Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cinnamon Bear

This is a very loved Christmas tradition at our home. My husband used to listen to this with his mom when he was a little boy and now every year we do this with our children.
The Cinnamon Bear was a Christmas radio program in 1937. Every night starting November 29th all the way until Christmas Eve, there is a new tale to the same story. Judy and Jimmy are twins that go on a grand adventure to Maybe Land, which is ruled by Queen Mellisa. They meet a Cinnamon Bear in their very own attic who leads them to this magical place. They run into all kinds of interesting characters; The Crazy Quilt Dragon, the Wintergreen Witch, Fraidy Cat, policeman, cowboys, pirates, and I could keep going. The twins are in search of the star that goes on top of their Christmas tree. And we don't put our star on our tree until they get theirs back.
I hope you can find the chance to listen to this! Each story is about twelve minutes long. I have provided a link below.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Top Hats!

My husband and I met this fascinating couple from California. We were out at Bonnie Springs Ranch restaurant, which is about half an hour outside of Las Vegas, when a couple of people walked in dressed in full Victorian garments. Awesome! We got to talking and found out he makes hats, straw top hats.

Be sure to check out his listings on Ebay. You'll love what you find. (Not a paid advertisement.)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

For the Babies We Have Lost

October 15th is a day of Remembrance for infant loss and miscarriages.
There is no right way to grieve. Every one grieves different. I found it hard to emotionally deal with my two miscarriages. We live in a society were having a baby is considered optional, like picking out what shoes to wear for the day. So many out there act like if the baby was never born it doesn't count.
For many of us it does count. And it will count. We will remember the day we lost them or the day they were due. Personally I remember when they were due. I count how old the would be. I look at the age gap in my children and know two are missing. And when people are stupid enough to make the comment about "oops" or "starting again" we set them straight.
My way of coping with the loss is a memorial box. Inside I have two envelopes. And in the envelopes I have the due date for each child. Doing this took a weight off my shoulders. I could trust that they were there with out having to carry the grief inside me every day.
We recently had a crises where we had fifteen hours to pack everything we owned and get out. I panicked because when we had moved in I never had the chance to completely unpack. I had no idea where their box was. It became my focus. Once I calmed down, I started packing. And thankfully found the box. It went into the car along with my five children, husband, and two dogs. I had them all together
                          And it mattered.

Monday, August 31, 2015

When It's Not About You

One of the hardest life lessons I have had to learn is how people treat you may have nothing to do with you or anything you did.

January 2015 was "action packed" in our family. I was 6 months pregnant and we had to move by the end of the month.

There's always that nosy neighbor (usually with the immaculate yard). We had one in our previous neighborhood. He and his wife even took the time to give me dirty looks  early one summer morning because they didn't like how I watered my yard.

The first week of January I was resting in bed in the back of the house when my children heard a scream. It was the gut wrenching kind that one doesn't soon forget.

The grumpy old man across the street had committed suicide. He had hung himself in the garage, where his wife pulled in everyday after work. Needless to say, I'm sure that was his intention. My husband ran over to see if there was anything he could do. People just passing by thought they could help, but it was far to late. He stayed over there until the police showed. He was asked to fill out a witness statement. He couldn't fill in the name, we had never learned it.

At the end of the month things were getting really hectic for us. When I received a letter out of the blue from my midwife. It was filled with personal attacks and then said she quit! I know I didn't do the things in the manner she stated, but in her mind I had. The sickening part is I could tell she'd taken her version to someone else so she could get the confidence to write the letter. A month later she quit her business entirely.

The nosy neighbor may have been a rude busy body as a cry for help. The midwife was going through some personal issues and unfortunately took out on others. I hope both find peace. And I hope I never forget this lesson.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Long Summer and Random Kindness

It has been a year of non-stop action for my family. (My family is now 7, we just had a new bundle of joy join us this past spring!) This summer has been very difficult to say the least.

We can't afford vacations, so to us eating out is always a mini-vacation and treat. Today it was even more so.

The first place we went to go was incredibly crowded and would not have felt like a vacation. Our second choice ended up being IHOP, where kids 12 and under eat free after 4 p.m. (Yay!)

