Monday, December 15, 2008


...They're what I got after reading this poem. It was printed on the front page of the church bulletin yesterday.  It references my favorite, favorite verses of the whole Bible. 

"Who on earth saw him first, knowing 
truly who he was? Belly to belly, when
John, prophet in utero, distinguished 
in the natal soup the fetal bones, the body
curled like a comma, eyes tight, skull
packed with universal wisdom,
this unborn cousin began to dance.

And when she, birth-giver-
her ordinary vision arrowing down between
her legs through pain and straw to her son's dark,
slime-streaked hair, to his very skin, red with
the struggle of being born-she lifted him
to her breast, kissed the face of God,
and felt her own heart leap." -- Lucy Shaw

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday.

So we're obsessed with Twilight. My shirt says "Team Edward," hers says "I (heart) Edward...he's dazzling." 

Cheesemaking Woes.

So all week I was planning on updating with a blog attesting to my prowess in the kitchen- namely, pictures showing me making homemade cheese. However, despite following the directions in my New England Cheese 30-Minute Mozzarella Kit to the tee, TWICE, no luck. I keep ending up with soft, small curd rather than the larger, firm curd needed to finish the recipe. After much debate and consultation of the "cheese techs," I've determined that the problem is the milk. Therefore, this weekend I will be attempting the third batch of mozz and the first of fromage blanc, utilizing raw milk from a dairy nearby. Of course, I will make sure everyone who consumes the cheese understands that raw milk was used, and that only adults (no children/people with weakened immune systems) eat it, just to be safe. Has anyone else dabbled in home cheese-making? What were your results?

Here's hoping to being able to bring homemade cheese to the wine-and-cheese-party this weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just for fun!

After all the tough "green" challenges (thanks, Crunchy!), how about something more fun? This one is free, doesn't create waste, and has a slew of benefits to boot! I bet you could even lower the thermostat....

Check it out here, via Blissfully Domestic. 

Other people are getting ready for Christmas- I'm prepping for spring!

That's right.

I love spring.

Spring to me means starting my garden: pouring over catalogues, trying to decide what I want to try this year, reading over my notes of what didn't work last time, and finally planting.  I get so much satisfaction from watching my tiny seeds sprout into little plants, then growing until, finally, I can eat them fresh and even preserve them to enjoy later.  

We're lucky to be far enough South now that I can start pretty early. Once the seeds sprout, it'll be 2-3 months before many of them are big enough to plant outside. That means that if I want to start moving some plants outside in April, I need to be getting a move on in the January/February time frame. Throw in a busy holiday season and time spent ordering and shipping, and you'll see why I'm already picking out veggies. 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an amazing book by Barbara Kingsolver. You can see her webpage here- it's full of helpful information and delicious recipes. Barbara has inspired me to try heirloom plants this year- plants that were grown in the past, but are not commonly found today, often because commercial operations don't grow them.  I think they're cool because of the huge variety available- tomatoes alone come in colors from black to yellow and pink, and the tastes vary widely as well. It's also neat to think that some are the same vegetables that were enjoyed by people long ago. Heirloom Acres Seeds is one source I've found with a good selection of both seeds and plants. 

I'm particularly excited about the tomatoes and the asparagus crowns. Anyone who's ever grown tomatoes knows that once you eat a home-grown one, you can never settle for a store-bought one again. A little tip: if you plant cherry (or grape, or any other smallish-variety) of tomatoes in large pots, you can start moving them outside to get sun early in the year. If a cold snap is imminent, it's very easy to move them inside for the night. Do this and you'll have the earliest tomatoes around- and be the envy of all your neighbors! I've done this for the past two years using cherry tomatoes and 3ft. stakes in the pots with great success. Also, asparagus crowns are a good option if (like me) you're impatient and don't want to want 3 years to harvest it. Plant the crowns this spring and you can start enjoying a small crop in a year's time. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it!

Corny, I know.

But I have good reason...

Twilight (the movie) comes to the big screen this weekend!

