Light as a feather, stiff as a board

“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” –Robert Southey

Around the time when I was about ten or twelve, my friends and I would get together with irregular frequency for sleepovers. I’m not sure how much we actually slept since we tended to stay up quite late playing, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board”. It was around that same time that I would love reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Perhaps those mystery stories fed our imaginations. Marijo was always the best at telling the stories. “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” was played in the following manner. One person would lay as stiff as they could on the floor or mattress with the other participants surrounding her. The storyteller was situated next to the head of person laying down. In the beginning of the game, the storyteller would say the magic words, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” and everyone would lift the laying participant and return her back down. Then the storyteller would proceed to tell a scary story from her imagination while rubbing the temples of the voluntary participant. After the story came to a close the storyteller would once again repeat the words, “light as a feather, stiff as a board” and we would all lift the participant once again. She always felt so much lighter the second time, and it worked everytime! As you can imagine, this simple game had just enough suspension but was relaxing at the same time that we could easily play this game for hours.

light as a featherI was looking though an old album today that my friends made for me when I moved to Finland. It is full of photos and memories and quotes. Quite nostalgic. We all have narrow, child-like faces and in one photo we are posing next to the Easter Bunny at the local mall. The photo makes me smile. Before the photo was taken we had had an earnest discussion of whether we were too old to pose with the Easter Bunny. It was probably one of the first times that we went shopping without adult supervision and we felt quite old.

mexican curry2“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” –Rose Kennedy

One of the homes we quite often frequented was Sarah’s. Countless times did we sleep over and spend time downstairs in the basement room. The house had three floors and everyone else slept in on the third floor. It was like our own space, to chat and share and do all of those things that girls do.

One of the dishes that Sarah’s Mom made was Mexican Curry and it was a favorite of mine. It can be easily made in the crockpot and allowed to simmer for a couple hours on low. The recipe below is made stovetop. The recipe may not be identicle to her’s, but to me it had the flavor that I remembered.

Mexican Curry

one large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 kg/ 1 lb ground beef (I used minced venison)
(2 tbsp olive oil, optional if using a low-fat meat such as venison)
1 can crushed tomatoes (370 g/13 oz)
2 cans water
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
black pepper
1 dl/ 1/2 c uncooked rice

tortilla chips
chopped lettuce/spinach
cheese, grated
salsa of your choice

In a heavy pot, brown the meat with the onion, garlic, celery and seasonings. Once browned add the crushed tomato and water. Add the uncooked rice and allow to simmer for about 20-30 minutes on low so that the rice is cooked. Serve with chopped lettuce, grated cheese, avocados, tomatoes, tortilla chips and a salsa of your choice. The left over meat and rice could be used as a tortilla filling the next day.
mexican curry1“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer–one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going–one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”

excerpt from Anne’s House of Dreams, L.M. Montgomery

We had some of those summers, my friends and I.

This blog post is part of The Novice Gardener’s blogging party, Fiesta Friday. For a collection of posts by various authors click on the link.


  1. What a wonderful post, the memories are vivid. Oh how I loved Nancy Drew, I had every single book and read them religiously. What a fun sleepover you all had and that curry sounds amazing.

    1. I think I discovered Nancy Drew once when I was in about third or fourth grade in the school library…and after that we were inseparable! So glad to have connected with another Nancy Drew fan 🙂 I was thinking that maybe I should introduce my kids to her, maybe it would inspire them to read more!

  2. What beautiful memories and quotes. I too played light as a feather with friends–we all had pretty active imaginations too. That curry looks delicious, btw! Nice to “meet” you at the party!

    1. Glad to have met you as well! 🙂 Based on the comments, quite a few have memories of playing “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a board”. It would be fun to know the origin of the game…I wonder if our Grandma’s ever played it.

  3. Sounds like a fun game:) I used to pretend I was living in the Stone Age and slept outside in a hideout I’ve made from broken branches..I guess I was a rather strange kid:)

    1. I certainly don’t think you are strange 🙂 I would often play (with my siblings) “Little House on the Prairie”…pretending to be true pioneers was great! We would flip the plastic picnic table upside down and it would serve as our horse-drawn wagon. 😉

  4. Lovely post, every bit of it. Could relate to all of it, even made our version of Taco salad earlier this month, which is very similar to yours in concept, but probably tastes different. Loved all the quotes.

    1. Your salads always look wonderful…I think I will be saving your idea for the corn-on-the-cob salad idea for later use. Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment.

  5. Hello there,
    The way you put wove this post together with your memories and quotes made it a wonderful read. And, the Mexican Curry recipe is a bonus that my hubby will love.

    1. I think one reason why the little things are so important is that they often come when one least expects them and bring so much color to everyday life. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. The game sounds so cute and fun! And the curry sounds so tasty and enticing with venison instead of beef. Hmm…where to get venison, I wonder? Thanks for joining the party, Laila. You’ve given it an air of sophistication now that you’re mingling with us. Have you met any new friends yet?

    1. I have to admit that I didn’t have any beef on hand, only minced game meat and so I picked venison and it worked wonderful. But originally the recipe is for either ground beef or pork. 🙂 Thank you for hosting the party, what fun it has been!

  7. Don’t you love it that we have so many memories associated with special events from our lives? So much of our history is tied up in our food and recipes! ! Your Mexican Curry sounds wonderful!

    1. Yes it’s true, there are so many memories associated with food and their smells! Once I walked into a bakery in Helsinki and I sighed…it smelled just like our family bakery back in Minnesota!

  8. What a lovely, lovely post Laila. Made me a little nostalgic… I see your present day face in that young girl, for sure. And what a lovely dish to bring to a party. 🙂

    1. I did feel a bit nostalgic looking through the pages of the album. So much time had passed, yet the time has gone so quickly and there are moments that I remember like yesterday.

  9. I don’t know that game but I certainly remember sleepovers with friends. It’s wonderful that you have the album and a special meal to connect you to those happy memories. Lovely post.

  10. ““Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” –Rose Kennedy” What a beautiful and poignant quote. I appreciate that your food is tied with dear moments in your life. Your Mexican soup looks delectable – all of the veggies and rich, healthy game meat. The colors are so lovely!

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