Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Quiet House

There are many reasons why I love a quiet home.
1) The baby sleeps.
2) Go back to #1

Our faithful pup, 14 year old, Bo, has been hacking away during the night for months now. Several weeks ago, my husband and I seriously thought about putting him down, but we just didn't feel the time was right. Even though he wakes us up at all hours of the night with his coughing, we roll over and say, "Please, Lord, just a few more minutes of sleep". Then the baby cries.

One thing I notice never fails. The minute I get the baby asleep - Bo starts in with his cacophany of wheezing, hacking, and eventual throwing up sounds. This morning at 4:00 AM was no different. Put the baby in the crib, the downstairs musical begins, and I run to slam, I mean quietly shut the door in .05 seconds flat.

I bring the baby in from the car yesterday - asleep. I no sooner get the door open, Bo sees us, the overture begins for an afternoon concert. No matter how much stern whispering I do, Bo does not give in. Like any weathered grandpa, Bo's age is showing.

About a month ago, our neighbor got a puppy. An adorable chocolate lab with a winning personality. Bo found a playmate. This old, hanging on by a thread, dog of ours now leaps across the grass and pins the pup under cars like no other. He has been renewed. The hacking has lessened, a bit. I'm happy for Bo.

This morning, Austin fell asleep so sweetly in my arms while we watched Sesame Street in bed. I have to tell you, as an adult, I am really enjoying Sesame Street - so clever!! Anyway, the babe fell asleep, and I wasted no time in getting Bo in the backyard. The babe has been asleep for almost 2 hours. Unheard of. This baby NEVER sleeps for more than a total of 40 minutes everyday. I think I finally found the answer. Poor Bo. But how sweet is a quiet house?!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Welcome to My Cucina

Frustration. Can I share some pics with you? A peek inside my beloved kitchen. A place where I would spend hours watching the Food Network and cooking up a storm, whether we were hungry or not.

Let's start at the beginning. The sink area. A place where one needs lots of space to wash, chop and sort.

Moving on to the stove area. Where one needs lots of room to simmer, saute, and cook.

Onward to the fridge. Where one needs plenty of space to decide what to eat at midnight - I mean, unload necessary items for healthful snacks and nutritious meals.

Now, the micro (now standing in place for the oven) is one of my new Dacor appliances that I so lovingly picked out. It is a convection oven/microwave which will sit in a beautiful cabinet that was built today. I saw it in my husbands, I mean, my general contractor's shop. I no longer refer to the builder of this project as my husband due to the fact that I need to love him and sleep next to him every night. I found that if I refer to him as my general contractor (which is his profession by day) then I can nag him, I mean, ask him politely to "please get this kitchen done......................".! while I love my husband to bits.
Anyway, the micro is now sitting on a piece of plywood awaiting its new home.

Last, but certainly not least, is my pantry. I've always wanted a unit that would allow me to see everything at once.

I'm having a big family party next week. My general contractor promised, in front of my mom, that the cabinets would be finished by Saturday, April 5th, the day before the party. I am now going to take pictures of this sad, sad, soap opera. Did I mention we ripped out my kitchen last October??

Anyone out there with a few horror stories about your remodels? I'd love to hear about them and not feel so lonely! After the party, I'll take pictures of our "not yet done" side yard, brown coated exterior on our house, and master bath that is "almost done" if 2 years means "almost".

I'm not complaining, really. As my husband, I mean, general contractor says, "If I'm not out there working on other people's houses, how will I have the money to pay for ours?" Silly me.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Like everything on this blog, it has happened by accident, stumbled into, or just flat out copied. Well - now there's twitter. I have no idea really what this is, but if someone else is doing it - then I can too.

I hope there are no cliffs around.

Anyway, check it out. It may be the new wave of the future - and you know how much I love riding the waves... check it

OK - it's been so long since I actually linked anything, I'm kinda starting over again. I'll work on it and get back to you......

