Thursday, January 31, 2008

So which is it? Neither!

You Are 4% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

You Are 16% Republican

If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!
For my lunch break I decided to take 2 little quizzes. It all confirms what I already know about myself. I'm not a democrat or a republican. We received our primary ballots in the mail yesterday. There are a few major problems with these ballots. 1) If you vote democrat, it doesn't matter because the caucus will decide anyway. The primary has no value. If you vote republican, the caucus will give the primary voters 50% weight. So what would be the point of voting? 2) Ok here's the other reason not to vote on the primary ballot. You have to declare yourself to be democrat or republican.
HA! As if I would ever do that. Honestly could one party meet all the beliefs of each person, no. So why would I choose or should I choose a party? I am not nor will I ever be a democrat, or republican, or libertarian, or green party. I'll wait until the general election and do as I always do, vote on the candidate. Do I think they are a decent person? Can they think independently of their party and do what is best for the most people? My votes end up all over the place. Locally I know that my vote counts. We recently had a tie vote decided by coin toss. Nationally, my vote makes very little difference. Especially in the presedential race, but that's a completely different topic, and I'm sure my uncle (a retired government teacher) would tell you far more than I could ever understand on it. Although I did earn an A in his class.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another busy day...

Our creative sides have been busy today. Dana was off work due to it being winter and slow. I was off of work again, but finally have clearance to return tomorrow. You can guess what each of us worked on.

The kids loved every moment of dad coloring on them. They have to take a bath in a bit anyway, and it kept them both occupied for about... 2 minutes.

Today I finished the blue hat, and started on this pretty yellow, orange and pink hat. A special thanks to Kaia's baby for modeling for me.


It never ceases to amaze me the places Callie will sleep. The other cats pick more normal spots. Hemi loves to sleep on anything dark colored. Boomer is so big he prefers the changing table or the recliner. Cinnamon most definitely likes the top of the heater vent and Kaia's bed (hey, someone has to sleep in Kaia's bed). Callie though can be found all over the house. On top of plastic bags, in boxes, in the pile of clean clothes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I almost finished this baby hat. I had to restart it several times when I ran out of thread while casting on. Then, I realized I couldn't find my stitch markers when it was time to begin reducing, so I substituted paperclips. Then, I dropped a stitch and never got it back on quite right, but decided that because it would be near a reduction not to worry about it. Then I was having a terrible time transferring from my circular needles to the 3 double point needles. None of that mattered though, because Mo got a hold of the yarn and took off across the room. Kaia heard mommy yelling "No" so she needed to be in on the action. I'm still not sure if she was trying to help him or me, but this hat will have to be unraveled and redone. So much for getting my own etsy store setup. I have to finish a project first!

Monday, January 28, 2008

That explains alot!

Last night I made a discovery that explained much of the activity in our laundry room and outside by our deck. Sampson has been digging outside, which is nothing new, but he has been digging around the old dog house cover that we use as a shed and have boarded up. That was weird. I also noticed a few days ago that the outer pane of the window that looks into the shed was cracked. I figured Sampson cracked it trying to get to the cats.

I figured this because the cats (except for Cinnamon) have been sitting on the ledge looking into the shed quite a bit lately. For those that don't know our home is a tri-level, and the basement windows sit about 6 inches above the ground. The cats love this as it's almost like being outside. Generally the cats provide plenty of company while I'm doing laundry. Yesterday evening it was just Callie. I saw her looking out, and then saw her get very excited and start talking. I walked over, and moved the blinds back so I could look into the shed too. Even with one eye swollen nearly shut from the pinkeye I now have, I could clearly see the little gray mouse staring at both of us. It was far more shocked to see me, than I was to see it. It quickly darted back underneath the car parts.

Dana said that this explained why there was mouse poop on the cat carrier when he got it out for the stray cat the other day. I think that we have some very smart mice! If they move out of the shed, they will become dog food. Sampson has killed/eaten 2 gophers and at least 3 birds to date. Those are just the bodies I've found. He also has his eyes on the magpies, who happen to have their eyes on his food. The game is they try to get his food, and he tries to eat them. So far there have been no success stories for either side. If the mice moved into the house, they would become cat food. I'm sure Cinnamon would even be game to catching them, as long as they came up to her territory.

No pictures, yet. Maybe someday I'll be in the laundry room and happen to see the mouse again. And maybe I'll have a camera... Or I'll just let you all imagine what the mouse looked like, sitting on top of car parts in shock at the sight of me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Morning

It's a beautiful, white Sunday morning here in Yakima. Yesterday's snow doesn't look like much, but I will admit it's pretty. Just enough to cover some of the bare brown patches in the yard. The best part about the weather today is that it's only 7:30 a.m. and we are already at 23 degrees! That's almost a heatwave, considering all week long we have had temps of 4-11 degrees at this time. Even with the cold temps, Sampson has yet to use his doghouse. This extreme cold honestly doesn't seem to bother him at all.

