Friday, September 28, 2007


It may take me forever to get down my list, but I really just want you to savor a few goodies each Friday in case you want to soak up all the goodness each has to offer. If I did more than five, you might just get lost! I am being strict with myself and actually going straight down my favs list as they appear on my pop up. If I don't and skip around, I will just forget to go back and tell you about someone!

Here is my third revealing of Friday Fuzzies!

The Lazy Organizer
I love Lara and her site! She is practical with her tips and funny. And she has a mean trigger finger with a power tool! Seriously, she has done some amazing work as far as building things for their home. They have taken on a serious house project as far as I can tell, but she does not seem overwhelmed. At least to me! Go get lots of great ideas from her and be sure to read about her organizing bags that you can purchase. It is such a deal! And don't forget to tell her congratulations on her growing belly!

The Wilson Six
Jen has a cute site where she shares about her life, her family and all her cute ideas. Just the other day, I saved an old wreath that had seen its better day because of this idea. Don't forget to go check out her business, J Designs. She has cute calling cards, aprons, clipboards, marble magnets, and much more!

will blog for shoes
UnBeelievable! I think we might be buds if we lived closer. And actually knowing each other always helps! I am learning she was likely cool and fun in her pre-mom life (like me), loves being a mom (like me), might occasionally suffer from a post-mom identity crisis or two (like me), tries to do things herself (like me), but has good taste and knows when the real thing counts (like me). Who knows if I am all those things I think I am, but I sure do love reading about Bee's life, her wee Wog, and her funny stories and insights. She is sweet, go say hi!

Our Seven Qtpies
Again, another perfect example of why blogging has been good for me. My initial thought is to be honest and say, I am not really sure if we would be friends in "real life". I might think we are too different, our lives are too different. I am so glad I know her this way first, so I will not miss out on all she has to offer. With many kids, comes many hoot hollerin' stories and she has them. I love when she shares the everyday stuff, her heart, her ideas. It is all good. Maybe our "real life" paths will cross one day!

Smockity Frocks
Connie just seems to ooze sweetness to me, but she is not afraid to share her mom moments. She has a precious family with one on the way. She, like many others I have come to know, has humbled me as I watch her efforts to live with less and have more. She has good stories, good ideas, and makes the cutest darn aprons! And just now, as I was scrolling through her archives, I learned she got this close to Bob Barker on Price Is Right. Lucky! Gotta go find out more! Head over there yourself!

Happy Friday Fuzzies to all!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

When it matters most

I would love to tell you about Joe and Lora Chandler.

Except I don't really know them.

Here is what I do know....

Their son Matt and his sweet pregnant wife April and their precious other children just placed membership at our church. We were lucky enough to have them join our LifeGroup. And even better, they live in our town! (We live 30 minutes from our church.)

Know why they came? We got ourselves a new preacher man from New Mexico and he was Matt's youth minister long ago. We found our guy (or rather God sent him!) after a very long 18 months of searching. Build it and they will come, right? ;)

Last week, I received an email from April letting me know that they were leaving for New Mexico that very wee morning. 2:00 am to be exact! Matt's parents' business, their sole means of living, had been totally destroyed by fire. The building, the wood, the tools, EVERY.THING! They live next to their business and their home was not harmed.

When I spoke with April earlier this week, I found out that lightening had struck the building.


It does happen.

To make this story hurt even more, due to financial circumstances, they had been forced to discontinue the insurance on their business about a year before. I could be wrong on the timeframe, but the outcome is still the same.

No insurance. No business. No income.

Also, sadly, Joe has dealt his whole adult life with a debilitating bone condition which has resulted in numerous surgeries, with another surgery scheduled when this happened.

April was also able to share with me what amazing things they saw happen while they were there last week to help Matt's parents. The church and the town rallied around them. They loved them and took care of the many needs they had. The destruction was cleaned up, a new temporary structure was built, tools and wood were provided, money was provided. And I am sure a lot of prayers and emotional support.

I wanted to share this with you today because Joe is obviously an incredible builder. The website displays the most stunning pieces of craftsmanship you might ever find. You can also read about them and their business.

And of course, what tickles my heart the most, is this is an opportunity to support another great AMERICAN MADE business!

If you or anyone you know is looking to purchase quality, hand-made, American made furniture, please go check out .

I am sure the whole Chandler family and those that are employed by them would be so grateful!

Wouldn't it be incredible if we gave them so much business that they needed to hire more employees!!

I can't wait until I need new furniture!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Give me Jesus

Not more than a week ago, I looked up the words to a song that I was loving on the radio. I wanted to see the words.

As you read the words, please be prayful for the Farley Family. I just found their story a few days ago and in learning about them, came to have great admiration for their faith, hope, strength.

Give Me Jesus
Lyrics of Jeremy Camp

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
When I am alone,
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I come to die,
When I come to die,
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Sneaky Foods!

Below is an article I just wrote for our monthly ladies' newsletter at church. The bottom line for WFMW is....

what they don't know won't hurt them ;)


Picky Eaters!
By Stacey Willmon, OTR
Pediatric Occupational Therapist

We know of them, are one, or have birthed one! They exist in all genders, sizes, and degrees of pickiness! For most of us, we have gone through varying stages of being picky over the years or we have raised (are raising) children who decide to be picky about different foods at different times.

From a developmental aspect, picky eating can be very normal and can happen at different stages of growth. As parents, we usually deal with it at the time and move on. For some children and their parents, having very strong and particular food preferences can be an extremely tiring and disruptive experience.

When working with a child that has limited food preferences (this may come in the form of smell, taste, texture), there are several approaches that may be utilized over time. Determining any underlying influences can be a good first step; is it part of an overall sensory defensiveness issue, are there tone or muscle issues, are there motor coordination issues, etc. Many times either a speech therapist or an occupational therapist will be involved with the child whose poor eating due to “being picky” has severely limited their nutritional intake. Typically, the food issues do not reside alone and the child is also receiving treatment for other reasons.

