Sunday, December 28, 2008

CONFESSIONS OF A MARGINAL HOUSEKEEPERI don't have much to say, specifically. Just wanted to blog so here I am. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours was very nice. We have been spending our days with family and friends, cramming in as much visiting as we can before normal life resumes.
Of course, normal life seems like a far distant memory right now, while I am in the throes of "morning" sickness. In all fairness, so far, it has been very manageable and much better than past pregnancies. But, things still suffer. Namely, housekeeping.

I will be the first to confess that my housekeeping can be a little lacking. I banish clutter on a daily basis, but as for the other kinds of know, dusting, mopping, and such...those I can overlook a little more easily. Very easily, actually. I know it drives my mother and mother in law crazy. They have hinted at/said as much:::smile/roll eyes/grimace:::but, over these last few weeks, even I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by the state of my house.
I give you Exhibit A:Significant improvement was visible after only 15 minutes of racing-the-timer in each room. Here, Exhibit B:Beyond that, white Christmas lights and cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove can do WONDERS for a less-than-immaculate house.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I have mentioned before that acts of service are my primary love language.
When I saw my hubby pressure washing the house yesterday, I fell in love all over again.
He laughs and says that my love language is cold, hard cash.
I like that too.
But Matt working on the house?
Without me asking?
And doing a good job?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LAST MEALIf I am able to pick my last meal, I want it to come from Garibaldi's.
It is our absolute favorite "without children" restaurant. We only go once every year or two, but we dream of it often in between.

Not only is the food absolutely sublime, but the ambience is truly enchanting. It is housed in a very old, beautiful building in downtown Savannah. I feel so grown up when I am there:::smile:::

If you are ever (or next time you are) in Savannah, you simply must stop at 315 W Congress Street.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I ask you every year if we can get married again. You roll your eyes and say NO. It is only because it was so wonderful that I want to do it again. And because I love you so much. And because, if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have been nervous walking down the aisle.

December 16, 2000.

We have filled some days since then.

6 homes
5 jobs
14 cars (that is ridiculous!!!)
3 boys (and a baby on the way)
2 towns
8 Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters
Countless meals
2 trips to Las Vegas (never again!!)
Many trips to other places...New York, Utah, Carolinas, Jamaica, Colorado, Virginia, California, Tennessee...
6 years of weekly date night (Monday)

And, while you drive me batty sometimes, I do love your crazy, spontaneous, unconventional, unpredictable self. You are good for this Type A firstborn. Happy Anniversary, Saulsy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

COOKING FOR BOYSMy husband is sure we are having twins. Twin girls. Wishful thinking on his part. As for me, if we find out we are having a girl, I am sure I will get used to the idea, and then wonder how I ever lived without a little girl in my life. But as it is now, I have always envisioned myself as a mother of boys. In fact, when I thought about being a mother, two images came to mind. 1. Carting lots of middle school aged boys to sports. I always pictured being the team mom for my boys baseball and soccer teams. I really look forward to that.
2. Cooking for boys. Growing up as the oldest of four children (eventually five), with three younger brothers, I learned to cook for a crowd of hungry guys. There is nothing so satisfying as a cook (for me, anyway), as the hearty appetites of a tableful of males. I cook and bake A LOT for my little guys, and it is so fun. I bought a HUGE white ceramic bowl at an antique store a few years ago, with visions of plopping it down in front of ravenous guys, full of pasta.

One of my favorite people to cook for is Eli Strickland. He is a close family friend and a high school senior. As a football player and wrestler (and 17 year old), he has a great appetite. And, he is from a family of great cooks who make a wide range of dishes. Translation: he will try just about anything I make.

He came over tonight, and asked me to make "his favorite brownies". How can I turn down that request? I love to cook for this guy! Here is the recipe, in case you are interested. It is my mother's recipe (I don't know where she got it), with a few modifications.

Eli's Favorite Brownies
7 Tablespoons Butter
6 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Self Rising Flour

Melt butter and cocoa together, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, then egg.
Add vanilla and flour, stirring well.
Pour into 9x9 baking dish.
Bake in 350 degree oven, approximately 20 minutes.

