Archive for March, 2012

Slowing It Down

Had one of those days, well almost… I managed to slow it all down and cut myself some slack just in time.  Disorder was the perfect word to describe how my brain woke up yesterday, maybe it never completely did wake up!  I messed up a planned play date and just couldn’t get my self caught up.

Finally I realised it was ‘one of those days’ and so I STOPPED trying to run the ship as I always do and put it on coast…  Stopped worrying about the play date failure, the dishes, the floors, the filthy play room and all the rest… stepped away from my to-do list… and then my littlest man and I went for a walk instead.

Sunshine and spring, greeted us.  We marched, at a very three year old like leisurely pace, down to the corner thrift store and puttered through there.  Stopped to say hello to the bearded dragons at the community center and applauded for Bonny (of Bonny and Clyde) who is now expecting EGGS… BABIES!  We then slowly walked back home, examining every newly thawed rock, slightly frozen over puddle and crack in side walk.  Hoping most of the way home, we where fully prepared when we found a collection of freshly chalked out hopscotch sets (thank you neighborhood child) and even Mommy had her turn.  We found our yard and played in the last of the snow in the back.

Tea with my friend worked out… still managed to babysit my niece later that day (for a couple hours) and even managed to introduce my crew to my newest niece.

Supper, day before last, was wild salmon and an amazing salad…last night… I knew better then to try and just threw beans, wieners and toast at the kids.  Still a success in my books if it means we don’t order pizza or something even more pricey.

While I hope my head is back in the game today, and I stop spilling everything I pour for myself, I am especially thankful for a lovely day when it was shaping up to be ‘one of those days’.


Thrifty Finds

(They’re just waiting to hold tea and crumpets!)

Yes, it is a wise choice to frequent thrift shops when you are a stay at home mom, however it isn’t pure practicality for me…I learned to really enjoy the process involved in thrift shopping long ago.  It is a very different kind of shopping, compared to mall and retail stores.  I was raised on thrift shopping thanks to two frugal ladies, Grandma Smith and my mom.  Both let me tag along on regular thrift shopping adventures and taught me how to hunt for the treasures.  Now it is I who lets the child(ren) tag along.

My eldest daughter was hoping to find a purse, so we went to ‘villa village’.  She found her ‘new to her’ bag… And I found two purses, two tea cups, with those marvelously extra large saucers for snacks, and two sweetly vintage-esk tops.

Been admiring this skirt like style of bag, that purse number one is, for years, but never could talk myself into the price of a lot of leather-esk bags out there so…. This one is soft, easy to open and easy to fish stuff out…when I spotted the price tag, 4$, it was sold. 

(Purse One)

 Purse two caught my eye right away, I would like to say it was my Scottish blood that drew me to it.  My Dad would say it was my Scottish blood that put it in the cart when I realized it too was only 4$.  I had to laugh when I got it home though.  My soft imitation leather summer purse is exactly the same but a light blue color and no plaid!  I really like the wide mouth clasping style instead of a zipper for the main pocket of the bag.

(Purse Two)

I was hoping for a dress but spotted these two laced tops instead.  Together they where ten dollars.

My girl went away with a couple books and a shiny black shoulder purse… successful treasure hunting on a quick night out with my lovely daughter.


She Makes 12

Babies are such a nice way to start people.  ~Don Herrold

My eldest brother’s family just added one more to the mix.  His amazing wife had her second daughter in the middle of the night.  This niece was in a hurry to be crowned newest grandchild, in line at number 12 for my parents. 

After starting on organizing baby clothing, well after midnight, my sister soon realised she had to get to the hospital.  Her daughter arrived only 10 minutes after getting into the delivery room, they all JUST made it. 

A super busy night at the hospital meant they could go home only hours after my niece arrived to the world.  Healthy and happy and snuggled in at home, I got to hold her that night, still only hours old.  Beautiful and soft, she, like all the blessed newborns our earth receives, she is amazing. 

I was there when her sister got to meet her for the first time; joy and wonder filling big sisters face.  My three year old niece was able to clearly express her greeting and her joy at finally having her sister with in hands reach.  She stared, touched and glowed; glowing as both her mother and father did too. 

Congrats to Aaron and Karla’s family!  We love her already and are thankful you brought her into our lives.

The arrival of new life NEVER never gets old.  Thank the Lord Jesus Christ for another little member of our clan!

