Saturday, December 10, 2011

Metaphor for Life?

I have a confession to make.  I was one of those people who listened to their runner friends extolling the virtues of a run and then always did the big eye roll, usually ending the conversation with, "Well, I can't do it. In fact, I hate it. I'm just not a runner."  Let's face it--runners are annoying to those of us who don't partake.  They don their performance athletic gear and head out, regardless of the weather. They talk about running like it is some kind of spiritual experience rather than just the torturous experience we all know it to be.  They even go so far as to call it a metaphor for life...

(via Pinterest)

I mean, come on!  Seriously???  (insert eye roll here)  Are these people insane??????????

Now to the point of this post.  I offer up a sincere apology to the people in my life who run. I get it now. I understand. I run. I can actually say this now and I almost believe it...I am a runner.  I don performance athletic gear and head out the door several times a week.  I love it.  It has become my time for me, just for me.  I am not fast (though I am getting faster), but I don't care.  I have wrestled through things with God, prayed and cried for loved ones going through trials, and have sung out praises and worshiped my Father while running. (Ok, I'm not sure you can actually call it singing, and raising your hands in praise while running must look quite strange to those who may be watching you run by.)  There is just something about pushing through the pain and through the times when you want to quit, all the while saying to yourself, "I've got this.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Make it to the corner. Make it to the mailbox. Keep going."  Do you recall this quote from Winnie the Pooh?  It is quite true.

(Photo via Pinterest)

I started running because I don't want to be fat. That's the honest truth.  The physical changes I see in my body from running are just fantastic. I love that I get a rear end from running, as I am rear end challenged (many thanks, Grandmother Romano). I love seeing the muffintop start to disappear and other areas start to firm and tone.  Getting in shape is certainly worth the effort when it means you fit into your clothes without Spanx.  But there is just so much more to it.

The decision to keep running, to run farther and longer, came after a time of self-discovery.  After a few difficult years of going through some really hard things as a family, as a friend, and as a believer in Jesus, I realized that I wanted to just be me, and decided that my outside should reflect what I felt inside. It's all about strength, grace and overcoming. It is about being better today than I was yesterday, pushing through the trials and pain that life throws at me, all the while knowing that God has for me a time of rest and peace on the other side of the hard times.  Hmmmmm....dare I say that running just may be a metaphor for life?

(photo via Pinterest)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lines and Wrinkles and Crow's Feet...Oh My!!

Lately I find myself pondering my rapidly approaching fortieth birthday.  Yep, the big 4-0. I am definitely ambivalent on the whole aging issue.  The older I get, the more I enjoy the freedom of not giving a crap about what anyone else thinks.  Really.  I have decided to be me, finally.  It takes a while to get to that place, but it is a lovely place to be once you arrive. I refuse to return to the world of insecurity and fear of the opinions of others. That world is a joy-sucker.

I have realized lately that when I think of the things that I don't like about aging, those things are (mostly) physical.  Things like how much harder my workouts have to be just to MAINTAIN the muffintop, not to mention how much harder workouts have to be to eliminate it!  Geez.  Then there is the overall sagging and bagging in various places that is just not fun.  Let's just say that a good bra is worth every penny. :-). Another bummer is how long it takes to recover from injury.  Can't just bounce back like I could when I was, well, younger.  Oh, and what is that flabby weirdness that starts to form on the inner thighs as one approaches 40 years of life????? I do not like that at all.

There are a few physical changes that don't bother me.  I don't really mind the lines and wrinkles that I see cropping up.  I have just decided to never look in a mirror in natural light.  Problem solved. :) Just kidding, sort of.  I also refuse to color gray hair. If guys can do it and it's accepted, so can I.  I find it disturbing and frustrating that women feel the pressure to look younger so much more acutely than men.  Is gray hair really so horrible??? I think that the whole idea of gray hair making men look distinguished and women look old is a load of garbage.

Here are a few things I have learned in the past few years...

-The best things in your beauty arsenal are joy, contentment and good health.

-Good, healthy skin is the best makeup.

-Drinking water and green tea makes you feel and look better.

-Veggies are good medicine, especially green veggies.

-True friends are a rare find. Treasure the ones you have.

-Enjoy the years with your kids.  They are fleeting and someday you will look back on them with longing.

-Have fun with your spouse. Being married to your best friend is a blessing.

-Make sure your home is filled with laughter. Be sure you can laugh at yourself. Less stressful that way.

