Thursday, December 04, 2008


To my little Amelia,
You are my little girl. We call you by a multitude of nicknames: Mia, Meemers, Curly Girly, MiMi, to name a few. I love to watch you play, but to you it is very serious as you investigate cupboards and drawers and rearrange things to your liking. You have recently discovered where the chocolate chips are kept and I sometimes find you helping yourself to a treat. Who can say no to a request for more when it is said in sign language?

I love how you carry around your baby dolls and give them hugs and kisses. Any scrap of cloth you find becomes a blanket to cover your baby of the day. You very gently pat and kiss the baby and instruct me to do the same with points and gestures. You are very pleased with me when I do it right.

I think it is adorable how you are so interested in any animal whether it is a horse a dog or a fish. You will not rest until I acknowledge the animal you have spied and name it for you. Our dog loves you because you are the only member of our family that welcomes his licks of affection.

I melt every time you wrinkle up your nose and eyes with a big cheesy grin and an irresistible giggle.

You love music and you ask for it often by pointing at the speakers and tilting your body from side to side like you are dancing. You especially love Marah to hold you and dance and twirl as the bluegrass fiddle and banjo sing away.

You are a joy little one. Sadly but surely part of the magic of childhood is knowing it doesn't last forever. I know I must cherish your golden baby curls and your little hand and feet now because all to soon they will only be memories.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Tis the Season

We pulled out the Christmas music this afternoon and this was my children's first choice:

This is a collection of original Christmas music by my talented mother!
There are some fun songs for dancing around the living room and some spiritual songs for that special Christmas spirit. If you are in the mood for something new you can listen at CDBaby here.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In control

Last night E. was invited to go out to dinner with my aunt and uncle and his 2nd cousin. They went to Happy Jing's, the local Chinese food joint. During the meal E. and Uncle P. had a heart to heart. I have gotten word that this is how the conversation went:

Uncle P: "So, E., who gave you that haircut?"
E. : *sigh* "My mom"
Uncle P: "Did you want your hair cut like that?"
E. : "No."
Uncle P: "So why did she give you that haircut?"
E. : looks down and with hands on either side of his head he shakes his head and laments "I just can't control her..."

(In my defense... I admit I may be too controlling at times- what mom isn't?- but the buzz was plan b when my less than optimal hair cutting skills failed. We'll go to the barber next time, okay E. ?)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Salty tears for the Ocean

I love the ocean. Tidepooling, boogie boarding, snorkeling, even sand between my toes and crusty sea salty hair, I love it all! So when I read articles like this it wakes up the activist in me. I already have blogged about the floating graveyard of plastic in the Pacific Ocean... here is some bad news for the Gulf of Mexico, a dead zone created by agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It takes two to tango...

...and to make tomatillos.
I planted a tomatillo plant several months ago and I have been so excited to make salsa verde. The plant has hundreds of blossoms and many have developed into the characteristic paper husk that surrounds the tomatillo fruit. I became suspicious that something was wrong when none of the husks seemed to grow fruit. I searched for tomatillo on Wikipedia and sure enough it says the tomatillo is "highly self-incompatible" It needs another tomatillo plant to pollinate. Bummer!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A typical day

Have you ever noticed that the difference between a typical day and an atypical day is just a fraction of an inch? Just for fun I thought I would give you an outline of a typical (or maybe atypical) day in our home.

I got up and did my morning routine: morning prayer, get dressed, hair, clean my toilet and take dirty clothes downstairs.
I read a couple of blogs and made a few comments. (This was a distraction)
Then the kids started waking up so I changed baby's diaper and said good morning to everyone. They got dressed and made their beds while I went down and started breakfast which was scrambled eggs, toast, leftover baked french toast and hot chocolate.

After breakfast we had family scripture study.

The kids did their chores while I did breakfast dishes. M- straighten and dust bookshelves, E- vacuum hall closet, A- empty silverware from dishwasher

Then we went upstairs for school around 9:30 am- later than I like to start.

