Sunday, August 30, 2009

Boston: The eagle has landed.

And he's ready to be a college freshman!
We arrived on campus Wednesday.
The setting is breath-taking.
He visited the ROTC building,
became acquainted with the cougar
and established his new home base.the view from his dorm window, with the football stadium in the backgroundhe's making plans to "hike the Y"and he's got his all-sports pass, so he'll be visiting this place a few times this fall.

Friday, August 28, 2009

This is the view I enjoyed Thursday while I sat with my dear friend eating an amazing panini from Flour Girls and Dough Boys.
image courtesy of

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I couldn't sleep

And I was laying in bed with the image of me (like I was there to see me...?) at 10 years old, full of the happiness of summer, standing at the top of our aluminum slide, poised and wiggling my happy fanny, getting ready to slip down into the wading pool full of grassy water stuck in my head.

Because I love to recall traumatic moments, obviously, like having the back seam of your homemade suit rip out so that what you don't realize at that very triumphant on-top moment, is that the 10 kids behind you are actually getting a pretty good view of your sideways smile back there. And laughing. So you go from being on top, right back to the bottom.

There's proably some life lesson to be learned there. And I'm probably going to go back to bed and have a really wierd dream.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

my favorite parts of Sunday night:

helping my sister not to feel
so itchy and paranoid...
having my brother show up with his head protected...
embracing the opportunity to be with family,
generous hometeachers,
taking time to appreciate craftmanship and special relationships...
enjoying time together,
being able to say quality good-byes;
and hanging out on the bed together.

It's almost time to go.

I love this boy of mine.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The marching band scored.

Band Camp. Monday thru Friday, 8am to 8pm with a two hour break from 4-6 for dinner. This was the week we hit the triple H: Heat, Humidity and Haze. It was brutal, and all I did was spend a few hours chaperoning. These kids worked five long days in the sun and heat to go from nothing to a full show with music and marching. If you've never been exposed to the work that goes into putting together a marching band performance, it's ENORMOUS. By the time they're uniformed up and marching at the first football game, it'll be great.

So I baked THIS lovely confection (thanks to my new Segullah friends) to bring to the BBQ tonight. I pondered how much I loved tasting each part as I assembled it, and decided that if chocolate is the flavor of heaven, then lime could most likely be the flavor of sin. Because if I weren't bringing it to share, I might just sit down and eat the whole thing myself.

Lime Lover's White Chocolate Cake

Anne Byrn's Lemon Lover's White Chocolate Cake from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor. (Modified Byrn's original recipe to be a Lime Lover's cake instead of a Lemon Lover's cake).

6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 package plain white cake mix

2/3 c. water

1/3 c. vegetable oil

3 large eggs

2 large egg whites (save yolks for curd)

2 T. fresh lime juice (1 lime)

1 t. grated lime zest (1 lime)

1 recipe lime curd

1 recipe Limey White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans. Melt chocolate in the microwave. Place cake mix, water, oil, eggs, egg whites, lemon juice and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Pour in melted chocolate. Blend with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Divide batter into pans and bake 28-32 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pans, then invert onto a cooling rack and allow the layers to cool completely, about 30 minutes. To assemble, split each layer horizontally. Spread split layers with lime curd. Spread in between the two cakes with frosting and frost the outside (so looking at a cross section of the cake, you'd have cake/curd/cake/frosting/cake/curd/cake/frosting).

Lime Curd

It's perfectly acceptable to use jarred lime curd here, if you can find it. If you can't, this is actually pretty easy.

3/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 c. water

2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 T. butter

1 T. grated lime zest (3 limes)

5 T. fresh lime juice (3 limes)

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in water. Place pan over medium heat and cook until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 3-4 minutes. Boil, stirring 1 minute and remove from heat. Spoon about 1/2 c. of hot mixture into a bowl with egg yolks and stir to combine. Then return egg mixture to the saucepan. Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until curd is thickened and lemon-colored, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, zest and juice. Cool.

Limey White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 8oz pkg cream cheese

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 T fresh lime juice (1 lime)

1 t. grated lime zest (1 lime)

4-5 c. powdered sugar

Mix together cream cheese and butter. Add everything else and mix until smooth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

aaaahhhhhhh, summer.

