Friday, July 31, 2009

70 years and loving every minute!

Yesterday, was a nice treat. Jane Bradshaw earlier in the week sent out an email inviting us out to celebrate Agnes Anderson's 70th birthday. We met at Mimi's Cafe for a lunch of conversation and visiting. It was a great time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

An injury for Ethan

Ethan's 3 staples and his bald spot
The wounded Ethan sleeps

Friday, July 24th, our church finished up the last day of a week long church sponsored Cub Scout daycamp. Ethan attended with Peter the last 2 days. Friday, my presence was requested at the stake center to attend the parent night and closing ceremonies. It was from 6 to 8 PM.
As I neared the stake center, Peter called and told me that I needed to come over to the children's area as soon as I got there. I immediately asked if anything was wrong. Peter told me that Ethan had an accident and needed stitches. Evidently, Ethan was playing on a rock and fell and hit his head on the rock.
When I got there, Ethan sat calmly in Peter's lap as Peter held an ice pack to Ethan's head. It seemed like nothing was wrong until he removed the ice pack to reveal an almost v-shaped small tear in Ethan's scalp. Indeed, he needed stitches, it wasn't serious but stitches were in order.
Now I had the task of checking the older two boys out, gathering their camp supplies, take them home and then get Ethan's head patched up. It was a surreal experience as I made my way through the throng of children who were simultaneously talking and moving. I finally located Jon's camp leader and gathered his stuff and Peter took care of Steven's camp checkout as he had been Steven's camp leader during the week.
One piece of luck did occur. As of July 1st our primary care provider stopped accepting our HMO. He now takes only PPO, which excludes us, we are on the cheap plan. But, his office secretary Dotty appeared at my side and revealed that she too was a member and offered her help. She was there that night to watch her cub scout. She called our previous doctor and asked if he would be willing to stitch Ethan's head up so we could avoid the ER. He declined, as he was engaged in some undisclosed activity but suggested that instead of going to the ER like we had originally planned, we should head over to the urgent care. I hadn't thought of that.
I am grateful for Dotty's help and for Dr. Fakhoury's advice. Going to the urgent care saved us $85 and 3-4 hours. Our co-pay at the hospital is $100 compared to the $15 copay for urgent care. And, the wait time at the hospital is 3-5 hours on a good night compared to a 20 minute wait at the urgent care. Within 90 minutes we were in and out of the urgent care.
Ethan ended up getting 3 staples in his scalp. They ended up shaving the area, which he hated and struggled against. Then the doctor gave us a choice, give him a local anesthetic and stitches or give him staples very quickly without any local. The problem with the local anesthetic was that he would have had to use a needle to give him the local and then use a needle to stitch it up. Ethan would not have tolerated that. So, we opted for the 3 staples. Peter and I held him tight as the Dr. did his work. He screamed, but within a minute his pain was over with and he was happily playing on my iPhone.
The doctor had us wait around to make sure Ethan was stable. And, he also very quickly ruled out any head trauma. No CT scans for Ethan which is another thing he would not have tolerated. After the staples were in, the Dr. wrapped Ethan's head with gauze and told us to leave it on for 48 hours. I almost started laughing out loud. Obviously, that Dr. did not know Ethan. There was no way that the bandage would last even 24 hours! It lasted until 8:30 AM the next morning. Since then, we have been slathering his head with Neosporin ointment and hoping for the best. Ever since then, he's been wearing a Superman cap to cover up the bald spot on his head.
Ethan had a rough night the first night. He awoke at 3:30 AM screaming and crying that his head hurt. We gave him Tylenol and some food and drink and then ended up giving him some Motrin. Ever since then, he hasn't had any pain reliever. He's acted like nothing is the matter, that nothing ever happened.
Ethan's head looks like he is a Frankenstein throw back. I personally don't like staples very much, but they are pretty quick which was our first concern. And in retrospect, we are lucky he hasn't had to have staples before now. Ethan is such a daredevil. He is constantly running and jumping. He's like the energizer bunny. He's been lucky not to have had stitches before now.
Wednesday, we have to go back and get his staples removed. Then he can get wet, have a shower. Until then, no water. No swimming, no baths, no water. So, as a sign of solidarity, none of us have been in the pool even though it is hot outside. The kids did have a shower this morning, but that is to be expected. Ethan received a sponge bath.
Ethan's ability to bounce back is nothing short of amazing. He astounds me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Laker Mania Apron

