Saturday, February 28, 2009

ALIVE!

This morning, it is official. We are all in recovery. What a week of hell it was! Even yesterday we were all worn out and sick as dogs. All of us are still coughing... but I took a shower and realized that for the first time in over a week my skin didn't hurt when the shower touched it. I hooped a bit this morning and didn't feel like I was going to die. I can read for more than 10 seconds before my eyes start hurting. I slept last night. In fact, I slept like the dead. I remember waking up a couple times, but for minutes, not the hour that has been usual for the last 8 days. Everyone else is ready to leave the house... Don and I are still feeling ok with quarantine... but the kids are going crazy. So we may even get out today. We have watched every single movie in our limited selection and I even ventured out on Wed to the library for new videos for Logan (which completely wore me out and I was even more sick the next day). Wow. Long week. But so thankful that it is over!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hanging on... update

We are doing ok. All of us, except for Logan, have some serious symptoms hanging on. Sinus headaches for Cyan and I, Don's fever finally broke this morning and I was able to get him to the chiropractor to get an adjustment for his fall and hitting his head, and Alex stomach still feels like crap... but we are all recovering... slowly, but surely. Thanks so much for all the well wishes.

I pulled myself out of bed and checked my email this morning and my brother had sent me this:



Designer babies... yikes! All kinds of Gattaca craziness.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crazy Sick ~ We could use some prayers

We have all been really sick. Sometime last week Logan got the flu. Not a stomach bug, the actually influenza virus. What a yucky thing that is! Because he has been grumpy as all get out due to teething, it took me a day or so to recognize it as something else. By then, Cyan was getting sick. The day after Cyan started complaining of aches and pains and had a high fever, I got it. And let me tell you, it knocked me off my feet! It was HORRIBLE. I have never had aches and pains like this... and I have been in two car wrecks. My lower back was hurting so bad it was hard to walk. I had a high fever, and had hot spells and chills. It was awful. The only thing that got me out of bed was the food I needed to stay alive. I didn't feel like eating, but found after 12 hours of not eating, I couldn't sleep without eating something. And the not eating was making the nausea worse. It is hard to think it was only three days. It felt SO much longer. But my fever broke this morning, 10 hours after Don started to come down with it. He is now in bed. Run down completely.

He is the one I am really worried about. This is the third week in a row he has been sick. He is out of sick days, out of vacation days, and completely stressed about it all. Two weeks ago he had a nasty chest cough. Last week it was a Larynx Infection that made it impossible for him to talk, and this week the flu. And on top of all of that, his grandma in the hospital, the stress of the gas bill and pending second move of the year, and just the general stress of his job. Well, his body is just plain worn out. He collapsed in the bathroom this morning. Alex helped him back to bed. The poor guy is worn to a frazzle and isn't quite sure what to do about it all. I told him that the worst possible thing he could do is to push himself anymore. He NEEDS to get better. ALL the way better. Before he decides to do anything like work or stay up late. So he is in bed, and I am making chicken soup for dinner tonight.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February conundrum 6/52


This morning when I woke, the robins were outside my front door screaming at each other in their tell tale marry voices and these little beauties were popping up in my yard, poking through the bed of leaves I left there to keep them warm through the winter.

February comes with stir craziness and aching for the start of spring. It is when my cat Julian would always bounce off walls, attack feet from under beds, and thoroughly drive everyone in the house nuts! Even as he got up into the 'very old' years for a cat, each Feb he would rush you when you walked through the door or jump on your pillow first thing in the morning to attack your sleeping eyelids as the twitched with the last of your dreams. These cat attacks marked spring as clearly as the crocus and the daffodil greens did. And most of the time (when we were not in recovery due to his antics) we all felt a distinct sympathy and a bit of the same urges. Stir crazy. Ready to move. Ready to get out of the house... but hesitant because we might jump the gun and end up taking a walk in freezing rain.

This year I have been the one with spring fever. It has come along with a bit of frustration because I know that spring won't hold everything that it usually does for me. No garden. No tilling soil and building new beds. A huge part of my life will be missing for this season. But spring does hold a whole lot of possibility for us this year... and although I am frustrated...I think I might break out and catch a few ankles by surprise myself. ;)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Such a good movie!

