In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Life is too short isms

For many years I  said, “Life is hard and then you die.”

Yes, life is hard.

And yes,  we all will eventually die.

But, in the meantime I must live.

As I’ve gotten older my perspectives on life keep changing.

It’s way too short.

I could have one more day on this earth or fifty or many many more days’.

The only thing I know fore sure is that I have this moment.

Now I say, “Life may be hard at times, but it is too damn short and then you die, so get out there and live in today.”

Here are some of my life is too short isms…

Life is too short…

…to get worked up over the milk spills in my life.

Life is too short…

…to eat the shit sandwiches served up on the menu of my life.

Life is too short…

…to spend pouting today over something that will not really matter tomorrow or the next.

Life is too short…

…to give my power away to a person…especially someone that does not deserve to have this over me.

Life is too short…

….to not be doing things I love. Every single day.

Life is too short…

…to not love completely and with full abandon.

Life is too short…

…for hate, bitterness, meanness, or bullies to be in it.

Life is too short…

…to not spend it with people I love.

Life is too short…

…to not say “I love you” to my loved one’s  as often as I can.

Life is too short…

…to not take the love I feel and put it into action with those I love but most importantly with those that I live with every day.

Love is not just a word or a feeling. It is a verb.

Life is too short…

…to live with a grudge and without grace in my heart.

Life is too short…

…to make mountains out of molehills.

Life is too short…

…to not stop, breathe slowly and wrap myself in the goodness & beauty that surrounds me.

Life is too short…

…to focus on the piles of laundry, the dishes that need washing, the bathroom that needs cleaning, and the dirty little hand prints on the windows. And instead focus on the fact that I have a home to clean and loved ones to share it with.

Life is too short…

…to not laugh at myself & the many errors I make…

…to not find the humor in my daily life because laughter is the best medicine for my soul.

Life is too short…

…to think everything is about me.

Life is too short…

…to not treat myself with the same respect I give others.

Life is too short…

…to not enjoy the simple pleasures in my life…a beautiful sunrise or sunset…a child's laughter…the smile of a stranger.

Life is too short…

…to not cry when I am sad or when my heart is broken by the things it see’s or hears.

Life is too short…

…to not ask for someone to hold my hand when I am facing the giants or monsters in my life.

Life is too short…

…to not smile at strangers and the people I love.

Life is too short…

…to not take chances.

Life is too short…

…to not dance with wild abandon or to sing along to my favorite songs. Even if I cannot do either of these well.

Life is too short…

…to sit for hours in front of a box watching other people live instead of being out there living it myself…well, except for football or baseball. :) which then I could say, life is too short to not take the  time to watch a really good football game.

Life is too short…

…to not risk failure once, twice or more in order to do something I desire to learn or do.

Life is too short..

…to not participate in my own life's happiness.

Life is too short…

…to keep everything hidden inside and to instead set it free so that I too am free to fly.

Life is too short…

…to try to change the people around me and to embrace them and welcome their uniqueness.

Life is too short…

…to have to be right about everything or to know all the answers.

Life is too short…

…to procrastinate taking the steps to do the things I talk about doing “some day”.

Life is too short…

…to get to the end of my life and have it be full of regrets.

 Life is too short…

…for me to not be living out loud right now.

Not tomorrow or next month or when I’m feeling better or thinner or I have more money or I have my house in order. But right now.

How about you? Are you living the life you want to live right now?

Do you have any life is too short isms?

I would love to hear them.

Please know I have been trying to get around to your places and even if I visit I haven’t been leaving comments all too often. I haven’t been feeling the best(thyroid & pain issues) and we are trying to get the little’s bedrooms painted.

When I say we, I mean my husband. :)

I get to be the one to try to keep the chaos and mess to a minimum and keeping the little’s out of the paint. :)

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Married to the milk man

Quite often when I get asked what my husband does for a living, they either think I am kidding or are surprised.

I was talking to a woman the other day and she asked me what my husband does for a living, to which I replied, “He’s a milkman.” At first she thought I was kidding. Then she assumed I meant the kind of milkman that drives a big bulk truck that picks up milk at farms and then hauls it to a processing plant or the truck that hauls it from the plant to the stores. She was surprised that he is like the old fashioned milk delivery men that delivered milk in glass bottles to  door steps 30-40 or more years ago to peoples door steps.

Bottles like these…


…from my old milk bottle collection.


Needless to say, they no longer deliver in glass bottles like this. I sure wished they did though.

When I did daycare, I had a milk man that delivered 5 gallons of milk & other items such as cheese and butter, to my doorstep 2 times a week. It didn’t cost any more then in the store because I returned my bottles to him each time he dropped off new milk. I loved having this service since most of the time I was too exhausted at the end of the day to run to the store for milk.

Anyways…I ended up marrying a milk man…not my milk man mind you but a milk man nonetheless…and now you could say he’s my milk man. :)

My husband used to deliver for the local creamery but about 3 years ago he started to deliver for a young man that had worked on his own family dairy farm, built it up, and then built his own processing plant on their farm. They process(pasteurize) their milk at the lowest possible temperature in order to keep all the good stuff in the milk and then bottle it. They also make butter.

They also raise beef, have it processed locally and sell this too.

