Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Bit O Wood And Knittin' !

Yesterday was another fun filled yet busy day. We spent the afternoon about 2 miles away from our house, gleaning yet more wood. Looking around it was amazing to us to realize just how close we are to the home of the wild and the free. I guess it probably shouldn't be all that surprising, considering the wildlife that has visited our yard throughout the years. We expect to return to this site several times in the coming weeks, and will try to remember to take the time out from the fun and the work to get some photos.

In the meantime I do have a photo to share with you...I finally finished my very first knitted garment that I designed myself. I really had a lot of fun with it, starting with the idea of a basic textured t-shirt style. Naturally, as with my kitchen experiments, I become a bit more creative as the garment began taking shape . As well as being my first attempt at designing, it also included my very first placket !

There was a reason I chose this shirt for my first attempt. After searching what seemed like endless sources for a pattern for a short sleeved light shirt for a teen or preteen boy I was becoming more than a little frustrated. The only patterns I could find for that size range were for warm, bulky sweaters! Although I have nothing against sweaters, our winters don't tend to be cold enough for the most part to warrant such garments as everyday wear, so I wanted something a bit lighter, more of a year round type garment. Finally I decided to heck with it. If I couldn't find what I wanted, then I'd just have to create one of my own. The following photo shows the result of my grand experiment. Pictured with Nathan, is Lindsay, sporting the lighter weight garment I knitted for her over the summer. I found the pattern for Lindsay's top online but found the fit was off around the neckline, so we did some modifications. Lindsay and I were both very happy with the end result. And didn't my children chose nice yarn for their garments?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thank You, Marcia!

Thank you so much, Marcia! It means so much to me that you find my blog worthy of this award!

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are :1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to other 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.
Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I am honored to recieve this award and it is with pleasure that I pass this award on to those I find worthy!

First, I would like to pass this award on to Bev, at Emma's Daughter Designs. Bev was off line for awhile, for various reasons, but is back again, posting about her life, and her knitting pursuits. She is an incredibly talented lady, and has such a wonderful way with words. I hope you stop by her blog. I just know you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Next, I would like to honor my daughter, Kimmi, at Musings of A Pastry Case. Kimmi's talents are many, and she seems to be adding to her list of talents all the time. Her main interest is cooking and baking. Unfortunately, she hasn't figured out how to transfer the tastes of her creations through cyberspace, but she does share photos, and some great descriptions, along with glimpses into her life beyond her culinary experiments.

Dorothy, at Grammology is the third person I'd like to mention. Dorothy is an exceptional lady. She has experienced much adversity in her life, including medical trials, and has met those challenges with a strength and grace that is truly inspiring. Her thoughts on life and family are thought invoking and inspiring as well. Her site is well worth a visit!

Connie, at Play Wit Me Nana is another blog that enjoy. Connie is so generous in sharing her life with her Grandchildren, including her very talented, and adorable Granddaughter. Her blog always leaves me smiling.

Another favorite of mine is Alexandra, at Happy Hearts At Home. Alexandra is another Homeschooling Mom, who posts some great frugal ideas, and links for Homeschooling, Crafts and household needs.

My sister, Carol, at Too Many Hats is another I'd like to honor with this award. She does a great job of relating stories of her family life, both with words, and through photography.

I'll try to add to this later on. For the moment I need to get busy, as we have a lot we need to get done today.

I hope you all visit Marcia's wonderful blog, as well as the others I've listed here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Politics: Just For Fun

One of the things I decided when starting this blog was that I was going to do my level best to avoid political posts as much as possible. While I do have some very strong opinions just like everyone else, I also have friends and family who have opposing views. I could go on my soapbox and make my strong opinions known but I have to wonder what the point would be. I would gain atta girls from some, and alienate others.In the process I would have accomplished nothing worthwhile. Face it. No one is going to change their mind because of anything I say. And so it is I am finding myself sitting on my hands, biting my tongue, taking a deep breath, reminding myself to "just say no"

On that note, there is a little something that has occurred to me in recent months. "Just for fun", I did a search and was actually rather surprised to find what I was searching for so easily. "Just for fun", I am inviting you to visit this site and take a little peek into history. It's not a long trip into history. The journey begins with our current president and proceeds backwards into time through 6 Presidents who have preceded him in serving our nation. There is actually very little reading involved, and you have the option of skipping the reading portion all together if you choose. Just look at the pictures..

