t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Happy Halloween

Happy Haunting from us to you!
Our little witch does "tricks" for treats. Here she is performing a "pas de chat." She actually enjoys her little ballet class. If only Ellery would let her admit it. Ellery, not a big fan.

The dinner I so tenderly prepared for my family. I got these cute ideas from my friend Amy's awesome blog Super Healthy Kids. She tested them on her family and they were big hit. I was not so lucky. Maybe because her's looked cuter.
Pumpkin Shaped Rice Balls...comments...Disgusting I will not eat those.

Ham and Cheese and Soft Pretzel Fingers....comments....No. Unroll it please. This is gross inside. Can I just eat the ham?

Ghost Burritos...comments...Can we please just go trick or treating. I don't want to eat these.
Sometimes I wonder why I even try. Sigh....Nothing can compete with the almighty CANDY.
A little cat nap for Emmy. While trick or treating, he fell asleep purring contentedly in Daddy's (we have no idea what he is dressed up as) arms.


An Ode to the Apple

Ode to the Apple

Apple Pie, Apple Chips,
Apple Leather, Apple Crisps,
Apple Sauce quart after quart
Apple my life you seem to thwart.

But upon the ground, I find I ache
To see you, my Apples becoming worm cakes
Come in my kitchen, I'm slicing again
Apples in Fall, Can this love affair end?

Dread you, I do
But a lost case am I,
For I must confess, (for this month at least)
You're the apple of my eye.

Any more ideas for apples? I have to move fast, the birds are attacking, the sun is burning (yes, apples can actually get sunburned) and crispness is giving way.


Rustling Leaves of Days Past and Present

It was one of those perfect Fall days. Walking home from church our neighbors lawn proved too great of temptation for Ellery and Pip and their best friends Brodine and Jeddy. MaryAnn brought a rake out as she noticed the children playing. Of course the kids greedily grabbed the rake to amass a huge pile.
Aren't they helpful? Look closely and you'll notice a sly Brodine, a pensive Ellery, and a twinkling Jeddy. Just moments before this...
Their true colors surface. Did MaryAnn really think the leaves would actually stay in a pile?
Who among us can look at these pictures without them evoking from our own childhood the smell of freshly fallen leaves which we couldn't help taking in as our faces pressed into the pile, the scratch against our skin of the broken leaves, and the sounds of our siblings and friends squealing and laughing...
I love that my girls have Jeddy and Brodine. For Charlotte and me, it was Joe and Clayton. Our bosom buddies across the street. We dug our fingers in the sand box until our nails never came clean, swung in the ancient pear tree, tried our darnedest to peak into the the decrepit, off limits, bat-filled barn, sunk up to our knees in the rich, black Iowa mud of my Dad's garden, huddled in our garage to wait out the torrents of rain, screaming and clutching each other at each crash of thunder. . .
I love the warmth I feel inside as an observer this time... as the cycle repeats itself for my own children.

My dear friend Julynn, who brings out the best in me. She is a spiritual giant. I can't think of a better family to share in my children's time and laughter.


Go Cougs

Brent and the girls spent the day tailgating and palling around with Cosmo at the BYU football game. Our good friend Coach Wardenburg (BYU basketball) treated the trio to VIP, on field passes. Enjoy a pictoral of the adventure!

El and Pip getting ready to grill up some burgers. (Was it odd to anyone to read a vegetarian has a freezer bursting with beef? Go figure.)

The three trouble makers right in the thick of things. In fact the marching band actually took the field and marched right through them.

The girls have not stopped talking about Cosmo. Apparently later in the game he dressed up as Darth Vader. That was incredible exciting for them. How do they know who Darth Vader is?

No questions here if she is having a good time.

Pip and Coach. Thanks again to the big man.

Coach Bronco and the Cougs storm the field.

Up in the Nose Bleed and still smiling.

So where were the Goo and I you ask? A quiet romantic afternoon for the two of us. After an unusally long nap (think an unusually quiet house) we headed to the fabric and health food store. Two highly precarious destinations with 3 children in tote, but I thought completely manageable with myself and my little man. My high hopes were dashed when in true "man fashion" Emmett had zero tolerance for the fabric store.

I envisioned leisurely browsing through pattern books, while he gooed in his carseat. Not quite. I hurriedly flipped through the pages--which he lunged for, and bawled over upon denial--grabbed some elastic--my cloth diapers from Callista's days need new elastic--and that was it.

Overall, a good day was had by all.


Preserving Liberty

"Momentary Discouragement"

A people may prefer a free government, but if...they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; ...if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions, in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty....and [are] unlikely long to enjoy it.

John Stuart Mill. Considerations of Representative Government. 1861.

I wonder about the "momentary discouragement" and "temporary panic" gripping our country. The discouragement is real. Real families are facing real problems. But now, when it is most difficult, this is when it is crucial to stand up for our liberties and defend our freedoms.

Freedom which sometimes hurt.

Why does freedom hurt? It hurts because with it comes responsibility and consequences. Each of us can use our agency to make decisions which eventually lead to the betterment of our selves and our families. We can live within our means. Avoid debt. Prepare for the future. Raise our children to love and honor God.

