Daily Life

The Sugar Free Grain Free Life

It’s not important that you know how or what to eat when you decide to use food to find health. It’s different for every person. I can’t tell you what foods heal and what foods harm you. I can only tell you what myself and my children need to eat and I’m still learning.

Today I experienced something tiny and yet monumental.

Today we had a sugar free and grain free tea time and it was greedily eaten, down to the last morsel. Tea time is something I couldn’t quite envision once we discovered wheat and processed sugars had to go, but today I added a dollop of whip cream to my coffee and watched my sweet kids greedily enjoy the decadence I provided.  After we stopped with the sugars our taste buds changed and simple sweetness is a rich experience.

So how did this happen?

First, a little back story. I never minded the occasional creation in the kitchen, I love cooking shows, but the “have to”,  “short order cook” lifestyle that is being a stay at home mom hurt my feminist sensibilities. I never intended to be a Mom. It was a promise I made my husband make before we ever got married. We both understood, being a stay at home mom wasn’t in me. But God had other plans.

“When it comes to health, no matter what it is you are attempting to do, someone is going to have to spend some time in the kitchen.”

Deidre Lee

So make your kitchen somewhere you want to be.

For those of us who know severe fatigue, energy has to be doled out in accounted for increments, so if you can only keep one area of your home clean, decluttered and beautiful, make it the kitchen.

Give yourself permission to spend money on items that help you. Not only things like crockpots and blenders, but pretty mixing bowls, and plates you want to serve food on.

Keep candles or essential oils going in this space.

Have music on that feeds your soul.

Decorate it with things that are beautiful to you and make you smile. Change it up often if you need to.

I’m not saying you need to go feed the corporate beasts and buy all new things. You can thrift so many beautiful and needed things, and enjoy the good feelings of being environmentally conscious. Of course, if running to Target and fulfilling a middle class destiny is what spurs you on, then go for it. Whatever it takes for you to get in that kitchen and experience good feels, do it!

Someone today asked me for food tips, this is my food tip. Get in the kitchen and find a way to love it.

Health will come when you start preparing the foods that heal and nourish the body.

And if you burn it, serve it with a side of whip cream.


Daily Life

So Here’s The Deal

I’m starting to finally feel capable. After years of chronic fatigue I’ve finally found a way of eating that works well with my body and am in need of a life overhaul.

I’m still working to get to that place of efficiency with food and all the stuff that goes with health in general, but I’m almost there. And with a little energy left over!! 

“Food can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

~Ann Widmore

However, there are gross places in my home. 3 years of just getting the minimum done and it’s bad. Over the last 4 months I have been unloading our home of all the things in an effort to minimize what I have to clean. That has helped tremendously. BUT…….

I thrift. I thrift to find the things we need, I thrift to find the things to sell, I thrift to make my home beautiful, I thrift for the love of it. Really, this makes it a bit of a challenge to maintain order. But…I have a plan for that.

I have so many, many things I need and want to face head on. I can only do a little bit at a time and I’m discovering that no matter my sleep patterns I lose all momentum when the sun sets. With late mornings and winter days that too presents a challenge.  

This is such a rambling post and I really have nothing significant to say other than I need you again blog. I need the act of writing and I need to reach out to the world in some small way.

So here I am.


Daily Life, Opinions & Experiences

Not All Driveways are Created Equal


If you happen upon my driveway and turn off the road you will find yourself surrounded by nothing but woods.

If you keep going, soon you won’t see the road from which you turned or the house at the end sitting in a small clearing.

Every time I make this drive I savor those few magical
moments when this is my view.
Daily Life

I Will Not Risk the Economy of My Country


And so it came to pass…

Another year in the life of my tiny little baby who magically turned 5 when I blinked. Each year I think,  time can’t possibly go any faster and yet, it does.

“Children age you.”

I always thought that meant physically,with the stress, worry lines and gray hairs, but that’s not it. It’s that time goes by right in front of you. A little living breathing calendar reminding you of each day that has past. I don’t like it, not one little bit. Soon it will be time for cars and crushes. Thankfully today, a dolly makes her giggle.

I started the Birthday shopping looking for clothes for my girls’ 12 inch baby dolls. But apparently 18 inch is all there is. Although… what they have for 18 inch dolls, make my heart flutter. You see, I was a little girl the first time the American Girl Doll catalog showed up in the mail. Oh how I dreamed, I mean really dreamed of owning Felicity. Felicity was a young girl from the colonial era and had her very own hunter green riding habit. She also had a Queen Anne table and chairs, A TEA SERVICE with a TEA CADDY! I did not know that such wonders existed. But alas, the cost was at least a month’s worth of groceries, maybe more.