Just a few minutes ago I logged onto Fandango and purchased enough tickets for a few chosen members of my family and myself to attend. I have no intentions of waiting in line for hours....I mean, I would if I had to, but that's why online ticketing was invented, right? 
Let the countdown to 7:25 pm on Friday, 21 November, begin! 

We'll be seeing the Cullen clan in Charlotte. I'm headed there to celebrate Megan's graduation from her police/detection officer/not really sure what to call it training program. I get to pin her badge on! So excited. We're also planning on running a 5K this weekend as well- the Jingle Bell Walk/Run for Arthritis.

I can't wait to see everyone! 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hey everyone! As you can tell by the title, I'm finally home. One more notch on my deployment belt complete. 

I promise to update later this week when I get everything at home back in order- for now I'm glad I got around to updating my blog background. The brown and blue remind me of my kitchen, which is decorated in the same shades. 

Can't wait to decorate for Christmas! 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sharing hope!

As Christians, we are called to share our earthly possessions. However, I don’t think this sharing should be limited to our own churches. It should be extended to others within our communities as well. However, it’s often very difficult to choose which charity to donate to. To make an informed decision concerning how your donation will be used, operating expenses of the charity, the paychecks earned by the charity’s full-time employees, and the beneficiaries of the charity must all be taken into consideration.

 What if I told you that there’s an easier way?

 Vessel Hope is a charitable organization that allows you to give anonymously, while still giving you the choice of who you want to help. If you know of a particular individual or family in your community that needs help, you can provide them the helping hand they need without them ever knowing it was you. Even better- you can rest assured that your donation is going directly to people in need!

 How does Vessel Hope work?

 When you decide that you are ready to give, you can use the website to fill out all applicable information. Then, a Visa Gift Card (loaded with the amount you determine) is mailed to the individual or family of your choice. The gift card can then be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

 What if I don’t know anyone in particular that I want to help?

 If you don’t have a particular person in mind, you can donate to Camp Boggy Creek, a special place where kids with chronic or life threatening illnesses can enjoy summer camp while still receiving the medical care that they need.

 More questions?

 Visit the Vessel Hope website!

Monday, October 20, 2008


So I promised to try to post the recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin cookies…and I finally remembered to do it! Even those who claim to dislike pumpkin are wowed by these- they’re incredibly delicious. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. They’ll probably be the first thing I bake when I return home. Note: I don’t have the exact recipe that I use out here with me, but after much research, these one seemed to be the closest to mine. I would recommend adding a little pumpkin pie spice if you have some in the pantry. I have also experiment with using canned pumpkin pie filling as opposed to plain canned pumpkin with great success. 



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, oats, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter, gradually add sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin to butter mixture; mixing well after each addition.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips (I usually mix by hand at this point because my mixer is so full).
  7. Bake 12 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly brown. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Hey everyone! So sorry for the delay in posting....all that "fighting the global war on terror" kind of got in the way of posting more frequently. Seriously, though, here are a few updates of what's been going on.

I have been working steadily towards my goal of running 100 miles. I run 4 times a week, and right now I have 64 miles completed. For all you non-math-geniuses, that's 36 miles left. 3 days a week I swim, and I'm up to about 25 laps (or 1 hour), whichever comes first. In fact, I'm having so much fun between these two activities that I've decided to add another: biking. That's right- I'm thinking of signing up for a sprint triathlon. I think it will be a blast! Anyone who wants in on the training/racing fun please let me know!

I am starting to get a bit anxious to get home. One of the (many) things I am looking forward to doing is baking. I can't wait to get back in my little kitchen (please hold the woman-get-in-the-kitchen jokes.) One of my favorite things to bake is Pumpkin Cookies. They're basically chocolate-chip cookies with pumpkin and whole oats- wonderfully moist and cake-y. I will truly try to remember to post the recipe later this week.

Finally, who has seen this gorgeous picture of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding? Apparently Brad Pitt himself took it. I love how you can see the wee little hand in the picture. You go, girl! 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rock on, Jamie Lynn!

