Friday, August 21, 2009


I've been trying to use some of my time to prepare for the schedule change on August 31. I'm trying to put in place a good system for keeping things organized to save myself a bit of time and energy once I start working again. I've tackled a couple of the places that have piled up over the last few months, and I really want to make a dent in the basement storage room so we can get my parents' chest freezer in there and actually use it!

 The list so far:

Reorganize the pantry. DONE 8/21

Clean out the master bedroom closet. DONE 8/21

Clean off the sewing table. DONE 8/24

Reorganize the linen closet.

Reorganize the boys' craft supplies. DONE 8/25

Repair the border in Ezra's room (that he has partially peeled off in a few places)

Dive into the basement storage room. Hope to come out alive. DONE 8/24

And as a bonus, I'd like to actually sew the blouse that's been cut out for a week now.


Thank I can get it all done by next Wednesday? I'm going to try to get through the linen closet and the sewing table today. If you see me online anywhere yell at me- okay?

8/24 Made it through my goals for the basement. There's another 2 stacks of boxes, but you can actually see the floor now. Now to get through the linen closet and re-discover my sewing table!

8/24 I found the sewing table. The linen closet? Not so much.

8/25 Completely overhauled the shelves and art supplies. Pictures to come. :)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our favorite Tomato Soup

Posted here because I don't want to figure this out for the fourth time:

Our Tomato Soup

1/2 onion minced

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

6 cups of chopped tomatoes (If you have a little kitchen helper like I do, let them squish the tomatoes between their fingers over the pot before they drop them in. That's Ender's very favorite cooking thing ever.)

3 cups chicken stock,

3 tablespoons of butter

a bit of flour- maybe a tablespoon or two.

1/2 cup-ish of milk or cream- we usually use whole milk since that what Ezra drinks, therefore what we have around.

about a tablespoon of sugar

salt and pepper to taste.

Saute the onion and garlic in a very small amount of olive oil. Enough to saute, not enough to leave an oily film on the top of your soup. Add the tomatoes and stock and boil covered until mostly mushy- about 15-20 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender or pour the tomato mixture into your regular blender. Blend it together til you're happy with the texture, then if you want to get rid of the bits of skin in there use a mesh strainer to strain out those skin pieces. We leave it all in.

Back in the pot, throw in the butter, melt it down a bit then add flour. This will thicken your soup, so you can fudge with the amounts a bit to make your soup thinner or thicker. Whisk until there aren't many lumps, then add a bit of the tomato mixture to it and whisk that in too til the lumps are gone.

Back in your blender if you still have room, add your milk. If there isn't, pour the rest of the tomato mixture back into your pot and whisk the milk in. The 1/2 cup thing is definitely a 1/2 cup-ish sort of thing. I pour a little, whisk a little, pour a little, whisk a little- until it looks like it's a good shade of red. After that I taste it and then add some sugar (somewhere around a tablespoon) and salt and pepper to taste.

We like to have this with breadsticks- great for dipping. :)

This recipe makes enough for the 4 of us to eat our fill on super hungry days, but usually we have enough for Superman or I to have a bowl the next day. Ender and Superman top it with cheese, I top with a bit of sour cream. Ezra doesn't seem to care yet. Superman really wants me to make it with some crumbled bacon next time, but that wouldn't be so good on the old diet, would it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've spent the last few weeks in a frenzy of creating. You wouldn't know that by looking around this blog in the last few weeks, but I've made a new skirt, finished the quilt top to a picnic blanket I promised Ender not long ago, and have hemmed and repaired more pairs of Brian's work pants than I care to admit. I spent last weekend knitting as we drove 7 hours away and 7 hours back.

The truth is that the school year starts too soon. I have 17 short days (and 3 of them out of town) left before I start back to my fulltime schedule and I want to get every second out of them- I'm almost out of time.

In a few short weeks I'll be back to work teaching little fingers to curve on piano keys, bows to pull smoothly across strings, and encouraging the older ones that all is not lost over one little mistake. It's my job to figure out exactly where their musical fears lie and to help them deal with them through lots of repetition, strengthening,  and sometimes telling them that they are brave enough to jump in and face those fears head-on.

Crafting goes out the window for awhile in September. All my energy goes into creating and molding a love of music in my students, in their parents, in my own children. At first it's all I can do to get out of the studio at the end of the night and spend good time with my kids before they sleep and I crash into bed soon after.

But it will only be a few short weeks until I have the itch to sew or knit or just MAKE SOMETHING. I have learned in the last year that I'm not bound to musical creativity just because that is what I have known and loved all my life. I've been really learning to sew this year beyond the straight lines my mom taught me as a kid. I taught myself to knit just last winter and can't seem to stop.

I need to be busy; I must MAKE something.

New skirt, new toys, new musicians- something.

And even with all the making of things I love I don't want to give up a single bit of this extra time with my kids- over the next 17 days there isn't a single minute scheduled for the studio- I just get to be with my boys and enjoy every bit of them. So I suppose I'll just continue to spend these long days with them and stay up late to craft after they sleep. I suppose I'll have to learn to only moan a little when Ezra gets up at his blessed 6 a.m.  after I've been up til midnight sewing. The days are too short, the moments too sweet. I cherish these days and these kisses and "loves".

Sunday, August 16, 2009




Outside my window...

Crickets and quiet. It's late and everyone is asleep but me.

I am thinking...

about Stephanie and her strength and resilience, her spirit, her sense of humor- everything that I know of her is so very wonderful, down to her frail humanity. If you have not read her story before, it is a difficult tale. I had just found her blog last year in late July and loved her portraits of life and her joy in motherhood and marriage. It was only a few weeks later that there was an update that Stephanie and her husband had been in a terrible plane crash but had both survived. Now it is a year later and their lives are so very different than before but the focus is still there- faith, their children, their love for each other . . .


I am thankful for...

My husband. I don't say this enough- I don't even know if I can. This was such a great weekend with him and I'm already preparing myself for the loneliness that will come in the next few weeks as he starts his last and hardest year of school. Only 9 more months.
In our learning ...

Ezra is fast learning the names for colors and Ender is working diligently to write his name. I think he'd write it again and again until he gets it "right" - his word, not mine. The perfectionist streak in that child may be wider than mine.
From the Kitchen...

I need to find a way to use about a gazillion jalapeno peppers in the next 2 days. I already gave away as many as people would take and STILL I have a big old bowl. It all came off of one plant, so I didn't over plant, but really- how many jalepenos can you reasonably use?

I am wearing...

My favorite jersey jammies. I'll be glad to be back in my own bed tonight after being gone all weekend.


I am creating...

a new shirt, finishing some socks, and I'm working on "letter D" for our letter of the week plans.


I am reading...

Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey, Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and In the Spirit of the Studio, edited by Lella Gandini.


I am hoping and praying...

for the families who have lost their loved ones these past days, particularly the Snow family and the Barrett family. My thoughts are also with the Reed's family over the next few weeks as the prepare for the anniversary of his passing.


Around the House...

There is much to be done since this is my off week before the school year begins. We have a few day trips planned so those days the house will be quiet and stay clean, and on the other days we're doing a pre-fall clean- pulling out fall clothes to see what still needs to be purchased or made before cool weather comes, checking on tennis shoe sizes, cleaning out closets, and carpet cleaning.

One of my favorite things...

My sleeping boys, paritcularly after they've had a good day full of time outdoors, rosy cheeks and time with extended family.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

a trip to the library, two day trips, the letter B, sewing, and helping Superman adjust to his much heavier school schedule. In and amongst the cleaning of course.

For other daybook entries, visit The Simple Woman.
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