The adventures continue! This is half of the very large willow tree that gave our front yard such ample shade this last summer. It came down during the night during a wind storm, and we were all very, very thankful it didn’t fall upon the house. It did break another tree, however, one with really pretty tropical looking flowers. I’m sad to see such lovely landscaping come to such disaster. And the two days we spent without electricity because of it wasn’t too fun, either.

 

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It is in the midst of such things that we are attempting to get our house(S) in order. HouseS?? Yes. In this podcast, my husband shares about all of the different houses we are slowly putting into order, by God’s grace. They are:

  • the physical house
  • the personal house
  • the family relationship house
  • the financial house
  • the spiritual house
Play

In other news, we are waiting anytime now for our baby to arrive, and I am preparing for that as well. Yesterday I made all kinds of postpartum and baby care herbal products. We have more to share with you all, but that will have to wait until after the baby is born.

Thanks for your support and for all of your blessings! I’m looking forward to settling in this winter and reconnecting with you all on a more regular basis.

 

Blessings,

 


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Settling In

October 9, 2014 · 6 comments

I still feel like I’m running, but now it feels more like running out of time. I’m a few weeks away from babyhood showing up and I am still working on schoolwork deadlines (I’ll share more about that later). Meanwhile, we closed on our old house, which to be truthful felt a little disorienting but we are now able to return our attention to this little house and get it ready (we hope!) for winter.  Here the tour continues with our main living space. Previously, we had a very large great room, plus a separate media room, plus an open loft. Now we just have this one room to gather in.  No one gets to escape :)

 

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It looks a little cluttered when you first come in, but there is organization involved. The wood stove flanks the middle of the house, and to the left is the kitchen and to the right is the dining room. I cut the main living room into thirds, with one-third as an entry/fiber workshop.

 

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Here is my little loom with space in the back for my spinning wheel and baskets of yarn and supplies. A note of interest…see all of the boards on the walls and ceiling? They are old growth timber, very hard and very long. One gentlemen remembered that when this house and the similar neighbor house was built, the men would go up into the mountains to bring back timber, and the women would mill it here on the property.

 

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On the loom is a baby blanket I’m weaving. I expect it will take a couple more hours to finish.

 

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Here is the other two-thirds of the room. I like that there is plenty of room for a lot of people to squeeze in; seating on the coach, piano bench, and chairs all around. All of our games and lap blankets are in the trunk (aka “foot rest”). The computer screen is currently where we watch movies; we hope to upgrade that computer and screen really soon. We don’t have a TV, cable, or consoles with video games. I honestly don’t know where we’d have time for any of that. I’d love to have a basket where visitors would turn in their cell phones while here, but I think folks would seriously freak out without them. It’s sort of sad, really. But I digress.

 

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The chair in the corner is next to the corded phone. One of my passions is cultivating an uncluttered and relaxed life, so yes….sit your hiney down to talk on the phone and leave the multi-tasking behind. Plus, no one ever loses the phone. Plus, it will still work if/when the power goes out (common here in the PNW). Plus,  it cuts down on all of the radiation traveling all over the place. Here’s a short article about that sort of thing.

 

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This is the view from the corner chair. After the kids have cleaned up and I chased them outside so I can take pictures :)

 

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Toys are here and there, just like in our last home. These are *family* rooms, so you’ll find toddler puzzles, blocks, and other toys all around nicely put into baskets. Our babies can easily play here, and it also makes visitors with children more comfortable. No one has to disappear into other unseen rooms for toys. You can see and hear more about how I organize toys here.

 

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This little table used to be my desk (I’ll show you what I’m using now later). This will be our puzzle table, another place to hang out. Our violins (and viola) are on the wall, along with most of our DVDs. The basket under the table is full of magazines I like and a bunch of library books. If you noticed the cord running down the stars, that’s because we still don’t have power upstairs as we finish up the second bedroom.

 

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There are lots of nooks and crannies for toys and books. We didn’t waste much space!

 

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I think what makes a house a home is not only the people in it, but what you have around you. I like homemade and handcrafted things, old things that have history…which means–in a way–the people behind those things are also present. I’ve brought out the autumnal colored quilts I’ve made, along with other handwork pieces. I find slow work to be the best work.

