Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My husband is a forgeiner.

I got married about 2 months ago. So far marital bliss has been just that, blissful! I blog about my adventure into married land and you can follow our adventures here.

I wrote a post about our interracial marriage.
Talking about some of my thoughts and in sites at this point in our life together.

I just wanted to put it out there to a wider audience. Are any of you in an interracial marriage? Or married to people from other country?
How have you blended your cultures and traditions?
What road blocks have you met?

I am grew up in Northern California. Went to University in Utah. Lived in Ethiopia where I met my husband. Due to a unforeseen circumstance we ended up getting married in the US, where we are now living and working on the immigration process. After we were married a Lawyer in the LDS congregation I attend pretty much Told Adam & I he would need to immigrate if we ever wanted to visit my family again. 

Adam is an Ethiopian National. Who living in a town about 40 miles south of the capital. He studied Law in an Ethiopian University. Worked for a US company. where he met me. 
So here we are.

Are there others of you out there in a similar circumstance?

I would love to know more.

♥ Single Girl
Now known as
the MRS.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New blog to share!

Hey all! As you know, I've been tirelessly working on my new business venture for the last few months. Since I was having trouble seperating the "work" and the "personal" side when dealing with this blog, I decided to make a dedicated blog just for my business. Here it is:


Go check it out, become a follower and tell your friends! I'm pretty doggone proud of myself because I designed and created my new blog completely from scratch to match my store, my business cards, and all my other media. Feedback is always appreciated too!!


Monday, November 8, 2010









Sunday, November 7, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 311: Manage Your Time, But Leave Some Room for Spontaneity

I'm a list maker, how about you? It doesn't mean I'm super organized. Quite the contrary. It means that I write it all down so I won't forget, which I have a tendency to do if something is not written down. The funny thing is, sometimes I lose my list, which I take as a sign that perhaps those things on it weren't so pressing anyway or that they'll get done in due time. I have to believe that anyway.

I also have a calendar on my wall in my office right next to where I write. As soon as I have anything scheduled, I try and write it down. I have to get things on the calendar or I end up just forgetting.

So, I have half a book due to my editor the first week of December. Several months ago I mapped out a plan to write 6-7 hours a day Thursday through Sunday. I thought that was a reasonable plan, but I didn't factor in that I need to eat, attend my yoga class, walk, meditate, shop, clean and all the other things that take up a day. I had this image that I'd just go to my writing room and pop out 6 or 7 hours later, eyes blurry from staring at a screen for so long.

What I've come to realize is that balance in all areas of my life is key. A few weeks ago I left a Facebook status update to my friends that said something like, "Talk to you all in March." Luckily my best friend from elementary school piped up and said, "Umm, I'm not following that rule!" Even though this was meant to be a joke, I also felt that I was also being honest in the fact that my time would be limited. March 2011 is when my entire book is due. I've always been a very focused person, but that was going a bit too far. I mean, I have to meet friends and enjoy myself from time to time too!

So, I make my list and if I get half of it done in a weekend, I'm happy. This is the balance part. I don't sit there and fret over what didn't get done. I believe I will get to it all eventually. That's been my experience anyway. If I feel like watching a movie with my husband, taking a walk on a sunny day, going to yoga class or talking to a friend, I do it. In fact, I try to take a walk everyday. Somehow walking clears my head and makes me appreciate more what I'm doing and what I have in my life. I see the beauty of nature, I get my dose of Vitamin D and I'm good to go.

I simply can't stay locked in my writing chambers all weekend on a beautiful sunny day. So I get out and walk. After I get a walk in, I'm o.k. to get down to business and tackle those things on my list. It seems to work, I've currently written 142 book pages out of 250. I think I'm right on schedule.

One thing that has helped me with time management is creating space in my schedule. I don't try to schedule too much. I leave plenty of gaps. I teach ESL at a local community college. I absolutely LOVE it and it helps me get out and socialize after I've been in my writing cave for too long. Teaching compliments writing. They are so opposite. One is very extroverted and the other is introverted. This is a nice balance for me. Also, I only teach three days a week. This gives me the rest of the time for pursuing my other passion: writing!

