Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What the Bobos Have Been Up To

This may be one of those posts where the short list is what they haven't been up to.  The Bobos have not visited the Eiffel Tower, they did not join the Peace Corps, or hit it big in Vegas.  They have however been quite busy.

 They've been to the dresser top

They found a new indoor sandbox

They visited the hedgehog

And they've given mom more than a few gray hairs!  But they are awfully cute, and good thing!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


On Tuesday night, Victoria's Secret broadcast a fashion show featuring models in Victoria's Secret under wear.  Stations around the country censored the broadcast because it was offensive. They are right, but their reasoning is wrong. I fully agree that it is offensive, but not because models are walking the cat walk in bras and panties. 

The Victoria's Secret show is offensive because of the models.  It is offensive that we allow women all over to believe that those models represent an ideal feminine body.  Hell, it's offensive that we allow them to represent a female's body at all!  Young girls, already struggling with their body image, now feel fat and ugly.  Wives, mothers, and single women doubt their attractiveness.  Even men wonder why they can't find a woman like that.

Women like we see on that stage don't exist.  Those models might as well be Stepford Wives robots.  Just read about the diets the women undertake prior to the show.  They are anorexic.  If you have ever looked into the real world of modeling, many of those women are chain smokers or drug users.  Both help them keep that unrealistic, skeleton like physique.  Their real hair is supplemented with weaves and extensions.  Their make up is caked on to remove all blemishes.  Their bodies are tanned and also made up to cover anything that may make them appear human.

I haven't bought Victoria's Secret products in years, and I am not about to start.  Shame on them, and so many others for continuing to spread this propaganda of unhealthy body image.  Yes, this post is written by someone that is 5 feet 5 inches and weighing in at 130 pounds.  But, I promise you, I can grab a handful of belly.  That belly has stretch marks.  My butt jiggles when I walk, and so do my thighs.  My boobs are small, my face has wrinkles, and while I naturally have a lot of hair, it will never look like what Victoria's Secret portrayed last night. 

I'm a real woman.  I've given birth to 4 kids.  I eat food, and enjoy it.  I don't smoke, or use drugs to stay thin.  The only tan I get is come by honestly as I work in my garden in the summer.  My kids love me, my husband loves me, my friends love me, and we are all real.  All of us ladies need to start loving ourselves.  We need to love each other.  We need to be real!  Stop letting corporations sell us robots as women, fight back!  Teach young women and men everywhere what real women are.  We can do it!

An 8 year old's Christmas List

I'm including a photo, just to prove I did not make this up!  This is her list, although I have edited the spelling.
  • ten dollars
  • make-up
  • laptop
  • phone (as in cell phone)
  • candy canes
  • conditioner
  • shampoo
  • soap
  • mints
  • Kinect
  • bunk bed
  • art kit
  • sister
  • hair dyed red
  • face paint kit
  • monkey bars
  • maid
  • I want to meet Ke$ha
The list garnered plenty of snickers and smirks from her dad and I.  From the simple, to the impossible, the girl knows what she wants!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Have a Plan

This plan came to me at about 3 a.m. the other morning.  No matter how hard I try, I can't shake the idea.  Maybe I should up the dose on my happy pills, or take a nap, but here is the plan:

I will strip off all my clothes and light my hair on fire.  Then I will run around my neighborhood.  Hopefully this will be insane enough to secure a bed on the psych ward of the local hospital.  While there, I can sleep without hourly interruptions, my meals will be cooked for me, and I may even score some good drugs.

It sounds like a perfect plan, but I hear from a nurse that psych is full.  It usually is, and I wonder how  many are sleep deprived moms?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to tell if you are having a bad day

You may be having a bad day, if on the way out the door, your 2 year old let's the expensive indoor cat out.  And as you run down the stairs in your high heels you yell "dammit" loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

You may be having a bad day, if once outside, you have to chase said 2 year old down the driveway and snatch him out of the road while yelling to your daughter, "we need to catch the grey piece of #@$%"

You may be having a bad day, if you get to the supermarket and realize that you forgot to pack your daughter's lunch, so the $1.50 in cash you scrounged up won't be sufficient to purchase the hard candy (cough drops not being allowed at school) and a lunchable.

You may be having a bad day, if while walking through the supermarket, you look at the woman who is approximately your age, maybe a bit older, calmly shopping in her name brand workout gear (the gym is just next door) and want to strangle the life out of her for her child free, healthy, and peaceful morning.

I'm not an expert, but if those things happen, you may be having a bad day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Every little bit helps

One of my friends from middle and high school lost her son yesterday.  She was 38 weeks pregnant when he passed.  Today she delivered him.  Her fiancee was out of work due to surgery, and now they are facing cremation costs without any funds.  If you are able to help Erik and Kandi, you can do so at Give it Forward.

