Monday, November 30, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving catch up

We have been non-stop busy since the last time I blogged. Almost every day was filled to the brim. Now that we’ve gotten over Thanksgiving (and all of us getting sick), life returns to normal.

The week of Thanksgiving was particularly busy. Tuesday, my Mom and I drove to Wenatchee to meet Aunt Daralyn and pick up our meat. She had raised two cows for meat, and then sold the quarters to family (and a friend of mine!). Our trip over was easy, and we had a two hour lunch with Aunt Daralyn and got in a good visit. Trip home was also easy and now our freezer is stocked with home-grown, organic, grass-fed beef. Its a beautiful thing. We ended up with about 100 lbs. Top shelf is steaks and roasts, second shelf is ground beef.


We had a small Thanksgiving here at our house. Just us, Mom, Dad, Jenni & Aunt Margaret.  The group, minus Elly and I who were behind the camera


Ethan also played Jingle Bells for us. I have this piano curriculum but am ashamed to say that I haven’t really worked with the kids at all. Ethan has taken the initiative though and pretty much taught himself a few songs.

Unfortunately, after Thanksgiving we all came down with a cold with varying degrees of severity. Saturday we had our big family Thanksgiving get-together and quite a few of us were sick. It was still good to see everyone and reminiscent of the enormous gatherings we used to have every year but have had to stop because of how large our family has gotten.

I spent all Sunday morning in bed. I felt so exhausted and worn out. Around noon I arose and was able to resume life again. I still have a bit of congestion but am otherwise ok. Everyone else has recovered mostly.

Today is grocery day so we’ll be leaving shortly to hit up Fred Meyers (they have free childcare so I can shop for an hour with only 1 instead of 3!) and get the kitchen re-stocked. I’m hoping to have enough energy left to get the house cleaned back up and then plan out our week. We took off all last week from lessons and both E and I are anxious to get back into the swing of things.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The best laid plans...

So my parents took the kids on Friday and Jason and I were supposed to go out for dinner. He did have to work late, but we figured we could go afterward. Unfortunately, it became clear pretty fast that he was not going to be able to meet for dinner :( I stopped at the grocery store and got myself a little steak and made some Gorgonzola butter to go on top, had a tomato salad, and a sippy cup of wine and ate by myself in front of the TV. Although I would have preferred to dine with my husband, it wasn't bad actually. Poor Jason ended up working till 10, then after arriving home worked until midnight.

I'd hoped we could go Christmas shopping on Saturday, but alas, work was still being problematic so he was up at 5:45am and worked all day, only breaking to eat lunch with me at Alligator Soul and make a quick stop at Fred Meyer. I did do some shopping on my own and got our supplies for our Operation Christmas Child boxes and a few stocking stuffers for the kids.

Even with our plans being mangled, we still enjoyed our time and are so very thankful to my parents and little sister who do this for us pretty regularly. We love you guys!

Today we had a playdate with a friend I met through MOPS and then came home and packed our OCC boxes. The kids and I had a great time talking about how the little boy or girl who gets their box will use what is inside. They still have a hard time imagining that there are kids out there who don't have access to many things they take for granted. I'm glad that they're now at an age where they can start to realize and appreciate how fortunate we are and start developing the desire to help those who are not so fortunate. We donated our funds for the boxes online and received a bar code for each box so we will know where our box ends up. I can't wait to find that out! Not only is it just interesting, but I'm going to use it as a good excuse to teach the kids about that country.

The weather is ominous and cold. We're supposed to have some pretty major winds tonight and tomorrow. The weather calls for a soup for dinner. Tonight I think we'll have one of our favorite soups. Carrot! Trust me, its MUCH better than you might imagine.

Pureed Carrot Soup with Nutmeg

Either chicken or vegetable broth can be used in this recipe.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter , or the same amount of vegetable or olive oil

1 medium onion , 3 medium shallots, or 1 medium leek (white and light green parts only), chopped

2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine

1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin (about 4 cups)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable broth

1 teaspoon table salt

ground white pepper

pinch ground nutmeg

1 - 1 1/4 cups whole milk (I use soy or coconut because of Ethan's diet)

2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon , mint, chives, or parsley


1. Heat butter or oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and carrots; stir constantly and cook until sherry evaporates, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, salt, pepper to taste, and nutmeg to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Ladle carrot mixture into blender. Add 1 cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in additional milk to thin consistency. Adjust seasonings. (Soup can be refrigerated for 3 days and reheated just before serving.)

4. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced herb and serve immediately.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sleeping in?

Today the kids and I are heading to Sky Valley Academy for an open gym time. Our MOPS group is going, so it will be fun to visit and let the kids run off some steam too.

After that, I'll be taking the kids over to Mom & Dad's house for the night. Woo hoo! They are so awesome to take all three kids now and then. Jason is working late tonight, but we plan on meeting up at some point for dinner.

After the kids are dropped off, my plan is to go hit up Jo-Ann's for some yarn and then to the library for a book we need for next weeks lesson on the human body. I've decided to shelve sewing for the time being. I don't have time to make the sewing classes that I was attending previously, and right now J's office is a sty and there is no room for me to sew anyway. Our napping schedule has changed and with working out every day, homeschooling and trying to keep the house livable, there is just very little time for me to get into anything. Jason suggests that I do a little here or there, but for me that is just so aggravating. I hate sewing for 10 minutes and having to stop for the day. Drives me positively bonkers. I'd rather just not start it at all. So I'm going to take up knitting again. Just a scarf or something. Easily stopped and started. Can be done in the living area so little ones aren't pulling pins onto the floor or in danger of an iron falling on their head. We'll see how it goes. I just need to do something. I don't think of myself as a creative person and yet there is this need to do creative things with my hands and brain. When I ignore it, it really does make me cranky.

Lessons have been going great. We just finished up our turtle unit and are now onto "Us", meaning the human body and 5 senses. Each unit is 5 days. Usually we do it in 3 or 4 as I can double up some days without any trouble. Today Ethan started getting into the reading sections and was able to read his 4 words without any help at all from me. I was surprised because we haven't done any reading practice since stopping 100 Easy Lessons months ago but he read it without even needing to sound it out. That's my boy! His handwriting is improving as well. He is easily frustrated and if he can't do it right the first time he wants to give up. Our statement for the turtle unit was, "I don't quit; I will persevere". This is a good lesson for him and he really worked at putting into practice this week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Busy Day

We just returned home from a lunch/playdate at my MOPS leaders house. There were 22 people there in all (that's adults and children). She's a brave soul! We had a good time, but wow, I feel so tired.

Unfortunately, my day is not over. In about an hour or so, Mom will be here to pick up Elly and take her along shopping while I take Ethan and Gwennie and myself to the dentist for a cleaning. I'm worried that I'll be having work while they have theirs done. I hope no one has a freak out! Luckily this new dentist is just fantastic with kids and (hopefully) will be able to handle the kids if they get scared.

Since about April I've been doing these online surveys for money. When I say money, don't think that I mean big money. Oh no. I've only made about $80 since April. But it is a very easy way to make a few dollars and if Jason was in a different industry I'd qualify for more surveys and make more. If anyone would like to try it out, its called Opinion Outpost and if you sign up via this link, I get bonus points, which would be totally cool for me :) The surveys come slow at first, but the more you fill out the more will come. Right now I get at least 1 a day and often I get 3 or 4!

Children are cranky and I must go so my 5 minute blog is more like 3 today :)

Monday, November 09, 2009


So since May have I been working out 6 days a week. There have been a few times I've fallen off that pattern, like in August when we went on back to back camping trips, but pretty much its been 6x a week, every single week. I started out by doing workout DVD's (check out 30 Day Shred or anything by Jillian Michaels for a great workout!) but since getting my treadmill back from Mom, I've been using that. I'm able to walk/jog for about an hour before I get too bored. I could do more, but its hard to fit it time-wise and interest-wise. As it is, I must focus fully on the television to get through an hour. If I have to think about what I'm doing I just want to quit! I'm proud of myself. I've never worked out this hard in my entire life, in fact I've never really worked out in a consistent way ever. If only I'd started this when I was younger I might not have so much to lose now! My goal is to lose about 10 more pounds and then I will be at my goal weight. My "deadline" for meeting that goal is in 6 weeks. I lose very slowly, so I'm not sure I can make that time, but even if I can lose 5 by then I will be happy.

