Nearly Normal’s Beans and Rice

For about the last two weeks I’ve been eating black beans, jasmine rice, and a tablespoon or so of Nearly Normal’s Tamari Ginger vinaigrette. And it’s delicious. And addicting.


If you’re not in the Corvallis area, then you can find a ginger vinaigrette at your local grocery store. The Nearly Normal’s vinaigrette does not have any sesame in it, though others I see in the store often do. Amazon also has several, with sesame, that look delicious as well, including this Trader Joe’s one, which is also fat-free! I may have to pick it up the next time I’m in the store.

Trader Joe’s Ming’s Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette


The Idiot Cord

I’ve started making I-cord wrap bracelets for my Etsy shop.Β And in looking around at I-cords online, I ran across this lovely little history of the I-Cord and a brief description of how to make one yourself.


To take a look at my new wrap bracelets, visit the Women’s Bracelets section of my shop by clicking on the photo below:


Pineapple Orange Banana Smoothie

For Christmas, I received a fabulous Vitamix from Donnie and have been looking for ways to use it more often. So far, it’s mostly been green smoothies. But yesterday I thought I’d give everyone a break and make a good old-fashioned fruit smoothie.


Below is the concoction I came up with. The smoothie was delicious! Unfortunately I have no pictures since I forgot before we drank it all up. So here is a picture of my Vitamix instead πŸ™‚

I placed the ingredients in the Vitamix in the following order (frozen things are supposed to go on top in a VitaMix, whereas for other blenders it’s usually the opposite):

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 T chia seeds (or as much as you like)
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. yogurt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. Pine-Orange Banana Fruit Juice, Dole (or you can replace this and the water with a cup of fruit nectar. Mmmm!)
  • ~1 c. ice

This made 3 tall-glass-with-a-straw servings.

If I had had an orange on hand, I would’ve thrown that in as well…. Wait, I do have an orange. I guess I will just have to make this again today and throw in the orange Β πŸ™‚

Etsy Shop launched!

On August 31, I officially launched my Etsy shop,Β January Sun Yarnworks. I initially hoped to start this business in spring 2010, when Benjamin was only a few months old. But I didn’t have the time (or enough sleep at night!) to make it a reality. All of the other details–a name, packaging, etc…–felt overwhelming.

Until this past spring, when my friend Meagan C. expressed interest in selling her hand-sewn items at a craft fair. I thought, Well, I could split the booth with her and see how it goes. She liked the idea and I’ve been knitting and crocheting away ever since! I’m energized by the Etsy shop and excited to see how the logistics of the craft fair work out πŸ™‚

Ah, Die Macher

For Donnie’s graduation from our church’s Leadership Development Course (yay, Donnie!)–at which Donnie excelled and dedicated himself to learning 36 verses faithfully, among lots and lots of other things–Benjamin and I bought him a board game. Big surprise, eh? The game is considered to be one of the first Euro board games that helped spawn the huge industry in Germany–games like Settlers of Catan and Agricola. The game is Die Macher, which is German for The Maker (which, of course, Seth already knows).

Because it works best the more people you have play it and because it’s also a long game, we invited the Mikkelsens and Morses over to play it with us on Father’s Day. The Morses weren’t able to stay, so me, Jeremy, and Donnie all threw in our political hats to play the game which involves trying to win a series of local elections in Germany in a bid to win the national German election. Sounds fun, right? Trust me, it is!

Oh and I won. πŸ™‚ Perhaps because I played as the current ruling party?

Ah, reading

I have been reading quite a bit these past few weeks, which is rare for me. It’s been a lot of fun to update my Reading Present and Reading Past pages. And because I rarely comment on books after reading them, I thought I would do so now. So here are my finished books of April:

After listening to Tracy Daugherty (former professor at OSU) read from his biography of Donald Barthelme (which City Lifereceived rave reviews in The New Yorker and in The New York Times), I decided I needed to respond to the nagging guilt of only having read one of Barthelme’s stories. So I checked out City Life since Tracy and others have called it his most successful (and perhaps accessible) collection.Β  His style is post-modern (and has been much imitated) and the stories in this collection are mostly short-shorts and are often playful and non-linear/non-narrative, all of which makes the stories both fun and challenging. Also, pleasantly surprising was the use of images throughout the stories that either supported or complicated the story or were there for the story to comment on. I had never seen that before and instantly felt the urge to populate my stories with images.

My favorites are “Views of my Father Weeping” and “The Phantom of the Opera’s Friend.” The first one is very episodic but moving and the latter actually made me laugh aloud. Of course, now that I’ve read this collection, I need to go read Keirkegaard and Tolstoy to understand a few of the stories. But all in all, I feel better for having read the collection and now am guilt-free.

Then I read, in less than a week (which is a big deal for me), Margot Livesey’s first story collection, Learning by Heart. I’d read Eva Moves the Furniture several years ago and enjoyed it, and since she is visiting OSU this spring, I figured I should read up on her work. I enjoyed each and every one of the stories, written in a plain prose style (similar to Jhumpa Lahiri’s) and delved into character’s lives with accuracy and economy. And nothing terribly depressing happened at the end of any of the stories, which is why I was able to read them so quickly. I didn’t have to take a breather and drag myself up from the depths of a mini-depression and then into the next story, knowing I would soon find myself at the bottom again. It was refreshing to read intriguing and moving pieces that didn’t rely on the “desolation of life” theme to drive their points home.

And then, on Tuesday, I finally finished Atonement. It was beautiful and wonderful and just what I wanted it to be. And because I’d already seen the movie, I didn’t let myself cry at the end. Though I think the movie made the ending a bit more sentimental and heart-wrenching. But maybe that’s because Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are just too attractive for their own good (even though I still maintain that Keira Knightley is too devastatingly and disturbingly thin.) I must admit that I enjoyed the first half of the book the most because of its lush writing and methodical points of view switches between the characters as the tension and suspense builds. But the second half was spectacular in its own right for its patient following of Robbie’s determination to find Dunkirk. All in all, a fabulous read.

theliftedveilAnd then started Tuesday and finished Wednesday is George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil. It’s a novella, a generous 76 pages in my edition with lovingly large margins, that reminded me of Charlotte Perkins’ story “The Yellow Wallpaper” because of its intimate and “off” narrator. I bought the novella last year when Marjorie was teaching the novella/uncanny class that I couldn’t take. (I often troll through the OSU bookstore and buy books from the textbook shelves. I like choosing from an pre-selected list of “good books” that must at least have some redeeming qualities.) And this one did! It was a fun, engaging read, and the subject feels so modern, like “The Yellow Wallpaper” and like Eliot’s Middlemarch.

Now I’ve started Livesey’s newest novel, The House on Fortune Street, which will hopefully be as pleasantly fulfilling as her stories.

Note: photos of recent knitting and painting projects will arrive shortly. And I can finally post pictures of my baby shower gifts after Joani’s shower tonight!