Wednesday, March 31, 2010

didn't your mom ever teach you?

I was minding my own business this morning taking pictures of some newly blooming flowers when I felt someone staring at me. Well, I heard someone. I looked up from my camera and there, not two feet from my face was this fuzzy, buzzy little guy. He hovered in front of me for 30 seconds or longer as if to give me a chance to capture his best side. Or maybe he was just trying to intimidate me with his stare so I would back away from the flowers. Either way, it's just not polite to stare. happy wednesday. xo ANG

Monday, March 29, 2010

macro monday

I am enjoying spring. Aren't you? The warmer weather, the birds singing, the weeds grass growing, the flowers blooming. Now, the flowers that the deer managed to miss as they devoured almost every bud in sight are finally blooming and look beautiful. Here is a macro shot of a grape hyacinth. These flowers are so small and close to the ground. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought as I tried to get up close and personal for this picture...crazy!

(f-stop 7.1~exposure time 1/400sec.~iso 200)
I was shocked that these little guys actually bloomed this year because the green parts grew and flourished in late fall. I guess the warm weather lasted too long and they got confused. To our delight they survived the monstrous amounts of snow that we received and have now decided to bloom and fill the air with a sweet grape smell. Mmmmm. happy monday. xo ANG

Sunday, March 28, 2010

you don't scare me

...okay, you used to a little...but not anymore!
I have done it! I made bread. Gluten free bread. Delicious, gluten free bread. Made from scratch, delicious, gluten free bread. Me? Yes, me. This may not seem like a huge deal to some of you but for me, the one famous for making disgusting regular bread and biscuits fit to be used by the NHL, yeah, this is huge. First, I found this recipe and I just knew that it would be great. But the ingredients, oh, the long list of intimidating ingredients, they scared me. Bad. I was determined though to find a great recipe and make the best gluten free bread I could possibly make for my family. I've tried mixes for the bread machine and purchased bread already made...some not great, some not good, some down right gross.

Slowly, I started to gather the ingredients. After I had them all I left them on the counter for a few days while I worked up the nerve to actually try it. I followed every detail of the recipe. The room temperature ingredients, the proofing of the yeast, the mixing of the many different flours. The only thing I changed was using my bread machine for the actual mixing of the dry and liquid ingredients.
Then into a nice warm oven it went to rise for nearly an hour. What a beautiful sight. When I saw the dough actually rising I was quite confident that it would bake nicely. The texture and taste were the mysteries now.
Here it is fresh from the oven. Texture...perfect. Taste...wonderful. It tastes like regular bread. There was no grainy, bitter aftertaste. There was no bizarre smell or flavor. It's just great bread. Perfect for a sandwich, crispy toast, or better yet...buttery, syrupy french toast. So, I'll chalk this up to a very good baking day at the Clothesline. Plus, making more great, gluten free foods for my family was one of my goals for the year. I love accomplishing things, don't you? What have you accomplished lately? Do tell. Happy Sunday. xo ANG

Thursday, March 25, 2010

you capture: a moment

Time has really flown by this week. I'm not even sure why. We didn't have a busy, out and about kind of week. It's all because of the warmer weather, I suppose. If the sun is shining and it's warm then we'll be outside soaking it up. I love that...spending hours outside. Oh sure, we get our school work done, and even some chores, but then we slide on our flip flops and head for the door. I did manage to capture a few great moments this week and I'd love to share them with you.
The first sprouts of the season. Those are sweet banana peppers..Mmmmm.
While I was folding laundry the other day I left the pile unattended for a moment. When I returned, there was Shadow all cute and snugly taking a nap like he owns the place.
And then there's this moment. My favorite of the week. The big sister encouraging her little sister that she can master those monkey bars.
For more special moments go check out I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Friday, March 19, 2010

you capture::reaching

I can't believe it's Friday already. This has been one busy week here at the Clothesline. I did manage to have a few moments that had me reaching for my camera.
Ah yes, the first daffodil of spring. Okay, so it was in my neighbor's yard...but it counts, right?
And then there were these ferocious lions. Seriously, could they be any cuter?

