Those vacation photos I was going to share . . .

Over spring vacation, we enjoyed some time at three national parks in southern Utah. It was a long drive, but worth it.

First up was Arches National Park.

There were lots of opportunities for climbing around on rocks, which were appreciated by all.

Pip wanted to do all the hikes all by himself. My saint of a husband stayed with him all the way while I tried to keep up with the big kids.

Red Chief and I took a special hike by ourselves to see Delicate Arch. Here he is underneath.

Beauty, near and far.

Next up: Canyonlands. Is this picture even from Canyonlands? I'm not sure. But I will tell you that the drive into the park was some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.

Newspaper Rock.

My husband and me looking at Newspaper Rock. And Pip looking adorable as usual.

A one-room schoolhouse in Capitol Reef National Park. Not only is this national park full of natural beauty, but it was also the site of a Mormon pioneer settlement. The orchards they planted are still maintained by volunteers.


This week's menu

  • Lemony chickpea soup; homemade pita bread
  • Chickpea tender sandwiches with lettuce and tomato; Caesar salad
  • Kebabs made from mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and smoked tofu; lemon orzo with asparagus
  • Multi-bean soup; cranberry bread
  • Puttanesca
  • Tofu lettuce wraps; rice



Time to replenish the pantry this morning.

  • Ground flax seed
  • Ground oats
  • Ground wheat
  • Cooked chickpeas and froze in can-sized portions
  • Made vegetable bouillon
  • Transferred cashews and walnuts from bulk bags into jars

  • Played outside
  • Made play dough snakes
  • Cut up paper with the big scissors
  • Sat on the counter
  • Demanded to taste everything


Two holiday menus

Changing our diet to a plant-based one has been challenging, and nothing is harder than holidays. At first, I just reverted to our old foods at holiday times. But as I continued eating this way, I wanted to try to change our holiday traditions, too.

The first year is the hardest, because we're changing our tradition. The second year is much easier because we've done it once and enjoyed it.

Here are two holidays we've had success with.

For St. Patrick's day, we have a rainbow fruit and veggie platter. This year, to go with it, I made hummus blended with spinach leaves to make it green. Everyone likes this better than our old corned beef and cabbage. Full disclosure: the kids still had Lucky Charms for breakfast (or, as Pip called them, "candy").

Easter is perhaps our greatest success. I've always been dubious about our traditional meal of ham and "funeral potatoes:" it didn't seem at all symbolic of the resurrection we were celebrating.

Last year, we switched to a menu of foods Jesus might have eaten: fish, pita bread, melon, grapes, cucumber, olives, grape juice, and hummus. Last year we had lentil soup as well. I also throw charoset in there, which is a traditional Jewish food for Passover. We attended a passover dinner once and enjoyed the symbolism and learning experience, and this is my nod to that.

I forgot to plan a dessert, but no one missed it because we were busy snacking on the leftover pita bread and spreads all evening.

Everyone genuinely likes our new menu, and I like that it helps us focus a little more on the real meaning of Easter.



  • Took a quick vacation. Pictures to come.
  • A tummy bug has been making the rounds.
  • Reading lots. (The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: highly recommended!)
  • First yard work Saturday of the season. Red Chief is learning to mow. We cleared out the worst third of the garden (weeds already running rampant). Planting to come.
  • All the flowering trees in the neighborhood are blooming. 
  • Paper airplanes. Everywhere.
  • Tiger Lily sewed a doll pillow.
  • A big pot of minestrone soup and fresh French bread.
  • Playing Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture with my community orchestra.


Kindles lost and found

I enjoy reading on a Kindle. My main purpose for having one is to be able to read books in the public domain (pre-1923) for free. These books can be hard to find and I might not be able to read them otherwise. I also borrow library books electronically, and every once in awhile, if an old favorite is on sale for Kindle, I will buy a book.

I don't have a very good track record with my Kindles, though. I broke the first one. Dropped it. Next my mom gave me her old one, and one day I found it dead on the floor, probably stepped on. My husband got me one with a childproof cover next. I enjoyed it for about a year, and then it disappeared. Did I leave it somewhere? Did Pip drop it in the trash? I waited a few months, then I ordered a new one.

A few days before the new one came, Red Chief found my old one. In a place that I had looked (jammed between my bed and the wall)—but I guess I hadn't looked well enough. Then a week or two later, my husband brought my second broken Kindle home from work. A friend had pulled it out of the scrap heap where my husband had deposited it, fixed it, and returned it.

We returned the newest Kindle, which I hadn't opened yet. I only need one, but now we have two.


Cleaning day

Saturday, I just had to get stuff done. A lot of stuff. Stuff I had been putting off: sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, sending birthday cards, returning a package. Also, laundry, but I hadn't been putting that off: I just had more, because there's always more.

My patient and capable husband wrangled the kids while I worked, and he dropped off packages and library books and made the big kids clean their rooms.

I felt pretty good about the amount of work I got done, but I do think that next time I shouldn't put it off.



When I was cleaning out my closet, I found this little gem that hung in our house during my growing-up years. I don't know who stitched it—my mom? Was it a gift? In any case, I thought it was worth preserving.

I ripped it out of its frame so I could wash the fingerprints off. It was glued and taped and glued again. I felt bad undoing all that hard work.

I got it clean and dry and ironed and put it back in the frame—but I added glass this time so fingerprints won't happen again.

And then I taped and glued it again, just like it had been before. I'm sure it wasn't archival quality to use old paper sacks and packing tape, but if it held up that well for over thirty years, that's good enough for me.

And now Pip is enjoying it in his bedroom.