1950s

A Day with Friends

On Friday, I tried my hand at making another bread. This one was called “Hot Herb Bread” and came from a cookbook that features specialized recipes from “Inns” and “Bed & Breakfasts” from all over the United States. It’s actually a really cool book from the 1970s, if I remember rightly. Or, perhaps this book is one that I never found a date in. I’ll have to double-check that.

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Here are some other pictures from the bread:

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I accidentally added double the salt I needed so I ended up making two sets of the recipe. It should have been 4 loaves of bread but I decided to make 2 loaves and then put the rest on a cookie sheet to see what would happen. As you can tell, it spread too far and didn’t rise enough.

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The “normal” loaves looked like this:

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They were delicious, by the way. I’m definitely getting a hang of making my own bread. This is good because we have spent way too much time with no bread in the house the last few months. Borrowing from friends, making crepes instead for lunch and such like that are going to be a thing of the past. All this bread making is done without a “bread making machine,” as well. I think it’ll work.

This herb bread was so good, Brendan got up on Saturday morning and tried to get his own piece.

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I was proud of him for knowing he had to have a butter knife, not one of the sharp ones. He did pretty good – he just couldn’t cut straight He cut one for him and one for his brother.

On Saturday, I did a few things around the house while I waited for the babies and their friends (Meg’s little girls) to be ready to go play in the snow.

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We cooked up 10lbs of ground sausage and canned it in the pressure canner. This is our way of preserving our meat for another day. Jen and I were talking about it. We can use it when we lack the funds for a good grocery shopping trip. We can also take it with us if we go camping or off to that cheap Forest Ranger cabin north of us that we love so much. It is pre-cooked and canned, so we don’t have to worry about packing it in a cooler and it’ll be a lot easier to cook when we’re far from home. Yeah. I’m liking this canning thing.

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We managed to get 11 pint-sized cans from the 10lbs of ground sausage we cooked. I call that a good day.

I also melted the unsalted butter we canned last week and mixed it with Tillamook Salted Butter. The unsalted was not quite what we were/are used to so, by mixing it, I was able to get closer to the taste we are used to.

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In the process of doing that, I decided to make some garlic butter and honey-cinnamon butter. That was delicious!

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Oh, it was simply divine! Both of them. I “canned” them but they are not to be set on a shelf for months because I didn’t worry about the jar sealing as much as I might have if I were putting it away. I just made it and put it in jars to see if I could. I re-canned the rest of the butter and have it set up for later.

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The Honey-Cinnamon butter. That was good, as well. Oh, yeah.

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We’ll have butter, should all hell break loose again. We can also take this camping with us as an easier way to carry butter. It’s harder to use it from the cans when cooking but for general purposes like pancakes and whatnot – this is perfect! Once they were all cooled off and solidified, they went in the long-term pantry of my freezing cold closet. I still find it funny that the coldest part of the house is my very own closet.

When Meg’s girls were finally ready to go, we hopped in the car and took off for St. Anthony to play in the snow. It was much later in the day than I wanted it to be but we had a little bit of fun before the sun went down and it got way too cold.

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Isn’t that beautiful!? That’s where we went on New Year’s Day and again on Saturday with the girls.

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And then we let the kids loose. They had a bit of fun but it was only about 30 to 45 minutes before they were all frozen solid – including me!

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They climbed a smaller hill to try and use the cardboard boxes to slide down. Before all the plastic inventions, boxes were the recommended for sliding. Right? It didn’t work so good. We had issues with not getting up enough speed.

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All lined up and ready to try it…

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Sliding on our butts and rolling down the hill worked much better. Jen had an idea to try a smaller hill with a steeper incline.

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Alright, Brendan. You ready to try this hill?

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I’m not quite sure you understand, Brendan. You’re supposed to stay ON the cardboard…

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Yeah. Like that, Katie! Good job!

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You forgot something, Caiden…

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Well, at least he kept ahold of his cardboard this time. It kept going after he fell off. That seemed the prevailing theme, though. See Brendan off his, as well?

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And this is why she’s the Nanny – she got into the fun, as well.

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And then, of course, we have to attempt a snowball fight. They were warned though, “No throwing the snow at the mommy with the camera!” They were good about it until I started to kick snow on them to bury them…

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Poor Anna. She loved it, though!

And with that, we were off to play on the forgotten playground.

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I don’t see how kids do it. I was freezing, my healing finger was hurting so bad I could barely hold the camera and they were ready to keep going! They are, most definitely, bundles of endless energy that burns and keeps them warm!

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A frozen playground found by four energetic friends.

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My beautiful baby. The others ran off for the swings before I could get decent pictures of them on the playground. Of course, there were many cries of, “Push me!” I told them I couldn’t push them, “My fun comes from taking pictures. I can’t push you and take pictures. Have Jen push you so I can take pictures and have my fun today!” That calmed them and then it was all about me getting their picture.

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Katie and Anna.

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I thought this picture was priceless. The only thing better would have been if she was actually looking at me. However, I think the beauty comes from catching her unawares.

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These two are actually classmates this year. It’s fun watching them grow up together.

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The fun part was getting everyone lined up for a group picture on the tree. That’s about as good as I could get. They were so hyper and having so much fun. Alas, it was time to start getting packed up and head home. We had some hot chocolate, stripped off some wet clothes and bundled up in the Rendezvous to head home. I let them watch a movie on the way home to warm and calm them.

Rendy might have issues but it does so much I need it to do. Like this trip. I was able to take them and let them have some fun in the freezing cold because of Rendy. The little Toyota car never would have made it.

I got this shot on the way out of where we were.

