Family

Family and July 4th

Happy Fourth of July!

A last minute decision brought our oldest home to Ohio with her husband, Shane and 3 y.o. daughter, Evie for a short visit this long holiday weekend. They spent Saturday with Shane’s family and his Uncle’s family from out of state. Evie played with her cousins, ate watermelon, and watched fireworks that night. The next day, we had them and Leigh Ann and her husband, Zach at our house for a cook-out. We spent most of the afternoon and evening outside in the beautiful weather playing, talking, and riding the golf cart around the yard. We could hear “pops”and “bangs” late into the evening from the surrounding neighborhood.

We had surprised Evie earlier in the day with a red tricycle and a matching bike helmet when she arrived. Yes, there was a tumble and a few scrapes treated with sprays of Bactine. The helmet did its job, too, getting a few scrapes on its front edge while protecting her head when she fell off the trike going too fast.

Grandpa building the tricycle for Evie.

Later, we had our typical hamburgers, hotdogs, with several homemade sides- cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad. Leigh Ann brought made-from-scratch muffins and brownies. She is an excellent baker! I had gotten down from the cupboard our old melamine plates with the lighthouses. I’ve had this set of dishes for decades! You know, the ones offered for purchase as a promotional by grocery stores where different plates, bowls, trays, were featured each week to add to your set. We’ve used these plates for every summer holiday since the girls were little.

Melamine tray by Oneida.

Allie brought her current crochet project with her plus several pieces she had made using a beautiful French wool yarn. I will block these pieces, take pictures, and post them in my Etsy shop to sell for her. Her crochet skills have taken off this past year and her ability to create and design exceeds her mother’s!

Aunt Leigh Ann brought paints and I supplied the paper plates, and plain paper. Sitting at the high-top table in the kitchen we showed Evie how to paint fireworks with a paper towel tube cut and splayed on one end. She had so much fun and it gave her mom and dad a short break.

Evie painting fireworks with GiGi and Aunt Leigh Ann.

Last evening our cousin Lori who is more like an Aunt to our girls and her grown daughter, Madi (who recently graduated with her BSN and passed the NCLEX for her RN this week) stopped by to say “hello” and play “grocery store” with Evie- and push her, laughing and squealing, on her toy train. Needless to say, Miss Evie crashed for the night!

Selfies with Madi from a visit a couple weeks ago.

This morning, bright and early, Evie was outside playing on the patio. Allie and I sat, sipping coffee and watching her play and chatter in her make- believe world. Then her chattering shifted and she talked about her family. She talked about playing with her cousins at her MiMi and PaPa’s house and about her Aunt Leigh Ann and Uncle Zach and Lori and Madi. She kept saying, “my family”. It warmed my heart that she was understanding at her young age that these people are her “family”. May she grow up with many fond memories of spending summer holidays with her family.

Evie asked me to draw her “outline” while she laid on the concrete. Then we filled in her chalk outline to match her dress.

Everyone has gone home and the house is quiet. The dishwasher hums in the background washing all those lighthouse plates used this weekend. Alan is doing a couple chores outside and I’m drinking more coffee and writing this post. This evening will be the fireworks at Silver Park and we will watch for the high ones over the tree tops.

Crochet

Miss Sharon’s Tea Cake Recipe

Hello Everyone!

We went to bed with thunderstorms last evening and woke to another cool, damp, rainy day. Oh, Spring where are you? I am grateful for the beautiful flowers blooming in our yard and garden, but warmer temperatures sure would be welcomed here! This morning I felt like baking. So, I made a loaf of tea cake. The recipe I used is one I developed from a basic soda bread recipe. I make our bread gluten free, but regular flour can be substituted. My understanding is when nuts, berries, eggs, and sugar are added to a soda bread recipe, it becomes a “tea cake”. I’m okay with that! In fact, I enjoy a slice of my tea cake with my coffee about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. And, so does my husband, Alan! So, this Mother’s Day weekend, consider making a loaf of tea cake for your mom or for yourself. Slice it while it’s still warm, slather it with butter or your favorite spread and enjoy with your tea or coffee!

Miss Sharon’s Tea Cake -A Gluten Free Recipe.

Miss Sharon’s Tea Cake Recipe

Utensils Needed:

5 quart French or cast-iron oven, well-oiled with cooking oil ( a pre-warmed baking stone with parchment paper can also be used)

Parchment paper

Large mixing bowl

Measuring cups for dry ingredients and wet ingredients

Measuring spoons

Fork or large spoon

Ingredients:

4 cups gluten free flour with xanthan gum already added. I like using King Arthur Gluten Free Flour

1 3/4 Cup buttermilk

1/2 Cup dried cranberries

1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons sugar

4 Tablespoons oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Measure the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Blend together with a fork. Add the dried cranberries and chopped walnuts and stir into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients in the bowl. Measure and pour into the center well the buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla. With a fork slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until the dough comes together. If it appears to be a bit dry, add 1-2 Tablespoons of buttermilk and stir. The dough should come clean from the sides of the bowl and there should not be any dry ingredients left on the bottom. Take a length of parchment paper, enough to cover the bottom and up the sides of a French oven, and lay it flat on the counter. Sprinkle the parchment paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured middle of the parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with flour. Knead the dough 2-3 times and form it into a slightly flattened ball. Lift the parchment paper with the ball of dough on it into the French oven. Take a sharp knife and cut a cross into the top of the ball of dough. I tend to cut my cross about a third of the way down to ensure the cake bakes all the way through to the center. Place the French oven into the oven with the lid on for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the tea cake gently from the French oven by lifting the sides of the parchment paper. The tea cake can completely cool on the parchment paper or be moved to a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Slices of the cake can be warmed up in the microwave or in the toaster.

If you’re like me, just reading a recipe is fun! In the meantime, watch for my new crochet pattern to make soft, textured, all cotton washcloths. This pattern will be beginner friendly and teach you a new stitch pattern and a new skill.

Be happy- crochet!