Some days.

I need to remember that some days it’s okay to ditch the dishes and go do puzzles with your son. It’s okay to ignore the toys and clothes on the floor and do your best to dance around (and over) them instead. It’s okay to forgo exercises in favor of introducing your daughter to Pride & Prejudice.

There will always be dishes and messes and laundry,  but time with children is limited and precious. They won’t always ask me to do things with them. Not like this. I’m endeavoring to make sure I’m available for them now, because later I’ll have all the time in the world for cleaning.*

Today is turning into a cuddle day full of pickles (to which my children are devoted**), chocolate (to which I am devoted), and, yes, Pride & Prejudice. It’s making the 7 or so loads of laundry I need to fold marginally more fun.

* I’m in no way saying don’t have a cleaning routine or always drop everything to follow a child’s whim. There is a time for throwing routine to the wind, but it shouldn’t be at the [long-term] expense of the home.

** Have you ever had the Garlic, Dill, & Onion Nalley Elites? Glorious mouthfuls of petite pickles and the new favorite in the house.

Outdoor Flowers

The kids and I have been spending as much time outside as we can, because not only have the recent days been warm, they have also been mostly devoid of wind. Given that we live somewhat out on an exposed point, this is an occurrence that doesn’t happen frequently so I take advantage of it whenever possible.

I don’t know what this ground cover is, as it was here when we moved in. It’s pretty though, and prolific!

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I don’t know what this is either for the same reason, but it looks like a variety of Agapanthus to me. It grows as a wildflower around here, but this one picked a flower bed.

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Allium

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I didn’t know about Allium until last year when the Dearliest came back from a hike holding this tall purple flower that looked suspiciously onion-ish. I did some research to identify it, then when opportunity presented itself I acquired a bunch of bulbs, because they are cool and kinda weird and DEER LEAVE THEM ALONE. Maybe because of the relation to onion and garlic? I have a second, smaller variety but they’re not in bloom yet.

Centaurea–Bachelor’s Button

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First blossom of the season! There is another more wild variety of Centaurea that grows as a weed around here. Lovely, very cute tiny blossoms. They start blooming as the rest of the wildflowers are dying off and thusly insures that my driveway is lined with flowers until the first frost.

Lilac

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The lilacs on are their way out now, but they’re still pretty and wonderfully fragrant.

Miniature Iris

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This is the last blossom of the season, and I think this is my favorite of the irises that were already established here when we moved in. It’s little (grows about 6″ high) and I love the icy shade of blue/purple!

There are about a dozen other patches of various irises getting ready to bloom, as well as several peonies and acres of wild roses. Summer, bring it on!

Indoor Flowers

There are few places in my house where I can keep plants that a) get adequate sunlight and b) get adequate protection from little hands. In fact, now that I think about it, I really do only have one spot. This kinda explains why my kitchen windowsill is often packed with pots, I suppose. I’ve tried other areas but everything seems to end up there.

As a tangent, I have a very strange kitchen. The sink is large and in a corner that makes doing dishes by hand rather impractical. There is a dishwasher, but when the door is down you have about 1 square foot of floor space in front of the sink. Trippage, much? I have fallen over that door a couple times taking dishes out of the sink to put in the dishwasher. Bad planning on someone’s part, although ultimately on my part for tripping, I suppose.

But this post wasn’t meant to be about my dishwasher or about my kitchen sink, except to say that the unfortunate location of the sink means I have a decent corner shelf behind said sink that’s under a good East-facing window, and this is where my green brood lives.

I probably shouldn’t use the word “brood”. I don’t talk to my plants, honest.

Here are a few of the current blooming specimens (now I sound like I keep experiments…which may or may not be true):

African Violet

I need to research what can cause browning on the leaves. I’m very careful not to get water on them, but I really don’t know that much about African Violets. I sure do like the color of this one! That’s probably why The Dearliest brought it home to me.

The Shrimp Plant

Such an odd creature! My husband’s grandmother and my SIL picked it out for me. I enjoy unusual plants, and I’m excited that it survived my accidental over-watering last year. I feel like giggling every time I see a blossom…

Purple Shamrock

Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I married an Irishman. ‘Nuff said.

Lily

Unfortunately I can’t remember the specific variety, but I don’t remember encountering it before The Dearliest brought it home. I tried doing an image search but didn’t want to spend a lot of time looking.

ETA: A friend commented and informed me this is a peace lily. Thank you!

Side Note: In the searching I found a pic of a white spider lily. How cool is that?

Here’s to a very promising, bloom-filled summer!

Project Emerald: Part One

Shirts, shirts, shirts!

