i heart organizing

i heart organizing

Just kidding.

I used to heart organizing. In my mind palace (which currently resembles a WalMart at 11:55 pm on Christmas Eve), I still heart organizing. It’s just that what I envision in the mind palace cannot exist in the temporal state of my home.

I mean, I love all things organizing. The Container Store? Yes. IKEA? Yes. (My son calls it IKEA: THE EXPERIENCE and says he does not have enough insanity to go on that ride). Mason Jars? You betcha. Label makers? Drool. Pantries featured on Pinterest? Butterflies in my stomach.

I have everything it takes to be an organizing queen, folks. There is only one small problem: I have a family and we live here.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never get to spend hours and hours organizing a pantry to perfection. And, even if I did, it would stay that way for .008 seconds. Or less. Because my people eat. They love to eat. They eat all the time. They are little hobbits.

I still have days where I leave the house to wander the aisles of IKEA, daydreaming. But, I have found that there are ways to cope. Here are some of my strategies for coping with my humans and their inability to appreciate my love of organized matter:

Use A Stairs Basket

We have what we call a “Stairs Basket” which is supposed to be a receptacle for things that belong downstairs that have somehow found their way upstairs. It saves us from having to walk up and down the stairs three thousand times in one day, which, even though the children seem to have the energy of supernovas, this energy somehow drains completely at the mention of taking something downstairs.

Here is where you have to cope. You have to realize that the Stairs Basket will become the “I Don’t Know Where This Goes Or I Don’t Want To Walk Another Five Feet To Put This Away So I Will Casually Dump It Here” Basket. And you have to kind of just accept that. Well, I guess you don’t HAVE to accept that, but accepting it is part of my coping strategy.

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Our Stairs Basket. Also please ignore the crumbs on the floor.

It also can be mistaken as a laundry basket by my very little children. You may be wondering why they disrobe and run around partially naked upstairs. I wonder that, too. But that is a post for another day.

I think they are trying to make me believe that it actually is a laundry basket by putting laundry in there.

Maybe they think they will eventually convince me, or maybe they think that because I have brain damage from the spinal meningitis, that one day I might wake up, see the laundry in there, and just somehow believe that all is right in the world.

Here is more horrific view. Yes, they tried making the basket with the brachiosaurus and the baseball cap. Clearly, we don’t see anyone being drafted by the NBA.

That will never happen.

But, be that as it may, it is more preferable to have things in a “Stairs Basket” then all over my upstairs floor.

Use A White Board To Organize Your Home/Thoughts/To Do Lists

We use a white board to write down extra chores, things we need to get done, etcetera.

Here is where I have to cope.

One of my children believes that if she erases her name and/or the chore listed next to her name, then it no longer exists in time or space. It simply never was and never will be. She also seems to believe that artistic doodles accentuate that supposed fact.

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See? Nowhere does it say “sweep dining room floor.” It never existed, because of the swirly “Wishes.”

When asked if she has done said chore, she looks at the questioner with a blank stare which turns into compassionate concern for the mental stability of the person asking, as if they must be in an altered, confused state for ever even thinking of asking her the question of whether or not she has swept the dining room floor,

“What? What do you mean? What? I don’t understand. [Insert dramatic pause] Are you feeling alright? Are you okay? Do you need to lie down?”

All the while this genuine look of fearful concern…it’s almost convincing.

Almost.

I also have to cope with the fact that luckily, it’s dry erase, because if I label it “Tuesday Things To Do” I inevitably have to continue erasing the day of the week, because it never really seems to get done. But, when people come over, it looks impressive.

Use Canvas Bins, Yes, But Please, Don’t Really Even Bother With Labeling

So I recently looked at one of my favorite stress-inducing blogs, “I Heart Organizing” and there she was, a really awesome and gorgeous blogger who writes the blog and takes amazing photos and is totally organized…and she had a tutorial on four different ways to label canvas bins.

And, I used to be the kind of girl who would be over the moon excited about finding a crafty friend who would make labels for my canvas bins IN FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS!!!, but I just laughed out loud a little and sighed.

I have canvas bins. I love my canvas bins. Truly.

No proof of the mess except for the poor T-Rex who didn't quite fit. His feet are probably freezing.

No visible proof of the mess except for the poor T-Rex who didn’t quite fit. His feet are probably freezing.

But labeling them? What on earth for? I have learned to be content that the children have put things inside of the bins. It seems to be humanly impossible to put things in any semblance of order. A trains bin will inevitably have a train, a My Little Pony, three half chewed Nerf darts, a light saber and a rotten apple core in it.

Who am I to understand the workings of child geniuses who obviously see some sort of pattern that someone as less imbued as I cannot understand?

?!?!?!!????

?!?!?!!????

And how does one make a label that would identify that pattern?

So, I would rather not go there. It’s not worth the mental effort.

It Is Possible To Organize Silverware!

Yes, indeed, it is possible.

Where Is The Missing Silverware? Wait...let me go to my mind palace...

Where Is The Missing Silverware? Wait…let me go to my mind palace…

I cope because the only time it has been possible is when I am missing over half of my silverware, which is somewhere in the backyard.

I have come to terms with the fact that my home is a living, breathing entity. It never stays still and it is always shifting and moving and everything in it shifts and moves, especially when it comes to food.

I will never be able to have an organized refrigerator because people keep opening the door and moving things around and getting things out of it! How dare they?

Also, they often don’t understand the difference between things that are shelf stable in the pantry, things that are refrigerated, and things that go in the freezer.

That could be because many of them are not even old enough for first grade yet, but still.

I have found ice cream in all three places in my home before. And something to point out here is that ice cream is delicious and lovely when it is frozen, but in all other states, not so much.

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Calm. Assertive. Coping.

I must cope. I must remain calm and assertive, like Cleopatra. Or Morgan Freeman.

