Are you a Soaky McSoaker?

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“The treadmill routine of the week is: washing, baking, ironing, fixing dried fruit, airing clothes, sewing, cleaning, baking and cleaning again. So it goes week after week. Eating and drinking, cooking and cleaning, scrubbing and scouring we go through life; and only lay down our implements at the verge of the gravel!…You bake, and boil, and fry, and stew; worry and toil, just as if the people’s principle business in this world was to learn how much they could eat-and eat it.” Jane G. Swissholm, Letters to Country Girls, 1853.

I love Helen Nearing’s book Simple Food for the Good Life. Filled with recipes and pithy sayings, I selected the above quote from Nearing’s book because it sums up my average day.¬†I try not to find drudgery in homemaking and consider a skill, a privilege and a science. Our world has belittled the career of motherhood and domesticity. Most of us don’t teach these skills to our children and then don’t understand why our kids can’t take care of themselves, eat horribly and have homes in disarray when they are older. My three sons are ages 22, 18 and almost 16 and they know I’m on a mission to change that. They make a mama proud. God gave me three olive shoots for a reason and in general, I like how they’re sprouting up to be competent, Jesus loving, strong men who can also throw down.

But today I want to write about pre-soaking grains and seeds literally. I am a total neophyte in this arena. A caveat, please correct any of the information I am going to share as my desire is to contribute to the discussion. Add to the conversation also, I want to learn.

But first, did you know about 15 years ago, I had a funny flax seed story published in a book? It’s true! I shall soon share. It’s about Nate, brownies and a little bit of trickery on my part.

Do you want to hear a super creepy story in the interim? I had a friend whose boyfriend had his wisdom teeth extracted. He ate pizza a few days post-surgery. A few days after that, the guy went into the bathroom and screamed to his girlfriend to come right away. She rushed right in and there he was mouth agape. He said, “@*&@!!,” pointed and she spotted it. Back where one of the wisdom teeth had once lived, a tiny sprout had grown in its place! Can you imagine what it would have been like to pull a small plant out of a hole in your mouth! I would have Instagrammed it.

If you thought the only time you sprouted a seed was before you planted it or following dental surgery (!), here are some things to know.

Sprouted seeds

Sprouting biologically activates the seed and makes the plant proteins, essential fatty acids, starches and vitamins bio-available.

Flax seeds are hard for our body to digest. They have natural enzyme inhibitors which prevent digestion. There is much to love about flax seeds – their crunch, color, flavor, even tactically, put your hand in a bag of flax seeds before and after you buy them from Whole Foods and you’ll notice their silky texture. Let’s just say I “know” someone who does this. You’d really like her. ūüėČ

Despite a flax seed’s many attributes, though I don’t need a stomach ache. My family will usually try anything I make but if they have a bad reaction or don’t like it, I’m done. They won’t revisit it. Ask them about kale cake. Gigantic epic fail. If you’re sensitive or allergic to certain grains, soak your whole grains beforehand, in a salt brine, anywhere from 7-24 hours and it will probably lessen the symptoms. Oh, and don’t ever make kale cake. Ever.

Use warm water. It coaxes the enzymes out of their little crusty shell. Don’t soak them too long or they will grow bacteria. I think I did this for you, so trust me. Last year I made a batch of granola. I was a Soaky McSoaker and soaked the oats in a mixture of keifer, coconut oil, butter and water. Recipe said overnight but I pushed it a little. This resulted in a granola which brought facial expressions reminiscent of kale cake. I fed the trash can, not the Hubs or my OS that time. Duly noted.

SueGregg.com puts it this way,¬† pre-soaking, “allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins including gluten.”

Here are some great websites with additional information. I’m giving them mad props for their discoveries and information. They’re not quite as humorous but super helpful.

Passionatehomemaking.com

The Nourishing Gourmet

and in case you’re interested in soap nuts, which are not edible but organic, biodegradable and incredible, 100% natural laundry soap, there’s always

Olive Shoot Institute!

Let’s be Soaky McSoakers, kk?

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Sew blessed

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Since I will never have a daughter, I have missed out on shopping sprees for dresses. I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself, it’s just a fact. I have also missed temper tantrums, crying fits with a moody daughter who can’t find anything to wear which is totally fine with me. Since I’m wildly crazy about my OS, I don’t spend a lot of time lamenting the fact that I don’t have a daughter, I just yank up my big girl panties and move on. Sorry for that word picture.


