Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to Life

You know that song "Back to life?" (I don't know if that's what the title really is.) That's the song that always comes to my head whenever I have to get back to my normal life. Which, right now, I am not looking forward to. I don't want my kids to go back to school. Heck, I don't want to go back to school.

Thanksgiving was so much fun! My mom, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, and 1 brother-in-law (who likes to think he isn't really a part of this crazy family) all left on Saturday. We had a blast.

On Thursday, the turkey didn't get started until 2 pm because the lady (insert crazy mother here) who was in charge of stuffing took forever getting it together. By the time everything was done, it was 8 o'clock and the turkey was still cooking. But, the food was delicious, the pies were phenomenal, and the alcoholic drinks were needed (they seem to be needed pretty early in the day, what does that say?).

On Friday, 11 of us went to see New Moon. My hubby and BIL stayed at the house, too cool to go see a "chick flick." It was a good movie. Much better than the first one, Twilight. On the way back from the theater we got to watch my mother jump out of my car, run through the parking lot of Albertson's wearing flip flops, grey capri work out type pants, and a nice coat-hair flying wildly in the breeze. She was giggling the whole time. This is the point when 4 out of 5 of us siblings said "Oh my God. You can have her." The 12 year old claimed her. We told him he could have her.

Once we got to the house we made the most wonderful sushi. My wonderful mother has learned to fish in tiny backyard called the Pacific Ocean (she lives on a boat part-time). She brought fresh tuna with her and showed me how to cut the meat off the bone. Oh my was the sushi yummy. I am hoping to go to California for my birthday in January. I told her I want to come home with a lot of fish. I will buy a freezer if I have to.

On Saturday, everyone came over for breakfast before they headed back. We played one last quick game of Scrabble. My mother talked Stephanie into making one more, real quick, pecan pie. They all left just before the pie was done. The funny part? I got to eat the best pie of the weekend and didn't have to share it with all of them! Ha. That's what they get for leaving.

I miss them already. Someday, I hope to live by them all again. I dream of having them over for once-a-month BBQ's and of them dropping by for the hell of it. I could go fishing frequently with my mother! Sigh. Why does Southern California have to cost so much?

So, like I said: Back to life. Back to school and tests and all the other fun things I have to do (like get my second dose of my Hep. B vaccine and the MMR for my phlebotomy class).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I hope all of you have a great day with family and/or friends.

We have a huge meal planned:
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This is the post about me trying really hard to not be in a panic.

We are coming up to the end of the semester. I currently have 3 big finals to study for and 1 medium one. The medium one is my American History class. The professor has decided not to make the final comprehensive and I love him for it.

My communications class is driving me INSANE! The instructor is extremely disorganized. So much so that we still have two speeches to present and only two classes times left to do it and we are not scheduled to do them next week. Which means they are both going to have to be given on the same night. He has run his whole class this way and I shouldn't be surprised.

My Biology class is going pretty good. I have set up a study group with a couple of other ladies to study for the final. I hope this helps. I just got back the best test grade I have gotten yet in Bio.- a B! I was really happy.

My English Lit. class has an 8 page paper due in a week and a half. It has to be on The Stranger by Albert Camus or Fences by August Wilson. Both of these stories are really no longer than 8 pages themselves. I don't know how I am going to get 8 pages of bullshit critical analysis out of them.

So, there you have it. My stressful next two and a 1/2 weeks.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I woke up three times with all this going through my head. I had to turn the t.v. on all three times to distract my thoughts.

The great thing, and only thing, keeping me sane? When I am done in December I will have all the requirements done for my Associates of Science. I talked to the advisor yesterday and he told me to come back in January and have my transcripts audited so I can apply for the degree.

See, it just might all be worthwhile (or so I keep telling myself).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving and My Family

I am so excited for Thanksgiving! Every year my mom, sisters, and brothers come up to my house from Southern California to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. We end up eating WAY too much food, drinking a little too much wine, and playing lots of fun games throughout the weekend. Our favorite games are Charades and Scrabble.

Now, let me tell you about scrabble. It has been known to cause wars during the visit. We usually get over them quickly, but we still play. My sister even went out and bought the Deluxe Scrabble that she now keeps in her trunk so she won't forget to bring it. I even heard a rumor that their might finally be an Official Scrabble Dictionary this year to minimize the nasty fighting wars. Even with all this, I LOVE playing with them. We usually play just girls (and then my husband starts to peek and give me hints of what words to use, which promptly starts a war). Oh the memories....

