Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Tea Party

Yesterday we had our weekly tea party. Elizabeth wanted to use the tea pot and cup that my parents got me for Christmas.

I used the pretty cup my sister gave me a few years ago.

And of course we couldn't leave Sarah out!

What fun!

Need Wedding Gift Ideas!

I really need inexpensive but very nice wedding gift ideas. They don't have to be handmade, but I'll welcome ideas for handmade gifts that don't take an exorbitant amount of time. And while we're on the subject of gifts, what about graduation gifts?

Treasure Tuesday: My Grandma's Quilt

On Tuesdays I'm going to try to post something I have that's handmade, old, or that I just love. My grandma was a prolific quilter and this is the quilt I got when she died a few years ago. It's really almost like a throw, just the width and length of a twin bed top--but it's the one I reach for when I'm tired or sick. It's made with tiny tucks in each block, so the extra fluffiness makes it extraordinarily warm. Wrapping up in this quilt is like getting a hug from my Grandma.

By the way, I feel certain that Treasure Tuesday isn't unique to me. I probably read about it on a craft blog sometime, somewhere. So I'm not stealing the idea, I just don't remember where it came from!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Free Bitty Booties Pattern

Update: Here's a flickr group for booties made from this pattern. Awwww...Amazing how many different beautiful looks can come from one basic design!

It's not my intention to make this a craft blog, per se, since my crafting goes in fits and starts, but that's what's been on my mind lately. So sorry for the craft overload and hopefully something will bring balance to the Force one of these days soon.

Heather Bailey graciously offers her Bitty Bootie pattern free online. I'm not sure about snagging her picture for my blog, so I'll just say they are cute, cute, cute, and you should go take a look and download the pattern like I did. I can't wait to make a pair.

Etsy Love

Well, I've never looked at the wonder that's Etsy. (For those who don't know, Etsy describes itself as "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade.") Maybe I was afraid that I'd discover a new obsession, or want to start a shop of my own (which I don't have time for right now). More likely it's just that I haven't had the time to venture into yet another online haunt.

But this morning while I was rocking baby girl I took a few minutes to peek at the Valentine goods. I'm just amazed at how wonderfully creative people are. Here's a little sample of some things that caught my fancy.

Honey Almond Lip Balm

I have a weakness for cool lip treats, so this pink-labeled balm jumped out at me.

Cute Apron

These aren't normally colors I'm drawn too, but they work here. Very pretty.

Adorable valentine tags

What can I say, are they not too cute?

Organza heart necklace

This would be easy to make.

Tree Hugger Picture

OK, before my husband passes out when he sees that I've linked a tree hugger picture on my blog, thus proving that I'm even wierder than everyone thought, let me just issue a disclaimer--I'm not one. That is, I'm personally pretty crunchy, but not in a Mother Earth Worship kind of way. And that's not what this absolutely charming picture is trying to communicate anyway, insofar as I can tell. I've discovered a new favorite artist at MillyMollyMandy. Beautiful. Check out the whole shop. I could spend a fortune there, but I have no clue where I'd hang her pretty prints.

Finally, these little baby booties, which made me swoon (Like I said, I'm wierd). More on baby booties next. As in how to make.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sweet Sweet

This is Elizabeth's very first sewing project that she did on her small machine. She wanted to make her little sister, Sarah, a doll blanket, and she had such fun hemming the apple fabric (which she picked out). Not bad for a barely six-year-old. I see much crafting in her future!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday's Simple Craft

I don't know if I'll be able to generate enough simple crafts to do this regularly, but I'd like to post a picture of some easy project about once a week. Here are a couple felt flower brooches I made for two of Elizabeth's little friends. I just used cheap commercial felt, but they would be very nice in something more substantial as well. I used the tutorial and free pdf found here.

By the way, my photography leaves something to be desired, but hopefully you get the idea. I hope I'll have better results with time and practice!

Lookie Here!

As a busy mom do you ever feel frustrated because your creative endeavors are hampered (squashed is more like it)? Overwhelmed by the productive, artsy lives you read about online and in magazines? Wonder if you'll ever be able to think about anything besides diapers and laundry again?

