Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pen Pals

I remember trying a few times to write to pen pals when I was a kid. It never lasted very long, but it was a lot of fun. My oldest had a glorious summer spent playing with new neighbors. Unfortunately when fall came they unexpectedly had to move away. There was a deep sense of heartbreak. It is still an adjustment to not have friends that might show up at your door and be ready to play at any moment. To make up for the lost there has been a lot of drawing, coloring and a claim that she wants to stay in touch with her friend.

So today's surprise is a letter to be sent to a far away friend. This was entirely her idea. She still frequently speaks of how much she misses her friend and hopes to see her again. I think this creation and the chance to maintain some sort of connection offers her a little bit of comfort. It has been a learning experience for me to watch how the very young process and deal with loss.

This has been a good lesson for me to learn from my girl. Her thoughtful heart is my delight.

Many blessings to you on this fine All Saints Day--Kate

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween.

How perfect to have Halloween fall on a Favorite Friday. Halloween is a great holiday and the older I get the more of a favorite it becomes. I do not know if it is because it is the first holiday of the "Holiday Season," so everything is still fresh, exciting and new.  Maybe it is because it is a holiday relatively low on stress and high on fun. Thanksgiving seems like a holiday that should be relaxing but it rarely is and the hype that leads into Christmas tends to leave the actual day feeling a little flat. Halloween on the other hand is just a day (and night,) of fun.

We finally got some decoration up. Not much but then we do not get trick or treaters. The kids had lots of fun and it got them excited for the rest of the day. We also took a trip to visit Daddy at work and made a few other stops about town. All of it leading to a wonderful time trick or treating in the neighborhood. We live in a really great neighborhood. We know enough of our neighbors that they were excited to see the kids and even bought them special treats. So their buckets were already half full before we had gone six houses.

The biggest problem with their amazing haul is the fact that we are trying to remove sugars from their diet and not add more to it. I have put the offer out to the kids that they can trade their sweets in for money. It is a chance for them to save up for something that they could be really excited about. Right now though they are more excited about the candy. My hope is that the excitement will wear off quickly when they realize that they will not be getting more then one sweet per day. Then they might realize the appeal of the cash offer.

I noticed this year a new movement with a teal pumpkin. Where homes with teal pumpkins offer non-food treasures. I really wish this would catch on because I want my kids to have the joy of trick or treating, without all the sugar. 

Many blessings to you on this fine and spooky night.--Kate

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some times the "things" in life are not things.

I have just spent a day allowing the things in life to get in the way of enjoying my life. Some times the things that clutter up our life are not physical items that fill up the corners, and closets that litter the floor or spill out into the garage. They are the things that we allow to steal our moments. They are the things that we think are so important right now, but do not give us the joy that we could find if we just set those things down, took a breath and looked around. Today, I let the things take time away from my kids. Time we could have spent decorating for Halloween, or playing a game. My kids sat next to me working together on a puzzle, I was busy with my things.

So for this Thursday it is all of the things that have to go. I know that they will not. I know that there will be more things that need my attention tomorrow. What I really need to do is make sure that I keep them in their place. I need to not let them fill up my entire day and take away from all of the many amazing moments.

Many blessings to you on this fine night--Kate

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My warm hearted snow queen.

As promised here is costume number two.

My oldest as Queen Elsa, from Disney's, Frozen.

The costume is not completely wrapped-up. I still have to do the bottom hem, iron on the snow flakes and do some beading but it is all hand work and I wanted to be sure that I got this posted before the day was done. When I get it all finished I will update with the final picture. 

She has been begging for this outfit for about a month now. We will see if we can get her out of it after Halloween.

Many blessings to you on this fine day.--Kate

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giving a new purpose to something old.

A few Saturdays ago I mentioned a skirf, that my friend thought up and then asked me to help sew. A skirf being a version of an infinity scarf, (which is a long circular scarf that you wear by looping around your neck a few times.) What originally gave her the idea was an old child's dress with a beautiful pattern, that her daughter had outgrown. She then realized that the dress was a little too small to work. Which is when the idea switched to large peasant skirts. 

I also happen to have an old child's dress that my oldest has outgrown. It has been well loved and probably does not have enough life left in its current form for another child. It is a beautiful, vibrant dress that has been a favorite, so throwing it away seems a shame. 

Once I separated the bodice from the skirt. I was left with a rectangle of fabric that is just the right length for my girl, but perhaps a bit wide. 

It does look great on her though. 

I made one other discovery today. A couple times now I have had to trace patterns onto fusible interfacing, which is hard to do if the pattern is not dark enough. Most of the time I solve this problem by holding everything against a window. This does not work when it is dark out. Many times I have wished that I had a light table. Today I discovered that I could use my serger table and my sewing machine light and create my own light table. Not so much a transformation, but a really handy second use for these items.

Many blessings to you on this fine day--Kate

Monday, October 27, 2014

A taste of harvest.

I love the winter squashes, but Rob only really likes one variety, the pumpkin. In fact pumpkin pie is Rob's favorite birthday dessert. So one of the first snack foods I found when we started the Maximized eating plan was a recipe for Grain-less pumpkin muffins.

I have made them many times because they have been a big hit with the whole family. Especially with my husband because they have a pumpkin pie texture to them. I am a recipe tinkerer. The first time I make something I follow the recipe (mostly) but after that I like to try to perfect the recipe. Every batch has been good, but the ones I worked up today are especially so.

I will give you the original recipe and then let you know what additions I made.

Grain-less Pumpkin Muffins

-1/2 can Pure pumpkin puree (7.5oz)
-2 Eggs
-1/4 tsp Stevia (liquid)
4 Tbsp Butter (organic)
1 tsp pure Vanilla
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Almond Flour.

-In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT Flour.
-Mix well with hand mixer (or machine). Stir in Almond flour. Batter will be very think.
-Spoon batter into muffin cups.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees. (I do 15 min, 10 min, 3 min. and I turn the trays each time I open the door.)
-Will have a pumpkin pie texture.

So the first change in this batch is that I used fresh pumpkin that I roasted in the oven. It was a small pumpkin so each half was about 1 cup of puree. I still used Stevia but I added Xylitol. I also used milk to thin the batter so it was the consistency of pancake batter. (Maybe a bit thicker.) Finally I added chocolate chips.

The ingredients: (doubled batch)
-1 cup fresh pumpkin
-4 Eggs
-1/4 tsp Stevia
-1/3 cup Xylitol
-1/2 cup Butter
2 tsp pure Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Clove
1/2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Salt
2 cups Almond flour
2/3 cup Milk (raw)
2/3 cup Chocolate chips (bitter sweet)

*I mixed the milk in after the Almond flour and then just stirred the chocolate chips in with a rubber scrapper.

The chocolate chips definitely make it a dessert muffin.

Many blessings to you this fine night--Kate

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Mighty Fortress is our God.

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.                    --Martin Luther

 Many blessings to you on this fine autumn day--Kate