There is only now.


I have a strong urge to convince you that “I”m still alive!” or that “I’m back!” or something like that. Since it’s been months since I posted I feel obligated to mention the time between the posts…but instead I’ll just put some pictures up that back up this quote above here. I don’t know who it’s from, actually, just that I saw it on Instagram (yes! I’m back on social media! Find me on instagram: TrueMountainBakery). I love this saying. In the spirit of that-I share some photos of my current “now”.

Above: Parade of lights Silliness


Above: Glorious way to wake up!


Above: My friend Sherry has been sending me her artwork she creates during her time with the Lord.

Really? How awesome is God that the gives me friends like this?!


Above: Mrs. Charles and me. Repeat above reference to God’s awesomeness and friends.


Above: Freezing at the Parade of Lights for my birthday!



Above: This tree. The snow. The barn. Takes my breath away (literally it was about 10′ as a high that day).


Above: Celebrating (other people’s) birthdays that end in zero are way more fun with friends. Thanks, ladies, for forging the trail!

I’ve still got one year left!


Above: Zip-lines (that one in the background is just a practice one). We spent four hours zip lining as a family-what?! So fun!


Above: What’s cuter than a bunch of kittens? Three sweet friends cuddling said kittens!

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Above: Abby got nabbed to be the minion to advertise for our church’s Harvest Fest one Sunday! Love!!

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Above: We sold the chickens and ducks! What?! We’re down to just alpacas that we board-and barn cats. Aren’t they so cute and fuzzy?IMG_4044 (1)

Above: El Guapo is a beekeeper- mentioned this before. He harvested his honey this spring, somehow boiled down the honeycomb and got the wax and then made these candles. Have you sensed a “Charles Ingalls” spirit in my husband yet?


Above: Papi and Alli…love!


Above: And another beautiful reminder from Sherry. Hope! Christ is born this day! (okay, not this day-but in a couple of days-and really we don’t know when it was-but we’re doing our best here as Christians-let’s go with this for now shall we?).

Merry Christmas, friends.

La Gringa


Backpack 18



For those of you who’ve been following LaStradaTostada for a while you know that El Guapo and I love to get into the wilderness of the Colorado Rockies to celebrate our anniversary. This year was no different (albeit late in the season for miss “I get really cold just thinking about being really cold”). Thanks to all three grandparents (one for  each grandkid to go to) and to our Pastor Scott and family for caring for our other kids the chickens, ducks and cats (that’s all the farm animals we have right now. Phew) we were able to pull off a trip into the James Peak Wilderness.  We started at the East Portal Trailhead of the South Boulder Creek Trail and headed up three grueling hours (4.5 miles) to Heart Lake. Beautiful. Stunning. Popular. Situated at 11,300ft. We were able to find a quaint, tucked away spot to set up camp-where no one could find us 🙂

Sadly, I got blisters 😦 even with my proven hiking boots! Darn it. I thought I’d figured that part out. Oh well. It was a pretty vertical climb so I was on my heels a lot. Speaking of heels….this trip comes right on the heels of my CC year starting up (see my previous post). Ever tried hiking while in labor?!? Ha! Well, God has been gracious and allowed CC to wait until we get back-priorities don’t ya know!! 

We managed to bag a 13er (that’s Coloradan speak for “we hiked up to a 13,000 ft. above sea level mountain) on day two. Phew! More time on those heels but God’s creation is so magnificent and breathe taking that I forgot about the blasted blisters. 

 If this goes through you’ll see a video we sent to the grandparents while on a mini summit-high enough to get cell service. Also it’s windy up that high…

 There was also ample opportunities for fishing-which El Guapo took ample opportunity catch:

We call that one dinner. 🙂

We’ve been dreaming and talking more of doing the Colorado Trail once the girls are out (that will happen, right?!?) and El Guapo can take a month or more off of work and still come back to a job…(will that ever happen??!!) so we’ve been reading up on “ultra light backpacking”. It’s a thing. We brought along a book to read together and it’s been really fun! Challenging ideas about how to backpack with less stuff but very tempting as the idea of a hauling around a 50-60 pound pack vs. a 25pound pack for a month through the Rockies  sounds delightful. Can we sleep under a tarp with just a down quilt and bivy sack?! Yikes. Maybe 35pounds and throw in a pillow. 

And let’s be sure to include breakfast sausage, potatoes and eggs. YUM. 


