Monday, September 28, 2009


I actually feel quite bad that I don't post here more often. Not because I think all 4 of my adoring fans really want to hear more from me, but because I have a deep desire to stay connected to good friends, and usually feel disconnected from them. Specifically my dear friend Joanna, whom I love and miss. A lot. Anyway, there is a really good reason I don't post daily, though. Namely, my life is way too boring for that. Just to prove my point, the following is a collection of could-have-been posts from the last week. Note the amazing excitement of my life as you read them. *Ahem*

"Today for science we collected a pile of leaf litter from our flower bed, brought it inside, and examined it under a magnifying glass. It was teeming with tiny life! I am extra excited that we saw a baby earthworm. It was only as long as my thumbnail and as small around as a thick piece of hair. If it hadn't been moving, we never would have seen it. If I actually knew how to take good photos and had a decent camera, I would have taken a picture. Ya gotta love homeschooling!"

"Today I gave myself a shot for the first time, and you know, it's really not hard or scary at all! I am thankful that I can get some relief from my allergy shots and not have to drive the 25 minutes to the allergists office multiple times a week to have them shoot me up! I've only done it once now, but I am really impressed by myself!"

"You know those nifty heat-resistant, black handles on most cookware? If you apply direct flame to one of those handles for a while...oh, say, 15 minutes or so...they turn to ash. They also make your smoke alarm beep with fury. They also fill your house with a horrible, terrible, armpit-of-a-trash-heap smell. Don't ask how I know."

"Went to a wedding today...bickered with my husband the whole way there. Isn't a celebration of marriage beautiful?"

"Did you know that one frozen rabbit costs $30! I don't even know if I like rabbit, so I am not about to pay that kind of money for a rodent. Where's the neighbor I used to have who kept rabbits for the express purpose of making rabbit stew out of them when I need him??"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Turkey Sausage

I am the type of person that has to have some protein with every meal, especially breakfast. If I don't, I'm hungry again in just a couple hours. This has been a real challenge for me since finding out I am allergic to eggs. I used to eat the same breakfast every single morning: one egg, one piece of fruit, a small yogurt, and some sort of bread (muffin, toast, 1/2 bagel...). Saturday was my only deviation when I made pancakes or waffles and ate those with peanut butter and syrup. Well, now I can only have eggs 2 mornings a week, so I needed some sort of new protein options that aren't things we're allergic to. Like most people, my mind went straight to breakfast meat. The problem is that most breakfast meat you can buy has some sort of soy filler, corn syrup, or pork - all of which we are allergic to. So the hunt was on for a recipe that I not only like, but is easy to make. That's when I found this recipe. Most people think of turkey sausage as the "healthy" alternative to "regular" sausage that never quite lives up the the "real" thing. This sausage is really good, though! I like it better than any pork recipes I have had. Even if you like and can eat store bought sausage, you should really try this recipe. I made enough changes to it, that I'll type out the recipe I ended up with here.

Turkey Apple Sausage

1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup grated apple (I used my food processor)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (grade B)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. all spice

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and shape meat into 8-12 patties. Cook in a med-hot pan with some olive oil until brown on both sides and cooked through.

These reheat well, but are really, really yummy fresh out of the pan!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aaron and Ethan are playing with play dough right now, and I am listening in on their conversation while I clean in the kitchen. I just heard Ethan say, "Okay! Time's up! Please step away." just like they do on the show Chopped! Turns out they are making food creations with the play dough, pretending that they are competing in a timed food competition! Hmmm...I think this might mean that I watch too much Food Network...

Monday, September 14, 2009

9/12 March

I am so proud of all the people who went to Washington this weekend to protest the spending, Obamacare and whatever else there was to protest. I wish I could have been there. Had we still been living in Maryland we'd have gone.

Barbara lives close enough to take the Metro in and she's got a really fantastic photo-journal that you might enjoy when you have a minute. Click on the picture in the link to see the photos.

I hope the message was sent. I notice it's not really on the news anymore. :(

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lost In Translation

Jerry has a habit of saying, "I'm gonna smoke you like a Christmas turkey!" when playing/wrestling with the boys. Apparently trash talking starts young. Today, while watching football, Ethan said on behalf of his team, "I'm gonna knock you like a Christmas pie!"


