Sunday, December 19, 2010

Heheheheh . . .

I had no idea Hunt's was dipping its toe into electronics . . .

This was a nice spot in a somewhat stressful day the other day.  I don't know how the Hunt's ketchup ended up as #1 in my search results for an external DVD burner (quick tip: Apple's SuperDrives are VERY poorly named), but it sure is great.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Small Pig is back!

Finally, Arnold Lobel's Classics (he's one of my favorite children's book illustrators/authors) are back in print!  (And you can often get used library binding editions for about the same price as a new paperback.)

I'm so glad my old copy of Small Pig is now replaceable.  My children love that story.  Now, if they would just reprint Prince Bertram the Bad . . .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Every Teacher An Artist

In the heart of an artist lies passion.  Passion achieve, passion to excel.  Whether artistry lies in visual medium, written word, audible expressions, in the act of teaching, or in some other arena, every teacher must be an artist, else education dies in utero as students are taught boredom instead of curiosity, plodding instead of enthusiasm, apathy instead of passion. through the indomitable lesson of example.

     "Passion occurs when we engage with energy in accomplishing great things, though they may seem small or simple at the time.  While most people seek peace, comfort and security, those with a Leadership Education understand that the place of leaders is in the middle of change and even crisis.  Living and working with passion means that you thrive in times of challenge as well as peace.  An education that creates life-long passion is worth every bit of effort and study; anything less falls short."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No Predeterministic Parenting

One if the most important missions I have as a parent is to learn what it is my children love and dream and want, and to help them achieve it.  Whether it's discovering what they would really like for Christmas, or helping them to explore something which has piqued their curiosity.  I need to be in tune with them, with their questions and desires, and let them know that those questions and needs are valid and important . . . not superimpose my own wishes from childhood on them.

Friday, December 10, 2010


My brain needs exercise.  (So does my body, but I've still got two weeks of post-partum recovery before I can do much of that.)

I was reading Seth Godin's blog tonight, and then it hit me, as I read this post: I want to blog like Seth does.  He's mindful, and thoughtful, and shares (in succinct and clear ways) his thoughts.  Most of his posts are short (really short).  Some are longer, and deserve to be.  Many of them pose questions of some kind.  But they're all really, really good.  (Granted, he has written a dozen books (maybe more--I'm not counting), and has blogged for years, so he's got something on me there . . . )

But I can think, too.

I can read more of his blog. (Good writing rubs off.)

And I can be more mindful--and blog it.

So, here an experiment: Blog like Seth.  I wonder if I can turn it into a movement? ;o)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mmmmm . . . Ice Cream

Chocolate Silk

2 cans Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
1 1/4 c. Blue Diamond almond milk -- unsweetened
1/2 t xanthan gum
4 T raw cacao powder
4 T raw agave nectar
40 drops Stevita Stevia
2 t 2x Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract
3/4 t peppermint extract
1/2 t RealSalt

Mix it all together well, and put it to chill in your ice cream maker.  I'm going to sprinkle sliced almonds on top this time . . . and maybe some shredded coconut.

Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, egg-free . . . I can eat it! :o)

This would make an awesome base (omitting the peppermint extract) for all kinds of chocolate decadence. Sub orange extract, or add in chopped pecans (or praline pecans!), try coconut extract/flavoring . . . or go the fruit route by adding in fresh or thawed blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries.  I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one . . .

Monday, November 22, 2010


Would the folks who brought the stomach flu to church please stop it?  The rule of thumb is a full 24 hours symptom-free.  (Not "Well, s/he was sick last night, but today looks just fine.")

I have family in town (like many of you).  My brother and his family flew at great expense from Texas to spend the holiday with us, my parents, and my other brother & his family.  We only get to see them once every couple of years, and their visits are precious.  He and his wife have three small children, the oldest of which (at 4 years old) dearly loves to play with her cousins--which cousins are currently either running fevers or vomiting all over the place . . . and they played with my niece today (before they showed any symptoms).  It's looking like not only will any of my family be unable to attend the Thanksgiving celebration, but if my niece and her brothers were given the bug today, then they won't be able to, either.  Talk about a waste of a trip.  Instead of a wonderful holiday together, we've got stomach-churning messes to clean up.

I have a brand-new baby in the house, who hasn't been vomiting (praise heaven), but has been really fussy and hasn't slept much all day.  I'm beginning to wonder if he's got it, too.

I'm so short on sleep as it is . . . and instead of being able to go to bed tonight, I've been cleaning up various regurgitations.  It's now nearly eleven o'clock, and I'm feeling pretty frustrated.  Please, think next time before you bring recently-ill children to church.  (Even if it is the Primary Program that week, and you don't want your child to miss out on presenting his or her part . . . the consequences are just too unfair for those of us who stay home when we're sick, and trust that others will, too.)

Thank you.  I now return to my regularly-scheduled clean-up efforts . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

He's here . . .

Mother and baby are doing fine. :o)
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recently Overheard

Lil'MissL: Mom, when I grow up, I'm not going to buy any grenades.

Me (with relief): Oh, that's good.

MissE: I don't think they sell them to kids.

Vern: Nope, not at Wal-Mart . . .

Friday, November 12, 2010

In honor of Remembrance Day

Here's to more role models.

(What's Remembrance Day?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pend Orielle Bay Trail -- Please help out!

I love Lake Pend Orielle, and the small communities that surround it.  Right now there is a partial trail that individuals and various organizations (both governmental and private) are working to complete, and make it safe and truly pedestrian/bicycle friendly.  Currently traversing the trail involves crossing the railroad tracks (not too tricky for adults, but hazardous for children), and it's not signed at a couple of crucial points.  Sandpoint declares itself to be a walking town, but it has been interesting to me to note there isn't any support for alternative traffic outside of the somewhat overactive ticket-doling downtown when motorists don't manage to stop in time when a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk when the motorist is too close to stop safely (i.e. without hazarding an accident by being rear-ended).