Often, in more severe cases, we will work on the oral-motor and sensory needs that influence food choices and eating for the child. We will play mouth games using whistles, straws, special vibrating tools for the mouth, and special flavors to stimulate the mouth and ready it for new foods. We may implement a behavioral approach in conjunction with what we are working on physically. This can include something simple like a sticker/reward chart for anything from touching certain foods to tolerating a certain food on their plate without overreacting to actually trying a new food for the first time. I work with children who can barely stand to be in presence of certain foods, so we have to start there. Can you imagine how hard it might be for a child to interact with his peers if he can’t get past the odors of a food he finds obnoxious. Like a strawberry!

I play a game with my kids that is simply a way to introduce them to new food opportunities. I will choose 3-5 foods for that day and go in this order with the game; touch it, smell it, kiss it, lick it, bite it, chew it, eat it. Sometimes we make it all the way through the process with a food. Sometimes we don’t! Usually, I will set some guidelines so the child knows how much I expect of them. Also, remember, this is a game. It is not meal time. It is ok to “play” with the food and in many cases, ok to spit it out. If it ever actually makes it into their mouth!

For those of us dealing with just the regular pickiness of childhood, try to implement guidelines that work for your family. For example, I know my daughter dislikes many green vegetables, but she knows she has to eat at least one bite if it is on her plate. And even though I know she doesn’t like certain foods, they still go on her plate at dinner time.

The other thing that is important to remember with picky eaters is that typically, these kids are missing out on many of their nutritional requirements. Not to mention the fact that so many of the foods our children do eat are horribly processed, have been injected with junk, and lack the nutrients of days past. Believe me, I am just as guilty as anyone else in terms of buying those foods! I am getting better, but still guilty!

What started the theme of this month’s article was my excitement over the new book, The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine. You can read about her, the book, and much more at I know there are other great books out there, but this is the one I am highlighting. Just this week, I sent some of the downloadable recipes from the website home with a mom of one of my most picky clients! I hope it works! Here is an introduction from the website,

It's time to become a Sneaky Chef - the trick is to hide the foods kids should eat in the dishes they will eat. Imagine total peace at your very next meal, watching as your kids gobble up super healthy veggies, fruits, beans, and whole grains. With over 75 simple recipes, The Sneaky Chef is chock full of proven strategies for ingeniously disguising "superfoods" in kids' favorite meals. With the addition of a few fast and simple make-ahead purees or clever replacements (some may surprise you!) parents can pack more fiber, fruit, vegetables and whole grains in their kids' foods.

I love this website! You can get 10 starter recipes to try for free, you can read the blogs of both the author and a clinical dietician/nutritionist, ask questions, and much more! I am planning on trying some of these recipes myself!

For those of you who live by the motto, “They will eat it because I said so.”, I am glad that is working for you. For the rest of us, I hope this information is something you will find useful.

Enjoy the recipes!

peanut butter & jelly muffins
Nutrition Highlights: vegetables, whole grains, nuts Rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K, manganese, iron, potassium, folate, riboflavin, selenium, fiber, and protein.
Makes 8 large muffins (or 16 mini muffins)
1 cup Flour Blend (1/3 cup whole grain flour, 1/3 cup white flour, 1/3 cup wheat germ)
2 teaspoons baking powder
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-half teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
One-quarter cup brown sugar
One-quarter cup canola oil
Three-quarters cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #2)
Three-quarters cup smooth peanut butter
8 heaping teaspoons favorite jam*
*Note: Jelly doesn't work as well as the thicker variety of jam; jelly just disappears into the muffins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the oil, Orange Puree and peanut butter. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until flour is just moistened (don't over-mix or the muffins will be dense).
Scoop about two tablespoons of batter into the large muffin cups until half full. Place a heaping teaspoon of jam in the center of each muffin. Cover the jam with another 2 tablespoons or so of batter, filling the cups just over the top. If you're using mini muffin cups, scale back quantities to fit into the smaller sized cups.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

make-ahead recipe #2: orange puree
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped;
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks;
2-3 tablespoons water
In a medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams, and especially the carrots, are very tender. If the carrots aren't thoroughly cooked, they'll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a gigantic NO-NO for the sneaky chef).
Drain the potatoes and carrots and put them in the bowl of food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth; no pieces of carrots or potatoes should remain. Stop occasionally to push the contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the third tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree, but the less water the better.
This makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of puree. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze one-quarter cup portions in sealed baggies or small plastic containers.
Orange Puree is used in the following recipes:
* Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins
* Power Pizza

p.s. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of making the purees yourself, you might start with some organic baby foods in the recipes and see how that works before moving on to making your own purees! Just last night, I added the carrots to our mac & cheese and everyone LOVED it ;)


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Working Table

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I swear I just cleaned this table yesterday!

Ok, maybe it was a month ago!

This is my office, creative, sewing table. And it needs help!!

It has been on my to-do list for 2 weeks now. First, it was just a few papers, and then I think someone put some MiracleGrow on it :) There is work stuff, Arbonne stuff, negatives I want to convert to cd, the sewing I urgently had to start last week. And on the very bottom, is the notebook I started as my Household Organization Folder.

Ironic, huh!

The table WILL get cleaned tonight or in the morning because my chest is tightening just speaking of it!

Happy Tackling!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Walk it Girl!

Many of you remember that I lost a friend on September 2nd.

We lost. She won.

I know she now battles for us along side our Savior in a glorious place.

I keep saying I lost a friend, but truly many lost that day.

Her name is Sonya. She was petite with gorgeous curly black hair, porcelain skin, and was never without her ruby red lips! She always had an incredible Godly spirit, a hug and a smile for you, and an encouraging word to say. And I always remember her being witty, making us laugh. I knew her because we went to college together and I became a member of the same social-service club as she. And even better, she was my pledge mom the semester I came along.

