Monday, January 30, 2012

the little things

Project Mode.
An area that had suffered neglect
in our house...
and has desperately needed attention
for some time...
got attention!
I ask you, women...
is there anything sexier than a man
in flannel...fixing a drip...replacing a floor...
getting the job done right?
Here's the only before shot I managed
to get before he got busy.
the before this before...
was even worse.
Step 1:
Empty out cupboard.
Tear out the existing floor.
Get needed tools...
take a few snapshots.

Step 2:

Measure twice...

cut once.

Replace the floor

with beautiful...clean...



I'm lovin it already.

My man is amazing!

That stubborn drip still lingered.

Step 3:

Fix that drip

once and for all.

Time to become

a contortionist.

I'm betting this job

ranks right up there


root canal.


I'm loving the view.
Especially when

asked for my assistance.

I'll get right on it...

after I capture

this great angle.

You guessed it...

he loved that one.
More posing.

He showed that drip

who was boss.

My man.

My sink man.


when he wears flannel

I call him

snow plow man.

(from a short-lived series...Men In Trees,

I had a bit of a crush on

snow plow man)

Step 4:

Get me out of the

kitchen so he can

finish what he started.

You just gotta love a man
with that work ethic!

Step 5:

Put down floor tiles

on a surface that sees

a lot of action.

The unveiling.

A thing of beauty!
When you stop to think
how many times you
open this cupboard...
to throw something away...
to get at cleaning supplies...
it just makes sense to make it
pretty and practical.
After all...
it's the little things
that make such a

Thank you, Snow Plow Man.
I Love You, too!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

quinoa :: again I just might be a bit quinoa crazed of late. No! Whatever would make you say such a thing? You ask. Uh...I don't know...could it be that when I tell my boys I'm trying a new recipe, their first question is...does it have quinoa in it? Quinoa...a word that just a short week ago, they had never heard now part of their everyday vocabulary. Score one for mom!

Not to kick 'em when their down...but...I decided to give Quinoa Veggie Surprise, I go again...whole food mommies...ugh...a try. Simple ingredients that the writer claimed had her daughter saying, "This is the best healthy dinner we've had!" And in that...was the surprise. Well, with a recommendation like that...I had to give it a go.

Well...surprise! It sucked. Okay...let me back up here. It was edible...but once again, it lacked one important ingredient...flavor.

I realize that part of this new lifestyle is going to involve appreciating the true flavor of the foods you are eating. Allowing your taste buds to experience...let's say, broccoli...rather than butter drippin'...cheesy loaded broccoli. So...I didn't turn my back on the batch. I packaged it up and put it in the frig.

Turns out...Quinoa Veggie Surprise is a dish best served cold. Especially after kicking it in the butt with my secret arsenal. At lunch, the next day, I gave it a sniff and thought...I know! I will hit it with my sister Sue's Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss on some cashews for a word...AMAZING.

Sue's Vinaigrette? For a small batch, I mixed 1T Balsamic vinegar...2 T Olive Oil...a dash of Sea Salt...A fresh grinding of good Pepper...1 teaspoon of sugar. Shake or stir good. I drizzled two teaspoons over my Veggie Quinoa and it enhanced...not overwhelmed...the flavor of the carrots and broccoli.

It was so good...that I packaged up the remaining portion the sweet wife I am...sent it off with hubby for lunch. I couldn't let quinoa get a bad rep in this house. I need all of their support if I am to make a go of this new lifestyle. I am happy to report, I received a call at lunch thanking me for the great tasting quinoa. He went on and on about how much better it tasted...about those yummy cashews.

Yes...what a good wife I am. Okay...if you're still with me...I confess...I saw a fellow blogger post about this wonderfully healthy lunch she packed her man and I thought...oh, how sweet. I can do sweet...right? It's been a while...but if I try really hard, I bet it will come back to me. So thank that moves...for the inspiration. And that's (unknowingly) from my husband as well!

So good...I'm giving you another angle...perhaps to inspire you. Oh, almost forgot the Veggie Quinoa with a real...honest to goodness...Surprise!

2 cups water...2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes...1 cup Quinoa...boil...reduce heat, cover until done...about 15 minutes. Steam Broccoli (I was pretty generous with amount) approx. 2 cups with 3 sliced Carrots...steamed right along with the broccoli...1 can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained. Serve cold with Susie's Balsamic Vinegrette and Cashews.