Providing access along the waterfront would be such a great addition to the community here . . . if you've got talents or abilities (or, as always, funds) you could donate to help the Pend Orielle Bay Trail effort, please go fill out one of these and send it in.  Here is the comprehensive plan, which details the current state of things, the proposed changes and features of the trail, and how it would be taken care of down the road. I think it's well-planned, and look forward to using the trail if it makes it to completion.  Even if the community must fund it out of their pockets . . . I'd be glad to help pay for it myself.

I dearly hope this project doesn't go the way of the bypass, and take nearly 60 years to get underway.  I want to be able to use this with my children when we visit!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A word to the wise.

If you make yourself a set of blocking wires, and a nifty PVC pipe capped on both ends to keep them in, if you don't open it for a couple of years, the caps will. not. come. off.

At least, nothing I've tried yet has worked.  Any ideas?

Monday, August 9, 2010

If you haven't tried out Blogger's new template designer . . .

you should.  It's pretty decent.

Still a little short on actual templates, but all the tools are there to make the ones they do have pretty interesting.  I was in the mood for a little more color . . . and I love it that I don't have to worry about losing all of my sidebar gadgets, etc., when I change things up.

In other news, it's fairly hot here.  I'm getting by without a/c, 6.5 months pregnant.  Mostly just tired, and feeling akin to a beluga whale. ;o)

Have a great day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Feeling crafty?

A good friend of mine just opened a sweet little Etsy shop, selling patterns for her adorable little soft toys.  They're quick, easy projects, and you couldn't deal with a sweeter, more lovely person.  Do go check it out:

All In Jest

She's only got four patterns so far, but they're all really fun. :o)  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh, woman, contrary is thy name . . .

So, I have the hardest time knitting with alpaca laceweight.  I've tried (and frogged) a number of projects, from a simple feather & fan scarf to an aborted Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl.  So, would you please tell me why it is that I happen to have 8,333 yards of 100% alpaca laceweight in my stash?  Hmmmm?

I must be more of a sucker for a good hand than I thought. ;o)

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Fitting Post for Today

As today is my birthday, I'm doing my very best not to do anything I don't want to do. :o)  Including blogging. lol  However, this article was too good not to share.  Please do read it, as it's right on the money.

And have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something with Substance

Sooooo . . . it has been a while.

(Now I'll tell you some things you don't already know. ;o)

We're expecting #6.  Yeah.  It was a shock to us, too.  I'm about 19 weeks along, and just really getting used to the idea.  Anyone know if you can get a bench seat for the front row of a Honda Odyssey?

The powerful advent of morning sickness signaled a significant pause in our raw diet adventure.  Thusfar it has been a four month pause, but we'll see what happens.  I'm not feeling as good as I did while raw, (duh), but I did what was necessary (considering the circumstances in my life right then), and I feel good about my choice . . . especially because I can change it at any time.

We've managed to make some progress on getting the site work done at the farm. (That's what I'm calling our homesite and surrounding property.  We'll see if it sticks.)  We lost three months' progress (and sight of our dream for that time) in late winter/early spring due to an out-of-area health department inspector denying us a reasonable assessment during the perc test; but as it turns out, that hasn't really changed much, because it's STILL a bog out there due to the nearly-constant rain we've had.  (Rain nearly daily since March . . . I think Mother Nature is trying to make up for an unusually snowless winter.)  We've taken a bid for putting in the road, and we're currently reviewing bids for the concrete work.  Bids for the septic system are under review.  Once site work actually begins, I'll have photos to share.

The house plan is coming along fairly well . . . we're refining things we've already decided on, and working out kinks in the new story-and-a-half version.  It'll be cozy, but that's the point.  A home that will fit all of us without putting us in bondage for nearly times the cost of the home.  (Making reasonable assumptions, we would be paying 2.8 times the cost of our home with a 30-year mortgage.  No way, Jose.  Paying $504,080 for a $180,000 loan is just not in the cards.)

In other home-related news, our landlord is the best we've ever had.  He gave us permission to put eight small raised beds in the backyard, and we've been eating salad and greens from them for about a week now.  (Yummmmmmm.)  I also have a brand-spanking-new dryer vent.  The old one was the no-no-big-time-fire-hazard-white-vinyl installed when the house was build fifteen years ago, and never cleaned.  If my dryer's high-limit thermostat hadn't worked as intended, shutting off the dryer's heating element before the vent caught fire, I'd have been blogging to a very different tune by now.  The "we're all okay, but we've lost everything in the fire" refrain.  Photos and details and an illustrative video will ensue.

I've just finished a beginning weaving class, which I really enjoyed.  It was with Kristie of the Weaving Room at Bluster Bay Woodworks, and she did a great job.  (Being a textiles teacher at the University of Alaska for a couple decades helps with that.)  I have an eight-foot scarf woven in decently-recognizable herringbone tweed to show for it, and quite a few hours logged on Schacht's new Wolf Pup loom.  I really do enjoy weaving, and would love to do more . . . but I'm not taking on any new hobbies/tasks/adventures until after the house is built and my impending mother-of-a-newborn status has passed.  Home construction is a full-time endeavor; adding a new baby to that is going to be interesting. ;o)  When the time comes, though, that I purchase a loom, it will probably be either a Wolf Pup or a Baby Wolf.  The Pup has a few disadvantages (like harnesses that are at the complete upper limit of width without a center support), but it's a great "little" loom with a really conservative footprint, and I found it very easy to use.

