Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tiny House Kitchens

I've done a few "tiny house" posts (exteriors and bathrooms and a variety of interiors), and somehow forgot to include the most important part--kitchens! Some cool space saving ideas here. The glass dining table is actually a coffee table when not in use as it lowers and then becomes the living room and the bench is the couch. Ingenious design!

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Poem {My God, My Bright Abyss}

My God my bright abyss
into which all my longing will not go
once more I come to the edge of all I know
and believing nothing believe in this:

Love will heal the wounds
of this mortal life's stains
And bring me home again
To the communion of family and home

Oh love wilt thou finish
the wars and slights of men?
Wilt thou bring to light the truth
Of our former souls' ascension:

Into the abyss of brutality?
Into the shredding of heart?
Into the place where we mourn
and know what it's like to be apart?

God is this and has brought me to him
To see his nature
Her green and broken
Lush breathable truth

Believing nothing I know of love
My bright abyss may be here or above
It is the edge of all I know
But the future of what I hold

A Friday / Weekend Creative Activity
Finish the poem below 

This unfinished poem, MY GOD, MY BRIGHT ABYSS, was written by Christian Wiman (former editor of Poetry Magazine, and now a professor at Yale Divinity) who wrote an essay in the American Scholar and in his new book of essays, MY BRIGHT ABYSS: "And there the poem ends. Or fails, rather, for in the several years since I wrote that stanza I have been trying to feel my way - to will my way - into its ending. As if it weren't hard enough to articulate one's belief, I seem to have wanted to distill it into a single stanza."

So here is the challenge - take your stab at finishing this poem (and as I said, feel free to edit the original if you need to fit a word to rhyme or a thought). Good luck. I look forward to reading them.

My God my bright abyss
into which all my longing will not go
once more I come to the edge of all I know
and believing nothing believe in this:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Learned from Pregnancy

Random pregnant Sunday before church

  • You've never been tired until you've been pregnant tired.  It's like a 24 hour sleeping pill, I used to say.
  • Long term nausea can be depressing and panic inducing.  Proceed with caution.
  • If you don't proceed with caution and find yourself in that happy, pukey situation my favorite helps are peppermint herbal tea, cold or hot, peppermint gum, and eating often.
  • A lot can be learned.  I learned more about my body and its reaction to each kind of food when I had gestational diabetes.  I've never been a dieter and never plan to be but since I had to track every single item I ate and the time and my blood's reaction I learned much more about my own body's interaction with food
  • I came to terms with my maternal instincts.  Fears, hopes and plans all became centered on the human and eventually humans affected by my choices.  Besides the post-partum times that the obsession made me a little crazy I enjoyed seeing that deep part of myself.
  • It's physically dangerous.  It's not kosher to say in most company but it is a deadly health condition even today, and especially through all of human history.  It is not to be taken lightly and I'm so grateful for the healthcare available these days to help with it.  
  • I've never had a better body image.  My feet and ankles swollen, my face puffy, and everything heavy, I always loved to hold that big tight belly in my hands.  I loved carrying my babies.  I love looking at my body then.  In my last pregnancy a friend took belly pictures for me and I cherish being able to have that memory.
  • As my abdomen muscles split (they've grown back together 3 years later, woot!), my nerve got pinched in my back, I passed out following childbirth, and treated a 4th episode of post partum mental illness I have come to terms with no longer having this beautiful opportunity.  I look back on it with fondness and awe and wish all those looking forward to this event all the health and joy possible.  And of course the freedom to vent openly to friends about the not-so-joyful times ;).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hello, new mixer!

Since I had to say good bye to ol' red :( a year and a half ago, I've been doing my mixing and kneading by hand.  Which hasn't been all bad.  It's a great way to punch out some stress and I did appreciate the opportunities to teach my kids how things get mixed without it being hidden in a machine high on the counter.

Besides that, though, I was thrilled at the surprise Casey brought home last night!

I kind of don't even want to bake with it yet because I like the way it gleams.  Give me time...I'm sure I'll break it in well.

