Crafts Shows & Christmas

You guys. It’s almost Christmas! I don’t know about you, but Christmas is my Holiday. I love Christmas, I love everything about Christmas! (well almost everything.) The snow, the lights, the food, the cookies, But we’ll talk more about Christmas next time, after I decide what I’m baking/cooking. In the meantime if you are looking for some good cookies recipes, check out my posts from last year for Gingerbread Cookies, Rum balls, Peanut Butter Balls and Butterhorns. (I was going to link to them but it’s not working right now, you can find them all on the homepage.) 

This past weekend Rob and I braved the wintery Michigan roads to make the 300 mile trip from Mackinac to Kalamazoo. There’s a wicked snow belt just south of us, and so as we set off in our tiny borrowed two door volkswagen I said a road prayer and tried not to watch. (Rob was driving.) It’s been snowing for the last two weeks here and started snowing again when we left. Heading down I75 on roads that were snowy and covered in ice, the wind blew our little car back and forth over the road. 100 miles later the road cleared up and it was smooth sailing to Kalamazoo. The next two days were very hectic as we finished up some last minute christmas shopping, and prepping for the Craft Show. I also managed to squeeze in a late night trip to the movies to see the Hobbit on the IMAX. Living in northern Michigan I’m always a little culture shocked when I go back downstate to so much civilization and so many businesses and people all in one place. The movie theatre we went to now serves real food, like hamburgers, sandwiches, etc. (why???) Friday night the snow started falling and by Saturday morning the roads were extremely snowy and it wasn’t showing signs of stopping. We arrived at the expo center early Saturday morning and began setting up for the show. It was still snowing. The doors opened at 9am and people began to barely trickle in. Unfortunately because of the weather the crowds were quite small. Around lunch time there was a small rush of people and I made my first sale! Two of my upcycled aprons. The Banana Marmalade was also a big hit and that’s what I sold the most of. Aside from that it was a quiet day and more browsers than buyers, but having sold a handful of things I consider it a success and look forward to doing more shows up North. 

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My dad built the painting racks for me the night before, and mom packaged the beer bread, both of which were a huge help! I had samples of the bread and marmalade out for people to try and both were a big hit. Early that afternoon I met Chris from Michigan Roots (www.mirootswear.com) He was impressed by the typography of my labels. Chris and his wife Jessica are also from Northern Michigan and run an advocacy group that supports small michigan businesses and musicians. Meeting them made the whole trip and craft show worth it! I sold Chris a half a dozen jars of marmalade to sell in a brick and mortar store they have in East Jordan, with any luck they’ll do well!

All in all I am happy about having done the show, I feel relieved that it’s over and I don’t have to worry about another one for a while. Because it was such a slow day I still have most of my merchandise left over, as you can see in the pictures above. If you are interested in purchasing anything, with the exception of the marmalade, I do have an online store in which to sell things. In the meantime, now that I can once again see the floor of my craft room I have more creating to do! Canvas and paints are calling to me. Enjoy the snow if you have it, I am! I’ll be back to talk about Christmas next week. 

 

Ditching the Recipe

I rarely use recipes. I mostly just use them for baking, but even then I often take liberties with flavors. Straying away from recipes can be terrifying for some people, for me it’s like an adventure! Growing up my mom made dinner quite regularly. In fact she would plan out a months worth of dinners (including leftovers, so she wasn’t cooking every single night.) Then shop for that month all in one trip, which usually involved a few hours to at least two stores. It seemed to work out really very well for her. She would go through cookbooks and magazines find recipes she thought the family would like, in addition to the tried and true favorites. You can save a lot of money by doing it this way, only going to the store once a month or so. “What a great system!” I thought to myself, and when we first got married I gave it a shot; I made myself blank meal planning calendars, I had (/have) a binder of recipes that I wanted to try, and that I knew I liked, I made my grocery lists, I went shopping, I brought the food home, and made the dinners. First of all, that’s a lot of work. Second of all, I have no idea what I want to eat a month from now! Thirdly and most problematic is that unlike my mother, I can’t remember which ingredients are for recipes… Then it occurred to me, this really goes against the way that I cook. Starting in highschool-ish (my timeframe for my childhood is all blurry…) I began experimenting in the kitchen, making chicken and ground beef dishes, stir fry’s etc. Sometimes it turned out well, sometimes it didn’t. Usually I would just go through the pantry and freezer and find things that looked interesting/tasty and try to make something out of them. Actually…I take that back…I started experimenting in the kitchen much younger than that. When I was 9 or so, my parents would leave us kids at home while they went off to meetings and whatnot. On one particular occasion, I was looking for a snack, so I concocted this dish: Shredded cheese! Because who doesn’t love cheese? and Sour cream…because I loved sour cream. Mix these two together and eat with a spoon or chips if you want to get fancy.