I'm just coming out of a verrrrrry long stint with a sinus infection.  Like two weeks.  Nasty bug, that one, that brought it on.  Vern and MrC are still working on kicking it.  One great serendipity, though, was I got several solid days of knitting in while stuck on the couch, directing traffic.  (Thanks so much, Mom, for helping so much!)  I've knit two WHW Trim Soakers, one adorable Owlie Sleep Sack set,  and I'm finishing up my fourth pair of Nifty Knickers.  (A bottom-up version, which will be posted for free in my Rav pattern store soon.) Photos and more info to come, as well as Rav project entries for all of the above.  (Those are Ravelry links, so anyone reading who hasn't yet signed up at Ravelry, please feel free.  There's no longer any waiting. :o)  Newborn knitting is just so fun and fast; you use incredibly luscious yarns, on teensy tiny sweet little things, and get to finish really fast.  It's a beautiful thing.

I've been dreaming about starting a Granny Stripes Afghan, crocheting along with Lucy of Attic24, but haven't yet found a natural fiber DK-weight yarn that will survive my daughter and leave me with a penny to my name.  It's got to be less than about $6.50/4oz, be less than 50% acrylic, and have a wide range of brilliant colors.  Any ideas?

Hmmmm . . . what else?  Those seem to be "the biggies", as my Mom would say.  I've just been feeling in just a little over my head, but have been provided with a tremendous amount of help, in many forms.  (Thanks so much, Mom . . . )  And now that I've given you the debriefing, I've got an outline for the next half dozen posts or so.  I love it when that happens . . .

Hopefully I'll get back to blogging a little more regularly.  I've always got thoughts running through my head, complete with ideas for photos and posts, but time all-too often simply does not allow.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of a Ravatar*

ENGLISH: A language that lurks in dark alleys, beats up other languages, and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary.

Mwah-ha-hah-haaaaa . . . .

*A Raveler's avatar.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Reasons Why I Homeschool: #15

A basic understanding of geology is already a part of their education. Guam doesn't float.

My apologies for the painful experience listening to that video . . . but the best part was the Marine officer's response: "We don't anticipate that . . . " His self-control far exceeded what I would have been able to maintain . . .

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why I Homeschool: Reason #37

Every time I turn around, I'm reading a blog post by a mother whose child's behavioral/emotional problems (often severe) were completely eradicated by keeping them home.  Every other time I turn around, I'm hearing from someone I know how their child was literally saved by homeschooling . . . how at school they either had already completed or were in the process of becoming someone completely different from who they were (drastic personality changes for the worse, social influences taking them on paths 180-degrees from their parents' guidance, etc), and once they stopped the school attendance, their beloved child reemerged.

Just talking to DawnEtta, an old and solid friend from another town, during a chance meeting at the store, I learned that her junior-high-aged daughter will not be attending high school in their small town.  And that her elementary-aged daughter would not even be attending junior high, as she has watched that very thing happen with other children.

The answer to family problems is not distance.  It is proximity.  Increased time together.  Firm limits.  Plenty of time to talk and connect.  And the elimination of the influences which were destroying your child.  DawnEtta is taking preemptive action to ensure her daughters' emotional and psychological safety--and I applaud her for it.

Parents, if your child is struggling at school (or struggling, period), don't think for a second that the limited time in the evenings and weekends will be sufficient to rescue them.  While in college, I ran across a quote that I'll never forget:

"If you spend 15 minutes a day with God, and 16 hours on stuff, is it any wonder that stuff is more real than God?"

We each determine our own reality by where we choose to focus our time.  This is as true for children as it is for adults . . . but vitally more influential as they are still making life-determining choices in their development which determine their world view.  Those choices can be reset, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  More time than we have in the evenings and weekends.  The pull of peers is frighteningly strong . . . and it's positively horrifying if our children have chosen peers that actively pull them away from the ideals and standards we have worked so hard to instill.

When children spend eight-plus hours each day in company with their peers, and a total of two or three actually in our presence*, is it any wonder that the world their peers present is more real than ours?

*Even though children may spend nearly the same number of hours away from school as at school, those hours are eaten up by personal pursuits, extra-curricular activities, TV/video/computer/screen time, showering, texting/talking on the phone with friends, etc.  If lucky, families of school-attending children get two hours of good "face time" together each day between meals and conscious and careful use of evenings.

Once a child has chosen peers who pull counter to their family's healthy culture, even moving them to a new school (or moving the family to a new city) doesn't usually do the trick . . . for the child will seek out similar peers in their new environment.

Parents, please, invest in your children.  If you see your child struggling, don't leave them in the maw of the social dynamic at school, where they are either being showered with (or choosing to drink from) an emotional cesspool.  Bring them home.  Love them.  Keep them close . . . even if it takes months for them to stop being resentful for taking away all of the things which they had chosen to define themselves.  It is the job of a parent to guide their children, providing clearly defined and rock-hard limits, so each child can learn and grow towards a happy and healthy adulthood.

Sometimes our children want what's not only not good, but actively damaging for them.  We don't let them drink anti-freeze, so why should we allow them to continue (or, heaven forbid, facilitate!) their destructive behavior?

(Please note: this is written from my perspective: that of a devout Christian mother.  Whatever your beliefs, studies have shown that children taught strong ethics and given a well-defined framework (whether religious or not) from which to understand the world tend to grow into much stronger, more confident adults.  I welcome questions and opposing views, so long as they are structured respectfully and constructively.  Calling me bigoted and narrow-minded might make you feel better, but it does nothing to help me understand what your issue might be, or how we could continue the dialogue in such a way as to come to a better understanding.  Thank you.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why I Unschool

"If every child was unschooled -- given the chance to explore and discover and learn in the real world what they love to do, what they're uniquely good at doing, and what the world needs that they care about -- then we would have a world of self-confident, creative, informed, empowered, networked entrepreneurs doing work that needs to be done, successfully. We would have armies of people collaborating to solve the problems and crises facing our world, instead of going home exhausted at the end of the day seeking escape, feeling helpless to do anything that is meaningful to them or to the world. We would have a world of producers instead of consumers, a world of abundance instead of scarcity, a world of diversity instead of what Terry Glavin calls "a dark and gathering sameness". We would have a world of young people choosing their lives instead of taking what they can get, what they can afford, what is offered to them. We would have a world of people who are nobody-but-themselves, and who know who they are, and how to live and make a living for themselves."

