Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amazing Pumpkin Pie

I have always felt slightly un-American because I have never enjoyed pumpkin pie. Yet, every year households all over America, including mine, eat their Libby canned pumpkin pie. In a last effort to enjoy this tradition, my son and I decided that we would make the icon-ized pumpkin pie to end our Thanksgiving feasting. For the first time in 32 years, I LOVE pumpkin pie. So, if you want to continue to be a rebel on Thanksgiving, don't try this recipe. However, if you want to enjoy your fist pumpkin pie, perhaps this Christmas, here is the recipe for you. I have adapted the original recipe to suit my tastes.

For starters, you must make a fresh crust. Store bought crusts are not allowed!

Whole Wheat Crust

2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
5 tbls ice water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place flour and salt in your mixer, Vita-Mix or Kitchen Aid mixer. Gently blend the ingredients. Then, add butter while the mixer is still on. Next, add water and process until just mixed. The dough usually forms a ball (in my mixer) when it is ready. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Finally, roll out the dough between sheets of waxed paper or on a clean floured surface. Poke holes in the pie crust with a fork. Bake the shell for 15 minutes.
And now for the drum roll . . . .

Amazing Pumpkin Pie

1 sugar pie pumpkin
(Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds, and lay in a 9x13 glass pan with 1 inch of water. Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, scoop out flesh, and puree in Vita-Mix or blender)

2/3 cup cane sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3 slightly beaten eggs
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup raw cream

Combine pumpkin, cane sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add eggs. Beat lightly until everything is gently combined. Stir in the coconut milk and cream and mix well. Pour the pumpkin filling into the precooked pie crust.

To prevent over browning, cover the edge of the pie (not covering the top) with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Refrigerate and enjoy with fresh whipped cream!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Homemade Cleaning Products

Well, there have been many requests to finish my discussion on how to clean organically on the cheap. Do I make my own products all of the time? To be honest--no. But when I have the time, I typically will make my own cleaners because 1) it makes me feel good, 2) it is comforting knowing the exact ingredients that I am using and 3) I know my children can be in the same room or even help me clean without being exposed to dangerous or potentially harmful chemicals. If I buy a product then you can bet it will be Seventh Generation or Bio-Kleen.

Laundry Detergent
3.1 oz bar Ivory soap, Dr. Bronner’s, or Fels Naptha etc.
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

5 Gallon container
Knife or grater
Pot large enough to hold 5 cups of water
Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)

Instructions: Shave the soap into small strips (I use a cheese grater) and place in the pot with 5 cups of water. Bring the water just shy of a boil and stir until the soap is completely melted. When the soap is just about melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container and let it sit until the soap in the pot is totally melted. Once all of the soap shavings are melted, pour the mixture into the 5-gallon container and stir.

Once the soap and water are thoroughly stirred, add the ½ cup of washing soda and stir until dissolved. Once the washing soda is dissolved, pour in the cup of borax and stir again until dissolved.

Optional: If you like fragrant detergent, now is when you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Suggested oils would be lavender, orange, or tea tree oil.

Now you've got a huge container of hot soapy looking water. Cover the container, place it somewhere out of the way and let it sit overnight. Once it's cooled it will gel. It will not gel uniformly so it will be lumpy and watery. It may not be very attractive, but it works. It's best to find smaller storage containers for convenience. I use empty, thoroughly washed, milk jugs.

Usage: ½ cup per laundry load is adequate to clean your clothes. This homemade laundry detergent works well in high efficiency washing machines since it is low suds-ing.

One word of caution, if using a high efficiency machines: Before pouring the lumpy gel into the detergent receptacle, stir it to break up the lumps. Very large lumps may not fully dissolve, stirring the detergent with a spoon, pencil, or whatever you have available (or your finger), works fine. Additionally, for cloth diapers, it does clean the diapers well. However, I did notice a build up on the diapers, rendering them slightly ineffective for absorbing urine. So be sure to do a hot soak every now and then, or a vinegar rinse to avoid a film buildup.

