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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Overwhelmed with Gratitude! Ma Ingalls is Rockin'!

Charles and Caroline Ingalls. | great americans | PinterestBecause From the Mouth of Ma: A Search for Caroline Quiner Ingalls launched on Thanksgiving, I didn't really have a lot of time to give proper thanks.

Of course I want to acknowledge my wonderful husband, Ian, and my babies who all sacrificed in one way or another as I was working on the book. They have been as supportive and helpful as I could have asked for, and I am grateful beyond words.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

From the Mouth of Ma: LAUNCHED!

Well, it's official!  From the Mouth of Ma: A Search for Caroline Quiner Ingalls has been published by Practical Pioneer Press!

It's been such a wonderful journey. . .from the first wonderings about Ma, through all the research and writing, and now, to publication!

If you want a peek, it's up on Amazon and available in both print and Kindle forms.

What a lot we have to be thankful for this year: healthy kids, protection from fire, lots of adventures, provision and shelter, and each other. Getting to pursue the writing of this book just puts a big old cherry on the top of 2015.

I hope that you are all as blessed this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Yurt, A Laptop, and a Whole Lot of Quiet

My husband and I used to say that all we wanted was a quiet life.  You know, a small little house in some small little town. . .2.3 quiet kids. . .a regular job.  Nothing particularly dramatic or eventful, thankyouverymuch. And, OH!, how we must have made God guffaw each time we uttered those ridiculous words!

Quiet life? Us? We seem unable to handle fifteen minutes of silence, let alone a whole life!

Take now, for instance.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Calling All Little House Fans!!

The Ingalls Family - Laura Ingalls Wilder Photo (1607600) - FanpopBeta readers needed!  Beta readers needed!

What's a beta reader? A kind soul who is willing to read through a (hopefully) finished project and render an honest opinion back to the author.


The project in question is my just-about-finished book, From the Mouth of Ma: A Search for Caroline Quiner Ingalls.  It's not a biography. . .it's more a hunt for who Ma was using her own words and various bits of family information.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Business of Raising Kids

A long time ago I heard a story. It went something like this:

Once there was a woman who cared deeply for her family. She made wholesome meals from scratch, kept the house spotless and functional, made sure they were well clothed, carted them to numerous activities and enriching events, and did her best to provide them with all they needed to thrive.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Search For Caroline Quiner Ingalls. . .

Caroline Ingalls - Bio, Facts, Family | Famous BirthdaysWith school back in session, and the first few weeks of getting the "should have done in summer" tasks completed, I've been able to turn my thoughts back to writing. And despite having a million projects I could be working on. . .one keeps drawing my attention.

Who was Caroline Quiner Ingalls?

Now, I love the fictionalized account of her childhood. Love it. And I know there are some facts there among the stories. . .like the loss of her father, her move from Brookefield, and time in the big city. But, deep down, I know that all of the dialogue and much of the series is just supposition and story telling.  Good story telling, but fiction nonetheless.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Camping With Friends: Food for the Soul!

People think we're funny for leaving our little cabin in the woods and going camping in another set of woods. And I guess we are, a bit.

But camping isn't just about the trees. . .it's about the getting away and shutting off of distractions and being more present in the lives of those you love.

So our vacation this year was a split camping trip: the first leg was in the Redwoods of Northern California and the second was further up the coast at Patrick's Point. Each half had it's own beauty and experiences and set of friends that went along with it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Recipe: Red, White and Blueberry Cheesecake Jars!

Every single time I make these little beauties, I kick myself for not taking better pictures. Or making more of them! They are absolutely perfect for picnics of all kinds. . .especially patriotic ones.  Plus, they're just plain yummy!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Autism and Emergencies. . .some tips.

The (VERY) recent forest fire near our home certainly clarified a lot for us: We learned what was really important to us, we learned how to pack using every available inch of space, we learned that we need to have a list of must-takes at the ready in case we ever have to evacuate in minutes, and we learned that stuff is just stuff. Even the stuff with memories attached.

But a harder lesson to learn had to do with our 14 year old son. Adopted from the foster care system, this precious kid has had a LOT to deal with. . .Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Epilepsy, a Cecostomy, and Autism, just to give you some of the biggies.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Well, I guess living in a forest does have a drawback or two.  Especially deep into California's recent years of drought.

There's a huge, rapidly growing fire not too far from us.

It started late Saturday, though we don't know how yet, and we were put on almost immediate evacuation alert. We've been there ever since, and it's a deeply stressful time.  You can see the huge columns of flames from our driveway. Especially at night.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thoughts on a Home Town 4th. . .

