Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Random Ramblings: This one's long, so pull up a comfy chair and grab yourself a good cup of coffee! :)

We got home last night from an overnight trip to Duluth. We had a nice time just being together, and getting a little break from "life as usual". Dan was feeling the need to get away from all the responsibility staring him in the face, so it was great timing.
The main reason for going on the trip was to get Molly's braces off. Her teeth look really nice, and she gets about a weeks break before she goes into full time retainer wearing.



We celebrated Sam's 10th birthday while in Duluth. We spent the night at The Best Western Edgewater. I think it's safe to say that everyone enjoyed their time at the water park! I tried to get some pictures of that, but the lighting was terrible and I couldn't get any good ones. Dani and I enjoyed the lazy river the most, I think. Dani liked watching the huge bucket tip and spill 500 gallons of water on everyone, but she was a bit scared to play near it, so that ruled out the kiddie area for her. Hattie LOVED that bucket, and its dumping water! She wanted to be right under it when it dumped, and loved the kiddie slides. She also went down the big slide on a double tube with Dan. They also loved crossing the pool on the turtles. :) That was so fun to watch! I saw Sam for about .3 seconds when we got there, and .3 seconds before we left. He never stopped going down the big slides the whole rest of the time! Molly was pretty much enjoying everything available that she could. She's been having some trouble with some pain in her foot related to a ligament that's too short (possibly from fast growth). She has to rest it more than she'd like, but she still had tons of fun.
We had purchased a birthday cake to eat at the hotel, but Sam got the worst migraine he's had yet, and spent some time resting in the quiet dark room (achieved by Dan taking the rest of the kids on an explore around the hotel and some time in the arcade). By the time he felt better, it was 10:30, and much too late for eating cake. :( The next morning Dan took Sam to the arcade to see what he'd missed (not much in my opinion). He wasn't ready to leave the arcade as soon as the rest of the family, so Dan let him stay there for a while by himself. He was taking a long time to come back, so Dan went looking for him. He'd been lost for about 10 minutes, and fell into Dan's arms when they found each other. He was crying when they got back to the room, and it about broke my heart to see him so upset! I guess he's not ready to fly solo yet. That's fine with me! :)
Our other reason for going to Duluth/Cloquet was to do some "farm" type shopping at L&M Fleet and Dan's Feed Bin. Got 200 feet of fencing for the chickens and future goats, and cage wire to build 5 rabbit cages for the meat bunnies we're soon to have. That was a lot of fun, and also a LOT of expensive! Fencing and wire cost SO much! I got a goat raising book, and am learning a TON! This time, I'm determined NOT to let all that information overload deter me from getting dairy goats. I'm looking at Dwarf Nigerians. I think they'll be a great starter goat for me. I'm looking forward to milking and making kefir, cheese, yogurt and such yummy things! Mmmm...
I'm really enjoying this great weather. The robins are again gracing our yard with their song, and it's so peaceful and relaxing to sit out near the chicken yard and enjoy their company. I enjoy spending that special time with God, and Molly seems to appreciate it at least as much as I do. She's frequently found keeping me company. :) It's also a great place to gather for reading aloud to the kid-o's. We're working on Robin Hood (as preparation for our next history unit) and Swiss Family Robinson (just for fun).

Two of our favorite hens, Puffy and Butterscotch

Sinbad, our new Bantam rooster

Raven on her nest. I think she's just laying her egg, but she's showing some signs of becoming broody.

I guess it's time to think about what type of gardening I am (or am not) going to do this year. I know that I want to put in at least one raised bed this year. I will possibly be filling it with compost this year, and letting it finish composting so it will be ready this fall or in the spring. I'd like to experiment with a cold frame for planting some late fall lettuce and spinach in as well. It would be so nice to extend that fresh vegetable season a bit longer, and begin it sooner in the spring! We also want to figure out how to grow some tomatoes up here. I mean, how to grow some tomatoes that will ripen. Gardening is simply NOT my forte!