A nice couple was getting ready to leave and gave us their coupon for a free entree. They said we had more us to feed than they did. I'm still overwhelmed by their generosity. This coupon was nicely clipped. It looked like they budgeted and planned for themselves to have nice evening out. Instead they gave it to us. Thank you so much for your generostiy! Thank you for being such kind people!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Glow-in-the-Dark-Markers and Modeling Class

There was a point in my childhood where I wanted to be an actress. I had my first acting experience at the age of 5 as a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. My big break in my small home town was the part of Marta in the Sound of Music.
By the time I was twelve my parents had found an acting and modeling agency in Seattle, a three hour drive from our home town. My grandmother lived in a nearby town, so every weekend for a few months we headed over for acting and modeling classes. We would head out of town as soon as my dad was off  work on Friday nights. This was in the fall. So the evenings were coming earlier and we were usually traveling in the dark.
As much as my sister and I were enjoying the experience, the drive did leave us trying to entertain ourselves. (This was a long time ago, in the early 1990s, when children would read in the car or look out the window. We didn't have TVs in the cars normally.) We had this cool spy kit with us. It came with a marker that let you write invisible messages that only showed up under a black light, that was part of the kit. So, we got bored and drew on each others faces. When cars drove by we would take turns putting our faces to the window with the black light on it.
The next day we were getting ready for our modeling portion of the classes. That day we would be learning about proper skin care and applying make up. My mother had intended to make sure we had scrubbed our faces really well.
Turns out, black lights are a great way to tell if there are skin problems and even can show signs of dehydration. That is, unless, you've decorated your face with glow-in-the-dark marker that night before. Really, what are the odds of those two things happening together?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Italian Soda

This Italian Soda is Raspberry and White Chocolate.
 It was a bit on the sweet side but pretty.

Club Soda
Half and Half
Whip Cream
Cherry (optional)

Take your favorite glass of choice and add ice. Fill glass with 3/4 club soda. Add your flavoring to taste. Add half and half. Stir gently. Top with whip cream and optional cherry.

When making these I've noticed that if the club soda has any citric acid in it the half and half will curdle. I use Shasta club soda.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Miracles and Morals

There is Such a Thing as Kinda Pregnant
Molar Pregnancy: The Surgery

I woke up coughing and shaking. Someone put a warm (stained) blanket on me. The first question I asked was do I still have a uterus. (Yes!) And the second was, where is my husband? There was a small Christmas tree on the counter and a clock above it.  Another twenty minutes passed and I asked where my husband was again. The nurse started digging through the paperwork looking for his number. I started to just tell her, I guess most people are not always that awake after surgery. He hadn't eaten along with me and had gone to eat (and pray) while I was in surgery. I had a lovely chat with the nurse during that time though. I left soon after.

I hope I never forget the feeling of coming home to my children. I was alive and breathing and life couldn't be any better! I had never felt so much relief and joy all at once.

I managed to catch a cold before my first follow up appointment. Everything looked good. They had to monitor my blood and count my HCG. As long as the numbers kept dropping I would be even better really soon.

My next appointment was the day after Christmas. I had finally accepted that I was going to be okay. The doctor who had been taking care of me up to that point was on vacation. I had to see someone else. My numbers had spiked. A lot. She wasn't very nice about it. She told me I was not going to get better and in ten days I would need to start chemo.


I have strong opinions on medicine and how it is used on my own body. I don't like what happens to cancer patients on chemo. I had always known that if I ever faced cancer treatment, for myself I would try alternative medicine first. And now I was looking at taking a treatment I didn't like with no other choice. Molar pregnancy is rare and doesn't exactly have it's own cocktail of drugs for treatment.

Those were the worst ten days I have ever gone through so far in my life. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. Or my children. I needed to live for them, but at what cost would this possible treatment take on my body? In that moment I knew it was entirely up to God.

I went to the next doctors appointment.

My numbers had dropped! NO CHEMO! Thank you God!

My doctor still prescribed a medication for me to help level out my hormones. They made it worse. I was alive and thankfully not on chemo. But I was an emotional wreck. I was dealing with pregnancy hormones that had no where to go. The pills made it worse. I morally objected to them as well. (I would explain, but it crosses into the "to much information" realm.) The doctor disregarded my moral and religious beliefs. Only adding to my problem.

It felt like an eternity, but my numbers eventually hit zero in March of 2014. I was alive and healthy. And life quickly carried on.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Almost Every Time!

My children when they are younger seem to be magically in tune with my alarm clock.  I am not really a morning person, but I know I'm more productive if I can get up before the kids. If. There have been so many times I make the effort to get up just a little bit earlier than them and it's almost as if I have set them as the alarm clock. They wake up a few minutes after or even before. The alarm is not within their hearing range, and yet they still wake up those days. At least when they are younger. Now that a couple of them are teenagers getting them up is the new challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Baking Powder Biscuits

These work great as an addition to a meal, as a snack or even a main course. If you don't have time to make gravy just use your favorite cream of soup flavor and only add half the milk. 

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup lard (or shortening)
3/4 cup milk

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the lard with a fork or your hands. Add the milk and stir. When mixed together knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth. Roll out or press into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut biscuits and bake in greased a cast iron skillet or an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450* for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.