Calm. Assertive. Also, I Really Think He Would Make A Better Real Life President Than Most Of The Candidates This Year....

Calm. Assertive. Also, I Really Think He Would Make A Better Real Life President Than Most Of The Candidates This Year….

He is the perfect example of calm and assertive. I mean when he gives me directions on Waze, I never get lost and I feel patriotic (“Exit Right for Freedom,” he tells me.)

I don’t know. It’s hard. But I know I can continue to soldier on. And you can, too. I hope these little things I have shared can help.

this is my life and these are my teapots

this is my life and these are my teapots

Everyone wants to know what I have been doing to keep me from writing on my super famous blog lately.

Well, grab some popcorn ladies (and gentlemen), and get cozy because you are going on a madcap, wild journey into the mind of a mad genius (me).

Ready? Okay, here we go.

I walk into the office, determined to pour out my soul to the internet. I sit down. I stare at the screen.

I realize I have to pee.

I do that. I come back. I sit down. I realize I need to refill my water (I am working on a secret project that involves drinking the equivalent of the Indian Ocean every single day…more on that later).

I refill my water. I go back and sit down again.

My Favorite Snack

My Favorite Snack

I realize I need a snack. I go get a snack.

I come back. I stare at the blank cursor, blinking, mocking me in a sadistic ‘Net kind of way. Then I think of the movie, The Net, and I shudder and nearly gag on my snack thinking of the white crop jeans (!?!) whatever insane costume designer had Sandra Bullock wear throughout the ENTIRE MOVIE. Ugh.

I Couldn't Find a Full Length Photo Anywhere...It's Probably Been Removed from the Internet Out of Shame.

I Couldn’t Find a Full Length Photo Anywhere…It’s Probably Been Removed from the Internet Out of Shame.

I think about how I have some white maternity denim capris that I like to wear to the beach and wonder if Sandra Bullock looked that bad in white “crop” jeans, how much more awful must I look in maternity capris at the beach?

But, I tell myself it’s completely different because mine have on purpose fraying at the end…so it looks more natural and beachy. I wonder if this is really true or just a delusion. I briefly think about taking a picture next time I am wearing the capris, but decide against it because, my self-esteem.

I look back at the screen. Nothing.

I use the stupid laptop mouse to try and move my pointer on the page and instead it opens three additional windows, turns on an autoplaying YouTube clip of a cat on a Roomba, and then it closes the window I was “working” in. I think about how much I greatly dislike the laptop mouse and wish I had a cool wireless mouse like my husband has. After all, I AM a writer. He is merely a successful businessman. I have a famous blog. I should be entitled to first dibs on a wireless mouse.

But, no. He took his with him and I am left with the laptop mouse which now has made it to where my screen is upside down.

So, I fix my screen and decide to look on Amazon “really quick” for a wireless “nano” mouse (whatever that means). I go to Amazon. I type in those words and the screen pops up with ugly, boring mice. And then, what do I see? A mouse with a colorful design on it? What is this? Designer mice? I NEVER KNEW.

So, of course, I have to look at every single designer mouse on Amazon. There are only about 2,000 listings…I scroll quickly. I narrow it down to a cute girl and boy with a balloon, a fox or an owl…I spend an additional twenty minutes calling all my girls to see which mouse they think says “me” better. They don’t care that much, so it’s not very useful feedback.

I can’t decide and then the cute girl and boy get nixed because the description is in Chinese English, “It is our pleasure to inform you of this computer mouse of delicate origin.” Etcetera. Sounds sketchy.

After much prayer and deliberation I decide to go with the owl.

My New Mouse

My New Mouse

So, I am out of time. I think, “I will write later, after I get home.”

I go out. I come back. Driving into my driveway I notice a pick axe sticking out of a mound of snow next to the road. And two sleds. And some light sabers.

I get upset. I do this sometimes. Especially after I have told the boys NOT to play with the pick axe in the snow, or in the driveway, or basically at all. What will be next? Garden shears? Ugh.

Now that I am upset I don’t feel like writing. I go back to the pantry for another snack and wonder why is it that I go to Costco and spend a small fortune and come home and put it in the pantry and it doesn’t look like I really bought anything.

But, then I see a column of Kirkland Signature Skipjack Tuna and think, “Well, there’s something. We have plenty of skipjack tuna.”

And then I think why does Costco always have to sell the weird flavors and stuff, like instead of selling the almond granola bars, they only sell the peanut ones. And instead of cheesy flavored pretzel crisps, they only sell plain. And don’t even get me started on the weird bagged popcorn flavors they have.

And why can’t they just sell regular tuna? Why “Skipjack”? It sounds questionable.

So, I come back to write and I sit down and stare at the cursor, and then I open a new window and do a google search for “skipjack tuna.”

Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack Tuna

Apparently, skipjack tuna reproduce at astounding rates, so no worries about overfishing, also Costco dropped Chicken of the Sea for this tuna because this tuna is caught using ecologically friendly means, instead of fish aggregation devices (which can sometimes capture sea turtles and other animals and kill them). So, yay for me buying sustainable but cheap Costco skipjack tuna.

i also read it may be contaminated with some sort of paint residue from boat hulls, but you can’t have everything, I guess.

I stare at the screen again, thinking that I probably saved a ton of money buying tuna at Costco instead of at Harmon’s and then I think about how they always ask me if I prefer paper or plastic at Harmon’s and I always feel caught off guard when they ask me, and I always pause for a bit before responding, and I thought about why.

I realize that I think there should be a third option, which involves merely walking past the register, and all my items will be totaled magically, and then they will be teleported to my fridge and pantry and put there in a neat, logical fashion. Why don’t they ever offer that?