My husband will also deliver cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, organic chickens and eggs. 

The bulk of what he delivers is milk & other milk products to restaurants, nursing homes, apartments for the elderly, resorts, schools, daycares, grocery stores and yes to people’s homes…If you can believe this, he walks into their houses and puts their milk & whatever else they may order, into their refrigerator or freezer, for those that are not home during the day! Talk about service and trust.

I say hurray for people like this young man that have worked hard their whole lives on the family farm and have the guts to cut out the middle man, so that they could reap the full benefits of the family farm.

I say hurray for people like my husband who works hard to bring this kind of service to people in their homes…a kind of service that is a rarity in many communities. 

Little man gets to go with him on the weekends to help clean and wash his truck and then load it for the next day. Of course he say’s that some day he is going to deliver milk and own the farm that the cows live on. We will see won’t we? :)

Hope your having a terrific Tuesday!

Until next time, love & hugs…and I’ll throw in some smiles. Lori



Monday, September 20, 2010

Cupcakes Galore

Remember how I made cupcakes for a wedding recently?

I was so consumed with getting it all set up at the reception and getting back home to get ready for the actual wedding that I totally forgot to take any photo’s. I finally got some photo’s of the finished product so I can now share them with you.

It may have taken us all day, but we did it. My dear daughter stayed true to her word and helped me all day.

Secretly, I think she just wanted a chance to break in her brand new apron…and that she did. Should have gotten a picture of that hot mess. :)

We made quite a hot mess indeed. I almost let my daughter take a picture of our big fat mess. Almost.

My daughter has a picture taking addiction so if it had been up to her, she would have taken pictures every 5 minutes. My threats to break her camera right at the start made her come to her senses and put it away. :)

The little’s made a big fat mess of the living room. All things considering, no one got hurt and they had a lot of fun.

A couple of them snuck into the mess…


…of course they had to have a couple of licks. And of course before we chased them back out of the kitchen a picture had to be taken.

My daughter didn’t leave for the prewedding festivities until we frosted the last cupcake…cupcakes that looked like this…IMG_4145

…and boxed them all up and of course took pictures of our handiwork.

If you’ve ever wondered what 300+ cupcakes look like…


..and no this isn’t  all of them.

…and a cake that will eventually get a really cute topper…


We really did have fun doing all of this. I think the hardest part was making the display stand to put all of this on. I used tackle boxes & cake boards and threw in some bobbers.

My husband came home from work just as we were finishing. He was quite relieved that all he had to help with was the clean up of a very messy kitchen.

On Saturday morning, I went to the brides parents home and we set it all up. The bride & groom were thrilled with our handiwork…that’s what mattered the most…



The topper was so fitting for the bride & groom.



Can you tell they like to fish?

It really did look good when it was all put together…bobbers, tackle boxes and all.



The wedding was short, sweet and simple. Perfect. The bride was exceptionally beautiful. The groom was totally smitten with his bride.

On the way to the wedding the 3 little’s asked if God was going to be at the wedding. Of course I said yes.

I think this helped them behave during the ceremony. :)

… and he was there…in the beautiful sunshine & perfect weather that was neither hot nor cold…in the love that was so evident between the bride & the groom…in the joy of little & big people dancing on the dance floor.

Being a part of a wedding like this was such an honor…and such a joy.

Little man made friends with the entire band. Of course he did. He danced to every single song until he went home well past dark.  

The other 2 little’s did a pretty good job of dancing themselves, as they danced until they fell asleep in our arms.

Of course us big people had a good time ourselves as dancing is my most favorite part of a wedding.

When I was dancing with the bride, I kept picturing her as this little girl I once knew her to be. She is still the same sweet fantastic person, just older.

Last but not least, the recipe for the cupcakes for those of you that have asked for it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart
Makes 24 Cupcakes (To make a decent size cupcake, it makes about 18)

3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola oil or applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with foil liners or squares of foil for the rustic look; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed. Spoon batter out evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Marshmallow Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Regular size  tub of marshmallow cream

For Assembly:
Crushed Graham Crackers
24 individual Hershey chocolates or kisses

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy each time
Beat in the vanilla until incorporated. Add the marshmallow fluff and beat until creamy.

To Assemble the Cupcakes:
Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. I used a cheap cake decorating kit but you could use a plastic bag & cut out the end. Top the piped frosting with crushed graham crackers (you can put them in the food processor until they are fine crumbs) and an individual piece of kisses or Hershey chocolate pieces.

These really are delicious.  The brides mom told me that every single cupcake got eaten. How wonderful.

My next cupcake making adventure will be in October for my brothers surprise birthday party.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tea for two

Once upon a time there was special little princess that loved to dress up.

The princess put on her finest white dress and fanciest green frog boots and went to tea party.



The princess loved to attend parties outside.


She sat at the loveliest of tables that was set for two.


Sitting all alone, the princess wished  for a handsome prince to join her.

Could this be a handsome prince coming to join her?


The prince wasn’t sure if he wanted to join the princess.

Aren’t tea parties just for girls?


He came closer to the table and thought about sitting down with the beautiful princess.

After all, she was pretty cute.

teaparty22 And more importantly, the princess was eating food that looked very yummy.

The princes tummy began to growl.


