Monday, November 21, 2011

A Few Different Continental Knitting Techniques

This Post has been moved to my new Knitting Blog, which can be found Here!

Tubular Bind Off Technique

I have been knitting a lot lately, and knitting several projects that are in the round. My friend Carrie shared this a few days ago on her FB, and I am posting it here for my reference.

This video is a good tutorial on how to bind off in a ribbing pattern in a circular project. The quality is not the greatest, but Mt. Mom put in a lot of time and effort, and the information is valuable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post Workout Ponderings

I am very fortunate to be a member of CrossFit Tulsa. I am really VERY fortunate because my hubby, Mr. Strong, is a trainer there.

This video was recently put together by one of the other trainers, that give a brief glimpse into what a normal workout class looks like. No I'm not in this video..... I avoid cameras at almost any cost. :)

I was given a compliment yesterday. Some one told me I was strong. But I certainly don't feel strong.....

I can tell I am making some improvements, and I even got my VERY FIRST DOUBLE UNDER tonight during group class. But I still don't feel very strong compared to other women in the class.

Now you have to understand. Looking from the outside I'm not strong. I'm not fit. I am still 40lbs overweight, and I am barely better off strength wise than I was a year ago, or 4 years ago. (It's not a failure due to the workouts or any of the coaches. The failure is mine due to my lack of commitment and consistency.)

(Please be kind as you read my attempt to explain, since it is late, way past this momma's bedtime, and I'm barely functioning. But I had to write what I was thinking now before I lost the nerve to do so.)

So being told I was strong was a huge surprise to me. And when I asked them in what way they thought I'm strong, their answer surprised me even more.

They responded, that I am strong because they know how self conscious I am, and how embarrassed of my self I am. But yet they've seen that I've been able to force myself to come anyway, and give every workout I'm here for my all.

This really got me to thinking.

Yes it is true that I am extremely self conscious of how I look, of how unfit I still am.

I am extremely embarrassed of my size, and am afraid that I would be an embarrassment to my husband. After all, he's a Physical Therapist Assistant and a CF trainer. I really have no excuse, having the resources I have here at home, or the access to the CF Tulsa box that I have, or the knowledge I have, to still be in the shape I'm in.

I am self conscious because I can't fit into the "cute workout clothes", and what I do have isn't very flattering at all.

I am self conscious because I am aware of how many times I have started working out, determined to be consistent, but yet something in life gets in the way and I don't stick with it.

And the list of why I am self conscious can go on and on.

Up to this point, I have timidly listened to my self consciousness, and have been afraid of my embarrassment. I cared way to much about what others may think about me, or say about me, keep me from stepping out and doing what is better for me. I have let fear keep me from making another step, or another effort, to reach the goals that I have. I have let my self consciousness, and fear of embarrassment, keep me from doing anything about what I am self conscious or embarrassed about.

But no longer.

I don't know exactly when. But I've decided that I'm no longer going to let those things keep me from working out.

Yes, I am still self conscious. Yes, I'm still embarrassed about how big I am. Yes I still have little nagging thoughts of doubt about being able to stick to it. But I've made a conscious decision that I'm not going to any longer let those things paralyse me from making progress.

But thinking about what this person said, made me realize, yes I am strong. I may not be strong on the outside. But when I made that decision, I have begun to be strong on the inside.

And I know there are others out there who are like me. Who up to this point have let fear or self consciousness, or little doubts stop you from doing something positive to better yourself and your life.

And if you are one of those, and you somehow stumble onto this little blog, I just want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to stand up for yourself on the inside.

Tell yourself that no longer will you let fear of embarrassment stop you from taking another step. Tell yourself that no longer will you let your self consciousness paralyse you into inactivity. Tell yourself you no longer care what others may think or say.

And honestly, it's none of your business what others think of you. Your business is only what God thinks of you.

Take that next step you need to take to better health and fitness.

Yes, you most likely will have the self consciousness, the little doubts. But the more times you take that next step, you will find that those fears and doubts are unfounded like I have, and the easier you will overcome bigger fears and doubts.

You will find a hidden strength deep within yourself.

And you will become strong in your inner-self long before it is revealed in your outer-self.

Monday, March 14, 2011

McLinky Monday - My Favorite Things


This week on RHOK - McLinky Monday, Mrs. Albright shared the things she treasured the most, and asked us to do the same.

