September Mornings

Most of my friends know that I am an early morning type of person. “Staying in bed”, for me, means getting up at 7am. However a 530am wake up call is a bit excessive, even for me.
  But let me explain…
         A couple of weeks ago Pippa phoned me and asked if I might be able to help out. Her husband Paul and six year old daughter Seren were travelling to Cuba for a week, to attend the wedding of Paul’s sister, at which Seren was to be the flower girl. With Pippa back to full-time teaching, Malachi in grade 3 and Tighe at day-care, they really could not all go to Cuba thus Auntie Valerie to the rescue!
  Four mornings last week I rose at 530, got through about half of my usual morning routine and rushed out the door at 7am in order to take over for Pippa at 715. Apart from pouring rain on the first day, and Tighe’s tears on the second, everything really went very smoothly as I managed to deal with the routine of signing in at day-care and making it to the schoolyard in time for the bell!
  I supervised the end of breakfast, tooth brushing and some playtime, read a LOT of stories and even got a bit of knitting done too! Most of all it was so good to spend time with these boys (the younger of whom is my Godson) and just listen and talk and be silly and dry tears…
 As I have mentioned more than once on this Blog, I am totally passionate about directing Day Camps, but in training the Teams, working with the host communities and overseeing the creation of each Program, there can be a disconnect. I need to BE with children. To interact with them, listen to them and bring my observations to the table in order to feel one hundred percent equipped to provide the very best of Children’s Ministry.
   Pippa may well have thought that I was helping her out (and I was!) but she, and Malachi and Tighe were also helping ME out, so those crazy early mornings felt right and good. I am very thankful for the experience!
  Meanwhile there has been plenty of office work, even the composing of my 2015 Annual Report AND the arrival of the first Church Application form for 2016, YAY!!!!
   The weather, after Monday’s rain, has been glorious and so I’ve tried to spend time each day in the garden and since the herbs are more than ready for harvesting, several friends have dropped by to collect armfuls for drying and freezing.
 Wednesday evening Natalie and Andrew came to dinner so I was able to finally present them with their wedding gift and they brought along a laptop and showed me lots of super wedding photos.
Throughout the week I’ve been working on a
small patchwork quilt and knitting on my fall cardigan is also progressing

There have been a couple of crazy cooking sessions as I was truly blessed when Jamie from the farm share called on Thursday evening to offer me a whole extra veggie box that had not been collected. Wow! Excellent timing since it is my turn to provide the lunch soup at church tomorrow plus next Monday evening is Day Camp Committee, which means dinner for 5 or 6 people.
Yesterday afternoon, being completely bonkers I also decided to make a huge batch of apple perogies since my most recent fruit box included a bag of local apples. This was along with blanching and freezing 2 heads of broccoli and cooking up a giant pot of Chickpea, Chicken and Vegetable Soup!!
   As my friend Michelle would say- “just a quiet afternoon at the Taylor’s”. 
Since we are on the cusp of Soup Season, here is the recipe for the aforementioned soup (quantities reduced to 8 servings!)
  Chickpea, Chicken & Vegetable Soup
  • 1 whole chicken, or chicken parts with bone in
  • 1 large onion cut in wedges
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 summer squash or zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric
In a large pot place the first 6 ingredients, cover with 8 cups of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45mins. to 1 hour, until the chicken is completely cooked. Remove the chicken and onion from the broth and strain the liquid into a large bowl. Refrigerate the broth and then skim off the fat.  Remove all the chicken from the bones and chop the meat.  Place the strained broth and reserved onion in a large pot; add all the other ingredients, except the chicken. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Add the chicken and heat through. Good served with Naan bread or over steamed rice.

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