 I knew she would never be mine.

images (1) F2940_main_1 SETFELICITY_D4371_main_1

Drooling over all the 18 inch doll clothes and accessories I began to think, maybe, just maybe, it’s time for my their very own American Girl Doll. The accessories would have to wait, my now 3 year old is far too much of a tornado for tiny tea cups, but dolls and clothes, she could handle. And so with anxious anticipation I typed in American Girl Dolls in my search bar. As I quickly clicked a link that looked promising, I saw a word, it flitted across my mind for a second, but I ignore it.  I’m on a mission to relive my childhood. They are expensive for sure, but something else is missing. Their stories are boring, Felicity lived through the Revolutionary War, Molly, WWII, but these new dolls lived through a gymnastics injury!? I mean sure Addie made it through slavery, that compares to the horrors of gymnastics, right?

And so I decided I would try and find my old Felicity and maybe her pioneer trekking friend, Kirsten. So once again with excitement I returned to my Google search and there was the word I had not allowed to sink in. MATTEL. This was no longer the quality made, history driven dolls of my little girls years. They were instead from the land of Barbie

Of course, everything good loses it’s flavor after a while, everything quality with meaning turns to corporatism. It is the country I call home and there isn’t much I can do about it, except…. NOT BUY AN AMERICAN GIRL DOLL. I use the spending and withholding of money as my voice. A tiny whisper in the ear deafening roar of screaming fans. Or followers.

I did a little research and it turns out there are several other companies who make dolls almost, if not as, comparable to the aforementioned doll company. They are still Chinese plastic, but at least they don’t pretend otherwise. Go ahead, try to find the word Mattel in the American Girl Doll website. I dare ya.

I read several reviewers and finally decided on Our Generation dolls. They are fairly well made, much cheaper in price and give a percentage to charity. They are not my beloved Felicity, but at least now for Christmas I can get, I mean I can give my girls this…


and this…


oh yea and this…..


and oh my heavens this…


Be still my heart, this..


Look what I found on Ebay!


OK, I might give up my American Girl Doll boycott for this…


After all…Imma Murican, I have to contribute to some corporatism, otherwise the economy will fail. Right…. RIGHT?!
Opinions & Experiences

The Mafia of Utah



At 7:30 this morning I was jolted awake by my sweet Rosie barking her little, more like extremely large, head off. She’s a bit more of  a barker than I’d like and we are doing our best to help her distinguish between what we need to know about and what she can keep to herself. But this time I new something about her bark was different and so I  got up to see what had her so concerned.

Before I even pulled the covers back I heard a loud banging, hammer on metal, reverberating through the whole house. When I opened the back door it was not just ringing through my house, but the whole neighborhood. My neighbor was up on his roof removing his swamp cooler, and banging away with no thought to his neighbors. It’s not the first time, he’s not at all a considerate neighbor, he’s also the tree killer I’ve spoken of before. But I know if I yelled at him to quiet it down, he would just give me a look of disbelief and walk back in his house. Well, at least that is what he did last time.

A grumpy old lady used to live in that same house before he bought it. She liked to call the dog catcher on every animal she saw and once even threatened to shoot me and my dogs. But at least, once we had it out face to face, she kept out of my way and I returned the favor.

I miss her.

As I grumbled and walked back inside to make tea, I thought to myself, I can’t wait to leave this place and get back to “normal”.

Our 5 years here in Utah have not been what I would call pleasant years. I  think that really says more about my ability to bloom where I am planted than it does about the place, but it doesn’t change the fact that this place is Not Normal!  At least it’s not my normal, or the normal of any person I have met thus far in my 39 years. I’ve lived in 6 states and dozens of cities and although each one had their own differences, this state is just odd.  Joe (husband) would say, “this place is cracked”. I think that is pretty astute. People never, and I mean never react to situations the way you would expect.  They are complacent and not in a good way. They are numb, no one talks with their hands or gets passionate about anything. The “amusing” anecdotes they tell are beyond boring.  Maybe they are just simple folk or heavily medicated. I wouldn’t know, getting to “know” someone here is not really what people do. It’s all surface, no one shares, no one gets intimate.


And so today instead of complaining about how much I’ve despised living here , how I can’t wait to move,  I will tell you one of the great lessons I have learned, but will undoubtedly never use again….

How to convey my discontent without giving offense.

Oh good grief, it is now 8:15 and said neighbor is loudly sawing. There is just no end to the thoughtlessness. He needs a job.

Back to my thought line. You see when we moved into this house it needed work. And so we have had the opportunity to employ many, many people. Most all of them were incompetent. I mean seriously, incompetent.  But there is more to it. They are like children, who’ve never been told what they are doing is wrong. When you tell them you aren’t happy with the work, they look at you like just you just stepped off the Tardis. They then follow up their disbelief with a sad “what do you want me to do?” They are disappointed, not that the work is poor and have an unhappy customer, but that you dared mention it. I am not combative or rude, I actually don’t like conflict, but I am assertive and vocal, which doesn’t go over at all with the people of Utah. They instantly shut down and on a few occasions even cry. They simply don’t understand why I am upset that they broke my bed while laying flooring, because, “it was an accident.” True story!

