A day in the life and what a day it’s been!

Oh, boy! (eh, girls)

It’s been one of those days. I wasn’t planning a post for today but I just need to get it out and here I sit with tears in my eyes at what could have happened.

This morning was quiet and slow to get started. I was able to pick up the whirlwind of debris that gets left after grandma visits for a few days. I was able to sit and drink a cup of coffee in the quiet house. Then one by one my little cherubs slowly made the descent down the hall stairs and we began the breakfast to-do. Most mornings we all come down together and eat together, but this morning I decided to take the few minutes to straighten up while they slept.

No qualms; no issues; just a quiet morning. Then, 9:30 came around and it was time to get going. I made my second sale in my etsy shop (YAY!) and needed to get to the post office to ship my sign. I also had plans to meet up with my long time and dear friend “D” for lunch and pumpkin picking. We all dressed in our tights and sweaters, hair brushed and out the door. But something inside me was a-miss. I just couldn’t get it all done in the time I needed to. I felt flustered, a rare occasion, I’m usually laid back and have everything under control.

Well, we made it to the Post office and after a brief talk with my girls preparing them to stand still and stay as quiet as possible as not to disturb the other patrons, we made our way into an empty post office. The post office is never empty. Anyway, we shipped the sign and everyone remained relatively calm. Back in the car and on the way to the Farm, it was a nice ride, otherwise uneventful save for Oak and Dogwood falling asleep.

The farm was busy. So busy, there was almost an hour-long wait for our food, despite my calling in our order ahead of time. Our friends had already been there for an hour and had time to play and eat. We were late. We are never late. Or, we have never been late until now for some reason. THIS time. THIS pregnancy I can’t get my bearings. I don’t have it all together, I’m not calm. I’m a mess!

It’s taking a lot of swallowing my pride to admit all this. I don’t feel like a failure, but I don’t feel like myself. I’m out of control and it’s not a good feeling.

After we finally got our food and ate, it was time to roll over to the pumpkins.

Ash had asked several times by then if she could go and play. The farm has a nice shady play area with a big wooden train for the kids to climb on and a petting zoo-like area where they can feed chickens and goats. I told her time and time again, “not yet we have to do ___insert another activity___ first and then later we will play.” So we were looking at pumpkins and taking our annual photo with our babies before lally-gaggling and wrangling our crew to go and pay for the pumpkins because my dear friends had to be leaving.

As we are waiting to pay I’m talking and getting as much conversation in our visit as possible when I notice three of my five aren’t by my side. I look up and they are about 20′ away running into the play area. Dogwood, safe in the stroller, and Ash patiently awaiting my approval, are with me and I’m very familiar with this farm and knowing the play area is completely fenced in with only one way in and out, I’m comfortable not being that crazy mom who runs through a crowded market yelling after her kids to get back here…etc. I let them wander. (I’m no helicopter) But, after paying for the pumpkin and saying our goodbyes to our friends, Oak and Lemon come out of the play area HYSTERICAL and in tears. Some strange woman picks up my three-year old as I say, “I’m right here.”

Oh the drama and travesty! I’m not one of those people who make a scene or feed off of attention, actually I’m the opposite so to have all this going on had me upset to say the least. All these eyes on me and my screaming kids, a spotlight shining on our frazzled current state, ugh!

I hugged my crying kids, asked if they were hurt and we finished saying goodbye to our friends.

Later while Ash and Dogwood were playing and looking at the animals, I asked Lemon why she was so upset and this next part shattered me to pieces. “I thought you left me, mommy.”

I asked her what made her run away from mom in the first place and she said she was just so excited.

We talked, and cried. I told her that I would never leave her and assured her that I knew where she was the whole time. I also scolded her for breaking a big rule and leaving mom without permission.

SO, what could have happened? My three daughters could have been kidnapped or killed. How can I be so cool about it?

I’m not! I”m going crazy inside and I could scream and cry and ball up in the fetal position for the rest of the day, but I won’t, because I have five little faces watching me and my every move. They feed off my energy. They get to be who they are from a combination of me, their dad and their own devices, so I have to make sure what they get from me is sane, not unstable and easy to give up. I have to be strong for my girls.

