Heads Up!

Aside

Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!

Keep your eyes open – The Full Vine is approaching its one year anniversary, and it’s time for a few changes! 

What will these be? 

Curiosity kills cats, but it won’t kill you! 

A new Saturday format, updated “About” and “Daily Vine” pages, a fresh look and more!

As always, thanks for reading The Full Vine!  I’m glad you’re here.

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Winter Two, Spring One

Somehow we’ve had enough warm weather this winter to encourage fuzzy buds and brand new green shoots to come popping out in our yard.  Already!  The boys and I were out exploring again today, and I can’t believe how many early signs of Spring there are.

Still, snow is breathtaking.  What we had, we enjoyed.

I love Black and White photography.  That is Winter’s gift.

But here’s why I’m holding my breath:

These will be here soon!

Tooth Hurty

Once upon a time someone thought this joke was really funny:

What time is it when you have to go to the dentist?

A: Tooth hurty.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha HAAAaaaAaaaaaah!!!!!!!

ah.

It’s not very funny when you’re only 1 year old, though.  Poor Riley fell onto a toy and shoved one of his front four teeth up into the gum.

What’s there to be thankful for in that?!

Well so far, he does not require surgery.  We thought he was facing a tooth extraction at this tender age…  But God has answered our prayers and started bringing the tooth down, infection-free. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you God!!!

Riley has developed a fear of blue rubber gloves from this experience…  But we’ll deal with that the best way we know how:

Bunny, hugs, prayer, and The Berenstain Bears Go To the Dentist. 

Good job, Riley!  Mommy and Daddy are proud of you.

Irresistible Cheese Sticks

This chilly weather has inspired a new blogging place: in bed, next to the crackling heater, under our bright red comforter (what other color would it be, I ask you?).

Here in comforter-land I’ve been pondering…  What are some healthy but slightly indulgent snacks that I can have on hand for our hungry bellies? 

I get so grabby around 2, 2:30, 3, 3:01pm…  That’s about the same time that my Sweet Babboo comes through the door on an early day, tummy rumbling.

There’s got to be something better for us than cookies – and my wretchedly slow digestion of late agrees with that sentiment.  Something I can just grab and toss down but not “pay for” later.

Enter Cheeeeeeeeeeese Sticks.  Oh so yummy.  Oh so easy.  Oh.  Riley is in love with these.  His first toddler crush.  *sniff*

Before you begin, gather your cheering section…

Hoo.  Ray.

…and your Helping Hands.

Irresistible Cheese Sticks

(Credit for this recipe goes to More With Less, as does credit for many of my recipes.  It’s just GOOD STUFF.  If you don’t have the cookbook, get it!!!  It will quietly revolutionize your eating, working positive changes in your budget and your body.)

Ingredients

1 C. grated sharp cheese (I used what I had: a mix of mexi-cheese and mozzarella)

1/2 tsp salt and a dash of pepper

1 1/4 C. flour

1/3 C. margarine (I’m sure butter is fine)

3 TBS milk

sesame seeds (or topping of your choice)

Method

Preheat the oven to 375.  Combine the cheese, salt, pepper, and flour.  Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle the dough with the milk.  Toss with a fork and form it into a ball.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it 1/8″ thick.  Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.  Run the rolling pin over it again.  Prick the dough with a fork all over.  Cut into 1/2″ sticks, 2″ squares and then triangles, etc. 

If there are some oddly shaped edges, you may have to suffer through and eat them now.

Poor you. 

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes, or until golden.

(Note: The process I just described will become second nature if you start making your own crackers.  Make a dough, roll it out.  Top it, roll it.  Prick it, cut it.  Bake and eat.  Oh yeah – cool them, if you have the self control.)

