Abode {W}

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is my father's birthday. According to family legend, he was actually born on April 1st. My grandmother, not wanting an April fool's baby, paid the doctor fifty dollars to change the time and date of his birth. His birth certificate lists his time and date of birth as being 11 something p.m. on March 31st. My very truthful mother says this story is true, and so do my uncles. I think it is pretty funny, and it certainly sounds like something my grandmother would have done. Last year on my father's birthday I was a mess. I cried most of the day, and the ache of missing him was strong. This year, while I still miss him sorely and still feel a pang of sorrow that he is not here to celebrate, I am not a mess. One of my sisters and I visited his grave, took him flowers and told him happy birthday. I have been able to think of him with out weeping, and I have not cried once today. I beat my son Robert at cribbage (my father's favorite game, he made sure all four of us could play) in my dad's honor, and I said a prayer of thanksgiving for having been given such a wonderful father!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

kitchen notes

I found live basil plants at WinCo on Monday. I bought two, and put the in mason jars with water on my kitchen ledge. They are supposed to keep producing lots of nice basil for me to use, but I doubt they will last that long. So, last night I made pesto. I spread the pesto (the leaves were thin, and one bunch made only a tiny amount of pesto) on top of polenta, topped that with fresh mozzarella, and then topped the whole thing with tomato sauce that I made with extra garlic. I baked it for 30 minutes at 450, and it was sooooo good! I also made asparagus sauteed in browned butter,balsamic vinegar, and a splash of soy sauce. For dessert we had a Piedmontese Hazelnut Cake. Good stuff! I know some people hate cooking (which I totally get) but for me, it is like an art. I love creating delicious food, mixing flavors and textures the way an artist mixes colors. I love to see my family enjoying a meal I have made, and I like the fact that my kitchen is almost constantly in use. I still enjoy eating out, (we have a great Asian restaurant named Super Pho here, and I love that place!) but I enjoy cooking even more!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

egg cups

I bought these adorable egg cups at World Market a few weeks ago. They were only a dollar each, and I love the colors and patterns on them. This afternoon I realized that I am actually not likely to ever use them to eat my egg out of because I hate boiled eggs. So, they have become Cadbury mini-egg cups, and in this manner I will use them every day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

another blog!

I started another blog! This new blog is my farm blog, detailing what is going on around the farm. I have always wanted to have a record of what is going on around the farm, and so I took the plunge. The new blog is fordycefarmwife.blogspot.com Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

this and that, with pictures

  1. I used to have a Holly Hobbie nightgown (being a child of the 70's) that had a rainbow on it and the saying "After the rain, the rainbow." We are seeing a lot of that this time of year-sunshine, then a down pour, and then gorgeous rainbows. I took the first picture this afternoon after a hail/rain/thunder shower. One consolation for all of the rain!
  2. Stuart demonstrating his "I know I am in trouble but maybe if I look cute they will ignore it" look. This is a look we have been seeing a lot recently. This afternoon he climbed up on a dresser and emptied the top drawer on to the floor. I happened to have my camera close when the farmer discovered the mess, and knew the look was coming!
  3. Estelle modeling the fairy outfit her Uncle Craig and Aunt Lisa just gave her. I was blessed to marry in to an awesome family. My family, while getting along well, was not very close (my extended family, that is), and I always regretted that. The farmer's family is very involved, and my children's aunts and uncles come and see their plays, take them to movies, come and hang out with them, take them fun places, and are very much a part of their lives. I love it!
  4. Daffodils brought home by my sons! Spring is really coming, and I LOVE having fresh flowers in the house again. 
  5. I am leaving tomorrow to spend three days with my sister in Washington. I am grateful to the farmer for letting me get away, and really looking forward to a few days of just hanging out with my sisters! That is all until I get home and unpacked!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lane cake

Lane cake. Made by the farmer, who also happens to love to bake. I love to cook, he does the fancy desserts, so between the two of us, we can make a pretty good meal! This is three layers of white cake with a raspberry/pecan/coconut filling and a marshmallow frosting. Pure eating pleasure!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This picture was supposed to be part of the last post! This is my Fisher Price record player which makes me happy when skies are grey! I lost my connection while the last post was loading, and so it came out all wrong!

