The Alpha and Me

Guess what insanely crazy thing I'm doing in April? 
The A to Z challenge. 
I know! Right?

What am I thinking? I had like three posts in February. 
I bet you where thinking I had given up on this whole blog thing.

But really, I was on Hawaii. 

So, blogging was way down on my list. 
#1: Not getting burned.

Seriously! I'm such an Irish freckle face. This is me on the beach in Maui. 
Afraid of the sun much? 

Then, we couldn't get home because our car died in California. 
And everyone knows you have to drive through California to get to Hawaii.

The worst thing was having to buy a car in CA. 
Um, Montana doesn't have sales tax! 

Plus, we had to do it fast, we needed to get home! Our kids were missing school for crying out loud! And who wants to end a vacation buying a car! Plus, we had to buy a year of registration in a state we don't even live in! A whole YEAR? 
Sorry. Anyway...

 I'm gonna make it all up to you by posting 6 days a week for 4 weeks!

Lets see how that goes!

But really? I'm quite excited. Can't you tell?

If you would like to join in the madness just click on the link and sign up!

Just think, the possibilities are endless!

A is for aardvark, apples, artichoke... B is for banana, bagel, brownie... C is for cantaloupe, candy, cabbage... (I must be hungry!) D is for donut (oh my gosh, I'm starving!)...


Embracing the Camera

I'm taking pictures of me and them. Lulu was the only one to question why. 
Because it gives you pictures of me, I say.

I'm always taking pictures, but am rarely in them myself. 
I need to document myself before I'm so old I don't recognize myself! 


As you can see, Bear is quite the ham.


Making Ready

Just as the farmers are starting to tune up their rigs and get ready to plow. Just as the ranchers are spending countless hours looking after mama cows as they birth their calves. 

The guest ranch is starting to hire summer staff, 
open up cabins that have been closed up for the winter, and make last minute repairs. 

It's that time of year. It's time to start getting ready. 

For the Record

Nancy from A Rural Journal asked for the recipe, in whole. So here it is.

By Emma from @clean_eating_addict (on Instagram)

3-4 cups oats
2 handfuls roughly chopped nuts and seeds
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
- Enough organic maple syrup to just moisten your mix (about 2 Tablespoons)
- Bake on a lined baking tray in a 170 -180 degree F oven

Make sure to keep your eye on it while it bakes and take out of the oven every 4-5 minutes to stir.

Once it's turned nice and golden take out of oven and stir through about 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut and a handful of chopped dried fruit.

I didn't have pumpkin pies spice so I improvised. I also tend to not use measuring equipment very often. (That's why I call it the Accidental Cookbook!)

I once worked with a dear sweet Navajo woman who measured by the palmful. Her fry bread was to die for. Sadly, she did not share that with me. But she made me mixes of it for Christmas and birthdays.

I have a curry recipe that I will share another time that I have made so much that I don't measure. I know what a tablespoon of curry looks like in my hand. Enjoy!


I Wear Orange for ME! ~ Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

I have MS. Multiple Sclerosis. 

multiple sclerosisnounchronictypically progressive disease involvingdamage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brainand spinal cord, whose symptoms may includenumbnessimpairment of speech and of muscularcoordination, blurred visionand severe fatigue.

I was diagnosed in 1998. That's 15 years. I started showing simptoms in 1995. That's 18 years. My neurologist says 18 years. 

I'm fine. I'm healthy. I've done a lot of wonderful things. I'm very lucky. I'm very blessed. 

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month. So I'm going to make you aware. 
Your welcome. 

photo credit: @we_have_ms on Instagram

I've tried to tell people how tired I am. It's always met with how tired they are, too. Sometimes I feel like it's unfare. That they aren't listening. I guess they aren't. Sometimes I feel like they don't care. Maybe, but I think they just don't know. They don't understand. 

True strength is holding it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart. 
Sometimes I do fall apart. My family has seen it. But they seem to love me anyway. Sometimes I just need to go to bed. My husband is wonderful at holding back the kids so I can nap. It's not too often that I need a nap, but when I do, it feels like I'm crashing. I actually fell asleep in one of the meetings at church last Sunday. That's never happened before. I was sent to bed.

There are four types of MS, with the first type being the most common:

  • Relapsing-Remitting MS
    People with this type of MS experience clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks, which are called relapses or flare-ups, are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions). Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Secondary-Progressive MS
    Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups, minor recoveries (remissions), or plateaus. Approximately 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS develop secondary-progressive MS within 10 years.
  • Primary-Progressive MS
    With this type of MS, neurologic function slowly worsens. There are no distinct relapses or remissions. Approximately 10% of people are diagnosed with primary-progressive MS.
  • Progressive-Relapsing MS
    In this relatively rare course of MS, people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning, but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions. Approximately 5% of people are diagnosed with progressive-relapsing MS.

