Thursday, April 29, 2010


A fellow blogger gave me an award for my English Muffin post the other day. Stacia found me through the blogging party I participated in at Serenity Now.  She has a cute and colorful blog called Little C Makes Three.

An Award?!  (That's what my husband said when I called him to brag.)  
Now he is a big fan of my blog, naturally, but he was a little surprised that I would be receiving awards. 

I have no illusions of fame or a book deal.  I know this award is more "chain letter" than Pulitzer but what FUN!  Plus the little graphic is pretty and makes me smile.  So here is how it works.  I pass on this award to other bloggers who have inspired me and who put a little sunshine in my day.  Hopefully you will visit them and we will have all encouraged one another.  And really that is what blogging is all about!

I pass this Sunshine Award on to these wonderful women:

The name alone is great -with the subtitle "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Hairbow".
Ellen has an adorable blog, and she writes a really funny post.  Her Road Trip post had me laughing out loud.  Enjoy!

Jenny is someone I found through the Gratitude Community at Holy Experience.  I have felt a connection to the simplicity and beauty of her blog.  She recently started Sixty Seconds on Tuesday and I love her idea of capturing those small moments that get away from us.  

Megan began her blog at the start of this year, like I did, and I really admire how fabulously styled her blog is.  When you see her header it will make you want to raise chickens and bake something.  She is another find from Holy Experience.  It just makes me smile to visit her colorful world.  She takes beautiful photos of her life and includes God's Word in every post. Her post entitled Bringing the Colors of Spring In make me want to paint something.  Her recipes are divine.

Here is another blog that I love because it has style and substance.  Edie is snazzy and so is her blog.  I covet her fabulous turquoise kitchen but now she has moved and I can't wait to see what she does with her new place.  Plus I love what she said in The Theology in Harry Potter.

Jennifer's blog is one I visited when I first discovered blogs a few years ago.  I don't remember where I found her but I have enjoyed popping over on occasion and seeing her life around Washington D.C.    You must see her her recent post entitled Blossoms.  She has the most beautiful photos of the cherry blossoms!

Rules for the Sunshine Award Recipients:
1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 other bloggers. 
  (OK - I didn't quite follow the rules here.  12 is a lot of reading and linking!  I say quality rather than quantity.)
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Link back to the person from whom you received this award.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


(except it's already Wednesday!)

It's all too easy for me to focus on the things my kids need to change.  I correct, guide, worry, discipline and yes, sometimes rant and rave all day.  Today I want to focus on encouragement.    I want to set aside the difficult and let the world know they are sweet little souls.
On our Tuesday trips to the nursing home they are a blessing to the residents.
They are good medicine for weary bones and a delight to those who often feel alone.  

We walk with Him when we bring our joy and smiles to those who delight in the company of children.
To see how others Walk With Him visit below.

P.S.  I'm linking to 2 sites today.  If you are here visiting from Holy Experience I'd like to introduce you to Jenny who started Sixty Seconds on Tuesday.  We share just sixty seconds of our day in a photo and a sentence and it is lovely.  

Monday, April 26, 2010


One year ago my husband and I took a trip to New York City.  It was a trip he had arranged with some sweet talking (to get his parents to watch our 4 children), some frequent flier miles, and hotel points.  He let me pick any destination that we could get too on the particular airline.  On the list were San Francisco, Cancun, New Orleans, and even Aruba. But I chose NYC.  I would go to any of those places in a heartbeat but I just really wanted to see New York in the springtime.  It was fabulous!  I ran into my photos on the computer the other day and was reminded how thankful I was for that trip.

167.  the Statue of Liberty on a blue sky backdrop
168.  the amazing tour at Ellis Island
169.  the resilience and determination of immigrants 
170.  Central Park in bloom and all the memories made there...
171.  renting bikes to ride
172.  a rickshaw tour in the evening
173.  a picnic in the afternoon
174.  watching the row boats pass under the bridge
175.  springtime blooming everywhere
176.  the food...
178.  hot dogs at a famous landmark
179.  Zabar's deli (the grocery store in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan tries to avoid Tom Hanks)
180.  the best pastrami sandwich ever
181.  great Italian served outside at tiny tables
182.  watching all the people walking by and wondering what their lives are like
183.  the anticipation of finding great desserts
184.  finding them and splurging on several choices
185.  a fabulous and funny play that I want to see again and again
186.  the mix of modern and historical architecture
187.  an beautiful cemetery in the midst of the city
188.  window shopping 
189.  stopping in at the knitter's paradise - Purl 
190.  fancy chocolate shops
191.  tea at Alice's Tea Cup
192.  walking for miles with no purpose
193.  discovering all the neighborhoods, parks and quiet places in the big city

Thank you Lord for trips together,
sharing adventures and making memories.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Everyone knows there are some things that you just can't substitute for store bought.
A package of Chips Ahoy cannot compare to a homemade chocolate chip cookie, hot from the oven.
A box of instant potato flakes should not even be in the same category as a bowl of boiled russets, whipped to perfection with butter, cream and salt.  
But did you ever put english muffins in that category?  I never had.

