Scavenger Hunt

We caught sight of cheeses, crackers, grapes, shrimp, bacon, potatoes, pork chops, home-made applesauce and ice cream before we went upstairs, with the smell of apple pie lingering in our nostrils.  The dinner aromas are creeping up to the third floor, where a game of boggle is being played, and boys are arguing that “gotta” is a legit word.

We’re starting to get very, very hungry.


It’s that one time where we have to use our wits in order to procure a dinner.

We must all be a Sherlock Holmes.

“Ruby, are you going to hunt for your food?!”

By a series of hints and clues, careful digging and searching, and, of course, by the use of our noses, we hope to find our dinner.

It all started awhile ago when we started backing out of the Halloween celebrations.  An alternative was created (this was before we started having Reformation Festivales.)  A scavenger hunt.  Dad thought up clues, and mom cooked dinner, placing each course in a different part of the house.  The kids were sent upstairs, and then it was their job to find the food by using the clues.  We haven’t done it in years, since we normally had a Reformation Festival.  But we did the Reformation Festival for 7 years in a row, and we thought that maybe this could be our “rest” year.  SO. We’re having the Scavenger Hunt tonight!

I know this is a rather far fetched thought… but supposing the clues were really really difficult, and we were denied food until we figured them out… it makes me very thankful for the call: “Hey kids! Dinner’s on, come and get it!”

The cold weather is setting in, folks.  It’s time to get out your booklists, pile up the firewood, put stacks of warm blankets in every room, and stock up on the tea.

As a status update (for a first) I have a group of four screaming children running up and down the stairs (or hobbling, rather) and racing around my room.  How to describe what they’re doing… they’ve put on their pants with their legs completely bended, so that their knees act as their feet.  Yes, they are racing around like that.  They look like quadriplegics (even though quadriplegic doesn’t mean what I think it does [insert Princess Bride quote: I do not think that word means what you think it means….]), except they have half their legs and their arms.  They’ve moved their activity down to the bedrooms, and the cat is unsuccessfully trying to lie down on my keyboard.

Today Luther came up and asked me to help him with his reading lesson. (CAT HAS SUCCESSFULLY SETTLED ON MY STOMACH… result… caps… awww, his eyes are closed… I think I’ll leave him.) Anyway, I stopped doing my math in order to help him out, and after he read to me all about King Alfred and Athe-wulf (he had trouble saying Athelwulf,) he got up and said: “I am SO sorry for bothering you. That took me SO long – I am so bad at it.  You could have had SO much math done by now!”  It made me laugh, and even if I did take longer on math today, I was so thankful that I was able to help him and spend time with him.  He’s such a precious boy.  He said a few days ago: “Ruby, if you were in an airplane, could you drink the clouds?”

Man, these kids are going to be hungry… they’re romping up here again.  They look like oversized frogs trying to out-leap each other.  And whenever they try to climb on the bed, they just tumble off again.

Have to go! Apparently we have to change locations, for purposes of hiding food… :D


A Piece of Random

Hullo, world….

I like watching people’s reactions.

I’m visiting my grandma for a couple weeks in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  It can, most of the time, be my heaven on earth.  I love the blue lines of the mountains, and the pine-air, the cool mornings, the small town… Nana had some new neighbors a few weeks ago.  A family from Colorado.  They have two little girls – Alysa and Rebekah.  I ran over there today to see if they could go to the park (Nana wanted to show them the Lewisburg park) but they were engaged in vivacious games with their grandma.  However, I got talking with the mother.

“Now, do you have a younger sibling?”

Me: (smiling) “No, actually, I have seven.”

I love watching the reaction to that. The wide eyes… the open mouth… the surprised stare for a moment.  The thought rushing through their mind: “How does her mother do it!?” And my mother is great.  No one would guess she had eight kids.



“All younger than you?”

“No, I have an older brother who’s married, and an older sister who’s getting married in October. Then there’s five after me.”

“Ah – your sister – was that who the bridal shower was for?”

And gradually we got on to other topics.  When I started walking back down the street again I had the sudden urge to run.  I felt happy after the conversation, for some reason… I wanted to laugh and dance in spite of exhaustion and stress.  I wanted to laugh all the troubles in the world to dust.  I wanted to say: “I don’t care! It’s a perfect day!”

