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Eat, Play, Love

In lieu of Mommy Fashion this week, I'm doing a Mommy Tip: toy rotation. I don't know how long this will last, but it's worked so far and it is definitely good for an apartment-dweller, a minimalist, or just someone who doesn't want mountains of toys (I fit into all three of those categories). I've noticed that Brooklyn gets bored with her toys after about 2 months - so after she goes to bed one night, I stash the things that she's stopped being interested in, pull out a couple of things that I put away on the last rotation, and rearrange everything (her things are sorted; colors, animals, letters and numbers, sounds, etc., so I choose a new "focus" each time) and then when she gets up the next day, it's like new toys! It also makes one new toy or book more lastingly exciting than just tossing it into the toybox with all of the others.

Brooklyn has been delighted to help in the kitchen of late (by "help" I mean "joyously make a colossal mess if allowed within reach of any in-progress dishes") - at this point, she mostly gets a plastic serving spoon to play percussion on the fridge with, but that's something.

I have a wonderful kiddie-food cookbook called Baby and Toddler On the Go that is filled with healthy, appetizing baby-friendly recipes... except that all but three of the dishes in the over-one section contain some sort of dairy (milk, yogurt, or cheese) and Brooklyn is still dairy-free. She loves pasta, so I took the general concept of their mac 'n' cheese bites and made gluten-free dairy-free Penne Cups:
[Per 6 cups] Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease a regular-sized nonstick muffin pan (I used muffin cups the first time, and don't recommend it because it's hard to peel the paper off). Cook 3/4 cup of penne (I used Kroger's natural store brand) until it's soft-but-slightly-chewy and put it in a bowl to cool. Using your same pot, saute 1/4 sliced snow peas in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add it to your pasta, along with 1 finely cut-up cooked chicken thigh (I made mine in the crockpot - braising also works great, and if you'd rather use white meat, feel free to substitute!) Stir together, and add 2 beaten eggs. Divide evenly between 6 muffin cups, and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and slightly bubbly.

She really likes these, and I like that they can be made with a variety of different meats and veggies, and that when she indicates her fullness by dropping her last bite on the floor, it doesn't really make a mess.

Speaking of messes... overnight is too long to leave a can of Coke in the freezer. :/ I got the chicken for the penne cups out at 6am when Brooklyn woke up needing to nurse, and was initially confused by the stalactites that hung all over our freezer - until I noticed the warped can sitting under the biggest one. Oops. But, I had to share the helpful suggestion I got when I posted this photo on Facebook and asked if anyone had an idea for cleaning it up: use a dry dishcloth. Because frozen things are solids (oh. Right.) It wiped right off, didn't leave any sticky residue, and the only thing I had trouble with was all the tiny little parts on the ice maker. On the plus side, my freezer is now clean in two ways - wiped down, and reorganized.

I've been trying to get caught up on tasks in preparation for going to Fayetteville for a week... making sure that I leave our apartment with all of the dishes clean, the trash emptied, the floor vacuumed, and everything reasonably tidy (partly because I don't want to have to do any of that when I get back, and partly due to a trained paranoia about coming home to a bug infestation), and I've also been trying to catch up on replying to the letters that I need to reply to (because anyone who is willing to handwrite me a letter and pay the postage to send it deserves to not have to wait another week for their reply). I'm also hoping to get my #fmfpartysnailmail note written - then I won't need to send it from Fayetteville, and that will give it a little extra travel time since it's going to Canada.

The past week was busy, and the next three weeks will be interesting with Adam gone - but I'm hoping to make them restoratively productive (if that's possible), so that neither our apartment nor I am a mess when he gets home.

Mums - how do you handle The Toy Issue (if it's an issue to you)?


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…