Archive for July, 2009

Why I Will Never Be Bored

July 30, 2009

blog trees

I am always kind of amazed when I hear people talk about being bored or having nothing to do.  Growing up, if we wanted to incite Mama’s wrath we said, “I’m bored.”  Those were bad words at our house!

Even if I had not grown up with a mindset of not being bored, I think life is just too interesting to be bored!  There are never enough hours in the day to do what I really want or need to do.  Maybe I am slow, but I can’t imagine getting everything done.  Here are a few things I’d do if I was totally caught up on all the things I am not getting done right now…maybe one day…

Clean my house. My house is never, ever as clean as I would like it, no matter how clean it is.  We are home all the time; we are busy; we use our house.  It gets dirty and I don’t have enough hours to clean it.

Organize. Same as above.

Decorate. If I had more time and money I would love to decorate more.  Right now functionality is at the top of the priority list.  I hate that.  Hate hate hate it.

Quilt again.

Spin again. Handspinning wool, that is.

Sew a lot more. Experiment with sewing for myself, and sew for my kids.

Knit more/again.

Garden a lot more.

Work in the yard a lot more. Make my yard pretty.  Give the house some curb appeal, which it does NOT have.

Spend more time in  personal Bible study.

Play with my kids more.

Read more books.

Read aloud to my kids more.

Write more. Blogging, articles, maybe even a book.

Cook more/better foods. Experiment with fermented foods like kombucha, sourdough, and kefir.  Cook more “special” meals with really amazing food, nicely set table, etc.  Try new recipes more.

Learn about herbs for cooking and medicine…How to grow and use them, how to make all the concoctions for herbal medicines.

Get to know my neighbors better.

Keep backyard chickens.

Spend more time with friends.

Exercise.

Public speaking. I successfully spoke in public once.  I was TERRIFIED but it went well, and I LOVED it!  I dream of speaking one day when I am very experienced and wise and actually have lots of great things to share that might help other people.

Take more time for personal care. For those of us who are not naturally, effortlessly beautiful, looking cute takes a lot of time.  It would be fun to experiment with hair styles, makeup, nails, etc. instead of just doing the basics like I do now.

Watch more movies. I grew up without movies, so I have a lot of catching up to do, which is a fun “problem.”

Sleep more.

Doll-making. I want to learn to make Waldorf dolls and other kinds of rag dolls, along with doll clothes…I have so many ideas!

Write letters by hand and mail them.

Shop thrift stores and garage sales a lot more.

Learn other new crafts, like collage making and woodworking.

Refinish furniture.

Go on more dates with my husband.

Take a photography class.

Paint/draw.

Start a business.

Journal more.

Travel.

Keep up with politics a bit more (emphasis on a bit).

Learn a foreign language…or several.

Learn to play an instrument or a bunch of them…

Have people over for supper/tea/meals/dessert more often.

Write songs and poetry.

Make my own cleaning products.

I just keep thinking of more and more things to add to my list.  See why I’ll never be bored?  There isn’t enough time in this life to do all I want to do!

What about you?  What would you like to do one day?

Mexican Chicken Breakfast Skillet

July 30, 2009

(Regular readers: Hopefully a more fun “Charity Grace”-y post tomorrow…Sorry for not posting this week.)

I have really enjoyed this for breakfast lately.  Tomorrow I will use turkey instead of chicken.

In a small amt of olive oil, coconut oil, or butter, heat about 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken (pastured organic is best of course).  Add a couple eggs (preferably pastured also) and scramble together over medium heat.  Remove from heat and top with cheese, diced tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.  Add a few black beans if desired.  Eat alone or in a tortilla.

I am still on the hunt for free range eggs.  There is a person about a block from my house that sells them.  They were $3/doz which is out of my price range.  They recently dropped the price to $2/doz.  However, there was recently a murder there.  I can’t bring myself to buy eggs from them!  So near, yet so far away…Maybe I will have my own back yard chickens one day.

Check out more Real Food ideas at Cheeseslave.

A Spoonful of Sugar?

July 22, 2009

grandmother tea party

I’m sure everyone remembers the Mary Poppins song that says, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…”  And obviously I understand the point of the song…sweetened medicines are more palatable and putting fun in everyday activities makes them easier.

Nevertheless, it makes me think about the REAL effects of sugar on the body.  I’m not going to link to any studies or compelling articles about how bad sugar is for you.  I have a sweet tooth.  Oh my!  I could sit down and eat an entire cake with buttercream icing ALL BY MYSELF.  I have never done it, but I could!  I told Billy recently that I keep hearing how bad sugar is and I just stick my fingers in my ears and sing “Lalalala!!!  I can’t hear you!”

However, I just can’t deny how it worsens our health.  We don’t eat many desserts for a variety of reasons, but after a sugar-laden holiday my children get sick.  Without fail.  Every.  Single.  Time. They usually end up with “sinus” trouble, which is what people on the warm, wet coast love to blame everything on.  Pretty soon that drip turns into some kind of infection and they are down for the count.

I noticed it again recently.  My oldest 2 have been going to church day camp twice a week.  On those days, they usually get several sugary treats, unlike those of us at home.  So they have gotten moderately more sugar than the rest of the family over the past few months.  A couple weeks ago, everyone started having “sinus trouble” again (allergies, apparently), but guess who ended up with infections?  Yes, the 2 who have been eating more sugar!

The first time this DID NOT happen is after our church’s Halloween alternative right after I learned one of my children is allergic to corn.  Good-bye candies made with corn syrup, which is basically all of them!  We participated in the activities, I allowed her a couple non-corn treats, let the other kids have a couple pieces of candy, emphasized the games and other fun and THREW THE REST AWAY!  It is not a waste to throw poison in the trash can!  We didn’t get sick that time.