Life Goes On

We've been staying busy, busy!

Kaia has looked forward to having the opportunity to work in the school kitchen since the start of the school year.  You have to be in 3rd grade before you can do the work and she really wanted to do it.  She's now on her 2nd week of kitchen duty and loving it.  I'm loving it too!  She gets free school lunch when she works.  School lunches cost me $2.25, and the average home lunch I pack her is probably about $1.00.  Either way, I'm saving time and money, and she's learning how to be responsible!

The Bobos turned 2 this weekend.  And when they do something, they like to go all out.  So to celebrate turning 2, they started off their birthday by breaking our tv.  Our tv that was $900 plus tax and a warranty.  And as it always works, the warranty doesn't cover 2 year old twins throwing stuff at the screen.  They had an enjoyable party and are having a great time playing with all their new cars.

I'm busy trying to get Morgan's curriculum ordered so that we can get him on track with kindergarten.  Of course, what should be easy seems like a daunting task to me.  Once we have the curriculum though, I know it will all go well, he's such a smart kid.

It's definitely Fall here, and the days seem to just fly by in their busyness.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday again!!

Something about Fall, my favorite season, makes me a menu planner!  Today is exceptionally crazy, as I've admitted defeat and we are bug bombing today.  The good news is this will not only kill fleas but earwigs and flies!  The bad news is, that means the kids, cats, hedgehog and our dinner have to be out of the house!  More good news, they are all going to my Mother in Law's house, except the hedgehog and the outdoor cat.  So she will be able to fix her plate before dinner comes home with us.

Monday: This was supposed to be Sunday's meal, but I made lasagna on Saturday, and the soup on Sunday, so we bumped the roast to today.
Roast, potatoes, carrots and onions in the crock pot

Tacos using leftover roast shredded and leftover beans from last week.

Chicken Strips, macaroni and cheese, salad

Thursday: I'm working at the Pillars Party, so dinner is for Dana and the kids.
Papa Murphy's Perfect Pizza (using the coupon)

Hamburgers, french fries and veggies

Huevos Rancheros

Free day

What's on your meal plan this week?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Exciting News!

While cleaning yesterday, I found the manual to my steam cleaner.  I thought maybe there would be a troubleshooting section.  There was, and there was only one issue that they troubleshoot.  Thankfully, it was the exact problem I had been having.  After following the directions and beating the cleaner on the floor in different directions, I now have a working steam cleaner!  scratch that off my list.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Christmas List

I know, I know.  It's not even October, and here I am discussing Christmas.  But right now is when I'm doing Christmas shopping.  I keep an eye out for clearance items, so I can buy gifts that are out of our price range, but become in our price range when it's 75-90% off.  I already have my nieces' gifts, one nephew's gift, and two of Kaia's gifts.

So I got to thinking about what I would really like, and then laughed at how simple it all is.  What I really would like for Christmas:
  1. A House Keeper.  Seriously!  I've realized that I cannot keep up.  My schedule keeps getting crazier, and the kids seem to get messier.  I went on Care.Com and found that there are several in my area that work for $10-15 an  hour.  And I really would just need someone for 2 hours a week. Even if someone just paid for a few months, it would be so nice to have some help!
  2. A steam cleaner.  This was a Christmas gift a few years ago from my parents.  I loved it.  It made cleaning our textured vinyl floors simple and they came so clean!  Then it died.  It died after I told Kaia to quit messing around with it or she would break it.  Not sure if the two things are related, but my floors haven't been clean since.  I've cleaned them, but it's not the same.
  3. Food.  Yes, it sounds so crazy.  But I love when we get a Thanksgiving or Christmas box from the church.  Being able to fill up the pantry, and not have to worry about groceries is a luxury.  Last year we received a gift certificate for meat from a local butcher, and that was so nice.  And the added bonus is, when we don't have to buy a bunch of groceries each week, it frees up some money to buy things that we like to eat, but are more expensive.  
  4. Electrolosis.  I will fill you in on something.  I'm hairy.  Really hairy.  Worse though, is my hair grows insanely fast.  It's a blessing for the top of my head, but a curse everywhere else.  I'd love to have electrolosis on my underarms.  Not only would it save me the daily shaving and ingrown hairs, but it helps cut down on sweating.  And that would be fantastic!
So there is my list.  Practical as always.   Have you started any holiday preparations?

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Meal Plan at Last!

