Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homekeepers Journal 2/23 Edition

I joined in this carnival/meme/what do you call these things??? a few weeks back and love it. But of course, that alone does not enable/propel me/promise a repeat any time soon, so I was delighted to see Mary Ann's post early enough in the day to remind me that this is the day for the Homekeeper's Journal and to be able to play along.

Here’s What’s happening …..

In My Kitchen
... made some more bread from the Artisan Bread Book I talked about here. It came out much better this time around. Using up the last of the pantry/freezer/perishables to make way for next week's beginning of the month shopping trip.

With The Children ... the #1 son is doing fairly well in school. Lost his after school aide that he loved so much and am now breaking in her replacement. Already run into a scheduling conflict with new aide. Sigh ...

What I’m Reading ... Just got a big group of knitting, crafting, sewing books from the library that I'm skimming. Found about 10 projects I'd like to do out of a couple of these books. Now just to find the time to DO rather than READ

What I have been learning ... Through this artisan bread book, I'm perfecting my breadmaking skills. One of my goals is to make my own hamburger buns which can be so expensive at the market, if you want something other than the standard white ones. I'm also picking up my Portugese language book again, reviewing what I learned last summer and pressing on to learn more. I decided even if Michael doesn't want to learn at this point there's nothing to stop me from learning on my own.

What I’ve Been Noticing ... the crocuses, tulip bulbs and other signs of spring popping up. I'm also noticing how messy my house has become and am determined to do something about it!

On The Back Burner of My Mind ... Michael graduates in less than 4 months. So maybe this is more on the front burner!!! And within 5 months we have to be out of these apts. And we have no idea of where we will be. We dont' want to move prematurely in case we are offered a job somewhere other than here, yet I'm itching to get out of these apts sooner rather than later!

In The Deepest Darkest Recesses ... that I have alot more anger inside than I let myself or others see. That I need to find a way to work through those issues that cause anger without hurting those in my life. And that without the Lord working in this area, I will never find a balance in this area.

**Thanks to Sylvia for hosting the Homekeeper's Journal!

Its your turn now. What's going on at your home? I'd love to sneak a peak.

Til next time ...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Books, Cd's Dvd's: Do You Buy Them?

When we knew that we would be moving from our house to student housing 2 years ago, we got rid of alot of stuff which you can read about here. There was just no way that we were going to be able to keep it all. I purged about 50% of our book collection which was extensive. As well as donating alot of videos that #1 son no longer watched. Recently I purged our cd collection and was able to weed through about a third of what we still had.

Once we moved into our tiny campus apt, I had no desire (nor much money) to buy books, cd's or dvd's to replace the ones we got rid of. Instead, I decided we would just make do.

Wow, what a concept! (insert twinkle in eye)

Instead we searched out the library and found wonderful books to read, dvd's to watch, and even cd's to listen to. And it only cost me the fines I racked up forgetting to take them back on time! But seriously, the small amount of money and the fact that I didn't have to store them was a great incentive for me to reform my buying ways.

Eventually when money wasn't such an issue, we renewed our netflix acct in order to enjoy an even more diverse amount of dvd's. And my sister gave me an itunes card for my b-day. As for books, I'm very judicious about what I will buy now. For a book to be invited to find a home in my bookshelf, it has to meet the following criteria:

1) Is it a book that I can't seem to find at the library and I know I will read it over and over again? This might be because it is a rare or old book, a niche book that only a few people are interested in, or maybe self published. I kept a set of mystery cozies when moving just for that reason. I think I've read them all at least 3x and some more than that. And I never see them at any library. Believe me, I've looked!

2) Can I find the same info for free on the internet? If so, its not worthy of my money or my space. Cookbooks come to mind. Only one cookbook has come to live with us in the last 2 years, and that was a gift I asked for, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". I had searched for the recipes and the secret to their method since hearing about this book a couple years ago, but came up empty. So after some not so subtle hints, I got it. And I'm not disappointed. Tho I did notice that last months Mother Earth News had an article on the book and gave away a couple of their recipes! So if you're curious about their breadbaking method as I was, check out the magazine first.