When you are finished browsing through the pictorial history lesson, I would ask you to do one more thing. Go to most any news site, or just open a current newspaper that may be laying around the house. I'm guessing finding photos of each of the current Presidential candidates will be less than challenging. Take a good look at each of them, and one at a time, imagine what they would look like after 4 then 8 years in the Oval Office.

Remember, it's "just for fun"

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Another fantastic weekend is coming to an end. Fortunately, our weekdays are tend to be fun as well so we're not experiencing any real sense of loss.

Thursday's trip to town was another fun one. Our first stop, the Library was particularly interesting to me this time. They have a Native American exhibit up, featuring tribes from the PNW. In addition to the exhibit they had available, upon request, teachers materials on the same subject. Being of Native American descent , naturally, I jumped on that. The materials are intended for older students, but I think I can work them in just the same.

The Grocery Outlet offered some good bargains this last week, including some baking pans I was in need of. We ended up saving more than we spent once again. I just love when that happens! At Albertson's, I stopped by the bakery and inquired as to the possibility of acquiring bread bags for my homemade bread. The young woman who was working really did her best to get me an answer, but ended up telling me I needed to check back when the manager was working. Fortunately, the manager is scheduled to be on duty next Thursday when we will again be heading into town, so hopefully I'll be coming home with the needed bags then.

For the last couple months, I've been scrambling to get my laundry caught up prior to the seasonal weather change. In particular I wanted to get all the bedding done up, as they take up so much room when I need to dry them inside. I was incredibly frustrated in my search for two sets of Nathan's sheets, including his flannel sheets which are so nice during the cooler months. Yesterday, I happened to be rummaging through his closet, pulling clothing that no longer fit and all. In the corner of said closet I noticed something that looked familiar. The sheets! Both sets all crumpled up, stashed in the corner, looking so forgotten and alone. They are now stashed in a different place, the washer, where they will be taking a spin within the hour. Fortunately, today promises to be a beautiful sunny day, so I should be able to get them laundered and dried. I'm a happy Ma!

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last night we were treated to a truly great film! The kids had gone through the selections at Netflix and chosen a film called The Yearling. It did look like one they'd enjoy and I placed it at the top of the list so it would be here in time for their weekend viewing. After it had been moved up to shipping status I took a closer look at it, and noticed it was made in 1946. Hmmm. I gotta admit, I felt a twinge of concern over that. Oh well. It was a done deal so may as well just sit back and hope for something they would enjoy at some level. After supper we popped the movie in and sat back to watch it. What a wonderful surprise! It was a great movie! Starring Jane Wyman and Gregory Peck, it featured great acting as well as being a good story, packed full of valuable life lessons, which had the added bonus of providing us with some great family conversation once the movie had ended. All four of us were riveted through the entire film. I highly recommend this title for family viewing, although I will mention there are some parts which may be confusing or disturbing for the very young.

I need to get a new batch of laundry detergent made so I can get those sheets washed up and hanging out on the line. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kitchen Fun 'N" Brainstorming

Today is Library/shopping day! It's also Costco day! We're looking forward to receiving our Costco shipment almost as much as our trip to town!

Yesterday, I had hoped to make some yeast bread, but by the time I finished with everything else I had run out of time, so I made do with a loaf of quick bread instead. Rather than the usual banana bread I thought I'd try something different. I found a recipe for peanut butter bread, and added some chocolate chips to the batter. As it turns out, it was a better choice than the yeast bread for a couple reasons. First off, I realized I only have one bread pan, and if I'm going to put the time and effort into making yeast bread, I figure I may as well bake more than one loaf at a time. Naturally, a loaf pan is on today's shopping list. Secondly, we didn't do as much grocery shopping last week as usual and we were out of dessert options for the kids. The peanut butter bread, with the addition of the chocolate chips made for an excellent alternative for that. It was good last night, but I'm really looking forward to sampling it again today as, generally speaking, I've found quick breads tend to be much more flavorful the second day.