-Above all, be thankful.  On days when I feel a darkness closing in on me, I praise my Father for all His blessings.  Count your blessings. I assure you, they are many.

Aaaaaand a little P.S...
I don't know if any of you out there follow the "No More Dirty Looks" blog, but it is a favorite of mine.  This recent post on aging is great, as are the many comments following the article.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I am blessed. A couple of nights ago I sat in the rocking chair in my room and had a long conversation with my soon to be 16 year old daughter, Kyra. We talked of girl things like makeup and hair, how to dress modestly, be feminine and still be strong and independent.  The discussion turned to taking care of ourselves by eating things that are closer to the earth and how God created them, with it eventually morphing into a talk about being your true self, being kind and not caring what others think about who you are. It was one of those times as a parent when your cup is  full to overflowing.

Kyra is amazing...beautiful inside and out.  I know that whatever God has in store for her, it is good.  She is so sensible about people, always watching, listening and observing others.  Very discerning, that one.  I've learned to listen to what she has to say about those around us as it often makes a lot of sense.  Yes, sometimes you can even learn something from your teenagers. :-)

Jay and I have slowed down our lives a lot in the past couple of years.  For a few years, we did the rat-race-run-around-like-a-chicken thing, always on the run...going, going, going.  Many of the things we were busy doing were good things, but we got so tired and frazzled and--well--grumpy!  It was time to make a change and we made the decision to do so. As we began to live differently, we realized that our family unit had suffered during those busy years.  We didn't have the relationship with our kids that we wanted to have and we spent too much time being sick and tired.

Our life now is so very different.  Both of my girls are home schooled (by their choice), which gives us time together every day.  Yes, there are times when we all get a bit sick of each other :), but the blessings much outweigh the difficulties.  Most evenings we all gather around the table for a home cooked meal, which I feel is an important part of keeping our family close.  About a year and a half ago, Shelby was gone for about 6 months and during that time, Jay and I realized how fleeting these moments are that we have with our kids.  They grow up so quickly and one day they will be out in the world, pursuing whatever it is God has for them.  I don't want to look back on these years with regret.

Most of our mornings are spent at home, the girls getting their schoolwork done after Jay and Shelby leave for work.  Yes, we do have some days that get busy with things like art classes, errands, tutoring appointments, etc,(and some days I feel like I spend way too much of my life in the kitchen! :-) However, those busy days are the exception around here now, not the rule. That was our goal...simple. We still have other dreams and goals for our family, including a more independent, sustainable lifestyle that is good for us and makes us better stewards of this amazing creation that God has entrusted us with.  It will happen, we are working toward that goal.

As for this day, I choose to be thankful. I will be thankful for every single day that I have with my kids and Jay. I will cherish every conversation (even the difficult ones), every laugh (nothing in this world can make me smile like Shelby's laugh),  every "coffee shop school" day (we have a long winter), every moment when I look in my front room to find my girls reading or knitting, every hug, every cup of tea enjoyed together, and every meal that our family gets to sit down to.  Yes, I am blessed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Little Toddy for a Cold, Wet Day

For years now I have known about the benefits of including apple cider vinegar in my diet (thanks, Dad!), but have had trouble adding it regularly because, well, it is vinegar! This summer I read a blog post from my amazing and lovely niece, Ashley, who was looking for a more palatable way to include ACV in her diet. Check out her blog to see the very tasty solution she came up with.  Thanks, Ashley!  This is such a yummy, refreshing drink and it also was a great way to use the very large, overgrown pot of mint growing on my back deck. I enjoyed this all summer!

Now that the weather has taken a turn and it is suddenly fall, I just don't want to drink lots of cold drinks.  Today I decided to make myself a toddy using the same ingredients, but with hot water (obviously).  I have to say that it is quite delightful!  I am pleasantly surprised, as I was certain the vinegar would be totally overpowering when it was hot. The only thing that I did add to the hot toddy was a little bit of honey. I never sweetened the cold version.  Try it!  It is surprisingly good. :-)

[I always use organic ACV. Apples are full of pesticides, so I  buy Bragg's.]

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This would be an apt description of my feelings about life as of late...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A little experiment...on myself

A few months ago I wrote a blog post extolling the virtues of green smoothies.  I am a big believer in getting the nutrition your body needs from the foods you consume rather than from supplements you buy in a bottle.  While I recognize that there are times when supplementation is important and necessary, it is not a substitute for good, whole foods. This is why I drink smoothies. In July I decided to forgo my morning smoothies and see if I noticed any difference in how I felt. I went without for about 5 weeks.

