"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Thursday, December 26, 2013

costume party

since we refrain from celebrating Halloween as the world does, our family doesn't get very many opportunities to play dress up.  this new year's eve, we've been invited to a costume party.  our whole family!  how fun, right?!
so, here's the plan.  if you have any ideas that are free or extremely cheap, let me know.

otter:  minion, from despicable me
me:  red riding hood, from the story book little red riding hood.
wolfie:  merida, from brave
binkles:  a monarch butterfly, from planet earth
jones:  hal Jordan as a green lantern, from the green lantern
boo:  elsa, from frozen
starboy:  spiderman, from the marvel comics
buttercup:  TBD --this is where I could use some ideas!

so far we've limited our expenses.  we still need to take a trip to some of the second-hand stores.  I just have the perfect "red riding hood" cape, I don't know what to wear underneath...  we need a yellow hoodie (size lg.) for otter pop, and a pair of blue overalls (size whatever he'd be).  wolfie is also looking for a better cover-it-all green dress.  she'll probably make her bow, arrows, and quiver (or whatever it is that holds all the arrows on a belt.)

anyway, we're excited and hoping to bring home a prize or two...  stay tuned and next year i'll let you know how it went.  maybe i'll even post a picture or eight.  :)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sevin Emmanuel

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, December 21, 2013

this time of year

you wouldn't believe what I said last night.  I mean, if you know me, you (hopefully) know that i'm patient.  if i'm not anything else... I am patient.  I also try to be exceptionally forgiving, and I think I do alright.  I also like to exhibit love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and of course self-control.
so with that in mind, i'll say again, you wouldn't BELIEVE what I said to my husband last night.

here, first i'll set the stage.  we were sitting in traffic on a busy street bordering the mall at about 6pm on a snowy evening.  we hadn't had dinner yet, it was still in the oven at home.  we had just left a major department store after spending about 1-1/2 hours and some gift cards that we had been given to spend on the kids for Christmas.  nothing was happening, we were just sitting there probably with Christmas music playing on the radio. 
anyway, enough for-talk, what I said was this, "I hate people this time of year."


I know, I know...  I felt bad as soon as I said it, but it was indeed from my heart. 

what happens "this time of year" is that everyone gets so wrapped up in all the stress that people have made the Christmas season out to be, that instead of a wonderful celebration of our Lord and Savior's birth, our culture places parties, dinners, shopping, events, and stress all ahead of the celebration.  and what's really sad is that they look past the stress and horrible attitudes and blame it all on "the spirit of giving".  the thing is, there is nothing wrong with the spirit of giving.  but when it causes stress, discontent, unhappiness, and financial distress there is something wrong with it and it is not okay, even though it is a good initial intent. 
in all the other months of the year, people have a bit of humanity in them.  of course not all people, but a good enough majority that you can kind of expect some good in people.  it seems like as soon as December hits, and especially after the 15th, all the good in humanity leaves and is replaced by impatient, inconsiderate, unforgiving, stressed out frazzle-heads! 

I don't hate people, I love people.  however, I hate what people have turned the Christmas season into.  I really don't like that a good portion of society turns up their noses to Christmas carols.  I really don't like to deal with impatient, inconsiderate, unforgiving, stressed-out frazzle-heads that are so wrapped up in "the spirit of giving" that they can't see past themselves.  I really don't like to get honked at when I slow down so that my car-load of kidlets can get a good look at the beautiful lights.  I don't like it when my kindergartener is excited to come home and bash my 4-y-o's ideas of holiday traditions because it's more important to "know the truth" than to remember the generosity of a saint that lived long ago.  I don't like it when I am cautiously driving and I get a finger thrown up at me (or a dirty look given) because i'm not driving fast enough, or slow enough, or stopping where people would prefer me to, or whatever other reason might trigger anger in someone so stressed out that they're just LOOKING for reasons to release their pent up aggression. 

I DO LOVE the Son who came down to this rotten place to live as we live, and then died in a humiliating and grotesque death... to save the sins of all these people that I have mentioned above, and including me. 
I LOVE the Christmas season.  I LOVE the carols reminding us of the virgin birth, the lowly manger birth place, the bright star that guided the shepherds, the gifts that traveled far to find Jesus as a young boy, the excitement that just hung in the air around the Messiah, the names of Jesus (Savior, Lord, Christ, King of Kings, Messiah, Immanuel).  I LOVE the Christmas decorations that bring cheer and happiness to those who gaze at their beauty.  I LOVE that we have a desire to celebrate the spirit of giving even though we are so selfish in our core of sinfulness.  I LOVE that Jesus' birth --the best gift that has ever been given-- is the season that we celebrate giving. 

if you're stressed, over-worked, too busy to be waiting on anyone, or angry just waiting for someone to raise your middle finger at, remember the true reason we have this season:  a baby was born to us, and his name was called Jesus and it was he who saved us from our sins.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  may you give glad tidings and share great joy with those around you.  start by putting a smile on your face. 
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I was making carmel, and it popped and splattered in my eye!
it fogged up my eye and everything.  seriously.  ouch.
i'm just glad I wear contacts.  they're like permanent safety goggles.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

happy thanksgiving la la la

la la la
thanks a bunch.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

what is "real"?

I am thankful for my sweet daughter who turns 15 today.  she's a gem.  :)

lots of her friends ask if i'm her "real" mom.  it used to offend me.  now i'm just thankful that they don't ask if i'm her "fake" mom.  that would really be a bummer. 

i'm glad to have a pulse, and brain waves, and a working respiratory system.  i'm also glad that wolfie also has a pulse, brain waves, and breath in her lungs...  it doesn't matter how we ended up with eachother, but I sure am glad we did.  it's been a rough last few years, but i'm still thankful for your life! 

thanks for the past FIFTEEN years, wolfie.  I know I wasn't around you for all of them, but for the 12 that I have...  thanks!  it's been real. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

so much to say

I went to an amazing women's retreat this past weekend.  it was fabulous.  seriously amazing.  I've been to lots of retreats/conferences/etc. and this one was my favorite so far.  it was the type that sets you on fire... and the blaze isn't one that a wee trial can just snuff out either... it's a bazin' still! 
the topic of the retreat was "words".  the verse of the retreat was "...for out of the abundance of the heart, your mouth speaks."  there were many many MANY other verses too.  many. 
the biggest thing I learned was how proud I am.
sometimes our mouth just spews.  other times it shouts in anger.  some time it just goes along with every one elses.  but the truth is, not everything is necessary and we need to try and tame our tongues.  we need to bridle our big mouths.  and when we mess up... we need to confess and repent. 

I love the way God works... there were lots of verses that came from that good ol' book of james that I just posted about.  God is working in me.  He is alive in my life and I love Him!!!!!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"are you done yet?"

what kind of question is this?  who is ever really "done"???  what is "done" even mean?! 

I mean... having kids...  right?!  'cause that's what everyone always wants to know. 

why?  why does everyone want to know that? 

but anyway, I found a new answer.  I've decided to answer with, "why don't you ask me in another 18 years and then i'd be a little better suited to answer that..."  of course, i'm still fairly young... but I think 18 years would be a fairly sufficient time to figure out the answer to such a question.  plus, if I keep answering with that... then 18 years keeps pushing itself out further and further...  right?! 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

october 15... a special day. every year.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.  today is the actual day set aside for this remembrance.
today, i'd like to publically remember my baby boy, theron tyler.  I lost theron in a miscarriage ten years ago next month.  how different our life would be today if that hadn't happened.  but today I am wise enough to "count it all joy." (james 1:2)
and speaking of james, I will never forget sweet Isaac james, who left life before making it to the outside after 36 weeks of being held on the inside of my wonderful, sweet, dear friend, 5 years ago in August.
and while i'm speaking of dear sweet friends, I have another few who lost some.  in my thoughts often are molly joy, bear, and pilot, as well as sweet little sister joy.
I have lost a couple nieces or nephews that I never met but I will never forget.  I did not get to see them, I didn't get to know their personalities, or even introduce myself to them and hear their cry... or their names.  I love you, sweet sister, for bearing through the pain of loosing two and still persevering and laboring through two more hard labors bringing me two lovely darling nieces.

