an apple a day…


… or two, or three… may just keep the sanity away in some cases!

Let me explain…

Last year, I got a chance to pick a whole slew of apples

(well, okay, I loaded up the kids and we ALL picked a whole slew of apples!)

Then had visions of a years worth of applesauce running through my head…

It was all a very beautiful plan, really, as all plans begin.

We picked, washed, cut, boiled,

Sauced, bottled, and canned.

and after a HARD days work,

I had a whole slew (we’re talking 30+) quarts of good, ole fashioned, homemade applesauce.

I could see it now,

The praises, the admiration,

the mother-of-the-year-award…

So I opened the first bottle (in hindsight, something I kinda, maybe shoulda done right after the first batch!)

and lovingly dished it up for my kids (who LOVE applesauce, BTW!)

and after the first spoonfull,

as if on cue,

they all made that scrunchy-what-is-this-vile-thing-that-has-dared-to-cross-my-lips face

and asked, “Where is the normal applesauce??!”

(scratch the ‘hail to the chief’ intro to the mother-of-the-year award… )

And so, as apple season has come upon us once more,

and I sit here a year later,

and a year wiser,

I still loaded up the kiddos,

still picked a whole slew of apples,

still sliced and diced them,








but this time, I poured ooey, gooey sauce over them

and turned them into:

Apple Pie Filling!








… lots and lots…

of apple pie filling.


So c’mon over, sit a spell –

I’ll whip up a hot apple pie just for you!

… and even offer it with a side of applesauce

(because we also have a years supply of that, after all!)


No one asks your shoe size…

I’m sitting here
writing this post
with numb feet.
Because I tried to tell myself that I still wear the same size of shoes that I have for the past decade.
And I ordered a super cute pair of black workout shoes (that I found on a killer sale!).
But after an hour of wearing them,
The sad truth
Is that I am just not the same size
that I was 10 years ago.
… which really bothers me
because I was never one with dainty feet to begin with.
(can you say size 10??! In 10th grade??! Yup… that’s me, miss amazon ape over here!)

But to make matters worse,
I ran across these beauties a few months ago
(In the clearance isle, of course!)

And looked at the size.
Which was not a 10…
it said the dreaded “11”
Which I know is just one size up…
but there is something about the size “11” section
that loses all cuteness
and any sense of style or fashion
… It’s as if the companies said, “whoa, if you are a size 11 you have a whole slew of issues to deal with, so we’ll make the shoe selection easy: flat slip on in brown or black. Take your pick.”

… So when I saw these red babies, I sat
and deliberated
I mean, although my feet have been killing in my ‘normal’ size shoes,
I hadn’t yet openly admitted that I was actually the beyond ginormous king-kong footed person my shoes where telling me I was.
But when the price is $6 (yes, that is $6.00!), I couldn’t resist.
I took them home and didn’t wear them for a while (have you ever done that, buy something, but give it some time, just in case you want to take them back??! strange quirk, I know!)
But finally broke them out.
And guess what, my feet rejoiced! I actually wore them the whole day (Without numbness!)
and not one person walked up to me and asked,
“Say, what size are those shoes??!”
In fact, it was just the opposite…
I started a lecture series to a group of youth, and the person introducing me said (she had never met me before, mind you), “Let’s get started, because we have a really fun speaker today!… she’s wearing red shoes, and anyone who wears red shoes is going to be a fun speaker!”
You can believe I strutted those shoes like a peacock showing their feathers!
I felt so great about it in fact, that I ran out and bought:

… yes, those are incredibly high heels (6 inches to be exact)
which, when paired with my 5’11” body length, amounts to what could be godzilla walking down the street.
But they are Blue! and size…
(and yes, on another clearance sale!)

And ya know what?
Not one time has anyone asked what size they were.

So, why do you care about this at all??

Well, I find it ironic
that in the ‘diet crazed’ world in which we live…
we live and die by the numbers we see here:

When, in reality, not one person is going to walk up to you on the street
and casually say, “Hey, how are you doing? How much do you weigh?”

