Wednesday, July 31, 2013

knitting and reading


I am still working on the shawl, and probably will be until Christmas when I hope for it to be finished!  I decided to take a quick break this week on it to start knitting up some little bar soap holders.  We use bar soap at our house, but it gets so slimy if you don't put it on something!  I tend to have extra cotton yarn around and like to knit up small rectangles to put in the bathrooms and kitchen to keep the soap on.  Plus, I can have a little bit more color in my house, which I love!

I also have been thinking a lot about the holiday knitting that I need to start planning and working on.  I haven't gotten very far at all.  It is hard to think about the holidays when it is the middle of summer (although a couple days ago it felt like fall!).  However, I know that if I don't start thinking and planning now, I will be kicking myself come December when I feel like I have no time left to complete all that I want.

My book this week is Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade.  It is about a woman whose father dies suddenly.  She is then left to tend to his pride an joy, a thoroughbred racehorse farm, and wants nothing to do with it.  She gives the manager 6 months to close up the farm.  Unfortunately for her, the manager has no plans to give up his dream job.  So far so good!

Linking up with Nicole, Tami, and Ginny.  Can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vacation Day!

Do you ever feel like you need a day off?  Well, I certainly do!  And today I am taking one :-)  I hope that you all have a wonderful Tuesday.  I will be back tomorrow with updates on what I am knitting and reading.  I hope to see you back here tomorrow!

Monday, July 29, 2013

the tiny egg


Our chickens all seem to lay very large eggs.  I mean, the first eggs that we got last year from our hens were small, but since those first couple of eggs, we have always gotten very large eggs.  Imagine my surprise when I went to collect eggs last week and found a teeny tiny egg.  I wasn't sure what to think!  We have some neighbors that recently got chickens as well - did one of them come into our chicken coop and lay an egg?  No, definitely not!  And when I cracked it open, no yolk was inside.

I had to of course go to my trusty friend google to see what might be going on.  Apparently these tiny, yolkless eggs are sometimes called witch or fairy eggs.  Typically this happens to hens who have just started laying, but can also happen to older hens who may have had a disturbance recently.

I haven't really noticed anything abnormal happening with our chickens lately, so I am attributing it to us having to put down another chicken.  We had another araucana with a prolapsed vent.  The other chickens had been pecking her before I had a chance to let them out in the morning, so I had to separate the immediately.  It was sad to have to let another one go, but it is the life of an urban farmer I guess!

I'm not sure if losing a hen from the flock caused one of my other hens to lay this tiny egg, but since this one egg, all have been normal size.  It could have been a fluke.  Everyone seems to be back to normal now, but kind of a funny week in chicken keeping!

Linking up at Clever Chicks, Homestead Barn Hop, From the Farm, The Creative Home & Garden

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Quotes


Diligence is the mother of good fortune.
~Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, July 26, 2013

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!


There is just something about zucchini and tomatoes to me.  It is probably one of my favorite summer time meals.  Super quick, and delicious!  This was zucchini and kale that I picked from the garden, sauteed up with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and then mixed with some canned tomatoes I still had on hand from last year (last jar actually!).  The kids loved theirs topped with a little mozzarella cheese.  Yum!

My favorites from last week:




I would love it if you could grab the what i am eating badge below, include it in the post you are sharing, put it on your link page, or put it on your side bar.  Thanks!
what i am eating


Now please link up your wonderful recipes or food related posts!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

fun at the farmers' market


We are lucky to have a great farmers' market in our area.  I often forget that it isn't something everyone has, and I am extremely grateful for it!  Our market runs every Wednesday from May 1st through the end of October, and then the winter market runs twice each month November through April.  I love that they sell pretty much anything you could ask for as far food goes.  They have all the veggies you could ask for, chicken/beef/pork, shellfish (this is Maine after all!), and then there are the desserts...too numerous to name them all!

Yesterday was their Family Farm Festival.  It was such a great time!  There were a lot of different animals for the kids to play with.  Emma’s favorite was this little goat above!  It was kind of funny because the goat was just out walking around in the grass, and there was a little dog that was in a fenced off area right next to the goat.