I love these babies.  I love these mamas.  I also love the fathers that also went through the same parental loss...  I love our God who gets us through these losses, who holds us, comforts, and listens to us and loves us through and through.  I am happy to have the reassurance that I will reunite with my boy in heaven when I die.  I look forward to that.  I can't wait to hug and kiss him!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, October 14, 2013

a guy named james

I started a beth moore bible study last month.  I was so excited that it was going to be on james, my favorite book of the bible.  so far it's pretty amazing too.  ms. beth doesn't disappoint. 
what I expected was to dig through the short 5 chapter book of james.  what I didn't expect was to get so up close and personal with the author... a guy named james.  what I expected was a lot of homework.  what I didn't expect was to write the book out by hand. 
i'm only 3 weeks into the study, but i'm so looking forward to the next 14 weeks.  we're doubling out the lessons so that we have more time as a group to discuss and pray.  I love that.

maybe it's time for you to read the book of james.  why don't you?!  do it.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sunday, October 6, 2013


otter pop and i were talking or teasing or something and he commented on my beautiful voice just as jones was coming up to us.  i looked at my little jones and said, "do YOU think that i have a beautiful voice too?"
he's always so honest sometimes i don't like to ask him questions. 
he replied, "well... only not when you use your outside voice."
oh i have a REAL NICE outside voice you better believe it.  :)  it's just not beautiful...

i love that kid.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Friday, September 27, 2013


that's how many pageviews I had when I opened up BlogSpot to post.  too bad today's not feb. 2, 2002 or something fun like that to go along with it.
so the dreaded happened today.
I locked the keys in the car with 2 kids in carseats.
yes I did.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

what is going on?

  • early rising
  • school
  • cutting finances
  • karate
  • ju-jitsu
  • krav maga
  • homework
  • still cutting out animal products
  • lost bike
  • 15 minutes of reading each night
  • drinking coffee... a lot
  • reading the eragon series
  • potty training
  • fun literacy packs
  • girl scouts troop leader
  • pta
  • skipping grocery shopping
  • new bible study
  • spellingcity.com
  • pick up boo at 11:55
  • house hunting
  • dried hand issues
  • making new friends
  • homemade snacks
  • oiling
  • running
  • walking
  • forgetting EVERYTHING
so what's going on with you???

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Friday, September 6, 2013

back to school

we had FOUR kids start school last week.  FOUR = 4 = WHAT?!?

even crazier?  wolfie started HIGH SCHOOL!  as in, the last of 3 levels of primary education, or the last of secondary education, or just plain old SHE'S IN HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!
little boo isn't so little any more.  she was pleased as pink at just the thought of going to school, so of course she loves it!  she told her teacher at the end of the day, "thanks for finally letting me come to school."  i'm not kidding, she has been waiting impatiently for school since February 8 this year when she turned 5.  she knew that when she turned 5 she got to start school, so on her birthday morning, she hustled and got dressed and sat up for breakfast quickly and asked, "where's my backpack?  I get to go to school today 'cause now i'm 5!"  it broke my heart that she was so anxious to get off to school, but I recovered and so did she when she found out it wouldn't be for a few or 6 months.  she's a smartie though and she'll do well. 
jones and binkles also were happy to return back after a great summer.

next, we're looking forward to 2 girls in girl scouts this year and i'm a daisy troop leader for the girls' troop.  that seems like it might be fun, but i'll let you know for sure in a month or two.  or, after cookie season, I should say!

the kids have already suffered a mild cold from back-to-school sickness.  all three elementary kiddos stayed home with me yesterday and today just jones... 

wolfie is enjoying the large pond.  I think [hope, rather] that she's adapting well.  they have block schedule where they have four classes on one day and then a different four the next.  I think that would be difficult to get to used to, but on the good hand she has a whole day to get homework done! 

we're still shopping around for a new home.  no news on the miracle home that came up...

happy back to school, my readers.  I hope it's treating you well.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, September 2, 2013

real nice friend

I have a real nice friend.  actually I have several real nice friends.  --a good handful of them, at least.  but I have this one** real nice friend who inspires me to do new things.  this week, I've been inspired by her to make homemade snacks for the kids to pack for school (and for the little ones to snack on at home). 
here are the few of the snacks I picked out to try:
ok, that last one may or may not end up being a snack... but it sounded kinda healthy.  :)

and while we're on the topic of real nice friends... that same real nice friend recently obtained a boat.  it was via purchase of her husband, so that's how she obtained it, but no matter, they have possession of a boat now. 
being nice ('cause she is), their family invited OUR FAMILY out on the lake in their new boat!!!  unfortunately for otter pop he had to work, but the rest of us all had the day off and were able to pack a lunch, jump in our rig, and HEAD TO THE LAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  it was a blessed day.  we all had so much fun and were absolutely tuck-er-ed out when the day called itself to a close!!!  tucker dout!!!
everyone but buttercup enjoyed a float or two on the tube pulled behind the "speed boat".  jones was super excited to have his first ride in a real speed boat.  all the kids (and I) enjoyed our tubing session(s).  it is a fast boat, so the tubing experience was much different than the experience binkles and I had at girl scout camp!  -my muscles around my armpits are plenty sore yesterday and today because of it too.  it was extremely fun to see my little offspring enjoying the benefits of water.  they all really really love water.  buttercup even had her first drowning trial.  she failed -praise the Lord! 

I love real nice friends.  thanks for being one.   ---that last line's directed your way "T"!  <3

**just to clarify, all of my handful of real nice friends inspire me in some way or another. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, August 24, 2013


