Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dirty Dishes

I have had to do dishes by hand the last couple of days as there is a problem with the dishwasher.  While doing this I've had these thoughts:

1. Remembering doing Laura's dishes while staying at her house a couple of weeks ago.

2. How lazy modern appliances make us.  "I hate dishes" or "I hate laundry" is often uttered from our lips, yet we have dishwashers and washing machines and dryers that make that task less burdensome.  Those I hate statements reflect most on our selfish, slothful desire to want to do what we want when we want.

3. I think that if one did dishes by hand after every meal, owning fewer dishes is a possibility.  The same ones would be put to service each meal.

4. I don't mind doing dishes but I really hate putting them away.

5. How come it seems like the dish work has taken less time doing them by hand than when the dishwasher is also put into use?  Is it because I just wash till they're done instead of juggling who is supposed to load and what will fit and what still needs to be washed?

6.  Do I really save time or water or energy with a dishwasher?

7. Would I want to give it up if mine is broken?

I know the answer to the last one - no.  I do like the dishwasher.  Such life-shattering thoughts while soaping the dirty dishes, aren't you glad I shared them?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Things - Friends' Posts

My friend Jane started to post happy things to her blog as a reminder of the good and happy things she has surrounding her.

My friends Elephant Child and Susan thought it was a grand idea and followed suit.

Whether or not I decide to do the same thing I do not know.  But I wanted them to know that it makes me happy every time I read one of their posts.  That makes for a lot of happy days and reminders to me of what I have that is similar surrounding me in my own life and home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Doner Kebobs - First Attempt

Ever since I posted this picture

and stated I was craving the delicious doner kebobs we ate all throughout Germany, I could not stop thinking about them.

I googled recipes and read many different ones.  I watched various youtube videos of people showing how they make them.  I thought and thought and thought about how I could make this yummy meal.  I feared failure but finally decided to throw caution to the wind and try.

I knew I did not have the resources to make it on a spit, nor the finances to try it with lamb, but decided to try to get as close as possible to the taste I remember.  After reading several different recipes I settled on this one and this one and proceeded.

First I bought a three pound roast and sliced it as thinly as I could.  I  cut the thin slices into strips and then placed into a 9x13 pan.

I mixed together:
2 onions which I chopped into a fine pulp in a food processor and drained out the liquid
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 Tbsp salt
1 heaping Tbsp oregano
Pinch of whole rosemary that I crushed with my fingers
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp cumin

I poured this over the meat, covered and refrigerated it overnight.

Late the next afternoon I made tzaztiki sauce.  My sister-in-law, Michele, sells Wildtree and this is a product we decided to try together.  I followed the directions on the jar using Greek yogurt, grating 1/2 a cucumber, and mixing all with 1Tbsp of the Wildtree tzaztiki seasoning blend.  It should refrigerate for at least an hour.

That evening, David grilled the slices on the Kamado Joe.

While he was grilling, I made a salad of red cabbage, shredded carrots, cucumber slices, and chopped tomatoes.  Instead of eating it on pita bread, we simply put it on our plates, topped with the tzatziki sauce and ate.

It was so yummy!  The taste was just right.  The meat was a little tough like I expected and a better cut of beef would be tastier.  But I got the seasoning right and that made me happy.  I will keep experimenting with types of meat, and I am still thinking and contemplating how I can make it more authentic, aka, on a spit.

It might not be exactly like we had all throughout Germany, but it was close.  A good first attempt, one worth trying again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

20 and 50

This summer marked two anniversaries, just 11 days apart.  My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and eleven days later, it was the 50th anniversary of my in-law's wedding.  All the  brothers and sisters and children gathered in our town to help Grandpa through a bittersweet day.

First we all gathered together that morning for Sunday's service.  These were the flowers that David and I put on the altar for these special occasions.  The flowers at my wedding were daisies while my mother-in-law had giant mums.  I think the bouquets turned out beautifully.

After church everyone came to our house.  Last year David and I rearranged our basement to make better use of the couch and chair we inherited from his brother.  When we finished, we thought it would make a great space for people to gather and enjoy watching a movie together or sleep-overs, or games.  As you can see, some of the cousins put it to the test.

Both these pictures give me a big smile and make me happy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Middle-Aged Mind

I still cannot figure out why I have such trouble posting to my blog anymore.

I had once thought that it was because I did not have anything to post.  But that is not entirely true.  I have an 18th birthday tea party I could write about, or the day I spent with many homeschooling friends, or the progress on our schooling.

