Saturday, December 22, 2012

today is my favorite day

Anyone who knows me, knows that I live for summer. I love the heat, the sun, the colors, the smells and the activities. So you may be wondering why today, the day after the first day of winter, not the first day of summer is my favorite day.

Winter solstice - According to the farmers almanac, the word solstice comes from the Latin words for "sun" and "to stand still". That's what the sun does this time of year.  The last three days have had the same amount of day light. The sun has stopped falling southward in the sky and is taking a breath before it's long climb back north.

Starting today, the day is one minute longer. It's a long, slow process getting our daylight back. For example, by New Years day we will have only gained four more minutes of day light, but it's four minutes more than we have today!

It's the hope of what's to come that keeps me looking forward and excited about the future. The knowledge that under the dull slumber of nature, there is vibrant life just waiting to come bursting forth. It's interesting to see the comparison of the seasons to how I feel lately and the excitement that I'm feeling for the future, largely due to the the book study I'm involved in right now. I know Ann Voskamp's book won't cure all the spiritual dullness I'm feeling but I see God already using it in my life to bring forth the first sprouts of gratefulness, like those first crocus that peek through the frozen ground in early spring.  I believe I'm heading into a new spring in my life and God calling me to changes always excites me.

So today, the day after the sun stands still, I look forward to the coming spring, the freshness of life both outside and in my heart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

thoughts for today


Outside my window...a very long fall rages on. I don't normally like winter but I desire some winter, instead of these short, cold days of drab brown, that drag on with no end in sight.

I am I'm in a season of growing and changing. I feel that excited, charged air feeling, that is right before an exciting storm in the summer. It thrills me because I always come out a new and better person after such a season.

I am thankful...that my husband listens to the voice of God

In the kitchen...we are still slowly remodeling and I'm still exploring meals that can be from scratch and be healthy for us without blowing the food budget

I am creating... a little bit of everything at once. I need to concentrate on one craft project at a time.

I am reading...One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

I am praying hubby and the project he's working on at work

I am looking forward to...Christmas with both side of our families

I am struggling with...fear and worry....

I am be grateful 

Around the house...there is the joyous mess of Christmas everywhere 

In the classroom...we are not doing me, especially this week. 

I am pondering...the ticking of the clock in my kitchen and how it always reminds me of the ticking away of the minutes of our day. Helps me to focus sometimes and get things done or push it all aside and spend time with the kids. 

A favorite quote for today..."Danger is very real but fear is a choice." from an upcoming movie

One of my favorite things...Classic Christmas songs about Christ

A few plans for the rest of the week: visit this afternoon with family, shopping and cleaning tomorrow and a friend and her kids over on Friday

A piece of my past....

This has been a part of every Christmas for as long as I can remember. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

happy God anniversary

Eight years ago on December 16th, I helped move a couch, it changed my life.
Six years ago I married my best friend.
Last year we re-newed our vows.

When we eloped six years ago we had said "someday" we'll have a wedding. That someday became a reality last year. It was an honor to be married by our Pastor, in our church, for God, with friends and family as witnesses.  This past April, we acknowledged our legal wedding date but today, December 16, we celebrated our very 1st God anniversary.

Someday, I'll get a video put together of all the pictures from this blessed day but for now, here, again, is our wedding video we played as part of our testimony.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

crafty idea

So for me this is an original idea. If anyone else has come up with it already, no stepping on toes intended.  Normally I don't come up with ideas but this was borne out of fighting with chalkboard paint yesterday.  Have you see the site Pintrosity? Yeah, my 1st painted jar could have gone on that site, easy. I posted to facebook for suggestions, got a few good ones, but they didn't work.

Finally I decided to try painting the labels that come with my little mason jars. I won't use them on the jars because what's in them changes all the time, well most of the time they are filled with yogurt.

Anyway, here's how it turned out.  I think it came out pretty good. Better then the jar that I painted directly on. I lost count how many coats I used. I just did it till it looked nice and smooth and the paper didn't peek through anymore.

Please don't except too many brilliant ideas and if it wasn't for a friend suggesting I pin it, I wouldn't have even thought to put it here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

homemade yogurt ***Update***

*** UPDATE*** Here are some links that I've used to create my own method for making yogurt.  

Her's is the closest to what I do, except I do not use the microwave. I had good success with the crockpot but mine has hot spots so until I break down and buy a new one, I heat mine on the stove, very slowly.  She also uses an $80 strainer. I'd LOVE to have this, it's on my wish-list so that maybe someday it will show up in my cupboard for for now, very fine cheese cloth has worked perfectly for me and I just rinse it and throw it in the washer with the towels I use for my bread.

This is the one that I got the crockpot idea from.

What to do with that whey if you strain your yogurt?? I use it in smoothies, in my soups, to boil pasta in, in my breads, and I use it to feed my plants too (cut with water or it will burn your plants) I try to remember to put what I don't use in the freezer for future use.  I don't have a single comprehensive site to refer you to, so if you find some, please add it to the comments. I've just done lots of google searches to find out uses for it.  

Since my last post about being sick I've been looking for ways to try to feel better.  Claritin helps sometimes but it's not fully allergies making me feel so horrible. Now that it's fall and I spend more time inside, I'm really trying to cook more whole foods, oh and do it on a budget. One of the things I was spending a lot of money on was Greek yogurt. More than I am willing to admit! 

I then went on a mission to figure out how to make it. It goes against all I know of dairy to leave milk sitting out all night but I figured I'd give it a try. I ended up taking a combination of a few different sites (will include links later) and have created my own method. 

 I began using the crockpot method but I didn't like making it in the crock since I have hot spots. Turns out, in my experience, that making it on the stove produces a better yogurt.  I heat the milk on the stove over very low heat. To kill the boredom I usually watch a movie on the iPad.  Takes about 30 -45 minutes to heat 2qts to 180 degrees. Don't scorch milk or let it boil.  Then cool to around 105-110 and stir in 2 teaspoons of yogurt. I use a little of the last batch or you can use plain store bought yogurt as starter.  Wrap the whole thing up in a towel and put in an oven overnight. I give it about 12 hours. Leave the oven light on so the environment stays around 100 degrees. Then check it in AM and if it's thick, its done. (hope to add some pictures next time I make it) I strain mine through a strainer lined with very fine cheesecloth. Eventually I will get a chinois but the cost is preventing me for now. After I strain the yogurt for 30 minutes or so I put it in a large bowl, whip it with a whisk till nice and smooth and refrigerate it. My hubby won't eat it till it's cooled down but I actually like before it's cooled down. Try all sorts of different toppings. I have found that I can eat the homemade yogurt even plain, which I used to hate. My favorite is with some raw honey. 

 I like to save the whey and use it in my bread. Soon I'll also try to make ricotta cheese from the whey.