Each of us might also use this agency to make decisions which jeopardize our families. Jeopardize our financial security and our physical and emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes maybe it wasn't even our choices, but we are suffering the repercussions of another poor decisions. It hurts. And maybe for some, that is a euphemism.

Do not be induced to lay your liberties at anyone's feet. However tempting the salve may be. Let me choose for myself. I can make the decisions for myself and my family. If we as citizens turn to God, and the principles and practices on which He founded this great nation, we won't need "bailouts" anymore.

Live worthy and fight for the freedoms blood was spilled to give us. Take an active role. Vote.


So You Think You Want to Run a Marathon

I claim zero expertise. I am not an experienced marathoner. I didn't run competitively for anyone. But...I did just complete a marathon. And... I remained injury free

Maybe you've always had this secret compulsion to run a marathon. To see just how far your body can actually go. But the furthest you've run is a 5k. You aren't a runner. You have bad knees. Welcome to my world.

After this adventure of training for a marathon, I believe you can do it. In my humble opinion, do the following or best of luck. (You will need it as you run head first into the proverbial wall.)
  • Follow a training schedule
  • Don't try to do it alone
  • Make cold your friend

Follow a training a schedule

Goggling "marathon training schedule" provides more than a few. I looked for the easiest to understand. Straightforward and simple. I recommend Hal Higdons. This is the beginner schedule. (I would drop the Sunday crosstraining for a rest day, to keep the Sabbath sacred. Then either rest or crosstrain on Monday.)

rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run rest 6
rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run rest 7
rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run rest 5
rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run rest 9
rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run rest 10
rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run rest 7
rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run rest 12
rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run rest 13
rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run rest 10
rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run rest 15
rest 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run rest 16
rest 4 m run 8 m run 5 m run rest 12
rest 4 m run 9 m run 5 m run rest 18
rest 5 m run 9 m run 5 m run rest 14
rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run rest 20
rest 5 m run 8 m run 4 m run rest 12
rest 4 m run 6 m run 3 m run rest 8
rest 3 m run 4 m run 2 m run rest rest

I trained using the Intermediate II. What you see below are my slight alterations. I don't run on Sundays. You can click on the link to see the original.

3 m run 5 m run 3 m run rest 5 m pace
3 m run 5 m run 3 m run rest 5 m run
3 m run 6 m run 3 m run rest 6 m pace
3 m run 6 m run 3 m run rest 6 m pace
rest 3 m run 7 m run 3 m run rest 7 m run


rest 3 m run 7 m run 3 m run rest 7 m pace
rest 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run rest 8 m pace
rest 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run rest 8 m run
rest 4 m run 9 m run 4 m run rest 9 m pace
rest 4 m run 9 m run 4 m run rest 9 m pace
rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run rest 10 m run
rest 5 m run 6 m run 5 m run rest 6 m pace
rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run rest 10 m pace
rest 5 m run 6 m run 5 m run rest 6 m run
rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run rest 10 m pace
rest 5 m run 8 m run 5 m run rest 4 m pace
rest 4 m run 6 m run 4 m run rest 4 m run
rest 3 m run 4 m run rest rest 2 m run

I actually jumped into the schedule late, at week 7. I had been training for my triathlon the 7 weeks before. But before that I was at zero. Just had a C-Section, basically bed rested for 7 months to protect my blood pressure. Also I always did a hill run each week. Either a 5 miler or a 10 miler with at least 1-3 miles of brutal uphill.

Don't try to do it alone

If I am going to be totally honest, just about every morning was brutal to wakeup to my alarm clock. Knowing Marie would be waiting for me on the corner got my lazy self out of bed. Find a friend or a club, anything. But trying to do it alone....it probably won't happen.

Make the cold your friend

I suffer with the notorious "bad knees." I never have had surgery or anything to that extent, but boy do they hurt. Especially when I am just coming into it, after 9 months off for a baby, or upping my mileage, or trying a new trailrun. But Marie and I religiously waded into the Provo River, up to our waists and iced our legs. We shivered in the snow run-off for 10 minutes and walked away injury free. I also kept two bags of frozen peas in my freezer whenever I felt an ache, out came the peas. Ice. Ice. Ice.

Throw a few races in. A 10K, a half-marathon. My longest race prior to this year was a 10 miler. I had a fabulous experience training and competing. I highly recommend the challenge to everyone. I will give you moral support if you are far away. If you live by me, come run!


Boiling the Tepid Pool of Ignorance

George Moore said "We can become educated persons, no matter our stations in life, if we never quit learning."

Speaking of George Washington "...he never went to school. That's why he was an educated man, he never quit learning."

When I feel in a funk...as I have a bit of late, it appears in direct correlation to my own laziness. I quit learning.






Any one of these could be the culprit. No longer intensely training for a marathon...the business is languishing...distractedly watching the General Conference of my Church. The last few days have been revitalizing. In a concerted effort I have stretched. I am thankful for a husband who is the epitome of a "learned man." Not one educated by the Ivy Leagues.

