"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Twenty fourteen

In January, binkles turned 9 and I turned 32.  Binkles, jones, and boo tried out for the school play, and binkles got a part!  On Martin Luther king jr weekend, the family spent an UNFORGETTABLE weekend at our friends' recently-purchased cabin in the mountains.  I can't remember if I posted about it, so here's a brief recap:  we spent weeks of anticipation for our first winter camping experience.  On the drive up, although she was fairly well potty-trained at that point, buttercup made a HUGE mess in her pants!  Thankfully I had put her in a diaper (who knows why, but I did).  We were snowed out of the cabin and had to run some errands.  We turned on the fireplace to start heating the cabin, and ran off in hopes the guys could get the driveway driven in so that we could park.  We got stuck in the driveway while we turned on the stove, but thankfully my pal is quite the pusher and pushed us out.  I was highly impressed since we had our Yukon XL packed with stuff and people!!!!  By the time we got inside the cabin, it wasn't warm, but the food was ready.  We also found out that the water wasn't working and we'd have to use the outhouse for any potty needs.  Starboy ignored this small detail unless it was convenient for him.  I know I took him outmultiple times, but the inside toilets had another story to tell.  
The water problem turned out to be frozen pipes.  That problem never resolved over the weekend.  We had to use snow and purchased a LOT of portable water.
I purchased disposables for buttercup, and that was difficult for her to regress into.  That was difficult.  
I also started my first cycle after the miscarriage I experienced in December.  It was very HEAVY, way heavier than I'd ever experienced before.  I messed several pairs of pants and a couch!
I think the dogs got sick.  
The fireplace started heating the house the second day, that first night was real winter camping for sure!!!!
We had a blast snow tubing and snow playing.  
There were probably a dozen or so disasters that I have conveniently misplaced from my memory, but it didn't matter.  It was one of the best weekends ever.  I honestly don't think any of the kids knew that ANYTHING went wrong!  It was real winter camping and we had a blast!!!!!!!!!!!
Other January news:  Otter Pop traveled to Arizona for work training and I did several oil workshops.  
In February, my most awesome husband sent me and buttercup across the country to stay with my sister and her family for a short week.  It was awesome to see them and spend time with them since they moved in July of last year.  While I was gone, boo turned 6.
The girls and I did lots of cookie sales for Girl Scouts in hopes to attend camp together in the summer.  
March was quite packed with oil workshops, binkles started track, more cookie sales, several school performances including the school play binkles was in, and then spring break, starting with buttercup's 2nd birthday!
In April, I was able to start volunteering at the elementary school once/week.  I love doing that!  I also was very deep in doTERRA workshops and training.  There were several Girl Scout events too in April.  
In May our family turned a corner of busy-ness that we've never experienced before!  The calendar looks quite empty but we weren't bored!!!!  On the 12th of May, we closed on our very first home.  We spent the rest of the month running to and from, cleaning, scrubbing, and painting, only to repeat the process at the other house.
In June then, we moved into the new house.  The kids got out of school on the 4th, and after that we were IN!
Wolfie went to church camp and jones turned 8!  By the end of the month we were tired of moving in and decided to put some fun in July.
So in July we started inviting guests over.  Finnagen was discovered to have some huge medical issues after being attacked by a huge dog over our newly built fence!  Binkles and jones went to church camp for the first time for one week, and then Wolfie went the next.  We started re-attending weekly pool days and started swim lessons for boo.  At the end of the month, binkles, boo, and I headed up to Girl Scout camp together.
In August, we returned and I started swim lessons with Starboy.  Both of those kids took to swimming very well!  I started a babysitting job, the kids started school, I got pregnant, we got a puppy, helped regime the puppy's brother (with nana), and spent a weekend down with some cousins at my parents'.
In September, Wolfie took drivers Ed, binkles started cross country, and I continued my babysitting job (3days/week) all while bouting morning sickness.  Girl Scouts also started up and this year I took on a leader position with the juniors (binkles age).  We met a German exchange student (Danke) that needed re-homed and decided that she could live with us, sharing wolfie's room that she was so excited to have all to herself.  Danke was already on the school swim team.  Mid September, Otter pop turned 41 and Starboy was hospitalized for several days.  He came out alive, but it was a scary respiratory distress!  Shortly thereafter, Wolfie went for a walk with mackintosh (the pup) and was bit several times by the same dog that bit finnagen in June.   We had parent teacher conferences at the end of the month and Wolfie finished drivers Ed to start her 6 month probation period.
In October, I started back up with oil workshops, mackintosh got an infection from the dog bite, we made lots of canned yummies (applesauce and relish), and Starboy turned 5!
In November, my father had open heart surgery and then Wolfie celebrated a weeklong celebration of turning sweet sixteen.  Even the skies partied and we got LOTS of beautiful snow!  My dad is recovering very nicely.  We had our family pictures taken and on thanksgiving revealed to our family that we are expecting a new baby.
In December finally we got to meet our little guy via ultrasound and Doppler detection.  We also got to attend the high school's foreign exchange night, music concerts, and several sugar-coated Christmas celebrations.  My sister came to visit with her adorable son, and Wolfie got a job!  We went to a most beautiful wedding, and wolfie's biological mom came to visit.  We started our Christmas break-from-schools and have been ailed with sickness ever since.  Currently Starboy is almost in hospital condition again as I poke letters.  We hope that this next year is filled with GOOD HEALTH, great friends, and fun memories!!!!
From all of us:  we love you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

MY lasagna recipe

I actually made a recipe.  (It's not my style, so drop your jaw.). I'm a rule follower.  Sometimes I'll add a pinch of something or veggies, for your health sake, but I don't throw things together!  And technically, I didn't do that this time either...  But I'm still calling the recipe mine because I combined 2 recipes and then added things.   (Just go along with me...  Don't burst my bubble!)

