Thursday, January 31, 2013

all the colors of the rainbow, except pink

When I'm using needles and thread, 
I have great difficulty managing to also fit in the reading part of Elizabeth's with needle and thREAD.
This week's trip to the library yielded a nice stack of books though,
so we'll see if I can pull myself away from working with my squares-of-many-colors
to actually crack the covers.

It could happen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

one thing

There's not much I'm going to miss about this house whenever we finally move into the new one.
(oh! We met with an architect last weekend ~ yay!!)
I'm not going to bother listing all the things I will not miss about the place;
it's much quicker for me to jot down the one thing
I will miss.
Sunshine on my face when I shower in the afternoon.
I just might miss.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

state of emergency

Remember back about 3 1/2 years ago, when I bought that huge roll of batting?
The very first quilt I made with the batting was a throw sized quilt for Lana.
I made it at pretty much the same time I made Josiah's quilt 
(neither of which got blogged apparently)
only I purchased Josiah's batting from the store,
which prompted the whole buy batting in bulk idea in the first place.

Every time my sewing buddy or I make a quilt,
we 'buy' the correct yardage for the project at $5 a yard, and put the money in a crumpled envelope
where I jot down the quilt name or prospective owner and approximate date of said project.
My envelope has been getting full, and the roll empty,
so I've been keeping my eye out for bargain batting for a few months now.
The price of batting has gone up considerably!

I just went in the dining room, backed a chair up to the yellow cupboard
and climbed up.
I reached up and pulled the now fairly lightweight box down from it's perch on the top of the cabinet.
I lifted the batting out and began unrolling it on my cutting table.
(aka - the dining table)
I was totally shocked to discover I only have 45 inches of batting left.
Lynnet and I have used all but 45 inches of  forty yards of quilt batting!

This is most definitely a state of emergency
that needs to be remedied right away.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

for her fourth

Two days before her actual birthday,
two days before he left,
her big bub (and his wife ;-)
took Lex' to get her ears pierced (or 'piered' as she calls it)
She got flowers just like her sis, in the color we call 'Lexi blue'

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

double date

"You know what I'm disappointed about?" she said with a sigh,
"I'm disappointed that in all the time we've been married (almost 6 months ;-)
- and even before that -
we've never gone on a double date with you and Dad!"

Having your beautiful daughter-in-law disappointed for something so easy to fix
is just plain silly,
so last night,
we remedied the situation and went on a double date.
And even though we were all exceptionally lousy bowlers*, we had a great time,
and came home to three sleeping kids
a clean house. 
(thanks so much, Bran!)

*I would like it to go on record that, for the first time ever (and according to him, also the last time...)
 I beat Tyler bowling.
Never mind what our scores were....

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I've been walking around fighting tears for days now.
Today, the tears are winning.
Tony leaves for basic training in a week.
And my momma heart just hurts.

Not long after they got engaged, Kacy 
(who has mentioned on numerous occasions how much she loves our Sunday snacky dinner and a show tradition)
asked if they could still spend Sunday evenings with us after they got married.
So, even though he's married, we still get to see him fairly often.
But even if we didn't get to see him pretty much weekly,
the thought of not seeing him at all, for months
(and maybe not even talking to him)
makes me sad.
And I'm a little worried for him; Boot Camp can be brutal, you know.
And it's not like he's going on vacation; ultimately, he's going to war.
And, of course I'm sad for Kacy ~ she's going to miss him so much.
(although I'm not worried about her, since she'll be staying with us)
I'm sad for the kids, especially Josiah. and Brandon.

Since tears are already lurking just beneath the surface,
I cried when I read my (online) friend and mentor's post, saying she was going to quit blogging.
And delete her blogs.
'specially when she shared that her little girl (whose oldest brother just got married 2 weeks ago) said,
"My whole childhood will be people leaving!"
and I thought ~ it don't get any better, kid. 

It's really too bad my machine is in the shop ~ I could sure stand to be immersed in a project right about now.
Somehow, I don't think cleaning will be as therapeutic as sewing...

Friday, January 11, 2013

kicked the habit

Through all of the changes in dietary habits over the years,
there was one 'bad' food item I hung onto. 
Sam's Choice Extra Rich (Fake) Creamer.
Love the stuff.
Other powdered creamer - not so much,
but the 'so creamy it actually whips' creamer? Delish!

I'd rather quit drinking coffee, than drink it without my creamer. (and I have, multiple times over the years.)

