Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Year in Words

I took the blog over to typepad this year -, but I'm coming back over to this space. I just don't see a reason to pay for a blogging space right now. I love this space to write out my ideas, inspirations and to keep track of the places I enjoy visiting as well.

Taking some time at this year end to clear out the cobwebs, start fresh and keep the happiness flowing in our lives. So much happened to wear me down this past Fall and I miss my Dad dearly. I wouldn't have traded the time I spent at his bedside for anything. I'm ready now for the new year to ring in and I can't wait until we welcome our new baby this Spring. I'm closing my store up for now as well to try and keep myself focused on my family. After five years, it's my baby as well and I can't bear to sell it to someone else, so closing is the answer. Who knows what the future holds for Full Circle Baby, but I'll always be a full circle mother - because of my children and what I have learned being their mother.

See you soon - next year! :)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Movie Night

As a little girl, we would come home from church on Sunday and watch "old" movies. You know the ones - classic movies. I loved these movies while most of them starred Shirley Temple and seeing a little girl dance and sing like that was amazing to me. Besides, she was so cute! 

I've recently revived my interest in classic movies and we are having such fun watching them The girls are either entertained by the "old" times or bored and walk away. What they like to watch most though are episodes of "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch"! Netflix is keeping us in continuous supply of these fun (sometimes corny) episodes. I do like how the girls are getting a glipse of the past by watching these shows. They think some of it is really funny  - "really, they used to say "groovy" Mom?" or "look at their clothes!"

Here's a few "classic movies" I've enjoyed watching recently:

Pygmalion - Professor Huggins and flower girl turned duchess, Eiza Doolittle. He really loves her doesn't he?

Pillow Talk - Stars Doris Day and Rock Hudson. She falls in love with him but doesn't know he's the one who is really driving her bonkers. Catchy tune - loved it! 

Houseboat - Ah- Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. She ends up as his nanny and they fall in love.  Hey mister. Who me? Yes, you mister. (you've got to watch it to understand - I could watch this one over and over)

People Will Talk  - Another Cary Grant movie. Very interesting. Unwed mother, doctor ethics, love, suicide, even talk of how grocery stores are starting to smell like a drug store. All from a movie that came out in 1951. 

Young at Heart - Ol' blue eyes - Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. Who will she end up with? Great beach scenes, sisterly love & jealousy, true love.  

We always need a snack to go with our movies and one of our favorites is popcorn. Not just any popcorn. We learned this from a friend and it has become an easy go to snack for movie watching. We pop some popcorn in coconut oil (old fashioned way - on the stove), then toss it with some melted butter and salt. Yummy! You could also mix some coconut oil and butter together to put on microwave popcorn.

Happy watching!


Friday, June 5, 2009

So long gone

Poor, poor neglected blog. Life has taken me away from you for so long. 

We've been busy finishing up our school work and having fun playing too! The girls and I are ready for a break from the day to day school work but we had lots to finish up before moving forward. Boxes from K12 are arriving daily loaded with our new school materials for next year already! I'm not ready! Well, I'm a little ready or they wouldn't have been ordered and here right? So the planning part is done, but the implementing part won't start until the Fall. Until then, I think the boxes can just gather a little dust in my closet. My oldest daughter was so excited for her new box to arrive that she already has it unpacked and put away. I remember those days... 

Otherwise, we've just been busy living here and traveling some too. It's really hot already and Summer doesn't officially arrive until later this month. Swimming is essential now and we are finding ways to stay cool. 

I've been busy sewing too since my new best friend arrived - we'll just call her Elna. The Weekend Sewing book by Heather Ross has so many fun projects and I'm working my way through them. This is the smocked sundress from the book that I made for my four year old. 

She loves it and wears it almost every day - except for when I steal it away from her to wash it. I think I know what else I'm making her for her birthday next month...hum. 

Happy weekend!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kuchen with Aunt Elizabeth

For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for a recipe for Kuchen (pronounced "cookin" or "cuca" in my family). Not only was it the most delicious pastry from my childhood, but it came from the sweetest lady, my Great-Great Aunt Elizabeth, who I also called Memom. This wonderful lady could cook up anything without a recipe, donuts, noodle soup and various German dishes - comfort food at it's best. Memom was like a Grandma to me and I will always remember her kind, easy personality and gentle soul. She smiled with her eyes, loved with all her heart and taught with the patience of a saint. 

