Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

Hannah actually kind of understood what we were doing this year.

Audrey didn't care. But pumpkins are pretty cool.

This proves once and for all: I am a nerdy piano teacher. And it was fun, too.

Hannah helped get one handful of the pumpkin guts out, then she was done.


We are doing NOTHING today. Happy Halloween to me. Two of the three of us are still in Pj's. It's 2pm. Thank you very much. I needed a day of rest, badly.

I do, however, have cute pictures.

Hannah and Nana - Nick's mom

Hannah and Grampa - Nick's dad

Nick and Hannah and the first snow. I am a wimp and I took these through the window. Honestly, we live in Colorado and none of us own good snow gear. We probably need to change that soon.

No, I cannot smile bigger than this. Like my new haircut?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Highlights

Good morning!

Here's what's going on in our world.

1. Halloween this week. The girls are going to be Pooh and Tigger, and we're taking them to "Hallelujah Night" at church. You've never seen anything like this. Whole rooms full of bouncy castles and candy and games. It's a huge community outreach, it's mass chaos, and it's a ton of fun. Plus, we almost always get snow on October 31st, and it's WARM inside! The pastors even come and dress up and it's hysterical.

(Just back from an interruption - Hannah walked in and announced, "A MESSY BI-PER!")

2. A new student this week. Whew. I think I have reached the point of no more space for students. Until School of Worship is done, anyway. That's in three weeks.

3. The Rockies lost. This actually made me sad for a minute. At least they lost to the Red Sox and not somebody lame, like the Indians.

4. I have decided that I'm going to start playing the piano every day, as part of our routine. Maybe after a couple weeks, the girls will not insist on sitting in my lap and "helping" the entire time.

5. My phone broke. The screen no longer lights up so I can't tell who's calling. However, I called AT&T this morning, and they say I can go to a store and get an "upgrade." Translation: a free phone, or a cheap phone. Very excited about this. Apparently upgrades are available every 6 months if you pay your bill on time?

6. We are painting our bathroom this week. This scares me because I have to finally make a decision about what color. I can do this. It won't look stupid. Right?

So, there ya go. A pretty low-key week for us. I'm so glad. What highlights do you have this week?

Something different

Found a link to this website this morning. These people have been learning to play and record a whole list of old songs - things that have no copyright issue involved. If you ever saw O Brother, Where Art Thou, it's the same style. Interesting to hear the kinds of things people sang about in the 1920's.

Friday, October 26, 2007

At bedtime tonight...

Nick: Hannah, tomorrow your friends are coming over to play. Won't that be fun?
Hannah: bands.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On marriage

This post made me smile today, and I've only been married three years. :)

What a night...

Here's a story for you.

Child decides that instead of eating her very good dinner, she will go hungry.
Mother repeatedly offers child her dinner when she asks for fruit, cookies, cake, crackers and anything else she can think of.
The dinner is summarily refused.
Child goes to bed hungry, with Mother feeling somewhat guilty but justified.
Baby gets up to 1am and at 3am.
(Baby still will not eat more than half a jar of solid food at a time.)
Child proceeds to cry mommy, mommy, mommy for about three hours starting at about 3:30am.
When half asleep Mother goes to check on her (4 or 5 times), Child asks for a hot dog.
Mother has no hot dogs, nor anything else she would like to offer at 4am.
Child eventually gives up, but not before wiping out Mother.
(Mother may or may not have covered her head with a pillow once Father got up.)
Mother cancels morning activities that were important, because she cannot get out of bed on 4 hours sleep.
Baby proceeds to cry Mommy, mommy, mommy for about 30 minutes before Mother drags herself out of bed for the morning.

So, how's your day going?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A History Test

Although it is not a huge interest of mine, I do feel it is my responsibility to stay informed on political issues. I read this blog because I like the wit and the perspective.

This post
was interesting to me. My apologies to anyone who might be a Hillary fan. It's really not just her - it's the concept she and certain other politicians are promoting. America has always been a place where hard work, perseverance, and a little luck (or blessing from God really) can equal at least independence, if not prosperity. The socialist mindset allows no one to be successful. Everyone must be equal. Yes, there have been and continue to be abuses by people who have money, but making everyone equal has so many far-reaching consequences. The economy in socialist countries crashes. There is no reason for anyone to work hard - however hard they work, they get the same. The funniest thing to me is the fact that people teaching socialist ideas are usually millionaires. Are they willing to change their lifestyle? I doubt it.

