Confessions: Marshmallows

Lately I’ve been having these silly little confessions that I’ve wanted to write about. They sound like a fun conversation. They are never very important, but I feel like they are still a part of me. I’ve had a lot of them lately, and decided it was time to actually write them on my blog instead of forgetting them in my head. I have MILLIONS of posts to write, but my garden is calling pretty loudly most days. And most days it’s a cry of desperate agony

“can you PLEASE come and move the water? we poor little tomato plants are so thirsty and the peas are swimming over there!”

“Help! Help! I am surrounded by ginormous bully weeds! Come save me! Please!”

Yeah… I’m doing great.

But anyway, back to confessions. It sounded fun. And gave me a good subject matter, which is the hardest part about blogging.

Today’s confession:

***Organic, corn-free marshmallows melt just as well – if not better – than their nasty-laden counterparts…***

especially if you may or may not have taken it to bed with you and didn’t plan on falling asleep just yet. And then you fall asleep anyway, still in your clothes and with your book falling to the floor. I woke up and I’m pretty sure I might have stuffed the sticky concoctions under my pillow, right next to my phone, because my phone came out from under the pillow white instead of gold. Did you know that shoving things under your pillow could become a reflex? It’s a pretty bad habit. I’ve tried to get into the habit of placing my phone on the night stand instead. Some nights it happens. Eventually I will take the next step and actually place my phone across the room or something.

But probably not for a while. It’s my alarm clock. And I’m not a morning person.  I tolerate my phone alarm – and only my phone alarm – as a wake up call. Everything else and this sleepy bear wakes up instead of me. It’s not the part of me I like my family to see.

Although I swear Ranger takes great pride in waking up that bear. He does NOT get the concept of sleep. He likes to average around 5 hours a night, and has his whole life. I need closer to 9. The fact that someone could need 9 hours of sleep is so foreign for him, that quiet is not in his morning routine. And it’s been FOUR years!

Here goes… again

By the time this post is published, most of it will be over and done. I’m not so comfortable with sharing things as they are happening. But I needed to get the feelings out.

I’m flying to another state. For fertility work. I drive 5 hours to the airport tonight (I told you I lived in the middle of nowhere), get on a plane tomorrow morning, fly to a different state, and then take a bus to my appointment. It’s only an ultrasound, but the entire rest of my plans depend (depends?) on that appointment. If I have good follicles that measure within an appropriate range, and if there are no more than 2, I will inject myself with a shot (correction: I ain’t touchin’ it! I’m gonna make the nurse or Ranger do it) and then in 12 hours, Ranger and I will head back to the doctor and see what happens from there. If I have too many follicles, they’ll call it off (I think that’s my biggest dread). If I don’t have any that measure the right size, we’ll schedule another ultrasound. If there just aren’t any at all then I’m back to square one. I’m sure hoping. And praying. I’m getting excited. And that makes me nervous. Getting my hopes up at all makes me nervous. We’ve been getting our hopes up for years! more than 3 years. And I kind of feel like this is it. Normally, I will realize about halfway through each cycle that there was something I cold have done better. And I’m sure that I’ll find something before this cycle’s over. But for now, I’ve gone all in and I’m praying for a good hand.

Our family doesn’t really know that much. And neither do most of our friends, though we’ve told a couple. It’s just so … opiniony. Everyone has something to say about it. Some of them mean well and I move on with my day. Others are purposefully hurtful. It’s harder to move on from those comments. The moral of the story is that if what I have to say is not safe with them, then they don’t hear what I have to say. Or how I feel. Or what I do with my day. Which is why most people don’t know. Plus, the conversation gets old after you’ve had it repeatedly for 3 years. And all I really want to hear is “we’ll pray for you.” Because I know that it’s God’s timing. And I’ve done everything I know how to do and the rest is His.

Happy 2nd, Adella

Two years ago, today, I was waiting outside a door for my sister to give birth to her stillborn daughter. Her angel daughter. She had found out just a few days before that her baby wouldn’t be growing older in this life. She had graduated to the Celestial Kingdom. It’s funny how much and how little can change in 2 years. Adella now has a sister who is growing leaps and bounds and screams and giggles and scowls. But not much else has changed.