Memom would often visit us and come into the kitchen, cook up a cherry kuchen and fill the house with her warmth. She passed away when I was 12 years old and was the first person I was close to that died. Her spirit lives on though through the cross stitch pictures she left behind that grace my home, the impressions she made on me as a young girl and her name lives on in one of my daughters. I can still feel her spirit when I cook something she would have cooked while in the kitchen. That is probably why I have always wanted to find the recipe she used to make kuchen. 
Here's Memom playfully holding me as a baby. 

I was delighted to find a couple recipes for kuchen in the new bread book I bought recently. One used a yeast dough and the other did not - I went with the non-yeast recipe first. Here is my attempt at kuchen this weekend. I used the fruit I had on hand, peaches and cherries and I have to say there were many similarities, but this still was not the recipe my Memom used. This recipe had a crust to it, which hers did not, making me wonder if she used the yeast dough. Don't worry - I'll try that one next! But this one did have a custard top and her recipe definitely had that. While it was cooking. a very similar aroma, filled the house and it smelled so good! I knew I was on the right track! Memom used lots more cherries in her kuchen so next time I will have to make sure we have at least a couple cans of cherries on hand (I use the ones canned in fruit juice). This one was very yummy though and Jeff thought the crust was his favorite part. 

Lots of sewing going on here as well - a few things for mama (yay! I rarely sew for me) and some for others (Mother's Day gifts) as well!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Splish, Splash

Nightly bath-time is my favorite time of the day. Just a few reasons why - 

Warm water, winding down, washing away the day's ups or downs.

Giggling girls, splishes and splashes, cuddling in a terry cloth towel. 

Let's read a story, snuggle in bed, kisses good night, nursing to sleep. 

Angels watch over you as you dream until those tip toes bring you to my bedside later on. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kitchen Monday

I found the cutest plate with all the colors of my kitchen and soon designated it the "honey plate" so it is out all the time for me to see. Is it corny to get happy looking at a plate? Probably. It's probably strange just to use the word "corny". 

We love fresh honey and use it for cooking (replacing sugar in many recipes), in tea or on toast. Yum! 

Around here we have a nice routine of cooking big on Mondays which helps tame the dinner time madness which ensues each weeknight. Many Mondays I cook a chicken for stock then use the meat and stock during the week for soups and casseroles. Frugal living at it's best I tell you! So good for us and tasty too. Store bought stock just doesn't have the same taste. When you make it yourself, the flavor and nutrition are robust. 

Yep - I'm making that bread again too. This is the same bread recipe that won Grace the prize ribbon at the fair last year and has become my go to recipe for quick fresh bread. I make the dough up on Sunday night, then cook a couple of loaves on Monday then maybe one later in the week to go with dinner. It always disappears quickly! 

I love this apron - it is hands down my favorite and you'll find me wearing it every Monday. The little pocket is a keeper.... a keeper of something I never thought I'd like to use. But now I love my ipod! Plug it in, turn it up and get cooking! 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earth Day Weekend

Our local Earth Day Celebration was held this weekend in Landa Park - one of the nicest city parks located right on the spring fed Comal River. This is our third year participating in the event with a Full Circle Baby booth and each year the event grows bigger & bigger! I find so much inspiration from gardening to how our community grows greener every year. 

Perfect weather (alright - it was windy!) brought out lots of families and local businesses like Sarah's Soaps (she is about so much more than soap though! Check out those plants.) and Two Rivers Yoga (awesome  yoga studio and another Sara!). 

Our Full Circle Baby booth was buzzing with activity! We talked to lots and lots of parents about cloth diapering, wearing their baby comfortably, using natural baby products with herbal ingredients and these diaper bags we found made from Re-Run fabric (recycled water bottles!).  Klean Kanteens are always a hit - as long as you can keep your car from eating them. I know my own car is feeding on them - it couldn't be the kids leaving them under their seats, right?? Seriously, we love our Klean Kanteens and take them everywhere with us. The last time I purchased water bottles from the store was almost 2 years ago!  note to self - reorder KKs for the store this week - in colors pink, orange, stainless and maybe black with the new chug-a-lug sports caps that came out this month.

Jeff brought the girls over to see us (Lissy stayed with me after she helped set up the booth - homeschooling girl learning business!) and they walked around learning about frogs, worm composting, recycling, gardening. They picked up lots of information and goodies! 

We enjoyed seeing our friends at Earth Day and hope to be back next year!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

What will my garden grow?

I have actually learned A LOT of things about gardening in general over the past year, but most importantly, I've learned when to start planning a garden here in South Texas. Right after Christmas!! We waited too long once again this year. It is so hard to think about planting a garden when my mind is stuck in winter mode. That comes from living in Virginia for so long. Since we've lived here in South Texas for the past 6 years, one would think that said person would finally be used to how things work here. 