Dinner Tonight

I love being first for anything. Except perhaps bungy jumping, getting a tooth pulled or skiing off the edge of climax at Mammoth Mountain. Anything else goes! That is why I decided to post what I had for dinner tonight, so I could be first on the Saturday Stirrings post at



4 pork chops
1 T olive oil
1 cup orange marmalade
2 T soy sauce
1/2 c beef broth (you can use chicken)\
4 scallions chopped

1 cup orzo
1 quart water

In a skillet, heat oil. Salt/Pepper pork chops and cook on both sides until golden (about 2 min). In a small bowl combine the rest of ingredients and pour over pork chops. Heat through for 5 minutes.

Bring water to boil in sauce pan. Add salt and orzo. Stir and let it cook in gently boiling water for 8 - 10 minutes. Drain.

Serve orzo on plate, topped with pork chop. Ladle sauce over both and top with scallions!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have been teaching a few of my students about multiple meanings lately. You know, like the word "bank". It could be a place you go to withdraw (or deposit, but mostly withdraw) money. An airplane could bank to the left or right while flying. I have sat on the bank of a river and admired God's handiwork.

Multiple Meanings.

Cheating. I wrote that for the title and realized that it is another one of those words. It could be a horrific ordeal in a marriage. One of my students was caught "helping" another student otherwise known as cheating. But I realize that I have kind of been cheating with this blog thing. I have been pasting emails and other people's interesting quizlike gizmos on to my blog in an effort to keep the blog rolling along without actually having to write anything.

Why would I do this?? you might ask. I find that I am a person that likes instant gratification. Unlike some, I need a pretty quick response to something to keep me going. When I first set out to blog, I got feedback.

I was amazed. Completely. But elated.

Then I went to view some blogs and I ran across a very sweet one. This gal has been blogging for many months, I think even a year, and she has 0 comments on most of her entries. I was amazed that someone would continually blog about her life, and no one was really out there listening (reading) about it. But I was. And I didn't always comment.

Well, after about 2 weeks, I started getting 0 comments on my blog. And with no feedback, I decided to call it quits on the writing part. I still have gone to the blogs I love to read and check out the latest happenings everyday. I read in one of them that "blogging is like talking to old friends over the back fence". How true.

I am going to recommit to blogging for awhile. I checked my counter and it is actually going up. I'm not sure if this is from others checking out my blog, or from myself checking out how many people are checking out my blog.

Could you do me a favor? If you read this, comment. It would give me great inspiration to know that someone out there is actually reading this. I'm not a big journal kind of gal, and writing is my least favorite subject to teach, but I am now committed. Even if it is just Cheryl!

P.S. My menu will be up and running again on Saturday. Tonight I made a frittata with left over ham, zucchini and scallions topped with mozzerella cheese. Roasted asparagus was our side dish! Delish!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Something worth thinking about.......


I was privileged to take a photo of "Five Generations of Women" shortly before my 93 year-old Grandmother passed away last year. The photo, shown below, features the hands of my Grandmother, Mom, Sister, Niece and Great-Niece. While I can't take credit for the idea, I was so happy to have had the suggestion & capture this moment. It inspired a friend of mine to do something similar which turned out so beautiful and a special keepsake prior to her father's passing.

Grandma's Hands

GRANDMA'S HANDS A must read thru to the end please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench.
She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the
longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her
at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and
looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she
said in a clear voice strong.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here
staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I
explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I mean really
looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them
over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at
my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have
served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled
shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to
reach out and grab and embrace life.

"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my
mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled
on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off
to war.

"They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were
uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated
with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I
buried my parents and spouse.

"They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and
shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the
rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried
and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works
real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to
fold in prayer.

"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out
and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to
His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God
reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my
children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and
caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my

When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to
you, and watch God's answer to prayer work in your life. Let's continue
praying for one another.

Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both.

Passing this on to one not yet considered a friend is something
Christ would do.

-- Author Unknown

Monday, March 17, 2008

Nine Words Women Use

I received this email, and I thought it was very funny!

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says "Thanks a lot" - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say "you're welcome" ... that will bring on a "whatever").

(8) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying ____ YOU!