I remember when she married her husband and when she brought her first sweet baby to a homecoming reunion. Like many friendships we cultivate early on, ours was not one that had us in contact as often as we would have liked. But, we were always connected. The many times we did talk on the phone, email, or visit in person were maybe more special that way. We stayed in touch over the years; phone calls, emails, lunch a few times, always a sweet Christmas card where I watched her precious family grow over the years. Those 3 girls are a picture of their mom and she had a very handsome boy as well!

My last physical memory of Sonya was the summer our babes were born. Her last, another sweet girl, and my Luke. They were a month apart. Sonya and I lived about 45 minutes away from each other. A fact that actually makes me feel ill knowing all the times we shoulda, woulda, coulda. But I have to let that guilt go, mostly because I know she would want me to. I took the kids that day and all of us had a wonderful visit. I will cherish the memory of that last time.

The next September, I had to call her. Our friend, Kevin, was not doing well. I knew she would want to know and would pray for him and his family. We lost Kevin 2 years ago this month. Sonya received her diagnosis the next month, October 2005. I did not learn of it until she sent a Christmas card; another beautiful portrait of her family. And the letter. The one that made me cry. She had been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. But true to Sonya's character, her letter was hopeful for herself and glorifying for God. She was already receiving treatments with good results and although the diagnosis was "daunting", she was faithful. And she wanted us to be faithful as well.

I told everyone I knew that would want to know, I passed along her contact information so she would have support from many that knew and loved her. And I sent her several emails.

Stupid emails!

I did not call her. I did not go see her.

The shame and guilt of that is immense for me. So much, that I have never spoken it out loud before today. I was scared to know. I was in denial that I could lose another friend. And then, life seemed to take up my time. I was in constant prayer for her, but no personal contact. It makes me feel like a failure as her friend. I know she does not want me to feel like that, but right now I do.

I think part of the reason these feelings of guilt so overtake me at times is that it was almost the same with Kevin. Although Kevin and I did keep in contact more with emails and phone calls, I did not physically see him during his battle. Until the end. Yes, we did live significantly farther away than Sonya and I, but still. I did get to share some time with Kevin, his family, and our friends in the hospital the week before he left to be with God. I am thankful I got to see him, touch him, speak to him, love him one last time here on earth.

Today, I share all that with you so that I can put a real story behind real causes. Many of you likely have causes that are dear to your heart and that you support already. Thank you for that! Below you will read about one foundation I have chosen to support. I found Design-Her Gals by what may seem like an accident, blog surfing, but I know it was a purpose-filled discovery. It is a cute site where you can create a "virtual" you and use that design for all kinds of stationary or on your Internet correspondence. I had so much fun last week creating 6 different me's! Finding that website meant finding the Gal to Gal Foundation and their Gals With A Cause virtual walk across America to fund research, treatment, and support of those diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer and their families. Not only am I participating (it cost $3 to create "you" and participate in the virtual walk), but in October, I am donating 20% of my Arbonne income to the Gal to Gal Foundation in honor of Sonya. This month, I am donating 10% to another cancer foundation in honor of Kevin.
Please read an excerpt from the website, and then if you would like to, go sign up to "walk" here.

I would love to hear from everyone who decides to do this!!

Thank you for your continued prayers for Sonya's family and for the many others that are fighting battles of all kind!

At the funeral home, many of Sonya's prayer warriors wore pink shirts with "to God be the glory" across the back. I smiled because I know that is what she believed and held steadfast to.

I agree.


Join Design-her Gals on October 1st as we make "virtual" history as we launch the first virtual walk across America to raise funds for Stage IV breast cancer patients for the Gal to Gal Foundation. Your Gal will walk from Boston to San Francisco and stop in 29 other cities along the way ~ no training necessary! For info and to spread the word, CLICK HERE.

Cancer has spread to other organs of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

The formation of the Gal to Gal Foundation was inspired by 2 special women in our lives. Robin Bloksberg, who passed away 6 years ago at the age of 45, and Janis Armstrong, who passed away on December 16th, 2005, after bravely enduring a 12-year battle with breast cancer. Diagnosed with Stage IV metastasized cancer in October of 2004, she spent the remainder of her life teaching us about the power and faith of friendship. Her openness about her process enabled us to witness firsthand the challenges and opportunities of a life altering disease. She helped craft the mission statement for the foundation and articulated the needs, desires and dreams of women facing Stage IV cancer.

The Gal to Gal Foundation believes that women diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer deserve a great amount of support in order to maintain their dignity while receiving treatment throughout the progression of their disease. Over 300,000 patients worldwide will lose their lives to Stage IV Breast Cancer this year. The Gal to Gal Foundation identifies, partners with, and provides funding to existing organizations dedicated to the emotional and financial well-being of Stage IV Breast Cancer survivors.

Our research shows that although there are many wonderful organizations supporting breast cancer research, prevention and treatment for early stages - minimal dollars are being dedicated to Stage IV needs. The reality is, until breast cancer is extinguished in all its forms, there will be those who do not respond to the treatments that are currently available.

As our Chairperson Carrie Dederich puts it, "Cancer is an equal opportunity destroyer. No matter your age, race, economic or educational status, cancer can strike at any time." 10% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time will learn that their cancer has already metastasized. "The disease permeates family structure and alters forever the complexion of our homes and communities. It taxes our physical, emotional and spiritual strength. It must be stopped.

The Gal to Gal Foundation is forging a global community of caring, intelligent women who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others. We encourage you to join us in our commitment. Our goal is to raise $1 million dollars over the next 3 years. With your help this can be done. A portion of every purchase you make on Design-her Gals goes to the Gal to Gal Foundation and you can also give a direct donation on line. Simply CLICK HERE.

The Foundation has chosen to dedicate its monies in the 2006-2007 year in two important areas:

* to assist in the establishment of a comprehensive “one stop" dedicated web site for patients with metastasized cancer. We understand how this project could make a real difference for patients seeking immediate information and resources.

