Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Micro: GMK

Sunday morning I got up and had a beautiful, peaceful beginning to my day. Zoodle woke up when I did, but The Engineer got him, and I had a few minutes to myself, to sit and pray and read. It was so nice.

Then I gave the kids baths, and Zoodle pooped in the tub.

That, my friends, is what we call a GMK--a Good Mood Killer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super cool blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

Kladdkaka: Weird name; fantastic, fudgy goodness.

(Click on the weird word for the awesome recipe.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Zoodle: Silly Binky Boy

I was choosing some recent photos of Zoodle that highlight his silly side...and as I edited them I realized he's got a binky in his mouth in all of them. This kid sure is attached to that thing (and Mama isn't quite ready to tackle that habit yet!) But here he is, in all his silly, binky-addicted glory.

Plastic storage containers--they're useful for leftovers, and they also make quite dapper hats.


Blue binky? Check. Pink sunglasses? Check. Ready to go!


The other day I was out of the room for a few minutes while Zoodle ate macaroni and cheese, a food I figured was pretty safe from a choking standpoint. As I returned, I heard a weird noise coming out of his mouth and rushed in to make sure he was okay. This is what I found:


Turns out that sucking on two binkies at once makes a odd sound.

I hope Zoodle brightens your day...I know he does mine!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things I sorta hope will break

Confession time.

There are some things in my kitchen that would leave me less than heartbroken if they stopped working. And by "less than heartbroken" I mean "likely to break out in joyous singing."

Let's take my mixer, for example. It's a Sunbeam, and it's been a great mixer for almost ten years. It does the job. My mom's olive green, early-1970s Sunbeam lasted a discouragingly long time. (She may still be using it now.) But if my mixer bites the dust I'll be truly justified in buying one of these:

Oh, beautiful Kitchen Aid Professional 6 qt. Stand Mixer, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 1)ROCKIN' mixing power. 2)You'd look great in my kitchen. Yeah, I think those two ways are more than enough.

Then there's my CrockPot. It's functional. It's big. And it's got very dated look to it, with an ugly flower print on it. Wouldn't it be great if it went kaput so I could get one of these?

It's chic (sort of.) It's huge. It's programmable. I'm not sure why this last part is important to me--I'm always home to turn off the CrockPot. But "programmable" sure does draw me.

On the countertop in my kitchen sits a perfectly functional Toastmaster toaster. It does its job well. It looks nice. But how cool would it be if my toaster suddenly exploded (without causing a fire, of course) and I could buy this?

Yes, folks, that is a genuine Battlestar Galactica toaster. If you're not familiar with BSG, you don't get the inside joke of having a Cylon toaster. You also don't get just how geekily cool it would be for one piece of toast to have the phrase, "FRAK OFF" burned into it, with the other piece of toast boasting a Cylon face. You certainly don't understand why I'd spend $90 on such an item--and, to be honest, I wouldn't. But I still think it's theoretically a fantastic piece of sci-fi kitchen kitsch.

I could go on, posting a picture of a spacious fridge to replace our side-by-side model; and a blender (which, based on how my current blender has been acting, may be my next kitchen purchase.) And don't get me started on the rest of the house (four words: high-end washer/dryer.)

But, hey, I don't want to be ungrateful. I'm thankful to have a house full of working items, even the ones that aren't new or top-of-the-line. Just know that if I come on this blog "complaining" of a broken mixer, what I'm really doing is dancing a little jig, knowing I'll thoroughly enjoy the upgrade!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Simple smoothies

We've had smoothies for breakfast the last couple of days. They are so easy to make. I'd post a photo, but they're in our tummies right now.... So you'll just have to imagine a smoothie in your mind as you read the recipe!

Simple Smoothies

Must-Have Ingredients:
Frozen fruit (including a frozen banana, if you have one)
Plain yogurt
100% fruit juice (such as grape, apple, etc.)

Optional Ingredients:
Protein powder
Milled flax seed
Wheat germ
Very finely chopped or ground nuts

Put some frozen fruit in your blender (not more than 2/3 full.) Add a generous amount of plain yogurt (to taste.) Add any optional ingredients. Add enough fruit juice so that it's nearly covering the ingredients. Blend, adding more juice if necessary.



I have used all sorts of different types of fruit for this. I like buying frozen mixed fruit or frozen mixed berries. I've even frozen extra watermelon and used that--it was delicious! (With the high water content of watermelon, add some denser fruits in.) The banana helps with texture and helps hold it all together. It's not a must, but my husband definitely prefers smoothies when I throw in a banana. If I have some bananas about to go bad, I like throwing them in a bag in the freezer and using them for smoothies.

If you have leftovers, you can freeze as Popsicles. Or freeze it in a cup and partially thaw in the microwave before eating or drinking. If you thaw it just a bit, you can scoop it out with an ice cream scoop and eat it as a yummy, healthy sorbet.

I like this recipe because it doesn't have ice in it (frozen fruit thickens it enough), and it has no artificial sugar (not necessary with all the fruit and juice.) It's natural, and every member of my family likes it. That makes it a winner in my book.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kid lit

Did you like reading as a kid? I blogged a long time ago about how I'd read books in the halls between junior high classes. My reading these days is more sporadic, but lately I've gotten into some great books, and it's like rediscovering an old love.

While I've outgrown The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, there are some works of literature that I still like to read twenty-plus years after I first picked them up...even if they're written at a 4th grade level. "Kid lit" is great, because I can read a well-written story in a fraction of the time it takes to read most adult books. And being transported back to childhood adds a bit of magic to the experience..

Last week I was digging through old books and came across a sci-fi book written in the late 1960s called The White Mountains.

