Thursday, April 30, 2020

Quick and Easy Breadsticks

This year Olivia participated in the Food and Bread Show for 4-H. She and I looked through Pinterest to see if there was a recipe she wanted to make. She saw a pin for Quick and Easy Breadsticks that led to Jamie Cooks It Up.

The breadsticks are the first yeast bread that Olivia made. She was very happy with how they turned out. The recipe makes 36 breadsticks. However, she cut her breadsticks into squares so there are 72 bread squares. They're easier to eat...and, like the girls said, you can have more because they are smaller.


1 1/2 C warm water
2 T sugar
1 T yeast
1/2 t salt
3 1/2- 4 C flour
1/4 C butter (not that nasty margarine crap)
3/4 C grated Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (Olivia used mozzarella)
Johnny's Garlic Seasoning (Olivia used Kingsford garlic seasoning - Tucson flavor)


Mix the water, sugar and yeast together in a measuring cup or in the bottom of your mixer. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and the flour, one cup at a time, until it is well incorporated. Mix on high for 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter and pour half of it into a jelly roll pan. (Olivia used a cookie sheet since we didn't have a jelly roll pan. She also would recommend spreading the butter around the cookie sheet so the breadsticks in the corner don't stick.)

Place the dough in the center of the pan. Let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes. Letting the dough rest makes it much easier to shape.
Spread the dough out flat onto the pan until it reaches all of the edges. Doing all of the spreading and cutting of these bread sticks, in the pan makes cleaning up your counter so much easier. 

Pour the other half of the butter onto the dough. Spread it around with your hands. Sprinkle the Johnny's Garlic Seasoning all over the dough, and then the mozzarella cheese.

With a pizza cutter cut the dough into three rows lengthwise, and then into about 12 little height wise rows.

Put the pan into a 170 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes. The breadsticks should rise about 1 inch.

Turn you oven up to 350 and bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

When they come out of the oven let them sit and rest again for about 5 minutes. Then redefine your cutting lines with the pizza cutter. (Olivia said that the lines were not that clear because she cut the dough before putting on the cheese since I missed that part when reading the recipe to her as she made it.) So, she cut them into 72 squares which actually worked out well. The bread squares are easy to handle and are a good size.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Copycat Starbuck's Lemon Loaf

Each year for 4-H there is a Food and Bread Show. When the girls were younger, they signed up to participate on year. They had decorated cupcakes, casseroles, and a variety of dishes. They were excited about participating. Then there was an ice storm the night before the Show and the roads were too icy the following morning. The Show was cancelled.

It has been difficult to get them to want to participate in it again. Until this year. There is online judging which they can do anytime until April 25th. The judge will review all the entries and make awards from those submitted.

One of the recipes that Olivia made for the Quick Bread division was a Copycat Starbuck's Lemon Loaf. The pin on Pinterest led to The Country Cook.

The bread is a dense, moist one with a flavorful glaze made from fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. Despite the 2 tablespoons of lemon zest and lemon extract, it is not an overpowering lemon-flavored bread. We both felt like there could be even more lemon flavor in the bread to match the frosting.

The cost of making a loaf of this bread is about $7.43 or 62 cents per slice. Compared to purchasing a slice at Starbucks for over $3, this saves a lot of money.

Nutritionally, this recipe has lower calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. It has a higher level of protein because Olivia used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

This recipe is easy to make (minus the hand-zesting of six lemons to get enough lemon zest) and we would definitely make it again.


For the cake:
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp lemon zest (about six lemons)
2 tbsp lemon extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the lemon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured no-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, sour cream, oil and whisk vigorously until smooth and combined. Finally, add the lemon zest, lemon extract, and stir well to combine.

Then, stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and stir until just combined. It’s okay if it’s a bit lumpy. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 50 to 52 minutes. (Note: it took 1 hour and 11 minutes for the bread to bake in our oven.)

