Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ The American Dream ?

I think the American Dream used to be centered around courage and strength and good old-fashioned grit. You know, like John Wayne style.

People weren't afraid to work hard and break a sweat and make a decent days' wages. Just enough, not too much, but not too little.

They grew a lot of their own food and food wasn't tossed very often. My grandma quipped after I took her to visit the organic farm we worked at, "We ate organic when it wasn't cool, it just was what it was."

Somehow the American Dream has twisted itself into collections and toys and possessions. And that's bothersome. 

A few years ago I set a goal to get rid of 1000 things in a year's time. That goal was busted out in three months and I haven't stopped. Now that we are making room for four more people in our home the purging has intensified and I'm appalled at the amount of stuff we have accumulated because materialism had become part of our American Dream. 

This picture is the second large batch of stuff we are getting rid of in just a month. And there is more in the room. I just took a picture of half of it. The last load filled my husband's pick up. And I have actively been downsizing and purging for almost three years. 

This stuff is in the way of the life we want to live. Literally and figuratively. In order to make room for the ones we love we have to get rid of mere stuff. Stuff that required space, upkeep, dusting and hard earned money. Good riddance. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Fifi?

Posts over the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty Out of the Frying Pan centric

I'm posting all sorts of stuff all over the internet. Chances are good you'll see unique material when you follow the links. 

Now. I'm not going to lie. Gladys has some less than photogenic moments and she might be a little inspiration for Fifi. 

Fifi? You might ask. 

Fifi is a character in Out of the Frying Pan. Zula introduces her here. Gladys did her best to do a Fifi impression that was believable. 

Believe it or not. This book releases next Tuesday. As in a week. The last week of ten years worth of work. Not sure what else to say.  Maybe buckle that seatbelt. It's going to be a ride.  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Hedgie Update

It's been a bit since I gave you an update on the ol hedgies. 

What I've learned thus far in my 6 months of hedgehog ownership...or cohabitation.  They are prone to grumpiness. As nocturnal animals they do their cruising after dark Most of our waking ours the hedgehogs are cuddled up inside their toasty little plush pineapple nests. Yes the live in plush pineapples kind of like SpongeBob SquarePants.
 Sometimes we haven't gotten upstairs to turn the light on so it's already dark when we head up. We'll flip the switch and catch them out and about eating. Speaking of eating, it's as adorable as you might think. Tiny little crunch, crunch, crunches. Drinking from their water bowls, dang cute. Rare occurrence to catch these events, but adorbs when we do.  They poo in their running wheel every night, so every morning I put those bad boys in to soak. The bedding isn't too stinky though. So that's great. Mostly clean water, food and clean the bins every ten days or so. I totally recommend the big plastic bins. So easy to clean! Because hedgies aren't naturally social as in they'd love to have a servant provide food and water, keep the wheel clean, and then leave them the beep alone, we humans have to put the majority of the work into the relationship. Hence the cuddle bag. I made little hidey bags they can curl up in and hang out with me in. 

If they are running loose on a lap they will 1) just go and if that means fall on the floor, so be it. They have no fear of falling. 2) poop and pee indiscriminately on me or whatever else 3) climb and with the pooping and peeing, uhhhh, I've had a few unpleasant moments. The good news is that when they are first real active and running around they get most of the potty out of their system and once it's cleaned up its good to go and the risk of a caca covered shirt diminishes.  My girls also have a tell and since it's both of them I'm assuming this is a hedgie trait. If their little tail pops up they are going to be peeing real soon like. So towels are a surface they get to run on. 
But the bags are mostly sleeping bags so the ewww is way less. Plus they are getting handled, I may be able to do a few things while hanging with them, and they are reinforcing our scent with love and care. Or something like that. 

