster pan. We would gather a pailful of apples that had dropped from the trees and remove the bruises, birdpecks, and wormholes. She let it bake all day stirring occasionally, and it made considerably more than 5 half pints.)
If I were converting, I would probably add some pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon. I would also cook the pumpkin in water if I didn't have any apple cider. I might even try adding some cream at the end of the simmering process to a small portion that would be used immediately. (Make sure pumpkin isn't boiling when you add cream or it will curdle.) You can also make pear butter, but you don't have to boil the pears initially for as long as the apples if they are yellow and ripe.
Wednesday I made bread using the water drained from boiling the potatoes from Monday night's dinner. I was interrupted in the middle of the second rising with an errand that couldn't wait, so I just put the loaves in the fridge until I returned. You only need to wait 10 minutes to put it into the oven, and that's about how long it takes the oven to heat. It is a miracle to stir up a few ingredients that the earth yields up and together they live and grow and nourish. The loaves turned out divine. I am grateful for such simple and delicious pleasures in this life!
In the spirit of all things Christmas, Cab has been decorating today again. She got a pretty good start hauling everything out last night, but we both forgot how much we have accumulated over the years! Our favorite thing was the tall skinny tree we found on clearance at Home Depot last year after Christmas so it was still brand new in the box. She plopped an angel rag doll that was gifted to me several years ago atop it and she totally OWNS the tree! I really like the cranberry garland, the giant acorns, and the tiny multi-colored lights that play music and blink! We are thrilled with the results. I now realize I should have started last year on December 26 and worked full time every day on all the things I now want to handcraft for everyone. Tablecloths, crib sheets, pillowcases, quilts, stockings, hats, table runners...how many can one woman create in just 23 days? I am now asking Cab what her Christmas wish list is. 1-Dog 2-Dog 3-Dog, oh! #4-Dog! Unfortunately, a dog is not in my rental contract; in fact NO PETS is in my contract. Top three breeds: Bernese Mountain Dog, Border Collie, Austrailian Shepherd. We are watching 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' and she just exclaimed "See, even the grinch has a dog!". I think we need a farm with lots of space for running, a few sheep, a little brown cow for me, a piglet or two, maybe an alpaca, some cats, three goats (billy & nanny with kid), and a farmhouse with a wrap around porch. There is a great room for large family gatherings, a studio for me to create in, and a library for studies. On the porch a wrought-iron swing, and a swingset with playhouse for the babies. A rail and bowl for the skaters. There are fruit trees in the orchard and a greenhouse for my blomster man; bees with hives supply plenty of honey and pollinate our trees, flowers, and garden. This is my grown-up Christmas wish. Heaven.
Surprise! I have a follower! (and she has me too, for always) Surprise #2: I hardly ever know what will appear when I begin writing. It's Friday thank goodness, perhaps some sleeping in this weekend will re-charge my batteries cause they sure feel like they're running low. Is there such a thing as SUPER-charging, or is it a myth? There are many different types of dietary/supplementary/exercise programs that are touted to create miracles, I have even tried a select few of them. The most recent one that came across my radar recommends dietary fish oil, calcium/magnesium/zinc supplements, and moderate daily exercise for women who desire a better sex life. Applied together, they increase levels of feel-good hormones and testosterone. The results I experienced when I subscribed to most dietary programs were usually less-than-hoped for; and here's what I suspect. Regardless of whatever physical regimen I am subscribing to, what energizes my batteries more than anything is my own emotional climate. Wrapped around me like Red Riding Hood's cloak is an ever-changing emotional field that seems to stand at the helm, directing and upholding all other systems. I believe we are all subject to our own private monarchy the majority of the time, ie, the spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical 'body' is dominant. Here's an illustration: 6:00 am. My Emotional Queen is trying to sleep in. Spirit Child is off somewhere in a magically different dream world, and King Mental is jiggling his feet trying to put on his socks and get rolling. Physical Lady-In-Waiting politely knocks on the door. "Go Away!" says EQ. But, alas, there is no way that this urgent matter can wait, so EQ allows physical to summon Spirit Child from her meanderings, rises to handle the physical urgency, and confers with KM with regard to today's events. Make no mistake, however. Emotional Queen will always demand responsibility and accountability from Physical, Spiritual, and Mental, for she is aware of their synergic state. If any are indolent they will all pay a price. She may even at times hand over the reins for a brief respite, but inevitably resumes sovereignty.