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A Little Me Time  June 6th, 2012

About the only time I have to myself anymore is my commute to and from work. I actually look forward to an hour of drive time each day just to veg. (Well, as much as possible, considering I am operating a moving vehicle . . . but you get the picture.) As a treat, sometimes I listen to an audiobook to pass the time—I love to read, but I have zero leisure time right now, and the only “reading” I have time to do comes in the form of assigned texts or research for my latest term paper(s)—that makes audiobooks a real treat. However, when life gets way too noisy, I sometimes choose to listen to nothing at all.

Well, I figured I wasn’t the only one out there looking for a little “me time,” so I went searching the blogosphere for inspiration. That’s when I stumbled across LifeWorks’ article, This Week’s Wellness Challenge: Make Time For Yourself Everyday. I found a lot of great suggestions for carving out a little me time, but one that I think I can commit to each day is “sitting in silence”—even if it’s just for two minutes right now. I’ll work up from there. Check out this blog if you are interested in exercise, fitness, nutrition and “you time.” It has a ton of great resources.

MORE KETTLEBELL!  June 6th, 2012


Thirty minutes a day? Like I have that much time to myself! My daily routine is as follows:

6:00 AM – Homework

8:00 AM – Make sure my daughter has checked her sugar and eaten breakfast

8:30 AM – Daughter catches the bus and I leave for work

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM – Commute to work

12:30 PM – Lunch break (30 minutes spent scarfing down a quick lunch and catching up on homework)

7:30 PM – 8:30PM – Commute to home

8:45 PM – After scarfing down a quick dinner, more homework.

Anywhere between 10:00 PM and 3:00 AM (hit the sack)

So finding time to exercise is not easy. Unfortunately, I am past the point where I can afford to make any more excuses. I sit so much that I am starting to FEEL old, so I have got to find a way to get some exercise in.  On Memorial Day weekend, my family headed out to Silver Falls and made the 5.9 mile loop; that was a start, but boy did I pay for it the next week. After spending so much time in the seated position, several hours of walking up and down the trail woke up a few muscles that hadn’t been used in awhile . . . and, boy were they pissed!

Since I can’t make it out to the falls every day, I went in search of inspiration for busy moms and came across the following blog, Work Out Mommy. It has inspired me to go out and purchase a couple of kettlebells. Now, if I can just get them out of the box!

WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?  June 6th, 2012

I love finding helpful household tips in regards to cleaning, organizing, or just making life a little more efficient.  With work, school, a family, home, and a barn to look after, my time is short (and precious).  That is why I have The Daily Buzz bookmarked. Check out their 25 Clever Ideas for Making Life Easier, which includes simple tips for things like coring strawberries, keeping cut apples from browning, and disguising scuffs and scratches on your fine furniture. (Bet you never thought of securing a nylon stalking over the end of your vacuum hose to find small lost items, now did you?) Go. Now. Check out their site. I promise it won’t disappoint!

B-Y-O-T (Bring Your Own Tent):  June 6th, 2012

When August rolls around, we know it’s time to start planning the annual summer party—a tradition since my husband and I first exchanged our vows almost a decade and a half ago.  It is a time to gather old and new friends alike, share some great food, a “friendly” game of softball or volleyball, maybe a water fight or two, and a lot of laughs. Some come for the day; some stay all night. Food and drink are always on the house, but everyone knows if you are going to pitch a tent at the Krautscheid’s, you’ve got to B-Y-O-T!

It is also a chance for me to put my design inspiration/creativity to use.  And, I just “love me” a new project. Nothing compares to a truly productive DIY weekend. Whether it’s building new vegetable garden beds, a fire pit from scratch, extending our deck, or really defining and bringing purpose to our outdoor entertaining space, I’m all in.  And while I don’t find much time for myself between work, school, and keeping up with the family…getting ready for our party is one thing I look forward to all summer.