But the grumpies are just still there. Daffodil presents the most obvious of grump stances. The forehead grump. The quills kind of mohawk while the nose disappears. When the forehead is fully mohawked then the stabbing commences. Yes. Stabbing. They head butt with their sharp little quills. This is probably why you might hear about people's pet hedgehogs being jerks. 
But we love them anyway and fortunately think it's kind of funny that they try to stab us to death every night when we pick them up. Hmmm. Maybe hedgehogs are kind of like perpetual teenagers. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Chapters Part 2, Flipping the Page

As shared in part one here we are downsizing big time around here. 

I thought I had unloaded a lot while purging over the past two years. Oh, no, that was the tip of the iceberg. I've read about the folks who get rid of up to 90% of their stuff. The downsizing, minimizing super stars who transfer a family of five from suburbia to a tiny house, for example. Rob and I are probably at 50% and counting. And I'm looking around as I type this and deciding there is still too much that I'm looking at. 

Instead of buying our little 700 square foot house, we have been talking with our daughter. She is able to and good at single parenting, but she has nothing to prove to anyone anymore, including herself. Single parenting is hard. We are involved but not daily. And we have empty rooms. So we've decided to leave our upstairs, hand it over to her and the kids and turn the three downstairs bedrooms into an apartment for Rob and me. 

We will share a downstairs living room and a kitchen/dining area with our daughter and grandkids. She will have an upstairs living area as well where she can have people over etc. We will build a small sitting area in our little apartment where we can go to escape if necessary and to chill when needed. Our personal space will be about 300 square feet. This is our bedroom, our private living area and a den that will be invitation only where kids are concerned. Now a tiny house is usually under 200 square feet and that includes a bathroom and kitchen so we definitely have a space luxury. Our bedroom will be big enough for my big dresser and our bed and a few odds and ends. It's 9 x 11. The sitting area is roughly 9 x 9. Rob has some space saving creative ideas so I'm real excited. 

We will have someone to share the cleaning and upkeep with. She likes to clean. I do not. We will have better meals because there is one more creative cook to add to the mix and a reason to actually do sit down dinners and go beyond quick and frozen meals most nights. We will have chatter and company whenever we want it. And the dogs will have company always. Our daughter can put the kids to bed and run to Target or meet a friend and not have to worry that the kids are up too late at our place or that I'm falling asleep on her couch, or paying a teenager to sit with sleeping kids. 

Last night our daughter and I went through several boxes I've been putting off. Some of it was hers, a lot of it was stuff we had purchased together or with an idea in mind. We poured through old pictures, cards, crafts odds and ends, things from our gift cupboard and drawer. We got rid of more than we kept. 

We have gotten rid of so much I'm honestly feeling very much like one big dresser and one bed, two closets and two bedside tables is going to be enough space. Right now my big walk-in closet is down 75% of what was in there. My big armoire (which is going to become a living area piece not a bedroom piece) is half empty. Rob smartly built drawers in the base of our bed when he made it years ago. Those drawers are empty. Two craft closets are down to 3/4 of one. The kids happily discovered and played Battleship while we cleaned out the game cupboard. What's the point of having too many games to go through so the choice is overwhelming? My three heavy duty bookshelves have become so decluttered I'm only using one and a half and when our den/office is finished most of those will fit there.

Our daughter has three kids and three years worth of accumulation. She is purging as much as we are to make this happen. 

I just can't even put into words how happy this solution makes me feel. And I'm feeling like with every item I put in a box for someone else who might need it, that I'm making room for the important things in life. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A New Blog in Town

Out of the Frying Pan comes out in mere weeks. 

Holy MOLY!!!!!! I'm not feeling prepared to be a published author. This whole thing from start to finish is quite a bit of work and requires lots of stepping outside the ol comfort zone. 

Our main characters Fern and Zula have started a blog. Today is the first post. 

I'd love for you to stop by. Zu-fer And you will discover you indeed get a lot more than what you bargained for. 

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'll be promoting lots of links in the next several months as we put ourselves out there to promote this novel. 