I love sharing things that mean the most to me. I am aware that others may look at these things and not think they have much value....

We are determined to be debt free in the next 4 years, so we live in a very small home, and have a minimal lifestyle. We don't have much that is considered worth much monetarily. I have very few heirlooms passed on to my from relatives. Most of what we own, we own because it is practical. But I love my home, my life, and I feel I am richly blessed.

To me these things are my greatest treasures.

At the top of my most treasured list is my hubby. But Mr. Strong Man detests pictures... and I wasn't able to sneak a photo of him.

Next on my list are our 3 beautiful girls, Little Miss Helpful, Little Miss Sunshine, and Little Miss Daredevil. Here they are this morning cuddling on the couch right after they woke up.

These are the silk flowers I carried in my wedding bouquet and our unity candle. The unity candle is a glass oil lamp that was custom etched for our marriage ceremony. They hang on the wall over our dressers.

I love collecting knitting needles. I rarely use these, but they sit in a vase on a corner of my craft cabinet. I love the kiddie knitting needles with the cheerful faces! They are so fun and I smile every time I see them!

This is our piano that was given to us by a dear friend. It was used by her daughters when they were growing, and she passed it on to us. On top of the piano sits the family bible, my favorite lamp, and some pictures.

The pictures are reproductions of paintings by my favorite artist, Mary Cassatt. (I got them recently at a yard sale and I'm waiting patiently for Mr. Strong Man to put wall anchors up so I can hang them).

I love tea cups, and this is my small collection. I like to have afternoon tea when we are home, and my girls love using their own little dainty tea cups. Even the most boisterous tom boys (like mine) can appreciate a little elegance. :)

I have 1 tea cup that was a part of my husband's grandmother's china set, and is the only piece that has survived all these years. Hanging on the bakers rack you can see my aprons. I have 1 everyday apron for me, 1 apron for my daughter, and 3 handmade 1/2 aprons made by an old friend.

This is my knitting basket where I keep my current knitting projects. I am currently working on a Candle Flame Shawl, a Feather and Fan Scarf for Little Miss Sunshine, a Diamond Lace Scarf for me, and a Lacy Leafy Baby Afghan.

This is the Candle Flame Shawl I have been working on for several years. It is about 3/4 completed, and will be a gift to hubby's Granny when it is done.

This is the baby keepsake box. I have kept a few infant outfits that all three of my girls have worn. What you see here are the keepsake baby blankets.

The quilt was hand made by a friend for my oldest daughter, and has covered all 3 of my girls. The afghan on the lower left is a crocheted Granny Square Baby Afghan that I discovered at a thrift store. The two on the lower right and the one on the upper right were crocheted for the three girls by Granny. But my favorite is the yellow afghan in the center.

This was the afghan knit by Granny for Mr. Strong Man when he was an infant. I have the same pattern that she used for this afghan, and will be making one for each of my girls. Hopefully some day I will make one for each of my grand children.

I had a lot of fun sharing my treasures with you! Each and every one of these items has a dear place in my home and my heart.

Now it is your turn to share your treasures with us. Write about your favorite things on your blog, and link up with RHOK on the original McLinky Monday post.



You Are My God

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Planting of the Season

Oh it's finally here! The glorious day I dug holes and filled them with lovely things with roots!

I love each and every season, but the drabness of winter got old, quick.

This year we did have a lovely snow storm, and the snow was absolutely beautiful for a few days. Unfortunately, it did not last long.

The snow became dirty from sand or mud, and the beauty was tarnished. The snow melted, uncovering dull yards and dreary fields of brown grass. The countryside was full of sleeping trees and colorless landscapes.

During the cold winter, my main hobby is knitting or crocheting. The yarn satisfies my need for color, and it's therapeutic to me because wool feels wonderful to work with. But I also spend time perusing seed catalogs, thinking of what I want most to plant in my small garden plot, and itching to dig in some dirt.

Thankfully we did have warm spells with lots of sunshine before the biggest snow storm. I took advantage of these days and recruited hubby to turn compost into the soil. I didn't dare plant anything yet because I hadn't yet made a cold frame to help the soil warm early.

But now the natural world is starting to wake up. Pear trees are adorned with an abundance of white blooms. Red Clover is dotting the hillsides with splashes of color. Tulips are beginning to push through the crust of earth. And Daffodils are brightening spring flower plots with color of sunshine.

