Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Eventful Florida trip Part 5

Magic Kingdom was tastefully decorated for fall and Halloween.

Walt and Mickey


Part of the Swiss Family Treehouse.

I was really looking forward to the Winnie the Pooh ride, but in the end I have to say it was disappointing.  It went by way to fast and there really wasn't much to it.  In fact, I felt that way about most of the track rides.  They mostly just go through displays of different things like the story of Snow White.  Now before you think I'm complaining, I'm not.  I had a great time!  My expectations were just higher, I think.

My favorites were:  Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor; Mickey's PhilharMagic and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.  The last one was like a huge video game ride.

Late in the afternoon we headed over to Epcot.  Our FREE tickets were park hopper tickets, so we took advantage of that.   

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Eventful Florida trip Part 4

As I mentioned in the last post about our trip, Amy and I drove to Orlando on Thursday evening. We didn't have any trouble other than construction traffic that got a little crazy in downtown Orlando and that we drove to the wrong Courtyard Inn. I'm just glad the other one was only 5 minutes away.

After getting settled in the hotel (seeing my hubby for the first time in days was so nice) we discussed our plans for Disney. Our friends told us to try to get there for the opening at 9 a.m. So Friday morning we got ourselves up and all ready to go by about 8:15. We got parked then rode the tram to the Transportation and Ticket Center where we boarded the monorail for Magic Kingdom. My friend was able to get us three FREE tickets from her friend who works for Disney!!! That was wonderful! We were standing in line to get in while the opening started. The steam train brought a host of Disney characters to welcome visitors with song and dance. Our view wasn't great, but we did get to be a part of the opening.



Pampered Chef fundraiser

The following is copied here from my friend's blog. If you're interested in ordering any Pampered Chef items to help with their adoption costs follow the directions listed below.


Are you needing some high quality kitchen items for yourself? Need to do some early Christmas shopping from the comfort of your home?! Want to be able to help Katya come home to her family in a timely manner? If so, read on!

Shelley O., a homeschool mom who is a friend of ours, is helping us to hold a Pampered Chef fundraiser for Katya for adoption expenses. We will be collecting all orders no later than Monday November 29, 2010. We will receive any where from 17-20% profit. We will also receive $3.00 for each catalog or cooking show booked during this time.

If you would like to order something, please go to , click on SHOP ONLINE (blue button at top), then check out different products on the left. Click on items of interest--write down the item number and price. DO NOT ADD TO SHOPPING BAG. We will not get credit for it if you order online this way! You need to send Shelley an email at with any questions you have, or to place an order!!

#1. Please put "Katya" in the subject area of your email.

#2. In the body of the email, put the item(s) you want, along with the method of payment you desire to use, and a phone number where you can be reached. For safety, do NOT put credit card info in the email! You can give your credit card info to Shelley when she calls you to take your order.

#3. If you are ordering from out of town, click on "shipping charges" so you will know how much to pay based on how much you want to purchase. If you are local, orders are $4.50 shipping.

#4. To figure out your order total: A. Add up the product amount. B. Multiply product times 7%. C. Add on any Pantry items. D. If local, add $4.50 for shipping. Out of town, see shipping charge or ask Shelley.

Shelley has kindly offered some incentives: November Guest Special--Any customer spending $60.00 or more on products receives the adjustable measuring spoons FREE AND they can order the cookie press for $23.60 (usual price is $29.50)

Also Shelley will give each customer spending $30.00 or more a FREE nylon pan scraper OR a FREE "Season's Best Fall/Winter Recipe Collection".

Remember, PLEASE send an email to Shelley with your items that you are interested in purchasing! Do NOT order through the Pampered Chef website directly or we will not receive any benefit for Katya.