We have a tiny backyard that really isn't good for much besides being home to our big, crazy lab. This guy is Marley (from Marley and Me) - but he is chocolate colored and 10 times crazier. He steals strawberries from the garden and helps himself to broccoli straight off the plant.  I guess he needs his veggies too.... 

Our backyard project has turned into one that Manly Man and I enjoy together - gardening. The first year in our very first house, we tried to till up the land and plant our garden blind. I'm pretty sure nothing grew that year worthwhile. We've learned a few things along the way and now we have a cute backyard garden that will hopefully supplement our food this summer. Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes! We went with raised gardens since our soil here is extremely rocky. Manly Man made the planter boxes to surround our patio last year and added two more bigger boxes around the yard this year. We filled the boxes with organic garden compost mix from our local organic gardening store (Gardenville). 

Miss Allie knows what makes the garden grow!

Here's one of the new planter boxes waiting for the tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and crenshaw melons to be planted. Manly Man made that great little green house/gardening table for me - isn't it fantastic!? I love it. It made planting all those little seeds much easier and the little ones love to stand on the bottom rails to peek at what is growing inside. We don't need to use the cover anymore to protect the little plants from frost. It's been a crazy Spring here though and just a week or so ago we actually had freeze warnings. Way past the usual freeze date. 
Here's our babies! It's so exciting to see a new plant sprout and grow. The girls help by watering them each morning and have transplanted the ones that grew more than one seed. We bought all heirloom seeds from Baker Seed company this year to avoid planting any genetically modified seeds. These are almost ready to transplant into the new garden area. I've saved the older planters around our patio for herbs and hot peppers - the things we use in the kitchen most often while cooking each day. I have basil (two kinds), dill, chives, parsley, mint, orange mint, sage and cilantro. 

One of our new favorite things to do is to make homemade ranch dressing. It's really easy! I mix up a garlic clove with some salt (to make a paste). Add to that some mayo (about 1 cup), some sour cream (I like Daisy brand as it's only ingredient is cream - about 1/2 cup), buttermilk to make the dressing thinner to whatever consistency you like, herbs (dill and chives  - but you could anything you like) and salt. Give it a stir and voila! I store it in an covered glass container in the fridge and use it up within two weeks - but it usually doesn't last that long.  The kids love it as a dip for carrots or celery for a snack. It's great over a slices of tomato and avocado too.  So yummy! Avocados are a plenty here in South Texas and I have grown to love them as do my girls. 

Happy Weekend!


Friday, April 17, 2009

The Napping House

rain. thunder. finally.

The garden swallows and sings while inside, we nap.

The backyard garden (literally - my backyard is a garden), is coming along nicely. I'll post pics this weekend! In the meantime, if you haven't read this - it's amazing. 


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Wishing everyone a very blessed Easter as you enjoy Springtime with family and friends.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taking care of Mama - week 2

Hard as I try, I will never be a daily blogger and thus, my menu for my week of detox will just be a short one - but hopefully the basics will be covered. So this is the second week now of "Taking care of Mama" and this is what I'm trying to accomplish.

1 - Rest as much as possible. I'm in bed by 10 (which means no tv for me) and up around 7am. During the day, I try to lay down for a quick nap or rest when the littlest one naps. The technique I learned last week is something else I am trying to do each day. It's hard! Being mindful of it though helps and I have managed to sneek in a few down times.

2- Eat as healthy as possible (no sugars) and try some new supplements. For my detox, it probably isn't a real detox, but it kind of is too. I've added two new supplements to my diet - Floradix for iron and Evening Primrose Oil /Omega 3 combo. This is what I am doing for food during the next few days:

- Start the day with a glass of lemon water (just water with a half or whole fresh lemon juice) upon waking.
- After an hour, drink some herbal tea. One of my favorites is Peach Detox.
- After another hour, it's smoothie time! Here's my recipe - I fill a blender almost half way full of frozen blueberries. Then I add a little flax seed and hemp seed. Finally, I add enough Almond milk to make it milkshake consistency. This makes a full blender for us and I have a tall glass, then share the rest with the girls. They love it! You could do this with any type of fruit and substitute rice milk or regular milk as well.
- Lunch time - salad with lots of leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, carrots, etc. I do add just a little salad dressing, usually a vinagrette.
- Afternoon muchies - I grab a little bowl full of nuts - almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds. This really helps me make it to dinner time.
- Dinner time - Some type of soup usually. Last night I made a broccoli and arugula soup. I cooked a little onion with some garlic in olive oil on medium heat until tender. Then added a head of broccoli and cooked it until the broccoli was bright green (maybe 2-4 min). Added 1 1/2 cups of water and let that cook for about 8 min. I took a handful of arugula and tossed it into my blender then added the hot broccoli soup to it and blended. Be careful if you do this - it is HOT! The rest of the family had a heartier stew and bread with homemade jam. I was weak - I ate some bread with jam but other than that I did really good to avoid breads and sweets.
- Drink LOTS of water throughout the day.
- Exercise - I'll start that again next week. This week, I'm taking it easy and doing light stretches.

