Thursday, July 23, 2009

This and that

Stephanie called last night just before they boarded the plane to Europe. She was hoping they would sleep on the plane so they are not nodding off in the Bath tea room. Elizabeth (age 7) was fine until she it dawned on her they have never been separated this long. I told her they would be fine with Grandma and Grandpa to take care of them.

She bought a postcard at the airport to send them and wrote a note asking E. if they should go all around Bath looking for Mr. Darcy (or was it Captain Wentworth?). Sigh... I was tired. Anyhoo, these are the children who would pretend to go "into town" when they were little and "town" meant Bath instead of Boston or New York.

They will visit Bath, the Lake District, and will end up back in London. I don't know all they plan to visit but I do know they are making a special trip to the place that holds a lot of the Charlotte Mason materials.

Stephanie received an e-mail that a young woman who just finished her Doctorate (I think at Oxford) specializing in Charlotte Mason's work was going to be visiting at the same time and would she like them to set up a meeting... Yes!

Little did I know when I picked up a copy of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay's book, For the Children's Sake many years ago that it would be one of the most influential books of my life. I only purchased it because I loved Susan's first book called, How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig. I had just begun homeschooling and fell for Charlotte Mason's style with the proverbial "hook, line, and sinker". It fit both my style of teaching and the way a very ADHD child could learn.

Stephanie was in college at the time (she started her freshman year at the University the same day Christopher began Kindergarten in the public schools.... the timing being God's sense of humor). We started homeschooling our son in second grade after a nightmare first grade experience.

Sallie had commented about Saugatuck... yes, it is much different today. It is still beautiful but a favorite place to live and vacation for people who prefer alternate lifestyles. Holland and Grand Haven actually have more to offer families and one must visit all the tourist traps because they really are interesting and fun. (Although, we went to Saugatuck about four years ago and found visiting during the tourist season in the daytime not to be a problem.)

I had a question awhile back about how I make the glaze I add to make my coffee cake extra special. I like the glaze to be just slightly thinner than icing so it will look thick (rather than the thin glazes that are good when you want the dessert to absorb them).

I put about two tablespoons (or four if I feel rich) of room temperature butter in a bowl. Then I add about two cups of confectioners (icing) sugar and blend it together with a fork. Then I add milk about a tablespoon at a time until it is the consistency I want (thick but able to drizzle off of a fork). I have used water if I was low on milk but milk makes it richer.

Sometimes I add a very tiny amount of extract (lemon when using blueberries, orange with cranberries, almond with cherries) but you have to be very careful. I accidentally put in too much lemon extract the last time and it tasted bitter... yuk. That was only about a half a teaspoon and it was overwhelming. I forgot I was making the glaze rather than the batter.

This is also the icing recipe I use on cinnamon rolls except I'll start with more butter at room temperature (an entire stick if I can spare it), three to four cups of confectioners (icing) sugar (once again blending together with a fork before adding liquid), milk also added a tablespoon at a time... whipped together with the fork or a whisk. I make it thick enough to easily spread on the cinnamon rolls but not stiff as one would want for a cake. It's rich so too much can be overwhelming for some people.

I found the above way to make cinnamon roll icing in one of the Cooking From Quilt Country books sometime in the 1990s. It was the recipe used in a small Mennonite restaurant famous for their cinnamon rolls and tasted exactly like the icing I remember on a coffeecake my mother purchased from local farmers when I was a child. It's that high butter to sugar ratio that makes it different... not as sugary sweet as regular butter icing.

If I've put all that time into making cinnamon rolls or coffee cake... I want it to taste great. We don't have them that often. :)

Added: I didn't know the Follower's widgets were having issues. I hope they get it fixed. I have slowly been switching from Bloglines to Google Reader because of issues with Bloglines. Especially when one of my FAVORITE PEOPLE stopped showing up.


Sallie said...


Yes, I was trying to be diplomatic in what I wrote about Saugatuck. And I can't believe I forgot to mention Grand Haven! We drive out there more than anywhere else on Lake Michigan. It is just a nice short drive and easy access to the lake. We look forward to taking Caroline out for a sunset sometime soon.

I have "For the Sake of the Children" by my bed and it is one I plan on finishing as soon as I am able to read again. :-)

Kimberly said...

Let's see...Bath would have us looking for Captain Wentworth, & Henry Tilney whilst trying to avoid Mr. Thorpe, I believe.
She's on the trip of my dreams. Until I can go, I'll just content myself to live vicariously through her adventures...and reread my Austen collection.

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) What a lovely post! I enjoyed all of the 'this & that' you shared.

I am a big Google Reader fan! It has worked very well for me. Love & hugs, Q

Vee said...

Have not heard of this children's author and now must see what I can do to remedy that. I know that your daughter and son-in-law will have a delightful vacation and the grands will have a lot of fun with their grandparents, too.

Anonymous said...

So glad you reminded me to check back to Cheryl. I haden't been to her site for a few days. She showed making dried zucchini chips, I had forgoten all about them!...thanks! Now our extra zucchini will have another use! :) How is your zuchini comeing along? Are you getting too much? Your garden looks great by the way! Jody

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

They are going to have a wonderful time.What a wonderful summer trip! Your cinammon rolls and the icing sounds so yummy. I would love to sample your cooking someday. Loved this post.