Sunday, January 31, 2010


I purchased both of these books from amazon after reading a recipe on Ivory Hut. I have had a lot of problems with bread rising the last few months. We had a water softener put in, apparently the culligan man had rarely experienced water with as many grains of hardness that ours had! Anything over 10.5 according to this web site, is very hard... Ours had THIRTY-EIGHT grains of hardness per gallon! Frank's Father had suggested we have the water tested, and a system installed to soften it and sure enough, it worked. My bread seems to be rising well again.

During this time, however, I was searching for help online. I came across Ivory Hut's blog and I found a great recipe for a bread sponge that she was using from one of the above cookbooks. I asked her a question in her comments and was answered! I had asked some other bread artisans some questions and by no fault of their own they were too busy to answer, I found it thoughful that this woman found time to answer me.
I ordered both books post haste after the initial recipe turned out well. Its water, flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Nothing more. Mix, let it sit for some time and then tear off a hunk and let rest, then bake! This was the master bread recipe from the book, rolled out with cinnamon, sugar and butter on it. I forgot my raisins...

There was much sugar and butter dripping from this bread on the cooling rack when Nathalie arose from her sleeping space. She was amazed at all the sugary yumminess and wanted to eat it off the counter. Being such a mannerly mom I didnt allow this right??? This bread has to cool before you slice it, its a simple white bread sponge and is very light. It isnt very tall but the loaf started out small so it did rise. It was incredibly good! It was like a gooey cinamon roll with every slice!
I highly recommend these cookbooks. I have few cookbooks, most of my cooking is done out of my head. What I think will work, taste and add as I go. I have one old cook book that has fallen apart that I love, it was my first, but I only use it as a basic guide when needed. These 2 books however, have a special spot in our house. Open. On the counter. Already stained with sticky and oil and floury doughy bits. I will modify these recipes and use them differently than suggested, but lets just say I am in love!
And oh, the jar in the background? Bought that from amazon also. Its a sealed crock, I can make the sponge in it, let it rest the 2-4 hrs, then put the lid on and refridgerate it for up to 7 days though so far, it hasnt even made it to the fridge. It gets baked within a day, my family can go through aprox 4 baguettes a day...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New blog

I am not giving it up yet, I started a new blog over at *gasp* wordpress! I love blogspot, have used it for years since my friend Amanda introduced it to me. I love its simplicity, but then we have the issue of me being computer challenged. Blogspot people have found ways to make tabs, different pages nested within pages on a blog. I don't know how to do this... So when I searched how to do this on google, I came up with directions as well as several other challenged people who used wordpress for this very problem. Word press is a bit more convoluted, difficult for me to understand but my husband can. So rather than go thru the numerous steps that blogspot requires (because I don't understand them...) I started a homeschool blog on wordpress. It isn't ready, its not set up at all. This is a blog to try to connect with other remote homeschoolers. I am not remote in a Kodiak, Alaska kind of way, but we cant seem to find many homeschoolers. My homeschool friends in Sc and Ga will be able to connect with us thru this blog and I will offer fun stuff for kids on there. So look forward to the unveiling of that as soon as I have time!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have friends who homeschool, and friends who dont. I have a homeschooled friend who uses a online charter school, so she follows their schedule. I have a friend who unschools, I am somewhere in between.

That being said, I want to add that I have about 6 friends. Thats it. And only 1 of them lives local, I used to have a homeschool group in Sc. My charter friend is living there still as well as a homeschool friend. My best friend homeschools in Ga. One of my other best friends has children who go to public school in Ca. Well okay fine one child, her other rugrat is only 3.

So here is the thing, I sometimes wonder how to rave about homeschool without hating public school? Because, well there are things about public school that I hate. Not all public schools though, and I am not offended by people who put their kids in public school. Oh, and private schools, well they still have the same issues that I am avoiding.

My pros are logical I think. Homeschooled kids mature faster, why? Because they spend more time around adults. They learn how to function with adults, around adults. How to converse with adults. This was almost a problem for me, when I was a teenager I was older in my mind than other teens. This didnt cause them to make fun of me, trust me they never noticed! They were too busy being relatively stupid and I was busy being glad I didnt look that stupid.

Homeschool kids traditionally score higher on state tests than public schooled kids. In my opinion this is because public school teachers have to push the kids to test well, not learn well. This isnt true of all schools and all teachers and some kids will do well no matter where they go to school.

