Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pretzal Party

I am finally catching up here on toasty toes blog. I have finally after a couple of hours of uploading pictures, reached the pinacle of the year. Christmas Day.
By the time the Christmas pretzal party time arrived, I was sick as sick could be of being in my kitchen, so I begged my daddy and Dustan to head up the task. I just snapped a million pictures, cringed at all the finger licking, and laughed at the crazy candy combinations they came up with.
Also, you will perhaps see reason number 523 why I have not blog posted in so long. Work day never actually did end. It's still going on. In fact, it went forward even today. Dustan is busy laying flooring as I type and I am busy waiting for my freshly painted pantry door to dry so that I can move it out and start painting my basement door. You will see our new cabinets, and new paint color. You will not however see any window coverings, or a countertop. The countertop will be here next week, and the floor will also be done next week. I have lived in a quasi kitchen for over a month (we started this at the beginning of Nov., and I am ready to have a kitchen back. for those who may be wondering why we got new cabinets when the old, lovely blue ones were so cheery and pretty...well, the best explanation is that we will be selling the house. Which is reason number 524 for the lack of posting. I am mourning my lovely house- But, God has big plans for my family, and the first step is to get this house sold. So, I am no longer making decisions based on my own likes, but the possible likes and desires of the "everywoman". I am not everywoman, and this has been quite a grueling task for me.

But without further ado, here is pretzel day: (oh, and blooger pics is broken at the moment and so I had to use photobucket- which means I can't control the size. if this causes your computer to have a stroke and die- I am sorry. check back later and hopefully blogger will fix their issue AND I will have time to add smaller pictures.)






All about me

Perhaps the reason my blog went south for the winter is that I ws busy writing my second novel. It was national novel writing month in Novemeber, and I focused my time into writing. This year I managed to write something readable and after a couple of re-writes and a professional editing job it will be on its way to an agent...or 50 agents. My goal is to get 50 rejection letters by nano time next year.
I rewarded myself, or I should say that Dustan rewarded me, with an early Christmas present. Yes. It's real. I researched my artist for over a year and chose someone who does beautiful feminine tatoos, all without outlines. She was an artist with a brush long before she found she had a skill for skin art

here is the artist gallery in case you are interested.

All about the middle child...

Weston is growing up. My little runt (seriously he was only 8.11) has gotten so big. He has become his own individual, with his own likes, a ton of dislikes, and an instense desire to follw his Lord. We celebrated his baptism a few weeks ago and I was astonished at how much our church celebrated with us. They too see Weston's sweet spirit and so many of them told me what an example he had been to them.
He has gone a very long way from the time he announced to his Sunday School teacher that he didn't want to grow up to be a Christian because he wanted to go to hell. To see what it was like...

to having a conversation with me several months ago about how he looked forward to he could see Jesus. My heart was humbled by his simple faith.

Weston has also become a purple belt in karate.
And in case you were all wondering about my sanity. Wonder no more. I am insane. I saw Weston having so much fun learning how to kill people by slamming their heads into his knees that I had to join him. Twice a week I embarrass myself by pretending to be a ninja. But don't laugh at me. I can kick your butt.

Happy Belated Halloween

Hahaha! For some reason, posting all these belated greetings crack me up. I am easily amused, which is a good thing I suppose.

The boys made their own glow in the dark skeleton costumes with very little help from mama. I have very creative little boys.

Did work day kill me?

Almost. Seriously. I think I am allergic to work, and no matter where I turn- it is tehre. Following me. It's a bit spooky. A lot has happened since my last post, in which I became so bored with my own posting that I just stopped. Cold Turkey. It didn't hurt at all.

Anyhow, the world seems to want to know what is happening in my life (and by world, I mean my small but significant family) and so here are some pictures of pumkin day.

Happy belated Pumkin Day! Hahaha!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Work Day

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Weston is such a helper.
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He even lays down flooring. It's like having our own personal slave,
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who takes continuous breaks for dog licks and snuggles.
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"come on Heidi. Time to get to work now. Out of the way."
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Heidi scoffs at our attempts to move her and lies down right on the flooring we are trying to lay.
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And she says, 'I ain't movin'. Just try to make me."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Morning Monday!!!

Fall is here and the skies have become gray. My Monday morning pep has gone the way of the Canadian geese. South.

