Monday, August 31, 2009

Taylor came to the conclusion that the lizard is too much for him. It actually came out after he returned from a three day trip at Great Grandma's. I asked him if he had a good time and the first thing he said was "it was really relaxing not worrying about Rex and feeding her crickets and taking care of her all the time. I had no responsibilities". Because you know, being 9 and having that kind of responsibility is HARD. Oh, so funny.

He put dead crickets in her aquarium the other day and stank up the entire upstairs (after he had been told not to do it previously), and we are on him constantly to make sure she is fed, watered and has a clean tank, and he should be handling her twice a day to get her used to him.

Mike and I discussed we would give him a 2 week period to show us he can take care of her. So we rounded up Taylor and had a talk stating previous conditions to keep lizard. We said it was a big responsibility and if he wasn't ready for Rex it was no problem, we took a chance giving her to him for his birthday. He bursts into tears and says he doesn't want her and it is too much to take care of her but he LOVES her. Oh, it was so sad. So I said that sometimes knowing we can't take care of something and finding someone who can, really shows our love for that So he cried for another 15 minutes and got Rex and held her (like we were shipping her off then). I got out my camera to take pictures of her so I could post her on e-bay and he was so pitiful. Didn't want to keep her, but felt really bad. A lesson hard learned at 9.
Goodbye Rex.

for sale: one female bearded dragon lizard approx. 6 months old...anyone??

I'm not sure what is happening to's like my gentic code this time of year says to store food. My mom, grandma and great grandma (and back further in the family tree) were found this time of year with their elbows deep in corn, tomatoes, pears and peaches and whatever else they could cram in a jar from their garden. While I haven't done much canning yet, I have been cooking like crazy. I did some freezer cooking two weeks ago, partly to give my sister some casseroles and I thought while I was at it I would do some for me. 7 casseroles, extra rice, spaghetti sauce and pizza dough later I was happy with what a couple of hours on Saturday can do. It is SO nice to open the freezer, pull out a casserole and fix a side dish and dinner is done.

So this saturday after reading a fellower bloggers ideas, I did a baking day. 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, 4 dozen cookies, 3 dozen blueberry muffins and some extra pizza dough. I figured I needed some extra baked goods to put in the kids lunches for their treats.

Here's what else I have been stocking away in the freezer or plan to:
Applesauce-we eat tons of it!
blueberries-I love them so I keep buying and freezing, along with strawberries
freezer raspberry jam-3 containers of that
freezer corn-making that tonight-just blanching corn, slicing off the cob and enjoying later
apple butter will be coming
pears might be happening

For many people back in the "old days" they survived on this food, but for me in the dead of winter it so wonderful to open a jar of sun-ripened peaches or enjoy summer fresh blueberries.

BTW: I found a seriously funny website about a family that has home cooking videos. The recipes actually look delicious, but it's the weird interruptions that make it fun to watch.

PS: Since this is a foodie type post, I just made steel cut oats for the first time-DELICOUS! Added some ten-grain cereal, cranberries, a little brown sugar, salt and butter. A great way to start the kids day off with all that fiber and protein! Next on my list is Quinoa, a grain which has all amino acids in it.

The kids were SO excited, especially Hannah, to start first grade. Okay, take that back, Hannah was excited and Taylor was a little anxious. He has always been like that. Anything new he has to watch and think about for awhile (he's done that ever since he was a baby). He DID still let me hold his hand on our walk to school and into class-I felt very special. And he DID let me take his photo in class. I think as a 5th grader I am going to lose out on both those things, so I'll enjoy them now.that smile seems to say "okay just take the picture"

Hannah discovered hot lunch and thinks it is fabulous but the reality is I won't pay $4 for my kids to eat lunch at school everyday-ripoff!! Especially when it is mostly junk. So we are finding creative & healthy things for cold lunch. I prepared a menu for them to pick their lunch items-they like that. We started off the first day with lunchables and capri suns-a treat for them since I NEVER buy that stuff. They have also had pop rocks and oreos. Back to reality and healthy eating! I am looking for some little containers to hold salad dressing and stuff for them to dip-kids love to do that. Any other good ideas??

I have not gotten a lot done since they have been back to school, but told myself I deserve a little break! I have managed to get to the gym and workout and do some house cleaning and finish some work.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


new backpacks filled with school supplies. Check.
Lunchboxes cleaned and ready. Check.
New shoes and clothes ready. Check.
Meeting new teachers on Tuesday night. Almost check.
Happy dance from Mom. DOUBLE Check.

Ok, I'm gonna admit it-I am really GLAD summer is ending and BOTH...(did you hear that??) both of my wonderful children will be in school all day!! For 7 hours a day I will have freedom. Don't get me wrong, we have had a wonderful summer,lots of family time and I can't believe Hannah will be in 1st grade, but this momma is ready for some breathing space. The constant sibling fighting is starting to drive me nutty and I think we are all ready for a change of scenery.

