Monday, December 29, 2008


We hit the proverbial wall. I got the bench primed, but then we needed to putty all the holes that got missed the first and second go round. It needs a little more sanding and probably a little putty here and there. I'm waiting on the cubbies that are supposed to go up top, but Michael informs me that he's not "mentally prepared" to build those at this juncture. I'm ok with that, I'm not mentally prepared to paint the entire room at this juncture. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mud Room Makeover

End of Day 1...getting closer to finishing.
One more trip to Lowes to get moulding, putty, and paint to make it what it ain't.
*Disclaimer* This is not our mudroom, just what we would like it to end up like...mostly.

My father in law got roped into helping Michael redo our mud room. The last time they were here on a visit he helped Michael build some fabulous shelves for the basement. I'm afraid that he might not want to come again depending on what project we have in mind.

The laundry/mud room has been a work in progress. As soon as we moved in, we knew that we needed to make it more functional. There is a lot that goes on in such a small space. Hopefully we can make it look pretty too.

So far there has been one trip to Lowe's, slight demolition, and some cutting of boards. I'm awfully glad that I was able to get five loads of laundry done yesterday. I'm sure that trying to get laundry done with construction would be crazy.

Before Picture
In Progress
Coming Soon: Finished Project

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Christmas Hit

And not the good kind of hit.

We went out for breakfast this morning and when we were coming back to the car we noticed a couple talking to a police officer. Then I looked to where we parked and thought; "That's not our van. We don't have a broken fender." Opps. It was our car.

Thankfully the couple talking to the police saw the entire thing and called the police on our behalf. They were able to get the license plate of the car that hit us.


Chrsitmas Hits and Misses

Certain toys are always a favorite with Jack. I wonder how many more years he will be thrilled to get Legos. He got a mini helicopter that he was slightly interested in after he had put together the Lego set. He didn't realize it actually flies. Michael couldn't wait to play with some of Jack's toys...Jack was VERY good about sharing.
Emma was a tough one to shop for this year. She wanted everything...and yet nothing "big". I asked if she got everything she wanted, she replied; " I need to find my Christmas list to check off what I got." She did mention that she did not get the video camera that she had asked for. I'm thinking that will be a missed present for years to come.
Lily got to ride her new bike inside. At first she could barely make the pedals turn, but then she started making laps around the house. When she started to get confident enough to leave skid marks on the floor, we decided that it was time to put it outside.
For Christmas dinner we had planned on making homemade meatballs and having sausages with spaghetti. Michael and his parents went out to get the meat from a butcher shop up the street. The first shop didn't have Italian sausage so they had to find another shop.

Well, they found a carnercia that had Italian sausage. When Michael ordered the meat he asked for 16 sausages. Well, the guy came back with 16 pounds of sausage. Michael had the good sense to cut the order in half, but we still have ALOT of sauage!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Whew. May everyone have a calm and relaxing day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Live Nativity

We didn't quite have enough kids to round out the full nativity, but they acted with gusto. Emma was pleased as punch the she was able to be Mary. Lily was somewhat disappointed with the "Wiseman" roll, but she at least put on most of the costume. There was a fleece turban that went with her outfit...I couldn't convince her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Better Not Cry...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shopping at the Mall

I don't shop the mall, but I will shop Costco. I convinced Michael to head to Costco today. We don't shop there nearly as often as we did in Simi Valley. Somehow the 25 minute drive is enough to deter me from going until I have a reasonable list of things to get. Reasonable like soap, cat food, toilet paper, you know...boring stuff. I actually didn't have a long list of things to get, but I thought that a few Christmas presents might be found there.

Walking around Costco was a little like "being home for the holidays". You can go into almost any Costco and it's the same from here to Seattle or San Jose. My heart leap a little when I saw the pallets of books laid out for the perusing. The kids enjoyed the food samples and declared they were starving at the end of our shopping. Where else can you get a "foot long" hot dog with a drink for a buck fifty?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Spirit

We got invited to spend Christmas Eve with some friends. They have four kids and they needed more to round out the Nativity. As it turns out, they have costumes all ready sewn (recycled from another family member), so I don't need to scrounge up last minute robes for kiddos.

For some reason...on the way to church I told the kids what we are going to do. IMMEDIATELY, Emma volunteers to be Mary. Which means that Lily wants to be Mary. I inform Emma that there are three other girls and she might not get to be Mary. Doesn't the Wiseman sound nice?