Well,  let me tell you,  all english muffins are not created equal!

We live just 30 minutes from Norwich, Vermont which is the home of King Arthur Flour.  It is a great place to visit.  They have a baking supply store, a bakery with the best molasses cookies I have ever eaten , and they offer classes.  Last year I picked up a set of english muffin rings and a package of english muffin mix.  I have no idea why I did that.  I had never given a  thought to making them.  I have always been happy with the english muffins I grab on my way down the bread aisle at the grocery store.

They were on sale and I was feeling daring.

They have been tucked away in my pantry for almost a year now, forgotten...
Until this morning.  

1 package of mix, some warm water, an egg and 3 Tablespoons melted butter
6 minutes in the mixer
90 minutes to rise and
English muffins rising on my griddle, in their fancy little rings.
(I did read that you an use empty tuna cans with the tops and bottoms removed instead)

We enjoyed them with butter and cherry jam.
They were delicious and a different creation altogether from the packaged kind.  In case you too are feeling daring there is a recipe in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion that looks good.  Or Alton Brown of Food Network has one here.
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I don't feel obligated to explain myself to anyone about the educational choices I make for my children.  But I have wanted to address homeschooling on my blog for a while now.  There is a wonderful community of homeschoolers online who are honest about the joys and struggles of home education and I have been so inspired over the years by these wonderful families.

I homeschool my children.  It is wonderful and difficult.
I homeschool my children... but next year they will be in a school building.
I am torn about this.

I know there are people reading this who are firmly in the homeschool camp who will be disappointed in my decision.  I know there are people reading this who are glad my children will finally be attending a traditional school.
The truth is I am both relieved and saddened by our decision.

The truth is I will mourn the loss of lingering over the breakfast table together with a good book.  I will miss listening to them incorporating their history lessons into their playtime and taking nature walks in every season.  I regret that I will not be the one to see the lightbulb go off when they master a concept.  I taught my children to read.  I baked bread on a rainy Wednesday at 1:00 and shared it hot from the oven after completing grammar.  I taught fractions while baking cookies.  I took my children to the nursing home on Tuesdays at 10a.m.  We took our lessons outside on sunny days and took school on the road when daddy had to travel for work.

The truth is also, that I am relieved to release the burden of taskmaster every hour of everyday.  That I spent too many hours overwhelmed by how much there was to accomplish and too much time resenting how needy my children are.  That some personalities just needed a break from each other.  I am looking forward to sending them out into the world and welcoming them home at the end of their day with loving arms. I will have time in the day to accomplish the tasks needed to care for my family by providing good meals, a clean home, and a calm mother. My husband can come home after a week of business travel to find his wife still has her sanity. 

Part of me feels like I have been a failure. There is pride in this. I am disappointed that I couldn't make it work.  I carry on my keychain the scripture "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13  I believe this is true. However I have learned that God does not give us strength to do EVERYTHING.  That the everything I want to do, may not be the plan he has for my family.   

I know there will be new challenges ahead for my children and for us as parents but I can only go confidently in the direction that I believe God is leading us.  This heading out on a new path is terrifying and exciting.  Letting go of our plans can be one of the toughest spiritual practices to undertake but I am reminded over and over again that there is peace in letting go and following the One who directs our paths.

Holy Experience offers the sharing of spiritual practices today.  I am always inspired there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I must have played this game a thousand times.  I remember playing it as a child and now I'm playing with my 4th child.  It won't be too long before she will outgrow it.  I better get in all the games I can!

Monday, April 19, 2010

1000 GIFTS

Just a quick list today...
151.  finding the books that my reader enjoys and increases her confidence
152.  those freckles again
153.  strawberry shortcake for dessert
154.  forsythia blooming in my vase
155.  counting the dozens of forsythia bushes we see on the long drive to church 
156.  enjoying the brightness they add to the damp and gray landscape
157.  the brightness offered by beautiful church windows
158.  old church steeples
159.  and spring flowering trees
160.  a child's interests
161.  a child's curiosity
162.  a really great tour of the State Capital 
163.  playing old fashioned games
164.  hearing "Mama, you make the best bread in the universe!"
165. talking bread with my brother long distance
166.  blue skies this morning

Have a lovely day!
Check out the gifts of other bloggers at Holy Experience 

Saturday, April 17, 2010


On our recent trip to Florida I did some poolside reading.
I realize there are two things that are very wrong about this photo.
1.  Most people would not sit in the Florida sun and read a book about knitting.
2.  My sadly neglected toes are not painted a lovely shade of pink or coral.