Now, this part is important. I get them out about 2 minutes before they are really done. Chewy around the edges and fudgy in the middle is how he likes them. And, this is crucial. You must put a little pat of butter on top. Don't question it, just do it. Thank me later. Salted butter is best. The slightly salty taste of the butter is the perfect compliment to the sweet, gooey chocolate. Pure bliss.

Cooking for others brings me great happiness. I try not to be offended if someone turns down my offer to cook or bake them something. :)

With each pregnancy, I have been so overjoyed to discover that I was having another BOY. They are so gosh darn sweet. And they love their mamas. And they love to eat!

(The above pictures are of one of my favorite winter meals. Vegetable soup and cornbread. My boys like their cornbread crumbled up in a glass of milk, the way my mother serves it to them.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

MY KITCHEN (and Laundry Room)A few weeks ago, Aimee did a meme of "7 things she loves about her kitchen". Even though I wasn't tagged, I thought I would do it too because I love my kitchen (and seeing other people's kitchens and homes in general). As you can see, I have a galley kitchen. I love the efficiency of galley kitchens and this one is my favorite so far (of the 6 homes we have lived in since we married). We walked in the kitchen door to look at this house when it was for sale and immediately knew that this was THE HOUSE. Here is what I love about it.
1. AMAZING storage. It may have a small footprint, but this kitchen packs a punch in the storage department. I have plenty of cabinets with empty space, which I love. I like knowing that I am not at capacity. :) These are my floor to ceiling pantries that line an entire wall. Along the other wall are lots of drawers below, and cabinets above.
2. Built in dividers in the drawers. I really appreciate the attention to detail in this house, and these drawer dividers are no exception. They make me really happy.
3. The slate floor. It is hard to keep clean, and shows dirt but I love it anyway. It is also in the upstairs bathroom (and was in the downstairs bathroom prior to the renovation) and the fireplace surround is from the same slate.
4. My yellow door. It is a happy yellow color and I just think it is really sweet.
5. My yellow stool. The one downside of my kitchen is that there isn't a lot of room for people to sit and hang out while I cook. So, I added this yellow stool (with built in pull down steps) to the corner, which has helped a lot. It gives a shout out to the yellow door, as well as providing a spot for a friend or hungry little boy to plop down and visit (and snack) while I cook.
6. The window overlooking the sink. While I wash dishes, I can see the boys playing in the side yard, our college boy neighbors (who provide endless entertainment!), cars driving up, and Saulsy working in his man shed. I also have a nice shelf right under the window, where I have an ever changing number of things sitting there...usually a flower or rock from one of the boys, a picture, drying herbs, etc.
7. The wine rack. When we moved here, from the end of the pantry on was open space. The laundry room and kitchen made one L-shaped room. When we moved in, we had a wall built around the fridge, added the wine rack above it, and added the door next to the fridge that goes into the laundry room. Even though we don't drink a lot of wine, I like the look of it. As for the laundry room door, we found it at an antique store in Savannah. I plan to frost the glass, and have LAUNDRY spelled out across it.
Here are a few pictures of the laundry room. Adding the wall between the kitchen and laundry room made for a pretty small laundry space, but I like having them separate. The laundry room also has great storage space, as well as a counter for folding laundry on. There is also a small upright freezer in this room. My next project for this room is to stack the washer and dryer, and put a chest of drawers where the dryer was for the boys clothes. That will greatly simplify my laundry routine. And, we usually bring their clothes down and dress them in the living room anyway, so it makes more sense.

There are a few things I would like to change about my kitchen. I would like new lighting, faucet, and kitchen counter tops. But, those are minor things and I enjoy this small room very much. What do you love about your kitchen and/or laundry room?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I have been anticipating the Savannah River Bridge Run for months now. I signed up for the 10K (6.2 miles), which was my longest race, to date. This race has a reputation for being particularly tough, because of the incline and I was really looking forward to the challenge.

After discovering I was pregnant earlier this week, Matt was very hesitant for me to run it, even after being reassured by my doctor that it was perfectly fine. He doesn't mind me running while pregnant, but because of the early stage of pregnancy, combined with the supposed difficulty of this particular race, he just wasn't convinced I should do it. But I wanted to so, so, so badly. I am soooo goal oriented, and while I have (OK, am trying to) make peace with not doing the half marathon or marathon this year, I was really disappointed about the bridge run.

