Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Halfway through November - ALREADY???

In my mind, time truly does have wings. There is no other explanation, except maybe the fact that we in this day and age tend to have far too many things on our itineraries...

On the knitting front - I finished my Dr. Who Scarf. (Season 12.) I took it to church and this fine TALL young man wore it around - totally perfect! Let me see if I can find the pic...

So the scarf came out great! Very happy. Now I'm working on a sweater for my mother. Of course, I got 8" into the cabling pattern and realized I had made a mistake 4" back. I finally settled on frogging it (rip-it, rip-it,) and when I took the needles out to begin ripping, I decided I needed to make it in a smaller size. So, I ripped it all out and started over. Kinda lost some momentum at that point, but I'm working on getting it back.

On the classroom front - Ugh. *Too*much*stuff* I still have too many books, so I'm going through them to see what we can live without, lol. It's so hard to let go of books!!! On the brighter side, though, I recovered all but one of the chair seats that go in there and they look fabulous!!! One of the seats was particularly difficult to get the old layers of fabric and plastic off of, though, and I ended up wearing a blister into the palm of my hand - right in the middle. OWIE! So the last chair will wait until tomorrow.

On the family front - Becki is coming to visit on Friday, and I am anxiously awaiting her arrival! It will be so wonderful to see my babygirl. I know Rachel is excited, too!!! She will stay through Thanksgiving, and I suspect there is Black Friday mayhem in store for us.

Have I ever mentioned that I *hate* to go shopping? I also *hate* crowds. Going Black Friday shopping is 100% sacrifice for me, but I will do it for them :) I won't have any money, though... Is that weird or what?!?!?! (Note to self: take your cell phone this time!)

On the church front - I have played the bass guitar during worship for the past few weeks, and it is coming back to me. Hallelujah!!! I totally LOVE doing this! I'm severely out of practice (it's been about 5 years since I played last) but it is coming back. YES!

On the home front - our new residence is feeling like HOME now. I do love this old house - I feel like it was made for us. I don't know how long we'll be able to stay here, as is true whenever you rent someone else's house, but I am quite happy here. Thank God for a new lease on life, and for giving me the opportunity to take my life back! Feels like healing to me...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Meeeeeeee

My husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on the 23rd of October. Childcare was not to be found, so we decided to take the kids on a daytrip down Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We had a LOVELY day! I took photographs of the colorful fall leaves (my favorite thing about Skyline Drive, next to the bears.)

The color was amazing. Looking up, you could see the canopy of bright reds and yellows...

There were several places along the route that touched my heartstrings... park benches, unique tree groupings, plants... Jon and the kids worked on their orienteering skills and we had a picnic at Elkwallow Picnic Grounds. It was wonderful.

28 years. On one hand the time has flown by, but on the other, we sure have been through it! I am glad to have my honey and am looking forward to many, many more years together with him.

Thank You, God, for my husband and my family.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Still getting moved in

It is really taking a long time to get unpacked. I'm not enjoying this part anymore. I really only have one more room to unpack, but it's a really intense room: the classroom. It will double as the craft room on occasion, but its primary purpose is school. I am SO looking forward to having the kids back in a classroom setting rather than crashing in the living room... Unfortunately, the hardware for the table was misplaced during the move and I am gonna have to go rig it somehow. I'll figure it out; I always do.

I picked up a new raw foods book at Borders this weekend. It's Ani Phyo's (latest???) book and I *love* it. The book is downstairs and I am not. I don't remember the name of it, other than the fact that "Raw Foods" is in the title. Sheesh.

My van is in the shop and it needs serious work. Honestly I wish I could get a newer van, but that does not seem to be in the works for right now. Maybe it's time to talk to my Daddy about that...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dr. Who Scarf

Thanks to Netflix instant stream, I have rediscovered the Doctor.

Thanks to my knitting friends, I am now knitting a copy of his scarf.