So that's it! I feel better already, my home is coming back together now that I am more rested and have energy to tackle the projects that seemed daunting to me just a week ago. I should add sunshine to my list as well. We are trying to get in some sunshine every day - so many times I find myself holed up inside the house and then I get stuck and just don't want to do anything. Our garden is coming along and the sunshine I get each morning by just watering the plants and inhaling the fresh morning air is helping my attitude.

Rest + Eat Healthy Foods + Light Exercise + Daily Breaks + Sunshine = Mama Feels Better


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Let's interrupt this week of "Taking care of Mama" to bring some sweet strawberries home. One very good way to tell Spring has arrived is by the appearance of strawberry season. The girls and I headed out to a pick your own strawberry patch with some friends. This unique strawberry patch grew their strawberries hydroponically - no bending or getting dirty! 

Yummy! These look like they should be eaten fresh out of the basket but a sweet Strawberry Shortcake is what they are destined to be. 

Mama - I can't wait!

This picture has nothing to do with strawberry picking but it does have cute cherries on it! The fabric is from Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market line and the smock pattern was found in Amy Karol's book, Bend the Rules Sewing. Miss Abigail is so fast, I had to catch her picture while we waited for sister's soccer practice to be over. We have already had a few very warm (read 90's!) days here this Spring. 

Happy, Happy Spring!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Taking care of Mama Week

Thought I would post an update to see where we are now on "Taking care of Mama" - week one.  I find it quite difficult to get to this space on a daily basis, but that's all part of it isn't it? As mothers we drive ourselves to do more and more - some of us just can't be still for very long before thoughts of what we should be doing or could be doing pop back into our heads. I think this part of my personality is what is leading me to overload and I'm trying to catch it before it turns into burnout. So let me see where I am after this week - 

* Chiro appointment with unexpected, but very welcome massage therapy. CHECK!
*Two mornings of getting up before the littlest one woke to relax and meditate in a nice hot bath. CHECK! ( I have to admit, this wasn't on my list to create wellness, but out of necessity - I'll explain more)
*Visit to Family Physician - outcome is everything is a go for the detox next week. She wants me to up my Omega 3 supplements - which I hear is good for every woman. I found some at Whole Foods that are for specifially for women with added Evening Primrose.  I'll add those to my daily supplements of Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omegas. CHECK!
*Indulged in a mini spa retreat - loved it! However, my back was so sore after the Neck and Shoulder Relief massage. Thus the need to get up the next day and relax in the bathtub! It felt so good to have some morning time to myself, I did it again the next day. I also loved the eye pillow they used at the spa and I want to make one now - but I will hold off until I'm caught up on everything else. CHECK!
*Drinking more water - I'm working on this still but have done better this week. CHECK!
*Cutting back on sugary foods. This is hard for me. If it is in the house, then I will eat it. I just can't have it in the house and so my children will have to cut back as well. This should be good for them too.  SEMI- CHECK!
*Stress reduction. I checked into hiring a housekeeper and hope to give it a try soon. She will come twice a month to clean the kitchen floors, bathrooms and living area.  One of the gals who I contacted is expecting a baby soon though - can I relax enough to let a pregnant woman clean my house??? I know I'm going to have to leave the house while she cleans if I hire her, because I am going to want her to put her feet up!  I've also made some time to deal with the mounds of paperwork that have been making me feel like I'm drowning. I managed to make a dent in that yesterday and I can actually see the light (and my desk! yay!). SEMI-CHECK!
*Lastly - getting enough rest. I have done really well on this and have found I fall asleep easier when I go to bed at a decent hour. Apparently, I need about 9 hours of sleep and a 30 min quiet time each day to feel really rested. I only cheated last night to watch a movie with my oldest daughter. 

So next week I'll start the detox and I'm really looking forward to it. We stocked up on some wonderful veggies at the Farmer's Market yesterday so my refrig is looking healthy and yummy!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking care of Mama - day 1

On day one of Taking Care of Mama, made sure to get a full night's rest and went straight to bed after the last little one was asleep. So I slept from 10pm to 7pm and woke up well rested. Why oh why do I let myself stay up late and not get adequate rest??? Is watching some mindless show on tv really needed at night - I don't think so. I never sit down to watch tv during the day, so after the kiddos are asleep, that is my time. But I'm wasting it on the couch when I could be resting in my bed. So, no more tv for me.

