Everything I love, squished together for your reading pleasure!

Welcome 2015…time for resolutions to fail.

Seriously though, every year, without fail, I fail. Do I set my sights too high? Are my goals unreachable? Instead of being happy with how things are in my life, I try to change myself so much in one big, unattainable leap that I ultimately fail. That leads to even lower self esteem and, yes, depression. I end up hating myself for setting such a tough resolution.

My husband, every year, says that he sets a resolution to not set a resolution. Maybe he’s right. Do we focus too much on the big picture too much and that’s why we fail? The answer…yes. The problem is, we set that big, huge, insane goal and expect to get immediate results. When that doesn’t happen, we get upset and quit. Instead of making one major goal, maybe we should set smaller goals with the bigger one being the end result.

Write it down, put it somewhere you can see it everyday. The bathroom mirror, refrigerator, the front door, your headboard of your bed are all great places to display your resolution. After you’ve established your big goal, you should then set smaller goals like a path to get there. With each smaller goal achieved, celebrate. You deserve it after all! Before you know it, you’ll be looking at New Year’s Eve as a reason to celebrate your resolution accomplished!

So that being said, my major goal this year is to be healthier in my choices for myself. In turn, I hope to lose some pounds and look healthier. I have set smaller goals to get me there, including drink more water during the day, increase my activity, and choose healthier food options. I also have another resolution that I set that is a little easier to obtain. I have a camera in my hand all the time and I’ve decided to take at least one picture each day for the next year. I will hopefully have 365 pictures to add to a photo journal at the end of the year. This one doesn’t need a set of smaller goals to accomplish it. I just need a camera of some sort…that is no problem.

I will leave you with a few photos of my year so far…have a happy new year everyone and good luck reaching your resolutions! I’d like to know some of your resolutions. Drop them in the comments! I’m excited to go on this journey in the new year with you all! Good luck with your resolutions!




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Guilty Pleasures…

Or are they? I don’t feel so guilty sitting here drinking my Jones Soda (the cream kind ;-D) while my 4 month old takes his very brief nap. The tv is turned off and I’m sitting here in utter silence knowing that any minute my little Firefly will bust through the door and demand she watch “her shows” in a loud, unrelenting voice which in turn sets off a chain reaction of chaos that makes the Big Bang Theory seem like a bubble in the ocean! Thus will end my beautiful “me” time. Nope. I am soooo NOT feeling guilty!

What is your guilty pleasure? Do you have a favorite candy bar that you eat on the way home from the solo trip to the grocery store? Special ice cream hidden at the back of the freezer? Let me know! I’m excited to hear that I’m not the only one!

Uh oh…baby’s crying. Guilty pleasure time over.



Ms. Bean and the ISU Bacon Expo.

Yes…bacon expo! Is there anything better? Well, I could think of a few things…but not Ms. Bean. Oh no, she loves anything and everything about bacon…including the cute, little, hairy things it comes from.

Aren’t they so cute? Not too much longer and they’ll taste cute too. Bam…yes, I went there! Sorry vegetarians and vegans. Feel free to leave a comment or two…please.

Mama and Ms. Bean enjoying some bacon! This stuff just happened to be smoked with corn cobs. You could really taste it. So good!

Ms. Bean wasn’t thrilled with the cut up carcass they had on display. On the plus side, she did learn that the shoulder is really called the butt…the boston butt. Lol

Did I mention we’re in Iowa? Yep, Iowa State’s mascot is Cy. Ms. Bean got to meet him. Exciting stuff!

Little Mr. R was enjoying all of the ogles and googles from the cute girls. Also, he was unhappy that daddy would not share his bacon with him.

Yep, a fake pig. The only kind I.J. would go near. She didn’t even eat a whole piece of bacon…alien…just sayin’.

My little I.J. Isn’t she cute!?

Mr. R and his daddy.
Bacon cupcakes!!!

Say what!?
These were beautiful! Inside and out!

We had a lot of fun and might do it again next year. Maybe.