Joss Whedon is a huge fav of mine:



Although I am not into Buffy or Angel... Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long blog is just fabulous!

Honestly, the world in this movie just makes sense. It is supposed to be thousands of years in the future. Everyone can speak Chinese and English fluently, and they occasionally swing their curse words from both languages. Which makes TONS of sense considering they are two of the top four most used languages in the world today. And that is just the tip of what he thought of. The show "Firefly" came first, but they only made it through one season... and I own the entire season. Of course. The movie came after the show failed... and apparently it kinda broke Joss's heart to see it dive. Which sucks... because that man has quite the mind for this stuff.

Anyhow... on this Friday night without my husband, I watched this movie, drank a cup of tea, and ate some fried rice by myself... and it was wonderful. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frozen for Later


This meal was pulled from the freezer and the pantry with such ease and it is SUCH good food. In front, frozen green beans and the tomato sauce that I have raved about all season. In the pan, a frozen soughdough loaf (our current obbsession) parbaked, bought in the bulk and frozen, a head of garlic, a stick of butter, and an onion.

And that brings me to our big battle. White pasta. Don and Logan will not eat WW pasta. Won't touch it. So this has stopped the battle for me. Single ingredient pasta. The only ingredient listed on this pasta is "Organic Drum Wheat Semolina". Problem solved. ;)

I know I won't have a garden this year. We won't be in the house to see the main part of harvest even if we were. We are planning to move by the first of Oct. But my hope is, that with the farm, and the food share that I have now, I will still be able to store all of these things. This time of year, they feel like money in the bank. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Olympia Original ~ 5/52

Yes, this is my chest. It is quite extensive. lol... My breasts grew fast and furious when I was about 12, and didn't stop. I was a C in 7th grade. I was a DD by highschool. Loosing weight doesn't really change it. Just my band size (I flex between a 32 and a 36). Heck, having kids doesn't change that. I have big breasts. Always.

For this reason I never wear words across my tit line. You might, sometimes, every now and again, see me with something leafy on my shirt. Maybe. But the large majority of the time I am in dark, solid colored shirts with a scoop or v neck. Words? Nope. Why bring attention to it?

This shirt was different. I spent 90% of my life in Olympia in some way. My life started there... my brother was even born there. The best and the worst of my life happened there.

Olympia has a very strange culture. Cops like to call it "ten square miles... surrounded by reality". lol... Everyone is accepted... esp the very strange. It is a strange city to compare other cities to.

Moving away from my city has proved to be great, but very different. I honestly thought I would never leave Olympia. But now I have....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Whole Me ~ 4/52

This is me... the whole me. :)

I only have a couple more before I am caught up for the year... so bare with me. Then it will actually be done once a week.

A lesson in Orange







Three weeks ago I started a winter organics produce subscription. The Farmers Markets are closed until April around here, and we have been seriously lacking in fruits and veggies. I have frozen tons from our harvest season, but fresh fruit is something that you crave in this cold, wet, dreary climate. I subscribe to two boxes from these folks: Terra Organics Every other week I get a box of Pacific NW only produce... all grown here in Washington or Oregon state... and then every other week I get a box of fruit.

The fruit has been our favorite so far. The Pacific NW box is convenient... but there is nothing like having fresh organic strawberries from CA on Valentine's day, or 4 lbs of oranges and tangerines to make OJ out of the day after. The fruit box is not necessarily local, but they do keep even winter produce to the west coast and that is about as good as I can do shopping for myself in the store.

I feel really grateful for California this time of year. I am a local girl... but goodness... that OJ tasted GOOD!

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

These little babies were CRAZY good. And I didn't even make the sugar topping that Joy the Baker suggested. That might have sent my sugar crazed children right over the top yesterday. Oh the holidays of sugar have arrived! Next up... Easter!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling/Topping

2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)

Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.

Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe found HERE! And I must admit to being quite smitten with Joy the Baker. She seems cool, fun, and completely good at what she does... and she is willing to share her great ideas and great ideas she finds with us lowly quickbread experts (which BTW is the only thing I ever bake. lol! That's right folks. I don't bake my own bread. In fact, bread that turns out eatable in my house is considered a MAJOR accomplishment.) I am excited to explore her site more and see what other bites of goodness she has to offer!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Cinnamon roll muffins are in the oven. Heart shaped love (along with a dose of sugar) has gone out to all of our friends. Hot cider has been made, and heart shaped brownies with organic strawberry and chocolate sauce are in the works for desert tonight...

A heart mug that my dh, (who I am completely and utterly over the moon for... even after 10 years) got me for Valentine's day to go along with my current red mug addiction. He knows me well.

And some general sweetness. (Isn't he cute??)

Thank you all for being in my life! This blog has filled a place for me that I didn't even know existed. I love sharing with you, reading about your families, and getting ideas from the wealth of wonderful people I have met in my blogging journeys.

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Traces of Silver ~ 3/52

These silver lines of motherhood are so dear to me. Even more because I am lucky to only have these from my three beautiful babes... but honestly I would feel that something was missing if I had no stretch marks. I feel that along with their unappealing emotional tendencies, they bring a reaction when I see them that is a mixture of pride and a feeling of accomplishment.

I have house 5 babies in my body. Two were not meant to be... but the three that are here are stunning, beautiful, and healthy babes. Even the idea of selection has come across my mind. Like my body knew who would make it, and who wouldn't. It makes you wonder... and wonder in awe.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Little bits of me ~ 1/52

1st of 52 weekly self portraits where I am taking on the challenge of learning how to use my camera, and thinking of 52 different bits of myself to post.

It should be fun.

Seeing clearly now.

I have worn glasses since I was 14. I needed them about 9. When I finally got them, I started making exclamations about what I could see to my mom on the way home from the optometrist: "MOM! I didn't know there was a stop sign at the end of our street!", "The trees... they are so close, and so GREEN!"... and my mom started crying. I had had headaches for years and we were thinking something was really wrong... but it wasn't. I just couldn't see.

Thinking that Alex is almost that age makes me amazed at the world around me. He is so little... so big... so young and inexperienced, and so darned grown up... all at the same time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birthday Days and Hoop Scars

Alex and Cyan decided to make me treats for my birthday. Alex made baking soda free chocolate chip cookies (I really don't like the taste of homemade cookies due to baking soda) and Cyan made me cookies dipped in chocolate, with fun stuff on top.

Alex made these small cookies, and then one really big one (which was cooked PERFECTLY, unlike my attempts to do the same for him a couple years ago) and put candles in it (because I don't like cake, ain't I a pain?) and everyone sang happy birthday to me (even Logan).

It was such a sweet gift.


See the fun stuff that Cyan added to my birthday cookies? I could only eat half of one before I had to stop. lol... that is a SWEET birthday gift.


And in other news: I think I got the hang of hooping! I did it for about 2 hours yesterday and OMG is it FUN! I realised that to really get yourself going you need music like Fat Boy Slim, or Black Eyed Peas. Something bumpin'. I don't have cool little videos to show yet, but I am getting a few tricks and learning. It has been great so far... except for the bruises. They look awful! (much worse than in the picture IRL) Both my hips are littered with purple and red bruises and my entire waist has red marks all the way around it and is slightly swollen. Yikes!! I got my kids a hoop the same time I got mine and Cyan is sporting the same 'training marks'. Poor baby. Neither of us are wearing tight pants today. I have to ask my hooping friend if this is normal. But I am guessing that my body will get used to it just like any other training and I will be sporting tank tops while hooping before summer. :D

Monday, February 09, 2009

Happy birthday!! And hoops.

So this year I bought myself hoops for my birthday. And they got here just in time. :)

And I suck at it. lol! Really suck. Like can't keep the hoop up to save my life. I don't have to motion down right. And I am trying... it will take more practice.

I am excited to add this to my workout... but I can't really do it yet. My kids... heck, even my husband can do it better than me at this point. Sigh....

BUT... it's my birthday. :) And my kids are so great. Alex wrote me a poem and made me a GIGANTIC chocolate chip cookie (from scratch)... Cyan made me chocolate dipped cookies complete with sprinkles and maraschino cherries. I may need the hoops before I am done with my 'gifts'... lol! But it was one of the sweetest birthdays I have ever had (pun completely intended).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Yikes!