We were having such a great time going to visit all the different animals and planting seeds as well as playing “find the farmer” that I totally forgot I was there to do some shopping as well!  Unfortunately, but the time I remembered that I wanted lettuce, all the farmers had sold out of it.  I was able to get some zucchini and summer squash though – which I can’t seem to grow for the life of me!  I also bought some blueberries, although those were gone before we even left the park.

The kids were able to spend the rest of the afternoon at the playground adjacent to the farmers’ market.  They had a great time, and everyone was completely wiped out by the time we got home – my kind of afternoon!

Does your town have a farmers’ market that you go to?  Are you in an area that doesn't have a lot of fresh and local foods available?  Are you in one of the “food desert” areas that are often in the news?

Linking up at the Homestead Barn Hop and Clever Chicks

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

knitting and reading


I feel like I have made so much progress this past week on the shawl!  I am getting to the end of my first skein of yarn, so that is something!  I think I will probably end up using 2-3 more skeins to get it the length that I would like.  The pattern is becoming easier for me to work on, and I am working a bit faster when I am working on the rows - always a plus in my book!

I am already thinking about starting something new though.  I can feel the change in the air (yes, that happens this early in Maine - unfortunately!).  It has cooled off immensely the past couple of days, which makes me think about fall, which in turn reminds me about how long it takes me to get my holiday knitting done.  Plus, my kids are getting bigger (funny how that happens!) and the things that I knit them every year are starting to take longer to work through, and new patterns are needing to be found.  I would like to finish this shawl soon, but it might be worked on periodically among many other projects that I end up casting on!

As for the book, Tempted, Tested, True; well I haven't started it yet.  It is a book from Bethany House that I need to review.  It looks interesting though.  Reading through personal stories of struggle helps you learn from others mistakes.  From the back:

Using real-life stories and information gathered from over 100,000 surveys, Tempted, Tested, True gives you a step-by-step process for resisting harmful choices through the power of God's Word.  This book will show you how to live in the freedom God wants for you.

I am starting to go through my canning books too.  It is that time of year!  I'm sure a lot of people have been working on preserving for winter already, but all I have done is frozen some rhubarb.  I had planned to use it for strawberry rhubarb jam, but didn't get any strawberries this year, so I think I will instead make a rhubarb sauce that will be a perfect fit for ice cream.

Linking up with Tami, Nicole, and Ginny

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Revealing Jesus devotional review


Do you long for more of God's presence?  Do you ache to see Him at work in your life?  Do you desire His peace and rest?  Renowned worship leader Darlene Zschech invites you to gather with her around the Word of God.  Born out of her own yearnings that she poured onto the pages of journals, these meditations and Scriptures reveal Jesus and speak of His finished work - how He tenderly cares for you and wants you to know Him.

Darlene Zschech is co-pastor with her husband, Mark, of Hope Unlimited Church in New South Wales, Australia.  Acclaimed worldwide as a singer, songwriter, worship leader, author, and speaker, she will always be best known for her song "Shout to the Lord." which continues to encourage people in their worship of God around the globe.

I am always on the lookout for a good devotional boo.  I think that when I am studying the Bible it helps to have something to facilitate that study.  There is always some additional insight that I wouldn't have thought of in the questions or thoughts that are written on the pages; it is always a help to me.  

Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional by Darlene Zschech is a great resource for Bible study.  It is an entire year focused on getting to know Jesus.  Each day there is a verse or passage followed by some amazing, and personal, thoughts from the author.  Each day ends with a short thought or prayer to meditate on throughout the day.

I really like that the verses are written right in the book, not just a reference.  Sometimes I think the barrier that holds people back from doing a devotion every day is finding the Bible and looking up the passage.  I know that sometimes it is easier to have it all right in front of me.  I also appreciated the different translations used for the scripture.  I am always able to go back to the Bible I use to delve deeper into scripture, but sometimes it is nice to read from a paraphrase like the Message or to see what a different Bible translation says.

Overall, a wonderful way to learn more about Jesus.  Having Jesus be the focus of an entire year is a great way to focus your relationship with Him.  What better way to get to know Him better, than to spend the entire year studying about Him.  Anything that can draw you nearer to Jesus is an excellent resource to have!