Optional: In the last 10 minutes of baking, tent pan with foil (loosely drape a sheet of foil over pan) to prevent excessive browning on the top and sides of bread before center cooks through. (Note: Olivia needed to do this for the last 21 minutes of baking.)

Allow loaf to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack to finish cooling before glazing.

For the glaze, in a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and combined. You may need to play with the sugar and lemon juice amounts a bit for desired consistency and flavor. (Note: we used 2 tablespoons lemon juice so the frosting was thick - just like at Starbucks.)

Evenly spread or drizzle glaze over bread before slicing and serving.


Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Don’t store it in the fridge because it’ll dry out.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Chinese Chicken Salad

This recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad, which serves six people, appeared on my Facebook feed. It leads to The Read Food Dieticians. I had the majority of items on hand and modified the recipe slightly.

It is a colorful, fresh salad packed with flavor and texture. This is a recipe that I would definitely make again!


For the Salad
•3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (may substitute green cabbage)* - I used 2 cups coleslaw mix
•1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage* - I used 2 cups red cabbage
•1 cup shredded carrots (pre-shredded works, too) - I used 2 cups pre-shredded carrots
•1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced - I used 2 cups sliced snow peas
•1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves separated from stems and roughly chopped - I didn't have this on hand, but would use it next time
•3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced - - I used 6 green onions and about 1/4 cup finely-diced yellow onion
•1 cup oranges (peeled and cut into chunks or a 12-15 oz. can mandarin oranges in 100% juice, drained well) - I used canned mandarin oranges
•⅓ cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted - I didn't both toasting the almonds
•3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
Optional: Black and/or white sesame seeds for garnish - I used white sesame seeds

*May substitute one 12-ounce bag of bagged coleslaw mix for cabbage and add an additional ½ cup carrots or snow peas if desired.

For the Dressing
Note: I did 1 1/2 batches of the dressing since there were additional ingredients in the salad
•3 Tbsp. coconut aminos - I used soy sauce
•2 Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil - I used olive oil
•3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
•4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
•½ tsp. ground ginger
•¼ tsp. garlic powder


Combine cabbage, carrots, sugar snap peas, onions, and cooked chicken in a large bowl. Toss well to combine.

In a small bowl (or jar) combine dressing ingredients. Whisk or shake well to combine.

Pour over salad just before serving.

Gently stir in oranges, cilantro, and almonds.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy. (As a side note, the salad is in a bowl that I made in my pottery class. This is one of my favorite glaze colors.)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Swedish Meatballs

With the stay-at-home order still in effect in Minnesota, it's time to try a new recipe. This time I made Swedish Meatballs using a recipe from Campbells.

This recipe reminded me of the exact meatballs and sauce that my mom made when I was growing up. It brought back good memories of sitting around the kitchen table enjoying a meal together as a family.

The only difference between what my mom would have made and this recipe is that this one uses sour cream. I don't know if it makes much of a difference. Maybe it helps create a gravy.

At any rate, I doubled the gravy since the meatballs were being served over noodles. The recipe doesn't have enough gravy as it is written.

The recipe is easy to make. The prep time is only 15 minutes and the total prep/cooking time is 30 minutes. It serves 5 people.


1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup plain panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2  tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup Swanson® 50% Less Sodium Beef Broth (I used 3/4 cup chicken broth and 3/4 cup water since that was what I had on hand - it was fine)
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 cups hot cooked egg noodles (from about 8 ounces dry)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Thoroughly mix the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Shape the turkey mixture firmly into about 20 meatballs.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until well browned on all sides (make sure the skillet and oil are hot before adding the meatballs to prevent sticking). Pour off any fat.

Add the broth to the skillet and heat to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the soup and sour cream. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve the meatballs and sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

One Pan Garlic Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

I've been trying a lot of new recipes during Minnesota's stay-at-home order. This one was one that I saw on my Facebook feed and it led to The Slow Roasted Italian.

