You know what I want?  Maybe even more than world peace?  Are quick healthy snacks my kids will actually eat!  Is that asking too much? As you all know, we follow a mostly Paleo lifestyle.  “Mostly” meaning about 85 percent. And to be totally honest, it drops to about 50% for the kids. I’m not going to lie; I buy mac ‘n cheese every trip to the grocery store. But I grab the all natural stuff… does that make it any better?  OK, fine, no! But it does make me feel better!  So anyway, when Whole Foods asked me to review some of their gluten-free, kid friendly snacks, I honestly thought maybe the Middle East was at peace!

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We first tried the Hip Chick Farms Chicken Wings.

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Eva liked them.  Dominic thought they were too spicy.  So of course I ate them! Next up, Applegate Naturals Gluten Free Chicken Breast Tenders.

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I have an excellent recipe for similar chicken wings… but I don’t have time to make them! So this was a perfect example of what I’m looking for to fill up my kids’ bottomless stomachs! I cooked them for 20 minutes in my toaster over. We paired them with Grama’s Sweet Chili Sauce (AMAZING!) and…. SUCCESS!  Both kids loved them! I even kept sneaking bites while they weren’t looking.  They are all white chicken meat “breaded” with rice flour. They even had a nice crunch, which is crucial for any chicken strip! So there you go! Some nice options for kids now that we are back in the “I’m home from school and I’m starving and there’s nothing to eat in this entire house” season.  Now, let’s work on that world peace thing!

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Last year was a big year for us.  “Us” being Darrin and me.  Excluded in that “us” is Eva and Dominic.  That’s because last year, “us” decided “they” would start doing their own laundry!  YES!!!!!!!!  I loved that idea!  I was fully onboard.  “They”… not so much.  But after threatening to take away football for the lad and pageants for the lass (yes, I said pageants.  That’s for another blog post I haven’t yet brought myself to write!) “they” agreed to add laundry to their list of chores.  That’s a good thing right?  Well, it was for about 13 months.  But then F35 entered our family.  F35 is a warning that started showing up on our Whirlpool Duet washing machine just moments before it would beep 3 times and shut off.  No matter the washing machine was full of sopping wet clothes.  Well,  I’m the type that just assumes it was a momentary laps in function of my washer.  So I rung out the clothes, threw them back in, and hit start.  7 minutes later, F35, beep, beep, beep, and another “momentary lapse of function.”  Damn it!  I called Darrin and he said he had no idea what F35 was so we agreed I would call our appliance guy.  So imagine my surprise when THIS is what I came home to that night after work!!


“What in the hell are you doing?  Just because you work on ranch trucks does not mean you can work on a washing machine!!” I sputtered out.  “No, I think I know what’s wrong. I found out the F35 code means the water pressure sensor switch it out.  I think I can get to it,” was his reply.


What I forget about my husband is his confidence he can fix anything and the fact he has a truckload of tools.  Check out this little flashlight! It even has little grabbers at the end in case you find a treasure! I bet if I told him my stomach hurt he would honestly think he could do a colonoscopy on me.


And low and behold! Check this out!  On his way to fixing the water pressure sensor switch he found a treasure trove  of kid stuff! A few rocks, some coins, candy wrappers, ABC gum, bobby pins… treasures from little kid pockets that were never emptied prior to washing! When this whole mess started my first thought was to start doing the kid’s laundry again.  But not anymore!  I can get used to having an appliance man in the house!



When my mom was alive, here’s how our Mother’s Day always went.  After a lovely home cooked brunch, we would go see a movie, grab a glass of wine afterwards, and meet our family at dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  No presents.  No flowers.  Just time.  Time spent with one of my favorite people on the planet.  Munching on popcorn and hot tamales in the theatre.  Giving our best Siskel and Ebert review of the movie over a glass of Rombauer chardonnay.  Happily eating out because we didn’t have to cook… or clean!  It was always a day I looked forward to.  Not for the “thing” I might get.  But because of the intangible gift of time. When you lose THAT gift, you truly realize how precious it is.  So now that I’m a mom, time is all I want with my kids.  I wake them up early sometimes, just because I missed them overnight.  I sometimes deny their request for sleepovers simply  because I want them staying with me. I look forward to Darrin being out of town because the kids and I know this means we all sleep together in my big bed like a pile of puppies.  So like all of you moms reading this, I’m sure your request for Mother’s Day is the same as mine;  TIME.  NBA MVP Kevin Durant probably said it best:


