November 30, 2012

A Different Love Language

When Sir Bradley left this morning, he made sure there was enough wood easily accessible for me on the back porch.  He wanted to make sure it was an easy, warm day for me inside.

I admit that there are (rare) occasions when I would prefer a different love language, something that includes love notes, flowers, and maybe even perhaps a little something from Tiffany's (ha!).  But there are women all over the world who would kill for a man as thoughtful as this.  

They'll have to look elsewhere.  This one's taken.  =)

November 29, 2012

Candle Bobeches

Bobeche (boh-besh), noun:  a slightly cupped ring placed over the socket of a candleholder to catch the drippings of a candle.

These little evergreen bobeches are made of greenery, pine cones, and floral wire.  They will never grace the cover of a magazine, but I kinda like my own country version.  =)  



November 28, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Pie

Homemade chocolate pie.  Made from fresh eggs, cream, and the darkest, blackest cocoa available. Holy cow, it's hard to beat.

I admit the the crust was a bit, shall we say, sturdy.  But other than that, this was a 10!  If only there was some left in the fridge for breakfast.

9" pie crust, baked
(You're on your own!  I have yet to conquer pie crusts.)

Chocolate Pie Filling
1¼ c. sugar
½ c. dark cocoa
¼ c. cornstarch
¼ tsp sea salt
3 c. milk (half and half or cream)
3 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.  Slowly add milk.  Over medium heat and stirring constantly, bring to a boil x 1 min.  Turn off heat. Have egg yolks ready in separate measuring cup.  Carefully pour a thin stream of the boiling pudding into the eggs, stirring like mad so they don't instantly cook into hard boiled eggs!  Stop when you get to about ¼ c.  Turn heat back on, and stirring continuously, pour the egg mixture back into the full pan of pudding.  Return the mixture to a boil and cook another 2 mins.
Remove pan from stove.  Add butter and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated.
Pour mixture into pie crust.
Serve cold with fresh whipping cream.
Thank your lucky stars.

November 27, 2012

More Jar Lights

Candlelight is just so cheering - especially outside!  All it takes is a few more canning jars and tea candles.  I left out the epsom salts, as the rains are coming back. =)

November 26, 2012

Canning Jar Advent Candles

In a rare act of early holiday preparation, I decided it was time to get the advent candles ready.

This is an easy and fun project and it is most satisfying if you can make do with things around the house.  It feels right to keep the holiday a humble, yet beautiful, celebration. I did spend a few dollars on epsom salts but there is enough to use for more candles to give away and still plenty for next year. Supplies: wooden container or tray, 5 canning jars, ribbon, tea candles, epsom salts.

Tie jars with whatever ribbon you have.  I used red, but blue, silver, or gold would be just as gorgeous. Bows, rather than knots, would work well with thinner ribbon.
















Line them up.  I alternated the direction of the bows so everyone sitting at the table can enjoy seeing the "front".

The best part by far is adding the "snow"!  I had the brilliant idea of taking an action shot of the salts with one hand while pouring them into the container with the other.  Not one of my prouder moments!

Remove the little silver shell around the tea candles, and bury the candles in the salt so they are flush with the surface.  Add a variety of greenery, whatever you can cut in the yard.  I found some pine, hemlock, holly, and a few pinecones.

Advent officially starts next Sunday.

Traditionally, a candle is lit on December Sundays leading up to Christmas, and words are shared each week on the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love.  By Christmas all are lit, including the fifth candle celebrating the birth of the Christ Child.

November 21, 2012

Nine O'Clock

9 pm.  It's when I arrived home from work last night.  Late nights have been my way of life for months now, and this usual part-timer is ready to buy my ticket today.  Anywhere will do.  I think white sand and warm water could do wonders for me.

I have no plans for Thanksgiving food, baking, holiday arrangements, or even what we're eating for dinner tonight.

