Friday, November 30, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday - kid's clothes

The week of Thanks giving I did a huge amount of sewing, but I was too busy to blog about it.
For Emily Rose I made a pinafore and bonnet to match the green gingham dress that I made for her a while back. The pinafore is longer then I expected, so I need to take some tucks to shorten it so the green will show at the bottom.
There has been brown horse fabric waiting (for a couple years?) in my stash for when I could make her some horse pants and vest. I managed to make these without Emily Rose knowing it. She was really surprised and quite happy.

After making Forest the seal shirt I wrote about a couple weeks ago, I made him some matching tan pants. Then I saw there was still some fabric of each color left. I thought I might be able to make a pieced seal shirt for him. So I set so work: a seal back, tan arms, tan hat, the front was pieced from both fabrics with a seal pocket. There was a little more seal fabric left, so I cut out the seal faces and patched the knees on the pants, and backside where a pocket might have been, and on the ears of the hood.

This is how much fabric was left over. This was a really fun three for the price of two deals.

I also hemmed the sleeves of a knit sweater. You can see the tutorial I wrote about it here.

Shorten Sweater Sleeves

Have you ever bought a sweater, only to find that the sleeves are too long? You push them up, tuck them under, but they never work quite right. Sweater sleeves are almost always too long for me, so in the past I haven't worn very many sweaters. I've wondered how one could shorten them, had some ideas on how I could shorten them, but wasn't brave enough to try it, lest I ruin a perfectly good sweater. I've gotten my courage up this winter though, with all the reconstruction I've been doing of other clothes. I started with a second hand store sweater, that I liked, in case it turned out right. But that I didn't like so much that I would cry if it didn't work.
1. First I tucked under the sleeves, while wearing the sweater, adjusting them until they were just the length I wanted wanted them to be. I pinned them at that length, and then removed the sweater.2. Using an adjustable sewing ruler, I measured 1 inch from the fold, and cut off the excess.3. Remove the pins. Take it to the sewing machine and zig zag the raw edge. Be careful to not stretch the edge. After it is stitched, fold the sleeve back up one inch, then fold the stitched edge under and re-pin.
4. Thread a needle and hand stitch the hem closed.
5. Enjoy wearing your sweater with sleeves just the right size.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Tea Party Birthday for Emily Rose

Emily Rose is so blessed to have another birthday. We are so blessed to have her.

Here are some of the highlights from the birthday party.

Each girl wore a pretty dress and the apron we gave her. They brought their mother and a favorite doll or stuffed animal.
CeCe the kitten was the butler Forest was her assistant. They answered the door and politely invited the ladies into the parlor. CeCe was also the "doll" that Forest brought to the party. Even though Forest isn't a girl, he is part of the family, and got to take part in the party. He even consented to dress nicely for the occasion, though he couldn't understand why he should.

CeCe sat very nicely with some of the dolls and stuffed animals to get her photo taken. while we went off to play the first game of the party called Halt. I found it at a wonderful web site full of themed games for children's tea parties. It was an alphebet game where you had to think of items in five catagories that starated with a certain letter of the alphabet. We chose categories sligtly different then those suggested by the web site to fit the interests of the girls: flower, fruit, color, place, song. You earn points for having an answer different from other people.Next we played Musical Teddy Chairs, with directions on the same web site. Instead of the children sitting on the chairs, the doll or stuffed animal sat on the chairs. CeCe cooperated and did a good job as Forest's teddy cat.

The third game we played was a relay race with little bowls of beads. You hold your doll with one hand, and scoop beads onto a spoon with the other hand. You move the beads to a bowl on the finish line, then give the spoon to the next player on your team. It took four moms to keep up with the spilled beads that had to be moved back to the starting line bowls.
We had two crafts. One was to cut out an old fashioned paper doll and her dress. I thought it was appropriate that she was holding a doll in her arm.
The other was to make sachets.Each child put some lilac scented potpourri into little squares of purple sparkle netting that was secured with ribbon. They got to take home their own sachet to sweetly scent their drawers.
Then it was time for tea. Each girl was so sweet and polite at the table without being reminded. There was a place card for each person. Everyone had a different pretty tea cup to sip herbal tea or fresh apple cider if they preferred. The tea was my homemade blend with spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, chamomile, nettle, red raspberry and hibiscus, Emily Rose tried to choose a tea cup for each person that they would especially enjoy. We served delicious Thumb-print Almond Date Cookies, a platter of red grapes and Mandarin orange sections, and cucumber slices topped with Sunflower Almond Pate'.