Summer's seem to be an unscheduled, go with the flow time for us.  It's something that definitely does not work during Fall, when Kaia is in school (and Morgan is enrolled in the Virtual Academy), and Dana and I are both busy at work.

With everything that has been going on this month, we haven't left that summer schedule behind, and it shows!  The house is a disaster, meals are last minute, and the grocery budget is out of control.  It is time to stop this insanity, and get some order back into our lives.  Step one is a meal plan!

Monday: Connecticut Beef Supper and green beans.  This is a Betty Crocker Recipe that is a favorite.  It's sliced beef (any inexpensive steak cut works) browned with onions, then cooked with thin sliced potatoes in a cream of mushroom, sour cream and milk mixture.  Topped with shredded cheese and crushed wheat cereal.

Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs.  The sauce is going to cook in the crock pot all day, so when I get home, all I need is to cook noodles.

Wednesday: Pinto Beans and Ham in the crock pot.

Thursday: S.O.S. with fruit

Friday: Chili Dogs

Saturday: Potato Soup

Sunday: Roast or leftovers day

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not in my house!

When I first realized we had a flea infestation, and the doctor confirmed the Bobos were covered in flea bites, I was sure that I was the worst housekeeper and mother ever.  I knew they had come in on our cat Callie before we had her put down.  I remember clearly the time she came in and was so filthy, something very unlike her, and one of the first signs that it was time to consider euthanasia.  But to have them in our home bad enough that the boys were bit all over, I had to have won some sort of award for my inadequacies.

Then, when I posted such thoughts on Facebook, my eyes were opened.  So many people came forward telling me about their battle with fleas.  So many, that I realized, this isn't something to feel bad about or ashamed of, it is something that many people deal with.  Many people deal with, and few discuss.  That's where I come in.  I discuss it.  So, let it be known, we have fleas in our home.  I'm still fighting them.  It's not an easy battle.  The doctor recommended using a bug bomb.  I have problems with that.  Number 1, I don't like the idea of spreading poison all over the house.  Number 2, everyone I've talked to, and everything I've read says that the bomb doesn't do it.  You still have a ton more work.  So I researched our options.

I researched and opted to spot treat all the remaining cats.  I also bought pesticide for the carpets, but they can only be used in limited rooms, at limited times because we have 4 kids and 4 cats.  So I treated the Bobos room, as it is one of the worst, and have been using Borax on the rest of the carpets and vacuuming often.  We will win our battle, and I won't be ashamed that they are living in my house.  The little bastards will die!

I have to wonder though, how many things do many of us live with, and hide for fear of being looked down on?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Memory Saved

At the end of Despicable Me, the Minions line up to get a goodnight kiss from Gru.  One minion keeps cutting back into line to get an extra kiss.  I was blessed to watch this scene play out live, every weekday evening as I picked the boys up from Grammy and Papa's house.  The twins would go give Papa a kiss, and then head to the door, then run back for one last kiss.  And run back again for just one more.

Yesterday, we said good bye to Papa Gordie.  He passed a few hours after we left.  It breaks my heart knowing that I won't ever see this sweet scene again.  Also, I know from my own experience, that the boys will have limited memories of Papa, if they remember him at all.  So I will hold on to this memory, and more to share with them as they grow.   

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

It's been a full week, and it's only Wednesday.  Monday I started Morgan's enrollment in Columbia Virtual Academy.  Technically this way, he isn't home schooled.  He is enrolled in a school district, that then partners with me to provide the curriculum, and to which I will make weekly reports.  This will ensure that he starts 1st grade with all the other 6 year olds next year.  It also means that the money the school district gets for having Morgan enrolled is paid out to us in curriculum and support.

Kaia started 3rd grade on Tuesday.  She was so excited.  Her only apprehension: she has the teacher that doesn't allow you to rest your chin on your hand.  She's sure that she cannot not do this.  I think it will be an excellent lesson in sitting up and paying attention.

Tuesday, after dropping off the boys with Grammy and Papa, and Kaia at school, we said good bye to our dear sweet cat Callie.  She was suffering from paralysis, which was only getting worse, and the vet said nothing could be done to help.  She would continue to lose more and more function.  It wasn't fair to make her lay around in her feces because her back legs couldn't hold her up long enough to finish business.  It was hard holding her as she purred, knowing it would be her last.  But at the same time, I knew that's how I would want to go out of this world.  Happy.  And as she drifted off to sleep from the sedative they give first, she was happy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brendon's Conversation

A few weeks ago, Brendon had a conversation with Grammy that was too cute and had to be written down.
Brendon: Buh Bye.  Buh Bye.
Grammy: Buh Bye Brendon.
Brendon: Nuh-uh (with head shaking no)
Grammy: Nuh-uh?  No Buh Bye?
Brendon: Meow

Friday, August 12, 2011

This Summer Left Us in Stitches!