I spent time Friday night and Saturday morning devouring the story of three boys determined to keep their freedom in a future world dominated by mind-controlling aliens (or are they aliens?) called Tripods. I've ordered the rest of the series from Amazon--I'm not sure if I ever read the whole series, so I can't wait to get started on book #2. And I'm looking forward to introducing my kids to these books in a few more years.

What "kid lit" do you (or would you) still enjoy reading?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Micro: I want to...

For months I've been thinking (occasionally), "I want to write some poetry." I haven't really spent time writing poetry (silly, quick blog poems not included) since college.

Why haven't I done it?

I'm going to start working on it, because I know it will be worth it to me.

What do you want to do, that you've been putting off?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Relaxation without laziness

Yesterday for Six Word Saturday, I wrote, "This weekend's goal: Relaxation without laziness." Some of you questioned it--so here's my explanation.

Often on a weekend when I don't have much planned, I'm lazy. I avoid doing dishes until they pile up; I spend hours on the computer while also making sure my kids don't maim each other; and I put off peeing just because I don't want to stand up and walk to the bathroom. And as nice as a lazy weekend sounds, it's really kind of icky. I end up tired and cranky and selfish.

Yesterday was a full day. We took the kids swimming. We went to a bookstore. I did some very basic cooking and kitchen clean-up. I had time to read, and to watch some episodes of Babylon 5 with The Engineer. A friend of mine and I did a poetry reading at an open mic night. I even found the time to run a few errands without the kids. It was a fantastic day.

Despite being so busy, it was relaxing, because I was doing so many "feel good" things. My body had some relaxation time, but it was my soul that really was able to relax, enjoying time with people I love.

Relaxation, without laziness. I could get used to this.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super cool blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

This weekend's goal: Relaxation without laziness.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Housesitting confession

We have a fantastic housesitter/dogsitter. When we go out of town Jenni takes better care of our dog Hammer than we do. (I'm not joking.) We're very lucky! Jenni is married now, to a guy who will put a rope toy in his mouth, and let Hammer take the other end so they can play tug-of war. I think Hammer probably wishes we'd leave more often!

When we were traveling home last week, I checked my messages in the airport. Jenni had left me a message. She was laughing as she spoke. It went something like this:

"Hi, Beth (giggle!) Oh, my gosh, we went to see Julie and Julia, and then we were at your house watching Julia Child's old TV show (giggle!) They were advertising her cookbook, and I wanted to buy it, but I didn't get the website written down."

About this time, I was completely flummoxed at why she was leaving me such a random message. I continued to listen.

"So I checked Amazon, and instead of $35, it was $25.98, so I was like, 'Great!' And I saw this option for 1-Click ordering, and so I clicked it! And then I realized, I'd bought it on YOUR Amazon account! I am SUCH a dork!"

As Jenni got to this part of the story, I was smiling. This is definitely the type of mistake I would make.

"So," she continued, "I tried to cancel it, but they wanted your password. And I didn't know your password, because WHY WOULD I?"

I began to giggle right along with Jenni's recorded voice--and when you've been traveling hours with two small children, laughter is a blessed thing! I listened to the rest of the message, as Jenni offered ways to remedy her error. When I called her back, I assured her it was fine, and she could just write me a check.

"If I left my Amazon account open," I told her, "I guess I should be glad all I bought you was a cookbook!"

A great housesitter who's also an honest friend--that's a valuable thing!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wow...change really IS possible in marriage!

If you're married, you've probably heard it over and over: "Don't try to change your spouse. It won't work."

But really, if it's just something small, isn't it realistic for me to encourage The Engineer to change? Just a little bit?

We have been married 9 1/2 years. In that time, The Engineer has learned how to swim really well, how to change diapers, and how to buy me beautiful flowers that won't break our budget.

So it seems he'd also be able to learn one more thing--how to take a piece of clothing off a hanger and put the hanger on the row below, with the other empty hangers. But he's always had the habit of leaving the hanger where it was, empty and half-hidden between pieces of hung-up clothing.

When I became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago, I started doing most of the laundry. And this little habit, which had grated on me before, really started to annoy me, every time I hung up laundry. I brought it up to him, multiple times. I tried being nice; I tried snapping at him. He'd assure me he'd try to change, and the next week, I'd go to gather hangers...and I'd seethe as I grabbed a handful of my hangers from the DHS (Designated Hanger Spot) and then hand-picked hangers from his side of the closet, one by one.

But a few weeks ago, I made an astonishing discovery--after all these years, change is possible!

Only he's not the one who changed. I did.

You're going to have to bear with me here, because my way of changing is really Pollyanna-ish. It's cheesy and annoyingly optimistic. But it's working.

When I gather hangers, I no longer angrily muse, "Really, how hard could it be? If he really wanted to change, he would! Obviously he just doesn't want to!" Instead, I use that hanger-grabbing time as a time to think of something I appreciate about The Engineer. I admire how dedicated he is at work. Or I thank God about how amazing he is, training diligently for triathlons. It's crazy how quickly that puts me in a happy mood instead of an angry one.

Yep, change is possible. He may never change his hanger habit. But I've changed the way I think about that habit, and that's very satisfying.


Quick shout-out: I've posted about this outfit, and this one, from Chigger Hill Cottage. Check out the CHC dress giveaway over at the blog, Chigger Bytes!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Twelve course meal

"For lunch," I told Chickie recently, "we're going to have something fun."

"What is it?" she asked.

"You'll just have to wait and see!"

