March 30, 2009

Bread! Glorious Bread!

I've always been a yeast-a-phobe. Even baking bread in a bread machine often left me with crummy loaves of bread. I was convinced I just wasn't meant to bake my own bread. But...

"You have got to try this new book," my friend told me. "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it works!"

I put my name on the list for it at the library and waited. And then I heard the authors on The Splendid Table and I started getting antsy. I wanted to try the recipe. I actually wanted to have an excuse to buy yeast -- a product that hasn't graced my shopping cart for many years.

Finally, the book got down to my number on the library's list and I rushed out to pick it up (well, as fast as a woman with five children in tow can rush anywhere). I also bought yeast.

I mixed up the dough and it actually rose. Even in my house that hovers between freezing and zero Kelvin. Okay, I exaggerate slightly (but we do keep the thermostat at 60 and it is probably only 60 degrees within two feet of the thermostat and some places in the house are a whole lot chillier -- remember this when you start to dream of old houses and all their lovely charm). I put it in the refrigerator, chilled it, did all the steps as indicated and bread actually baked.

Then I went wild and crazy. I've been baking and baking and baking. I've made whole wheat, light wheat, naan, pita and more and more bread. Good thing we can eat wheat! It's truly lovely bread.

I was very sad when my turn was up and I had to give the book back to the library. But seeing as how I'd used it almost every day for the past three weeks, I decided it was worth the price and ordered it for myself as a very early birthday present. I seem to have finally conquered my fear of yeast.


March 16, 2009

Books -- They Aren't Just for Reading Anymore

A castle made of books? Why not?

March 10, 2009

Pneumonia, Sinus Infections and Pertussis?

I've been sick again. Or still. I lose track. I first got the flu exactly a month ago and within a few days was so miserably sick that I thought I had pneumonia. I went to a walk-in doctor place on a Saturday, and saw a doctor who assured me that both through listening and on a chest x-ray that my lungs were clear.

I eventually started feeling some what better, but I kept coughing, wheezing and I caught a cold. Sometimes I would start coughing and could stop. Once I even threw up from coughing. Needless to say I'm pretty worn out and exhausted.

So then a sinus infection moved in and I've been feverish on and off since Saturday. Today my husband stayed home from work and I went to the doctor. Same doctor's office, but today I saw the regular doctor and not the part-time weekend one. He looked at my x-rays from a month ago and informed me that I had had pneumonia just as I had thought and the doctor had just missed obvious signs. Also, I do have a sinus infection that may or may not be related and on top of that, based on the type of coughing I've been doing, they are checking me for pertussis.

No wonder I'm sick, tired and getting nothing done. At least now I know.

March 04, 2009

The Cutest Laundry on the Block

March 03, 2009

Going on a Treasure Hunt

"Go NORTH out the door and turn EAST. Find your first clue where the garden meets the gravel path."

The kids have been learning directions and to help them learn which way is which around the house, I sent them on a treasure hunt (note, this was a few weeks back on a warm day, not in the past few when we've had temps in the teens).

I did my best to make at least some of the clues riddles referring to things they've been learning in their science lessons about stored energy and various plants. Some were more effective in that sense than others (to move forward at one point they had to have a refresher science lesson, so I might have made that clue a bit too hard), but each slip of paper sent them running first in one direction and then another, turning them North, South, East and West around the house and garden. By the time they had gone through a few clues when they read, "Go west" or "Walk towards the rising sun" they knew which way to go and even the four year old could point out which side of the house was north.

In the end, they found quarters and graham crackers waiting for them in the dryer and I have been asked many times when they get to go on another treasure hunt.