Thursday, November 30, 2006


Now for all you folks who live in areas where snow is common, I am sure you are laughing at me.

But for my boys, here in North Texas, this little patch of snow was the cause for much hootin' hollerin' and all around dancing. Who knows we might not see this much snow again for years!

Winter Weather

Gotta love North Texas weather! Yesterday it was 73 degrees, the temperature dropped down to 36 by 7:00 pm last night. Today we have 31 degrees and falling with rain.

I am looking forward to a day at home. Oatmeal for breakfast, hot tea all day, and baked potato soup for dinner. The boys and I have plenty of reading to do - need to catch up from yesterday. We will also put up our second tree and get the snowman collection out. I also have several knitting projects to work on.

The question is.....will I turn on the heater? My sweet husband has teased me, in our old home the heat pump never worked efficiently so the house was cold. In this house, the heater works (we think, haven't had it on) but his wife (me) is too cheap to turn it on. I am afraid to turn it on after the electric bills we had this summer! I know it is a gas heater, not electric but aren't gas prices high as well? I will turn it on today, tonight it is supposed to get down in the 20's.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #5

Thirteen Things I love about the Christmas Season

1. I get to put out my Santa Collection. Here is some, the camera wouldn't capture all of them. The one in the center holding the staff, with a scene painted on his stomach is from Russia. He is one of my favorites.

2. The smell of Christmas cookie candle from Yankee Candle.

3. Making divinity for my family, Divinity is one of Smoda and Speedy B's favorite candies.

4. Putting out the Precious Moment Nativity set. My mother had this since 1979, the house is just not decorated until it is put out.

5. Christmas music in all the stores. Now I don't want to hear it before Thanksgiving, but the minute after Thanksgiving until December 26th I love it!

6. Making Christmas cookies: almond, sugar, biscotti.

7. A new tradition, I found this Santa quilt in my mother's things. She had done all but a small section of the binding. I finished it and hung it above the Santa collection.

8. Singing all the Advent and Christmas hymns in church. It brings tears to my eyes to hear the voices of believers all blended together!

9. Watching "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant. I believe it is my favorite classic Christmas movie.

10. Watching "The Santa Clause" with the boys (RacerDad included). I love hearing their laughter it warms my heart!

11. Going to look at Christmas lights.

12. Putting out my Willowtree nativity. (There was a picture, but when I tried to edit to add Mr. Linky, Blogger lost part of my post! I sure want to figure out Mr. Linky)

13. Doing Advent with my boys.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Jane
2. Chaotic Mom

3. My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving

4. Janene

5. Chelle Y

6. Jenny Ryan

7. Caylynn

8. Mert

9. anonymous teacher

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Works for Me Wednesday

My children love any kind of hot drink when it is tea, hot chocolate, cider. But their favorite is Russian Tea. Maybe that is because I told them that Tang (one of the ingredients) is what the astronauts drank in outerspace.

Russian Tea

1 1/3 cups Tang
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup instant tea
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Add desired amount of mix to hot water. We find one heaping teaspoon to a coffee mug is a good amount.

With cold weather headed to North Texas we will be drinking this tomorrow. Works for Me!

See other Works for Me Wednesday ideas here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Curtains are Finished!!

My Tackle it Tuesday was Breakfast room curtains. I promised I would upload pictures tonight and fortunately I was able to finish!
The fabric...plaid was the first one found, I waited until I found the roosters to make the curtains.

There were six curtains that needed to be made in three different sizes. I had to make four this size.

The door curtain was the first one made. This was the one that taught me I had to use drapery lining. I found the rooster on the shelf after I made the curtain, I thought he was perfect for the look.

The curtain on the wall by itself was an oddball. It was only two inches smaller than the matching four, it gave me the most problems.

Please let me know what you think!

Tackle it Tuesday #2

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I am going to finish my breakfast room curtains today. It has been a long process. I had the room painted back in July, getting rid of the wild grapevine wallpaper from the previous owners, turning it a soft shade of green (Sherwin Williams - Clary Sage). Once the room was done, I looked at it and my first thought was...institutional green, my first classroom was that color! It was very bland soft green and beige roman shades....absolutely no color! I really did not like it. But I knew the whole look would change with curtains.

