Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fidget's Latest Accomplishment

I am in a hotel room in Rhode Island as we are here looking for a house. It's been too long since I've written here though so I wanted to share a picture of Fidget from last week. 

We had an ever so long, tiring and exciting week of camp together. She was in the sports side of the camp and I was in the art teaching side but we ran into each other every day and that brought me joy. The campers stole my heart, especially a little girl named Cecilia, and I hate to leave her, but that's how it is in a military family. You meet people, you love them, you leave. But that's another excuse to write- as if I needed an excuse.

Anyway, back to last week. At the end of the week Fidget had her green belt test in karate. After such a tiring week we were extra proud to see her go through all her steps, punches and moves with confidence. Even though I saw her yawning during the test. She had to recite 10 Bible verses and know the lengthy student creed as well. And she did it!

This picture of her with a favorite sensei, Lindsay, shows Fidget in her last few minutes of being a Little Dragons black belt. She did earn her black belt in the little kids' class in February. But now she has graduated to her first grown up karate belt and we are very proud of her. It is just as well we are house hunting and skipping school. This kid has earned a big break!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ham n' Swiss Loaf

This week I had lunch with a dear friend while our children played. Did you ever notice that when children are visiting, kids never want to take time to eat? Fidget wasn't hungry all day. That was fine with Aimee and me. We got to relax and enjoy food and fellowship and even pray together. Friendship is such a blessing.

Here is the recipe for  ham and swiss loaf . I have made this exact recipe a bunch of times from my Fleischmann's yeast cookbook. Above and below show the dough rolled out with meats and cheeses layered down the center.

I used ham, roast beef, and a Mexican four-cheese blend. I split the dough in half since it was just going to be me and Aimee eating it. And there were still leftovers. If you make the whole thing together it feeds a bunch of people, which is perfect for a lunch tea party. The other half of the dough I sent home with Aimee so she could make a loaf for her family.
After you lay the meat and cheese down the center, you slice the sides so they can lace up and make a braided pattern over top.This seals in the insides so you don't lose your cheese all over the baking sheet.
The finished product. Egg is brushed over top before you bake it. You get a beautiful glossy crust that is soft and golden. Sometimes in winter I serve it with tomato soup for kids, or a heartier soup with dinner. This time I served a pasta salad along side.
Since there is mustard in the dough it doesn't need any condiments. I am not much into mustard, but it is a subtle background flavor and pairs well with the meat.

The kids didn't know what they were missing. The fellowship was sweet and the food was good. I am going to miss Virginia.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scramble of the Week

It's been awhile since I checked in. I appreciate anyone who looks at my page with any frequency and I am sorry I haven't put anything new on... So for you: All right, folks, here's the low down. 

We are about to move. 
We are trying to get our house ready to rent out,
trying to find a place to live in Rhode Island, and 
having the kitchen and bathroom redone because the water line to the ice maker broke recently and ruined those rooms as well and flooding the basement. 

On top of that I am getting to paint!
 Here's the adorable puppy I am working on this week for our neighbor. Hope to be finished by Wednesday, especially since I have 2 or 3 more house pictures to sketch and possibly draw. Can you see how much fun I am having at this? Can you believe people pay me for having this kind of fun?
 Here's the house I finished a couple of weeks ago.
And here is Brandy, a portrait of a dear friend's daughter. I did this in late winter/early spring. 

I started a Cookie of the Week segment but had to stop when our kitchen was off limits for the workers to rip out the floor. The oven was in the laundry room for over a week. Sometimes the best I can do for the Pres' lunch box treat is to tuck in some Nutter Butter cookies.

So instead of the cookie of the week I will show you what I am scrambling to do. From here on out I will be scrambling to find a house to live in, finish commissions, get packed up, and move where the Marine Corps sends us. I am already praying for a welcoming art community up in RI because getting to paint again has opened up a facet of me largely ignored since our little figlet came along almost 7 years ago. Now that I'm painting, I don't want to stop!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adelaide's Treasures

As you know if you've been reading this blog, my daughter Fidget and I have an ongoing mystery to work on when we run to the Elizabeth River down at the end of our street. While we do collect clues (sometimes in the form of broken pottery, which we bring home), I am not sure this is a mystery we want to solve. It is something we expound on every time so it takes different turns.
Here are more broken items from Aunt Adelaide's sunken ship. Fidget and I were fascinated this morning, because we chanced upon low tide and there were bits of glass and pottery strewn all about. Jackpot!
I was particularly enchanted with two fragments that had back stamps pressed into them. You can see them better if you click the photo above, it enlarges the picture.
I found so much, it filled both my hands on the way home. Lately we find more and more pieces. We are going to miss the fun of finding shards of the past when we move this summer. We may never solve the mystery of Aunt Adelaide's disappearance, or find the chest with her fortune in it. We may never apprehend the pirates who posed as fishermen to steal her trunk. But I am sure another mystery is awaiting us in Rhode Island!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Case of Aunt Adelaide

Today we got down to the river in the morning again. We have such fun playing Nense Jroo (which is how Fidget spells Nancy Drew, for the uninitiated) there. We are always on a case. The past few months we've been taken with the idea that Nense and her friends George Fayne (who is an athletic girl, I often play this part when I am not pretending to be Ned Nickerson) and Bess Marvin all have an Aunt Adelaide who went missing in the late 1800's, leaving her fortune to the three girls. Never mind that the girls would not have been born yet so dear auntie could not have known their names. Do not bog us down in details like that! Apparently pirates who posed as fishermen sank Aunt Adelaide's boat, so they could get her fortune. She had a trunk of gold doubloons. We often find bits of pottery from auntie's boat, or glass, or undeveloped film that Nense swirls in the water to develop so we can just make out the shadowy figure of a man...

You always have to be ready with Fidget. Even if you woke up in the middle of the night with nightmares and lost a lot of sleep, be prepared. She will probably wake up at 6am with another case brewing before you can even get your first cup of tea down. When this happens, I find the best thing to clear the head is a run to the river.