Emma and Lily nearly came to blows during church as they "discussed" who was to be Mary. Lily does NOT want to be baby Jesus. She is NOT a baby!! Thankfully Jack is being very diplomatic and wants to be the cow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Soup For You

Baked Potato Soup
I made this "mostly following" the recipe. Once you add the cheese and sour cream you shouldn't boil the soup, but the crockpot I used was so excited that I think that the soup got boiled and slightly separated. Still good.


  • 6-8 baking potatoes
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (divided, some for garnish)
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (to garnish)


  1. Bake potatoes 1 hour in a 400 degree F (200 degree C) oven. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and set aside. Reserve the skins for another recipe or discard.
  2. Cook bacon and reserve a couple teaspoons of grease to saute onion. Saute onions until translucent then add garlic. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the milk while stirring until all the milk has been added. Bring heat to medium and keep stirring until the soup mixture starts to get thick.
  4. Add the potatoes, onions/garlic, salt, ground black pepper, bacon and cheese. Stir well and continue to heat for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend. Stirring well, mix in the sour cream until well blended with the soup. Serve immediately.

Almost 6 Can Tortilla Soup

I omitted the canned chicken and used 3-4 cubed chicken breasts that I sauteed with a little garlic and various spices(meaning I can't remember what I used). This was really good with cheddar cheese, avocado, green onions, sour cream, and salsa to top.

I also made a Turkey White Bean Chili which is another easy one if you have all the ingredients. I think this is in the family cookbook as well.

Turkey White Bean Chili


  • 2-3 cups cooked and chopped turkey (use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
garnish- chopped cilantro, grated jack cheese


  1. In a Dutch oven or kettle, cook the onions over medium heat until translucent then add garlic. Add oregano, cayenne pepper, and cumin; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in broth, green chilies, beans and turkey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20- 25 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and cheese.

Friday, December 19, 2008

No Soup For You

My week is a little off with the kids having their last day of school on a Thursday. I kinda thought yesterday was Friday all day. I knew it wasn't because I had invited a few neighbors over for a Friday night Christmas get together. They didn't show up yesterday.

The good thing about having people over is how "clean" my house gets. It's mostly clean most of the time. (insert Princess Bride "mostly dead" reference) My house was looking pretty good by the time neighbors showed up thanks to child labor.

My part of the evening was the soups. Everyone else volunteered the rest of dinner, I figured that it would be easier to focus on just one part of the meal. I nearly caved and started making more food, but I restrained. Boy am I glad I didn't make more, I think we had enough food for an army. I was going to make two soups, but threw in a third at the last minute. Ironically that was the one I had never made before, took the most time, but was the crowd favorite. But then again, who doesn't like a good baked potato soup? (I don't think I'll ever be able to make it the same again, I was adding things left and right)

I had some forethought earlier in the week and had bought some crafty things for the kids to play with. The favorite things was the Crayola Air-Dry Clay. I had bought red and white thinking that the kids could roll out candy cane ornaments. The kids had other ideas.
Emma wants to give this to Santa. I'm trying really hard to buy it off her. I don't want this to have to "disappear" because Santa took it. I'm sure that Santa needs the candy cane reindeer, right?!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last day

Yup, it's the last day of school and then the kids are out for TWO WHOLE weeks. I'm not ready for this. I've been trying to get as much done before I have all three kids bouncing off the walls. I think that I'm done Christmas shopping. We'll see what I have forgotten.

I did manage to get the house a little more organized. I put up a ribbon for cards. (I think that I need more, where's all the cards?!) Then I started painting again, so everything went out the window.

To start painting, I borrowed a ladder from a neighbor and was able to reach the second story ceiling in the entry way. I'm not too shaky on the ladder, but it is a looooong way down. I think at the rate that I'm painting, I'll have the entire house painted by Spring Break. I might have to buy more paint before then, I've actually made quite a dent in the 5 gallon container.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I know I shouldn't feel stressed out when I'm Christmas shopping, but I do. I let December mosey by, but then I looked at the date and realized that I REALLY needed to get busy and make sure packages got in the mail. Nothing like opening Christmas presents on New Year's Day.

The good news is that I got all of the presents purchased. Then I needed to wrap, package, and get it to the post office. As we all know, it's a crap shoot whether or not the post office has a Disneyland like line.

Thankfully the post office was not too busy and the packages will arrive on time. As for the Christmas cards...well, there's no guarantee this year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bad Fish

For Jack's birthday he got to choose the restaurant to go to. He choose a sushi place because he likes the shrimp dumplings. Michael and I split a sushi plate and liked most of it.