Usually, I have a few creative ideas saved up that I am just dying to try out—from food and cocktails to decorating.  At last year’s BBQ, we threw a couple of old barn doors across the back of my ‘66 Ford pickup (may as well use it for something since it still doesn’t run) and created a quaint little “bar” as part of our outdoor setup.  So what if it was based loosely on something I tore from a home decorating magazine at the dentist’s office. (Don’t judge . . . everyone does it!)

So, if you are DIY challenge, or are just looking for some inspiration, check out this party planning blog: Hostess with the mostess®. The Get Your Grill On theme is adorable.


In anticipation of the next visit from my adorable nephews, Owen and Chase, I have been searching around for some more fun “boy projects” to have on hand. I am thinking about taking the summer off, instead of taking another full load, and then starting up with classes again in the fall. But, I haven’t committed to this just yet. If I did, it would mean I would have more time to spend with my family. And, that would mean more fun DIY projects with the boys! I ran across this My Wood Art project on IKEA HACKERS (submitted by stratis-art), that would be just perfect.

My Wood Art courtesy of http://stratis-art.blogspot.com

My Wood Art courtesy of http://stratis-art.blogspot.com

I figure we could start off by tooling down to the beach for the day, take a couple of great candid shots at the water’s edge, and then head back home to make these great frames to send home for mom and dad. Sounds like a plan, right?

So, the jury is still out on what my plans for the summer will be, but, if I do end up taking the summer off (from school, not work), it will give me more time to snatch up my nephews and take them off to the beach for the day.

Joining the Blogging Community: My Personal Comment-ary  June 6th, 2012

I spend at least 8 hours a day on the computer for work and then another 6+ each night keeping up on my course load. So one of the best parts of about this most recent assignment–I actually get to spend some time on the internet researching things that I truly enjoy, and then I get to follow it up by commenting on posts by bloggers that inspire me. To be honest, this will be the first time that I have participated in the blogging community in that way, (leaving comments).

So, here goes . . . follow along with me as I share my engagement with the blogging community this week:

I was getting my fix from Ginger Lemon Girl’s blog and ran across a link under “blog love” to Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. This is another great blog with tons of information for moms dealing with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I was so excited to come across her post, Alba Therapeutics Recruiting Volunteers for Celiac Disease Drug Trial, which has some really promising news about potential celiac therapies. According to the post, “Larazotide acetate has the potential to become the first approved medicine to treat celiac disease and has been granted “Fast Track” designation from the FDA.” I have heard of trials going on in Australia, but this is the first I have heard of anything in the United States.

Here is my comment:

So excited to run across a link to this post from Carrie over at http://www.gingerlemongirl.blogspot.com/. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes AND celiac back in 2008, and this treatment sounds promising. She is only 14 (doesn’t qualify for the trial), but we will definitely be following this closely.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Her “blog love” also lead me to CeliacTeen, where I was introduced to the most beautiful and inspiring young lady who brought a tear to my eyes me with the following quote:

“And for the few of you still with me, here is what I want to leave you with: Food blogging is so much more than the act of typing words and photographing what you bake. It is the joy found in community and the expansiveness of that community. It is the fact that because of this space, I’m no longer alone. Not alone in celiac, in life, or in any situation I’ll encounter.’’

Her solace in blogging about food reminds me of the support my own daughter, dealing with celiac for several years now, has found from her subscribers while vlogging on YouTube. I posted the following comment:

My daughter was diagnosed with celiac in 2008, and quickly turned to YouTube as her online community of supporters. She started out vlogging about celiac; however, this soon morphed into “beauty guru” channels (hanhan1012 and ShabbyChicGeek). I think that she would agree with you that this has indeed expanded her “community” and helped her to feel connected instead of alone. Your site inspires me, and I can’t wait to share it with my daughter!

