Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Starting Seeds

Planting little seeds in dirt and then watching them emerge has been so rewarding for the kids and I.   We stare at those little sprouts longer than might seem normal.   We show each other what we think are the tallest  or tiniest.  The plan is to transplant them all outside in May but I wanted to document how much we are enjoying this stage of the process.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Whole Wheat artisan bread

Thanks to the encouragement of my baking friends I finally tried this technique.   Looks alone have made it so rewarding!  
Here's my recipe :
2 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour
1/2 yeast
1/2 t salt
2 C water
It is so easy!  Just make sure you have a big bowl and mix these ingredients.  Then cover it with plastic wrap for a day (I think mine ended up being around 20 hours ).  Plop the blob out on some flour.  Let it rise while you prepare the pan.
Then preheat a lidded Dutch oven in a 400 degree oven.  Pull it out, open the lid, and throw the blob into the pan.  Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.   Reach in and take off the lid and then bake 15 more minutes.
It popped right out of the Dutch oven after baking and I'm cooling it here on this rack.  I still can't believe it worked so well with so little handling.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Today: green smoothies and netflix

In today's update:  I am drinking green smoothies again.  Trying to work it back into a habit.  A few things I have changed is using plain greek yogurt (about 1/3 C) instead of little containers of sweetened.  Other than that it's my tried and true recipe and still tastes great.  And its still funny how my youngest loves them.  You wouldn't think a drink like that would be a kid favorite but I drank them regularly while pregnant (especially at the end) so I blame that :).

Part of my renewed motivation for eating well is health hasn't been well the last few weeks (although I think I'm blaming allergies and viruses more than the lupus--who even knows?).  Because of that I've done more resting and enjoyed some Netflix.  My favorite shows I've taken in are these:

I share because I care, so you need to tell me what you're loving these days too!  I like being prepared for my can't get out of bed time :).  I just remembered there are two others.  I watched the whole Hart of Dixie run but honestly can't recommend it.  It was just a bunch of love triangles--basically by the end everyone had dated everybody so it was very unrealistic.  But since I had to act like I'm not a quitter I just kept going until it was done.  Also I enjoyed the documentary "Tricked" about the terrible problem we have with modern day slavery right now but the cover pic was too racy.  I will say that I do recommend the show itself.  It casts a more realistic light on the problem in contrast to the cover picture.

And that's my update!  Catch up with me on Facebook or Instagram anytime!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lana Del Ray style Inspiration

I'll never have long hair like her--or probably even dark again for that matter (I'm headed back to platinum) but the vibe of her clothes and eyeliner and attitude is very summer.  I am ready for a summer state of mind!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

House Update (before and afters)

It's been awhile since I've shared any remodeling updates, right?

Here's where we're at on a few different views, comparing the photos Casey took during the inspection before we bought it, compared to today.  Given it has taken 3 years it's no reality show special ;), but it is becoming our very homey home and we love it.

Downstairs 1/2 Bath


Master Bathroom

Next up, I'll be featuring some views of the entry and stairways.  Doesn't sound like much, but given the previous owner's penchant for loud wallpaper they are pretty big changes.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Inclusive Freedom (helping people escape abuse)

It's disturbing,  no doubt,  the tales of underage marriage,  the traps of lacking health care and community resources.   I've been enthralled by a genre of books this year relating to cults.  I've brushed up on Scientology,  polygamist groups, and Jehovah  Witnesses, to name a few.

From the memoirs of escapees to chronological histories by journalists, it's given me a window into the patterns all of human kind seem to grapple with in living their beliefs.  I definitely can see it as a spectrum, with all belief finding its way on there, and the way it is lived determining how controlling it can be.

It's painful in a unique way because most of it isn't ancient history.   It's the present.   There are people around us living this way.  And we go about our free lives.  For that reason it's more upsetting. 

I could do something.
I should do something.

I don't know much about the logistics of cult escape but thanks to my reading I've gleaned some opinions on how to support others.  And as opinions they are flexible and open to critique.

Here's what I think:  people need people.   If someone is shunned they'll physically become ill.  We are pack animals and at our most fundamental level we know we are in danger when all alone.   In my opinion it is lack of "outside people " that traps people in unhealthy situations more than any gates or physical bars.  It's the fear of losing the only community one feels they'll ever have that makes escape seem fruitless.

I know I have been guilty of judging people in abusive situations (whether group or loved one) because they stay in it.  I've thought they were different than me and already "had all their friends" and didn't assume they'd want any connection.  I think I couldn't have been more wrong.

Just one friend, one contact who doesn't judge could give the hope to someone that they might have help in the outside world.  No, they may not act like you will be besties, especially if they are still trying to stay safely in their community (at this point).  But immediate reaction doesn't determine whether the gift of your acceptance was wasted.

Here's where I could help:  In social media comments, in greetings out in public--letting people know I think they are worthy and okay in whatever situation they are in.  I think, especially on facebook we try to glean our feeds down to only the people who culturally look like us in opinion and thought.  This is dangerous to us because of the love we miss out on, but more to those who are living in fear and need to know unconditional acceptance to ever have the courage to be free.