Oh yeah, where were the other two? In two completely different states having their own fun. H. was with his French class in Minneapolis, and Ms. S. was in Winter Quarters on her first temple trip.

Stay tuned for my awesome pumpkin pie! Recipe? I’m still trying to decide if I am going to give you my delicious recipe. I guess you’ll find out.


Blogging, Bouncing Baby, and Banana Bread!

So, I decided that the break is over and I should be blogging more. So much has happened in the last year, it seems like it’s been longer. Ms. S. has grown up so much and is now in middle school. Home schooling was a success but she decided she wanted to go back to school. She’s doing remarkably well.


There was a move too. Not just a move across town, but a move to another state. Iowa to be exact. Yep, the hubby got a job up here and within two months we had rented out our home and moved up to beautiful Ames, Iowa. It didn’t come without drama though. We got up here, 20 some foot uhaul truck packed with our belongings, all of our children and us,to an apartment that had been given away. So much frustration and so many tears! Luckily, we had a wonderful family that let us stay with them for a few days and a bishop that let us put our things in his garage so that we could find a different apartment. Because Ames is a college town we could find only one place available, with only one apartment open. It happened to be a two bedroom unit. So, here we are, cozy and close, all seven of us.


Oh yes, that’s right, I said seven. In the last year, we welcomed a new member to our family. Little Mr. R. was born. That was dramatic as well. He was due on July 11, 2014, about a week after we were supposed to be moved up to Iowa. Well, Little Mr. R. decided that he would surprise mom and come a little early. He was born June 30, 2014 at just after 2:00 in the afternoon. Daddy was in Iowa and made it finally two hours after he was born. He was 6 lbs 11 oz and the smallest of our five children. We love him so much and are so happy he is with us.


So, to welcome in November, I made some chocolate banana bread last night. I decided that I didn’t want just a plain banana bread but thought adding some cocoa and chocolate chips would be better. I took my banana bread recipe and made a chocolate chocolate chip banana bread. Here’s the recipe for those that would like to try it. This recipe makes 2 loaves.

I’m calling it:

Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup coconut oil or canola oil
5-6 mashed bananas
1-2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa (you can add more or less depending on your tastes. I used 1 cup.)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate)

Add the sugar eggs and oil into your mixer bowl and beat until combined. Add your bananas and vanilla and mix on low-medium speed to incorporate. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix together. Add this mixture on low speed to the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
Grease your bread pans. Mine were 8×4. Evenly divide batter between both pans and bake at 350 for about an hour. Let it sit in pan for about 10 minutes before taking out to put on cooling rack. You can serve it hot or cooled. It’s delicious with a glass of ice cold milk. And yes, I served this to my kids for breakfast.



Next challenge is to make a gluten free version. I’m excited to do this, because I’ve never worked with gluten free flours. This will be an interesting challenge! If you have any suggestions for me, please leave it in a comment on this blog or go to my Facebook page and tell me. I’m so excited to be back blogging! Not sure the kiddos will like it so much, but too bad! ūüôā

Have a great day everyone! Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and the changing leaves!

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Bleeding Kansas…a Homeschooling History Lesson!

“How come she gets to go on field trips? We NEVER get to go on field trips!” -Ms. Bean on¬†the morning of Ms. S’s field trip to Fort Scott, Kansas. I believe there’s a little bit of jealousy from Ms. Bean towards her sister regarding homeschooling. I can see it every time Ms. S goes with me to pick her up from school. What do you do though? I asked her during the summer, if she wanted to be homeschooled this year, and the answer was always a resounding, “NO”. Now I ask her and she hesitates before she says no. She’s my advanced child. Always straight “A”‘s in everything. Does anyone have any suggestions? I honestly think that she does great in school and will really miss the social part of it. She is my social butterfly and loves the attention and has so many friends. Do I just reassure her that she is doing great where she is and that it’s Ms. S that needs the one on one that homeschooling offers or do I give her a chance to see what really goes on while she is at school? I don’t know if she thinks that Ms. S is just having all fun all the time? If anyone has any suggestions…I am open to them!

