Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It's one of those rare mornings where I awoke realizing I had had a good night's sleep.  That is so rare that it seems to be an occasion to celebrate, and even blog about ;).

It's amazing how when you wake up rested your brain functions so much better.  It made me wonder...if I had weeks of nights like this, what would it do for my mental health?

And the guilt sets in.  I am a bad, bad patient :).  My Dr. told me to take one of my anxiety pills every night, even if I'm able to get by without them during the day so that I can get enough sleep.  He said this because he knows about all the sleepless nights I went through before my panic issues were being treated.  He also knows how much sleep, or lack thereof, can really mess with you mentally.

So why didn't I listen?  Why did I try to go without the anxiety meds?

I still can't always decipher why I am so stubborn about thinking I need to make all my own plans, regardless of medical advice.  Although I hate to confess it, the truth is I "get more done" when I am running on a steady diet of panic, anxiety, and worry about having done enough.  If I take my medicine at bedtime, I promptly lie down and don't really "think" until morning.

If I don't take it (bad patient! bad patient!) I have several hours to an entire night where I can think over and analyze all the things bugging me, re-read the mean things someone said to me on facebook, and maybe even get some sewing in :).  But usually it isn't really productive time, it's just fretting time.  And sleep is SO MUCH MORE HELPFUL in the long-run.

So, to wrap up, this post appears to be entirely a letter to myself to take care of myself and do what I know is right for my health!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Baking Mini Pies

(My Pie Crust recipe is HERE)

So, I saw it on Pinterest.  I pinned it, and I tried it.

Am I impressed?  Not really.

It was just a lot more work for...nothing I can think of.  I don't need to just "grab a pie" and hit the road mid-day or anything.  Slicing a piece with a butter knife was never that big of a hassle...

Oh, but it was Yummy, because its pie.  Why wouldn't it be?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Building: Mr Warmth on Pipe Clamps

How I made my awesome bar clamps for cheap(er)

If you have tried to build any large furniture item, you have no doubt wished at some point that you had a third hand or something to hold "that end onto that end" so you could screw it down.  Enter in the bar clamp.  Bar clamps are simple devices http://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/hand-tools/fastening-tools/48-steel-i-bar-clamp/p-1442519-c-9135.htm that have spring-loaded plates that slide along a bar while "open" and then lock into position when released.  The clamp is made tight by turning the screw handle.  If you have priced these things out, you have come to the conclusion like I did that "those will have to wait."  A few weeks ago I actually placed 3 such bar clamps in a shopping cart and anticipated the day I could finally make the purchase.  I decided that I needed one long one and two medium sized ones which translated to one 96" and two 60" clamps.  "Google" "Jorgensen bar clamps" in those lengths and you will find they will set you back about $51.99 for the 96" and about $38.99 for the 60 inchers.  

So as I was contemplating this purchase and dreaming of the uses for them, (translation: finally building a farmhouse table, a entertainment center, a clubhouse bed, mudroom lockers...) I was in Menards (they didn't pay me, I just prefer it because of its lumber over the other two big box stores, but I frequent all three about the same) (another sent of parentheses: HD has them too I later learned) and ran across these http://www.adjustableclamp.com/clampfixturefor34blackpipe.aspx  (they are actually made by the same company so no business is lost by the making of this post)  Now this was amazing.  

So this is what you do: you purchase 3 sets of these clamp kits for $17 and then you go to the plumbing section and ask for "Black Pipe" in 3/4 (or 1/2 if that is clamp kit you grabbed--what do you mean you didn't look at the pipe size on the kit package?  take back those 1/2 inchers you fool; the pipe is too flimsy at those lengths.  where were we...oh yah, its a rigid pipe most often used in propane applications.  You can say that to the store employee--they'll think you quote google sites a lot to try to look smart.  You could also go with the shiny galvanized pipe right next to the black pipe but it costs a few dollars more.  but oohh itss sshiny...  So you ask for help (the hardest part of the whole process) and you ask for 2 10' black pipes please.  Then you ask them to cut one of the 10' pipes into two equal 5' pipes while you wait.  I thought about having the other 10' foot pipe cut down to 8 feet but then I thought wait just a gol darn minute here...I've been wanting a 96" bar clamp because that was the biggest size I had seen, but if I leave this pipe at 10', I will have a 10 foot bar clamp.  Then grunt like Tim Allen...then look up and start eyeing the 12' and 14' pipe before telling yourself you can't fit that in your truck or your house doors very easily.  Anyhoo, this black pipe is threaded on both ends so when you get home you attach the threaded clamp piece on that end and slide the other piece over the end (oh and make sure they face each other...unless you are trying to stretch something out...HOLY COW you just realized you have a 10' stretching device as well, let's see what could I do with that...) and viola you now have two 60" bar clamps and one 10' bar clamp for... get this: $17 + $17 + $17 + the pipe which was about $11 each.  So in the end you spend about $75 vs. $130.  Hey every bit counts right, and that $55 I saved can now go towards a new router.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Craft Night with Mom

