Monday, October 29, 2012

Ice cream

So I've been contemplating this for a while. I've noticed this new trend of slow churned 1/2 the fat ice cream at the store. I had heard from Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions in an interview that the reason whole milk was more expensive than low or non-fat milk was because they could make more money by using the milk fat in ice cream and sell it at a much bigger profit.

But why then are they using skim and non-fat milk in these new ice creams? I think it's because of a few reasons:

1. Low-fat ice cream has a halo for being "healthy".
2. It's cheaper to produce because they're using cheaper ingredients.
3. Low-fat is less filling and therefore you will eat more ice cream to get your fill.

The use of soy lecithin rather than eggs as an emulsifier also has the same effect in supposedly being healthier for you, cheaper to make, and less filling.

We're totally being scammed into eating more food and GMO foods at that.

I say that if you want to indulge in some nice treats this holiday season, make them yourself with real ingredients. It will be more satisfying, filling, healthier and you'll likely eat less as you share the fruits of your labor with others.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Imagine Sisters

There's this new site that is designed to encourage vocations in women to the Catholic Church. I've always had this awe about religious and how beautiful they seemed to me. I love how simple their lives are. I love their clothes.

Before I met my husband I thought I might have a vocation to be a nun/sister. It was very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that no it wasn't meant for me. I wanted to belong somewhere. Only a few weeks after they said no I met my husband. I have children and a home and am very happy but I know there are women out there who should be discerning a vocation as a nun. There is freedom and purpose there that they will not find in the secular world.

To all those who might possibly think they are interested check out this site: Imagine Sisters

Simplicity is key

I was given a beautiful china cabinet the other day and ended up giving my other china cabinet to a friend. This new cabinet is smaller and I also wanted to be a little better about what I put in the cabinet and not just cramming everything I had in there.

I picked my favorite items and carefully displayed them. On the left is a pretty teapot, creamer and sugar bowl with four tea cups. In the middle are my figurines. The top shelf are from my childhood with my baby cup. The middle shelf is from my adult life and marriage. The couple to the right are from my wedding cake. And a little swedish wedding cup from a friend is behind. Mary with child and lamb sit on the bottom shelf reminding me of my vocation (my oldest loves this figurine). To the right are my wedding flowers, cup for my youngest and all my flower vases that I use from time to time.

This picture is all the other stuff that was in the old china cabinet that's not going back in the new one. I'm going to pack it up and keep it in storage until it's needed. Add to all this stuff a complete 6 place china set for 12 and you can see how overloaded I was.

Many of us want to have everything on display because it has important to us and we also want to make sure that the people who gave us a gift know how important it is to us. But if our stuff becomes clutter because it is too overwhelming then it is just contributing to a mess and therefore causing stress. My mother always said, "a messy house is a messy mind." and that is so true. I think much better when everything is put away and in it's place. When things are simple and displayed well I enjoy them much more.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blatherings on Going Against Cultural Norms

Lately, I've been reading a lot of modest blogs, mom blogs, patriarchy type blogs, and anti-feminist blogs. It seems to be very prominent in some Protestant circles with the occasional Catholic one thrown in there for good measure.

I truly enjoy reading the feminine quality of the writing, thoughts, and ideals. It seems as though the more limits we put on our sexual/fallen nature, the more we thrive as children of God. A beauty is released of purity, innocence, and grace. Virtues are able to come out.

I've been lectured at school, by co-workers, and friends about the dangers of Patriarchy and it's suppression of women. I've been lectured on the freedoms women have been given by throwing off the shackles of male domination.

The thing is is that I don't think we're all that better off and in a lot of ways things are worse. I'm sick and tired of feminine qualities being squashed because they're feminine. I'm tired of the endless questions of when will I be going back to work so I can have the chance to get away from my kids. Or the looks of pity for not going higher with my education, as if I lost the respect of my friends and family. It really bothers me that higher education, degrees, and a career is thought of as superior to marriage, children and running a household.

I think we have lost a lot in this modern culture of women working while others watch their children. We've lost skills that our grandmothers knew like proper care of a home, cooking, child rearing, and even entertaining. We seem to lack the understanding of how you make a house turn into a home.

I admire the positive qualities and attributes of systems like a Patriarchy. Where it is designed to appeal to the man's protective nature and the woman's nurturing one. Where we are taught to love God by example of our living.

I admire the constraint of modesty. Where women wear skirts and cover their hair. It makes my fingers itch to make aprons to cover a pretty frock so it's not stained by sticky fingered children or bleached by properties in some cleaners.

