December 30, 2007

chicken veggie soup with curry

This was another oops meal that will likely go into my repertoire. I came up with it when the pot of soup I made ended up being a bit bland. It's really exactly what the title says, and it's great for spicing up your usual chicken soup. Here's a brief rundown of how I made mine.

1 1/2 lb Chicken
1qt veggie stock
1qt chicken stock
1/2 c brown basmati rice
1/2 c pearl barley
carrots
onions
celery
zucchini
garlic bulb
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
curry powder to taste (btw 1/4-1/2c)
water enough to make soup

Chop it all up. Throw it in the pot. Simmer till supper time, and enjoy.

December 28, 2007

waiting to homeschool

Lately I've been discussing some employment type opportunities with my in-laws. Theres several options we've discussed -some of them related to her natural health work. However, the more I look at it the more I realize that my first desire is to work with children. The problem is that there are several barriers to my doing so. Firstly, I have very little desire to go back and pick up an education degree. The education program in many places (from my limited previous research and experience) is something I don't care to touch with a ten foot pole. Their approaches and goals are often diametrically opposed to what is desirable and good in an educational program. Unfortunately it's often hard to get a job at even a Christian school without such a degree. There are Christian colleges were I could pursue either a second bachelors or an alternative masters, but neither Allen nor I think I'm quite ready to dive back into that lion's den. Those considerations aside, I don't particularly want to have charge of an entire classroom of 30 identically aged children each doing the exact same thing. An alternative to that is Montessori, but I can't find any Montessori training programs in the state, and I'm not sure about distance training in that field. Traditional tutoring might be an alternative albeit not a particularly attractive one. On top of all that...I don't do vaccines. Not anymore at least. I got the full complement (including hep and all that) growing up, but I don't particularly intend to get anymore if I can help it. And of course schools and all that generally require you to have everything under the sun. If you really add up what I want to do you end up with me poring over curriculum catalogs and a half dozen rugrats running around the living room. In short -homeschooling. Of course you can really homeschool unless you have kids, and I don't seem able to have kids right now until I can take care of my toxicity problem.It is a might frustrating. Particularly when I'm still getting people asking me what I'm going to do.

Thoughts on blogging

It's rather funny really. I love visiting Trina and Anna's blogs and browsing through all the pictures, but when I come to my own blog I rarely think about pictures except in the halfway guilty "I bet someone would appreciate seeing some" way. Funny isn't it? The thing I like in other blogs in not the thing I most enjoy doing with my own. Instead, I babble about this and that as the steady stream of words flows from my finger tips. I alway intend to post pictures, but I rarely actually do it.All the upload and wait sort of detracts from my spontaneous joy of sitting down and musing aloud through my keyboard.

December 26, 2007

Christmas reflections

No matter how old you are there's something special and exciting about piling every pillow and blanket you own on the living room floor (with the air mattress) and curling up to watch a favorite movie -especially if there are Christmas lights involved.

Chocolate fondue with fruit and cheesecake makes any movie better.

Hot buttered rum is delicious.

Playing Carcarssone with your husband at 3am while sipping a second buttered rum, while not recommended for everyone, is thoroughly enjoyable. Just don't plan on getting up early the next day.

Fireplaces are more fun at Christmas.

Homemade breakfast on Christmas Eve morning (or for brunch) is still a great idea.

Christmas lights you saw as a kid in mom and dad's car look different when you see them again with your husband in your own car. That's still one of my favorite houses though.

Christmas at the farm with Mamaw and my in-laws is special.

Overall, it was a good second Christmas.

December 22, 2007

a gradation of style

Pity I haven't the patience to get a picture up, but I think I can describe it fairly well. On my mantle you will find a rather tasteful arrangement of evergreen sprigs and holly berry garland punctuated by the gleam of white lights glowing like fallen stars in the greenery. Draped across the holly garland a plastic prism-studded garland glistens like a frosty fretwork. At either end I've placed my little village pieces -the house on one end and the church on the other. In between, framed by the greenery and garland, a manger scene of figures poses in the soft light. Next to the fireplace, just to the left, my little half-size tree is covered in a wealth of family ornaments. The table it sits on is covered by a gray fleece blanket decorated with patches and cutouts of deep red and frosty white and blue stitched in green thread. Then to the left of that is a bookcase draped with a single strand of colored lights. From right to left I have a somewhat elegant mantle, a familial tree, and a rather college student-eque bookcase. Rather amusing I must admit, but it honestly didn't feel like Christmas until I had a strand of lights draped over my bookcase for no very appreciable reason. Rather a hodge-podge, but I like it.

December 19, 2007

Happy Holiday?

I know I haven't been doing that much posting lately. Things have been busy. I've been tired. Plus the stress oozing out of my eyeballs. Sorry for the not so happy picture. It's just that our second Christmas is proving to be more frustrating and hard than our first one. Who would have thought of that one? Of course the first Christmas was all novelty -new city, new tree, new us, visiting family as a married couple! Now...it's not so new. On top of that my energy levels are still down. On top of that we aren't staying with family and therefore being able to sort of just drift with the tide of "familiness." This year, it's just us for the most part having to make Christmas work together when neither one of us really had to make Christmas work before. Before marriage our parents planned things out, and we helped/participated to greater or lesser degrees. I loved to help make it happen, but I didn't bear the weight of it. Sitting around the living room watching Holiday Inn while the fire crackled merrily to itself wasn't something anyone had to really plan because it was just part of the fabric of Christmas. Mom did most of the meal and party planning too. Us girls just showed in the kitchen to help. I suppose this is the part that a lot of you young ladies were looking forward to when you got married. I was to in a way. I just didn't expect the learning curve to be so steep at parts. On top of that my family isn't exactly being....cordial. Didn't see them last Christmas. Haven't talked to Dad more than a few minutes this Christmas. May not get to even see him much less anyone else again this Christmas. (And no my parent's aren't separated. It's a long story.)

Anyway, it's not as though Allen and I aren't having a good Christmas. It's just that having a good Christmas is taking way more planning and communication than I ever dreamed. Two different sets of traditions and assumptions though. It should not have surprised me.

December 13, 2007

Christmas is coming....

You know how things will be going all crazy for a while where you're running around all stressed out and then something just clicks (usually after a lot of communication and a bit of elbow grease) and you wake up one morning feeling great? Well the past week or so I've been stressed on top of stressed on top of stressed. Family, gift buying, housecleaning, Allen, friends/church -even though I haven't been technically that busy the sheer weight of everything had pretty much been bowling me over. Of course Allen and I picked just this time to stop communicating effectively with each other...

But things are slowly getting back into shape. Allen and I pushed and got a few things done so I won't wear myself out trying to keep house and get Christmas projects done. We're communicating better, and I'm probably going to try making a batch of wedding ring cookies today. Since they're purely sugar and flower I don't make them but about once a year, but they are heavenly. Technically I could try making them with wheat flour and alternate sweeteners like maybe succanat or xylitol. I've done it with plenty of things before. Sometimes though there's just not a substitute for white flour and super refined sugar. The gingerbread though I'd be willing to play with. I have to wonder what a pastry grade wheat flour and/or something like succanat would do for the flavor. Maybe a small experiment is in order?

December 12, 2007

Almost done!!

I've almost finished all my Christmas shopping! I have literally three more things to get before I'm all done. Hurrah! Now if only Amazon will deliver the goods in time.

Over the river and through the woods...

This evening Allen and I went to Mamaw's to help her decorate for Christmas. Even though she's quite spry and still gets after the cows she didn't think she was up to dragging everything out of closets and storerooms and getting it all set up. So we volunteered to help. It's a good thing we did too 'cause even with all three of us working it took over an hour to get everything sorted and set up. It really was fun though. Allen and I pulled out boxes and set things up, and Mamaw superintended getting everything into the right place.

It's funny though. In some ways I'm still trying to figure her out. At first glance Mamaw is just a genial farm-girl who grew up during the Depression. She likes beans and tomatoes and living out her cattle farm. She never throws away a piece of string. On the other hand, she got an engineering degree long before female engineers were PC-hip and actually worked in her field for a time. She also reads books about the history of India and other far off places. She's definitely not someone you can read with a glance. One thing for sure though is that she's got a heart as big as all outdoors.

After getting everything set up we went back into the kitchen for cookies and coffee and left-over birthday cake. I suspect that we'll next be over there for Christmas day with all the family. Last year was my first time to go down there for Christmas, and it was so much fun. We had all kinds of good food, and we had the greatest times swapping gifts. Instead of everyone buying for everyone they have a dirty santa style gift swap. It's hilarious. The standing joke is that Aunt Sandra brings an ornament of some sort and Aaron tries to get it for target practice. I think someone has always ended up rescuing it though :D In my blog description I mentioned new traditions. I think this qualifies.

December 10, 2007

linky linky

I just popped over to Serena's only to find a whole wealth of crafting ideas (and some lovely pictures). Since I don't have my lappy back yet I'm putting the linky here, so I don't lose it when this lappy goes back to my father-in-law.

http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=291

I live on the surface of the sun

Or so says one of Allen's co-workers from up north. While he's up there slipping on copious quantities of ice I'm blogging with the sliding door on my patio open. Somehow the calendar got turned back a month or two, and it's been 70-80 outside today. I was thinking about trying out my fireplace sometime this week since we stopped and got some wood. Maybe not?

After all my years down south I still don't get warm Christmases. I know snow is practically impossible but lets at least have some hot cocoa weather. I feel like I've put up my tree too soon.

December 8, 2007

What makes the holidays special

Trina has posted a list of things that make the holidays special to her and invited other bloggers to do the same.