Well! It’s off to birth this baby! (Not a real baby-sorry to confuse you. It’s the “baby” called Classical Conversations). That would be crazy though if I’d actually hiked while in labor…and that we were going to have a fourth…right. Not happenin. 

But here’s our beautiful three we do have and got to return to. Absence makes the heart grow fonder-of retirement…er, I mean love for my hormonally charged, oops-that should read …of these bundles of joy, love, and constant reminders of why I need Jesus. 

(We were excited about an Indiana Jones movie El guapo’s mom and step dad gave us. Heeehee.)

Fondly, with blisters and all,

La Gringa 



Pardon the silence…

….I’m dilated to a 6 and I’m entering “that stage”. I think people have called it the “wall of fire”. There’ll be a baby to hold on the other side of that wall. A “classical conversations” baby that is. 

In case my analogy has failed to get my point across-here it is plain and simple: I’m very, very busy getting this year’s Classical Conversations community together. We start September 15. Until then let me leave you with some parting photos. There’s no captions or explanations. I’m too busy breathing and focusing on pushing this baby out for details like that, remember?!

Wow! We’ve had a blast this summer!! Be back soon!

La Gringa 


El Baño Nuevo is here!


Welcome back! Doesn’t that picture above just scream,

“Good morning! I’ve created an amazing sunrise for you-think how great the rest of your day will be?!” Love, God-the creator of the universe.

I took that picture, well, I hate to tell you this…while on the toilet. I realize this is way too much information however-at our last house-the view outside of our bathroom was much less glorious. It was actually someone else’s front yard. Speaking of toilets…

The Bathroom! We finished it ages ago (okay, May). I no longer have to watch my self use the toilet! Now I can keep my mind on other things than how wide my hips aren’t are aren’t-oh, you get the idea-no more mirror on the shower door! I’ll stop talking now and share photos-which is really why you’re here.

We grabbed this mirror at a garage sale, added knobs we re-purposed from an old oven we found on the property and viola! Hand towel holder! You can also kind of see the beetle kill pine tongue and groove we put up on the wall under the window. We put the same stuff on our ceiling in the kitchen-it’s really great. Oh, we also covered up the sage green paint with gray-to match the rest of the house:


Here’s a big picture of the bathroom. It’s a small space-but this new dresser we turned into a vanity has gobs of drawers-and is also adorable! We painted and distressed it and then El Guapo put his mad skills to work on creating a contoured counter top out of marble tiles-no grout lines-they are just glued together-I think he used glue? He also did some cool tricks so that we only lost about 5″ of drawer space total from the sink and faucet plumbing.

Also-you’ll sort of notice the lights in this photo…we painted them white-they are originally used on electrical substations-something like that. We mounted them on some old wood (we’ll say we got it from the barn-sounds more “pinterest-y’ that way). We also ditched the tiny mirror/medicine cabinet for this gigantor, frame-less one. Between it and the dresser we don’t know what to do with all this space! Oh, but our growing daughters, do-so good thing we’ve got extra space! Sorry the photo is so dark…oh! and isn’t the floor tile cool? Incidentally that’s “the window” from whence the sunrise came:


Here’s a closer-up of those barnwood lights:IMG_2303

Here’s what it looks like if you were a 3-year old walking into the bathroom…3-year olds can really appreciate the details on the dresser/vanity! I told you there were lots of drawers! (Incidentally-just so you know how amazing El Guapo is: he looked for an entire year (who does anything for that long anymore?!) for this dresser-one that was narrow enough, had tons of storage that wouldn’t be lost by adding a sink and one that matched my cottage chic look. I think I should take him out to dinner, don’t you?)IMG_2381

And here’s a crooked picture of the shower! Honestly-why can’t I take a straight photo?! Thanks to my dad’s brilliant idea-we ran the tile all the way up to the ceiling-feels so much bigger! El Guapo also put in recessed shelving, and drilled holes in the little corner shelves for our razors! Maybe we should order dessert!IMG_2382Another view of the shower. I actually had a friend zooming in on these photos on my phone so she could see what kind of hair products I use. I love girlfriends. (DevaCurl, btw)
IMG_2383That’s it! It took maybe two more weeks than we originally planned (so total of six weeks-nights and weekends). The biggest surprise was that with the configuration of the floor/wall heater the new tub wouldn’t go in so we had to cut out all of the drywall under the window (hence the tongue and groove). And thanks to El Guapo’s re-selling of random things we pulled out of the bathroom and other buy/selling techniques he’s mastered over the years-it didn’t cost us much, either! That shower door is my favorite, well, and the dresser. It’s a toss-up. They were both craigslist finds so really I can have two favorites since we got such great deals on them.

