Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meat Potato Quiche Recipe


This recipe is originally from an old cookbook of my mother's. It was a favorite when I was growing up, and I've since added a few things to make it even yummier. It's beauty might be in it's versatility-- it's perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. 

3 tablespoons olive (or vegetable) oil
3 cups coarsely shredded raw potato
1 cup grated cheese (swiss or cheddar)
3/4 cup diced/shredded meat (ham, browned sausage, cooked chicken--this is perfect for using holiday leftovers!)
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
sweet onion
frozen corn
red bell pepper
black olives

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Begin cooking meat (if needed). Once meat is cooked, add in onion, etc, and a dash of black pepper. Saute.
3) Skin and grate potatoes. Mix with oil and form to pie plate or skillet
4) Bake potatoes for 15 minutes (until lightly browned)
5) Layer in meat, veggies, and cheese over potato "crust"
6) Beat together the evaporated milk and eggs; pour over meat/veggie/cheese mixture
7) Return pie plate/skillet to oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes (until lightly browned and knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Bon Appétit! 


Adventure well; Live fully.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015: Little Things

One morning this week as I was wiping down the kitchen counter, I thought about a blog article I read recently, one that encouraged moms in the mundane tasks of daily living by reminding us of a passage from Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

I went back and looked for this blog to share with you, but it's already buried in my Timeline, so I guess you're just stuck with my reflections. 

Can you wrap your head around how blessed we are to know that these little things matter to Jesus? 

When I change a poopy diaper, I'm serving Jesus.  
Sweeping floors? Serving Jesus. 
Sitting still nursing? Serving Jesus. 
Putting a hot meal on the table? Serving Jesus. 
Washing clothes. Washing dishes. Folding diapers. Wiping counters. Wiping noses. Singing whatever song is the current favorite for the 38594th time. 

All of these things MATTER. My little needy son is "the least of these," and all these little tasks matter because I am fulfilling God's calling of raising this little boy. They matter because they are service-- service to my son and to my husband. It is humble work, and it is Kingdom work. 

Be encouraged, Mamas. I think today can feel a bit like the day after Christmas. There's no breakfast in bed, no sweet sticky gifts and cards, no flowers--just another Monday. But be encouraged. Our children may not always remember or know how to say thank you, but Jesus sees our humble, bodily-fluid-filled days, and He is blessed. 

Be blessed by His love for you. 

Adventure well; Live fully.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

DIY: Reusable Nursing Pads

You know, I think this has turned into a Mommy Blog after all. I'm more okay with that than I expected. It makes sense, I guess, our kids are awfully important, and we're all in this together-- Remember, it takes a village!

Here's another DIY for you:

Confession: I've never actually bought disposable nursing pads. I got some cloth ones from Amazon from the get go, and have been really happy with them. But I imagine that disposable ones (like disposable almost everything) are stinkin' expensive / that they add up. Even cloth ones were surprisingly pricey! And, since even washing them I still go thru what feels like 4739 per week, I figured there had to be another option. Of course--recycled receiving blankets!

1 flannel receiving blanket (you could also do this with approximately 1 yard of flannel fabric from your local craft store)
Sewing machine/thread
Something round approximately 4 inches across (I used a coaster)

DIRECTIONS (It's as easy as 1-2-3!)
1) Fold flannel in quarters then trace your round object with a pencil (I could fit 8 on mine).

2) Cut out circles thru all 4 layers. Put a pin in the center to hold them together.

3) Sew around the edges using a medium length zig-zag stitch.

Don't worry too much about being RIGHT on the edge (you can always trim them a bit), but do try not to stretch the fabric too much as you guide it. See in the picture below how the one I stretched tends to buckle more. Fewer buckles means it will lie smoother under your shirt. 


 (Maybe I should rename my blog "How to Sew Everything Out of Recycled Receiving Blankets"! haha!)

Adventure Well; Live Fully.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DIY: Cloth Wipes

It has been a long time since I touched a sewing machine...easily over a decade. But I found an old one in college and told myself for several years that I would clean it up and start sewing. But when I finally got around to it, I discovered that the bit that makes the fabric move was broken (boooo!). Enter Meg and her spare sewing machine. Huzzah! Meg was also the source of the hand-me-down receiving blankets that led to this project...

I'm cloth diapering our Jem--more on that in another post, but, basically, I love it! We're in a season of increased thrifty-ness and more careful stewardship (ie: I'm no longer working outside the home), so I realized we could save money if I also started using cloth wipes. But, YIKES those are expensive for what they are (fabric bum-wipers. C'mon y'all). Of course the logical leap at this point was to make my own. Yeah!

What you need:
1 flannel receiving blanket
(mine was a hand-me-down!)
Sewing Machine
(or the patience of Job to hand-sew these)

Step 1:
Cut blanket into strips
(approximately 7 inches wide).