Marah had her spelling test while Ethan played on a phonics computer and Abby played with toys.

Marah watched a video from the Institute for Excellence in Writing which we just bought (so far it has helped so much with Marah's attitude toward writing).

Ethan and I played a memory game that drilled 'ay' and 'ai' sounds. Abby played dinosaurs, Mia played with Twistables (a type of crayon) on the floor.

While Marah started writing a story, Ethan and I read a poem together, played animal memory and mancala.

I laid Mia down for her nap and then practiced the ABC's with Abby while Ethan did a puzzle and Marah was still writing.

Marah and Ethan played Mancala.

Marah went back to writing (Can this be the same girl who claimed she hated writing earlier this year? Usually we would do history at this point but she wants to write so we’re writing today!) Ethan did his math (learning what a line segment is and how to draw one with a ruler). Abby worked on a puzzle,

For lunch we had leftover homemade pizza from last night, quesadillas, and grapes.

After lunch Marah and I worked on her Math while the other kids did puzzles and played.

I had a few errands to run so I left the kids home to play (Mike works at home so they aren't alone)

When I came home we hung our hammock on the porch and the kids played on it while Mike and I made dinner- Sesame Peanut Noodles with Veggies.

We took our dinner over to Grandma's to eat and share with her. Friday is movie night for the kids and so we watched "The Indian in the Cupboard" and ate popcorn and Junior Mints for a treat.

Home for jammies and prayers and kids go to bed.

I read a bit and wrote this post and now I’m off to brush teeth, read my scriptures and go to bed at 12:30am- Past my bedtime, Goodnight!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pajama Day

When I was in elementary school our school declared "Pajama Day" once a year. We thought it was so novel to be able to wear our pajamas to school.

Earlier this week, in my efforts to be a "fun mom" and make homeschooling even more exciting than it already is, I told my kids that Friday would be Pajama Day. "We can wear our pajamas all day!" They were very excited. So today as I type this post it is almost 1:00pm and I am still wearing my nightgown...and I am going absolutely crazy! I feel unprepared, lazy and uncomfortable! (It doesn't seem to bother the kids a bit) We haven't been lounging around- we have done our school work and jobs, my bed is made, I even cleared out a box of office supplies that has been sitting in my husband's office- one of the last remaining boxes from our move last fall. I guess the past years of dabbling in Flylady has rubbed off on me. I want to be dressed to the shoes! So what makes you feel ready to tackle the day? Shower? Make-up? Clothes? Shoes? Cheerios?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

When you can't afford the opera...

...get your culture from yogurt instead! I can't believe it but I am a homemade yogurt maker now! I have made several batches so it is not just a one time thing. (I also make my homemade bread now too! Woo hoo!) So how do I do it? I'm sure you are itching to know. First I fiddled with my electric skillet to see where to adjust the knob so it would heat water to 100*F. Then I heat a quart of milk to almost boiling (180*F) Then I let it cool to 100*F. I whisk in about 1/4 cup yogurt (from the store or my previous batch). Pour the yogurt into several small jars or ramekins and place them in my warm water bath in the skillet. I then cover with the lid and walk away for about 7 hours and when I come back I have yogurt. I cool my culture in the fridge and enjoy it with maple syrup. Yum Yum!

Friday, April 18, 2008

He's BACK!

For the past two weeks we have been wondering where our dog was. He slipped out the door when Ethan was going outside and ran off and never came back. I've gone knocking on doors, made a trip to the pound, scoured petfinder websites, driven slowly along the highway looking in ditches, all to no avail. And then this afternoon our neighbor found him walking along the road in front of his house. How I wish he could talk and tell us what he's been up to. Welcome home, Jed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

National Hanging Out Day!

