Wednesday, September 30, 2015


A while back, my friend Carol blogged about her purging challenge. One thing out the door on the first of the month, two things on the second and so on. At the end of a 30 day month, 471 (as long as my fingers worked in the calculator) items should leave the house. 

Then one of my dear sisters invited me to a challenge to do the same. 

In the middle of my busy existence, doing each day's purge was not an option so I worked with it. 
The day I found 16 books I put it on the list next to the 16th of September. 

In the end ... the stuff went and that's what counts. 

Some of these things are just whatever junk. I really can't figure out where all the containers went for these leftover lids. Serious!! I didn't cheat and take multiple photos of the same lids.
And here is where the challenge comes with my purging. Some people might just grab and throw ... I can't do that with all things.

The photo below (as well as the one above) shows cards and messages from both mine and Jari's 50th birthday parties. Yup. Sentimental me kept them. And before I could toss them out, I scanned them into the computer to make a Shutterfly book. That was Friday evenings activity last week. I live such a wildly exciting existence when I'm home alone!

The bottom right hand corner of the same group of photos includes a pile of magazines with loose pages on top. Same thing with that quick toss. Country Living  magazine is my favorite ever. It is the only one that I keep renewing for sure. So I page thru each one, tear out the pages and scan them into my computer. Tedious? It is. But it works. I get to hang on to the things I like to dream about and the newsprint leaves the house. 

And ... if I put those files like "Recipes" and "Crafting" on google drive ... I have them at my fingertips all the time. Because, realistically, my phone is never far away from me.
I'm skipping one of the 5 days of pictures here. It included boxes. From a keyboard purchase at least 10 years ago? From a printer we no longer own?! Serious issues. 

I could do another whole month of this stuff but it's too stressful. I did get rid of a few other things as well. Scrubs no longer worn to work became 1" strips for rug making. Old duvets did the same. This shower curtain was suppose to be more blue for the sake of the rug but the fabric obviously didn't react well with the navy dye and turned purple instead. I'll probably look at it for a while and then pitch that too. Because it didn't stay this nice shade of purple after it went through a cold rinse cycle in the washing machine. At least the bottle of Rit is gone!

A few corners are a little emptier and I'm working on others. 

There is hope!!
Then there are kids' baby boxes, baby books, photo boxes, home videos ....
All the stuff I cart around in life that is invaluable to me. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

I didn't even go on vacation ...

Just got might busy living life. 

Several weekends ago I took off for the weekend, attending the annual Mothers Camp at Kamp Kipa. For at least the last 4 years that I've been back in Phoenix, our car ride starts with the same four ladies and usually has others added in ... changing every year. This year the twins joined our ride and were golden! 

As is typical for us, we leave rather early on Friday and round up riders. There is always a stop for Starbucks, usually at least one stop to pick up a Swip Swap item and then up the hill. We tried a new lunch spot this time. Not really my thing but fresh and sustaining! Then off to the mall. 
(These pictures are seriously out of order!) The mall visit always includes a visit to the massage people. I sort of got guilted into a 20 minute chair massage instead of the hoped for 30 but I'm spoiled in that department anyway. The mom of twins was much more deserving.

We made it to camp for a wonderful and refreshing weekend. The fellowship and discussions were blessed. The craft got done and we had some bang up help with it! 

I absolutely love this camp and can't imagine not attending. I really don't think I've missed one since I've become a mom.

A Starbucks stop in Prescott on the way home for one more round of yammering and on to daily life. 
The Thursday after Mothers Camp we joined in celebrating the first birthday of one of the cutest little men on earth. Once he got going on that frosting he had it down! Happy Birthday sweetie!
Another Friday dawned and we were packed and ready to go again. This time to Youth Days at Kipa. Youth Days is aged 15 and up singles (or others) who attend. We love this camp and have been able to attend most of them in some capacity. Jari joins me in the kitchen if he doesn't have other duties to attend to. He is an awesome pancake flipper and did a bangup job of fried rice in the grill for 100ish folks. Yup. He has a lifetime job. 

