Friday, September 11, 2015


As a first time kindergarten mom, I've been nervous about making sure things get done and get done on time. I like to be prepared and I like to be organized. Ava has a little trouble with how her clothes bumpy socks and tight leggings. I've found that the most important thing for her is

  • Sleep. Bedtime between 7 - 7:30. Of course this isn't always possible but it's what we aim for. She can process emotions and feelings much better when she's rested. 
  • Set out clothes the night before. Saves on rushing around, figuring out what to wear. 
  • I set an alarm for 5 minutes before she needs to get up to allow time for me to get dressed etc. I set an alarm for the time we need to get shoes on and head out the door (about 10 minutes before the bus comes) I also set an alarm for 5 minutes before the bus comes in the afternoon to make sure I'm outside and waiting. I think the alarms are the most helpful for me. All programmed into my phone to go off Monday - Friday....They keep me from obsessing about about watching the clock. 
  • Make lunch and prepare backpack the night before.
  • Set out shoes and jacket the night before.
  • Make breakfast easy and healthy. 
So far, I've enjoyed our mornings together. Because we are organized and prepared, we usually have time to color or read a book before school. 

I found an awesome muffin recipe on Pinterest. I made a few changes...this is my version.


1/2 cup raisins soaked in hot water
1 large apple - grated
3 medium carrots - grated

Stir together:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain raisins and add them to the bowl along with the grated apple and carrot.

Mix in:
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts 
1/3 cup oatmeal, seeds, flax or chia

Whisk together the following and then add to flour mixture:
3 large eggs
2/3 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice or water

Beat gently to combine.
Pour batter into greased muffin tin.
Fill cups all the way to the top. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-28 minutes.

Makes 15 muffins.

We ate them all before I could take a picture. :) They're so good that they don't even need butter! 


We've had a wonderful week. Ava loves school. 
The night before her first day, neither one of us slept very well. Ava couldn't fall asleep and Donald and I tucked her into bed three times. She cried a little bit because she was worried about missing her family. I did a lot from my pillow....I went to the Czech Republic, China, convention....I had tea and did laundry. :) I think we both tossed and turned all night.
On her first day, she hopped out of bed, got dressed and said goodbye to all of her stuffed animals. Her friend helped her on the bus and helped her find her teach at the school. When she got off the bus in the afternoon she ran down the sidewalk toward me and yelled, "Mommy!" 
I've enjoyed spending a little bit of quiet time with her every morning. She told me that she feels different. She doesn't know how to explain it but life is different now because she goes to school.

On her second day, she told me that she's really looking forward to summer vacation!

Yesterday, she forgot to get off the bus in the afternoon. As I watched the bus pull away, I had a little panic attack. I called the school and the bus garage. I was on the phone with the dispatcher when her bus pulled up again at the stop. The driver realized that something wasn't right and went around a couple of blocks. Boy, was I glad to see her! 

This morning was a little rough because she went to bed a little bit later than she should have. She had a bit of trouble handling her tight leggings and her bumpy socks but we made it out the door. :)

Her favorite classes are gym and art. 


"Mom, when our house crumbles to the ground, can we move?"
"Why do you think it's going to crumble to the ground, Ava?"
"Because it's old."

Jaina to the waitress: "What took you so long?" (cue embarrassed mother climbing under the table)

"Grandma says that to have an adventure, you don't need a trail. But sometimes you can have an adventure on a trail." ~Ava

I've been doing laundry. All. Week. Long. It seriously will not stop. I was mindlessly folding clothes today and started figuring. Let's just say (conservatively) that I do 8 loads per week. Give or take. 
That's roughly:
416 loads per year
3,744 loads in 9 years of marriage
10,816 loads by the time Oscar turn 18.
I'm not very good at math but I think I'll let myself be over the whole laundry thing today. (because I've definitely doubled my average this week) Sigh. 

I grew up on country music. When I turn on the local station now, I can hardly stand it. I think it's probably because I'm getting old. :)
The other day, I was shuffling through the hard drive in the car and I heard a song that I haven't heard in forever.
All of a sudden, I was transported back to 1998. Back to Deana Carter, Martina McBride and John Michael Montgomery. Back to driving Dad's blue Chevy to school with the canoe in the back for my outdoor class. Back to summer days spent in my cousin's family camper, belting out "Strawberry Wine" and "Did I Shave my Legs for This" and thinking we were all cool and imagining what it would really be like to be 17 and in love.
So many memories. 
If any of you want to travel back in time, just listen to Deana Carter Radio on Pandora and be prepared to be all nostalgic and teary eyed. :)

I've been loving my stash of freezer meals. It's so awesome to know what's for dinner. I'm kind of freaking out because I only have like three left.