The search for the perfect curtain fabric began. I found one fabric immediately. My mother-in-law figured I would come home and begin the curtains at once, but I needed a contrasting fabric. I would look when the boys and I went shopping, but never found a good mix. I know I was driving dear MIL crazy, she is an impulsive get it done kind of gal. But I knew I would be living with the curtains for a LONG time, so I wanted it right.

The first of November I found the complimentary fabric, buttons and tassels. Now I had everything I needed to complete the project. Everything but time! I began working on them with full intention of having them done before Thanksgiving. I missed the mark. My dear RacerDad, told me not to worry about it...the completed one and two in progress looked great up on the windows. I didn't need to stay up all night to finish the other three. For once I listened to him and did not make myself crazy to finish.

But today is the day. I have all the sewing completed. I need to press the remaining three, put buttonholes and buttons on five and hang them. Very do-able. I will post pictures later today.

See other Tackle it Tuesdays here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Warning...Pity party

I have had a hard time posting lately. I have actually had a hard time doing most anything....knitting, sewing, reading. I have spent alot of time cleaning house, cooking for Thanksgiving and crying. RacerDad trys to understand, but even he feels my grief process should be over. As he says, "It has almost been a year".

And it has, but Thanksgiving was the last holiday we spent together. Christmas she was sick and didn't want us to come, so I think Christmas will be hard. Then it will be a year in February.

I have expressed before the extreme lonliness I have felt. It is getting better. A dear friend has become as she said "my knitting Titus 2 woman" I appreciate her more than she will ever know. She calls to just chat several times a week and I look forward to her calls. Another friend sent an email last week just letting me know that she was praying for me because she knew the holidays would be tough. So God has surrounded me with supportive people and it is getting easier, I just never knew what a deep sadness could feel like.

Monday Morning Recipe

Today is all about comfort foods. I have had a very hard time the last few weeks with depression. Last week especially was tough. I knew I would miss my mom, but I had no idea Thanksgiving would be so painful. The thought of pumpkin pie made me cry more than one makes a pumpkin pie as good as my mother did.

Comfort foods for me include: mashed potatoes and cream gravy, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs with barbeque sauce, homemade bread, potato soup and creamy chocolate things. Do you have certain foods that bring comfort to your heart?

Here is a recipe for a casserole my oldest son loves.

Chicken Macaroni Casserole

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups light cream
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth, divided
3/4 pound velveeta
16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 cups cubed cooked chicken (or sometimes I use ham)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until combined. Add cream and 1 1/2 cups of the broth all at once; stir until smooth. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat; add the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in macaroni, chicken, salt and pepper. Add additional broth if needed. Pour into a 3 qt baking dish. bake, uncovered at 350 degrees or 40 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pictures from Oklahoma

I can only wonder if the turkeys realize Thanksgiving is coming?? One of these lucky birds will be Dad's Thanksgiving dinner. We did have fun watching the turkeys. I was unable to get a picture of them with their tail feathers all spread out. But one morning we were treated to the toms dancing and strutting their stuff, trying to catch the eye of the hen. It was quite a spectacle!

Speedy B and Cowodie with their "project" cutting down the sugar hackberry. They were so excited to be using real tools and getting ready for a fire.

Smoda's rock and dirt pile, many of the bigger rocks are the ones that came to Texas to become my flower beds.

Last but not least, the peacock that chased Cowodie.

Monday Morning Recipe

Sorry, guess I should say Monday evening recipe. Things got busy first thing today!

My recipe for today is a favorite holiday dish for our family. It is a great way to add some color to your meal, especially if you have some with an aversion to sweet potatoes. Give it a try, anyone I have fixed it for has loved it..even those who do not like carrots.

Carrot Souffle

3 1/2 pounds carrots,sliced
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
6 eggs
1/2 pound butter, softened

Cook carrots until very tender, should be able to mash them with a fork. You do not want lumps! Add sugar, baking powder, vanilla. Whip until smooth. Add flour, mix well. Whip eggs, add them and the butter. Mix well. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Reading Challenge

When scanning Firefly's blog Bioluminescence, I noticed a little reading challenge she was joining. The entry caught my eye because the first book on her list was one I was getting ready to read,
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Here is the challenge:

If you are anything like me your stack of purchased to-be-read books is
teetering over. So for this challenge we would be reading 5 books that we have
already purchased, have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the
nightstand and haven't read before. No going out and buying new books. No
getting sidetracked by the lure of the holiday bookstore displays.

