On Christmas day, we went sledding behind our house. It was kind of sad since there wasn’t a lot of snow. Like 2 inches maximum! But…When you have a child begging you, you make do. On New Year’s Day, we tried again. This time, we drove up the canyon and stopped in a beautiful spot that was plowed and had other sledders. I went many times, but since the snow was not fresh I felt like my head didn’t approve the hard landings. (A few years ago, I signed up for Taikwando. They were not used to many non-child students, but there were a few men in the adult class. I took a kick and my head felt like crap for a week. I was fine with the karate kid moves, but I didn’t like my head getting touched. I also didn’t like the subservient elements to the class! So… I went once and called it good with my groupon. That was the first time I thought, maybe I’m getting old cause my head didn’t bounce back from that jostling.) So, I also didn’t enjoy the way my head felt after the rough sledding. It was cold, but the child who insisted on sledding was very happy. I was sad to take down the Christmas tree this year, but when all of the stuff was put away, I was ready to move on and get in a regular routine again.sledding


We drove to the in laws on Thanksgiving day. When it was time to eat, there was a magical snowstorm to add to the other 4-6 inches of fresh snow. Since we didn’t have to drive anywhere after that, it was perfection AND delicious food. That night we were able to go for a walk in the snow and ice. My feet were freezing though since Hunter boots are not made for those conditions, but my short UGGS were not tall enough so I opted for staying dry. When we returned, the UGGS went on and I warmed up. I ventured outside Black Friday in the late afternoon to get my one item that I intended to buy. Other than that, I didn’t really #optoutside since it was COLD. We have been in Oregon for too long and we aren’t used to these bitter temperatures anymore. Prior to a week ago, my car had led a nice life in a garage and here it has been coughing as I turn the ignition in our new colder environment. The kids had some fun snowball fights, but since our gear is on a moving truck at the moment, snow play in 20 degree temps can’t get too exciting. It was a good holiday.

No pumpkin pie….

For the first time in many years, we are going to someone’s house for Thanksgiving other than our own. Well, last year we were in Rome for turkey day, but we were still on our own. We just moved our family to Idaho and we’ll be at my in law’s house. My MIL (mother in law) informed us that there will not be any pumpkin pie. Um….. There is one day a year where I enjoy me some pumpkin pie and it is on Thanksgiving day. Okay whatever. At least I don’t have to slave away and prepare the food this year. It is quite the endeavor! Actually, I don’t mind it, but it isn’t something many people are confident doing. I’ve got a lot of experience cooking a big turkey with all the sides so I don’t mind it, but tomorrow we just have to go for a drive and voila the food will be ON!!!! I’m a big fan of Thanksgiving day food, but I do not enjoy the leftovers for days on end. I have a special way to deal with it. I buy throw away pans and then I put all of the leftovers inside casserole style and then freeze them. One month later I have a pre-made meal ready to go and it tastes fantastic. I usually end up with a few of them to enjoy throughout the winter months.         ARE YOU EXCITED TO PIG OUT??

I have finally arrived, but I’m not sure where…..

This morning while I was organizing my closet and I heard some noise in my yard, I was wondering what the noise was all about and then I remembered that the gardner/lawn mower was out there. I have always been the chief lawn mower for our home, but it was time to outsource since we are moving and I don’t want the yard to get overrun before we hopefully soon see a SOLD sign in our yard. Also, I wanted to verify the quality of work beforehand. After all, now I’m paying someone for THIS!

Growing up, we always had a lawn guy because we never had a lawn mower that functioned so my mom in frustration quit dealing with that and hired a guy. He would later be my high school Spanish teacher, but he was always at first the lawn guy to me. Another reason we had a lawn guy was that when we went to visit my relatives in Kansas one summer in the early eighties, the day we showed up my cousin’s wife had cut off her toe due to mowing the lawn in flip flops. So…. my mom was not very excited to raise lawn mowers, but she made sure we knew that you NEVER mow the lawn in flip flops. I have some awesome old running shoes that are usually coated in an inch of mud to do my yard work in and an automatic shut off mower if I fall, but I can never forget every time I pull out the lawn mower the trip to the hospital to see my cousin’s way ex-wife after she lost her toe.

Besides my lawn excitement, we have been doing some good local walks because we are currently stuck on location waiting for paperwork and house stuff to be worked out. I have also been doing a lot of trips to the Goodwill. I am a big fan of Goodwill and I buy stuff there sometimes like a good Oregonian, but mostly take my stuff there A LOT. Actually, as Mormons we have our own brand of Goodwill and it is called DI. (short for Deseret Industries) In Utah, it is a verb. To D-I your stuff……. Since the Goodwill is much more convenient to me in Oregon, it is where my treasures go. One of the days, I even went to a different Goodwill to drop off stuff since I thought I’d seen the workers too many times already that day. Today, I made 2 trips and I’m past the point of caring if they’ve seen me too much. I parted with Moby Dick this afternoon when I was feeling realistic that I don’t think anyone is going to ever read that unless forced in AP English so it needed to go too. As much as I feel like a minimalist, 8 years of stuff adds up.

Dutch Oven Time

Camping food is a part of summer time fun. Mormons like to cook food in a Dutch oven. In fact, it is not at all uncommon to have a request for a Dutch oven as a wedding gift by a Mormon. We were too mobile (They are heavy!) for a long time so we didn’t get our 1st Dutch oven for several years, but of course our families both have them. Since we roasted hot dogs when we were camping the other day, we had to soon make up for it by cooking over fire in our suburban yard. A true authentic flavor requires cooking multiple meals in the same pot and you DON’T clean it. (The way you would think, anyway.) We have invited our friend from Lebanon over to enjoy our feasts and she was such a fan that she went and bought her own Dutch oven.  She came again this time too and we had fun together welcoming in summer 2015. We made friends with her when she made a feast of multiple dishes a few years ago of her favorite Lebanese food and invited our family over. It was a spread of so many dishes that it puts my Thanksgiving day slaving to shame, let alone my general culinary skills. Dutch oven cooking is fun to do if you like cooking over hot coals. My husband thinks it is his job, but whenever he turns his back I get involved.

