Wednesday, January 30, 2008

winter sunshine kitchen

So much bigger the tummy is.

This picture is courtesy of my sweet sister and was taken while she was at my house after piano lessons yesterday.


This is the inside of my porch storm door this morning at 6:55a. That is saying quite a bit because there is really not a big barrier between [the inside of] my house and this little porch where we stack our wood. When I came downstairs this morning to start the wood stove I was glad that my sweet younger brother had helped me by carrying wood into the house yesterday afternoon. Yesterday was cold too; a forty degree difference from Monday. The thick frost on the porch windows never did melt, and the wind made strange creaking and moaning noises around the house all day. :) It makes me so very glad for my warm little home. I will have to make sure that dinner is a warming sort of meal for my man today. ~'::











* * * * *

::Later:: Ok, yeah... So this is why I'm still warm inside. A mountain of glowing coals. The 'crackle' of the fire sounds more like the tinkling of glass.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

“Sam, however, had no objection to rabbit at all, and said so. At least not to cooked rabbit. All hobbits, of course, can cook, for they begin to learn the art before their letters (which many never reach); but Sam was a good cook, even by hobbit reckoning, and he had done a good deal of the camp-cooking on their travels, when there was a chance. He still hopefully carried some of his gear in his pack: a small tinder-box, two small shallow pans, the smaller fitting into the larger; inside them a wooden spoon, a short two-pronged fork and some skewers were stowed; and hidden at the bottom of the pack in a flat wooden box a dwindling treasure, some salt. But he needed a fire, and other things besides. He thought for a bit, while he took out his knife, cleaned and whetted it, and began to dress the rabbits. He was not going to leave Frodo alone asleep even for a few minutes.
Sam gathered a pile of the driest fern, and then scrambled up the bank collecting a bundle of twigs and broken wood; the fallen branch of a cedar at the top gave him a good supply. He cut out some turves at the foot of the bank just outside the fern-brake, and made a shallow hole and laid his fuel in it. Being handy with the flint and tinder he soon had a small blaze going. It made little or no smoke but gave off an aromatic scent. He was just stooping over his fire, shielding it and building it up with heavier wood, when Gollum returned, carrying the pans carefully and grumbling to himself.
Sam busied himself with his pans. ‘What a hobbit needs with coney,’ he said to himself, ‘is some herbs and roots, especially taters—not to mention bread. Herbs we can manage, seemingly.’
For a while Sam sat musing, and tending the fire till the water boiled. The daylight grew and the air became warm; the dew faded off turf and leaf. Soon the rabbits cut up lay simmering in their pans with the bunched herbs. Almost Sam fell asleep as the time went by. He let them stew for close on an hour, testing them now and again with his fork, and tasting the broth.

When he thought all was ready he lifted the pans off the fire, and crept along to Frodo. Frodo half opened his eyes as Sam stood over him, and then he awakened from his dreaming: another gentle, unrecoverable dream of peace.

‘Hullo, Sam!’ he said. ‘Not resting? Is anything wrong? What is the time?’

‘About a couple of hours after daybreak,’ said Sam, ‘and nigh on half-past eight by Shire clocks, maybe. But nothing’s wrong. Though it ain’t quite what I’d call right: no stock, no onions, no taters. I’ve got a bit of a stew for you, and some broth, Mr. Frodo. Do you good. You’ll have to sup it in your mug; or straight from the pan, when it’s cooled a bit. I haven’t brought no bowls, nor nothing proper.’

Frodo yawned and stretched. ‘You should have been resting, Sam,’ he said. ‘And lighting a fire was dangerous in these parts. But I do feel hungry. Hmm! Can I smell it from here? What have you stewed?’

‘A present from Smeagol,’ said Sam: ‘a brace o’ young coneys ... But there’s nought to go with them but a few herbs.’

Sam and his master sat just within the fern-brake and ate their stew from the pans, sharing the old fork and spoon. They allowed themselves half a piece of the elvish waybread each. It seemed a feast.”

~from The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
(Book IV, Chapter 4 “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit”)

Monday, January 28, 2008


In explanation:

(The spelling: I wasn't sure how to spell it in my last post--"rummengrot" is just how I say it. In Norwegian it is properly rømmegrøt.)

'No arm twisting was necessary, however, to get me to eat rømmegrøt, the legendary cream porridge that Norwegians call their national porridge and whose recipe reportedly has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. Floating in drawn butter, it is a dish so divine that one can easily visualize the Scandinavian Gods Odin and Thor relishing it from golden spoons. Definitely a meal in itself and then some, it was a dish my mother often served when unexpected relatives dropped in around suppertime (there were no telephones on the prairies to warn one of unexpected guests) and she wanted to serve them something very special.

This is how my mother made it. She poured a quart of thick sour cream into a frying pan and boiled it for about five minutes to reduce it, then sifted half a cup of flour over it and continued to boil it until bubbles of butter could be seen around the edges. Next she began to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until she could tip the pan slightly and ladle out some of the butter. My mother stirred and ladled, and stirred and ladled, until finally she had a cream pitcher filled with beautiful drawn butter. Left in the pan was the moist golden curd.