I am just over 1/3 of the way into it, and already it is over five feet long. I'm just over 5 feet tall (5'4") so you can just imagine how totally yummy this scarf is going to be when it's finished! It is 14" wide and wonderfully squishy. To top it off, it is a simple garter stitch, no thinking required. Nothing but pure kniting therapy.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm lovin' it!

What a tremendous difference it has made restoring routine in our new home! Wow. The kids have settled down drastically.

Here are some of the things we worked over:
Chores: All of us have to work together to make and keep our home comfortable. I am asking the kids to take care of their own breakfast and lunch dishes - from counter to cupboard - and have split them into teams of two for dinner duties. We no longer have a dishwasher, so each night one kid will wash and one will dry/put away, while the other two clean up the dining room. Jon and I will obviously be helping out in both areas. We also agreed to split the living areas of the house into 4 zones, and right after school is done the kids will devote just 15 minutes each weekday to their zone for the day. On Saturday it will be 1 hour each for a thorough cleaning (although I doubt it will take that long in the zone.) They are all responsible for their own living space in their rooms, which they can tidy up in a few minutes before going to bed.
Play time: After the 15 minutes chore time is done, they can play indoors, outdoors, whatever. this includes computers and Wii, board games, etc.
Reading: mandatory 30 minutes per day, after dinner/before bed. We'll be working on rotating kids through showers during this time.
Laundry: we are continuing with assigned days for laundry :) Loving this! The kids all do great with their laundry.
Personal care: stepping up on this one. Some of the kids need reminding and prodding in this area, and we are hoping that having a set time for it will help.

There are other areas we discussed and are working on, but those are the biggies.

Another area of change is that the kids are now doing scouting. It turns out the boy scouts and cub scouts meet across the street in the Methodist church, so they can still go even if their dad isn't home from work. I like this alot! I sent a message to the girl scouts leader for Lydia but haven't heard back yet... We'll see about that.

Having a sense of routine has made so much difference in the kids' attitudes already. I am so grateful! I woke up the other morning, and the first thought that came to my mind was that the kids were missing the order we had finally established before we moved. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for that breath of inspiration. I may be really dense sometimes... Glad I heard this one!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, Monday (dah dah, dah da dah dah)

It's raining this morning. Welcome, refreshing rain! Clear out the dust and the pollen and the stinkbugs, and let your gentle rhythm soothe the tensed up soul today.

I feel SO stupid sometimes. My kids have been driving me crazy since we've moved with all their fighting and strife. It only NOW hit me that - DUH - they need their days restructured. The classroom is still a horrid mess since I am not done unpacking (hard to do it all by yourself when it seems there is a house full of crazy people demanding your constant intervention.) So homeschool has been off-kilter. Time to set up the new regimen.

I really believe the kids will welcome this. I know I will.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What a Ride...

I've been on a really wild ride lately.
I am finally coming through!
I love it that darkness cannot abide the Light, and that God's thoughts and plans toward me are for a future and a hope. I really love that!

We have moved, after losing our home to foreclosure, and we are definitely in a new season. This has been severely humbling, and yet amazingly enlightening. I feel like ten thousand pounds of weight has been lifted off of me!

God has refreshed a vision in my heart, a dream of ministry. I had backed off from my dreams when my son had cancer, and when our precious little friend died, and when I was in so much pain for so long that I could barely move. When you back off of your dreams, they shrivel up and die. When I realized that I had let that happen, of course I wanted to shrivel up and die... but God has re-energized me. How can I possibly thank Him enough for that?

I have several dreams. Closest to my heart is to worship Him in song and bring others along for the ride... next is to begin a mentoring ministry within the Body of Christ. Teaching the younger women what just isn't being taught anymore: How to become intimate with God and build a successful home and family. I am finally stepping out in this, knowing full well that I am not the master of it all, but pulling together resources and starting on lesson plans. I am very excited about the potential here and look forward very much to seeing what God will do when I let go of myself and allow Him to work.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Creating Mommy Is a Happy Mommy!