last weekend I got a weekend away with my big girl.  we had plans of camping together all weekend long.  we headed out around 9am, ran some errands, did some school shopping, ate lunch, and didn't even head up to the mountains until 1pm. 
it was fun to shop, as much as I hate spending money.  we still had fun.  we got her some shirts, a pair of shorts, and some school pants.  one funny story that I laughed about all weekend long was when we were in a little teen clothing shop and one of the sales associates came up asking if anyone had asked us to smell vixen.  as wolfie answered, "no", I clarified, "excuse me?" because I just wasn't sure what she was asking.  she then restated her question, "are either of you ladies interested in smelling vixen?"  wolfie answered, "sure" and held out her hand.  I muttered, "that sounds a bit inappropriate."  turns out vixen was a perfume essence they had for sale.  they had little slips of vixen samples they were handing out.  when the sales associate heard my absolutely hilarious joke muttered, she apologized all over herself for the inappropriate question... which threw me into a fit of giggles because SINCE I WAS AN ADULT she had no idea that I had any sort of sense of humor and therefore had to fix her mistake.  it was funny to me because, well, I am indeed funny.  but also funny for me to get the deer in the headlights look that adults get when teens have to give them when they're caught doing something wrong.  I just haven't gotten that much in my young adult life yet and it was almost as funny as my joke. 
anyway, maybe you kinda had to be there.  I don't know. 
wolfie and I drove up to the lake, played, swam, piled rocks, sun bathed, hiked, climbed, piled some more rocks, fell, met new people, and then went to find a camp spot.  we ended up camping at the same area that our family camped at a few weeks prior, just further back into the woods, by the lake.  the spot was nice.  it was another spot that i'd take the family to.  wolfie did some more swimming and a little hiking/climbing while I perched myself by the shaded beachfront at read some of the book she brought up (Eragon).  we watched some silly teenagers show off to each other by jumping off rocks, saw a swarm of bats wake up and start flying around us, (that was kinda creepy, but cool), went for a late night stroll, and then headed to bed.  I made sure to frighten her thoroughly by telling her all the little silly things that scare me at night when I'm camping, and then we had trouble going to sleep.  :)  but eventually we slept well and woke early to many loud annoying squirrel cries and pinecones being tossed at our tent.  we went to the pancake house for breakfast where wolfie ordered a scrumptious meal of biscuits and gravy with 2 eggs and some bacon.  first she doused the eggs and bacon in maple syrup.  then she scraped the gravy off the biscuit and poured huckleberry syrup over it.  that was odd.  but either way, it went down.  so then we rummaged around the small town, shopping, browsing, etc.  there was a cool large arts and craft fair that was in town for the weekend, so we stopped into it and looked around.  there were tons of really cool yard art, jewelry, signs, and other stuff.  then we went back out to the beach to swim.  once we got there, neither of us really wanted to get in.  so we sat and read.  a snake came up and distracted us.  wolfie spent the remainder of our time trying to catch it I think.  around 2 we decided we had had plenty of fun and we'd head home. 
it was a great weekend away and with her.  i'm glad we did it and am anxious for us to do another one soon.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I don't remember if I talked much about selling girl scout cookies on this blog, but our march and april were BUSY taking and delivering orders.  we had a lofty goal to sell enough cookies to send binkles and I, BOTH, to the mom and me girl scout camp during the summer.  we didn't quite reach the goal, but came close enough.  all I had to pay was the deposit +$10. 
we signed up for a mom and me midweek camp and that was the past few days (aug 12-14).  we left a day early to do a real day of camping prior to hitting the girl scout's campgrounds.  I wanted to make sure and get some one-on-one time with my sweetie before sharing a fun "one-on-one" few days with a bunch of other moms/daughters. 
it was AWESOME!
it started off adventurous though, because... well... that's how we roll.
I was able to take our economical car, since there were just 2 of us.  otter pop and wolfie were left to tend the pups.  :) 
the drive up to camp is so pretty.  I just love it.  it gets you right in the mood for a week or month or summer of camping!!!  beautiful evergreens, a fast-paced river highly freckled with white water, and nice steep mountains sit next to the curve-filled (I can't figure out how to spell winedy/whindy/windy) road.
we made it up there in time to picnic for dinner.  we passed through the "small" camp-town and rounded over towards the east side of the lake which i'm most familiar with.  this is the same camp-town where I spent the 3 summers following my graduation living and working in. 
binkles pointed out and suggested a camp spot that I hadn't ventured to, but since we didn't have the whole family, I decided to oblige.  it was a rugged road up the mountain a small jont, but nothing our Subaru, marsha, couldn't easily handle.  we parked at the first campfire ring we found and then jumped out to explore the surroundings.  it was a vacant area, so we looked to see if there was a better campfire ring to mosey to.  I mean, when you have options, why not?!  in the first 2 minutes of exploring we found a small waterfall and a large doe.  there was an awesome site just next to the stream that created the waterfall, so I immediately decided to re-park and call the otter pop and let him know of our whereabouts. 
when I put the key in and turned it, to start the car though, nothing happened.  the car wouldn't start.  marsha was tuckered out from the long, hot drive up and didn't want to re-park.  so then I called otter pop and he wasn't too thrilled with us being so far off the road and away from all civilization.  woops.  safety first, so the two of us walked down the road and over to the nearest place to safely ask for help.  there happened to be a seventh-day Adventist camp just down the road, so I popped into their office and humbly asked the director for some help.  they had a portable jumper that they brought up and jumped marsha's battery.  dang it to all get out, that didn't work.  we tried and tried, but to no avail.  marsha was for sure tuckered out and didn't want to move.  so I called the mr. back and informed him of the situation at hand.  he was really disappointed in himself for letting me go camping with a kid in a car that died on us.  the thing is... it's a pretty reliable car.  most of the time it does exactly what you want it to.  but every once in a while it doesn't.  and I've made a link in when those times are... but i'll leave that for another paragraph. 
anyway, we just left it and decided that we'd found a great place to camp and we'd just stay put.  I told him that we'd sleep inside the car to ease his nerves and keep us locked up and safe.  then we went hiking, exploring, splashing in freezing cold glacier run-off water, and peeing/pooing in the brush.  awesome fun.  we also played a game of battleship and a game of sorry.  we each had our turns in winning, so that was fun too.  then, we prayed that in the morning marsha would start, for God to keep us safe, and proceeded that with bed.  it was still warm, so we just got out the little sleeping bag and a light blanket.  at 2:30am it was no longer warm, so I scooted over to the passenger side with binkles and cuddled on top of her.  by 7am, she couldn't feel her legs and feet any more and asked if I thought if maybe the car would start.  I was reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealy cold and told her i'd love it so that I could turn on the heater!  so I tried it and guess what.  it did. 
so we went to our little spot that last time we went camping, we deemed as "our private beach", used the portapotty that someone put there for our private and personal use, played in the sand, stacked some rocks, and then headed off to breakfast in town because I told her we would.  not totally the camping experience, but never how we'll be able to camp as a family because that would be ex-pendity-insive for all of us!  plus, it's an amazing breakfast place with 3-4 adjoining trinket stores that are fun to walk through.  so we did. 
after that we went back to the private beach and took a swim or two.  ok, I waded.  it was cold!  but I got wet enough to be wet, so it wasn't just my feet, people!  then we finished off most of our picnic supplies on lunch, fed a fat chipmunk, stacked some more rocks, and then headed to the campground.  check-in was from 1-3, so we got there shortly after 1. 
we were free to do whatever (which was kinda lame since we didn't know the campground much and didn't really know what "whatever" was allowed) until our first activity at 3:15.  mostly we just tried to get acquainted with the campground and waited for people to join us in our cabin.  the year before, binkles went with her aunt.  her favorite friends were the ones she bunked with, so she was excited to see if any of them were returning, but even more excited to see who was going to be bunking with us! 
