Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Light and Fluffy

Perhaps my "thinky-ness" in the last few weeks has scared you.

My thoughts have been more introspective lately, it always happens to me this time of year. 

However, when ever I get too "heavy" in my writing, my subscribers and readers drop like flies.

Its actually funny... I won't blog for 7 days in a row and I'll have 6 new subscribers. Then I'll blog consistently, with a few deep thoughts thrown in, and every body changes their mind!

Maybe its a coincidence, maybe its not. Honestly, "thinky" is who I am, and I know that that isn't everyones thing, so I am truly OK with a few readers clicking somewhere else, but fluffy is good too. Being serious all the time is for squares. I like to think that my corners are more rounded... or at least I try to round'em out from time to time.  :)

So today we'll go "light and fluffy."

~Today I went to the dentist with tooth pain (so much for 'light and fluffy'). I took my credit card because these sort of things never end well.

Turned out I just bruised the tissue around a recent root canal. (who knew eating granola could be so dangerous!) But the appointment went well. No needles, no drama. No bill when I walked out the door!

That has NEVER happened to me at the dentists office. NEVER.

So that was very light and fluffy! Especially on The Mister's wallet. Win-win, all around!

~ Last Sunday I was on my way to pick up the kids from youth group when I got a text from my teenage son that simply read: Bring a towel.

How do you respond to something like that? I told him next time he should add a little detail:

Found a kitten. Bring a towel.


Having fun! Bring a towel.


Profusely bleeding. Bring a towel.

Seriously, there is a full spectrum of towel needs, and a mom in her minivan, unable to text back needs a little more detail...

~ Hey, how about a little de-lurking? 

Do you read this blog? Why? How did you find it? Are you a crafter, a blogger, a homeschooler, a stalker?

Inquiring minds want to know... 

All right, tomorrow at this time I will be full-swing into my Fall Break Adventure! Pictures and stories to come!

Don't forget to de-lurk!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today I'm pulling from the archives.

I'd actually forgotten about this post, but when I was looking for something else I came across this one. I believe its Providential.

This afternoon I am headed back to the same hospital, with the same child. 

Perhaps, coming across my own words, getting a good taste of my own medicine, is a reminder to start this day with a focus that is radically different than four years ago.  

I pray today my "Seeing" will be filtered through compassion and grace, with love and mercy... and yes, even patience. 

(Originally posted in February 2007.) 


The lens in which I see the world is shamefully, selfishly, colored.

Yesterday, my prescription was changed.

I spent the afternoon taking The Boy to an appointment at a Children's Hospital. It was an appointment I had to book three months in advance. A timeline I felt was far too long and inconvenient.

I started the day grumbly, irritated, because our insurance carrier won't cover a GI Specialist in our town... even though there is a well known major medical health system that sits literally 6 miles from my front door.

This meant that I would have to drive twenty miles away, to a place I'm unfamiliar; navigate through a construction zone, and park (for a fee) in the parking garage across the street. Oh yeah, and by the way, it was 33 degrees outside (and you know I don't like to be cold.)

My mind was a myriad of grumbles over details and annoyances.

I'm certain my ingratitude was palpable as I walked hand-in-hand, both children in tow, to the hospital doors and into the first of several lines where I would spend the next three hours.

After giving a long history (although I had already called and given all this info to someone over the phone) we were finally whisked away to the first of three waiting rooms.

I'm grieved, now, to list the sad and selfish condition of my heart. But the crusty exterior of my callused heart would soon give-way to new perspective.

It was in the first large waiting room, colorful and friendly, with child size chairs and toys that I had my first dose of reality: Your child is here for stomach aches, and that bald 4-year old boy sitting next to you is dying. You are going to get a quick-fix medicine that will help your son. That little girl is going to get a year of chemo.

I looked at these beautiful children, pale and poorly, and quietly looked into the faces of my healthy, robust kids;  faces rosy and flush from our walk in the cold.

Life. Sometimes it isn't easy.

Life shouldn't be about comparisons. But every so often, when the focus becomes so self oriented its good to take a look around you and realize that your life, in comparison, is easy.

Sometimes we have to be inconvenienced to remember that we aren't the center of the universe.
Sometimes it takes seeing the faces of other people's struggles to see that we should just shut-up and sit-down... to wait a minute. To wait your turn.

The doctors were fabulous, the radiologists kind, the phlebotomist funny. The visit was so worth the drive, the time, the "inconvenience."

