Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Tag: happy families (page 1 of 3)

Today – July 26, 2019 – Peace of Mind

Piute Pass Trailhead

Curt and I are home from being Duncan’s support vehicle for 10 days on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Mountains of Northern California.

Here is the REAL story. I don’t always have peace of mind. Yes, I support Duncan’s hikes. He loves it! He is an amazing hiker and driven to reach impressive heights, distances, landscapes and vistas. His hiking hobby keeps Duncan active and has brought us to some amazingly gorgeous places that humans can only get to on foot. Still, I admit that deep down I have been less than happy about the amount of Duncan’s attention and time it has taken away from me and the family. These generated negative thoughts in my mind have plagued my mind and emotions from time to time.

After years of personal growth despite these thoughts, I have come to the conclusion that:

  • My thoughts create my emotions. I have control over my thoughts, so if I manage them correctly I can create more healthy emotions.
  • I want to the be the kind of wife that supports her husband in the things that are important to him. I do this because of who I am, not in order to please anyone.
  • I give his choices and free agency to him. They are his. I also have my own choices, including how I respond to my circumstances.
  • Affirmations are a tool to set my dreams in motion, like this one: I am loved and lovable, and as I choose to love others, I find it easy for others to love me too.
  • I am excited for the future as I now understand and know that if it is to be, it is up to me. I work hand-in-hand with the Lord and my husband. I like being in-charge of me. I am a responsible person.

Obviously there is a lot more truth than stated above. There is more to what I have dealt with in my life and head to come to these conclusions. Truth is all around us and I am so grateful for the truth I know so far. My foundation comes from Jesus Christ. He is the source of all light, truth, goodness, and peace, including peace of mind. I am learning buckets and buckets of emotional and mind management truths that are allowing me to feel more peace of mind and happiness. If you are struggling with thoughts of resentment or discouragement I recommend the following resources:

  • Jody Moore Podcast #197: Brain Software ON HER SITE, ON SOUNDCLOUD
  • Jody Moore Podcast #199: The River of Misery ON HER SITE, ON SOUNDCLOUD
  • The book The Emotional Skills and Tools of Positive Mind Management by Dennis Parker
  • Podcasts by Brooke Castillo, Jody Moore and Natalie Clay on understanding the power of our thoughts.
  • 7 Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Bible and The Book of Mormon.

Hiking is awesome. Husbands are awesome. Husbands and hiking have been on my mind a lot because they are my current situation. YOU have a different current situation. You have your immediate worries and thoughts, whether they be positive or negative. Understanding that our thoughts create our emotions is awesome. Peace is the best! Find it in your head. I am. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, of course. 🙂

Yesterday – July 12, 2019

My determined bunch in front of the tow truck pulling our precious but exhausted van.

Our van is toast. It is such a sad fact. This Honda Odessey is the best car Duncan and I have ever had. It gets…got great gas mileage, has tons of storage space, and has gone the distance, 226,217 miles to be exact.

To make a long story short, we over heated BIG TIME, 2 miles outside of Gallup, New Mexico on our way to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We got towed into PepBoys (Thank you AAA). We stayed at the NICE Springhill Suites by Marriott across the street and after two opinions came to accept the fact that the engine was ruined. We made the excellent decision to rent a 15 passenger van to continue on our vacation, which was awesome! The hikes, water falls, BB guns, quads, jeep rides, yummy food, and the mountains are written on our hearts. Thank you Brandon and Ross for coming with us and enduring the fancy unexpected stay in Gallup.

Yesterday, safely at home – I finalized the highest sale I could muster for the van, still parked at Gallup Automotive, for $200. Blast. That is the absolute best I could do. Then, after research and a test drive, decided to buy Kay and Chuck’s (my daughter and her husband) 2007 Honda Civic, which only has 92,000 miles! Kay and Chuck have wanted to sell it, since they are moving to Puerto Rico in a couple months and so it is a win – win. They have loved the car. They bought it a year ago for $6,000 and I bought it from them for the same amount. Hondas hold their value for a long time.

The moral? I have no idea. Keep going when your car breaks down? Hondas are awesome? It is possible to sell a car from a long distance? We love Colorado so much that we will do anything to get there? My kids and husband are patient and awesome? All of these morals are all true. 🙂

Today – July 13, 2019

I am not the best at winking.

Today has been a good one:

  • Read and pondered The Word of God.
  • Did some very brief exercises.
  • Made pancakes. Ate 4!
  • Painted the ceiling in my bedroom.
  • Curt (13) got home from Geronimo Scout Camp! I missed him! Unfortunately he caught the flu somehow and was vomiting through the night his last night at camp. Yuck for him! Fortunately, no other scouts were in his tent this particular night, so he didn’t interrupt others, but poor guy had to endure that in the dark in the woods all alone.
  • Went with Kay to ASAP Title and Registration. LOVE THIS PLACE! (It is worth the $15 convenience fee to not have to go to the MVD.)
  • Made chef salad for big and medium kids.
  • Figured out the map that Duncan is currently following in Northern California so that we can follow along. He is hiking hundreds more miles this summer toward his life long goal of hiking from Mexico to Canada.
  • Went to visit Adam (18), who worked a double shift at Smashburger today. Have you had their BBQ Salad?! It is the bomb.
  • Painted three more hours on the walls and details in my bedroom. I washed my hands and face before I took the above picture. I actually have paint speckled on one of my contacts that I still need to wash off.
  • Time for bed!