And I'm asking . . . will you be so kind as to spread the word about this fundraiser on Facebook and your blogs?? We are looking at approximately $25,000 in costs that we need to have raised in full by about April or thereabouts, God willing. I know God knows where the money is coming from, and so I'm not stressed. I do know we need to be diligent though to be busy and about the business of doing what we can to raise the funds for this precious girlie to come home to her family. We are literally engaged in being rescuers here--and you can help rescue one of God's precious children. We don't want anyone to order who can't afford to, or if you don't need anything and can't think of one single person to bless with a gift.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pray for Grace to Govern your Tongue

I get a daily devotional email from Mathew Henry's Method for Prayer. I really liked today's message, so I'm sharing it here. (Part 4 of our trip will continue soon.)

I must pray for grace to enable me both to govern my tongue well and to use it well.

Lord, enable me to guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue, and to guard my mouth, as if with a muzzle, Psalm 39:1(NASB) that it may not be impulsive in thought to bring up a matter. Ecclesiastes 5:2(NASB)

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips, Psalm 141:3(NASB) that I may not stumble in what I say. James 3:2(NASB)

Let my speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, Colossians 4:6(NASB) and enable me always, out of the good treasure of my heart, to bring forth what is good. Matthew 12:35(KJV) Let my mouth utter wisdom, and my tongue speak justice; Psalm 37:30(NASB) and do not let Your words depart from my mouth, nor from the mouth of any of Your people, nor from the mouth of our offspring, nor our offspring’s offspring, from now and forever. Isaiah 59:21(NASB)

Enable me always to open my mouth in wisdom, and let the teaching of kindness be on my tongue. Proverbs 31:26(NASB) Give me to know what is acceptable, Proverbs 10:32(NASB) that my tongue may be as choice silver, and my lips may feed many. Proverbs 10:20-21(NASB)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Eventful Florida trip Part 3


I don't think we took any pictures on Thursday, at least I didn't.

I got up Thursday morning feeling great, ready to go. I ate breakfast and felt fine. C and I went to return the Bentonite to the health food store then we went to the fabric store across the street. Somewhere in that time frame I started to get dizzy again. Then I was nauseous again. Keeping in mind this is after returning the Bentonite. :( However, I have discovered that I can fabric shop while the store is spinning. ;-) I found some cute fabric that would have made a great doll coat, but found nothing I loved that went with it. By the time C was finished making her purchases I had put my fabric back and felt nasty.

Thankfully, the store was only a short distance back home. I spent the next couple hours or so in the bathroom. After I could keep a little water down I took a nap and woke up feeling better. C made a trip to the store and bought me some chicken broth and saltines (you are such a great friend!) which I ate and had no trouble with.

Amy & I were supposed to have gone back to Orlando that afternoon, but ended up leaving after supper instead. I felt fine the whole way there with no issues.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Eventful Florida trip Part 2

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling dizzy and nauseous, so I went back to sleep for a few hours. When I got up I felt fine. I ate lunch and then had a relaxing visit with my friend, C. Amy & C's children were all outside and eventually came in asking when we were going to the beach. I felt good enough, so we all got dressed in swimwear and went to the beach. The weather was perfect, not too hot, just right. The children buried each other in the sand, found shells, danced around in the ocean and had a great time. All the while C & I got to chat. Love that! :)



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Eventful Florida trip Part 1

For the last three weeks dh has been traveling. Last week from Saturday to Thursday he had a conference in Orlando, FL. I have a good friend who now lives in FL so Amy & I went down on Tuesday to visit her and her family. Our air travels went smoothly, we had no problems with security or baggage claim. So on to the car rental (Thrifty) counter. I had entered all my info online, so I was good to go. However, the agent had other ideas. He proceeded to bombard me with questions about adding this and that to the rental agreement. The one he tripped me up on went like this, "You selected to receive this insurance, would you like to upgrade?" Since dh had set this up for me, I didn't know what I preselected. Turns out dh didn't preselect anything and would not have added any insurance at all. So I ended up with an extra $30/day on the car. I was not happy!! But I did learn something from the experience.