It was time to check out. The ream of paper work I had shuffled from place to place was handed over to a clerk.  I watched as the clerk took a big black marker and wrote, NO COPAY, across the top of the page. I looked to my left and a young father, tired and weary with worry for his sick child, stood in the next line working out his payment plan.

I was given a prescription for my sons belly... and a prescription for the eyes of my heart, and was sent on my way.


Righteously so.

Life is comfortable for me. What a shame that I don't raise my thanksgivings in all circumstances instead of throwing tantrums like a child. How pitiful an attitude of entitlement looks and feels!

These lessons are hard. Selfishness is ugly; it makes me uncomfortable.

I guess that's the point.

Life isn't always about being comfortable. It isn't always about avoiding pain. It isn't always about being easy. Or having my way...

May I see through the lens of gratitude and praise, in times of trouble, in times of peace. Not just today, but in the days to come...

Monday, September 26, 2011


Fourteen years.

Its gone so quickly.

He mentioned once that he'd love a whole box of Twinkies. I never buy them because I am uncertain of what they are made of - they are chemically-engineered for sure. But I bought them... just for him. And quite frankly, I'd've paid big-money to see him smile like that.

Lucky for me, a box of Twinkies cost $2.87, and he's always generous with that grin.

Happy Birthday Fuzila! You are such a fun, compassionate, smart guy. 
I wouldn't want any other boy but you... Happy Birthday!

In between celebrations and soccer games, I had a moment of inspiration... or should I say courage?

I actually finished a quilt that I started six-weeks ago.

My favorite part of quilting (making the top) is smack-dab in the middle of the things I don't like about quilting (cutting fabric and the actual quilting part: sewing the three layers together.)

I was given a free-form quilting attachment for my machine last Christmas. Fear kept me from trying to sew with it. After some internet research (AKA- reading blogs and watchin' YouTube vids... sounds official, doesn't it?) I decided that perhaps I should give free-form quilting a whirl.

I'm hooked! Its like drawing with needle and thread. I was so enamored I ran out of thread before I was finished, but in the end, it was enough. So I finished up, and then decided to do more research on fabric to see what I might start next!

The only snafu with this project is that it is quite small.  As a matter of fact it should be called a mini-quilt. The finished measurements are 37x32 when I hoped it would be 36x54. I always forget my quilt pieces, laid on the floor, will actually be smaller sewn up.  And since I didn't exactly have a recipe that gave me exact-directions and measurements, (not to mention my phobia of math) I made things up as I went along...

All right, must close up for now. Our fall-break begins in just three days! And there is much to be done in between.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Photo Friday: Sundry

Not only did I steal these flip-flops from my son, but I'm bragging about it on the blog. They are just so  comfy. Albeit, just a little weird that his feet are bigger than mine. And I have big feet.

The  kids went outside this week for a little break from school. Its been raining here a lot so when I heard them yelling for me to come out quick with my camera, I always know it gonna be something creep or crawly. This thing was huge... As big around as my thumb and three inches long. Disgusting.

The Girl texted me one afternoon and said she wanted a little something sweet and could she have some chocolate chips... I texted back this picture and said, " There you go! Enjoy!"

She didn't think I was funny.

The Boy found a banana suit at Target this week. He immediately threw it on and asked me to take his picture. This is him trying to be a Banana with Attitude. I think the smile makes him look totally mean, doesn't it? (And for those that are wondering, we brought the banana home.)

I mentioned its been raining a lot... these mushrooms sprouted literally overnight. I first noticed them from my window. Its hard to tell in the picture, but this bunch is actually about four feet across and some of the mushroom tops are the size of the palm of my hand.

Mushroom soup anyone?

Just Kidding!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cloudy Morning

I'm letting the kids sleep in this morning.

Its wet and dark outside and, with the exception of a light rain falling and the whirring of my dryer, its cool and quiet. 

I love it when the rainy weather washes the woods, turning their color into darker shades and hues. I especially love cloudy days when the hope of sunshine is forecasted soon. Its like a little respite in an otherwise busy time. Its a good excuse to rest. 

Actually, I've promised my man I would rest today. I'm fighting a scratchy throat (a cold he had last week.) I'm hoping that a day of laying-low, along with chain drinking Emergen-C, will cure what ails me. 