The biggest change I noticed after a while was a serious decrease in energy.  Every afternoon I would get sooooo tired and unmotivated.  Added to the lack of energy was a craving for sugar and other "bad for me" foods.  I found myself opening the fridge to find something to eat, even when I wasn't hungry.  This brought on another rather obvious problem...5 extra pounds.  Yep, I gained 5 pounds in those 5 weeks!  Let me tell you, when you are 5'2" tall (or short :), 5 added pounds is glaringly obvious!!!  Not good.

There were a few other changes I noticed as well, including a skin break out, flagging moods, and just general grumpiness. Workouts and runs were a drudgery.  I didn't seem to handle stress well at all, which was not a good thing with everything that was going on in the Pierson world.  All in all, quite interesting.

I am back to my usual routine now.  The extra 5 pounds are gone (thank goodness!!!) and I can actually run without feeling like I want to stop and lie down in the middle of the road.  I don't have the dip in energy in the afternoons and my cravings are gone. My skin has cleared up and seems less dry.

My conclusion?  Nothing is a substitute for good nutrition and smoothies are a great way to get it.  My plan is to keep on drinking the green stuff.  It is worth every penny.

Friday, September 23, 2011

In our neck of the woods

For those of you who may be wondering what is up with the Pierson Family, here are a few various and sundry updates.

Our move to Texas has been postponed, indefinitely I suppose.  Unpacking has been nearly completed with only one emotional meltdown, which in my opinion ain't too shabby.  I am sorely disappointed in how things have turned out, but am hopeful for the future.  We are all very thankful to not be in the middle of the disaster that is now Bastrop County, TX.

Having originally planned to begin our school year once we had moved to Texas, I was unprepared mentally and literally to start the girl's school.  We have managed, however, to get things rolling along and they are doing well.  I have such amazing girls and have come to realize that this time with them is a blessing.  They are fun, bright and seem to be adjusting to the whole home school thing. Kids grow up so quickly and then they are gone. I can't believe I have 3 teenagers!!!!

Shelby is working at New Gate Technologies and seems to be doing fine.  He is saving his money for a truck, which he does need.  He spends his time hanging with his buddies, going to rodeos and trying to find ways to get in some dirt biking time.  What a great young man he has grown up to be--hard working, fun and loving.  His latest "thing"  is a frog that he decided to bring home one day.  It is a tree frog called Dumpy. Apparently it will grow to be 5-6 inches long.  Yikes!  Anyway, if you know Shelby, you won't be surprised to know he now is the keeper of what promises to be a rather large amphibian. Here is a pic of a blue dumpy frog.

Jay has recently purchased a new pickup.  Our little Saturn is on it's last leg and is Shelby's current mode of transportation.  Jay rode his street bike all summer and had hoped to be able to use it for a while longer due to the move to Texas.  Since that didn't happen and winter is rapidly approaching, we decided another vehicle is needed.  It's a great truck and I think Jay feels a bit more manly driving it as opposed to the Saturn. :-)

As for me, I am getting used to the idea of being cold for the next 10 months {sigh} and have decided to focus on the good things.  Jay and I went hiking yesterday and took a few minutes at the top to just sit and take in the amazing view.  The mountains truly can be breathtakingly lovely.  Now if they just weren't so darn cold...:)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ain't Nothin' Certain but Change

My how quickly life can change.  Just a few days ago we were packing up our house and getting prepared for the 1600 mile move to Texas.  Now we are sitting in our house looking at all of the boxes and wondering what in the world we are to do. Do we leave things packed and wait and see what happens?  Do we unpack so that nobody (that would be me) goes insane living in a mess? We truly have been in shock with this latest turn of events.

So just in case you haven't seen or heard...Texas is on fire.  The biggest fire down there right now is in Bastrop County. As of this morning, the fire has burned around 40,000 acres and the confirmed count of burned homes is up to 1,386.  It is absolutely horrifying and completely devastating to thousands of people. There are many other fires burning in the area, basically all around Austin.  The house we rented is directly in the line of the Union Chapel fire, but we did hear this morning that fire is at 90% containment this morning. The Bastrop fire is only at 30%.   Here are a few pics...