Then check out crayon artist, my sister's very cool new blog. It's creative living for real moms, with a healthy dose of encouragement. I'm sooo excited to finally get to announce it! I'd be linking even if she wasn't my sister!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Let's Go on a Treasure Hunt!

Everyday Mommy is hosting the Hidden Treasure blog awards. She says,

" The idea is simple; to recognize blog authors of excellence, with deserving posts which may go unnoticed. "

Very cool idea! I already have some nominations in mind. There are so many great bloggers who haven't made the bigtime but really deserve a greater readership.

Click on the image above for details.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Domestic Pursuits

I'll be spending my afternoon ironing. Oh the joy. Ahem! That's sarcasm if you can't tell. But in all seriousness, it will feel really good to have it all caught up. So here's to an afternoon over the ironing board.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Update: I just realized I flubbed the recipe--the part about rising. If you're an experienced baker you'll have caught the mistake. It's corrected now.


Here's my recipe for vegan cinnamon rolls made without any refined white sugar or flour. They're heavy and dense, but in a moist, yummy kind of way. They'd be perfect for a chilly afternoon like this one, except that I'm all out of several essential ingredients and don't see a grocery store run in my future for another week or so. (Yes, I don't get out much, but I mostly like it that way.)

Now to the recipe.

I use the basic bread recipe found here.

Sometimes I add a bit more honey--up to 1/4 c.--for extra sweetness. Of course, that will require a bit of extra flour too. I'm not very exact when it comes to this kind of stuff. Sweet potatoes (as mentioned in the same post as the basic recipe) would also be a really great addition, for extra moisture. They'd compliment the other ingredients as well.

After the dough has risen, roll out in a big oblong shape on a floured countertop. Spread with about 1/2 c. (or whatever looks good) thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, any cheapo brand will do. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Then sprinkle liberally with raisins, chopped nuts (pecans are my favorite), and whatever other chopped dried fruit you desire, like dates. Roll the whole thing up from the long end to make a big log, and sort of moosh it together to press the fruit and nuts into the dough a bit.

Then slice into 1-inch slices with a sharp knife. Put these on a well-oiled baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. I put so much fruit and nuts in that I have to be pretty careful moving them from the counter to the pan, or everything will fall out. You don't want to lose all that goodness.

When they're all on the pan, press the top of each one just enough that it has a small rim around the edge. Next you'll spoon a teaspoon or so of the orange juice concentrate onto the top and spread it around, but as you can see, the little rim will keep it from running all over the pan and creating a burned-juice mess.

Don't skip that last step. It makes a really nice, moist glaze that makes these extra-special and not just dry bread dough with raisins in the middle.

Then let them rise for about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for I don't remember how long. Really, I never wrote this down before and I don't remember. I think it was 20-30 minutes, until the bottoms of the rolls are brown and the tops are golden. Check one in the middle to make sure they are done and not doughy.

These are soooo yummy with a cup of tea. Hope someone tries and enjoys them!

Oh, something else that's really good is to eat them with cream cheese, like a bagel. Or a cream cheese icing made with cream cheese, vanilla, and honey or apple juice concentrate whipped together. Mmmmm...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My Funny Little Boy

Silas (who's 3 1/2) has been much taken with the idea of cabins since overhearing Elizabeth's pioneer study. He gets his play boards and builds them in the living room--except he calls them "cabbages".

Just now he told me, "I'm a Liquid Monster. Me and the other Liquid Monster eats LIQUID!!!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winter Afternoon

I spent yesterday in a cleaning frenzy and now the house feels so much better. I hadn't caught up from the holidays, and it was affecting my sanity I think.

Today is very cold (for us), wet, and windy...A perfect day for some English Toffee dessert tea in the pretty teapot my parents got me for Christmas, and a few minutes with Grace Livingston Hill's Honor Girl.