Of course, I have other plans as well. I cannot let a rainy morning go by without baking a loaf of bread. This day might also call for a pot of pintos... comfort food for this CoffeeGal. 

I'm also tempted to see what I can do with some new flannel fabric I bought on a whim last month. 

Its not yet cool enough for flannel, but soon winter will come - when the world takes its rest. Winter isn't my favorite-est of  seasons. I tend to get contemplative, extra-thinky. I'm certain this cheerful pattern will remind me that under the barren colors of winter the promise of spring is to come. Perhaps this fabric is meant to be pajama pants?

I think I'll ask The Boy to go in the attic and get out my fall decorations today too. I'm ready for the pumpkins to come out; ready for the orangey-red colors to take up residence in my home.

All right, I think its time to wake up the kids. School has to be completed... and then, after I teach English, and fold laundry, and make bread, and craft, and decorate my house, I'll rest. 

I promised I would.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Defining Brave

It was so subtle, I didn't even notice.
The brave shall inherit the earth. They will explore, experiment and challenge. They will value exhilaration over relaxation. They will reject anything that insulates them from the world. And they will drive a luxury car that makes them feel alive....

As a matter of fact this ad lay open on my counter for a couple of days before The Mister noticed and pointed it out. 

It bothers me.


The ad above is a lie at best, and blasphemy at worse.

Harsh thoughts over an ad? 

Let me explain.

The brave don't inherit the earth. 

The meek do. 

Have you ever met someone who appears particularly brave? I have.

What I've noticed when talking (or reading) about those who choose courage when adversity comes their way is that they don't feel particularly brave. Those who are courageous in sudden calamity have an all encompassing knowledge that they have nothing left to lose. They choose courage by choosing to live uncommonly - to face danger, fire, fear - and really live by faith that LOVE wins out. No matter the outcome.  Every single time. 

Those who live bravely do not do so because they set their standards by embracing the culture of this world. On the contrary! The world tells us we can "have it your way," or "those with the most toys wins,"and "you can never be too rich or too thin," with a little, "you deserve to be happy." to round things out.

You see, those slogans, the ad above (and others like it), try very subtly to re-define what it is to be brave. And we suffer because of it. The businesses laugh all the way to the bank, while we slump with our head in our hands and wonder why, after all the exploration, experimentation, challenge and exhilaration we don't feel alive. Worse, we feel tired, depressed, rejected.

People who are brave aren't self-focused. They have rejected that which tells them they are the center of the universe. 

This month I have met and read about many brave people: A woman who's young daughter is facing multiple surgeries that are serious in nature; A mom who's adult daughter has turned away from all she loved, leaving a young child and parents who "wait for the other brick to fall."; Two weeks ago we remembered the courage of those who, in the face of buildings set ablaze by cowards, ran towards tragedy to save thousands. 

Not because of anything we do, but because God, who is Love, who will never leave us or forsake us, gives us the strength to be brave and courageous in the midst of all that threatens to overcome us. 

It isn't popular, it isn't subtle, but its the Truth... and it is a gift, for all who want not just to feel alive, but to really live. Here on earth and in heaven above.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweater Dilemma

I swear this is the last time I'll write about this sweater.

At least I think it will be...

As far as dilemma's go, this is the best kind to have, but still... such a quandry.

You see, I finished this sweater some time ago, and then I put it away because the end of the recipe says to 'block' it, and I am afraid.

Actually, fear is a large percentage of my unfinished sweater, but also... I don't have a blocking board, nor do I have a spray bottle for plain water, or waterproof/rust proof pins.

This sweater is also made of 100% acrylic, which is soft and cheap. When I started the project I wasn't sure I would finish, having never made adult size clothing before.

Here are some pictures of the sweater this morning (I do actually plan to wear real clothes with this sweater, not just my walking gear. but who has time to get dressed in real-people clothes when contemplating big decision?)

At first glance it seems great... look to the right of the photo, the fabric lays very nice (both in the front and the back), but to the right, as the yoke meets the mid-section it poofs just a bit.

It does the same thing on the back too.
The (your) left side of the sweater poofs out, while the right side lays as if it is tailored.

So, will blocking fix this? Once you block do you have to do it over and over? Should I just bite the bullet and go get waterproof pins? Should I just forget my left-side-poofy-woes, and call the project Done?

I would love your advice, since I am already thinking about my next project. I've narrowed it down to two choices.

Wanna peek? Of course you do!