Care to join in? From the Stacks Winter Reading Challenge runs from November 1 to January 30. Here is my list, I would love to see what you are reading!

1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

2. La Bonne Table by Ludwig Bemelmans

3. 1776 by David McCullough

4. Middlemarch by George Eliot

5. A House fo My Name by Peter Leithart

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This and That

Days like to today remind me why I love being a homemaker. There were no scheduled appointments, outside lessons or errands that had to be run, so we were able to stay home all day. As Smoda said, "Yipee!"

Cooking that happened...I was able to cook the fruited chicken recipe I posted on Monday. It was as good as I remember. The whole family liked it, though Speedy B was not too fond of the pineapple. I have some apple butter cooking in the crockpot. It smells divine. I also roasted some veggies that were in the fridge to go with dinner. I love days that I get to cook!

Sewing....I have finished the curtain that goes on the back door. I am now working on the other 5 that go in the breakfast room. The one turned out so great! I had found one fabric quite a while ago. It sat neglected on the bolt because I could not find the perfect complimentary fabric. I know that when these are done I will be living with them quite a long time and so I wanted to really love the patterns. I found the second fabric last week and began the sewing. I tend to not follow directions if I don't think they are necessary (embarrassed grin), my fabrics were thick so of course I did not need drapery lining! When I finished the window topper the FIRST time, I quickly saw that the lining was necessary. I went Wednesday to get lining and while at the fabric store I found the perfect tassels and buttons to embellish. Now that the topper is made correctly, I am so much happier. I will try to get pictures up tomorrow.

Candles are burning to add to the homey of my current Yankee favorites - Pumpkin Pie and one by Bath and Body Works - creamy caramel.

Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Things I Loved about My Trip to Oklahoma

1. Aunt Cherie's Shrimp and Pasta....mmmm, I never get to eat shrimp unless we go to a seafood restaurant which is almost never. So this dinner was a special treat.

2. A Massage. Mom's good friend Tonja is a massage therapist and is she good!

3. Seeing baby calves. There is just something sweet about a baby calf, Dad had quite a few. The only thing more fun than seeing them is to be able to bottle feed them, fortunately none of the mama cows had rejected any so we didn't get to do that.

4. Watching the boys climb in the shale pit. The boys wanted to go "rock climbing" so Dad took them to this area of the property where there are lots of big rocks and trails. They all had a blast playing "king of the world".

5. Desert with Linda at Famous Dave's. My friend Linda, whom I have known since I did teacher observation back at OSU, loves this restaurant. It was so wonderful to be able to sit and visit with her.

6. Mazzio's Pizza. This was my favorite pizza during my teen years. There is not one where I live so it is always a treat to get one. The flavor that I love the most is canadian bacon and pineapple.

7. Seeing the Black Jack Oaks. We went on a drive in Northern Oklahoma one afternoon. The trees were absolutely gorgeous, especially the reds of the Black Jack Oaks. The area we were driving through was hilly and covered with beautiful trees.

8. Southwest Chicken Nachos at The Brook. Shared this lunch with Tonja after the massage. I enjoyed sharing memories of mom with her.

9. Peacocks. There were two at dad's. Julia has been hand feeding them, so they are not scared of people. They actually follow dad around like puppies. They were a little too friendly for Cowodie. One jumped up on his shoulder and would chase him around. I teased him about that one, he was two when he went in the bullpen without any fear of the bulls that he was small enough to walk under, but a peacock could get him to run!

10. Campfires. Dad has a firepit (which RacerDad won't let me have) and has fires outside on a regular basis. It is so wonderful to be able to sit and visit outside a round a fire.

11. Charlie's Chicken. I have never had anything like their chunk chicken...big pieces of white meat fried to perfection.

12. Time with family. I don't have much family left, so it is nice when I get to spend time with them.

13. Seeing mom's grave. I had not seen her grave since the grave marker had been placed. I am glad I went. The cemetery had somehow spilled hydraulic fluid on the marker, causing a large white streak. If I had not seen it, I am sure it would not have been corrected. Now a new marker will have to be cut and placed...probably another 6 to 8 weeks.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Jane

2. Caylynn

3. Baggage

4. Firefly

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. ItÂ’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

First Socks Completed

Here they are, my first completed pair! I wore them to bible study this morning....the perfect day for it, chilly with the wind blowing 40 mph out of the north making it down right cold.

