Just a little line to say that I’ve updated the shop with some fun knit and crochet items…more will be on the way next week too.  All the items listed are of a really amazing bamboo cotton blend wool I have fallen in love with!  Its soooo soft, yet really workable – delicious colours too…!  Take a look!

Egg Warmers

Shop Little Wood Bird


There is one VERY small reason I have been MIA for the past few days: Enter Mr/Mrs Julien Haffertee Woodward – the smallest addition to our already small family {also good for our small house}.

Siberian or Campbell's Dwarf? Can anyone tell?

Let’s just say we had some generous neighbours with too many hamsters…  We are very happy to have Julien! : )

Mark and I are into diy.  Well, maybe I could say that I have enough diy-desire for the both of us…although I think Mark {usually} likes to ride along on the project bandwagon…!  I really like the clock featured below…and actually it reminds me of the time I’ve had here in Enlgand.  Can you guess why?

Yep, you guessed it – its always Tea Time in England!  Although neither Mark nor I drink proper tea – its a very real tradition here in this country.  I have enjoyed my time here in England over the last three years…and I am happy to announce that I have gotten my approval for UK citizenship in the last week.  I have given them 3 years, lots of £££ and my paperwork…!  Now all I need to do is swear an oath to Queen Elizabeth II in April and I am in!

I have to say that it really struck me how reassuring it is to have this processed and to know that I have the support of two countries behind me.  And by extension all of the EU – which I now feel is a great advantage.  I have never {strangely} felt that any country has felt like ‘home’ – so maybe for that reason I am especially happy to have dual citizenship.

Anyway, I saw that tea time clock and had to ponder my journey for just a moment and share with you all the delight of becoming English…

I am joining the Pattern Challenge over at Come and See the Seitz and my first goal is to craft the Sweet Pea Pilot Cap for a few of my friends with little squirts around the house!  If you haven’t been to see Meg over at Sew Liberated, I would pop by now and enjoy her many-faceted blog – including topics like simple and green living, Montessori approach, and sewing…  Pick up your own copy of the Sweet Pea Pilot Cap Pattern to stitch up for all the little lovelies in your life.  And see a few more sweet pics of her darling son Finn sporting said cap:

Sweet Pea Pilot Cap, photo via Meg at Sew Liberated

Ooh, I like my new knitting book I picked up yesterday!  Its called Chicks With Sticks: Guide to Knitting…and its a how-to/project and pattern book with ‘more than 30 cool, easy patterns.’  I bought it thinking of Mark and the hankering I’ve had to knit a sweater for ages.  So, I’ve put the two together and will be knitting him a pullover for his birthday in March!  Yay!  He’s in the know, and he thinks its nice because its like a little heirloom {I love that word}.  So!  The wool I purchased alongside the book is Wendy Mode, Double Knitting, %50 Pure Merino Wool + %50 Fine Acrylic in dusty blue {to match his long eyelashed-eyes} and a handsome woody brown {to match his looks}!

The sweater I will be knitting is called ‘Guy’s Tailgate Sweater’ and is a wide-striped crew-neck with a casual fit.  He has one wide-striped thermal that he loves – and really flatters him – so I thought a like-minded, but warmer, sweater was in order!

Oh how I love knitting in the winter!  Time spent inside huddled by the radiator is time well spent with two needles in hand! ; )

Mark and I love to eat…and we love to save money…but how do we reconcile the two together…??  Well, there’s another component that helps us to save in the kitchen – we both love home-cooked meals!  Making some things from scratch has saved us literally hundreds of pounds/dollars each year – and the best part is that its healthy, too!

We have tried to pare down our kitchen cupboard during our three years of marriage – and I think these are the three main ways we have and will save in the long-run:

Porridge Oats/Oatmeal for breakfast each morning.  A 1Kg bag of oats costs 56p and will last the two of us 5 days.  Multiply that across a year and its roughly £40, or about $65.  Compare that to Fruit & Fibre – a basic bran cereal with dried fruit – where a £1.45 box would last the two of us 3 days – a total of £175 {$280} per year!