Choice 1 and Choice 2 (scroll down)

So to block or not to block... discuss.

The Gift of Beauty

I love small gifts in the middle of a day... and yesterday I received one.

I was invited to a teatime by my sweet friend Alison. 

There were six other moms there, all new to me, and a plethora of children between us. We met on a grassy knoll of the wide open spaces of a small farm. The home of a gal with a gentle spirit. 

There were horses and goats and chickens. There was a garden full of basil and herbs. There was the green of the pines, the blue Carolina sky. 

I wanted so-very-badly to take pictures, but I figured whipping out my camera for the sake of the blog would be tacky.

I walked in a total stranger, and walked away feeling I'd been privilege to a treasure chest just waiting to be found. 

We sat on an aged-wood picnic table covered with an old, soft blanket, and sipped hot tea (with milk) from beautiful cups and saucers. The fall breeze occasionally took the warm sun from our skin. We laughed and listened. We prayed. 

It was ... communion... just sitting with them, sharing together. 

It wasn't fancy, or showy... it was simple. 


It was a blessing, and a reminder. 

Do not shy away from inviting those around me to partake in the people and things I love... to intentionally create something lovely, something simple, something beautiful to share. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, or energy, or expense. A small amount of effort  could be, while I am unaware, the brightest spot in someone's day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Speaking of..a random Monday Post

The kids and I were on our own this weekend.

It was deliciously cold and wet outside. After the back-to-back soccer games on Saturday morning, we spent the weekend folding laundry and watching a  Billy the Exterminator marathon.

Nothing makes me want to clean my house more than watching six-hours of cockroach and vermin infested homes.

Unless, I happen to be watching Hoarders... but that's a post for another day.

I managed to make it through the weekend without baking anything. Which is a challenge for me in the winter months. I do love to bake...but we've barely made it through the pumpkin products I baked last week, so I am trying to use self-control.

Speaking of self-control: I have none.

Case in point: The Girl asked me to take her to the craft store after church yesterday so she could get some polymer clay.

I told myself I would not look at the yarn.

Especially since I bought 6 skeins on the first of September and made this:

My self-imposed monthly yarn quota had long been met, and I was really trying to be good.

Don't buy yarn. Don't buy yarn. Don't buy yarn, I chanted to myself as I walked around the store...

... but, of course, i did. 

I found THE softest, loveliest, coziest, yarn. Ever.

It's Lion Brand: Quick and Cozy bulky yarn. It looks and feels like chenille, but is as light as feathers.

Y'all, its like crocheting with spun clouds.

I'm sure I looked a fool as I stood there feeling each skein and flipping through that rolodex in my head of people who needed something, anything. 

I remembered a little boy on my September list. He needed this yarn.

Without a pattern or an idea of what I would do, I threw four skeins in the cart and ran to the checkout before I got into bigger trouble.

I came home and made this:

If anyone is interested in the super-easy pattern,
let me know and I will write it out and post it.
I have to send this out ASAP, because this yarn does crazy things to people... both of my kids were lobbying for this little, puffy, blanket of love. 

Speaking of kids... this one is walking around like an old man.

He's been dealing with hip pain for over a year. We took him to an orthopedist and his hips are perfect but he's been referred to a general surgeon.

Turns out he has a sports-hernia, quite possibly bi-lateral. He has had a great sense of humor about this issue, even when in significant pain. Most mornings when he wakes up, he can barely get out of bed. It takes him a long time to come down the stairs. He is like an old-man in a 14 year old body.  Yesterday, he went to the garage and made himself an "old-man cane."  He thinks he's quite clever.

I think he maybe headed for a little outpatient surgery toward the end of October. When that happens I may see if they can surgically remove that hat.

Speaking of hats...


I've got nothin' on hats, but I couldn't think of a third Speaking of, and I hated to end with two...

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Photo Friday: Fall Has Arrived

Last night a cold front blew in. We couldn't be more pleased.

We hauled out our fussy slippers and warm robes, and headed outside for an early morning, cold-nose gathering.

We drank warm beverages of various kinds...
We wrapped ourselves in quilts and blankets... some unfinished, but perfectly warm.

We dug out our crazy-hats and sweatshirts, and hoped the day would go nice and slow.

The pressure cooker pressurized a pot of vegetable soup, and the kids can't stay focused cuz they keep checking to see if the first loaf of pumpkin bread is ready to slice.