Step 2:
Cut the strips into rectangles
(approximately 7x4 inches)
I just marked all these measurements with a normal pencil. It'll wash out soon enough.

Then you have a nice pile of wipes-to-be:
(my blanket made 36) 

Step 3:
Hem those suckers.
(I promise you can do this with minimal sewing machine skills. The thing I loved about this project was that it was no pressure. It's totally fine that my hems are wobbly and corners wonky. The important things were that, in the course of one nap time, I tried something (re)new, and I am saving $$.)

Look at you, you super crafty, super thrifty, super-hero mama, you!
Now pop those in a wipe box and
just add water! 

This is a gratuitous picture of Monte being a bit freaked out by and totally fascinated with the sewing machine. ;-)

It really is amazing how doing something new-ish makes one feel accomplished (as a mom, as a woman, as a person). 

Adventure well; Live fully.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup Recipe

Just in case you were wondering, it's no coincidence that both recipes I've recently posted are for slow cooker/ crock pot soup meals. I probably make a hearty soup about once a week-- it serves as our "staple" for lunches and quick meals, then I cook a few other things during the week that don't create so many leftovers. This serves two purposes: 1) convenience. A reasonably well balanced meal all in a bowl that's easy to heat up and eat quickly on busier days. 2) cost. These soups are money saving because they usually use frozen veggies and often broth from previous recipes, so I can get more food for less money, freeing up funds to make the other meals I cook a little nicer. Plus, it's nice to have at least one meal each week that is super quick and easy to make.

I wanted to go ahead and post this recipe because tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! And if y'all celebrate with Corned Beef and Cabbage (which I also make in the slow cooker, by the way), this is a great recipe to make with all the leftover broth. Also, to mention cost again, if you use leftover broth, then you will basically be able to make a huge pot of soup for the cost of dried beans and an onion. That's, what, $3? Cha-ching!

1 package dried beans (16 bean soup mix--toss out the flavoring packet)
4 cups water
6 cups broth (I used leftover broth from making corned beef and cabbage, but you could use chicken broth from the store, veggie broth, etc).
large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped (or about 1 tbsp dried)
2 medium bay leaves
black pepper

1) Rinse beans, then soak in 8 cups water for 4-5 hours. Drain.
2) Add all ingredients (spice to taste--I added about a teaspoon of each) to slow cooker. 
3) Cook on high for 4-5 hours (Until beans have just the tiniest bit of crunch left. That's what makes them hearty and yummy. Don't let the beans get mushy)

That's it. No joke. Easiest, cheapest soup ever? Probably! AND Hubster and I both loved it (and we aren't even that big of bean people). 

You could add some carrots and celery if you want a little more color. 

Bon Appétit!

Adventure well; Live fully.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mommy Blog: Daily Living

I didn't know it was possible to have a child and love absolutely everything about him.

(Hubster questioned whether I even love it when Jem poops. Don't get me wrong--I don't have some strange poo-love, but diapers reassure me that I'm making enough milk and feeding my boy well). 

Anyway. Everything. I love absolutely everything. 
First morning squeaks. 
"Ah goo, ah goo" as I change his diaper (I promise you this means "All good," even though my linguistics training tells me it's far too early for him to make meaningful utterances).
Wiggles, grunts, grins, and incredible belches when he nurses. 
Spontaneous, frequent, wonderful, ear to ear, toothless smiles. 
Giant, dramatic hand gestures. 
Coos, almost giggles.
Stretches, kicks, holding his head. 
Sheer delight at all his new discoveries. 
And, yes, even dirty diapers. 

Pre-Jemsy, I led a crazy-full always on the go life. I'm rather often asked what life looks like now. 

It's still full. But not so hectic. A beautiful blessing of nursing, that I totally didn't foresee, is the rhythm it gives my day. Every four hours I must stop, more or less, and just be. I do little things during this time--talk, read, day dream-- but the motion must stop. So what does a "day in the life" look like? 

Our daily living varies a bit, based on whether I have Zumba in the morning or discipleship in the evening, but, for the most part, it looks a lot like this:
In the early hours, I nurse briefly then put super cute cuddle boy back down. I then crawl back in bed myself while John gets ready for work until it's time for us to eat breakfast together. After Hubster leaves, I drink coffee, browse social media (that means connecting with all you cool-cats!), do little chores around the house, and shower before Jemsy wakes again. He nurses, and we cuddle, sing, read, and giggle. We take a walk with Mama Deb. We have lunch with Daddy, and then Jemsy takes a little nap while I putter in the studio, lining up my tasks for the afternoon. He nurses again, during which I usually read aloud to him from something like To Kill a Mockingbird (not so much because I think a 2 month old will derive great literary benefit, but so he can hear my voice and hear new words). He naps for several hours in the afternoon; I start dinner, then knit, paint, sew up seams, take pictures, and generally do the bulk of my creating and business running while he sleeps. John comes home and we eat. Jem nurses again while we catch up on our day. We spend time together as a family. Jem has his last meal then goes to bed with a round of "Hush Little Baby" and a whispered prayer still floating in his ears.

