Day 15: Orange Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread


New day.  New oven.  A big box of oranges.  Still tons of zucchini in the freezer.  Time to bake some orange chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Day 13: Not exactly Christmas lights

IMG_4296 So tonight around 7:15 PM the oldest was making a pizza in the oven.  I was changing out of church clothes into more comfortable clothing and I heard her yell that the inside of the oven was on fire.  The first thing that went through my mind (sorry about the “TMI”) was “What if I have to exit out the house not wearing any pants?”

The element in the oven was slightly on fire.  The husband put out with the fire extinguisher while I called 9-1-1.  The kids waited outside.  The cat hit under the bed.  It was out before the firemen arrived.  I never knew fire extinguishers make a BIG dusty mess.  Our oven and stove have to be replaced.  Thankfully it was not much worse than it was. A little excitement for what we thought was going to be a quiet Sunday evening.


Books 2014

In 2009 I read 16 books, in 2010 I don’t think I kept track, in 2011 I read 22 books, in 2012 I read 27, and in 2013 I read 32.  In 2014…I read…drum roll please…41!  Here they are…


  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klinel
  2. Wonder by Al Palacio
  3. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
  4. The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
  5.  Moloka’I by Alan Brennert
  6. Barcelona Calling by Jane Kirkpatrick
  7. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
  9. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  10. Breaking Rules by Tracie Puckett
  11. PIE by Sarah Weeks 


  1. Shattered Dreams:  My Life As An Polygamist Wife by Irene Spencer
  2. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  3. I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks
  4. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller
  5. Wild:  From Lost to Found On the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  6. The Other Side of the River by Alex Kotlowitz
  7. Lost Boy by Brent W Jeffs
  8. Better Together:  Restoring the American Community by Robert D Putman
  9. Answering 911:  Life in the Hot Seat by Caroline Burau
  10. The End of the Suburbs:  Where the American Dream Is Moving by Leigh Gallagher
  11.  Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt
  12. My Story by Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart
  13. Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time by Brigid Schulte
  14. My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
  15. Life Is A Wheel by Bruce Weber
  16. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
  17. Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp
  18. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
  19. The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality by Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche
  20. Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin
  21. Naked and Unashamed by Rob Toornstra
  22. Maxed Out by Katrina Alcorn
  23. Growing Up Duggar by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar
  24. Hope Against Hope by Sarah Carr
  25. Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
  26. Stopping Stress Before It Stops You by Kevin Leman
  27. The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge
  28. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  29. It’s Complicated by Danah Boyd
  30. All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior

First of all the best book I had the honor of reading this year was written by my husband.  He spent many evenings going across the street to the coffee shop after the kids went to bed to write. He solicited editing help from our friends and my brother.  He learned with writing that there are many “no’s” before a “yes.” His book “Naked and Ashamed” began long before we were married when he had to write about the Calvinist perspective on sexuality in our Calvinism class in college.  I encourage you to check his book out.  It’s available on Amazon and in the Kindle edition.

And once again I read way more non-fiction than fiction.  Some of this due to a writing project of my own I took on that may or may not amount to much more beyond this blog.

My second favorite book was Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time.  This book shook up my world for a couple weeks and caused me to take a good hard look at my schedule and life goals.  I daresay God used this book to help me this school year. I have been able to manage my time better and keep my commitments at a manageable level.

Some others I recommend:  Breaking Rules is a YA fiction, and I could not put it down.  The writing was good and the characters come to life.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I know some memoirs by people in the news or Hollywood stars are poorly written.  The whole time you read it you are thinking–“How did they get a book deal?”  My Story by Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart is very good–heartbreaking at times.  You get a picture of what actually happened to her and her strength to overcome the trauma she faced.

I also recommend A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres.  It is the untold stories of the Jonestown Massacre and people of “The People’s Temple” cult of the late 1970’s.  This all took place when I was an infant so I never followed it in the news.  I have always been fascinated by the control cults have over ordinary people.  The author is originally from the same hometown and church as me (Lafayette, Indiana).

If you want other recommendations, let me know.  I am always up for book suggestions too!

December 11: Tree Trimming


The first picture is trimming the tree in 2006 which was our first Christmas in Oregon…our first Christmas in this house.  Our oldest who is in the picture was fifteen months.  Now trimming the tree in 2014. Still in Oregon.  Still love Oregon.  Same house.  Same living room with more furniture.  Same Christmas lights.  The child in the picture is our youngest who turned five last month.  Where has the time gone?  Is it really our ninth Christmas here?  Blessed beyond belief.

Our sweet cat

Our sweet cat

On Monday the oldest child complained of a headache before school. We did not think much of it and sent her to school anyway. She came home and crashed on the couch falling fast asleep. Tuesday, Wednesday & today she stayed home and she had a fever of 103 at one point. I have not seen her that sick since she had a bad stomach bug when she was three. Thankfully she’s eating and drinking again and feeling somewhat normal.

Our dear sweet cat Salena is tuned to the family’s ailments. This morning my oldest took a very long nap (and her fever finally broke) for three hours and Salena sat on this orange chair the whole entire time looking down at my oldest. My husband said Salena was doing the same thing when my daughter was sleeping on the couch the other day.

About a year and a half ago, I was sick during the night. I was up almost every hour and there was Salena sitting right next me as I threw up in the toilet. Honestly I would rather have her there than an actual person. She also curls up my lap when I’m more emotional than usual.

I know cats can sometimes be a pain–they scratch,they “meow” in the night when you’re trying to sleep, they paw, and their litter box stinks. But I love that our cat looks out for us when we’re at our worst.

The “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself Box”


We said from the very beginning our son has two modes “Off” and “On.” He has a crazy amount of energy. This fall when he started kindergarten, he was not one of those kids who come home tired and exhausted. Some of my friends said their five year olds would take naps every afternoon the first week of school. Not him. We actually had him run laps around the backyard or ride his bike after kindergarten because he was in that mode we refer to “silly crazy.” It really helped utilize his energy and get him to calmer and more focused state.

We live in a very rainy area of the country and we are pretty much stuck inside a good part of the winter. Even though once in awhile I don’t mind the muddy boots, and wet clothes, I needed to find a way to help him find things to do in the house. So we made a “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself Box.” If I see him moping around or getting into things he is not supposed to or reverting to “silly crazy” I ask him to draw something out of the box. Whatever he draws he has to do. I put all kinds of ideas such as “Play restaurant with the play food,” or “Build a train with the folding chairs and ride in it,” or “Practice handwriting for 15 minutes.” I have puzzles and worksheets available he can do. It has worked every single time. Even the day it was pouring rain and he drew “Go outside.” He did not want to go outside and protested profusely. Once he got on the rain boots, rain coat, and went splashing around the backyard–he was content. I told him he had to stay out for at least 15 minutes, but he was outside for at least a half hour.

Such a simple thing–I wish I would have thought of it earlier. It is not a punishment. It is just a tool to help him be more focused.