Mamas Who Inspire



Sourdough on blue cornmeal.  Breakfast.
Sourdough on blue cornmeal. Breakfast.

Joining Taryn of WoolyMossRoots for her Gratitude Sunday:

-Very glad to have a little free time to return to blogging, and catch up on some of my favorite blogs.

-And grateful to return to some much-beloved routines and habits (like baking bread nearly every day, knitting, reading aloud to the kids in the afternoon, making pickles).   IMG_8471-Grateful for the intense and much-needed rain this week, followed by a bolt of growth all over the gardens.

-Feeling very blessed to have such kind and thoughtful neighbors, who lavish such unconditional love on my kids.

George, almost two. On his push bike.
George, almost two. On his push bike.

-Bittersweet to see my youngest, who is suddenly full of independence and strong opinions, outgrowing some of his baby-ness as he edges up to his second birthday.  However, it is exciting to see him take on new things and discover words and concepts every single day.

-And of course, on this Father’s Day weekend, grateful for Casey, who is a dedicated and loving father.  He reads the kids adventure stories every night, whittles bows and arrows for the girls, builds Lego monsters with Hal, and gives his kids a childhood full of rich, imaginative play.

Hope you have a peaceful and restorative Sunday and a good start to your new week.

Yarn Along – Rhythm of the Home

I have a piece in the new issue of Rhythm of the Home .  It just came out today!   Hope you get a chance to read and try out the recipe – it is a family favorite.

The entire issue is packed with beautiful, thoughtful and instructive articles from such talented women.  From felted sweater garlands to meditations on homeschooling in the winter months to Waldorf doll shoe instructions..Rhythm of the Home always puts out a great edition!

Obviously, for the reading portion of Ginny’s Yarn Along, this morning I’m reading through the new issue of Rhythm of the Home.  For the “yarny” portion, and for Nicole’s KCCO, I’m starting a pair of socks (yarn on the right), out of Brown sheep sock yarn seconds I purchased several years ago (still de-stashing!).

Also in the works is wrapping up some spindle spinning.  The fiber is Brown Sheep mill end bits and pieces, 85% wool, 15% mohair.  I am doing my best to spin worsted weight singles, but I find it very difficult, since I have been spinning for a number of years, and my hands want to spin fingering weight.  I am hoping to turn the yarn into a little knitted panda toy for George, although, part of me is tempted to make another vest

We have company coming this morning, and then the kids and I are in full Christmas-crafting mode today.  We’re hoping to finish up our lessons before lunch, so we can play with some needle felting (making ornaments!) before Girl Scouts this afternoon.

Blessings on your day!

A good, quiet morning


…reading a few chapters in Ann Voskamp’s book before the children were up…

…enjoying granola in the breakfast nook after morning chores, watching chickens, ducks mucking happily around the yard  (Cran-Walnut Granola recipe at the bottom)


…quilting for a neighbor’s baby, due in 2 weeks, while the children had breakfast.

A welcome reprieve before tackling the general chaos of the day.

Larksong’s Cranberry Walnut Granola

Preheat oven to 325F, and get out two large jellyroll pans.

In a large bowl, combine:

6 cups old fashioned oats

2 cups unsweetened, unsulfured coconut

1 cup wheat germ

1 heaping cup sesame seeds

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1-2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

pinch of sea salt

In a saucepan, on med-heat, combine 1  cup of honey, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1 cup veg oil (I use 1/4 cup hazelnut oil, 3/4 cup veg oil), and heat until warm and honey is thin.  Stir vigorously, and then pour over dry ingredients.

Toss all until combined, then spread over two sheets and bake 20 min.

Remove from oven, stir, scraping around the edges especially, since they will brown first.

Return to oven, and bake approx 20-25 min more, scraping and stirring granola every 5-7 min to prevent scorching in parts.

When granola is dark, toasty, and fragrant, remove from oven and immediately stir in 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries.  While granola is still hot, transfer to a glass or other nonstick bowl, or granola will stick to sheets as it cools.  When totally cooled, break up with a fork and put in sealed jars to keep crisp.  Will keep 1 month, but ours is eaten up in less than a week.

