Blood, Death, and Puke.

20160209_165527000_iOS (2)That is the criteria.  When the bathroom door is closed.  When the bedroom door is closed.  When the office door is closed.  Do NOT dare knock on that door unless there is

Blood.  Death.  Or Puke.

It is simple really.  As much as I adore my dear girls, there are days and then there are DAYS.

So there I was, locked in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of the bathtub for probably the fifth time that time that day, nearly in a state of catatonia, daydreaming of what it must like to have peace and quiet for five whole minutes.  Or to actually complete an entire thought without a minor crisis.  Or to have…

Knock, knock.

I bellowed the familiar mantra, “Blood.  Death.  Or puke.  If none of that is currently happening to someone in this house, I am confident you can handle yourself for another five minutes.”

And then I heard The Man’s voice, “Are YOU okay?

“Of course.  Why would you ask such a thing?”

“Because you have literally been in the bathroom ALL.  Day.  Like so literally.”

And he was right.  Because I was hiding.  From the house.  Responsibility.  Parenting.  I mean, that’s normal, right?

Everyone always says “Ohhhhh, FOUR girls???”  And they are always smirking.  “Just wait until they are teenagers. *insert evil laugh*”  And I have always wanted to just give those haughty women a little speech about how awesome I am at raising sweet little ladies and that crap junk is so not even on my radar.  (Sorry, that I just wrote crap junk, but I gotta be real for a moment.)

And then it happened.  Earlier than I expected.  I mean Peanut and Ladybug are now 12 and 9, respectively.  But they may as well be 13 and 16, because most days I believe I will go certifiably insane from the drama.  I could be wrong, but I positively do not remember this level of drama at 12 and 9.  Seriously, when I was that age, all I really cared about was New Kids on the Block, sky-high bangs, and Crystal Pepsi.  Easy peasy. 

And while Lovey has seemingly grown out of her taste for deodorant, she still enjoys a Chapstick every now and again.  And like a good big sister, she has lovingly trained Cupcake in her sordid ways.  Poison control is still on my speed dial.

But then those sweet four decided it was spa night for Mama and they gave me the makeover of the century.  They are either apologizing or preparing me for something.  Either way, it’s been a long week so I’ll take it. With coffee and a smidge of sugar, of course.


Love & Coffee.


Please leave a comment and
continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

Sweet Freedom.

20160318_142814000_iOS (2)Hear me, Friends:  Sweet freedom is upon me!  How refreshing to be out from under the weight of a heavy academic schedule!  There is a very good reason you should undertake (and finish!) such things when you are young and unobligated.

It has taken every ounce of everything just to survive these last few months and the idea of a summer break with which my brain can rest is of epic proportions.


I look forward to beautiful things like:


Recreational reading.

Early morning walks.

Pre-dawn coffee with a book I ENJOY.

Embarrassing the heck out of Ladybug, Lovey, and Cupcake at every ball game.  (Yes, I am THAT mom.)

Digging into the massive pile of begging-to-be-read subscription magazines on the floor next to my desk.

Art projects with Peanut. (Who really is NOT a peanut anymore.  *tears*)


Heck, I might even reacquaint myself with The Man!

(Also, tackling the incredibly disturbing laundry mountain should probably be on this list.) 


On school, the end is sight.  But until August, I surely plan to squeeze every ounce of sunshine, delight, and utter awesomeness out of summer that I can.  And there will be loads of coffee to make it all happen.


So friends, consider this fair warning:  We are BACK IN BUSINESS!  And I could not be happier.

Love & Coffee.

Continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

In bleakest midwinter.

20150201_170538882_iOSIt is that time. The bleak season where all seems cold, dark, and barren, but hope for change and warmth crouches imminently around the bend. Chilly mornings spent coddling the incandescence of a familiar coffee mug in my hands give way to thoughts of all sorts of dreams.

The kids are back at school and oh, how my heart pines for their company. Two weeks of Christmas break are simply not enough. I am not sure my heart or my head were ready for this public school thing. (That whole topic will undoubtedly be featured in a forthcoming post.) I am one of those moms that never really gets tired of having the kids around.

Yes, there is drama. (Adolescence is upon us, Friends.) Yes, I did unintentionally give her exactly two more Cheez-Its than you and wait… you counted??? And yes, Lovey ate Ladybug’s lip gloss. Again. But you know what? We are growing and thriving and experiencing life together. And it is not perfect. Ever. But feeling alive together and embracing every teachable moment is precious no matter what.

