Monday, June 29, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Here I am, posting yet another "Not me!" Monday. This fun blog carnival was created by MckMama at My Charming Kids. Feel free to join in, either on your own blog, or by adding a comment. It's really cathartic!

I definitely am not regretting ever expressing the fact that at one time I actually enjoyed having a budget. Because that? Would have been madness! I'm sure I never would have thought that, let alone said it...

There is no way that I'm feeling in the least bit irritable or hormonal these days. I am a mature lady, far above being swayed by such silly things as hormones. And I absolutely didn't keep staring at my beloved the other night, totally annoyed by the sounds he made while eating ice cream.

I certainly wasn't dreading driving the Food Circuit last Monday. As happy as I am to participate in a CSA, to get farm-fresh eggs from pastured chickens, and amazing raw milk, I never grumble to myself about the driving. And I certainly wouldn't be praying about someone with whom I might alternate the driving to the farm.

And while dining at The Melting Pot with my handsome husband, celebrating our 12th anniversary, I absolutely, positively did not break of all my own rules about refined sugar. I certainly didn't finish off a delightful meal by chowing down on chocolate-caramel fondue with: brownie bites, pound cake, Oreo crumb-encrusted marshmallows, graham cracker crumb-encrusted marshmallows, and delectable, scrumptious cheesecake. Because I? Don't. Eat. Refined. Sugar. Anymore. Almost ever...

Friday, June 26, 2009

works in progress

It seems like there's always something prepping in my kitchen these days. I'm generally soaking something - grains for pancakes, bread, or other carby delights, or nuts, which will be dehydrated the next day.

This week alone has found my kitchen with: flour soaking for bread, flour soaking for pancakes, almonds soaking, items out for making homemade mayonnaise, creme fraiche biding its time in a warm oven, flour soaking for coffee cake. I also took the time to make chocolate milk for my big boys, as well as hot fudge sauce for ice cream. As well as, you know...our nightly dinners.

I've had a lot on my plate this week. So to speak.

Yes, there's usually at least one bowl on my counter at any given time. Often, there have been two or three. That part of our home tends to resemble a test kitchen. Or a lab, even.

But that's okay with me. And Jeff doesn't seem to be bugged by it. Eventually, I'll even have the counter space to accommodate such soaking comfortably. For now we're just working around the congregation of bowls...

To read more about why I choose to soak my grains, as well as how traditional cultures used this practice, click here.

sweet bliss

Chocolate milk* mustaches...a sure sign of happy boys.

*If you're interested, I used Wardeh's Chocolate-Almond Milk recipe, substituting raw cow's milk for the almond milk, and using honey instead of agave nectar. Delicious!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the current plan

***UPDATE*** The building company accepted our offer! We're on! Yippeeeee!

At last we have a plan in place now, for where we'll eventually be living. Our future home.

Yesterday we started the process of having a home to be built for us. It's not far from here; the neighborhood is actually quite close to the house we had planned by move into last April. So yesterday, kids in tow, we chose a lot, wrote a check, and signed a large stack of papers.

The office where all the business took place is actually a model home. And that model home is nearly the exact floor plan that we've ordered. The only difference is that we've chosen to extend the upstairs loft, making it a full 2nd story. That's the main reason why we brought the boys - so they could see what it would be like. They behaved very well, exploring and eventually settling down in the family room to watch a DVD. (Yes, it's a fully furnished and exquisitely decorated model home!) Jeff's parents also decided to join us, largely to see the floor plan - but they also watched the boys while we signed all those papers. It was so helpful to have them there. The model home had no shortage of breakable decor...not exactly a good site for a wrestling match.

We had a fun time going through our list of available options (read: upgrades) and deciding what we did and didn't want - or rather, opted not to put onto the total count. I feel really good about our choices, and that we had a good balance of practicality and comfort. Now we just need to finalize an agreement on the price with the building company, and we're good to go. That should be accomplished within the next few days.

The thought of a new house - our house, designed and appointed as we will it - is, well, thrilling.

However, there is a small hitch. It won't be ready until January.

This is not good news for the pregnant lady. Not to mention that she's a pregnant lady who's been living out of suitcases and boxes for several months now. The pregnant lady whose official due date is January 28th. Not great news at all.