our first activity was boating, which was binkles favorite activity from last year so that was exciting!  the boats were these luxury tour boats that didn't go very fast, but that didn't stop the girl scouts from tying a rope to them and tugging a tube of girls behind.  it was, by no means, a tubing experience!  however, if a young girl has never really been tubing before, she wouldn't know the difference and would have fun anyway.  that was the case with my daughter.  I was allowed to take a ride with her on the second round (the young girls first at this camp!) and taught her to lean and try and steer the tube that way.  no such luck though, the speed was just not enough to even get us over the boat's wake.  so, I bounced up and down on my side and gave her a little air as we caught other boat's and jet ski's small waves around the lake.  it was fun.  we smiled and giggled and even screeched a little at the splashes on our faces.  :)
next we went to the archery range and shot some arrows from bows.  that was fun. 
after that, we had dinner, free time, and then campfire.  we learned crazy new songs, roasted marshmallows, and got smoke in our eyes.  I love campfire.
binkles and I warned the heck out of our bunkmates about how cold it would be at night, so we closed all the windows and bunkered down for another freezing night.  however, apparently 8 people in a small closed up cabin --even with a rain and thunderstorm outside-- produce PLENTY of heat!  everyone but binkles was very warm!  the thunder and rain woke most of us, but since binkles and I had already had our horrible night of sleeplessness the night before, we rested well.  I found out that since i'm such a nice light sleeper all the wake-ups during the night don't really bother my rest.  we had a sleep talker, one who needed to pee every hour, and a few snoring moms... and I rested just fine!  we all overslept, but made it up in time for flag and breakfast. 
after breakfast I think we had some more free time.  it was called "free swim" but it was at 9:30 in the morning, so I kinda think it was a misprint.  either way, I found a little library right outside the dining hall and checked out a book on making nature art.  the girls who binkles and made friends with were excited with the idea of trying some projects out.  I started with a nature wreath which turned out so nicely I wish we would've had a hook on our door to hang it!  the group really got going on a twig basket though.  they collected twigs and brought them together and although the book called for hot glue, we couldn't find that ANYWHERE in the beautiful nature surrounding us.  instead we used the long grass and tied the twigs together that way.  it might not be as sturdy as the hot glue, but like I said before... it didn't grown in our neck of the woods. 
after a few hours of being artistic, we went to our first activity of that day: ropes course.  I was excited for this as it's always been my favorite camp activity.  2 of the 3 summers I worked at camp, it was on the ropes course.  the girl scouts don't have any high elements, but the low ones are really just as fun.  we did the trust fall, the v-walk, the plank ladder, swinging vines, and the moving ladder.  most of them are group elements and I enjoy those.  the young girls were chatter boxes and I was pleased that the moms started joining me in joining the girls on more and more activities as the day progressed. 
by that time, binkles and I had found another family that we really enjoyed and had fun with.  they were not in our cabin, but were in our activity group.  one of the families in our cabin also had joined us in a lot of free time activities.  for the most part the girl campers were friendly and accepting.  a few of the girls had come in groups and were not inclusive of other girls, but a lot of the girls were like us and didn't know anyone else there.  a lot of the moms had come to watch their girls have fun.  only a handful were there to have fun with their girls.  I thought that was interesting since I was definitely in the latter group! 
after ropes we changed clothes, worked on our twig basket, and then went for lunch.  after lunch they opened up the lake for more free swim.  I found the doula that helped us with starboy's birth, caught up with her for a might bit, and then stood on the dock talking myself into being a fun mom and jumping in.  after about 10 minutes I did.  I pulled the girls around in a floaty tube until I was out of muscle and breath.  then I got out and tried to talk the sun into drying me off.  binkles spent the whole swim time making new friends with a family that was in our activity group.  this family had 3 girls at the camp.  twin 8-y-o girls and a 9-y-o sister.  all three girls had an uncanny resemblance to marida (from brave), both in looks and personality.  not kidding. 
after free swim our next activity was "funyaking".  funyaks are plastic kayaks.  they come in one and two-person size.  there were also canoes.  everyone chose funyaks except for 3 moms who chose to ride in one canoe together.  it was nice to have everyone participating in an activity.  for most of the activity hour we just paddled and did what we want inside the boundaries they gave us, but in the last about 15 minutes the lifeguard had us play a few group games.  it was fun.  that was probably my favorite activity of the camp. 
after that was swimming.  I sat and chatted with the mom of the girls who we first made friends with.  she was a fun lady and was the first to join me in joining the girls in the fun activities.  she had to drag one of the other moms to try one of the ropes course elements with her since it was divvied out by height.  this mom lives in the area where I grew up.  I really enjoyed getting to know her and her company was much appreciated during the camp session.
after swimming we went and did art/craft.  they had us make memory books which was a ton of fun, but we were the last group of the whole season... so the materials were very limited.  I spent the whole hour on my front page.  yeah... that's why I don't do a lot of scrapbooking.  however, I was pleased with how it turned out.  I decided to take pictures of our new friends and then paste them to the book with their names/addresses and make it into a little address book for binkles.  otherwise it won't ever get done.  an hour per page is just stupidity.  that's just the way I am!
after arts/crafts we had an hour before dinner.  binkles ran around and played with all her new friends while I bunkered down and worked on that durn twig basket some more.  what a project!!!  after that was dinner and campfire. 
after campfire that night, whoever chose was allowed to participate in the GS POLAR BEAR PLUNGE.  funny thing is that that lake is warmest at the end of the day, so the 9:30 free swim would be a much more appropriate time for a polar bear plunge.  anyway, I didn't choose, but binkles did.  she loves to do daring things!  I just didn't want to have a wet head in bed.  :( 
we let the girls stay up talking that night.  the three girls who were in the top bunks stayed up telling stories and reciting movies/plays. 
we woke the next morning and started packing up.  2 of our 4 families in our cabin planned on leaving directly after breakfast.  we took pictures, ate breakfast, tried to take a big group picture and said good-byes. 
our favorite 2 families weren't rushing out, so we got more time with them.  however, the family with the twins did leave right after breakfast. 
binkles, her new friend "Katie", and I asked to use art supplies and spent the rest of the morning before we left making necklaces and finishing off the twig basket. 
binkles and I left the campground right around noon.  when we arrived in our cabin there was trash, candy, crafts, and sand everywhere.  we left later than check-out because we decided to clean it for them.  we found a broom and swept up the mess.  we threw away the trash and hopefully left it how it should have been left for us. 
marsha started right up for us and we drove to the local pizza place where I spent my evenings waiting tables a decade plus ago.  we had pizza and salad.  binkles left her girl scout had there.  :(  then we meandered around the town's farmers market, stopped back to a trinket shop we found before camp and purchased a wood carved-eagle sling shot, aired up the tires in marsha and headed back home. 
at the town right before ours I decided that maybe we need a little more gas, so stopped in for a bit of gas.  unfortunately my earlier guess of perhaps marsha doesn't like to drive for long distances was confirmed when after I gassed up, she wouldn't start again.  the truck in front of us, pulled forward to give us a jump, but once again... she wouldn't budge.  I tried calling mr. pops, but there was no cell phone reception on my little emergency travel phone.  so, I told binkles we'd go in the service station and use their phone.  I locked the car, shut the door, and immediately realized I didn't have the keys!  *sigh*  so, I went in and used their phone and admitted my stupidity of locking the keys in the car to my wonderful understanding and loving husband. 
we waited for a bit and then got rescued by that above mentioned mister hero.  he brought all the kids but the large one for the rescue.  it was so lovely to be reunited by those smiling faces!!!  I think they might have missed me a little.  :) 
we got home and passed out the necklaces we made them all.
to top off the wonderful time, wolfie tested for her blue belt and received it last night too!!!  what a great day!  yeah, some rotten events happened around the 3 o'clock hour... but what a great day AND a great time for the past 3 days!!!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Friday, August 9, 2013