Instead it’s just paper or plastic, and I am thinking to myself, “Should I say plastic? Do they want me to say plastic? I don’t want to hurt birds.” But on the other hand, I think, “Paper bags always rip on me, but I love the way the look and feel so nostalgic and retro.” So I get overwhelmed and ask for half paper, half plastic…

I close the computer and walk by my teapots. I love my teapots. They look like they are lecturing me on how I wasted a whole bunch of time today instead of writing. But, then I laugh. Because I always laugh when I see them.

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My Teapots

And then I go to bed.

 

five christmas traditions that you won’t believe I’m giving up

five christmas traditions that you won’t believe I’m giving up

Looking for ways to simplify this Christmas season? Here are some of the Christmas traditions we are giving up this year in order to try and not get overly hustley and bustley.

Financial Hardship/Job Loss/Major Illness

What could be more fun than finding out you are going to lose your job or take a financial hit in December? Or what about a few days in ICU? How about the church delivering a frozen Christmas turkey in front of your non-member in-laws who have no idea you are struggling?  I am here to tell you, there is nothing like it!

This year we are substituting this tradition with Gratitude For A Great Job/Financial Solvency/Recovery. It’s going to be bittersweet to say goodbye to this longstanding tradition, but we will try not to cry too hard about it.

The thing that I will miss the most about that tradition is visiting with the hospital nurses. They are some of my best friends and it won’t be the same this year without them.

Making Gingerbread Houses

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After seeing what my friend’s family did, I thought, “We can do that….How hard can it be?” We have actually destroyed all photographic evidence of our attempt. It was horrific.

After a brief period of delusion, I have also retired this fun filled event. Nothing says Christmas like mom saying Mormon swear words because she can’t get the graham crackers to stand up in a square.

The Colors Are Vibrant Going Down AND Coming Up!

The Colors Are Vibrant Going Down AND Coming Up!

And it’s just not the holiday season if your four year old didn’t eat four boxes of Dots (which were really meant to decorate the gingerbread houses), and vomits up in technicolor. That is celebrating, let me tell you!

Making The Holidays Healthy

If Only You Could Smell That Through The Computer!!! Mmmmm...

If Only You Could Smell That Through The Computer!!! Mmmmm…

What an awesome tradition! What better way to celebrate than with a Celebration Loaf and a Curried Quinoa salad? Who wants a decadent dessert when you can have raw brownies made out of date paste? It tastes soooooo much like the original that you can’t even tell the difference!!!!!

And who needs greasy chips when you can have your fill of deliciously dehydrated kale chips?!!!?!?!? And nothing says comfort food like Grilled Chikun (not to be confused with actual chicken) covered in a delicous cashew Cheeze Sauce with a side of mashed cauliflower!

Don’t forget to wash it down with some of that delicious non-GMO, organic, free range, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, low carb, Beach body approved water!!! Or maybe some Eggnog Shakeology!!!! Or even a Christmas Green Drink!!!!

THAT'S NOT EGG NOG!!!!!

THAT’S NOT EGG NOG!!!!! For a better taste experience, DRINK REAL EGG NOG.

While we will never go back to a really processed diet, and we really don’t eat a ton of meat or anything, there is no substitute for a delicious Christmas roast and comfort food.

Annual Holiday Fight

Oh, how we will miss the Annual Holiday Fight between mom and dad or mom and teen or dad and young adult, or between mom and dad and everyone. It’s always so enjoyable to watch everyone get pulled in to the drama and hear all the children crying at once!!

What holiday wouldn’t be complete without two or seven of your family members getting into the ring to duke it out over whether or not the fifteen year old has a crush on someone, or trying to find out why your husband decide to buy you snow tires as an “early” Christmas/birthday present, or why the younger kids are more loved than the older, or whether or not they should run away, or any number of life altering, major questions that need to be battled out, to the point of drawing blood, slamming doors, or making holes in the wall, if necessary.

Visiting Friends and Family and Going to Parties With Anyone Who Cannot Go To The Bathroom Completely By Themselves

Ah, the joy of visiting strange relatives you haven’t seen anywhere but on Facebook!! How enchanting to spend an evening in the home of dear family members who have more breakables and stairs than Buckingham Palace!!

What fun to see the fifteen month old nearly knock a tooth out falling down the stairs, or your ten year old break the neighbor’s Star Wars action figure!! How lovely to try and carry on an adult conversation with fifteen toddlers screaming and running around you in circles.

How I will miss those evenings that could rival the decibel level of the space shuttle launch!

We are replacing this tradition with Adults Only Parties and Visiting Friends and Relatives With The Kids In Five To Ten. Years.

Here are some traditions we plan on keeping forever, though. We just couldn’t give THESE up:

Annual Family Christmas Play/Program

We love to perform for ourselves and laugh at our own apparent wit and ingenuity. Put us in front of a camera at home, and we are content to ham it up with reckless abandon! We love a good reboot of such classics as “A Christmas Carol,” or “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” (We changed beheading to Chauvlin wanting to cut off people’s hair. Aren’t we clever?)

Eating

We like to eat at Christmas. This tradition will happily continue. We will eat almost anything. If you have food, there is someone in our family who will probably try it. Last year, after Christmas, my son went from house to house around dinner time offering his services to “take care of” pesky Christmas leftovers.

We will not, however, allow any of our children to eat Dots. Multicolored vomit is “out” this year.

Christmas Music

We will always and forever play Christmas music at Christmas time.

We listen, we sing, we hum, we dance. It is wonderful to be joyful with song. We have a wide and varying collection of favorites including “Feliz Navidad” by the Three Tenors, “Jingle Bells,” by Michael Buble (the kids love to repeat when the girls say, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Buble” over and over and over and over again. Because his name is funny? I don’t know why.), the hilariously grating and migraine inducing “12 Days of Christmas” by the Mormon Youth Chorus. And, there is of course, Joseph’s favorite “Cluck of the Bells,” as sung by chickens.

