Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

PUPPY! June 23, 2009

Filed under: home — mrswade @ 8:50 pm
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Introducing Maeberry Blossom!  

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We had been looking for a puppy for a little while with no luck.  We were looking for a lab/golden retriever mix specifically.  This mix was the same as my first dog, “Kitty.”  She was the best dog ever and because Jake hadn’t had a good experience with the only family dog he’d ever had, we wanted the same mix.  Labs and Retrievers are such good dogs, very people pleasing and loyal.

I had been on craigslist every day looking for puppies with no luck.  I suddenly got the idea to look at the Seattle Times online classifieds.  And then, there she was, on the first page in the pets section!  “1/2 Golden Retriever 1/2 Lab Pups”  “Wonderful gentle, low-key pups looking for forever homes. 2 Males, 3 Females. 3 are chocolate, 2 are black.”   I called the lady on wednesday and asked to come see the puppies friday.  She said call back friday to see if there are any left because many had called on the puppies.  I knew we had to see them that day, Jake and I decided to go see the pups that same day before community group. 

We met the Kelly (Mae’s foster mom) in the small town of Hobart and drove out into the sticks to see the puppies.  When we got there, Maeberry and her sister ran over to greet us, happy and full of life, ready to play!  Her sister was black and smaller, both were super cute.  Mae was a little less hyper and wanted to hang out with us more than her sister and we were both drawn to her.

Her parents were rescues (along with another female).  When Kelly rescued the dogs from a “lab breeder,” Mae’s mom (the only golden the breeders had) and her dad were incredibly skinny.  Kelly took all three dogs to get fixed but they wouldn’t spay Mae’s mom because she was so skinny.  They told Kelly to nurse her back to health and then they would spay her.  As she started gaining her weight back, she kept gaining and gaining, come to find out, she was already pregnant.  The other female’s foot had been ran over by the breeders with a car and had not been treated.  When we got there she had lost her entire front leg due to infection.

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Mae has been such a sweet puppy, she is fun and playful, very smart and has such a loving disposition.  We love her so much 🙂  God has blessed us so much with her!  Thank you Jesus 🙂

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Dining Room April 3, 2009

Filed under: Creativity,decorating,home — mrswade @ 12:09 pm
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When I’m stressed, or just daydreaming, my mind always goes to interior design, specifically in my own house.  A couple weeks ago I went on a field trip with Interior Design II to find inspiration for our project this semester, the lobby of a dorm on campus.  It was SO hard for me to pay attention to what would work in the Penn Lobby and not just focus on what I wanted in my own home!  We went to a hotel called The Nines in Portland, and it was gorgeous!  I was super inspired by one of their dining areas!  Here are a few pics before I go on:

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I at first fell CRAZY in love with the canning jars sitting on re-claimed wood shelves along the wall.  I loved the variety of colors, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, grey.  I have never considered myself to be a big purple fan…actually…I’ve never liked purple, but I LOVED this purple!  I loved it combined with all the other colors.  I also loved all the textures!  This dinning area was super elegant yet still very cozy!

I want to do something similar to this in my dinning room.  I would like to only have one wall of reclaimed wood shelves (built by my loving husband 🙂 ) that not only serves as decoration, but serves as storage!  I plan on canning a lot this summer (which I’m sure I’ll blog about a little later) so this is not only gorgeous but functional!

My dining table at the time was strictly green and yellow, just like my kitchen, a “happy fruit” theme of lemons, limes, pears and apples.  So, it didn’t quite fit the new look I’m trying to go for, however my dishes were already perfect for this theme.  I love my dishes, they are perfect for every-day use and elegant enough for special occasions!  At Fred Meyer I found, on super sale, some great eggplant and cream, chunky plaid place mats and napkins.  I got 4 of each for around $10 total and saved more than I spent!  The place-mats have one purple square that has the texture of a dish cloth, kind of waffle-y.  I love that it mixes things up a bit.  I already had yellow napkins and they also go perfectly with my purple place-mats.  I have dark, olive green glasses, another of the many colors I found in the dinning room at The Nines.  When Jake and I were in California, visiting his grandparents, we went garage sale-ing and there I found 4 super cute purple bottles, and 6 amazing vintage, orange, glass plates.