I just wanted to share one memory, since I didn’t blog anything while all of this was happening. It’s reserved for my journal.

My siblings and I stepped into the hall for what we thought was a routine check to monitor progress. We weren’t planning on staying for the hard part, since that’s something we figured she’d want to do without a whole gaggle of people. But the routine check dragged on. At one point, the nurse came out and looked so sad and angry and urgent. All of her emotions must have been clashing inside of her. I don’t expect nurses have to deal much with the sad side of delivery, and I think it hit that nurse. Plus, things had escalated a little too quickly, and I don’t think the nurse had time to prepare. Since we had no idea what was happening, we waited in the hall. After a while, we were pretty sure that this was the part we weren’t planning on being here for, but it didn’t seem right to leave, so we just kept waiting. I am grateful for my perspective from the floor in the hall. I got to see the nurses. The hospital has this signal where they tape a picture of a flower to the door to notify the nurses of the situation without drawing attention to the mother and her pain. I will never forget the face of one nurse, as she left the supply closet and saw the door. You could see how much she ached for my sister, even though she didn’t know who she was. I’m glad the hospital had such a signal in place. And I’m glad that instead of having to deliver a still baby in the labor and delivery, they have these sad deliveries in the recovery section. It’s quiet there. No celebrations for all the mothers who get to take their baby home.

I’ll also remember a head full of blonde hair and paper-thin skin. She was real. She had a body. And now she is waiting in heaven.

Happy 2nd birthday, Adella. Do a couple of twirls for me.

Love, Aunt Keira

random thought of the day

So I’ve been killing time watching Chopped and I realized how much a mom’s job is like being a contestant on Chopped. You open the fridge and see what is in there to use for dinner. You have a time limit because your family will start a revolt. You present your dish before a panel of judges with picky (distinguished?) tastes. And if you don’t make it look good, you better believe they’re not going to touch it.

Yup. Still here.

Ever have one of those days (or weeks… or months…) where you just feel like you’ve got so much to do that it overwhelms you and you feel like doing none of it?

Shirt found on I don’t own it, but I wish I did.

This has been me lately. I have gotten things done, I can’t lie. I trudged through. But the blog… well I’m way behind on some things I really really want to share. Otherwise, I’d just say the past is the past (for some reason Rafiki always comes to my head in moments like that), but there are some pretty awesome events! The birth of my niece probably takes the cake. My life has been boring, too, though. It’s been really boring. And I like it that way. But that also causes conundrums. How do you post the boring “I cleaned the house in my pj’s today and I feel so accomplished!” days?

So I’ve been stuck in limbo. Again.

I think I just hate February. If you could see my track record, February doesn’t bode well. Dark times of winter and I.. we don’t get along. Plus I have this huge problem of trying to set goals in January; I set WAY too many, and then by February, I’m pretty burnt out. I think that’s what got me this year. I can’t complain about the weather, that’s for sure. It’s been the warmest, sunniest winter I can ever remember. Although I got barely any sunlight last year, so that might have something to do with it. Moving instead of planting a garden will do that to you.

Part of my quietude is that I’m trying to simplify. I’m starting to realize that God has one path for me. And I have 10 paths for myself. I’ve been trying to jump  between every path, and it’s just not working. The things I want to do are so plentiful, and I feel such anxiety about letting any of them go.  But I know they’re my to-do list, not God’s. When I watched last conference, the clearest message I received (not in what they were saying, but in what I was feeling) was that God needed me, but that he couldn’t use me because I was too tied up in other stuff. I know that sounds bigger than I mean it to, but I think it’s true of a lot of people. We tie up all of our time. We get into bondage with debt or commitments or addictions (why am I always on Facebook? I hate Facebook!). We fill our lives and our hearts. I’ve been running at max capacity for so long, it’s hard to de-junk;I need to de-junk my life, my responsibilities, and my to-do list. But I still don’t want to let anything go!  I want to design FHE lessons. I want to make a family cookbook. I want to start a school. I want to remodel this house. I want to spend time with my daughter. I want to make crafts. I want to make party printables. I want to quilt. I want to read. They’re all good desires. But they’re my desires.  I keep thinking to the scripture of the man who tells Christ that he’ll follow Him, if Christ will just let the man bury his father.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. ~Luke 9:59-42

Yep. That about sums it up. “Father, I’ll do the work you want me to do, but first, let me do all this other stuff.” But it’s hard to let go! So, I’m making a last stitch effort to finish some almost finished projects. And I’m weeding out the rest.