floating tacos veggie style

I had to share this 'cause I really felt brilliant the night I made floating tacos.  floating tacos, you see, are made with hamburger as the main ingredient.  seeing how we're trying to cut out our animal intake though, this meal doesn't work that well.  but we like it.  really, we love it. 
so, I used 1/3 the amount of meat, and substituted some shredded zucchini for the rest of the meat.  I seasoned it up with a lot of shakin's of McCormick's hamburger seasoning (which is delish, if you didn't know), cumin, chili powder, oregano, and seasoning salt.  other than that, I didn't do anything else different.  and guess what!!! 
I'm sure you can't guess, so go ahead and give up.
IT TASTED THE SAME!  maybe a little too seasoned if anything different, but there was NO zucchini taste!!!!!  best part:  otter pop's mom ("nana") planted about 6 zucchini plants that are absolutely THRIVING and HUMONGOUS!!!  so... that's awesome, right?!
ok then.  carry on.  just thought you wanted to know...

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Thursday, August 8, 2013

house hunt part 3

well, we found a house in our price range that we like and will fit our family.  that's exciting.  we put an offer in for full asking price and the next day found out that with the price of insurance and etc. that it would be above our price range.  :(  bummer.  sad day.  true story.
so then the NEXT DAY after that,  our real estate agent called and said, "why don't you find out what you are approved for and we'll offer that amount.  we don't have anything to loose!"

so we did.  and the amount was 10 thiggidy thousand dollars less than the full asking price.  and on Monday, I got a call that the seller ACCEPTED THAT OFFER. 

so... it's a short sale so we don't necessarily have a home owning experience in our future, but we COULD!!!!  the seller's lender still has to accept our offer and that could take another couple weeks to a month.  then the rest of the process could take another 5 months (or even more!).  we'll continue to be patient along this journey, but I totally want to share that our God is so awesome that He will protect us from spending an extra 10K on a house if we don't have to!  He has our best interest at heart.  every time.  'cause he loves us.  and I LOVE HIM!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

10 years together

in april of 2002, I met the man who later I would marry. 
at that time I was working at a Harley-Davidson dealership in a small town in south-central Idaho.  I worked in the front of the shop selling clothes and all sorts of H-D accessories.  I think in April I might have been the only employee working up front.  three new employees all started within a few weeks.  two were mechanics and the other one was a second parts guy.  bob, otter pop, and nick.  I had a hard time keeping them straight since I didn't really work side-by-side with any of them.  up until that point we really didn't have a large turnover rate (especially in the guys' departments!)... well, I had only worked there for about a year I guess...
I remember the first time I saw my future husband.  of course he was in his bay in the shop.  I had to go back and ask the service manager, ron, a question.  ron, was a jerk.  he thought, for some crazy reason, that he was God's gift to all things with a vagina.  but he didn't believe in God.  he also thought that being such a gift allowed him the privilege to treat women 1 of 2 ways.  1.) like their eyes were plastered on their chest, making fanTAStic eye-contact. or 2.) like they are absolutely incapable of doing ANYthing.  I liked to return his #2 treatment and throw it back to him... it was easy to do because he was such a pot-head he wasn't very capable anyway. 
anyway, ron was sitting in otter pop's bay going over something mechanical with him.  I excused myself to interrupt them and asked ron the question.  then I asked who the new mechanic was and introduced myself.  we shook hands and then I gave ron a witty little retort to his smart-butt response to my first question.  otter pop laughed.  that caught my attention because although I AM a very funny person, most people don't get me. 
anyway, later I got to know him and then met his cute 3-year-old little red headed daughter and then his mom. 
we didn't really date much because he had a 3-year-old daughter.  we hung out some, but I knew that in may I would move up to the mountains and really had no intentions to come back after the summer job ended.  I was ready to travel the world while growing up and deciding what in the world needed me most (in terms of careers).
leaving him and his cute offspring in may was hard.  we had become pretty good friends.  I liked him.  he intrigued me.  he was (and is) my opposite
so we kept in touch.  and I came back.  and we dated.  and we fell in love.  and 10 years ago today... we got married. 

I am so thankful that God has kept us together.  I am so thankful that God brought us together.  I am so thankful that God made children through us.  God is good and SO IS MARRIAGE.  it's hard, but it's good and i'm everly thankful for this experience.  i'm excited to keep it going until death do us part!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

house hunt part 2

 currently we live in a 1188 sq. ft. home.  it has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  it has a 2 car garage and a small fenced-in backyard.  we live in a large boundary for the school our kids attend, in fact, I believe that as long as we're south of the freeway, we'd be eligible to stay at that school. 
so, our hopes in finding a new home are this:  3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with 1400 sq. ft. or more.  we'd like 4 bedrooms, but homes these days are roomy and lots of the 3bd/2bth with more than 1400 sq. ft. have a "bonus room" or 2 family rooms.  we can obviously fit in 3 bedrooms and an extra couple hundred more square feet would be nice with or without an extra bedroom!  we'd like a 2-car garage and .2 (or close)+ acre.  those are our wishes... and we'd like to find that somewhere south of the freeway. 
about a month ago we were getting to the point where the house market was rising so quickly and so dramatically that we were almost ready to stop looking for another year or two.  the houses in our price range are pretty much the exact size of what we live in now AND we haven't seen one south of the freeway in almost a year.  we researched some alternative options exhausting all of our resources.  we took a first time homeowner class.  that was helpful and we were thankful to take it.  everything was pointing to, now is not the right time.
we sighed and kept looking.  we have perseverance.  we have patience.  we have an almighty Lord who we trusted to lead our family where He wanted.  we also expanded our searching territory.  maybe He didn't want us to be south of the freeway.  maybe He had plans for us to minister somewhere else.  maybe we weren't trusting Him enough...
a couple weeks ago a home came to my inbox that caught my eye.  it didn't have a garage (strike 1).  it only had 1 picture and it was of the outside of the home (strike 1 and a half).  it said "fixer-upper" in the description (strike 2).  but something about it told me to pursue...  so we did.  it's about 45 minutes from our comfort location.  the asking price is in our budget.  the size of the house and the size of the property are very appealing.  although the location is a ways away, it is up in the mountains, near other houses.  its surroundings are BEAUTIFUL! 
we traveled up to see what kind of "fixer up" it was.  it took us 30 minutes to get to it from our house.  and the verdict:  we really liked it!  it has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths and is on .87 acre.  the house is 2 story where the upstairs is level with the front yard and the backyard is level with the downstairs.  it has a very large deck off the back top level and lots of large shade trees in the backyard and frontyard.  also, I just have to mention that the finished square footage of the house is 2180 (that's almost DOUBLE of what we have now)!! 

so, "what now?"  you ask?  well, i'll tell you "what now", because I've caught you up to almost current.  but i'll drag this out into another post and leave you hanging.  :)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

house hunt

in humility i'm writing this update.  God is the leader of our family and to Him be the glory for ALL we endure ---bad and good!
we've been on the market for buying a home for the past... well, I hate to say it, but 2+ years.  we've been searching and searching and asking God to lead our family where He wants us to live.  we have been open to new ideas, but frankly would like to stay in the same area for the simple reason of not wanting to change our whole life with a move.  we LOVE the school that the little ones attend.  we are very close to otter pop's work and wolfie's dojo (for martial arts).  we have friends who live near and it would really be hard to relocate and build up a new lifestyle somewhere else.  it was hard for us to do it 5 years ago and we know it'd be even harder this time being planted here for 5 years this time.
we are not picky.  currently we live in a humble little home of 1188 sq. ft.  it has a small yard and a 2-car garage.  that is all we have needed and it has been more than pleasant!  we love our cozy little place.  honestly though, we'd like to upgrade a little (in size) when we buy a new home.  that's our goal.  we feel like we would love some more room inside and out (more out than in though). 
in nov. of '12, after a year and some, we finally found a home that we thought was absolutely perfect.  it wasn't in our school boundaries, so that was a huge bummer, but it was almost twice the sq. ft. as our current home and was on a half acre out in the country.  it had close neighbors, but wasn't squashed between them and there weren't any intrusive HOA's or CC&R's.  best part: it was in our budget!  we asked our lender about it and our hopes were crushed.  we were told to hold off until otter pop got another raise.  ... :(  sad day.  true story.
in march of this year, the mr got a raise and it was a nice one!  we started looking again.  low and behold, the above mentioned home was back on the market!!!  we put an offer on it, and were put in 2nd position to buy it if the 1st position buyer backed out or fell through.  we were amazed at God's graciousness in the deal.  patience had paid off and finally ---after a year and a half--- were going to get a home!!!  maybe.  (if the 1st position buyer fell through at least).  we were hopeful.
in may, I think it was, it happened.  the 1st position sale was contingent upon sale of their home and it didn't pass the VA approval.  they were out and we were in!!! 
...or so we hoped.  we were offered a $500 to rush the closing if we could get it done in 10 days!  now THAT WAS FUN!  it only took a few days to realize that not only would we not close in 10 days, the specific home couldn't be financed through any of the loans we could afford.  bummer.  closed door.  keep looking.
it was about that time that we really started to see the house market rising.  houses that were previously listed started asking at least 10K but averagely 20K more.  houses were coming on the market at much higher asking prices.  it was frustrating for us, because our budget was right at the same price that investors are able to pay cash, do a few fix-ups and then flip them for lots of money.  set back #1, we don't have cash to buy our home.  set back #2, we don't have the money to do lots of fix-ups, but we're just looking for something to live in!  agh!!!!!!

