Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Reformation Day!

So thankful that we were able to share our favorite city with our family.

P.S.  Today is my baptismal birthday and so is Laura's!  We are God's own children!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Things

It is the little things that have brought a smile to my face lately.

Like finally being able to find my keys, and those of other members of the family.

Or splitting the utensils into three jars instead of cramming them into one.

Or finding jars previously unused sitting and collecting dust, and giving them a new purpose.

Yes, never underestimate the little things.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pajama Art

Where do you keep your pajamas that you took off this morning to dress in clothes for the day's activities?

On a hook in the bathroom?

On a hook in the bedroom?

In a heap on the floor?

Under your pillow?

While in Reutte, Austria we stayed in this hostel.  Our five children shared one room which had six bunk-beds and was on the other end of the hostel from our room.  That may sound scary, but it wasn't.  We were some of the only guests in the place during our four day stay and it felt more like a grand adventure and we were guests in a castle surrounded by mountains.

Each day after we came back from our wanderings in the Alps and around the small towns, we would find that the wonderful, hospitable staff had made our beds.  What they did with the children's pajamas was such a fun, neat idea, which we all enjoyed.

Isn't that simply darling?  Much better than on a hook, or in a heap, or under a pillow.

Not that there's anything wrong with that (thanks Seinfeld).

Not that it has been repeated in this house. That would mean I would take over making their beds, and there is something wrong with that!

Simply darling none the less.  Not to mention a great memory.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Better Late than Never

I just finished reading the book, Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt.

For the first time.

I'm 41.

Why didn't I read this before?  It is an excellent overview of how people lived and thought and acted during the Civil War.  It is an excellent overview of how people think and act or react to things today.

If you've not read this, high tail it to your library and borrow it and begin right now.  As soon as I was finished (I read it in two days), I went to Paperback Swap and immediately ordered a copy for our home.  All of my kids will be required to read it and discuss it with me.

I wish someone would have encouraged me to read it earlier.  Oh well, I'm glad I have now even if I'm older than the intended reader of "young people."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pork and Poppins

Last year I found the recipe for this pork roast on this website.

I wrote on the recipe, "Excellent."  And that one word sums it up well.

So yummy,  so delicious, the whole family gobbles it up faster than you can say, "supercalifragilisticexpealidocious."

Want to know a secret?  It is easy - only 7 ingredients, including the pork roast - which I bet you have in your cupboard right this moment.  Things you use all the time, like salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar, or even garlic and oregano.

There, I gave you all the ingredients.  Enjoy!

What?  What's that you're saying?

Mmmmm,  yes, mmm-hmmmm, I see.  You do have a point.

Okay, I guess it might be helpful to give you quantities.  It might be useful to have it turn out the very first time.

Here it is.

Pork Shoulder Roast - from the above website with my notes added

1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds), fat on (I used a pork arm, bone-in)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons Kosher salt (I've used table salt before)
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper (I've used regular black pepper before)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I use olive)
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (I use balsamic)*

Place the pork, fat-side up, in a roasting pan covered with foil for easy clean-up** and using a sharp knife, score the surface of the meat with slits about an inch or two deep.

Mash the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper into a paste on a cutting board with the flat side of a knife; place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the oil and vinegar. (I just mix everything in my mixing cup, and use one of those garlic presses to smoosh the garlic cloves.)

Rub the garlic paste all over the pork, being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture - this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast the pork for 3 hours, covered.  Then heat the oven up to 400 degrees and uncover the roast and cook for another 30 minutes.  (Mine was ready to change the temperature after 2 and a half hours of cooking - so total time was 3 hours, not 3 and a half.)

*If, like me, you get interrupted while fixing supper, and forget to add the vinegar, don't worry.  I experimented was interrupted tonight and left out the vinegar and it still tasted delicious.  I didn't even know I had forgotten something till I typed the recipe.  I can't vouch for leaving out any of the other ingredients.  But if I try it, I'll let you know how that tastes, too.

Yes, I think you should make it.  Yes, I think you'll like it.  Yes, I want you to lie to me when you try it and you don't like it, because I want to be in denial that everything I cook people like. :-)

**It probably is a good idea to do this step.  I usually don't and my pan usually looks like this.

Don't yell, I'm practically perfect in every way.  And I do spray it with non-stick cooking spray first.  But even then, I have to let it soak for awhile before I decide to tackle it.

Just look at that baked-on, peppery, garlic paste mixed with roast juices all over the bottom and sides.

Would you want to come do my dishes?  I would cook for you.  We'd have a lovely Fall Dinner.

The menu would include Pork Roast, served with sautéd apples with red cabbage, and sautéd green beans with onions.

Sounds like a deal to me.  And then we can watch Mary Poppins.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First Born Fear

I did a research paper in college on birth order.  I remember finding it fascinating and rather enlightening as I analyzed my own behavior.  The last couple of days I was reminded of that as I realized how I live my life in fear.

I'm afraid of doing something wrong so I just don't do the yard work.

I'm afraid of messing something up so I just don't start the painting project.

But I'm not afraid to do the work of either the above.  I'm much happier to be a worker bee in those situations.  Tell me what to do, lead me in the project, and I'll be your best buddy working alongside you till the very end.  But I can't seem to take the initiative to start and do the project myself.

In many ways, fear rules this first born.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I was looking through the pictures that have been downloaded onto my computer by Hannah.  These two make me smile.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cleaning and Dreaming

As I was cleaning my house yesterday I began dreaming about "the house," that perfect  house in the imagination, where everything is just right.  Here are some things that would be in mine:

  • Hard wood floors and tile throughout with cozy rugs by the beds and in front of the couches.
  • A master bedroom with enough room for a love seat - perfect for putting on shoes in the morning, and reading or watching tv in the evening
  • A master bedroom with a master bathroom
  • Bathrooms where the toilet is not right next to the wall - it is so hard to clean that way!
  • A window filled laundry room/mud room with lots of hooks storage cubbies and a big laundry room sink.
  • The kitchen sink would be the old-fashioned farm sink - I just love those.
Yes, dreaming of "the house" is fun.  Because we all know that "the house" would have no problems, everything would always be in its place and there would be a place for everything.

And now I'll go clean up that spill.  And fold those clothes.  And put away those papers and games.  And start the dishes. And. . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

17 on 10-11-12

Hannah celebrated her 17th birthday last week.

Her requests:
Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls
Dinner: Steak, salad, and roasted cauliflower, shared with Grandpa and Grandma, Uncle Matt, Aunt Michele, and her cousins
Fruit Pizza instead of Cake

She loves tea and Tolkien.
In England at the pub where Tolkien and Lewis ate

She loves photography and pizza, especially fruit pizza.

She loves snow and strawberries.

She loves her Dad and her DSLR.

Her gifts:
From Siblings: the soundtracks to the Disney movies, Up and The Incredibles
From Dad and Mom: travel mugs for her tea, and Tolkien's "Tales From The Perilous Realm"
From Grandpa and Grandma: a beautiful tea cup - from England
From Mamaw: a beautiful teapot - from England

From our sweet baby to our sweet young lady.  From crawling to driving.  From staying close to Mom to traveling to England by herself.  From learning at home to going to college. What a joy she is to us and what a pleasure it has been to see her grow.  Happy birthday Hannah!