Tuesday Tuesday

First, a tip. 

I have always had issues with dishwasher detergent. Either the stench (“scent” to dishwasher soap makers) bothers me, the eco stuff is too expensive, or the cheaper/off brand eco stuff just doesn’t work like I want it to. So I found a “recipe” (using that as loosely as possible…) using borax and baking soda. Half and half. So I mixed a cup each one day, put in a tablespoon in the little soap thingy in the dishwasher and held my breath. So, end result? It works as good or better than the other stuff, with no harsh scents! Sometimes I add vinegar in the little container meant for that jet dry stuff.

Hmm, what else. Blogging is funny for me. Either I have waaay too much to talk about or feel like I have nothing to say. So weeks pass and I don’t blog. I have the best intentions! But alas, other parts of my life need my attention more and I am neglectful to my poor bloggy. 

Our computer died (RIP Mr. Dell) so I pulled out my mini mac from the closet and using that to get online. It is pretty slow, and things like Facebook aren’t as fun. But maybe that means my blog will get the attention it deserves. 

We had to put our new kitty, Penny (Penelope Lane) to sleep. She was a stray taken in by a friend’s family, and then we took her in. She was very thin and lethargic so we took her to the vet. Sadly we could not save her. We gave her so much love in the few days we knew her but I am still having a hard time with it. We were already so attached to her, she was so very sweet. 

The end of school for the kiddos is nearing, day by day. I found a math curriculum online for Koda. 2 months free, whoopee! This will help him get up to speed for next year, and maybe we will keep using it. It is nice to try it out and see if it works for him. I feel learning another language is important in today’s society, and after the language program for neighborhood children was shut down at our school, and the pay program too expensive for our family, I wondered how to provide this for my kids. I didn’t want them to have to wait until high school to learn a language. In my thoughts, if they are exposed and learning at a younger age maybe it will become easier as the years pass. Andrew started out learning Japanese but is now almost done with Spanish. I asked my younger two which languages interested them. Lila, (no surprise to me) immediately said Japanese. So, about a week ago I found a tutor for her! Yay! Lila learned some Chinese at school before the program was cut, but I was not able to continue her learning at that time. So now on to Koda. He hasn’t come up with anything yet but I’m sure we will figure out something soon. I would like to learn Spanish, so it would be nice if he chose that, or even German…which would mean I would have to brush up on it. Fun, and who knows what he will come up with! 

So if you don’t know already, we have decided to homeschool Koda & Lila next year. I am so excited. I have been making notes/computer documents and looking at curriculum and discovering new and familiar homeschool email lists. It has been so fun! I think our previous years homeschooling have taught me a lot, and I am ready to go with new energy. I do have worries and questions and as I go along I make sure to write them down and chat about them with other homeschooling folks. 

This week is already short, and busy. I need to sit down with my calendar at some point today, the Summer is filling with activity already. I’m hoping for the perfect balance of little bits of activity followed by stretches of lots of nothing…:)

Have a happy week!

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Monday Meme: 15 Truths

Warning: I’m feeling a bit serious/melancholy today.

1. I tried to revive someone I knew using CPR. They died.

2. I am introverted, but could talk all day/night with the right person. In groups I am generally quiet, preferring to listen to others talk about themselves. I have a hard time judging sometimes when I am talking too much, or not enough. I dream of being silent for days on end.

3.  I am a survivor.

4. I’m not sure if I will ever finish college…and it is possible my kids will finish first, or be going at the same time I do.

5. When my kids are grown I could quite possibly live in a tent or out of a backpack…as much as possible, anyway.

6. I met the love of my life at 18. I’m still absolutely mad about him. Sometimes he makes me absolutely mad! The balance is divine.

7. I volunteered at an abortion clinic. This happened a few years after I stopped volunteering, at the same clinic.

July 29, 1994 Dr. John Bayard Britton and his volunteer escort, James H. Barrett, are slain outside a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic. Barretts wife, June, is wounded in the attack. Paul J. Hill, 40, a former minister and antiabortion activist, is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

So thinking about prolife, prochoice, etc. takes me back to this, every single time.

8. When I was little, I thought a lot about being able to divide myself into parts, so that I could live with all of the people I loved.