I live in a zoo.  I guess ranch is more accurate, but it feels like a zoo.  Like a crazy zoo.  Like I’m the zoo keeper of a family of orangutans.  I can’t get control.  And it gets worse every year.  Allow me to explain.  We have a dog… who sneezed right as I snapped this picture.











two cats… we inherited from my mom.


a hamster… that was an 9 year old little girl’s birthday present.












thousands of cows… which constantly need to be fed.  Literally, they eat before we do.












Two 4-H pigs named Jerry and Henry.


and now this.


5 kittens and a mamma cat… that are incredibly difficult to take pictures of.


See, my over-achieving daughter decided she wanted to foster kittens from the Nevada Humane Society.  She went to her first introduction get-together and while she was there, I was busily preparing for the 6:30 newscast. I got a call at about 6:22.  Here’s how the conversation went.  “Mom, they have 6 cats I can bring home tonight.”  “What?  I’m reading scripts and putting on mascara and trying to talk to you.  You said they have hats for you?” “No cats.” “Well ok, fine, I’m sure we can find people to hand out these hats to.  Bring them home.  No problem.”  “Um, ok mom, I’m doing it.  I’m bring home the cats.”  “Ya ya, sure, ok sweetie, love you, my mascara is going all over my face because I’m holding the phone with my cheek.  Love you see you tonight.”

DAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT!  Not one hat did she bring home!  But instead 6 CATS!  So our zoo now has 5 two week old kittens and their mamma.  We are fostering them until they weigh 2 pounds.  Ok, these babies weigh 12 OUNCES!  We will have them for weeks!  This is a perfect lesson for me to stop multi-tasking.  Next thing I know, Eva will be calling me asking for the “keys” and I’ll say “no problem” thinking she wants “peas” for dinner!








What did you do this weekend?  I went to a swine auction in Fallon, NV.  I literally could end this post right there.  That sentence alone is enough to give you a good enough laugh for the day.  But you just know my San Francisco self has something more to say.  And it starts with the nose.   This was my first view of a swine auction.  Call it a hog or pig auction if you want.  It’s all the same to me.


What you don’t get from the picture above… is the smell.  Oh my lord!  It’s like walking into a wall of cobwebs.  It literally makes you recoil at first contact.  I live on a ranch.  Cow and horse manure are common place in my world.  Pig shit is another story!  It’s like no other smell I’ve ever smelled.  It literally assaults your nose.  It stopped my feet in their tracks.  It made my brain wonder if I could really enter this room.  Fortunately, like other smells, it passed… but not 100 percent.  You know how Thanksgiving dinner smells so good when you walk in the door, but after 30 minutes you can’t really smell it anymore?  Well pig shit stays with you.  It never completely dissipates…. but at least it did enough to get me in the door.









The day was quickly made better with these little guys.


Some were just 16 pounds… others were about 70.


Several 4-H clubs from northern Nevada attended this auction.  The kids buy their pigs in a real auction type of sale.











Then the dads had the fun of putting the purchased pigs into the trailer.  Oh this video makes me laugh.  Keep an eye on the pigs right hind leg… priceless!

Once loaded up, the pigs were taken home and will be raised by the kids until the Nevada Junior Livestock Show in May.


Last year, our kids raised lambs.  We made the jump to pigs this year because… well, I have no idea why.  But for the time being, our family has now grown by 8 feet… 8 little pig feet.








What can you buy for 30 dollars? A super cute new fall sweater at Old Navy. 7 lattes at your local coffee shop. A full day kids lift ticket at Soda Springs Ski Resort. You know what I got for $30? Two loaves of bread. Paleo bread is apparently made with edible gold. One was coconut, the other almond.


