Going Speechless with Sarah Palin

SARA PALINThis line went down turned left for 2 blocks and then left for another block

We got a very special opportunity to see Sarah Palin at her book signing.

Reading the news, one would think that there might be, oh, twelve people waiting for the book signing that would begin at noon.  At 9:00 AM the line was a mile long, easily and three deep!

People, if you read or listen to the general news sources, like NPR or NYTimes, you have been sold a bill of goods.  This woman is loved.

And really, why would the media take so much time vilifying a person if they didn’t think she was a threat?

This article at Pajamas Media explains why a woman who should be loved by all feminists is instead hated vehemently, “Feminists are enraged that her can-do, have a Down’s Syndrome child in her 40s, shoot-moose persona will be used as a paradigm of a liberated women. She is quite attractive, fertile, and married to a Jack-Armstrong 19th-century man… When a Wasilla, you betcha, no abortion, Christian PTA mom comes on the scene with an Idaho BA, then red flags go up. Poor Sarah—had her mom only been a Colombian aristocrat, she might have at least pulled it off as Sarah Maria Dias-Palin, and compromised some of the furor. Poor Sarah, if she only could speak through nose. Poor Sarah, if she could only show up at her Wellesley reunion.”

If she could only demure as people question which ivy league school she attended, have diplomats for parents, and be pro abort she might go far with the left wing elitists.  But no, she is the real thing, a regular woman as opposed to the likes of Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi,  “Liberal elites are, well, deemed elites because they predicate their stature on things such as where they went to school, where they live, how much money they have access to, where their children attend university, and whom they know—all done in a sort of understated, coded fashion. The best snobbery is the least stated.”

So… when I got a call from my son-in-law’s brother (how’s that for a connection) we were ready to go meet Sarah Palin and have her sign a book.  Following protocol, we addressed her as Governor Palin, well, I did.  When it came time for Andrew to spit out a little greeting, he was speechless!!  I kid you not, he kinda just stood there in awe.  We invited our friends, John and Wendy, to be part of the honor and they managed to talk briefly about the cattle business, but words just would not come to Andrew and if you are acquainted with Andrew, the one thing about him is that he is rarely speechless so that was really something!

Going Rogue

Chasing Her Down

the hunt is onIMG_5845IMG_5848


Proud Mary

I am thinking that in the end, man belongs in the city not snuggly and happily in the country but getting out there around the masses in the city.

Someone once challenged, “Prove to me that we should be living in the city rather than the country, prove to me that that is more biblical.”

I love the idea of city life, never mind I can not parallel park or find my way out of a paper bag and I’m prone to road rage.   Nevertheless, the mass of humanity, the commerce, the lights, the tall buildings, the variety is alluring.  In comparison, country life seems quaint, idyllic, bucolic, simple and maybe simplistic.

Starbucks at the top

Man starts in a garden:

“The Lord God panted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed… Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it”                        IMG_5679IMG_5677IMG_5681

And ends in a city:

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.”

“The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass… The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones…”


Progression from a garden at youth to a city at  maturity seems to be implied.  Like, you need to grow up before you are fit for city life.

The city does have it’s definite down side.  When we live close to one another, we have to do the hard thing of getting along.  It is easy to think we get along with people when we don’t really have to.  It is easy in theory to live close to our neighbor, easy to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Funny thing that follows that command is, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.”

That seems to suppose we will be near enough that we want to bite and devour one another.  It is probably where we are most effective in influencing one another, hopefully for good.

But I am guilty.  I love my four walls, my house a good distance from my neighbors.  I like being the one to decide if I will rub shoulders and I really mostly prefer to stay home.  I am an introvert.

In theory I love the city and I love the city for the weekend, when I am there then I think I want to live there always.  But my four walls and an open sky are very comfortable to return to.  I like not dealing with people mostly.

But is that selfish?

Any thoughts?

I just want to put a plug in here for Lisa’s paper which she has a link to in her comment.
IMG_5695Left a good job in the city.

