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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn Along: Birthday Sweater and Test Knitting


So, I have four days to be completely finished with this sweater for Elijah. I'm starting to get a little stressed about that. However, it shouldn't take me as long on the second sleeve as this one did, because for some reason I had the wrong row count and was trying to figure out the rate of picking up sts for that wrong number and had to redo it five times before I realized what was wrong. Even though Elijah is 13 today (!), I bought myself some time to get this finished, because his party isn't until Sunday. I've called this a Weasley-ish sweater, as it is more fitted, rather than baggy, since I had just enough yarn for it, and I used the font for the text from the film rather than what was shown on the sweaters in the film.

The test knitting and final editing of Saint Helena is complete, and the pattern should be available on both Nimblestix and Ravelry in the next day or two. I'm formatting the pattern with photos and uploading the description to both platforms. This makes me rather excited, and I hope you are, too! I will post the links on the blog and in my sidebar once they are live.

Nothing has been heard yet about my submission that was just sent, but I did get my contract and proof pages from Storey for the Little One-Skein Wonders book which has a publication date of August, by the way. That was super exciting! Though, I have to say, both Rich and I were thrown a little that the model baby was blonde rather than brunette. Not that they have any reason to try to choose a model that looks like our children, and it is possible that the child was actually one of the employees' children from the publishing company. It was still a surprise to us, for some reason. We pictured Saint Catherine of Alexandria on a dark haired child. But I want people with all sorts of children to buy the book, buy the pattern, and knit it up for their children and their friends' children. I do love this little design, and think it is a great layering piece for small people. Right now I am working on two design projects, one for submission to Knit Picks for a collection they plan to put out next year, and one for me to self-publish. Speaking of which . . .


I'm looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next month or so. I should have the pattern ready in a couple/few weeks. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. This is a bit more complicated than Saint Helena, being knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

I entered a contest on a fellow Yarn Along-er's blog some weeks ago and won! I won two soaps from her Etsy shop, and because I liked them so much, Rich encouraged me to order some candles from her as well. Two of which are now in our candlesticks on our icon shelf. I should get a photo of that. My package arrived the Friday before Amira's birthday party, which was also the weekend I was working hard to get my submission to IK finished, and we had extra kids staying with us, so I just never got the pictures posted here. I did want to share with you how beautifully Lisa packaged them, and how wonderful they are in themselves. Go buy lots from her shop!




The sweet pea soap smells so good! Rich claimed it right away. He says he will share it with me. I have given the gardener's soap to the oldest kids to scrub themselves when they come in from working or playing outside. As I said, the candles are set apart to use on our icon shelf and prayer wall. Thank you Lisa for your generous giveaway, as well as for your lovely products!

As for reading, I did finish A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family. The closing chapter contains probably the best apologetic for large family life that I've read. I still have mixed feelings about the book because, although I learned a lot of different ways to manage different challenges that come up in a larger family, and gained perspectives that helped me, she still ends up promulgating a worldly view about family size that I just can't get behind. It is not her fault, and I doubt it is on purpose; I'm sure she either has some ignorance or misunderstanding about the orthodox Christian understanding of reproduction and married life, but it was still a little sad for me to read it from someone who is also a Christian, especially since that message is already so pervasive in our culture. It's just another voice expressing what the world says about children and family size, and adding piety to it.

Three things that struck me were: her way of looking at the cost clutter has on a family, in terms of cost per square foot per year, based on home size, and rent/mortgage cost; the prioritization of teaching our children into building relationship with them, teaching them the idea or skill, and accomplishing the task or concept; how large families, rather than making people less aware of the limited resources in the world and the necessity of sharing them and using them wisely, teaches up close, every day, about that, as children in larger families don't expect their desires to be satisfied at the expense of others, immediately, or even all the time. It just can't happen. They learn, quite personally, that they are not entitled to every whim or wish. Even if it is a good one. Large families already know that the idea that they use more than their fair share is ridiculous. There are numerous studies that show that bigger families have a smaller environmental "footprint" than the average family, and especially two household families that are created because of divorce. However, this was another charge that I have heard leveled and while I knew it wasn't true, her perspective on why it wasn't true was good. Our kids cannot have or do everything they want, or at least not when they want it.