* and to Making Memories, an organization dedicated to granting wishes for Stage IV patients and their families

The Gal to Gal Foundation is a Non-Profit corporation, meaning donations are tax deductible.

Checks may be written to:

The Gal to Gal Foundation
777 Wall Street
Suite 203-B
Bend, OR 97701


For more information on Stage IV, we recommend: "Advanced Breast Cancer - A Guide to Living With Metastatic Disease" by Musa Mayer. O'Reilly, 1998.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Earning her MRS degree

Anysa is outside with her daddy right now. He is teaching her how to use her new golf club. Watching them made me chuckle because I was reminded of a conversation with her several years ago.

We were driving somewhere and for some reason, he asked Anysa if she would like to play golf.

"Yea, Daddy!".

"You can get real good and earn a scholarship to SMU.".
"Ok, Daddy!".

"While you are there, you can marry up!".

"But Daddy, I don't want to marry up!".


Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Fuzzies!

This is so exciting! I loved doing this for the first time last Friday! Today, I am handing out 5 more Friday Fuzzies!

Lots of Scotts
OH.MY! What a precious family! This sweet mom is living a very busy life with 3-year old triplets, but she manages to share her real struggles along with very real inspirations. I have spent time reading through many of her past posts just to learn more about her and her family. She has made it so easy, but putting into categories the stories of how her life began with her husband, her family. Of course, I found her just out of curiosity after clicking on her link from someone else. She happens to be linked in several locations, so I would love to know who really knows her! Don't miss out on this place! She is a joy to read and her kid stories are so cute!

My Quotidian Mysteries
I always enjoy "visiting" different places, and here, you will get to travel far, far away! I don't visit often because for some reason her site gets stuck frequently when trying to open for me. But when I do, I love to read her stories of her life with a young family in a distant land!

Rocks In My Dryer
This is probably a no-brainer for many of you, but I still wanted to share for several reasons. Shannon is a good story teller, she is always doing fun stuff for the bloggy community, and how could I not tell you about a gal who lives in Oklahoma! I really wanted to say "from Oklahoma" but when I went back for my research, I discovered her origination is from Arkansas ;) Anyhoo, maybe I can meet her one day when I am home visiting my family. And be sure to visit RocksReviews on a weekly basis. I keep it linked under "Contest" on my sidebar. She hosts cool give-aways every.single.week! Go enjoy!

I first found Megan when someone linked to her hilarious story about this. And you MUST read that story!! After that story, adding her to my favs list went without saying. She seems like the cool, easy-going chick we all love to hang out with. She is funny and dedicated to supporting others. I love always seeing her pop up in the comment section of so many blogs. Go have fun learning more about her!

Jennifer is a local photographer in our area and a friend of several other blogs I read. She is so popular that she has people driving to her from out-of-state! She truly does inspiring work! If I ever decided to pursue photography professionally, she would be a fun mentor. She shares precious photos and stories of those she works with. I love going here and peeking into the lives of her families! Go get inspired!

Happy Friday Fuzzies to all!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Recap & Reboot

**This was my original Monday post which got interrupted. It would have made more sense on Monday :), but it will work for today!

Just a smattering of things to share with no cohesive thread, but maybe you can find something interesting down below!

* You would not believe everything I got done last Thursday evening! I fed the kids, started some laundry, sorted through 2 bags of Anysa's old clothes that someone had given back to me, organized the clothes for storage, found 5 old dresses that would be cute to wear with pants now, did a load of dishes by hand, dried the dishes, put the dishes away. All while chatting with my "friend". The Kirby boy. I am so nice, ya'll. So nice. This girl showed up at my door around 6:45pm. She had her half-shirt, half-shorts, her lighter, her cigarettes, and her flyers ready when I opened the door. She needed two more people to say yes to call it a night. And for me it meant a clean spot on my carpet. Maybe! She said it would only take 20 minutes, so I said yes. She got on the phone and called in the troops, which arrived in the big blue van. Scary. I do know this company and their location, so I knew they weren't going to throw me in the van and drive away. Their slick guy, closer, whatever his name was came in with his gear as I followed along stating emphatically that I was just helping them out and as much as I love Kirby, I.WOULD.NOT.BE.PURCHASING.ANY.THING.TO.NIGHT! "No problem!", he said! I tried to carry on friendly and casual conversation as he took his "20 minutes" just unloading and prepping. Of course, he kept throwing in his sleazy salesperson catch phrases (no, I don't think every salesperson is sleazy. HE just happened to be!) I stayed strong (and friendly) as he vacuumed away all the microscopic dirt that is slowly killing us and our carpet. HEY, I know that, but we can't replace a floor or a vacuum right now. Finally, the kids and hubby arrived home from their bike ride and jogged upstairs for a movie. Luke came down once to entertain him with lots of "Look at me do....". After mentioning SEVERAL times that it was getting close to bedtime for the kids, I finally had to say "stop" when he persisted that he finish what he promised by cleaning the carpet spot. At some point, he threw in the phrase, "so, it's not a priority?" which was about the last straw for me! Implying my family was not a priority for me! Anyway, he took another 20 minutes to pack up and I ushered him to the front porch for him to await his ride. In a friendly way, of course :)

* Last Friday evening, Anysa had her make-up class for dance then I headed to a party my neighbor was hosting for another neighbor. Neighbor #2 had a successful business with another company but decided to switch gears to one that fit her love/talent/personality more. Two totally different types of products. Her new one deals with home decorating. I am a firm believer in supporting your friends' businesses, whether you can buy 1 item or loads of stuff! So I went, knowing at the least, it would be fun! Earlier that week, I had emailed neighbor #2 to ask where the products were made and manufactured. I am trying to best of my ability to stand firm by my convictions to stop buying things made in China; hoping to increase my purchases being made in the USA (at the least!). It is hard. I will be the first to admit. Just try picking up 10 random items in the store and see what the % is that says "Made In China"!! Anyway, at the party, I found out that 2 types of products were made in Texas. Unfortunately, the few items I was considering for my home were........well, you know! So, I got some yummy food packets and called it an evening. I will say, that my neighbor was very sweet and confirmed that I should stand by my convictions.