After we got the car, we turned on the GPS to find our way to Chipotle for dinner. Because we were in the parking garage it couldn't find the satellite. Even after we left the garage it couldn't find it. Amy turned it on and off at least twice, still nothing. Meanwhile, I'm driving on roads around the airport not knowing which way to go and not even knowing what road we were on. We finally got the map out and figured out what road we were on and through the grace of God we made it to Chipotle. By this time I'm stressed. After we ate, we got back in the car, I turned the GPS back on and this time it worked. :) Relief! I had directions from google maps with me, so I probably could have made it to my friend's house with that.

Part two is coming soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest Party jackets

I found the tan print fabric in the bottom of my stash. The green came from my stash of remnants. Amy took some fun photos and there you have it, the two latest coats for sale on Etsy.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Do We Worship the Market?

Here's a great article from Campaign for Liberty. Click here to go directly to the article's link.

Among other common accusations, we libertarians are accustomed to the charge that we "worship the market." We are lumped in with conservatives, Republicans, and big businessmen, all of whom ostensibly have turned private enterprise into some sort of god to be honored and obeyed regardless of the consequences for humanity. To oppose state interventions in the economy -- especially in the form of regulations or welfare -- is supposedly the sign of dogmatic fanaticism, but without the saving grace of spirituality. No, our worship is that of cold, hard, inhumane materialism.

Ironies and confusions abound from this gross mischaracterization. First off, we do not, as libertarians, categorically have to have any position toward the marketplace other than that it should be free from coercive intrusion. Our only necessary moral take on capitalism is that it should be separated completely from aggression. To say that libertarians worship the market is no more correct than saying that drug policy reformers worship drug abuse because they question the notion that government force is the proper remedy. At a minimum, libertarians only tolerate the market and wish for it to be separated from state violence. This is the presumed liberal position on religion -- that government should neither actively promote nor restrict religion -- yet this does not mean all liberals worship every faith that they wish to see isolated from coercive sanction.

Of course, most libertarians happen not to be neutral on the market itself. We do, not out of first ethical principles, but from other considerations, tend to positively favor the market. Some of us would say we love it, even if we would come short of admitting any sort of religious devotion to it.

This is where understanding economics comes into play. Although the voluntary nature of the market alone makes it necessarily more attractive to libertarians than the government, economic science and simple empirical evidence make the bulletproof case that we owe much more to the market than is realized by most people, including -- and here's one of those ironies -- conservatives, Republicans and big businessmen.

It is not an exaggeration to say that civilization itself depends upon the free exchange of goods and services, rooted in private property rights and freedom of association. Without private property, there would be no commerce, no culture, no society of which to speak. There would be no food and clothing for the masses, no medical technology, no comparative frivolities such as musical equipment, athletic gear, art supplies, nor the leisure time during which to indulge in them. There would, for nearly all humans living today, be no life. To reject private property and the right to buy, sell and trade is to reject the foundations of economic progress, out of which comes the time for men and women to engage in charity, to improve themselves in matters scientific and spiritual, to philosophize and better all of humanity with insights that bring us closer to the civil ideal.

Now have I just conceded that which I have set out to refute? Some might read my above words and conclude that I indeed worship the market, that I see in materialism the salvation of humanity. How crude. How vulgar. How oversimplified.

Well, consider the socialist alternatives. Economic interventionists of all stripes wish to hamper the market, to constrain it, to force it into their own mold. It is clearly no small institution in their assessment. They seem to see it as a bane nearly as much as we see it as a blessing. What's more, they understand that wealth is required for all their central planning schemes, whether the ones that will one day achieve utopia or the ones that will inject some pragmatic order into the chaos of the marketplace. How do they seek to fund their beloved government interventions? By stealing from the market.

Whether by inflating the money supply, seizing land and resources outright, or confiscating the fruits of production, labor and exchange, all government programs have depended upon preying on the private sector for their budgets. Even as those who question the majesty of the market can conceive of only one way of funding their alternative institution -- by robbing from that which they disparage.

