Saturday, January 19, 2013

saturday midwinter

Here's the Soup for this chilly midwinter Saturday . . .


I wanted to mention in some way the three-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti last weekend, but didn't. It's a week overdue, but please read Ruth's post reflecting on grief and Haiti three years later, and also her poem, This Quilt.

Church Words: Member at Deeper Church
I wonder what would happen if rather than viewing our churches as institutions where we plop down and pay taxes, we entered with the understanding that our mere presence means we are joining a membership, a living order where bad sermons and good pot-lucks, wise pastors and grumpy pew-mates, dry seasons and fits of joy all contribute to the long narrative, the long membership. This membership is not a means to some other vision; it is itself the good work, the beautiful narrative enacted by the gracious amalgamation of misfit souls.
Brave Moms Raise Brave Kids- Jen Hatmaker  I completely agree, but I'd like to not have to be brave for a few more years. . . please?

Why We're Doing This, Part Ten at Across the Page
So what keeps us at it?
Simply this: the most valuable education is happening at the edges and in the cracks, in the experience of togetherness. By that, I don’t mean that throwing out curriculum and pedagogy and focusing on warm feelings of affection are all that matter in a child’s education. I mean that, as with other aspects of life, perspective is everything.

Arty Kids:  Family Portrait Collage I think we will do this for Jim for his birthday this week, super cute and a nice way to use all those great Melissa & Doug boxes that I can't bring myself to throw out.

In the Kitchen: I haven't posted about our Christmas dinner, so thought I would do so now even though it's a few weeks late. We alternate years with families for the holidays, but Jim's family is far away and this year it so happened that most of my family wouldn't be going anywhere on Christmas, so we invited everyone to Christmas at our house. It was so much fun. Here was the menu:

First a cheese board based on Ina Garten's Ploughman's Lunch, with roasted brussel sprouts, radishes, and roasted beets with feta.

For dessert Jim made Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guiness Cake 

And I made one of our favorite dishes, Chicken, Mushroom, and Leek Fricassee for dinner. Simple and delicious. Here's the recipe:
Need: 2 lg chicken breasts, cut into 1"pieces, 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, 8 oz sliced mushrooms, 1 small leek, 2 tsp fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried, 1/3 c. dry white wine, 1/3 c. whipping cream
Sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, mushrooms, leek, and tarragon. Saute 8 min. Add wine and cream. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 2 min. Uncover, simmer until mushrooms and leek are tender and sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 2 min. Season with salt and pepper. Round out with rice and steamed asparagus.
I used an idea from The Splendid Table for the tablecloth: brown butcher paper with places drawn for each person, set-out markers for doodling and later (much later, as I still haven't), cut-out and mail each guest's place to them as a memory of the dinner. For "luxurious" napkins, she suggests cutting pieces of material very generously, (mine were maybe 24 x 30?) leaving the ends frayed. I happened to have a big stack of Christmas-y flannel and this worked perfectly.

After dinner my aunt took the kids upstairs to prepare for their Nativity play, complete with uncles as donkeys. Love my family.

mid winter
I love the middle of January. Love. It. I need to remember this- the middle two weeks of January are the calmest weeks of the year. December is a blur, and the first week of January every single year is a disaster. The kids crash from too much sugar and excitement, every year they get sick, and don't sleep, and the house is a wreck. Finally, by the second week we've begun to recover. The house is refreshingly empty with the decorations taken down, and blessed calm settles over everyone.

This week the little ones played quietly together for hours, Hours!, while Sam and I did school, and Josie took long naps and they all slept at night. We have been playing games, making art and reading books, and snuggling under blankets, with very little on the agenda, and for right now, for just a few weeks, that is just perfect.

Have a calm + restful weekend, friends.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love 
and Christ's perseverance. 
2 Thes 3:5


Ruth said...

I love all your posts. Thank you for your blog.

I also think it is kind of cool that you and Janet are "connected" now -- two people from different parts of my life.

Jessica Stock said...

Thanks Ruth! You have influenced a lot of it!