I DID finish the Old Testament! I’ve been trying to study it completely for 5 years. And a month.


Let me just say that this has become one intensely marked-up book!


We’ve also been supporting our local library by listening to TONS of audiobooks. Most of them I’ve read before, but I’m sharing them with my kiddo now. She’s enjoying them. She’s especially enjoying that she can read according to her interest maturity instead of her reading maturity. (Still can’t get a school to test her for a reading “difference.” Don’t even get me started on her teacher. I’ll just say we have VERY different opinions on what it means to be a good teacher and what is an appropriate teaching style. Someone may love her as the teacher for their student. I don’t).

This is now FULL of stickers. The girly is actually pretty proud of herself. And she should be.

I only have 4 other things I’d love to get done, and some of them are big, some are necessary, and some… well I’m not sure.

  1. Family cookbook. I’ve only said I’d do it for about 7 years now… But every time I start, I’m not happy with it, so I set it aside and think I’ll come up with some clever way to finish it. and in the meantime, I (and my family) have discovered this great resource for recipes… the Internet. And now we have more favorites than when I started! But I’ve been working on meal-planning and this project has been helping me with it, so I’d like to re-tackle this (but perhaps just do it quickly and with less experimentation). I’d also like to come up with some way to have it be online, so that when I’m getting ready to go to the store, I don’t have to take my cookbook with me and I don’t have to try to remember what was on the list for the week.
  2. Scrapbooks. I’ve got some of the kiddo’s scrapbook done, and most of it is sitting either in disk format or in developed picture format in a box. The same holds true with our weddings scrapbook. In the center of my craftroom (why find a place to put it when I just want to get it done? faulty logic, faulty logic. Leaving it in the center of the floor makes me more frustrated and less likely to do it).
  3. lesson plans. I really really want to do lesson plans, for both family home evening and homeschooling. The problem is, I don’t even homeschool! But I LOVE making lesson plans. I would love to make the lesson plans to sell as a kit, like some other companies do, but I’m unsure of myself because I’ve only had about 1 month of personal experience. And I do intend to use them in the future, so I keep telling myself if I get them done now, while I’m still waiting to have children to homeschool, by the time I have them, I’ll be prepared. I know, not really a sound philosophy, but neither is having to send my kid to public school simply because a judge says so.
  4. Quotes. This wishlist item is probably the first to go. I’ve kept quotes I like for my entire life. Sometimes in books, sometimes on scraps of paper. I find myself in cool quotes, and I keep them. But they do no good in a box. Which is currently where they are. And I keep telling myself I’ll type them all up so that they’re in one place. Made a whole Tumblr feed for them, actually. But really, what makes this goal so important? I don’t think I’ll regret not having the quotes around. I’ll find others. But I’m not quite sure yet. Maybe I’ll go through the box quickly and find a few of my favorites.

Classic Apple Fruit Leather


Classic apple fruit leather is probably the easiest fruit leather you’ll ever make. It’s a good place to start if you’ve never made leather before. The reason it’s so easy? It’s simply applesauce poured into your dehydrators.

Since this leather is so easy, I’ll take the time here to discuss dehydrators. I have a Nesco dehydrator. I wish it were square. My grandmother’s was rectangular. My mother assures me that round is the best drying power because of the hole in the middle, and an even distribution from that hole. I don’t know. I still wish it were square like this one, but she’s probably right. There’s just no good way to keep a pie-shaped fruit leather in nice rectangular roll. My mom says I’m being silly. Isn’t dried-thoroughly better than cut-square? She’s probably right. But in the meantime, I usually just store mine in pie wedges. I bet if I sliced them a bit thinner, my kiddo would eat them better, because believe it or not, a whole pie shape is a lot of fruit to swallow. She’d probably eat them better if instead of dividing the dry fruit-leather pie into 5 sections, I divided it into 15 sections.

