A dream come true

I discovered Enid Blyton in my adulthood. I love her books, and I'm a bit sad that I wasn't able to read her books when I was a child.

But seven-year-old Tiger Lily is her new biggest fan. She is almost done with the three Wishing Chair books. She wants to read some more of her fantasy, so we've ordered a used copy of the Faraway Tree books.

We can't find Enid Blyton's books in our libraries, as her books are published in England, but they're easy to find used on Amazon. She wrote children's fantasy, boarding school stories, and mystery/adventure books.


Cooking therapy

I didn't know I needed cooking therapy, but suddenly I found myself in the kitchen with the milk glass out.

It's been a week. I had to be somewhere every single morning. I didn't get much housework done. Pip had to get a bunch of stitches because he cut his head on the bench. This afternoon I retreated to my room with chocolate and a good book during naptime, and that was nice, but it wasn't enough.

There's something therapeutic about cooking for me, even though I fight it sometimes. Of course, circumstances have to be right. Cooking at the last minute with a two-year-old hanging on to my leg while I'm firing off spelling words to another child is not therapeutic. But if I can get half an hour to myself in the kitchen, that's magic.


Circle of rhythms

I found this diagram the other day in an ancient viola method book, and I just can't stop looking at it. I've never seen note relationships explained in a round like this. It's beautiful. Bonus: I can learn lots of musical terms in French!


Sewing together

On Saturday I helped with an Eagle Scout project, helping make quilts for children. It was fun to work with a big group of people, getting quilts done much faster than any of us could do on our own. I was blessed to learn some tips from a woman much more experienced than myself. She showed me how she binds the quilts, and gave me many tips on making up for inconsistencies in the quilt tops.

Tiger Lily came along, sewing some squares together, helping lay out squares for tops, washing the lunch dishes, and exploring the church building with friends.



It was a crazy morning with two kids going to piano lessons and running around collecting odds and ends for their classroom celebrations—but we still managed to do our traditional Valentine card exchange at breakfast. Pip painted Daniel Tiger cards that we printed off; Red Chief and Tiger Lily used extras left over from their classes. Mom and Dad distributed chocolates.

Other than that, I had a scintillating day walking the kids to school, cleaning out the smelly washing machine, teaching a violin lesson, chopping vegetables, doing dishes, and attending an orchestra rehearsal. My husband and I have an outing planned for another, less busy day.


How to enjoy apples, part 1 and part 2

"Ramona!" cried Beezus, horrified. "You can't do that."

"I can, too," said Ramona through her mouthful.

"Stop it," ordered Beezus. "Stop it this instant! You can't eat one bite and then throw the rest away."

"But the first bite tastes best," explained Ramona reasonably, as she reached into the box again.

Beezus had to admit that Ramona was right. The first bite of an apple always did taste best. Ramona's sharp little teeth were about to sink into another apple when Beezus snatched it from her.

—Beverly Cleary, Beezus and Ramona



Our favorite Indian dal calls for a lot of spices. Here they are all measured out before they go in the pot.

It's coming

Spring is finally showing signs of coming. The snow is melting and revealing everything we left in the yard last fall. The weather has warmed up and we're having rain instead of snow. Pip and I were finally able to walk with the older kids to school for the first time since December (our stroller doesn't do well in ice and snow). We are happy to be out again.

Spring is coming to the grocery store, too. It seemed like all the produce was on sale today. When I left the produce department, my cart was half full! I love the bridge between seasons, when the winter cabbage and cauliflower are still on sale, but you can get strawberries and asparagus too.


Recently tried recipes

Garlic lover's roasted cauliflower. Pip and I started picking at this as soon as it came out of the oven, and half of it was gone by the time the rest of the family had a chance at it. I didn't add any olive oil; all I needed was a few squirts of pan spray. I also used a whole head of garlic and would definitely repeat that decision.

Vegan puttanesca. We love this dish. I skip the olive oil; the tomatoes release enough juice for cooking if you add them first.

Easy vegan brownies. Yummy.

Lemony potato chowder. Very much enjoyed by the family. You can't go wrong with lemon. We skipped the butter, used veggie broth instead of chicken, and used soy milk instead of half and half.

Homemade vegan ham. Red Chief is such a fan of meat substitutes that I make them for his lunchtime sandwiches even though no one else likes them. This was definitely the best "bouncy" meat we've tried so far. I skipped the glaze and the baking step.

One minute cinnamon roll in a mug. Pretty good for being cooked in the microwave, but of course not as good as the real thing.

Lemon chickpea orzo soup. Another lemony soup, and another hit with the kids.

English muffin bread. Fast, easy, and yummy.