Elijah's birthday is a prime example of that. He came to me with a LONG list of games and foods for his party. I took it and talked to him and said that if he wanted all of that, his party would have to last a lot longer, and in order for me to facilitate it, we'd have to push his party to a week or two after the Paschal feast. He was open to negotiating on some of the games and foods, and we came to an agreement that would permit him to have a party this weekend. There were no tears or angry outbursts. Our children learn that we cannot provide everything for them, that they need to have realistic expectations, and that they need to participate in receiving or attaining the things they want. And that is a beautiful thing that will prepare them for adulthood and independence that is not selfish or oblivious about the needs and wishes of others.

We're still reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter together and I'm still reading Christ in His Saints. I wanted to finish this book during Lent last year, so maybe I can for this Lent.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Menu Plan: Fifth Sunday of Lent - Passion Sunday


Have you ever had a week (or more) when you felt like you were behind before you even started? That's kind of where I am right now. I'm trying to get back on track, and still prepare myself for Holy Week. But, it is spring now, which is the most beautiful time of year here. I love summer, and I love the sun and the abundance of produce and fun things to do in the summer, but it isn't nearly as green and lovely as the spring is. Sometimes I think we might not have thought as highly of this town had we come to visit it in the fall, winter or summer, instead of Rich having his first job interview here in the spring.

We had a lot of chiles and cilantro and things like that to use this week, so a few of our meals are Mexican style. I think I only have one repeat this week, and that is because I had forgotten that we had an event on Saturday night that made it too challenging to make the meal I had planned and still get other preparations done. I always try to follow the Eastern rules for Holy Week, with varying success, so we'll see if we can do it this year. Just as the terminology for the weeks running up to Lent (the Latin names give the numbering for the weeks, which make Lent last as long as Eastern Lent, and not the shorter length that we in the West have now) and the writings of the Early Fathers do, this week is a hint that we, in the West, have loosened things quite a bit. This Sunday used to be called Passion Sunday. It was the final week of Lent. Not because Holy Week wasn't a fasting season, but because it used to be its own fasting season. It was in addition to Lent. Lent was the preparation and discipline. Holy Week was walking the path with Jesus Himself. So, this Sunday was Passion Sunday, to remind us of what was coming, and then there was Palm Sunday which began the week long walk with our Lord, with our Church. Now, Palm Sunday includes Passion Sunday, they've been mashed together, and so a day that begins triumphantly, with processions and celebrations, ends with sorrow and penitence. But it is the penitence and sorrow of Good Friday, which is out of place at the Triumphal Entry.

Rich told me about a conversation he had with a man we know through his wife and our kids and church, and Rich through some work relationships, and how they have each sojourned on their walks of faith to get to this point of small obedience. Rich said how he never would have thought that he'd come to a point of fasting from meat each year for seven weeks, except for Sundays, especially given his religious background, but how it has matured and disciplined him. This other fellow talked about where he was as a child, growing up as a C & E Christian who was taught to think highly of the church, but not really spending much time there. It was marriage and children that changed it for him, and for us, too. There is something about having a family that makes you reevaluate what you believe and why and how you should live that. We are not even close to perfect there. I don't even know that we are all that good at it, to be honest. But it is something that is on the radar now in a way that it didn't used to be. I read something about how Lent, with its 40 plus days, is a tithe of our year. Not something we give up to God because we owe it, but something that belongs to God already, that we simply acknowledge.

Also, from the imperfection files, I was off by a day on the readings I posted last week. So, Saturday should have been: Numbers 11:1-14:10, Psalm 44, Proverbs 9:7–11, Mark 1:1–20, if you want to catch up. I'm not sure how I got off on that, and I need to see if the week before was off, too.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yarn Along: More Birthday Knitting


It's been a while since I have worked on this sweater for Elijah, but I sure am now. Remember how I mentioned that birthday season had opened at our house? Well, it is on in full swing, and I am now racing to finish this for Elijah's birthday. I have bought myself at least three extra days to complete it because I can give it to him at his birthday party.

