Showing posts from October, 2011

How To: Ski Ball-- Lessons from the Life of Elisabeth

I'm pretty sure there's not a person alive who enjoys life more than Elisabeth. She's a free spirit, with a song on her lips, a smile in her heart and, I'm convinced, magic in her step.

Tonight my dad treated our family to a trip to John's Incredible Pizza. Elisabeth spent most of the time at the Ski Ball game. When one game would end, without inserting more tokens, she would push the 'start' button and a new game would begin (see?! I told you she is magic!).

Elisabeth's approach to Ski ball is a unique (and fairly dangerous) one.

First of all, the balls must be named and assigned a familial position (mom/dad/sister/brother). Then, she closes her eyes and tosses the ball. Sometimes the ball heads in the general vicinity of the alley she's playing on, and sometimes not. Sometimes you can't tell which alley she's playing on because she's technically playing on them all. It doesn't matter if she gets the ball in her own gutter or the on…

Avoiding Convenience Foods

I absolutely know what it's like to be dog tired. I know what it's like to get to the end of the day and realize that I haven't even THOUGHT about dinner.

I also know the temptation to drive to the drive thru at that point. I've been there and done that.

Fast food and even most store-bought convenience foods are hard on the budget. And over the last few years we have gradually cut out 95% of our fast food/convenience food consumption. I do still buy the occasional box of Dino Bites and even less often we go for fast food.

The thing is, I still have days where I'm dog tired...and realize at the end of the day that I have no idea what we're gonna have for dinner. All of this has been a learning experience for me and I've discovered that there are a few things that profoundly effect the peace of our home around 5 o'clock in the evening and make dinner a much more pleasant experience for my whole family.

1.  Meal planning. I don't do anything fancy. Th…

People are More Important than Food

I love studying nutrition. I love seeking out information on how to help my body function at it's highest capacity.

But you know what I've noticed? I've noticed that sometimes this "knowledge" leads to my looking into other peoples grocery carts and thinking to myself  "oh my goodness, I can't believe they eat that!"

Which has lead me to several observations.

1.  The world of nutrition is a lot like the "religious world"...there are a bunch of people who ALL think they know the truth and anyone who disagrees is either insincere or just ignorant.

For example:

Some people (who are considered experts) say you should take generic fish oil. Other experts say those experts have got it all wrong and you should take krill oil. Still other experts say both of those experts have it wrong and you should take cod liver oil. And the funny thing is, they all have "evidence" to back up their claim.

Sounds confusing, doesn't it?

It basically…

God Designed Girlfriends Book Club

I have wanted to be in a book club for so long. I have literally been searching for a group of girls that would get together and discuss literature/fiction...well, really ANY type of book...with me.

Recently I found a girl who not only wanted to get together to discuss books...when I asked her she jumped up and down and hasn't stopped talking about it (and asking about it!) since I asked her.

Well, tonight after several weeks of trying to find a time to have our first meeting...I put the kids in bed and MADE time.

I'm not sure what our first book will be...we are planning to have that decided by Sunday evening. Tonight we just talked about books we've read recently, what we liked and didn't like about them and which character was our favorite.

Can you tell we had fun?!

Any book suggestions?

Pumpkin Pie!

Today started out rough. I had this wonderful plan that I was going to work outside in our yard all day.

I wheeled the lawn mower out to the front yard, fully expecting my plans to gracefully fall into place. But after an hour of trying to start the dumb thing and actually crying (yes, I did cry over the fact that the lawn mower wouldn't start...I'm ridiculous...I know...I'm pretty sure there was a pride issue here) I finally gave up (that is painful for me to say...maybe God was workin on my pride??).

So instead I decided to wing my way through making a pumpkin pie (w/ a graham cracker crust to change it up and homemade whipped cream), completely from scratch. I researched the components of pumpkin pie and then decided to kind of wing my way through it.
I started off making graham crackers. I doubled the recipe so my family would have some to eat since they are soooooooooo good. I put half into a plastic bag and crushed them and mixed them with a little coconut oil and pr…

Randy Travis Does it Again

Riding my new bike has brought back so many good memories of my childhood. I remember doing doing standing up on the bike and steering with my foot or something and I remember how scared I would be but how exhilarating it was at the same time. My brother and I would make ramps and stuff (really it was my brother and his meany friends that built them and sometimes they'd let me use them). My bike riding adventures are some of my best childhood memories.

I've been riding bikes with my kids. It's so neat to see the same joy in them, and to feel it again myself and knowing that I'll be a part of their good bike riding memories makes it even more special to me.

All of this reminds me of a Randy Travis song...I'm not sure why but I get a lump in my throat every time I hear this song...and it's been stuck in my head for the past few days! (Just FYI, the pictures are random...sorry if that bothers you!)