-What is your favorite holiday tradition? Growing up that was Christmas Adam. Although technically Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve (haha) it became something of a movable feast in our family and was celebrated with cousins and grandparents on a convenient weekend prior to Christmas.

-Have you started any new traditions with your family that you didn’t practice growing up? Does making and decorating gingerbread men count?

-What do you love most about the holiday season? Probably the lights. I love to sit back and look at all the candles and Christmas lights glowing around our home. Beautiful or whimsical Christmas lights in a neighborhood make me fairly childish with enjoyment.

-What do you like least about the holiday season? The heartbreak. Every ugly and hurtful thing pierces that much deeper when all around is the glow of expectation and delight. Christ is the light of the world, and at Christmas time He seems to strip the shadows from our lives so that every beauty is brighter and every pain harsher.

-Anyone close to your heart that you’ll be missing this year? My family. Also, we thought there would be a little one for Christmas this year.

-What is your favorite holiday food? Ummmm, hard question that one....My mom's wedding ring cookies, my aunt's spiced cider, and chocolate pie.

-Do you have a great recipe to share? Mashed sweet potatoes. They're healthy, easy, yummy, and essential to any family holiday meal (in any family I've been in).

December 5, 2007

hurrah for ebay!

Anna over at pleasant valley schoolhouse posted a Christmas reading list of Grace Livingston Hill novels. On that list she included Astra, an old favorite of mine which I unfortunately no longer had the pleasure of owning* until now. I bought five books (including Astra) for just over $2 a piece. Not quite thrift store prices, but it sure beats anything else.


*One of the hazards of getting married is that books which you and your sisters sort of held in common often become books that are reluctantly left behind. But, my library is growing again!

God chooses busy men

Growing up, did any of you read Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories? My family had quite a few of those, but there's one I've been thinking of in particular. I don't remember many details beyond the one statement, but here's the story as I remember it.

There was a boy who used to dream about becoming a wonderful man such as he read about in his books. He loved to read and dream so much that often he was late at his chores. One day the father sat down to talk with his son. The boy told his father all the things he wanted to do, and the boy asked his father if perhaps he too might grow up to become a great man. The father then pointed out all the chores the boy left undone or did sloppily or in great haste and told him that God chooses busy men. The father reminded his son of David called out from the fields, Gideon called on the threshing floor, and the Apostles called away from their nets. Later that day the boy could be seen out by the woodpile murmuring to himself "God chooses busy men."

Lately I've been reminded of that story quite often -most recently after seeing the businesses that two mothers (Nancy Wilson's daughters) run. I want to do something cool like that (whine). But you can see quite plainly that these businesses grew out of the work of their hands and the passion in their hearts. They did something for themselves and their family which grew into a business. Their busy hands are bearing tangible fruit. It rather makes me wonder what would happen if I got busy. Maybe just gingerbread :) Maybe something more. I suppose you don't know until you get there though. Anyway, this is just something I've been thinking about.

Doodle, doodle

My very generous father-in-law loaned me his laptop for a time, so I can once again blog at nooning with impunity. One reason I'm grateful is that over on the Puzzle Pirate's forums it's time for December Daily Doodles. They're a series of creative challenges that are posted fresh everyday. So far we've created a Doodle trophy, drawn a picture, written a poem, and compiled a list. What's fun for me is that I'm doing some things I haven't done in a while. Drawing and poetry are not my forte, but I really had fun coming up with my entries. The drawing entry used a program called artpad which actually makes a little movie of your brush strokes. It's really quite a lot of fun to play with. Considering my inexperience with drawing in general and drawing programs in particular I was rather pleased with what I did. I'll have to hop on Allen's computer and crop my screen shot to post here since this computer doesn't appear to have gimp installed.

December 3, 2007

The Lappy's down :(

I must sadly report that our Lappy (the one I use) is down for now. Hopefully we should have it back and repaired in a week or so, but for now blog posts are likely to be short and sparse. I can use the desktop some, but with Allen working on it and both of us wanting to spend some of our play time on it....Anyway, I'm getting crash course in real life.

(The absolute worst part is that a lot of my Christmas music is on it.)

December 2, 2007

still house painting...

Maybe I'm not very fast; maybe these just take a really long time. Either way I'm still not completely done. Also, when I went to the craft store I found a little church to go with it. Right. Like I really need another thing to paint. Fortunately that's not nearly as complicated, and I've been able to get a lot done on it already.All I have left now on the house is the snow. Some of you northerners will no doubt get a hearty laugh out of the way snow is clumped artistically over these two buildings. Or maybe not. I'm from Alabama. What do I know about snow?!?

November 30, 2007

House painting...

While I was out one day I found the most adorable little house. Since the price was already reduced, and I knew Allen wouldn't mind; I bought it. It's really cozy looking with darling little front porch and little third story gables. Now of course I have to paint the darn thing, and it's taking forever. However, it'll look lovely up on my mantle with my other Christmas decorations.......Did I get you? Can we at least pretend I did? It really is turning out to be so adorable that I'm not sure how much I'm going to get done until I finish painting it. There are so many little nooks and crannies to reach that even the smallest task (like painting the window sills) is taking forever. And of course I've practically run out of white paint. Looks like I'm off to the store. Hope I can get out of there without bringing too much home with me....

November 29, 2007

This train is bound for glory...

Sometimes I think it helps to think of housework in terms of salvation or rather in connection with my own salvation. We have been saved (justified); we are being saved (sanctified), and we will be saved (glorified). Since I am currently a walking talking baptized communicant at my church I think I can safely pronounce that I'm in the "being saved" part of the trip here. That means that I'm on the train and headed towards the resurrection. I'm going in a certain direction. Even though I might not see that the train is moving I can trust that it is so because...well God said so, and I reckon His word is good. How does that have anything to do with housework? It's the direction I'm moving. If I think of housework as this long trip that I don't have to complete all at once that frees me up to dash, crawl, stumble, vault, meander, and through various means progress towards the end of housework. Since I'll likely be doing some sort of housework until I die this is actually a pretty good analogy. I'm not going to get all the housework done at once. Sanctification isn't going to happen in me all at once. In both cases I just sort of keep chugging along knowing all along it is God who wills and works within me and that it is not of myself. Now, don't carry this analogy too far. I certainly say "I vacuumed the floor" where I can't say "I accomplished x for my sanctification." I'm a five point Calvinist, and I say that God did/does it all. But you get the idea? This train is bound for glory, and my dishes are bound to be washed. Not all at once. A little at a time. And if that's the way God washes my soul it's certainly good enough for my laundry.

November 28, 2007

Yarr!

This is a really neat game I play on-line. Allen got me started. Apparently the developers decided to make these little widgets...


November 27, 2007

Beauty and heartbreak

Wandering around the blogworld I've been impressed by the beauty people seek in their lives. One loves the sparkle of Christmas lights reflected in children's delighted eyes. Another seeks the solace of a brooding November wood. And the one who turns to the wood is mirrored by another whose heart lingers over streetlights at dusk and a brilliant tree glittering in the square. Our hungry souls ever cry out for beauty. I think it's because God always intended us for it. Born into a garden, beauty was Adam's birthright, and our redeemed souls long for their heritage. This side of heaven no true solace can be found, but that doesn't stop our ever seeking and cherishing the flash and glow of beauty whenever we can find it. Yet in the cherishing is another pain. Moments pass. Brilliant sunsets become ordinary dusks. Enchanting twilight gives way to damp, chilly night. Tempers snap and ankles twist. Visits end. Moments float away on the wind. And because we know this our hearts break over a beauty that will not remain and cannot fully satisfy.

November 26, 2007

Chugging along

Well, as I hope you can see by my previous posts I'm still plodding along. I haven't been doing much writing lately, but I really think I need to get back at it. I often think better when I write, and there are times when I think even my dull posts help organize my brain. My mother-in-law has continued to help me as I try to get myself back in shape. While attending a seminar I noticed a quiz on stress in one of the booklets. It said that if you scored 300 or more stress points you needed to seriously evaluate your life and health. Guess what. I scored at least 300 points and depending on how you counted some of the events likely a good bit more. In everyday terms that means I am simply stressed out, in, up, down, and probably sideways. It's put a tremendous strain on my mind and my body, and I'm still in recovery mode. Right now the prescription is a simple one. Work on re-evaluating my mental habits and hit the amino-acids to help build up my body from the tiniest cell upwards. I was doing a fair bit more, but we're paring it down to see what kind of results we get from this.If I can (through God's strength) change my mental habits and get out from the daily burden of destructive head chatter then the physical should fall into place. It's not easy, but Allen's helping me. One of the things that I think it helping me the most right now is a preparation of Bach's Flower Essences that I have. They work rather like homeopathics except that they work on the emotions rather than working directly on the body. Often times I'll physically feel better, but that's because the flower essences help balance my emotions and mental processes which in turn helps to balance me out physically. They aren't a cure all or any sort of opiate or anti-depressant in the prescribed sense. They simply give you a little nudge in the right direction. A bit like a mental booster seat. While they don't replace the Scriptural renewing of the mind, they do help while you're on your way there.

