Tuesday, December 28, 2010

At a Farm Near You!

This picture represents the amount of factory farming in the U.S. OH.MY.WORD! Awful, right? Not because factories are bad and not because farms are bad, but because most factory farms are not producing good food or treating the animals they're raising for it well.
SO...here's where you can be responsible about what farms you support! :) There's this great resource on the Food & Water Watch website where you can search according to your zip code and it will bring up all the CSAs, health supermarkets, and a bunch of other stuff. I put a 50 mile radius from my zip code this is what came up. Six CSAs (and yes, Victory Acres is on there), a bunch of farmers, 7 restaurants, 3 co-ops, 17 stores, 19 farmers markets, an orchard, a brewery, and even a B&B that cleans their furniture only with natural lemon oil and handcrafts their bathroom amenities with organic ingredients and essential oils AT the B&B. Isn't that cool?!?! I found some awesome new stores and restaurants that I didn't even know were super close to our regular stomping grounds. SO excited! 
And the website is....http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Christmas Eve with the Smiths

Every year we spend Christmas Eve with my side of the family, we usually do some sort of brunch or lunch at my parents house and exchange some gifts there and then move on to the extended Smith family at my Grandma Smith's house. I think the way my grandma decorates for Christmas is awesome! She puts a tree in every room of her house and often has themed decorations for them. When I was little she would transform her china cabinet into Santa's House, complete with Santa snoozing upstairs and Mrs. Claus knitting in her rocker in the living room. Since my grandpa died about 8 years ago (wow, has it really been that long?), I've gone each year to help my grandma decorate. I LOVE IT!
My mother is more intentional about traditions than Tevya, and it made my Christmases growing up magical and special. I have no idea how she never forgot a tradition, and if she was ever tempted to "not do it just this year" she didn't succumb to it. It was beautiful! One tradition that we still participate in with them is opening pajamas on Christmas Eve and taking pictures in front of the tree (which we help decorate). 
Below are some of our pictures from our fun times this holiday with the Smiths.
Elliot and his Emmy

Christmas tea...of course!

Putting a hook on the Noah's Ark ornament...or as Elliot calls it "a zoo on a boat"

Sisters and Joy

Elliot playing with his "people"

Helping with pumpkin cake...race cars are necessary when stirring

My hubby...isn't he just a hoot!

Ev & Beth

Cousins at Grandma's #1

Cousins at Grandma's #2

Me, Elliot & Cousin Madison - HUGS!

New guitar!

Elliot's gift to his grandparents this year! - SO FUN!!!

The Sibs + Elliot

My favorite men!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Creations!

This Christmas I made my award-winning "Christmas Calabaza Cookies" (they won the Christmas cookie competition at work - ha!), honey vanilla caramels, lotion bars and bath ornaments...which I dubbed "Bain d'Ornament." Yes. Cheesy, I know! Here are the pics and recipes! :)

Christmas Calabaza Cookies
Dry Ingredients
1 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour (just started using Bronze Chief and LOVE it...chemical & GMO free, slowly ground to maintain a low heat, keeping in tons of protein, vitamins and minerals)
1/4 milled flaxseed
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
Wet Ingredients
1 c raw honey
1/2 c butter softened
1 c pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
Glaze
2 c powdered sugar
3 T milk
1 t vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil. (This is a "pro-tip" that my hubby has been asking me to use for awhile. If you line the sheets with aluminum foil, you can immediately pull all the cookies off the sheet at once and the foil cools almost immediately, so the bottom of your cookies don't get any browner. Plus, virtually no clean up.)
SIFT dry ingredients into a large bowl.
BLEND wet ingredients in another bowl until smooth.
COMBINE (slowly) the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.
DROP by the tablespoon onto cookie sheets.
BAKE for 15-18 minutes.
COOL for 5 min.
MIX glaze ingredients above and DRIZZLE over cookies.
ENJOY!