Cupcake and I are attempting to hold down the homestead alone by baking up a storm of things to store away in the freezer, snuggling sweet Gunner for epic Max & Ruby marathons, and you know, dancing in the kitchen as usual. I have exactly one week until a full schedule of classes rears its ugly head once again and life will be immeasurably consuming. Since August, this horrifying schedule has created a culture of an entirely devastating menu cycle that goes something like this:




Frozen pizza




(Shameful, right?)

Along with the usual resolutions, hopes, and dreams that are customary come January 1, I have quite intentionally instituted one more: COOK! Good things. Dreamy things. Melt-in-your-mouth things. Healthy things.

Cook. ALL. The. Things.

It is January 5 and so far we have graced our table with Grandpa’s Special Recipe Banana Bread, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, Homemade Macaroni, Chicken Marsala, and Chicken Pasta Salad. I invested some Christmas money into a new cookbook (Pioneer Woman, how I love thee!) just to make things interesting. Life might be busier than heck, but gosh darn it, this family is gonna eat GOOD.

(Technically that should say “well,” but who am I kidding? Sometimes good grammar just doesn’t have the same punch to it. Oops. And I snuck a contraction in there, too. But I digress.)

Do you ever just feel like something amazing and different is coming? That is exactly what I feel, although I could not exactly tell you why. Let me sip some more and mull that over a bit longer…

Happy New Year, Friends!

Love & Coffee.


Continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

What. Is. Happening?

pumpkins 2

Pumpkins for days…

Everything! Just everything. In an interesting turn of events, we have dealt with five surgeries in our family since January:  One for The Man and four for me.  (In case you are worried… we are all good now.)

In spite of this bevy of medical necessities we managed to get a few things done like:

Planting a gargantuan garden, roughly the size a gymnasium. (What were we thinking?) Tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, green beans, onions, herbs, corn, peppers, lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, and more. And oh, the potatoes. After my surgeries, The Man fabulously took care of me… and not the garden. (Good choice.) So we navigated the jungle formerly known as the garden, harvesting a little something here and there. The garden yielded a small bucket of tomatoes, although it appears that most of them fell prey to an intruder.

The herb garden near the house would have been mostly okay if our loveable dog had not tromped it to pieces as he claimed it for his personal dumping ground.

And then… our saving grace: The pumpkins! Despite our absence, they completely took over everything, climbing the fence and reaching into the farmer’s neighboring corn field. (Oops!) Pumpkins for days

And we landscaped around the house. I voraciously planted varieties of flower bulbs, most of which never came up. *sigh*  The hastas I transplanted from my parent’s home 2 years ago mysteriously made an appearance this year. (Go figure.)  One canna made a grand late entrance just as August ended. I mourned my determined rose bush, that The Man decided “had to go.” (I loved the gangly thing, in spite of its unfortunate position blocking the furnace vent on the side of the house.)

The day lilies, tiger lilies, and yucca did not disappoint. (You know, the only growing things that require absolutely zero attention from me.) The cats have all but gone due to a furry addition the family, our perfect-in-every-way Beagle… Gunner(More on him later.)

And still NO chickens.

Peanut is grown and mostly too cool for me. Ladybug has developed an even keener fashion sense. Lovey has finally outgrown her taste for deodorant and now collects all the things. (Seriously… ALL of the things.)  And Cupcake? Well, I call it a good day when I can get her to wear pants. The Man is altogether amazing and believe it or not… pining for chickens.

What about me, you say? Chasing dreams and barely finding time to write. (The horror!) I am finally doing what I never thought I would do:

Back. To. School.

And by back to school, I should also add this:

Full. Time.

Which basically means I am crazy, the sky is falling, and there is no sleep in the foreseeable future.  But I miss writing here oh-so-much.  So although I am profoundly preoccupied analyzing The Mayflower Compact and conducting research for a project on female adolescence, I have decided that I simply must sacrifice a bit more sleep so I can write about all the things I love most.

Life at the homestead has been besieged by transitions, changes, and new adventures, all of which I fully intend to share in the coming days and weeks. It’s a new a season for all of us, but this I know: My heart is happy, the sun still comes up, and the coffee is flowing.

Love & Coffee.

(P.S.  Check out the new and improved About page where you can find out more about all of us, including our newish pup, Gunner!)


Continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

For the Birds, Part 5

Fresh eggsThat particular October morning was especially crisp.  We all had business in town so the day was more harried than most.  I was up early packing lunch boxes for the day, preparing breakfast, and getting a head start on the monstrous pile of laundry.  After waking the girls for the third time (at least), they scuttled down the stairs for a quick bite to eat.  I readied Cupcake and we scooted out the door, leaving a treat for Clover and blowing kisses as we left.  Of course, getting everyone situated into the van sometimes takes a considerable amount of time.  The girls have to decide whose turn it is to sit by Cupcake, consequently move Lovey’s booster seat, buckle up, and settle in for the twenty minute drive to town.