If we leave capitalism, we will begin to change the fabric of what has made America prosperous for generations. OK, done with my political soapbox.

8 Random Things About My Kitchen

I've been tagged by Flo. I have to confess, even though I talk about my home on this blog all the time, when I get tagged I get nervous trying to come up with anything interesting to share. Here goes...

1. We drink exclusively bottled water at home. We use those big polycarbonate bottles that you buy at the health food store (they don't leach plastic into the water). We have not tested our well water, and in town the water has nasty stuff like chlorine and fluoride in it. We also add a calcium supplement to our water.

2. My computer is in my kitchen. Although it is a terrible distraction at times, it is also the best cookbook ever. You can find recipes for anything on the internet. One of my favorite sites is

3. I have acquired quite the collection of gluten-free baking supplies since we figured out Hannah's gluten intolerance. Flours: brown rice, white rice, sweet rice, tapioca, sorghum, potato, buckwheat (and I'd like some teff, coconut, almond and amaranth). Xanthan or guar gum is another weird thing used to hold together baked goods. All the different flours have different flavors and textures, suited to different kinds of baking. Really, this makes more sense to me than the all-purpose flour concept. Match the flour to the texture of product you want.

4. I have so little counter space that the only gadget I keep on the counter is the toaster. Well, the microwave too, I guess, although I've been dreaming up a way to move that too.

5. I always have a wall calender. This is one organizational thing I learned from my mom. We don't plan a ton of things, but appointments and out of town guests and birthdays and playdates are kept in a place where Nick and I will both see them.

6. I use all-natural dish soap, dishwasher soap, hand soap and disinfectant. At this point I often buy them pre-made because I am lazy, but since our Dave Ramsey plan is cracking down on this part of our budget, I may start making them. Some of the dishwasher soap doesn't work at all, but I like the Ecover tablets and Citridish. 7th Generation stuff leaves scrum on the silverware. Yuck.

7. The past two weeks I have tried meal planning again. I have done this on and off because I know it is a good way to save money on groceries, but it takes time. Anyway, it has been a complete success, and we have actually decreased our food budget by...more than I care to admit. I also like not having to think, "what are we having for dinner tonight?" I just look at my pre-thought-out-according-to-our-schedule list, and start getting things out.

8. Not in the kitchen, but kitchen related: we sit down at the table at almost all meals. At dinner, we require the girls to sit with us for a reasonable period of time, usually 10-20 minutes. I feel that it is important for them to know how to do this, we get time to interact as a family, and it's better for their digestion anyway. We are very able to take our kids to restaurants because they have learned how to sit for a little while. Of course, we can't stay for hours, but we can usually have a pleasant short experience.

So, there ya go. I tag Christina, Saraw, LizT, and Laura
How come so many of you guys don't blog, or blog where people can't read it? :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Highlights

1. Nick's parents were here Saturday and Sunday. A good time was had by all.

2. We are now done with the out of town company, and I intend to rest this week!

3. In spite of my intentions to rest, I tackled several organizing jobs this morning. They look good. Now I have to clean up the empty boxes, stacks of dirty dishes, and actually get myself ready for the day - since I was working on other projects instead.

4. We got 6 1/2 inches of snow Sunday. It's very pretty. It's very cold. That's all I have to say.

5. I took on another piano student this week, and I'm realizing that for the next three weeks, I have to teach 3 1/2 hours straight on Tuesdays. Wow. That's a lot of talking. After that my school of worship students are done though. Then it'll be 1 1/2 hours. If I can just hang on until Thanksgiving...

6. I made a carrot cake last night, gluten free, and because I had no sugar in the house, sweetened with maple syrup. (3/4 c. maple syrup to each 1 c. sugar, and decrease other liquid in the recipe by 3 T per cup substituted) It turned out yummy, except that when I shook the cake pan to loosen the bottom of the cake, the cake kind of exploded. So, we have carrot cake crumble. But it tastes good. :) It has apple in it too. Yay for fall food.

7. I have very little to say that is interesting today. I've been working on a blog idea for a couple weeks but it still doesn't make sense. It's on thankfulness/contentedness. It's gonna be good. You'll see.

I just thought of a new tradition for these highlights - please give me a highlight from your week in the comments. :) Have a great week!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dr. P on parabens and plastic

I emailed my naturopathic doctor, who my family has been seeing for over 10 years (affectionately known as Dr P), and asked him about the paraben and plastic things. Thought I would pass on his response, in case anyone was interested.

