November 30, 2011

Sewing Projects

I got a craigslist $75 1960s sewing machine and I LOVE it!

My first projects, just to get the feel of the thing and learn to make button holes (!!!) were these gift bags.  I made them from old jeans, remnants, ribbon I had on hand, and buttons I had in my grandmother's sewing basket.  The theory is to stop wasting paper every year, make wrapping a little more stress-free, and maybe even save the planet a little bit.  Hubs is modeling the big one (tee hee).

It's fleece, ribbon, and some buttons.

This one is the old jeans:

And this is Shiloh telling me what she thought of it all:

November 29, 2011

Pink and Turquoise

I am always looking for a new way to wear some of my favorite pieces already in my closet. This outfit led me to dig out a favorite three-quarter length sleeve magenta sweater. I am on the hunt for a turquoise scarf and a neutral, versatile bag now!

How do you renew some of your oldie, but goody winter staples? (It even can work for our tiny tots!)

Earrings via Room of Your Own on Etsy
Style via Pinterest
Children's clothing via Gap

November 28, 2011

Be Still. Be Still? Be Still.

A couple of summers ago, my cousin and I decided that we would begin a new hobby together – Sailing. My Dad was an avid sailor and before he died he left his small butterfly sailboat to me. So my cousin and I decided that we would rig it and take it out on the lake behind our house. Having very little experience with sailboats we did the only thing we could think of in order to learn how to rig and sail it….we googled directions. After first learning the new vocabulary we were able to decode the directions and rig the boat. The boat was rigged and sitting on the grass in the back yard and we were already picturing ourselves as master yachts women. We were already big talkers. My cousin said, “We are going to OWN the wind today.” I responded with a positive, “Yeah we are!” - - - - - - So there we were, master’s of the wind in our minds, the greatest of all theoretical sailors. Then we put the boat in the water, and theory went out the window as we were faced with the reality of actually sailing. Now, we could feel the wind on our faces, we knew it was there, yet we fussed with the lines, we adjusted and readjusted the sail, we changed the direction of the rudder, all the while thinking, “Why aren’t we going anywhere?” So, we paused to regroup and catch our breath, all the fussing was actually exhausting. It was a quiet pause. There were no sounds other than birds and the sloshing of the water against the side of the sailboat. All was still. And then, in a moment of clarity I said, “Wait for it…..Wait for it.” Then with a “whomp” the sail filled with wind and we were moving.
We giggled as we started moving. We realized the flaw in our earlier thinking. We can’t OWN the wind. We can’t control the wind. It is doing its own thing and we had to be patient for it, we had to wait for it. I thought about that old Proverb that we all probably heard many times, yet if you are like me, roll your eyes at, “Patience is a virtue.” We hear it in other ways. Even the ketchup commercials tell us that, “All good things come to those who wait.”

My cousin and I could have fussed and adjusted that boat all night long, when all we really needed to do was, Just be still for a minute and “Wait for it.” After our sails were filled, we could adjust the sail and steer the boat, and together with the wind move the boat.
What is it about patience that is so hard? When are the times in our life when we have to be patient? And WHY do I cringe when someone tellsme to be patient? I have been thinking about these questions recently, and I think that patience is easy to dislike because the moments when we are to be patient are the moments in life that we have no control. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have control I can feel anxious, I can feel fear, I can feel discouragement and sometimes I can feel failure. After all being patient sometimes means that there is nothing for us to be doing other than be still, wait. Well we are a culture of doers not waiters! If we are not doing something then we are lazy…..or are we? Psalm 46:10 says,“Be still, and know that I am God.” What does that mean? Be still? Put my arms down to my side? Relax? Wait? Be vulnerable? “Be still and know that I am God?”

Well, I think for different people it will mean different things. For me, I think that it does NOT mean be lazy, give up, or throw in the towel. I think that Psalm 46:10 encourages us to stop for a minute, breath, take a time out, stand still, find some spiritual serenity amidst the busyness of life and reflect on who God is and what God can do in the face of what we are unable to do. We can set the sail, but God provides the wind. Stand still - not because of self made confidence, not because we are the most composed in the face of disaster, not because “we’ve seen it all.” Rather, be still because of what you know about God. First, maybe you need to ask yourself what you know about God? For me God is the all powerful Creator of the Universe, the All- Present Redeemer, walking with me on the road of life. The road that includes both the hills and the valleys, The All-Knowing Friend that smiles with me in my joys, laughs with me in the funny, and cries with me in the pain. “Be still and know that I am God.”