The spring I have been craving for is finally here!

Today I bought new Strawberry plants, onion sets, and garlic. I also bought seeds for flowers and some vegetables. I spent this afternoon happily turning the soil one more time, dividing up one plot, and planting. And when the rain showers began, I came inside to plant veggie seeds for seedlings.

It was a wonderful day when my dreaming, wishing, and planning could be put into action. Now I am looking forward to planting more, and reaping the rewards in the late Spring and Summer!

What do you look forward to with the coming Spring weather?

New Strawberry Plants

Companion planting onions among strawberries

Starting Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Seedlings

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diamond Lace Scarf Cast On

Photo1513 by jdcadc
Photo1513 a photo by jdcadc on Flickr.

This evening I cast on to begin the Diamond Lace Scarf, or the Short Row Lace Shawl designed by Iris Schreier. I am using ArtYarns Cottonspring H15 (Pink Pearl Twist) and H5 (Plum Twist). I purchased both colrways of this yarn online at

This yarn is a DK weight yarn, and is thinner than what I am used to. It will take some time to get the right tension for working with this yarn.

I am using size 8 Denise Knitting needles.

This pattern is free with the purchase of any ArtYarns yarn. The first part of the pattern may be found at

Part 1 Complete 03/08/11

McLinky Spring Clean Challenge


This week the RHOK rolled out a spring cleaning challenge, a before and after challenge.

Yes I know the button says McLinky MONDAY, but I was a little busy yesterday. No I wasn't doing stereotypical housewifey activities like watching soap operas. I was occupied with wonderful housewifey activities like cleaning up potty accidents, spilled milk, running errands, and then taking our SUV in for repairs.

So I'm sorry. I apologize. I just didn't have time to get it done on time.

Apology accepted? Great!

Now back to the challenge.

RHOK challenged us to tackle one messy area of our home for spring cleaning. For this challenge I took on underneath the bathroom sink. This is one small space that I constantly battle with it being messy and cluttered.

This picture is my after picture.

My before picture has been withheld to protect the innocent.... and because I feel too vulnerable showing you my dusty plumbing. I'm just not ready to be that vulnerable.

Just trust me, it was bad.

We are a family of 5, in a tiny home, with 1 very tiny bathroom. (1 husband + 1 wife + 3 daughters + 1 tiny bathroom = my husband needs some sympathy.) The one tiny bathroom only has 1 tiny under sink cabinet for additional storage.

I am not really a girly lady. But my daughters are trending towards girly girl things. That equals a lot of hair accessories. Add that to normal, everyday bathroom items, and bathroom storage gets really crowded, quickly cluttered, and extremely disorganized.

It is really hard to stay on top of keeping it together because usually we are in a hurry and just toss items back in underneath and shut the door.

To contain all the hair accessories, I freed up several school supply containers by purging old crayons and craft supplies we rarely use.

I labeled each container for each type of hair accessory, such as "Hair Bands", "Clips and Bobby Pins", "Scrunchies" etc.

I got a medium size white bin for the extra bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and hair products. And I used small/medium office drawer organizers to hold soap, extra toothpaste and toothbrushes.

To organize the hair dryers, curling irons, and clippers, I glued a 1x4 to the inside of the cabinet and nailed in nails to hang them from.

It honestly didn't take that long to do. The part that took the most time was sorting out all the hair accessories and placing them in their own box.

Now when we are fixing hair, we can just take out one box with exactly what we need, instead of a huge bin with everything mixed in. It will be a lot easier to keep it neat and tidy!

This is my first spring cleaning challenge. What's yours?



Monday, March 7, 2011

Emily Ocker's Cast On

Today was a busy, busy day full of home schooling, errands, and visiting the library. I didn't have much time to sit down and do what I love the most, knitting. But I was able to squeeze in just enough time to make a few stitches.

I a started a new blanket to replace a previous one I was not able to finish.

I began a baby blanket 2 weeks after Little Miss Daredevil was born. I have been working on it off and on for the past 3 years, but I underestimated the amount of yarn I needed. So I obviously ran out of yarn, and sadly discovered the yarn I was using had been discontinued.

There is nothing more frustrating than spending countless hours on a project only to be able to not finish it because you ran out of yarn. So this time I bought double the amount of yarn I think I will need.

