Monday, July 29, 2013

Clean, Quick Recipe

I don't usually like to make dinner, mostly because it involves dishes and time. As a rule, my husband makes dinner, though I'll do so on occasion while my husband plays with the kids.

There is, however, one recipe that even I don't dread making: Waldorf Salad.

Get out a cutting board, sharp knife, serving bowl, and spoon. That's all the dishes you'll need.

1. Core and slice 3 lbs of apples into bite size pieces. Put them in the bowl.
2. Add 1 lb of raisins to the bowl.
3. Add 1 cup of sunflower seeds (out of the shells) to the bowl.
4. Add honey and mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste as a dressing. I would start with 1 cup mayo and 1/4 cup honey, but it truly is "to taste" - hard to mess up.
5. Stir them all together with the spoon.
6. Rinse off your knife and cutting board and put it on the table with a loaf of bread.

Tada! Serves 4-6, depending on your appetite.

I would add the tag "organic food" to this one, since we used organic apples, raisins, and sunflower seeds with local honey... but the mayonnaise just makes that seem inappropriate. :-)

Friday, July 26, 2013

7QT (Vol. 49): Moving Preparation and Trees

Our garbage disposal hasn't worked in over two years. The motor would turn on, but nothing would spin. I had reached around down there, found nothing. My dad checked it at one point, also found nothing. So we just stopped using it. Now that we're moving, though, we figured we ought to fix it.

We went to ReStore (second-hand building materials and the like, to benefit Habitat for Humanity) and picked up another disposal for $25. My uncle is in town to help us get the house ready, so my husband asked him last night if he knew anything about disposals. Uncle Rich decided to take a look first, make sure it was worth replacing.

There was a baby spoon jamming it. What an inexpensive repair!

I climbed a tree for the first time since Peter was born, I'd guess. There was a rope on one of the branches that I wanted to get down. After shimmying up there, I realized it was out too far for me to grab, so I needed the step ladder anyway. I don't count this as a total waste of time, though. For one, tree climbing is great exercise. Secondly, it sparked Peter's interest in climbing trees!



We've explained to Peter that many many days from now, new people will buy our house and live in it; we'll go live in a new house. He seems to have accepted that and is interested in the process. Last night, he asked, "Mommy, when the new people live in this house, will they have Anne or will they bring their own baby?" :-)

7 Quick Takes hosted at Conversion Diary

Monday, July 22, 2013

Peter Says

While I was buckling Peter into my friend's car, he asked a question that revealed my husband needs to ride shotgun more often: "Mommy, is Becky going to drive or will she sit in the woman's seat?"

Look, Grandma, a train derailment!
That would have been a disaster.
It's already a disaster!

Peter was asking why a visitor had two bottles of shampoo, so I explained that one was conditioner, used by people with long hair to avoid tangles. "Mommy, I think next time Daddy should give you a haircut, so you will have short hair and not need an air conditioner."

Mommy, why are you laughing?
Because you're being silly!
Why am I being silly?
I don't know; why are you being silly?
Because I'm three!

Friday, July 19, 2013

7QT (Vol. 48): How to Get More from Your Lotion

You know what you do when it gets to this point.

You develop all kinds of creative folding techniques, rivaling advanced origami. You know you could get more out if you use two hands, but then the lotion gets on the sink...

Allow me to suggest a more excellent way!



Eventually you've reached as far down as you can with your finger. Don't despair, just do it again, cutting another few inches from the top. It looks really cute at this stage, too. :-)

There you go! An easy way to save money and help the planet a little bit, too.

See more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Room Repurposed

Before: Office / Guest Room / Place for Jeremy's Stuff

After: Montessori-inspired Nursery!

Complete with baby!

Monday, July 15, 2013


One of the gifts I most desire to cultivate is hospitality. God has blessed me beyond any reasonable expectation, a full measure shaken down and overflowing. Sharing those gifts with others in exchange for conversation and cheerful company brings me joy.

This surprises my husband, who knows how strongly introverted I am, how much I crave solitude in my daily life. As I've written before, though, I do like socializing, just in small amounts. Being a hostess gives me time to connect with individuals rather than swirling in the chaos of a party. Welcoming others into my home also means I can easily step out of the social scene as needed to prepare and provide food and drinks.

I try to structure my home so that people feel welcome. I have toys easily accessible for visiting children, books for people of all ages, and board and party games (largely courtesy of my husband) for larger groups. We spent the money on dining room chairs that are comfortable to encourage people to linger over their meals. I try to always have coffee, tea, real lemonade, and some type of snack in the house. We keep a nice set of towels, extra pillows, and assorted toiletries for overnight guests.

Peter got his own double bed at the hotel on our recent vacation!

Today is my husband's birthday, so we had some friends and family over to celebrate. I am quite content, having provided an enjoyable party for my extroverted husband, a playmate for my son (thanks, Mom!), and refreshments and a warm welcome to our guests. Hospitality may not be listed as an official gift of the Spirit, but I think it must be an expression of the love and welcome God always extends to us. I pray that I might always extend that welcome to family, friends, and strangers.

Friday, July 12, 2013

7QT (Vol. 47): Benefits of Moving Out of State

So you all know we're planning to move halfway across the country. I've never lived more than 100 miles from where I live right now, so the prospect of going 7 times that far brings with it many of the feelings you'd expect, both good and bad. But it's also had several unanticipated benefits.

You can get rid of a lot of stuff. Regular readers know that we're already on the minimalist side of the consumer spectrum, but even so, we still have accumulated a large amount of stuff over the years. I've kept a lot of things on basically inertia; it was less effort to just keep it on the shelf than it would be to move it on, so I didn't do anything about it. Looking at everything as though it needs to justify its space in the moving van for the 700 mile trip really puts things into perspective, and it's liberating. I'm sure we'll accumulate some more stuff when we get there, but for me (who at one time bought anything that struck my fancy) the forced opportunity at a fresh start is very exciting.

You can get lots of money for said stuff. Moving is expensive, no doubt. But a surprising number of things have eBay value. $20 for an old MP3 player; $30 for a guitar music songbook; even $80 for an old Shaq poster from when I was a kid. It'll take a bit more effort to sell it rather than just giving it all away, but that'll allow us to make sure that, for the few things we do replace, we can do so with quality stuff that will last forever.

I'm as surprised as you.

You don't have to care as much about minor issues with your current house. We're currently in the middle of having it resided (very necessary before putting it on the market), and we're not thrilled with the color now that we see it on the house. It's not bad, but it's not what we were expecting. If we were planning to stay, I'm sure it'd be disappointing; now, we're just happy we're one step closer to completion (and it's still a MUCH better color than it was).

It gives you an excuse to reconnect with people. I'm sure we all have friendships that've drifted somewhat apart over the years. I don't know what it is about knowing there's soon going to be a geographic barrier to seeing someone regularly that spurs people to rekindle relationships, but I'm glad it's there.

You're never short of topics of conversation. Especially since our reasons for moving aren't on most people's Approved List of Acceptable Reasons to Relocate, we haven't been hurting for small talk. (Except at work. I didn't think that'd be prudent.)

How about the rest of you? Any moving stories that were unexpected?

Obligatory cute grandchild picture :-)

Jeremy needs to get back to getting stuff packed up and doesn't have time to write a bio.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Family Reunion!

Taking a break at a rest area
(yes, we travel with cloth diapers!)

Matching shirts!

Thanks for the glow stick, Uncle Rich

Gamer points if you can identify the joke on his shirt
(It says TIGER five times and has a chest scar)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Worst Haircuts and other Great Photos

They show up on Facebook all the time. Most awkward pregnancy photos, worst tattoo spelling errors, most embarrassing family photos. They are often touted as "Top Twenty" or something else indicating these are the best. I have clicked to see many of them because they're intended to be funny, then felt... less. Less compassionate, less genuine. I have less human dignity.

Some time within the past month, I decided to stop. There are enough upliftinghigh-quality, and funny articles and blog posts out there for me to spend the rest of my life reading them. Why should I settle for what happens to pop up on Facebook when it is inane and often degrading?
Reading ought to be an act of homage to the God of all truth. ... Reading gives God more glory when we get more out of it, when it is a more deeply vital act not only of our intelligence but of our whole personality, absorbed and refreshed in thought, meditation, prayer, or even in the contemplation of God.
from Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton
It's not easy. Curiosity can be a strong motivator. But I believe life can be better than that.

Another story from my newsfeed. Much better.