For not having planned a post I spit out nearly 1,000 words in an emotional whirlwind of honesty and parental shame like I’ve never done before. I’m exposed. My secrets out. I don’t have it all together.

Have your kids ever run away before?

And that’s okay.

Pancakes Anyone?

Who doesn’t love pancakes?

I pride myself on cooking from scratch with love for my family. I know every ingredient that goes into our bellies and I’m confident I feed their growing bodies healthy food. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to have a treat! Pancakes! Who doesn’t love pancakes?

There is something to be said about the satisfaction of taking a handful of ingredients and turning it into something delicious, that’s my pancakes and it’s the only pancake recipe you will ever need!

We use an all-purpose gluten free baking mix but regular flour will work just as well.

flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, vanilla, butter
flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, milk, vanilla, butter

After heating a fry pan or griddle, slowly heat 4 TBS. butter in a small saucepan.

While the butter melts, mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set them aside.


1 1/2 cup flour (sometimes I substitute 1/2 cup flour for cornmeal because I love corn cakes!)

2 TBS. sugar 


2 TBS. baking powder


Then in a separate larger bowl, whisk together

2 eggs



1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


By now the butter has melted; whisk it into the egg mixture with

1 c. cold milk

to cool the butter before adding to the egg mixture and then pouring in the dry ingredients.


Don’t mix too much, some lumps are okay.

Measure about 1/4 c of batter onto the buttered pan and wait for the bubbles.

When the edges look dry, flip and cook the other side for about 30 seconds.

That’s it! The perfect pancakes.

The Perfect Pancakes From Scratch

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


4 Tablespoons butter (melted)

1 1/2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar 

2 Tablespoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup cold milk


  1. Pre-heat pan or griddle to 350-375.*
  2. Sift dry ingredients in medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, vanilla, butter and milk in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture.
  5. Combine until smooth (some lumps are okay, don’t over mix).
  6. Grease pan and pour batter in 1/4 cup increments.
  7. Watch for bubbles and wait for edges to look dry.
  8. Flip and cook for 30 sec.
  9. Plate, drizzle and ENJOY!!!

This recipe makes 12-14 perfectly fluffy pancakes!

Tasty Tip: Use the small sauce pan from melting the butter to heat up pure maple syrup for a buttery rich drizzle.

We also utilize our oven’s warming drawer to heat up our plates and syrup so we never eat a cold pancake.

So, You’re a Stay at Home Mom. What do you want, a medal?

I did.

I wanted a big bright shiny medal!

I wholeheartedly with every ounce of my soul despised my life and was about ready to up and escape it all; just a few months ago, no less. Being a wife, a mother and everything in between, I was at my wit’s end! (pregnancy hormones are raging and out of control, by the way)

Let’s be honest though, because when I started this web log I told you “if you know me, you’ll now KNOW me and if you don’t know me, you’ll love me.” In that little blurb of the “about me” section of my page I was writing of my truth. I made a promise to myself and you, the reader, to be truthful; and this post is just that. Get ready. Saddle up!

I’m lazy.

There. I said it. I am. I am utterly, hopelessly lazy. Ask anyone who REALLY knows me. My mom, my sister, my husband…they’ll all tell you, it’s true.

How can that be? Well, I hate doing anything I don’t FEEL like doing; so, I just don’t do it. To be brutally and embarrassingly honest, dishes have sat in my sink for more than just a few days; I’ve restarted the same load of laundry in the washer more than just a few times; my bed has gone unmade for over a month, which means, yep, the sheets weren’t changed in that time. GROSS! I know.

My laziness never mattered to anyone much before I had kids so I never grew up. I never got my act together and now at almost 33 years old, I’m struggling with how to really act like an adult in my everyday life.

I little history about me. I’m the youngest of five. Growing up in my house, I didn’t have to do a thing. Ask them; they’ll tell you. “Lisa never had to do anything.” “She’s spoiled because she’s the baby.” “Lisa got away with everything!” you can sense the resentment in their tone. But, it’s all true.

Surprisingly, despite my laziness, I am and always have been incredibly ambitious, self-motivated and hard driven – when I want to be. When it was for something important to me, I could move mountains and not let the earth settle until I succeeded.


