Friday, July 30, 2010

Pray for Daisy

Pin It Now! This little girl has gripped my heart. She's battling cancer ~ a Wilm's tumor. Please join me and my family in prayer for Daisy, her mom, dad, and brother.

I do not know Daisy personally, but Kate, my TOS Products Review Manager, sent this information to me. And I just can't stop thinking about her.

I watched this video and had a hard time keeping myself together -- listening to Daisy's dad speak about their heart wrenching trial and seeing pictures of a lively, beautiful girl turn to a weak, struggling life was just too much. One image of Daisy in the hospital, before she lost her thick, wavy hair, sort of took my breath away for a split second. It looked a lot like Shiloh. So, for a moment I pictured my own daughter, who probably isn't much younger than Daisy, lying there on that bed. I just can't imagine.

If you do watch that video, you will hear her dad declare that after 7 months Daisy is cancer free, but that is not the case. Her cancer is back, and the battle rages once again. Please consider praying.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WFMW: Favorite Fairy Activity

Pin It Now! For my daughter's 5th birthday, my husband and I gave her a Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden. We found ours at Borders, but you can also view this and other products at

We LoOoOve this toy/activity! It's the gift that really keeps on giving . . . and growing!! So, for all the sweet, little girls in your life, I highly recommend it. Suggested age: 7-97 -- but my 5 year old did fine with a little help that I totally didn't mind giving!!

What you will find in the box: Fairy Garden dish, Flower fairy, Resin fairy house and 2 toadstools, Sparkly gems, Pixie dust, 2 tulle butterflies, Fabric flower bouquet, Glass opti-stones, Purple gravel, Wheat grass seed and bean mix, Potting soil mix, Paint and paintbrush, Instructions and ideas. Everything you need!

We started off by painting everything. That is all we did the first day. It gave my daughter something to look forward to the next day. :)

I helped her paint the dish, but she added special touches including her name.

Once everything was dry, we added potting soil and arranged decor. Don't forget to sprinkle magic pixie dust!! Lastly, we planted about 1/2 of the seeds. I filled a spray bottle with water, and every morning my daughter watered her garden.

She was so excited to see her first sprouts, and now after a little patience, her garden is coming along rather well!!

Now, we only have one thing left to do -- write a story!! Included in this garden set is a sheet of paper with a story prompt: Once upon a time there lived a beautiful fairy named . . . (Shiloh named her Rosa.)

My sweet girl has been dreaming up all kinds of stories, and now I need to help her write one down. This activity has afforded us much wonderful mother/daughter time!

The cost of the Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden is $24.99, but we had a 40% off coupon! This truly is a GREAT gift!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Corn Salad

Pin It Now! Don't you just love beautiful, colorful food? I do!! This Corn Salad is easy to fix and makes a great, cold, summer dish.

Corn Salad

  • 5 ears of corn, large ears, husked (I cheated and just used about 2 cans of corn.)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper chopped (I used orange for added color.)
  • 2 TBSP basil, fresh, chopped (Yea, I got to use mine from the garden!)
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP cold pressed olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I might have added a smidge more.)

*Grill the corn, turning to cook on all sides, until some of the kernels are slightly charred, 8 minutes total. (I bet this tastes so good, but like I said, I used the canned kind.) If you do grill, then let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.

Remove the kernels from the cobs with a sharp knife. Combine corn, tomatoes, and bell pepper in a medium bowl; stir in basil, vinegar, oil, and salt.

Let marinate in fridge for at least an hour.

This post is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Tuesdays at the Table

Friday, July 23, 2010

It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later

Pin It Now! My sister let me borrow a couple of black flashlights . . . because the Arizona inevitable happened. Yes, I found a scorpion in my bathroom - ugh, I just got chill bumps thinking about it. Those things look like demons in the flesh. I wasn't happy.

About 5 minutes before my pinchy discovery, I was cleaning up in the kitchen and felt a light, tickly feeling on my shoulder. I thought it was just a strand of my hair falling out, as that's usually the case. Oh no. When I went to brush off the assumed hair, to my horror, I discovered it was a spindly-legged spider. Eeeek. (And I really did say "shoot" no matter what my kids and hubby think - so it was just second-hand cussing, not real cussing.)

Seriously, AHHHHHH! A spider and a scorpion in one day. Not nice!!!

