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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Thursday, July 30, 2009


I’m kind of into baking. I’ve thought a lot about this, though not as much as the thought time I’ve reserved for, say, the shape of my eyebrows or the cowlicks that have stubbornly remained in my hair since junior high. (*Never said I wasn’t shallow.) But I think the reason I love baking is first, because I love to eat things that involve butter and sugar. Second, those things usually make my house smell really good while baking and make me feel victoriously domestic, even if the rest of the house would make Martha Stewart go into catatonic shock. Third, the beginning, middle, and end occur all in one day, unlike the creation of a novel or, for instance, a pregnancy.

A few weeks ago, I made a rhubarb pie. I used lard in the crust, which, in general, is a great thing to do as long as you don’t think about it for more than one teeny second. I cut rhubarb from my mom’s garden because I can’t make things grow that God didn’t originally plant without my intervention. While I was cleaning up the aftermath, I decided to check into how to freeze the extra rhubarb. My grandmother, who is a baker’s baker and who still bakes cookies, bars, pies and cakes each week for herself and Grandpa (NEITHER OF WHOM, INCREDIBLY, HAVE LOVE HANDLES), freezes her rhubarb. I’d been thinking of her all day, particularly since I used her recipe for the pie. Here it is, just in case you think me to be a liar:

My grandma’s is really, really good. Mine is slowly coming along. I’ve at least figured out how to make it look like a pie and not as much like a preschooler’s sand art project. (Happily, I don’t have photos of THAT stage of my development.) Since my grandma is the pro, I should have called her. Instead, I kept washing dishes that could have waited and asked Marc, who was at the computer, to Google how to freeze rhubarb.

Now here is the glory of the 21st century. Sure, I can hunt around and find what I need in a moment’s notice, be it how to install crown molding, when to feed a baby solid foods, or if Jon Gosselin really does think a divorce is “exciting” because he’s still “really young.” But I can also happen upon entire subcultures of people who know a lot about crazy things, like beekeeping and competitive eating and Peru. Proving this point, when Marc typed in my request, up popped a bunch of helpful links, not on how to freeze rhubarb but how to FREAK DANCE.

I really don’t know what freak dancing is (Marc is worried even as I write this that it is obscene or a lot like the lambada). Perhaps it involves rhubarb. Or beekeeping. For goodness' sake, don't Google it. All it know is that in this glorious age of technology and innovation, I will be calling my grandmother the next time I need her help. She loves me, she bakes for me, and she would never, ever show me how to dance, freakishly or otherwise.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

News from the (Mother)Hood

As a mother of three young children, none of whom is able to tie shoes fitted with laces, I often feel out of the loop of the normal world. I don’t watch the news in front of my kids anymore because it’s scary and lots of people die and get blown up. I recently stopped my subscription to a fashion mag because my six-year-old daughter pointed to one of the ads and wanted to know why the girl and boy were laying on each other, buckwheat naked. Even television commercials in the middle of the day can be problematic. I’ve been particularly interested to note that wild rice, beef, and window cleaner can be creatively combined with slinky music and three inches of cleavage. (Why haven’t I ever thought of Uncle Ben’s as seductive? That seasoning packet…mmmm…)

So since I’m normally out of it, I’m happy to report news from the streets of high fashion. In boutiques near you, please take the time to marvel at this new contraption, sure to catapult all us trend-challenged moms out there into the world of hip:

That’s right: MILKIES. Thanks goes to Alert Reader Sally B. who brought this marvel to my attention. Feeling out of sorts as a postpartum mom? Plagued by ill-fitting bras because of those weird and scratchy nursing pads? Worried about the whole waste-not-want-not issue? Relinquish your fear and get you some Milkies! Can you see the fine print? “Collects milk from non-nursing side while breastfeeding…Save every drop of your baby’s perfect food.” Slap on that sleek and comfortable PLASTIC FILE FOLDER and save that milk! Ignore the stares of others---they’re just jealous! They wish they’d saved more drops of THEIR non-nursing sides!

So have no fear, dear readers. I will henceforth do my best to keep you abreast (heeeee) of current movements within the fashion industry, not the least of which involve plastic, innovative technology, and wild rice. I may not know own a pair of skinny jeans but darn it, don’t count me out yet.

P.S. Administrative note: For those of you interested in receiving regular updates to this blather, eh, blog right to your inbox, click here. That way you won’t have to stalk for new updates and fashion tips. Also, you’re always welcome to post comments (instructions here) or e-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com. I’ll probably be super busy shopping and getting spa treatments but eventually I’ll get back to you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Take a Seat

Thea went through a time recently where she’d figured out how to stand up but not sit back down. Believe me, this is a worrisome way to live. Her crib (her bed, not her bachelorette pad as seen on MTV) posed the most difficulty. I’d put her down for her nap and she’d scoot around in the dark, pleased as punch at her newfound mobility. The crowning moment, when she would pull herself up to stand, would be such fun for a few minutes. There she’d stand, the queen of her chubby-thighed realm, taking stock of the rocking chair, the whimsical wall art, the stack of clean diapers ready for destruction. Lots of toothy grinning, singing, general baby glee:

But legs that pudgy aren’t used to prolonged exercise, people, and the sheen quickly wore off. What to do, when a girl can’t sit down? How long must one cling with dimpled hands to the crib railing, crying out for help to anyone who would hear? In the days of baby monitors, not long. I’d open the door and rescue the child, tucking her knees and helping her lay down again. And again. And again. We’re talking five, six, seven times I’d go in, each time seeing the poor child with tears streaming down her face, nose running, head propped on the railing to hold her tired body up. The bags under her eyes were like those of a crack addict only a bit cuter. Still, totally pathetic.