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Well, I feel like I'm finally catching up. Tomorrow night is Bingo, and I've dubbed it a St. Patrick's Day theme. I'll be serving corned beef and cabbage with some green concoction for "cocktail" time (which reminds me I still have to check out Sandra Lee's recipes on out.....)

Let's rehash the day........
Started out pretty well. Except that I'm not sleeping at night. I got a migraine yesterday, during my ovulation, which means I'm NOT pregnant (thank you, Jesus), and I was awake throughout the night either dreaming, worrying about the funky way Austin was breathing (I think he was dreaming), or dodging my husband's wandering hands. I was just toooo tired. So when I woke up, I once again, thanked Jesus, that my sweet husband had my coffee in hand as I opened my one eye. Of course, Austin was promptly placed on the pillow next to mine for morning snuggling which woke me up in a beautiful sort of way.

School had it's usual fun and interesting moments. Let's not rehash the behavior problems that occurred, and the fact that I actually had to drive my car to pick up a parent to sit in my classroom so he could babysit his son while I could teach part...... ok.

Back at home, Austin took his daily swim in the jacuzzi after I dropped Ashley off at Hollisters (her place of employment for the moment). It was a lazy afternoon, and I was able to catch up on a few blogs.

I'm excited to report that the general contractor in charge of my kitchen is halfway through building the cabinets. He has promised me (in front of my mom) that he would try and have the kitchen done by April 6th when our huge family party will be happening in my home. We decided to celebrate all the Feb., Mar., and April birthdays in our family on one day - that wipes out 10 people in one fell swoop! Yipee!!

Oh - did I mention that we bought a house in Palm Springs last weekend. After the conference, Todd, Ashley and a friend, Austin and I played and had a great time on Saturday and Sunday. We ended up looking at a great house - 3 bedroom, 2 bath, family room, air conditioning, new appliances in kitchen, pool, jacuzzi, front courtyard with fountain, and new carpeting in the bedrooms - and decided to buy it. This makes our second home and we own 2 duplexes. We are very excited about this. Our goal is to someday sell it all - or maybe keep renting it - and buy land somewhere between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo and build a bed and breakfast. This will have a "Yankee Workshop" kind of place for Todd to do his woodwork, with a garden and amazing kitchen for me. Wrap around porch is a must as well. We would like to have the elementary school kids come over and tend the garden, learn to cook, and learn about woodworking in the shop.

I sure hope this dream comes true.

Bed and Breakfast sounds so sweet, but we'll have to wait and see if I really have people in my home that I have to daily tend to. Being old with a 7 monther has reminded me how much I loved lying on the couch eating Baked Lays reading Martha Stewarts Living magazine in my previous life 8 months ago.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Did I Get So Busy?????

Just a week ago, I would come down to the office once Austin was put to bed (about 6 PM) and blog for hours. Whether it was writing a blog, reading one of my favorite bloggers, or going out into unknown territory to meet new and amazing women.

But now, I am scrambling just to get this out there.

I actually have a tinge of guilt if I don't have something new to say. Perhaps that's because I am a wee bit disappointed when I go to one of my favorite blog sites and there isn't a new post!

Soooo, because of this new found guilt, I have chosen to write to anyone out there that

1) I miss our time together
2) I need to get in the shower
3) AI is on in 8 minutes
4) I put Austin to bed with his clothes on because he fell asleep in the car on the way home, and I won't be able to sleep well if he isn't all cozy in his clean jammiesand
5) I promise to blog tomorrow.

Until then,

Oh, I do have to say that even though Kristi Lee Cook is adorable and can sing, I think she should be the one to go tonight....

Ok - I now only have 6 minutes.........

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Yummy Asparagus Risotto

I just got back from Palm Springs, and what a great time we all had. The conference was amazing..... wait a minute..... this is suppose to be just a site for Saturday Stirrings to get the Yummy Asparagus Risotto recipe. Check out my blogsite for the update at .

