Thursday, January 29, 2015

The big rectangle

It's amazing how much just changing the paint color will change a room.

When we first started talking about our plans for making this house feel like ours, we prioritized by which projects would make the most impact.  In my head I knew that paint changed everything, but I didn't really know it in my heart until I actually saw it.

Our entry, dinning, and living area is basically a giant rectangle, under a cathedral ceiling, with a kitchen stuck on to the side of it.

Here's a picture of our living room before:

I'm standing in the dinning area near the kitchen.  When it's tile v. hardwood, tile will win every time.  It's just so easy to clean. When you live in the trees and the hills and the snow, you clean floors a lot.

Yes, tile is hard...and cold.  But right about the first time we got snow, I made friends with it.  Because I wasn't worried about how tile would hold up under melted snow, mud, and wood chips.  We're good now.

Here's what the living room looks like today:
I know, right?!  It looks so different!  All we did was paint.  Well, and move our stuff in.

The closed stained door in the middle is the laundry room, to the left of that is the master.  Then to the right are the stairs leading up to the loft and the girls' rooms, then the Ks are sort of in the entry way.

The wood leaning against the wall is actual barn wood left over from when my in-laws built their barn in 1978.  We don't have a mantle, so at Christmas, we hung our stockings on it.  It's been leaning against the wall in random places ever since.   

The basket on the floor by the couch is our electronics basket.  It has a power strip inside, and All The Things are plugged in there at night.  All The Cords are inside the basket and when I don't want to look down into the basket and see them, I just gently lay a pillow inside and cover it all up.  Honey drilled a hole in the side of the basket big enough to put the power strip plug through.  I LOVE IT.  When I find random electronics, cords, ear buds, charger cords laying around the house, they go directly in the basket.  LOVE.

Do you have a charging station at your house?  How do you corral All The Things when they need to be charged?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's start with one of my personal favorites.

Hey!  It's been a while hasn't it?  Bear with me while I find my voice again.  I don't know if I remember how to write or not.

In October 2014 we bought a house.

It's our little house in the big woods.  I told Honey when we started our home search that if we were going to leave Texas and live in Colorado, I wanted trees, and hills, and to know that I wasn't in Texas anymore.

He listened.  And took my words seriously.
When I look out the windows, I see trees, and hills, and sometimes deer, and for the last several weeks, snow.

We've been spending the last few months making the house feel like ours. (And gathering firewood to keep us warm in the winter.)
Little projects here and there.
Just cosmetic stuff.
There's nothing wrong with the house.  We just want to put our stamp on it.  Hairdryer-ify it.

We are definitely still unpacking, putting away, going through, and settling in.  It's a process, and I'm not in a hurry.

The master bedroom has a sun room attached to it.  It's my favorite room in the house.  There is so much natural light and the view may or may not be what sold us on the house.  It's the sort of view that pulls you into the room and makes you want to stand in front of the windows all day.

Here's the sun room before we moved in.

See what I mean about the windows?  Love.

Behind me on the wall is a TV.  There are patio doors leading to the deck for the summer, and a pellet stove to keep it cozy in the winter.

Here's what it looks like today.

Even though you have to walk through the master to get in here, we don't consider it a private room.  It's an extra TV space, a craft room, an office, a puzzle room, a quiet room.  Brooke and Mary Tutu love it in here.  When we were still unloading the moving truck, Brooke disappeared.  I found her in the sun room, no furniture, with a jigsaw puzzle spread out on the floor just enjoying being in the house.

The hutch behind the couch was Mema's china hutch.  She gifted it to me several years ago.  It holds all of my scrapbooking stuff.  The built in cabinets and shelves hold the rest of the crafting stuff.

I slid a skinny folding table in behind the couch.  The crate holds all of the girls' pens, pencils, markers, paint brushes, scissors, etc.  They usually move in here to do homework or color or loom.