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It spawned an idea. I asked Meg if she’d take my boys on Sunday afternoon so I could return to this spot and get some sunset pictures. She said that was fine. The next post will be the “best of” what I got on my Sunday afternoon drive without children.

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Categories: 1950s, Canning, Family, Socializing, Trips | 4 Comments

New Years Day

We spent an hour or two of the morning cleaning up the house. The boys were instructed to help and I reiterated to them what they already know. When they fuss, I ask, “Do you live here?”

They already know the answer. They reply, “Yes.”

I start to ask the question that they already know the answer to, “What does that mean, then?” In the middle of me asking, they always reply, “Then we have to help clean.”

Exactly.

It only took about an hour to get the house cleaned up. We typically keep things relatively neat and orderly, so it never really gets hard. Didn’t do the floors or the bathrooms but the rest looks alright. When we were done, I started looking at things we could be doing. At about 1 p.m., I decided we should just go. Take the boys and head back to the hills of snow.

I called one friend, told her to give me her daughters to go. She said they were busy helping her.

Called another friend; they were busy cleaning house all day. In their defense, one of them we called was sick. Having just gotten over sick, I wanted nothing to do with someone else who was sick!

Called more people. Every single person we call was “getting this house cleaned up!”

I started thinking. What is wrong that it takes an entire day to clean a house? Or, is it a matter of straightening up and getting sidetracked? I make the babies work their tails off for an hour, no more than 2 and we’re done. House is cleaned up and we’re ready to go play. Am I an aberration? Am I strange? Is my house not “clean” because I don’t spend all day on it?

Looks clean. Floors could use a washing. Bathrooms might need a wipe-down. Otherwise, looks pretty good to me and I was taught how to clean by my mother. Let me tell you, she was tough! She taught me things that just aren’t taught in today’s world. I won’t go into details but I learned about the “woman who goes to the bathroom and drops her rings washing her hands.” That’s what I learned on how to clean.

Maybe that’s why it doesn’t take me an entire day to clean. Having learned under her hand, my house stays pretty nice. Usually.

We didn’t end up going. It was a “don’t want the boys playing all alone” type thing. We stayed home.

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We shot fake bullets at a wind chime hanging in the dining room – just for fun. I tried about 5 times, gave up and handed it to my 4 year old. He hit the wind chime 3 or 4 times in a row – no misses! I was floored. The 6 year old tried and failed a few times then the 4 year old tried again. He managed to get a few stuck in some interesting places.

Let me say this: the one stuck to the picture is actually stuck TO the picture. There’s no glass in that picture. I framed that myself and I am not interested in cutting glass. It is just a picture in a frame. Now that’s talent, little Brendan!

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One of Brendan’s used gifts from the second hand store: water coloring. The paper already has the colored lines on it. You use water to spread it out to color the picture. That was a bit of fun until Caiden bit the end off his paint brush.

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They were allowed to play the Wii fora little bit. Looking at this picture, I’m surprised. He knows he can’t point that thing at people!

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We smashed some peppermint. Today, we’re going to try to go to Caiden’s class and show them how to make their own hot chocolate. Have to have peppermint to do so.

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I canned Pico de Gallo, just to see what would happen. You have to add some vinegar or lemon juice before canning it and, afterwards, it’s softer than you’d make it fresh. The cooking does take the crispness out of things. No matter. It was another experiment and we typically eat the ones we won’t save for a long time.

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My friend Meg’s girls came over a bit later on and they played a little bit on the Wii. In the middle of that, we made hot chocolate for them to take home.

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They had a bit of fun with it, made a mess and then went back to playing the Wii until they were picked up. It was a practice session for what we did today (Wednesday). Jen and I, that is. We took all our supplies to the school and taught 45+ 1st graders how to make their own hot chocolate. More on that later.

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While they were playing with the Wii, Jen and I came up with a great idea. We melted some chocolate chips and marshmallows in a bowl on the stove and then put it between two Nilla Wafers. We threw them in the fridge to cool off and, after the girls left (we were under strict instructions to not feed them a bunch of junk), we gave them to the boys for snacks.

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They were yummy and terribly like S’Mores. The boys gobbled them up after a late dinner and we shoved them in bed by 7 p.m. They were asleep so fast and got up looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, this morning. Brendan threw a small fit about getting up so early; however, you could tell he was playing. He was wide-awake.

While they were asleep, I made my first homemade bread. White bread. A recipe from one of my 1924 cook books – the Priscilla Cook Book. It turned out amazing and I was very pleased. Now, I can make bread when we don’t have money to buy bread!

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Homemade bread with canned butter. Oh, yeah. It was that good!

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And yeah, they liked it this morning when they saw it. Brendan is actually trying to eat his and Caiden is trying to decide if he’ll get in trouble for eating it. I’m officially the bread-maker for the family!

We went to Caiden’s class today and taught all of the 1st graders in the three classes how to make their own hot chocolate. It was hectic so we only have a picture of the before. They appeared to like it and only one boy got mildly burned when he spilled his hot chocolate.

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Getting set up. Right after this, it got so hectic, not one more picture was taken. Sorry.

It was alright, though. The teachers helped keep everyone in line and we made quite a few; however, we didn’t have enough to send some home with everyone so we just shared with the kids there and three of the quietest kids – one from each 1st grade class – got to take a jar home with them. I enjoyed it and would willingly do it again. When we have more supplies to send everyone home with some, that is.

Now, a stiff drink, a bath and a long nap to recover from dealing with that many children for 45 minutes. Things are looking up, my friends. Health is on the mend and I’m doing great.

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Categories: 1950s, American, Canning, Dinner, Family, Socializing, Trips | Leave a comment

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