I have a confession to make. Awhile back I posted that one of the things I was trying to do to save energy was air dry my clothes. Well since we moved to Oregon I haven't done it once! In California spring meant warm sunny days. In Oregon springtime is another story. And that rainy story has hampered my good intentions.
That leads me to tell you about April 19th -- National Hanging Out Day. No this does not mean you get to be lazy all day. You get to hang your laundry out to dry the old fashioned way! Did you know that after the refrigerator the dryer is the next appliance in energy consumption? Did you know that hanging clothes to dry has been outlawed or banned by many cities and homeowners associations? Can you believe someone telling you that you can't use the free energy of the sun to dry your clothes? That's like cities saying, "No walking or biking allowed---it doesn't make our streets look good."
So join with me and try hanging a load of clothes up on Saturday. Inside or outside. Its good for your pocket book, your body and the air!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Plastic, part 2

A few weeks ago I posted about plastic. Since then I have been learning alot about plastic. Here are a few disturbing facts I have learned:
1) There is a floating garbage patch twice the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. By weight it contains 6 times more plastic than plankton.

2) Sea animals injest plastic, it blocks their intestines and they die. As their body decomposes the plastic is released ready to be eaten again.

3) Plastic doesn't biodegrade- it photodegrades, meaning it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces but it is still plastic.

4) That means plastic is being eaten on lower levels of the foodchain. And its not just plastic the animals are eating; pesticides and toxins in the water cling to these small plastic pieces.

5) It is often cheaper to make things with new virgin plastic than with recycled plastic.

6) Plastic is in everything: hair care products, lotions, exfoliants, food packaging, stuff packaging, it lines many of our cans and cartons of food, it is used in baby bottles, water bottles, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

7) Scientists are finding that plastics leach into our food and mimic hormones, damaging developing reproductive systems.

Bottom line...we are filling our world with plastic and it ain't goin' away folks!

Recycling is possible but it is not as economical for plastic so let's try to REDUCE and REUSE first!

Here are just a few ideas to get started:
* Try taking your own jars or bags and buy from the bulk food bins at the grocery store.
* Try to not use plastic baggies and wrap for everything. Foil can be reused if it doesn't get too dirty, a plate can be placed over a bowl as a lid in the fridge. People did survive before ziploc bags were invented....I promise!
* Take your own bags when shopping.
* Don't heat up food in plastic (especially in the microwave)
* Refuse to buy things that are excessively packaged

Monday, April 07, 2008

Trip to Southern California

Springtime in Southern California is gorgeous. It was sunny and warm and there were avocados, tangelos and tangerines dripping off my parents' trees. My sister and her family came to visit, too. It was fun to get all the family together again...we just wish Jonathan could have been there.

We went to Disneyland on Monday and we spent the rest of the week recovering from it. We had three kids on leashes, one in a sling, and two by the hand. I soon found trying to keep a large group together in a crowd mentally exhausting. My mom and I ended up taking the little kids home after lunch while everyone else stayed and played. I felt bad that Abby didn't get to go on any of the little kid rides but the lines were so long. Standing in line in the hot sun for an hour to enjoy a 2 minute ride is just not worth it sometimes. Maggie and Abby were perfectly happy to come home and dance in their new ballerina leotards and watch the fish swim in the pond.

We also went swimming at Sarah's apartment pool, poked around at some garage sales, and visited for an afternoon with my Grandma. We had a relaxing week with good weather. What more could you want for Spring Break?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


While we are on the topic of environmental questions....have you ever noticed how many catalogs one seems to receive in the mail? ( I get them from at least 20 different companies) Did you know 19 billion catalogs are mailed to Americans every year? Did you know 53 million trees are used to make these catalogs? Most of these catalogs just get tossed or recycled without anything being purchased. Around my house I know they create a lot of cases of the "Gimme Got a Get Its" and waste a lot more time than I care to admit.

So here is a challenge. When you receive a catalog you don't want, call the company and tell them to stop sending it to you. If you need an excuse say you prefer to do your shopping online. Or you can sign up with the free service at and they will do the dirty work for you. Either way a tree will thank you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I know most of my posts are about my kids but lately I have had this question on my mind...