A few months ago, I decided I was ready to start trying to give it up.
I slowly (very slowly) replaced some of my powdered creamer with real cream (and sometimes coconut milk).
I'm happy to report that I can now
enjoy a cup of coffee with real cream.
Without even a sprinkling of Sam's Choice fake creamer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

in the shop

You know how I've been whining for months about mentioned my machine not being quite right?
Since I am not currently immersed in a project
(although, I will be starting one next week that I'm getting very excited about!)
I figured it would be a good time to go visit the shop.
(I really like Jeannie and Patrick at the Sewing Machine Center; they're good people.)

Jeannie messed and messed with it - they always try to get me fixed up without having to leave the machine if possible. 
(I must get a wild, desperate look in my eye when they mention it staying.)
We determined that no amount of adjusting would fix it - it needs a new tension unit.
A computerized ($250!) tension unit.
(It's a very nice machine!)
And it'll be a week or so 'til I get it back.

I actually cried a little.
I think I may be emotionally attached to my machine.
I briefly considered trading it on a new one - just so I wouldn't be without a machine.
I quickly came to my senses and remembered that I didn't want a new machine; I wanted that one.
(but gosh - the 12 inch throat on the Janome 8900 sure did look nice!)
You know, when the girls and I bought that sewing machine for Jesus, I had to think long and hard about it.
I mean, it isn't exactly food or life-saving.
But then again, maybe it is.... 

I feel like sewing, as silly as it may seem, has been part of my healing.
The prayers have helped. And of course, my hormone creams. And Tyler's love and patience. And an improved diet.
But there were times (in the past - I am soo much better now) when the only time I felt anything close to alive,
or remotely happy, was while I was sewing.
My mind and heart and even my body would be in so much turmoil, but when I focused on what I was creating, 
for those brief moments, I was okay.
I couldn't be all bad, if I could make something pretty. right?
I feel like sewing has been a gift from God to me.
That's why I wanted to buy Jesus a sewing machine.
The woman who receives it can use money she earns from her sewing to buy food.
It will buy her freedom.
And dignity.
I see her giddy when she masters new skills.
And clapping her hands with delight at her finished projects. 
I see her focusing on her work, and forgetting her troubles for a moment.
I see her growing more confident as more people buy what she creates,
and she buys healthy food for her family.
I see her noticing beauty around her, 
now that she no longer has to wonder if her child will die today from hunger.
I see her smile.
And it's beautiful!

Maybe a sewing machine is life-saving after all.
I feel a little discombobulated, not having my machine.

The up side is, 
I have plenty of time to clean off my sewing desk,
which, except for the little empty rectangle space my machine usually occupies,
 is anywhere from 2 - 10 inches deep in fabric, tools, scraps, and patterns.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


We went to the library yesterday.
I don't know why it's so hard for  me to schedule a time to go regularly.
I guess 'cause pretty much everything is hard for me these days....
Once upon a time, we went to the library every. single. Thursday.
Now that we live 'out of county' and have to pay $40 a year for a card,
not utilizing the library is wasting of money.
After about 6 weeks of having an empty library basket,
it's full again (along with another box!)
and besides the occasional fighting over books,
the house is always so nice and quiet for a few days after we visit the library :-)
(which makes it especially crazy that I don't make library trips more of a priority ~ I love quiet!)

a little funny:
I ran upstairs to pick up a few books,
and the girls went with me.
Lexi picked up a book, How to Run Your House Without Your House Running You, or something like that.
I told her to put it back; she didn't want that book.
She assured me that she really did.
I told her it was a book about cleaning your house, and she happily put it down.
"A book about cleaning your house?" Lily asked incredulously,
"I already know how to do that. Why would anybody even write a book about that?!"
She just thought it was the silliest thing ever.
I didn't tell her I once bought a book called The House that Cleans Itself...

What's in our library basket:
Nate the Great books (I love these. I read them to myself, sitting right in front of the basket :-)
Putter and Tabby, of course
Henry and Mudge 
(these, I do not like and the kids know I'm more likely to say 'yes' when they ask em to read to them if it's not a Henry and Mudge. 
I forced myself to read one last night. out of love. If you must read a H&M, Annie's Perfect Pet isn't too bad)
A few Beatix Potter books
Amelia Bedelia (these are painful for me to read, also)
(Suprisingly, no Fancy Nancy this time)
What Mommies / Daddies do best
(This book I saw years ago at the bookstore, and thought it was sweet, but didn't note the title or author. I've thought about it over the years, and even looked for it at the bookstore a time or two. I found it looking for a different book yesterday and was so tickled)
Hardy Boys (another duh)
I grabbed a few books for Brandon, but I can't recall now what they were.
It's kinda hard to pick books for him.
The stuff written for young teens now-a-days is often inappropriate, in my opinion,
and I'm just not familiar enough with older books (especially for boys!) to know what to choose.
He's a little leery of my choices anyways; I've used book guides before and gotten many award-winning books for him, but they often have sad parts in them, and he hates sad in books!  Now, sometimes, he just has to read sad stuff (much of history involves sad stuff!) 
but I don't want his pleasure reading to cause him undue angst.
He's not real eager to pick out his own books (beyond the few series / authors he knows he likes)
which I totally understand - the choices are overwhelming, and it's hard to know in just a few minutes if its a good option or not.... 
Any recommendations would be appreciated