Having built up her anticipation, I got to work on a 12 course meal. About five or ten minutes later, I was done. Here it is:


Now, I can't take credit for this cute Muffin Tin Meal idea. I've read about it on multiple blogs--I think the first place I saw it was Jonah Lisa's blog. That was forever and a day ago, and I finally tried it. I dug through my cupboards and fridge, and these are the 12 courses I came up with (top to bottom, starting on the left):

  1. Raisins
  2. Sesame sticks
  3. Goldfish
  4. Ritz-type crackers
  5. Animal crackers
  6. Almonds
  7. Ranch dressing (dip for #12)--Newman's Own brand doesn't have MSG
  8. Cheese (shaped like Mickey, Sargento brand)
  9. Blueberries
  10. Wheat Thins Thin Crisps
  11. Tamari roasted pumpkin seeds
  12. Baby cut carrots

All four food groups are represented, all in kid-friendly forms. Zoodle still only has two teeth (but #3 is trying its best to break through!), so his meal was only 10 courses--no carrots or ranch dressing.

The kids enjoyed the novelty of eating from muffin tins at the coffee table!

Chickie thought it was really fun, and as for Zoodle...

...well, it got him to put down both binkies (the one in his mouth and the spare in his hand.) Success!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Comments (please read this post)

Ah, remember the good old days? When I used to respond to most of the comments left on my blog?

That was cool.

Here's the thing, though. My name is Beth. And I'm a recovering Internetaholic.

Really, I was just online far too much, and recently I've cut back. It's been a good thing, a healthy thing. Now I have time to feed and bathe my children. (Okay, I was doing that before, but I am finding I have more peace when I'm not online so much.)

So I haven't been responding that often. I miss it. The few of you who came back and checked for responses probably miss it too.

But that's part of the problem--"the few of you." I'm guessing most of you don't come back to read comments after you so kindly post your own. (I usually don't, on other blogs!) So it's been all too tempting for me to slack off in responding to comments, knowing many of my responses are probably not being read.

But Cate over at Show My Face has started responding to comments in a different way. I think Cate's awesome, and so of course I am going to steal her idea. (I'm also going to get two cats named Rusty and Tonya--think she'll mind? Think my cat allergies will mind?)

Here's what Cate does--she responds to comments via email. That way you actually see her responses. I'm not going to respond to every comment, because I just can't hope to fully attain Cate's level of awesomeosity. But, depending on my schedule, sporadic novel reading obsessions, the number of teeth Zoodle is cutting, and the topic of your comment, I may respond.

Here's where I need your help. If you comment using a Blogger account, you can make your email address public so that when your comment comes into my email in-box, I can easily respond directly to you. You'll need to go to your Blogger profile and, under "Privacy," click "Show my email address."

Here's how I keep my privacy while sharing my email address with the world. I have a personal email address,, but I don't use it for my blogs. (If I did, you'd all know my last name is Fumperstizitzkin.) Instead, I have a Gmail email address specifically for my blogs. It's a little nervewracking to have it out there for the whole world to see, but Gmail's spam filtering is so excellent that I get very little spam.

If you're not comfortable making your email address public, or if you don't have a Blogger account, I invite you to email me ( so that I can save your email address and use it in responding to you. If you prefer not to share an email address with me at all, that's fine; but I probably won't be responding to your comments.

Thanks for helping me with this! Let's get the conversation going!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Micro: Little brain

Chickie's little brain is enough to act ignorant when it benefits her. I think that's too smart for a three-year-old. Take this conversation for example:

Chickie: I'm done with breakfast!

Me: I want you to eat five more bites.

Chickie: (eating) One...two...Mommy, what comes after two?

Me: You know what comes after two!

Chickie: Five?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lucky? Crazy?

In September/early October I'm going to...
  • Visit my parents in Arizona with the kids (and possibly with The Engineer)
  • Visit my brother in Portland, with the kids
  • Visit my sister in Boston, with the kids
  • Visit New York City for a quick weekend trip...without the kids! (My sister and brother-in-law will meet me there for a day.)

Jet Blue Airlines currently has a really cool deal--for $599 you can buy an "All You Can Jet" pass, which allows you to fly as many times as you'd like on Jet Blue, between September 8 and October 8. There are no blackout dates, and the number of seats isn't limited--if the flight is open, you can book it. There are no extra taxes or fees on domestic flights.

I already had a nice credit with them due to a cancelled flight a few months ago, so that made the deal even sweeter. I bought one pass for me and one for Chickie. (Zoodle flies free on my lap until he's two.) That's 14 one-way trips for about $1200.

It's a fantastic opportunity to see my brother. (I've never visited him in Portland.) It's exciting to get to see my sister, who I haven't visited in Boston since I was pregnant with Chickie, four years ago. It's always great to see my parents. A weekend without the kids in New York City sounds heavenly. What an opportunity!

But between September 11 and October 3, I'll only be home five full days (and several partial days.) During quite a bit of the travel I'll be outnumbered--me traveling with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.

So, am I lucky, or am I crazy? Ask me when I'm getting home on October 4. I'm guessing if you can even understand my exhausted voice, the answer will be,

"A little of both."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super cool blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

I willingly let novels enslave me.

(My most recent indulgence required lots of my time this week.... I can't believe I have to wait ten more months for the sequel!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kitchen FAILS

It occurred to me recently that when I blog about delicious food I've made, it may give the wrong impression about my level of culinary ability.

In reality, I have plenty of failures in the kitchen. Sometimes they make better stories than the successes, even if the failures aren't accompanied by photos.

I had one rough cooking day at The Engineer's parents' house. I started the day by making which ended up all over the countertop (including lots of grounds) when I put the full filter into the coffeemaker...without the filter basket. I then proceeded to make Slow Cooker Granola, which I can now assure you is not meant to be eaten blackened. In the evening, I made dinner, which turned out great...except the overcooked challah bread. Sigh.

Then there are the pork chops I made recently that couldn't have been more salty if I'd served them with a side of seawater. The heat-safe glass casserole dish that I caused to explode in my oven. The made-from-scratch cupcakes that were dense and welded to their paper cups. And innumerable failed experiments...too spicy, too overcooked, or too weird.

