Thursday, February 25, 2010

upcoming visit, a birthday

We have guests coming this weekend. It's a perfect time to visit because for the next month we have two houses, see, so there's room! We're going to build an interior wall to partition off part of the garage and get an idea of what new flooring will be needed.

I'm thrilled to see the folks who are coming. I plan to cook a lot today and tomorrow. I hope my friends don't mind the mess. It's a pity they know me so well, I can't blame it on moving.

In other news, Beatrice Anna snuck in and turned four when nobody was looking. I've turned my birthday photographer hat over to my eldest, and she has yet to post the pictures, but when she does I'll link a few. In the meantime, [you might like to read her birth story]( It was very exciting, in retrospect. The day it happened, it was like a moment caught out of time, and absolutely the most divine of all my births.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Indoctrinating anglophilia

When I was in fifth grade, I switched schools. Someone there asked if I had been born in the UK, because I had a trace of the Queen's English in my speech. I assure you it was not affected by me, but a natural byproduct of being raised in a home where the only thing on television was PBS, then recycled British children's shows via 1985 Nickelodeon. The Third Eye, anyone? How about The Tomorrow People? The strongest, quickest and best, Dangermouse. And of course Doctor Who!

Thanks to the wonder of the internet I can continue this tradition with my kids. They are Whovians through and through, and Gilbert and Bede currently love Alphablocks, a CBeebies programme. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

food, new house thoughts

Sean just got back from a grocery run. It's so satisfying to suddenly have the problem of too much food in my kitchen. I feel so rich when I open the cabinet and see twelve cans of tomato paste. It's the little things.

I've been planning things for the new house in my mind. The kitchen there is much larger than the kitchen here, which has five square feet of counter space. We have room for a microwave, a coffee pot and a toaster and absolutely nothing else, no room to prep cook, nothing. Standing in the new kitchen is marvelous.

I'm going to take Trixie and Gilbert over there this evening, let them see it. I'm not taking Bede until we've finished the flooring changes because I don't want him to have one image in his mind and get it all confused. I don't anticipate him having much trouble with this move (well, no more trouble than a nonautistic six year old) but why take chances. Man, I am so looking forward to NOT HAVING STAIRS. While they have rocked my glutes with no effort (woohoo!) they are so dangerous. I worry daily that someone will be angrily shoved near the top of the flight and then tumble down, down in a sickening heap. Shudder! Soon, soon.

We're going to get vinyl plank flooring for the living/dining room. Stuff's badass, I tell you what. I'm willing to trade natural for waterproof, inexpensive and resilient.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

a visit, dinner dither, Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam

My niece and her children came to see us today. Her daughter is Faith's age and her son is a little younger than Gloria. The lot of them get on famously. After they left I finished baking bread and apathetically wondered what to have for dinner. I've decided on pasta with red sauce because the kids all like it and any leftovers can still be eaten tomorrow but honestly I'm in such a rut. I need to plan meals out for the week on Sunday and be done with it.

Gilbert has been trying to say words with no vowels and he sounds like he's speaking Klingon. Cute, lispy, five year old Klingon. Think Alexander Rozhenko.

The apathy on my part is not shared by the ravenous children who are damn tired of their mother not feeding them dinner. So long, Internets.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

By the way

You can sign in with your Facebook ID here. I mean, I don't see it or anything, it uses Facebook Connect, which is made by Facebook. Anyway. Just sayin. And it should keep you signed in here if you do that.

So all of you who comment on Facebook and not here (Traci Foust, I'm looking at you!) have *no excuse*.

Gilbert Gleeson, Sam Wiggle.

Gilbert's favorite Wiggle is Sam Wiggle. (He is also partial to Greg.)

So I knit him this Sam Wiggle Sweater, which is to say, a taxicab yellow sweater.


He likes it very much!


Better shot of the actual sweater, vs. the boy in the sweater.


Our eyes are the same color, me and Gil.


Look, two little sisters as well!


Sweater pattern is the raglan from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, which is just an awesome book to have. The yarn is America's own Peaches & Crème in Number 10, Yellow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

House pictures

Another day! I've been sick the past few days and today I finally felt near human again. I had the worst sore throat ever. It hurt so much to swallow that I whimpered. Ugh! But I am Much Improved.

I have house pictures.

The front:

The hearth:

Side door - you get a sense of the height of the ceiling, here:

The kitchen:

The master bedroom, also with the high ceiling:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

taco taco!

I made taco meat tonight without a little plastic packet of taco seasoning. For the first time I made my own. And dang, it was goooood. I modified a recipe from AllRecipes as follows:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon minced dried onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

I used 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix to 1 pound of meat. I also added a can of diced tomato and green chili. It's pretty heated, but not painfully so. If you don't add the can of tomatoes you'd want to add a half-cup or so of water. Very good! Next time a little less salt and a little more cumin. We used ground venison but I expect it would be great with pork or beef or turkey, too.

Facebook autopost, yea or nay?

So Sean made this nifty Facebook app that autoposts to Facebook whenever I blog. In theory, it works. This post is to see if it actually works.

Friday, February 12, 2010


We've found a house to buy! It's not one I've posted about, but one my mother discovered and we fell in love with. Now comes the packing-and-moving part, which is not so much with the fun. But! House!