I clicked on one more of Ginger Lemon Girl’s “blog love” links, the Spunky Coconut. I’m not going to lie; the quirky name caught my eye and I just had to see what this blog was all about. It is a site dedicated to gluten/casein/sugar free options, so this was right up my alley. I spent some time with friends recently and was gifted a jar of homemade sauerkraut. (I know, you either love it or you hate it—I happen to love it.) Well, after trying the homemade variety, I decided I didn’t want to go back to store-bought. Unfortunately for me, my one and only jar of this delectable treat was given to me from the sweetest gramma ever, who just happens to live at least 6 hours away!

I left the following comment:

I can’t wait to try this. My stepmom and husband both come from large German families, and I know they will love this! I just had a jar of homemade ‘kraut gifted to me and it is so much better than store-bought.

Why You Should Learn to Shoot in Manual is a post by Centsational Girl, one of my most favorite DIY bloggers. It is a post about learning to take better pictures on your DSLR camera while in the “manual” mode. The only camera I even have time to use right now is the one on my iPhone, but when I do find the time, I will definitely return to this bookmark.

If you have been following along on my posts at all, you already know of my love of barns and my plans to make it out some day to take my own barn photos. I found some great pointers in Kate’s post, including her shout out to Shoot Fly Shoot, an online tutorial website that offers videos for unlocking the secrets to shooting in manual mode. I left the following comment on her blog:

Your photos are gorgeous! Some day when I get the time, I plan to head out into the country and snap some epic barn shots with my daughter’s DSLR camera. I will definitely plan to check this website out before I head out. In the meantime, I am going to send a link of this post to my daughter, since she was just wondering about manual settings for shallow depth of field, etc.

Beewitched is a post by fig + fauna farm, a blog that I follow simply because their photos are so beautiful, and because they feature naturally gluten-free foods/recipes on their site. Speaking of amazing photos, a recent post about bees caught my eye. There was very little text, but the pictures spoke volumes! The post asked for suggestions of songs or poems about bees that they could sing or recite with their daughter, so I posted the following:

Here’s another poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


Like trains of cars on tracks of plush

I hear the level bee:

Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault

Their chivalry consumes,

While he, victorious, tilts away

To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,

His breast, a single onyx

With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,

His idleness a tune;

Oh, for a bee’s experience

Love your site by the way. . .lots of naturally gluten-free and healthy options for my family. Keep it up.

The Ethics of Blogging  June 6th, 2012

Recently, I was asked to take a look at several different examples of codes of ethics, to identify which I felt the strongest about, and then to explain why. After careful consideration, I narrowed it down to the Ethics Guidelines for Poynter Publishing. These guidelines are based on the following core values:

  • Accuracy
  • Independence
  • Interdependence
  • Fairness
  • Transparency
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Helpfulness

I find it hard to cherry pick from this list of values, as it seems the combination of ALL of these values is what actually speaks to the integrity of a post.

I am new to blogging, but for me, when I sit down to compose a post, I remind myself that it is important to stay true to the facts, to be open and honest (transparent) when I am stating an opinion that has not been validated, and to do all that is possible to “do no harm” when stating that opinion. Of course, a lot of what I blog about is important to me personally; however, it is my hope that others find my posts helpful, as well.

I was also asked to respond to the following ethical dilemmas that often come up in blogging:

“You Google yourself and find that another blogger has taken several of your original blog posts and posted them on her site.  She includes your name as the author, but does not include the link to your site nor any other information about it. You see she’s gotten thousands of hits and lots of comments in response to a post YOU WROTE. How would you handle it? What are the ethical issues it raises?”

I have found that the best approach is always to start by assuming that one’s motivations are pure. It may be that this particular blogger is not yet aware of all of the ins and outs of internet ethics/etiquette, and that they will respond positively to constructive guidance from a fellow blogger. I am always looking for win-wins, and this approach would allow for both an opportunity to educate and also to expand my network. (Note to anyone that happens to read this post . . . I am new to blogging myself, so please feel free to share your constructive guidance with me at any time.)

What do you think? Please feel free comment below.

