Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Building Websites...

I was in my junior year at NAU taking my first online class--Creative Writing!--when I first started using my e-mail account out of necessity.  Just a few short years later, teaching my composition students how to design and create their own sites to showcase their work using Netscape Composer was one of my favorite assignments. 

Fast forward 12 years.  Now we have sophisticated web site builders that don't require much at all--just put in your own pictures and text and voila!  You have a site!  My students use, which is a pretty easy site builder with free hosting.  Since I have domains registered with godaddy already, I had to think of another alternative.

For now, I'm using  I used one of their templates to build a site for Ryan (, and I designed our License to Dream site from scratch (  The second site is temporary until we get our vision together.  Other than the ad on the side, I think the sites look pretty great.  My next task is to create a new site for   It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mom to Mom

This morning I went to an amazing program at the First Baptist Church down the road.  It's called Mom to Mom--a ministry based on Titus 2 (older women mentoring younger women).  I love the idea of bringing women together to learn what God says about parenting, as well as having the opportunity to talk to other moms.  When Megan was a baby, it was a women's Bible study that saved my sanity.  Knowing that I was not alone--that other moms were going through the exact same situations with their kids--made a huge difference in how I felt about my own parenting and my life in general. 

If you are involved in women's ministries at your church, I encourage you to take a look at the program!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Crockpot Oatmeal...and Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

So I wanted to try making oatmeal in the crockpot.  I have never been a big fan of oatmeal, and I admit shamefully that I prefer the maple & brown sugar Quaker instant to anything I have ever made myself.  BUT I'm trying really hard to implement more GNOWFGLINS food choices into our diet.  So, I decided to try soaking oats/making oatmeal in the crockpot.  (I don't think I actually did the soaking part right, but I'm working on it!  lol)  I didn't have any steel cut oats, which apparently make a better flavor, so I just threw in two cups of Quaker oats, a generous handful of brown sugar, some cinnamon, and a dash of salt and a dash of cloves.  I added 2 cups of milk and 3 cups of water and set the crockpot to low for 8 hours.

This morning, the oatmeal was very creamy/gooey/mushy.  But it tasted pretty good.  For good measure, I put more brown sugar and some maple syrup on top (the log cabin natural kind with NO HFCS).  It was pretty good, but Tristan wouldn't touch it.  So, I had about 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal left over.  This happened to be the EXACT amount I needed to make the oatmeal cookies I found here.  (she got it from

Here's the recipe:
Leftover Oatmeal Cookies
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 c sugar
2/3 c shortening (I use butter)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add shortening & eggs and beat until creamy--about 2 minutes.  (It does eventually become creamy!)  Stir in oatmeal.  Drop onto greased baking sheets and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.  Makes about 4 dozen.

The cookies turned out really yummy.  I added raisins to half the batter--YUM!  They are super soft and have a great flavor.  Love them.  I don't know if I love them enough to brave the crockpot mess again...maybe if I have a liner.  ;-)

All in all, I think we could get used to oatmeal, especially if we get cookies. lol 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you know what a GMO is?

Do you know what a GMO is?  I didn't have a clear understanding of the concept of GMOs until I watched this video:

After watching the video, I went through my cupboards and was shocked at the many, many things that contain GMOs, after all, corn is everywhere--corn starch, corn syrup, corn.  My kids' favorite veggie?  Corn.  A lot of kids' foods aren't "safe" according to the video--not even Cheerios!  Here's a downloadable booklet that tells you at a glance what is safe and what's not:  I also downloaded a GMO app for my i-phone.  It's not comprehensive, but I can at least

Of course, the best way is to produce your own food.  Here's a great website where you can get corn seed that is NOT GMO:  It also has some fun heirloom varieties of flowers and veggies and the history of each one. 

For more info, here are some other websites: (a fun blog about a mom who did an experiment with her kids)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Miscarriage Survey...

I lost a baby in between Megan and Tristan & it was amazing how my loss caused so many women to open up to me and share their own stories of loss. Each story was unique, but they all shared the same theme--love for an unborn child, the heartbreaking loss, and then hope, the joy that comes in the morning. (That was my song--I'm trading my sorrows...laying them down for the joy of the Lord.) Those stories are what gave me hope and comfort during that tough time and really made me feel that I wasn't all alone.

So, I thought it would be neat to create a book with a compilation of stories of women who have been through miscarriage--Miscarriage: Stories of Love, Loss, and Hope. The purpose would be to let women know they are not alone and to point out God's hand in every circumstance.  (bringing the Hope!)  I'm thinking that all the proceeds from the book could go to benefit orphans/adoption/Christian pregnancy care centers.

I would love to hear your response to my idea.  I've created a survey HERE to begin this journey.  If you have experienced a miscarriage, I would very much appreciate your input.  Also, please feel free to pass along the survey link to others who might want to participate.  Survey responses are confidential and anonymous, unless you choose to include your e-mail address/contact info. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello 2011!

Philippians 3:13-14
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (NLT)

This last week, I pulled out my 2010 Dream Board--the one I created with pictures of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2010 and beyond.  As I looked over my dreams, I was surprised at how many of my dreams have become reality--and in the strange ways they have!

One of my dreams was to publish License to Dream--which we did in November!  Hurray!  That is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, I think. 

A big section of my dream board was focused on spending more time as a family and being more involved with doing fun things with my kids.  As I worked on that section, I was looking forward to multiple full-time positions teaching.  I knew that I would be gone 6 hours a day, then come home to have another 6-7 courses waiting for me online.  My heart was breaking.  I can honestly say that the Spring of 2010 was one of the hardest few months of my life. 

But isn't it amazing how things work out?  Here we are in Texas (something I never, ever would have imagined), and we spend more time together as a family doing fun things in a week than we ever did in a year back in AZ.  Wow!  Talk about a dream realized!  I still have a ton of things on my plate as I work on action steps that will make my business (SendOutCards) take over the income of my jobs (teaching).  BUT, I am home with my kids all day.  I get to spend hours each day focused on them doing school, and in the evenings and on weekends we PLAY! 

Another one of my dream pictures was saving money and paying off debt.  The move to Texas and Ryan's new job is bringing that dream into reality, as well.

So, what am I working on this year?  I still have many of the same dreams that I had in 2010.  I would like to publish a new book this year...but I'm not sure what I want to write about yet.  My SOC goals remain the same--to help five of my team members get to Sr. Manager.  So, what's it going to take?  It's going to take organization and discipline.  I'm going to have to cut out all the things that don't matter (like TV and reading fun books!), and really focus on my goals.  Most importantly, I have to remember what my WHY is--my family and freedom to work in God's kingdom--"Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you!"

blog formatting