Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday Hodge Podge - March 1, 2017

1. 'Slow and steady wins the race'...tell us about a time this was true in your own life.

For me, it isn't about athletic contests or races - because I've never won any. I'm just not gifted in that area.

What came to mind was my career before adopting Sophia and Olivia. I started out as an administrative assistant in a fundraising consulting company.

That provided the stepping stone for my next job as a development assistant at an arts organization in Charlotte, North Carolina. What started out as mostly clerical work ended up turning into proposal writing, overseeing cultivation events, and managing both the annual membership and individual giving campaigns.

A move took me across the country where I was again a development associate, but for a private school in San Francisco. I was able to gain more experience with annual fund drives, but - more importantly - working with volunteers who produced the Decorator Showcase.

Another move brought me back to Minnesota where I worked in a few different jobs in the development field - as an associate and then director.

A brief departure from the non-profit world into the corporate world at Aveda was my last job in which I worked for someone else. At that point, I founded a non-profit that combined my interests: art, nature, and agriculture; and created my ideal career. All the jobs I had held up to that point - plus my college degrees - had dovetailed perfectly into what I wanted to do with my life.

For several years, I offered children's art and farm camps here at the farm. There were about a half a dozen day camps per summer with a maximum number of 40 youth. The K-6th graders were enthusiastic, engaged, and eager to learn.

There was a teen staff of camp counselors as well as hired artists who mentored both the children and teens. There were literally hundreds of volunteers throughout the course of the non-profit who helped make the programming a reality.

A particularly rewarding component was a restorative justice program that I started in which I worked with the local county and youth service bureau to give first-time, non-violent offenders (teen and adult) and opportunity to do their community service hours.

Some of the work was not so fun (like mucking out the barn) while other work (the majority of it) focused on the skills the adults or youth came with and could share - whether it be gardening, handyman skills, or construction/building work. It was a rewarding program for those who did their hours as well as me; and affirmed to those participating in it that they had valuable skills that could make a difference.

With the adoption of Sophia and Olivia combined with difficult funding climate (after September 11th when many funders' portfolios took a major hit), I ended the non-profit to focus on raising the girls.

This, too, has been a "slow and steady" journey as we have learned together through homeschooling. Reading, math, social studies, geography, penmanship, art, piano, harp, foreign language...all of it goes at a steady pace rather than a sprint.

We build upon what we learn in order to get where we are today...whether it be a career, homeschooling, or our personal lives.

2. 'As slow as molasses'...Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What's your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what's your favorite food made with that sweet treat?

If molasses is in something - like ginger cookies - then, yes, I like it. By itself, no.

Maple syrup - by itself or on pancakes or waffles. No. Maple syrup was a luxury when I was growing up. I don't ever recall having real maple syrup. We only had the fake syrup - Mrs. Butterworth's in the glass bottle that was shaped like a woman in a skirt. I liked that - especially when my mom would heat it up.

One thing I do like is maple sugar candy - the kind that is in the shape of little maple leaves.

Caramel and butterscotch - also will pass on.

My favorite recipe using molasses is triple ginger cookies which uses molasses.

The triple ginger comes from using fresh ginger, powdered ginger, and crystallized ginger - all which provide a slightly different flavor.

3. Your favorite slow song?

Marian Hill's Down. Heard this on a commercial for Airpods and liked it.

4. Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot?

One of the things that I often make is a whole chicken in the slow cooker. I put water in with the chicken so by the time it is done cooking, it is so moist and literally falls apart. There's lots of meat leftover to use with making sandwiches and salads in the following days.

The broth I'll put into a 2-quart pitcher and will heat up a little for the dogs to put over their food. They love it. There's always little bits of meat that they get along with the broth.

5. 'You may delay, but time will not.' ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?

Delayer...definitely. The task that I both have delayed and need to get through quickly are taxes. I have everything in a big pile ready to go. The next step is the most laborious: dividing all the paperwork into categories and then entering it onto the tax prep document from the accountant.

In addition to personal taxes, there are records for two businesses that have to done at the same time. It's a lot and one of the least favorite things that I have to do this week.

6. Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.

The internet is often slow here because we live in a rural area. Not much I can do about that.

It's not quite like this...though it use to be
about a decade ago.

Uploading photos takes a while because I chose a disk with a larger memory capacity. Because there are so many photos on the disk, it has to read through each one until it gets to the ones that are new and new to be added to my computer.

On a personal note, I find that some of the financial lessons I should have learned a long time ago are taking a long time to "stick" with me. I kept making the same poor choices over and over again. This year, I'm determined to make it a pivotal year; and do what I should have been doing all along. The "slow and steady" decisions and choices would have been ideal in this case.

As I re-read these, they are truly first-world "problems" that, in the greater scheme of life, are pretty trivial.

7. March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you'll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you'd like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen.

I love crafting! This is something that I've done since I was a child and has always brought me a lot of happiness.