In-law/out-law

Families are funny things. Right now I find myself being both an in-law and an out-law at a time when family presses around us the closest and which house for Christmas ham can be a tearful decision. Over Thanksgiving it really started hit me how much we take our ways for granted and how many ticky little traditions can blow up in our faces. How firm is the menu? When are the pies cut? Who does the flowers? Candles? China? Sweet potatoes? Stuffing versus dressing? There are a million tiny ways to get aggravated and fed up. I experienced a few of them just recently and will probably encounter a few more in the weeks to come. Part of the tension likely stems from my being the first daughter to come into the family with a list of family recipes and an itch to play in Grandmom's wonderful kitchen. There is an aunt who married in, but it appears that her accomplishments lie elsewhere. Then I walk in there bearing recipes and traditions from three different families, and...hmmmm....we're not so sure of the rules now. I suppose I could say that I'm the odd one out, but I think it would be more accurate to say that I'm the odd one in. I'm the new girl in their kitchen not knowing through long years tutelage just how the bread should be laid out and cut for stuffing or the gravy stirred. But then they don't know that the familial feast is never finished without sweet potatoes. However, with a lot of grace we managed work with and around each other to produce a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

The challenges I've faced trying to fit into a new (and very welcoming family) have been somewhat magnified by the fact that there's a kitchen not 15 minute's drive from the one where Grandmom stirred up her magnificent gravy which should have been open to me and could have been a real time of coming home to the old traditions of cornbread dressing and sweet potato casserole eaten sitting around a large round table. That's the kitchen I grew up in. Sadly I don't even know if anyone was even there Thanksgiving. They could have gone camping (another common practice growing up) or to visit my aunt. I don't know. Maybe one day I'll be able to go back and be the daughter of the house working with my mom and my sisters to put the traditional meal on the table. Until this I suppose I wait and learn to be a wife in my own house and a daughter to my in-law's family.

November 25, 2007

Knock your socks off giving

I found it. The Christmas present that makes you sort of bubble up and want to call the recipient just to tell them that you've found them the Christmas present that you've been unconsciously waiting to give them. Yep, it's really Christmas now. Now for the long wait to see eager hands reach out and grasp the gift. Can't wait.

November 23, 2007

Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I like these better than sweet potato casserole. Inspiration came from childhood memories and the most wonderful sweet potato fries at a restaurant down in Gulf Shores, Al.

4 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 tbs sucanat (dehydrated cane juice)
1-2 tbs cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
salt

Boil or steam the potatoes with a light sprinkling of salt until tender; drain; and mash. Mix in remaining ingredients until potatoes are smooth and uniformly seasoned. Yields approx 15 small (Thanksgiving when the table is overflowing) or 8 ample (main dish and two sides) servings.

The secret ingredient is the vanilla. It makes all the difference. Despite the small amount of added sugar the end result is very sweet so adjust the proportions as needed.

Happy Thankgiving....

Well not long after that last post I packed up and headed to Grandmom and Granddad's house while Allen went up to Montreal for training on some software he needs to use. He'd been sick the week before (and still is somewhat even now), and I wasn't doing that much better. Plus, it was Thanksgiving week, and my dear hubby was flying out of town. It could have been worse though. Although the training lasted from Monday thru Friday the higher ups ok'd Allen to only stay for three days which meant that he was able to come home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.Speaking of which, even most confined to giving orders from the kitchen table, Grandmom is a fabulous cook. At the last minute we got word that more family from Georgia was coming, and she just up and changed her menu to accommodate a few more grandkids. Granddad and I were pressed into doing most of the chopping and mixing. I made the pies. Also the mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes were a family staple at holiday meals back home that I've introduced a couple of times to my new family. We usually made them into a sweet potato casserole (NOT with marshmallows on top), but I actually like them mashed better.

It was so good being with family. I do enjoy seeing everybody.

This morning I decided to bite the bullet and join the Black Friday Mob out at the mall. The sales weren't really that spectacular for the most part, but I did manage to do about half my Christmas shopping for this year and part of it for the next. There's a game store in the mall that sells the neatest games. They almost never run sales, but today everything was 30% off.I stocked up. All in all a successful day.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 16, 2007

I'm back!

Hi everyone. I didn't mean to stay away so long. I just went off into the woods for the weekend, and then I never really came back here. (Thanks for the shout-out Trina). I suppose words simply haven't been coming that easily recently. Often times they don't when I'm wading through an endless sea of blah. It starts with a bad day where I don't get things done and sort of spirals down from there. Eventually Allen and I are both thoroughly frustrated, and I feel completely paralyzed and ashamed at the amount of catch-up that has to be done. Then there's the holidays approaching and my sluggish metabolism to deal with. Oh yeah, I found out that my "fire" (or metabolism) is more like an ill-built, smudgy, smoky campfire than an efficiently burning furnace. Imagine how you feel when your fire's like that. Pretty lethargic. Imagine how that helps you to maintain a positive attitude about yourself and your work. Yeah, it hasn't helped me much that way either. There's a few other things on top of that, but we won't go into that right now. I'm starting to see the light a little, but it's sort of uphill work at the moment I'm afraid. Anyway, that's my update. I'll see if I can post a few pictures of our camping trips the past month or so.

November 2, 2007

buggy, cruddy, uggy.....maybe?

Allen and I have both been pretty out of is this week. I don't know if we're fighting bugs or what. Drinking more water would probably help though. Anyway, it's not so bad but that we're planning another little excursion before it really gets too cold. Once we get there things will be fine since neither of us feel like doing much and (frankly) there's not much to be done. It just makes the actually getting there part that much harder though. I need to go cut up some veg to take with us. That's the main thing. Once our clothes get out of the laundry we should be mostly ready to go. Storing everything in bins means not that much to scrounge out and pack.

/me goes to find some music on pandora that will inspire vigorous activity.

October 30, 2007

How we slept out in the cold....

Sunday afternoon we left for our first ever camping trip together. A string of events had pushed our departure back to Sunday mid-afternoon, so we were eager to get to our campsite and set up our tent. Then one of our front tires shredded about an hour out of town. After a little finagling Allen got the baby (emergency) spare on, and we limped on towards Walmart to find a new tire. Sunday afternoon where else you going to go? We arrived at Walmart around 6:00. They finally find us a tire that fits. Then they finally decide to actually put it on the car. Something over an hour later we pull out of a (now mostly dark) parking lot and turn left just hoping we can figure out how to get to the park from there. Maps don't work. A sign pointing left with the words "to Mt Cheaha St Park" does. We bump along through rural Alabama for awhile before we come to the park. A little more bumping and we come to a campground with a gate and a one lane road leading out of it. We decide to head onward. We finally arrive at a sign with the blessed words "camper registration" emblazoned on it only to find no one there and no night drop. Instead a sign instructs us to wait for the ranger on security patrol. Fortunately that's not a very long wait. We toddle along according to his instructions only to find that the ridge top he recommended for tent campers is very dark.Very. And this is our first time. We keep going until we find a lit area in what turned out to be the trailer area of the campground. At the time we didn't care. There was a bathhouse across the street and a light on a pole a few yards away. Since it was by now completely dark we settled for visibility and began to lay out our tent. I will say that except for the fact that tent pegs that bend and get caught on a hundred small rocks so that you can't bang them in the ground are a temptation to profanity that no good Christian girl (or guy) should have to face in the dark at 40-50 odd degrees, the tent went up very smoothly.

Allen set up the guylines and hacked at a few (fallen) branches for a fire later, and I mixed up some breakfast hash (since by that point we weren't waiting a couple hours for a proper supper to cook) to scramble up in my dutch oven. Lesson one about dutch ovens. Let them warm up a mite before putting food in them. Everything stuck that night I didn't. Nothing stuck the next morning when I did. It was good though all the same. Not but that we probably would have eaten it if it wasn't very good. We were pretty hungry by then. We couldn't figure out the camp stove that night, so tea had to wait for the morning. We did, however, get a decent fire going. Thank you Dad for all the times you showed us how to build campfires!

Then we turned our faces towards the drafty nylon cave that was to be our night's shelter. Did I mention it was cold? The low that night was in the upper 40's. Also it was very, very windy. We had the side of our tent momentarily reaching out to embrace us more than once that night. Praise God though that everything held. Also praise God that one of us thought to bring our little space heater with us. I know; I know. That's cheating. You have to remember that for the past maybe 14 yrs I hadn't been out in anything other than an RV, and before that it was a pop-up. Drafty tents in late October just weren't part of my upbringing. Or Allen's. So we turned the space heater on our heads and covered up with several blankets and managed to pass a tolerably comfortable night. It was still chilly and the wind was louder than an RV generator, but we did fine. Next time though I hope we remember to bring our pillows :D

The next day was absolutely gorgeous. While I started some hash Allen heated up some water for tea on the camp stove. There's something very soul satisfying about walking down a camp road through the woods with a mug of hot tea in hand and an oven on the coals back at the campground. The leaves had just started to come out in brilliance. All around you could see green woods punctuated by scarlet leaves or dappled with yellow ones. If the weather is nice we just might give this a go again in the next week or two and try camping on the ridge top. There's one site in particular with the most magnificent view imaginable in a camp site. However, it's pretty wide open, so I don't think I'd hazard it unless the wind is rather calmer than it was Sunday night.

Anyway, that is the story of how we slept out in the cold and had a really good time.

October 27, 2007

Tired

One birthday to celebrate (cake and lunch courtesy of yours truly) + getting ready for out first tent camping trip + cleaning up the apartment = very tired

Add in staying up later and getting up earlier than usual and you get one very tired girl...and guy. Allen is helping me with dishes and laundry.

October 24, 2007

A soft Autumn day

A cool, wet spell has brought some soft Autumn days upon us. I wish I had large windows overlooking damp trees that I could fling open to the tangy fall air and a wood stove so that I could feel the crisp air mix and melt into crackling wood warmth. I would mix up a big pot of cider and make donuts and sit in front of the fire and read with the sweet, cool breath of Autumn on my face and a glowing fire at my toes. Unfortunately I don't have either a wide breadth of windows or a wood stove. I do, however, have all the makings for a beautiful cider and a kitchen full of potential. Ever since the weather turned cool I've been wanted to do a proper breakfast with eggs and sausage and all the trimmings, so that is what tonight's supper shall be. I'm planning to fix eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, homemade hash browns, hot spiced cider with rum, and perhaps even some donuts. Healthy person that I try to be I'm going to cut up some apples and cantaloupe to round out our meal. How's that for a little fall inspiration?

