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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Playing Salon

Playing Salon

I am not an advocate of little girls competing in major beauty pageants, and having their experience on a reality TV show. What I do stand for is girlie-girls celebrating their inner beauty. On way we do so is through quality mommy/daughter time at the Princess Beauty Salon.

You simply must make an appointment, and fast, as sessions fill up very quickly at the Princess Beauty Salon. In fact, if you have a daughter, you had better skip some of the household chores and pull out your salon chair for some serious glittering, braiding, curling, and nail-painting.

Your daughter is extremely busy and will be grown up by the time you finish all your chores. So, don’t do them all. Take your chances. Spend time with your little girl. (Spoken by an over-acheiver, who hates leaving unfinished business! You know my pet peeves: Dishes in the sink, toys on the floor, tax papers to be organized, etc.)

As a disclaimer on reality TV child pageantry: Not to say I’m completely against it, as I believe there is a time and place for everything. I’m sure there are many girls who make the most of such an experience and are better for it! I am pleased with some of the more wholesome examples of child beauty pageants. However I believe most pageants are risky for little girls, so there will be no watching of those shows for our daughters.

Maybe when my girls are older they will wish to compete in a system such as Miss America, and I would support such endeavors whole-heartedly. But right now they are little, and belong to me, and they belong with me. I intend to make the most of motherhood. I want my girls to feel they had a shining childhood full of glittery experiences with the ones that love them the most.

Now, I have to go. Preparations must be made for our next Princess Beauty Salon session.

Cheerio, Darling!

Coconut Stevia Macaroons–Easy!

Coconut Stevia Macaroons–Easy!

A low-gluten, low-sugar treat for the whole family!

You will need:  Parchment paper or cupcake liners, 3 large egg whites, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 ½ C raw unsweetened coconut flakes, ¼ C powdered stevia (Or substitute stevia in a different form) 1 tsp cinnamon, optional ½ C semi sweet chocolate or carob chips, chopped walnuts,  pine chips, or whatever strikes your fancy.

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Beat egg whites and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks
  3. Mix dry ingredients separately
  4. Combine all ingredients until just wet, and let sit 5 minutes
  5. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper or cupcake liners
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes
  7. Cool and serve!

These go great with coffee, or for the kiddles, with sippy cups of juice-water. (Juice-water: that’s another blog, tips and tricks to get children to drink more water.) I added semi sweet chocolate chips to this batch on my daughter’s request, which is messy but delicious, but may opt for ‘plain’ coconut macaroons next time. Mmmm-mmmm.

Toys In Rotation

Toys In Rotation

Let’s just say I have tripped over toys so many times to deem the actual number inconsequential. The point is, when the solution dawned on me, I was more than ready. And what a revelation: Simply rotate the toys!

Space was irrelevant, as I had room for all our toys. I was unwilling, however, to spend at least an hour each day picking up or supervising clean-up time.  So, perhaps a year ago I filled weather-safe storage bins in our carport with toys to rotate for the next season. Everything left in the house must fit in the designated area.  We have a 1’x2’x1’ chest for toys, and stuffed animals go in the doll crib. If it doesn’t fit in either spot… you guessed it, out to storage it goes.

Some items have been donated, some have been tossed, but in very conservative amounts. Keeping toys in rotation has helped me understand which ones are truly valuable to the children (or sentimental to me.) As much as I like to keep things downsized, I believe this is one area where it is important to allow the children to feel safe in their ownership. I say, “Don’t worry, we can go to the garage and get those toys at any time, as long as we trade it for something else.” The children understand, and they are fine with the temporary separation.

The rotation method works things like clothes; beauty care items (when you can’t fit the hot rollers, irons, and all the scented lotions in the bathroom cabinet); and home décor.

What a freedom! Clean-up only takes about 20 minutes now!  And it is now a much more realistic expectation for teaching little ones how to pick up after themselves. I am so pleased with this method, and will never go back… Now that I have beautiful towers of boxes in storage labeled, “Toys in Rotation.”