Please don’t even get me started on the song stylings of “Disney Princess Christmas.” You haven’t lived until you’ve heard fake Snow White singing about Christmas Eve Dinner. It’s truly unforgettable. I will leave you with another favorite…the classic croonings of Justin Bieber in “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

These are just a few of the mind blowing traditions that we have decided to keep for the coming years. And even though we will miss the old ones, we feel that truly, we are making room for more!

what the internet taught me in less than 48 hours

what the internet taught me in less than 48 hours

I had laryngitis, bronchitis, and other stuff this last week. After a trip to several doctors, I was told to go home, take some medicine and antibiotics, and go to bed.

I know I could have eaten 500 cloves of garlic and downed it with some colloidal silver, but it was easier and less smelly to take some azythromycin. I am lazy and irresponsible and like to throw away money to “big pharma.” 🙂

So I was lying in bed, after having taken some cough medicine with codeine, and I was bored out of my mind so I decided to go on the internet and read. Usually when I am more coherent, I choose more wisely, but this time, this time I just mindlessly clicked and it was amazing what I learned.

Here are just a few things I know now that I did not know before my online educational binge:

  • What a selfie stick is, that President Obama has one and has been photographed with it (which, for me, is slightly embarrassing), and that the Smithsonian does not allow them. One more reason for me to want to visit the Smithsonian, I say.
Awkward and embarrassing to me.

Awkward and embarrassing to me. This is not a political statement. I would think it were awkward even if it were a Republican or a Libertarian or whatever.

  • Octopi are terrifying and frightening. They should be put on some sort of watchlist. It’s almost as if they are trying to take over the world.

  • It is very entertaining to visit political websites and read the commentary to find out just how ridiculous and asinine supposedly literate Americans can be.
  • Young Living, Purium, ItWorks!, Isagenix, and DoTerra can all make me look fabulous, lose weight, live to be 1000 years old, improve my sex life, make me rich, and help me to discover the power within me. Also, they can make me happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
  • Clocking in at  13 tons of human waste piling up every season, Mt. Everest comes in a close second to my house.
  • In addition to finding out that I am feeding my children toxic tortilla chips, I now have to worry about fake olive oil.
  • All of my friends who are pregnant or just had a baby look way better than I do.
  • If I choose to vaccinate, I should be shot in the street, and if I choose not to vaccinate I should be shot in the street. If I have no opinion on vaccinations, I should also be shot in the street.
  • Videos of kittens, hummingbirds and people acting like normal decent human beings should make me an emotional basket case. Example: “This toddler falls down at the park. What happens next will make you sob as if you just watched the end of Steel Magnolias!!!!!!!!!” Am I really supposed to completely break down when the mother picks up the toddler and gives her a kiss and a bandaid?
  • If I lived in a normal neighborhood, I could be threatened to be shot by the police and thrown in jail if I let any of my children under 13 walk to the park all alone, thanks to all the “helpful” neighbors calling 911. Because THAT is an emergency.
  • I could be color blind or have a 4th cone or something because I saw a picture of a white and gold dress.
  • It is possible to transport a horse in a car instead of the typical horse trailer.

  • According to my Facebook friend, April, you start to feel like “crap, I am OLD” at the age of 27.
  • This month, I am supposed to raise my awareness of: puppies, books, social workers, British pie, salt, Pi, doctors, horse protection, meteorology, butchers, sleep, skipping, water and kidneys.
  • Dirt can make me happy.
  • Apparently, even though it may appear in photos that woodpeckers and weasels have a close, loving friendship, in reality, weasels are just trying to kill them.
Not As It Seems: This Is Actually A Killer Weasel

Not As It Seems: This Is Actually A Killer Weasel

  • In a shocking turn of events, it has been revealed that in February in the northeast United States, it snows. And is cold.
  • My neighborhood is full of celebrities. One of my neighbors will have artwork in a prestigious art show, another’s grandson just debuted forecasting weather on the local news, another crossed the Antarctic on a bike, and another is a real life abolitionist and hero. I can give you tours of our star studded neighborhood for a small fee.
Reflection, by Kristal, My Neighbor, featured in the Woodbury Art Show

Reflection, by Kristal, My Neighbor, featured in the Woodbury Art Show

My neighbor’s grandson, doing the weather.

My neighbor is the guy in the parka.

My neighbor is the guy in the parka. He crossed the Antarctic on a bicycle.

Tim Is My Neighbor. And A Real-Life Hero.

Tim Is My Neighbor. And A Real-Life Hero.

I will here take a moment to encourage anyone who loves music and hates slavery and sex trafficking to consider attending the benefit concert coming up on March 14th at Utah Valley University featuring Alfie Boe, Larry King, Jenny Oaks Baker, Lexie Walker, and lots of other awesome people to help with Operation Underground Railroad. It’s for a great cause, so feel free to go even if you hate music.

Yes, I am talking about you, Chris.

I am glad I am feeling better now. I don’t have time to tell you how I also learned that with just some flour, 100 pounds of cheese, a few other ingredients and six hours of my life that I can never get back, I can make homemade goldfish crackers, but that’s for another post.

Have a great day, and watch out for octopi and flying weasels.

 

victory

victory

It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the adventure called my life.

Actually, I am starting a completely new novel, I think.

After much consideration, I realize that I am just wrapping up book two in the series, which is the one where it seems like everyone is waiting and nothing really happens and it ends kind of with a “What? That’s not an ending!” because book three is coming and that’s where all the stuff starts happening again.

The last few months have been the end of book two, where things don’t seem to be going right, and victory is not eminent.

In book two, people start arguing, no one is really sure that they are going to eventually win. Is the sacrifice worth it? It seems like it might not be.

Most people think the heroes are crazy for even trying, and some of the good guys even get betrayed…and the bad guys, well, the bad guys are living it up, thinking,

We are so winning! They are so going to lose! And then we will rule the world!