Charades is another one that we love. Especially after a glass of wine or two or... It's a lot of fun and Stephanie is really talented act acting them out (I will see if I can secretly video tape her impression of Kramer. It's a riot!)

This is where I need your help. In Thanksgivings past, we have used the charades box out of my Cranium game. Unfortunately, we have all memorized the cards after 3 years worth of playing. We need your ideas for Charades. What are some good things to act out?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frog and Toad Field Trip

We recently got to go on a field trip to our local college. They are doing a production of Frog and Toad. We got to go see how the play was made. L got to go on stage, play with some of the props, see where the costumes are made and kept, and he got to learn what it takes to put a show together. The director even took a few minutes to talk to the kids. It was great.

Frog and Toad Field Trip

This was our very patient, gracious host, Steven. He was great with the kids. He didn't mind all the questions from the kids and he really took his time showing them everything.

Frog and Toad Field Trip 1

Getting to try on the very cool, special, extremely heavy shell. As you can see, Steven had to hold it so L didn't tip over.

We had a lot of fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homeschool Update

So, we have been homeschooling for about 2 months now. Overall, it is going great! L is still happy to be home which makes me happy and sad. Happy because I know it's the right thing and sad because school must have been really hard emotionally for him. I know it's not the academics because he is doing great.

We are still using the Saxon Math program. We had to skip about 1/2 the program because it was way too easy for him. I wonder if the homeschool version is slower or at a different level than the school version he was in. I ordered the same level he was in at school and this one was really too easy.

We are somewhat using the Shirley English. There are some things we are doing in it, but not much. I ended up going to Barnes and Nobles and picking up a couple of English workbooks. One for vocabulary and one for reading comprehension. These have been great and he enjoys doing them.

He is currently making a State Box. Each week he picks a new state. He takes a 3x5 notecard and writes information about the state on it and draws the state. We then put it in a notecard box. He really likes doing this. We then eat a food that is special to that area. I think we will do this with country's when the states are all done.

Harry Potter is our current book. He is trying really hard to read the first one by himself. It's a struggle, but he is working on it and that is all that counts. He really wants to read like his big brother and sisters.

He is really hands on and creative! He is constantly trying to make weird things out of weird items. He collects cereal boxes because he likes to try and make things with them. I love watching him create. He especially loves going to The Home Depot and Lowe's kid's clinics.

We go lots of places and try to take every opportunity we can to teach him proper people behavior. We are having a little bit of a problem with how we treat people and what's right and wrong. I'm glad I can help him correct these behaviors now, but what a pain! I just hope we can change them. His ADHD doesn't help and when I forget to medicate him, we pay for it.

The doctor thinks we should up his dose. She is probably right, but I can handle him as long as he takes the dose he is on. When he doesn't take it, the melt downs start immediately and I have started to notice he talks more meanly to everyone. When he takes it, all these things stop. He is still bouncing all over, but this is a small thing to me.

We will get through all this and hopefully, by summer, I will be telling you how wonderful he is the majority of the time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Berry Berry Streusel Bars-A.K.A. Granola Bars

Years ago, I was given this recipe from a friend. I quickly fell in love with it. I have played with it and played with it until it has become a favorite snack/dessert/breakfast treat for all of us. It is originally from I hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Streusel Bars 2

You are only going to see pictures like this because it went from the pan to all gone in 60 seconds flat. (Have I mentioned my 6'3" 14 yr old who is a walking stomach?)

Streusel Bars 1

You can see the yummy jelly coming up through the topping. Yum!

Berry Berry Streusel Bars - A.K.A. Granola Bars

1 1/2 Cups Oats (old fashioned OR instant-it doesn't matter)
1 1/4 Cups Flour (I like to use half whole wheat flour)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
12 Tbsp. Very Cold Butter (it helps it be crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle)
1 Jar (about 8 oz.) of your favorite Jelly or Jam
1 tsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix together oats, flour, and brown sugar.
2. Cut in the butter, like a pie crust. You want the mixture to be crumbly. I use my stand mixer or food processor to help with this.
3. In a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan, press in about 1/2 to 2/3 of the oat mixture. Save the rest for the topping. Press it in good.
4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. You want it just barely starting to brown.
5. While that is baking, mix together the jam and 1 tsp. flour. (When I double the recipe, I use a Tbsp. of flour to 16 oz. of jelly). Mix it well.
6. After you pull the crust out of the oven, pour the jam mix all over the top. Spread it out as evenly as possible. If you can help it, try not to get the jelly onto the pan sides. It tends to become a bit sticky.
7. Take the rest of your oat mixture and sprinkle it, using your fingers, all over the top. Cover the jelly with the topping as best you can and gently press it down into the jelly using your hands.
8. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
9. Cut into squares and enjoy!

