Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tad's photos

These are Tad's pictures, he used my camera for about an hour and came in with quite a few nice pictures. This photo is of the neighbors sorghum field, its about ready to harvest. Its much more red earlier in the season, and I wish I had a photo to compare.

Both of these pictures are a bird that he was fascinated by, he took more than half of the photos on the card of this bird. He tried to get closer while it sat on the fence but the pictures are still too far off to see much detail. He says I need to get a better lens!

Both of the kids are considering working on photography skills in order to enter in 4-H next yr, but as it stands neither are a great photographer so we will see. They cant possibly enter everything and may be better off focusing on just a couple things for their first year.
That's it for today! Off to continue skills testing for our homeschooling year, we got a late start and have been doing reviews and testing both to place and see how we are doing after a summer off. Much less was forgotten than I realized, and a summer of continuing with math drills and spelling words has paid off enormously! Nathalie has moved up another year in math and they are both spelling much better. Last yr, if anyone remembers, my children were horrendous spellers... we had tried a couple of common spelling texts and they were not enjoying them. When they don't enjoy the work, they do not perform as well so we are pleased to have found a spelling program that all 3 of us love, and that they are excelling with.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A moment of silence

September 11, 2001. 2752 people died just at the trade center. My family is all safe. We were safe then, we are safe now. We are safe because of the soldiers and civilians who fight for our freedom. Some of them die, but they fight for our freedom. Because "A man can stand up." (James Otis, the book Johny Tremain). A man can stand up, and here, in this country he does. She does, we all do.
On September 11, 2001 it was daylight in Germany-I do not remember the time because I had no clock. I was wearing a blue dress, Tad was wearing a diaper and a t shirt. He had learned to walk. I was on the couch in our little sparse apartment, Tad was playing with blocks. My door wasnt locked, and the neighbor woman burst in crying, sobbing incoherently. She was my friend, but I had never seen her cry at all. I remember standing and looking at her while she turned on the TV. She picked up Tad, as if she needed to hold something. The channel that was on was an AFN channel and there were the twin towers. One was partially destroyed. I was confused and thought, this isnt funny. It cannot be a joke. Surely its a joke. There was another plane. It wasnt a joke. Who could have thought it was of course.
For hours, we stood in front of our little television. We were riveted and crying silently. I remember that she held my hand. That she didnt put Tad down. That he didnt cry. I remember the way the air felt, the way the potato seller outside sounded as he yelled his wares as if our entire world wasnt crumbling around us. I remember the feeling of Shauna's hand. For hours, our hands just hung together. I wanted my mama. I wanted to move to Switzerland. And above all, I felt guilty relief that my husband wasnt in that building. I felt selfish, I felt scared and angry for the people that were in, those who were still alive. Those who jumped out. The plane that went down later because the people in it, the American people stood up.
My children cry on September 11. Each year, they shed a little tears. We talk about it. We go over it again. I tell them the same story I told you. I always think of Shauna, the neighbor. I wonder why Tad didnt cry that long day. Why was he so silent, why didnt he have any needs. I am thankful today for the American soldier. I am thankful that mine is home. Today he came home for 1 month of training. It was a long month. And I love that he came home today.
Today as we drove from post with him, there was an elderly man on an overpass. He had a flag stuck in the ground so it stood tall, and with his arms he held another, a flag on a heavy pole and waved it back and forth. Frank honked his horn and we waved. That man was having his moment of silence. He likely served our country in some war. He likely saw his comrades die, he likely lived years without his family and possibly came home to a poor reception.
Do not forget September 11. Do not forget the lives that were lost, do not forget to be thankful that you have the ones you love. If you pray, pray for the families who lost, who will lose.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

For your listening enjoyment

Oh okay fine for your reading enjoyment, but hey. Anyone who knows me can remember my melodious voice, and if you dont, imagine!
This is a recipe, that isnt in actual measurements. Sorry. Granola bars are not cheap, and really people, they are not good for you. They are full of, well, not good stuff. You would be better off grazing in your yard for all the preservatives you WOULNDT get from the yard.