The birthday mini cupcakes were a success. They are called Impossibly Delicious Gluten Free/ Vegan Cupcakes. We only put 1/3 of the sugar in the frosting and they were delicious. We flavored both the cup cakes and the frosting with orange extract. What a yummy treat. They have more oil, sugar and processed foods in them then we normally use, but I guess I call it the birthday exception.

Happy Birthday, Emily Rose. It's a joy to be your mother!

Sunflower Almond Pate'

Sunflower Almond Pate'

1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds
1 clove raw garlic
1 /4 raw onion, chunks
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, cut in large pieces
1 carrot cut in small pieces
1 tsp raw ginger, grated or minced
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive or flax oil
1 - 2 tsp dried basil

Whiz in your Vita Mix or other strong blender (or maybe food processor) until very smooth, almost fluffy. This will take some work, because there isn't much liquid. Use an accent decorator, or large frosting tip to squirt some pate' onto a slice of cucumber. The tiniest size of ice cream scoop also works, but isn't quite as pretty. Make a lot of these because they go really fast.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In Memory of Hunter

Two days ago our neighbor called to tell us that they found our big kitty, Hunter, dead in the road. Oh, there has been so much sadness in our house. Emily Rose and Hunter were such good friends. She faithfully made sure that he had food and water. She got to see him be born. He came to her when she called. He would sit beside her and knead his paws on her leg. If she was laying on the floor, he would wuzzle her hair and purr. He was such a loving comfort for her on hard days, but now he is buried and her heart has been broken. Tears flowed freely for hours. In August we got a new kitten, and she is Forest's best friend. When we first got her, Hunter would have nothing to do with her. He hissed at her occasionally, but never hurt her. Eventually they started sniffing noses. And then less then a week before he died, they were finally friends and we found them sleeping together. CeCe has lost a friend too.

To keep our memories of Hunter fresh, I thought I would share some photos from his life.

Hunter as a newborn in June 2004 with his mother Windy and his siblings, (left to right) Muffin, Licorice, Gravy Cake, Hunter, and Stripes.
The kittens on their first adventure in the yard when they were about four weeks old. We set up a play fence for them, and they had a wonderful time. Hunter is the second kitten from the left, eagerly looking out from the middle.
With a little help from Emily Rose, Hunter got to climb a tree for the first time. As Hunter grew older, he started becoming more independent. He liked to sleep on the top shelf in the garage with the camping supplies. Fearless Forest devised a way to visit him one day. Hunter was king of the garden path, terror of the local rodents, and rival of the neighbor cat, Pokey. But he was a gentle as could be with his people. He loved a good prowl, and a good nap.

And here he is last Christmas Eve. As the Christmas song says, "Sleep in heavenly peace", Hunter.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Drink Your Greens - Lemon Drop Smoothie

If I don't make a definite effort to keep getting greens into my body every day, it is easy to forget. There are lots of good foods which are fine to eat, but they don't have as many important nutrients as greens. I can really feel it in my body when I eat more greens. And if I start forgetting, I start to suffer. Before I started eating them all the time, I really didn't know how much they could help a person. But now I know they are the most important thing a person could eat.

So, to help us all start eating greens more, I'm going to post a favorite green recipe. It may look green, but it is a fresh vibrant green. And it doesn't taste green at all. My husband has named it "Lemon Drop Smoothie". Because that is what it tastes like.

Lemon Drop Smoothie

2 - 3 large Fuji apples or other sweet apples, washed, cored, cut in large chunks
1 - 2 cups of cold water
1 large handful of washed fresh parsley
3 - 8 leaves of romaine or other dark greens
1/4 of a washed lemon, flesh and skin, minus the seeds (The skin is important. It is what makes it taste like a lemon drop. It is full of nutrients.)

Place it all in your blender jar and whiz it until it is smooth. A Vita Mix can get away with less water. A regular blender will need more water, and it will help if the apples and lemon is cut in smaller pieces. Pour into elegant glasses and enjoy the best breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack you could ever drink. Serves 4

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Plant Based Thanksgiving meal

Happy Thanksgiving! We've had a lovely day. Friends invited us over for lunch and we enjoyed a lovely meal of nutritious plant based food (Gluten Free Vegan). There was no turkey in sight. Only the millet loaf, the pineapple sweet potatoes, and the apple pie were cooked. Everything was just delicious! Every one ate their fill, and no one felt heavy afterward.

Here was what was served.

-millet loaf
-festive loaf
-pineapple sweet potatoes
-gingered cabbage
-romaine and veggie salad
-cranberry orange relish
-apple pie

I made the romaine salad, the cranberry orange relish and the festive loaf. I got the recipe for the festive loaf from an raw food holiday ebook at Nonie Shannon's website.