But cooking is just like any other skill worth learning--failure is part of the process. It's an important part of the process. So while you may not see pictures of charred cookies and undercooked casseroles, rest assured--my poor family is suffering through my failures in the kitchen. I think the good to bad food ratio is improving through the years, and I figure that's all I--and they--can ask for.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Remember trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house as a kid? Hopefully you were lucky enough that, at least when you were very young, their house was in a way enchanted. Chickie and Zoodle loved their time at Grandma and Grandpa's this week.

Grandma and Grandpa have a magic fountain.


Spending time with Grandpa is the best!


Even GiGi the chihuahua, who is skittish around kids, let Chickie get to know her.


Chickie also bonded with these enchanted animals.


Zoodle entertained us all with his magic trick--putting his binky all the way in his mouth.


Cuddles from Grandma would make any kid smile!


Zoodle put his time to good use by apprenticing with the master barbeque-er.


Nothing beats a hug between siblings!


Our first visit to a lake was a big hit.



Finlly, we wrapped up the trip with a long day of travel...and Chickie tried her hand as an amateur photographer.


(We may need to teach her a little about photo composition.)

I discovered that while the grandparents' house is a magical place, home is too. It's nice to be back.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest blogger: Chigger Hill Cottage!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today's guest blogger, Chigger Hill Cottage, has made a couple of Chickie's adorable outfits. I'll let her introduce herself!


Hi, I'm Chigger Hill Cottage and I love making little girls clothing. I offered to do a guest blog to help out a fellow blogger while on vacation. Why the name Chigger Hill Cottage? Old timers used to call the area I live in Chigger Hill, because when the first church was built here, the children got chiggers from the temporary log benches set up before the building was complete! In 1997 when I started a children's clothing business, I wanted a unique and nostalgic (because I love history!) name for my home based business. I named it Chigger Hill Cottage Industry. Another nostalgic term, "cottage industry" -look it up! Upon recently reinventing my business, have dropped the "industry" part. Hence the name Chigger Hill Cottage. Please visit my boutique at


Believe it or not, most of the retail repeat clothing designs you see in stores were first born of an individual sewer’s hands. Yes, a seamstress/sewer/sewist was hired to construct the first “sample garment” to insure a pattern would fit thousands and thousands of consumers who bought the designer’s line of clothing. The pattern is then sent to an assembly line where anywhere from 10 to 50 workers perform one to three steps in the construction of a single design line all day long. My grandmother was proud to say she used to sew the double line of the right side of the finished zipper in jeans. Later she was moved to pocket insertion. What a boring and not so creative part in the making of a garment she had!

Who makes the samples (the one original garment finished from beginning to end by usually a single sewer-and sometimes very expensive to purchase, if at all available) and why is a sample maker (seamstress/sewer/sewist) so important in the clothing industry? You will have to read someone else’s blog for the answer to that question, there are people more qualified than me to answer! Just wanted to get you thinking!

I am not writing this blog to debate the sample makers and their role in the garment industry, nor am I trying to discourage shopping from retail department clothing. I am trying to arouse your curiosity, even slightly, to better appreciate the quality and value of handmade original designed clothing versus assembly line retail repeats. I can’t compete with the popular retail giants, and I don’t try. Sure, I buy from these companies, but if I am looking for an article of clothing that I would place real value, where would I consider shopping for that special dress or outfit?

Bear in mind, this is not a question looking for competitive answers, nor am I looking for debate, and when I say real value, it doesn’t necessarily mean it costs more, is made of the most expensive fabrics, or is embellished with diamonds or boasts gold buttons. Value, in this case and in retrospect to children’s clothing design, would more or less be in the eye and heart of the consumer. If you needed a special dress for a pageant, Confirmation, fancy birthday or tea party, Easter, Christmas, flower girl, or some other special occasion or event, what do you consider when making your choice? An outfit for a portrait, recital, church event, wedding, reunion, picnic, parties, etc…you understand what I’m getting at, right? Personally, I want an outfit or dress constructed in the best quality fabric affordable, unique, well made, and something no one else has; an original design. That is where I place real value.

One of kind handmade designs are priceless, especially if you are a renowned designer who constructs the garment as well. Those kinds of designers ask thousands for a single garment! Have you seen the popular design show on TV where they compete for a clothing design challenge”? I would rather choose a garment designed and sewn from beginning to end by a single experienced creative sewist, than to pick from thousands of patterns born of one design hanging in department stores, especially when shopping for that special outfit and for that special little girl in my life. My daughter makes nearly everything in my little granddaughter’s wardrobe simply because she enjoys the fact that her clothing is not duplicated!

Why is it that in today’s society we still view handmade as being less than valuable? And why do some still view the seamstress as the lowly little lady peddling the foot of an old fashioned treadle machine and making clothing for her babes out of flower sacks? If you commissioned an artist to paint a portrait, after it was completed which would you choose, the original or a copy? Which is more valuable, the original or the copy? There again, the value is in the heart and in the eye of the consumer.


Thank you for sharing your passion for handmade clothes, Ms. Chigger Hill! Be sure to visit Chigger Bytes, the blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Guest blogger: Lyndsay!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Lyndsay, a fantastic blogger I'm privileged to also consider a friend. I'll let her tell you more about how we "met."


Years ago, I remember hearing about people who “met” people online. For me, the whole concept was riddled with paranoia and doubt. I mean, only really creepy people hung out on the internet, right? Fast forward a number of years, and I find myself part of an online community for expecting mothers. As part of that community, I find myself meeting people online. Wait. I’m not really all that creepy, am I? Perhaps boring, ordinary, people also have access to the world wide web. Is it possible that those deemed strange for participating in such an activity years ago weren’t really all that different, they just had it figured out long before we did?