Do you have a favorite devotional?  Or do you create your own through independent Bible reading?

Monday, July 22, 2013

my garden in pictures




We are starting to harvest a bit more than just lettuce and kale from our garden.  Not a lot more, but a little at least!  Of course, in these early days, we are having to ration out the garden produce.  It doesn't last long around here.  One small pickling cucumber per person and a few green beans.  But, we have all the green smoothies one (mama) can ask for!







I think that soon we will find that we will be overrun with produce, and that I am not upset about!  I am really pleased with the way the tomatoes are turning out, and while the peppers seem to be growing slowly, they are growing!  The winter squash (blue hubbard, spaghetti, acorn, and pie pumpkins) all seem to be doing really well!  I was extremely concerned due to all the cucumber beetles and squash bugs/stink bugs, but apparently when you plant directly into composted manure they grow quite well!  I'm not sure that I planted enough green bean plants though.  Both of my kids thought that when you picked them they were automatically dilly beans, alas, not the case.  I have picked a handful a couple days, but not nearly enough to make a batch of dilly beans.  That might be something I am ordering from the co-op.


These little guys I am not happy about.  I keep getting out there with my soapy water.  Although, instead of spraying them, I tend to put them in a bucket filled with soapy water...it may seem cruel, but I cannot stand these little suckers!  And, they spray you with this disgusting sweet smelling stuff that I can't seem to wash off my hands - it is incredibly gross and I would be happy if I never saw another bug like this ever again - yuck!

I would love to see what is going on in your garden!  Please leave a link to any garden posts you might have!

Linking up with the Homestead Barn Hop, Clever Chicks, From the Farm, Creative Home and Garden Hop

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Quotes


We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 19, 2013

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!



I have come to the conclusion that the kale I am growing in my garden is the best kale I have ever had.  Now, a lot of people don't like kale.  I have never understood why.  I think that part of it is that people don't really know what to do with it.  If you put it in salad, you need to massage it with a little olive oil and lemon juice to start breaking it down.  If you cook it, it needs to cook quite a while or it will be chewy (I like that, others do not!).  If you put it in a green juice or smoothie, people recommend using just a few kale leaves because it has a strong taste.  However, using my own kale, I have been using more and more in my smoothies, and find it absolutely delicious!  

It has been incredibly hot here recently, so going outside to cut some kale in the morning, and then putting a banana, some frozen berries, and a few cups of water in a blender creates a wonderful breakfast smoothie or morning snack or late afternoon pick me up!  Green smoothies are delicious, and have been hitting the spot recently.   Especially since my woodchuck friend managed to get into my garden and eat the rest of my full heads of lettuce!

There were so many delicious looking entries last week it was hard for me to pick my favorites to list today, but here they are:




I would love it if you could grab the what i am eating badge below, include it in the post you are sharing, put it on your link page, or put it on your side bar.  Thanks!
what i am eating


Now please link up your wonderful recipes or food related posts!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

new book and more knitting


I'm making some progress on the shawl!  Yay!  It definitely isn't an easy pattern for me to do while distracted.  It is, however, easy enough for me to figure out when I have messed up and fixed it.  Since I really despise having to fix my knitting, I try to only knit this when I know I can at least finish a row!  When I start knitting along and have a few minutes to spare, it seems to grow quickly.  So, now I just need to find more uninterrupted knitting minutes!

I just got The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity recently in the mail after several women from my hello mornings! group recommended it.  I am just reading the first pages right now, but it seems like a book I am really going to enjoy.  It describes motherhood as a calling, and talks about the amount of influence we have as mothers on our children.  I haven't read any of Sally Clarkson's other books, but I have heard they are all excellent.  Also that people continue to go back to her books to re-read sections.  Hopefully I will have some time to dig into it this week!

Joining in with Ginny, Nicole, and Tami this week!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What homeschooling through the summer looks like {for us}

When I thought about homeschooling all year round, I wasn't quite sure how it would pan out.  I don't know any homeschoolers locally, and the ones that I know online have children older than mine.  I had a lot of ideas in the spring when I made the decision to continue with school throughout the summer.