Some days, things get accomplished and I feel like a million bucks; most days, though, I think, “Those dust bunnies will be there tomorrow.” So, instead of stressing out over my to-do list, I look into my babies’ eyes and hug ’em tight because tomorrow is another day but they’ll be another day older, another inch taller and that much closer to growing up and out of the phase where mom’s hug CAN fix anything.

Everyday I pray and thank God for this life, the time I get to spend with my kids making memories, and for this man sitting next to me making sacrifices to make it all possible.

So what about that medal?

Truly I don’t deserve one. I’m a stay at home mom. I realize and appreciate that I am blessed beyond the vast universe to have a roof over my head, food on the table for my kids and the health of myself and family.

Did I birth 6 human beings? yes.

Do I maintain a household for 8 people and 4 pets despite my laziness? yes.

Do I juggle being a mom, wife, writer, artist, choiffer, chef, gardener, maid, boogie-getter and storybook narrator? yes.

But I don’t get a medal for living a life of my choosing.

This is why I have a hard time answering the blizzard of questions and comments like, “How do you do it?” or “You’re super-mom!”

It’s not easy and I certainly don’t claim it to be, but what about that medal?

It’s looking into those eyes I mentioned earlier.

It’s hearing my 6 year-old say “mmm, mom! this is really good!” with a mouth full of a dinner I just spent over an hour preparing.

It’s seeing my husband across a crowded room with his freshly cut hair (saving money by doing it myself) playing with our kids, making them giggle and laugh.

It’s even this cat on my lap purring as I type this.

All these little things add up to a big bright shiny medal.

So I leave you with this:


Live each day as if it were the only day you have left. Tomorrow might be a new day, but you’ll never get to do this day again (unless you’re Bill Murray).



I do change the sheets (almost) every week.

We’ve been keeping up on the dishes (for the most part).

Since Dogwood loves to vacuum, the dust bunnies don’t hang around(for too long).



5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil Outside the Kitchen

Coconut oil is a versatile thing.


Besides the kitchen, you’ll find a jar of expeller-pressed, raw organic coconut oil in my bathroom closet, shower, nightstand and on our baby-changing table because not only is it nourishing us through food, but in these 5 ways you may not have thought to use it.

  1. Oil pulling- If you’ve never heard of it or know how it’s done, check out this post on my initial experience. It’s not an everyday practice for me, but when I need a pick-me-up or I know I have a big day ahead of me, this ancient Ayurvedic ritual is where I turn.

2. Toothpaste- A small amount (tsp.) mixed equally with my other go-to in the home, baking soda, and I have a non-toxic fluoride-free home-made toothpaste that leaves my mouth feeling fresh and clean.

3. Shaving cream- After heating up the skin a bit, a literal drop on each leg and I have a smooth shave that lasts longer than conventional foams, gels or plain soap. My skin also stays smoother for up to three days.


4. Diaper cream- Another natural alternative to some of the questionable products on the shelf, coconut oil soothes and moisturizes the skin while wicking the wet diaper away from baby’s bottom. She also smells really nice.

5. Cuticle softener- I get very dry cuticles that fray and cause painful and unsightly fingernails. A drop of coconut oil and a finger massage leaves my nails hydrated, and cleaner than picking at the dry skin and let’s face it, when will I get a manicure? Yeah, never.

There are countless ways to use coconut oil in our everyday lives from hair conditioner to salad dressing; please share in the comments how coconut oil finds its way into your home.

… to be an author?

I have an announcement!

It’s one thing to write a letter, comment on social media or an email, it’s another thing to proclaim oneself as an author.

Even just writing this blog I don’t think I’m good enough. Self-destructive criticism of my own thoughts written out on the screen before me is frightening.

But, I’m taking a leap.

drumroll please…

I’m becoming an author.

Self-publishing a book of my own is a huge undertaking. I find time to write and research while my babies are sleeping. I beg my husband to read and re-read everything 1,000 times. I’m afraid I won’t actually get it done because my perfectionism is getting the best of me.

In publishing this post I hope that you all will hold me accountable, pray for my sanity and eventually read my non-fiction masterpiece.

