Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prom 2009

Prom 2009
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Can you believe it? A married couple going to Prom! Boy was it an eye opening experience or rather an experience where you would rather keep your eyes mostly closed.
I learned about the term "freaking." This is a type of dancing where instead of dancing facing each other, you dance as if your backside was glued to your partners front. That's all I'll say about this topic.
Peter went to Prom to take pictures of the event for Alta Loma High School's yearbook. He asked me if I wanted to take pictures but I refused. I was on overload. I've been at home too long out of commission. And, then I was shocked by what I saw.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Little hands

Little hands
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
I took this picture on Wednesday of my little charge Madison. I love little chubby baby hands. I love photography, too. It's my "thing" right now, my creative outlet. I adapted this poem from another poem called Handprints.

This photo is to remind you
When I have grown so tall,
That once I was a little babe
With hands so very small.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tasty Tilapia

My husband hasn't been feeling well lately. So, in the spoiling mood, I went to Winco yesterday and bought him some tilapia. I purchased 2 lbs. of it and ended up with 6 fillets. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks called The Food Nanny Saves Dinner by Liz Edmunds. In her recipe she calls for fresh halibut. But I have substituted frozen cod fillets and now frozen tilapia with numerous appreciative compliments from my husband and kids. I also adapted it by changing the wine called for in the recipe. The first time I made it I didn't have any white wine, so I used cream sherry instead. Yesterday when I served it I used white wine. Peter likes it much better with the sherry than the white wine - he says it has more zing to it. Whatever he likes - because I don't touch fish except for tuna sandwiches. I ate chicken potstickers, so there! The above picture isn't mine, but I grabbed it off the web because it suited my purposes. Here's the recipe:

Baked Fish
2 lbs. fish (cod, tilapia or halibut)
1/2 - 3/4 c. sherry
2 Tbs. olive oil
Santa Maria seasoning* (it's a blend of parsley, garlic, salt and pepper)

If your fish is frozen, thaw the fish by sealing it in a ziploc bag and running cool water over it until it is thawed. Preheat the oven to 375. Arrange the fish in a baking pan (I used a 9x13 pyrex pan). Drizzle the oil over the fillets. Then drizzle the sherry over them. Sprinkle seasonings over the fillets. Bake about 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky. Enjoy!

*I got the Santa Maria seasoning from my good friend Jeanne's son Eric a few years ago. I have never found it in stores here where we live. I was told that they sell it up in Santa Maria - duh on me! Thus, we have the name Santa Maria seasoning. I imagine you could make your own by using x amount of salt, 1/2 of x amount of pepper, 1/2 of x amount of garlic and 1/2 of x amount of parsley.

I served this with my wino rice. But what you serve it with is up to you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ruh roh!! What comes in must go out.

I can't believe I'm writing about this topic. But, my use for this blog is not only to let people know about the happenings in our family but as a journal of sorts too.
Ruh Roh! That's my homage to Scooby Doo.
My blog today is dedicated to our dog Bella. Tuesday she did something very odd. Ethan and Aeron were doing their usual thing of getting into stuff. My house is still quite cluttered and messy. They found a bag of water balloons and proceeded to gnaw the bag open and brought them to me to fill. I filled a few balloons and very carefully without their taking much notice, put as many as I could into a baggy to store for warm weather use.
Unbeknownst to me, Bella found the balloons as well. Moreover, she ate a good 20 balloons. I was dumbfounded when I realized this fact much later as I will describe. I have seen Bella eat foods that no other dog would eat. She's eaten peppermint candies, lettuce, and carrots, to name a few. But, I must have given her more than her share of credit because I never thought she would have tried eating latex/plastic water balloons. Wow!!
So, later that evening as I proceeded to put the small ones to bed, I found 2 donations from Bella. She had thrown up on the upstairs carpet. Yuck! I was completely aghast when I found the colorful water balloons intermixed with her stomach contents. I won't go any farther. It's absolutely disgusting.
And, the next day, when Peter took Bella for a walk he found even more little balloons in her outputs. Oh my gosh! Thank heavens that the balloons didn't clog up her digestive system.
I had to blog about it because I don't want to forget about this little episode and because I was so surprised by the whole incident.
I apologize if I have grossed you out. There's not much to me that is sacred anymore. When you have 5 kids, you've pretty much seen it all and done it all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Gratitude and Greetings

