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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yarn Along: Nearly There!

Just a quick update this week. I am almost finished with the "striped" shawl. It might be finished this week! Though, that would mean a lot more knitting time. Maybe Sunday? And I have someone to give it to who likes these colors. I did finish one more of the scrunchies for the girls, too.

Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you! I'm hoping to get back on the stick with some design projects in the next couple months and to finally release Ventus for sale. I'm working on photos.

I'm still reading the same two books, A Christian Ending and Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Menu Plan: July 26 - August 1 (Plus a Recipe)

Our festivities last week took up much of my blogging time, so my menu plan is a bit late. I'm including the recipe for the Greek macaroni and cheese, though, as a bonus.

My birthday was a lot of fun! Rich and I went dancing at a regional jazz festival, they have a Latin jazz stage, and danced nearly every dance while we were there. We weren't sure if we would last until midnight, but we did, and even went to a dive to grab pizza slices afterward. However, since it takes about an hour and a half to get home from there, we weren't in bed until 2:00 a.m., and were so exhausted that we slept in until 9:15, which we haven't done since we've had children. We had a late brunch, which was nice, and Rich and I had another, mini, date at the farmers' market, where we grabbed Sonoran hot dogs (hot dogs with bacon, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, salsa verde, sour cream and pickled jalapeños), and then grabbed great deals until the market shut down. They close at 1:00 and we got there at 12:15, so while the selection wasn't all that great, as it would have been had we gotten there early, people were literally giving produce away.

Not counting the pork we bought (there is an excellent, naturally raised, pork producer that sells freezer packs there) or the hot dogs, we spent $67 on: 15 pounds of fancy lady peaches, 15 pounds of apricots, 10 pounds of Rainier cherries (which taste like candy), 8 pounds of red potatoes, 4 pounds of French fingerlings, 3 pounds of eggplant, 3 pounds of shallots, a quarter flat of raspberries, 10 bell peppers in green, purple and red, 3 pints of strawberries, 3 pints of boysenberries, 2 big bunches of Italian parsley, and 1 pint of pear tomatoes. Not bad! So, we've been using a lot of lovely produce, and will be using it more this week. The berries have largely gone into desserts, with a little fresh eating, the eggplant was turned into a giant batch of baba ghanooj, the other fruit is being eaten with meals and as snacks, the parsley was used in tabbouleh and kofta, and the potatoes and peppers will be used later this week.

Our dear friends and the people who get all of our children should we die will be in our area later this week, and we are looking forward to having a great time with them. We're hoping they get to stay the night Thursday, so I have a grand meal planned with a nice dessert to use up the last of our raspberries. We only got to see one of them on our funeral trip, so it's going to be nice to see both of them this trip.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

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.

Greek Style Macaroni and Cheese

This is a big recipe, you can halve it pretty easily and make it in a smaller pan, but it is great the next day, too. I make this without meat for Wednesdays or Fridays, but chopped hard sausage or salami make a nice addition to it. Something else that would be nice to add would be some chopped Kalamata olives.

2 heads garlic
2 pounds pasta (I use small shells or penne or something about that size)
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crumbled, dried rosemary
1/2 cup flour
6 cups whole milk
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled (herbed or tomato and basil is fine)
1 pound Asiago cheese, shredded
5 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, including marinade
1/2 pound salami or garlic sausage, finely chopped (optional)

Grease an 11" X 15" pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top 1/4 off of the heads of garlic, place on a large enough piece of foil that it can wrap them almost completely (save those garlic tips, too, and use them in another meal). Drizzle the tops of the garlic with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, wrap them with the foil and bake for 30 minutes.

While the garlic is baking, cook the pasta according to package directions, subtracting a minute or two from the cooking time so it doesn't turn to mush in the oven.

As the pasta is cooking, heat butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat with the leeks and onions. Add the oregano, pepper and rosemary and stir well to combine. Cook until the the allium are golden brown. Sprinkle with the flour and stir and cook to eliminate the raw flavor. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking well, and add the chopped sundried tomatoes to allow them to rehydrate a little. Cook a few minutes, until the mixture is thickened. Stir in feta and Asiago cheeses and stir to combine. Add the chopped spinach and stir to wilt slightly.