Duct Tape + Diaper Boxes

He's so proud of his creation.  He keeps his socks and underwear stored in his brown box.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Every so often, I stop working on the house, or sewing or etc., etc. and think about my feelings.

Okay, not really.  My feelings are happening inside of me the entire time I am doing everything I do.  I just don't share them much on this blog.  Today I am thinking about LOVE.  I'm thinking about how we treat other people, how we view them, and what our feelings are as a result.

Sometimes at church I feel like we make statements about our membership or refer to our faith as some kind of exclusive "club" we are in.  Like, aren't we such lucky beasts that we know all the secrets that others don't know?!?

I hate that feeling.  I felt it today and it bug, bug, bugged me.  I want to love mankind.  I want to be friendly to the person I am around...whoever and wherever that is.  I don't want there to be an ulterior motive of trying to make that friend join the same club as me for fear that they'll be damned for not knowing the same "secrets."

I just want to love and loved because we are.  We are people.  We are the human family.  We hurt, we rejoice, we love our babies, and we just want to be cared about in a sincere way.

For more reading, on this topic peruse this blog.  She says it well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gluten Free Enchilada Sauce

Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce

2 cups tomato sauce
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken (about 8-9 minutes).This recipe from CDKitchen for Easy Enchilada Sauce serves/makes 5 cups

***I make the enchiladas by coating the tortillas with sauce, then putting some canned refried beans (sometimes I do meat instead or in addition to beans) and shredded cheese inside, rolling and squishing them together in the pan. Then I cover them with a little more sauce and lots of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30ish minutes (I just kinda watch it :))

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Favorite Grilled Hamburgers

I guess the pictures tell the story.  We like to buy the 5 lb rolls from Walmart of the 73 percent beef.  High fat?  Yes!  Yummy....very!  Cutting the log like this keeps the meat loose, so that the burgers stay really juicy while grilling.  Plus, the price can't be beat!  One of these rolls makes TWO meals of grilled hamburgers for our family.  So (including buns and sides) we eat for less than we would getting McDonalds...with taste and quality that can't be matched by any restaurant.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crowning the Fort

I think the kids felt like some of their highest dreams came true this Saturday when their Dad took them to the hardware store to purchase the crowning jewel of their deck fort.

See pictures of it getting built (here, here, here, here, and here)

Note:  Staining the climbing wall and adding climbing rocks to it...still to come :).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grilled Kabobs

We got metal kabob skewers a few years ago, because we love the taste of things cooked on our charcoal grill and we knew we'd be doing it a lot.  By the way, did you know that you can use the (clean) kabob sticks as marshmallow roasters with a hot pad around the top?  Maybe that isn't safe.  Scratch that, forget I said it.  But if you didn't forget then just consider yourself informed that when using charcoal you can use the smoldering embers to roast marshmallows on after you've all enjoyed your BBQ feast.

What we like to do is marinate our meat and vegetables for a day before skewering.  I've found I can buy really cheap beef stew meat that is already cut up for about $4 total, and if it is marinated long enough and then grilled on charcoal it is still tasty!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Green Room

So, we have this problem.  Well, more than one, but I'll share one for now.  And that is this:  we named and have been referring to every room in this house as its color since we looked at the place.  Because every room had its own distinctive, bright color.  Now that we are "homogenizing" the place we have a hard time knowing how to refer to each room...

(yelling from two floors down...) "Daughter, where are yoooooooooooouuuuuuuuu?"

(reply) "In my roooooooooom!"

Oh, did I mention, besides the color problem we also have a movingeveryfewnights because we are remodeling a different room problem?  Every room in the house has been "her room" at some point in our short time here.

