13 Kids & Counting "Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien

In Honor of Library Lovers Month – My Favorite Books!

February 9

My favorite books have changed and evolved and some have lasted through the years.

Maybe it would be more appropriate to say there are books that have stuck with me through the years. Books that I read and re-read just for me. Books that I read once and made a big impression. And books that I may have only read once but are on my list of books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do.


Books that I read and re-read:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

I can’t speak highly enough of these. One of my prized possessions is a 50th anniversary leather bound edition of all three in one that my dear husband bought me about 12 years ago.  I’m on my 16th read through of these since I discovered them in middle school.

The Harry Potter series

I’ve read these through about 3 or 4 times and I’m in the middle of reading them aloud to our Pookie. (We’re 2 chapters from the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, so I’m hoping to start Goblet of Fire next week. So, this one fits on the list of books for my kids, too.)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

I read these all by the time I was about eight or nine. I return to them from time to time.

Somewhere in France

I only discovered this book last year. I’m not really a big reader of historical fiction, but the picture of the lady in blue on the cover drew me in. Captivating is the only word I can think of to describe it. I read it twice before I had to return it to the library.


Books that I read once and made a big impression:

Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, & Pool of Twilight

Another trilogy, this one by James Ward & Jane Cooper Hong. Based on the role playing game by the same name as the first book, this is the first Dungeons and Dragons series I ever read.

The Dark Elf Trilogy

This is another Dungeons and Dragons series by R.A. Salvatore. Fabulous series! So much so, that when I worked at Book Culture in NYC, and I was given a chance to recommend a book for the wall, that the first in the series, Homeland, was my pick.

Sense and Sensibility as well as Emma.

Both classics by Jane Austen. Both I was inspired to read after seeing movies based on these books. Both much better than the movies. Except maybe Colonel Brandon. Alan Rickman just blew that role out of the water. He was made for it.

Eat, Pray, Love


Books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do:

Little Women

Another classic book. This one I read when I was about 10 or 12. I don’t think I will ever get over Beth.

The Little House on the Prairie series

I’ve started reading bits and pieces of Little House in the Big Woods to my kids. Even Jalapeno said he may have to rethink reading that series. But being as he is in high school now, I’m sure these will only be read at home.

The Outsiders

This one I discovered in middle school, along with Rumble Fish. Both books about society’s misfits. I identified with them both probably more than I should have and probably more than my parents would have liked (if they’d ever actually read the books).


So, what books make your lists?



November 29

It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything right now.

I want to go for a walk but it’s bone-chillingly cold outside, and, quite frankly, I’m just exhausted.

I am currently working 2nd shift s0 I’m not getting home until after midnight, averaging going to bed by 12:30am and I’m still getting up usually by 7am.

Occasionally, I’ll get a nap but not every day.

I have all these projects that I want to do, like I’m still working on Mario’s Dr. Who quilt, a secret surprise for the kids that I have to finish by the 1st of December, spinning some wool, getting the Christmas decorations up, but all I want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep.

What do you do to get your motivation back or keep it up when winter hits?

My battle

September 30

So I got on the scale on September 14th and was faced with an unpleasant truth. I now weighed more than I ever have, even when I was pregnant. I’m too vain to give you the exact number on the scale, but suffice it to say, it actually made me concerned for my health.

Therefore, starting the 14th, I started keeping track of what I eat and on the 16th, I started walking. So far this month I have accumulated almost 17 1/2 miles. I’m still slow. My fastest speed yet is 3.8 miles an hour or about a 16 minute mile. I’m not setting any time records but I’m doing it. I’m hoping to walk 80 miles by New Years. That’s my short term goal.

I’ve lost 8 lbs so far and I’m pretty happy about that. But the best part is I’m actually feeling stronger and I’m already not as winded when I walk. I can get to the top of the stairs in my house without breathing hard. I’m really happy about that!

So, in an effort to keep me going, I’m making this public. While giving me crap still isn’t ok, helpful encouragement is appreciated.

12 Years

September 8

It’s been twelve years now since I was woken at 3:30 AM with that horrible phone call. Or was it 4:30 AM? After twelve years, it’s growing a little fuzzy. I remember thinking it was my father who had passed away, not Joey. I remember thinking my mom was confused in her grief. Expecting to jog her out of it, I asked to speak to my dad, thinking for sure that she’d recognize her mistake and tell me it was him who was gone. And then I heard my dad’s voice and I knew, irrevocably, that she was right the first time.