Oh, and also, I must say they've made some fabulous design changes in the last 15 years.  I love the new handle and one piece easier-to-attach splatter guard.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What I Learned from Buying this House


The outside at our first tour.  We ended up having to pay to get this repaired and painted BEFORE we could buy it :).

  • Space is good!  Love doesn't only grow in little houses.  Places of retreat for quiet reading, napping, practicing instruments can be very relaxing and harmony inducing.  When we first moved in I told my Dad we'd never live in all of the house or need it all for storage.  He said, "You'll be surprised how you'll use it."  Parents, why do you always have to be right?  We don't have it filled by any means but we do enjoy empty cupboards when re-organizing and the random extra room or basement when we have visitors or the kids need a place to run around in our long Omaha winters.
  • When Daddy is happy, the whole family is happy.  Okay, that's not how the saying goes, and in fact I think Mama often sets the tone, but as much as I resented it at first I'm glad Casey got the garage he wanted, despite the issues of the house attached :).  He's used it so much and organized it just to his liking, and fulfilled a lot of his creative wood working urges out there.  It brings me joy to walk out to my car in the morning and smell the wood shaving smell.
  • The negatives can become positives.  I moved from maybe the most social housing place on earth to this quiet street and it was lonely.  I hated how everyone kept to themselves or was simply too busy or in a different stage of life to engage as friends.  As the year progressed and we had TV crews show up at our house and awkward comments on the internet about me I was glad to live in my own privacy bubble.  In fact now I embrace it.  I love not seeing anyone I know for days at a time.  That's yoga pants and sweatshirt season year round, folks!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Meme's

I woke up this morning to some profound thoughts from my friends on Facebook.  Since I am a visual person, the first thing I wanted to do when I read them is put them on a picture background :).  Here they are:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gluten-Free Lasagna

As long as you have gluten free noodles you can make any pasta you wish gluten-free.

But I also wanted a place to stick my lasagna recipe so here it is:
  • 2 C fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 C cottage or ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2-4 C grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 C Parmesan cheese 
  • Homemade spaghetti sauce {my recipe HERE} with Italian sausage in place of ground beef

Mix the first three ingredients plus 1/2 the Parmesan:

Then layer, starting with some sauce and then the noodles, then the cheese mixture, then the mozzarella.  Repeat as deep as you can go ending with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese as well as the rest of the Parmesan.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.  It's even better the next day heated up when the liquids have absorbed.

This works well to make ahead and freeze.  Add more time to cook or make sure you thaw it in the fridge before cooking if it is frozen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The World's Happiest Dessert

So, I sat at the library this evening and thumbed through the most recent issue of Psychology Today.  It was so interesting to find the links they are finding with gut health and mental health.  Anyway, the topic is interesting and I'll let you read about it there.

Two things stood out to me (in the print issue):  CHOCOLATE and YOGURT.  Both things that I love :).  I guess dark chocolate develops prebiotics and then the yogurt has a couple of the probiotic strains that are especially helpful for mental health.

That got my own noggin working on what I could go home and enjoy for my brain!

Make sure you have a plain yogurt with at least 4 or 5 strains of probiotics for optimum coverage in that area.  I also prefer greek yogurt because of the extra protein and thicker consistency.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

lesson on Faith

This was my Sunday to teach at church again.  The lesson was titled Faith and Repentance and I knew early on, before even reading it, that this was the week to keep my thoughts few and my questions big so that I could learn from the class.

I took a few notes on what they taught me that I'd like to save here:

  • If God is your co-pilot, trade places
  • If you err in judgement, be sure you err on the side of love and mercy.
  • By faith we come to God
  • Our faith is built on truth
  • We need to get to know Jesus as our best friend and align our personalities with him
  • We should be not hearers of the word only, but also doers
  • It is easier to go somewhere when you are already moving.
  • Sometimes your prayer will be answered when you commit to follow whatever that answer is when it is given.
  • Faith means action...Faith, therefore, is stronger than belief
Something that I remembered during the lesson and I found helpful with the subject of repentance/change is that we can progress in healthy ways.  Guilt can help, shame can hurt that process.  Guilt is: I did something bad (therefore will apologize and make it right).  Shame says: I am bad, therefore unable to change and hopeless to try.  Responding to our missteps with guilt and therefore change will help us grow, progress and become the selves we want to be.  Shame or believing we are not worthy will stunt that growth.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Short Hair Styles

