Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paige's Highlights

1. Fireplace starters.  While at my last rotation, one of the nurse was saving egg cartons for starters...ThreeFoldCord, I thought of you and your fire-starting woes!  Take egg cartons, half fill with sawdust or dryer lint, then using your leftover bits of candle wax, melt and top off each egg pocket. Here's a website with an outline.  When you go to burn it, peel back the paper to act as a wick--and be careful!  It's meant to start a fire--use only in fireplaces.  :-D
 
2. The Daily Green.  A website I stumbled across, this has tons of ideas for making your home energy efficient, using skills our grandparents did, and ways to cleans homes, clothes, and bodies without an arsenal of chemicals.  Cheap Vodka, a zillion uses.  How to hypermile, it's there.  Green cleaning, get those arms in shape!  

3. Self-Watering Pots.  Not owning our own property prohibits me from ripping up the lawn and converting it into garden.  Pots can prove to be a challenge...forget to water them once and you'll fight to keep your plants from shriveling and dying.  Hot summer days make for anxious days, fretting over your babies left to languish on the porch.  Self watering pots are an idea, but they tend to be expensive.  This blogger has detailed instructions and a video on making your own self-watering pot--"on the cheap."  To be honest, I don't understand why he had to have copper tubing, so they could be a LOT cheaper with plastic, or even left-over pieces of hose, as it's kept against the side of the pot by soil and the divider.  Although the plastic buckets are cheap, I think I'd want something a little prettier.  It should be very easy to convert the idea to any solid container. :-D

 
 4. Knitting. FarmersAtHeart had a recent post about how not having the internet these past few months has let her get tons of knitting done.  Being a knitting noob myself, I had never tried to make anything more than a scarf....A quick google search landed me at Knitty.com.  Let's just say, I'm 100% sold on being a bit more adventurous in my knitting!  It's a free, on-line magazine of knitting with complete patterns free for personal use only.  Wonderful gift ideas, methinks!
(Isn't that sweater positively gorgeous?)
 
 5.Crochet.  If you're going to knit, we gotta add in crochet. As a kid, my mom taught me knitting and my dad taught me crochet.  Personally, I find crochet a lot faster, but I think knitting looks a little more refined sometime.  Here's a website--Crochetme.com--that has a lot of crochet patterns for free, links to video bits on crocheting, and instructions!  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simplicity



The past few weeks, or even months really, I've been feeling entirely frazzled, burned-out, tired, dry, and in desperate need of a break.  Some of this I know is entirely situational--grad school is grueling, being away from home is a strain, and having to completely readjust to a new locale and "job" every 6 weeks is extremely stressful.  That being said, however, I know that much of my frustration is linked to too much clutter in my life and too little of the things that are soul-feeding. 

1. I need to get back into a better pattern of devos.  As crazy and undergrad seemed, it was structured and it was easier to plan ahead and fit in God-time and fellowship.  I've been dry and I know it.  Unfortunately, those closest to me have been bearing the brunt of my internal angst, irritability, and frustration.

2. I need a sabbath.  I am certainly the Martha of Lazarus' sisters.  I get grouchy when I'm not productive and feel guilty when I procrastinate.  When it comes time to relax, I have a hard time just stopping.  "Everything Is Spiritual" reminded me of this--God created and did for 6 days, and on the seventh, He rested.  We're human beings, not human doings--I tend to forget that.  I feel guilty not "using" my free time, but procrastinating on useless activities, so I get nothing done and feel horrid about it.  I need to do something that "feeds the soul" as Rob says--and have a carved out time where I can enjoy without remorse or guilt.  A morning to sleep in, random researching , blog to my heart's content, cook, be creative.  No to-do lists, no job hunting, no stuff like pricing out moving vans or pre-packing for our trek back out west.  Just chill-time.

Now, I've just "made" two more things for myself and I'm already feeling stretched on time, how am I going to fit it all in you ask?

1.  Facebook is a big problem.  I tend to obsessively check it but have little lasting interest in what's going on. Then, after a wasted hour or three, I'm frustrated that my evening has slipped away, I've successfully procrastinated, and my to-do list remains un-done.  (Blogging is a bit different.  It's my virtual scrapbook and my way of keeping all my researching in an easy to access place.)