Often we hear of celebrities because of the bad things they do: drinking and driving, physically abusing their assistants, and cheating on their spouses, to name a few. It’s not very often that celebrities set the good example, and when they do, the good is often overshadowed by the bad.

Back in March, the media jumped at the chance to report Jamie Lynn Spear’s pregnancy. She was subjected to intrusion on her privacy at every level. Becoming unintentionally pregnant as an unwed teen is bad enough; for a celebrity like Spears, it’s even worse. While Spears certainly has more money and resources than most teens, she is also constantly in the public eye. So even though she doesn’t have to worry about having the money to put food on the table and care for her child, she does experience emotional distress stemming from a kind of media attention that few of us can even imagine. Spears was even blamed for “glamorizing teen pregnancy”- a pretty tough judgment for a young girl who made the same mistake thousands of other girls her own age do.

There are many of you out there that will argue that Spears, like all celebrities, pays the price for her fame. The media attention stars endure is simply the sacrifice made for international celebrity and vast amounts of money. To a certain extent I agree with that statement. However, I think what’s lost in the equation here is that Spears is still, despite her motherhood, a young girl.

Recently a story appeared in the news that made me angrier at the media than I’ve been in a long time. According to Fox News, pictures of Jamie Lynn breastfeeding her daughter, Maddie, have been popping up all over the internet. In the photos most of her breast is exposed. For those of you breastfeeding mamas who will argue the majority of the breast is hidden during breastfeeding, I can’t counter that argument because I haven’t seen the picture. I don’t know if Jamie Lynn was preparing to nurse, if Maddie had just finished, etc. Anyways, Maddie’s father took pictures of the scene and took them to be developed. Workers at Wal-Mart kept copies, which they then attempted to sell. Shame on them!

Maddie was born back in June, making her roughly 4 months old. The fact that Jamie Lynn is still nursing her daughter is awesome! Too few women in the US choose to nurse at all, and many quit after a short time. That she continues to do what’s best for Maddie should be praised; Jamie Lynn should not be shamed for making a conscientious choice for her daughter’s health and benefit. While I am greatly bothered by the fact that Jamie Lynn’s privacy was invaded at such an innocent and precious time, I am even more upset by the implication that breastfeeding is being treated as obscene and scandalous in this situation. I wish Jamie Lynn would do an interview and discuss her choice to nurse- I want to see the headline “Jamie Lynn Glamorizes Breastfeeding!”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm disturbed.

I saw this link in someone else's blog, and, since I was bored anyway, decided to check it out. I know that the video is obviously over-dramatized to make a point, but the bottom line is truthful. I double-checked using the non-biased, and it proves the point. I try to avoid political topics at all costs, but my heart won't let this one pass by.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Savannah had puppies!

So Savannah had her puppies last night! I am so proud of her. I was able to see them right away, since I was video-chatting with Brett as she had them. As if I wasn't anxious enough to get home before.....more photos to come! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


After writing several serious blog entries, I want to lighten things up a bit. A more in-depth “military mom” blog is coming soon, but for now I want to limit the amount of thinking required. I just finished submitting my final exam for my master’s class, so now I’m done! Side effect: brain coma.

So every fall/winter for the past couple of years I have changed up my hair color. In the summer I like to lighten up with blond highlights, but I like to go darker for fall. After much deliberation and research, I have finally decided on a medium brunette color with a heavy dose of red. It’s been a while since I’ve had any red in my hair at all, but I think it will go well with my coloring, freckles, and green eyes.  I’ve decided that Emma Robert is my hair color muse….what do you think?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Military mommas.

After months of reading about babywearing via blogs, Dr. Sears’ books, etc, it hit me. What do military women who choose attachment parenting do? Specifically, are there any regulations regarding babywearing in uniform?  I’ve racked my brain, and I can’t ever think of a time that I’ve seen a woman in uniform, carrying her baby via sling. I see plenty of military moms in the commissary, BX, etc. with their babies in carts (or buggies, whichever you prefer) or carrying them, but I’ve never seen anyone wearing her baby. Surely there are active duty moms who subscribe to attachment parenting- but where are they?