It happenes every year. Fall is my favorite season but I can hardly enjoy it due the the foreshawdowing of winter. winter is cold, gloomy, and lonely. And every year I fret that my trees will not burst forth in new foliage come spring. By the time winter gets here I am tired of gloominess and seek out medicinal help. It happpens every winter. You would think my doctor would see a pattern and diagnose me with seasonal depression. or whatever it's called.

But, because I have a goal to declutter my life, and because gloominess has no room (I filled it up with smiles, and laughter, and soft-voices remember?), I am going to be proactive. I have heard that there are special lightbulbs that can help with SAD (seasonal affective disorder- I just looked it up) and I plan to buy some. It can't hurt. I also plan to do some research and see if there are some herbal remedies that may help.

Do any of my readers suffer from SAD? Have you heard of it? Do you know of any non-medicinal remedies? Let me know.

no picture today because blogger is broken. How depressing. I think I will go back to bed...

Friday, October 12, 2007

And so the aging process goes

and I guess my eyes have volunteered to be the first to go. Since I am having to go from wearing glasses none of the time to wearing them all the time...I decided to go for shock value. Aqua and Brown. I think they make me look writerish.

It's Friday

and time for Show and Tell.

Today I want to show a before and after. And this is the second SnT that I will make my sister cry (the first was a gigantic spider web). This one is not as frightening.


I am not a fan of dark wood, and I adore painted wood. So paint it I did, and I love the way it turned out. I used the directions I found at (oh boy, I forgot where I found them and a half an hour search has tuned up nothing) Anyhow, I also colorcoded my books which is something else I saw on a blog somewhere. Blogs are great for ideas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is this true?

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Do I talk too much....and maybe you should ignore the fact that this is my third blog post in one day.

I wanted to be Pooh. He's so stupidly wise and lovable.

Ten Wishes

1. A whole day to sew.
2. A pattern for a great skirt and smock. Something that feels homey and cozy to wear around the house.
3. These boots. Oh how I wish I had those boots. And if I had a whole day of sewing, I could make myself some cool non-tight leg warmer thingies too.
4. A long walk in the park.
5. A week of camping.
6. My dining room, kitchen, and foyer floors to be completed and all painting done.
7. To be in Ecuador.
8. To be in Rome, NY...with my sister.
9. To know how to knit.
10. To be able to eat chocolate cake all day long and still lose weight.

So, what are your top ten wishes at the moment?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's Tuesday

And I missed my Good Morning Monday!!! post. really and truly, I had it all written up, but I just couldn't make myself satisfied with it. Here's the gist of it. By adding good things like smiles, and laughter, and happy voices INTO your life...out goes the clutter of bad attitudes, grumpiness, and bitter whininess. Okay? So smile more. Laugh more. And make your voice happy and soft.

See? That was short and simple and you didn;t need all that gabber goo I wrote up yesterday. trust me, it was boring and obnoxious.

I have been messing around with my house a bit lately...

Re-arranged my front porch, but didn't bother swiping away the cobwebs (I like spiders even though a nasty one gave me a nasty bite while camping this weekend). I figure gigantic cobwebs make for a natural and eerie Halloween decoration. I also decided "to heck with my mantle". I never can get it arranged the way I want. It always looks cluttered and frumpy and so I piled it with my favorite worldly possesions- books- and called it done. I like it. It won't end up on a magazine cover- but I really do like it. It's like having a free bookshelf, and no one can have quite enough bookshelves.
Dinner tonight was yummylicious. Chicken Souvlaki. Whatever that is. It was good. No one liked it but me. Which is sad, because I LOVED it. It was basically marinated chicken tenders, fried until done and piled on top of rice, shredded spinach, red onions and topped with a yogurt- cucumber sauce. It was the cucumbers that got to everyone. I'm not a fan of them myself- but this dish was devine.

Talk about Tuesday : Follow the link to find out what it's all about...and to see other people who like to talk...on Tuesdays...or any other day...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Show and Tell Friday

My great-grandmother is one of the most talented crafters I have ever met. When I was just barely old enough to remember it, she began to teach me how to crochet. I watched the yarn slipping through her fingers and became addicted to the rhythm of the art. Loop, turn pull. Loop, turn, pull.

