Under Costruction.....


Just like life building (rebuilding) a blog is a journey.... please stick with us as we make this blog better. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not Even Close

I promise myself every year that I will have ALL the Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving and will do nothing but enjoy the Spirit of the season and bake and cook and sing and decorate and smile all the live long day.

Yep, you guessed it, not even close.  I have yet to get our neighbor treats done, or finished shopping...and this year dragging around two prize winning boxers/biters/hitters/spitters/tantrum throwers/screaming/ pinching each other cute as can be little bloomerbuttons and their sweetly mellow as can be baby sister that either brings looks of utter sympathy or astonishment at the stupidity of the woman braving ugly weather and not smart enough to get a babysitter for her three kids that are all younger then 2 and uses one long sentence to portray the exhaustion of just getting thru one store..... let alone Costco.......

are you tired just reading this?  Don't be...it really isn't that bad...I usually ignore the stares and the twins antics and I am gently rejuvenated by the sweet old ladies that stop to reminisce about their twins and babies and grand babies and how fast life goes by, so enjoy it while you are here kinda talk.....and a cookie...a cookie always does wonders!

But back to the Christmas Spirit.....I have it, though I haven't done all that I want or that is on the list in my head and the half created list on paper....the house isn't as clean as it should be or even half decorated (that's right folks, more then half my decorations have stayed in the boxes)... and dinners are whatever is in the fridge....and yet I continue to blog and have my idol time on the computer (and yes, you, if you feel guilty reading this one little word..."idol"....then thank you for coming on and reading my post.....it means a lot).

Christmas has never been my favorite holiday, and wait...don't get all in a huff because I said that....it is because I do honor the birth of Christ, but have such a hard time reconciling the materialism and commercial aspects of Christmas with the stillness of that holy night in my heart and sometimes the ache that it leaves.

There is a never a time that the spirit doesn't make me weepy at live nativity scenes and Christmas hymns and It"s a Wonderful Life" Christmas movies. I am grateful for the season that is dedicated to Christ and the thoughtfulness that prevails as wonderful people go out of their way to serve each other and strangers.  I am eternally grateful for the babe in the manger that saved the world and I can't help but grow weepy over His earthly parents sacrifice.  I can only imagine giving birth for your first time alone and in a manger to not just a baby but to the Savior and King.

The Christmas season has been for me a time of regret and sadness at a dysfunctional family growing up, of men, particularly brothers and mothers not reconciled and of past memories that feel and sometimes become unmanageable...and of another year closing on unfinished goals (because I probably wasted too much time fb'ing, blogging and perusing your posts!) .

...and because my husband likes to shop last minute and I mean down to the wire, store is closing for Christmas Eve and they have called for last check outs over the intercom twice and he is still meandering....because that is how his family did it....and he likes it..and it gives me heart palpitation for more reasons then one....bless his heart.

However, this year I was/am determined to make it better, that this SEASON should be one filled with peace and good cheer and love...and that those feelings of regret can wait until after the new year and group themselves with the goals new year's goals that I have already dropped by the wayside. That family traditions will prevail...even if it means the house cleaning lacks (sorry honey) because that is what my kids will remember, that I will have immense patience when one of the twinners drops bolts and screws from who knows where into the cookie dough....who was watching her?! (O yeah...that would be me...all the other mckiddos were win school) and that I will be forever grateful because I have more then enough and because this story reminds me of that:

In about March 1946, less than a year after the end of the war, Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, accompanied by Frederick W. Babbel, was assigned a special postwar tour of Europe for the express purpose of meeting with the Saints, assessing their needs, and providing assistance to them. Elder Benson and Brother Babbel later recounted, from a testimony they heard, the experience of a Church member who found herself in an area no longer controlled by the government under which she had resided.
She and her husband had lived an idyllic life in East Prussia. Then had come the second great world war within their lifetimes. Her beloved young husband was killed during the final days of the frightful battles in their homeland, leaving her alone to care for their four children.
The occupying forces determined that the Germans in East Prussia must go to Western Germany to seek a new home. The woman was German, and so it was necessary for her to go. The journey was over a thousand miles (1,600 km), and she had no way to accomplish it but on foot. She was allowed to take only such bare necessities as she could load into her small wooden-wheeled wagon. Besides her children and these meager possessions, she took with her a strong faith in God and in the gospel as revealed to the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith.
She and the children began the journey in late summer. Having neither food nor money among her few possessions, she was forced to gather a daily subsistence from the fields and forests along the way. She was constantly faced with dangers from panic-stricken refugees and plundering troops.
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks to months, the temperatures dropped below freezing. Each day, she stumbled over the frozen ground, her smallest child—a baby—in her arms. Her three other children struggled along behind her, with the oldest—seven years old—pulling the tiny wooden wagon containing their belongings. Ragged and torn burlap was wrapped around their feet, providing the only protection for them, since their shoes had long since disintegrated. Their thin, tattered jackets covered their thin, tattered clothing, providing their only protection against the cold.
Soon the snows came, and the days and nights became a nightmare. In the evenings she and the children would try to find some kind of shelter—a barn or a shed—and would huddle together for warmth, with a few thin blankets from the wagon on top of them.
She constantly struggled to force from her mind overwhelming fears that they would perish before reaching their destination.
And then one morning the unthinkable happened. As she awakened, she felt a chill in her heart. The tiny form of her three-year-old daughter was cold and still, and she realized that death had claimed the child. Though overwhelmed with grief, she knew that she must take the other children and travel on. First, however, she used the only implement she had—a tablespoon—to dig a grave in the frozen ground for her tiny, precious child.
Death, however, was to be her companion again and again on the journey. Her seven-year-old son died, either from starvation or from freezing or both. Again her only shovel was the tablespoon, and again she dug hour after hour to lay his mortal remains gently into the earth. Next, her five-year-old son died, and again she used her tablespoon as a shovel.
Her despair was all consuming. She had only her tiny baby daughter left, and the poor thing was failing. Finally, as she was reaching the end of her journey, the baby died in her arms. The spoon was gone now, so hour after hour she dug a grave in the frozen earth with her bare fingers. Her grief became unbearable. How could she possibly be kneeling in the snow at the graveside of her last child? She had lost her husband and all her children. She had given up her earthly goods, her home, and even her homeland.
In this moment of overwhelming sorrow and complete bewilderment, she felt her heart would literally break. In despair she contemplated how she might end her own life, as so many of her fellow countrymen were doing. How easy it would be to jump off a nearby bridge, she thought, or to throw herself in front of an oncoming train.
And then, as these thoughts assailed her, something within her said, “Get down on your knees and pray.” She ignored the prompting until she could resist it no longer. She knelt and prayed more fervently than she had in her entire life:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I do not know how I can go on. I have nothing left—except my faith in Thee. I feel, Father, amidst the desolation of my soul, an overwhelming gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. I cannot express adequately my love for Him. I know that because He suffered and died, I shall live again with my family; that because He broke the chains of death, I shall see my children again and will have the joy of raising them. Though I do not at this moment wish to live, I will do so, that we may be reunited as a family and return—together—to Thee.”
When she finally reached her destination of Karlsruhe, Germany, she was emaciated. Brother Babbel said that her face was a purple-gray, her eyes red and swollen, her joints protruding. She was literally in the advanced stages of starvation. In a Church meeting shortly thereafter, she bore a glorious testimony, stating that of all the ailing people in her saddened land, she was one of the happiest because she knew that God lived, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He died and was resurrected so that we might live again. She testified that she knew if she continued faithful and true to the end, she would be reunited with those she had lost and would be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. 

After reading this story the first time of such faith and devotion I felt small and ungrateful, but the more I return to this story in President Monson's talk it becomes a Christmas story to me....it is of unyielding faith in Christ in the face of adversity, it is of  mother love far greater then any other the our Elder Brother's love for us.  This woman, gives me hope and the courage to move forward (even when I sarcastically joke about the life God has given me) and have he Christmas Spirit all year long.

This is what we, or rather I, have forgotten, that the learning is in the journey, the preparation for Christmas...not necessarily in the holiday. That the bad memories can be replaced with brighter ones of the family traditions that I have started with me and mine.  That although I am a slow learner, and often have to repeat things over so that they are ingrained upon my soul that Christ was born to carry those burdens for me.  That for my journey back to the farm is really that...a journey...not a destination.

Merry Christmas, one and all......may it be filled with loving family, happy memories and good cooking!

Molasses Pie as made by Mack's Great great grandmother from Ohio

1 Cup good Molasses
1 Cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1 T flour
small pat of butter
4 eggs well beaten
She wrote that this was enough for two pies, though we found that it left the pie rather thin. I baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  It is like a custard pie, that is even better with whipped cream.  I also connected a link to another recipe with more details about Molasses Pie. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'll get around to it....