Honey Vanilla Caramels
(yeah, just realized that I can't find this recipe anywhere! Basically, I just replaced the corn syrup with raw honey from a local farmer. I figured, why not fight allergy instead of cause them. They were pretty tasty too! :))


Luxury Lotion Bars
(note: lotion bars can be made with equal parts of just about any wax, butter (shea, cocoa, mango, kokum, etc.), and oil (olive, avocado, sweet almond, sunflower, etc.) I'm looking forward to trying many more combinations in the future)




3/4 c filtered beeswax
3/4 c virgin organic coconut oil
3/4 c organic unrefined shea butter
18 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops ylang ylang essential oil
10 drops geranium essential oil
7 drops patchouli essential oil

MELT beeswax in a double boiler, add in coconut oil and melt, add shea butter and melt (shea butter should be heated just to a "melted" point, otherwise it can become grainy).
REMOVE from heat and add in essential oils.
POUR mixture into silicone mold and let cool. Then pop out and rub it all over! (Elliot loves his "Christmas Tree" lotion)

Bain d'Ornaments




1. Pick up some glass ornaments from your local craft store...or ask a friend to do it for you. :)
2. Gather ingredients - I used (in order of layers) citric acid, french green clay, baking soda, powdered yarrow, epsom salts, and lavender flowers
3. Craft a funnel out of piece of paper if you don't have one small enough for the ornament opening. (I was actually thinking, I might pick up some of those free paper funnels at the gas station just for these sorts of purposes)
4. Add your ingredients in layers

Isn't it pretty? Now you can just dump it into your running bath water and feel all wonderful!

Our Christmas Letter

From our most recent family portrait session!

This year we sent out our Christmas letter electronically. You can view it here if you'd like - http://evangilmore.com/xmas2010/

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goat Cheese

You can find my recipe for kefir cheese here and my butter recipe here is on here somewhere too. Today I tried my hand at goat cheese. One of our neighbors gave us some fresh goat's milk about a week ago. I used some of it to make soap, and then didn't know what to do with the rest. So I checked out Little House in the Suburbs (love them!), and they had a recipe for goat cheese. I adapted it for my purposes, but they have some good pictures you can check out.

Goat Cheese
1 quart goat's milk
1/8 c lemon juice (you can substitute vinegar)

Salt or Herbs to Taste

1. Heat milk on medium until it's between 190-200 degrees.
2. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.
3. Allow to curdle and cool until it isn't too hot to touch.
4. Line bowl with cheesecloth.
5. Pour curdled milk through cheesecloth and tie ends onto a spoon like in the picture above. Make sure there is a little room for your cheese to hang so it's not touching the bottom of the bowl.
6. Let hang for a few hours. For harder cheese refrigerate overnight.
7. Add salt and/or other herbs to taste.

For me, this recipe yielded about a pint of cheese and a pint of whey. I'll be using the whey in soup or bread or something.

Yummy Delicious Whole Grain Pumpkin Bread

(we ate a couple pieces :)
Yummy Delicious Whole Grain & Honey Pumpkin Bread
6 oz pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
1/3 c coconut oil
1 c honey
2/3 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c oat bran
1/4 c ground flax seed
1/2 t baking soda
1 t pumpkin pie spice (1/4 t nutmeg, 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/8 t ground ginger, 1/8 t ground cloves, and a pinch of allspice could replace this)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bread pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, egg, egg yolk, coconut oil and honey.
3. In another bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, oat bran, flax seed, baking soda, and spices.
4. Sift dry ingredients.
5. Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until just mixed.
6. Pour into bread pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Children and Home

Magnet letters, crayons, handheld instruments, blocks, balls, and animal toys. Little blankets, stuffed Super Why characters, Little People nativity set, and extra small washcloths. Sippy cups, varicolored spoons, Hot Wheels, and little socks. All evidence of the little boy that lives in this house.
I realized while cleaning my house today that every room has messages that would communicate to any stranger that a child that is living here. There are also many messages that communicate to a better trained eye that a child is being intentionally lived WITH...loved here. While this made things a bit complicated when trying to set up my living room and kitchen for company, the moment I realized that this boy has not only invaded my heart but my home, my soul swelled with contentment and a fullness. This "soul swelling" has occurred many times since I've had Elliot, and it always happens when something strikes me as incredibly lovely and true about my relationship with him that I then realize is also incredibly lovely and true about my relationship with God.
As I put the Thomas the Tank Engine placemat in the corner of the kitchen while I set the table for tea, I thought about my home - our home, and the place I desired for it to be. A home shared by three people in which we feel hurt and peace and freedom and love. A home where everyone has a place, where everyone belongs. A home where messages are left. A home with rooms and songs and pictures and socks and toys - "I am here." A home where uniqueness is celebrated and creativity is fostered - "I am special." A home where we provide for, talk to, and pray with each other, "I am loved." A home where all this is possible because God is there and His Spirit never leaves.
So now at the end of the day, I look at the board books, palm tree computer mouse, flashlight, purse, and socks on the floor of my living room and think, "Wow! Look at those messages. How beautiful! I'm home. I'm here. I'm special. I'm loved. And I live with a man and a boy that are the most special and loved things in the world to me!"
And then I wonder, "What does God's house look like do you think?" Can you imagine how beautiful it must be?