Two years ago, I was still waking up at that time every night. Now, I can’t remember exactly what time it was.

This year, for the first time ever, I missed the anniversary of his death. Just tonight, 9 days late, did I realize that the anniversary of his passing had come and gone.

I hesitate to say that I’ve finally gotten past the sense of loss and the feeling that he was taken too soon. I feel that may be courting trouble so to speak. No, the loss is still definitely there. I still talk to him on a weekly, if not more frequent, basis.

But maybe, finally, the intense stabbing pain in my heart may be lifting. He’s still the angel on my shoulder, seeing me through the dark and the light, and maybe making things a little easier for me. But now, there’s more rejoicing in his life than mourning his loss.

And maybe that’s my next step.

Most Beautiful Women in the World

April 28

You want to see the most beautiful women in the world??


Go to any local grocery store between 6 and 7 am on the day of an elementary school field trip.

Specifically, go to the aisle where the Lunchables reside.

There you will find them.

Some of them in pajamas, some of them dressed completely, some dressed but wearing slippers.

Notice I did not say these were the most prepared women, or the most put together women.

(Those women have prepared ahead of time, hand made a disposable, completely organic bento box full of goodies for their perfect angels.)

But let’s go back to the Lunchable aisle.

Look at their faces. The love they have for their children just oozes from them.

They have rushed to the store in the early hours of the morning because they have forgotten about the field trip until that morning (or the night before when they were already in their pajamas, in bed, after putting their kids in bed for the night, nursing their youngest) but they are determined not to let their munchkin(s) down.

I’m not saying the mothers who have it all together don’t love their children but the very real women who make mistakes and forget about things and still get up early to run to the store still need to know this: You are the most beautiful women in the world simply because of the love you have for your children and your desire to put them before yourself even if it means that you have to lose that extra hour or half hour of sleep that you so desperately want and need.

Which one am I? The totally put together woman with the disposable bento box full of yummy goodness or the one standing in the Lunchable aisle at 6:30 am looking for her sons favorite nacho Lunchable that he only gets for field trips?

I’ve been both… minus the organic part because those weren’t readily available when I actually had it together that one time…


April 2

We are starting to look at planting our garden for the year. Decided what to plant and where to plant it is always an engaging time.

I’m also looking forward to trying some new plants and seeing what I can make from them.

For instance, I’ve never grown eggplants or lettuces.

Lettuces are easy to use up but how about eggplant?

Anyone want to send me some recipes for eggplant?

February 2015 Update

February 14

Reading… Groundbreaking Food Gardens
Playing…Not much lately, new job is limiting my play time. Mostly some Match 3 FB games
Watching… Still Big Bang Theory! “Why is your tongue blue?” lol
Trying… To convince Cookie that it is time for bed
Cooking…Pinto Bean Stew (The dumplings weren’t that great but I made the stew on my stove, just cooked it on low & it was amazing!)
Eating… Butterfinger Cups
Drinking… Can of Coke
Calling… Still no one
Texting… Also no one as we gave up our cell phones.
Pinning… Gardening & Embroidery posts
Tweeting… a lot of quotes lately
Crafting… Dr. Who Quilt for my son Mario
Scrapping… can’t think of anything
Doing… troubleshooting training at work!
Going… to sleep soon
Loving… Cookie giving out kisses!
Hating… That Cookie just dropped a toy on my toes!!! (OUCH!)
Discovering… That Cookie likes to climb up on chairs that are pushed up to the table and getting stuck! (She’s laughing about it!)
Enjoying… Baby Kisses!
Thinking… It’s time for sleep!
Feeling… Sleepy
Hoping (for)… the winning Powerball or Mega Millions ticket
Listening (to)… 5 Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day…
Celebrating… fantastic new job that I love!
Smelling… Butterfinger Cups
Thanking… My honey for the beautiful roses and card I got today!
Considering… this update to be almost done!
Finishing… Butterfinger Cups & a Can of Coke
Starting… Up the stairs to bed! Good night everyone!


January 19

Well, I haven’t written in a while, as you probably know. A lot has happened lately.

First of all, I was let go from my job in early December. My department was eliminated and I was eliminated along with it.

Second, Cookie started walking when she was 10 months old. Now, at just over a year, she’s pretty much running! Keeping up with her is sometimes a job and a half, so, it’s a good thing there are so many helping hands here. She has also learned to climb up the stairs, on chairs and the couches so the blinds, curtains, lamps, DVD’s and pretty much everything else is all within reach of baby hands!

