Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let's make Flour!



Here is the flour I watched being made. Just a few minutes prior it looked like the photo below. I sampled some hot cereal (think oatmeal) made of wheat berries. I may attempt this one morning for breakfast.





I went over to a friends house yesterday and watched her grind wheat into flour. I was rewarded with this large can of flour and a few cups of wheat berries. I have already used some of the fresh flour to make cheddar cheese muffins with dinner last night. As I write this, I have pumpkin bread baking.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dutch Oven


I have a confession. I have a kitchen item that is worth a ton, well maybe not--but at times it seems to weigh a ton. My cast iron dutch oven. When Josh and I were married, my mom saw my need for a this weighty pot. She used one often, and considered it a true necessity of homemaking.

True to Mom's wisdom, it has been used often. It seems to be the go to pot. Sure, I use it for soups and chili (like today), frying up a batch of tortillas, and it makes my favorite childhood meal of smothered round steak.

Is it the most beautiful item in the kitchen? Is it brightly colored and shiny like it's cast iron cousin le creuset? Is it the most expensive item? No on all accounts, but it gets the job done--and like Mom knew, that is what counts.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grains of Wisdom

I am not usually one for puns, but I couldn't resist with my title today. I learned a ton about Grains last night. I went with my friend Quincy to an event at her church that was all about Grains. Not just some grains, but all kinds of rice, barley, spelt, and many others. I learned so much and tasted so many things--some great, some a bit odd. I am not a fan of buckwheat patties, but really enjoyed the rather bland wheat berry cereal.

I am now considering purchasing a grain mill. Surprisingly Josh wasn't shocked at the price or want for one. He thought they would be $400, although they are nearly $200. I can grind my own flour for my bread, cornmeal, oats, etc. I am taking this baking thing seriously. Josh said it seemed like something my Dad would buy me. Dad are you reading?

I learned something great, non grain related. I have already shared this quote several times since last night.

Never let a generous thought pass.

This statement rang loudly in my mind. What a wonderful community for ourselves and others if we truly did this. I found myself doing things last night because I had that thought in my mind. I can be a generous person at times, but I think there are many more opportunities that I let pass without acting. Perhaps this was the most important grain of wisdom I learned last night. God calls us to be generous to all, not just our friends. Perhaps it is even more significant to show this to strangers or those who we may have a strained relationship with.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Toast

I love toast. I am finishing up the loaf of bread I made on Monday. It makes the best toast, which makes sense--the recipe was called Sandwich and Toasting Bread. I don't know what made this one so good. I noticed the recipe used milk rather than water in the recipe.

Someday soon, I am going to attempt Rye bread again. Rye is my favorite--and it especially yummy with a few pieces of bacon.

Am I going a bit too crazy in my interest in bread making? It is surprisingly fun.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Frye Boots



Aren't these beautiful?

I feel my frye collection is probably complete, unless I stumble upon a major deal. I have my much loved Banana Campus Boots and a pair of clogs. Local friends can join me at Crossroads to drool over the beautiful Frye display. Those are some seriously beautiful footwear.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Settling In

Tonight, we are going to settle in. We typically go to church on Wednesday nights, but I decided that it was going to be relaxing night at home. We have been entirely too busy going in different directions. I want some time together. I have planned dinner at home, popcorn, and Joseph. I borrowed the video from a friend. Sounds like a good night to me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I can't stick with a good thing.

That is what Josh told me, when I told him I was trying another bread recipe. I said, well maybe this one is even better and we would never know if I didn't try.

Today's bread.

Update: It's awesome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Joseph and that Coat of Many Colors


Thanks to learning a Bible verse about Joseph at church, my girls have become captivated by Donnie Osmond. Well, actually the musical Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat. We happen to have the music with Donnie Osmond as the lead. They have been singing those songs when we are in the car all week. I have been going around town humming Joseph songs all week at work. Josh took the girls to Arkansas this weekend, he told me they sang the whole way there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In an Instant, Everything had Changed

One morning a little over four years ago, I got the phone call. It was not unexpected, but how does one truly prepare for such a call? It was my father. I had to come home. I scrambled to make arrangements for my two daughters, who were two and four. I was able to get a flight. In just a few hours, the journey was underway.