Porridge Oatsmorning’s porridge with pecans, cinnamon and honey

Hand-baked bread instead of store-bought.  Making a multi-grain whole-wheat loaf at home in our bread-maker costs about 60p compared to £1.20 per similar loaf in the bakery at our grocery store.  Loaves last us from 2-3 days which means over a year that brings our bread consumption to £90 {$145} per year instead of £180 {$290}.  We’ve been grateful for a new bread-maker that we were given for free – but even if you bought one, it should pay for itself in a year.  So we save – and we love the bread {and its wonderful aroma}!

Oaty Bread

Grains, legumes and pulses in place of some meats.  This one is a little harder to calculate – but based on the prices of each – 8p for 2 servings of Crabeye {Pinto}beans compared to £2-3 for 2 servings of ground beef, we save £2 per meal and have the health benefits of eating high-fibre beans.  If you do this twice a week you end up saving £200 {$320} per year.  This is just a rough calculation – but you can experiment yourself with different grains to get the most savings with your tastes and needs.

Crabeye {Pinto} Beans

That’s somewhere around £425 {$680} each year we save just from making small, consistent changes to our eating lifestyle.  How are you working toward a frugal + healthy kitchen cupboard?  Share your ideas – I would love to hear them!

Smelling the rosesHere’s the second in my series on Ruth.  As I mentioned before my goal is not to find answers but to ask questions that will help me to engage with this very interesting story…  Feel free to add any other questions of your own or any insights/answers you may have.

Ruth 1:2

The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there. {Ruth 1:2}

Question Time

Family Ties?

What do the names Elimelech and Naomi mean?  Were they common names in the time?  Did Elimelech or Naomi have much extended family?  Where were they living?  How would they have felt about them moving?   Would they have moved with them?  What were the customs for families in that time – did they live close to the wife’s family or the husband’s?
What do Mahlon and Kilion mean?  Would they have been close to each other – ie friends?  Would they have depended more on each other or their parents for support during the move to Moab?  Would they have made friends along the way?
What is an Ephrathite?  How many were a part of this tribe?  What set them apart?  What were the common stereotypes of this tribe?  How did this tribe originate – did they have any closely related tribe?  Would they have looked the part – unique clothing, accessories, facial features, body build, or other external appearance?  Would it have been an easy or hard life as an Ephrathite?  What sorts of things did they deal with on a day to day basis?  Did they integrate well into their surrounding culture in Bethlehem?  Would they settle well into their new culture in Moab?  What types of stress would this bring to the family?  How would they cope?  Would they be persecuted for their differences?  Or would cultural difference be a normal encounter in Moab?
When they ‘settled’ in Moab – what sort of accommodation would they have had?  What was a typical Moabite’s house like?  Would it have been much different to and Ephrathite’s?  If much different, would Elimelech and Naomi  choose to use this style of house – or a similar one from their homeland?  Where would that decision put them socially?  How much pressure in everyday life would cause them to choose the path of least resistance in regard to assimilating?  Could they join a community of ‘foreigners’ who chose to live separately – with a general acceptance that they would all be different, even from each other?  How would their sons cope with the attitudes about different customs?  Would this add to their parents’ pressure?
Two girls by the river

Allowing others to see you

Have you ever thought of how you are viewed by others?  What does someone pick-up about me from talking to me?  Unfortunately (or maybe ‘fortunately’), I don’t read minds.  But I wonder if the things people see in me match my character, beliefs or even the mood I happen to be in when I have a conversation with them.

Unfortunately (and this time I mean it), I allow myself to hide my true self from others in the thinking that I will connect better with them if I maintain the image that I perceive they want to see in me.  Or perhaps its that if I let them see that part of me I can never attain the (so-called) perfection I so desire.  However, this is not how to connect with people – and actually, I don’t know how I managed that idea in the first place.  I guess it boils down to fear.

My dearest friends have known for years my need to be authentic with them on every level.  But that has only been shared with a very select few.  Even starting this blog has revealed that I struggle to be authentic except with the few I trust – and its as though I undergo a peeling back of layers as I gradually feel safe in sharing my life in the open.

I believe that authenticity is critical to a full life.  And although I have developed bad habits – I am determined to share my life with others so that I can embrace compassion towards others as I reveal that I, too, am imperfect.