A book about homeschooling and getting over some of the hurdles that accompany it, I’m writing to help others on the same journey as me and I also hope to shed light on this wonderful experience that is educating our children at home.

I’m scared and excited all at the same time to be taking the next step and make something of this “thing I” can’t stop thinking about.

Wish me luck!

I Can’t Homeschool: I Need ‘ME’ Time

Always nice to be reminded of the importance of taking time for ourselves. Too often we caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life…

A Homeschool Mom

i_cant_homeschoolHomeschooling can seem like a daunting journey, especially for those who are new to the concept. We are unsure of where to start, overwhelmed by the notion of taking on our children’s education, and feel as if we are not enough. May we offer encouragement for families unsure of the adventure called homeschooling.


Our day starts pretty early. From the minute I get out of the shower, till the minute my kids’ heads hit their pillows, I am on my toes. There are days I feel like I’m rushing from one activity to the next, constantly feeding hungry mouths, cleaning up endless messes, and running a myriad of errands. If I’m not careful, I can easily run myself into the ground. Taking personal time is not only recommended, it’s a must.

One of the arguments often heard against homeschooling is the lack of personal time afforded parents. With kids in…

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Wild Horses and Light Bulbs

We spent a weekend in April at Assateague Island National Seashore!

I couldn’t resist a free entry weekend to our National Parks. I also couldn’t resist a chance to get to the beach. Winter has been far too long and the first nice weekend was put to good use.

I knew little about Assateague Island other than it is an island, has a beach, is a National park, and is within reasonable driving distance for us.

We left on Friday evening after picking up and surprising Grandma with an RV trip. We arrived in Dover, DE and spent the night in an overflow Lot for Dover Downs International Speedway. (with permission of course)

Up bright and early, we had an hour drive down into Maryland and embarked on the Visitor Center in Assateague by 10am.

An educational movie enlightened us about the wild horses living on the island and how they came to be there. Fascinated, the girls sat and intently watched and learned before getting wet in the touch tank where they explored the horseshoe crab, welks and clams.

This park was perfect for us combining nature with history and playing at the beach.

We ventured on a nature walk with a ranger from bay to beach and saw wild horses as well as a frog and countless birds.

After our walk we spent some time playing in the sand and collecting shells. This was the first National Park we had been to where they encouraged taking home nature, no more than a gallon bucket of treasures from the beach.

We got crafty by making and learning about the endangered piper plover chick.

IMG_1327 IMG_1331 IMG_1332

We took some family portraits and finished our junior ranger booklets before getting our badges and heading off for dinner.

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A short ride to a state park in DE and we set up camp for the night; grilling steak, chicken, vegetables and sweet potato fries… mmm. We had s’mores and the girls were able to use their fishing rods for a few minutes as the sun set on a perfect day.


Sunday was a day to get back because grandma had work on monday; we headed north.

The free entry fees were burning a hole in my passport. I couldn’t help but sneak another adventure into this weekend.

I’d been aching to bring the girls to Thomas Edison’s Laboratory for a long time. I begged Darryl to make the stop but he urged we needed to make it back for his mom’s sake.

A few miles up the road and he was rubbing his eyes, straining to keep them open. He asked if I could take over driving for a while so he could rest.

Ah ha! He rested. I drove. Before I knew it, we were parked in West Orange and staring at the Laboratory of one of the greatest inventors in history. (sneaky, I know)

Three o’clock and the Historic site closes at four. We had little time to waste thus ventured on a self-guided tour of the Laboratory including a musical talk from a ranger and with just moments to spare, we received more badges and were back on the road by four.

Darryl thanked me and said he really enjoyed it! Thomas Edison National Historic Site is right down the road from us and full of information, history and a plethora of learning opportunities. My only regret was that we didn’t have more time to see his house or spend more time exploring the exhibits. We will be back. (when it’s free)

We did leave donations with the parks we visited but Thomas Edison has a per person fee of $7. Reasonable for a small group but we are a group of seven. Most of our Nation’s parks have an entry fee per vehicle, the most expensive fee we ever encountered was $20 at Yellowstone, which did include Grand Teton.