Here was Darrin’s reaction.  Eva felt the same way.


Domi gave it a weak smile, but that’s just because he loves me and my crazy Paleo antics.


Apparently, I had to master my own Paleo bread. And thanks to my fellow Paleo pal, Lisa, I did just that! She gave me a recipe for banana bread and it’s FANTASTIC! Honestly. I do add walnuts but that’s the only change I make to the recipe. And it makes amazing toast. Darrin and I eat it for breakfast all the time. Let me know what you think!

And thank you Elana for this great creation!






I’ve had some interesting grocery shopping in the past week. Sounds pretty boring… but I swear only I could make going to the store a story.


We begin at Petco. I needed to get Donner some better food. A few days ago, Darrin took his quad out to the desert to check his cows and he took Donner with him. She had a great run and was actually exhausted when she got home. Seriously, that means something. My dog is NEVER exhausted. Well, the next day, she couldn’t even get out of bed. She just laid there and looked at my like, “Ah, just take the kids to school.  I’ll just hang back here and lick myself.” So I went to Petco and asked the dog food gal what she recommended for an athletic dog that tends to get sore. She said Blue Wilderness for sure. Perfect. I threw a 24 pound bag in my cart. I also grabbed a $30 scratching post for my cats. As I was checking out, I realized I didn’t ask how much the dog food was but I figured my total bill would be around 50 bucks. So the clerk said, “That will be $93.” “93 DOLLARS???????? I screeched back? How much was that dog food?” “56 dollars, ma’am.” Now, in my head, the conversation continued this way. “What in the hell is in that stuff? Kobe beef? Hand picked organic carrots? Shark fin?????” Instead, out of my mouth came, “OK great, thank you!”

On to the next store. Smith’s grocery store. Now, for those of you who don’t live in Reno and watch me on the nightly news, I will tell you I’m the health reporter for my station. I take it seriously and live a healthy lifestyle to try to set an example. I honestly wear sunglasses and a hat, fake mustache if I could find one, whenever the kids talk me into going to McDonald’s. So imagine my horror when the kids and I were walking around Smiths and Eva eyed Twinkies a few isles down. She literally started running, as if racing in a 40 yard dash, screaming, “Mom…Mooooooom, they have Twiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinkies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” OK, let me explain. When Hostess went belly up, I asked the kids if they’d ever had a 20130916-211126.jpgTwinkie. They said no and I lamented that fact they were probably the only America children who would never eat a Twinkie. Well, my kids are NOT ones to be left behind… for anything… even mashing their face with trans fat. So they begged me to buy a box before they vanished forever. However, all the way cooler moms gobbled them up and Ebay was my last resort. Hell no was I buying a Twinkie on Ebay for $32.50! Sorry kids. The Twinkie Fairy died with the rest of the 2009 economy.  Fast forward to this week and the old saying that Twinkies could outlive cockroaches in a nuclear attack proved true! From the ashes of the still recovering economy rose the Twinkie in all of its golden glory. So I bought a damn box. Eva ate two bites and said, “They’re just OK.  Like I really don’t get what all the fuss is about.” And after taking one bite, Domi started wiping his tongue with a paper towel muttering, “Why is my tongue coated with wax?????” After all that, the Twinkies ended up at my work where they were devoured in 3.4 seconds.


Finally, my last shopping snafu was actually online. I was flipping through Facebook and stopped at Julian Bakery. Paleo Bread it boasted! Sign me up! I cook soooo much living this Paleo lifestyle.  And if someone is going to bake me bread, I’m all for it. So I purchased a coconut and almond loaf. I entered my info, clicked make purchase and then the screening lit up saying “Thank you for your $30 purchase!” WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??????????? 30 DOLLARS FOR 2 LOAVES OF BREAD? HAVE I LOST MY FRIGGIN’ MIND? Apparently I have.