 I have Relapsing-Remitting MS. Like I said, I've had it for 18 years. Blessed. That's all I can say.

I usually walk in the MS walk in our area. Last year my kids, my husband and I walked as a team. But this year, the walk is scheduled for the week we have our volunteers out to help us open. Yes, it's that time of year again! We need to be here, helping with the work. I am disappointed. But I don't have to walk to earn pledges! I'm signed up as a virtual walker. So please, make a donation. HERE!

I also wanted to share this great company:

Yes, again with the Instagram! I know, I know! These guys have opened a shop selling men's leather jackets and with each purchase they donate to The Brass Family Foundation for MS! How cool is that!
Plus, during the month of March, they have doubled the amount they will donate per jacked. So act now!

Go to their website (www. atomwillis.com) and get yourselves, your spouse, your roommate, your boyfriend, whatever, a jacket. It's cold outside!

You can also find them on instagram: @atomwillis They have really cool picts.

Don't just sit there! Join the Movement!
Thank you.


The Internet is A Small World After All

I started using Instagram a year ago. My first picture was of my cat or maybe it was the dog. As you know, I have just reached and am quickly passing 1000 photos posted to instagram. Some of the pictures I have taken have been in regards to me having MS. I have used hash tags such as:
  •   #multiplesclerosis
  •   #ms
  •   #mswarrior  
  •   #beatms
  •   #mswillnotdestroyme 
And so on. Through these tags I have met many other warriors like myself and I have seen them struggle and have also been lifted up with what they have posted. 

A few days ago I posted this picture:

I used it for my photo-a-day shot for the word "favorite" because I love yogi tea and usually have at least one cup a day. But I also tagged it with all those MS tags, 
because this sentiment is really how I feel about my own health. 

A few days after that, one of the women who follows me on Instagram, who has MS, and I follow her back, posted this same picture. That's not uncommon in the world of IG. It is, however, good form to give the original photographer credit. Which she didn't. I wasn't too hurt by this, it's not a very good picture… but I wanted to see what happened, so I simply commented on the shot, 
saying that I recognized it. 
She responded that Pinterest was great. 

Wait! She got it off of Pinterest!? 

So in just a few days, someone who I've never met, but who follows me on Instagram and I followed her back, found one of my pictures on Pinterest, that I didn't post on Pinterest, 
and posted it to her IG feed! 

Do you follow? 
I'm not sure I do! 

Personally, and this is what I told her, 
if this simple message on a teabag has touched someone enough to repost it elsewhere, 
then that is what it was meant to do. 
And I hope it may lift others up as well. 
But isn't it crazy how this is such a wonderfully small world! 


Look What I Made! Muesli!

I had this cankering for Muesli*
I like that kind of thing.
I have never attempted this before. 

I mixed chopped nuts with about 4 cups of oats.
(I used a handful of sliced almonds and macadamia nuts.)
I added a bunch of spices. 
You know, like cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger.
I also added poppy seeds. I wanted sunflower seeds too, but alas, I was out.
Then I drizzled the whole bunch with syrup. 
Not too much, just enough to moisten it up.

I baked it in a 175 degree F. oven 
for about 25 - 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. 
Once I deemed it "Done" I took it out, 
let it cool and added unsweetened coconut flacks and dried cranberries. 

It seems even Bunny approves of it! 
But she may just be picking out the cranberries!

*For the original recipe click here.


The Leprechaun At Our House

He was at it again this year. 
Not nearly as funny as last year, which you can see here
But still, lots of fun. 

I spent the day before St. Patrick's Day making shamrock cookies for the kids at church. I was teaching and wanted to give them a treat. Adventure Man asked if there would be enough for his sunday School class (he teaches the 14 to 17 year olds, bless his heart!) plus there was a potluck afterwards so I was doing double duty. All in all we had about 90 cookies. 
And we only came home with one! Thankfully! 

This year he came in through the heater vent. 
And yes, it's quite dirty around there. Don't judge. 

He jumped up onto the counter. Walked across the counter top and got into the cookies.

He did leave the kids some chocolate coins.

As he went by, he stepped on my open cookbook. 
Opened to my mother's corned beef recipe. 

He jumped up onto the cabinets and onto the stove hood. 
Where he climbed into the cupboard over the stove and up through this hole. 

What a silly little thing he is! 