(Cost comparison: similar granola at New Seasons Market – $8.99/lb.   Estimated cost of homemade – about $2.50/lb (all items purchased in bulk to cut costs considerably, except walnuts, which were gleaned from a friend’s tree.)

Sewing Service – “It’s a Girl Thing”


I’ve been given permission to put up a section of a recent post from Andrea’s blog, Babe of My Heart:

Every month, I have to deal with what most girls deal with…a monthly cycle. Sorry if that’s too personal to say–but it should come as no surprise to you. I take for granted that every month I stock up on the things I need…and I can get them in any size, weight and style I would like. And not only that–I complain about my cramps. I complain that I am a bit inconvenienced and I remind my husband that he is lucky to be a boy and he doesn’t have to endure such hardship each month.

SO…let me ask you this—what do you think the women and young girls of Korah do during this time? What will it be like for the hundreds of girls who are (praise GOD!) being sponsored to leave Korah this Fall and go to a boarding school? What will they do as they try to sit in class during this time? What do the woman and girls we support in Zambia do?


Well, let me tell you what they do. They squat. They wait for their week to end. On their heavy days, some roll up newspapers and make their own tampons. Many get infections. The infections make their parents and husbands think they have STDs and they endure being left or abused. Some use a single piece of old clothing–and when it’s soiled–they rinse it and use it again…although it’s still wet—it’s some what clean.

Did you know that in Africa the dropout rate for for young girls in school is 40% when they have no sanitary supplies? BUT when they are provided them–it rises to just 8%?

What can we do about it?


Andrea, and also  Sarah at Titus Home, have put out a call, and given us a practical way to help these girls – they are encouraging ladies around the country to have sewing parties and make washable feminine products to be sent to these girls and young women in Ethiopia and Zambia.

So, if you’d like to take up the challenge, and spend a few hours in service to these young women (and make a concrete difference in their lives!), I’d like to invite you to join me

on September 25 · 9:00am – 12:00pm

at Central Bible Church

8815 NE Glisan St

Portland, OR
for a morning of sewing, to put together as many washable feminine kits as we can, to be sent to these young women October 1.

WHAT TO BRING: your sewing machines, sergers, cutting mats, scissors, rotary cutters, thread, old towels or flannel sheets (for batting). Any spare velcro, snap closures you might have.

WHAT IS PROVIDED: patterns, ALL FABRIC, a few extra sewing machines and sergers. Coffee, snacks and CHILDCARE.


Last night, I made a sample kit today using the pattern supplied by The Red Tent Project.  The kit consists of 5-6 envelopes, each with snap closures, and half with leakproof PUL, for heavy days (see above).  It also includes 4 thick, “maxi” pads (see below), which unfold for easier drying on the line,  and 8 regular pads (see 2nd picture in this post),  which can be doubled up if needed.

If you are interested in making kits, but are unable to attend on the 25th, please e-mail me at, and I will send you the pattern and instruction details, as well as shipping addresses.  Or, if you prefer, select a pattern you like from the internet.  They are requesting that you use bright or dark print fabric, and prefer foldable inserts, since thicker pads and AIO designs do not dry well on the line.


To round out the kits, we are sewing a drawstring bag for all of the pieces, and attempting to collect 2-3 pair of new undies to include, as well.  If you might like to contribute to the project by donating funds for new undies, please contact me at the above e-mail address.  Thanks!


Princess and the Pea


We’re back in our old stomping ground – on the Central Oregon Coast – this weekend.  Some dear friends are having a cider pressing party, and we wouldn’t miss it for the world.  The weekend trip is also a gift to my dear husband, who celebrates his birthday today!  So, we’re staying in a yurt on Beverly Beach and I have promised the girls roasted marshmallows over the campfire.  (I hope to write a bit about our trip when we return home.)

We wanted to bring a little something for our friends who are hosting the party – she was the girls’ preschool teacher, with an amazing gift for connecting and communicating with young people – I learned SO much about relating to my own kids from watching her and feel very grateful the girls could have her for their preschool teacher and friend.   So, we decided to make something for her classroom -  a Princess and the Pea playset.


We used Soule Mama’s playset (and also Tree Fall Design’s) as a launching point, but used a fall color scheme and scaled it down, so little hands could hold the pieces more easily.   I also added a lined drawstring bag in which to store the set.