I learned quite a bit with this pair. I see the importance of journaling what you do so you can remember for the next sock. For me, this is especially important since there were some problems that would have been resolved if I had written it down. I learned the height I like for a sock to go up my pair will be slightly shorter. I also learned that it is not the end of the world if you must frog. I had to do it not once, but twice on the second sock. I have confidence now that I can get the tiny stitches back on the needle.

I am looking forward to starting my next pair. I am going to do a KAL with the For the Love of Socks group. They began the beginning of November, so there is no way I can keep up. But for me it is not about winning, I just want to complete the project! I am going to use a beautiful shade of Lorna's Laces called Harvest.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Visit to Oklahoma...part one

The boys and I had a good time. Dad had a horse that had been hit by a car. The horse required frequent washings, so we were limited as to where we could go by the "doctoring" time frame. We still found plenty to keep us busy.The boys especially enjoyed following dad around doing "farm chores" and outside boy stuff.

Cowodie and Speedy B had a ball cutting down a tree that had blown over. Smoda spent most of his time in a rock/dirt pile. The branches and logs cut from the tree became "campfires" two of the evenings. The boys enjoyed having s'mores two nights in a row. ( did mom. Nothing beats a perfectly melted marshmallow!)

Several of Smoda's rocks came back to Texas to become edging for flower beds. Imagine, the high dollar rock that landscaping stores sell. How could I leave all that free rock? RacerDad thought I was nuts, I probably had 50 large rocks in the back of our new van!

Tulsa Yarn Shopping

While in Oklahoma, I did a search for local yarn shops. I found three listed in the yellow pages. One I was familiar with from years ago. The other two sounded promising. One being listed as "the largest yarn shop in Tulsa" and the other "the largest yarn shop in Oklahoma". I had a hard time reconciling the two statements...but on to shopping.

When I went out, I ended up having time to go to only one. I crossed off the "largest in Tulsa" , it was located in the most expensive shopping center in Tulsa. I figured if I found something I liked, I might not be able to afford it! Also, the other was the "largest in Oklahoma" must be bigger right??

After some searching, I did find the shop. It was about the same size as a shop I use here in Texas. Of course, some of the same items, but some that were not. I bought two different yarns. One for the most luxurious scarf I had ever felt. It is by "MY" and called "Touch Me". Believe me, you want to touch it. The lady at the shop suggested washing after the project was complete to prevent worming, but the label clearly states dry clean only. Anyone familiar with this yarn?

The other yarn is for socks - koigu in a beautiful shade of pale sage green. I can't believe how soft it is. Working with it is going to be a pleasure.

Oh so many beautiful yarns and not enough time in the day!

Monday Morning Recipe

This recipe was one of my favorites many years ago. I got it from a college friend. She was a Hotel/Restaurant major and a wonderful cook. It was a staple during college and my first year out when I lived in New York. Then the recipe went missing. I had searched for years (almost 20..cough, cough, gasp!) at my house and at mom's. I had done online searches...are you getting the idea that I loved this recipe?? Then, two weeks ago, I was going through mom's recipes again. There it was, the elusive recipe. Written on a scrap of paper, in my sweet friend's handwriting. I couldn't believe it. Now that we are home and things are settling down, it is on the menu for this week. I hope it still tastes as good as I remember!

Fruited Chicken

3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 (2 1/2 to 3lb) chickens, cut up...I remember using chicken breasts
1/2 cup margarine
1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits
3 Tbs flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce

Put flour and next four ingredients (spices) in a ziploc bag. Shake chicken pieces in bag to coat. Brown in margarine. Place chicken in 13x9 baking dish. Drain pineapple, reserving 1 cup of juice. Arrange fruit over chicken. Add flour, sugar, juice and soy sauce to drippings and cook until thick and bubbly. Pour over chicken. Cook at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve over rice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Hymn Post

Today has been a hard day. I am not sure if it is re-entry into homelife, missing my dad's side of the family, or missing mom. I really think it is a combination of all. For some reason I have missed my mother terribly today. This hymn is one that I find comfort in. I found it in the book Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation. This book is one of a series. It is a delightful way to introduce your children to great the great hymns and hymn-makers of the Christian faith.