I was met at the airport, by one of my mother’s closest friends, Barb. It was late, nearly midnight. Barb tried to prepare me for the changes in my mother’s appearance since I had seen her, knowing that there was not way to fully prepare me. I went to her room and sat with her. She was still and in a sleeplike state, I didn’t know what to do. I hummed. For hours, I quietly hummed hymns. In hindsight, it seems appropriate. My mom loved hymns and would play them on our piano. She would cry at church sometimes, explaining there were a lot of memories she associated with hymns.

I was changed the instant my mother died that next morning. It was an odd experience to accept that I no longer had that constant in my life. I was 29 years old, married with two children. Of course, I was not a child, yet I wondered how I could possibly survive without a mother. I lost my mother to cancer. It was not a quick or sudden illness. I had five years of knowing she would not beat this disease. I grieved off an on during those years, but learned I could not fully be prepared for the void her absence would bring.

It was painful to realize my mother would not see my girls grow up. When she called to tell me her cancer has returned, I was only a few weeks into my first pregnancy. I wondered if she would live to see my baby born. She underwent years of treatments, yet she was able to see both of her grandchildren. She made it to their first birthday parties and trips to the beach. My daughters thought nothing of her baldhead or wheelchair, to them it was just Grandma.

The first Christmas after her death, I tried to take over her rituals. I baked her Party Mix. I bought stockings for everyone, including my brother and father. I knew it would be a hard year, so I wanted everything to be perfect. Of course, Christmas Eve came and it wasn’t perfect, and I cried. I couldn’t make it the same. It wasn’t the same anymore. I had to let go. Our family was different, and no amount of work would make it the same.

Rationally, I thought I should be fine. I had lived hundreds of miles away from my mother. I was an adult with my own family. Reality was much different, I didn’t know a life without her. I had always known the support and constant love of my mother. She was always there, even if not physically. I knew I could call for advice or a listening ear. I wondered who would answer my endless questions. My mother made me feel like I was special. In her eyes, I was a great mother. I was talented and somehow, she always thought my hair looked cute. Some days, I needed to hear those things, as simple as some of them may have been.

I grieved for a long time. Sometimes, I felt like I had grieved too long. I struggle and I admit, my faith has been tested. I have found myself teary at church, when we sing certain hymns. My mom was right--hymns hold a lot of memories. As time passes, I am able to talk about my mom in a different way. I can laugh and tell stories and remember her. My mother taught me how to be an adult in more ways than I can express, but losing her made me realize how much I had paid attention.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baking Bread

I am making this right now. It sounds like a winner--bacon, cheese, and bread. Quite possibly three of my favorite things.

I am also baking a loaf of my favorite Banana Bread. It's a recipe from my old trusty Linda Sue Adams As You Requested II cookbook. My mother in law gave me this cookbook the first year Josh and I were married. She bought it at Books A Million, but the author is from North Little Rock. This is my go to cookbook, there have been no flops. The pages are stained from use.

It just so happens, Josh went to high school with one of Linda Sue Adams's daughters. At their class reunion I introduced myself to the daughter and praised her mother's cookbook. I would love to get my hands on a copy of As You Requested I, but no luck. Although, her daughter promised to pass on my praise of the book to her mother.



Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Can't Dance


I know a lot of people say this--in my case it is a reality. Josh and I went to a local concert/charity event, Parrots of the Caribbean, a few weeks ago. They have music and dancing--I will go to the dance floor. I don't know what to do--honest.

It is true, I was raised a non dancer. My mother was a traditional Baptist, she did not support dancing. I know it sounds straight out of Footloose, but it was true. I even had a note in middle school for square dancing in music class. We didn't dance. There was no cheerleading, gymnastics, or ballet lessons.