"Mom, you know I don't like blood and kissing!"  ~Ava

Oscar throws his diapers in the garbage, know where his toes and his belly button are but still does not say "mama" Aargh. 

"Jaina, wanna go on a hike?"
"Yeah! With worms!"
"Don't say that! That's rude!! Worms are our friends!"

Jaina gave me a hug last night. She wrapped her arms around my neck, bent her knee and popped her foot up in the disney classic fairytale type move and said, "This is how Barbie hugs Ken!"

"I went potty in the grass because I couldn't hold it any longer!!"
"What!? How did you do that? Did you go in your underwear?"
"No, I just went behind my underwear."
(Oh dear, I hope none of the neighbors saw this)

Saturday, September 5, 2015


These are my favorite in the kitchen. I use the grapefruit all-purpose cleaner every day...wiping the table and counter tops. Not only does it work and smell good but it's non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals. The dish soap isn't as "sudsy" as other brands but it does the job and smells amazing. The white tea & bamboo is my favorite so far. **Bonus: They look cute.

I've been dreaming about this 4 piece canister set for over a year now....Mom and Dad bought it for my birthday. Awesome. My dala mug brings me all sorts of happy. :)

We finally finished painting the living room and I can finally start decorating. Finally. It's a work in progress but it feels good. Really good. 

I do laundry like it's my job. Purex is cheap, it works and it smells good. I like that it's hypoallergenic, free of dyes and gentle on skin. 

So the verdict is still out on the cookbook but I have loved having meals in the freezer. We have Spicy Chinese Chicken in the crockpot right now. Some of the recipes are like "what?!" and you have to use some common sense but overall it's pretty good. The surprising thing is that the kids have loved every single one of the recipes so far....even the ones I didn't like. Go figure. 

These dishcloths are the bomb. Seriously. Imported from Sweden, they are made out of cellulose and cotton and 100% biodegradable. They're like a cross between a rag and sponge but they dry faster than a sponge and never stink like a rag. They absorb up to 15 times their weight in water and leave surfaces streak free. Just wash them every 3 months or so in the washing machine. Just kidding. They may be a bit on the spendy side, running between $6-$7 per cloth but once you try one, you'll be hooked. I promise. (You can find them online but I know first hand that you can buy them at Lakeside Traders in Moose Lake, MN) :)

Friday, September 4, 2015


After wandering the halls for a bit, we finally found her classroom and met her teacher. I teared up a bit but managed to keep it together. :) She found her desk and her cubby, explored the play areas and made a new friend. 
She ordered me not to cry and told me that she's excited and nervous for school. Me too, Ava. Me too.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


The kids and I went on a hike the other day on Hawk Ridge. I would say it went pretty well! We haven't done much hiking with with them but I'm hoping we can make it more of a regular family thing. I let them set the pace and I let them choose our turn around point. We went 1.22 miles in 47 minutes. :) 
We saw a woodpecker, a hawk and a grasshopper. The girls learned about switchbacks and the perils of walking downhill (after they both scratched up their rear ends). 
They call their walking stick "crunches." :)


I never thought I'd say this, but it's great to be in my 30's. Turning 30 was hard for me. My 29th year was a mix of feelings and emotions and hard stuff. To sum it up, my thought was, "I'm 30 years old and what have I done with my life? Basically nothing." 
I still feel that way sometimes but not like I did when I was 29 going on 30. 
Now, I'm 32. I feel like in the last couple of years, I've learned a lot about myself. I'm learning to be comfortable with be ok with who I am. It's a good place to be right now. 
My day was pretty much perfect. It had a bit of a rough start at 4:30 in the morning when Oscar woke up and dashed all of my hopes of a quiet, lazy morning. The rest of the day was filled with things I like to do. We went "treasure hunting" at thrift stores, we cashed in my free coffee at Starbucks, we had lunch and ran some errands. We walked to the nearby diner for supper and Donald surprised me with my very own cupcake. I ate it alone, after everyone had gone to bed.