Happy Birthday to Meghan!!

I made age appropriate food  and had them in brown bags with extra goodies and their name on the front for children; youngest got tortilla wraps with cream cheese, cheese and ham; beefier grade school boys got Italian sausage on a bun, and the adults got filet mignon.

The guests very graciously brought all the side dishes and I made a Sailor Jerry Rum Cake and New York Style Cheesecake, (Sailor Jerry was the preference).

The Birthday Girl Arrives for her PartyMissing Emeth and her Baby

Adults in the Dining Room Buffet style

Meanwhile the kids are upstairs watching a movieFellowship and Food

Kids ate First so Parents could then eat in relative peaceGuys man the meatComing with the cake

And the Winner Is:



We will be giving a way another terrific gift soon, so stay on your toes!


Stuff That Bird


This is our traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.  I make the cornbread (usually) ahead and freeze.  Andrew does the rest and is always overly generous with the sausages.  Make this once and you will never go back to bread cubes and the packet again! Guaranteed.

1/2 C Butter                                          5 C white bread cubed

5 C corn bread crumbled                 2 eggs beaten

3/4 C onion                                        1/4 tsp salt and pepper

1 lb. sausage links                             1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 C chopped clery                            1 C. pecans

1 cube bouillon                                     2/3 C water

Melt butter and sauté onions and celery, set aside in a small bowl.  Sauté sausage.   In a large bowl add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to breads and then add eggs.  Next, add the sautéed vegetables.  Dissolve bouillon in 2/3 C hot water and add to stuffing mix. Mix sausage and pecans in and you are ready to stuff that bird.

Andrew’s mom got this recipe from a southern gentleman visiting one year at Thanksgiving.  He insisted that only southerners really knew how to make stuffing. Turns out he was right and that from a damn Yankee. Andrew and I have been making it every year since.


I’m exploding with design ideas lately.  I think part of it is that I am looking forward to spending more time at home once little Peabody arrives and I have so many projects I want to do!  I’ve been getting very distracted by ideas like upholstering a headboard (like this one from Design Sponge), creating an office space in our bedroom, refinishing furniture…   I’ve had to try to make myself focus on forming a design for the nursery instead of taking on the whole house at once.  Part of my problem is that in my search to get baby room inspiration, I keep coming upon all kinds of good ideas!  It doesn’t help that I hit upon some fantastic blogs with all kinds of beautiful things and do it yourself projects like the above mentioned Design Sponge, also Creature Comforts, Decor8, and Apartment Therapy.

 Every time I try to narrow down my ideas, I find a new look or color that I love.  So far, I have hit upon one thing that I hope will help provide some cohesion for my random thoughts.  While sorting through sites for cool fabric, I came upon the designer Alexander Henry and fell in love with his Spotted Owls pattern (perfect for a little boy!):
spotted owl

Although I might also try it in aqua too:


I’d like to make some curtains, the crib bumper, crib skirt, and maybe a couple pillows, but one thing that was particularly hard was finding fabric I actually liked.  Here are some suggestions from my neurotic web-searching of good fabric sites: Fashionable Fabrics, Fabric Worm, Sew, Mamma, Sew, and PurlSoho.  Of course if you are really enterprising, you can even design your own fabric at Spoon Flower.  Just as a seed idea, here are some prints I immediately liked:
Alexander Henry: 2D Zoo, Bird Seed, Cotton, Poppies Bright, and lots more..
Michael Miller: Tweet Tweet
Heather Ross
Anna Griffin Riley: Circus
(I’d love reader in-put on some other good fabric sources though!)
I think birds are going to be my theme, and I ran across this adorable do it yourself bird mobile for above the crib.
I’d like to either paint or apply some birds to the walls.  My thought is that I might do the room a muted yellow and paint some white and gold birds on the walls– it all depends on what I find for a chair and a rug in the room though, since those will determine my colors to a large extent.  For birds or other designs you can apply to a wall without painting, look no further than MyCurlyCue.
Cherry Tree Wall Graphic
For the crib, I’ve been thinking about a vintage iron one and am drawn to the idea of painting it a bright color that stands out from the rest of the room, like this yellow one:
AND, I just happened to find one on Craigslist
 Here are some before pictures so you can see what I’m able to come up with in the next four months of office-to-nursery transformation.  The office is definitely the ugliest room in our house, so it will be an easy challenge!