* Saturday meant golf for Curtis for the first time in about 2 years. I took the kids to a fun non-party birthday party (inside joke!) at a smaller and cleaner version of Chucky Cheese called Peter Piper Pizza. I have a fond dislike for the first!!

* Sunday was our 4th weigh-in! After not losing, but not gaining from my previous 5 pound loss, I did lose another 2.5 pounds! Together, the 12 of us, lost 17.7 pounds. We had lost 9 pounds the week before; a bad week for us all!

Are you bored yet!

Come back tomorrow for some Friday Fuzzies!!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Closet Organizers!

Ya'll might have remembered when I posted this picture from a previous tackle in my guest room. Here, I use my shoe organizer to store holiday, party, and gift items.

I recommend these things to everyone! Closet shoe organizers are so versatile in terms of what you can use them for. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, you can't go wrong with these. The space they can create for you in virtually every closet or doorway is almost endless!

In the kids' rooms, I do use them for shoes. However, Luke also has some of his hats and miscellaneous items in his, while Anysa keeps some of her hair accessories in hers.

This is in my kitchen pantry. I keep storage containers, container wraps, snacks, clippies, spices, straws, extra garbage bags.

This is my hall pantry closet off the kitchen. I keep vitamins, Kleenex, plastic cups and silverware, washcloths.

This is my hall coat closet. I keep the kids' bubbles, paints, pencils, cards, some fine motor stuff, along with some camera stuff, and sunscreen and bug repellent.

Right now, I am using the cheaper plastic versions. The ones I have had for awhile. As I start to replace them, I want to get and would recommend, the nylon/double-pocket ones. They just seem to look nicer and be sturdier.

If you decide to do this, I would LOVE to hear back from you and see all the creative ways everyone uses these!

For more great ideas, head over to Rocks In My Dryer!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Letting Go!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

The past 3 Fridays, I have been helping my sweet friend (and mom of 2 sets of twins!) tackle her house. In case you don't remember, she was put on bed rest right before they had to move last October, and then ended up delivering the babies a month early! So obviously, any organization that she would have desired concerning the move and the new house were thrown out the window! Thank goodness she has such an easy going personality!

And good for her she has such an uptight friend when it comes to clean and organized!!! :) Oh, I am not that bad!

For several months, I kept the older boys on Fridays, to give her a break around the house and let her spend some alone time with the newest twins. Then, I couldn't take it anymore, and we decided to tackle (or attack!) her house.

Shame on me for not taking "before" pics because we have made some big changes around there. But honestly, we just did not think about it because the minute I walked in, we pretty much hit it hard until I left each afternoon. Our kids played great together and the babies were gems, so we got a lot done.

The first Friday, we worked on the kitchen. Organized cabinets, unloaded about 5 boxes, organized some shelves, cleared and organized her bar, and created almost a whole huge box of recycling! Bless her heart! I am tough. I think I could get a job with Peter on "Clean Sweep". But she was a trooper!

The second Friday, our goal was clearing the long hallway of the line of boxes (two deep). We literally finished so fast! She was shocked. Because we did need an actual place to put some of those things, we decided to head to the guest room where her grandmother had been staying for several months! The room had a bed, a big dresser, an armoire, a bed trunk, and piles and piles of stuff! The closet was in disarray as well. By the time we were done, we had relocated the dresser (into the office for her Arbonne storage) and the bed trunk (to the foot of her bed). We had moved the armoire and tv across from the bed, moved the bed, cleared ALL the stuff out of the room, cleaned out the closet, and hung some pictures!!

This past Friday, we did not have as much time, but managed to find the floor of her bedroom closet! Seriously! You literally could not get into the closet without stepping on things. We loaded up 4 huge boxes for garage sale, made a pile for her hubby to inspect and decided on, hung all the clothes, organized shoes and other stuff. We had originally wanted to work on her bedroom, but I bet we are doing that this Friday!

Anyhoo! Cleaning out her closet got me thinking. What have you tackled in your closet lately? As we went through her closet, she was so cool with my chuckles, my curious glances, and my "um, what about this?" (better interpretated as "What were you thinking?!" We both got a good laugh over many things.

After finding the second adult bodysuit, I told her flat out that I would be taking this home and discussing it amongst ya'll. I honestly can not remember wearing these, but she said they were popular. Have I really lost that much of my memory that I would forget wearing a shirt as an adult which had to be snapped together down there?!

The evidence!

Happy Tackling!

p.s. Yes, she knows I am talking about her! I bet this makes her laugh!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back pain PSA

I want to interrupt my regularly scheduled post for today in order to bring you this PSA on back pain.

First, my story.

The year between my graduation from OBU and my acceptance into OT school at OUHSC, I was a physical therapy aide in a hospital in Texas. That is when I first remember hurting my back and beginning my journey with sciatic and back pain. My degree of pain has varied over the years, but it has always been there. Remarkably, it did not worsen with my two pregnancies, which was something I feared. The year before I got pregnant the first time, I did go to a physical therapist who did a great job with me. Unfortunately, I did keep up with my exercises over time. I did continue to exercise in general and try to manage my back pain with ibuprofen and rest.

Over the last few years, and especially the last 6 months, the pain has worsened. But, I ignored it and put it and myself on the back burner. I never really mentioned it to anyone and basically have just lived with it. At this point, I can not remember a time I have not experienced back pain and other related symptoms. At times, it has been very bad. I am a shifter, meaning, I am always moving to manage the pain, whether it be in standing or sitting. I had basically gotten to a point where I had allowed my pain tolerance to get high enough that I continued to ignore it. The numbness, tingling, pain was still there. And lately, I had noticed an ever so slight weakness in my right leg. Again, I just ignored it. I had worked with back patients post-surgery before and just didn't want to know yet if I was a candidate. Ignorance is bliss, right?

