Saturday, October 24, 2009

One chapter down...

The problem with having a blog with a reading theme and containing mostly book reviews is...what if you aren't reading? It seems I can hardly take a breath these days as I deal with the "stuff of life". Books are being read a page at a time, rather than gulping down chapters as usual. So a standard book review will have to wait.

In the meantime, a well-known (to homeschoolers, anyways) young man (and author and pastor) has written a new book. After reading the first chapter I am anxious to continue and put it on my Amazon wish list. It is interesting to see this man, who I first got to know when he was just a teen, becoming so mature. He continues to influence and God is blessing his ministry. In fact, I regularly listen to his church's sermons.

Since the weather is becoming a little nippy and I had some so, so, soft baby camel yarn from China to play with, here is a so, so, cute pair of fingerless mitts I made the other day. About 6 hours from start to finish, they are a warm treat to wear and a pleasure to fondle. In fact, I keep them in the car beside the seat, to do just that.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s fitting that at least once in the year we take some time to reflect on what we are thankful for. As Christians, of course, we should be expressing our thanks to God daily. I am thankful for a God who loves me and brought me into his family at a time when I was most needy. My attitude towards life changed, even though my life circumstances didn’t right away. The bible tells us to acquire wisdom. I am thankful that today I am wiser than I was 24 years ago, pre-Jesus. But it’s humbling to realize that the “growing in wisdom” never ends.

I am also thankful today for my hard-working husband who puts up with my ever-eccentric interests. I’m thankful for my children, who are all developing as interesting individuals and who all are following the Lord in their individual ways. I’m thankful for the rest of my family, all living close by. What a blessing that is! My good friends are also something to be thankful for. They keep me grounded. God’s grace is sufficient for my needs and I am eternally thankful for what He has provided.

It is fitting that I read The Book of Negroes this week. This tale is a reminder of the suffering that Africans went through for so long in the slave trade. I was on the wait list at the library a long time for this book – it’s obviously popular, and for good reason. It is well written and engaging. My heart broke all along the way and finally on the last page my tears came. This book is not for the faint of heart and is very graphic in its descriptions of what went on. But you will finish it having developed a relationship with the main character and will keep her with you for a long time. What really struck me as we followed Aminata through her life is how long the slave trade went on. When she was captured as an eleven year old and taken to America, there were slaves there who had been born in the United States. And then when she was old and working to end the slave trade, there were still Africans being kidnapped and exported; generations of people forming a tide of suffering, shame and humiliation. We must continue to read books like this one, so that we will never forget and hopefully, never repeat what went on.

One of my WIP (works in progress) resembles a Thanksgiving cornucopia. Can you guess what it’s eventually going to be?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pets anyone?

I have some new pets.

Now keep in mind that I’m not the traditional dog/cat kind of person. We have two outdoor cats – allergies keep them in their proper place outside the home. I'd have a cat in the house in a flash, but husband and some kids would be miserable.

We’ve had dogs over the years. According to the experts, having a dog can build character in your children. Ours always tend to die or get killed; the last one was a barker and went to the SPCA. So I’ve found that worms make the greatest pets. No fuss; no muss. They mind their own business and produce fertilizer to boot. How can you go wrong?

But just when I thought that worms headed the list as the go-to pet, along came kefir grains. My kefir grains came dehydrated through the mail. A quick 24 hour soak-in-water later they were plumped up and ready to do my bidding.

It took about a week of regular 24 hour milk changes, but now those grains are producing a luscious, creamy, tangy milk kefir. I don’t know that it’s that much different than the product that came from the store-bought starter. But using the grains is so cool! Each morning I strain the baby grains out of the kefir and add them to a mason jar of fresh milk. That jar sits on the counter till the next morning, when I do it over again.

Right now I’m making just enough to drink in one day with a little extra for guests J. (Yes, I’m the only one in the house that enjoys this healthy drink) Apparently the grains continue to grow, so just like my worms, at a certain point I should have grains to share. Any takers? J

Lots of knitting has been going on, but the only finished project is a crocheted dishcloth. Having made many knitted dishcloths over the last few years, I had a bag of leftover cotton yarn on hand. Experiment time. Most crocheted dishcloths are too stiff for my liking. So I tried a granny square one for a change and actually quite like the prototype. It looks nice, works well and dries quicker than the others. So I’ll make more of them. Doesn’t this one match my dishtowel well? Purely accidental.