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 
- 1 John 3:1
"Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
- John 14:23

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Before I'm 30 Bucket List

Last November, I created a "Before I'm 30 Bucket List." Here's what was on it...
1. Travel to Europe
2. Visit 3 new states
3. Become conversational in another language
4. Start an organic/natural health and beauty company or some sort of nutrition/planning consultation
5. Become debt free except for student loans
6. Enroll in Ph.D. program
7. Have an in-home Bible study
8. Pray every night with my husband and son
9. Maintain a healthy lifestyle of good diet and exercise (4x a wk)
10. Establish an aggressive professional track or leave IWU.


Half of these have either been done in the past year or are in progress. I'm going to take #6 off the list for now and add the following...
11. Write & Publish a children's book on uniqueness & God's love
12. Buy a house and make it into a home
13. Stay home at least part-time
14. Volunteer regularly
15. Take a stained glass and/or pottery course


I'm sure I'll have more to add soon! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elliot wants Food!

Elliot has been sick and weird for the past three weeks. Three weekends ago he was vomiting like a man...seriously 14  times in 5 days! Then he had diarrhea to completely get over that. Needless to say, he didn't have much of an appetite that week and my main challenge was keeping him hydrated. Then last week we had some emotional stuff and daylight savings time which I think threw him off because he was waking up at 3:30 or 4:30 three nights of the week. This meant that mommy, daddy and Elliot were very tired. Finally, we thought we had everything back to normal and he started running a fever last weekend. It lasted three days! We went to the doctor and his white blood cell count was low so they thought he had a viral infection, but they want us to come back in another week to get his blood tested again just to make sure his count is going back up. This mommy is trying not to worry because he seems to be doing better now. His appetite is finally coming back which was my final concern. However, he has been rather picky.
For example...after one of his long naps this week he woke up and called for me. I came in and he snuggled up to me and said, "Mommy I yuv you. I wan some food!" I was more than thrilled to hear this so I asked, "What would you like bubby? What kind of food?" He responded, "Wellll, I like two yoyipops! A wedd one an a gween one!"
Two lollipops...he was even specific about the color. Two lollipops it is! At least I've got the Yummy Earth ones! They are great! I think I might start looking into how to make my own from honey or something. :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Skipping Stones on Walden Pond


Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
         Withstand the winter's storm,
         And spite of wind and tide,
         Grow up the meadow's pride,
            For both are strong
Above they barely touch, but undermined
         Down to their deepest source,
         Admiring you shall find
         Their roots are intertwined
            Insep'rably.
-Henry David Thorough, excerpt from his poem Friendship

On my trip to Boston last week I was able to take a morning and visit Concord and Walden Pond. Let me just say the entire thing was incredibly surreal and beautiful! We hiked a trail all the way around Walden Pond and were able to see where Thoreau's cabin had stood. The fall colors were incredibly beautiful and basically, I stood on the edge of the pond skipping stones thinking, "This is SO STINKIN COOL!!!" I wanted to sit the cove and write a poem but as Thoreau says, "My life has been the poem I would have writ, 
but I could not both live and utter it."....at least I hope that's the case. :)
Where I stood and skipped stones, I got one to skip five times!!! :)

