Fresh newsy chat

March 24th, 2011

First off–

No, our package did not get to Lifeline.  In fact, the USPS online tracking gave us quite a start by abruptly announcing that after being processed through Birmingham’s sort facility no less than five times, it is back up in Harrisburg, PA, being processed through that sort facility.  So it appears to be coming back home to Daddy and Mama!

This time we’ll send it Federal Express, which is what everyone told us to do all along.  We were trying to save twenty-five dollars, but I think we’ve learned our lesson.  We should listen to the ones who know.

Meanwhile, in other family news…

Aaaaaah!  The first week of spring!  Time to take deep breaths of fresh outdoor air!  And clear flowerbeds and plant pansies!

Oh wait, that’s already done!

Okay then, time to go through extra stuff and see what is worth selling at our yard sale!

Eight boxes of books done, with the rest of the stuff still ahead of me!  We’re praising the Lord for several friends who have offered to donate items and help in other ways!  Our children are looking through their things for what they can sell.  One of our neighbors also wants to bake some goodies for the sale!  We are so thankful!

This picture doesn’t really go with anything I’m writing.  It’s just cute.

Recently, Joe took most of the children to a local science museum for the day.

This picture means that there were three in the furthest back seat.  Looks almost empty, doesn’t it?

That’s what we said tonight when the three oldest boys left for our friends’ house while the rest of us were still at the supper table. Only nine of us left at home!  Where is everybody!?

One nice perk we get with our size family?  A year’s membership costs much less than it does to pay admission one time.  And in this case, a membership comes with free admission to many other museums in our region.

[Stephen the precocious]

[John Michael’s inimitable face]

While they were there, a regional cable television channel came through, so they all made the local news. <grin, because we don’t even have a television, let alone cable television> The station kindly agreed to mail us a copy of that segment for our family archives.  For some reason, they remembered the dad with the eight children, in the reptile room, all holding the snakeskin.

Speaking of cable, since our internet is now coming to us that way, we can post videos much more easily.  Good thing, too, because Daniel captured Verity doing something very amazing today!

Our family has had a bit of spring sickness to go along with our spring fever, so the little ones are more subdued than usual…except for the coughs resounding through the house…

[James left, Peter right]

…and more cuddly, too, which we all enjoy!  We will all get each other’s immunities, or, uh…

Here’s Joseph getting practice doing what nice daddies do when they come home from work.

Daniel was testing the premise that all you have to do is sit on the floor, and–sure enough, they’ll find you!

And you never know when you’ll see a little sleeping body draped here or there.

But the best part of our week?  Somebody is turning nine years old one of these days, and we are celebrating her life with a special meal!

We started the preparations by making the Tutmanik, or cheese bread.  We used two bread pans instead of an eight by eight pan.  Because that’s what we have.  I hope it’s still authentic enough, hehe.  It smelled lovely while baking, but we won’t be making this often, with a half pound of feta cheese in these two little loaves!  Yum!


And the Saraliiska Banitsa, which is similar to baklava:

(Baklava actually being Turkish in origin…)

Laura did a spectacular job with her very artistic fingers.

We made two pans of it because the phyllo sheets came in a pack that size.  I’m not sure I boiled the syrup long enough, but the house now smells deliciously of vanilla.

[Note added later:  This is so rich and sweet that it will last us for a while!  It needed three things–to be baked for a little less time, to have more walnuts added, as we couldn’t taste them, and yes, the syrup should have been boiled longer and hotter.]

The beans are soaking for a double batch of Bob Chorba (a simple white bean soup).  If it’s a hit, it will proudly take its place in our regular line-up of bean recipes.

The meat is seasoned for Kebabcheta (small sausages made of ground beef) and ready to be formed and grilled.  We made just one batch of this, because we can certainly make three pounds of meat stretch for more than six people!? Maybe that was a recipe error!

The ingredients for a batch of Shepherd’s Salad, minus the feta, subbing turkey ham for the ham.  I found the recipe on David and Sasha Bliss’s blog, and that’s what started this whole idea…

…and of Eggplants in Tomato Sauce (yes, I picked this out myself and actually plan to taste it)…

…are all waiting in the refrigerator for our celebration day!

[The following photos were added a couple of days later:]

Shepherd’s Salad was a big hit!  This would make a great summer supper all alone.  We’ll be on the lookout for marinated mushrooms, peeled roasted peppers, and Kalamata olives at our local bent-and-dent.  Although green olives would do nicely, too.


The surprise winner of the night?



Common sense should have told me that just about anything would be delectable if you slice it thinly, dredge it in flour, fry it in oil, and smother it with a thick tomato sauce, redolent with garlic in olive oil.  Mmmmmm.  It was especially welcome to flavor up the sausage, which surprisingly turned out to be rather bland for our taste.  Caution: go lightly when salting the eggplant slices!

About half the family liked the bean soup with mint; the other half thinks it would be better with oregano and added garlic, or garlic alone.

I would have taken more pictures if we had our own camera.  We’ve been using Joshua’s while ours is being repaired.
But the family was ready for me to stop puttering around and sit down and eat before the food got cold!

So until next time…

Bye-bye!  We love you!

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7 Responses to “Fresh newsy chat”

  1. Tami Swaim says:

    Fun to recognize some of those tops on the boys!  So, glad they are being used!  My grandmother always made eggplant in tomato sauce.  I really like it.  All you dishes made me miss Polish dishes!  I think that it’s about time I made Polish perogies for my guys.  They love them!

  2. Marilyn Osborn says:

    I love these ‘life’ posts. I enjoy seeing the pictures and just ‘tasting’ your every day lives.  Love you, friend!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I’m with Marilyn, I love these life posts! And I’m SO excited that you got a copy of the show! 

  4. Suvilla says:

    M-m-m, your meal looks both scrumptious and interesting. I looked up some of the recipes and was surprised to find some of the food is made of ingredients we mostly have on hand. What fun! 

    Happy Birthday dear Katerina!

  5. Sasha says:

    Happy Birthday to Katerina from me too!!!!
    And wow Susanna, I am so impressed!  The dishes look amazing.  I can’t believe how many you made.  I usually don’t even attempt to make more than one or two.  About the sausages, I am not sure why they were bland, usually they are pretty good.  I think it was the recipe. Your bread and baklava look incredible  too. You are seriously amazing!

  6. Susanna says:

    Hahaha, Sasha, it took us two days to make that meal because of everything else we have to do in life! Not exactly practical for everyday, but so much fun to make something special in the kitchen after months of very quick crockpot meals! I love to be creative in the kitchen! We also tried to make this an educational experience for the children, so they helped with the food. We also had them work on the decorations, and we watched some folk dances and music, as well as some documentaries about the history of your country.

    (Oh, and if you have a better recipe for the sausage, we would try it again! I’ve heard that parsley offsets the garlic, so maybe we should leave that out and add more garlic? We like garlic here. :) )

    Suvilla, I chose the recipes for that purpose, mostly to keep the cost down! But to be yummy, too!

    Tami, thank you again for the boys’ clothes–such a big help this winter!

    Marilyn, love you too! :)

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