Ecclesiastes 11:5
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. 


ROMANCE (Marriage Monday)

~WASTE NOT a minute of your time together~

Life is short, eternity doesn’t include marriage so enjoy it while you can!  With how fast time moves, the older you get and the more kids you have, you must seize the moment.  While my man can be ‘shy’ about hugs and kisses in public I am not.  He has learned to let me, and I have learned to find a lot of pleasure out of his embarrassment (wink).  Basically, even if the kids are around we flirt, tease and laugh with one another because lets face it, date nights and perfect romantic moments alone are rare, due to financial limitations and the amount of little people we have to disrupt it all.  Every little moment to be romantic counts.  He passes me in the kitchen and I grab his beard and pull him in for a kiss.  I walk by with the laundry and he gives me a hug (upsetting the laundry).  We are getting pretty good at not wasting time, so much so that the kids have noticed.  The other night I said, more to my man then to the kids, “Off to bed you guys, I need to give your Dad trouble for eating all my goat cheese (yes I take my favorite snacks seriously)”.  To this my daughter responded with, “Oh yeah right (sarcasm already, she is only ten), you’re just gonna cover him in smooch-y kisses”!

~ TAKE IT, it is yours to possess~

I knew even when we where still dating that I was the romantic one.  The one who needed, and noticed the most romantic little moments.  Thus I quickly got good at telling him clearly what we should do, pointing out when we where in the middle of a perfectly romantic moment, and MAKING THEM HAPPEN MYSELF.

(Bike riding together at river.)

The way I got over the feminine tendency to be frustrated at him, for ‘not getting it on his own’, was to start seeing when he actually was being romance in ‘his own way’, and to accept, appreciatively, his uniqueness in this area.  When he would throw me over his shoulder and laugh at my screams, this was romantic to him.  When he would buy me a chocolate bar and eat half then smile as I reprimanded him, this was romantic to him.  When he follows me with his eyes, usually when I am sick or tired or just a mess, this is VERY romantic to him.  All of the previously mentioned ‘man romance’ moments now make me laugh, and love him even more!  Finding contentment in how one another ticks, finding joy at how unique they are from what  ones culture calls ‘romantic’, is key to a happy and flirt-y relationship.

 Practically, we literally carve out time for one another.  Yes we try to go on dates but mostly we work hard to keep our schedules much more calm then what is normal speed all around us.  We make it a family priority to have plenty of unplanned free time for all, and then to enjoy it with one another.

Time is so romantic 🙂

First Monday of every month at Chrysalis


Half the Batch (The Making of Bread Process)

Directly below is the summery from the first post.  To read part one please link to the first post RIGHT HERE.

(Home made bread goes with everything!)
“Tired kinda day but need to make bread so I halved the batch and will work on four loaves.  Just didn’t feel up to wrestling eight loaves all day.  I had good company, my three year old is always happy to help with baking.
So, for fun, I decided to try capturing step by step shots of the process I  carry out weekly. “
1. Dough is done so let it rise and beat it down (kneading it) about three or four times during the course of the day.
(Ready to rise.)
2.  Once it has had a few rounds of rising and kneading, you oil the pans (if they aren’t seasoned already).  These silver pans are my unseasoned ones (the seasoned ones have turned black).  My husband bought these lovely pans, for me, from a baking school in the States.
3. Dough is kneaded down for the last time then sliced into four lumps (since this is the half batch).
4.  Lumps are encouraged into loaf shapes.  I roll mine mostly.  It is done similarly to what you did when making snakes out of play dough as a child!
5. Loaves are placed in pans and again covered up is a cozy fashion.
6. They rise in about two hours. 
7. Pans of risen loaves of dough are put in 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

8.  Once nicely golden they are popped out of their pans and set upon my cooling racks.  I then cover them with a damp tea towel.  This method, gleamed from my sister in laws Dutch mother (HELLO ANNA!), cools and keeps the bread from becoming too crusty.  My mother used to butter them, which is a delicious method to accomplish the same but I found got really messy with the amount of bread I make and with having to bag and freeze it as I do.

9. Step nine and ten are both very important.  Nine is to take a minute and bask at the beautiful domestic treasure that is fresh home made bread.  Pat yourself on the back 🙂

10. Step ten, is credited to my husband… for Pete sake don’t freeze all the loaves you just made!  Put one aside to be sampled immediately and to be enjoyed untouched by the freezer.