Here's another example of my growing portfolio of aprons. This one was commissioned by a friend of mine whose aunt is a big Laker fan. I had to look in 6 different stores to find this material. I kept hoping to find fabric that was more toned down but no such luck.
My friend Teresa, reassured me that a Laker's fan would love my creation. I think so. I am happy with the finished product.
Pretty soon, I'll be opening an Etsy shop selling custom ordered aprons. If you are interested in ordering one before then, please let me know. I would be happy to sew for you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catch up on cooking

Summer has been very busy lately and I haven't kept up with my blog.

But, here is one of the recipes I have tackled recently. When we lived in Utah, we would purchase these gigantic, CD size sugar cookies. The brand name was Granny B's sugar cookies. They are very similar to the Lofthouse brand of sugar cookies. The cookies are amazingly soft and moist and the frosting is delicious.

Granny's Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. butter, softened (no substitutes!)
2 large eggs
2 Tbs. Vanilla extract
4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Then gradually add the flour continuing to mix until well blended. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with various shaped cookie cutters, if you so desire, dipping them in flour first so the dough will release easily.
Transfer cookies to a cookie sheet lined parchment paper, they will transfer to a cooling rack so easily.Bake at 350 degree for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies when they barely are brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Just Like Lofthouse Easy Pink Sugar Cookie Frosting
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 c. softened butter (no substitutions!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. half and half
5 drops of red food coloring

Using a mixer, beat all ingredients together until well mixed. Start slow or you will be covered with powdered sugar. The consistency should not be too firm, but also not runny. It should hesitatingly drip/plop from your spatula if you scoop up a dollop and hold it over the bowl. Use an extra Tbs. of cream or of powdered sugar to regulate the thickness. It is best to ice the cookies with the frosting right after you make it as it will be almost perfectly smooth when it sets.
Know that if you put it in the fridge, it will firm up to almost twice as hard as it is right after you mix it, just leave it out on the counter to thaw and then use a fork to fluff it up.
If you want to be exceedingly decadent, or stupid like I was, use 1 1/2 c. of butter instead of the 1/2 c. I misread the directions, and change the powdered sugar to 3+ cups. The mistake more closely resembled the Granny B frosting. But, it isn't very good on the waistline!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A surfer and his dog

A surfer and his dog
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Saturday around noon we decided to take a quick trip to the beach. I wanted to go to a beach where we could include our dog. And, by the way, she hated it! She hates water, she didn't like the sand. But, it was a good opportunity for her to get out and socialize with other dogs.

We decided to go to Huntington Beach Dog Beach ( a little redundant, don't you think?). It is a stretch of beach just south of Bolsa Chica where dogs can be off their leash and play and be free. It is also a great environment for my son Ethan to visit with other dogs, being the animal lover that he is.

We spent a great afternoon and evening there. We got there rather late. But I like that because I didn't have to worry about sunscreen. Nobody got burned. We got a little chilly. But we got to observe this spectacular sunset and I got to take lots of pictures.

Earlier in the day, I told Peter I needed to get out of the house or I was going to go crazy. I really meant it. I wanted to strangle Ethan (in a nice way, of course). Peter asked me if I wanted to go alone and I just didn't feel like that would be fair to the children. They deserve to get out as well and have been stuck at home like me.

My favorite place to go is the beach, besides Disneyland. Peter was very obliging and understanding and agreed to go. The sand of the beach annoys him. The clean up is such a hassle.

We didn't get home until very late. We didn't leave the beach until after sunset around 8:30 PM. I had to photographically document the setting of the sun (silly me!) and then we had to desand the kids. That takes awhile.

But, do you know about the miracles of baby powder? I bet you don't. Well, if you have sand in those tender spots that aren't meant to have sand and that chafe when sand is present, just sprinkle some baby powder there and the sand magically goes away. Of course, you have to do some work and rub it away but the sand disappears.