Other cool things that I was able to do in Boston:
  • Go to the International Leadership Conference and hear some great speakers, scholars, etc. on leadership. By far the best talk was given by Jeff Schwartz, the CEO of Timberland on "moral capitalism." His basic point was that making a profit and doing good/creating social change are not antithetical notions, but rather that they depend upon each other to happen.
  • Walk Freedom Trail
  • See the Old North Church (one if by land, two if by sea)
  • See the Old Meeting House (where the Declaration of Independence was written)
  • Eat at some GREAT places (Lucia's on the north end Italian district, Mike's Pastry, b.good, CafeTeria, a little seaside cafe in Rockport for fish & chips)
 Minute Men Park
Old North Bridge
And Minute Men Park, this is where the "Shot Heard Round the World" was fired, starting the Revolutionary war. Oddly enough, I thought it would be an awesome place to get married.
Thank you SO much to Kristy and Bill for making this an awesome trip! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Da Pirates and a Jungle Expedition!

So...I totally think that regardless of whether you "do" Halloween or not, we need to have a fun dress-up day for kids where they get treats. I'll be out of town next weekend, but since we're not bound to celebrating Halloween as a holiday, I'm thinking I'd like to get dressed up and go to pumpkin patch or orchard and have some of Elliot's little friends over to play. I found this giraffe costume at Old Navy that looked like it was going to rock, but THEN Elliot discovered the "Pirates that Don't Do Anything." Evan found this awesome ship-book-thing at Tree of Life and Elliot LOVES it. So this last week, at least three of our nights were spent playing pirates with our pirate hats.
Then fall break started and so did our spontaneous fun and jungle expeditions. Enjoy the pictures...
 Pirate Elliot & His Guitar
 Mommy Pirate, Sedgewick and George
 Pirate Elliot is ignoring Pirate Mommy
 :)
 Fall Toddler Feet
 Playin on the Slides ("on with the story" - Elliot)
 I tried to take about a dozen pictures of us together in the woods, and this was honestly the best one...pretty sad, huh?
A very brave Elliot traveling through the "jungle" on an "expedition" (yes, he used both of those words)
After braving the first expedition, the jungle warrior celebrated his victory and boldly headed back in declaring "a jungle esspedtion adinn!"

I love this boy!

Freedom...

I haven't been posting lately, because I've been busy and have not been particularly inspired about much of anything. Fall is actually a pretty rough time of year for me, and while there are numerous blessings that come with it, I still have not been able to figure out how to connect with God, connect with people, and balance my life in a way that is healthy during this lovely autumn season. However, having gone through this several times before, I think I am starting to see the signs earlier and recognize that I need to focus on things and people outside of myself to truly remain "Alive, Radiant, & Free" during this time of year. 
I've been reading "God Came Near" by Max Lucado...and loving it! And I've also been drawn back to my passion for showing people the bright and permeating love of Christ that has been provided to us to set us free! In revisiting this topic, I have been encouraged as Jesus shows me anew the intimately personal yet infinitely boundless love that He has for me. I've also been realizing how much of this freedom stuff requires a paradoxical balance between the grace of God and my own personal responsibility.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery." 
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."
Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

Here are some ways that I am trying to fill my mind and my hands and our home with excellent and freeing things.
One of my co-workers recently welcomed a new daughter-in-law into his life, and at the center of her work and passion is Freedom 424. I think she and I would really get along and I would love to see her branch out and bring some of her work to Indiana. I'm in the process of contacting her to see what we can do to help. Check out the video of her work...It's just a few minutes long, but I promise you will be inspired by what someone my age(ish) can accomplish with creativity, passion, and the Holy Spirit. Christine went to Thailand (among other places) and was overwhelmed by the bondage that young girls in the red light district faced there. After talking with her father, they realized that it would cost $24 to "buy" one of these girls for a night, in which they are able to share the love of Christ with them and give them opportunities to get out of their current situation. It is truly touching and something that I would like to get involved in.
On a similar note, I'll be hosting a party at my house in November for Women at Risk International. You know those Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Premier, etc. parties you can host at your house? Well, unlike those parties, the host does not get any special gifts or discounts. BUT...we get to have a good time and help women caught up in human trafficking around the world. WARInternational is Christian non-profit organization based in Michigan and has so many practical ways that you can help change the world from your living room available on their website. One of those ways is hosting a party in which you sell goods made all over the world by women who have been rescue from the sex slave trade or are at risk of entering into it. Check it out and let me know if you'd like to come!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some Pictures