He smiled at me today during that early morning nursing when neither of us are really awake. It melts my heart every time. 

Mama-hood. A gentle refining. Someday, I know he'll teach me lessons in patience and self-discipline. But for now, the lessons are sweeter: rhythm, routine, slowing down, and so much gratitude. 

Adventure well; Live fully.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

(Slow Cooker) Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe

Welcome back!

I was thinking about this blog all morning, yet when nap-time came, it completely escaped my mind as I got lost in knitting and drafting a new stationery design. So many happy projects!

Without further ado, a recipe for yummy, comfort food, keep-me-warm-and-nourished-on-a-winter-day soup!

(Slow Cooker) Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe

Large soup pot (or slow cooker)
Large skillet
1-2 lbs ground beef (or turkey)
1 large bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 large white potato (or 3-4 red potatoes)
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion (or 2 small/medium ones)
4 cups beef broth
28 oz diced tomatoes
Sea Salt
Bay leaves

1) Brown beef in skillet
2) Chop onions and garlic
3) Add onions, garlic, and spices to beef. Stir and simmer until onions begin to become clear and soften. (A note on spices: I purposefully neglected measurements because I rarely measure them, a technique referred to as "throwing flour" by our friend Stuart. I tend to be passionate about garlic and stingy with salt. Season to your preference)

4) Dump the contents of the skillet into the soup pot or slow cooker.
5) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

6a) Soup pot: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally
6b) Slow cooker: Cook on low for 4-5 hours (until potatoes soften)

7) Serve with your favorite crackers, crusty bread, or pita

Bon Appétit!

Adventure well; Live fully.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mommy Blog: Unmedicated Waterbirth

Fabulous-- week 2 of being back at blogging, and I'm a morning late. In my defense, the yarn for my spring collection arrived yesterday, and I spent nap time (aka, Mama's Work Time) knitting furiously rather than blogging.

Besides, what better topic to talk about first thing in the morning than child birth, right? 

First thing you should know: I.hate.needles. To the point that, no kidding, my first reason for investigating unmedicated childbirth was to avoid needles. I remember talking about it with a friend of mine shortly after John and I got married, and she told me about another friend who had delivered her last child as a waterbirth. I was intrigued-- supposedly the waterbirth was a lot less painful than a regular unmedicated vaginal birth. I like water (a lot), so, hey, nothing to lose right? 

After John and I got pregnant, I started doing my research. What exactly does it mean to have a natural, unmedicated birth? What is waterbirth? We watched the Business of Being Born, and I was off in a whirlwind of learning everything I could about childbirth. I read mommy blogs; I watched documentaries; I devoured Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. What started out as a fear of needles quickly became a passion: God designed a woman's body to grow and bear children, and, while that process is marred by sin (resulting in pain, complications, etc.), it is a natural, beautiful experience. I'm not saying that every woman with a sound doctrine of creation must have a natural birth, but I did become convinced that 1) the fear women have of birth is a lie-- perhaps even part of the curse of sin. I would love for all women, however they choose to deliver, to be able to birth without fear. And, 2) unmedicated waterbirth was the best choice for me and for Jem. 

When people find out I gave birth without any sort of pain medication, they generally react some level of horror. When they realize that I did it on purpose, I'm pretty sure the general consensus is that I'm insane. Then there are some answers to common questions:

Yes, I gave birth in a hospital.
Yes, I would have (and did) accepted medical interventions that kept us safe.
Yes, Jem came out underwater. 

No, he was not in danger of drowning.
The tub was about 3 1/2 feet deep and 5 feet across. 
Yes, John was in the water with me (and, yes, he wore pants. (No, I don't know why that's a question either)). 
Yes, it hurt. No, it was not unbearable. 
Yes, I would do it again.

 More questions? Maybe I should start at the beginning:

Jem was due on December 18th. At my midwife appointment a couple of days before, I was slightly dilated, had my membranes swept, and was told labor was imminent. A week and a half of waiting later, on Christmas Eve, we thought something might finally be happening (Don't even get me going on all the false/early labor I had. Weeks and weeks of it. If you aren't sure if you're in labor, you are not alone. I was a wreck more than once simply because I was so frustrated by not knowing if it was time or not!). We had dinner with my parents and some friends; we went to the Christmas Eve service at church. By the end of the service (around 10pm), my contractions were just a few minutes apart. We had been at this point before (several times, actually), and the standard advice I had been given was to go to bed and see if the contractions kept going thru the night. But, no, I had done that and had them stop, and I wanted to have this BABY ALREADY. We ended up checking into the hospital at 1am where, of course, the first thing they did was convince me to take an Ambien to try to sleep (I had been awake for about 23 hours). I sort of slept, but it mostly just made Jem sleepy so that I spent most of my labor looking like this:

Once Jem finally woke up, though, they released me from the fetal monitor and let me walk around the maternity ward to encourage my contractions. Now, my contractions never became very regular--to the point that the nurse and midwife almost tried to send me home a couple of times, but then found that I was still dilating. Best I can tell, this and a couple other things were the result of me having soooo much pre-/early labor. My body started this process tired and was thus rather inefficient about the whole thing. 