I prayed before we moved to the middle of the desert that God would pretty please provide us a scorpion-free home. (I know - praying for no scorpions in the desert is like praying for no snow in Minnesota.) I had already lived through a nightmare Brown Recluse experience while living in my first apartment in Memphis, so I knew my marriage would not survive another venomous creature infestation!!! I DO NOT like sharing my living space with critters, especially the evil, poisonous, attack-you-in-your-sleep kind. I become quite irritably irrational and just plain mad.

Well, God truly has been gracious, b/c the area in which we presently live used to be farmland. So what does that mean in regard to scorpions? I guess all of the chemicals in the soil got rid of them. I guess our neighborhood and surrounding areas are as scorpion-free as a desert can be. Like I said, that was the very first one, and I am hoping with all my heart that maybe, just maybe the one in my bathroom somehow just hitched a ride over here from my dad's place, which does have scorpions from time to time. I had the privilege of seeing one over there stuck to a glue board. It had been there for 2 weeks and was still ALIVE. ALIVE! Ick!

A couple of days after my scorpion find, our air conditioning went out. (Not the luckiest of weeks!) I am not changing the subject - you see, we served dinner to our repair guy, (we know him from church) and the subject of scorpions came up. He proceeded to inform me that he's been stung many times, and his wife had recently been stung in her SLEEP. Oh my. That was a newsflash I didn't need to hear!! I'm the girl who pulls back the sheets and checks under pillows before getting all tucked in at night. The thought of one of those in MY BED flat out gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I am thinking about getting brave and actually using those flashlights tonight. I am afraid of what I might see, but I am curious, too. Hmmm, I keep going back to the phrase, "What you don't know can't hurt you." Even though I don't believe that pot of crock, I am not so certain that I, a natural born worry wart, need to know what lurks in my corners in the dark.

I will let you know what I find and if I need to put up a For Sale sign in my yard. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beautiful, Golden Raspberries

Pin It Now! I was "berry" tempted a couple of weeks ago while I was perusing the produce department at Fry's. I did a double take when I saw these golden beauties for the very first time in my entire life. Never seen or heard of a golden raspberry before, have you?

I bought them and ate them . . . and they were good. Tasted just like a red raspberry - maybe a slightly milder flavor, though?

Just to make sure these weren't some unnatural, modified, freaks-of-nature, I did a search on "golden raspberries." Turns out, they are completely natural according to wikipedia. The ones I bought are probably red raspberry derivatives and get their color from recessive genes for some kind of pigment I can't pronounce.

So, eat up! Raspberries contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and lots of other good-for-you stuff that you don't need to know in order to enjoy and benefit from one of God's delectable gifts of nature. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Like it RAW

Pin It Now! I'll put up with the Arizona summers any day knowing I can buy fresh, RAW milk for my kids. It baffles me that it is actually illegal in some states to sell unpasteurized milk to consumers. (Just to let you know I am not a complete nutrition freak/wacko, I am sipping on an RC Cola as I type. :D) I am all for treats every now and then, but I have an unquenchable passion for whole foods.

I was planning on writing my own post about why I like it raw, but Cara from Health, Home, and Happiness recently wrote a wonderful, well-thought-out post on this very subject. She explains why raw milk is better, what's wrong with industrialized milk, and how to find raw milk near you. I couldn't have said any of it better, and she has a bunch of links worth checking out as well.

This is the local farm where I buy raw milk. I have to admit, the very first time I bought raw milk, I was a little nervous. When you live your whole life being told pasteurized is the only safe way to drink milk, you have a few apprehensions. The owner assured me that their raw milk is safe, and that they are checked monthly to make sure they are meeting safety standards etc. It was so weird, when I opened the top, to see a thick layer of cream. Mmmm, I have quickly become a cream lover, and my kids love it when they are the first ones to pour milk from a new carton on their cereal or oatmeal.

Yep, looks like a farm and smells like one, too!! You can actually watch the cows eating grass, and aren't the babies so cute?

My sweet daughter agreeably posed for a raw milk picture. :) We have been drinking it for a couple of years now, and have happily lived to tell about it.
By the way, this past Friday was Cow Appreciation Day, so this post is dedicated to the faithful farmers and cows who provide my family with nourishing, whole, RAW milk!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Yummy, Easy Bird's Nest Meal

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This is our family's new, favorite lunch!!! I love simple and healthy recipes, so when I originally saw this "bird's nest" here, I knew I HAD to try it! (There are more photos on the original post, too.)
You only need 3 ingredients (besides salt and pepper)!!

