Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

My friend Tina's husband and son.
Memorial Day. A day for bbqs and family gatherings and parties and the unofficial start to summer season for those of us in the south. Many people on this day are visiting the graves of their loved ones who lost their life protecting the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy every day. Dare I say, rights and freedoms we take for granted every day. I am just as guilty as everyone else in this. I just reunited with one of my best friends. I've known her since I was in middle school. Trust me, it's been over 20 years now. She's the wife of a serviceman. He's been in the military since he graduated. And he's just been deployed for another year in Iraq. Hearing from her and her pain at his going away, stresses to me just HOW much sacrifice goes into my freedom. Not just the sacrifice from the soldiers. But the sacrifice from their families. Children go without their parent for MONTHS even a year or more at a time. Wives and husbands separated by thousands of miles. And the desire to protect your loved ones tested every hour of every day because you can't protect them. They're protecting you and every person you meet on the street. No matter how they feel about the politicians, no matter how they feel about the situation, they go and they put their life on the line to make sure we get to enjoy our quality of life. And sometimes, it costs them theirs. It has to be heart wrenching to see your loved ones and know that it could be for last time. These people are a special breed of person. These people are strong beyond measure. And the least we could do is give our veterans, our serving and all their families a huge and heartfelt Thank You. And unfortunately, that cannot express the feelings that I have. I am not only grateful, I am heartbroken for those who have experienced that final goodbye, but I'm so happy and proud to in the country that I live in, and that there are men and women  and entire families that are as strong as they are.

So on this day, hug your loved ones. Hug them close. And when you enjoy your bbq and your beer and your self-censored tv/movies, know that SOMEONE had to give their life to make sure that you could still enjoy it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day and Good Friday and Easter on Sunday

This weekend is a busy weekend in the manner of major days. Today is Good Friday. This is the day that Christians all around the world spend reflecting on the death of Jesus and what it means to all of us today. It is also Earth Day. And Sunday is Easter. And since religion is deeply personal, Good Friday and Easter are not the subject of this post, though I do wish everyone a good Good Friday and a Happy Easter. I hope each and every one of you get to spend the time with family and friends and lots of laughter and love surround each of you.


Today is Earth Day. :) Today is a day set aside for those to think on this little planet that we live on and to think of ways we can make it a safer and healthier place for our children to live and their children after them. Some of the things that people can do today is go outside and clean up in your neighborhood. Or to plant some flowers in your garden. Start a garden if you haven't already. Don't drive anywhere today. Open your windows and enjoy the weather and turn off lights in rooms not in use. You can take this day to reflect on the things that you do that affect you and the environment around you. If you feel so inclined, stop using shampoo and conditioner and start using baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead. Integrate more glassware in your storage containers and start weeding out the plastic containers. If you're pregnant, seriously look into cloth diapering instead of disposables. It's VERY cost effective as well as Earth friendly. If you're in the market for a new lawn mower and you have a small yard, seriously consider a reel push mower. We have one and really it isn't that much harder than mowing with a gas motor, but there are less parts that can foul up.

Today it is rainy, so we can't plant outside or clean up in the neighborhood. We're not sitting here doing nothing though. :) We have our windows open, enjoying the cool weather and we have most our lights out. We have a little sunflower seedling that Lil Mr. V started last week that is almost ready to transplant. :) He's been really excited at seeing it grow. So maybe, we'll plant it tomorrow. We'll see how the weather holds up.

So, today have a Good Friday and while you're thinking of the sacrifices that Jesus made for our spiritual future, also consider the sacrifices we need to make for our children's future on this planet we call home. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Musings #2 - Food

Food is something no one can live without. Regardless of how much many of us would like to, without it, we die. It's . Just . TOO . Enjoyable.
Found @    
This causes many of us (myself included) over-indulge. There are websites dedicated to it. There are even channels....not channel but CHANNELS dedicated to it. So what's a person to do? Should we all follow Paula Deen and use copious amounts of butter? (don't get me wrong, my girl Paula has NEVER done me wrong on a recipe!) Or should we be eating a vegan lifestyle because it's more earth friendly and body friendly? Do we cut out the sugar and refined flours? Do we eat raw? Paleolithic diet? It's endless and it's a horrible cycle because you can't just end it. You HAVE to eat. So I guess we should break down what eating means.

For some, (and I'm betting it is a rare few) eating is strictly for fuel.

And for them, that's awesome. That means that they eat exactly what their bodies need when they need it. And they aren't tempted by one of Paula Deen's awesome pies. Soda's and HFCS never passes their lips. I truly wished I was one of these people. Well, kinda. I wished I wasn't SO tempted, and had less pleasure with food. 

Food is also related to too many other aspects of life. It's the one time in the day that MOST families can sit down and spend some time with one another and share their day and their plans.
Found @
Many friends and family gather around the table in the evening and they talk about how work went, how school went, there is prayer over food, and there are many times that's the ONLY time these people that live together actually spend more than 5 minutes with one another. This is also not to mention holiday dinners with the whole family. Our holidays revolve around when we're eating where so that grandparents get equal time with the grandkids and the times need to be spaced out just enough so we have room to eat at each and every location. 

