Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Five years of sweetness!

I remember watching Bush's 2004 State of the Union before hitting transition while laboring for my sweet boy's birth. On his fifth birthday he hasn't shown any interest in the events going on in our nation's capital. Here's hoping his ninth birthday will mark another peaceful transfer of power!



I'll be inserting the actual cup sleeve into my album. The quote is from Lincoln's Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right s God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

May God bless President Barack Obama as he begins his work, and may God bless our nation.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dentist office victory


Six kids.
Five appointments.
Four exams.
Three year old's first visit, meltdown-free.
Two hundred dollar credit.
One happy mama.
Zero cavities.

The longer version: It went amazingly smoothly. We go to a large office, so they did three of the kids at a time. We were in and out in exactly an hour--including sitting down with the office manager to chat about insurance/payment/future plans.

L didn't cooperate with getting in the chair, so he didn't get his teeth cleaned. He did let the dentist look at his teeth, though, and they all looked good.

The four oldest all got their teeth cleaned and checked. Not a single cavity!

My dd needs to have work done on her teeth. She's got one tooth toward the front coming in really badly, and the rest of the front of her mouth doesn't have enough room. I'll be talking it over with dh. Thankfully we have dental insurance that will cover some of the cost, so this will be doable. Oh, and the office inadvertently overcharged us last year, so we have over a $200 credit with their office.

All in all, a very good dentist's visit!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Today H wore shoes for the very first time. He is our fifth boy to wear these little hiking boots.

No, I'm not at all sentimental.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sanity break


I need to take the picture for today. I'll post it when I get it taken. I'm planning on a night-time picture of my favorite Chinese restaurant's neon sign.

Tonight I got out on a sanity break. When dh is out of town for a week at a time, it's vital for me to get out over the weekend and have a time where no one talks to me, other than offering to bring me more diet Coke. My favorite Chinese restaurant is my usual choice, where I can have a plate made to order at the Mongolian grill and sit for hours, reading a book and reveling in a few hours without responsibilities.

Being the mom of six young children is the joy of my life. I've chosen the life I lead, and I wouldn't trade it for all the money, fame, or success the world could offer. I treasure the time I spend bringing my little guys to the library, watching my twin guys design fantastic creations with nothing but plain paper and tape, and doing scrapbooking projects with my daughter. Planning cheap and healthy meals, doing the school run twice a day, and even the never-ending laundry is worth it.

But I do still need time alone. My dh has learned that everything goes better when I get a chance to recharge, and now makes certain that if all possible it happens. A couple hours once a week is usually enough, and I'm refreshed and ready to dive back into this crazy, wonderful life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Refi goes through!


I won't be posting today's picture publicly, because it's the actual documents from our mortgage refinance that closed today. Today's picture shows my dh's signature, by my signature, AAIF. AAIF stands for As Attorney In Fact. Because we knew dh would be spending all of this week in Nevada, and expected the refi to close by the end of the week, dh went by the title company last week and signed a limited Power of Attorney so I could sign on his behalf.

Today I signed his name roughly 5,283 times.

My hand hurts.

But we're happy. Because of this refi, we are now locked into a 30 year fixed mortgage at 1.25% lower than our previous (30 year fixed) mortgage. Thank you, God!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm so sad


I just learned that my favorite magazine, Simple Scrapbooks, will no longer be published after the May/June issue. The parent company, CK Media, is folding it back into Creating Keepsakes, another scrapbooking magazine. I'm just so sad. Simple Scrapbooks helped restore my joy in scrapbooking, and took away my guilt in not being "caught up."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



Sometimes I can't believe the beauty of this creation. Look at these peppers! They're so bright and colorful and appealing. It almost makes me not want to cook them and mute their crisp colors and flavors with onions and garlic and sausage. Almost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Evening Ritual


After finishing Bunnicula and getting everyone safely tucked away in their beds, it is simply lovely to sip tea and enjoy the peace and quiet. Or, you know, watch American Idol.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happiness on a Shelf


Very little in this world makes me happier than a bookshelf full of possibilities after going to the library.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pizza Party


Dh left this afternoon for a week of working in Nevada. The kids and I had a little pizza party for dinner and watched a fun kids' video from the library.

We've had dh home for over a month now, between the vacation days he took over Christmas and New Years and the three weeks he worked in his basement office. It feels a little odd to have him back on the road, since we've gotten used to having him around all the time. But this is the job, and we'll get back into the swing of things.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fashion Bug Rocks!


I don't have a picture for today. In my album, I'll be including the tags from the two pairs of jeans I bought at Fashion Bug tonight.

I left the house late this afternoon, in search of some new jeans. With only the one pair from Old Navy, my wardrobe has been a bit on the thin side and I've had to resort to out-of-season capris and bedraggled sweats far too often.

My first stop, Lane Bryant, was a complete waste of time. It's been quite a while since I've tried to shop there, and now I remember why. Their jeans were priced at $44.50! I just can't afford that--we're not made of money! I actually got really frustrated while looking around the store, at the exorbitant prices and the snotty sales staff.