I remember my dad picking out craft books at the junior high school where he worked (he was a school social worker) and bringing them home for me to look at. The fact that he would take time out of his day to go to the library and pick a book that he thought I'd enjoy meant a lot to me.

In the next week, I'll be making six window stars for customers. This is one:

This is another one:

I'm also going to be making two pillowcases this week and a set of potholders. The fabric for the pillowcases is for spring with flowers in shades of blue. The trim will be yellow and edging a pastel blue.

For the potholders, I'm debating between using the warm color palette or cool color palette. Either way, the natural linen fabric will be part of the potholders.

For many years, I've entered items in the county fair. This is something I enjoy doing, and this year I want to do more craft, needlework, and sewing projects.

On my list is learning how to make earrings, bracelets, and necklaces at the bead store; learning how to make soap; and making some of the items I have patterns for, but haven't yet done. Perhaps during March, I can be more focused and create several items that I've been wanting to do.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

One of my favorite types of trees are oaks. They are slow-growing trees and can take 20-30 years before they begin to provide shade.

Oak tree in our west pasture.

According to Wild Birds, "Bur oaks can send a tap root down as deep as five feet in the first year of growth....The best and fastest growing oaks are grown in place--starting exactly where they'll end up. This is what nature does when white oak acorns sprout after falling to the ground or when red oak acorns buried by squirrels sprout and grow the following spring.

The website also said that you can grow oaks by directly planting acorns. However, "not all of these acorns will sprout however, and some may be dug up by squirrels and birds. Others might be nibbled off by rabbits and deer after sprouting.

Oak trees and acorns we sprouted back in 2008
so we could plant them around our farm.

"Once up they'd have to compete with existing vegetation, roots, and shade. A better way to insure success is to grow our own seedlings and give them the proper attention they need at every step of their growth cycle."

The link has some ideas for planting various types of oaks. Again, it's a long and steady process to raise them. Yet, these trees can last for centuries. What is planted now is truly a gift to people and wildlife in the future.


Joyce said...

I can see that last question was made for you : ) I have a really yummy mediterranean chicken recipe I make in my crockpot where the chicken just falls apart too. We love it! Enjoy your day!

April said...

Yes, whole chicken in the Crock Pot is DE-LISH! Wow...I'm very impressed with your craftiness! I'd give anything to be that way, but I'm a work in progress.

Capri K said...

Taxes seem to be on everyone's mind! Happy March!

Debby Ray said...

Thank you for reminding me to cook that chicken in my freezer in the crockpot! :) Interesting answers!

Gattina said...

The things I ) I don't like to don't like to do I always say to myself I will do it tomorrow, lol !

carrie@northwoods scrapbook said...

Hi Ann!

I loved catching up with your HHM (I'm behind this week) - and your hodge podge. ;) I love making chicken stock in the slow cooker. I take the carcass from a roast chicken & add some aromatics and veggies and fill it up with water and put it on low all night long. The next day - strain it and I have perfect stock/broth for soup!

Those starbursts you make are so beautiful! And your plans for the pillow cases and hand stitched things ahead look so Springy. I like to cross stitch, but I'm not good with a sewing machine or other stitching. I'm always envious of quilters too. I just don't have the patience! Lol

Blessings to you and enjoy the rest of your week. xo

Rita said...

Was fun to get to know more about you! Great post. :)

Suzanne McClendon said...

I love oak trees. They are great! There are a great many live oaks in our area. The tornadoes that came through on Valentine's Day morning decided that some of them were no longer necessary to the local landscape and ripped them out of the ground. What a loss. I will be making a clock from a slice of one of the live oaks that got uprooted at the local college. I can't wait to get started!

I love the names you have for your daughters. Very pretty. :)

It sounds to me like you had a very sweet and thoughtful daddy. How wonderfully blessed you were. My daddy new that I liked Elvis and, for my 12th birthday, bought me a load of Elvis albums. That was a great present for me, especially since Elvis died two days before that birthday. What was your favorite craft to experience out of the books that your daddy brought home for you?

Have a blessed day!

David E. McClendon, Sr. said...

Your slow cooked chicken sounds very much like what we do. Suzanne slow cooks the chicken in water. When it is done, she uses the broth to cook rice. Some of the chicken can be used for adding barbecue sauce and eating on sandwiches.

Elizabeth "Libby" Day said...

I so enjoyed getting to know you better by reading your post today. You have indeed led a very interesting life and to see how God has led you all the way in developing your strengths and interests to this point. Your girls are blessed to have such an involved and dedicated mom. The suncatchers are beautiful and you obviously have an eye for detail. I live in the south where there is at least one oak tree in every yard and their huge draping, heavy branches were not only our toys but often a good friend where we shared our most treasured secrets. Thank you for planting those acorns that will one day benefit someone else and instilling the love for God's masterpieces in your girls.

Life SPW said...

You most certainly have some mad crafting skills. I'm a fan of the mighty oak tree also. Thank you for visiting my blog page and for your kind words for my wife. Until next tome...