Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On a very hot day in June

Dear Mr. Fixit,

All those years ago...

we waited for this music

to begin.

Thanks for all the sane and sunly, mad and moonly years.

(Video note: the music doesn't start until about 1:15.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Menus this week: fun in the kitchen

This week's menu started out by accident.  I printed out a sample menu page from the Hillbilly Housewife's free PDF Menu Planning 101, and left it in the kitchen.  The Squirrelings saw it and got all excited about the Quick Cinnamon Rolls, Garlic Breadsticks, and other things I haven't made for awhile; they were disappointed when I said it was just a sample I'd printed out.


Well, we do have most of the ingredients called for, if we shifted some of the meals around, and I think most of us would like most of the meals.  But it's going to be kind of a crazy week, with different people in and out for different things.  How about everybody helps cook this week, when they are home, so that we get to try some new things/old favourites?


To make it easier, Mama Squirrel printed out every single recipe from the menu and put them into a three-pronged folder.  Everybody responsible for a particular dish can easily find the instructions.  And if we want to do the same meals over again, it will be easy.

So here's this week's menu plan, with most recipes available on the Hillbilly Housewife website:

Sunday (Father's Day):  Breakfast:  Banana muffins, fruit, cereal.  Lunch:  Dad's choice.  Dinner:  At a relative's (that was easy).

Monday (a day when a couple of people have to leave early in the morning):  Breakfast:  Cereal and toast.  Lunch:  Macaroni salad.  Dinner:  A skillet rearrangement of Company Chicken Casserole, served with rice or maybe perogies.

Tuesday:  Breakfast:  Homemade granola or other cereal.  Lunch:  Vegetable Lo Mein, or it might turn into fried rice.  Dinner:  Impossible Cheeseburger Pie, vegetables.

Wednesday:  Breakfast:  Cheese Pancakes.  Lunch:  Pigs in a Blanket.  Dinner:  Green Spaghetti (my own addition--I have the ingredients for that, but not for the Stuffed Peppers originally on the menu), Garlic Bread Sticks, Bean salad, Peach Crisp.

Thursday (a day when people are eating at odd times):  Breakfast:  Hot or cold cereal.  Lunch:  quick sandwiches.  Dinner:  Italian Beans and Rice, Cheese Puffs.

Friday (we have a church event in the evening):  Breakfast:  Peanut Butter Bread for those who can eat it, other options for those who can't.  Lunch:  Banana Carrot Salad and leftovers.  Dinner:  5 Can Bean Soup (with bacon added), leftover bread sticks and cheese puffs, fruit.

Saturday (the adult Squirrels have to have a quick dinner because of another event):  Breakfast:  Cold cereal, and maybe the Quick Cinnamon Rolls.  Lunch (after grocery shopping):  Maybe hummus with vegetables, maybe sandwiches.  Dinner:  Either Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches (from A Year of Slow Cooking rather than the Hillbilly recipe), or Sloppy Joes, and cookies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the Archives: Blog Tag with Books

Originally posted here in June 2005

Kathryn Judson, at Suitable for Mixed Company, [currently here] has a game of blog tag going over books. Here is her question:
Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick?
No restrictions on whether I actually own the book, or whether it's in print?

All right. Since we're giving these books to high school students, I'd give them some books to help them use their brains. Richard Mitchell's Graves of Academe to help them sniff out verbal and educational garbage; Terry Glaspey's Great Books of the Christian Tradition (or the newer version that has a different title) so that they'll know what other books they're missing; Mathsemantics: Making Numbers Talk Sense, by Edward MacNeal (or some other similar book, but I do have Mathsemantics and I'm slowly working my way through it); and Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator, to help them ask good questions in science classes.

For Western culture, I'd hand out Philip Yancey's Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church. Not so much for the church issue, but for the excellent essays on people like G.K. Chesterton, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and John Donne (written in the context of a funeral for an AIDS victim).

To get their priorities in order, I'd give them Edith Schaeffer's What is a Family? Also I'd give out a copy of Material World, by Peter Menzel; that's the one where families all over the world put their belongings on their front lawns and let Menzel's crew take a picture of them with their stuff. I know it's ten years old but it's still what people would call an eye-opener. [Its sequel: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.]
For humour, something by Chesterton–-maybe The Man Who Was Thursday, since I just finished reading it and I think my own just-turned-teenager should read it too.

For regional interest, I'd choose a book on Canadian culture and literature by Northrop Frye--either The Modern Century or The Bush Garden (a book of essays and reviews on Canadian poetry). Or maybe a biography by John English--he has written several important books about former Prime Ministers of Canada.

