Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

Love, Sarah, Isaac & Cecilia, Abbey, Matthew, Andrew, Patrick, Janey and Sammy


Searching For Peace

I’m loving this book but pacing myself - one little sentence or paragraph at a time because it is rich and powerful and contains deep truth. 

Twice yesterday I came across completely randomly this Bible verse-“In quietness and confidence is your strength.” {Isaiah 30:15}

I wasn’t reading the Bible, or doing anything a bit holy. Trust me when I say it was very random. It happened to strike me the first time because it seemed to be an answer to a frustration I had with myself for being inconsistent with something I wished to do-boundaries- and knew was best for my soul healing. Do you ever get so frustrated with how many times you need to learn a lesson over and over again? Are there people out there that don’t? They just learn the first time? That’s what I tend to think- to imagine that there are completely balanced, always sensible, always consistent, methodical people and I somehow do not have that secret sauce whether it be laziness, moods, disorganization, outside circumstances that I could have avoided- if I had taken care of this, not scheduled that, had the car fixed earlier, found that lump earlier, asked these questions sooner, exercised every day - if I was perfect in a sense - I could avoid pain and hardship and just skate through my life and everything would work out. If I was only better dammit.



This was my view all weekend from my bed fighting off an infection from my final drain site and incision area.  Compare it to mastitis but of the leg.  My friend sent me a card that says “Damn boobs nothing but trouble” and it made me laugh so hard.  

My first failed reconstruction was the “easy” way (still not easy nothing about reconstruction is easy ever) where an expander was put in under my skin where my breast had been removed.  This expander slowly gets pumped up over a few weeks so the skin stretches and an implant can be inserted in its place.  My body rejected, with a painful infection, the expander mid way through the process and I had to have an emergency surgery to remove it.  This was about a month and a half after 5 months of chemo and it really was one of the lowest points of my life, for various reasons.


Sibling Adjustment To New Baby

I have been asked to answer questions on this topic so much this year, that I thought I should just write out my thoughts all at once and before my memory leaves me.

I remember being so concerned also, each time I was pregnant, (yes even with my sixth), about how the "baby" of the family would adjust to not being the baby anymore, and having a new sibling.


Ritz Chicken Strips

An easy family favorite.  

1 to 1 1/2 rolls of crushed Ritz crackers

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips (about 1 and 1/2 pounds of chicken)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp garlic salt

2 TBS of olive oil


Some Of My Favorite Things On Sale

I've mentioned many of my favorite things over the years that keep my life and home running smoothly and that we enjoy.

Amazon Prime Days are here which means special savings.  It took me a long time to have a Prime membership-I'm cheap like that.  I hate memberships!  But in the end it was so worth it-my kids and I share the membership and it's so nice to not pay for shipping.  Here's the link to join, if you want to read about the benefits and a free trial offer here.  (And free movies!)


My favorite vacuum:

$149.99 (save $30)
I love this vacuum!  Every part is able to be cleaned.  I've used the more fancy Lift Away style and I don't like it as much because if you suck something up that can get stuck it's very hard if not impossible to reach.  This one has full access everywhere.

My favorite mop!
$48.03 ($21.97)


The Best Pumpkin Bread

A friend gave me this recipe, and I love it.  It is a simple classic pumpkin bread with a crunchy crumb topping. Feel free to use a little less sugar, it will still be great.

I make six mini-loaves out of this recipes.  Yes, the first time I made it, I had to run out and get mini-loaf pans, wondered if I'd use them again, but I have regularly and love them.  Perfect for sharing.

I think you could split this recipe between two normal loaf pans but bake longer, making sure the middle is baked through.

1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger

For topping:
Mix together with fork:
4 TBS softened butter
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup white sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together.
Spray six mini-loaf pans with cooking spray.
Evenly divide mix (pans will be about 2/3 full).
Sprinkle topping on each loaf.
Bake for 50 minutes.


Encouragement For The Week

Autumn knows a mother's heart
It gives and then lets go.
Angie Weiland-Crosby


Ordinary Days

I am attempting to get into a rather regular schedule with every facet of my life and sometimes I feel like I am failing miserably. Cleaning, exercising, planning, cooking, painting, walking, friends, kids stuff, appointments-you would think it would be easier with no little guys at home, but it seems like sometimes I am a kite in the wind with no weight at the end of the it.  Maybe it's the constant changes this year, but I am getting there-I WILL get there where I can accomplish what I want to and need to with a calm consistency.  I used to fall right into some sort of schedule when school began-not so this year.  But 2020-in more ways than Covid-has been "a year".

My sweet little twin who is always right next to me and has been for 8 years now.  As much as we can be.  

I painted this table for a friend and it was a fun project. I am all caught up in my projects right now and that feels good.