 Elliot gave me a flower!
 On a milk pail
 Riding a Steam Engine like Thomas
 :)
MY BOYS!!! I LOVE THEM!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Somma dat"

So...This morning Elliot wakes up asking for Bob the Builder, belly buttons and bubbles. I have no idea what this all means and he is very frustrated that I am seemingly so dense. We watch Bob the Builder and he settles down quite a bit and enjoys cuddling on our couch (our new-to-us-leather-couch!!!). Life is good.
I ask him if he wants any breakfast. He says "no, I watch a show." Okay, I'm going to return some Naturally Free emails. I go in the kitchen. Five minutes later, Evan comes in and grabs some pumpkin candies off the counter (his purchase, not mine). I say, "what are you doing?" His response is, "Elliot wants one."
Oh really? The child has had no breakfast! We're fantastic parents, can't you tell? So we get Elliot some breakfast, he wants bananas, raisins, and IKEA biscuits. Sounds good to me!
Fast forward two hours....Evan has gone to work and Elliot are on our way home from the CSA, where we have just picked up our beautiful, organic, local vegetables and honey. We get in the car and I ask Elliot what he would like to do for lunch.

Elliot - I have somma dat!
Me - You have some of what?
Elliot - I have somma dat, pweez!
Me - Some of what?
Elliot - I have somma dat cannie cone!
Me - Where do you see candy corn?
Elliot - White dare! (pointing to the floor)
Me - Oh dear. No. I don't think so bub!
Elliot - Mommy, where da sheep go?
Me - I don't know. Where did they go, bub?

Two questions for you: 1) how in the world did candy corn get on the floor of my car? I don't buy candy corn. I suspect, this was a "daddy purchase," because it was suspiciously tucked in between the seats and spilling onto the floor. 2) Since when did car floor candy corn become an acceptable lunch? I was willing to take the kid to get McDonalds (which is disheartening enough), but really? He would prefer somma dat car floor candy corn. Great!
And so my confidence in my parenting skills wanes as I realize that I am not that different from my husband. I grab a piece of candy corn (from the package!) and hand it to Elliot. "Tank you Mommy. I loves you so much! You wondaful." he says.
And my reliance on God's grace to cover my flaws as a parent and a person grows greater each day!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to Ev!

My husband turned 27 today! He's amazing, and I am so glad that he is here...you know, that he was born. :) What's crazy is to think that at this point I have known him for almost half of his life! What's even crazier is to think about how in 27 more years we will still be together and it will be really difficult to remember parts of life without each other. I am excited for that though.
Evan says that today was an "epic" birthday! :) I enjoyed it a lot too. First, he went to IHOP with Joe and Elliot while I went to a tea breakfast at my boss's garden (awesome!). Then we all headed down to pay a visit to Mama Gilmore, which didn't last too long before we headed off to our next stop --> Stillwater Float. The guys got to have a flotation therapy experience, while Elliot and I hit up Barnes & Noble and PetSmart. The flotation therapy is supposed to be excellent for people with chronic pain or stress and the guys said it was definitely very relaxing.
We then went to The Journey - a great prime rib, chinese, and sushi buffet on 96th Street. Even Elliot ate a great lunch there. After that, we set off for Fry's and got a couple goodies for the birthday boy there. And then we proceeded to head home in a torrential downpour!
Finally safe and sound in our home, we enjoyed a great time with pound cake, berries and custard and opened gifts with family. Evan and Joe wrapped up the day with a new Futurama episode and now my dear husband is assembling his new grill in our kitchen.
As I look around my home, I see a crayola keyboard, paper plates and plastic cups, birthday cards on the mantel, and books on the floor - the vestiges of a day very well spent!
Happy birthday, babe!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

RAW Milk

Well, we're doing it! We just bought our herd share and received our first gallon and a half of raw milk yesterday. We joined a dairy farm in Decatur, IN....Pasture's Delights. The owner there took me on a tour of the farm. I got to meet the Ayrshire cows that I'm getting my milk from and walk through and by some of the fields where they graze. They have a great FAQs section on their website here and here's another site with some info. You can also find a ton of information just by searching for it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Tea Time Treat