3) Is it a "referance book" meaning will I refer to it over and over again? Whether that's a craft/sewing book, medical journal, or a spiritual book that has changed my life. These books may or may not be in the library, but if they are I dont' want to be checking them out every other month or so. They have passed the test that I will use them over and over again.

For cd's we just don't find we need to own them anymore. We have found a wondeful music site called Pandora. It's like a radio for your computer and you even get to create a station according to your personal music tastes.

So there's my tale, how bout you? Do you still buy cd's dvd's and/or books? I'd love to hear why or why not. Leave a comment and tell me your story.

Til next time ....

Friday, February 19, 2010

Can You Have a Rush Hour of Pedestrians?

Every day around our campus apts, something strange happens. People of all shapes and sizes, walking, biking or long boarding (that's those new cool, LONG skate boards, yea, i'm hip with the language, i know!) pour out of the campus and cross the streets, like ants on a mission. Some wait for the crosswalk light to change, whereas others don't. And every single vehicle using those same streets are expected to stop.

I've started timing when the classes let out and try to avoid leaving at that same time. But the other day I didn't think, and was driving home after an afternoon of errands. I slowed down when the car beside me did, but I couldn't see anything. Good thing I slowed tho, cuz a pink pants wearing coed was traipsing across the sidewalk (one with no light, so pedestrians really do have the rightaway!) Yikes! was what I muttered under my breath when I spied the pink pants coed.

That's life on campus. So how bout you? Do you have to worry more about car traffic, bikes, pedestrians, or what??? I'd love to know.

Til next time ....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Walla Walla Where?

With Monday being a holiday from school for my boys, I twisted my honeys arm to take us on an abbreviated road trip. Walla Walla WA is less than 5 hours away from us. Its a delightful town with the ambiance of history (it was founded in 1859, 12 years before WA became a state), new vineyards and boundless wine tasting rooms downtown, glorious eastern WA weather (that's sunshine to those of you who have only heard of Seattle's rain and clouds) and at least 3 colleges that we found.

Monday we walked around downtown and explored the delightful shops and cafes. This is one of the many sculptures that they had all around Main street. I meant to take more pics but my camera batteries were low. Boo hoo! We found a sweet bookstore and game shop. It had more games than I've seen in a long time, and many games that I had not been aware of, or had only seen online.

We also drove around Whitman College and the surrounding wonderful old homes. Walla Walla must have been a prosperous town, because they have alot of old stately homes. So fun to look at! It is definitely a town we could relocate to happily, if there was a job for Michael there.

Whenever we stay somewhere we always try to take advantage of their swimming pool, and this trip was no exception. The motel where we stayed had a great pool and we had it all to ourselves. All in all, it was a great trip for all of us. Short, but sweet as a Walla Walla Onion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bread Experiment

I mentioned in this post that I was going to dive into my new book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes and that I would be back to let you know how it went.

I made a couple minor mistakes right off the bat, forgetting to cover the bread dough when it was in the fridge and giving it more time than was called for. I don't think either made a huge difference, I scraped off some of the crunchy top part of dough since it hadn't been covered and that seemed to be good enough. The first loaf had a nice feel and my son loved it. I had forgotton what totally white bread tasted like since we rarely have white bread. Next time I make a batch I will definitely be using their whole wheat recipe.

The second loaf did not fair as well. I had a cover for the dough this time, so that was good, but I'm not sure why but it got more of a sourdough taste. Not bad, but the dough/bread didn't bake all the way thru. There were parts that seemed like they were still dough instead of bread. Not sure why that happened. Again, didn't seem to phase my son, he ate it up, but I had to nibble around those areas.

Yes, I will be trying it again, but first I need to find a lid for my mixer bowl or get a new bowl with a lid. And like I said I'll be trying the whole wheat recipe next time and see how that tastes.

So how bout you? Have you been making bread? Tried any new recipes lately? I'd love to hear.