Yield: 110 ½ loads of laundry

Powdered Laundry Detergent
2/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (equivalent of 1 cup grated)
½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
½ Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
Container large enough to hold 2 cups of laundry detergent

Directions: Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap with a grater or use a food processor. Approximately 2/3 of a bar of soap will make 1 cup of grated soap.
Add the ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the grated soap. Shake and/or mix well.

Use: One tablespoon of detergent is sufficient per load of wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, you might want to experiment with using a little less detergent for normal loads. If your clothes come out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent. For clothes that are heavily soiled, add a teaspoon more of the detergent.

Yield: The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes.

Antiseptic All-Purpose Cleanser
Up to one tsp. antiseptic essential oil (thyme, sweet orange, lemongrass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender, tea tree, or Thieves.)
1 tsp washing soda
2 tsp borax
½ tsp liquid soap or detergent (Dr. Bronner’s)
2 c hot water

Directions: Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve and blend the minerals. Spray this on the surface and leave for 15 minutes before you wipe it with a rag, to give the essential oil’s antiseptic qualities time to work.

I have had these recipes for so long now, I honestly am not really sure where they come from. But upon researching a bit, these recipes are pretty standard from many different authors. Happy cleaning!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Use Cloth, NOT Paper

The Presidential race is over. Now begins a new campaign: dirty your dish rags and washcloths! Bring back the bar mop dish cloth!

TV ads may lead you to believe that you HAVE to have paper towels on your kitchen counter to pick up spills in your household. They even show paper towels being used, reused, washed in the sink and used again. Isn't that what a washcloth does?

So I say, save some money and room in the landfill and go cloth in the kitchen (and on bottoms--butt that is for another post). The first step is to go to your local store, be it Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Big Lots, etc. In my Granola Mom Organic Store, through Amazon, I have some rags priced at $8.48 for a set of eight. At Target, you can get a set of 4 for $2.99. These basic rags come in pretty colors or your basic white. Buy about 30 or so, depending on how many are in your family. I try and have enough cloths so that I am washing them every three to four days.
I have a basket filled with clean rags above my kitchen sink, right next to my precarious, barely used, paper towels that our visitors frequently gravitate to.

Are your paper towels on a stand like mine? Ever have the stand fall due to the clumsy ripping of the paper towel by your one available hand--only to create an even bigger mess as you yank the paper towel to free it from its roll. You then knock over your glass of water, which then spills all over your child's important paper? No more!

When a spill comes or a face needs to be wiped, bypass the paper towels and unfold your cloth with a dramatic snap of the wrist. All you need is one hand to pick the cloth out of the basket and it is ready to go. Use water or keep it dry. Cloth is far more absorbent than paper and doesn't become slimy when wet. It will grip boogers, swallow avocado, suck up tomato sauce, tackle dog barf, and soak up colossal milk spills! You can even wash it in the sink and reuse it--just like a paper towel, but cheaper and better for the earth!

When I am finished using my cloth, I often hang it on my oven handle to dry. This way, if I am slow to wash the laundry, the cloth won't grow mold in the basket. When the cloth is dry--in a few hours, I just throw it in a basket that sits on a bar stool at the kitchen counter. You could also store the dirty basket on top of your refrigerator, in the pantry, or under the sink.

Note, if you use wash cloths for messes, why not go ahead and use cloth napkins! Think about the money you will save!

OK. . . a 12 pack of Scott paper towels is $31.25 , on Amazon. So each roll is $2.60. (Yikes! I honestly have no idea how many rolls a normal household goes through in a month, but I am going to guess 8 rolls per month? Please post a comment and let me know.) That comes to a total of 96 rolls a year. Twelve rolls are in a pack, so you would need 9 packs at $31.25, which comes to a grand total of $281.25 per year. And that is then multiplied by every year that you live (minus the nursing home years). But if you went to Target and bought eight packs of wash cloths (32 wash cloths) for $2.99, you would spend $23.92 and these wash cloths will last several years! It seems obvious which is better for the budget. Now do the math if you switched from paper napkins to cloth!