The girls and I selected fall colored fabrics from my fat-quarters stash, and whipped up some mattresses, a blanket and pillow.


We originally thought of making a paper doll, but the girls and I decided to make a cloth doll instead, since we had the fabric and the time.  Now, I am absolutely not a skilled doll maker, so she’s a little rough, but Little Hen helped pick out the fabrics from the scrap bag, and helped me fashion her hair out of some merino roving, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

She’s all cotton, except for the hair, her vest, and the stuffing, which are all wool – oh, and a little bit of velvet trim on her skirt.


The pea, made of felted roving.



The princess gets tucked in, but oh, she can’t get any rest – she tosses and turns all night! That pesky pea!


The girls and I had SO much fun making this set, and I hope to make one for Firecracker (whose favorite fairy tale is this one) as a Christmas gift.   It was joy to make something for Teacher Linda – we have been so blessed to know her, and definitely stitched our love and gratitude into every piece of this play set.

I hope you have a perfect autumn weekend – I know we’ll be pressing cider in the coastal drizzle and enjoying the company of truly exceptional folks  – definitely a perfect autumn weekend if you ask me!

Wooden Bowls


Yesterday’s thrifting yielded these three child-sized wooden dishes (Other finds – two prairie bonnets for the girls for 75 cents each, and an April Cornell baby dress for a friend’s little girl for $1.50!  I also picked up a like-new Maya Wrap for $2, but it’s a size M and a bit short for my tall frame – if anyone in the Portland area would like it, send me an e-mail at angela dot baker dot knits at gmail dot com, and it’s yours!).  The larger bowl and the plate were 25 cents each and the smaller bowl (with a teensy chip in the rim) was 12 cents!!  I LOVE my local thrift store!!




These dishes were all handmade right here in Oregon out of myrtle wood with a wax finish.  Little Hen remarked right away on the beautiful grain in the larger bowl.

On the topic of beautiful wooden things – two mamas who always are so inspiring with their pictures and thoughts that capture the beauty of childhood moments – Grace at Uncommon Grace, and Shelley at Waldorf Mama.   Grace posted a while back about her children polishing wooden objects with beeswax polish.   The reason this post stuck in my mind is because of the purpose behind it – Grace says, “And, best of all, polishing is such a relaxing activity for my children, especially in the ‘witching hour’ right before dinner.” We are always searching for purposeful things to occupy the children that often-frustrating time of day, and this activity seems like something my girls would enjoy doing very much!

Shelley has shared some pictures of her daughter Maya’s  wooden child’s dishes by Heartwood Arts.      Her posts have inspired us to slowly transitioning from plastic play dishes to wooden ones (Little Hen especially oohs and ahhs over Maya’s lovingly handcrafted toys and playthings).   She has such a way of emphasizing the benefit of natural materials in children’s lives.  It’s been fun to hunt the thrift stores for pieces to add to our growing collection.  Now to find some little wooden spoons…

What natural treasures have you been discovering lately?

(Please visit my giveaway post – comments will close at 11pm Pacific this evening.  Thanks!)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam


Well, I went and added to the long list of jams to make this summer.   After seeing Dianne’s,  Mary’s, Amanda’s, and especially Jayne’s, I couldn’t help myself.   I got up extra early to get the jam made before anyone woke up, and wouldn’t you know it,  somehow we’re mysteriously out of narrow jar lids!!  ACK!  So, with the fruit prepped, and sugar measured, I’ve got to run out to the store for lids.


So after a slice of strawberry cake to go with my coffee (cake is breakfast food, right?), and a trip to the store, maybe I’ll get this jam finished!


Tomorrow – Strawberry-Banana Jam!

Toy Daydreaming


The Palumba catalog came today.  The girls and I poured over it, dreaming and wishing and talking over everything in its pages.


The child-sized domestic items were a favorite – especially the clothespins and clothesline and the ironing set.


Most days, Little Hen seems to be wrapped up in pretending to be Susan Pevensie, so she was quick to point out the bow and suction-cup arrow set.


Firecracker was partial to the pirate chest and treasure set.  (Yes, she’s my naturist in the making – prefers to run around in just her undies whenever she can get away with it).