Leaving space for spontaneity and pursuing my passions have proven to be such great benefits in my life. By leaving lots of space empty in my schedule, I find that there is time for crossing things off my list of things to do and enjoying the unexpected "fun" things that might pop up during my weekend. This balance has made my life enjoyable.

Reprinted from my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married where I am writing 365 Lessons for 2010.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The words I'm reading....the pages I'm turning

I love to read only what touches my soul.

I try to read fluff and get easily bored. Though since we are all so intricately different what constitutes to another as "fluff" won't be the same.

I like to read real words, I'm not an intellect, my eyes glaze quickly at language that does not sound familiar to my own every day thoughts and voice.

I've just recently finished this book

Dear me,

a novel

by Gaylynne Sword

I picked it up from a sale table, mostly because it was only 5 dollars, but why I chose to buy this over the rest piled high on clearance was these words on the back

Author Gaylynne Sword brilliantly weaves a story that is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. A story for all have have struggled with choices, family, or faith.

Then on through the book blurb

We are drawn into the thoughts and feelings of someone we know. Serious, funny and unflinchingly honest, Vanessa (the main character in this book) compels us to follow her on a journey through the loves and losses that shaped her life-and to learn about God's unlimited ability to reach into the darkest places of our lives.

Me:  Hooked. Here's what I thought

This isn't a true story, but many, too many do live it out.
It begins introducing us the reader to the family of Vanessa and her feelings of inferiority and of being a disappointment to her parents particularly her father even from a very young age.
She learns to rely heavily on others, (at this stage her younger brother Jake), to avoid making her own decisions and or taking any personal responsibility for her own wants, needs or desires and the many consequences that
follow during her journey for freedom.

This girl goes through it all. A family tragedy. A personal soul destroying event that ultimately almost wrecks her emotional and physical life as well, through the use of drugs, sex, alcohol and new age spiritualism. Vanessa is extremely lost and the vices she uses, not always deliberate to numb her pain and fill the void in her heart could be recognisable to many who have walked through life in the dark at times.

Gaylynne Sword's writing is easily absorbed, she finds humour in the dark bits, I absolutely love her style and look forward to reading more of her work.

The only thought I had which kept it from being a 5 stars from me was a niggling reminder that this was a work of fiction, so slightly, over the top in events...though as I type this I am reminded that I have lead a pretty sheltered-ish life compared to many, so who am I to say? I haven't had personal experience with the issues that plagued Vanessa's life. Yet I have believed many of the lies she was burnt with that got the ball rolling.

This next one is borrowed from a friend

365 Words of Well-being for Women by Rachel Synder

Each page has it's own alphabetised word and snippet. Like this one which I just opened on

Bliss out.
Bliss out on joy, bliss out on pleasure, bliss out on love. When you think you've reached the ceiling of your bliss, ride the bliss train right on through. Bliss out on nature.Bliss out on the smell of pine, the feel of moss on your cheek, the awesome, sweet tartness of wild mountain cherries......

Do it new, do it different. Do it like nobody's ever done before. Come up with a new way that's smarter, faster, easier, cheaper. Develop a new style of management. Discover a new way to peel potatoes. Create a whole new model for bringing about social change. Innovate at the office, innovate at the legislature, innovate on the golf course. (could you be a little more innovative in the bedroom?) Invent something totally new that will erase pantyhose from the face of the Earth. Introduce an attitude that's utterly original and indescribably fresh....

to read what the rest of these say you'll need the book ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 266: Walk through the Pounding Rain

When the rain comes (rain being a metaphor for anything difficult) the tendency is to run for cover. Why not walk through the pounding rain? Why not walk out in the midst of it all exposed? What could happen to you? Maybe something unpredictable is in your cards; a turn of the tables, so to speak.

This morning at around 9am, my husband was eager to go walking. I looked outside at the clouds of doom and raindrops already starting to fall and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball in my bedroom with warm, fuzzy socks on.

Instead, I threw my non-waterproof raincoat on (sin in Seattle) and headed out into the elements. In the car driving over the Ballard Bridge, the rain was coming down in sheets. This was not walking weather, yet we were on our way.

Once at the park, there was no turning back. We were hiking and that was it. The rain started to let up a little as we got to the beach. All the sudden, amongst the barnacles, broken clam shells, seaweed, and a mad circle of seagulls, I saw too little eyes peering up at me on the beach. I almost stepped on this tiny, little thing.

