Friday, November 28, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Ice Cream and Brain Dump

1. I made ice cream two days ago and tried it yesterday. It was the two-ingredient ice cream you make by whipping two cups of cream and then blending in a can of condensed milk, but before I whipped the cream I made chocolate ganache with two cups of chocolate chips and one of whipping cream. I let it cool down, and then whipped the cream, stirred in the condensed milk and ganache, and froze it overnight.

I don't know if it's the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had, but it is terrific. It's smooth and creamy and very intensely chocolately. Very. So good. I think the chocolate helped keep large ice crustals from forming, and I'm wondering now if I can get a similar result with a jar of dulce de leche.

2. I finished the first hank of yarn, and ran out of wool, so the boys and I went back to Romni. They were out of the fuschia silk but I bought a beautiful kitten-soft grey merino to blend in. 
Finished wool

3. I'm having and reading a series of conversations about domesticity and virtue. Geoff says this is something I've been pondering for a few years. The most recent part springs from a post Calah Alexander did about Millenial mothers and her own difficulties with the domestic skills she wasn't taught. I think it's a complex conversation that's fraught with difficulties on a number of levels. What is the value in traditional domestic skills? To what degree can we pursue virtue through their practice? How much of the new domesticity is a backlash against the feminism that devalued work in the home? What actual value do those skills have- is it spiritual, practical, the pursuit of some kind of pragmatic wisdom? I'm too tired today to write a full post about them, but in short I think the ability to care for your family and to exercise the virtue of hospitality is good, and can take a number of forms. To fetishize specific skills is to assume that all people are meant to have the same talents and use them in the same way. That's wrong.

4. Nat and I are reading Farmer Boy again, and ploughing through fast. Thanks to last week's pioneer village visit I think there's a lot more context. We're particularly enjoying the food, and I think we're having chicken pie a la Wilder family tonight.

5. I made doughnuts. 
Look at me, I am full of virtue


I've never made doughnuts before, but it was pretty easy, if hair-raising (because of the toddlers persistently bumping into me and twining themselves through my legs when I was frying them)(that sounds like I was frying the toddlers). I made a sort of thick cake batter and formed it into rings and fried them. And they were quite good. Thomas was deeply upset because he didn't want homemade doughnuts for lunch. Life is rough, kids.

6. We've finally got the PoA form upheld for my mother's care, and I am back in charge. We're initiating services to go in and help and we have applications at a few nursing homes. And I'm terrified and elated and nervous because our first choice actually has a bed available right now, and if they call next week it will mean packing up my mother and moving her within twenty-four hours. It's what is right, and it's what we want, but I'm still going to pieces thinking about the emotional strain of moving my mother against her will. She's deteriorated quite badly in the last few months, and is no longer really capable of understanding questions or follow conversation. 

She needs care, but there are still parts of me that feel like I'm being cruel for removing her from her home, and other parts that know this is a further letting go of the person she was. I believe she is beloved of God and in His hands, and I know it's a blessing that Geoff and I can care for her, but each time there's another slide it's more grief, because I am losing more of her. I'm listening to and thinking about a sad and sentimental EBM song about losing a father with the lyrics,"I will try to ease your fear as the darkness pulls you under. I know it's kind of soppy, but I'm in a bathos of sentiment and grieving a lot. 

7. We're doing counting and discussions of robotics at home, plus reading aloud a lot of random storybooks. I'm not really the go-to for robotics and machinery, but I'm fascinated by the Antikythera mechanism, so we've been talking about ways to measure, and that's what older computing devices.

Bother blogger. That's what older computers were. So I think we could rabbit trail off into how the Sumerians and Egyptian calculated and stored the data, and maybe I can teach Nat to use an abacus? That would be really cool.

Anyway, time to turn off The Magic School Bus and go try to interest the children in today's read-alouds. Have a lovely day, everyone, and make that ice cream.

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