I’ve come a long way since then haven’t I? One of the other big influences on my cooking style has been the cooking that I do as a Historic House Interpreter. We have a larder full of ingredients and have to create a historically appropriate meal. More often than not I have no idea what sort of pantry I’m walking into the next morning. What there is for leftovers, what fruit or veggies are going bad, etc. So even if I DID plan my recipes ahead of time, that could all be derailed by the state of the pantry. The rules are, if there are leftovers you have to use those up first, If anything is starting to go bad that gets used up next, only THEN can you get into the new stuff. This is the way it would have been done historically do eliminate as much food waste as possible. Apparently that mentality has embedded itself into my kitchen habits. So now, rather than looking up recipes and planning menu’s, I open up my pantry, freezer, fridge, determine what if anything needs to be used and go from there. This includes utilizing leftovers to their fullest potential;1574_10151728728665708_74864083_n

 

This is a bread pudding that I made at the Biddle House this summer in an 1830’s kitchen. We make bread at the Biddle house almost every single day. Besides being the one of the few things we are allowed to share with visitors, it’s also a favorite snack of most of the staff. There is nothing like a hot piece of bread right from the oven with butter melting into it… Even with everyone eating bread, we still have leftover bread often. We make bread crumbs, cream toast, bread pudding, etc. This bread pudding was a cinnamon sweet bread, I broke it up into chunks, added cream, an egg or two, a splash of vanilla and cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Decorated it with some dried cranberries and baked it in a dutch oven until it was done. It was good.

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One of the best way to use up odds and ends of vegetables and meat is to make a soup! Above is an autumn stew I made a few weeks back. I was cleaning out the freezer to get ready for a big meat order coming my way. I had a venison roast, and frozen veggies. I slow roasted the venison then cut it into soup sized bits, added potatoes from the garden. a butternut squash and some canned green beans and tomatoes, and a handful of fresh herbs from my pots outside. Anytime I have a big piece of meat with bones I make soup. After every turkey dinner a few days later we have turkey soup, same thing for chicken and beef and pork. If I have the space in the freezer I’ll save the bones from any kind of smaller pieces of meat I cook for later. In fact as I type this, there is a big pot out on the stove with the leftover ham bone from thanksgiving, a couple of chicken bones and a pork bone boiling away. That is destined to be a hearty split pea and ham soup.

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Lets go back to the 18th century for a moment. This fall I worked for the first time at our Colonial Fort here on the mainland. So I was in the kitchen about 3 days a week, with little time to research dishes and just a basic grasp on the history. My studies in household history are generally 19th century focused. However cooking in 1770 is essentially the same as cooking in 1830, we’re still on open hearth’s and in dutch ovens. Although the 1770’s kitchen is a bit smaller and more rustic than the later one. It was bit off-putting at first, however I soon got into the swing of things. The best part about cooking at the fort in the fall, is the gardens. The staff put a great amount of time and effort into planting and caring for some great vegetable gardens. So first thing in the morning I would head out with my basket, and my hat.

unnamedand raid the garden’s for the day’s vegetables and herbs! The food I was making was very simple, usually soups or roasted vegetables along with some fresh bread, but boy was it tasty! (Note the awesome striped socks, which earned me several funny witchy comments from visitors.) I would also like to mention here that colonial stay’s are the most uncomfortable of the historic supportive garments I’ve worn…

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I had this beer in my fridge for well over a month, not being much of a drinker I decided to put it to good use and made some beer bread! Which then led to me using up some hard cider I had hanging around to make Cider bread! Which is equally delicious.