I’m wondering if one of these possibilities is the case:

1.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because they’ve never seen another woman do it.

2.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because they fear being confronted/reprimanded/etc.

3.     There are a good number of military mommas who’d like to wear their babies, but are afraid to because there are no regulations outlining the rules.

4. There are a good number of military mommas who either aren't familiar with attachment parenting or condemn it as "New Age hippy crap"- which is literally something I've heard from someone's mouth

5. There are a good number of military mommas who aren't familiar with attachment parenting because of a lack of resources available

 After doing a little research, I found that there are (according to AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel) no regulations concerning babywearing. This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised at what the AF comes up with. 

With all that being said, I want to point out a few things. Since there exist no regulations outlining babywearing, I’d love to see someone try it out. If this has to wait until I have my own kids, so be it. In accordance with other regulations regarding accessories such as purses/backpacks/bags, I do think slings should be limited to solid, neutral colors, such as black or gray. I found this example online, and I think it would fit the guidelines of “conservative” and “professional.” The last thing we need is for a woman to go walking around in uniform wearing a hot-pink Hotsling. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sad (and frustrating) headline.

A couple of weeks ago I read an article concerning the Nestle corporation and the numerous groups and individuals that are boycotting the company. The reason? Nestle produces formula and markets it in violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. In short: the World Health Organization (among other groups) recognizes the dangers of promoting formula in lieu of breast feeding in poverty-stricken countries, where mothers may mix formula with unclean water, or cut the formula with extra water to save money. These practices have a devastating effect on infants and young children.

 Then today, I came across this article on the Fox News website. The headline:

“Fourteen infants in China have been hospitalized with kidney stones after drinking a reduced-price powdered milk”

According to the article, the infants were all less than 11 months old, and are now undergoing hospital treatment. Their illness is being blamed on powered milk; the company that produces the milk is claiming that another company is producing it and marketing it under their name. Regardless of who produced the milk, the point is that if the women were breastfeeding, this would not have happened. My question: why did these women choose against breastfeeding? Following the devastating earthquakes in China back in May, the world rallied around the Chinese woman who breastfed the children of strangers when there was no clean water available.  Did marketing by formula companies sway these women? What do you think? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two of my favorite things...brownies and shoes!

I came across this recipe today. Even though I obviously can’t try this out until I get home, I thought I’d post it anyway in case anyone else wanted to give it a try. It sounds great! If you make them before I do, let me know how they are.

 Cocoa Brownies

 Makes 16 brownies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes


Cooking spray

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons brewed strong coffee, cooled to room temperature

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels

¼ cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until combined. Add egg, egg whites, vanilla, and coffee. Continue beating until incorporated.
  4. Scrape sides of bowl down with a spatula and reduce mixer speed to low. Slowly add flour mixture, followed by yogurt, and mix gently until combined.
  5. Stir in walnuts and chocolate.
  6. Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out dry.

On a side note, I’ve been shopping around for the perfect pair of fall pumps, and these fit the bill. They’re by Jessica Simpson, who makes some of my favorite shoes! Too bad she is super annoying as a person- she really knows how to make heels that are gorgeous AND comfortable.

Monday, September 8, 2008


As I prepared for this deployment, I spent a little time thinking about goals. Even though I work much longer hours here than at home, there is still plenty of time for other activities. Some people focus on schoolwork, others on fitness, and some people spend their free time drinking and socializing. I decided to do a little of each.

 Accordingly, the tentative title for my goal was 100/100. That stands for 100 drinks/100 miles. However, as I worked along towards my goal, I realized that the 100 drinks part is counter-productive. Why bother working out and eating clean if I’m only going to drink at the end of the day? Therefore, I am dropping the drinking.