YUMMY ASPARAGUS RISOTTO (I'm going off memory, but the amounts should be fine)

1 bunch asparagus
1 T olive oil
2 shallots - finely chopped
1/2 c white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 c arborio rice

Trim the asparagus (break stem of asparagus towards the bottom where it will naturally snap) and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and put in ice bath (bowl of water with lots of ice cubes) to preserve color and stop cooking.

Heat chicken stock in pot and bring to simmer - keep hot for duration of risotto cooking.

In a small stock pot, heat oil and saute shallots until translucent. Add rice and stir. Add wine and let the rice absorb almost all the wine. Then begin to ladle in chicken stock one ladle at a time. Stir rice each time you add chicken stock until the chicken stock is mostly absorbed (there is quite a bit of stirring involved). Continue to add chicken stock one ladle at a time until rice is done (25 - 30 min). There may be chicken stock left over - and that's ok!

** You can follow the arborio rice recipe on the package for simple risotto - just do the the shallots, rice and wine first.

Cut the asparagus into bite size pieces and add to the risotto. Serve and enjoy.

I'll post my menu tomorrow. I haven't had a chance yet, with just getting back from P.S. and all.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Few Tips for An Uncluttered Life

I figured if I boast that I live an uncluttered life, I probably should share a tip or two.

1) Get rid of clutter. My brain does not seem to work if there is a lot of "stuff" lying around. I could be writing the most important document, watching the most amazing show, or listening to the most hilarious story my children are telling - but.... my mind will wander over the to counter where paper litters the island or where toys need to be picked up. It is probably not normal.

However, it is necessary.

I hear people complain all the time about the state of their homes. How they are such a mess and they can never get "caught up". Some people don't care. Hats off to them - they don't sweat the small stuff. But I think that an organized home reflects not only the state of our home, but also the state of the person behind the home (Have I stepped on anyone's toes yet?)

Some easy ways to "Get Rid of the Clutter".....

a. When the mail comes, don't just set it down. Sort through the throw away and junk mail and deposit it promptly in the recycle bin. I do this sometimes when I am still outside and I can easily throw it away in the Big Purple Recycle Bin. Bills can be put in your in basket (everyone has one of those in their office area, right?!) or in any TRAY that is marked for important priority viewing.
Letters, cards, and other informal matter can be read (envelope discarded in trash) and posted on the fridge, put in that special box, or also discarded after read. I will read thank you notes and then toss them. I don't need a constant reminder that someone is thanking me. Once read is enough for me. The message has penetrated my heart where it will live forever.

b. Make sure all dishes are done at the end of the day. Start the dishwasher for cheaper rates during the night and unload in the morning (or give the job to one of the kiddos). I tend to hand wash all my pot and pans, etc.. after dinner and let them air dry overnight. In the morning, during the percolating of the coffee, I put these items away so the kitchen sink is clean.

c. Make one fell swoop of picking up items in the late afternoon, early evening, for an uncluttered house before bed. It's nice to wake up to a clean house. I start in one room and begin picking up items to be put in other rooms. Because my house is a tri-level, I will store things on the staircase so I don't make many trips up and down. This is not the time to dust or vacuum. Merely picking up stray items will make a huge difference in the appearance of the home.

d. Lastly, find a spot in your home to call your own. It could be the living room chair where the sunlight comes in and brightens the room. Maybe it's your bedroom where privacy abounds and you can reflect and think about whatever crosses your mind. Perhaps it's outside in your backyard where the fresh air, flowers and trees are calming to your spirit. Where ever this place is, take time to thank God for all the provisions He's given. Everything you have picked up, washed, or put away was given by our Great Provider. Thank Him not only for the stuff that clutters our home, but for the 4 walls that surround it.

I hope your home is a dwelling place that you and your family enjoy together!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Totally Confused

I am in a tech class right now trying to learn all about google. To say that I am lost, would be very kind. Why do you think I am blogging, rather than following along with this super techno savy brainiac. I have figured out how to make a calendar, though. You can't have an uncluttered life without a calendar. Did I mention that I am also a list maker? Can I get an Amen out there! Here's to all the list makers in the world. I wish nothing but things crossed off your list today and everyday. Alright, I'm just rambling because I am avoiding the cybersphere. I really do have to get back to this class. Did I mention that I was in Palm Springs? If I get anymore overwhelmed, I'll have to call in for a sick day and rest by the pool!
Happy googling,

Sunday, March 2, 2008


If you go to this website, 5 Minutes for Mom, and comment, you could win this cute bag! click here for pic.