So, yeah, that’s been my life the past few months.

There are victories in book two, but they don’t feel like victories and they don’t look like victories. They look for all the world like failures.

My victories look like whining children who don’t want to do their homework or their chores and me crying in my room because I can’t stand it anymore but I am sticking to my guns, because I am not going to be taken down by 4 1/2 hours of whining.

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That’s a victory that doesn’t feel like a victory because at the end of the day I end up watching Netflix to lull my mind into oblivion. But, I keep trying.

And, in an amazing plot twist, at the end of book two, I cancelled Netflix.

Way to go me, for being brave and all.

But is it really a victory? Will it work?

Will I be able to maintain my discipline and not be sucked into three seasons of ____________ in two nights because my kids won’t stop complaining about who has to sweep and mop?

My victory looks like me in yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt walking on the treadmill at 1.9 to 2.1 miles per hour as I try to maintain my composure when the SMeE headache slams me like a freight train and I keep walking.

This Is Not What It Looks Like

This Is Not What It Looks Like

And my hair isn’t done, and I don’t have any make up on and I don’t look good in yoga pants.

Especially when I am also five months pregnant.

And seriously, I am sweating at 1.9 miles per hour. Mostly because of the headache, but still.

do have some dang cute Altras, though.

This Is More Like It... ;)

This Is More Like It… Only With Hot Pink Altras.

My victory looks like having friends who love me anyway–even after they’ve seen me “work out.”

My victory looks like dinner on the table even though it isn’t all organic and it may or may not be completely balanced and/or visually appealing.

spaghetti-garlic-bread-pinterest-craftfail-400x300

That’s okay. We’re not known to be completely balanced, either.

My victory looks like, “Well, I know I really messed this up so completely that I don’t even know if I can ever fix it, but I will try again tomorrow.”

My victory looks like me explaining to my husband that I am merely having an emotional reaction rather than telling him a) I think he’s a total jerk, and b) I despise and loathe him.

(Which is totally and patently not how I really feel, but that’s what is going on in my head when he tries to tell me solutions to the problems I am venting about…Also, it’s usually how I feel when I am the one being a jerk and when I loathe and despise myself.)

My victory looks like pajamas on the couch and a really ugly low ponytail. Because, hey, I made it to the couch today!

My victories look so bad that they wouldn’t make it to Facebook. They would be flagged as inappropriate.

Today Is Not That Day.

Today Is Not That Day.

I know I will have the kind of victories that look great again someday. But the amazing, stand-up-with-the-crowd-and-cheer victories can’t come without the messy, ugly, lonely, failing type of victories that come along a lot more frequently…

So, here’s to the victories that look like failures.

Here’s to the times when you can’t stand on top of the mountain, surrounded by positive energy and sparkles and rainbows, but you are still standing at the end of the day.

Yeah, That's Not Happening Right Now, Either.

Yeah, That’s Not Happening Right Now, Either.

Here’s to the times when you don’t make it across the finish line, but you survived.

Here’s to the times when you couldn’t meditate and feel the mystic energies of the Mother Universe and live off of light and goodness and dehydrated kale….but at least you are not washing down Ben and Jerry’s with a six pack of Diet Coke.

So Not Happening...Probably Ever.

So Not Happening…Probably Ever.

These are the “book two” victories and no matter how small, they count. They count so much more than we realize.

But here is to the beginning of book three and the wonderful, magical possibilities that await the vast expanse of this undiscovered country that is my adventure called life….starting now. And I am so happy you are here to be part of it!

thank you, mr. whitman

thank you, mr. whitman

Lately, I have been feeling like I am in front of one of those magnifying mirrors under flourescent lighting. Only instead of it being one for my face, it’s a full length mirror.

Scary Magnifying Mirror

Scary Magnifying Mirror

It’s not pretty.

I feel like I am not only seeing imperfections I was very well aware I had, but I am also seeing blemishes and ugliness that I didn’t even know existed as part of me.

The other day, for example, I freely admitted out loud to my friend that I don’t like  M_____, I just said, “You know, I really don’t like her. I’ve tried to, and I just can’t. What is wrong with me?”

And I have thought about it for two weeks. How can I just not like someone?

I tried to blame it on the blood moon and Mercury retrograde, but to be honest, this has been going on for some time.

I finally realized that it’s not that I don’t like  M____, I just don’t trust her.

There is a difference. I don’t trust her with my heart because my intuition, or my little spark, or maybe even the spiritual part of me, has warned me not to trust her. I am sure there are plenty of other people who can trust her.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with either one of us, it just means we probably aren’t compatible. Or something.

I don’t know why it bugged me so much. I think it’s because I naturally just want to trust everyone, but that’s really not something we can do. And sometimes I forget that I can love someone without trusting someone.

But, how come it took me like four years to figure this out? Seriously, I’ve been feeling guilty about not liking her for that long, and now I realize that I like her just fine.

I’m so dysfunctional sometimes.

And I just have this problem of being cranky when things don’t go my way. I have been cranky all October and it has been ELEVEN DAYS.

Moi.

Moi.

October is my favorite month, but it’s not my favorite this year and I am trying to convince myself that it is, but it isn’t.

And the weather is perfect and the leaves are beautiful and I live in the best place for October (outside of Tetonia, Idaho, that is), and I am just being so ridiculously whiney.

And then people write me to ask me to write about homeschooling, and I’m like,

“Seriously? I am kind of making this up as I go along. I mean, there is a general ‘plan’ but it’s pretty general….we’re just kind of flying by the seat of our homeschool pants.”

And then I panic because to me, it’s not really that complicated, so then I start thinking,

“What if my homeschool is not complicated enough to be successful? What if I am doing it wrong because I am not worried about it all the time? I don’t even want to go to a seminar or a conference or a curriculum fair. Obviously, maybe something isn’t right. It can’t be this easy! Everyone else is freaking out about it, and what if I should be, too?!?!?!?!?”