I have had so many clients put themselves into a tail spin
because they stepped on the scale,
possibly after they drank one extra glass of water…
and saw a .5 pound increase (I’m not kidding about that number, either!).
Many-a-bag of oreos have been consumed in the aftermath of the dreaded

Does the scale help in weight loss?
and no

What really helps in weight loss
Is knowing yourself.
If you know that the numbers on that scale send you into a bad place.
Throw your scale away. (I’m not kidding about that, either!)
(if it doesn’t send you to the double dipped chocolates, then by all means, keep it in place!)
There are SO MANY more indicators of health and and in-shape body –
Why do we put the ‘scale’ numbers on some sort of shrine??!
Wouldn’t you much rather take note by the way your clothes fit?
Case in point:
If you start a weight lifting program,
You are going to build muscle (a good thing!)…
which weighs more than fat.
… in other words, you could have the exact same weight on the scale, but if you are building more muscle and losing more fat, the body size is going to shrink (even if the numbers don’t!)
… I use models in class of a 5 pound glob of fat (pretty big) and a 5 pound slab of muscle (much smaller).
So if you are on a body-changing plan (notice I didn’t way weight loss plan!)…
pick up the weights
and (if it sends you to a bad place) throw away the scale 🙂

… then go buy some new shoes!
… from the clearance isle…
… in the right size!

let dirty dishes lie… and other wive’s tales debunked!

At one of my bridal showers, some sweet, well-meaning woman gave me this advice, “Don’t ever go to bed angry! Talk and work things out.”
And we tried.
and tried.
and tried.
But it seemed that for us, with any argument that came up, regardless of how small it was, if we tried to stay up and iron it out,
the only thing that happened was
we got more tired
and more grouchy
and more fighty
After a few years of this (I said we tried and tried!) (or maybe it was that we just plain got too tired to stay up anymore!)…
We started to just go to sleep.
still angry.
but sleeping.
By morning time, 9 times out of 10, we both looked at each other and said, “I’m so sorry!” almost simultaneously. Sometimes we even wondered why we had gotten so bent out of shape over really small things.
For us, this method works. We have found that our energy levels are at their peak in the early morning hours, so those are the times that have morphed into our ‘deep thought’ moments.
I am fully aware that this doesn’t work for everyone.
But it works for us.
I just wished someone had told me that not ‘everyone’ stays up to duke it out at night many years earlier.

… in fact, this philosophy works across the board.
One question that I pose in my nutrition seminars is, “what is the best time of day to exercise?” I get many different responses, depending on what studies people have heard about exercise and health.
What we then discuss is the fact that this is a trick question.
The best time of day for you to exercise
Is the time of day that you WILL exercise.
In other words –
If you are not a morning person, DON’T set the alarm to ring at 4:00 am and expect to bounce out of bed and do a quick 5 mile run. That plan is going to last as long as it takes for you to reach over and find the ‘snooze’ button.
Find YOUR rhythm.
Know YOUR body.
We all have different peak energy levels at different points of the day. Don’t fight yours, learn how to utilize your peak hours, and give yourself a break on your ‘off’ hours.

… which brings me back to the dirty dishes.
Well, as with my marriage, I have found that my kitchen is another area that I can best work in the morning.
In many circles, it is often heard, “oh, I can’t go to bed with dirty dishes, it is such a mess to wake up to – I have to wake up to a clean kitchen.”
… and I have fallen victim to this thought pattern, thinking that if the ‘other moms’ do it, then it must be the way it should be done.
So I have spent many nights cleaning my kitchen.
Being very tired
and grumpy
and yelling
and not snuggling the kids
and not reading extra books
because I had to go to bed with a clean kitchen!

… but I have in recent years started applying this ‘go to bed’ scenario with my kitchen.
And guess what?
It works!
Not for everyone, mind you,
But for me…
Leaving this:

(don’t worry, I did put the hamburger in the fridge!)

right where it is,
and heading off to bed
is the best thing for me.

You see, when I get up in the morning, and I am once again greeted by this:

(only minus the hamburger, I just didn’t take another picture – deal with it 🙂 ).

I instantly have something tangibly productive that I can do.
And I dive in. It kind of becomes a rhythm
and me cleaning the kitchen,
lets the kids know that it’s working time,
and they start doing their chores.
and by the time we head off to school,
I get to feel so productive because my kitchen then looks like this:

(okay, maybe not ALL the time when we walk out the door, but I’m creating the mo-jo here, so just go with me!).