Today I woke up with a bad headache and weird crick in my back. Ouch. Days that start like this don't usually go well. Luckily, a sweet friend of mine read of my complaint on Facebook and invited us over to her house. We went and had a great time visiting and the kids had fun running around with her 4 kids and examining her farm. Her and her husband run a dairy farm and live right there next to the cows. The kids find that utterly (or should I say udderly) fascinating!

Tonight for dinner I'm making one of our favorite dishes. Risotto! (see previous post where I raved about this fantastic dish). We're going to do a variation: Butternut Squash Risotto. Because Jason doesn't like "chunkies" in his risotto, I'll mash it up so its more like a puree. That will also provide the creaminess that we won't have since we can't have cheese due to Ethan's food restrictions.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Haircuts and bunk beds

That sums up our day!

Ethan, Gwen and Jason all got their hair cut today. No biggie for the boys, but for Gwen it was! She had been saying she wanted shorter hair (like Dora The Explorer). This was too short for us, so we compromised at just below the shoulders. She also wanted bangs, which she’s never had. So in we went and the stylist cut 6 inches off and gave her bangs and wow, my little girl looks older.

This picture is her being silly… I tried to get her to take a nice picture, but she was too wound up over her new hair :)

We also decided to move Gwen in with Ethan. They’d been sleeping in the same bed for a few weeks now. Both had been having problems with night fears and were ending up sleeping in the same room every night. So we figured, why not? If they want to share for awhile, its all good with us. So we spent all morning stacking their beds and getting it set up. They are SO excited. They didn’t sleep at all during their rest time and are currently racing around me saying they can’t wait till bedtime so they can sleep in their “new” beds.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

I forgot to add this into my previous post...

Today at MOPS we watched a video about Operation Christmas Child. OCC is a program where you fill a shoebox with things (all kind of things like candy, school supplies, hygiene, clothing, books, toys etc) and send it to a processing facility. Then they send those out to children in need all over the world. You can include a letter, picture or information about your family and many times the child will write back to you. Last year I wanted the kids to do this but we never got around to it. This year we ARE doing it... at least 3 boxes, maybe more.

This video is about 6 minutes long and it is so touching. There was not a single dry eye at our meeting. Please take the time to watch it!

The Lejla Allison Story from SP Video on Vimeo.

5 Minutes A Day

My lack of blogging has been weighing on me. I want to do it more, but it creates in me a sort of dread when I think about all I have to update on and pictures... oy, when you have a lot of pictures there just isn't a quick and easy way to get them up here.

So I decided that I will aim for 5 minutes a day. Certainly I commit more than that to Facebook... I'll just steal a couple of its minutes and put them here. When I have pictures, I do generally put them on my Facebook account. You can view my albums here. I'll post a link when I do upload something new there.

Today's news:

The kids and I went to our MOPS group today. One of the interesting things we did was a "stand up if..." type of thing and I learned that there are 2 more people homeschooling that I didn't know about! There were two that I did know about, and one of them is at my table, but I was thrilled to see more. We even got a little ovation when we stood up. Cool :)

For the first time ever, Elly cried when I left her in the nursery. She's realizing that I come and go now, and she notices when I'm not there.

For dinner tonight we're having my Mom's Chicken & Dumplings (with Kristi's changes).


* 5 T. Butter
* 1 cup finely chopped onions
* 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
* 1 t. dried thyme
* 3 T. Flour
* 1 c. chicken broth
* 1 c. milk
* 1/2 t. salt
* 2 c. diced, cooked chicken(OR 12 oz. can chunk chicken)

For dumplings:

* 1 c. flour
* 1 1/2 t. baking powder
* 1/4 t. salt
* 2 T. melted butter
* 1/2 c. milk



Melt butter in 5 qt pot. Add onions, garlic, and thyme and saute over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and milk, whisking to combine. Cook until smooth, stirring constantly until thickened and sauce comes to boil. Stir in cooked chicken. If sauce is too thick, add milk or broth until consistency of thick cream. Remove pot from heat.


Mix together dry ingredients in medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry mixture. Stir until just combined.

Bring sauce back to boil over high heat. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons of dumpling mixture into sauce. Cover tightly, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove lid and cut open one dumpling. It should be fluffy and cooked through. If not done, cover and cook for a few more minutes.