Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm a Little Tea Pot

So my sisters-in-law and I were in town yesterday and oddly enough, found ourselves a thrift store. (Go figure. Us, at a thrift store???)  One of them happened across this amazing tea pot, tea cup, and saucer. She just wanted the tea cup for her tea cup clock (for $1 who wouldn't want that cup and saucer?!!!). However, when she saw me giggle with delight over the tea pot ($3) and then look longingly towards the tea cup, she generously sacrificed and let me have it. Wasn't that nice of her?

So for a grand total of $4, I now own this charming set.  I don't drink tea, but they will most certainly be put to good use at the Happy House.  I can't wait to figure out what to do with them. Suggestions? Ideas? Recommendations?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

I was at a thrift store with my sisters-in-law who are here visiting. Imagine that - us, at a thrift store? Crazy talk people, crazy talk! (Not really that crazy, actually. If there is one phrase that defines my sisters-in-law it is thrift store junkies. They always find the most amazing stuff at thrift stores.  Can you say hello! GAP pants for $5 that look like they have never been worn and fit like a dream?  Wherever they go, they find a thrift store to visit. If I am with them, I get to tag along for the fun.)

At any rate, there we were in a thrift store.

And I happened upon these beauties in the book section. Eleven of the twelve Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery cookbooks.  I nearly wept for joy at seeing these for SO CHEAP at the thrift store. While some of them have some yellowing, overall, they are in excellent condition.

Unlike the ones I grew up with.

I read, used, and loved the set my mother owned until the spines were broken and the covers were falling off the stained and sticky pages. These cookbooks define my growing up years in the kitchen and I have longed for a set of my own.

Man, I loved these cookbooks. I mean L-O-V-E-D them. The reason? They were part cookbook, part textbook, and part dictionary. What isn't to love about them???? Finding them in tucked in among the other books at the thrift store was like stumbling upon an old friend. I know it sounds sappy, but I almost started crying I was so thrilled to see them there and to find them is such great shape.

I remember reading this section when I was young and realizing that an aspic (even if it was "crystal-clear" and "shimmering" was just Jell-O with vegetables or meat bits in it. I thought it strange then and I still do, all these years later. 

See what I mean? This illustration of aspics looks an awful like Jell-O, doesn't it? 

Here is a fine example of the textbook aspects of the cookbooks. I remember lounging about on long summer days, reading from these textbooks and dreaming of the things I would someday create from the recipes and the exotic places I would travel to get ingredients. From these textbooks cookbooks I learned far more things that a young girl in Orem, Utah should have ever known about cuisines and cooking techniques of the world.

And the pictures - oh man, the pictures!!! I still love them as much now as I did back then, though perhaps for different reasons. 

Bacon. According to my Samoan brother-in-law, everything tastes better with bacon.  I just adore the vibrant, vintage-y colors of the photos.

And the illustrations - look at this wonderful illustration! I bet your cookbooks don't have illustrations of dancing people in it (unless you own these cookbooks).

And how about this illustration of a banquet? Dated but utterly charming and hilarious all at the same time. 

But the thing I love most about these cookbooks are the recipes found in them, recipes that define my childhood years.

Like this banana-nut bread recipe. (Pecans please, never walnuts. While you are at it, throw in some chocolate chips, too, thankyouverymuch. Call me when it gets out of the oven and I will be right over with an ice-cold milk chaser.)

I love this recipe. I mean I really, really, REALLY love this recipe. Primarily because it makes consistently fabulous banana-nut bread but also because it reminds me of being young and in my mother's kitchen.  There was a fair amount of hope in the messes I made, and excitement for where life would take me. Things have certainly turned out far different than I could have ever imagined but the recipes I learned from these books have remained constant and true.

Like all friends of the oldest and best sort should be. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Amazing Man!