But, I just wanted to share with you one of my favorite photos I took at the beach that day. I think I have finally mastered the concept of silhouettes on my camera. For me, being at the beach with the sand and the sound of the surf is like pushing that little reset button we have on so many of our electronic gadgets. I can start over fresh and feel better about things. I just thought I would share that in case you ever wanted to know!

Thanks for reading and your patience with my ramblings. :)

An important life lesson

So, I was just spending a few quiet moments on the computer reading up on some of the other blogs I follow and one of them just completely blew me away!
Sarah at is a great source of delicious recipes, beautiful pictures and wisdom. I loved her sentiments about parenting and I am going to start using this technique with my children. I don't know where she found it, discovered it, or learned of it, but it hit home with me and we all need a little help at being more Christ-like. Thank you Sarah for sharing.
Her posting is called, Lesson in Servanthood.
She states that her two preschool age sons are "poster children for "best friends/worst enemies"." She's been conducting an experiment. "When one of them offends, hurts, whacks, taunts- sins against his brother, I put the offender in time out. Not in a time out chair removed from the family, as I would normally do, but on a chair in our family room. In the center of our home." The injured party gets some love and soothing from Mom, "and then immediately begins serving his brother who is sitting in time out. He can bring his ... brother a snack, a drink, a toy, put on his favorite movie, or find some other way of loving and serving the one who has hurt him. The one who has offended him. The one that reached out in anger and administered the blow."
"Why? Why this approach? It seems so backwards and unfair. Let the train-thrower serve the brother who wears the bandaid across his forehead. Let him pay for what he's done."
"I chose this approach for my precious, malleable boys because serving someone who has hurt you, offended you, sinned against you is so terribly difficult when your wounds are fresh and raw- but so worth undertaking. Because reaching out in forgiveness and love when you want to whack the one who hurt you over the head breaks down walls, heals, and restores. And, because extending grace trumps the sin that would sever, tear, and break."
"But, most importantly, I chose this approach because Jesus responded this way. Because Jesus reached out in forgiveness when His wounds were fresh and raw. Because Jesus extended grace immediately, when His forehead still bled from the wounds of our sin."
"It's easy to be angry, punish, ignore, retaliate. It's what comes naturally when you've veen on the receiving end of injustice and hurt."
"But it's amazing what happens when you immediately begin to serve someone who has hurt you. Your wounds begin to heal. Their shame is replaced with gratitude."
"Pain and brokenness are replaced with joy as the relationship is restored."
"As my little boys grow into men, they will be hurt, offended and betrayed more times than I can ever bear to think about." And, most frequently, by those close to them."
"It is how they respond to those offenses that will reveal the true depth of their character. My hope for them is that they learn to respond in love, servanthood, forgiveness and grace. Just like their Savior"
After reading this amazing post I was stunned. Sure things can go wrong with this approach, but by using the Spirit to guide us, we can truly teach our children this Christ-like attribute during the time that they need it most! What better way to teach our children the worth of souls, especially at a time when they are thinking the worst thoughts about their offender.
I felt prompted to share this message with you. I hope it is as powerful for you as it was for me. We all need help and most especially inspiration when it comes to raising good children.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wild mountain flowers

Wild mountain flowers
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Ah, the beauty of nature! I miss living in Amador county. You have the beauty of the foothills right at your fingertips and then if you travel upcountry you have the mountains and snow. We traveled upcountry to visit one of my old high school haunts - Tiger Creek. After my husband left to return home on Father's day I took the kids out on a drive and we drove up to Tiger Creek. I was actually hoping to find Indian Falls but that didn't work out. It seems the old trail/road is grown over. I don't have a 4 wheel drive either. So, we turned around and went home. On our hike, we saw these beautiful blue flowers right off the trail and I couldn't help but snap a picture or two. The kids played in the streambed and got wet and we were serenaded by the music of the river. That was a lovely afternoon full of memories for me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jefferson and I

Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
Saturday, which also happened to be the 4th of July, I met a long ago school chum for lunch.
Years ago in a galaxy far away Jeff and I attended elementary school (Crystal Springs Elementary in Bothell, WA) and junior high (Canyon Park Jr. High also in Bothell, WA). Growing up together, everyone used to think we were brother and sister. How many people have red hair and freckles like we did? And to make matters worse we both played the violin. We sat next to each other in orchestra. Had several of the same classes and teachers.
So, a 6 months ago, I was on Facebook and looked up some of my long lost friends. He was a very memorable one -we used to fight and compete with each other.
Well, it turns out he's been living relatively close by for several years now. Jefferson lives in Studio City and is in the film industry. In fact, he has even made his own movie, which he is just about ready to release on the internet. I guess that is how you get noticed and start to break your way in with the big league film makers.
A couple months ago on Facebook, Jefferson announced that he is moving to London in August. He is going to attend film school there for his Master's degree. And, since I live this close, I wanted to take the opportunity to visit with him before he moves.
So we arranged to meet at an English pub called Fox and Hounds Pub and Grille in Studio City. It was a delightful lunch. My son Steven came along for the ride and the food. I got to eat some things I have never tried before. We had a pastie with potatoes, onions, and cheese, it was like a calzone the way all the stuff was baked and all steamy inside and it also reminded me of a pot pie. It had that kind of a flaky crust - yum! Steven and I shared it. And for dessert we had Treacle. It was delicious. Treacle is kind of like a spice cake. It had a pineapple type glaze on top and was served with vanilla cream sauce. It was served warm right out of the oven. I'm getting all hungry just describing the food!
We spent 3 hours chatting and reminiscing. It was a rare treat. It was wonderful visit and hear about my friends in Washington.
When we moved from Bothell, WA down to Sutter Creek, CA, I left behind all my friends and my orchestra days. Sutter Creek didn't have an orchestra program.
So after playing the violin for 5 years, I gave it up. I loved playing. I never had private lessons so I learned incorrect technique and posturing. But I loved the music and being a part of a whole. It was amazing to me when all the parts combined, what beautiful music we could make. We played in several festivals and competitions. We won some awards even. Our conductor/teacher was Mr. Clark. He was a very good man. He was a great teacher. How he was able to take a group of junior high kids and mold them into a cohesive unit and a functional orchestra is beyond my imaginings. But, he did.
So, that is the one of the most fun things I have done so far this summer. It was a rare adventure. When I contacted Jefferson, I didn't want him to think I was a weird stalker or anything. I was just curious about him and his life and wanted a chance to visit.
Peter was very generous. He had no desire to go anywhere or do much on the 4th. He had a lot of grading and curriculum development to do. So, he stayed home with the remaining kids and Steven and I went off to lunch. It was a memorable afternoon where we shared many fond memories of childhood! Thanks Jeff.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Parents of the year, here we come!