The kids are arriving soon and we'll be together, and really, nothing else matters.  =)

November 19, 2012

Fall Beauty

The sun popped out and the gorgeous red leaves on the Bloodgood Japanese Maple turned absolutely brilliant!  Holy cow, it took my breath away.


November 15, 2012

Sunrise

Sunrise is a concept more frequently envisioned in my head than seen with my eyes.  I daresay you'll find little on this blog about mornings!  But today was a real treat.  Love the fog.

November 14, 2012

Vacuums and Clean Carpets

The stinky, old, heavy, blue beast is finally being laid to rest.  It's time.

I'm thrilled to report we found a new vacuum that weighs practically nothing, doesn't spew dust, and sucks an embarrassing amount of dirt from what I thought were clean floors and carpets. The multiple font graphics could be better, but I try to turn a blind eye knowing that it is an acceptable trade-off for the very reasonable price.  =)

Sometimes now I vacuum for fun.

Truly, I need to get out more.


November 12, 2012

Frozen Scones!

I heard from a very reliable source that scones can be frozen and then baked without thawing. Even so, it was for me hard to justify a risky experiment like this, as baked goods of this caliber should never be wasted.

But in they went to the freezer late last night.


And clearly, defrosting never got checked off my summer list.


The baking results?  Beautiful!  And honestly, I think they're better done this way.   I'd wager a guess that it's the frozen pieces of butter that makes for a softer and more delicate crumb.

November 9, 2012

Beauty in an Improper Disease

Proper is the most descriptive adjective I can use.

Around retirement age, she is the epitome of everything perfectly proper.  Proper walk, proper clothing, proper speech,  proper mannerisms.  Addressing her by a nickname would be completely unacceptable.

But ALS is a very disrespectful and improper disease.  As we walked down the hall, I was quick to observe the changes.  It took her a bit more time and effort to maintain her balance and move her feet.  Her hands were becoming more paralyzed, no longer following her exact commands. Her weight was unchanged, but her figure showed the familiar drift, with the middle parts loosening up and sagging.

A feeding tube occupied one section of her belly and I set to work, knowing that the temporary pain I was causing would bring comfort and relief later on.  She tried to share her concerns but even my ears, acutely attuned to the slurring of ALS, couldn't make out a singe word.  All I could hear was a string of vowel sounds.  It's hard to be proper when you have no consonants.

I smiled at her husband, knowing that she probably would have chosen a different coat for him that didn't hang down so casually when unzipped.  But coat or no coat, I soon learned what a prince he was.

He winced when she winced, and he encouraged her with kind words.  He was her interpreter.  He went through a list of her needs and kept track of paperwork.  And when it was over, he wrapped his arms around her and gently adjusted her clothing in preparation to leave.  It was difficult to watch the ravages of the disease; it was not pretty, and she was not pretty.  I hoped for her sake the mirrors in her house had been removed.

And then in those moments when I saw them look at each other, time stood still.  He saw ugliness, but out of his deep and abiding love for her,  his eyes reflected only beauty.  He was her perfect mirror.

What a gift.

November 7, 2012

Dreaming

Nothing like a cute new magnet to express great truths... =)


November 6, 2012

Mark Your Ballots

And so today is Election Day.  It is a privilege to be able to discuss, disagree, express opinions, and vote.  My ballot is on it's way.

And now I would like to have a cup of tea, a ginger scone, and read a good book that has nothing to do with politics.


November 5, 2012

Web Patterns

There are so many patterns in a web that it's hard to wrap my mind around it.  To create something like that without the perspective of distance is really quite amazing.


November 1, 2012

Red Hills Market

We had a wonderful Sunday together during Parents' Weekend.  The girls were all great and after church we discovered a fun little market in Dundee where we all stuffed ourselves.  

This cinnamon roll held at least 14,397 calories.  Worth every bite.



Drinking glasses were canning jars.  And do you see the trays?

The miniature chalkboards were tempting, right along with Beekeeping.



Ahhh, the food trays, my new obsession.  I'm betting they're 1/4 size Chicago Metallic baking sheets. I'm on the hunt!!