The prince decided he could sit down for a minute.

It won’t hurt to take a bite or two.

He didn’t know there was such good food at tea parties.


The prince was overcome with generosity and said, “Beautiful princess would you like some of mine too?”


What a perfect gentleman.

Before he knew it, the prince was having fun.

The two of them made toasts with one another.



The prince drank his tea with delight.


Of course the princess loves tea and she knew how to stick out her little pinky perfectly.


The prince was sure happy that he had sat down to enjoy such fare.



The little princess was quite happy that she didn’t have to eat & drink alone.


Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess and a handsome prince that took time out of their day to have tea.


Thank you to my dear daughter that did this tea party for them yesterday while I was at work. You made little lady’s day!Thank you for making such good memories with them.

Little lady was still in her dress when I got home from work and so happy to tell me about the tea party.

I seen these pictures and just had to share the sweetness.

I am so thankful for these simple things in life that put such smiles on their faces & mine.

Happy weekend!

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori


Friday, September 17, 2010

Randomly Blessed

It’s been a tough week.

Lots of pain which is discouraging.

It gives me horrible nightmares which makes it really hard to sleep.

I get tired of talking about it so most of the time I say nothing.

I had another court hearing in regards to my neck & head injuries. Work comp lawyers can be vicious & mean. They are doing what they are paid to do, yes. But, it does nothing to take away the frustration & anger I feel. Why can’t they just play fair?

Why does it seem like they take pleasure in replaying every single detail of my attack over and over again?

I finally got to see the doctor yesterday, that my treating doctor(the doc I’ve had from the beginning of my injury) referred me to see, 13 months ago. The work comp company spent over 15,000 & 9 months fighting over me seeing this doctor, before a judge ordered in my favor. What is so ironic is that the cost of my seeing this doctor is so minimal…like less then $2000.

Does this make any sense?

Now that they are fighting over something else, I wonder when all of this will end.

I wonder how many more times I will have to look them in the face while they dissect & replay the attack in court?

I suppose the answer could be a lot since the doctors still want me to have numerous things done.

It’s a waiting game.

All of it is a big fat mess. When all of this is seen with eye’s of pain, it can be a bit over whelming.

Seeing life through the eye’s of pain changes a person.

It makes me work harder to see the good and the blessings before me.

In spite of lawyers, doctors and pain my life is still good and full of goodness. It’s these kinds of things that get me through weeks like this.

It’s these 3 and their shenanigans that keep me seeing the humor in life.


How could I not?

Without humor I think I would have lost it years ago.

A proud moment this week…

Yesterday morning, as little man and I walked to his bus stop, he told me, that after school, he wanted to walk from the bus stop all by himself.

I had told him on the first day of school that when he was ready to walk by himself, he needed to tell me. He was very fearful and had told me that he was never going to be able to do that. I had told him that I believed he could do it and when he was ready he would and left it at that.

So yesterday, being my day off, I was waiting for him inside the house. Out of breath, he burst through the door and ran into my arms, proudly saying, “I did it! You knew I could do it and I did it!!”

He was so proud.

And so was I.

I thought about this later…isn’t this what we all want? Somebody to believe in us when we can’t.

This is such a lesson of how important it is for us to believe for those around us. Our believing says to them that we believe them to be capable & able.

I believe that this little spit fire teaches me a lesson in patience every single day, even though she cracks me up in the process.Nevaeh's new clothes 009

One of the funniest things said by my grandson this week…

While I was at my doctors appointment my daughter took her son and little lady to McDonalds to play. While they were there, some policemen and a police woman came in to eat. My daughter said to them, “See, women can be policemen too. Maybe I could be a police woman some day too.” My grandson did not miss a beat and exclaimed, “Yep for Halloween!”

Too funny. :)

I hear a lot of sweet things come out of the little’s mouths but I must say that the sweetest thing said this week was from little man…

Last evening, just before bed, little man blurted out, “I told the playground lady that I love her.”

We said, “You said what?”

He repeated, “I told the playground lady that I love her.”…”She’s really nice to me and all the kids so I told her that I love her.”

We asked him,”What did she say?”

He said, “She gave me a hug and said that is really nice.”

How sweet is that!

I am so thankful it is Friday. I hope it’s a fantastic one for all of you…that leads into a great weekend.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend getting to do something you love…something that puts a smile on your face and makes you refreshed.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori






Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

Since I have gotten a few requests for how I make our yogurt I thought I would share it with you. Some of you have no desire to make yogurt let alone eat it so I understand if you just skip on by . :)…or you could just say hello since your here anyways. :)

It really is easy… if I can do it, anyone can do it. :)

I do have a yogurt maker that I still use… thanks to my dear sister…


…but I cannot keep up with the demand so I have resorted to an alternative method because I can make much larger batches this way.

You do NOT need a yogurt maker to make your own delicious goodness.

If you and your family go through a lot of yogurt this really is the way to go.  Since I pay $3 for a gallon of milk it basically costs me $3 to make a gallon of yogurt.

And not just any yogurt…the best yogurt you will EVER eat.

We also drain our yogurt to make Greek yogurt and use it to replace sour cream, which is all the more reason to make it!