So rather than coming up with recipes and menu’s, I stock my pantry with staples. Grains, noodles, canned fruits and vegetables, the freezer is full of a variety of meats, and now when I go to the store it’s usually just for eggs, milk and sandwich bread, and I shop the produce section snagging whatever seasonal produce there is. Now when I go to make dinner, it usually means walking into the kitchen opening the pantry and putting something together! The food is simple, but tasty and hearty. Rob jokes that I just walk into the kitchen, sprinkle some magic dust, and the food just makes itself. ha!

So if I may, encourage you to ditch your recipe’s every now and then and create something deelicious! It’s like the culinary choose your own adventure. Not sure where to start? Soup is a great place to start. Broth, vegetables, meat, (noodles or rice are a bonus!) It’s a very forgiving dish.

 

 

Cooking Level Up!

Before we get down to the business of all the delicious experiments I’ve been conducting in the kitchen, I would like to first of all, invite you to follow me on instagram; @breezyink1989 and twitter @BohemianWonder. These are my personal accounts and after giving it much thought I realize it’s much much easier for me to just simply be me that way, and not necessarily worry about having a separate accounts for the Bear Wife goings on. I’ll be honest, it’s too much of a hassle to log in and log out of this nonsense from my phone…which is what I’m usually on when instagramming and haphazardly tweeting. (I still don’t fully understand the twitter…so I just do what I want!) So if you’d like to peek inside the “charmed” life I lead, follow me!

If you’ve been keeping up with me over this past year, I know I’ve alluded to the fact that I acquired some pretty gnarly carpal tunnel in my hands. It’s really put  quite the damper on my creative process. My initial research on treatments for carpal tunnel were pretty dismal. Basically, don’t over do it, take anti-inflammatory meds, support your wrists, or get surgery. I’m not particularly interested in having doctors cut into my wrists…not yet. So I’ve been wearing braces, taking it easy and having painkillers every now and then. Well, the last two weeks I worked in the Forts gift shop. (for Post – Post season…) and sold in the store are these little tins of magic, and by magic I mean salve. Ever since my encounter with Comfrey (which is a story for another day) and my good friend Amy’s embarkment on herbal healing, I am a very firm believer in the power of plants used properly to heal many human ailments. Again…another story/rant for another day. I picked up this salve called Minagin. (Click to learn more about the salve and purchase some to try, opens in new window) it’s a topical pain relief salve that is anti-inflammatory among other things. You apply it as needed throughout the day. I’ve been using it for over a week now, and let me tell you what, my wrists have not felt this good in a year! While they do still hurt sometimes, it’s not a severe as it once was, I do not have to wear my braces unless I’m doing something (like typing or chopping food) I haven’t taken painkillers nearly as much if at all. This stuff…is incredible. It’s not even funny. (and just for the record, Herbal Lodge has no idea I bought or love their product)

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Over the past two months or so I have embarked on the next phase of my kitchen journey. “Leveled Up” if you will. This all started when at the start of Post Season my job changed a bit and I was moved to the Colonial Fort on the mainland to cook/interpret the kitchen of a 1770’s french merchants wife. With little reference material and a very different open hearth set-up than I am accustomed to, long often quiet (visitor-wise) days and access to the bounty of the fall harvest in the gardens I had to get creative. I looked over historic cookbooks, I started listening to podcasts…and one thing has led to another and now I find myself filling my brain with all things food! One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is “The Splendid Table” with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. They are always talking about interesting things, and not just that but Lynne and her guests will often go into detail about how and why you cook a dish a particular way.

I have always been a why person, I always want to know the story behind things. When I first started learning about the natural world, trees, plants, animals. It’s not enough to simply know their names, habitats, size etc. I want to know what they eat, I want to know why they grow or live in a certain spot, I want to know what sort of relationship they have with their environment, with humans, I want to know what their families are like, the folklore surrounding them, etc etc etc. So as far as food is concerned, yes recipes are wonderful and very very helpful, but I am very interested in the roots of food (HA no pun intended….) I want to know where the dishes come from, the way food has evolved (or hasn’t), what food means to people. I found just today a very interesting website (that I’ve yet to dig into) The History Kitchen it’s a very promising food history blog that appears to be easy to navigate and full of beautiful pictures and recipes.