View of a smoke-filled Austin

Near Bastrop

Bastrop County

When Jay and I first went to Bastrop, we fell in love with the quaint little town and decided it was where we would choose to live.  The area is so beautiful and tree covered, the people friendly and open-hearted.  It breaks our hearts to see the devastation caused by these fires. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone down there. Lord, please send rain.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Hot to Not

Jay and I returned home a couple of days ago from a visit to Austin. Wow!  It is beyond hot down there.  The Central Texas area is just burning up.  Green grass is nowhere to be seen.  Lake Travis is alarmingly low. Such a terrible drought.  We are praying that fall brings healing rain to the poor, sun-scorched state.

This is a sight we saw often on a drive from Austin to Edna to see my folks. The poor cattle all gather under any available tree. The area around where my parents live is usually green and lush. You can tell by this pic how brown everything is right now. So sad.

So now we are back in Montana where the high today is 67 degrees and it feels a lot like fall.  From one extreme to the other.  While it is nice to be cooler after melting in the Texas heat, I will be glad to be heading out of here before the long, cold winter sets in.  No more will I have to deal with 9 months of gray skies, freezing temperatures and snow covered ground. My freezing feet will be so thankful to finally thaw out after 17 years in Bozeman.  :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Boy

I was just contemplating the fact that my oldest, Shelby, will soon be turning 18.  I recall my mom telling me to cherish every minute with my babies, that they grow up too quickly. Well, she was absolutely right.  Yesterday I was cleaning out a bin in my closet and came across this poem that my Shelby boy wrote in 5th grade.  It made me laugh.  It's just so Shelby.

                                                                             My Ode 
                                                    by Shelby Pierson

Oh, Pants, I owe it all to you.
If I didn't have you in the winter, my butt would be blue.
My pants are in style and make me look cool,
 no matter if I'm at the store or at school.
My wonderful pants, the legs come as a pair, 
  and it's great that they cover my underwear.

Yep, that's my boy...always so serious and studious.  He makes me laugh often.  I just love that kid!  Here he is today...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Time Flies

My goodness, the last few weeks have been a busy blur around here.  Unfortunately, the weeks to come will likely be even busier. We are all well, however, and are getting geared up for the big move to Austin, Texas.  While I am looking forward to our new adventure, I'm not at all looking forward to the actual moving of the junk.

Anyhoo...we've just come to the end of a 2 week long Pierson family gathering time.  Jay's niece, Dani, got married in Bozeman last week, so the whole clan (well, nearly the whole clan--sadly, we were missing a few) came together for what really turned out to be quite the family reunion.

Dinner on the deck with Jay's parents, his sister Raye, and niece Erin.  Raye and Erin stayed with us, along with Erin's sweet kids Charlie and Gracie.  So fun!

Kyra and little Gracie.  I think Gracie smiles more than any baby I have ever seen.  Just stinkin' cute!!!

This is Charlie.  His favorite activity was throwing the ball for our Lab, Tucker.  Such a sweet little boy!

All in all, it was a great couple of weeks.  Thanks to Raye, Erin, and the kids for being such fun, thoughtful house guests.  We love you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Home again, Jiggety-Jig

My youngest was at camp this week. I can't believe she's 13. Life truly does rush by you. Anyway, she had a fabulous time. It is lovely to have her home again...even with all of the stinky laundry :-).

This is Maddy (in the middle) with her 2 best buddies, Kenzie and Camille.

This is the front room now (minus the dirty laundry that is currently in the washer.) It was clean for a few days, but I would rather have it messy and have my Maddy here. :)

This is where shoes need to go after camp....on the back deck!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A new apron

My daughter was convinced I needed a new apron.  Not sure why she would think that.  I've only had my apron for 18 years. :-)  Anyway, Kyra picked out the fabric and my sweet mama made this lovely apron for me.  Isn't it darling! I love the vintage fabric.

Monday, June 20, 2011

And a little bit more Africa...from my kitchen

I love to cook.  To me, there is nothing more fun than being in the kitchen and creating meals for my family and friends.  Thankfully, my husband and kids are always up for trying new things.  We love to experiment with different recipes from all over the world.  Here are a few of our favorites from Africa...
(Sorry...I haven't taken pics of any of these.  Perhaps I should. )

Beef Kofta Curry

1 lb ground beef
3 T finely chopped onion
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T plain greek yogurt
4 T flour
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 fresh green chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
1 egg
Salt and pepper

For the curry sauce:
2 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T curry powder
4 green cardamom pods (you can take these out after it is finished cooking. Pretty nasty to bite into!)
2 ½ cups hot beef stock
1 T tomato paste
2 T plain greek yogurt
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped.

