Tuesday, December 29, 2009

looking ahead

I am so full of ideas about what I want 2010 to be. I really want the way I use my time to reflect my values. I am trying to be realistic though too. I know if I bite off too much, I will give up by February. But I also know that making small changes gradually will get me where I want to be eventually. That is the balance to find.

Here are some of my goals for the new year in no particular order

--get back to more consistent menu planning and making use of the food we have on hand

--get back to making our bread, probably using more of the 5-minutes a day approach

--make our yogurt

--read the Bible in 90 days (our church is doing this and my Emma wants to do the kids' portion too)

--spend more time knitting or blogging or reading for information and less time playing silly games on the computer

--lose the 15 pounds that have crept on in the past 18 months

--do the Couch Potato to 5K program

--make breakfast for my kids

--incorporate more homeopathy into our family

--eat more fruit

--try to salvage my kefir grains and get back to using kefir for soaking oats and flour for pancakes

--figure out my sewing machine enough to do simple mending

--clean out closets and donate more of our excess

That's what I can think of right now. And like I said, I don't plan on jumping into all of that on January 1st. In fact, I have already decided that the exercise part will come after I've done the reading the Bible part. The Bible reading will take 30-45 minutes a day. That's a big chunk of time already. So I will walk when I can but not stress about it if it doesn't happen.

Do you have any ideas for 2010?

I finished my socks!

I finished my first pair of socks ever! I didn't think they were very difficult, just a matter of following directions. I used a baby yarn instead of a sock yarn, and now I can't wait to do some socks with real sock yarn!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Copping out on making Christmas Eve dinner. Frozen lasagna to the rescue! And I'm rethinking the roasted Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner too. An easy spinach cheese pie that I can prep today is winning out. Not that roasting brussels sprouts is difficult, but I'm too tired to figure out how to roast them, the fingerling potatoes and rib roast all at the same time.

I'm sitting in the Target parking lot waiting for them to open. Hubby wants me to grab some of the little shoebox size totes. Those do making organizing sticking stuffers much simpler.

Then I'm home to make a double batch of 90 Minute Fruitcake. I made one yesterday and it absolutely disappeared! I also need to make more Carmel corn and my usual Christmas scones.

Oh yeah, then there's 4-5 hours at church later too! I need a day off...actually I'd settle for a night in my own bed. Working 40 hours a week this time of year is crazy!

OK, Target is open!

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Made Coal Cookies tonight! Even without the espresso powder they are yummy. My husband is volunteering to be on the naughty list for these treats. I have to hide them from the kids or we won't have any cookies for Santa.

Monday, December 21, 2009

for fun

Yarn Harlot makes me giggle!

And for the record, I am starting to knit hat for my brother for Christmas tonight at work. I can totally get it done by Friday, right?! I did choose a super bulky yarn...I'm not THAT crazy!!!

no 'poo update

Just checking in after another week of not sudsing up. Still liking this process. I'm still in the adjustment phase as far as my body figuring out that I need to produce less oil. I guess I am fortunate there since I normally have pretty dry skin. But I haven't cleaned my scalp/hair since Friday and my hair is looking just fine. Not greasy looking, not dirty looking, just looking like hair.

Nathalie asked if it smells. My hair smells like hair. The vinegar smell washes out in the shower. I do rinse for about a minute or so, but there is no residual smell. My 13 yo daughter took the plunge today. She has asked about adding some scent. I haven't read as much as bout this as my husband, but we've told her she could add some essential oils to either the vinegar rinse or add some to water and pour that over her hair when she's finished rinsing.

She is really vain about hair, too. But she has also learned that NOT wearing much makeup and keeping her hair away from her face (along with a Burt's Bee's herbal acne treatment) is clearing up her pimples far better than anything from the drugstore ever has. So she's hoping that letting her scalp regulate its natural oils will help her not need to wash her hair so often, too.

I think one of the best things about trying this whole no 'poo thing is that it is really low cost, or no cost even. Sometimes we want to try things that involve special equipment or ingredients that are hard to find or impractical. This is baking soda and apple cider vinegar, kitchen staples. To me, that's an even better reason to try it out.

I'll keep you posted on how week 3 goes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

heading to the fabric store

In an effort to be greener this Christmas, we have decided to wrap our gifts in fabric instead of paper. I'm heading out to buy some inexpensive festive fabric. We will cut it to use for gifts and then store the fabric until next year. No generating bags and bags of torn wrapping paper for trash this year. And our gifts will still be hidden and wrapped.