The proposal packet has been completed and sent on, but I still can't share anything here. If they reject it, I am already prepared to send it to another magazine, which has a later deadline, but a similar type of request for designs. If they don't want it, I will publish it myself later this year. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and so glad that I have a supportive and appreciative family. They were all rooting for me to finish, thought my finished swatch was the bomb, and Rich, especially was so proud of my work. He has snapped a partial picture of it for the screen saver on his iPad.


I have another design that I'd like to get published in the next two to three months, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern. In the pictures, Ventus is shown in a miniature that I sent to IK for their Summer 2015 issue (in case you care, the color is truer in the second picture). It didn't get in, but I still really think it is a good design. This is a bit more complicated, knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. I made a doll sized version as my sample to send to them, but this would be sized for an adult. I'm still editing this pattern, so testing won't begin for about three to four weeks at the earliest. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern.

Oh! I forgot to mention that I have the beginnings of an Arabian Knits Designs page on Facebook, if anyone is interested in following my work.


I'm so thrilled with this month's selection from Paradise Fibers' Yarn Club: Becoming Art's Cielo in the regionally inspired colorway, Carousel. The colors are perfect for me, and I'm trying to decide if I want to make a fun pair of socks or use it to make a shawl or something else. I don't know when I will get to these fun skeins, since I have so many other projects in the line up, but I look forward to doing it. So far, I haven't made a single one of the included patterns, but it's nice getting them, anyway. Also with the yarn and pattern, they sent a sample of wool wash and rinse.

In the book department, Rich and I are still working on A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter together and I'm still reading Christ in His Saints.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Menu Plan: Laetare Sunday, Fourth Sunday of Lent


Everything is running late this week. I never posted the recipe for the potato and poblano stew, mostly because I never had a chance to edit it beyond an ingredient list. The plan was that I would be finished with my design proposal by Tuesday or Wednesday, but Amira's birthday kind of took over, and I just couldn't get it done in time, but the hard deadline was yesterday. So, I thought I'd get it finished by Friday at the latest. Nope. Then we had some friends' kids over this weekend, and Amira's actual birthday party, and about four or five things to do on Saturday. So, I spent nearly all of yesterday finishing the submission packet and getting it sent in by the skin of my teeth.

Anyway, I will be posting the recipe, along with some yarn pictures from my yarn of the month club and a little about a prize I won from another blogger. I can't post a photo of my swatch for the design, but I'll show you some other knitting. Needless to say, with our busy week, there are some repeats on the menu this week. Rich made dinner for me a couple of the nights last week, and last night, so I could finish my proposal and head to choir practice. Oh, I so appreciate having him as a substitute for me at home, too. He took sick leave, because we had two girls throw up in the middle of the night, two nights in a row (did I forget to mention that that was part of our weekend, too?), and Nejat is showing signs of not feeling well. That, and he has been fighting a terrible cold, too. So, he did the lessons with our kids, and made meals, and just let me be in our room working. He also was my extra set of eyes for finding mistakes.

We had our Saint Patrick's Day feast on Sunday, with our friends, and my Laetare was spent serving, rather than being served. Though it is the Mother's Day of the Church, we didn't really have a chance to do much for me, with the party and dinner celebration. It was a nice time, though, and Amira planned the crafts, so I didn't have to do that. I just documented with pictures.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yarn Along: Birthday Present and Secret Knitting




Here is Amira in her shawl! I realized that even though I had consulted with her about the pattern and on the color choice, she didn't know it was for her until she saw it with her dress for the ballet. She thought I was just asking her opinion. So, that was kind of nice to be able to surprise her. My bright, beautiful, ballerina is 11! I almost can't believe it. We are so blessed to have her. Here is something that tells you a bit about her and how she is different than I am: The first thing she noticed in the pattern of this shawl was how the center sts looked like butterflies (and, later, that the sts make a pattern of flowers on the "wings" of the shawl). The thing I noticed was how one of the rows looked like a set of Roman numerals V and III, and that was how I kept track of whether or not I was doing it right.