I must give another nod to Anna for introducing me to these wholesome, old-fashioned books. Although my reading time is limited, I've so enjoyed the discovery of this author. It's light reading, but sweetly inspiring.

Monday, January 15, 2007

For Rebecca

When my blog friend Rebecca graciously answered my shoe question, I remembered that I promised to give her a report on how well these cute Skechers held up for me. I've been very pleased. After wearing them several times a week (often every day) since summer they are still in good condition. Of course, velcro tends to not be quite as sticky after a lot of wear, but it only seems to loosen if I've extremely active. Normally it hasn't been a problem.

Rebecca, I remember that I was also supposed to get you some Mexican recipes. Those will be forthcoming.

What's Your Personality?

One thing Billy and I had fun with when when we were getting to know each other was to figure out our personalities. We read Personality Plus by Florence Littauer, which was a blast because she is such a funny writer. The basic premise is that all people can be categorized in one of four major personalities, choleric, melancholy, sanguine, and phlegmatic. Here's a succinct chart. Better yet, read the Littauer book. It kept us in stitches, and we understood each other so much better after discussing it.

(For inquiring minds, I'm phlegmatic/melancholy--mostly phlegmatic--and Billy is choleric/melancholy--mostly choleric.)

By the way, the picture, from Allposters, has absolutely nothing to do with the post content. I just like old sewing machines.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Anybody Seen My Inspiration?

Sorry for the light posting the past few days. I've really been wanting to blog, but my inspiration well has been dry as a bone. Maybe it has something to do with sleeplessness. Sarah (at 20 months) has started waking at night like a newborn, so I'm dragging. I even had a dream last night that I sat on the couch crying, "I just want to sleeeeep!" LOLOL It was very funny when I woke up.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Choose Life

Check out this powerful video called "Can I Live?" by rapper Nick Cannon. It's the true story about how his 17-year-old mother chose to give him life, although it would have been far easier for her to abort her baby. Awesome. I promise it will bring tears to your eyes.

Here are the lyrics:

Can I Live by Nick Cannon

Talking Ma
I know the Situation is Personal
But it something that has to be told
As I was making this beat
You was all I could think about you heard my voice

[Verse 1]
Yeah Just think Just Think
What if you could Just
Just blink your self away..
Just Just wait just pause for a second
Let me plead my case
It's the late 70's Huh
You Seventeen huh
And having me that will ruin everything huh
It's alot of angels waiting on their wings
You see me in your sleep so you cant kill your dreams
300 Dollars thats the price of living what?
Mommy I dont like this clinic
Hopefully you'll make the right decision
And dont go through with the Knife incision
But it's hard to make the right move
When you in high school
How you have to work all day and take night school
Hopping off da bus when the rain is pouring
What you want morning sickness or the sickness of mourning

I'll Always Be a part of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I'd Say To You
I'll Always Be a part of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I'd Say To You

[Verse 2]
I am a child of the king
Ain't no need to go fear me
And I see the flowing tears so know that you hear me
When I move in your womb that's me being scary
Cause who knows what my future holds
Yo the truth be told you ain't told a soul
Yo you ain't even showing I'm just 2 months old
Through your clothes try to hide me deny me
Went up 3 sizes
Your pride got you lying saying ain't nothing but a migraine
It ain't surprising you not trying to be in Wic food lines
Your friends will look at you funny but look at you mommy
That's a life inside you look at your tummy
What is becoming ma I am Oprah bound
You can tell he's a star from the Ultrasound
Our Sprits Connected Doors Open Now
Nothing But Love And Respect Thanks For Holding Me Down She Let Me Live...