Our fast-paced lives are infiltrated with electronic communication and internet applications. The hectic schedules that so many of us have reduce the leisure time available, making friendships an unthinkable luxury. A stay-at-home mom utilizes the internet to reach out and make connections with others throughout their day. A working mom reaches out to other moms, forging friendships that might not otherwise be possible. In these online forums and blogging communities, questions are answered, fears are calmed, accomplishments are celebrated, and support is abundant. Sometimes just knowing your kid isn’t the only kid who has managed to lodge an inanimate object in their nose multiple times is priceless.

When I became part of this online community for the first time, I met a fantastic person. That person is known to you as the lovely Beth of C. Beth Blog. Upon sitting down to write this post, I had to do some math in my head (always a difficult endeavor) to figure out how long it has been since I first met Beth. I was astounded to realize that it has been over three and a half years. Over three and a half years of friendship that grew from participating in an online community, to figuring out the blogging world together, and communicating via email on myriad of topics. We’ve discussed the ailments of our children and of ourselves. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards. Beth has been an incredible support to me during some of the most challenging moments of motherhood, parenting, and marriage. Beth has provided insight and has been a sounding board as I’ve grappled with and grown in my faith. I’m fortunate to have such a great friend. Amazingly enough, Beth and I have never met in person; we are separated by a plethora of state lines and at least one time-zone.

If that isn’t a true testament to the power of the internet, I am not sure what is.


Lyndsay, I'm touched by this post! Thank you so much! Readers, Lyndsay's blog is one of the funniest I regularly read, so be sure to check it out here: I Used To Be Witty.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Guest blogger: Crazy Mo!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Crazy Mo. Now, admit it, did you decide to read this post just because of her name? I love that name! I also love the ideas and stories in this post, and I hope you will too. Be sure to check out Crazy Mo's blog, Those Voices in my Head.


I am often inspired by The One-Minute Writer. I was especially inspired by the Positive post. The prompt was to write something positive about someone who annoys you.

I immediately thought of my Dad.

Not that my Dad annoys me. He doesn't. Not in the least. I absolutely adore him. The reason I thought of my Dad is because he made a point of ensuring my brother and I grew up with a positive attitude. He would say "It can always be worse". Which may sound negative but, in fact, is actually quite positive.

I remember waking up one morning, the day of the big school dance. I looked in the mirror and a huge pimple was looking back at me. Just sitting there, on the end of my nose, winking. I was mortified. And hysterical. I just KNEW that everyone would point and stare and laugh. My Dad pointed out that there were probably kids in the school who had acne and pimples all over their faces and it was even harder for them to hide, but they would probably be at the dance anyway. And he was right.

He always managed to point out that no matter how bad things seemed, somebody else probably had it worse. And I started to see the world in a different light.

And I still do.

I may have a mortgage to pay, but it means I have a roof over my head and a loving home. I may have to get up early every morning and go to work, but it means I have a job and money to support my family. I may have aches and pains, but I am alive and have lived to see another glorious day.

No matter what the situation is, I always try to put a positive spin on it. It makes my day brighter, my load lighter and everyone else around me happier. Give it a try and see what I mean. You'll thank me for it ... or, rather, you'll thank my Dad.


Crazy Mo, this is fantastic. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Howdy! (It's me!)

Just thought I'd post quickly to say hello! We'll be back home Wednesday, and I'll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging on Thursday. Thank you so much to all the guest bloggers who are filling in for me!

We're having fun in northern California with my husband's parents. Talk to you in a few days!

Guest blogger: Sandra!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Sandra, who is one of those blogging friends I really want to meet in real life...some day! I bet it would be a meeting full of laughter, with a good hug at the beginning and the end. Be sure to check out Sandra's blog, which is linked below.


Hi, my name is Sandra and I write a blog at Add Humor and Faith...Mix Well.

Something wonderful and unexpected has happened during the almost two years I have been blogging, and that is that I have “met” many wonderful bloggers, with Beth, who writes this blog, being one of my very favorites. And today Beth has honored me by asking me to write a guest post.

So, here is an old favorite of mine that I hope you enjoy.


At the beginning of 2007, Hubby and I decided that this, our first year of retirement, would be our “Year to Get Healthy.”

One of our first steps on that course was to join a gym, and we think we’ve found the perfect one for us. We like it for several very good reasons — we are two of the youngest people there — there are very few mirrors — and the only spandex you see is if some younger person happens in. Those spandex people usually don’t return too many times — I think us old folks are probably depressing to them — AND they probably miss having mirrors in which to admire their buff selves. This gym is actually owned by one of the hospitals and is used for rehabilitation, so my impression of the trainers is that their attitude is more about health than about “pipes.” One good sign is tht not one of the trainers is named Buffy or Rock. So, we love this gym and try to go several times a week.

When I do the treadmill, I spend a lot of my time with my eyes closed because I can think about things without the distraction of the TV’s and the activity going on around me. (I did figure out very quickly, though, that if you are going to walk on it with your eyes closed — you’d better hold on!) The first time Hubby walked past and noticed I had my eyes closed, he stopped in front of me and waited for me to open my eyes. When he realized this wasn’t just a loooong blink, he said (rather loudly), “I hope you’re praying and not sleeping!” He scared the begebbers out of me! I had been deep in thought, and certainly not sleeping, thank you very much. (Although, I probably COULD have been sleeping — I’m a pretty good sleeper, no matter what the circumstance.)

Well, one day that I wasn’t sleeping/thinking/praying on the treadmill, I happened to notice a very trim woman, about my age, on the elliptical trainer right in front of me with sweatpants on that said “ANEL” across the butt. Having nothing better to do, I pondered on what those letters might represent. Probably not her initials, since most of us just use three of those; maybe they stood for an organization to which she belonged.