Ethan's egg
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Happy Easter! On this day that we celebrate Christ's resurrection and eternal life, I am grateful for a Savior that died for us so that one day we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for such a merciful plan of salvation. I am grateful for his grace and love. He knows us and loves us individually.
I am reminded of the lyrics of one of my favorite bands - Blue October. On their newest album Approaching Normal, the lead singer wrote a beautiful song about his daughter; it's called Blue Does. He sings, "She's the answer to the prayer I hadn't found."
I can identify with his feelings of love toward his daughter. There's nothing like the birth of a child and developing that parental bond to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. But, of equal importance is our relationship with our Savior. Christ is our ultimate answer. I know that as we look to him, we will find both our prayers and the answers. For that I am eternally grateful.
Here is one of my favorite Easter photos I took Sunday. I didn't take many photos because I was trying to keep track of the kids and Aeron was asleep during our Easter egg hunt. We spent the afternoon with Craig and Jeanne Clark and her family. She was gracious enough to cook dinner for us and we provided the food. It was a good trade-off. We went right from church to their house for dinner. It was nice not to worry about cooking.

Good Friends + Good Food = Good Times

Happy Birthday Peter and Happy Tax Day!!

Today is my husband's birthday. We are going to have a nice dinner for him. I'm making this recipe called Halibut Supreme I found in my cookbook called The Essential Mormon Cookbook. I thought I would give you the recipe in case you want to try it.

Halibut Supreme
2 lbs. fresh halibut pieces
1/2 butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs. chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
Buttered bread crumbs ( 1 c. crumbs plus 2 Tbs. melted butter)

Place halibut in salted boiling water. Simmer, covered, about 20 min. or until flaky. Drain well and set aside.
In a med. saucepan, make white sauce by melting the 1/4 c. butter, then stirring in flour until well combined. Add milk, salt, and Worcestershire, stirring constantly over med. heat until the mixture comes to a boil. continue cooking at a boil about 2 min. or until thickened. Remove from heat; set aside.
Saute onion in the 1 Tbs. of butter for aout 5 min. or until tender. Add to white sauce. Layer halibut, cheese,an sauce in greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish, ending with the sauce on top. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

Along with the fish, I'm making wino rice and a vegetable and his favorite cherry cheesecake. I hope he will like it. He loves seafood, so I'm sure he'll enjoy it.
Wino rice is a little misleading. I just call it that because it has a small amount of sherry in it which makes it so flavorful. I've included that recipe, too, in case you want it. My good friend Jeanne Clark gave it to me. It came in this 1950's home-ec cookbook she has. My son Steven LOVES this rice, he'll eat 4 servings of it if I let him.

Rice Pilaf (AKA Wino Rice)
2 c. long grain rice
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
2 10.5 oz. cans chicken broth
1 can water
1/2 c. sherry
1 c. green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
Saute rice with butter until brown. Place in baking dish and add broth, water, sherry and green onions. Cover and bake 1 hr. at 300.

Now, off to make a delicious dinner for my hubster.