And thusly the feast concludes! Huzzah!

Every year they conclude the feast with a lottery of sorts to determine next year's monarch by seeing who finds the coin in the cookie. Only this year no one found it, and they had to put a marked coin in a bowl with the exact number of coins as participants in it.

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...and here I be with the good Captain Gregory -thrice gracious monarch of next year's feast. Huzzah for the king! Huzzah!



(I can't wait to go back next year. I'm going to try and get Allen and his brothers to come with us too.)

Huzzah! The pictures continue! Huzzah!

And verily we were entertained with Dance,Song,Swordplay,Juggling,and Storytelling. (Alas that I haven't good pictures of it all!)


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-an SCA singer


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-verily he was a man of strength!


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-and agility!


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-a storyteller

October 23, 2007

One more thing...

You can't see it in any of the pictures, but my hair is actually all the way down to the waist of my dress. Pretty neat I thought.

Let the pictures commence! Huzzah!

Herein shalt be discovered that which hath so long occupied the maid Natalie. And verily thee may discover for thyself what merit her work doth mayhap contain.

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The feasting hall




Here's a not so awesome picture taken at the feast.

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Back home -at 2:00am after a very long car ride.




I almost forgot to mention that at the beginning of the feast some people went around recruiting for a "surprise" fashion show (no one who wasn't in it was supposed to know), and yours truly was one of the participants!

A few notes on my ensemble

The guards on the sleeves and skirt hem were typical of Florentine dress in the 1500's and (in my case) handily covered some machine stitched hems. I'm not sure if the placement of the guards on the upper portion of my sleeve would be correct or not, but when I found out that I'd cut the sleeves too short I figured I had to have something to cover up the new seam. The sleeves tie onto the dress at the top shoulder with the ribbons. They simply pass through small loops made with lacing cord that I tacked onto the inside of the sleeves and shoulders.

The skirt is simply gathered with the back of the skirt being slightly fuller than the front. The skirt itself is simply a rectangular piece of linen 120" long, cut along the selvage, gathered, and sewn up the front. The bodice is interlined with a hemp corded lining. You can see what that looks like below.

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The bodice is spiral laced, and for the rings I just used the loop part from a package of ring and bar type fasteners that I got at Michael's. I still feel like I need to resew the front part since the sides don't remain parallel when laced tightly enough for support. The bodice pattern itself is a modification of a commercial pattern (McCall's I think). I took out all the extra shaping seams (over the bust and in the back) and just used the center back, side, and front to provide the shaping. I also readjusted the shoulder's outwards slightly and fiddled with the neckline front and back.

The chemise is made according to Jennifer Thompson's pattern, and would be very nice actually if I hadn't inadvertently cut the back piece too short thereby messing up the neckline. As is, it's actually rather small, and I'll likely make a new one at some point if I'm going to be wearing it very much.

I'm wearing a snood I found a while back at a vintage clothing store. I actually came up with a good way to keep it on my head. First I put on a skinny elastic heandband. Then I clipped some barrettes over the hair band on either side of the center of my head ie ( -b--|--b-). On top of all that I slipped a modern,invisible hair net -making sure that I looped the front over the edges of the clips. Then I just put my snood on over that, again catching the front edge under the barrettes. It stayed put very well. Apparently the Florentine women wore a band around the forehead to keep their's in place, but I didn't have time to contrive one before we went. This worked very well though.

Other than that I'm wearing a necklace I got from my grandmother and some black chinese mary janes with grey knee socks.

October 21, 2007

Huzzah! Huzzah!

Well despite having to rip out all my lacing rings so I could take about 1/2 inch of either side of my bodice and having to figure out a way to piece out my sleeves to make them longer and staying up till four o'clock Saturday morning only to get up six hours later to finish my dress just in time to iron it, get dressed (mostly), and dash out the door I did in fact finish my dress! Ok, so there's probably tweaking to come. It's wearable. Next week I'm devoting to posting all those picture that I keep promising to post and never do. So look forward to more pictures and less verbiage in the immediate future.

Here's a short list to pique your curiosity:

Captain Gregory
The ladder that would not fall
A Pawn King's Castle
Pirates in the Sky
Village-on-the-Man
.....there will also be clouds.

October 19, 2007

getting close....

I nearly done. All I have to do is hem the skirt and sleeves, add the lacing rings, thread my lacing cord/ribbon for the bodice and sleeves, and tack down the bodice lining. I think that's all. I also want to try and make a small little pouch purse to carry things in when I go to the feast, but that's optional at this point. I'm going to try a little trick to avoid having to hem the whole thing by hand and attach some guards to the skirt and sleeves edges. They'll add a very correct decorative element and hopefully hide my machine stitches. Otherwise everything that would show has been hand stitched. I did get a little unperiod yesterday and use some double sided fusible tape to finish the front seam edges. It wouldn't been necessary if I'd sewn it up the right way first, but I'm new to french seams and front laced bodices, so we'll call it good. You'd also laugh if you saw the hem to my camicia, but since no one can see it I'm not worried. I'll put a decent hem in it later if it really bothers me. For now I'm off to my lacing rings.

October 16, 2007

stitching away...

Well, I've got everything cut out except the sleeves which I'll wait to do until last so I can accurately fit them to the bodice. The skirt is sewn up except for hemming it and attaching it to the bodice. I'm a little disappointed with the skirt because despite making it a full 120" wide it really doesn't look as full as I expected. Hopefully it will look better with the chemise underneath it. Right now though I'm working on making the corded interlining. It will add a lot of time to the project (when I don't have a whole lot of time anyway), but I'd rather take more time to do something that will look nice than wish I'd done it when it's too late. According to Jennifer Thompson's website (which has been an absolute Godsend to me)there's no documented proof that this is a period technique, but it does give the correct silhouette. Since I'm not sure about my abilities to make simple linen lay the way the portraits show, I'm going with the cording. Just pray that the bodice actually lines up right when it comes time to lace it all up.

October 15, 2007

mixed emotions

I have a few friends at church who recently had their first babies. One family had a little girl and another a little boy. I found out that one of the women is planning on going back to work full time in a few months. I really hope I'm not looking down my nose at her, but I admit that I have a hard time hearing that. Somewhere between political theory and Romantic literature I decided that more than college or a career I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Then I thought that time had arrived, but it hadn't. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I was up for the task, but it's the direction I wanted to go. Now seeing other people seemingly ready to pass up the very experience that I desire...it's kind of tough. However, the woman who recently had the little girl told me that she was going to be working between 1-2 days a week (along with another woman who recently had a baby), and they were looking for someone to keep their babies. Given that I don't have a lot of recent experience with babies, I think it'd be wonderful if I could keep one or both babies at least sometimes. I really do have the time on my hands, and I would love to help. Even though it might hurt a bit I can't help thinking it would do me good to spend some time in this way. We'll see what the Lord has in store though.

dress update

Well, I've gotten my chemise cut out an mostly sewn up. Somehow I didn't cut it out quite right (a fact I didn't realize until I'd sewn it all together with french seams), but it only really affected the back neckline. It should be fine. I still have to finish the neck line and hem it, but I intend to leave that until I get my bodice made just to make sure everything lines up. Speaking of which I made two mock-ups of my bodice today, and I think I've just about got it right. I started with a side lacing costume pattern which I ended up switching to a front lacing pattern simply because it's hard enough to fit a self supporting bodice on yourself anyway without trying to fit the sides while you're still in the bodice. It took a lot of finangling and a lot of "Here, Allen can you pin this here. No, here. Ok, now can you repin it this way." before I got something approaching satisfactory. Even though I had to do a fair bit of retracing I'm glad I went ahead and bought a cheap pattern to work from since it gave me the shape for the back and gave me my basic forms to work with. Eventually maybe I'll be able to draft my own patterns but for now I'll stick to modifying what I have. Tomorrow I'll make one last mock-up to check my latest adjustments and start cutting the dress out of my linen.

October 13, 2007

How do you decorate?

I've been thinking about the things I've compiled in the last year of marriage and the different categories they fall into.

Here are some of the things I've collected and enjoy:

Metal and metal work objects like my sconces and brass candlesticks

Earthenware dishes

cheap glass tea candle votives


What do you have in your house?

More scraps of decorating.....

My darling husband just put up a few of my more recent acquisitions. I now how two small star shaped wrought iron candle sconces flanking the mirror above the mantel and another metal piece in the shape of a coat rack hanging up beside the bookcase in the entry way. The sconces I found at Linen's and Things for $10. I've been on the lookout for something like that, and at $10 for the pair I think I found a deal.

One day I promise to post some pictures. Now though I need to get started on some soup. Allen's younger brother is coming over for supper, and we're having Pasta Soup and cornbread with cheese and crackers for nibbles. For dessert I'm planning on having lemon curd with whipped cream (maybe some chocolate too -we'll see). There's also cider if they want some. Since I'm feeling rather festive I might just make this into a feast of no occasion with candles and such. I love being able to have Allen's family over.

October 12, 2007

So much more to this than I thought....

So I start my humble little blog because I get a kick out of having a place to just record some of the things I'm thinking or doing or seeing. Then people started reading my blog, and I started reading some of their blogs. Now I discover there's this whole world of blog rings, carnivals, contests, and awards that I never knew existed! I'm beginning to see that serious blogging requires some serious work. I sense a new world ahead just waiting to be explored. After my dress is done though. Absolutely not getting into any of that now. Seriously. I mean it too.