What I Need

What I Need

I am not being very grateful that our house is never going to be finished. I am going to be homeless for the holidays. Waaaaaah. Poor me. Why don’t I get a waaambulance?

Seriously. I am being a gigantic baby.

And I finally did a real walk. A real live for real exercising walk.

It was four days ago and I still feel like I am dying.

It was exhilarating, though. There was one point where I seriously thought they might have to call a helicopter to get me off the mountain.

Next Time It Will Be Me, Not Bessie.

Next Time It Will Be Me, Not Bessie.

 

Okay, hill.

My friend wasn’t even breathing abnormally. I sounded like I needed oxygen.

My legs still hurt. And I am seriously thinking about getting those old people walking cane/sticks. I don’t even feel embarrassed about that. Shouldn’t I feel embarrassed?

I am tired of trying to make salad.

I ordered Pizza Hut for my kids twice this week. I now know my belief system in organic healthy food can be compromised by living in a three bedroom condo for four months.

Am I that unsteady? Where is my integrity?

I don’t want to hear about more things I need to do so I can be happy. I just want to be happy without having to do anything today.

My children asked a question about Halley’s Comet today and I told them I had seen it when I was younger.

And then I realized that maybe I won’t be around to see it a second time.

It’s supposed to be here again in 2061. I thought how my kids will see it, but maybe I won’t. And I definitely won’t see it when it comes around after that.

It made me feel incredibly small and insignificant and kind of melancholy for a moment. I really had this brief thought that I wanted to rebel against death and mortality and not being here for Halley’s Comet. And why does the universe have to be so immense? Why does it have to make me feel so inconsequential?

And then, I remembered that I am not really going to be gone in the way that it felt like for that moment. I will still exist and I will see Halley’s Comet. Just from a different vantage point. But, really, it made me feel homesick somehow.

One of my dear, old friends knows how I feel and says it better than I could:

O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; 5
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

And as Mr. Whitman whispers to me, I feel a stirring in the part of myself that I believe is made of stardust, and I feel part of myself yearning toward the heavens and wanting to shake off the foolishness of my worries and all of the silly minutiae that have been distracting my mind from  really living.

And I realize that it’s okay to have a bad day–or even a bad eleven days–as long as I remember that I am part of this amazing play!

Maybe this act is the one where I am going to be cranky and then shake it off in time for intermission.

Who knows?

Most importantly, I think I just need to be patient with myself and take a deep breath and look up.

Stars

Stars

Because I just found out that, even though Halley won’t return until 2061, this month, part of what used to be the comet will be showering the night sky.

It’s almost like Heaven was giving me some encouragement, don’t you think?

Thank you, Sheila G.

Thank you, Sheila G.

Dear Sheila G,

Recently I was wandering through the grocery store when I saw your product. I walked by, but then, curiosity got the best of me and I turned around and came back.

It was a moment that will define my life forever.

I didn’t have time to carefully choose a flavor, and as fate would have it, I grabbed a package of your Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle.

SGBB-Product-Page-SC-2013-e1367515813606

Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle

It is here that I must chastise you soundly. I am deeply saddened that you have not marketed this product with more dedication. Up until that fateful day a mere few weeks ago, I had never heard of Sheila G. I had never heard of Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle.

I believe that is a tragedy that could have been avoided, but I am willing to forgive this oversight if only for the reason that I want us to be friends.

In fact, I believe we need to be friends, because I need you. I need your brownie brittle.

I brought the brownie brittle home, and I put it on the counter, thinking I would try it later. There it sat for days (!!!) because I didn’t know the treasure I had sitting right in front of me.

Good For You!

Good For You!

I went through my daily motions of searching for the perfect snack, I wasted my time with Rittersport and even some Blue Bell ice cream, never realizing what was sitting on my counter–the ultimate pinnacle of crispy meets chocolate meets nirvana.

Finally, late one night, as I was struck with the sudden urge for calories, it hit me that I still had this little bag on the counter. I took it to my room and turned on my computer.

I opened the bag.

The smell that wafted from the initial opening can only be described as chocolatey bliss.

Bliss

Bliss

I realized that I was holding something special. I was part of a moment bigger than myself. This was truly a moment that would change the course of history.

I inhaled deeply, anticipation mounting as I realized I was about to take the plunge.

I took out a delicate, crispy, chocolatey piece of brittle. I looked at the specks of salty caramel. And then, I took a bite.

I don’t remember what happened after that, as I felt I was transported to a higher vibrational level, where all the world is happy and lives in harmony.

The deliciousness is something I cannot describe. The crunch, the fudgey browni-ness of it all–the salty caramel–it was a symphony of flavors dancing on my tongue.

It was a wonderful evening, thanks to you, Sheila G.

Thank you for what you have done. You have truly made the world a better place by bringing the best part of the brownie and transforming it into something that can only be described in superlatives.

Delicious Brownie Brittle Recipes

Delicious Brownie Brittle Recipes

And then, you took it one step further. Or a hundred. By creating dessert recipes using brownie brittle! I was astounded as I drooled over your website and realized that you have opened up a whole new world of desserts that I can manage (I am talking about the kids recipes section).

Brownie Brittle Popcorn

Brownie Brittle Popcorn

Congratulations on your success, Sheila G. I hope you will find a way to spread the word to the entire world about brownie brittle. I know it has the power to help us climb to the next level of consciousness…a higher, happier level. It is this I look forward to in the future, as I share the wonderful news about this life changing product.

Keep baking!

