One of the innumerable blessings of homeschooling is abounding, wonderful, and marvelous wackiness. “You do know your brother is weird, don’t you?” asked my daughter’s friend. A better description is “uniquely quirky”. It was our Creator who decided each and every one of us would be unique in all the history of the world, and in so doing, made it impossible, no matter how hard we try, for any two of us to be alike–unweird. Normal.
Exploring normal. Normal breakfasts, for starters, are too fast and too cruel (like the remarks of that little girl who didn’t take the time to know my son before mis-pronouncing who and what he was). A not so normal breakfast is eggs scrambled by you and/or your children, maybe even from your own chickens, and eaten with homemade blueberry lemon muffins–baked by you and/or your children. Forget the fake OJ. This deserves a spot of tea.
“Normal” ice cream is filled with chemicals, egg substitutes, artificial flavors and colors, fake “milk” and high fructose corn syrup. Oh, and air. And not many nuts. Not so normal ice cream is made at home with such marvels as organic heavy whipping cream and eggs, finely ground vanilla beans and maybe a bit of lavender essential oil–to be had on a Saturday morning, or for brunch, or with a first breakfast of blackberry crumble made with oats, whole grain flours, sea salt, REAL butter, honey, and walnuts.
Or make that a peach crisp with pecans with a purely vanilla ice cream. Chocolate goes well with peanuts and peanut butter topping, or try adding toasted coconut and almonds to your almond flavored dream cream. It’s up to you–you’re unique and you deserve uniqueness, or rather, nuttiness.
This sort of thing will cause your daughter to dance on the dining room chairs and your honey to show you a ballet step you never saw before. Nuts, not normal–both of them. And yay!
LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD. MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC. I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.
WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.
SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:
I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).
THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING. WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO! (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)
I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.
I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.
A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).
WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.
WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.
I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.
NOTE: I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.
YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.
HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH. SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!
WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)
OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY: A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.
HMMM. MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL? COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?
I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG. YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME. AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE. AND HEAR ME SING. AND DANCE WITH ME.
THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!
Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mixes were speaking to me. “You need a treat,” John encouraged me as we shopped together Friday evening. But I didn’t need a treat before bedtime. What I needed was a good night’s sleep followed by an early morning brownie and coffee party with whatever beloved (all my housemates are my beloveds) might be awake, or with myself, also a beloved of mine.
“Why,” Hannah queried this morning as we licked the bowl, “Do these taste better than homemade?”
“Probably because we don’t have the right recipe,” I said. And probably because, as good as Duncan does with his brownies, I doctor them to make them even better. I butter my brownies.
Hannah and I chatted as I mixed the mix, and I consequently used the recommended oil instead of my usual butter/peanut butter improvement. Easily remedied. I would butter them when they were finished, all nice and warm.
I did remember to add coconut and walnuts (normally I add vanilla and a bit of salt as well) and watched them carefully, being sure to take them out of the oven when they were barely, or even not quite, done. Later, for elevenses perhaps, we would have a “real” breakfast – sausages, scrambled eggs with cream cheese, cinnamon toast with peaches, and tea.
But for now chocolate would be the proper way to begin a Saturday.
Hannah and I buttered our brownies, and Hannah added peanut butter to her saucer as well. We drank our coffee and talked, wondering when the wafting scent of brownies would “wake the dead” as is usual. Sure enough, Benjamin soon joined us, rubbing his hands together, and asking as though it was too good be true, “Brownies for breakfast?”
These put him in the mood to write, and off he went. Next up was Rebekah who simply broke into laughter at the sight and scent of brownies. John wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic, I reasoned, but Seth would think he’d died in his sleep and was having breakfast in Heaven if I were to take him brownies and coffee in bed.
I did so, and Seth opened his eyes only slightly, but his smile was clear and bright as Colorado winter sunshine. “Thanks, Mom. You’re the best.”
Buttered brownies to start the day. Who knows what might follow?