Archive for July, 2009

JJ’s Knee

July 29, 2009

I’ve gotten several questions about how JJ’s doing and thought I’d take the time to write it all here.

So….on July 17th, JJ woke with a very swollen and sore knee and wasn’t feeling well.  By the afternoon, I’d made him a dr. apt. and he was running a fever.  At the dr. apt. we were told to go to the ER for fear that he had a septic joint. The Dr. called ahead for us and he was seen after only an hour or so of waiting.  They ran tests, took an x-ray, drained the knee to test the fluid, gave him a round of IV antibiotics and sent him home with Motrin, Vicodin and Augmentin and with the order to stay off of it as much as possible, use the crutches and no sports for 2-3 weeks.  On the 19th they had him go back to the ER for more blood work and ended up upping his dose of Augmentin.

Yesterday he had a follow-up with his primary care Dr. and between the ER Doc and the primary care Doc the decision and diagnosis is bursitis. Even though he’s young for this diagnosis, they feel that with his level of activity, it makes sense.  So, he’s still using crutches, still taking meds, still being “inactive” (let’s not talk about the bike rides, long walks or swimming) and will see an orthopedist in mid August.  The hope is that he’ll rest it and it will calm down enough for him to attend the soccer camp at his school and have no issues with playing for the season.

That’s it! The saga of JJ”s knee.  He’ll be ok, but keeping him “off” of it is no easy task!

Have a great day~

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Sunday~

July 27, 2009

Sunday was really full and worth writing about. Sometimes it’s not the event you attend, but the feeling behind it or what happens around it that’s important.

Our busy Sunday started with getting everyone ready and out the door (on time?) to church.  Tristan and JJ usually help serve the Liturgy, but this requires us making sure they are there a few minutes before-hand, so that they can get ready.  JJ isn’t supposed to stand for long periods of time, because of his knee, so this week, it would just be Tristan. I always feel like a drill instructor, trying to keep the kids on task and on time! So, after many orders were shouted, we were out the door and in the van.

We headed straight home after the Liturgy because Anna and Maddi were being picked up for camp.  Whoo hoo!  They are both at a one week camp with a mutual friend.  They are all rooming together and were really excited to get this opportunity.

After they were picked up and on their way, it was time for me to load the 6 remaining kiddos into the van and take the hour-long drive to a friend’s house for a day of swimming and visiting.  We had a really nice time and the kids stayed in the pool most of the time. The visiting is probably a blog in and of itself, about old friends, polite teenagers and summer fun. But, the drive home is what inspired me to write about our day.  We didn’t leave until about 8pm and all the kids (and myself) were worn out from water, sun and playing. This meant that the littlest kiddos fell asleep in their car seats in the first 10 minutes.  Mariah was in the front seat and put in a CD she had brought that was labeled “Camping Music”. This means, older stuff that the kids were introduced to by Clay and my brother and that brings them memories of taking an annual camping trip with Clay, Uncle Ted and some of Clay’s friends.  So, in goes the CD and soon, the singing-along started.  One song led to another and soon, she was searching my iPod for songs that were brought to mind.  The hour-long drive was spent reminiscing through music.  There was very little talking, but the feeling was so good!  There’s just something about driving and music! It made me want to load the kids up and take a road trip.

Good thing because in a couple weeks, I’ll be driving them all home from Northern Cal after my high school reunion.  Let’s hope that trip is half as enjoyable as this little one was! I’ll be sure to stock up on the music and maybe the key will be driving at night!?

Have a great day~

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2 Recipes to Share

July 23, 2009

I’ve gotten several requests for simple dishes that feed a group and for easy, inexpensive dishes that are family friendly.  In the last couple of days, I’ve prepared 2 dinners that I think fit both requests and thought I’d share.  Please remember that I get in the kitchen and just cook.  So, measuring can sometimes be a guessing game.  But neither of these dishes require much work, so the amount of particular ingredients can be done to taste.  Also keep in mind that I’m always cooking for roughly 8-12 people and that is what these dishes will feed but they can easily be cut in 1/2 or even doubled.