What was it? Could it be a baby Harbor seal? The mother had left it on the shore in search of food. The little guy looked scared. It made little squeaks at us. I knew not to touch it or move it. If the mother smells human hands on her baby, she will abandon it. I was worried, however, that the mother had forgotten where it was. It was so far up on the shore now.

A sudden break in the rain had revealed this angelic creature to my husband and me. I couldn't help but take it as a sign. Seals, as you may have read from earlier posts about my book writing adventure, have a important meaning to me.

I had to go out in the pouring rain to find this jewel. My jeans were now thoroughly soaked, but we kept walking. We were committed to the walk and no sleet, hail, lightening, thunder, or hurricane was going to stop us.

Lately, I've been a bit saddened. I haven't heard from several blogging friends who used to comment regularly on this blog. Where did they go? Are people still reading it or am I writing it just for me. Should I stop writing it? Should I put it aside? Do I have anything more to say? All these thoughts go through my head and then I remember one very important thing.

I've committed myself to this walk. Let the rains come, I'll continue on. When things get difficult or boring or monotonous or I feel like I'm at the end of my rope and I'd rather turn back, go inside and hide under the covers, that's the time to continue I've learned.

The seal was a hidden jewel in the rain today. Something I wouldn't have seen if I decided to stay indoors. When we least expect it we will find that everything we were hoping for is already there, waiting for us in the pouring rain.

Also on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Look Ma, No Cavities!

I'm on a roll with teeth...

Last August, I tested out a recipe for homemade toothpaste. I honestly thought would try it out for the two weeks I had promised and then go back to my regular toothpaste. I ended up liking it so much, that I decided to continue using it.

After about a month into using my homemade concoction, I noticed that my tooth sensitivity had almost vanished. I was surprised. My former brand designed for sensitive teeth hardly made a difference.

Last January I had been using the toothpaste for 6 months and I went for my check-up at the dentist. To my surprise, a tiny cavity that they had been keeping their eye on had gone away. They had to double check their records. My appointment with the Hygienist which is normally 45 minutes, was practically cut in half as she had nothing to clean. I was happy! I even blogged about it, I was THAT happy.

So...today... six months later, I had another check-up at the dentist. Again, no cavities, and the Hygienist didn't have anything to clean. My appointment was not long at all. She kept commenting on how clean my teeth were.

All I have to say is that this homemade toothpaste recipe WORKS! So I'm smiling and posing. Sometimes people shy away from homemade remedies and they shouldn't. They really work.

Here is the recipe:

The ingredients are Baking Soda, Coconut oil, Stevia and Peppermint oil.

  1. Coconut oil: 3 Tablespoons
  2. Baking Soda: 4 Tablespoons
  3. Peppermint Oil: 20-25 drops
  4. Stevia: 3 to 6 packets

    Mix all the ingredients together and store in a container with a lid. That is it. If you don't have peppermint oil, don't worry. The toothpaste will still work without it.

When I first made the toothpaste, I personally needed 6 packets of Stevia. I am now used to the taste of the baking soda so I no longer use the Stevia.
All the best,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


It's certainly no secret that since I became pregnant, just the thought of this wonderful little girl has given me a huge wave of inspiration. Starting with the nursery, it has just been flowing from me like rain! The fact that she's renewed my creative streak after somewhat of a dry spell has really made me feel like myself again. :) The magic of this little girl never ceases to amaze me!

My latest wave has led me to really exciting venture... opening my own Etsy store! For those of you who may not be familiar with Etsy, it's a great website for people to buy and sell artisan goods. You can find all kinds of awesome stuff there!

Anyway, I am always on the quest for something cute for her to wear, and one day it suddenly dawned on me that I should just make it! I started experimenting with fabric dyes and the rest is history... It's been especially fulfilling for me, since as moms, I think many of us struggle with what to do with ourselves in our down time. There's not always much of it, but when you stay at home full time it can certainly get monotonous.

Here's one of my favorites with my little sweetie being kind enough to model it for us!

If you want to see more, you can go to here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/littlebirdiebabyshop


Much Love,
Rachael :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New projects I have been working on...