After 18 hours in the hospital (it's now about 7pm on Christmas), my water broke just as we were ready to have it broken. This is when the fun really began. All of a sudden, those contractions HURT a lot more. Until then, I could close my eyes and breathe/ lightly moan through my contractions without too much trouble. All of a sudden, I was mooing like a cow from somewhere down in my toes. They took one more 30 minute fetal strip, the tossed me in the tub (for the second time. I had labored in the tub for 90 blissful minutes during the afternoon). As I started feeling pushy (aka, started losing my mind), I remember thinking, "Well, it's too late for drugs now." 

I pushed for a little over an hour before Jem was born. If John hadn't been in the tub, I likely would have drowned. Keeping one's head above water is not a high priority when mid-contraction, apparently. He held on to me and made deep, low sounds for me to imitate as I pushed. Mom and the midwife reassured me over and over again when I simply felt too tired to keep going. Yes, I screamed as he crowned, though the scream seems more etched in my mind than John's or Mom's--the focus of the moment was that head full of hair entering the world. And the next moment, he was with us!

We basked in the awesomeness of the moment for a few minutes, then John cut the cord and cuddled Jem on the couch while I was fished out of the tub and delivered the placenta. Here's the part about medical interventions I alluded to: because I had been in labor for so long, my body was more tired than it has ever been, and my uterus had trouble contracting down to stop the blood flow where the placenta had torn away. Basically, I had a moderate hemorrhage. While I wouldn't say I was on death's door or anything (they didn't even give me an IV, thank goodness, because n.e.e.d.l.e.s.), it was serious. I was given two drugs, one of which was a shot of pitocin, to help me contract (during which, Mama had to promise me ice cream to distract me. Did I mention I hate shots? She was good to her word and brought me a smoothie the next morning). I share this, because, for me, an unmedicated birth meant not being induced with drugs or receiving pain medication. I had no problem receiving medications (like the Ambien early in labor or the pitocin afterward) that were intended to make me as healthy as possible to take care of my baby. 

We had an amazing "golden hour" in the birth room before transferring to post-partum. At one point the midwife came in with a laugh and asked if anyone had weighed Jem yet. "No, but can we??" I begged. I had been told all through my pregnancy that I would have a small baby, "7 pounds, tops." (I gained 40 pounds while pregnant--I had some serious doubts that my baby would be so small). Sure enough, Jem was 8 lbs 15 oz, and I may have overheard a nurse or two express surprise that I, a pretty petite woman, could manage to deliver a baby of that size and not need stitches. I guess these wide hips paid off. ;-) 

The bottom line?
Birth is beautiful. It's earthy, messy, a "blow your hair back experience," and beautiful. 

Adventure well; Live fully.

(Note: None of the links in this blog benefit me financially in any way--I just wanted to make it easier for y'all to access some resources I found helpful.)

(Also, I'm young-- like 23, people-are-still-surprised-that-I'm-married-and-more-than-one-stranger-implied-that-I-was-a-teen-pregnancy young. That meant that my odds for an uncomplicated birth and easier recovery were really good. Always talk to your doctor or midwife to choose the safest birthing plan for you and your little one).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rebirth of the Blog

Hey y'all!

Wow, it's been awhile, huh? 

I spent November working in my shop which was absolutely wonderful. Now I'm trying to regain that momentum because...

Baby boy was born on Christmas! Jem is 8 weeks old today and absolutely wonderful (even if he does need 487 diaper changes per day. ;-) ). 

As you may recall, I took a blogging "sabbatical" because, well, I wasn't blogging anyway and felt like I needed to give myself permission to not worry about it, take some time, and come back with an actual plan. No joke, it took me this long to feel like I had enough ideas to confidently reenter the blogosphere without total fear of neglecting this space all over again. 

For now, I'm going to blog once per week on one of four topics: 

I really hope to "build up" over time as I get the hang of this thing-- it is, after all, about my adventures, and I have a lot of those, so I should theoretically have endless fodder, right? right... 

Please, please, please write in the little box below and leave a comment-- things you want to hear about, things you never EVER want to hear about, your latest adventure... Speaking of which...

Adventure well; Live fully.