Just What I Needed
Last night my friend Brittany, a certified foot and face zonologist, did a face zoning on me and it was so relaxing! I hadn't heard of zoning until I met her and it is pretty interesting. Learn more about it here.
It was like a massage of my whole body, except it was concentrated at my face and neck. As I lay there, not sure if I was out of my body or in it (it was that relaxing), I kept thinking how amazing our bodies are. They are so complex and sensitive to what we put into them and expose them to.
If you live in the Cleveland area and want to learn more about face or foot zoning, contact Brittany at talk2brit@hotmail.com. Her services are very reasonably-priced.
I highly recommend this to overstressed moms, burned-out students and anyone who wants to unwind. And, to those who don't live in Cleveland, you can either fly here or find a zonologist in your area!
Have a great weekend! We leave tomorrow for Boise for a week, so I will be on a week-long break. Check back Monday, May 5th for an updated Life at the Chicken Coop!


Years ago we were married and bound for eternity
Number in our family now
Years of schooling we have ahead of us (he just told me he wants to do a GPR: another year)
Things I love about Travis: hard-working, sweet, patient, handsome
I love the man I chose, I love where we were married (Columbia River Temple), I love the years we've spent together and here's to many more!


There's More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
01. Finn eating lunch of peanut butter crackers dipped in ranch dressing.
02. Lucy eating the peanut butter out of the middle of the crackers.
03. Lucy waving her arms, asking for more Mini Nilla Wafers.

I'm in a quandary. I've been confused for a long time now about diets and what we put into our bodies. Some say all raw foods is the best thing for you. Some say that meat is never good for you. Some say that as long as you're eating a balanced diet and getting a variety of foods, you're doing fine.

I had a lengthy talk with one of my friends this morning about just this thing. We both agreed that eating meat sparingly is good for your body. She is amazing and makes her own crackers with a dehydrater, then spreads Whole Foods roasted peanut butter on them. She also makes drinks out of kale and bananas and apples, which impresses me because kale is a vegetable I rarely eat, let alone mix into smoothies.

We talked about alot of things related to our health and overall physical/spiritual wellness. I've been sort of searching for a while for answers to questions regarding diet and trying to avoid a painful death due to Nutty Bar consumption.

I've learned there's alot of ways to do something right and maybe the same goes for diets. I'm still learning and researching. I know I could do alot better on the things I already know about (good versus bad fats, antioxidants, high fiber=good, complex carbs good, pure cane sugar bad, Chocolate Cake bad).

All I know is that this weekend I made a dessert called Fat Man's Delight (with layers of cream cheese, pudding and whipped cream on top of a pecan pastry layer) and while it tasted really good at the lip level, down at the hip level was another story. Getting into my running workout yesterday, my legs felt like sausages squeezed into my workout pants and cream cheese was filling in the cracks between my bones. Gross and disgusting, was all I could think.

I'm inspired by so many people who have lately made healthy changes in their lives. I know it's not easy. I know there are alot of answers out there and now I'm just trying to sort out which ones apply to me.

I'll start with organic vs. inorganic food, then work from there. I can tell I've got my work cut out for me.


Giveaways, Giveaways!
Do you remember this giveaway on Dandee's delightful blog?
Well, thanks to the stars aligning and to Holly at Pears and Bears, Lucy now has this cute little, albeit still too big, dress.
And, for those of you who participated in my 300th Post Giveaway, you'll remember that Nan won the second prize. She gets some homemade caramels that I'm sending today! Congrats again Nan and Whitney!


It started with the Target dress I got last week. It was a teensy weensy bit too short, so I added some embellishments to lengthen it. I got this yellow trim at JoAnn's...
...sewed it on......and voila! Knee-length dress!
And, Finn wanted a collar for his little doggie too. This is the same dog, whose ear, moments later, Finn whacked off with the scissors. Collar the dog, then cut his ear off? That's not very nice!


I Broke Down and Bought Faux Crocs

I know, I know...they're probably the most-worn thing on kids' feet these days. They're probably on their way out of style, but I thought they would be ultra easy to put on and with a flight across country next week, super-easy to get through security.
And, they're not even the real Crocs! But, hey, look at the kids' faces. They couldn't be happier!


Yesterday's Find
I saw this at the Target Marche yesterday and I love it. It is casual, light and airy and best-of-all it is yellow and gray (a perfect combo).
We're scheduled for a power outage so the electric company men can trim the trees around the power lines this morning. I might have to make a first of getting ready at the gym. Or, maybe I'll create a new hair-do out of post-workout hair. We'll see....


Do It Now
While Finn was at his weekly preschool this morning, Lucy and I enjoyed a bowl of Southwest Chicken Soup, some elderberry yogurt and some fresh pineapple and cantaloupe from Whole Foods Market. I had never treated myself there before and aside from the price, I would give it a two thumbs up. We got there at 10 AM when all of the salads were fresh and we had first dibs on all the salad bars and soups. (I hate getting the after-lunch leftovers of deli pickings).
So now we're home and I've got this corner pile of stuff that I have been avoiding for several weeks. There's some bills in there that aren't overdue...yet.
And, I'm making fettucine alfredo for dinner tonight, but does anyone know if Romano cheese is an okay substitute for Parmesan?
I hope you all have a great Wednesday!


Set the Night on Fire
Or at least have a little fire. What I wouldn't give to have one of my Grandpa Bruneel's firepits with one of his fires. They are the best in the world.
Little Miss Mudkins with, yes, matches.
If you had to picture Finn at any given moment, this is what he would be doing.
"I'm teetering, but I'm still standing."
Skip to the left, tra-la-la-la-la. Skip to the right, tra-la-la-la-la!


Letting Go

My mom always says that parenting is the art of letting go. I agree wholeheartedly with her. I also think that being pregnant is the art of letting go. Controlling the urge to vomit is hardly possible and sometimes you just feel like eating those cupcakes you had as a child.
So, if you're like me, and you want something comforting to eat, then make these:
German Chocolate Cupcakes
(I made them with Devil's Food)
Make up the batter for a chocolate cake mix and fill cupcake pans to about 2/3 full. Then, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1 bar cream cheese and 1 egg until smooth. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips to this mixture. Scoop little spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate cupcake batter.
Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes or until done. The cream cheese might be a little moist, but once you let the cupcakes cool, it should firm up.


Winning the Big One
So, I used a random number generator to produce the winner of my 300th Post Giveaway and the winner is..........


I appreciate all the kind commments and thoughtful words. I love you, my fellow bloggers, and I love posting at the Chicken Coop.

Here's to 300 more.

And, because I had such a big response, I decided to give a second prize and the winner of that was Nan! So, Nan, congratulations and send me your e-mail! You too will get a cool prize.


I've always been skeptic of those who try to hard to please others or to fit in or to contrive their lives to be something they're not. I found myself contriving yesterday, trying to get a good angle on a photo of myself before going out. It's rare these days that I either go out or get dressed up, so I had to capture the moment. And, I wanted to show you what my growing belly is looking like. {I'm still at the phase where I look like I've got leftover belly flab from child #2, not quite the round, pregnant look yet}.
Anyways, I have my share of insecurities and a long list of things I'm not pleased with about myself (first thing that comes to mind is arm flab). I am trying to find the right spot in my mind between embracing who I really am (flaws and all) and seeing the glimpses of hope that show what I can become if I work a little harder. Managing ourselves is a balancing act. Throw some kids, a husband and a house in there and you have a myriad of issues to solve (or at least talk yourself through) on a daily basis.

I love how simply Finn said, during my contortive photo shoot, "Mom, take my picture." Then he smiled with his eyes closed and opened his eyes just in time for the shutter click.


The Chicken Coop Turns 300!
That's right!
Life at the Chicken Coop dot blogspot dot com has been around for 300 posts!
And, it's taken alot of people, stories, pictures, "great writing" (hahahaha) and great comments...
... to get here.
So, to honor those who have contributed and blessed my life and my family's, and to thank those who have ever commented or read my blog, I am hosting a giveaway! (My first ever!)
I have been brainstorming all morning on the huge prize the winner will receive and I still haven't decided on exactly what it will be. But, know that it will be extremely cool and loaded with lots of good stuff. I'm thinking either cool stuff from Cleveland, or maybe a personalized box of goodies for whoever the winner is. I guess that's all part of the fun.
So, to win the 300th Post Prize, leave a comment on this post. You have until Thursday, April 10th at midnight (EST) to leave the comment.
I appreciate the great comments from my "regulars" and also those who frequent only occasionally. And, to those lurkers, this is your chance to comment and possibly win the coolest prize you've ever seen!
Happy Commenting!


Strumming a Tune
I picked up the guitar last night after the kids were in bed for two reasons. One, I had to find a song to sing for our talent show for the young women tomorrow night. Two, I hadn't sang in a long time and I was feeling like I needed to drown my loneliness in song. Travis was studying and I realized I probably wouldn't have a meaningful conversation with him for at least the rest of the month until finals are over. It felt good to sing some of my favorites by Patty Griffin, Pete Yorn and Shawn Colvin. I'm not very good, and in fact, I've digressed since my college days of nightly practice, but it still was fun. Singing the blues away really works.


The Weekend in Pictures
Miss Lucy walking around at Historic Kirtland.
And, here, making a royal muddy mess in the backyard.
And, here, squealing with delight as she splashes mud everywhere. Grandma Racecar with Finn-Bob.
"Hira" (Ira) with Finn.
The two at Historic Kirtland.
If I have one picture of Finn pushing his truck at the Newel K. Whitney Store, I have at least two hundred. This is how Finn will remember seeing the sites...dump truck in front of him.
Group photo.

Travis made these ribs. If you haven't had Shay's Fall-Off-the-Bone Baby Back Ribs, you've got to try them.

Get the recipe here. I promise, you won't be disappointed.


Spring Cleaning Part II
Travis vacuuming out the van. It needed it.
This is the second and last day I will be writing about our cleaning spree. It's going to end today at noon when Travis goes to the airport to pick-up his Mom and Ira. Let the fun begin!
Just a little something to scare you.
Billy and Buster "helping" clean up the toys. For every three toys I put away, they got out seven.
And, vacuuming underneath the couches and rugs. We got the dust bunnies and toys and lost pens. I'm sure they'll collect again in about two days.