Well, it's now two days later and we think that we might have had some bad sushi. Michael and I are both sick, thank goodness the kids are fine.

Trying to parent is not very effective when both parents are out of commission. The kids spent the day playing video games and watching movies. You know it bad when you're trying to convince the kids to watch one more movie.

We felt much better Monday morning.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Each year the Boy/Cub Scouts have a discount day to ski or board which makes it affordable to go. We went to Copper Mountain to go snowboarding as a family. That meant that Michael was on snowboard lesson duty and I hung out with Lily. I'm so glad that Michael had the patience to help Jack and Emma, I'm not sure that I remember any of the important details that are pertinent to snowboarding.
Emma's first time down the hill.
Jack trying to remember the basics.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Jack!

Nine years ago....wait was it really nine years ago?! Where has the time gone? I think that we didn't have a digital camera for Jack's first birthday, so enjoy a picture of him at age two.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Political Junkie

Along with my find of a shelf, I found a bust of Reagan. Who could pass up a political figure like that? Mostly I want to get a jar of jellybeans to put next to him and watch the smiles unfold. This is for you Keira.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Level Headed

I totally scored a cheap shelf and figured that I better go home and get it on the wall before I had a chance to let it sit around. I had the screws in the wall before I thought about finding a level. Too late now, I was determined to finish the job.

Success! I got the shelf on the wall. I then went to find the level. I knew it was close, but it was getting late and the shadows in the room were playing trick on my eyes.
I think there is something innate about knowing when something is level. Kinda like homing pigeons and their sense of direction. Yes, you can compare me to a pigeon, but only in the nicest sense of the bird.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Resuce Hero

Jack stayed home sick from school today. I needed to run a few errands and he agreed to ride along as long as he didn't have to go inside. No problem, I was willing to let him sit in the van and watch a movie. Well, several stops later the van wouldn't start. It was then and there that I was thankful for a cell phone. One phone call later, Michael rides to the rescue and "jumps" my car.

The good news; Lily made it to the bathroom. She said she had to go REALLY bad just as Michael finds us. We now have another set of jumper cables. I think the last set got sold with our last car. I went to the dealership to find out if I needed a new battery and they told me mine was still good. All in all, it went better than expected thanks to my rescue hero.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scary Santa

We had a dinner at church and there was a "special" visitor. Yup, Santa came to visit the kids and ask them what they wanted for Christmas. Jack worked on his level of enthusiasm for the sake of his younger sisters. Emma wanted to ask Santa for a video camera to catch him in the act. Lily was somewhat disappointed. She kept saying; "Santa is not white."

What?! Apparently the outfit that Santa was wearing did not match the same outfit she had seen him wearing in a book or movie. When it came time for our turn to sit on his lap, Lily FREAKED out. She would have nothing to do with the scary guy. Lily was able to abscond with a candy cane and a coloring book.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snow Fort Dreams

"Mom, my hands are FREEZING!"
"What goes up must go down."
Although Emma complained of frozen hands, she did not want to come inside. We spent 15 minutes getting dressed and Lily stayed outside for about that long. Jack and Emma stayed out for a bit longer. They wanted to build a snow fort, but I think that we need several feel of snow to pull that off. I'm not sure that I could mentally handle that much snow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Snow Day

No, the kids are not home from school. Yes, it's the first "snowstorm" of the season. This is where we find out how many gloves have been lost and what still fits from last year.

The good news is that we have most everything to survive cold weather. We could use a dozen more pairs of gloves, but that's to be expected.

The slightly sentimental item that I need to replace are Jack's boots. I bought them cough*a little big*cough. He's worn them for three seasons and loves them. Hopefully Emma will enjoy wearing them.

Luckily, yesterday I was able to get a quick grocery trip done. Like Otter Pops are to Summer, Hot Chocolate is to Winter. I have a full canister waiting for the kids after school.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Year

Just one short year ago I was pressured into starting this blog. Look where it got me!!

Actually I'm pretty happy that I went ahead and jumped in with both feet. It's been a great way to keep up with family and friends. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The tree was looking a little empty, on the advice of sisters, I added the ribbon and paper chain. A little child labor goes a long way.

I was unprepared and didn't cut enough paper strips before the project was called due to bedtime constraints. Thank goodness for a good paper cutter and staples, I shudder to think of doing this project with scissors and glue.