I pray that knowing helps to find calm when experiencing a sense of chaos, stability when the world feels like it is crumbling, presence when the feeling of being alone is all encompassing, and when the wind is needed to move your boat.

November 27, 2011

Giving Gifts

Personal gifts are usually the best gifts. This pillow is sweet and meaningful. One of these days J is going to teach me to sew!
Pillow via In Between Laundry

November 26, 2011

My Fridge Food

Everyone struggles at some point or another with the question, "What's for dinner?". My Fridge Food is a brilliant website that uses the food your have in your fridge and creates a game plan for you. So if you only have chicken, bacon, and peppers, for example, there are hundreds of recipes to choose from. Not only does it point you in the right direction with a recipe, but there is also nutritional information.


November 25, 2011

The Muppets

I saw The Muppets today with my daughter, mom, and husband. It was great!

I was a bit nervous-- any time they bring back an old classic, I'm skeptical. There's no way it could be as good as my old favorite! Would they keep the essence of humor and joy and friendship that made the Muppets great? Would they cheese it up too much? Not enough?

Jason Segel co-wrote, co-produced, and co-starred in this fun comedy, and I could sense that he grew up loving the Muppets as much as I did.  He combined his contemporary sense of humor with the real essence of the Muppets of the 70s and 80s, complete with Kermit pep-talk on the value of together-ness.

I loved the creative scenarios as Kermit and friends rounded up the old gang to put on another show.  The songs weren't amazing, but they were fun and funny. Amy Adams' character was tough as a science teacher/mechanic and made her relationship demands known, but was underdeveloped and kind of lame.

Over all, I highly recommend the movie-- grab a kid or two if you need the excuse and hit the theater!


November 24, 2011

Veggie Turkey

I'm in charge of appetizers for today... 

This little guy is made of a bowl of dip and a bunch of sliced peppers, celery sticks, baby carrots and broccoli florets. His face is a third of a red bell pepper with a slice in the "face" for a bit of carrot and yellow pepper to be the beak and the... floppy hang-over-the-beak-thing that turkeys have.

This is the side view.

He'll have a partner made from bread. I'll put a bowl of spinach-artichoke dip in the middle of that plate, the same head/neck made from a pepper, and a tail of layered toasted baguette slices.

Eat plenty and be thankful!


November 23, 2011

Ornament Gift Attempt

Hi folks!
So I had this brilliant idea for an ornament- make hand prints on felt with baby's hand and "frame" them with an embroidery hoop to give as gifts to hang on the tree.
Turns out execution was more difficult than imagined.
First: cut squares big enough to hang outside the hoop.

Second: Paint baby's hand and press palm to felt.  Get help!

This is why you need help.

When hand prints were too hard, we decided to try feet.

So cute.

We made 8.
I recommend a more opaque paint and maybe gentler pressure.

I pressed the felt into the embroidery hoop.  It's not what I imagined, but with the nicer ones I can at least give a gift to the grandparents and keep one for us.


November 21, 2011

Good Etiquette - It Is Always Trendy

I love etiquette, and I love dinner parties.
Well this week we find ourselves getting ready for Thanksgiving - A time for a dinner party and a time to sport our good etiquette skills.
For those that think that etiquette is outdated...Well consider this an invitation to be countercultural and set yourself apart from the half doers with some little details that show your guests that you care.
Thanks to blogger, Nancy and her Fork Etiquette, we have a layout of a table setting. I think it is helpful and it will be extra lovely with some Thanksgiving decorations.
What will your table look like this Thanksgiving?