Today is the chili cookoff at church. I was planning to make a big pot of chili to take. That was on Wednesday, before I got sick. I only worked a half day Thursday, and then took all day Friday off. I slept 12 hours on Friday night. It wasn't uninterrupted, but it was close. Especially since Dana got up with early bird Mo yesterday so I could continue sleeping. I still thought I might make chili, but didn't get any of the needed ingredients (mostly dried beans) at the store. So yesterday I realized I would need to make something. I also know that we have food in the house, but not a whole lot of easy travel dishes. I decided on a gelatin dessert. After looking at the flavors I had (2 boxes sugar free cherry, 1 box strawberry, 1 bag 7 oz of vanilla) it was easy to decide. So I boiled 4 cups of milk and mixed in the vanilla gelatin. I'm not sure if this is widely available. I get it at Fiesta Foods, and it's imported from Mexico. I love that it tastes like custard without the egg flavor. It is often served with whip and some fresh fruit.

This morning though, I realized that while fresh fruit would be nice in my salad, I don't have anything other than apple or banana and neither of those keep their color. So I just mixed it with some whip topping. It still tastes great, and I put it in my favorite turquoise bowl so that it would look good too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Show and Tell Sushi Plates

It's Show and Tell at Kelli's and this week I would like to show you my sushi plates. These plates were given to my by my Mother-in-Law (aka Grammy). The reason she gave them to me was to put in my yardsale! Once I saw them though, I told her I would love to have them.

They bought these plates while my Father-in-Law was stationed in Japan. One is slightly smaller than the other, so they look very nice stacked, although I rarely display them that way. I use one on my counter quite often to display fresh fruit and veggies that shouldn't be refrigerated.

I also drag these out at every party we have to put food on. Whether it's the sliced onions, tomato, and lettuce for burgers, or olives, pickles and pepporcinis, the food looks great on these plates. June even told me at one of the get togethers that I've used them more in the short time I've had them than she ever did. The fact is I love them! So Thank You for the plates June!

The one thing I have yet to put on the plates is sushi. Maybe I can find some nice vegetarian sushi recipes. I know that there are recipes that use crab or cooked tuna too. That's about all that would be eaten here. For now I'll just keep using them to display anything and everything. The barbeque jalapenos even look good on this plate! Yum!

Barbeque Jalapenos: fresh jalapenos, cream cheese, bacon. Cut jalapenos in half, the long way leaving the stem intact on one half. Scoop out seeds and fill with cream cheese. Put the halves back together and wrap with a piece of raw bacon. Use a toothpick to secure. Toss on the barbeque or under the broiler until bacon is cooked. We also wrap them individually in foil and put on the grate over a campfire. These can be super fiery or fairly mild. It will all depend on the jalapenos you use. A sniff test will help you decide when purchasing. If they smell hot, they probably will taste hot. We prefer mild to medium jalapenos for this recipe.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Cheer

I happen to find this time of year less than cheerful. Frigid temperatures, short days, and skies that are often gray make the wait between New Year's and Spring very long.

To top it off, I am sick once again. I'm not sure how much sick time I have used this winter, but I know that it has been plenty. So to add a little cheer to life, I put my vase of real-looking artificial flowers out in our front room. Callie seems to enjoy the color they add. To tell you how real they do look, I will give you a story. This story will also start off my 7 random facts about me. Jennifer tagged me a couple of days ago, and I'm just now getting on to play.

  1. After my surgery in February 2007, my co-worker/friend brought me this arrangement and a card from the office. Due to my Valentine's Day timing, there were no real flowers and delivery drivers to be had. Let me say now in my defense that I was on drugs for the pain. When my friend left I saw how little water was in the vase, and quickly filled it up before going to lay back down. It was a few hours later when I realized my mistake and dumped the water out!
  2. I used to get panic attacks whenever I was in a crowded space like a restaurant or theatre. Once I realized how crowded it was, I was sure I would need to throw up and wouldn't be able to get to a bathroom in time. This fear would then cause me to feel sick.
  3. On that note I have a huge fear of throwing up in public. I think it is because when I was young (4 maybe?) I threw up in church. Right there in the pew. My grandma had a fit, and was so upset that I hadn't told her so she could take me to the bathroom.
  4. I cannot stand repetitive noise or movement. Just ask Dana how crazy I get at the sound of his thumb rubbing his jeans. He doesn't understand how I can hear it, I don't understand how it doesn't bug him. This also applies to a reminder or machine that beeps at an interval, or someone jiggling their leg. I'd gladly have fingernails on a chalkboard than any of the above.
  5. I never wanted to become a nurse. (disclaimer: I could have said it when I was really young, but I have no memory of it) Both of my parents are nurses, the whole blood and guts thing doesn't bother me, but that is one of the last jobs I would ever consider. Slaughtering animals and meat cutter would be the last. Maybe it's the responsibility for someone's life that bothers me?
  6. Ok my family and close friends know this, but not the other readers. I was a vegetarian from the time I was 16 until almost 23 years old. Strict vegetarian, at that. No gelatin, no fish. Getting married and trying to cook 2 meals on a budget wasn't working. So then I just ate what wasn't meat of Dana's meals. I quickly learned it's hard to survive on potatos and frozen veggies alone. I didn't feel very good, and decided to try meat again. First thing I ate? A chicken philly from work. It was pretty good too.
  7. I have a green thumb, but the ugliest garden in the neighborhood! Hopefully this year the more veggies I plant the fewer weeds that will take over.