I suddenly feel a great responsibility! Wow! I’m nervous that you guys will try these and think they’re terrible!

Well, here goes-

A Make-It-Up-As-You-Go dinner

This is a twist on a recipe that one of my favorite bloggers posted about a year ago.  In her’s she added chicken and when I went to make it, either we were in a seasonal fast or I didn’t feel like messing with the  chicken and decided to use beans instead and this is what it’s transformed into.

Tortilla Chips (I like to use what’s left at the bottom of the bag or the ones that are stale b/c kiddos opened a bag, didn’t close it and left it in the cupboard for a few days)

One can refried beans

One can black beans

One can broth (chicken or veggie)

One can cream of chicken soup

Cheese

Crush the tortilla chips and create a layer on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (I like a thick layer)

Dump refried beans, can of crm soup and broth into a bowl

Drain and rinse the black beans and add them to the bowl of other ingredients

Mix everything together and pour it on top of the crushed tortilla chips

Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes at 350.

Top with shredded cheese, cool and serve. Of course, you could go all out and top it with salsa, sour cream, or avocado, but I’ve kept it simple and just added cheese. The bottom layer should take on a consistency that reminds me of corn bread or stuffing. Yum!

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Colorful and Easy Radiatore

I threw this together one night about a year ago and it’s become one of my favorite pastas. It can be served hot or cold.

1 bag of veggie radiatore

1 jar alfredo sauce

2 bags of krab rounds (I like the rounds because then the pieces don’t break up as easily and aren’t *lost* in the pasta)

pine nuts (I buy a bag at Costco and use about 2 handfuls)

julienned, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil

garlic

olive oil

Cook pasta according to pkg directions, drain, dump back into pot and set aside

Add a small amount of olive oil to pan

Add crushed garlic to warmed olive oil (I use 2 cloves)

Add krab pieces and toss with garlic, just to warm

Pour alfredo sauce over pasta

Add krab and garlic

Toast pine nuts and add to pasta, sauce and krab

warm sun dried tomatoes and add to pasta mixture (use as much or as little as you like. They can be omitted all together if you’re not a fan of tomatoes)

Toss and serve

I LOVE this pasta! I have some kids who LOVE it and some who just want to pick the krab pieces out to eat.  But it’s a colorful and flavorful dish!

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There you have it! 2 easy dishes to serve a crowd, or just a large family!

Have a favorite dish to share? Post it!

Have a great day~

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Summer on a Shoestring Budget

July 21, 2009

Summer around here is always lots of fun.  After-all, we live in a beautiful place, I get to have the kids home and we get to make our own schedule.  But, just because it’s summertime and I want to go lots of places and do lots of things with the kiddos, doesn’t mean that the budget suddenly expands.  Having all this time off to pursue fun things can be really expensive.  So, every summer, I search and brainstorm to find the things to do with the kids that will keep us busy, be lots of fun and are either really cheap or absolutely free! Luckily for me (and the kids), living in San Diego means there are lots and lots of things that fit my requirements. 

Yesterday, we spent several hours out and about and having a great time and it cost me…….$5! Yep, $5. I knew I had to share the fun stuff we did and the great thriftiness with which we did it!

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First stop-Sammy’s. There were 6 of us and we used 2 coupons for free Messy Sundaes.  I ordered iced tea ($2.25) and left a tip as if we had paid for the sundaes. 

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Then we walked downstairs and enjoyed some sun and the shooting water play at the Highlands, which doesn’t cost anything. I had packed lunch (which they weren’t interested in until about an hour after eating the sundaes) and I enjoyed sitting in the sun and watching the kids play. 

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We then changed out of anything wet and enjoyed walking through the Highlands shopping center.