But in lieu of dress shopping, I have the privilege of guy shopping. Recently my OS Aaron announced to me, “Mom, you have to take me shopping!” I wasn’t sure of the reason until I inquired. That’s when Aaron emphatically reminded me of the Snow Ball, his school’s upcoming dance. It was like a V-8 moment…you know where the guy gets whacked up the side of the head? How could I forget?

However as soon as my 15 year old OS told me that, I also translated his sentence. Really what he was saying is, “Mom, I need for you to buy me some new clothes for the dance.” That’s when I asked my son, “Aaron, with what am I going to buy you some new clothes? I’m not sure we have the money for that.”

I could see that he was dejected but attempted to understand. I felt badly because I desperately wanted to do this for him.

That’s when I started to pray. “Lord, help me find a way to get Aaron some new clothes for the Snow Ball.”

I didn’t tell the Hubs of my prayer, it was just between God and me. I didn’t tell my friends so they would feel indebted to buy an apron so Aaron could have a new pair of pants or a sweater. I kept it just between the two of us, the Lord and myself. And do you know what happened? He heard my prayer, as He always does and this time, He honored it with a yes. In a week’s time, I had enough apron orders that I was able to say to my boy, “Aaron, I’m going to take you shopping and buy you some clothes with the apron money I earned this week.”


So last Saturday I took my middle OS out to lunch (used a coupon) and then we went shopping (with a coupon.) Our time was even more blessed because of who got us there (the Lord) and why (sweet folks wanting an apron). In my wildest dreams and prayers, never did I imagine that God would bless me so richly through aprons of all things!

The hugs and love my OS lavished upon me were reward enough. We had silly times as we tried to find pants that fit his trim frame and less than tall stature. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The pants were too big or too long, nearly impossible to get the perfect size but alas we found a handsome outfit worthy of my boy! We left the store excited about the upcoming dance and envisioned all the ladies swooning around him as they admired his muscles, beauty and fancy new threads! HA!


I have been sewing like a crazy woman. My sewing machine is whirrrrrring all the time. There is fabric strewn throughout the house and I’m having a blast helping my family and being creative. The Lord truly does give us the desires of our heart and this moment with Aaron is one of many blessings I’ve received through His goodness manifested in APRONS. More to come, I can’t wait to tell you more stories like this!

Sew sweet

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“OUCH!” the Hubs screamed from upstairs. I wondered what in the world had happened and when he told me that he stubbed his toe, I must admit, I shrugged it off. Big whoop, everyone has stubbed a toe and it hurts like mess but seriously, it’s NO big deal.


Besides I was busy sewing my aprons for unknown people for an unknown purpose and if he wasn’t incapacitated, I had mounds of material awaiting construction.

However as the morning lingered, the Hubs continued to complain about his stubbed toe. When he eventually showed it to me, it was ghastly! Dark shades of red and purple melted together on his little middle toe, ew! It didn’t look stubbed, it looked mangled! Talk about gee-ross.

So how do you know you married a good man? When your hubs traipses your handmade aprons downtown with a broken toe and tries to sell them at local stores. That’s how you know you are loved.


The Hubs has successfully passed many “tests,” – last year when I broke my foot, he proved his love for me and then there are scores of other times that are none of your beeswax when he has shown me sacrificial, undeserved love.

How many aprons did he sell? I can hear you wondering. He sold nada. Nothing. Zilch. They didn’t kick him, his fractured phalange of the foot along with my aprons out of the stores, thank the Lord! Nor did they say they would never, ever consider selling such rubbish! But did it matter to me? Heck, no!


For me it’s the humbling image of a man who believed in me enough in me that despite his discomfort, was willing to limp down the sidewalk with my aprons in hopes that he could sell them for me.

Lemme tell ya, making these aprons has turned into a spiritual endeavor. I have so much to learn and tell, isn’t it amazing how God can use the simplest things to teach us?

The idea of my sweet hubs limping through our quaint downtown trying to sell his wife’s wares is seriously a better gift than if he had sold every last one.

Check this out!