Rarely do dates happen when there isn't food involved, or nights out with the girls/guys always involve food. Get togethers involve grilling and or finger fooding. Not to mention sodas/tea/beer/wine. 

So with this food based culture what's a gal to do. There's a thousand and one different diets, all promising to get you thin and to give your body precisely what it needs. Vegans say that eating meat is counter productive. Italians and Greeks swear by the olive. Some people suggest that the act of cooking food is in itself part of the problem with out food society, this takes us back to pre-cave man days before the invention of fire. Speaking of cave man, there's even a diet out about that. And if you're one of those Christians that doesn't believe that the Earth is over 6000 years old, there's a diet for you too. It's a Biblical diet. 

Now, when I go grocery shopping there are magazines telling me to cook this and others saying not to eat that. And really it's a huge muddle. 

I don't think that a body should exempt certain food groups. However, I don't think that we're focusing on the right volumes of all the foods. From everything that I've seen the food pyramid should be something like Vegetables and fruits and leafy foods at the base, followed by true grains, like rice, beans/legumes, barley, etc. On top of that there are fish, poultry, eggs, milk/yogurt, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil. On top of that should be red meat, pork, butter, cheeses. And at the top breads and sugars. 

I don't eat this way, but I ought to. It looks healthy and there's nothing left out. Now for me, breads and sugars have to come at the top because I'm predisposed to diabetes. My Gramma had it, her sisters had it (one from childhood), my Mom has it and I have PCOS.  Now for someone who has issues with their cholesterol they might want to bump breads and sugars down and move red meat, eggs, pork, butter and cheeses up. But I think for everyone the healthy base should be standard. Veggies, fruits, grains, healthy fats, the rest is tweaked according to specific needs. 

So, I'm going to try to have a meatless meal once a week. Start slow.  I'm going to try to get more of the fruits and veggies into my diet and less of the breads and sugars. Anyone else with me? (if anyone made it through such a long post.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tehachapi Sock Company-Knitting off the Grid

I follow a lot of blogs. Many are sewing/quilting related. Some are frugal/simple living blogs. Some are crocheting and knitting blogs. There are some blogs out there that speak out to me on multiple levels and the blog that I’m going to showcase today is one of them. I don’t plan on turning this into a regular feature, however, if and when I find other blogs out there that speak to me the way that this one does, I’ll probably showcase them as well. :)
Today’s featured blog is Knitting off the Grid. The blog is about this woman Kathy who loves to knit and has an awesome sock making machine and Cheryl who handles the business. But Kathy doesn’t JUST post about her knitting and her socks. She and her family also live “off grid”. This means that they don’t get their electricity from the utility company. They use a large wind turbine to generate energy, and they use a back up diesel generator when they need to. This blog talks about doing laundry and hanging it out to dry.

Cranking out socks on Doris, and features an “Ask Mack” on Friday. 

Monthly they give away a gift. It has been socks, but this month it is yarn and needles, so the winner can make their own. She’s had several giveaways since I’ve followed her blog. They also have an etsy shop where you can purchase some of these socks that Kathy makes. There are socks, scarves, purses, pillows, coffee warmers (think leg warmers for your Starbucks cups), and several patterns.
Now onto the interview….

How long have you been knitting?
This will shock everyone!  50 years and still going strong!!!!  My
daughter Cheryl is a non-knitter but helps to handle the business end
of everything.

How long has Tehachapi Sock Company been in business?
Cheryl and I started our little sock business 6-7-08.  That's easy to remember!

I know that the decision to go "off grid" is a personal one and it is
more than just your business, but how has going "off grid" affected
your business?
I think living off the grid has helped the business in that people are
very curious what it's like.  It actually goes along with how we make
our socks the old fashioned way without electricity for our machine.

What's your favorite "tools of the trade"?
Naturally I have tons of knitting needles because I hand knit, but our
prize "tool" is our antique circular sock machine that we've named
"Doris."  When we purchased the machine from Canada, I just knew that
she'd be able to hum and sing once we got her up and running.  So, I
named her after Doris Day!  The machine is somewhere between 85 and
100 years old and is a Legare 400.  It's known as the "work horse" and
capable of making thousands of pairs of socks.

One question I'm always asked is: “How long does it take to make a pair
of socks.”  The answer:  approximately 3 hours start to finish.

What would you advise to someone who's never knit before?
Try it and see if you enjoy it.  Many years ago I owned and operated a
small yarn shop and always told new knitters that knitting isn't for
everyone.  And that's ok - that's what makes the world go round.  But,
with the help from a fellow knitter and lots of encouragement, anyone
can learn to knit.

