Saturday, November 29, 2008

Early Christmas!

Ever since starting this whole foods journey I have wanted a grain mill. I love to bake bread from scratch and having a mill to grind your own fresh nutritious flour is the ultimate! Grain mills are pretty darned expensive though, a decent one will cost you well over $200.
This morning I went to a sale at a local B&B and found this treasure...

...I thought to myself, surely it can't work properly if it's only
I took it up to the 90+ year old lady who was in charge and asked if it still worked. She smiled and said, "Oh yes! I must have made a thousand loaves of bread with that grinder!" She reassured me it was a good, solid machine (no cheap plastic parts!) and it even came with pure muslin bags for the flour!
It sounds as loud as a jet engine when it's turned on...but I don't care!

I found the owner's manual online: Lee Household Flour Mill

That sweet lady seemed genuinely happy that someone took her mill that would use it, and I'm thankful she had a mill to sell ('cause Santa wasn't going to be bringing me one this year!)

So don't be surprised if this year you get a loaf of homemade whole wheat, rye, or sprouted grain bread with your Christmas present
...and maybe a little pumpkin apple butter to go with it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Preparing our Advent space

Since moving to our new home here we have started the tradition of preparing our Advent space on Thanksgiving evening. It's so nice to have everything ready by the first Sunday of our new liturgical year!
The boys set up and decorated our Christmas tree. I have such fun just watching them fuss over all the ornaments. They did a spectacular job if I do say so myself, and I love to see the expressions on their faces as they gaze at the lights and sparkle...

Kyle set up the Nativity on our family altar. Baby Jesus is noticeably absent since Advent is a time of preparation for His arrival. A small tradition of ours is to place a basket of hay near the Nativity. For each sacrifice or good deed the children do they get to place a piece of straw in the manger to make a comfortable resting place for the Infant Jesus.

We have no fireplace mantel to hang our stocking we improvise!

I also set up a small reading niche by the tree so we can read Advent stories by the light. I'd love to snuggle up with the kids, a book and some hot chocolate...
if it ever gets below 70 degrees that is!

And of course we set up our Advent wreath. It's a little different than from seasons past. We made it the centerpiece of our dining table to keep us ever mindful of the true meaning of the season.

So "Happy New Year" to all our Catholic friends and family!
May we all have a fruitful Advent season!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Very Thankful...

Have a blessed day with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Our good friend, Linda, brought us some highly coveted raw milk on Sunday!
Ahhhh, this stuff is like liquid gold! It is so good for you and so delicious!

The milk is very sweet. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it tastes fantastic! Plus, all the enzymes, proteins, vitamins and butterfat (which actually PREVENTS heart disease) is intact and unadulterated.

I wanted to do something really special with my first gallon of raw milk. I debated whether to make butter or keifer with it and pondered endless recipes. I finally came to the conclusion that the best way to utilize it was just to drink it plain and enjoy its wholesome goodness!

Danny (and his mommy) send many thanks Mrs. D!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Airman Leadership School

Ryan spent the entire weekend at Airman Leadership School at Ellington Field. They spend their time in class learning about aerospace, CAP protocol, and lots and lots of PT and drills! When we picked him up Sunday evening he was exhausted, hungry, and quite smelly (3 days without a shower will do that to a guy!) He said he learned quite a bit and had a lot of fun. All I know is that it was a very quiet weekend without him!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What color are you?

Interesting...and pretty spot on, although I hate lime green!

you are limegreen

Your dominant hue is green. You're logical and steadfast, focused on figuring life out and doing what makes sense. You value being trusted because you know you're taking the time to figure things out and everyone should just follow you.

Your saturation level is higher than average - You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don't be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the html color quiz

Friday, November 21, 2008

Get your bake on!

I've got baking on my mind and thought I'd share some of the baking blogs I'm reading these days:

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My super talented and nauseatingly crafty sister has a blog that displays all of her quilling projects.
Don't know what quilling is? Check out her blog and leave a comment!
These paper crafts are truly works of art!
And I'm not pimping her work to score some of these treasures for myself...
I'd never do something like THAT!
Well.....yeah, I totally would.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Free lumber and slave labor

Our local hardware store discards wooden pallets free for the taking so we picked up a few and Doug and the boys set out to build me a bigger compost bin.
I had been using an old Rubermaid tub with holes drilled in it. It worked for a while, but it got full fast and was impossible to turn the compost over. This is the first bin, we'll need to head back to the discard pile to get some more pallets. I'd like to have three bins for the different stages of compost...and best of all, it cost us NOTHING!

Speaking of building, the boys have been sprucing up their clubhouse:

They spent most of their free time out here, they even dug a fire pit! They have decorated it and keep it cleaner than they keep their room. Kyle's been eyeing my pallets for scrap wood and we've been finding all sorts of projects you can make with this free resource:
Repurposing Pallets
Wood Pallet Projects
12 Creative Ways to Recycle Wooden Pallets (I want the chicken coop project from this one!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Obama is aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic."

"His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“ ~The Tower (newspaper of the Catholic University of America.)

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal.
We will know that garden,”

Hear excerpts from the good Cardinal's speech here:

Get Crackin'!

After hours of this...

I have enough for lots of THIS...

...but now my fingers and thumbs are all bloody nubs, it even hurts to type this.
Woe is me...maybe I'll just have another slice of pie.

Pecan pie recipe
Butter crust recipe

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Since the weather is turning cooler I thought a weeks worth of comfort foods was in order!

Monday: Potato soup with cornbread. This was on last week's menu plan but didn't happen due to a late night and chauffeuring kids!

