and there you have it…


June 2015

5 steps to an awesome birthday party – when you’re old

1. Pick a theme! Themes are all the rage!


2. Make your friends do something mildly out of most of their comfort zones – like dress up or go home!

What you lookin' at neighbors, everything's perfectly normal here!
What you lookin’ at neighbors, everything’s perfectly normal here!

3. Make sure you are way out of their comfort zone

I would have given anything to see Bycemaster in this get up. Aaron man, you rocked it.
I would have given anything to see Bycemaster in this get up. Aaron man, you rocked it.

4. Have friends who have no comfort zone to make it awesome

He was wearing BIRD SKULLS! This guy totally and completely rocked. You gotta have a bird skulls guy.
He was wearing BIRD SKULLS! This guy totally and completely rocked. I’m having a party, who’s gonna be my bird skulls guy?

5. Be from somewhere else, then you can do whatever you want and just blame it on that.

I'm from New Zealand mate!
I’m from New Zealand mate! (photo by Ken Cochrum)

Bycemaster and I had a great time celebrating your birthday mate, thanks for throwing a super fun party and making someone *cough cough* Bycemaster *cough cough* dress up and have fun with me!

Here’s a few more photos just for fun!

I know I'm a city girl, but seriously what is that? Besides male, we know it's male...
I know I’m a city girl, but seriously what is that? Besides male, we know it’s male…
First time I turn around Bycemaster is getting pictures with the Saloon girl!
First time I turn around Bycemaster is getting pictures with the Saloon girl!
Retaliation. Posing with the Sheriff.
Connie is way better at this posing thing than me. Cannot keep a straight face!
Ready for our own Netflix original mini series now
I couldn’t help myself, I have found my new desktop wallpaper

brainiac stuff

So I’ve done it again! I missed my blogging time! I was even home and not really doing anything (you know as much as a mom can not really be doing anything) and I just totally forgot. This is why habits should not be broken. Routines save my life in the mornings, have I mentioned I’m not really much of a morning person before? Possibly? Maybe? Yeah you’ve heard it a time or ten, moving on.

So I read another book. Though it wasn’t really a whole book, it’s actually like an addendum to another book (which I have checked out now, and added it to my growing stack of books to read). It’s called The Brain and Emotional Intelligence New Insights by Daniel Goleman. The beginning was a little brainy, ha ha ha, I crack myself up. But seriously, lots of names of brain parts and high level stuff that was doing it’s best to loose me and I like that stuff. There’s only so many words I can’t pronounce that I can read before I start not being able to tell them apart. But there was a chapter called the Social Brain that was fascinating.

He starts it by stating the brain patterns we use for self-mastery and knowing ourselves are the same brain patterns used for knowing another person. In other words, if you don’t want to be a sociopath get to know yourself so you can have empathy and the ability to know another person (he didn’t actually use the word sociopath, but sociopaths have been shown to have no empathetic ability, I made a leap). So yay for self awareness! Always happy to see someone promoting this, big deal for me.

However the most incredible thing for me in this chapter was they have discovered “mirror neurons” in our brains. Which is a kind of wi-fi connecting one brain to another. How cool is that? Apparently people can “send” their feelings and emotions to another person’s brain and the other person’s “mirror neurons” will actually start firing in the part of their brain that houses the emotions being “caught.” Authority figures (parents!), people with dominant personalities or whoever is showing the most dominant emotion becomes the sender in the room while everyone else will be more likely to catch was is being transmitted. Now he’s applying this to the work place, but I work on the home front so I applied it to home.

So all those days I’ve come down the stairs in the morning still tired or emotionally neutral I’m allowing one of my two “dominant” children in the family set the tone for how the day goes. Now I love these two children, but they are not the ones prone to happy carefree attitudes. I’ve seen their morning grumpies take over the house, but I’ve always felt a bit helpless to stop it. Once one starts the whining or complaining it just spreads like wildfire through all four of them and then overwhelms me too.

But my authority figure status will overpower their influence, so if I can manage to keep myself visibly and dominantly upbeat, they will be too! Then they will do miraculous things, like pick up the whole downstairs in under 10 minutes with happy attitudes (no joke, this actually happened). So now all I have to do is stay outwardly upbeat! Yeah harder than it seems, but the pay offs seem to be worth it, so I’m writing it on my bathroom mirror so I can remember. I set the tone for the day, smile and stay upbeat! Be the emotional sender and send happy!

Somewhat related, I was doing math with one of the kids a few weeks and ago and they commented that they liked doing their math next to me, even when I wasn’t helping them, they didn’t get as many wrong and it was easier. I told them that it was because I believed in them and when they sat next to me they believed in themselves too and that’s why they could do it easier. Then I read the book above and found out I was right! Double score, I mean it sounded good anyway, but having someone neurologically confirm it is pretty awesome in my book.

week 3 of recipe fun!

First thing I learned this week, when you have a regular writing time, don’t go grocery shopping during that time and expect the writing to happen just as “easily” (hahahahahaha) later. But third times a charm? Right? I hope so. Here’s goes…again…

1) 3 bean Chili with GF dairy free corn bread – I’m not one of those people that likes Chili year round. I have to have it cold to be in the mood, but my family does not care, so occasionally I take one for the team, this chili is worth it. Though my hunch is the kids are just eating it for the honey smothered corn bread. Also I’ve used whatever tomatoes I have on hand and add red pepper if I don’t happen to have spicy ones. It’s an art people.

