Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
-3 cups milk
-3/4 cup warm water
-1 teaspoon sugar
-2 tablespoon dry yeast
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 tablespoon salt
-Bring the milk to a boil in the microwave (about 5:55) without scalding it.
-While the milk is warming, put the warm water in a bowl, mix in the sugar, and then sprinkle the yeast over the top before gently whisking in to mix well. Let sit.
-Add oil, sugar and salt to warmed milk and pour into mixer so it can start to cool (I use my absolutely wonderful Bosch, which was given to me as a shower gift from Becky specifically for making tree breads!).
-Make sure microwave bowl has cooled (I use a Pampered Chef glass batter bowl) and beat 3 eggs in it.
-Make sure the milk is lukewarm (you don’t want it to kill the yeast), add eggs and yeast (which should have raised to about double the original amount) to milk mixture.
-Turn to 1 (on the Bosch) to mix thoroughly.
-Add flour by the cup (I think I end up using about 6 cups total in the end) until the mixer cleans the sides of the bowl. Start by adding the flour to the outside of the mixer, and then as the dough forms, add it to the center so that the mixer will clean the dough from outside and inside.
-Put about a tablespoon of oil in a stainless steel bowl and spread around.
-Put dough in bowl and press into it so that the entire bottom side of the dough is coated in oil. Fold in sides so the oil covers the top. Flip dough so all exposed surfaces are coated in oil. This will prevent the dough from drying out.
-Cover with a linen towel (or any lint free towel) and put in oven to rise.
-When dough has raised, punch down and kneed the air bubbles out. Divide your dough into quarters.
-Powdered sugar (or any glaze or frosting of your choice)
-Sprinkles, red hots, cherries, or any topping of your choice
-Spread the dough with softened butter, rub brown sugar over the butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.
-Cut off part of one side’s strip so your trunk won’t bee too thick.
-trim off the bottom excess
(I save the scraps in bread pan and then bake it for wonderful cinnamon bread that makes the most AMAZING French Toast!)
-Using a sharp knife, make indentations where the branches would be, slightly angled up.
-Slice through the tree from near the center out, cutting slits along the indentations for the branches.
-Bake at 350 in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes (I can’t remember the exact amount of time, plus my oven cooks slowly) until top is golden and it’s cooked through.
-Drizzle with a powdered sugar/water glaze. I like using this glaze instead of a frosting because you can still see the tree.
-Top with sprinkles, red hots, cherries, or anything you think would make your tree look decorated.
UPDATED: I used the pictures from making tree breads a previous year. Here's a finished version:
We woke up to this today:
Yes, it’s just a light dusting of snow (which my dog LOVED running through). However, here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, we don’t just get powdery snow. We get ice. Our roads are just one big sheet of slickness, so I’m staying home today!
I’m going to work on finishing this project that I started yesterday…
And watch this cute little boy be so busy doing absolutely nothing!
And a happy, snowy, cold birthday to my wonderful sister-in-law, Anna!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I had a wonderful time at my church’s women’s retreat this weekend. The theme was “Simple Journey,” and there was a panel of 5 ladies representing 5 seasons of life: 20’s, 30’s 40’s, 50’s and 70’s. I loved how what I took away from the retreat was a collection of points from each lady’s message. One speaker (in her 20’s) spoke about desires, and asked “What do you desire?”
I’ve been struggling with the fact that my house is a disaster. I see ladies who keep their homes clean and their lives in order. While I follow a schedule as far as getting to work goes, my time at home seems chaotic and lazy at the same time. I’ll sit for hours staring needlessly at Facebook and blogs, convincing myself that I need this reward for spending my 9 hours at the office each week. I need it because I’m a mom and need my downtime. I need it because I cook dinner each night. But with all this “need” comes a lot of guilt. I feel guilty that my husband does all the dishwashing. I feel guilty for the disaster he must come home to each day. I feel guilty that my son is not growing up in the clean home I’d love to provide for him. And then when I feel so guilty, I feel tired, thus feeding my need to sit endlessly, and so goes the cycle of need and guilt.
So when Kristin asked what I desire, the word discipline came to mind. I deeply desire to be a woman of discipline. I want the simplicity that comes with a life of discipline. Yesterday, I finally disciplined myself to not open my laptop or turn on the TV until I’d had my quiet time—spent time doing what should be my daily devotions. The women’s Bible studies at church have been going through Cynthia Heald’s study, “Becoming a Woman of Simplicity.” Since my schedule doesn’t allow me to attend the study, I was given a copy to go through on my own. After letting it sit in my car for almost 3 months, I finally opened it up. I loved what Cynthia had to say about what it means to live a simple life, “My definition of a woman of simplicity is one who lives a God-paced life. She waits for God’s leading, and she has time to be still and know her Lord. She has a deep abiding rest in her spirit. She is a woman of profound simplicity because she has only one focus: being simply and purely devoted to Christ.”
For me, a disciplined life will lead to a simple life. I am going to stop treating what should be rewards as necessities. I need structure, so I’ll follow a schedule (one with room to be flexible when needed). And I’m going to have goals that are attainable, so I won’t need to feel guilty for not being the woman I want to be. And with all this discipline, my life (and thoughts) will become more simple.
