Tuesday, February 28, 2012

green clean?

For several years now
we've used a spray bottle filled with
 mostly water, some vinegar, and a drop of Fabuloso
as our all purpose cleaning spray.
We used an old Simple Green bottle that we'd previously used for years
amazingly enough
diluted Simple Green.
The bottle broke maybe two years ago
and ever since
I've replaced it with multiple dollar store spray bottles
that just don't last.
So I upgraded to a Walmart dollar bottle.
Which was also a piece of junk
that only lasted a few months.
Brandon suggested it might be smart to buy a bottle of quality cleaning spray
since our original Simple Green spray bottle
lasted so long.
He said even if we dumped out the spray in it,
it'd be a better option than continuing to buy the junk we'd been buying.
I thought he was brilliant, as usual
so I carefully choose a bottle of Seventh Generation spray cleaner
the next time I was at Walmart.
The sprayer looked good
and as a bonus
the stuff 'kills germs botanically'
so I could feel good about using the spray
 and didn't need to dump toxic contents.
I figured a bottle from Seventh Generation
ought to last us a good long time.

The stuff stinks!
It smells like we've doused our house in Listerine
every time we wipe off a surface
thanks to the botanical cleansing power of thyme.
More than once I've said, 
"I just don't know how much more I can stand this;
I may just have to dump the rest of this spray!"
But you know that went against my thrifty nature,
so I've been toughing it out.
Sunday, after examining the bottle a bit,
Brandon asked, "So how do you refill this?"
So I proceeded to show him how you just unscrew....
Except I couldn't figure out how to unscrew the top.
(Why I thought I could, when he couldn't, I don't know)
I looked on the bottle for refill directions,
feeling quite stupid.
What I found was 

From a company the is supposed to be environmentally friendly?
Poorly played, Seventh Generation. Poorly played.

I can't even dump the stuff out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

grain free, gluten free, dairy free, falling-apart free biscuits

I suppose I could've just called these 
the best biscuits I've made so far.
Since, you know,
I perfected our whole wheat biscuits.
Right before we quit eating wheat....

Figured I'd type it up while the biscuits are still warm,
before I forget how I made them....

1 c homemade almond flour
1 c bought almond flour
(I'm sure you could use all bought almond flour,
but it's considerably more expensive than homemade.
All homemade will likely leave your biscuits crumblier)

Using a pastry blender, I mixed in
1/3 c. coconut oil
(I imagine you could use all of either,
but this is how I did it ;-)

Because I can never remember what recipes use baking soda
and what types use baking powder,
I did what I usually do: add a sprinkling of both.
I know - I am a disgrace to scientific cooks all over the world.

Then I added 4 x-large Braums' eggs
because if I can't get farm fresh eggs from chickens free to roam,
then they are the next best choice.

The dough seemed a bit juicy,
so added 3 Tbs coconut flour, 1 Tbs at a time.
Next time, I may use fewer eggs and eliminate the coconut flour?

Then I dropped the dough onto a cookie sheet
lined with parchment
- although, I could have just oiled it -
(I know this 'cause I had 2 biscuits that didn't fit on the sheet,
so I tested it and surprisingly, they lifted right off.)
and baked them for around 25 minutes, I think,
(I've already forgotten. That is seriously annoying!)
in a 350 degree oven

Spread with butter and peanut butter,
they almost tasted 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday song

The Easter season started for me Tuesday morning
when I heard this song on K-Love.

What song are you loving right now?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

stats and such

Lexi asked to be measured today.
Poor kid, she's only on the cabinet twice. Oops!!
Today's marking was the second one.
Since I had the marker out, I went ahead and measured everyone.
And then weighed 'em all, too, for good measure.
For good measure.
Oh, I crack myself up.


Lexi is 32 lbs and 37 3/4 inches tall

Lily weighs 42 lbs and is 42 3/4 inches tall

Josiah grew an inch in 6 months, 
and gained 2 lbs since going wheat free
making him a perfect square at 45 1/2 inches and 45 1/2 lbs.