October 11, 2007

Not quite Jim'n Nick's: BBQ Chicken with onions

My husband and I really enjoy bbq, and for my birthday he ordered me several bottles of sauce from a chain in Tennessee that made some of the best bbq sauces I've ever had. So I decided to see what I could do with a little chicken and my crockpot. The result is something delightfully reminiscent of a pulled chicken bbq sandwich with a side of onion rings. I did say reminiscent. If you want to taste the real deal you'll just have to hightail it to Alabama and get yourself some Jim'n Nick's. If you can't though this chicken should answer a few of your cravings. Also, it's just plain good.

Ingredients:

1 1/2lb Chicken thighs
2med Onions sliced and separated into rings
4-5 slices bacon chopped into 1-2in pieces
BBQ sauce
salt
olive oil
braggs amino acids


Directions:

I boiled my chicken pieces briefly in water seasoned with braggs, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and a few herbs. I honestly don't know if the seasonings made that much difference. I mainly wanted to get the excess fat off them so it wouldn't all end up in my crockpot. I really think it's your choice. While the chicken was boiling I sliced my onion rings and tossed them in the bottom of the crockpot with a little olive oil, salt, and braggs. Mix about half the bacon with your onion slices. Remove chicken from water (if boiling) and coat liberally with bbq sauce, mixing in the rest of the bacon as you do. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the onion rings, and set your crockpot to cook on low for at least 6hrs. Since there was so much liquid I used a couple of slotted spoons to remove my chicken and onions to a bowl before serving.



I served this dish with baked sweet potatoes and our typical steamed broccoli and carrots. Since I was feeling a little more creative I went ahead and whipped up a special topping for our potatoes. To do this I melted 1 stick of butter together with a little sucanat (dehydrated cane juice), 1/8tsp Vanilla extract, and a handful of finely chopped pecans. Yummy.

Praise for Pandora

Even though I'm a tad miffed that you can't search by subject or genre Pandora is pretty sweet. For those of you who don't know what it is, Pandora is an on-line music site where you can make your own personal radio station by "seeding" songs and artists. Pandora then plays songs that have the qualities exemplified by those songs/artists. You can refine your station by giving various songs either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. So far I'm really enjoying it. You can make several stations, but my favorite one by far I seeded with Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Il Divo, Adrea Boccelli, and several others. I get the most wonderful mix of broadway, opera/classical, pop. They've even managed to dig up a couple of songs I really enjoyed but hadn't heard in months or years. If you care to sample my taste in music you're welcome to visit my stations. I'd love to hear about what kind of music you like. I'm always on the lookout for more good artists.

October 10, 2007

A plague upon my whims!

I've been up to my ears in a writing contest for an on-line game I play periodically. I've never really been the contest sort, but I've spent the better part of last night and this morning hammering out an entry THAT ISN'T DUE UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH! It's great fun, but I really need to be having fun on some of my other projects -like that Ren dress I need to make that has to be made in ten days. Why can't I be excited about things in the order I should be excited about them? Speaking of which I need to get excited about some chicken or heaven only knows what we'll be having for dinner tonight.

October 8, 2007

my culinary sidekick

I'm so glad that Debbie and Grandmom introduced me to really good steamed vegetables. Otherwise I'd be languishing in salad land or really badly prepared broccoli land. Nothing wrong with a good salad except the fact that I'm not the kind of person who enjoys eating salad two meals a day seven days a week. Three or four times a week is fine by me. Steamed broccoli though is wonderful. I'm not talking about limp, anemic broccoli that's had it's very soul steamed out it. That stuff is about as tasty as wet buttered cardboard. I'm talking about broccoli steamed lightly, served bright green and still a trifle firm to the fork, and made better still by an accompaniment of herbed butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. This is broccoli dressed up and asking for a date, and it's a great counterbalance to a meat and potato hash like the one below. For variation I've also steamed it up with some carrots and/or squash for even more color loaded nutrient impact. I try to cook up enough so that Allen and I can fill half our plates with steamed veggies. If it wasn't for this I don't think Allen and I would eat as healthily as we do now. So if anyone out there thinks that putting veggies with a meal is too much work, try steamed up a little broccoli. I didn't even really like broccoli once upon a time, and now I eat it quite frequently.

Corned Beef Hash

This is an old favorite of mine that I remember Mom and Grandma making for lunch sometimes. There were plenty of times when a plateful of hash seemed like culinary heaven to me. It's great for times when you want an easy meat and potatoes meal, but since I'm really trying to hit the veggies more I steamed up a quick side of broccoli to go with it. My mom made it with canned corn beef. However, since Allen doesn't care for canned meat I made this hash up with a pound of corned beef from the deli counter.

Ingredients: (measurements approximate)

1lb Corned Beef well chopped/shredded
4 lg potatoes diced
2 med onions diced
2c beef broth
salt/pepper
garlic
2tb butter

Directions:

Place meat, onions, and potatoes in a large pan with the broth. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and add in about a tablespoon of minced garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 30min or until the veggies are done and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in butter. Adjust seasonings to taste if necessary, and serve with green veggies.

We're Home!

Over the next few days I'll be uploading some pictures of our trip. We really had a lovely time, but it's very good to be home and just be the two of us again after spending most of the week with family. We're still figuring out how to fit all the different relationships together -wife, husband, son, daughter(-in-law), brother, sister(-in-law). One of Allen's brothers mentioned to me, "Instead of being one of seven, you're now half of one." It's a very simple statement, but it captures something that I needed to hear. When I'm in a busy family situation like that it's all too easy for me to feel like just another voice in the crowd and not like half of a separate but related team.

Anyway, pictures to come. First I need to unpack (and find the camera cord) and get ready for church group tonight.

October 1, 2007

This sounds like fun....

Trina and her wonderful team of bloggers over at All that is Good have decided to do a book month for October. I really can't wait to see what books they come up with. In honor of their month I'm planning on taking some time myself to comment on a few books that I really enjoy. I'll probably start with the list I gave them and throw in a few other random comments as I go. This will all have to wait until next week though because tomorrow we are off to the BEACH!

September 30, 2007

Confessions of a health nut

I've been feeling crampish and grumpy today. So what did I do? Well first Allen and I went out to rather healthy Asian restaurant where the veggies are fresh, crunchy, and plentiful. Then we went to Ben & Jerry's, and I got a chocolate milkshake. Notwithstanding that it was an excellent milkshake my tummy went all in a dither. It still doesn't feel completely calm. That was NOT one of my smarter food choices today. So yes, I'm here to confess that Miss Organic Broccoli over here is still a sucker for chocolate milkshakes, and my tummy is the worse for it. Ouch.


Just don't do what I did ok?

Hurrah!

Just on a whim I tried on a pair of my old blue jeans. They fit! Mostly. They're somewhat tight, but I can pull them on and button them without any unnatural contortions. That looks like progress to me.

September 28, 2007

food and it's aftermath

Well, I've pretty much finished getting my freezer restocked like I wanted too. Not that it will stay that way for very long, but it sure is nice to be able to just pull something out of the freezer some days when things just get busy I can't see standing in the kitchen for another hour. I must add that I really, really like meatloaf. I've made it three times, and every time has been different. It's been spicy and loaded, cheesy peppery, and (in it's most recent incarnation) reminiscent of a cheddar, bacon, bbq burger. This time I went ahead and threw in a handful of chopped bacon with a generous dollop of bbq sauce, and while it was cooking I brushed the top with a mixture of bbq sauce and ketchup. Kind of different but very good. My kitchen however is rather in pieces. Although it's far from total chaos in there I'd say it's at least partial chaos :) Those sausage biscuits I mixed up didn't exactly contribute to the situation. I'm a bit disappointed in them. The gluten free mix I used has something of a bitter after taste to it. It's not overpowering, but it does rather detract from the finished goods. Fortunately honey covers a multitude of sins, and my in-laws (the males at least) are always willing to help clear any less desirable dishes out of the way ;) Handy fellows to have around indeed. I suppose though that I shouldn't be too picky when it comes to the gluten free flours though and just be glad that there is such a thing available to me. I don't have celiac or anything like that. It's just that my body needs a rest from gluten grains right now. Hopefully taking a break now will keep me from developing any serious allergy or resistance later.

September 26, 2007

To much to do....

I'm starting to feel a tad paralyzed by the sheer amount of stuff I want to do over the next couple of weeks (and months come to think of it.) I have a big stash of yarn to be knit down before Christmas, my dress for the feast to make, a trip to the beach coming very soon, camping supplies to track down, extra food to prepare...It's really not a whole lot of work if I just buckle down and do it, but unfortunately I tend to prefer blogging to buckling. Arrrgh! Sometimes I wish self-discipline was something your ordered from Amazon. It could be here tomorrow if I paid the extra shipping. And if I actually practiced it more often maybe I wouldn't be griping about it on my blog. /me laughs.

