The year? 1998 (I’m not actually sure). Ninth grade (I think).  My team made it to the state championships in soccer, and we drove 4 hours to the tournament.  It was cold that weekend, so cold we wore hoodies under our jerseys, gloves to push back the bitter wind, and wrapped in blankets to stay warm when we weren’t playing.

And that is exactly what I wasn’t doing: playing. Because I sucked.  I was sitting on the bench, while the coach kept sending other players on and off the field. I knew I wasn’t the best player on the team, but it was at that moment I realized how bad I really sucked. I literally had nothing to contribute to my team. Girls so exhausted they couldn’t run anymore were better than me.

I cried.

My friend Necia asked about my tears, and I told her it was just the wind, but she figured out what was wrong and actually confronted my coach. I was embarrassed, mortified, but I loved her for it. The coach put me in, and a few minutes later took me out. The beginning and end to my playing at that state championship.

We lost.

But the pain of losing was nothing compared to the pain of realizing I sucked.

Two years previous, a form had come around school for anyone interested in soccer. I’d never played, but I was interested and I convinced my best friend to be interested as well. I showed up at practice, and… I loved it. I loved everything about it. I loved the kicking, the team, the sound of the ball hitting the net, and even the feeling of pushing my body so hard that I almost couldn’t walk afterward. I didn’t play soccer because I thought it would be easy or because it would make me cooler. I played it because I loved it.

But evidently I sucked. I mean, I must have known I sucked, but I didn’t know I sucked THAT BAD.

We came home from state, defeated, and the season was over.

I never told anyone about that day, not my parents, no one. I don’t think anyone else on my team, except Necia, noticed. But what did I do the next season when the forms came around to sign up for soccer?

I signed up.

Because I loved to play, and I wasn’t going to let the fact that I sucked stop me from doing what I really loved to do. As an adult looking back, I am proud of that teenager that realized she sucked at something, and wasn’t going to let it stop her from doing something she loved.

And you know what happened? I got better. I played every season (two a year) until I graduated high school. By the end, I was a team captain and one of the leading scorers on the team. Did I turn into Mia Hamm? No. Was that my goal? No. Are my memories from soccer some of the best I have from high school? Yes. Was it worth all that pain of knowing I was the worst, but keep going. You bet!

Now, I have to remind myself that on occasion there are things that I love that I really suck at. I mean really suck, like the coach-avoids-my-gaze-because-he-knows-he-will- never-put-me-in sucks. Can I cry that I suck at something I love and want to be really good at it? Yes. But that doesn’t mean I have to quit. I am convinced that it will get better, that I will get better, even if I never turn into Mia Hamm.



This post is brought to you by my best friend’s mom, Mrs. Briggs, who shuttled me to and from pretty much every single soccer practice and game until I was old enough to drive. You’ll probably never read this, but thank you. It meant so much to me.




I read one to two books a week, in addition to my writing, so I’ve decided to start posting the books I finish. I will select some of my favorites and talk more in depth about them.

I read two books this month that, as a writer, made me ache because they were so good. It was one of those times that what I was reading is so amazing, I wondered if my writing will ever compare.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA Fantasy

I originally bought this on Audible, but I started it and realized I need to read this book. It needed all my attention so it could settle into my bones.

It is YA Fantasy that takes place in a historic version of Russia. It is totally engrossing, one of those stories that you fall into, and have a hard time surfacing from.  It is definitely one of the best fantasies I have read lately.

Leviathan by Scot Westfield

Genre: YA Historic, Sci-fi, Steam-punkish

I also bought this one from Audible, and I can’t decide which to recommend, the print or the audio-book. Leviathan is illustrated beautifully by Keith Thompson. Seriously, the illustrations are stunning. But Alan Cumming does such an AWESOME job of the narration in the audio-book. So it is a win-win with whichever you choose.

This book is so mind-blowingly creative. Westerfield uses Darwin’s theories to create machine/animal hybrids, like something out of science fiction to create a futuristic feeling, steam-punkish historical fiction. It is an alternate history that whose beginning coincides with the beginning of World War I. It has alternating points of view, a female and a male protagonist.  Seriously fabulous!

Murder on Astor Place– Victoria Thompson

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Historic mystery that takes place in New York City. Fabulous in-depth world-building.