I’ve been using my time without work to work on some other projects. So far, I’ve crocheted Sand a blanket, crocheted one very heavy duty large basket, one smaller basket for my tabletop in my bedroom, organized my files, deep cleaned my bedroom, and I’ve started making Mario a quilt.

His latest obsession is watching Dr. Who, so it’s a Dr. Who themed quilt. For those of you who are interested, here’s a link to the webpage I got the patterns from! (www.fandominstitches.com) The ones I am doing are the embroidered ones (not all of them, but a healthy 41 of them!). I’ve printed all the images, copied them over to the fabric (by hand!), researched the colors that all the doctors wore, assembled a little packet for each square including the paper images with my color notations, the cloth squares with the images drawn on, and the skeins of embroidery thread needed for each. That has all happened since Friday of last week! So, I’m finally working on actually embroidering the first square now. I may post pictures as I finish them. We shall see.


And last but definitely not least: I got a new job! I will be starting at Cox Communications tomorrow as a Tech Support Rep!

Talk to you all soon!

Cherry Vanilla Bread

November 1

So I found a couple bags of dried cherries at the store on sale a few months ago & bought them.

I put them to work a short time later and came up with Cherry Vanilla Bread.

They were delicious but as it was the first time I had made it, I, again, took no pictures! (I really have got to stop doing that!)

But here’s the recipe:

3 1/2 c flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 package (5 oz.) dried cherries

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 c sugar

4 eggs

3 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c milk


Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, excluding the cherries. After you’ve mixed the dry ingredients well, then stir the cherries into the flour mixture.

Cream the butter & sugar together.  When they are well blended, mix the eggs in, one at a time. Then add the vanilla & milk & mix some more.

At this point, you should have one bowl of dry ingredients & one bowl of wet ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing in 3 or 4 parts.

Split the batter between 2 greased loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes or until a piece of spaghetti or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


October 19

Several weeks, maybe a month and a half ago, I noticed a very pink spot on my head. I started going gray when I was 16 so I just thought that the hair in that location was going whiter than it had been before. And Sand noticed it, too.

So, when I dyed my hair the next weekend, I made sure to put a good amount in that area so that it was covered well.

When my hair dried, that was when it became really clear that my hair in that spot wasn’t just white. It was missing. Mario asked if I had cancer!

I made an appointment with my doctor for a couple weeks later. In the meantime, I just made sure that the rest of my hair was covering the spot.

My family doctor looked at it and diagnosed telogen effluvium or just hair loss and attributed it to having had Cookie.

I wasn’t so sure and he gave me a referral to a dermatologist.

While I was waiting about a week and a half for the appointment, I found 3 more spots. Two are very small about the size of a pencil eraser & a dime. The third is about the size of a half dollar. And I watched the original spot grow. It’s now about half the size of my palm.

Last week, the dermatologist only needed one brief look to diagnose alopecia areata. I’ve been putting a topical steroid on the spots for the last few days.

I never thought of myself as especially vain, but I’ve already noticed myself (very soon after I found the first spot) trying to conceal the spots. Worrying about whether they are showing when the wind blows hard or if I need to put my hair up at work. Probably didn’t help that my dad told me I needed to fix my hair the other morning before I left for work but I can’t blame it entirely on him.

I’ve found myself scrutinizing the hairbrush whenever I brush my hair. I nearly cried this morning when I looked at the strands and realized that several appeared to have come out together from the same spot. I bought a hand mirror so I can check to see if I’m developing spots on the back of my head.

I’ve googled it and read through the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. It’s an autoimmune disorder. There is no cure. I suppose I’m still in the question phase of “why me?” but there is no answer. There’s no definitive cause.

I could lose all of my hair. I’d like to tell you I’m ok with that, but I’m really not. So, I’m trying not to think about it. I will rub the steroids on my head religiously. And I will pray that it reverses, goes into remission and stays there.

But at times, part of me wants to cry. And I’m not ok.

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Welcome to Life in My House. My husband and I have 14 kids, 8 of which live at home. Plus my parents live with us, too. The age range in our house is 10 months old to 80. My husband and I both work full time and it truly does take a village to raise a family when you both work. Join me to learn what it’s like to have this many kiddos, share my joys, my frustrations, and watch me figure this whole working mom thing out.

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