Cool the garlic heads slightly, then squeeze or pop the garlic cloves out of the papers. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss in the prepared pan with the garlic, artichoke hearts and the optional sausage. Carefully pour in the cheese sauce and mix well with the pasta. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the dish is bubbling and heated through. Serve with a salad, bread or breadsticks, and fruit.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yarn Along: Sick and Tired

I'm more than half way through the "striped" shawl. That may be the best photo of the colors I've been able to take so far. They are really not my colors, though. I just love the magic of the yarn changing color. So, I will probably give this to someone, I'm not sure yet who. Anyway, lots of long term projects that aren't finished yet were a little discouraging, though, so I pulled out these cotton bonbons and some hair elastics to make scrunchies for the girls. Instant gratification. The yellow and turquoise will become two more tonight or tomorrow.

This illness at our home has put a damper on our energy and appetites and every thing else. There hasn't been much working going on my end, either. So, here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!

Madeline Tosh Twist Light in Peace of Paradise

My yarn club shipment came this past week, along with a shawlette pattern and some highlighter tape. I'm thinking a baby item with this yarn. Or really funky socks. Next month is my last month, I believe, though we plan on subscribing me to the Magnolia Society Sweater Club when it opens.

The fires still burn. Some friends of ours had their business buildings burn to the ground Friday, there have been more fires around our area, and over the last couple days a fire was burning that kept rekindling and jumping the freeway, leading to evacuations, closures and so on. There are fires all over our county, and in nearly all the counties around us. It's a bad year for fires here. Please keep praying.

As you can see above, I have a more serious book, A Christian Ending, which I mentioned last week, and a complete fluff book, Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities. It is a humorous collection of essays from an Irish writer. It's hilarious, and trivial, and I am enjoying it immensely.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stitch Fix #4

Again, thank you everyone who has signed up using my referral link. I so appreciate the credits, as they allow me to get these more frequently than I thought I would initially. If you are interested in learning more, I wrote about my first experience on the blog, and you can do a search on my Stitch Fix posts.

This was my birthday box and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in it. Each item had something about it that was just right, but most had something or somethings that made them not quite right and one of the things I am trying to do and learn is only to buy and keep those things that I love, that fit well, that make me feel attractive and comfortable. Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful items here; that was almost worse than having them be completely wrong, because I wanted to like them. Rich said he saw them laid out on the bed and thought that it was entirely a miss, but he agreed with my assessment after seeing it all on me.

Item #1 Market & Spruce Barrymore Solid Pleat Detail Top - $48

The orchid color on this was exquisite. It was lovely and flattering, and I will definitely be looking for it when I shop, both for clothing and yarn. However, it was a little too tight at my high bust, even though I have been losing weight steadily since January (and on my illness and antibiotic diet I have lost about 18 - 20 pounds in the past two and a half weeks). I really wanted more cap sleeved and flutter sleeve and short sleeved items, and I think I even mentioned that in my note. I own a lot of sleeveless tops, and need something different. Also, I think I wore outfits almost exactly like this when I was in high school. My senior picture has me in a top that is made of the same material and shaped in almost the same way. Sent back. Regretfully.

Item #2 Pixley Carissa Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $64

When I first looked in the box, this was honestly the dress I thought I'd like out of the two. I thought it was a slam dunk. I love big stripes, I love grey and navy, so I thought it would be an easy yes. However, the navy panels on the side really made the dress kind of odd. This was a cotton and spandex dress, really comfortable, but it should have stayed a little more casual - gathering rather than box pleats. And those navy panels were also textured like lace pressed on something, which I didn't like. Had the bodice been solid (either grey or navy) or had the stripes gone all the way across, I think it would have been better, but broken up like this, it made my bust and top half look gigantor. The back had a V, and I actually put it on backwards in our room to see if it would look better, which it did, but not enough to change my mind. Rich took a photo, but it showed the mess in our sick room and our jury rigged sun/heat block in our windows. The side zipper was really flimsy, in my opinion, Rich was worried he would break it zipping it up, and this wasn't a tight fit at all. It was quite comfortable with plenty of room to maneuver and fasten. This dress ended up confusing me more than anything. That V belonged in the front rather than the back, and it couldn't decide what kind of dress to be. I did not understand it at all. Rich said he was glad I didn't like it, because he thought it looked more like a rugby shirt to him. I like having casual dresses that I can wear every day, though, so I was hoping it would work. It didn't. Sent it back.