Ah! Pumpkin bread... a lesson in patience in one, spicy, loaf.

Life is happy and chilly, yet cozy and the Little Yellow House on the Hill...

Pumpkin Bread

Shortening (for pan)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 milk
1/2 chopped walnuts

Grease bottom of loaf with shortening. Turn oven to 350. Beat together shortening and sugar until well mixed. Add eggs and milk. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice. Mix well.

Pour into the loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour.


*You can buy pumpkin spice, but if you don't have it on hand you can make your own. 

Pumpkin Spice

2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Mix together in a small container with a lid, store in a dry place. This makes approximately 4.5 tsp of Pumpkin Spice mix.
Since the bread recipe only calls for one- cup of pumpkin, but the can is nearly two, I found this recipe for Pumpkin Chip Cookies that are delicious and easy. The original recipe makes 60 cookies, but I cut the recipe down to 30 cookies (except I used a whole egg - it will tell you to use half an egg?) which was perfect for the last 7 oz, of pumpkin.)

Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just Buy the Bag

Maybe it was trying to multi-task while the sugar boiled.

I was talking to my mom.

Maybe its because I added more powdered sugar because the butter was seeping from the dough.

I mean, like completely separating from the sugar.

Maybe its because I should have done exactly as the recipe said: wear disposable gloves to protect hands when rolling dough.

I thought it was too keep my hands from turning orange. Apparently its to keep your hands from 3rd degree burns.

Unfortunately, the dough was boiling hot (and I didn't have gloves in the house not made of worsted weight yarn) I let it cool for about five minutes before rolling, but the cooled dough became crumbly quite quickly.

By the time I got to the stems, which I had to scrounge around for in my sprinkles jar, they wouldn't stay secure in the hardened candy.

Whatever the reason, trying my hand at Homemade Mallow Creams was an epic fail.

Honestly, they tasted OK, they were buttery-salty and super sweet... but the dry milk the recipe called for didn't properly disintegrate, so there were little white chunks of dry-milk in the finished product. Yuck.

Normally I wouldn't give a recipe a one-time-try before giving up, but I can't say they tasted any better than the package you can buy for $2.00/bag. So I am going to save my butter and sugar for another afternoon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rambling Monday

~If I could make a wish, I would wish that you could have seen the sky here in the Piedmont this weekend. The sky was beautiful, with its happy little clouds. A perfect day for a soccer game, and sitting outside in the shade.

~ I had to give my hands a rest this weekend because apparently crocheting for 15+ hours over Labor Day weekend makes ones hands a little... well... tired.  Who'd've thunk?

Instead of crocheting, Friday night I made an Infinity Dress for The Girl. I had about 3 yards of polyester knit just sitting on my shelf, which wasn't enough for an adult-size pattern. Plus, I figured since she still likes to dress-up from time to time I could try the pattern out without too much emotional investment... if it was easy, I would make one for myself, for a wedding I'm going to at the end of the month. If it was hard... well I wouldn't feel too bad about it, since it was just for "play."

Good news! It is super easy... after the measurement taking, pattern making and cutting (which took nearly 45 minutes - and was the "hardest" part because it was the not-as-fun-but-necessary part) the sewing took approximately 10 minutes. Literally. Ten-minutes.

So, for my newbie sewing friends (or for those who have sewn along time but are afraid of sewing clothes) this is the perfect project. Cheap, quick and easy... the trifecta of crafty women everywhere.

~ This morning The Mister took me to the Military ID office. My ID had expired in February. Oops.

Dependents (that would be me) are not allowed to go by themselves to renew their ID unless they get a legal affidavit signed by the sponsor in front of a witness, proving you are who you say you are (even though you have two "other" ID's to prove it.) Then, you get to go to the ID office and wait in line for and an hour and half for the appointment you made in advance.

However, if you make that same appointment, and bring your man in his uniform with you, you will walk in the door, get whisked away to the first open office, and will walk out with a sparkly-new ID within 10 minutes.

(Honestly, I might not have waited today. When we walked into the office nobody was in the waiting area.)

However, today I would have sat in that lobby all morning if it was meant to be, because the view of my man in his Dress Blues is something to be seen.  So very easy on the eyes he is... Just so lovely to look at...

As a matter of fact, I was filled with pride for him and, knowing that he doesn't like me to post photos of him on the blog, snapped a picture of his arm.

He said, "Your not going to put that on your blog, are you?"