All Thea needed was sleep and she was in the right place to get it. Quiet, dark, cool room, safe from the perils of the outside world, like older siblings and heavy metal music. Perfect conditions, but man-oh-man, what resistance.

So this got me to thinking about my own crack-addict tendencies and God. (And I wonder why my books are greeted with caution at Christian bookstores?!) I do the same darn thing as my daughter when it comes to worrying over things in my life. I’ve been particularly fretful lately, and not just about rodents. Am I a good mother? Does Marc still think I’m beautiful? How about cute? Will my next book sell enough copies to make everybody happy? Will my friend’s marriage survive infidelity? Can I raise my children to love God and love people when the world is gross and menacing?

See what I mean? But here’s the beauty: God is God and I am not. He has never, that I can recall, asked me to take over for Him. I am His child and have been given a sweet, quiet place to rest, right in the bottomless of expanse of His grace. So I suppose if I’m hell-bent on propping myself up, fighting through tears of frustration, I can insist on worrying through this week. OR I can take a deep breath, blow my nose, and get back to dirtying diapers, which is just what I’m meant to do. Oops. Mixing metaphors a bit. Sorry. At any rate, I’m resolving again in this moment to take a seat, bend my own pudgy knees, and trust God to be the One that gives me rest.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rodent of Unusual Size

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in our family room with Ani and Mitch going over Mensa flashcards. We’d just finished a review of the American Revolution and were beginning our trigonometry problem sets when *we heard what sounded like a large bag of wet sand being hurled against the door to the deck. (*Point in the story where I stop lying.) We looked over to see this:

Now, I’m all about ethical treatment of animals and such, but this thing was HUGE. It could have easily dropkicked me. Or eaten my 11-month-old for a fiber-filled snack.
My children were ENTHRALLED. And borderline worried because their mother was making fearful, high-pitched noises and saying, “Oooh, don’t touch it! Where’s your father? Don’t touch it!” We were, of course, completely protected by the walls of our home but that wasn’t really computing. The vermin just kept throwing himself at our door, TYRING TO GET IN SO HE COULD EAT US.  Plus, he did this with his face:

Eventually, after I’d called Marc and he’d promised to come home and rescue us, I climbed down off the kitchen table and took a deep breath. The Animal Control woman I interrogated on the phone assured me in a soothing, long-voweled North Dakota accent (?!) that the critter was a woodchuck that “just like the rest of nature, wouldn’t bother unless provoked.” Ahem. Was I PROVOKING it when we were sitting in the family room with our trig sets*? (*untrue) The North Dakotan thought I was a bit too hysterical for her taste and explained she could not send over a trap because all her traps were being used for CATS. (What? You all don’t routinely trap CATS in your cities?)
The whole event was really too emotional for me. In fact, I’m all worked up remembering it now. It hasn’t helped that Marc insists on calling it Chuckles the Woodchuck, which is far too humanizing for me. He’ll come home and ask if we’ve seen Chuckles that day. And I’m sorry to say that yes, on a few more occasions, WE HAVE.
But the minute those traps are free of cats, I’m ON it. Chuckles will be no match for a woman who knows a LOT about the Revolutionary War.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Wow, you people love free stuff! I KNEW we were meant to be friends because you’re talking to the woman who would bypass any number of department stores with marble floors to get one good hour in TJMaxx. Only a few weeks into this blogging idea and we had a whole slew of entries. Just goes to show people are reading who are not, technically, blood relatives.

So I’m happy to announce the two winners of the first fantabugorgeous giveaway at the Kimberly Stuart blog. Rachel C. and Missy T. will receive a free copy of Act Two and the summer issue of Life:Beautiful magazine. Congratulations, girls! And for all who entered but didn’t win this time, check back, dear readers. More free stuff is coming down the pike.

A word about the selection process: As I sat before my inbox and wondered how best to get the entries onto paper and into the sombrero (see previous entry), I asked Marc how he’d recommend going about it. Have I mentioned he was a physics major? This can be an asset (when fixing the lawnmower that I’ve kicked in my impatience) and a detriment (when gunning for Most Perfectly Symmetric Christmas Tree Display hours after the kids have gone to bed). Two sentences into his illuminating discourse on the benefits of a True Random Number Generator, my eyes glazed over. If I can’t find it at Target, I’m not sure it’s a good fit. And what’s this about a generator? Sounds awfully Y2K. But as Marc—dare I use the verb “droned”?—on, I saw a message from Helpful Reader Linda H., who assured me that True Random Number Generators exist for regular people, not just cute physics majors who did research in a field called Molecular Beam Spectroscopy. (NOT KIDDING.) In fact, here’s a photo of Missy T.’s winning number 50:

Please don’t tell Marc that Linda H.’s advice weighed a bit more heavily than his. He might take it out on some unsuspecting data.

Rest assured, friends. We’re not operating some shady operation around here. Your numbers are safe, random, and Y2K-proof.

So what am I supposed to do with this sombrero?