But you say, then I have to wash it and pay money for laundry detergent. Well, I have an answer for you. Make your own laundry detergent!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy Homemade Wheat Bread

I came upon this recipe through the food buying coop that I belong to, so I cannot take the credit for how easy and yummy it is. Before I began grinding my own wheat berries, I made this recipe with store bought wheat flour. Whether you grind your wheat berries or use store wheat flour, this is a cheap method to making wholesome bread. I used to pay at least $3.50, sometimes $4.00 for organic wheat bread, and it still contained lethicin, sugar, and other fillers! But now I can make wholesome bread right at home, even while we are doing school!

It is helpful to have a Kitchen Aid mixer and minute timer. I typically cut the recipe in half because my mixer is standard size, cannot accommodate the entire amount of flour and it works the machine a bit too hard. Feel free to add fresh herbs and roasted garlic, or cinnamon and raisins!

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Grind 8 cups hard red or white wheat
Add 2 1/2 T. active dry yeast and 1/4 t. sugar to 1 c. warm water
Set aside to let it work

Add to mixer with dough hook:
4 1/2 c. hot tap water
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 T. salt
3 tablets vitamin C—crushed
Mix to combine about 15 seconds.
Add to mixture:
10 c. ground whole wheat flour, 5 c. at a time and mix 15 or 20 seconds
When 10 c. have been added, knead for 6 minutes

Add yeast mixture and
1 c. regular oats
Knead for 2 minutes

Add 2 to 3 c. of flour (should be the rest of the wheat you ground)
Knead for 12 minutes

During the 12 minutes, oil 4-4X8 pans. Oil your hands and divide dough into four parts. Shape dough into loaves, place in pans, and cover with a light cloth. Let rise until double or a bit above the top of the pan.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Bread is done when it has a hollow sound when tapped. Set pans to cool and wait about 10 minutes, then remove bread from the pans to cool on racks. Let cool before slicing.

I'll add a photo of the finished loaf when it comes out of the oven! Please let me know how your bread turns out!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My family's journey into Whole Foods

For months, I resisted this idea of organic living, more precisely a whole foods diet. What on earth was whole foods anyway? Whole foods refers to a diet composed of whole grains (wheat, quinoa, brown rice, rye, etc.), plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw milk and cheese, sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup and agave, and a lack of processed, prepackaged foods. I would also add that it contains foods that are fermented, such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, homemade mayonnaise and ketchup, to name a few. A quick glance at Wikipedia defines it as "foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed.”

Let me share why we live and eat the way we do. Almost 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with a syndrome called PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It has a host of maladies that come with it, but the one that was most devastating to me was the forecast of not having a biological child. I was offered medication, but my doctor suggested that I try a different diet. I was encouraged to eat similar to how a diabetic person would eat, and to reintroduce exercise into my life. Sometimes this is all that a PCOS woman needs to keep her symptoms from getting any worse.

I decided it was worth a try. My plan was to follow E-Diets, and to exercise. I lost 15 pounds, began to see an herbalist, and miracle of miracles, I became pregnant (another cool story because we were just about to turn adoption papers in).

Hmmmm . . . yes, God allowed me to get pregnant, but I also wondered if there was something to this eating healthier? I certainly felt better.

Enter our friends Chad and Krista. All they could talk about was this amazing book called The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. The premise was eat like God commanded the Israelites through the Levitical Law:

Leviticus provides a few basic rules that tell us what meats are considered clean an unclean, or for our purposes, healthy and unhealthy.

Land Animals: Healthy meats to eat are from animals with a cloven or split hoof that also chew the cud(Leviticus 11:3): cows, goats, sheep, oxen, deer, buffalo, etc.

Avoid animals that chew the cud but do not have cloven or split hooves (Leviticus 11:4): camels, horses, rats, skunks, dogs, cats, squirrels, possums, etc.
Don’t eat swine (pigs). They are unclean animals. (Leviticus 11:7-8) (they don’t chew the cud)
Why: Animals on the unhealthy list are primarily omnivores and carnivores. They eat meat from other animals which increases the likelihood that they carry a disease or parasite. In general, animals at the bottom of the food chain have the cleanest meat. Animals that chew the cud more effectively process their food and are therefore cleaner.