Hello windows.
The left corner of the built ins serves as our desk.  It's where I pay bills and balance the checkbook.  Just to the right of the chair is a cabinet door.  The sewing machine is stored in there.  It can pop up to counter level when you need it, and then be lowered back down when it needs to be stored.  Love!

Do you have a favorite spot in your house?  What do you love about it?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Interwebs

Stuff I'm loving from around the interwebs...

- Meg shared this about the healthy changes she's making in her life.

- They say your taste buds change every 7 years.  I just ate a salad, inspired from a Facebook post that I can no longer find, made from spinach, feta cheese crumbles, strawberries, tomatoes, salted almonds, avocado, dried cranberries, and a vinegar and oil dressing. 

The tomatoes and strawberries are the only things from that list that were on my food radar even 3 years ago.

- I made this cheese tortellini soup recipe from Life in Grace.  It's delicious and makes about 10-ish 1 cup servings.  The only change I made was adding cooked chicken for a kick of protein.  That's a big deal for me considering that the recipe calls for chopped onion and diced garlic.  But it is SOOO good!  It's a light, filling, warm lunch on a fresh spring day. 

- 2014 is the year we're hoping to move out of the rent house and in to the place we can call our own and plan to stay in a very long time.  I've been dreaming of ways to put our stamp on a house, and I'm kind of obsessed with this light from Pottery Barn.  And also?  This ice machine.

- Anyone out there tried Daily Burn?  I've seen the commercials and they've piqued my interest.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Thinking Thankful

A friend and I are working through Kelly Minter's study Nehemiah, and the last couple of weeks have spoken to me.

Yesterday I read in Deuteronomy...

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day."
Deuteronomy 8:10 - 11
God is bringing us through a season of stepping out in faith.  And we're learning that taking that first step is hard, but the steps that follow are also very hard.  Not bad or full of regrets, just hard.  Many days I struggle to find hope and joy when it's hard.

All of this has been on my mind and Nehemiah has encouraged me to stop and reflect on how far we've come already, and praise God for that.  We've found a soft place to call home for now.  We're making friends.  We aren't the new people at church any more.  Our little family of 5 has grown closer.

Nehemiah has shown me that we need a gratitude adjustment.  We need to stop and praise God for what he has done in our journey.  We need to remember that the Lord is bringing us through this journey...even the hard stuff.

And then yesterday Jeannette posted about their plans for Lent.  And even though we aren't doing the random acts of kindness thing, I did identify with the blog she mentioned that is doing the gratitude thing.

The Hairdryer family is giving up ingratitude for Lent.

They don't know it yet, but tonight at dinner they will.  Every evening, each of us will use a sticky note to write something we are thankful for, a praise to God, or remember a way the Lord our God has worked in our life this year.  And then we're going to stick the note on our windows so we'll see them throughout the Lent season.

We did a version of this a few summers ago.  Remember this?

So very easy, such enormous results.

Is your family celebrating Lent?


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chicken Parm is the new Spaghetti

A long time ago I started making baked spaghetti.  My kids loved it, and it became one of those meals you could make in your sleep.  It's entirely possible that I did make it in my sleep a time or two.  And it is so fast, I could make it start to table in 25 mins.  We ate it about 3 times a month, and for a while, my kids took the leftovers to school in their lunches.

I posted the recipe here.

When we needed a little break from baked spaghetti, I wanted to replace it in our dinner rotation with something equally as quick and easy to make.  The kids kept suggesting Chicken Parmesan so I've been making something that the kids all eat and is still ready in a flash.  Because ready or not, baseball season is here.

1 pkg frozen chicken patties
1 regular jar Prego Traditional
1 sm can tomato sauce
2 small zuchinni sliced
2 c mozzarella cheese, grated
dried oregano, basil, and minced onion to taste
salt, garlic powder to taste

Because this recipe is designed for "fast" and "brainless activity" I buy it all canned, jarred, pre-packaged, and frozen.  Sorry.  Don't judge. And feel free to do what works for you.