How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript– James Scott Bell

Genre: Non-Fiction, Writing Craft Book

Great, short craft book focused on Dialogue. Great addition to any writing craft library.


I try not to go overboard for my kids at Christmas time, but I do like to make them something. Maybe by giving the time it takes to make something, it feels more valuable than money. But this doesn’t always go over well. Like the batman/superman cape of 2012. Pure disaster… anyway.

So this year, I decided that I would make them hooded towels, because hooded towels.

I didn’t tell them what I was doing, and had them pick out towel colors while at Walmart.  Of course my seven year old walked in while I was cutting it up. “Mom! That was my towel and you ruined it.”

“Was it? I had no idea!”

I was half way through when I thought, “Dino hood!” Of course it had to be.

Most of the time, people are making these for babies and so they use half a hand towel, but since this is for my older children, I used a full hand towel for each.

So let’s get to it!

Supplies for one:



12 x 12 square of felt

Sewing supplies: thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine.

Fold your hand towel in half. Cut from the fold at about a 45 degree angle. Then cut the rest of the fold so the hand towel is now in half.








On my second one for my younger child, I cut a little strip off the back so the hood wasn’t quite so big. They are pretty much the same, but here is a pic.

Next, cut your felt to make the dino-spikes. So I used a cheater method of measuring here. I cut the 12 x 12 square in half to make a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. On one of the long sides, I measured every 3 inches and cut a slit with my scissors. On the other side, I made the first cut at 1.5 inches, and the rest 3 inches apart. Then I was just able to eye-ball the cuts with the scissors. I made a diagram. Of course you can measure out each triangle if you would like. The end 1.5 inch spaces are the only waste.

So this next step is the trickies part, because the spikes go the opposite way than I thought it should. Everywhere the towel was cut, line the area with the spikes TO THE INSIDE. I overlapped them slightly because I had plenty of spikes and when the hood is turned right-side out they spread.

Put the other section of the towel face-down covering the spikes. Pin.














Sew along the area, making sure all the the spikes are in place, and the hood put back together. Then flip the spikes to the outside!








Fold the large towel in half and mark the middle. Pin the middle of the hood to correspond with the center of the large towel.

Sew the hood to the towel, and your done! Let me know if you have any questions! Have fun!


So the other day, I was folding laundry and of course that doesn’t take any thought, so my brain though up new lyrics to the Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. I recorded them for a friend for a joke. So enjoy! Lyrics posted below!

Sound of Laundry


Hello laundry my old friend,
I’ve come to fold you again
Because your never ending growing,
Attacked me while I was writing
And although I wash you every day
You still remain
The sound of Laundry

On hectic days I leave you be,
And you pile higher than a tree
yet you taunt me without rest
And I can’t help but think that you jest,
When almost die lifting you down the stairs
I do not care
For the sound of laundry

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know

Laundry like a cancer grows

Spring-fresh clothing so soft and fresh

Masks a hidden monster in the flesh

But my tears, the endless abyss fell

So far below

In the pails, of laundry

And I’d go naked if I could
Not to deal with you again
No more hangers, no more soap
No more washing, I wouldn’t mope
But people would all stare, I think I would care
And wouldn’t dare.
To go without laundry.





Add fringe to an existing dress to make a quality, ‘20’s flapper dress.

Cost: $66, although I only used about half the fringe I bought.

Time: around 4 hours.

A little while ago my husband bought tickets for us to attend Davina and the Vagabonds. If you ever get a chance to see Davina and her band, take it! It was such a fun show.  She plays vintage-y big band music, so of course I had to wear a costume. I decided to go with 20’s style. I looked online for dresses, but it is hard to know what kind of quality you are going to get with online costumes, unless they are custom from reputable shops. I didn’t want to shell out $35 for a Halloween costume quality dress that would fall apart half way through then night. I also didn’t want to pay $150 from a quality shop if I’m not going to wear the dress very often.

I instead decided to add fringe to an existing dress to create a quality dress for less mullah.

Step one: Find an existing dress.

I started with a thirty-dollar black dress from Target in a very basic shape. This works best with a structured, woven dress. Mine has a tiny bit of stretch and a zipper in the back. A super stretchy fabric wouldn’t be able to sustain the weight of the fringe as well.