--Dave Pollard, An Unschooling Manifesto

That is the kind of human being unschooling produces.  Those are the children I am raising to adulthood, one at a time.  I can only influence a few human beings in my lifetime . . . why would I send those over whom I have the most influence into an environment that has, so crushingly and universally, turned out exactly what our "Real World" does not need?

As Sir Ken Robinson so astutely stated, the children going into school now will be retiring in 2075.  None of us have the faintest idea what the world will look like then.  Honestly, there aren't many who belong to the older generations (or my own, for that matter) who really understand what the world is like right now.  Educating our children in a structure designed by 19th Century Prussian socialists to turn out obedient public servants is one of the highest disservices we can offer our children in the name of preparing them for the "real world".  The classroom has its place . . . but only in small and measured doses, and when the student chooses freely to go . . . and is free at any time to leave.

The Real World I was warned about, educated for, and made to worry about in my own schooling doesn't exist for me.  It never has.  It was the Real World of my high school teachers . . . and even if there are some for whom that world construct still serves, it never served for me.  I have always chosen to remain outside of it.  The dark and gathering sameness has never attracted me.  The dawning light of new understanding, the striving and sweating to reach new heights, the call of a better way that the limping gait of culture have always kept me forging ahead elsewhere.

Each of us makes our own Real World, full of possibilities, priorities, paths and pastimes.  Why on earth should we be educated identically?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Randonimity

Just a friendly reminder: this blog is a reflection of parts of my life.  (Mostly the hobby and intellectual pursuits parts.)  It has been random most of the time, filled with whatever I happen to be doing.  I hope that those of you who may have gotten on board way back when for knitting content have found things to interest you, and those who are along for the ride are enjoying it.  I know I am. :o)

Onward and upwards, friends.  Who knows what will be next?

Some laughs on a sunny day.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

epic fail- Comcast Fail
see more Epic Fails

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

And finally, yet one MORE reason to keep your kids OUT of the public schools:

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Even if you're not a grammar whiz, you can show your children how to use the Grammar Checker. ;o)

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This is How I Know.

My kids learn what they need to know, and it's easy to see it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Down with Schooling, Up with Education!

Quote of the day, by John Taylor Gatto:

"From a system perspective, schooling makes a neatly manageable mass. Education makes efficient but dangerous men and women."

Here's to dangerous men and women. :o)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

RS&RB in CDA!!!

Hey everyone who lives anywhere close to me . . . one of my favorite bands of all time, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, is coming to both Spokane and Coeur d' Alene weekend after next.  Advance tickets are $2 less, and the CDA venue is only about 400 seats, so we're not waiting until we get there to buy ours.

The details and ticket purchase info are linked above (click on the city name for each event page), and here's an intro to RS&RB, in case you haven't yet experienced their music.  (Just too much fun . . . I love it!)

Here's another fun video that only has a link:

And if you want more Shupe, here's Facebook, their blog, and the official RS&RB Site.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hard, hard work.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time working on our ever-evolving house plan.  Things are coming along (sorry, but I'm not going to post floor plans online . . . that just weirds me out for some reason), and I got to spend more time than was probably necessary "researching" studio/craft room layout and renovations.  I discovered some very definite trends in the images that drew me.

1. Even though the decorating fashionistas say colored walls are going the way of the dinosaur, I love clear, clean, bright, airy blues and greens with white, ivory or black cabinetry.

2.  I must have concealed/restful-to-the-eye storage.  Kitchen cabinetry, closets, workstations with cabinets and drawers, etc.  In order to feel creative and peaceful, I can't be looking at every craft item I own.  I've discovered I'm a very visual person, so while it's really important for me to be able to see what I have at a glance, most of it simply must be behind closed doors.

3.  At least a 10' x 12' room for the work surface necessary for really thorough scrapping/crafting/sewing/etc, and for friends to come over and "play".  12'x 12' would be wonderful.  (I know a lot of you are probably thinking "Only 12' x 12'? That's tiny!", but when we've got five children to house as well (and Vern really needs an office to facilitate pay for all of this) I find it hard to insist on a room that's as large as one of the childrens' bedrooms.  (It'll probably end up being larger than the master bedroom, though! lol)

Here are some of my favorites . . . (now, if One Pretty Thing would just post another Craft Room Redo roundup!)  I'll start with the rooms who have elements I really love.

Cathe Holden's creative space, from a profile at Craft.

I was kind of surprised that I liked this one, because it's definitely the busiest of my favorites.  I just love the color, and the way she uses vintage mail sorters and card catalog files to provide homes for everything.

Yvonne's Bright White Sewing Room, at Apartment Therapy.

I've discovered that I just love bookcases with square cubbies.  I can hardly bear it. lol  I'll have to make my own out of green plywood (no voc-glues are a must around here).  I won't have a basement space (her transformation is incredible!), but I love the way she makes things large, clean, and bright with lots of white.

Here's one from the Handmade Spaces Flickr Pool, belonging to Lavender and Limes, featured on the Modish blog.

Pink walls and another Ikea bookcase.  Sigh . . . lovely.

And now, onto the winners in the "Overall Look and Feel" category.  In no particular order:

HGTV had a great little collection of rooms I adored.  Here's the first, from Ingregory, whose photo was on Rate My Space (HGTV sure made it hard to link to these! Sorry I couldn't give better attribution):

The incredibly blue, set off by the restful black cabinetry and desk, are simply lovely.