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The kids spent about 1/2 an hour exploring this pet store.  They had some great fish tanks set up and the kids were wowed by the choices available of doggie cakes, cookies and treats. They thought we should surely return when we are ready to celebrate Lilly’s birthday (FYI-Lilly is our dog). The people working in the shop were attentive to the kids and happy to show off the store “pet” which was a fat monitor lizard.

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Last stop-Barnes and Noble for some stories.  We spent a long time enjoying the books here.  JJ read several stories to the kids and Tristan was happy to be on his own to enjoy books he was hoping I’d buy.  His birthday is approaching, so he may see some of them soon!

So there you have it. An entire day of fun for only $5!

Send me your thrifty summertime ideas! There’s always room for trying the things I haven’t thought of!

Have a great day~

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Mommy of Many Loves-The Apple Store!

July 20, 2009

I’m sure you’ve heard me say it before, but I LOVE THE APPLE STORE! I don’t go in there as much as I used to because I’ve stopped taking their weekly classes but I had to bring my computer in, yesterday and it reminded me of how much I love dealing with the staff there and how happy I am to be a Mac user.  I have had some emailing issues, so I drug my computer and external hard drive in and with a smile and a joke, they got everything back to normal.  I always leave there with a smile on my face. 

Each time I leave, I ask myself why it feels so good to go in there and to deal with the staff.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s passion.  There’s something intoxicating about dealing with people who are passionate about what they’re doing.  It’s contagious and makes everyone who’s around feel great!  I see this when people talk about anything they truly love and believe in, whether it be their children, their business, food, travel or even…..working at the Apple Store!

Let’s each strive to find a little passion in this day! Not only will it make each of us want to get the most out of the day, but it will rub off on those around us and there will be a whole lot of people stepping a little lighter and smiling a little broader.

Have a great day~

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Friday Night in the ER

July 18, 2009

Yesterday morning JJ woke with a sore and swollen knee.  He hobbled around on it until the afternoon when I was able to get him into the Dr. The doc examined him, declared he had a fever of 100.2 and said he feared that it might be a septic joint and that we better head to the ER.  So off to the ER we went.  I made a round of phone calls and sent the required texts so that everyone knew where we were and that the girls knew to cook dinner and keep the little ones in their nighttime routine.  

I must admit that for a Friday night, ER visit, it wasn’t too bad.  After-all, I’m here, at home, typing this instead of still sitting there!  After x-rays, a blood draw, a tapping of the knee to examine fluid, a round of IV antibiotics and a little waiting, we came home with crutches and meds. He’s to stay off of it and let it rest for 2-3 weeks.  This is HORRIBLE news for a 17 yr old boy who just joined a gym so that he could train jiu jitsu any day of the week he’d like, who was looking forward to playing indoor soccer starting tomorrow, who has a scheduled backpacking trek in the High Sierras, who’s been running with our friend’s dog to the beach and back frequently and who was kayaking 3-4 days a week!  Our hope is that in resting it, he’ll be able to make it back to school for soccer camp in late August and be able to play the season.  

In the meantime, I will be trying to keep an inactive teen, with tons of energy, happy!

Prayers and some luck please.

Have a great day~

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Remember This? Giving it Another Try!

July 17, 2009

Back in December, I was inspired to start working out.  I’d lost 30 lbs over the year and it was time to tone.  I got it in my head that I’d start by walking to the beach and back with the 2 little ones in my Phil and Ted’s (LOVE that stroller and could go on and on about it, but shouldn’t get unfocused with the topic at hand!).  I did it!…..once!  Then I did a bunch of lamenting and excuse-making.  But now, NOW I’m jumping in! I made sure all was up-to-date with my YMCA membership, I laid out the calendar and the class schedules and I made a plan.  I’ve even gotten the kids involved and the older ones can workout as well.  We all love being active and always feel so much better when we are. So, this week, I started by taking a class that had me hobbling around for 3 days after. Really, it kicked me in the rear, HARD! But I went back.  I opted for the water for the rest of the week, to try to ease the effects of using muscles I had completely forgotten about.  I’ve felt great (although a little tired) and being in the water has even got me looking tan.  Whoo Hoo! Now to keep it up!  There’s really no reason not to! I pay for the membership every month and it includes child care (ok, I’ve been known to actually GO to the Y, put the kiddos in the child care and do paperwork) so now it’s time to use it. 