To start out you need any kind of milk…raw or pasteurized. Cow, goat or sheep milk or even powdered milk work.  I use whole raw organic cows milk.

yogurt making 024

You will also need a plain yogurt starter, with live cultures that don’t have anything added to it. No sugar or pectin. No fruit. If it does, it will not work. After this first time, you will set aside some yogurt to use for your next batch. You will do this each time you make it.

yogurt making 022

You can also buy freeze dried yogurt starter.

yogurt making 032  You can also take a batch of yogurt and freeze it in ice cube trays and then put it in baggies to pull out as you need it. I haven’t tried this yet but am planning on doing that soon.

You will need a large jar or container to incubate the yogurt in.

yogurt making 023

A large pan and thermometer. You can use a double boiler if you would like.

yogurt making 013

A heating pad and a couple of dish towels for the incubation of the yogurt. I lay my heating pad on a board.

yogurt making 027 There are other ways to incubate the yogurt but I found this keeps the most consistent heat and I can just forget about it for a good 7 hours.

I did try the Crockpot and it did turn out but I had a harder time keeping it at that consistent temperature. I also tried the oven method but again I struggled with keeping a consistent temp of 90-110 degrees and fretted needlessly about it because in the end it turned out just fine. :)

Measure milk into large pan and heat over medium heat. I put a little bit more milk then the amount of yogurt I plan on making because some of it evaporates.

yogurt making 030 

Some people recommend stirring the milk. I have never done this and my yogurt has always turned out.

At this time, I  remove my yogurt culture from the refrigerator so that it will be at room temperature by the time I need it. I have used 6 oz of yogurt but in my research found out that I could even use less. I have now been using about 2 T yogurt per quart of milk.

I put the yogurt into the container I am going to mix it with the milk in. If the jar I am using has a wide mouth on it, I will use that. If I don’t have yogurt I pour  a package of the freeze dried starter into the bowl or container.

yogurt making 033 

Put thermometer in pan so you can monitor the temperature. Once it reaches 180 degrees, turn down the heat and keep at this temperature for a few minutes. Then shut burner off and remove from heat.

Let cool down to 110 degrees. You can make this time shorter by setting the pan in ice water. It should not be any hotter then this when you add it to your culture as it could kill the cultures. Some say that it could be 120-130 degrees but I’ve never tried this.

Once it is 110 degrees, skim any film off that formed on the top of the milk. Then pour a little of the warm milk into your yogurt culture and stir well with a wire whisk.


Add rest of warm milk and stir well. If you are putting the yogurt into a different jar then pour into the jar and cover. If you did your mixing inside your wide mouth jar, put your lid on.

Set jar on your heating pad.


This is your incubator. This is what replaces the yogurt makers base.


The purpose of incubation is to keep the yogurt between 90-110 degrees for a period of time to let it ferment.

Make sure the heating pad is not one that automatically shuts off. Set pad to medium.

Cover with dish towel. I use 2 because my kitchen is cool right now due to our cooler weather. The towels replace the plastic dome that a yogurt maker has.


If your kitchen is drafty and cooler you may need to wrap the heating pad and jar in a thicker towel to maintain that consistent heat. You will want to check the temperature about an hour later to see if the temperature is staying between 90-110.

Heating pads can vary so adjust yours to keep the right temperature.

When you check the temperature if it is above this temperature, turn down heating pad or take off one of the towels. If it seems to be cooling down too much add another towel.

Remember, once you have done this a couple of times and know what works for you to keep it at a consistent temperature, you will be able to leave it and walk away from it for the incubation period.

If you are using whole milk your incubation time will be 7 hours. 9 hours for 2%. 11 hours for 1%. 12 hours for skim.

The more fat in your milk the shorter the time of incubation. The longer you let it ferment the more sour it will be. 

Since I use whole milk, at 7 hours I  check my yogurt. If it looks like custard it is done incubating. It will still be thin. Do NOT stir or shake to mix as this will disturb the cultures. Carefully set jar in refrigerator. It will thicken up as it cools down. Cool for at least 2 hours. Some recommend longer.

I really think it comes down to experimenting and trial & error. I have found that 7 hours has been pretty consistent in getting good results with whole milk.

Once your yogurt is done cooling it is ready to eat.

You can sweeten with a little honey or pure maple syrup.

We usually add fresh fruit and sometimes granola on top.


Honestly, it tastes like you are eating dessert. 

 If you want thicker yogurt,(often called Greek yogurt) you can put a coffee filter in a strainer and set in taller bowl.

yogurt making 016

Or if you have cheese cloth you can drain it in this also. Put yogurt in filter or cloth and set back in refrigerator. I drain mine for at least 2 hours but often times I drain it overnight. The longer it drains the thicker it will be. It is thick and creamy and can also be used to replace sour cream on things you eat and for baking and cooking.

The liquid that drains from the yogurt is whey.

yogurt making 021

It is very good for you. I suppose you could drink it like a friend of mine does. But honestly I don’t think most people would like that.

You can put it in a spray bottle and spray your hair with it and let it sit for a while before washing out. You can also use it on your skin. Some put it into the bathtub and soak in it. I use mine in place of water when I make breads. It gives bread such a good flavor. Some use it as part of the liquid to make smoothies.