The string we made barely makes it around the bottom of the tree. How much would it take to do the rest of the tree? I think I'll have Emma busy for another couple days.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Swap

I've been looking forward to swapping out all the fall decoration for the Christmas stuff. With the painting project, I had to line everything against the wall for it's protection. En mass, it looks like a lot, but I've determined that what I think I have and what I actually have is a very different.

Fall lasts around three months and Christmas get one month.
It used to be shorter, the life of a "real" Christmas tree in California is about three days, if you're lucky. We'd usually get a tree after Jack's birthday and cross our fingers that it would last until Christmas. Now that we have a fake tree, I'm putting it up as soon as Thanksgiving is done.

Off to put a tree together...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

It's not Black Friday at our house. I went and got some paint at Lowes and painted the living room a Churchill Hotel Wheat.

Today was a case of "If you give Suzanne a Christmas Tree", she'll end up moving the furniture, if she moves the furniture, she'll want to paint the room. If she goes to get paint, she'll forget to get a paintbrush, and then she'll have to do all the prep work before she cuts in. Once she finished the bulk of the room, she couldn't very well leave it 90% done. Went to Lowes to get a paintbrush, then I had no excuse to not finish the room. Then I couldn't stop with the living room, I had to start the hallway.

I didn't get the Christmas tree up like I planned, but I did get the living room painted.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Things I am thankful for;

-Family, near and far
-Health (When you haven't got your health, what else have you got?)
-Leaves to rake, grass to mow, driveway to shovel (Even if I grumble, I am thankful to have a house to care for)
-Our Country, the freedoms we have

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's Begining to Feel A Lot Like Thanksgiving

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I have started the long process of Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey sat in a cold bath for a few hours today in hopes that it's completely defrosted for tomorrow. I started the sweet potatoes and just need to heat them up. Rolls are being mixed as I type. I decided to do them today, mostly to have them done and not wimp out making them.

Admittedly, I am making a "lean" dinner. I am going to forgo the mashed potatoes (probably the gravy as well) since the kids are barely interested in them. I wouldn't mind cutting out the stuffing, but Michael requested that. I asked the kids if they wanted green beans, I got an emphatic NO. Jack will be helping me make broccoli instead.

As for dessert, the traditional pumpkin pie was made today. I called Debbie for pumpkin pie assistance, but she was the wrong sister to call for pie questions. The directions called for the pie to be in the oven for just over an hour, mine was in for an hour and twenty-five minutes. It looked jiggly when I took it out, but it managed to firm up nicely. As for the taste? Well, nothing a lot of whipped cream can't cover, right?
I was going to make an caramel apple pie, but I'm afraid that I don't have it in me. I went to the grocery store this morning and forgot to buy the caramels. Being resourceful, I decided to make
dulce de leche but that takes a long time and I might make a back up dessert. I'm not sure that I want to make a whole pie, perhaps apple crisp with the dulce de leche drizzled on top. We'll see how tomorrow goes. I might just cut up apples and dip them in the sauce.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brag List

It's a little early in the day to be done, but I feel like I've conquered the world and I should stop while I'm ahead.

My laundry list of things I've done;

Went to Lowes
Put up outside Christmas Lights
Raked leaves (four bags full)
Pulled weeds
Cleaned out the basement window wells

I'm fighting a cold and I decided to muscle my way through. I just keep repeating "I'm not sick"...hopefully it will be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

No School Today

I woke up @ 4:30 AM and thought; "Ugg, it's Monday. I have to take the kids to school."
Well, it was definitely Monday, but the kids have the entire week off. On one hand I am happy to not be running around, on the other...well, the kids have the ENTIRE week off.

In a spirit of cooperation and desperation, I'm enlisting my kids to "deep" clean the house. We made a list of things that need to get done and they get to earn money for doing these extra chores. I am selling them on the idea that they get to earn this money for Christmas. I must have done a good job selling the idea, they were actually excited to do a few of the chores. So far, Jack is in the lead with $.75 followed up by fifty cents for each girl.

Tomorrow we'll be working outside once it warms up. Who wants a rake?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wish Lists

The lists have begun. Emma and Jack are writing their Christmas "wish lists". I may have to decipher them for you.

hareklips=hair clips
Santa Dell= Santa doll
miny cowch=mini couch
pollys=Polly Pockets
vityoi camera=video camera (they want to catch Santa leaving presents)

A simple list for a girl that is very girly. I'm wondering when I'll see the skateboard and ramp on her list.

