Monthly Archives: March 2010

Bread that is kicking my rear, mothering genes, sandals, and your questions

  • 32 loaves of bread in a 2.5 week span will, apparently, cause your Sunbeam Mixmaster to irreparably break.  Anyone have a KitchenAid they wanna sell cheap?  In related news, if you have a KitchenAid on Craigslist in Phoenix, and you’ve sold your mixer, please delete your ad, because nonfunctional ads have caused my hopes to be raised and dashed a number of times in the last few days.
  • 32 loaves of bread that never quite work out the way they’re supposed to will, also, eventually lead to a sense of Baking Inadequacy and discouragement.  😦  I’m knocked down, but I’m not knocked out.  Not yet, anyway.
  • 32 loaves of bread in a 2.5 week span will also help you pack on a few pounds.
  • I read this with interest:  Can a Bad Mother Help Her Nature? in the Times of London.  When Ethan, my oldest, was born, I often felt like there was some sort of mothering gene that was supposed to kick in that, in me, wasn’t.  It may be that I wasn’t far off.  According to the article, and my own experience, a solid community of support is critical for the development of mothers to whom mothering doesn’t really come all that naturally.  (Makes your posts, Daja, about post-partum care come to mind — your post which I cannot find.  If you send me a link, I’ll post it here, if you don’t mind. Find all of Daja’s relevant, beautiful, and important posts about post-partum care here — especially read her “Time to Heal” series.)
  • Stride Rite Lollipop

    I’d also really like to find a pair of NARROW little girl’s sandals, white, real leather, that DON’T cost $30+.  I’m still looking.  If you have any tips, send ’em my way.  My fave so far:

  • I had something else I wanted to say, but now I can’t remember.  I’ll have to save it for another day, I suppose.  However, I also thought that if anyone has any questions of any sort for which you think I may have an answer, I’d love to give it a shot.  Any topic!
Advertisements

Two ounces of heaven. For free.

“$1.29 for a cookie??  I don’t think so.”

This was my kind and generous response to my 3yo daughter, Audrey.  I was trying to come up with rational reasons why she couldn’t have the scrumptious-looking cherry-fig-newton-on-steroids on display, cunningly kept kids’-eye-level in the checkout line at Sprouts.*

My first, and very valid reason, was that there was no way it could be gluten-free, a must for both her and me, since we have celiac disease.**  The check-out guy helpfully offered, “I think it is gluten-free.”

The packaging is a tad different, now, with "GLUTEN FREE" replacing "JUMBO"

“No way,” I countered, grabbing a package for a closer inspection.  Sure enough.  Both the labeling on the front, and the ingredient list on the back proclaimed its safety.  Hmph.  “Still.  I’m not paying $1.29 for a 2 oz cookie.  Especially not right before lunch.”

Tears glimmered on the rims of Audrey’s eyes, though, surprisingly, no hint of tantrum was to be seen!  Based on that rare display of self-control alone, I was considering relenting my hardball stance.  As I paused, the check-out guy looked at Audrey’s downcast face.  Then he looked at me.  “My treat!” he said sprightly, and tossed it in the bag.

Audrey, who would respond with a sunny, “Of course!” if a king granted his dominion to her, and I, stunned, both thanked him.  We opened the package on the way to the car.

I must admit, my expectations for gluten-free baked goods are pretty low.  Quite low.  However, as just the scent of this cherry-filled goodie wafted upwards, my expectations began to lift.  But, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, all natural, high in fiber… How good could it be??  I nibbled a corner.

Oh, my word.

So that’s how they can charge $1.29 for one cookie!!!  It’s FABULOUS.  Sweet and gooey on the inside, loaded with real fruit, real, honest-to-goodness cherry taste, and with a baked outside shell of the appropriate soft-cookie texture.  It was so good.

Audrey appropriately savored each nibble, and mostly resisted my pleas for her to share with me.  Whoever came up with the saying, “As easy as taking candy from a baby!” must not have actually ever tried to take sweets from a little one.

