New Adventures, #23-29

Dessert, tea, snail mail, a little composting — call me a homesteader. Here is the continuation of the list of 40 new things I am doing to celebrate my 40th birthday.

23 of 40: Ride the little train at the train museum with Anina.

Unfortunately, I think I enjoyed this more than her. The little train has a loud horn, and she didn’t like that. And the whole thing was a little scary. I found it fascinating that the train goes over Benham Avenue. We travel under the bridge frequently, and I never knew the little train tracks were on top.

24 of 40: Write out a paper note to someone every day for 40 days.

This goal is more lazy than it sounds, because I just got a bunch of gifts and need to send thank you notes anyway. I’m still not quite finished with that. But I do hope to include some out of the box mail as well.

What fun to be able to use some of my gifts to do this one! I’ve been using a pack of note a real fountain pen, both from my collection of gifts from family.

25 of 40: Make a green smoothie every day for 40 days. (Defined as having at least one green in it, such as spinach or kale.)

I often throw my ingredients into the blender while Marnell puts Anina to bed. Then we sit down and do the Wordle together on a big screen while drinking our smoothies. Although the pictured one is a green color, I often throw in frozen blueberries, which makes them purple.

It’s kind of amazing how much spinach you can throw into a blender without even being able to taste it at the end. Kale is a little easier to detect. I also usually don’t top them with whipped cream, but it looks nice on the photos.

As a side bonus, I’m learning to use my blender. Previously, it has been an appliance that I only use occasionally. It’s a wonderful brand, a Vitamix, from church friends for our wedding. I just hadn’t used it enough to get 100% comfortable with it.

Then again, hopefully it will survive the 40 days. Last night I accidentally lifted it off its base while it was running and it sounded like the machine version of an elephant’s death scream.

26 of 40: Make pavlova.

There are other names for this, such as meringue nests. However, I like the unlikely name pavlova, since this dessert originates from Australia or New Zealand, but the name is Russian. The Aussies or Kiwis named it after a Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.

According to, the celebrity dancer toured Australia and New Zealand. A chef at one of the hotels which hosted her created this dessert in her honor, claiming to be inspired by her tutu. Who knows how much is myth by now.

Making pavlova is a bit of a trick, and I think I got mine a little too hard, although I haven’t eaten it enough to be sure. Anina enjoyed them, as you can see. By the way, I normally avoid sharing frequent photos of my daughter on the Internet and only share with email subscribers. Making an exception for the 40 list. 😊

Thanks, Rosanna, for suggesting pavlova! It really is so much fun to make and eat.

27 of 40: Make pizza crust.

I suppose this is something that every other 40-year-old has done frequently, but for some reason, I just haven’t, at least not much. It was excessively fun. The suggested recipe, involving garlic butter, came from a cookbook called Seven Sisters in the Kitchen.

Of course I managed to overbake the pizza. Anina was having a meltdown that involved unspooling the typewriter ribbon from my old typewriter, staining her hands and clothes with ink. But it still tasted good! (The pizza. Probably the ink, too.)

28 of 40: Start composting.  

This is something I’ve been wanting to try for a few years, and this list finally pushed me over the edge. We bought a rotating composter, and I’ve been experimenting. I didn’t realize that food scraps need to be mixed with dry matter like newspaper or dead leaves in order for the composting process to work. If it’s mixed correctly, the concoction does not smell bad either, which is a nice bonus I hadn’t considered.

29 of 40: Drink Pinky Up Tea

This brand of tea was suggested to me and I’m so glad to know about it. Since it was part of my birthday challenge, I ordered the confetti cake flavor, but there are many other flavors. Trust me, just reading the names of the flavors is an experience. Check it out.

Stay tuned for adventures 30-40!

Kidnapped in Haiti expected in August.

Save with the set of 1-3. Click on the photo.

Book 4, Tricked on the Tracks, coming this fall!

4 thoughts on “New Adventures, #23-29”

  1. Your pavlova look lovely! Overbaking is probably possible, but I much prefer mine ‘dry’ all the way thru – I don’t like the moist meringue texture. And yours stayed beautifully white. Another win!

  2. Those would actually be called meringues here. A pavlova is a large meringue, enough for about 10 people. Here in New Zealand, the favorite topping is whipped cream and sliced kiwifruit!

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