Honestly, if I were any more in love with my garden, I would have to marry it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

look creativity in the eye and call it what you will

I was talking to my sister on the phone this morning. Just prior to her call, we saw the forecast for another hazy, hot and humid day, and I announced "It's craft day!" to my kids. Thankfully, we're sporting the super-size A/C in our kitchen window. It comes in handy on days like this.Apparently the background noise was too much, because twice she had to ask "What?" to which I replied "It's craft day."
"Crap day?" I heard on the other end.(laughing) I asked "did you just say what I thought you said? We're having C-R-A-F-T day," I spelled.
"no, but if it was at my house, I'd call it crap day" she said.

I knew exactly what she was talking about. The fall-out from a day of crafting is HUGE. It took hours to clean the kitchen. But just look at those paper flowers! The embroidered eyeglass case! The future puppet shows just waiting to happen! And doo-dads that will be loved and collect dust forevermore. I love and must promote craft day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the mindset list

In honor of our sending a son off to college in a week, I present to you an
an interesting list compiled each year for the last 12 years by Beloit College, to remind professors that incoming freshmen do not share compatible references with staff who are usually a few decades older. It might not be a good idea to use Watergate as a reference point when the professor is thinking Nixon, and the student is thinking the apartment complex in which Monica Lewinsky lived. It made me think about the advertising campaigns going on when I was in my formative years--I can sing the Oscar Meyer song with clarity, and I've always wanted to find out exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. Oh, and how about my ability to recite the "Two all-beef patties special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun" jingle without missing a syllable? Can you reference any of those? Or is the product line of your youth just a tad different from mine?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I already had it.

"the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
Here is my book selection for this weekend/week/month... I'm not sure where I left off here, but I have still been trying to give myself the gift of reading. I've had an incredible time of late--uniquely full of stuff that most people would consider BAD: Lice, a sister struggling to recover from unwanted major surgery and a surprise diagnosis, sharing lice, my dad with yet another form of cancer, my brother with cellulitis, bells palsy, debilitating headaches and Lime disease, lice that won't vanish, and an uncle diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It has felt like walking into a cold, drippy rain shower that keeps taking a turn for the worse. I feel sad, angry and exhausted but strong. I want to help. I want to work through it all. I took the kids to the library last week and found myself drawn to the title of this book, and grabbed it at the last minute as I headed toward the circulation desk. I didn't even notice the tiny subtitle on the cover page; the book I checked out said "A Celebration" on the front, not "A Christmas Poem" as seen below. Either way, I felt connected to the premise that bad things happen. And bad things happen when we least expect them, throwing us a little off balance from time to time. And I wanted to read about Maya Angelou's interpretation of this amazing peace.
I know where to turn for peace. I feel centered by the peace I find in my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe in Christ. I know that my amazing peace comes from knowing that Christ has already lived through the pain, sorrow and anguish that we may feel now, or have yet to feel in our lives. But it doesn't stop the emotion. And the amazing peace [and strength] that comes from knowing that Christ knows me personally does not stop the heartache and wanting to take away the pain that others are required to endure.I read this book as I was climbing into bed the other night. It only took about 10 minutes. The opening lines read like this:

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Floodwaters await in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and gray and threatening.

And then I started to weep. Thunder has rumbled my mountains. The eaves of my personal house are rattling so loudly at times that I can hardly hear myself think. The floodwaters that are my tears, I know are waiting in the avenues of my emotions. And man, does my village feel unprotected.
I know that I need to be able to experience the raw emotion of sadness, sorrow, anger, pain, fear and grief because it's right. And good. Hard things happen. I can't stop that. I know where to turn for peace, but when I look around me at the hard things everywhere, I want to give outlet to the vulnerable frailty that is part of my humanness. Reading this book did not provide any great enlightenment on where to find peace, rather it helped me to think about dwelling a bit longer in the hard place, instead of exusing it away to hurry and get to peace. It made me think about the process of reaching peace. And that it's a journey to get there. It needn't be rushed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Come and play.

Is Jesus your friend?
First, you go to this link, and watch a classic video because it's just TOO good to pass up.
Second, you link it to your blog and share the good news!
and have a great weekend~

Friday, August 14, 2009

for daddy

because he took the training wheels off last night.


When I'm not nurturing children, I'm taking care of this little plot. Because heaven knows I'd much rather be out here than looking at all the corners of my house that need cleaning. We're finally getting tomatoes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 the rescue!

Bears! Meteors! Apathetic brothers! And our very own wild thing takes them ALL on [very bravely]...

Thank goodness for "Safety Backpack!"