I went to the chiropractor and had an adjustment with a wonderful bonus. They did a full therapy session on my upper back and neck which included an ultrasound massage and an intense (but good) massage by their massage therapist. I always thought massage would be relaxing, and while I left there feeling so much better, the massage really hurt. I'm tense.... but working on it! The therapist gave me some really good tips and so I wanted to share those.

First, our head weighs about 10 lbs and our shoulders/neck muscles need to rest occassionally. Think about this - if you ever lifted weights - you know how you will do several reps of lifting one weight then put it down when your muscles just can't take anymore? Then you can pick it back up again in a few minutes right? Our head is that weight and our neck/shoulders need to rest so that it can continue to carry our big ol' heads around all day long. As women, we sit behind computers or drive children around town and while we wish our strength was in our upper body, it's really in the hip area. So she suggested this - take several 3-4 min breaks throughout the day and lay down on the floor with your knees bent. Put a rolled up towel under your neck for support. If you can, also put a few ice cubes on the towel so that they target your neck muscles. Why ice instead of heat? She said that when muscles swell (think sprained ankle here), we ice them. It's the same for when your neck starts to ache. I'm going to try this today!

When I entered the chiro office, my body felt like it was spinning without direction like a person lost in the woods without a compass. As I left, I felt lighter and more grounded like I had found my direction. Now to just keep it on track.

Eating today was better too. I am trying to eliminate white sugars/sweets and eat more fiber and protein. Drinking lots of water is so important and something I never do enough of. So I have designated a 18 oz Klean Kanteen as my water bottle each day and I fill it up at least 4 times a day. Yesterday I accomplished this - check!

Stress - I need to eliminated as much stress as possible. Yes, my plate is very full and I have recently let a wonderful volunteer position go to lighten my load. It wasn't enough though and I am looking for ways this week to help reduce stress in my life. One idea is to hire a housekeeper to help me keep up with the bigger cleaning - kichen floor, bathrooms, etc. When these do not get cleaned it adds to my stress. I have gotten better at "letting things go", but sometimes I feel buried the housework and paperwork that surrounds me. I have no idea where to start on the housekeeper idea or how much it costs. I do know that I need help and while my girls are great at helping with general cleaning, I think we need more. I hope to have more accomplished on the stress reduction very soon!


Monday, March 30, 2009

This will be the week

I have been feeling very fatigued, jittery and generally unwell the past few months so it is now time to do something about it! The plan is to take it easy for the next two weeks and rest as much as possible ( wish me luck on this please - or even better, pray for me). Scheduled this week is an appointment to see my family doctor to discuss a detox, an appointment with the chiropractor and an overindulgent appointment for a neck & shoulder relief massage. I'm really only looking forward to that last one... The knot in my neck has got-to-go! So I will be laying low for the next two weeks and sleeping as much as possible. This means no more late night movies or wasteful time on the computer. Momma needs to take care of herself! To bed I shall go when the last little one starts sawing logs. This post is just my reminder to myself really, that I need to do this for my well being and I need to stick to it.

After the first week of rest, I plan a week long fasting/detox (as long as it's okay with my dr). I have no reason to believe it won't be, in fact, I think my body is craving it. I'll post my list of foodies here each day so anyone can follow along and I can keep tabs on myself.

After the two week rest and week of detox, then I will start to exercise regularly once again. Gentle yoga is okay for the detox week though and something that I will look forward to. So this is the week to get started. It's kind of like my own New Year's - just a little late!


Sunday, March 22, 2009


I had a dream once for a family that was all my own - my own flesh and blood. Relatives who knew me, loved me and never left me. Giving thanks today for the family that is all mine and to my wonderful husband who made all my dreams come true.

I'm loving this song - go listen.

As a little one runs into my lap singing "My Mama!" I'll leave this space for today. Lots going on here and very little time to write about it. I hope to get caught up soon and will share pictures of our strawberry picking outing (see new Spring banner!). Don't you just love Springtime?


Friday, February 20, 2009

Big Birthday Weekend and a Giveaway!

A sweet baby girl was born 13 years ago and made me a Mom for the first time. As we held her, (and studied her ten tiny toes) we tried to imagine our lives together as she grew into a young lady. She's exceeding all our expectations and dreams. A beautiful young lady now graces our home with a kind, giving heart, is an eager helper, has a determined mind and is a sister to be looked up to. We often tell her how she hangs the moon for the younger ones.  Happy 13th Birthday Melissa!! We love you!!!