Oh, and by the way, my friend came over and sat with the kids today so I could go get my chest x-ray. I should hear back in a day or two about the results. I'm making headway one step at a time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome to the ticky tacky house

Yes, this is an actual photo of my front door. This is kind of a symbol of how I feel lately. My door looks awful and I feel awful too! Now that you've seen a slice of my life, I have a question for you.
What do you do when you feel like the living dead? I've been slogging through life lately, wishing and wanting to savor all those small moments, but feeling too tired to enjoy them. I catch a few of them, but for the most part I feel terrible still! I just finished up my 10 days of antibiotic medication that was supposed to help me get rid of this walking pneumonia. But, guess what? My low grade fever is back and I feel like death. I'm still coughing and I'm still tired. And in the morning when I wake up, it has settled in my chest again.
I want to feel invigorated and vibrant again. I want to clean my house. Instead, I find myself sitting a lot. Trying to get things done, but not really accomplishing much. In fact, I even took a nap today after Ethan went to school and the wee ones were down, and after an hour when I woke up I still felt as bad as I did when I laid down. Where's the sense in that?
My one proud accomplishment is before I laid down, I took some time to read the scriptures and to pray. I am hoping for some divine guidance. I'm looking for a way out of this mess. It's been weighing heavily on my heart. I feel like there's a battle between the things I actually accomplish and the things I WANT to accomplish. I'm not gaining any headway in the areas of my wants.
Oh wait, scratch that. I did buy the paint to paint my door on Friday. And, I got a base coat of grey on and I started to get a coat of red on but it looked terrible because I had a lot of drips that dried. It's hard to care for your kids and swipe paint at the same time.! So, now I have two panels of red on my otherwise grey door. How tacky do we look? I wish I was a master painter and I could just whip that puppy out in an hour.
I don't think it sinful to have my wants. After all, my wants are things to better my home and family - like paint the outside door, organize all the clutter that is accumulating, paint the boy's rooms, landscape the yard, and plant my vegetables. They are not selfish or prideful. Well, maybe one, the one thing I desire is more free time. But, I look at that as necessary to my mental health.
I can't complain, I do get 3 hours of Ethan-free time Monday through Friday. But, some days I use that time to rest up and recoup my energy in preparation for the afternoon. But, it generally isn't long enough to get everything done around the house that needs to be done. I literally feel like I am slogging through water. Every step is difficult and tiring. I'm praying that the doctor will give me the orders for an x-ray to see what is going on in my chest. I feel like I might have 1/2 a chance if this pneumonia is gone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My 2 cents for Tuesday

Today was a busy affair. It started out getting the kids ready for the day. The painter came and finished up the patch job. It's nice to know that they are done. No more workers coming in and out of the house. It looks good.
Then I went over to my friend Cyndi's house and took a few more pictures of her puppies and a couple of her chicks. She is growing a great garden. I am trying to get a few seedlings started, but they keep getting disturbed my littlest helping hands. I also love the idea of Cyndi having egg laying chickens. I am seriously thinking about doing that myself. We would have organic eggs to feast on. We eat eggs a lot. Not only are they a good source of protein but they are a good source of Omega-3. We could keep them on the side of our house. I don't think right now is the best time for us to do it. Spring is generally the best time to start raising chickens.
I made dinner early on (Chicken Divan) and even got a batch of cookies made for a treat for the Cub Scouts. I added something special to the cookies today. I made my usual batch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies and added some flaxseed to it. I'm adding flaxseed to some of our recipes just as an extra special additive. It contains Omega-3 oils and is supposed to help with brain functions. I even added it to the Buckwheat pancakes I made this morning. Here's what I found out recently when I was learning about flax seed. It promotes cardiovascular health, colon health, it can boost immunity, provides fats that are precursors for brain building (also recommended for kids with ADHD), promotes healthy skin especially those who struggle with eczema, it may lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels, the fatty oils in flax seed can be slimming, and flax seed is a good source of protein.
At 4:30 we had Cub Scouts. We made a Pine Wood Derby car holder today with the Webelo's leader. I think there were 9 boys total and it seemed like we could have used more hands. They were their usual squirrely selves. But, my bribe of cookies did seem to help and they sure enjoyed making something.
This evening was another adventure in single-parenting. I felt like a referee most of the night moderating fights and various disagreements. Ethan had a couple temper tantrums but he eventually settled down. The highlight of the night was going over and picking lemons at my neighbor's house. He has a beautifully productive lemon tree with big lemons hanging in abundance from most every branch.
So, here's my 2 cents for the day.
1. I was inspired to pick lemons by this blog I've been reading. It's called Your HomeBased Mom. She is sharing all these spring recipes for lemons. I love the color of lemons. They are yellow and cheerful and felt they would be a welcome addition to our household. That's my little extra excitement for the day both for the benefit of beauty and our diet.
2. I am trying to be more health conscious, that's the reason I've added flax seed to our diet. I hope it is worth it.