I have been busy the last few months working on many new projects, one of them being my photography.
Sign up as a "Follower" on my NEW Photography Blog and you might be the winner of the GIVEAWAY I will be having soon...
(another post of the Italian Villa I shot will be up on that site later today, so check back)

Monday, July 12, 2010


The anger and the disappointment I feel there are no words I can type can describe the pain. I have a few characteristic flaws, but hating is not one of them. I have no bones on giving a friend or family member a compliant. But most importantly, I’m extremely supportive to my friends, it never seems to amaze me when people clearly hate on you.

I have not really accomplished much in my life, so what will happen when I do accomplish all my dreams. What? I will have no friends! I am fish grease hot because the truth freaking hurts. It really hurts!

So what would happen if you thought about someone else other then yourself? What would happen if you gave someone a compliant instead of criticism? What would happen that you are genuinely happy for someone who has accomplished something you wanted to accomplish? What would happen if you loved unconditionally?

Why should I be uncomfortable to live my life around you, share my accomplishments and joys? Why? I don’t get it!

Chantale Merchant

Imagine Credit

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 172: Keep Your Childhood Memories, But Know That Every Moment There Is A New You

Last night my dad went to bed and I stayed up a little longer. I pressed my face against the glass window in the dining room and stared out at the Gulf waters. My dad lives right on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Palm trees rustled in the wind. The rippling of tiny waves in the distance made me feel calm. I stared straight ahead for what seemed like a long time. Two flashes of lighting appeared by the old smoke stacks in the distance. The stacks my father mentioned would be torn down anytime now. They were using a gas system now and the stacks wouldn't be needed any longer.

The silence throughout the house made me lonely. My mind filled itself with all the memories of my time here. Like the time when a possum got in the house and my friend Sara had to capture it in a laundry basket and let it loose out the front door. I remember giggling with my friends in the upstairs bedroom, telling ghosts stories until all hours, spending endless hours in the pool, putting tin foil on my sunglasses with my friend Lena thinking it would reflect the sun more and make our bodies turn brown, water skiing behind my dad's tiny Boston Whaler. Boats, lotion, water, friends, laughter, outdoor dining under the umbrella, lizards, crickets, cockroaches...memories just came flooding in like a huge tidal wave and then passed and left me standing there with the awareness of the cool tile under my feet and the fact that it was very late.

I wandered upstairs to bed. I kept the window blinds up, turned off the light and let the sound of the palms and water soothe me to sleep.

I woke up and my dad already had the coffee on. We chatted a bit, had a little breakfast. The time goes so slow here. It's good. There's no hurry to get anywhere and my dad and I really didn't have any big plans today. Suddenly I said, "Maybe we can take the kayaks out." My dad looked at me and said, "Sure!" We walked to the side of the house and dad noticed that an old hornets nest was inside one of them. Cockroaches scurried around the bright orange plastic which seemed to magnify them.

We carried the kayaks out and dropped them on the lawn and dad hosed them off. We dropped them down from the cement wall onto the beach and slid them off into the water. I flipped off my flip flops and sank down with my bare feet into the white sand. We were off.

Once out drifting on the water, my dad tried to calculate how long he'd been at this house. He figured he'd been here since he was 39 years old. I'm now 40. It didn't seem possible that my dad had settled into this house at an age younger than my present age, but I guess it was true. As we paddled along, my dad pointed out an Osprey's nest on a boat marker. The Osprey cackled at us, thinking we were prey to it's offspring. We were now out in the open channel.

"Yeah, I've been here a long time. I'm going to miss it, no doubt there," my dad continued, as if the pause gave him time to reflect on what a wonderful place it has been for him. Soon, he will be letting his house of almost 30 years go for life in a retirement community.

We continued on in silence in our respective kayaks. Every now and then we'd drift together and make a remark on our surroundings. We watched enormous pelicans near the Mangrove trees devour entire fish, the seagulls would follow close behind picking up any remains. I watched my father silently paddle in front of me.

I wanted to seize the moment. I didn't want things to change. I wanted to freeze time. Just as I was thinking this, my father was swallowed up by Mangroves. He had entered the Mangrove tunnels.

Huge tunnels were formed by the trees and you could kayak through them. Inside, under the shade of these trees, there was a feeling of being far off on some ancient expedition through the Amazon. It was as if we had gone back in time. Once out on open waters again, civilization returned instantly. People zoomed by in speed boats, fisherman near by pulled up their nets, jets flew overhead.