Setting this aside, my mother scalded six cups of milk in a large kettle, then sifted a cup of flour, three tablespoons sugar, and a tablespoon of salt into the milk and beat vigorously until she had a smooth sauce. Finally, the curd left in the frying pan was added, and another five or ten minutes of hard beating was required before the curd disappeared smoothly into the mixture. The porridge was now ready. It smelled fabulous--like something straight out of a Sigrid Undset saga.

The rømmegrøt was poured onto dinner plates and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, after which the drawn butter was poured over it until it formed a golden rim around the plate. Absolutely nothing else was served with it--except a glass of milk. Tradition held that one must drink milk with rømmegrøt!

When I describe this meal to my non-Norwegian friends they often ask, "Didn't you get hungry before you went to bed?" And I always reply, "If you are ever able to work your entire way around a dinner plate of rømmegrøt, I guarantee you that you will not be hungry for another twelve, fifteen, make that twenty-four hours."'

From the book Nothing to Do but Stay: My Pioneer Mother by Carrie Young

Now I don't make my porridge just the way that Carrine Berg (Carrie's mother) made hers. Her rømmegrøt is more the inspiration for mine. Mine is just made from milk, freshly ground whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, and brown sugar to taste. It is one of my very favorite breakfasts. One can only eat a smallish portion of it, but it does a good job of keeping you until the next meal (or if you are eating for two, perhaps until the next time for a snack!) My mama's version of rømmegrøt porridge is wonderful; she makes it many mornings for my papa and siblings. Sometime she will have to write down what she does, and when she does I will share it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

diaper bag

::'~ I have made a design for a diaper bag for our little one's things. Do you remember this sketching? It took me several days to modify, plan, measure, mark, and cut out all of the pattern pieces for it. There were fourteen of them. Today I was finally able to get to the actual pinning on of paper pattern pieces and the cutting out of the fabrics. I have all of the pieces ready now to start sewing together tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out. ~'::
Hehe...the little one is being squirmy right now. It makes me smile every time. Such sweet and tiny. Toes and fists, little knees and elbows, moving around inside. I am looking forward so much to meeting this little one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


If I had to pick a favorite meal of the day, it would most definitely be breakfast. There is something exciting about the start of a new day, and something so very comforting (and festive even) about a hot breakfast. Today was my man's birthday and we took the opportunity to enjoy a yummy breakfast together before driving to church. Cinnamon rolls hot from the oven, bacon, orange juice, hot and creamy coffee. The joys of home.

I am so very thankful for my man on his birthday!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Do you see? Do you see the silvery gray beauty here? Isn’t it grand?! An investment in family life it is. We spend half of our life driving to and fro with tools to work on various projects that come our way. For the past several months it has been to work on cabinets. Building, remodeling, repairing, un-fencing, work with concrete… we enjoy doing all sorts of things on our long weekends. Things we would not be able to do if we only had our car to drive us around in. And we have enjoyed our little truck very much for these purposes. However, the Ranger that we had, lovely though it was, is no longer going to work for our little family. Come March, Lord willing, we will need to carry a car seat with us. There is no space in a Ranger for a car seat. There is barely enough room for a pregnant lady (certainly not if there’s more people than just the driver and herself). So we needed to decide…how much is it worth to us to be able to keep up our lifestyle of working, as much as possible, together on evenings and weekends? We’re not going to leave Baby anywhere. Baby is a part of us. And Baby needs Mama for food. And Mama and Daddy want to do things together…with Baby. Also, we live in a part of the country where, for several months out of the year, we get snowstorms and wind, ground blizzards and freezing temperatures, and during those times it would be quite helpful to have a way to drive somewhere as a family if we needed to…courtesy of 4-wheel drive. A way has worked out very well for us to try to accomplish these things…a blessing from God, to be sure. I am quite thrilled!
Our lovely part of the country has spent this last weekend in bitterly cold temperatures. Yep, even describes the temperature right now (and for tomorrow!) as "bitterly cold". Last night was super cold because of the wind chill. When we woke up this morning our thermometer said -16 (and then proceeded to drop another degree), but the wind chill was -29 because of the wind. And it felt like it. It rather took your breath away to step outside and breathe in the air. My man is so good to me...he went down into our freezing cold basement to get his Carhartt insulated bibs and warmed them by the fire for me to wear when we went to do some errands this morning. It was rather a funny thing to watch me try to get in them, though! My tummy is just too big to be squashed into regular clothes. Even ones made to handle winter layers inside of them. I got them on alright, but zipping the front just wasn’t going to happen. Nor was zipping down the pant legs over my jeans…my man had to do that for me. Bending over to take care of my boots or snow pants zippers just isn’t one of those things I can do anymore. I was definitely glad for those bibs. Even just standing in a parking lot made you feel that any exposed skin was being burned.