Can I just say I hope you will love Fern and Zula as much as we do. These are some ladies. And if it's okay we'll just use social media to promote them since we don't have a spider who can do amazing things with a web. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Chapters

I have stated multiple times that I love change. This is either a good thing or a twisted self-fulfilling prophecy. 

I guess either way it is my life so I'm just going to embrace it. 

I have always loved having a houseful of near and dear ones. When my kids were teenagers I was thrilled to be the congregating house. For several years before American Ninja Warrior we had a second story that was just roughed in (2 x studs, windows and weather protection.) It was a massive clubhouse at times. The kids and their friends wrote their names, funny comments and Bible verses on the floor, and in framed out doorways They'd hang from rafters and swing from board to board. 

Our daughters two best friends lived with us over a summer, one extending her stay nearly a year. We even had a soldier camp out on our couch for a few weeks while he was waiting to head to Iraq. 

I'm not saying there weren't rough patches here and there with constant patter of big teenage or young adult feet. But our house always felt alive. Zinging with energy. 

Slowly, our upstairs was finished. We moved into our new square feet and used the previous bedrooms downstairs as storage. Our kids got older. Number one married and moved out while still in college. Our youngest moved out way too young. Our middle daughter hung the longest. She finally moved about three years ago. 

This house has felt pretty empty and huge for the past three years. The relationships are great,  and we are within 25 miles of each other. All is well. Children have entered the picture making our children an even bigger draw. My absolute favorite times are when we are all together, whether in our house or one of theirs, or actually anywhere. 

The past Christmases since our middle daughter started foster care the whole family has spent Christmas Eve night. And Christmas night. The 26th always feels a little hollow when they pack up their noise and their clutter and their sweet little selves and head out the door. 
Rob and I talked. Our house is too big for just us. Two people don't need 4+ bedrooms. Or 2,500 sq ft.  But our last rooms aren't quite ready for resale. See them scattered about through here. 

In anticipation I've been getting rid of stuff like a maniac. You've seen my posts on and off for two years now. First year 2000 items goal. Bam. Done in three months. Realistically we purged probably 5000 items. Second year real close to that. I haven't quit. Actually I've ramped it up. We decided we'd like a 700-800 square foot house. Just enough room for cozy sleepovers with kiddos on Christmas.  Stay tuned. There's more coming. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Scavenger Hunt Beginnings

I told you I'd be appearing at different places on the blogosphere whilst promoting Out of the Frying Pan, and that I'd jumped on board with a few other gals for a funny life in the day kind of blog. 

So. If you haven't read this via Facebook, and you want more than this from me today. Go here.

Feel free to leave snarky comments or like it. Or whatever else you might like to do. 

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Scavenger Hunt Beginnings

I told you I'd be appearing at different places on the blogosphere whilst promoting Out of the Frying Pan, and that I'd jumped on board with a few other gals for a funny life in the day kind of blog. 

So. If you haven't read this via Facebook, and you want more than this from me today. Go here.

Feel free to leave snarky comments or like it. Or whatever else you might like to do. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Everything That Has Breath.

Let me quote the mini-devotional in the picture in case you can't blow the picture up to read it. 

Make a Joyful Noise

"His skin is the color of dove-gray suede, a shade lighter than his oversized suit jacket. The ever-present oxygen tank that is strapped against his body hisses quietly as its transparent tubes shake around his head, over his ears and into his nostrils. One of the guys in the choir is singing a bit off-key, it might be him. Yet the smile on his face as he sings lights up his corner of the room. 

Forty-something with Down Syndrome, he could probably live a long life if it weren't for the physical problems that come with the disease. He used to run and play with the kids, now he enjoys teasing them. He is always ready with a smile, a greeting, a handshake, and a laugh. 

I don't sing in the choir. I don't feel that my voice is good enough, and I am embarrassed by what people might think. Instead, I sit in the pews -- but I get a little twinge every time I see him shuffle up the stairs to the choir loft. Maybe someday his bold example will give me the courage to try." 

I wrote this long ago. In 2006 actually. Ten long years ago.