A compromise was reached by my walking most of the race, rather than run it or not do it at all. While it was hard to walk when I wanted to run (and to let go of hitting the goal I had set for this race), it was still an absolutely wonderful race and I enjoyed it so, so much. There was a group of us down there, and it was fun to cheer each other on and talk about the race. I rode down with John and Gracie Quattlebaum (Gracie did the 5K and did great!) and Robert Wagner (who did even better than he hoped to!).

This was the first big race I had run in...4,000 participants. The 10K started in downtown Savannah, near the courthouse. I loved running down Broughton Street, past the Paris Market and Brocante, and the Lucas Theatre. The street was decorated for Christmas and was lined with spectators who cheered as we ran by.

I started out slow, near the back of the pack. Directly in front of me was an older blind woman, who was running alongside of her husband. They were holding hands and I could hear him softly telling her everything that he was seeing. I was so moved by them, and started to cry every time I glanced in their direction. I decided that I needed to pass them, or I was going to be a wreck! I usually cry about twice a year...this week alone I have cried about ten times! Guess I am hormonal.

After I passed the blind woman and her husband, I was running behind a pubescent teenage boy. That was not going well for me and I needed to pass him quickly, for the sake of my churning stomach. After about a mile and a half, we reached the ramp of THE BRIDGE. I walked up the bridge, and while I was definitely "feeling the burn" in my thighs, it wasn't unpleasant. It was so cool to be at the bottom of the bridge, and look up and see the entire bridge covered in people from end to end. It is quite a large, long bridge and it was really neat. I wish I had a picture of it with all those people. By the time I was on the bridge, the elite runners were already on their way back over it for the second time. It was so inspiring to see those runners!! Many of the other runners cheered as they ran by. A little farther on, I passed John Manack, Sean Kent, Robert Wagner, and Barry Abell coming from the opposite direction. Then, I came up on Leslie (Tootle) Tucker, and we walked together for awhile.

It was a great race, and was really fun to go over the bridge. I got dizzy when I ran/walked too close to the edge. I walked about 4 miles, and ran just over 2 (I jogged through downtown, the declines on the bridge, and the finish). Though it wasn't what I had planned or hoped to do, it was actually really enjoyable because I didn't put any pressure on myself. I just enjoyed the scenery, the music at the water stations, the people running around me, and the experience in general. I didn't worry about time. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 1:11:59. My original goal was to run it in 1:05 or less, which I would have done if I had run, rather than walked the other 4 miles. Other than a slight headache, a little dizziness, and some nausea at the end, I felt great and loved the whole experience!

I don't know if I will be able to beat my time next year, with a four month old, but I hope to try!! It was a lovely experience and our group all agreed that it should be a new annual tradition. We celebrated with lunch at Mellow Mushroom afterward, then headed home!

After a hot shower (and a cup of ice), I am going to get on my snuggly pajamas and am going to spend the afternoon reading to the boys, making a big pot of vegetable soup (with cornbread) for dinner, sipping hot tea, and enjoying being at home in a cozy house with my four favorite boys! I hope your week-end is delightful too.

Friday, December 05, 2008

YUMMY BREAKFASTI had a delicious breakfast this morning, but since oatmeal isn't very photogenic, I thought I would include a couple pictures of the outside of my house, per Ashlie's request (Ashlie, I will save the kitchen for another post. Kitchens are my favorite, and should get it's own post!) This is the front door of my house. It doesn't face the road, but the woods and the small circular drive in front of our house. The next picture is of my kitchen door, which does face the road and is the door that most people use. I don't mind, that is a very southern thing, isn't it?Anyway, back to the point of my post, the delicious breakfast I made this morning. I was awake at four am and jonesin' for some spinach in a bad way, so I already had in my head that I would make a green smoothie for breakfast. But, by the time breakfast came around, that wasn't what I wanted.