Put beef in large bowl, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix well with your hands. Roll into small balls and put aside on a floured plate.
To make curry sauce, heat butter over medium heat. Fry onion/garlic about 10 minutes or until soft.
Reduce heat and add curry powder and cardamom pods. Cook for a few minutes, stirring well.
Slowly stir in stock and then add paste, yogurt and cilantro. Stir well.
Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add meatballs a few at a time, allow to cook briefly and then add a few more, until all of them are in the pan. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.  Avoid stirring, but gently move meatballs around. The curry should thicken slightly, but you can add a bit more stock or some water if it gets too dry.
Serve hot with rice.

(Moroccan Chicken Pie with Cinnamon)

2-3 Tbs. olive oil
7 Tbs. butter
3 onions, halved lengthwise, then halved crosswise and sliced with the grain
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 Tbs. blanched almonds, chopped
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
9 oz. chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
7-8 sheets filo dough (thawed, if frozen)
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tsp water
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Heat oil in a skillet with a pat of the butter, add the onions and cook over med heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften and color.
Stir in the garlic and almonds and cook for 2 minutes, until the almonds begin to color, then add the spices.  Toss in the chicken and cook gently for a few minutes, until the water in the saucepan has evaporated.  Toss in the herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool.
Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan.  Separate the sheets of filo dough and keep covered with a clean, damp cloth.  Brush a little melted butter over the base of an ovenproof dish (a round one works nicely) and cover with a sheet of filo dough, allowing the sides to flop over the edge.  Brush the sheet of filo dough with melted butter and place another one on top.  Repeat with another 2 layers.
Spread the chicken and onion mixture on top of the dough and fold the edges over the filling.  Cover with remaining sheets of dough, brushing each one with butter.  Tuck overlapping edges under the pie.  Brush the top with the egg yolk mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the filo dough is puffed up and golden. Dust the top with a little cinnamon and serve immediately.

Palaver Chicken
(Ghana, Sierra Leone)

1 ½ lbs boneless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 tsp peanut butter
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 fresh thyme sprig, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 fresh red or green chili, seeded and chopped (these are tiny, very hot peppers…sometimes called Thai chilies)
Salt and Pepper

Cut the chicken into thin slices, place in a bowl and stir in the garlic and a little salt and pepper.
Melt butter in large skillet and fry over med heat, turning once or twice to brown evenly. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in skillet and fry the onion/tomatoes over high heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
Reduce heat, add peanut butter and half of the stock. Blend together well.
Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring to prevent peanut butter from burning. 
Add remaining stock, thyme, spinach, chili and seasoning. 
Stir in the chicken and cook over med heat for 10-15 minutes.
Pour mixture into warm serving dish and serve with rice.
This chicken is really good served with the Akkras.


1 ½ cups dried black eyed peas
1 onion, chopped finely
1 fresh red chili, halved with seeds removed
About 2/3 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying

Soak the black-eyed peas in plenty of cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight.  Drain the beans and then briskly rub the beans between the palms of your hands to remove the skins.

Return the beans to a bowl,  fill bowl with water and the skins will float to the surface. Discard the skins and soak beans again for 2 hours.

Place the beans in a blender or food processor ( I do them in small amounts.)  Blend peas with the onion, chili and a little water.  Should process into a thick paste.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and whisk for a few minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and fry spoonfuls of the mixture for about 4 minutes…until golden brown.

Great served with other African/Middle Eastern dishes.

Serve hot.

A little bit of Africa in Texas

It is my opinion that one of the fabulous things about traveling is eating.  But...what is more fun than going to a new place and trying out new restaurants?  Going to a new place and trying out new restaurants with old friends!  Jay and I were recently in Austin, TX.  While there, we met up with some of our favorite Montana friends who happened to be in Texas at the same time.  Perfect.

Going on a recommendation from a local (the best way to choose a meal in a new city), we decided upon a little hole-in-the-wall place right off the interstate in downtown Austin,  Aster's Ethiopian Restaurant   Honestly, without the recommendation I doubt we'd have looked twice at this place.  Sad, but true. A big fan of both cooking and eating African food, I found this place to be a delight with it's down to earth atmosphere and amazingly fragrant, spicy fare.  Yum!!!!  If you ever find yourself in the Austin area, mosey on over to Aster's for a great lunch. :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In case you were wondering...