I can only say I had good intentions for my toes but the polish sat in my suitcase and as for the book well... I knit, and knitters happen to have great books and blogs and a lot of humor.  

I won't bore you non-knitters with a book review on this one but I have to share an excerpt that made me laugh out loud poolside.  

In the book Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously by Adrienne Martini  the author describes her year knitting a very complicated pattern that is considered to be the Mt. Everest of the knitting world.  She takes a trip to visit a knitting designer she met through the internet and here is the part that made me laugh:

     Before I left, my husband said, "You're staying in the guest room of a person you barely know."
     "Pretty much," I said.  "I met her in person once.  She sent me yarn."
     "This is just something knitters do,  isn't it?" he said.
     "I think so.  Besides, if she kills me and buries me in the backyard, she'll probably blog about it."

So true!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Yesterday was sunshine and warmth.
We ate lunch on the deck, we played fetch with the dog in the yard.
We wore short sleeves.
Little birdies were singing and the tress were starting to bud.

Today...Not so much.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We've got on our party shoes shoes today!

I have a lot of fun linking up with other blogs.  On Mondays I participate in Holy Experience's list of 1000 gifts.  On Tuesdays I post a quick photo with Jenny for Sixty Seconds on Tuesday.  Today I thought I would link up with Serenity Now for a blogging party.

Amanda at Serenity Now has an adorable blog and has decided to host a monthly blogging get together.  She is a great hostess because not only has she decorated with the cute logo to the right, she also has ice breaker questions laid out below, and promises party favors for a lucky winner.  Thanks Amanda!

1.  How long have you been blogging?  Well I've been reading other people's blogs for 2 years and finally decided to join the party in January this year.

2.  Why did you start?  Because I wanted to do things like this!  Our family has moved many times, I'm home with 4 children, my husband travels for work,  and at the moment I live rurally.  All this makes me a pretty isolated mama.  It's tough to arrange play-dates but I have had some great friendships develop online.

3.  Your title - How did you chose it?  I wrote a post about my title.  It's a sweet story and you can read it by visiting The Yellow Shoe Story.

4.  What do you blog about?  Many people describe blogs as online journals and I guess that is what I'm doing.  I love to share random bits about my children,  my home,  my faith,  things I'm reading, cooking, and creating.   I like to focus on the seasons; changing my header and including the joys of each season in many of my posts.  I love taking and sharing photos and that is an important part of my blog.  I  have always been inspired by the ideas and photographs in the many magazines I read.   It's a visual thing.   All my favorite blogs are like my favorite magazines,  filled with great writing, ideas, and beautiful images from other mothers.  I am sorry to say I have probably missed out on many a great blog post because I wanted to see more than just black text on a white page.  I can't help it. I need pretty on the page to keep my attention.  This is weird because I am an avid reader.  1000 pages of English Lit. - No problem!  But when I'm looking at a screen I need something more.

5.  What is your favorite thing about blogging?  The creativity that doesn't involve crayons and cleaning up afterwards.  The connection with other like minded mothers.  Feeling like I had a adult conversation.  The inspiration I find at so many great sites.  Staying connected with family and friends I don't get to see often.  The writing - I enjoy the process of  collecting my thoughts and refining what I want to say in the quiet hours when my children are asleep.

6.  If you had to choose one famous person to become your blog's next devoted reader, who would you pick?  I have to stay in blogland for this question and say Pioneer Woman.  I love her.  She is certainly famous now with her cookbook, TV appearances and a movie deal.  She was just one of us a few years ago!  A mom, isolated on an Oklahoma ranch blogging about her love of family, food and photography. She is SO funny.  It doesn't hurt that I'm from Oklahoma too so I have to love her for showcasing my often neglected home state.

7.  What is the funniest comment you've ever received on a blog post?  Well I have to say the most ridiculous thing to appear in my comments was something I wrote.  Follow the chain of comments below and see for yourself what a techie I am...

from my Random Bit #4 post

~kiMbeRLy~ said...

haha! I love those shoes! I am always taking strange pictures...Will has just learned to deal! Its a blogger thing!

Misty said...

This post has been removed by the author.

Misty said...

Completely disregard the above comment! Kim, if you read this please do not think it was in response to your comment. I was trying to show my mom who is here visiting how to make a comment. To do a test I randomly typed BOO HOO. Don't ask me why. That's just what popped into my head. Now I have to figure out how to delete comments! It's the blind leading the blind around here!