11. Once cooled nicely bag them.

12. Put the majority of your labor in the freezer to be sure it is stretched all week.  It thaws beautifully and is very nice if bagged well and placed in a large chest freezer.

So there we are, managed to make this into a twelve step process too.  From dough to bread, ta-da!  And now REPEAT, if you have a bread loving family as large as mine you will have to be faithful at this weekly (twice weekly when halved) process to keep your family amply provided for in the toast and sandwich department.  Have a beautiful day!

Squeeze The Tomato

(What a stunning river it was that day, so calm… at surface level…)

I don’t know if I can ever comfortable write out all that happened when our neon was totaled.  A big truck pulled out in front of us and made an accordion out of our little car.  So many people where there for us, little miracles where pieced together after the fact, and although it shouldn’t have been so we where all okay… physically.

A conference speaker said ‘When the tomato is squeezed you see what was inside.’

When I sat physically paralyzed by shock, after the accident, I received one of the most amazing miracles of my life.  I assumed the worst and yet was praying, with seemingly no will power of my own, over and over and over ‘Thank you Jesus.’… I didn’t feel abandoned in that moment, I realized I didn’t let go of my faith when I thought it was over and I didn’t feel alone… far from it… I have never felt so wrapped up in my saviors love, so secure in my eternal salvation and so THANKFUL for Jesus having me!

This was years ago, before we had our last two kids.  Where is my heart day to day?  When the big events aren’t happening how is it doing?  Am I devoted to him, unconditionally as I live my pretty undramatic regular life?  Am I devoted to him when my undramatic life gets a good dose of drama or trauma?  We are called to trust.  When we do we soon discover all these kinds of questions are answered in him and by him, because Jesus takes care of it… if we can just trust.

Proverbs 17:3
(American Standard)
“The refining pot is for silver, 
and the furnace for gold; 
But Jehovah trieth the hearts”.  

We will be refined and purified, through out this life, by our Lord.  We can’t do any of the cleansing.  This is the very reason Christ came!  He is our doctor and wants our sickness!  The hard things in life reveal where we are at in the process but they also can be used by the Lord to burn away our impurities, as gold is purified by the furnace.

Jeremiah 17:9-10
(The Message)
 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
   a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart
   and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
   I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
   not as they pretend to be.”

We are sick.  Often we can drum up guilt over what we see coming up from our heart and more so from what we know is there, masked with our performances.  We are afraid of what we don’t know about ourselves.  We crush ourselves with guilt when we fall… AND YET we can ask the Lord into our temptation instead of wait for the fall.  We can let him in to examine the darkest store rooms of our heart, to discover what we don’t even know about.  If we would just stop fighting our deceitful heart on our own and stop punish ourselves with guilt, neither have benefit… instead surrender our pride, pride in our abilities and strength, and hand the heart over to the Creator.

The enemy wants us to believe we are beyond hope when our dark recesses are exposed.  He doesn’t want us to allow the Lord to clean it out.  He is a liar.  Trust in your Savior!

Psalms 3 1-4
(American Standard)
1Jehovah, how are mine adversaries increased! Many are they that rise up against me.
 2 Many there are that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah
 3 But thou, O Jehovah, art a shield about me; My glory and the lifter up of my head.
 4 I cry unto Jehovah with my voice, And he answereth me out of his holy hill. Selah 
So I would like to punish myself, on a regular basis, for how sloppy my devotion to him looks each and everyday, but I need to stop working on things in my own strength and learn the lesson I was taught in that car accident… Jesus knows all about all the dark and all the deceit in my heart.  Still he faithfully holds my heart, fixes it, and loves me.
REMEMBER God is not fair, he is merciful!
Jesus is Jehovah’s mercy to us!
AND JESUS always honors repentance!

P.s. The tomato metaphor and other inspired portions of this post I gleamed from the teachings at conferences put on by SPOKEN WORD MINISTRIES (teacher being Boyd Hopkins).  LINK to find out more about this excellent discipleship focused ministry.


Half the Batch (The Making Dough Process)


Tired kinda day but need to make bread so I halved the batch and will work on four loaves.  Just didn’t feel up to wrestling eight loaves all day.  I had good company, my three year old is always happy to help with baking.

So, for fun, I decided to try capturing step by step shots of the process I  carry out weekly.