I have since purchased three or four of them, my new guilty pleasure from Sprouts.  “Guilty pleasure” because I’m such a tightwad that $1.29 is still expensive for ONE cookie, even a heavenly one.  But, I guess that the check-out guy made a pretty good investment, because he created a repeat customer who was so wowed by the cookie that she’s now blogging about it so the world (small sliver that reads this blog, that is) can share in her joy.

Go, get yourself an expensive cookie.  😉

Betty Lou’s Fruit Bars:  $15 for a box of 12.

The ingredients:

Cherry Fruit Filling [Fruit Juice Concentrate (Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Apple), Cherries, Apple Powder, Tapioca Starch, Inulin, Natural Flavors, Water, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Red Cabbage Extract, Red Beet Juice Concentrate and Annatto for color], Fruitrim® (Fruit Juices, Natural Grain Dextrins), Gluten-Free Oats, Gluten-Free Flour Blend (Potato Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Stone Ground Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour), Safflower Oil, Inulin (dietary fiber), Water, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Ginger.

————-

*I’m trying to set the record for most hyphens in one sentence.

**Well, we actually only suspect she has celiac disease, but that’s another story entirely.  Chances are good, with both her mom and an older brother who has it, and she has all the symptoms.  However, she’s never been tested, as I’ve never allowed her to get sick enough as required to participate in a “gluten challenge” in order to get a definitive diagnosis.

Out of the mouths of ba… almost-4yo girls

This morning, Audrey balked when I announced what was for breakfast.  I must admit, I pretty much ignored her, as she protests anything that isn’t lollipops or smothered in jam.  “I don’t want that!” she wailed, “I can’t eat it!”

When I put the plate of skillet-grilled toast, in which I had cut a hole and cooked an egg, in front of her, she looked puzzled.  Then, with visible relief and a nervous giggle, she explained, “Oh!  I thought it was a real toad!”

Wesley, age 8, sagely told her that “Toad in a Hole” was just a name.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Later, as I was braiding her hair, in order to win her cooperation, I said, “It would really help if you could be as still as a statue.”

Sweetly, she protested, “But, Mom, I can’t, because you’re wobbling my head.”

I burst out laughing.  “You’re right.  I am wobbling your head.”

“Repeat!” she exclaimed.  (Lately, when someone does or says something that she particularly likes, she hollers, “Repeat!” makes a squeaky rewind sound, and tries to immediately re-create the situation.  I have tried to explain that it never has quite the same effect, the second time around.)  Mimicking herself, “But, Mom, I can’t because you’re wobbling my head.”  — pause — “OK, now, Mom, you start laughing again really hard.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Another gem:  “I sure am happy it’s almost my birthday, because on birthdays, I can get everything I ever wanted.”  😕  This, she says to the mother who gave her for Christmas:

  1. An upcycled doll high chair and crib.  I literally got it for FREE from Freecycle, repainted it, washed the crib’s canopy, and sewed new ribbons on it.
  2. A pair of $25 Skechers (very expensive for us), to which I hot-glue-gunned rhinestones, because I wouldn’t pay the $40 for real Twinkle Toes.
  3. Nothing else.

I do not know where she has gotten this “everything I ever wanted” idea.  When I tried to dissuade her, she protested, “But you’re just joking.”  Part of me is delighted in her faith in birthdays and in her parents’ provision, part of me is dreading her potential heartbreak when reality does not match the dream, and part of me balks at her sense of entitlement.  I’m not sure which sentiment is winning, at the moment.

Four scarves, three tiaras, my heels, and a "ballet" dress from Grandma. All at once. With a spontaneous catwalk pose.

Art, birds, bread, and Fiala’s skin

  • I brought my camera to the kids’ art class today… except there was no art.  There was some sort of miscommunication* with the teacher;  she thought we were canceling because most kids are on Spring Break this week, when we moms had all voted and all of us wanted to do art regardless.

    So, the kids all played together in the park, which I think they’d rather do anyways.

    My eyes always flit up to the streetlamp poles, looking for hawks…  Close to our house, I exclaimed, “Up ahead… big hawk… wait a minute… is that a golden eagle??”  It was.  We got pics — not great ones.  And, now I can’t find the cable to upload pics from my camera.  Well, now I have my Sibley’s guide out, and maybe it’s a dark Ferruginous hawk, which would actually be more cool, because I’ve never ID’ed one of those before.  It would have been great if I could have seen him fly;  that would answer my uncertainty.  But, he stayed aloft the streetlamp.

