Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sunbeam Mixer

For years I had a KitchenAid mixer.  I loved it.  It beat my cookies, kneaded my bread, and whipped up birthday cakes. When my standard-sized mixer died after about 15 years, we bought a larger one that could handle enough bread dough to make two full-sized whole-wheat loaves.  When the motor began to shed metal shavings, we knew the bigger machine wouldn't have the longevity of the older, regular-sized machine.  But we let it keep grinding away. 

In April it died.  Good-n-dead.

Option A:  Buy a replacement for $500.
Option B:  Buy a Bosch, which has a reputation for being a multi-decade machine-of-durability.  But that's more expensive yet.
Option C:  Buy a standard KitchenAid, which is $200 if you can find one on Craigslist or wait until the pre-Christmas sales. 

Y'know, if I believed that a machine would actually last 10-15 years or more (!), I might find a way to afford a new one.  But at the rate things are going, I'm not sure I can count on more than 5-8 years, and possibly less.  As a stop-gap measure while I decided what to do (or maybe as I waited until the pre-Christmas sales) I decided to buy a hand-mixer.

At Fleet-Farm I found a Sunbeam Heritage mixer* for thirty bucks.  It has whips, beaters, and dough hooks, powered by a pretty decent motor. When I first bought it, Maggie was at a loss.  She'd never operated a hand mixer before.  It took a while to figure out the machine.  We needed to slightly tweak how we made bread, as the mixer didn't have enough power to knead 8 cups of ww flour.  Because the bowl doesn't spin itself, you have to bother to hang onto the mixer and move the beaters around the bowl [gasp].  And yes, it can even make cookies, not just breads.  As an added bonus, we can whip the mashed potatoes instead of just smashing them up with the potato masher -- yummy.  As I was running $30-50 per year for my KitchenAid's depreciation costs, it looks like I'll be ahead if my little Sunbeam mixer lasts me just one year.

I wish I could have confidence that the quality of merchandise would be better if I forked over more money for a reputable brand known for quality and longevity.  But I don't.  So for now, I will just ask God to give me decent tools, and see what He provides.  Over the past five months, this Sunbeam has gone far beyond my expectations.

* I'm suspecting it may have been discontinued, as it's no longer available on the Sunbeam site, is expensive on Amazon, and is down to $22 at Fleet-Farm.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Matthew 6:25

Do not worry about your life, 
what you will eat or what you will drink;
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food 

and the body more than clothing?

It was pointed out in Sunday School opening this week that, in the Church, we eat something.  And we drink something.  And we put on something, something --Someone-- more than mere food and more than mere clothing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Matthew 6:25

Try looking at a crucifix while reciting our memory verse for the week:  "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"

Jesus on the cross.  What does He have to eat or to drink?  Nothing.  Neither does He clothing.  He won't even hang onto His life for much longer.  But ...

He is life.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pay Attention, People!

Early during choir rehearsal, the director enjoins us to focus, to pay attention, to knock off the chatter, etc.

Later, the choir director [in an ADD moment] grabs a music stand, shifts it to a spot in front of his mother, and suggests that she can put her music there when her hand tremors get bad.  It will hold her music without shaking.  And she can put her small water bottle there.  And hey, she can put her teeth/dentures there too.

A moment later, he strikes a chord on the piano so that we can start singing the next stanza.  Virtually nobody starts singing.   "Hey!  Focus!  People, pay attention!  Why can't you focus?

We laugh.

Monday, September 24, 2012


During late summer's fresh-tomato season, Maggie and I made a lot of alfalfa sprouts and a few tries at other sprouts.  Years ago, when I first heard about making sprouts, people made it sound like rocket science, with pitfalls hiding here, there, and everywhere.  But I found that it's easy-breezy when you have a screen lid for a wide-mouth canning jar.

Place a tablespoon or two of seeds in a one-quart jar.  Add water and soak for 12-24 hours.  Drain.  Rinse well with water and drain immediately, 2-4 times a day for a few days.  Keep the jar covered with a thin cloth so that the little seeds think they're in the dark. 

Screen lids are available online if you can't find them available at a health food store nearby.  I haven't tried the plastic ones (available for purchase, or the ones you cut out of plastic embroidery canvas) but it just seems too closed for airflow to me.  I have not had luck with making my own screen lids out of window-screen from the hardware store (too floppy) or using cheesecloth (doesn't allow enough water to drain off cleanly).  There are, however, instructions online for making a lid out of a spatter-screen for a skillet.  As those are available at dollar-stores, it might work well. 

Although it takes only a few seconds at a time to tend to the sprouts, you do have to rinse them at least twice a day.  If you're going to be gone for a few days, don't start them yet; the poor little sprouts will just dry out and shrivel up.  The biggest trick is remembering to rinse: we put an index card by the kitchen sink (where we see it often!) with a note to "rinse sprouts."  Pretty soon we'll have more batches started and enjoy loading up our sandwiches with sprouts.  Avocado, onion, tomato, cheese, sprouts, maybe some thin-sliced meat....  Yummy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Freedom of the Gospel, and Power of the Gospel

In Kleinig's Grace Upon Grace, he talks about the power of prayer.  "Only if we begin and end with our spiritual weakness can we safely appreciate the true power of prayer" (page 193).  "When we pray, we do not tap our latent spiritual potential, nor do we even exercise the power that we possess by virtue of our Baptism or conversion" (pages 193-194).

He says it's not about the power Christians have been given in their regeneration.  Even though we have been called "God's sons," even though we have been declared holy, even though we have the Holy Spirit working within us, our "power" is not ours; it is something we receive, not something we possess.  We are weak.  Really really weak.

On a related note, it makes me wonder about those who sputter objections about "too much Gospel."  Some people keep bringing us back to the Law; they want "enough Law" to be preached so that Christians will be encouraged to do good works.  It sounds like they think we are able to harness some power within us to Be Good.

It makes me wonder if such people do not themselves know the freedom of the Gospel and the power of the Gospel.  Maybe they think "all that Gospel" cannot possibly "work" because they cannot begin to conceive of people actually doing good except to earn a reward or avoid a punishment.  But if a person believes in the Law, if a person lives by the Law, then it's no surprise that he would think the Law is where we find our motivation.