Sometimes I feel like I live in a mountainous version of Mayberry. Never more than on the fourth of July. Our darling little alpine village of 333 humble residents manages to throw the most wholesome, down home, charming and patriotic bash EVER. There's music and food and crafts and numerous private, yet communal, front yard parties behind endless white picket fences.

But the first event of the day is what really draws thousands up to our hidden little town from hours around: Our Home Town Parade.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Mama-Son Date

We're huge fans of individual dates with our kids. . .from the super simple act of cooking together or going on errands right through to formal, dress up nights at the theater or a restaurant. We just feel strongly that carving out some one on one time with each kid is of inestimable value.

And every once in a while, either my husband or I do something extra, extra special.

In the past, those events have included trips to London to see a musical (when we lived in England, of course!), one on one camping trips, and jaunts down the mountain and over to San Francisco. They don't happen often, but we hope they build relationships with and memories for our kids.  They certainly do for us.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Who is Ma Ingalls?

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a MASSIVE Little House and Laura Ingalls Wilder Fan.  My husband is well trained to purchase any new book related to the Ingalls, the Little House sites, or any one remotely connected to either of them. Love that man.

One day I was doing some research for a book project and was looking at my over stuffed shelf dedicated to all things Little House. There are books about recipes, Eliza Jane, recreated journeys and all sorts of related tomes. History, biographies, devotionals, collections of articles, how-to's. And, of course, all the fictionalized accounts based of the various Little House women.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Introducing. . .

 Funny dog sits like this on benches! 

It's been about six months since we lost our beautiful 3 year old black lab, Riley Mei.  That was a hard loss to process for our whole family.  Especially the kids.

We still had Prince, though, and he's the best dog ever. A golden lab/retriever mix, he was precious from the moment we brought him home from the shelter about four years ago. We couldn't believe his previous owners didn't want him.

But Prince began to get lonely. Not for people. . .he was with us 24/7.  No, he seemed to miss Riley and their romps through our bit of forest. And their endless games of tug of war. And just having another dog pal to tell his doggie secrets to.

Monday, May 25, 2015

And. . .Groupies are Born! Home Free!

I was a little bit of a weird kid. I never really had any idols. My heart didn't pound at the mention of any particular singer. I didn't swoon just thinking about popular actors or ripped athletes. Which, quite honestly, befuddled my friends who plastered their bedroom walls with magazine photos of all the latest heartthrobs.

Oh, I admired people, though. Writers, mostly. . .Laura Ingalls Wilder (of course!), Maya Angelou, Chaim Potok. And I had favorite singers and actors, too.  Throw in a few athletes, and I had a good group of people I wouldn't have minded eating dinner with.

But giddy? Heart thumping? Dizzy? Nope. Just wasn't my style.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Real Isn't How You Are Made

BunnySomeone asked me something recently. Something that hasn't been asked in awhile.

And though I've fielded the question, or one dang close too it, dozens of times, it still caught me off-guard as I stood there, disbelieving that it had reared it's ugly head again and frantically searching my mind for the "right way" to respond.

Instead of finding the calm, gentle, I-know-you-mean-no-harm words I used to be able to produce in such awkward circumstances, however, I sort of shut down.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Baseball Bliss

I never thought I'd end up a Little League Mom.  Soccer is, and always has been, my sport (playing, watching, coaching and ref-ing!).  To make matters worse, I grew up hearing VERY sketchy stories of Little League parents getting into fisticuffs, coaches degrading kids worse than a sadistic drill sergeant, and teammates berating each other at every blessed opportunity.

I'm happy to report that our experience so far has not lived up to that nefarious reputation!

It's actually been a joy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little Errors on the Prairie

In FlightI'm working on a quirky little project at the moment.  Not a major work. . .just a small little niche book that's been sitting in the back of my brain for, oh, about 30 years.

Not sure why the topic draws me, either. . .or why my brain works the way it does.  Maybe the editor in me blossomed all those decades ago as I read, and re-read, and re-read the Little House series endlessly.  After all, when you get so familiar with a work that you can quote, verbatim, just about the whole series, I guess it's natural that you begin to notice tiny flaws here and there.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Five Things I Thought as a Kid. . .and was SO WRONG About!

I have an interesting age range of children.  From almost 19 down to newly 8.  Equal numbers of boys and girls, too. . .so I have a little bit of everything at the moment: Young adults just heading into the world down to a little guy who plans to live with me forever 'n ever 'n ever. 

It gives an interesting perspective.

On the one hand, my younger kids are still so disconnected with what "being grown up" really entails that they endlessly make "when I'm grown up, I'm gonna. . ." statements that leave my husband and me rolling our eyes and giggling uncontrollably at the absurdity of it all.

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