So what has all this led to in my kitchen? A few things, first I am slowly phasing out my non-stick skillets in favor of the all-mighty cast iron. Using my cast iron dutch oven, baking stones. (This is also a part of my kitchen exercise plan, all these things make tasty tasty food…but they do weigh a ton!) I’ve already done away with margarine, best decision ever!) and use butter or olive oil or animal fat. I have also thoroughly stocked the pantry for the winter which will hopefully cut down on long expensive trips to the grocery store. And so with all these things in place, I cook!

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This is possibly some of the best pasta sauce I’ve ever made. I had a reasonably successful container garden this summer; and grew two tomato plants, yellow pear tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. I sliced these in half, addd some fresh thyme from the garden and cooked the lot of it with a dash of salt and pepper in a lemon butter sauce. Tossed this with a box of noodles, added some parmesan on top… it was like heaven in my mouth.

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A few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea to make “grown-up” buffalo wings. I happened to have a whole chicken in the freezer. (For the record it’s really much easier if you think of these things ahead of time and let the chicken defrost on it’s own in the fridge for a day or two.) after an epic battle trying to carefully thaw (but not cook) the chicken and remove the frozen giblets from the inside, I triumphed. And proceeded to baste the chicken with a sauce of garlic, butter and copious amounts of hot sauce. (I like Franks Red Hot) Now when I baste a chicken, or a turkey, I don’t do just the outside, i like to lift up the skin of the breast and get all that sauce inside too. This also goes for herb rubs. Rub the outside, then rub the inside. Then I roasted the bird, basting regularly until it was done. I made a gravy with the pan drippings (which I added a dash more hot sauce too) and served it with a chopped salad of celery and carrots that had been tossed in a ranch dressing and some brown rice.  The outcome of this dish was surprisingly delicious. I was expecting it to be much hotter than it was. But as the bird cooked the sauce mellowed out and so what was left was this incredibly juicy chicken that had that mild buffalo sauce flavor but without the burn. I thoroughly enjoyed it (as did Rob). I don’t know about you all, but anytime that I cook a bird or any kind of meat on substantial bones, once we’ve eaten most of the meat I make it into soup! tasty..tasty soup. Buffalo chicken noodle, Boil the crap out of the leftover chicken, add a bit of salt, (I added a little bit more hot sauce) rinsed off the leftover carrot and celery salad, added those in for the veggies, and cooked up some brown rice noodles (Separately so they don’t soak up all the broth). It was a great chicken on it’s own, and a great soup!

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This particular dish is not any kind of creative genius, but it’s a little bit of my heritage, and so very very tasty. Fried Plantains. This I learned with my sister from my dad/grandmother. My dad is Cuban, he and his parents immigrated from Cuba when he was about 2 years old. (Castro was causing some trouble…….) Several years ago my sister and I took over the annual Christmas Eve dinner (which was traditionally cuban pot roast, mashed potatoes and cooked carrots…if I remember correctly…) and fried plantains entered the picture. You get some plantains from the store, and you want ripe ones for this dish. So get some green ones and wait until they ripen at home, or get the yellow ones that are starting to have brown spots on them if you want to cook them right away. Peel the plantain and slice it in 1/4″=1/2″ slices. Drop them in some hot frying substance, I used butter and coconut oil. You can use anything really. and fry them until they are golden brown, flip and fry until golden brown. Remove them from the oil and set them on a plate covered in paper towel to help soak up the cooking oils. Sprinkle with salt promptly, let cool down a bit…then enjoy! Hopefully what you’ve come out with is a plantain that’s a little crispy and salty on the outside, and sweet and soft on the inside. Every now and then I’ll buy a few plantains from the store, cook them up this way and just eat that for a snack…and Rob for whatever reason doesn’t care for them…so I don’t have to share!