Next up is Nichole's efficient and excellently-designed small-room makeover.  (This was a 9' x 10' bedroom!)

You need to head over to her blog to see more photos . . . she posted tons of them, and showed off her excellent use of cabinetry, keeping a very small space feeling open and uncluttered.  I simply <3 her arrangement here.

Wookiemouse had a photo on HGTV, with more cabinets.  I love the shiny chrome-topped jars in her glass-fronted cabinets.

And Valentine's Stampin' Space gave me some excellent ideas . . . the banks of Very Useful Boxes, and slim shelves with chubby little spice bottles filled my deep inner need for abundance in a most satisfying way. ;o)

I found Valentine's craft space at the Crafty Storage blog . . . and I could get lost there for days . . . 

Vanessa Coppola's space really profiled over at Craft appeals to me, too.

 (Although I must admit that her glossy green songbird and macro shot of pinchable-chubby Ikea spice jars were home runs. :o)

And finally, I've saved my absolute favorite for last.  Kari's lovely room at her blog Spring Chick Designs.

Some of you may recognize that photo . . . it was on Ikea Hacker, Apartment Therapy, and probably a few more.  You need to go check out her space, and see what a wonderful place it is . . . and all in a 12' x 12' room, too.  (She gives me hope.)

And finally, what started all of this was an old article in a Creative Home Magazine (sadly now discontinued, sniffle, sniffle), of a living room makeover that included a crafting corner. I've got this one filed under "Craft Room of my Dreams". :o)

It's a smallish-scan, but it gives you an idea.  While it's no longer my all-time favorite (Kari's and Nichole's are my top two.)  And, while I won't post a floor plan, you can bet your bobbins I'll post photos of finished spaces in a year or so when the whole thing is done!

So, with these percolating in my head, I'm off to try to make something of my Saturday morning . . . wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Calling all Pun-lovers

I love it. :o)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Be not faint of heart . . .

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend a special series of meetings, essentially a micro-conference, for the women in my stake.  Titled "The Divine Light Within", I was able to attend an opening and closing service and three smaller classes in between, and came away fairly glowing with the spirit of what was said, and the powerful principles of which I had been reminded.  The following quote was shared in a class titled "Be Happy Anyway," and is probably the most memorable quote of the day.  Spoken by Elder Neil A. Maxwell in the April 1991 General Conference, it rings with his distinctive sincerity, love, and piercing clarity:

"Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, 'Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!'" (From "Lest ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds", by Elder Neil A. Maxwell).

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  (But I hope it won't be that long 'til I post again . . . :o)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bob's Red Mill Owner Gives Away Company

This man knows what it means to be a Christian.  (You'll have no idea what I'm talking about unless you read that link. :o)

And, lest you think I'm anti-freedom, let me explain.

The Law of Moses, which for most of my life I just thought to be a bunch of nanny-laws and mindless restrictions (such as detailing the number of steps you can go on the Sabbath, unless it's to retrieve something you've lost or dropped), is in actuality a body of laws teaching only one thing: lovingly care for one another (a.k.a. no greediness allowed!).  A prime example:  

"In passing through any field or vineyard in Israel, anyone was free to take what he needed if he was hungry (as the Lord and the apostles did; Mark 2:23); if the owner denied him that, he was breaking the law; if the person took more than he needed for lunch, then he was breaking the law–it was still manna (Deuteronomy 23:24–25). When gathering harvest, said the law, never go back to make sure that you have taken all the olives, grapes, or grain of your farm to the barn or to the press. That may be sound business practice, but the Lord forbids it. Some of it must always be left for those who might need it. From the wine and olive presses we get the word "extortion," meaning to squeeze out the last drop, another way to make a margin of profit–putting the squeeze on, wringing out the last drop. The Latter–day Saints, like the ancient Israelites, are to accept God's gifts gratefully and not "by extortion" (D&C 59:20)."

(Quoted from an awesome resource for understanding this concept further. Hit "Page Down" four times to "Moses Distributes the Lunch".  Quote is the 11th paragraph of that section.)

In our highly-industrialized modern world, it is more difficult to do this, as money is such a touchy subject and a highly corruptible thing.  It's a lot harder to turn a loaf of bread or a home-cooked dinner into a pint of whiskey or a joint of marijuana than it is to turn money into such a thing.  But I think that Bob Moore has the story straight.  His original plan was to retire to Oregon a couple decades ago and learn to read the Bible in its original languages . . . but I think that he has done far more good in the world by listening to the desire born in him and building Bob's Red Mill into what it is today.  Now, the employees not only have a way to feed their families as the years go by, but have a guaranteed retirement plan when they're done working, essentially being bought out when they retire.  I think that's tremendous.  And Bob's got a good few years left in him to help them transition and to see that his plans are executed in the spirit in which they were given. :o)

Good job, Bob.  The world needs more men like you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Farmhouse Dreaming: Dining Room Inspiration

So, as I've begun to work on home plans, often wanting to bang my head against a real brick wall, instead of an energetic/emotional one, I've started collecting images for inspiration, to remind me what I want to plan for, and why this whole process is going to be So. Worth. It.

Here are two of my favorite contenders for dining room storage, images scanned from an old Pottery Barn catalog that fell as one of the casualties of one of our many moves.  (And Pottery Barn should thank me for posting these, as it's free advertising for their Logan Collection.)  I absolutely looooove the robin's egg blue china in the first one . . .

I love the simple lines, and the way that the monochromatic dishes turn into sculptures on the shelf.