It was very easy to make and had a lot of flavor. Instead of the sweet potatoes, I used white potatoes since I'm trying to use what I have on hand rather than go to the grocery store. I also didn't use smoked paprika. I've tried that spike before and don't care for it. So, I used plain paprika. This is a recipe that I would make again since everyone liked it.


2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4"-1" cubes (I used white potatoes)
1 pound small Brussels sprouts, (if they are bigger, cut them in half)
1 medium red onion, cut into slices (I used a yellow onion since I didn't have a red onion)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons New Mexico chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I used regular paprika)
6 cloves garlic, minced
optional garnish: Parsley, chopped (I didn't use this)


Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, for quick clean up. Place the baking sheet into the oven to preheat the pan with the oven; this will help the vegetables caramelize faster.

In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with the honey, mustard, chili powder, paprika, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whisk to combine. Add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.

Add sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onion, and garlic to the preheated sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss vegetables with a spoon, until coated well.

Clear a space for chicken breasts around the pan. Place coated chicken breasts on the baking sheet. Spoon the remaining honey mustard marinade over the chicken. Wiggle the pan until the vegetables are in a single layer.

Bake 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork tender. Set oven to broil high for 2 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables begin to brown. (Note: I didn't broil the dinner. I think I would next time.)

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Lit'l Smokies Smoked Sausage Holiday Appetizer Wreath

It's Pigs in a Blanket Day on April 24th. Seriously. I had no idea until a picture came across my Facebook feed. Had some Lit'l Smokies Smoked Sausages and crescent dough rolls in the refrigerator, so I thought I'd make the Lit'l Smokies Smoked Sausage Holiday Appetizer Wreath recipe that was on the Hillshire Farm site.

Since it wasn't around Christmas, I made a modification of the wreath. I didn't make the sauce, but included in the recipe below just in case we make it again.

Everyone liked the recipe. My only challenge with it is that the dough on the bottom of some of the sausages was soggy. I'm not sure if it was because of the sausages and the fat from them or if they were underdone. I don't think it's the latter because the crescent roll dough was nicely browned on the top.

At any rate, this is the recipe:


32 Lit'l Smokies Smoked Sausage
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dough rolls


Preheat oven to 375°F. Open package of Lit’l Smokies and drain off any liquid.

Combine cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce in a small saucepan; heat over low heat stirring until smooth and hot.

Unroll dough, separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. With a knife or pizza cutter cut each rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips making a total of 32 strips. Wrap one strip of dough around each Lit’l Smokie. Place crescent wrapped sausages with sides touching on ungreased cookie sheet or round baking stone in a circle forming a wreath shape.

Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly. Carefully remove wreath onto serving platter, if desired. Garnish wreath with bell pepper strips to form a bow and cherry tomato halves and rosemary sprigs for ornaments, if desired. Serve with cranberry-barbecue sauce mixture.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Scrappy "Sewn" Greeting Cards

While Minnesota has a stay-at-home order, I have been able to spend much more time at home and try some new projects I've been wanting to do. This pin on Pinterest led to Kiflies Levendula that had an idea for using small pieces of scrapbook paper to create a greeting card. Below is an example of one of my finished cards.

The first step was folding a 9"x12" (or 8 1/2" x 11") piece of cardstock in half. Then, cut a variety of scrapbook paper into small pieces. This gives a starting point for fitting the pieces on the card.

Cut the pieces as needed to fit the front of the card. Below are the two layouts I did. The one on the left uses scrapbook paper and the one on the right uses handmade marbled paper that I made.

Next, take a thin, black permanent marker and draw little lines around each of the pieces of paper. It kind of reminds me of the blanket stitch in embroidery.

This was a fun project to do and used up some of the paper I had on hand.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Artist/Picture Study - John Constable

This week, Olivia is learning about John Constable for her artist/picture study.