Results

Prepare your tastebuds for a trip to Disneyland.  Cheese sticks are so tangy and tasty… 

Serve them with an apple for a snack, on top of chili, with burgers, in place of bread at a fancy meal (you’ll get some eyebrows up, but what’s not to love about that?) – enjoy!  🙂

For a picture-free, easy-to-print version of this recipe, please click on the following link:

https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/irresistable-cheese-sticks/

Needles Gone Wild

Sunday morning I woke from a dream in which I was rescuing swimmers from sharp-toothed alligators.  No murky waters can stop ME!  Beware, dangerous creatures of the deep.

My life isn’t really THAT exciting.  I’ve only skinny dipped once.  Squirting Ready Whip directly into my mouth feels sinful and awesome.  And I’ve never rescued anyone from any dangerous animal, that I can remember.  Does squashing ants count?

I remember once, long ago, thinking, “Knitting is for wimps and little old ladies.”

I also remember thinking, “I’ll never like cooking.  And gardening’s right up there too.”

Ah, well…  I had some growing up to do.  I still do.  But now I at least give things a try before poo-pooing them.  Usually.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to be Crocodile Dundee…but I am a knitter.

Funny.  I keep discovering things I once poo-pooed that are ENORMOUSLY fun!  There is a wide window for creativity with knitting, as I’m finding with a star pattern right now.

I made a Knit Star for my son Quinn to chew.  It’s a little more like a pillow than the Christmas ornament it was meant to be originally.  Heh heh.  Darn yarn weight…

I enjoyed working the pattern so much, I’m doing it again and making it into a wall hanging.  Each picture in this post is part of the process.  When I have a few free minutes, I sit with two double point needles, a pair of scissors and a crochet hook, and work a very light, thin yarn. 

One by one, star points come off my needles.  I’ve made so many now that I can start stitching them together into a radial design – sort of an expanding, exploding star.  I’ll update you as I go. 

My goal is to fill our home with beautiful handmade things that show my love for our family, and my absolute ADDICTION to creativity.

Just for the record, if I had to, I’d wrestle an alligator for anyone in my family.  I bet you would for yours, too.  And we’d give ’em a good poke in the eye with a needle, too.

Mick Dundee and the Pin Cushion.  Check your local movie theater listings.

The “No Poo” Verdict

You wake suddenly, drenched in sweat, trembling, mouth dry.  What a nightmare! 

Everyone was staring, gawking at your greasy hair which hung limply in front of your eyes.  You were branded a super-geek for life and would never have a date or a spouse or a better job or an invitation to pose for your favorite magazine.  Palm-sweatingly tragic.

I think this is what the shampoo companies want us to think will happen if we stop using their chemical-filled, over-priced products.  So they come up with increasingly ridiculous ads to make us believe we need their stuff, and we shell out money over and over for products we do not need.

This is my verdict on commercial shampoo:

I am never going back. 

Maybe someday if I’m confined to a nursing home, the staff will pour their own choice on my head.  I think I won’t be too concerned about shampoo at that point.

But for now, I am SOLD

I’ve been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar as my ONLY hair products for two weeks, and I love it!!! 

Despite a little initial detoxing in the form of some extra grease, the regimen has been better than I’d even hoped:

easy

cheap

natural

effective

and my shower isn’t full of bottles of painfully expensive “natural” or “organic” products either. 

Why would I go back? 

If you’re curious what “no poo” means, having sadly missed my first post on the subject, just click on this link:

Got The Skinny On No Poo?

And after you read about my foray into the world of Crazy Lady Hair Care, click on this link to read about the real dangers of commercial shampoo:

The Shocking Truth About Shampoo

Of course, if I keep posting crazy-sounding ideas like this, I may be thrown into the Funny Farm, at which point, I will be forced to shampoo with whatever the White Coats bring. 

Then again, No Poo is sweeping the nation – maybe even the world.  Could it be that the “crazy” thing is not giving this a try?

Joy On the Brain

Stuff’s going around.  I mean sickness.  People are dropping like flies around here.  How about where you live?

