Homemaking · My world

My Lemon Bars

My wonderful Lemon bars are easy to make and a big hit with everyone.

For a 9″x13″ pan:

For shell:
2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325°.

Blend butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar until a smooth paste.

Press into ungreased 9″x13″ baking pan.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Or until set not brown.

Filling:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Lemon zest (optional)

Beat together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, and lemon juice until light and frothy.
Pour over hot shell sprinkle with lemon zest.  Return to oven – bake at 325° for 20 minutes.  While hot dust with powdered sugar.  Cool, cut into bars.

Blogs I Know · Homemaking · My world

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – July 7


the Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by Peggy at the Simple Woman.
Thank you Peggy, this is so much fun!

FOR TODAY July 7, 2008
I really have to laugh at myself.  I thought I had this all nicely formatted and ready to go and then I looked at it and I had saved it all funny.  One of these days I might be able to function WHILE my coffee is brewing.  🙂   Today is obviously NOT that day.

Outside My Window…  The sun is just starting to rise and there is a soft cool breeze blowing the dampness from the grass through the window.  We have had intense weather this summer, very cold, then hot, some good thunder storms.  Today is normal,  dew on the grass, little bit of a marine layers that will burn off as soon as the sun is up full. 
I am thinking… I have so much to do this week.  I need to go to the library, shop for the trip, make sure we have everything set to go, pack, load the car.  But I am also very excited to be taking the kids camping.
I am thankful for…So many kind people at our parish.  The camping trip is with the homeschool group and people have been so helpful.  We have even been loaned a bike rack so I can bring the children’s bikes.  Kyle can’t come down for a couple day after I leave and there have been offers from the guys who will be there — I know the tent will get up at least.
From the kitchen…I did some baking over the weekend for the forth. The children decorated cupcakes
I am wearing…  Pink sweater and brown capris.  Bare feet, I usually have bare feet inside, either that or my soft, blue slippers.  I think that is part of why I failed flylady. The whole “dress to the shoes” thing made the petulant girl in me stick out my tongue and say “Oh, yeah, that’s stupid”.   Though I do have to laugh.  When I first saw her “thing” it included putting on shoes AND make-up.  Since I own a grand total of one lipstick you can imagine how seriously I took it all.
I am creating… The Camping List.  I have the basic list done, the one that I check off that we actually own enough sleeping bags and such.  This list needs to be the packing list, I need the menu list.  I love lists.  My dad taught me the usefulness of lists when I was a child.  He is a grand master list maker… I am a novice compared to him.
I am going…  Camping this weekend.  This is the first time in years that I have been tent camping and I am looking forward to it.  (did you guess that yet?)
I am reading…  Laundry, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell and It’s All Too Much.  A new book has made its way to the list this week: George Will’s, One Man’s America.  I was thrilled to see the Anchoress recommending him the same time the book finally got to me (I had it on hold at the library) I love the video she has of George Will & Stephen Colbert, in fact that was what inspired me to get the book in the first place.
I am hoping…  That I don’t start stressing out the next few days.
I am hearing…  There is a bird squawking.  I think it is one of the birds nesting in our tree in the yard.
Around the house… I have camping gear everywhere.  It is starting to get to me.  I am tripping over stuff and that increases the stressed feeling that I won’t get it all in the mini-van.
One of my favorite things… My great grandfather’s ice-cream churn.  I still have it and it still works, but it  needs a little work. Where does one get a 1928 ice-cream churn worked on?
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:  The camping thing woo hoo.   Yeah, I know I have been going on about it.  I know though that the second I leave the city limits I will relax and have fun.  Till then I am trying to enjoy the moment, watching the kids get a bit more excited every day and just glad to have the chance to do this sort of thing.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…



Hannah at the park when she was very small
Those are band-aids on her forehead covering the stitches from the time she ran smack into the corner of the doorway leading into the kitchen.  I thought is might slow her down, make her more cautious… no…..

Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world · Simplicity · Summer Fling

The Simple Summer Fling — Day 5

The Simple Summer Fling Day 5 – I have two windows in my office with deep sills and they end up accumulating stuff.  While I started cleaning the first one off I ended up thinking that the curtains seriously needed washed, but I can’t wash just one curtain in the room –  bad habit of mine –  getting side  tracked into bigger projects than I started with.  So I took all the curtains down and tossed them in the washer.  This made my window a two day project… yeah me (eye roll).

here is the result so far.


before


after one day

Blogs I Know · Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – June 30


the Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by Peggy at the Simple Woman.