Thus do all regulators, welfare workers, public schoolteachers, police officers, soldiers, bureaucrats and politicians get paid by looting the demonized and misunderstood voluntary sector of economic life. Thus do all who depend upon government handouts ultimately depend ever more fundamentally upon the market that produces the wealth in the first place. While the market does not need politicians and social workers in order to do its magic, without the market as host the parasitic state would have nothing on which to prey, and it would die instantly.

The socialists used to believe markets could not produce wealth for the masses, feed and clothe them. Now they have mostly abandoned that argument and focused on the inequalities and obscenities of mass production. They even belittle those of us who defend the market as being beholden to materialism, commercialism, and mere things as opposed to people. Yet at the core of all their demands for a thousand new government programs is a demand for material goods. Those who chant that health care is a human right are really talking about bottles of antibiotics, surgical tools, hospitals and beds for the infirmed. Those who demand more money for schools are similarly talking about books, chalkboards and other physical goods. They are just as materialistic as we are. They see dollar signs on everything too. For them, all of social life also revolves around commodities. The only difference is how they seek to get goods to those who need them. We see cooperation and voluntary exchange, rather than robbery, as the answer.

Yet there is another element in economics that cannot be forgotten, without which no physical good can be of use to anyone. That is the human component -- the labor, the organizing, the mental work it takes to get things done. All the hospital beds are nearly useless without nurses or doctors, to say nothing of those who truck them around, deliver them, and assemble them.

As socialist programs continue to violate and loot from the market in order to achieve their supposed goals, they eventually run into a fundamental problem. You can move beds around. You can transport chalkboards. You can steal money. But what about the people involved? The human beings? The doctors, nurses, teachers, and workers of all kinds? They must either be bought off with stolen wealth or, failing that, coercion must be applied on them. The more socialism persists, the more society moves from voluntary means to compulsory means. Ultimately, Herbert Spencer was all too right when he said, "All socialism involves slavery," for the more the voluntary means of the market are discarded and replaced with the political means, the more people are enslaved to the socialist project.

Even leftists understand on some level the connection between human rights and free markets. Many of them decried the sanctions on Iraq, for example, a cruel imposition of political priorities to the fatal detriment of millions of people's inalienable rights to own property and trade it voluntarily. The Iraqis did not need handouts from the US government, only to be left alone to trade. Yet conservatives who pay lip service to free trade had little problem defending these unspeakably wicked violations of Iraqis' human right to trade. Oddly, the left didn't learn the lesson that every such government violation of the market order has terrible effects, both seen and unseen, for those who need material goods and thus property rights just to live healthy and be adequately fed.

Do we worship the market? Nah. But we do recognize that we owe to it all the wealth around us, the material progress that the socialists call superficial even as they expropriate it and try to mimic it with their own violent institution, the state. We do recognize that civilization could not exist without economic exchange. We also recognize that as imperfect as the market might be, just as humanity itself falls short of perfection, it is infinitely superior to the intrinsically violent and dehumanizing organization known as the state.

I would make a wager to all the statists: We'll see how well we fare with just the market, without the state constantly imposing its edicts and robbing from its product. Then we can see how well we would do if we eliminated voluntary exchange, production and private property altogether -- see if the state could even survive not having something to feed off of. Of course, this wager is unnecessary since every time socialism has been seriously attempted, the burdened civilization simply couldn't handle it and something had to give way. In the process inevitably come enslavement and impoverishment on a wide scale. Eventually the state itself collapses as the host can no longer support it.

So instead I'll just pose a question: If the market is so horrible, why can't the state create its own wealth and achieve its goals without robbing the market? Of course, if it could, it wouldn't be a state at all, but just another voluntary, market institution. Is it really any wonder that we prefer that which is necessary to humanity and inherently productive to that which can only live violently at its expense?

Copyright © 2007

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Squash Bisque

Besides tomatoes we have butternut squash. Yum! For years, I've been wanting to try this recipe from the back of a box of frozen Cascadian Farm winter squash. We had leftover squash in about the right amount so I made it yesterday.