Jack's List;
Crisil reaper=Crystal Reaper (Lego something)
miny bacererlyrda=mini base or alien mothership
modil shutill= model shuttle

Lily is browsing all the toy ads that have been in the mail lately. She'd be happy with everything.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dress of Choice

The kids wear "uniforms" to school which is good for me, a bit boring for them. The last school day of the month is "dress of choice" day which all the kids look forward to. Emma was so excited to get to choose her outfit that she started laying out her outfit last night. Jack just wants to wear comfy clothes.

Emma went boho chic with a hounds tooth dress, pink peter pan collared shirt, black leggings, and a new blue hat. I love that she looks a little like Punky Brewster.

The weather has definitely gotten colder. Lily is sporting her new winter coat, which I had been putting off getting. She had opinions about pink...I wanted something that wouldn't show dirt. She was pleased as punch that the jacket had pink flowers on it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mr. Postman

I had a pile of things to get in the mail and I've been putting it off as long as I could. For some reason I could never remember to get the padded envelopes when I was at the store. That was the first of many hurdles. I wanted to find cute funny cards to go with the packages...that didn't happen. Who wants to browse through the card section with a three year old?!

Finally I could put it off no longer. Birthday gifts were going to turn into Christmas presents, and I don't want to go there. Thankfully Michael had taken the day off. He must have known that staying home sick would mean that he'd get to watch Lily. Lucky him, lucky me.

I had a brief hour in which to go to the Library and the post office before I needed to pick kids up from school. The trip to the library was not for pleasure. I had turned in a movie case, but not the movie. Rookie mistake.

Then it was off to the post office. The long line didn't scare me, I had no kids to wrestle with. I was able to get three packages in the mail. As for the funny cards, nice wrapping, and perfect presents...well, that didn't happen. I hope everyone that gets the packages enjoys what's in them. I figure it's the thought that counts, right?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zoo Trip

I can count on one hand how many times I've been adventuresome and ventured to the "big city". The big city, Denver is only 45 minutes away, but it seems like an eternity. I find that if I can't get it in my small town, than I must not need it. Monday was such a nice day that a friend called to ask if I wanted to head to the zoo on Tuesday to take advantage of a summer like day. By summer like, the temps were in the low 80's. Perfect!

We got the the zoo just as it was opening. Waited in what seemed like a Disneyland line (really long, but goes fast). I think that everyone had the same idea, enjoy the warm outdoors while we can. I don't want to knock the Denver Zoo, but if you've ever been to the San Diego Zoo, there's no comparison. Lily seemed to enjoy the day, the favorite parts were the carousel and the train.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ice Skating

We have an outdoor ice skating rink in town and today was the opening day. We never went last year and I figured a "free" day was a good way to try it out. By free, you end up paying in other ways.

Surprisingly we were able to find hats and gloves for everyone. The weather was holding at a balmy 55 degrees. Perfect weather to slide around on the ice.

Because it was a free day, everyone in town was there. Meaning, you were lucky if you got a skate in the size that is close to your actual size. Jack nearly freaked out when he discovered that he couldn't move his toes. Lily was ok until I had her stand on the skates, then she wouldn't let go of my leg. Emma was the first to get her skates on and was on the ice before I even had on my skates.

Jack lasted about 25 mintues, only because he had a friend that was there, otherwise he would have been off the ice in under a minute. Emma had a blast, right up until she fell on her face and get a little banged up. She lasted the longest of all of us, I might just taking her next time.

Lily and I went halfway around the rink. She was SCREAMING and crying so hard that I'm sure other parents were in disbelief that I would take her on the ice. I thought that getting one of the "walkers" for her would help. No go, the walker made it worse.

Pretty much Lily and I sat on the picnic bench watching Jack and Emma. Then when Jack was done, Emma was the last kid standing. If there's a next time, bigger skates for Jack and leave Lily at home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Case of THe Drafty House

No wonder I was so cold yesterday. There was a spot in the house that had cold air moving and we thought it might be from from the basement.

Well, upon further inspection, "someone" (probably me) had left a window open. It was behind the couch and the window panes lined up just right to look like it should when it's closed. The air seemed to be spilling into a low point in the house. I'm just glad we discovered the source of the draft.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's changed. You know, the weather! It was decidedly chilly today and I actually wore socks and shoes. I think that it's time to put away the flip flops and break out the mittens.

You can tell what frame of mind I'm in by my shopping list;

hot chocolate
apple cider
new winter coat for Lily
gloves for Jack
socks (for sliding around on the floors)