My main reason for continuing through the summer was because I didn't want there to be a lapse in what we were learning.  Emma has made a lot of great progress on reading and math, and I didn't want to stop just because it was summer.  Instead, I hoped to continue with the reading and math, but concentrate more on science since that is what seemed to fall off the radar during the long and cold winter months.  What better time to study nature than when you can be out in it all day long!


We still read every day, but we have moved away from the math workbooks.  The math is getting more complicated, and I know some concepts are beyond her age at this point, which is totally fine with me.  I don't mind stepping back and working on what we already know.  Instead of the workbooks, we have been incorporating a lot of cooking and baking math.  I really enjoy math, and want it to be fun and interesting so that they enjoy it, and so that it holds their interest.


The science summer is working wonderfully!  Emma and Jack both LOVE anything outdoors, and I count that as science.  I think that the biggest draw is the mess factor.  It seems like anything science related is messy.  They love to help me in the garden and check on the progress of the vegetables, and they especially like to look at the bugs.


In fact, since Emma's birthday party, she has taken a large portion of my canning jars and run around the house and outside trying to catch any type of creepy crawly thing of flying thing that she can find.  She likes to observe them and draw diagrams (thank you Riley!).  She has successfully found a caterpillar outside, and watched it go through all the phases until it turned into a lovely...gypsy moth :-)  She was incredibly proud though, and checked on it daily.  I have to be honest, I thought it was dead!  But, it just took a little longer than I expected.


Overall I am incredibly pleased with how this summer is working out school wise.  It is relaxed enough so that the kids are still having a fun "summer vacation" while also learning.  I am a firm believer in learning through every experience, and this summer (so far!) has been a great learning period for our homeschooling family!

If you are homeschooling your littles (kindergarten and pre-school) I would love to hear what you do!

Linking up with Hip Homeschool Hop

Monday, July 15, 2013

garden progress

 

It is amazing to see the progress that is happening in the garden each week!  Emma and I are out checking every day to see what is growing, and what needs to be squished (mainly the cucumber beetles!).  There has been a lot of growth in this last week, or maybe everything was hiding and I hadn't seen it before, but I was happy to see it after being concerned that the bugs would be my downfall again this year.


I am happy to report that we have a lot of pie pumpkins and blue hubbard squash growing right now, as well as many little teeny baby green beans.  The zucchini is not as robust as I would like it though.  Everyone has always said to me "just grow one zucchini plant, that will be enough."  And for some reason I continue to listen to them, and it is never enough!




There are a ton of little green tomatoes on all of my tomato plants.  I can't wait to see those grow and grow, we are ready for fresh tomatoes!  Especially after we heard that the local business that we typically buy our tomatoes from was going to have to destroy its entire crop due to some sort of disease.  It just goes to show how fragile the food system really is.


A lot of my sweet peppers are growing, but the jalapenos seem to be only flowers at this point.  I would like the weather to be warm and sunny for the next week, I'm sure that would help the garden.  I'm kind of over the overcast, rainy, muggy weather we have been having.  If it is going to be humid, at least let it also be sunny!

Linking up at Clever Chicks and the Homestead Barn Hop

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Quotes


The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness.
~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Friday, July 12, 2013

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!


what i am eating



It has been incredibly cool here this past week.  I think it is so funny to see how the weather in Maine shifts.  Last weekend it was 95 and humid as anything, this week I am waking up to temps in the 50's and then it gets to the mid 60's by the afternoon.  With the rain and cold, I haven't been very motivated to cook.  We decided to do our regular pizza night a day early, and instead of making my own pizza crust, we decided to use english muffins.  A very quick meal, and easily rounded out with green smoothies!

My favorites from last week:



Now lets see what you are eating this week!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Unrivaled review


Falling in love could be a recipe for disaster.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell is the story of Lucy Kendall and Charlie Clarke.  When I originally started this book, I assumed that it was a romance.  To a certain extent it was.  More than that though, it was a story of the ruthless nature of the candy business in the early 1900's.  I never realized how competitive candy making was, then one of my readers reminded me about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I guess I never really based that book in reality though!

This book was really very interesting in the fact that Lucy had traveled all over Europe with her aunt and uncle, secretly trying to decipher a way to create a new candy that would bring her family's business back from the brink.  When she arrives home, she finds out things are much worse off then she ever knew.