I hope these very random and useless facts were entertaining for you and hopefully brought you some cheer this winter day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Marmalade Kitty Update

I called the vet today and one of the technicians told me that they believe a fan belt got him. They had to sedate him to find all his injuries, and it didn't look good. One paw was dying off and likely would need amputated. Another paw was pretty bad, and his eye was not good. Also he seemed to be a fairly unsocialized cat, and he hadn't ever been fixed. This was not a kitten Dana rescued. We all agreed after seeing him that he was an older cat. She told me he could be saved, but it would take money and a lot of time. Even if we had the money, confining a cat (that's natural element is outdoors) long enough for an amputation to heal... No I wouldn't do that.

So Marmalade Kitty will be put down, if he hasn't been already. At least we were able to end his suffering.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Cat

Please, don't worry this blog is not becoming devoted to the kitties. Although I did just post about them on Friday, and now here I am talking about a cat again. No today our lives were completely disrupted by an unknown kitty. I'd like to call him something, but don't even know if he is a he. Although being a marmalade cat the odds are that he is he.

Dana was driving to the minimart to get a soda before heading home when a cat walked out into the road. He noticed the terrible shape the cat was in and pulled over and got out. The cat went over to a pond to get a drink. He called me to tell me what he'd found and ask if I wanted another cat (sure, about as much as I want a hole in my head), but I said that if he could get the cat we'd take him to the vet and try to find him a home. We had a few phone conversations while Dana tried to gain some of the cats trust. That abruptly ended when the cat fell through the ice on the pond (it had a stock heater in it) and Dana rescued the kitty. He put him into the truck and took him home to get a carrier.

So when he went to put kitty into the carrier, he bit Dana. Dana had on his winter gloves, and yet kitty still bit through them and into his skin. I have to say that I'm proud that Dana did not kill the cat right there. Instead he put the carrier in the bed of the truck and went in to wash up. He showed up at work with cat hiding under the backseat. We are so blessed that I work with Rebekah. She used to work at the vet clinic I planned to take him to. So she came out and helped corral the kitty. I had the gloves almost on and was helping push him toward the towel she had ready to grab his scruff. Well after he got blood and pus all over the truck, she and I cornered him in the front and she was able to get him into the carrier. We had to use Dana's brand new Carhart bibs in the process though.

Before I took kitty to the vet I called the dr's office. So while I took the cat to the vet, Dana went to the dr to get a tetanus shot and antibiotics. We are now into this cat about $200 and that is not including the vet bill. At the vet's I could see that kitty's eye is covered in infection. At least 1 paw was definitely bleeding, and there may have been more but I couldn't tell. I talked to him the whole way to the vet. Told him it was ok. If the vet could fix him up good, he would, and if not, he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. The gal that admitted him asked what my price range was. I told them to call if it was going to be over $100. She said if he had to be put down they'd call me tomorrow so I could pick up the carrier. I haven't heard from them. So he will cost right around $100 or he has been put down. I have no attachment to this cat, other than the amount of money invested now into Dana's dr's visit, but I am wondering what will happen to him.

I have to think that, but for the grace of God he could be any one of our cats. Callie at one time had a home, and we found her injured. What if Dana had never come to know of her? No one deserves to suffer, and I can guarantee this poor cat was. I will never know why Dana stopped. How many times have I seen an animal near the road and not stopped? Something about this cat caused him to get out and care, and I love him all the more for it! We don't have the money for the dr's visit. We don't have the money for the vet bill. But sometimes doing the right thing, is more important than what we can afford. Come tomorrow I may be scrambling for a home for this kitty, or picking up an empty carrier and paying for his peaceful end to suffering. Either way we did what was right for him.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Teeny Tiny

I'm always talking about my small kitchen. Perhaps if you have never visited you think, "oh it can't be that bad." I was warned when buying that the kitchen was small. Coming from a duplex with a small kitchen, I wasn't too worried. Now that we are a family of 4, and there is no pantry, I admit everyone was right, the kitchen is small.