1. Lay out the frozen chicken patties like this:

(That small pan?  That's what Bubba eats. All by himself.)

2.  Heat the spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce in a medium sauce pan.  Add the desired amount of spices.

3. When the sauce is all bubbly and warm, pour it over the chicken patties.  Layer the zucchini slices over the sauce and top with cheese.  I probably use a bit less than 2 c. of cheese.  Just add as much as you like.

(I haven't added the cheese to Bubba's yet.)

4.  Bake at 350° for 40 mins our until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.  We serve with a salad and a side of noodles.  This meal is probably 45 mins start to table.

What is your favorite, go-to, it's baseball night, mom has a headache, crowd pleasing recipe?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I know it's not Throwback Thursday, but today Bubba turns 14.  He still has the same sweet face, dark eyes, and quick smile.  He likes to remind me, almost hourly, that he's taller than me, even when I wear heels. 

He also likes to remind me that he will be starting high school in a few months.  I can't even...

He desperately needs a haircut.  He's always singing.  He's always having fun.  Last night, he helped us with the 4th grade math homework. 

He wants a double decker pizza from Papa Murphy's for supper tonight.  Well, of course, he is fourteen.

He's finding his way in this new place and is doing it with grace and perseverance.

Happy birthday, Bubba.  We couldn't love you more.

Friday, February 07, 2014

A few of my favorite things

We're getting a bit of winter here in our corner of CO.  The only thing I have to say about that is...FINALLY.  I was beginning to think someone just transplanted some mountains and pine trees in West Texas, because we've been having a TX winter here in CO.  I might feel differently in a few hours when I have to get out and pick the kids up from school.

This TX girl has had to find some new winter favorites.  My thin, no show socks just aren't cutting it.

- Smart Wool socks
I do not have a drawer full of these, but I have a few pair and they keep my feet toasty.

- Merrell Waterproof shoes
Waterproof is the key word.  I wear mine almost every day.

-Gilligan & O'Malley pajama pants
These aren't necessarily Colorado warm, but they are SO comfy.  I don't have words for how comfy they are.  And you only wear them inside, where it's already warm.

- house shoes
I have these. Honey and Bubba have these.  Here in the mountains, you take your shoes off as soon as you step inside.  But you need something besides thin Texas socks on your feet.  We may or may not have a hard time remembering to change into our outdoor shoes before we leave the house.

- humidifier(s)
Because the heat runs a lot here, and it's dry.  Dry, dry, dry, dry, dry.

-Crabtree and Evelyn hand lotion
To be fair, I found this at a hotel where we stayed over Christmas.  I only have the small, hotel-sized bottles that I could scrounge from the 3 rooms the family occupied during our stay.  It keeps my hands hydrated, but not greasy.  And a little goes a long way.

- Thanks to some Barnes and Noble gift cards, I just finished reading The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig and I enjoyed it. 

I plan to start Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin this weekend.  The movie version just came out.  I don't think the book version is for the faint of heart, my Nook says that it's 650 pages.  What?!

I'm also going to read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, also a movie coming soon.  I just decided that I always like the book better than the movie, so why not find the book?

What are your winter favorites?  Please share...even if they're more TX and less CO.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

In a word


It's my word for 2014.

Weeks before I knew anything about how the months of 2013 would play out, God spoke the word "faith" to me.  Yes.  He spoke it.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  And, low and behold, God was right. In every possible way, 2013 was a huge leap of faith for our family. 

2013 will be one of those life marks for us.
"Oh, yeah!  That was right after we got married."
"Bubba was about two then."
"I was big pregnant with the girls when that happened."
"That was our first winter in Colorado."

Let's be honest, having a year of faith is exhausting.  Stepping out in giant ways in the name of faith takes its toll on a person.  And, frankly, there were many days when the word faith was really too beautiful to describe what I did.  When I think of a man or woman of faith, I think of someone who is strong, God-centered, peaceful.  Watching a faithful person live their life is simply beautiful.