Today I set them all up, and LOVED the result!  All I need to do now, is can away and get Jake to make me some shelves when we move into our new apartment!  Maybe work on getting a different dinning set as well…

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Daffodils that Jake picked for me, from the side of the road, on our 4 year dating anniversary 🙂
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I found this at a lighting store on our Portland field trip and thought it would go really well with the rest of the design for the dinning room.  Of course it is thousands of dollars, but I still really liked the amber and the frosted glass.

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That’s all for now 🙂 but I’m sure I’ll have plenty to show later!

 

Spicey!

Filed under: home — mrswade @ 9:16 am
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So much blogging to catch up on after spring break!  

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A couple weeks ago I realized how little I used spices (without them being called for) and how often I needed to omit a spice from a recipe because I didn’t have it.  I am a little scared of spices, I’m super scared that instead of enhancing whatever I have just made, it will ruin it with the wrong kind of strong flavor.  The only spices I am not afraid of are Italian spices because I’ve learned to use those ones pretty well.   (And can’t get enough rosemary!)  I had some basic spice staples, thanks to my step-mom who stalked me up a few years back, but I decided it was time for me to venture into spice world without holding someone’s hand.

I found this blog post on spices to have in your cupboard and many of their uses and combinations, so I took notes, and set out to Penzeys.  As a bonus, Cherise met me there for some company and catch up time while spicin’ it up. 🙂  On my list was the majority of the spices on the list in the post I mentioned earlier.  I came home with those, plus some, and minus chile powder (which I blame on Cherise 😉 haha).  The spices were sold by the jar (large and small) and by the bag (big, bigger, biggest).  The price for the big bag, was generally 1/2 the price of the large jar, for twice as much spice!  So even though I didn’t have Jars for them all I got the bags, and figured I’d find jars elsewhere.

 

mustard, poppy seeds, chives, cayenne red pepper, cloves, french tarragon, garlic powder, sage, onion powder, marjoram and all spice

mustard, poppy seeds, chives, cayenne red pepper, cloves, french tarragon, garlic powder, sage, onion powder, marjoram and all spice

When I got home I heated my oven to 200 and dried out some parsley I had so I didn’t have to buy that too.  I ended up finding jars but the baggies had so much spices in them that the jars were too small.  That’s fine though, I won’t be buying those spices for a very long time.  Now if I could just figure out how to use them. 🙂

 

all the new spices in their jars

all the new spices in their jars

 

one step at a time March 16, 2009

Filed under: home,thoughts — mrswade @ 7:59 pm
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So I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals and priorities in moving from where we are now in our eating habits and the food we have in our house to a more natural and wholesome way of eating.  The craze was to eat low-fat, buy items that say light, low-fat, low-cal, etc.  You can find hundreds of items that have these claims on the label, that if looked at closely, are probably not true.  I see this now moving toward organic.  I haven’t done much research on the claims of organic but have heard that as with low-fat you need to be just as skeptical when something claims to be organic.  While I think that eating organic and low-fat is important, I think that the importance can be given too much weight.

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:12

I believe that God made our bodies to gain the most nutrients from and process best the food that He made for us.  When companies make their light and low-fat products, they need to do what they can to make it taste like the full-fat version.  They add all sorts of fake-fat to put in it instead.  Again, I haven’t done really any research on this, but I can’t believe that the fake stuff that is in those products has any positive effects on our bodies.  Our bodies were made to handle fat, not chemicals.  The solution to not eating low-fat foods is working out!  

I heard one lady describe how she decides what to buy.  She asks herself two questions:

  1. If I really needed to, could I make this product in my own kitchen?
  2. Could I explain what is in this/how it is made to an 8 year old?