We've had children for 8 years, and not one set of stitches, and then this summer, we are already on our second set!  I guarantee this will not be the last set.  Our kids are far to wild for that. 

I do believe Bryce may have ruined his chance at ever pulling a switcheroo on teachers.  He is going to have a scar from his tumble off the couch. 

 This is right after we got home from the doctor.  We opted for the liquid stitches because holding down a screaming toddler didn't sound like fun.  He had the area bleeding again within a few hours.

Here he is this morning.  Dana has now nicknamed the boys, Scarface and Babyface.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting Published

Lately our family is being highlighted in a few local magazines.  One happens to be available to read online, and shows a photo of Kaia at the beach on page 30.  Another magazine recently quoted me regarding having pets and kids.  I was slightly misquoted, as we didn't have all the animals at once, but that's ok, the point is still there. 

The most exciting piece though, is that I have written an article about our TTTS story that will be published in an upcoming edition of Playdate Magazine.    I'm very happy about this, as I've spent over a year trying to get someone to notice the importance of telling our story.  Not for our publicity, but to create awareness around TTTS.  I hear of too many parents losing their babies to TTTS, and it's not ok.  I want all moms pregnant with twins to know about TTTS, whether they may be at risk, and the symptoms that a mom will have, if there is TTTS.  This story is a step in the right direction.  And once it is published, I will try to scan a copy or at least publish my story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Repurposing a Saucer

I have this pretty little saucer that my Granny gave to me.  I like that it is floral, without being too girly.  I used to use it for candles, and I think that is how it originally came to my office.  But recently, I found a new and much more useful purpose for it.

It's much prettier than the plastic paper clip holders, and much easier to grab a clip from.

Do you have anything pretty that you have made useful?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who Said Healthy Food Costs Too Much?

I always read articles that say our obesity problem is linked to low socio-economic status.  These poor people with little money just can't afford to eat decent food.  Um, B.S.  Is it expensive to buy organic, or processed all natural products?  Yes.  Is it expensive to eat steak, many types of fish, and chicken breasts?  Yes, for the most part.  It is not expensive to buy fresh meats and produce.  If people buy in season, and buy less expensive cuts that may need more prep work or cooking time, there is no added expense.

The truth: People are lazy.  They can't be bothered to deal with a whole chicken, or trimming the fat of a cut of beef.  I went to the store last night with the goal of refilling our produce drawer.  Our neighbor has brought us several boxes and bags of produce recently from the food bank, but with 4 kids, it's gone in a very short time.  So for proof that buying produce in season isn't expensive, you can see what I purchased last night in the above photo. 
Here is the cost breakdown:
2 Jalapenos $.012
Romaine Lettuuce $0.88
2 Red Bell Peppers $1.00
1.4 lbs Roma Tomatoes $1.09
2 Nectarines (purchased because a twin grabbed and started eating one) $1.12
1 Cucumber $0.44
3 Ears of Corn $0.90
.54 lbs Green Beans $0.75
1.95 lbs Green Grapes $2.50
Grand Total: $9.24

Not even $10 for all of that.  And none of that is in season here yet, we had a late growing season, so this is all up from California.  I expect prices to drop further once we have local produce available.  How do you eat healthy on a budget?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Frivolous Spending or Investment in the Future?

I admit that I've always felt magazines were a frivolous expenditure.  Spending $3-6 to read a bunch of ads seemed like a waste of money, and besides I have several magazines I receive for free through different survey websites.  However, recently I've altered my view.

It was about 3 years ago that I went through the Lou Tice Investment in Excellence course.  What I learned there, is in order to change, we must see what we want as the norm for our life.  Therefore, if you are always running late, you cannot continue to say, "hey, that's me, I'm just a late arriver."  Instead  you must tell yourself, I'm an on time person.  I plan ahead so that I can arrive on time to my committments.  You can't just say it, you also have to visualize it.  The more you do so, the more you will strive subconciously to be that person.

That is why I have begun to purchase Real Simple magazine.  I love the organization tips, and the easy recipes.  I looked at it once and thought, "I wish that was me! I want to be the organized person with a clean house, and great meals."  It finally donned on me, that by reading that magazine, and envisioning myself being that person, I could become that person.  I also receive Shape and Martha Stewart Living (for free) and plan to read those with a whole new outlook.  I'm not an observer of those lifestyles, that is my lifestyle.

I look forward to becoming the person I want to be!  And if I can't find Real Simple for free, the $5 a month investment is well worth it!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

To My Favorite Daughter!