Still, I am choosing (reminding myself, again and again) to look at the big picture. The house we want, the yard we want, at a price we can afford. We love this unbuilt home: in fact, we love it more than the other house, the one we were planning to buy in April. I am hoping that this is God's plan for us, the reason that He allowed all that heartache and stress.

Of course, it all depends, once again, on the sale of our "old" house going through. Everything looks good so far. The closing date is still scheduled for July 31st. We've had the inspection, and are waiting for the appraisal to be scheduled. Things seem to be moving along as planned.

We shall see. Jeff and I are praying for a smooth process this time, but we have certainly learned that these things don't always happen the way you expect.

You may have noticed that there's quite a gap between July 31st (when the sale of this house closes) and January (when we hope to move into the newly built house). For the interim, we'll be looking for a rental. I'm a little anxious about these details - moving not once but twice, moving while I'm large with child, storing our stuff, finding a place to rent (will it be a house with a yard, or an apartment?). We'll be spending three family birthdays there, not to mention the holidays. And what if there's a delay with the construction? Would I really want a homebirth in some temporary living arrangement?

I'm praying that we won't have to make that choice. We're told that these builders are really "good on their dates," and I'm holding onto that. But if there is a delay, I know we'll manage. God will take care of us. He alone knows when and where the babe will be born. Although it may be the first time in my life that I'm glad my babies usually come well past their due dates.

Oh....I suppose you'd like to hear what the house is like? I nearly forgot, silly me. Let's see... it's a bit over 3200 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a beautiful master suite, an office/den, living room, family room, and "loft" (which will be more of a family room) upstairs. The kitchen is lovely (and includes a "cook's pantry"). The lot is level, and a good size. Lots of room for those boys to shake their sillies out, thank goodness!

So that's the news. Now we need to apply ourselves to finding a rental, and preparing to move in about a month. We're back in the saddle again, and this time in a good way!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

fun with a washcloth

I'd like to introduce you to Owen's new favorite trick. I'm not sure just why he finds it so entertaining, but he certainly loves it! It just goes on and on and on...

the father of my boys

Watching Jeff father our boys has been such a delight to me. He's a wonderful daddy: fun, loving, tender, wise, strong, fun-loving, silly, and Christlike. I love being married to such a hands-on guy, who genuinely loves being with his kids.

I'm convinced that one of their happiest childhood memories will be Wrestle Time with Daddy. They all love it - Owen included!

A few months ago, Jeff began teaching the boys memory verses from the Bible. So far they've tackled John 3:16, Psalm 100, and Psalm 23. He's inspired me, and we've begun to do this during school time too...they've also learned Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 29:11, and Psalm 4:8. What a blessing it is to help them hide God's word in their hearts, so young.

I am so blessed in the father of my children. Jeff, I love you. You're the greatest.

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

our first basket

At long last, yesterday we were able to pick up our first CSA basket. This is just the beginning of the season, and the bounty will grow as the weeks go by. Even so, I was very pleased with what we took away this week.

Salad greens, arugula, wheatgrass, fresh eggs, rhubarb, strawberries, and fresh mint.

And...a fresh bouquet each week, too! What a lovely addition.
I am really excited to see what the summer brings!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

This brings us to another edition of "Not me!" Monday, as created by MckMama at My Charming Kids. I encourage you to check out her's fabulous.

During the past week, I definitely didn't bring in a little boy's jacket which had been left out back all night long, discover that I had also brought in a frog, scream, and shake the thing off of my hand, never to be seen or heard from again. Nope, not me! I would never be so excitable or silly. Frogs are not startling, after all!

And I certainly didn't allow my 3-year-old to sing the "Jungle Book" song "The Bare Necessities" while attending to nature's call in the restroom of a pizza parlor. Just because it was cute. I mean, there were other people there, who probably didn't want to be serenaded whilst urinating. So I'm sure I would have put a stop to that, beary soon.

I absolutely didn't show our house to an interested party not once, but twice this week...only to get an offer a few hours later from an entirely different buyer. That makes no sense. And I'm certainly not wracking my brain, trying to figure out who it is that wants to buy the joint. And when it was that they came...

I definitely didn't have my first new-pregnancy visit with my midwife this week, at my own house! What? And I wasn't rather thrilled to discover that she gets raw milk from the very same farm that we do. When she lives across the city? That'd be a little crazy.

