About Annie

Welcome to the Curious Mind Garden. My name is Annie, and this is my little patch of cyberspace. I record and write about things that interest me, and I'm never sure what might appear in the future. :)

Project Check-in: Blueberry Bliss Afghan

(If you have been getting an obnoxious number of alerts for posts entitled “testing,” I’m working behind the scenes on Curious to improve the design and one widget in particular. I think I’m done.)

I also thought it was time to show my afghan progress. In a way, it comes as a surprise for me, too, because I usually work with it balled up on my lap, so I don’t see its actual size.

Not too bad!

This afghan makes me chuckle. I bought this kit sometime during the first half of last year and unpacked it at the beginning of the summer. Since I need my knitting and crochet projects to be portable, I always carry two or three balls of yarn and leave the rest at home. School let out, and I made an initial stab at the pattern, then put it aside because other things took precedence. I returned to it this past winter break with a vengeance and flew through the three balls of yarn in my bag pretty quickly. Because I don’t check the size too often and I often make small lap or baby blankets, I thought I was pretty much done. That is, until I opened my stash for something else and found nine more balls of yarn awaiting me. So, maybe not as close to done as I originally thought. Good thing I am genuinely enjoying this pattern!

Soup Weather

Right now, the weather seems to be alternating between very, very wet and very, very cold here in my part of the Pacific Northwest, making the perfect time for homemade soup. My middle son picked the New York Times’ Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens. Given that my oldest son could exist almost solely on lentil soup, I figure this one might be a hit.

This was incredibly easy to prepare because I took the simpler option of only browning the sausage, and not the garlic, onions and spices. In making a double batch, because, well, teenagers, I used an entire bag of Costco’s organic power greens, rather than the five cups of greens per batch as stated in the recipe. To avoid added fat, I used Italian turkey sausage, instead of pork. Finally, I used red lentils instead of black beluga because that was what was available, and I had to half the chicken stock and add water because I ran short of stock.

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens

I think it turned out well. However, in the future, I will add potatoes to the recipe to add more substance to the soup for the growing, therefore consistently ravenous, younger members of my family.

In Search of Olive Hummus

For years, my mom has eaten hummus. Not any hummus, mind you, but Whole Foods’ 365 brand olive hummus. She tried others, many others in fact, but that is the only one she likes. Unfortunately, shortly after Amazon bought Whole Foods, the olive hummus disappeared. Since then, I’ve been searching for a substitute without luck.

Until last week, that is, when the New York Times posted this 5-Minute Hummus Recipe.

Olive Hummus

With the addition of approximately 20 Kalamata olives, I got a Mom-approved version of olive hummus with very little effort. That said, I will up the garlic and lemon juice and cut the tahini significantly on my next on my next attempt.

Not a huge victory, but my mom is happy, and that makes it a victory, nonetheless.

Latest Project: Herrschner’s Blueberry Bliss Crochet Afghan

For some time, I’ve been looking for a project that I could make work in what appears to be one of the busiest times of my life, thanks to an already bustling family life and the addition of a newly acquired house. I needed something portable and fairly forgiving of errors if my attention strayed. Since we are in the darkest time of year here in the Pacific Northwest, something with some rich color seemed requisite. The soothing sense of soft fiber in my hands and the gentle repetition of the stitch pattern seemed to make knitting or crochet ideal.

Since we are on winter break from the college and the alternative school, I finally got some time to raid my stash and found this nice, little project:

Blueberry Bliss Afghan

So far this afghan has proved to be just the ticket, even in the midst of the craziness. It just goes to show that there is always a way to find time for a little bit of creating.

Review: The Soul’s Slow Ripening

The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the SacredIn 2007, Christine Valters Painter and her husband, John, made their first visit to Ireland and in 2012, made the choice to move to Galway. There, this bestselling author of The Artist’s Rule and Illuminating the Way and online abbess of the Abbey of the Arts became immersed in Celtic spirituality. From that experience comes The Soul’s Slow Ripening. Here, Painter presents twelve Celtic practices, such as the practice of thresholds, soul friendship, and walking the bounds, to help the reader discern God’s invitation. Each practice is broken into sections: a discussion of the practice as a path of discernment, an appropriate Irish saint, a scriptural reflection, practices which include photographic and written explorations, and a closing blessing. For those who wish to delve deeper, Painter includes additional instruction on contemplative photography and lectio divinia and a list of Celtic Christian spiritual resources. For those looking for a fresh perspective to enliven their spiritual journey, The Soul’s Slow Ripening provides twelve, thought-provoking opportunities.

(Book received from Ave Maria Press.)


Review: Anchors for the Soul

Anchors for the Soul: Daily Wisdom for Inspiration and GuidanceFor over thirty years, Joyce Rupp, O.S.M., has provided insightful, inspiring spiritual guidance through her writing, retreats, and conferences. Indeed, her lengthy list of bestselling books creates a testament to the lifetime Rupp has spent helping others seeking the Divine in their lives. Now, Kathy Reardon has compiled in Anchors for the Soul  prayers, poems, blessings, and meditations drawn from Rupp’s works to create daily readings for inspiration and guidance.

This is the perfect book for both those familiar with Rupp and those just discovering her. For those who have already found comfort or inspiration in Rupp’s work, Anchors offers a daily way to pause for a moment and connect with the Source, all in a book small enough to carry in a purse or satchel. Reardon also thoughtfully included a subject matter index for those seeking direction or solace on a particular topic. Those new to Rupp will have the additional opportunity to discover her other works because each daily reading contains a citation to the book and page of Rupp’s work from which it was drawn. In sum, Anchors for the Soul is a wonderful find.

(Book provided by Ave Maria Press.)