Here is just a sampling of the craziness.

Appliance Installer

Me: “the dishwasher is sticking out at least 6 inches past the cabinets.”

Installer: “you don’t like it like that?”.

Me: “no, I don’t”.

Installer: “What do you want me to do?

Me: “Push it further in?”


Me: “I don’t want the door frames,  floorboards and ceilings painted the same color as the walls.

Painter: “You don’t?”

Me: “No.”

Painter: “What color do you want them? ”

Me: “White, the same color as all the other trim in the house.”

Painter : “Really?”

Me: “How many homes have you seen with the doors, trim and ceilings the same color as the walls?

Painter “Well, no one has ever complained about it”

Air Duct Cleaners

Me: “Why do I smell gas?”

Cleaner: “Oh, we had some gas cans in the pack of the van, I guess some spilled”

Me: “Well it’s really strong I’m going to take the baby outside, so you can get another hose”

Cleaner: “I don’t smell anything,  just air.” (We have 5 cats, obviously my house seldom smells like “just air”)

Me: “You need to get that hose out of the house, it’s making me nauseous”

Cleaner: “I don’t have another hose”

Me: “Can you call someone to get another hose, I’m having to stand outside with my baby, the smell is so strong.”

Cleaner: “You want me to call someone else?”


Plumber: “I’ve finally figured out your problem, it needs a new washer, for two days I’ve been trying to think of what that thing was called.”

Fencing Guy

Joe: “Those holes don’t seem like they are 6 feet apart, the fence panels are six feet wide, how is that going to work?”

Fencer: “Um, I don’t know, I just thought I’d dig the holes and put the posts and concrete in first”.

Joe: “They have to line up with the fence panels, did you measure the distance between?”

Fencer: “I eyeballed it”

Joe:  “You need to pull out all the posts before the concrete dries, remeasure and make sure the posts are an equal 6 foot apart”

Fencer: “I can’t right now, I gotta go. I have to drop my kids off at their grandmother’s.”  Yes, he showed up with 3 kids I had to feed breakfast and babysit, while he “worked”. He cried when we fired him.


Me: “I’m calling to let you know there are tacks and nails all over my front and back yard.”

Roofer “that happens, there will be a few”.

Me: “Not a few, hundreds, did you go over it with a magnet?”

Roofer: “I think my son did.”

Me: “Well then he missed the 3 foot long string of nails laying in my backyard.”

Roofer: “What do you want us to do?”

Me: “Bring your magnet and go over it again.”

Roofer: “But it’s Sunday”

Me: “you just left 30 minutes ago”

Roofer: “but I’m already home and comfortable”


I could keep typing, but you get the point. For a few years we just assumed that these people were a little slow. That might be the reason for the lack of skills, but it doesn’t explain their being flabbergasted at the idea of their customers being unhappy.  I’ve since learned, no one ever complains about anything in Utah. It took hiring the second general contractor to finish our basement (after firing the first one) before we understood.

Here was HIS explanation.

“I’m not Mormon and neither are you, so if you don’t like my work, you complain to me. But if we were both Mormon you wouldn’t risk offending me, because ya never know who I might be related to. I could be the Bishop’s brother, or the Stake President’s son and then you’d be in big trouble. You have to be careful how you talk to someone, they might be connected” 

I suppose it’s probably a little like living in Newark, NJ.   Ya never know who’s uncle is going to break your kneecaps.

So with that I began to take a new approach, I’ve learned to be gentle. I know the front these people put on, kind and smiling even when they are breaking inside, and my forthright and direct manner  truly hurts them. So instead of demanding they do a better job,  I gently suggest they do it another way and then thank them for helping. No joke. This is the only method I have discovered to get people to do their job correctly, without hurting their feelings. Even then if you aren’t watching them closely, they will do something asinine like dump a bucket of grout on your front lawn on the way out.  Another true story.

The key to addressing an issue is to start your first sentence with this phrase. “I need your help”. It seems that phrase puts Utahns in a different mindset, helping people is something they either feel forced to do or actually want to do. Either way I’ve learned to use my kid gloves with the people of the Beehive state, something up until now, was never a part of my wardrobe.

But that is NOT going to fly in New Jersey, in fact, with that tactic they would run right over me. So I will get to go back to my normal forthright and direct self and no one in Jersey is going to cry when I do. They will instead wave their hands and passionately tell me I’m crazy. They will of course fix it anyway, because they want to make me, the customer, happy.


 Ah, normalcy, it’s definitely relative. 