Don't think that I'm just capturing a portion of the kitchen with this angle. Not true. Here's the proof.Yep that's the entire kitchen. Including food storage. All food is in the cupboards above and below the bar, as is all my skillets and pots. This is the view of the kitchen from the bar, where we eat dinner. The baby bottle is a fundraiser for Life Choices, that was passed out at church on Sunday. The roses are wooden, and are a great way to brighten my little area. And here is the domestic diva-in-training. Complete with a dress she fashioned out of a Target bag. She is not feeling well, although she swears she is not sick. This was after I gave her some ibuprofen for her fever. Before that she was busy decorating Rosie and the Cory's tank.
Sorry he isn't visible. Between the algae and the darkness of the photo. Maybe later we can get a good photo of Rosie the beautiful orange beta.

Laundry, Knitting, Church, Football

I could go on, but that makes up our 3-day weekend. I still need to vacuum, and wash down the kitchen, but it has been a good weekend. The cold weather kept us inside all day yesterday (the dog came into the garage so we could visit.

You can see the help I get with my least favorite part of laundry, folding! Yes, that really is our pitiful basket that we continue to use. I bought a laundry bag system a few years back, that just doesn't get used. I need to get all caught up on laundry so that at least the 2 bags contain all the dirty laundry, and these pitiful baskets can be used for folding, since the bags don't work for that.

Callie and Hemi can often be seen sleeping in the basket, which means at least one article of clothing needs re-washed. Mo just enjoys pulling everything out of the basket. Little stinker.

Now we are off, I want to get some breakfast going, since Mo wants to eat again, and Kaia and Dana will be up soon. Then I can vacuum, and start the washing machine. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Show and Tell Kitty Cats

It's another Friday and today I want to share how the Kihn's stay warm at night. It's called take a cat to bed (or two). I'll show our cats in order of joining our family. Here is Hemi. Dana picked him up and we called him our first anniversary present.

He is generally a pain and the most expensive cat we own. Not because Dana paid a lot for him, but a blocked urinary track set us back over $400 when he was about 4 years old. We also had to pay for de-worming him and to get him fixed. Plus when we picked up cat number 2, we had to give him a flea treatment. I realize that I said nothing good about Hemi earlier. He loves helping us when typing on the computer by rubbing in our faces. Also in the summer he catches the flies that get into the house.

Boomer was the scrawniest little cat at the Humane Society. I really wanted a female, but Boomie quickly won Dana over with how lovey he was. So we paid our adoption fee, and the next day picked him up from the spay and neuter clinic. Our vet came to visit (he's a mobile vet) and gave us meds for earmites & fleas. Within 2 days we had a snotty, sneezing, disgusting kitten. So our vet dropped off some amoxicillin. Who would have guessed the tiny 6 month old adoptee would become our huge 20 + pound cat. ( I tried hard to find something to reference his size. Hopefully you can tell somewhat by the cube of diet Pepsi) Hemi was none too happy when we first brought Boomie home. A year of being the only cat had made him anti-social. It didn't take more than a few weeks though, and they are friends. Except when Boomer decides to beat Hemi up, then it's pretty funny.

Next came Cinnamon Love. She is a pure-bred Burmese. She was even papered and had 1 litter. According to the cattery she was a show winner. For me she was just another beautiful burmese to love. My former burmese Mai Tai had no fear of vehicles, and she met her end when she ran under my parents car as they were leaving one day. My parents had chosen Mai Tai after our 16 year old cat Muffy died, because they had had a burmese named Princess when they were first married.

Dana surprised me by getting Minners as my Christmas present in 2002, when I was pregnant with Kaia. She is older than both of the boys, and she introduced them to Iams food. She co-exists with the other cats, but that's all. A true burmese, she prefers people, warm beds, & sleeping on the heater vent. She has always loved the kids, I would often find her cuddled up with newborn Kaia. I never worried though as Minners was always so concerned every time she cried, and the fact that Kaia weighed more at birth than Minners did.

Last cat is Callie, who may be the oldest (we'll never know) but definitely has the most interesting story.

Callie lays on the counter each morning while Dana takes a shower. She loves Dana and follows him all over the house. At night she sleeps at our feet.

She has good reason to love Dana. He saved her life. She was injured and crawled into the shop of someone we knew. She couldn't put weight on one back leg, and limped behind some machinery. He was afraid of her and had planned to hit her with a sledge hammer, if no one could come get her. Dana picked her up and brought her home. It was summer of 2003 and Kaia was a tiny baby. I locked Callie in the laundry room until I could give her a good bath. She was absolutely coated in grease and oil from the shop and surrounding area. The bath water was black when I was finished and she looked like the most pathetic drowned rat. Callie began to quickly gain weight, and soon the leg was well without any vet attention. The best part was that while bathing her I felt a scar on her abdomen and was 99% sure it was from being spayed. She never went into heat so we knew that at some time, someone had cared for her.