We fellowship in a very small church.  There are 12 people in it, including children.  This might seem odd to most readers, but it’s been beautiful for us.  I can go into the details of how and why and what in the world?! another day.  For today, let’s just say that when numbers are down from sickness, it’s tough to “have church.”

That also means that when sickness is spreading around our church, EVERYONE knows and EVERYONE is praying.  I love the closeness of it.  But, I said wasn’t going to elaborate on church!

Anyhooways, I’ve had joy on the brain. 

Why?  It’s winter!  It’s dreary and cold! 

Why?  Because even in the midst of sickness, loved ones passing, worries about our friends, concerns about our sons’ teeth and habits and sleep schedules and futures and safety and ___ and ___ etc etc, God has been giving us peace through his promises:

I will be filled with joy because of you.  Psalm 9:2a

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10b

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

A couple of those are probably repeat verses from recent Saturday history.  My feeling?  That only proves that God is teaching me something.

Lift your head, child, and put your eyes on me.  See?  I’m smiling as I help you through.

If you look at it logically, the above verses say that joy is strength and Christ is strength.  Therefore Christ is joy.

joy = strength = Christ, who is in my heart at all times

So even when things aren’t perfectly lovely, joy and strength are perfectly available.  I’m sorry that sounded trite.  I’m full of peanut butter cookies and feeling all warm and gooey.

Whatever you may be dealing with, I hope you have the joy and strength of Christ in your heart.  And peanut butter cookies in your belly.

(photo credit for the fireworks goes to my Sweet Babbooski)

Father and Son

I remember longing for the day when Jon and Riley would be able to wrestle and tussle on the living room floor.  It was easy to picture them being crazy together.  Little did I know how exhilarating it would actually be to listen to the shrieks and laughter…

This wasn’t as dangerous as it looks:

But it might have felt that way to Riley.  Good!  Adventure with Daddy will make him a man who can stand on his own two feet and take risks with confidence.

And snuggling with Daddy teaches him that men have soft hearts, too.

For all the things Mommy does,

kissing boo-boos, fixing meals, reading stories, tickling armpits, changing diapers…

…Daddy’s love is impossible to replace. 

I dreamed of watching the father-son relationship develop between my Sweet Babboo and my Sweet Son.  Even on tough days, it’s good.  It’s better than I dreamed.  Most of life is, if I let it be.

The Downhill Side

60°F on February 1st!  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Out the door, boys!

We dug in the dirt.  We ran circles around each other in the backyard.  We went down mostly-dry slides at the park.  We squealed, giddy as toddlers on a bowl of ice cream, and drank in long, long breaths of fresh air. 

It’s February 1st,” my mother had said earlier that day.  “As far as I’m concerned, that means winter is over.  We’re on the downhill side.

I like the way you think Mom! 

And I like the day you made, God.  It’s amazing how a solid afternoon of outdoor play can change a person’s whole outlook.  THANK YOU!

Maple Syrup Muffins

When I was a blushing bride, my family and friends contributed their favorite recipes to help me begin a collection.  Thank you, Mom, for surprising me and putting together such a special gift! 

This recipe is from my grandmother’s collection, so I treasure it and think of her when I make these muffins. 

Maple Syrup Muffins

Ingredients

1/4 C. margarine

1/2 C. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 1/4 C. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 C. oats

1/2 C. milk

1/2 C. maple syrup

Method

Soften the margarine if needed; blend in the sugar and salt. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, and oats, and add it to the first mixture.

Combine the milk and maple syrup, and add it to the mix.  Stir only to moisten.  Fill muffin tins.  Makes 6 large or 12 regular-sized muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.  Cool on a rack.  Eat.  Yum.

Results

These are sweet, moist, and satisfying, and very easy to make.  My sweet tooth is satiated without my thighs getting larger.  Hope you enjoy them!

For a picture-free, easy-to-print version of this recipe, please click on the following link:

https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/maple-syrup-muffins/