9. I regularly stash chocolate for myself. It may be months before I can find it again, however.

10. I dream about publishing a book of my own poetry.

11. I sometimes watch horror movies during the day when everyone is at school/work.

12. I’m reading the Bible. After I’m done I’m going to read the Book of Mormon. I wish I could discuss what I’m reading with someone, but so far it is just me, myself and I.

13. I’ve never had a vacation with my husband since getting married. It’ll happen someday, I’m not too worried about it.

14. I actually don’t like most video games. I do like playing Monopoly online though.

15. I will be one of those ladies with small, fancily dressed dogs someday. I can’t wait.

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All lentils are NOT created equal…

Ok this one has been brewing in my head for a couple days.

It has taken me a really long time to get around to trying French (supertinygreen) lentils. Before, even after being veggie for eons I rarely ate them. Drew always said they gave him heartburn. Personally, I think he didn’t really like them. Looking back, any recipe I made with them was just meh. And if I do say so myself, I’m a decent cook. I honestly don’t think I like the regular ol brown lentils. There, I said it.

Then a while back I tried red lentils. Yum. I mostly like them in Indian dishes but I’ve tried a few soups with them also. Last week I picked up the supertinygreen lentils for a stew. Wow. Ok, now *that’s* what I’m talking about! Thing is, I just made up something for them to go in, nothing major. No fancy schmancy recipes or anything! The only thing I will change is adding a couple fresh tomatoes when they are in season instead of the stewed tomatoes. Supertinygreen lentils, I did not fear you. Everyone loved them. These will become a new staple in our house. Hooray!

So, here is the result:

2 cups French green lentils

1 large onion

few cloves garlic

handful or two of mushrooms

3-4 carrots (mine were small, if yours are bigger just use a 1 or2)

2 potatoes

can of stewed tomatoes (i would normally use fresh, but they aren’t in season. i do think the tomatoes add something, or i would just omit them)

olive oil for sauteeing onions and carrots (about 2 tbsp)

around 6-8 cups broth (i used veggie, use whatever you have)

Tbsp basil

2 bay leaves

sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

First, I sauteed the onion in the olive oil by itself for a couple minutes, then added the carrots, sauteed them for a couple minutes, then added the mushrooms and sauteed them for another couple minutes…all on medium heat. I like to cook my onions this way as I feel it brings out a great flavor. So the onions will cook a bit longer than anything else. As they don’t burn you can saute them this way for a while, I usually do 6-8 minutes. I then added everything else! The broth, the tomatoes, the potatoes, the herbs.  I let this cook about 45 minutes to an hour all total. Towards the end I tasted it and added a little sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Probably 8 turns of the peppermill? Well that is a personal taste, you can adjust as you like. I made some brown rice to go with it, but I enjoyed it without. This fed 6 of us, with leftovers!

Gooooooooooooo Lentils!

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Bee Fun

Week 1 of spring break is over, Lili is back at school. She was so excited, she laid out her own clothes before bed last night. I always say this, but she has really been growing up lately. So much more independent. I can’t believe in a couple months she will be 8. How can my baby (!) be 8? I ask myself these questions constantly…but, children they do grow up. They really aren’t little forever. Sniff sniff.

We had a lot of fun last week. We went on a few walks. On one walk, we stopped at Ben & Jerry’s for milkshakes. Um…yeah. We live *thatclose* to one. I had a buy one, get one coupon so it was a great surprise for Lili and Kota. 4 of us went to see Tron Legacy at the Avalon theater. It is a decent, inexpensive place to see second-run movies. They are also showing Black Swan…I may go by myself if I can get away this week. The theater we were in was pretty small, next time we will remember to sit on the aisle side. Ahem…some people had to go to the bathroom a couple times. I hated the original Tron (gasp!) but Tron Legacy was pretty cool, I must say. Lili had a sleepover *and* and birthday to attend, luckily both were spaced out just enough! She made the birthday girl a necklace that said “You Rock”. She is always creating….she is turning me into a crafty person myself…despite my fear of the clutter it creates. I dedicated a cabinet to all of the crafty stuff, so if it all stays in there I’m good. I think this could be that *thing* that we always do together. We also spent some time with friends on Friday, going up to one of my favorite places in Portland, Council Crest Park. You can see *Everything* from up there.

Speaking of craftiness…we made these super cute bees ! Aww!!!