While I was thnking about that, she completed her time on the machine and stepped off. Her sweatpants repositioned themselves and i realized what was printed on her sweats was, “ANGEL.” Hard to believe that on someone that slim a whole “G” could disappear into an exercise-induced wedgie! I have seen her wear those pants since then, and I always think that I wish I knew her so that I could tell her what is sometimes happening to her “G,” but that certainly doesn’t seem like something a stranger would just start a conversation about out of the blue!

So, the lesson I take away from this experience is this. If Miss Slim and Trim can have a problem like that, it boggles the mind to think of what similar case of inadvertent editing could happen to someone with more “acreage.” I can imagine that by wearing sweat pants with, say, the Gettsyburg Address across the rear (and, yes, I believe there would be room for the whole Address on my derriere), I could possibly revise the sentences and meanings in that famous speech in some really profound ways that just wouldn’t be respectful. So, I have decided against printing the Gettysburg Address or anything else across the rear of my pants. And, no matter how slim you are, I hope you too will take heed of this cautionary tale and think long and hard before YOU have something printed there!

Happy, healthy exercising in GENERIC rear-view sweats.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Guest blogger: Jailer!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Jailer, a pastor I "met" through my dad's blog. Jailer's blog is called The Philippian Jailer. In this blog post, Jailer shares an important lesson he's learning as a pastor.

Because the readers of my blog come from a wide range of belief systems, I'd like to give a heads-up that this post is very specifically Christian in nature.


The Brokenhearted: “You’re Going To Need Some Empathy”

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Ps 34:18)

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received notes from two old friends and readers of my blog who’ve been “crushed in spirit.” Both have been abandoned by their spouses in recent years, and have since held on tightly and forlornly to the hope that patient waiting will yet bring their sweethearts home. Shelly writes of the pain:

I am trying to cope with life without Bill. I was hoping he would need me again but that's not the case. I'm praying God will show me what's next. I am waiting for His answers.

Steve’s note is even more heartbreaking, and more personal. His wife Kelli suddenly left him, as well as her son Jimmy, and even her elderly mother Lucy. His letter is both a cry of the heart and a gentle rebuke:

If you are going to pastor your flock, you are going to need some empathy. [Mrs. Jailer] will never leave you after twenty years of marriage, like Kelli left me (and right when I needed her the most). I can read the posts, and I can hear what you guys are saying, but I can't respond because every day I become a little more numb. The very first thing I ever asked God for—and apart from His salvation, my most precious gift from Him—is gone. I cannot go to church, because I cannot bear to sit there alone after [I sat for] so many Sundays with her next to me. When Jimmy leaves me, it will also be time for Lucy to go, and then I will be alone. She will not give up. I too, will not give up, because I know God hates divorce, and I know He brought us together. So I just wait for her to come home. This has been a very cruel four years.

Steve’s words cut me to the core … something has indeed happened to me over the years to rob me of the sincerity of heart with which I used to “mourn with those who mourn.” It’s difficult to express in words more plainly than I said to Steve, so I will simply share them with you:

My dear brokenhearted friend,

You are right when you suggest I lack empathy. To be truthful, I have been observing that I also have grown increasingly numb over the years. Perhaps for me it has been the burden of responsibility or the seduction of ease rather than the pain of a broken heart, yet it is real nonetheless. Please forgive my callousness....

My God and my Savior, I entrust to you my brother Steve, who loves you and whom you have held in the palm of your hand these many years … in whom you take joy beyond our comprehension, and whose tears you have shared … whose broken and contrite heart you have promised to bind up and be close to, and whose crushed spirit you will save....

I ask that you would make me a better friend to him, and that I may again feel my heart break with his pain....

I ask you knowing that you have promised to hear and answer.


I ask you also, dear readers, to join me in prayer for Shelly and Bill, and for the healing of their families (I’ve changed their names, but trust that God knows them). Pray also for me … that God in His mercy would restore to me the empathy and depth of feeling I used to have and share so freely.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Ps 27:13)

The Philippian Jailer


Thank you, Jailer, for sharing your heart with us!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Guest blogger: Faith!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Faith, a "cyber friend" I met because Chickie is the same age as one of her kids. I'll let her introduce herself in her own words:

Hi, I'm Faith. I'm a homeschooling mother of four. Sprightly is 7 next week; Eager is 4; Tank is 3 & a very important HALF, and Peaceful is 20 mos. I blog at I'm an avid crafter who makes lots of mistakes because I'm an amateur. I am also an amateur parent, and parenting is what my post will be on today.


What a very exciting thing to get to post on Beth's blog! Thanks Beth for allowing me to fill in while you're roaming with your little ones.

Today I'd like to talk about tattling. Anyone who has more than one kid has experienced tattling. If not, well, then I guess this post isn't for you. For the rest of you people out there with normal* children, read on...

I used to hate tattling. I didn't like it when one of my other children tried to get one of the other children into trouble. Then I had an epiphany. What if they're not trying to get the other one into trouble? What if, instead of a kiddo telling me something so that one of her siblings will be punished or reprimanded, she's just looking for empathy. Sometimes one just needs to be told that the world isn't fair, & that Mommy cares that they are feeling down about something.

My children don't always need me to fix things. They're telling something to me because they want to know that I care. Instead of dealing with the problem, trying to fix it or reprimanding the offending party, I have decided to instead offer a hug & a "there there now". Do you know that the tattling in my house has been cut in HALF since I implemented this plan? HALF!

When my children found I am listening & care, they showed me that "fixing it" wasn't quite so important as I had originally believed. Sometimes we all just need to know someone out there understands.