I've had a few questions about the name of my blog, so I thought I would share with you the reasons for my choice. It's kind of a funny thing, naming one's blog.  I thought it should somehow reflect who I am and who I want to be.  I actually thought about it for quite a few weeks before finally settling on a name.

"Just one kind of folks" comes from Chapter 23 of  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, one of my personal favorites of all the classics. For those of you familiar with the story, Scout and Jim are having a discussion about the differences between the different kinds of people.  When Scout asks if Walter Cunningham can come over for dinner one night, Aunt Alexandra replies, "There's no doubt in my mind that they're good folks. But they're not our kind of folks."  She then proceeds to explain that, while one must always be friendly and gracious, "you don't have to invite him home."  This upsets Scout, so Jem takes her into another room where they continue to discuss why people are different.  Jem suggests it could be a lack of "readin' and writin'."  This is Scout's reply, "No, everybody's gotta learn, nobody's born knowin'. That Walter's as smart as he can be, he just gets held back sometimes because he has to stay out and help his daddy.  Nothin's wrong with him. Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks."

I love Scout.  I think of her as the original Junie B. Jones.  :-)  If you've never read the book, read it.  The movie with Gregory Peck is wonderful, an all-time favorite as well.

So there you I chose the name of my blog. We like to label people so that they fit into certain categories, which seems to me to be a way to try to make sense of a world that so very often makes no sense at all. Maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves to be able to label others that we disagree with, are jealous of or those we don't understand.  The gay couple down the street? Perverts.  The girl driving the Prius with the Obama sticker?  Obviously a liberal, socialist hippie who wants to destroy our country.  The family in the minivan with the right to life sticker?  Well, they are religious fanatics who shoot abortion doctors. The neighbor with the perfect lawn who looks askance at the proliferation of dandelions in your front yard?  Snotty and elitist, needs to get a life.  The kid who can't seem to fit in at school?  Loser, destined for juvie.  Yes, I could go on.  But I won't.  I think you get the idea.

I like to think that I can start to see beyond the labels and the stereotypes, that we all can work to rise above.   After all, there's just one kind of folks.  Folks.

Green in the morning...or any time of day

I truly believe the adage "you are what you eat." As a mom, I am forever trying to find ways to include more healthy foods into our diets at home. At times it can be a bit discouraging. Life gets crazy sometimes and good nutrition can take a back seat when the family is running around in survival mode.  I do try to make home cooked dinners a priority in our house, but life happens. So I decided to look for ways to get more of the "good stuff" in all of our diets.  I've found green smoothies to be the easiest and best way to do just that.

For me personally, drinking green smoothies every morning after a workout makes a huge difference in how I feel all day.  It's an easy way to get lots of the greens, vitamins, etc, that can be so lacking in our diets. I make sure every smoothie includes protein, omega 3s, greens, probiotics and coconut oil.  (I finally caved and bought a Magic Bullet, which my friend, Becky, told me about several years ago but I never wanted to spend the money.  Sooooo worth the money, seriously!!!!)  I've found that I don't get sugar cravings like I used to and I don't have the blood sugar drops mid-morning or in the afternoon.  It really, truly makes a big difference in how I feel on a daily basis. Plus, the protein I use has lots of fiber...but we don't have to talk about the benefits of that :-).

Here is a pic of the basic things we use to make smoothies.  Each of us has our own little "recipe" that we like, so what is in each smoothie is pretty much a matter of preference.  One thing that isn't in the picture is fruit, which we all do use.  My girls love to use frozen fruits like berries and peaches. Kyra and I like to use the Kefir, while Maddy prefers the cultured coconut milk.  Either one is great...full of probiotics that we all need for our digestive systems.  I also include coconut oil in mine which has so many health benefits. The possibilities are endless for smoothies...all kinds of green veggies and fruits.  It's all just a matter of taste.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

For quite a while now, I've been making my own laundry detergent.  It is cheap, easy and (best of all) non-toxic to either my family or the environment.  Lots of people have asked me what I use and how I do it, so here ya go...