A big Happy 8th Birthday to my favorite daughter!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back In Time

I've always reluctantly kept up with technology.  Pagers were becoming a thing of the past when I finally purchased one at the age of 17.  I held out on getting a cell phone until 2003, and I only was convinced then because Dana had a job that kept him traveling all over Washington, and I was due in a few months with Kaia.  I didn't give in to the Smart Phone age until a few months ago.  And now, for the first time since 2003, I do not have a cell phone. 

It's not that I willingly gave up my cell phone.  No, I wouldn't do that.  My phone is my watch, my weather forecaster, my link to friends and family, and is currently sitting in a plastic bag full of rice.  Bryce made off with my cell phone, and when I realized he was in the bathroom, I went running.  My phone was on the floor, and I was thrilled.  Phew... Dodged a bullet that time.  Except when I picked it up, I realized, I hadn't.  He dipped my phone into water.  Either the cat's bowl or the foot bath.  Which one doesn't matter, the result is the same, a dead phone that needs the moisture extracting rice to revive it. 

So until it's resurrection 48-72 hours later, I'm unreachable.  And while right now I feel naked, and out of sorts, I may just survive this!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Book of Mo

The joke on the Popsicle stick: Which birds are always sad?  Mo's answer: Vegetarians

The other night Morgan became so upset over dinner he was crying.  I told him I was making burritos.  And he cried because he doesn't like Chinese food.

Morgan has a callous on his foot.  If you ask him about it, he got it in the military.  He told Grammy that Dana and I went on vacation and left him in the military camp, but he told me that we were there too.  Apparently he had a scope, a gun and a chainsaw.  And he got the mark from a stamp in the military.

Morgan also told Grammy that  I cook up some really good octopus eyes, in my octopus eye cooker of course.  We salt them and they are deee-licious. He told us that all militaries eat octopus eyes  and when he was a kid in the military they were his favorite meal.

According to Morgan, a house of horrors is full of hores.  

Morgan told Grammy he bought  his camo hat at the Chinese people's yard sale.  I told Morgan our neighbors weren't Chinese, they are Mexican. And I also told him that we probably should just say our neighbor's yard sale, as it really doesn't matter.

Morgan's favorite food is roasted snail.  And the bestest bug to eat is cooker ants.  And you roast them and make bug pancakes with bug syrup. 

You honestly never know what will come out of his mouth.  Yes, he's one funny kid!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monster Truck Show aka The Day We Spent a Small Fortune to See Our Kids Smile

This weekend we went to the Monster Truck Show.  Dana had been considering taking Morgan, and Grandma Owie offered to pay for their tickets.  In the end, all 6 of us went with friends, and had a great time!  It was definitely worth it!
 Kaia gets a good view of Captain USA's rollover

 Brendon did enjoy it, in spite of the serious face.

We had great seats, as you can see.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Now She has a Story!

Saturday night, Kaia was riding her bike at the end of the driveway when she fell.  The neighbor was over visiting with Dana, and he came into the house to tell me I had better get out there.  I rushed out to see what the damage was, and saw blood.  Lots and lots of it!  Dana had given Kaia a clean shop rag and instructed her to hold it to her chin.  I had her remove it so I could take a look, and we all agreed, she needed stitches.

Kaia was distraught the whole way to the hospital.  She didn't want stitches and wanted to know every little detail about how getting stitches would feel.  We arrived in emergency and were immediately given a room.  The nurse came in and was very nice to Kaia, and explained that she was going to put some medicine on to numb it.  The nurse practitioner came in and explained what she was going to do and had Kaia lay back, and covered her eyes with a towel. 

It was a long process of cleaning the wound and stitching.  There was a fair amount of asphalt in it.  But in the end, Kaia did great.  She has 2 interior stitches, and 7 exterior stitches.  And for Kaia, best of all, she now has huge audiences to retell the story to!  She loved telling everyone at church Sunday morning.  And she was excited to show her class. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shredded Beef

Here is a super simple recipe that makes a good 2 to 3 meals.  And different meals at that.
Step One is add a can of diced tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped garlic, a bit of cumin, and a bit of hot sauce  (I prefer using a hot sauce that isn't super hot, and has other spices in it) to a slow cooker. 

Step Two add an arm roast (or was it shoulder?)  Just ask your butcher which roast cut is best to use for shredded meat. 

Cook the meat on low all day long.  Then in the evening, shred it with a fork.  It should practically fall apart for you. 