Instead, I made Steel Cut Oatmeal, topped with a sprinkle of sea salt, a drizzle of honey, a few dried cranberries, pecans, and a little pour of almond milk. It was a very satisfying wintery food. Bauer ate half of it and Landing liked it too (Caedmon "doesn't do" oatmeal). I wish that I could have gotten a suitable picture, because it really was lovely with the pecans and cranberries on top, with the honey drizzled throughout!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

THAT MARATHON WILL HAVE TO WAIT......until 2010. About a month ago, I laughingly said that I would probably get about half way through my marathon training, and get pregnant. Well, I didn't make it to quite the halfway point, but I am pregnant! Due around the middle of August.

Caedmon and Landing promise that they are going to cry if it is another boy.

Matt has been dancing around the house all day.

Grandparents are speechless.

Bauer is indifferent.

I am surprised.

(And no, this picture has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter. I just wanted a picture up)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I have taken quite a blogging break and it was all my camera's fault. There were things I wanted to post about, but wanted a picture to go with them.

Yesterday, my dear hubby supplied me with the cord I needed to import pictures directly from my camera to my Macbook (I was having to go about it in a quite complicated way before, involving multiple computers. No more!).

And, this morning, I FINALLY figured out how to turn the flash off on my camera. The manual is MIA, and I am not the most tech savvy. So, now that those obstacles are out of the way, I am looking forward to blogging again.

This is just a little trial run, to see if the pictures look any better without the flash, and to make sure that I can actually get them to upload!

Around my house this morning...

CHRISTMAS TREE: My tree won't be gracing the pages of Southern Living any time soon, but it makes me very happy. Both Matt's mom and mine gave us each an ornament every year when we were growing up, so all those are on our tree. We were married around Christmas time, so some ladies at our church threw us an ornament shower. Those are on there as well. This year, the tree was decorated almost completely by my husband and boys. I handed them ornaments and did other decorating around the room. I think they did a great job!

VIEW TO OUR BEDROOM: From the living room, through the foyer. I love this view.

MASTER BEDROOM: This is from the armchair in the corner of our bedroom where I sit to read. Our bedroom is the brightest room in the house, as well as the cleanest and the quietest (the children do not play in our room). The wall color is much lighter than this, closer to the color in the last picture.

CHILDREN'S TABLE: I love seeing little hints around the house that children live here, and I love this little spot of theirs. The artwork rotates. Three little chairs for three little boys.

OTHER SIGNS OF CHILDREN: Little shoes on the stair steps

THE BOYS ROOM: Seeing three little beds in a row (especially with little boys sleeping in them!) brings me immense amounts of mama happiness. I am hoping to get all the beds painted this month (pale blue) and coverlets made in January (natural cotton duck and ticking).

BOY'S TREE: Small tree in the boys room.

PEEK TO THE NURSERY: From the boy's bedroom door, down the small hallway. I love the "tucked under the eaves" feeling of the upstairs bedrooms. So cozy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This morning I ran in my third 5K. It was through downtown Statesboro, which was fun. I really just wanted to run it to see how much my time has improved since the last 5K I did, about four weeks ago. Since that time, I have doubled my mileage, from three miles at a time, to six and hoped that I would see improvements in my time because of it.

My first 5K, March 29, 2008, I ran in 30:57.

My second 5K, Oct. 28th, 2008, I ran in 29:28.

My third 5K, Nov. 22, 2008 (this morning), I ran in 27:34.

My goal for this race was to run it in under 29 minutes, so I was elated to surpass that goal. I am looking forward to the Savannah River Bridge 10K Run on December 6th.

This book has done wonders for my running, in just the few weeks I have been using it. I highly recommend it.

My goal is to work up to running a 5K in 24 minutes. And of course, THE MARATHON in March!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

COZY DAY (This picture really has nothing to do with this post. It was just the only picture I could find on my computer that really said "cozy" to me. I must figure out how to download pictures with my new camera!)

I have been refocusing my efforts on HOME this week. Deep cleaning, room by room, decluttering (toys, clothes, cleaning supplies and more), cooking, and just generally making the house cozy and homey and pleasant.

Monday was cool and rainy. The perfect day to spend at home. I spent the morning cleaning. With three small boys underfoot, my cleaning usually seems to be one step forward, three steps back. After several hours of steady work, with no visible progress, I decided it was time for a break.

