We celebrated with my mother in law and I decided to try and make some nice things without spending too much. My MIL is the type of person that has everything. Though, I often enjoy giving gifts to her, because she appreciates gifts well thought. So, this year here was what we presented. First, she was greeted at her door with these lovely flowers carried by me.These are Lilacs and Viburnum from the bushes in my yard. I love Viburnum and the chartreuse and purple look so lovely together. I put then in a simple coffee can ( I save these for crafts and also canisters). The trick to keeping woody stemmed flowers like these to last longer is to hammer the ends so they are sort of shredded as opposed to an angled cut like a softer stemmed flower. The woody stem then has more area to ‘drink’ and therefore last longer.
Next, rather than buy her any more plants, I thought she would appreciate one of my tomato seedlings I had nursed into life myself. She did.I made a copy of the seed packet, punched a hole in it and tied it to the pot with garden twine. Then I made a little packet out of waxed paper and included more seeds for this variety in case she wanted to start some straight into another pot or in the garden. My MIL has an amazing green thumb and I love talking gardening with her.
I never buy cards. I always make my own, as they say so much more about how much effort and love you have put into something. I make a copy of a photo of her mother, my hubby’s grandmother, that she does not have a copy of. I used old-fashioned photo corners to attach it to the card, so she can frame it later. The rest i hand wrote. Here is the original image.My MIL’s mother was really something. She had rather a tragic life in that when she was young her only brother was in a ‘home’ as he was slow. When he was 14 the home burned and he perished. I love this shot of her, as this is shortly after her marriage and in her new home. My MIL said she was rather upset, because her (the grandmother) MIL had insisted on designing the house and she wanted more say in it. She did have free reign in decorating, though, and we have all the little wall paper samples and paint chips as she laid it all out to have rooms painted. I always think of “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House” when I look through it. I love her shoes in this picture and would kill for those drapes. Though, I do have that pot that you can just make out on the top of the built in cabinet. It is my favorite blue. My MIL has the paintings, the boat etc in her home now. Our families keep everything.
My MIL is not big on sweets and that is because she is smart enough to always watch her waistline. So, rather than a cake or something like that, I made Chocolate Sorbet and Shortbread. This was my first attempt at Sorbet and as I have no ice cream maker, had to make it in the freezer. It took longer to set, but was so delicious and rich and was a nice contrast to the more mellow but full taste of the shortbread. Now that I see how easy it is to make, I will be making so many varieties. I want to make a lime/basil and also a vanilla lavender would be lovely, don’t you think. Here is the recipe I used:
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- Pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
Preparation:Whisk ingredients together until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are well blended and smooth. Chill for 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream freezer following manufacturer's directions.
Now, I used 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup instead of corn syrup and I don’t have an ice cream freezer, so I put it in two large bowls so it was more exposed and froze it for two hours. Then I took it out and whipped it my hand until it got thick and frothy and refroze it for 2 more hours. It was lovely and scooped nicely. It was fine in my car for the 20 minute drive to my MIL and then I put it in her freezer while we had dinner. I would recommend trying this as it is another item you can make yourself easily and no preservatives and you can certainly make ahead. I imagine it would last a few weeks in the freezer. I think they would also make wonderful homemade Fudgecicles.
1 1/4 butter ( 2 and 1/2 sticks) softened
1/4 powdered sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
3 cups flower.
Whisk sugars. cut in butter and then with mixer add flower in two parts until it chases itself around bowl. Take the dough and divide into two balls. Press into two 8” cake tins. With form press triangle shapes (like cutting a pizza) and then prick each of those triangles. Bake at 275 F for about 60-70 minutes (watch for it to be just lightly brown on edges.)
I suppose I have my new ‘children’ this year, though they did not get me a Mother’s Day card, they are happily chirrping away on my desk as I type this post.
Here are some shots of the little darlings as they break free from their eggs.
You can see them damp and tired from the struggle. Here you see one resting while two of its new siblings peck little openings to free themselves. It is always so amazing to me that I simply recieved some eggs in the mail, set them under 99F heat for 21 days and now I will have a source of eggs and meat. (the meat coming from the unfortunate roosters we will get. Of course I will keep one and will most likely sell them rather than eat them, as they are all from breeders who raise show birds, so they would be good show chickens.)
This is one of the little Brahma’s that is so friendly. He sits like this at the edge of the pen whenever I am at my desk, interested in my typing. My little Chihuahua, Monty, always loves other animals and is so gentle with them that they are never scared. He he is quietly sitting on a silk pillow on my desk keeping an eye on his new little ‘friends’.
I spent this afternoon out building the base for my new chicken house. Pictures will follow after I have completed the whole structure. Right now I simply have the base in.
Tomorrow is suppose to be a rainy day, so I might get a chance to catch up on the Website and perhaps do a more ‘rant-filled’ blog. I have quite a few topics jotted down in my book for such that I have encountered this past week, but have been selfishly using my time in the yard while we are contiuing to have cool weather. I want to get as much of the heavy physical labor done before we get to our warmer Summer weather.
Speaking of warmer weather, my Tomatoes and Cucumbers are still patiently waiting to be transplanted. They have been having daily trips out in the sun to acclimate to the outside, but it has still been too cold to transplant these heat loving plants. My cucumbers are amazingly FULL of flowers. Here are some pictures.
I just this the color and pattern so beautiful and I love how sculptural the stems are up close. Here you can see the little tendrils grasping onto anything. It almost looks like a little fist holding fast to a line. These will not only provide wonderful fodder for canning and salads this summer, but as they trail up the side of my house in my vegetable garden, they will be a feast for the eyes too! Ahh, gardening and Spring, so much promise.
Until later, then, Happy Homemaking.