I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring has sprung

Our Italian Prune tree is in full bloom.

A promise of sunny days to come.

A promise of fresh fruit.

A promise of new life. Happy Spring!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ending the break with fun

Our break was heavy with projects this year. The kids had lots of outside time play but the parents were busy with moving rooms, building a room and general organization. We wanted the kids to end break on a high note. Friday night two cousins from Steve's side of the family came over.

A couple of the girls baked cookies for everyone wearing aprons from a great grandmother and a great-great grandmother. They weren't having any fun as you can tell.

Later on they all participated in a Wii challenge. Meanwhile, the youngest two kiddos got to watch a DVD on daddy's laptop in an upstairs bedroom. They loved that!
Saturday, we got to play with two of a neighbor friend's adorable girls. An 8 month old baby and a 2 year old toddler. Later on we had my sister and her family over for a BBQ and a round of Settlers of Catan (our new favorite game). Their oldest daughter spent the night with us and we took her home after church the next day. The kids had Awana games practice and then it was a relaxing evening of eating and resting. It was a very busy weekend but a great way to end a busy week. I think the kids are ready for our regular routine. I know I am!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm not ready!!!

My oldest son is taller than me.

Taller. Than. Me.

This is very exciting for him as his twin sister has always been slightly taller and this means that he has now passed her for the first time ever.

Oh my word. It's such a strange feeling to be so excited that I can now leave my two oldest at home while I run errands yet freaked out that they are growing up!!! Steve has been sick in bed for the last few days and I have been holding down the fort. I needed to go the store last night and it was so nice to tell the olders to watch the youngers while I went out. They could get their dad if they needed anything and I could get in and out of the store without little people. I came home to the kids watching a movie quietly and it was bliss. It made me feel good to walk in and see big sister with her arm around little brother content as could be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Progress is good (recipe below)

So far so good.
My plans are coming together and I feel a little bit like Hannibal Smith from the A Team. "I love it when a plan comes together." (minus the cigar of course.)

The boys have been successfully moved into their new room and I have put five meals into the freezer. Two Ginger Beef, two Teriyaki Chicken (recipe below) and one Sweet Asian Chicken. We know we love the teriyaki but I will post recipes for the other two when we find out if we like them. They are new to us recipes that I got out of my Fix, Freeze, Feast book (Thanks for the great birthday gift, Mom and Dad!). As you can see, I used my Food Saver for the meals. It makes storing the food a piece of cake and I can easily read what everything is when it is stacked in the freezer.
Today I am tackling the rest of my garage/workout/canning/homeschool storage area. How is that for a multi-purpose spot?
Teriyaki sauce for my family of 7 with some leftovers
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 medium cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons oil
Place 3 lbs meat (chicken or beef) and let it sit in the marinade for at least an hour(2-3 hours is better) before grilling. When making for the freezer we place the meat in foodsaver bags, seal and freeze right away. Take it out on the day you want to grill. By the time it is thawed the meat will be nice and marintated. We also use this sauce for shish-ka-bobs. We just cut up the meat and marinate it the same. We save the marinade after we have put the meat and veggies on the soaked sticks and use it to brush the bobs while they grill. They are heaven on a stick!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break

Spring Break will be all about organization for me this year. I know that not all homeschoolers take a spring break but it makes sense for me to have the week. There are so many projects that I need to do and things that have fallen behind so a week devoted to that helps me keep my sanity.

I will be making some freezer meals for dinner as well as some breakfast meals for the freezer. We did a major project this last weekend to get ready for moving around in the house to accomodate our family better. This included moving my school room inventory into the house and I am still figuring our where to house it. We will be moving two kids into a different bedroom and that means cleaning out and organizing their things once more.

I am also working on a garage sale which is a tad humorous since I vow each year that I will never have one again. However, we have been going through ancient boxes and de-cluttering and there is so much that it makes sense to have one again.

The list is long but I hope to have some fun with the kids as well.

I'll leave you with a picture of Em on our recent trip to the coast. I told her that she could read for awhile until she got tired. As you can see on the clock, she was enjoying her book very much. (That's 10:45pm!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Works for me Wednesday

I haven't done one of these in awhile and thought it woud be fun. I love getting great tips from others on tricks of the trade that help them do what they do.

1) Use dryer sheets at least twice and before throwing them away wipe down my TV's with them.

2) Rinse the dryer lint trap with dishsoap once per month. Removing the residue from dryer sheets helps dryers dry faster saving money in the long run.

3) Plastic bags from the grocery store make great garbage can liners.

4) I have a box in the garage for donation items. As I am cleaning the house I will pop items in the box that we no longer need. I throw the box in the back of my van when it is full and the next time I am in town I drop it off.

5) Wash one fridge shelf per week. It keeps the fridge moderately clean all the time and when I keep up it I never have one big cleaning to do.

6) Make ahead waffles. Got this one from the hubster. He almost always makes breakfast on Saturdays. On waffle day he makes lots and lots extra and freezes them. Then when we have busy mornings or I am not feeling well, the kids can pop them in the toaster and have a warm breakfast with very little effort.

7) Freezer meals. This is one of those spend a few minutes now, save hours later kind of deals. It does take planning and prep but spending a few hours here and there really does save me so much time and money.

8) Hanging out clothes on the line on nice days. This one does take more effort and only saves about $.40 per load but I have noticed that our clothing lasts longer I am able to do this. I usually only do this from about May-September. Most of that time I am not schooling so I have more time to do it and have found that it is therapeutic.

If you have any tricks of the trade to add please do so in the comments. I love new ideas!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

We had another great time as a family out at the beach. Tide pools, waves, rocks, shells, ocean life and so much more created a playland of things for all of us to do.

There is more time to think out there it seems. At the very least, a lot less of the distracting noises so you can hear yourself think.

It is the Pacific Northwest so toes still got cold in the water. Those are some red feet. Get that boy up to the woodstove!

The kids are getting old enough that we could watch them from the dining room in the house while the older three searched the tidepools on their own.

We even had a few days where shorts could be pulled out and coats were left on the sandy shore.

I am quite certain we spent more hours on the beach compared to any other winter season in the past.

We came home with our Vitamin D supply well built up.

Such good memories. Memories that I enjoy reliving today while the wind blows and the rain hits the side of the house.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still here...

We were gone for 10 days and getting everything back in order when we get back takes some time. I'll be back later with tales of our time away...

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I know I have mentioned it before but if you can get away with your family for a week or so it is totally worth it. There seems to be this magical thing that happens when you get past day 5. The everyday things that we are used to and just co-exist with start to fade away. I watch the here and there bickering disappear and deeper relationships form. School, normal chores, technology (sort of as I sit here blogging on my laptop) are all on the backburner. Three and four days away are always good. Those times relieve the everyday pressures. But doesn't it seem that just when you finally relax and settle in it's then that you have to go home? That's why I love it when we can get away for seven days.

As I write here at the dining table, my two youngest are playing with toys on the floor while I am watching the older three search the tide pools in the bay while the tide is out. Steve is getting ready for the day and music is playing in the background. The pressures that I feel at home are slowly washing away with each ebb and flow of the waves. I hope to find my vision again somewhere among the tide pools of my mind.