All Praise to God, Who reigns Above

1. All praise to God, who reigns above, The God of all creation,
The God of wonders, power, and love, The God of our salvation!
With healing balm my soul He fills, The God who every sorrow stills,--
To God all praise and glory!

2. What God's almighty power hath made His gracious mercy keepeth;
By morning dawn or evening shade His watchful eye ne'er sleepeth;
Within the kingdom of His might Lo, all is just and all is right,--
To God all praise and glory!

3. I cried to Him in time of need: Lord God, oh, hear my calling!
For death He gave me life indeed And kept my feet from falling.
For this my thanks shall endless be; Oh, thank Him, thank our God, with me,-- To God all praise and glory!

4. The Lord forsaketh not His flock, His chosen generation;
He is their Refuge and their Rock, Their Peace and their Salvation.
As with a mother's tender hand He leads His own, His chosen band,--
To God all praise and glory!

5. Ye who confess Christ's holy name, To God give praise and glory!
Ye who the Father's power proclaim, To God give praise and glory!
All idols under foot be trod, The Lord is God! The Lord is God!
To God all praise and glory!

6. Then come before His presence now And banish fear and sadness;
To your Redeemer pay your vow And sing with joy and gladness:
Though great distress my soul befell, The Lord, my God, did all things well,--
To God all praise and glory!

We are Back!

Lots to post throughout the week about our trip. Be sure and check is all about food, rocks, peacocks, boys, horses. A great time was had by all.

Monday, November 06, 2006

North to Oklahoma

The boys and I are headed to Oklahoma for a much needed break. Baseball is over, no practices, pitching lessons, batting lessons, or games to juggle at least until January. So I figured there was no better time than now to take a little break.

I don't think I will have access to the a little screen time break as well. I will be back at the end of the week. Hopefully I will have Christmas present number 4 complete and my sock mistake corrected.

Monday Morning Recipe

Quick, easy and unusual recipe for today. My boys love this for breakfast or snack. It is especially enjoyed on a cool morning.

Toasted Cheerios

Melt some butter in a skillet, add cheerios. Cook until the cheerios are golden brown.

I usually use 1 Tablespoon of butter per cup of cheerios.

The boys think the buttered cheerios taste like popcorn. Not sure if I agree with that, but they are good!

Baseball Tournament Weekend

Speedy B and his team at the end of the tournament.

Well we were out of pocket all weekend at Speedy B's last tournament of the year. I am hoping it is the last tournament. His coach orginally said this would be, but the boys expressed an interest in playing more and there are a few tournaments in December.....I know we live in Texas, where it is considerably warmer than most locales, but on Saturday when it was damp and in the 50's the spectators were miserable. The boys were fine, but I think most of them would play in Siberia, they seem impervious to the cold.

The team took second place in the tournament, great way to end the year!

Related tags: ;

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sock Sadness

It is with great wailing and gnashing of teeth that I say my second sock is not done. I missed the deadline for Socktoberfest, but not only that I am having to backtrack.

I began turning the heel and the gussets Wednesday evening. Things went beautifully with the turn. I was able to pick up the stitches without any problems. I began the gussets...again no problems. The gussets went much faster this time, this was my second sock, it should go faster. I began the foot and thought things looked strange, but I was happy I was almost done. A pair of socks, hand knit by MOI to be worn to baseball this weekend. I continued, things still looked strange, I compared it to my first sock. They didn't exactly match, but I thought it will all work out in the end and perservered. Today I took the rose colored glasses off. The sock was not right. No matter what I wanted the sock was not the same. I got to looking closer. Sure enough, those beautiful gussets, that gave me no problems, were wrong. I finally figured out what it was. Instead of decreasing every other row, I decreased every row.

I called my LYS just knowing that there would be something I could do that would not involve taking out all those stitches. Can you say DENIAL??? Of course I have no choice but to take out over 50 rows. With the size yarn I am using, the expert recommends that I take one stitch at a time off. Yuck! I want to just chunk the whole thing in a drawer and forget about it. But, you see, I have one beautiful sock. It will be I will be ripping at baseball intead of showing off my completed work. Pride trips me up again!