I'm pretty close to finished with another proposal packet to send of to IK for for their winter issue. Sadly, I cannot show a picture of it, because it is really gorgeous, if I do say so myself. Which I just did. If they don't take this one, then I'll finish the pattern and knitting and offer it for sale myself, though probably not until the winter. The call for submission had a single theme this time, and it was a challenge to come up with something that would both work with my design philosophy and their requirements, but I think I melded them pretty well. The only big mark against it I can see is that it is knit in bolder colors than they usually choose. As it is based on an ethnic design, I'm hoping this won't put it in the rejection pile.


A couple people have agreed to test knit Saint Helena, but I definitely wouldn't mind one or two more people to offer their perspective and criticism. It is knit in the round, using aran weight yarn, simple color changes such as striping and some minimal stranding, and can use bits and bobs left over from other projects quite easily. I have a facebook group to add you to if you are able to help me this way, and you can talk to other people working on it as well as me.

I also have another design that I'd like to get published in the next two to three months, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern. Ventus is pictured below in a miniature that I sent to IK for their Summer 2015 issue. It didn't get in, but I still really think it is a good design. This is a bit more complicated, knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. I made a doll sized version as my sample to send to them, but this would be sized for an adult. I'm still editing this pattern, so testing won't begin for about two to four weeks at the earliest. It is also an accessory item, a kerchief style headband, and shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered.


Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in testing either of the patterns, telling me which of them you'd like to work on, or both, if I am so fortunate.

Rich and I are reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter aloud. After we started it together, I looked at him and said that I really should have asked him if he liked Jane Austen or read it with him before we were married. What a horror to find yourself married to someone who didn't get her! I took a big risk. So, that is a question I would add to my list of things to learn before marrying. I'm slowly continuing in Christ in His Saints, and still loving it. Also, this week, I started and finished Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home (Holy Week and Easter), which had several nuggets of interesting insights and good ideas for keeping these seasons at home with the family.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Surprise

Someone left her blog open, so this is my opportunity to tell the world how wonderful my wife is. If other fellows knew just how magnificent my life is because of her, they would weep openly. Love you, babe.

Menu Plan: Third Sunday of Lent


We are inching ever closer toward our Paschal feast, we're about half way through Lent now, and the challenge is getting more real. Lent always seems to teach me just how attached I still am to my desires and impulses. Just when I think that I've detached myself from them, I have to give them up and see how hard it is to fight my urges for things as simple as a piece of cake or a soda or bacon. If these lawful things are hard to go without for a short time (and we really do not fast strenuously, as we have a house full of young children and I have been so often pregnant or nursing over the past couple decades), how much more challenging are the temptations to sin and error that I am supposed to put away forever. It is humbling to see how much we must depend on God for even the simplest resolution and discipline.

Rich made us a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs with sauteed peppers, scallions, and smoked havarti cheese, with toast and fruit for Saturday. So, I'm going to try to make our planned breakfast this week. In reality, I am blessed, because Rich really does make breakfast most weekends, so I plan for the off chance that he has something else to do that would keep him from it. We moved a couple of our dinners and another breakfast around, though, so I have a few repeats this week as well.

For two of those, it was because Rich asked me on some mini-dates. We took a walk along the irrigation ditch lines one night, and had the kids help with preparing a simpler meal so we could take the time. It was nice to have weather that wasn't so frigid that we couldn't walk comfortably - I only needed a sweatshirt over my clothes - and to have that time to talk alone before we were too exhausted by the evening's requirements. On Friday, Rich asked me to come with him as he took care of other responsibilities. Since a lot of that was waiting time, we took a walk downtown and found out that the shops were having a first Friday event to draw in customers to shop local businesses. We checked out a couple new restaurants that we'd like to visit once Lent is over, and there were several places holding drawings. We entered about three or four of them, and I won one! This was, evidently, my week for winning, because earlier that week, I won a drawing held by a fellow blogger. I'll post some pictures when I receive my goodies.