She also quilted. As a child I thought the quilts were made of magic. I never saw her quilting, but everytime I visited, Voila. A new quilt. Like magic. One of her quilts was made for my father when he was just a boy. It had a Davy Crockett print on the back and was my absolute favorite blanket. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a lovie and therefore it was well-used, and ill abused. I still had it in highschool but somewhere along the way, the threads gave out and it became more shreds than blanket.

Last year I was given the one in the picture. I love its cheery colors. Don't you?

By the way, she also made the pillowcases. I got those when I got married and I just recently got brave enough to pull them out and use them.

Check out all the other Show and Tells at Kelly's site and join us by adding your own.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Don't have much to say today

I am rather tired because my annual seasonal insomnia has set in and I am running on two straight nights of three hours of sleep.
I thought you might enjoy this little video.

Want to know something interesting about me? That video made me cry. It was the standing ovation. I always cry at standing ovations. It's a fact. I'm weird.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I think my children have taken over my blog lately, and I thought maybe I should post a recipe to even out my homemaking journal. This is another "diet" meal. Let me tell you, this new way of eating feels a bit like luxery. I have really enjoyed trying new foods and this was no exception. Although, it's not quite new anymore...we have had it twice now. Yummy both times.

Apple-crusted pork with sweet potatoes (core)
2 servings cooking spray
1 lb lean boneless pork chops or pork tenderloin
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 medium apples, MacIntosh, cored and diced
1 c unsweetened applesauce
1 TBS red wine vinegar
___________________________2 tsp Dijon mustard
___________________________1.5 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 400*. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.

Season pork all over with salt and black pepper. Place pork in prepared pan and place sweet potatoes and apples alongside. Spray apples and sweet potatoes with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine applesauce, vinegar, mustard, and cumin. Pour over pork.

Roast pork until cooked through and sweet potatoes are fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Let pork stand 10 minutes before slidcing crosswise into thin slices. Serve pork with apples and sweet potatoes on the side. Yields about 3 oz. of pork and one cup of vegetable-fruit mixture.

Guess What?

This child is almost impossible to photograph. But he has a surpise that he wants to he patiently waited until I was able to capture this "growing up" moment.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Fall:

I officially declare it Fall- which happens to be my favorite season. Just this year I realized what I like so much about Fall, and ironically I realized it while sipping coffee, double chocolate chip drink, and Italian Sodas with my family at Barnes and Nobles. We were all sitting there, around this tiny table, in cushy seats and I took a deep breath and suddenly thought..."this feels like Fall." It was a weird thought in the middle of a Starbucks and I curiously digested it . At first I thought it was the coziness...but I discarded that notion. Starbucks at Barnes and Nobles is not cozy- even if you ARE drinking a 4.00 pumpkin latte. Speaking of's outrageous to pay that much for coffee. By the time we paid for all the drinks, I felt...Aha. I zeroed in on THAT feeling.

Extravagant. That is why I love Fall. It feels extravagant. It's an overabundance of rich colors and smells. Food full of cream and spice. More crunchy leafy goodness than one human can bear. Fall is the season that God bestows upon us the extravagance undeserved but oh so loved.

So enjoy the turn of the weather. The crispy air that refreshes our lungs, the spiders busily building webs on every conceivable surface- Enjoy it.

Monday, October 01, 2007

hmmmm. maybe I have a problem.

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Good Morning Monday!

Let's Simplify our lives shall we?

These Monday Morning posts come to you from an effort to make my life less cluttered. Read this post to understand better.

Todays tip is:
Slow down your morning. Take at least the first hour of your morning and press the sllllloooooowwwww button on your life's remote. There is no need to zip through your morning routine as if your life will pass you by unless you hurry hurry hurry. actually, I have found it to be the opposite. Life passes you by while you hurry and scurry doing things that don't really count as living. However, if you slow things down a bit (ok- a lot) you will find that you have time to do a lot of living in those simple mundane moments.

Choose something you love for that first hour of the morning. If you have a task that MUST be done, find a way to enjoy doing it. Do it slowly with reverence and calm for the gift of a new day that God has given you.
*Make your bed and take a deep breath. Sigh with pleasure about crawling into a nice soft bed after a long day.
*Take your dog outside and don't hurry him. Even if it's raining. Take time to enjoy the rain. Take a deep breath.
* SIT DOWN with a cup of coffee and your favorite magazine. Take a deep breath.