Seafood: Eat any fish with fins and scales but avoid fish or water creatures without them (Leviticus 11: 9-10). Some examples of things to avoid: catfish, eel, all shellfish
Why: Sea creatures without fins and scales are typically bottom feeders and are known to have the highest concentration of contaminants such as heavy metals.

Poultry: Birds that live primarily on insects, grubs, or grains are acceptable, but avoid fowl that eats flesh, Leviticus 11: 13-19, where you will find a large list of birds.
Why: Same reason as for the land animals. Animals that eat other animals have an increased risk of picking up diseases and parasites so it is best to eat food from the bottom of the food chain.
Yea right, I thought. Jesus has come to redeem us--there is no way I can obey all of the food laws in the Old Testament.

For months, I resisted. It seemed weird and to top it all off, buying organic was suggested--who can afford that?

Well, fast forward a little over 9 months, our precious son was born naturally but I didn't recover so well. What was wrong? For probably a variety of reasons, my thyroid decided it wasn't going to work anymore. It was done. Once again, I was faced with having to be on medication for the rest of my life and somehow get over postpartum depression. Something had to change.

Until next time, if you would like more information, please view a talk I gave at a church retreat.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Imaginary Work

When I first started my blog, it was at the suggestion of my good friend, Christina. As I have researched the culture of blogging, I am amazed at the variety of blogs and uses for blogs.

I have even discovered that you can make money off of your blog (note the google ads on my page--every time you click on one, I make money. Pretty cool--however, I don't have a huge following, so I have not made any money off of your clicks.) I just spent some time trying to discover simple ways to make money off of my blog, but can't for the life of me find the websites that I had previously read describing how. I particularly am interested on making money from reviewing things--especially books! Did you know that you can even set up your blog so that people can just donate money to you for no reason?! Or you can even charge people to read your blog--wow, to think that perhaps someone would pay to read my musings!

I sit researching ways to make money by not really working for it, so that when I really do work at my job that I don't get paid for monetarily, I will really actually be making money. Imaginary work--brilliant. Make sense? So, here is my list of things to do that I will be paid for when I am working at my zero paying job that will actually begin paying when I make it to big time blogging:

(It is a given that loving God, serving and dating my hubby, playing with the kiddos come first--these aren't work . . .)

1. organize the school room and game room
2. change linens
3. stuff cloth diapers and put the small ones away
4. go through new tub of clothes and hang up what the baby can wear currently
5. call my creative friend Sarah and get kids picture taken
6. write in my blog more
7. write down what I eat, exercise, and lose 10 pounds by Christmas
8. mail books
9. email some people
10. Make scrapbooks for two youngest boys
11. paint family room
12. paint trim white
13. paint downstairs bathroom
14. paint kitchen?
15. make lap books for FIAR lesson
16. mail checks, go through receipts
17. dust
18. vacuum
19. clean bathrooms regularly
20. do laundry and actually get stuff folded and hung on the same day
21. sew baby sling
22. sew baby wipes
23. make Cocoon wrap to sell
24. redo elastic in FuzziBunz
25. sew outfits for the boys to match for the baby dedication
26. decide when to have the baby dedication and call church
27. make a jacket for my mom
28. reinvent some used pre-fold diapers
29. sell some stuff on eBay
30. hang out with a new friend from church
31. put manure in the garden and close it down for the winter
32. rake leaves
33. take out a shrub by the deck and put some ornamental grasses there
34. memorize scripture
35. organize laundry room
36. sleep

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friendly Advice

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141: 3

I have some friendly advice. When you see someone, with whom you consider yourself their acquaintance, DON'T say, "You look tired." or "Is there something wrong?" or "You need to get some sleep." or "You look like there is something wrong." or "You look different. I didn't recognize you" These comments are really reserved to be used between people who really know each other and talk regularly. However, it seems like most of the time they are used by people in passing, who make the comment without really thinking of the potential psyche damage it might do, especially on a sensitive individual (like myself).