Sorry - I don't know how to get a pic from one site and copy it to mine. Just click on the above link and take a look! Really, really cute!

Good luck!

What Are You Into This Month?

Found this link at Adventures in Babywearing and thought it sounded fun and interesting.
(I can't use the word "interesting" too often around here because Ashley has a tendency to think I think she's up to something!)

What are you into this month?
Pretty much blogging, American Idol, Golden Spoon, Austin's outings, and finding new ways to teach my low group in Reading.

TV Show I'm loving
AI, CBS morning news with my coffee in bed

Music I'm loving
I am not a big music person. I can sing along, but I never know who is singing what song.

My Favorite Blog Entry this month
Fiddledeedee is great for a laugh every time. I love the one when a six year old is trying to sell her girl scout cookies.

Blog I am always visiting
2nd Cup of Coffee is a great site! Go there for an American Idol blow by blow if you ever miss an episode.

What are you into?

Which is Worse?? Being Cheap or Living in Denial?

I still don't know if I'm pregnant.

I am too cheap to buy the pregnancy kit. Do you know how much they cost now adays? I could get 15 minis at Golden Spoon for 1 kit.

I also like the idea of being in denial and living my life as though I don't have a care in the world. That is except for a husband with his own business that needs constant prayer for new customers, a kitchen that is torn up (my husband is the general contractor and will get to it when he can - ok), that all my gourmet meals are made on a campstove hooked up to a propane can, I have a daughter living in Virginia trying to make her way in the world (or at least Virginia Beach), I have a daughter who will graduate from high school in June if Senioritis doesn't send her into another zip code in which she will never show back up at school, and a 7 month old who is teething (He hasn't even cried, but I felt he'd be left out if I didn't say something about him).

So, I have chosen to wait until next month to see how it goes. I am 44 years old and can make decisions like that now. H#2 doesn't believe I am - so no problemo there. The girls have no idea - of course no matter how much I ask them to read my blog - they laugh and say "Yeah, right, Mom." so they don't know, and I tell Austin all the time - but he's pretty good at keeping secrets.

Until then, I will have my fill of Golden Spoon. Right now I'm hooked on Just Chocolate and St. Patricks Day Mint!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thought I'd Throw in Some Pics

This is Ashley and Austin at the Duck Pond. We go to the park weekly and check out the scenery. It's a great time, but you definitely have to keep an extra eye out for flying poop.

On the right is (starting on the left) Kayla, Ashley, me, Todd (H#2) and Kalie. This was taken in Alaska at 10:30 P.M. Quite a sunset!

I'll post more, but H#2 needs some dinner right now.

This Week's Menu!

This is a short week for me! Ya hoo!! I'm off to Palm Springs on Thursday and won't be back to cook until Monday. So, it's all about leftovers this week! H#2 and Austin won't be in P.S. until Friday, so I planned enough for them until we reunite!

Happy Cooking! Go to Saturday Stirrings at It Coulda Been Worse to see more ideas for recipes!

P.S. I started my recipe box on Great way to store recipes without all the clutter!
An Uncluttered Life!

BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Cole Slaw
Rocky Road Bites

Classic Meat Loaf (Sandra Lee's book S.L. Semi-Homemade Cooking 3 pg 20)
Smashed Potatoes (Rachel Ray)
Garlicky Green Beans

Meat Loaf sandwiches
Oven fries (Ore Ida : coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 T rosemary, sprinkle with garlic powder, toss and bake)
Yogurt Parfaits : layer vanilla yogurt with granola and fresh fruit

Bollito Mistro
Spicy Baked Macaroni (see Bollito Mistro page and find link below it!)