So, go visit Kathy and Cheryl and check out their shopI'm sure you'll find something that you enjoy or will want. :) These are two ladies that are not only being very crafty, they're also doing it in a more sustainable way. :)

**Disclaimer** I'm not being compensated in any way by the ladies at Tehachapi Sock Company. I just really appreciate what they are doing for themselves and for the environment, and I think they put out a quality product.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BotM #2

So, I've been a bad girl. I have had this block to work on since Feb. 19th. It's due to be seen on Mar. 19th. It's currently Mar. 16th. And all that had been accomplished before today was cutting out the blocks. I'll be honest, the thought of fussy-cutting the center out was daunting. However, I managed it. This morning, I was locked into the kitchen, waiting for my son to wake up. Unbeknownst to me, he wasn't feeling well and was sleeping off his bug. So, I sewed up two rows of the block. Then after his Dad got home this evening, I sewed up the other row and attached them all together. Now all that is left is the sashing, which I cut out tonight.

That's pre-sashing. Actually, you can see part of the sashing in the bottom corner of the picture. 
My little boy has some sort of stomach bug today. :( Poor thing was running a fever and everything. I'm glad on days like these that I'm not a working Mom. I didn't have to worry with finding a sitter because he couldn't go to daycare. I didn't have to worry about how he was doing while I was away working. I didn't have to worry with getting into trouble at work because I couldn't make it in because he was sick. Today, we just learned how to launch a duck and we watched some cartoons and we ate M&Ms and ice cream. 

Barb from Bejeweled Quilts has this awesome barn button on the left side of her blog. It takes you to an accuquilt go! site that will give you a $1000 shopping spree with their store if your design is chosen. Now, I'm not a designing woman. I am just getting started on quilting. I'm not ready for the design aspect. I really need to learn my sewing machine first. However, I do know that I have several friends AND family members who sew and design many things. And who couldn't spend a full THOUSAND dollars in the Accuquilt Go! Store? And Barb is an amazing quilter. You can see some of her stuff here and here and here.

Well, it is getting late and I want to finish my block tomorrow. 

Don't forget about Sew Lux's Pinwheel Stitch Along. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My quilty goodness friends....

If you have some charms/fat quarters/layer cakes that you don't have a gazillion of and you want something quick and cute to make out of these precuts, head over to Sew Lux  and join in on this stitch along. :) It is designed to work with those pre-cuts that we all love so dearly. :) 

I'm generally a scared-y cat about such things, but I'm jumping in both heels first. So we'll see how this goes. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New foods and movie

Mr. V has some weekends off. He works in a factory so there are some weekends (many weekends) he's working pretty much the entire time. He had this weekend off and we enjoyed a new recipe and a movie. Since we have a 2 year old, most of our family movies are animated or family oriented, and last night was no different.

So, we sit down to dinner with Spaghetti and garlic bread (doesn't sound so new, does it?) however this spaghetti has no pasta. I wanted to try out spaghetti squash and make a more healthy version of a popular meal. And we start the movie "Where the Wild Things Are". If you haven't watched the movie and you WANT to watch it, go on and stop reading because this is what I think on it and spoilers. Or skip the paragraph text and move on to the recipe for the spaghetti squash spaghetti.

Anyways, we all know how the book goes. I've always taken Max to be a little boy, 6 at the oldest. In the movie he's around 10, ignored and left ALONE a....LOT.  And when he acts out, instead of looking at herself (the mom) or the older sister (who LEAVES HIM ALONE), he's the one that's punished, (apparently the Mom never thought that he'd act BAD to get ATTENTION.) So he runs off and ends up in the land of the Wild Things. He becomes their king and is put in charge of making everyone happy (impossible task and doomed to fail and he does.) And when his best friend, Carroll, is unhappy with him and goes on a destructive rampage, he leaves to go back home. And Carroll understands his mistakes and makes it just in time to see him sailing off. Max ends up back home and eats supper. The end. The movie is depressing and really doesn't do the book justice. I understand that they have to take some creative liberty because the book isn't long. However, the beginning part irked me because of the obvious neglect, but the overall tone of the movie wasn't one of wonderment like you get from the book. It's just depressing because in this boys imaginary world he STILL couldn't please anyone. Shoot, not only is his reality depressing he can't even imagine a world without disappointment and depression. Ugh, needless to say, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I'm glad that they got the wild things right in the costumes, but the story just is blah.

OK, end of movie review and spoilers. Now onto the dinner.

Since I had never fixed spaghetti squash before, I didn't do much. Which made for a rather bland spaghetti, but that's ok, because I can make it much better next time.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

2 Medium Squash
1 Jar Spaghetti sauce (store bought or you can make yourself)
1lb Ground beef (chili grind)

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. scoop out seeds and strings and brush with olive oil and garlic salt. Turn flesh side down on cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour at 350°.

While squash cooks, brown ground beef and drain.

Add spaghetti sauce to meat and heat to warm.

Remove squash from oven flip flesh side up and let cool for a moment. After it cools slightly, I used tongs to pull the flesh out and put into sauce. Mix it up and serve with parmesan cheese on top and garlic bread.

Overall it was more bland than I expected, but I didn't use a very strong tasting sauce. I know to use a more robust sauce next time.