And then there is my friend Ronda who claims not to be able to navigate a kitchen. Wrong! I'm thinking she might need a Hobart mixer for a housewarming gift should she buy some real estate. I'm sure she will be thrilled.
In between our runs up the mountain, I've worked at my real job and spent some time helping folks eliminate their allergies. It's been a bit hopping around here. Not a whole lot of time to sit and update a blog. Sad. Really. 

In fact, I'm typing this on my phone as I sit in a parking lot in Cave Creek. Keep waiting for law enforcement of some kind to come and see what I'm doing. I went back up the hill today to spend the afternoon with Jari. He has been working up there for the past week and today happens to be the 30th anniversary of the day we started courting. That day we went to Sedona for the day. Today we managed a few hours of togetherness in the afternoon. 

It's looking hopeful that I'll be back on here this week but don't hold me to that!

Monday, September 7, 2015

this past week

was one of those crazy busy ones.
I don't know what happened, but I know it did!
I grocery shopped and had these wonderful meals planned for the entire week, even trying some new recipes off Pinterest.
I only had time to make dinner once this week.
That kind of week.
I've joined the madness of a group that is decluttering their lives and homes the month of September. In case you don't know what that is ... you get rid of 1 thing on the 1st, 2 things on the 2nd etc. I know I have things to get rid of, but I'm a repurposer of the highest order so getting rid of some things just isn't a possibility.
However, I bought these at a yard sale a while back and they're creepy enough to some of my kids ... they went out the door.
Platters left over from Anna's wedding nearly two years ago ... out the door.
I have more junk, piled into piles and waiting to leave. Yeah!! My pile is sitting behind the couch waiting to hit my trunk, but its getting closer to the trunk!
Being as I'm me, I can't just purge.
I think I sort of have to replace the purging.
I know what I'm doing with this, a spring for a crib, but the fact that I picked it up in the middle of purging ... and paid way too much for it ... was a bit frustrating. I got to that point with grocery shopping and couponing and had to quit. Now, apparently, I'm having issues with this kind of stuff!
But wait until you see it finished!!

Uh oh. Looks like I've had babies in my backseat dripping milk bottles or something.
Thursday evening the girls and I headed up the hill to Juha & Annette's to celebrate Gina's bridal shower. There was a bit of a traffic accident and we sat on the freeway for an extra hour, but fun it was! We sang ... we laughed ... and eventually we had to use our t.p. supply on the side of a dark road in the wind. Add more laughing.

Thursday the valley of the sun had some massive dust storms blow in. It sort of followed us up the hill ...

and I hoped no one had laundry on the line because I couldn't come up with a name for the scent.
Friday I ended up working and couldn't go in until around noon. So I headed for SAS Fabrics ... my go to place for reupholstering camper cushions.
We got another one. A better deal this time around with a whole lot less work needed!
This isn't the color scheme I was hoping for, but it is what I found.
And being as I'm a cheap skate .... the camper is going purples and tans this time around.
I dreamed up the curtain ideas sometime late last evening. Oh. My. Gosh. They are going to be darling!
I am not an IKEA shopper. I go there once ever two years or so. Friday was the once. We've been feeding babies around this house in most interesting ways while I've been looking for a "cute" high chair. I've scoured build it yourself ideas, Craigslist, all that good stuff. Haven't found anything that called my name. For $20 ... my littles can eat and not climb on the kitchen table anymore!
I also remembered my main reason for going there ... crafting project coming up next weekend at Kamp! Photos later if I remember to take any.

Saturday afternoon my hubby donned a tie (gasp!) and we celebrated in the marriage of Mo and Sara. Bad photo of a beautiful couple on their wedding day.
Being as the wedding was at 2:30 and the week had been busy, we stayed home for the evening and I started ripping apart camper cushions.
And I finished ripping them apart.

Then using the old fabric as pattern pieces, the new stuff was all cut out.
New needles for the sewing machine are bought and thread spools are ready to start spinning!

Bring on Monday!
It is Labor Day after all , isn't it?

Happy holiday and be safe!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

verde river: day 3

Sunday morning dawned just as beautiful as Saturday morning had. We had seriously camped at the rivers edge, leaving our tent open to the star filled sky. I did have a thought of trying to get a picture of it but was too tired to even reach for my phone. It was a bit warm at night, finally cooling off enough to pull a sleeping bag over you sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning.
Our luxury air mattresses weren't so luxury after all. The first night they worked. The second night, Jari's pillow remained inflated, mine didn't. The body of my mattress stayed inflated, Jari's didn't. Must start garage saling for some other options.