I'll post some pictures after we have wrapped some!

Monday, December 14, 2009

No 'poo?

Nope I'm not talking about my bathroom habits, I'm talking about no longer washing my hair with shampoo. I'd heard about this over a year ago, and while I liked the idea, I am also SUPER vain about my hair. SUPER SUPER vain, people!

I have blonde naturally curly hair and have always had tons of compliments on my hair. I learned how to smooth it out (ie straighten it) when Trey was a baby and so vary between curls and straight hair now.

My husband went no 'poo a few months ago. He rinses his hair every time he showers and it really doesn't get greasy or dirty at all. I've been down to only shampooing twice a week for quite a while now. Blonde curly hair can dry out quickly, so I try to let it get really dirty before I wash it.

But lately when I've washed it with my shampoo (Garnier Fructis), it just hasn't felt clean. So I decided to just go for it the other day and use D's baking soda in the shower. It was amazing! My hair felt so clean but yet not stripped like a harsh shampoo! So then I used the cider vinegar rinse too. I did use a little coconut oil on my wet hair to help smooth out the curls, too.

When D came home later, I asked him if my hair was OK. He said, "did you cut it? did you color it? it looks really good." And it did. It curled up like it hadn't in a really long time. And when I used my curling iron to smooth it out the next day, it was still looking really great. In fact, it had more body than usual.

So my first try was on Friday. It's now Monday. And while my hair isn't looking dirty or greasy yet, the waves along my scalp are starting to really show. So I either need to use my daughter's straightener or wet it and let it be curly again. But it doesn't look dirty....just needing to be styled somewhat.

So if you think I am totally crazy and on another weird hippie thing (MOM!), you can read more about no 'poo here or at NPR.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

not the plan I had

Last Friday I made the plan for Thanksgiving. I knew the cooking and chores that needed to be done each day. I had the menu ready and the grocery list made. Duane and I did the bulk of the grocery shopping, even got the turkey. I knew what I was cooking in the meantime to plan to have minimal leftovers by the time Thanksgiving arrived. I even knew I was working Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights. I had it figured out how I would get it all done. I even made Grandma's cranberry relish recipe.

But Friday night I didn't feel good. I started getting a pain in my lower right side. So after dinner I took a nap before I went to work. That night I had a hard time sleeping when the baby was asleep. I just couldn't get comfortable.

Saturday morning Duane had to take Aleena to a rehearsal. I still felt lousy and now really tired. I gave the other kids some chores to do. We were going to a brew party in the afternoon and they were motivated to help before they had some fun. My pain was not going away. I didn't want to do anything but stay in my bed.

I talked to a friend of ours who has more medical knowledge than we do. He thought it might be the big A word like I was dreading. But I was still in denial.

D took the kids. I made it to the couch and watched TV. Chores hadn't been completed but I didn't care. I didn't knit or crochet. I just laid in front of the TV. Family came home. D felt around in my belly. He could feel the same lump on the right side that I could feel. Not good. I went to work, still feeling lousy.

I still didn't sleep much. And I wasn't eating much.

Sunday morning I went to church and sang like crazy. I was in pain but I focused on what I needed to do. Home, napped, hung out with my brother for a bit. Consulted with a HCP. Starting to run a fever, and the lump was getting bigger.

Now, yes, I am crazy stubborn, but that's not the only reason I hadn't gone to the doctor yet. We are some of those people who don't have insurance. Our kids are covered by a state subsidized program, but there's nothing like that for adults. We barely make ends meet the way it is, and we just can't afford insurance. And most of the time we don't need it.

Our fabulous HCP talked with hospitals and surgeons, networking to help us get care without going broke. (Hospitals and doctors can be quite generous it seems.)

Finally at 11 on Sunday night, we headed into the hospital. Had the dreaded ct scan. Not dreaded because of the procedure, but dreaded because of the cost. (Hopefully radiology departments will be generous too!)

My appendix, normally the size of an average thumb? Now it was 13 cm, or over 5 inches. No wonder I could feel a lump. The ER doc didn't think it had ruptured yet, but it was only a matter of time. I was scheduled for an appendectomy at 6:30 Monday morning. The surgeon came in to see me around 5:30. He looked at the ct scan and could tell it had ruptured...that was the mass. But it was contained. That was very good to hear.

Everything went well. I did fine other than having a lingering fever off and on. I came home Wednesday late in the afternoon. My wonderful family took care of Thanksgiving dinner and all the prep work. They cleaned the house and all.