Enter Charlie.  His father walked away from his mother and siblings when he was just a little boy.  All of a sudden his father wants him back in his life, and to help him take over a smaller candy business.

Charlie and Lucy meet and immediately are intrigued by one another, they are not the typical young man and woman for the time, both extremely driven.  There are a series of events that occur and both are incredibly malevolent in their dealings with the other's business.

The story seemed to end a bit abruptly for me, but overall I very much enjoyed this story.  It was a nice change of pace from the normal romance books that come my way!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in return for my review.  The opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

*not* knitting and reading


I completed a grand total of 8 rows on my shawl this past week.  And honestly, they were done yesterday while it was raining outside!  We had such a hot and sticky weekend that I couldn't even think about touching my yarn.  But, it has cooled off again, so I will be back at it today!  At least that is the plan.  I am really enjoying this pattern, however, I need to pay attention to it which is sometimes not the easiest thing for me to do.  I like patterns that I can memorize after a little while.  Probably, at some point, I will have this one memorized as well, but I think that is quite a ways off!


In the reading department, I am reading a lot of food books.  Two of which I have looked at before, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.  Both of these are really interesting reads.

I have cut way back on my meat consumption, so reading Nourishing Traditions now is very enlightening.  The reason I have cut back on meat is because I feel better not having it.  However, when we do have meat in our diet, I always try to get local, grass fed beef, or happy chickens, both from the Farmers' Market.  But, the recipes in this book are really awesome, and while I think a lot of people hear Nourishing Traditions and think meat 3 times per day, there are a lot of vegetable based dishes in the book.

Feeding the whole family is also a really great book.  Anything that talks about ways to make one meal for yourself and your kids is good in my mind!  I try really hard to have our kids eat healthy.  Lots of fruits and veggies, green smoothies, homemade yogurt; but often I will make them something different if they don't like what we are having.  Less so in recent months, but sometimes you just want them to eat something!

The last book that I am reading through for the first time is called Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman.  Talk about complete opposite from Nourishing Traditions!  I haven't read much past the introduction, but it is a book I have been really looking forward to reading.  This past year I have stopped eating a lot of things that I used to eat a lot of, mainly dairy and meat, and I feel a lot better for it.  I know that a lot of the reasons to make that kind of change are in this book, so I am interested to hear what he has to say.

Are you reading any new books this week?  Have you read Nourishing Traditions or Eat to Live?

Linking up with Ginny, Tami, and Nicole!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4th of July recap

We had a wonderful 4th of July holiday around our house!  Matt and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary (and 14th year of being together!) with lobsters and steamers.  It was delicious!  Matt realized after these many years of saying he didn't like lobster that he actually likes it - as long as I do all the work of getting the meat out of the shell.

The weather was gorgeous.  It went from cool, muggy and rainy right before the long weekend, to hot hot hot all weekend long.  We are back to cool and rainy now, but the heat was nice while it lasted!  We may not have been sleeping all that well, but we definitely enjoyed all of our time together as a family.

There was ice cream, running through the sprinkler, movies when the sun was too high for the kiddos to play outside, breakfast out at our favorite dive restaurant and general merriment.

This was the first year in a long time that we didn't have a BBQ.  I'm not sure why, maybe we were just ready for a little quiet.  But, it was nice nonetheless!

I also realized that we really should incorporate more long weekends into our lives.  I woke up so refreshed on Monday morning.  It was a definite change!  Maybe because I slept better Sunday night with a bit of a cool down outside.

Did you do anything fun for the holiday weekend?  

Monday, July 8, 2013

my garden in pictures









With all the rain that we have been having, and not much in the way of warm, sunny weather, I was incredibly concerned about how the garden would do.  My lettuce and kale have been doing wonderfully, but everything else seemed kind of stunted.  Well, this past weekend, we had some amazingly hot and humid weather.  The flowers are showing up all over the place now, and I hope that there is still time in this very short Maine summer to get some good vegetables out of the garden.

How are things growing in your garden this year?  

Linking up at the Homestead Barn Hop, Clever Chicks, From the Farm