Help for the Flood Victims in Upstate NY

I nearly burnt the dinner last night, and then cookies later that evening. What was the cause of my distraction?

I was looking at flood pictures from the Binghampton, NY area. I was mesmerized because this is the area we lived in when we were on the homestead. There was actually a picture posted by someone near my old street. I was actually in tears – it felt too close to home because I’d been to *that* restaurant, shopped in *that* store which now had muddy water up to the awnings. Driven that road, but never seen that field that full of water…

I was crying just looking at pictures – can you imagine being in the middle of it? Having all your possessions submerged in a mud bath, losing your house to structural damage, or spending days with other evacuees in a rescue shelter…with little kids and only what you grabbed in the 20 min. you had to flee the rising waters? And your husband’s place of work flooded, and your Church, and you’re  wondering if you will even have employment by the time this is over?

What a blessing that people with vision and compassion have already stepped up and are creating ways we can all pitch in and help the survivors. My friend Mandy has set up a toiletries drive to help flood victims. Visit her blog to find out how you can help. And for photos of the flood, you can check out this facebook album.

Due Date +4: Ramblings

Today, to distract myself, (’cause I don’t have a baby yet and it’s all I think about unless I keep really busy but I wore myself out by 3pm) I went over and visited the Pioneer Woman. Everyone knows who she is. She’s got a huge, wonderful blog and a ginormous following (she gets an average of 2000 comments per post. I. Cannot. Fathom. Does she read them all?). I like her blog. She can be a little, well, crass, at times. But she has beautiful photographs, and keeps it real. Those are my favorite things in a blog, and what I strive for around here. I don’t read her often simply ’cause I like to be different, and it seems everyone else reads her blog and links to her all the time.

I decided today that was a stupid reason.

My favorite thing is her writing voice. It’s so real – it’s like you’re talking to her on the phone. And she’s got a great sense of humor. That is one thing I want to copy about her – using my true voice when I blog.

Oh, I would also like to give away complete sets of Fiesta wear and $250 gift certificates, but I don’t have sponsors calling me begging me to expose their products to my ginormous readership. I’m not complaining, mind you. You guys are great, all 79 of you (oh, there’s more of you? Well, become an official follower in my sidebar and give my ego a boost, will you? I need all the distraction I can get while I wait – and wait…and wait...)

Yeah, so the ticker does appear to be going backward. Except when you click it until it says “40 weeks, 4 days so far”. Then you get an accurate picture of why I’m so desperate for diversion. Yeah, I know that a due date is aproximate, and I went 9 days late with my Boy, but I was sooo sure I’d go on my due date ’cause it was also the full moon. And I’ve had plenty of warm-up labor and I am sooo ready. But I can’t help being grateful for how good I feel and how much we get done each day we wait.

I asked myself today, “Why isn’t my house always this clean?” Cause, I’m telling you, it is spotless,  spit-shined,  perfectly polished from top to bottom (Well, I don’t go in the basement – that’s Jeremy’s territory). I mean, here’s proof that it can actually get this tidy (I had decided it was impossible before this week) – so why isn’t it?

The answer? ‘Cause normally I like to do other things besides clean my house. That is all I have done this month. I take nesting to an extreme – it is an excuse to depth clean every room in my house and finish all kinds of unfinished (or even un-begun) projects.

It’s really nice, actually, living in a house that feels like a condo. I could live like this all the time. But I wouldn’t get anything else done. And I dearly love that ‘anything else’ category – like sewing, scrapbooking, reading good books and connecting with friends – oh, and blogging. So, as in everything, you gotta find the balance.

So, to help me from being bored – why don’t you all share YOUR favorite blog or website that you like to kill time on? Or, the one place you visit when you only have 5 min. online and no new emails…

And, while your at it, tell me your favorite thing about this blog, so I can remember why I love hanging out here with you all so much. Thanks. It would make my day.

Make your fridge be nice to you.

I did it – for the first time since moving last summer, I cleaned my fridge from top to bottom. I deem that confession revealing enough that a ‘Before’ picture is unnecessary.  Ha. This is what it looked like After. So sparkly that one should wear sunglasses when fetching a glass of milk. I also rearranged the shelves  for optimum storage, and chose designated shelves for certain items. This fridge was new-to-us last summer, and I had not yet rearranged a thing. If you have not done so, I encourage you to analyze your fridge usage and try a new shelf arrangement. It has really cut down on frustration for me this week! I can go to the fridge and take something out with one hand, instead of juggling and shifting. I can tell Jeremy right where something is in the fridge, because – at least on the door – everything has an assigned spot. Very helpful. Make your fridge be nice to you. The Spring Cleaning Challenge over at Nourishing Gourmet was just what I needed.
Now, Kimi posted pictures of her fridge contents when she was done, and I saw some intriguing things in jars and jugs…my curiosity was aroused and I wish she had told us what was in that one jar, ’cause seriously, it looked like it should have been thrown out! LOL I’m sure it was something highly nutritious. That being said, in case Your curiosity was aroused by anything in MY fridge, I’m gonna be sweet and enlighten you!

