yarn along

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Finished sock number one, working on sock two. ¬†I think I will finish them just in time for the first fall chill. ¬†Can’t wait to wear them!

Still reading Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus.  Thumbs up.

Linking up today with Ginny’s weekly yarn along.

odds and ends

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We did a little walk last week in our neighborhood, which is a regular occurrence for us. ¬†I called it a nature walk, so Phoebe brought her nature journal and crayons, and we set out to look for things that were interesting, new, and to take note of what is happening in the woods around us during the month of September. ¬†We found a massive spider web (can you see it in the picture above with the building behind it?) which she sat down to draw, while the little ones played bubbles with me, then we all headed to the nearby playground. ¬†It was the first time it felt like one of our “fall” walks, and my heart skipped a beat. ¬†I live for fall in the mountains of NC. ¬†Something in my sort of wakes up, and I would say I am most inspired by fall and winter. ¬†The mornings feel just a little bit cooler, there is the first hint of¬†that distinctive smell, the first scuttle of leaves across the pavement. ¬†We hear acorns constantly dropping on the metal roof of our neighbors house. ¬†I plan to be outside pretty much every day, since the mosquitoes will finally leave us alone.

I finished knitting my first sweater for my nephew and am sending that off this week, and planning knits for each of the kids for their birthdays. ¬†I hope to make each a sweater, but Brandon tells me I’m probably being too ambitious.

School so far has been going really well. ¬†Phoebe seems to drag her feet in phonics, though I think it’s because the book I’m using to teach her is mostly geared toward auditory learners, and she seems to be more hands-on. ¬†She loves math and asks to do it constantly, mostly because of the math manipulatives I think. ¬†She is so incredibly bright and quick to memorize and I’m finding that doing school together gives us just some mother/daughter time that we both are enjoying so much.

Our ordinary days together at home are so full of learning opportunities.  We cook together, talk about odd or exciting things we see out in the world.  We observe the changing seasons, we talk about heart matters as we live alongside one another and sometimes treat each other harshly.  We read scripture and recite memory work.  After nap time a few days ago the three children wanted snack on the porch and I stood at the doorway and watched them all squished together on one side of their picnic table, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they could be more spread out.  But there they were, all squished on one bench, munching and giggling and playing.  It was a happy moment and made me so thankful for this chance to home educate and have Phoebe here with us.  The younger two would really miss her.

A few days ago Phoebe turned to me at dinner and asked, “Why don’t we ever give our food to the poor and needy?” ¬†I was taken aback by her question, quite happily, and we talked about it for a few minutes. ¬†She was thinking, then she bent her head and folded her hands spontaneously and prayed “Dear Lord, thank you for this lovely dinner. ¬†And we pray for all the needs, and the poor and the hungry that you would give them food. ¬†And we pray for all the mean and the selfish an the bullies, that you would help them and that you would take them away and that we wouldn’t have to see them again. ¬†In Jesus’ name, amen!” ¬†My heart was melted (even as I fought laughter over her¬†requests for all of the “mean and selfish.” ¬†Thank the Lord He is more merciful than we are.) ¬†Needless to say, we are cooking a meal this week together to drop off of at a local homeless shelter. ¬†“And a little child shall lead them,” right? ¬†;)

I don’t have particularly spectacular things to say about all of these random odds and ends, but these are the little moments that I don’t want to forget, these are the things of “now,” this is the good stuff that I treasure.

yarn along

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I finished the little boy sweater for my nephew. ¬†It’s blocking now, and I’m really happy with it! ¬†I’ll share pics of it soon. ¬†So now I’m working on a pair of socks for me, my first pair for myself. ¬†I love them so far, though I think they have more “positive ease” than I realized, or whatever that means. ¬†They are simple and cozy¬†and so soft.

I’m still in the last few chapters of Moments and Days but this book, Slow Church, arrived at the library so I put other books¬†on hold so I can maybe read it before its due back. ¬†I can’t remember where I first heard about it but¬†I was interested in it because of the way the authors address our current church culture, examining the way the wider cultural value on speed and efficiency has trickled into the way we approach and do church. ¬†Borrowing from the “slow food” movement, the authors relate the McDonalization of our food to the “McDonalization” of our churches, viewing them as “spiritual filling stations, dispensaries of religious goods and services.” ¬†Also, they had me at the byline: cultivating community in the patient way of Jesus. ¬†Something in me stirred at those words–always, this hungering in us for community and something about the “patient” way of Jesus (such a good turn of phrase) that is always so counter to how we tend to do things. ¬†We get away from His narrow way so quickly and easily, don’t we? ¬†I’m enjoying the book so far and it makes me want to do a massive study on church. ¬†Gah.

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things today to share current reads + knits along with her little community.  