Opinions & Experiences

Suburban Housewife or Earth Mother Hippie?

Who am I supposed to be? Who do I want to be? 

Who SHOULD I be?


My mind is a world unto itself.

When I relay my dreams to my husband he is most always incredulous. They are full stories, with characters, odd scenarios and they have a clear beginning and end. When I give myself over to my little gray cells to contemplate a subject, my mind can turn tirelessly for days while I still go about my daily activities.  I have no choice, my mind just needs to work it out, regardless of my thoughts on the matter. Today I am still turning over a thought line that started many days ago.

It all started with my IPAD.

I have a Facebook account with zero information on it. I signed up to see some photos of my friends new baby 8 years ago and once I started getting “friend” requests from people I barely knew and others I no longer wanted to know, I never returned. That doesn’t stop Facebook from coming through my email and I haven’t taken the time to decipher how one leaves Facebook. If one can.

Laying in bed I checked my email, Facebook wanted to know “Do you know these people?”. 

And there he was, a former, hmmm, not boyfriend, but more than friend? Whatever he was in relationship terms, he was a dear friend whom I shared some amazing experiences with. But…he was different now.  We spent countless hours talking about dreams, plans, ideas and ideology. We leaned more toward the live in the bush of Alaska and sew our own hemp clothes. Nature was like a religion to us, hugging trees was no joke and our best moments were spent sitting completely surrounded by the works of Mother Earth.

Finbrooke 048

That is not the man I see on Facebook.

He lives in a perfectly suburban home complete with decorative accessories, his wife is the picture perfect kind, makeup, scarf and earrings for every snap of the phone camera.

Where was the cabin in the woods, the organic veg garden, there aren’t even any trees in his .17 acre backyard. Did he change? Or did he bend?

Part of me was envious of his life. The idea of living in a new suburban home with a tiny backyard has always sounded good to me. Then I would have time to decorate each corner of the mantle just so. Salon appointments would be more regular than veterinarian visits and that frumpy feeling I seem to have day in and day out would no longer exist.

But then there’s the other me, the me who still wants to live on a giant partial of 50 acres, where you will find clean sustainably raised food and dirty kids in second hand clothes (because health and happiness are not found in a  J Crew dress or bottle of Purell).

The fact is, I want them both. I want an apartment in the city with a standing pedicure appointment and a farm in the country with a fairy forest to ramp through hand in hand barefoot with my girls. Whichever way I “bend” it will always include a French Country farm kitchen, toile and an English tea set. This much has always been clear.


So who am I? A friend once dubbed me a  “Hippie Princess”.  Although I’ve always thought that was an apt description, it really doesn’t answer the churning in my brain.

Although in my youth these questions were fun to explore, as an adult and parent they seem disconcerting. I should already know these answers, how else am I to parent without a strong sense of self. Who am I? What a  ridiculous question for a woman of my age.

The reason for these questions becoming almost unbearable is simple, I’m looking at real estate.

For the money we can spend…..

we could get a nice little suburban home in a pretty little neighborhood.

a b

Or….a storybook house with 15 acres in need of major renovation, that could only be afforded over time. 

Storybook House

What would you choose?

If I was worrying about feeding  my children while making a 5 mile trek to my village with 50 pounds of water strapped to my back, I would not have these thoughts.

*sigh* , definitely a first world problem.




Little Girl’s Room Makeover, Sugar and Spice for Two

PicMonkey Collage

So I decided on Grey or Gray, depending on which continent you live. Winter’s Day by Olympic Icon to be more specific. Although it was meant to be my neutral,  you can see after all the pink and blue things were added to the room it changed colors right before my eyes.

Both of the “new” pink furniture pieces are tv stands I purchased for cheap from the local thrift, painted and added new knobs. I used a lot of spray paint in this room, I’m going to caution anyone who uses spray paint, to leave it outside to off gas no less than 24 hours. The fumes from spray paint are toxic and they don’t stop fuming once the paint has dried.



The pink picture frames I picked up at the dollar store and spray painted. The little mirrors are a thrift store finds as well . The Beatrix Potter images were digital downloads from Etsy.


I bought the comforters and shams at Big Lots for $15 each. I could not have bought the fabric for that price, plus they are twin so in a few years when we transition to twin beds all I will need are new sheets.

little girls room after

The toddler beds are actually platform beds made from 4×4’s and plywood. Home Depot cut everything and all that was left to do was was screw on the legs and sand down all the corners and rough spots. Once again, fresh wood comes with a hefty dose of formaldehyde, we left it outside for several days to “air”.

The headboards are plywood with batting and a quilt material I picked up at Joann’s. Truly very easy with a staple gun.

This tiny room looks much larger now and the girls are thrilled with it.

Before and After Little Girls Room

It’s definitely a little girl’s room and that was the plan.