Monday, March 30, 2009

This week's plan within my Menu Plan

We said goodbye to my MIL yesterday, after a lovely afternoon with Scott's family. His brother and sister-in-law and their two teenage boys live in town, but we don't see them very often, so it's nice to catch up.

The boys played kiddie golf and rocked out with Wii Guitar Hero (okay, so I did a little rockin' of my own -- LOL). And then we gorged on brownies, which I rarely make, but were SOO good.

We've got another busy week planned, before Scott's spring break begins and we try to chill out a little and prepare ourselves for Easter.

Monday 3/30 - Rock climbing class, errands
D - Roast chicken & potatoes w/asparagus
Prep bread pudding for Tuesday breakfast

Tuesday 3/31 - Garden day at home, Greg's Ordination (make dinner early)
B - Bake bread pudding
L - quesadillas, leftover chard & artichoke soup
D - Red Cabbage & Chicken Asian Salad

Wednesday 4/1 - Farm Day (homeschooling field trip)
B - oatmeal
L - pack pb&j, apple slices
D - Orange chicken & stir fry rice w/green onions, carrots
Make granola

Thursday 4/2 - Living History Day at county museum
B - granola
L - pack pb&j, fruit
D - Salmon w/ carrots and chard

Friday 4/3 - STAY HOME!!!!
B - Eggs & toast
L - mac & cheese
Bake vegan chocolate cookies
D - Vegan Night @ the Purple Flowers'

Saturday 4/4 - Boys' First Communion class
B - granola
L - Frittata w/chard and asparagus
D - spaghetti, meatballs & salad

Find more meal plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thank you

Thank you so much for all the prayers and well wishes! My husband's grandmother's memorial service and reception was today, and I know it was nice for him to be surrounded by so much family.

We all had a lovely afternoon at his cousin's house. The boys got to know some of their second cousins from Michigan, and they're coming to play at our house on Friday. Tomorrow my MIL is spending the day with us, and Sunday we'll be at his brother's.

I always feel better when there's some kind of plan, and I know what's expected of me. Oh, and I finally got to clean my bathroom. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hanging on for the ride

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
-- Matthew 11:28
I know it probably looks like all we do around here is go on fun-filled field trips. We've certainly had a string of them, ending with today's short but sweet visit to our local veterinary hospital.

But it hasn't been all sunshine and green grass this week -- unless that's what's causing the blinding bright blur around me. I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by the speed of life lately. By its speed, and its brevity.

Life is a little chaotic right now. We're recovering from the (unfortunately, necessary) debugging of our kitchen, which involved pulling absolutely everything out of our cabinets and pantry, letting the professionals do their job, and cleaning every surface of the kitchen before returning and reorganizing all the stuff.

It feels nice to have the kitchen (mostly) done, but now the rest of the house is cluttered by boxes full of kitchen rejects designated for a yard sale. We've lived in this house so long there were things hiding in the corners that I haven't used in eight years. I found two brand-new Pampered chef baking stones that I didn't even realize I had!

In the middle of all the mess, my husband lost his paternal grandmother on Friday. She was 92, and had lived in her own home until only one month ago. She had a long life, surrounded by loved ones, though she outlived her husband and two of her children. Scott's dad passed away five years ago this month.

Scott's maternal grandmother died in November. This is the sixth loss he's experienced since last summer -- the other four were students at the school where he teaches. Again, life's precious brevity showing.

My mother-in-law flew out from South Dakota this afternoon to be here for the funeral on Wednesday, and is staying a week. And my sister arrives on Friday from San Francisco to celebrate her 27th birthday with us. On Saturday, we're walking in the MS Walk for our dear friend Sarah. I've been wanting to post about that for weeks, and it just hasn't happened.

On the days when I feel like I can't keep up, I know I need to let Jesus carry me. Today was one of those days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love and Lemonade

Hey, look! I'm famous! Just kidding. But it does make me feel special that someone wanted to get to know me better.

Jena of Yarns of the Heart interviewed me for Christian! Thank you, Jena, for your fun interview! I'm sorry I forgot to send you a photo.

And thank you for the sweet award, too! I'm raking in the love this week! Now to pass it along...

The Lemons to Lemonade Award

This award is for bloggers with attitude! Good attitudes. I'm not sure I'm always qualified for this award, but I'm certainly working on it. Here are my picks for 10 11 inspiring bloggers who have helped keep my face from becoming all pinched...

