Friday, April 29, 2011


something has been weighing heavy on my heart.  and i think i just need to take time to acknowledge it.  i feel like i am at a place in my life where the way i was heading suddenly isn't the way i want to go any more.  what do i mean?  well, i have been dreaming for as long as i can remember about being a photographer.  i love it!  i have started working on my studio in my house, and have been busy buying props, and backdrops.  but a few months ago it started feeling like that wasn't the direction i was suppose to be heading.  at least not right now.  i can't explain why i feel this way.  in fact it almost upsets me!  i just lately feel like i am forcing myself in a direction that it not meant to be.  i feel i am being called to a different path.  one that excites me, but it's hard to change direction in the middle of the road, no matter how exciting the new path is!  after alayna's birth, something sparked in me.  this fire for birth.  for helping other moms find their inner strength.  one that i was so unaware i had until i experienced natural, unmedicated childbirth.  i see and hear too often people talking about birth in fear.  saying they just can't "without drugs".  i used to compare childbirth to stubbing my toe!  i would tell people that i have a very low pain threshold---stubbing my toe about made me cry so there was no way i could delivery a baby without an epidural!  my friend jaime was pregnant at the same time i was.  one day she told me that she was planning a homebirth.  i remember thinking that is was totally insane.  in fact, i set out to research and prove all the reasons why she was crazy.  why it was dangerous for both mom and baby not to be in a hospital.  after all, i had delivered a baby who ended up in the nicu for 10 days.  i knew that things could go wrong.  it was all too real to me.  but upon researching, and talking with people, i began to understand why jaime would want to be as far away from the hospital as she could.  and i began to realize that haylee's 10 day nicu stay could have totally been avoided if it hadn't been for the doctors interventions (ie: pitocin, epidural, breaking my water).  i was 35 weeks along when i delivered her.  they never once tried to stop my labor.  i realized that had i been under the care of a midwife...things would have gone so differently.  and then when i was at one of my appointments with alayna at the OB's office (under the care of a medwife), laynie was breech.  i asked what our options where if she didn't turn before i delivered and the said, well, you'd have a c-section.  that was it.  that was all i needed to hear.  no one was cutting me open unless my baby was in distress.  and just because she was upside down (err right side up?)...that didn't make her in distress.  i walked out of that appointment knowing i would never go back.  knowing in my heart that i would be delivering this little one at home. surrounded by my family and my friends.  not random doctors and nurses and med students.  not attached to tubes and machines.  not stuck on my back numb to the most beautiful moment that was occurring.  i would not be numb.  i wanted to feel every contraction, every push.  jumping forward to the day alayna was born...i was prepared.  i was supported.  i was surrounded by love and support.  i delivered alayna in a pool in our bedroom.  only loving hands touched me, supported me, gave me strength to push on.  the energy in the room was incredible!  one that you will not ever feel in a sterile hospital setting (please remember, my first three where born in the i truly feel i can say that).  pushing her out, i was the first one to touch her.  pulled her out of the water and into my arms.  and it was the most empowering moment of my entire life!!  in that moment something in me changed.  i found my inner strength.  this is my desire for every pregnant woman out there.  to feel prepared.  to be educated.  to not be afraid.  even if they choose not to birth at home, i want them to know that they were BORN to deliver babies.  and to stand up for themselves against the doctors.  to trust their bodies.  because when they do it's the most empowering thing that they will ever experience.  this is why i am seriously considering becoming a doula.  maybe even a midwife.  i am not sure when this will happen.  i am enjoying being a homeschool mama just soaking up time and love with my kids! i haven't decided what exactly i will do with the photography business.  like i said, i love it!  maybe i can have the best of both worlds and just do birth photography!  :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

super easy chicken tortilla soup *crockpot style*

i created this recipe by tweaking another recipe.   the original recipe called for putting the mix over rice, and didn't have much flavor or spice!  we love this!  kids don't dig it too much so i make them something else when i do this for ben and i. 

place4-6 frozen (yup, frozen) chicken breast in a crockpot
add 1 can green chilies and diced tomatoes
1 cup (this is an estimate here) corn
1 can black beans
top with one jar salsa
any other seasonings you want to spice it up

cook for 4-6 hours.  your cook time will depend on how quickly the chick cooks.  once chicken is done, pull it out, shred it, and toss back in crockpot.  top with 1 package cream cheese.  let that melt, mix it in, and shredded cheese.  we usually crush tortilla chips up in our bowl before we eat it.  we seriously love this stuff!  hope you do too!!  :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

best. bread. ever!

monday night i decided that my sourdough starter was ready to use!  i was given a recipe by a friend, but it was giving via text message...and i had deleted the text!  so i went to the internet to find a good recipe!  i have never made sourdough before, so i wasn't even sure what to look for when looking for the "perfect recipe".  i went with one that looked hopes that it was also good!  i mixed it all up, and then let it sit overnight to rise.  when we got up tuesday morning it smelled fabulous in the kitchen (i love the smell of bread rising!!).  i kneaded the dough, separated it into two pans, let that rise for a bit, and then...fingers crossed stuck it in the oven (okay, my fingers weren't really crossed as i stuck it in the oven---that would make holding the pans rather difficult!).