Of course I am...

Of course I am.

~Happy Monday!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Crochet Candy Corn Garland

So excited to share this with you. 

This little Garland was quick to stitch up and it makes me happy. I hope you enjoy it too!


Get your H-hook (5.0mm) and any worsted weight yarn. I used cotton (Peaches and Cream is what I used) but I think any worsted would do.

With white yarn, Ch 4, sl st in first chain to make ring, 

Row 1: ch3, 2 dc into ring.

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, 2 dc (in the space between ch3 and 1st dc in row 1), ch 1, 3 dc (in space between 1st and second dc in row 1). Finish off.

Row 4: Switch yarn (orange) slip stitch to beginning stitch. Ch 3, 2 dc in first dc space), 3 dbl in ch 1 space, 2 dc in last dc space.

Row 5: Ch 3. turn, dc in first dc space, *3 dc in next space* 3 times, dc in last space.

Row 6: Ch 3, turn, dc in first dc sp, *3 dc in next space* 3 times, 2 dc in last dc space. Finish off.

Row 7: Switch Yarn to yellow w/ sl st in last stitch. Ch 3, *dc in each space* 4 times, dc in last dc space.

Row 8: Ch 2, hdc in next dc space, 2 hdc ineach space* 4 times, hdc in last space. Finish off.

Make as many candy corns according to your desired garland length.

Banner Chain: 

Chain 10 -12 (+/-), depending on your preference for end-ties. Slip stitch to first stitch on top of candy corn.  Sl st in each stitch across corn. I put 5 chains between each corn. Continue until all corn is added to banner. Chain 10-12 for end tie. Cut off or tuck in any end strings and find a happy place to hang.

Here is a very poor hand drawn pattern, that I hope makes it easier for those of you who (like me) are visual learners! If you cannot see the picture better by clicking on it and downloading, please send me an email and I will happily email you a .pdf file of the picture instead!

If you have any questions please let me know! And if you make one I would LOVE to see it!

Happy Friday!

Five Photo Friday: Feeling 'Think-y'

On this day I got glasses, and learned how to see...

 Choosing color amidst the black-and-white... its not always easy.

A warm kettle, some toast. A bright spot during a tough part of the week.

The blue hat. He's worn it nearly everyday this summer, including in the pool, the ocean, and most places in between.

"Emergency" water, not yet put away... A reminder that storms do pass - in weather, in life .

These bottles will empty... but we won't be left thirsty. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Neighborly Cup of Sugar

It's here!

Candy Corn time!

Its finally here.

I've seen it in the store for the last several weeks, but I'm one of those "rule-followers". I don't eat popsicles in winter. I don't listen to Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving. I don't bake pumpkin products in the summer, and I don't eat candy corn until the fall... and when November is over, so is the time for eating candy corn (and its sweet bigger sister, the mallow cream pumpkin.)

You would think after 6 years as a blogger I would tire of writing about this treat in beautiful hues of yellow and orange. But what can I say? I'm inspired each year.

Pictured above is a sneak peek at a quick and easy project I have going. I'm in the process of writing the recipe down for you... fingers crossed, it will be ready for the big reveal tomorrow. So get your yellow, orange and white yarn ready (and a hook, size H, 5.0mm) and get ready to hook up a little something fun for your fall decoration.

If you aren't of the crochet kind, here is a little candy corn love for you: Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

This picture was swiped from Kathy's blog. Link posted above.)

I hope to make these cookies right after I finish this post. The kids and I have a tea date this afternoon with a friend. I thought these might be fun.

Let's see... not a crocheter or a baker?

Well, how about a video on how candy corn is made?

Side note: Do you remember the show Mr Rogers Neighborhood? My favorite part of the show was when Mr. Rogers would talk to the frame on his wall called Picture-Picture. He would show how things were made in real factories... important things like crayons (loved that one!) and how shoes were made. Who knew, that many years later at the click of a mouse and a keyboard, you could see inside a factory any old time you want? 

I've seen a few links flying around the net to other candy corn ideas as well.  I am especially interested in this recipe for Homemade Butterfingers made with melted candy corn. Who'd've thunk? Melted candy corn in recipes? Genius.

All right, its a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I need to get some work done...

I have always wanted to have a neighbor, just like you... 
always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you, 
so lets make the most of this beautiful day. 
SInce we're together, we might as well say... 
will you be mine, won't you be mine. 
Won't you be my neighbor?