November 18, 2011

In The Kitchen via Wit + Delight

Reading recipes is not always the most entertaining literature. Wit + Delight makes their delicious step-by-step process come to life on their blog. Their easy weeknight recipes are full of healthy ingredients such as kale. Yes, make sure you are eating your leafy, green vegetables for vitamin A, C, and K. Rigatoni w/ Kale & Prosciutto sounds perfect for a cold, grey winter day.

What is your favorite easy weeknight dinner?

November 17, 2011

A Bone to Pick: Household Cleaning Supplies

I've got a bone to pick with the people who market household cleaning supplies. I am really tired of watching well-dressed women dance around their vacuum cleaners and mops with huge smiles on their faces like all they ever wanted to do when they grew up was to have shiny floors. These are NOT real women. Real women sweep and mop their floors with bird's nest hair in their ratty slippers and faded pj's.

These commercials also piss me off because they rarely show men cleaning. My husband cleans, my father cleaned (and cooked), and I want my daughter to expect her future partner to pitch in with the cleaning. I don't think there should be any "his and her chores." I think a home can be happier when it is more egalitarian. And if you both know how to do everything, things can get done when you want them done. Ok, rant done.


November 16, 2011


I haven't been reading much lately. I blame Angry Birds, the little feathery missiles who distract me before bedtime. I held out from joining the fad for a while, but then the hubby got it on his phone. I played till the battery died through first night.

Another fad I avoided for a while was Harry Potter. When it finally took hold I read through the night and called in sick the next day. I'm currently avoiding the Twilight thing. I read the first one via audiobook and the heroine was awfully whiny and not particularly heroic. And the idea that high schoolers were so crazy in love was too much. (Vampires ok, true love in high school totally unrealistic!) I'm not sure that Angry Birds was worth caving, but Harry Potter totally was.

Darwin girls, are the Twilight books/movies worth it?

November 15, 2011

More Then One Way to Use Your Socks

One of the things I love about blogging is that everyone can share imaginative, creative ideas. For example, this blogger shared her secret to creating the perfect ballerina-like bun. It is simple, easy, and free (if you have one of those annoying unmatched socks floating around). 

Have you found a creative use of a household product lately? Stop by and share it with us.

November 14, 2011

B is for Bacon Bowl and that is good enough for me!

Last month T posted a tribute to bacon. This month I would like to add to that tribute with this tasty and elegant bacon bowl salad. Seriously - you will be the talk of the town after your next dinner party if you are serving these.

Thanks to the ideas of: Not Martha - Bacon Cups

November 11, 2011

C is for Cookie

2011 is winding down quickly. I am amazed that it is November already. Like a lot of families, we love to bake cookies at the holidays. Each year standard favorites make an appearance - chocolate chip cookies, fudge, peanut butter kisses - but making something new is also exciting. I have a couple of possibilities on my "must try" list. Do you have a holiday baking tradition? Will you try a new recipe this year?

Lemon Whoopie Pies via Joy the Baker
Carrot Cake Cookies with with Oatmeal Macadamias via Teenie Cakes (Original pin)
Double Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies via Made (Original pin)

November 10, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

... is Autumn!

Autumn includes cooling weather which means I get to wear scarves and sweaters and boots.
Autumn is when I was born! The trees are gorgeous in autumn. Halloween is in Autumn, and Halloween includes my favorite pastime, playing dress-up. (This year I made hats for me and baby so we could be Princess Leia and Yoda, respectively.  We wore white robes.  Hubby was Luke and wore goofy blonde wig and cargos. And Yoda in the Baby Bjorn.) And, last but not least, campfires!
My mom sent me these (from Papmered Chef) for my birthday so I can make s'mores without tromping through the woods to find the perfect stick.

Also in Autumn, I begin thinking about Christmas, which is of course the other Most Wonderful Time. I am thinking about crafts for gifts, decorations, everything! How much time I have to make all these things I'm seeing that look like so much fun... whole 'nother story.
Some ideas:

Garland made from paper circles, modified by using last year's Christmas cards.
Knit ornaments
Rosemary-infused salt.  I'm using rosemary from my garden and calling it Turkey Rub.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Crazy Weekend!

Friday: Baby crawled for the first time! Funny little tummy-army crawl, but crawling nonetheless.
Saturday: Confirmation class camped out in my back yard.
Sunday: Attack of the horrible 24-hour stomach bug from heck!