Dear. Mr. Amazing Man -

Happystinkinbirfday! I am so glad I am your wife and that I get to be a part of your amazing life.  I am also very glad you don't mind birthday brownies instead of birthday cake. As you know, we have been living in temporary quarters now for nearly two weeks and this is all I could muster. Pathetic, I know, but I will make it up to you when we get down to Florida and I have access to my cake decorating stuff again.  I promise.

"Luuuuuuuuke. I am your faaaaaaaaahhhther." (Please note the choice of the Lego Star Wars t-shirt for your birthday).

Even Princess P. got in on the birthday action. She had a great time coloring on your card.

She had a great time eating the crayons, too.

She did not have such a great time when I took the crayons from her. She was rather ticked off at me, actually.

She wasn't very happy about the balloon either. Balloons with NO strings = good. Balloons WITH strings = very, very, VERY bad.

I am so thankful we had this last year together and I look forward to many, many, many more.

Much love,


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Confessions of a (Worst-Case Scenario) Contingency Planner

My little boy is growing up. I hate it but at the same time, I love it! I love watching him reach every new stage of development. What a kid!

Today he lost a tooth. Can you guess which one? The other front tooth next to that gaping hole is very wibbly-wobbly and it shouldn't be long before it comes out as well.

A story about the Professor and his teeth: Last Friday, I took him in to see the dentist at 7:30 a.m. Now why was I there at that crazy hour in the morning?

Well.....he had been complaining that his back teeth were hurting him for about two weeks. Then about a week ago, he started complaining (imagine that! Him, complain????) about his ear and jaw hurting as well. He would not even let me touch that side of his face without screaming as if I was poking him with a needle. After a few days,  I finally coaxed him into letting me take a look in his mouth and saw red, angry gums at the back of his mouth.

So when you see red, swollen, angry looking gums what do you think? I immediately assumed the worst case scenario (imagine that! Me, immediately assume the worse case scenario????). He must have a really bad cavity back where I can't see it. There must be an infection all through his tooth and gums and it is eating its way through the bone, making a bee-line for the cranial cavity where it will seep into the subacrachnoid space  and then rot his brilliant little brain and then he will die a horrible, feverish death all because I didn't take him to the dentist when he first told me it was hurting. (I am good at worse case scenarios, aren't I?  I like to call it "contingency planning." My husband likes to call it, "Woman, You Drive Me Crazy Sometimes." It is one the traits my husband simply *adores* about me! Not really, but I like to pretend it is.)

I called the dentist, described what I saw and what the Professor had been telling me. They made an emergency appointment for the next morning. Next morning, we showed up, me fully expecting the dentist to confirm my worst case scenario. Well, maybe not the full end-game, but that he had a cavity that needed to be taken care of.

The Professor hopped up in the chair and the very nice dentist (especially considering it was so early in the morning) came in, poked around in the Professor's mouth for a bit, asked him a few questions like, "How old are you, buddy?" and "Does it hurt just on this side or over here too?"

After about 30 seconds of peering into his mouth, the dentist said, "Mom, it's nothing to be worried about. He is just getting his 6-year molars. The swelling is just a normal reaction to the new teeth cutting through the gums. His teeth look great, no cavities or any other problems. Just give him some Tylenol to help with the pain."


I should have known.

The Professor was THE.MOST.MISERABLE.CHILD when he was cutting his teeth as an infant. It took FOR-EV-ER for them to break through and he cried and whined (surprised?) and whimpered and wailed about each one for weeks on end. His gums were a swollen mess of awfulness and he was not afraid to let his parents know how terrible it was for him. It was horrible. I still shudder to think about those long, treacherous days and nights of trying to find something - anything - to comfort him.

Why would it be any different with his 6-year molars?

P.S. Strangely, the pain being caused by the Professor's 6-year molars was not even part of my "contingency planning."  I am so grateful it was just that and not anything related to my worst-case scenario.   Give me 6-year molars over cavities and root canals any day of the week!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

30 Days of Truth ~ Day 17

Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

It changed my life. It can change yours, too.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

30 Days of Truth ~ Day 16

Day 16: Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Poor birdies.