Friday, September 11, 2009


Jenni's meme. Or I guess that's Linda's meme that Jenni did that Johanna did.

1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration?

I don’t go to Wowmart…ever. Unless my mom forces me to run in there and pick something up and then I make sure to whine and complain about it the whole time. But that doesn’t happen very often.

2. What is something that people are currently "into" that you just don't get or appreciate?

Pirates. Um…hello, they stole things and killed people on the high seas. These are evil people, why do we want our kids to be pirates? And how about the skull and crossbones in pink and purple for your cute little girls? I don’t get it. At. All.

3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel "ho-hum" about?

Golf? I don’t even play, but I really like to watch.

4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car?

Redeemer by Nicole Mullen and anything Jars of Clay, Sara Groves, or the Danielson Famile; only I don’t sing in the shower. I like to pretend that’s my voice I’m hearing coming out of the speakers because truthfully? No one – not even me – wants to hear me sing. Tain’t pretty.

5. A really great salad must have this ingredient:

Cheese. But if you put goat cheese on it I might have to punch you in the nose.

6. Advice in a nutshell to new bloggers (one or two sentences):

Blog for yourself or your loved ones.

7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you?

My mom wanted to name me Shiloh and I will always be grateful to Dad for helping her to see the light and name me Joanna instead.

8. What in your life are you waiting for?

Waiting for? Some of what I’m waiting for is just too deep to discuss here. Otherwise, I’m just waiting for Jesus to come and take us all home.

9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from?

Amazon or Land’s End. I just bought some curriculum from Amazon today. Woohoo!! Can’t wait to get it in the mail.

10. Today--what song represents you?

Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me by Jars of Clay or You Are the Sun by Sara Groves.

11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself?

Nothing…I already knew I was a horrible communicator and had lost all my writing skills due to neglect.

12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you're wearing today? What do they say about you in general or specifically how you're feeling today?

I reached in my drawer and pulled out the thing on top. I’ve tried to carefully pick my clothes so that whatever I pull out I will be comfortable and feel that I look nice. It’s been a work of many years and lots of give-aways. I guess that’s what you get for shopping the sale rack exclusively. I don’t think they say anything at all about how I’m feeling today.
It's been a long time since I participated in a meme, but today seemed like a perfect day to begin again! I saw this one that Jenni at One Thing did (which she got from Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee) and thought it was a good one to do! So here goes...

1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration?

You know, I'm just glad that I'm not the only one who gets a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration every time I go! It always comes with a side of whiny kids, in my experience, too. Anyway, I'm a firm believer in avoiding this store at all costs which means I only go about twice a month, if that. Usually, it is to get something that I know is cheaper there than a department store, like a box fan or some random child's toy. The only item I get there with regularity is nursing pads. There you have it.

2. What is something that people are currently "into" that you just don't get or appreciate?

I totally agreed with Jenni's answer here - vampires. The obsession is mind boggling to me.

3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel "ho-hum" about?

Research. Yep, you read that right, research. I love, love, love learning about new and obscure things. If not for the Internet, I would require a huge set of encyclopedias. Not just regular ones either. I'd also need medical ones, special botanical ones, a full set of culinary get the idea!

4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car?

Honestly, as much as I enjoy singing, I never sing in the shower! As for the car, whatever is on the radio. Boring. Oh, well.

5. A really great salad must have this ingredient:

Good quality vinegar. No salad is complete without it. Oh, and cheese. Mmmmm....vinegar and cheese. It has been a few weeks since I had either and I am in total withdraw.

6. Advice in a nutshell to new bloggers (one or two sentences):

Don't think you are always going to post every day. Unless you become totally unbalanced in your life (or don't have any kids) it probably isn't going to happen. Oh, and more readers isn't always better!

7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you?

I think they considered Jennifer. I know my mom wanted my middle name to be Stephanie. But, I like my name just as it is. There were too many other Jennifers when I was growing up. Although, it would be nice not to have to spell and explain how my name is pronounced to every single person I meet.

8. What in your life are you waiting for?

Short term: Teething to be over. Mid term: For my baby girl to arrive. Long term: To meet Jesus face to face. (Although I would be thrilled if this was a short term after all!)