About 3 weeks ago, I worked with a patient who was paralyzed from the waist down and had significant weakness from the waist up as a result of his waiting too long to address his back pain and other related symptoms.

I got scared. REALLY.SCARED.

I made an appointment and went last Monday to Spine Team Texas, where I met with one of the physiatrists, who evaluated and talked with me. Later that day, I went for a full spine MRI (Oh my, a whole other story!). This morning, I went in for my follow-up. Before going into full details, she asked me to go down the hall and get some x-rays so she could see some other details better. While getting my x-rays, the technician told me that my doctor specialized in women's back issues.

Second, my results.

I have "bilateral spondylolysis with grade 1 bordering on grade 2 spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1.". Just so you will know the technical stuff, you can read about Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis.

This is a picture of my problem.

If you find the white triangle near the bottom, you can see that at some point, I have fractured my spine and it has shifted, causing pressure on the cushion between my joint space. There is NO cushion between my joints at that point. You can see the football-like cushions still between my other joints. Over time, the joints have rubbed together and are now causing consistent impact on my nerve there.

There are several options and we will start with the least invasive first. I am going to start on Celebrex. I really don't want to, but will do so for at least a short time to see if it does help my inflammation and resulting pain. Nerve damage is my biggest fear, so I do want to minimize inflammation around the nerve as much as possible until surgery is my only option left. I am also going to start physical therapy next Monday for a short time. I will probably go a few times, then continue my exercises (faithfully this time!) until I meet with my doctor in 4 weeks. At that point, I can decide what has worked and if I want to do a round of steroid injections.

At some point, I believe I will have to make the decision to have surgery. I would need to have a spinal fusion at that place in my spine. Nothing is going to fix my issues, but surgery will prevent any further nerve damage which, again, is my biggest fear. The downsides are I will be out of commission of varying degrees for 6 weeks, the fusion will likely mean that my spine above the fusion will need to take on more work which means that over time I could see increased wear and tear in other places, it doesn't mean I won't have pain of some kind. I will always have some pain, but it will likely decrease and the prevention of ongoing nerve damage is the biggest factor.

The other bummer is my exercise choices need to be carefully considered. Absolutely, no running. Cripes! Guess my running career just got nipped! Water exercise, biking, and walking (under 4 miles per hour) are my best options.

What I ask for myself is, of course, prayers. I am not opposed to some sort of miracle :), but will be satisfied with good results from therapy and the potential surgery. Also, I am still considering having another little one. I need to talk more specifically with my doctor about that on my next visit; about the timing of treatments and surgery related to a pregnancy.

What I ask of you is this. If you have had back pain for any length of time, PLEASE, PLEASE don't wait to find out the cause. Go as soon as you can make an appointment with the appropriate professional. AND, please do go to the appropriate professional. If you live in my area, I would HIGHLY recommend Spine Team Texas. If you don't, please look for a center similar to it. I am in the hands of specifically-trained doctors, neurosurgeons, and specifically-trained physical therapists.

Please do not believe that your problem will be solved by a chiropractor or other like physician. Obviously, you can tell I am not a fan of chiropractic care for any reason, but specifically here. I NOT saying that they are bad people nor that they do not have good intentions, however, it is truly a quick-fix and temporary solution in most cases. I do understand you may feel differently, but I stand strongly by my educated decision. Please do not put off who can best help you by continuing that route of care.

Thanks for listening!

Please take care of yourself if you are dealing with similar problems!

You may now return to your ongoing life, currently in progress!


Friday, September 14, 2007


You know, when I started this whole thing, I just enjoyed reading about a few people's lives and sharing now and then about mine.




You would NOT believe my "favorites" list on my computer at this moment! You guys have GOT to STOP making new friends. Or at least stop telling me about them :)

There are so many cute sites, funny people, good storytellers, and inspirational offerings out there that I can't keep up. Almost everyday, I have to check in on everyone, comment here and there, learn new things, LAUGH, CRY, then add a little contribution on my end.

SO! In honor of YOU, here is what I have decided to do. Every Friday, I am going to give out Friday Fuzzies..

I am going to start working down my list of "favorites" on my computer, sharing you with everyone else that stops by here. It may be about your whole blog site or it may be about a particular post I loved. It will take some time, so be sure to check back often cuz you never know when YOU will be next! I also hope to add many of you to my sidebar. That may happen slower, so bear with me. Because I am sure my "favs" list will grow, I want to figure out how to do this without overwhelming my sidebar!

Also, I just quickly found a clip art to use for this. I like it, but it is a little large, so I need to work on it. I tried to find a picture of a fuzzy heart (how cute, huh?), but no luck with my quick search!

The first recipients of Friday Fuzzies are:

Diann's Full Life
There are so many things to say here! She is cute, her personality shines through her site, she is so stinkin' talented, she makes you feel like you could be talented too, and she is an incredible encourager! I love that she shows us how to make such neat things and simplifies the "how to" part. I was shocked when I discovered she had only been blogging since June, but how great for you! I encourage you to go back and see all her neat projects or hear her stories. A couple of my recent favorites are this and this. OH, and don't forget about her business! Remember when I won this! Love ya, Diann!

Diary of a Shoe Addict
Kristen likes to talk and likes to tell you what she thinks! However, she also really likes to know what you think! So be prepared...she will ask questions! She has a cute site (love the new header!) that will offer you quite a variety. She loves fashion, products, pop stars, oh and LSU :) Sometimes she is light and airy, but other times she really wants to have a serious conversation. You know where this girl stands on things! The other great thing is that she loves to pray for you! Isn't that neat! Go catch a glimpse of her life! I am glad I found her!

Facipiers and Stinky Toes
This is a busy lady! She has four kids and writes great stories about her life. You can also find her here and here and here. You will love her in all locations! She probably does more that I don't even know about! She tells some funny ones about those cute kids of hers and strives to help us all be a little bit more frugal!