2. Unless, it's my "sabbath day," I don't do things unless they're necessary and I say "no" to extra requests.  During the week, this is calling Dan, dinner with the family, logging, and studying.  Blogs can be posted in advance during my sabbath day, Facebook doesn't need to whittle away at my hours, researching is better saved for another day.  Since one day of the week is my "sabbath day" the other needs to be my "procrastination-free day."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Human Energy

Well, this was going to be a "Paige's Highlights" entry, but it just grew too large. :)

Although my craze about solar energy is somewhat new, I've always wondered about harnessing human energy.  The other day a doggie treadmill used to grind wheat popped up on the Antiques Roadshow and it reminded me of my work-out ponderings--likely an odd idea that I came up while bored on some gym machine, "wasting" all those calories, knowing that they could be turned into other energy forms, according to my chemistry musings.  I decided to google my interest...

Well, my fruit proved fruitful:

Pedal Power Bicycle Generators, LLC
David Butcher: Pedal Powered Generator
Bicycle Powered Generator

Pedal Power is a company that sells a converter kit for what appears to be your average road bike.  It's a bit pricey, but no more than a mid-grade treadmill--and rather than COST you electricity to operate, it MAKES you energy (not to mention, the exercise will improve your cardiovascular health, your physique, and increase your insulin sensitivity thereby reducing your chance of developing diabetes, prevent the onset of obesity that is linked to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, hip and knee disorders, and fill your body with mood-elevating endorphins...need another reason?).  I've asked Dan for this as a birthday/anniversary present the next time he's wondering what I REALLY want--it's just so much more motivating to work out if I know I'm being productive beyond the health benefits.

David Butcher has a great website of a day powered by pedal power generators.  From making bread to powering his computer to the work out of a load of laundry, he has extensive entries and data.  PLEASE NOTE:  If you're of the DIY persuasion, he has a plan set for a home-made PPPG, as he dubs it, that is $50 for the plans, and the approximate cost for the "bike" maxes out around $250--total cost about $300 less than the prefab converter units from Pedal Power Bicycle Generators, LLC, above.  If you just want the converter and want a green alternative to a work-out piece of equipment, the other idea might be better for you.

Bicycle Powered Generator is simply that, a home-make conversion system for a home bike.  If you want to keep things simple and not make an additional, second unit but just use the bike you already have, this is a good DIY option for something similar to what Pedal Power Bicycle Generators sell.

I've never been more excited to work out!


 That's David Butcher--check out his website!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Thoughts




9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 

Galatians 6:9 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paige's Highlights

Ok, so I keep missing a weekend here and there... Hopefully, this one will make up for lost weekends.

1. Sweet Potatoes.  As a kid, read up on starting sweet potatoes from slips and decided to try it one year.  To be honest, I'm not 100% sure how I did it exactly, though I think I washed a grocery-store sweet potato off to remove the anti-sprouting stuff, then planted it in a pot indoors. When it sprouted, I think I chopped it up in a few pieces and planted it in the garden.  Man!  Were those ever HUGE potatoes.  We had one that rivaled a professional-sized football in size--we never did eat it as we were so impressed by it's massiveness and it eventually went bad.  I'd definitely give this a try, especially if you live further south than Ohio, as you'll likely get even better results.  The vines are beautiful and have some simple, understated flowers on them. 


2. PBS--Create.  As cable is extremely expensive in Maine and Dan and I aren't huge TV-watchers, we missed out on the whole swapping to digital thing with the TVs.  Was I ever missing out on some good shows!  Our local PBS station has a "sub-station" that is completely devoted to creative shows--This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, P. Allen Smith Gardening, and more cooking shows than you could shake a stick at.  I've LOVED (re)discovering this channel in the time I've been at my parents.  We're going to see if they have one of those converter-box coupons still lying around.  Here's the link to the website--they have links to the shows, recipes, and projects.  Browse and have fun!

