Well, so much for “zero doubts” in getting my dehydrated starter perky and going again. I said as much on my post on dehydrating the starter, and I figured after almost a year, it was time to raise the starter. I wasn’t successful.


This is what I began with, an airtight mason jar of dehydrated sourdough starter.


dehydrated sourdough


Day one, about 4:35 in the afternoon, I began with 1/2 cup of dried starter, 1 TB of  ground whole wheat flour (aged about a week in the fridge), and about 1/4 cup of chlorine-free water, enough to get a nice pancake batter consistency. I kept it on the counter, covered with wrap, at room temperature. I put the lid back on the jar, and it resealed within three minutes. I thought the whole deal was pretty stinkin’ easy.


Day two, around 9:15 in the morning, I checked on it, but there was nothing. No real activity at all. For reference, all of my starters do very well at room temperature. This starter still smelled all right, so I decided to warm it up a bit, on the lowest setting, about 90 degrees in my dehydrator. That is how I initially got the starters going when I got them from Sourdoughs International. I checked on it three hours later, and at 4:00 I turned it off.


This was the best I ever got: a single weak bubble or two. After a while, I began to wonder if what I had was my original sourdough fermenting, or if I was fermenting whatever yeast I was catching from my environment. Still, I decided to let it sit overnight, hoping I would see a healthy frothy starter in the morning.



Day three: nope. I decided to toss this batch and began again at 9:25 in the morning. This time, I used 1/3 cup of dehydrated starter, 1/2 cup of chlorine-free water, and I used white flour instead. The “right” way is to use the same as the starter, in this case, whole wheat. However, I thought that perhaps the whole grain may be too overpowering, and I wanted to experiment. I also decided to keep it warm for the day.


Day four, 8:50 in the morning, and I was not impressed. Also, my jar never resealed, so that was an interesting experiment, too. I still had the one or two bubbles, though, so I left it out all that day and into the night.


Day five, there was obvious mold. Yes, something was growing but it wasn’t my sourdough! I started yet again with the last of my dehydrated starter (all fresh clean bowls in between of course). I used 3/4 cup starter, 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup chlorine-free water AND this time I added 1TB of apple juice. Perhaps it needed a little sugar to feed off of. I left it to warm until that evening.


Day six, it still didn’t look promising. Believe me, I was SO hoping for this to work! I left that morning for five days to Portland, Oregon, and left it out (covered). I figured it would either perk up or die.


Five days later, it was moldy and dead. And thus ended the saga of rehydrating my dehydrated starter.


I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I’m sure there are far more knowledgeable sourdough gurus who could chime in once they stop laughing :) It sure did dehydrate very easily, so this is my current plan:


1. Call up a couple of companies and see if they’ll share with me how they dehydrate their starters. Perhaps my efforts were too hot, but I’m not sure how I’d overcome that in the wet climate I live in.

2. Order me up some new starter and keep one of their dried starters for my backup.

3. Continue on my quest to share starters with my friends! Many of us are now using sourdough starters, and it is pretty nice to be able to share back and forth as needed. Like when I need a year off from a flavor and then want it back ;)

4. Keep my starters going in the fridge, maintaining a rotation. Currently I have three going, but I’ve had four going and can definitely see doing more. It’s easy once it becomes part of the routine, and if you like to bake often. You can see how I juggle multiple sourdough starters here.


I hope you’ll learn from my failures, and if you are successful in resurrecting a homemade dehydration, I want to hear about it!




Part Two: Upsize

April 15, 2014 · 5 comments

In the midst of downsizing our living quarters, we’ll be upsizing our family. Yes, we are expecting baby #8.


I appreciated rereading Matthew 27 this past week. Jesus, the most innocent man ever, stood with dignified silence in the midst of false accusations, mocking, insults, and wrong assumptions. It gave me courage to relay the news of this baby to people I knew would not be excited. Amazingly, I’ve had such outpourings of good blessings and goodwill from everyone else that I’ve been able to pretty much shrug off the paltry number of people who show disdain. I’m delighted with  walking with the Lord and receiving these children. I guess I feel more pity than perturbed for  people who cannot rejoice over another child, in essence calling what is good, evil. It’s sad.


In the meantime, the packing continues. So does music lessons, cooking meals, and celebrating birthdays. Here is a hobbit cake my son’s sisters made for him.


hobbit cake


I’m not doing much in the gardens, except weeding the beds. In a few weeks I’ll put in some vegetable starts. Our seed starting wasn’t too successful this year; it’s time to refresh my seed stash. Flowers are blooming all over the place.