The pattern I am using uses a circular beginning, more specifically the "Emily Ocker's Circular Beginning" as described in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters Almanac.

This beginning is a little tricky to get the hang of. But once you do it a few times, it really is easy, and the simplest way to start any knitting project that requires a circular beginning.

Below is one of the best tutorials of this beginning I could find. Thank God for YouTube!

And the shawl that she shows in the beginning of the video is absolutely beautiful. After doing some Google Searching, I do believe the shawl is knit from the Feather and Fan Shawl in Meg Swansen's Gathering of Lace. It is very similar to the shawl featured in this Blog post here on The Rainey Sisters

Do you have a craft or hobby you love? Do you have any projects in the works? Share them with me! Leave a comment with a small blurb, or post it on your blog and leave a link in comments below!



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Featured Finished Project - Another Dishcloth

Photo1474 by jdcadc
Photo1474 a photo by jdcadc on Flickr.

I love knitting, and lately I have been knitting a lot of dishcloths because they are small (so I can take them with me easily) and quick (for quick satisfaction!)

To appease my knitting addiction, I joined the Monthly Dishcloth Knit-Along yahoo group.

This dishcloth was knit from the KAL February 2011 Mid Month pattern, and is called "Weave Me, Wash Me" by Alli Barrett.

I LOVE how this cloth turned out. This picture does not do well to show the finished pattern. but it is a type of basket weave coupled with a seed stitch. The resulting clothed turned out a nice, generous size. I can't wait to knit a few more.

Normally all of the Knit-Along patterns are archived in the Yahoo Group Files. But Alli Graciously shared a pattern that she sells for profit, so it is not posted in the archve files.

If you like this dishcloth, you can knit one for yourself by purchasing the pattern here . It is well worth it!

You can also see all my other projects, completed and in-progress, at my Ravelry projects page.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home Made Laundry Soap - Part Deux

I have been making my own home made laundry soap for some time, and I love it. It saves us so much money when compared to store bought laundry soap, and I believe it cleans just as well as the leading brands. Plus I know what is in my laundry soap and don't have to worry about chemicals that might irritate mine and my daughters' sensitive skin.

I know there are LOTS of websites and Blogs about how to make laundry soap. In fact I already have one from way back when. But I have a few friends who have asked me to show them how I make it. I don't have time to show each of them individually (I wish I did girls! Sorry), and since I tweaked my recipe some what I thought I would make another post "how to make it" now.

Home made laundry soap does not take a lot of ingredients. Simply Borax, Washing Soda, bar soap, and water.

There are 3 different types I use, depending on what I have on hand, or which store I happen to be shopping at when I need to pick up ingredients for laundry soap. I buy the Fels-Naptha and the Kirk's Castile soap at Reasor's. I buy the Zote bar soap at Warehouse Market or Latin American grocery stores.

I've shown all 3 of them below.

My recipe is:

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda (not Baking Soda, there is a difference)
1/3 bar of soap.

Here I am using 1/6 of a bar of Zote Soap, and 1/6 of a bar of Fels-Naptha. This is the combination I like the best. But if you only have 1 bar of soap, use 1/3 of a bar.

You will also need a medium-large pot, a plastic spoon, and a 2 gallon bucket with a lid.

If you have an old pot you can keep around for just making soap, that would be best. Do NOT use a cast iron pot you normally use. My experience tells me if you use cast iron, you will be tasting soap in whatever you cook for quite a while.

Use a food processor to grate your soap, or hand grate your soap, as fine as you can grate it. Place the grated soap into the pot.

Fill a tea kettle with water, and heat to boiling. Pour it into the pot. I pour it over the hand grater to melt any soap that may be stuck on the grater. (Yes I have a spotted cow tea kettle, and I love it!)

Place the pot on the stove top over medium-low heat, warm and stir frequently until all the soap is dissolved.

While the soap is on the stove top, measure the 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda into your bucket.

When the bar soap is dissolved in the water, pour the mixture into the bucket, and stir well to thoroughly mix the soap, water, and dry ingredients. It will look like a runny "Icee" mixture, and frothy on top. Stir until the dry ingredients are completely dissolved.

Refill your pot with more HOT water. I refill the tea kettle and boil more water. Pour it back into the empty pot to rinse the pot of any residual soap. Pour it into the bucket. Add more hot water if needed to fill the bucket. At this point you can add any essential oils for fragrance. I like to add 5-10 drops of Tea Tree Oil.