And, thanks to Ana* over at Knock Off Wood, I'll be building this myself . . . either from her plans, or ones I modify from coordinating plans she has already done, if she doesn't have all of these components planned out by the time I need them. :o)

(*Why is it that a couple of my favorite bloggers have names similar to mine? Hmmm? I think it's a sign. We of the clan of An(n)a are pretty cool. ;o)
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Babies are the same the world over . . .

as this home video shows. :o)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Night I Met Einstein, by Jerome Weidman

When I was a very young man, just beginning to make my way, I was invited to dine at the home of a distinguished New York philanthropist. After dinner our hostess led us to an enormous drawing room. Other guests were pouring in, and my eyes beheld two unnerving sights: servants were arranging small gilt chairs in long, neat rows; and up front, leaning against the wall, were musical instruments. Apparently I was in for an evening of Chamber music.

I use the phrase “in for” because music meant nothing to me. I am almost tone deaf. Only with great effort can I carry the simplest tune, and serious music was to me no more than an arrangement of noises. So I did what I always did when trapped: I sat down and when the music started I fixed my face in what I hoped was an expression of intelligent appreciation, closed my ears from the inside and submerged myself in my own completely irrelevant thoughts.

After a while, becoming aware that the people around me were applauding, I concluded it was safe to unplug my ears. At once I heard a gentle but surprisingly penetrating voice on my right.
“You are fond of Bach?” the voice said.

I knew as much about Bach as I know about nuclear fission. But I did know one of the most famous faces in the world, with the renowned shock of untidy white hair and the ever-present pipe between the teeth. I was sitting next to Albert Einstein.

“Well,” I said uncomfortably, and hesitated. I had been asked a casual question. All I had to do was be I equally casual in my reply. But I could see from the look in my neighbor’s extraordinary eyes that their owner was not merely going through the perfunctory duties of elementary politeness. Regardless of what value I placed on my part in the verbal exchange, to this man his part in it mattered very much. Above all, I could feel that this was a man to whom you did not tell a lie, however small.

“I don’t know anything about Bach,” I said awkwardly. “I’ve never heard any of his music.”
A look of perplexed astonishment washed across Einstein’s mobile face.

“You have never heard Bach?”
He made it sound as though I had said I’d never taken a bath.

“It isn’t that I don’t want to like Bach,” I replied hastily. “It’s just that I’m tone deaf, or almost tone deaf, and I’ve never really heard anybody’s music.”

A look of concern came into the old man’s face. “Please,” he said abruptly, “You will come with me?”

He stood up and took my arm. I stood up. As he led me across that crowded room I kept my embarrassed glance fixed on the carpet. A rising murmur of puzzled speculation followed us out into the hall. Einstein paid no attention to it.

Resolutely he led me upstairs. He obviously knew the house well. On the floor above he opened the door into a book-lined study, drew me in and shut the door.

“Now,” he said with a small, troubled smile. “You will tell me, please, how long you have felt this way about music?”

“All my life,” I said, feeling awful. “I wish you would go back downstairs and listen, Dr. Einstein. The fact that I don’t enjoy it doesn’t matter.”

He shook his head and scowled, as though I had introduced an irrelevance.

“Tell me, please,” he said. “Is there any kind of music that you do like?”

“Well,” I answered, “I like songs that have words, and the kind of music where I can follow the tune.”

He smiled and nodded, obviously pleased. “You can give me an example, perhaps?”

“Well,” I ventured, “almost anything by Bing Crosby.”

He nodded again, briskly. “Good!”

He went to a corner of the room, opened a phonograph and started pulling out records. I watched him uneasily. At last he beamed. “Ah!” he said.

He put the record on and in a moment the study was filled with the relaxed, lilting strains of Bing Crosby’s “When the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day.” Einstein beamed at me and kept time with the stem of his pipe. After three or four phrases he stopped the phonograph.

“Now,” he said. “Will you tell me, please, what you have just heard?”

The simplest answer seemed to be to sing the lines. I did just that, trying desperately to stay on tune and keep my voice from cracking. The expression on Einstein’s face was like the sunrise.

“You see!” he cried with delight when I finished. “You do have an ear!”
I mumbled something about this being one of my favorite songs, something I had heard hundreds of times, so that it didn’t really prove anything.

“Nonsense!” said Einstein. “It proves everything! Do you remember your first arithmetic lesson in school? Suppose, at your very first contact with numbers, your teacher had ordered you to work out a problem in, say, long division or fractions. Could you have done so?”

“No, of course not.”

“Precisely!” Einstein made a triumphant wave with his pipestem. “It would have been impossible and you would have reacted in panic. you would have closed your mind to long division and fractions. As a result, because of that one small mistake by your teacher, it is possible your whole life you would be denied the beauty of long division and fractions.”  The pipestem went up and out in another wave.  “But on your first day no teacher would be so foolish. He would start you with elementary things--then, when you had acquired skill with the simplest problems, he would lead you up to long division and to fractions. So it is with music.” Einstein picked up the Bing Crosby record. “This simple, charming little song is like simple addition or subtraction. You have mastered it. Now we go on to something more complicated.”

He found another record and set it going. The golden voice of John McCormack singing “The Trumpeter” filled the room. After a few lines Einstein stopped the record.

“So!” he said. “You will sing that back to me, please?”

I did--with a good deal of selfconsciousness but with, for me, a surprising degree of accuracy. Einstein stared at me with a look on his face that I had seen only once before in my life: on the face of my father as he listened to me deliver the valedictory address at my high school graduation.

“Excellent!” Einstein remarked when I finished. “Wonderful! Now this!”

“This” proved to be Caruso in what was to me a completely unrecognizable fragment from “Cavalleria Rusticana.” Nevertheless, I managed to reproduce an approximation of the sounds the famous tenor had made. Einstein beamed his approval.

Caruso was followed by at least a dozen others. I could not shake my feeling of awe over the way this great man, into whose company I had been thrown by chance, was completely preoccupied by what we were doing, as though I were his sole concern.

We came at last to recordings of music without words, which I was instructed to reproduce by humming. When I reached for a high note, Einstein’s mouth opened and his head went back as if to help me attain what seemed unattainable. Evidently I came close enough, for he suddenly turned off the phonograph.