I'll try to get some good pictures. It has HIGH ceilings in the living/dining and the master bedroom. And a huge rock fireplace. And the previous owner had a big organic vegetable garden and compost bin!

I'm very excited.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peak Oil!

I've been reading these Peak Oil bloggers lately and getting nervous. Tabitha tells me not to read them because I'm already doing everything I should be so why make myself fret, and Sean just mocks them, but I can't stop! Sigh.

Reading about [Cuba's Special Period](

Gil is sick, girls' haircuts

Gilbert is sick. He might have picked it up at Capitol Day, or somewhere else, who knows. He woke up puking. In a large family such as mine the domino effect lives large, so I'm preparing for the other five to sick up. I'm washing my hands every time I have anything to do with Gilbert in the fervent hope I can avoid this myself. Siiiiigh.

Today's events include: caring for Gilbert, washing my hands every three minutes, baking that bread I made last night, which is about to overflow the bowl by this point, and the bulk of my day will be prepping for the Oncoming Sick. I have to make sure everything not washable is put away for a week or until the sickness fades so it won't get puked on. Also making sure all the towels and prefolds are washed.

In other news, Faith and Abby got haircuts yesterday and they both look soooo cute! Abby got a stacked bob/wedge and Faith got a blunt cut right above her shoulders. Tres chic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

adventures in breadmaking

I made bread dough tonight. I've started making it at night, then putting it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning I take it out and punch it down and put it in loaf pans for a second rise and poof! Easy peasy bread.

Speaking of pans I found some I love. I had been using Pyrex loaf pans, but I only had two and two loaves of bread last a day around here. So I make three loaves worth, but the third loaf was always a problem. Sometimes I just free-formed it and baked it in an 8x8 Pyrex dish, sometimes I turned it into sixteen small round rolls in the 8x8 dish, and sometimes I put 1/3 of the dough back in the fridge to wait its turn for one of the loaf pans. The obvious solution to this problem would have been to buy another Pyrex loaf pan but I couldn't find one shaped right. So, I bought this kind instead. It's made by Simax, a Czech company, out of borosilicate glass, just like Pyrex. But the shape is so much better for bread, long and skinny. I make loaves that are about 25 ounces and they are perfect in these pans. I have two and I want another. Nice little discovery!

My bread recipe:

- 2.5 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

I mix everything but the flour together in a large bowl. Then I dump in 8 cups of flour, keeping a half-cup of all-purpose back to knead with. Mix the dough in the bowl with a big wooden spoon until you just can't, then dump it out on a table and work in that last half-cup of flour with your hands. You should knead it for ten minutes or so, it'll get very silky and smooth. Plop it back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning it will be very, very risen. Take it out, punch it down, and shape it into loaves and put them in oiled loaf pans. Cover them up with plastic wrap and let them rise til they're about twice as big. Take off the wrap, put them in a 350 degree oven and bake until they're a nice deep brown, about 40-45 minutes. Makes 3 one and a half pound loaves of bread.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Don't you get it? I am Mrs. Nesbitt!"

Gonna get this
for Trixie for her birthday. She will be delighted. Right now she sets up elaborate scenarios with Gloria, a stuffed bunny, and a doll but she's forced to use regular cups instead of a tea set.

One lump or two?

a retraction, musings on winter coats, Capitol Day

Sean said last night that he didn't resist the idea of a fifteen year mortgage, he just didn't fall over with girlish enthusiasm. So, there you go.

There are some decent sales on winter coats right now at Lands' End. I had a coupon for free shipping, so even though the budget is tight until we get our taxes back I bought one for Bede. His current coat is flimsy, poorly made, and bulky without warmth. Really a crummy excuse for a coat. It's from Wal-Mart (or is that Walmart, now?) and I can say with confidence that we will not buy any more coats from them unless they go up in quality. Really, it's just junk. Not that they're alone in that. Why do coat manufacturers think that bulk = warmth?

So Bede gets a new coat midseason. No big deal. One nice thing about having so many kids is the handmedown factor, and this will be worn by at least two of his younger sibs.

Today I need to bake some cookies and decide whether to freeze leftover chili or use it for enchiladas tonight. Enchiladas are winning. I also want to set aside some time to look into different options for midwifery training, but that may not be in the cards for today.

Sean and Gilbert are at Capitol Day for homeschoolers. We have some asinine bills proposed this year that restrict homeschooling, so I hope the turnout was good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

trixie, repelling dipes, future plans

Trixie is wearing a Jayne hat and a grey sweater, both knitted my me, and a pair of maroon sweatpants, and a swimsuit, and her Chucks. She's ready for anything!

I've had trouble with Gloria's diapers repelling because they had all gotten oily from diaper ointment. I stripped them with superhot water but it didn't help. I had to wash them all by hand, sliding each one over my hand like a flipper and rubbing them against each other with a little dishsoap. It was tedious but it worked. Moral of this story: don't use ointment with your cloth diapers without a liner.

We found a house to try to buy! I sure hope we can get it. We have no credit so we are not great mortgage candidates, but it's owner will carry and we have a nice chunk for a down payment. I'm really pushing for a fifteen year mortgage but Sean is resistant. He says if we get thirty year we can pay it off early. My problem with that is, well, we never pay more than we have to on anything, so the notion that we'll double our payments is humorous.

I think I'm going to become a midwife. I think I'd be a pretty good midwife.

Saturday, February 6, 2010