Anyway, long story short:  I do a lot of running up, down, and all around this house when I need to find people :).  So, without more pointless explanations I present to you proof of some of our work:

If you are ever here and someone refers to the "green room" down a hallway of rooms that all look the same....well, now ya know why!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm in a Rut

So, besides eggs and breakfast meats....

How do you get protein in the morning?  I put out this list awhile ago, but I need some fresh ideas....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Fort #5 (staining)

Do you like the cute, chubby baby fingers that always get in the paint and the stain?  So cute!!!  We love our sweet babies.

I totally think Mr. Warmth should pose for his own Rust-oleum Ad campaign.  We use so many of their products :).  This is the one he is using here:

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Like to Mow the Lawn

One of the big splurges we indulged in after buying this home was a nice lawn mower.  Not the most expensive kind (like a riding one), but one that is really well built.  We got a Honda with a great blade and motor, and some safety features.  I was adamant about getting a push mower even though our lawn is big, because lawn mowing is some exercise I like!

I'm all about efficiency.  Anything that combines exercise, frugality (something some people pay for someone else to do), sunshine (vitamin D), and something that needs done is good in my book.  It's like super-hyper multi-tasking!  Love it.

And...since I was the one who insisted on having a push mower and insisted I would mow the lawn, I have kept my word.  I have mowed every week but one.  I love the feeling of satisfaction it brings!

What chores do you enjoy?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2 Years Ago

The choice to leave our "normal" life for my husband to go to Law School (when we had been married almost 10 years and had almost 3 kids) was such a life-changer that my jaw still dropped a little when I came across this picture a few days ago.

Did he/we really do that?  Even now that we have I marvel that we had the courage, because it frightens me a little if I forget we already did it!  The only, I mean ONLY way we could have done this was through our faith.  We were searching our souls at the time we started down this path and we were both absolutely committed to "go and do" what the Lord would command for our lives.

It was transforming.  It was difficult.  It was stressful, anxiety-inducing, and sometimes depressing.  But we made it.  I can really say that now.  We made it through the scariest poverty we've every faced.  Our kids stayed fed.  I made it through the hardest church calling I've ever served in.  The kids made it through living in small, temporary homes, and going to school in a very underprivileged area.

Whew.  Can I stop holding my breath?  Anyone want tips on making a big life change like this?  I've got plenty of them...but they aren't all pretty and fun.  But.  It can be done.  That's my point.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fun Discovery

Family Work

waiting for mom

I remember a friend telling me how she sent her kids to her mom's for two weeks while she and her husband painted and freshened up the new place they bought.  Jealousy!  We were in the midst of our second big remodel when she mentioned that.  We've never even hired babysitters for an hour or two during these years we've been doing this.

Sometimes the kids complain.  But not very often.  They don't know any other way...except when they go to someone else's house and bedrooms have beds and toys in them and people relax and watch TV.  But they are rarely anywhere but here, so I can make myself believe they don't mind it, right? ;)

"Don't climb up the ladder, Lane!  I'll be down soon."

I just recently remembered a talk from a previous stake conference (LDS church meeting) where the man speaking looked back on his years of parenting and said that if he had it to do over he would do more work projects and less big vacations...as methods of family bonding.  He is a wealthy man, so I think they probably did take many trips.  What he was remembering with fondness was putting in their yard after they had a home built.  He had memories of planting trees and hard physical work.  Now it is warmly remembered when the kids and grand kids gather on that well-established lawn.  That is parenting advice I had never really heard before that moment.

Although I didn't ask for it specifically, I'm grateful we were blessed with this opportunity for us and for our kids.  I have come to the point of being extremely grateful we were not able to build the house we had been planning last year.  What we were blessed with is exactly what we needed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Whatever you Have" Nachos

One day, around noon, we returned home after swimming lessons and everyone was hungry.  We usually just throw together sandwiches, but my oldest daughter noticed the half full bag of corn chips in the pantry and said, "Let's have nachos."  We had shredded cheese in the freezer  (two kinds!), so I told her to look through the pantry for other toppings.  She came up with olives and kidney beans.  We dipped these in salsa and it made quite a satisfying lunch.

I also whipped up a batch of homemade lemonade.  We've really been enjoying that this summer.  It tasted great with the little fiesta meal we had going on here :).