A little cheering on might just go a long way (hinting shamelessly).

Have a great, summer day!

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I Say NO!

July 16, 2009

I feel like I’m just gettin in the groove of summer.  I’m just gettin the schedule down, just taking the kids to the water, just finished planning who’s going where, when and with who.  I’m enjoying the longer days and the relaxed schedule.  Just when I think I’ve got it down, I go to Target.  And what’s at Target?! School supplies! Not only are there school supplies looming where the bbq supplies should be, but all the bbq and outdoor supplies are on clearance! CLEARANCE! As if they’re saying, “hurry! get this stuff outta here and let’s move onto the next thing”. AND all the cute summer sandals have been replaced with dark, sensible shoes for Fall.  This is unacceptable! It’s taken me this long to settle into summer and now they want to take it away! No wonder we’re always feeling like we need to rush around.  If we don’t grab onto what’s happening RIGHT AWAY, someone’s going to make us feel like we’ve missed out.  

Well, I’m digging my heels in and REFUSING to make my school supply list or start checking for the best prices for at least 2 more weeks! I need more of this summer fun! 

I’m choosing to hover above  the reality that it’s almost time to focus on all things, Back to School.  Join me!

Good night~

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Lovin’ Summer!

July 11, 2009

There’s no denying what time of year it is around here.  We’re packing everyday with fun and friends.  Our schedule is completely out the window and I keep forgetting what day of the week it is.  I’m so used to being on a tight schedule during the school year that I always know just what needs to happen, at what time of each day and what’s coming up to prepare for.  Over the last week and 1/2, I’ve loosened the grip on all things “calendar”.  BUT beware!…if you’ve booked a babysitting job with one of my kids, PLEASE send me a reminder.  I was so out of the routine yesterday, that I loaded everyone up for a trip into La Jolla and we spent a couple hours enjoying a beautiful day, along the beach, when my phone rang and I was reminded that I’d dropped the ball on knowing what day or time it was.  After much apologizing a replacement was brought in.  But other than that, I”m loving the freedom that summer brings!  Last night I took the kids to the store for ice cream at 10pm.  Yes, less of a schedule can be exhausting, but if we don’t take advantage of long days and open schedules during the summer, we’ll never get to!  

Some of our fun has included

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Gabi getting her ears pierced (she was very excited and brave!)

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our trip into La Jolla for a peek at seals

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btw-JJ is doing a GREAT job of helping out with his brothers and giving them some male guidance while Clay is deployed. The younger boys are really listening to him and enjoying their time with him.  

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and even silliness in the tub.  When you’re on a tight schedule, there’s a lot less time for goofiness.  We’re enjoying taking our time with things right now.  

I will admit to falling into bed SUPER tired, each night, but it’s worth it!  

I hope you’re each enjoying what summer brings!

Good night~

and  let’s not forget that it’s less than a month until I get to travel to Wash for this summer’s Rod Stewart concert!  Yes! See, the calendar is SO out the window that I’ve forgotten to talk about it until now!

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Clinging To the Edge of the Bed

July 9, 2009

How is it that small children have such a powerful force in the middle of the night?  You can take a 35 lb., 3 yr-old, put them in bed next to you and suddenly they are strong enough to force you to the edge of the bed.  And it doesn’t matter how many times you pick them back up and slide them over, their sleeping, life-force magically moves you right back to the very edge of the bed where you spend the night clinging to the last bit of mattress.  