Monday, March 15, 2010

macro monday::wishful thinking edition

St. Patrick's Day is on the brain here at the Clothesline. There's excitement brewing because we have an upcoming playdate, which for us is like a pot of gold at the end of our very long snowed-in, cabin fever of a winter. Don't get me wrong, we see our friends often and get together to play as often as we can-barring any illness, virus, or plague. The difference girls don't usually know about any playdates until it's time to walk out the door. This one coming up though they know about, have made a chart to count down the days, and are planning which green things to wear so they don't get pinched, hence the St. Patrick's Day focus. All of that to say, we had several unseasonably warm days recently so the girls were on the hunt for four leaf clovers in our mostly muddy, terribly lumpy, springing back to life back yard. This is what was found by a very optimistic seven year old. Four leaves? Hmmm.

(f-stop 7.1~exposure time 1/100 sec.~iso 200)

So, things here are going well. School is coming along nicely and I really feel like we have accomplished a lot so far. Miss E is reading...and reading well. Miss O is plowing through second grade like it's old hat. It amazes me how much their minds are like sponges. I mean, really. I'm a teacher for crying out loud, I know kids can do way more than we ever give them credit for, but sheesh! Also, we have started receiving our postcards from the swap so the study of our great United States has begun. This swap will take us through the summer and well into the next school year. Some great things I expect to gain from this swap (for me and my girls) are: a greater appreciation for each state, some serious geography skills, an increased love of maps and map-making, and a massive list of must-visit places.

Also, we planted some seeds last week. We've got a variety of peppers, eggplant, and some flowers started in our little indoor greenhouse. I'm really trying to get a jump start this year so I don't have to wait so long to get some fresh veggies. We've got other seeds that have to be planted directly outside so we'll have to wait a few more weeks before we tackle those.

It's overcast and cooler these days but I know the warm days are coming back soon! happy monday! xoANG

Thursday, March 11, 2010

you capture::quiet

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. I Peter 3:3-4

Yes, a gentle and quiet spirit, that is something that I strive to achieve. It does not come easily. Sometimes my own thoughts, my own will, my own ideas are loud and boisterous . Oh sure, sometimes that loud and boisterous spirit of mine is one of enthusiasm and excitement of what God can and is doing. But most of the time it's my stubbornness and lack of faith that is ringing in my ears, my heart. A quiet and gentle be the wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend that God created me to be...a quiet and gentle spirit. I cannot do it on my own. I read, study, absorb, apply the Words of wisdom that in the quietness seem as though they were written just for me.

Earlier in the week I noticed something beautiful as we all hiked through the woods by the river. The sun was shining and it was quiet. An occasional bird song, the snapping of twigs, some squirrels rustling the dried leaves, the girls softly talking and giggling as they walked ahead of us hand in hand was all that I heard...and it was quiet. Quiet for me is often a state of mind, the condition of my heart, not sounds. I do enjoy those quiet moments when I am reminded just how blessed I am.

for more interpretations of you capture::quiet go visit I Should Be Folding Laundry.

And don't forget to go here to enter my 400th post giveaway for a chance to win a knitting book.

Happy Thursday...enjoy those quiet moments. xo ANG

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

inspiration and a celebration giveaway

There is nothing like blooming flowers, warm sunshine, lovely fabric, and a new book or two to give me the inspirational boost that I need to get back into the sewing groove. What books? you ask. Well, I finally used part of my Christmas gift card and purchased the book One Yard Wonders.A feast for the eyes, this one. So far I've just been reading, planning, dreaming. This is going to be a great stash busting book for me. I have a lot of fabric that is about a yard or so. There are patterns for practical things, functional things, decorative items, kids stuff-like clothes and toys, pet pampering things, and clothing patterns for skirts and tops-which is perfect for the upcoming Spring Top Week! So yes, it's time to dive into the stash.
The other book I am going to get (it was out of stock) is called Organic Body Care Recipes. I've checked it out from the library a gazillion times. I am really trying to use more natural products, not only to rid my house of unnecessary chemicals but also to heal and nourish my little ones with sensitive skin. It has so many great, natural, easy-to-make recipes for things like hand cream, lip balm, shampoo, and more. Some of the recipes have a plethora of fancy ingredients but most use common items that when combined are wonderful for your skin.
Now on to the celebration part. This is my 400th post!!! Woohoo! To celebrate I thought I'd have a little giveaway...and even perhaps share a little crafty inspiration. I picked up a book a while back. It's a great little book full of fun knitting patterns called New Knits on the Block. News Flash...I'm a novice knitter so just reading the instructions makes my brain hurt. I would hate for this book to just sit around collecting dust, feeling unloved. It's brand new and could use a new home where it will be loved. That's where you come in. It's yours to win if you just leave a comment on this post. I'll pick and post a winner on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. So, good luck, happy spring, and share the love! xo ANG