I totally embarrassed myself with this one!  I don't know if poor Kimberly has been back to visit.

well,  that was fun!  i'm off to visit the blogs of some of the other party goers to see how they answered those questions.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I really enjoy cooking.  Lately I'm inspired by the new ABC show called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. If you don't know Jamie Oliver, he is a quirky British chef who makes cooking cool.  The focus of the show is reforming the food programs in the public schools in Huntington, West Virginia.  This town was recently deemed the unhealthiest town in the U.S. because it has the highest rates of diabetes and obesity in the country.
The show is inspiring and insightful.  There is no lack of drama either as Jamie battles it out with angry lunch ladies who are resistant to change.  It is fantastic.  You can watch full episodes online if you haven't seen the Friday night show.

E.J. and I watched the first episode online this afternoon and then I convinced him to play chef with me in the kitchen for dinner.  Here is what we made.
It was a stir fry with snap peas, red peppers, green beans and thin slices of beef with a Thai peanut sauce from a bottle.  I taught E.J. some knife skills and he chopped the pepper. The Japanese noodles boil for 4 minutes in one pot while the rest is thrown in the hot skillet and we had dinner on the table in 15 minutes.  It was fun and we felt very accomplished with our colorful, healthy meal!


I occasionally like to post little stories, usually involving the strange things that come from the mouths of my children. I call them "random bits" because they don't fit into my other categories and because I can't really have a label called "strange things my children say and do that crack me up".
So without further ado...

Lovely child comes into the kitchen, curious as to this evening's menu.  Suddenly a look of horror and disgust comes over said child's face.  "Mama!' with surprise and shock. "There is NO WAY I'm eating those!" Then in almost a whisper and accompanied by a shudder of repulsion, "They have started to hatch."  
At first I said "Huh?"  And then I laughed hysterically and grabbed my camera.  Perhaps you should know that my child has a severe distrust of anything resembling mushrooms, fungus or growths of any kind.  In fact, he made a huge detour around a fallen log, on a recent nature hike, so he would not have to look upon the semicircular tree fungus growing in a neat row along the log.  The rest of us walked to the tree to investigate and I, of course,  took a few photos.
Now before you think I am a cruel mother, making my amusement from my child's phobia, I will tell you that he thinks it's so funny that I shudder if I have to drink from a styrofoam cup.  I can't help it.  I hate the feel of styrofoam on my mouth and the smell of my tea in a hot styrofoam cup.  We all have our oddities and we love each other anyway. 

I share this today for my Sixty Seconds on Tuesday post because it is the funniest 60 seconds I have had in my kitchen in a long time.  

Sorry for the weirdness today.  I promise things will be back to normal tomorrow!

Monday, April 12, 2010


After  a week in Florida you can accumulate quite a list of gifts.
Here are some highlights.
119.  sidewalk chalk
120. seersucker dresses
121.  places with palm trees
122. bubble lips
123. bright plastic sand pails
124.  the simplicity of playing in the sand
125.  freckle faces
126.  bottles of spray-on 70 SPF sunscreen
127.  holding hands
128.  crisp shadows
129.  perfect weather - not too hot, not too cold, warm breeze and sunshine
130.  poolside reading
131.  evening kite flying
132.  perfectly mowed grass
133.  help from daddy
134.  father and son holding hands
135.  more seersucker dresses
136.  first time french braids
137.  the perfect golden light for photos
138.  in laws who are loving and supportive 
139.  family who say "Sure, I can do that for you."  without hesitation.
140.  help with laundry
141.  hours in the pool...
142.  ....even in the rain
143.  the silliness involved in building a shelter in the pool so you don't get wet from the rain
144.  really good strawberries this time of year
145.  sunsets

It was a lovely time.

Then comes the drive home.
Yesterday was rough.  On the second day of a two day drive I drop my husband in Baltimore and continue the drive to New Hampshire.  Through New York City, over the George Washington Bridge, the Tappen Zee Bridge, through a long tunnel, 2 different views of the Manhattan skyline, with a new navigation system that only accomplishes to confuse me, several wrong turns, fatigue, a child who threw up this morning, and several requests for potty stops that I cannot grant because we are who knows where,  in this kind of traffic...
...and did I mention that my car is telling me it has low fuel.

It was one of those days that you cannot do anything except power though it.  I was not listing gifts in my head.  I was trying to calm the urge to yell at my children, honk my horn, smash the GPS system and burst in tears.
So even though it is not as pretty I can, this morning, add to my list...
146.  the "FUEL STOP  1/4 MILE AHEAD" sign that I found at the top of that hill
147.  long conversations on my cell phone to keep me awake
148.  an endless stream of DVDs for the kids to watch in the car
149.  knowing that at the end of the day we would be in our own beds 
150.  waking up this morning and feeling better

Thank you Lord for vacations and thank you
that it always feels good to come home.