We’ve stayed nice and cozy inside our little house, though. We kept the fire in the stove burning hot, and have really had a pleasant time of it. You can see in the picture what a lovely bed of coals I had when I went to add a log this afternoon…glowing and covered in blue flames. Mmmm. Cozy!

We have really gone through our woodpile fast in these last couple of months because of the cold temperatures. This weekend, of all weekends, was the one we had specified as the one where we would restock our supply. Since we are using our wood especially heavily now, this was something we could not really get out of (even with the temperatures as such). We were blessed with an opportunity to obtain this wood that we needed from some friends. An added [huge] blessing was that it was already cut, stacked, and dried for us…a person really couldn’t ask for more. So we took our new truck on its first little adventure this afternoon to pick up our load of wood. The sun was setting as we did this. It was so beautiful to see it across the icy fields. The air was clear and crisp and cold. Lovely. It made one glad for the warmth of a truck cab!

Friday, January 18, 2008


~Dusting and loving my little earthy-colored buttons~


I saw the loveliest 3d paper snowflakes in one of Ann's posts over at Holy Experience this morning. I followed the link to the how-to video and was able to make a couple for my own little home. I had a corner in my living room that I thought would be lovely with one of those in it. I tried one out of white paper first because snowflakes are supposed to be white (obviously!) It was so pretty, but rather startlingly printer-paper-colored alongside my living room's muted tones. So I made one out of brown paper. Folk-art like, don't you know. It's much better. I think ideally I would make it out of a light, creamy parchment paper; so it could be soothing, but still have the brightness of a snowflake.

If you would like to make your own, the how-to video is here.
(The music in the backround of the video is strange at best, certainly not what I'd call feel free to turn off the volume on your computer speakers if you'd rather not endure it!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


My Ergo. Money saved for a couple of years in case I had the reason to need one. It's so the way I want to go...carrying the baby against me throughout my days. It's finally here. A treasure.
That cup of coffee in the late afternoon that you promised to give yourself when you finished the housekeeping things that had to be done. Hot. Steaming. Perfect. (I now have an official mug-resting tummy.)
The few moments of restful quiet between, when you tell yourself that you can sit for a minute and just drink in the pleasure of resting.
Afternoon sunlight coming in the window.
Fresh pumpkin bread made by my sweet sister.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


::'~ Kitchen remodeling at my man's parents' house: wires, sheetrock, plywood, old plaster...lots of noise and dust!
I watched and crocheted and drank red raspberry tea. ~'::

Friday, January 11, 2008

Diaper Fairy

My man was going out the door this morning to work at his dad's when, apparently, he was intercepted by the mail dude and was handed a great big package. I opened this package, and to my great delight found inside the most wonderful thing... three dozen beautiful Chinese prefold diapers for a newborn size! I could not believe my eyes. The precious person who had them sent to me merely signed as "The Diaper Fairy". I couldn't help it...I cried with the beauty of those little baby diapers. They are soft, heavyweight, and 100% cotton in a lovely natural color with green stitching on the edges. I am SO looking forward to washing and drying them so they get even softer and quilted. I am now set for newborn diapers. I am thrilled. you, Diaper Fairy... You know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for blessing me with these. I hope you know how much this means to me!
Thanks to this package I have also found a wonderful resource: Jardine Diapers. It is a new favorite website of mine. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Enter Psmith

'"The name is Psmith. P-smith."
"Peasmith, sir?"
"No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain it to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my father always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the too prevalent custom of tacking another name on in front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The p, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan. You follow me?"
"Y-yes, sir."
"You don't think," he said anxiously, "that I did wrong in pursuing this course?"
"N-no, sir."
"Splendid!" said the young man, flicking a speck of dust from his coat-sleeve. "Splendid! Splendid!"'

~Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Winter Morning

A few hours out of my January house cleaning for crocheting something softy pink, with hot tea to help keep me warm...and a delicious audiobook to keep me company.
Baked potatoes with chili topping are on the menu for dinner, and a chocolate cake with frosting will be my afternoon's baking occupation. A good day.
A very happy birthday to my little brother!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


--work jeans--

Don't worry...I fixed that pucker at the end. :)

Buttonhole thread works really well for mending a rip in a pair of work jeans. It seems to hold up a lot better than regular-weight thread. Quilting thread works well too; buttonhole thread is just a bit heavier than that yet.

A neat mend is such a satisfying thing.

Monday, January 7, 2008

until next time...

to live is Christ

"'For me to live is Christ' Philippians 1:21

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convicted him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for Him; to His glory we would live, and in defense of His gospel we would die; He is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character. Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ--nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ?... Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet this alone is the true life of a Christian--its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word--Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in Thee and to Thee."
~C.H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening (Jan 7)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

afternoon light

chicken wire

Isn't the chicken wire heart so happy? Sweet Leah made it for me for a Christmas present this year. :)
Chicken wire always makes me happy. It also makes me wish that I could have a couple of laying hens here in town with me. I would name them Martha and Helen.
Not that I lack eggs by any means... my Mama and Papa get so many that I always have much more than I need. It would just be for the experience that I would want hens!