Friday, April 17, 2015

I Re-stocked Most Items in the Shop {...just in time for Mother's Day...}

Thank you so much for your support, when you gift-give. It means this world to me, as well as all artists...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"We Don't Need Church Bells..." {...of children and church life...}

One thing I have always been aware of, is the profound affect church life has on children.  

In the best of ways.

I grew up in a tiny Presbyterian church full of people with gray hair who pulled gum out of my ears, and the same Sunday School Teacher every. single. Sunday.  No one rotated out there - the pastor's wife faithfully taught a range of ages, all at the same time, every Sunday for my entire childhood.  

It was radically life-altering stuff for a troubled little girl who would herself grow up to become a preacher's wife.

There is something sweet that happens - all quiet and hidden - when parents decide to commit to one local church, and go and grow there together.  Continuity is important.  There is a sweetness that only comes with creating continuity - whether you have children or your nest has emptied.  Week-in, week-out, month-in, month-out, year-in, year-out...

...memories are built no other way.

Lives are built no other way.  

The smallest things go a long way in a child's sense of stability - something as "simple" as church services, having the same four teachers in Sunday School, who rotate week by week all year long, and the same person making the pre-church-service announcements.  

I won't go so far as to say that your church life is THE most important constant in your child's life.  But I will go so far as to say that your church life easily ranks in the top five Things Your Child Can Depend On - ranking right up there with their trusty blankie, their parents' unconditional love, a consistent bedtime, and teeth brushing.

Meet Eryn...

She has the most incredible birth story you will ever encounter - but that is another post for another day.

Eryn's momma's name is Vickie, and I got her permission to share a little short something she shared online with our church ladies group.  Here is the cute, cute story, in her own words:

Eryn and I were in Fountain City today, on our way home from school when she heard the bells chime at one of the churches on Broadway. She immediately wanted to know what it was...I didn't realize she had never heard church bells before. I explained that a long time ago that's the way the church let the community know that services were about to begin, or sometimes the church would double as a school and they were used like the bell at her school. So she pipes up and says, "We don't need bells at our church. We have Mrs. Sheila and she doesn't need a bell. She just says (in her best Mrs. Sheila voice) 'Hellooo, Harvest Church!' and we all know we better sit down."

Who needs bells when a familiar friend is always there to let you know it is time to get started worshipping the Lord?

Take your kids to church.  Be consistent.  Let your one life testify of God's great worth, and of His great love for His bride.  And if you want to be really bold, in the words of Eugene Peterson "Go to the nearest small church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months."

Warning: You'll want to stay forever. And God just might be really, really good with that idea.

More than ever before, there's the lie that's gone viral: the lie that says it doesn't matter. Every storybook read, every bath, every song matters. All the work it takes to dress, feed, and take them to church every matters more than ever, momma and daddy. 

It matters precisely because too many so-called "important people" live like church is unimportant.  It matters precisely because the devil is working overtime to tell us it doesn't.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

One-Pot Sprouted Grain No Knead Bread {, so good...}

I am so excited to share a recipe I've developed with you.  This is my riff on the famous Jaque Pepin's One Pan Bread Recipe.  Only my recipe uses half sprouted grain flour...and that's the extent of my "development" of the recipe.

But that is enough of a tweak to make this one mine-all-mine.

You don't have to completely spend more than necessary on King Arthur's Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour , but it does make this recipe a little easier to digest - however still not recommended for those with Celiac disease.

Here is what sprouted wheat flour looks like:

It is darker and a tiny bit coarser than all purpose unbleached.  Still, it is very soft and easy to work with.

You toss 4 cups (2 of regular all purpose, 2 of sprouted wheat flour) in a hard anodized, 3-quart nonstick saucepan { read that right...a saucepan...}
and whisk in 1 heaping teaspoon of yeast, and a teaspoon of salt - do not use coarse or Kosher salt for this recipe.

...add 2 1/2 - 3 cups of filtered water...

Combine with a wooden spoon until all is incorporated.

Then...put a lid on it.

I'm so sorry to annoy you with pictures of every little step - I got carried away with the moody, luscious light in my kitchen today.

Let it sit for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours.  Your sprouted wheat flour needs a little more time to do its first rise than regular all purpose flour would need.