Jeremiah's lost 5 lbs since going wheat free (Dec 3rd)
and grew an inch and a half since August
so he comes in at 75 1/2 lbs and 4 ft, 4 inches

Brandon is 4 1/2 inches taller than Tony was at this exact age
(Tony measured a lot ;-)
and the same height he (Ton') was a year later (14 1/2 yrs)
He's grown a tad more than 1 1/2 inches in 6 months.
Since going grainless, he's lost 13 lbs! 
But he's quick to point out that he has technically lost more than that,
because he has surely gained some muscle weight,
since he's been working out lately.
(I'd be pretty quick to point that out, too ;-)
So, right now,
Brandon is 5 ft, 11 7/8 inches and 139 lbs.

Tony's not here, so we don't know where he's at.
Well, we know where he's at, (school. boo!)
just not where he falls on the numbers....
He's definitely put on weight.
And it's all muscle.

While I'm at it,
TJ has lost about fifty million pounds.
Well, not quite, but he's lost around 40!!
He went wheat-free about the same time we did,
and he's stepped up his workouts, too.
I'm really happy for him.
And a tad jealous.
But mostly happy.

That's where we are, height and weight wise
in early 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

words to remember

The day
did not start off well.
I finally drug my butt out of bed,
and tried to be kind.
To not feel so
So fragile. So frustrated.
It didn't work.

I am  doing sooo much better than I was a year ago.
And many days, I feel almost normal,
but mid-cycle is still especially rough.
Saturday was smack dab in the middle
of mid-cycle.
After 'blowing it' a few times,
I gave myself a time out.
I spread an extra 1/2 dose of progesterone cream on my belly
and sat down with my little devotional book
to re-set.
I shed a few 'why can't I just be alright?!' tears.
I read the day's devotional
then I read the scriptures that went with it.
Then I re-read one.

That verse is underlined in my Bible.

We were talking the other day about marking up Bibles
(Grandma recently gave away a bunch of her Bibles and study guides.
I foolishly chose a translation I had been wanting (NAS),
instead of picking one that she had written in. rats!!)
I said I should really at least make note of the date.
Sometimes I come across something I'd underlined
 and wonder what exactly it was that spoke to me & why....
I didn't have to wonder about this verse;
I remember exactly when I'd underlined it.
It was about a year and a half ago....
I was a wreck a year and a half ago,
but I still believed that God could heal me.
But I wasn't so sure He wanted to.
I don't really know how I came to be reading in Zephaniah that day,
but I was,
and I underlined chapter 3 verse 17,
because I wanted to believe that God would save me.
It wasn't miraculous healing,
and it's been much slower-coming than I would prefer.
But God did lead us to a doctor,
who did have insight and wisdom, which he shared,
and I am getting better.

When I read that verse yesterday,
 I was quieted with His love.

I had to type Zephaniah 3:17 up immediately
and print it out.
I wanted to be able to keep it in front of me - so I don't forget.
God rarely does things our way, and in our time,
but He is mighty to save.
I still struggle to believe that He could actually take great delight in me,
but I want to believe that.
If I don't keep the truth in sight, though, I will forget again.
I headed to the computer,
then remembered that for some stupid reason
than none of us can figure out,
our printer refuses to print a word document,
so I had to figure out another way to get these words on paper.
(my handwriting is atrocious, so that isn't an option....)
I took a crash course in how to make a printable
and few hours and a couple trips to the shop later,
I had - what I think is - a beautiful way to remember.

Then I realized I'd spelled Zephaniah wrong,
so I had to make another.
(actually I had to make several others, before I ended up with a decent one)
three days later, I got my words on the wall.

Right by the mini-pantry, where I'll see it




Friday, February 17, 2012

memories game

I always encourage the kids to either 'go in' on gifts
or give something handmade.

Lily helped me make Lexi's birthday gift

I'm not real thrilled with her - she looks kinda sad

so I figured it was only fair that I helped her make one.

I knew it was just the thing!

Lexi shouted out her recognition of the fabrics
("That's from my quilt!" "That goes to Aiden's diaper bag" etc)
while Lily picked through our scraps.

November, 2010 ~ my, time flies!
I'd given her a template a little larger than the felt blocks
so she could make sure the scraps were big enough
 that we could get two of each fabric.

