(Originally posted on my old blog, June 14, 2011)

I have had a very strong desire to try out The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe.   Today, since I was going to be home all day, I thought I’d give them a try.  Now, one thing that I’ve noticed about her recipes, is that there tends to be enough to feed a family twice our size.   Some of the recipes, I have made using the measurements of ingredients that she recommends.  I serve one half and then freeze the other half for a future meal.  In the case of the cinnamon rolls, I just “halved” the recipe.  So instead of making nearly 50 rolls, I had about 23.  Still a bit much for a family of 4, however, tonight, my husband is having some of his friends over, and I’m counting on them to have a few.

Who could say “no” to these?



(Originally posted on my old blog, June 7, 2011)

I’ll give an update about my last post.  My son seems to be handling the passing of of his favorite children’s pastor well.  We weren’t able to go to the celebration of life service because we had been sick, and were still recovering.

So, on to new business.

My youngest is now a teenager.  However, he is still young at heart.

He started the day with presents (even before breakfast).

The theme of his party was “Spongebob Squarepants” and this pillow/throw came from his sister (that third eye on Spongebob is actually the tag……..so it’s not a mutant version).

The day was off to a sugary start: Donuts for breakfast!

Later in the day, the birthday boy wanted to play at the nearby park.  His sister, also young at heart sometimes, joined him on the swings (everyone else who were there age and height, were playing basketball nearby and swearing loudly).

From the park, we took the kids to our local mall, where the birthday boy wanted to buy a case for his new iPhone with the money he had received that morning.  We also stopped at the bookstore, which was selling everything for half off and my daughter found a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” hat for a great deal!  Then my husband treated everyone to an Orange Julius (I had forgotten how tasty those were!).  Another full dose of sugar………..

Then we went home and had these after dinner……..

Then, the sugary weekend continued, two days later, when we had his birthday party and this treat……..

And then this happened…………

Ouch!  I gave Spongebob a splitting headache!
He was a good sport!




 (Originally posted on my old blog, May 23, 2011)

I was planning to write about my son’s birthday.  He turned 13 last week.  However, I’m in more of a sober frame of mind today.  One of my kids’ favorite children’s pastors, “Pastor Ron” passed away yesterday, and it just either doesn’t seem appropriate to post about a birthday party just yet.

My daughter, has been grieving as any normal person would, there have been several tearful bouts around here.  For my son, this is probably the first time someone that he’s felt close to has passed and the idea of what that means, is going to be a slow realization for him (Autism serves as a bubble that keeps him from really understanding these things right away, at least in his case).  Right now, he isn’t feeling like he needs to cry, but as he puts it, “I’m just sad in general”.

So, probably in a few days, I’ll get back to how we ushered another child into the teen years.


Basic Rice & Veggie Stir Fry

(Originally posted on my old blog, May 17, 2010)

A few years ago, my husband and I went to one of those Japanese restaurants, where everyone sits around a griddle and watches the waiter cook up a delicious stir fry.  I watched how and what they cooked and after eating the delicious food, decided that I wanted to try this at home, because I wanted this dish more often!  Kevin was more than willing to let me try to copy it and be the quality tester!

I realize this picture is sideways, however, we could just say that it’s meant to keep the reader on their toes.   Are you willing to agree to that theory?
Anyway, the two ingredients missing from this photo is the onion and the soy sauce, but they will make an appearance later.

Before I start any chopping, I start cooking the rice.  We bought this rice cooker a few years ago, and I think that it’s the most used appliance (other than my stove) in the kitchen.   I use Jasmine rice, as it cooks really clean (in that there is absolutely no residue on the lid of the cooker when all is said and done).  Once the rice is cooked, put it in an airtight container and let it chill in the refridgerator.

While the rice cooks, I move to the cutting board and start chopping the onion (I chop it first to get the crying over with).  I generally use a medium white or yellow onion, and dice the whole thing.

Next on the chopping block is the zucchini!  A medium one seems to be enough for this recipe.  I cut it in to quarters and then slice away!

First, I sauté the fresh mushrooms, and then set them aside…..

Then, add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onions and zucchini!

At this point, you can fry your diced chicken, or beef or pork or tofu.  For this recipe, I usually use the Morningstar Farms “chick’n” strips.

In a larger pan (because you will need one, trust me), pour in about 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil

Add your chilled rice…..

Break it up, stir it around………….

Add your sautéed meat & veggies………..  Keep stirring so nothing sticks to the pan (or at least so that most of it won’t stick)

Now if anything starts sticking to the pan, this stuff here, this soy sauce, will loosen things up a bit and will make your stir fry more manageable (and it’s very tasty too).  The amount of sauce depends on your taste, so as the cook, you get to taste test alot.  If you have a “quality assurance” tester, such as a spouse……..even better!

Ta-dah!  Now it’s time to tell your kids to put the cat down, go wash their hands, and tell the one designated to get drinks that he’s on in 5!  Dinner is served!