So let’s recap. In one week, I spent $90 and brough home some dog food, a box of Twinkies and two loaves of bread. Lets just keep that between us.





church imageAs we walked to the news set the other night, I asked Kristen, my friend and co-anchor, “Do you ever cry in church?”  She laughed and said, “I’ll text you the first time I don’t cry in church.”   That made me feel better because last Sunday I had an extemely emotional experience in church and I wanted to know if I was crazy. Kristen assured me I wasn’t.

Last weekend, I ended up kidless on Sunday morning and so took advantage by going to church by myself.  Going to church alone doesn’t bother me.  It’s not like flying solo to a movie.  That does bug me.  But when it comes to church, I actually prefer to go alone.  I didn’t go to my church.  But instead traveled up to Lake Tahoe to visit St. Francis of Assisi. 

In 2004, we baptised our daughter, Eva Diana, at St. Francis.  Since then, it’s always held a special place in my heart.   And now, sitting alone in my pew, I was once again happy to be here.  When Father Bill entered I immediately sat up straighter.  His presence didn’t make me nervous, but rather more alert… like a freshman on the first day of class.  I wanted to truly understand the lesson I was about to hear.  And learn I did.

He asked us all to allow the Holy Spirit into our souls so that we could forgive those who trouble us the most.  The Holy Spirit would guide us in allowing our feelings of ill will to be replaced with love and eventual peace.  And when he said, “We need the power to deal with those that cause us the most pain…” my eyes immediately filled with water.

On December 21st, 2011, my best friend died.  4 days before Christmas.  She would have survived past the new year, but my brother and I gave her permission to go to the other side… and she did… that night.   I thought I was ready. I thought it would be best for her to move on to the next world. But I was wrong.  Living without my mom causes me daily pain.

As I glanced at Father Bill, trying to hide the tears that were now streaming down my face in a river of emotion,  I was horrified to admit the one person causing me the most pain was the one person who would never do anything, ever, to hurt me… my mom.   She would be so sad to know I struggle at the feet of her demise.  But I do.  We are coming up on her two year anniversary of leaving us and I still feel like that lonely kid who was forgotten at school.  I keep looking for her to come around the corner to get me. 

So with a deep breath,  I closed my eyes to allow the Holy Spirit into my core.  I breathed deeply several times to allow the warmth of his being to enter my soul.  And I felt… nothing!  Dammit!  So I sat there some more and waited.  And waited.  By this time my tears were drying up because I was getting irritated.  Where was the Holy Spirit when I really needed it??  I left church feeling a tad disappointed.

On my 40 minute drive home, I looked at they sky, still pale grey with smoke from the fire burning near Yosemite.  I thought how my mom would have complained about all the smoke.  She hated anything but bright sunny days in Reno.  And that thought alone broke me again.  New tears followed the dried stains already on my cheeks.  And this time, I allowed myself to sob.  To release some of the water that filled my emotional bucket.  I allowed myself to be angry.  I allowed myself to climb right up on that pitty chair and have a party.  And then it happened.  As I slowly pulled down into Reno off the Mt. Rose Highway, my tears dried up.  My anger floated away from me.  And a sense of warmth filled my body.  A warmth like I’ve never felt.  A warm blanket enveloping my heart.  And finally… peace. 

The magical spell lasted until I pulled into my driveway.  The chaos of my kids, now back at home, dulled the sense of warmth inside me, but I knew it was still there.  I had released some of the pain of my mom’s death.  I have a long way to go to be out of daily pain, but moments like that, where you connect with the Holy Spirit make me realize I will someday get there.

(note:  My Holy Spirit is the Divine Trinity.  What’s yours?  Is it Mother Earth?  Is it your own belief that doesn’t have a name?  Whatever, or whoever, you pray to, I hope you find peace in your God like I do mine.) 

A book that opened my eyes to the Divine Trinity is called The Shack.  It’s a fictional story, a good read, but man does it have a thought provoking kick to it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it:



Even the title of this post makes me laugh. And hang on, cause it gets better!