Did you try the frog eye salad? DO you have plans too?  It is such an pleasant reminder of summer reunions......but my biggest food memory of Idaho....is spam.....yes...spam....open faced melted cheese spam sandwiches!  But I do not need to give you that recipe because you just open the can and plop it on the bread....and 2) I wouldn't couldn't eat the stuff....I know how it is made now.....a...ya...no.way!

and talk about no way.....have you seen/heard about the Elf on the Shelf.......

Have you jumped on the band wagon, marching to the beat of this little doll....or are you like me?

And your head might pop off if you think about one more think being added to your christmas list, let alone try and be all cutsy about it because you are trying to potty train twins and it isn't going very well along with house breaking two puppies all while you continue to nurse a teething baby...um...ouch....and chauffeur around your "I'm too old for my mom to drive me but I blew the clutch out of my kid car so she must but I am going to have a total attitude about it" all while feeling guilty that you are not doing enough or maybe really...or...you are doing to much and loosing the spirit of Christmas ?  (BUT if you are one of these extra awesome peeps that keep it all together and makes everything rosy and tied up in bows for the rest of us to ooh and aah over then bless your heart, my hats are off to you! I'll just down another cookie.....)

SO...if you are like me then read here......it will give you a good laugh.......and make you feel better about your lackluster ability to get the elf spirit going.

But really, you must know, I will have to be joining the "make the elf play silly games and tricks so the kids will think he is alive"....because my mother in law informed me.....she will be getting the family one...YEAH! for me......maybe there truly is magic in the box.

I also know that I am more then a little lackluster in my preparation for the season is.....because my husband.....had to make peanut brittle....it was GOOD! He tried to make me feel all guilty about my lack of not having Christmas preparation...but...nope....didn't work....my mouth was too full of the sweet buttery goodness.  Thank you honey, you're the best!

He used the Peanut Brittle recipe here.

I will redeem myself ...eventually....and make almond roca, after I finish some Christmas skirts and mop the floor and pack for a quick party.....and.....and.....

Love yer lazy guts.......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salt of the Earth

Yesterday I went from being talked down off the wall (if you need more explanation then that, we'll have to talk later.....at least that is what I told my husband) and thank heavens for my sister who responded to a text at 5 am her time......to listening to a woman we all wish was our mother sing  songs she wrote just for me and my memories of Idaho and cousins and summer....or at least that is what it feels like.....(long breath)

Idaho was to me what water is to a parched man in the dessert....

it was soul saving.....life saving...really

All summer long, Memorial Day to Labor Day, Fourth of July small town parades and fire works, horseback riding, first crushes, splashing in the water canals, so many bug bites you lost count, warm mellow sun on grassy fields, bb gun fights (yes, I could have sot my eye out...but I didn't), fishing, motorcycles, tents, stars as numerous as pebbles on the beach, quilts that smelled like dew, dogs barking, warm fizzy soda pop, water snakes slamming screen doors and wind that never stilled......

it is all all fuzzy around the edges and runs in my mind like a black and white rerun of The Andy Griffith Show (yep...still love that show) or even The Waltons.....and yes our kiddos roll their eyes when we watch those old shows on Saturday.

I think back now about my childhood summers there.....and I have to give credit to my uncles and aunts who took on an extra mouth, when all of them had more then enough mouths to feed...but I guess I kinda earned my keep....I weeded..and weeded and weeded....or it seemed that way! And if I didn't, well, just holler at me...I miss a garden.

We caught worms with our bare hands to throw in a bag and sell for cash to the anglers....I know totally eeeww now.....though I can and will thread a worm on a hook for my kids...if nothing else but to be totally cool in their eyes....but ya...still eewww.  We spent all day outside and had to be called in long after dark.....even with the bugs eating us alive. 

Idaho has become a sanctuary in my mind, and after listening to Cori Conners you would totally understand too......I have tied to convince my Utah Born husband that is where we need to move.....but I digress..

Cori is a much better story teller then I....

read here ......and really the song is so good, you must hear it...call me and I will run out to the car and play it for you over the phone....because the CD is always in my car. Even my kiddos love this CD and Cori, because maybe it explained their mother to them just a little, but more then that, Cori and her son, who was kiddo #5's soccer coach are intensely talented and real down to earth and good......good people...salt of the earth.

Hopefully we all have  misty edged black and white haven of our childhood locked away somewhere...that reminds us.....life is good.....and there are people out there that will take you in when no one else would, or save you from the monsters in the basement......(a whole other story...that I have written several times...yet can't post...not yet...)