Meal one:  Burritos with Spanish Rice.  Take 2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker, and boil it in a pot.  Add 1 cup of rice, turn heat to low, and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes.    Then take your favorite kind of tortillas, add non fat refried beans, shredded meat, rice, avocado and fresh spinach.  Or if your family is less adventurous, just add your usual fixings to it and enjoy!

Meal two: Beef Sandwiches. Put the meat in a pot.  Add about 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce and 3 T of steak sauce.  You don't want to coat the meat and have lots of sauce, you just want to add flavor.  Also add some mesquite or BBQ spice mix.  Heat through.  Serve on hamburger buns with lettuce, pickles, onions, cheese and tomatoes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter anda Birthday

This post has been delayed while I try to retrieve photos.  I've sent them to my pc twice, and still don't have them!  So photos will come soon.
We did it!  We pulled off an Easter Sunday, Easter celebrations and Birthday Party all in one very crazy day!
First a photo of the actual Birthday.  He loved his gift, as he no longer has to use sissy's pink DS to play games.

Easter Sunday started like they always do.  Me tearing through the church parking lot because we are 5 minutes late to Sunrise Service that starts at 7:15 a.m. under the picnic shelter.  After the beautiful service (with nice weather for once) we had a yummy breakfast served by the Elders and Deacons, and I gathered the kids for a photo.

We all met up after church at our home.  We had a wonderful ham dinner, with lots of fruit salad, green salad, and of course deviled eggs.  The birthday party included an egg hunt.  Anna is just the right age to understand this concept, Brendon was following her lead, but still only picked up a few eggs.  Bry couldn't understand why we picked them up at all.

There were lots of gifts.

And a monster truck cake.  I watched Katie Brown Workshop late one night, and saw her bundt cake idea, and converted it to a chocolate mountain.  Her frosting tip was to add flour to store bought frosting, then microwave 45 seconds.  I actually microwaved longer to produce a chocolate coating.  I don't care for cake or chocolate, but I admit this was pretty good.

After the party we had a blast throwing the Boing Putty all over the place.  It really was a great day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

It's hard to believe, but our oldest boy turns 5 today!  Tonight we'll eat Papa Murphy's Family Favorite Pizza (1/2 Pepperoni, 1/2 Hawaiian) and he'll open his presents from Dad and Mom.  Sunday, after church we'll have a big party with family and friends.  Photos of this year's Monster Truck Cake to come.

So to our ever creative, full of energy, story telling, monster truck loving, green eyed boy: Happy Birthday!  We love you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Backyard Improvements

As I mentioned earlier, we are reclaiming our backyard this year.  For too long we've allowed the dogs full reign while we stayed inside or out front.  We started with a fence, then some major poop pick up, followed by Dana pressure washing the deck, and now the play set.  We'll continue by planting the previously lush garden bed with flowers once again!

The kids, are thrilled with the new development.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I'm a big geek.  Some of you may not know this, but I love to create puns and to find illogical arguments, and even create my own.  So last night this illogical tidbit came to me:

There are 6 people in our family.  4 have blue eyes and 2 have green eyes.
The 4 blue eyed people in our family can take amoxicillin, the 2 green eyed people are allergic to it.   So green eyed people are allergic to amoxicillin.

It may seem ridiculous, but next time you hear or read an argument or hypothesis on the news, you may find something just as ridiculous being said.  Just listen to politics, talk radio, or read some recent archaeology findings.

PS if you also love puns, it makes you very good at answering the jokes on Popsicle sticks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nothing To It

Gates are for climbing over, right?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden Dreams

I want to go out and get the garden ready this year, but the weather hasn't received my request yet.  We have had an unusually cool and wet spring so far, and every weekend has brought us rain.  So for now, I will settle for planting my seeds for setting out later.  I'm hoping they all do well, and we have a bountiful garden all summer long.

I purchased all my seeds from Ed Hume Seeds and the plan is to not purchase plants.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Here is the list for 2011:
Oregon Spring Tomato (these were fabulous 2 years ago)
Gourmet Blend Lettuce (Buttercrunch, Grand Rapids, Red Sails and Parris Island Romaine)
Cal Wonder 300 Bell Pepper
Golden Cross Bantam Sweet Corn
Gold Nugget Tomato
Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Martino's Roma Tomato
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Early Jalapeno Pepper
Olympia Hybrid Spinach
Spacemaster Cucumber
Mesclun Mixed Salad Greens
Cocozelle Zucchini
Sugar Ann Snap Peas
French Green Beans (bush beans)

And for the rest of the garden, and to get a start on our backyard garden:
Shasta Daisy
Godeti Double Azalea (free gift with my order)
California Poppy
Sweet William
Alpine Poppy
Livingstone Daisy

More on our backyard garden plans to come.  Let's just say we are reclaiming a large portion from the dogs, and our tax return is going to make it fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You can't always get what you want...