9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from?, full of new books. Man, I love that place! If it is from a person I know, my mother-in-law, with something for whatever holiday is just around the corner!

10. Today--what song represents you?


11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself?

That I get way to focused on whatever problem I currently have or whatever new thing that is in my life and it consumes me to the exclusion of all else.

12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you're wearing today? What do they say about you in general or specifically how you're feeling today?

I chose by what would be super comfy. I am wearing capris with a soft waistband because I had a stomach bug yesterday, and my tummy is still a bit off today. I didn't want a waistband pushing in on me. It says I still am not 100%, but enough recovered to actually get dressed and not stay in my pj's all day, like I wished I had done yesterday when this bug hit.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Our family loves ice cream. It is our go-to dessert of choice. Especially Blue Bell Ice Cream. If you've never lived in Texas, it might be hard to understand a Texan's fascination with this particular brand of ice cream, but it is really, really good.

But with our allergies, Blue Bell Ice Cream went out of our diets. They use corn syrup to sweeten their ice cream, and we have to eliminate corn from Ethan's diet, and all the rest of us have to rotate it, so it's just not worth it. But we can still have milk twice a week, so my quest for a corn free ice cream began. I only found one. May I introduce Hagen-Dazs five ice cream?

Behold, my new ice cream obsession! All of the flavors in this line are good. All of them only have milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and one other flavor. But this one, the brown sugar flavor, is so incredibly good that I have to close my eyes and savor each bite! I purposely left eggs and milk on the same day of our rotation so that this ice cream can remain in our diets (oh, and because most baked goods are better with both eggs and milk together...)! This flavor is rich and creamy and has an almost burnt sugar flavor that is like a super rich caramel. I can guarantee you that on Tuesday and Friday evenings, you will find me with a scoop of this ice cream in my evening snack bowl!

Anyway, you may wonder with a title of "Sorbet!" why I speak only of ice cream. Our love of a daily scoop has led me to find milk free alternatives. Sorbet is the obvious answer! I do have a coconut milk ice cream recipe I still want to try, but I started with sorbet. First I made a watermelon sorbet that had just pureed watermelon, lemon juice, and a simple syrup in it. It was so very good! But it did have a problem. Most sorbets share this same problem: after a couple days in the freezer, it is impossible to get a good scoop out of the container even if you let it warm on the counter for a few minutes before scooping it! The watermelon sorbet still tastes good, but the presentation is awful! So I started to think about this problem and what kind of solution would work. I know some people add vodka to their homemade ice cream and sorbet to keep it from freezing solid, but my sorbet needs to be family friendly, so no vodka here! I decided to turn to honey for sweetening. Sure enough, the addition of honey helps keep the sorbet scoopable. It still needs a "warming" period before scooping, but after that, I am able to make nice, pretty round scoops of this! You should try the recipe, it can be used with any fruit and is so forgiving! You can add more or less of each thing, or even add additional ingredients. As long as you end up with the same amount of liquid to go into the ice cream maker at the end, it should work!

I started with three very large, over-ripe mangoes. Sorbet is a great way to use up fruit that is a bit too ripe to enjoy plain.

Chop up the mangoes and puree them in a food processor or blender. This is the base of the sorbet.

To the base, add 1/2 to 1 cup simple syrup and 2-4 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice. (To make a simple syrup, boil 1 part water with 2 parts sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow this to cool before using it.) I added 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup simple sugar, and 2 Tbsp. lime juice. After mixing all the ingredients together, put them into your ice cream maker and let it run for about 30 minutes.

This is the lovely sorbet when it is soft set! Mmmmm.....I like to freeze mine for several hours before serving it, but it is yummy right away!

Here's a scoop of the mango sorbet on top of some of the watermelon sorbet shavings! A yummy combo!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ten Years

I know, I know...where have I been and why can't I just say hello now and again, eh?


Today is our anniversary. 10 years. We're not doing anything. We just took the kids to my grandma's swimming pool then ate lunch at a sports bar called The End Zone. That was fun. For an anniversary gift, Del got me three bottles of very nice wine, including this lovely bottle of port, which I plan to enjoy a glass of tonight.

