Saturday, December 20, 2008
We are really enjoying ourselves and hope that you are taking advantage of this weather to get outside and enjoy this snow. Also for all those that are traveling we hope you all get to your destinations safe and sound.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I have never considered myself very creative however I find that I've surround myself with people who are and lately they are really starting to rub off on me and I have made sure to take advantage of this creative energy and put it to good use. I'm unable to post pictures of everything I am doing during this well deserved time off because they are wrapped under the Christmas tree, but there are a few things, actually books to be specific that I can share. While I was in England my friend Mary taught me how to book bind (see above and below), which was so amazing. And now I'm on my own working on one with a friend here in the U.S.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Missy and Austin are the ones who started this community home we live in. About 4 years ago they decided that they wanted to start a community house in Lawrence, to have community in their own home and get involved in the growing community of Lawrence. They are continually taking time out of their own schedule to help those around them and to support their neighborhood and larger Lawrence community by taking part in Lawrence Community Works and different groups in the area. Missy is also a physical therapist in the area and learning spanish to better treat her patients and Austin works for LCW. David and I have know Austin since middle school and really admire what they are doing in this area.
Gregg and Margaret "Bird" as her family and friends call her, just moved in this past summer and we are all so thankful to have the opportunity to get to know them and their son over the past couple of months. Bird is an ER nurse, which I think is so cool and Gregg is a minister, which is also cool of course ;-) . Their son Kasaan has fit right in with the other kids in the house with his giggles and love for. All three of them have been a blessing to David and I and we are so thankful we can call them our friends.
This beautiful family is Mr. L, Natalie, Theo and Emma. They are part of the original crew that moved in when Austin and Missy bought the house and the Garden St House would not be the same without them. They are a real joy to get to know better and spend time with. Natalie, originally from France, is teaching her kids French as they grow up which is so fun to hear in the house. Theo, who loves to play with David, asks him all the time to help him make a track with his train set and play with him, which he often does and is always entertaining to watch. And Emma, the little princess, of the house is learning to walk and become more independent with Kasaan which is so fun to watch even when you aren't their parents.
David and I are really blessed to be living here. We are learning so much from everyone and it has been a really wonderful support system. We hope you all can come visit and meet these wonderful people for yourselves by taking part in the activities the house hosts or ones in our neighborhood...parties, documentary night or just come over for dinner.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dry Dish Detergent
Equal parts of washing soda, borax and regular dry dish detergent (helps with the rinse cycle). We usually do 1.5 cups of each and it lasts about one month because you only need 1-2tsp/load with a regular sized dish washer.
1/3 bar of fels naptha or ivory soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax powder
6 cup water
4 cups HOT water
1 gallon plus 6 cups water (each water is added at different times)
Containers to hold detergent in will need to equal 2 gallons
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.Yogurt
Things you need: crockpot, milk, starter yogurt
Process takes 24hrs with little hands on time
1. Plug crock pot in, place temp on low, add 8cups milk; the lower the fat content of the milk the thinner your yogurt will be. We usually use 2% and it still is very thin unless you decide to strain it.
2. Leave the crock pot on low for 2.5 hours.
3. After 2.5 hours, unplug crock pot, keep lid on and leave for 3 hours.
4. After 3 hours, take about 1cup of milk out of crockpot and add 1/2 cup of yogurt to be the starter, wisk together and then pour into crockpot.
5. With crockpot still unplug, wrap in big towel to insulate and leave over night.
6. Next morning you can eat it. If you would prefer it was a thicker texture you can place a big coffee filter in a colinder and place the yogurt in the coffee filter. It will filter the liquid out and become thicker.
We love to add things to our yogurt - granola, sugar free fruit preserves, frozen chocolate chips or some honey are all our favorites.