 

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In decorating, I also find it helpful to repeat things. For example, I happen to really like birds. There are a whole lot of birdhouses outside actually in use, but they are inside, too! I made room for this large cage; I just love it. Maybe someday when the children are gone and it’s too quiet,  I’ll put canaries in it. Right now, however, I treasure the quiet when I can get it and the children like playing with the fake birdies in there.

 

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This is my little spot for handwork and reading and just being with my family. Do you all have a little spot or two of your own?

 

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That’s all for now. Tom and I are planning a last podcast on this series of downsizing. My next few weeks will be busy with preparing (and hopefully blessedly having) a new baby, finishing my schoolwork, and completing the indoor work in the house. My “Big Plan” for winter is simply to lay fallow, spend time with my honey to dream and plan for our future, to enjoy the children and cooler weather and woodstove fires and just relax through the holidays. My winter will be, God willing, empty of deadlines and perhaps I can glean from Him more about what He meant when He promised His burdens were light. I hope you’ll join me in seeking that unhurried life.

 

Blessings,


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Not in the Way You Might Desire

September 18, 2014

We’ve been talking as a family about how God always answers our prayers, but sometimes it’s “not in the way you might desire.” For example, a gentleman might pray for more time to spend with his family…and the Lord might allow him to face an injury that keeps him from going to work. In our […]


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Downsized Dining Tour

September 9, 2014

First of all, thank you for not only the comments, but for the ones for my eyes only, and for the emails, and for snail mail. Sometimes I am really slow in responding, but, Lord willing, I will get there.   I’m not in the “nesting” stage yet but I sense it coming. I’m still […]


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Downsized Kitchen Tour

September 1, 2014

Welcome to my new, downsized home. Not everything is in place, not every box is unpacked, and certainly not every room is finished (or even able to be moved into yet). But I thought I’d share with you the progress we’ve made, and how we’re living at the moment.   Would you like to see […]


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Downsizing Our Home, Upsizing Our Family: Part 3

August 19, 2014
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, so much for my pretty scene at the pond! Tom and I heard the *crack crack….craaaaack…..* and then, enormous branches came crashing down, smashing the little maple I was so looking forward to watching blaze with autumnal colors. Other branches around the property have come down, too. […]


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On Waiting…

July 31, 2014

A month in, and I’m finally to the point of settling into the bottom portion of the house. The upstairs is still in progress, but it’s a slow process. Little by little, as my neighbor reminds us.   I’m finally back into my art journal, and enjoying seeing all of my art supplies at hand […]


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On Being Present

July 22, 2014

I just had to share this video. How much do we depend on social media or the internet to connect or build a relationship with someone?     Most of the time, it seems using social media to build relationships is not really about building relationships at all. It’s simply a way to get out […]


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Sneak Downsizing Peeks #2

July 22, 2014

Slowly, slowly…slowly…it is coming together. Boxes are moving out of the house, and shelves are going up. I’m going to spare you the corners that still have stuff all over the floor waiting for more shelving and hooks, and share some more peeks with you. Oh, and the entire upstairs hasn’t even begun to get […]


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Sneak Downsizing Peeks

July 11, 2014

Discovering fruit already here on the land (cherries!)…   And harvesting foods grown here naturally…   Finding ways to make do with less counter space…   And choosing when and how to use our resources…   Creating vertical and horizontal places for storage…   And finally taking some time to rest…   Blessed.