I turned on a cartoon for the boys and headed into the kitchen for a few moments of mommy R & R. I pulled out my favorite cast iron skillet and a wooden spoon. Into the skillet went

new potatoes, from my grandparents garden
large pieces of fresh local carrots
whole cloves of garlic
wedges of onion
a handful of cherry tomatoes, from my garden
a few pieces of celery
a sprig of rosemary, from my yard
a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt (I love the sensory pleasure of picking up the small olive wood bowl from the stove, filled with sea salt and taking a large pinch in my fingers, sprinkling it slowly over the food)
Several twists on the pepper mill

There is nothing like a bowl of roasted fall vegetables on a cold day. With the scents of rosemary and roasting garlic coming from the kitchen, I headed to the couch with hot apple cider (fresh from north GA apples this past week-end) for the boys in their cups...stainless steel sippy cup for Bauer, enamelware camp cups for Landing and Caed, my favorite pottery mug from an artist at Mom's gallery for me. I started a fire, just for the joy of it (it wasn't that cold) and snuggled in front of it on the couch with quilts, cider, boys, and books. Isn't reading in front of a fire one of life's most delicious pleasures?

I love days like this. After weeks of feeling frazzled and short tempered, it feels good to be here and at peace. It is going to be a top priority over these next few weeks to stay at home as much as possible and to make our little corner of the earth the happiest place to be. The holidays are quickly approaching and I want our time to be spent on nurturing our family connections, reading together, talking, making cookies, snuggling, dreaming, playing.

Each season brings its own gifts. I plan to fully embrace and celebrate the wonders of Autumn. And the pleasures of family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I normally don't post pictures of myself on here but I got a haircut today that I am pretty excited about. I have been feeling super frumpy and wanted to do something DIFFERENT. Something that would make me look like I had a little bit of style, even in jeans and a ponytail. Hubby hasn't seen it yet and I am a little nervous! I hope he likes my new look. These were taken from my phone, so the quality isn't great, but maybe you can get the idea. I don't know why I am always in the car when I decide to take my picture. Maybe because that is the only time I don't have a child hanging on to me!


Monday, October 20, 2008

UNIQUE NAME?Ever wondered how many people in the United States share your name?

I was surprised to discover that I am the only person in the U.S.A. with my moniker. Likewise, my children are all unique when it comes to their names. Huh. Only the hubby shares his name with anyone else in the U.S., and even then, it is only with 33 other people.

Go to this site to see where you stand in the rankings, then come back and let me know, OK? Because it is awfully interesting.

That, and I just really don't want to vacuum.

*Creative Commons image from Jack Dorsey on

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Just wanted to pop in to say that I ran the 5K today in the rain and it was lovely. It was about 60 degrees outside, with a light drizzle. I ran with about 200 other people. A very sweet friend who is a much better runner than me, ran with me today to keep the pace and to encourage me. It was very kind of her and it helped me immensely. I struggled for the last half mile, but only walked about 5 steps of the race, which was a vast improvement over the last run I did.

I finished the race at 29:28, so that is my new personal record. As I got close to the end, I could see the clock counting up the minutes, and picked up the pace to finish under the 30 minute mark. I would like to be able to run a 5k in the 25-26 minute range and hope to work up to that soon. For now though, I have this race in my sights.

I think I am hooked on running.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Right Now, I am:

feeling...surprised and impressed. Mom is giving me the quilt!

enjoying...the early mornings. I have started getting up before the children to pray, read, and run.

wondering...about the complexities of a mother's love. I am over-the-moon for these three little boys, yet, I am struggling to even speak a sentence kindly. How can it be so overwhelmingly wonderful and hard at the same time? my children jumping on the couch and yelling.

drinking...H2O. Letting the ice melt to just the right consistency, then crunching away. Ever crunched on melting ice in a hot shower? Bliss. be productive today, but in a calm, happy way. I want to putter around the house, making a pot of vegetable soup, getting things done, reading to the boys, giggling and laughing and being content.

loving...This season of Project Runway. Finale tonight!

looking...forward to this afternoon when my mom keeps the boys for three hours and I can do whatever I wish. Today: catching up on work, cleaning, errands. It will be nice to do the necessary surrounded by quiet.