Sweat poured from my brow in the final stretch back to the house. It must have been 90 degrees outside. Good thing I had suntan lotion on. We pulled the kayaks up onto the grass again, pulled off our sweaty clothes down to our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. The water cooled me instantly.

Later we sat under the shade of the porch awning and ate leftovers from the night before. I know things will change. I've always known that, but somehow, this time, I want to hold on to each moment.

Also published on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's Up?

I live in an amazingly beautiful world. 
Sometimes it's so easy to have tunnel vision and see only the the part I'm hurriedly focused on. The rest is smudged into a foggy haze, overlooked but always there. Waiting humbly to be noticed. Appreciated. Enjoyed.

When I look up from where I'm placed in this world I'm surrounded by beauty. I often miss this in my day as my eyes bore the road only straight ahead of me.

As I begin to focus more clearly on what is beyond. Small glimpse of wonder appear. Is that really always there. I know in my heart it is. But I forget to look.

It needn't be extravagant to marvel at the beauty that surrounds. When I look for it I will find it everywhere. The truest colours of life are exposed. 
A palette that no earthly artist could ever compare.

There she comes. I only need to walk that bit closer. In the right direction till I find what I'm looking for.

The Magnificence is always far higher and real than any wall man can build.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

How can I get this?

Ok, I have lost about 15 pounds in 3 months; I have never been so tone (lean) in my entire life. Even with that I still need some major improvements in my arms and tummy area. Does anyone know any exercise I can do on the floor without hurting my back? Regular sit ups are not cutting it. Thanks in advance ladies!

Chantale Merchant

Imagine credit to www.thatsfit.ca

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunblock & Sunscreens - Hazard or Protector?

The very ingredients in sunscreens that offer sun protection, may also have adverse side effects. Some of the chemicals used in sunscreens are feared because they are said to enter our bloodstream through ongoing topical use and may have hazardous effects once they accumulate, either in our bodies or the environment. In a disturbing investigation of 952 name-brand sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group found that 4 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.

There is also a growing awareness that sunscreen ingredients like the paraben's and Benzophenone may function like human estrogen's and actually disrupt the normal hormonal functioning of the body.

To assist consumers in their decision making, the Environmental Working Group has created a database of sunscreen and sunblock products. Each product is scored according to its effectiveness at blocking UVA and UVB rays, as well as the amount of ingredients that have been linked to health concerns like cancers, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergens, persistence, and bioaccumulation. Each product ingredient is given a score between one and 10 (one being the best, 10 being the worst) in each category, as well as overall. I highly recommend this website as it's unbiased. Do yourself a favor and check it out. What I found most alarming was that a lot of the "baby" sunblocks were the worst offenders. Go figure!

All the best,


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paulina Porizkova Discusses Kate Hudson's Breast Augmentation

Paulina Porizkova Discusses Kate Hudson's Breast Augmentation

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Almond Milk

Almond milk can easily be found in a lot of grocery stores. Where I live it's expensive. A lot of people don't realize, it's very easy to make. All you need is a blender, sieve or nut milk bag, water and raw almonds.

I personally find it's best to soak your almonds the night before. Almonds are difficult to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in their brown coating. Soaking almonds overnight removes these toxic enzyme inhibitors so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job. Also the gluten breaks down, so the digestion becomes much easier. Phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of vital minerals, is also reduced. This helps our body get the benefit of vitality contained within them.

For those of you who don't like Almonds, you can make any kind of nut milk. This is also a nice change for those of you who like soy milk or rice milk.


Soak one cup of almonds in water over night. Rinse them the next day. In a blender add 2 - 3 cups filtered water and the almonds. Blend really well and strain. I always like adding a 1/2 tsp vanilla to the almond milk. This will last 3 days in your fridge.

You can also blend in a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or agave and add cinnamon or nutmeg or chocolate powder for a sweeter drink.

Health Benefits of Almond Milk

- Almond milk is rich in Vitamin E, a known antioxidant, and thus, is believed to good for those undergoing detoxification programs.

- Almond milk contains high levels of unsaturated fat and has been associated with lower risk of heart attack.