Fort Scott, Kansas Field Trip!

Ms. S thoroughly enjoyed herself on the trip to the Fort! She loves history and this was right up her alley! Besides that, she eats up the hands on learning she’s been getting.

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Ms. S has her haversack and her clipboard and is ready¬†to start checking out the Fort. So much history surrounds us in this small Midwest town that we couldn’t resist taking advantage with this rookie homeschooler!

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This was the hospital. Check out those crutches! H would not have liked those things! He had it good on the modern aluminum ones they give you today!

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Talk about needing pain meds! Yikes! Check out these surgeon’s instruments…hopefully they knocked you out before they used them on you! This was one of Ms. S’s favorite exhibits.

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I.J. running through the Dragoon Barracks. She still has her shoes on in this picture. That was rare…she took her shoes off in every room we went into. It was a struggle for sure!

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See! Here she is taking them off again! I think this was in the “Bleeding Kansas” exhibit.

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Reading the walls! She never complained and never lost her smile the entire time. She even sat through a 30 minute movie about the history of the fort.

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The stables. One of her favorites too. She loves horses so she ate this up! I might have to look into a field trip to study horses. Hmmm…I see a “Best Mom Ever Award” in the future!

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This was upstairs on the third floor of one of the officer’s homes. This dress is just spread out on the bed. It was really creepy! It looks like a body with no head. We didn’t stay there long!

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These two buildings standing stand at the back of the fort and were the Officer’s housing. They had some pretty awesome exhibits inside. The building on the right showed how they were constructed.

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This was my favorite part of the tour! We got to lock her and I.J. in the jail! It was awesome! We had to let them out though. Oh well. On with the tour!

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We come to the end of the tour and the Junior Ranger Program. Here is Ms. S taking the oath to honor her new Junior Ranger title.

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And here she is! Proudly displaying her new badge and souvenir! Congrats Girl!

We recommend, if you are anywhere close or in the area and haven’t seen Fort Scott in Kansas, you need to go see the awesome history of this place!

Look up Ms. S’s uncle, Ranger Geertsen and say Hello!

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It’s Easy as Scratch, Baby!


So,¬†yesterday was Fast Sunday. I’m horrible about fasting and haven’t done it for so very long, so you can imagine how hard it was to do it today.¬†Not to mention,¬†do you have any idea how hard it is to finish your fast while preparing a nice, from scratch marinara sauce? It’s oober hard!! I almost cheated so many times!

So, Saturday, we were given three boxes of heirloom tomatoes from an Amish family around here. There are a lot of tomatoes, I kid you not! Our plan is to can salsa and spaghetti sauce with them, but not until early this next week. That’ll probably be another post, so keep your eyes peeled. Ha! Get it? Peeled? You have to peel a tomato before you can it! Okay, alright, so it wasn’t that funny! Anywho…

On a whim, I decided that I’d experiment with a recipe I’ve had floating around in my head. I couldn’t even taste test this thing while it was cooking because of my fast! Talk about dedication!

This sauce was so good, you’d think that it came right out of a jar! If you’re interested in the recipe, I’m sharing it below! And then tune in for a peanut butter cookie recipe that Ms. S and Ms. Bean made up for dessert!


Start with your tomatoes…peeled and diced.


I combined 3 different peppers to my recipe, for flavor mostly, but they are pretty too!

chopped veggies

You’ll need to chop all of the veggies, (onion, peppers, and garlic) and saut√© in your olive oil. Add your¬†Italian seasoning,¬†garlic salt, salt and pepper.¬†It smells soooo good right now!


Add your tomatoes, red wine vinegar and sugar¬†into the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. (It’s such a pretty orange instead of red.) Take half of the sauce and puree it in a blender. Simmer for 30 or more minutes. It’ll be ready to serve after you’ve determined the perfect thickness for your sauce. I like mine pretty thick, but hey, to each their own! ūüôā

See how easy that was?