With the addition of a working oven, I'm finding new inspiration almost daily. I've decided I'd like to start baking my own bread for my family, rather than relying on the overpriced, preservative laden breads available at the grocery. Upon thinking that over a bit, I realized recycling the bread bags from previous bread purchases wasn't going to get me very far for storing my homemade creations. What to do? I looked online and found various sources of plastic bags for sale, ranging in price from better than $7 for 2 bags, to $80 + for 1000 bags. Obviously the 1000 bags is a better deal, but I really don't think I need that many! Then I had a light bulb moment. We do our shopping in a relatively small community, which limits us in some ways, but also has it's benefits. Folks tend to be friendly, and helpful. The folks at the stores we frequent know us. Perhaps, if I ask real nice I may be able acquire some bread bags from the bakery dept. at the grocery store! Guess I'll be finding out today!

In my previous post I forgot to mention, in all the fun the kids and I were having, somehow my glasses got knocked off. It took me a moment to realize what had happened. As I looked down, I spotted them, laying on the ground, right in front of me. Unfortunately, at the same moment, I was taking a step forward, in an attempt to steady myself. It was too late to stop myself. I did manage to swerve a bit, so I didn't hit them head on. . I picked them up, and was amazed to note they hadn't broken. They were bent, and it was a challenge to get them bent back enough that I could place them back on my face. It took several more adjustments to actually keep them on my face, but it was doable, and I am now gazing through them again. Perhaps Dorothy was right, and we should stop off to grab a lottery ticket during our trip to town today!. ;-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Last Day In The Big Woods

We had a change of plans yesterday. Although the sun did come out in the afternoon, we didn't make out to glean more firewood. Pa made some phone calls in the morning, to BLM, Menasha, etc. to see what opportunities may be coming up for us to increase the size of our wood pile. The folks at BLM were quick to advise against going out because of the rain and the resulting muddy conditions, so we made the most of our time at home instead. Although the kids were a bit disappointed that we weren't heading out into the deep woods, they did have a good time. At one point they came in all excited, dragging Pa and Me out to see the very pretty web they had watched a spider construct, from start to finish. It was fun listening to their descriptions of the process.

Today was a different story. It was our last day to take advantage of our permit so we headed out as early as we could manage it. We had a great time. While Pa was busy sawing up the wood, the kids and I had nothing to do but play, and play we did! I'm pretty sure I got as much of a workout from our play as I did from hauling the wood to the truck! Nathan even decided to see if the name we gave him earlier in the year might have bestowed some magical flying powers.

Although it was a pretty impressive attempt, none of us noticed any actual lifting in the motion that might have indicated flight. Guess he forgot the name was "Featherless Natewarbler" , and I've never known of a featherless bird actually managing flight ;-)

Pa did keep us busy hauling wood though, and I'm happy to report the wood was in a much kinder mood today! We even managed to have a fine conversation with a BLM Forest Ranger, as well as the head Forester for our district. Once they had checked our paperwork to make sure we were legal we all just chatted it up for quite awhile. That ended up setting our timetable back a bit but that was okay. We learned alot from them, including the very welcome news that we will probably be able to get another permit for the same spot in the near future.

On the way back we experienced one more slight delay. We were all surprised when we had to stop the truck to wait for a flock of ten wild turkeys to move out of our way. They were just standing there. They finally moved, but as we passed Pa looked in the rearview mirror and noticed them all walking back out to the very same spot. Pa says he's pretty sure that was the farewell committee.

Once home, with the truck unloaded we all had a chance to sit down and relax. It was then we realized how worn out we were. We really did get a workout today! Although we're going to miss our fun in the woods, Pa and I are rather looking forward to a wee bit of recovery time. The kids are just going to have to make do with our own little patch of woods, at least until we manage to land another permit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Fun In The Boondocks

What a wonderful weekend we had! Just the four of us at home. Pa and Nathan got quite a bit of wood split. Lindsay jumped right in and helped with the stacking, and even got to split her first round of wood! The maul was too heavy for her, but she managed just fine once Pa got her set up with a wedge and the mallet. She was so proud!