Also, here's the recipe for the buckwheat waffles. I got it from this website called Dinner with Kirsten. I have altered it with a few differences mainly the addition to my precious flaxseed. No one seemed to notice the addition. It doesn't taste any different. But, I know those little seeds are in there making a magical difference. Plus, buckwheat flour is a good source of iron. And, adding iron to my diet is one of my top priorities right now.
Buckwheat Waffles (and Pancakes)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. flax seed
1 egg separated
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. water
2 Tbs. butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, mix well. In a smaller bowl mix up the egg yolk, buttermilk, water and butter. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients all at once and stir just to blend. Like usual, whip the egg white with a hand mixer or a whisk until soft peaks form, then fold the whites gently into the batter. Cook either as a waffle or a pancake. Enjoy!
Note: I generally double or triple the recipe. And, for variation I'll mash up a banana or 2.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Beach Day

I am so grateful for our beach trip. We were needing a family break. A place to get away from the cares of our everyday world. A place to relax and kick back. A beach trip!
Having grown up on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington (Whidbey Island), I feel at home on the beach. As a child at least 2-3 days a week, I would take a walk along the beach. It always cleared my head. I always came home with a smile and peace in my heart. It is such a restive place.
We went to Crystal Cove in Newport Beach. I love that beach. It has the obvious beach, the tide pools, and it has a unique history. They have all these historical cottages, some of which you can rent. It has a Ruby's atop the bluff where you can get a simple bite to eat. It has flat, gently slopping beaches. It's one of my favorite beaches.
One sad thing about our day is that you cannot take dogs to the beach. We brought our dog thinking that she would be a welcome addition. I wanted to capture some shots of her playing with the kids. Well, we found out that we could be fined $250 for having her. Thankfully, we weren't fined. But, I sure did enjoy having here there. The kids did too!

Friday, April 3, 2009

An egg-cellent evening!

Yesterday I seemed to have come undone. But, I managed to find some super glue to put me back together. It's always a process. It takes time, patience, and a restoration of health.
I believe in being honest with my emotions and true to myself. Last night we had our Women of Strength dinner. My friend Cyndi Lee hosted it. Carolyn Carcich, Linda Fakhoury, Michele Zakharov and I enjoyed her warm hospitality. What a nice treat. At one point, Cyndi who had read my blog earlier in the day asked me if I would regret what I had written? I told her no. There's nothing I wrote which I am ashamed of and I let Peter off easy. We really didn't discuss my emotions yesterday. It was apparent when he got home that I was having a rough day. Plus, some times it's better to stay quiet on a subject until I can approach it from a calm and rational angle. Enough said.
Cyndi is raising these beautiful Golden Retriever puppies - 5 males. They are incredibly cute and already house broken. I was able to snap a few shots of them in action. They were so sweet everyone couldn't help loving on them.
To top it off, Cyndi revealed to us her newest project - CHICKS!! So cute. I am going to come back over there during daylight hours so that I can photograph the chicks. I'm excited. I'm sure it will be interesting. They are going to raise them to lay eggs. What a great idea, especially in this economy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My rose-colored glasses are missing today! I can't seem to find them.