Item #3 41Hawthorn Kassidy Faux Wrap Dress - $68

This was the item I was sure I would not like on first glance. The print was a little more toward the 1964 side of fashion, which is the upper limit of the timeline I feel fits me (1936 - 1964, if you are interested). However, I adore it! It was the winner of the box. It was a heavier material without being hot, was lined, the navy and blue-red were lovely colors, I liked the arabesque, geometric print, it flattered my figure, it was comfortable, and my detail loving heart appreciated that the print lined up almost exactly where the front wrap crossed. Happily kept and I wore it most of the afternoon after doing pictures. I will be wearing it when we go dancing for my birthday. The only things that would make it A +, absolutely perfect would be if it had pockets and if the polyester were not part of the blend - rayon was the bulk of it and spandex was the other part, I would have liked just those two fibers better. I hung this up in my closet before I even decided on everything else.

Item #4 Just USA Anjuli Dark Wash Denim Jacket - $58

This was the right style, the right color and I wanted to love it. However, I couldn't button more than the bottom two buttons, and that took work for the second one, the upper arm was too tight, and it was distressed, and I've said that I don't like that. I don't want to pay extra for someone else to wear out my clothes. If this jacket had ended up this distressed after a couple years of ownership, that would have been perfect. Starting that way? Not so much. Also, since denim always shrinks a little, I knew it would end up looking comical on me. I really wish it had been better, because I loved it in so many ways. When I looked up the brand and style to see if it came a little larger, I found that it was a junior cut, and that just won't work with my nearly 40, mother of many, curvy even when I was young and thin, body. Sadly sent back.

Item #5 Street Level Huron Reversible Magnetic Closure Tote - $48

This is the one I feel kind of bad about, really. I pinned this. I'm sure Liz thought this would be a gimme. But, somehow I didn't realize that it was this gargantuan. Had it been a little smaller, it would have been perfect. I loved the gold, the inside was cream, as was the detachable zippered pouch inside it. If the denim jacket had fit, I would have kept this to use as a knitting bag and the sleeveless top anyway, and just gotten the whole box and given the striped dress away to someone who loved it. Had this been a bit smaller and the denim jacket fit properly without the distressing, I would have loved all three and worn them together a lot.

Even though I only kept one item, I still think this was a success. My biggest fear doing this has been receiving a box that I hate so much that everything has to be sent back and I lose my styling fee, and at least I avoided that - and with an item that I truly love. Like I said, it was harder with the items being almost right and me wanting to like them so much. But, I have committed to owning clothes and accessories that I love and know I will wear and feel comfortable and beautiful in, rather than having something that looks nice hanging in my closet instead of being worn. And since I do this to expand my sense of style and help me develop it more, rather than because this is a bargain, I also don't want to spend the money at retail prices for something that isn't exactly what I like/want. I'd rather wait. Liz did still do a great job, though, and I like that she is still expanding my tastes and pushing me to try things I wouldn't otherwise. The blouse was a color I like, but wouldn't have tried on myself in a store, the print dress was something I wouldn't have even paid attention to while shopping, except to quickly pass it over, and I love it. I have adjusted my style profile a little to see if we can align a little better and made a couple specific requests for my fall box. Stay tuned and see how Stitch Fix #5 goes!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Menu Plan: July 19 - 25

Since we were afflicted with a great plague, I did very little cooking and meal preparation last week. Which means that this week's menu was largely planned! Please be in prayer for us, as we've all been down with something pretty nasty (except for Alexander who is the only one unscathed). We even missed church this week. We've been in survival mode, but there does appear to be a light at the end of this tunnel.