I’ve been on Pinterest gathering ideas for my new home, and I’ve enjoyed reading how other large families fit into such small homes. As it turns out, my home-to-be isn’t *that* small compared to where some families live! The current warp on my loom is to make some cotton kitchen towels, to pretty my new kitchen.




There’s a lot in our lives coming up this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing it and also learning from you all. You know, no matter what comes in life, no matter what circumstances or people throw at you, it’s good to remember that the Lord is sovereign and good. And it’s so, so good to rejoice in that with friends.






Part One: Downsize

April 14, 2014

Well, I promised to share some news, so here goes. We are moving. Actually, downsizing. Actually, almost micro sizing, compared to where we’ve been. My current house is a dis.as.ter with boxes everywhere and things collecting for garage sales, Goodwill, and Craig’s List.     This is very bittersweet for us. Bitter in that we […]

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First, You Take a Deep Breath…

April 5, 2014

…and that’s what I’m going to do for this week. Take a deep breath. Because before I share with you all the absolute craziness happening around here, I’m going to take a week off the net and hang out with a friend in the city. We plan to take a lot of art classes and […]

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Natural Face Care

April 1, 2014

My post on homemade face cream continues to be a favorite among my readers. Ironically, I very rarely make that face cream. Mostly, because I’m lazy   That’s not to say that I buy fancy facial products though. I just can’t spend that much for it, nor do I want all of the *interesting* ingredients […]

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An Alternative to Obamacare

March 30, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download   Rather than join the chorus to rant about Obamacare, I thought it might be more helpful to hear about an alternative. Join us as we talk with Jamie Pyles about Samaritan’s Ministries and hopefully answer any questions you may have about this organization.     If you decide […]

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Do You Know Affliction?

March 24, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download It’s great to get behind the microphones with my husband again! In this episode, I share about my new book, Present, coming out soon, and offer to you some encouragement regarding affliction. We’re not spared affliction in our lives, but in Christ, we are never alone within in […]

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Spring Planting

March 21, 2014

Well, it’s the first day of spring and I finally closed my eyes to the mess indoors and went outside. I’ve had starts by my kitchen windows, and because I’m getting tired of working around them, decided some of them could go outside. I put a bunch of kale seedlings out, and topped it with […]

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Tying Up Loose Ends

March 20, 2014

Tightening up and tying off the ends of my first woven silk scarf. It drapes beautifully, but I am ready to get out the cottons and make a good dozen (and non-finicky) kitchen towels.     My husband meets with the “potential house” owner this weekend. I suppose that will be another loose end to […]

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Retreat and Reboot

March 18, 2014

Six of my girlfriends and I went up to the mountains and spent a couple of nights in a log cabin. It was a nice retreat, a chance to spend time with one another and rest. We each brought an offering to share for a devotional, and then took turns praying for each other’s needs during […]

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Mission: Un-Organize My Home

March 5, 2014

There’s nothing quite like considering a massive downsize to make you rethink each and every thing you own. Many of us know the quote by William Morris, “…Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Well. Yes. Except that it all was useful and beautiful at one time. And some of […]

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Why I’ve Been Quiet

March 3, 2014

Oh, where oh where to begin…. This is going to be equal to about a dozen blog posts, but I’m going to just dump them all here. You can attend to the subtitles and read to your interest(s). MARRIAGE: Twenty-two years later, we’re still in the ebb and flow of relationship. That happens, doesn’t it? […]

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Marriage and the Art of Compromise

February 22, 2014

I was in the kitchen grinding some coffee recently and took a longer glance at my little set up. Hand grinder, coffee beans, electric grinder.     I prefer the hand grinder. It’s slow. It’s quiet. It grinds very fine and of course I think the flavor is better, too. It is something that forces […]

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More Sewn Bible Covers

February 12, 2014

It looks like we finally got a little bit of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, at least enough to snow us in and make a good excuse to spend extra time in the kitchen making pumpkin doughnuts. We live at the end of a long gravel road and without a spiffy 4×4 (we dream […]

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On Savoring the Things of God

January 29, 2014

Matthew 16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.   I’ve been parked in the book of Matthew for a bit, mainly because of Bible Study Fellowship. If […]

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“I Need to Go to the Store”