Tuesday: Homemade chicken and dumplings.

Wednesday: Crock pot meatloaf served with collard greens from the garden.

Thursday: Not Your Granny's Mac & Cheese.

Friday: Easy quiche (sans meat since it's Friday!) subbing fresh spinach for broccoli and adding chopped sun dried tomato.

Saturday: Crock pot vegetable soup with cornbread.

Sunday: Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancakes.

Check out hundreds of other meal plans at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Estate sale finds

I headed out to an estate sale pretty early this morning and found some little treasures.
I got this lot of baskets for .25 a piece:

Then I found these sweet little napkins-a set of six for $1.50.
Who wouldn't love a basket adorned with one of these vintage napkins
and a little apple pumpkin butter, homemade bread, and Christmas cookies?

I almost overlooked this gingham tablecloth as was sorting through the table linens,
but then I saw this beautiful crocheted border and had to have it~

I also snatched up this handmade Christmas tree skirt. This yarn is the richest red I have ever seen! Someone worked hard and long on this project, I'll never understand how it could be tossed aside. It's definitely going around our tree this year!

I loves me some vintage pillowcases! There is something about the weave of the linen, it's much softer and thicker than the ones manufactured today.
These pastel colors will look so pretty on our bed!

And I don't care how ugly the yarn is, I LOVE these handmade afghans! Again, I just don't get how someone could throw these away?
I got them for a steal at $3 a piece!

Now I just need some cold, rainy weather and a cup of hot tea!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yarn Love

I gave Doug a little wink and a nudge and asked him,
"Hey honey, how about a little bootie?"

Then I gave him this:

If you'd like to get a little bootie too,
click here for the pattern.
And get your mind out of the gutter,
this is a family friendly blog!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The happy hooker

I cannot knit. I cannot crochet. Countless (and very patient) women have tried to instruct me but it does not compute. Ever. Several years ago I purchased a Knifty Knitter, I don't know what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was those childhood memories of weaving potholders on a loom...whatever, I wanted to make all those beautiful projects on the front of the packaging!

Now this I can do!

I was walking down the craft aisle at Walmart and saw a beautiful oatmeal colored yarn. It was rustic and organic and begging me to pick it up! I came home and dusted off the old Knifty Knitter (after I dug it out from the back of the closet!) and made Danny a little winter hat.

I can't sew for my boys, but this they'll wear!
Hey, I don't care that our winters here barely get below 68 degrees,
these boys are going to wear my knitted hats!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pictures you WON'T see...

I decided that we needed to go ahead and get our boys Christmas card photo taken now since Doug is pretty busy in December. We scoured town for some picturesque sites, of which there are tons, but as you'll see, the boys weren't so cooperative.
It usually takes a hundred shots to get one usable one with our boys,
and here's why:

Of course, SOMEONE always ends up crying!

Could they be more bored?

Ummm Danny, the camera is THIS WAY!

See those expressions on JP and Dan?
They are on 90% of the other photos we took!

The walk of the living dead.

Someone always gets hurt, don't ask me why!
Here, Ryan falls off the railroad tracks and almost sprains his ankle!

Putting the little ones in a tree...what the hell was I thinking?

Ryan: "OK guys this is the last of the pictures! Danny you stand here, and Kyle you...

Yes, taking pictures with the Creamer kids is super-fun!
Check back later in the week for the photo we were able to PhotoShop enough to send out to everyone this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's growing?

With the nice cool nights and recent rains, our fall garden has taken off nicely!
Last week I planted what I call the "salad bowl". It's not really a bowl, but a small raised bed where I planted lettuce seeds. You can just now see them breaking the surface:
It's really hard to space lettuce seeds (they're super tiny!) so I just took a palm full and scattered them in the row. I figure we can eat the tender little sprouts in "microgreen" salads until we get plants spaced like they should be!
And don't I sound all Food Network talking about microgreens and such?

The fall veggies are doing great! We'll be harvesting collard greens this week! You can harvest the outer leaves and the the plant will produce most of the winter. I'm going to have to find some different ways to fix greens or they'll probably be a mutiny!

I also planted some radish to go with our salad bowl! Radishes are the easiest thing to grow. They'll sprout wherever you throw them. Now I just have to convince the boys that eating them is a good idea!

Speaking of the boys...I had heard, "I'm bored!" for the umpteenth time and told them, "Go outside and grab a hammer and nails and build something!"
Well, they did.

They said they were building a clubhouse. I'm thinking more along the lines of a chicken coop or goat barn! It's actually very sturdy. I think I'll let them have their club for now...but come spring, mama may have other plans for new tenants!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Grilled chicken with almond wild rice.

Tuesday: Homemade pizza

Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup

Thursday: Artichoke spinach lasagna

Friday: Baked tilapia and collard greens from the garden.

Saturday: Baked potato soup with sweet cornbread.

Sunday: Spinach and potato frittata.

Check out hundreds of other great meal plans at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I *heart* Smilebox!

You've got to check out Smilebox! I love to do digital scrapbooking but lately I haven't had much time. With Smilebox, you have hundreds of beautiful templates to plug your pictures into. You can personalize the pages easily and uploading photos is super fast! Best of all, IT'S FREE!
Here is the first thing I did on Smilebox, it's a day at the beach from this summer:
Click to play A Day at the Beach 2008
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

All of this took less than five minutes to put together! You can enjoy them online, send to friends or family, even have them printed on high quality paper to put into scrapbbooks! I LOVE this site! You'll definitely be seeing more of these from me in the future!