I did the cutting and sewing;
Lily handed me the sets to sew
and trimmed all the threads.

They played go fish today with the game,
asking for the project that the fabric came from,
"Do you have any panties?"

Oh, these sisters make me smile!

I love that they can recount memories
while testing their memory
and make memories all at the same time,
thanks to a sweet  little made-with-love gift.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

kid pics

by Lily 2-14-12
This might just be my favorite picture yet.
Of course, I say that about lots of 'em....

Monday, February 13, 2012

this and that

Saturday was good.
Best I've had in quite some time, actually.
Everyone slept in.
We had zero plans.
Tyler fixed breakfast (breakfast burritos with hashbrowns)
while I typed up that quick little post.
(that's a joke, Son)

I gave everyone haircuts,
including Tony. But not myself. 
(Although I do cut my own hair - but I prefer not to)
It was the first time 
in I don't even know how long
that it wasn't an overwhelming task.
I am so happy to be feeling better!
I figure I'd be rich if I got paid for this.
3 buzzes, 1 with a warm oil massage = $30
2 part buzz / part scissors with lemon jojoba oil noggin massage = $40

I made three capes.
Two pink, and one turquoise and white stripe.
Took me like 8 seconds.
so maybe I just cut out 3 rectangles of fabric
and pinned or paperclipped them on their owner.

Lexi has just been killing me lately!
She's suddenly transformed from a toddler
to a little girl.
Sooo stinkin ca-ute!

Tyler had an asparagus dish while he was in CA.
I re-created it the other day,
having never tasted it myself.
How awesome am I?!
Josiah had to be forced to try his,
then he proceeded to gobble down 9 more spears.

We have snow today!!
Kids will be so happy when they get up.
And Brandon will wish he'd gone down to the shop to grab snow gear
like he thought about doing yesterday.
I'm happy for them
and it looks so pretty out there,
but gosh - snow stuff sure does wreck one's house!

We had another water leak several weeks ago


Kacy went to church with Tony yesterday.
The pastors have been preaching through Ephesians.
We're in chapter 5.
Yesterday was verses 20 - 33.
She said she might ought to check the topic
instead of blindly agreeing to come. ;-)
Seriously, though - what a great first sermon for a couple to hear.
As if they were listening, and not thinking about each other...
I'm pretty sure I wasn't paying any attention
when I went to church with Tyler back in the day.
Maybe that's why he doesn't sit by me anymore?
What can I say?
The man just bothers me with his nearness.
I like him so!

Speaking of Tyler,
we had a nice impromptu lunch date Friday
and this was in his bowl of soup


Kids are up now
and jumping up and down by the window.
Let the chaos begin.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mama, there's a GIRL in the castle

(alternately titled 'a really lengthy post' ;-)

When Ton' called me at 10:32 last night,
(he almost always calls me when he's on his way home.
T used to, too.
Just a little courtesy I insisted on when they began driving
and the sweet habit stuck)
"I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Mom" were the first words out of his mouth.

A few weeks ago,
I guess it was when Tyler was in LA,
Tony just couldn't stand it anymore, so he called his pop
and said, "I'm pretty sure I found the girl I can spend my life with."
To which, apparently, Tyler began talking and wouldn't.shut.up.
(He can tend to over-talk sometimes ;-)
After Tyler got home,
we had a few meetings to determine what do with this info.
I mean, how does courting work with someone 
who may have never heard of the term?
(And what exactly is courtship anyways?!)
How does Tony protect her heart
and his
in this 'figuring it out' stage?
What about school?
Are we soo weird, that we'll run the poor girl off?
Have we ruined the boy's chances for happiness
with our ridiculous notions?
See - we pretty much think recreational dating is foolish.
And that hearts are best given to one person
and one person only.
Saves a lot of heartbreak that way.
And contrary to popular belief,
that kind of heartbreak isn't necessary for growing up.
(stepping off my soapbox. sorry.)
And everyone knows love is a little on the blind side,
so what if Tony was overlooking some major character quality
that would essentially render them incompatible?
We couldn't give complete and unequivocal blessing
for a relationship
with a girl we'd never met.