Thank you Simple Mama! Lili was a bit frustrated her stripes weren’t perfect but I showed her how to even them up a bit. It was a great craft, even my 12 year old wanted to make one….and we had all the supplies already at home! Yay…I love when that happens! We want to hang them in the window but for now they are hanging from the light fixture in the dining room.

In the last week or so I’ve tried 3 new recipes for my crockpot. Indonesian Chicken, Indian Spinach & Tofu and Autumn Sausage Casserole. The Indonesian Chicken recipe was the most popular. In the future I will tweak this recipe just a bit more. I added a lot of garlic chili pepper sauce but it still wasn’t spicy enough for us. Also, to me, the peanut butter seemed to be overwhelming. Next time I will add less of that. Overall it was pretty good, especially with sticky rice. But we think just about everything is good with sticky rice! The Indian Spinach & Tofu I had high hopes for, but it was just Ok. I will try one more time, doubling the spices, possibly omitting the tofu and adding a can of coconut milk. The Autumn Sausage Casserole Drew & I loved. I used chicken sausage with artichoke & garlic. Everyone else ate it, but didn’t like it too much. I think next time I will try it with some of the veggie sausage links I’ve seen at Trader Joes. It was a good balance of sweet & savory, in my opinion. The sweet part though, was what everyone else thought was strange, so I may try again without the apple, raisins and cinnamon.

I finished my closet yesterday! Yay for me! I honestly wasn’t sure how much space would be left over after organizing everything but…Wow! I have a lot more space than I thought! Yay again! Today is menu planning day, so I’m off to search for a couple crockpot recipes!

Have a great week, and check back with me here later on in the week. I’m going to try to post 2-3 times a week from now on. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section…I would love to hear them.

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Thursday Top Ten: Spring Edition

Since I’m finally seeing some signs around that Spring is actually here…I thought I would post my top ten favorites…with a little input from the kiddos. What are yours?

1. The many different colors of GREEN I see popping up everywhere, even the new moss in the cracks of the sidewalk!

2. Sun breaks!

3. Birdwatching. Also, hearing the bird songs as we try to find our favorites.

4. Having the windows open, even just for a little while, really soothes my soul.

5. Watching the bulbs we planted last Fall make their way from green leafies into blooms. It seems like something happens daily out there in the flower bed!

6. Asparagus!

7. Saying goodbye to my flannel nightie for a couple seasons.

8. This year, my friend is having a baby (like really soon!) Life is so sweet, and the Spring season is so full of it!

9. In this part of the country, people everywhere just seem to be in a little better mood when the Sun starts shining regularly. I start to see lots of people out and about enjoying the weather. Sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming…like wow! I didn’t know so many people lived here! Ha ha ha:)

10. Spring cleaning. As much or as little as I get done, there is something so satisfying about organizing/brightening our space.

Happy Spring!


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Spring Break

We started the Spring Break off right, at Oaks Park! Woo hoo! This little amusement park was born in 1905. The carousel is my favorite. I’ve always loved carousels the most (probably since there were horses) but this one, well I have never seen another one like it. It is really old, and not shiny and new…probably another reason why I like it that much more. You can ride a frog, dog, cat, giraffe, even a dragon. Here is a bit more info about it. Oaks Park Carousel While we were waiting on Lili’s friend we saw some neat old pictures of the park when it was new. They had a boardwalk (the park overlooks the river) back then, which I wish they still had.

This morning the kids put on some music and are doing some creating. I think we are going to make some candles today. A walk will be nice too. Lili has a week, the boys have 2. We don’t have big plans but a few fun things here and there. My big plan is to get my closet organized. I have the biggest closet and have the fewest personal things so household stuff and everyone else’s things end up in there. Although we have a garage, we don’t have an attic anymore so all the seasonal decorations end up in there. I did a big purge of decorations around Christmas time so we really only have a couple boxes besides the tree. I’m actually looking forward to it, oddly enough. Things like laundry, dishes, etc. are never ending. A closet, after you organize it, stays that way for a while, at least.

Also today, I’m making Indian Spinach and Tofu . I need to get to that really soon because wow…it is almost 12 already. Then a walk up to my favorite neighborhood mountain ❤ After we get home, a quick clean up and then I will plan out our weekly menu. What are some of your family’s favorites? Please do share in the comments, I would love that!

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