… and instantly I feel like the day has been a success.

So I invite you to site back,
Do a little introspection,
and if it works for you…

Let the dirty dishes sleep 🙂

Ahh, the sites of fall…

the leaves…

(yes, I realize these are fake… just work with me as I build the image here folks 😉 ).

The cozy decor…

(too soon for that, you say? Well, then just count yourself lucky that there is no recording of the sounds coming from our house… because you would be hearing… and I’m not joking about this… Christmas music! yes, I am just shy of fanatical about Christmas music. I set a personal goal this year to wait until September 1st to break it out. Those last few days were excruciating! It’s a good thing I have other love-able aspects about me, so hubs simply smiles and lets the music play on – gotta love a man who will endure that quirk!)

The steam bellowing from the house,

(okay, so it’s only bellowing from the dishwasher here, just go with it!)

Ushering in the TRUE sign of fall…


Yes, I do realize that through couponing and sales, picking up some quick bottles of pre-canned fruit is really just as cheap (if not cheaper) than the home-canned stuff…

Which begs the question…

Why go through

and this

and this

And even this…

to get a few of these??

Well, I’ll tell you.

I don’t know.

Or at least I didn’t know, until this year.
year after year, I have followed in the traditions of my youth, buying up huge boxes of peaches and pears, and then working like crazy to get them canned and stored for the winter… wondering if all of the work really was saving any money at all.

I mean, after all, people started canning because they grew so much food on their own farms, they had to find a way to store it and literally live off of it through the whole winter. Understandable.
In the not-too-distant past, people could still find fruit at rock bottom prices, so canning was also understandable.
Now-a-days, it seems like the fruit that we find here comes at a premium price, plus all of the time and energy spent in preserving it make it seem like fruitless efforts…

I was going through all of this in my mind as I dug into the 5 boxes of peaches and two boxes of pairs, getting into the canning rhythm and (for the first time) training my kids in the ways of the ‘petersen peach and pear preserving party’.

… and I had an epiphany. I realized that every time I can, I return in part to my child hood. I re live all of those moments (both good and bad!) of our (seemingly) countless years spent canning together as a family.
With 7 kids in tow, my mom had the whole system down to a fine science.

And you knew, the minute you came home from school and opened the door to billowing steam…

That your night was shot.

Any plans you had were out the door.

… it was petersen preservation party. No one was exempt.

So we all took our stations and hunkered down for a looooong evening together.

Where we laughed
and joked
and sang (albeit extremely off key)
and fought
and sometimes sassed (yes, the only time I really remember getting a good ‘knuckle thump’ to the head was during one of the canning sessions when I sassed my mom about something, and my dad thumped me before my lips had even finished whatever smart-allec comment I was making. Boy did I learn how much he loved my mom that night when he said in his ‘this is NO joke’ voice, “Don’t you ever talk that way to my wife again!” and I didn’t. ever. lesson learned.)
… yes I think about that moment each time I can, and I have come to love and admire my dad for that – for teaching me how a husband respects a wife, and teaches his children to respect her as well.

I also think of the games that we concocted and the grooves that we formed with our own little systems working independently, yet interlaced with each other and we moved the food from fresh to canned.

And each year, as canning season arrives,
I get to open my book and see a little bit of my mom

I find myself nostalgic as I go through the steps
and remember the fun moments
(and the not so fun moments)
and for a little bit of time, I am transformed to the days of childhood
(yes, those same days that as a child I dreaded going through!)

And find myself smiling and content
As I look across the counter to see rows and rows of perfectly preserved peaches and pears.
And think to myself, “My mom would be so proud!”
(… and just to make sure, I usually call her up to let her know that we just canned, so that she can actually be proud!).

Because sometimes canning
Is about way more than the money and time.

… now, if you ask me why I decided that this would also be a great time to can 50 pounds of black beans all in one shebang… that I really don’t have an answer for… Other than maybe the steam melting my brain… but that’s a topic for a whole new post!