Happy in spite of the weather

I've got my Fisher Price record player and my Cadbury mini eggs, and so no matter how rainy it is, I am happy! Let the march winds howl and blow, let the rain lash against my windows. I am good!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Little House love

I have been reading through the Little House books with Evangeline and Estelle. I remember reading these books as a child, but they were never my favorite books. I only read them once, and really remember very little about them. I did not read them to my older children. However, this time around, I LOVE these books! The things they went through, the hardships they faced, and the fact that they witnessed so much of our nation's history make them a really good read aloud. I typically loathe books that are "inspirational". The characters can be so insipid, and flat. You know, the books that have a moral message and so every conversation and event serves to further drive home that moral point-can we say "contrived?" That said, these books are totally inspirational! The Ingalls family is so kind to each other, and willing to serve each other, and willing to work to make things happen. They are content with what they have, even if it is very little. We are reading Along the Shores of Silver Lake right now, and the family has just been told about a college for blind people in Iowa. They know it will be expensive, but really want for Mary to be able to go. Laura resolves to become a school teacher, and a good one, so she can help earn money to send Mary to college. The girls are content to receive simple gifts for Christmas, and spend many hours making gifts for each other. Totally inspiring, and yet you get a good sense for their real characters as well. They are all likable, yet not perfect. I am sure fault could be found with the books, for example, Ma hates Indians and will not be swayed from her opinion. But that was an honest part of our nations history, and so it has made a great springboard for discussions whenever we read about her dislike. The days have been rainy and grey here, and so we are reading by candle light, which seems like the best way to read these books. We have also made a few recipes mentioned in the book, and the girls have loved that! We still have Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and Farmer Boy to finish, and then we will be looking for another series to go through!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stuart, Sally, and chocolate hazelnut buns

My little sister turned forty on Friday. The family met at my sister Jenny's new house for a party. My sister Sarah came from Washington, so the four of us were all together. Honestly, my sisters are my best friends (next to the farmer) and I am so grateful for them. We all get along really well, and I am also grateful that my parents insisted that we were kind to each other when we were growing up. Family gatherings are always tinged with sadness because I really feel the absence of my father. He loved just being together and playing games. The picture of Stuart is just because I find his little feet so adorable! He loves the old Popeye cartoons, and although he does not talk much, he does know how to say Popeye. He comes up to us and says "I Popeye?" over and over again until we put the disc in for him. The third picture is my new creation, chocolate hazelnut buns made from challah dough. I have been making challah bread all winter (from the book Artisan Bread in Just Five Minutes a Day) and I got the idea to roll out little balls of dough, flatten them, spread them with melted butter, and then chopped hazelnuts and chocolate. I then tucked the sides around the filling and put each one seam side down in my baking dish. I let it rest for 20 minutes, brushed the tops with an egg wash, and then baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Pure breakfast delight. They were an excellent go together with my morning latte!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent, day two

