Friday, November 9, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oct 17 of 31 Days

I'm making a Friday out of this Wednesday...

...because it's my princess's birthday. Her ninth birthday.

Soon I will have 2 princesses.

There was still school. Can't change that. (However, if Daddy had been able to get the day off from work, I would probably have considered changing that.) But she took little ice cream cups for her class, and her teacher saved her a Happy Birthday pencil and bookmark and a Hershey bar, even though she's in Virginia to help bury her daughter's husband. (Crazy real.)

But then I took a deep breath, and took the extra time after school (that I'd been avoiding) and walked the kids back to their old school across the street to visit their old friends, like they'd been asking since they started at their new school. MEF and her little friend Quinn walked all over the front lawn talking, and then began a sudden game of tag. EB played/ran/tackled/giggled with his friend Jacob. (MG chased EB and Jacob.)

We stayed maybe 45 minutes. They loved it.

There will be a brief amount of studying for the birthday princess (God blessed her with a very light homework load today, but we do just need to go over the vocab list). And there was the call from Grandma and Grandma singing Happy Birthday.

And then back to the Friday-ness of it. Right now they're resting with snacks on the couch, watching Gigi on dvd. Then there will be more craziness, or playing on the Wii, or the computer. (I will not make them clean the living room.) And in an hour and a half or so, we will meet Daddy at Chuck E. Cheezits, as my littles call it. And we will eat pizza and Swiss cake rolls (because my girl doesn't care for birthday cake) and play games. (And I will be exhausted. Crazy real.)

Tomorrow will be Thursday.

But today it's my girl's birthday (and my 9th anniversary of God waking me up to live for real),

so it's Friday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oct. 15 of 31 Days

I'm not "crunchy." I'm not hard-core "green." I don't make everything we eat, 'though I do try to make some. (Like peanut butter and spaghetti sauce and bread.) I love Humpty Dumpty All-Dressed potato chips. And Hershey's chocolate syrup tastes better in my coffee than homemade.

But I don't like fake food. Fake ingredients, fake colors, fake flavors. I don't like what it does to my kids attitudes, or to my body shape.

I don't like buying orange cheese (it's not naturally orange, you know). And did you know store-bought applesauce has high-fructose corn syrup in it? Applesauce!!

But. Sometimes you buy the G.I.A.N.T. bag of neon orange cheese balls as a special snack for your kids because you think, "sure, it's fake, but it's just for today and it's two bucks."

Even when you look at the receipt later and realize the shelf was labeled wrong. It was five bucks.

Crazy real.



PS...in honor of my Baby Blueberry, and all the angel babies that left our arms too soon, but somehow in the perfect timing of Jesus, hugs to all the mamas.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Oct. 12 of 31 Days

Okay, here's my Crazy Real post for the day. Warning: Mama Bear has been disturbed from her slumber.

I got a call this afternoon saying EB (the 6yo) had had another accident at school and needed new clothes brought down. (Bear in mind, this is around 2pm. If I'd thought about it, I probably would've just signed him out and taken him home. Better I guess that he stays a bit. Grr.) This call is the 3rd we've gotten this year.

For the average 6yo, this might seem like a lot. But for a boy who had chronic constipation for 3 years because his doctor kept suggesting meds and routines rather than asking about his diet, and then outgrew his bladder because his daddy is naturally 6'4"/350lbs+, it's nothing short of a miracle. I can't tell you how often I've felt like I live in the Land of Pee. The fact that he's only had 3 accidents in a month and a half, never having done full-day school before? They should be making him a freakin' CAKE.

No. I walk down to his room because the secretary says his teacher wants to "talk" to me. There sits my little EB at his desk, doing nothing. It happened during gym, so he had to come back to the class from gym, and sit out the rest.

Okay, truth: I guess he lied about peeing himself. (Or so they think.) So that's probably why he was sitting at his desk. But if you've ever had a child who's had to deal with urinary issues, you understand what this does to them. Even when it doesn't seem to phase them.

Then she goes on to explain that even their pre-K kids aren't having accidents, and basically threatening that if it continues, he can't keep going to school there. They're supposed to be potty trained.

I know his teacher. I went to school with his teacher. She's the cousin of one of my best friends. But I confess to you that in these moments standing there next to her desk -- and I crossed my arms on purpose to make myself feel better -- I wanted to take. her. down.

He IS potty trained, thank you. I explained all of it. His three-year fight with constipation (he didn't poop for weeks on end), his size, his bladder's size, how freaking AWESOME it is that he's only had this many accidents, how sometimes he really does have to go pee every 5 minutes, the fact that we know some of it is obstinance but most of it is still growth.

Nope, no grace for big boys who just grow faster than their parts. I have to get a doctor's note saying it's a medical condition. (Trust me. I will.)

She said it surprises her that it doesn't seem to bother him when he has an accident. I told her we'd treated his previous accidents that way so that he didn't feel awful about himself when it wasn't (entirely) his fault.

So now tell him he can't go to school there, to a class/school/structure that was a HUGE adjustment for him but that he has come to love, because he's a big boy who's actually doing very well at going to the bathroom. See if he's embarrassed then.

Grrrrrrrr.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oct. 11 of 31 Days

Incidentally, today is 10-11-12. I know that's all over Facebook, but some things still manage to slip by. In case you were interested. :)

Today, I'm posting some prayers. If you read a previous post, you read my struggles with my stepdaughter. (Or some of them.) My heart wants to pray for her when I'm frustrated or discouraged, but most of the time what would probably come out is "pleeeeeease don't let her come back here . . ." and I don't think that's  what God would have me pray. (Crazy real.)

But I struggle with what to pray. I want her to be closer to Jesus. I want her to remember the truth she knows. I want her to stay away from bad influences.

Oh, lookie there, that could be my prayer.

But when I'm frustrated, I can't usually think of such clear words.

My Bible is Stormie Omartian's The Power of a Praying Woman Bible. (Or you can find it here. I'd rather tag CBD for it, but they don't seem to have an English version. Odd . . .) I think I always knew they were there, but until recently I didn't pay attention to the ready-made prayers she has in the front, prayers for stuff about us, our hubbies, our kids, our friends, etc. Suddenly I thought, hey, I bet she has something I could pray. I want to quote for you the ones that I wrote down to use for my stepdaughter.