I propose a return to femininity, modesty, and respect of men. I want a clean home with hearty food on the table at every meal. I want pretty feminine touches throughout the house of my making or design. I want love, joy, and laughter to ring out each day where all are loved and respected.

I will try to catalog my efforts here on this blog as often as I can. I have a lot to learn of knowledge that has been lost by our generation. Hopefully, what I learn will help others too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homeschooling and the Classical Curriculum

Here is a wonderful story of a Catholic school that was save by implementing a Classical curriculum.

I'm very interested in homeschooling my boys with a classical curriculum as I think it will give them a boost in their ability to learn.

In questions about why words are spelled a certain way by children learning to read, I've seen several comments in films and vlogs lately that, "English is hard". Here is an excellent answer from classical learning methods that provides much needed logic:

"Latin is important for the grammar stage of the trivium because its nouns decline, or change their ending according to function they are performing in a sentence. This helps students to better understand how languages work, and it is coupled with the memorization of poetry."

Along with this curriculum I hope to use the book, "The Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fabric problems

I have come to the realization that while I love sewing, completing projects and buying patterns, I have a horrible time buying fabric. I have boxes of patterns and scores of books and not a thing to sew. I am completely unable to buy fabric, probably because it is so expensive. My limited cash supply has me quaking at the thought of paying more than $2 per yard, which was what I was paying to make my Renfaire garb when I was an actor doing nobles. Upholstery fabric is easily bought in the clearance section of our local upholstery warehouse for just that amount.

It was commonly taught that to make your own clothes was less expensive than buying it ready made. That can't really be said anymore. If we're comparing high end store prices to what you can make than yes, it is cheaper to make your own clothes. Unfortunately, I shop at Walmart and Target for my clothes. I can buy a shirt for $9 and a pair of pants for $10. I can't even come close to that price in the cost of supplies and time. I shudder to think what the people are paid who make these clothes.

I think my other problem is that I'm nervous about fabric choice in the construction of the garment. I'm used to wearing upholstery fabrics for clothes I've made and the fashion fabrics you're supposed to use in clothing seem so fragile.

I'm scared of messing up and ruining fabric. I hate the price of fabric. I'm clueless when it comes to selecting appropriate fabric. I need a sewing buddy to put me on track and keep me there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Yesterday I tried to eat something with wheat in it for the first time in six months. I had a yummy slice of carrot cake I made for my mom's birthday. And for dinner I had chicken fried pork chops with vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was all delicious as my mom's cooking usually is. I enjoyed every bite. Sadly, my allergies kicked in a couple hours later and I had a stuffy, runny nose, sinus headache, and stomach pains.

I found out during Lent that if I don't eat grains, I can sleep without tons of allergy meds and sinus sprays. I tested out my theory a few times and every time my allergies returned with the eating of wheat (sadly, this includes the host at communion), including products that are "gluten free". I seem to be allergic to the plant not just the gluten. Also, it's not so much my digestive system that suffers as it is my sinuses. I sneeze, get congested, can't breathe through my nose, and constantly have to blow my nose. My eyes itch and I get headaches.

So, I swore off eating wheat and all grains, like rice and corn. I've eaten a few things with corn and seem to be fine. I've also eaten a few things with rice and done okay too. But that wheat is my enemy. I feel like I've got a cold but only in my nose, eyes, and sinuses. Stupid wheat. Darn, I had hoped we could be friends again.

Holding our Babies

I read a wonderful article on touching and holding our babies. They went from the historical perspective of when we had our children with us all the time in slings, carriers and cradles. Then the sad talk of not spoiling your child with kisses and rocking. The amount of institutionalized children who died before their first birthday is horrifying. All from a lack of touch resulting in a failure to thrive. I didn't know it happened in the US, I thought it had only happened in Russia.

Fortunately, we have brought back some of the sensibilities of the past and we are now advised by authorities that it is okay to comfort our babies, that we can't spoil a baby under 6 months, and breastfeeding is a perfect food.

A commenter noted that women going off to work and leaving their babies in the care of others is unnatural. When I think about how children thrive off the touch of their mothers, fathers, and family, I see that it does seem very unnatural for a mother to leave her child.

I am very thankful to have the opportunity to stay home but I feel that it is the right of a child to have his mother with him more than it is the right of the mother to stay with her child. My babies need me and I need them.