Saturday night I had a chance to experiment with my oven again with a combination of ingredients that had been coming to me in spurts for the last week. It was a casserole that ultimately yielded 3 out of 4 thumbs up. Lindsay wasn't thrilled with it, but she didn't hate it either. At least she finished her plate. Everyone else had seconds, and are looking forward to leftovers.The thing she didn't like about it turned out to be the thing everyone else enjoyed. I had a heck of a time trying to come up with a name for this one, but wanted to share it with you all, so here goes:

Kicky Goulash

3 1/2 cups plain yogurt, drained for 4-6 hours
2 TBSP Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4-1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper (I did 24 grinds of the mill)
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can sliced olives (save a few for garnish if desired)
*1 can (6 oz.?) diced mild green chilies (optional)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste = 1/2 can water
7-8 oz. egg noodles, cooked
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus a bit more for garnish if desired)

Preheat oven to 350º

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil 'til tender. Add ground beef, breaking up as it cooks,salt and pepper. Cook and stir til meat is barely pink. Stir in sliced mushrooms, cover and let steam a couple minutes. Stir in tomato paste, 1/2 can water, and drained yogurt. Stir well, til no red streaks remain. Add shredded cheddar, chilies and olives. Mix together with cooked and drained noodles. Transfer to a baking dish (my 2 qt. dish barely contained it all, and a bit bubbled over into the oven, so either go with a slightly larger dish, or set it on a baking sheet) At this point I added a bit more shredded cheese and reserved olives to the top just to make it purty ;) Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or til bubbly.

6-8 servings

* Optional. This was the part Lindsay didn't like. It gives it a bit of a tang. If you prefer you might opt to saute some green bell pepper with the onion and garlic instead.

Saturday Night At The Movies

This weeks feature event was "Ice Age" (sorry, no link. IMDB isn't cooperating with me this morning), featuring the voice of Ray Romano. This animated film was a fun adventure and a meaningful story about relationships between rather unlikely friends, that the whole family enjoyed. Plenty of chuckles, and several "aaahs" for the tender moments. I think this film would be good for all audiences, including the very young.

Sunday was another busy, yet fun day at our Boondock home. We started our day with a breakfast prepared by Lindsay. She was inspired by a cookbook big sister, Kimmi had sent her, The Pooh Cook Book. She prepared, for her first time ever, a perfectly fluffy yet moist pan of scrambled eggs. She was so proud, and is looking forward to her next experiment.

Once fueled with all that protein, we were all ready to start our day. Pa and Nathan headed out and went to work on the woodpile once again, while Lindsay and I busied ourselves with household chores. We did all manage to take some time out for reading before supper time was upon us. This evening Pa treated us to a wonderful baked chicken meal. Afterwards, I sent Nathan out to get the bucket of vanilla ice cream while Lindsay and I took our turn at the stove. This time we were experimenting with dessert. It really turned out good! More Leftover Magic with rice!

Stovetop Chocolate Rice Pudding

About 2 cups cooked Rice
2 TBSP butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
Vanilla Ice Cream

Place cooked rice in heavy saucepan. Add milk to cover. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick (I figure it takes about 20 minutes) . Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat butter. When it begins to melt add remaining ingredients, except vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until it boils. Let it boil, while stirring for 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat, and allow to cool a bit before stirring in vanilla. Once the rice is cooked to desired thickness remove from heat and stir in the chocolate mixture.

Serve warm in bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

4-6 servings

Today, assuming the rain lets up in time, we're heading back out to the woods. We have 'til Tomorrow to finish up with this permit. Keep your fingers crossed that the wood is in a better mood this week!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

That Wood's Got Attitude!

Alrighty then! I guess it's a bit past time to post an update here! Sorry I've been MIA for so long. It's been a busy time in the Boondocks!

Last February we were fortunate enough to acquire a permit to get 2 cords of wood from a BLM site. It was a beautiful site. We were all four truly impressed with their harvesting methods, which left so many standing trees, as well as other smaller growth undisturbed. We believe in using not abusing, and it seemed to us that's what had been done at that site.

That 2 cords of wood helped us out a lot with our home heating, but it sure wasn't enough to keep us going into this season. A couple weeks ago we were thrilled to be able to get another permit, again with BLM. While last winter's site was impressive, this site purt near took our collective breath away. It is just gorgeous! They left a minimum of 80 trees per acre, and again, there was minimal under story damage. There are a couple small clear cuts to be seen if you look in the right direction, but other than that, the view is spectacular. I couldn't help but think what a lovely spot it would be for a home site. Of course BLM has other plans, so we just enjoyed it for the short time our visits allowed.