If you had chips and frozen shredded cheese on hand you could top these with whatever was in your fridge and pantry.  Here are some ideas:

  • Leftover ground beef 
  • even leftover cooked hamburger patties torn up
  • refried beans
  • black beans
  • chunks or shredded chicken
  • pulled pork
  • lettuce
  • spinach leaves
  • tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • plain greek yogurt (like a sour cream subsitute)
  • green onions
  • chopped onions

Monday, July 9, 2012

Building a Fort...and Love

I call these two twins all the time: even though there is a 30+ year age difference, they are SO much alike.  They have the same first and last name for starters...but they also look alike, and have similar wit, intelligence, and sense of humor.

They also both LOVE to build, create, and fix things.  They love their tools and love to work together.  Sometimes they both want to be the boss, though.  So it isn't all flowers and butterflies.  But when Daddy goes and hugs his boy and affirms his love, my own heart swells so big.

Love these two handsome Casey's!  Watch for a whole series of posts on all the little details of building this deck fort...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vitamin *P*

So, let's chat about my crazy again, shall we?

I'm still going to my psychiatric med doctor every 5 to 6 weeks as he continues to slowly increase my Prozac levels.  Oh, I didn't tell you I was on Prozac?  Well, now ya know.  Big news :).

I have had terrible anxiety this year.  It was one of the reason I had my extensive blood testing done - which led to a great big fat load of nothing.

Until I hauled my crazy, scared, depressed, crying self to my old counselor.  I had an awesome counselor get me through a bout of PPD after having my third child.  When I felt I had reached my limit of crazy this year, I knew just who to call.  She talked me through my options, got me in to someone for meds, and has just really been my voice of logic sometimes.  At my last visit with her I kind of "graduated" from regular counseling, but I am so grateful I have her in my back pocket to see me through a crisis, if needed.  There's probably nothing more discouraging than a bad counselor when you are really in a time of mental/emotional need, but when you have a good one...they can SAVE you.

I've digressed...I was talking about the prozac.  So, the doctor I am seeing for medication is an old Army guy.  He works mostly with other military people, because he specializes in anxiety disorders and PTSD type stuff.  It is a little humbling to walk in and talk about having the exact same physical reactions as someone who just got shot at in a war, but it also makes me feel like I am in good hands, because he could describe my feelings perfectly and exactly what was going through my head when I was feeling them.  And he let me call the shots (kind of).  He felt like Prozac was really the best thing to target the anxiety and prevent the panic attacks, once my body got to a good clinical dose.

I, however, was extremely panicky and worried (imagine that!) about taking prozac because I'd had a bad reaction once before.  He did a really good job of explaining what probably happened in my body and that we could prevent that by starting very small and increasing the dose very gradually.

It worked!  I'm still surprised.  I'm now at the dose (after 3 months of gradual increasing) that I was put on when I felt like I had a horrible reaction to it.  My diagnosis is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and he said the key word for that is CONTROL.  And that is part of everything in my life, including what medicine I take.  I want to control every part of it and I have great anxiety about every detail of it.

But, back to my point, it is really, really helping.  And for that I am thankful.  I also have a medicine to take during a panic episode and I have to take much less of that now that my prozac has increased.

So, there's the crazy update.  I titled this post Vitamin *P* because my whole vitamin question I wrote about yesterday probably coincides with this too.

Thanks for reading~!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vitamin Update

Thanks so much to those of you who shared your thoughts and advice on my health/vitamin dilemma.      Interestingly (to me!) I've tried taking my prenatal vitamin both in the morning at night and noticed a nice change in my general well-being.  It still makes me nervous that I am therefore getting too much of something, even though I feel so much better.  On one hand, I'm nursing a baby that is the size of a four year old who eats very little else.  I may just truly need nutrition such as vitamins for two.  On the other hand, because its a prenatal there are probably amounts of folic acid, for example, that are way more than I need.

I think what I will do is switch to a children's chew-able when this bottle of vitamins runs out (soon) and take two of those a day.

Any thoughts or advice?  I sure wish I had a magic test that would show me what it was that made the difference, so I could go without the rest, but since I had such extensive blood testing months ago, I just don't have hope that that would be the ticket.  Oh, and I guess if the children's multi-vitamin didn't have the same health effects for me, I could go back to the prenatal version or at least compare labels to tease out the difference.  That may be all the clue I need.