For myself, 
I grabbed I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had and Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper from the new release section
and High Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers
and a cookbook/memoir written by Italian sisters.
I told Tyler wheat-free people probably ought not read Italian Cookbooks.
I've also been reading Grace-Based Parenting (again) and Desperate, a book that I apparently pre-ordered and promptly forgot about 'til I received notification that it was scheduled to arrive Christmas Eve.  Like any good husband would, Tyler wrapped it, Amazon box unopened, and put it under the tree.
I'll start Stepping Heavenward, soon, too, since I try to read it every January.

Last but not least, we checked out Curtis Stone's cookbook again at Josiah's request.
I should probably buy it for the kid. He loves that book!
He's got about 10 recipes marked with scraps of paper
and was thrilled to discover his old bookmark, still marking the recipe for Pomegranate Martinis.
"Why do we need that?" he laughed; "We already know how to make Pomegranate Martinis!"

(As I type, they house is silent, except for the noise of heaters and the hum of appliances. Everyone is reading.)

What are you reading? And should I read it, too??

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Italian soup

I didn't mean to leave you hanging with your leftover spaghetti sauce for so long; sorry!!
I intended to write up the recipe the next time we had spaghetti;
we always have about a quart left.
But the next time we had spaghetti, we didn't have salad,
and besides leftovers for Tyler's lunch, we ate every bit of it.
The next time, Tony and Kacy popped in and ate with us, so, no leftovers again.
The next time after that, we did have leftovers,
and I did make soup,
but for whatever reason, didn't have time to write down the process.
Since Master is getting all up in arms about my lack of posting of late,
and we had Italian Soup for dinner last night,
I figured it was high time to share.

Like most of my 'recipes', it's not an exact science, more of a method...

Italian Soup
(I cut up the veggies as I go, and add them to the pot, giving it a stir with each addition. If you are not a fast slicer and dicer, or if you just want to do your prep work early, cut everything ahead of time and just dump it all in a bowl or bag 'til you're ready to cook)

Place a stockpot on your favorite burner set to medium heat and pour in a glug or two of olive oil.
To your warm oil, add 2-4 carrots, diced
1/2 - 1 whole onion, diced 
1/2 - 1 whole bell pepper, diced
a yellow squash, you got it, diced
and a couple of small zucchinis - one diced, one grated, unless your kids admit to liking zucchini, in which case, you can dice both.
a handful of parsley, chopped as small as you can get it
If mushrooms are on sale, they make a delicious addition, especially if you saute them in butter and garlic salt first. 
If you don't have a child particularly averse to spinach in soup,
go ahead and add a few handfuls of chopped spinach, too.
I, personally, don't even notice the addition of spinach, but Josiah, who really is a pretty good eater, and eats spinach raw just fine, 
can not stand the feel of spinach in soup.
I get that.
Since I am not overly fond of torturing my children for the heck of it,
I choose to feed my family spinach in other ways.

Back to your soup.
Continue to cook your veggies, stirring occasionally.
Throw in some of your Italian Seasoning mix and a few cloves of garlic, crushed.
Also a bit of seasoning mix.
When your veggies are mostly cooked, increase heat to high and add about 6 c of chicken broth.
When it's good and boiling, reduce heat back to medium and add your leftover sketti sauce.
Simmer and stir and stir and simmer.
Taste and add more spices if needed, and maybe some salt, too.
It'll be ready after about 15 minutes of simmering, but if you aren't ready to eat yet,
just reduce the heat and leave it simmering 'til you are.

As is, the soup is good, but nothing terribly memorable;
add the following toppings, though 
(I've listed them in the order of importance) 
and you take it up several notches.
Even Lily, who has been an awful eater lately, loves it, which is quite a feat these days, unless sugar is involved.
cottage cheese
bacon bits
grated monterey jack
cabbage leftover from your sketti dinner, chopped small

Oh ~ all those scraps from your veggies? Don't throw them away. 
Well, you can toss the carrot peels and the stem from the pepper,
but the onion, carrot, and squash ends
put in a bag or other container and stick it in your freezer.
Add other veggie scraps to it (but no pepper scraps) and I'll tell you soon(ish) what you can do with 'em.