I'll Always Be a part of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I'd Say To You
I'll Always Be apart of you
Trust Your Soul Know it's always true
If I Could Talk I'd Say To You
[Repeat 2]

[Nick Talking]

It's uplifting foreal yall
I ain't passing no judgement
Ain't making no decisions
I am just telling ya'll my story
I love life
I love my mother for giving me life
We all need to appreciate life
A strong woman that had to make a sacrifice
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening
Mama thanks for listening

Hat tip: Modestly Yours

Good Dreams

This week I've had restless, disturbing dreams filled with sadness and confusion, undoubtedly due to personal stresses. Last night before sleep I prayed for good dreams. The funniest thing happened. I dreamed of blogger Anna's beautiful home. I honestly don't recall the dream, but it was very peaceful and I woke up refreshed. If you've never checked out Anna's charming blog, Pleasant View Schoolhouse, please do. It's a treat. And thanks, Anna, for contributing to a good night's sleep!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Need Source for Children's Devotionals

I need your help with this, too, readers. Does anyone have a source (free online would be great) for children's devotionals or chidren's sermons? (Think AWANA council time.)


Natural Cream of Mushroom Soup?

Does anyone know of a good natural condensed cream of mushroom soup that's free of soy and MSG?

It's Delurking Week!

It's delurking week all over the blogosphere! So if you read but usually don't comment, do just this once and let me know you're here. Pretty please?

Blogging Basics 101

Check out Shannon and Chilihead's new blog, Blogging Basics 101...Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask! (OK, not really, but it's very informative.)

Works for Me Wednesday: Music Practice Incentive

***Oops, I just noticed (after posting) that this week's WFMW was supposed to be about healthy eating. I should definitely be able to come up with something about that, just not today. I did have a dream about eating chocolate yesterday. A lot of chocolate. Maybe my tip could be don't eat chocolate while playing the violin? Or something.***

My 6yo has really wanted to play the violin, and wonder of wonders, we found an excellent teacher who lives about a block away. But like most kids, she’s not too thrilled about practice. I got tired of fighting the reluctance and lousy attitude, and discipline only seemed to make the experience more unpleasant. Finally I struck on a combination that worked for me. I made a little chart with different elements of good practice (holds, note clarity, stance, remembering the songs, and good attitude), and columns for each day of the week. Each day she got a sticker for each thing she did properly…one for good attitude, for example, one for correct bow hold, and so forth. At the end of the week, if she had enough stickers (at least 3 per day) she and I got to have a tea party together with my real china tea set. She has so looked forward to that tea party! Her teacher said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s working.” Practice has become a joy instead of a struggle.

Hosted by Shannon

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On My Way Back

Finally finished painting the girls' room--what a job. It took many days longer than I anticipated, but it's done and they love it. Sarah was very traumatized by having her room torn up all week. One morning she just stood in the doorway and burst into tears. She is happy now that she's back in her old, prettier room. And Elizabeth is happy with the pale princess pink. It looks so much better.

I'm trying to get back on some sort of normal schedule now, so bear with me...I'll be blogging more soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I promised Elizabeth I'd paint her room this week. We've had the paint for months, just no time to use it. So I spent most of Tuesday and yesterday prepping (read: moving furniture and trying to figure out how to attack this monstrous old-house project). Finally yesterday afternoon I got to crack open a can of pink-tinted primer and cover the hideous yellow walls, a garish mistake the poor child has lived with patiently for four years. I think I'm more excited than she is. I'm obviously not a pro. Not only is the paint job imperfect, but I got paint in my eye, my hair, and even after a very thorough bath, I'm still finding patches of paint everywhere. But I promise you that however old the house and imperfect the job, it will look better than what was there before.

Today it's on to the real paint (also pink) and trim. Can I finish? Wish me well!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Emerging Church

Last night Billy and I really enjoyed discussing the paper Scot McKnight (emerging church leader and member of Willow Creek!) presented at Westminster Seminary this fall called “What is the Emerging Church?” It’s excellent, probably the most balanced treatment available on the Emerging conversation. It’s 30 pages, but well worth reading even if you think you know what the Emerging church is. PDF here.

Hat tip: TallSkinnyKiwi

P.S. I guess I should mention, for the handful of readers who don't know me personally, that we aren't Emerging and don't necessarily endorse all facets of the movement. However, I've really enjoyed some of the Emerging blogs I read and I think it's important to keep one's finger on the pulse of major shifts taking place within Christianity--and to listen to them and view them accurately.