I do not mean this in a serious way. Actually it is a rather self-deprecating comment. During our 7 day adventure at Grampa's house there were a couple of mishaps. When Ethan decides to do something dangerous, it generally isn't in a small way, it's BIG!
So, as I was describing in the previous post about Black Bart Day, when I headed out with the big kids downtown, I left Peter, Aeron, Ethan and Grampa at home. Grampa was upstairs doing his thing. And, Peter had laid Aeron down for a nap and finally had coaxed Ethan into a RARE nap as well. When I left, my 3 family members were safe and sound and asleep. However, later when Peter came to join me downtown at the tail end of the festivities, he relayed Ethan's solo adventure.
Let me begin by saying that in no way do I hold Peter responsible. Things happen even with the most careful of parents. When Peter lays down with Ethan, he generally has Ethan in a close resemblance to a headlock. Not a tight one but a loose one, so that he can feel him wriggle and fidget. And, when Ethan wakes up, Peter can feel him wake up and get up as well. This time, Ethan must have wised up and been very slow with his movements.
One thing you have to understand about Ethan is that there is nothing quiet about Ethan. There is either loud or asleep. While he does understand the concept of quiet and loud, he does not understand how they apply to him and his voice modulation. As a result, at church during the sacramental portion he is loud, when the baby is napping and I whisper to him to be quiet, Ethan is loud and slams the doors. He is a whirling dervish.
Back to the story. Ethan quietly escaped from Peter's embrace and decided to go outside. I have a feeling he was looking for me. I don't know whether he wandered upstairs where my Grandpa was, but nonetheless, he got out of the house. Let me add that my Grandpa has an alarm system where when you open a door you hear a beep beep. My Grandpa can't hear it. And Peter wasn't conscious of it either being that he was asleep. So off Ethan went. I don't know how long he was wandering or what he was doing. What I do know is that a friend of mine, Darcie Busi, from my high school days found him wandering off the busy Sutter Creek-Ione Rd. Thank Heavens for her!
That road is about 2 1/2 blocks downhill from my Grandpa's house. I don't know how far up or down the road he was. I can't really get many answers from him. But, when Darcie found him she asked him what his name was. He replied, but she couldn't understand it. Then she asked him who his parents are. He responded, "Peter and Bonnie Gale." She immediately recognized the name and the police officer who was called was given directions to Grandpa's house. I am grateful for all the caring people involved. I am grateful for Ethan's safe return.
Peter didn't wake up until the police officer rang the downstairs doorbell. He was in a state of shock when he realized what had happened. The police officer described what had happened and then Peter explained that we had just arrived there that morning. That Ethan is autistic and rides the short bus and is in a special ed program. The officer was very understanding. Ethan was very remorseful. He repeatedly kept saying, "I'm sorry."
In fact, the funniest thing he said was later in the afternoon. He looked at me and with his little gestures he makes, said, "I'm not going to get gone again." I had to smile and I told him I'm glad. I told him I like him here in our family and that we love him very much and that he has to tell us when he wants to go somewhere.
I pray this is a lesson Ethan has learned. I don't know if or how long it will stick. I am grateful he wasn't harmed. We love Ethan so much. We also feel a great deal of frustration with him sometimes because he is so head-strong and determined. There are people who say, "Why can't you control your child?" They never had a child like Ethan or a child with disabilities. Sometimes we just have to work with them. That is my everyday task. My house is generally a mess, not a little cluttered, but a BIG mess. I hardly have to time organize and put away because Ethan requires constant supervision. Someday, the dirty handprints will be gone, he will be a more functional little person, and I will have a more orderly house. But, that day is certainly not now! The scripture says there is a time and season to everything. It's not my season to be the queen of clean and order right now.

I'm ba-ack! A highlight from the trip.

After an almost 2 week hiatus, I'm back. June 19th my family travelled up to Sutter Creek, a small town in the foothills 1 hour southeast of Sacramento. It is where I grew up after I moved from Washington and attended high school. It is also where my beloved Grandpa lives. He's 88 now. And he was past due for a visit. We stayed a week afterwhich I meekly put my tail between my legs and travelled home. I count my blessings for my husband! Let me just say that publicly. I am so NOT a single parent. With 5 children how can anyone be an effective single parent unless they have superman in their lineage? In fact, while I was there, on June 24th we celebrated our 14th anniversary. Boy did we get married young! But we make a great match. We complement each other nicely. He is still my best friend.
Back to the point of todays's blog entry. The rest of this week, I'll be making entries and posting some of the pictures from my trip. I'm doing it chronologically so I'll remember better later on.
The pictures above are from the first day there in Sutter Creek. June 20 was the Black Bart Hold Up Day. Evidently, June 23, 1883 this infamous outlaw held up the Wells Fargo Stage on Main St. The robbery gained him a total of $755 in express boxes and registered mail. It was also his last successful robbery. Black Bart was the alter ego Charles E. Bolton a successful San Francisco businessman with business interests in mining. When he needed more money to support his lifestyle he would travel to the foothills and rob a stagecoach. He's credited with 28 robberies. Stagecoach drivers lived in dread of the day when Bart, dressed in a long lined duster with a flour sack on his head, exposing just his eyes, would step into their path and politely demand, "Will you please throw down your treasure box, sir?" No harm ever came to the drivers or passengers. What is more surprising is that he never owned a single shell for his shotgun and didn't know how to fire it.
Enough about the history. I needed to go to the store and on my way through town I noticed it was blocked off and found out why - Black Bart Day. Quickly, I returned to the house and grabbed the oldest 4 kids, who were somewhat unwilling to come. They quickly changed their minds. At 3 pm they had a mock gun fight in the street. The kids were fascinated by that. And, we all were surprised at how loud all the pistols and shotguns were with their blanks being fired. Later at 4 pm they had a stage coach hold up. All 4 kids got to participate. It was a fun and memorable experience for them and for me. I also got to walk through some of the downtown shops and browse inside a few antique and gift shops. It was a fun few hours.