Civics Lesson for the Homeschooler

 (Originally posted on my old blog, April 10, 2011)

Before I start, I will be courteous enough, to warn you ahead of time, that there is a shameless plug coming up in this post.  If you don’t want to see it, I won’t be offended if you scroll past it.  If you do want to see it, it’s there for your enlightenment, so to speak.

About a year ago, I had posted an entry about how our state, city and transportation commission had decided to rename a stretch of highway, using our tax dollars, against the wishes of the majority of our town’s citizens.  I also mentioned that my husband and a few other gentlemen came together and organized protests against this move, as well as spoke before our city council and our transportation commission, trying to remind them that the majority of constituents were against this idea.   Signatures were gathered in an attempt to get something on the ballot so that things like this can be voted on by the voters, and not have the powers that be, make that decision for us.   Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough signatures.  However, that led to my husband running for office (he garnered about 5 % of the vote).  That experience also led him, and 3 other gentlemen (from the original group) to form a local political “watchdog” group, with the intent to bring things to the attention of the public, in order to keep our local government accountable to the public they were elected to serve.

Get ready………..here comes the shameless plug……..

So that brings me to what prompted the civics lesson.  Personally, I think that any opportunity, to take your children to city, county, or state government meetings, that are open to the public, can count as civics lessons.  You can teach your children how  government is supposed to work, and then take them to the meetings so that they can see how it really works (how good or bad it works, depends on where you live).

Our local transit district is planning to place a rapid transit bus in an area of town that would be adversely affected by it’s installation.  The street that it’s intended for is lined with businesses that will experience a huge disruption in their income or will be forced to lose or have to move their businesses altogether.

There have been  city council meetings that were open to the public, hearings involving the transit district, and as of this past Tuesday, a hearing before the Metropolitan Policy Committee.  My husband, his friends in the watchdog group, and several other business owners spoke, hoping to convince the committee to postpone the plans for this rapid transit line.

So, I brought my kids to see their dad, and others, let their voice be heard.

This was my attempt to get them to smile.  My girl did a very good job.  My boy, looks like he’s trying to figure out how to pick on her or something.

When one goes to speak before a committee such as this one, one needs to get in line, and sign up for their time (which is about 3 minutes long, so speak fast)

The transit district also sent a couple of security guards.

My guess is that since there were only two, that it was either assumed that there wouldn’t be a full room, or we wouldn’t cause much trouble.  In either case, they were right.

Anyway, two hours and over 40 speakers later, the committee decided that it was time for a break.  Since my husband had already spoken, we decided to go on home.

Now for as much as my daughter was not looking forward to going to this meeting as it would be boring, she did remember what was said, and could discuss it with us a bit.  I also saw her page on FB where she was explaining to a friend what the meeting was about.  So I guess that counts somewhat toward an essay, written/verbal combo………perhaps.

My son probably won’t remember much about what was said at the meeting, but he does know what it was about, and he did do a very good job at sitting still and not complaining about how long the meeting was taking.  Very good, considering that he didn’t bring any drawing paper to keep him occupied.


House “Rules & Directions”

 (Originally posted on my old blog, March 10, 2011)

Last Saturday evening, while the kids and I were at church, my husband stayed home and spent the quiet time, hanging up mirrors, pictures and any other wall-hanging that needed a place.  Amongst the things needing hanging was my whiteboard/corkboard.   I thought that the whiteboard would be handy for writing down things to add to my grocery list or menu or schedule.  However, once it was hung, the kids wasted no time in finding the dry-erase markers and filling in the space.

My son has been pretending that our new kitchen is a department store restaurant and that our pantry (which is around the corner from this board) is an elevator.  So like any department store, there is the sign giving directions (just in case anyone who is also living in the house, might lose their way.  The picture on the bottom half is my daughter’s drawing of the main character from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books.

I may need to get a new white board for myself……….and hide it, LOL!  Just kidding………….sort of.


Moving Weekend

 (Originally posted on my old blog, March 9, 2011)

I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to get back to my moving story.  I’ve been busy trying to unpack, keep our lives going, and get back into our school routine (which could be a different blog post because I’ve noticed some things have changed in the routine since moving).

So moving day arrives………….We have friends lined up to help us move, and a box of VooDoo Doughnuts and a fresh pot of coffee ready (to keep them happy as our friends).

The boy spent a lot of time in and around the U-Haul, not wanting to miss out riding in one.  I think that to him, this was the equivalent of meeting a celebrity!

I had a few bags of things that I had bought to decorate the new kitchen with, and I really felt the need to get those new coffee themed place-mats out.  A friend has referred to this as “nesting” and they were right.  I was anxious to nest before the boxes were unpacked!

This was my husband’s version of “nesting”.  The tv needed to be set up and running.  I would agree on this one.  A tv sometimes is nice background noise when working.  We don’t have cable, so we also had to have some favorite DVD’s on hand.  The original plan was to have some movies to watch that dealt with the moving process.   However by time time of the move, we weren’t too choosy (and yes, we chose to watch some “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.  Always good!).