On another note, be sure to check out the blog, Sew Liberated, by the fabulous Meg this weekend. We'll be giving away a Moby Wrap from our Full Circle Baby store to one lucky reader!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Perfectly ready

Having five children in tow with me almost constantly, I am often approached by others wondering if we will have more children. Many ask if we will try for a boy (being we have all girls). My typical, polite response is that "I don't know - maybe" to the first question. About the boy question, "I don't think so...we only make girls it seems".

I realized lately that my typical responses are just apathetic and robot responses. I haven't tried to delve into the whys or hows or ifs as I've just been too busy living and enjoying the children we have been blessed with. I haven't tried to analyze and soul search if I truly was open to having more children. I knew that I would be fine with adding another child to our family, but did I really want more was a question that I have not wanted to answer until now. Waffling on the issue is an understatement. Indecisive - yes, absolutely true.

With the talk in the media about the woman who just had octuplets (making her total 14 children), there has been speculation about her irresponsibility. Not being one to judge her, I am not going to go there but instead I brought it to my own self to ask if it is irresponsible for us to have more children. I read this lovely post today and she put into words all the thoughts I've had on the Octomom and having a large family of our own.
I forced myself to answer that question of "do I want more children?" and I found the answer to be - yes. Before now, my indecision left me feeling uneasy and hollow. Answering that question for myself and not for others who ask me in passing, now leaves me feeling happy and certain.

Will we have more children? There's One who knows for sure, but I do know that I will happily welcome and want any child that may come to us. I love little babies and they bring true joy to my life. Pure joy! Adding to our family in the form of little people couldn't be more wonderful. They are only with us for a little time to nurture into bigger people after all and then the most wonderful thing happens as our family loves and cares for each other. So instead of having babies, maybe we should think of it as having family instead. Could there be anything more wonderful than having a family of your own to love and care for?

I also found through my soul searching that I am more ready now than ever before in my life to welcome a new baby into my life. I am more confident as a mother, wiser and at ease with the care a new baby brings. I have found my way to being the mother I want to be and I truly love motherhood. It's not always easy and at times I lose my patience, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I am perfectly ready. I am ready for whatever the future holds for us and it's a great place to be.
Peace and love,


Want to know a secret?

I get asked every so often how I manage everything - from homeschooling, having five children to keeping my house clean. Let's get one thing straight first, I don't do it all. I have five little helpers and one big one. But, the one thing that I do every single morning is to clean the kitchen sink. If I don't do it, then I'm in big trouble. My day will be a disaster and nothing will run right. So to keep things real, here's the before picture of my kitchen. This was probably after a weekend of cooking (my guy likes to cook which I am so very thankful for, but I'm his designated cleaner upper). On weekday nights, I like to have the kitchen all cleaned up before I head to bed, but sometimes I let it slide too. 
What a mess!!! Almost every square inch of this counter is covered in dirty dishes. I love my dishwasher, it's pretty new and so very quiet. BUT, I need two....seriously.
Here's the after picture. I had it all cleaned up in about 10 minutes - really! When I get to work, it doesn't take long at all.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite cleaning aids. First is this fantastic scrubber - Bon Ami. This stuff has been around for ages and I can remember as a child seeing my Grandmother use it to clean her kitchen. The great thing about Bon Ami is that it is safe and doesn't contain bleach. Plus, it makes my kitchen sink and stove shine!  Did I mention it's cheap too???

This is my second favorite kitchen cleaner. Mrs. Meyers cleaners smell so good! Especially this one I got right after Christmas when they were all on sale. It's peppermint scented and every time I spray it, a cooling sensation comes over me. Ahh.....

See how shiny my sink is now?! 

So, that's my secret for making my household run smoothly - start with the kitchen sink. Once it's clean, the whole day runs smoothly.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

My house is quiet

Truly, my house is quiet and the only sound I can hear is the tippy-tapping of my fingers on the keyboard as I write this post. Even the dog is quiet outside - and that is saying something. So before it ends, and oh, will it end, I want to squeeze in one more thing...a nap. A quiet, Saturday afternoon nap. Sounds lovely doesn't it?

Before I head off to my just out of the dryer clean sheets, I want to pop in here to mention our January Sale at Full Circle Baby! There is just one more week left of a HUGE Baby Wearing Event and Get Yourself Organized SALE. That's what you get when the Owner can't decide which type of sale to have - one really long sale title. I've put all the baby carriers we stock on sale - Becos, Mobys, Maya Wraps and Zolowear. Plus, all those great organizational items like cute little wet bags and the eco-friendly diaper bags by Fleurville (these are made out of recycled water bottles - so cool!) are on sale too. So get yourself on over to Full Circle Baby while the gettin' is good and before the sale ends too!