Be acceptance (even when you disagree on details).  Be love.  Someone's fight could be depending on it.  And this song is dedicated to everyone who needs it.

Breakfast Casserole

I love big breakfasts--and often need to make them gluten free, so I developed this casserole that has all of the things our family loves, and none of the things they could do without :).

It consists of:

1 bag of hash-brown potato shreds
1 1b. cooked sausage
2 C grated cheese
10 eggs, whipped with 1 C of milk
(salt and pepper to taste)

Bake in a greased pan at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chocolate Doughnut Glaze

1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
2 T milk
Mix and frost those doughnuts  (or just eat with a spoon like my daughter )

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tattoos on the Heart

I read a book that changed my life.  It broke me open and shattered my heart into a million pieces.  And then it comforted me.  And then I wanted EVERYONE to read it.  (The title is well, the title of this post).

I ache knowing I am taking it back to the library.  I want to mark it up or tear out parts and tape them to the wall.  I know me and I will do none of those things.  I'm just saying how I feel :).  So I will go back through, type out some of the quotes I want to have a record of and then place it by the door to go back.

Here are my excerpts:

A new sense of "church" had emerged, open and inclusive, replacing the hermetically sealed model that had kept the "good folks" in and the "bad folks" out.

Change awaits us.  What is decisive is our deciding.

We have a chance, sometimes, to create a new jurisdiction, a place of astonishing mutuality, whenever we close both eyes of judgment and open the other eye to pay attention.  Reminding each other how acceptable we are.  Suddenly, we find ourselves in the same room with each other and the walls are gone.

Close both eyes; see with the other one.  Then, we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion.  Our sphere has widened and we find ourselves, quite unexpectedly, in a new, expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.  We've wandered into God's own "jurisdiction."

Only kinship.  Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it.  Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion.  Then we imagine, no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased.  We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied.  We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless.  At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out.  We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop.  We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Day

I get the chills  and a fever for a few hours  every  day (on average ).  Just part of the lupus.

The good  news (besides that my medicine is starting to work and will continue to fight  this) is that the sun is creeping back into life in the Midwest!   Spring might be coming.

So here's my new "when I feel like crap " routine.   I take the recliner,  put it in the entryway pointed right at the front  door.  The storm door acts as my little warming hut, and with book in hand I'm  a cozy critter!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Meditating to Feel

I'm not sure if the title will fit the whole post, but I am determined to write today.  And I think I came the closest to knowing what to write about when I sat down to (force myself) meditate.

I've had a couple of lupus pain days--which is okay, they are on the heels of my first "felt normal the entire day" episode.  But today in pain day #2 I kept reminding myself that at times like this meditation is good for me.

I set my phone timer for 15 minutes and sat down on the carpet facing the sun.

And the pain came.  No, the pain was already there.  The pain was felt.  Not the muscles or the joints, but my heart.  The pain I try to hide from.  Yes, even though I know better I try to distract and hide from feeling my feelings.  But then I meditate and feel them :).

It was good because I had a cleansing cry, which I think had been hovering near the surface all morning.  Life's little hurts came bubbling up and I was able to weep for some loss, some frustration, and also to feel the light and the growth in the pain.  The best way to get over something is to actually wade *through* it--instead of avoidance.  So I'm grateful for today's pain.  My feelings feel felt.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Apple Pie Filling

I was randomly craving apple pie filling since I'd seen some recipes around pinterest.  Since it was just snowing this weekend, it is TOTALLY apple pie season.  

Because I say so :).

I bought two large bags of granny smith apples and my oldest daughter helped me hack away at those things.  We ended up with 24 cups of apples.

Here's the recipe we used.  It is our creation as we morphed together the ideas we'd seen and changed things according to what we had and our pot size :).  It is gluten-free naturally so makes an easy and fun dessert without bothering with a crust or anything. 

12-24 C apples
3 1/2 C white sugar
1 C corn starch
3 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
8 C water

Mix together and bring to a boil in a LARGE stockpot or pan.  Let boil until thick.  Then let cool on stove for 30 minutes to an hour.  Then you can put the amounts you want into freezer bags for enjoying later or making into pies or apple crisps.  This made plenty for our family to enjoy last night and three bags for the freezer.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Natural Pools

When I first read about natural pools I was fascinated instantly.  I've got my quirks and aversions and the chemicals in pools and hot tubs is in that list :).  They are quite common in Europe but haven't completely caught on here in the U.S.  My first suspicion wast that they must be WAY more expensive because there is very little maintenance--and that was too good to be true.

But there doesn't seem to be much of a catch.  Unless you are averse to beauty and nature and plants and all that shiz.  There is usually a section that has plants that act as natural filters.  So yeah, no filtration system, and very little cleaning unless you've got a leaf problem.  I think it would be so cool to have that combination of the look of a pond and the usefulness of a pool.

Now this midwesterner is off to daydream of  the sort of weather in which I could enjoy a pool!  Have a great day.