Green Bean
I enjoy visiting here because I feel calmer just opening her site! She is a young mommy who lives in Montana with her husband and daughter (who just turned 1!). We have different lives in so many ways right now, but I love reading her stories, seeing all the neat things she makes, and getting her take on things. You should also check out her store.

I'm an Organizing Junkie!
Run, don't walk to check out Laura's site! I can't even tell you where to begin, so just read the whole thing! I think we are kindred spirits, but she is way ahead in the organizing game of life! Her site is cute and she has so many great ideas at not a lot of cost. She has great options on her sidebar if you want to get started yourself on that organizing thing! She is about to start answering the bazillon questions sent her recently (at her request), so this would be a great time to get to know her!

Happy Friday Fuzzies to all!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our special day!

Before school ended last year, I was already stressed about school beginning this Fall. Anysa would be entering Kindergarten (I assumed at our neighborhood public school) and Luke would likely continue at his current preschool. On the surface, not really any reason to stress.

I like to scratch the surface.

Our school district still utilizes 1/2-day Kindergarten due to drastic community growth without the building resources to support it. Personally, I have never seen much use in 1/2-day K because I can't imagine what can get accomplished in that amount of time. It is ok if you differ on your opinion, this just happens to be mine.

For us, the real problem was in my work schedule, distance between home and work, and trying to manage childcare for my kids while I worked. Since going back to work part-time, I had always arranged either childcare or preschool on the 2 days I worked. While I desperately hated missing the kids' activities once they were preschool, this is how it had to work to make the most of my part-time income.

Honestly, I have had it so good ever since I began working part-time after Anysa turned a year old. From the beginning, I was blessed to leave her with a dear friend who loved her almost as much as I did. And usually tried to claim her when out and about :) After P had to stop watching Anysa (and Luke once I went back to work when he turned 6 months), I was probably seriously depressed for a month. After all, how would I ever find anyone that I could trust as much with my BABIES!

God placed M in our path. While never quite the same as P, I knew I could trust her and that she did actually care for my kids, not just take care of them. She would take care of Luke and then pick up Anysa from preschool until I could pick them up.

So when the day arrived that we had to say good-bye to M and family, we were not only heart-broken, but once again in panic mode. Let me rephrase that. I was in panic mode.

With a little rearranging of my schedule and enrolling both kids in 2-day/week preschool (including 8-9 early care and 2:30-4:30 after care), we made it work. Honestly, I initially hated putting Luke in preschool. I didn't put Anysa in until she was 3 and I felt like I was already doing so many things differently than I had with Anysa. Truth be told, now I think it has been good for Luke.

Near the end of last May, I was still undecided about Anysa, but knew I would put Luke back at 2 days/week. Well, when one of the directors stopped me and asked if the kids were coming back (I was late getting Luke's paperwork in!) and followed that by mentioning that there was only ONE SPOT left in the 3-day/3-year old program. At that point, I went into ultra panic mode. In almost the same breath, she mentioned that there was also ONE SPOT left in the Kindergarten class.

In the span of about 15 minutes, I said "Hold those spots, I will call you later today.", tried to shift my brain out of overdrive (I was trying to play out every possible scenario in my head), called my husband, rationalized the cost compared to finding someone to pick-up and take care of Anysa while I was at work, made a quick decision, and confirmed their spots at the school for the next school year.


But not one regret!

Except for the fact that I have been in a tad bit of denial regarding the fact that Anysa is actually going to be in kindergarten.

Now wait a cotton-picking minute! Who let my sweet baby grow up so fast?!

(Into a hormone-raging pre-pre-pre-teen, I might add!!)

It didn't and hasn't to this day really sunk in. Probably the fact that she is continuing on in her previous environment and that she only attends 9-2:30, 3 days a week instead of full-day or 1/2-day every day. I will share more later in my story about their first day, but for now, finally, some pictures of our mommy-daughter pre-kindergarten pedicure from a couple weeks back.

She was so very excited and precious during the whole thing! I let them give her the pedicure works (minus any use of tools on her sweet feet) with the soaking, scrubbing, rubbing, and painting! Probably the cutest thing to me was when she got confused while the two lovely Vietnamese techs were chatting while working. At one point, she leaned down and said "What?" to the lady (thinking she was talking to her). The lady was very nice and then I helped explain that they were speaking in their language. (and don't think for a minute that she hasn't been practicing her "new" language around here!)

Soaking in the massage chair.

The scrub and rub.

All painted.

Pretty and polished complete with a flower on each toe.

Her manicure including flowers.

The end to a special day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For when you need to use your Mommy voice

I just found this neat site after An Iowa Mom left me a comment the other day! She states the exact dilemma I have been pondering lately. While most of the time, I do feel I can say what I want on my own site. Kinda the point, huh- what I feel on my site ;) There are days, when I don't say exactly or everything I feel. It is probably just that whole don't want to start controversy or hurt anyone's feelings guilt factor. You understand.

And besides, none of my family and only a few friends know about me and this blog thing. So, knowing that one day I might have to let them in on the secret. Even if it is just to let the grandparents have another avenue of doting how precious their grand kids are. That whole idea has left me silent at times knowing that they may actually go back AND READ EVERYTHING! Not that I have anything bad to say about my family or his family. Just wondering what they would think of how I perceive and think about things sometimes. Oh, just the thought of explaining myself wears me out!

Anyhoo, go check this out! I think it has great potential. And might actually keep me from slitting my wrists should it get really bad.

Just Kidding!

And it doesn't hurt that she is offering goodies just to spread the word.

So read below for all the details and go visit the site.

Then, go. Go spread the word!


What Is Moms Turn All About?

For most of us, we began our blogging experience with one, two or both of the following goals in mind:

1. As an outlet to vent our frustrations of motherhood, womanhood, and adulthood.

2. To chronicle the everyday life, as well as the milestones and special memories, of our children as so we never forget.