Granola (this is my mom's recipe)
Process takes about 15hrs with 45min hands on time
Large container of old fashion oats
1/2jar sunflower seeds, unsalted
1cup slivered almonds
1/2cup sesame seeds
mix in 20oz cup - 1/2 full of HOT water, 1/3 more honey, 1/8 of oil
1. mix all well in later mixing bowl
2. pour into 3 9x13 pans
3. Roast in 200 degree oven stirring occasionally for 2hrs
4. lower temp to 170 degrees and leave over night.
Now we are working on making our own cheese. I'm sure you'll hear about it soon...ricotta, goat, mozarella, it's going to be wonderful.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Today the Garden St House got a very special delivery... a coffee roaster! We are always trying to find ways to save money and do things for ourselves. The coffee roaster fulfills both of those. We make other things as a house: bread, yogurt, granola, laundry and dishwasher detergent, but this is the first time it has warranted a blog.
First, let me tell you about the price difference. We were ordering fair trade, organic coffee from a local roaster at about $9/lb we now order green beans from the same company for $4/lb. The coffee roaster, which cost us about $100 will pay for itself very quickly, especially in a house the size of ours (10 adults). Then there is the quality. Perhaps even you coffee drinkers out there don't realize that coffee is not actually supposed to taste bitter. Green coffee is fine to sit on the shelf for months, but once it is roasted time only makes coffee taste worse. Think of the difference between Maxwell House (roasted goodness knows how many months ago), and Your local, high quality coffee shop (roasted maybe a couple of weeks ago) and you start to get the idea. Now consider that coffee is at it's peak flavor 12 hours after it's roasted. Then think of having a cup of that greet you every morning for $4/lb! And, its great fun too. The beans start out small, green and very dense (I tried to bite one and hurt my teeth). They don't smell like coffee either; more like an earthy vegetable. In our roaster it takes about 8 minutes to go from green to espresso roast, in which time a lovely smell and sound of crackling emerges as the beans slowly darken.
You all will have to come over some time for a fresh cup of coffee.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This is David reporting from Massachusetts. Last night was one of the most memorable of my life, to be sure. Some 30 people from the Lawrence community came over to watch the election results. From very early on the mood was jubilant. As soon as we saw some of the first key states coming in bongos came out and people started to sing in Spanish something I didn't quite understand--"Obama! Obama! Obama! bah bah bah bah bah, Obama! Obama! Obama! bah bah bah bah bah." We drank Presidente beer and ate American flag cookies. When the announcement came that Obama had won, however, the real celebration began. Whoops, hollers, random hugging, crying, champagne. Then came McCain's concession speech. There were some cynical remarks, but we did quiet down and we listened. It was the best concession speech that I have ever heard. Everyone agreed. In the time between McCain's concession and Obama's acceptance speech people got up and spoke about what that moment meant to them. One woman, Rosa, got up and talked about how up until that night she had thought that government had nothing to offer her. It was her first time voting. It was an amazing night, not only on national scale, but because we also had a house full of people involved in their community and hopeful that they, too, could make a change in their city of Lawrence. Then we watched the Obama speech. It was a beautiful thing. After emailing Alison in Liverpool, walking around in a bit of a daze, I went to bed.
I worked today glued to the radio, listening to stories from across the country about people inspired by the election. It sometimes seems like a simplification to talk about this as a symbol, but I believe in the power of symbols, especially on this level. Listen to this to hear what I mean. I was only sad that Alison could not be here to share this moment with me.
I voted for the first black President in U. S. history. This is a momentous day for us all.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Hey everyone, I am in England for the week, specifically Liverpool, visiting very special friends of ours, Mary and Jesse!!! I thought I would update you on my travels every couple of days while I am here. It was a very long day and half of traveling, beginning November 1st with a redeye from Bostonto Amsterdam, then Manchester England and taking a train from Manchester to Liverpool, but now that I am here I am so happy to be able to spend time with these two. They really are such amazing people. They have been good friends of David and mine for years as many of you know, so to not have them in the states with us is very sad but now we both have an excuse to make our way to England to visit them. David sadly is not visiting with me this time but is making the sacrifice to stay home and work while I am here. Thank you so much David, your the best!