Sunday, November 22, 2015

time well spent

As we creep closer to the shortest days of the year, the time change effects linger as early risers crash,  sometimes even before a morsel of breakfast reaches their mouths. Afternoon naps for young girls still happen most days so that the pre-dinner hour does not turn into Meltdown City which has a surprising number of ways of manifesting itself. None are pleasant.

Soup is back on the menu as summer eating habits have been bid a gentle adieu, until we meet again.
Borrowing heavily from my friend Jacqueline's potluck soup offering last year, I made a delicious Sausage Vegetable soup a couple of weeks ago which will be made often. I have figured out that for many broth based soups, I start with a fat and sauteed aromatics such as onion, garlic, celery, carrots and thyme. If the meat needs to be cooked, I throw that in with the aromatics. If it just needs to be reheated, I throw it in later with the broth.
My fat choices varies with the soup. I buy picnic hams so I get a lot of ham fat to work with or chicken fat from roasting whole chickens or just their thighs or legs and later, bone broth from the bones or carcass in my crock pot anywhere from 12-24 hours depending on what else I have to get done. If I have no meat fat to work with, I use olive oil. Then I dump in any bone broth I have stored or I use bullion or ready-made bullion and add in a bay leaf along with any other vegetables I am adding to the soup. Sometimes before serving the soup, I use my immersion stick right in the soup pot to blend up a bit of the ingredients to give the soup a little heft. And I usually add in extra carrots and other veg that I can easily mash up for Kate's bowl.

Our lessons are going well, perhaps I can showcase some of their work in another post. We will be finishing up our fall sessions of soccer and swimming in the next few weeks.  I don't usually sign the kids up for anything again until March when most of the snow storms are over.

I have been shopping for Kate's birthday and Christmas already and am finished for the kids. I have some crafting for them I would like to do, which is tricky because we both live here and keep mostly the same hours. Right-o.
I try to enjoy the process and not worry about what I do not get done. Laura is my up and coming craft kid and enjoys making all sorts of things usually involving metric tons of any adhesive that will make her creations stick together. She has an eye for design that I sorely lack. I look forward to what she makes as she gets older even if we go broke buying tape, hot glue, staples and whatever else she uses.

If you're on Facebook, I have a page for this blog that I use to share links, photos, etc.

I'm also on Instagram under americanadiangirl. And I still loosely maintain my Tumblr blog, Whatever is Lovely.

And lastly, here are some new-to-us books I picked up this week. The Album of Horses replaces a copy we gave to one of our dear friends, a young horse enthusiast, earlier this year. And that copy of Rascal is a good reading copy to preserve our hardback from too much handling. I took a chance on the Big Red series, getting four of them without having even read one, but they were not very expensive and they fall into that vintage era of children's writing that we enjoy.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Book Borrower's Oath

There comes a time in most healthy friendships where the exchange of books begins to take place. This oath is designed to help facilitate that process and to encourage private librarians that they can safely lend their books and still keep their friends. With this in mind, I give you, The Book Borrower's Oath, to be administered as seen fit.

"I understand that I am borrowing this book from a good friend who would like me to enjoy this book, all the while, seeking to protect and this cherish this book from all foreseen and more importantly, unforeseen injuries or incidents. I do this because while I value the ability to borrow the book, I value the friendship above all.
I understand that while there may be no set return date, I should not place the book in some dark corner awaiting to-be-read or languishing on dusty shelves as someone else may be waiting to borrow the same book.
If I find that I am having trouble finishing the book in a timely manner (which should be considered almost exclusively from the lender's point of view so as not to presume upon the friendship or perhaps worse, lose book borrowing privileges in the future), I understand that it is better to return the book promptly with the hope to borrow it again if I am so inclined.
If the lender should have to request that perhaps I could return the book soon, I refuse to take offense and instead, shall return the book as soon as possible, accompanied by a box of chocolates or some other act of kindness that will promote the health of the friendship and further book related discussions
Above all, if I do not enjoy the book as much as was anticipated, I shall presume that the fault lies entirely with my own literary palate and that given time, the hollowed eyeglasses of maturity, I will attain wisdom and understanding into the virtues of said borrowed book.
This I do pledge with all sincerity and bookishness."

Monday, November 09, 2015

books run amuck

I have been hosting a Charlotte Mason Study Group for several of my local mama friends who are interested in homeschooling. At their request, I pulled some good books from our shelves to share with them. Pulling books from three levels of our home proved to be slightly overwhelming, so instead of just re-shelving them and attempting to recover with copious amounts of chocolate, I decided to take photos of their covers and share the stacks of books that we have been looking at together.
Please excuse the rather blah background; that would be our basement carpet which is clean, but dull. I also apologize for any light glare on the books. If you are unable to identify a book, please ask me. Any that are particularly difficult, I will note in the caption of the photo. Many of these books are written by authors who have several other wonderful titles. I pulled primarily picture books because the ages of the children from our mama's group are quite young. I would be glad to post more photos of good chapter books from our bookshelves.

Chapter books

'Tops & Bottoms', top row, 2nd from left with silver Caldecott award
'Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment'
'Apples', also 'Halloween with Morris and Boris' top row, 2nd from right.
'Thy Friend, Obadiah'
'Cars and Trucks and Things That Go' also 'Lad to the Rescue'

Sunday, November 08, 2015


This past week introduced November as a sun-loving, mild-bringing, comfort-spreading member of fall. And because this is not exactly November's reputation, we enjoyed it with relish and gusto. Leaves raked and bagged, bulbs unstored and planted, playground visited and romped. It won''t last was the byword given by everyone we encountered. So enjoy it we will, until the excitement of that first snow steals the show.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

a month of Sundays

I cannot keep up and it's alright.
The deluge of days and all that they contain keeps washing over me. But it is a sea of goodness as the time is spent caring for my family, hosting an earlier visit from my parents, serving with our church family, studying and reading good books with close friends, enjoying the seasonal changes and indulging in some Netflix when the exhaustion catches up with me. Our kids have several more sessions of gym and swim class and indoor soccer before we hibernate for winter.  Saying winter right now seems a lot like Basil Fawlty saying hotel inspectors. Both are very real and can fill one with dread at times. Winter does however, brings its own sweet pleasures, but there is no rush for them to be delivered just yet.