When I'm alone in the evening, Sammy and I sometimes take a ride to watch the sunset.  He loves it - the breeze on his face and all the attention he gets at the park.  Sammy is 13 now and slowing down-he sleeps a lot and can't hear a thing but he still chases the kids like he did when he was a puppy.


Apple Pie Dump Cake

I had never heard of a "dump cake" until a bunch of them showed up in my feed on Pinterest and thought I'd give one a try.  Such an easy dessert to whip together at the last minute for your family (I halved the recipe below) or to bring to a family gathering or potluck.  It seems there are SO many versions of these dump cakes.  The one that I chose and adapted is very simple.


A Few Of My Favorite Things

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things, summer edition!


I did a "how I clean" series on my Instagram stories and shared some of the things I used and many of you had questions about the vacuum I was using.

Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor with Anti-Allergy Seal (NV42), Champagne

Shark Navigator Deluxe Upright-$149.99

My vacuum.  I used to have a Dyson and loved it but it broke.  I bought a cheaper vacuum and it is an actual improvement on the Dyson.  I love that all the pieces and parts can come and part and be cleaned.  There are a couple of filters for dust that can be washed in soap and water, all the hose attachments can be removed and this vacuum sucks the living daylights out of my carpets.

I have tried the more expensive version of this Navigator (it's called a Lift Away-I garbage picked it) and I didn't like it as much as this older model.

Siga Microfiber Cleaning Cloths-$10.99

These clothes will last a lifetime and are worth it.  I also LOVE these microfibers.  I have the ultra cheap ones but always reach for these because they are thicker and just work better.


Blueberry Zucchini Bread

I love this bread-a special treat, so delicious.

This recipe makes six mini-loaves.  Perfect for sharing.


Banana Bread Muffins and Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Two simple muffin recipes that are quick and easy for guests or hungry kids that must be fed.


Thinking, Playing, Reading


I usually link to a good essay or enlightening post from the internet in my "thinking" section but I've chosen to spend this summer just focusing hard on what I know to be true and quieting the outside world even more.  Not that it's "bad" at all-so many intelligent opinions and shared experiences and knowledge but sometimes I feel it's good to take a break and listen to our souls-what we already know is true, and what we have already learned - and to trust in our own experiences and those face to face serendipitous conversations with real people.


Dear Mothers, Love Sarah

Dear Mothers of Newborns, and Babies and Maybe Even Toddlers-

When I look back at my 26 years of parenting I have a few regrets.  Not regrets that keep me up at night, but things I would do differently if I could do it all over again.  I wrote a post about it here and I have more to say so here we go.


Blueberry or Raspberry Lemon Muffins

These muffins are easy and delicious.  If you don't have lemon extract, use vanilla, and if you don't have half-and-half cream use milk.  I almost always put all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients into my mixer at once to make it easier, but add fruit last and just mix gently. They will still be delicious!



Have you ever made a list of the things that bring you joy?  That make you feel good?  Or the things you want right now to happen in your life?

I recently did this and came up with a list of about twelve things, everything from very difficult things that will take time and help from others to work through, and little things that will take discipline, and other things that just take me carving out time.  


Empathy And Motherhood

I am guilty. I am guilty of never imagining what it would be like to send my sons on an errand, and to be nervous about the hate they could encounter walking out the door, down a street and into a store. I’m guilty of never thinking what it would be like to constantly remind my teenage sons what to do if they get pulled over when driving-I expect fairness and safe encounters with those in power. I am guilty of never imagining what it feels like to be a mother whose child comes home crying because of cruel comments made about the color of their skin, or being treated differently in a classroom because of something as trivial as that.


Pink Strawberry Cake

This is a sweet tasting old-fashioned sheet cake made with a white cake mix, strawberries (fresh or frozen) and strawberry jello.


Little Gifts

When I hear Janey wake up after a long nap, I "spy" on her.  I can peek through the door and see her sitting in her crib looking around.  Sometimes she will play with one of the three little bunnies she has in her crib, but mostly she just wakes up slowly, and looks at things around the room.
It is just about the cutest thing ever.


Scars and Salve

I have neglected this blog in favor of Instagram and I do not want to do that.  The computer is often being used for school work right now and the house is busy and loud and not conducive to writing.

I am enjoying having the kids home so much.  I know some of them would much rather be in school (college in spring, HELLO!!!) but we seem to be figuring out how to all live together as we go, with fits and starts and little breakdowns and fun too.  Adjusting to a new normal I guess and the process of adjusting isn't always smooth but there is camaraderie-that which is love-in that also if that makes sense.


Favorite Things-The Book Light

If you are coming from Erin's blog here is the book light she mentioned that I love!


