Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Better Rhythm

Such a long day today. Homeschooling middles, chasing littles, cooking, cleaning, laundering, cleaning again, budgeting, planning, talking, washing, praying. Ending up around the dinner table with frozen pizzas and a very tired Mama.

And then, everything changed. 

He came home. 

It's amazing to me how the atmosphere in our home changes when The Builder is here. Everyone seems to work a little harder, moving together in a better rhythm. He doesn't complain about the frozen pizza. He's just grateful to be able to eat with his family. And, of course, as soon as he walked in the door he opened his arms to me for a long embrace, taking away all the frustrations of the day. God has blessed me with the most wonderful man I've ever met.

And now, after dinner, he took the littles and the middles outside for a bit to give me a moment of quiet. But the birds are chirping, and my children are laughing, and the goats are calling for their supper, and my husband is out there while I am in here. So I'm going to go out to join them. Because that's where I belong.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Corn Chowder

I made corn chowder for dinner. Everyone loved it. I mean they LOVED it. I didn't really follow a recipe, just looked at a few different ones, combined what sounded good, and started with a lot of butter. Everything is better when you start with butter, right?

So, here's the 'recipe' so I'll be able to make it again someday. Because if I don't post it, I'll never remember what I put in it. Oh, and you can try it, too.

  • Start with a lot of butter in a dutch oven. No, really, put in more. Okay, now a bit more. There, that looks good. Actually I used about a cup of butter. 
  • Then add some onions. Not a lot, because Zach doesn't like them. Just a little for flavor. Or more if you're not feeding Zach. (Really, this is how I cook.)  Cook the onion in the butter until it's transparent. Or until Zach comes in and looks in the pot and wrinkles his nose when he sees the onions.
  • Now look in the fridge for some ham. Yep, found some. Deli sliced ham. Slice it into little squares. Add it to the onions and butter. I think I used about 10 slices. Bacon (already cooked) would work well instead.
  • Now add about a cup or so of chicken stock. Homemade is best. Store bought works just as well.
  • Add 3 cans of creamed corn. Yes, 3 cans. I know you don't like creamed corn, but it will taste fine. Trust me. 
  • Peel and dice some potatoes. I dice them small, like a half-inch square. They cook faster that way and they're cute little bite size pieces. It looks pretty. I used maybe 7 small potatoes. Maybe more. Maybe less. It's whatever I had left in the bag.
  • Cook all this together stirring pretty frequently because everything really wants to stick to the bottom of the pan. It will if you answer the phone or wash the dishes. So don't be tempted. Pay attention. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Taste one to see.
  • Then add about 1 1/2 (yes, one AND one-half) cups of half and half. Whole milk won't cut it. Just do it. You'll thank me. Simmer gently until it's all heated through. Don't boil.
  • Make some quick homemade baking powder biscuits to go with it. You could do this while the potatoes are cooking. Just don't forget to stir the chowder. Enjoy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April - in like a Lion?

Once again, I lack regular posting. Let me tell you, this has been and eventful winter. We've had so many viruses visiting us, we've reserved them space in the guest room. I wish they'd go away. The most recent attacks have been a coughing fit that lasted about 2 weeks, ending with a sinus infection for me. Then we had a very sexist stomach virus visit. It only attacked the females of the house. Funny thing is, even the dog was sick. And that one hit while The Builder was away on business. The good news is that he was able to avoid it, but then again, all the other males in the house avoided it as well.  I think we're finally done. After all, spring is here! We can tell when we look out the window and see..... over a foot of snow. Oh yes, God definitely has a sense of humor. He's celebrating April Fools' Day here in the northeast. My crocuses are weeping.

Yesterday was a much springier day. It was almost 50 degrees out, so we all partook of the warmth and sunlight. I did some light yard work, just picking up some of the branches that had fallen in the yard over the winter and tossing them into a pile in the woods. Emma was doing it, too. I asked her if she was helping me clean up the yard. She said, "No. Emma throw stuff." Forget the cleaning up, the joy of throwing stuff won. Good thing she kept throwing it into the same pile in the woods.  Sophie spent her time realizing that she could walk around the yard on her own. She diligently avoided the remaining snow piles, and the dog mines, thank you Abby.

I'm starting to get some of my old energy back. Unfortunately, the project list is huge from not doing any inside the house projects over the winter, and now that spring is (supposedly) here, there's a huge outside the house project list to be added. It will be interesting to see what gets done (and what doesn't) over the next few months.


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