Note: I realized as I was copying these down -- and fyi, if you write it right, they each fit on one post-it, for easy accessibility -- that I most certainly should be praying each of these for my other kids, too. In most places, she already has "him/her" written in. But of course make sure you insert your own child's gender, and I've taken the liberty of highlighting where you could say their name.

These prayers should be as personal as we can make them.

-------------------------------------------------------

Eternal Future
Lord, may my child call You his/her Savior, be filled with Your Holy Spirit, acknowledge You in every area of his/her life, and choose always to follow You and Your ways. Help him/her to walk closely with You today.

Faith
Lord, I pray that You would take the faith You have planted in my child and multiply it. May the truth of Your Word be firmly established in his/her heart so that faith will grow daily and guide his/her life and decisions. Help him/her to trust You at all times.

Sense of Love and Acceptance
Lord, I pray that my child will feel loved and accepted. Penetrate his/her heart with Your love and help him/her to fully understand how far-reaching and complete it is. Help me to model Your love and acceptance to my child today.

Obedience to the Truth
Lord, I pray that You will fill my child with Your Spirit of truth  Give him/her a heart that loves truth and follows after it. I pray that he/she will not be blinded or deceived but will always be able to clearly understand Your truth.

Protection
Lord, I lift my child up to You and ask that You would put a hedge of protection around him/her. Protect his/her spirit, body, mind, and emotions from any kind of evil or harm.

Purity and Holiness
Lord, I pray that my child will run from evil, from impurity, and from unholy thoughts, words, and deeds. Help him/her to be drawn toward whatever is pure and holy and choose to be a part of only those things that are pleasing to You.

-------------------------------------------------------

Please remember, if you mean these prayers, every word, it doesn't matter who wrote them. If they come from your heart, they're as much your prayer as anyone's.

I hope they help you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oct. 9 of 31 Days

October 9th, In Which I Get Crazy Real About Being A Stepmom

I'm a stepmom. She'll be 15 next month, and as of the end of August, she now lives in CA with her mom and is going to high school out there.

She's one lost little girl, with no idea of who she is or where she wants to go, except that she knows she wants people to love her. But she wants them to love the GOOD her...not the real her. Not the her that needs healing. I think she'd like to forget about that her. But she can't. So she invents stories about what she's going through to tell her friends to garner pity. Her dad and I know The Real Her. She doesn't. I don't know who else does. I'm betting a lot of people in our church do. She's a pretty good stunt woman, but she's not that great an actress.

Before she left, we finally consented to letting her have a Facebook account. You have email, we said. You'll have your mom's phone to text, we said. You can get people's addresses and write them letters, we said. But we let her have an account anyway. (It was funny, actually -- we led her to believe we were saying no, but then, under the cloud of all those warnings why we didn't want her to have one, we said yes. She was ecstatic. And very shortly thereafter, I think she forgot all those reasons.)

Now she's . . . "enjoying her freedom," I call it. Her mom isn't as strict conservative as we are with rules. Her mom has said she's a Christian, but if you know Christians by their actions . . . well, I'm not judging, I'm just saying I wouldn't guess she is. And when we asked her mom to make sure she gets SL to church, she said, "well, I don't want to force her to go . . . " Thanks for nothing.

SL is in God's hands, we know that. And we know He has a big huge GIANT plan for her life. It's gonna be amazing. Fireworks and stuff. But we know it's going to be hard to watch her go through the junk she's gonna have to go through to get to the awesomeness.

For instance . . .
. . . I can't comment too much on her Facebook page because she gets mad at what I say, no matter how happy I make it.
. . . the only times she calls me specifically is if she needs something (her dog was biting at her, she wanted to get a spot out of her shirt, etc.).
When you think about these things, they sound marvelously like "mom stuff" . . . but I'm not the mom. She's made that clear. So I stand back, and take it.

And for instance, I think, "hey . . . her Facebook wall has been pleasantly calm the last several weeks; I'll peek into her messages and make sure everything's going okay with her."

**This is not snooping, FYI. This was a known-to-all-parties-involved part of the Having a Facebook Deal. So me signing in to check things out is no breach of trust or confidence or privacy.**

And I read things like "bulimic." And I read various and sundry swears and inappropriateness that I won't re-print.

Sigh. And ALL I WANT TO DO is complain to another stepmom about it. I want a stepmom Bible study. I want a stepmom book. A stepmom website.

And I know that community is a God-given gift, but what I KNOW is that God can be and needs to be all. I. need.

I want Jesus in human form. I don't believe He's going to grant my request.

So I will continue yelling at Him, and trying to pray for her, and trying to be honest with Him, and trying to convince myself that all this is not futile. And trying really hard NOT to flat out say she can't come back if this is how she's going to act. And I will try to figure out the best time to tell her dad these things. Because even if I do tell him these words that I've seen, he will call her, and she will probably deny it with some odd reason or excuse or some new story.

And I don't want to think about it. Anymore. At all. Ever.
My reality = sometimes I want to sign off.
Stepmoms know.
Don't judge.

I'm just being crazy real.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oct. 6 of 31 Days

Day something of 31 Days. (It's Oct. 6. That's all I know.)

Thank you, Jesus, for 6yo boys who can pour Kix for their little brothers, so that when I'm about to get MG dressed and Daddy calls from his men's breakfast asking what Bible study he can sign up for, I can send him off to eat breakfast and talk in (relative) peace. (Even if your #momfail moment is realizing one of them had to eat their cereal out of a measuring cup because there were no other bowls clean.)

Thank you, Jesus, for Legos, so that when a conversation with hubby about signing up for Bible studies dissolves into a hormonally-charged tailspin of frustration, and then further (after the phone call) into a blubbery, snotty mess behind my bedroom door (so as not to worry the children), they can finish breakfast and go right back to their architecturally-charged frenzy.

And thank you, Jesus, for other moms in the trenches who understand that an assignment of writing for 31 straight days in a row might. just. not. happen.

See you tomorrow. Or whenever.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oct. 4 of 31 Days

Okay, moms, here I am right in the thick of Mom Fail Central.

But then again . . . is it a mom fail? I don't know.

I hate (hate) starting the day yelling at the kids. It wasn't a tirade or anything, but they started arguing in the kitchen so I stomped marched in there and (loudly) told them to stop. I had already told them to stop from here in the living room, so I told them (loudly) that if they had STOPPED when I asked them to STOP, they wouldn't be having this problem right now. (I think they were arguing because MG wanted to know what kind of yogurt EB was having.)