According to Wikipedia, John Constable (June 11, 1776 – March 31, 1837) "was an English landscape painter in the Romantic tradition. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home – now known as Constable Country – which he invested with an intensity of affection. 'I should paint my own places best,' he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, 'painting is but another word for feeling.'

"Constable's most famous paintings include Wivenhoe Park (1816), Dedham Vale (1821) and The Hay Wain (1821). Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful. His work was embraced in France, where he sold more than in his native England and inspired the Barbizon school.

"In his youth, Constable embarked on amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk and Essex countryside, which was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art. These scenes, in his own words, 'made me a painter, and I am grateful;' 'the sound of water escaping from mill dams etc., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things.'

"His early style has many qualities associated with his mature work, including a freshness of light, color and touch, and reveals the compositional influence of the old masters he had studied, notably of Claude Lorrain.

"John and Maria [Bicknell] were married in October 1816 at St Martin-in-the-Fields...followed by time at [Bishop John] Fisher's vicarage and a honeymoon tour of the south coast. The sea at Weymouth and Brighton stimulated Constable to develop new techniques of brilliant color and vivacious brushwork. At the same time, a greater emotional range began to be expressed in his art.

"After the birth of their seventh child in January 1828, Maria fell ill and died of tuberculosis on November 23 at the age of 41. Intensely saddened, Constable wrote to his brother Golding, 'hourly do I feel the loss of my departed Angel—God only knows how my children will be brought up...the face of the World is totally changed to me.'

"Thereafter, he dressed in black and was 'a prey to melancholy and anxious thoughts.' He cared for his seven children alone for the rest of his life.

"Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself. He said, 'When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture.'

'In addition to the full-scale oil sketches, Constable completed numerous observational studies of landscapes and clouds, determined to become more scientific in his recording of atmospheric conditions."

Below are six pictures that Olivia studied. When she was done, she shared what she remembered about each one.

The Hay Wain 
1821 - National Gallery, London

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there is a little farm and that farm appears to have one of those water mills or water wheel places.
- The main focus of the picture appears to be this cart that is being pulled by ox or four horses. There are two men on the cart and the cart is in the water.
- To the right of the picture, also on the little stream or lake, there is a canoe (it looks like a canoe - it's a boat of some sort) and there's a person in it and he has a big pole. I don't know if it's cutting the reeds. I think it's edible stuff because he's cutting it and putting it on his boat.
- There are also two ducks on this little lake and to the left of the picture, there is the house and the shore with a dog on the shore and there is a red ball behind him.
- The house is white and it has a brick base that is kind of a reddish color and the roof is the same color as the bricks.
- On the other side of the house - kind of hiding - there appears to be a woman wearing an orange skirt and a dark blue top. There are great big trees that are at the edge of the property and it's where the little lake narrows into a stream.
- In the distance you can see there is a big meadow that is serving as a pasture; and there are some groves of trees in this meadow along with some white animals next to the tree line.
- In the right corner of the picture, there appears to be wood or maybe rocks that are in the stream.
- The sky is blue with clouds.
- The trees all have leaves on them.
- I don't know why the cart is in the water - it looks like the people who are in it are trying to figure out how to get it out of the water.


Wivenhoe Park
1816 - Oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, there are cows and people.
- There appears to be a very wide river and on the left end of where the river turns into a lake possibility there is a dam.
- There also is a wooden fence cutting through the picture a little bit on the left side. 
- You have some cows eating the grass. 
- On the lake there is a boat and there are two people who look like they are trying to fish, but one of the people is leaning close to the edge because there are two swans in the water. I think he is trying to feed them, but the boat is going to tip. 
- On the other side of the lake, there are trees and what looks like a little bit of a path, and there are people walking and in the far-off distance you can see a big red building. 
- The sky is kind of like the previous picture - cloudy, but kind of sunny. 
- There is a big grove of trees by the lake.
- I can't tell if there are people in front of the grove of trees or not.
- You can see parts of the trees and the sky reflected in the lake. 
- One of the fisherman is wearing a red shirt. 
- There are three black and white cows and one black cow. 
- It looks like it is summer because there are leaves on the trees and it is very green. 