again my kitchen smelled fabulous!!  nothing beats the smell of freshly baking bread!!  now, this may sound very odd, but after the bread came out of the oven, we didn't devour it.  i actually let it cool, and put it away for the next day.  this is only because i had another loaf of bread that i wanted to finish was very tempting however not to toss that loaf out just so we could eat the fresh bread! 

today for lunch i used the sourdough.  and it was a hit!!!  it was sweeter than i expected and so soft and moist!  the kids loved it!  they ate it all down to the crumbs!!  this is huge for my kids seeing as the normal haaaaate eating the crust of the bread!  here is the recipe.  just remember, you need to make your starter first!  and that takes a few get moving!!!  go make your starter right now!!!!  :)

(recipe is from

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 6 cups bread flour


  1. Mix sugar, corn oil, salt, water, and 1 cup of sourdough starter together in a large bowl. Sift the flour and add to the mixture. Grease or oil the dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise overnight.
  2. The next day, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Divide in half, and place into two greased 4 x 8 inch bread pans. Allow the dough to double in size.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and taps hollow. Turn out to cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

homemade laundry soap

many of you have asked me for the laundry soap recipe i use.  i used the powdered one, but b/c i have a front loader i plan to switch to the liquid one next.  makes a lot so make sure you have a big 5 gallon bucket!  or do what heather and I plan to...make a batch with a friend and split it!  
*these were taken off the Duggars website (*

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value
4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

Powdered Laundry Detergent - Top load machine
1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
1  Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½  Cup Borax
-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)
*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha  bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Friday, April 22, 2011

sourdough bread *starter*

never made sourdough bread before.  hopefully this turns out!  i just started my starter last night.  i stirred it this morning and looks good (i think...seeing as i have nothing to compare it it!).  it needs to rise for 2-5 days.  i am posting the recipe in case anyone wants to start this bread journey with me!  :)

2 cups all purpose flour (our any flour you decide to use)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (this helps jumpstart the yeast process, but it's an optional step)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)

mix flour, sugar, and yeast in a glass bowl (don't use plastic or metal). bowl needs to hold 2 quarts.  gradually stir in the water until it starts to form a foamy paste.  it will look lumpy, but it's okay.  cover with a dish cloth and let it sit in a warm, draft free place.  let sit out for 2-5 days, stirring once a day.  the start is ready when it develops a pleasant sour smell and looks bubbly.  once it starts bubbling, start to feed it daily with flour and water (you will remove 1 cup of the starter-use in baked item or give to friend, or toss.  replace with 1 cup flour 1 cup warm water).  let sit out for a few hours, covered  to become active before using in your baking.  remember, this is just the starter for the bread.  you will add this to your sourdough recipe.

i will post pictures of the bread once I make it and let you know how it turned out!  wish me luck!  :)

Dishwasher Soap

I have been making my own laundry soap and dishwasher soap for a while now.  Last night I realized...poor planning!  Used the last of the dishwasher detergent. kitchen is starting to get a bit outta hand but I didn't want to run to the store and give in to the "other stuff" (you know...the stuff with icky chemicals!).  So I decided I needed to make my own from whatever I had.  Castile soap...check.  Vinegar...makes a good rinse aid...check.  Citric Acid...cuts down the grease...check.  Water to dilute.  My castile is the peppermint, so it smells great too!  The load is almost done and I will put it away and reload with the bigger dishes from dinner tonight.  I think I will just make another larger batch and use this mix until it runs out!  I should probably pick up some washing soda and more citric acid tho...b/c I know the poor planning will happen again and I'll need a back up wash!  :)

Dishwasher Soap
1/2 cup Liquid Castile Soap
1/2 cup Water
1/8 cup Vinegar
1 Tablespoon-ish (didn't measure just guessed) Citric Acid

*Shake it up before using

Saturday, April 16, 2011


"never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.  do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even when your whole world seems upset" st. francis de sales

i am even applying this to my parenting.  yelling at my kids gets me no where.  but when i am quiet, and talk to them.  when i get down to their level and look them in the eyes and talk...i see positive results.  yelling makes them sad.  yelling makes them cry.  yelling makes me sad.  talking...they understand that. 

life is too short to yell.  at anyone.  i refuse to lose my inner peace and allow anger to take over my life.  life isn't going to be easy all the time.  life may not ever be easy.  but i would much rather live each day peacefully, much rather enjoy every moment instead of rushing through it! i am enjoying having a calm spirit!  and i am sure my kids are enjoying having a quiet mom, peaceful mom!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

lets be real..

...i suck at this blogging thing.  i have good intentions when i start.  i just fail each time.  i can't even remember the password to log in to my last blog.  but i have the desire to where we go again!