I don't get to pull out my loom as often as I would like. It is huge - over 4 feet wide and about 2 feet deep when it's folded up. It opens up to a depth of nearly 4 feet, and you add to that the space it takes for the weaver to sit on her bench while she weaves. My precious friend who blessed me with this loom said that she was tired of having it take up her livingroom. I can see why, but I don't mind. I'm grateful to have it!

My loom sits in my livingroom, too, so I can always be inspired to use it. I am always inspired, but it is not always possible to do anything with that inspiration. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to bother anyone else in the family to have the space taken up in this way. They love the things I make, and know beyond any shadow of a doubt that a creating mommy is a happy mommy!

Prepping the loom for weaving can be a daunting task if you are not totally in love with your craft (we all know how difficult tasks become so much more enjoyable when you love what you're doing!) The very first thing you must do is the math, calculating how much warp yarn you need -how many strands to cut and how long to cut them. The warp is the yarn that goes from fron to back in the loom, the stationary yarn. Knowing how long you want your finished piece(s) of fabric to be, you must calculate how much yarn to have ready for the weft (the yarn that you weave side to side through the warp.) Once your warp is measured, you need to string each piece of warp yarn through the beater's reed and individual heddles in the appropriate harnesses. The warp needs to be wound onto beams and kept at a consistent tension across the whole width. After all of that, which takes HOURS, you might be ready to start weaving.

My loom currently has a scarf and some placemats on it. (I haven't been able to weave in a few days, so it sits...) I figured I wanted to use the same yarn in pretty much the same configuration of colors for both projects, so I strung up the loom to do all of these pieces on the same warp. It saves yarn in the long run, and it definitely saves time, since I don't have to go through beaming the warp the second time.

Can you imagine cutting 160 pieces of yarn, each 9 yards long? I am so blessed to have a warping mill to make that task so much easier! You cut a piece of yarn the length that you need and wrap it around the mill however many times it takes and anchor each end of the yarn on posts. This creates sort of a trail to use to measure the remaining pieces, spinning the mill back and forth while wrapping rather than standing there measuring piece by piece. Thank GOD for warping mills!

The weaving is generally the easy part. You get into a rhythm, rocking back and forth with each shot of of the shuttle through the shed (the space between the raised warp yarns and the lower ones.) You watch your fabric grow, and in almost no time, you have a finished cloth.

The fabric shown in these photos is my current project. It is woven in a simple weave using a linen/rayon boucle. In this photo, the fabric is approximately 12 feet long. The warp is initially wound around the back beam, and as it is woven, the fabric is wound around the beam in the front. When it is finished, I will cut the warp strings approximately 2" from the edges of each of the placemats and 4" from the edges of the scarf, then tie them into a nice fringe. I have not decided whether the scarf will be worn or become a table/dresser runner. We will see!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eat to Live

I found and tweaked new recipe:
I saw a casserole recipe on vegweb yesterday and loved the thought of the combination of flavors it could contain, so I made a soup along similar lines. This was the first time I have ever tasted or used dark miso (barley miso) and I absolutely loved it! It is a COOKED soup. It would not be too difficult to convert this to a raw recipe!

Let's see if I can remember how I did this:

vegetable broth
a couple tbsp dark miso
small amount of olive oil or grapeseed oil (I used olive this time)
1 onion (it was all I had! Next time I will use a couple of onions)
2 ribs celery
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 can organic red beans. drained and rinsed
about 1-1/2 cups raw cashews (these were halves.)
1 can petite cut tomatoes (I was out of fresh.)

Heat some water to boiling. Remove from heat, pour about 1 cup of it over the miso and stir gently until mixed well. Set aside.

Chop onion and celery; cook gently in olive oil until the onion begins to go transparent. Add crushed/minced garlic and heat, stirring, until onions and celery are tender. Stir in cashews, cook a couple of minutes. Add beans tomatoes and enough vegetable broth to make the soup (I used one quart this time. Next time I make MORE!) Cook over med heat until heated through.

Stir in miso and remove from heat. As I understand it, you don't want to boil miso.

This was amazingly delish! Jon said it was perfect :) Next time I will definitely add mushrooms and probably more garlic. I might also add some bell peppers and zucchini, some thyme... who knows! The kids really liked it, so I know they'll eat it when I make a larger batch.

