Friday, April 30, 2010

Glad Tidings!

We were all watching for our friendly neighborhood mailman's truck to drive up.We have been expecting some big news to come in the mail but didn't know if it would be good or bad.

Actually, Tori got the call this week that she has been accepted into the NET program that she interviewed for a few week-ends ago.She was awaiting the contract to sign in the mail.
Meg was expecting a letter from the local Community College's Nursing program. Last year, her letter held bad news. Today, she slipped into a bedroom to open it so we wouldn't have to witness a disappointment.

By God's Grace and her fully qualified resume, SHE GOT IN which is her heart's desire.Tori received her contract today for her big adventure.It's been a week of great news!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Great Day for Drying

I was able to get a good start on my day, Wednesday, by putting a load of laundry in on Tuesday evening.  Before beginning the schoolwork, I ran out to hang a load and put a second load on to wash.That load I had hanging by 10 am with the sun just starting to come over the roof of the house.
I could tell it was going to be a great day for drying because of the strong breeze blowing and the sun shining. It was so perfect, in fact, that I couldn't help myself. I went into Meg's room to find more laundry to do! The clothesline now had three loads of dark clothes on it including eight pairs of sleeping pants, sweatshirts, jeans, jods,shirts and a towel or two.
I absolutely love my clothesline. The first house that Larry and I bought had a nice full length one along one edge of the yard. On that one you could hang almost a full load along one string. Each item had full sun until the next load was hung.We installed this umbrella type at our next house in the city and at this house in the country. The purchase price of 70 dollars or so has been made back countless times from the money saved on our electric bill from not using the dryer.On some days, the only time I get outside is hanging and folding the clothes, where honestly, I do some of my best thinking. The repetitive physical work of dealing with laundry in this way leads to a meditative state.
There are MANY subdivisions that have restrictions against clotheslines which I do not understand. To me there is nothing offensive about clothes hanging out to dry.What is it that offends? When I am driving along I get a kick out of seeing other peoples' lines. It looks both ordered and  industrious. It can almost be an art form.With all this talk about being "green " and recycling, a clothesline makes sense. It costs a LOT to dry one pair of jeans in the dryer, much less enough for a whole family for a whole week. I actually hang clothes indoors in the basement all winter long while the wood stove is burning but even in winter,there are many days that the clothes can be hung outdoors..
Occasionally, the day does get cloudy and threatens rain. In that case, I go out and quickly get my laundry in. If it needs to be finished in the dryer, so be it. My labor and the elements have definitely reduced the time that it will take to dry them. If I am not at home and they get soaked, oh well. Eventually, the sun will shine again and they will dry! 
Many times I ask one of the girls to bring in the laundry while I cook dinner.Most of the time, we fold each piece as it is taken down and put it into the hamper. Oftentimes, I will fold all the items from one family member by going around the line and create a whole pile of their stuff which is easy to separate when I step in.

This time, Natalie and her little side-kick agreed to bring it in unfolded in hampers and Tori folded it in the laundry room.
I personally recommend a clothesline to anyone who doesn't have one. It is efficient, economical, and good for the environment. Additionally, it allows me to express myself (yeah, I need to get a life!) and think deep thoughts. It actually makes laundry fun and a pleasure to do.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baby Shower Prep

Tonight we did some arts and crafts to prepare the favors and decorations for a baby shower that I and a friend are hosting for two young mothers-to-be. Both of the ladies are friends and are both expecting baby boys two days apart from each other.
 We bought two yards of this shiny blue fabric that was on sale. Seven Kisses were put onto squares of it and then tied up with ribbon. These are the favors for coming to the shower.
Next, I covered two straw wreaths with this same fabric.It was easier to fasten the cloth on by sewing intermittent stitches than by any other method.
After covering with the blue fabric, newborn diapers were wrapped around the wreath and tied at the top using curling ribbon.This is a two person job.
I then added decorative boyish ribbon around to decorate the wreath and added 12 little blue "pacifiers".