  • In other “news,” my attempts this morning to produce the perfect loaf were again, unsuccessful.  I’m not out of ideas yet, though.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  🙂  Each time I make the recipe, I’m now making three loaves — two small and one large — because some breads work better in one or the other.  One nice thing about having a family of seven is that we can EASILY polish off three loaves of bread per day, so it’s not like my flops (eleven, so far) are going to waste.
  • Fiala’s skin finally started to look CLEAR yesterday.  We’re still continuing Septra today, but I sent an e-mail to my friend who is a doctor to see if we could stop after today, which is day 11.  I’m sort of bummed about her being on it for another eleven days, but at least it wasn’t five weeks, like last time.
  • Sort-of related to the first bullet above, I spent a few minutes taking pictures of myself (which always feels extremely odd) this morning.  I got a few good shots of my new hair, but again:  no cable by which to upload.  A couple of homeschool moms at art today did not recognize me!  Obviously, it’s much different than it was, but I didn’t think it was that different.
  • * The spell-check on WordPress is telling me that “miscommunication” is not a word.  I use it frequently.  Am I alone in this???  I just Googled it, and it’s on several online dictionaries.  Hmph.

Haircut, a missed opportunity, vegan bread, Percy Jackson, and other stuff of VAST importance ;)

  • I got a haircut, the first one in nearly a year and a half, since BEFORE Fiala was born.  I like it, mostly.  Its about at my collarbone now, which is about a foot shorter than it was, but I wish it was a bit shorter.  I also rather wanted bangs, but the guy who does my hair (the last heterosexual male hairstylist in Scottsdale, almost certainly, and the only person who has cut my hair in my 15 years of marriage) said that it would make me look too “soccer-mommish” and that every 30-something mom has chin-length hair with bangs, so he wouldn’t do chin-length-with-bangs on me.  He says that now, my hair is “sophisticated” but it’s not quite the funky kind of style I was looking for.  I gave him too much artistic license.  I knew my hubby would like the cut, though, and he does.
  • Pantene detangling spray is WELL worth the 80¢ above the price of Suave kids detangling spray.  Take it from my 3yo daughter.  I mean, take her word on it.  Don’t take the spray!  (I think it must have been on sale… it was $2.59 at Target, but online, it’s selling for $4-5 or so.)
  • My Dad is coming to stay with us for a week.  He arrives on Wednesday.  It’s a mostly-business trip, so we won’t see him during the day.
  • Kicking myself for a missed opportunity:  I saw a former good-acquaintance/almost-friend who works part-time at Costco, and we chatted a bit.  I asked her what was going on, and she said, “Well, I’m just trying to figure my life out.”  Golly, what an open door!  Did I ask her about her relationship with Jesus??  No.  Did I invite her back to church??  No.  Did I even really express interest in who she is and how she’s doing??  I hope so, but I thought of 13 billion other/better/different things I could have said or asked, after I left the store.  Bummer.
  • I like Chopped.  I also really like America’s Best Dance Crew, but I don’t often get to watch it, because my hubby is extremely careful to not watch anything with scantily-clad women on it, and some of the outfits are pretty spare, to be certain.  It’s also on at 11 p.m. here, so I should be in bed, instead of watching TV.
  • We’re doing “Spring Break” this week.  I’d rather do EASTER break, but I didn’t want to wait another 2-3 weeks until we had a break;  I need one.  Plus, my boys always appreciate when their breaks are concurrent with the neighborhood kids’.  Today, I spent cleaning and working on the book I’m ghost-writing.  It was a really good day, actually.
  • I am working on a bread that is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, corn-free, plus-other-random-stuff-that-Fiala-is-allergic-to-free.  I based it off of a recipe I found, but my results, so far, are not nearly as attractive as hers.  Still, I have been highly encouraged at the taste and texture of the bread I’ve produced;  it’s actually good.  Now, I just need to get the exact right amount of moisture, so that it will poof up like real bread, and not be flat across the top, a là banana bread.  I’ve baked seven loaves so far, experimenting with varying ingredients and pan sizes… I’m close!  I’ll post a recipe, once I get it perfected.
  • On Friday, on the way home from the library, I was talking with my 12yo son who was sitting up front with me in the truck.  “That’s the problem with new libraries, I guess:  They’re mostly stocked with new books, and most of the newer literature for kids and teens…”  I paused, looking for an adequate-but-kind word.  “Are junk,” he helpfully filled in for me.  Yes, junk.  That’s the bane of the popularity of Harry Potter:  LITERALLY 80% of what is on the library shelves right now are books and series that are Harry-Potter-wannabes, all full of evil and sorcery and disaffected kids looking for POWER in all the wrong places.  😦
  • Sort of along those lines, I took Ethan to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians last night.  We both THOROUGHLY enjoyed ourselves.  There were several suggestive parts — looks and turns of phrase — that I would have rather my almost-13yo son not see, but other than that, it was so good.  Knowledge of Greek mythology:  very helpful.  “Who’s the guy who ferries souls across Styx?” I asked.  “Charon,” he immediately answered.  On our drive to the movie, I told him how I would SO much rather him see a movie based on Greek mythology — which is obviously not Christian — than to have him immerse himself in the quasi-spiritual, morally relativistic, yin-and-yang, subversive, “let’s all be friends with our enemies” crap of Avatar, which was his first choice.