I found a GREAT local treat! Carolee's Herb Farm is right outside Hartford City, just about fifteen minutes from my house. They have a huge lavender field and you can go and cut your own bunches of it. They have a beautiful little shop and butterfly and hummingbird gardens, as well as TONS of plants for sale. 
So I went on my birthday with Elliot and we cut some lavender. Then one of my favorite couples came over and had tea with us on yesterday and we were able to have some lemon lavender scones. You can find the recipe at Baking Obsession. I was able to replace about 1/2 cup of flour with whole grains and coconut milk kefir instead of buttermilk. The dough was pretty sticky in comparison to other scones I've made, but the finished product was delicious!

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday special, especially my husband and bubby!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Great Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

I must say, these cinnamon rolls that I made this morning were GREAT! They were my first ever cinnamon rolls and they were probably the healthiest I have ever eaten. I'm not saying they're healthy per se, just comparatively healthy when set up next to your traditional gooey cinnamon roll. We used raw sugar, coconut milk, whole grains, etc. So here's the recipe! Have fun!


Recipe adapted from AllRecipes Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup ground coconut
  •  
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (you can make your own raw brown sugar by putting raw sugar in a food processor and adding molasses, little by little until it is the color and texture that you want)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the coconut milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and salt; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm. Mix flours and grains together in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cup flour mixture; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in oven on low (170 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 45 min.
  4. While dough is rising, melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with 1/2 cup pecans; set aside. Melt remaining butter; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup pecans, and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into an 18x14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered; sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at long side, tightly roll up (start in the corners and work toward the middle while rolling then work out toward the corners and back in; be sure to roll tightly), pinching seam to seal. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. With a piece of thread, cut into 15 pieces (pull thread under the roll and then wrap around and pull tight to cleanly cut the piece); place cut side down, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then flip onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from the pan onto the rolls.

YUM!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

To Catch Up

After not posting for awhile, I feel the need to catch up and then hopefully I can be a bit more consistent about this blogging business. Because, you know...I do enjoy it and it is one of the few ways that I keep track of what has happened.
SO. The past few weeks have been super busy and incredibly fun! Let's start with the end of May, shall we? Over Memorial Day weekend we were able to go on an extended weekend vacation. First we went down and visited Mama and Papa Gilmore. The two days with them were filled with fun things - such as, visited to Grandmother Gilmore's to herd baby ducks, swimming and train rides (definitely doing that again!). Then we went on up to Winona Lake for a couple days hosted by our great friend Joe. Fun things included geocaching, tubing, ice cream, and boating (with Elliot saying "woohoo" for most of his first boat ride and being very concerned about people falling off the tubes for most of his second boat ride - he kept saying "Hepp! hepp!" because we were supposed to help them if they fell off...obviously!) Then we went a little bit farther up to Goshen and visited Prairie Trail Herb Farm to get some lavender!!! So fun! They had a plethora of lavender! We also picked up some patchouli....why? Because they had it, and it's cool. THEN! They had this health market right across the street where we were able to pick up a bunch of cool herbs for SUPER cheap, with which I made my first herbal tea! And it was actually good!
The following week was filled with Naturally Free prep to get ready for our first little festival at Stream Cliff Herb Farm. Let me just say that if you have never been to this place, you should DEFINITELY go! It is absolutely beautiful and we had great success there!
That was also the week of our first CSA pick-up! I LOVE our CSA....Victory Acres. And I've found a great website that helps me know what to do with all the stuff I get there. Check out the Crisper Whisperer on SeriousEats.com.
This last week was Evan and I's anniversary week! It's been three years and he is still aMAZing!!! We kind of did a bunch of fun things throughout the week to celebrate, which was nice because then we didn't feel like we had to make sure to get everything in all in one day. I have some beautiful roses still blooming on my kitchen table...and a spa gift that is calling my name! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My People. The Church.