This week ushers in birthday season in our family. Amira turns 11 this week, and has the first family birthday of the year. We won't stop until Alexander's birthday in October. March, June, July, and August each hold two family birthdays. April and September are the only months until then that don't have any family birthdays.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Ranee's Addiction

I have a little Stitch Fix addiction. I was telling Rich that I've been spoiled getting new things sent to me to try each month, but I didn't have enough credits to justify ordering a new one for a while. Like maybe for Mother's Day in May. But! Our oldest two boys were in debt to me, and have a job and got paid (they even still had enough leftover after settling their debt, paying tithe, and putting between 10 - 20% to savings, to be able to have significant spending money), so between that and a reimbursement we're getting for some things we bought for our neighborhood community club, and getting our tax refund so that we no longer have all the medical debt we had before (though we're waiting to see how much we'll owe for Nejat's ambulance and ER trip still), we have the cash for me to order another fix, and the breathing room not to worry about it too much. I don't want to get too much in the habit of spending this much money on clothes for myself, so I'm skipping March and scheduling it for April after Bright Week. Besides taking the financial break, it also means that there might be springier items available, because I am really trying to break my black rut. Also, I'm losing weight, and getting more energy, so I'm hoping to be able to ask for some things in smaller sizes next time, too.

I am so grateful for the people who have used my referral link, as it gives me credits to do this more often. And then, you get to see me model all these exciting new clothes. Which I know you love. Seriously, though, it has been a huge risk for me to post full length pictures of myself. It's been a long time since I felt like I could show what I look like to people, and honestly, even at my fittest and thinnest I still didn't really like what I looked like.

They absolutely check your Pinterest boards and read your blog posts about your boxes. So fill it up for them to see who you are and what you like! Just so you know how specific I am with the stylists, here is my style profile note. I'm being brutally honest here:

Retro ~ 1936-1964; New Look; Regency Grecian; Polka dots/whimsy/big florals/border prints. Symmetry, except for biased/high-low hems. Flashy skirts. Natural fibers.

No short shorts, distressed styles, or pullovers. Hate mustard color.

Want to wear hats, don't know how. Figure proportioned as 2-3 hourglass. 9 babies, 6 c-sections, midsection needs help. Middle Eastern w/medium olive tone skin.


The only colors I have excluded are orange and black, and the only prints I asked not to see were animal/critter prints, but I have excluded all jewelry, scarves, and outerwear. I have a more specific note for each fix scheduled to let the stylist know what I am looking for. The first time I talked about needing a dress that could be worn in the winter, and that I liked 3/4 length sleeves and interesting neck lines. The second time I asked for something special to wear for a Valentine's Day date with Rich. This time, aside from lots more color, I am asking for a purse that still fits my things, but is cute and not gigantic. Since I've had really good luck with this stylist, I'm hoping that my more general requests this time will result in something beautiful that I wouldn't have picked myself. After that, if I like the purse, I'm going to exclude that, focus on clothes, and let her have a great time, until I need something specifically. That's the plan anyway.

I feel like it's been so long since I've had any style other than tired and I'm trying to improve that. I've even been doing my hair in simple, pretty, quick to do ways, and wearing my jewelry and makeup more. Rich says he doesn't care if I wear makeup, and actually prefers me without it, but he does seem to like me "dolling" myself up and feeling good about how I look. It does make me feel better to look nicer, and to feel like I look nice to my husband and friends. Though, I have to say the comments about how pretty I look or how thin I look or how nice my hair looks has me thinking that I've been a frump a little too long. The contrast was too great.

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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Yarn Along: Nearly Finished


Amira's shawl is pretty close to being finished. I wanted to do about 14 - 16 repeats before working the border, but it looks like I'll need to stop at 13 repeats before the border, or I might run out of yarn. I'm on the 11th repeat. The good news is that means I will finish sooner, which means I can finish a swatch for a design submission and a sweater for Elijah and a sweater for me that's been almost finished for ten years.


A couple people have agreed to test knit Saint Helena, but I definitely wouldn't mind one or two more people to offer their perspective and criticism. It is knit in the round, using aran weight yarn, simple color changes such as striping and some minimal stranding, and can use bits and bobs left over from other projects quite easily. I have a facebook group to add you to if you are able to help me this way, and you can talk to other people working on it as well as me.

