Look what I made!

I made this! I am very excited about this new lamp. I bought the base and shade at a thrift store. The base was $2.50 and the shade was $3.99. Originally the base was brass and I spray painted it a plum color.


I used a glue gun to attach cloth napkins (!) over the original lampshade. Animal prints just aren't my thing. I bought a four pack of these cloth napkins at Target on clearance for about $5. They are Dwell Studio. So bright and graphic and happy.


I am excited about this project because I bought the lampshade today and then completed this project today! Typically I procrastinate. I tried not to worry about it being perfect. I had never done anything like this before. It was not hard at all. I used just two of the napkins, and I hope to make a matching-ish lamp in the weeks to come.



rice & beans, day 18

We took a break from eating Rice & Beans on Saturday. We went hiking with our extended family and ate Chick-fil-a breakfast on the way to the Buffalo River. Melody exclaimed from the back seat of the van, "This is the best food in the whole world!!!!" (She usually doesn't care for Chick-fil-a.) Once at the Buffalo we shared trail mix, apples, hot dogs, and s'mores. It all tasted really good to our family.

Last night I hung out with two girl friends. Typically we drink some wine or eat candy together when we hang out. Last night we had just water. I kept craving candy. I knew my friend probably had some in her pantry, but I refrained from asking. We visited for a few hours, talking, sharing, laughing, but not eating anything. What a concept, huh? Again, I felt triumphant when I left her home. Also, I didn't have gross feeling in my stomach from eating too many gummy lifesavers either.

A few days ago we received the devotional book A Common Meal.

This morning I read a few pages and wanted to share a couple of quotes:
It can be easy in this modern time to exist in a protected world with little or no real contact with suffering people. But if we open our eyes and leave our isolation we come face to face with the homeless, the hungry, the immigrants, the outcasts, and the sick.

Luke 3:10-11 "What should we do then?" the crowd asked. John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

And here is Logan playing in red lentils he poured all over the kitchen floor while I was in another room for a few minutes.


day 16 & a broken arm

Today was the hardest day of the month. I wanted to go out to eat so badly. I was craving a Chili's cheeseburger, fries and a coke!!! Last Friday Logan fell out of a high chair. I suspected his arm was fractured. The weekend went by and he was fine except for favoring it in certain situations. On Tuesday I took him to the doctor. She said it was sprained, not broken. Two days later, I still had a feeling something was wrong. Even though Logan was using the arm to climb, crawl, and play, he was favoring it while he walked. He'd hold the hurt arm against his belly and swing the uninjured arm wildly for balance. I took him for an x-ray today and it is fractured at the wrist. He has the cutest, smallest, black cast I've ever seen.

We spent a total of five hours in multiple waiting rooms. Logan was a champ. I had books, snacks, and toys and I worked hard at keeping him occupied. When it was over I was worn out. I felt emotional because it had been seven days since the initial injury. We finally got home and discovered the ice maker in the fridge had leaked water all over the kitchen floor! I wanted to go out to eat so badly. I even would have been delighted to have frozen pizza (two of which are in our freezer). I asked Chad what he thought. He said we should eat the left over Dal (red lentils) from yesterday. I agreed. We moped up the water on the floor, made more rice and we ate Dal.

When I have a hard day, my immediate response is that I deserve something good to eat. A mocha, ice cream, a burger, sushi, candy. The list goes on. After today's events, it felt unnatural to come home and eat leftover lentils. As absurd as it sounds, I felt like I deserved to go to Chili's. I am glad we didn't go out. We triumphed over something that has been ingrained in me since childhood.

Today we received the devotional made for Rice & Beans Month. It is titled A Common Meal. The words on the back of the book are good stuff. It says,

Encounter a table where feasting and fasting
intertwine, and let your love for the vulnerable
become as tangible as a bowl of rice and beans.


rice & beans, day 13

Rice and Beans month is almost half way over. The second week was more challenging than the first, especially for the girls. They are really tired of eating Rice and Beans. The adventure has worn off. I am struggling to motivate them. I feel like I say the exact same thing over and over again. I feel strongly not to discipline them for not wanting to eat rice and beans. They did not choose to do this. We choose it for them. I understand that it is difficult.