Yours Very Sincerely,

Misty Liu

Sheila G: Creator of Happiness

Sheila G: Creator of Happiness

I was not offered anything for this positive review, but Sheila G, if you are listening, I am open to receiving any free gifts you may wish to bestow upon me. 🙂

Oh, and if you are interested in trying brownie brittle, you can find it a grocery stores or order it online at Sheila G’s website.

bowls

bowls

When we moved into this home, the previous tenants had left some dishes. Here is an email I sent to my husband regarding these bowls…kind of gives you an inside view of the antics he has to put up with on a daily basis. He lovingly refers to it as “whimsy.” This is why I love John.

My Dearest John,

Recently, I have been pondering and thinking about the fantastical bowls that we discovered in this home when we moved. As I have contemplated moving and leaving them behind, I must confess that my heart has been full of a sense of foreboding–perhaps even dread.

In quiet moments as I am enjoying a generous portion of non-dairy, raw, vegan queso dip out of these dishes, I sometimes wonder if they possess magical powers.

Think about it.

It is true that we have used them for months and they have not been broken.

They seem to be able to contain a nearly unlimited portion of stir fry noodles. (Perfect for a ninja like you.)

A Bowl Fit For A Ninja Like You

a bowl fit for a ninja like you

Cereal never appears to spill out of them.

It seems almost as if they are from another world. A better world.

And here is where I must be absolutely honest with you. I profess that indeed,  I love them.

I love how deep they are.

I love that they are stoneware.

I love that they feel like they would be perfectly at home in the Weasley’s house, in a cottage in Ireland, or in a Tolnedran hostel**.

These Bowls Would Be At Home Here

these bowls would be at home here

I love that they are so very versatile: cereal or spaghetti, soup or ice cream, they never fail to please me.

Never before in my life have I loved a bowl the way I love these.

And tonight, it just struck me how empty our lives would be without this stoneware. We would only be left with the Ikea bowls that no one really likes. You know, the ones that break all the time?

They are crooked and break all the time.

these are crooked and break all the time

So, on a whim, I did some  painstaking research* and discovered the origin of these wonderful bowls.

They were once sold inside Target stores. But now, in some tragic turn of events, they are only to be found online in the Target clearance section, which means they are almost extinct!

Trying to steel myself from panicking, I took deep breaths and contemplated what you would want me to do.

I recalled the many times you have scooped up some delicious Blue Bell and smiled as you put it into the deep and roomy recesses of these beautiful bowls, and how happy you were when, not only did the ice cream fit quite nicely, but it stayed cold for a while, and also looked beautiful as you ate it.

Fits Snugly Inside The Ninja Bowl! No Spillage!

fits snugly inside the ninja bowl! no spillage!

I thought about the nights of bibimbap and how all the toppings to our rice and meat fit so nicely in the stoneware without spillage.

And I acted.

At first, I only decided to buy eight, but then I remembered that we have lots of children, and these bowls were going extinct.

I know! Devastating! But don’t worry.

I decided to buy 16.

They were $50. (Normally, they would have been $80. So I saved lots of money.)

And really, can you put a price on magical ninja bowls?

I know what you are thinking, but I am no hero.

I am just an average girl, doing what anyone would do in this situation. I just reacted quickly, acting mostly on instinct because that’s just the kind of girl I am.

No need to thank me. (But if you would like to show your gratitude, you know where to find me… 😉 )

And, thank you for rearranging the budget to allow for this special, once in a lifetime experience.

Love, Misty

**A nerdy reference to a fantasy novel I read growing up.

*By painstaking research, I googled “room essentials bowl”. It was tough.

the lamest post ever

the lamest post ever

I want to write, really I do. I am just so tired.

I don’t know why?

Addie Jayne’s due date was moved up to May 23rd. I think I am due the same time as my friend in Hawaii, which is kind of cool.

I will probably be induced a week early because of my crazy winter fun in the hospital.

I’ve done this before. You know, had a baby and everything. Why is it always a little bit terrifying?  You’d think I would be like, “Hey, I’m just having a baby again. No big deal.”

But every time I chicken out.

I am such a weenie.

I just keep thinking, “What if I change my mind at the end and can’t do it?”

Oh, well. I think that every time, but I just love my kids so much that I guess somehow I end up being able to do it…

Or something. It’s a miracle, for sure.  The miracle is that I actually don’t chicken out.

Also, why do I no longer like to cook? I used to enjoy it but I don’t like it anymore. I just can’t get all excited.  I even try to look at Pinterest to get inspired, but now it’s worse than “fitspiration.” I look at pictures of yummy recipes and instead of getting inspired I start hyperventilating because I know it’ll never be me.

I want to want it. But I don’t really want it bad enough.

Maybe it’s because everything tastes salty to me because of some weird things going on with my end of pregnancy self. (Even chocolate tastes too salty. Ick.)

Sunshine...It's What's For Breakfast!

Sunshine…It’s What’s For Breakfast!

Maybe I just need to be like those people that live in the Andes and live off of sunshine and water and sparkles.

(It’s true. They are documented. They eat sunshine for breakfast. They live to be like 2000 years old or something.)

Maybe it’s because I read blogs like “100 Days of REAL Food” where they spend week after week exposing the dangers in every single food item on the planet except for chia seeds and kale.

Which is depressing because I am sorry, I like a bit of agave here and there. And really, sometimes I use evaporated cane juice and sometimes we do takeout.

THE HORROR!!!!!!

It’s just so hard to make food sometimes. Especially when you are not able to use one side of your body or see out of your right eye and then you start vomiting because vomiting isn’t really something that complements gourmet cooking.

But, in the spirit of trying to make this post a little less lame, I am going to share some recipes with you that I liked (of course, I changed them up a bit to make them easier).

Artist's Representation of Bibimbap

Artist’s Representation of Bibimbap

Bibimbap Recipe (Rice Bowls, Korean style): I didn’t do fern break or soy bean sprouts because I am unauthentic. I am making this tomorrow night for the missionaries, but I will not be doing fried eggs on top (totally not authentic to leave it out), because it’s too hard. I am going to make the toppings ahead of time and just quickly reheat everything when they arrive. So, we’ll prepare everything at lunch so it’s not insanely crazy at dinnertime. It will just be crazy.