September 25, 2007

Being at Rest

Some of my musings yesterday were inspired by a lovely little blog I stumbled across yesterday. Unfortunately the woman who kept this blog decided to stop just as I found her, but while digging through her previous posts I found one of her answering a woman who had written to ask how she managed to keep such a lovely and peaceful home and whether her life really was as beautiful as the pictures showed. You can find her answer (and others) here. The one thing that stood out to me though was what she said about rest. Quite honestly that's one thing at which I'm not very good. Even when I'm resting I'm often not "at rest." I end up worrying about what I didn't do or should be doing or could more profitably be doing. Then when I work I often don't enjoy that either and for similar reasons. I can always tell myself that I should have done this yesterday or two weeks ago or that I should have never let things get into such a state and thereby rob myself of all the peaceful satisfaction I could be getting out of doing the job now. I suppose the secret is that our Lord says "come unto me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." I've heard that verse a hundred times or more, but it never occurred to me to think about what it means to come unto the Lord and how that relates to rest. Obviously the first thing it means is acknowledging to ourselves that we are not self-sufficient and that we are utterly dependent on God. Another thing it means is that we have been forgiven and that we have received grace. A third thing it means is that we have been removed from all condemnation. The Bible says that "there is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." These are just a few of the things it means to come unto the Lord, and from looking at even that short list it seems that rest, instead of being mystically tacked on at the end, instead flows directly from and through the quality of belonging to God. It really shouldn't be something elusive in our lives that we are constantly in fear of not finding or of losing when we feel we've gained it. It really does seem that it should be a constantly flowing river pouring through our hearts from the heart of God. In day to day terms it means that when I feel upset about not doing something earlier or better I can know that there is no condemnation and feel satisfaction in doing it now. It does seem such an easy thing for us to not do though -I know I have the dickens of a time with being at rest and being satisfied with various things in my life. I suppose this is something I'll have to keep discovering and rediscovering until one day maybe it will finally stick. I want that day to be right now, but I have to remind myself that there's no condemnation about that either.

So it seems that the secret to a well-run and pleasant house isn't so much work but rest and not so much rest but learning to make your work restful and satisfying. Like much of Christian life the answer lies in the heart of a paradox which is the heart of God who made the lion and the lamb and loves them both together.

September 24, 2007

jigsaw puzzle of wistful loveliness

Every once in a while I get glimpses -snapshots- of the life I hope to have one day. There are all sorts of pieces to it, and every once in a while I stumble on another piece that I think I want to add in. I just don't know quite how it all goes together. It's like finding a bunch of puzzle pieces that all have to potential to create a beautiful picture and not knowing how to put them together or even if they all go to the same puzzle. Take the beautiful homesteads that I've seen on some people's blogs. All that gorgeous green beauty all around stirs my heart, yet I doubt Allen and I are going to end up taking our family out to the country to live. Either that piece doesn't go to my puzzle or it fits in some way that I can't see now. Then I find a flickr photo album of someone's artsy, vintage, eclectic urban residence, and something on there really clicks with me. Now I have a pastoral vista and a downtown flat both tugging at me in their own way. Add in a couple of cute pigtailed girls in pinafores, an all-American love of blue jeans, my enjoyment of cooking, and my distaste for dishes.Throw in my desire to dabble in all things handicraft when instead I often settle for link chasing or novels, and there you have me. Left staring at a bunch of puzzle pieces and wondering just how the odd shaped one I'm currently standing on connects up with the beautiful panorama at which all the other pieces silently hint. I love to cook. I love kids and old novels and great big tree with the sun drifting down through the leaves. I like those funny little designs made with flowers and doodles in odd colors that don't look quite modern or quite vintage. I have blue berry patterned dishes sitting on a baker's rack near a little shuttered window draped with a string of miniature paper lanterns. I yearn for a house where big windows let vast puddles of sunlight into every room. Everywhere I turn I see scraps of what my life could be, would be, will be. Then I look at my little apartment furnished and decorated by fits and starts. Cleaned the same way. My desires sometimes seem so myriad and often opposing that I don't know where to begin in the effort to move forward, to accomplish, and to be. Of course I suppose therein lies part of the problem. "For it is God who works within us both to will and to do for His good pleasure." I don't suppose it really is my job to put everything together and make my piece fit the puzzle. Like as not neither the piece nor the puzzle are yet in the shape they need to be, and I just need to patiently wait for God to put all things into their proper order in His time. Still can't say I really no what do though. I suppose I just keep collecting my puzzle pieces as they come my way and trust that someday God will turn them into a vision of shining loveliness.

My fabric came in!

I just got my fabric for my Ren dress in, and the colors are exactly what I wanted/hoped. Since time was so important I'd opted to not get a swatch first and just go ahead and order. Also, there weren't many colors in my price range. However, I was fortunate enough to find two colors from the same collection on sale. I figured that even if i wasn't keen on the colors they'd at least blend well. But they really are nice colors. The plum I bought for a my little sack/bag goes beautifully with it too. The blue not so much. I'll probably make my friend a little bag with it. Anyway, I'm pretty excited about it. So now I just need to get to work. I'll probably start on the camica first since that well require the least amount of fitting and fiddling. All that will have to wait until I get this apartment in order for tonight though :( I shouldn't take but a trice (ok, maybe an hour or two tops) if I'll just settle down and do it instead of frittering!

September 23, 2007

Interesting movie

We just finished watching the Illusionist, and golly is it interesting. It's kind of like one of those heist or spy movies where you aren't really sure who had the moral high ground (or even if there is one), but just watching all the twists and turns is very exciting. I also really enjoyed how the film was shot. The backwards and forwards narrative sequencing combined with different camera effects and overall striking camera angles worked very well to capture both a feeling of immediacy in Eisenheim's illusions and cast a generally reminiscent air over the work in general. There is one scene where the shirt buttons rather go flying, but it's short and easily skirted. In other words -interesting story well filmed. Highly recommended with a couple of reservations.

Homemade Hamburger Helper with squash

Since we go to church in the evening (our church is cool like that), we decided to make supper for lunch. I ended up throwing together a bunch of things that I grabbed at the grocery store on the way home last night (along with a few things I had on hand), and it turned out quite well.


Ingredients:

1lb browned ground beef
1c chopped sliced pepperoni (optional)
1 package elbow macaroni (I use Tinkyada brown rice noodles)
2 cans tomato paste
2 onions chopped
1med yellow squash chopped
1med zucchini chopped
1 can red beans (optional)
1lb grated mozzarella
1c milk, cream, or half n half
2c broth (approx)
2c water (approx)
salt, pepper, garlic salt (large pinch)
crushed red pepper flakes (light pinch)
oregano, rosemary, and basil (approx 1tb each)

Method:

Brown meat and drain. Then mix the tomato paste with the meat, veggies, broth, and seasonings in a large skillet and let simmer. Cook covered (stirring often) until the veggies are crunchy tender (about 20min). Remove pasta from the water while still barely crunchy and mix into skillet. Remove from heat. Cover with grated cheese. Replace lid and let the cheese melt then serve.

I don't even really like squash, and this is good. Another thing I love about the cook it and serve it the skillet meals is that all those yummy minerals and nutrients from all my veggies are still right there in the pan and soon to be on their way to my tummy.

September 21, 2007

Dress materials

I think I've found/ordered just about everything I need to start working on my ensemble, so now I just need to break out the scissors and get to it! Countdown to the Feast begins NOW!

September 20, 2007

Have credit card will craft

Ok, so maybe it's a debit card. It's plastic. Remember when I said I wasn't going to be using period authentic fabric to make my dress? Some 60" linen remnants grabbed my attention, and nothing would do but that I buy them for my dress. All in all it worked out to under $6.00 a yard including shipping. Considering that I would have had to buy considerably more 45in fabric I was pretty happy with that price. I did cheat on the camica and buy a linen/cotton blend because it was just so much cheaper than the other stuffs. I also bought thick $0.99 cotton muslin for the interlining. I really couldn't see paying 4-7 dollars a yard for material that nobody (including myself) will ever see. I'm going to try doing the corded interlining that Jennifer Thompson demonstrates on her excellent website. Although she said there's no proof that they actually used this method it does create the proper silhouette and pretty much takes care of any buckling or creasing in the bodice. I also (praise God) found a McCall's pattern for $0.99 that will at least give me a basic bodice shape to work with. I really wasn't sure about creating my own pattern, but I didn't want to spend 10-20 dollars for one on top of what I'm already spending for the materials.

On a cheaper note: Michael's had the craziest yarn on sale for $1.00 a skein that's perfect for knitting fuzzy scarfs. Two dollars a piece plus time for Christmas presents is my kind of deal!

September 19, 2007

16th C Florentine Gown

This should actually be posted under uncommon tricks since I don't personally know many people trying to create a Florentine gown -especially not in ONE MONTH! I really think I'm a little bit crazy here, but a group of us have been planning for the past year on going to a feast sponsored by a local Ren fair. So why do I only have one month to put this thing together? Well, I thought I might need to plan for nursing access, and that would be mean waiting until I could create something that would actually fit. Now though it's anything goes. I've been madly scouring pictures and dress diaries to find something that I could create within the alloted time and that wouldn't tax my still developing sewing skills too badly. I finally found a picture that I think I could approximately recreate here. Depending on the fabric I find I might dress it up a little more to make it more lower-middle class, but I think I'm going to try for a pretty close approximation of that style. Tomorrow if I can I'll probably go out and try to at least get fabric for the camica since I can make that up without worrying too much about what my actual measurements will be by the time of the feast. And yes, I'm going to machine sew it and probably use horribly inaccurate fibers since I don't have either the time or the money to hunt down authentic silks, linens, and wools and then hand stitch them into a painstakingly researched and documented garment. However, I think I can still manage to avoid looking like a Disney princess. One real plus to recreating this dress though -mary janes! Look at the picture again. She's wearing brown mary janes. I've just been waiting for a chance to get some, and now I have an excuse!