Love your Idaho guts...and even if their not...love to all...

and the memory wouldn't be complete without frog eye salad.......for reals...a family reunion must!

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package acini di pepe pasta
  • 3 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits, drained (or just crush your pineapple in the blender)
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  •  (8 ounce) whipping cream (prepared according to your liking)
  • 2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded coconut


  1. In a sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pineapple juice and eggs. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; add lemon juice and cool to room temperature.
  2. Bring water to a boil, add oil, remaining salt and cook pasta until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, egg mixture, mandarin oranges, pineapple and whipped topping. Mix well and refrigerate overnight or until chilled. Before serving add marshmallows and coconut. Toss and serve. 12 servings

I never include the coconut because enough of my clan doesn't like it...but either way...GOOD!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Calming a Messy Mind

This is my favorite hymn.....

....it calms my soul....

as does the Master.....

especially when I look at my list...the list....the list to end all lists...

...and I am.....let's say....overwhelmed...more then a little

but then I know.....with every fiber of my being....

that all is well...

even with a messy house....and a messy mind....




Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

1. Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

2. Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

3. Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

4. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

5. O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Cloth├Ęd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Divine Nature....begins with pasta....

How many times have you heard?

"If you can't say something nice, come sit next to me?"  Just kidding, I really meant to say

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

{Just between you and me....the first applies to me more then I would like....I promise to listen and commiserate and never tell a soul that we discussed your mama drives you up and a wall...}

But back to don't say nothing at all......it is good advice and it has taken me a lot of years to learn to just bite my tongue....I should have an iron tongue by now.....but I am still learning, especially with my husband and kids...

but what about myself?  Do I bite my tongue with myself? Do I hold back my opinion when my hair won't do what I want or those extra baby pounds won't go away (and they aren't budging...I am sure the cookies have something to do with it!)? What about when someone gives you a compliment about how good you look after your 8th baby and you laugh it off and say....

Thank heaven for clothes or something else totally not nice.... Why are we so hard on ourselves...and believe me I am right there right now as I sit in my capri yoga pants and holey tshirts in freezing weather..because...well...nothing really fits me after this last baby and I only have one pair of jeans that I save until I go out or pack meeting...which is later today....but on another note I am enjoying a chocolate chip cookie or two...because....well...they're in the house...why else?

And then we look at long ago pictures and say...whatever it is we say....

I was doing just that today with a family picture after the mctwinners were born.....and I forget that I had TWO nursing babies and could hardly eat anything...or they were retching all over me and everyone else near!

....and then I found this site My Beauty Campaign and I cried. I cried because of her message and the beauty of it and that she is changing the world, one woman at a time. And I thought, what if we taught our girls this from  the very beginning and pounded it into their heads.....beauty is what you are...not what the world says you need to be. That imperfections are what really makes the world more beautiful.

I found her page by liking a post on fb about how to pose...how to pose?! Who knew? (Probably all of you...'cept me!...and see there I go again)

Wahlaa!!  You can still eat pasta..and look good for pictures! You will need to "friend" her on facebook....but she also has fabulous and interesting information and advice on loving yourself and your unique beauty.  I love her...and I don't know her....I am just grateful that someone is standing up for the uniquely different women of our world...and saying...that beauty is not all alike.

Having talked with many women who think they are not beautiful, myself included, that think they have nothing or little to offer the world and are way too hard on themselves and the other women in their lives. 

But I know deep down inside that we are all made in an image of a loving God, a perfect God.....so though we are not perfect....we are divine and that makes us beautiful!

So eat and ENJOY your divine Caprese Pasta Salad, my girl's favorite salad, and heven knows they are beautiful...and everyone of them is different.... and then go and know how to show your best self off in pictures!!

Love yer guts....for reals!


1 box spiral pasta
7 oz mozzarella cheese
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Prepare pasta per instructions and then cool under cold water. Cut tomatoes (I love the cherry tomatoes...and the yellow heritage tomatoes...but will use what is fresh and available), toss with plenty of pepper, cut mozzarella and toss with pasta and tomatoes, gently rip or chop fresh basil and then add to pasta with oil and vinegar to taste!!!  SO good!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Because I happened to be surfing the web and not doing what  needed to be doing, and talking on the phone to my sister about how guilty I felt about not doing the things I needed to be doing, because I was posting on facebook about quilt was riddling me, because I have no motivation to conquer the wake of damage my twinners do in approximately 2 minutes or even look in the bathroom of my teenagers...like totally yuck.....