What’s in a name?

Andrée Seu, won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?

Though usually, somewhere within her essays, she states that because of what she’s written, folks will turn their backs on her left and right (and, maybe it’s because she’s experienced — unfortunately — the “left foot of fellowship” from other believers more often than she’d care to), every time I read something of hers, I have the opposite reaction:  I have a wish that she lived next door, and she could walk right over, and I could make her a cuppa, and we could chat.  Such graciousness, intelligence, maturity, a heart for Jesus, and humor are too rarely packaged in one person.  (Kathy B., have you read much of her stuff?  You’d like her, I think.  Similar hearts, yours and hers, I believe.)

In the March 13, 2010 issue of World magazine, there was yet another commentary by Andrée that was spot on.  Just right.  I wanted to reproduce a few excerpts from her article here in my blog, but as I read and re-read it, I think, “What would I leave out?”  So, I’m going to copy the whole thing here.  (I’ve e-mailed her in the past, and she said I could do so!) World magazine must have altered their policy, because their web police asked me to not publish the full content of the essay on my blog…  You’ll have to click at the end to read the full article — PLEASE do.

So, without further ado:

What’s in a name?

Let’s care more about Jesus than our brand’s market share | Andrée Seu

I knew a woman who was allergic to dust—and just about everything else. Elaine was a veritable canary in a coal mine: Put her in a house with any spore count that registers and you could skip the take-home test kits.

I have developed a hypersensitivity of a different kind. I sense when Jesus is slipping away from a place. I know that sounds prideful, but the only reason for my acuteness is that I slipped away for decades.

My condition manifested not long ago at a formal seminary dinner. Conversations around the table broached every subject under the sun but Jesus. The after-dinner speaker waxed of venerable “traditions.” Something wasn’t sharp somehow.

I don’t think I’m imagining this. At a banquet of truckers for Christ, I knew right off the bat that it was all about Jesus and not about the organization; the excitement for Him was palpable. You don’t know off-white until you see white next to it.

Meanwhile, back at the seminary affair…

Read the rest here.


In which I consider monetizing my blog (and other things)

