"Let's be cheerful"! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant & happy thoughts as we are that the rugs are the right color and texture & the furniture comfortable and beautiful"! Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, February 28, 2011

If life gives you bananas....

Early mornings are lovely when there's no one up but me and the cat.  I barely get through the bedroom door before being petted and stroked (yes, she's the one doing the loving) all the way to the laundry room where her beloved cat chow waits.


prrrrrrrr....

She's hungry first thing in the morning.  Not me.  After feeding her, I grind my favorite French Roast and settle into my spot on the couch with my Bible.  I can smell the brew doing it's thing while I feast on The Word.


The bible cover we bought Audrey the year her (premature) sister Hope Joy was taken to Heaven


I really hope it's not wrong to speak of coffee love in the same paragraph as my devotions. Because, as it's true that my morning coffee is important to me, I don't worship it.

Now, while it's still dark out is when I mosey back into the kitchen, pour my cuppa and begin breakfast prep. Before you get the wrong idea let me assure you that I do not make breakfast every morning.  Sometimes it's appropriate for me to show the family the toaster and the fruit bowl.  But, sometimes you have a bunch of bananas threatening to go bad........




DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN BANANA BREAD
(I made the name up just now)  :)

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour  ( you can use whole wheat, I compromise with 1/2 whole wheat 1/2 white)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)




A very good morning indeed.




Blessings,  Debbie

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the most excellent way


A game: Grace, will you be my valentine?  Don't laugh, you're out if you laugh!

LOVE.
Conditional love says,
I'll love you if.......
Unconditional love says,
I love you.  I just do.  You can't change it.


4 generations of love




LOVE.

And now I will show you the most excellent way.  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love I gain nothing. 

come on Erin Just Bust a Move...Oh yea.
go Audie, go Audie....
Love is patient, 
love is kind.  
It does not envy, 
it does not boast, 
it is not proud.  
It is not rude, 
it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs.  
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, 
always trusts, 
always hopes, 
always perseveres.
LOVE NEVER FAILS.

our traditional heart shaped pizzas
How did you spend your Valentine's Day?


Blessings,  Debbie

Friday, February 18, 2011

what is best

Erin with her sewing instructor, Sarah


One of the beautiful things about home schooling is that your day is your day.  You can choose to spend it however you see fit.

You learn early on that it is up to you to choose worthwhile pursuits.  And, you get to define worthwhile.

So we strive to choose what is best.  There are so many things that are good and sometimes there is time for everything, but as we help our children to prioritize we begin to get a real understanding of why Paul said,


inspired to continue after class


Rejoice in the Lord always.

I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Finally, brothers, whatever is true whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 4:4-9






I am so thankful for The Book that answers all of my questions.

I remember a time when I was a reader of anything and was in total confusion.  How could I know what was best when everyone had a seemingly good point and they contradicted one another?

Praise Him for one Truth for all time!

Joining Spiritual Sundays
Blessings,  Debbie

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coach

What does this strapping young man do with his time?  






He loves basketball.







He's making a difference in the lives of young men, (ahem)........  They're men they can handle it.





I think you're on the right track Cory.  Keep trusting God's direction...


Blessings,  Debbie

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

freedom in the kitchen


Here is a peek at how a lazy cook makes magic.  First, wait until everyone says they're hungry before deciding what to make for dinner.  Next decide that home-made pasta would be perfect...... Stay with me.


The pasta machine I purchased for $5.00 at a yard sale a few years ago.  Amazing machine!


While making the pasta try to figure out what would be good on it.  Now!

This is where decisions made weeks ago come in to play.  A couple of weeks ago the grocery store had boneless skinless chicken breast for a terrific price.  When I see it for a good price I buy extra.  When I see it for a terrific price I stock up.

Right when I get it home I repackage the advantage pack ( the big long thing they sell you when you are trying to save money that couldn't possibly fit in your freezer and even if it does you would never be able to separate the amount you need later) in quart size freezer bags.

Some of the breasts I cube for stir fry ( I even pour some teriyaki sauce in some of the bags) the rest are cut in half and repackaged 6 halves to a bag because Cory eats 2 and there are 5 of us still at home.