There were many days in the midst of our year of faith when I felt the opposite of strong and peaceful and beautiful.  Those days I just had to power through with straight up obedience.  Because honestly?  I wasn't feeling the faith.

And now it's 2014 and as cliche as it sounds, hope is my word.  Because faith and hope go hand in hand.  The ONLY reason to step out in faith is because you have hope in the One who has called you.

We made the leap of faith with both feet, and now, as we adjust and become familiar, we wait.  We have hope that God will begin the work he has for this season of our lives.  We know our faithfulness was for a purpose.  There has to be a reason He's asked us to do this, right?  Of course there is.

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thess. 1:3

Monday, November 18, 2013

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I am so over change and getting settled and new and different.

Over. it.

I want the good ole days back.
...when I could go online and with a few clicks of the mouse order more than enough diabetes supplies for Brooke
...when all the people already had our current contact information
...when I called the doctor's office and they knew who I was by my voice
...when the people at Walmart were friendly and helpful instead of snotty

You know that day when you had such an awful experience at Walmart that you swear you will never go back?  And this time you really mean it?  Today was that day for me.  You would have thought it would have been about a month ago when I went in and it smelled so badly of pot that I left with a headache.  But it wasn't then.  I gave it another chance.  After today?  I'm done.

And also, how do you just simmer on a gas cook top?  I just want the chili to simmer for a couple of that possible?

And what is the magic formula for sending a fax to a doctor and them actually getting to hold it in their hands and look at the lab results?

After the most frustrating morning I've had since I moved here, I felt a little distant from Colorado and that I needed to make friends with it again.  I decided to go to Starbucks and spend a little time downtown walking and browsing through some of my favorite shops.  It was very relaxing and refreshing until I remembered that I hadn't put money in the parking meter.

I guess the shopping worked because I didn't get a ticket.

Thankfulness Day 18:  I didn't get a parking ticket even though I totally deserved it.

After I picked the girls up from school and made it home I tackled the least frustrating chore of my day: calling the Apple helpline.  Yes, that was the least frustrating thing I did all day.

Thankfulness Day 18.2:  After only being on hold with Apple for 45 seconds, I spoke with an American that was very patient and helpful.

The Apple started working better by the time I was off the phone with him, but it's already acting up again.  Blah.

I got to play Bunco last night!  Here in CO they are Bunco grabbers instead of Bunco celebrators.  So there was some adjustment.  BUT, I won a prize, for most Buncos.  I didn't actually get the points for any of them because I'm not a good grabber, but I rolled the most out of everyone!

How was your day?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just the facts, Ma'am

Today is World Diabetes Day.  It's Dr. Banting's birthday, and in 1923, he won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of insulin.  Every day since February 17, 2011 insulin saves Brooke's life.  So we celebrate.  Dr. Banting, I'm glad you were born.  Thank you for saving my daughter's life.

Diabetes is a complicated thing.  I get that.  There are lots of different kinds of Diabetes.  There is lots of misinformation out there about Diabetes.  Doctors and patients and researchers are learning new things about Diabetes every day.  It's hard to keep up.

I'm not bitter.  I used to believe some of the myths, sometimes I still do.  I learn something new about Diabetes every day.

I'm sharing some good information about Diabetes.  It's the best information we have today.  Not because I'm condescending, but because I want to educate.  All of the points are real life questions or comments that people who know and love our family have brought up since Brooke's diagnosis.  They asked because they care and want to understand.