It's totally not driving me a little crazy that I don't know what fresh produce we'll be getting in our (very first!) CSA basket this week. I am not a planner at all, and I'm sure that I can whip up something spectacular each and every day, with whatever they send us. I'm not so excited that I'm likely to lie awake at night, thinking about it. That would be....just, weird.

And I'm not utterly thrilled that Jeff is taking today off from work, in honor of our anniversary! Which was, of course, yesterday. We are not having a babysitter come over tonight, and we are not going to enjoy a romantic dinner at an amazing fondue restaurant. Anniversary, schmanniversary...right? ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

a dozen years

Today my love and I have been married for twelve wonderful years.

We've had our ups and our downs, but they've always, always brought us closer together.

I am so grateful that God brought such a wonderful man into my life, and allowed me to be his wife, friend, helpmeet, partner in parenting, and lover.

I love you, Jeff! Thank you for a wonderful dozen years, and I pray that we'll have many, many more to enjoy together.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

same song, 2nd verse...

...hopefully not the same as the 1st!

Once again we have a buyer for our house. Yesterday we received, and accepted, an offer. Yes, it's true! It all still seems like a dream to me. All the same, the papers have been signed. Things are in motion!

Now, of course, we have the task of finding the home we want to buy. We looked last week, and hope to go looking again in the next few days. We don't want to be hasty, but we're feeling the pressure to start the process for our new home. You know, wherever it may be.

It sounds like closing will be in mid- to late-July.


Friday, June 12, 2009

heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to class I go

Within two hours I'll be off to the third and final cooking class from Kimi Harris at The Nourishing Gourmet. I'm looking forward to it, and am determined to eat only a very light dinner before I go. Last week I neglected to think ahead, and was so stuffed that I could hardly enjoy the roasted chicken with gravy, and chicken curry. Still, I did manage to enjoy them - they were so delicious that I could hardly help it! I'm not a huge curry lover, but that recipe just may turn me around.

As much as I've enjoyed the classes, I am such a homebody that I'm just a teensy bit relieved that this is the last one. Especially in the evenings, I much prefer to stick close to home...

Another thing going on tonight is a very important meeting with our realtor, at 6pm. I'll make a quick popcorn meal for my family, sit down to talk things over with my husband our realtor, then quickly eat something and hop off to class.

And what does this weekend hold, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Grocery shopping (fascinating to you, I know!), a Secret Sister event at our church in the late morning, a possible visit from my midwife, and a 2-year-old's birthday party in the afternoon....all followed by Bath Night (for the kids, not me. I mean, I showered just this morning.) And you thought my life was boring!

I love it, and I have been so blessed by the Lord. It's all for Him!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the potential for joy and sorrow

In January of 2007, I lost a baby.

I'm not going to say I had a miscarriage, or refer to my little one as a fetus. These are facts, but they don't really convey what happened to me. What happened was, I lost a baby.

And it was hard. In fact, it was the hardest thing I'd ever been through. I grieved for my child, for the vanished dreams I'd entertained. For the chance to know...hold..mother my little one. It was a sudden and shocking loss, a betrayal of sorts. I was betrayed by my body. Also, I had to figure out where God fit into all of it.

The conclusion I arrived at was this: God loves my baby even more than I do. This kind of tragedy happens because there is sin in the world, not because God decided to punish me or my baby. I believe that God saw each tear that was cried for my little one, and that he mourned with me, even as he welcomed my child into heaven.

God doesn't always protect us from loss. In fact, it seems that all too often, He doesn't.

I know that this is hard to think about, but it's something that I've had to come to terms with, following my loss, and then during my pregnancy with Owen. And now here it comes again.

I struggled a lot with anxiety during my pregnancy with Owen. The first trimester was excruciating - not so much because I was feeling sick, but because I was haunted by the memory of my previous loss...and the potential that it might happen again. My pregnancy gave me no physical reason for concern - but neither had the one that ended so sadly. I had an especially hard time as I approached the 11 week mark, for that was when my body rejected the baby I'd imagined was still healthy...still present with me.