I have read that you can thicken your yogurt by adding a package of Knox gelatin or powdered milk to your yogurt when you are adding the warm milk to the yogurt culture. I have personally never tried this. If you do this, you must make sure you don’t use this yogurt as a culture to make your next batch.

On occasion I have added 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup and 1/4 cup of pureed strawberries to the yogurt starter. If I do this, I take them out and leave on counter to bring to room temperature at the same time I take the yogurt out. I do this mainly for the little lady who likes pink yogurt.

When my finished product seems to be more runny(usually after about 5-6 batches) I take this as a sign that my culture has grown weak so I start my next batch with a fresh culture. Presently I use the freeze dried starter since it is cost efficient and I don’t have to run out and find good yogurt to use. One box has 6 pouches and costs me just under $6. You can order this online or find it at health food stores or at a coop like I do.

I still use the runny yogurt because it’s still good and is perfect for smoothies.

The yogurt is suppose to last at least a week(some say 2 weeks) but I wouldn’t know because it goes too quickly.

So there you go. If you give this a try let me know how it goes.

Good luck!

My next project? Learning how to make homemade laundry soap. Wish me luck! :) 

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Little Miss Smarty Pants

On Monday evening little lady and I started a 4 year old school readiness class that we will go to together until the end of October. She was pretty excited about going.

Before we went, I prepared her for what we would be doing and what I expected out of her behavior wise.

I’ve said this here before, little lady is a hand full. Actually I should say 2 handfuls. She can be the sweetest little girl ever but that can change within the hour.

Can I just say drama queen?

She is a dress wearing girlie girl that likes to play football and to play in the dirt. Between her and the 2 boys she gets the dirtiest.

If it were up to her, she would be with me 24/7 and loudly protests when this is not the case. So getting to go to a class and having me all to herself is right up her ally.

Being the temperamental challenge that she can be, I talked to her about not saying her made up “naughty words” at the school.

What are made up naughty words you ask? She makes up words or uses common words and uses them as if to swear when she doesn’t like something or doesn’t get her way or is angry at someone…namely her brother or her cousin.

We don’t swear in our home(not saying we never do but control it around the little ears) so she doesn’t use any of those words. Instead she makes up her own or uses the word of the day and says them with such infliction that it sounds like swearing. Just so you know, we don’t do that when we get anger either. :) …so I don’t have a clue to where she gets this??????

Her latest words are “barner” and “barnyard”.

Anyways, I talked to her about not saying these words at school.

She isn’t suppose to say them at home either but you get my point.

So off we went to school.

I really wasn’t sure how she would act. I didn’t want her saying these words but I also didn’t want her being clingy and too shy either.

Quite contrary. She was anything but shy or clingy.

Little lady has this ability to say, do certain things and make faces that make me laugh. A lot. It wasn’t just me either. She made the teachers and other parents laugh too.

She did this quite a bit this night.

After the opening circle time, they had us going to different stations to do various tasks. We were at the first  station and she say’s to me, “Mommy do you even know what you are doing?” To which I laughed and said, “Of course I do.” and we went on with our tasks. She kept saying this at every station.

A short time later, I discovered we were at the wrong station and I said, “Oops we’re at the wrong station.” To which she loudly announced, “I just knew you didn’t know what you were doing!”

As I was walking to the parent room for the last 30 minutes of our time, she says to me from across the room, “Don’t worry Mommy I won’t say any of my naughty words until I get home!”


At the end of the night, as I came out of the parents room, she loudly asks me, “Can we run out to Wal-Mart and buy a new vcr so I can check out this movie?” as she waves a vhs movie at me.

Good grief.

Of course I said “No” and I watched as her little mouth opened and started to move and  I shook my head at her…I held my breathe waiting for her to embarrass me…and nothing came out. I was so proud of her.

As we walked holding hands, down the hall to leave the school, I told her how proud I was of her for not saying any naughty words at school. To which she proudly announced, “Oh silly Mommy, I just said them really really soft like this.” And she leans into me and whispers, “Oh barnyard.”

I’ve got my work cut out for me with little miss smarty pants.

As if I didn’t already know this.

Have a wildly wonderful Wednesday!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


PS Jordan is doing great at school! 


Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Marvelous Monday

As I stepped out into this perfect fall morning to walk little man to his bus stop, the cool crisp 40 some degrees felt refreshing. Even though it will warm up into the 60’s today, it won’t be long and that number will be closer to 0.

With each step you could hear the crunch of the acorns underneath our feet. The beautiful shining sun…a perfectly shade of blue sky…the squirrels chasing each other…birds singing to us as we walked…a rabbit hopping across a lawn..the quiet stillness of a new day beginning…I breathed in the fresh air and for a couple of moments I just took all of this goodness in.

Little mans hand tightly in mine as we walked in silence for those few moments. I broke the silence by saying to him,”Isn’t this a marvelous Monday?” He remained quiet as if in thought and then said, “Yes, but it would be more marvelous if you were coming with me to school.”

Of course he didn’t like my answer and of course he got on the bus without me…he will be just fine as he starts another week of school.

As I walked back home alone, I wrapped myself around the peace & beauty. We really do live in a beautiful place. For the most part our rural community is safe and has very little crime. 