Dutchoven1 Dutchoven2

This is what wikipedia says about the Dutch oven among other things: Westward bound settlers took Dutch ovens with them. A Dutch oven was among the gear Lewis and Clark carried when they explored the great American Northwest in 1804–1806. Mormon pioneers who settled theAmerican West also took along their Dutch ovens. In fact, a statue raised to honor the Mormon handcart companies who entered Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s proudly displays a Dutch oven hanging from the front of the handcart. The Dutch oven is also the official state cooking pot of Texas,[4] Utah and Arkansas.[5][6]

Tulips and stuff less awesome……


                                 This was a few years ago at the local tulip festival.

Portland, Oregon is full bloom and glory right now. Tulips have always been one of my favorite flowers. They always grew in our yard and were free, but never lasted long enough. Prior to leaving on spring break, we got word that there was a chance for identity theft in our family due to one of the recent news making hacking scandals of 2015.  I have been going nuts trying to figure out what to do. On the bright side, I figure these issues are inevitable for everyone in this day and age and this propels me into figuring out how to deal with it and be vigilant instead of sleeping like Rip Van Winkle. Regardless, UUUUGHHH!!!!!

There is now a teenager in my house….

The pink bike belonged to her grandma, but she never got on it so we toted it from Utah a few years ago.

The cute Electra bike used to belong to her grandma, but she never got on it so we imported it from Utah.

My firstborn turned 13 today. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and then raised in Pennsylvania and Oregon. The time has gone by so quickly. She is almost as tall as me and has long been wearing my clothes.  She was excited to get a facebook account today and be “legal” on social media. She has only had a cell phone for about a year now. I was reluctant to pay for that and turn my child over to potential time wasting technology, but I also needed her to be socialized into today’s world. Before we turned her over the trendy newest most up to date iphone on the market, (for 5 seconds) we had long discussions about the pitfalls and dangers on the internet. Indeed this week, I had more “issues” in regards to this subject so we had to revisit prior discussions. #parenting

We took this bicycle picture this morning. Since we live on a hill, teaching my firstborn to ride a bike was nearly the death of me. It was soo frustrating. I hoped that the other 2 would be a lot easier to teach. Just like with most of the things we have done, the other 2 figured it out a lot quicker. I wouldn’t blame the child, but the teacher (me) was pretty inept. We have 2 beach cruisers at our house that I love, but our bike rack isn’t really made for them so we have to take other bikes when we leave home.

So many friends doing awesome things…..

Yesterday, one of my friends announced on facebook that Random House will be publishing her first novel in 2016. She posted about how it was the realization of a lifelong dream. Now, lots of people want to publish a book, but I met her when she was getting her Ph.D in English at Penn State University about a decade ago and she was willing to do hard things. She is now an English professor in my hometown in Utah and put raising children as her first priority, but didn’t give up on her dreams.  It was really exciting news to hear! Another one of my friends that I spent a huge part of my childhood with is a skin care expert. She has a lot of famous clients in New York City, but eventually made her way back to Utah. She has overcome a lot of challenges in her life and she is doing awesome things. I know some people feel bad about facebook and it is truly mundane A LOT, but I have had real in the flesh reunions due to it. Also, it is just amazing for those of us who lived life without these things to know what happened to so and so…….  This is my friend the skin care expert.   Ironically, both of these women have beautiful RED hair. What a coincidence!

It’s Valentine’s day so you can justifiably eat junk…..

I am a coupon/discount fan. I will probably not go somewhere unless I can use a coupon/discount. Travel hacking is sort of like using coupons for travel fanatics. Some people take it to the extreme (like this week) and don’t leave any product on the shelf for others. COOL I’m no extremist like that!  So, yesterday we bought some donuts for Valentine’s day. I had a buy 12 get 6 free coupon. Since there are only 5 of us, that seemed like too many. In fact, it nauseated me to buy that many since donuts don’t freeze well and only taste good fresh. Anyway, I almost reconsidered, but didn’t. Low and behold, the junk food you consume makes you feel yucky. On another note, I almost practically haven’t had a soda since I decided not to for my new year’s resolution.

Too many donuts consumed -1 point —-almost no soda in 2015 +1 point Total: 0 points

So if you happen to randomly read this post today, just consider yourself forewarned to the pitfalls of getting your favorite chocolates. 😉 If you will be posting on the facebook account for bitter single people on Valentine’s day, go out for a walk instead you’ll benefit far more.

In case you couldn’t tell since the day after Christmas…..

valentine's day

             SUGAR TIME

It is almost Valentine’s day!  The first Valentine’s day after I got married in the year 2000, my husband decided not to get me anything; rather he was just a guy and couldn’t have cared less about the day….. After I spent the day working and every other girl got sent a dozen roses to our office, I was pretty mad. I didn’t marry Don Juan, but JEEZ! He has since learned. My own father once gave my mother a box of Valentines’ chocolates that his adult niece dropped off for him at his office while he was out. As an average American dude who’d been married for a LONG time by then, he hadn’t thought twice about the holiday, but he then regifted the chocolates to my mom. A few weeks later, my cousin asked how were the chocolates? That is how my mom found out he hadn’t really remembered. It was really funny though! So, I already did my duty and sent my mom a card in the mail yesterday. Today, we had an after school cookie decorating party. On my watch, I only allowed the children to consume 1 cookie so as not to get sick and the plates were to be taken home.