The other wonderful freezer stock that I always have on hand is the organic frozen broccoli from Grocery Outlet.  I always have at least four bags.  Sometime I'll post my recipe for potato broccoli soup.  It's fast, easy and delicious.


I'm going to sidetrack for a moment here to talk about a hobby of mine.  I like to read cookbooks.


inspirational informationally
This is the book that taught me how to make vanilla sugar.   You can't imagine the fragrant goodness.

I have always incorporated the Charlotte Mason philosophy to our home school.  That's because before having a label for it, I knew it had been how I learned best as a young person. Charlotte Mason encourages the use of  'living books' rather than textbooks.  Textbooks are only to be used to reference facts or as a timeline. Living books are books written by someone who is directly related to their subject.

When I was in junior high I became fascinated with marine biology.  I pored over National Geographic and Jacques Cousteau.  Passionate words and seemingly unreal, beautiful, glossy pictures transported me.

So, what does that have to do with making dinner quickly for my hungry family?


Inspirational visually - don't you just want to jump up and plant an herb garden?  Can't do that (there's snow on the ground for goodness sake) so I'll make some herbal tea and scones for the kids and I today, and maybe we can plan our herb garden for spring.  Google: herbs and how they are used. :)    

By reading beautiful, interesting cookbooks you begin to learn the whys and whens of food. With this knowledge comes freedom!

Freedom to explore with food expecting the result to be exactly what you imagined. Obviously, lot's of cooking along with the reading is necessary.  But with the inspiration of passionate cooks in your noggin you'll be excited and ready to try new things.

I'm just encouraging you to strive for freedom in the kitchen because with it comes impressive, delicious meals with minimal effort.






So, I keep saying minimal effort in the same post as homemade pasta.

If you've never made it before you should try it.  It's fun!  I'll show you how soon and you don't need a machine.


al dente

So, back to the pasta dish.  First  put the water to boil for the pasta. Then goes the chicken, into the hot olive oil.

When it begins to brown I add the broccoli and a couple of cloves of pressed garlic.  Push it around now and then.

At this point I still didn't know what I was going to do with all of it.  Now, I've only made fettucini twice in my life because of all of the butter, cream and cheese, but I love it!  I saw the noodles boiling in the pot next to the skillet and I knew that's what it wanted to be.  Here again is where our freedom comes in to play.

I didn't want all of the fat and calories that come with traditional fettucini and in my old 'slave' days I would have searched and searched for a lower fat recipe.  I then would have been a slave to the ingredients called for.

A quick mental inventory told me I had parmesan (I always keep a tub of grated parmesan in the door of the freezer for a light sprinkle on spaghetti or soup) and half and half.  I turned down the heat under the skillet and poured on the half and half (there was only about 1/3 a cup left in the carton, fine, I'm no slave) then dumped on some parmesan.

I didn't stir, just pushed gently and let it all warm.  I wanted this to flavor all of the pasta so I made the decision to throw on about a tablespoon of butter at the last minute.


decision to add butter

Liberally grind pepper, we like pepper.  Making the pasta was a decision I made because we love it and even though it takes a little more time I decided it was time I had.  It took about 1/2 an hour.  The rest of the dish took maybe 20 minutes.


Delicious on the pasta!

I hope you are inspired to get in the kitchen and try something new.  Be realistic ( "if I do this, what can I really expect"? ) about your ingredients and what they will do and you will be on your way to freedom in the kitchen.


Blessings,  Debbie

Monday, February 7, 2011

devotion

He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!"

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, bone and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:12-13

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in you hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.  Luke 24:27

Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17b

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people.  Amen  Revelation22:18-21


Blessings,  Debbie

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the masquerade ball




Now that you are viewing these pictures you'll see why I was hesitant.  The old camera was dying.  What a sad time to die.  It was really a difficult night for me knowing that my children were all gussied up and I was incapable of immortalizing the moment to the degree of quality that their attire warranted.  And yet.......... 




The memories are ours.  And although these images are like "looking through a glass darkly", the colors will always be vivid with crisp silhouettes in my mind.












I so wish I had pictures of grandma and granny at the table, helping 'their girls' pin, cut out, and sew their beautiful dresses.  But, sadly, as I stated before, the camera was dying.  



You can see the 'caller' up in the back.










Erin

For Erin's dress we used Simplicity M5444. 