  • Potatoes (2 large shredded potatoes were enough for my 3 kids and me)
  • eggs (one for each nest)
  • Butter (optional--I used real butter)

** Shred your potatoes. Heat skillet to medium and melt a pat of butter. I use one of those large, plug-in skillets, and I heat it up between 350-400 degrees. Plop shredded potato onto skillet and arrange it into the shape of a nest, complete with a hole in the middle. Cook 4-5 minutes. Now crack an egg over the hole, sprinkle with salt and pepper if you wish, and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Flip entire nest over and cook until done. I like my yolk firmly cooked!! My kids like to add a little ketchup, and my hubby likes to add hot sauce.

This meal would work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It totally works for me!

For more great tips, visit We are THAT Family.

Also linked to Try A New Recipe Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fairy Queen Quiches

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I made these along with Frosty Fairy Mints for a sweet, little fairy party for 2. I found the recipe in Barbara Beery's Fairies cookbook.

Fairy Queen Quiches (Makes 10-12)

  • 1 package refrigerated pie crusts (or I am sure you could make your own)

  • 1/2 cup grated swiss cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

  • 2 TBS cream

  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Generously spray mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I just used olive oil) Cut out piecrusts with a 2-3 in. circle or flower-shaped cookie cutter. Place each cutout inside muffin cup.

Place approximately 1 tsp. grated Swiss cheese into bottom of each pastry shell.

In a med. sized bowl, combine eggs, salt, pepper, and cream. Pour into pastry shells, filling each almost to the top.

Sprinkle with 1 tsp. grated Swiss cheese, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed. Remove from oven and cool 5 min. before removing each quiche from pan. Garnish with a cherry tomato slice.

You can embellish with green bell peppers cut into stem and leaf shapes.

This post is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday

Tempt my Tummy Tuesday

Tuesdays at the Table

Tip Me Tuesday

Monday, July 05, 2010

Worth the Read

Pin It Now! Color Me Toxic Why it's not a bad idea to limit artificial colors in your diet.

Interview with Ken from Toy Story Too funny! And I love Vicky's message following.

Georgia Man Loses Face Wow, amazing story of a man who was diagnosed with cancer.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

SAHM Wise: Pacifiers

Pin It Now! I don't think I made it out of the hospital without plopping the "plug!" I just think these things are genius.

I already felt like a human pacifier nursing every couple of hours, so I was all for anything to help soothe my babies in between those feeding times!

I didn't notice them ever interfering with nursing or anything like that, but when it came time to take them away, well, sometimes that was no fun at all!!

When my kids were babies, I pretty much let them have "pappies" whenever. As toddlers, I slowly weaned them off of using them during wake time, and only let them have pacifiers for nap time and nighttime.

It's funny because with each kid, I let "pappy" stick around a little longer. I believe I took the passy away by the time my first born was 2 1/2. I made kid #2 give it up on his 3rd birthday. And, I think I'd rather not say how long I let my daughter keep it. Yes, I know, I am a terrible mother, but I was exhausted. I think I was the one who wanted her to have it!!! Okay, she was 3 1/2, probably closer to 4. ( I just told myself, "At least she doesn't suck her thumb! A passy can be taken away.)

Once the pacifier was gone, naps were, too. My kids couldn't sleep without their passies. I think this was a huge factor in letting my daughter have it for so long. I dreaded giving up her 3 hour naps. Oh, she was my best napper!!!!

Anyway, all of my kids have turned out completely normal. I can't really say I regret using pacifiers. Yes, when the time came to take them away, that was always an ordeal, but overall, their benefit outweighed the few days of take-away-torture. And to me, they were better alternatives to thumbs or fingers!! I'd use them again in a heartbeat-- not that I will ever need to.

So are you a passy lover or passy hater? Why?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Do Hard Things Date

Pin It Now! We had to take our picture in the car b/c my son was not about to embarrass himself in the restaurant.

I told my oldest, who is on the verge of turning 11, that when he finished reading Do Hard Things, I'd take him on a date. So, we went to Chili's (his choice) and had a swell time.

I have already raved about this book in another post, so I won't gush again here. I did want to point out, though, that when I handed Do Hard Things to my son, he kinda gave me that "I-have-to-read-this?" look. My look back to him meant, "Yes, you have to read this."