This is what it looks like in its liquid state. You can use it immediately if you need to do laundry right away. If you don't get all of the soap completely dissolved, don't worry. A few pieces floating won't hurt it.

Set it in a place where it can sit safely away from your littles. Stir it occasionally as it cools. It will slowly transform from a liquid to a gel, to almost solid. Keep stirring it to make sure the soap is evenly distributed through the mixture.

I use 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per wash load, depending on the size of the load and how dirty it is. For fabric softener, I use 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. My clothes come out clean and soft.

Do you make your own laundry soap? Or do you make your own home made cleaners? Share in the comments below, or share it on your blog and leave your link in comments!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shawn McDonald - Open Me

Your Heart Matters... But Don't Forget Your Appearance!

This morning I woke up with Proverbs 31:30 in my thoughts.

It simply states,

"Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not
lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the
Lord, she shall be praised!"

Proverbs 31:30 Amplified

This verse speaks volumes of wisdom when determining what traits we want to model, and what we want to instill into our daughters.

Above charm, grace, and beauty, we should be reverently and worshipfully fearing (in other words respecting to the utmost) the Lord our God. This is the trait with the highest importance.

But it is not the only trait that is important. Charm, grace, and beauty does have some importance. But if they are not exhibited by a woman with a right heart, they will be deceptive and vain.

Deceptive because charm will simply cover a heart that seeks its own pleasure. Vain because physical beauty is only fleeting and temporary, and as it is well said "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

True beauty starts at the heart, The inner core of a woman's being. The more a woman worships and love God, the more His Spirit will have His work on the inside of her, and the more evident it will be with the fruit of the Spirit.

Yes the heart of a woman matters the most. However, I have used it as an excuse for far too long to neglect my physical appearance.

I used to think, "God looks at the heart, so what does it matter what man sees".

But it does matter, and it matters the most to our husbands.

Godly men do tend to be a tad bit "deeper" and care about a woman's heart. But they sure do appreciate a woman who has a beautiful heart and a beautiful body. And no, it is not being shallow. God created men to be visually stimulated.

Do you think that when God created the first woman, Eve, he created a person who was not beautiful? I honestly like to think she was named Woman, because when Adam first looked at her, he exclaimed "Whoa!! Man!" Eve was the first woman, and she was hot!

There was some point in our relationship I know my Mr. Strong looked at me and exclaimed the same, "Whoa!! Man!" It was my appearance that attracted my husband to me, before he knew my heart.

I want to do what I can to nurture the femininity, the allure, and the mystery that I possessed at the start of our relationship. I want to take little steps to be attractive for him and none other, because he is the most important man in my life.

I started a few months ago when I got a more stylish hair cut and started working out consistently. My next step is to slowly makeover my wardrobe (including new night-wear), and start to wear make up again. I've also had some fun sending Mr. Strong flirty pictures via text.

Do you still possess a little bit of allure for your husband? Or do you need to need to revive a little bit of the mystery that first attracted your husband to you? What steps can you, or are you taking, to nurture your femininity at the moment in the season of life you are in?

Share below, or post in your own blog post and share the link in the comments!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fitting in the crazy quilt of life

Haven't you ever noticed that getting a group of women together is like assembling a crazy quilt? We each have different shapes, sizes, colors, talents, and personalities.

Individually a woman may not have a magnetic personality, or seem attractive to others. Or a woman may have attributes that make her stand out and shine in a crowd. But when you assemble these women together, just as a quilt-maker assembles snippets and pieces of fabric, you get a beautiful mosaic that creates a picture of beauty.

It takes a master quilt maker to truly create something with beauty from so many little pieces that are little more than scraps.

Just the same it takes a Master Creator to assemble together women together as part of the body of Christ. When we each take our designed place, we contribute to a work that is more beautiful and more influential than anything we could do on our own.

But far too often women don't take their place for one reason or another.

I, for the longest time, wasn't truly where God wanted me to be because I felt inferior and insignificant. I would see all the women around me who had great talents and abilities, or who appeared to have it all together. I idolized them and I wanted to be just like them. I tried to be just like them, but it didn't work because I was not created to be them. God created me to be me.

I finally found where God designed me to fit in, when I truly accepted myself and who God created me to be.