There’s something beautiful about a summer evening, isn’t there? A summer evening and good food.  I am a lover of good foods – of culinary art.  Last night for dinner my uncle made stuffed portobello mushrooms – the said grilled fungi stuffed with tomato, ricotta cheese, herbs, and from what I could tell, mozzarella cheese.  Second we had grilled pork.  It was juicy – tender – oh so good.  Thirdly we had grilled chicken, in an apricot-jelly marinade.  The food was delicious.  The presentation was simple, but pleasant and enjoyable.  To top it off, we had dark chocolate and sorbet.  I am ever interested in food.  Tonight Nana mentioned we might have hamburgers, with grilled zucchini, and swiss chard. I put myself in charge of the hamburgers.   I had a pound of meat to work with.  I chopped up some fresh tomatoes real small and tossed them in with some capers, pepper, salt, oregano, thyme, and a little grated mozzarella cheese.  Then I put some dijon mustard in, kneaded it like bread so it was all mixed together, and then cut it in quarters.  Each one of these quarters made a burger. I made a dent in two, and filled them with mozzarella cheese, and put the other half on like a top!  There! Two half pound burgers!

At the dinner table, Nana and I each congratulated each other on our splendid culinary skills.  We were each impressed by how good everything tasted.  I am not a huge fan of zucchini but oh my! Grilled in strips with a coat of olive oil, pepper, salt and oregano – I loved it.  We didn’t expect to eat our 1/2 pound burgers – even though we had decided to nix the hamburger buns – and neither of us were starving.  But those burgers disappeared.  They were good.  My aunt had a similar recipe and I used that for a basis.  What do you think – should I put a page of favorite recipes on this blog?

I have been reading to Nana.  In honor of her name, we’ve been reading Shirley by Charlotte Bronte.  Actually we only just started today, but she loves the story and keeps me reading to her – it’s good!  I stumbled a lot at first – I normally read fast on my own, and got ahead of myself – but it’s good practice… Someday I’ll have to read aloud quite often to a little audience of young children.

But dear friends, I must share with you something in that book.  Bronte has dived into a character description of a man who lacks “the organs of Veneration, Comparison, Benevolence, and Ideality.” She goes into a description of each… but the one that caught my ear the fullest was the one on Ideality.

As to the paucity of ideality in his mind, that can scarcely be called a fault: a fine ear for music, a correct eye for colour and form, left him the quality of taste; and who cares for imagination? Who does not think it a rather dangerous, senseless attribute – akin to weakness – perhaps partaking of frenzy – a disease rather than a gift of the mind?

Probably all think it so, but those who possess – or fancy they possess – it. To hear them speak, you would believe that their hearts would be cold if that elixir did not flow about them; that their eyes would be dim if that flame did not refine their vision; that they would be lonely if this strange companion abandoned them. You would suppose that it imparted some glad hope to spring, some fine charm to summer, some tranquil joy to autumn, some consolation to winter, which you do not feel. All illusion, of course; but the fanatics cling to their dream, and would not give it for gold.

There was something so beautiful in this, that I paused after I read it.  I smiled.  Yes, that was me.  The fanatic who clings to the dream.  I wish I had G.K. Chesterton’s book Orthodoxy with me… These paragraphs reminded me much of something I read in there. It went something like: “It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens in his head, while the poet merely attempts to get his head in the heavens.”  Two very different things.  Point being, in the end, it’s the logician who’s mad – the poet who’s free.

Anyways, something I came across that I thought you might enjoy. :)

Ah – something else I must share…. Vituperate.  ‘Tis a word, and you must look it up if you don’t know what it means.  I laughed so hard when I read it – it gave me good humor for the rest of the day.

Have you ever been so exhausted – so tired – but you feel absolutely beautiful?  That’s how I feel right now.  I get to sleep in a little white bed with sheets that were dried on the clothesline in the pine-air! I am truly excited about this.  What is it about fresh sheets?  I feel as though they world had begun again, as though there were no mistakes.  I feel like fresh sheets signify a new start.  A new beginning!  I’m basking in the beauty of the life God’s given.  There’s too much beauty to be depressed by the troubles – alas! sometimes I don’t even realize it.  Why must we wallow in the dirt when we could be dancing in a kings palace?  A strange analogy, I know… but if we would only be willing to see, we could find beauty – God’s beauty – we could find God himself! We could find Hope, and hope would banish the fear in our hearts! We might love, we might sing and dance!  We might appear mad to the whole world, but we would be the only sane people.