I tested the little to go cups of oatmeal before I left and couldn't tolerate them. I am a new fan of oatmeal but folks sort of accuse me of eating "dessert" for breakfast. It's that good by the time I'm done adding things and messing with it. Ice cream wasn't an option on this jaunt, so Mountain House it was and I have to say it wasn't bad. The eggs sort of reminded me of a hotel continental breakfast! Except the part where I wondered if I had chipped a tooth and then realized that it was grains of sand I was trying to swish around my mouth. Definitely not hotel quality in that forkful!

That red/black backpack in the background carried all of our food with the exception of the meat we ate on the first evening. It is amazing what you can pack in a bag. Not only did it hold food, it was the toilet paper supply, the water additives/coffee supply, the weapon I don't know how to shoot, the headlamps that we needed to find anything in the dark. Serious. That thing was heavy but filled to the brim.

I should have taken a photo of the inside of the cooler. It just held water bottles which we filled and refilled and refilled.

The jet boil is my serious friend. We also had along a propane one burner stove that I would leave at home next time. The jet boil works so fast and, had we taken one other piece along, would have served just as well for heating our dinner. Starbucks Pike Place coming up for this mama!

I did have a moment of yearning when I noticed this on the tent! A very brief moment.

Sometime early in the first day, the tent poles for Dean & Keilah's tent went for a one way swim down the Verde. The first night the guys fashioned sticks into quite workable tent poles. The second night it was a bit darker when we were trying to get this camp set up. Paddles strapped together, with one end to the tree did the trick!

Water, water, water. It was warm and we needed to stay hydrated. We had along a water purifying thingamajig. The first day we had some pretty clear water, but after that we were pulling dark colored water out of the Verde and filtering it into our bottles. The stone filter needed some scrubbing once in a while, but it worked great.

Getting ready to roll. Jari woke this morning not feeling good at all. He is sick. Not sure if it is the heat from the day before or the toothache he is nursing. He's flushing in ibuprofen and I'm pushing fluids, but he feels like puking. One foot in front of the other ... one paddle stroke after another .... it is time to roll. There is no other way out of here but down the river.

Beautiful placid waters. We followed herons for a good many miles. I don't know how many there were, but at times it felt like they were leading us down the river. We would see one perched and waiting. As we approached, sometimes getting rather close, they would take flight moving on down the river. Soon we would see another as if they were waiting for us.

This morning we're booking along in some places ....

so thankful for a brief moment of shade in others.

Appreciating the landscape as it changes ...

wading our way through the murky waters at times. This stuff was probably moving backwards it was so still.

Then there were these kinds of spots. It really made me wonder what happens if the river is running twice as fast. Will you just glide over some of these trees or just have deeper waters to navigate when you have to scuttle around them on foot. That isn't water in the top of the photo ... it is sky. The water is down somewhere in the lower part of the photo. I do see a humanoid kind of being who made it through ahead of me! There is hope!! Actually, this might be the place where Dean and Keilah went to the left and we went to the right ....

and we all ended up navigating this! Before I tell you about this, let me first share that I am not exactly a balanced person. Mentally, I think I'm okay. Physically, not so much. You will never catch me doing a balancing act on anything. I'm wobbly. Plain and simple. I wish I had stopped to grab a photo at the beginning of this little stretch. On FB, I called this the tunnel or terror or something like that. A passage that was barely wide enough for the kayak to pass in. Green growth of some kind that stretched up to the heavens on either side of us. Water that was ripping down through this stuff to what we hoped was the river. When water is flowing at that speed ... it has to be heading to someplace we want to be. Thankful (many times during this trip) for the handles on the kayak that help me keep standing upright, it was one foot in front of the other. And, finally, there was this blessed sunshine at the end ... and the river looking mighty fine!