Ok, now that I've put you all to sleep with my rambling, I'll go and get some work done...after I get another cup of coffee. :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tomato Soup Photo

Here's a photo of the soup I wrote about in the last post. That's it, nothing else today. If my daughter's camera decides to work, I may have something to post later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Easy and Delicious Gluten and Dairy Free Tomato Soup

Here's one of the new recipes that I've been working on. The original recipe really looked awful to me when I read it. This is probably the first time I've seen a recipe and thought, "That looks terrible, but I want to try it." Strange. I have to mess with every recipe I find, so again, this is really quite my own now. This soup is made in a blender, and then transferred to a sauce pan for gently heating until hot. It is NOT cooked, has no gluten or dairy, and still turns out creamy and delicious!
Blender Tomato Soup
Blend in the blender until creamy:
1c. of chicken stock (or water, or try your own thing!)
1c. raw unsalted cashews
1 medium onion
1 to 2 (or however much you'll like) more liquid of your choice*
fresh or dried oregano to taste**
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
fresh or dried basil to taste***
2 T oil
1 T honey
6 oz tomato paste
1 qt canned or about 5 medium ripe tomatoes****
Whiz in blender to incorporate all the ingredients. Heat in saucepan until hot, but do not boil. Enjoy!
*When I made this, I used chicken broth, and added a can of great northern beans with the liquid. You could add the beans to the blender and blend them up, or add them to the sauce pan at the end. I added them at the end.
**I used dried, about 1/4 t. (I dislike oregano)
***I used fresh, about 6 large leaves (I love basil)
****I used fresh (as in grocery store produce) tomatoes. I par boiled them so I could easily squish them out of their skins, then squished them right into the blender.
This soup tastes just like summer. I'm sure that if you give it a try, you'll appreciate not only the rich flavors, but the ease as well. I'm definitely keeping this one in the book! I hope you enjoy it! I'll try to add photos to this post later. I always forget to take them while I'm actually cooking!
Please stay tuned! I think I've got some great stuff coming up!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Random Ramblings

I found out today that I have a follower! I'm honored that she (who happens to be my sister) deems me worthy of such. I have for MANY months been a most boring person to follow, since as you can see I haven't posted a blessed thing! I am gearing up, though. I should find some things to post about soon. I've got a few good recipes, and some "farm" type things to post soon. However, I don't have a camera! Mine bit the dust a while back. We haven't quite decided what to do about it. In the meantime, I'll be using my daughter's camera, which is currently working intermittently at best.

A friend recently posted a list of 25 random things about herself on her blog, and invited her friends to respond with a blog post of their own. I thought I might take a stab. Here goes...
1. I love to kayak, but am uncomfortable with being under water.
2. I want dairy goats.
3. I want to learn to spin (not the exercise, but yarn making).
4. I love to learn new things.
5. I don't like housework.
6. I like to make bread.
7. I wish I had been a nicer sister when I was a kid.
8. I wish I was a better wife and mother now.
9. I love to watch my chickens.
10. I love to wash and fold laundry, but hate to put it away.
11. I'm studying to be certified as a doula.
12. OH! Here's one! I don't shave my legs in the winter, but do paint my toenails all year.
13. We are getting meat rabbits to breed (and eat lots of rabbit meat) this spring.
14. I have a love hate relationship with country music. I love the sound, but hate the subject matter of most of it.
15. This is harder than I thought it would be.
16. I have one eye that's 1/2 brown and 1/2 sort of bluish green.
17. I don't think it's romantic to receive flowers; I'd rather receive something useful, like a blender, or a new frying pan, or cool measuring cups.
18. The coolest thing I was ever given was the crock that my son dug up in the back yard.
19. I love mangoes but my lips break out when I eat them. It itches terribly...but sometimes it's almost worth it.
20. I've had the following "pets" in my lifetime: earless and tailless cat I rescued from a snowbank, various other cats, toy poodle/cairn terrier named Tiny (and some German shepherds as a tiny tot), horse named Buck, two parakeets, various finches, many guinea pigs (the last being Gus and Matilda), many rabbits, and a pet rooster that followed me everywhere.
21. The "pets" I have now are a lab/border collie named Katie, a cat named Spider, and 7 chickens. My all time favorite pet is Katie. She's a great girl!
22. I home school, and LOVE it.
23. When I'm cleaning the house in a hurry, I stuff things in trash bags and put them in the basement.
24. I love to crochet.
25. I snore.

And there you have it! Twenty-five random things about me that you probably never needed to know. The 26th would be that I loved thinking of the first 25! I'll try to post something more worthwhile soon. It's nice to be back after so long!