Thursday, November 8, 2012

Legislating Morality

I have heard the argument that we should not legislate morality.  What then, is law, if not some form of legislating morality?  In some foreign countries, speed limits are not enforced.  It is not believed that speeding is wrong.  In our country, it is believed that speeding is dangerous and, in a sense, wrong, and therefore legislation has been produced that sets a monetary penalty.

There is the argument that laws are being broken all the time, and so we should relax them or even repeal them, gaining some sort of fiscal or carnal benefit from changing them, rather than continuing to fight the problem.

To me, this is like allowing my child to continue to yell at me because she will not stop.  In my house, it is the rule that my children should not shout or speak rudely to me.  This does not mean it stops.  Sometimes they yell very hurtful things at me, but I forge on, asking them to be respectful because I know someday they will be put into society and should show honor for others.

In the same way, I believe that it is good and well to continue to attempt to legislate morality.  I love our country for this: that we are willing to attempt boundaries around things that may produce potential issues between our citizens, may cause harm to our citizens, or may inhibit their inherent freedoms.

I love that we as a country have the freedom to argue, debate intelligently, respectfully agree or disagree, and then to vote on these issues without fear of reproach.  I believe it is good and healthy to legislate morality, especially if it is done in a fair and democratic way.  We should not be afraid to stand by our convictions and to vote accordingly.  It is the only way our law can truly reflect the heart of our nation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A needle felted Lalaloopsy!

Her wool Lalaloopsy and her store bought Lalaloopsy are best buddies

My most wonderful niece turns three this week.  Her birthday party was Saturday, and I still hadn't been able to get to the store to get what I had planned for her.  I know that she loves Lalaloopsy dolls, which are from a tv show for children about little rag dolls and their adventures.  You can buy these plastic dolls at pretty much any store, so it was easy to find pictures online.

I am not a great seamstress, so I got out the wool and the felting needles, and my daughter and I made her a doll.  Being the ever wise wise 6 year old, she said, after having complained that what we were doing was impossible: "Nothing's impossible until you try it."  Those are some insightful words that I hope she takes even a step further, trying things again, even when she fails the first time.  I hope that the completion of this task will help her to remember to always question the "impossibility" of each hard thing she encounters in life.

The doll was not perfect in any sense.  In fact her legs fell off soon after we gave my niece the doll because I had forgotten to sew the pants to the body!  She is not well felted because we worked on her so quickly, but I think it is the idea and the love that went into it that counts.  It is the fact that we saw what seemed rather insurmountable, and did it anyway because we love my niece.

Here are a few pictures, so you might try it if you're ever inspired.

We started with the head.  I carded some goat hair I had dyed with Hawaii red dirt,  rolled it into a somewhat dense ball, then needlefelted like crazy.  In the future, I would use only sheep's wool for this, because the soft goat hair doesn't felt as readily.  For the legs and arms, we carded batts the size of the hand carders we have, then rolled them lengthwise and width-wise respectively, in order to get the correct length.  I took some extra fiber off the batts for the arms.  Saraiah shaped the feet and I shaped the hands.  After that, it was needle felting like crazy.

I took a batt of blue wool and shaped it like the Lalaloopsy hair, needle felting lines for the strands.  For the braids on either side of her head, I braided in tact locks of wool then felted them to the head.
The first thing she did with the doll was to allow her legs to hang, bouncing her up and down, just like the dolls on the show.  The doll isn't this green. It's just the way the lighting of the room showed up on camera.
We felted dark wool foor the button eyes, taking a strand and needle felting it out for the eyelashes.  A thin piece of wool made the mouth.  The Cheeks were little tufts of pink wool.  For the socks and shoes, we felted white wool around the foot, then felted pink wool around the foot in the shape of some maryjanes.  The body is made of a big roll of wool that comprises two carder sized batts, needle felted into a cylindar.  I took some old bratz and moxygirl clothes, and some doll bloomers for the clothes and sewed them on.  I stiched the legs to the bloomer legs and forgot to stitch the pants to the body.  That's all!  I forgot ribbons for her hair.  Maybe if I get her back for repairs, I can add those on!
Princess Lalaloopsy

Easy Applesauce

Harvest time is a crazy time of year for many people I know.  For me, spending days doing applesauce just isn't really feasible when I'm trying to launch the homeschool year, send the bigs off to public school, do extra curricular activities, do photo shoots for people, put in a fall garden, keep goats, dog and chickens out of said garden, and somehow do something with all the other things I've either picked or purchased for preserving.

There are some abandoned old apple trees on the neighboring property to ours, so we harvest from them each year.  The apples usually are picked right around when the frosts start hitting, and I invariably pick them too early, so that they are sour.  Then I'm sad and jaded and let them sit.  This year, the apples sat for a month or so before I was able to begin to take care of them today.  They were soft and overripe, but perfect to turn into applesauce.

Here's all I did:

*Preheated oven to 350 degrees
*Washed all the apples
*Culled rotten apples and cut out bad spots
*Chopped all the apples with an apple slicer
*Filled oven safe dishes with 1/2 inch water
*Filled dishes with sliced apples, seeds, stems, cores, scabs and all
*Baked for about 20-30 minutes, or until they were very soft
*Set up my kitchenaid mixer with the sieve/grinder attachment
*Scooped baked apples into grinder, leaving cooking water behind, then smooshing them down into grinder.  The icky stuff, like skin and stems gets "pooped" out, according to my kids, leaving just good saucy applesauce behind.
*I let the applesauce cool and bagged it in quart bags for the freezer.  I didn't add sugar because the apples were already so sweet and didn't cook them anymore on the stove top because they had cooked in the oven.  You may choose to cook and season it on the stove top, then freeze or can it.  This is my lazy girl method, and my kids seem to be very happy with it.  Applesauce is applesauce!

Apples before baking
Apples after baking
If you don't have a kitchen aid, you might look for a food mill, which is much more cost effective.  This attachment came in two parts: Food Grinder and Fruit and Vegetable Strainer.  Each cost somewhere around $40.  A food mill costs about $40.