this is getting long.  i'll make this a series.  stay tuned to more on OUR HOUSE HUNT...
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sunday, August 4, 2013

'nother animal-free menu

we're still far from animal-FREE, but we're continuing to work on removing them from our diet.  i have to express how extremely hard it has been!  however, we've seen results like crazy.  for a simple instance: jones and starboy's ezcema has comPLETEly cleared up all over their body.  jones especially had legs that looked like a lepers (or what i imagine a leper's legs to look like), are just bruised and scratched up from being a boy rather than scraped and scratched from itching them raw!  another other pleasant result has been easily lost weight.
anyway, here is our menu for this next week:
  • veggie fried rice with fajitas or quesadillas
  • broccoli salad with bowtie pasta
  • meatless taco soup
  • floating tacos with corn on the cob
  • hamburgers/black-bean burgers with fruit salad
  • something new and good : request for nachos for supper ???
  • breakfast for dinner:  hashbrowns, eggs, and toast

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, July 22, 2013

vacation bible school

this week started our home church's vbs.  it's a midieval .slash. king/knight/royalty theme and i'll tell you my boy, jones, LOVES IT!  he doesn't love everything, but the look on his face when he walked in the foyer and saw the castle was absolutely priceless. 
anyway, we'll see how the rest of the week pans out.  it looks like we're going to have to miss a whole week of pool days, so that's too bad, but learning about God and His word and His love for us is not too bad. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, July 20, 2013

not so common sense

i've learned a lot the past few years.  i know that i'm not dumb, but sometimes i guess i lack some social common sense.  some of those lessons are listed just to humble me, and perhaps maybe help some of you others that maybe also lived out in the country and didn't learn a lot of social lessons.  :)
  • women are supposed to be leery of dark places and scary situations.
  • not everyone is trustworthy.
  • some people actually like to argue.
  • many people in american society don't have morals.  as in, they actually don't know right from wrong.  seriously. 
  • you're supposed to dress real cute (or dress your kids up real cute) when you/they go to a birthday party.
  • offer to bring something when someone invites you over.
  • you shouldn't take expired food to a potluck.
  • when you volunteer for a possition in leadership, you all of a sudden gain lots of acquaintences and even some friends.
  • pick your battles.  if you give your two cents to every single person you disagree with, you won't have any sense left!
  • don't talk about frugality with just any tom, dick, or harry.  lots of people just don't get it.  lots of others don't see it as a good thing.
  • you don't have to explain your decisions to others.  if they ask you an uncomfortable question, sometimes it's really easy to not answer it.
  • financial discussion is only uncomfortable when you make it that way. 
that's all i can think of right now.  i'm sure there's a million other things, but just off the top of my head... those are all i have. 
...hopefully soon i'll be able to share some not so common fashion sense... until then, just bare with me ya'll.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ynp favorites

buttercup liked arriving home best of all.  she was very much homesick!
starboy liked seeing the bears best.
boo liked roasting marshmellows best.
jones liked going to craters of the moon most and living in a tent.
binkles liked seeing the bears cross the street most but liked seeing all the nature.
wolfie liked seeing a wolf best.
i have to say that seeing those three black bears cross the road right in front of my eyes was the highlight of my vacation, but it was only bearly (hehehe) above those beautiful grand teton mountains.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

yellowstone national park

on thursday, the kids and i headed to yellowstone.  we packed the car to the very brim and headed out.  we didn't take any movies or any distracting entertainment, just us, tons of camping gear, and the car, Konie. 
we took the scenic route and i'm glad we did.  it was beautiful and only 15 min. longer.  i didn't bring a map or anything, just kinda briefly looked at one before we left.  we ate fruit and snacky food for lunch and arrived at the park at 6pm, perfect to set up camp and eat dinner...
except i made a wrong turn and didn't get into the campsite until after 8.  woops.
it had been spitting rain off and on all day and when we entered the campground it finally decided to stay on.  it wasn't pouring hard or anything, but it was wet.  wolfie and i had no trouble pitching all three tents and getting the kids fed.  i was a bit nervous to be in bear country where there are tons of rules about food storage and stuff with 6 messy eaters, but what could i do?  not feed them?!? 
we got to bed that night a little after 10 and the kids all fell fast asleep.  around 3am my sister and her family found our camp spot and joined us. 
the next morning i failed at making a campfire.  that was discouraging.  we had bagels though, so no biggie.  it was rather cold and would've been nice.  finally around 7-8 we got some hot water going and made hot chocolate and coffee.  there were 3 bison that mosied on into the campgrounds and nearly laid on a tent across the way from us.  the battery to Konie died and we moved camp spots at 11am. 
from there the kids and i went out to discover yellowstone.  it is so full of God's beautiful creation!  we saw tons of bison and elk, a wolf, a little pica, pelecans, geese, ravens, and maybe some others...  the creation and the wildlife were breath taking.  we finished the drive with a little fishing.  we got back to camp a little after 6 and found that our tent's pole had broken in half.  so wolfie and i took it down and put up another.  thank goodness we brought 5!  :)
my brothers and their families arrived at camp during the re-pitching of the tent process.  soon, my mother and father also arrived.  then, my little sister and her family made it back to camp.  it was fun for the kids to have cousins to play and make believe with.  the brothers took several hikes with lots of littles that evening.  we roasted marshmellows and made s'mores and yummies...  it was a great evening.
the next morning we packed up and headed out earlier hoping to caravan to a lot of the main attractions such as tower fall, mammoth hot springs, and old faithful.  yellowstone is so crowded at this time of year, and with no cell service it was difficult to stick together.  otter pop called when we were up in mammoth and miraculously had service telling us he made it to the campground.  unfortunately for him, this was the first day that we didn't set up camp before heading out.  so we told him we'd meet him at old faithful.  the kids and i headed straight down there 'cause we were anxious to see him.  just shortly after leaving mammoth, the car in front of us stopped for a mama black bear and her two little cute cubs crossing the road!!!  it was spectacular since i had been patiently waiting to see a bear!  we saw a mama grizzly and her 2 cubs way off in the distance on the way up to tower fall earlier that day, but they were so far away the only reason we knew what they were was because of the crowd with all their telescopic camera lenses telling us.  i was exstatic to see the black bear and cubs up so close!!!!
we made it to old faithful around 4-4:30 but had no luck in meeting up with the pops.  we couldn't find him and came to find out he had left about 30 minutes before we arrived.  :(  that was a bummer, but finally about 5:30 i told the kids we had to get back and set up tent and eat dinner.  our campsite that night was more of what i'm familiar with as camping, but much tighter living quarters.  we only set up one tent that night and we were snug and warm!  we hung out with the cousins and family until about 10 and then headed to bed. 
the next morning my eldest brother and his family along with my sister and her family all headed out early.  my other brother and dad helped me break up the tent and pack everything up.  again, konie's battery died and i was so appreciative to have family still around to help! 
we mosied out of the camp and out of the park via the south enterance/exit to the beautiful scenery of the grand teton mountains.  oh my lands, they are so postcard and calendar beautiful!!! 
the ride home was very very very long!  we made it to our house at about 7pm.  we were exhausted and filthy.  it was so good to sleep in a bed that night! 
i hope that from now on, we can make it a family tradition to camp out at yellowstone national park each year!  what a gorgeous reminder of God's creation!  if you've never been... GO! 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31


we're back to a summer of swimming.  it's been so fun! 
the 1st and 2nd grader (jones and blinkles) got passes to the fun water park and they had to be used by the end of june.  so i took them on a perfect day.  we had SO MUCH FUN!  it honestly was a great memoriable day for the 3 of us.  we were out in the sun from 11am until closing at 8pm.  the kids were both exactly 48 inches tall so we were able to go on every single ride there! 
next, we took a float trip down the local "city river".  i left the two littles at nana's house and otter pop was working, but we went with another helpful family of mostly all bigs, so the bigs out-numbered the littles and we were safe and had tons of fun.  little miss binkles has proved herself brave.  at the water park she went down the new attraction slide which stands you in a tube and then the bottom opens up and you just FALL DOWN THE SLIDE!  when we floated the river she jumped off the bridge!  i love that little spirit of fun-lovin' adreneline.  :) 
here's the funniest thing that's happened so far though:
at our weekly pool day, little boo decided she likes diving.  i think she saw me dive into the river and thought it looked like more fun than just jumping feet first.  well, then she decided to flip too.  anyway, she flipped in the pool and water went up her nose and she came up coughing and sputtering.  i came over to her and asked her if she was choking, to which she nodded.  i asked her if she swallowed some water, to which she also nodded, then replied, "and i didn't chew first!"  i laughed and laughed and laughed!!! 
the kids are all getting more comfortable and better with their skills.  it's been a great summer so far...