Amish Heirloom Tomato Marinara Sauce

2 T.       olive oil

6-7 c.    tomatoes, peeled and diced with most of the seeds removed, or 3-4 cans diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c. bell pepper, chopped (any color. I used half each of red, yellow and orange.)

3/4 c.    onion (I used half of a large Vidalia onion)

2            cloves garlic

2 tsp.    Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1-2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes

2 T. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Saute bell peppers, garlic and onion in 2 TBSP of olive oil in a medium to large pot. Once the veggies are tender, add your seasonings and stir a few times.

2. Dump your diced tomatoes into the pot with the veggies and simmer for about 30 minutes.¬†(At this point, your mouth will start watering with all of the wonderful aroma, so keep your chin away from the pot or you’ll have to eat all of this sauce yourself. Which might not be too bad, actually! Hehe!)

3. Take out half of the sauce and puree it in a blender. Return it to the pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes or longer, until most of the water has evaporated. (This is when you get to determine how thick you like your sauce.)

4. Serve it over pasta.

Let them eat COOKIES!!

I found this recipe for peanut butter cookies in an old cookbook that was hand written. A lot had to be made up because it wasn’t specific on oven temp and how long. My girls wanted to make something sweet for dessert and we had all the ingredients. I told them that they could do this, since they have done it by themselves before. I would, of course, be there for putting in and taking out of the oven. They agreed and here are the results…the¬†very delicious results! Oh yeah, and the recipe too!

These cookies are so moist and peanut buttery it makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

ginny cookies

Ms. Bean rolling some cookie dough into balls.

girls cookies

Ms. S and Ms. Bean using the fork to flatten and decorate the cookies before baking.


Yes…I licked the beaters. Don’t be judgin’! You know you do it too!

milk and cookies

Pour yourself a nice tall glass of milk and enjoy the fruit of your children’s labor! Ha! It tastes sooo sweet!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1. Combine first four ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until creamy.

2. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

3. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.

4. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in sugar to coat.

5. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart and take a fork and press down, flattening cookie, then turn fork and press again creating a decorative pattern on the top. (Or, you could just use your fingers to flatten it but it’s a lot prettier this way.)

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

7. Remove from oven and baking sheet and place cookies on a cooling rack.

8. Enjoy with a nice ice cold glass of milk.

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I Crave it Everyday…


Now that the kids are all in school, and even though I’m homeschooling two of my four, I find myself thinking about one particular thing more often then not. My husband is annoyed that I can’t stop thinking about it and the kids freak out at even¬†a mention of the thought.

What is it that I’m thinking of day in and day out, you ask?

I WANT ANOTHER BABY!! It keeps bugging me. I somehow, and for some unknown reason, think that four children aren’t enough. I miss having a baby to cuddle and take care of. I miss nursing. I nursed I.J. until a few months after she turned two. Every time I see a picture of a woman in a delivery room or holding a newborn, it brings me to tears. The thought of never having another sweet little angel to cradle in my arms and raise, kills me. I get sad and depressed every time I think about it.

Why does it depress me so? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because all of my friends didn’t start as early as I did and they are now just starting their families. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I’m not doing what I have been put on this earth for. Maybe…just maybe, it’s because there is another sweet soul in Heaven waiting for their turn to come down and join our family. I’m still in my early thirties. I have so much time left. My biological clock isn’t done ticking yet.

Someone either shake me and wake me up…maybe slap me around a bit and tell me how crazy I am, or do that to my husband and help him to understand how much I want this…need this.

I mean, seriously, how can you not want this!?

Inara Jayne and daddy 13 days old golden

I’m not asking for it right now. Maybe in the near future…after hubby gets a job and we’re settled. I just want the hope. Maybe I just need a friend close enough to give me a baby fix every now and then. Maybe I’d get over it? I doubt it.

Anyone have any comments on this subject? I’d like to hear from you.


Hoping for the Best Today

There’s a saying that my poppy used to have. “There is no house too big for two families.”