"The parabens are waxes. These of course would plug pores and not be particularly healthy for the skin and scalp. But they are not lethal or toxic in any way. This is why stearates (waxes) are used in vitamin supplements. Hot wax is used to treat arthritic pain and without toxic side effects. So I would not get too worked up about their presence in products that you use.

Remember that toxic chemicals like plastics are only as toxic as your system allows. If you take care of your diet and have good nutrient levels in your system you will be able to tolerate chemicals that you are exposed to. In other words with your current diet of good whole foods you and your family should not have a problem with low level exposures to plastics."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Catching up

If you left me a comment in the past week and got no response, I'm sorry! My kids have had a rough couple weeks with colds, and the runny noses wore on us all. I don't know why we couldn't shake this thing! To top it off, Audrey also seems to be teething. I miss my happy, smiley baby.

Anyway, I responded to several comments. Check it out. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Highlights

Are you tired of me yet?

1. I am feeling better today. Amazing what a little sleep, a little time with God, and a little time with the husband will do for ya.

2. This week is insane. Among other things, Grandparents are here until Wednesday, in-laws arrive Saturday, haircut (yay!) on Wednesday, teaching piano, going to choir, having the mom's group...

3. The Rockies are one game away from the World Series. This is the point at which I'm actually interested enough to sit and watch games. Baseball is the one sport I actually fully understand.

4. Trying to decide on paint color for the bathroom. I think I want a warm color, and not too intense, but fun... Or maybe something else. I've never decided on a paint color before. What if I hate it?

5. I made gluten-free chocolate cake last night. It turned out okay. It needed more chocolate. I have, however, finally figured out the high altitude baking thing. A little less baking powder and an extra egg does the trick every time.

6. We had SNOW here last night. I have no idea what to say about that. It was pretty, and our house was cozy...but it's COLD out!

Alright. Gotta go do my filing and my yoga.

California Bans Phthalates in toys

For years, people very concerned about the chemicals in plastic have bought expensive wooden toys for their kids and used glass baby bottles. They were thought of as a bit excessive. However, now California has banned the use of a chemical widely used to soften plastic. Other states are also considering bans.

What do you guys think of this? Is it "the sky is falling" alarmist stuff? Would you stop buying plastic toys, in spite of everything, if they were proven harmful? Do you think companies will change the way they manufacture toys as a result? How far do you think we should go to protect our kids?

Cleaners and Asthma

This article says they found 1 in 7 cases of adult asthma are effected by use of spray cleaners. If they affect adults that badly, what about kids? All the more reason to use homemade stuff. Vinegar, castile soap, essential oils, baking soda, and citrus and enzyme-based cleaners you can find at any natural foods stores clean just as well (if not better), and do not leave chemicals in your house. Try it, you'll like it. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I'm cranky today. I was cranky yesterday also.

I'm currently making soup. Cold day, warm soup, sounds good, right? Except that halfway into this new recipe, I realized there is NO WAY all of this is going to fit in the pan I have. After using a little less of everything, the pan is BRIMMING. Now it has to cook for an hour. I get really mad about stuff like this - mad that I didn't realize it wouldn't fit, mad that I don't have what I need... I really need to just get over it.

The girls have seemed harder than usual the past few days also. Audrey has officially entered toddlerdom, tantrums and all. Today on our way out of church she got so mad for so long that before it was over she had hit her mouth and her head from throwing her head around. I did everything I could to hang onto her, but as soon as I thought she was done she'd start again. Whew. And that's just ONE example from this week.

Date night did not happen this week because the girls were sick. Date night hasn't happened in two months. It's supposed to be every week. The girls' noses have been running since the beginning of time and we can't seem to shake it.

Do you ever wish you had a reset button? Like, none of these things would really bother me all that much if I didn't already feel kind of overstretched. I wish it was possible to just suddenly see everything from a fresh perspective.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Another headline

The U.S. maternal death rate is higher than in European countries. Interesting. Even more interesting is the list they give of the cause of death.

"The major direct causes of U.S. pregnancy-related deaths are blood clots, hemorrhage, complications of medical conditions, and eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, which are marked by dangerously high blood pressure."