3. Thrift Stores.   Our most recent trip to the thrift store proved most fruitful.  First of all, we found an amazing piece of granite (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, Dan) that is well-suited as a bread board, for under $5.  Next, we found a few Pfzaltgraff bowls to match the set we currently have.  We've managed to break a few in the moving and whatnot; thrift store shopping with ThreeFoldCord a while back, reminded me to keep an eye out for my set.   A few Ball canning jars for cheap also made it in the basket.  Finally, I found a couple of cookbooks.  One was an old vintage one from the 70s with Julia Child as a contributor for French Cooking.  It's an interesting book with as much cooking history as recipes in there...though I do feel like I need a French-English dictionary with me at times, haha. The next is an Oriental Cookbook--Dan spent a good chunk of time drooling over the recipes.  And the last is an Italian cookbook--probably Dan and my favorite cuisine.   Be on the lookout for more recipes once I get back to my own kitchen!

4. Bread Making.  I've always rather avoided bread-making as it's time consuming and labor intensive; however, after finding this article on GRIT, I've become inspired to try it again.  There are a half-dozen or so easy recipes for a variety of loaves--few require much in the way of kneading, just some planning and patience.

5. Home-made Cough Drops**.  As I've stated before, I have a soft-spot for herbal/folk remedies for viral illnesses.  Being a traditionally educated health care provider in a Western medicine perspective, I have a hard time with some remedies.  However, viral illnesses are something that I am 100% pro-home remedies.  They are excessively common and I find that people run to their providers, pressuring them for antibiotics that do nothing more than increase resistance--or will run to their local ER for a sniffle when their doc won't cave.  We just don't have many drugs to choose from, we try to "save" them for the nasty bugs (like H1N1), and there's a very specific window of opportunity to start them.  An overwhelming majority of coughs, colds, and sinus infections are viral--just because it's green and nasty doesn't help distinguish either. If it lingers longer than about 5-7 days, best bet is it's bacterial (or started as viral and ended up as a secondary bacterial infection).  That being said, there's a ton of misery that goes on those first few days.  I'm one prone to getting sore throats as my "warning shot" of getting sick, so keeping my throat soothed goes a LONG way towards making me feel better until my own immune systems gets geared up.  Candy can get a bit old, gum tends to leave me bloated, and cough drops give me the shudders after about 30 seconds of sucking down on that nasty menthol.  When I saw this article about making homemade cough drops, I was intrigued--no corn syrup, and you can tailor it for the person and/or taste.



** Soap box warning  :-D and I make a medical disclaimer here.  This is an expression of my personal experience, not my medical advice (which is still that of a student at this time).  Please utilize common sense and consult your doctor with any questions/concerns.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keys....again

Well, I have managed to do it again...lose my keys!  For over three weeks my car keys were lost, leaving Dan and I in the precarious situation of only having one set.  The fix definitely wasn't as easy as simply getting another made at Wal*Mart....they have a computer chip in them that will lock up the car after like 1 mile of driving with non-computer chip keys--an expensive replacement.

Having a hunch that they might be buried in the snow bank out where we parked the car, I decided to wait it out and hope that when the snow melted the keys would still be there--and that they would still work without being water-logged...

Well, we found them!  Yay!


Crunchy Almond Crackers

One of my personal favorites (sorry, Dan!).  It's probably about the worse thing for your diet, so I usually only have this treat once or twice a year.




Crunchy Almond Crackers

Toll House Crackers (to cover a large cookie sheet)
1 stick real butter
1 stick margarine
3/4 c. sugar
slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out a single layer of crackers in a cookie sheet, fitting as many as possible in the sheet.
2. Bring the butter, margarine, and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil for 2 minutes.  Spread over the top of the crackers and sprinkle with almonds.
3. Bake for 10 minutes at 350.  When done, IMMEDIATELY remove crackers onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Let cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Decisions

Dan and I are in the midst of some major decisions, both now and over the next few months.  Graduation is exactly 4 months away from Friday and that means that we will quickly have job searches, moving, boards, and housing situations to be figuring out. Some of this we can be working on now, but others things just HAVE to wait until the last minute (not a personal favorite mode of operation.)

We've had some longer discussions over the past couple of weeks about where we want to be long-term, where will be best for BOTH of us--Dan's put his career-building on hold while I've been in school.  Further college has been in a holding pattern and building a business just isn't practical with us moving.  Like in our previous posts, we've still settled on and decided that Lexington is going to be the best place for both of us to be...