My birthday is this week, and we have a dance the day before and a dance the day of and we'll have cake and a family party the day after it. As I didn't get all the meals made last week, I also didn't get all the photos taken, so I will post the Greek macaroni and cheese this week instead.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

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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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Surprise! Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins

So, the plague descended and I had a relapse, or picked up something new while we traveled. In any case, everyone except for Alexander was down for the count from Tuesday or Wednesday on this week. We are just starting to feel less like death here. So, I never actually made most of the dinners or breakfasts this week. We basically ate whatever folks could handle and leftovers and fruit. This means I have no photos of the Greek macaroni and cheese, because I never made it. The good news is that most of my menu is already planned for this week!

However, this morning, I was feeling a little hungry, and we had nearly 25 pounds of blueberries left in our fridge, so I thought I'd make blueberry muffins. I couldn't remember if I had ever posted my recipe, but I meant to, and when I checked I couldn't find it, so here you are! I made double this for our family, which normally wouldn't leave all that many left over after a day, but with our appetites somewhat suppressed, we had a dozen standard sized and a dozen mini-muffins that I froze for another time.

3 cups pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (pre-ground is fine, but you may need more)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light oil (safflower or coconut oil is what we use)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
Vanilla or turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚ F and grease two 12 cup muffin tins (or the equivalent, if you make mini-muffins, bake for around 15 minutes, and if you make jumbo muffins, bake for around 30) very well with softened butter or coconut oil spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until mostly incorporated.

Add the blueberries and fold in gently, so as not to break the berries.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with vanilla or turbinado sugar if you wish. Bake 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (or almost - they are pretty wonderful still a little warm) on racks. Enjoy!


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Yarn Along: Lots of Traveling

We have done a ton of traveling over the past two weeks. Nothing too far from home, but I've had some time to knit in the car lately. I've made some progress on my "striped" shawl, but even though I brought it with us, along with a couple other projects, starry, starry night has seen no progress. Between illness and exhaustion, I just didn't get as much knitting or crocheting done as I'd like. All the deadline knitting for design proposals kind of wore me out, too.

I feel like I'm just getting a lot of rejections lately, also. I heard no back on my baby. It's okay, actually, I will write it up and knit a top for myself and get it published. I hope by the fall. Still haven't seen anything from the two magazines, yes or no, but I'm assuming one is a no, as they tend to get back sooner for yes, and I honestly have no idea on the other two. So, here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!

Kollage Riveting, which is a yarn made of recycled denim.

While Rich and I were on our trip we made a a stop in Cashmere, while it was no longer on fire, and picked up some yarn for me and some applets and cotlets from the factory after going on the tour. We also bought some Turkish delight. I failed to notice that I bought the cream colored yarn in a worsted weight and the blue yarns in a dk weight. So, I will double the blue yarns to make them the same weight to knit with the cream, and make a gradient type top. The big family trip for the funeral was too packed for us to stop at any yarn shops, and we even missed Trader Joe's.

I do ask your prayers for the fires and firefighters in our state. We have several in our county and within 30 minutes of our home right now. So far, we are completely safe, but a lot can happen in a short time. Many people are losing property and homes, though the loss of life has been minimal (I think none, but I'm not sure).

Instead of knitting or crocheting or designing, I have been reading more. I have finished a couple books: Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home (Pentecost and Ordinary Time) which is part of a series of books on living the Church year, largely aimed at Protestants, definitely western Christians, with a few things in there that are on point for Catholics and a few mentions for Orthodox, though the suggestions for family activities/foods/crafts are appropriate for Christians of all backgrounds and I started and finished Maisie Dobbs which I loved! I actually was surprised by the close of the book, which is a rare thing for me. Now, I need to see if our library has any more of this series.