I also have another design that I'd like to get published in the next two to three months, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern. Ventus is pictured below in a miniature that I sent to IK for their Summer 2015 issue. It didn't get in, but I still really think it is a good design. This is a bit more complicated, knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. I made a doll sized version as my sample to send to them, but this would be sized for an adult. I'm still editing this pattern, so testing won't begin for about two to four weeks at the earliest. It is also an accessory item, a kerchief style headband, and shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered.


Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in testing either of the patterns, telling me which of them you'd like to work on, or both, if I am so fortunate.

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish is finished and returned to the library. I've started another book, A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family, which I'm having mixed feelings about still. I like a lot of what she says, but there are some things that I just don't relate to at all, and those things have to do with her basic life view on certain topics and areas of family living, openness to life, and marriage. There were just some aspects of that that we could not sign on to individually or as a couple, but the financial information is pretty helpful and the ideas on how to make your time/space/home/money work for a large family are great. I also started reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, which I have been meaning to read for ages. The author is a man of a certain generation, right around my parents' age, who thinks that sharing elements of his sex life as a graduate student is essential to his narrative to give the reader an accurate picture of what kind of man he was to begin with. That put me off, and I can't wait for people to stop doing that. However, his thoughts on Austen, on her books and characters, truly are wonderful. I'm hoping that there will be no more digressions into his personal life in such detail. The point could have been made without it. He should take a page from Austen on subtlety.

Here is a quotation from the section on Bathsheba in Christ in His Saints, which I have also been continuing with this week:

In maintaining this institution of Queen Mother, the Kingdom of Judah resembled the political structures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and, most significantly, the Hittites. After all, the first and most famous of Judah's gebiroth was Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, who was herself likely a Hittite. She had originally been married to a Hittite (2 Samuel 11:3), anyway, and it is reasonable to suppose her familiar with the office of Queen Mother in Hittite polity. What seems obvious from the biblical text is that Bathsheba's actions and example (1 Kings 1:15-34) established the power and importance of the Queen Mother in Judah.

The true place of the Queen Mother in Holy Scripture is amply illustrated by comparing two texts relative to Bathsheba. In each of them she is pictured as entering the throne room to speak to the king. In the first of these she is described as coming into the presence of her husband, King David: "And Bathsheba bowed and did homage to the king" (1 Kings 1:16). In the second instance, she comes into the presence of Solomon, her son: "And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand" (2:19). A simple comparison of these texts indicates clearly the deference and honor with which a Davidic king expects his mother to be treated. If the king himself bows down before her, how much more his subjects?

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Bible-believing Christians cultivate the deepest, most affectionate reverence for her of whose Son the angel said: "The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32). She has fro the beginning been invoked as "the mother of my Lord" (1:43), and in their time of need believers have ever sought her intercession with her Son (John 2:1-11). As the Mother of Christ, she is mother to all who belong to Christ. They doubt not that forever in the kingdom of heaven she reigns as Queen and sovereign Lady, seated in glory at the right hand of great David's greater Son.


I like how Fr. Reardon takes what most traditional Christians know and shows the roots of it in the Scriptures as well as the figures in Scripture who serve as a type for us. He connects those seeds found in the Old Testament and connects them to the fruit we see in the New Testament. It helps to see some (not all or even, necessarily, the most important or the strongest, but showing even the smaller hints and links) of the whys behind what the Church has taught us.

In case you can't tell, I am thrilled to be reading more again. It's nice to give my mind such a treat.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, March 02, 2015

Menu Plan: Second Sunday of Lent


Saturday, I found that we couldn't load our co-op produce into our fridges because there were so many leftovers in them. So, instead of cooking, I had leftover buffet and said that the food needed to be consumed that night. Most of it was, and the rest was eaten for lunch on Sunday. One of those leftover dishes was the potato kibbeh. I was trying a new recipe that didn't have a ton of direction, but I made it as I season kibbeh made with meat. Sadly, the crust was much too salty. I had tried to compensate for some bitterness, but evidently had too heavy a hand, and the bitterness cooked out so it wasn't noticeable anyway. I had been quickly making dinner for the family so I could take Alexander and Dominic to a pizza night, so we didn't even eat that dinner. When I called Rich before heading home, I asked how it was, and he just said that he'd let me taste it. He said it tasted like it would have been good had it not been so salty. There was about half the dinner left. So, over the weekend, we made plain rice with no salt added to eat with it, and that seemed to absorb the excess salt. I'm rewriting the recipe to reflect a normal amount of salt and the seasoning I used for the filling.