I want to also say that in this age of rushing, rushing, and more rushing our children are likely feeling as frazzled as we are. Let them slow down too. I payed close attention to my mornings for a week, and I noticed that when my children sat down to curl up on the couch, went outside on our deck to snuggle with Heidi, or laid down on the floor for a good old fashioned stretch, I was quick to give them a barrage of to-do questions.
Did you make you bed?
Have you gone to the bathroom?
Did flush the toilet, wash your hands?
Marcus, take this washcloth and wipe down the bathroom sinks.
Weston, bring down your laundry baskets so I can do the laundry.
Esther, go straighten up the shoes in the foyer.
all of you, get over here and eat your breakfast.
Are you done with that?
I need to wash these dishes. Hurry up.
Lets' get our school work started. Sit down. get your glasses on. Go get your math book.

And on and on and on.

No wonder it felt like our lives were cluttered

Our new mornings are clear from all this garbage for at least one hour. We have things we have to get done. Breakfast has to be eaten, the dog has to be taken out. But we slow it down, and we enjoy each other while we do those things. Anything that can wait until hour two, waits until hour two.

For those of you who have to leave the house in the morning- you will probably need to wake up and hour early for this to work. I homeschool and can allow ourselves an extra hour in the morning. However, I have found myself getting up earlier in order to extend the morning calm. Now I usually have at least half an hour of time to myself before the kids wake up. I slllloooowwwwwly make myself a cup of coffee and stand on my deck watching all the suburban wildlife scamper through my yard.

This slow time always feels a bit like camping. Which hapens to have been the point.

And because it's Monday: Here's my weekly menu

Fennel-Crusted Pork Loin with roasted potatoes and pears
Roasted pacific cod with olives and lemons
Spanish chicken and rice
Easy Shepherd's Pie
Chicken Picada
Tamale Pie
Autumn veggie Minestrone (Crockpot meal)
2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 18 oz can crushed tomatoes's undrained
3 medium carrots -- chopped (1 ½ cups)
3 small zucchini -- cut into 1/2" slices
1 medium yellow bell pepper -- cut into 1/2" pieces
8 medium green onions -- sliced (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic -- finely chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Mix all ingredients except rice and basil in a 3 ½ to 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice. Cover and cook on low heat setting for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

Per serving: WW Points: 1; 195 Calories (kcal); 2g Total Fat; 7g Protein; 39g Carbohydrate; 1mg Cholesterol; 1198mg Sodium

Friday, September 28, 2007

I am alive. Which is good. And not as easy as one would think.

I am adding this little video of Esther, which will cheer us all up. Unless it doesn't work. Which it won't, because that is the kind of night it is.

BUT. If it does, it will surely make you SMILE!!!

Ummm, my house is messy because it being destroyed by to humans who thought it needed to be repainted, refloored, and redecorated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

House Guests are coming

And you know what that means. Yep. Time to get all those nooks and crannies cleaned.

Here's a recipe for window cleaner- in case you don't already have one. Personally, my windows need to be gone after with a power hose but this will have to do for now.

Homemade window cleaner

1 cup rubbing alcohol

1 cup water

1 tablespoon vinegar

Using isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray glass and mirror cleaner that competes with national brands. This can also be used to give a nice shine to hard tiles, chrome, and other surfaces.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update on a Heidi...and some lunch while we're at it.

Heidi is doing well. The vet said she has dislocated her knee bone and that, though she is in pain, she will survive. She is on some meds that will hopefully take away some of the pain and let her heal up. Unfortunately, this is probably a chronic problem and we may be facing some surgery down the road a bit. But, I am no longer worried. My Heidi girl is gonna be okay!

Also, since I made myself a yummy veggie pizza, I thought I would share the great news that I am down almost 15 pounds. Eating all this delicious food is paying off. Here's my pizza in all its overdone glory. I like it good and crisy so I cook it to death. I just piled some sauce and a load of veggies onto a flatbread. Then I added soy mozzerella and seasoning. it was yummylicious and took care of my pizza craving in a big way.