Good stuff. Don't forget...pack 'em a healthy lunch! Happy weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

this moment

Joining Soule Mama and her many friends in this Friday ritual. A single photo. No words. A simple, extraordinary moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the clean :: the dirty

You can't escape it
for if you try
the job only gets larger.
With heaping mounds of clothing
trailing down the hall...
bedding after illness...
it was time.
Wouldn't you know...
out of detergent.
What are the chances...
that on this very day I read
a posting on
good earth living's blog
all about
Soap Nuts.
My family has sensitive skin,
especially during dry winter months...
I never heard of these natural wonders?!
I heard now.
I couldn't wait to try it...
had to run to
Bassett Natural Foods
and for $18.99
bought this box.
The muslin bags were right on top.
You see...
for those like me...
you secure 3-4 Soap Nuts in the bag
and toss into your washer.
(works with HE as well)
Re-use until the nuts
are no longer slippery when wet...
or they start to crumble apart.
Usually after the third or fourth load.
The Soap Nuts were much as expected.
it is never a good sign when the sales
clerk acts like she never knew the store
carried the item...and mentions
"they aren't very popular."
Makes one wonder...
is there a shelf life on these beauties?
good earth living
where I first read about them...
Laura Emily, a new ETSY shop keeper
(I added her to my blog list...
where there is a link
to her ETSY site)
shows the Soap Nuts she will offer
on Friday
(I was in a hurry to have mine NOW)
Her Nuts are admittedly much like wrinkled
prunes...though not as ancient looking as
(NO dirty jokes allowed)
I also received a surprise.
Soap Nut earings...
a gift with purchase.
Weird...but nice all the same.
I bet you're wondering...
did they work?
So good.
After the 3rd load I traded out the
Soap Nuts for
"Fresh" Nuts.
I used very little softener...
since I was warned by a repair man
that Downy...
and all softeners are the bane to
And the Soap Nuts offer
softening agents.
Cool stuff.
to the dirty.
I have invited you into my bathroom before.
It has all the necessary
Looks cute and clean.
I wouldn't invite you in if it weren't.
I am about to go where no others have gone...
talking daily deeds...
All you Whole Food Junkies out there...
You could have forewarned me!
Started eating whole foods
in preparation...preview...
of the class I will be taking in February.
Since I began this transition
I have been astounded...
by my
morning ritual.
Holy Crap!
My visits here are now
brief and to the point.
I feel ten pounds lighter
each time I leave the bathroom.
Whole Foods
have an amazing cleansing affect.
Must be all those good grains.
Like quinoa for instance.
moving right to the kitchen.
Gotta eat breakfast to refuel.
On tap...
Quinoa Pumpkin Pancakes
whole food mommies
(they gotta do something about that name)
It calls for quinoa flour...
grind quinoa in your flour mill...
like I have one of those!
I do have a food processor...
same thing...
I let it do its thing a good long time...
until it kinda
resembled flour.
Good time to
gather all the ingredients.
Lotta good stuff. Waited for a cake-like appearance
at the edges before
the flip...


They sure looked the part.


didn't taste the part.

A gripe of mine...

don't tell me it's good when

it isn't.

I want to go whole foods

I don't want to sacrifice flavor.


a miss here.

It filled the stomach...

it didn't satisfy the taste buds.

The dogs liked them...

so they aren't going to waste.

I am still stocking

ingredients to fill my pantry

with whole food choices.

Reading good, old-fashioned advice


Whole Foods For The

Whole Family...

a cookbook I bought like forever ago


La Leche League International.

To this day...

a go to cookbook with a

practical approach.


I must achieve a balance


good for you :: great tasting

or I will lose

my family.

Thanks for hanging in there with me...

as I strive to make this


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


our day began as it often does
with a prayer...
that God guide us in the way
we should go.
a conversation followed.
a typical conversation in any home...
what would you like to
accomplish today?
homeschool never made the list.
clever moms don't let that stop them...
we always
find ways to make it happen
without their ever knowing...
beside which
life lessons are being reinforced.
we have a large family
and since we are home much
of the time we find we
enjoy taking good care of all.
my joey
takes good care of
our nature friends.
rarely needing reminders.
usually mom needs to be told its time
to go to the feed store...again...
since we have run out of
happy birds.
delirious squirrels.
at lunch break
James volunteered to prepare
his craving...
hot dogs on the grill.
snow is not an obstacle in this home...
and apparently in many others
who commented on this
grilled to perfection.
just like mom likes 'em
dark on the out
juicy on the in.
loaded with onions.
this would have been the perfect
spot for a picture
of that dog.
oatmeal cookies and soy milk
for dessert.
not a tofu-turkey, rosebud...
the all-american
beef dog.
baby steps!
there's that
missing pic.
the techie
in me
is but a newborn
switching those around
must be the next
i would ask the boys
you're not going to believe this...
they are still in bed.
those spoiled homeschool kids!
james snapped this shot of me
as we were heading home...
list complete.
maybe singing...
possibly lecturing...
probably discussing what our evening
will hold.
until tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