Those dark, quiet days - before it's possible to hear the baby's heartbeat, before I could feel the little one move - were so hard for me. I made Philippians 4:6-7 my personal verses, and posted them all over my home. I repeated them to myself in the shower, as I drove my car, as I prepared meals, and scrubbed sinks. I tried so hard to shed the anxiety, but it was difficult.

The reason it was so hard was this simple fact: I could have to say goodbye again.

There are no guarantees save one: God is faithful. He keeps his promises.

If he says that he "knit me together in my mother's womb," He did. (Psalm 139:13)
If he says that "all the days ordained for me were written in [his] book," they are. (Psalm 139:16)
If he says that his love endures forever, it does. (Psalm 100:5)
If he says that he is with me, and mighty to save, he is. (Zephaniah 3:17)
If he says that I should not be anxious, I should strive to shed anxiety. (Phil. 4:6-7)
If he says that there is nothing in all of creation which can separate me from his love, there isn't. (Romans 8:38-39)
If he says that he is with me, even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is. (Psalm 23:4)

I am not promised healthy pregnancies. I am not promised that I'll be blessed to see each my children become adults, or that I will grow old with my husband by my side. I am not promised a life without disease, sorrow, or loss. I hope and pray for all of this, of course I do. But I cannot be sure of these things.

What I am sure of, is God's goodness, his love - and that he will be with me, whatever life may bring.

I suppose, to some, this post may seem a bit bleak, as though I'm almost expecting tragedy to strike my life again. The truth is, I'm not. I'm rejoicing in this baby, and I'm making plans for him or her to join our family next year. I am expectant.

Regardless of what the next months bring, I have reason to hope...because my hope doesn't rest on any false promises of a life that is free of pain, but on the assurance that the Lord is my rock, my salvation, and my refuge. (Psalm 18:2)
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea]">[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web]">[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec]">[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~Romans 5:1-5 (emphasis added)

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

You know it! Another Monday means another "Not me!" Monday post. So fun, so cathartic. Really, you ought to try it. For a post sure to lift any potential doldrums, head over to see what MckMama (who started this blog carnival!) at My Charming Kids.

You can be sure that I didn't make The Nourishing Gourmet's Brownie Pudding Cake, only to burn the top of it. I am the most attentive of bakers, and I would never let such a tender morsel of deliciousness scorch. What kind of cook would forget that things bake more quickly in the toaster oven?

The day that my post on local food was published, I absolutely did not go and purchase grapes which hailed from Mexico. I never succumb to buying something simply because I know my kids love it, even if it isn't such a great choice in other ways. And I definitely wouldn't have been surprised to find the grapes slightly aged and soft, because I know that local = fresh, therefore traveled produce tends to be a bit...well, travel-weary.

While preparing for a Sunday open house this week, I certainly did not spend two days cleaning. As I've stated before, I am a model housekeeper, and never let dust bunnies get the best of me. No, I find taming the crumbs to be the most exhilarating of challenges.

Also during preparations for the open house, I definitely did not literally sweep a few said crumbs under the rug. Me?! I would never do a thing like that! I mean, how long would it have taken me to get the dustpan and dispose of them the traditional way? I would never be so lazy.

And I absolutely didn't mutter to myself nearly the entire time when I was preparing for the afore-mentioned open house. I am not sick to death of cleaning my house for the purpose of impressing other people, people who may or may not care. I am a perpetual Pollyanna, and I find this entire process of trying to sell our house...delightful!

What have you not been up to this week?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

another one bites the dust

And, another soccer season has come and gone. Benjamin had a great time playing with the Lightning Strikers, and we were so proud of his efforts this season. He was such a hard worker! He loves to play defense, but most importantly, he enjoyed just about every minute of it. It says a lot when your kid is excited about every single practice, and every single game!

my psalm

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I work and when I tarry
You perceive my thoughts from your throne
You discern my industry and my relaxation
Before an idea comes into my mind you know it completely, O Lord.

You see my past and my future;my hopes and my dreams.
I cannot fathom it all.
Where could I go that you would not be with me?
You know me completely, O Lord
You know my fears and what brings me anxiety.
You know my greatest joys, and you smile to see them.
For you created me completely; every detail.
You know me intimately and love me perfectly
I praise you for being

Just, yet
Utterly full of grace.

For you, alone, are good
and fully compassionate.
Search me, O God.
Teach me, grow me.
Make me wholly pleasing to You.