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When my OS were little and I became a stay-at-home mom, I found sanctuary in MOPS. On really rough days, (oh yes, we have had plenty of rough days), I would LIVE for my MOPS day. It meant that I would have time for myself, talk with other moms, hear a great speaker and make a fun craft. My OS would be in a nearby room being cared for by generous ladies and we would all leave happy. They would nap, I would show the Hubs the craft I had made at MOPS when he got home from work. He would lavish praise even if it looked like something I could have made in kindergarten, MOPS will always hold a special place in my heart.

Now I have a sister in MOPS and I live vicariously through her when she goes to MOPS meetings. Quick MOPS story before I write the real reason for my post…

Last year, one day I was over at my sister’s house. Our mom was visiting and Denise walked in from the garage and into the kitchen utterly exasperated. She was breathless and clearly overwhelmed and when I asked her what was wrong, she directed me to take a look at my nephew otherwise known as one of my Gooey Guys.

As Jon walked into the kitchen, I noticed something was amiss. Jon trotted in with a shirt, a pull-up and socks. Gone were his pants and his big boy undies…While at MOPS, Jon thought he had “let one go” or as he calls it had a “barking spider” and it soon became disgustingly apparent, that he had more than expelled flatus. My darling nephew had pooped in his pants and I mean really pooped in his pants thus rendering his Thomas the Tank Engine undies completely and irrevocably ruined. I found it hilarious; my sister did not. Oh those were the days, thankfully we are both laughing about that moment!


Ok, so awkward transition…there’s no easy way to do it…

I just had to tell you about the most adorable craft the MOPS ladies made today. Check out this Advent Calendar. You can buy comparable Advent Calendars for $75 and up but not like this or at this price. You can have a Advent Calendar created by my friend Darcy for just $50. Darcy will include a personalized name on the top of the calendar if you like at no extra charge.


And for the uber crafty, Darcy is selling a set for you to make the Advent Calendar yourself. She includes a template for alternate ideas. The kit includes a dowel, twine, 25 monogrammed numbers, felt, ribbon and buttons, basically everything needed to create one like this including a picture of the sample. These are only $30 plus shipping and handling. And she’ll personalize it for free.

Facebook was abuzz with MOPS moms writing about the nifty craft they made and judging from some of the moms’ pictures, they all did a GREAT job! It is so cute to see all the creative ideas circulating! One mom has a husband who is a firefighter so she’s making a fire engine. Another mom’s son loves trains and she has a new daughter. She’s making a train and a ballerina. And if you know me, you know I LOVE penguins! There are penguins on the Advent Calendar !

Darcy is a stay-at-home pastor’s wife and mom. She is a tal- ented seamstress with such a servant’s heart, I know it would bless her family’s holidays if she sold bunches of these. Call Darcy at (919) 676-3159 if you want more info or to place an order. Tell her you heard about this right here! I love bragging about my talented friends!

My New Job

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Well I wasn’t going to be looking for a new job, that is until

YESTERDAY!

I was minding my own business at Carolina Beach, just waiting for my food order. I began reading Beach Buzz and an ad grabbed my attention. It spoke to an undiscovered part of
me. You know I like making things but I never imagined this.

I have been working in the non-profit industry for nearly eight years but now I’m ready to bring in some cold, hard cash making…

LAMPS
And not just regular lamps, friends.

I’m gonna make SQUIRREL LAMPS!!!

And I know the first squirrel I can use. It’s the one Ike took a picture of several weeks ago. A lounging squirrel lamp would be perfect in someone’s living room.


Our neighbors recently had a 25 pound snapping turtle on their lawn. Our neighbor was so freaked out about it, he knocked on our door and the hubs lugged it back to the pond. It jumped and did its customary snapping thing at the hubs. Next time it comes ’round here, I’m going to have the hubs capture it and I can work on making a snapping turtle lamp for a deserving soul.

I just can’t contain myself, this is gonna be good!

Questions:

1. I’m not sure a fee structure so how much do you think I should charge? (Hint: if I were you, I’d put your order in early before my prices go up.)

2. If you could make a lamp out of any animal in the world, what would it be?

3. How much would you pay for a squirrel lamp?

But wait, what is this??? Have I been punked?

NOOOOOO!