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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family…Part 2

July 9, 2014
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download Good-bye Big House Over a week later, I *finally* have internet. I must say, though, the world didn’t come to an end without a connection. This past week has been STRESSFUL..I suppose I will be glad I didn’t have the internet distraction to make it worse. Lots and […]


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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family

June 30, 2014
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, today’s the big MOVE! The big yellow rental van will be here in about two hours, along with a group of friends. Last night my husband and I recorded our last podcast in the primo studio, and talked about what we’re doing, and why. Hopefully you’ll get […]


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What If…(on Downsizing)

June 27, 2014

I have a large slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk next to my computer. I picked up the cake this afternoon from one of our local cafes, after I picked up the easy (read: conventional store-bought) meals to feed my family for the next few days. I’m sitting at the bar in […]


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Downsizing into the Bungalow

June 25, 2014

Work continues in the little 1951 bungalow. Tools are everywhere, dust is abundant, paint splotches are spotted on the floors and lots of people are using their time and tools to help us make the transition. It’s not a small thing, *just* time and tools. Most folks have to travel as we do, 45 minutes […]


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Downsizing Progress

June 14, 2014

What’s going on at the house(s)? Well, quite a bit.   Today in our current house, we were blessed with eight friends that showed up to form teams and cleaned all of the hundred-and-fifty-whatever windows we have. I made a taco lunch for everyone, and wished more than once I could grab a camera. But […]


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Look Up

June 12, 2014

In my mind, I am writing many blogs, updating progress as we go. In my mind, I am taking photographs, uploading and sharing them with you. In reality, however, I am burning out, rarely home, and very tired. I miss my routines, my quiet, my time to write and work on handwork. In the midst […]


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More Downsizing the Kitchen…and Closet

June 5, 2014

After spending some time yesterday in my new kitchen, I decided that what I had to do was come up with a plan. I did the same thing when we were building our current house, and I even labeled (on paper drawings) drawers and cabinets with *exactly* what was going to go where. Last night […]


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Downsizing the Kitchen

June 3, 2014

As many of you know, we are downsizing our living space from 3800 square feet (not including the basement and attic) to under 1700 (no basement nor attic). We’ve been wanting to podcast some of the craziness going on, but honestly we are falling asleep practically at supper time. Today we spent the day at […]


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What I’m Learning from Our Caterpillar Infestation

June 2, 2014

  It’s a caterpillar year here. That means there are caterpillars everywhere. On fruit trees. On alder trees. On porches. Climbing up screened windows. Hitching rides onto people. Crawling about indoors.   I can’t help but think of the frog infestation of the Old Testament. In gardens. In homes. In beds, ovens and–truly more so–everywhere. […]


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Leather Journals, Basketry, Weaving and More Beginner Art Journaling

May 26, 2014

Well, the vast majority of the packing is finished and boxes are piled into the garage. The basement is crazy overflowing with garage sale goods and now I am just waiting on other people: painters, window washers, carpet cleaners… There is nothing for me to do now but to wait during this lull before listing […]


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Bible STUDY

May 19, 2014

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 How’s your Bible reading going?   Seventeen years ago I was saved, and for the past fourteen I’ve been in my Bible pretty much daily. I credit the few years I spent […]


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Seeking Balance in Downsizing

May 12, 2014

Proverbs 30:8-9   Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.  That was the verse I attached to the photograph […]


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Why I Blog

May 8, 2014

  I once saw a t-shirt for writers that had written upon it, “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my next book.” As funny as that is, the truth of the matter is that writers do use–among other things–their experiences and worldviews, and yes, that means interactions with other people, to create […]


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Packing, Packing, Packing…

April 29, 2014

I am already tired of packing. And the more I pack, the more I wonder how I will ever fit it all into our smaller house, even as the garage sale pile grows ever higher. At this point, it’s going to take me hours just to get that sale pile out of my house! I […]


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Hard Marriages and Silent Wives

April 24, 2014

Another friend of mine is divorcing. It makes me sad. And it makes me sad when I go to weddings, too. I want to warn the couple: the chances are very, very (very) good that there will be a “for worse.”   But I’m also sad at how our faith community handles family breakdowns as […]


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Trying to Maintain Normalcy While Downsizing

April 21, 2014

I am decluttering and downsizing and packing away my belongings. One box, one room, one area at a time. Even as the garage sale pile grows bigger, even as the trips to send off donations gain frequency, I am still bewildered about how I am going to make this downsize work. I’ve taken measurements of […]


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Rehydrating Dehydrated Sourdough Starter

April 16, 2014

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 […]


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Part Two: Upsize

April 15, 2014

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 […]


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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
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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
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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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