I got some new toys:
I have new toys in my kitchen, thanks to our tax refund! They are used every day, and I feel they will pay for themselves in absolutely NO TIME whatsoever.

The first is a dehydrator. I got the Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator and I now feel like the opportunities for raw vegan deliciousness are totally unlimited! I have made sunflower seed burgers, nut loaf, eggplant and zucchini chips, dried apples, and KALE chips (which are out of this world!) so far. It would be very easy to keep it running 24x7. I am gearing up to make some raw bagels and some raw corn chips in it over the next few days. YES!!!

The second is a Blendtec blender. It is super-powerful; in fact, it is so powerful I was really afraid to use it at first. Oh, I love this machine! You can do so much with it, and it is much easier to use than I initially feared. I now use it every day, so I am creating a dedicated space for it on the counter. The kids have their own smoothie machine and cups, which they LOVE, but this thing outdoes it by far. I have no problem drinking green smoothies made with it, since there aren't leaf shreds left floating in it when the cycle is done. YES! It also seems to attack raspberry seeds with a vengeance, so I can throw berries in my drinks, too! I have always had a severe aversion to foods with bitty little seeds in it. My daughter loves my Blendtec blender so much she got one yesterday, too.

I guess I've gone on long enough... I guess this one's all about the eating. Maybe I'll dedicate the next one to knitting... or spinning... or weaving... or something crafty! Then again, maybe not...

Oh, and I am down 22 lbs now :)

I'm a new Me!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Feelin' Groovy, Baby!

I really need to get on here and write more often. So much happens every day, and even if no one ever reads it, it would be helpful for me to have a record for future reference.

Feelin' Groovy - Health


I am so excited about how my body is responding to the raw vegan way of eating. Like, WOW!. I have been eating this way for 4 whole weeks now, which sounds like nothing, and in the grand scheme of things probably IS nothing. Still, in this 4 weeks I have not been hungry, nor have I been weak or in any pain (other than when I bump into things!) I have had no cravings other than for particular vegetables or fruits, which I find amazing. I am drinking much less coffee, although I haven't given it up completely. I am not missing the meat at all!

To top it all off with a sweet avocado and grape whipped "cream," I have lost 14 pounds so far. I am totally thrilled!!!

I had the most wonderful wraps for lunch today and want to make sure I don't forget about this combination:
  • whole grain tortilla (raw is best)
  • romaine lettuce leaf
  • zucchini strips
  • fresh guacamole (avocado, lemon juice, garlic sea salt, cilantro was all I had in it today)
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • tomatillo style taco sauce
Layer the ingredients in the romaine lettuce leaf and roll up in the tortilla for a totally DELISH treat! I ate two of them and Danny had one. YUM!

Another super yummy treat recently was "stir-fried" brussels sprouts. Yes, I know, they were cooked, but I can treat myself to some cooked foods once in a while. (I am aiming for 85% raw foods in my diet.) I used a green pan and carmelized some onions, added in the brussels sprouts, garlic, Tamari soy sauce, fresh ginger root, and a few drops of sesame oil, once the sprouts were crisp-tender. YES! A definite keeper. Even Jon loved them! He has referred to brussels sprouts as "elephant boogers" for as long as I've known him. Score!

Feelin' groovy - Textiles

I got my hands on some linen/rayon blend yarn (approximately dk gauge, but it is actually much lighter. This will have a lovely drape to it.) I got a tremendously fabulous deal on these cones and they are calling out to me, "Weave, Baby! Weave!" I think I will break out the loom this week and weave up a nice wrap (or two or five...) I will take some photos of the yarn and upload them into this post later. I also have a hankering to build a triangle loom and make a shawl. That will be fun!

I am still loving my spinning wheel. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to make yarn and fabric in so many ways! I don't remember the exact words, unfortunately, but I saw a quote by President George Washington on a placard at Mount Vernon that described the vitality of textiles and textile artisans within a country. A group of people who cannot make their own clothing must rely on other groups of peoples and will never be truly free. Now, I know that some folks would use this as an argument for national nudity, but we all know that would be the end of this civilization, wouldn't it! Anyway, I pray we don't forget the importance of textile skills!

