Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The best honey cardamon & groundhog's day cookies


We have friends who are going through a very tough time right now. They live states away and there is nothing to be done ease the pain of their loss. I don't know what to do but want to do something so I baked. 

This is a Martha Stewart recipe.  We've never had them before and they are fantastic.

The honey came from my dad's bees and was a spring/summer/fall mix. I think most any honey would do well but a dark one like buckwheat.

The dough was a bit fiddly to emboss with the bee press.  I suppose having the dough at near freezing would have helped. 

I'm also going to make Groundhog's day cookies tomorrow.  'Tis the season and all.

I love these cookies and have been making them every year since about 2005 when my (not yet) husband and I went to Punxsutawney with my sister and (not yet) brother inlaw to celebrate the holiday. This is where the cookie cutter came from, a little souvenir shop on Main Street, Punxsutawney, PA. 

Cookies will be baked, packed and mailed. I don't know what else to do. But I know that something,  anything,  is better than nothing.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Random fortune

I found this wooden cat at the little local thrift store last week. It cost 50 cents and is not my style. I didn't really want it but absolutely couldn't leave it there either. My mom painted these cats back in the 80's for a local woodworker who sold them at craft fairs. I have memories of her assembly line painting them at night in the trailer kitchen. So it came home with me. Both of the older boys immediately claimed it for their own and had a brawl over it.  I told the husband he should count his blessings as my mom also painted wooden yard ornaments,  at least I didn't stumble upon a 3 foot wooden easter rabbit.


Baby P and I met our friend A and her baby for lunch at Panera's last week. It was so nice. A is a chemo nurse and vigilant about her health so we feel comfortable with these very, very occasional distanced visits. Baby P has been talking nonstop lately and was overjoyed to be around another little one speaking his baby language of "coo"s and "aga!"s. We caught up on our lives and exchanged late Christmas gifts.

She gave me this "fowl language " coffee mug. It's adorned with illustrations of poorly named birds: the blue footed booby, the titmouse, the oxpecker, the woodcock. It's vulgar and hilarious and I love it.

And my friend L suprised me today with a gin and tonic gift basket she made me just because.  It's so sweet. We met for a masked, no hugs coffee today and it was such a nice visit. It really has recharged my soul to see friends.

The first of the vaccines have arrived.  Our town recieved 1000 of them, for persons aged 65 and older, and all of them were claimed in the first 90 minutes.  When I took the kiddos to my inlaws today we drove past the church where the vaccines were being administered.  The parking lot was packed and there was literally a line of cars down each side of the road waiting to enter. And I burst into tears. My father and both my inlaws will get the vaccine next week. It's been a long year. 
400,000 + Americans have died from this in less than 12 months.

This is baby P and I watching the inauguration. What a sigh of relief. 

I've thrown myself into Postcrossing. Pretty much it's the perfect hobby right now as it can be done in 5 minute bursts. Also it's nice like Christmas to have tiny gifts from around the world show up every couple of days. Yesterday we got a card from Tahiti.  I've discovered the forum part of it with mail games and exchanges. Here are some cards being sent out, playing card trades and a penpal letter to a woman in Romania. 

Here's  a card I made last week for a woman whose user name is something like "beagle mama" . I'm no artist. That's supposed to be a dog. I ran out of space to draw dog legs, hence the water. We had beagles growing up. When we lived at the gun club my dad always had a dog for running rabbits. They were the best dogs. Once we had a litter of pups, I'm sure all of them had hunting homes waiting for them in advance. They were the cutest things, little velvety ears and round milk bellies.  My sister and I used to pile them into a baby buggy and push them around the yard.

Speaking of arts, the kids have had all of the crayons taken off them. Mr. A loves nothing  more than to color on the walls and I'm just done with it. They still have colored pencils, paints and markers. And are churning out such masterpieces as this:

Which is great. But then there are these:

I mean, come on. What the hell am I supposed to do with this?

Both of the older kids fell asleep in cardboard boxes tonight, pretending to be pirates. 

And for anyone still reading, here is a video of geese eating breakfast.  Geese feel very muscular and velvety when you pet them. I love them and I hope they start laying soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Crafts and food

 First off, thank you so much everyone for the support and kind words. It really did help and not only me. I have a close friend with a little one and she was going through a hard time too. I sent her here to read what you all had written and it brought her comfort.  So thank you.

New starts; we have flowers coming up under the birdfeeder. 

Things have improved the last couple of days. I took down the tree and the kids and I drug it out into the woods. There is a depression in the ground here that is always holding standing water and there are always tracks around it. I was thinking it could act as cover for something small using this drink station, a rabbit or birds maybe.

Here they are breaking ice off of the puddle. I found a raccoon mandible and pelvis which of course caused a fight, the 2 year old screaming "NO! is MINE PELVIS!" when his brother wanted to hold it. It's ridiculous the way Mr. A will fight over absolutely everything when he dearly loves his older brother. When I hand Mr. A. anything of high value, like a cookie, he 100% of the time will ask for a second one with the purpose of gifting it to Mr. H. "Bro have cookie too?" But show him a raccoon bone and he goes nuts, apparently 

The tree came down, things got cleaned up and organized.   