I came home the other night and was immediately told to sit down and shut my eyes. Ok, that makes me a tad nervous but I played along. So Eva, Domi and I sat on the couch with our heads covered with my jacket. Finally Darrin came into the room and said, “Surprise!” Well holy shit, this really was a surprise!! A huge stuffed beaver! It appeared to be swimming past a log.


My San Francisco self screamed, “And What In The Hell Do You Plan on Doing With That Thing?”

“Mounting it on the wall of course,” Darrin said while looking at me like I was from Mars.

Ok, I’m not the alien in this situation. Who the hell has a BEAVER mounted on their WALL???? Apparently I do.

Let me take you back to the summer of 2007. Darrin lined the road into our house with trees. When he planted them they were smaller than our 2 and 3 year old.


Now fastforward to 2012. The trees are more than 25 feet tall. They are gorgeous and the fruit of Darrin’s hard labor.


That is until Darrin noticed all of them were being eaten alive. He assumed a beaver was gnawing on them because a beaver’s front teeth never stop growing so they have to file them down. Our trees were suddenly emory boards.


So father and son went on a beaver hunt (did my San Francisco Self really just say that???).

One night, they took a flashlight and sat on the banks of the ditch that runs through our property and waited. It didn’t take long before a 60 pound mammal came swimming through a culvert and headed right for our trees. With one shot, Darrin and Domi had their beaver. (Note, we tried to trap the beaver several times.  It didn’t work.  This was truly our last resort)

Living on a ranch, Darrin buries animals when they die. So I just figured that’s what he had done with the beaver.  So now fastforward to the other night and imagine my surprise when there, in my family room, was a stuffed beaver.


The kids wanted to name it.


Donner went bananas trying to figure out if she should attack it.


Max figured it was a new friend to rub up on.


Even Cody, who’s rarely a part of my crazy family antics, made an appearance to see what all the commotion was about.


Days later it was mounted on the wall. Now for the rest of our lives, my husband’s beaver will be on display for all to see.   20130822-210933.jpg









 But you know me!  I’ve had a little fun with it as well.  Like when a couple we recently met came over and I grabbed the husband’s hand and asked, “Would you like to see my beaver?”








Check this out! I received a preview copy of Primal Cravings by Megan McCullough Keatley and Brandon Keatley from the folks at Marks Daily Apple and Primal Blueprint Publishing Company. Apparently, I’ve arrived as a paleo blogger. I guess now I need to step it up with my paleo blogging! All these damn workouts and lung issues are getting in my way of fun stuff like writing about food!

I’ve had this book for about 4 weeks now and I’ve already tried many recipes. I’d like to share them with you all here, but I feel like that’s stealing. Kinda like when your 8th grade boyfriend made you a tape of Duran Duran’s Rio album. Of course we all took it, but really??… couldn’t we have just gone to Tower Records and paid the $8.99 to get our own? Simon, I’m so sorry! I totally pirated your goods! So because of my Catholic guilt (which apparently didn’t kick in until well after middle school) I won’t give you the recipes from Primal Cravings, BUT I WILL  give you my take on them!  Plus I truly believe we need to support these people!  Paleo cookbook authors are doing amazing work out there!!


Let’s start with the Sausage and Eggs On the Go. These are PERFECT for my truck driver husband! He leaves the house at 3am during cattle hauling days. I really do try to make him breakfast before he heads out the door… but 3AM!!!!!!!! hell no! So these little nuggets of protein goodness are great for eating while trucking.


Thanks to my friend, Lisa, for taking this picture below.  We ate all of ours before I could snap a shot of them cooked.  But aren’t they lovely in the raw too!!  (and is Lisa’s picture upside down??)


Now here’s where you’ll get my take on things.  The recipe is pretty basic, for good reason.  I’m sure Megan and Brandon wanted to appeal to everyone.  But I spiced mine up a tidge.  I put some green onions, mushrooms and a flake of parmesan cheese in each one.  FABULOUS!  You could change up the additions each time you make them for a different flavor!  Here’s how lovely the picture is in the book… and….


Here’s where you can buy a copy!  I really love this cookbook!  It’s a favorite goto for Paleo recipes! Click on the book to check it out!