Step two: Decide on fringe. I used about 12 yards of fringe.  At Joann’s fringe was $8 a yard, but no one should ever buy anything from Joann’s without the 40% off, downloadable coupon.  But even with the coupon, that is $57. On Amazon, I found 20 yards of quality fringe for $36.  I decided to buy the roll from Amazon because I had NO idea how much I would be using. Decide which option is best for you.

Step Three:  Sewing Machine. It doesn’t need to do anything fancy. I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time, so I invited myself over to a friend’s house to use her machine. (Thanks Crystal!)

Step Four: Mark the top layer of fringe. This only applies if the dress you are starting with has sleeves. I started my first row at about the same level it would be if I was wearing a strapless dress. I marked the level with pins while I had the dress on. If your dress is strapless or spaghetti straps, start at the very top. I had people ask why I started at the top instead of the bottom, because they thought the fringe might get in the way. I thought the line where the fringe hit my bust area was more important than where it hit at the bottom, so I started at the top. Also, the fringe wasn’t a big deal to flip up while working on the space beneath.

Step five: Measure the fringe, pin, and cut. Make sure the fringe is in a straight line across the dress.

Step six: Sew. Don’t be scared! Sew the fringe onto the dress. For any of you who don’t sew on a regular basis, make sure to do a back stitch* any time you begin or end the line.

Step Seven: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I used a card cut to slightly shorter than the fringe length as a measuring device. I slid the card along the underside of the previous line of fringe as I pinned the new line of fringe. It worked pretty well.

My first two rows just went across the front, because the arm whole was in the way. It wasn’t until the third row that I needed the fringe to wrap all the way around. At that point, I started each fringe line on the back of the dress on one side of the zipper, had it wrap around to the front, and then end on the other side of the zipper.

I did learn to leave and inch or two extra fringe when wrapping all the way around the dress. I’m not sure how it happened, but I would pin the fringe on and then I would come up an inch or two short. So cut the fringe a touch too long.

I love how the dress ended up. The black fringe on black dress is very forgiving with any blunders I did make. It is fun to dance in, and I know it won’t fall apart at first wash. It might not be Downton Abbey standards, but hey! Let me know if you have any questions, or if anyone has a similar project!


*To create a back stitch, drive forward onto the fabric and fringe top for a half inch. Most sewing machines have a button or lever to push to send the needle backwards to lock in the stitch. Do the back stitch the half inch until the needle reaches the edge of the fabric and you are good to go. Sew forward as usual.


Who doesn’t love muffins, right?  And chocolate? Count me in for a dozen.

I use 100% whole wheat in all my baking, but if your family hasn’t quite made the 100% switch, start out with ½ whole-wheat and ½ white flour. I personally use ground white wheat or whole wheat pastry flour, but you can use whatever you have.


½ C live active sourdough starter (can use plain Greek yogurt)

3 tbsp. ground flax (optional)

2 C whole-wheat flour

1 ¾ C warm water

½ C cocoa

2 tbsp. olive oil

Stir all six ingredients together, cover, and let sit out on counter over night or for six hours. (This step is optional, but the digestive enzymes in sourdough starter or yogurt help break down the nutrients in flour to make it more digestible.)

The next morning:

3 overripe bananas, mashed (or I blend them in my Ninja because overripe bananas make me nauseous)

2 eggs lightly beaten

3 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 C Chocolate chips

Preheat Oven to 375°. Uncover sponge. Mix bananas, eggs, and sugar. Stir into the sponge. Sponge mixture can be very resistant, so keep mixing with whisk until just combined.  Stir in baking powder, soda, and chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake in oven for 20-22 minutes, or unit toothpick comes out clean, apart from the gooeyness of the chocolate chips. Makes 18-22 muffins.

Enjoy warm with a glass of milk.



I have had an overwhelming and unexpected response to my recent post Dear New Girl at the Gym. My next several blog posts I will be responding to many of the questions and statements people have posted in the comments section below that post.

A few of the commenters said they had had such a negative experience with people making rude comments to them at the gym that they had a hard time going back. This infuriates me. I am shocked and appalled that any person would treat another human being in such a fashion, especially when someone is making an effort to find their healthiest self. It makes me so angry and so sad. I could make all sort so disparaging comments about these men/women who feel they can treat others so poorly, but I won’t. I don’t want to focus on them. I can’t help them.