Friday, June 5, 2009

local fare

Today I'm posting about something that has grown increasingly important to me. Eating locally is something I had literally never thought of before last summer. Even then, it didn't really click until a few months ago. Then I read Barbara Kingsolver's nonfiction book, entitled "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It completely changed the way I look at where we acquire the food we eat.

Oxford University Press puts it quite succinctly: "The 'locavore' movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better." Locavore. I like that.

A major factor in this issue is the use of fossil fuels in transporting food to your local supermarket. According to, most of our nourishment makes its way "an average of 1,500 miles before ending up on our plates."

Consider this:
Transporting a single calorie of a perishable fresh fruit from California to New York takes about 87 calories worth of fuel. That's as efficient as driving from Philadelphia to Annapolis, and back, in order to walk three miles on a treadmill in a Maryland gym.
--Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (page 68)
This is hardly necessary! Throughout our country (nay, world), wonderful, fresh foods are cultivated. Yes, every area has it specialties. Oregon is famous for its berries. Washington, it's apples. Iowa, corn. And California...well, California is famous for just about everything. Even so, there are many common foods which are grown all over the United States. To me, it makes so much sense to shop locally.

It makes no sense to transport food over so many miles, when it's often grown nearby. And I believe that it's important to support small farmers, and to cultivate relationships with them. I'd hate to see the craft of farming be taken completely over by big business.

Still, the thing that appeals to me the most about local food is the freshness and flavor. It simply cannot compare with bananas which are packed off long before they are ripe, and hauled halfway around the world.

Local food was the norm for so long. People ate seasonally, enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables after they were harvested, and preserving them for the winter and spring months. Then it occurred to someone - probably for the novelty of it - to transport food thousands of miles, to where it was not in season. I imagine that it was for a dinner party, a fancy reception, or some such thing. "Amazing! Artichokes, at this time of year! How brilliant!"

Except that maybe it isn't so brilliant, after all.

Here's an aspect that Barbara Kingsolver mentioned: we don't know how to wait for seasonal food anymore. We as a culture are so accustomed to getting what, whenever we want it. Tomatoes in December? Of course! Strawberries in November? We'll just bring them from California - which may not be a huge haul to Oregon, but what about New York?

I'd like to suggest that the payoff might be in the waiting. In choosing not to eat mealy, pale tomatoes in the winter, but to wait for red, juicy ones at our local farmers' market in summertime. In being patient, remembering that there is indeed a time (and a season) for everything.

Does this mean I'll never buy another banana again, unless I move to South America? What about avocados? Fresh pineapple? Honestly, I haven't figured all the details out yet. I know that I will continue to have at least a handful of exceptions: olive oil, coconut oil, coffee. Maybe the list of exceptions will occasionally include tropical fruit, too.

My point is that we need to consider the cost when shopping for food. The cost to our community when we give our money for exotic items, the cost to the planet when we burn untold amounts of fuel to transport out-of-season food. And the cost to ourselves, when we lose touch with the natural world and its seasons ~ the way the great Gardener planned it, Himself.

***This post is part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade. Click on the link to learn more.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the moment you've all been waiting for

As you may recall, last week I teased about some upcoming news. I'm sure you've all been tossing and turning at night, trying to work out just what that news might be. My first bloggy giveaway? A happy twist in our real estate fiasco? Is my kindergartner reading Shakespeare? What could it be?

Of course, some of you have guessed. That will happen, I suppose. It's just the way of it....the way people's minds work. At any rate, I suppose I'll come right out and say it. If you insist.

It would seem that we've managed well enough to keep this crew fed, clothed, and relatively clean...

...that the Lord is growing our family! That's right.....I'm pregnant!

We are, all of us, entirely thrilled. The older boys love being big brothers, and I know Owen will be a smashing older sibling, too. We're looking at a mid-February arrival of the wee one. Yes, we're hoping all the details will work out for another homebirth, and no, we likely won't be peeking at the baby's gender before the big day. So yes, it looks like a bit more waiting is in order....