I have really been thinking so much lately about the Scripture in Titus that says that older women should mentor the younger... I would love to put that into action. I wonder if there would be ANYONE who would be interested in learning? Apathy and an attitude of just depending on everyone else to give you what you think you deserve seems to be the reigning attitude of the times... I'd love to mentor young women - Not just the textiles, but cooking, relationship building, child-rearing, housecleaning (as soon as someone teaches me!!!) gardening, decorating, etc... God, can You use me in this area? I'm not old, but I'm oldER... I love to teach, I love to make, I love You... Let me know if this is what You have for me.

Feelin' groovy - Music

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE to worship God in song? Of course, I have! It is one of the greatest joys of my life! This house was far too silent for far too long, so the kids and I are putting an end to that! We've been turning the keyboard on each day now and I am starting to teach them how to play. Lydia and Stephen are learning keyboards, Danny is learning guitar, and I'm not sure what Zack is going to do. I've offered to teach him the bass guitar - or whatever he wants. Maybe viola? He strikes me more as a bass player. I don't think he strikes himself as a player of anything musical, yet, so I'll wait on him. Too bad I don't have a sax! I bet he'd really dig that! (Plus I'd have to learn how to play it to teach him! :D How's that for an angle!)

Feelin' groovy - Wrappin' it up...

Life is good. I am the healed, and it is SO WONDERFUL to finally be walking in the manifestation of that healing! I love taking walks each day with the kids. I love eating fresh fruits, veggies, grains and nuts and seeds... Lovely stuff! I love having music back in the house on a daily basis - thank You, LORD for that! I am rejoicing, because God's word of Victory in my life is being fulfilled on a daily basis now! I really do want to do a better job of documenting this, so I will try to write more often. I just have a feeling that if I do, it will become more of a recipe book than anything else, lol! That's okay, isn't it? Sure!

Lovin' life, feelin' groovy...

Friday, March 12, 2010

The times, they are a'different...

Greetings from someone who is feeling FANTASTIC! I have been doing very well ever since "meeting with God" while writing my New Years Eve blog post. Awesome stuff!

On the HEALTH front:

Who'd a thunk it! My husband and I have gone vegan. Yep, you read it right - vegan. Truthfully, my husband eats vegan at home and whatever he wants during the day at work, but his at-work eating has improved drastically!!! I, however, have dived in, face-first. I have not only cut out everything that came from something that either had a face or a mother, but most of what I am eating is raw.

What? Did you say that it sounds terribly BORING? Salads, day in and day out? Ah, not so! If you know me, you know I love to cook. Okay, it's mostly "Prepare Food" now. I am not about to get bored. There is so much I can do, and I am stoked. I am also juicing several times a day. My favorite blend so far is carrot, broccoli and apple. Totally delish!

The best thing I am going to do is get better!!! I truly believe that this will be my answer to kicking fibromyalgia and arthritis and depression and high blood pressure to the curb. You heard me - OUTTA THERE!

The sites I am visiting most so far are:
  • (Hallelujah Acres)
These are great sites which are all building up databases of vegan recipes. They are also inspiration for me to create recipes of my own to share. That will happen soon enough!

On the KNITTING front:

I've been a busy little beaver with my knitting and spinning. What a blast! I just finished knitting an Olympic Reindeer Hat. The pattern was on Ravelry (must get the link and post it here - oops). Here's a pic:

The hat took me just a few days. Thank God for that Fair Isle class I took last year!