Smell the roses

Asking questions to bring a story into full bloom

Do you ever feel like you have more questions than answers?  Well, when it comes to the Bible – I always have more questions than answers…  And actually, that’s what I sat down to do today.  I asked some questions about the book of Ruth.  I didn’t really ask anyone in particular but rather opened my mind to the details behind this intriguing story.

A dear mentor of mine challenged me a while back to read the word of God with questions: Why? being the main one.  I find that when I start with that simple question my mind goes very quickly to many, many more – and before I know it, I’ve got a real hunger to know more about the people in Bible times.

I think that one challenge we face in our culture is whether its ok with not having all the answers.  Is it ok to be open-minded about God’s holy word?  I have found that asking questions is an approach to life that I want to incorporate more regularly in each day – because I know I certainly don’t have all the answers.

So, without further ado – or rambling – here are the many questions I thought up whilst reading the first verse in Ruth 1.

Ruth 1:1

In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.

Question Time
Who were the judges and when did they rule? Who could be a judge?
Why were there judges? What areas of life did they judge?
What did the judges do? Were they like the Kings who were appointed because of the peoples’ desire for human authority?
Why do we need to know about this for this story?
What were the cultural implications: What was the structure of the judges in terms of authority over the land?  What areas of life did they judge? What would have people felt about the judges?  Was it only the Jews who were under the authority of the judges?  Would others have respect for them?  Were there those who agreed with the judges and those who didn’t?
How severe is a ‘severe famine’? What did a famine mean for a normal, middle of the road farmer? What did it mean for poor or wealthy people? What action did people often take to survive a famine? Spiritual actions or practical or both?  What is the geographical location like? What type of life were they used to in normal times with moderate weather and conditions?
How far is Bethlehem from Moab? How often did people move house, village, city or nation at this time? How far in advance did they have to make this decision? Would they stay somewhere along the way? How would the journey have affected everyone in his family? Did his wife take care to bring all the things they needed for the journey – or was that someone else’s job? How would they have been accepted in Moab? Would it be easy to find/build a new home? How would the man find work? What would be the normal load of responsibility for each member? How would they have felt being moved from their home – relief to be away from the famine, or afraid of the new/foreign territory and whether they’d assimilate well – or both – or more/different? How would the man have dealt with the feelings/fears of his family? What could have changed his mind to keep them in Bethlehem? Would he have ‘consulted’ God – committed it to God – what was the perceived view on decisions as these? Did he depend on the law, practicality, feelings, fleeces, or lots – or something else? How old were his sons? Did his sons have an understanding about how this would affect their lives? What did their parents tell them to help them accept the move?

That was just from one little, tiny verse.  And only the questions from one little, tiny person.  I am sure you or anyone else would have different questions when looking at a text like this.  I hope, however, that these questions provoke you to look for yourself about what significance the story of the Bible has.  Feel free to use mine for your own study…but I challenge you to find your own questions and let the story become alive through your own unique questions.


Photo Credit

A couple days ago I had an adventure in the kitchen making a pasta dinner!  I love pastas that are mostly dry, with a touch of olive oil and amazing vegetables and spices…  So here’s a quick pasta recipe for you!

grilled vegetable pasta – serves 2, prep and cook time: 30 minutes


180g Whole Wheat pasta of choice
Water to cover pasta
1 T. Mixed herbs – Italian
Half large green and red bell peppers, sliced to 1/4″ pieces
Courgette (zucchini) sliced to 1/4″ pieces (and bite sized length)
3 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. Cooked tuna or 1/2 tin of tuna or cooked salmon, optional
1/4 C. Grated cheddar cheese, optional

In a saucepan, bring pasta and mixed herbs to a boil and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put oil, garlic, salt and pepper into a medium mixing bowl and toss in vegetables until well covered.  Place the vegetables on your grill on foil evenly and not overlapping under a medium-high heat for roughly 15 minutes (keep an eye on these and turn foil to prevent over-browning if necessary).  Toss your tuna in the bowl previously used for tossing the vegetables and pop that in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds just prior to serving your dinner.  Serve hot and top with grated cheese for extra goodness!  Enjoy!

Our Little Family

today at the nest

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