Monday, January 31, 2011

“Peasant food” at it’s finest


I don’t know what it is about winter that makes me crave soups and stews, but I don’t fight it. My crockpot sees a lot of use this time of year. I throw in whatever meat I have on hand (yes, we eat meat almost everyday – but we keep our portions small) and pile on the root veggies, herbs, and seasonings. By that evening, our mouths are watering and the entire house is filled with the aroma of a good, wholesome meal. The best part? I haven’t had to slave over the stove all afternoon.

I also crave beans and greens more this time of year. Beans are a wonderfully frugal meal option and they’re so easy to prepare. I soak dry beans overnight with a little ACV (to neutralize the phytates) and rinse them the next morning. Once they’ve simmered for several hours with a little sea salt, EVOO, onion, and garlic, they simply can’t be beat. I like to eat mine with a bit of sauerkraut. So delicious and nutritious!

My digestive systems really appreciates it when I eat this way. It rewards me by not getting bloated, crampy, and miserable. A return to traditional foods and preparation techniques has benefitted the whole family. We rarely get sick with those nasty viral bugs that seem to go on a rampage this time of year. And, I believe I would have healthier bones if I’d been eating this way all along. But alas, all I can do is move forward. I’m grateful for the wake-up call of Crohn’s disease which made me realize that all the processed foods were harming my family. Now, I know. Now, I can nourish my little ones. And myself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tea party time


I stumbled upon this little tea party Sara Lynn had set up for her babies. My heart melts.

To see my sweet babe caring for her babes... doing what mamas do. My cup runs over.

It swims around in my head from time to time… this desire to be a good mother. A good example to follow.

My hope is to give the best parts of myself to my family. And to hold back those things that are less fruitful.

It keeps me on my knees… not a bad place to find oneself.

Blessings to you as you journey through your days. Let’s make the most of them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Starter


Happy starter makes mama happy…

We’ve I’ve been making lots of sourdough bread lately. I’m happy to report that I tolerate wheat/spelt very well as long as it is allowed a long fermentation period. And really, this is the most nutritious way for anyone to enjoy bread. It can be soooo yummy! You just need to learn how to make it.

Here are the instructions I used for making starter (which worked so well).

Here is Wardeh’s (delicious!) recipe and instructions for making sourdough sandwich bread.

And in case your wondering, here’s why sourdough is so nutritious

No more high-dollar gluten free bread from the health foods store for this family. And admittedly, I was never completely comfortable with the ingredients list on those packages. I really tried, but I was never able to master baking gluten free sandwich loaves (with nutritious ingredients). I feel good about our bread again.

I have an appointment tomorrow. I’m not very excited about it. I’ll be having a painful procedure (you know it’s going to be bad when the doctor forewarns you that it will be painful and you will not be able to have anesthesia! Sigh.) but hopefully we’ll have a better idea about what is going on with the discs in my neck/back. On a better note, my Crohn’s flare seems to have finally subsided. I have traded my oral pain medication for a topical cream that is giving me some relief. I appreciate all your well wishes and prayers more than you can know. Blessings to you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

As promised: quilt pics


It’s been a long time coming, but here are the promised pictures of the whole cloth quilts I made for Daniel and Sara Lynn this past Christmas. I really enjoyed the entire process of making my first quilts, even if there was no actual piecing involved. I have to say, I was feeling much better this time last month, and I am ever so glad I took advantage of those days to give my little loves something mama-made. It feels so right.


Here’s a close-up of the quilting. I chose to do a grid pattern on Daniel’s quilt and straight lines for Sara Lynn’s quilt. I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. I just adore the puckered, antique look. It’s exactly what I was going for. And I’m happy to report they were very well received.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Give Away: Levi's Lye Soap

Check this out…

I love a giveaway, and since I’m not making my own soap right now, this looks good to me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some days are better than others


Can I be honest here? I’m having a really tough time lately. And that’s okay. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk. I’ve learned that the hard way. We’re in God’s hands and only He can see the big picture of our lives. So, we must keep going - putting one foot in front of the other, and praying for better days.

Sometimes, everybody hurts. Everybody hurts, sometimes. ~REM

I’ve found that the key to surviving the difficult times is to focus on today. What can I do right now? I try not to think about all those things I can’t do. I try not to worry about tomorrow, because honestly, today has enough trouble of it’s own. Right now, these words are very real to me. I trust that the Lord will not put on my plate any more than I can bear. I remind myself of Paul’s words:

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


So, I cook for my family. Gluten free peach crisp.


I make sauerkraut.


I marvel at 2 cabbages that barely half-fill two quart-size mason jars.


I prepare sourdough bread for my loved ones.


And on the days when mama hurts too much to move, we eat take-out pizza by candlelight.

I find myself in the midst of a severe Crohn’s flare-up and unable to take medication to ease the pain of two more degenerative discs in my spine.

But, I know that there’s a better day coming…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Handmade Christmas (and my first whole cloth quilt)


I’ve wanted to learn to quilt for what seems like forever. This Christmas, with one week to spare, I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet. I made each of my children a whole cloth quilt (mostly because I had no time to make a proper quilt and partly because I was scared I’d mess it up) as an early Christmas gift. We took them with us on the long drive to Disney and now the quilts have been rightfully dubbed our “Road Trip” quilts.


I really love the way they turned out. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to photograph the finished quilts and it’s raining out. More pictures will come later. I’m most in love with Daniel’s quilt. I simply adore the fabric combo and colors. All of it was purchased at Hobby Lobby where you can print out a coupon online that’s good for 40% off (in-store purchases) most weeks. Oh, yes. I’m nothing if not frugal.


I really enjoyed making my first two quilts, even if I was a bit pressed for time. I completed both quilts in less than one week. I finished the binding of my baby girl’s quilt on the oh-so-long trip down. I believe hand-finishing the binding was actually my most favorite part. Stress relief at it’s finest I tell you.

There was also a good bit of knitting done on this trip, but I only have one UFO to show for it. I’m still trying to get the hang of knitting, and I can’t tell you how many dropped stitches I’ve had to deal with. I should probably frog it and start over. It sits abandoned in my knitting basket for now.


This is exactly what I felt like when I was halfway through marking the lines on Daniel’s quilt.


And this is what I felt like when I finished. My mom gave me this cute pencil sharpener. I love it.


Good gravy… that was a lot of marking!

In case you’re interested on getting started in quilting, here are some tutorials which helped me tremendously: You’ll find links to picture tutorials of all the basics in Amanda Jean’s sidebar. This is the method I used for basting - easy.