Chaos and clutter, order and wonder

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It’s incredible the feeling of freedom and empowerment a person can feel from a calendar. About two years ago my organization consultant turned me on to an old-fashioned concept. Little did I know the changes it would bring and how the trickle-down effect would help two other people in the process.

Prior to enlisting the help of Geralin (who by the way is one of my besties although she doesn’t really know it), I was a cluttered mess. I suppose in utero, as the Lord was knitting me carefully in my mother’s womb, He gave me an overabundant¬†love of words and virtually no innate gift of organization.¬†

For years, I have survived without a calendar. I’d make an appointment at a doctor’s office, get the little card detailing the date and time and then promptly lose the business card. This meant, either

1. hoping I had the date tucked securely (yeah, right) in my brain or 
2. calling the office to get the information every.single.time. This is a picture of chaos. 


Then, upon getting the information, I would go to my computer, log on and enter it into the calendar program. Maybe. If I were in an especially organized mood, I might even print out the calendar sheets and then stuff them into my purse/plastic bag/whatever. The process failed miserably. 

But somehow, miraculously, I plodded along assuming my life was doomed to chaos.

Enter Geralin…I truly believe the Lord put her in my life because she gave me the impetus to transform many aspects of my harried life…like my home office went from this


to this…


As I allowed her to investigate other aspects of my life, she asked me how I kept track of appointments and important dates. With a shameful gulp, I attempted to explain my paltry system which she quickly poo-pooed (sp?). Instead of my completely unreliable technique, Geralin told /urged /forced /suggested /recommended these guys and their products.

I consider myself to be a fairly technologically savvy person but she urged me to employ a time-honored tradition…a paper calendar (I really like this style) and, get this, a pencil!

Since I devote a lot of my professional life to speaking, I can’t tell you how much easier it is for me to see when/where/if I can speak by simply leafing through my calendar. And it’s equally exciting to use a pencil because I can effortlessly changes dates without leaving inky scribble marks all over the place.

My co-worker now uses the same method. I love it when we are together and we can check our schedules with a mere turn of a page.


But the really exciting person for me to introduce this method to is my mom. She had several doctor appointments today and the physical therapist commented to her, “Wow, you are really organized!” Now I have her set up with a calendar and a binder to store all her important paperwork. And at the risk of sounding braggadocious, I even scrap booked the front and back of her binder with some treasured photos I had around the house.¬†


Yes, having a calendar and being aware of one’s life, the comings and the goings has brought freedom and control into my scattered brain. I highly recommend it – Hail to the Calendar and the Pencil!

PJ Pants

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Now that Ike’s in sixth grade, what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t make him his first pair of custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week?¬†


Answer: I would be the worst mother in the world, that’s whom I’d be! Not saying that YOU are a horrible mom of a middle schooler if you haven’t made a your child custom-designed pajama pants for Spirit Week, I’m only talking about myself! No guilt zone, k?

As I talked with my friend, Michele, we agreed that since our sons are besties, we would make them matching pajamas. Then we considered another one of their good buds and decided to offer to make some for him too. When I suggested to Michele that we could probably crank out maybe even pj pants for two other kids, Michele was quick to use her assertive communication skills and say, “NO!” I am very thankful for her common sense because it preserved both my sanity and our friendship!

After a basketball game, Michele and I took our two boys to one of a sixth grade boys’ favorite stores…JoAnn Fabrics. Oh noooooo, they didn’t feel too awkward looking through all the material! Hungry and tired after the game, we were relieved when when we finally found the perfect material but then discovered there wasn’t enough of it to make three pj pants so guess what we got to do? That’s right…we got to take our tired and starving 12 year boys to their second favorite store…Hancock Fabrics! Try it sometime. If you have a 12 year old son and he complains about having nothing to do, offer to take him to a fabric store and see what happens! So much fun!

Our stomachs were growling and with only 15 minutes before closing time, we all settled on this fabric. It had to be the perfect blend of not too serious so people thought it was lame and not too babyish so people aka the dreaded eighth graders wouldn’t mercilessly mock and shame our sons for the remainder of their lives. That is not the easiest thing to do by the way. Michele and I planned on beginning our sewing project on Saturday and we were going to crank these pj pants out in no time at all…


Famous last words…