When I eat a lot of sugar I am jittery and grouchy and sleepy.  And I get sick.

So that’s my experience with sugar or the lack of it.  We’ve always eaten far fewer sweets than most Americans, but I’m becoming more and more vigilant about kicking the habit altogether.  With a few exceptions, I’ve tried to focus on yummy seasonal fruits and lightly sweetened desserts, preferably using honey or other natural sweeteners in small amounts.  I’ll gladly eat dessert if it’s offered to me at someone else’s house, but at my house we are keeping it to a minimum!

P.S.  Don’t even get me started on the doctor’s offices who send sick kids home with a lollipop!!!!!

Check out more Real Food Wednesday at Kelly’s blog!

Housecleaning Inspiration

July 21, 2009

soda jerk n rockwell

Company’s coming tonight.  The house is a wreck.  So I put on my new Soda Shop Classics CD (which has absolutely nothing to do with housework–but it’s fun and refreshing compared to my usual classical fare…).  I’m also heading to Little Jenny Wren’s “Ideal Houswife” series to remind myself how ideal I need to be to whip this place into shape and be relaxed and ready for our friends!

Taking Meals: A Question For You!

July 19, 2009

mother family kitchen

This week I’m taking a meal to a friend whose child had serious surgery.  I’m making my standard food to share…chicken spaghetti, with some kind of veggie, bread, and bar cookies.  Nearly everyone likes it, it’s not expensive, it can be made early in the day (parts of it even the day before), and it transports fairly easily.  What’s your favorite meal to share when you take food to someone else?

Nourishing Food

July 18, 2009

girl cooking

My sister just started an awesome new blog that explores her forays into a traditional-foods lifestyle (think Nourishing Traditions).  Check it out!  She makes it so frugal and simple!

Trouble in Amish Paradise

July 17, 2009

amish buggy

I found this documentary (originally linked by Little Jenny Wren) fascinating.  It tells the story of two Amish families who begin to read the Bible for themselves and what happens to them as a result.

This is especially interesting to me because of the way I grew up.  My mom had an intense fascination with and admiration of “plain people”—the Amish and Mennonites.  Both my parents valued simplicity and hard work, characteristics that would have no doubt been part of our lives no matter what.  But there was also a sense of wanting the utopian lifestyle that’s portrayed by those who tell about the Amish.  My mom incorporated a lot of that lifestyle into our upbringing.  We wore homemade cotton dresses with aprons, used a Mennonite school curriculum, and had a lot of Amish and Mennonite pen pals.  On one hand there were some very nice things about it (skills learned, for example), but the downside is that it was quite isolating since we were not in a community that shared this way of living.

At one point we did indeed spend a few years in a group that had some similar external markers, but as one might expect, conformity comes with a high price—extreme authoritarianism.

Ultimately, as we matured, we children found fulfillment in the same things Ephraim and Jesse (the guys in the movie) did.  Although there are things to admire about various lifestyles…churches, historical eras, whatever… fulfillment ultimately came from a personal relationship with Jesus.  Check the movie out.  It’s very interesting, no matter what your spiritual persuasion.

Putting Up Peaches

July 15, 2009

woman canning

We’re putting up peaches this afternoon (freezing, not canning…although canning is nice too).  I love this summer job!  There is nothing sweeter than the steamy smell of peaches on a hot summer afternoon.

If you’ve never done it before, here’s how in a few easy steps:

1. Carefully drop ripe peaches in boiling water for one minute.

2. Plunge them into ice water for one minute.

3. The skin slides right off!

4. Slice away from the seed.  (If they are freestone—yay!)

5. Place slices in the following solution: 2qt. water, 1 T vinegar, 1 T. salt.  This keeps them from turning brown while you peel the rest of the peaches.

6. Place in 1 quart freezer bags and freeze.

7.  Enjoy a freezer full of delicious peaches for cobblers and other delights all year long!

That’s it!

Cozy Pictures

July 13, 2009

cozy scene

My mom, who’s quite the romanic, always said of certain pictures, “They just make me wish I could jump inside!”  Maybe some Mary Poppins influence there?  We all wish we could be part of certain scenes, I think.  That’s probably one reason we enjoy art.  It’s a window into a world we inhabit in our imaginations.

Anyway, I felt just that way when I saw this cozy scene.  The rhythm of daily work is present, as well as quiet activities and creative pursuits.  Without romanticizing the past, it speaks of a slower and less crowded life than we lead today.  The sweet part is that it is possible to recreate elements of simple domestic pictures like this one.  Daily tasks must be done, I can make time to be creative, and I find that when I leave the TV off my children enjoy doing projects together much more.  Here’s to a peaceful day!

Customizing!

July 12, 2009

mother son porch

I finally decided to stop hoping I could go back to blogger and just figure out WordPress, which I find much more challenging.  I had never used a computer before I married, so I am way behind on techie stuff and have just had to be taught or teach myself as I go along.  I determined to make my WordPress blog the way I really wanted it (similar my old Blogger blog, basically…which I had just re-done…).  I was going to seek help from a WordPress expert friend, but as I poked around I found that my needs were fairly straightforward and I really could figure it out myself!  It took a lot of digging and patience, but it’s finally coming together.  Of course, I have gotten nothing else done this morning.  Good thing I am home from church with sick babies.  Otherwise I would really have no excuse to spend the morning blogging!  The blog is finally feeling like home!  More updates to come…And a vintage book giveaway soon…Stay tuned!

Here’s where I found out how to put a picture in the sidebar.