MY Lasagna
A box of lasagna noodles 
2+ lb of ground beef. (I suggest using half beef, half pork)
1 chopped onion
3 T fresh minced garlic (or 3 cloves minced)
2 T fresh basil torn all up little
2 tsp oregano + 1 drop essential oil (divided)
2 T brown sugar
1 T salt
1 big (29 oz?) can & 1 normal (14 oz?) can of petite diced tomatoes
1 T anchovy paste
6 oz tomato paste
A bag of frozen spinach
Some fresh or canned mushrooms, diced finely so the kids don't notice
24 oz cottage cheese
2 beaten eggs
1 T pepper
2 T dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb shredded cheddar
A small bag (8 oz?) of finely shredded Italian 5 cheese blend

1.) in a large frying pan, sauté the onion, then throw in the ground beef and brown.  Drain.  Add in the garlic, and spices (minus the essential oil) and mix together.
2.)  clear an area of the pan and squeeze out the anchovy paste.  Let it melt while you open the tomato paste.  Mix the tomato paste with the anchovy paste and mix it with the beef mixture.  Stir in the diced tomatoes with juice (of course), and add the drop of oregano at this point and the spinach and mushrooms (no juices).  You could chop up a variety of other veggies including, but not limited to: broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, and squash!  Let this simmer for as long as you want.
2-1/2.) prepare the pasta
3.) Open the cottage cheese and stir in the beaten eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.  
4.) Combine the 2 lb of cheeses, but not the small bag of Italian cheeses.  
5.) Get out that pan that's bigger than 9x13 that your mom gave you since your family is so big.  Start layering:
-Noodles (in that big pan the noodles fit width-wise).
-cottage cheese mix
-shredded cheese mix (generously since this is your husband'so fav part)
-meat sauce
This is supposed to layer 3 times, but I only got 2.  The top layer gets the extra bag of Italian 5 cheese blend on top and some sprinklings of grated Parmesan cheese too if you want.
I threw mine in the convection preheated oven at 375 degrees and it was hot and ready in an hour.
I thought it'd take more like an hour and a half though.  

No pic this time.  It was too tasty to stop and take a picture.  I served mine along side cooked veggies (broccoli), because my children love their veggies on the side and hate it when I sneak them in (except the spinach and mushrooms).

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year

We bustle about with lots to do and little time...  One thing we try to purpose -as a family- is to not get distracted from the true meaning of Christmas and this beautiful season!
Danke newly joined the school band and is also a member of the high school choir.  On the first Thursday of December there was a wonderful concert put on.  Danke plays the violin and viola, but picked up the clarinet as her American musical instrument project.  Kinda like, she speaks German, English, and Russian, but is taking Spanish as a class in America...  Industrious much???
Boo had a sweet little Christmas concert last week on Thursday.  She was amazingly precious.  When singing silent night, every time they would cross the common line "mother and child", she would make eye contact with me, smile real big, and wink at me! 
The kids and I are trying new Christmas sweets recipes this year.  We found a fun "Christmas bark" recipe that was simple and tasty.  
We're planning on making truffles as treats this year.  When I looked for ideas and recipes, I found out that you can pretty much make a truffle in any flavor!  (Even bacon!)  so we all voted and narrowed it down to six.  I hope we don't accidentally eat them all.
I'm loving receiving Christmas cards from friends and family.  I appreciate being kept up to date.  Please be safe this season and don't forget the sacrifice God gave us on the very first Christmas so many years ago!  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Welcome to our family, little Turbo!

Here's the news in our family.  We are settled, we got a puppy (Mackintosh),
we're hosting a German foreign exchange student (Danke),
I was babysitting a little Sweet Pea three days a week until last week, and now we're expecting a new baby!
New Baby (Turbo), will make his -yes, I had my ultrasound today- appearance in May.  
My estimated date of delivery is May 2.  I think 5/10/15 would be a fun one...  But I'll take him whenever he decides is good.
The kids are doing alright in their new schools.  I'm not sure if I already updated the school situation.  Wolfe and Boo got into a great charter school that I'm digging.  It's full of great kids and teachers!  Binkles and Jones are attending the local public school.  It's subpar, but they have caring and super teachers and we've been impressed with the amount of love poured out on our kiddos.  
Starboy and Buttercup are better than coexisting at home together each day.  In fact, they've become good friends!  It's sweet.  
My darling sister arrived for a brief visit last Friday and traveled down-state to visit others on Tuesday am.  She was darling enough to let her one-year-old son tag along!!!  It was over joyful to see and spend time with the two of them!  It's a big bummer the big mister in their family couldn't come, but he has big exams to study for!!!!
Beyond all this jibber jabber, I'd like to extend a warm holiday greeting to you and your family.  I hope this finds you happy, healthy, and hopeful for our Savior's return...