March 30, 2012

The Packing Begins...13 Days to Go

Besides all of our medical supplies, we're bringing hygiene packets to hand out to people as they come through our medical clinics.  I have begun to sort through bags of donations to put these packets together...each one contains a toothbrush, washcloth, a bar of soap, several bandaids, and a tube of antibiotic ointment.  All extraneous wrapping has to be removed and the baggies are pressed as flat as possible - since we're packing these as part of our luggage allowance, it's all about weight and volume.   You wouldn't believe the pile of plastic and paper garbage piling up.

Thirty down...only a few hundred to go!

March 29, 2012

Today's Why

Purple Rice Pudding with Spinach Whipped Cream

March 28, 2012

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Sometimes the accidental shots make me smile.  =)

March 27, 2012

Dried Plantains Now, Real Plantains in 16 Days

Yup, most of us live regular lives.  But this blog, you know, is all about learning to experience delight even in the ordinariness of everyday living.  We can't let life pass us by just because we don't live the exotic, exciting, monied, adventurous life.  By appreciating both the obvious and the hidden blessings in our regular lives, we can actually have joy on regular days.  Now that's rich.

Consider plantains.  They're found in most larger grocery stores around here. It's been fun to play around with them, trying to make them into authentic ethnic foods.  Partially successful.  But loads of fun with doses of laughter.


In 16 days, I'll get to eat the real stuff!  My world is turning upside down and I will truly enter the extraordinary.  Honduras is calling!  In just a few short weeks, my life will include refried beans, mangoes, tortillas, fried plantains, sweat, heat, beauty, filth, exhaustion, joy, and sickness.  Our small "medical brigade" (as we're called down there) will work hard to bring healing and hope to people in need.

And because sometimes (well, more than sometimes for most of us) we have to live vicariously through others, I promise to share my adventure with you.

If you were here, I'd share my newly discovered package of dried plantains!  And we could talk about packing.

March 26, 2012

Better Than a Gym

3 hours of gardening...planting a new strawberry up the herb garden in front...sweeping...hauling yard debris...

This is better than any gym membership, especially with the sun thrown in!

I hope to be walking again tomorrow.

March 23, 2012

And She Lived To Tell About It

Taxes. are. done.  
Now where's my ticket to Paris??

March 21, 2012

Flowers for Spring

It's officially spring, but here in the Northwest, it couldn't be any grayer.  Or wetter.  So as I walked into Trader Joe's today, I stopped in my tracks. Flowers!  Color!  Life!  Why wasn't everyone in the store  hovering in the flower section?

I grabbed my camera, but trust me, it was one fast picture from the hip because people started staring at me. Crazy people with carts and lists...I think the weather is making us all cuckoo!

March 20, 2012

Shamrock Run

Susannah just ran her first 15K - woohoo!  Unfortunately, I could not be there to see it, but witnesses say she was amazing, beautiful, athletic, cute, and still full of energy at the end.  A piece of cake!  I need her autograph.

 Pictures by Jim Omundson, her proud father.
Pictures posted by Aunt Nancy, prouder than ever to be genetically related.

March 19, 2012

A Taxing Job

They're unavoidable, and you can only put them off so long.

The paperwork starts here, at the dining room table.  I think this stage lasts about 13,496 hours, although I'm convinced that donuts could really bring about a marked increase in productivity and efficiency.

March 17, 2012

Leprechaun Mischief

Top o' the mornin' to ye, lads and lassies!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The leprechauns arrived again this year, and we found their telltale shamrock footprints in the house, all leading up to the refrigerator.  The milk is green.  Even the peanut butter is green.

Now where's that rainbow with the pot o' gold?!  And aren't there supposed to be chocolate gold coins somewhere??

March 15, 2012

Shamrock Teacup

This miniature teacup hails from my childhood collection.  It is now classified as an "antique", having been made in England's Sandford Fine Bone China Pottery factory.  The factory was based in a majestic Victorian building dating from 1866, operating there until closing in the 1960's.  Very little information is still available on the pieces or ceramic marks.