I can go to the gym more often (and hopefully see the spare tire less). I can concentrate on my business and will have lots more time for client meetings (without having to run home to be there when Hannah is home or figure out where for her to go so I can get work done).

There are many projects around the house that need to get done: I have already made my much-needed cleaning list to start on Thursday, donation piles are started and a messy office closet that needs MUCH organization is waiting.

Both kids plan on taking cold lunch so I am going to save myself some time (since I'm not a morning person AT ALL) and start stock-piling my freezer with baked goods that I can pop in their lunch box. I can see a couple baking days a month to do this and freezer dinners-it really makes life much more easier. BTW: I cooked 7!! casseroles, pasta sauce and pizza dough this Saturday in about 4 hours!! If you have a family, freezer cooking will save your sanity!

I am really looking forward to a new phase of no daycare and some independence during the day, so when my babes get home from school I will be excited to hear about their day and have a good snack waiting.
On a side note..I didn't know parenting would take so much food preparation-especially in the early years when feeding them took much of the day (especially when you exclusively breast feed babies til they are one and make your baby food!) and they ate non-stop.

Of course the cons to all this starting school is earlier mornings, trying to get kids to bed earlier, dealing with homework everyday, schedules, schedules, schedules and..... did I mention getting up early? I bought a big tub of coffee to help with that!

look how happy I am for summer's end

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow, our family experienced a baby boom and I didn't have to do anything!!

My sister and her husband welcomed little Karsten into the world August 10 (a full month early!), and my brother Rob and his girlfriend Trina, welcomed Kiera into the world August 3th ( I have NO pictures of her). Then I got to meet my brother's baby Elizabeth on Saturday-she's two months old. I am a proud aunt looking at all these beautiful babies I will be priveleged to see grow.

Timing worked out perfect for my brother Sean who was in town from Japan and my aunt and two cousins were going through town, to see little Karsten.
I have had a VERY busy week with family, but it has been fun.

We traveled to my grandma's house (look at her flowers!) over the weekend and got to coo over little Elizabeth-oh those cheeks! I feel blessed to see these little babies healthy and already so loved beyond belief!
Sean and Lizzie
Taylor getting some pointers from Uncle Sean

My grandma's flowers...I didn't inherit her green thumb!

Is he so adorable and perfect or WHAT?
Karsten in NICU

Little Lizzie and her big cheeks!

My two bros!
Sean got Lizzie to smile

What a cute new family of three!

baby present time

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I really love to bake. I remember making my first batch of cookies on my own when I was 8 (I think I was the only one that ate them).
I really wish that my culinary skills could reach other areas of food, like meat. Last night I had to cook a chicken breast three ways before I finally got it done. I really don't like to cook-but i have to since I do have a family and they like to eat food other than cakes, breads and pies-crazy people.
I have a couple things on my dinner menu that I can do (Italian foods and easy casseroles mostly), but when it comes to steak, roasts, ahh. It's not good. It took me 9 years to finally get pot roast down-Mike deserves an award for endless numbers of stringy, dry beef roast. But cuts of meat other than chicken and hamburger, forget it!

My favorite book of the moment from the library is this one (HINT to Mike if he's reading this-EXCELLENT GIFT IDEA for Kristi):
Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking

I'm lovingly turning the pages and planning my next recipe to try, which according to the book should include a Genoise-because every baker must have this in their repitoire (it's just a french cake).

Any suggestions on basics of cooking meat? Like a "Meat for Dummies", or "Beginners Guide to not burning the steak"?
For those out there that like to bake and cook, check out these blogs:
Simply Recipes

Happy cooking!

Last Friday we headed for McCall for an overnight trip. It was short, fun and we packed a weekend of activities in our 2 days. I love the little mountain town of McCall. When I was younger, I would visit my grandparents that lived in Boise and we usually took a camping trip and a trip to see my aunt and uncle who lived in McCall. There was always fun on the beautiful lake there, boat rides and attempts at water skiing and lots of exploring. So I have a special place in my heart for that town and now that I am back in Idaho we try and go once a summer with the kids, who love it as much as I do. Growing up around mountains-you just appreciate them!

This trip we camped one night in a nice, family- friendly campground that had flushing toilets AND hot showers-my kind of place! We rented canoes and meandered up a calm little inlet of the lake-it was so beautiful with lots of wildlife.

Then we went to the beach and the kids had some fun swim time.
We enjoyed a campfire and smores-that is a must do! We enjoyed a freezing morning and another campfire, and caught a run away dog-he found the right family!

Since we only went overnight, we only packed a lunch and ate out for most meals-again-my kind of camping!! Not packing all the food items saves lots of time. After a yummy breakfast, we head to Ponderosa State park and hiked and drove up to a beautiful scenic spot. We had some lunch and enjoyed the beach for longer, then it was time to go home.

We all really enjoyed ourselves, and even though it wasn't too long, it was just what we needed-a change of scenery, some time together and the beautiful mountains!!