Tuesday, January 31, 2012

what do you do with empty jars and cans and bottles and vases and containers and the like?
here's what i like to do with them:

fill them with grains and seeds and fruit. 
(and display them on the mantle in the kitchen)

fill with birdseed.
 (and use as a doorstop)

fill with paintbrushes and colored pencils.
(and keep within arm's reach for easy access)

fill with tea bags.
(to keep things organized in the cupboard)

fill with pretty flowers.
(and place throughout the house)

fill with ribbons and trims. 
(to keep the sewing room a little more tidy)

fill with leftovers.

Monday, January 30, 2012

more goods from the dumpster.
apples, oranges, potatoes, beets, bananas, broccoli, onions, bags of lettuce, jalapenos, flowers...
the second photo is all organic lettuce, seven containers worth, and that's not including what i have already opened.
all of this was pulled from a dumpster where it would have otherwise ended up in landfill, rotting.
now it serves as food and nutrition for us. and more money in our wallets.

as i was washing everything, it hit me.
there is no way jeremiah and i can eat all of this before it really goes bad so what to do with it?
what if there was a way to get this to people who really need food or just need help supplementing what they can buy at the store?
i know. this is no new concept. no big idea. it's already happening all over the place.
but does it exists here in little rural amelia county in the heart of va?
that's what i intend to find out.

please be in prayer for jeremiah and me as we explore this potential ministry for amelia.
if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to comment!

Friday, January 27, 2012

around here.
today i made a batch of these tasty cookies.
i used cranberry and strawberry jam and i bypassed the hearts.
just simple thumbprints.

here is a gourd birdhouse i purchased in farmville the other day.
i walked into a store that i thought would be up my alley and it definitely was not.
the minute i walk in, i see an older woman to my left painting a gourd birdhouse and then an older man to my right weaving a basket.
it's a small store and no one else was in there.
i tried not to panic and decided to just walk around for few minutes and pretend like i was interested in what they were selling.
unfortunately, there was not much there to peak my interest.
a lot of painted blocks of woods with different sayings on them and painted birdhouses.
just not my style.
and then i saw this gourd birdhouse for $4.50. 
simple and beautiful to me.
come to find out most everything in the store was made by their hands...and the gourds were grown by them.
i was impressed and glad to support them.
i am happy with my little purchase. 
come spring i might put it out for the birds but for now, i will happily keep it displayed in my kitchen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

easy little bread from 101 cookbooks.

yesterday i went in search of a hearty snack for jeremiah and me.
i stumbled upon this sweet little bread recipe on 101 cookbooks.
it's an easy recipe made up of simple ingredients and very little prep time.
i highly recommend giving it a try.

a quick note on yeast.
when i first started buying yeast, i would buy those little individual packets at the grocery store.
and then i learned better.
as far as i can tell, it's crap.
i discovered this when i recently bought yeast from the co-op in my hometown.
they sell yeast in bulk and when i went to open and scoop out what i wanted, the yeast was literally jumping/popping.
jeremiah was there. he can back me up on this.
it was alive.
and it looked like individual grains rather than the dusty stuff from the packets.
and when i used it to bake, it bubbled up beautifully.
i am pretty sure that is what yeast is suppose to be like.
so look for the good stuff.
i found some where i live at a mennonite market. 
any local health food store or co-op probably sells it. 

mix yeast with warm water. then add the honey. 
i always use a whisk to better mix the yeast with the water.

in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

once the yeast mixture is ready, add it to the dry mixture.

stir until everything is well mixed.

place dough in an oiled loaf pan and cover with a damp cloth.
place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes or so.

to make sure my bread is done, i always check the bottom.
always give your bread time to "rest" (cool off on a rack) before slicing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

yesterday was cold, grey and foggy.
a perfect day for a cozy birthday spent sewing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

i have a new sewing project on my hands.
this is a photo of a project i worked on a few weeks back.
i made a patchwork bib for a new cousin of mine.
unfortunately i forgot to take pictures of the finished product.

now i am working on a making a dress for my aunt-in-law's wedding in april.
i am so excited about my new project that i find myself occasionally day dreaming about it.
with this new project, i am trying to teach myself how to custom fit a pattern.
sometimes a pattern needs some tweaking here and there to make it fit your body shape correctly.
adjusting the pattern to fit your dimensions will dramatically change the look of your finished product and probably save you a  lot of heartache and frustration in the end.

here are links to a video series and a few blogs that i find helpful and inspiring in the sewing department...

Gertie's Guide to Tissue Fitting a Pattern, Part One - this video series is my number one aid in helping me to custom fit my pattern

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

Adventures in Dressmaking

Tilly and the Buttons

i plan on posting pictures of my new sewing project throughout its construction.
it's a very simple pattern but will probably take me a while to create.
i hope one day to be a highly skilled seamstress like the women on the blogs mentioned above.
it won't happen overnight or without some trial and error so i will keep plugging along project by project and try to teach myself new skills and new techniques with each new one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

some lovely flowers rescued from a dumpster.
anxiety sucks.
sometimes i just want to crawl into bed and not face the world.
but i am learning to fight it.
most of all, i am beginning to consider letting G-d have it.
for some reason, i won't trust Him with all my fears and anxieties when He is the answer to them all.
one day...
maybe one day soon...
i will let Him have that piece of my heart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

baby isaac came to visit!
he is special to my heart.
this lad was the first live birth i witnessed.
watching him being born was hands down one of the most amazing things i have ever experienced.
 almost a year after seeing him come into the world, i have started studying to become a doula.
what's a doula?
go here to find out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

items found.