So! Today is the second day of Lent, and the first Friday during Lent. During Lent, Friday is a day set aside for penance, abstinence, and fasting. No eating between meals, no sweets or goodies, no meat. And, wouldn't you know it, yesterday I made a cake. Not just any cake, but the best apple cake I have ever eaten, and I love apple cake! This cake has one pound of butter, eight eggs, a pound of sugar, corn meal, almond flour, and two tablespoons of vanilla in it. It is quite simply, the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. It sits on my ledge, surely knowing how badly I want to eat a piece with my afternoon latte. It probably even hears my inner dialogue, in which I try to justify eating just one tiny little bit. After all, today is my sister's birthday, a day for celebration, and surely that includes cake eaten whenever! You would think that this giving up something I don't really need would be easy, especially in light of the gifts and graces I have been given.  But is is not easy, and I am weak. I am used to giving myself what I want, even if I do not need it. This is one of the blessings of Lent. I am given a chance, if I will but take it, to grow in holiness, to gain greater mastery over myself, to lose a bit of my selfishness. And, that is the heart of the matter for me. So often times, I do not want to grow in holiness, gain self mastery, or grow less selfish. I just want the cake! Or the shoes, or the book, or the candy, and so the list goes. This is what has been revealed to me in my battle with apple cake temptation, and perhaps this shall be my Lenten prayer: That I would desire to gain holiness above all things, even darned good apple cake! By the way, the recipe is at thewednesdaychef.com which is one of my very favorite cooking blogs.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

glitter boy

In which Stuart discovers that glitter looks pretty but does not taste pretty! And, yes, I am still trying to clean up the glitter, from him, myself, the table, and the floor. Happy Saturday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I cried today

Graham and Ella, dressed up for Roman day at the school they attend part time. This morning, I went to the school to wash dishes for our fundraiser on Saturday. While I was there, one of the mothers started talking to me about Graham and Ella's accident. She knows the lady who witnessed the accident. This lady told her that their truck was skidding across the road on its top. the truck was heading  towards the telephone pole, and she knew they were going to hit the pole head on. She thought they would smash into it and knew that no one was likely to survive a crash like that. But, as she watched, she said at the last split second before they hit, the truck slid a little to the side and they missed hitting the pole head on, just knicking it with the front bumper. She told my friend "I am not a religious person, but after watching that truck turn at just the last moment, I know some one was looking out for them." When she told me that, I started to cry. I am so grateful that they were spared, so grateful to have these two beautiful children to scramble around finding costumes for, even if it is at a moments notice. I knew how serious the accident could have been, but I didn't know what a near miss it was. I have spent the rest of the day feeling very emotional, which is unusual for me. I almost cried when my nephew won his basketball game, I saw a man who looked like my dad and THAT made me cry. I am eating a hazelnut biscotti and having one last cup of coffee, and that should make me feel better!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Random, unconnected thoughts and pictures

For some reason, I seem to be better at writing random, unconnected thoughts right now. I think I have just been too busy to really sit down and type up a lengthy, meaningful post. So! Just so I don't forget my blog, I will at least post more random unconnected thoughts and pictures to match. The first picture is of my attempt to create a little ambiance in my house. It has been grey, windy, rainy, and cold here this last week. The girls and I have been reading through  the Little House books, and so we have also been doing our school work by candle light. It has not only been a fun way to read the books, but it really helps dispel some of the gloom. The second picture is little Stuart wearing the farmers boots. Watching Stuart walk in those boots brings me no end of amusement. He swings his legs way out and kind of shuffles forwards. And, last but not least, the train table a friend gave me. She called and asked if I wanted a train table, and since Stuart spends hours a day playing with his Thomas trains, I said yes. I am usually picking my way around elaborate train lay-outs that snake their around my house, and so to have them up off the floor sounded good. I was picturing a cute little table that would fit neatly in to a corner somewhere. However, the table is huge. It has six storage baskets underneath it, and it takes up a lot of room in my living room. I like it, Stuart likes it, but it is huge. It will be hard to clean around (and under) and it is right near my entrance hall-like the first thing you see when you walk in the door. I don't know how ling this will last, and I fully expect the farmer to put his foot down and insist the thing me moved out. This is one of those (very) few times I wish we had a larger house. 95% of the time, I am perfectly happy with my "fits us just right" medium sized house. It really feels like home, and it is not too difficult to keep clean. However, I would love, love, love a play room/school room/craft room. If you know of anyone in the market for a cute, huge train table, I may be able to help. We will see how this works out for another week or so. Thus ends another series of random, unconnected thoughts with pictures to boot!