...just thought I'd share our happy news!

the perceptions of a 3-year-old

Yesterday evening, Kyle came downstairs to visit with his dad and I; he should have been sound asleep. This is what followed:

Kyle, calmly: I'm getting kind of disturbed in my room.
Dad: Why's that?
Kyle: Because. I keep hearing what sounds like chickens?
Dad: Really....?
Kyle: Yeah.
Dad: Do they sound like "chirp chirp chirp"?
Kyle: No, they sound like "COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!!!!!!!"
Dad: Ok...
Kyle: And they're on all the chimneys.
Dad, stifling laughter: Ok, well, it's time to go up to bed now. You can turn on your CD to help drown out the chickens...

And then last night at 3:45 AM, Kyle came bursting into our room, very upset. He must've been really agitated because I went to turn on my lamp, which I don't usually do when he comes in at night.

This move brought on screams of horror-movie quality. He really let loose. I thought he had a mouse in his hair or something! Talk about adrenaline ~ my heart was really going after that.

It turns out that when he saw my arm reach for the lamp, he thought there was something flying. It really scared him; he even mentioned that it was going to get Ben. After Jeff got him calmed down a bit, the three of us lay there, trying to return to normal breathing. Then we heard a soft knock on our door. It was Ben, and we called him in.

Me: Come in, honey. Was that loud? Did you the noise scare you?
Ben saunters over to my side of the bed, glancing around casually.
Me: That was pretty loud, huh? The noise?
Ben, wide awake, calmly: What noise?

At this point Jeff and I just lost it. The thought that he hadn't noticed the blood-curdling screams, when his door and our door were opened was just too funny. Besides, we had more than a bit of built-up tension from the incident we'd just endured. It took me some time to get my giggles under control, I just couldn't stop....

I'm sure the screams did wake him up, but that he just didn't consciously hear and remember them.

After getting the boys resettled, we received a few more visits from Kyle, who announced that he was "feeling startled." The night ended with both Ben and Kyle bringing their sleeping bags & pillows into our room and camping out next to the bed.

It was the only way Jeff and I could hope to get any more sleep!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

how we use raw milk

Aside from drinking, that is? The truth is, we do drink a lot of it. Most notably, my 3-year-old. That child would chug raw milk all day long, if I let him. My husband and I would like to drink more than we do, but it seems that we're always really low by the end of the week, so we save it for the boys. We just increased our weekly purchase from 2 gallons to 3 gallons, and we'll try to make this work before we start buying even more...

Allow me to back to the subject at hand: how we use raw milk in our household. Once a week I make a quart of yogurt using this method from Michele at Frugal Granola (she's something of a genius, in my opinion). I then use this yogurt for my husband's lunch, recipes (such as our favorite crackers), and even for soaking grains. This summer, I hope to work out some berry/honey combinations which will reintroduce the joy of yogurt to our children. I'll also use it in smoothies.

My husband uses the milk to make kefir. I don't care for kefir, personally, but I wish I drank it. It's absolutely wonderful for one's health. It's a cultured, probiotic milk product, and it very much reminds me of drinkable yogurt.

I also pour off most of the cream from our raw milk these days, to put it to other uses. Raw cream makes scrumptious ice cream: so creamy and delicious! Also, I recently read of a simple method which uses raw cream to make creme fraiche, and I am so excited to try it sometime soon.

My favorite use for cream, though, it in making butter. We do have the butter churn which belongs to my husband's parents, and we do use that at times. However, I recently discovered that I could make butter in my KitchenAid Mixer (using the whisk attachment)! I was so thrilled to let it do my work for me, while I go about other business. If you're interested in the instructions, click here. I use Method A. This is another stroke of brilliance from Michele at Frugal Granola.

Naturally, making butter produces buttermilk. I use this by-product in recipes, and in soaking my grains. I must say, it makes the most delicious whole wheat pancakes I've ever had!

We love using raw milk. To read more about why we choose to consume it, click here and here. My next big adventure? Cheese! I have a book, a recipe, and a plan. I can hardly wait to see what develops.

***This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, hosted by CHEESESLAVE. Click on the link for more real food posts!

Monday, June 1, 2009

the now & the not yet

(*Title inspired by a song of the same title written by Pam Mark-Hall)

We put in a garden yesterday.

I suppose that the term "garden" by be a bit of a stretch. Our plot contains two tomato plants, a single cucumber, and a lone red bell pepper. I admit we're not terribly ambitious. But as our gardening efforts have had somewhat mixed results in the past, it seems like a good start.