FOR TODAY June 30, 2008

 
Outside My Window…  The weekend started out very hot; yesterday there were thunder storms and a bit of rain.  Today is supposed to be warm and nice.  The sky is hazy, the trees and grass still have a sheen from the rain and sew.
I am thinking… About the idea that I need to work on follow through more.  I am really good at planning – the follow through not so much.
I am thankful for… My Dad.  His birthday was yesterday and we had BBQ at his house.  So much fun.
From the kitchen… I need to make some bread.  This week  I will also be making cookies, lemon bars and a cake.
I am wearing…  Black skirts and a t-shirt.
I am creating… I am cutting out two aprons today to sew up.
I am going…  To work on my Summer Fling today.  This has been a great thing for me, I have been organizing the shelves in my house that don’t get attention otherwise.
I am reading…  Laundry, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell and It’s All Too Much. 
I am hoping…  That the forth is nice.
I am hearing… Cars this morning.  People heading out to drive into town to work
Around the house… I need to get to work deep cleaning the kitchen.
One of my favorite things… My jewlery box.  It folds in on itself like a puzzle box. 
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Sew some, we are going to do a short summer school unit on Independence day.
Here is picture thought I am sharing…


the kiddos last summer at the cabin

Catholic homemaking · Food · Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world

Serving sizes, serving less and eating better


Jan Steen — Wirtshausgarten

Recently I have been reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by  Michael Pollan.   At the moment I am about half way through, but it has been expanding and reinforcing my growing concern about food.  Not just what and how much we eat, but also how the actions we take as individuals in acquiring our food shape and change the world around us.  It has also given us our latest running joke.  “hey, guess what you’re eating”  — “CORN”.  It will eventually get old, but we will run it into the ground and stomp on it a few times before we give it up.   But back to diner. 

Gestational diabetes has been the worst part of my last two pregnancies, but it has also been positive in helping me focus on two important facts.  I need to eat better and I need to exercise more.   These facts were drilled how when I met with the nutritional councilor who talked about managing the carbohydrates I eat and balancing my menus for better nutrition.  The other item she highlighted was serving size.  Portion control is important.  Not just to my waistline, but to the family budget as well.  

Rethinking serving sizes for health: Portions have gotten larger over the past 20 years.  To see this in a compelling way check out Portion Distortion from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.  (They also have a nice menu tool  where you can input your menu and see a breakdown of the calories, fat and carbohydrates. )   I know as I have gotten older I have seen this on my own plate.  I have allowed myself to be tricked into the idea that  more is better with regards to food, but that is just not true.  More is unhealthy.  The most expensive calories you buy are the ones that you over eat.  They cost money to purchase, time to store and cook, and money down the road dealing with health problems, they cost time to burn off, and they hurt your quality of life.  They are not a good deal.

Reason dictates that children need less food than adults, teens need more, older adults need less, but when I look at most serving suggestions (including those on packages and in reciepies) there is one serving size.   Menu recommendations for children usually reduce the number of servings, but this doesn’t work so well when I am cooking for the whole family.  So instead of changing the number of servings I am changing the portion size.

My typical family diner serves two adults (one serving each), one teen (1.5 servings), one older child (1 serving) , two younger children (.75 servings each)  and a toddler (.5 serving).  So basically I need 6.5 servings for the family for breakfast and dinner and 4 servings for lunch and snacks and box lunches for 2.5 plus “on the go” snacks for 2.5 serving.   But these can not be the bloated serving sizes that have crept onto our dinner plates, especially on the higher calorie items.  I will admit my visual judgment on what a serving is isn’t so great.  I need to measure and weigh items so that I can train myself to better judge what a serving is.  The Clevenland Clinic has a good resource for determining serving sizes.  I have a small kitchen scale and measuring cups and that pretty much lets me see what a serving size really is.  One of the fun things I did with the children we to take their favorite breakfast cereal and measure out one serving.  It was significantly less than what they had  been pouring out for themselves when they had the chance.  

Increased serving sizes leads to waste: When I cook too much it is almost guaranteed that at least some of it will go to waste.   Studies have shown that children under five won’t on their own eat more no matter how much you put in front  of them.  They stop eating when they are full.  But children older than five will eat more if there is more in front of them — to a point.  Too much food served up means food that is brought to the kitchen that need to be tossed.  Leftovers are great for boxed lunches especially, but more than one or possibly two days worth is a complete waste.   It will sit in the refrigerator until it resembles some misbegotten science experiment and then be tossed.  The second most expensive calories that you buy are the ones you don’t eat.

The sweet things in life: We are not machines.  We don’t just consume our food for energy.  We have a complex relationship with food, it is part of our culture, our family life and a real pleasure.  Or at least it should be.  Fast food, eaten quickly, on the go and alone doesn’t have anywhere near the same satisfaction as a well cooked meal, eaten with friends and family around the dinner table while talking over the days events.   Likewise we can’t eat ourselves into happiness.  While we might enjoy a piece of chocolate cake are we really going to enjoy a huge piece more than a small severing?  What is better, the small piece savored slowly or the huge piece eaten quickly?   A friend of mine once said, “With thing that you eat just for the taste just a taste should do.”  Smaller servings, prepared carefully and served in pleasant surrounds have a satisfaction that super-sized bloated servings just can’t match.   Taking the time to make food special has the double benefit of making less food more satisfying.

Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world

Catholic Homemaking

 

One of the recurring themes on this blog has been Catholic Homemaking.  That is a natural reflection of who I am, this blog is a journal of sorts and an outlet for my rather overactive brain to explore things that are important to me.  My husband and I were joking the other day about what a husband wants from a wife, the cliché sex, cooking, cleaning and rearing children was tossed out and we both laughed.   I suppose it is the flip side of the idea that women want to marry someone who will be a good provider and a good father.  Stereo types, not the whole store, but still relevant in a sense.  