  • Fiala, aged 16 months has started calling out to one of us with some urgency:  “Daddeee?  Daddeee?”  and when the person for whom she calls answers, “Yes, Fiala?”  She screws up her face and says, “Ummm….” like she can’t remember what she was going to ask.  It’s hilarious.
  • Fi is back on Septra.  I finally talked with Dr. Elizabeth on Saturday, and she said that it’s likely that Fiala is just susceptible to staph, not that it was still lurking in her body, as I had feared.  (Lurking after 5 weeks of strong antibiotics…)  She’s been on the abx for 2.5 days, and while she’s not clearing as quickly as I had hoped, she is a bit better.  Elizabeth prescribed 3 weeks of medication, but said we can stop after a minimum of 7 days, if she’s clear.  It’s looking like she’ll be on it for more than a week.  😦
  • I had to stop giving guitar lessons to a young woman from church.  Baseball (which now takes up 3-4 nights per week) is just too frequent to squeeze in lessons, plus kinship, plus mundane things like grocery shopping and laundry and dinner.  I told her we could start back up in June, and suggested that she takes some inexpensive class lessons through our city, which I hope she chooses to do.
  • I’m giving a number of baby things away on Freecycle.  It’s a bit sad.  Poignant.  All the Avent bottles and breastmilk pump, a little food grinder, a diaper bag, a couple of remaining maternity things…  Martin and I are still both of one mind on this:  We will do nothing permanent to stop conception, so we realize that there remains a possibility of baby #6.  However, we think it unwise (for a number of reasons) to try for a sixth baby.  Part of me hopes that God will overrule our choices and I’ll just get pregnant…  I’m certainly not fearful of being pregnant at age almost-37.  However, I think that there is wisdom in not adding to our family, and I take it very seriously that my hubby and I are in agreement.
  • I’m still working on the edit/re-write of a friend’s book.  It’s going well, and we’re both really liking the results.  It was my hope for her to read the refashioned words, and say, “YES.  That’s exactly what I was trying to say.”  So far, that has been the case, 99% of the time, which is a huge encouragement for me.  I just wish I had more TIME — like two dedicated evenings per week, instead of 30 minutes here, two hours there…
  • Speaking of “working,” I’m considering… monetizing my blog.  I regularly have offers from folks who would pay me X amount of dollars for a link, or a promo, or an ad.  Up to now, I’ve refused all such offers.  But, doing dishes last night, I thought, “If my blog only made $20/week, that would be $1000 per year, which could regularly pay for family trips.”  If it made slightly more, I could take the kids to visit extended family, which we’ve only done ONCE in 15 years.  (Edited to clarify:  We have gone on one vacation-style trip, specifically planned to visit relatives.  I went on an additional trip on the spur of the moment, to go to my paternal grandpa’s funeral, and during that trip, did visit with many family members.  AND, the trip that my husband and I took for our 10th anniversary was nearby to my maternal grandparents’ home, and we spent several days visiting with them.  So, that’s more like three trips.)  Make even MORE and we could go on a month-long “field trip” to New England, visiting historic sites.  That is a very attractive motivation for me.  Last year, we weren’t able to have a vacation at all (outside of a 3 night stay at my parents’ cabin), mostly because of finances.  (Edited to clarify:  We actually did have a week-long camping trip planned, but I threw out my back very badly, and we were unable to go.  After I recovered, we ended up visiting my parents’ cabin, rather than rescheduling the whole trip… so, although finances did play a role in our decision, it definitely wasn’t the only factor.)   I’m always amazed to go onto blogs that appear more professional than mine:  ones that look extremely sharp, well put-together, with all the bells and whistles, with a little link to their book on the right-hand column… then I see their visitor count, and it’s half of mine.  I’m NOT all about attracting readership;  I’ve made no effort whatsoever to boost visits, and part of me is really repulsed by the idea of trying to “win” readers and/or place ads on my blog.  However, I think that as I have garnered nearly a half-million (!) hits without even trying, it shows that (I think) with some careful marketing, I could make some income.  Even a very modest income (and I think $20/week is very modest) would be worthwhile.  I think that it could also be a big timesink and money-waster, so I would need to be very prudent in my choices.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to do yet… but the thought of being able to take trips that I’ve heretofore only dreamed about is very attractive.  I spend too much time dreaming and hoping, and too little time in action to make the dreams come true.

The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose

When my family moved here from Illinois in the mid-’70s, my mother would often pull out a map and decide where we would take a day trip, often based on the interest-factor of the place name, and if it was by water.  To her consternation, she quickly discovered that in Arizona, just because it says “river” on a map does not actually mean there is water at that location.  “River” almost always actually means “DRY river BED.”

Most rivers in Arizona are dammed for hydroelectric power and/or for reservoirs to supply water to cities.  While I’m grateful for the liquid that streams from my kitchen tap, I do feel like this is, somehow, wrong.  The natural desert landscape is robbed of the too-few streams and rivers, making riparian areas few and far between, destroying habitat for flora and fauna.  I’m not such a tree-hugging type that I’m saying that animals are better than people and we’d all serve the earth much more effectively by dying.  However, it does seem that we could do a much better job at living symbiotically with the desert environment.