*I use the adjective "normal" about tattling children to make myself feel better

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Guest blogger: Heather!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Heather, who is just awesome and unique--I wish I could meet her in real life! Her son is about the same age as Zoodle, and two-toothed Zoodle is totally jealous of all the teeth in Asher's mouth! (See photo below!) Be sure to check out Heather's blog, Strangers in a normal land.


When Beth asked for help on her blog (and wouldn't let us roll our eyes knowingly) I was very excited at the idea of being a 'guest poster' on one of the very first blogs I started following almost 9 months ago when this whole blogging thing began for me. I have so much enjoyed getting to know Beth and her family a little through these snapshots we share with each other. I especially cannot get enough of Zoodle. He is only a couple weeks older than my little man and they both have these great big infectious grins that I just love. I am in tears over some of the conversations with Chickie. I find myself both excited and mildly terrified of the conversations I will someday soon be having with my son.

Okay, I know, you know all this. After all, if you're here, it's likely because you follow Beth. This is merely to set up the inspiration for my post today. I often get so caught up in my day, I forget to take the time to just stop and look at my little man and really soak him in. Beth's blog often reminds me of the importance of soaking it all in. The other day, I was suddenly struck by how in awe I am of my guy:

Sometimes the industriousness of my son enthralls me. He does something as simple as taking each and every one of his toys out of his basket and putting them on the coffee table with such seriousness, such intent. He curls his lip to take a bite out of my table, catches me watching him and slyly puts a toy in that gaping maw instead. He accidently pulls a kitchen towel off its rack and spends the next half hour trying to put it back, never once getting upset or frustrated that it's not working, just trying different ways of getting it to stick. Finally he decides it just doesn't want to be there anymore, leaves it to its new home on the floor, and goes after his original target, my pots and pans. He holds up his red socks to me with such pride in what he's accomplished (I still don't know exactly what it was, but he was very proud of it). He goes from trying to clap his own hands one minute (with limited success) to taking his bear and making him clap his hands (with quite a bit of success) the next minute. How does he do it? How does he grow so much, not just in a year but in a week, a day, a nap. I'm just in awe, not of who he is becoming, but of who he is. Every day I get to discover more of what's in there.



I love this, Heather! Beautiful post. (And beautiful kiddo!!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guest blogger: Tia!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Tia, who is super sweet and has an adorable daughter, Ellie. Be sure to check out Tia's blog, my life as I know it.


My bloggy friend Beth recently asked for some help to keep her blog going when she was on vacation. I was immediately interested because it is one of my favorites to read. And, more selfishly, I wanted her to be a guest blogger on my blog, because, well, she's so cool!

I hemmed and hawed on what topic to cover. Should I be funny? Should I be serious? Should I be witty? Then I realized that all the guest blogging might bring new readers and I wanted to let them know what is so good about this blog. I graduated from the same college as Dave Letterman, so in honor of that, I am going to do a

(wait for it.....)


10. She has lots of great give-aways!
9. I have spit coffee on my computer screen on more than one occasion with her stories.
8. She has lots of other cool blogs on her sidebar that will totally suck you in.
7. Her podcasts are great!
6. The blog covers lots of topics, you never know what you're gonna get.
5. She leaves great comments!
4. She posts awesome recipes.
3. She is always spot on with her observations.
2. When you read the blog, you are convinced that she is your long lost best friend.
1. You get to see pics of 2 of the cutest kids around!

So keep reading! It is so worth it!

Thanks Beth, for letting me be a guest blogger. I loved it!


And thank you, Tia, for such a sweet post!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guest blogger: Kris!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Kris, who is such an encouraging mama--she's one of my newer blogging friends, and she's fantastic! Be sure to check out Kris' blogs, which are linked below.


Hey Y'all! My name is Kristen (but most people just call me Kris) and I'll be filling in for Beth today. Isn't she just like that ray of sunshine coming through your window in the morning...making your whole day seem a little better and brighter? I'm not exactly a ray of sunshine...but I'll do my very best to temporarily fill her shoes.

I'll tell you a little bit about myself and then I'll get down to business. I'm a stay-at-home mom of four. Two boys, Two girls. The eldest is almost 10, the youngest is right at 4 months old. I didn't technically birth the eldest but he's still "mine". I live in SC way back in the woods and 30-45 minutes away from the nearest Wally World. Shoot, our town just got their second stoplight not too long ago. Yes, I live in "the sticks". I blog over at Hands, House, and Heart Full and another blog that I use mostly for my little mini-revelations (so to speak), Like A Child. I post all kinds of things on my, stories about my kids and husband, rants about things people do, some tips and tricks for blogging, cleaning,'s all just kind of randomly mixed in over there...but then again, I'm pretty random sometimes.

Any-who. Let's get on down to business. You're not here to read about me. You're here to see something interesting! I sure hope I can deliver.

Ten things parenthood does that you never would have dreamed of before becoming a parent:

1) For women after you have children nothing is ever the same again. Nothing. Your hips tend to get wider, your waist larger...and gravity starts to take its hold on you. Things you didn't even know could sag will begin to sag. Like for instance...your belly button. Many of us will retain a permanent "pooch". Those of us who don't somehow manage to work out in addition to everything else required of us...and a select few will have liposuction.

2) For men--your wife will no longer be that woman who just "lets loose" and "takes it easy". She'll be too worried about what the members of the PTA would say if they saw her in Wal-Mart playing on the tricycles. She won't even relax at night...she will impulsively get up to check and make sure that the children are breathing or clean that "one last thing". By the way, there is never just "one last thing". While she's doing that she will inevitably find something else that needs to be done.

3) Your child(ren) will inevitably share some bodily fluid with you against your will. Whether you like it or not you will eventually probably wind up getting pooped, peed and vomited on. While it definitely won't be the highlight of your day you'll probably just clean it up and go on about your business.