I found this post

this wonderful post that says it beautifully and more poetic then I ever could and because this blogger is my beautiful cousin that is nurturing wonderfully kind and sweet children (did I mention there was 11 of them?) and has the time to make everyone feel like her best friend....{breath}

and because I will be absentee most the weekend and must must I say, put my house in order.....I will let her do the talking...which my husband will see as a sign of progress on my part...because I rarely let someone else do the talking.....I'm working on it though!

If ever there is a  blog to follow...it's hers......

and I'll go make candied nuts.....because I need the protein...and cleaning isn't as much fun and doesn't taste as good.....or maybe I will go make the girl's new out of that fabulous ruffled material!! to die for! okay not that fabulous but pretty dang cute...and it will take me all of five minutes...it will be more effort to set the sewing machine up......or maybe I will go have lunch.....which brings us back to nuts! or go hang the family pictures back up from two years ago when we repainted, or repair the pine cone wreath for the door....and if I do any of the above...it will just mess the house up..so cleaning is definitely out...yep...no cleaning.

I am soooo wasting time....gotta go....


1 1/2 cups raw or roasted cashews (my favorite), peanuts, whole almonds or pecans...or do a mixture of them all
1/2 cup sugar
2 T butter
1/2 t vanilla
1/2  t cinnamon
1 t salt

In a heavy pot, throw all the above ingredients in and cook over medium high heat....shake the pan occasionally to coat nuts,  until the sugar starts to melt, but do not stir. Turn the heat to low until the sugar turns golden brown, stirring occasionally (i think I stir the whole time when I forget...and it still turns out!). Pour out the mixture onto butter tin foil or cookie sheet...and try to wait till they have cooled down.  Good luck...I burn my tongue every time.

Love yer  nutty guts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's My Own Fault......

It's my own fault.......and it stinks....literally

Mcpunk #5 has the stinkiest breathe evaha!!! It smells so bad I thought he had stepped in you know what!

And do you know why it smells bad? He has strep with a side of abscess...something that I knew before I took him in...so I paid to have a doctor tell me what I already knew. And then tell me to put him on antibiotics asap. 

Hhhhmmmm......why do I do this?

I pray for the power of discernment....have clear and specific feelings and then question myself and take him in....

I did this today, I did this when #8 bilirubin was up and the doctors kept insisting that we keep testing her...every day for over a week...I knew what was right...but there was just this small speck of dark doubt called what if.....I did this with the twins as well..you would think I would learn.

Am I the only one that does this? The minute I am home after the doctor confims what I knew and insists on meds when  I question letting the illness run it's course or alternative measures...I am back researching what I already know. I know that the thoughts in my head and the feelings in my hear that I get concerning my children are real and that Heavenly Father entrusted them to me...so why wouldn't he tell me know how to make them feel better?

I get out the raw Apple Cider Vinegar, dilute it with a little warm water and we all start sipping on it....why do I forget this Wonder drink.  I know this works.....I've tried it on myself...I start getting sick...Mr Mack reminds me (jokingly) to stick it in cider...which is an old joke from his grandpa...but I think it wasn't a joke...he knew what he was talking about...and the way the boys took it....well they are boys and they just think like that...

and wahlaa....I start getting better.  Now I just need to remember this with the kiddos and trust my "Gut instinct." Even in the days of John Adams, they washed everything down with apple cider vinegar and used it as tonics.  They knew and used what we have now seemingly forgotten....and they trusted their gut instinct or motherly intuition.

Why do I not trust mine? Why do I care if the neighbors or friend raise an eyebrow at my dislike of taking meds ancd forcing them on my children for every are and concern?  Apple Cider Vinegar works and it has for a long time.  Geez louise....I need to pull it together...and quit drinking hot chocolate...which is so goooood, but so bad for you when you have strep! Along with eating way too much candy and sugar the past few months after Halloween....no wonder we are all sick! I will be recommiting myself to slaying the sugar monster!  It can be done!!!

SO here is a plug for Apple Cider Vinegar and all the good that comes with it...heres to oping I will start remembering it more often and and trusting my own power of discernment...and that your trust your own as well. And please don't think that this post is in any way saying to not use antibiotics ever or even medical advice...that's not the case. We need to use them wisely and when they are effective.

And for Sara, The Healthy Home Economist who is wonderfully wise but also does her research and is kind enough to pass along real wisdom about REAL FOOD!

And a plug for strengthening our faith in the powers that the good Lord gave us.  We are strong and wonderful and He trusts us. And knowing this will help us live better lives..

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