Thanks, Soulemama, for the inspiration.
RUNNING AND A WAY OF THINKINGI am running my second 5K this Saturday (you may remember that I ran my first race this March). I am really looking forward to it. After the race in March, I pretty much completely stopped running until the middle of August. I started back in the middle of my training program and have been trying to work my way back up ever since. It has been a really frustrating thing for me. This time, I haven't had anyone training with me (Amanda had knee surgery in the summer) and so my motivation has been a little lacking. For WEEKS I tried to do the 20 minute run, unsuccessfully. I knew that I was physically capable of it. I would get within just a few yards of being done, and would quit. It was crazy! And very frustrating.

Then, I ordered (and read) The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer. It deals with the mental aspect of training just as much as the physical component. I realized that the negative messages that I was sending to myself the whole time I was running had been keeping me from success. Usually, something like this might be going through my head "If I can just get to that stop sign, then I can stop running. I think I can do it. I just have to get to that stop sign. Man, that stop sign is really far away...."

This week, I have been consciously replacing those thoughts with positive messages like these "I can easily get to that stop sign. No problem. I can keep running after that, if I want to. I feel amazing. I love to run. This feels incredible. I am getting faster and faster."
At first, I felt a little silly. But, I did it anyway. And, when I looked down at my watch, I realized that I had been running for 22 minutes. And it was easy. I felt like I really could have kept running! I couldn't believe how much the mental and physical affect each other.

So, the last day or so, I have been paying more attention to the messages that I tell myself in regards to other areas of my life. And it is really helping! It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophesy. If I believe that I can't run two miles, then I am unable to do it. If I believe that it is going to be an awful day, boom, it is. Because my mental attitude shapes a lot of my reality. Obviously, there will always be outside forces that I can't control. And, there are things that will never be possible, no matter what my internal dialogue says. I will never win the Tour De France. So telling myself that I can would just be kind of lame.

But there are plenty of other things that I can control, just by my attitude and the way that I choose to perceive my current situation. I would consider myself a generally positive person, but as with most aspects of life, there is always room for improvement. I am feeling the affects of being more positive in regards to running and I am working to be more aware of what I think and say to myself during other times too.
It requires continually practicing contentment, gratefulness, and thankfulness.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" -Hebrews 12:1

*Creative commons image from tangywolf on

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


This isn't the challenge I was talking about yesterday (more on that one later!) but I just found out about THIS one from Andrea at The Flourishing Mother (thank you, Andrea!). I am so, so in! I think this will be incredible!

Anyone else on board?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DAY 30This is the final day of the 30 Days of Nothing.

It has been pretty slim pickings around here these last few days, for sure. Today being the slimmest. Still, we all had food to eat, even if it wasn't exactly what we might have liked to have had. But, that is good for us, isn't it? And a good lesson in thankfulness?

For breakfast we had oatmeal and milk. My oldest child doesn't like oatmeal so he had toast with jelly. We were out of eggs.

We had our homeschool co-op classes in the next town over, so we packed a lunch consisting of PB & H (last of the bread), salad, and leftover lasagna and onion cheese supper bread.

Dinner was the sketchiest meal we have had this month, by a mile. But, it really forced me to be creative! The kids wanted tacos. I browned the deer meat before I realized that I didn't have taco seasonings of any salsa, taco seasoning mix, or chili powder. So, to the deer meat I added ketchup, garlic powder, salt, and all of the taco bell sauce packets that were languishing in the back of my fridge. I didn't point out my doctoring to anyone, and they didn't say anything, so I guess it was good! They also had corn on the cob, which had been in the freezer and frozen blueberries. For dessert, I was looking at a couple of leftover flour tortillas and a small bowl of cream cheese icing left over from the cinnamon rolls I made a few weeks ago. I cooked the tortillas on the griddle with a little bit of butter and sprinkled with cinnamon. Then, I spread the torilla with the icing and folded it over. I left it on the griddle until the icing softened and warmed. The kids and I loved these! They were really good and the boys were impressed. Iron Chef has nothing on us. Ha! It is really fun to come up with new "recipes" when faced with a weird assortment of ingredients. They may not make it to the table for future meals, but it is fun to experiment.