Here's a picture because it won't last

So the house is a bit cleaner, the kids have been going to sleep at a reasonable time which lets my husband and I have some time together.  The oldest is back at school. This weekend we had a much needed visit from some dear friends.

There has been some crafting over the last two weeks.

I made a postage stamp letter for baby P's wall, like the ones his brothers have.

I've been looking to buy a storage box for my postcrossing supplies that would allow the cards to stand upright.  The largest postcards are 5x7 and I could not find an inexpensive storage box that would fit them snugly and if I had $30 to blow on frivolous stuff it would not be an ugly plastic organizer.  So today I made this:

It's literally a ramen noodle box I covered with atlas pages. It's perfect.

A very economical way of buying cards is by getting postcard books, little 5x7 books with postcards as the pages. Thriftbooks is a good website for these. The pages are perforated to remove the cards from the binding. This book of illuminated manuscript pages featuring women was $5 for 30 postcards.  I'm not sure who to send the midwifery cards to but all the cards are gorgeous. Postcrossing is so much fun. I'm hoping to find a couple of penpals to write regular letters to as well.

There has been cooking too. Something I've been doing in odd moments is going through this blog and copying all of my recipes into a notebook. There is no organization to the thing at all; turtle soup is next to banana bread. 

I did make banana bread today. The oldest watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 this morning, a big part of the movie is the anthropomorphic food. So he wanted to make an octopus out of a banana peel which led into an entire aquatic scene

He did this for over an hour.

This week I made this jerk chicken sandwich from Jamie Oliver's 7 Ways cookbook. I'm really enjoying the format of the book. The ingredients for each recipe are shown in tiny photographs along the side of the directions and having this little visual seems to make the recipe so accessible.  This sandwich was really spicy but so delicious we had it two nights in a row.  It also came together quickly in about 15 minutes including making the coleslaw.  I will say (and I am SO SORRY Mr. Oliver) that sometimes in his bid to make things healthier it really backfires.  The coleslaw here was made with plain yogurt.  It was just so bland. We fixed it the second time around.

A friend shared a recipe for Vietnamese Scallion Oil. What a wonderful tasty sauce. We had it tonight with shrimp and broccoli.  Husband requested it again tomorrow. Tip: keeping ginger in the freezer allows you to grate it like hard cheese and not pulpy mush. I had not frozen my ginger and what a pain. It was worth it though. 

L gave me a wonderful birthday gift that is absolutely perfect. It's a tiny book called Food for Thought and each page shows a postage stamp with a corresponding food quote.
Here are a few favorites:

First, this story is wonderful.
  I thought it would be fun to try this dish until learning that the half mourning name comes from fresh truffles tucked under the breast skin giving the chicken a dark color. So this would probably be a damn expensive roast chicken.

Tomorrow we are going out to buy a dishwasher having been without one since about September. It's an exciting purchase. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Searching for something


Here are the oldest two this afternoon,  searching for a mama T-rex. They saw lots of signs but no dinosaurs. 

It seems like every winter I write some ridiculously personal post where laundry is aired and lots of embarrassing adjectives are used. Apparently this year is no different.  I'm just going to put it out there, and God knows why. 

Three kids under the age of six including  a baby.  Life is a cycle of washing, dressing, feeding, cleaning, going to sleep late, waking up multiple times at night and getting up early to repeat the whole thing again and again and again. The oldest says really rude things without understanding.  The middle one is 2 and screaming for fun because he figured out that he can. He has no volume control. Think "Jingle Bells" at the top of his lungs.. He is offended by everything, picking fights with his brother and then screaming his displeasure.  The youngest is a baby and the easiest to manage. The house is a wreck 24/7. It looks like a dumpster blew up. There is constantly a pile of dishes in the sink, crumbs/craft scraps/legos/diapers/outright trash on the floor and baskets of laundry all over the place.. i am still slopping around in maternity jeans because my old ones don't fit and all the shop fittting rooms are still closed. It's exausting and demoralizing. This is the longest I've sat down in days, having said "screw it" to the mess for a night.

My husband and I get to sit down together for about a half hour each night, tops. We watch Jeopardy together. 

The yard is a mess. The oldest had a pet silkie chicken named PomPom. Yesterday I caught a hawk eating it. 

Let's continue. Why not.

I am so very lonely. The only people we see with any regularity are my in-laws and sometimes my dad. I very much miss our friends. And just having a regular life.

My weight is out of control.  Part of me is grateful we don't see anyone because I'm ashamed of how fat I am. It's a nice combination of baby weight, too many ramen noodles (which are really good made Thai style, thanks pandemic cooking) and too much alcohol .
And what the hell is going on with this country. Did everyone see the news today? I just absolutely don't get it. This man has mocked every demographic possible; women, children, minorities, immigrants, veterans, the disabled.  He's done nothing for the country but incite hate and unrest. I absolutely respect the first ammendment. Everyone has a right to voice their opinion but my god, could someone please explain the continued support here because I just don't get it.

I am struggling.  Really struggling right now. This pandemic just gone on so damn long. And we are lucky to have not been effected in a serious way by it. I understand that.

The highlight of my week was watching Jeopardy last night. The topic involved words related to trees. I don't remember the question but a contestant actually buzzed in and guessed "what is a dick" and Alex said, honest to God, "I know nothing about a dick tree".  We got a big laugh out of that one.

So happy Wednesday everyone.