 On the running front, as of today, I’m down to 85 miles to go. I run 3 miles, 3 times a week and swim on the opposite days. That gives me 6 solid workouts a week, with one day to rest. I plan on upping the mileage weekly as well. My goal is to both increase endurance and drop my 5k time. Over time, I’d like to get somewhere near the 25 minute mark.  Right now I’m around 28 minutes. How awesome would it be if I got good enough at swimming to do a (short) triathlon?

In addition to running and swimming, I’m focusing on eating clean. That means not only eating healthy overall, but dropping several “bad” foods from my diet. In an effort to achieve my most defined abs ever (which really isn’t saying much), I’m eliminating all carbonated beverages. This includes diet soda. I’m sticking to water (with or without Crystal Light added) and skim milk. Overall, I already am a healthful eater, but I want to really concentrate on cutting out the junk.

 Today I had one of my best runs ever. By that I mean that I was able to up my speed continuously and finish strong, all while still feeling fairly comfortable. In my opinion, the key to running success is music. I downloaded a few songs this week and added them to my playlist. I think they’re motivating, so if you’re looking for some new additions, I recommend:

  1. Anything from the new Coldplay album
  2. Give It 2 Me– Madonna
  3. Moneymaker- Ludacris
  4. Maneater- Nelly Furtado

I also have a few dieting/healthy eating tips to pass along.

  1. Instead of blended coffee drinks, try plain iced coffee. You can even add skim milk and a little sugar without consuming nearly the amount of calories and sugar in traditional blended drinks. At home, I make a pot of hazelnut coffee, put it in a pitcher, and store it in the fridge. That way it’s always ready to drink! Way cheaper than Starbucks- and since I don’t buy soda, it’s a low-fat, low-cal caffeine source when I’m dragging.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, drinking water is key. There is a huge variety of drink mixes out there that you can add to “mix it up”- I particularly like Crystal Lite Sugar-Free Iced Tea with Lemon. It’s delicious!
  3. If you’re craving ice cream (or something equally bad for you), try just a bite. Usually that is enough to make me happy without wrecking my day, eating-wise. Try eating a spoonful of ice cream or only a few fries. I find that eating 3 fries now is better than denying myself and downing a whole serving later.
Do you have any diet/fitness tips you'd like to share?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Finally an update......

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since I updated this thing. In case you don't know, I am currently deployed. I won't give you any info on where I am, or what I am doing, or how long I will be gone, because that's not smart and/or allowed. Instead I will try to update occasionally on anything I find interesting and worth sharing.

One of the things that make deployments easier for me is online shopping. Last time I was here I was bad about shopping the JCrew online sales, so I've vowed not to repeat that mistake next time- at least not to the same extent. I have, however, put in an order with Amazon that I am anxiously awaiting. I am so looking forward to reading the books I bought!

The first is Spiritual Midwifery by Ina Gaskin. I have been meaning to read this one for quite a long time! I have heard from several people that this book is amazing- and for more than a few - life changing. It is considered by many to be the single most important piece of literature about midwifery, and to be an important read for not only midwives and midwifery students, but for all women. I recently came across this quote and I think it's awesome. Ina says: "Midwifery is an essential profession. A midwife's work means something: It prepares the woman to go through childbirth in a way that's transformative and empowering. The empowerment and self respect she learns in labor is passed on to the child in a loving relationship." I found an interesting article about Ina here.

The second book I ordered is another I have been meaning to read for a while. For months now I have been reading a few different blogs referencing attachment parenting. Shout out to Babyfingers! Anyway, I wanted to read a book for myself that fully explains the concept and the views behind it. To that end, I bought William Sears' The Baby Book. I chose this one because (according to the summary and reviews) it encompasses a broad variety of topics from birth all the way through the early toddler years.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson was one of my favorite books growing up, but unfortunately, I haven't read it in a long time. As I've discussed in either entries, I am in the process of building up our library at home. I have a list stored on my computer that details all the books I plan on buying to add to that library, and this is one of them. I can't wait to read this one again, either! I hadn't noticed it until now, but in that book the main character ends up being a nurse or midwife (I can't quite remember which). Maybe my inclination towards delivering babies started earlier than I thought!