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fermenting for the good

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In my early motherhood days I used to make Kefir since I had gallons of free milk through WIC and couldn’t seem to use it fast enough. ¬†I’d like to get back into making it, as it was so easy and a better type of yogurt (being that it was fermented) than regular yogurt. ¬†With all of Phoebe’s digestive problems and also dealing with some of my own, beginning to have ferments be a daily part of our diet has been of interest for some time. ¬†However, with all of the other things I have had to learn in switching to a completely gluten-free household, fermenting has been on the back burner. ¬†The reality is that we can only tackle so much at once, and have to focus on a few things, work at proficiency with them, then move onto the next project. ¬†The past year has been spent learning a new way of cooking, eating, shopping, meal planning, and correctly understanding food labels. ¬†We will always be learning those things, but I feel that we’ve established enough of a norm for me to be able to introduce something new. ¬†Enter: fermentation.

Now, I’m not going to spend time on the scientific reasons for fermentation, but if you’re interested there is a host of information about it online. ¬†Google away. ¬†On a very basic level, ferments have been around for centuries and provide unique blends of probiotics and healthy bacteria in the gut. ¬†We pay good money for powder probiotics for our kids, but there really isn’t a way to shortcut and reproduce the kind of probiotics found in homemade ferments, and each fermented item offers a different variety/blend, so it works well to have a few different ones as a part of your regular diet.

After reading this article about how easy it is to make your own sauerkraut, I attempted my first batch last month. ¬†Honestly, it is very very simple. ¬†I did invest in a Fido Jar after reading the article’s recommendation, but otherwise the cost was super minimal. ¬†This is not as hard as it seems: chop cabbage, add salt, put in container, leave on counter to ferment for 30 days. ¬†Cost effective and simple!

So,¬†I tried my first bite today. ¬†I felt a bit brave because I don’t 100% trust my fermenting skills and don’t want to make myself sick, but I have to give it a go. ¬†It looked and smelled right. ¬†I took a bite: tart, sour, crunchy, and really pretty incredible! ¬†In the old days, people used sauerkraut as a condiment, and so I plan to eat about a tbsp a day. ¬†I do feel inspired to grill some german brautwurst suddenly.ūüėČ

I sort of doubt Phoebe will eat or learn to enjoy sauerkraut or kombucha (she used to tolerate kefir if I made it into smoothies), but Brandon and I believe it is good for all of us to have in our diet, and hope to keep encouraging Phoebe to try it from time to time.  Anything is better than nothing.

We’ve been making kombucha too, I ordered a starter scoby from Cultures for Health, but it isn’t ready yet to try. ¬†Brandon and I drink store-bought Kombucha regularly, but it’s about $3.50 a bottle. ¬†I can’t wait to have¬†my own and save $$ on it!

yarn along

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On last sleeve of this sweater.  Almost done!

I’ve been¬†reading Indian Captive to Phoebe for our¬†read aloud. ¬†It is based on the true story of Mary Jemison who was captured and raised by the Seneca Indians from early childhood. ¬†It has been admittedly a bit intense and emotional at a couple of points, in my opinion, and I’ve asked Phoebe throughout if she still wants to read it or if it’s too sad. ¬†She has pled with me to keep going and doesn’t seem bothered by the hardship Mary faced. ¬†We are about two chapters to finishing and both can’t wait to see what is going to happen. ¬†It is a book I will probably make a mental note to revisit when we talk about this period in history, as it is a true story and deals with so many of the emotions and difficulties and prejudices of the Native American/White people conflict. ¬†It has been powerful to gently talk with Phoebe about Mary’s response to difficulty and to adoption by the Native Americans.

I’m linking up with Ginny Sheller today and her weekly yarn along where we share what we are currently knitting and reading.

 

harbingers of autumn

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I never used to pay attention to the way the bright spring green ages, deepening into the dark green of autumn before green gives way to brown, gold, scarlet. ¬†Last weekend, I felt that particular itch in my soul to get up and away into the mountains, and I took the kids (with my mom) to one of my favorite areas, Black Balsam. ¬†There’s something about this place that quiets me, and somehow hiking those familiar rocky paths and setting my eyes on that wide and wild view that makes me feel like I can breathe. ¬†There’s so much glory. ¬†The kids were such great hikers, even Philippa hiked the whole way and refused to be carried. ¬†So we kept the pace of a child, which is a good pace for a tired soul. ¬†It is the pace that allows you to notice things like darkening green, brilliant goldenrod, red and orange sumac, queen anne’s lace, all the harbingers of autumn. ¬†It is the pace that allows for wonder. ¬†It is the pace that allows you to really see¬†and remember that this season is passing and giving way to another, so drink it all in.

 

yarn along

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I started this sweater for my nephew a bit ago, then had to rip it out after I split for sleeves and realized my stitch count was way off. ¬†Second time around I have the sizing right, and am busy on the body of the it now. ¬†I’ve been trying to devote all of my attention to it, but my free time for knitting/reading has been a bit less since starting school with Phoebe¬†last¬†week. ¬†It will be late, but hopefully it will be worthwhile!

I’m still¬†reading Moments & Days by Michelle Van Loon and have almost finished the first portion of the book on the Jewish calendar. ¬†It is such a treasure to me to have a Jewish perspective on the feasts of the Lord, and even better that she shows how each feast/celebration finds their fulfillment in Jesus. ¬†The design of God is brilliant. ¬†I’m learning a lot!

I’m linking up with Ginny today and her weekly yarn along, where we share what we’re currently knitting + reading.