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Shepherds Pie…variations of this go back centuries. Basically you have meat, maybe some vegetables and top it all with mashed potatoes and bake! For this particular shepherds pie; I had some leftover cooked steaks in the freezer that had been left behind by a boy scout troop. (I never say no to free food) I thawed these and soaked them in a bit of salt water as they were a bit on the tough side. In my dutch oven, I put it on the stove and cooked some diced onion and garlic in butter…added some red wine and pepper and then the shredded meat. Into this went a can of diced tomatoes with juices. A can of carrots, green beans and corn all drained and it was all tossed in the red wine sauce.

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Topped with potatoes, I used instant, because in situations like this it works just as well, doesn’t dirty so many dishes etc etc etc. Now…I didn’t just take these out of the box and leave it at that…oh no. Into the mashed potatoes went some rosemary, thyme, pepper and a wee bit of butter. Cover it all with cheese…normally I put the cheese on top of the meat and veggies and under the potatoes…but sometimes I forget what it is I’m doing and just make do. IMG_9634

Toss the whole thing in the oven and bake until golden and bubbly! You can see all that gravy seeping up around the edges of the potatoes. This was a very successful first dish in a dutch oven in a modern kitchen.

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Are you hungry yet? I am…. (note to self…don’t write food posts without having first eaten breakfast!) Here we have some sweet potato waffles, that have a brown sugar/butter, apple cider topping. and some fried eggs cooked perfectly in the cast iron skillet…mostly to prove to Rob that it is very possible to fry an egg in a cast iron skillet without breaking the yoke… This was breakfast on the first official day of winter retirement for me, after working the two extra weeks this month, the only thing that would have made this better is some bacon.

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And last, but not least. A turkey was given to us, and so we had a lovely turkey dinner to celebrate the start of winter. The turkey was roasted with garlic, the stuffing is a mix of brown rice and bread stuffing, there is garlic green beans and corn, acorn squash roasted with brown sugar and butter and a can of cranberry sauce. As I type this now the leftover turkey is boiling merrily away on the stove and making my stomach rumble…. it is destined to become a creamy turkey stew…

There you have a bit of a taste of what I’ve been doing in the kitchen this month. I have also been experimenting with Brandy, and making Jams and preserves, more on that to come.

And So The Seasons Turn

Well friends, it seems summer got away from me again. I never can seem to get anything “creative” done in the midst of my summer job. I will however be talking a lot more about that this winter. In the meantime as I am nearing the final days/weeks of work, I’d like to take a moment to let you all know what I’m up to! So go make yourself a cup of coffee, I’ll wait….

Speaking of coffee, The other night I made these tasty scones. They have garden fresh raspberries, real vanilla, and cardmom in them. om nom nom...
Speaking of coffee, The other night I made these tasty scones. They have garden fresh raspberries, real vanilla, and cardmom in them. om nom nom…
I also made these, which are DEElicious! Chocolate scones, with fresh pomegranate seeds (my first time with a whole real pomegranate!) and mini dark chocolate chips.
I also made these, which are DEElicious! Chocolate scones, with fresh pomegranate seeds (my first time with a whole real pomegranate!) and mini dark chocolate chips.

Don’t worry, I’ll share the recipes for those some other time. I’m still working on perfecting it.

So here’s what I’m up to these next few weeks. Work is finishing up, I”ll be done and ready to retire for the winter on October 26th. I have a few projects in mind for this winter. First and foremost I am going to be doing my first craft show this December! Ahhh!! My sister offered to share her space with me for a big Christmas Craft Show down in Kalamazoo on December 14th. “Oh yeah, sure!” I said last winter… when this December was so very far away. So from the end of work until the Craft Show I am going to be putting in as much work as physically can into crafting delightful creations to sell at my table. SO if you’ve just been dying to get your hands on some of my goods, I’ll let you know when and where you can find me, so you can mark your calendars. Otherwise you can take your chances and whatever I don’t sell at the show I plan on listing online. So there’s that, I’ve got lots of cool things bouncing around the imaginarium and will be sharing them with you as they emerge.

