Sunday, February 12, 2012
Every year, we have a silent auction fundraiser to raise scholarship money for our school. This year is our school's 90th anniversary, so we are having an extravaganza silent auction with dinner and entertainment. Comedienne Julia Sweeney, known for Pat on Saturday Night Live, will perform and food will be catered in. Last year I had thought I would build a dollhouse for this year's auction, but when plans were made for this event, I wasn't so certain that one of my dollhouses would fit the venue. I ran my idea of putting in a handmade dollhouse past the development coordinator and she thought it would be a wonderful addition.
I ordered The Buttercup which a really sweet little dollhouse, with the intent of building it to be reminiscent of the cottages in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard.
The kit arrived yesterday afternoon - Yay!
First thing I did was to label all of the pieces, bag the small pieces according to the sheet they came from, and go to Hobby Lobby for paint, wallpaper, and flooring. It was fun at Hobby Lobby because I ran into one of my students and his little sister there. I ran a few color ideas past his sister and got her 2nd grade stamp of approval on my color choices. It will be lavender with blue trim and white trim, with purple detailing. Because it is a painted lady, I plan to add a tiny bit of brick red as contrast on the window and door trims. I'll have to see how that turns out.
The next step was to dry fit the dollhouse to make certain all of the pieces fit right, and to work out schematics.
Kitties love dollhouses, it seems without exception. As soon as I laid all the pieces out, Vash thought he should roll in them, and as soon as I dry fit the Buttercup, Luna had to try to fit herself into it. Fortunately, I taped it together pretty strongly.
Today I plan to mark where the floors meet the walls then take it apart to sand and prime. With luck, I'll have time to paint the exterior this evening.
My other goals for the day are:
~ to get two hours of practice time in, not counting the part I'll be doing in my head. My assignment this week is to begin a flamenco arrangement of my own.
~ to get at least one long poodle walk in.
~ to work on writing my article for our professional journal, a task I have been avoiding like the plague. For as much as I enjoy doing what I do in terms of teaching, I really do not enjoy writing about it.
Here's to a pleasant, restful, productive, lovely Sunday!
Saturday, February 11, 2012
What a glorious Saturday!
I spent the morning making enough whole wheat/flax/blueberry waffles for next week's breakfasts and froze them, and prepared a bean casserole which is simmering away in the slow cooker.
Next, I tackled polishing and restringing my guitar. It looks great and the strings sound fresh and clear, although with the nylon strings, it will need constant tuning for a few days.
The fire is glowing in the fireplace and sun is shining through the window, a delightful nook to spend time playing.
It is cold and February-like today, with a fresh blanket of snow and bright blue skies. It is a perfect day to cozy up to the fireplace.
Even Stella is enjoying a relaxing day.
Even though I have already put in well over my 35 miles this week, I do need to take her for at least one walk this afternoon. She does adore the snow and I enjoy a good walk. But right now, back to my music.
I hope you are having the perfect Saturday as well.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
This has been a remarkably mild winter. A bit too mild for my taste; I love living where there are four solid seasons, a spring of colorful blooms and singing birds, a verdant summer with lazy swimmin' hole days, an autumn of glowing reds, oranges, and golds, and a snow blanketed winter. This past winter has had only a dusting of snow, but also has been freakishly warm. I'm not exactly complaining; it has been pleasant for hikes and driving hasn't been hazardous. While that silly groundhog prognosticated six more weeks of winter, the past few weeks of this particular winter have felt like spring anyways.
Our Monday nature walk was truly lovely.
The sky was a bright blue instead of winter gray, and the water was cold and clear.
It was amazing to see water striders out already. As we looked through the water at the water bugs and little fish, one of my students excitedly called me over. He had found an exceptionally large crayfish. A couple of children tried to catch it for a closer look, but were intimidated by his large front claws, so he made a rather effortless escape.
The light filtering into the woods was incredible, as was the play of light and shade. Most amazing was the intensity of green, especially for February.
I like the light pouring through the limestone formations,
And the way the tree trunks grow around the rocks.
We all took time for a ten minute meditation. I selected a log over the river, but this little fellow chose to nestle into the hollow of an old tree - a veritable wood elf.
I am grateful to be able to teach where I can take two hour nature hikes with my students once a week; time to explore, write, draw, and reflect. It is time so well spent. This week's hike was extraordinary.
Monday, February 06, 2012
I love mac and cheese, but haven't made it for quite a few years. I never cared for the boxed kind, made from scratch is the only way to go for the true comfort food that mac and cheese is. The Spark Cookbook recipe calls for whole wheat pasta, which is delicious. The three cheeses are low fat swiss, cheddar which go into the cheese sauce, and parmesan which is added to the whole wheat bread crumbs for the crunchy crust.
This is a very tasty version of mac and cheese and a pretty healthy way to get the benefits of comfort food.
Before I started preparing the cheese sauce and boiling the macaroni, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and peeled and quartered some organic golden beets. I tossed the beets in some olive oil, placed them in a baking pan, and put them in to bake while I prepared the mac and cheese recipe.
While the macaroni and cheese, and the beets were baking, I steamed the beet greens. Right before taking the roasted beets out of the oven, I lightly salted them, then placed them on a bed of beet greens and drizzled some balsamic vinegar over them. They were a wonderful complement to the casserole.
Another delicious and healthy meal. So far, I have been happy with all of the Spark Cookbook recipes I have tried out.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
I made the Creamy Broccoli-Cheese Soup (page 161) from the Spark Cookbook for tonight's dinner. I did make a couple of substitutions; I used a purchased organic chicken broth instead of preparing my own broth from scratch and substituted rutabaga for the potato.
First I sauteed the onion in butter until it was clear, then I added the broth, chopped rutabaga, and chopped broccoli, letting it simmer for twenty minutes. After it simmered, I separated out a few of the broccoli florets, and pureed the rest of the soup in my blender.
The blended mix was placed back in the sauce pan. The condensed milk and pepper were added and cooked just long enough to heat the milk.
Right before serving, I added the sharp cheddar cheese and the broccoli florets I had saved aside.
A multigrain roll with goat brie and a baby greens salad with avocado and Annie's Goddess Dressing were the sides.
The soup was delicious! Both my husband and I loved the whole meal. I would make a change the next time I make this soup though, either less broth or more broccoli and rutabaga. I like a creamier soup than this turned out. In spite of being a little on the thin side, the flavors were perfect.
The whole meal was delicious and nutritious. It could be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and vegan by substituting vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, soy, almond, or rice milk instead of the condensed milk, and using hummus or peanut butter instead of brie in a vegan roll.
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