Our friends and neighbors have been wonderful. I think the kids are getting tired of having a sick mommy. On Thursday morning, when I was getting more water, Jack and Kelli asked what I was making for breakfast. Um, nothing, sweetie! And Emma wants to know when I will start cooking again...when the food will be normal again.

Now I wait until Monday morning to get my drain out of my belly. (Surgeons don't have office hours on holiday weekends apparently!) And we wait to hear from the hospital regarding the financial assistance they can offer us.

Now I'm going back to bed for a nap!

Monday, November 16, 2009

They're dropping like flies!

My oldest daughter stayed home from school feeling icky. My husband woke up an hour later feeling icky. Near lunchtime, my oldest son called from school still feeling icky (he had felt bad in the morning, but wanted to go to school).

My kindergartener is home for the day, and the preschooler doesn't have school today.

I have more kids home than at school.

Hopefully the 2 still at school will be feeling fine.

And I'm pretty sure that H1N1 passed through in October with fever, chills, coughs and aches. This seems to just be a cold with lots of drainage to upset tummies. Lots of tea and broth soups today I guess!

Friday, November 13, 2009


The past couple of weeks, folks have been asking us if we have plans or if we will be "alone" on Thanksgiving. Um, alone? There are 8 of us in this house. I hardly call that alone. We may have some friends over, but it may just be the eight of us. Either way, I will still make a feast.

Thanksgiving is a favorite day at our house. D and I both really enjoy cooking. And all 8 of us really enjoy the eating. The girls have been helping more with meal prep too. Making pumpkin pie and that kind of thing. It's a day of just eating, being together, holing up, watching parades and movies. We don't dress up for dinner. We are doing well if no one is still in their jammies. We like to eat around 2. That makes it perfect to have pie at our regular dinner time!

And the menu? Nothing really out of the ordinary, but it all has to be there. Turkey, stuffing (made with sausage, apples, cranberries and pecans), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, corn (cooked forever on the stovetop until it is a little "browned"--Just like my MIL who started the corn when she started the turkey used to make!), candied yams, rolls...those are the MUST haves. I often do another vegetable of some kind too. This year I will probably make onion pie and some kind of green beans.

Then there is dessert. Pumpkin pie, Cranberry Streusel Pie, pecan pie and maybe sweet potato pie or carrot pie.

Before you think that is a ton of food, remember I am cooking for 8 people. And I have those kind of children who can eat enough to fill a hollow leg. And what's Thanksgiving weekend without tons of leftovers?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

finished project

Here is a picture of the finished umbilical cord hat. Modeled by baby doll Chili...

I sure hope they like it!

Monday, November 09, 2009


I have been knitting A LOT lately. I made this sweater for Jack E.

It gave me a lot of confidence as a knitter. It is simple as far as stitches go, but it was just the biggest knitting project I have done as of yet. It really only took about a month to complete too. I literally finished sewing it all together one morning at church. There are a ton of knitters in our church. Two of them asked where I got the pattern and a third told me I did a perfect job getting the sizing right for him. Talk about a confidence booster!

After that Kelli wanted a sweater. I got her to settle on mittens and a matching hat. After doing those, I realized that I am a much more proficient knitter than I used to be. So I made a hat and mittens for Jack E too. He picked out his own yarn!

That hat is the first time I ever used double pointed needles. I was terrified of trying them, but they are really simple to deal with. The best part? No seaming things together afterward. I finished Jack E's hat, sewed in a couple of loose ends and he put it on. LOVE that.

Last night I started a hat for my soon to be born nephew. It's called an umbilical cord hat. I'll post a picture when it's finished, but here it is in process.

Monday, November 02, 2009

It snowed!

Some pictures from last week

This is from Saturday. Snow was already starting to melt off a lot. And my Colorado born girl was enjoying the snow with her dog...in her nightgown!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

crazy days

Life goes fast. I gave up blogging in favor of sleep this past spring. Working nights and running my household during the day was enough. My afternoon break time was used for being horizontal! But I do miss have a place to put some thoughts.

As for our chickens, they taught us all a big lesson in responsibility in May. I got up for church one Sunday morning exhausted. The kids were watching TV and hanging out waiting for D and I like always. We came home and I fell into bed for a nap. I was getting ready to go on a walk around 4 in the afternoon and realized the chicks had never been let out of their little house. They also still had a heating lamp on in there with them.

They didn't make it. They suffocated I guess or died of heatstroke. I felt really responsible, but had to remind myself that even Jack E is capable of letting them out, but no one would do it if I didn't remind them.