So while this was made in England, I think the shamrocks give me full permission to enjoy some Irish tea today!  All 2 teaspoons.  =)

March 14, 2012

Pi(e) Day

We interrupt this green week with a special announcement.  It's March 14th =  3.14 =  pi = Pie Day!  An official celebratory holiday involving dessert!

In case geometry was too long ago, may I remind you that:

                       A = πr2

Chocolate sour cream pie sounds delicious.  So does fresh lemon pie with an oatmeal and coconut crust. Who, my friends, can accommodate any of these needs?  =)

March 13, 2012

Looking for Green

We're days away from St. Patrick's Day, and I have been searching for green things.  Honestly, there's not much green inside our house.

It necessitated picking up a shamrock.  I think the polka dots did me in!

And this morning we were surprised by yet another soft layer of snow.  On March 13th - go figure! The hardy, green chives are holding strong.  (OK, they're outside, but I took the picture in my bathrobe with one foot in the door.  That almost counts as inside.)

The snow started to melt...but now it's snowing like crazy again.

March 12, 2012


I love the luxury of violets on work desk.  The color is good for the soul as winter continues to hang on!

March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Now how cute was she on her 9th birthday?  You should see her now!  An amazing woman, and I'm proud to call her Mom.  (Or when I want to bug her, Martha.)   =)

March 7, 2012

March 6, 2012

Crumpets Revisited

It's finally time to share my crumpet adventure!  Please tolerate the pictures, which have been iPhotoed a million times.  Someday when I'm famous, you can say you knew me back when my skills were just atrocious.  But stick with me, and try to imagine my crumpet creations.

King Arthur Crumpets
1-1/2 c. water
1 c. milke
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3-1/2 c. flour
2-1/2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. salt
Mix well on high speed x 2 mins.
Let rise 1 hr.

Very quickly, the dough will become bubbly and sticky.  

"Pouring" the dough is more of an idea.  Really, it's more of scooping and scraping it into the rings.

Cook on the first side for a couple of minutes on med-high heat.  Better to overcook than undercook.  The bubbles will start going crazy. The more the merrier.

Remove rings and flip.  This is where I learned the critical step of greasing those rings like mad. While the skillet above looks awfully pretty, those rings are too crowded.  There is not enough room to flip those crumpets.  (I'm good, but not that good!)

Cook a few more minutes.  If you're quick and talented, you'll capture those bubbles before they burst.  Apparently, that's the mark of a good crumpet maker.

Better to overcook than undercook.  Wait, I already said that.  (Guess which way mine turned out?)
Taste Test:
  *Lots of channels to soak up the butter.  
  *Fabulous with jam.
  *Worthy of being eaten on regular Saturdays!

P.S.  These are NOT English Muffins.  Don't even think of splitting them in half.

March 5, 2012

Nothing But a Mother's Love

It thrills a mother's heart to have a daughter who respects boundaries and desires more modesty than some modern clothes allow.  So I was happy to respond to a request to fix a low-cut dress.

Her father thought a turtleneck and matching shawl should be considered.

Now doesn't this look nice?  I toiled for hours. The added cloth in the neckline was nearly an identical match. My stitching was impeccable.   Perfection all the way around, indeed.  This might qualify me as a seamstress of sorts.

I guess I was a little too zealous.  My fix went up so high that she opted to borrow another dress for the event.  Ha!

March 2, 2012

Clothespins Cont'd

Well, thank you for the positive feedback on the clothespins!  My desire for color is shared by others!

I had to laugh, because I've since learned that they're pretty much all over the internet.  Who knew? But I think mine are the only waterproof ones out there, intended for actual outdoor use. I did my own Google search and discovered that this very website, the humble Chickens & Fine China, is listed on page 2, a mere 7 listings down.  Does that qualify me as being famous? =)

And yes, Aunt Jo, I am happy to fill an order for you.  I have decided I will accept payment:  a piece of your vanilla poundcake.

March 1, 2012

Good Morning

We were greeted by snowfall this morning!  Glory!