Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tasty Tuesday

I have another recipe for you!

It's my hummus recipe.

Now, before you turn up your nose in disgust, hang in there with me! 

A couple of years ago, I began to see a lot of this stuff called "hummus" in the grocery store. Upon reading that it was made of garbanzo beans, I was grossed out! Ewww.  Did anyone eat this stuff?

Fast forward a few years….it's popular! I tried it.

It was hideously disgusting.  The stuff in the stores tastes like bland paste! However, I liked the texture and I could tell that, with some tweaking and reworking, hummus could be wonderful.

So I took on the job.

And here's what I came up with. 

**Let me say a few things first: I use my Vitamix blender for this recipe, and it blends as easy as warm butter.  You can also try your food processor, if you have one, but a good, high power blender works best.  

**One of the unique things about this hummus is that I use essential oil.  I know it seems strange, but my Young Living essential oils are the only essential oils sold on the market that are safe to eat! I realize that most of you don't have this lemon oil, so you can use the juice of half of a fresh lemon plus the zest from that half lemon.  It's a bit more time consuming and labor intensive to do it that way, but I've done it and it tastes pretty good.

You can serve this with your favorite crackers, or you can use baguettes or warm pitas or even serve it with your favorite veggies! 

Mama's Lemon Parmesan Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 C good olive oil
2 cloves garlic 
2 tsp salt
1/2 C good parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
2 TBSP Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/2 can black olives (I know, it's a strange amount, but give the rest of the olives to your toddler!)
5 drops Young Living lemon essential oil

In the pitcher of your blender, pour the olive oil.  Add all of the other ingredients and blend on low until mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides frequently.  If blender is having trouble blending this mixture, add more olive oil. When it's blended smooth, taste it and adjust the salt to taste.  That's it! Serve with your favorite crackers and ENJOY!!

Recipe copyright leeswords2014.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Here are just a few pictures of our life outside!

This is the rose that I got the month after Janie died.

Another picture of Janie's rose.

I just thought this was a really beautiful picture of Kellie.

My sweet little Pennie, in her pink cowgirl boots!

This is my husband.  I love him!

This is a view of the lake in our town.  It's our town's best feature!

The mirror shows the most beautiful 5 year old of all!

Here's a picture from our front yard of one of the most glorious sunsets I've ever seen!

"Peace I give to you,
My peace I leave with you…
     John 14:27

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Diapers Revisited

A while back I did a post on diapers.

I said I had used just about every diaper out there.

I lied.

There was one brand of diaper I hadn't used yet:

I was desperate for diapers one day, and truthfully…..

I was so tired of paying so much money for them!

In my Target Trips, of course I had seen these diapers, but I had had such bad luck with store brand diapers that I was dead set against trying these.

Then I had the Desperate For Diapers day! I was totally out of diapers and didn't want to get the Kirkland brand at Costco, and I wasn't going to pay super tons of money for the Huggies either….

I went to Target because I had been there the day before, and I toughened up and decided to try the UpandUP diapers.

For some reason, I bought a large box.  In retrospect, I wouldn't do that again, since I didn't even know if I was going to like these diapers!

So, I brought them home and tore into them….

And it was love at first feel! 

They were soft.  The tabs were stretchy and really adhered well to the diaper.  They weren't too bulky.

These are the diapers I use now.

There are only two drawbacks to these diapers:

1.  They run very big in size.
      I bought size 3 because the Kirkland diapers in size 2 were too short for Jack. 
         Looking back, I should have bought the size 2 diapers.  The size 3 diaper was
         super saggy on him at that time, so it gapped at the leg……But they still never,
         ever leaked!

2.  They are not very girlie-looking!
      If you care about this sort of thing (and I do), I'd be hesitant to put these blue and
         green polka dot diapers on my girl baby, if I had a girl baby. Yes, I'm weird, and
         I'm okay with that! They work for Jack because they look boyish…..but you
         might want to consider this when buying for a girl baby.
         I think the manufacturer needs to make a more neutral pattern
         on these diapers.

Those are the only two things that I object to about this diaper.  

They're good on Jack now because he's gotten taller, so they don't sag anymore.  They're still pretty big on the waist, but I just pull the tabs to meet in the middle and he's good.  We've never had one leak during the night with these diapers.  He always wakes up dry.  

I probably could still fit Jack into the size 2, but I like that the size 3 is taller for Jack.  He is super long and these fit his height very well.

Now you know about the diaper that I'm using!! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

6 Months!

Jack is 6 months old!

Actually, to be totally accurate, he turned 6 months on July 3rd, which happened to be his daddy's birthday too..so he's now over 6 months old, but I just missed posting about him on the actual day!