Some Current Trends in Education

Eighth Grade Promotion

Curt had over 70 standardized tests in middle school! He has often reminded me to help him reach his goals, because the schools aren’t doing it. I recently read The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. It was very telling. The U.S.A. school system and culture leaves something to be desired. I was not surprised.

Ted Dintersmith

Ted Dintersmith’s book looks at the schools in the U.S. His look is critical, instructive and refreshing. There are some good things going on in some schools that the others could learn from. This talk gets me so excited and concerned all at the same time.

Williamsburg learning says the same thing – the current way of doing things in our schools isn’t going to meet the vast opportunities available to our next generation.

My cousin Monica is a gifted education advocate in Cinnicinati, Ohio. She has recommend the following books for me to read:

I’ve been reading and thinking about homeschooling for years and years. Finally, we are all on the same page and I am going to homeschool Curt ninth grade this fall! I am not going to use Williamsburg Learning, but I have been inspired by some of their ideas.

There are SO MANY resources out there that we will be taking advantage. I would say I am more of a manager of Curt’s education than THE instructor. What AM I going to do?

  • Encourage TONS of exploration and invention, following HIS ideas
  • BYU on-line SCIENCE (Anyone can use this incredible resource.)
  • BYU on-line MATH
  • ASU camps, museum and real-life hands-on field trips
  • Memoria Press Literature and Composition
  • Duncan’s ASU geography content and quizzes from his college curriculum (Did you know my husband is a geography professor?)
  • History books, videos, and research
  • Private piano and violin instruction
  • Our local school sports program
  • Our local seminary program
  • Local homeschooling Co-op for even more socialization and exposure

Out of the 24 classics that Memoria Press recommends for third grade through middle school, Curt has read two. So we are going to have a blast reading the books he has missed starting in August. We are going to read them for fun, for discussion, and for application in real life – not for a test or an assignment. I am so excited! Here is the book list for this fall:

  • Farmer Boy
  • The Moffats
  • The Blue Fairy Book
  • Dangerous Journey
  • The Cricket in Time Square
  • Lassie
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Heidi
  • The Twenty-one Balloons
  • King Arthur
  • Adam of the Road
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • The Door in the Wall
  • The Bronze Bow
  • The Hobbit
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Trojan War
  • The Wind and the Willows
  • Treasure Island
  • Tom Sawyer
  • As you Like It

More than the book list, Curt’s freedom to invent to his hearts content will be the most striking improvement this year. He is constantly sharing idea with me. He watches science shows and SpaceX during his free time. He has drawers of wires and screws. He loves dumpster diving for broken machines so he can take them apart and find out what makes them tick.

I hope and feel quite excited that Curt will have an “out-of-the-box” experience this year. The sky is the limit and Curt is ready to launch.

Traveling with Kids

Duncan and I got this book years ago.

Dunc and I have gone all over the place with our kids, mostly via camping because it is more affordable. In fact most of them have been to 49 of the 50 states (we still need to visit North Dakota), including many state and national parks. You have GOT to try out the Jr. Ranger Program! It makes traveling with kids an extra adventure and keeps kids occupied and learning while you soak in the beauty around you. I think my kids have learned to appreciate conservation and taking care of nature better because of this great program.

I think this is crazy and unnecessary, but more and more people are doing it. Kay and Chuck went to Paris before Lyla came. If you want some ideas on a taking a trip before baby comes check out Babymoon Holidays.

Kay and Chuck on their Babymoon in Paris

Traveling should be before and after baby comes.

Lyla in Northern Arizona
Capitol Reef in Southern Utah

I suppose that our kids’ adventurous spirits may be partly Duncan and my fault. We have 5 very courageous kids who love to travel, hike, camp, and explore. Doesn’t that seem to be a step in the direction of resilience? Which the world is in great need for.

J.D. at the end of the Appalachian Trail: Mount Katahdin!

Start With the End in Mind

I just read this in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” this morning. I paraphrase:

  • Figure out what is most important to you. In other words, what do you want in “The End?”
  • Plan how you will achieve “The End” in your mind and on paper.
  • Work forward with this “End in Mind.”

“The same is true with parenting. If you want to raise responsible, self-disciplined children, you have to keep that end clearly in mind as you interact with your children on a daily basis. You can’t behave toward them in ways that undermine their self-discipline or self-esteem” (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 106-7).