I want to focus on us. You and me.

We can’t let others decide our future or our happiness. When we take their inhuman comments and believe them we are not only giving someone else power over us, but we are letting their negativity decide what we will become. We are letting them win.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine DeBourgh asks the incredibly witty and intelligent Elizabeth Bennet to promise she will never marry Lady Catherine’s nephew Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy is above Elizabeth in rank and fortune, and Lady Catherine has wealth and prestige above many in the country. But Elizabeth responds—

“I am only resolved to act in the manner, which will, in my opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” (Austen, 346)

Those people that would tear us down have nothing to do with you and me. Absolutely nothing. NOTHING! I didn’t go up to that girl and ask her what I should study at college or whether I should marry my husband or whether I should have my babies. I didn’t ask that guy his opinion on my hair cut or what car I should drive or what house I should live in. Why? Because it is none of their business. I wouldn’t have listened to them in these matters, so I can’t let their opinions and comments change my efforts to treat my body well.

This goes way beyond working out at the gym. This applies to every part of our lives. Often when we decide we want something more, that we deserve something better, there is someone there to tell us that we don’t deserve it or that it is too hard. But we can’t listen to them.

We have to choose our own happiness and our own future. We deserve to be our happy and healthy.

Works Cited—Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print




Dear New Girl at the Gym,

You stand across from me in boot camp or on the treadmill next to me or a few bikes over in spin. I have never seen you before, but here you are. I can tell by the look on your face you are embarrassed. Embarrassed that you can’t do a pushup or don’t know how to adjust your bike or that you walk on the treadmill when the girl on the other side of you runs for a full hour at the speed of a cheetah. You look around and wonder what on earth you are doing here. You glance at me and I smile, but you look away pretending you didn’t see, because that would mean I noticed you. Maybe you are discouraged. Maybe you tell yourself this was a huge mistake and you’re going to ask for your money back. Maybe you wonder if I’m judging you.

I am not.

I want you to know how proud I am of you. You see, even though it might not seem like it, none of us are judging you. Why? Because so many of us were just like you. We know what it is like. We know how hard it is, especially in the beginning. Really we do. Maybe you woke up one day weighing forty pounds more than you did five years ago. I have been there. Maybe you stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office, had the nurse cluck her tongue, and then had the doctor say something like, “Now let’s talk about your weight.” I have been there. Maybe you recently had a baby, and you wonder if there will ever be a time when you don’t have to tuck your stomach into your pants. I have been there. Maybe you get half way through the warm up in a group fitness class and wonder if you are this out of breath now, is a full hour going to kill you? I have been there. Maybe money and time are tight and the idea of spending $30-$70 a month and an hour a day on yourself feels awfully selfish. I have been there. So many of us have.

You see us running or biking or lifting weights, and may feel discouraged or that we are judging you. Please, please, PLEASE know that we are not, because so many of us have been in your same shoes. You see us for what we are now, but many of us started out just like you, on a journey to find our best selves.

Please come back. I know it is hard, but it will get better, I promise.

And then you will wake up one day and wonder when you became that person. You know that person who can jog a few miles or do a whole spin class or even do boot camp without being sore the next day. And you will be the one, standing across the room, smiling at the new girl hoping she knows how lovely and wonderful and brave she is. Hoping she knows she is worth all the work. Because you are. You are so worth it. You deserve to be your healthiest self.

Now there might come a time and a place where someone will judge you, even someone at the gym. Maybe they make rude comments or give you that look. Maybe they have never known what it feels like to struggle with their weight. Maybe they have low self-esteem. Maybe they have never eaten an entire pan of brownies by themselves (I have) or an entire bag of Halloween candy before a single trick or treater came to their door (I have). Maybe they forgot what it was like to be the new girl. Please, don’t waste your time on them. You are on a journey to be your best self, and they don’t belong on your journey. Find people and a place where you can begin where you are.

Come back. You are so worth it.


Dear New Girl at the Gym has been a popular post, and I don’t mind having it shared as long as my website is linked back on online articles and my name and website is referenced when printed.

You might also like- Our Future is Our Choice -My response to those who would tear us down.




I love Halloween. I love the dressing up and taking my kids to see all the neighbors.  It’s just plain fun. There is only one drawback. All that blasted candy.