Every year on Christmas Eve, a bagpiper calls us all to services at that lovely little chapel across the commons. 

Our own lamp post in the woods.

Isn't this guy awesome? All the right colors AND has polka dots too!!!

I think you get the idea.

I could live without the snow. 

Sure, once or twice a year right around Christmas time is just fine but the piles and piles and piles of it that stick around until mid-April? No thanks.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

30 Days of Truth ~ Day 15

Day 15: Something or someone 
you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Dark chocolate.

I wasn't always so certain about chocolate. Until I tried to quit it. Now I am quite certain I cannot survive without it. This is the reason I have a year+ supply of high quality organic fair-trade cocoa in my food storage. I am that serious about chocolate.

Baked goods. 

Mah boy The Professor comes by his love of carbohydrates naturally. I have tried those low carb diets things and let's just say, it is NOT pretty. That doesn't mean I am rolling around in pans of caramel apple cinnamon rolls every day (though that sounds rather nice), but it does mean I have to have some carbs or my brain. stops. functioning.

This man.

I have tried to quit him about a thousand times, but all roads seem to lead back to him.  Fortunately for me, he has always been waiting for me to come to my senses and never holds it against me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

And The Dream Goes On

I know it is the 4th of July parade, Independence Day, our beloved country's 235th birthday. I know. But yet, my son wears green.  He wears green any chance he can because it is his favorite color and what better day to celebrate independence than letting your 6 year old wear whatever he pleases?

I snapped this photo of The Professor at the Lovettsville town parade and the look on his face...priceless.  He saw an old military deuce-and-half headed our way and just about jumped out of his shorts he was so excited. (It might have had something to do with the piles of candy they were pouring over the side). 

He was positively delighted and delightful all evening long, full of exuberance and joy over every little red-white-and-blue tidbit of anything that crossed his path.  


He was giddy. There really isn't any other word to describe him.

He was giddy about everything that day except the flag cupcake cake thingy someone brought to the BBQ, which was just a step above being worthy of enshrinement at It had 16 stripes. For the 16 original...uh...yeah, those 16 original thingies. And it had something like 57 stars for the 57....uh...states?

The real story isn't about the cupcake wreck though. It's about The Professor's reaction when he saw it. It was announced that people could start eating the cupcakes, and being the carbohydrate addict he is, he made a mad dash and was first in line. When they lifted the lid, he looked at it, backed up while holding his hands up and solemnly declared loud enough for everyone at the BBQ to hear:
"I can NOT eat that cake! It is the American flag and that would be un-respectful!"
He then darted back to the field to throw the giant frisbees around with his cousins. 

I sat there stunned and wordless.

This is my child who knows that National Doughnut Day exists and incessantly reminds me about it during the lead up to it every.stinkin.year (It's the first Friday in June, in case you were wondering. Stop by your local Dunkin Donuts and get free donut!)  This is my son who would eat cake, cookies, and bread for every.stinkin.meal with a side of frosting and a glass of chocolate syrup to wash it all down if I let him.  Seriously, The Professor NEVER turns down a baked good.

One of the ladies who was there leaned over to me and said, "Did you teach him that or did he come that way?"

Uh...he came that way.

This little boy is the product of generations of Americans stretching back to the earliest European settlers of Massachusetts and Virginia. He is the descendant of intrepid individuals willing to do difficult and dangerous things in an effort to establish this country. His is a heritage of patriots and warriors stretching back to the Revolution who were willing to sacrifice all they had to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.

If they were to examine his blood under a microscope, they would probably find stars and stripes in stead of red blood cells and plasma. Have you ever heard the phrase "he bleeds red, white, and blue"? That's my boy they are talking about.

Yes, he came that way.

And I am very grateful that he did.