My dehydrator says to dry fruits at 135º. The internet says to make it 140º. Following either instruction will leave me with something rubbery and very undesirable. It dries the outside too quickly and leaves the centers still gooey and moisture-laden. Moisture means mold and spoilage. Bad news. I dried my leather between 115 and 125º, depending on the thickness. It actually took less time to dry at that temperature, because the dry was more thorough. It didn’t have to fight a hard crust to get to the moisture.

That brings up another point… Most ovens don’t go below 170°. I’ve never made fruit leather in an oven. I have heard it can be done, but I don’t know what happens to shelf-life. From what I can understand from the process, it will either shorten self-life greatly or it will give you a tough hart-to-chew product. The internet is full of how to dehydrate in an oven. Most say cook at 175º for 2-4 hours, checking after 1 hour. I think the oven is good in a pinch, but you really should consider a dehydrator if you like the idea of homemade fruit leather. It will give you safer results.

Also note, these recipes are the right size for my dehydrator trays. You may need to adjust the amounts for your own individual trays/drying methods.

Now, on a more specific note, classic apple leather is my daughter’s favorite. She likes things plain and simple. I personally think it’s kind of… boring. But if your kid (or you) like boring, you may love this leather.

The recipe? Just 1 1/2 c of applesauce. Smooth it onto the tray in as even layer as you can get. The smoother you can get the applesauce, the better it will dry. I plan on investing in a silicone bench scraper, though I don’t own one yet. I think it’d be perfect for getting the layer smooth. My spatula doesn’t quite cut it for me. It works for now, but I’d like an upgrade.

I don’t have any fruit leather trays, and I am on the fence about getting them. Sometimes the food just sticks to them. Instead, I take a square section of parchment paper, place it over the dehydrator tray to mark where I need to make a few cuts to fit over the center vent and then mark the edge of the tray, as well. (I just set it on the tray and rub my fingers over the tray and let a crease form, then I use that as a guide to cut. It’s an imperfect art, but I like the results. I also don’t cut the center all the way off, but make lots of slits, so that if anything is runny, it has less of a chance of falling through the layers. That’s a mess.

Classic Apple Fruit Leather
Cuisine: snack
Author: Keira @
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 1/2 c applesauce
  • Other tools:
  • dehydrator
  • Parchment paper (or leather trays)
  • spatula or bench scraper
  1. Spread the applesauce evenly on the dehydrator tray lined with parchment paper
  2. Turn dehydrator on and let it do it’s work for 6-8 hours. I start the dehydrator in the morning and turn it off in the afternoon or evening, depending on when it’s done.
  3. Cut the leather into desired strips or sections. somewhere between 5-15 sections is ideal.




My friendly bird


This little birdie likes to sing to me from my window. I have a feeling that isn’t about to change.


I’ve done my research, he’s a red-shafted northern flicker (here’s another link). Apparently only the males have the red on the face. and I know I shouldn’t be happy to have a woodpecker hanging out in my trees, but I don’t really care. Yet, anyway. I haven’t seen much damage from him. And it sounds like if I start to hear him pecking my trees instead of singing to me in the mornings, all I’ve gotta do is give him a man-made bird house and he’ll leave the trees alone. Why do all the work when your shelter becomes free? Otherwise, he’ll keep the bug problem down. We have tons of ants in the summertime (so far I haven’t seen any inside, but we moved in during the fall).


I never really see him anywhere besides my front window and occasionally a tree out front. I’ve never seen or heard him peck anywhere, even when he is hanging out in a tree, so I’m not worried about him, too much.

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He’s kind of hard to spot in this picture. Do you see him?

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Anyway, until I decide he’s destroying anything, I’ll just listen to him crooning outside my window.


The Downside To Country Life


Mice! I hate mice. People tell me that being surrounded by fields means I’m stuck with these rodents, but I refuse to accept it. They’ve gone through a 50 lb bad of wheat! And we wont get into the amount of clothes they’ve destroyed. Why the clothes, I have no idea.