On Your Mark…

… since moving into the new house,
… which has barely beige walls,
… painted in flat paint
… I have had many opportunities to clean these…








(okay, quite honestly, the only times I have really cleaned them are times when company is coming, and I suddenly look around and see all of the little ‘handy’ work of the kiddos on the walls)

… and I oftentimes chant to myself something my mom has told me before, “you will miss this when they are all gone… you will miss this when they are all gone…”

On one particular wall-wiping occasion, which took a bit longer than usual, thanks in part to our lovely Joshy, who by the looks of the walls was afraid he would forget how to find his way back up from the basement, so made himself a little chocolate hand trail to follow… I started thinking about ‘leaving your mark on the world’ and began a thought process that I will attempt to recreate here…

WARNING: kind of weird, deep-thoughtish-not-completely-put-together thoughts coming through…
There. Consider yourself warned…

I started thinking about the role of motherhood (which started out with something like, “really? REALLY?! Will I REALLY miss this when they are all gone?!)…

And I started thinking about how in today’s society the actual role of mother is so knocked down. Sure, people give it the ‘lip service’ like saying, ‘oh, motherhood is the hardest job of all’… or, ‘every mother is a working woman’…

But, unless one has truly been in the trenches, day in and day out, reorganizing your schedule for the 97th time because you suddenly find yourself cleaning the completely dumped out bottle of sunscreen all over the floor, or fabric softener filling your purse, or get all the kids loaded into the car only to find the last one has had a major diaper blow-out, I don’t think those lip service phrases mean anything. There really is no way you can describe the role of a mother with any cliche or catchy phrase.

Mother hood is…
… simply indescribable.

In both good and bad ways. It’s tough. It’s awesome. It’s sweet. It’s stinky. It’s fun. It’s depressing. It’s enchanting. It’s lonely. It’s pretty much every emotion, every day, every minute showing one extreme change with some sort of emergency or fire to stamp out in some aspect.

… and then there are the moments of ‘ahhh’ when you can find an eye of the storm to just sit and be.
… but then you feel too guilty for simply be-ing.
… so you get up and get busy doing something
… because, c’mon, at the end of the day, you have to have something to show for all of your work.
… and dishes don’t seem to count, you did those yesterday.
… and laundry, also a ditto from yesterday (although you would never know it as clothes have come from nowhere to build a replica of mt. everest in the laundry room).
… and vacuuming, well, you did it this morning, but no one could possibly tell because not one single vacuum line remains in tact.
… and the glistening toilets just hours before are now smoldering pots of sewage left by recently potty-trained-yet-not-expert-aiming users.
… and all the poopy diapers you changed during the day… well, those are just better left in the garbage.

… so what exactly is it that you have to show that you have actually made your mark on the world?

… I am so not an expert in this arena by any means, nor do I propose to have all of the answers.

… but in this particular moment of time (of wiping down Joshy’s chocolate trail home), somehow, somewhere, I found great satisfaction in knowing that I was (hopefully) making my mark in the hearts of 5 little souls that Heavenly Father has gingerly placed in my care. Though I couldn’t put any tangible name to the mark, I became acutely aware of just how important the ‘Mother’s Mark’ is on the heart of every child who enters this world.
… I have felt my own mother’s mark every moment of every day, in ways that I’m sure she will never be aware of. Tiny things that as I look back on my own little lessons in life that I learned at her side, and that I now call back upon as I go through my own moments of wondering what in the world I should do at this particular juncture and can easily answer with a simple question, “what did my mom do in this type of situation?”
… more often then not, the answer is, “she always, always put the needs of her children first, made sure they were comfortable, fed, clothed, kissed, hugged, changed, etc etc before she took one thought for her own comfort or her ‘alone’ time”
… that is a mark that can never be erased in the soul of a child who learned the love of a Heavenly Father through the role of a mother.
… that is a mark that I will work everyday to re-create in the hearts of my own children
… will I be able to create the ‘mother’s mark’ in my own children?
… I may never know in this lifetime…
… but one thing I do know – they have left marks in my heart that will last much, much longer than a chocolate handprint on the wall.

… and yes, I think I will miss those tiny prints guiding my kids back from their basement adventures once their adventures lead them outside the walls of my home and the grasp of my arms.
… so for now, I will be content to wipe off the wall marks, and try to etch in my own marks on their tiny precious hearts.

The End.