An old college friend, whose blog I often stalk, posted this the other day. It spoke to my heart because 1 Peter is like water to my thirsty soul. I LOVE that book! There are also some verses that the author mentions that are part of a passage that is one of the dearest to me in the entirety of God's Word.
Though my experiences are different, I resonate with this person's heart and hope it is a blessing to you. You can find it at www.therunamuck.com.


To the church-sick christian

by AMBER on APRIL 20, 2010
in CHURCH
I so often write about my desire to go home to Alabama because sometimes I miss my people, but the truth is that, no matter where I am, I’m the sore-thumb kind.
I thought I had found my people when I started going to church camp – all young, bare-footed, with braces and bangs, singing four-part harmony. We sounded good together, but it turned out, they weren’t my people. Nothing we said we believed seemed to stick.
I thought I had found my people when we shared the wailing music, when we wrote our names in sharpy cursive on red plastic cups, and held each others’ hair back when the rebellion sicknesses set in. I thought they were my people who stayed up late in the night discussing sex and freedom, abusing our bodies just so we could be together, so afraid of Alone.
I thought my people were mostly white. I thought we were middle class, beautiful, young, and artsy, but I was wrong. When it really comes down to truth, I was wrong.
“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” ~1 Peter 2:10
I am only really a part of the people of God, and even then I’m called an alien, the sore-thumb kind, a wayfaring stranger, but too, a holy priest from a royal nation, chosen and belonging to God. And why is that so? Why am I so different? Why ought I be? And why must I claim this screwed up bunch of folk called “believers”?
It all has to do with how dark it is behind us and sometimes in us. I’m a people with you running toward the light, and I can’t avoid it anymore, you and I, our spirit names summoned, Beloved and Beloved. We have to go together on purpose. We’re the church.
I need you, church. I am same as you, church, sick as you, saved. Now would you with me declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His wonderful light? Can we not run from each other anymore? Let’s go together.
You are my people.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Plant & Yard Love

I'm so excited to be starting a garden again. Hopefully it will be more successful this year than last. This will actually be the first year that I'll be able to take care of my yard and garden from beginning to end, so hopefully, not as much of it will be damage control and more of it will be actually enjoying the work of our hands.
I've tried occupy the garden with plants that I will not be getting from the CSA this year. It has cooking lavender, thyme, chives, mint, basil, parsley, yellow bell peppers, dark chocolate bell peppers (those just sounded really cool), super sweet cherry tomatoes, and lemon apple cucumbers (those sounded the coolest of all). I also got some snapdragons for mothers day that are looking beautiful in our yard, along with the poppies and wildflowers that Elliot planted about a month ago. I've got some chamomile and lavender that I started from seeds, but from what I've read, those could take two years before their established and ready to plant outside. We mowed, mulched and planted outside this weekend. This week I'm hoping to trim some of the stuff back by our trails in the woods and start to make those pretty. I bought a citronella plant to keep the mosquitoes around our sun room at bay. To complete our outdoor fun, Mama and Papa brought us a firepit and we got some tiki torches this weekend. Now we just need to see if we can find room in our budget for a small grill. I'd also like to get some lavender...a lot of it actually. Did you know that lavender is a natural ant repellent (it also repels deer, but that's not a real problem for us right now)?
NOW a couple links I just have to share with you.
#1) There is the AWESOME looking place in Commiskey , Indiana (down by Columbus). It has a tea room, a winery, gardens and a bunch of workshops and classes. They also have these candlelit dinners that sound amazing! Check out the Historic Stream Cliff Herb Farm.
#2) There is this WAY cool natural air purifier called "ANDREA." It was invented and manufactured in France and has won all these different awards. But basically, you put a household plant in it and with a fan and some water it forces the air through the soil, roots and leafy part of the plant to naturally purify your air! I just wish it were less than $200!!! (gag) Still worth checking out though ANDREA Air.
#3) Did you ever wish you could have plants on your walls instead of just in pots? WELL...if you did then this is a site for you, cause you totally can with WoollyPockets.
#4) www.naturallyfree.net.....THAT'S RIGHT! We have a functioning website up!...with a store and everything. But you must promise that if you go there, you will not pass judgment on the site too quickly. We're still working on it, but I wanted to share it with all of you so that if you want to see what we're doing or what we're selling, you can!

I hope you're enjoying this spring season as much as we are!

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