We love our technology, but in some ways we are taking the old road.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back to School

I just have to make a quick announcement about my life: I've been accepted to grad school! I'll be going for a master's in library and information science - finally. I've thought about it for years.

I'll be an online student at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Online classes really open up possibilities to students who don't have a program near them.

I registered for a summer class and my fall classes today. I'm excited, even though I will be very busy keeping up with it all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bird Cage

Also, he hung up our wooden birdcage.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Now I've Moved In

We moved into our house with many things still to finish. And then last winter we were tired of all the building and the house showing and the moving. And then it was warm and time to focus on doing things outside. So, one reason and another, we hadn't gotten around to hanging many decorative things on the walls. But just lately my husband hung a bunch of framed prints on the walls. And he hung up our clock:

I said, "Now I've moved in."

My grandma gave us the clock as a wedding gift. She gave me the cup and saucer as a bridal shower gift. It was my great-grandmother's.

When I was a kid, my grandma had that cup and saucer along with two others displayed on her kitchen wall, all of which had been her mother-in-law's. Two belonged to my youngest aunts and one belonged to my grandma. I admired those china cups so much. My grandma told me I could have hers when she didn't need it any more.

Years went by. A lot of my grandma's stuff got packed up and moved around as she was sometimes in assisted living and sometimes at home. I hadn't seen her cup and saucer in years.

Then she gave it to me at one of my bridal showers. I cried.

Then she gave us the clock to display it in. It has hung in the dining room of our first apartment and of our first house. Now it's in our dining room here. It makes the kids really happy to have that familiar object up again.

Me, too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Soy Butter Blossoms

Here's a blog entry I meant to make a month ago. Peanut butter blossoms are something people often make at Christmas.

I actually make them year-round. But I don't make peanut butter ones; I make soy butter ones.

You can hardly tell the difference.

My daughter is allergic to peanuts. I used to just be careful with peanut butter in our house, but at one point it became clear to us that just getting it on our dishes and counters was risking her life. She'll react to traces you can't even see and has ended up in the emergency room over it.

So for a while my husband gave up his peanut butter cookies. But then I learned about sunflower butter and soy butter.

A lot of people like Sunbutter, but it does taste like sunflower seeds, and it turns green in baked goods unless you add an acidic ingredient like lemon juice. My husband wasn't thrilled with those cookies. But when I baked them with soy nut butter, he ate a whole cookie without realizing it was different than a peanut butter cookie. They taste very similar.

The Brach's stars aren't safe for someone with a peanut allergy to eat; they have a shared facility warning on the package. But my daughter thinks that soy butter is creepy because it tastes like peanut butter, so she doesn't want to eat the cookies anyway.

My husband's grandma always made peanut blossoms with stars instead of Hershey's Kisses (which would be generally safe for a peanut-allergic person to eat). And they're easier to bite in a cookie. So I do use the stars.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Well, I guess that was an extended vacation from blogging. It was mostly because of Christmas. But here's another thing that's been keeping me busy:

Luc is 2 months old today. We got him when he was 7 weeks old. He was kind of a late Christmas present.

He will be my husband's hunting dog and live in the garage, when he isn't hanging around the yard with us. But for the winter, he's in our basement so that he'll be warm enough and we can spend plenty of time with him.

He is a handful. We're trying to teach him not to bite.

One thing that's helping is that he's learned to enjoy going outside.

It's a good way to work off some energy. He can't stay out very long at all, just a couple of minutes at a time, because it's been so cold. But this week is supposed to be mild, so I hope he can get some substantial time to romp in the snow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saint Lucia's Day

My daughter is getting us into the Saint Lucia tradition.

My husband and I both have Swedish ancestry. But we didn't grow up doing this. The churches in my area did crown a Saint Lucia, who wore the crown of candles and the white robe and served coffee. I've always thought it was cool.

Now my daughter is a big fan of Kirsten, the Swedish immigrant American Girl. She's read all the stories. She saved her money for a year and a half, I think it was, and bought herself the doll. And we've all given her the clothes as gifts. My mom got her the St. Lucia outfit.

Recently, Kirsten was discontinued :( and my daughter used the money she'd saved to buy the holiday treats.

They're so darn cute. The Scandinavian painted candle holder, the woven table runner, the heavy enameled coffee pot... Just precious.

And then we have a cobbled-together St. Lucia outfit my daughter wore once to school for a parade in which the kids dressed up as book characters. We used a white robe I'd (badly) made for her to be an angel for Halloween (yes, you've seen it on Princess Leia this year). And we turned a paper grocery store crown inside out and fastened on some tall, skinny candles and some silk ivy. Tie on a ribbon sash and you've approximated a St. Lucia costume.

Daughter wanted to get up early and serve rolls and coffee on the 13th, the way you're supposed to. But it just wasn't reasonable that morning, so we waited for bedtime. She and I baked lemon mini-muffins (not exactly saffron buns, but very tasty) and made hot chocolate. And she served it by the light of our Advent candles.

Little sister wants a turn next year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I've gotten one Christmas baking project done: gingerbread people. Well, I have also done basic, everyday sugar cookies, the kind I roll in balls and dip in sugar. I dip them in colored sugar and, voila, Christmas cookies. But gingerbread is a multi-step project.

I must say, a KitchenAid mixer is the best thing that's ever happened to my gingerbread process. It mixes up that big batch of stiff dough in no time flat. I got it for Christmas last year, and I'm feeling grateful.

I have the cutest gingerbread people cutters ever, thanks to my mom.

They're Raggedy Ann & Andy. We had them when I was growing up, and she let me have them when I had my own place and started baking gingerbread every Christmas. I have a traditional gingerbread boy cutter, too.

The kids helped roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, and frost them. It took two evenings and they were unusually squirrely, so I had to go looking for some patience. I put on Christmas CDs and we sang along, which seemed to focus all of us - them on listening and singing rather than acting crazy (really, they're very well-behaved children in general), and me on the meaning of Christmas rather than how much mess we were making.

The frosting turned out too stiff for the decorator utensils we were using. I ended up scraping it all back out to thin it, then using a plastic bag with the corner cut off, because that was just easier. Of course, I cut too much off. At that point I didn't care. We're just getting them done.

You can see that some have such skinny lines of frosting; that's from the first attempt. The thicker bands are from the second. None of them are beautiful. But our tradition is accomplished for the year. I hope the kids had fun.