I have also taken up oil painting over the summer. It’s something I’ve always resisted, but finally bit the bullet, and put that brush to canvas and oh. my. god. i’m in love with it. But THAT is a post for another day.

I am still fighting this carpal tunnel nonsense, but through various methods discovered it is manageable so far. That being said, if you are the praying type, prayers’ for my wrists would be very welcome. It is by His blessings that I create.

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Clicking on the picture, should bring you to the FREE e-book edition on amazon, so you can put it right on your kindle!

I have also decided this year to enroll in several self-driven “life-long learner” classes.  I am going to be studying Food History, by studying old recipes and cookbooks, researching modern food historians and their work, and of course do some practical application in the kitchen. I hope to share the neat things that I find with the rest of you. If you’d like to dabble in food history let me recommend two books to you right off the bat. The first one is “The American Frugal Housewife” By Lydia Marie Child.  She is just a fabulous woman. The book was written in the early 19th century, this edition being published in 1833. Her advice on running and frugal and economic, yet comfortable, household are timeless. Her principles apply readily to many aspects of modern households.

The other book I’m fond of is “History from the Hearth” it’s one that was written by a former historical interpreter and Colonial Michilimackinac. She did a lot of research to write that book and it’s basically Straits Region food, historical recipes that have been adapted for a modern kitchen and modern cook. Apparently you can buy it used? Since it’s probably only sold in the museum stores. I think in the store it goes for about $20, most of those used prices look pretty good. Anyhoo, a lot of my staff who have to cook in our 1830’s kitchen use this book as reference when figuring out what and how to cook.

While I’m studying Food History, I am also taking a free online course through Harvard’s “edX” about the Science of cooking. It’s a 10 week course that’s got really nicely done video’s and clear information. It just started today, so I think you can still join? If not, check out the rest of their course offerings, they are free, high quality and cover a variety of subjects! I will definitely be enrolling in more of them. “SPUx27 Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science.”

and last but not least…at least for now. I am learning french! I found this really cool App/Website called “Duolingo” it’s a 100% free, comprehensive, fun and effective language learning tool! It’s so cool, if you’re interested in learning languages just stop right now and go read it. Create an account, be my friend “breezyink” and wrinkle your brain!

It’s good to be back, there’s so much I want to share with you! So check back with me regularly!

Liebster Award

Edit: I actually wrote this post over a month ago, thought I lost it in a freak “crap I didn’t save this before I closed the browser!” but then come to find out it DID save! God bless autosave… so this post is a bit overdue, but too fun to not share. The next post on my interpretation series is in the percolator.

So my dad over at Journey to the Center of the Soul “nominated” my blog for a Liebster Award. Which is pretty awesome, and makes me feel good. Thanks Dad! I’m glad at least one person is reading my blog! 😉  The Liebster award is an informal award chain given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 readers/followers. ‘Liebster’ in German means – dearest, sweetest, kindest, beloved….and all the nice words you can think of. Most of the blogs I follow are pretty popular and have a lot of followers, though there is at least one person I can pass it along too!

Now for eleven enlightening random facts about myself. (Though in all honesty I feel like much of my life is “random.”)

1. I really dislike swimming in lakes…fish freak me out, so does seaweed…and currents, and the fact that I’m not a strong swimmer, nor do I like being wet or cold. Ironic considering I ride a ferry across the Straits of Mackinac every day…..

2. I lived on an island without cars for 6 summers.

3. I love organizing things, and labeling them. (So much so that I was actually given an award for it one year at work) It’s genetic, my mother is the same way.

4. I will take animals over people any day, they are my friends…my cats talk back to me…(but I don’t understand what they’re saying…)

5. If Rob dies before me, I plan on becoming a Nun.

6. I also really love old hymns, and hope to someday build one (or more) country church buildings in which to hold hymn singing services…

7. I have start-itis syndrom…(I start projects and never finish them, or finish them months…years…later) At any given time there are probably a dozen started projects around me.

