Index of Thoughts

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Sophia who is 7 has quite the flare for drama.  She is so quick to get angry over the littlest of things.  She used to be my super easy child and now she gives me a run for my money with her outbursts.  I am hoping this is just a development stage that will pass.  The other night she went into hysterics because I only read her 5 pages out of her book.  She began to say how awful her life is and how much she hates her life and how all of her friends' lives are so much better.  All of this over only 5 pages.  What kind of mother am I?  I am so terrible to have only read so little.  It was a big book so it took a bit to read those 5 pages.  It was late and it was time for her to go bed plus I still had other children to tuck in.

So today the perfect lesson came across my Facebook page.  It was a photo journal of children all over the world and pictures of their bedrooms.  Here is the great article!

I had all of the girls gather around the computer to see and we would find on the globe each location of the children.  After that they sat down at the table to write a list of all the things that they were grateful for.

I decided to also write my own list of things that I am grateful for in this move instead of focusing on the things that I will lose.

  1. a beautiful view
  2. more time with Andy
  3. a happier husband
  4. reconnecting with old friends
  5. a bigger house
  6. a mountain house
  7. closer to ski and hike
  8. involvement in a art driven community
  9. getting to purge unused stuff
  10. having a more efficient business for Andy 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cracking nuts never gets old

Well, there's no way to title this post without chuckling to myself.  Yes, I can be immature and I am dirty-minded!  My brother and his fiancĂ© brought us a big bag of pecans last Christmas from the pecan tree on my childhood farm where my Dad still lives.  My brother, Mitch, actually proposed to Aimee under that pecan tree.  I always loved that tree too.  We were cracking some of the pecans last Christmas and my brother and I just kept going on and on with the dirty innuendos about cracking nuts.  We just kept laughing and laughing about it.  Then, Aimee walked up to us and she said "You're just like your brother.  He never gets tired of jokes about cracking nuts or ones about my chocolate truffle balls."  I don't know about you but I am proud of that statement.  It is so silly and stupid but it makes me laugh just thinking about it.  My brother and I do have a pretty simple sense of humor.  It doesn't take much to get us chuckling.

This is the memory that I was thinking of last weekend when the girls and I were cracking the pecans for our carrot cake that we made which was amazing by the way.  Then, I started thinking about the simple things that are really quite meditative.  Cracking nuts is a great activity to just silence your mind and just be.  When is the last time that first of all you have bought a bag of unshelled nuts and second sat down to crack them on your own?  You have to practice your technique to get out that perfect piece.  It's just like cracking crab legs.  Everyone has to show off getting out the perfect piece.  It takes quite some time to unshell enough to get a significant amount to show for it.  It's a great metaphor.  It reminds me of this great quote by Thomas Edison - "Opportunity is missed by people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

I really enjoyed sitting down with that bag of pecans and teaching my girls where nuts come from and how you get them out to enjoy.  We were all just sitting and concentrating and in our thoughts and silence.  Then one of us would show off a prized whole nut that was pulled out of a shell. I also got to tell them where the pecans came from and how when I was a girl Mitch and I would go out there and eat pecans.  We would get two pecans in our hands and squeeze them together to crack them against themselves.

Cracking nuts really is an art to master.  
It's a simple thing that has gotten a bit lost.
"Cracking nuts" never gets old.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Most Amazing Carrot Cake Recipe in the World.

This past Sunday I was in the mood to do a little baking.  I was also in the mood for carrot cake and lo & behold we had almost all of the ingredients!  Andy and the girls helped me make it so it was a fun Sunday family activity that we all participated in.