I’ve tried traps. They were really effective for a while. The picture above was the first day I had them out. There were 3 in the trap when I woke up. There were 4 by the time I went to bed. Dumb mice. If the rest of the clan is in there trapped, why on earth would you join them?

I’ve tried mint leaves and mint oil. It works for a while. But then they get used to it.

We’ve tried bait, as much as we’ve hated to. It’s helped us rid the house of a few more.

We’ve tried lavender oil. It did nothing.

We’ve tried steel wool in the holes we’ve found, but they’re just using other holes somewhere.

we were told to try aromatic ceder. We haven’t been able to get our hands on any of that yet.

The best thing to help us get rid of them so far? The cold. Too bad that this is the warmest January I can remember.


Anyone else have any suggestions? Please? And while you’re at it can you come find every nook and cranny they have so they can’t keep getting in?

Full of … it

[warning]warning. This post deals with bodily functions, or the lack thereof. If you can’t handle reading about things our bodies are supposed to do, skip this post.[/warning]

Lol, I might have to change the title if my kiddo ever finds out this post is about her. Our past 4 months have been filled with doctor visits and calls from the school nurse. It has been full of food leaving the body from the top and not from the end that normally handles it.

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She is already not a fan of needles. Or of throwing up. And she’s had a ton of both of those for about 4 months now. She rotates between vomiting and complaining of being backed up. The photo above is from one of the vomiting phases. She couldn’t keep anything down, so we had to connect her to an IV drip of fluids. Everyone’s theory? Her body wasn’t able to get food out the right end, so it improvises. She never has a fever, just vomit. Lots of it.

Her pediatrician sent us to a specialist last month, and the Rx is mirilax for 4 months. He says kids who get backed up for so long end up with stretched out intestines. Putting them on laxatives for a day or two is not enough. So, we had to give her seven times the usual dose (emphasis: SEVEN times) in a 3 hour window to flush her out (lol, no pun intended), and then keep her on it for 4 months.

He says some people are just born with an underactive colon; lazy colon, he called it. She is probably one of those people. Since she’s been this way since she was a baby (she was drinking apple juice before she was eating baby cereal), I’m pretty sure that his diagnosis is correct.  The only other possibility? Celiac’s disease. They’ve never called me back with the test results, so I’m hoping that means we’re in the clear, there. Fingers crossed.

At any rate, we haven’t had any vomit spells in a while. And we’ve gotta be the only house in the area with a chart in our bathroom that is NOT for brushing teeth (though you wouldn’t know it. It’s discreet). She’s even gone to a smaller daily dose, so things are looking promising.

Oh! and suddenly she’s gained 5 pounds. She’s weighed the same weight for 3 years. It has had me worried. But one month on laxatives and her body has figured out how to gain weight. Dr Grandma says it’s probably because her body can draw nutrients when it’s supposed to now instead of being so stressed and only getting old nutrient-dead stuff in her intestines for longer than it’s supposed to be there. I bet it’s also from the fact that suddenly she can feel hungry again. Her body would have known it was full, just not full of good fresh stuff. I wouldn’t be hungry either, if it was just going to sit in my stomach or come out the wrong end.


I’ve mentioned before that I’m supposed to take a daily dose of aspirin. I meet with my new doc again in a few days and I’ll discuss what I’m supposed to be doing then, but I’m guessing he’ll keep me on it.

But I’m a klutz.

bruises. I have no idea where they came from.


This is from my apple trees this fall.



This is what I look like on a regular basis.

My cousin just barely caught me with his fingernail (a short nail) and I bled. Scarred, too. And it wasn’t any big deal. I’ve always got some kind of purple and green and nasty bruise on my legs, either by my knees or on my shins. Just as I think I’m in the clear, I look down and there’s another one. My family will catch me staring at my leg and ask what I did to get the bruise, and I honestly have no idea!

Ranger thinks it’s funny. Mostly because it means I get erm… suction bruises easier. He leaves them on my arm. Just because he can. Seriously! It’s embarrassing. And I never think about it until it’s too late. By the way, when you’re googling “suction bruises,” you get lots of funny stories. In case you were curious.