January 21, 2014

I say those words far, far too often. In my case, it’s about twice a week, which may or may not sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me. But for as many years as I’ve worked towards decreasing my dependence on the supermarket, here I still am. I find it not only […]

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I Didn’t Ask for This…

January 15, 2014

Matthew 14:22   And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship… CONSTRAIN, v.t. [L., to strain, to bind...] In a general sense, to strain; to press; to urge; to drive; to exert force, physical or moral, either in urging to action or in restraining it…. One of the risks of following Jesus is that sometimes […]

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On Goal(s) Setting

January 4, 2014

Isaiah 52:12   For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.  I love the beginning of a new year much as I love Mondays. Fresh starts. New days. Hope. In setting goals for the day or week or month […]

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How to Have the Christmas Spirit

December 23, 2013

It’s interesting, this time of year. So much music and movies and chatter about the Christmas spirit, about how to get it, and what the season is “really about” (depending on whom you ask). Sometimes I feel happy about all of the activity and lights and peppermint. Sometimes I just feel emotionally manipulated by holiday […]

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Simple Christmas Decorations

December 17, 2013

I’m a simple gal at heart, and I enjoy things that are natural, handmade, whimsical. Here is a little tour of some of the decorations around my home that fall into one or more of those categories.   Orange slices are easy to dry. I put the slices onto parchment and then slid them into […]

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I Wrote a Book! And More LOOMing Projects

December 9, 2013

If you’re on my email list (and you are, right?) you already know that I’ve written a book. If you’ve been with me a long while, you also know that A Happy Home was a blog I quit for a short season because I was so completely distracted by the internet and its siren call. […]

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The Other Side (of the Kitchen)

December 8, 2013

Not that anyone was waiting on the edge of their seats, but here is the other half of the kitchen decorated for Christmas. You can see where I started here.   I put little ornaments here and there on the shelves. And yes, those vanilla cocoa stirrers are yummy.     Then, I hung up […]

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How To Juggle Multiple Sourdough Starters

December 5, 2013

I’ve been feeling the need to update my post on whole wheat sourdough bread, mainly because baking with sourdough is far, far easier than the recipe I left there. And now that I’ve been at it for several years, I’ve also gotten to a nice rotation in juggling multiple sourdough starters. I get most of […]

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Advent as a Time of Rest

December 3, 2013

Is this a restful season for you? I was thinking of this as I was putting the kitchen gardens to bed for the winter. The garlic was long ago planted, and everything else has been either pulled up or pruned, and a nice thick layer of mulch put on top. It doesn’t feel like bracing […]

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Because We Need a Little Christmas…In the Kitchen

November 29, 2013

The bad news is that I’m having serious website issues so please excuse any mess while we try to fix mistakes we didn’t ourselves make to begin with but are sure to add to as we muck about in mires we are mostly clueless about. If you really want to know what’s going on, sign […]

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Scrappy Sewn Candy Canes

November 24, 2013

This sciatic injury has taken away some things I like to do…like pilates, like horse riding, like walks down my gravel road.  A month later, the pain is not keeping me up at night but I still have some nerve damage in my leg and foot, so I am finding less active things to do. […]

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Christmas Card Art: From Pinterest to Pin-ter-DO

November 20, 2013

I love how you can learn so many things on the internet. I think the trick is to not simply pop everything onto Pinterest for that nebulous “whenever” but to actually try your hand at some of the things that inspired you to pin them in the first place. Many thanks go to Christy Tomlinson […]

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One Happy Home Morning

November 18, 2013

I thank God for nights of unbroken sleep, but it took many nights of awakenings to cultivate that gratefulness.  Isn’t it interesting, how entitled we feel with regards to our blessings, God’s grace, that when His hand is removed from one or more of them we feel angry, frustrated, or sad (or is that just […]

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If There’s an Empty Barn, Rejoice

November 11, 2013

Habakkuk 3:17-18   Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God […]

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Longing for Your Dream? Practice.