Dedham Vale
1828 - Oil on canvas, National Galleries of Scotland

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, you can see trees and buildings and hills. When you look closer, you notice that the very front of the picture there is a little bit of a hill, and sheltered by the hill is a little campsite. 
- There is a tent and a man tending to the fire and he is wearing a red shirt, and to the right of him - if you go to the right of the hill you can see where the crest of the hill goes and comes back down. On the slope is a cow. 
- Peeking up behind the hill is a house. There is smoke coming out of the chimney. 
- If you look past the campsite, you can see there is a river and there are some cows alongside the river. There's another house or barn surrounded by trees. 
- If you look past that house, there is a big open plot of land surrounded by trees on one side and you can see what look like cows in the pasture. Behind the trees, surrounding the land, you can see a city with a big tower. Way past that it looks like a shoreline to a really big lake or the ocean. 
- This picture has a lot of hills and trees, and everything is very green - like the rest of his pictures. 
- The clouds - there are a lot of them in the sky. You can't really see the blue sky or the sun. So, it looks like it is about to rain possibly.
- The trees all look like they are deciduous trees mixed with maybe a few pine trees. 
- To the left of the campsite, there is another cluster of trees. Some of the trees have white bark.
- His campsite is very dark.
- The house that is above the hill has some yellow on it. 
- It looks like it could be early Fall or late Summer. 


Weymouth Bay
1816 - National Gallery, London

Olivia remembered:
- This picture takes place on a bay. In the distance, you can see a big hill. On that hill, is land that looks like it is ready to be farmed. 
- The land is all brown and everything else surrounding that is all green.
- There's a fence leading down from the hill and it looks like it is separating the two pieces of land. It looks like there should be animals on one side. 
- At the base of the hill - a little ways away from it - is a person - a man - dressed in a white shirt. It looks like he is standing next to something - maybe an animal (but you can't see what it is). 
- At the edge of the picture, closest to people, you see a bunch of rocks that haven't been turned into sand yet. 
- To the right of the rocks, extending outwards slightly, is a cliff made out of rocks. 
- A lot of these rocks are light in color. 
- You can tell it is a little bit windy out because of the waves. 
- On the side of the fence furthest from the water there is a dark patch of land, but not brown, like it is soil. It's like dark-colored plants. 
- The man looks like he is standing in some tall grasses. 
- The sky is a little big cloudy - not too cloudy. 
- You can see the white foam from the small waves. 
- If you look to the cloud to the left - it kind of looks like a hippo or a small clown car. 


The Cornfield
1826 - National Gallery, London

Olivia remembered:
- In the picture, you see a path with trees on either side of it. It seems to be kind of a hilly land because on the left side you have a little bit of a hill, but it goes down a bit to line up with the path.
- On the right side, it is raised a little bit.
- On the path, there is a flock of sheep being led by a shepherd. There is a sheep dog following along behind the sheep.
- To the left of the picture, is a little stream and there's a boy next to the stream kneeling down.
- There also is a black sack that could be food or something or even possibly an animal, but I think it's a sack of food. 
- Above the stream is a cornfield. 
- If you look between the trees on either side of the path, there is a single lone tree. Next to that tree is some sort of shiny thing - maybe a little barn with metal on it or something. It's definitely round on top.
- Next to the path, kind of going straight, you can see a wooden thing that looks like it was an old cart. 
- In the sky, he seems to have a thing for clouds because it's a cloudy day, but it's also sunny and at the top left hand corner of the picture, it looks dark - like it's going to storm. 
- In the distance, you can see where hills come up and fields. 
- You can't see any buildings or cities or even water. The only water you see is the little stream. 
- The tree on the right side if you close one eye and look at, looks like a t-rex. The leaves at the top that stick out look like the browbone and then the leaves that stick down are where the teeth should be, and then there are other leaves that look like a tongue.
- The season looks like it would be a late-Summer. The corn looks like it is ready to be harvested. It could be Fall. 