And for all-purpose education and entertainment, a volume of Shakespeare’s plays.

Tag--you're it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Back to the Eighties?

This decorating article tells about how you can  retro-decorate, to make your kitchen look like the '80's.

Not a joke.

Ummm...around here you could probably just BUY a house with '80's fittings.

Or '70's.

Or '60's.

What's for supper? Red, yellow, orange

The colour theme wasn't deliberate--we weren't having a paintbox party--but last night's dinner did turn out to be colourful.  In a good way.

Meat sauce (ground beef, mushrooms, green peppers, a bit of tomato sauce, basil)
Polenta slices, baked and topped with mozzarella cheese and parsley
Sweet potato oven fries
A bit of lettuce from the garden

Sliced watermelon
Apple-butter muffin cake with apple chopped into it (I had promised muffins, but it was too hot to turn on the big oven, so I made a pan of "cake" in the toaster oven instead)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

What's for supper? Slow cooker ranch potatoes

Tonight's dinner menu:

Creamy Ranch Mashed Red Potatoes, from More Make it Fast, Cook It Slow
Mini sausages, peas
Lemon-poppyseed cake made from muffin batter and using up leftover lemon pudding

The potatoes tasted fine, especially with the homemade ranch dressing substitute given in the cookbook; but I didn't cut them small enough and they weren't cooked soft enough to really mash.  So we had Creamy Ranch Cut-up Red Potatoes instead.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

So much bloggy stuff to read

My Google Reader right now is full of other people's good stuff.  Some recent examples:

The Common Room's Budgeting to Build Your Pantry:  what to do when your budget is really, really tight.  A note to the Deputy Headmistress:  strangely enough, even with Canadian prices, a 10-pound bag of PEI potatoes was $4 today at our local discount supermarket, compared to the US$5 where you live.  Usually our prices are higher than yours, not even counting the exchange; but maybe potatoes are just really cheap here right now. 500 ml of cheapest-brand cottage cheese was $2.59, and that would be a 16 oz. container, so that would put 24 oz. at roughly $3.89.  Just for comparison.

Ordo Amoris is reading through Charlotte Mason's School Education, starting here.

A Peaceful Day has a lovely post about Quality Mummy-Daughter Time.

CM, Children, and Lots of Grace has some fascinating stuff about Eve Anderson and Picture Study.

A Year of Slow Cooking posted a list of their Top 10 Slow Cooker Potluck Dishes.  (Plus photos.) I just bought Stephanie's second cookbook (I had a gift card), and I'm not sorry I did.  I was a little hesitant, based on a few negative Amazon reviews (e.g. "love the blog, like the first book, don't like this one so much"); but I really do like it.  It's the sort of book that will get used; in fact, I'm planning the next couple of week's menus around it, just to break it in.

Is that enough for some weekend reading?  Of course there are always the big fat newspapers...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Mama Squirrel loves book reviews

What do you read in the big fat weekend papers?

Grandpa Squirrel usually brings over some of his papers for us to look at. Some Squirrels peruse the fashion section. One male Squirrel (all right, he's the only one) likes Wheels.

Mama Squirrel reads the Book Reviews. In recent months that's been mostly the New York Times Book Review, which is now part of the Toronto Star.

Last weekend's review section had two interesting articles. One was Stacy Schiff's review of The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough.
"David McCullough has stressed France’s pre-eminent role in American history for years. We would not, he has argued, have a country without the French, who have permanently and profoundly shaped us. If anyone could get away with suggesting that room be made on Mount Rushmore for Astérix it is McCullough. He seems to have had something else in mind, however. With “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris,” he explores the intellectual legacy that France settled on its 19th-century visitors. The result is an epic of ideas...."
What's not to want to read about that?  I think it would be a good companion read to Deborah Cadbury's Terrible Lizard, about English thought and science during the same time period.  (Reviewed here last year.)

The other was an essay by Adam Kirsch about new books on World War II.  Blogger DaveInBoca has a response to the article, bringing out more points about good guys, bad guys, and worse bad guys.  Or, as Kirsch puts it, "can we still take pride in 'the good war?'"  I'm not sure if I actually want to read any of the books reviewed (military books are not what I read for fun), but the article itself was thought-provoking.

You know you bought a cheap calendar...

...when the quote for June is attributed to "Kahil Gibran".

Just saying.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Grieving with those who grieve: this morning's school hymn

It's not Sunday, but we are posting a verse from today's hymn anyway.  It is dedicated to our friends at Liberty and Lily, since this is also a favourite hymn of theirs. We will continue to pray for God to be glorified in this story.
Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
--Karolina Sandell-Berg
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