Here is what it looks like, about 2 hours later:

You're going to stick that wooden spoon into it one more time, and "stir it down".  It will deflate.

Next, you stick it in the fridge for hours and hours, or even overnight.  {...not even lying to you...I would never...}

So I've made it a frivolous goal to have a pretty refrigerator interior, when I can.  My nest is empty now, and I am entitled to some pointless frivolity.  When your nest empties, you will be entitled, too.

This.  makes.  me.  happy.

After hours and hours or even after overnight, your bread dough will look like this:

Put it straight {...forthwith...immediately...instantly...} into a preheated 450 degree oven, and bake it for 35-40 minutes.  Start checking it at the 30 minute mark, because mine browned quickly after that.

See how it beautifully pulled away from the sides of the hard anodized, non stick, 3-quart saucepan?  I was a proud proud of this little loaf of goodness...

Try this recipe.  I promise, it will get you baking your own bread again.

{...and thanks in advance for pinning...I am so grateful to each of you...}

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Of Little Girls and Art

This is one of my grand-girls...she is imitating her artist-daddy, Jonathan Howe.  (He always paints in a hat - to nail down his colors and values.)

And since I believe this little girl is perfectly-perfect-in-every-way (in spite of the fact that she is sometimes quite a handful), I am thinking her parents may want to save and frame her masterpieces.  They may be worth a fortune in a few years.

It's happened before.

I can't help but feel great satisfaction, as I too am an artist.  This girl's momma - my daughter Sarah - much preferred seeing how far she could spit a watermelon seed, playing her guitar, and working with drills and saws and hammers.  I am absolutely certain that girls can do anything they want to do, anything God calls them to do, therefore far be it from me to have ever made Sarah stop spitting or put down her hammer and pick up a paintbrush.

Well, I may have tried to make her stop spitting.

But I do so love this picture of her daughter.  I contributed exactly one-quarter of her DNA, see.

In closing, I have always adored this poem, because it makes me think of this little girl's momma....

THERE was a little girl,
And she had a little curl
  Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very, very good,        5
  And when she was bad she was horrid (not really...maybe sometimes.)
One day she went upstairs,
When her parents, unawares,
  In the kitchen were occupied with meals,
And she stood upon her head        10
In her little trundle-bed,
  And then began hooraying with her heels.
Her mother heard the noise,
And she thought it was the boys
  A-playing at a combat in the attic;        15
But when she climbed the stair,
And found Jemima (Sarah) there,
  She took and she did spank her most emphatic.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In Other News {...Superman is feeling much better, thank you for asking...}

I feel I may as well tell you...

...two weeks ago, on PopPop's birthday, Superman had to be rushed to the ER where he promptly received 8 stitches down the side of his hand, right at the pinky finger.  I thought every single one of us, my oldest boy Josiah included, were going to faint on the spot.  It felt like a big deal.

And never...never...never buy one of these:

I realize I may hear from some of you, telling me how much you have loved your kiddie-puller, but I won't be moved.

Those things, up there, are the devil.  Maybe not that exact brand - but in general, regardless of brand, our whole family now carries special hatred for them.

And Superman and Batgirl (my grand-daughter Aidyn loves to say she is "batgul".) really hate them.

But Batgirl survived the ordeal with just a few scrapes.  Superman was injured.  Just in case anyone was worried about Superman, here is a little slice-of-life just this evening ("This just in!")

Superman was smack-dab in the middle of giving me a devilishly handsome wink, as I snapped the above picture.

Superman is busy watching...well...Superman.  (Not even lying.)  He is resting well, and our good friend Dr. Doug will be removing his stitches come Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Essential Oils I Love {...and no, actually, I do not sell them...}

I love to hear how other women live in their every-day.  I love it when they tell me what new thing they are loving, what products work for them, what they carry in their purse, their dinner plans, what books are in their reading stack, and what beauty products sit in their bathroom.  I might have boundary issues, I'm not sure.  But if I have boundary issues about these things, chances are you do too.  Because we are all so curious, whole magazines make their profits from giving all of us a peek inside the every-day lives of others.

(And you do have a reading stack, don't you?  Doesn't everyone?)