This cake turned out to be so amazing and moist and delicious.  I think it is the best that I have ever ever made.  And it's also egg free!  Remember several months ago when I said Georgia's egg allergy was gone?  Well, it has come back a little bit with certain things so we just steer clear of eggs when we can.  It's a bummer but we were so used to cooking without eggs that it wasn't really a thing anymore to us.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 c   All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 c   Sugar
1/4 c   Brown Sugar, packed (dark or light)
1  1/2 t   Baking Soda
1 t   Baking Powder
1 t  Salt
4 t  Cinnamon
1/4 t  Nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1/8 t  Ground Cloves 
1/4 t  Ground Ginger
2 c  Finely Grated Peeled Carrot, packed
1 c  Coconut Flakes, sweetened
1 c  Raisins 
1 can 8 oz  Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 c  Vegetable Oil
2 t  Vanilla Extract
3 T ground golden flax seed meal
3 T coconut water
1/2 c  chopped Pecans for topping
oil or spray for pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by oiling pan and line with a parchment paper round on the bottom then spray the top of the parchment (don't skip this step - trust me!). 

In a large bowl whisk well:  Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, all Spices.

Peel then Grate approx 5-6 medium Carrots to yield 2 cups packed.  Grate Carrots finely to no more than 1/4 inch pieces.  Or process in a food processor until finely grated but not mush.  It is important that you peel the Carrots before grating.  You do not want the tough skins in your cake.

In a medium bowl add Carrots, Drained Pineapple, Raisins, Coconut Flakes and mix well with a big spoon.

To this mixture add the Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Extract, flax seed meal and coconut water and mix well.  Scrape down bowl often.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well mixed (about a min.).  Do not over mix.

Pour divided into prepared (as above) 9 inch cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Half way through cooking rotate the pans for even cooking.  A toothpick will come out clean when done.  All ovens vary in timing so check at lowest time first and if not done put back in oven and recheck in 2- 3 minutes.

Allow to cool completely in pan for 1-2 hrs. before removing to ice with Cream Cheese Icing.  Recipe below.  Place 1/4 of icing between the two layers and when placing the top cake layer on, put the flat side of the cake (the bottom when it was in the cake pan) facing up for a flat top which makes a more attractive cake and easier to ice.  I also like to flash freeze my cakes after they have cooled.  The icing is so much easier to put on.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 stick Butter, salted, softened
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (1 bar)
2 c Powdered Sugar
2 t Vanilla Extract
2 t fresh orange zest
1 to 2 T half and half

Allow Butter and Cream Cheese to sit out until at room temperature and softened.
In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.

Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Then add the Cream Cheese and cream for 2 minutes or so more until well mixed.

1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.

Add Vanilla and Orange Zest and mix well.  Use half and half to help make the right consistency. 

Ice the cake and top with the chopped pecans.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Video Story time with Georgia & Sophia. Cinderella Shadow Puppet Theater.

The girls learned about the story of Cinderella this week and we read some different versions.  We also talked about folk lore and storytelling.  They created their own fairy tales too.

Here is the Disney version that the girls are presenting to you guys with their shadow puppet theater.


We had to do it in two parts due to the length of the show.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From the big box of my life. Fat and Happy

What comes to mind when you say the phrase "Fat and Happy"?

You can logically say that you don't mind being a little chunky because of x, y or z.  But internally most people have a different rehearsed verse that they say which is "I am not enough".  This thought is not gender bias either.  Men and women all are on the same train in this area.  Your mind and heart will tell you all the reasons why you should be happy even though your jeans are too tight or you have one hell of an awesome muffin top or spare tire or that you don't look like you did when you were 17 in your swimsuit.

I'm here to talk about this problem.

Even though you can rationalize why you should be happy at wherever you are, your ego will tell you that it's not good enough.  I am all for being healthy but that's not the issue here.  It's more than that. Because even when people lose all the weight and look stellar, they still have that internal dialogue that says "I am not enough".  I wish our society saw weight differently.  I wish we could tell ourselves that we are beautiful!

I am happy and I am beautiful and I don't fit in my skinny jeans anymore.  I am fat and happy and healthy!  I wear a size 8/10 for god's sake.  Shouldn't that be good enough?  Anyone who looks at me would say that I don't need to lose any weight.

Let me tell you TWO HUGE POINTS that will hopefully change your minds as well as reiterating them to myself.