Also, I am not making bulgogi because mine never turns out right. I am just going to do some sort of eyeballing to make steak and pork taste Koreanish or Chineseish. We’re just going to call it fusion cooking, okay?

I am just saying that it still turns out well even if you don’t really know what you are doing. And also, we don’t like the red paste, so we use sriracha, so it’s not really bibimbap, it’s more like Chinese Rice Bowls with a touch of Korean. Fusion. Yes. Fusion.

They Look Crispy, But They Are Wilty and Soggy. They Still Taste Okay.

They Look Crispy, But They Are Wilty and Soggy. They Still Taste Okay.

I am not going to post the recipe, but I tried my best to make sweet potato fries and they were so soggy. I think I needed more cornstarch or tapioca flour to soak up the water, but they were more like sweet potato wilts.  The kids still liked them, but I was sad.

 

Zucchini Cups (Ours We Renamed Zucchini Blobs), from Sizzling Veggies

Zucchini Cups (Ours We Renamed Zucchini Blobs), from Sizzling Veggies

My entire family now wants to plant zucchini!  Why? Because we made Zucchini Crust Pizza Cups, and let me tell you they were delicious. These are not gluten free, but Kalyn’s Kitchen has an equally delicious crust recipe that is.

For pizza sauce, I didn’t have any (we have just moved here and aren’t stocked up in our pantry). I had a large can of Muir Glen organic roasted tomatoes, so I blended that in my Blendtec with Italian herbs and a bit of sugar. It was perfect. We used parmesan cheese in the crust and topped with cheddar or something.

The only problem is that I need silicone non-stick muffin cups because mine always harden in there and stick and they can’t come out in one piece, so they weren’t really cups–more like Zucchini Crust Pizza Blobs.  But, oh, well. Next time I will just put them on my silicone mat and make teensy tinesy mini-pizzas so I don’t have to deal with trying to hack away in those little muffin tins. They make me angry.

But I wasn’t angry that day, in spite of them being stuck fast to the tins–because they tasted SO good that I couldn’t help but be cheerful and happy because they were just like eating happiness.

Even people who don’t eat zucchini loved them. People who have claimed a “zucchini allergy” for over two years claimed that there must have been something in the cooking process that literally changed the composition of the zucchini into something that completely annihilated the offending allergen.

It truly was the lunch of miracles, my friends.

Where am I going with this post?

Anyway, I am sitting here at Harbour Island, wondering why I am here, and enjoying the sound of rain and the smell of magnolia and jasmine and honey in the air. It’s beautiful. But, still wondering.

Also, my husband and I got in a “conversation.” Why is it that “conversations” always happen when I am ready for a little romance. He and I are so off our yin and yang and we are just too tired and I want a good, long kiss.

Not happenin’ tonight, ladies. So instead I am writing about wilty sweet potato fries and my inexplicable fear of childbirth. I am not really afraid, just afraid enough to make it feel scary.

I also am right now at this instant dealing with some decisions I need to make (along with the 23,000 other things that Need To Be Done Before I Am Utterly Hopelessly Behind), about Very Important Things. Things that affect lives.

Have you ever been in a position where you think something and you do something about it and then you wonder that maybe it wasn’t the best way?  Maybe you weren’t really thinking straight?  But what if there were things that were right about what you did?  What if you don’t know how to figure it out?  What if you are afraid to pray–not because you might be wrong–but because you might have been even a little right?  What if you feel like you aren’t sure of things and you are in a situation where you are being gently pushed into having to look things straight on and make a decision one way or the other. And you really don’t know and it’s very complicated. Real life complicated, not which craft do I decide on for Relief Society complicated.

And what if that affects a lot of people?

What if you do it wrong?

Well, I don’t like that kind of situation, and I am not good at it, and I have no idea what to do.  I am trying to pray and ponder but I need something more. So I have taken on the spirit of the fast and I am going to ask for a blessing…I would go to the temple, but I am not sure if that’s a good health choice for my physical body right now.  I just want to do good and bring honor and joy to my Father and my Older Brother.

I rarely get that one right.

Who is to think I’ll get it right this time, on something so big?

Ah, well. Most of the greatest decisions in the world have been made by people who are just like you and me, just trying to do their best and relying on God’s greater wisdom.

We’ll see how I do.  I am not feeling particularly confident.

Thank you so much for your prayers for my friend and her daughter, Victoria.  She has felt them.  She will actually be visiting here with her family in a week. I am so happy that I can be somewhere she can stay to relax and find joy with her family during this difficult time for her. Thanks to all my friends for your sweet prayers!

I have a homeschool post coming soon–I feel a lot more “with it” with that topic than any of the ones I have tackled in this thoroughly lame post.

What’s funny is that it’s kind of a pun, because I am writing it from bed because I can’t walk right now because I can’t use the right leg to stand. So, I am writing a lame post and at the same time I am literally LAME. Ha. Ha. Smiley face. I am so doggone funny!!

Ha!  I just realized that I made a joke without intending to!  I am a lame genius and funny.  Now I know what I can tell myself in labor:

My New Labor Mantra...

My New Labor Mantra…

Yes, everything will be just fine!

I think I will try to Netflix or Amazon Instant Video my way out of having to make a decision about things tonight. Not quite ready for it. Probably a lame choice, but I am probably not totally accountable since I am temporarily lame.

Maybe I can get on my walker and find my husband and I can reunite with a long, passionate kiss before bedtime and then I will be much better able to feel the spirit. Since I am a genius, I can tell you that I have a 17.24% chance of that happening.

But who knows?  With a little faith and prayer (and if I can find the walker!), I think it could happen. It could be a night of miracles.

Until then, goodnight beautiful world!