She is no longer able to use her back right leg at all. She hurts. My poor sweet Heidi. The emergency clinic had no answers for us and we will get her in to see our vet asap. until then, would you mind saying a prayer for this precious creation? Truely, she is one of the best dogs ever. Her only flaw is that she loves to give slobbery kisses. My prayers have been with many in blogland who have lost their pets recently and it makes me afraid for Heidi.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Conversation with a kid

Weston: hey mom! Is it going to rain today? Cause if it rains we can play outside, and if we play outside in the rain that means it my birthday. On my birthday it is raining and we will play outside. And since we are having an airplane party WE CAN FLY THE PLANES IN THE RAIN!!!!!!! Oh please say it will rain and we can play outside and fly airplanes because then IT WILL BE MY BIRTHDAY!!!
We are upstairs having an airplane contest and it's not my birthday yet.

Me: Ummmm?

Weston: MOM! My Birthday! raining and Outside for an Airplane party

Me: That clears it up Weston.

Weston: Thanks mom! (quick hug and kiss)

Does anyone have any idea at all what that was about????

Good Morning Monday!

Happy Monday Morning to you all! Why am I chipper this morning? Because being chipper is less complicated than being grumpy- and I am on a mission to simplify my life. Wahooo! Exciting isn't it? So every Monday, I plan to share a tip on life simplification. Join me on my mission to unclutter our lives. Today is such an exciting day that I am going to give you two tips. TWO! Yay! Free tips! Wahoooo!

Tip number one: Don't answer the phone. I spent a day calculating how much time I spent running after that annoying ring. Ridiculous! I would stop everything, reading, doing dishes, laundry, helping kids with work...everytime I heard a bdddrrriinnnnnggg. Stupid me. No more. Now I am smart me. Now, if I am in the middle of something, I ignore the phone.
I have voice mail. Next time I walk by the phone, I can look and see who called. Bonus is that I don;t have to talk to anyone I don't want to. So. if you call me and I don't answer, it may be that I am home and have chosen to ignore call in an effort to de-clutter my life. haha! Just kidding. I will call you back. Promi...

Tip number Two:
Make a menu. I make a very loose menu. There are seven days in the week and I make seven dinner plans and make sure I have all the ingredients on hand. This way, when it comes to dinner time, I can look at my list and make whichever meal sounds good that day. I make sure to include several "lazy" meals to use on those days that things are nutso in my house. I post this menu on my fridge and every morning I look at it and decide what meal would fit best for today. I write that meal on my dry erase board so I don't forget it. My memory is worse than my typing. Here's a peek into this weeks menu. They are all weight watchers menus and come either from client websites or from the cookbook Flex and Core.

Apple Crusted pork with sweet potatoes
Cheesy Mushroom Burgers with steamed broccoli
Chicken picada with green peas
Summer Corn, bacon, and Potato chowder with salad
Dijon Beef Stroganoff with artichokes
Chicken Souvlaki with rice and yogurt sauce
Tex-mex turkey Meatloaf with coucous and green beans

PS, I added a sweet early morning picture to cheer you up. And freak my sister out- because freaking her out cheers ME up!!!!! happy Monday y'all!!!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Special Day

Marcus is EIGHT!
Happy birthday little boy. I mean big boy. Eight years. I wish I could keep you forever, but the point of life is to both wisdom and stature. You have done both. This year saw your first basketball goal, your first fight with crazy aunt Mary, your first book- read completely on your own, your first mission project, your first swimming lesson graduation, and oh so may more firsts. My favorite first was you responding to my "I love you." For so many years I have told you that I love you. I love you around the world and back, I love you when you scream in anger, and when you pout for three hours because you have to write a spelling sentence. I love you when you tell me that you are a frutitarian and won't eat veggies or meat. For eight years I have told you that I have loved you. And for eight years you have responded with "I know." or "okay." I have always known you love me. But like every mama in the world I longed to hear it. I cursed the condition that made you write such beautiful poetry, understand such things that most seven year olds gasp in confusion at. That same condition that made you stiffen with every hug and to never respond to my loving whispers.
But this year was a milestone. I held up my fingers, in the sign for "I love you." and you responded. Your fingers formed an i, l, and y, sign language for I love you. And my heart sang for joy. No other moment this year was quite as good as that one. I love you too, my Marcus. More than you will ever know. Happy Birthday.