I had once thought that it was because I did not have my pictures downloaded to share.  That is a problem, but I have not taken that many pictures lately that I could even download.

I had once thought it was because I am trying to focus more on the youngest three and their studies.  That is true to a point.  We are far enough along in our year that they are working more independently, and asking me questions as needed.  I have time I could be writing while they are working, like right now.  One is practicing piano, while two are working on math next to me, while I type.  I answer questions as they ask.

So what is it?  What is keeping me from posting on a regular basis?

I think it is middle-aged mind.  My brain anymore cannot switch from one thing to another or multi-task like it once did.  I am going to have to make more lists for myself to keep on task, adding "blog" on a bit more regular basis.  And I probably should include a space for "blogpost ideas" so when it is time to blog, my mind does not draw a blank.  Maybe that will help this brain to think clearly for awhile longer. Then again, it might not.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Books and a Backbone

Some parents I know have established the rule that their child does not have permission to watch the movie until the book is read.  We never had that sort of parental backbone.  Our children were watching Lord of the Rings movies from the time the oldest was 9 and our youngest was 2.

To be fair to our parental strength, our children did know the story.  We had listened to an abridged audio version traveling around in our Odyssey.  David and I knew the stories as we had read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first time when the first movie was released.

As for Harry Potter and all of its movies, we watched them as a family after I read the book out loud.  This was over the course of a year, starting in July 2006, and again mostly while traveling around in our Odyssey.  I would read a book and then we would borrow the movie from the library.  We caught up to the current movie, The Deathly Hallows and saw it in the theater much to the delight of all.  We finished the sixth book right at the time the seventh and final book was released.  By then we were waiting with all the other obsessed fans for the next movie to be released.  Once again, to the delight of all we watched them in the theater.  Now that I've written all this I guess we have a stronger backbone than I originally thought.

But I should not pat myself on the back to soon or it will break.  Those youngest kids, who were not reading on their own yet, continued to watch the movies, both Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter over and over and over again.  Sure, they still listened to the audio books at bedtime, but none of them decided to actually pick up the book themselves and devour the words for themselves.

My back finally broke late this summer when I was tired of the constant question, "Can we watch something?" Not to mention the ensuing arguments when one or another did not like the choice a sibling offered.

"No more Harry Potter movies until you have read the books," I declared.  Stunned looks and squeals of "not fair" followed my proclamation.  No amount of puppy-dog eyes, or pie-crust promises would work this time to change mom's mind.  By this point, all that did was to increase my stubbornness to continue down the path I'd entered in frustration.

"But those are so long, it will take FOREVER to read them," uttered my youngest.  Still, I did not relent.  "Well then, it will be forever till you watch another Harry Potter movie," was my heartless reply.

We have well-worn copies of each book on the shelf.  They were immediately taken by Abby and Sam.  They sat and read, first complaining, but then as the days progressed, telling me more about the story.  Then when the first book was done I was scared.  I was afraid that would be it, no more interest in reading and they would just try to out-wait my decree.

But it didn't.  Instead what I have been hoping would happen for years finally arrived.  They became so interested in the story, I would find them at every possible moment reading the next book.  I finally heard them tell me, "But mom I'm reading,"  and I have had to tell them, "Put the book down and do your work."  These statements have been pure joy to me, as it has been long in coming.

Sam has surprised me the most.  He has just been devouring them, one right after the other.  He finished the third book on a Tuesday.  Library day is generally Thursday.  He kept asking if we could go earlier so he could get the next book as our only other copy was being read by his sister Abby.  I finally gave in and told him I could pick it up on Wednesday at a different library that I would drive by after an appointment.  He was delighted.  I couldn't believe he wasn't able to wait even one day to start the next book.

Each time we are at the thrift stores, all the kids scour the shelves for books to buy for their own collection.  Each are obtaining their own copies of Harry Potter as well as Narnia, and books by Rick Riordan, and of course The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Readers, that is what David and I are.  We are constantly reading something, books, magazines, articles.  Hannah and Ellie followed suit shortly after learning to read around age 6.  Nose glued to a book, that is how we are.  But Nathan, Abby, and Sam?  I worried.  For a long time I worried they wouldn't be readers.  Even though many other homeschool moms had told me not to; had shared their own stories of how their own offspring finally decided reading is inviting at later ages than "normal."  But I was scared and worried.

They were right, I needn't have worried.  These three are reading for pleasure, are reading for assigned school work, their noses glued to a book.  Our parental backbone is still in place, aching and creaking for sure, but still there.  They have learned that movies are good and fun and enjoyable, but the books give so much more.