Burning Bushes
As We Walk
Lift Up Your Hearts
Pixies and Princesses
5 Orange Potatoes
Balancing Everything
Daylight Rising
Herban Homestead
Ordinary Life Magic
Bona Fide Mama

and, of course, my mom, who deserves a little lemonade right about now.

Here are the rules:

1) Put the logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Thanks, Jena!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck o' the Irish

What can I say? We love St. Patrick's Day around here! I'm only about an eighth Irish, but my parents got married on St. Paddy's Day, so it's a very special day.

Our friends sent us home with green eggs from their Americauna chickens yesterday, and somehow they made green scrambled eggs! Must have been our Leprechaun. We drank green tea, listened to Irish music on Pandora, and the boys had an Irish jig dancing contest.

Our friends across the street came by to bring us shamrock cookies and let us know that our neighborhood Leprechaun had come through their house, left treats and made a big mess -- green footprints everywhere AND he hid their schoolbooks! So, no homeschool today!

Well, of course, the boys were convinced the Leprechaun must have left coins at our house, too! As it turns out, the economy has hit even magical creatures clad in green -- apparently the Leprechaun is carrying silver and pewter this year instead of gold.

After the Leprechaun left evidence of his presence in the house, the boys were determined to find him again -- even if they had to search the whole neighborhood.

But all we found was this cute dancing replica he left behind for our friends...

That's okay, he did turn our milk green. So, we had to eat green mac & cheese for lunch.

Fortunately, dinner was of a less fluorescent variety. I made Irish Beef Stew and soda bread to celebrate my parents' anniversary. Here's to another lucky 36 years, Mom & Dad!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

An Irish Blessing for Friends

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! For more Irish blessings, go here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

California Living Museum

We had another field trip yesterday, this time a favorite spot much closer to home. We belong to a local zoo which houses native California animals who could not survive in the wild for one reason or another.

We arrived at the perfect time; the docents were out with some of the smaller animals, so we could meet them up close.

This is a Great Horned Owl. No petting allowed -- he bites! But he's beautiful, isn't he?

The reptile house is my boys' favorite part of the zoo. It's hard to get good pictures because the kids zip from creature to creature and back again so quickly! They have numerous snakes, plus fish, lizards, squirrels and black widow spiders. I'm not sure why we need spiders in the museum when we can find them quite easily in our own garage, but, there you go.

Nope, that's not a coral snake below, it's a non-venomous Kingsnake.

The kids (and mommies!) got to pet a garter snake -- harmless, of course.

This is the same bird that gave Wiley Coyote so much trouble! The California Roadrunner is also our local university's mascot. This little guy was proudly showing off the mouse he had just caught!

Another docent let the kids pet a desert tortoise. My oldest knew more about the differences between turtles and tortoises than I did!

Some of the zoo's residents kept their distance -- which was a good thing. These two furry friends are both black bears. They have a really nice habitat, complete with a water feature and hammocks in the shade of two sequoia trees.

The zoo's two coyotes keep active running laps around their habitat. Just don't howl at them, or they'll think you're rude.

The mama and baby Black-tailed mule deer were very cute and friendly. The kids couldn't help but want to pet them!

It was a beautiful day out with friends and fauna!

Monday, March 09, 2009

A trip to a local dairy

Today we headed up to Lindsay, Ca., to visit a dairy farm and learn about their artisan cheesemaking. Hilarides Dairy is a third-generation family farm. Their award-winning Three Sisters Farmstead Cheese was named for the farmer's three daughters, who do much of the cheesemaking.

Nine thousand cows live on the farm. Four times a day, they make their way into the milking barn, and line up for their turn on the milking merry-go-round. The dairy's two "cow carousels" allow 160 cows to be milked at a time -- 80 on each.

We watched the workers clean the cows' udders and hook them up to the milking hoses. The cows are surprisingly graceful and orderly as they enter and exit the carousel. They seemed almost eager for their turn on the ride!

Lindsay Hilarides, the middle of the Three Sisters, led our tour, walking us through the new "Cheese Theatre," and letting the kids hold the giant, moldy cheese wheels which were aging in a huge refrigeration room upstairs.

The farm is apparently the only dairy in the country to be generating all of its own electricity and biofuel using the manure produced by its cows. The Halirides' fleet of trucks runs on the farm's biofuel. Very cool!

But I think the kids' favorite part was just hanging out with the cows after the tour...

And, of course, I had to bring some of the delicious Serena cheese home to share with hubby. It's an Italian-style hard cheese, somewhat like Parmesan. Yum!

Edited to add: Go check out more fun field trips at Jena's Virtual Field Trip collection!
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