if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!
Proverbs 6:2-3

Why do I bring this up? Well, recently it happened to me. I admit that I am a postpartum mom. I'm lucky to ever take a shower by 4 PM, step out of my PJ's, blow dry my hair, or wear shoes other than my slippers. My clothes wear proud badges of honor called drool, spit up, and food from dirty hands. My typical uniform, due to lack of self control and the unique body sculpting called bearing children, is my favorite pair of grey yoga pants and a plain black t-shirt. Unfortunately, after wearing these pants more than 5 times, they begin to look a little dingy, so I have to switch to my black workout pants with the white stripes done the leg, which aren't nearly as flattering to my birthing hips.

It was on such a day that I was wearing my black workout pants, that I needed to pick my child up from an activity at church. Normally, he comes home with Dad, but Dad was sick. I ventured out in the dark of night, not worrying about my attire, the evening would cloak my uniform. I actually thought I looked pretty decent for having not showered. I was a mom and I had on mom clothes--other moms were bound to be attendance this particular evening.

I was in for a shock when there were NO MOMS! Where did they all go? Did I forget about the uniform change? Where could I hide in these brightly lit halls? There were people everywhere and I had shown up early. Several of the retired moms (who wore jeans, slacks, pretty blouses and sweaters . . . and jewelry!) mentioned to me, mostly as I passed them in the hallway, that I looked, well . . . different. Instead of interpreting their curiosity as concern, I instantly began to question my postpartum, milk producing, whole foods, sleep deprived, homeschooling uniform. Perhaps I had misjudged. I thought I would at least get a wink or two from the "closet" moms, showing their support of my openness to show my profession in public.

However, my kind and faithful friend said not a word. After all, she knew what my day had been like, how sick my husband was, and how I desperately needed a break. But if she had said those observant comments to me, I would have deemed her sensitive and caring.

So . . . let this be a lesson to women everywhere. Be careful what you say and who you say it to. Please forgive me, if I have ever said these words to you. I was insensitive and in many ways prideful. If I see you out in your uniform, and I am not in mine, I will give you the secret mom wink.

My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. Psalm 49:3

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Field Trip called Fall

Well, I did it. I skipped school this Thursday and we played outside. I putzed around in my garden, while the boys entertained themselves with various activities from raking leaves to digging holes.

It has been my goal for three years to actually plant my fall harvest at the right time. I missed it this year, but I have my spring harvest planted--garlic!

Being outside on Thursday made me decide that Fall is officially my favorite time of the year. Long shirts and jeans here I come. I have so many fun memories that happened and will happen in the fall: crumpling leaves to bring about their unique aroma, creating a leaf collage for school, surrounding my beloved dog, Toby, in leaves as a youngster, hayrides with my new boyfriend when I was in high school, studying by the library on a blanket at IU my freshman year of college, romping at Audubon Park in Kentucky with my boyfriend (now husband), sleeping under the stars with college friends at Garden of the Gods in Illinois, camping in Colorado with the Aspen leaves waving to me on a crisp afternoon hike, throwing leaves up so high to dance around my dog and make her chase her tail, secretly building mountains with Oak, Maple and Ash for the boys to plow over when they wake up from lazy afternoon naps, creating leaf-n-slide activities to bring about squeals of delight, raking leaves with my newborn slung to my side, and the yearly family photo. I love the way the sun pours light onto the ever changing leaves. There always seems to be a slight breeze. The squirrels play all day. Our dog chases the wind and is frisky after her morning potty break. I almost wish that days were longer in the fall than the summer. I wish to savor the beauty and sit out by an open fire (however, the directions on our firepit say not to use the fire pit on a wood deck.)

So, I think tonight will be another date night with my husband, even though we saw Fireproof last night. Time to light his birthday present (a fire pit) and make some hot chocolate.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Napping Children is a must for effective multi-tasking

The idea today was to multitask--we got a lot of great food from coop Tuesday night. I needed to make use of everything before it went bad, tie dinner into our homeschool lesson, and make dinner taste good while we eat it in our "junk."