Detective Bobi back to work!

Sometimes the Only Way to Get anything Done :)

In this case, I happened to be making waffles for the freezer (and someone just insisted on being up near the action).  I have a great whole grain waffle recipe.  Watch for that tomorrow!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Blast from the Past (Bathroom)

The house we are in right now isn't our first rodeo with remodeling.  Which is a good thing.  I'm thankful we worked on smaller places to hone our skills before tackling a really big home.  The stakes are higher in a neighborhood like this.

But we've tried some fun stuff - which inevitably leads to more ideas for the next place.  I ran across some pictures of the remodeled bathroom when we were done at our last place.  Oh boy, how I *wish* I had a before picture to show you!  The change was dramatic.  But that was before I decided to document this stuff, so the after is all ya get.

Some features include:

  • rounded shower rod (makes the shower/tub feel bigger
  • new vanity, sink, faucet, glass tile
  • new flooring, padded vinyl...which is soft to walk on and awesome to clean!
That was a rewarding project but the logistics were a nightmare!  It was a one-bathroom place with 6 of us living there.  We adjusted to that part.  Three hours without a toilet at all while we were doing the floors was a little tougher.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

First Salon visit

We've had wonderful hairdressers who worked out of their home for the past few years as Daddy has gone to school.  Now that we've moved to a new area we are branching out and going to real salons.  It's quite a treat for these girls.  This one just loved getting her hair washed in the big sink :).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sprinkler Fun

Aside from the obvious convenience of having built in sprinklers, I discovered something else that's fun.  During one of these 100+ degree days (where it feels like 110-115), Mr. Warmth reminded me that we could play in water with just a touch of a button out in the garage.

Woohoo!  Party time :).

My Current Look

This is my style these days.

I call it the wallpaper removal/paint lady look.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!!  We made up this recipe as a family a few days ago and I thought it would be a perfect one to share for your holiday gatherings.

Strawberry Lemonade

Mix 2 C water and 2 C sugar in a small pan.  On medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved.  Place a pint of washed, hulled strawberries in the blender.  Poor the water/sugar syrup over the strawberries. Blend until smooth - or semi smooth if you like some chunks of strawberry in your drink.

Then poor this mixture into a 4 quart pitcher.  Add 2 C of fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon juice concentrate (in the green jar at the store).  Then finish filling pitcher with a combination of ice and water until it is as full as you can get it.

**Have a refreshing holiday!**

One Hour Rolls

This is a Western Warmth stand-by.  I've been making these rolls for years, because they are quick, easy, and taste wonderful!

One Hour Rolls

1 1/2 C hot water
3 T yeast

Mix and let sit.

Together in a glass bowl mix:

1/2 C milk
1/3 C sugar
2 t salt
3 T butter

Microwave that for 1 to 1.5 minutes on high.  Stir (not all of the butter will be melted).

Pour about 4 C of flour over yeast/water mixture in mixer.  Then pour hot milk mixture over the flour (this prevents the hot milk mixture from overheating the yeast).  Use dough hook for mixer and start mixing on low to medium speed.  This kneads the dough as it mixes in the flour, saving you some time!

Add additional flour as needed until the dough is formed and not too sticky.  Oil or spray the dough with non-stick spray and then turn over so entire roll of dough is "oiled."  Then fill your sink with really warm water.  Put bowl of dough in warm water and cover with a clean, dry washcloth.  This warm water rising method helps the dough rise quickly!  Let rise like this for 15 minutes.

Then form dough into rolls on a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Cover rolls and let them rise 15 minutes.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12 minutes.

I link party at these fun sites!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Progress on the Entry

It's not quite a before and after...but progress is progress right?  The little details this represent are:

  1. wallpaper removal
  2. lower stair balusters removal
  3. Finish/stain stripping of handrail
  4. Re-stain by Mr. Warmth of handrail in a more rustic, dark finish
  5. new carpet (can barely see in these pictures)
  6. Lots and lots of paint (I'm so thankful to have a really good ladder!)

**Paint colors:  wall:  Sherwin William's Taupe Tone
                       trim:  "            "             Smokehouse**

We had Home Depot look up the color names in their computer to color match.  They have pretty much every brand.  We really prefer Home Depot's Behr paint to any other brand, so we just pick colors wherever and then they match them.

Garden Update 2