Duct-Taped Fingers

Duct-Taped Fingers

You know you’re working hard when all 10 fingernails are broken and several of them are duct-taped together in order to continue the seemingly endless grind. Here is my moving process: 1) sort for donations to the give-away pile, 2) label EVERYTHING, and 3) unpack everything.

We can all relate to that type of dedication to the accomplishment of a goal. Now, I am at the point of unpacking. Yes, we went through steps 1) and 2) with flying colors, keeping things organized and downsized. Now, as we settle into our new home, I am working on unpacking ALL boxes (a refreshing new tradition–in prior moves I found boxes of unpacked items from previous moves. Cry.) Unpacking everything ensures that all boxes from the last home are still applicable to the current one.

While unpacking ALL boxes, if something doesn’t fit but is necessary, then something else has to go. Or, if it is a high dollar item that is worth the cost and inconveniences of storing, then plan mathematically. If it truly doesn’t fit, is unsentimental, and does not possess the value of future need/vs./cost of storage, then make yourself a richer person through sale, donation, or trash.

I am so pleased. We are successfully moved into our new place to the point of moving comfortably without having to step over boxes. And… so far, I have filled 2 boxes of give-away items.

Yes, Baby, unpack every box 🙂

Cheers! To a new home.

Letting Go

Letting Go

Stuff to sell or give away! I herald my “giveaway” stuff several times throughout the day on facebook. I am so done with my ball-and-chain relationship with stuff. The more I hold on to stuff, the more I have to clean, organize, pick up after my children, pay for additional storage, and continue the search for bigger and better houses to hold bigger and better things. Again, so… done.

Here is one of my quarterly purges. OK, no I am not exactly on a schedule, but they do happen rather regularly. Moving is the perfect opportunity to evaluate inventory. As we move into a much smaller space, I rejoice at the chance to detach myself from objects that have held me bound.

No more ball and chain. I have bigger and better things to invest my life in than things.

So Tired You Can’t Think Straight

So Tired You Can’t Think Straight

Yes, we have all been there. Late nights of packing, so tired you can’t think straight… but these 3 rooms must be finished tonight! What happens to babies when famine strikes your time?

In moments like these, it is so easy to overlook the wide blue eyes calling out to me, holding a ball and saying, “Mama? Mama?” And then a more frantic, “Mama! Mama!

The baby wants love, never mind how busy the circumstances are. So, for a time I continue on in oblivion until my conscious mind becomes aware of her cries. Then I hear her, change my attitude and adjust my priorities to play ball with my baby. The packing can wait. If I get a little behind schedule, the world surely will not come to a screeching halt.

You know what? We are all babies, crying out to someone for time out of their busy lives. Babies want you to drop your project, coddle them, assure them that their current need, such as playing ball, is what you desire to do, above all other things in the world. Your baby may be a sibling, a spouse, a co-worker, or a random stranger.

I have several babies in my life, in fact, I am one of them! Yes, I am a baby. I need love. I need to stop and pamper myself, and I need other people, like my sis Nina, to rub my shoulders for no reason. I need my husband to write me silly love poems. I need people to invest a part of their lives in me.

How to baby your babies when you are tired? Coffee anyone? And, rest when you can. Turn off the TV show, especially if it’s after midnight (guilty swallowing moment of silence here) Also, good enough is good enough… i.e. Don’t stress about being Martha Stewart home, because no matter how hard you try you will never be Martha Stewart, unless just that happens to be your name 🙂

Baby your babies, and baby yourself. And… don’t be afraid to request babying.

Cheers 🙂

Bone Soup

Recently while my sis was teaching on nutrition, she mentioned “bone soup.” I wasn’t sure I’d heard right. In my world, I always throw away the bones before they have a chance to ‘contaminate’ my cookware. Apparently bone soup broth is incredibly good for digestive issues, as well as colds and other ailments!

Well, what a revelation. Me, the queen of waste-not-want-not, has in fact thrown away over the years many garbage cans full of nutrition. And I am excited to learn I am actually richer than I used to be, since from now on every time I buy meat I know I can use the bones, too! It tastes delicious and has a wealth of healing properties.

