Friday, February 26, 2010

List Plan It

One of my favorite blogs, Passionate Homemaking, is hosting a giveaway for and I would love to win! Because, let's face it, I'm a list-making fiend. So by posting this on my blog, I receive another entry to win. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Envibum cloth diapers

This post is purely so I can have an extra shot at winning this adorable cloth diaper over at Passionate Homemaking; one of my fav blogs!

Envibum giveaway

Monday, February 15, 2010

Giveaway winner! (And award)

Thanks to all who entered, I had fun with my first giveaway! And the winner is...


Congratulations Rachel! Let me know which item you prefer so I can order and ship it to you. I hope you enjoy!

On a totally different note, I won the Honest Scrap award from my friend Lauren over at Thread by Thread. I have never won a bloggy award, nor have I even seen them awarded :) So I will participate and have some fun too.
She said she loves the way I share my heart and become vulnerable. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share openly about the things that matter most to me, and I hope they are an encouragement to other women on the same journey, wherever on the road they may be. Now, the catch to this award is that I must now share 10 unique and honest things about me. So here goes...

1. Ever since my divorce, God has really taken me on a journey of discovering where my roots are. I have found I had much fewer in Him than I desired, and He has repeatedly helped me to understand why I believe what I do. I have learned it is okay to question things, and I'm not sinning when "because I said so" isn't a satisfactory answer in my heart. This is an ongoing journey, and I often find myself realizing anew that I don't know much at all.

2. I used to wonder if I'd ever even want children, or be ready for them. Now that I have 2, it's hard to imagine life without them. I have never been happier or more fulfilled in my life.

3. I'm a homebody. I probably am a bit antisocial. I can go days being at home and having no one over and be perfectly content. I like my nest, and I like nesting. However, I think getting out at least every few days is good for me. Also having some time with just me and Isaac on the weekend, even if for just a few hours, is pretty critical to my sanity.

4. I have a serious book addiction. It doesn't matter how many books I have to read on the shelf, I want new ones. I have an outlet for this addiction because of the online book hold at the library. I can check out dozens at once (which sort of feels like buying them) but then I feel guilty because I rarely read one cover to cover. And, if I do, it requires several renewals...

5. I love the piano. I have played since I was 5, but I really don't have easy access to a good piano anymore. So this makes me very sad, sometimes to the point of tears because I miss playing so much. I have a small electric, but I grew up playing a 7 and a half foot grand, so I admit, I'm spoiled and nothing else is as fun. It's kind of like eating amazing food from a chef everyday for your whole life, and then, after 24 years, having to eat plain rice for every meal. Seriously. That's how different it feels to me.

6. I am constantly rummaging for things I can sell on Ebay.

7. I'm trying to minimize. I have too much stuff and too many things to dust. I seriously don't need it if I haven't used it in a year...or 5 years. I just donated some ski bibs. When am I going skiing again? And my guess is they don't fit anymore anyway. It feels good. It's very freeing emotionally to get rid of stuff. I'm really enjoying the book Isaac got me for Christmas, From Clutter to Clarity. Good stuff.

8. I wish I had more time to crochet. I wish my wrists and arms didn't bother me so much when I did. I also wish I liked knitting. I love the beautiful things my married-in family knits, it has a different look than crochet. It's just much harder...and it hurts more. :(

9. I adore photo editing! And graphic design. Photoshop CS3 is my friend. My good, good friend.

10. I have 5 more classes and I'll have my degree. (The boys interrupted the plan a little.) I really loved going to school, especially once I was taking online classes. It was great when I went back for my own satisfaction. My heart was really in it and I enjoyed it so much.

Well, there ya go. I thought of several other things, but I tried to limit it to what you don't usually hear from me. You already know I love gardening, blah blah blah. :) Thank you all my wonderful friends and family for visiting my corner of the web, and hearing my heart.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My favorite things (giveaway)

As you know, I love to bake. I have recently begun cooking more creatively and this has been a fun venture! There are a few things I just can't do without in the kitchen, and I thought you might like to know what they were. After all, I consider them indispensable.

First and foremost is my beloved KitchenAid Mixer 600 Professional. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received, hands-down! It mixes sooo much batter without blinking. (Well, if it had eyes.) I have made quadruple cookie batches in it, which is one of the reasons I wanted one so badly. I rarely make a single batch of anything, so this comes in quite handy. Believe it or not, I own no attachments, and I don't have any I'm dying for. I wanted this mixer for its brute mixing strength. :)