Each pacifier is tied on separately on this wreath.This clever idea came from Cindi who made one of these for Meg's shower. It serves as a decoration at the baby shower and then the new Mom can decorate her nursery with it or take it apart to use the diapers.
While I shopped for the decoration and favor supplies, I picked up their gifts. I went practical buying nursing pads ( because they may not think of something like this), diaper bag wipes and some better quality washcloths.My gifts are somewhat modest because I am also bringing the punch , a fruit platter, a vegetable tray with dip and the plastic cutlery. It is my pleasure to be one of the hostesses for this Sunday afternoon get-together of women friends to help celebrate the nearing arrivals of two little boys. A baby shower is a Pro-Life statement. It is a privilege to spend my time, treasure and talent (albeit limited!) in planning and preparing for this one!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

It was looking like another dull Saturday night around here until about 7 p.m. when Jeff called to say that he was making the 2 hour drive  to play some Canasta! Now we were all ready to party! I headed to our locally owned convenience store to pick up some Doritoes and Diet Coke. While I was there, I bought two pounds of homemade sausage and planned to cook a nice breakfast in the morning.
I used a box mix to make biscuits. Although I've been cooking for many years, biscuits intimidate me.This mix was still labor intensive in that butter had to be "worked "into it. In the future, I'll just use a recipe and some flour, baking soda and probably less salt than the mix had in it.
I browned the ground sausage and drained it over a bowl. Into the skillet I added back about 2-3 Tablespoons of the grease and a third to a half cup of flour. This I heated while mixing with a spatula until it darkened into what is called a "roux". This thick roux makes it possible to add a lot of milk which then thickens smoothly without lumps.

The cooked , drained sausage, pepper, and salt (to taste) were added to the milky gravy and heated to the consistency that I desired. I wanted to make enough to go around and added milk which continued to thicken in just a few minutes.
By then it was getting kinda busy for me and Tori helped to bake the biscuits to a golden brown without letting them get dry.
Sausage Gravy can be served over an opened biscuit or over the top of  a thinner biscuit. This was very tasty! The sausage, which I had purchased because it was locally made, had a delicate flavor and wasn't heavy.
We all enjoyed it, especially Jeff ,who gets very little homemade food and is very appreciative of it.
Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Last Few Days

In the last few days before Jon leaves for Boot Camp and AIT , he , Meg and I have looked at three different reception venues for their nuptials ( fancy, eh!) in October.This fire hall was very large, spacious and clean. It's drawback was that all china, food, decorating etc. would have to be arranged for separately.
This near-by hotel banquet room was very nice but the dance floor is small. We would also have to cater this and change the date they had reserved at the church.
The two of them then investigated this third place. It has a huge dance floor, is super spacious and the room is free if one has approximately 150 guests.No problem, there. The meal is prepared by them at a very reasonable price and china, linens and clean up is all included.The best part is that it was only available for one more date in the months of Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec.That just happened to be the date that they had arranged with our parish priest! They booked it!
They wanted to get the little guy out in the pretty weather and invited the kids and I to join them at the park.

It is wonderful to have a date firmed up both at the church and at a reception hall. Jon is spending as much time as he can with Meg and Grant before he leaves for more than 4 months on Monday morning.We will miss him.
We will also be feeling his pain as we know that he will be missing in addition to his fiancee, his little son. He has spent time with him almost every day since he was born.
Jon has become more and more a member of the family.We appreciate all the sacrifices that he is about to make in the service of our country and to better prepare for a successful future. This is a guy that you want to be on your side in a fight so the Armed Services will lucky to have him! Best of luck to you, Jon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gone Fishing

When Sam announced that he was going fishing, I was surprised because I didn't know that we had such a spot near-by.He wanted to take Miss J. so I had the choice to keep her home or go along. I chose the latter and enjoyed a lovely time outdoors.

The kids prepared everything themselves as they were originally planning to go without me. Night crawlers abounded in April's manure pile.

They grabbed two full sized poles and the toy sized one that Miss J. has been storing in her room for more than a year.

They led me along the trail and down the steep hill that they used for sledding.

Sam put the worm on for himself and his sister.

I had thought to bring a plastic chair so that I could relax and just watch them which I proceeded to do!


Then the fishing began. I got such a kick out of the fact that for the boys it was actually about catching fish.They were VERY disappointed that there didn't seem to be any fish in this small pond.

That was the least of my concerns. It was very pretty spring weather and I was having so much fun just enjoying the natural beauty around us and the novelty of a real "fishing trip."

It was a first for us and the spontaneity of it all added to my fun.Unfortunately, the fishing lines of the boys got tangled up.One boy thought that the other had done it on purpose and our peaceful time in this idyllic spot came to a screeching halt.

So we packed it all up and walked home on the trail.

And By God's Grace, didn't let that spoil the rest of our day.