Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

It's time to catch up on our Christmas activities this year. I hadn't posted the tree yet, so here it is:

Christmas day broke our 5 day string of snow shoeing in the ravine behind our house. Here are some pics of Rowan and I from Christmas Eve:

In our backyard before we set out. The ravine is about 12 acres of woods between us and the University golf course. Four separate gulllies all come together back there. Winter is about the only time you can really get in, its too wet otherwise. We have seen deer and turkey there this winter.

At the bottom

Walking in the creek bed.

Christmas morning was just us. Laurel got a wren house. Here we are putting it together.

Lisa has quite a collection of pottery, and especially loves pitchers. Here is a small one I gave her this year.

Lisa's family from Rock Island, Illinois, came for dinner. Since my family had come already last Sunday and we had turkey then, we decided to do a roast. We had never cooked a roast, so thankfully my 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook explains everything. We got an 8 pound top round roast. There were 11 of us for dinner, slightly smaller than the 15 we had with my family, but both below our crowd of 22 we had at Thanksgiving 2005.

The butternut squash in the picture above (bright orange squares) was from our garden as were the potatoes. While we were getting dinner ready I read to Lisa "A Christmas Dinner Without a Maid" a reprint from The Ladies Home Journal, 1905, which I had found at the Arts and Crafts Society website. We were both laughing over things we remember our grandparents doing for holiday dinners that seemed to come right from this article! Lisa said her grandmother always wrapping up the celery to make it keep longer, I told her my grandmother always served nuts and mints with coffee after dessert.

It was a wonderful holiday of good memories.

Friday, December 19, 2008

SL eet + ICE =

a SLICE of winter!

We went to bed listening to the sleet that had been hitting the house since 7 PM last night. I got up at 4:45 with it still falling. Not surprisingly school was cancelled, so our winter break begins a day early.

We had nearly an inch of ice on the ground this morning. We all worked at shovelling for nearly two hours and got all the sidewalks and steps cleared. I took the car in for an oil change and walked home.

This afternoon I took the cup of walnuts I have from our trees (I picked up a small percentage of our walnuts this fall, husked and dried them and then hung them in burlap bags in the basement.) So far I've cracked and gotten a grand total of three cups of nuts. I used two cups in Apple walnut cake and banana bread. The last cup went into Black Walnut divinity. Here is the recipe:

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup white syrup
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 cup chopped black walnuts

Cook and stir sugar, syrup, water and salt in sauce pan until boiling. Cook without stirring until hard ball stage on candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Beat egg whites with mixer until stiff. Slowly pour hot mixture over egg whites while beating continuously.

Continue beating, scraping sides often until mixture begins to lose gloss. Add vanilla and beat until candy can be dropped by heaping teaspoonfuls on aluminum foil. Add chopped nuts.

I've never made divinity before, I'll get pics when it's done.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Helen's Diary Dec. 4, 1933

Dec 4, 1933

Worked only 6 1/2 hrs. Just like Spring, skated with Hilly + Jimmy after work. Lots of baby snails. Listened to Alexander Wolcott on Helen Hayes' new play "Mary Stuart."

(Helen Hayes as Mary Stuart)

My comments:

  • I believe Helen was doing work study in the French department.
  • Even though I use this picture to show Kinnick football stadium, actally the two figures are Helen and Hilly roller skating here:

  • Baby snails would have been part of the aquarium set up that Bess and Helen ordered. Their plan was to raise fish etc. in the aquarium over the winter and transfer them to their new pond in the spring.
  • "The Man Who Came to Dinner" was based on Alexander Woolcott. I greatly enjoyed playing Dr. Bradley in that show in high school.
  • The name of play was "Mary of Scotland" Helen Hayes played Mary Stuart. The show ran at the Alvin Theater, on Broadway from Nov 27, 1933 - Jul 1934. The playwright was Maxwell Anderson.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hello Noel, Good to See You Again!

Our old buddy Noel showed up last night, like he does every year about this time. Noel's been around long before we came to Foxcroft, easily 20 years. Here he is:

Noel came in a box of other goodies I bought at an auction. I referred to some of them (the plastic stars) last Christmas in a post here:
Ghosts of Christmas Past Part 2

Noel is made of felt with sequins. I think he was a home project, my guess is maybe from the 1940's? To me has has that era's look. We are lucky to have a front door so similar to the one at our old place, so he fits as well here as he did there:

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 01, 2008

Goodbye Pepto Bismal Hall

We inched yet another step closer to "completion" over Thanksgiving weekend. I painted the hallway that leads from the dining room to the back two rooms, stairway, and bathroom. The shade of pink this very dark and dingy hallway sported prior to painting is the title for today's entry. I also painted the walls leading up the stairs to second floor. I used "Inviting Ivory," the same color as the second floor hallway, for both places, and since they are all adjacent, it ties together nicely.

Here is an original picture of the archway leading to the hall from the dining room:

Here is roughly the same shot today:

Looking down the hall from the dining room:

The hall is a dogleg, here is a view from the back family room, which was originally Bess' bedroom:

And looking up the stairway. I still need to cut the base shoe that will cap the stairs to length and install the new railing:

This now brings to two the number of spaces that we still need to restore. The next to be completed will be the "office" which was the daughter's bedroom when the house was built, it was our bedroom when we first moved in, and is now "the dog's room."
Here is an original picture:

And the same corner today:

The last will be the kitchen.