A Spoonful of Sugar

One of the many, small things that I have missed about Moscow is Bucer’s cuban style espresso. I miss all of it: I miss making it, and smelling it, and tasting it, and watching others do the same. I graduated in May, but even now I’m starting to forget many of my favorite little things (which helps me understand why Maria from “The Sound of Music” had to write a song just to remember her favorite things). I was, however, pleasantly reminded of this caffeinated comfort on Sunday when I discovered that a local coffee shop called, “El Diablo” (which is an ancient Spanish idiom for, “the fun-loving, coffee-making devil of the Northwest”) made cuban style espresso. The baristo making our drinks not only knew how to pull a shot, but he also specialized in milky, foamy, latte magic. Here are some pictures of his work.
Look carefully to see if you can tell what the upper left one is... very clever.

Look carefully to see if you can tell what the upper left one is... very clever.

Latte art 2
If you’ve ever wondered how to make cuban espresso, here’s a little how to, just for you, from me to you. The key to cuban espresso is full caramelization of the sugar. I’ve always said that a little bit of sugar in the right place, at the right time can make all the difference in the world, and it does. Put some sugar in the glass which the shot will first pour into. The first part of the shot that comes out of the filter is also the hottest part, but it will cool down very quickly. It is dark, and less foamy than the crema that comes out later, and this is the stuff that can be hot enough to caramelize the sugar. I say “can” because not all machines are hot enough. It’s worth a try on your home espresso maker though because it just might work, and if it doesn’t, then you’ll probably need a lot of sugar in that coffee anyways.
Good coffee is sort of like poetry, you may not like it at first but it grows on you each time you partake. With that in mind, here is a poem I discovered when I lived in Moscow:

Behind the  Coffeehouse Counter

You stop seeing people after a while,

and everyone becomes a fragment,

or an enlarged detail obscuring

everything else about them.

She likes her coffee sweet because

nothing about her last divorce was.

He loves mocha frappacinos

but pretends they are for his pregnant wife.

She is a groggy shot in the dark every morning,

but blossoms into a latte with a milky flower for the afternoon.

He is a foaming pint of Guinness,

who tells me he would taste better in Ireland.

In the evening the pipe comes in with his books,

hoping to puff his way from freshman to Inkling.

He is the silhouette in the clouds of Black Cavendish,

studying only his books, and not the women.

My leggy, blue-eyed Americano sits at her table,

and I forget about pubs and coffeehouses.

She sips from her small paper cup as she turns the pages

of books about beakers and Bunsen burners.

These walls are home to a brewery of happiness.

It is a place where man does not live by bread alone,

But by every granule of every bean

Roasted for his happiness.

Photos Albums, Streamlined

Does this picture give you the eebie-jeebies? Me too, but read on, there is hope for those of you who don't fancy yourself a "scrap-booker"...

Does this picture give you the eebie-jeebies? Me too, but read on, there is hope for those of you who don't fancy yourself a "scrap-booker"...

I’m still not sure how she managed to do it, but somehow, my mom created hand-made photo albums for every one of her seven children and a couple for herself to keep.  I’m feeling like a slouch since I can’t even manage to to get any photos printed , let alone into a book with little cut-outs, stickers, and captions!

But, wait. I have a solution now. And really no good excuses to NOT make family albums since the new digital options mean there’s no need to designate a craft table that will get attacked by my toddler, no need to go buy stickers and paper, and acid-free pens, and glue and plastic sleeves or even get prints made!!