The big corporate farms haven’t taken over the small farmers. There are people that still don’t lock their doors at night. Kids still run around and play through the neighborhoods. People know your name when you go into the drug store. We still have 2 full service gas stations…yep they still pump your gas, wash your windows and check your tires or oil if you ask them to.

My travel to work take me by cows, goats and horses and rolling fields of hay,corn, wheat and beans, big red barns, tractors and combines working to harvest. 

Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I take all of this for granted. Sometimes I am so focused on doing or on what needs to be done, that I miss what is before me.

It’s another marvelous Monday & today I am going to enjoy & appreciate the gifts that fill up my day.

I hope you and yours have a marvelous Monday! What will fill up your Monday?

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Love…

I love…

…lazy relaxed weekend mornings, to just enjoy all that is in this moment…the little’s so sweet with their affections & hearing their cartoons in the background…my husband making me coffee & really getting to enjoy it with him…and later enjoying the wonderful breakfast he makes us, which in all honesty is no different then what I make but it tastes so good when someone else makes it…no hurrying or scrambling about to get things done or to get somewhere. Us, just being together. I love to wrap myself in these simple priceless moments.

…the smell of tomatoes, onions and garlic roasting in my oven mixed with the smell of fresh air flowing through the open windows…yum.

… making tomato soup with the roasted goodness mentioned above and seeing my family love it.

…the smell of sourdough bread baking in the oven…and using it to make grilled cheese sandwiches to dunk into the roasted tomato soup. (darn bread making…when I’m trying not to eat breads...)

…the wonderful taste of my homemade yogurt…and that it is so darn easy to make.

…friends that call because they know you will listen & understand.

…friends that call for no reason.

…when little lady call’s me her beautiful little mommy numerous times a day… because I am not feeling so beautiful or little these days.

…seeing my little’s smile for no other reason then just being happy.

…that my daughter & her son are here and that I get to be her cheerleader and she is mine.

…football…cheering for my favorite teams along with my family…hearing the little’s scream “Goooo Vikings!” as they jump up & down is priceless.

…that it is fall…which means cooler temps…can all the  hormonal women that understand what I mean by this, give me a loud amen? :)

…campfires, playing football outside with the little’s, and looking forward to the beauty that will soon surround us with all the changing colors.

…the sound of my adult children’s voices when they call me just to talk or to tell me what’s going on in their mother heart is aching for them since it’s been a year since I last hugged them in person but I love that they are happily living their lives.

…that I live in a land where I am free to love God, can choose where I want to live, have an abundance of food to cook with and don’t have to fear for our lives as we walk down the street.

Most of all, I love that I am no longer living my life as a victim or just surviving but actually living life.

I am constantly reminded of where I once was and what I’ve been through.

I cannot help but feel grateful that the lessons that have come into my life have been of much value for me today. Even though they came at a price, they did not destroy me and instead prepared me to live my life fully and without regrets.

It’s because of this, that I can enjoy and love so many of the simple things in life.

Of course, I love all of you too. Really.

Tell me…what do you love?

Hope you get a chance to do something you love today.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Women

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the sweetest elderly woman at a Kinship care support group. (It’s a group for people raising relative children)

I hadn’t planned on going. Actually I had forgotten but remembered later that morning.

I really wanted to stay home and watch football. Did I really want to make the 45 minute drive?

I was exhausted and drained but something told me I needed to go.

Or was it my daughter, saying, “Mom, your really need to take care of yourself.  So go!” ?

It meant leaving crying children with my daughter, since my husband was still working but I went. It was only my 2nd time going so I was a little nervous.

I sat next to this sweetest elderly woman. She shared with me that her and her husband are raising their 9 year old grandson and almost 11 year old granddaughter. Then she whispers to me, “I’m going to be 71 tomorrow.”, with a big smile on her face.

She is beautiful. I can tell that she was beautiful in the worldly sense in her younger years. Now, that beauty is much more refined. The lines on her face tell a story.

She is 71 years old today and raising 2  children. Amazing.

As she shared her story with me, I felt so blessed to be sitting next to this wise woman.

I was exactly where I was suppose to be.

She was this beautiful angel that was sent to give me a message…and to make me laugh.

Her words breathed such comfort into my aching heart.

She was like a cold drink of water for my dry thirsty desire to be understood.

I am not walking this road alone.

Her eyes, though tired, sparkled as they looked into mine with understanding. No words needed to be spoken.

As we parted, I wished her happy birthday once more and wished her well until we meet again.

I am so thankful I went…for my daughter that made it possible…and we even got 30 minute chair massages from students attending a massage school. Woot! Woot!

When I woke this morning, the first thing I thought about was my new friend and sent out a birthday blessing for her.

And then I thought of another special friend.

I have another dear friend that turned 82 today. We almost lost her a couple of months ago, so this birthday was extra special.

She is one of the most dearest, sweetest, kindest, gentle, graceful and  loving woman I’ve ever known.

She is beautiful. Yes, she has lost her youth..but it’s these wrinkles that are etched into her face that deepen her beauty. They tell a story of life and of loving.

The beauty of her wisdom is amazing…her blessing me with the knowledge she has gained from having walked this earth these years before me, are a priceless gift.

Most of the things I’ve learned from her did not come out of her mouth but by the way she’s lived.

I am still learning from her.