Actually, this is less than half of what I have, and the more I work with these, the more I’m thinking I ought to make a smaller blanket and…something else? Two smaller blankets? A pillow or two? I need to do some research, because all I know is that I’m not liking the monstrosity my mind conjures up when I think of all this fabric in one quilt. And not just the fabric, but the weight! It’s fairly heavy cotton, and once I add batting and backing…well, I just don’t know if we’d really use it as one, ginormous quilt.

I was sooooo happy once I had all the shirts pieced out! A bag for buttons, and a bag for smaller elements like cuffs and collars. The most important thing I learned during this stage is I MUST get a rotary cutter! I pieced out two shirts by hand before asking my SIL if I could borrow her cutter and mat. So. Much. Easier. My word, I can’t imagine the length of time this would have taken me otherwise!

Next step: Ironing (again) and cutting pieces down to size. We shall revisit this project in, oh, I dunno. A year?

Pancakes

The other day I made pancakes for breakfast. While the pancakes were cooking I started some bread dough, but then I had to leave the kitchen unexpectedly (three kids, go figure). When I returned to the kitchen I paused for just a moment, because this is what I saw:

It was easy enough to figure out, but I still made a mental note to Not Do That Again. It did drive me to wonder what would happen if I tried to make pancakes out of the first stage of my bread dough, but I can’t claim to be curious enough to actually try it.

Anyway. Pancakes!

When I married the Dearliest and moved out of my parents’ home, I took a number of recipes with me, and through the years I have tweaked all of them in some respect to suit my whimsy.  Except one. This one. It’s that good, and nearly everyone who has ever had these pancakes raves about them. It’s one of my most requested recipes, and guess what! Today I’m sharing it here.

Pancakes

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in your frying pan(s) over medium heat. In a large bowl sift together:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

In a separate bowl combine:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups milk

Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until smooth. Ladle the batter into the skillet(s) and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Serves 4-6. Leftovers toast up well.

Some disjointed thoughts on the occurance of our 5th anniversary.

The Dearliest and I recently shared our 5th anniversary. In some ways, 5 years seems like a long time and I feel like I have learned so much and understand far more than I did before matrimony. Then I realize how short a time 5 years really is, and in 30+ years I’ll probably look back on this and laugh at how little I really knew.

Being married and having children has made me a more selfless person. This is not to say all selfish tendencies have been erased, because I still horde chocolate like a fiend and wait for the children to sleep before eating it (hee!).  What it does mean is that more often than not, I think about my family before I think about me, and this has made me a better person.

The Dearliest repeatedly drives me to consider things outside my comfort zone. As someone who thrives on the predictability of routine, this has not always been easy. He’s never forceful about it, and in fact rarely outright says, “do this,” but in just being him, I want to be more. Do more. Like learning about firearms (and how to shoot them), learning how to prep and slow roast a chicken (when we were first married the thought of handling any form of raw meat repulsed me exceedingly, even the ready to cook stuff), and learning how to sew (yes, he taught me how to sew).  He changed how I viewed God and the Bible dramatically, and this is perhaps the thing for which I’m most grateful.

Gratefulness. How far a little gratefulness can go… Even in the worser times (I’m not sure I can claim “the worst” after only 5 years), I purposed to be grateful and have a good attitude. The Dearliest told me several times after the fact that my decision to be grateful made easier the burdens he had to bear and the situations not so dire. It meant a great deal to me that he told me this, and it refueled my desire to always be cheerful in my gratefulness. I’m quite sure I haven’t always succeeded in the endeavor, but it’s one of my constant strivings.

I thank God for the Dearliest every day, and I consider myself privileged and blessed to be the one he comes home to.

I love him.

A Walk on Belfast

Those who’ve been reading my blog for a while know several things about my musical background.

1) I grew up in a very musical home. Everyone in my family plays at least two instruments.

2) If I’m not listening to or playing classical music, Celtic is probably what you’re hearing.

3) My list of “instruments to learn to play one day” consists of harp, French horn, and one other that’s escaping my mind at the moment (which is actually kinda horrifying since I’ve had this list established since I was 17).

Anyway, I recently put on a Celtic harp cd (in fact, I think it’s called Celtic Harp), and while it’s one I’ve listened to a great deal, it’s been a while. I’d forgotten how much I loved one of the tracks, and guess what? There’s a YouTube video of a harpist performing it so I get to share it with you!

I originally searched YouTube to see if someone had transcribed “A Walk on Belfast” for piano, but it looks like I’ll have to do it for myself. That or use the piece as incentive to learn to play harp, but that could be rather expensive since I don’t have a harp yet!

Enjoy.

(It has a lengthy intro, which I think is lovely but if you’re impatient skip to 1:34.)