Now you have seen our 4 cats. We also have Rosie the Beta (according to Kaia Rosie can be a boys name too), 2 Cory Cats, and Sampson the dog. Hey it's a zoo around here.


I realized today while planning dinner, that what you eat really depends on your family. For instance I had not eaten or even heard of S.O.S. until I was in middle school. Nor had I eaten brussel sprouts, and to my memory home-canned peaches (yum! I miss those). All of these I had at a friends house, and enjoyed, despite all the bad press brussel sprouts get.
Dana loves S.O.S. and when we were first married I endeavored to make it for him, although I'd only eaten it once years before, had no idea what to put in it, and was at the time a vegetarian. Let's just say the attempt to please him failed, because what I created was a mess and had to be thrown out!

I grew up in a home where cauliflower, zuchinni, lima beans, artichokes, and most fish was never served. Luckily, I had a grandma who served my brother and I all of the above, and except for fish I love to eat them. My mom likes fish, but rarely had it at home, so we grew up for the most part not eating it, and to this day I eat very little seafood.

It really makes me wonder what my kids will and won't have an opportunity to eat. I can guarantee that unless they eat it at Grammy and Papa's they will not acquire a taste for:
  • bologna (I cringe just thinking of it)
  • beets (I tried them again in college, and still couldn't stand them)
  • wax beans (I remember being forced to eat these, and I still swear they tasted like ear wax)

Kaia loves to help Grammy and Papa eat fish. She is also totally thrilled when I splurge and buy Dungeness Crab. The neighbor also gave her a freshly caught trout, which I even managed a bite of, but the memory of his gutting it was too much to eat more. I really haven't found a thing Mo won't eat yet, but as he heads into the terrible two's, I'm sure the day will come.


Melt a little less than half a stick of butter or margarine in a pan. Melt it. Add enough flour to soak it all up. (don't ask how much, I just grab a handful) Add salt and pepper. Once flour and butter is mixed, start adding milk. Just a little bit at first, make sure you get it incorporated and no big clumps. Then after adding small amounts a few times, you can dump in a bunch. Cook until it thickens. (this is a basic bechamel sauce) Then add one package of cut up beef lunchmeat. This is the really cheap thin processed meat, don't use anything fancy. Add some cut up cheese once sauce is close to being the desired thickness. Serve over hardboiled eggs and toast. This is a favorite camping breakfast for us.

You know you are frugal...

Photo courtesy of my dad

On Tuesday, after our Board Meeting I went to throw something in the garbage and was in shock. In the garbage were all the leaves of lettuce that had been lining the fruit tray. I was disappointed that I hadn't been in there just a few minutes before to say that I would take the lettuce leaves. Oh well.

After years of putting newspaper and carboard into donation bins, I turned some in yesterday while recycling all the cans in my trunk. Just the small amount left in my trunk was worth a dollar! I had no idea that they would pay out that much for paper and cardboard. We already make a sizable donation to United Way (hmm... wonder why?) so I think I'll stop putting all my paper in the United Way bin and start keeping the recycling for the family. I'm sure we can think of plenty of things to do with the extra money. Maybe that could be family night money?

Speaking of family night, we haven't had one in ages. The cold weather is the biggest culprit. Dana and I would spend Friday nights at the park with the kids quite often and head for ice cream after. Dana and Kaia have a dad and daughter night each month when I have my Allied Arts Board Meeting. They head to Burger King for dinner and play time. Although Kaia usually insists they ate at McGonnels (McD's). But the McD's doesn't have an indoor play area near our house, so the only choice is BK.

Hmmm... Any good family night ideas for 2 adults, a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old when it's cold out?

Dana let me know that he was the one to take the great photo of Mo playing in the sand at Lake Couer d'Alene. Just further proof of my terrible photography skills.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Average High in April is 78 degrees

I can't wait for Las Vegas and that 78 degrees. Yakima's average temp is 64 degrees during April. My traveling companion Barb and I are counting down the days. Although I will actually be going down there for a separate conference the week before I go down with Barb. So April will bring plenty of travel my way.

This travel luckily is after my birthday, so I have no problem coming up with an answer to the question "What would you like for your birthday?" And the second trip is right before Mo's birthday, so I will have my work cut out for me preparing for it in between conferences and in the 2 days between when I return and Mo's party.