I’ve spent almost every night of the last 20 years with  at least one child in bed with me.  Some mornings I wake up to as many as 3 (they sneak in while I’m sleeping and together take over!) and it doesn’t matter how empty the other side of the bed is, they are drawn to my side, where they pile on top of each other, turn sideways and leave me teetering on the edge. I’m beginning to think that this is how they rejuvenate and recharge…..they drain me of my energy while I sleep. And apparently to get the needed energy, they must push right up to me and drain me while leaving me in a semi-state of sleep…just asleep enough so that I’m fooled into thinking I’ve slept and just awake enough that I don’t let go of the edge of the bed and fall off.  No wonder I can get up so early without problem…..I’m never deep enough asleep to have to actually “wake up”.  

I guess the good news is that they grow out of it.  I can let any of my teens share the bed and they are able to keep to the other side.  However, let any 2 of them in at the same time and I’m back to the edge.  I’ve spent so many years there, that it’s pretty automatic now. I guess I’ll never really get a good night’s sleep . 

Thank goodness for coffee!

Have a great day~

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Home, Unpacked and Doing the Dance

July 7, 2009

Whew! We are back from a wonderful time of visiting family and friends. 

I will admit that it was a rocky start.  It took us 6 1/2 hours to make the 4 hour journey to my sister’s house.  At that point I was pretty much ready to spend the night, turn around and come home.  But, after a little sleep, we kept going and it ended up great!  

Here’s a little of what we did

Max @ Gramma and Papa's house

There was a lot of time spent with nature. Whether it was exploring the wooded area around Gramma and Papa’s house….

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watching little fish in a duck pond….

Lex and Max

splashing in a creek…..

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is that the proper term for this water? I’m out of practice with any water terms except ocean, beach and bay….

Max and the caterpillar he found in the yard

catching bugs….

Gabi, Mariah and the snake (my girls are far more adventurous than me)

and even a snake! Thank goodness it was tiny!

and then the geese found us!  Check out how long that line is!  The kids learned quickly to RUN!

We even got chased by geese!

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We packed a friend’s car full of kiddos, bikes and scooters….

Max riding (it lasted about 6 seconds)

and headed to the park. 

Kiddos enjoying Jen and Adam's pool

there was plenty of outdoor fun…

Gabi, Nate and Alex

and time with friends.

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We all got worn out! But only Luke-Xavier had the luxury of crashing in the middle of the day.

a performance

Gabi entertained us on several occasions with impromptu songs. 

It was so nice to let the kids run around.  We stayed with a close friend of mine who was gracious enough to open her house.  It was so nice to have 2 moms working together, overseeing kids, meals, laundry and the day’s plans.  There’s something about doing all the chores together that can’t be beat!

After visiting, Gramma and Papa, old friends, sisters, Aunties, new friends and Uncle Ted, it was time to head home. 

happy, dirty, travelin' face

We put the iPod on with plenty of kid songs and rocked to Raffi while enjoying hot chocolate and other junky, travel goodies.  Lex loved it! 

Now, we are back home, the car and bags are unpacked.  The dishes and laundry are going and we’re jumping back into our regular routine.  It feels good to be back where the ocean breeze is blowing through my open windows.  When I go up North, I revel in the mountain air and even toy with the idea that we could relocate and be closer to everyone.  But somewhere around San Clemente, while driving south on the 5, I realize how I just can’t replace the feeling that’s in the air down here.  It’s nice to know I can throw the kiddos in Lil Car and take these little trips and get the best of both worlds!

I hope everyone had a happy 4th and is enjoying their summer so far!

Back to the Dance~

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An Unplanned Trip

July 1, 2009

This is totally not like me and if I think about it much, I’ll back out, but…I’m packing up the 3 youngest kiddos and am heading up north for a few days.  

3 kids, 6 yrs, 4 yrs and 2 yrs and me….in a car…for many hours…..

Better stop right there or it’s not gonna happen!

Wish me luck~

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