A husband and wife are the ultimate sacramental partnership.  Together they guide their household.  Someone has to do the cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, educating the children, handling the bills and the shopping, bringing home the paycheck or running the business, both partners need security and intimacy.  How exactly the day to day work of living breaks down from couple to couple is entirely up to them.  I certainly don’t have the answers for everyone — actually I am pretty sure there is no one single answer but I have noticed that people tend to fall into certain groups.  The duel income families, the ultra-traditional families, the two-very-independent partners families all seem to have a great deal of trouble relating to one another.  Every family has decided on its own prioities and it can be difficult to respect the point of view of others when their priorities are far off from your own.  

I would hope that anyone reading this who would flinch at the fact that I often write from a more traditional point of view would realize that this is a reflection of choices that my husband and I made long ago and are very happy with.  We have chosen a life style that reflects our priorities and tastes.  I certainly wouldn’t say that anyone should agree with me or that if they don’t they are making some grand mistake.   And I am sorry, trying to post comments with negative critics on my faith or life style choices are not going to convince me to change my faith or any other aspect of my life.  

So I write always from my own perspective.  I am Roman Catholic, I am primarily a homemaker, I homeschool four of my children, I have a little cottage business, I keep this blog, I am crazy about my husband and very blessed by my children.   Most of what I write is for me.  I write to help organize my thoughts, improve my life, record where I have been and occasionally rant about things in the culture around me.  I hope you enjoy your visit here.

 

 

 

Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world · Simplicity · Summer Fling

The Simple Summer Fling

After getting horrible side tracked the last week.  I am starting my Simple Summer Fling: One small step at a time.  It offically begins on Monday,  June 23rd.

The goal to reorganize 30 small areas of my house over the next 6 weeks.

The important points:

One — This is summer I don’t want to get bogged down reorganizing the entire kitchen in one day.

Small— one shelf, one drawer, half a closet, the top of the entertainment center.  Something that can be tackled and done in less than half an hour.

Consistant — A little each day will go a long way.

Thoughtful — I want to be sure to assess what the area’s problem is before I take it on.

Accountability — Yes, I am going to be posting before and after shots for this one.

That is it.  As with the trash-bag challenge feel free to adapt this to your own situation and if you want to join in send me a link to your blog or leave a comment here.

Mary Mary and Martha · My world · Simplicity

40 Trash bag Challenge: update as I go

As a bit of introduction to those who are just seeing this.  My house suffers from my horrible habit of letting “stuff” accumulate.  I started the 40 trash bag challenge to help me focus my de-cluttering efforts and to provide a bit of accountability while I work away at the “pile”.

I am using standard size kitchen trash bags, I am also figuring that one “book box” is the rough equivalent to a bag since some things just don’t work well in bags.

Willa has started the Trash bag Challenge.   She is in the process of organizing her home and it is an inspiration to see the before and after pictures.

Mary Alice has started working on eliminating some of her excess stuff.

If you are doing the Trash bag Challenge and want me to link to your site so you can inspire others please leave a comment or email me.

40 of 40 bags so far.

The last bag — A bag of bags and shoes.

Week Eight: The finale week.  After letting myself fall a bit behind can we make it?  We’ll see.  So far so good.

I really started on the children’s clothing.  One bag of little girl things.

I hopped down to the basement to pull up the summer clothing boxes.  After sorting through three of the boxes I have one bag.

Make it two.

no, three.

A bag of toys.  Mostly things like happy-meal toys and little things they get here and there and play with for a few days then never look at again.

A box of books.  I mean serriously I don’t think I am going to need Weddings for Dummies any time soon, and that Introduction to Microcomputers published in 1987 might not be so useful today.

A bunch of stuff from the office supplies storage shelf.

I tossed a bag of old coloring books and other assorted papers from the kids play area.

a bag of toys.

A bag of broken toys, old drawings, broken crayons and other “trashed” play things.

One bag of little boy things.

A bag of toss away stuff from the boys room.

A bag of coats.

Week Seven: This is another catch up week but we are off to a good start.

Another bag of towels from the bathroom linen closet. My mom got me new towels for my birthday but I never got rid of any of the old ones.

A bag of linens and towels from the bathroom linen closet.

Yet another bag of stuff from the the office.  I hang on to way too much paper, and I need to remember that junk mail will in no way be less junk just because it is a month old.

A bag stuff from the the office, mostly paper and old books.

Another bag stuff from the office.  Old notebooks, paper, and some random things that were lurking in a couple boxes.

Continue reading “40 Trash bag Challenge: update as I go”

Blogs I Know · Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · Simplicity · Simply Lovely Fairs

Simply Lovely Spring 2008: The Splendor of Spring

Calling all you brilliant Simply Lovely writers out there!

This week I will be hosting the next “Simply Lovely Fair”   the topic is “Simply Lovely Picnics”. 

I will put off posting submissiongs until Saturday  the 31st  to give more people a chance to get their submissions to me. 

If you can leave your link in the comments or you can email them to me.