Happy Weekend!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Some little things

little things that made my day - 

a morning phone call from the guy i love just to say hello, i'm thinking about you.

a girl who finished all her school work before most of us were dressed for the day.

a girl who swept the kitchen floor without being asked to do so.

puckered up kisses from a sweet two year old.

a friend who made me dinner so i could stay out of the kitchen.

watching girls take their time to do a good job with their history record book daily page.

expectant parents who were grateful i took time to explain cloth diapering and baby wearing to them.

seeing my girls cozy up in pjs i made for them.


I had fun reading this list of things accomplished in life on some different blogs, so today as I turn 38, I thought I'd answer them too. It's a fun way to find out something you may not know about someone if you feel like it, do it too and let me know!! The items in the list in bold are some of the exciting and not-so-exciting things I have done.

1. Started your own blog - um, that's obvious isn't it!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world - - my Grandparents used to live really close to DW!
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (it was in a Kindergarten play!)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child - no, but I was adopted as a baby.
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (I lived in Ohio as a young child...lots of snow!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (Amish cheese is the best!)
36. Taught yourself a new language (Hola! Es mi feliz cumplianos
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (I got sea sick though....)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - does in a pool count?
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - not me but I was there! My twins were in "Iron Jawed Angels".
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - Full Circle Baby.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - more than I want to remember!
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle- I'm not sure it was "speeding" though.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (this is what Manly Man calls "kill it and grill it" - but I don't do the killing)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - Miss Abbey's more times than I want to recount. She used to put every tiny thing in her mouth.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (missing my Memom, Gokey, Grandma N. and Grandpa H.)
94. Had a baby - a few time over, lol!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Ranch - The Camp (Part 2)

After a nap and a snack, we are ready for a walk around the Camp where the Camp House sits on the Ranch.  Everyone said the Ranch is a perfect place to nap and they were right!

A couple of doe have wandered close to the Camp to take a peek at us. Hello deer!

The desert shows signs of color and life even in the winter time. 

See - Abbey found some flowers!

At the Ranch Camp, our camper looks lonely all by itself. The sounds of the desert can be alarming (and a little freaky) at first and especially at night. I was convinced there was a six foot long snake laying outside our camper the first night. As I watched it lay there in the moonlight I couldn't figure out why it wasn't moving. Was it moonlight bathing? Please just move on I prayed. I clutched my pillow tighter as Manly Man made his way toward the camper and stepped on the "snake". Turns out it was a water line....

Allie looks worried while Grace makes coyote calls and they answer back. Please stop Grace!

This is why every guy and girl needs boots at the Ranch. ouch...

The sun ends the day with a beautiful sunset over the Ranch House. So pretty.....

The fire ring at camp glows and warms us while the air turns chilly. The hunters return from the afternoon hunt for dinner. The Ranch cook serves up homestyle fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and corn. 

Manly Man enjoys a Shiner as Jessica stays warm by the fire and close to Dad (just in case the coyotes come back!).

A full moon shines over the ranch camp as Family Weekend comes to a close. Everyone heads to bed to snuggle under warm blankets.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Ranch - The Tour (Part One)

Our weekend wanderings put us just miles from the US border to Mexico on The Ranch. This was only the Girls and my second trip there and we wanted the full tour this time out. So we loaded everyone in the 'Burban and Manly Man (my new name for Jeff after this weekend because at the Ranch he's definitely rough and rugged - it's rather appealing) set out on the Ranch roads. Mind you, these are not typical roads. Most are just paths through cactus and brush - yes, you can get thorns in your tires (don't ask how I know this). Some of the roads are dirt or caliche (which is like a mineral cement). When caliche is dry it is hard as cement, but when it is wet - it's not pretty let's put it that way.

I love this picture of the cactus and brush along the fence that borders the Ranch.

Almost everything on the Ranch is parched, dry and brittle - especially in the winter.
Here's Manly Man driving us, giving the full Ranch tour. He's getting the music just right for our tour.

Once "Is Anyone Going to San Antone" was playing we set off along one of the main Ranch roads. It was very overcast that day due to a cold front. The wind blew so unbelievably hard that morning and ripped our awning right off the camper - along with the jalapeno lights (a little bit of the redneck riveria).