I don't like yelling. I do it a lot. I don't like it. And we duplex with my parents so I know they have to listen to it. I have three kids currently; ours is not a quiet house. Theirs is.

. . . . . .

Do you ever do this? Do you ever start writing a blog about something icky, and then in. the. middle. of writing it, something good happens that turns the atmosphere around?

Last week, I saw these two button-up Wrangler shirts at Walmart for EB (he needs shirts with collars for school). He's 6, and the shirts are 14/16, but I like to shop a little ahead, and he looks wicked-handsomely-cute in slightly oversized stuff. And truth be told, it's not all that big on him.

Side note: I'm biased, but I think just about every 6 year old girl should have a crush on my son. I will, of course, have to beat them off with a stick later. I accept this fate.

They were on the clearance rack for $5 a piece, but even at that, I didn't have the money right then to get them. So I took a deep breath and put them back, knowing full-well the Walmart Rule : buy it now or kiss it good-bye, even when it's not on clearance.

A couple days ago - post-paycheck - I checked to see if they were still there, and there they were - $3 a piece! Thank you, Jesus, for rewarding my good money stewardship! (At least that's how I'm choosing to look at it.)

I was avoiding forgot to tell EB that I had gotten them until this morning. (I'm such a coward when it comes to buying something for one kid without having something ready for the others.) He picked one (red plaid vs. orange plaid; he chose red) and put it on. I told him it looked good, and then like a firework going off I clapped my hands and remembered that today is picture day!!

"I'd like to thank everyone for this Mom of the Year Award . . ."

God is so good! Brand new shirt, without having had the chance to get stained or wrinkled, for picture day.

God is so good - my visit to Mom Fail Central and my Mom of the Year Award, all wrapped up in one.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oct. 3 of 31 Days

Did you miss Oct. 2? No, you did not. I didn't write it. Just being real.

So since I missed a day, today's reality check is going to be somewhat bullet-pointed, with all sorts of "random" (MG's new favorite word) reality. Here goes.

- Yesterday, I was peeling yucky carrots. Although I did cut off any brown parts, the outsides were still kinda slimy. But I peeled them anyway, cut them up, and bagged them for snacks. You can do that with carrots, right?

- All 3 of my children share the same bedroom. My daughter has her own room, but prefers to sleep in the boys' room. (I heart that they get along so well.) However, she does not have her own bed. She sleeps on the floor, and has no problem with it. But since I had to go upstairs to MG's crying twice during the night last night, and he fell over her both times, I think it's time to move some stuff around.

- I have a policy about dinner. I make it. You eat it. Or don't. Your choice. But I don't short-order cook. Tonight, I made something I know my kids don't like. But I made it anyway. On other days, I've toughed through it and said they can eat it anyway. Or not. Tonight, I threw chicken nuggets in the oven, too. Weak?

Now...here's a twist. In the middle of writing this blog (which isn't hard, since I'm leaving it open on my computer to write it as today happens), I read this blog entry that was recommended by Threadbare Mommas.

I'm writing about reality here. And in truth, all these mom-fails are, truly, reality. We all do them. We all screw up. BUT. We do good things, too. We're just so good at thinking we're failing that we forget them.

So. As my Mom Of The Year trophy, I will be writing half of each post about the true mom-fails, things we all do but hate to admit, and half about the GOOD things I've done that day. Because they're just as real as any screw-up I've done during the day. Yeah. That's a good idea.

So here are a couple of good things from today.

- I did not yell at my kids before school. (This is an accomplishment. I was stern - my older two are getting used to a new schedule and both want to stay home when we hit Wednesday, but they can't, so I have to be serious in order to get them to keep moving. But I didn't yell.)

- I f.i.n.a.l.l.y started working on the kids' room. It's needed it for a while, but today MG and I went up to do it. I managed to get all the little clothes bagged by size and brought down to the 2nd floor to give away. And I moved EB's dresser into the closet to make room for an actual bed for Sister (no more floor). (And I promise, if it'd been too heavy for this 21-weeker, I wouldn't have moved it. It was fine.)

- By making chicken nuggets tonight, we had a peaceful dinner with no arguing. They love chicken nuggets. So I ask you: giving in on not making them eat dinner - mom pass or fail?

See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oct. 1 (31 Days)


I feel like I should be starting with a classic Joan Rivers' "can we talk?"

But really, it's more like "okay, here's the truth . . ."

In a very odd way, I think God is blessing me in this venture of 31 Days, because OH-MY-DO-I have some material - just from today - to start sharing real-ity.

First off, any and all personal real-ity right now is at least in part because I am 5 months pregnant. That's some reality for ya.

For instance, I practically woke up this morning crying. My brain had gone psycho, and was changing any normal thing into something horrible. Some dream I had must've included skydiving (why? because I'm pregnant, clearly) . . . and then suddenly I'm thinking, "what if EB and MG [my 6 and 3 year old sons] fell from an airplane without a parachute?!?!"

What?!?!?! Where did that come from? Pregnant, I tell you.

One of my very next thoughts was something along the lines of ". . . surely my husband would prefer any one of his old girlfriends to me."

Oh, dear. Clearly it's time to open my eyes and pull the emergency brake cord on this train of thought.

But here's my actual crazy real moment for the day:

We all know what it's like when one of our kids forgets something at home, and we have to take it to them at school.

Problem: I've had to do that several times already, and it's only October 1st. I feel like the secretary is starting to catch on that, more often than not, it's MY fault that I'm having to bring things into the office for them.

This morning, however, it was a conscious choice. I did not pack their lunches. I sent them with one snack each, and told them I'd bring their lunches later.

Why? Because I didn't have anything to give them for lunch. It wasn't just forgetting to pack their lunches. It wasn't just forgetting to get their lunches into their backpacks. [Fyi, before you start wondering, sometimes it's my responsibility to get their stuff in their bags, but mostly it's theirs. I'm no maid.]

It was - in fact - that there was no food in the house to PUT in their lunchboxes. Sigh.

Who's with me - three cheers for Lunchables?

See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

31 Days Challenge

So starting Monday, October 31st, I'll be linking up every day with the Nester for her annual 31 Days Challenge.