Last night, I came up with four daily tasks for myself: make the bed, have a quiet time, pick up the living room, and have focused play time with Jace. Then I came up with my weekly tasks: vacuum, clean the toilets and wipe down the bathroom counters, sweep the entry way and kitchen, laundry and straighten my room. After that I listed my monthly tasks: make baby food, cut Nolan’s hair, clean Jace’s room, clean the showers, mop and plan my month. I then wrote them out on a weekly planner and scheduled when I would do each thing. It’s amazing how doable everything feels when I look at it in the scope of a month.
Obviously there are some tasks missing like the kitchen, but those will fit into our normal routine. After defining my tasks, I set some goals for myself: no computer time until I’ve made the bed and had my quiet time, and then only a half hour until I’ve completed all the tasks that I can before Nolan comes home. No TV until I’ve made my bed and had my quiet time, and then it can only be in the background until I’ve completed all my tasks. Start dinner before Nolan comes home twice a week. Post on this blog three times per week. List one new item on Etsy per week. I feel like my goals will help me accomplish a lot while not feeling too rigid.
After just one day of following this, I can’t believe how much I’ve gotten done while also feeling rested! I came home from work, put Jace down for a nap and had my quiet time. He didn’t fall asleep during this time, but at least wasn’t fussing. When I was done, I cleaned his room while he played in his crib. Then gave him a bottle, put him back down for his nap, and ate my lunch while enjoying my half hour on the computer. Then I cleaned my living room and vacuumed as I had scheduled, followed by some time on the computer while watching TV. I love sitting here and looking around at my neat living room. And I know I’ll love getting Jace up from his nap in his no longer stinky room!
I can’t believe the peace that’s already covered me as I’ve focused my thoughts and trusted God to lead me through my day. And now it feels good to get it all out on paper (or should I say blog?). If you are already a disciplined woman whose life is in order, I applaud you and am amazed you followed me through this entire post! If you are like me, though, and have had many of the same struggles and mental cycle, I hope we can learn together.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I know that Monday is just about over and that most people will actually be reading this on Tuesday… but the alliteration’s just too fun! I had a great weekend (and I count Monday as part of my weekend).
-I made my first sale in my Etsy shop on Friday! My wonderful Aunt Dana purchased a rosette clip. I feel kind of like the little kid selling candy bars whose sweet aunt makes sure they don’t have to go back to school empty handed… but I’m so thankful and excited to have my first sale! And since she made her purchase during my grand opening (which I’m still trying to figure out how long that should last), she got a free gift with her purchase!
-I spent the weekend in Newport, Oregon with 170 ladies at my church’s Women’s Retreat. Instead of having one speaker, they had a panel of 5 speakers ranging from in their 20’s to 70’s. I was so blessed by all they shared!
-I helped with the collecting of gifts (we draw names and in the end each lady took home a wonderful present), and was given a gift for serving. I loved how the ladies coordinating the event took simple items and added special touches to make this gift extra special.
I loved the extra touches they made to take it from a gift to a true token of appreciation.
-I loved coming home to Nolan and Jace. Jace has been so sweet today, making sure I know he loves me without being clingy. This child has been very noisy since day one, but today he took those noises and made purposeful sounds. For a while, “dadadadada” has expressed happiness. Tonight, “Dada” is what he said when he saw Nolan. Until now, he’s babbled, “bububububuh,” and this evening, after we said “Bye-bye,” he waved his hand and said, “beh beh.”
-My son is cute:
He found a “transfer” tag that fell off my suitcase and has been attached to it all afternoon and evening! Here he is showing it to me.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I have several projects in the works right now, but none to the point of blogging. I did make another ruffle bag—my best one yet—to be given as a gift at my church’s women’s retreat next weekend, but of course forgot to take pictures before turning it in to be wrapped. Guess I’ll have to make another one! I’ve also made a bunch of rosette clips, but need to remember to take pictures when I have natural lighting. Oh, and Jace’s Halloween costumes took some work.
But I have completed one household project over the past few weeks. One that I had the intention of finishing months ago. I love the posts I’ve seen lately of how people have hung a variety of frames and pictures in their staircases. I knew mine needed some dressing up.
I always hoped to paint, so I used that as an excuse for a while. Then I pulled out a bunch of frames that were unused and arranged and rearranged them on the floor of my living room. Then I’d stack them and put them out of Jace’s reach on the loveseat. Then someone would come over and need a place to sit, so I’d move them to the floor… I’m sure you can picture the cycle we’ve been in.
I finally realized that if I wait until I print the pictures to put in the frames, and if I wait until I paint my staircase, I’ll never see the frames leave my living room. So I went ahead and hung empty frames. First I laid them out one more time in my entry way.
Then I hung them in the staircase.
Then I looked at them straight on instead of from the stairs and realized they were all angled. No wonder the ones hanging on a ribbon were hard to get “straight.” So I adjusted them, and was happy with how it turned out! Now, every time I walk up and down the stairs, I’m motivated to get pictures printed. I’ve already filled one of the empty frames!
I told you about how I made the “Together We Make a Family” plaque in this post. I made the verse sign a few weeks ago. A friend on Facebook made a sign with the verse and I really liked it. I had a blank canvas sitting in a closet, and thought it would be neat to do a silhouette of an oak with the verse. I painted the whole canvas dark red. Then printed off a picture I found online of an oak, cut it out and traced it onto the canvas and filled it in with white paint. I freehanded the lettering for the verse.
Fun story: the day after I finished this, I was webcamming with my mom on Skype about what she and her visiting friend were doing. She said they used her Cricut to cut out vinyl letters of her friend’s family verse, “…something from Isaiah about oaks.” I pulled out my sign. Turns out they’d been using the same verse!