We had a great time gleaning wood from this site, and were thrilled with the diversity of the wood available. We got a good mixture including a bit of fir, some alder, and the biggest thrill of all, Myrtle wood! While the Myrtle was the biggest thrill, it was also the biggest challenge, and it actually seemed to have a mind of it's own!

All was going well until Wednesday afternoon. Pa was at the top of the hill sawing up the top portion of a Myrtle wood log.

Nathan and I were down at the bottom, staying safely out of the way until he finished, and Lindsay was patiently waiting in the back of the truck for us to finally bring some rounds over for her to stack neatly. When we heard the sound of silence signalling the saw shutting down, and saw Pa stand upright we knew it was safe to proceed. Nathan and I eagerly rushed over to the rounds waiting for us and began picking them up.

They were some good sized rounds, and even heavier than their size might indicate. We managed though. We each took a round over to the truck and helped Lindsay stack them before returning for more.

I saw Nathan grab one, and was leaning over to grab my large round when all of a sudden I felt a very painful pressure on my leg. One of the rounds at the top of the hill had rolled down, bounced off a branch along the ground and attacked me with so much force that it nearly knocked me over! I screamed, both from the pain and the shock of the surprise attack. My family all rushed over to see if I was alright. I replied in the affirmative as I leaned back to sit on a nearby log, grasping my leg. I sat there for several minutes before I decided to try standing up, just to make sure it wasn't broken. I'm happy to report I don't yet suffer from brittle bones ;-)

Once I had limped around a bit to get the feel of walking again we all set to work, finishing the job we'd started. I felt a sharp pain on occasion but was able to put it off and keep up with my family. Once the truck was loaded to the point of overkill, we all hopped in and headed for home. About 90 minutes later we arrived home and my family all spilled out of the truck, eager to get started unloading all the wood. I, however had a bit of a problem. I did manage to get out of the truck but was surprised at the pain I felt when I put weight on my leg. I helped unload the wood in spite of Pa and the kid's suggestions that I go inside and rest my leg. Imagine my surprise when Pa tossed that round of wood that had attacked me in the woods up to the top of the pile and it proceeded to roll down and right over to me. I stepped out of the way, staring at it with disbelief. That thing really seemed to have it in for me!

By the time we were finished I could barely make it into the house, where I sat down and placed my hand on my leg where it was hurting.I was only mildly surprised to feel a lump. I lifted my pants leg to take a closer look. I really was surprised to see a very colorful huge lump on the side of my leg. It so amazed me that I just had to limp back outside to show Pa. "Look at this! There's a basketball growing out of my leg!"

Pa ushered me back into the house where we were soon joined by the kids. I was ordered on the couch. Nathan brought me a chair to put my leg up for elevation. Lindsay brought me a bag of frozen peas for an ice pack, and someone brought me something to drink, as well as a book to read. Pa then headed down to the store to get me some Tylenol, both for the pain, and in hopes that it might help with the swelling. It seemed my work was done for the day! I did get a lot of reading done that evening, as my children took turns exchanging the bag of peas for another so my leg would be well chilled. Several hours later when it was time for bed I was amazed at how much the swelling had gone down, and pleased to note I could walk into the bedroom without the assistance of the crutch Pa had pulled out for me.

Next week, we hope to get yet another permit for another 2 cords of wood. Hopefully, the wood in the next location won't be quite so vicious.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Birthdays 'N' Bakin' 'N' Shoppin'... Oh My!

This weekend was a Birthday weekend for our family. Friday was my Mother's Birthday. She lives far enough away that we were not able to spend the day with her, but she was sure on our mind, and we know Grandpa Earl made it a very special day for her.

Saturday was Pa's Birthday. He was tickled the sun chose to show up just long enough for him to enjoy spending some time outside before it continued raining once again. Of course, it being a Birthday, we opted for something a bit more exciting for dinner than our usual Saturday night beans. Rather, we had Pa's favorite, Corned Beef and cabbage, which was a delicious change. I was thrilled to have an oven so I could bake his cake this year. It was a different cake than I had made before so I was a bit nervous about it, but was quite pleased with the results. Decorating it was oodles of fun!