Last time I visited Vegas I was 19 years old. I was there for 36 hours to watch a friend's brother compete in the regional gymnastics competition. We arrived at 2 a.m. and I crawled into a queen size bed where a girl I'd never met, only heard about, was already sleeping. We introduced ourselves in the morning when we woke up. That day we were at the competition. That evening the family and friends all had dinner together at Circus Circus. Then my friend and I and her boyfriend and brother all walked the strip back to our hotel the MGM. We watched the show at Treasure Island, and the water/laser show at the Mirage and then went to bed. We got up and left for Pepperdine so we could do our homework and get some sleep before classes Monday morning.

Barb said last time she was in Vegas she got married. So I expect we'll have a good time, even if we are in conferences most of the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Photo Credits

I've received compliments on the new blog header, and I'm sure you can see that it states photo by Flor. The photo was taken by my grandma, who lives in Ajijic, Jalisco which is in Mexico. Those are her Birds of Paradise. Please don't for one moment think that anything that beautiful would grow here, and if someone did have them growing here, you would never find them in my garden.

My front garden has some pine trees, japanese maples, a ton of lilies and day lillies. That is also where I grow my tomatos, jalapenos (that weren't really), and hopefully this year some peppers and cucumbers. The backyard which had yarrow, creeping phlox, a bleeding heart, and some bushes has been destroyed by the dog! I'm praying that some of it grows back, and this spring I will put down some wildflower seed from the dollar store, in hopes that it can withstand his running through it. Sampson also trimmed (butchered) the wisteria for us this fall and winter. I know that it benefits from being cut back well, and I think that he will encourage it to grow higher up on the lattice and up over the porch. I so want to have the blooms hanging down and creating a ceiling of wisteria.

Speaking of BigDumbDog the photo I used in the post Close Calls was taken by my dad. As was the above photo of Cinnamon Love, aka Minners.

You can quickly see that photography runs in my family. Only problem is both my grandma and dad are far more skilled than I am. Dad also has a better camera and better software. So he can make even bad photos look good. I happen to have earned a C in highschool photography, so I'm content with the camera dad gave me that takes really good photos as long as the cameraman knows what they are doing. Dana took some excellent photos at the zoo with it, and I'm not sure which one of us too this photo, but I happen to love this photo of Mo.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Which Planet??

I've asked Kaia many times where we got her, and which planet did she happen to come from. She swears she came from my tummy, but I think these pictures disprove that...

Kaia, Mo and I had so much fun looking at these photos the other night! I was near crying I found them so funny. For those of you that don't know Kaia, she still has the amazing dimples, and her eyes are just as blue, unlike Mo who has beautiful green eyes. I didn't find any crazy baby photos of him, though.

Just cute little old man photos. We swore that he looked like his grandpa Gordie when he was a baby. He still looks like a Kihn, for sure. Kaia did have some adorable baby photos too, though.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hors d'oeuvres Anyone?

Ooh I love this! As a board member for the Allied Arts, I, along with all the other board members, am being asked to help with hors d'oeuvres for the newest gallery opening. I really want to do this, but what in the world do I bring that won't cost money?

1943 Original Skipper's Menu- Show and Tell

It's Show and Tell time again, over at Kelli's blog. This week I decided to share my menu.
I apologize these aren't pretty pictures, but it seems to show off better when I scan things like this.
This menu is from the original Skipper's resaurant in Seattle. The inside dates it to 1943.

Notice the stapled in addition to the menu

I became the owner of this while I worked at Camp Fire USA. We used to get many donations of Camp Fire Girl stuff. Often times it would be a big huge box, that had everything from Camp Fire workbooks, beads and gowns to old newspapers, old craft supplies, and once a 1943 Skipper's menu. It was slated to be tossed with the "junk" that had been included in the box. I quickly grabbed it and have kept it with my Western Family Magazines ever since. I love to look at the prices, the food names, and the information that was included. I'm not a seafood girl, but I love this find!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Close Calls

Last night was a crazy night. Kaia had two close calls. She had taken a nap at Grammy and Papa's so I had expected her to be wild when we arrived home, but was pleasantly surprised when she and Mo played in her room while I was fixing dinner. It wasn't quiet, so I didn't think there was any trouble.

I was busy at the stove when she came out holding my old jewelry box. She held it out to me and apologized for breaking it. I saw that the glass center was shattered and luckily all inside the box. I asked what had happened and she told me she stepped on it. I looked down to see her barefooted. I asked if she had been cut and she promised me that she was ok. She wouldn't let me near her foot, but the best I could see she didn't even have a scratch. There was definitely no bleeding. I told her that she had better thank God for watching out for her, because she was very lucky not to be heading to the emergency room where they would be giving her stitches. She didn't know what stitches were, but was very thankful to not be getting any once I explained them.

