Color at the Museums

Posted by mrssmythe on March 21, 2015 in Art, Baking, Museums |

Today looked like this:


It was dreary. It was bleak. It was gray.

But inside – at least at the Springfield Museums – it was a different story. Especially in the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum where we went to wait while Ginger attended a “Cupcake Chemistry” class at the Science Museum.

I spent a good portion of the time wandering around in the exhibit by New York artist Gloria Garfinkel.


It was like a tonic. She uses so many wonderful colors.


And, what interested me most about these works was the way the colors would change when paired up in different combinations.

Any way you mixed them, though, the colors were like therapy.


The Asian art collection upstairs provided a similar escape.

Here’s a detail from a beautiful temple vase:


And I loved the colors used in this porcelain stand:


Isn’t this a beautiful manuscript page? It’s from Iran.


After the Smith Museum, we went back to the Science Museum and wandered some more. I took comfort in the colors of the Josh Simpson globe on the second floor. If you’re not familiar with Josh Simpson’s work, the museum has a great video playing next to the globe that gives a lot of really interesting information.



Finally, we walked down to the basement where Ginger was finishing her class. That room, too, was a riot of color – sprinkles and frosting everywhere. Ginger had a great time, and we enjoyed helping her eat what she’d made.


We might still be weeks from seeing anything green here – or even (gasp) a flower – but at least we can still find plenty of color just a short drive away.

From the dining room table, wondering how long it will be until we see the grass again,

Mrs. Smythe

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At the Grocery Store…

Posted by mrssmythe on March 20, 2015 in Out & About, Seasons |

The girls and I were at the grocery store this past week. Somehow we ended up in the foreign foods aisle. What a crazy place that is!

I’m glad we didn’t bring Kipper. He would have asked why we haven’t been feeding him these:


Meanwhile, Pepper was attracted to this colorful box. She thought it held berries.


No, sweetie. Those would be fish eggs.


Pepper thought it would be a fun trick to use them at a party and see if you could trick people into actually thinking they were berries. It would certainly be a good conversation starter.

By the way, have you ever tasted caviar? I haven’t.

Later, in the parking lot, I asked Pepper to return the cart for me. I could see a store worker coming toward us and directed her that way.

“Just run it over to that lady,” I said.

Pepper looked uncomfortable and barely moved.

“Go on,” I nudged her.

So, she handed off the cart.

When she got back to the car, she gave me a look.

“Mom,” she said. “That was a man.”

Oh, no! I tried to recall how loud I’d been speaking when I said “run it over to that lady”. Pretty loud. Loud enough.

“Are you sure?” I asked. It was a cold day. Everyone was bundled up. This particular store worker had had his coat hood up and cinched down tightly around his face. I had been going more by height and build, rather than facial features. I thought he was an older woman.

“Mom,” Pepper said, obviously mortified, “he had a beard.”

Oh, dear.

In my defense, it was more of a goatee. A silver goatee. And very faint. But, really, you’d think I’d be more careful

From the dining room table, wanting to show you a photo of our First Day of Spring:


Mrs. Smythe



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Lentils for Breakfast

Posted by mrssmythe on March 18, 2015 in Cooking, Critters |

I know. You’ve had it with the lentil posts. “Move on, Mrs. Smythe,” you say. And, I promise, I will.

But, I have just one more thing to share….

Monday morning, Pepper popped down to the kitchen for breakfast and reached for what she thought was oatmeal cookie dough. Now, this is not standard breakfast fare around the Smythe home. We eat cereal. We eat eggs. We eat toast. But Pepper was reasoning that oatmeal cookie dough has oatmeal in it, and so that makes it kind of a breakfast food, right? To her mind, it made perfect sense.

Imagine her surprise when she realized she had eaten this:


(Cold Lentil Jambalaya)

Instead of this:


(Oatmeal Cookie Dough)

That’s right, folks, Pepper ate cold lentil jambalaya for breakfast. Yum. (Mind you, she wasn’t a big fan of the stuff when it was hot!)

I can understand her mistake. It was (relatively) early. Pepper isn’t much of a morning person. Oatmeal cookie dough and lentil jambalaya are similar in consistenccy and hue:


But, boy, I don’t think Pepper will ever make that mistake again.

From the dining room table, wanting to share one last photo with you – one Ginger took just this morning:


Mrs. Smythe

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Quick Update on the Lentils

Posted by mrssmythe on March 16, 2015 in Cooking |


I went ahead and cooked up the lentil casserole mix last night. The instructions were simple – boil water, add the mix, simmer. I may have undercooked the lentils a wee bit, but otherwise it went well.

I also added some ingredients, making it into a jambalaya of sorts. The Feeding Children Everywhere website had recipes and suggested add-ins like shrimp, chicken, and bell peppers to give the casserole more of a Creole flair. We skipped the shrimp and the bell peppers (which would not have pleased the children or CPT America) and wound up with something that lacked color but was surprisingly tasty.


I know. You’ve seen prettier meals. So have I. But this really was a case of “tastes better than it looks”.

As we ate, the kids picked their way around the lentils. They’re not big on beans, so I wasn’t surprised. Hopefully, though, it sunk in that they are not now, nor have ever been, truly hungry. When you’re hungry, “I like this, I don’t like that” is not an option. Neither were the peanut butter sandwiches the girls grabbed later to supplement their dinners. I hope they were struck by the fact that they have options and choices that hungry children do not. Even when I say we’re “low on food” and need to go to the grocery store…there’s still a lot that’s edible in the cupboards. It’s usually more a case of the cupboard being filled with things we aren’t thrilled about eating than there truly being nothing there. We talked about this with the girls as we ate, and hopefully some of it sunk in.

So, anyway, while we did end up with lots of leftovers (great lunches!), I think the casserole was a success and a nice way to close out this weekend’s adventure.

From the dining room table, with Manny at the window watching for squirrels,

Mrs. Smythe

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Feeding Children Everywhere

Posted by mrssmythe on March 14, 2015 in Out & About |

This is me in a hairnet.


And these are my friends, Heather and Darcie, also in hairnets.

Why are we wearing hairnets?

It has something to do with lentils.

This weekend, I attended a women’s conference at Evangel Assembly in Wilbraham. Fun music, great speakers, and a gourmet dessert bar that was amazing. I’m so glad I attended. But, really, the best part was the service project they arranged for us: packaging meals for the social charity Feeding Children Everywhere.

Now, if you haven’t heard of Feeding Children Everywhere, don’t worry. I hadn’t heard of them either. But they’re a great. Really great. And they set up a fabulous meal assembly system that had us cranking out meals by the thousands – all in just few hours. It was incredible.


I was assigned to the front end of one of the assembly teams, scooping lentils – one of the four ingredients needed for the lentil casserole mixes we were producing.

Here’s the syphon we used to get all of the ingredients into the bags.


And here are the lentils I scooped.


They played peppy music for us, the ladies were in high spirits, and every time one of the teams filled a shipping box with meals, people cheered. Of course, there may have been a wee a bit of competition going on between the teams, but that just made everyone work faster.

I was so impressed with the whole experience, I bought a lentil casserole mix of my own (in a jar rather than a plastic sack). I haven’t had lentils in years, but after hearing all about their health benefits this afternoon, I thought I’d give them another try.


Now, will the rest of the family be as eager to try them as I am? Probably not. But it will be good for them.

From the dining room table, grateful to the individuals who worked so hard to make this service project happen,

Mrs. Smythe

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