“What’s next?” you say? Well, We’re going to try to take a year “off” from projects. Although he’s already installed a water filtration system since this one ended…and I really want a new deck (a house keeper, professional organzer and professional landscaping would be great, too-since you asked)…but it’s nice to have our weekends and evenings to enjoy the farm…so we’ll see. The biggest “next” is the basement…but we try not to talk about it…it’s going to be a lot of work.

Now let’s go enjoy summer, shall we?!

La Gringa


Where I’m At

Detoxing I believe. Not from illegal substances but from going 100mph without stopping for an entire school year. I can’t seem to pull myself together lately. I mean, I get dressed everyday but having energy to do anything but the basics (feed family, drive them places, drink coffee, respond to high priority emails, write this blog (apparently), send out our “it’s not even close to the holidays but I don’t know what else to call it but a Christmas letter” letter to family and friends and last but not least text friends funny memes-what’s a “meme”? here’s an example):

And yes, I make time for sending them because they make you laugh. People in rehab need to laugh, too, dontcha know.

I’ve also found time to read (make sure you understand-all I am doing is reading) about house organization. It all started when Sarah handed me a book at the library and said, “Here mom. You need this.” When Abby saw this interaction she quickly put her arm around me, rubbed my back and said, “It’s okay mom. You’re a really good mom.” Here’s the book she handed me:

So I checked it out (I never said I was a proud woman) and started reading. This author is a New Yorker. She’s also OCD. She has good tips but I was feeling as though she really didn’t get life on a dirty farm, in a small farm house with three kids that were home all day. Making messes. Big messes that left long trails of more big messes. She doesn’t own a car much less a mini-van with enough crumbs in it that could feed a small country in an emergency. Then I found this book for sale at the library for $.25 because of water damage (I love the irony of water damage on a house organizing book)! A sign of hope that this just might be my kind of organizing book!

Now THIS is a book that’s right up my alley, er, gravel driveway. She’s witty, from Colorado, has two kids (not homeschooled, but that’s okay-I can work around that), a cheap, er, budget conscious (you’re welcome, honey) husband, and is hilarious. I guess now I just have to put some of these things into practice…*SIGH*. Let’s refer back to the first paragraph, shall we?

Anyways…I’m assuming my energy will come back just before El Guapo organizes that intervention he’s been secretly planning. I’m sure he’s wondering if I’ll ever get to the basement. (Meme warning):

If you haven’t seen the movie “Mom’s Night Out” you need to. There’s this great scene where the mom (Allyson) is hiding in a closet-maybe eating chocolate, I can’t remember, and her husband (Sean) finds her. Here’s the dialogue:

Allyson, in the closet:  Actually, I’m hiding.
Sean:  Hiding from what??
Allyson:  The house.  It’s awful.

Allyson:  I’m stress paralyzed.
Sean:  I don’t think that’s a thing.
Allyson:  It might, it might be a thing.

Right, it’s sorta like that. Stress Paralyzed. Just go rent the movie (even if you’ve seen it before).

So that’s Where I’m At. Except my closet is too small to fit inside of. Irony.

Thanks for listening.

Oh, and here’s another meme-if you need another example:

La Gringa


Rain. More rain. Snow. Rain. 

We’re majorly under some wet weather these past few weeks. We were in Oregon this time last year and I think it was sunnier there than here! Mother’s Day had us under a foot of snow here at the farm. (See photos below for proof)

El Guapo finished the bathroom-that post will come soon! For now-I’ll leave you with some pics from around the farm, including some from our little pond turned lake. Thanks to our friends (and neighbors) for letting us borrow their canoe!



Un Baño Nuevo

The fall of 2014 found us with a Cocina Nueva (see how I am making you remember your high-school Spanish class vocabulary? No need to thank me…). This Spring will find us with…Un Baño Nuevo! I can’t wait to not look at myself in the mirror while using the toilet (yes, there is a mirror on the shower door that lands right in front of the loo…who does such a thing? I mean, it takes any good body image thoughts you’ve managed to scrape up and flushes it right down the, well, toilet. (I know what you’re thinking here-“did she really have to use that pun?” um…fantastic pun!!)