Valentine’s Day also fell at the tail end of the moving weekend.  Knowing that this was going to happen, I shopped a few weeks earlier and had everything prepared so this “holiday” would still be celebrated.   It’s also rather nice after a big move, to get some new things for new rooms.  The kids received lot’s of chocolates, and new books (which was nice for them since their books were still packed and in storage) and trinkets.

French toast for breakfast!  I didn’t have anything to cut them into the shape of hearts, but I don’t think that my family cared.  French toast is always tasty, especially when covered in sugar!

My husband didn’t forget Valentine’s Day either.  The card was appropriate since he’s very much into karaoke these days……..

For an afternoon snack, I bought a couple of red velvet cupcakes for the kids.  I would have made them, however, my baking pans were still packed and I didn’t know where they were.  It’s a good thing too, because I really didn’t need extra cupcakes tempting me along with all of the chocolate candy that was still available in the house 🙂

So since Valentine’s Day, this has been the reality that I’ve been faced with.  We’ve been figuring out where to put things and what stays and what goes.   Fortunately, this time, we have in house, able-bodied helpers to help move some of this stuff around (they aren’t as excited as their dad and I are about that fact though, lol).


Moving Day Approaches!

 (Originally posted on my old blog, February 18, 2011)

Well, in reality, it came and went…………nearly a week ago.

But I thought I’d recap the events, just not all in one post.

Last Friday

We signed the papers, got the keys to the house, and rented a U-Haul.  I would never, ever want to work at a U-Haul center.  Those trucks were parked sooooo close together, and I was amazed that the employees could drive them out onto the lot without scratching the trucks on either side.
They follow the “6-inch rule” very well!

We took the U-Haul home, much to our son’s delight (he had been talking about U-Haul’s and drawing pictures of them for at least a week, so he was thrilled to see a “real life” one in our driveway.  We loaded up the couches and dining room furniture and as many boxes and containers as the truck would hold, and took them to the new house.  As you can see, the boy is resting in the new living room, tired from all of the excitement (and possibly because it was after 10PM).

Our new dining area, which we fully intend to eat all of our meals in (the rest of the house has carpet, and I’d like to avoid as much food spillage as possible. There is definitely more room to get around.   Breathing a sigh of relief!

Take a look at those shelves!  I’ve never had a cupboard with shelves that swung out.  How convenient!

So that was Friday………..

I’m still unpacking and we still have a storage unit to empty out, but I will try to post more later.


Planning from the Pantry

 (Originally posted on my old blog, January 31, 2011)

We’re less than two weeks away from moving day.   So I don’t really want to transfer everything from the pantry to the new pantry.  So, I’m attempting to plan my meals for the next two weeks, based on what I have on hand.

Here’s what I have to worth with……

And here’s what I started with………

I rarely buy this, however I did a few weeks ago, so, why not break it out and treat the kids to some instant pudding!  They didn’t seem to mind.



 (Originally posted on my old blog, January 24, 2011)

We aren’t really tried and true sports fans.  We don’t follow really any sporting events on tv or on the radio.  However, when the Ducks are playing, we do pay a bit more attention to how their teams are doing.  We had the opportunity to buy tickets for the first Lady Ducks basketball game (vs. the OSU Beavers) at the new Matthew Knight Arena.  The tickets were only $2 each, so for a family of 4, that was a pretty good deal for entertainment.

Because it was a sold out game, we decided that we’d avoid the trouble of trying to find parking near the arena, and take our town’s rapid transit system.

What we didn’t know was that our RTS, which runs every ten minutes during the week, only runs every 30 minutes on the weekends.  So when the bus came, a crowd of people crammed onto the bus and it sped off, and we thought “Oh, it’ll be here in a few minutes.    The picture above is of my son, waiting too long for the bus.

This is just my attempt at an “artsy” pic while we were waiting for the bus.  My son also informed me that he was “done having pictures taken”.  Well it’s not of his face, and he didn’t have to pose, so he has nothing to worry about.

My daughter would have been so bored without her phone and Facebook!  (My husband and I were on our phones with Facebook too!)

The cool new score board in the middle of the arena!

Dear Daughter sitting next to her friend and having a fun conversation!  I love her smile!

Occasionally, there would be a sign on the scoreboard that read “MAKE NOISE”, which my son loved!  Permission to make noise is a great thing for him.   So this is the “Noise Meter” to let us know how loud we were.  Dear son, enjoyed making noise for a short time and then he was done, and he was ready for everyone else to be done as well.

We had some popcorn of course.  Once it was all consumed, my husband put the bucket on our son’s head, hoping that it would attract the attention of the camera guys go get him on the scoreboard screen.  It didn’t, but hey, we tried!

The final score…….the Ducks won!!
Like there was any doubt!