Related tags:; ;

Nature Study - Fall Foliage

Charlotte Mason was an advocate for children spending time out of doors observing, enjoying and absorbing God's Creation. In Volume 1 of The Original Homeschooling Series:

... a love of nature, implanted so early that it seems hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health and good humour.

I have worked hard to make sure the boys have an opportunity to be outside, not just playing, but observing the nature around them. This has not been easy for me. I enjoy being inside...reading, knitting, cooking. My idea of a good time as a child was a good book, soft couch and air conditioning. God has rewarded my attempts with sitings of a variety of birds, interesting insects and at one time a family of bats in the flower bed.
The boys love the outdoors, as most boys do. Beyond that, they have an appreciation for the beauty, an interest in the unusual and are ever questioning about what they see. The most important thing for me, they cannot look around them and not see God's glory. Even Smoda at 4 will point out "God's beauty". I am so thankful that they can see that.
Yesterday, we went to a nature preserve close to our home. These are some of the things we enjoyed...

Speedy B made a list of all the trees that we saw. There were 17 different varieties identified. We saw some I had never "noticed" before, Mexican Buckeye, Black willow, American Beautyberry and this one with an interesting bark...
This is a Sugar Hackberry.

Cowodie and Smoda enjoyed finding the perfect yellow leaf. There were so many beautiful shades of yellow.

This tree was our favorite.

Related tags: ; ; ;

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things Quotes from My Commonplace Book
My Commonplace book - writings by great authors that have touched my soul and enriched my thoughts.

1…. John Adams spent time...copying long extracts in a literary commonplace book. David McCullough from John Adams

2.... A man who has not better government of his tongue, no more command of his temper, is unfit for everything but children's play and the company of boys. John Adams

3... A thorough knowledge of the bible is worth more than a college education. Theodore Roosevelt

4...A man's reading program should be as carefully planned as his daily diet, for that too is food, without which he cannot grow mentally. Andrew Carnegie

5...Who is entrusted to human parents? a being belonging to an altogether higher estate than ours; as it were, a prince committed to the fostering care of peasants. Charlotte Mason

6...A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions. Oliver Wendall Holmes

7...It is easier to buy books than to read them, easier to read them than to absorb them. William Osler

8...A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life. Henry Ward Beecher

9...Take my aunt- as good a specimen as I know of what you call a Christian! Yet she thinks and speaks no differently than those you would refer to as heathens. George Bascombe, The Curate's Awakening by George MacDonald

10..A room without books is like a body without a soul. G.K. Chesterton

11..It's all the same whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on something fresh. Rat from The Wind in the Willows - discussing Toad

12..You should be sufficiently stong-minded not to yield to temptation. Yielding to temptation is the cause of most of the trouble in this world. Thornton Burgess from The Burgess Animal Book for Children

13..Haven't I seen you with the greatest authors in your hands, and don't I know how ready your attention is to wander when it's a book that asks for it, instead of a person? Wilkie Collins from The Moonstone

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Firefly

2. Tess

3. Duchess

4. Colleen Gleason

5. Jane

6. Barbara

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Works for Me Wednesday

I am a firm believer in cooking ahead for the freezer. Now for my family, I can't do a bunch of casseroles or freeze the whole meal like many freezer cooking gurus suggest. I would have mass rebellion from RacerDad, the knights would quickly follow.

I have played with the idea of cooking double, making mixes and such. What has worked the best for me is having pre cooked packages of beef. Think of how many recipes you make that call for 1# of browned ground beef. The hardest part for me is remembering to take that pound out of the freezer in time to cook! What I started doing is cooking 5, 10 or even 15 pounds of ground meat at a time. I get my largest skillet, season with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I have even been known to add FINELY chopped carrots and celery - gotta hide them from the crew. Once the meat is browned, drained and cooled, I put roughly two cups(equivalent to one pound cooked) in a freezer bag. Remember to smash flat to remove all the air. I have done this for years without an extra freezer, when the food is flat in a baggie, it takes up very little room.

With a little preparation and one time messy clean up (yea!), I am ready for tacos, goulash, spaghetti, whatever you can think of that requires browned hamburger. Works for me!