The Cranberry Orange Relish is my own recipe, adapted from what I used to make that had orange jello in it.

Cranberry Orange Relish

1 bag of raw cranberries
1 - 2 raw oranges, peeled, cut in chunks
1/2 cup ground almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup honey

Pick through the cranberries and throw away any that aren't good.

Place cranberries and orange in the food processor. Pulse until desired relish consistency. Be careful to not to process too smooth. Pour into a serving bowl and mix in nuts and honey. Serve.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday - Party aprons, fleece shirt

I have been sewing this week. There is another birthday party coming up in our family, and it is going to be an old fashioned tea party. I've never made so many things for birthday's before. Usually I shop at a d*llar store and just buy part favors. This is taking more work, but I think it is going to be more meaningful to the children that come.
With their invitations, each girl will receive a homemade eyelet apron, to help them anticipate the party. They are instructed to wear their nicest dress, and bring their favorite doll or teddy bear, along with their mother. We will play parlor games and make old fashioned crafts. And of course we are going to have healthy treats and tea.

I've finished 4 aprons and have 3 more that just needs a waist band and ties.

One of my frustrations as a mother is finding shirts appropriate for a wholesome boy. Most of those available in the stores are either very plain or covered with evil, violence, fiction, or sports. Forest loves animals, and I would love to have animal shirts for him to wear, but they are hard to find. So I have started trying to do what I can to make shirts for him. I am thankful that one can still find nice fabric with natural themes.

Last year I made Forest three fleece sweat shirts and matching solid pants. Two had tropical fish, and one had puppies. They have been his favorite clothing all year. He has grown and needs some new ones now, but my pattern didn't go any bigger. I had to search for a new pattern, which was difficult, because all the fleece patterns have zippers in them. If there is a zipper, he thinks it is a jacket, and doesn't wear it as much. I finally found a pattern that would work though. It has the required hood. It didn't have a big front pocket though, so I made one from my old pattern, just a little bigger.
The new pattern has contrasting short and long sleeves. I wasn't sure how that would work, but it was easy to just not make the short sleeves. I have fabric for tan pants. And more fleece for a couple more sets. He is going to have a warm and happy winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Leaves Sailing on the Wind

Monday we had high winds that rattled the windows, whistled down the stove pipe, and upset anything that could be moved. Winds like that do happen in our area every year. The rattling and noise can make me tense. But I get so excited when they happen at the right time.

Raking leaves can be fun, but I can't seem to keep up with our row of huge trees. Some years, it seems that just when there are more on the ground then I can keep up with, then a heavy rain comes making the leaves even more difficult. But some years are different, and this was one of them. Some years the rain doesn't come until after the wind comes and blows them all away. Really! There are hardly any left in the trees and not enough left on the lawn to worry about now. The ones that are left will turn into compost for the health of the soil. And I haven't raked once. Yippee! The wind did the job for me sailing those leaves far, far away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Baptism of Emily Rose

This weekend, our precious daughter was baptized as Jesus was, by immersion. We are so happy, as her parents, that she wishes to live her life with Jesus as her all the time friend and Savior.

After church friends came over for lunch and a special blessing for Emily Rose. I allowed her to choose the menu (haystacks and apple crisp), and to do the inviting of the people herself. About 25 of her favorite people were here, most of them adults that have special meaning in her life. Ten family members from out of town came an spent the weekend with us.

When lunch was finished, we gathered everyone together. I had earlier given them a chance to use paper and stickers to make a little card for Emily Rose with an affirmation, blessing and or Bible text on it. At this time everyone had a chance to share their thoughts with Emily Rose, and then she got to keep the cards they made for her.

On Thursday my husband and I had written out a prayer of blessing for her, printed it out and framed it. In Bible times people such as Abraham and Isaac blessed their children on their death bed. We have decided that we wish for our children to walk in the blessings of the Lord all their life, so we decided to take this opportunity to make a formal prayer of blessing for her. We placed our hands on her, and my husband read the prayer. Next we gave her a symbolic gift, a nativity set, to remind her that Jesus wants to be born in her every day. A friend gave her a little lamb to go with the set, and a wooden stable to place it in. She said that sometimes when she feels like her life is hard or bad, she remembers that Jesus was willing to leave heaven to be born in a dirty rough stable. So she takes courage that Jesus would be willing to be born in her too.

At the end of the day, at tuck in time, I asked Emily Rose about her feelings concerning the day. She said, in a quiet, awe filled voice, "It was special." And how does she feel after the day? "I feel loved."