The port is from South Africa. That's really neat!
The wine came in this handsome crate. If you notice the papers next to the crate you'll see the other part of my gift.
Dance lesson from Arthur Murray. We took some dance lessons in Monterey when we were dating and had a lot of fun. I know I don't seem like a Waltz and Foxtrot type of person, but I really do like to dance. I just don't know how...yet. This is a fabulous gift. I can't wait to get started and hope that we can keep it up.
My parents also gave us a very nice bottle of wine that was bottled in St. Augustine and a nice wine rack. I want to make a fancy dinner and serve nice wine. Anyone up for a dinner party and dancing?
As for what I got Del; I know this just looks like another boring office in someones bedroom, but it was a horrid mess before. Del has been wanting to clean it up but also wanting to clean up the garage so he can start making some things with his saw; he couldn't decide which was the higher priority. So I went out and got the rug and a bunch of manly organizing things and filed all the papers, got rid of all the boxes and found a home for everything. The bedroom is spotless and neat and tidy. I hardly recognize it. He was stunned and loves it. Now he is freed up to do other things. This is probably the best gift I've ever given him. Well...except for 10 years of marriage...and you know, 5 daughters.
Here's the play yard in our back yard. You'll find six little girls in this picture, my three oldest and three neighbor girls. After I took this picture another neighbor girls came over to play. It's astonishing how many girls live on my street. Poor D, our neighbor. Someone with some boys needs to move in next door so he can have some friends. Johanna? How about it?
See this here little girl? Isn't she sweet? She is now completely potty trained...except for at night, so I guess that's not completely. She took to it like a champ. I think it took only about a week to accomplish. She's had a couple of small accidents but I'm here to tell you that every 15 minutes or less I am taking her to the potty where she empties her bladder...again, and again and again. I've never visited the restroom so much in my entire life.

And then there's Anna. Still not rolling over, still not crawling, just sitting and being happy and healthy. Love it!!
Carrots, sweet potatoes, bread, squash, apples, graham crackers. She likes food!

What a little sweetie!! I love babies. No I am not pregnant.


I thought I'd share with you our yummy pancake breakfast this morning, but we gobbled it all up before I could get a picture, because we're all so freakin' hungry this morning!!! ::calms down a bit:: Seriously, who would ever have thought that a spelt/kamut pancake with fresh ground nut butter and homemade syrup would taste so absolutely incredible. I probably wouldn't have said so a few days ago, but these were like little pieces of heaven. I ate 4 5 7 of them!

It's a good reminder that perspective is everything!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Round One

The boys had their first LDA allergy treatment yesterday. They were so brave! Aaron, who had two shots, didn't cry at all, and Ethan cried a little bit, but really not as much as I had expected him to. I am impressed by this because they both said it felt like a wasp sting, and the nurse verified that it does feel a lot like a sting. Now, they have both been stung (Aaron twice) and their reactions were much more severe to the stings!

Their bravery is the good news. The "shot time" diet is another whole story... (For those of you who aren't English teachers, that's to say, "a whole 'nother story.") I am not, not, not not happy with the shot time diet creators. Now, I know this diet serves a purpose and the powers that be who decided what would and wouldn't be allowed during these three days weren't creating something that is intentionally spiteful. It is designed to eliminate the possibility of the person developing new allergies from the treatment rather than gain relief from the allergies said person already has. And the Good Lord knows we don't need any new allergies. So, from that standpoint, I'm actually thankful for the shot time diet. But my thankfulness only extends that far! I made the mistake of assuming some things going into this, and of not being prepared at. all. I mean, I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't. At. All.