Baby Language Milestones

Easter Egg Hunt with Mommy


Speech: Baby coos, gurgles, babbles, responds to voice

Signing: May recognize and respond to signs, Babbles and plays with hands, Might make first sign


Speech: Has increased range of vocalizations, Mimics sounds (Lyla does this already at 5 months)

Signing: Recognizes your signs, May make 1-10 or more signs 

12-18 MONTHS

Speech: May say first words, communicate by pointing, can follow simple one step directions

Signing: May make 1-50 or more signs, May begin combining signs into simple sentences

18-24 MONTHS

Speech: May say up to 20+ words, Jabbers incoherently at times, Follows simple instructions

Signing: May make 100+ signs, Combine spoken words with signs, Combine signs into simple sentences, Has increased range of vocalizations

Baby Sign Language

Sarah’s Baby Sign Practice – EMOTIONS

My friend Sarah has taught her 3 young children sign and Spanish while keeping their primary language English. Her middle child is the best talker and singer in my nursery class at church! All three of her littles seem to be ahead of their peers in many ways. It is a handful, but teaching sign language to your children has many benefits. 

Research shows that sign language speeds up speech development, reduces frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves before they know how to talk, increases parent-child bonding, and lets babies communicate vital information, such as if they are hurt or hungry. LEARN MORE at Educational Playcare.

She writes: 

“Hi baby signers! Here are the latest videos which should get us all up to date on all the vocab and songs that we did in class.  Please excuse the fact that they aren’t very professional videos (I am technically and logistically limited in many areas) but I wanted you to have something to refer to in your practice at home.  

“Here you go”

“For those of you with babies between 9-12 months that is when they are most ready to be signing back to you and will pick up signs very quickly so sign to your babies, good luck, and have fun. 

“- Hasta Entonces, Sarah”

I love her cheerful articulate caring way of including everyone. I even went to a few of her classes with my granddaughter Lyla. Enjoy Sarah’s instructional videos of many children songs and words, which are HERE. I hope that learning even a few signs with your baby will aid them in communicating with you in order to alleviate frustration and to increase the joyful moments you share with your children. Happy signing!


You may have to be old to appreciate this kind of humor, but have you heard of Jeanne Robertson? She is a white-haired Southern comedian who calls her husband “Left Brain” and wears sequins. My mother introduced her to me and I can’t help but share it. CLICK HERE for one of her many hilarious stories. Why do we need to laugh?

According to, “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.” Is that why sometimes I crave a funny movie? Is that why I love hanging out with my mom, who is funny and thinks I am funny? We can laugh for a long time.

Well, I don’t doubt that for a minute. If we need a good laugh every-once-in-a-while, so do our kids. Here are some ideas to infuse some laughter into your ordinary REAL LIFE day:

  • Have a tickle match.
  • Do something unpredictable, like eat under the table as a family.
  • Play a board game – almost any game will bring laughs.
  • Play charages, hide-and-go-seek, sardines, musical chairs or another old fashioned classic.
  • Don’t be so serious. Look for funny things your kids do and enjoy it. Enjoy them. I need to take all this advice myself!
  • Play a harmless prank. Tell a joke. Use funny words.
  • For more ideas go to “Make-em-laugh.”

My kids are so funny! I know your kids are too. Laugh! Have fun! Breathe easy! God wants us to be happy. Relax and enjoy your real life. <3

Vegetable Rich Recipes

Full of Veggies

I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I have been cutting out dairy and sugar. I also try to eat meat sparingly. You can see that my husband and kids still want milk for their addiction to cold cereal. You can ALSO see my almond milk (that I made) in the jar at the top right next to my green smoothie leftovers that I will enjoy this afternoon for a snack). We have ground beef for, of course, hamburgers this weekend.

I have recently been introduced to Ellen Fisher. What an inspiration! You can go to her site for her recipes. I will share just a few of MY veggie recipes one-at-a-time.


  • whole wheat pita bread
  • seasoned black beans (garlic powder, cumin, and freshly ground pepper for example)
  • alfalfa sprouts or shredded lettuce/cabbage
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced green onions
  • sliced almonds or other nut
  • salad dressing of choice or salsa

Whole Wheat Pita Bread is easy to make!

  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 5-6 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix all gently. Add flour as needed to gain a tacky but not sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about four minutes. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 12-15 sections. Roll each section into a ball. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin into a 5 to 6 inch circle, starting from the center and being careful to leave the edges with some body (not pinched with the rolling pin). Place on parchment liners to rest. Cover with a towel.

My rolling pin, which I made with my father-in-law years ago, has a crack in it, but it still does the job.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bake 3-4 pitas on a stone for 4–6 minutes. Remove to a plastic bag for five minutes, which causes the pitas bubble to deflate but keeps the pocket in tact. ENJOY!

Not perfectly round, but perfectly delicious!

The salad dressing I used today was:

  • 2 T. tahini, 2 T. maple syrup, and 1 T. dijon mustard. YUM!

Other veggie dishes on my menu with the items I currently have in my fridge are:

  • Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce
  • Grilled Veggies (bell peppers, parsnips, yams, potatoes) served with a Spinach Salad
  • Vegetarian tacos (with warm corn tortillas refried beans, sautéed veggies, lettuce)
  • Asian noodles and stir-fry
  • Curry, potato and coconut gravy over rice
  • Pasta tossed with stir-fried spring vegetables, oregano and olive oil
  • Bean Burritos

I HIGHLY recommend checking out Ellen Fisher, who has been VEGAN for 9 years while having three healthy babies. She is a great master of how to make vegetables delicious! She also has a youtube channel HERE.

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