I use Borax, washing soda, and vegetable soap. That's it.  I have glass jars to store all of the ingredients in as glass is always preferable to plastic.  When I get low on detergent, it only takes a few minutes to whip up another batch.  I got the recipe from a group based out of Missoula, MT called Women's Voices for the Earth. For more tips and do-it-yourself cleaning supply recipes, check them out here...

We have hard water, so I use the appropriate variation of the recipe which is as follows:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup soap flakes (make them by grating any pure vegetable soap)
Mix together.  Use 1T per load or 2T for more soiled loads.

Yep, that's it.  If you prefer a liquid detergent, I have seen lots of different recipes out there on the web.  It really takes a minimal amount of time to make your own.  To me, it's totally worth the effort.

One of the things that we try to avoid in this house is pthalates, which are found in most scented products.  If you want your laundry to smell nice, but without the toxic chemicals, try using essential oils. Sophie at Gorgeously Green recommends this:

"Add 10 drops of your chosen oil to the water softener compartment of your washer. Then cut out a 6×6″ square of cotton fabric (an old sheet or napkin will do,) and add 10 drops of the same essential oil that you used in the wash, on to it. Pop this square of fabric into the tumble dryer with your clothes while drying."

Knitting baskets and other stuff :-)

A few things Kyra and Maddy have been up to...

New knitting baskets.  My mom made them after her trip to Bozeman in December.  The girls picked out the fabric they wanted, Jay made the frames and Beebo (bless her heart) made the rest with no pattern.  I think it may have been a bit difficult, but they turned out to be so adorable!  They are quite handy...designed to just be picked up and taken with you. Perfect for a coffee shop knitting session.

We recently repainted Kyra's room.  She was tired of the bright green and wanted to make a few changes.  She decided to change her bedding as well and made decorative pillows to add to her bed. I think she did quite well!

Maddy took art classes this year from a local Bozeman artist, Loretta Domaszewski.  Loretta is wonderful and Maddy learned so much about technique and color. Here are a couple of things from art class...
The Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman has a really cool frog exhibit.  The class spent an afternoon there, drawing frogs. This watercolor was done by Maddy a couple of weeks later. We aren't sure why her tree frog is in the grass.  :-)

All in all, a great class.  Maddy learned a lot and had fun while doing it.  Perfect.

Maddy has a tiny house that she has created.  Every once in a while, I will find her in her room working on some teeny tiny thing to add to it.  Most things, she creates out of clay and then paints them.  It is just cute.

Maddy has always loved itty bitty things.  Perhaps it is because she has always been itty bitty :-)

This is a pic from the Frog exhibit at the museum.  Yes, all of the frogs are real and alive. I thought it was fun to see all of them.  Many are really colorful and interesting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Under His watchful eye...

The twists and turns of life can be so strange.  It's rather stressful around here at the moment...lots happening, plans to nail down, life to keep living, decisions to make, bills to pay.  I could go on and on.  It's just life.  We aren't any different than anyone else. However, this morning I was reminded by my oh-so-patient Heavenly Father that His eyes are on our plans.  We gave them to Him and then we try to take them back and make them ours.  Why in the world would we want to do that????

Anyway, after a rather stressful evening and morning, I checked my email and this was all that was in my inbox.  Thank you, Father, for the reminder...

Monday, May 16, 2011

What to do..

We have been having some truly atrocious weather.  With the exception of a couple of days, it has been cold, rainy and insanely windy.  Along with prolonged nasty weather comes general grumpiness, boredom, and lots of sighs (generally made while looking out a window). Here are a few pictures of how we've spent a couple of those days...

This would be a typical Maddy moment--she is always creating.  Well, when she isn't reading. Or eating.

I made a big bowl of banana pudding.  It's my Aunt Jo's recipe and is truly to die for.  It makes a great breakfast with a cup of coffee...not that I would ever do that...

Jay's solution for beating the bad weather blues is to go into the garage and use power tools on various motorcycle parts.

Just thought I'd show you that we are all about safety.  It's important to wear shorts and dirt bike goggles when grinding metal.

Maddy and her best buddy, Camille, are staying out of the wind and playing a nice game of Sorry.

(I suppose we did do a few more things than this, but there seems to be a lack of photographic documentation.)  
 The consensus in the Pierson household is that waiting for Summer in Montana is even more agonizing than waiting for Christmas morning. That's pretty darn agonizing if it is Maddy doing the waiting for Christmas.  It truly kills her to see all of those unopened gifts.

I just want to go outside and be warm. That is all.