8. I am not and never have been able to care or keep up with pop culture, I have no idea what’s happening in the music/movie/celebrity world. I grew up listening to classical music, now I listen to a lot of folk music. The first CD I ever bought was of Frank Sinatra, I listened to “oldies” non-stop for a while there. I also hate going to concerts…. “Do what I want!” ha.

9. I thoroughly enjoy people watching, like almost to an anthropogical level. If I was rich/disciplined I’d seriously consider studying Anthropology…after I finished women’s history, biology/forestry, and more art degrees…..

10. I enjoy collecting the silly little plastic animals from the quarter machines in various establishments. My brothers got me started on that…Though rarely do I have quarters on hand…

11. I often wish I was much more talented at my crafts than I am…which I then feel bad about when people tell me they wish they were as good as me.

Learning all kinds of things about me aren’t you?! Now to answer the 11… (or rather 5) questions that were posed to me!

1. What writers/people have inspired you most?

There has never been one particular person who most inspired me, I consumed books on a colossal level growing up. I have always looked up to my parents, they have been wonderful examples of parents, of married people, of down-to-earth believers, they always welcomed people into their home. I have been greatly blessed in that department. Lately I’ve also been reading bits and pieces of things written or said by Mother Teresa, I want to be more like her.
2. What is your idea of a relaxing day?

Either tromping around the woods taking photographs and absorbing as much nature into my soul as possible, or lounging around the house with Rob watching netflix and eating yummy food.

3. If you could have an alternate career, what would it be?

I would love to be a Naturalist guide at a National Park, or a farmer
4. What is your favourite season and why?

I love all the seasons! Truly, that’s why I love Michigan, I thoroughly enjoy each season and the changes it brings, I love watching the world transform as the seasons turn. Not to mention they myriad of outfits that can be worn in a year!
5. What is your greatest accomplishment

I don’t know that I’ve reached my greatest accomplishment yet…though I’m pretty proud of settling into a different town than the one I grew up in, of working a “job” I love,

6. How would you like to spend your retirement?

Plan A) is to live in a Holodeck and “time-travel.” Plan A part 2) Is to turn my house/self into a biographical living history museum. I want to re-create key rooms from all the places I’ll have lived, decorated appropriately for the corresponding decades, complete with interpretive panels/interpreters talking about life at the turn of the 21st century. Being the last generation of corded phones and dial-up internet, I think it’s important. I will be at the end of the museum in my comfy chair, with my animals, available to answer questions and tell stories.  Plan B) Buy an RV and spend all year traveling to and participating in different historical reenactments. Plan C) Become a nun and devote the rest of my life to spreading God’s Love in the world.

7. Are you a cat or dog person?

yes! Both, I love them all, and would have a dog if we didn’t work all the time in the summer.

8. What song would you like played at your funeral?

There’s actually a few songs I’d like, “Long Time Traveler” is the latest. However, I plan on recording myself singing these songs, so they can be played at the funeral…actually I’m just planning my whole funeral service myself for optimum fun and tears.

9. Why do you blog?

Two reasons, it’s my way of keeping a personal history of sorts for myself down the road and for future generations. I also blog for a creative outlet and to say things to the world.

10. Where’s one place you’ve always wanted to go?

I would love, love, love, to see the Redwood forests in California.

11. What’s one skill you really wish you had?

I would love to be a master woodworker. I also wish I was a spectacular singer.

The “Eleven” Questions: (I only chose eight. You can add more if you like.)

1. What writers/people have inspired you most?
2. What is your idea of a relaxing day?
3. If you could have an alternate career, what would it be?
4. What is your favourite season and why?
5. What is your greatest accomplishment?

6. If you could be any character from any story, who would you be and why?

7. What is a passion of yours?

8. What advancement in society would you most like to see and why?

So that’s a bit about me, I am passing along the nomination to  my brother, sister (even though she doesn’t write much……) and “Jane”

Justin: http://jdumois01.wordpress.com/ has been keeping a blog about all the cool life changing stuff going on during the three months he spent doing a prayer internship.

Nicole: http://jewelsandtrucks.wordpress.com/ blogs off an on about life with a young family

and “Jane” http://www.thyhandhathprovided.com/ posts the loveliest things about her life, family, garden and food!