Also-blue sinks show WAY too much toothpaste for a family of five to keep up with.

Not to mention the spigot in the shower that should fill the bathtub doesn’t work so in order to take a bath (which never happens because of what I’m about to explain) had to be shut off due to a leak or something…I’m not the plumber here…just the blogger. Let’s picture filling up the bathtub using the shower-head shall we?

There’s hope! T-minus 7 days to the start of a new bathroom! Now we’ll be doing this project on weeknights and weekends so we’re estimating about 1 month to a completely finished, new bathroom (we’ll see if that timeline changes at all…what?! of course it will! This project will cost us twice as much and take twice as long…they ALL do!! Silly). Also-we’re dealing with 1960s plumbing mysteries so who knows what that will hold. Thank goodness we have a toilet crammed between the washer and the dryer in the basement we can use…and a standing shower down there, too. All set for demolition day!

Anways…El Guapo has been working hard at finding amazing deals (as always) on eBay and Craigslist…a dresser for the vanity, a vessel sink,an faucet that will blow your mind, some really great mosaic tile to go in the shower…I’m so excited to show you pictures!

Now…go enjoy your own Baño today!

May your body image not shrink & your bathtub fill quickly!

La Gringa


Keeping Calm. And sane. And everyone alive. And fed. 


Do you, like me, have a hard time staying focused on what your daily plans are? I also find staying, er, emotionally balanced, is also a challenge. Now don’t get me wrong. If it was just me involved in my days then for the most part emotional stability would be easier…add three 9-14 year old girls and…do I need to finish this thought for you or are you already catching my drift? Needless to say I was at the Dollar Tree the other day and stumbled upon this poor man’s, er…I mean cheapskate’s, no…let’s go with “financially responsible” version of vinyl wall letters. I bought them, for $1!, and quickly placed them in a location visible to pretty much everybody all day long (please note I am pointing out here the pro of our smaller, downsized house)! I also captured a photo of it and set it as my “locked screen” image. It’s funny how a little reminder like this has helped me ground myself in the midst of life that at many times can feel anything but “calm”. We CAN do all things through Christ. And it doesn’t have to be crazy and hectic-and when it is I can still have Christ’s peace in the midst. Thanks you Jesus! Also Coffee. Jesus has provided “seattle’s best #5” coffee which also helps. A lot. 

It’s going to be a great day!

La Gringa



Spring is so close! Photos!!

(note: funny story…I meant to post this on my Classical Conversation’s Community Website instead of LaStradaTostada…which would explain why some of you have no idea who “Esther” is…however the pictures and her quote speak for themselves so I’ll stop clarifying now.)


Esther sent me these photos (I think she cheated and grabbed some from Switzerland’s Spring some time ago). But aren’t they beautiful?

Here’s what she said about spring (I couldn’t agree more-which is why I’m quoting her instead of trying to say it myself!)

I love spring and all the symbolism of new life sprouting all around….reminding me each year of the miracle of new birth, resurrection and all that Christ has accomplished in making us new from the inside out!

What a gift!!!

Thank you Esther, for sharing!



Switzerland Spring!

Switzerland Spring!


A Confessional of Sorts

You may remember when I posted about not having an iPhone anymore and how wonderful it was. I also told others how simplified my life had become with my not-so-smart yet brilliantly non-addictive , albeit antiquated, flip phone. All of that is true. Then I dropped it and the screen went blank forever. I was up for a new phone through my phone company. Someone close to me offered to buy me an iPhone (the cheaper price that comes along with an upgrade). I caved. No. “caved” sounds so weak. I “chose” to go back to an iPhone. I’m still not back on Facebook-so there’s less to get distracted with, however I did put on the BBC News app and find myself going to that too often during the day. I can text my friends my facial expressions while eating cake (it was this caramel apple cake I made and the photo just had to be sent!). I can even see when another iPhone friend is texting me with those three little dot thingys (that’s new since my last iPhone)! How did I ever live without that? See how much it’s improved my life?!

I can also post pictures like this from my phone! I know. Instagram. I'm not on that.

I can also post pictures like this from my phone!
I know. Instagram. I’m not on that, either.

Justifying you say? Okay, maybe a little. It is so convenient, though and it really comes in handy when one of the girls is bored and needs to stare mindlessly at a screen for a few/several/”wait, how long have you been playing on my phone?!” minutes.

Okay. My conscious feels better now.

Thanks for listening.

La Gringa