It was good, so very good.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Homemade Gluten Free, Dairy Free Pizza

I've learned to live with out Pizza Hut, though it used to be one of my most favorite places to eat. Most of the time I don't even think of pizza anymore. I feel better then I did in high school and college, and have lots of other delicious foods that have taken the place of bread and cheese. Still once in a while it is nice to eat pizza. I thought I'd share my crust and sauce recipe, just in case you too need a gluten free, dairy free pizza.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Makes 3 or 4 - 12" to 15" crusts

2 cups Sweet rice flour
2 cups sorghum flour
2/3 cup potato flour
2/3 cup garfava flour or garbonzo bean flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch
2 TBSP GF baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Italian seasoning (or a combination of oragano, basil, rosemary and thyme)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cup to 3 cups water

Oil your pizza pans. Preheat the overn to 400F.

In a mixing bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the oil, and then slowly start adding the water. If you use a Kitchen Aid or other mixture, just keep working the dough until it is workable and not too sticky, but not dry either, then turn the dough out onto a floured board. If you don't use a mixer, turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until it is the right consistency. Divide your dough into 3 - 4 balls, depending on the size of your pans. Take one ball and roll it in brown rice flour. Cover your clean hands with brown rice flour. Place your ball in the middle of an oiled pan. Start pressing the dough flat. Push and press until it covers the pan. If you develop a sticky spot. Sprinkle just a tiny bit of brown rice flour there, and keep working it flat. Don't worry about how the dough looks, because it will soon be covered with sauce and toppings, and you won't be able to see that it isn't smooth.

Bake the crusts for around 10 - 15 minutes. Now you have a choice. You can either wrap the crusts in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer until you rare ready for pizza, or you can top them and bake pizza right away. Either way it is delicious! Once you add the toppings bake another 20 - 25 minutes.

Homemade Pizza/Pasta Sauce

1 29oz. can of tomato sauce
1 29 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 tsp Italian herb seasoning (or a mixture of orangano, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
2 tsp basil
2 tsp garlic powder or equivalent of pressed garlic
4 tsp turbinado sugar or other sweetener
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix. That's all. Spread on pizza crust or heat for pasta sauce. Make a smaller batch if you don't have a large family. Yum! Very flavorful!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Carry Some Quiet Around in Thee

Moss Covered Maple
Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain forest

Carry some quiet around inside thee.

Be still and cool in they own mind and spirit,
from thine own thoughts.

Allow God to turn thy mind to Him
from whence cometh life.

Thus you may receive the strength and power
to face all life's storms and tempests.

-George Fox, Quaker pioneer

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hoppin' Fun Frog Birthday

Every birthday is such a blessing, not to be taken for granted. Life is a wonderful gift, and not everyone has it for long and not everyone one has it abundantly. We are so glad to celebrate another year of life for our son. We are so blessed to have him as a member of our family. We are thankful for his health, energy, enthusiasm and joy. We pray that he will grow as Jesus did, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in "wisdom, stature and in favor with God and man."

Birthday day cakes are a challenge for me. I have never learned how to manipulate Butter Cream frosting into beautiful designs with just a little pouch and an assortment of tips. But since we have changed what we eat to "food as grown", the challenge is even harder, because we are not using margarine of any kind or powered sugar anymore. I tried a new recipe for both cake and frosting. It was called Better Banana Cake, but I think it would be better off in loaf pans or muffin cups. The frosting recipe I used didn't match the flavor of the banana cake. It was cashew based, and thickened with potato flour. It was lumpy and strange. I tried to color it with blue berries, but it turned out to be a gray purple. I remembered what a Biology professor I know told me, that there is very little in nature that is truly blue. I think he is right. Blueberries are purple. But what color is water anyway?

When we served the cake, each guest got to choose one of the little frogs to keep, to the great delight of the boys. The girls were more timid in the choices. (We invite whole families to birthday parties, so we have plenty of adult supervision, and siblings of all ages present. It makes for a really nice time.)

When the party guests arrived, each received a pair of "frog feet" (fleece slipper socks) in their own size. The girl's were colorful hot pink "jungle frogs". The boys were mottled green tree frogs, with a green print that coordinates with the purple print that I used when I made my first try at slipper socks. It took a little time to make them all, but each guest seemed to really enjoy them. I really wish I would have lined them all up and taken a picture of the froggy toes. But as you are sure to understand, it is a challenge to get froggies of any kind to line up in a row and hold still.

Forest requested those tall candles that are a bit like sparklers. They shoot out little sparks as they burn, which are quiet exciting to a little boy. They are hard to blow out, and are quick to relight themselves. Forest was able to get all of them out, except this one last one, and we dipped it in water to finish it off.