All of that serves to elevate my enthusiasm when I find a desert location that has a naturally-occurring source of actual water.

This current winter/spring has been the wettest that I can recall in at least six years.  Its overcast right now, in fact.  Phoenix has gotten around four inches of rain in 2010 so far (many locations are closer to 5″), which may not sound like a lot to Midwesterners, but when you consider that we usually (in non-drought years) get only about 7″ for the year, four inches in barely over two months is a whole lot.

On Friday, I took the kids out for a drive/hike that we’ve done before, off of Castle Hot Springs Road, which arcs north of the Carefree Highway, east of Wickenburg, and west of Lake Pleasant.  I was hoping that in addition to the vivid green desert hills, there would be some actual flowing water in the creek to which we were heading.  Now, I already knew that “my” secret spot holds a spring-fed perennial creek, so I was pretty certain that there would be water, as most springs are dependent on the availability of groundwater, which would obviously be greater after an abundance of rain.  But, in the desert, one never really knows.  (Plus, the last time we were there, a couple of years ago, there had been some illegal gold-mining activity, likely using cyanide, leading to some unnaturally bright-orange rocks and no life in the water.)

There WAS water in “our” creek.  In fact, there has been so much water that we didn’t recognize our spot until driving past it three times.  The teensy meadow of years past, small but startling in the midst of its brown and dry surroundings, was no longer there.  (Scroll down to photo #7 on this post from Sept 4, 2006 and photo #6 on this post from Feb 5, 2007, for a shot of the meadow)  In its place was evidence of  a grand torrent, five or six feet high, which reshaped the little valley, leaving a preponderance of boulders, removing the topsoil, and carving a new path for the stream that did remain.  Also gone was a GIGANTIC cottonwood;  a very large stump was there, as well as a sapling — its child, no doubt.  Also, some work had been done on the dirt road (for erosion control, it appears), moving its path a bit.

I know it doesn’t appear like much, there on the right, and it still looks dry and deserty — and of course, it IS the desert.  But, down in it, it does not seem dry at all.  All along the drive, I kept exclaiming how lush and vividly green everything was.  There is an abundance of green undergrowth — desert grass and teensy flowers, which will likely all be gone by May or June, burnt off by the searing summer heat.

In addition, Castle Hot Springs Road crosses both Bitter Creek and Castle Creek at many locations.  Most of the time, this just makes for bumpy, sandy going but on Friday, there was water at every crossing — too many to count!  Water crossed our paths at least 15 or 20 times in the space of about 15 miles.  Normally, even in wetter months, the creek might splash away from your tires once or twice.  Three or four times, if you drive the route a day or two after some rain.  On Friday, every single gully, wash, and creek bed had running water in it.

The pic above looks mostly south over Bitter Creek.  On the right-hand side, just around the bend that you can’t see, another, smaller creek converges with it, to the east of the road, heading south and west from Bitter Creek.  I cannot find a name for that little tributary on any map.  One time we went and found some mining claims posted, which identified the area as “Hold-Up Creek” but I can’t find anything to substantiate that name, either.  So, we just call it Bitter Creek, though most of our time was not on that creek itself.

The good news is that the creek appears to have recovered from the cyanide use from a couple of years ago, somewhat to my surprise.  I’m sure the abundance of water has helped that recovery.

We spent about three hours, exploring and playing, sort of hiking.  We didn’t get further back than 1/4 mile or so.  The creek was quite overgrown with prickly bushes and trees, and as it was entirely boulder-strewn, I had to carry Fiala, my 16 month old baby, in my arms.  She was not a fan of this sort of hiking, and screamed pretty much the whole way, both from wanting to GO on her own, and from the occasional scratch.  😦  That was surprising; she’s usually a fabulous trouper.

In the past, we have hiked the creek back to its source, roughly 1/2 mile.  I was a little bummed out that we weren’t able to do that.  Next time.  “Next time” will be fairly soon, actually, as I’ve convinced another homeschooling mom to accompany us, with her two boys in the near future.