The idea is that you pick one topic that you can make very short points about, one each day.

My topic is "31 Days of Being Crazy Real."



I feel like God has given me a gift of being real with people. It all started with a small realization that a lot of us are thinking something, and the person we're talking to would probably love to hear it, but we're afraid of how they'd take it, so we shut up.

WHY???

So I've started practicing not shutting up. And it's going well. And people have noticed.

And appreciated it.

Some people don't care for it as much as others....but God has also gifted me with grace for those people and I don't let it bother me. (Not after a second or two, anyway.)

So every day I'll be posting something real. More than likely, it'll be something real that my kids did that day, or a very real thought or attitude I had.

I do not want this to become complaining. God forbid it. But I think all of us moms and wives are a lot more real in our homes than we'd care to admit. As my pastor said (quoting someone else), "We're comparing our Jacobs to everyone else's Israel."

Well. I'm admitting it. I'm terribly, terribly real. I find it too stressful not to be, and it's tiring having your Israel on display all the time. I'm just a Jacob that God is working on, and I think a lot of other people are, too, and would like to hear more from others like us.

See you Monday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday

It is soooo Friday.

That is all.


(Because, even if it's just one line, I WILL get back into writing. Also because, NO, you don't have to have "scores of plots rattling in my head" to be a writer. Good thing.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

egg-free muffins

We're not an egg-free family. We're not vegan or vegetarian. We're not gluten- or wheat-free.

What we are...is out of eggs.

And cereal...and bananas...just about any breakfast food.

I forgot we were out of eggs, though. I knew we had no cereal, and I thought, "well, maybe I can make some muffins really fast..." I started thumbing through what muffin recipes I had, when I realized that they all take eggs. Did I mention we're out?

So I turned to the one place that has become a good friend of mine in this relatively new quest to cut fake food and unhealthy ingredients from our diet: Google search.

Search: "muffin recipe no eggs."

And my so-far-faithful friend showed me the Our Busy Homeschool blog, which had - lo and behold - a Basic No-Egg Muffin Recipe. It sounded normal and doable (and it didn't have a crazy amount of flour like some do) so I gave it a go.

Here's the recipe:

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c sugar (I used raw)
1 handful oatmeal (I used a solid handful)3/4 c water
1/4 c oil (I used canola)
1 c fruit plus appropriate spices
The recipe says to mix dry, then mix wet separately and then add to dry. I mixed the dry in my stand mixer, but then there were only the two wet ingredients and fruit left, so I just put the water in my big measuring cup, and added enough oil to make one cup, and poured them both in together.

I had one apple lying around that was probably in its last days so I cut that up into little bitty pieces, and filled the rest of the one cup with applesauce. Since I was using apples/applesauce, I added some clove, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. I was a little wary of how much to use, so I probably added less than I could have. Maybe an 8th of a teaspoon each. Maybe.

I even sprinkled some ground flax seed over the top of the mixture in the bowl, because a little ground flax never hurts. (Unless you're allergic to it, I guess. In which case, please don't use it.)

Mixed all together, poured into muffin pan. I'm out of cooking spray, but due to our tight budget this week, I have stick margarine (you can't beat 92 cents for four sticks, even though it's margarine), so I used my finger and spread a little bit of margarine around each muffin cup.

The recipe says bake for 18 minutes, but I was nervous about burning them (I'm still perfecting my muffin technique) so I checked them twice during that time. I ended up pulling them out at about 15 minutes, when they were still very light but looked more muffin-like than batter-like. I let them sit on the cooling rack, in the pan, while I drove Miss Eight to school, total about 10 minutes probably.

And I gotta tell ya...


They looked BEAUTIFUL! I loosened them from the edges of each tin with a knife, and they slid out all gorgeous and honey brown! I've never made such pretty muffins. I'm pretty proud.

One thing I would change, however, is simply how much batter I'd put in each tin. I'm used to filling them about 2/3 full because they'll rise, but these didn't really rise, so I could've used that little extra batter that was left in my mixing bowl and probably filled them close to the top.

The real test, however:
I let Mr. Five and Mr. Two pick out their muffins. Mr. Five said, "mmmm!!" Mr. Two gave me a thumbs up. I'd say they were a hit. And they ate theirs plain.. I split mine in half and added margarine and they were right - they were very, very good.

I'm very grateful to Ms. Our Busy Homeschool, who helped me make breakfast without eggs.

Monday, June 4, 2012

finding recipes with on-hand ingredients

Okay, I normally like to post in order of how I've tried things, but this one is just too cool not to let you know right away.

I'm low on groceries. Like super low. And this being a tight money week, I'm having to get creative (again). However, since we make so much more of what we eat now, I don't have things on hand like Minute Rice or ready-made stuff. That means I'm buying to what we make, which takes more intentional shopping. So if we're low on foods, that means I have things like celery, potatoes, honey, bread flour, and several random cans of black, pink, and garbanzo beans. (Which we never eat, by the way.)

So I did a search - no joke - for "put in ingredients on hand get recipe suggestions." My goal in doing this was two-fold:
One, I could find recipes that I didn't know of before, that might really have all the things I have on hand that I would never think of putting together.
Two, I might find a recipe that I don't have everything to make, but it might contain other ingredients that are cheaper to buy than hamburger or chicken. Hear me: we are not going vegetarian. But that stuff is EXPENSIVE!!! So I'm trying to find more recipes that don't include meat, but still have sufficient protein. (If you have a link to recipes like this, please feel free to send them to me!) Even if they include beans: something my California-based hubby enjoys, but I'm not entirely keen on. Hey, I'm taking one for the team...and taking my kids along with me.

So the very first return was a blog entry by the Fun Times Guide called "Find Recipes Using Ingredients You Already Have On Hand." Perfect!! (And you know it's a good article when it's bringing up a result from 2007!)

If you scroll partway down the page, you find her suggestions of sites that do this for you.

The first one is supercook.com. At the top left, you add in all the ingredients you have. ALL of them. Underneath they will suggest things that might work in a recipe, and there were several that they suggested that I was like, "ooh, yeah, I do have that." Things like condiments and stuff, but it still helps the site round out the recipe suggestions. Then, as you keep listing, on the right it starts listing recipes with a very encouraging "You have everything needed for this recipe!" That's very encouraging when you're so low on items.