Saturday Night At The Movies

Of course, it being Saturday, the kids had to watch their movie. This week they chose Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Lindsay and I both thoroughly enjoyed it, I for the scenery and the music (I happen to be a Neil Diamond fan from way back), and Lindsay for the scenery and the story. While Nathan didn't seem sorry about their choice, judging by the multiple times I noted him sitting on the couch with his nose in his book, I'm guessing he wasn't quite so enthused with it as Lindsay and I were. Pa spent most of the movie viewing time chuckling at Lindsay's and my reactions, so I figure he wasn't really in to it either. Hmmm. Could it be a gender thing? I only wish we could've seen it on a big screen. Lindsay and I both agreed the wonderful scenic photography was deserving of a larger presentation.

Yesterday, Sunday, I got to use the oven again. I chose to experiment with some silicone bake ware I had received as a gift from my Father and Stepmother a few years ago. I was pleasantly surprised at the results, although I wonder if perhaps I need to bump the temperature up a bit when using it. Seems to me I read somewhere that you need to increase the temperature by 25º when baking with silicone bake ware? Anyway, I'm looking forward to experimenting with it again, after I do some more research.

This morning as we prepared for school I made an announcement. We now have two very happy children! Today and tomorrow will be the last two days of 4th and 6th grades for them. To celebrate, they will get the rest of the week off, and if the weather cooperates, they'll be able to head outside one evening, and we'll fire up the last of the sparklers we saved from our July 4th festivities just for this purpose.

One more exciting thing for this week. On one of Pa's recent trips down to the little store down the road, he learned that every two weeks, they take orders for Costco! Pa was able to get the catalog yesterday, and we got our first order in this morning. Although it's not quite the same as being able to head to the store, and push the big cart around loading it with whatever catches our attention, we are pleased to have the option of saving on quite a few choices. Thursday, Pa will head back down to the little store and pick up our first purchase. Our first order is a fairly small one, but I have big plans for future orders! One of the items on this week's order is a large bag of yeast. I've been wanting to start baking bread again, but was put off by the price of yeast at the grocery stores. I can get a 2 lb. bag of it from Costco for a very reasonable price. Excellent! I was thinking of trying to make a sourdough starter, but it's difficult to keep our house warm for extended periods of time. Now it won't be a problem. Just one more reason to be happy about having a working range ;-)

With all of the "busyness" around here lately, I've neglected my handiwork. It seems like so long ago that I last picked up my knitting needles, or a crochet hook. On top of that, I'm now quite eager to get started on sewing again. I'm hoping to pick up my knitting, if only for a little while again this afternoon. Tomorrow is Lindsay's next appointment with her eye Dr., so I'm hoping to come up with a reasonably mindless knitting or crocheting project to keep my mind and fingers busy while we're there as well.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're Cookin' Now!

Tuesday, Pa made a quick trip to town to pick up a few things we needed, including the long awaited gizmo for my range, which had finally arrived after an extended trip from China. Yesterday, he went to work, wiring the gizmo, and getting it securely affixed to the range.

Yesterday evening, I extracted our very first oven baked meal in nearly 10 months time from the oven. What a treat!

Actually, it was rather entertaining. Upon Pa's announcement that the oven was now complete, and he had performed a successful test run, I was so excited! I couldn't wait to put together a meal utilizing the oven. I headed into the kitchen and came up with a complete blank! I looked in one cupboard, then another, and another. After much searching, I came up with absolutely no ideas for supper. I came to the conclusion that I had nothing in the house which could be put together for an oven baked meal. I paced the floor for a bit, expressed amazement and dismay, then it occurred to me that I had always been able to come up with something from what I had on hand in the past. Surely I could come up with something now!

I thought a bit more about all the ingredients I had on hand, and an idea began to formulate. Once I got started more and more ideas came to me, turning what started as a basic throw together into a unique and flavorful dish which my whole family savored. Once supper was over and done with, it dawned on me. I just wasn't used to thinking in terms of baking. For 10 months I had found it necessary to amend my thinking, focusing on stove top meals. Any oven related creativity had been pushed to the back of my brain for so long that I had to really focus to nudge it out from it's corner. Once it had been nudged enough all kinds of fun ideas came spilling out!

Today is our weekly Library and shopping day. My shopping list is different this week than it has been for quite some time. It includes ingredients that will be used in all sorts of creations, which I will happily pop in the oven, and pull out again after an allotted time, perfectly browned and happily bubbling, or risen to perfection. It is a process that, for the time being anyway, seems almost magical.

Oh Happy Day!