The man I wrote about has passed away. He was an acquaintance who loved my kids and came into the clinic where I worked. Over the years I knew him he faded slowly. We randomly visited his church and I watched him in the choir that night, knowing what a struggle it must have been for him to breathe. 

He never once failed to greet me with enthusiasm, or ask about the kids. Right up until he flew away to Jesus. 

Until I ran across the Devozine devotional magazine that paid me for my words, my story, I kind of had forgotten Dwayne. 

But. Maybe not really. I've been singing on the worship team for three years. I still don't feel confident with my voice. I still don't really know what I'm doing. But I felt like God's "Make a joyful noise" and "Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord" mandates were meant for me. I have breath. He is worthy of praise. People like Dwayne showed me so. So I said yes. 

Finding this devotional while I purged my last round of stuff encouraged me. Because maybe though we forget some of the details of the lessons we learn, the things that are etched on our hearts through emotional connections electrifying the truth of God's Word and His promises keep sparks deep down and alive. And God doesn't forget. What we ask for in His will He will make happen. 

If you've been praying for something for a long time. Or you did pray a long time ago and have put it aside. Remember He is not constrained by time or our memories. He is a good God. Even in the midst of stinky circumstances. So I'm just going to remind myself and put it before Him again. 

Lord, Jesus. Be with our little "orphan", our littlest foster sister who is so missed, and bring her safely back or completely heal her biological parents so they can raise her in hope, in You, in Truth and in safety. I think I can say that is Your will. That she will become Yours wholeheartedly. Please make it so.  In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles - Oh the Details....

We are purging again. For great reasons. And we are still finding things that are dead weight, of little value, and just clutter. Nearly every time I look at my closet, in one of my drawers or in a cupboard, or even scan the rooms I walk through I see more stuff I want to get rid of. 

Don't worry. The dogs and hedgehogs stay. 

But hundreds of pounds of good stuff that I just don't want anymore is going to be donated on Monday. What amazes me over and over again is the volume. The stuff we've hauled in, stored and taken care of, the money we've spent acquiring it. And the energy it takes to clean around it. 

I'm not even going to share a picture of our newest to go pile. It's real similar to the pickup loads we've already donated. Good riddance. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Scraps and Snippets ~ Quinoa Thai Salad

Perfect summer meal salad. Yum.


  • Dressing
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium is what I used)
  • 1/2 cup  peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • Zest from 2 fresh limes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked in coconut milk (1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups coconut milk. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.) (Rinse quinoa first unless the package says pre-rinsed.)
  • 1 package broccoli or cole slaw or cabbage as preferred. You could also use prepared noodles, too.
  • Additional add-ins or sides to toss onto the salad - bean sprouts, spring pea pods, cucumber slices, chopped red, orange or yellow peppers, chopped green onions, dry roasted peanuts, cilantro washed and long stems removed and chopped, toasted unsweetened coconut, hot pepper flakes.
In a food processor, puree the dressing ingredients.

Prepare add-ins and slaw, cabbage or noodles. If making a large salad toss everything together. If doing individual salads just set out the different ingredients in bowls.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Minupdate

In case you are wondering....there are going to be a few new blogs in town. 

I announced on Facebook that this is happening. 

September 6th. Coming your way. Out of the Frying Pan...the book. Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A thousand moons or more in the making, cooking, editing and writing of this story. It's here!  

Because our characters are BIGGER than life. They need their own blog. So in a few weeks, Zula and Fern should be hitting the blogosphere. With ZU-fer. A blog. About so many interesting things. 

Gladys can't wait!

And beginning now I'm collaborating on a new humor blog called Modern Day Mishaps. Where a bunch of hilarious or mildly amusing or completely inappropriate gals share snippets of the, uh, well, mishaps in their lives. Mishaps sounds so much kinder than clumsy, ridiculous or goofy, right? 

I'll be sure to share where to find both of these places as soon as it all starts happening.