We.  Were.  Off

I dropped the big girls off at the school, while Cupcake and I set out to run errands.  We did all sorts of things that day:  The Post Office.  The copy store.  The gas station. The grocery.  And, of course, the five and dime for a little treat. We concluded our list of errands with Walmart.  Errands now done, I emerged from the store feeling exceedingly accomplished for the day.  We were done early and Cupcake and I had time to kill before our next appointment.

walmart clover 1

Chicken on the run at Walmart.

As we approached our van, however, my attention was drawn across the parking lot, 2 lanes over.  I could not be entirely sure, but there appeared to be a chicken standing there.  And not just any chicken.  It appeared to be a buttery yellow Buff Orpington, which I would only know because the only sort of chickens I have ever had in life have been Buff Orpingtons.  I chuckled as I thought to myself, why on earth would someone bring their chicken to town?  Poor thing.  For just a moment, my thoughts meandered, “Could it be…  No, Impossible. Absolutely not.”  And the idea was completely shelved.

I took my time buckling Cupcake into her car seat and loading my bags into the van, eyes never moving from the chicken.  She wandered, seemingly dazed and confused.  I had to take a picture.  Or two.  The Man was in an important meeting, but surely he would get a kick out of this.  I texted him right away.  “You’ll never believe it…”

I shimmied into the driver’s seat and watched the drama unfold, as I had nothing pressing to do for another hour and this was free entertainment.  A woman approached the chicken, the chicken sidled right up to her, and I could hear her say, “She seems very friendly!”  Soon after, the friendly fowl was drawing a crowd.  The Walmart army was not far behind, with their cumbersome walkie-talkie contraptions in hand.  I overheard words like “authorities” and “animal control.”  I found myself wishing for extra-buttery popcorn… this was getting good!  (And had the potential to become a fabulous story for my blog.)

My phone sprung to life.  I was hoping for The Man.  It was not.  I answered anyway.  I unenthusiastically listened to the caller yammer on about something or another, managing to utter just enough “yes”-es and “uh-huh”s to create the illusion of communication while I monitored the situation.

Then, a police car appeared on the scene… and unexpectedly great sorrow welled up within.  What would happen to this sweet, disoriented bird?  Should I offer to take her in?  Wouldn’t Clover just love to have a friend?  But how would I get her home? I had nothing suitable for transport and yet another engagement before we could head back to the homestead.  I decided I could not watch.  I started the van and drove away.  Quickly.

As I sped away, my phone rang again only this time it was the call I hoped for.   The Man.  Before I could utter a word, he started in, “Why in the world did you bring the chicken to town?”

Taken aback at such a charge, I replied, “I most certainly do not know what you’re talking about.  Clover is at home.”

Are you blind??? That is our chicken!” he insisted.  Well, for someone who was still pretty irritated about the chicken, I guess he had been paying more attention than I realized.  But I was unmoved.

Maybe I am still not country enough, because there certainly seems to be no difference between one chicken or another to me.  And certainly not with Buff Orpingtons.  And certainly not in the Walmart parking lot from two lanes over.

We bantered a bit more, hung up the phone, and I moved on with my day, confident Clover would come running to greet me upon my arrival at home.

But to my utter astonishment… She.  Did.  Not.  Come.  And The Man gloated that he was right.  And I have nearly lost my marbles trying to figure out how a full-grown hen could hitch a ride to town in a van full of giggling girls, ride around for two hours worth of errands, and not be noticed.

Tell.  Me.  How???

And quite unwittingly, I watched.  And photographed.  And laughed.

So two and half years.  Twenty-four chickens.  And the adventure has abruptly come to a halt.  For now.  It seems destiny to buy my eggs at the corner market.  Perhaps this year we’ll try gardening instead.

BONUS Material: 

Three days before Clover’s final disappearance, she cleverly photo-bombed our Christmas card photo shoot.  This memorable photo was the centerpiece of our Christmas card and now hangs on the family room wall.

Thanks for the memories, Clover!


Love & Coffee.

If you missed out, you can catch up here: 

For the Birds, Part 1. 

For the Birds, Part 2.

For the Birds, Part 3.

For the Birds, Part 4.

Can’t get enough of the chickens? You can read about our previous flock here: 

Counting Chickens

Love & Coffee!

Continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

For the Birds, Part 4

feather on a white backgroundThere.  She.  Was.

Plump, spry, and happy as can be, Clover was once again roosting on the patio table and sullying the deck.  Upon closer inspection, I found that she was missing a small patch of feathers from her neck. If there were any doubt before, it certainly took leave: Something was truly after the bird.  Clover cheated death.  And won.  Every time.  It seemed she was destined for greatness.

