My husband and I are in the process of building a home in Seattle. I'll be sharing more about the design and build process here. It's truly a dream come true to be able to do this. I've been thinking about designing and building a home of my own for years---actually, since I was 12 years old and helping my parents build our family home. It's in my blood, I guess. I'll keep you posted on the planning process in posts here. For now, I hope you enjoy having a peek at the first pictures of the house plans---and a really cool 3-D model that our architect made for us. Cool huh? I know it doesn't really show detail, but when I look at it, it already feels like home! I cannot wait to move in!

My family and I recently survived the stomach flu (well, we are surviving---still not 100 percent out of the woods yet). Whatever this bug is that has been circulating the country, it is not pretty. I have never in my life seen anything like it and will spare you all the gory details. Needless to say, we've been in stomach-flu-combat mode this week, and it's been really tough. Sadly, we ended up in the emergency room on Wednesday, when my baby (the 2 year old---he'll always be my "baby") took a turn for the worse. But, we're getting through, and he's getting better---slowly. I wanted to share the things that really helped us this week, in case they can help you, too. 1. Yogi Echinacea Immune Support Tea: All I have to say is, get this tea, pronto! While I'm sure it's perfect safe for kids to drink (but don't quote me on that), I have been drinking the stuff by the gallon-load these days and I think it's the reason I didn't get sick. OK, so maybe it's the placebo effect, but really, I swear by echinacea tea now for immune-strengthening. (P.S. I also love elderberry syrup---look for it in the natural foods section of your grocery store---for an immune boost.) 2. A good mini carpet cleaner: Three boys and one husband with the stomach flu. I needed this. A lot. You will too. 3. Bananas: Have you heard of the B.R.A.T. diet for sick stomachs? Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, anabolic steroid. We did a lot of bananas for the 4 year old (it's all he wanted to eat). 4. Disposable mats: Before this flu, I had never heard of a product like this. But, the doctor sent us home with a pack of them (or something like them---not same brand) in the ER on Wednesday, and they saved me so much work. I put them around Colby (the baby) on the couch and also in the boys beds just in case. And there were lots of those "cases" so I was glad to easily peel away a disposable pad instead of change sheets at 1 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4:26 a.m. (I know, they're not very green, but I do my part for the earth daily. I figured I could take a hall pass this week.) 5. Extra Protective Cream. That's what this stuff is called. Extra Protective Cream. I think you can get it at drug stores, but we received it in the ER when my baby's bottom was bleeding from so much from such frequent diarrhea (there, I said it in a post: diarrhea). No other diaper cream could soothe his skin better. I will forever be grateful for this cream. 6. Electrolyte beverages: Though we did a ton of Pedialyte, I have a bone to pick with the stuff: it tastes gross and is loaded with artificial ingredients. Yuck! My kids like Knudson's (organic) Recharge beverage much better. 7. Rice! More B.R.A.T. diet love. This is not the time for brown rice, quinoa, any of that. Just keep it bland and simple. To jazz things up a tiny bit, I roasted an acorn squash and mashed it in with some soy sauce and rice for the baby one day (he loved it!), and it was so good, I made some for moi. Stay healthy, ya'll.