And you have the socialization thing. Well I wouldnt be sending my kids to school to play! I would send them to learn right? So okay there is the peer issue. My kids have peers, less here than in Sc but they are learning more and different things here. They do have friends, they have other children that they learn with and from but in a supervised way. I want them to be with other children so that they learn how to deal with problems that arise, how to be patient with others and accept differences. I think they are fine on this account for now.

I read something funny today, a homeschooling mom was asked by an official at the education office, "Arent you worried about their socialization?" The mom answered, "Well yes we are. So once a week we beat them up and steal their lunch money." I laughed my rear end off here. Then I read it to my husband and we laughed some more.

I wish this wasnt a statement that I believe is true, that is what goes on in a public school system. Not in every situation is a child bullied or beat up-I know this is true. I think first and foremost a parent needs to be involved in their childrens lives and if they are then they can help their child through all problems. My kids have problems, they have big ones sometimes. And I have to help them deal with them. Public schooled or homeschooled, this is the way to give children a chance to grow into strong adults. By supervising them as parents no matter what school system they are brought up in.

I still think the beating up lunch money comment was crazy funny. I know people will hate me for that but I cannot help myself!

-Goodnight all that love and hate me, from a homeschooled kid turned homeschooled mama.


Yesterday was not so good of a day. Okay fine it was a bad day. This started with a dreary gray day, again. I cannot tell you how displeased I am with winter! It was freezing cold, -15 deg, blowing white out snow, wonderful icy cold clear air. So cold it hurt to breathe. The good kind of cold. Now its in the 40s and believe me, all that snow melted on basically flat ground has turned into a wetland of MUD. So that's not so good. Walking out to the goat yard in that can lose your boots and you better turn around fast when one is sucked off of your foot because you may not find it again.

My goat girls were in a horrible mood, they have broken the feeder I worked so hard to make. They tore down their mineral feeder. They were headbutting each other roughly and not only does Arizona seem incapable of getting pregnant, she is now interested in her counterparts in the doe barn which doesn't please the other does. I fed and watered everyone, only to turn around and find that because I left the hose in the bucket when I disconnected it from the spigot, it siphoned back off leaving a greater puddle around the spigot and an empty water bucket.

The dog jumped on me multiple times and I had Rudy's horn where I would prefer it never be near again while I cleaned the bucks water bucket. The chickens, well okay fine so they were great. And loving. If a chicken can be loving and on a day like this one, any creature that doesn't cause me angst is loving.

One good thing was school, the kids did great with this so I mollified myself by listening to them quote Brown Penny by William Butler Yeats, which they both do eloquently. Then they did art which was impressive as usual and then Tad did some mouth noises for me, and reminded me that they are an example of onomatopoeia. Which was once again mollifying that he knows what this word means. He can make noises that sound truly like what he is mocking, laser swords, different types of weapons, animal sounds, oh and this one, the pulling out of a knife from a sheath, stabbing someone and the sound of their death! Yes I know but he is a boy and this is normal. That he can do it such rapid succession that it truly sounds like 2 people fighting and one with the upper hand is amazing. I have never heard anyone who can make sounds like he can.

So then was dinner. I suddenly decided I was getting sick, changed my mind later when I realized how much time that was going to take but before I changed my mind I thought to make early dinner. 2 pizza dough batches later (these did not get thrown roughly into the yard in anger... no no that would be inmature), I gave up and went to bed. Bread wont rise in my house. It used to when we first moved in, now I get more rocks from my oven than my yard. Frank came home, made me get out of bed, I made more pizza crusts which turned out fine, we wont mention what he said the missing ingredient was, and then I ruined the pizza further by making the sauce too thin thus soggy crust. I went back to bed. Frank came in and made me get up again by BRINGING the pizza in to me to show me that he broiled it and this made it good. Enough to eat, we wont call it good. Yes, the leftovers are in the yard.

Just to address any worries about my yard being littered with recipes gone wrong, we live in the country people. Something ALWAYS eats what I throw out in anger/rage whatever. If you want to composte around here, you must do it in a closed barrel composter because everything gets eaten. We have a bucket inside for food that wasnt eaten or scraps, and these are given either to the dog, the chicken or the old garden plot. Our plumbing suffers if we use the garbage disposal system.