**The explanations I'm about to give are the most basic ways I can think of to give helpful, relevant information.  I know that Diabetes is not as cut and dried as I am about to make it seem, but for non-Diabetics, it's some good working information.**

Q:  Does she have the bad kind of Diabetes?
A:  There are several different kinds of Diabetes.  The two most well known kinds are Type 1 and Type 2.  Type 1 is an auto-immune disease.  Brooke has Type 1 Diabetes.  She was born with antibodies in her blood that attacked and killed the cells in her pancreas that produce insulin.  You must have insulin to live.  Her body doesn't make it's own insulin, so we have to give her insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is basically defined by the fact that your body makes it's own insulin, but for some reason your body doesn't use the insulin it makes effectively.  There are many reasons why your body doesn't use the insulin it makes.  Many.  It is not just weight, exercise, and diet.  It is not just a fat person's disease.  Remember the cholesterol commercials with the beautiful, athletic, otherwise healthy looking people?  They looked perfect on the outside, but then their cholesterol number would come down and make them trip or spill or something.  Think that, except with Type 2 Diabetes.  Anyone can develop Type 2 Diabetes, even skinny, active people.

Q: Did she get it because she ate too much sugar?  Got too fat?  Has family members that are too fat?
A:  No.  She got it because her pancreas quit making insulin.

Q:  Will she eventually grow out of it?
A:  No.  The cells in her pancreas that she needs?  They are dead. DEAD.  One doesn't grow out of dead.

Q: Can't she just take a pill?
A:  No. What Brooke needs is insulin.  If you were to ingest insulin through pill or liquid form, your stomach acid would destroy it before it got to your cells to do its job.

Type 2 Diabetes is sometimes treated with pills, because a pill can help a body use the insulin it already makes.

Q: Should she eat that?
A:  My snarky answer to this question is:  Should you eat that?
My kind answer to this question is:  Type 1 Diabetes treatment does not require being on a diet.  We can all agree that it has been suggested for all human kind to eat healthy and exercise regularly.  These suggestions apply to Brooke as much as they apply to me, or you, or the next door neighbor.

BUT, it may seem like she is on a diet because what you see us doing is counting carbs.  The fact is that Type 1 Diabetes treatment does require varied insulin dosages.  We have to give her certain amounts of insulin depending on the amount of carbs she eats.  The only reason we count carbs is to have a number to put in our math equation to figure the insulin dosage she needs.Yes, we do complicated math every time she puts food in her mouth.

Go ahead, let her have the cupcake!  I can do the math.

Q:  I have a friend that cured his Diabetes with this health supplement.  Don't you want to put Brooke on it too?
A:  This one is tricky, y'all.  Because, yes!  Of course, if there was a cure for Diabetes I would want Brooke on it.  But the hard facts are...there isn't a cure.  There just isn't.  I know that you just want to help because you love her.  I know that Dr. Soandso said it could be done.

But here it is:  Brooke's body doesn't make insulin.  Humans need insulin to stay alive.  The part of her body that makes insulin is dead.  A cure would be figuring out a way for her body to start making the insulin she needs again so we wouldn't have to inject her anymore.

Here is what I think happens with all these "supplements".  Brooke's diet is as balanced as any normal 10 year old, and lets say that an average day is 150g of carbs.  Doing the math would tell you that she would need about 10 units of insulin a day to cover the food she eats.

So, let's say that we started one of the supplements and replaced a normal meal or snack or whatever with the supplement.  Because the supplement is lower in carbs, her carb intake goes down, and her average intake is 120g of carbs a day.  Using the same math, that would reduce her insulin intake to 8 units a day.

She is still taking insulin, just not as much.  Reducing the amount of insulin needed is not a cure.  It just means she is taking less than she was before because she is ingesting less carbs than she was before. 

And also:  Insulin isn't bad.  All the normal people make insulin inside their bodies every day.  The insulin we give her saves her life.  It is not our goal to "get her off of insulin".  Unless of course a real cure is discovered, her body starts making its own insulin again, and she doesn't need to be injected anymore.  Then I'll make your head spin with how fast we "get her off the insulin".  

OK, your eyes started glazing over several paragraphs ago.  I'll stop.  If you ever have a question and want an honest, as accurate as possible answer, just ask.  I won't judge or make fun or get snarky.  I know you're just curious.  And I want to get good information out there.  It will help us all.