How many of these deaths could be prevented by a change in our diets? I already talked about eclampsia last week. Hemorrhage is scary, but in theory should be solved with proper vitamin intake and absorption. Many medical conditions are a result of poor overall health...

I'm sure we cannot keep ALL of these from happening, but obviously, even with our high-tech hospitals, we are doing something wrong. After all, we are all humans. If other humans are experiencing a better rate, let's figure out what they're doing and DO it.

And, although it wasn't mentioned... dare I bring up homebirth here? Many of those same European countries do homebirths for all routine pregnancies. Hmmm...

I find this absolutely fascinating

A type of bacteria in your gut may cause or be the result of chocolate cravings.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm thinking Christmas present...

Click here for a $2 off coupon from Big Idea for the new Veggie Tales video.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The current view from my kitchen window

OK, so I know I posted beautiful pics of the sunset the other day, but today when I look out my window, all I can see is this:
Yes folks, that is in fact a doll head on top of a refrigerator (a refrigerator that has been out there for three weeks, by the way), and if you look closely, you will see yet another doll head on the hood of the Ford Bronco.

This begs several questions in my mind.
1. Why?
2. What makes some people have a sense of humor that is witty, one that is silly, or one that is just plain creepy?
3. Did the people who own that house HAVE to allow their son to move in there? The other day he went out on the back porch and looked for all the world like he was smoking pot. Lovely. He also does not appear to work, as his vehicle is always there, while is wife's new Audi is never there.

In spite of the discomfort this gives me, I can't help but also feel a little sorry for these people. They must kind of have a hard life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Monday Highlights

I know it's Tuesday. Yesterday I for some reason declared war on the mess in the house, cooked a dinner fit for a king, and still managed to take care of kids and teach piano lessons.

1. Found a Pooh costume last night. Party America. $17. What a relief. I was afraid we had gotten ourselves into a pickle and would have to spend $40 and get it online. Hannah is wearing it now and I doubt she'll take it off.

2. Audrey now says, "all done." She says this about EVERYTHING. She'll look at me with those big brown eyes, raise her eyebrows and say, "all done." It is the cutest thing to see such a little kid talking.

3. My grandparents are driving here from CA. They should be here tomorrow night! This grampa is the only great-grandparent who hasn't met the girls. It will be nice to see them.

4. It looks like Nick's parents are coming next weekend. Wow. Lotsa company.

5. Fall has come to Colorado. It was COLD here yesterday morning. Like, in the 30's. All the leaves have turned. We have a little aspen tree outside our bathroom window - its leaves are bright yellow. Beautiful. (I'm feeling a little better about fall.)

6. I made this for dinner last night. Oh, my goodness. The chicken part cost too much for what it was, although it was delicious and we will probably get two or three meals out of it...but that acorn squash tasted like candy. And we have organic acorn squash for $.89 a pound around here right now. Eating in season is cheap, and finding good recipes is priceless. (Did you like that?)

7. On the agenda today: file papers, do yoga, scrub the bathtub, teach piano, and DATE NIGHT!

8. Listening to new Vanessa Carlton today. I think I might really like it. Still deciding.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Diet for moms

Betcha thought this post was about how to lose weight. Well, it's not.

Kim at Starry Sky Ranch posted a series a while back about Home Management Notebooks. This, I have found, is a secret of moms with lotsa kids. They don't keep it all in their heads - they write out everything they know. :)

Anyway, this morning I was looking through the info I downloaded from her. One of the things she included was a "WAP diet for pregnant and nursing moms."

Before copying it here, I want to make a couple of observations. First, midwives all over know that this diet keeps pregnant women from getting eclampsia. The high blood pressure issues that cause doctors to induce labor to "keep the mom and baby safe," (even though these inductions often end in c-section, but that's another post) these issues can be solved through just a couple of days with a diet like this. You must have protein and fat to make a healthy baby. Nursing is a similar story.

I ate similarly to this during both pregnancies, gained about 30-35 pounds both times, and lost it easily by four or five months postpartum, partially thanks to breastfeeding. I had no swelling whatsoever, and my blood pressure never went above 118/80 ish.

So, here's the diet, straight from Kim's download:

Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day

1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows

4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows

2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens

Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc.

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs

Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat

Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D

2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc.

Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces

Soaked whole grains

Fresh vegetables and fruits


  • Trans fatty acids (e.g., hydrogenated oils)
  • Junk foods
  • Commercial fried foods
  • Sugar /White flour
  • Soft drinks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Drugs (even prescription drugs)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Update on the piles

So, based on how many pieces of paper enter this house every day, it's going to take a little more than filing 5 papers a day. Otherwise I may be working on this for three years before my kitchen piles are gone. ;) Maybe I'll do 10.

My kitchen window

I took this picture looking out my kitchen window tonight as the sun was setting.

Apples and Pumpkins

We visited the Happy Apple Farm last weekend.

Hannah was concerned about the pumpkins laying all over the ground. She decided they needed to be put back in the box. I don't know why my head is cut off in the picture.

Hannah Kay

I have captured some great pics of Hannah recently. Thought I'd share. :)

This was while we were moving. She found a cowboy hat in the garage. Nick and I bought these a couple of years ago to go to a "hoedown." Funny mental picture? Yes.

This is not really a link. I can't make it quit doing this.

She learned this trick from her friend Jenna that comes to our small group. Sigh! It was only a matter of time. :)

I love watching my girls play with girl stuff. Women love to feel beautiful, at any age!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


We went to the mall tonight, returned a pair of pants, and looked for a Pooh costume. We decided to take a family picture in a photo booth, just because we could. Audrey was less than thrilled with the whole thing.


I had a revelation today.

First, a little background. For all three years of our married life, we have had piles of papers in the kitchen. Bills, mail, magazines, you-name-it. It gets piled on the kitchen counter. I have always hated this. Here I am, miss organized, and my kitchen always looks like a mess. So I was reading a blog today (currently I can't remember which one. If I figure it out I will add the link.) She recommends starting a new habit on Saturdays. Just as an example, she said, "say you want to file 5 papers every day after breakfast." A light bulb came on. That would solve the problem!

Then, I started thinking about the problem itself. My mom ALWAYS had a pile of papers on the counter when I was growing up. It is something I am used to. Organization, however, never was my mom's strong point. She would tell you that herself. Another piece of the puzzle is the fact that in my brain it is Nick's job to take care of the finances. This includes the millions of bills (okay, not MILLIONS, but it sometimes feels like millions)

So, here's the revelation: organization is not Nick's strong point. It's mine. I have every skill I need to come up with a system to fix this. Nick will love it. I will no longer have piles on the counter. We will be able to pay all our bills on time all the time, because we will know what's due when and where the bill is.

I have been living with something when I have everything I need to fix it. Duh. Do you have anything like this? I really believe that God gives families the skills and talents needed to allow for success. This includes the kids - not just the parents. Hannah already has an incredible gift of organization as well. Hers may surpass mine because I will encourage her in it. I hope it does. And not in an obsessive compulsive way - in a way that gives life and finds order out of chaos.

Be inspired also today - what problem do you have that you or a family member has the talents to fix?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Highlights

I've decided to do highlights on Mondays. Usually I have lots.

-Audrey was sick all weekend with a high fever. I suspect it may be her throat. If she's not better tomorrow I'll have to take her in, I suppose. We've had a few tough nights around here.

-We watched Elizabethtown on tv last night, and that inspired me to download the soundtrack. Good music, all in one place. We decided that is one of our favorite movies, too.

-Could somebody please tell me how it got to be October already?

-We went and picked apples and pumpkins at the Happy Apple Farm on Saturday. It was incredibly windy and dusty, and I don't think anybody but me had fun. I had a blast. I need my own farm. Anyone want to buy me one?

-I played piano at a little tiny church downtown again this weekend. Hymns straight from the hymnal. I had so much fun. I talked to this little old lady who has been going to church there since 1954. Folks, that is a post in and of itself.

-Yesterday I SCRUBBED the kitchen. It has not felt clean to me yet, so we pulled out the fridge and stove and I cleaned under those, and I scrubbed all the baseboards. It doesn't look much different, but it feels so much better to me. And now my arms and back are sore.

-Some friends and I are planning a reunion for my Bible school graduating year. I am so excited about this. I think all involved would say that year changed our lives and we made friends for life. I can't wait for next summer.

-My friend Tara was here from California Thursday through Saturday morning. She flew out for an appointment with Dr P. She wanted to see a doctor like him and liked that he had a track record with my family. She starts her fast and cleansing diet this week. Go, Tara! I hadn't seen her in about 5 years. We graduated from high school together. That was almost 10 years ago. I'm getting old.

Alright. Naptime for tired, cranky, sick kids.