On our trip, we read another chapter in A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. It was our car read aloud, and I was glad to find Alexander listening in again. As our most recent trip was for another funeral, I finally picked up A Christian Ending and have found it to be a conversational book that is really accessible and gives a lot of understanding and history as well as practical advice and instruction. We are looking at how to word our legal documents to reflect our desire for orthodox, Christian, natural burial.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic Party.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Menu Plan: July 12 - 18

We are back from our busy trip for the funeral. We were able to take a little trip back "home" for Yasmina's birthday to make up for traveling to a funeral over her birthday. We had a great party at one of our favorite restaurants, where they gave her free ice cream and sang to her and had a perfect time for a newly minted seven year old. The funeral was in my hometown, so we stayed with the kids' godfather, and ran into some people I went to school with, some by happy accident, and some on purpose. It was great to reconnect with some people, and my favorite part was when a woman was completely unfazed by how many children we have. She neither exclaimed about us being crazy nor saints. We did also get to see both of our mothers and had tremendous meals everywhere we went. On our return, we were able to go to church at a parish in our communion, had lunch there after liturgy, then headed back home. It was kind of a whirlwind trip. There was not a single day that we could sleep later than 6:30 a.m. And we were in two states, five cities/towns in five days, not counting the many we drove through as well. We only spent two nights in Eugene, so some of those towns we hit in a single day.

So, now we're back, and I'm trying to wait to get our produce shopping done until the Farmers' Market on Saturday, so I'm using a limited amount of fruit and vegetables that we had at home as well as some frozen, so I don't have to shop in the interim. I will have to do a little shopping, and I'm sending a few of the kids to pick blueberries at our neighbors' who have a u-pick farm tomorrow. We were slammed into real life here, as Rich had to head straight to work and Jerome started his second baseball camp today. We did come home to some excellent news. We knew that Alexander had placed where we thought he would for math immediately after his exams last week, they told him right away, but they said he'd get an e-mail to tell him where he placed (or if he didn't) for English. We checked today and saw that he placed in college level English on his first try, even though the essay was something that he was nervous about and was hard for him to complete in time when he was practicing. We are so proud of him, and I feel vindicated in how I've been teaching them. Since he's the trailblazer for his siblings, this means they all are probably going to have an easier time than he did, since they saw what he needed to do and heard how we went over things for the exam preparation. He knows what he wants to study, and he will be able to finish his high school education at home, receive a diploma from our little academy, and also receive an FAA certification and his Associate's Degree. Since this course of study is his career goal as well, it means that at age 19 or 20, he can be ready for a good paying job in a field he wishes to be in, and any further education he pursues will be strictly for his own edification. I know he wants to be ready to offer a home and support for a family one day not too far in the future and this is an excellent way to do it. Honestly, the choice he's made means that with his Associate's, he'll be able to start in a well paying job - better paying than many university graduates can get - with no loans to pay off, and in the field he loves. We are so thrilled for him, and happy that he has set these goals for himself.

Anyway, after this week, we have a bit of a break until August when Amira will have more ballet intensives. She and Elijah may be taking a couple weeks at godparent camp this summer, too. We have to work out the schedule for that. I'm looking forward to having more time at home to get some things organized, do some preserving, and have some fun studying and learning with the kids. In the meantime, we will be taking advantage of our town's opportunities for free children's and family movies, using our family pass to the pool that the kids' godparents gave us for Christmas to cool off and have fun, and doing some of the free summer bowling at the local bowling alley. There is a lot of garden work to be done as well, and some projects around the house and property that we need to complete. Also, Rich and I have two dances to look forward to in the next two weeks, one that we host with a lesson at the beginning, and one at a Latin Jazz concert which is, conveniently, on my birthday. This Wednesday will be the 21st anniversary of our first meeting at a dance, so it is appropriate that we should have those opportunities coming up now.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

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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Monday, July 06, 2015

June Randomania

This is a little late, I meant to post it during the actual month of June. However.

Nejat is developing her sense of humor. We were talking about going to the library and she said,

"Libewwy, libewwy! Jus [juice] bewwy! Yummy! Funny!"

Mariam wanted to buy a birthday present for Baba. But she didn't have enough money. At all. So, she asked Dominic to donate one of his birthday coupons from the Grocery Outlet (our local store gives a gift bag for kids under a certain age with candy and gifts inside, plus a dollar off coupon) so she could use it to purchase a chocolate bar for Rich. It was so touching, but also hilarious, because she was so proud of buying it herself. With Dominic's money.