1)  I have been skinny two times in my life.  Both times were stressful and unhappy when I look back on them.  The first being when I was in high school.  After I hit puberty in about the 9th grade (I was a late bloomer), I found out real quick that I couldn't eat like I did when I was a kid.  I packed on some weight and developed hips and a healthy rear end.  I was still about a size 8 but that was way bigger than I was before.  Then there was this girl who was so mean to me in high school and her sidekick friend.  We seemed to always like the same guy at the same time.  She threatened to beat me up after school and was so ugly to me.  We were kinda in the same group of friends.  But, she would try to make them not like me.  Then she started calling me "Fat Ass" to everyone.  I did my best just to ignore her and not engage in her ridiculousness.  But, the term fat ass just really hurt.  Needless to say, I lost all that weight and my senior year I graduated being a size 6.  Later, her sidekick friend did apologize to me.  How many of you have a similar story of someone saying something to you as a kid?  The next time I was that skinny and even skinnier was after the affair.  I couldn't even eat anything and when I did, I usually threw it up because I felt so sick.  I don't ever want to feel that way again.  Too skinny means sick and unhappy for my body type.

My senior year prom and 125 lbs. in 1996.  Try to call me Fat Ass now!!

Unhappy and Stressful time in 2009.  I remember these jeans were a size 6 and falling off me.

2)  A girlfriend of mine and I were talking about this subject and she told me the most wonderful story about her friend.  One of her friends got super, super heavy with her pregnancy.  I think that she said she got to around 250 lbs. and she is just over 5' tall.  She lost all the weight and got to be iddy biddy.  She was also single at this time.  Well, let me tell you - she said that she got so much "action" and was hit on all the time when she was just under 200 lbs.  Once she got to be pretty skinny, the guys didn't really pay much attention to her anymore.  She is a confident person who carries herself which is definitely attractive.  But when she had the extra curves and a voluptuous body, she was sexy and freaking hot!  My husband, Andy, always tells me that he likes it when I have some extra umph on me.  I am realizing that he is really telling me the truth and not just being nice.

Andy & I stupid happy in 2003 at Lake Powell and with a little extra junk in the trunk!

I hope those things help you figure out what caused your thinking of not being enough.  Are you healthy?  Are you happy?  Do you constantly say that you need to lose just a little bit more?

If you answered YES to these questions, then you need to just be "fat and happy" and own it and wear it and shout out "I am beautiful".

My mom just recently did a lot of traveling over in Eastern Europe.  She noticed that almost all the women over there have a little chunka lunka on them.  They aren't overweight but they seem to be okay with not being obsessed with that unobtainable body image.

I have a challenge for us all today.

-Tell your ego that you will not support it's stupid belief that you are not enough.  Don't listen to it's cruel words.
-Throw away your skinny jeans.
-Eat a piece of cake.
-Make Love with the light ON.
-Tell someone that you are beautiful.
-Write a post-it to yourself that says "My extra ____lbs. makes me sexy, beautiful, confident and a happy person."
-Stop yourself from saying out loud that you need to lose just a little bit more weight.  The more you say it then the more you internalize it.  Instead say "I feel great and plan on doing more things that help me feel fabulous."

In writing this to you all, I am also engraving this on myself.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday. things to miss

I decided last week that I would take photos of the little treasures that I will miss in my home.  They may seem random to you but they are the things that surround me and I have grown to love them.

I have been having a difficult time moving forward with this relocation.  I am excited about it but I really really associate my safety, security and foundation around my house.  It is so unsettling to feel ungrounded.  I know that I will be fine once I get my stuff situated into the new house.

I've been doing little things to help myself be grounded.  I try to go barefoot all the time at home.  I meditate and visualize my roots going into the ground from my feet.  I have been rubbing my feet.  You can also take an epsom salt bath which I plan on doing too.

I know it is just situational but what a strange feeling for me to feel ungrounded.  I've never had a problem staying grounded.  My areas of work are always my heart and solar plexus areas.  I am being kind to myself until we get moved to the new house.

Here are the little details that make my home:

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