We arrive at a blind where Jeff took the girls hunting earlier that morning. I stayed snuggled up in the warm camper with my little side-kick and heater, Abbey. They all get up at 4:30am for the morning hunts to pick their blind assignments. That's not my idea of fun, but the girls enjoyed spending time with their Dad. Melissa shot a gun for the first time - she missed her target but that's okay. They enjoyed the wildlife viewing the most (lots of deer, pigs and a few rabbits).

The girls that didn't get to go hunting that morning had fun climbing the ladder to take a peek inside the blind. The guys keep themselves quite comfortable actually.

Back on the "road" again.

This side of the Ranch has a new fence. See the bend in the fence near the pole? That's where the folks from Mexico have gone over it as they enter our country. I can't even fathom what they must go through and what life must be like to want something so bad as to walk through the cactus and brush all that way to a new life.

There is more of the Ranch to come!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekend Wandering

We'll wander around through the desert cactus and brush this weekend. Where the thorns and all things prickly become like magnets attracted to humans. There will be camper sleeping and snuggles under warm blankets. Cocoa for breakfast and other times too.  

Happy Weekend! We'll share pics when we get back.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's in a day

We've homeschooled for two years now and finally I can say we have found our groove. I didn't believe it when others told me it would take this long and to just give it time. They said the girls would need time to decompress from their public school education and experience . While I can still see hints of it in them as they do their daily school work, they way they work in a phrase or two of "in public school I would have to raise my hand" or "in public school I would have to wait for the teacher to explain this to everyone". There are also bad habits we corrected, like how to write properly and to make the letters correctly. Handwriting is something they don't spend much time on in public school...and why? Because they aren't tested on it!

Handwriting is my focus each and every morning because if someone can't read what my girls have written then what is the point? Communication skills, girls, communication skills...I sounds like a teacher...

The school days fly by and just this week Allie (4) started her own handwriting practice and she loves her school work. I waited until she showed interest in what we were doing before offering her own books to her. I am so glad I did, because it is a joy to watch her learn instead of a chore to make her do it.

Isn't Miss Abbey cute as she joins us with her water colors?

I have an idea each day of what we will accomplish, but not a fixed schedule. I am not a schedule person and I like flexibility. This doesn't work for all homeschoolers, but it works for us. I see learning happening in everything my girls do each day. From making their own breakfast (measuring, adding, learning to be domestic), to tackling math problems on paper. It took awhile before I saw growth in their knowledge, but I know now that it was always there.

A typical homeschooling day for us includes handwriting practice, math, language arts/literature and history. Once we finish a year of history we will then switch to science. Extra activities we do as we are able to - like ballet, gymnastics, soccer and soon art classes. Amid it all there is still laundry and dishes and laundry and more dishes.... It's a good thing the girls are learning to be domestic, right?.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2009! We had a quiet Christmas at home with our girls this year. Santa was very good to them! Some of their favorite gifts were: a wooden kitchen complete with baking set, felt cookies (an etsy find!) and a kitchen timer - for Abigail(2), the Barbie from Diamond Castle with a dress to match and a wooden castle - for Allie (4), and Waldorf dolls - for all three older girls. Abbey loves setting her timer, then when it goes off she comes running singing "It's ready! It's ready!". Very sweet. Allie is all about princesses and Barbies. She dresses up daily and is incorporating Abbey now in her dress up play. They play together well flitting and twirling around the house.
Santa came early for myself and Jeff bearing a new Nikon camera which I love. He also found us a new to us Suburban - which is so sweet! I love all the room we have now and it's so funny when we all ride together in the Durango. We seem so squished! It's kind of like a watching a clown car unload when the girls keep piling out of it.

The girls hand made each other sister gifts this year and the only thing we bought for those was a hair brush. Allie gave Jessica a gift set that included homemade hair detangler spray and a new brush. We made the hair detangler by mixing together in a recycled squirt bottle 1 cup of distilled water, several drops of lemon and tangerine essential oil (sunshine scented!), a tsp of aloe vera gel and a capsule of vitamin E. We decorated the bottle and called it "Beautiful Hair Detangler". It really works - Jessica's hair is super shiny and best of all, not tangled.

Other sister gifts included a Go Fish -fishing pole set to Abbey from Jessica, hair bows and a beaded braclet set to Grace from Melissa, and a felt i-pod holder for Melissa from Grace. I enjoyed the one-on-one time with each girl as they created their gifts this year. Having our sewing/craft table permanently set up makes it so easy to craft with them.
I gave Jeff (my Good Hearted Man) a new blog! He's still learning but I know there will plenty there once he gets going. This guy can cook! I can say I knew him when .......when he could only make grilled cheese sandwiches that is.
Cheers to 2009!