(uh, sometimes I worry about myself... that song just whipped out of my mind into the keyboard before I knew what happened. Now I'll be singing it all day. xoxo)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Being a Woman

This weekend The Girl and I continued our conversation about what it is to be a woman.

We talked about fashion and modesty. We talked about how we can be fashion forward, attractive  and yet not reveal too much of the wonder (and power) of the female body.

I took her to a really fun vintage boutique that was awesome... it was chock-full of polyester. I had memory after of memory flood through my mind. After all, I am a child of the 70's.

We identified fashion of the past that was very modest...

And one that was less...

We liked the colors...

We liked the glitz...

We laughed.

It was fun.

But, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you the Truth that fell in my lap...

As I taught my young daughter, the student was me.

Our first stop of the day was to the art museum with an agenda (look for art with women as the subject) and a few questions in mind:

1.) What does this say about feminine beauty? 
2.) Is this a healthy view of women. 
3.) If you are able to see art from different cultures, how does this society portray women differently from the way ours does today?

We had several different pieces that were great for discussion, but one photograph in particular,
Comilo Jose Vergara's, Girls, Barbies, Harlem, 1970, got my attention.

The picture of African-American girls sitting on the door-steps of  a Harlem neighborhood, their white Barbies lined up in a row. It haunted me all weekend.

No one escapes. I thought to myself. No time. No culture.

Not one wonderful, beautiful, uniquely-made girl escapes this "ideal", if she isn't careful.

Here we are, forty years later, and that tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted, small-waisted, have-it-all standard still rules the world.

And no one, not the young black girl in Harlem, not the Latina girl who writes this blog (or any women who reads this post), nor our sweet little girls playing dress up in the vintage boutiques can ever measure up when our measuring stick isn't real

It doesn't matter if we are poor, rich, black, white, or all colors in between, we are not immune.

So we must equip ourselves, our daughters, our nieces, our friends, to love that which makes us unique.  Our lovely brown hair, our big blue eyes, the curve of our hips, the shape of our nose... the wrinkles, the gray hair, the stretch marks on our bellies.

We must equip ourselves. Recognize the lies of media and worldly "standard." Must remind ourselves that we will never achieve what they say we can have. To think, and to realize that we really don't want it.

Here is the Truth I want to live and to learn: instead of fighting the air and losing heart, we can choose to love the unique way God created us, that special way he sets us apart from all those plastic dolls standing in a row. Once we recognize it as a gift, instead of a flaw, we are free to move about our lives outwardly focused, not inwardly stuck...

This weekend we talked, The Girl and I, about what it is to be a woman.

I'm still learning too.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Ice Cream for Monkeys

I'm short on blogging time today. Its a government holiday. Which means The Mister is home, so I have to go sip coffee and watch him work in the yard before it begins to rain. Its a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. 

I'm going to post a recipe for Banana Ice Cream that my friend Becky made for me earlier this summer.

I have monkey that lives here who eats a lot of bananas. He just really likes them, but the window between ripe and over-ripe is short. 

If you have some bananas that are going brown, but aren't completely mushy you have the right banana for this ice cream. Of course, I think it would work with any banana at varying ripeness, dependent on your tastes.

Peel and slice your banana and freeze them on a cookie sheet or cake pan covered with butcher paper (wax side up) or plastic wrap (this makes taking the frozen banana off the cookie sheet very easy!)

Freeze slices for 45 minutes - 2 hours. 

After completely frozen, I take the slices and place them in a zip bag until I'm ready to use them.

When ready to make ice cream, place frozen slices in a food processor. 

Pulse until bananas look like little pieces of gravel. 

Scrape down the sides if needed.

Put lid on and keep pulsing. 

I can't tell you exactly when the banana magic will happen, but suddenly (just when you think it isn't gonna happen) they pulse into what looks like soft serve ice cream... its amazing, actually.

My monkey enjoys his ice cream just as it is, so I usually scoop a bit out for him before adding anything else. However,  I occasionally add a small scoop of peanut butter and Nutella. 

Oh, who am I kidding, I ALWAYS add a scoop of peanut butter and Nutella. But one time I pulsed up a scoop of peanut butter and a teaspoon of (unsweetened) cocoa powder, and it was divine.

So go bananas, and make some Monkey Ice Cream next time you need a little something sweet, and you have some brownish bananas on hand.

Happy Labor Day!