Jack really is the sweetest and most mellow baby.  God be praised! The Lord totally had me in mind when He destined Jack to be in our family.  I couldn't ask for a more calm or darling boy.  

Since I'm now 41, I think I'm enjoying having small children and babies much more than when I was younger.  It could be that I'm more experienced as a mama.  Maybe it's because I'm more laid back.  Maybe it's because I've grown and matured and am just a different person than I was when my oldest kids were little…

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying this phase of my life to its fullest!

He's really progressing by leaps and bounds these days.  It makes me sad, and happy too! He can now sit up by himself, although he's mostly always sitting on the couch because we have hardwood floors throughout our house and he's still a bit wobbly on his buns! It's the cutest thing to see him sitting all by himself.  He looks like he is so proud of himself!

Jack has two bottom teeth now!! And what adorable, teenie things they are! He's been my best teether so far, not freaking out or fussy at all.  I mean, you can tell he's uncomfortable, but he isn't really a baby who freaks out at all about anything.  I do think he's got more teeth coming up, so we'll see!

His sleeping patterns are really even and he's very regular about sleep.  He's still waking up twice at night, at about 2 AM and between 5-6 AM.  He goes down around 10 or 10:30 PM.  He takes three naps a day still, and he's a really sound sleeper.  Even though Jack isn't sleeping through the night, I'm so glad he's at least a sound sleeper and I know that a full night of sleep will return to me someday!!

Jack's personality is just the best.  It really is.  Everyone always comments on how good-natured he is.  He smiles all of the time and he's really easy to please.  Yes, he does cry, but his cry is so small and he's not a fussy or freak-out baby at all.  His hysterical is totally NOT very hysterical! Mama continues to be his favorite and all I have to do is look at him and he breaks into radiant smiles! He isn't a big laugher, but just this week he's practicing fake laughing! It's so funny! 

It's hard to pin down the size he wears….it's different for different brands! He can still wear 3-6 month onesies. He wears 6-9 month jeans because of the length, but they end up slipping off of him because his waist is so slim!  He's a long baby!! He wears 3 month shorts.  I'm trying to get him to wear hats, but so far, it's a losing proposition! He also hates socks.  He's wearing size 3 diapers, although the size 2 Kirkland diapers still fit him, they're just too short. I switched to UpandUp from Target and I love them! He's really tall and skinny, just like his older brother and his daddy!

This face greets me every single morning.  I will never cease to be amazed at the good gift that God gave to me in this boy.

This picture perfectly depicts Jack's personality.  He's just so joyful! He brings happiness to everyone he meets and my heart and soul is more in love with him every single day!

Happy 6 month birthday, Jack!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday Ten

Okay, who wants to know ten weird/quirky/strange/odd things about me??

Yep, I knew you would, so here you go!!

1. My second toes are longer than my big toe and they turn inward toward my big toes.

2. I cannot stand pudding in any shape or form.  It looks like snot and reminds me of snot.  

3. I am not a dog or cat person AT ALL.

4. I have never worn high heels.

5. I dream about being fluent in French and even think in French at times.  

6. I haven't dyed my hair in almost 10 years.

7.  I love getting my upper lip and my brows waxed.

8.  I'm freaked out by the people at Disney parks who dress as Disney characters.

9. I've never had a cavity in my life…well, I mean I've had one small cavity but it was in a baby tooth and the tooth and cavity fell out a month after getting it filled.

10. I love the ocean deeply.

Now, leave me a comment and tell me some weird stuff about yourself!!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Well, this is a spontaneous recipe post!

I guess that's the way I work….I'm learning I'm a super instinctive person and I'm also learning that that's okay!

This morning I made some baked oatmeal.

Now, if you know me you know that I very seldom use recipes or cookbooks.  I love cookbooks, so it's quite strange that I don't use them more, but truthfully, recipes confuse me and stump me! It's really weird because I have cookbooks in my kitchen, but I actually love them not for the recipes and foods they hold, but for the stories they tell about the person who put them together.  If I'm not careful, I'll have a large cookbook collection that I'll never use!

As I was saying….ahem….rabbit trail!!

The baked oatmeal I made this morning was totally spur-of-the-moment.  I know how to make baked oatmeal and so, I threw together some ingredients.  The girls said it was the best oatmeal they've ever had…..and let me tell you this: I don't even LIKE oatmeal and I thought it was awesome.  It tasted like a warm and soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter!