- Almond milk has been found to contain little to no saturated fat and no cholesterol, making it extremely good for those suffering from high cholesterol problem.

- Almond milk does not contain lactose. This makes it easily digestible and the perfect alternative for those suffering from lactose-intolerance.

- Owing to the absence of saturated fats and presence of unsaturated fats, almond milk can be said to be good for those trying to lose weight.

Nutritional Facts about Almond Milk

- Almond milk is rich in protein and omega fatty acids.

- Almonds milk does not contain cholesterol and saturated fats

- Almonds milk has high levels of vitamin E and unsaturated fats

- Almond milk contains minerals such as zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron.

- 8 oz (237ml) of almond milk contains 70 calories, 2gm protein, 10gm carbohydrates and 2.5 gm fat: 2.5g

- Almond milk has zero fiber.

All the best,


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to make a Fruit Fly Trap

Last year I was watching a local cable show and they were talking about inexpensive household hints. One of the hints was how to make a fruit fly trap. It sounded simple enough, and better yet, it's cheap. You can purchase ready made traps, but I'd rather save the $11.00
I have been using this remedy ever since I saw it on TV last year. It does work. I love fruit, and I haven't had a problem...not one pesky fruit fly.

What you need:

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. A small mug or condiment bowl
  3. Dish detergent
Simply fill the bowl, 1/4 way with the apple cider vinegar and add 1 small drop of dish detergent. Place your bowl beside your fruit bowl or other food source that would attract the fruit flies. That is it. Done.
Here is an online article I've found and the only thing they do differently is they use plastic wrap and poke a few holes. For me, I have personally found this step to be unnecessary. The fruit flies are attracted to the aroma of the apple cider vinegar and the dish detergent makes it so they can't fly out.

All the best,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reaching out to you ladies... I need some advice.

This is another blog about Facebook. Ugh.

For something that was designed to make life easier and more connected, and help you share your life with the people you love... it sure is a huge pain. It seems like every time I get comfortable with the way things are going, something else "comes up" that I have to deal with.

I think maybe part of this has to do with my apprehension about all the sharing of the coming baby photos. It's one thing for me or hubby to post pictures of our baby, but when they start being posted by family members and friends, how do we know how far they reach? Not everyone is as selective with their Facebook friend choices as I am... and I certainly know that not everyone is as stringent with their privacy settings.

But here's the real problem: I found out today that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Facebook "friends" with one of my husbands ex-girlfriends. Now, let me preface this by saying I am in no way insecure about my marriage or my relationship with my husband. In fact, it's probably because he's been so candid with me about his past that I'm feeling weird.

Apparently this chick went all "fatal attraction" on him when he broke up with her because she cared way more about him than he ever did about her. I guess there was a period of weird behavior on her part and he subsequently cut her out of his life completely. I'm sure his mom knows nothing of this scenario, and it's been several years ago, but it TOTALLY weirds me out.

For someone like her- with the specific ties to my husband, not to mention the wacko outcome of their situation- to have access to my family photos and information via my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's Facebook page freaks me out.

I don't know if I should address this with my MIL, or if I should just let it go. I mean, on one hand, what is it my business who she is friends with on Facebook? But on the other hand, if we're talking about pictures and details of my life, my husband and I, as well as our child, shouldn't I have some say?

This digital media and the expansive networking sites exhaust me. There's a whole new level of awkwardness and etiquette to deal with and I just don't even know where to start...

Any and all suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm finding myself at a loss.


Almost Summer Vacation!

Nine months ago, I was not ready for the first day of school. Here it is, two half days of school left, I'm counting today as well. And why in the bleep, would they have the kids go to school, two half days. Just make today one full day, and lets call it quits! I'm ready to get this party started!

I'm looking forward to not having to wake the kids up early, and fuss continually. Each morning I'm like a broken record.

Get up... get up... get up...

It's 6:15... It's 6:30... It's 6:45...

Out the door... out the door... out the door...

Do you know how much energy it takes being the time keeper, the general, and the usher. I need another full nights sleep after that. Then I have to get myself ready for work. Whew!

I'm also looking forward to a Summer adventure. In March, we had THE BEST SPRING BREAK STAYCATION EVER!

I made a list of things I wanted to do, and we did only one of them. So for the summer, I'll make another list of things "I want to do with the kids," and do something totally opposite. That seems to work for us.