Though the gesture is nice and it helps so much to be living with the In-law’s while we’re fixing up our home for selling, it is quite a tight space when two families live under the same roof. There is an invasion of space, privacy and routine. And, for a couple of weeks, they are able to maintain a smile and they are pleased that they have the company of their grandchildren, the loving feelings start to fade into frustration. Visible frustration at that. And no matter how much they say that they are happy to have us here, it just doesn’t work. Home lives are different. I raise my children differently then she did and expects. I understand her frustrations.

It makes me even happier to know that Ian is in an interview right now up in Kansas City. Hopefully after almost five months of looking, and being out of work, he will come home with some great news! Then again, he’s been all over the country and no luck. We’re holding out for good news though this time. With school starting soon, we need to get back into a routine. We are so grateful to my in-laws for helping us out in out times of need, don’t get me wrong, but four months is a long time to be living under someone else’s roof.


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Welcome to my Chaos!

Four kids and a hound dog…that’s my wonderfully, amazing chaos! I am going to take you on¬†a ride of happy dysfunction. Let me introduce my group of wackos:

First, we have my one and only son, H. He is the best son in the world…I’m not biased in ANY way of course! But seriously, he really is great! He’s 13 and full of teenage angst and attitude. Ok, not full, maybe just half full. Mostly he sits around playing video games all summer, spending most of his time at friends houses because he has three younger sisters that annoy him. When school starts, he will be in 8th grade. I’m crying inside right now, because that means just one year until early morning seminary starts. Wait, you thought I was going to say, because there’s only a year until he starts high school? Ha! Yeah, I guess that too.


Next, we have my one and only red head, Ms. S. She’s my spit-fire, fashionista. At almost 11, she’s got more teenager in her than my teenager. It kind of freaks me out a little. She was in public school up until this year when she came to me and begged me to homeschool her. She is afraid that 5th grade is going to be torturous and she thinks mom will make it easy on her. Hahaha! Ooops, did I laugh out loud?


My third and nearly final, Ms. Bean, is my crazy, don’t-care-what-others-think, 8 year old. She’s as tall as Ms. S and sometimes I think they are the same age. It’s hard to look at her and treat her like the younger one. She acts so much older than what she is. And even though she doesn’t care about what people around her think, she’s sooooooo indecisive! Do not ask her to make a choice if you’re running short on time. It’s like she hits a figurative brick wall! Seriously, beads of sweat and EVERYTHING! I love that about her though…frustrating as it may be. It’s what makes her, her.

ginny5 mcp

Lastly…yes…lastly, I.J. She’s my 2 year old miracle. No, really, she came when it wasn’t supposed to be possible. The hubby and I had already decided and gone through with certain procedures to make it impossible for us to have anymore babies. She was determined from the get-go. I knew I was in trouble from the moment we found out that she was on her way. She has not disappointed! I thought Ms. S was my spit-fire…well, she has met her match!


Oh yeah, and can’t forget about my hound dog, Maggie. She keeps us laughing. All we have to do is look at her and a frown turns into a smile. She’s our fat, lazy Bassett Hound. She used be the neighborhood cat killer, but since she’s turned 6, she’s become more like our doormat. She has finally learned that when she’s outside without a leash, she doesn’t have to run after the nearest cat or go hunt down the disgusting animal who left a scent trail on our front lawn over night. She keeps us bouncing and on our toes and helps give our kiddos some sense of responsibility. We love her. She’s just awesome!

PB EZ Vignette

I guess I should talk about my husband and myself too.

me and ian

We’ve been married for 14 years. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, other times, I can believe it’s been THAT long! LOL!¬† We’ve had a crazy, wonderful life thus far! So many ups and downs but with four children you’re going to have that. Ian is my tomato soup to my grilled cheese sandwich! He is my world and he is amazing! I look forward to another 14 years…ahem…I mean an eternity. ūüôā

I hope you enjoy reading about our Chaotic family life! Stop by, leave a comment, introduce yourself. I’d love to read your blog too, so feel free to send me a link!


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