My sweet girls were over-the-moon to have her back. They chased her, fed her, coddled her, and just loved her to pieces. Clover again kept me company as I hung the laundry, retrieved the mail, and performed the outside chores.  The homestead felt just a bit fuller.  Even my coffee seemed sweeter.

On the other hand, The Man was less than thrilled.  I think he even grunted.  Maybe twice.  Still jaded, he threatened, spinning tales of savory chicken dinner slow-cooked over the fire.  He did not think she could survive the forthcoming Iowa winter.  I disagreed. The hearty bird had already proven she had nine lives.  And then some.  It seemed we could never truly consider her down for the count.

Weeks passed, summer faded, and Clover was happy.  She sat at my side, warming my feet, as I sipped my coffee each cool, autumn morning.  Scrubbing the deck became a regular chore.  Again.  And the big girls fought over who would feed her each day. Life was a peach.

But no one could have imagined what happened next…


Stop by tomorrow for Part 5, the finale!

If you missed out, you can catch up here: 

For the Birds, Part 1. 

For the Birds, Part 2.

For the Birds, Part 3.

Can’t get enough of the chickens? You can read about our previous flock here: 

Counting Chickens

Love & Coffee!

Continue the coffee love by joining my Facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.

For the Birds, Part 3

broken eggshell  isolated on white backgroundOne morning, she did not come.

I opened the door and she simply was not there. No soft clucking.  No feathery fluff milling about my feet.  No foul offering to step into.

I called for her. I cackled. I hooted. I hollered. Nothing. Silence. There was no sign of our quirky bird. That was it. She was gone. And the homestead suddenly became hauntingly empty. I vaguely recalled that the evening before, the neighbor’s two large bully dogs were once again roaming free near our place. I could only imagine the worst.

Days passed. Into weeks. Clover was still gone. On a whim, The Man decided to give the garage a good, thorough cleaning. And to our bewilderment, he found eggs. Piles of them! All over the place. That clever, old girl was doing her job all along. But it no longer mattered.

Nearly three weeks had passed. The Man and I were soundly sleeping when an awful, deafening sound arose from the deck area just off the kitchen. I bolted upright and looked at the clock. 2:00 am. I could not be sure, but that ghastly noise sounded something like a chicken in distress. Or the zombie apocalypse. But the former seemed a trifle more possible.  Although, I really could not be certain since I had never before actually heard… anything quite so terrible.

I woke The Man. “Do you hear that ghastly racket?

“Yes,” he muttered, eyes still closed.

Does it sound like… a chicken?“.

“Yes,” he repeated, not moving.  At this point, I was pretty sure the situation called for some investigation.

Should…. someone check?” I asked sweetly, hoping to stir him into action.

“Yes,” once more, lifeless.  Clearly, The Man was still bitter about the turn of events surrounding our attempts at raising chickens and remained unmoved at the plight of one discombobulated chicken.  I reached for my robe and slippers and steeled myself for whatever horror it might be.

Do I… need a gun?”  

Silence from The Man, accompanied by a minimal snore.

I am not sure why I thought a gun would seem appropriate, but the mere oddity of a the situation seemed to call for it. I opted for a baseball bat and a Mag Light.

I crept out to the kitchen to investigate and as I pulled back the window covering, I gasped in surprise. Clover!!?? There she was pacing the deck with maddening speed, squawking like a banchee, and while clearly alarmed, she appeared to be alone and intact. Perhaps she was very hungry? Or thirsty? After all, God only knows where the poor bird had been for three long weeks. I rummaged around the refrigerator to find a few choice morsels along with some fresh water for my sweet hen and placed them in a dish outside. But she would not have it. Clover continued her blaring routine, wearing a path into the already weathered wood. (I am certain every neighboring farm within a five-mile radius was now awake and hurling curses in our general direction.) 

The countryside by cloak of night is an impossible thing. I could see no predator, but Clover insisted quite to the contrary. I could do nothing more, and since there was no calming her, I reluctantly left her to her routine.  I halfheartedly prayed that she would be there in the morning. But perhaps I was dreaming? I returned to bed.

And the next morning…


Cozy up, bring coffee, and come back tomorrow for Part 4!

If you missed out, you can catch up here: 

For the Birds, Part 1. 

For the Birds, Part 2.

Can’t get enough of the chickens? You can read about our previous flock here: 

Counting Chickens

Love & Coffee!

Continue the coffee love by joining my facebook page:
Like what you see?  Share this page with your your favorites.  Or not-so-favorites.  Or anyone really…  Let’s all be friends.