Seascape Study with Rain Cloud
1824 - Royal Academy of Arts, London

Olivia remembered:
- This picture is rather dark and gloomy.
- It kind of also has a slight abstract feel to it. 
- The water is wavy and kind of choppy.
- You can see the white foam on top of the waves. 
- You also see a lighthouse if you look down the center of the photo. 
- There also appears to be another lighthouse to the right or rock cropping sticking out. 
- At the top, you have all the clouds. 
- Some of the clouds are traditional, fluffy, friendly-looking clouds. Then you have the clouds that look like they have rain coming down from them. 
- The clouds that look like the rain coming down - look like big brushstrokes that haven't been evened out. 
- You can see a little bit of the beach. You can see the sand though.
- Mostly dark grays, light gray, and tan for the sky are used. You have the white for some of the clouds and the foam. And you have some blues for the water and some mixed in with the clouds. 
- The main focus is the clouds. That definitely takes up a lot of the room. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Poet/Poetry Study - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author based in Boston. According to Wikipedia, Homes was "a member of the Fireside Poets [and] his peers acclaimed him as one of the best writers of the day. His most famous prose works are the Breakfast-Table series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). He was also an important medical reformer.

"Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Holmes was educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard College. After graduating from Harvard in 1829, he briefly studied law before turning to the medical profession.

"He began writing poetry at an early age; one of his most famous works, Old Ironsides, was published in 1830 and was influential in the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution. Following training at the prestigious medical schools of Paris, Holmes was granted his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1836.

"He taught at Dartmouth Medical School before returning to teach at Harvard and, for a time, served as dean there. During his long professorship, he became an advocate for various medical reforms and notably posited the controversial idea that doctors were capable of carrying puerperal fever from patient to patient. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in 1894.

"Surrounded by Boston's literary elite—which included friends such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell Lowell—Holmes made an indelible imprint on the literary world of the 19th century.

"Many of his works were published in The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that he named. For his literary achievements and other accomplishments, he was awarded numerous honorary degrees from universities around the world. Holmes's writing often commemorated his native Boston area, and much of it was meant to be humorous or conversational.

"Some of his medical writings, notably his 1843 essay regarding the contagiousness of puerperal fever, were considered innovative for their time. He was often called upon to issue occasional poetry, or poems written specifically for an event, including many occasions at Harvard. Holmes also popularized several terms, including Boston Brahmin and anesthesia.

Below are six poems written by Oliver Wendell Holmes that Olivia read and reflected on. Some of her thoughts are below the poems.


If all the trees in all the woods were men;
And each and every blade of grass a pen;
If every leaf on every shrub and tree
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; every sea
Were changed to ink, and all earth's living tribes
Had nothing else to do but act as scribes,
And for ten thousand ages, day and night,
The human race should write, and write, and write,
Till all the pens and paper were used up,
And the huge inkstand was an empty cup,
Still would the scribblers clustered round its brink
Call for more pens, more paper, and more ink.

Olivia thought:
- I like this poem. It's interesting. I like the first part better than the ending.
- Trees can produce more leaves and grass grow, but only the sea would dry up.
- (We looked up the poem's title which means: an uncontrollable urge to write.) I'm glad we looked up the meaning of the title.



Yes, dear departed, cherished days,
Could Memory's hand restore
Your morning light, your evening rays,
From Time's gray urn once more,--
Then might this restless heart be still,
This straining eye might close,
And Hope her fainting pinions fold,
While the fair phantoms rose.