The besan chila I made Wednesday was a big hit, and will be making a regular appearance on our menus throughout the year. Two other dinners were abandoned in favor of other meals, because of schedules and exhaustion, so we'll be making them this week. Likewise, two breakfasts were switched around. Rich made pancakes with raspberry syrup that he made from berries in the freezer for us on Saturday.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Greek Style Pea Stew

I found this recipe online last year and didn't have quite the right ingredients for it, but what I had was close enough. The recipe has since disappeared from the universe, so I recreated it. It is quick to put together, can be made with many things that people often store in their homes, and is delicious. I served it with rice, but it could be eaten with flat bread or pita bread, or just by itself.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 quart diced tomatoes with juices (I first used a couple cans of diced tomatoes with chipotle, because that's what I had, and it was great)
1 cup of white wine or vermouth
10 - 12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, undrained (I've used capers when I didn't have the artichoke hearts)
2 pounds peas, fresh or frozen
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese

Heat a large pot over medium high, add oil, potatoes, and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and dill and cook a minute or two more. Pour in tomatoes, vermouth, and artichoke hearts with liquid. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add peas and cook another 5 minutes.

Take off heat and stir in feta cheese, then taste for salt and adjust seasonings.

Serve with rice, bread, or simply as it is. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yarn Along: Slowing Down


Does that shawl look the same size as it was when I showed you last week? You know how I mentioned that I had to redo portions frequently? I'm only one repeat ahead of where I was last week. That is a bit troubling to me, as I have to have it finished by either the 8th or 10th of March. Amira's birthday party is either going to be the Sunday before her birthday so I will need it to give her during the party, or I will need it to give her for a ballet performance we will be attending with a few of her friends.


A few people asked for the photo of Saint Helena before they decided to commit. So, here it is. I don't have a picture of it finished, as this was my prototype, and I've reworked the pattern a bit. It is knit in the round, using aran weight yarn, simple color changes such as striping and some minimal stranding, and can use bits and bobs left over from other projects quite easily. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in testing the pattern. I have a facebook group to add you to if you are able to help me this way, and you can talk to other people working on it as well as me. (And I promise you will get something nice - besides the pair of mitts you make - if you finish them, something even more if you let me use your photo!)

I started and finished Eleanor & Park in nearly one day. A fellow yarn along-er had read it and recommended it, and it was due at the library so I started it to see if I would like it. The vulgar language in it nearly lost me in the first few pages, but the story really got into my head, and I read it voraciously. It's marketed as teen lit, but honestly my kids would not be comfortable with the language at all, and the themes of the story were too intense and dark in places, so I wouldn't recommend it to them. For adults, though, who have lived through a life like this or loved people who went through such difficult times, I think the book is startlingly accurate and has an ability to get inside one's mind and emotions quite well.

Likewise, I started The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, on the recommendation of another person in the yarn along. The introduction alone is worth reading the book. I also no longer feel bad about no longer being able to wear sheath dresses/skirts, now that I know that they are actually poorly constructed. Even when I was young and thin, I found them to wrinkle and bunch when I moved or sat down and they rode up constantly. It turns out this is a design flaw, not a body flaw. Rich and I had a road trip with the kids this weekend, and I was reading this aloud in the car. Rich and Alexander were pretty rapt listeners, so I don't think its appeal is only for women, and we had a lot of interesting discussions of culture, social mores, ethnic differences, artistic opinions and so on. Several people on Amazon criticized the book for not being a how to text, but it doesn't pretend to be, it is a history of a specific time period and topic. Some people were appalled that it wasn't filled with color photos, but I think they are just used to modern magazines and cookbooks rather than books. There were around 50 photo plates and numerous line drawings and charts, and that is what I've observed in just the first several chapters. Here is a quotation from the introduction:

The cultural rebellion of the 1960s undermined the Dress Doctors from all sides. The home economists among them had claimed a place at the vanguard of professional women in the 1920s, but now they seemed hopelessly old-fashioned as women demanded the right to work in all fields. When radical feminist Robin Morgan spoke at the annual meeting of the American Home Economics Association in 1972, she told the women in her audience, many of them teachers, that the best thing they could do for young women was quit their jobs. By the mid-1970s, funding for home economics programs in public schools was being slashed on the grounds that their classes encouraged sexual stereotypes. Ambitious young women turned to other professions.