I'm glad, I guess. I had been feeling sad that we hadn't put any plants in...actually I had just decided to do it back in March, when we got the offer on our house. So at that point we nixed our plans and started preparing to move. Obviously that hasn't panned out, and our garden has sat ~ lonely, neglected, barren save the weeds. It's been a sore point for me. I had really wanted to give a vegetable garden another try this year, and I felt cheated out of the chance to that by this whole "house thing," as we refer to it around here.

So now, it's in. Hopefully, as long as I remember to water our handful of plants, we'll see some progress, and production. It seems good. Like a step of hope, accepting our circumstances, blooming where we're (still) planted.

But it also makes me sad.

I hadn't expected to spend enough time in this house to eat from a garden this year. And we might not, still. But it's impossible to know, isn't it?

Something that I've been struggling with for a while now is the phrase "we were supposed to be..." We were supposed to be moved by the end of April, then by May 15th at the very latest, and then the end of May. It was supposed to be just fine to pack flip-flops, shorts, the pool, big pots, etc., etc., because we were supposed to be closing in two days. It's easy to feel bitter when I think about how it was "supposed to be."

But over the last few weeks, something in my thinking has shifted. I'm learning to see those things that I used to say were "supposed to be" as our former expectations. Yes, it's hard to let go of expectations. It's hard to accept that we're back to square one with this business of finding a buyer for this house, and a new place to live. It still smarts a bit to think of the dreams we fancied would come true.

But maybe it wasn't supposed to be, after all.

Here's the thing: I'm not a huge believer that"God causes everything." I know that He is over all, and has created this whole big world and everyone in it. I believe that He works, oh yes! But I don't necessarily think that He causes every single event. In fact, I think there's a lot of yucky stuff in life that just simply happens, as they say. It's a consequence of sin in the world, the fall of man. Stuff happens.

The Bible says that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him,a]">[a] whob]">[b] have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) And I believe that as we receive what life hands us, remembering that it comes through His filter, it can and will become a beautiful thing. Maybe not just when we'd like to see the transformation ~ no, it may be a good deal later. Still, God is faithful, operates on his own timetable, and his ways are infinitely "higher." (Isaiah 55:9)

And yet...and yet I can't shake the feeling that God's hand is in this. When we first realized that there may be problems with the sale of our house, I prayed that God would close the door if it wasn't his will for us. The door seems to be clearly closed. While that could just be something that happened, I don't have the sense that it is. I'm not sure what God's doing through this, but I choose to believe that He can create something amazing from what seems to be a mess.

Although we have no idea what the future holds, this is a promise: "'11 For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)

He has a plan. So whether this tiny garden brings fruit in the edible sense, increases our house's attractiveness to another buyer, or has merely built us a bit more character, I'll take it.

Whichever it is. As if from His hand.

"Not me!" Monday

"Not me!" Monday is back on this fine Monday, as created by MckMama of My Charming Kids. For an enjoyable read, as well as some amazing photos, hop on over to her blog today!

Today is definitely not my brother and sister-in-law's wedding anniversary, and I didn't totally forget to buy a card. Not me! I definitely have not gotten bad about cards and such since my last child was born...and I always make sure that the cards I send arrive with the utmost punctuality. For sure!

Speaking of (theoretical) forgetfulness, the other night I certainly didn't forget all about a pan of Cottage Potatoes in the oven, until dinner was over. What?! That would be just silly. And I for sure didn't decide that if I had only left the potato-prep detritus in the kitchen a visual reminder...I wouldn't have had such a sad problem...

I absolutely did not force my faithful readers to languish, for more than a week, without posting a single photo. I mean, that would just be inhuman. Deprive these fine people of the cuteness that is my children? The beauty that is our weather? The food which graces our table? Not me!

And I didn't totally have a great time at the first cooking class put on my Kimi Harris at The Nourishing Gourmet. I didn't happily lap up not one, not two, but three delectable desserts at the unreasonable hour of 8:45 PM. No way! And I didn't utterly dig the Brownie Pudding Cake (think Chocolate Lava!), Roasted Banana Ice Cream, and Tangy Lemon Curd (served with wonderful scones). It wasn't a completely delightful experience, and I am not totally excited to be going back the next two weeks!! (*cough*) Not excited at all.