When I finish reading these books, I'll update with reviews.

I also promise to try harder to be more consistent with updating this while I'm overseas.

For my next Amazon order, I plan on ordering:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, and Steven L. Hopp

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Riki Carroll

So expect an update on those books (and the ones I just ordered) in the next month or so.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Savannah's having puppies!!

No, these puppies aren't mine. They're actually my parents', and they are the puppies of Savannah's full sister, Georgia. Ladies and gentlemen, I am super excited to announce that my dog, Lady Savannah of Cambridge (aka Savannah Pearle Nolan) is expecting! Brett is taking her to the vet today for the ultrasound so that we'll know how many puppies to expect. The daddy's name is Jake, and believe it or not, the two of them met at a Braves game in Atlanta! Back in June, Brett and I took Savannah and Chuck-Chuck to Bark at the Park, which is a special day at Turner Field when dogs are welcome. My dogs had so much fun eating treats, playing with other dogs, and of course cheering on their heroes (Savannah is partial to Jeffrey, while Chuck idolizes Brian McCann). And, yes, I know I'm one of those crazy dog people. 

Anyway, Jake is a beautiful dog. He is a bit bigger than Savannah, with that beautiful, blocky head so prized in Golden Retrievers. His coloring is a little darker than Savannah's, and he has a beautiful feathered coat. Jake's parents live in Atlanta, and Jake works as a certified therapy dog. He has an amazing disposition. We already have had several people inquire about the puppies for use as cadaver and bomb id dogs, as Jake is such an amazing worker. With the combination of Jake's discipline and Savannah's drive (especially in the water!), the puppies will surely be great as therapy dogs, hunting retrievers, sporting dogs, and especially family pets. 

Both Savannah and Jake are AKC registered Golden Retrievers with dysplasia-free hip certifications. Jake is elbow and eye certified as well. The puppies should be here mid-September, and be ready to go home in beginning-to-mid November- just in time for Christmas! If you're interested, let me know by commenting or through email. Savannah and the puppies will be in Clemson (not Warner Robins) and we will hopefully have Jake for a week or so when the puppies are ready to go, just in case you want to see him in person. For now, I will work on getting a picture of him up here. Here's my favorite picture of Chuck and Savannah together- this was actually taken at Bark at the Park:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tagged! Six things you might not know about me...

I thought I was done blogging for the day- until I checked out Jenny's blog! Since I am all caught up with both my housework and schoolwork (having had a productive day, as evidenced in my earlier blog), I am glad to comply :-)

Here we go...

1) I am OCD when it comes to getting up on time in the morning. I am such a routine person that I fear that a few minutes lost sleeping in will throw off my whole morning, then my whole day, etc. I actually set three alarms in the morning, and as my husband points out, double-check them multiple times to be sure they're set correctly! But to be fair, I do need to get up at the same time everyday to be sure my BBT is accurate for FAM charting purposes.

2) I am sort of glad that I work with mainly guys (yeah military!) As much as it kills me to admit it, there is definitely less drama. I am also glad that I wear a uniform to work- otherwise, who knows how long it would take me to get ready!

3) I may seem put together, but I have no clue what I want to do with the rest of my life. Midwifery, law school, full-time philanthropy, stay-at-home mom...who knows what I'll end up doing?

4) I have trouble pronouncing L words. If I'm not paying attention, I'll slip and say something like "Warren" instead of "Lauren." Super embarrassing, I know. 

5) I am really weird about running out of stuff. As soon as a bottle of something I use daily runs low, I'm out buying another. This means that my bathroom is in a constant state of clutter, despite my best efforts. I am extremely loyal to my particular products as well. In fact, I have bought the exact same planner for 5 or 6 years running. Ridiculous.

6) I spend a lot of money on my hair. My husband still does not know how much. I think he prefers it that way!

Last-minute preserving.