About two weeks ago,
after not sleeping for several days,
He talked to her
(it's not as though he never talked to her - duh,
this was a special talk ;-)
"I've never dated anyone, by choice. 
I haven't wanted to give away pieces of my heart....
So, what are you doing Saturday evening?
Want to come to my house and meet the fam?"

Poor thing was nervous all week.
I wanted to do something to ease her mind a bit,
but I was afraid I might just freak her out more, so I didn't.
Tyler was a nervous wreck all week, too.
Tony and I were pretty much fine :-)
We downplayed things to the kids,
just telling them Tony had 'a friend' coming over,
and not that Tony's entire life hung in the balance.
Honestly, I was a little afraid if Lily knew she was special,
she might just come out and tell her
"You should marry my brother,
he's old enough to be married now, you know".
(she often tells him that)

Not surprisingly, Kacy is a sweetie and seemed to fit right in.
And we didn't spot any red flags.
Not that we expected to, but the whole love is blind thing...
(Once, T brought a girl over
and in less than one evening,
the rest of the family knew she was not the girl for him.
It took him a little longer to see what we saw.)

Tony was ready to charge ahead,
but Tyler counseled him to wait just a bit,
and do some more praying
and to think of what issues might be 'deal-breakers'
Not terribly romantic,
but there wasn't any sense 
in either of them getting terribly invested in one another
if they were incompatible on a serious issue.
He got to work right away on his list.

Last night, they went on a date,
armed with their lists
(he'd asked Kacy to come up with a list of her own, too)
Many of the items on their lists were the same.
Like (and I'm paraphrasing) 
"What would your response be 
if you were pregnant and found out the baby might have Downs?"

They finished going through their lists,
and Tony had one final question.
He pulled out his Bible and read from 1 Corinthians 13
(he had it memorized, but was afraid he'd get it wrong)
then said, "I don't know if I can learn to love like this,
but I want to try. Would you like to learn with me?"

the foot thing

I went for what I thought was going to be my last foot appt.
I got my old lady inserts two weeks ago
and for a week and a half went back and forth between them 
and the boot,
and Tuesday, started wearing shoes with inserts full-time.
(that's tough on a barefoot gal like me!)
Doc's not happy with how slowly the tendonitis is healing
so now,
in addition to the insert with the mile-high arch
that sucks up my socks,
I have a lovely black lace-up brace thing. 
(Which, of course doesn't fit in my shoes.
But I had the Tony dig out a pair of his old* tennis shoes
that'll work fine.)
And I'm still supposed to be elevating my foot
for thirty minutes every two hours.
Which they forgot to tell me last time....
Not that I would have complied,
but I always like to know the rules anyways ;-) 
That's where I'm at with the foot.

*Tony, like his big brother, has always been fastidious 
with his shoes, so even though they are 'old'
they look brand new.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

la la la la Lola

"No looking at the dogs!" I'd told them.
Lily was not even six weeks old.
We'd gone to Family Day at ABF
and I knew the Humane Society would be there
with a bunch of  lonely animals that needed homes.
I did not want another dog!

They looked.
And then they drug me over there.
Against my will.
"But Momma, this one is so sweeeet." they said.
Darn it, they were right.
And so, Lola became part of our family.

She really is a good little dog.

She tolerates the girls playing dress up with her.
When I walk toward the couch with a load of laundry in my arms,
she gets down ~ without being told to.
She comes to the kitchen when she hears plates being scraped
but she'll wait to eat  - hoping for a little something more.
She knows she's not supposed to, but she'll go get in bed with the boys
as soon as I go to bed. Little stinker!
She loves to play outside
and you already know she loves her rides in the trailer.
She can often be found in front of the living room heater.
I always figured she wandered by, it was warm - she laid down.
Not so; she'll be in another room,
hear the heater kick on,
and come running.
Spoiled thing.

I'm kinda glad they didn't listen to me after all.

a little linky love

I have a love / hate relationship with links.
On the one hand, I love being pointed in the direction of a good post or article 
that I may not have found on my own,
but on the other hand, there are only so many minutes in a day, ya know?!
Without bogging you down, here are a couple of places worth a visit
when you have a bit of time to spare.