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sunday, June 2, 2013

meatless monday

humbly i'm on the lookout for some tasty plant-based meals...  this is a hard quest for an 8-member-family of carnivorous tastebuds...  (actually, thankfully 1 member doesn't have carnivorous tastebuds yet and is an absolute delight to cook veggies for!)  this being said, my kids love veggies too, so that's not really the hardest part... it's just making a whole meal taste pleasant without adding animal to it.

there are lots of families that take one day a week to prepare a meatless meal.  we're taking the opposite approach to wean ourselves away from animal products.  we're having 1-2 meat nights...  here's my attempt this week:
  • a new taco salad with a meat-substitute this time:  layered raw taco salad for two
  • veggie fajitas sounds good and easy
  • burritos
  • mac and cheeseless was suggested for me...  ???  i don't even know what nutritional yeast or yellow miso paste is, so hopefully those links will help with that...  wish me luck on that 'ne. i'll serve it with some good old steamed broccoli and baked beans just in case.  :)
  • taco soup without meat (brilliant and super easy since the meat in taco soup is kinda weirdly weird.)
  • spaghetti (didn't make one of my meat dishes from last week!  go me!  except the reason being we had SO MANY leftovers because people didn't like the meals so much...  not so much cheerable "go me")
  • enchiladas with rice and beans

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, May 27, 2013

menu #3 for 2013

boy howdy i haven't been very good about posting this year.  sorry 'bout that.
here's my menu.  you'll most likely notice that we're changin' our diet a bit... but if you don't, that's fine.  we're still considering ourselves to be humans.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, April 29, 2013


Ramen soup by Rox  (thanks Rox!)

 Dice up carrot, celery, & water chestnut. I usually put in a handful  of frozen peas too. Dice up a chicken breast. --or beef
Simmer all of this in chicken (or beef) broth and seasoning packets from 2-3 packs of either ramen noodles or rice noodles. (depending on the size of the batch)
About 10 minutes before serving whip up one egg and “drop” into the broth.
I also put in a handful of shrimp at this time.
Put the noodles in and cook until they are done.
Heat some potstickers in the microwave and drop them in for a few minutes (too long and they will fall apart)
Spice up with chili paste or sriracha .

I had to post this so I didn't lose it again.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sunday, April 28, 2013


there's this American pastor tats one over to Iran to visit family and been arrested for being a Christian.  that's the sort of the story. 

I was in the car and the local radio station was talking about him (Saeed).  I started explaining to my 3 youngest children what was going on with him and his condition and such.  I was telling them that we need to pray not only for him, but those that he has influence on.
in explanation I enforced that he was a father and has a couple of children back here waiting and hoping for their father to come home.
boo exclaimed, "wait... you mean he's a dad?!  why doesn't he use is muscles???

I love the innocence of youth.  I love them!!!

interesting dialogue following...  I love that kids think that dads can do ANYTHING!!!

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

dear readers,

i'd kinda be amazed if I even have any readers, but if I do:
dear readers,
I am sorry for the unexcused break.  I have been traveling a new journey in life and have been extremely busy.  I think since I posted last, we've had at least 4 birthdays... 
it seems like if I were to catch you up, it would take all day, so i'm just going to pretend like I've been posting all along and you all are going to just be lost for a few months.  I will try and do quick re-caps, but i'm not promising anything extensive. 
I've learned a TON, experienced great things, and have journeyed to a new chapter in our family.  I want to make sure that all glory goes to God in every area...  He is good and He is faithful.  on that note though, we didn't move.  we're still here.  praying for His will in this area for shizzy.
please keep us in your prayers and stay faithful. 
In Christ,

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, March 4, 2013

monday menu for this beautiful first full week of march in 2013

  • ribs, rice, and corn
  • BLTs w/ a side salad
  • chicken tortilla soup
  • chicken enchilladas w/ rice, and refried beans
  • beef stew (new recipe) with rolls
  • sloppy joes with oven fried potato-wedges

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Sunday, February 24, 2013

shepherd's pie recipe spelled correctly

Shepherds Pie
recipe from Lori Gammon, thanks Lori!
2 1/2 lbs. of pototoes, peeled and cooked(we leave the skins on and just boil them and mash them. This is especially okay if you use red potatoes or yellow yukon ones)
1 to 1 1/2 cups (8 to 12 ounces) sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (we use a large whole onion, chopped)
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped (we love red pepper, so we use a really big one or two med. ones)
1 tsp. garlic salt (we use garlic powder or fresh minced garlic)
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can (16 oz.) whole kernal corn, drained (you can use frozen as well. I would just cook before adding it to the casserole)
1/2 cup milk
2 Tab. butter, melted
chopped fresh parsley, optional (we don't use this)
Mash potatoes with sour cream. Add salt and pepper; set aside. In a skillet, cook beef, onion and red pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir garlic salt into meat mixture. Add soup, corn and milk; mix well. Spread meat mixture in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. top with mashed potatoes in a ring formation around the edge of the baking dish...so that meat mixture can still be seen in the middle; drizzle potatoes with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. For additional browning, place under the broiler for a few minutes....keep watch so it doesn't burn or brown too much. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Yield 8 to 10 servings.

i had to google how to correctly spell shepherd... it just doesn't look right to me.  :)
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

monday menu on sunday in february

shepard's pie (recipe to follow)
chinese food night:  orange chicken, fried rice, and egg drop soup
cp pork chops, mashed tatoes, and asparagus
hamburger stroganoff, cottage cheese, and peas
fried chicken, tator tots, and salad
baked potato soup w/ fresh baked bread

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, February 18, 2013

do NOT trust your heart...

a common misconception taught especially to teenagers is "trust your heart, it won't mislead you."  when in a dilemma of what to do, especially an emotional one... or one involving relationships... you know, "where my head is telling me one thing and my heart is telling me something else..."
i'm sure you've heard it.  maybe you've even given the advice to others.
well, it's not true.  where do i base this disagreement?  on the Truth... Jesus says, "i am the way, the truth, and the life..." (john 14:6)  i base my disagreement on what the Bible says about our heart.

over and over in the bible, God warns us about our deceptive heart.  since the fall of man, we have to struggle through life fighting our sinful nature.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  ~Matthew 15: 19
For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.  ~Mark 7: 21-22
all the way back in genesis (6:5) The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.   (and then in 8:21), The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. (emphasis is mine)
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ~Jerimiah 17:9
when we are conflicted, the answer isn't "trust your heart".  when we are conflicted, the answer is "trust in GOD."
2 Cor. 10:3-4 gives us a great promise even though our inclinations are evil. 
For though we walk in the flesh, we ar not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our wrafare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." 
we need to obey God's word and have confidence in it.  believe it, memorize it, read it, and pray it.  agressively pray!!! 
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~1 John 4:4