For the meal we served gluten free and dairy free pizza, salad and a fruit plate. I made the crust and the sauce from scratch. The "cheese" was Vegan Gourmet Brand, a rare deviation from our avoidance of processed foods. We made one pizza without cheese for those who would rather go without. One pizza didn't have any mushrooms or onions. All of the pizzas had all the veggies we could put on. My favorite pizza topping now is broccoli, chopped very fine. Yum!

For games we has an a froggie metamorphosis obstacle course. Part one represented the eggs, which can move or do anything, but if they could, they would likely roll. So summer saults were performed from point A to point B. Next we thought of those little tadpoles hatching. They have no arms or legs at first they just wiggle along with their tail wagging behind them. So the tadpoles had to wiggle across the ground trying to reach their destination. It was difficult, so as they got closer to me I told them that little arm stumps were starting to grow, then one little leg stump. Then the arms grow longer, by the time they arrived they had all four arms and legs. Next I know the new little froggies would be hungry and needed some practice with insects. So I gave them each two little plastic bugs to try throwing into a tall plastic container that represented the frog's mouth. They could do it up close, and then step back and try again to see how far away they could stand and still get bugs in the frog's mouth. Now that the frogs had full tummies they were ready for some hopping. We played leap frog with a girl's team and a boy's team. What fun! There was no competition to see who was the winner. It wouldn't have been fair because we had kids of all ages and sizes. It was fun just to do things together as friends, enjoying each other's company.

Before and after the game time we allowed the children to have some free play time outside. This was Forest's desire, as he always longs for kids to come over to play. It was so nice to see the children getting along happily. All the kids involved are homeschooled kids and are used to playing with kids of different ages and genders. They are all wonderful kids. All in all it really was a wonderful birthday.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sewing Every Day of the Month

My husband gets excited about open source software, programed for the benefit of all people and not just the profits of one company. I get really excited when people post sewing tutorials on their blog for the benefit of all their readers, rather then keeping their creativity and skills to themselves.

Sew Mama Sew has gathered the best of the best sewing tutorials and has organized them into a topic a day for the month of November, all for the benefit of our holiday sewing and gift giving. If you like to sew, you will really enjoy the whole month of ideas. You can access their blog here.

Friday, November 2, 2007


These little guys are busy! The nights are frosting and cold weather is coming.

I'm busy too. I don't have any nuts to gather, but if I'm not careful, I might start chattering at my people too much.

Company is coming Saturday. The guest room needs to be uncluttered. It seems this room becomes the place to put things when guests aren't here. And it is where I fold the laundry.

There is a frog themed birthday party needing organized for Monday. Or*ental Trading Company didn't send the little plastic frog flashlight key chains I ordered with some froggie plates and napkins. Instead they sent 144 tiny black plastic compasses! Now I've got some re-planning to do.

The kids and I are singing at church. We found a sweet song about the boy Samuel learning to hear God's voice. The song is a new challenge for them because they are going to take turns singing melody while I sing alto on the verses. Then on the chorus we are going to each sing a part. Forest will have the melody. I will have second soprano, and Emily Rose is learning the alto part. It is a challenge but I think it is going to turn out good. It is so much fun to sing with my kids. When we get it right the harmony is so sweet.

We bought a third (used) freezer this summer to hold all those peaches we brought home. Well, the bad news is that it is having problems already and last week we found the bottom shelf all melted! I was sick inside. We started looking for a new freezer, but haven't found what we are looking for yet. So today I need to pull everything out of our other two freezers that doesn't have to be there, such as nuts and dates, flours and grains, and then move everything that is still good out of the third freezer into them. I think I'm going to have buy a new freezer soon, if I can figure out which is the right one to buy. This is the second freezer I've had go out on me. And neither were very old. One was a Kenm*re and one was a Fr*gidaire. I'm looking at Ama*na and Mayt*g now.

I have done some sewing this week, but I'm not going take the time to post pictures. I made some more slipper socks. Seven pair to be exact. I remodeled a beautiful rusty red shirt jacket from Christopher and Banks to fit me. The cuffs had to come off. And I took 1 - 2 inches in on the side seams, curving it a bit to make it more fitted. And took in 1/4 to 1 inch on the sleeves. I really like the jacket now. I think it will go well with many things I own. I shortened a black and white, heavy cotton, plaid/checked jumper. With adorable ceramic buttons that have a red rose theme. Each is different. The funny thing is the buttons are just sewn on, and there are no button holes. I'm going to add button holes so I can unbutton to put it on. Then I can take in the side seams and make it just a bit more fitted. I think it is going to be a comfortable, fun dress to wear.