Today's post by Ann is one of her best, I think.
Although - so many of them are good...

This video makes me smile.
While tears threaten to run down my cheeks.

Alicia Paulson. Have you 'met' her yet?
I found her blog back when I was trying to grasp how to do hexagons.
(I still haven't started my hexagon quilt....)
She is such a sweet lady and I love her style of photography.
(Plus - her and her husband are Psych fans)
I admit that I sometimes envy her cozy, quiet, slow-paced life.
She probably envies my much louder one.

Speaking of my not-so-quiet-and-slow life,
I've got a bunch of boys to get to TaeKwanDo class.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

freckle foot

Lex' was supposed to be getting ready for bed the other night
when she ran into the dining room,
"Daddy! I have a new freckle!"

Tyler loves the girls' freckles and lets them know how special he thinks they are
(both the girls and the freckles)
and as I listened to them talk, I had the thought 
that no one is ever going to be able to tell those girls that their
freckles (beauty marks, whatever you want to call them)
are anything less than lovely,
because their daddy has already convinced them that they are.

My sister has a beauty mark
right on the top of her foot,
a sexy dark circle a little smaller than a pencil eraser.
I used to tease her about it, I'm sad to say.
And because of that she wouldn't wear sandals for years.
Decades even.
I feel horrible about that!

(although - we're sort of even, because she told me my boobs were ugly
and it took Tyler a long time to convince me otherwise.
But that's neither here nor there ;-)

I wonder though,

 if my dad had told her how special and beautiful that distinctive mark was
if my childish teasing would have had such an effect.
I suspect not.
In fact, I think she'd have tattooed a daisy around it
instead of covering it up all those years.

I'm so thankful my girls have a papa who treasures them.

All of them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Succulent Roasted Cabbage

Ya'll know I have a really tough time
attaching the title of 'favorite' to anything.
So tough, that I rarely do it. 
So when I tell you this is my favorite side dish
and one of my favorite things to eat - period - right now,
you know it's got to be good.

You really must try some!
Just turn on your oven to 375 - 400ish.
Cut a head (or two) of cabbage in half and remove the core.



generously drizzle with olive oil,
liberally sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper,
and stir it all up good with your hands.

Stick it in the oven for a half hour or so

Give it a stir and stick it back in the oven for another 15 - 20 minutes.
Longer is fine, too.

Add butter and salt and dig in.

I realize it doesn't look all that appetizing,
but trust me - it's a feature;
everybody will think, "Yuck" and take small portions
and then you can have the rest.
That'll only work one time, though....

Surely this stuff will be served in heaven.
At least - I hope it will be!

(If you want it to look pretty - slice your cabbage, but don't crosscut it.
Using a basting brush, cover both sides of each slice with oil & seasoning
and turn over half way through cooking. 
It looks especially fancy with the cabbage cut into wedges,
but it all eats the same)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a wheat free / low carb groundhog day

Being that Thursdays are crazy busy for us
and we don't even eat dinner 'til 8 or later,
I was going to postpone our festivities until tomorrow
but Tyler wouldn't hear of it.
I made mocha cupcakes (they were a bit dry, sadly)
with a cream cheese and whipped cream frosting.
We went ahead and splurged on Almond Joys for the groundhogs;
figured there couldn't be all that much harm in one tiny fun-size candy bar.
Shockingly, I didn't even eat all of my mine;
I found it disgustingly sweet and not tasty enough to make up for it.
Huh! They've always been on my list of favorites.
Lexi didn't have any trouble scarfing down the 1/3 I tossed though.
Oh my!
Speaking of Lexi scarfing, 
 that girl can put away some roasted cabbage.
Sister loves the stuff!
(Her momma does too)

Besides roasted cabbage (2 heads - we ate all but 1/2ish cup)
we ate almost 2 1/2 lbs of green beans
lemon pepper salmon (2#)
a little bit of mashed potatoes
(I used 6 tiny potatoes and 3/4 of a head of cauliflower.
Most of the fam didn't even notice a difference. Lily liked them, 
but noted they 'tasted like broccoli', and Josiah didn't care for them)
Just in case you were wondering....;-)

I'm wondering if we're even going to have winter this year.