Wednesday morning started our new diet, and I had prepared some rhubarb "jam" and some rhubarb concentrate to mix into water so we could have some flavored drinks. I had made some tapioca wafers that were completely void of flavor, but had that crunch that was missing in every other option for food. I soaked some granular tapioca that I thought I would cook and mix with the "jam" and some glycerin (for something to sweeten it up) to serve for breakfast. As it was cooking, I decided to use my handy, dandy food processor to shred some sweet potatoes to make a sweet potato hash. I scraped off the fat from the lamb stock I had made (thank goodness I had that fat - it came in so handy) and made the hash, to which I added some of the meat that came off the marrow bones I made the stock with. Thank goodness I made the hash last minute! The tapioca concoction was just so very, very wrong. It was horrible. None of us ate any of it. (Well, past that first bite we all would just like to forget. ::shudders::) Jerry and I thought the hash was actually quite good, but the kids thought it was nasty, too. For lunch I made lamb soup with root veggies, ground lamb, and the stock. Do you guys know that lamb smells bad? It tastes okay, but smells horrible. This made the boys a bit unwilling to try the soup. They ate some, but just couldn't wrap their brains around it. Needless to say, by about 12:30, they were starving and I had nothing but more of the same to offer them. I tried to sweetly remind them that this was all we had to eat for three days and that we could do this "adventure" for three days without complaining, right??? (Please???) Nope. I was in the middle of cleaning their beds since I forgot previously that I needed to put their pillows in the dryer and change their sheets. I was behind, stressed, and hungry, too! Of course, finding half the boy's possessions in their beds as I was trying to work didn't help at all. In the midst of my work, I started to make some lamb "nuggets," which is basically ground lamb with sea salt formed into tiny patties, coated in tapioca flour, and cooked in the pan so my boys wouldn't be hungry. After getting these going in the pan, I went back to start on Aaron's bed and discovered that not only had he cut a whole in his comforter since the last time I was up in his bed, he had also written in crayon all over the wood of his bed! This is where everything just started caving in...Anger boiled up inside of me and spilled right out. There was yelling. There were tears. There were empty threats. There were not so empty consequences after one of us had calmed down a bit. It was not pretty. The boys choked down a lamb patty (because they were too scared not to at this point...they didn't really taste very good...) and went to their nap with no toy like they normally get to have. After I fished all the things out of Andrew's mouth that he had managed to find during the previously mentioned episode, I put him in bed and prayed that the three days would go quickly.

Then I made salmon cakes. For some reason, I thought these would go over better than the lamb nuggets. brain wasn't working. Did I mention I was hungry? I made rainbow trout for dinner, which we all really liked; but, by that time I was feeling really, really horrible. I had a headache that was worse than any I'd had in years, my muscles all ached, my stomach hurt, and the beginnings of what I learned this morning is mastitis began to flare up. I just lay on the living room floor and cried that evening. I'd like to report that things got better in the morning, but they got worse. Aaron woke up vomiting from lack of food and withdraw. Andrew also vomited from drainage down the back of his throat from the backlash from his 6-month vaccines that I had delayed until he was 9 1/2 months (but for some reason scheduled the day before this whole circus began...). I still felt poor, but better. I began to wonder if I was allergic to lamb. We made it to the allergist, but my kids wouldn't eat breakfast and Ethan was starting to feel queasy, too. This is where the bright spot happened: brave kids! I was tested for lamb allergy while we were there, and guess what? I'm allergic to lamb. Mastitis notwithstanding, I felt so nasty Thursday because of this wonderful shot time diet that I was doing only to show support for my children. Needless to say, I will not be so supportive next time! :) Later in the day, Ethan's vomit started and we all started praying that these days would go by quickly.

There are some positive takeaways. I will plan much better next time. I will not buy any lamb next time. I will cook much more fresh fish that is not salmon next time. I learned how to make rhubarb leather that my kids like that we will make a whole bunch of next time (Of course, I cannot add the honey that the recipe calls for. I added some glycerin for sweetness, and plan to experiment with adding pureed, cooked carrots, too). And I learned that it is actually possible to make sweet potato flour in your own home (theoretically) (Scroll down to the bottom of the link to find the flour instructions). I will attempt to do this before the next shot time diet comes around the first of November so that I can make "tortillas" out of it. I will not make the things I made to prepare this time, because my kids would rather starve than eat flavorless tapioca wafers, apparently!

Poor Andrew was largely ignored during the last three days. Hey, we didn't even get school done the first two. This is what happens when you don't check in on the 9 month old often enough and have two other boys who cannot seem to remember to close the bathroom door:

At least he had fun! Tomorrow morning we can resume our normal "allergy" diet. I never thought I'd think it was so wonderful as I do now! So many choices of what to eat. Forget that we cannot have wheat or milk whenever we want. We don't have to eat lamb, fish, or rutabaga, and that, my friends, is a very good thing, indeed!