Here's the recipe:

Baked Peanut Butter Cookie Oatmeal

5 C gluten free regular oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
2 C half and half
1 C creamy peanut butter (I use Adam's Natural, the kind you stir)
3 TBSP vanilla
3/4 C brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 pkg mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the oats and the half and half.  In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the peanut butter and the butter together.  Pour the peanut butter/butter mixture over the oat/milk mixture and stir.  Add the brown sugar, vanilla and the mini chocolate chips.  Mix very well.  Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish (I use butter) and pour oatmeal mixture into it.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  

**This oatmeal is really delicious drizzled with warmed strawberry jam.  You can omit the mini chocolate chips, but they really do make it really special. This oatmeal can also be served as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, I think I'd rather have a bowl of this oatmeal than a piece of cake any day!!**

I hope you try this and love it, and I hope your Monday is bright and beautiful!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy 4th of July!!

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th! We usually just go to the lake in our town and walk around and look at all of the booths and then we come home and eat a huge early dinner.  Dave gets some fireworks, but not too many because we can enjoy a free show from everyone else in this town who loves to light off fireworks! I don't really love the 4th of July, and with Jack being so small, I stayed home from the lake this year while everyone else went.  Ahhhh, it sure was nice! 

Here are some of my favorites on this late Friday evening:

I looove wind chimes! I'd love to have all kinds of them, especially bamboo in every size! I'd like to get these ones someday…I got my first wind chimes just two weeks ago!

I can't remember if I've blogged about this face cream before, but who cares if I have, I love this stuff!! I have really, really dry skin and this stuff WORKS!! It's super pricey at $42 for a large pot, but a tiny bit goes a long way and as soon as I can, I'm getting more! 

These spatulas, made by Island Bamboo, are the best spatulas I've ever, ever used.  I cook a lot and I've used a lot of different spatulas, but these beat every single spatula out there.  I found these at my local health food store, and they weren't expensive at all.  I found them online for about $7 each, but my local health food store had them for $4.99 and they were 25% off!! I bought four different ones!

I know these hair ties might be old news to all of you gals out there, but I hadn't tried them yet, and one day I was with my bestie and needed a ponytail holder and she gave me a pink one of these….I love it.  I went and bought some and I think these hair ties may replace our regular ponytail holders!

I think I've blogged about this little book before.  I keep going through it, day to day, month in and month out.  Ruth Bell Graham is one of my favorite writers, and her little tidbits of wisdom and insight have really touched me.

That's all of the favorites I have time for tonight.  Jack is crying and I've got to feed him and put him to bed!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Pennie touching Olivia's name on the headstone at Janie's Place

"I'm alive, 
even though a part of me
has died.
Take this heart
and bring it back 
to life.
I fall into Your arms
open wide
when the hurt and the Healer

Most of you who've read my blog for any length of time know my story.

I've been sitting here, staring at the computer screen, watching the cursor blink, blink, blink…..

And I'm trying to sort out the feelings that are just now cascading out of my heart and soul.

Sometimes I feel like a mess.  Sometimes I'm sure my heart can't hurt or bleed or die any more than it already has.  

There are times when it is all I can do just to take the next breath.  

I never know when the scars are going to throb again.  I'm taken by surprise when the pain surges in waves over my heart.  I struggle on some days to keep my eyes tear-free.

May 13th was Janie's 10th birthday.

I should be over the worst of the pain, right? I should have a firm grip on my heart and my emotions, right? I ought to have moved on by now, right?

Well, I haven't.

This new heart, this battered, bruised, gashed, shattered, put-back-together heart, it's who I am now.

Because, since Janie was born without life or breath, she has been joined in Heaven by 5 more siblings.

Olivia, Pennie's identical twin, joined Janie in Heaven on October 19, 2010.

So sometimes, my heart really hurts!

Pennie knows about her sister in Heaven.  We call Olivia "Livie Bird".  I bought two wind chimes in the shape of birds, and Pennie says the pink one is hers and the blue one is "Livie's".

You know, I've learned something in the past 10 years.  I've learned that time indeed does not heal grief and sorrow. I've learned that sorrow and anguish stay around, but they usually become less sore over a long period of days and weeks and months and yes, years.

Pennie has a blanket that came with her crib bedding.  The bedding is pink and has quilt blocks picturing different birds and flowers.  We got rid of the bedding when she moved out of the crib, but she didn't want to give up her "Livie Blankie".  So, we kept it.  She sleeps with it, covering herself carefully with it every single night and every single nap time.  The blanket has to be just right.  She won't part with it.  She has two other blankets that are pretty and cute and warm and cozy, but she doesn't want to have anything to do with them.

I'm okay with that.

She and I talk about Olivia a lot.  I want her to know that the other half of her heart is in Heaven, living and breathing and full of life.  I tell her that she'll get to hug her twin sister and kiss her and run with her someday in that perfect time and place.  

She's getting it.

Janie and Olivia are laid to rest in the very same spot, back to back.  Their names are engraved on the same stone, on either side of it. We call the memorial park "Janie's Place", but now it's Olivia's place too…but we know it as "Janie's Place".