“Now, young man,” he said, putting his arm through mine. “We are ready for Bach!”

As we returned to our seats in the drawing room, the players were tuning up for a new selection. Einstein smiled and gave me a reassuring pat on the knee.

“Just allow yourself to listen,” he whispered. “That is all.”

It wasn’t really all, of course. Without the effort he had just poured out for a total stranger I would never have heard, as I did that night for the first time in my life, Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.” I have heard it many times since. I don’t think I shall ever tire of it. Because I never listen to it alone. I am sitting beside a small, round man with a shock of untidy white hair, a dead pipe clamped between his teeth, and eyes that contain in their extraordinary warmth all the wonder of the world.

When the concert was finished I added my genuine applause to that of the others. Suddenly our hostess confronted us. “I’m so sorry, Dr. Einstein,” she said with an icy glare at me, “that you missed so much of the performance.”

Einstein and I came hastily to our feet. “I am sorry, too,” he said. “My young friend here and I, however, were engaged in the greatest activity of which man is capable.”

She looked puzzled. “Really?” she said. “And what is that?”

Einstein smiled and put his arm across my shoulders. And he uttered ten words that--for at least one person who is in his endless debt--are his epitaph:

“Opening up yet another fragment of the frontier of beauty.”

--Jerome Weidman

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Simple way to avoid SIDS

I've never been asked to face the challenge of losing a child.  Miscarriage, yes.  Death of one of my children, no. My heart goes out to those who have lost a tiny, precious member of their family to SIDS.  And that's why I'm posting this short article.

Please read it.  I'll wait right here.

Wrapping a baby's mattress is such a simple thing to do.  Whether or not you've lost a baby to SIDS, you have nothing to lose.  The materials are inexpensive for DIY'ers, and it's dead-simple to do.  If you don't have a tiny baby, please post this on your blog so more parents can know that they have a simple way to protect their babies from the dangerous gases that cause SIDS.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lately Overheard

Between my 4yo, Lil'MissL, and her 4yo friend, MissM:

MissM: "I got this hat fow Chrwistmas. It was made fwom an Indian in Pewu."

Lil'MissL: "Huh? Then how did you get it to your house?"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good for a gray day.

These two were so tuckered out from something or other . . .

Hope your day is a good one!
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

So. Random.

I have about fifty blog posts run through my head in a given day.  And time for about .374 posts/day.

I love books.  Right now I would love to tell Amazon to send me about fourteen.  My juvenile library is pathetic, and already exhausted.  But.  I currently have no library, so they would need to live in cardboard boxes until I build one.  Which will probably not be finished until about a year from now.  I think the kids and I are going to the library today.  Very, very soon.

I'm an ENFJ. Vern is an INTJ.  (Supposedly we're really ill-matched. ;o)  Luckily, knowing how our personalities differ makes it possible for us to eke out an existence together.

What are you?

Monday, January 18, 2010

If you'd like to help, but don't know quite how . . .

If you'd like to help with the disaster efforts in Haiti, I would encourage you do to so.  Here are two ways you can:

1) Donate to the LDS Humanitarian Aid Fund.  100% of donations go to disaster relief, and we have one of the world's best track records in actually getting the supplies to those who need them.

2) Donate to Doctors Without Borders via the Yarn Harlot's Knitters Without Borders campaign.  I highly respect DWB and what they do, and if you're not comfortable donating to an organization with a religious affiliation, this is the one I recommend.

While I don't have TV/Cable, I understand that damage in Port au Prince is devastating.  Please, take a minute to think about something you could easily go without buying this next week or month, and then go make a donation.  The babies being born in Port au Prince, those who are just being found after days of entrapment in rubble, and countless others will be blessed by your small sacrifice.

I live such a blessed, easy, prosperous life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

And THAT's the Rest of the Story . . .

Curtis & Leroy saw an ad in the Starkville Daily News Newspaper in Starkville, MS and bought a mule for $100.  The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day.  The next morning the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry, fellows, I have some bad news, the mule died last night."

Curtis & Leroy replied, "Well, then just give us our money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."

They said, "OK then, just bring us the dead mule."

The farmer asked, "What in the world ya'll gonna do with a dead mule?"

Curtis said, "We gonna raffle him off."

The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead mule!"

Leroy said, "We shore can!  Heck, we don't hafta tell nobody he's dead!"

A couple of weeks later, the farmer ran into Curtis &Leroy at the Piggly Wiggly  grocery store and asked.  "What'd you fellers ever do with that dead mule?"

They said,"We raffled him off like we said we wuz gonna do."

Leroy said,"Shucks, we sold 500 tickets fer two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898."

The farmer said,"Good Heavens, didn't anyone complain?"

Curtis said, "Well, the feller who won got upset. So we gave him his two dollars back."

Curtis and Leroy now work for the government.

They're overseeing the Bailout Program.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Raw Update Journal: It's only the beginning.

I blogged that I had gone raw . . . blogged that I would continue raw . . . and now I'm making good on the promise to actually tell you all something about it. ;o)

It has been interesting.

First, I'm going to list some of the latest perks:

Since the day we went raw (one month and four weeks ago this Friday), I have lost 14.4 pounds.  I'm the only one in my family losing weight . . . Vern is maintaining (he doesn't have anything to lose), and the children are looking healthy and round, and growing just fine.

While I'm not down to the 4-5 hours sleep many raw foodists rave about, I do really well on eight . . . which I haven't been able to do in at least six years.

My pathetic abdominals have really made a good show of finally getting back to their former selves.  (With all the other pregnancies, they did so within six months or so on their own . . . this last time, they simply stopped at about six weeks post-partum and refused to improve no matter what I did.)