Very disappointing, but a good reminder that we all have to take more responsibility.

Life and laundry are calling!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

they grow FAST!!!

This is the chicks playing outside last week.

And here are some pics from today. As soon as we get a heat lamp, they get to go outside!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

chicken update

They are getting bigger all the time. We have moved them from their cardboard box and into our old dog crate. It works for now, but we will have to do something else soon. D is planning on building a good sized coop with a run, but we'll use an old dog house for a few weeks when they first go outside.

It's funny. We move in some circles where having chickens seems so normal that I forget to many people we must seem like aliens!

Here are a couple pics of our growing girls.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

what's going on

It's been crazy lately. The kids were on spring break last week and we got 16 inches of snow on Thursday. They had a good time playing in that. Clay has been sick, hacking away, so he had to stay in. I have barely sat down to read blogs let alone right on my own. Not sure why. I guess I've been trying to rest instead.

It feels like I have just been in survival mode lately. Trying to get some sleep, waiting for the next payday, keeping the kids entertained and off each other's backs. Suddenly a week ago it hit me that I am working a LOT. I added one extra night one week and that put me to 40 hours for the week. I realized that is really a full time load. I don't know why the jump from 32 to 40 hours suddenly made me realize it, but it did. I do get a few hours of sleep while I am working, but not always. Sometimes I will only really get 2 hours. Last week I came home and slept each morning since the kids were all home and could watch the younger ones, but normally I have to wait to get a nap after lunch. I often will take a nap after dinner too, but then I miss hanging out with my family, too.

So it's been survival of sorts. I really feel like I need to get more organized, too. Like mop on Mondays, bake bread on Saturdays and Wednesdays. That kind of thing. I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

chick pics

baby chicks

We got 8 new babies yesterday! They were born on Monday...the day I turned 39, btw!

So now I will have even less time to blog! LOL

The chicks are just adorable right now. The kids could watch them for hours I swear, keeping me updated on who is pushing who, who is pecking who, who has pooped in the last 30 seconds. Just what I need. More tattling! :o)

I will do another post with their little picture.

Monday, March 09, 2009

enjoying my hippiness

Is that a word?

Yesterday we were at a brew party with a bunch of new friends. It was great to get to know these people, but also to realize that I really am enjoying being the weird one who makes kombucha and kefir. Not to mention yogurt. I didn't tell them I make laundry detergent too! lol

And D is always so very much in his element when he is brewing beer and teaching others about the process.

Friday, March 06, 2009

the moodiness!

And I'm not just talking about me!!!

My oldest daughter turned 13 in January. The oldest boy will be 12 in May. Both in middle school...and both unpredictable when it comes to moods.

Middle son turned 10 in January. (Half my kids are now in double digits!) Middle girl will be 8 in April. I can't blame anything for their mood swings. Well, the boy is starting to get to the age where he starts getting "those" moods. Any my middle daughter? She's been a spitfire since baby hood. I remember talking to hubby on my cell while driving in the car and he couldn't hear me over her yelling. She was the only one in the car with me and wanted. my. ATTENTION.

My 2 littles are crazy. They aren't so moody as just constantly needing something. I forget how draining the constant conversation can be.

And yet, part of me is so profoundly sad that next year I will send 2 out the door at 7:30 for middle school and then put 3 kids on the bus at 8:10. I will have one lonely boy home with me every morning. I haven't had that...well, ever! Oldest 2 kiddos are only 15 months, 9 days apart so it seems we've always had at least 2 kids around. And having the 3rd the day after the oldest turned 3 really put us into group mentality quickly.

No wonder the baby is so "babied". He's the only one to have this life experience. I hope people will be able to tolerate being around him when he's grown!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I used to have headaches all the time. Just your basic run of the mill headache. Migraine types were rarer, but it wasn't even uncommon for me to wake up with a headache, especially when I was overtired and run down.

Since we have changed the way we are trying to eat by following much of the information in Nourishing Traditions, my headaches have really disappeared. I'm not sure if it was white sugar that was bringing them on, or really what it was, but they have been gone. Even as I have gone back to work a couple of weeks ago (4 nights/week), I have been tired but no headaches. I have virtually given up my beloved diet Coke even and really not had any headaches. (I have been drinking black iced tea, so I am still getting some caffeine.)

Last night we went to dinner with some friends. It was really fun. It was an upscale place that was participating in restaurant week. Nice night out, and still in bed by 9:30.

But this morning I woke up with a headache. My head is killing me...not sure where the connection lies since I don't know all the ingredients in what we ate but I can't help but think it has something to do with it.