She chose a dusky, sky blue cotton with a textured look and a touch more weight than just your typical quilting cotton for the main fabric, and a white, light cotton for the puffs in the sleeves.  This was purchased from WalMart very inexpensively.  

The trim (below the puffs) was wonderfully wide and came from grandma's stash.  We also knew when we purchased the pattern that we would use a lace tablecloth for the inset and grandma generously provided that too. 

Neither of these additions were called for by the pattern, but these are the details that I think make the dress.  

I can't seem to find Audrey's pattern but I'm sure it was Mccalls.  

She chose a mid-weight wine colored satin and elegant ivory trim.  We purchased this at Joann's using 40% off coupons.  

Once again we took many liberties with the recommendations and were thrilled with the results.  
Audrey's dress proved vexing at the trying on stage when we realized that the bodice was not going to close (this was before we had inserted the zipper).  To prove the old adage "two heads are better than one" (in our case three) we saved it beautifully.  

All in all I think we spent a total of about $45.00 for the two dresses combined.  Audrey's dress cost more than Erin's to make.  This total includes the one time purchase of 2 patterns that we paid $6.50 each for at WalMart.  

So, there you have it.  Ann, this is especially for you as you asked for details back in October and I only now put my brain to the task.




Punch and fresh air ..... dancing is allot of work.





Before you think that this is just a one time wear, rest assured that as soon as you make a ball gown you make the ball circuit.  We will be attending the Winter Ball, put on by Central Oregon Historic Balls at the end of this month.  I can't wait.  This time I have a new camera!



Dress them up, send them to school....................Oh yea, that's what's wrong, we never sent them to school!


Blessings,  Debbie

Friday, February 4, 2011

naughty, naughty gnome


So, here he is.  This is the culprit.  The one who rubbed me wrong during his entire creation process.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of where the yarn clawed it's way across my index finger.

  
He's kinda cute for the accusation, huh?  Don't let him fool you.  In fact, it's just what he's made of.  Yes, that's it- it's what he's made of.....



Back in October a fun loving group of lady friends headed to the beautiful Oregon coast for a weekend of relaxation. Lucky for me I was not the only nutty knitter in the group and before we had even found our rental house we had spotted an intriguing sign on the road in.  YARN $1.00.  It was on a yellow plastic sign board out in the driveway/parking area of what appeared to be a private home and shop/garage.  Oh yeah!! We are going there.

Obviously the driver of the vehicle was not one of said knitters or we would have gone there first.  But no, we did proceed to find our lovely weekend retreat, to the satisfaction of those who were not salivating with us (we aren't just nutty, we are also kind).

So, fast forward an hour or so and we are in.  Around to the back, up the stairs to the side and through the door. Interesting. VERY interesting.  Two huge looms, spinning wheels and lots and lots of yarn.  Now before you get too covetous let me tell you that the lovely hand-spun was not $1.00.  My budget for the weekend made me turn my head away to the many boxes down the center of the room.  Apparently a long time customer of our fiber artist had passed away leaving her stash with her daughter.  In speaking with daughter, fiber artist discovered that she was going to take the yarn to the thrift store.  FA offered to purchase what she had for a specified price for which daughter was very grateful.  When FA's husband took the truck to pick up the yarn he was flabbergasted!  Suffice it to say it took several trips and was now taking up all of the space in her studio and she wanted it gone.  Oh the fun of pawing through boxes of skeins, checking labels, tossing them back and forth as we giddily voiced our preferences.  $18.00 later and intoxicated on wool fiber I headed back to the house with my over-sized bag.  It was a tight fit because several of the other ladies had similar sized bags.




So, for all of the 100% wool, 100% cotton and softer blends I came home with, I decided to use this vintage 50% wool 50% nylon for the ornery guy.



This is a very simple project that knits up fast with very little yarn used.  Definitely my favorite kind of project.  I found this free pattern at Plain and Joyful Living.  I have found many of my favorite simple ideas on this creative blog.



I can't seem to rid myself of the image of some poor'ol grandpa wearing a very uncomfortable sweater, lovingly made for him from this thorny yarn!  He's out there somewhere.  So, when you run into what seems to be an unreasonably cantankerous old man just forgive him.  But whatever you do, don't rub his arm.  Ouch!


Blessings,  Debbie
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