The Desert Boys.

I love the fierce expressions that the boys always seem to get while playing in the desert.

Grant got stuck on a cliff, probably about 40 feet up. I talked him down.

Fi 'n' me

Audrey tells a story during lunch

The kids play along the wider section of Bitter Creek

According to the topo map (Garfias Quad — but at about 33.9669°N 112.4444°W, not exactly where that link takes you), there is another 1/2 mile-or-so trail that leads to a spring (St. Anthony Spring), only 1000 feet or so from where I parked.  I think we’ll try to find that, next time.  Also, next time, maybe there will be more flowers;  it’s about 2800′ elevation at that location, and not much was yet blooming, even though my title suggests it.

In which OSC gets some link-love, I get grossed out by xanthan gum, and I love Bob Moore

  • The Crispy Cook recently included my blog in her top 100 gluten-free blogs.  I’m honored!  The list is well-worth a visit.  All the blogs on Rachel’s list are current and active.  She includes a sentence or two of description which I find VERY helpful.
  • Xanthan gum:  I am officially grossed out by it.  I have used it faithfully for 7+ years in my gluten-free baking, and find its counterpart, guar gum, difficult to work with.  I had been having second thoughts about xanthan gum lately anyway, because it’s not really a whole food;  it’s very derivative, though, in a sense, it is “natural.”  I find myself WANTING to prefer guar gum, as it is a ground-up seed:  very simple, no manufacturing involved, other than to grind it up.  Also, corn sugar is almost always used in its commercial production, and Fiala still cannot handle corn.  The nail on my xanthan gum coffin came when I read this very short article from on the Celiac Central.org’s online newsletter, and I about gagged.  I think I will start phasing out xanthan gum.  Maybe I’ll try chia (which, among it’s other appealing properties, is native to Arizona).
  • “Let’s start with xanthan gum; it is made from a type of bacteria (Xanthomonas campestris). It also is seen as the black rot that attacks various vegetables. In a controlled environment, it is introduced to, most often, corn sugar. This solution is kept at 30 degrees for several days until fermentation has taken place. The solution is then heated to stop the fermentation process. It is dried, ground and sieved into the fine powder that we purchase at the store.”  (from the article “Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum in Gluten-Free Baking” by Regina Petruzziello Mason, emphasis mine)
  • I read another article recently, and it made my heart swell with love for a man I’ve never met, but from whom I’ve frequently benefited:  Bob Moore.  You, likely, have too.  “Who??” you may ask.  Bob Moore is the “Bob” of Bob’s Red Mill.  I have a soft spot in my heart for privately-held companies, but recently, Mr. Moore took his one step further:  giving his company to its employees.  (BRM also recently opened a dedicated g.f. facility.)  From the article, originally published in a local newspaper:
  • “It’s not that the offers aren’t there. Hardly a day goes by that Nancy Garner, Moore’s executive assistant, doesn’t field a call or letter from someone wanting to buy the privately held company or take it public.

    “I had four messages waiting when I returned from a recent vacation,” she said. “Three of them were buy-out offers.”

    Garner said she and other employees are floored by Moore’s plan, under which any worker with at least three years tenure is now fully vested. “We’re still learning all of the details,” Garner said, “but it’s very humbling to be part of a company that cares this much about its employees.”

    An employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, is a retirement plan in which the company contributes its stock to the plan to be held in trust for the benefit of its employees. The stock is never bought or held directly.

    Vested employees are sent annual reports detailing their respective stakes in the company. When those employees quit or retire, they receive in cash whatever amount they — and the company, through increased revenues, new sales and controlled costs — are due.

    “Eventual payouts could be substantial,” said John Wagner, the company’s chief financial officer and, along with Moore, one of four partners.”