We as women should not idolize other women because we feel that we are inferior. We should not feel that we have to be like some one else. We should be ourselves and love who God created us to be.

And realize, no matter how plain and ordinary we feel we are, we really are beautiful because of what we add to the bigger masterpiece where we belong.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Woman, Nourish Yourself

Today is a busy, busy day for me. Our Saturday was filled with me running in the 10K, and then Mr. Strong fixing my sister's brakes. So today is catch up day on normal weekend cleaning and cooking.

Because I'm running around so much today, I thought I would repost a post from last year on my workout log.

But first, it is Menu Plan Monday!!

I am really tight on time this week, and I will be using the menu provided courtesy of of Money Saving Queen and Mommy Hates Cooking. This week's menu features a recipe for Baked Chicken Spaghetti! Yummo!

Check out Menu Plan Monday at Money Saving Queen for a dinner menu, complete with recipes and matching coupons as a bonus!

Woman, Nourish Yourself!

One of the most important aspects of taking care of yourself is making sure you eat right, or for starters make sure you eat at all.

We women fill many roles in life. And we keep ourselves so busy within these roles that we neglect ourselves, especially when it comes to eating for lunch or dinner.

In my personal experience, the largest role I fill is that of housewife and mom. As a mom I am normally so busy helping with school work, trying to keep up with laundry, chasing a toddler, continually filling the dishwasher, errands, volunteer work, school meetings, (notice I didn't say actually cleaning my house), etc.... that it's common for me to look up at the clock to realize it's already late afternoon, and my stomach is telling me it needs some attention! And not only my stomach, my brain is also a bit fuzzy because it too is in need of some fuel.

I make sure my kids get a decent lunch, but often neglect to stop and sit myself down to eat.

Whatever role you are filling today, there's a very good chance that you have neglected yourself once again by not eating a decent lunch. And most likely you'll have a not so good dinner.

Maybe your role is as an office worker, compelled to stay at your desk by a large pile of files in your inbox. Or your role is in the medical profession, kept busy by the constant demands of patients and their lack of time management. Or your role is caretaker, caring for a sick or elderly relative, and constantly putting their needs before your own.

Woman, you need to take care of yourself. You need to make sure you get a break in the day and eat some lunch.

No, a can of slim fast is not going to cut it. And no, a soda and a corn dog from the convenience store isn't going to cut it either.

Eating a good lunch or dinner will help make sure you have the fuel your body needs to make the necessary energy for the rest of the day. Without it, you most likely can't give he best you can give to whatever you are doing.

If you don't love yourself enough to take care of yourself, how can you truly love others in your life?

A good nutritious lunch doesn't have to be complicated. But it helps if you do a little planning and a little prep work ahead of time. This way you're not hitting your lunch break on Wednesday, wondering what you're going to eat, and end up grabbing something from the snack machine because it's close at hand.

For example...

A quick mid week salad is easy to toss together if you take a few minutes to wash, dice, and slice a variety of veggies early in the week.

Cook a whole turkey for dinner (or buy deli meat) and portion the leftover meat into zip lock baggies for a quick grab protein (freeze what you can't use within a few days, and just grab baggies out of the freezer as needed).

Hard boil a dozen or two eggs for snacks throughout the week. Steam and mash several pounds of sweet potatoes for an easy lunch heat and eat side dish .

A good nutritious lunch doesn't have to be complicated.

Taking just a little time to take care of yourself in this way will go a long way in your effort to help others in your life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Child's Prayer

God make my life a little light,
Within the world to glow,--
A tiny flame that burneth bright,
Wherever I may go.

God make my life a little flower,
That giveth joy to all;--
Content to bloom in native bower
Although its place be small.

God make my life a little song,
That comforteth the sad;
That helpeth others to be strong,
And makes the singer glad.

God make my life a little staff
Whereon the weak may rest,--
That so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbor best.

God make my life a little hymn
Of tenderness and praise,--
Of faith, that never waxeth dim,
In all His wondrous ways.

Matilda B. Edwards

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Pot Roast - Two Meals

As many of you noticed, the cost of food has gone way up. Way, way up. As the money keeper and cook of the family, I have to use a little ingenuity to make the food budget stretch farther.

I shop sales, and I do use coupons when I find coupons for the products I use. But the food budget is still really tight. Whatever I can do to make meals go farther, I do.

A roast is one of the easiest ways to make a meal that can actually stretch to two meals.

Whenever I make a chicken or beef pot roast, I add all the veggies I can fit in the pot. Veggies such as potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic, peas, etc. Then I add my spices and herbs, maybe a can of diced tomatoes, and let it slow roast for an easy meal that day.

Whatever meat and veggies are not eaten in the evening can be placed in freezer containers or baggies with the juice from the pot to freeze for a quick stew later. If you have a larger family, and not very many veggies left over, simply keep a gallon freezer bag in the freezer to add any leftover veggies to. Every time you have a roast, add whatever leftover veggies you have to the baggie. When the baggie is full, you have enough to make a yummy stew. Be sure to add any meat bones you may have as well.

For stew, simply toss the frozen veggies in a pot, or the crock pot. Add some beef/chicken broth, water, a can of diced tomatoes, 3/4 cup of barley or rice, and your favorite herbs. Let simmer for several hours.

Serve with home made Feather Bread, a salad, and tea.

Do you have any tips you can share to help others stay with their food budget? Share them in comments below, or post them on YOUR blog and leave a link below in comments.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sourdough Bread - A new start!

One of my favorite breads to make is Sourdough Bread. I love sourdough bread for the taste and texture. Some time back I showed you how I made my Sourdough bread.

I've decided to restart a new sourdough starter this week. The last starter I had fizzled out after a few months for some reason. I will blame it on the Oklahoma humidity, and not on my lack of culinary skills.

When you have a sourdough starter, you have a pet of sorts. It is really fun to watch the sourdough starter begin from simple rye flour and transform into a bubbly mixture. To me its a calmer form of a pet that does tricks.

The recipe I use is from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. It is also the same Recipe in Above Rubies Magazine Issue #76, by Serene Allison.

All Sourdough Starters are started basically the same way.

First you sterilize a jar or a bowl. I bring water to a boil in a tea kettle, and then pour some into the bowl or jar and let the steam sterilize the inside. Let it cool to the touch and pour out the water.

In your bowl or jar, add:
1 cup flour
1 cup of filtered water

Rye flour is the best flour to make your starter with. Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth, or another breathable cloth.

In my last post I told you to use Honey, but I have since learned honey is not necessary, and it can actually lead to the failure of your starter.

Every day for 6 more days, sterilize a new jar or container. Pour your starter into the new container, and add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. The changing of the containers helps to ensure you are letting the starter catch the wild yeasts in the air, and it discourages bad bacteria.

As the days go on, you will need a larger container. I use 1 gallon plastic pitchers, or 1 gallon glass pickle jars. Do not use a metal container, because the metal will kill your yeast.

After a few days you should see your starter begin to bubble, and it might have a slight alcohol smell. At the end of the 7 days, it will be really nice and spongy, and have a sweet/sour smell.

Use your starter to make sourdough bread (see the recipe and link to the video by Serene on the original post), but leave 1-2 cups in reserve to continue growing starter.

Feed your starter 1 cup flour and 1 cup water every day, stirring it around. Give it a new home once a week by switching it to a clean container. And keep covered with cheesecloth or another material.

Here is what my new starter looks like after only 2 days.

Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 02/14 - 02/19

Here's our menu for this week in the Childress household.

Are you on a really tight budget and looking for a yummy meal plan? Check out Menu Plan Monday at Money Saving Queen for a dinner menu, complete with recipes and matching coupons as a bonus! Courtesy of Money Saving Queen and Mommy Hates Cooking.

Now back to our menu.....

Monday: Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, cheese, fruit
Lunch - Tuna and spinach wraps, carrot sticks
Dinner - Spaghetti - Making a double batch of sauce to freeze

Tuesday: Breakfast - Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal, blueberries and strawberries, milk
Lunch - Toasted Cheese Quesadilas, celery sticks, peanut butter
Dinner - Chicken and Wild Rice casserole

Wednesday: Breakfast - Mushroom, spinach and onion omelet
Lunch - Peanut Butter and honey roll ups, cheese cubes, berries
Dinner - Crock Pot Roast and Potatoes

Thursday: Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Sandwhiches, peas
Dinner - Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Pastry Dough, making a double batch to freeze.

Friday: Breakfast - Yoghurt and fruit parfaits, baked oatmeal
Lunch - Grilled Chicken and Spinach salad, orange slices
Dinner - Slow Cooker Chili via Mommy Hates Cooking

Weekly items to be making today:

Feather Bread - Via
Baked Oatmeal - Via
Carrot and Celery sticks
hard boiled eggs
Black Bean Salsa

We're out of laundry soap, so I will be making laundry soap today as well.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Day Crafts - Hand Made Cards

Valentines Day is only a few days away.

I am not the best at keeping up with holidays or mailing cards, so any holiday requiring a gift or card usually leaves me scrambling to get something suitable mailed to relatives. And I admit, there have been many years my in-laws didn't get a Valentine's card from my littles.

But this year we are ahead and got the cards crafted and mailed early....

This great Valentines Day Craft idea, thanks to Mom Life Today, gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with a cute card that we all could do together, and I already had most of the materials, so it was pretty inexpensive as well.

The basic materials are simply construction paper, decorative tissue paper, plain tissue paper, scissors, makers, and glue.

All Nice and Neat Before Pic

Following the instructions in the Mom Life post I cut out roughly circular shapes of 6 sizes. I cut each circle out the layered tissue paper to make multiples of each size, and alternated cutting sizes from the plain tissue paper and the printed tissue paper. I also cut out hearts from different colors of construction paper.

Next each of the kids trace both of their hands, and cut out the hand traces (with help of course).

Each of the kids picked what color they wanted their card to be, and we folded the construction paper in half width wise. On the front we created the tissue rose by glueing each of the circles in layers, starting from biggest to smallest circle.

Then glued the "hands" on the inside, with a heart in each hand.

These are my hands
They bring you my love
Hug them
and hold them close

I Love You

My 11yo designed her own card.

The finished results
A beautiful bouquet of roses
.... and the aftermath of paper-scraps.

Disclaimer - This big beautiful house, and all the kids in the pics are not mine. My friend graciously let me "borrow" her home and her kids to do this craft with, while they are out of town. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Running a great race in life is simply this: it is being who God created you to be and doing all all that God created you to do.". Christine Caine

Friday, January 14, 2011

CrossFit Tulsa WOD

21 reps 45lb SLDL(single leg dead lift)
21 reps knees to elbow
21 reps Double Unders

Sub knee raises for Knees to Elbows
Sub 63 single jump ropes for Double Unders


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Normal WOD Rest Day


3 x 7 Minutes interval run.
Run 7 minutes
Rest 3 minutes

900 Meters each 7 minutes interval
I wasn't able to run a fast pace, but I was able to jog most of each 7 minute interval, and hold a steady pace.
Slow improvement!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 01/10-01/16/2011

Here's our menu for this week in the Childress household.

Are you on a really tight budget and looking for a yummy meal plan? Check out this Menu Plan Monday with a dinner menu, complete with recipes and matching coupons as a bonus! Courtesy of Money Saving Queen and Mommy Hates Cooking.

Now back to our menu.....

Monday: Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, cheese, fruit
Lunch - Tuna and spinach wraps, carrot sticks
Dinner - Green Chili Enchiladas. Making a double batch to freeze.

Tuesday: Breakfast - Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal, blueberries and strawberries, milk
Lunch - Toasted Cheese Quesadilas, celery sticks, peanut butter
Dinner - Chicken and steak fajitas, black bean salsa, home made tortillas

Wednesday: Breakfast - Spinach crepes
Lunch - Peanut Butter and honey roll ups, cheese cubes, berries
Dinner - Crock Pot Roast and Potatoes

Thursday: Breakfast - Mushroom and onion omelette
Lunch - Oatmeal Steaks, peas
Dinner - Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Pastry Dough, making a double batch to freeze.

Friday: Breakfast - Yoghurt and fruit parfaits, baked oatmeal
Lunch - Grilled Chicken and Spinach salad, orange slices
Dinner - Spaghetti, making a double batch of spaghetti sauce to freeze.

Weekly items to be making today:
Cinnamon Rolls
Feather Bread
Baked Oatmeal
Carrot and Celery sticks
hard boiled eggs
Black Bean Salsa

We're out of laundry soap, so I will be making laundry soap today as well.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

1 mile run

jogged most of it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Walk/ Jog in neighborhood

2.4 miles.

Mapped out the actual loop for a .5 mile loop
7 rounds
10 wall balls
10 dips

15 lb wall ball
parallette dips