September 18, 2007

(imagine me jumping up and down with excitement and talking too fast)

First of all, my husband is awesome, awesome, awesome. The kind of weather we've been having lately has made me want to go camping in the worst way possible. I just want to get out somewhere and soak up this glorious fall weather than has so abruptly swept over us. The only hitch? Nothing to camp with and very little experience between us. I only dimly remember my pop-up days, and it more recent years my family has done more traveling than camping. Besides, camping in an RV is really fake camping anyway. So where does the Allen is awesome part come in? He's said that we can take our first tent camping trip next month! So now I'm researching lists and supplies and camping recipes and tracking down prices. I think I've even picked out a tent. (It's one with a bunch of good reviews -you didn't think I was going to go on my own opinions here did you?) Guess what this also means? I get to plan our first Allen and Natalie road trip for next spring! We aren't actually going to do that much driving since this will be Allen's first real road trip, but it's a start. We're probably going to take that trip up the Georgia/Carolina coast that we've been talking about taking one day. I'm really, really excited about all of this. I haven't been on a camping trip of any variety since before I graduated in May '06. I can't believe how wonderful a husband I have sometimes.

On a more reflective note, this all sort of started today when I just kind of wondered to myself what I was supposed to do now that we aren't expecting, and the first thing that popped into my head was "buy a tent and go camping." That might sound odd at first glance, but I guess what that really means is that I should take advantage of the opportunity I have to learn knew skills and develop new interests now while things are a little less complicated. I admit that I think it sounds trite when other people say it, but I reckon I'm coming to see the wisdom in it.

By the way, if anyone has any camping tips I'm all ears.

Two things

First: Some of that weight I'd accumulated over the last 12mo is starting to fall off! Second: I bought a folding lawn chaise at Walmart yesterday. Today I'm blogging from my apartment's back patio. It's Fall in Alabama folks!

September 17, 2007

I did it!

Today I finished painting my bookcase, cleaned up the apartment for church group, went to the thrift store, and tried a new recipe (which didn't turn out exactly right, but it was good, so who cares.). On top of that I think I've finally started to lose some of my excess baggage that I picked up this past year. It's been a good day.

September 16, 2007

Christmas after fall

I saw someone posting on another forum about planning Christmas gifts which made me realize that I should probably start thinking about that as well pretty soon. I'm one of those people who shops for Christmas and birthdays all year long and just picks up things that I find on sale. It works really well for the most part, but it does mean that it's about time for me to start hunting down all those little Christmas gifts from wherever I stashed them and see just who gets what and who I need to be shopping for as I go about.

Right now though I've got the thrift store bug really bad. Maybe if I get things done around here I can go for a little while tomorrow....Pity all the thrift stores are about 20min away from me. (Yeah, I'm spoiled :)

September 15, 2007

Just a wee heart sore

I've been doing pretty good this past week, but there's just something about Trina's presentation of a fall day out with Jesse and family that really kind of tugs at me. Somehow she managed to put in it everything I want -a beautiful fall day whose sweet, tangy air caresses the low hills, music to which firs might gravely jig, family close and beloved, and a little mite of a fellow waving at the goats and grinning for all the world like some sort of small monarch out to approve the festivities. If there is such beauty without my small apartment and it's small surrounds I haven't the heart at present to find it. And there is no wee mite to make it all wonderful again for my eyes. There won't be for some time now. I don't begrudge her blessings in the slightest. I'm glad that I can look from afar and see her little picture of a family and the glory that is theirs. It's good that such wonders exist in this world and that people should enjoy them. Sometimes though I just get a bit wistful with heart yearning to experience some of these things myself. Oh, I've had my moments. But some moments...just don't get to be mine right now. It's ok. Someday. For now I'll try to be content with such as I have, but....(shrug). Someday.

September 14, 2007

Paint on my hands....

I just might get that bookcase done by Monday after all. Fortunately/unfortunately I won't have time to really dally with it tomorrow because tomorrow is the day of the annual family migration (so it's a 10min drive) to attend Nature's Sunshine Untold Truth seminar. The whole day is jut crammed with information about natural health. I really enjoy it.

Ick, those paint fumes are fierce. I wonder if a little lemon oil wouldn't help things out?

September 13, 2007

Done???

Well, I bought just about everything I wanted. I was amazed again at how much some things cost and what I have learned to consider a bargain. The little table I bought cost $50, but considering that I've seen plenty others similar to it going for over a hundred I called it something of a bargain and bought it gratefully. With time I probably could have found something for less, but sometimes I'm willing to potentially pay a little more for the privilege of having it now. It's not as though I exactly bought the first thing I saw either since I went into seven stores today and when into three of them twice. My deal of the day ended up being the lamp I bought at Lowe's. For some reason almost all their lamps were on sale, and I found a lovely buffet lamp that goes perfectly with that accent table for something like nine dollars. That bit's pretty much done. The bookcase is another story however. I bought putty, primer, and paint to see if I couldn't turn my slap together bookcase into something resembling real furniture. That's going to be a wee bit of a project. It's probably not going to get done before Monday when my MIL has her first small group session here. Oh, well. I guess they'll just get to see my work in progress.

My foryer

So, when the apartment complex converted the apartment we're in now from a one bedroom with den to a two bedroom they left this awkwardly wide and dark entry way. We scavenged a glass door for it, but we still need a frame and permission from the complex to install it. Right now I have a bookcase against one side of it (did I mention that storage is a big deal here?), and my MIL brought a lamp so the entryway wouldn't be so dark for church small group guests because one of the things that got left out in the redo is an overhead light for that area. Anyway, now I'm just bubbling over with ideas to make that tiny little area attractive and useful, and today I'm planning on going off to see if I can't make a decent effort to getting that area completed. I want a little buffet lamp on a little table by the bookcase with hopefully a little shelf for me to stow my purse and keys and such. Then on the otherside I plan to hand a little coat rack and shelf with a little shelf underneath it for shoes (which I kick off asap anyway). Sometime when I have time I want to putty and prime my fake wood bookcase into something passable as decent furniture. But we'll see. I want to say I'll get it all done this week, but I haven't even been able to get my bedroom in order this week! Anyway, it's good to have a project (other than my sewing projects that I haven't much felt like doing).

September 12, 2007

Christmas and Chinese food (this is great)

Allen showed me this,and I hope the folks at Biblical Horizons don't mind me posting this teaser just to get you interested. It's hilarious and potent all at once.

One of the unrecognized and most deadly evil of modern life’s facets is Chinese food. Most people are wholly unaware of the critical nature of the Chinese food question,and blithely continue to participate in this wicked and dangerous activity: eating Chinese food. Of course,to speak against such a hallowed institution as Chinese food is to be regarded as a fanatic,or even as sacrilegious,but we must be true to the faith!

A moment’s reflection by any serious and committed Christian will show transparently why Chinese food must be rejected. Chinese food is an expression of Eastern monism. Not only does it come from the East, the heart of the world’s most sophisticated paganism (which in itself is reason to reject it as dangerous); it also in its very nature and composition reflects the monistic philosophy of the East.

Christianity gives equal ultimacy to the one and the many. In the West, this has meant that on one’s plate there are several kinds and portions of food: salad, vegetables, meat, and dessert. These are not, however, all mixed up together in a monistic unity, but are left diverse. It is the harmony and combination of the various foods, eaten one bite at a time, which gives
expression to unity and diversity.

Chinese food, however, tries to break this down...continued

I thought we were supposed to be grownups!

So I log into this forum where I'd been doing some posting over the past year only to find grown up people carrying out a full blown argument on whether or not to celebrate Christmas! Jeesh you people can't you find something more important to do? Now I'll readily admit that my first inclination is to start right in there with my $1.50, and in the past I've done so plenty often. I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone here. But now.....I'll admit....it seems pretty petty. In the past I've actually been surprised and a little dismayed to find that my arch-enemy in one thread is actually my ally in another thread. I don't think this is such a good thing or very conducive to fellowship. Maybe I'm the only person who feels this way, but I sort of doubt it. In such situations the atmosphere can become one of restrained witch hunting with everyone trying to throw everyone else into the water to see if they float. As Christians I believe I can safely say that this should not be! Such places ostensibly exist for the edification and encouragement of others (which they can often be in a great measure), but all too often they become factionalized heresy hunts. We say with lofty condescension "Even though your understanding of Jot-tittle 19 is clearly inferior and possibly heretical I shall extend the right hand of fellowship so that I may instruct/be instructed on the better making of soup." Am I really the only one who thinks this is rather ridiculous? I sort of want to say "Look God is big enough for us all to share Him -stop hogging the divine inspiration!" However, the truth is that some people are right about somethings and some other people are wrong about those same things. I have my own opinions which I naturally prefer to some other opinions. That's the nature of opinions. So what do we do? I suppose in some ways we tone it down. Don't shout out a breastfeeding manifesto on the formula aisle of Walmart. Do (if you're an older,experienced woman) go up to an expectant mom, tell you've breastfed successfully for x years, are a big supporter of it, and would love help/encourage/explain/answer questions at any time. Then back off. Don't wed your encouragement to her enthusiasm for your particular method.* Unfortunately that's exactly what we don't want to do. Me included. Having a faint grasp of iridology there are times when I see an infants eyes and want to go shake the mother for not taking better care of her baby. Seriously. Then I remember that doing so is not likely to do any good and that instead waiting for an opportunity to speak "a word in due season" just might. Even then I have to remember that plenty of people with umm interesting features in their iris do live long happy lives. "Oh, but things could be so much better if only they would just listen to me and do things my way!" Maybe so, but you're not likely to convince them of it before they want to be convinced. Forcing the issue is only conducive to disharmony. I mean take natural health. My mother-in-law has said quite plainly that carbonated water (even in fizzy all natural, no sugar added juice drinks) is paralyzing to the digestive track and that since Allen and I both have challenges in that area we really don't need them. But guess what -every once in a while we drink one anyway. Is my mother in law in a position to be upset that we aren't doing things "right?" Darn right. Does she? Nope. She's wise, and she's not going to break fellowship (or play the martyred mother) because of it. She cares about us more than she cares about how well we follow her excellent advice. On that note let me just say that I wish more people (myself included) could be like here, and that'll put an end on my rambling post. Gosh it's good to write about something other than soup.