All that said, I am actually a good cook. Self taught mostly, but a good cook. I grew up on basically what we could grow plus grains bought in bulk. We harvested fruits and vegetables and canned/froze and other than that we ate grains, potatoes, nuts and a few cooking basics like brown sugar, salt, margarine. We made our own soy milk and ate no meat or animal products such as eggs. So my cooking growing up included bread and, well, vegetables. Thats about it. When I got married, I could make oatmeal, burritos and spaghetti the way my husband wanted them so he bought some cookbooks and together we tackled the kitchen. He is patient about this, and I like washing dishes so year by year we are better and better and now have quite a list of specialties that we excell at. However, sometimes I have a bad run! This wk, has been bad for cooking. Heres to hoping for a better day today!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New skirt

So I made this fancy new skirt because everyone knows, my kids don't have anything unstained or unholey. This is because of our lifestyle not our lack of care! I do make nice clothes for them, but they wear them out. Skin their small knees INSIDE of new clothes I make. So then the clothes, that were covered the knee parts are missing some thread(s). Nathalie wanted a skirt for daddy's promotion so here it is. In all of my insensitivity, I informed her that her butt was too big for the skirt. Which was true, her bum is round and thus the skirt was too big in her waist, but just fit her bottom. I apparently spoke in a way that was misunderstood, Nathalie took to Daddy's workout equipment (elliptical) and Tad let daddy know what mommy had done. Daddy corrected this.

Tad has a new haircut, its just like daddy's. Difference is, daddy sits still for his haircuts. I have cut Tads hair many times, but this was the hardest! He kept squirming about and pretending to shoot the cat. Nathalie's hair was cut by a professional, I can only do army haircuts. Yes, I made his clothes too. And her shirt. But not the socks, or shoes or unders....


My husband was promoted. He is a CW2 now, which means I can call him Chief officially! Previously, he was known as Mr. Abair. This is his promotion ceremony at the motorpool where he works.

Nathalie is pinning his rank on, well its velcro. It used to be, um, pinned on. Tad removed the old rank and Nathalie pinned this one on.

Tad and I pinning the rank on his hat, I took it off and Tad and I put it back on. We have to do it this way because all three of us want to pin him and so we work together.

He is smiling at me because I have put his hat on incorrectly. Mr. Commander took the photos for us.

Taking the oath of office, the new colonel is doing the promotion ceremony.
I am enormously proud, almost as if this were my own accomplishment! Frank insists that is largely because of us that he is the soldier that he is. I am proud of how hard he works, how much he puts into this job. I am happy to be his wife, and to be a part of this. Furthermore, he is very good looking! I didnt see one soldier that was as good looking as he was. I got to kiss him only ONE time. I do feel cheated, but we did make up for that...
Congratulations my love! I am more proud of you than you can imagine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Conversations with a baby

We have visiting kids today, five extra. We babysit sometimes. Tad loves anything baby, he plays with them, changes their dirty diapers, pats them to sleep, carries them around, teaches them nice things. Here is a convo with a not yet 2 yr old.

baby: uh oh
Tad: Hey baby, can you come and hold this corner of the tent?
baby: No
Tad: Oh baby! come on I am making this tent for you. Do you like it?
baby: No.(tears it down a bit)
Tad: Will you help me?
baby: No
Tad: Do you like the tent baby?
baby: No
Enter 5 yr old brother: Uh oh, what happened to the tent Tad?
baby: uh oh.
Tad: yep thats what happened baby. It was you and your uh oh (fixing babies mess)
baby: oh
Tad: baby do you want me to twist your head off?
baby: no
Tad: do you want to twist my head off baby?"
baby: CAT! (indeed the cat runs thru)
Tad: baby dont get distracted, can you hold this corner of the tent for just a second?
baby: No

Enough said. Tad and Nathalie want babies. Yesterday Nathalie cried. The mommy of these babies is pregnant with a new baby. I am so happy for them. Nathalie and Tad said Oh. Then they were happy for them also. Nathalie prayed last night for a baby. They pray most nights for a baby. I prayed that God will give us what he thinks is best, and I pray that he give me strength and happiness despite the lack of babies so far. He answers this kindly, and I do feel happiness despite. I have more happiness than trials and my trials are probably blessings that I do not yet realize. The tornado was a blessing and who would have expected that?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Playing in the snow

We have had a lot of snow this year, and it looks like we will have a lot more. The Farmer's Almanac warns that this will be the coldest winter in a number of years. This is of course exciting for me because I love cold.

Tad jumping from the tree, I love these jumping shots. This is our old apple tree which didnt make the cut last time we had a big storm.
Nathalie doing her "yabba dabba doo." I dont think she has seen the TV show that comes from but at any rate, its her battle cry when jumping into or out of anything.
They are in the goat yard here, we still have quite a bit of snow out there and pretty much everywhere. We should get more today and tomorrow as well!