My grocery list is fairly long and I am looking forward to going to the store. However, I do not plan on going crazy now that September is ending. I won't be holding myself to spending only $200 next month. I will resume shopping in a more regular manner, but am going to document how much I spend each week and may occasionally post on what I am doing differently, how my shopping has changed post-experiment, and what things I am allowing back into the cart after a month of living with less.
I am still processing what I have learned from this month, and will probably post more about it later, as time goes on and as I shop in a less restricted manner. I am curious about you. Were you doing this challenge? And, whether you were or not, as you read about my and others' experiences, did you change anything about the way you shopped or the way that you perceived what qualifies as a necessity?

I really thrive on challenges. My creativity and excitement for homemaking is heightened when I have a goal in mind. I always learn things as I am forced to evaluate and reconsider habits. Now that I am coming off of the 30 Days of Nothing (but still working through what I learned in my mind), I am thinking of a new challenge and wondering if any of you would be interested in participating in it with me. I am thinking of taking the 30 Days of Nothing idea and tweaking it a bit...more like a 30 Days of Less, Christmas Edition. It will involve being really intentional about gift giving and holiday spending. Being creative with decorating. Making and giving gifts that are meaningful, but not necessarily expensive. It won't be just about pinching pennies, but rather, spending the Christmas season focusing on things of lasting value. That is something that I always want to do better. I will flesh this out a little more over the next few days but please let me know if you are interested in participating with me!

*Creative Commons image from Dan Taylor on

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CALLING ALL SIMPLE SHOES LOVERS!For any of you out there that love Simple Shoes as much as I do, I thought I would alert you to a sale. Several of their styles are about half off, and free shipping. I am thinking about getting a pair like mine for one of my boys. They are technically for girls, but I am not too hung up on that. They are the most comfortable shoes ever and I love that they are made out of repurposed materials. And, they are super cute!

Monday, September 22, 2008

HOME FROM AFAR, AND BEARING YUMMY GIFTS!My dear hubby arrived home safely last night, after five days in Seattle, WA and the surrounding countryside. During his trip, he toured apple orchards, potato fields, seafood boats, and several factories where the produce was sorted, washed, and packed for shipment. His favorite stop on his trip though was Pike's Place Market. I had read about/seen shows about Pike's Place, and of course, was green with envy that he was able to go! He gave me the next best thing by calling while he was there, sending me multiple pictures and videos, and best of all, bringing home some delicious items from the market!

-Honey sticks. Tiny tubes of honey, lightly flavored with the essence of different fruits.
-Cheese Curds. I am quite sure I can make these when I get my next raw milk supply. After tasting these, I definitely want to try. They are delicious!
-Two other cheeses that the merchant recommended. A smoked gouda, and a house cheese.
-10 lovely apples, that he picked from one of the orchards. The boys have already eaten 5 today!
-Fresh pasta! Oh my, the fun I am going to have with these. Such unusual flavors. Basil Tangerine, Tunisian Harissa, and dark chocolate!
For the chocolate, I am thinking of topping it with a white chocolate "alfredo", or fresh whipping cream and raspberry sauce. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

At $10 a pound for the pasta, and $17 a pound for the cheese, it is unlikely that I would have purchased these if I had been there, so it was even more fun to get them as a gift! My hubby is a wonderful gift giver. He always surprises me with his attentiveness, often purchasing things that I never thought of, yet absolutely love upon receiving. And, he loves to give me things. He keeps it in check, because I am not a big stuff person, but the gifts he does buy are so thoughtful.

Seeing my excitement when he pulled the items out of his bag, he remarked "now you can feel like a real foodie for a while!".

Ah, I love that man!

*Creative Commons image from cwbuecheler on

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today we ate:

Breakfast: French Toast, bananas, milk
Lunch: Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas, grapes
Dinner: Lentil Soup, homemade bread. The kids had spaghetti (wheat pasta, homemade sauce), green beans, and bananas

Thursday, September 18, 2008


My friend and her children came to town yesterday. She called on the way down and said that when she arrived she wanted to go to the store to pick up some foods for her children, since they are pretty picky eaters. I felt a little panicked...I was unsure if that was something I should pay for, or if I should just let her go to the store and get what she wanted. I had spent some time the day before, planning out meals, going to the store, etc. I really didn't want to go spend more money at the store, because of this challenge, yet, I didn't want to be inhospitable either.