Granted, although it said I had 196 recipes that I could "right now!", most of them are things like potato salad and potato and celery soup. But! That's two dishes that I can absolutely make, that I probably wouldn't have thought of without the site. (And mashed potatoes. It's simple, but when you're in "my cupboards are bare and I'm getting desperate" mode, you don't always think of the simple things.)

The rest of the sites she listed returned few hits on the ingredients she entered, so I skipped them. But honestly, simply having found supercook.com was worth that whole blog.

I went back to my Google search, and tried another site. This one was recipematch.com. In the same way, you start typing your ingredients (for the record, with both these sites I entered 27 ingredients). This site made it a little less obvious: when you're done entering, scroll down and it will say "choose your cuisine." Fortunately it lets you choose more than one. I chose things like "Italian," "American," "BBQ/Grill," "30 Minutes," and "Crockpot," among others.

It came back with 1,283 recipes, but this one was much more tailored to my Reason #2 for the search. On the results page, it shows you the recipes that match, but gives you a basic ingredients list and shows you what ingredients you'd have to buy. Bingo! The first one, for instance, was a Carrot Salad. I have the mayo, raisins, and celery, but it showed me that I'd have to buy carrots. How helpful! For their "Awesome Potato Salad" recipe, it tells me that I'd have to buy salt and pepper, which of course I have, but didn't bother to list. That tells me that I might be able to find recipes with only a few simple (cheap!) ingredients!

I seriously hope these two suggestions give you hope - it can be downright dark and dreary when you're facing what would usually be a very large shopping trip for your normal recipes, with very little money. There IS hope, there ARE recipes, there IS creativity to be shared! The very reason we bloggers write what we've found. (grin)

Monday, April 30, 2012

homemade chocolate sauce

Chocolate! It's a must. And I put it in my coffee every day. But the store-bought stuff, even Hershey's - gasp! - has junk in it. So I decided to make my own. I've made three now, actually.

Here's the first one. I found it on Pinterest. I knew it would involve some cooking; most chocolate sauce recipes do. Here's this one:

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (still true to Hershey's here)
1 cup water
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan. Add the water. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring. *Be careful - it might boil over, even in just a second.* Turn down the heat and cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. Keep it in the fridge.

It was good. It tasted a lot like cocoa cooked on a stove. :) Very heavy - but good - cocoa flavor. It's the kind of flavor that's wonderful over vanilla ice cream and makes it taste all fancy.

Not exactly what I was looking for in my coffee, though.

Here's the second one. This one is from DIYNatural; I'm finding more and more stuff there that I love!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (packed)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

At first he said to put the water in a saucepan and then stir in the cocoa until dissolved, then add the sugar and keep stirring. Later in the comments section, someone suggested just mixing the cocoa and sugar in the pan first, then add the water and bring to a boil. That second option is what I do. After it boils - and, again, it can boil over in a SECOND so stay right at the stove stirring constantly - turn the heat down to medium-low and keep stirring for 8-10 minutes. Long, yes. But not impossible. When the timer goes off (and a timer really is a good idea), take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla (he uses his own; I don't...yet). Put it in a bottle or container (I use mason jars, usually reused Classico spaghetti sauce jars with the labels boiled off) and keep it in the fridge.

This is obviously very similar to the first recipe. Not sure why I thought it'd be different. It isn't really.

Here's the third recipe. This one is from Paths of Wrighteousness.

1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
dash salt
1/4 cup water - the warmer the water, the easier to mix; I used relatively hot water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

This one is different in two ways: 1, she tweaked it to use honey instead of sugar to make it a little healthier, and 2, it's not cooked on the stove!

It still has that heavy cocoa taste, but the honey does give it a very neat 'n sweet flavor. I tried it in my coffee, and - although it's not Hershey's - it might be a smidge closer.

Note: A week or so has passed since making this version of chocolate syrup. One thing I have noticed is that it gets much thicker as it sits in the fridge than the others do. Also, I stuck my finger in it today for just a taste...and it just seemed cold and heavy and not such a mixture of flavors anymore, if you know what I mean. Like it was several different ingredients put together, not one cohesive taste. It was yummy...but it just didn't seem to be what it should be. So, my determination is that I will go back to one of the first two recipes. Hubby liked them. That's important. :)

I may try one sometime with agave nectar. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Do you have a chocolate syrup recipe you LOVE? I'd love to try it, and I'll add my experience with it here!

AUTHOR'S FINAL NOTE:  After spending weeks and weeks making these, my family has finally decided on option #1. It tastes the best in coffee, in chocolate milk, and on ice cream. It stays liquid in the fridge, and is one of the easier to make.
Problem: SOLVED.

doing so much, writing so little

I MUST start writing about these things.

I don't know why. But I know that I have gotten so much of my help from other bloggers - the people that are living this first-hand and can tell me just what it's like to go through it, what works, what doesn't - rather than the "official" DIY sites.

So I feel compelled to share my findings with you. Whomever. Or no one. But at least they'd be here if someone needed them. :)

Problem: I'm having such a good time, that I don't entirely feel like settling down and writing. If I'm going to sit at the computer, I'd much rather search for farmhouse kitchen ideas. Or research my local zone's planting season. Or look for pictures of easy chicken coops to build. Not sit and try to organize my thoughts. But something is tripping me up in just continuing on willy nilly without sharing my experiences, in hopes they help someone else.

So I'm going to try to keep start sharing with you what I've been learning. I'm taking pictures of everything I try...but here they sit on their little uploaded webite, not doing anyone a bit of good.

I'll try to be more consistent very soon....ish. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the adventure begins

The chickens have arrived. [eeeeee!]


Three Americanas, two New Hampshire Reds, and one Leghorn.

I ordered three.

I came home with six.

And I'm hoping for 2 or 3 black Australorps in June.

I've been working on being farmy for a while, but this is like the embodiment of being farmy. I have other living beings to keep track of and care for now, as part of my journey-toward-farmy-ness. (Other than my family. They were here before.)

They all seem to be pretty taken with them...


Can you even see the chick there? Migs adores his precious Rachel.

So, at the moment they're on the kitchen table. Eventually they will be in our bedroom.

I've promised Hubby they won't be as loud as he thinks. They only seem loud when you leave the room...I seem to have a bit of a mama's girl on my hands.

Here we go!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

the DIY bandwagon has a new tag-along

Oh my goodness, I must blog.