I am angry today. I feel like I keep spinning my wheels at very high speeds with no results. I feel like I am continually running on empty and there is no gas station in sight or in driving distance! Just getting out of bed each day takes a herculean effort not to mention all the different responsibilities that come after that!
I am angry because I feel compelled to do so much for my children and yet for the most part my boys are ungrateful, unhelpful, and one of them is completely unfeeling. I find myself questioning why I continue to do so much for them when it isn't appreciated. I want to be a good mother for them and for the most part I am. I want to bless them with those things and opportunities I never had.
I am angry because I need my children to help me with household tasks, and getting them to help me is almost impossible. When assigned a particular chore, I can't stay on right on top of them because I have a child named Ethan who requires my constant attention almost every single minute (Yesterday he used a watermelon I had just bought as a soccer ball! And that was just in the first 5 minutes after he got home from school!!). That's the dark side to life with autism, the constant attention a child needs and the utter lack of regular breaks.
I am angry because I feel like I cannot get on top of my housework - I feel completely buried UNDER it. I look at areas of my house and want to run away! And, that was just the beginning of my morning before 8 am.
I went to the doctor today. I have a chest cold I can't seem to get over. I have felt like crap lately. I long to lie in my bed for hours and sleep but there are too many screaming voices running through my house to allow for that. I have walking pneumonia. And to top it off, my iron levels are DESPERATELY low. Normal iron levels in adult females are 65-165 micrograms/dL. My score is 13! That accounts for part of why I feel so tired all the time and I don't want to do anything. The helpful pharmacist gave me a superpill to take for iron. So, I will take those and then soon I'll have another blood test to see how I'm doing. In addition, my B12 levels are low. He gave me a shot for that and will give me another one in 28 days. He said the B12 shots are like liquid nitrogen and he hopes they will light a fire under my butt. He said that's what the B12 shot did to his wife. On the downside, if the iron pills don't work, I'll have to get transfusions.
I am angry because I am sick! I don't have time to be sick. There are too many things that need to get done for me to be sick. Sickness prevents me from doing the things that need to be done AND the things I want to do. There are so many things I want to do. I want to paint my house, heck I would settle for just painting my bedroom to start with. I want to decorate my house so I actually want to live here! I want to get back to my jewelry making. I would love some time just for me!
I am angry because my husband is sick. I feel like he has been almost constantly sick for the past year. He is struggling with one thing or another. When he is sick, he is not at his best. He is short with the kids. He doesn't have the energy it takes to keep up with all the responsibilities we have.
I am angry because my husband does not help me with the housework. Yesterday he couldn't even put a dirty dish away in the dishwasher. And, he left the smelly dish the salmon cooked in out and unwashed and un-put away. He left it out despite the fact that I was a nice wifey and cooked salmon just for him even though I HATE fish and cooking it makes the house STINK. (This is just a temporary feeling. I will have forgiven him by this evening or tomorrow; love takes a lot of work and mutual tolerance!).
I am angry because my husband spends so much time at school and I need him here at home. And, I feel like if I ask him not to spend so much time at school, I am condemning him to be a bad teacher and handicapping him from providing adequately for our family. And, if he does make that sacrifice, he will stress out and feel like he is not doing his job well, and the list of his stresses go on and on and on. I hate the fact that he has a new college class on Tuesday that take even more time away from our family, when I am stuck here all day with children who cannot even speak in complete sentences.
Today is just an angry day. I think I am allowed those once in a while. I hope it will diminish by the time the kids get home so I can put on my mom face and greet them with an appropriate expression when they get home! Some days are just like that.
One happy thing about today is that I am so glad Peter bought Blue October's new album called Approaching Normal. On the album there are some really good songs, and a few that are a little angry. One song I really like is called Jump Rope. The lyrics are located here, they are very uplifting and cheered me up. Thanks Blue October! The lead singer's name is Justin Furstenfeld. I appreciate how he is so emotionally honest in his song writing. I love it!
That is my day. Some day are good and others not so good. Oh well, there's always tomorrow! Hopefully all the money I just spent today for medication will be worth the expense. I hope they help me feel better, and soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fruit or faux?

Fruit or faux?
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Here's that creepy looking fruit. I have no idea what it is. I don't even know if it is edible. They remind me of sugar coated orange dyed cherries. What's your vote: fruit or faux?