Today we celebrated with her, over lunch that we brought to her at the nursing home in which she lives. Our intent had been to take her out but she was too weak. Still, her smile lit up the room as we sat around her. When they fill up with tears over the joy she felt, it is hard not to cry myself. What a priceless gift she is to me and it’s not my birthday.

Two beautiful elderly woman with birthday’s today. Two women, that are beautiful beyond words and worldly beauty. Two women, that the world was made better by their existence.

Two women that have changed my mind about what beauty looks like.

Some day, I hope I am beautiful like them.

Even though the day is almost over, Happy Birthday you sweet beautiful women.

I hope that you have the honor of knowing someone older and wiser then yourself. I hope you recognize the beauty and value in such people in your life.

Happy weekend to you & yours.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am so angry I could spit.

If you know me at all, you know it takes a lot to get me angry.

I am angry because little man stands to be hurt by someone’s selfishness.

I am frustrated that she is unable to be an adult and act in his best interest.

We can talk with her until we are blue in the face about his needs and it is like talking to the wall.

To make a long frustrating story short, until yesterday, we believed little man’s last name to be the same as ours because that is the name that was on the birth certificate that she gave us when we gained custody. This is the only name he knows. 

Upon investigating, we found out that his legal last name is that of his supposed birth father…someone that doesn’t want anything to do with him and there is a discrepancy over whether he is in fact the father…as far as we know he is in prison and his birth mother does not want him to have contact with little man because of being an unfit father. Anyone else see the irony in this?

The cat got out of the bag only because little man started school and there were some issues with the birth certificate we had. Thankfully we found this out. 

We got the papers to change his legal last name immediately and figured this would not be a big issue since my step daughter had agreed the night before that it would be in his best interest to have the same last name as his family.

We guessed wrong. She changed her mind. She decided yesterday that she doesn’t want to lose this tie with the father. What in the hell? A father she doesn’t want in his life…a father that we will one day have to explain to little man about.

We tried to help her see his pain of fitting in and his wanting to just belong. He already struggles with being different from the rest of us. Every other week he asks if some day he could look like us. And now she wants to add another thing for him to struggle with, that would set him apart from the rest of us.

And all for no good reasons or purpose.

If she had good reasons…if she could show us that this is not in his best interests…then we could stop and work things out together.

Her response to everything we talked to her about was, “I don’t care.”

How in God’s name can she not care?

Can’t he just have this happiness?

Why can’t she let them be happy?

I am so angry I have tears.

Children should not have to endure the selfishness of adults.

I have been doing “this” for over 4 years and you would think I would be used to her games. I’m not.

Does anyone have a clue to how hard we have worked to not only protect them from her but at the same time given them a relationship with her?

How hard we have prayed and cried over her? How hard we have tried to give these little one’s a happy safe family life?

When does it end? When can we breathe a sigh of relief and just be happy?

To some, it’s just a name. To my little man, it’s far more than a name…it’s about not being different and being the same as those he loves and lives with.

It really doesn’t matter to me if he were to have a different last name…he would still be my little boy and I wouldn’t love him any less…but it matters to him…and because of that it matters to us. 

We will not stop pursuing this name change because we know it’s in his best interest.

After talking with the principle, teacher and social worker, they have agreed to let him keep using the name he knows, in the classroom, as long as we are working towards making it legal.

Thank God.

My heart is raw with emotions. It’s my day off and I have not accomplished what I needed to. All I want to do is hold these little’s close to me and chase away anything or anyone that puts them in danger of getting hurt.

You would think we would need to protect them from the world the most but instead it’s from someone that is related to them…someone that should care. 

I try to focus on the good…the fact that they are safe with us…the fact that she only has supervised visits…the fact that they are so happy and healthy. Still my mother heart aches.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This is the day

Today is the day!

This little guy starts Kindergarten today.


After reassuring him and stomping out any fears he had, he became quite excited about this new adventure.

Me? Not so much. Don’t worry, I kept it hidden. :)

I’ve already done “this” 5 times so I should be a pro at it. Not so much.

Nonetheless I put on my big girl pants and did not shed a tear in front of him.

I made him a good breakfast and made sure he had everything he needs to bring with him.

He had a big smile on his face, even though we had to walk in the cool rain to his bus stop.


Of course we couldn’t do “this” without the other 2 little people.


He looked so small as he walked up the steps of the bus.

My little man is growing up and his world grows bigger today.

I pray. I hope…that this world is good to him.

I hope that those of you that have children in school already or starting school today, that they have a fantastic year of learning.

Here’s to all the teachers that will teach them. Here’s to all the other important people that work at schools with children. Here’s to the bus drivers that drive them to & from school. And here’s to the homeschooling Mom’s & Dad’s too. May all of you be given an extra dose of patience & love for these young lives that you will indeed touch. 

I’m off to shed those tears on my way to work. :(

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

PS My wedding smore cupcakes were a hit! As soon as I have pictures of the wedding cupcake display that I did this past weekend, I will post a  picture and the recipe for those that have asked for it!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Wedding Smores

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Tomorrow someone very dear to me is getting married. I had the pleasure of caring for her and her siblings in my daycare. Being their 2nd mom over the years has been a blessing and has bonded our 2 families. I have been blessed to watch each one of them grow up to be fine young adults. In fact the youngest graduated with my youngest son and she has been his best friend since they were in diapers.

