Friday, December 28, 2012

a (somewhat) snowy day

The week before Christmas, we had a snowy day.

Well, sort of.  There was snow to be seen on the ground, anyway.  Not much, but enough.  Around these parts that's not something you take for granted.

So I did what any schedule-driven homeschooling mom would do.   I told the kids to set their books aside and go put on their now gear.

They had fun!  And my daughter got a chance to use her new pink snow overalls.

The aftermath: a pile of wet coats, hats, mittens, snow pants, and socks.  Not to mention boots; I'm sure there are boots somewhere under all of that.

Afterward we all had some rich, sweet hot chocolate...

...and then went on with our school day. It's strange to read "A Midsummer Night's Dream" while sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace in mid-December...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

this Christmas

This year my husband and I hosted Christmas in our home.  It was fun, exhausting, and fulfilling.

The kids in their new pajamas.

Gabriel enjoying his new gift.


It was fun to open up my home for such a special celebration!

Christmas candy: peanut brittle, peppermint patties, and cookie dough truffles.

Concord Grape Royal ':mocktail" (Alton Brown's recipe)

A (belated) Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


My two-year-old daughter came out of her bedroom on Sunday morning wearing a scowl on her face.

"Kyle say me sick," she said indignantly.  She was positively grumpy at the suggestion that she was not in glowing, perfect health.  What on earth would make anyone believe she was ill?

Never mind that she'd been up the night before with a fever.  Never mind that she was coughing, sniffling, that her eyes were watery.  Never mind the red smudges under those big brown eyes.  She was a mess.

When we told her she couldn't go to church that day, she cried.  My girl loves going to church, seeing her friends, attending her "big girl class."  She's always excited to hear it's a church day.

I'm hoping it isn't mostly about the clothes.

All morning long, she insisted she was fine.  Anyone with a pair of eyes could have known, just to look at her, that she was under the weather.  But no, she didn't need to nap.  She didn't want a drink.  She wouldn't stay on the couch and rest.  She was just fine, thank you very much.

By the time lunch was over, her fatigue was undeniable; she could hardly hold her head up, she was so weary.  Even so, we had to absolutely insist that she lay down in her bed for a while.  And such insistence was met with another flood of tears.  She just couldn't believe it - or maybe she just couldn't admit it.

She had a need.  But even in her neediness, she refused to accept the truth.

She was fine.  Just fine.

Friends, I believe this is a picture of how we ourselves can be.

We too have a need.  We are desperate, failing, completely unable to do it alone. We don't want to accept our weakness - our inability - our need.  Eyes watering, choking back our coughs, nearly unable to lift our heads in weariness, we insist that we are fine.  Just fine.  We don't need help.

We don't need a Savior.

But we are so wrong.

We have sinned - each and every one of us.  No exceptions.  We all come stained with sin, sullied and stinking with the stuff we've chosen to do, say, and think.  We so desperately need a Redeemer, someone who can lift our burden and wash us clean.

We cannot remove that burden on our own.  And we cannot purify ourselves.  We are desperate, failing, completely unable to do it alone.  We are needy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,  "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes - and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent."

The season of Advent has come and gone.  But the advent, the coming of One long-awaited and desperately needed, remains.   He has come, and we never again will have to face life alone.

So rejoice, my friends and let us never deny our need.  We must remember that this is the meaning of Christmas - and it extends far beyond a few weeks in December.

We needed Him.  God sent Him.  He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).

Now that's something worth celebrating.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Idaho beauty

Here are some photos I took while we were in Idaho last month.  My parents have such a beautiful place to live, and plenty of stunning places to walk and hike.  I'm no photographer, but here are my attempts to capture some of the rustic loveliness I saw there.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

the gluten situation

I know this gluten-free thing must keep you up at night wondering, so I thought I'd follow up and put you out of your misery.

I'm great like that.

The happy news is that the issue that was plaguing me is completely unrelated to gluten.  It's almost totally resolved a week after its final diagnosis. As a result, I am now back to eating properly-prepared gluten foods - that is, soaked, sprouted, and fermented/dourdough.  A thousand yays!

The past week has been a long one, but one of the bright spots has been my happy reunion with sourdough and other gluteny items.  I've relished pancakes (pictured above), soaked biscuits made with tallow, and a buttered slice of sourdough just out of the oven.  *swoon*

This morning we had sourdough English muffins, and I am greatly looking forward to making sourdough crepes again this week.  So, so good!

I'm so pleased to be able to eat the foods I love again, and very thankful.

I've lost my mojo.

Lately it seems that I've lost my cake-decorating "mojo."  

Not that I really believe in mojo.   It's just that...I used to be better at this stuff.   And lately - well, not so much.

Here is the cake a made last week for my son's Lego birthday celebration.  I thought, "A Lego brick, how hard can that be?"  I was really disappointed with it.  

Here is my daughter's first birthday cake (2011).  I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

And Curious George was decent.  Except for eyes.  I think his eyes were a little creepy.

As I look back, I think the Spider-Man cake in 2008 was where it all started going downhill.  (Perhaps not coincidentally, it was the first birthday after we had our big food revolution, and after we began trying to avoid artificial food dyes.  This poses a huge challenge.)

Here's the cake of which I was perhaps the most proud: a treasure chest for my son's pirate party (2009). Happy, it's easy to make a healthy brown frosting.

Lightning McQueen was a fun challenge, although the red was next to impossible. This was pre-food revolution.

And my first major foray into the world of cake decoration: Larry the Cucumber.  Can you believe his eyes were made entirely of frosting?!

There have undeniably been some hits and misses.   Some cakes, I loved how they turned out.  Others I was rather ashamed.

There's no doubt about it; I used to be able to pull this stuff off well.  But somehow, somewhere I lost that ability.  

The silver lining?  The cakes still taste great, and it's such a relief to know I can make them with nourishing ingredients...even grain-free if I need to.   So anyway, there's that...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

a first birthday

Happy Birthday to my little charmer.  Can you believe it's been a year?!