Monday, March 8, 2010

macro monday::blooming edition

For the second day in a row it has been about 60 degrees! Oh, the sun, the wonderful, warm sun! Our time playing outside has increased dramatically. There has been a lot of garden planning and sun watching to determine the best places for additional yard-to-garden spots. All the while my tulips are growing, the lavender is thriving, and well, lookee here...the Dutch Irises have bloomed.
(f-stop 7.1~exposure time 1/200 sec.~iso 200)
The colors are so beautiful and vibrant. The purple so rich, the yellow so cheerful. And today I saw my first honey bee. She was happily buzzing from bloom to bloom collecting her first harvest of the season. I think it's going to be a good one, this growing season of ours. I am excited. I am motivated. I am determined. And although I do not look forward to the return of mosquitoes and gnats, I have purposed in my heart to be positive about the bees. After all that reading and studying and learning about bees that we did in the fall I appreciate them more now. I really do. (yes Mama, we will eventually have a hive of our very own...go ahead call me crazy) That doesn't mean that on occasion I still won't run away and scream like a girl...I will, I can pretty much guarantee that, but hopefully those occasions will be few and far between (and not in front of the neighbors). Besides, I want my girls to be brave. Smart and cautious...but brave. Now I must go. The sunshine awaits.
Happy Monday xoANG

Saturday, March 6, 2010

return of the rat

The other day while I was doing a little after school tutoring and the girls were being watched by Grandma and Pop something went awry. Not something terrible, mind you, but for a very dramatic and sensitive seven-year-old it was definitely something she had to share. Well, here, see for yourself.A broken hair clip. One that she did not break and she wanted to make sure I knew who did break it. So, Pop, you've been ratted out. I do love that she had to write it down immediately so she grabbed a napkin and a pencil ...and also left the evidence for me to see. happy weekend xoANG

Thursday, March 4, 2010

you capture::hopeful

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson

Even after so much snow and ridiculously cold weather there are signs of spring. Hope.
The Dutch irises have survived so there is hope for beautiful blooms.

Our little bush has buds already. There is hope for beautiful green leaves.

The frost date is too far away, but with some seeds and a new little greenhouse there is still hope for early planting and early harvest.
We are waiting for spring and we are hopeful that the sun will shine warmly upon us...soon.
-to see more go to I Should Be Folding Laundry's- You Capture: Hopeful
happy thursday xoANG

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

as i drank my morning coffee

...this is what I saw.
We all watched as they gracefully leaped over the fence across the street. (thank goodness I always have a camera nearby)We all watched in amazement as they sauntered through the yard and out into the street. (checking for traffic, no doubt)

We all watched as the four does looked confused for a moment because they were in the middle of the city then made their way through our neighbors yard.
Wow! What a treat to see first thing in the morning! And seriously, in the middle of the city? No kidding. For those of you who don't know, I live two blocks from a major road. Hmmm, maybe those were the July 4th tomato thieves! Sorry, no nearly ripened veggies yet for you to trample or fill your bellies with this time. You may be beautiful, but I'm keeping my eye on you.
happy wednesday xoANG

Monday, March 1, 2010

macro monday::thawed out edition

It has been warming up to a balmy 40 degrees for the past few days. The grass, although withered and brown, is finally visible in most of the yard. However, when I went outside today with the girls I noticed my lavender plant..not withered, not at all. In fact she seems to be thriving! She's a hardy little thing and even though I planted her on the edge of the driveway where we just happen to pile most of the snow that we shovel, she is still going strong.
(f-stop 7.1~exposure time 1/400sec.~iso 200)

The light green of the leaves with the soft, white, fuzzy coating is really quite beautiful. And, oh the smell. I wish you could smell it, so soothing and fresh. Just what a girl needs to get ready for spring. My plan, now that we're thawing out a little, is to continue to live in denial that we are probably going to get more snow this week and just enjoy the lovely lavender aroma. xoANG