The above quote has been one of my inspirations & motto’s.  When I read it this morning, I was instantly reminded of this young woman and her siblings. Over the years, any time I see any one of them, they  smile big and embrace me. They introduce me as their 2nd mom. What an honor!

About a month ago we had a bridal shower for this young lady getting married and I made these smore cupcakes for it. They really taste like smores.

She loved them and because they had decided to not have a traditional wedding cake, asked me to help her make these for her wedding. These were a perfect choice considering that the 2 of them do a lot of camping, fishing and out door stuff…not to mention that they love smores.

Of course, I said I would love to help.

What is really neat about this couple is that they are so in love and are making this wedding about them instead of following traditional wedding stuff that doesn’t mean anything to them.

Earlier this week, I realized that the bride had a zillion things to do this last week before her wedding. Of course she does. So of course I had to offer to make them all by myself….for 250 wedding guests. Am I craaaaazzzzy?

Don’t answer that.

You know I’m not a professional baker or cake decorator right?

Right about now, you might be calling me a professional crazy person.

Well, that might be my daughter calling me that.

Of course, I volunteered that crazy calling daughter to help me.

That daughter  will leave later today to go spend the night with the bride since she is her personal attendant. So of course I volunteered my husband to help put on the frosting….and to contemplate how we will transport all of them to the brides parents home where the reception will be.

Thankfully I have a van. :)

Today I will be spending the entire day in the kitchen baking cup cakes of different sizes, frosting them and putting the finishing touches on the cup cake display stand.

Thankfully it is cool outside(55) with an expected high of low 60’s, so that it will feel good to run my oven all day.

I have a 3, 4 and 5 year old that think they are helping. Of course I have other plans for them…like not destroying the rest of the house while I am busy making a messy kitchen.

Did I mention I still don’t know what I’m wearing to the wedding? :)

You should see the abundance of flour, baking cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, oil,  marshmallow cream, chocolate kisses…ect… that have taken up residence in my kitchen.

They are calling my name but first I have some little’s to feed & shoo out of the kitchen.

I have until tomorrow afternoon to accomplish this crazy task.

Please pray.

This might be an interesting day/night.

I am thinking perfectly positive of a beautifully displayed end result.

I may joke but in all honesty it is an honor to do this for such  special people.

Of course, I will breathe a sigh of relief tomorrow when I sit with a glass of wine at this wonderful event of 2 people so in love that they are so excited to say “I do.” and just want to get to the part of being married.

Until then, I will be buried in all things chocolate and marshmallow.

I hope whatever you do this weekend, you find joy in it. Laugh. Smile. Hug.  Say, “I love you.” Remember, it’s how we make others feel that they will remember.

All righty then…time is a wasting…what am I still doing on the computer?…ready, set, go!

Until the cupcakes are baked & frosted…love & hugs, Lori

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Dozen

A dozen things that are making me smile…in no particular order…

1. You. In all seriousness, your love, kindness and support that you write to me, brings a smile to my face. Most of the time, what you write or the pictures you post, make me smile or laugh. On the occasions that you make me think or cry, please know that even then I am blessed to have shared in your words. Thank you!

2. Fall. The cooler weather & lack of humidity. I am so happy that fall is around the corner. I love the changing colors, the campfires and freshness outside.

3. Football. As in Gophers & Vikings. Just writing this makes me giddy with excitement.

4. Having a husband that doesn’t consider cleaning or the laundry a woman’s only job. He does these things without thinking he deserves a pat on the back.

5. When my little lady said to me tonight…” I was thinking that daddy could sleep in my bed and I could sleep with you in your bed and we could all be very very haaaappy about this!” Nice try little girl.

6. Being happily greeted by a 3, 4 and 5 year olds every single time I come home.

7. Tomatoes from our garden. I have been roasting them with garlic & onions and other veggies. The flavor is beyond this world. It will be so nice to pull jars of this out to eat this winter.

8. Peace & quiet in my home. Even if I have to stay up to have it.  I am writing this when I should be sleeping. I would curse that cup of coffee I had too late in the day but I’m watching & listening to the most amazing thunderstorm as I write and read blogs.

9. My granddaughter. She started middle school a couple of weeks ago and she is loving it. She went from a really small charter school to a big middle school. Hearing her talk with excitement about her classes and new friends makes me so happy.(and relieved)

10. Yogurt. I started out making yogurt in a yogurt maker that I got from my sister. Now I am making it in other ways too because I couldn’t keep up with the demand. It is so fun & easy and yummy. Seriously, you don’t need a yogurt maker.

11. Organic raw milk and eggs…and at a very affordable price. It also makes the best yogurt! We get it from the nicest farmers and every time I leave their farm I smile out of feeling so blessed.

12. A beautiful elderly woman. Just being in her presence  reminds me of what is most important in this life. At the top of that list is people.

Last but not least…and yes I know this makes 13…going to sleep while it is raining & thundering, while in the comfort of my home, knowing that my family is safely sleeping…knowing all is well within these walls.

What would be on your list of things that make you smile?

I hope that no matter how your day is, or what is going on in your life, that you find something to smile about today.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori