Sunday, September 14, 2008

September Chores And a Bit 'O Relaxin'

Sorry I've been MIA for a couple days. Just been busy. Lots o' laundry, reorganizing (and decluttering) the kitchen, working in the dining room, the living room, outside, tending the garden, planting garlic..... and, of course, all the while I've got plans bouncing around my head for future projects, It just never ends! Fortunately, most of it is enjoyable in one way or another.

Friday, we went to town, a day late. What a difference a day makes! We found Friday, most everywhere we went was much busier than Thursdays tend to be. We also found it a bit entertaining to note the comments from folks at the Library, and the retail shops we frequent. "Today's not Thursday!" "Where were you yesterday?" Most understood when we explained it was just too nice on Thursday to spend the day driving to town and spending most of our time inside their fine establishments.

Last week, "Clan Of The Cave Bear" drew me in so completely that I could barely wait to continue the saga. Friday, while at the library, I picked up the second book in the series, "Valley Of Horses", and began reading it that night. I'm really enjoying following Ayla's journey. The kids each filled their book bags to capacity for their weeks reading. Lindsay has been focusing on dog related books for quite some time. She must've finally realized we probably aren't going to be getting a dog any time soon. This week, she chose books related to hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits. We weren't surprised to note most of the books Nathan came home with were related to gardening.

Saturday Night At The Movies

This weeks feature event was brought to us by Netflix. "No Deposit, No Return", an "oldie", was an entertaining diversion for all four of us. The kids were laughing throughout the film, and Pa and I had our share of chuckles as well. Pa and I also enjoyed seeing some familiar faces from our youth, including Don Knotts, Barbara Feldon, and several others. Another thing I enjoy about the older films, we don't have to worry so much about content. Those were the days when family films were truly child friendly, while being entertaining enough for all. I have to wonder at what point it was decided that comedy relied on crude language, sexual undertones, and/or cruel jabs in order to be considered funny enough to be successful. Ah well. At least the classics are still available for viewing, and there are a few new releases that fit the bill.

Last night's bean night wasn't a complete success, but it tasted good. I was pleased to find my whole family enjoyed the flavor of my newest baked beans experiment. However, we have discovered it pays to be picky about the beans we purchase. Beans are one item we will not be scrimping on, purchasing from the grocery outlet. In the future, we will willingly pay the wee bit more it costs to purchase fresher from the regular groceries. Seems no matter how long we soak and cook them, the cheaper, older beans just don't soften up. I made a double batch, as usual, and despite their extra firm consistency, we did manage to consume half of them. The other half is now in the freezer, awaiting my hopefully magic transformation into something more satisfying the second time around.

The stovetop cornbread we had on the side was equally semi successful. Last time I made it, a good portion of the bottom was burned, so I decided to try experimenting to see if I could negate that aspect. Rather than pouring the batter directly into the dutch oven, I oiled another pan, which I then placed inside the dutch oven for baking. I also placed the pan off center from the flame, and turned it a quarter turn every 10 minutes or so. Proceeding in this manner resulted in a slightly slower cooking process, which was fine and , rather than being burned, the bottom was a lovely, slightly crunchy golden brown. Perfect! Only problem was, we weren't able to enjoy the whole bottom layer. It stuck! Next time, I think I'll try greasing the "inner" pan with shortening (or bacon grease) and dusting it with a bit of cornmeal before pouring the batter in. I'll get this figured out yet! At least I seem to be on the right track :)

My second load of laundry is about finished washing. Time to grab my basket and get it all out on the line so I can get my morning dishes done, and on to the next chore!

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