being washed.

laid out to dry.

our picks: grapefruit, tangelos, limes, green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, peppers ,cheese, yogurt, carton of oj & roses.

let's talk about dumpster diving.
if jeremiah and i were to make a list of our favorite things to do together, it would definitely be one of them.
were an odd couple.

when winter rolls around, our minds return to happy thoughts of all the goodies we can find in our local grocer's trash.
for some reason, we hadn't thought of diving here in amelia until just the other day.
unfortunately there is no trader joe's nearby (which is the cream of the crop) but food lion works just fine.

after a successful dive, i decided to mark the occasion by doing this post.
most people are skeptical (and disgusted) by the thought of dumpster diving.
rightly so.
i decided i wanted to make a list of "jeremiah & meg's do's & don'ts of dumpster diving" to maybe clarify some misconceptions and thoughts about the whole eating out of a dumpster thing. 

1. we only dive in the winter when the temperatures are cold. summer is not the time to dive unless you know the food was just thrown out.

2. we leave the dumpster cleaner than we found it. we think it is inconsiderate and just stupid to make a mess or  to vandalize anything when diving. we try to be respectful of what is someone else's property. 

3. if we know other people are diving in the area, we take only what we need. 

4. we collect fruits, veggies, packaged items and flowers. no meat for us. surprisingly, most dumpsters are somewhat organized...it's not just one giant heap of rotting food. usually, there are individual cardboard boxes full of items. one may be full of veggies or fruits that got tossed that day because they aren't at their peak or one piece of fruit is rotten in the bag. other boxes may have items that are expired or close to their expiration date (i find that they often throw things out a day or two before their expiration).

5. here is my routine for processing what we find: 
a) everything is inspected on site and then again when brought home. i definitely do not play around with anything that looks questionable. 
b) once it passes inspection, everything is thoroughly washed with hot water (even items that are packaged unless it is cardboard).  
c) most vegetables i will peel the outer layer before cooking. fruit is usually good to go because of the rind. packaged items are the same way. for example, jeremiah found boxes of cookies the other night. within the box, each cookie was individually wrapped. they were as good as new.

diving can be a lot of fun and really satisfying.
it's amazing how much is thrown out and wasted.
sometimes it's just shocking.
jeremiah and i are not nasty people or so dirt poor we have to pick through the trash (but it does help with the grocery bill).
dumpster diving is just one more way for us to be resourceful with what would have just ended up rotting in a landfill somewhere.

and just for the record, i have never actually climbed in a dumpster (at least i don't remember).
it's usually the husband who does that job and i just take what he hands me. sometimes i just stay in the car.
and that reminds me...

6. wear appropriate attire. put on some gloves. bring a headlamp or flashlight. 

p.s. I am not sure why certain words are highlighted in this post. I am troubleshooting that to see if I can get rid of the links. Please disregard them. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

i went to work with jeremiah again.
this time i packed lunch.
a coworker of his told him about a nearby spring where the locals go to get the freshest water around.
naturally we went in search of it (more like jeremiah searched and i voiced all my hesitations about possibly trespassing on someone else's land, etc.). 
well we found a graveled road but no spring. 
but we still had a lovely picnic (on someone else's land).  

Friday, January 6, 2012

so two days ago i went to work with jeremiah...
more like he went to work and i explored the surrounding town.
when we arrived at his workplace, i jumped in the driver's seat and went in search of a place to spend my morning.
(side note: due to a few car issues, we are down to one car at the moment so in order to escape the house and experience civilization, i chose to go to work with the husband).
well it just so happens the only place opened at 7 in the morning in farmville is mcdonald's.
and that is where i broke my detox with a yogurt and a plain biscuit.
mcdonald's is not my favorite establishment around and is forever on the bottom of places I want to eat at but when it's 7 in the morning and 15 degrees outside, it's tempting.
honestly, this is not how i envisioned breaking my detox but, given the circumstances, it worked.

after filling up my belly, i spent the rest of the day exploring, putting in job applications and doing a little "homework".
it was a really nice day out of the house and it helped to brighten my spirits quite a bit.
i am hoping to spend more time in farmville volunteering at a pregnancy center and working part-time somewhere.

slowly we are taking small steps to get ourselves settled in this new place.
it's quite encouraging.

Monday, January 2, 2012

photos from alex & celena's home.
this cabinet is one of my favorite parts of their lovely abode!

so jeremiah and i started our cleanse today...
i've got the water part down.
as far as just steamed rice & veggies for the next four days, that's going to be the challenge.
i am already dreading the sight of steamed carrots.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

what in the world!
sometimes i still think i am in the twentieth century and then i realize i am well into the twenty-first.

last night we celebrated in richmond with our dear friends, alex & celena.
right before midnight, we headed over to carytown to watch the ball rise...yes, rise.
it was so much fun standing in the middle of the street with numerous, numerous others and counting down the new year in one booming voice. 
after watching the ball rise, we headed over to cookout to toast in the new year.
i welcomed 2012 with a coke and onion rings.

today has been spent at home.
jeremiah, ever the loyal fan, watched the redskins lose again.
for dinner, we had the traditional collards & black eyed peas. yummy.
now we are still watching football and jeremiah is slowly losing all hope of winning his fantasy football league's championship.

tomorrow we start a five day detox based on this post.
our bodies are in big need of a cleansing after two weeks of vacation from eating relatively healthy.
this is going to be interesting!