You know the song, "you get what you need."  Boy, has that been the case at our home.  We didn't want another cat.  The last thing we wanted was another mouth to feed, butt to clean, and one more furball under foot.  However, we needed Alice.

These blurry photos show that she is doing quite well, and she and Nemesis are best of friends.  We didn't realize how much Nemesis needed someone to play with.  The other cats were really tired of his antics, but Alice loves them.  There are regular pouncing sessions and wrestling matches.  I haven't found them cuddling yet, but I'm fairly certain that's coming. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Parenting with an Open Mind

So quick question, answer it as quickly as possible (in your head is fine):

Is it ok to send your child to school with pink or blue spray streaks in their hair?

Got your initial answer?  Now think about it.  Was your initial answer based on what others have told you was ok?  Or was your answer something that you feel strongly about?

This exact question was a daunting one for me, and for Dana as well.  I admit that my first answer to my question, is not the same as it is now.  A few months ago my mom gave Kaia a can of pink hairspray.  I admit right now, my first reaction was, "Oh no, she didn't..."  The "mom" in me was cringing.  It wasn't ok to put pink spray in my 7 year old's hair. 

A few days later, the "me" in me grabbed the mom in a choke hold and called her a big hypocrite that had somehow lost touch with her own ideas.  Somehow the "mom" in me was listening to what society might think, or what other parents might think, rather than what I might think.  And it's true.  Prior to Kaia starting school I looked at all the local options.  First off, I'm a huge proponent of public schools.  I strongly believe that while they may be underfunded, the teachers are there not for the great pay and benefits (which they don't have) but because they have a passion for the next generation.  So I was ready to put Kaia into our local public school, but was concerned about child care before and after, and felt it would be best to look at all of our options.  The problem was, every single private school whether Catholic, Christian or Seventh Day Adventist all had a student handbook. And every student handbook had some rule about the length of hair for boys, and color of hair for boys and girls.  There were also rules on nail polish use, the banning of use by boys.  Most also had policy on clothing and it wasn't just about modest clothing.  With each rule I became upset. 

Dana and I are the parents of our kids.  If Dana and I are ok with our boys having long hair or painting their nails, I don't want a school telling us it's inappropriate.  If Dana and I allow Kaia to dye her hair purple and spike it, then it is our decision, And if our kids want to wear jeans with holes in the knees, and sneakers that are falling apart as part of their self-expression, then so be it.  We draw the line when clothing is immodest, or when the alteration is permanent like a tattoo or piercing, or last if the self-expression is actually rebellion that comes with attitude.  But most of all we don't need a school telling us what is acceptable for our children. 

I have heard the arguments that rules in school prep our kids for rules at work, and I'm fine if you feel that way.  I strongly feel that childhood and adolescent years are for figuring out who you are, and if you are too busy trying to fit into someone else's box of what is acceptable, how can  you do that?

Sure my initial reaction was very anti-pink hair, but this morning I sprayed 2 pink stripes into Kaia's hair, just like I did a few days ago.  Pink hair doesn't hurt anyone.

I'm definitely going to start doing a check on myself when I have gut reactions to things.  Too often, my initial reaction is not my own.  Have you spotted any areas in  your life where you are listening to others rather than listening to yourself?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Orleans Part Duex

I'm finally well enough to think straight (thank you antibiotics and steroid spray) and tell you about the rest of our trip.  First Jennifer's comment reminded me of something I forgot.  Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE in New Orleans was so nice!  It's unfortunate that people being nice stood out so much, but as much as I love the Northwest, the people here aren't as friendly.

Thursday was a big day for us.  We made plans to eat at Emeril's NOLA for our lunch break and our last "session" of the day was a service project at the Louisiana Nature Center.  We were very excited when it was announced that the Honorable John Berry, Director of OPM (Office of Personnel Management for you non-feds) would be joining us on the project.

When we broke for lunch, Cheri and I quickly dropped our things in our hotel room and hopped on the streetcar for the French Quarter.  There on Saint Louis Street, nestled among shops and restaurants was a yellow building, NOLA.  We were seated at the Chef's Bar and were front row to watch as she made "Duck Confit and Fried Egg Pizza" and cooked the Drum (a red fish) in the wood oven.  We asked for her recommendations and placed our order from a menu full of delicious foods.  Cheri had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast, I chose the Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket.  We both agreed it was the best meal we'd had, and we were so glad we took the time to eat there.
A blurry phone photo, but let me tell you the pickled green bean in my drink was delish!