As I get ready to head out on my "desert adventure," which sounds much more exciting than it really is, I came to the realization that I had plenty of veggies in the garden that I needed to use up before I leave. So, what do you do with loads of green tomatoes? Make green tomato pickles! Although I don't have any pictures of the pickles I canned, I am really pleased with how they look, and I was lucky in that all the jars sealed properly. I cannot wait to come back home and try them out! Here is the recipe:

Dilled Green Tomato Pickles
yield about 6 pints

5 pounds small, firm green tomatoes
1/4 cup canning salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
3 1/2 cups water
6 or 7 cloves garlic
6 or 7 heads fresh dill or 1/4 cup dill seeds
6 or 7 bay leaves
Wash tomatoes; drain. Core tomaotes; cut into halves or quarters. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Add 1 clove of garlic, 1 head of dill (or 2 teaspoons dill seeds) an 1 bay leaf to each jar. Ladle hot liquid over tomatoes, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

To take care of the mass quantities of jalapeno peppers, I decided to dry them. It's really simple to do! Just thread a need with a double length of thread, and string the peppers along it. Then hang them up and wait! Here is a picture of some peppers I started drying a couple weeks ago. They will be great in chilies and sauces later.  

Finally, I mentioned before the winter garden I put in last week. I cannot believe that the peas and beans are up already! You can also catch a glimpse of the tiny lettuce(s?) behind them. Take a look:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hummingbirds! (and book recommendations)

After months of mentioning how much I love my hummingbird visitors, I finally managed to capture some decent pictures of them. Since Brett was here this weekend I borrowed his camera and snapped more than a few pictures of my feathered friends. Here are a few:

I also want to mention a few books that I read recently that I think are amazing. The first is The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. You can read more about it here. Since I'm lazy, here is a summary of the book via Amazon (thanks, Amazon!): 
"The red tent is the place where women gathered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and even illness. Like the conversations and mysteries held within this feminine tent, this sweeping piece of fiction offers an insider's look at the daily life of a biblical sorority of mothers and wives and their one and only daughter, Dinah. Told in the voice of Jacob's daughter Dinah (who only received a glimpse of recognition in the Book of Genesis), we are privy to the fascinating feminine characters who bled within the red tent. In a confiding and poetic voice, Dinah whispers stories of her four mothers, Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, and Bilhah--all wives to Jacob, and each one embodying unique feminine traits. As she reveals these sensual and emotionally charged stories we learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Eventually Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief, and a call to midwifery."
The best quote I have read to sum it up comes from Gail Hudson, one of the editors at Amazon, who writes, "Remembering women's earthy stories and passionate history is indeed the theme of this magnificent book. In fact, it's been said that The Red Tent is what the Bible might have been had it been written by God's daughters, instead of her sons."

Bottom line: I love, love, love this book! I borrowed it from the church library last week, but I will definitely be borrowing it to add to my own collection. 

Another book in the same vein is The Witch of Cologne. Although this book, which was written by Tobsha Learner, lacks the same biblical backbone that The Red Tent has, it carries the same theme throughout: the mysteries surrounding women, their gifts, and their relationships. It also has some really neat references to old-school midwifery practices. And we all know I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. I'm still finishing this one. 
Finally, Brett and I visited this new book store that just opened near us. It carries old and new books, and is organized in such a way that it's easy to find what you're looking for. For anyone reading this that is familiar with the area, it's located next to Thai Pepper, at the intersection of Russell Parkway and Carl Vinsson. Brett found some nerdy Star Wars (maybe Star Trek??) books he was looking for, while I contributed to my stash of kids' books. I love books and the memories I associate with the first (or maybe millionth time) I've read each one. In fact, I think books are so important that I am collecting a considerable number of them with the intent of having a large "library" established by the time I have kids. I want my *future* children to be surrounded by amazing books- I can think of few things that are more important to the intellectual development of children than books. Some of the books I picked up yesterday:
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Three books about Laura Ingalls Wilder, including a picture book (not to be confused with the Little House series, which of course I already have)
- Little Grown-Ups
- I Like it When...

What's your favorite children's book?