I desperately wanted to go to High School Dances, and I fought the battle. My brother hadn't been interested, so he didn't blaze that trail for me. Although, once I won the battle, he started going to dances too. I fought the battle yes, but I didn't really dance. I did the slow dance swaying, but I never have learned to dance.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Books with an Impact

Here is an eclectic mix of books that have made an impact on me at one time or another.

1. Catcher in the Rye --Salinger

2. Grapes of Wrath--Steinbeck

3. Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back--Frank Schaeffer

4. Meaning of Jesus--Two Visions--Wright/Borg

5. Meet John F. Kennedy

6. The Red Tent--Anita Diamant

7. Not Buying It-- Judith Levine

8. Tammy Faye Messerr Autobiography--Telling it My Way

9. Dynamics of Faith--Tillich

10. Where the Wild Things Are--Maurice Sendak

11. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith--Anne Lamott

12. To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee

13. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible--A.J. Jacobs

14.Tuesdays With Morrie--Mitch Albom

15. Big Fish--Daniel Wallace

It really is a small world after all

What I learned yesterday:

My friend Quincy's sister and my friend Starr's sister---are married to brothers.

Keep in mind, Starr is from Missouri like me. Quincy's family is from Georgia. Starr was interested in Quincy's comment on a recent blog post. Noticed on her blog that there were a lot of familiar names.

It really is a small world.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Lot of Nines

Today is 9/9/09. It would be a pretty cool birthday, maybe my friend Lainie's newest boy will decide to make his appearance. I am thinking not, but there are almost ten more hours today.

My daughter, Delaney, was born on 12/12/2000. She thinks it is pretty cool she will turn 12 years old on 12/12/12. I admit, that does seem pretty neat.

On this lucky date 09/09/09, I am going to take the girls for flu mists and then to church--that's the sort of glamorous life I live. Aren't you jealous?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random Dreams

1. I dream of a sandy backyard with an ocean view of some sort.

2. I dream of studying philosophy.

3. I also dream of studying religion.

4. I dream of sipping a cup of tea in England.

5. I dream of celebrating my 50th Anniversary.

6. I dream of happy daughters.

7. I dream of perfecting homemade apple pie.

8. I dream of a having friends for life girlfriends.

9. I dream of one day actually learning to do a cartwheel.

10. I dream of peace--I worry and stress over random things big and small.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Razorback for Chick-fil-a



Today at Chick-fil-a, they are giving those wearing team logos a free sandwich. We all donned our Razorback wear and headed to Chick-fil-a. We expected a crowd, but it wasn't too crazy yet. We saw our friends Chris and Kristin there with their daughter. They were all sporting Alabama "A"s. Chris jokingly said they didn't give serve Razorbacks here. Although he did let us sit with them, in spite of our Razorbacks.

Island Fever

From Jimmy Buffett Island Fever:
Palm trees and views I can't believe
Why would I ever want to leave?
I think I'll take my shoes off and go walking
Down beside the Caribbean Sea.
I like the funny sounds of parrots squawking
I think I hear a hammock calling me.


My new hammock from anthropologie--good times. I plan on spending some time visiting my new hammock this afternoon--book in hand. It might not be the islands, but it is pretty darn good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

anthropologie

I love anthropologie. I find it to be over the top price wise, but so fun. I love their clothes, I love their linens, I love their kitchen gadgets. You get it.

Last night I had a few minutes at Bridge Street before I met some friends. I stopped in to look around. Clearance--like amazing clearance. Amazing denim cropped pants--$20 (was $100), Hammock--$19 (had been $98), Two pack recycled paper journals--$3 (had been $16), candle in a reusable painted jar--$3 (was $16), and an orange blossom solid perfume tin, I love orange blossom--$3 ($20).

I was giddy over my bargains. I LOVE all these things. They weren't just more junk to clutter my home, they are things I can use and enjoy. I wore my new pants today and received a ton of compliments, they really are cute. Someone said, you have the cutest clothes--I hate to admit, but that made my day. There were even a few times, when I didn't follow up the compliment with how much I paid for the item on clearance. I tend to be so thrilled with my bargain, I can't help but say how little I paid for an item.