1.  It all starts with the yeast.  Warm water, traditional dry active yeast and waiting for it to wake up.

2. While the yeast is working I get the sea salt into THE bread bowl.

 3. Oil of choice is added and today it is grape-seed.  Often I add a mix of grape-seed and olive oil but not on a tired kinda day like today.

4. Water, warm water is added and whisked in with the oil and salt.

 5. Grains and cereals are whisked in.  My favorites of late are spelt bran or flakes, chia seeds and toasted wheat germ.

(Toasted Wheat Germ)

(Spelt Flakes)
(Chia Seeds)

 6. I add the specialty flours.  Flours of choice, of late, are chickpea (a long time favorite in my bread), a local produced oat flour, red fife and quinoa.

7. Mix all the grains and specialty flours together.

 8. Now that the yeast is happy I gently spatula all of it out into the still very wet dough and then carefully fold it in.

 9. Time to add the white bread flour.  Today I am trying out Roger’s unbleached and additive free flour.  I am expecting good things since I have used their dark rye for years and highly recommend it.  Usually I pick up, with much arm strength (wink), the 20 pound bags of bread flour from costco… but can you believe this long time bread maker forgot to grab some last costco trip?!

 10. I dump my dough out to kneed while it is still really sticky and messy.  Trying to avoid adding any more flour then I need to seems to keep it a lighter and moister bread.

 11. Kneading, such a beautiful process.  Pulling, rolling, twisting and shoving the goop into a lovely ball of dough.


 12.  Well I guess this turned out to be a twelve step process 🙂  With the dough all nice and smooth, it then gets tucked into the bowl and some cozy towels to warm up and rise.

All tucked in and ready to rise and get a beating, then rise again, for most of the day.  This evening I will roll it into loaves and pan it.  Once it has risen one last time it will be baked, cooled and bagged.  If I have the chance I will capture this finally process of making the dough BREAD.  Have a beautiful day everyone!



Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (Recipe Request)

(I ended up altering the original recipe a lot so I tried to just write out what I did here.  If it isn’t working for you feel free to ask me questions.)

2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 apple chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup Italian cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano) or just aged cheddar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cilantro or dill
salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Fry the onion, garlic and apple in butter till golden. Add mushrooms and warm them up in the onion mix.
  2. Be sure the squash is cooked till very soft, so you can mash it.
  3. While the squash is still hot mix the broth and milk into the squash.
  4. Heat the squash back up then mix in the cheese till melted then puree with a hand held blender.
  5. Add the onion mix and stir till it has reached desired thickness, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Mix in the spices then season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Psst, I doubled the recipe and it didn’t thicken well for me so I added about a table spoon of flour to it before pureeing with the hand held blender..


Mud Hunters

 Springtime is the land awakening.  
The March winds are the morning yawn.  
~Quoted by 
Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

MARCH means mud, at least this year!

My youngest two and my niece went hunting for mud and puddles.  We where impressively successful, in spite of snow and ice still being around.

While the park was dry enough they only used the slides and monkey bars a short while.  Most of the our time was spent with sticks in hand exploring the mud.  A couple times the girls worried me, almost toppling over right into the mud, but most of the time we basked in the squishy sounds of mud below our rubber boots.

A few of us went home with wet feet, those of us brave enough to wade into the deep puddles soon learned why Mama doesn’t. I decided not to worry about them getting all a mess… somehow we all ended up going home in good spirits… wet feet and muddy clothing and all.

 Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.  
~Doug Larson


Black Bean Salsa Soup (Recipe Request)

2 2-19oz cans Black Bean’s (drain and rinse)
1  19oz can Chickpea’s (drain and rinse)
2 1/2 cups salsa (heat level of choice)
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
sea salt (to taste)

3 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsps coconut oil

  • Fry the chopped onion and garlic in coconut oil till golden.  Move to large soup pot.
  • Once beans are drained and rinsed put about half in the blender with about half the chicken stock.  Blend well then transfer to the soup pot.
  • Place the rest of the beans in the blender with 1 1/2 cups of salsa and mix till smooth.  Add the remaining chicken stock to make smoother then once mixed well place again in pot.
  • Mix the soup together with the onion/garlic mix and add the remainder of salsa. 
  • Add spices and tweet amount to taste.
  • Warm soup up and add more stock, or salsa if you want it runnier.
  • Serve with taco chips or fresh warm bread on the side.
  • Top with cheese of choice and sliced avocados or sour cream and green onions.