If the answer to these questions is “no” it is probably safe to say that there are items in the product that are not God-made and probably not the best to put in our bodies and probably not that easy for our body to process.

This is why I really believe that whole foods are the most important priority for our eating habits.  People often say to shop around the grocery store, around the outside of the aisles for the healthiest eating.  I think this is true, on the outside of the isles are produce, meat, dairy, and often bread.  These are all things that God made, things from the earth, plants and animals.  By eating whole foods such as these, organic or not, we avoid eating many of those awful words on the ingredients label that are impossible to pronounce and not good for our bodies.

My priorities for good eating go like this:

  1. whole foods:things that aren’t in a box, etc.)
  2. more nutrition: choosing the whole foods that are going to be best nutritionally, such as coconut oil over vegetable or canola oil (I can actually make coconut oil in my kitchen if I want too!)
  3. organic: but only things that are worth buying organic, such as the dirty dozen.  While I would like to support the organic farmers, especially the local ones, I just can’t afford to buy everything organic at this point.
  4. low-fat: Of the whole, nutritious, and organic foods, I would choose the lower-fat options.  Such as almonds over cashews (nuts are good for you, but almonds are much better for you than cashews).

I’m going to try to figure out a good way to track our progress in moving towards a more whole and natural way of eating…not sure how that will turn out, but I’m going to try 🙂  I’ve started it a bit, but my goals for the year are to make my own bread and dressings and use coconut and olive oil as much as I can instead of canola or butter (though I’m not that opposed to butter).  I’ll probably come up with a few more as the year goes on, but that’s it for now. 🙂 Some of my inspiration for baby steps come from this blog.

 

Spelt Issues March 12, 2009

Filed under: home,Recipes — mrswade @ 7:09 pm
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So I made the simple whole wheat bread again, except this time I used whole grain spelt flour and coconut oil (instead of butter).  I bought spelt because I had heard very good things about its nutritional quality and am trying to make my homemade bread as nutritious as possible.  Well, they didn’t turn out nearly as well as they did last time…check it out…

img_3027This poor bread is pathetically the size of half a normal slice!

So I started some spelt research and found some very interesting things…

First, a bit about Spelt.  I found here that: Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from this fact: it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the Triticum (wheat) family. Spelt features a host of different nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. This particular combination of nutrients provided by spelt may make it a particularly helpful food for persons with migraine headache, atherosclerosis, or diabetes.  Nutrition.about.com says: Spelt contains more protein than wheat, and the protein in spelt is easier to digest.

I found here that spelt flour has an “extremely fragile” gluten content, which is much different from bread flour, because if I understand it correctly, what makes Bread Flour, Bread Flour, is the larger amount of gluten in it than flours such as All Purpose, or Pastry.  Also, Spelt does not rise quite as high as wheat flour.  “If you look in a mainstream bread book, such as Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible, you’ll find references that allow you to substitute spelt for the whole-wheat flour portion of a bread recipe (meaning that you can use a cup of spelt instead of a cup of whole-wheat flour in a recipe that also includes 5 cups of all-purpose or bread flour). But there are no all-spelt bread recipes.”  I thought this was interesting that there is no all-spelt recipes, and because of the gluten, it makes sense that it needs to be combined with all-purpose.  The site says that many problems can occur every step of the way when using spelt flour.  “You must use the correct amount of water. Too much, and the dough is sticky and weak and will not be able to hold the gasses that are produced during the fermentation process.”  This is what happened to me!  I thought that my dough was not nearly as tough as it was the first time I made it.  It fell apart quite easily and was extra sticky…I also noticed problems with it not rising as much (though I think it rose about as much as you can get spelt to rise).  

I think I also may need to find a better place for my dough to rise, a warm and draft free place.  I found another spelt bread recipe here that I may try out.  Otherwise, if I add spelt, I may just add 1 cup to replace my whole wheat, or I may just not use it all together.