The art principles also came under attack during the "Youthquake" movement of the 1960s. The Baby Boomers opted for shocking color schemes that created anything but the artistic repose espoused by the Dress Doctors. The sophisticated fashion models of the 1950s sometimes worked into their forties, but now the fashion world celebrated youth and youth alone.


I found it interesting that home economics was gutted the way teaching was gutted and nursing was gutted by denigration from other women who, rather than trying to expand the options available to women by inspiring them to achieve in other fields as well, had to demean and belittle the areas and fields that were traditionally feminine. Whereas once these careers were seen as highly desirable and something of a bit of status for a working woman, her work was seen as evidence of her intelligence and skill, now they were considered the lowly options that the unambitious sought. None of them has been bettered by this attitude. Likewise, I found it interesting that the people who now bemoan the lack of options and regard for mature, older women, were part of the movement that shoved off their older sisters and have created a, seemingly, permanent temple to youth in our culture.

This week, I even had a chance to read more in Christ in His Saints. This book is so good and I cannot recommend it enough to Christians of every stripe. I think even non-Christians would find it interesting as an introduction to true Christian thought. I'm hoping to finish it this Lent, but in reality, even though it is small vignettes, they all inspire such deep thought and reflection, that it takes a little while to digest them.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Menu Plan: First Sunday of Lent


Last week, Rich did something brilliant as we made our doughnuts for Mardi Gras: He stuffed a few of the ftira (just after they were fried) and filled them with organic chocolate truffles (two or three) and rolled the whole thing in powdered sugar. We saved those for the parents at the party.


This was about a quarter of the doughnuts we made. Since Rich had the powdered sugar out already, he dusted some of the other doughnuts with powdered sugar as well.

We were blessed to find a lot of good produce on sale this past week, and even found wild caught (frozen) salmon and cod on sale, for days that we will eat fish. We forgot to pick up the fish, but friend of ours was near the store and got it for us! It was such good timing. We will be getting a nearly 30 pound box of organic apples this week, 25 pounds of organic carrots, and three boxes from our organic produce co-op, plus the deals we found at Grocery Outlet and Fred Meyer.

I don't know what we will do for Alexander's name day on Thursday, but we will be reading more about Saint Alexander of Alexandria at least.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Creamy Avocado Pasta with Cashews


I saw variations on this recipe around the internet, and was rather skeptical about it, to be honest. But last year, we had a bunch of avocados that needed to be used, and it was Lent, and this was something to try. And we loved it! Even Dominic, who doesn't care for avocados, loved it. It is now a semi-regular visitor to our menu plan. I made a few changes to the recipe, aside from the obvious doubling of even this quantity, I included the nuts in the sauce, rather than only as a garnish, and I used cashews instead of walnuts, which was what I commonly saw used. That was largely because of a mistake on my part, I let myself get distracted the first night I was cooking it, and burned the walnuts, so I pulled out some cashews from the freezer, toasted those and used them. It was such a great taste, that I kept it. I've used every kind of pasta from egg noodles, to linguine, to penne, to elbow macaroni.

3 avocados, pitted
juice and zest of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3/4 cup of fresh herbs (I usually use some mix of parsley, cilantro, chives)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of cashews, chopped and toasted, reserving 1/4 cup for garnish
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
fresh parsley, to garnish
1 pound pasta, to serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, process the other ingredients, except the lemon zest, 1/4 cup cashews, and the parsley for garnishing, in a food processor until very creamy.

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the water, and toss the pasta with the sauce and the reserved cooking water.

Serve, garnishing with fresh parsley, lemon zest and cashews.

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