Once dinner was finished I served Mo in his highchair, Kaia at the bar, and then cleared a seat for Dana. The seat was full of Kaia's jackets that I'd asked her to put in her room. I walked into her room to toss them toward her clothes bins when I smelled something. I glanced around and quickly found the culprit. Kaia's wood and leather tambourine was on top of a naked lightbulb, and that bulb was turned on. I quickly snatched the hot tambourine off. It was smoking, the leather was blistered, and the wood inside had turned black. I am extremely afraid of house fires to the extent that I have been known to turn around and go back to the house when I was blocks away to make sure I had turned off and unplugged the coffeemaker. (Now I have one that auto shuts off). I took it into the kitchen to show Dana and Kaia. I explained to her what could have happened. That had I not gone in there she would have at least lost her room to fire, likely more of the house than that. Also that her fishy Rosie (who lives in the kitchen) could have been killed. She was almost in tears, because of course she didn't know it was a bad idea. I told her I knew she hadn't meant to do anything wrong, but in the future never ever put anything on the lamp.

That was our crazy evening! Big Dumb Dog had nothing to do with it. He was outside enjoying his rawhide bone. After dinner he received a bone and fat that I had trimmed off of the big chuck steak while preparing it for the freezer, and he was happy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dinner Last Night

Here it is cooking on the stove (excuse the messy stove)

It doesn't look as yummy as it tastes, but it was really good. So good, here is what was left:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Easy Huevos Rancheros

We are having our "camping breakfast" for dinner tonight. I found this recipe in my Betty Crocker index cards in the Food that Goes With You (or something like that) section. It was a perfect and inexpensive breakfast for us. The ingredients travel well, and it is a 2 pan meal. I'd rather be playing in the frog pond with the kids or walking a dog than doing dishes in the trailer.
  • corn tortillas 1-2 per family member
  • can diced tomatos
  • can diced green chiles
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 2 T diced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3 T oil

In one pan saute the onion and green pepper in 1 T oil. When onion becomes translucent, add your tomatos and chiles. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Use a spoon to make "holes" in the mixture (you will have the tomato juice in the hole, just clear it of the chunky ingredients). Break an egg into each hole. Allow to cook until egg begins to set, then turn egg. It's ok if the eggs get scrambled, but don't scramble right at the beginning or you get a big mess. Simmer until eggs are cooked through.

While eggs are cooking heat the remaining 2T oil in another pan or on a griddle. Fry each tortilla just a little bit on each side.

When eggs are done spoon egg and tomato mixture on top of tortilla and enjoy! We like to top with shredded cheese and serve hot links on the side.

It just keeps coming!

The snow that is, for right now anyway. It was a fun drive to work, sliding into intersections where I was attempting to stop. I did make it to my doctors appointment only 3 minutes late. That's where I learned that I do not have MRSA. No ideas as to what is on my arm, or why I've been so sick, but the antibiotics seem to be helping so I'll be finishing them and using a cream to help with the itching.

I also just received word from the Federal Government that our federal campaign expenses were too high and I need to submit by next week a plan to lower them and the budget that was approved by the committee overseeing the campaign. Except I didn't receive the word from the government, although I was supposedly cc'd on it. I hear this from the Committee Chair. So I know what I get to do today! The fun just never ends!

I also want to say that I love blogging. I didn't like the title of my previous post. It just sounded so negative, so last night I hopped on and changed it. Now it is much better.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quick, But at What Expense?

I listened to a commercial today, and had to laugh. "Too busy? No need to worry about what's for dinner. With Fresh Taste Meals." Ok that's not an exact quote, but that is the emphasis of the commercial. Except I know better, now anyway.

This is a business where you go in and make 12 meals to take home and freeze. Before having Mo, mom treated me to a FTM gift certificate. I was ecstatic, having several meals in the freezer to supplement what the church ladies were bringing me was something I knew would be essential with a newborn in the home. The first problem I encountered was that I had trouble finding a month where the menu offered enough meals we would eat. Dana is not a big chicken eater (he isn't nearly as thrilled about the Fussy Day Chicken as I am). Neither of us eat seafood. Kaia eats almost anything, so I wasn't worried about her. I decided on March though, and chose our meals, doubling up on a few that sounded really good.

The second problem I didn't discover until we started using those meals. Some were practically inedible to us due to the high sodium content. They were disgustingly salty. When you consider that Dana always salts his food and he couldn't eat it, you know it's salty. There were at least 3 meals that were too salty. I did email them regarding this, but never received a response.

Another meal that I chose 2 of was just plain bland. It was an italian casserole. I put the second one to good use by having Dana deliver it to our preacher Kevin right after his wife (my good friend) had their son (a month younger than Mo). I warned her ahead of time how bland we found it, and what I would do to give it better flavor.