I called the guy at the power co again just to see if there is any chance that this is a mistake. He says no. It is over $400 every month all winter, and that it isn't a gas leak because it goes down to $30 each summer. (And with an aside, he said that it is good because at least we will be able to catch up. LOL!) He also said that it has to be the equipment and insulation. It has been like this for 5 years now (over $400 each month each winter for 5 years!) and that other houses that have better equipment are less than half that. He said that sq footage doesn't really matter, if the insulation is bad, and the equipment is inefficient then your bill will be high. "And yours is crazy high. That sucks." Direct quote.

Joy.

To answer Beth's question, we are moving for a whole host of reasons. This house is The Money Pit.

See that is the thing. Our last house was smaller, but the bill was never over $250 a month... not even in the winter. So I put aside $300 for the bill when I noticed we had not gotten it for over a month and felt comfortable that that would make up for the missed month. That bill (for Dec) was $573! Then Jan came around and that was $480. So the average in our area is not that high... not even close. This house just has no insulation.

We were looking to buy it come June. But a whole lot of things have come down, and now it is feeling very much like a fixer upper... Which I feel like I could take on if the price was right. I am handy and good with that type of stuff. However, the prices to fix all this stuff has to be reflected in the price of the house and I just don't know if it is or not. But she hasn't given me a concrete number... which makes me even more nervous. But I love the house. I really like the neighborhood... we are tucked away in a beautiful grove of oak trees and it is a sweet little space that is right off a main drag so it is easy directions etc. I like the location better than the house... but I like the house too. It has big beautiful windows, (where our last house was dark) it has enough space for the kids homeschool stuff to be out of the dining room (a must when we were 'looking'), two bathrooms, etc. Lots of potential... but how much do you put into a house? How long do you wait? The list of things to do just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.

At first I was overreacting. I really was. I was getting looks from my nearest and dearest like "You have to replace the roof and sink and fence of a 1950's house and you are surprized by that?"

Now they just look on with sympathy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Slightly freaking out

We got our first gas bill today. We moved on Dec 1st so this is two months worth of gas charges, but it was $1100. That doesn't include ele, w/s/g, or anything else. Just gas.

I am freaking out here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Garlic sauce

Remember when I first made this with the tomatoes from my garden? I used the garlic from the farm, the tomatoes from my garden, and then roasted them together with olive oil, a drizzle of balsalmic, and a bit of salt and blended them. That was it. I put it in bags and dropped it in the freezer hoping it would freeze well, not even measuring becuase I wasn't so sure about it.

Well I just have to revisit that amazing little blip from August.

We have used it for everything. I added fresh tomatoes to it to make a roasted tomato soup, I have used it as pizza sauce, used it as sauce in lazagna, used it on pasta with veggies, put hamburger in it for a more traditional spaghetti sauce. Every single time it has been incredible! Last night was the pizza night and I added some basil, tomatoes, and olives and everyone ate it. Including my two Mr Pickies, Don and Logan.

See when I posted that recipe, I was willing to buy all of my tomato sauce through out the year. I know that sounds crazy coming from me... but I was. I HATE the smell of boiling tomatoes. Can't stand it... makes me ill. When my mom would make spaghetti sauce each fall I would gag every time I walked into the house and hide in my room. It was terrible. That acid smell, running through the house... I really didn't like it. So as I grew up that was one of the things that I just decided I would buy. I would buy it and save myself the trouble of worrying about canning tomato sauce.

This has saved me from that fate. A bit dramatic I know, but I have used it in SO many applications and it has passed with everyone in the family each and every time. I have 6 more bags of it in the freezer. And a bit more experimentation to do with it before I am done. But I see this as up there next to my strawberry applesauce and peaches. I am thinking 25 quarts. ;)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hello February!

I am crazy about February! Not just because my birthday is in a week, but because the days get noticably longer each day. They start feeling 'right' again. When I wake up at a decent time, I am getting up with the sun...

And sometimes, (just sometimes) in February, the sun is OUT when I wake.

Like today.