Gradually made my way to sipping soup and feeling better...

What's you best sick-in-the-stomach remedy/recovery?

It's Evolution, Baby!

One of the reasons why I like the tagline to this blog (evolve with us) is because it captures the notion that we are changing and getting better every day. All of the Darwin girls, even the ones who don't write for the blog, have followed unique paths to self-discovery, and I'm in awe of the women we've become. Each one of us has done something unexpected, suffered pain, encountered deep happiness, and grown intellectually and morally, all while remembering to bring each other along for the ride. What's so beautiful about our evolution is that we are all evolving in different directions, while still deeply respecting and caring for one another. And it is effortless. We know each other's secrets, insecurities, and regrets and know when to let a hug linger just a little bit longer. (Unless it's a hug from A, hers are always uncomfortably long.) So before I drown my keyboard in happy tears, I just want to say that I am thankful for each one of them. I am thankful for their support, kindness, and willingness to evolve with me.

November 8, 2011

Etsy Favorite #2: The Shop at No144

How can you not adore this Etsy Shop? The beautiful fabric flowers and bows are perfect accessories for the holidays.

Fabric Flower Headband - Bright Periwinkle Chiffon Ruffle

Fabric Flower Shoe Clip - Royal Blue Chiffon Ruffle

All images c/o of The Shop at No144

Etsy Favorite #1: Notetrunk

One of these stamps is definitely going to be my next Etsy purchase.

Found via Creative Odds n' Ends
All images c/o NoteTrunk

November 7, 2011

Were The Rolling Stones Right?

"Consumption" - Painting by Julia Sonmi Heglund

When I think of November, I first think about Thanksgiving.
I think that Thanksgiving is the holiday in America that receives the reputation for having the most food. We mark our thankfulness with a feast. I know that when I picture Thanksgiving I picture a table filled with food, and festive drinks - a feast of flavors, and aromas.

This beautiful feast, that takes many hours to prepare, is often devoured quickly and many are left on the couch for the football game and a good nap with pants that seem tighter than when the day began. No matter how much we eat and drink, and how full we make ourselves, many of us will find that we are hungry and thirsty again - maybe a late night turkey sandwich snack is desired!

It is human nature. We will be hungry again. We will be thirsty again. But I am talking about more than a late night snack or our need for basic nutrition. We will always want more! We are consummate consumers! Can we ever be completely and comfortably satisfied?

We have all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." This phrase indicates that what we eat, what we consume, what we bring into our lives, makes a difference in how we feel, how we treat people, and even who we are. What are the things in life that we are consuming? What are we filling our lives with? What images? What activities? What relationships? Do these things really satisfy us? Are they satisfying our deepest needs?

I think that we thirst and hunger for love, intimacy, security, acceptance, and truth. We thirst and hunger for ways to satisfy these needs, but often we make choices, meager choices, that don't really satisfy. Were The Rolling Stones right? - "We can't get no satisfaction, even though we try and we try and we try."

You and I have tremendous choices today, don't we? We choose and choose and we try and try, but our choices rarely stay with us. But….we have a God who chooses us. We have a God that stays with us. God knows the bad choices that we make. God knows our vulnerabilities. God knows our desires and God wants to fill us - fill us with what we truly need. We need that crazy love that can only come from God - a God that breaks into our lives and fills us with the refreshing life giving love and hope that comes through Jesus Christ.

Remember that Jesus was human, deeply human, with the same sets of physical cravings that each of us knows today. Think about this: The creator of the rivers and seas came to be one of us and felt what it was like to need - to be thirsty and hungry. Jesus became human and felt the hurts, the pains, the desires just like we do. We can never say we have a distant larger-than-life figure who would never understand what we feel. God knows. Jesus was one of us. We have a God who knows us more than we can ever imagine; A God who loves us and has given His life so that we can spend eternity with Him; A God who knows what we feel because He has felt these same things; A God who wants to engage in relationship with us in our everyday life. We hear in the Gospel of John, On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

On Good Friday, on the cross, Jesus' thirst is our thirst. "I thirst," Jesus said, and he took the thirst and hunger of the entire human condition to God.That is the truth also revealed on the cross. Of all the endless varieties of ways we humans devise to quench our need to consume, none of them satisfy. The true satisfaction comes from a face-to-face encounter with God. This is satisfaction. The old choices will die. God provides living water. God raises us up to new life, just like God raised up Jesus from the dead, no longer thirsty and hungry, but spilling forth water and blood for the salvation of the world.
We have new life in Christ - a life full of complete satisfaction.