Sarcasm is our mother tongue at home. The children have learned it well. All but one. So, the other morning, Nejat did not wake up well. She was screaming and wailing and sounded like the tea kettle. So, Rich said something about "Tea's ready!" Which the non-fluent in sarcasm child interpreted as an instruction to make tea. So, he got the kettle boiling. I taught the kids how to make iced tea that day, as it was over 100 degrees, and we had a gallon of iced tea to drink.

This isn't funny or cute. I'm just trying to find a good source for cottony tights that are warm, but not too thick and fuzzy, plain with no patterning or texture (I plan on wearing them with a corduroy skirt) that are of good quality, won't wear out or pill on the first or second wearing, and are available in grey or charcoal. Go!

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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Menu Plan: July 5 - 11

Last week was crazy! I fell suddenly ill right before Rich and I were supposed to go on a getaway trip to a bed and breakfast. We thought about canceling, but I was well enough to do things and be up, so we decided that we'd go anyway and just take things easily if we needed to, because we'd be where I didn't have a home, children, and meals to take care of, so I would still rest and we could still enjoy each other. I cannot recommend Autumn Pond Bed and Breakfast highly enough. The place was beautiful, the food was exquisite, the owner was a chef who had done some work with Jacques Pépin, and was pleasantly surprised that we recognized the photo. He said most people didn't know who the man was in the picture with him.

So, that was the first thing. Then, when we came back, even though my cold was getting much better, my ear kept hurting more and more and more. So, I finally said I needed to go to the doctor who found a raging ear infection. So, now I'm on serious antibiotics. On top of the horrifying heat. It was 112 last Sunday. Today was cool because it was the first day in over two weeks that the high didn't get above 100. It was 99. Anyway, the terrible cold (which is an insult in the summer) is almost over, but the coughing fits still linger and my ear still has some trouble. Please pray for my complete healing.

Plus, we had all sorts of stuff being worked on for the house (a project started FIVE years ago is almost finished now), Rich and the boys were doing planting and some butchering, and Alexander had his placement exams for Running Start. Glory to God, the parts that we thought would be the hardest, he was able to handle, and he felt good about it. He received his math placement right away, and we should hear back this week about the rest. We would appreciate prayers for him there. This would help him move along with his educational and career goals quite a bit. His math score vindicated me in how I have been teaching them math since we pulled Alexander and Dominic out of school. Those two have been consistently behind, and handicapped, by the way the school taught math. Every one else of the kids who started at home is at or above "grade" level. Even still, on a test which we knew he wouldn't have full knowledge (they were testing for college level algebra and trigonometry, which we knew he didn't have), he placed far higher than he or I expected. I'm so proud of him.

I ask your prayers for the repose of the soul of Rich's Uncle Ron, who passed while we were on our trip. His funeral is this week, which means we have a pretty busy week this week, too. We also have the next family birthday - Yasmina will be seven! It's hard to believe it. She was literally just starting to walk when we moved here.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings). Since I didn't post at all last week, I'll include last week's readings, if you want to catch up. Honestly, when we miss a day or six, we just read that day's readings and catch it the next year.

June 28: I Chronicles 26-27, Psalms 118:49–64, Proverbs 26:1–5, John 10:1–21
June 29: I Chronicles 28-29, Psalms 118:65–80, Proverbs 26:6–9, John 10:22–42
June 30: II Chronicles 1-4, Psalms 118:81–96, Proverbs 26:10–13, John 11:1–37
July 1: II Chronicles 5-6, Psalms 118:97–112, Proverbs 26:14–17, John 11:38–57
July 2: II Chronicles 7-9, Psalms 118:113–128, Proverbs 26:18–23, John 12:1–28
July 3: II Chronicles 10-13, Psalms 118:129–144, Proverbs 26:24–29, John 12:29–50
July 4: II Chronicles 14-17, Psalms 118:145–160, Proverbs 27:1–6, John 13:1–17

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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