We did like 3 of the meals really well. Luckily that made up 5 of the meals. 2 of the meals I have replicated at home quite easily. Sweet and Sour Meatballs and Calzones. The other meal that I expected Dana to dislike (and I was only allowed to make one of) was Prosciutto wrapped Chicken breasts. There was an herb cheese spread that was first put on the breast, then prosciutto wrapped around, and egg noodles on the side to serve them over. This was excellent, and because the "meals" are at the least 4 servings, it made us dinner a few times.

The other meals were nothing exciting. Not bad, not great, just food. Now please don't think I'm ungrateful for this gift. With the exception of the salty ones that we just couldn't eat, we were happy to have these ready made meals that provided leftovers for lunch (it's difficult to cook when you're constantly nursing an infant or chasing a toddler).

The biggest problem with the meals, is a problem I have now, the price! It has gone up substantially since mom bought my certificate. It is now $18.75 per meal, when you buy 12 meals at once. I can hit Papa Murphy's Pizza for less!

If you need to (or want to) put some meals away in the freezer, visit the library and get a good cookbook on freezing meals, or visit the Yahoo Group Frozen Assets. Before my surgery I managed to put away
  • 2 meatloaves- just make up and freeze in pan
  • 1 mexican meatloaf- add green pepper to mix, and use enchilada sauce instead of tomato
  • 3 freezer bags of marinated frozen chicken

Another idea is to stock up on Hamburger Helper when it gets really cheap. I picked up 4 boxes at Fiesta Foods for 77 cents a piece last week. Even when I'm sick and have no energy (like last week) I can brown some burger and add milk and seasonings. So it's more expensive than a homemade dish, but when you're sick or running late, it is handy. I've also at other times put away split pea soup and pinto beans. Just make extra when you cook, and freeze it! With these tips you'll save money, have healthier meals, and won't have to rely on take-out.

The Good, The Bad, and The Yummy!

Mo is usually good, not too bad (hey he's preparing for the terrible two's), and I often tell him his cheeks are yummy! I think this is a cute photo of him hanging out with his Uncle Dan.

The bad news is that I live in Central Washington, and we are supposed to be getting more snow. Not that snow is bad, but I'm a Thanksgiving to New Year snow person. After that it should snow in the mountains, as I know our local farmers need it come spring, and the skiers enjoy it. The other bad news is that while my arm is looking much better, I still have no energy! This is making simple tasks difficult. Like the clean house I had, isn't so clean, but I keep trying to do a little bit each day.

The good news is that I live in Central Washington, and we have the most beautiful sunshine even with the frigid temps and snow. I'm not sure how the West-siders survive the winter (and pretty much every other season) without this sunshine. While I have no energy, I did manage to defrost our stand-up freezer this weekend. So it will be more energy efficient, and there is no longer old food taking up space. So when I do come across a good deal on meat, I can purchase without worrying where it will go.

The yummy is the dinners we've had and will be having. Saturday night I made pork chops with mango salsa, homeade fruit salad, and veggie rice. Last night we ate out at a local Mexican restaurant for my sister-in-law's birthday. Tonight we are having Fussy Day Chicken that I found on Kelli's blog. Just making the barbeque sauce this morning has me craving it.

I got the pork chop recipe from Martha Stewart and then tailored it slightly. First time we had it the pork chops needed more flavor, so rather than putting a tablespoon of adobo sauce on the pork chop and cooking, I took the sauce and chilis, mashed them as best I could, and smothered the pork chops in the mixture. They sat in the fridge all day soaking it in. Then I just removed all the big chunks before cooking the chops. The salsa is so easy. 2 ripe mangos, red onion and jalapeno with a bit of lime juice. Except I didn't have red onion so I used white, and even though I only used a small amount of the jalapeno, it was a spicy one!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Show and Tell: Western Family Magazines

It's Friday again, and that means it's Show and Tell over at Kelli's blog There's No Place Like Home.

Sticking to my love of retro, I'd like to share with you my collection of Western Family Magazines. Not my whole collection, as I didn't want to drag them all out of the box where they are nestled safely away from little hands. So I scanned a couple of them so you could see.

I started my collection when we moved my grandmother from her home to a retirement home. In a box of sewing things I found an August 1954 Western Family Magazine. I immediately fell in love with it. It was a year or two later when I found that I could buy these magazines on ebay. I would look for a lot and would bid at what would come out to $2 an issue after shipping. I now have quite the collection although I have never counted them. When I have ended up with duplicates, and used the extras as gifts. I love to read them. They have great advertisements.

Useful and frugal recipes. West Coast travel information. And fun short stories.

So if you ever want to get rid of some, you now know who to call! I don't buy many on ebay anymore. Seems like they have gone up in price, and I refuse to buy an issue for $3 and pay another $5 for shipping.