Second is my collection of stoneware from the Pampered Chef. I don't even own any metal bakeware. (I don't think...I need to go through my cabinets and get rid of what I don't's on The List.) I currently own 16 pieces and my 4 cookie sheets of various sizes are my faves. Well, I do like the muffin and loaf pans for banana bread, which the boys love and I bake often. They are heavy and slightly cumbersome (I really loathe the way they scrape when I have to dig out a less-used one from the bottom of a stack.) but the baking quality and consistency is well worth any trouble in my humble opinion. These are available from other manufacturers, but I've never used one and don't know much about them.
Now, I don't know how much any of you roll out dough, but if you do, you need this. The flour/sugar shaker, once again from the Pampered Chef (no, I'm not a rep, nor do I know one) is wonderful. I have 3, actually. One for flour, one for powdered sugar when I'm dusting, and also one for cinnamon and sugar. It sprinkles nice and evenly, light or heavy, so when you're rolling out dough you don't have big globs of flour that will dry it out or just look ugly. *gasp*
I've mentioned the cookie scoop before (yup, from PC again) and they come in 3 sizes. I use the smallest one for cookies usually, but the medium and large are nice for special occasion, giant cookies. I also use them for just about anything that needs consistent measuring. Muffins, cupcakes, name it. They take so much work out of baking cookies. I seriously wouldn't bother if I had lost my scoop. They just wouldn't get made until I bought another one! Once you try it, you'll wonder how you lived without it. I've seen these other places and by other brands, but I've never tried them. I imagine a good quality one would still be satisfactory, but that's just an assumption.
Pampered Chef also has 2 micro cookers. I have both sizes and these are great for quick cooking. I use them constantly for the boys' lunches. And for dinner. And veggies. And melting butter. There isn't much you can't do with these and they're wonderful because you don't have to babysit something in the microwave.
And last, but certainly not least is my Rada peeler. This little baby will make peeling fruits and veggies fun - seriously. Ok, well maybe not if you 20 pounds of potatoes, but it would definitely bring less insanity that using a knife! I've never - never- used a peeler this good. Maybe it's because it's a patented design, who knows, but this tiny thing is fantastic. I use it for everything, soft or hard, it doesn't matter. The only think I don't love is that it's not dishwasher safe. :( But I consider it a small price to pay...

Ok, everyone, now here's your reward for reading this entire post! I'm having my first giveaway! I was going to do the Rada peeler, but then I couldn't decide if I should do the cookie scoop instead. Sigh. So I'm not deciding - you are! Enter to win by leaving me a comment, and the winner gets to choose the peeler or scoop. I will select a winner this Sunday, February 14th at midnight, so enter by then!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't wait to play in the dirt!

Whoa! I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged! Well, time flies when you're...researching. Yup, that's what I've been up to. Isaac and I have massive plans for our yard this year. We're adding at least 8 garden beds, taking up over half the fence, and looking to level and fill some holes. Needless to say, this will be a big undertaking. We haven't been able to do nearly what we'd like with our yard since the boys were born so soon after we moved. So we are looking forward to this spring because we will actually be able to get our hands dirty and be productive!

Hence the researching. I'm a researching addict, I fully admit it. So the last month (Isaac says 2) I have been placing lots of holds at the library, picking up and dropping off lots of books, and pretty much spending all my free time reading about gardening. I know I'll learn many things through only experience, but I like to know what I'm jumping into. Especially when there's money invested. :) My favorite book has been The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. Super easy and fun to read with lots of great info, but also not overwhelming. (I found a few of those, and trust me, they went right back to the library!) So much I have to learn... I've also used the Mother Earth News site and Grit a lot for referencing, short articles and book suggestions. I've requested some organic and heirloom seed catalogs too. There are so many varieties out there and our local grocery stores offer so few! It's going to be hard to narrow it down, even with a whole 4 x 12 bed for each plant family. Did you know there are over 3,000 varieties of apples? Who knew carrots came in purple, red, striped, white and yellow too? It's crazy, I tell you.

Oh, and I've also been researching canning, preserving, freezing and drying. Isaac wants to build a solar dehydrator. (Seriously, if you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be here, I would have laughed...) We're purchasing a pressure canner and supplies and building a pantry to store the jars. I'm also trying to win a grain mill because it turns out they are rather expensive. I can only enter the drawing once, so please feel free to enter yourself on my behalf. I would be beyond excited...because really, how fun is harvesting my own grain going to be this fall if I can't do anything with it?

As we begin these activities, it's been amazing the things God has begun to show us. Isaac said he had always thought of stewardship in terms of money. You know, if you can't be trusted to handle 10 dollars well, why would you be given 10,000? But then he realized we both have mentioned countless times how much we'd love to have a large parcel of land but have yet to do much with our 1 1/3 acres. Now, I don't think we were being disobedient this last year while the boys were young, but we are going to make our land fruitful and use it for more than just lots of mowing. I'm not hopping on the anti-government conspiracy theory wagon that I have to be completely self-sustaining and off the grid, but I think being less reliant is good. I mean, sure, we could go a couple days should a disaster strike, but beyond that, well... Basically, we just want to have more control over our lives and health. Plus, we both think it would be really good for the boys to grow up in an environment where it's normal to provide for yourself and also to question where their food comes from. They could learn how to garden from a young age, and that will give us many opportunities to teach them life lessons. Next year...chickens. Seriously :)