For more fun recipes to try, go over to the Grocery Cart Challenge every Thursday for their recipe swap!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Registration Time....Again

I get to register for my next semester classes today. I love getting my schedule figured out. I like knowing and preparing myself ahead of time of what it's going to be like each semester. After a lot of conversations, I think (I hope) we finally have it all figured out (I wish).

I am going to take:

Anatomy and it's lab
Medical Terminology
and Sociology

13 credits total.

I also figured out that I now have ALL my general education requirements for an Associate's degree. I just need elective credits...I think. I am going trying to get an appointment with an advisor to help me figure this all out. I am feeling a bit burnt out right now because it seems like I just keep taking classes and I have nothing to really show for it but a bunch of credits I may not be able to use. I will keep you updated after I talk to the advisor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grocery Shopping Deals

I love coupon shopping. I know there are a lot of people who get even better deals, but I am really happy with the deals I found today.

Coupon deals

I got:
12 boxes of Chex Cereal
7 jars of Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
12 jars Skippy Peanut Butter

Between using coupons and the store specials I got 31 items total for $23.81! Less than .77 cents an item!

I just love finding deals like this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where I live.

I took the family up to Snow Canyon State Park last weekend. It takes us about 15 minutes to drive there. We hiked a couple of trails and had a really nice time. I was able to get some really pretty pictures. So, I decided to show you what it looks like around where I live.

Snow Canyon State Park 4

Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park 2

Snow Canyon State Park 3

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Pomegranate 1 10/2009

I love pomegranates. When I was a kid my mom would get me one pomegranate each year. (They were too expensive to get more than that.) To me, pomegranates are special. They are a treat that is fun to eat. (Beware, they stain.) They are beautiful.

Pomegranate 2 10/2009

Now, I have a pomegranate tree in my backyard. Each year I get to torture my children by having them help me take out each and every little, red, juicy pearl inside. We watch a movie or 4 and sit down and get tired of pomegranates really quick get busy. I then juice them using my Kitchen Aid Mixer with the fruit and vegetable strainer attachment (also great to make applesauce with.) It's awesome, I find little spots of pomegranate juice for weeks. This year we got four gallons of juice from our tree. So, I made pomegranate jelly. Lot's of pomegranate jelly. Twenty-four pints and thirty-six 8-oz jars of pomegranate jelly.

Pomegranate Jelly 3

It's delicious.

Here is my recipe for pomegranate jelly:

5 Cups Pomegranate Juice
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (this helps keep out bacteria)
1 tsp. Butter (this helps keep the foam down, you'll see.)
6 1/2 Cups Sugar (preserves the jam so it doesn't rot)

1. Measure out the sugar in a separate bowl.
2. In a VERY big pot (It boils really big), start heating up the pomegranate juice on medium high heat.
3. Add in the pectin.
4. Stir until boiling.
5. Add in all the sugar.
6. Keep stirring.
7. When it comes to a full rolling boil, let it boil for one minute while you stir constantly.
8. Turn off the heat and using a spoon (it helps if the spoon is cold), dip it into the jelly and within a few second you will be able to tell if it jelled.
9. Put into jars and process jars according to whatever method you want to use, water bath canning or pressure canning.

Pomegranate Jelly 2

Pomegranate Jelly

It can take a couple of weeks for the jelly to fully form like the one above, but you can tell immediately if the jelling worked because it will look something like a thick jell. If it didn't work, you can redo the process. This SITE has great instructions for redoing the jelly.

*Make sure you use enough sugar or the jelly won't set right.
*Also, don't double the recipe or it won't work right either.

Out of one pot, I got about 7 little 8-oz jars or 4 pint jars and one 8-oz jar.

This post is linked to Grocery Cart Challenge.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A. Pain. In. The. Ass.

Each semester, about two weeks before it is time to register for our new classes, The Hubby torments me with what classes and schedule he should take. I am not talking about thinking over two or three different options. I am talking about him changing his schedule 2 or 3 times a day!

What really sucks? I can't settle on mine until his is picked. Lucky for me, I only have two options. So, he has to sort of work around that in all his craziness, but I still have to listen to him change it so often. And when I quit responding? He get upset because I'm not listening or giving him the feedback he wants.


At least we register next week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's only November 3rd and I already found a radio station that is playing Christmas music! Yuck!