So here is my recipe: This changes each time I make them

about 1/3 cup of a peanut butter jar, I used natural so it had to be stirred....
1/2 stick REAL butter, no 1/4 cup margarine. Just real butter.
1/3 bag of marshmellows-there is little sugar in this compared to some things
half cup honey or molassas to bind
sometimes I use an egg here, or just a couple tablespoons cornstarch
some coconut, its probably a cup
Raisins, cranberry, blueberry-any or all or even other dried fruits, at least 1 cup I use more
about 1/3 cup flax seeds
some wheat germ, not a lot
a couple handful rice krispies or other not high in sugar cereal, to lighten them up
several tablespoons of something like spelt, rye or wheat flour for binding, white if its all you have.
a bunch of oatmeal.

Heat the first ingred till its sort of melty, then add the dry ones in the order I did leaving last the oatmeal and stir in as much of oatmeal as possible. Then I press it into buttered pan, the casserole dish makes high bars that are easy to cut and have nice sides. pressing onto cookie sheet means your outer bars are kind of thin and the edges crumble.

Now bake this at 350 for about 10 min for chewy bars, 20 for crunchy. I dont like crunchy bars and they break when I cut them. these will crumble if not enough bind like the egg, cornstarch, flour. I like to use spelt, its very fine like white but good for you. The marshmellow isnt a lot of sugar at all, and it makes really chewy nice bars that hold together. The peanut butter is protein, butter is natural fat as is the pb and then the coconut, the dried fruit, these are natural sugars which are good, then the oatmeal is fiber, this all makes a yummy protein bar. Better than just a granola bar.

If you will use lots more dry until the mix is all crumbly, bake 1o min stir, then 10 more min and stir then 10 more you will have a cereal. More like a crunch cereal, in big pieces that are yummy with milk. If you do this, add the dried fruit after its cooled.

This isnt what it looked like last night, it looked better but my camera couldnt see that. I wanted to show you what it really looked like but this is the best I have. Sorry. Its still kind of pretty, in a weird 3d looking sort of way.

Now, this bread isnt as good for you as a wheat bread (I made that too in loaves that was kind of heavy but wonderful. ) but this was yummy... these are boule (in french you would say 2 boule, not 2 boules-no s), there is an hache mark there for the french but my keyboard, I cant find how to do that. This is master recipe, just water, flour, yeast, salt and a bit of sugar. Thats it. One is small because it was the last bit of the dough. I made a bunch of little free form loaves for Nathalie, she likes to have lunch every day with pb and j, and loves loves the little free form loaves shaped like fat hot dog buns. I make them with this dough, or wheat dough, egg/butter challah or brioche dough etc. Brioche has 8 eggs and 3 sticks of butter, I cant say thats good for you... Not completely or all the time but sometimes is wonderful.

Finished boule and free form loaves, this was such wonderful bread! It was gone in 2 days, and its not all pictured. The 3 of us have devoured it! But, just so you know yes I made more... I made baguettes, and we had them with nutella. They are gone now.

Yes, these are pretty. I love how crackly brown their tops get and the inside has a perfect french crumb! And really, they take no time at all. Quick 5 min mix, let sit 2 + hrs and then either leave in fridge or use right away (I used all right away and parbaked some and froze for later, then I could reuse my one and only big bread bowl for wheat loaf dough), and then I just shaped the loaves and let sit, then bake. No kneading, no counter top scraping/cleaning. Just such an easy way to make bread. I made bread for years, regular yeast bread that I kneaded. This is a nice way, but honestly this bread tastes better.
Its not groceries in the yard, but the buckets are in the pantry, and the yeast and salt are bought in bulk, and the butter, all of this is either bought, ordered or grown in my yard and so I can make bread without going to the store. Just one more way to have quick and easy homemade food that is good for us, and I dont have to shop a lot!
Um, the granola bars are done and they smell good and I am going to eat them with the apples and pear picked from the neighbor guys trees, they are crunchy and juicy and good....