So I mentioned growing my hair out.  Let's contrast that with my other impulse--chopping it short again.  Here are my short hair inspiration photos.  If you have a vote let me know!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Grow Out Hairstyles

I've been platinum blonde for about a year and am looking forward to keeping it for this summer at least.  I've been thinking of changing up the style, though by growing it out a little.  Here are my inspiration photos I found on Pinterest.

36 Things I am Proud of

Me, circa 1979

I've been wanting to make a list of goals or things to accomplish by the time I am 40, since I just had a birthday.  But I thought for today, I'd switch it around and think positive and look back at what I am proud of, not just think of more to do.

I do still have some goals--like roller skating 40 times before I'm 40, but I'll save that list for later.  I am proud of:

  1. having four children and surviving their babyhood's
  2. all the remodeling work we have done on our houses
  3. that I've been able to invest time in raising our kids
  4. that many of my health problems of the last couple of years have started getting resolved
  5. that I had the courage to leave my "normal" life behind for Casey to go to law school and pursue his dream (I'll admit I cried a lot when we planned it)
  6. teaching my kids to read
  7. the passion with which I have been able to pursue and study my faith
  8. the peace I feel stronger as I age
  9. waking back up to having goals and dreams this year
  10. the joy that music of so many kinds has brought me
  11. the giving I've been able to do
  12. the love of my parents, I'm so grateful for it, even though I didn't create it :)
  13. that I've smiled and found joy in a variety of circumstances
  14. I have very fond memories of all the laughs I've shared over the years with my siblings, and roommates, and especially my husband
  15. the plethora of mornings I coaxed kids out of bed, got myself in gear and got everyone where they needed to be on time
  16. it's not shiny or fancy but just the basic every day needs met like that for my family I am deeply proud of looking back
  17. I'm grateful for the consistence of love from those things
  18. glad we got a camper last year, grateful for the memories the kids already have from it
  19. sewing skills, not as much for the small amount of money they've made but mostly for the homey quilts the kids enjoy when they are sick
  20. spiritual changes that have allowed my heart to be more open to giving and receiving love from more people
  21. 15 years of marriage
  22. working hard with my best friend (see number 21)
  23. hanging on to my sanity when things were rough and it felt impossible
  24. making the best of sad things like when we lost the house we were building, and enjoying the adventure of this fixer
  25. retaining information that I enjoy contemplating and discussing from books I read
  26. picking a home with a new library nearby to enjoy
  27. getting the kids involved in summer reading programs
  28. adjusting to girl #1's celiac diagnosis and implementing her gluten free diet
  29. serving as a RS president and the spiritual and humbling growth it gave me
  30. arguing with my husband as we grew to see each other's perspective and I learned to be a more sincerely loving person from him
  31. getting involved in dance and roller skating at the urging of caring friends
  32. forcing myself to self-nurture and build the joy I have to share
  33. discovering again the treasure that is all the books, podcasts, and other learning material out there to devour and enjoy
  34. making the best of a life in a place we knew no one and turning it into our home
  35. forgoing substances that many enjoy but have prevented wasted money and time and addiction.  I think that has been a real boost for our family.
  36. I'm proud that I made it to 36!  And I kept it positive and non self-derogatory :).  And I can't wait for the future!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DIY Skinny Jeans

I gathered my favorite tutorials on making regular jeans into skinny jeans.  Since I'm a passionate thrifter, I can't stand to see an almost great piece of clothing go to waste.  I altered my jeans last week, but didn't take a lot of great pictures.  I thought to be helpful I'd gather up the best posts I could find to share here.  Let me know if you try this!

Love Charles Vintage

Honeysuckle Blog

Homemade Ginger

P.S.  I picked these blog tutorials based on their clear and simple directions, lots of close up pictures and a simple lay out.