Sometimes I feel
it's all that I can do…
Pain so deep that
I can hardly move.
Just keep my eyes
completely fixed
on You.
Lord, take hold
and pull me through."

I know that I have reason to blow kisses at the sky.  I pray and ask the Lord to kiss them and hold them and tell them I love them, sometimes.  I smile at the clouds and I thank the Lord all of the time for letting me hold those babies in the secret place for as long as He did.  I do things like that, but still….

On beautiful days like today, watching my girls fellowship together and share with each other and laugh and sing silly songs and hold hands….

….it just makes the scars and scrapes and pain and old and new anguish of my journey of grief hurt a bit more than usual.

I know that my weeping won't last forever.  

I'm aware that my deep wounds will one day be gone….

But until then, my soul is now a perfect mixture of pain and perfection, of laughter and tears, of mourning and missing them and smiling at the present….

And I'm incredibly glad for my Saviour's arms of love!

In memory of
Janie Rose Gilchrist
Olivia Caroline Gilchrist,
who are running and laughing and singing
for Jesus….
I'll see you both someday!
Love Mama

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Garden

My husband was busy this Spring!

This is a small picture of his backyard garden.  Pennie's strolling between the rows of potato bushes.

So, I think a bit of the evolving history of our backyard is in order for this post, don't you??

We've lived in this house since 2001.  We did move up North in 2009, but we came back in 2011.   

Our backyard, by city standards, is good sized.  We have a large cement area back there where the original owners parked an RV for years.  To my knowledge, we are only the 3rd owners of this house, which was built back in 1960.  The cement area, as you can imagine, is pretty long, stretching from our back door to the alley.  

Adjacent to the cement was a grass area with a 50 foot tall horse chestnut tree in the middle.  In years past, we loved the shade and put a swing in the tree for the kids.  We did notice that it was awfully hard to grow plants and flowers back there due to the lack of shade, because the tree was laden with dense foliage and it was pretty hard for any sun to get in. We did container gardens one year, but it was super hard to find the time to keep that going every year, and the kids were growing up and the container gardens were barely providing enough vegetables for one meal for all of us….

Several years ago we got our first dog.  She was an Australian Blue Heeler and we got her when she was a puppy.  We also learned that horse chestnuts are poisonous to dogs!! Also, Gracie (the dog) was really active and she felt the need to pace and so, she wore the grass out in the backyard, as dogs do…and we were left with an ugly, bare patch of dirt! 

In 2009 we moved up North and got a huge greenhouse.  Dave was brand new in the garden world, and our greenhouse was perfect for our Northwest weather, and it was a really nice greenhouse.  

We lived up North for two years and through events and clear prompting, we knew that the Lord was leading us back here, so we packed up in one weekend and moved back to this house in 2011.

Dave had gotten pretty good at growing things by then, but the greenhouse was waaaay too big for our backyard! What to do???

Alas, we decided to cut down that horse chestnut tree and make the grass area of our backyard a garden plot.

We have the wood from that tree stacked along the cement area, and we use it in our tiny homemade fire pit.

Today, three years after we moved back, Dave is an expert gardener and has found that it really is his first love.  I cannot take a single iota of credit for any of the things you see in the following pictures….I'm so proud of him and our garden is so so so beautiful and lush right now! We use the "Back To Eden" method of gardening.  I encourage you, if you aren't familiar with this method, look it up on Youtube.  It will open your eyes and really change and revolutionize the way you garden! Plus, it's the easiest thing in the world!

Every Spring, we take a little trip to our favorite tiny local garden center and get organic, non-GMO seeds.  I get to choose a lot of what we grow, and Dave gets to choose the rest and he's in charge of planting.  The girls are pretty good about helping. Last year, we saved a bunch of seeds from our harvest and we planted those this year.

So, here's what we've got coming up back there right now:

*Sweet Peppers
*Yellow Squash
*Sugar Snap Peas
*Green Beans
*Tomatoes, both cherry and regular
*Carrots, different colors and varieties

Here are pictures of the garden, taken yesterday by Daughter #1, Hannah….

Although they're hard to see, the plants wrapped in pink saran wrap are peppers. On one side of the peppers you can see the green beans and on the other side you can see a bit of the tomatoes.

To the left, those bushes are potatoes. To the right of the potatoes, you can see the sugar snap peas, which are Lucie's favorite!

These are our tomatoes.  We have one golden cherry tomato plant.  The rest are large heirloom tomatoes.  The surrounding wooden structures were built by my husband.


Here is a bit of a panoramic shot of most of the garden.

There you have it! I love looking out my back sliding door at this gorgeous green bounty and I can't wait to harvest its treasures in a few weeks!

Do you have a garden? Do you container garden? What are you growing? Let me know in your comment!