November 7, 2013

I’ve been thinking, that in my quest to live a quiet(er) life, too often I think of my YiaYia and the little two room house she lived in, as if turning Waldonesque would center my heart.  I realize, logically, that this is not so, that discontent is not easily assuaged by change in circumstance or […]

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A Happy Home is Not Painless

November 2, 2013

Nothing brings out true colors like the palette of suffering.  I wrote about this earlier and it still remains one of the most popular posts.  Suffering is an excellent schoolteacher, both in your own life and in the life of others.   SUFFERING IN YOUR OWN LIFE   PHYSICAL PAIN   I took a wrong […]

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3 Reasons to Art Journal

October 28, 2013

1.  It’s quiets the mind, especially on an evening in front of a fire (even if it’s just from propane).  Music optional.     2.  It’s a little of everything:  collage, pencils, watercolor, stuff (AKA as ephemera).  Good for the indecisive or bored .     3.  It’s hard to be in two places at […]

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I Don’t Do Facebook…I Painted My Kitchen Instead

October 24, 2013

Not participating with Facebook is interesting.  For one, some folks find that almost impossible, almost as impossible as, say, not owning a smart phone.  I casually mentioned my said absence to a barista wanting to sign me up for coupons (“Just *like* us!”). “Oh, I like you all just fine!  I’m just not on Facebook…” […]

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Seven Considerations Before Starting (or Continuing) a Blog

October 19, 2013

photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc This is my second blog.  I began the first one in 2006 and deleted it to who knows where in etherspace in 2008.  I had struggled with where I fit in the internet world and many of my readers resonated with the tension between the desire to […]

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Visit Our Studio!

October 12, 2013

It is really fun to podcast with my husband, and I encourage you to give one of our shows a listen if you haven’t done so yet.  Would you like to see our studio?  Enjoy!

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Fall: Time to Harvest (Fruit), Time to Plant (Ideas)

October 9, 2013

Right on cue, the rains have fallen and the winds have begun to dust the alders and firs outside my home. Autumn is here!  Down the gravel drive, unpicked blackberries lie limp on the vine, their leaves turning reddish and preparing to die down for the season.  I am thankful for it.  I love this […]

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Trades for the Upcoming Art & Soul Retreat

September 26, 2013

One of the fun things going on at the Art and Soul Retreat is an opportunity to participate in trades.  From what I understand, you bring some artwork or supplies or whatnot that you can *trade* with someone else at the event.  I had no idea what I had to offer, but I thought I could […]

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Ten Reasons I Use the King James Bible

September 23, 2013

  I don’t know why but it always rubs me raw when King James readers are all lumped into whatever the clump d’jour is.  Let’s be clear.  Using a KJ Bible is not a salvation issue.   The color of your Bible cover isn’t going to keep you from knowing the Lord, and other translations […]

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Suffering–and What to Do With Old Journals

September 22, 2013

I pondered what to do with all of the old books, those thick notebooks full of prayers, thoughts, dreams and probably far too many complaints.  They all sat on the floor for months, giving me time to flip through, read a little here and there.  Some of it made me laugh.  But lots of it […]

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To College by 12….and Beyond!

September 11, 2013

Podcast: Play in new window | Download   I was very blessed to speak with Mona Lisa and Kip Harding.  They are the loving parents of ten children, and six of them have begun college coursework by the age of 12.  At the time I was struggling with issues like,  ”Am I overloading the kids […]

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Eat Well

August 30, 2013

pastured eggs, kale, chanterelles, red onions, tomato, fig, seaweed bulletproof coffee on the side   It doesn’t much matter that we know we’re eating junk.  Guilt over the half bag of cookies? Check.  Late night snacking? Check.  Dare I say soda-pop? Check. But, eh, you only live once and a little bit, moderation even, doesn’t […]

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Last of August Break

August 29, 2013

Here’s the last of simple photos for my August break.  We just came back from a road trip; it was wonderful!   PACK   HEAR Ezekiel 43:2   And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with […]

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August 24, 2013

I’m down to the last stack of my journals to peruse and…well…get rid of.  Getting rid of the early years of journaling, late teens, was easy; do I want anyone to find and read all that junk? Hardly!  The recent stuff, however, is harder because I’m still processing through a lot of the same things […]

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August 23, 2013

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Far Away

August 22, 2013

I was wondering how I was going to capture this theme of “Far Away” for the August Break.  Hubby obliged  

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August 21, 2013

    I love hollyhocks, but consider myself to be more of a dandelion

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Looking Down

August 20, 2013


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Summer Break

August 19, 2013

Very much enjoying my August blog break.  It’s given me opportunity to play with my camera more, work on schoolwork, do some other writing, and read a lot of books.  Oh, and sleep  I hope you’re giving yourself some time through the year to pull back and rest a bit, too.  (Wait, was that a […]

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Save the Blackberries!

August 16, 2013

Some kids in town protested in their own way the motorized cutters hacking back the brush from the roadsides near their homes.  I hope their signs work!      

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August 15, 2013


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