If anyone has any other spelt tips let me know, for now…I’ll use up what I have left, and stick to whole wheat. 🙂

 

 

Savin some MONAYS March 9, 2009

Filed under: frugal,home — mrswade @ 10:46 am
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So, Jake and I are working on trying to figure out the best way to track the best deals and prices on food with a top 50 spread sheet.  I was sorting through receipts and came across this one. reciept This receipt is an example of God’s amazing provision.  This was a month when we had run out of some more expensive things, like Brita filters, some toiletries, etc., so we ran out of food money a little quicker (only $2 or $3 left for the month).  Jake was out of lunch and breakfast food and we didn’t have near enough money to buy him his carrots, ranch and yogurt.  Those three things are very vital to his packed lunch, without them he just has an english muffin and a sandwich all day.  By God’s grace we recieved our coupons from our Fred Meyer reward’s points that month.  We went to the store and were not only able to buy Jake the essentials, we were able to get some brownies for $1.00 that I had been craving!  God is so good and helped me save $5.24 more than I spent!  yay God!

Another really great thing to save a little bit of money and gain a lot of nutritional benefits (which I am SUPER excited about) is making my own bread instead of buying it!  Last night, Jake and I were nerds and calculated what it would cost per loaf of bread (with the recipe that I am currently using, this amount will probably go down when I start using a sourdough starter).

Here’s the break down:

  •  2 pkg yeast = 1.00
  • 8 c flour = 3.20
  • 2/3 cup honey = 1.32
  • 2/3 stick butter = .33
  • salt = .04

This recipe makes 3 loafs of bread (though I think I may use it only for two because I want to make sure the loafs are big enough for sandwiches).  Either way, we were spending 2.19 per loaf of bread, so:

  • batch divided into 2 loafs = 2.95 (we pay .76c more)
  • batch divided into 3 loafs = 1.96 (we save .22c)

We figure that when we start to buy bread ingredients in bulk, and start making sourdough (which calls for fewer ingredients) we will save in the long run, and if we don’t save, we aren’t spending much more but are gaining so much more in nutritional value!

So that’s all, I was just excited about those two discoveries 🙂 YAY

 

It works! – Homemade Deodorant March 8, 2009

Filed under: frugal,home,Recipes — mrswade @ 3:56 pm
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I read on one of my new favorite blogs, passionate home making, about the wonders of Coconut Oil and how you can use it in homemade deodorant (see original post here)!  I have some armpit issues (sorry if this is in TMI, I’m sure you’ll get over it).  They get very irritated after I shave, itch like crazy the night after I shave and definitely aren’t the best smelling (I blame this on my dad, thanks dad).  I was also excited about this because the aluminum that is in standard antiperspirant/deodorants are thought to cause and/or increase risk of breast cancer.  I was pretty nervous about making this deoderant at home because 1. coconut oil is super expensive, 2. nothing works for my armpits.  I made it on friday and tested it out saturday morning after I shaved.  The first sign of amazingness was that it didn’t sting at all after I shaved.  I completely forgot I had it on all day (didn’t sweat at all, though it wasn’t hot and I didn’t really do anything that active).  That night I remembered I had it on and did a little sniff check, NOTHING! I asked Jake to smell it and he stuck his nose in my pit and said he couldn’t really smell anything.  Of course,  you can always smell a little something, but I couldn’t get close enough to smell anything on myself.  Jake did a 1-pit experiment with the homemade in one pit and Old Spice in the other.  I LOVE his old spice and his natural scent, but I actually like the homemade side more and could barely smell anything!  Anyway, I would really suggest this, especially for women, be natural, stay sweet smelling and breast cancer free!

coconut_oil

 

Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil
  • baking soda
  • arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Combine equal portions of baking soda & corn starch (Passionate Homemaking uses about 1/4 cup each) Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire (Passionate Homemaking uses approx 5-6 Tbls). It should be about the same texture as the store bought kind. You can either scoop this into your old dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. After applying the product, you can just rub the remains into your hands as a lotion!