But, like a child in ocean's arms,
We strive against the stream,
Each moment farther from the shore
Where life's young fountains gleam;--
Each moment fainter wave the fields,
And wider rolls the sea;
The mist grows dark,--the sun goes down,--
Day breaks,--and where are we?

Olivia thought:
- That one didn't seem to make as much sense as the first one.
- The first stanza lines up with the title of the poem, but the second stanza doesn't.
- Memory cannot bring back departed days.
- The second stanza talks about a person's age. It shows that as you age you can't get that youth back.
- Youth is represented by the shore.
- As you get older, it is harder to see the fields and the sea is getting bigger.



Kiss mine eyelids, beauteous Morn,
Blushing into life new-born!
Lend me violets for my hair,
And thy russet robe to wear,
And thy ring of rosiest hue
Set in drops of diamond dew!

Kiss my cheek, thou noontide ray,
From my Love so far away!
Let thy splendor streaming down
Turn its pallid lilies brown,
Till its darkening shades reveal
Where his passion pressed its seal!

Kiss my lips, thou Lord of light,
Kiss my lips a soft good-night!
Westward sinks thy golden car;
Leave me but the evening star,
And my solace that shall be,
Borrowing all its light from thee!

Olivia thought:
- That definitely seemed a little darker. The very last line you said - it sounds like it is taking the light from her.
We re-read the poem stanza by stanza. Then Olivia said the following:
- The first stanza sounds like she is getting ready to go somewhere. It sounds like she is saying goodbye to someone and she is putting on her diamond ring and coat.
- I can see the coat color (reddish-brown) more than the violets.
- Sounds like she has a ruby ring (because of its rosiest hue) with diamonds around it.
-  (First interpretation of the second stanza:) The second stanza talks about someone dying? If the lilies are turning brown...wouldn't that mean they are sick?
- (After hearing the second stanza again:) The second stanza talks about change on the outside of a person.
- In the third stanza, the golden car would represent the sun.
- The evening star is actually the planet Venus. Venus is the Roman name for the Goddess of Love.
- She gets comfort from the light of Venus.
- I like that poem. I like the evening star tie-in.



From this fair home behold on either side
The restful mountains or the restless sea:
So the warm sheltering walls of life divide
Time and its tide from still eternity.

Look on the waves: their stormy voices teach
That not on earth may toil and struggle cease.
Look on the mountains; better far than speech
Their silent promise of eternal peace.

Olivia thought:
- So its saying the mountains are a divider or barrier. The sea is on one side of the mountain and land would be on the other.
- The waves are teaching that toil and struggle do not cease on earth.
- The mountains promise stillness and eternal life. The mountains will always be there.
- I liked that one. It was a nice, peaceful poem.


The following poem is about the USS Constitution. Back in September 2011, I took Sophia and Olivia on a driving tour of New England. We stopped in Boston and were able to take a tour of the USS Constitution. Pictures from our trip are interspersed with the poem.


Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;

Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;--

The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,

Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;--
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

O better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!

Olivia thought:
- That was a nice one.
- I think I liked it better because I knew what it was about and reading information about the ship before.
- The harpies are predators or people who don't have the ship's best interest at heart. They want to sink the ship.
- (We read a bit about the poem and its impact on the ship.) Because people heard the poem, they decided to spare it. 



Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Tell reddening rose-buds not to blow!
Wait not for spring to pass away,--
Love's summer months begin with May!
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!

Too young for love?
Ah, say not so,
While daisies bloom and tulips glow!
June soon will come with lengthened day
To practice all love learned in May.
Too young for love?
Ah, say not so!
Too young? Too young?
Ah, no! no! no!

Olivia thought:
- Clearly talking about love.
- I want to say about people or kids who are in love and the parents think they are too young.
- Clearly taking place in the Spring - probably start around Valentine's Day until May when Summer starts.
- You have to learn how to love and then start to use what you learned beginning in May.
- I didn't really like this poem. This one repeats a lot. I liked Old Ironsides better.