So for all of you mothers with kids starting, or soon to start summer vacation, have a blast!

If you liked what you read, and must have more... follow me to 40s ~ Living, Loving & Laughing Out Loud.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Your walls will be begging for this...


I have new wall couture. And oh, it is gorgeous.  It started with one of my absolute favorite pics of MiniMac taken by my great friends Leah and Mark

And then I met Megan Deal from Modern Bird Studios and her creative and artistic huband Gregg turned my favorite picture into a perfect piece of art.

Painted onto a very thick piece of oak, we decided the two tone picture would look the best in velvet brown and almond. It turned out beautifully. Modern Bird Studios takes a different approach to modern art by combining photography, graphic art, and traditional painting into a hand crafted work of heart

I got this last week and everyone who has seen it is blown away. Including my Mom who asked, "Will this be his first album cover?" For those of you who have been reading me awhile, you know that MiniMac has incredible musical inclinations. This picture and now, this amazing piece of art captured something pure, raw, and beautiful in our son. 

And working with Megan and Gregg was so easy. They are working hard to build their brand, live their passion of an art filled world, and raising two beautiful kids.

So am I merely gloating? No friends. Working with Megan and Gregg also includes some perks for you. We are hosting a giveaway to one reader of a custom made 12" x 12" work of art from one of your favorite photographs as well (valued over $200...fab-u-lous!)  Your walls will be begging for this. 

Contest starts today and ends in one week. A perfect way to wrap up our holiday weekend. AND, you can keep it for yourself or you can opt to give it away as a fabulous Father's Day gift.  Winner announced June 2. 

How can you win? First entry: You must be a public follower of my blog and leave a comment.

Additional entry love. You can do any, all or none of these options to ante up your chances. Please leave me a separate comment for each.

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Go the their site and look at their gallery of amazing work. They also have a great Q&A section for selecting the perfect pic and colors for the piece. AND, from now until June 7, Modern Bird is also offering a 15% discount. Use the code: JennyMac.

The world needs more art so good luck!

*Contest open to shipping in the US only, lower 48.

her diamonds.

I heard Rob Thomas play this song acoustically today, after explaining why he wrote it and what it means to him. It really touched me, so I wanted to share the lyrics here. Sometimes in radio play, or just regular listening, the lyrics get lost in the music. Thus, the reason I love acoustic music so much.

It's truly the story of a man in love with his wife who is going through something neither of them can fix. But he's there for her, and his empathy is so moving, especially upon hearing it acoustically.

Enjoy. :)

"Her Diamonds"
Rob Thomas

"Oh what the hell," she says,
"I just can't win for losing."
And she lays back down.
"Man there's so many times
I don't know what I'm doin',
Like I don't know now."

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes
Says, "It's funny how the night
Can make you blind."
I can just imagine,
And I don't know what I'm supposed to do-
But if she feels bad, then I do too.
So I let her be.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She sits down and stares into the distance,
And it takes all night.
And I know I could break her concentration
But it don't feel right.

By the light of the moon
She rubs her eyes.
Sits down on the bed and starts to cry,
And there's something less about her.
And I don't know what I'm supposed to do,
So I sit down and I cry too-
But don't let her see.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

She shuts out the night,
Tries to close her eyes.
If she can find daylight,
She'll be alright.
She'll be alright.
Just not tonight...

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more."
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.

And she says, "Oooh,
I can't take no more,"
Her tears like diamonds on the floor.
And her diamonds bring me down,
Cuz I can't help her now.
She's down in it,
She tried her best and now she can't win it.
Hard to see them on the ground,
Her diamonds falling down.


The best guacamole ever!

Freshly prepared food is best, but if you don't have the time, you really need to read those back labels. Some of the ingredient names sound like they were created by a mad scientist.

In general, I find homemade food often tastes the best. Even if it's fattening, it's healthier to eat as there are few to zero additives.

It's a very hot day here where I live. In fact, I just don't feel like turning on the stove. So I decided to make some guacamole. It's so tasty that I'm going have it in a salad tonight in place of my regular olive oil/vinegar dressing.

I also love using guacamole in wraps, on top of baked potatoes, and as a side dish to some barbecued chicken.