We took the weekend off, eating pizza, ice cream and donuts with our friends. Everything tasted great. When Monday came, it was difficult to eat the rice and beans again. Mel and I had a conversation about how it is difficult to explain Rice & Beans Month to people. She said she was sharing about it with two boys her age. After she talked about it for awhile they just got up and walked away. I think this might have had more to do with their age and gender than with Rice & Beans month! But I have found the same thing. When people ask me why we are doing this, I struggle to explain it.

We have saved over 50% of our typical grocery budget. Our recycle container is practically empty and the refrigerator is sparse. The simplicity has been refreshing.

Next week is Spring Break and Melody will be home from school. I hope to do some reading and learning about Africa. Any ideas about materials for this?


r&b day 3 & day 4

In the past few days I've been working the Rhea Lana Consignment sale nonstop. I have been crawling into bed around 1:00am each night after working with my Consignment Sale friends for 12+ hours in a row. We get kinda silly after the first 8 hours. During these sales, it is difficult to eat well. There is fast food, pizza, chocolate, and coke everywhere. We barely have time to eat anything at all. So, the Rice & Beans thing didn't go so well for me on Day 3 and Day 4.

I decided to take a break for Day 3 because I was going to be at the sale all day. I was successful in staying away from chocolate, candy and soda though. And I tried to eat moderate portions. On Sunday I ate chocolate and drank coke. :( The rest of the family did pretty well. The girls stayed with my mom for one night, and she commented that they have a completely different attitude about food already. She told Melody that she might join us next year. Melody replied with, "But Grammy, we just started this a couple of days ago, so you can join us this year!" Haha!


r&b day 2

This morning I was optimistic about breakfast. The plan was warm rice with butter, milk and sugar. It didn't go so well. Leah took a bite and liked it, but then was not able to swallow the bite for about five minutes. Weird. Melody forced herself to eat a few bites and then pushed it away. They ended up asking for bean burritos for breakfast! I ate a bowl of the sweet rice and about ten minutes later my stomach felt gross. Any tips out there on rice recipes for breakfast? We may end up making this Rice & Beans & Egg Month.

For tonight I have a bean soup simmering on the stove top in my beloved red Le Creuset. I was too busy to cook dry beans today so I did the following:

Sauteed 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red onion in some oil. Add the following all undrained -- can of corn, can of green chilies, can of diced tomatoes, and can of rotel. Added 2 T chili powder, 1 t cumin, salt. Drained and rinsed two cans of beans - one red, one black -- and added them to everything else. It has been simmering for a couple of hours. We will eat this with tortillas and sour cream.

All of the canned ingredients were already in my pantry. We also already have sour cream. Toward the end of the month the meals will be more simply rice and beans, but for now I'm using what we have. We will also have cantaloupe with our meal.

Last night I went to bed hungry! I ate dinner at 5:30 and didn't go to bed until 1:30am. As I worked at the Rhea Lana Consignment sale late into the night, I was tempted to eat chips and candy. I kept thinking of our beautiful friends in Sudan and I'm proud to say I was able to resist the temptation of all of that chocolate! Maybe my entirely empty stomach this morning was the reason the rice didn't settle well.


rice & beans, day 1

We are eating Rice & Beans for the month of March. It's radical and we are excited about it. Each day we are driven by food cravings. Often after school I take the kids to Sonic during happy hour to get slushies. They ask for a piece of candy about five times each day. Sugar is true north in our home.

For the month of March we are hoping to refocus ourselves. We are going to attempt to eat rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our goal is to simplify our meals in order to save money and to join our brothers and sisters around the world who eat rice and beans all of the time.

Today has been Day One. I have to tell you that we had scrambled eggs for breakfast! Not rice and beans. Last night I didn't prepare and there was no time to make rice this morning. Eating scrambled eggs was a step toward simplicity for us. Typically each of us eats something different for breakfast. I am literally spinning around in the kitchen trying to prepare everyone's custom meal. Crazy, right? So this morning I beat 8 eggs in a measuring cup, scrambled them up, and served them to all five of us. There were mild complaints, but everyone ate and it was simple. Tomorrow morning we'll try some rice for breakfast.

We will also be eating fruits and vegetables. I told Melody that her after school snack would be a bowl of apples and carrots on the table when she got home. She said, "That sounds awesome!" For her lunches she has the option to pack a lunch of rice and beans or eat the school lunch. Before this month Melody never wanted to eat the school lunches. Now that we are doing rice and beans month she is happy to eat them! Her enthusiasm to eat school lunches and have apples/carrots for her snack are evidence of an adjusting perspective.

More to come!