Big Sky Sunrise

Sunrise is my favorite time of day here on the Ranch. 
It seems to always take my breath away. 
Adventure Man, however usually gets to be the one to take pictures of it, 
as he is the one who takes the girls to the school bus in the mornings. 
He took these pictures today. 
I got to go back to bed only to be joined by that cat, 
and the baby and the boy just moments later. 
See, I'm lucky that I can go back to bed. 
But that doesn't mean I will get any more rest just more snuggles. 

We do have to watch for the neighbors out here.
Deer don't seem to know to look both ways…. 
nor do rabbits, or mice, or elk, or bears...

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Orange You Glad It's Friday


What's Your Number? ~ A Birthday Tradition

When my kids where little I started a birthday tradition. 
I take a picture of them holding the number they are turning. 
It's been fun to see them evolve over the years. 

And the kids seem to like it too.

The tradition was started when our first two girls were three and four. 
Before we had a digital camera. I can't find the original album they where in. 
When Bear turned one I never took a number shot. 
And there are a few other years that are missing. 
But all in all, we've done a good job of keeping up the tradition.

The numbers are in order by who was holding them. 
As you can see, there are more than one kid in this sequence. As well as a Dad.

Adventure Man was forced to show off his big four-oh.

There was even a couple of years when I had a good sized baby bump to show off. 
The second shot amid stacks of boxes.

But our little Bunny has proven a challenge when trying to get her to cooperate. 

She started off well enough...

Then things got harder.

The process is always fun to see.

But this year, she wanted nothing to do with holding up her number two!

I finally just held her and took selfies.
Watch what she is doing with my hair. I am her security blanket. 

By the end she was really done with me! Of course it didn't help that she was sick on her birthday. Maybe I'll give it another try in a few days. 


One Talented Cowboy ~ Hand Carved Rifles

This is our dear friend. He and my husband have been friends since they were 19. The we in the Missionary Training Center getting ready to head out for a two year volunteer mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The Cowboy had never spent so much time indoors in his life and he wasn't sure he could make it. Adventure Man wrote a letter to his mom and asked her to send him a very special care package. He said he needed leather, beads and any other things that could be worked with your hands. Adventure Man got The Cowboy to start making stuff and it probably saved his mission. 

They were sent to the Okinawa Islands in Japan. At one point in my husband's mission he was on a small island for over a year and he had The Cowboy as a companion for a total of 11 months on their mission. Most missionaries will have the same companion for just a few months. But 11? That's unheard of! 

The Cowboy is very artistic. He hand carved this rifle and his wife is eager to see if they can sell it and more. If you are interested in purchasing one, please leave me a comment below and I will get you some contact information. 

Thursday Favorite Things


February Photo Fest

I've been missing in action.

Well, I've not been blogging and I've had a lot of action. 
Wait, not that kind of "action." But then again...

Oh never mind!

Here are my February photo-a-day shots which will give you an idea of where I've been 
and who I've been with. The rest will have to come latter!

Oh! And I almost forgot! 
February marks one year of photo a day with fat mum slim


Fork.       Pattern.     Something beginning with 'E'.

Hope ~ gray clouds pass us by.     Something you smelled.     Soft ~ my sweatshirt.

My name.
Something orange.
Guilty Pleasure.

3 O'clock ~ Making valentines with my Bean.      Entrance ~ doorway into the living room.

Where You Ate Lunch ~ Kitchen window.      Walking ~ in a blizzard!

Love is…. finding little hearts on the wall in the bathroom.    Inside Your Fridge ~ My MS shots. 

Perfect ~ The throw-up bucket is perfect for a road trip.    In Your Hand ~ Phone case.  

Something You Don't Like ~ Technical difficulties making our flight an hour behind.   
I am…. having fun! 

Where I stood ~ On a Surf Board!     Full ~ a bowl full of papaya! 

Makes You Smile ~ (how could this not?) SCUBA Diving! 

A Word.     Cloud ~ a dark rain cloud looming over head didn't stop this stunning sunset! 

On Your Bedside Table ~ in the hotel room in LA.    Playing ~ in Grandma's back yard, where they stayed while Mom and Dad played. 

Quiet ~ The car was quiet as we waited for the tow truck to come pick us up from the airport! 
Upside Down ~ Our trip was turned upside down when our car gave up the ghost and we were forced to shop for a new one before we could head home! 

We were blessed that the car didn't wait till we were on the road before she died! But it was frustrating not being able to shop at our leisure and having to purchase out of state. It also raised the roof when it came to our trip budget… But at least we have a reliable family car that fits all our needs. 

So that is why I have been none existent for the month of February! I'm going to try and do better in March… although I'm not starting out very well, am I?