But that may mean some dicey time after we arrive.  I'm sure that given enough time and persistence, I COULD find a job just about anywhere we want to live; perhaps not my ideal, but a job nevertheless and a stepping stone to something better.  Unfortunately, I've just learned of a little peculiarity about Kentucky that might make this first job even more challenging to find--the state law requires that the supervising physician be physically present at the practice location until the PA has had TWO FULL-TIME YEARS of job experience after graduation--no availability by phone allowed.  So that means if I'm working in a family practice and the doc's out sick, we're BOTH out of work for the day...

So, here we are, at decision-making time, feeling strongly that Kentucky is going to be best for both of us and our long-term goals.  But we need God's favor and provision on finding that job....prayers are coveted.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Thoughts

With Dan in town this weekend, we've been lazy and didn't make it up in time for church. Instead, we watched a loaned DVD from my good friend, Megs--Rob Bell's "Everything Is Spiritual" tour.   A wonderful, thought-provoking, entertaining, and enlightening DVD, and I highly recommend it. 

Rob talks about a multitude of things that make me come alive when I discuss them--things whose impact and power would be completely lost in blog-land as I am a less-than-eloquent writer.  I leave them for you to watch yourself.  Watch it with some people with whom you can have one of those "good God-discussions" as the girls and I like to call them.

Maybe, I'll make this the particular focus of my year--to be mindful of the constant spiritual aspect of life. We're human--the only things God created that are both physical body and soul spirit.  Far too often do I compartmentalize them into "either/or" when God made us to be "both/and" or like Rob likes to say, "yup."


Friday, January 15, 2010

Perspective

A year ago, the financial collapse occurred in America and thousands lost their jobs.  Families were forced to sell their homes and many people had to tighten their belts, sell possessions and pare down expenses to the bare bones.  People were forced to live with family members, simplify and a crisis seemed at hand...tragedy had struck the U.S.

Then, a week like this hits and we're bombarded with images from Haiti, the poorest nation of our hemisphere absolutely devastated...thousands dead.  Again, touted as a tragedy.

It's at times like these in which I'm reminded just again, that no matter how bad it gets in the U.S., no matter what happens, the poorest of the poor here is still better off than the majority in other nations--earthquakes or no.  It's unlikely that we'll ever see anything comparable within the borders of our nation.

While not a picture of Haiti, this is a stirring picture of mine from my travels to Nicaragua.  This was taken during a "good" day in Nicaragua; no catastrophes.  Just daily life...and a little bit of...

Perspective.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dawn....

The darkest part of the night comes just before the dawn....



Burn-out is approaching, but thankfully, the end of these insane two years is as well.  PA school will be something that I will be proud that I did and recognize it as a necessary step in my life.  However, when I look back and the sheer insanity of 6+ hours of class room time a day on top of studying, weekly major exams, writing assignments, 48 weeks of solid rotation, being a long-distance wife, living out of a suitcase for nearly 8 months, and doing about 75% of medical school in 50% the time, I think it will always look back on it saying, "what on God's green earth was I thinking?"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Freedom of Speech

Well, in response to my blog entry last week on bill HR 875, here's a foundation that's devoted to protecting the rights of farmers and farm-produced goods, specifically products like pastured animals and raw milk.

Make your voice heard! :-D


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Thoughts



 9 In his heart a man plans his course,
       but the LORD determines his steps.
~ Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) ~

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paige's Highlights

1.  Farm Pets.As Dan and I are planning on living on a farm and that that farm will have to be out in the country, we'll need some cats to keep the local rodent population at bay.  I've never grown up with them, as my mom is very allergic, however, Dan extols their virtue as mousers and has stated that he's never seen a live mouse at his parents. (We have, however, been rudely surprised by dead mice that Miss KitKat thought we'd like to share with her. :-D )  Here's the article on these kitties by Mother Earth News.