I'm trying so many new things - things that are just exactly what I should be blogging about - and I haven't written about a one of 'em!

I'm going to have to recap...mostly just to make sure I remember everything. I feel I should announce it somehow - tada! - ...'though I really don't know what to call it. It's a change in thinking, plain and simple, but that doesn't sound dramatic or catchy.

We are trying to be more simple. More natural. More real. It's the "real" word that I think I like the most. When you throw words around like "natural" and "organic," people think a certain thing. Whatever that conjures in your head personally...I don't think we're that.

Of course I SAY "we" but I think, really, I started it for us. I think it must've started back with my love of farmhouses. I guess there might've been hints of it before then (we once had a wall border that we got somewhere that showed just a simple clothesline with about four garments on it...I loved that), but that's the biggest stepping off point in recent history. I love farmhouses, I love old things, I love things that would have gone in farmhouses, I love simplicity and worn wood and have grown to love glass jars and metal bowls... And so I have started surrounding myself with those things. I have started "decorating" - 'though really I aim for practical decoration, things you can use; I'm not in this for more clutter and things I just have to dust - in a farmhousey style. My kitchen shelves are open shelves (although that started out as necessity because we had no cabinets). I have paired down our dishes to only what we need for the number of people in our family. I hang the rolling pin, sifter/masher/thingy, and barbecue basket on the wall. My pots hang from a curtain rod on the wall. Now, all these things are due to a lack of cabinet space, but...isn't that why they hung on the walls in old farmhouses, too? They didn't have rows of kitchen cabinets to store things in, and they certainly didn't have more things than they needed.

So anyway, I love thinking about old farmhouses, and finding old things that look old but are useful (and inexpensive...farmhousey stuff wasn't about being pricey), and so have been happily surrounded by things from days gone by, a much more useful and simple and productive and no-nonsense time gone by. And that makes me think what else they might have done that was the right idea.

And all in all, I've just come to the conclusion been convicted by the fact that...if God didn't make it, do we really need it?

Things in our houses, things in our bodies, things on our bodies...God created us and HE takes care of us, so hasn't He provided all these things that we already need? How so completely off-track have we gotten by creating so many things in the name of beauty and convenience, when HE'S created it all already!

So yes, things like these are better for the environment, they're better for us physically, and they're cheaper...but for me, for right now, it boils down to just...I like doing these things because they are what God gave us to use. And you can't improve on that.

[tada!]

So...I've been researching. And it's fun! I research things like planting and chickens, make-it-yourself toothpaste and shampoo and laundry soap, I'm looking up clotheslines and coops and subsitutes for sugar.

I have already made my own laundry soap. Tonight I made my own toothpaste. I also have my DIY shampoo and rinse ready to go for the morning. I've bought agave nectar and extra honey to replace the gobs of sugar there are everywhere, and am steadily toward cooking and baking everything for myself that I can. To be sure I know where all the ingredients come from, yes. To be sure the food is healthy and real, yes. To make it the healthiest possible for us, yes.

But mostly because all the things that go into these things came from God's creation, they are His provision incarnate, and there's a closeness, and a gratitude, to be had there.

I can't wait to share all these things with you. Not everyone will have an excitement for these things like I do, but that's okay. Everyone has their niche, job, purpose, hobby. This is slowly quickly becoming mine. And I want to share them to encourage the people who ARE as excited, to encourage the people who are THINKING about trying out some of these, and because blogs are the very places I've found a lot of my most-helpful information, because it's first-hand "I tried this" knowledge.

I hope it helps. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 23, 2012

only God is God

There's a story that needs telling. And it's a GREAT story.

It starts out with a little baby who decided to come live with us, take up residence in my little incubator...

(little white dots at the bottom right corner of the black oval)

And then...what is a far too small a time after that...
God decided that this little Baby Blueberry had finished its mission.

And just like that, Baby Blueberry went home to Jesus.


And every question you might think would come into our minds has indeed come into our minds.

Was it because I wasn't take pre-natals yet?
I've had coffee during my other pregnancies and they turned out okay...
But the heart was beating - I SAW IT - and that's supposed to decrease the chances, isn't it?
I didn't lose weight first...
Should we have done something different?
Did we do something wrong?
...what happened???

But we know full well that none of these questions are rational, and some don't have answers at all.

Things are as they should be, even if not as we would like.

And so we are, again, without child. But we are with God. And God is with us. Closer than ever, better than ever, stronger than ever, tighter than ever, with every line we read meant for our comfort and peace and reassurance of God-With-Us.

And one more thing is certain:

THIS BABY HAD A PURPOSE.

And some of it we might know. Some of it we might determine further down the road. Some of it we may never see 'til heaven-side. But if for no other purpose than --

we will tell the story.

And we will tell them the baby's name...

Testify.

Friday, March 16, 2012

the laundry story

I did it! I made my own laundry detergent. [beam] Here's how it went down.

Here's the recipe, just to recap:
   1 4lb box of Borax
   1 4lb box of Washing Soda
   1 4lb box of Baking Soda
      these three were all in the laundry aisle (actually, they were out of the Washing Soda, but they normally have it)
   3 bars of Kirk's Castile soap (you can also use Ivory or Fels Naptha, but apparently this one is all natural)
      this was with the regular bar soap in Health & Beauty
I chose this recipe because she said you can get everything at Walmart. I'm not super excited about shopping at Walmart, but it's where I go because it's cheap and I can get everything I need there. So if I can get all my laundry soap stuff there, too - bonus.

Note: The Kirk's Castile soap says "original coconut oil soap" and I was concerned it would make everything smell like coconut. It doesn't. It's smells beautifully like soap. I was pleasantly reassured.

My original thought was to use a 5-gallon bucket, but then after buying the ingredients, it seemed overkill. So I broke down and bought the one container big enough at Walmart. I think my boys actually were getting annoyed with how long I stood in the container aisle going back and forth about buying this thing. It didn't look the way I wanted it to; it didn't look farmhousey. At. All. And I was nervous because the lid didn't seem to stay on well. I kinda got really hung up on that "air-tight" part of the instructions. But I was getting impatient with having the ingredients on my table and nothing to put them in.

So I started pouring the boxes of washing soda, baking soda, and Borax into this container.