Thank You

Thank you for all your kind words.  I appreciate them so much.  I am slowly gaining my footing in this new world that I find myself in, but there are times when I feel little confidence and fear can overcome me.  But when I look back and I see how far I have come from the beginning of being completely broken I know I am moving forward. 



Today I celebrate two years out from my last chemo treatment, cancer free.  

Seven months before that last chemo day my life changed so dramatically it still seems like that person I once was, has died, and I’ve had to remake myself from scratch.  My brain broken from emotional trauma , and then chemo that made it all worse, my heart shattered by the husband I loved,  my body fed poison to overpower the poison that was growing inside.  My life blew up.  


A Little To-Do List For Kids and Parents


Tips For Schooling Children At Home And A Request

I am NOT a homeschool mom.  I have dreamed about it and read about it, but have never dove in for a plethora of reasons, some of them that ended up being heaven sent (like homeschooling during a year of cancer? NO!).

BUT that means if you are home trying to make this new thing work, I get it.  I'm there too.  And with six kids, I've also been a manager of a busy household, helped with homework all the time, and had multiple ages all needing my attention.


Ordinary Days

An apron with her sister high heeled boots that we have forbidden her to wear because they are so loud.


40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Six

I had a busy weekend with surprise visitors so I took a break from my rampage through the house.

Matt's room (well when he's home from college) was up next.  It's a little room so pretty easy.  EXCEPT that I got carried away when I started cleaning and realized how bad the trim and doors needed to be painted.  I had the house painted a few years ago but we skipped this room because it will full of Legos and lizards and lots of things.

I whipped out the paint and drop cloths and painted the trim in one day-the same day I repainted the desk. (Remember I have NO kids home during the day-they are all at school)!  Doing this slowed me down a little bit also.  But the room looks SO fresh and clean.

Keep in mind that with photos show a room I just cleaned and that no one for this minute lives in.  Matt is coming home from spring break, so Andrew moved into the "boy's room".  Which is up next for me to tackle.  Maybe I should post a pic of what this room looks like after a college kid comes home.  Eeeek!

All furniture in here was free from various sources.


40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Five

The "kid's" bathroom.  We are lucky to now have three full baths in our house, but when we just had two this was called "the kid's bathroom".  It is small and simple.  Easy to clean with great original-to-the-house built in storage. 

Abbey's things on the right, boy's on the left. :)


40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Four

Janey's room!  For those new here Janey is seven.  Her room is the perfect size and she has a great closet.

Bed was a Craigslist find that I painted and wicker end table to given to me by a friend that was moving.  Her pictures are from a book I had when I was younger-I bought a used copy and chose a morning prayer to frame.
The curtains are made out of two cotto tablecloths I found at TJ Maxx at Easter time-they have pink stitching.


Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Today is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness Day~March 3rd~I bet you didn't know that!

I am almost two years out (celebrating March 30) from my last chemo treatments. It seems like ages ago. My hair grew back, my body is strong, but I’m still not sure I even processed the whole experience. For awhile I couldn’t even talk about it. But I knew with time I would be able to help others - I know we are called to do that with the crosses we bear.


40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Three

What a dreary Monday we are having here, but the sun and temps look great for the week. 

Up next for today's 40 Bags is my closet.  

I don't like a lot of clothes and shoes and find myself wearing the same things again and again.  As a stay at home mom, I seem to always have had a "uniform" depending on what the fashion is.  It went from leggings, to khakis, to yoga pants, back to leggings again!  With jeans mixed in and a few dress up things.  Cotton sweaters and tops.  Shorts and easy dresses in the summer. 

I am the same with jewelry.  Less is more for me.

I always say the more I simplify the more I use what I have.  SO true with clothes.  And I LOVE cleaning out closets. Call me if you need my help! :)

Tips at the end of the post...

I am a size 10.5 and so I have to order my shoes online almost always.  Therefore-less shoes, because that is a pain!  I also have another area for shoes at the front of the closet.


40 Bags in 40 Days-Post Two

Welcome to 40 Bags in 40 Days Post Two!

My bedroom was assigned this day.  I keep my bedroom extremely simple and just recently did a pretty redo so I'm going to share before and after photos also.




40 Bags in 40 Days-Post One

Hi Everyone!

I have had many requests to bring back my 40 Day posts so I am starting from scratch with them today.

For those who don't know what the premise is, it is to spring clean slowly, discarding clutter, giving away what we don't use or need, with the goal of having a fresh, clean, new beginning at Easter.

Sort of what we are supposed to do to our soul during Lent, but we are doing it in our homes also.


Garbage bags or grocery bags.  Whatever size is appropriate depending on an estimate of how badly our houses need it.  Black garbage bags are sometimes preferred when little children are present in the house and don't need to suddenly love the toy they haven't touched in two years that you are donating.

One bag is used for donations, one bag is used for garbage.