I wish our society were set up to afford all parents with the ability to have one of them stay home. We might learn a lot from our children and change as a society.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall TV Shows

Not having regular TV has been somewhat of a hamper in watching popular shows. I have been able to watch a few stations using apps and watching online. Here is a current list of the shows I'm watching:

1. Revolution - very cool.  I love JJ Abrams work. The whole premise is so believable I have a hard time believing it's not going to happen in the near future. It makes me want to get involved in homesteading. I want to plant my own garden, have a cow, have some chickens, and get my meat from my land that the local butcher prepares for me. Yum.

2. Survivor - I try not to watch this show but I just can't resist. I think I've missed a grand total of 2 seasons. However, I'm really bad about just skipping forward to the challenges and the voting and ignoring all the in fighting and gossip.

3. The Amazing Race - My mom got me into this show. It's nail biting and fun. I'd want to be a participant but I don't think I could handle the stress of not planning everything myself. I'm notoriously bad at deciphering scavenger hunts.

4. Project Runway - I love this show. I've seen every episode of every season. Tim Gun is my favorite and I love how creative everyone has to be. Some of the ideas these people come up with have me itching to sew something. I also love to hear Tim Gun and his big words. He cracks me up.

5. America's Next Top Model - I don't know why I can't stop watching this show. I've seen most of the seasons and I love seeing how beautiful some of these photos turn out. I think this season is by far the most fair in being realistic with using social media. The public opinion matters.

6. Breaking Pointe - This show aired for 6 episodes at the end of May. I completely fell in love with the ballet and how the company was run and everything. They work so hard, I want to see more. Fortunately, the CW has agreed to a second season. Yay!

7. Downton Abbey - Sometimes I wish the UK and the US were on the same schedule. I don't want to wait to watch it in January. I want to watch it now. Beautiful costumes, great acting, I love Maggie Smith.

8. Call the Midwife - A new series on PBS. I'm hoping it is right up my alley.

9. Bunheads - This also aired over the summer and I enjoyed every episode. I'm hoping for a return because I really liked the characters.

10. Misfits - Another UK show that I've watched all the episodes to. I'm hoping they will continue the series and also put them on Hulu like they have been. It's a fun show with the premise of a bunch of hooligans getting super powers while doing community service.

11. 19 Kids and County - I love this show. I don't care that people think this family is sick. I love that they love each other, care for each other, rely and depend on one another, are debt free, are very public about their love of Christ, and that they are willing to give God the control over how big their family is.

12. United Bates of America - I was able to catch 4 of the 6 episodes. The Bates are friends with the Duggars and have just as many kids. I love seeing a functional big family operate. They are so joyful. I love it. I hope there will be more episodes.

13. Cake Boss - it's just so cool seeing someone turn sugar into works of art.

Here are some shows I'm going to check out that start this week:

1. Elementary - modern day take on Sherlock Holmes

2. Arrow - modern day Robin Hood

3. Beauty and the Beast - remake of the 80s TV show that my mom watched every episode to. I can't wait!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pattern Sale

Today is one of those days that I love being a thrifty mama. This weekend Joann's is having a sale on their Simplicity patterns for 99¢ each all in the name of Columbus Day but I really think it's to sell costume patterns for Halloween.

Simplicity patterns tend to cost $15 to $17 each if you buy full price. Even at 40% off that's still a chunk of change.

Knowing that Joann's was having a sale I went earlier this week to look at their pattern books and write down all the pattern numbers I wanted. On the day of the sale it's a fight over the books and I just wanted in and out.

I made the circuit three times through the cashier (you can only buy ten patterns at once) and spent a grand total of $34.50 including patterns and notions that were also on sale. If I bought everything at full price it would have cost me $511.14. I saved myself $476.64.

One of the biggest reasons I stock patterns is because they go out of print. I remember looking through my mom's old patterns as a child wondering at the fashions people used to wear. Now I wish I had those old patterns because there were some great ideas there.

Next weekend there is a sale on Butterick, McCall's and Vogue. I'm all ready for that sale too.

Here's a picture of all my loot:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mondays of Gratitude

It's been an amazing week. Our oldest has three teeth coming in all at once and today he decided to use his potty four times!

Saturday we went to visit our family in Modesto. It was really nice to have our boy playing with his cousins. We realized that all the boys are exactly 6 months apart each. Pretty astounding.

I've been reading The Princess Bride and I love it! They did an excellent job at translating it to film. I think this is one of my new favorite books.