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Monday, February 11, 2013

lots of thoughts in my head

there are lots of different ways to educate your young ones.  public, private, home, and unschooled are the popular choices in america.  -not necessarily in that order.  we have the choice of which we will educate our children.
i want to point out though, that they are just that --a choice.  they are DIFFERENT.  you may think that one choice may be better than another choice... and that's one thing that helps in our decision making.  however, please don't teach your kids that they are better than other kids because of that choice you make.  please don't teach your kids that they are smarter than other kids whose parents choose a different education option.  also, please don't think that because of your choice that you are a better parent than parents that choose a different option.
i am part of a group of ladies that gather together for encouragement in godly womanhood.  we study and glean from God's word.  a large majority of women in this group choose to home school their children.  sometimes i get the feeling that they think they are better women and/or better moms because of this.  sometimes i get the feeling that others that choose something different than homeschooling are lazy, uncaring parents.  just because i get these feelings, do i believe this?  well, a part of me believes that they do feel so empowered by controlling every choice their child makes, that they are the most caring parents out there.  a part of me believes that this control they have, makes them feel "higher" than other parents. 
i understand the different decisions though.  i truly believe that every decision has positives and negatives to it. 
i don't like to hear kids say things like, "i know this, that, and the other... 'cause i'm home schooled."  i don't like to hear, "you're weird, 'cause you're home schooled!" either.  i hate the saying, "well, you'll have to excuse my stupidity, i went to public school." 
the truth is, there are lots of different education choices just like there are lots of different learning styles.  some things that work for some people, don't work for others.  God made us all unique.  we are ALL different from each other! 

i have had an emotional last couple weeks.  maybe month.  my children's education spurs a lot of this emotion.  i'm posting this post to no one in particular and everyone, all at the same time.  please think about how your words influence your children's thoughts.  sometimes we, as adults, say something in jest --sarcastically.  our children hear those things and don't understand the humor.  a wise young lady once told me, "in every dose of sarcasm, there's 90% truth, with 10% smile trying to cover it up..."

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, February 2, 2013

african bean soup

African Bean Soup

from my sweet, pregnant, darling sister Telcia.  thanks telch!
Makes 8 servings
Sweet potatoes and peanuts are familiar ingredients in many African cuisines. In this colorful soup they are combined with garbanzo beans and other vegetables and served over cooked rice.
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 onion, sliced
2 small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups Vegetable Broth (see recipe) or water
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 - 2 teaspoon curry powder
4 cups cooked brown rice 
Heat water and soy sauce in a large pot. Add onion and sweet potatoes or yams and cook over high heat, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Cover and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, broth or water, beans and their liquid, cilantro, peanut butter, and curry powder. Stir to mix, then cover and simmer until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.

To serve, place 1/2 cup of cooked rice in a bowl and top it with a generous ladle of soup.
Per serving (1 cup soup over 1/2 cup rice)
  • Calories: 279
  • Fat: 5.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Calories from Fat: 18%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 10.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.9 g
  • Sugar: 6.2 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Sodium: 472 mg
  • Calcium: 80 mg
  • Iron: 3.3 mg
  • Vitamin C: 35.7 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 3251 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 1.8 mg
Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Women by Kristine Kieswer; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

monday menu - on saturday this week

  • homemade pizza - using my recipe-finding-place's recipe for the dough and the sauce.
  • adobe chicken stew - a recipe i used a lot a few winters ago and forgot to put it back on my menu the next "soup season".
  • baked potatoes with steamed broccoli and chili
  • hamburger divan skillet - (hamburger cook book pg. 68)
  • open-faced hamburger phillies - (hamburger cook book pg. 23)  *NEW*
  • cheddar busicuit bbq
  • Telcia's soup aka African Bean Soup - it's amazing!  i wasn't even very hungry when i tried it and i STILL loved it.  and... it's healthy.  (i'll post the recipe she gave me, 'cause i know you're all curious what african bean soup would consist of.  you're welcome.)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

happy birthday

when i turned 29, i wrote a post about my age.  and stuff.  it's been 2 years, and this is what my wisdom teaches me this year:
"He (or she, in my case) seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him (or her, in my case) occupied with gladness of heart."  ~Ecclesiastes 5: 20

age doesn't matter as long as i'm following God's will for my life, He keeps me occupied with His joy. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

monday menu. on tuesday.

i was wanting to try some new recipes out, so back to pinterest i gravitated.  they all looked super easy, so that's good.  i've been struggling with my schedule and fitting in "make dinner".  it seems like it's either, "help kids with homework" or "make dinner" and the first one's been winning lately.  there should be a way for both.  i think there is.  it's called crockpot.  we'll see.  that's what i'm using today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

how've ya been doin' lately?

i've had an eventful week full of events and stuff.  well, not really events i guess.  but i've been a busy little house keeper.  our house looks so nice for a few minutes each day.  it's really nice.  i've been going through things and de-cluttering, and throwing lots in the closet to donate.  actually our closet is pretty maxed out.  things are now getting set outside our front door... which isn't good... but it'll all get taken care of next tuesday am. 
i also had a friend come over and help me start my decorating project.  this is VERY exciting and i'm on the tips of my toes with excitement.  that kinda makes it hard, but i'm short so it also helps a little.  we got a little jump start.  she's had me start looking through magazines to see if, indeed, i have a style to go off of.  and i do.  so that's good.  hopefully otter pop likes the style...  we'll just have to wait and see.
little buttercup cut her first tooth the other day.  i had a feeling it was coming through ---just going off of her poop--- and i was right.  she wasn't drooling or cranky.  just poopy.  very very poopy. 
today the wolfie and i are going to a hockey game.  that should be fun.  i think.  i've never been to one before...
i ordered prints of our family pictures.  that, also, has been REALLY REALLY REALLY exciting!  i can't wait for them to get here!  now, on search for some frames! 

i'm wondering how you all have been doing?  it seems like a long time since i've heard...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

come home soon!

oh i miss my other half.  when he's gone it really does feel like i'm missing half of me. 
on the upside, i've been completing lots of tasks.  tasks that i've been putting off like the plague.

but when it boils down to it... i'd rather have my other half, than the plague.  :D

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

jan. 15 '13 post

today is tuesday. 

a few of my favorite things: icicles and wind chimes!!!
otter pop left for a work class in arizona on sunday.  he comes home tomorrow evening.  we are getting by without him.  we're coping.  although he is gone full-time working outside of the home -when he IS HOME-  he is very much a big part of all of our lives.  we miss him.  every time he is scheduled to leave, things start happening around the house to stress him out about leaving us.  this year, like last year, it was the pilot light randomly going out.  it is so frigid outside.  when the pilot light goes out, the heater vents feel like they're blowing out air conditioning.  i'm not kidding.  it feels SO COLD! 

anyway, no worries.  this mama knows how to light the pilot light.  AND (opposed to last year, when i had a large baby-growth on my front side) i can squeeze my frame back to where the heater-thingy is. 

there's a good layer of snow on the ground outside right now.  there has been since christmas.  this isn't usual, but i sure like it!  the roads are really slick though so we must drive safely.
we got our family pictures back.  i am eagerly waiting for some big prints to put up on our walls.  we have a beautiful family if i must say so myself.  i like us!
we, our family, are working on several things right now.  some of them include:
  • getting our grades up.
  • reading better and more.
  • becoming more responsible (including, but not limited to: doing our chores without being told the right way).
  • finishing our projects in a timely manner.
  • listening better.
  • math skills.
  • walking.
  • finding new recipes to try out.
  • being content (including, but not limited to: not whining).
  • getting things accomplished.
  • love and logic classes.
  • writing.
  • girl scouts (starting cookie sales next month)
  • an after-school reading class.
  • starting a family community service project (at the veteran's home)
  • enjoying each other.
some of these apply to everyone but not all of them do.  together we are helping each other in working on these things...  that's kinda what family is about.  not completely, but part of what it's about. 
happy mid-january.  :)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."  1 Cor. 10:31