Note: It gets pretty powdery in the air. Don't breathe too deep. I did find the powders a little...intense...in their scent. Not bad. Just strong.

Then the soap. I bought the el-cheapo grater at Walmart, too. (97c maybe? No more than a buck or two, certainly.) I wanted the soap to be light and fluffy. I tried the 2nd smallest setting, but it seemed bigger than I wanted.

So I tried it on the smallest setting. It clogged. No soap was getting through.


So I went back to the bigger size, and it looked like this. (So pretty, huh??)


Then I realized that once I added the grated soap, it would be very hard to mix all this. Once it's all together, it's kinda dense. So I moved everything to an old 25lb. bird seed bucket (I washed it first). It's slightly smaller than a 5 gallon bucket. I didn't have a lid for it...but I'm choosing not to be worried for now. Later I'll find a more farmhousey bucket I like better.


It also gives me an EXCELLENT use for my grammy's wooden spoon. All my life it has been the chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-spoon. It's perfect for it. But it is just plain, unfinished wood, and it's fairly chipped and cracked now, and it makes me leery of what's hiding in there, so I had resigned myself to retire the spoon and hopefully do something crafty with it later. Something amazingly creative and brilliant.

Like drill a hole in it and hang it up.
(There's only so much you can do with a spoon.)


This is my big helper during this process. He loved it. As long as you can keep him from stirring too fast...

And the results?

Well, I didn't go easy on its first load, that's for sure. I live in the land of a 5yo who has "accidents" and a 2yo still learning. I had a verrrrr(rrrr)rrry pee-soaked load that I was actually saving to use as my first load. This is my life - if my laundry soap can't keep up, there's no point. Why go easy the first load? I'm not going to keep to laundry soaps on hand.

The recipe says to use about 2 tablespoons of soap, which equals 1/8 cup. (The measuring cup I bought doesn't have tablespoons. I'm hoping to switch to a smaller scoop at some point.)

I also added white vinegar to the load as fabric softener. This is supposed to both soften the fabrics (which doesn't matter as much to me; we didn't use fabric softener before) but also remove any last soap residue from the clothes. That'd be nice. The place I took my recipe from said to put it in the fabric softener dish. I don't have one of those. So I took a chance and poured it in the dish we have for bleach. The dish doesn't hold it until a certain time and then dispense it, it just drains right in. It said not to use much, about a quarter of a cup, which worked out to be just about the top of the dish, so I don't really measure it anymore.

Now, I'd like to say that I opened the washer and was greeted by the most wonderfully clean smell ever.

I can't.

But that's because I didn't finish that load of laundry, and I'm kinda bummed about it, because I didn't get to finish the experience. But, being first trimester as I am, my dad took pity on me and finished up the load for me. My mom folded it. (Thanks.)

But then I was able to get an unbiased opinion. She said she came across only one pair of shorts that still smelled like pee. I can handle that!!!! And since then, I can't remember any other pieces of clothing that have smelled less than clean when they come out.

I call that success.

A couple more tips:
1 - I put in the soap first, then started the water, before loading the clothes. This gave the soap a chance to start dissolving by itself without clothes sitting right on it. I don't know if it really makes a difference or not, but given the bigger shavings of soap, I'm trying to give it a fighting chance.
2 - It does smell slightly of vinegar when you open the washer with the wet clothes. But by the time they come out of the dryer, they're fine.

I do not/am not counting loads to calculate the savings. I will, however, keep track of how many days it lasts. But since I didn't really keep track of how long one bottle of detergent lasted me before, so I will have to do some kind of general average to figure out how it compares.

Overall, though, I like it. I like how purely soapy it smells. I like using soap from a big bucket. I like making it myself. I like using less for each load.

And I like using only things that God put on the earth. That's my favorite part. I'm not trying to live "crunchy," "organic," or "natural." I'm just (very slowly and one attempt at a time) trying to live a little easier, simpler, and more honestly, using what God gave us to begin with. Makes sense.

Friday, March 2, 2012

29DOC - FINISHED!!!!

Welcome to the end! The 29 Day Organizing Challenge is over! And I made it...mostly... :)

I must announce, though, that I guess I am no longer eligible for the official challenge contest. Due to our snow storm yesterday, and hubby having to work from home (and thus being on the computer from 8-5), I did not get my blog posted...and posting closed at 3pm yesterday.

I did not know this.

For other link-ups, she allowed about a week to get all posts in. I assumed (I know, bad Carrie) that she would do the same for this week.

She did not.

C'est la vie.

The point is that I got it done, right?????

The point of this challenge, ultimately, for me, was to give Hubby a Valentine's Day present of a clean bedroom. I have done so. Yay, me! So all those prizes (those beautiful...wonderful...I-will-never-buy-on-my-own prizes) don't really matter. At all. (They don't.) (Seriously.)

But! I am posting anyway. HA! :)

So here are my before and after pictures, as requested.

Behind The Door - now the door opens all the way!


Baker's Rack & Corner - I don't kill myself trying to get to the lamp in the dark anymore!


Under the Bed & Headboard - obviously a picture under the bed wouldn't work, so this is the "purge pile" that came from it, and a picture of the bookshelf-headboard which you can't see in it's entirety (and it was pretty clean to begin with).


My Side of the Bed & Bookcase - an empty bookcase, and the trash is now next to the bookshelf-headboard.


 Dresser & White Chair - the frog got to stay, and the laundry basket is now where the chair was.


 In Front of the Closet - this was the BIGGEST part of the room to clean; now a cohesive, organized space (in HUGE need of a nice circle rug).


That was the practical part of the exam. Here is the written:

Laura also had 7 questions for us to answer:

1. What space did you decide to organize and why?
    I chose me and Hub's bedroom. I got the idea from Elizabeth at Ready. Set. Simplify. She chose the bedroom as a Valentine's gift for her husband, and I thought it was perfect (admission: total copy-cat). Our room is treated as a total after-thought. Neither of us go in there except to sleep and get dressed, and it's been our mutual, unspoken feeling of "well, let's get everything else done; we can wait." I thought...enough waiting. I also thought it would be nice for Hubby to get to his closet.

2. What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?
    I started late, so I knew that breaking it down into small pieces, and scheduling them out in the exact number of days I had left would be crucial. I made a list of how many spaces I had, and then put them into manageable groups to fit the 19 days I had left. And I did NOT plan to work on Sundays. That would be organizational suicide.

3. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
    That would have to be that the very first full week that I was in the challenge, early in the week, my stepdaughter announced to her guidance counselor at school her plans for suicide. Nothing happened the rest of that week.
    The next week, also early in the week, everyone in my family began to get the stomach flu. Nothing happened the rest of that week either.
    I overcame it by simply ceasing to care. Not in a bad way, but merely by deciding that several things - these things - were more important. I could catch up. And if not, so be it. It was already better than it had been. I forced myself not worry about it. (And at times, it was quite forceful.)

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
    Much of it was stuff that belonged elsewhere. Much of that "much" was Hubby's fencing stuff, which belongs in another room entirely (it already has a closet, it's just been a process to get it all located there). Some of it went into his top dresser drawer (because, honestly, there's some stuff we just can't decide about, and this is where he keeps his small trinket things). A LOT of it was clothes that got washed or hung up. A lot of it belonged on the first floor. And a lot got simply thrown away.

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?
    It was a realization over the course of several days more than a moment. Usually I'll sort things and put them in bags, and then get disenchanted or distracted before dealing with those bags or piles. This time, almost every day, I dealt. with. them. Before I stopped working for the day, everything was delivered to where it needed to be. This was big-time, because it was a completed project - every day!

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?
    As mentioned in #5, I dealt with everything that day, at that time. This boundary was necessary to not getting behind, and to keeping myself on track and motivated. If I'd gotten bogged down, I would've been sunk.
    Also, once I got a bunch of the junk out, I was able to see more of the pieces that I actually liked and wanted in there, and put them in prettier, more useful places.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?
    Hook up - gain some accountability somehow! Ultimately the only thing that can completely drive you is YOU, but knowing that I had people working on this with me - and encouraging me as I went! thank you, commenters! - and that I had a deadline, and a plan - and, I admit it, the potential for some sweet prizes - went MILES to keep me dedicated.

So, here it is, ladies and....well, probably mostly ladies. :) I confess: I did NOT finish the bookshelf. I didn't even start it. It's a monster, and with all that happened, I ran out of time. But I DID. NOT. FAIL. My bedroom - our bedroom - is light years away from where it started. It's peaceful. And inviting. And it was a gift, which I succeeded in delivering on.

Because I love my Hubby.

And that was the point.

home-made laundry soap!

I'm so excited!

This isn't yet another "I made my own laundry soap" blog post.....YET! But I have FINALLY bought the stuff to do so! Even in shopping in the store for it (and having to run to one other store to get the last product), I felt so homey and farmy = nailed it.



This is not my picture; mine will probably not be so farmy ('though I wish it would be). I got this from Sugar Pie Farmhouse, and she got it from several other ladies.

So now, on my stove, I have a 3lb7oz box of A&H Super Washing Soda (it was all they had), a 4lb box of A&H Baking Soda, that giant box of Borax, and 3 bars of Kirk's Castile soap. (I chose the Kirk's because she said it's better for sensitive skin. No one in my family really has sensitive skin, but I figure why chance it when using something new.)

I also chose this recipe - I know there are a HOST of recipes out there - because she said she got all the ingredients at Walmart. Walmart was out of the Super Washing Soda today when I went, but said they had a shipment on the way. I found it at the regular supermarket. (I think Walmart's might be a full 4lb, but I'm not sure. I can't imagine it'll make THAT much difference.)

Can't wait to share pictures when I really do mix it!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

29 days, week 3(ish)

Okay. So I could've posted on Monday night and let that be the post for the week. Because once again, that's all I got done. What IS this?!?

I'm getting discouraged.

Last weekend, my 5yo got the stomach bug. We stayed home from church, and he was better Monday, and acting almost-fine since then, but only as of maybe yesterday he's gotten the color back in his face. Tuesday night, both girls (14 and 8) threw up a good portion of the night. They were both down all of Wednesday while I kept them from trying to do too much, too soon, and occupying the boys. Thursday morning, I woke up nauseous...and not in a morning-sickness kind of way. Hubby Of The Year called into work (and worked from home) so he could run herd on the kids and let me sleep just about all day in bed.

What a gift. I almost cried when he told me he was staying home.

So yep. ONE day done on the room. It's a nice improvement...but not nearly what I'd hoped to get done.

Suicide watch one week, stomach flu the next. I'm not asking what will happen next week. But I'm trying not to lose heart!!! If the weekend goes CALMLY as planned, I will have three (count 'em, three) days to clean an entire bookshelf and the abyss in front of the closet. And inside the closet. And tidy up from the remnants that have crept back in around the room during the last two weeks of BLAHHH.

So here's what I DID get done. Enjoy.

Monday's project was the top of the dresser and the white chair to the right. Random things like pencils, a computer with no cover, dvd's, hubby's bucket o' Star Wars figures, VHS tapes, spindles of cd's, scrapbooking stuff, a bin of papers (of course), pictures for the wall, ironing board, Hubby's hiking boots, several small cans of paint (hiding behind the ironing board), and a frog.

The frog stayed. :)

Next week is another week, right? And if nothing else, it's a huge improvement over what it was before! And that's the whole point, right?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

scavenger hunt tues(sun)day

I'm forming a trend of getting to the Scavenger Hunt Sundays on Monday. Still fun. I played with effects this week (and I'm mourning the loss of Picnik soon).

1. Love

This picture is hubby's and my sorta-official wedding photo.
But I focused on him in the photo because
what I love about the picture is his face. <3

2. Duplicated

This is duplicated
because it's one of my 2yo's favorite videos on youtube.
Therefore, anytime we watch "choo choo train videos" on the computer,
we see this one.
Duplicated.

3. Trending

This is what's trending in my neck of the woods.
Can't read it? It says #ThrowBackSongs.

This tape is in hubby's box of tapes/cd's that I collected and stashed
during my 29 day challenge.
"All For Love" is one of my bff's and my songs.
Don't judge. The 90's were cool.

4. Paper
My 8yo made this in Sunday school once, several years ago, and gave it to me.
It hangs from a lamp in our bedroom.
It doesn't match any color scheme ever.
Not the point.

5. Plastic
I had trouble thinking of a plastic item,
until I was sitting at the computer table
with my lovely blue cup next to me.
Inside this cup is a coffee ice cream/chocolate syrup milkshake.
YUUUUM.