1. Fresh, Whole milk from the nearest dairy farm.
2. Home canned pear-grape juice made last summer. Turned out a bit tart. I use it for taking medicine. :)
3. Fresh batch of Homemade Whey. I use this mostly for when I soak my bread and batters overnight, but it has lots of nutritional uses. I make usually turn 1/2 gallon of milk into this and #5 once a month.
4. Yancy’s Fancy Cheese curds – this pregnant mommy’s favorite protein snack. Lovely with homemade wheat thins.
5. Homemade Cream Cheese – a byproduct of #3. Used succesfully in cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake yesterday – HOORAY! :)
6. Beet Kvass. My friend and mentor-in-all-things-nourishing made this for me. A true friend. I really, really, need to start drinking it every day. It’s not something I’m naturally fond of, but it’s so good for me, so I need to make it habit. (There’s another quart of it behind the whey – I really need to get drinking that stuff. Great source of iron for this pregnant momma. 
7. Dough for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – recipe here. This was yummy, %100 whole wheat bread – one of my better attempts so far in the area of whole wheat, soaked bread. And stinkin’ easy.Pardon my slang.
8. This week’s salad dressing – Homemade Poppy Seed. Recipe coming soon.
Left of #8 – forgot to give it a number – my Kombucha Mushroom, waiting patiently for the next time I make a batch. 
9. Half and half, skimmed off the top of a gallon of fresh milk (see #1). This is where buying our milk fresh, whole, and un-homogenized (at $2 a gallon) really starts to save us money. You can make it into so many things! I save a couple dollars a week not having to buy half-and-half, not to mention the yogurt, cream cheese, whey, creamy soups and ICE CREAM I make every week. Oh yum. Oh, so much money saved.
10. I saved the best for last. Why, you ask, does she have her deodorant in the fridge?????

I’ll tell you all about it in my next post….:)

A Cook of Very Little Brain

OK, so, it’s Wednesday. You want me to tell you about my latest foray into a healthier lifestyle and more nourishing cooking. I’m fine with that – I have so much to share with you! My frustration and writer’s block and all that comes in because I’ve confined myself to blog on this subject only on Wednesdays. I want to share the good stuff in my life as it comes, while it’s fresh! So, farewell to Weird Wednesdays and scheduled blog content, and hello! to me once again blogging whatever I feel like blogging whenever I feel like blogging! Hooray!!! :)

On another note, I love to share new ideas and recipes with you, but I have found that there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who are on the same page as I am, blogging about many of the same things, and I don’t want to put a whole lot of time or effort into a post when someone has already done the legwork. So, if I try something new and really want to share it with you, I may just post a link to another blog post. Be assured that I don’t post links or recommend other blogs unless it is REALLY worth you clicking through! I just don’t see it as good stewardship of my time to cover every subject with my own photographs and text.

That being said, here’s what I’m doing today in my weird kitchen – catching yeast from the air. :)

Kitchen Stewardship is soooo good at taking wild and weird ideas and breaking them down into simple, easy to follow steps for those who are new to the nourishing cooking realm, or those who (like me) have very little brain in this season. Step, by step, by step, with pictures and LOTS of side notes and common sense. Makes me think I can make sour dough. Cool.

And, tagging along with the Spring Cleaning Challenge over at the Nourishing Gourmet, I’m heading of to clean my fridge.(Anything to make it feel like spring is on the way!!!) Long over due. Just the nudge (or shove!) I needed. I know there’s some naturally sweetened chocolate waaaaay in the back of the bottom shelf. That shall be my treat when I find it…..

The Adventures of Little Dog, part two

The other day, The Boy wanted to go outside. He pulled a chair to the hat and mitten box, found his mittens, scarf, and hat. Then he pulled his snow pants and coat off the hooks, and found his boots. All by himself. Since he had done half the work, I decided I could do my part and help him get dressed. At the last minute, he announced that Little Dog wanted to come along.

I looked out at the powdery whiteness abounding, and down at the Little Dog, wagging his tail at me. I thought how snowy his fur would get. I thought how much FUN he would have. And I thought of an idea.

With a jacket of The Boy’s zipped up to his chin, and the arms tied around his body, Little Dog was cozy warm, and ready to go out in the snow. The Boy was delighted. He grabbed his tractor and trailer, and off they went.