My irises are getting clearer and lighter in color.  This week I noticed the brown inner portion (I have hazel eyes: half green, half brown) is significantly lighter . . . more of a dark straw color than the medium earthy brown they have been all of my life.

My back is getting better all on its own.  Nearly two months of treatment in Oregon before the move did little lasting good (although it really helped me feel better while I was going), but once I went raw, it improved dramatically all on its own.

And now, onto some of the actual story . . .

In the beginning, I kept things very simple.  VERY simple.  I used the recipes at the back of the book 12 Steps to Raw Foods, along with some common sense dishes (fruit or green smoothies, salads, raw muesli, etc).  For the first four days or so, I would begin to feel like it was time to eat and start thinking about things I would usually make (grilled salmon, brown rice and salad, for example), and then I'd feel the fear begin to rise.  Fear of not knowing what to feed my family, fear of being hungry, fear of who-knows-what.  Then I'd think calmly about my handly little book, and start going about the task of feeding everyone.

After a few days, those fearful episodes ceased entirely.  I began sleeping better, feeling better, and began (for the first time in a LONG time) to actually feel hungry again.  It has been years since I have felt what we all know as hunger.  Due to the hypoglycemia, I would go straight from doing fine to shaky and/or headache and/or depressed and/or panic attack.  So not fun.  Sometimes I even got to feel the draining, sinking feeling as my blood sugar plunged, and to anticipate for a terrible minute or two on what was coming next.

A few days after we made the switch, I was up very, very late on a Saturday night.  (I think I got about five hours.)  Sunday is a full day for us, with church attendance and service, and the rest filled with family time.  It takes a lot of energy, but is the most fulfilling and happy day of the week for me.  I was a little less energetic than I had been the preceding days, but compared to what I would have been pre-raw, I was amazed.  So was Vern.  I've had plenty of short nights since then, and while most of the following days haven't been as great as that Sunday was, they're still like a walk in the park compared to the "bad" days of the past.

I should probably explain just what the "bad" days were like, eh?  Okay.

A typical bad day included most of the following, and sometimes all:

  • Deep fatigue, such that climbing the stairs took all of my energy, made my heart pound, and required rest at the top.
  • Nearly overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • Incredibly short temper.
  • Unkind tones of voice (often completely unnoticed by me until someone pointed it out)
  • Lots of time spent distracting myself from everything around me.
  • Deep-level hunger, accompanied by a complete disinterest in eating anything (with the disinterest often bordering on revulsion).

Those, my lovelies, are what hypoglycemia can do to you.  Many health professionals call those symptoms "depression" . . . which they are.  But depression is not a disease.  It is a symptom.  And if you change the fuel you give your body, the depression will leave.  Whole, raw, complete foods do the trick.  I can eat raw, whole fruit smoothies and dates for an entire day, and feel great.  No crashes, nada.

Now that I'm past them, it seems easier to talk about them.  While stuck in that cycle, the knowledge that my life consisted mostly of these kinds of days felt as though it would crush me . . . it was difficult to be anything like the mother I want to be, and to not be able to see my way out of where I was didn't help. (Yeah. Understatement, that.)  I felt like I could never catch up to my husband's and children's needs . . . that I would always be behind them on sleep, mealtimes, everything . . . I wasn't fast enough, strong enough, good enough . . .

And now they're nearly gone.  (The bad days, not my husband and children. ;o)

I still have off days every so often.  Short nights bring them on, as have times when I've allowed something a little questionable to come into my food supply.  (Agave syrup more than once or twice a week in small amounts is not good for me.)  But these "off days" are barely even a shadow of what the bad days used to be.  Honestly, my off days now are what my really good days were like then.  And those good days were only two (or if I was lucky, three) out of seven.  Now I'm at least five good days out of seven, and it's really more like six or seven out of seven.

People ask me all the time "Don't you miss _____?", or "Isn't it hard?", or "How can you handle it?"

My response is simple: "Giving up _____ is nothing.  I have my life back."

The Economy is Bad, Folks . . .

How bad?  It's so bad that . . . 

  • I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
  • I ordered a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"
  • CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
  • If the bank returns your check marked  "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.
  • Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.
  • McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
  • Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.
  • A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .
  • Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.
  • Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.
  • The Mafia is laying off judges.
  • Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
  • Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!
  • And, finally...
  • I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc.,  I called the Suicide Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.
(This came via email, without attribution.  If anyone knows who came up with these, I'd be happy to add a reference.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Too Stinkin' Cute!

So maybe I'm late to the party, but I've just discovered Jinjerup.  If you, like me, have wondered where all the cute has gone, (so much for the kids' stuff lately is either plain ugly or licensed advertisement), hop on over to Jinjerup's blog and see for yourself.  She's got free printables each week (including adorable little gift boxes and bookmarks), and her use of color is both adorable and sophisticated.  Man, I've got to get a color printer . . . yesterday. ;o)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Back to the Future

It's now officially the year Two Thousand and Ten.


Is it just me, or is there this aura of mystery and living "in the future" around this year? When we were kids, movies were made about years beginning with "Twenty". "What will you be doing in 2010?" seemed to be such a far-off question. But far off it is no longer. Here's what I'll be doing in 2010. How about you?  I'd love to hear answers from everyone who sees this . . . just leave me a comment so I know where to go read your answers. :o)

1. Keeping my inobx EMPTY.

2. Continuing to eat a 98% raw diet.

3. Purging more than a decade's worth of stuff.

4. Keeping only what I'll use that I love and/or that will make me happy while I use it.

5. Designing (personally) and constructing (not completely personally) a carriage house, in which we'll live until the house proper is complete.  Seven people in a 24'x 36' apartment should be F-U-N, right?

6. Designing said house, and seeing how much we need to save before we can begin. ;o)

7. Putting in a garden large enough to help significantly in feeding my family.

What seven things are you going to do this year?