Far better. Educated by a thirst to constantly eradicate his own ignorance wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. If only I, and everybody else for that matter, had his insight and courage.

Too often I let my own ignorance fester in a tepid pool inside me. No heat driving me to churn and boil out the stupor, the pollution.

May the flames of knowledge ignite in me and in you. Onward. Forward.



Anyone looking?



Why I Love My Backyard

Glorious leaves.

A refuge, shared with the man I love more than life itself.

My children's laughter.

Why do I ever give it a second thought when they beg to be pushed on the swings?


Vitamin Packed Smoothie

I just realized this never posted. Sorry....I did it forever ago...back on the October 8th.

Vitamin Packed Smoothie

mixed berries
water/orange juice

By popular demand I am posting my recipe for "Salad in a Bottle" as my husband so lovingly describes our smoothies. I swear by these to stay healthy. They kept my cold to a minimum before the marathon. A much better alternative than "Airborne" and the likes.
The first 2 staple ingredients kale and parsley. I love just snipping these in my garden all summer long. Kale is super hardy. The plant you see above actually came back from last summer. Both are very high in vitamins and minerals.Take a couple handfuls of each and wash well. Especially watch out for the little bugs on Kale. They love to hide in all the crevices of the leaves. A fresh bunch of parsley. YUM.Next I added a couple handfuls of carrots and a banana.If you are having trouble getting it to blend, add a bit of water, or OJ if you prefer.
Next I put in a bunch of peaches I froze from my tree, and 3 apples from my tree.

I blend 2 cupfuls of flaxseed in my coffee grinder. We like to call it the "Spice Grinder." It ends up being about 3/4 c of meal. I put it directly in and blend it up!
At this point, my refreshing green smoothie is complete. But of course, it needs a little doctoring for the rest of the family. I encourage you to try it green though. It is delicious. Many times I add whatever veggies I have on hand. Including lots of spinach and broccoli.Add the magic pill.
The magic "purple ingredient." I wonder how the smoothie is "Disgusting. Don't like it Mom. No." when it is green. Add a few frozen berries (I get those big bags from Costco) the smoothie is purple and all of sudden "Yummy. Mmmm Mom can I have more purple smoothie?"I also sometimes add pineapple or orange juice. In the winter, I add tons of fresh oranges or clementines. My family also likes it a bit thinner than I do. The juice helps to thin it out.

The finished smoothies. This particular batch made must enough for our family. Enjoy. Healthy Living to all!


Ramblings of a Superprotective Parent (some might say "overprotective")

Where are they?

What are they doing?

Who are they with?

These are "the questions" when it comes to my children. You may find me a bit fanatical. My kids only watch a select few PBS cartoons (Caillou, Curious George...) a very select few Disney Movies and no video games. I'm fussy about their food, their clothes (no looking like "Pop Princesses"). I know I can't control everything. I don't want to. But the more time I am with my children the more attuned I am to answer "the questions."

Tangent...Think of all those Moms who encouraged their young girls to idolize Britney Spears. Afterall, she was a "wholesome Mouseketeer" once. Not me. Sorry Hannah.

This being said...

We are a house of parties. Kid parties that is. We have lots of parties for my children. Planning and pulling off a party with 17 little hooligans is truly a labor of love, but one Brent and I are willing to make. Here are a few shots from our most recent "Haunted Halloween Bash"

Ellery posing as a "Spooky Black Widow" Her words: "But mom when I dress up for my school party I want to have a black face and white lips. To scare the girls."
I love that the kids went at these doughnuts with gusto unmatched even by the large black flies. BTW, I think these were the first doughnuts my children have eaten. Look how lenient I am :)
Callista and Mallory we bent the rules for just a little bit...
I see some candy on Pip's Haunted House here. But mysteriously there was no candy at the conclusion of the party...hmmm.... Her Rapunzel wig lasted about 5 minutes. Be sure to take notice of the "made from scratch gingerbread." This was a serious faux pas on my part. Never try to make 20 gingerbread houses. As you may notice...an emergency run that morning to Harmons supplied interspersed graham crackers. Who would have thought it would take sooo much dough!
I can't believe I was the first witch to introduce all these children to a "bubbling brew" such as you see below. They were petrified. Brent in his usually brave and chivalrous manner stepped forward to taste it. He promptly gagged and fell over. The poor children looked on in horror.

Their eyes grew even wider and a few screamed "Noooo..." as Emmett proceeded to grab the cup and dump it into his mouth and all over the front of him. Brent and I had a good laugh. Emmy thankfully pulled through. I barely coaxed Callista into a sip of the "apple juice brew."The final hurrah...apple bobbing. If only Ellery and Callista had 500 friends, maybe we could have cut a dent into the proliferate tree.

The whole bunch of us. Brent is the hero at these parties for certain. He endured in remarkably good humor, quite a few tackles from the rash of football players we found amongst us. He may have even been the instigator.

Good times for all. Little kids are the best. Here's to keeping them little and at home as long as possible.