Here's the original recipe:

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. celery, chopped
1 tbs ginger root, minced
2 c. vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
10 oz. Cascadian Farm Organic Winter Squash, defrosted
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 nutmeg
salt to taste

Heat oil in a medium sauce pot. Saute vegetables and ginger over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir squash in thoroughly. Simmer for 20 minutes until soup has thickened and vegetables are tender. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. If desired, soup may be enriched by adding 1/2 cup of soy, rice or oat milk. Serves 4-6.

Now for my changes:
1. I used coconut oil instead of olive.
2. I didn't finely chop the onions because I missed that while skimming the recipe.
3. I used 1 tsp of dried ginger.
4. Homemade chicken broth was my liquid.
5. I used my own squash.
6. 1/8 tsp of cayenne was still a little too hot for our tastes.
7. I didn't add salt since I used chicken broth.

Also, notice how regular cow's milk is not included in the list. I didn't use it, because I can't do dairy, but it would be more nourishing than the other options, if it's raw. I added coconut milk to ours.

Another thing I might do next time is to stick blend it once it's all together.

Other than it being a bit too spicy, it was pretty good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Three new jackets


I think Kit looks sweet in the Apple Pickin' coat.


I had enough fabric to make more of the Happy Squirrel and the Polka Dot Treat. 


I also discovered that I can get at least three coats out of a yard of fabric, so if I really like the material I'll buy one yard. I've also used stash fabric to make quite a few things. Love that!

Friday, October 8, 2010


We were blessed with Roma tomatoes (and plenty of regulars as well) this year! I froze 23 pounds of chopped ones. I made 14 pints of salsa. I had already made pasta sauce with the regulars, so what to do with what was left?

My oven has a drying feature, so I dried a few.


I love the bright red color!

This is the end result: 1/2 pint layered with a little salt, basil and oregano, soaking in olive oil. I'm not sure it was worth the effort, but time will tell.

Also made a big pot of tomato soup. I used this recipe.


2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups diced onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
12 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp. sugar

Rough chop all the vegetables. It doesn't matter what they look like because the soup will be blended later, but make sure the carrots, onions and celery are all about the same size so they cook at the same rate.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the carrots, celery and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes, but don't let the vegetables brown. Add in the tomatoes and water or chicken stock. Allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the carrots are soft.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup, either with a stick blender or in batches in a conventional blender.

Once the soup is all pureed, push it through a sieve. The point is that you want to get out the tomato skins and seeds, but push through the rest of the vegetables. If you use too fine a mesh strainer, you will just end up with tomato juice.

Option #1: If you can skin and seed your tomatoes before making the soup you don't have to strain it. But this is time consuming and I found it just easier to strain.
Option #2: Leave it "as is", chunky.

Put all the strained soup back in the pot and add the salt and sugar. Even though my
tomatoes were very ripe and sweet, I almost always add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to tomato soup or sauce because it helps balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and bring out the natural sweetness.

To serve, reheat the soup. I like to garnish it with a dollop of homemade pesto.
Other garnish options include a bit of milk or cream to make a "bisque", chopped
tomatoes to make a chunky tomato soup, fresh grilled garden vegetables (corn, zucchini, yellow squash, etc), or even tiny meatballs. The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination! Yields 12 cups.

My changes to the recipe were minimal. I left out the sugar, added 2 tbs dried basil and since I didn't have enough onion I probably only put in one cup instead of three.  After using my stick blender, I followed Option 2 and left it chunky as in I didn't strain it. It had a few noticeable tomato peels, but it wasn't annoying. 

Amy & I did like it pretty well.  DH wasn't here to try it.  I had three 28 oz jars of leftovers, so I made another dent my the tomato population.  :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Selling like I never imagined

We've kept traveling Noelle busy while she's here. She has been modeling the coats I've been making for the Etsy shop.




These two sold within 24 hours of listing!


This one was gone just about as fast. I'm totally amazed at how fast they're going!


This one sold last week. It had been around for a while, so I'm glad someone wanted it. :)

I'm so thankful for this blessing. It's keeping me busy at the sewing machine, that's for sure!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians. 3:20, 21.