I give you iphoto.

If you were smart enought to buy a Mac, you are all set. All you have to do is click the “make a book” button in your photo gallery and you are on your way to a clean, beautiful, professional, hard or soft covered book full of your photos that will show up on your doorstep in a week and a half.  See it here, and watch the tutorial video.

If, however, your husband said he’d rather be shot in the head than own a Mac (as mine did) …. then you’ll need to use one of these or some other program designed for a PC:

Snapfish by HP


My Kolo Album

My Publisher (My friend recently used this program and was really pleased with the quality, paper, printing etc. Also, she mentioned that they offered some online coupons that cut the price down a bit too.)

I used Aileen’s Mac since iphoto seemed to have some of the best prices out there and I just think Mac is awesome with all of its artsy-fartsy stuff. I ended up with 40 some pages,  and it cost just over $60 with shipping and handling. It does sound like a lot, but I never paid for film/printing/supplies/a blank album etc. so I really think it was worth it. Also, if you buy multiple copies of the book, you get a reduced price.

This is how I went about making a family photo album in a painless and really fun way:

1) Decide what you will include in the album (one special event or a vacation, or  a collection from your family’s life between certain dates)

2) Edit all your photos (crop, enhance, boost the color or contrast, turn them black and white etc. You can fix almost ANY photo, even ones that look like they are no good)

3) Write in some dates and captions that are worthwhile, but don’t feel the need to create a novel.

4) Don’t get carried away (I had to finally decide August 2009 was the cut off date because I could have just kept adding pages until I turned grey working on this thing! I’m warning you, it’s addictive.

5) Finally, be brave. Just click the “buy now” button and wait patiently for it to show up in the mail.

When my book did arrive, I was overjoyed. The pictures all came through bright and crisp (even the ones that the computer had told me may  have too low a pixel count). The book’s dimensions were  a bit smaller than I anticipated but other than that, I loved it.

These photos don’t quite do the book justice since I took photos of photos, but this gives you an idea of how it can look:

You even get to give your book a title and subtitle!

You even get to give your book a title and subtitle!

My hand here gives you an idea of size-- I chose the 12" by 12" option, hardcover, in black.

My hand here gives you an idea of size-- I chose the 12" by 12" option, hardcover, in black.

The best part is that you can create a spread with a variety of photo sizes, rather than being stuck with your typcial 4 x 6 photo prints.

The best part is that you can create a spread with a variety of photo sizes, rather than being stuck with your typcial 4 x 6 photo prints.

The smallest photos on this page came out to 2 1/2 " x 2", which is about as small as you'd want to go, and the large on on the left is 8" x 5".

The smallest photos on this page came out to 2 1/2 " x 2", which is about as small as you'd want to go, and the large on on the left is 8" x 5".

The possibilities are endless! And I loved closing up the clean, little, white laptop  as soon as I had had enough for the day. No mess, no stress, and, no,  you don’t have to get a bumper sticker that says “I live to scrap book”

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

It won a Caldecott Honor.

It won a Caldecott Honor.

The pictures are spectacular.

The pictures are spectacular.

I was pretty excited about this book.  I got it just the other day in the mail and debated wrapping it up and giving it to the kids for Christmas but thought better of it.  I wanted to read it and couldn’t wait till Christmas.  I remember it from when I was a kid.  I loved it then and still enjoy reading it.

Though it’s about daughters, my boys were just as excited as Anwyn to read the book.  It won a Caldecott award and for obvious reasons.  The pictures are spectacular which always makes a book even more of a delight to read and the story itself is very engaging.

The king has sent for Mufaro’s beautiful daughters to choose one as a bride.  The one daughter is kind gracious and the other is tempestuous and mean.  The story is about their journey to the palace and how the king discovers the true character of each.

We love the book enough that I finally bought it instead of continuing to check it out at the library.

Fall leaves 008

The colors are amazingly vibrant.

Fall leaves 009

Sex and the City

City Life- photo by Jarrett

As I was taking one last peruse of the Michelangelo exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, Matthias was off in a room building a tower of blocks to reach to heaven.

There in a corner of the room where the window runs floor to ceiling sitting on a chair absolutely absorbed with the city life right below her was Taite.  When I asked what she was doing she just kept staring and said, “There is so much going on out there it is hard to keep up with it all.”  Right across the street was a flashing neon pink sign that read, “Lusty Ladies” and she commented, “And I have seen a lot of women going in there.”

There is something about the city that apart from the ‘Lusty Ladies’ is so appealing to me.  The shops in a city that are so specific, like a shop that sells nothing but costume jewelry I mean, how many people are needing to purchase a piece of costume jewelry on a daily basis? or cupcakes and they can manage to be snooty about it, like, ‘you cheapskate you are taking that on a napkin instead of paying the extra for our super fancy box-to-go’ or a store that sells rubber stamps, that’s it rubber stamps and they manage to sell enough to pay the rent and pay the staff!

There is so much commerce going on that people can really hone a skill and succeed and even be all in your face about a flippin’ cupcake if they want.  I actually love the city for that, the whole attitude thing.

There sits Taite in the back right corner while Matthias builds

You can just see Taite off of Matthias's shoulder just staring away below her.

Do Ya Feel Lucky? Well, Do Ya, Punk?

Well, do ya?

We are giving away a trendy little weekly organizer.  I like this little organizer because it is not year specific.

All you need to do is respond in the comments and you will be entered to win.  I will appoint some honest person around here to pull one of the comments out of a bowl to determine the winner.

Winner will be announced on Friday.

So, do ya feel lucky?  Well, do ya?

I am an office supply junky!not year specific so you can use it forever until all the pages are gone!

Dumbarten Oaks

Who knew this place even existed?  I had read about Dumbarten Oaks and have wanted to go there since I discovered the gardens are free to tour in the fall and winter.  Finally, this past Saturday we actually went and I was amazed that such a place could hide, tucked back in the Georgetown neighborhood.  The estate consists of hundreds of acres which, in the middle of DC, makes it a novelty alone.  Walking around the “Byzantine” gardens with their fountains, swimming pool, terraced levels, and gazing out into the distance without a single building cluttering up the landscape, a person can feel miles away from the city– a little bit like Alice in Wonderland.  But walk out the front gate, leave the garden walls, and there’s Georgetown, crowded and bustling as always.  The pictures are stock ones as I didn’t expect to be so impressed and forgot my camera at home.  I plan to take a friend’s family photos here though, so I should be able to post more soon.

The Changeling

“I can’t wait to go to Seattle this weekend so I can sit in the car for a really long time and read my book” – Matthias

Huuunh!???  This from the boy who was hard pressed to ever read anything, I mean, a paragraph was really pushing things and suddenly I find him laying on his stomach hanging over the footstool, book on the ground, just reading away; or slumped, legs over the arms of the chair reading away; or ‘I think I will go to bed now so I can read a little bit.’  He has even given up running around during his lunch break to read.

Who is this boy and what have they done with Matthias?

It was all kind of a sudden.  I forced, I demanded, that he read The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and he did read a page, and denounced it as boring. “They talk funny in it:  ‘Ary day you git the best of a trade, I’ll eat my wash-pot.”

He had a point but, “Tough luck, Matt,” says I and so he begrudgingly read a bit more.  And then a bit more, and darned if he wasn’t getting sucked into the story.  Then he began to be a critic, “Jody’s father is irritating me.”  Five hundred pages later, Matthias was done with the book and had loved it.

Next he  devoured most all of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and found out I had named him after the valiant mouse in Redwall, Matthias.

He is now onto The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which “is way better than the movies of Lord of the Rings.”

So in the end, I am glad I forced, and demanded he read a book of quality writing for his first really lengthy book.  I now need a whole stack of great books that I think he will love.

What was your all time favorite book when you were a child?

Foolishness and Madness

Have you ever totally worn yourself out with an apology?

Have you ever thought, and thought, and thought about why was it exactly that you were motivated to act in that certain way that resulted in you being a total JERK!  Oh, I was so tired that I snapped, or I was PMS-ing, or you know I hate Tuesdays and today is Tuesday! or I just feel frustrated with somethng YOU did etc. etc. etc.

Have you rationalized it, and expalined it all away and managed to take the spotlight off of YOU and put it on some really good reason for why you did this thing? If I sound like I have experience in doing this, then yeah…. it’s because I do. I’m ashamed how many times I’ve given my husband some lame-o explanation rather than a heart-felt apology, only to realize nothing has been made right.

All too often I get worked up and consumed with the WHY of the sin. “Why did I do that?!! What was I thinking? I’m sure there’s a  reason.” And on the reverse side, I wonder  and ponder why someone else would sin against me. Particularly when it is someone who loves me and whom I trust. “Why would they do that? I don’t get it!”

Apparently, I’m not the only one. King Solomon has wondered about the why of sin: “I applied my heart to know, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, to know the wickedness of folly, even the foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25)

So I’m going to do it again, I’m going to rave about Jeffery Meyer’s Ecclesiastes insight  (A Table in the Mist) :

“Man’s fall into sin leaves us surrounded in mystery. Unfallen man, made in God’s image would also be mysterious, no doubt, but sin addes to the incomprehensible complexity of human nature.” (pg 158)

As the wife of a prosecutor, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the madness of wickedness, and the inability to explain it. Who can answer why the recent South Park Killer chose two random women in Seattle to brutally rape and murder? Who can even fathom the actions of the parents who sexually abused their own four year old and sold the videos of their horrific acts? Or the woman who starved her step-child?

No one can explain, Solomon says. Evil is unexplainable. It doesn’t make sense. It is purely contrary to the order of the God who created this world, and the rules of justice He set in place.

After Solomon has done his searching to “know the wickedness of folly” he tells us all he found: “something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets and whose hands are fetters.”

Meyers explains who the woman is. She is folly, the opposite of lady wisdom, and Ecclesiastes continues that “He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.”

This isn’t a warning to men about sexual seduction, Meyers says, this a warning to all men and women about the seduction of evil, of madness, of folly. We are responsible for our choices, insanity is no excuse for sin. There is no excuse. We act knowingly, knowing there is a lady wisdom and lady folly. We seek our own schemes.

“See this alone I found, that God made man upright but they have sought out many schemes” Ecclesiastes 7:29

There is only one solution after we have  madly followed lady folly. Whether it was a big screw up or a little blunder, only one thing can bring sanity and restoration.  Forgiveness.

So then, back to the beginning scenario where I was messing up the one thing that can free us from foolishness and madness– forgiveness. Don’t look for reasons. Don’t look for excuses. Don’t even look for explanation. Look for forgiveness. Repent. Admit your wrong doing, as such. Express your desire to follow wisdom instead. And know that a broken and a contrite heart the Lord will not despise.

What a difference it makes! When I truly repent of my sins before man and God, I don’t waste time playing mind games or trying to work my way into a position where I can feel sorry for myself. It is dealt with. I am restored. And I can finish my day,  more in awe than ever, of this thing we call forgiveness and the freedom it brings.

Eating Purple Potatoes

Eric thought the knife looked a little creepy.  I don't know, I really like the knife.

Eric thought the knife looked a little creepy. I don't know, I really like the knife.

purple potatoes 001

Have you seen potatoes more beautiful than these?  For our Sunday dinner, we bought a small bag of heirloom potatoes and they were well worth the extra money.  They taste like normal potatoes but the fun I had photographing them and their exquisite color on a white plate is not to be rivalled.  Perhaps they will be a must have for Thanksgiving dinner.  I wonder what purple mashed potatoes would look like?

purple potatoes 003 

purple potatoes 004

Drinking Premordial Ooze

I have been reading (and loving) Supper of the Lamb by Robert Capon and my son-in-law, Tim, recently recommended that the guys read For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann to discuss at Christmas over cigars and port (Tim didn’t mention the cigars and port part).  Both books begin by insisting that eating is one of the most spiritual activities we can engage in.  I am captivated.

Schmemann quotes philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach: “Man is what he eats.”   Feuerbach hoped to make people think they did not need the spiritual world that what man really needs is food.  When he said that, however, he instead opened up the heavens.  Man is what he eats and man has been connected to food in a very deep way since the beginning.

God put man into the garden of Eden and said, “Eat.” (Gen. 2:16)

When the Lord appeared to Abraham He was fed cakes of fine flour, beef, butter and milk. (Gen 18)

The last thing the disciples did with Jesus was to eat. (Mark 4:22)

And the sacrament of communion is all about eating and drinking. (Matt. 26:26)

Jesus on his last day before being crucified looked forward to the day when he would eat in the Kingdom of God. (Luke 22:15f)

Jesus asked the disciples after His resurrection, “Children, have you any food.” (Jn.21:5)

After His resurrection from the dead, He ate, “Jesus said to them, ‘come and eat breakfast.'” (Jn. 21:12)

But Satan is smarter than any old materialist philosopher and he knows how to get this man of substance and being under control.  He understands that as long as man deals with real substance, man will remain substantial.  Instead of taking away the material we have deceitfully been encouraged to mentally alienate ourselves from reality.

Corrupting our relationship to food has become a great way to dehumanize our humanity. Rather than eating for enjoyment and pleasure we have turned eating into a burden.  By totally absorbing ourselves in our diets, our food choices, our bodies, we have made ourselves the center of everything and we have lost the delight of eating.

We obsess over how many calories, how much saturated fat, and how to avoid white food (rice, flour, bread…)  and have turned our energy to worshiping our whole grain, organic, raw food diet.  And taste be damned.  Food is for  maintenance.

We have been conned into thinking that eating is to be endured; how dare you enjoy that lovely fried egg with toasted white bread  and lavishly buttered with real butter when you should be drinking that, that horrid stuff you whirled in the blender for all the health benefits it guarantees, the premordial ooze of life.

Enjoying the delicious taste of a meal well prepared makes us human and earthly in the best sense.

“To break real bread is to break the loveless hold of hell upon the world, and, by just that much, to set the secular free.”

We’ve been had.

“Food does not exist merely for the sake of its nutritional value.  To see it so is only to knuckle under still further to the desubstantialization of man, to regard not what things are, but what they mean to us- to become, in short, solemn idolaters spiritualizing  what should be loved as matter.”

True, true, man’s body is to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19)  But given man’s tendency to idolatry, his penchant for obsessing over himself and thinking that he can control his destiny, his length of days by what he eats, by what we deny ourselves, given this tendency we need to start eating food that tastes good and leave off with the devilish cult of diets.

So how can we feast to the fullest and not become as big as a house?

“To eat nothing at all is more human than to take a little of what cries out for the appetite of a giant.”

Ah! The godly discipline of fasting.

And, “the real secret of fasting is not that it is a simple way to keep one’s weight down, but that it is a mysterious way of lifting creation into the Supper of the Lamb.

Got Milk?

We have always drunk whole milk, not the blue stuff and at long last our suspicions have been verified:

Children who drink full fat milk weigh less than those who do not, a new study has found.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2009)

Children as young as eight who drink milk every day have a lower body mass index than those who drink the low fat variety, according to the study from Gothenburg University in Sweden.

The new study found that children who drink full fat milk weigh on average almost nine pounds less than other children.

Diet experts believe that children who do not drink full fat milk may be fatter themselves because they drink fizzy drinks instead.

Dietician and author of the study Susanne Eriksson, said: “It may be the case that children who drink full-fat milk tend also to eat other things that affect their weight.