It's true that I'm talking about essential oils today, and I do not - and will never - sell them.  I know, it's a weird feeling, isn't it?  But you really can stick around, because you won't be asked to click anywhere, to buy anything.  (I do know the perfect person you can talk to about essential oils - and you are welcome to email me, and I will put you in touch with her.)

So here is a little spot inside my master sanctuary...

I've been busy designing (for myself, not for my shop - YET) facial toner, cleaners, roll-on oil combos, etc etc.  In fact, I've been at this for awhile, now.  I purchased my first singles in early January, and have been combining them ever since.

Something I love about essential oils is the creativity available to me in combining them (within certain guidelines - read up, first!)  I am free to come up with my own blends!  Be still my heart.

Then, when I come up with something I love, I do what any designer-at-heart would do:  I put my logo on the bottle.

A caveat:  you do need to use better oils than what you typically even find in health food stores.  They need to be something called "therapeutic grade".  Also, when creating your own blends (do it!) I advise using only singles.  It is the best way to add a drop of this and a drop of that, and add and subtract until you love it, and actually have an idea of what you are doing.

I am purposely only showing my own blends, because I truly don't sell essential oils, I am not a monetized blog, haven't (yet) explored affiliate links, and don't want to sell you anything...well, except maybe my art.

Yeah, my art is for sale.  But since I promised "no links to buy anything", I won't link my art in this post.

Here is a very simple facial toner recipe:

*put a cup or so of organic witch hazel in an amber glass bottle.  (It has to be amber glass, because I dislike the cobalt blue, okay?  But seriously, amber or blue.  But seriously, get the amber.)

*put a drip of a lovely, moisturizing oil in it (I use vitamin E - just break open a capsule)

*10-15 drops of frankincense essential oil

And that's it!  Shake it, and let it sit for a day.  Add a little more frankincense, to your liking.  Or, if you are me, experiment with a few drops of geranium.

Mercy.  So beautiful.  It will make you remember to use toner...every morning and night.

I have not found essential oils to be the cure-all that some have...yet.  But what I have discovered is that they do have a distinct effect on my mood.  A good essential oil can lift your spirits, which is almost the same thing as a medicine the Bible says.  "A sound heart is the life of the body"...

I am still tweaking the cleaner recipe.  I prefer one sans vinegar - though the vinegar smell really does dissipate after awhile, I'd rather not smell it at all.  When I test a really good recipe, I will share it!

{...and if you know of a good, no vinegar cleaning recipe, using essential oils, please email it to me...}

Here is the short-list of my current essential oil favorites:

Clary sage

Friday, March 27, 2015

5 (Main) Ingredient Cauliflower-Fried-"Rice" { own riff...}

First off, let it be said here today that I would have put sliced carrots in this recipe, but I stuffed the last ones down the Vitamix to make juice yesterday.  So imagine sliced or diced carrots, at the very end, if for no other reason than this dish needs the color they bring!

Grab about 3 cups of cauliflower (that would be 3 cups after grating - so before grating, you just have to wing it.  I was dead-on...and proud of that.  However, this picture is deceiving, in that it in no way represents 3 cups, grated or not...)

I did the busy work for you, and compared grating cauliflower with the usual grater...

...and in about 5.3 seconds, I knew this was the better method:

Throw your cauliflower in, and run it through on variable speed 1, off and on, off and on (you may have to use a tamper to keep from making mush) and it yields this goodness:

Chop about 1/4 cup of onion, and mince 3 cloves of garlic, "glug" some olive oil in your skillet and toss that in - sweat it for just a minute, and then toss in all that cauliflower "rice".  Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.  Add 3 TB low-sodium soy sauce.  Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of frozen peas.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.

While the peas are getting warmed, scramble two eggs.  Make a "well" in the center of your fried rice, and pour in your egg.  Let it set up for just a moment, and begin to scramble it.

Plate it up, and take a picture because you. are. that. woman.  You are a goober-blogger-wannabe-foodie-geek.  Work it.

You guys, this really is so good.  We don't eat white rice around here - we normally cook with brown rice.  But if you want to cut even those (good for you, amazing, whole grain) carbs out, cauliflower is truly the way to go.

disclaimer:  I am FOR all grain, not against a single one.

Thank you in advance for Pinning!