whole again

Sore throat...joint and body aches...feverish...
I took a much needed sick day.
Bed tea...
I haven't taken a day (truly) off
for years.
When I wasn't sleeping...I was reading.
My sick choice...
(no pun intended)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
seriously, I have no idea how...
it was downloaded onto my smart phone
along with Pride and Prejudice...Great Expectations...
both too much for a congested head.
Alice turned out to be the perfect choice.
Maybe it was the cold...maybe it was the mixture
of meds...maybe it was my foggy state...
whatever "it" was...
I found the book
I fully agree with Alice,
"...what is the use of a book...without
pictures and conversations?"
I remember thinking that as a child...
and as I lie on my sick bed
I would stop to examine each
wonderful drawing that appeared.
I was so enchanted that I continued the adventure
and read
Through the Looking Glass.
Lewis Carroll
has many a rumor floating about...
to this day...
but he knew the heart of a child.
Even an adult child, like myself,
can admit that.
The next morning...
I felt a bit like Alice emerging
from the rabbit hole.
Somewhat healthier...not quite myself.

I found a recipe at

Whole Food Mommies

( I didn't name it, I just visited it!)

that used my newest purchase from Costco

quinoa (pronounced, KEEN-wah).

I altered the recipe to accommodate

my humble cupboard.

It was delicious.

So good, that I am going to share it with you.

You're welcome.

1 cup quinoa boiled in 2 cups lightly salted water

until done (15-20 minutes)

While boiling... Chop 1/2 onion,

fine...rinse 1 can white kidney beans...

drain 1 can of chopped tomatoes slightly...

chop some fresh cilantro

(I had this on hand from my lentil and


1 clove garlic pressed,

3 T lemon juice,

1/2 t ground cumin,

Toss all together in a bowl.

Serve with fresh chopped avocado.



Alice in Wonderland

and quinoa

belong in the same posting.

Lewis Carroll would understand.

It takes a stong woman to

admit to being a

bit mad.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Think winter.
Think candles.
The spice of the holidays...
traded for the fresh, cool,
clean fragrances of
What to do with the tin?
Waiting in my Jeep
at a local Subway...I
I found what I was looking for.

The frosty snow on my windshield.
Sparkling, glittering...
Simulating the wintry

decorated simply...

like the landscape.

In cool hues...

and clean fragrances

reminiscent of winter walks,

welcoming homes,

roaring fires.

Old Maid New...

capturing the beauty

of every


Available @

Harmony in Life

Sylvania, Ohio

or contact me @

Friday, January 20, 2012

this moment

Joining Soule Mama and her many friends in this Friday ritual. A single photo. No words. Capturing a simple, extraordinary moment from my week. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember forever. amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

thursday thought

"Good teaching isn't filling
a bottle,
it's lighting a fire."
I found this while perusing the Etsy site
under the maple tree.
It was mounted on an original
archival print
with a wise old owl.
To which I add...
Today I will
keep that thought
front and center...
as I gently wake the boys from
their long winter
I have often felt
our home
closely resembles the children's story...
The Napping House.
Three are sleeping above.
Two dogs and a James,
buried under blankets
for warmth and a few extra zzz's.
light a fire.
Encourage a yoga session.
Stretch the body.
Stretch the mind.
That's my motto.
gather kindling.
Since I decided to join
a whole foods on-line workshop...
(which starts in February)
I've noticed my choices
have been healthier.
I'm dipping my big toe into
the idea of it.
Since mom is...
the whole family benefits.
Thinking fresh and simple.
strike a match.
Healthy bodies...healthy minds.
Avocados ready to become
lunch is set.
Thankful for blueberries
in January...
oatmeal never tasted so good.
blow gently on burning embers.
Thinking outside of yourself.
There is a whole world
of need.
Even the birds of winter
need to be remembered.
Add filling the feeders to our list.
add more fuel.
Get plenty of fresh air...
and don't forget to
say your prayers.
tend the roaring fire!