As our blogs grow in popularity, not only strangers (now our "blogger" buddies), but our family and close friends have begun reading and commenting. It is no longer possible to really vent about the things we want and need to in order to maintain some balance of sanity.

We don't want to offend a friend, insult a teacher, embarrass our children or start a family feud ... so we don't write about some of the things we are feeling. We just sit and wonder why we don't feel we have the freedom to write and say what we want on our own blog. Well, guess what? It's our turn. MOM'S TURN ... to let it all out.

I created "Moms Turn" as a place where you could post anonymously ... getting whatever it is off your chest that you need to use writing as an outlet for. Most of the time writing and getting it out, is exactly the "therapy" we need.

Do you have something on your mind that you just want to get off your chest? Go ahead. Try it! It's as easy as 1-2-3!

This is how:

Just email what you'd like posted to: Moms Turn
I will publish the post on on a first come first serve basis, with up to 5 posts per day. Your name/email address will NOT be revealed.
You will feel so much better.
As a Mom's Turn Reader ... I encourage you to comment, support, and share your knowledge when you read a post that touches you or that you can relate to.

Thanks!! I hope you enjoy Mom's Turn as well as finding it a beneficial resource for your sanity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Tackle It Tuesday Meme


While I have continued this past week to read about you, link to you, comment for you, and be blessed by you, I have not really found the upf to share with you. Not for lack of trying. I have about 6 stories all sitting around waiting to be finished. And about 10 more in my head! In the end, I just couldn't keep my thoughts straight and other things were either more important or just in the way.

So today, I have decided the best, and really only, thing to do is to tackle myself.

I will be tackling myself today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, forever.

I have a feeling you understand exactly what I mean.

Be patient with me. I hope to have new stories to share with you in the next few days.

Just because my train gets derailed, doesn't mean my kids and my life stop providing me with great material :)

Happy Tackling!

p.s. I would take a "before" picture, but pathetic doesn't photograph very well!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

and I think it's going to rain today.

nothing seems right to say today.

other than, please pray for Sonya's family.

i know she has a renewed body and a refreshed spirit with God, but her husband and 4 young children are without a wife and mom here.

it is 2 years ago this month that we lost another friend who should be here with his family.

i am sad.

i am pretty sure i am angry at this moment.

i know God understands my feelings.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Abyss

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Our playroom is one of those rooms that can either make me feel blessed or cursed.

Honestly, I avoid the room for long periods of time until I just can't take the EXTREME and DANGEROUS clutter anymore.

Or, I fear that whatever may be growing up there could possible rise from the carpet at any moment and attack my children.

Either option is equally as frightening!

The room is truly a blessing in that 80% of the toys, movies, play-related items are housed up there. Until about 6 months ago, we actually still kept a good number of toys in our living room so the kids could have things to play with in various places of the house. On one of their trips to the grandparents, we purged and hauled all of that either upstairs or into their rooms. They do have play things in each of their rooms, but I try to keep that at a minimum so I can have some semblence of clutter control.

Oh, who am I kidding!

The curse is that my children have inherited my husband's talent of not understanding the basic concept of "everything has a place". While I do dream of this room one day being a cover shot of either an Ikea or Container Store catalog, for now I must settle on my own devices of organization. I have done my best with my resources to organize in clear or open containers, to group similar types of toys together, and to teach the kids how everything has a home.

I have failed at the latter. Obviously!

Sunday was one of those days that I just couldn't take it anymore.

The destruction hits you even as you enter the room. That plaid couch just makes it worse!

The center of the playroom has not escaped the explosion! Luke seems to be surveying his crumb damage all over the carpet.

The activity/car corner-before.

NOTHING in its home!

LOOK, a clear path! Baby basket, green bucket of large legos/building pieces, red bucket of "bricks", Mr. Ed.

The red couch I prefer along with bean bags for extra kid-seating. And you can see the floor!

The activity/car corner. Electronic games, music, puzzles, Little People, books,

Luke's car center is tucked next to the house in a big plastic bucket.

Little People's big stuff, green bucket of smaller legos, pink bucket of Anysa's doll stuff, doctor kit, took kit, buckets, bean bags.

Kitchen/game corner. Table, writing stuff, kitchen stuff in 3-drawer cabinet and bottom red bucket. Red bucket of games and one of LeapPads and games.

Happy Tackling!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Sorry, sorry, sorry!

Since Friday night, we have had Internet server problems. Last night was the first time I could get on for any significant length of time. I had been so frustrated over the weekend by getting on and getting kicked off that I finally gave up!

So obviously, I am behind in all things Internet related.

I was going to work on several posts for this week (ahead of time!), but for now you will have to settle for a quick weekly update!

* Last week was my kids' last week of "summer". Tomorrow they start school (Kindergarten and 3 year old preschool) and they are excited.

* Curtis "worked" from home on T and Th since our babysitter had returned to school already. The kids thought that was pretty cool. They got to go to the store, ride bikes, meet their teachers, and get some free ice cream all on Daddy's watch.

* On Friday, the kids and I went over to my friend's house for some fun household tackling. The kids played really well together and we got a lot done. I love purging and organizing someone else's stuff- :) G!!!

* Luke is so handsome with his new haircut. I was tired of the burr look and he got it trimmed and left longer on top. Pics to come later!

* Anysa and I went out on Saturday for a special pre-Kindergarten/Mommy & Me treat. I will tell you more later!!

* We had our second weigh-in on Sunday and I am so proud of all the girls. We had 9 girls weigh-in and together we lost a total of 17 pounds!!! We had several missing with the holiday, so I can't wait to see their results next week!!! I don't really want to say, but since I know you will ask, the winner was me. 5 pounds and 3.23% lighter than the week before. Yes, I am excited, BUT ALL MY GIRLS DID AWESOME!!! And our goal is to get healthy not be skinny!!

I hope everyone has a great week!