Lost phone, cheap oranges, etiquette, God’s sovereignty, and worship/prophetic

  • Better Than I from Joseph, King of Dreams plays in the background while I write, as my kids watch it, after lunch.  That is one of the most powerful songs, ever.  It could be my life’s anthem.  When I first saw that movie, I so NEEDED it.  Being blessed doesn’t mean that everything will be easy, and discipline doesn’t mean that the Father doesn’t love me.  “I’ve let go the need to know why / I’ll take what answers You supply / For You know better than I.”  I am convinced that the reason the movie was never released in theaters is because it is such a vivid picture of the sovereignty of God.  Americans don’t want to hear that God is sovereign.  We’ll gladly have Him work miracles.  But, submit to His plan??  Hmph.
  • I lost my mobile phone.  If you tried to call me in the last three weeks, I didn’t get the message, or the text.  We looked into getting me a new phone, but it was cost-prohibitive.  Then — DUH!! — I remembered that we still had my old phone.  A couple calls to Verizon Wireless, and voila!  No cost to reconnect it, nor to suspend my other phone.
  • This is fun!  Don’t Gross Out the World, an 11-question on global meal etiquette.  I got 9 out of 11.  My kids all got 4 to 6.
  • I’ve been way over food budget for the last couple of months… I’m recommitting to clipping coupons and being very careful.  It is extremely hard to eat restricted diets, healthily, on the cheap.  This past trip, I was able to spend about 40% less than I have in weeks past, with especially careful shopping of the sales, plus saving $11 in coupons (pre-celiac disease, I used to save $35-40 per trip, up to $60 at times), and simply doing without some things I wanted to buy.  A SCORE was finding oranges at $0.19 per pound.  I bought 16 lbs, and two days later, they’re half gone.  I also got 11 lbs of organic Braeburn apples at $0.67 per pound.
  • Last night at kinship, I had a prophetic song that was about fixing our eyes on Jesus, as the source of our peace and joy, no matter what was going on, on the left and the right of us.  I needed it today;  I keep recalling it…  Yesterday, I thought, “That little rice-reaction-rash Fiala has on her cheeks looks like it might be staph.”  This morning, there’s no doubt.  😦  It’s all over her face, and her arms, too.  Her sweet cheeks are all crusty again.  She’s only been off of her five-week round of antibiotics for… three weeks?  four?  I can’t remember now.  It’s disheartening to see it back.  I thought we were DONE with staph!!  I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor.  But, my eyes are fixed on Jesus, and I’m leaning on Him for peace, and for joy, and though it’s an effort, I will not let the enemy disable me with discouragement and grumpiness.
  • Oh!  Plus, I found out this morning that I will likely need a root canal.  I about cried at the dentist’s office.  I come home, and my husband says, “No way.  There has to be another option.  I’ve read awful things about the side-effects that can come from root canals, like life-long migraines.”  That didn’t help.  The thing that kills me is that my tooth didn’t hurt UNTIL I got a filling a couple of weeks ago.  Now, I’m on several-times-daily aspirin or ibuprofen because the pain radiates down into my jaw, back into my ear, into my head.  My dentist said, “Six percent of the time, we do a filling, and end up having to go back in for a root canal because the nerve is so damaged from the drilling needed for the filling.”  :\  I didn’t know that!  Plus, root canals obviously kill the root, which cuts off the blood supply to the tooth, which leads to tooth brittleness, as it’s no longer being supplied by calcium, so they have to do a crown.  Seems like a “cascade of interventions” to me.  I am not pleased.  Still.  My peace and joy don’t come from perfect teeth:  they come from fixing my eyes on Jesus.
  • Speaking of prophetic stuff, I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about prophetic stuff spoken over me, but last night, my kinship leader spoke something very short, and it completely resonated in me.  IT has stayed with me, as well.  He simply said, “God wants you to know that you’re both a trumpet and a harp.”  Instantly, I knew what he meant.  …  During kinship, we have teaching, then worship, and after worship, I just strum a little chord progression to “cover” the time of ministry and prayer.  The whole time, I kept up the same G – Em7 – D – C2 thing going over and over, and prayer was just a fountain out of me.  I sang very, very quietly.  I don’t know if anyone even heard me, except the kinship leader, who, at the very end, came and stood inches from me and started singing with me.  It was just sweet.  I could have gone on for hours.  As it was, I think it did last a good 30 minutes, maybe more…  Prophetic with strength = trumpet.  Lyrical, tender worship = harp.
  • I hope that last bit wasn’t too much Joseph-in-his-immaturity!!
%d bloggers like this: