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Are or Our?

I took off yesterday morning with no kids. I needed some time to think without interruption since learning the news of my 15 month old’s hip dysplasia condition. I wish I would have taken a picture of the sign I saw while out and about…it made me chuckle. And I need a laugh these days.

The sign at Golden Corral across the street from Target said:

Come inside and try ARE new chocolate fountain.

Yum! The sign made me want to run right inside, not to eat the chocolate, but to tell them to FIX it! But I refrained and drove to the mall instead.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain Are/Our to you! But here goes anyway:

Our is a pronoun. – When ARE you going to come inside and try OUR new chocolate fountain?

Are is a verb. – Are you going to come inside and try our new chocolate fountain? We promise to be better cooks than grammarians.

Have you seen any funny signs lately? What did they say? Enjoy your day!

Hip Dysplasia


I. am. a. mess.

We found out today that our 15 month old daughter has congenital hip dysplasia and needs surgery within the next month or so. She recently starting walking and has a noticeable limp. She falls down a lot. She can’t run. It’s a little scary to watch her walk, honestly.

A couple of weeks ago we took her to her pediatrician (because hip dysplasia runs in our family and we were worried) and the pediatrician wasn’t overly concerned because she didn’t notice any hip clicks. She gave us a referral to the University of Iowa but said there was no rush. Our appointment with the U was set for SEPTEMBER 28. But my chiropractor said there was a click. So I called the pediatrician last week and asked if we couldn’t expedite the appointment and we were seen today. And they found hip dysplasia – a rare condition that normally affects first born girls – most often breech babies born via c-section.

I’m confused. This is my fourth baby and my third girl. She might have been breech for a short time, but she turned weeks before her birth and was born vaginally head first. I use cloth diapers (they’re supposed to help keep hips in the proper position). I hold her all the time on my hip (also supposed to help keep hips in the proper position). She rarely sat in her infant carrier. And why did I not make a bigger deal out of hip dysplasia with our doctor since there’s family history (my husband’s niece went through this exact same thing at the exact same age 9 years ago).

And I’m mad for feeling sorry for myself. It could be a lot worse.

I know people who have lost babies at 40 weeks gestation.

I know people who have lost babies to SIDS.

I have a friend whose daughter had half of her brain cut out because of uncontrollable seizures.

I saw children in wheelchairs with all kinds of problems while we waited TWO AND A HALF hours for our appointment today.

I feel like I should be happy it’s just her hip and not something more serious. But I’m not. I’m in tears.

I’m wondering how I”m going to relinquish control and let her be taken into an operating room to be cut open.

I’m wondering how I’m going to explain to my walking, climbing one year old, why she’s stuck in a 3/4 body cast and unable to walk or sit or climb.

I’m wondering how I’m going to carry my baby who needs to be held an awful lot and is going to very quickly become a heck of a lot heavier – I’ve read the cast weighs 15 pounds or more. (I had back surgery last year).

I’m wondering if this surgery is going to fix her problem.

I have a lot of questions, but no answers. If you’ve gone through this yourself or with your child, I would love to hear from you. Please email at at [email protected]


Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life

Are you considering cloth diapering, but wondering how it will all work out? These Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life might help ease your concerns!

Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life

Did you know that 28 BILLION disposable diapers are buried in landfills each year in the United States?! That’s a staggering number. I knew before I had my first child that I did not want to add to the trash heap. I was glad when my knowledgeable midwife was able to give me the low-down on cloth diapers and I used them from the get-go. As far as I can tell, the benefits of cloth diapers are many. They can be reused (over and over as I’ve proven by using the same diapers on 4 babies), they save money, and they are non-toxic. But I’m not really going to go into those details in this post. Instead, I’m simply going to show you how I cloth diaper.

Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life

My original guinea pig, now 7 years old, recently diapered the baby. The picture above is her handy-work! While I don’t recommend using cloth diapers like that, I do recommend you give them a shot! They’re not as hard as you might think.

If I can use cloth diapers, almost any one can! I started using cloth diapers when my first daughter was born in 2004. At first I used pre-folds and plastic pants. When I realized cloth diapering wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be, I asked for cloth diapers for Christmas. (I know, right?). But I figured with the money I saved using cloth diapers over disposables, I could buy myself a nice present! And I was right. But I digress. Here’s a photo tutorial of how I make cloth diapers work in my busy life.

First, and most importantly, get a super-cute model… 😉Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life

Next, get a good amount of diapers. Cloth diapering is much harder if you don’t have a large enough supply to avoid having to do laundry every day. It’s hard to keep a baby in clean diapers if you don’t have clean diapers to put her in. And anyway, who wants to do laundry that often?! I have 5-6 dozen, but that’s way too many. 3-4 dozen should be more than sufficient for one baby. I dump my clean diapers into a tote unfolded. I do that because I’m busy, lazy, and it’s easy! I keep the tote of diapers in my bedroom because that’s where I change my baby most often.
Tips for Making Cloth Diapers Work in a Busy Life

This is my baby in my favorite cloth diapers – Mother Ease Cloth One Size Diapers – on my changing pad (please ignore the unsightly stain…) 🙂 I keep the changing pad in my closet next to the tote of diapers at night and pull it out during the day. I leave it on my bed and tuck it back in the closet at night. It’s not ideal, but we’re living in cramped quarters for the time being as we prepare to build a home. She’s such a big help, though,

The Perfect Cowboy Caviar Recipe

A delicious dip, appetizer, or topping, Cowboy Caviar is bursting with fresh flavors from the garden. Featuring fresh herbs, tomatoes, bean, corn and more, this easy recipe is a great way to use up leftovers. It makes a popular potluck side dish too!
Cowboy Caviar

Last week I posted pictures of several of the food dishes we ate! One of them was this Cowboy Caviar. I love this stuff and I made it again today. I am a “by-taste” kind of cook, but today I actually measured out the ingredients so I could share the recipe with you. Here’s my version of Cowboy Caviar:

Cowboy Caviar

5 cups diced tomatoes (I like Romas)
1 chopped red onion
4 cloves crushed garlic
3 diced assorted peppers – I used 1 red bell pepper and 2 green (not quite bell – I’m not sure what the heck they are) peppers
1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
2 cups corn
2 cups black beans
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (I used the seeds but if you want a milder salsa, remove them first. Also, you might want to wear gloves when you chop spicy peppers so you don’t sting your eyes later…)
1 1/2 – 2 tsp salt
juice from 1 lemon

Mix everything together and let the flavors mingle in the fridge for a couple hours before you eat!I think this would also be quite tasty with one or two diced avocados, but I have not actually tried it with them.

Makes about 12 cups.

Ita-daki-masu as they say in Japan! (Similar to bon app

Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato

Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato is a delicious and quick lunch. Made with either homemade or store bought pesto and fresh tomatoes from your garden, you’ll love this sandwich!ingredients for Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato

Today I was a short order cook for lunch! (Some kids wanted plain grilled cheese. Some wanted grilled cheese (sharp cheddar makes a DELISH grilled cheese!) with tomatoes. And the adults wanted the sandwich loaded. And what a lunch!! Grilled cheese on homemade bread with homemade pesto and tomatoes from my garden! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato

It’s super easy to make this – and a great way to use up left over pesto!! Butter one side of your bread and slather pesto on the other. Layer sliced tomatoes and cheese.

add tomato

Arrange everything just so…

cook the Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato in cast iron

Cook in a cast-iron skillet! Yum, yum. 🙂

cook the Grilled Cheese with Pesto & Tomato in cast iron

Do you like grilled cheese sandwiches? What’s your favorite twist on an old stand-by?


Moving the Barn! Really this time… :-)

Have you wondered if it’s possible to move a barn? We got a free barn and today I’m sharing the story of moving the barn! In today’s installment, I share a lot of pictures of how our free barn was moved from an old location to a new home. You can read the other posts in the series here.

getting the barn ready to move

When last I left you with the barn saga, “our” barn was supported and beamed and ready for transport.  We were so excited to move the barn! Every day we waited to hear that today would be the day! But many minor catastrophes happened to delay the actual move date. For THREE weeks we waited. The first two weeks, everyone stayed close to our town.  No one wanted to miss seeing the barn drive off its foundation. Every day we fielded numerous calls. “Did they call?” “Are they coming today?” “When IS that barn going to move?” We had no answers, only more excuses.

Moving the Barn!

The third week, people went back to life. Our extended family started running errands in the Quad Cities and doing the work they had neglected the previous two weeks. Remember the Aug 1 deadline? Well, Aug 1st came and went. Then it was Aug 2nd. Then Aug 3rd. The original owners were getting antsy. They needed it off their property.

On the afternoon of Aug 4, my husband called me: “Be at the barn in 15 minutes. They’re moving it. right. now.” Of course! Everyone was out of town. But not me. I ran with the kids to van and we raced out of town. We arrived at the barn not a moment too soon. For three weeks, we had been kept waiting. And then, for the big event, we had a 10 minute notice?! Patterson and Company were firing up the big rig when I arrived with the kids and the camera.

You can refresh your memory of how the barn looked for the three weeks it was waiting to move with these posts.

Essentially, the barn was cut off its original foundation (which was poured with concrete mixed by hand!), pulled off the foundation, taken across the road, turned 90 degrees, and driven to our property through a maturing bean field (those were some expensive beans we smooshed!). But at least we didn’t have deal with any electric poles.

It was truly an amazing sight. The pictures speak for themselves, so enjoy!

getting the barn ready to move

getting the barn ready to move

getting the barn ready to move


getting the barn ready to move

getting the barn ready to move

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

moving the barn

In case you are wondering what we intend to do with this barn, we are converting it into offices, a showroom, a shop, and storage for our home building / remodeling company, Oak Tree Homes. We hope to have it completed this winter. Stay tuned next week to see how Patterson got it from its temporary location on our property to its new foundation. This was by far the trickiest part of the move!


Should have gone? or Should have went? ~ 5 Minute Grammar Lesson

I haven’t written a 5 Minute Grammar post in a long time…and it’s high time for a new one!

Should have gone or Should have went? Not sure which is grammatically correct? Here's a quick five-minute grammar lessons to teach you!

I’m not sure if my topic today is an Iowa-ism, or a common problem, but I hear it so often here in Iowa, it grates on me. Even my own dear hubs gets this one wrong, which is confusing to me. I don’t remember him saying this before we moved to Iowa in 2006 – but as often as I hear it now – and as many times as I have “gently” (and not so gently) corrected him – it must be normal to him or he would fix it. 🙁

Should have gone or Should have went?

Which is right?

I should have gone to the store.


I should have went to store.

If you chose #2, you’re WRONG!  If you chose #1, you’re RIGHT!


If you got it right, pat yourself on the shoulder (or your back if you can reach it…)! 🙂

The nitty gritty for this particular grammar rule involves irregular verbs and past participles. If you really care, read this.

Otherwise, please trust me. I teach College Composition. I have a Master’s Degree in English. Never, ever, ever, ever say “I SHOULD HAVE WENT.”  Or, for that matter, never put have and went together in any construction. Have and Went never go next to each other in educated English.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Enjoy!

Is the correct phrase should have gone or should have went? Learn which is correct and why!

More grammar posts you may like:

Your welcome or You’re welcome?

How to make the word PEOPLE possessive

Bias or Biased?

Do to or Due to?

Less or Fewer?

If you’re looking for helpful grammar resources, here are my top picks:

Grammarly – Instantly fix over 250 types of errors with this free web-based grammar checker!

Strunk & White Elements of Style

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation 

The Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing


Price-Matching List 8/17

Here are the best deals I see this week. I print this list out and take it and the ads with me when I go grocery shopping. It’s super easy to use this list to price-match at Walmart or Fareway, or it lets me know what I think are the cheapest weekly items if I shop elsewhere. Sticking mostly to loss leaders, and buying enough of the non-perishable items to last me through until the next sale is one way I keep my grocery budget low.

At Adli ~

  • Green & Red Grapes – 79 cents / lb
  • Peaches, Plums & Nectarines – 29 cents ea
  • Seedless Watermelon – $2.99 ea

At Fareway ~

  • Georgia Peaches – 69 cents / lb (this might be cheaper than Aldi’s price)
  • Celery Stalk – 88 cents ea
  • Bone in Chicken Breasts – 88 cents / lb
  • Bartlett Pears – 99 cents / lb

At HyVee ~

  • *2 Day Sale – Thurs & Fri only
  • *Bananas – 39 cents / lb
  • *HyVee Cottage Cheese 99 cents ea / 24 ounces
  • *HyVee Cereal – 99 cents ea
  • *10% off all the frozen items you can fit into one sack! – Might be a good time to stock of frozen organics that it’s hard to find coupons for!
  • Green Cabbage – 49 cents / lb
  • Cucumbers – 59 cents ea
  • Green Beans – 1.28 / lb
  • Fresh Cilantro – 2 for $1
  • Red Onions – 88 cents / lb
  • Jalapeno Peppers – 88 cents / lb
  • Roma Tomatoes – 88 cents / lb
  • Plums – 99 cents / lb

What are the best deals you see?




My Helpful Sink


There are probably a million safety reasons for me to be schwacked for using my sink in this manner, but sometimes when I’m busy cooking, my sink is my best friend –

~ it amuses my 15 month old
~ it keeps her contained
~ it bathes her and washes her clothes
~ it helps her mop my floor… :-/

Mind you, I don’t stick her in there and then run off to other areas of the house. I stay close at hand to make sure she sits right there. And sit she does. I leave the water on a trickle and give her some plastic bowls and spoons to play with, and she lets me work.

Am I the only weird person, or do some of you do this too?

I’m sharing this over at Works for Me Wednesday.

Italian Zucchini Pie

Italian Zucchini Pie

Looking for a great way to use up zucchini? This is a fabulous recipe for Italian Zucchini Pie. It’s a twist on both zucchini and pie. It’s great fresh and freezes well too! This recipe was originally given to me by a good friend with an enormous organic garden and orchard in Southwestern Missouri.

Italian Zucchini Pie

Yield: 8 pieces

Italian Zucchini Pie

Italian Zucchini Pie
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 4 cups sliced (or shredded) zucchini
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup butter (or oil)
  • 2 Tbs parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (I usually use "real" crushed garlic)
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 9" pie shell


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a 10" skillet, cook the zucchini, onions, and garlic (if using fresh) in butter and/or oil until tender (about 10 minutes).
  3. Stir in the parsley and seasonings. In a large bowl, blend the eggs and cheese together and stir into the veggie mix.
  4. Prepare the crust and spread mustard on the crust.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

I have frozen these in years with bumper zucchini crops and intend to freeze a couple this week. I freeze them before baking and then just pop them in the oven while they are still frozen and bake for 34-40 minutes.

Yum! Enjoy. This recipe is shared at Life As Mom, Real Food Forager, Simple Lives Thursday and  Food Renegade. For more yummy ideas, check out their blogs!