Now, as I pray over my little girl who is valiantly fighting an congestion in her chest, I intend for her to enjoy lots of broth.

To prepare: simmer in a large stockpot bones, garlic, salt, and other herbs of your choice all day. The following day, refill in the pot what you consumed the previous day with more water, garlic, and seasoning. The bones are “used up” when your newest batch of broth begins to taste bland.

For more nutritional information, you can follow my sister’s blog

Downsizing: Moving 101

Moving day is fast approaching! Going from Montana to Minnesota in a matter of days is a job for the strong. I will maximize my few days through careful planning. According to my research and experience, here is the map for the next few days.

  1. Sizing it up: What to keep, what to lose.
  2. Acquiring storage units: One in Minnesota to hold our excess, also a storage trailer to keep in Montana for work purposes.
  3. Packing it up: Thankfully, with the help of sisters and a dear friend.
  4. Loading the truck: With my husband, hopefully another strong male to help with furniture. Otherwise… I ain’t of Scandinavian descent for nothing.
  5. Cleaning it up: National polls instruct renters to leave the home “sweep-clean.”
  6. Driving the 17’ truck: From Montana to Minnesota! Whew…
  7. Unload and unpacking: Make sure to unpack clearly marked “high priority” items first.


Sizing it up: Downsizing

Our new living quarters will be significantly smaller than what we are used to. We will have to downsize a lot.

My first decision regards big things like furniture. For example, is it cheaper to transport and store an extra couch or replace it at a later date? Also, if I store it, will it still be in good condition when it comes out of storage? I decide to sell or give away some of my furniture.

What to lose: I will downsize the couch, some smaller furniture pieces, a few storage totes of toys, baby gear, dishes, and books. I will do this by advertising on our local “craigslist” for people to come pick up their chosen items, no later than the middle of next week.

We have some antique and vintage items. I am not very sentimental, so I will sell what I can, and save what is left to sell at a later date. Another note to consider is items that may appreciate if we keep them longer to sell for more money down the road.

Throughout the downsizing process, I use my late maternal grandfather’s technique:

  1. Divide all possessions into piles of yes, no, and maybe.
  2. Pitch the piles of no and maybe, keeping only the yes.

This may be extreme, but I will not subject myself to being imprisoned by a cluttered house. I would rather dream about what I don’t have than trip over what I do have.

Here’s to packing tape and elbow grease!


A note of encouragement: How are your 2012 resolutions going? …Saving more money? Working out? Eating healthier? If you are faltering; Don’t be discouraged. It may not be as bad as you think.

A wise fitness instructor once gave me permission to “cheat” regularly, for example once/week. This gave me incentive to work harder for the wine, pasta, chocolate, or whatever it was I wanted; and causing me to work harder the following day to make up for it. My instructor had a shining track record with this method.

All this to say, if you have fallen down regarding your 2012 resolutions, don’t give up! Consider it fuel to come back bigger, badder, and better.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)


If you are like me, you may be spitting dust right now. But guess what? It’s OK to get back on the horse! Better than wallowing in self-depracation. Focus, you can do it.

Here’s to re-resolution!

Flavor Shots

What is the absolute most common flavorshot? From my barista days, this one is easy. Vanilla! Comforting and yummy, it is reminiscent of simpler days! So that’s why we shell out an extra 35¢ at the coffee shop. But we all have vanilla in our cupboard, right? Most likely in a cute, tiny, ultra-portable, little bottle? That and a packet of stevia will save you 10.0 g sugar and 40 calories.  (Calories are fine if they are healthy calories; commonl flavorshot calories are… Not.)

So your favorite flavorshot is not vanilla? I’ll let you figure that one out… I trust your creativity! (my sister has told me about a fantastic mocha that uses a drop of essential oils!  You have options!)

You can also order a Sweet Leaf 2.0 oz dropper bottle of stevia flavorshots on Amazon, around $10.

So, take the plunge with me. Your workplace has a coffeemaker, right? Real cream will make you forget all about a latte. Or just make yourself a latte, using a $30 espresso maker. Such skills will instantly deem you the Prima Donna of the workplace. Or the… Rambo (?) depending on your gender.