Til next time ....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Superfluous Pic of the Day

Since writing my pet peeve post and talking about adding more pics to my blog, I thought I'd start posting random superfluous pictures. Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

5 Blogging Pet Peeves & A Picture

I had a chat with a friend the other day about how to improve my blog. It was great! It really helps to get someone elses opinion and see your blog thru their eyes. I have also been reading some do's and don'ts on what to bring to your blog. Alot of the items resonated with me and my style of blogging. So I thought I'd add a few of my pet peeves of annoying items on otherwise great blogs.

1) Music playing when I visit your blog
This is huge for me. I often have my own music playing while I'm on the computer and to have some other music compete with my music is a whole lot of noise that drives me batty! If I perchance don't have music going, then it comes down to song selection. I visit alot of different types of blogs and I don't always (well, rarely really) like their selection. Not everyone is into Lady Gaga, people! I have also heard that if you are looking at blogs during worktime this can get you into trouble, not that I have that problem, being my own boss and all.

2) Black background
I don't know why, but I really hate black backgrounds. And especially if the contrasting font is low contrast. Blame it on my age, but it bothers my eyes. And I especially hate black backgrounds with lots of blinkies, flashing graphics.

3) Having to click to read the rest of the blog post
Several blogs I read either right from the top or several posts down, give you a intro to the post and then to read the whole post you have to click. I really dislike having to do that. Mainly because then to get back to where I was can be a hassle. I'm not sure why these bloggers like that option, but I don't. I like to skim while I read and if its not worthwhile, I'll skip to the next post. Harder to do when I'm having to click in and out.

4) No Photos
I like pictures! And I like alot of pictures. Big picture, up close, outdoors, inside, doesn't matter to me. So when I read a blog that is primarily words every day, day in and day out, it becomes blase to me. I have been guilty of it myself, neglecting posting pics on my blog, so maybe I'm turning readers away without realizing it! So lets do it, more pics!!!

I really, really hate hearing foul language: in real life, at the movies, in books and on blogs. It grates against my spirit. And when it is used over and over, it makes me question the persons ability to be creative with language. Something I very much love doing. Swearing is so juvenile, something people use for shock effect or when they don't know what else to say.

So how bout you? What are your pet peeves about blogs?

And here is your superfluous pic of the day:

(can you tell I really, really want a puppy?)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

How Do You Declutter?

Are you methodical, going through a group of items at one time, sorting out the duds from the keepers? Or do you use the haphazard, scan the room approach? ya, that looks good, I think I'll toss it?

Me, I use the latter method.

I would love to be methodical but I'm not. After 40+ years you'd think I'd accept that about myself, but no .... But I'm trying. Trying to be true to who I am, instead of the self imposed standards of who I think I should be.

What does this have to do with decluttering? Probably not much, except that I know that by not being methodical has resulted in having alot of stuff that I now need to sort thru and toss.

Regardless, I am doing well, even with the haphazard method. Last week was wimpy since I had alot of other stuff on my plate. But this week I've already tossed a old blanket chewed up by one of the dogs we no longer have, an old beach towel that is so worn out to be pathetic, even by my standards. I've tossed some clothes from both my closet and hubby's closet into the "take to the thrift store" box. Along with a bedskirt that doesn't have the other stuff, and some batman wall paper border. #1 son would much rather have clone wars stuff.

So how bout you? How are you doing on your decluttering process?

Til next time ....

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Homekeepers Journal

My friend Mary Ann
has been participating in the Homekeepers Journal for a few weeks or so and I love seeing what's up with her and her home. Today, I'm taking the plunge and joining in the fun. It all begins over at Sylvia's place Christian Homekeeper Networker

What’s happening in my home...
I love the quiet in the mornings after hubby and son have left for school. For the last 7 years, since hubby's accident, hubby has been home alot! It hasn't been a retirement so much as more like a sabbatical. But this is his last semester of school, and soon he will working full time again.

In my kitchen .... I got the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for my birthday after hearing so many positive reviews from around the blogosphere. I finally got around to getting all that I needed and put together the starter last night. Can't wait to bake my first loaf and see how it turns out.