4) You will always think that your children are better looking than everyone else's children. It doesn't matter if your child has crossed eyes, buck teeth and one nostril. He or she will still look better than your neighbor's kid.

5) Your children will eventually pay you back for everything you did to your parents--and then some. You will think you are wiser than your parents and "know all the tricks" but there are new "tricks" developing every day... or you will lose the ability to think that your child is anything but an angel.

6) You will do things that you think are silly/funny/cool that your children will find utterly embarrassing and shameful. They will say things in the middle of your totally awesome air guitar solo like "Mom, that is SO not cool. How old ARE YOU?" (which by the way has NEVER happened to me. )

7) You will stare at other people's children in disbelief when they throw a tantrum and wonder why they aren't spanking their child all the way to the car but when it comes to your own children you will do everything in the book to avoid punishing them. Instead of just counting to 3 you'll count like this. 1, 2..................2.............................., "Do you want me to go to three?"...............................2.....................................3. Then proceed to tell them "Just wait until your father gets home."

8) You will become more like your mother/father than you ever intended. Reasons they did things will suddenly become clear. You'll do one of two things. Either go back and apologize to your parents and say that you understand now....or completely deny that you are "turning into your mother" (or father).

9) You will sacrifice anything and everything you have to so that your children will not only have what they need, but also a few things they want. You'll do things like dying your hair at home instead of in a salon so that you have the extra money to sign them up for soccer...and you won't hold it against'll do it with a smile on your face knowing the joy it will bring them.

10) Complete strangers will come up to you while you're pregnant and touch your belly, tickle it, talk to it, rub it, and even kiss it--and for the most part you'll just smile and answer their questions...even though you've already done it 10 times that day.

I hope that y'all have enjoyed my little "blippit" in Beth's world; I also hope that you will come visit over at one (or both) of my blogs. Mostly I hope that Beth has fun on her vacation and comes back refreshed and ready to tell us about everything. She truly is a wonderful bloggy buddy with an awesome talent for writing. Maybe y'all could leave some of your thoughts about parenting for her to read when she returns...I know she always makes me smile, maybe we could do the same for her!



This is great, Kris! And HOW did you KNOW that my kids are the best kids in the neighborhood?! Thanks so much for the entertaining post!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guest blogger: Fannyfanackapan!

I'm out of town this week and some fantastic guest bloggers are stepping in for me! Today is Frances--a.k.a. Fannyfanckapan--a lovely Twitter/blog friend I have who lives "across the pond." Be sure to check out Frances' blog, which is linked at the bottom of the post.


Hi, my name is Frances and I am honoured to be your guest blogger for today. Those of you who have visited my blog or follow on Twitter will know me as Fannyfanackapan. I always get asked 'Why Fannyfanackapan, where does that come from?'. Well, in Victorian times, Fanny was an accepted short version of Frances and Fannyfanackapan was an extension of that used as a term both of endearment and chastisement. I adopted it because it was what my Father often called me as a child and I loved it when he did as it made me feel really special, although I never understood why.

But enough about me, I am here to guest blog and guest blog I shall. I would point out to all readers before they start correcting my spelling that I am blogging to you from the jolly old British Isles, United Kingdom, England, Blighty (you choose, your preference) and will be using the British spelling for words where our two languages diverge. So no specialization for me, we shall specialise (if the need arises) and if I decide to add colour to my prose it will be with a U inserted, and so on.

Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to subject of this post. Recipes.

What, I hear you cry, do recipes have to do with spelling for goodness sake. Well, quite a lot actually. It is all about cultural differences. I recently purchased a CrockPot slow cooker and was keen to find lots of interesting recipes that I could try out in it. Many of the cook books only have a few recipes which are easy, chuck every thing in and leave it for a few hours types of meal. They then fill the book with recipes for special dinner party, fiddley, I will never try it out, types of dishes. Why will I never try them, because lovely husband is a truly excellent cook and therefore ALL dinner parties are catered by him. I just clear up afterwards. So of course, I started to look on line for recipes and as slow cooking is much more popular in the USA than the UK, a lot of the stuff I found and liked, were American recipes. (I have said recipes too many times in this paragraph but stick with it). Which brings me nicely around to C.Beth's Slow Cooker Granola which she blogged about on July 30th. (If I were sticking to my insistence on being British I would have said 30th July, but I will allow some concessions). It sounded delicious and as I too make my own yoghurt, I really wanted to try it, but there were a few problems:-

1. I have no idea what granola is (but it sounds nice).
2. How do I convert quarts to litres. My slow cooker is a 3.5 litre is that big or small?
3. How big is a cup????? I have lots of cups, they are all different sizes.
4. Milled or ground flax seed (I though flax was made to stuff seat cushions in olden times)
5. Canola Oil (oh come on now, I think you're making stuff up just to confuse me)

I could go on, but I think you get the idea by now.

Please let me know which cup to use.


I need help. I really want to make granola, whatever the hell it is.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and if you would like to read more, please do visit me at


Frances, this post was hilarious! Thanks for starting off the guest posting on such a great note!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm a (lazy) guest poster!

A couple of months ago, ElleBee wrote a fun guest post for this blog. I've returned the favor and written one for her. I'm busy preparing to leave tomorrow for our family vacation (visiting The Engineer's parents.) So today I'm going to be lazy--instead of writing a post, I'm encouraging you to mosey on over to ElleBee's blog to read what I wrote for her readers. Just click here!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's super cool blog by clicking the button below.

My six words...

Packing for three--Chickie, Zoodle, me!

We head to northern California very early on Monday to see The Engineer's parents. This will be a busy weekend, getting prepared! But, hey, I'm glad that ONE other person in the family doesn't need me to pack for them!