2. Edible Landscaping.  As with most of my "highlights," Mother Earth News is my source of good ideas or a way in which I become further interested in topics.  I remember Dan working on a VERY expensive condo on the ocean up the coast in Maine one summer.  Although it was inhabited by a very wealthy Ophthalmologic Surgeon and his wife, they either very frugal/practical or she had a particular interest in gardening.  Scattered in amongst the hydrangeas and lilies were tomatoes, colorful lettuces, herbs, and zucchini, just to name a few. I loved the idea and knew that I would incorporate this idea into my garden.  This article points out how we as Americans tended to do a "division of labor" so to speak with our gardens in addition to our jobs--plants were either ornamental or edible, with little overlap between the two.  I always thought this was stupid and disliked working in my ornamental gardens as compared to my veggie garden.  I have determined that my flowers will be squash blossoms and fruit trees and mini-kiwi will replace my wisteria (for the most part!)



3. Cold Hardy Kiwi.  As a kid, I used to peruse through the Park Seed Catalogs (that's their picture), drooling over all their seeds and plants, dreaming of what I'd like to plant one day.  I was intrigued by the cold-hardy kiwi they sold--similar taste as the furry, brown kiwi, but these were small green ones, the size of jumbo grapes.  This article by Mother Earth News has a bunch of other plants that are rarer berries and fruits fro the home garden.


4. "One Hour Better."   By ColdAntlerFarm...I found the mention of this blogger on Mother Earth News, but looked her up myself.  An interesting woman with some interesting thoughts.  Look for her entry on December 28th, and enjoy the rest of the blog along the way.   She writes about how so many of us make unattainably huge goals for New Year's Resolutions, but then we have no "baby-steps" to make some progress... A year is too big..but an hour, an hour is just about right.... 

5. Weston A. Price Foundation.  This was always an interesting site, but i found it hard to navigate--no longer!  They just did a major re-haul of the website and it's SO much easier to use!  A good resource on nutrition and sustainable farming.  They also have some medical advice, but it's a completely different viewpoint than "standard" healthcare.  I'll have to read through it and see what I think.... :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kalahari--Water Park



A very cool water-park.  Definitely something for all ages!


Having fun!


Boogie Boarding! (Hold on to your shorts!)


Wave Pool


Hot Tub--in the Snow!


Splish Splash!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kalahari--Dinner

Here are some pictures of our dinner at Kalahari.  We had a dinner show of some of the acts from America's Got Talent.


G-Force--An all-girl band with members 11, 10, and 8 years old....I think I was playing "Chopsticks" at 8!


Enjoying the Show (and the food!)

There was also a twirler dude who was pretty impressive....I'll have to upload a video when I have some faster internet.


And a Kenyan acrobatics number.  Timmy--you have your hand-stand idols! :-D
Here are a few more...be sure to ask your mom before you decide to try any of these! ;)
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Kalahari--The Resort


For our Christmas present to us, Dan and I headed to Kalahari for a little get-away.
Definitely a good idea. :-D

A beautiful waterfall and bridge, with swans paddling through the icy pond.


Mega sign by the road.


Sweet room with fireplace.


What everyone's really here for.  :-D

Monday, January 4, 2010

Land of the Free? Lemme think about that...

Ok, so sometimes Facebook serves another purpose other than simply to wander around in the social worlds of my friends....


I was on the website earlier this week and noticed they had a group entitled "Protect your Heirlooms if you care about your future!"  Intrigued, I looked at the group and found out that the House of Representatives, in addition to completely giving us a joke of a health care reform (but don't get me started on THAT), has had a bill on the table, HR 875 to be exact, (check out the link to read the bill yourself...I was appalled at how MUCH it regulated...is nothing "personal/home-use" anymore?) that would basically make it illegal to grow HEIRLOOM plants!  Can you believe it!  The plants that our grandparents grew, reknown for their superior flavor and nutrition would be outlawed.  For more information (though, I make the disclaimer that it's HUGELY biased, check out this website.)



Now, this would all be done under the guise of "improving" the "safety" of our food supply, but this wouldn't even allow for home-grown and home-consumption of heirloom varieties, not to mention, it would in effect kill the organic food movement, if it passed.

Thankfully, it has not....

So, keep after our government to quit being idiots and make sure you make your voice heard in the next elections.  As we'd say in spanish, "ay, Dios mio...."  (with a huge sigh)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Family Photos


As part of her Christmas "present," mom asked for a family photo, as there had been an addition to the family and a number of years had elapsed since the last.  Here're our final products. :-D

 And one more for good measure.