We ended up going to the store together, along with our five boys. As my friend filled her cart with mac and cheese, cheetos, chicken fingers, juice, crackers, frozen waffles, pizza, etc. I nervously watched my children, waiting for them to start asking for those things too. We picked up some more fruit, as we were almost out, and my friend's children liked grapes, bananas, and apples too. I purchased some graham crackers for the boys, after saying "no" to about 15 other kinds of crackers. After biting into one today, I regret purchasing them. I should have just made more of these chocolate graham crackers, because they were much better, and I already had all the ingredients. Oh well.

My boys asked for cheese sticks and yogurt. I told them they could pick one. They picked yogurt, and I bought a block of cheddar to cut into sticks. I spent $21 at the store, on an unplanned and unnecessary trip. I felt really torn between being hospitable and being frugal (and not going over my $200 for the month). I know that most of the time it doesn't have to be one or the other. We regularly invite people into our home for a meal, or have something on hand for when friends drop by. I guess this was a little different because they were staying in our home for several days and didn't want to eat what I had planned to prepare. What would you have done in this situation? Should I have let the 30 days of nothing go, and purchased the food items they wanted to eat for the sake of hospitality? I still don't know if I did the right thing or not. And, with that $21 in extra food added to this month's total, next week is going to be veeeerrry slim. I am going to have to get really creative in the kitchen next week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

JUST A COUPLE QUESTIONS, FOR FUNInspired by this post, I thought I would do a little fun questionnaire of my own!
I can't wait to read your answers!

::If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

::If you could change your name, what would it be?

::If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be, and why?

::What would you eat for your final meal?

::You are on a desert island and you only have one CD. What are you listening to?

Feel free to answer one or all in the comments box!

*Creative commons image from eleaf on
NATURAL BODY CAREBody care is an area of natural living that I have not yet made any real changes in my life. It feels very overwhelming, with lots of conflicting information (or little information at all!). It is time for me to dive into studying and researching and making changes. I have been thinking about it more and more, especially in the morning, when my eyes are burning and watering for 10-15 minutes after putting my Aveeno Daily Facial Moisturizer on. Not good. What goes on our skin seeps into the rest of our bodies, so it seems a little counterintuitive to only focus on what is going INTO my family's bodies, but not ON them. I use more products than anyone else in my family. My children only use Tom's of Maine toothpaste and bar soap (links below). My husband uses Colgate toothpaste, and Old Spice deodorant, but everything else we use is the same.

The products I currently use:

-Shampoo and Conditioner (various brands)
-Tom's of Maine Bar Soap
-Suave spray Deodorant (I was using Tom's of Maine (Calendula), but it just smells awful! And that defeats the purpose, doesn't it?!)
-Arbonne Foundation
-Mascara (various brands)
-Eyeliner, eyeshadow (used very infrequently, various brands)
-Aveeno Facial Lotion
-Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm
-Tom's of Maine Toothpaste
-Clinique Astringent

Growing up, I was well acquainted with using natural herbal remedies for every day maladies. Oregano was used for fever blisters and cold sores. Tobacco leaves were used on stings. Aloe was used on burns. Chamomile healed and soothed a whole host of ills. But when it comes to every day skin and body care, I am pretty clueless. I have switched to Tom's of Maine and Burt's Bees for many items, and I know they are better than most other brands, but I still haven't researched them enough to know whether they are really natural or not.

When I am in the kitchen, I sometimes use items found there on my skin. When I am baking, I will dab any vanilla extract on my fingers behind my ears, for a natural perfume and often use olive oil on Bauer's bottom, or on my hands, in place of lotion.

I would really like to get away from using conventional body products altogether, but I am not ready to go no-poo.

So, this is an area that I will be looking into more in the coming weeks and months. I would love to know what you use, and what natural products you really like. I have heard good things about Aubrey Organics, and of course, Dr. Bronners. Do any of you use these products?

As with most other areas of my life, I will be making small, slow changes that over time, will (hopefully) result in a more natural, simple, and frugal way of living. I welcome your thoughts and experiences on this topic. It really seems overwhelming. Perhaps I will focus on finding one product at a time to use in place of the chemical laden products I currently slather on my skin. :)

*Creative Commons image from creo que soy yo on