What is a "junk?" Stay tuned to find out!

By the way, the various foods shown are coconut rice (because that is what Ping's owners would eat on their "junk"), potato leek soup in the crockpot, wheat bread rising and garbanzo beans sprouting to make humus. Yummy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Are the Realities of Heaven for a Mom?

Colossians 3:1-4 says, "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory." (NLT)

Or in my husband's favorite translation (NKJV) this text reads:

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."

So . . . during the day that begins at the butt-crack of dawn, with a baby latched on, another tugging at his soggy diaper, and the eldest frantically jumping, all the while tripping over the everpresent dog that is underfoot and random MatchBox cars, how does a Mommy set her sights on the realities of heaven, when there is so much demand her on earth for her attention?

According to Strongs Concordance the Greek word "above" is ἄνω, ἀνεγκλησία [ano /an·o/], for all of you scholars, has the following several definitions: 1 up, upwards, above, on high. 2 of the quarters of the heaven, northward. 3 of countries, inland, up from the coast. 4 of time, formerly.

I don't think this verse is refering to the coastline, but indeed somewhere up above, on high, where our new home awaits us upon Christ's return. Of the four times used in the NT, this particular Greek word is used once to refer to Jerusalem, "But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all," (Galatians 4:26, obviously out of context right now). So what is in heaven? What are the things above versus the things below?

Upon a quick perusal, I think the answer lies in versus 12-16, which I will only briefly touch on because my boys are getting quite restless in their Quiet Time (meaning it isn't so quiet anymore). So I will leave you with this verse, actually it is more for me, than you . . .

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

So the realities of heaven translate to a very practical level for a mom--be merciful when disciplining, show kindness rather than irritation, humility by serving and not blowing out long sighs, longsuffering when folding the countless diaper in 4 years, forgive when annoyed and let it drop, be thankful that you have children and most importantly, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fruit Fly Battle

They are back. What do fruit flies, a compost bucket, bananas and beer have in common? All are working together and against each other. Once again, year two of the fruit fly battle. After feeding them apple juice unsuccessfully, I have resorted to beer--which I must mention that my 6 year old neighbor delivered to my front door yesterday. (Should he have a license for that?) So . . . it worked last year. Pour beer (preferably a strong, dark amber brew) into a ramekin bowl. Place Saran Wrap over the bowl and poke holes. The idea is that the fruit flies are smart enough to get to the beer, blinded by their addiction to sweet things. However, they can't get get out of their trap. I suppose they don't realize that God is good (see earlier post). This year, my trap doesn't seem to be working. It is different beer and I fear that this lesser quality just isn't as attractive. I need a stronger temptation . . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lack of a caffeine buzz

I have taken the plunge, or lack of a plunge, for two days. No caffeine, unless you count the buzz in green tea, which actually is more medicinal than stimulating. Why am I doing this? I like caffeine and I love having my morning cup of chai as I sit and read my bible, while constantly having a little boy pursue me with relentless passion to see what new thing he has built. I can carefully hide my mouth with my HUGE mug that either smiles in pleasure at his new creation, or frown because I so desperately want to be alone for JUST 5 minutes. However, the habit must go, as I found myself sneeking chai's and consuming up to three a day. You just can't lose weight drinking 2 chai's a day with raw whole milk and nice fresh local honey. Giving up the smell of those bitter tea leaves before they are dropped in--I am sad to see this 7 year habit disappear. I suppose I will start inviting more people over, so that I can make my company chai.

But I know that this habit can be overcome, even though it has been practiced for 2,555 days. I'm reading a great book, Getting to No: How to Break a Stubborn Habit, by Erwin Lutzer. To overcome a habit I must remember and believe three things, one of which has stuck to my bones more than the cream in my chai: I must believe that God is good. (Does this remind you of Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe?) "If you can accept that God is good, two results will follow: First, you will realize that you can surrender to Him without reservations or fear of being cheated; second, you will thirst for change, understanding that the temporary watering holes of the world cannot compare to the everlasting springs of life that are in Christ."