A few years ago, we bought our first house. It was the first time neighborhood kids would come to our house trick or treating. I went all out, buying two huge bags of candy. This was the good stuff: Snickers, Reese’s, Almond Joys, everything. It was a week or two before Halloween and I stashed the candy in my pantry. A few days later, ahem, or that same day, I opened the bag, you know, to have one or two. Yeah, before I knew it both bags (BOTH BAGS!) were gone. How on earth did that happen? I had to go buy more candy to give out. The problem? My child went trick or treating and back into my house came another big bag’s worth of candy.  I wish I could say that we savored that candy, and ate it over a few months’ time, but no.

That was the last time I ever gave out candy at Halloween.

Since then I have read how sugar negatively affects our body. No one should be eating the amount of sugar that we all do.

So now I give out stuff that isn’t candy. Guess what! The kids love it. I did an experiment this year at a trunk or treat. I gave the kids a choice between sticky hands or candy (the good stuff). By the end of the night, I went through 140 sticky hands and only 8 pieces of candy.

Another positive about giving out non-food items is they don’t go bad. No one has to eat the leftovers, and I keep mine to give out the next year.

The hit this year was the finger lights. The kids LOVED them. I would turn the lights on and put them on their fingers. It made them easy to see in the dark.

People are also concerned that not giving out candy might be lame, but really the kids love it. I got this text the day after Halloween. That same day, I had two separate groups of kids come to my door cause they had heard I gave out cool stuff.

Getting non-candy items takes a few days planning because I order mine online, but I am sure a party store would have the same stuff. People ask me if it is expensive. It is about the same price as the fun size candy bars and it is way longer lasting. Kids only expect to get one item this way. I am never tempted to give out handfuls, and you can save the extra until year.  Some items are more expensive than others, so you just have to decide what you want to do.

1.       Finger Lights– By far the biggest hit of the night! 17¢ a piece

2.       Sticky Hands 9¢ a piece

3.       Bouncy balls 7¢ a piece

4.       Play Dough – A more expensive option 46¢ a piece

5.       Flying Frogs 33¢ a piece

6.       Pencils 10¢ a piece- Bought at Walmart

7.       Spider Rings Left over from last year. Bought at Walmart. I think they were about 3¢ a piece

8.       Bracelets- Also bought at Walmart last year. I think 5¢ a piece

9.       Foam Gliders 17¢ a piece

10.   Slap Bracelets 26¢ a piece

11.    Book Marks  27¢ a piece

As a comparison, chocolate fun size candy can average between 14 to 25¢ a piece.

Let me know if you have any other ideas on what it give out for Halloween. Enjoy!



In my photos of of half a loaf. I used the other half to make rolls for soup. Gauge accordingly.

Blueberry Lemon Swirl Rolls

Single loaf bread recipe of your choice

My sourdough recipe is posted at the end of this post.


4 C Blueberries (I use frozen)

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 tbs Sugar

2 tbs flour


Juice and zest of one lemon

1 C Powdered Sugar

1 tbs softened butter (optional)

Heat blueberries, zest, and sugar in saucepan. Boil five minutes while mashing berries.  Wisk in flour and bring to boil.  Cool in refrigerator.

Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into roughly a 12 x 16 rectangle. Divide filling and spread evenly over dough.  Spread close to every edge, except one long edge. On that edge leave a 1 ½  inch margin. Roll opposite long edge to margin and pinch seam closed.  Use thread or unflavored dental floss to slice into 1 ½ inch rolls. Place in 9 x 16 cake. Let rise until double. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 15-20 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Wisk together lemon, zest, sugar, and butter. Drizzle over warm rolls.

Whole Wheat Sourdough  Bread

½ C Natural Leaven or sourdough

1 C warm water

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. active dry yeast

2 tbs. coconut oil (can substitute olive oil or butter)

3-4 C Flour (I use whole wheat)

Use natural yeast/sourdough that has been fed recently, has doubled in volume, and is bubbly. Mix natural yeast/sourdough, water, salt, honey, active dry yeast, and coconut oil in mixer. Add 3 cups flour a cup at a time. Add flour a little bit at a time until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Dough should be sticky. Continue kneading for 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, cover, and put in warm place. Let raise 6-24 hours. Form into loaves, pita, rolls,  doughnuts, or cinnamon rolls. Let raise until double. Bake