Our dinner:
appetizer of fried calamari
salad with vinaigrette, few tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese
small slice of sourdough bread with butter
citrus glazed baked salmon
parmesan truffle fries
dessert of ice cream with a little chocolate fudge sauce and mini biscotti

Maybe fried food? Maybe refined sugar in dessert? I dunno but I feel like CRAP today. And I didn't even have any of the wine...just water all night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I've got a SCOBY!

My last infrequent post was about my new favorite drink kombucha. It's a fermented sweet black tea drink. The first sip has a bit of a vinegary taste, but it is really yummy. To ferment the tea you need a SCOBY, or a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. That goes into the tea and ferments it to the desired tartness. But it's not tart like sour. It's pleasingly tart, like lemonade, but most of the sugar is consumed during the fermentation.

It's hard to explain. I've got my SCOBY now and I'll be brewing the tea to make my own 'booch tomorrow!

Monday, February 09, 2009


Where has this stuff been all my life? Seriously...I have a little hiding in a jar in the cupboard right now trying to grow a SCOBY so I can make more. LOTS more!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bob Greene and Oprah

Just read this article.

Really incredible. If you're not sure you want to read it all, here's the first paragraph.

"The scene is comic: Bob Greene sitting next to Oprah on her TV show, kicking off the New Year, as Oprah tries to explain to her viewing audience why she gained forty pounds – again. Not once did she turn to Greene and say, “Bob, I guess your program is just a bit too hard to follow, something must be wrong with it.”

Isn't that the issue with most diet plans? If they are really worked then there would be no huge diet industry like there is now. The idea of eating fake foods, processed foods, chemically altered foods...it's just not right. How about feeding ourselves natural and nourishing foods? traditional foods? Real food!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I survived!

Yesterday I woke up to discover that my internet wasn't working. I could tell from the airport station downstairs that something was unplugged. I don't know where it all goes so I just let it be knowing that D would fix it when he got home.

Since I had no email, no blogs, no facebook...I actually cleaned my house. Well, I cleaned a lot and did laundry. I was productive! I decided to try to get all my list done today and THEN have computer time. And I had another productive day. Who knew?! lol

I have been cutting back on my blogs in my google reader. It's just too much. I love keeping up with everyone, but it takes too much time. And I have a lot of friends on FB that I haven't seen for years and I love to chat with them and look at their pictures, but I need to do better at my "job" around here.

I will try to post tomorrow about all the fun stuff that has happened around here this week. But first I have 2 bathrooms to clean!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

quick post

I've been trying to get life back in order now that the kids are back in school. I tend to let things got for a while and then it's REALLY bad around here. So the past few days are about getting back on track. I'll post more soon, promise.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

chocolate giveaway

This is no ordinary chocolate. It's fair trade, from single origin beans, and is relatively good for you.

Check out the giveaway here. And if you win, you have to give me a nibble!

Monday, January 05, 2009

back to school

It feels strange to only have my 2 littles home today. The big kids went to school today. And the morning was relatively drama free!

Emma did say, "I can't" when I told her it was time t get up for school. Then she claimed she needed help getting dressed. But she did manage just fine. Even ate a decent breakfast and I packed her a lunch. (The kids qualify for free lunches so we try to take advantage of that as much as possible!)

The only drama came from Trey. He hadn't practiced his trumpet at all during break and suddenly realized it may affect his grade. That has been the hard part of middle school for him this year. His first semester grades reflect the fact that he was still getting used to be responsible for his own stuff. In some ways I feel badly because if there were fewer kiddos in this house or if I didn't work nights on occasion, then I would be able to micro-manage the kids and their school stuff better. But then they would learn these lessons later in life anyway. I think I would rather have Trey struggle in 6th grade than fail his first semester of college. And Aleena did the same thing last year, and this year she has all A's and 1 B. I know he will get there, but this morning he was feeling it.

This is also Trey's laundry day, but since he didn't start anything this morning before he left (he was finishing up make up work from when he was sick in December), I am going to get a little laundry done this morning. And some meal planning. and a grocery list. Better get started...just going to up date my other blogs quickly!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year!

It's a new year, huh? Crazy how it feels so much the same as yesterday. I have a list of things that I want to blog about. I've been writing them down when I think of them since I can never think of anything when I actually have the moment to blog. But my little notebook is in the truck. And I am inside.

So for now, just a Happy New Year to you all. And by all I think I mean my mom and Kathy. lol