The Crazy Bike Lady

So today, while I was riding my awesome new bike, I caught myself talking to...myself. And not, you know, in my head talking to myself. I was actually mouthing the words.

I'm pretty sure I'm officially our towns "crazy bike lady". Pretty soon I'll be pulling one of those child seats full of cans and bottles and swatting at invisible flies.
Anyway, so last week Michael received an extra grant from school. Whenever we get extra money we try to really hard to use it for things that will have a long term positive effect. So we buy things like meat that are hard on our budget but that will keep in the freezer and ease the grocery dilemma.

Well, so Michael decided that we would purchase a bike for me to ride around town when the kids are at school to save money on gas. Woohoo! So far it's saved us $7.26. Not much but it will add up over time! I'm looking forward to keeping track of it.

The funny thing is, after a day of feeling really good about being able to …

Bedtime Routines

I am probably the most unorganized mother ever conceived of.

I do things in a whirlwind. I wait until conditions are at their absolute worst and then I decide to do something.

So in the midst of all my FlyLady madness...I added some things to our kids bedtime routine that have made our evenings and mornings infinitely more peaceful.

1.  I started having them pick out and lay out their clothes for the next day...including socks and shoes. Okay, now I've always laid my kids clothes out, if they got laid out...which was a rarity. But I can't even tell you how much easier my life is. Now sure, somedays my five year old son goes to school in camo shorts with one orange and black pumpkin tube sock and one white ankle sock...but between the peace of not having to do it myself and the giggles I get when I see what they've's a good situation.

2.  We divvied up the shower...Nathaniel, Lilla and Elisabeth at night and Caleb and Uriah in the morning. It's fast. It&…

Ten Years In

Do you know what the statistics are for couples who get married under the same circumstances that Michael and I did? I don't know either. But I know they're not good.

Someone actually told me, shortly before we got married, that Michael and I would be divorced within five years.

There is a lot of literature out there about how to deal with strong-willed people but sometimes being a strong-willed person has it's benefits.

So here we are, ten years in.

I'm not going to say it's been perfect. There have been a lot of moments that haven't even been good. I will tell you that we are the happiest we've ever been. I feel closer to Michael and we have more fun together than we've ever had before.

So, ten years in...what lessons have I learned?

Well, I've learned that whether or not I am happy is my choice and my responsibility.  If I'm not happy and my attitude stinks, it's not Michael's fault.

Michael is not only my husband, the father of my ch…

Changes, Changes, Yummy Changes!

I love cooking from scratch. I love using fresh ingredients in their whole-est, most natural state I can get my hands on. I've even wanted to try my hand at canning. I love the idea of having a pantry full of yumminess that has been preserved at my hand.

Gradually I've tried to cut out canned and processed foods. This week...I learned to make my own pumpkin puree! Woohoo! One step closer to not being dependent on convenience foods!
 You might think I'm crazy, and there are a lot of details that I have to work out, but starting January 1st (I actually have a feeling it will be a gradual process between now and then) I plan to begin a year of working with the freshest, whole-est foods that I can get my hands on.

Does that mean making my own butter or buying it raw and as unprocessed as possible? Can I find a dairy farmer to purchase fresh milk from? What budget-ary adjustments will I have to make? Where can I purchase unprocessed grains to grind for flour? How do I start a c…

My Love Affair With a Fruitstand

I drive through the gravel, come to a stop, take a deep breath and get out of the car.

Walking into the midst of our local fruit stand, for me, is like a drink of milk with a chocolate chip cookie. It's like fitting the last piece of a 1000 piece puzzle after you spent hours searching for the missing piece and then finally found it stuck to your behind. It's like the epidural taking effect in the midst of labor pains (although I wouldn't know what that feels like...I'm pretty sure I can imagine).

And I am sooooooooooooooooooo tempted to spend my entire grocery budget on pumpkins and apples (and all of the other produce, nuts and locally harvested honey and squashes).

I don't know, do you think my family could survive for two weeks on only pumpkins and apples?!

Have you ever noticed how utterly breathtaking apples are? Did you know that they are members of the rose family??

I'm pretty sure I would swoon if Michael ever showed up with a bouquet of apples. Or pumpk…

I'm the Mom...

whose daughter shares culinary tastes with bovines.
who frequently says things like "go eat your dinner!" when I really mean "go finish your homework!" 
 who after being stuck at home to conserve gas, finds it necessary to draw mustaches on everyone in the family and head to Target...
who gets momentarily mistaken for a bank robber
who hates homework
who daily has to apologize
whose stellar ability to block out deafening noise should probably be studied by NASA.
whose tooth fairy career has failed miserably
and who is blessed beyond measure.