Welcome to Tonya-land


   When you visit my blog, you have crossed under the rainbow and entered “Tonya-land” where the weather is mostly sunny, the birds are always singing, lemons most often come in the form of lemonade and we all throw our arms around each others shoulders and sing “Kumbaya” at that end of each day.

003    Now Tonya-land has its bumpy roads, don’t get me wrong, but when you try to keep your glass half full, you usually can just keep on trucking, despite a pot-hole or two.  But, every once in a while, my journey through Tonya-land comes to a screeching halt. 

  Recently, my rainbow tipped over, my lemonade tasted a bit more like straight lemons and a series of pot holes made me trip and fall.  The birds are still singing though, and the sun will come out tomorrow, right Annie? 

sunshine-for-a-m  Apparently, this blog is a little too sunshine-y for some folks, a little too “fake” I believe was the word.  And to them I say this:

  When I blog, I pour out my heart.  I write to you like I used to write in my journal.  I put my soul into it.

  There are times the Lord asks me to share something, or gets me up in the middle of the night to come write and I obey…..begrudgingly at times, yawning and rubbing my eyes.  Really Lord, 4 am? Do you know how early my kids wake up?

  There are a series of posts coming up the end of the month, that I have been adding to in bits and pieces since December.  Posts that I postponed scheduling for weeks and weeks, months and months, because I didn’t want to share them.  Because I am totally embarrassed to share it with you all.

But guess what?

 They are scheduled and they are coming.  I know better than to tell the Lord no.  I have learned the hard way what my disobedience brings.

  Sure, I have my bad days and dark times, we all do!  And I have gladly shared them with you.  From our struggle to stay pregnant, to screaming babies & screeching smoke alarms,  silly near face wash catastrophes and a trashed house.   If you read blogs regularly, happy sunshiny people who love staying home, cooking and doing arts and crafts with their kids are out there.  Check out Rachel’s blog, No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane.  Happy sunshine, right?! 

  If I don’t feel lead to write about anything in particular, I try to share a funny story about the kids, my plan being to print this blog in book form for my kids each year. What a great scrapbook of their lives! 

But what I don’t do, is fake it.

Why would I? How exhausting!!!!!!!!!!!

  Why would I waste precious moments of the day faking it in a blog post to faceless people I’ve not been privileged to meet?  People I don’t have to answer to. 

  I’m writing to an anonymous audience full of mommy’s, fellow sunshine lovers, foodies, prosecutors, judge and jury, apparently even a lynch man or two….all sitting in front of their computer screens watching my every thought, judging my every move.  Do I need to dress to impress? 

  Nope. You came to me, you’re in my house now. 

  You willingly came to Tonya-land. 

  Isn’t this blog supposed to be a peek into my world, the good, the bad AND the ugly? Don’t I state that time and time again?

  My job on this earth is to shine for Jesus.  To be the best wife I know to be to Dale, to uplift him, to support him, to be his cheerleader.  To love my kids and teach them about Jesus.  My job is to teach them that they need to obey me, not because I say so, but because God says so….that their obedience to me is directly connected to their obedience to God.  My job is to seek to honor God in ALL I say and do, blogging and Facebook included.  My job is to be His hands and feet. 


I have a folder in my email account, jam-packed full of lovely, beautiful, uplifting things written by woman (and men) who read my blog.  To you I say, thank you.  Thank you for encouraging and uplifting, thank you for taking the time to comment and read the things I put out there, for not faulting me for focusing on the good rather than wallowing in the bad.

This blog is me.  Tonya. 

Put out there for all to see, the good, the bad and the ugly.

And really, who else can I be, but ME?

  And to you nay-sayers??????? 

What can I say but welcome to the sunshine, would you like a glass of lemonade?  


Thinking happy thoughts!



My Secret Weapon & Blackberry Cream Cheese Pie

  Our garden is growing nicely, praise the Lord! 

  We have already enjoyed several rounds of green onions, and a couple of salads.  Oh, and I will be sharing an amaaaazing Mexican Salad with you next week. 

  Anyhow, we do everything we can to keep our garden’s pestiside free.  Unfortunately, this means we have bugs that think our garden is an all you can eat buffet. 

    This was taken a couple weeks ago, but see poor, poor little Stubby down there, to the left.  That tiny weed looking one in the row of ever growing lettuce…….

  I’ve pointed it out for you with a white sign to help you determine just who Stubby is.


Stubby is not returning to his former glory as his brothers and sisters have done004 after gracing us with a lovely meal.  This is because Rolly-polly’s thought he was their lunch.

Meet my Secret Weapon:


Cayenne Pepper, that I buy in bulk.


  This protects poor lil’ Stubby and his garden friends, like Mr. Tomato Head, from big bad bugs.  Plus, it keeps our veggies pesticide free.  Score!

 Remember my new favorite Push Crust recipe

  Well, it has opened up a whole new world of pie baking for me and this Black Berry Cream Cheese Pie is a winner!  We won’t be ready to pick fresh blackberries from our patch until late in the summer, but my freezer ones from last year worked just fine!

  This Blackberry pie isn’t overly sweet as some can be. The small amount of sugar still allows the berries natural flavor to come through, and the cream cheese layer?  Well that’s just bonus! 🙂

Blackberry Cream Cheese Pie

  • 1 whole Baked Pie Crust
  • 5 cups Blackberries, Fresh Or Frozen Ones That Have Been Thawed, Divided Use
  • ½ cups Water (or You Can Use Berry Juice If You Thawed Frozen Berries)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ⅔ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 6 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
  • Optional Garnishes: Whipped Cream, Additional Berries

Preparation Instructions

Prepare and bake your pie crust according to your recipe or package instructions. Once baked, allow it to cool before filling it.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 3 cups of berries with water or berry juice. Bring to a boil. Once you’ve reached a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled, strain and push the mixture through a sieve, just to remove seeds. Return the syrup to the saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring and boiling for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool.

Blend the cream cheese, milk and lemon zest until smooth using a mixer if you have one. Spread the mixture evenly into the cooled pie shell. Top with the remaining 2 cups of uncooked berries. Pour the cooled, thickened syrup over the berries, evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour before topping with whipped cream and additional fresh berries for garnish.

Dig in! This is a fantastic, fresh-flavored pie! YUM!

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This makes me really really anxious for Blackberry picking time!  And then, I remember the climbing the fence with barbed wire part, and worst of all, the thorn part.  Horrible, awful, make your skin hurt for weeks from the poison, thorns.   This makes me really really anxious for DALE to pick some Blackberries for us soon! 🙂

{Love you, honey! You good little berry picker you……}

I am hoping we have enough Berries to sell this year! (fingers crossed)

Happy Organic Gardening & Baking!


This post linked to Smockity Frocks.