Time Well Spent

Lending a hand this week...dusting, laundering, tidying, lunch making, diaper changing, and of course plenty of this!


Last Saturday, Felicity and Walter were here for dinner, and Colette snapped this picture of her radiant sister.  Carrying that baby all out front, she was.

By Monday, she was carrying the baby in her arms!

It's a boy!  Mother and baby, Theo, are doing fabulously!  And quite frankly, there are just not enough hours in the day for baby holding.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"
--Psalm 127:3-5

Banana Oat Muffins

This is our family's favorite recipe for banana nut bread, although I eliminate the nuts and I never make it in a loaf pan.  I always make the recipe in muffin form.  They are moist and delicious! Not sure what makes the difference, but this is not your average banana nut recipe.  It's a cut above!  It's definitely worth trying!  A small army of them stood at attention, cooling on the counter today.

1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. mashed bananas
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 x 5 pan, or a muffin tin (yields 12 muffins).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; then stir in the banana and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Beat into creamed mixture.  Stir in oats and nuts (optional).  Spoon into prepared pan or muffin tins.

Bake for 50-55 mins. (for loaf), or 25 mins. (for muffins).

*Recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled.  Freezes very well.

Snowboarding Camp

Colette had a most excellent time at a women's freestyle snowboarding camp last weekend.  The camp included two days of instruction, fabulous food (including amazing hot cocoa with a bowl heaped high with whipped cream), a yoga warm-up, and a bevy of freebies: yoga mat, scarf, tote bag, sunglasses, and Oakley goggles (which each participant could design herself).

The ski resort built a terrain park just for this camp, which was fenced off from the rest of the slopes.  It included this tent, with seating, drinks, and snacks.

Landing a jump!  Way to go, girl!

Her new, self-designed goggles.

She had a fabulous time!

World's Longest Candy Counter

Colette and I discovered, in the same town as the grist mill, there is the World's Longest Candy Counter!  The Guiness Book of World Records says so!

Naturally, we had to go in and see just how long it is.

One hundred twelve feet!  Three rows!  Accounting for thousands of cavities, I'm sure.

Here's a close-up look at some of the most unusual and/or tempting confections.

Chocolate-covered Jelly Bellies!

Colette and I purchased a sampling of Chocolate Dipped Raspberry Jelly Bellies and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Jelly Bellies (like a bitty Mounds bar!), and a disgustingly large gummy snake to take home to Max.  Definitely a must-stop destination any time we're far north in the state!

Visiting a Grist Mill

Since we were already headed to the northern part of our state for Colette's snowboarding camp, we decided to take a field trip to a grist mill near that same area, as she's currently studying bread making for her "homesteading skills" course.

A grist mill, in case they're unfamiliar to you, was a very familiar sight in most small towns of centuries past.  This is where people would've brought the grain they grew to be ground into flour.  This particular mill was built in 1798 and recently restored.  It still stone grinds grain today, although not under the power of the water wheel anymore, but with electricity.

The water wheel would've turned the giant gears in the basement of the mill.  The gears there today were reproduced from fragments of the original gears found in the mud of the excavated basement.  I believe the video presentation we watched said that they were reproduced by the owner's 13-14 year old son who was "quite precocious with wood".  I was impressed!

Upstairs was the hopper, into which the grain would be dropped to grind between the two heavy mill stones (contained in that wooden box on the floor).

They grind all sorts of different type of organically grown grain at the mill today.

Colette, studying the bags of flour and trying to decide what to purchase.  In the end, whole wheat bread flour and a bag of chocolate chip pancake mix came home with us.

Then we walked to the Littleton Diner, which has been winning culinary awards for its pancakes.  They make their pancakes from the mill's flour!

And I must say, that I thought it was the best pancake I've ever had!...soft and fluffy, yet hearty and gently chewy. 

That bite missing from my pancake?  It was Colette.
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