With our marriage ...
Michael and I are best friends. We play cards or backgammon every day at lunch when he comes home between classes. We talk about (almost) everything. He is my soulmate and my love. We have our ups and downs, but we have a good marriage.

With the children ...
Our #1 son, Josiah is doing well. He is happy and he has been very healthy this winter for which I am thankful. Right now his fav thing is watching Clone Wars. Friday night can't come soon enough for him.

Around the homestead ...
Right now we're in a tiny campus apt, but we hope someday to have a real life homestead. I miss the days of having a wood burning stove, a garden and chickens. My emphasis of late has been purging for the upcoming move when hubby graduates. I have 2 more boxes in the car waiting to be dropped off at the thrift store.

In my “Inner Man” ....
My sister and I are starting to memorize a scripture a week together. This is on top of our Sunday night prayer times over the phone. I have been so enriched from having a weekly prayer time with her over the last few years. I haven't settled on a specific book of the Bible to read nor am I reading a devotional at the moment. Anyone have any suggestions for me?

What is your Inner Man? In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul gives us a clue about what he means when he says “the inner man”. In that scripture he says that “our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (4:16 KJV). So for Christians even though there is something about us that is getting old, decaying and deteriorating and dying..there is also something about us that is growing, becoming more alive, richer and stronger every day we live and follow Christ. That is what Paul calls our “inner man.”

(I'm following Mary Ann's lead by including this next one)

In the sewing room .... I finished up another coffee cozy yesterday. I made several for Christmas gifts and want to have a couple on hand to give away when I want to give something cute to someone. Gift giving (and receiving) is my love language. I'm in the middle of making some pj bottoms for #1 son. And I have some material to cut out for a top for myself. Not sure when I'll get to that.

This has been fun. If you like doing this kind of reflective stuff, join us over at The Christian HomeKeeper

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

8 Things

Is it just me, or does it seem like the memes that were so popular in the blogosphere a couple years ago have died off quietly?

Well I'm here to resurrect a few. I found this one today and thought I'd play along.

8 things I'm looking forward to:

1. Moving into larger new digs this summer.
2. Hubby graduating this May.
3. Getting a puppy when we settle down after graduation.
4. Valentine's Day
5. B&B getaway with my older sister.
6. Sunshine, Spring and Warmer Weather.
7. Lunch with a friend next week.
8. Pay Day!!!

8 things I did yesterday:

1. Rode the bike 20 minutes
2. Walked on treadmill 15 minutes.
3. Laundry
4. Played cards with hubby.
5. Played with playdoh with #1 son
6. Watched news, local and national.
7. Tweeted
8. Blog surfed.

8 things I wish I could do:

1. Eat huge amounts of chocolate everyday and not gain any weight.
2. Lose weight just by wishing it away.
3. Fly (like superman)
4. Play the piano and guitar.
5. Speak a foreign language fluently.
6. Keep my house spotless. With or without a cleaning fairy.
7. Clone myself.
8. Live in Brazil or Europe for 2 years.

8 shows I watch:

1. Chuck (eeek! I missed last night)
2. Leverage
3. Burn Notice
4. Phineus & Ferb, a great kids show that our whole family likes.
5. Clone Wars my son's fav show
6. Football, pro and BSU football---Go Broncos!
7. Baseball, mainly Seattle Mariners
8. Local news at 10pm.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Super Chick Challenge Update

The good: I've lost 3 lbs and am back to working out.

The bad: I'm an emotional eater and I've had lots of emotional reasons to eat this month.

The ugly: I bought a scale, and my son promptly broke it which means I need to buy another one soon.

Losing weight for me means change. And I am slow to change my ways. Not just slow, but resistant even. Not many of us like change, and I'm no different. Especially change that is difficult, painful, and takes perseverance and endurance.

But I want to lose weight. I want to feel better about myself, my body, my health. The question is: do I want it enough to change?

I'm learning to answer than question one day at a time.

Til next time ...