* please go read Nancy Wilson's superlative post on the same topic.

September 11, 2007

Resolution

This is the third time I've written this today in one form or another. I'm not pregnant. Or rather, I'm not pregnant anymore. We finally figured out that for the past year I've been having a series of miscarriages one after the other. Some of my pregnancies seemed to have lasted as long as 2-3 months before...well I'm getting tired of writing that word. I'm really mostly ok with everything, but I'm getting a little tired of talking/writing about it. We figured out this past month that I likely lost and conceived in January, but it's only been this week that we figured out to what extent this has really been happening. Needless to say things have been confusing. I'm still getting used to the fact that those funny feelings in my tummy really are just gas/muscle spasms/etc and have nothing to do with pregnancy. Because things have been insane all along I'm really not crushed or stunned by this resolution to things, but I am still in the process of wrapping my head around everything. I really appreciate everyone who has supported me through all this even when you thought I was absolutely wrong and possibly a little crazy. Right now I'm going to be working on getting my body back into shape and cleaning out whatever problem that was fouling up the works to begin with and really just getting my life back to normal. Thanks everyone for sticking in there with me.


P.S. A friend I've been chatting with mentioned that this post sounds kind of numb and wanted to know if I'm really ok. Really I've just had to repeat this a lot today, and it's tiring. I'm honestly doing ok. It's been a relief to have some answers sad though they are.

September 10, 2007

Pasta Soup

I really love making and eating soup -especially when I get to eat with a nice cheddar, mahon, or gouda. This soup goes well with grated mozzarella sprinkled on top.

Pasta Soup

Ingredients:

1-2lbs ground turkey (depending on how much meat you need/like)
2 med zucchini chopped
3c grated carrots (give or take)
2 med onions chopped
1/2lb chopped frozen spinach
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2c each chicken and veggie broth
heavy dash Braggs Amino Acids/soy sauce
3tbl basil pesto (this makes all the difference)
Pasta as desired*

Method:

Brown turkey with onion and season well with salt,pepper, and garlic (powder or minced). Put all the ingredients in the pot except for the pasta, top off with water, and let simmer for a couple hours. Add the pasta no more than an hour before serving.

Tonight I made this for my husband and brothers-in-law to have while I was out with their mom, and apparently they approved. There's also a decent amount of my apple bread gone, so I guess they didn't mind the texture too much :)





*I first made this soup with a package of tortellini, but since I've recently needed to cut down on my wheat consumption I replaced the tortellini with rice pasta and sprinkled grated mozzarella on top. I also added a couple dashes of tobasco sauce and a light sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat.

Note on bread

There is such a thing as too much cinnamon, and an inserted knife can come out clean while the bread is still far too gooey and moist. Thus is the story of my apple cinnamon pecan bread.

putting things in order

My curtain/accent fabric finally came in! I'll have to post a picture of it sometime, but it's a lovely, rambling floral full of lovely red and green tones with delicate shadings of blue and gold all spread out over a creamy background. I love that the little butterflies scattered around give it a slightly whimsical feeling. I originally bought it to make pillows for the living room, but when I saw how well it went with the green polyester dupioni I bought to make bedroom drapes I knew I had to somehow incorporate the two. I must say that for the life of me I can't figure out how that's going to work although a few thoughts have started to bubble up. We'll just have to see where it goes. I've like to get some of this done this week since starting next week we're going to be hosting my mother-in-law's church small group on health. Over a dozen signed up today, so it looks like our little living room is going to be packed! Looking around there's seating for ten -eleven if you count the gliding ottoman- and we're likely going to want to plan for twenty (counting us and a few friends.) This is going to be interesting. I've never been hostess to such a group before. Thankfully all I really have to do is get the place clean and make sure we've eaten and gotten things set up before everyone arrives. There are a few things I need to get done and a few things I need to track down for things to be really in order, but so long as I remember to get off the computer and get down to business I should really be fine.

September 7, 2007

names

Laura over at Quietude recently posted a list of her favorite boy and girl names. Reading over her list I thought I most post a few names of my own. Some of these are completely random and will likely never be used, but they're all names I like for one reason or another.

Boys:

Peter
William
Ransom
Kari (pro Car+y) -a really neat character out of Njal's Saga
Gideon (one of my sisters has preemptively claimed this one)

Girls:

Astra
Debra
Amaris
Wealthow (queen in Beowulf)
Natalie (duh) :)
Dorcas
Lydia



Hmmmm, maybe we should plan on having more boys than girls ;)

September 6, 2007

All better now

I really think all I needed yesterday was a good belly laugh. Last night Allen spent, gosh, maybe three hours reading me a log some people had made of a succession game of Dwarf Fortress. I haven't laughed that hard or that long for a week. We were both of us howling to much at times that we could barely read. I'm a little tired, but that's a natural consequence of being up until 2am. All's good though. It's really the truth that "laughter doeth good like a medicine."

September 5, 2007

knit 1 purl 3 unravel 2 rows.....

At least that it how my knitting has gone these past few days. When I'm done I'll have knitted this blanket twice I think. Oooof, not a fun way to get projects done. At least it's a nice pattern...wish I didn't keep making these one stitch errors that require me to rip out a couple of rows to correct.

Inspiration sought here

My books are dull and my fabric stash unappealing. My knitting has become tedious, and I can't work up much enthusiasm for clearing anything off the bedroom floor. Supper plans aren't exactly pressing either. I just want a reason that will get me moving. I've been moving kind of slow these past few days, and I'm tired of it. What's more is that my brain is going slow too. I can't quite work up the gumption to read anything very involved nor write much of anything worth reading. Maybe I should just stick with my knitting after all :P Not sure if I need more protein or less grains or B vitamins or what. /me shakes head. I guess I just need to get moving whether I like it or not. Hopefully I'll get out of this funk and post something worth the seeing in a few days.

August 31, 2007

To be innarticulate

Occasionally I stumble on blog posts out in the interworld to which I would dearly love to give a response. This one here that I found while link hopping is among those. However I have this problem that in the face a blustering and sarcastic (and unquestionable clever) blogger (often male) I find myself scrambling for arguments that won't leave me painted into some corner or forced into taking up a position which I don't really hold. I know there are good arguments against such thinking as his. I myself would say that his main failing is in his weakened sense of Christian culture. But how to articulate that to someone who has rejected so many of the tenets which inform my understanding? These men are very good at what they do. The gift of gab is in their mouths and they often have a sort of bench press persuasiveness about them which mocks my girly-biceped remonstrations. And many of them are demonstrably smart. So what's a girl to do? What are any of us to do when we sense instinctively that an argument is built on cow pats or we see the jagged cracks between their thesis and the panorama of God's Word? What do we do when God's Word is questioned and fragmented to suit their own logic? I'm inclined to wish at such times that I was a man trained in History and Theology to put the finger to their flaws and crack their argument like rotten nuts. But, being me, I simply add another book or five to my imaginary reading list and pray that someday someone with more brains than me will set them right or that God Himself will see fit to point them to the true paths. Other than that I mainly bide my peace knowing that imperfect logic or knowledge on my end with likely invalidate in their eyes anything of value I might say. It's frustrating, but that's the way it is right now.

August 30, 2007

Baked Tacos with Margarita Chicken

This recipe still needs a little fine tuning to get all the flavors balanced out (I sorta got too happy with the cumin and jalapeños), but I thought it was worth noting down here. Helps me keep track of all the recipes I've dreamed up :D.

Ingredients:

2-3lbs chicken pieces pounded thin
1 very large onion
3 yellow bell peppers
3 c Monterey cheese grated
aprox 1c chopped cilantro
minced garlic
jalapeños
cumin
salt
pepper
butter
heavy cream
Tequila
Triple Sec
Lime juice
tortillas

Directions:

Chicken Marinade:

Combine 3tbs tequila, 1tbs Triple Sec, and 3tbs lime juice with 1tbs salt and a dash of coarse ground pepper and pour into a gallon ziplock bag with chicken pieces. I pounded my chicken out somewhat and pricked it over with a fork to help absorb the flavors. Let marinade for several hours before grilling and cutting into small cubes.

Filling:

Sautee pepper and onion together with a couple tbs minced garlic, 2tbs finely chopped jalapeños, a liberal sprinkling of cumin, and a dash each salt and pepper. Cook until tender. In a separate saucepan melt together 2c cheese with a splash of cream and 2tbs butter until you get a thick cheese sauce. Stir in cheese, chicken, and cilantro. Spoon mixture into tortillas and fold into tacos. Lay tacos overlapping in a greased casserole dish and sprinkle cheese over the middle.

Bake at 325 for 10-15min.

Makes about 8 thick tacos or probably 10 enchiladas.


P.S. usual caveat about measurements.

August 29, 2007

On the same note as below...........knickknack paddy whack

Let the carpets lie as they may I've been far more interested in fussing over the frivolities on my mantle piece than in the breeding habits of dust bunnies. I really should post pictures sometime when I get this place cleaned up enough to go on display. Over the past few weeks I've amassed a very modest collection of gewgaws, and I'm rather pleased at how they add to the place. It's really been quite fun. I've spent so much energy the past few months on practical and useful that I've enjoyed the chance to do a little pure decorating.