Sometime before we came to this spot below, we found what must have been the Honey Tree. It was marked on the map like so many other landmarks and I think that tree and I now qualify for having a very close relationship. Jari had gone down that particular rapid first and he was yelling something back to us. We usually had a heads up that went something like "Oh Boy!!". The yell from the front runner usually keyed us into whether we should proceed or get out and walk. This time the water was loud and I couldn't understand what he was yelling. So I did the logical thing and went for it. Between the spot where I started down and the spot where Jari was stuck in a whirlpool, or eddy, at the bottom, spinning circles, was the Honey Tree. It sat there in the water with the trunk upright and this lovely big branch veering off to the right. It probably wouldn't have been bad if the waters path didn't head straight toward the V in that tree and if I wasn't zipping along unable to do anything about it. So, I found the Honey Tree. The inflatable (thank goodness at this point!) kayak landed on the middle of that branch with half draped over each side, myself inside the kayak and the water making dislodging it nearly impossible but trying really hard to get at me. I don't know how, but somehow I got out and Dean got that boat of mine off that Honey Tree. Yikers!

It was one challenge after another. We're tired by this point and ready to see Sheeps Bridge. We have missed any landmarks that we're looking for to tell us that we're getting close. We have to be! And then we came to this little humdinger. It looks totally doable but past that little smooth bit of water is a serious kayak dumper just waiting to grab us and dump us. It is bad enough and moving fast enough that it has to be navigated another way. After much contemplation and attempting, the inflatables are floated down to the flat spot on ropes and other hard ones are carried around by rock filled earth. As we were playing with this little spot of the river, I had the hope that this was the last one ... that we were ending this stretch with a bang.

And we did!! The sight of Sheeps Bridge looming in the air had to be the most glorious thing I had seen for several days. We have been to this spot many times by land, traveling over miles of bumpy terrain to camp out here as lately as last year. Last year I said I'd never drive the road in there again. It was absolutely awful! We could have been picked up here, but I know the trip in and out is horrendous and wouldn't ask anyone to make that drive for us. We ate. We swam for a bit.

Dean attempted the rope swing ...

and we buckled down for the last 10 miles. While I've camped out here, I've never seen this part of the water. Gorgeous!! The storm was brewing behind us and the clouds looked wonderful. The air was a tad toasty and some rain drops would have felt blissful.

We found some shade for a moments rest. Had my brain cells been functioning, I would have climbed into Jari's 2 person kayak and we could have towed mine. He was not feeling good and still offering to tow me when I was tired. What a guy. And a dolt of a wife.

This may have been the last place we had to get out and move over some low waters. Jari emptied the accumulated water out of kayak, making the ride a little lighter. The scenery is stunning in this stretch of space before we hit the flat water that keeps us paddling and paddling and paddling to get to the large part of the lake.

We were about half way across the lake when the rain started. It started with light drops that felt good on parched skin and the water was relatively calm. I don't know how much further we had to go when the white caps started appearing on the lake and the wind started pushing us toward shore. Thank goodness it wasn't pushing the other way. As it was, I was having a hard time keeping myself moving in the right direction. By the time I was abreast of that tan piece of dirt on the left, I was counting paddle strokes by tens. "Maybe I'll reach 100 by the time I hit the end of this stretch." The closer the shore got, the harder it was to paddle. 42 miles of strength building and it was kicking my butt. We made it off the lake and the rain drops started to feel like hail they were so big. Anna and Wylon (with Wyatt) came out to get us. We loaded stuff in pouring rain, hopped in cars with soaking wet clothes and headed straight to a drive thru for burgers! (Photo below courtesy of Anna)

I never expected to even attempt this sort of thing yet alone complete it. I said I had added it to my bucket list and crossed it off. That meant I was done. It was done. I wasn't going again. Ever. And then Jari said, "what if we got out at Sheeps Bridge and we took 4 days instead of 3" and I said "yes!".

The awesome power of the river at times combined with the power of human resilience, when you never imagined the possibility of such a thing, is amazing. There were certainly lessons we learned along the way and I'm so glad my dear hubby has done this a few times and was willing to be our experienced tour guide. I'd never do this with just the two of us so will be eternally grateful that Dean & Keilah chose to join us. Keilah is also writing about our experience over here.

And that, my friends and dear readers, is the Verde River! In the great scheme of things, just a tiny little snippet of God's glorious creation. And we were able to feel it, bathe in it, drink of it and be refreshed after it tossed us around and wrung us out. Awesomeness!