I was oohing and ahhing over the playstands and the wooden bowls and spoons.  I’ve been keeping my eye out on Craigslist for the former.  Maybe I’ll come across some someday that fit our budget, but for now we make do with kitchen chairs and blankets.

A few other places full of beautiful, natural, lovingly made playthings that stimulate learning and the imagination – Waldorf Mama, Little Seedlings, Mamaroots, Red Dirt Mother, Little Jenny Wren, Buntspeckte, Bamboletta,  Waldorf Home Flickr Pool.

And my ultimate dream of a playspace for the children (from Little Seedlings).

Who inspires you to dream of childhood’s creative play?

Jam Sandwich Cookies


A  simple sugar cookie recipe, made into sandwiches, some filled with homemade raspberry-lime jam, some with apricot preserves.


I am so inspired by A-Friend-to-Knit-With‘s Cookie of the Week.  I have made several of her recipes, but our favorite -  her chewy peanut-butter cookies (I’ve made them more often than I should admit!).

While I don’t make cookies every week, some weeks we make 2 or 3 kinds!  In general, I’m more of a cake and pie girl, but children love cookies – the baking and the eating – so we make time (and room in our tummies!) for them.

Felted Tomten

We have continued to enjoy reading The Tomten the past week or so, and we were so inspired by Mamaroots’ little collection that we decided to make some ourselves.  The girls each have one, and have already scurried them away to their room before I could snap a picture.

This little guy will be going to a certain big brother whose baby sister was born on Christmas Eve.  His mama sends the girls the best Waldorf goodies, so I figured her son might like a little Tomten for his winter nature table.

The snow has all melted in Portland, and the children and I are looking forward to heading out to Florida tomorrow.  Grandma and Grandpa are anxiously awaiting our arrival.  My next post will be full of sunshine!   Yay!

A Little Cheer Up

Little Hen has been hit with a yucky stomach bug, and Tum Tum is cutting his first tooth, so it’s been a bit of a rough day around here.  To cheer everyone up and to ease Little Hen back into food with something gentle on the tummy, I made Blue Yonder’s Daily Bread.  (I was out of bread flour, so I used unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 Tbsp gluten.) 

The results? Easy and delicious.  We ate half a loaf in one sitting!  This recipe is a keeper. Thanks, Blue Yonder, for the inspiring recipe.


Wishing you a cheer-up in your afternoon, if you need one, too!

Fruit of the Spirit

First – Ninny Noodle Noo is having a giveaway for 3 Ostheimer chickens. Check it out here!!

About a year ago, I read on a gentle Christian mothering blog (can’t remember whose), about a wonderful parenting tool.  She and her daughter learned the verse:

Galatians 5:22-23 (English Standard Version)


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When her daughter had a difficult time with her behavior, her mama would ask her which fruit she might be needing “a bite of”, and they would pray and ask God to help her develop that fruit.

I thought this was such a wonderful idea, that Little Hen and I made our own cards with one “fruit” per card.  This is how she’s decided to use them – she’ll be in a really grouchy mood, and she’ll come to me with “peace” and “joy” tell me that she needs some of each.  Then we’ll talk about how how she’s feeling and if she wants to she’ll pray about it, if not, usually a long moment in a “squeezy hug” will give her that peace she’s needing.

This week, we were waiting in line at the library, and I watched her pull the cards out of her bag, thumb through, find “patience”, and look at it (meditate on it?) until we got to the front of the line.    

 It’s a great way for Little Hen not only to strive to develop those good character traits, but also simply as a communication tool, to let the cards speak for her when she has trouble expressing her needs. 

Little Hen Fall 2008

Love you, my sweet, sensitive girl.  And thank you, gentle Christian mama, for your super idea.  If I find your blog again, I will bookmark it!

Inspiring Unschoolers

Our Nature Table - Summer 2008
Our Nature Table - Summer 2008

I am so inspired by unschoolers, like Amanda, but find that I still need a little bit more structure to feel that my kids are learning what they’re “supposed to learn”.  About two-thirds of our day is spent in free play, crafts, and books of their choosing, and I weave lessons into their interests.  However, I just can’t let go of those set lesson plans for some writing and math.

Nature Table Closeup Summer 2008
Nature Table Closeup Summer 2008

I continue to draw inspiration from mamas like Grace, Sara, Denise, Shelley.  Thank you, ladies.