He liked it. And I can tell he is pumped about it. He probably didn't get teary-eyed (like I did) over it, but I am so glad that he really did like it. I think it will be one of those books that he will go back to over and over again--at least in his mind--when making life choices, especially the hard ones.

Some topics of our discussion:

  • Myth of Adolescence and current teen expectations

  • Goals for my son's teenage experience

  • Five Kinds of Hard-- Things outside comfort zone, Things that go beyond what's expected or required, Things that are too big to accomplish alone, Things that don't earn an immediate payoff, and Things that challenge the cultural norm.

  • Small Hard Things

  • Being known for what you DO and not just what you don't do

  • Focusing on doing what God is doing in YOUR life and not comparing yourself to others

  • Doing what's hard for YOU

  • Pursuing excellence and not excuses

I enjoyed my time with my son. I am still having a difficult time grasping the fact that this young man isn't crying over cracked breakfast bars, lighting up every time he sees a train, and cuddling and twirling my hair in his ear at bedtime. *sigh*

He's growing up, and I hope he knows that while I am so NOT perfect and overreact and fail at times, I do love him with all my heart. :)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Very Overdue Book Review

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Last summer I read The Shack.

I read it for the very same reason I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I just had to know for myself what all the hype was about--what it was that had Christians so tangled and at odds with each other. ( Ahem, I must unashamedly admit, the Harry Potter books have become one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE fiction series. Ever.)

Anyway, back to The Shack. I had planned on writing a thorough review last summer right after finishing the book. I took notes and everything. Summer got busy, and I never got around to it.

So, here it is a year later, and before I give the book back to my mom, I thought I'd share a few thoughts. This surely won't be the review I had planned--just some thoughts. There is probably a lot I have forgotten. . .

Okay, so to be honest, overall, I liked the book. I mean, I don't really like lady bugs anymore and I never want my daughter to go camping, but the book--it was good. That's not to say I agreed with every little detail, but I am definitely not on the extreme "this-book-is-from-the-pit" side or anything.

I think I "get" the book as a whole. I think I "get" what the author was trying to convey--that Jesus is about "relationships not religion", about "love not law." I truly was touched in parts and got teary-eyed every now and then.

For me, the book was a beautiful word picture of how Jesus really is alive and truly is Emmanuel, and that the Bible is so much more than a book of rules and regulations.

"Mackenzie!" she chided, her words flowing with affection. "The Bible doesn't teach you to follow rules. It is a picture of Jesus. While words may tell you what God is like and even what he may want from you, you cannot do any of it on your own. Life and living is in him and in no other. My goodness, you didn't think you could live the righteousness of God on your own, did you?" (p. 197-198)

I found myself being able to relate to The Shack's main character, Mack, as he struggled to make sense of trial and tribulation, of deep, intense suffering, of his anger and frustration toward God. How could he have a relationship with someone who allowed such horrible things to happen? I am human, and I have thought these things before. Suffering, though, as I have seen in my own life can bring me closer to God and help me realize just how frail and fragile I am. (Hopefully none of us will ever live through what Mack lived through!) Suffering reminds me that I need Him.

I remember hearing that a lot of people had issues with how the Trinity was represented by the author, WM. Paul Young. Personally, I thought it was a rather unique perspective. It is fiction, and in fiction, I believe using imagery and symbolism are effective and acceptable ways to drive home a point. I wasn't offended or completely turned off by it. I think the author made it clear that God is a Spirit and neither male nor female. Do I really think God is going to show up at my doorstep as some Della Reese-like woman presenting me with a freshly baked apple pie? Um, no. Just like I know Jesus isn't really a lion named Aslan, and the Devil isn't an evil, white witch who tempts people with Turkish Delight.

Of course, this is just my opinion, and it comes from a die-hard fiction lover. I have always loved literature and the pursuit of digging for symbols and meanings and nuggets of truth etc. At the very end of The Shack--this is a SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you still haven't read the book and want to . . .

 . . . you realize it was all just a dream anyway. For me, this is definitely a huge "Hello, this is just symbolic!" It's an invitation to find the meanings behind the symbols. I naturally do this with any fiction book. And I really enjoy it. :)

I always find that going to the source is a great way to find out about someone. I surely haven't read everything on the author's blog, but what I have doesn't convince me that the guy is completely wacko or anything.

What were your thoughts?


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