Why do we buy so much plastic STUFF? And why do we throw so much stuff away? It really turns my stomach when I walk into a store and see all the disposable plastic junk that will break after 3 uses (or less) and be tossed into a landfill.

I know plastics do have some great uses. Some medical advances would not be possible without plastic.
But the production of plastics and our dependency on them only increases our dependence on oil. As China and India grow and develop they will want more oil....the price is only going to go up.

So here are some things I have been doing for awhile or just started to try to reduce my dependence on plastics and oil.

1) cloth diapers and cloth wipes ( they are really not as hard as everyone thinks)
2) reuse plastic wrap and plastic bags (bread bags, bread sacks, etc.)
3) Use tupperware type containers or reuse sour cream and yogurt containers instead of ziploc/plastic wrap
4) reusable waterbottles
5) bring your own cloth bag when shopping (although I do reuse plastic bags as my trash bags)
6) buy used toys, wood toys, LESS toys
7) no individually wrapped snacks - buy in bulk
8) use beauty/hygiene products made without petroleum products (this is hard--most of the brands have it)
9) compost kitchen and yard waste so I don't have to buy fertilizers (made from fossil fuels)
10) drive less (another hard one, but by making meal plans and planning errand trips it can be done)
11) use less electricity (sweep instead of vacuum, turn out lights not in use, only run full laundry loads, air dry clothes, wear a sweater instead of heating the house to 70*)

I'm not perfect but every little bit of effort helps.

Any other suggestions???

Friday, February 08, 2008

Big Smiles

Mia is changing so fast. Here are a few recent photos:

Baboushka Baby

Snippity Snip

Three months after I have a baby I always go through "The Great Hair Fallout". When it finally starts to grow back in I have a lovely fringe framing my face. In short, I hate my hair for a year or so. Now that I am 30, (almost 31!) I decided that I needed a more grown up look. I paid ($$$) a visit to my Aunt Sharron's favorite hairstylist and I was not disappointed. Here is the result:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Marah

Marah is nine. If you know Marah you know she LOVES horses. We invited our friends, the Bastians, to bring their pony, Classy, and cart for pony rides, as a birthday surprise. Marah was in heaven. She even got to steer with the reigns all by herself. Of course now she asks for a horse or pony every day.

Here are her horse cakes:

Marah has learned to knit and has made a hotpad and button scarf so far.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Serendipidous Supper

We had a delicious meal tonight due to several serendipidous events. A couple weeks ago we stopped by Trader Joes after taking my mom and brother to the airport. If you know us you know we LOVE Trader Joe's and we were throwing all our favorites in the cart to stock up our pantry. When we got home we discovered several purchases that Abby must have thrown into the cart. One of these surprises was a bag of raw shelled Brazil nuts. What are we going to do with a pound of Brazil nuts?!?
The second event that led to this scrumptious supper was a tip I got from my cousin, Lisa, that pork loin roasts were on sale at Safeway for 79 cents a pound. And the third event, I pulled down my New York Times cookbook and found a recipe for Pork Satay which just happened to call for Brazil Nuts. Here is the recipe, bon appetit!

Pork Satay (from NY Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne)
8 shelled Brazil nuts
2 Tblsp ground coriander seeds
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 Tblsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1 Tblsp brown sugar
3 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 lbs lean pork
olive oil or melted butter

1. Grind the Brazil nuts very fine (food processor or blender should work)
Mix with remaining ingredients except pork and oil
2. Cut the pork into 1 1/2 inch cubes and let marinate at least 2 to 3 hours ( I let it sit one day)
3. String meat on skewers and broil slowly (on BBQ or under the broiler in the the oven) 'til done, about 20 minutes
While cooking baste with oil or butter. (I omitted this since I had my meat in a pan in the oven broiler) and turn to brown all sides.
4. Serve hot with rice and cilantro ( I think broiling onions with the meat would have been good too)