“Another possible explanation is that children who do not drink full fat milk drink more soft drinks instead.”

The researchers also discovered a difference between overweight children who drink full fat milk everyday and those who do not.

Children who often drink milk with a fat content of three per cent are “less overweight” but eat more saturated fat than recommended.

However, those children with a high intake of fat have a lower BMI than the children with a lower intake of fat.

Miss Eriksson examined the nutrition, body composition and bone mineralisation of 120 healthy eight-year-olds after the children told her team what they had eaten the day before, how often they ate certain foods and after taking blood samples.

“Many of these children had been examined when they were four-years-old, and we discovered that their eating habits were pretty much unchanged four years later.

“It appears to be the case that eating habits are established early.”

The study found that nearly two-thirds of the children had low levels of Vitamin D in their blood.

Photo Shoot

The lighting was pretty good and the kids were mostly happy

The lighting was pretty good and the kids were mostly happy

Canon and Athanasius

Athanasius and Canon

Anwyn and Fox

Anwyn and Fox

 I took these Thursday morning when I should have been teaching school, but the lighting was pretty good so I interrupted the kids’ play to call them down for a photo shoot.  Canon balked at wearing the striped shirt because he was a mouse and didn’t want to be a handsome mouse.  I told him that he could put on the ugly shirt after pictures.

Now I really have to go do school.

Anwyn, Fox, Athanasius, and a handsom mouse.

Anwyn, Fox, Athanasius, and a handsome mouse.

Laura Ingalls Laundry Soap

If someone had stopped by my house Friday afternoon,  they would have found me, hovering over a pot  of sudsy water, with a huge wooden spoon while vapours of fresh soap steamed up all the windows.

“Come on in,” I would have said, pushing my long braids out of my face, “I’m just making up a big batch of laundry soap fer the washing. Set yourself down and I’ll go out to the pump and get some water to make coffee. Do you mind keeping your eye on the fire for a minute?”

Let’s be honest: making your own laundry soap sounds a bit too “Little House on the Prairie” for most of us to attempt. But  it’s actually a fast, and really fun science project, done in 1/2 an hour thanks to modern conveniences. Of course the real point of making it is not to play chemist in the kitchen, but to save big bucks. Here’s the break down:

I buy tide because I’m brand loyal. I just like it. It costs me $34.96  for a 96-load jug

This Laura Ingles soap costs me exactly a tenth of the price:  $3.45 for 96 loads. And I’m suddenly not so brand loyal.

This recipe is adapted from one I got from my almost-sister-in-law Michelle Young. (Meghan’s real-sister-in-law)

I found everything I needed at Fred Meyer for a total of $13. I’d imagine Wal-mart, Target or any big chain store will have the ingredients.

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Total investment was $13

Here’s what you need:
– 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; I used a white bar of Ivory soap because I had it around, and I liked the smell)
– 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle – it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches of this stuff)
– 1 box of borax (this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch – one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent)
– A five gallon bucket with a lid (this is the most expensive part, but of course you’ll only buy it once)

– Three gallons of tap water
– A big spoon to stir the mixture with
– A measuring cup
– A knife

This soap (the pile on the cutting board) isn't chopped finely enough-- I went back and turned it almost into a powder.
This soap (the pile on the cutting board) isn’t chopped finely enough– I went back and turned it almost into a powder.

Step One:Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and chop up your bar of soap as finely as you can. The finer the pieces, the less time you will be waiting for it to disolve in the water. Add the soap gradually, stirring into the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

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Disolving the soap…

Step Two: Put three gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the five gallon bucket – the easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs worth of it. Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.

Make sure there are no little lumps of undisolved soap.
Make sure there are no little lumps of undisolved soap.

Adding the washing soda.
Adding the washing soda.

And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used (in my case it was just clear, since I used white soap). One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry. I used this much for a large load and was happy with the results.

So go braid your hair and get to work! This economy might just turn any one of us into Laura Ingllas.