A day's work

  • Laundry: done. Lost count of loads, maybe ten. But it's all done and put away.
  • Bathroom: clean.
  • Sick child: better.
  • Peanut butter granola: made.
  • "Sprinkle cheese:" made. 
  • Kitchen counters: cleared and wiped.
  • Kitchen floor: swept. And mopped. Because ants.
  • Living room: picked up and vacuumed. 
  • Bed: stripped, washed, and remade.
  • Summer scheduling: begun.
  • Dinner: potato leek quiche and salad (romaine with leftover roasted vegetables).
  • Children: bathed.
  • Dishes: done, lots of them.
  • Pip: still alive (I consider this a major accomplishment when my children are toddlers).
Most days I'm not nearly this industrious, but it's the days like this that keep me going the rest of the time. It is satisfying to go to bed after a productive day's work like today's.


One bucket down

We started out the year with two full buckets of black beans, plus a partial. The partially full bucket is now gone! Hooray!

I was hoping to be down to one bucket by the end of the year. I'm not sure we can eat that many, especially since we enjoy eating other kinds of beans too, but I'm still trying to have some once a week.

I will fill the empty bucket with a bulk bag of farina, which my husband and kids adore.


Using it up

It seems that lately the fridge is always full of leftovers we don't end up eating. I hate wasting food. I've decided to scale back my cooking so we have fewer leftovers. Also, I've decided to leave a hole in my menu plan each week, and I can use that day either to eat up the leftovers, or to make something with whatever's lying around.

One week is down, and I feel successful. It's the day before I go to the grocery store, and the fridge is empty except for some carrots and condiments. Since there was nothing to use up there, I went to the freezer. Today I used up:

  • A bag of hash browns
  • A bag of French cut green beans (why did I buy them? we never eat them)
  • The last of last year's eggplant (at least I hope it was the last . . .)
  • The last of last year's green peppers
  • A bag of bean "meatballs" I made ahead and froze a few months ago


Israel (part two - guest post by my husband)

I was in Israel for a business trip.  For most of the week I was near Haifa (on Mount Carmel, which is where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal to see if their Gods were more powerful than his: 1 Kings 18).  There was a zoo near my hotel and I took a picture of this sign for my kids.  We had fun hearing their guesses for what the different icons meant.  It's trickier than you might think - especially the fourth and seventh ones.

Once the week's work was done, I had two days to travel around.  One of the first places we went was Old Akko (an old crusader stonghold).  The picture below is from inside the dining area for monks who lived there (the knights hospitaller).

After Akko, we traveled down the coast to Caesarea, which at one time was the capital of the Judea province of the Roman empire.  The picture below is looking at out the mediterranean sea through some Roman ruins.

Caesarea is pretty amazing.  We saw its old hippodrome (place where chariot races were held) and also this roman theater (below) that is still used for concerts today.

From Caesarea we travelled to Jerusalem.  I was honored to have the chance to be there.  It's an amazing place.  The sight of the walls around the old city (below) is impressive.  Once inside, you're never far from a huge number of significant sites.  I travelled the way of the cross (via dolorosa), visited the western wall, and saw a few other sites as well.

One interesting place for me within old Jerusalem were the pools of Bethesda (John 5:1-9).  The site has been excavated out to reveal the ruins of the buildings that would have been there at the time of Christ.  The picture below is looking back at the entrance from where one of the pools would have been.

Outside the city, we went to the mount of olives and visited the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-56,  John chapters 17 and 18).

The last place we stopped was the garden tomb.  It isn't the traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial.  That site is within the church of the holy sepulcher, inside Old Jerusalem.  We went both places, but I found myself more connected to this site, which is outside the city and has been kept preserved in a way that is meant to preserve the feeling around the original site.

He is not here, for He is risen.
- Matthew 28:6



The view out the hotel window

My husband recently returned from a 10.5-day (but who's counting?) business trip to Israel. He made it back (a day late, because his flight was canceled). The rest of us survived here. We made it.

Ten years ago, I made my husband take me to my parents' house when he left on business trips. But as the kids grew up and went to school, I had to stay put.

I am much better at coping now. Keeping to a schedule helps. Doing little fun things, like planning special meals or activities, helps too. Making sure I get to bed at a decent hour helps. Keeping up with the house helps. Trying to plan for his arrival—like making sure the laundry is caught up and the house clean—motivates me to keep up on things.

I was glad for my husband's sake that he was able to take an extra day and see some sights around Israel. Perhaps I can convince him to do a post for the blog, because when I look at his photos, I don't know what anything is!

A spice market


Chickpea salad (no measuring necessary)

When ousting the animal products from our home, school lunch was the hardest. Tiger Lily loves peanut butter and jelly, but Red Chief preferred meat and cheese sandwiches. It took me quite awhile to figure it out, but now Red Chief alternates between chickpea salad, homemade vegan ham, and storebought meat alternatives in his sandwiches.

We love this chickpea salad. I usually make it in the morning when we're packing lunches, but sometimes half of it gets eaten for breakfast.


Chickpea salad

Take a can of chickpeas (drained) or 1.5–2 cups cooked chickpeas, and mash a bit. Add a rib of celery (minced), a big dollop of (vegan) mayo, a spoonful of dill pickle relish, a little squirt of mustard, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix.


Yes and no


  • Doing a tidy-up of the living room and kitchen before bed every night.
  • Spending less time on social media.
  • Going to the library on Saturdays so I have more help with Pip, and so the big kids can choose their own books.
  • Putting more importance on reading according to whim, as outlined in The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs. 
  • Getting a babysitter for Pip during the big kids' piano recital. It's the first time I've actually enjoyed it, and I was able to stay for the whole thing.
  • Menu planning. I love planning menus so much, and I always want to make more things than I have room for in my schedule.
  • The slow cooker and the Instant Pot—so I can have dinner ready when I'm teaching violin in the afternoons.
  • Stopping to watch a sunset.


  • Not reminding the kids to practice piano. 
  • Going off my usual diet and eating too much junk last week. It actually made me a wee bit ill.
  • A sewing pattern that produced a bodice that won't go over Tiger Lily's head. I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything wrong—but probably I did and I just don't know what.
  • Pip digging in the garden, right where we planted a bunch of seeds.
  • Turning a blind eye to the dandelions in our front yard until the HOA sent us a note about it. Dandelions don't actually bother me—I think they're pretty—but I sprayed them to appease the HOA.
  • Putting things off until next month, when there will somehow magically be more time. There will not be.
  • Putting candy in Pip's container of church snacks. Of course it was all he wanted, and it caused him to voice his opinion very loudly when he couldn't find any more.
  • Waiting until next school year to get new clothes for the kids. Everyone is growing out of everything.


Things we can't get enough of lately

  • Blowing bubbles
  • Orzo
  • And other pasta, too
  • Morning walks to school
  • Asparagus
  • Having friends over
  • Smashing rocks
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Chickpea salad sandwiches