Gluten-Free, Not Taste-Free!  June 2nd, 2012

In 2008 my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Just 24 hours later came the news that her lab results also revealed high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA). The specialist said these levels were most likely the result of celiac disease—an abnormal autoimmune reaction to wheat, rye and barley gluten. Three weeks later her diagnosis was confirmed by intestinal biopsy.

As you might imagine, this turned our life upside down “for a minute.” As a mom, I was devastated–by how much things were changing for her and for our entire family.  However, since her diagnosis, we have come to embrace the gluten-free lifestyle.  Yes. We have had to reevaluate the places we eat, what we eat, how we prepare things, etc.  But, my daughter has always loved to cook, so this just opened up a whole new pathway of discovery for the two of us.   

Multiply Delicious is one of our go-to blogs for gluten-free recipes because they have a plethora of healthy, convenient and great tasting options to choose from.  We focus our efforts on the gluten-free section these days, but all of their recipes are stellar.  If you have the time, I highly recommend the Carrot Zucchini Spice Muffins, Moroccan Meatballs with Citrus-Glazed Carrots, (she used to love IKEA meatballs which are not gluten-free, so it is a HUGE celebration to find a meatball recipe she actually likes), and Roasted Sweet-Potato Salsa.  The gluten-free lifestyle can be so overwhelming in the beginning. It takes a fair amount of time to get use to reading labels, looking for hidden gluten, and learning to cook with alternative flours. Sites like Multiply Delicious, prove that gluten-free does not have to be taste-free.

Barns. You Gotta Love ‘Em  June 2nd, 2012

My husband and I bought an old ’66 Ford pickup a couple of years back. The plan: restore said pickup, pack up the picnic basket and a couple of friends, and head out to photograph some of the spectacular rustic old barns here in Oregon. The restore was mostly his idea; the barn photos–and the picnic basket—all mine. Well, as you know, I don’t have a lot of spare time, so the old Ford is still just taking up space in the shop, and, of course, I am still waiting on those old barn shots.

Luckily, all is not lost. You see, my friend, Megan, recently sent me a link to Pam Photography’s post on Oregon Barns, and I must say I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. This is so freak‘in cool! Absolutely stunning photos of barns in Sherwood, Dundee, and Newberg, Oregon, and they are all practically at my back doorstep!

Although Pam mentions in her post that for most people the fascination with old barns does not stem from memories, for me, this is just not the case. I spent a fair amount of my childhood in my grandparent’s old barn, and hours upon hours out in the old barn on the property we rented from my great uncle. There was so much history in those old barns—literally hundreds of years of it—and when I drive past an old barn today, it takes me back to that sweet time in my childhood when time seemed to move just a little bit slower.

For now, I am content in having come across this wonderful photography blog, which will just have to hold me over until we get that old Ford running. But, you can bet, just as soon as I get that engine to turn over, I’ll be heading out into the beautiful country I am so fortunate to live in to snap my very own barn pics.

Shark Melons or Apple Frogs?  June 2nd, 2012

With two boys already grown and off to college and a teenage girl heading off to high school in the fall, I no longer feel like I have my finger on the pulse of the 3-8 year old demographic. When I recently spent an afternoon with my young nephews, Chase and Owen, it reminded me that their attention spans are just not that long. . . Of course, neither is mine, but that’s a completely different post. Seriously, there is only so much duck, duck, goose this old grey owl can handle in one afternoon!

Like I said, it’s been a while, so my idea of what is fun for young boys is a bit outdated. Since I was in need of some serious inspiration to keep these guys busy,  I logged on to Pinterest (caveat: don’t log on to this site if you don’t have someone nearby to conduct an intervention—it will suck time like no other) and explored the plethora of kid craft suggestions and trials. What a great source I found…a “Boy Get Crafty” post on Red Ted Art’s Blog. Since it was close to lunch, we opted for the shark melons and apple frogs, but there are tons of ideas to choose from. It kept them busy and they got to enjoy a healthy snack to boot! That’s definitely my kind of craft.