Here's the recipe - it's tastier than the ones prepared in the stores:

2 ripe Avocado's
1/4 onion minced
1 tomato chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 lemon juiced
2 healthy pinches of sea salt. (I'm a personal fan of himalayan salt)

Use your stick blender and you've got guacamole!

All the best,

Friday, May 21, 2010

101 ways to prepare Kale...

I've been using Kale in my green smoothies. I like it because it doesn't have a strong flavor and it blends well with just about anything. I find that with spinach too.

Lately I've been buying a lot of kale. I've kind of gone...OVERBOARD. It takes up a lot of space in the fridge. I love all the benefits this leafy green gives me, but some day's I'm just not "into" it. Sometimes change is good. Luckily for me, kale is versatile and can be used for many dishes other than smoothies.

Today I bring you....Kale Chips! They are so easy to make and they are really tasty. You can buy them in the health food store for $6.00/100g, or you can make it for pennies at home. They are an excellent, guilt-free substitute for potato chips.

You can season them anyway you like. You can make them as healthy as you like. I have found that you can't really mess this up.

So...if you do not have a food dehydrator (I don't) set your stove to 200. Wash and dry an entire bunch of kale (a bunch is the whole lot with the twist tie on it). Pat dry your kale, and break it into little bits, being sure to remove the stems and hard vein down the middle of the leaf. Break it into little bits just like you are making a salad.

Now comes the seasoning. I wanted to make this very healthy, so I used 3 TBSP of Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 TBSP of Bragg's (it's like a soya sauce) and a generous dash of black pepper. For this part, you could easily toss in 1 TBSP of olive oil, and use lemon and sea salt...you can use anything you like.

You then grab your cookie sheets and lay the mixed kale out on them. Mine took two cookie sheets. Keep your kale in the oven for 2 hours. You could set your stove at a higher temperature, but you risk burning it and losing a lot of nutrients.

Happy eating!

All the best,

Monday, May 17, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 137: Be Kind

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. -Dalai Lama

Why is so hard to be kind? Why do we choose hate over love?

I have opened myself up here. I've let myself out of the box and it was not easy. For the most part, I have found kindness. But I have also sensed other emotions. The tug and pull of others upon us is really only the tug and pull of ourselves. It's very hard to love someone whose mission seems to be to point a finger and destroy all that is in you that is good. But I find that compassion for myself and others is what is really needed. I think of how many times this has occurred in history.

Saints, sages, political figures, common folk who dared to be different, but were shunned for being who they are. Some crucified, hanged, cursed and hated for only wanting good. I don't know what is wrong with wanting and feeling joy, peace, love, and happiness and wanting to share these with others. What is in human nature that makes us want to hate these beautiful things in others? Why can't joy be shared? Why are we afraid to honor and appreciate the successes of others knowing that we are not really separate from one another, we are one in the same. What makes people turn green with envy and want to shut others out of their lives completely. What makes a person say, "I will never forgive you, forever." Forever rolling in their own misery.

It takes a very compassionate person to love the one who wants to kill them. How do you muster up this compassion? How do you replace hate with love? How do you love the one who silently hates. Or an even harder question, how do you love the one who verbally and physically hates?

So I keep practicing. Just keep going inside. Just keep loving. I give all the love in the world to myself. I give all the kindness in the world to myself. If I can't love myself with every ounce of my being and give kindness and gentleness to myself with every ounce of my being, how can I love the world? How can I find room in my heart to love the one who is hurting so much that all they can do is inflict that hurt on others, however subtly?

Fortunately, I've also found love, peace and kindness to be contagious. There are more people who would rather share these feelings. You never know how your presence will affect another, but if what you feel, say and do feels right to you and you feel good, chances are others will too. I received a postcard in my college mailbox that had the Chinese character for kindness on it. I was surprised. The person who gave it to me hardly knew me, but I had invited my colleagues to partake in a party at my house and she felt thankful. The Chinese character for kindness shows the symbol for person combined with the number two symbolizing benevolence, the essential kindness one person shows another. This is what was written on the card:

So I'm going to keep walking with this love in me. I'm going to keep shining this light. I'm going to keep being kind.

Also on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Classic Pads...

What do you think of these?

You can find them here.

Not sure what to think of them... but I do like lists.