I now have a favorite designer! :) Tabitha's Heart considers herself a novice designer, but she has come up with some of the most beautiful designs I've had the privelege to knit. I also get to test knit for her once in a while, which is totally bonus! Of late she has been designing items inspired by the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I recently finished her pattern, "Aragorn Scarf," which I made for Patrick. I am working on another one for Jon. Here's a pic of it blocked:

You can see the beautiful pattern moving up the length of the scarf. Totally gorgeous. I am in the process of knitting what started out as a mystery knit-along (KAL) and has now been revealed as a Sargassum Scarf, patterned after some seaweed. (Told you she is talented...) Here's what I have so far, although I must admit I think I will frog it and start over with some more appropriate yarn:
It's the first time I've done any knitting with beads, and I am enjoying it!

There is a new sock book out, and the beautiful thing is that it is a book on CD - computer CD - called "50 Socks for 50 States." It has patterns of socks for each of the 50 states, plus Canada, Mexico, and US Territories. I recently finished a pair of "Two Season Boot Socks" (the sock for Michigan.) I wear them all the time and have started a second pair. Not a great pic, but here they are: (One day I will learn to use SOLID colored yarn for patterns with any motif in them...)

Last, but not least, did I mention here that I got a new spinning wheel? I got my settlement from my car accident, and what didn't go to my recovery went to paying bills and buying me this AMAZING spinning wheel. I haven't named her yet... any suggestions? She's a Mach II by SpinOlution. Love, love, love! Here she is:

and this is some of the yarn I've spun with her:

I passed my old wheel on to a precious friend, and she is spinning away! Now THAT woman spins some *beautiful* yarn!

So that's it for now! Blessings!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Write It on the Wall

I am beyond thrilled to be able to attend church more regularly now. I have to give God the glory for taking my pain away New Year's Eve!

Pastor Carlton has been preaching about changing our attitudes: developing a WINNING attitude. As I was writing my 'year in review' blog post, I sensed God telling me that this is going to be a year of Victory- I think I even wrote that in there! I love it when He tells me something that He is telling others at the same time. The confirmation is SO uplifting!

Okay - back to the sermon this past Sunday. It was awesome, as it usually is. I thought I would record the parts of it that really jumped out at me here so that I can find it readily for review.

First and foremost, the best way to change for the better is to spend time with God. Dwelling in His presence changes me! He renews my mind, through his Word and His Spirit.

Pastor talked about Caleb (Numbers 13 and 14, and Joshua 1,) and how he had a RIGHT attitude, a WINNING attitude. He saw the giants just like everyone else, but he also saw the milk and honey, so to speak - the amazing land and produce. He knew that with God, they could take the land. Forty years later, when Israel finally entered Canaan, Caleb spotted the land he wanted for his family and took it. He had a winning attitude! Caleb had a can-do attitude!

When God looks at me, He sees every potential He created me to fulfill. He sees Himself in me. In order for me to walk in that potential, to fulfill the purpose He has for me, I need to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit, and meditate on the Word day and night.

What vision has God given to me? How many of His visions have I let go of simply because I don't remember them, or don't set out to walk in them? What am I believing God for in my own life and that of my family? Pastor's message was this: WRITE THE VISION! Write it on the walls!!! Keep the Word in front of your eyes. Then it is up to you to go in and possess the land. You will make your way prosperous, you will have good success! (Joshua 1)

Here are the six steps to success:

1) Have goals. What are you asking God for? What has He told you He has for you or wants you to do?
2) Write them down!!! Put them in the open where you an see them regularly - keep them in front of you. Write the vision!
3) Spell out a plan of action. Include a timetable! Set cumulative goals... this week, this month, this year... Your plan will, if you use any wisdom, dictate your choices.
4) Surround yourself with the right people. Successful, wise - bigger than you! Then, be teachable.
5) List the benefits and rewards that you will get as you press forward. In 1 Cor 16:9, Paul said that a great door [of opportunity] was open, but that there would inevitably be many adversaries. Have a Caleb spirit!
6) Talk about it! Praise God for it!

The whole goal-setting and planning aspect of success has been absent in my life. THIS is something I will change. Thanks, Pastor, for this amazing insight!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Home Cookin'

I love it when I have dinner ready for my honey when he gets home from work, and even better, so does he. No matter how hard a day he has had, the smell always cheers him up, and he heaps praises on me for the rest of the night. What a great way to end a day!