After our very filling lunch, we stopped into a tourist shop for a few gifts, and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our service project.  I knew we'd be driving through some hard hit neighborhoods, but seeing houses destroyed next to houses standing was an eye opener to the stark reality that still exists in New Orleans.  The nature center itself is still not "open."  None of the buildings are functional, and there are very few trees that survived.  Most of those that survived the wind were killed by soaking for several weeks in 8 feet of saltwater.

All of us, along with John Berry and Keith Willingham (the Director of CFC) got to work with gloves and loppers pulling giant ragweed from around the young trees planted a year before.  The hope is that it will give these trees a fighting chance for the sunshine they need to grow.

We were tired and dirty after the project, but all of us were happy to have helped.  That night Cheri and I decided that you cannot go to New Orleans without at least seeing Bourbon Street.  So we walked down Bourbon Street, and found a drink she liked.  The Hand Grenade.  We had a light dinner at Ember's Steakhouse.  Neither of us was very hungry, but it was nice to sit outside on the balcony and people watch.

Friday was our last full day in New Orleans.  When Jennifer got the news that she wouldn't be able to make it, we purchased Plantation Tour tickets for Friday afternoon.  I was sad to miss meeting her in person, but it's a great excuse to head South again!  So Friday at the close of our session Cheri and I made our familiar trip on the streetcar.  We had thought we'd eat beignets at Cafe Du Monde before we boarded the bus to Oak Alley, but the cafe was packed.  Instead we ate brunch at The Gumbo Pot, which was really good.  On the bus we enjoyed watching a video about plantations along the Mississippi.  Then our tour guide/bus driver got on the microphone and began to point out all the plantations and tell us their history.  When we arrived at Oak Alley, it was nothing short of amazing.  The 28 300 year old Live Oaks lining the walk up to the house was spectacular.

The house tour is guided by someone in period dress, and you could tell he enjoyed his job.  It was beautiful inside, though no photography is allowed, so you must take my word, or purchase the picture book (I got a signed copy at the gift shop!).  We were all surprised at how small the house is inside.  It looks huge on the outside, but it would actually be a cozy home inside.

After the tour of the home, we stopped at the snack bar right outside to purchase mint juleps and lemonades.  Then we were free to walk the grounds.  Of course it was during this time that my camera died, as some dummy tried to charge the battery by putting it in backwards, and didn't realize the mistake until it was too late.  My phone was also going dead, as the same dummy didn't charge it the night before.  And that is the reason I had to purchase the picture book.  I also purchased a signed Oak Alley cookbook in the gift shop.

The ride back to New Orleans was longer for two reasons.  First the tour guide drives the old hwy that follows the river and goes past many plantations.  He would slow down for us to get a good look and tell us about each home.  We also got to see a really old cemetery.  So old that many of the crypts were falling apart.  This part of Louisiana was so beautiful, and honestly reminded me a lot of the Valley surrounding my home.  Of course we have hills and there wasn't a one in sight there.  The other reason the drive back took so long is that something happened to cause a huge traffic backup as we were going into New Orleans.  We watched some more videos, and eventually the driver resorted to telling us what he could about the area we were in and what happened in the days and weeks following Katrina.

We finished the evening with beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and taking in the French Quarter homes one last time.  It was sad to pack everything up that night, although I was very ready to get home to Dana and the kids.  I definitely want to return to Louisiana, and sooner is better than later.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Orleans

I have so much to tell you about my trip to New Orleans.  First off, it was a work trip, so while I was in conference every day, I loved it.  I love all my colleagues from CFC and really enjoy all the ideas I get working with them.
Musician on the Riverwalk

Second, while it was a work trip, we had time for fun.  The first full day we were there we walked the Riverwalk into the French Quarter and wandered around.  We didn't have our first meeting until 1 p.m. so we enjoyed looking in the shops and had lunch at Poppy's Time Out which was right outside our hotel.  I had a half a Muffaletta Sandwich. 

As you can see it was huge!  I ended up eating one half of my half sandwich at lunch and the other half at dinner.  That evening we took the streetcar into the French Quarter and went on a Haunted History tour.  It was so much fun hearing all the stories from the tour guide as we walked through the historic streets.  While waiting to take the streetcar back, I picked up one of the seashells that can be found all over the tracks.

View from our window

The next day started early and we were in conferences all day long.  Lunch was a reception where the speaker was from the Coast Guard and she filled us in about the Oil Spill response.  We were tired by the end of a long day of conferences, and we walked up the road to Mother's for dinner.  I had a fried shrimp Po' Boy and a cup of chicken and andouille gumbo.  Yum!

To be continued...