February 13, 2010

I Love:: 14 ~ My (Funny) Valentines

When it comes to the day of hearts all the love is square and centered on my people.
The man of my heart and husband forever.
My guy and my girlie.
They are my Valentines.
I Love:: my Valentines.

Happy Valentine's Day


And, on Valentine's Day,  something I love to my Dear:

- e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)  


11:35 am:  So far, our day has been filled with cards, homemade and store bought. The silly decorations from the little, little days, the bowl of hearts, a bit of sweet and lots of the color red. I love this day when the only real pressure is to remember the people we love, love, love.

3:35 pm:  A short trip to the Farmers Market with me in sniffles and my girlie with a sore throat confirms the truth: My husband is still 17 (which is hard to reconcile with 18 years of marriage). While walking from the car to buy veggies and sour dough, he revved up his new iPod ap. The one with all the bodily function sounds. The kiddies giggled while I wondered what instigated this business. 
It must be love.

I Love:: 13 ~ Love in action

This is my Aunt Sandy. In my growing up years, she was the aunt who had my attention whenever she was in the room. She is and has always been different somehow. Beautiful. Chic. Realistic. And wondrous. 
Illness is taking an early toll on her life. And today, for this holiday weekend my cousin Wendy and her daughter have flown to one of Washington State's wonderful islands, where Sandy lives, to take love. They'll be painting nails, looking at photo albums and hugging lots. 

I am with them in spirit. But the greater gift is this action of love. 
Right there. Now. 

February 12, 2010

I Love:: Twelve ~ a perfect sugar cookie

Why yes, I do bake. Lots of really interesting things. Plenty of kinda fancy cakes. Lots of cookies. But I've never really gotten far with sugar cookies. Finally! A great recipe. So last night we got the class cookies made. One each for my missy's class. (We tasted cookie dough, they are yummy.) And up before the dawn to decorate. (Which was really quite fun for my lovely and me.) Perhaps a bit last minute. But Alex and Annie, the J kid and Brandon and Zac don't really need to know. Do they?

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. (No mention of a sifter here.)

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the beaten egg and vanilla mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour (or overnight) or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter. Cut out shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shapes while baking.

Note: if you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with colored crystal or sparkling sugar.

Bake cookies for about 8-10 (depending on size) or until they are just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing and sparkling sugar, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.)

Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.
Makes about 20 - 3 inch cookies.

For Royal Icing with Egg Whites:
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg white with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Thanks to Joy of Baking 

February 11, 2010

I Love:: Eleven ~ My son's blog.

There are so many joys being a mom. For me they started with washing the little teeny socks before my boy was born. And sorting through the sweetest hand-me-overs loaned for my lovely girl. There are the walks and the talks. The games of catch. The learning to's. The performances, the grades. And there are the leaps. The views from the sidelines. My boy loves movies and, inspired by the sound of fingers on a keyboard, has been inspired to start his own blog - about movies. I'm quite proud to be blogging right next to him.

February 10, 2010

I Love:: Ten ~ The early morning.

Before most of the people I love are up. I am. It has been like this for most of my life. Early. Alone. The early bird. My dad was like this too. Earlier even than I. Early to rise. In the peaceful, stillness of morning. To me an enticing time. Wondering about the day. My ritual varies. Quiet. Coffee. A step into the yard. Time with God. A fire. Then, as the house opens to the day, my son will sometimes join me. Not my girlie. The dog tries. But he just moves from one bed to his living room spot and drifts back to sleep. My husband, like many of my other favorite people are more apt to enjoy late night but that is their story. 
Mine is about the joy of dawn and before.

February 09, 2010

I Love:: Nine ~ Daydreaming

Oh yes. It began way back then. As seen in the living room at Gommie and Gramp's. The blank stare.

I'll guess it was my birthday - seeing that I'm wearing the fancy corduroy jumpsuit and my first bracelet. Mom's tan, so I likely have the month right. But none of this matters, because I'm daydreaming. Off in the blank stare space, in some childhood meditation. The peaceful place. Can you hear my mom? Wouldn't she love my attention? Soon she'll check to see if I'm breathing. Or not, because she knows me and she knows I'm -- daydreaming. Transfixed on nothing.
It's good. Especially now, when I'm thinking about something particularly think worthy. One eye drifts out of alignment and the focus just doesn't require vision. It's a dream. I consider and I don't, but in that quiet place of non-topical musing, whilst in the fog, peace and calm overcome.
And sometimes, I'm just thinking about shoes.

February 08, 2010

I Love:: Eight -- Monkey Bread

Monkey bread came into our family in the 70's when my grandma found a recipe and began serving it with dinner on occasion. Edith's version was made like a dinner roll, completely savory (and buttery) and built in bites like the one in the picture. But ours today, the one in the picture, is a cinnamony-sweet breakfast treat - something we love to make, especially with friends or the cousins.
This particular version came from our fabulous friend, Bonnie, who introduced it as a breakfast treat for kids on mornings when she drove them to school. Her big boys (her trees!) love it - it was sure to be a hit. So, on those early, yummy, cozy mornings, when she wasn't delighting them with crepes or breakfast burritos, she made Monkey Bread. My kids wanted, desperately, for me to make it too.So with
This particular recipeis calls for frozen bread dough, butter, sugar, cinnamon and a knife. I learned in my first tries that you must let the dough not just thaw, but rise and that bigger pieces are better than smaller pieces.
Here's our super simple recipe.
1) Thaw a loaf of frozen bread dough. We like Bridgeford.
2) Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
3) Spray a bundt or angel food pan with Pam.
4) Melt a stick of butter, place it in a shallow dish or bowl.
5) Place about 1/4 cinnamon sugar in a shallow dish or bowl.
6) Cut the risen dough into bite sized pieces (we cut the loaf in width-wise strips and then  into thirds).
7) Assemble by dipping cut bread into first butter then sugar and bulid in the pan.
8) Save left over butter or c/s for next time!
8) Bake in 350 over for about 35 minutes. (The dough at the top of the pan will be lighter than that pictured.)
9) Cool a few minutes, then turn the ring of yumminess over on a pan and serve.
There are several recipes for monkey bread. Erin's has ice cream in the mix! And there's even kit you can buy. I'll post more in recipes a little later.

What I love the most about monkey bread is how it makes my monkeys jump for joy!

February 07, 2010

I Love:: Seven. 9 cent coffee.

Beyond the mild roar of the big rooms and the queues waiting for sandwiches at Philipe's, is the secret, deeply desired 9 cent cup of java. I doubt Starbuck's would pair a cup of the bean with a French Dipped Sandwich. But then Starbuck's wouldn't charge me 9 cents for a cup that is just a bit smaller than a tall. So good on it's own. Without cheesecake. Ahhh love.


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