If I know that God is good, and wants my good, then I can part with my stubborn sin, knowing that God will replace it with something better. What is the better? Right now, probably weight loss, a closer walk with Him, getting rid of the idol of food, a lower grocery bill, and more energy to play with my family.

OK . . . time for some green tea. It just isn't the same. But hey, 40 days to make a habit? Pretty soon, plain old tea will feel like a treat. Right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

I am Published

I'm legit. I've arrived. I have my very own blog. Call me a woman, wife, mom, daughter, sister, lover of God, granola, bread baking, kombucha making, kefir fermenting blogger girl. Yahoo! Here is to remembering this season in my life.


OK . . . I'll stop being creative.

Email me at:

I welcome any comments and suggestions as long as they are constructive.  I will attempt to reply back in a timely manner. 

Please read my disclosure statement regarding advertisements and reviews.  I do welcome both, but with a few friendly conditions! 


This is me. And Willow, my camera. Together we capture moments in the Granola Family life. Together we can be quite annoying. But we work well together.

And later my legacy will thank me for it. In fact, some people even enjoy my pictures.

One day, February 13th to be exact, little me who wasn't so granola, met Hottie Hubby on a blind date. His name is Hottie Hubby because that is exactly what I think he is, HOT. YOU aren't allowed to even go there or think that. God gave The Hottie to me, Granola Wife.

The Hottie Hubby is a water engineer, which is probably why our kiddos love to build dams in the sand box, play in the rain, stomp in puddles, and throw rocks in a river. Hottie is probably the funniest person I know. Not only does he look good, but he is smart, a godly leader in our home, compassionate, creative, and insanely supportive of his emotional and dreamy wife. He loves to run, wrestle, date me (Awww! How cute!), read books, cook, eat chocolate, backpack in the snow, hike, and snowboard. In his spare time he reads my blog, changes diapers, and listens to me. I love him!

Here we are in Chicago, staring into a very large artistic structure. Creative don't you think? (Thanks for the idea, Sarah.)

Anyway, I am living life under the conviction of bringing my family closer to God by returning to traditional ways of eating, mothering, homeschooling, cloth diapering, gardening, and sewing while living alongside my husband, our three sons, and one furry lion hunter.

Let me introduce our three sons and the furry lion hunter.

Mr. Smackdown is my eldest. He is named Mr. Smackdown because of a game he and his dad play. Smackdown is simply defined as wrestling in our family. Mr. Smackdown loves to play smackdown. He gets to be close to his daddy and practice the skills that God gifted him with . . . strength, valor, adventure. Mr. Smackdown loves school, coloring, cooking, and being a helper. He is great at riding his bike, memorizing AWANA verses, and backpacking.

Next comes Mr. Me-Too. If you stand still too long be prepared for a great big bear hug from this lovable fellow. Mr. Me-Too derives his precious name because he always wants to do things alongside us. When asked if he wants to play football, ride bikes, eat chocolate, play smackdown, or catch some Veggi-Tales he pipes up an enthusiastic "me-too!" Mr. Me-Too LOVES gynmastics, football, cutting paper, looking at books, snuggling with our dog, and getting massages from Mom and Dad.

And soon after Mr. Me-Too came Mr. Smiley. Watch out! If you look at him long enough, he will be sure to flash a winning smile at you. Mr. Smiley is like opening a little present each day. Born at home in the water, he has always just glided along. You can be sure to find him opening up his play kitchen doors, climbing over the dog, asking for milk, and watching his brothers intently. He loves to explore, go for wagon rides, give wet kisses, and giggle.

Lastly, at least for now, is our furry lion hunter, Mussoorie the Rhodesian Ridgeback. She is a constant source of annoyance and laughter. She is an economical and efficient vacuum and bedroom heater. Be prepared to have her lean against you and prop her head on your lap, should you sit on her the couch. She loves chasing balls, catching food, and foraging through waste baskets.

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