November 4, 2011

New fave blog

I keep up with a bunch of other blogs via Google Reader. One of my newer favorites is ThxThxThx: A Thank You Note A Day.  It's a post-it note with a little thank you note, to a real person or an inanimate object, sometimes a bit sarcastic perhaps, but usually pretty genuine. It's a guaranteed smile a day, and Lord knows we can all use that.


Recipe Friday

For baby's baptism, I asked friends and family to stay for lunch.  Since church was immediately before, and since I work during church (being the minister and all), I had to do something crock-pot-able and quick.  Mexican is a good option-- throw the base and the toppings on the counter and suddenly it's a buffet! Here's how I made the base...
I have to warn you I'm an improv cooker, so I use measurements like "a splash" and "a few."

1. Pour a splash of olive oil in the bottom of the crock pot.  Just enough to keep stuff from sticking. Turn it on high.
2. Add a few boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  How many depends on the size of your crock pot and how many you'll be feeding.  I have one of those big oval crocks, so I put four in there.
3. Dump a can of diced tomatoes over top.  It keeps the chicken moist.
4. In an hour or so, pull out the breasts one by one and slice the chicken.  If it's already cooked through, great! If not, it's going right back in, so no worries. Once they're sliced, throw them back in.
5. Saute a chopped onion.  Or throw it in there raw.  I think there's more flavor when it's cooked, but sometimes easy is more important than perfect.
6. Grab a can or two of black beans.  Drain them, rinse fairly well but leave some of the black sooty stuff.  It adds flavor. Add them to the pot.
7. My favorite ingredient for soups/stews: a bay leaf.  Okay, four bay leaves.  Yum.
8. Add chili powder.  As much as you want, as much as you can handle (or if you're having guests, as much as they can handle). More spice options: garlic, onion salt, salt, pepper.  Add to taste.
9. Cook it till it's bubbly. Stir whenever you want.


  • Replace Chicken w/ ground beef.  Obvi you'd have to cook it first, so you eliminate a lot of time. Cook the onion w/ it to infuse the flavor.
  • Plop in a can of tomato paste. It makes a more saucy base.
  • Add salsa.
  • Add any other veggies you want.  Red and green bell peppers come to mind.  Ooh, and corn!

November 3, 2011


The odds of winning the $245 million Powerball Lotto tonight is 1 in 195 million. So you're still saying I have a chance? Both my husband and I played numbers. Mine were based on the numbers in my most recent fortune cookie. He probably picked numbers that mean something to him. I'm willing to take all of our readers out for gelato right after I pick up the giant check in Tallahassee.

November 2, 2011

The Fart Song

When my daughter is feeling gassy, it can be painful! Bicycling her legs can help, and of course a song makes everything better! Here's the Fart Song, dedicated to my daughter.


November 1, 2011


When I first met the girls I was a bit more reserved…. well, maybe a lot more. Quickly I learned that dressing up in costumes, taking lots of photographs, and choreographed danced routines were the norm. I was happy to embrace all the new traditions. And before you ask, yes we have a theme song with coordinating dance moves.

Lucky for me, my daughter likes to dance as much as I do. We tend to dance to princess songs or The Lion King, but recently we found a new song to enjoy. It was Justin Bieber’s Baby. One day, I am going to document my daughter’s rendition of this song. It is pretty funny.

Another guilty pleasure, in addition to choreographed dance, is watching wedding videos. I don’t even need to know the people. I am, and always will be the sappy, hopeless romantic. So when this video popped up my Google Reader the other day, I had the best of both worlds! Just watch!

aaron+judith surprise performance from studio205films on Vimeo

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