Then I went to Fashion Bug. What a great contrast! They had a sale going on their jeans, $21.50 each. I got two pairs for less than one pair would have cost me at that other place, and I love how they fit and how they look. I will definitely be shopping at Fashion Bug again! The sales staff were pleasant and helpful, and I left the store feeling appreciated as a customer and very pleased with my purchases.

Friday, January 9, 2009

First images from 52Q

I really enjoyed starting this project. It took me about an hour and a half to get the first two (four) pages done. I'm not used to working on such a small space, but I'm quickly learning that I like it.


L and S, "working" on homeschool preschool. Dinosaurs, colors, and sorting on the agenda for the day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Because I didn't have enough projects going this year....


I'm excited about the 52Q project. A small canvas is much more approachable, less overwhelming to actually begin and continue. And journaling prompts? Seriously, it's like this project was designed for me.

I'm going to swing by an office supply store today to pick up shipping labels. Other than the labels and some binder rings to hold them together, I intent to create this project entirely from my stash--which shouldn't be difficult. I'll post the first as soon as it's completed.

This is the year I work on expressing myself, through journaling and creating.

Edited to add picture.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Today was the first day I tracked my points. I like Weight Watchers' program, but it is hard for me to get going. I've started writing down my food in my journal, though, and that's the first step towards making a real change.

This is the year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


This is the view over my kitchen sink, which includes two new bamboo plants from Ikea. During the long months of winter, having some green living things in my home gives me hope for the future.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Today I finished the beginning-of-the-month marathon shopping, with stops at Ikea, Sam's Club, Alberson's, Macey's, and Reams'. Twice.

Some great bargains:
*Macey's had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.29/lb. I got a 40 lb box, and packaged and froze (shared) meal-sized portions.
*Reams' had lean ground beef for $1.39/lb., as well as its usual assortment of beautiful produce.
*In my continual attempt to bring order to the chaos, I purchased 4 DVD storage boxes and some hanging organizers for the coat closet at Ikea. I could happily spend WAY too much money there, and only rarely go.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yesterday while setting up the church, my 8yodd helped watch the bass player's twin toddler sons, and today she was unexpectedly given a check for babysitting--the very first money she's ever earned! She's SO proud of herself!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Dh finished installing our new dishwasher, and we are all very happy to have a dishwasher that's not falling to pieces.

The little guy has a fever, so I won’t be able to go to church tomorrow morning.

Dh insisted on me going to a Saturday night service so I wouldn’t be missing two weeks in a row (he’s on sound again), and found a service for me to attend at The Rock Church.

What an experience! I’m too old and married to fit in there, and even when I was young and single I would never have been cool enough, but it was still good to worship with the Body. We took communion and sang praises to our God, and if my ears are still ringing a bit, it was worth it to see God working in a new way.

From the church bulletin: Too loud? Although we try to find the perfect balance in volume each week, there isn't one, and personal preferences in this area vary widely. If the music is too loud for you, please stop by the Storefront where we have ear plugs available free of charge.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Jambalaya and Yellow Rice

I've adapted this recipe from one Emeril Lagasse has posted on foodnetwork.com. The original is titled Smoked Turkey Legs and Sausage Jambalaya. My version is lighter, milder, and has the rice served separately, to allow my low-carb dh to enjoy it, too.


2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1.5 lb smoked sausage, cut into half-inch slices (I use low-fat turkey sausage)
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, green and white parts separate
(2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped-I omit)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
(1/2 tsp cayenne pepper--I omit)
(1/2 tsp hot sauce--I omit)
5 cups chicken stock/broth
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen the best)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large stockpot or dutch oven with a thick bottom, cook chicken in oil, about 5 minutes. When cooked through, remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add sausages and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, scallion white parts, (jalepeno pepper, if using), and garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the cooked chicken, tomato paste, chicken stock, tomatoes, and all seasonings except the parsley and the green scallions and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, the entire mixture can be placed in a crock pot on low at this point. Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir in chopped parsley leaves, and let stand for 10-15 minutes, covered. Serve over yellow rice. Sprinkle with green scallions, if desired.

Yellow Rice

3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
dash cinnamon
4 cups water
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 long grain brown rice
sliced green scallions

I cook this in a rice cooker, simply adding everything to the cooker except the scallions. To cook on the stove, heat the spices over low heat in a medium saucepan until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add the water, salt, and butter and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook, covered, without stirring until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add scallions, and serve.


Continued reading from Bunnicula, O's Christmas book.

Made this week’s shared meal today (Friday), because I had flu earlier this week. Jambalaya, so the house smells scrumptious. The yellow rice I made to accompany the jambalaya smells fragrant and delicious.

This morning I had to run out to Walmart because we were completely out of diapers. Completely. Absolutely crazy to let it get that low, when we have TWO (H and L) both in the #4 size.

Bought a new (to us) dishwasher off of ksl.com, and dh is going to install it tonight.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Stayed up late listening to Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress on audiobook. Dh played slapjack with the three bigs, and I continued adding and tagging pictures into my new Photoshop catalog.