Not Quite St. Patrick's Day 2022

An early wearing of the green

Spring feels like it is almost here on this March 16th.  After a Saturday of snow and rain and a Sunday of bitter cold, the tide has finally turned.  I was able to walk outside yesterday and this morning as well (wearing feet still bare the "scars" of last Monday's sockless walk).  With knee clicking (funny it doesn't seem to do it when I walk around the house, but when I go out for a walk, it's a different story) I managed just over 4 miles at a speed that is much slower than what I did just last year, but...The important thing is that today is heading to be a warm(ish), sunny day, certainly something that we all need. (Particularly those in the Ukraine, but that's goes without saying.)  I am hoping to find some time later in the day to pull out a chair and put the "new" patio to use once more.

However, today isn't all about basking in the sunshine and fresh air (although I wish it was).  It is the second day of NJGPA testing ( My son thought day one (yesterday) went okay; the first part of math was not too difficult (or at least that's what he says), the second was confusing.  This is not a good sign, but only time will tell and I have "learned" of the "alternative" paths that can be taken:  The only problem is these "alternative paths" have not been updated. (Which is why the standardized testing is referred to as NJSLA and not NJGPA...Acronym much?)  It also gives no clue as to what the 3rd alternative pathway would actually constitute.  "Meet the criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal."  What IS that criteria?  We stress out junior high school students while preaching the importance of good mental health. Such is the Department of Education in NJ; thanks so much.

Since this testing (and in my opinion ALL standardized testing) is stressful, I didn't complain when my son spent a hunk of the afternoon driving around with his friend.  She had just gotten her license a week or so ago and I'm sure she is relishing her freedom and driving her friends to places like Starbucks and 7-11.  She certainly made my life easier when she picked up my son for school this morning (even though she lives on the other side of town and is so close to the high school that it would probably be easier for her to walk there rather than drive and search for a place to park).

It also gave me a little time to prepare for tomorrow.  Yes, we are having corned beef.  (No cabbage; the guys won't eat it.)  I also wanted to have Irish soda bread for the holiday.  I'd already made two last week which have disappeared almost as quickly as they were made.  Perhaps it's because the recipe that I have (which was graciously given to me by a friend who swore me to secrecy on how to make it) is quite sweet and cake-like.  I had to use up the raisins. 

Raisin load

 I hoped to use up the buttermilk.  (I failed...anyone have any recipes that call for buttermilk?  I never use it.) 
Loaf with raisins in the oven

Finished Product

Instead of driving my son to school, I made two loaves of bread.  One which doesn't have raisins; I substituted craisins instead, but only a handful. 
Not raisins

 Is this sacrilege? 
Finished product

Having the oven on kept the house warm and I was able to turn down the thermostat.  Trying to save on heating oil, or more honestly, the cost of heating.  I will also admit, while my house may not be incredibly clean (though I did just dust a week ago), it does smell wonderful.

My only hope of saving any of this for tomorrow is to slice both loaves up and "hide" some of it away.  Otherwise...And I'm not blaming my son solely for's really good and one piece leads to another and another and...

I think today's lunch should consist of at least a slice along with some fresh air and sunshine.  My weather app claims that it will be 60 by noon with a real feel of 67.  Now that's what I call good March weather.  Along with a good book (currently reading Fiona Davis' The Magnolia Palace which I will probably finish before the Irish soda bread is gone), I'm looking forward to lovely day; even if it isn't St. Patrick's yet.  (Do I get a break from Lent tomorrow?  Doesn’t corned beef call for some good Irish whiskey?)


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