For more information on our National Parks visit their website and be sure to check their free entry dates.
*** I am deeply sorry for the quality of the photos in this post. Not that my previous amateur pictures are anything to write home about but my usual trusty camera gives clear shots and has a nice zoom lens, however, it stayed home and I only had my point-and-shoot; one that has been battered and beaten by little fingers.***





We are hitting the road again!

Just for the weekend and not too far from home but the sunshine is calling our names.

Urgency to get out there arises from our National Park System’s Free Admission Days; April 18 and 19 is opening weekend for our nation’s most treasured places, and entry fees, although regularly minimal, are waived!

“If it’s FREE, it’s for me!”

I urge you to get up and get out there to visit and support our parks because if we don’t, future generations are at risk of losing these historic and beautiful gems.

The park system relies heavily on visitor contributions and support so we’ll be donating in spite of our waived fees.

If not for the parks, our big trip last summer would not have been as enriching as it was. My patriotic duty is to spread the love I feel for those memories with my readers (if I have any).

When you hear National Park, you may think Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore but you’ll be surprised to find many right in your own back yard.

Here is the list of participating parks who waive their entrance fees.

Be sure to browse around the nps.gov website for information, trip ideas and web-based ranger programs.

Also, follow along for posts from the road and don’t miss anything by subscribing!

Family on the Road: Portraits

Family Portrait Photo Album 2014

Thanks to our tripod, a few strangers and my long arm we collected a family portrait from all our favorite places along our 8,000 mile trip. Enjoy!

Our Last Leg

It has taken me months to finish posting about our trip from last summer. I’ve been inundated with life. My apologies. Without further adieu, here it is, Our Last Leg!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Day 51

After first learning about Mt. Rushmore and the four most influential presidents of our country, Juniper took a strong interest in Abraham Lincoln. It was crucial to learn more.

We were ecstatic to find out Abe’s boyhood home and birthplace was on our way and part of our National Park System. Most americans don’t know he was born in Kentucky, with Illinois being nicknamed “The Land of Lincoln.” We spent today learning about his family, their struggles on the frontier, and how he acquired some of his many nicknames. We visited the farm he was born at with his actual cabin on display. We learned about his life and death and with all our new knowledge and another badge, we continued through Kentucky.

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We made it to the place where Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia meet and tried to acquire some geocaches. While Darryl fed the girls dinner, I went on a mighty hunt but did not succeed until my fourth attempt.

Feeling some time was waisted, we moved on as far as we could with the PA air so close Darryl kept it moving and stopped just before our home state line.

Thursday, October 2 Day 52

This trip has been more amazing than I dreamed it would be. I would do it again in a heartbeat but home is calling our names.

The last leg is bittersweet as Darryl and I are anxious to get home, Ash expresses her want to “see more places.”

“I don’t want to go home,” she pleads.

Ironically she was the first to mention going home way back on day 20, now after this grand adventure she didn’t want it to end. Who could blame her?

That one statement from my three-year-old made these 8,000 miles, 52 days, 22 states, all the trouble, hassle, heartache, pleasure, fun, sweat, tears, laughter, learning, vomit, diarrhea, vet bills, junior ranger badges, pictures, souvenirs, and MEMORIES all worth it, in those sweet three-year-old words.

“I don’t want to go home; I want to see more places.”

Well, the beautiful thing is we will see more places. After we recharge our batteries, fix all the kinks with our rig, and get through the holidays; we will get that eminent itch and we will go on the road again.

Rest area round of duck-duck-goose:

We made it home in record time with little stops and breaking our travel guidelines; Darryl drove over 500 miles today!


We were home in our beds by 8:00pm and it never felt so good to stand in my shower ( I think I was in there for over 45 minutes) and flop into my bed and stretch out; it was heaven!

Life Lessons from the Road

Simple living means more memories.

Family bonds grow stronger when you can’t escape each other.

More space means more clutter.

Experiencing life first hand is nourishing to the soul, more so than reading about it in a book or watching it on TV. Without the space, clutter and TV, our lives were spent exploring, singing, talking, DOing.

Time saved from cleaning a smaller space was spent on more enjoyable adventures.

Go with the flow.

Think positive. If you encounter stormy weather, keep moving. Tomorrow is a new day.

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