2) Rice and beans – it sounds so blah when said like that, but that’s what I tell my kids to get them to eat it. It’s also been known as a barney bowl or as Tijuana Flats calls it a noritto bowl. You start with brown rice, add some black beans then layer on the toppings. So far I’ve gotten the kids to add olives and sour cream the adults add purple onions, tomato, corn, avocado, jalapenos, salsa and cilantro if I have it. Yum yum yum and so easy.

3) Potato Pancakes – here’s another easy one. I throw 6-8 red potatoes into the vita-mix with a sweet onion, let it chop them up good. Dump in a bowl and add in an egg and a few tablespoons of flour (I’ve been using tapioca starch). Then you scoop it onto an oiled griddle and cook it 3-5 minutes per side. We eat them with ketchup, sour cream or applesauce. I usually serve with steamed green beans.

4) Taco soup – I make this one for company a lot, which ends up back firing because they always want the recipe and it’s so ridiculously easy it’s embarrassing! Just remember 5 cans and a cup. 1 can kidney beans (drained), 1 can of black beans (drained), 1 can of refried beans, 1 can of broth, 1 can of corn and a cup of salsa. Put it all in the crock pot on high for 5 hours and add whatever you use to season Tacos we use 2T of chili powder 1T of cumin and a shake of garlic powder. Top with cheese and serve with chips! This one the kids also love.

5) Chicken Fajitas – put boneless chicken of your choice into the crock-pot and dump a jar of salsa on top. Close the lid and let it cook on low all day (8ish hours). Right before dinner slice up a large purple onion, a red pepper and a green pepper and a 16oz carton of mushroom sautee in coconut oil until soft. Then take a fork and shred the chicken in the crock-pot and serve on tortillas with the veggies. I usually add rice for the kids, gotta fill them up!

6) Rice/Chicken/Broccoli casserole – if you made the vegan mac n cheese I posted about earlier, this is one of the reasons I make extra “cheese.” Line the bottom of a casserole dish with rice (2-3 cups) sprinkle some leftover chicken on top (usually shredded from above), cut up a head of broccoli or a bag of frozen whatever works for your family and add that on top then pour the “cheese” sauce over the whole thing and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

7) Lentil soup – this one is on the menu this week and it has a real recipe! I like to use up our old bread and make croutons for this one. Amazingly the kids ate it on first try, that really never happens, I think it was the croutons.

Here’s week 1 and week 2 if you missed them! I can’t believe I finally finished, miracles do exist! Off to make stir fry for dinner, that will be on the next recipe post!

side note: any broth we use is homemade, it’s super easy and virtually free! Just save the ends and pieces of your veggies when you are cooking (onions, peppers, carrots, celery, etc. I also keep lemons and limes) Keep them in a gallon bag in the freezer until you have a full bag. Then you dump it in a crock-pot and fill with water, add a bay leaf and a few dashes of Season All and cook on low for 10-12 hours. I keep all our old peanut butter jars to store stuff like this in.

a hour in the life of a writing mother

So I’ve been spoiled people. I got two hours at Panera last week to write essays for adoption grants (really trying to hammer these out as we could get a call any day now!) TWO HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED TIME. I was able to drive there, order my chai, set up, hammer out 12 mini essays, drink my chai, check my facebook, snap a few pics, all in 2 hours. I had totally forgotten what it was like to write without an interruptions, I was in the zone. I was flying along, I was ENJOYING myself immensely. Writing and productivity and chai these are a few of my favorite things! (that last sentence must be sung people! Just thinking about it makes me want to burst into song!)

That said, I’m having problems adjusting back today. I’ve started this thing so many times and mostly it’s looked like this…(this was not the same child, I just chose not to call them out today…I’m sure a few of you may know who they are anyway…)

Me: *writing one sentence*

child: I’m going to make a hat stand!

Me: Great idea baby *hears grunting and struggling in the background, trying to keep my head down and look invisible*

child: I can’t get loops off! They’re too tight! Mommy fix it!

(cut scene)

2.5 minutes later

Me: *rewriting the one sentence adding another*

child 1: Mom! Mom! Can I take the blanket outside?

Me: the one we use outside, yes

child 1 : But I want to take this one? I’m gonna take this one, ok?

Me: the one you can use is in the van

*garage door opens, rummaging in van commences, muffled shouting*


Me: *gets the blanket, shuts garage, shuts door* she took the blanket around to the front of the house outside (to other 3 children)

child 2: Mom I can’t find (child 1), they were going to find the blanket and now I can’t find them!

Me: she took the blanket around to the front of the house outside


(cut scene)

1 minute later

child: Can I go outside too?

Me: I can’t go out and watch right now, sorry baby

child: But can I go out? I want to go out too.

Me: I cannot go outside and watch you right now, no.

child: But…

*sound fades to black, internal groan and face plant into keyboard*

(cut scene)

1.5 minutes later

Me: *scrapping previous sentences and starting the above*

child: *standing contemplating what is going to be said for a full 30 seconds* We…are…going to make…a…couch thing!

Me: That sounds like fun *turns back to writing*

child: wait wait! and it’s going to be one up and one down!

Me: *smiles and turns back to writing*

child: WAIT! *deep breath and runs away*

(cut scene)

I’ve now had a solid 15 minutes of productive writing time and look at all I’ve accomplished. It’s only taken me almost an hour to get that 15 minutes and oh wait here comes another kid…

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