Thursday, April 28, 2011

Special Visitor

I looked out yesterday evening and saw this Heron standing in the field. I wish I had gotten a shot of him flying away.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pep Talk

Hey Last Week and all the difficult people in my life,
You can't take me down. Bring it on. If I have to unload every tool in my arsenal this week I will. I am not afraid . You may of got the best of me last week but a new week has dawned.



It was a long last week. I had a challenging child. Someone said you are only as happy as your saddest child. I think they were onto something. I found these two posts that inspired me (Teacher Tom and Adrienne) and I wanted to share. All I can do is help myself find the work arounds for this child and occasionally I get pissed off, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


This year the Easter Bunny hid the real Easter baskets and left a clue for their location. One clue said, "I'm no phony. I'm pure pony. Someday you'll reach with feet but for no you'll have to settle for a treat." That was the one for #1 Son's basket. The basket was in our 65 mustang. Chuckles clue read, " I am sometimes hot and cold. I fluff but I don't fold." His was in the dryer. Later we met Pappy and Nonna for brunch. The restaurant had the most lovely red and yellow tulips. So of course, I had to take a picture.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fun with the Fuzz

We participated in the Fun with the Fuzz 5k today. It turned out to be a beautiful day. We didn't set any land speed records but we did do it in less than an hour. Yeah for us! Fun with the Fuzz is a fundraiser for Behind the Badge Foundation which supports Fallen Police Officers families. We participated last year too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Crafts

My little crafting Diva has been back. This morning we worked on this bunny sculpture. The idea is from We heart Art. It turned out very cute. We made a slight modification and used only one paper roll. I have to find my extra Easter grass so the finishing touch can be added. Last Monday, The Diva made this really cute bunny.The pattern is from Kids and Glitter.

Extreme Couponing

I don't know if anyone else has watched this TLC show about extreme couponers who get 100's of dollars in free product. There has been enormous buzz mostly negative about this show among hard core couponers. For myself, I think the show does give couponers a little of a bad name. Here is some of the negative criticism. Don't mess with couponers by using coupons fraudulently they will go after you. Food on the Table had interesting take on Extreme Couponing and the pros and cons. Lastly, Beauty and Bedlam had an awesome post on Extreme Couponing -It's not Reality. I think all of these ladies said it better than I could.

I was asked the other day if I was an extreme couponer. I just laugh. I use coupons and yes, I currently have a small stockpile of cereal. This is very small compared to these extreme couponers. Way back in 2009, I discussed my coupon philosophy. It still pretty much the same. WHAT IS REALLY SAD is I still have the same duct taped coupon clutch. There are certain seasons in my life, I have needed to save more and I amp up the coupon clipping . Other times, I am a little more laid back about the clipping of coupons.

The thing is that you don't have to use coupons to save big. The biggest money saver is to plan your meals and plan your meals around the sales. If you never cut a coupon this in itself will save you big bucks. Life as Mom had a series which focused on Eat Well, Spend Less. Food on the Table had interesting chart with the top things on sale in March and their rank. Check it out. Guess what I will be buying this week - HAM. Just in case you haven't noticed it's on sale and cheap. No, I won't be buying 50 hams.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Banner No One Noticed

The thing about living with a bunch of boys is they don't notice things. I made this banner on Friday afternoon and I swear not one person commented on it. I kept waiting and nothing. I finally had to beg them to no say something about it. The conversation went something like this, " Yeah the bunnies, I saw them." The idea came from Made. Her version makes me want to run out and buy some felt and get started sewing. She has a PDF pattern that I used for a template. This construction paper version can be easily completed in about 20 minutes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Monkeying around at the Zoo

**Edited to finally add the Picture of Kid Monkey (not my kid)

The Adventure Van was locked and loaded with our monkey's last Saturday. We headed to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The Zoo was very busy. We just managed to snag one of the last parking places. We saw lots of animals. The Siamang Monkey's were very loud. It was like a soap opera as they chased each other through the exhibit. #1 Son hung out in a tree. Princess Quite A lot, #1 Son, and Chuckles got caught in a spider web. I don't know why I don't have a picture of Bones. He was there. We even saw a kid running around with a monkey mask. I am not sure what that was about.I took a photo but haven't been able to extract it from my phone. Sometimes the people watching at the zoo is just as interesting as the animals. We left just as it started to sprinkle. We watched a peacock try to eat a gummy worm. That was interesting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


On my Birthday in November, I asked for a kids GPS to do geocaching. My GPS is a geomate jr. Geocaching is basically a high tech treasure hunt with a handheld GPS. As someone put it, geocaching is using million dollar satellites to find a Tupperware box. I have been a long time fan of Letterboxing but there are lots more geocahces than Letterboxes in the area I live. Through letterboxing I have discovered some really neat out of way places. I thought geocaching would be a fun activity to do as a family. Thursday when we went to the Pacific Science Center we also found 1 geocache. Here is a picture near where we found the cache. It was by a huge rock tucked in by the Pacific Science Center. I had never noticed it before. We also met another lovely family doing the same thing. I love having the conversation, "Are you doing the same thing, we are doing?"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book It 2011- April

Check out what others are reading at Life as Mom. Recently, I read Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Woman by Geraldine Brooks. I started reading this when all the stuff started happening in Egypt. I have always been fascinated with Muslim woman especially the ones that wear the Hijab. I can honestly say I knew very little about the life of a Muslim woman. Geraldine gives a very honest look in to the world of Islamic woman. She was a journalist in the Middle East for 6 years. I thought her interviews and stories about the various woman she met insightful and revealing. I especially enjoyed the parts about Queen Noor. I also like when she learned to Belly Dance and then performed. It was an interesting read and made me feel more knowledgeable about the world of Islamic Woman. I think Geraldine Brooks said it best in her closing,

" When I lived among the women of Islam, I became part of a world that is still, in the last decade of the twentieth century, and intensely private one. In public, most women move like shadows, constrained physically by their hijab or mentally by codes of conduct that inhibit them. It is only behind the high walls and the closed door that women are ever really free."

In honor of Autism Awareness month, I read Marcelo in the the Real World by Francisco X Stork . This is a young adult book. It is excellent and has a very compelling story. This is from the book jacket:

Marcelo Sandoval hears music that nobody else can hear - part of autism-like condition that no doctor has been able to identify. But his father has never fully believed in the music or Marcelo's differences, and he challenges Marcelo to work in the mail room of his law firm for the summer... to join " the real world."

What I like about this book isn't that the main character has Asperger's but the story is about doing the right thing. Marcelo talks about his inner music - consciousness. I think says a lot of about listening to inner voice and when you stop hearing it what to do. It is about taking a risk and having faith in your abilities. I see a lot of my #1 son in this character in the black and white thinking and asking a million questions. I worry about how my kid is going to function in the real world, too just like the main characters father. This just hit home with me. How do we define success in the real world? Parade Magazine on April 3 had a article on Autism's Lost Generation. Austic Kids coming of age and who will care for them in adulthood. I thought Marcello in the Real World was an awesome read.However, I don't think this appropriate book for 7th or 8th grade boy or girl as for some of the language and situations mentioned. I do think it is appropriate for a mature High School Student. Here is the scholastic reading guide.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day/Book it 2011

I was really excited when Life as Mom announced that Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day was the book choice for April for Book It 2011. I had explored this book way back in 2008. Here was my post in 2008 about my first foray into the 5 minute technique. I had gotten away from this method/technique as I have a bread machine. For my first adventure, I stuck to the master recipe and made the Boule. This is so easy. Pictured below is my loaf. I made 3 loaves and a very small batch of carmel rolls. All of which was devoured by the 2 man wrecking crew. This is a book I would like to have. I borrowed it from the library and there was quite waiting list.

I did cheat on the tool part a little. The container I let my dough rise in is a plastic 5 qt ice cream bucket. I also was on someone elses blog and they did their rise in a plastic shoe box. I don't have a pizza peel. So all my last rise I did on my slipat mat dusted with cornmeal. Then I slid the dough onto my heated pizza stone. However on my last loaf, my pamper chef pizza stone died a horrible death. It broke into about 5 pieces. I loved that stone and it was well seasoned. I had it for about 5 years and I use it every week for one thing or another. Someone told me though you don't need a stone just parchment on a cookie sheet. Don't let the equipment stand in your way from giving this bread a go.
Here are some additional resources:

Frugal Living NW had a great post with pictures on the 5 minute Technique.

Steamy Kitchen has a great no knead recipe as well. She also made the No knead Sticky Pecan Carmel Rolls with the 5 minute master bread recipe.

King Arthur also has their own 5 minute technique for artisan bread.

At Survival Mom bread making was the skill of the month in January. I would love to branch beyond the 5 minute bread and my bread maker. I think bread making is a great skill to have and there are a great number ways to be successful at it.

3 Park Tour

We finally managed to have some sunnier days on our Spring Break. Mrs Epi and the Adventure Van came and we headed to a new park that none of us had been to, Jensen Family Forest Park.

I got a new toy for my birthday, a kids GPS for geocaching. Geocaching is looking for hidden boxes using GPS coordinates. It is like a high tech treasure hunt. I haven't gotten much chance to use it. We found to 2 geocaches in Jensen Family Forest Park. The park has a nice looping trail in a little patch of forest. It is the perfect spot for kids to burn some energy off. Once we did the trail, we headed to Berthusen Park outside of Lynden, Wa. The kids played on the playground and then we took to the trails. We hoped to find some more caches. We didn't have any luck there but enjoyed running the trails. Check out these mushrooms.

This one looks like a face.

We made a pit stop for Ice Cream and then finished our 3 park tour at Lynden City Park.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We got to go to the Star Wars - Where Science Meets Imagination Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. It was a lot of fun. They had lot of the movie props. It was cool getting up close to the props.

The kids loved experimenting with the Maglev cars and building the robots in the actual exhibit. I don't know who was more excited the kids or the Giant Man Child. It was pretty crowded but this is the place for Star Wars Geeks. This was our big excitement for Spring Break.

102 Matches and Other Tales

There is a San Diego Radio DJ that always says, "That is the name of my new band." Last night, the name of my name would of been 102 matches and a can of lighter fluid. Mrs Epi said it could of been Sizzle, Sizzle or Coke and Mellows.

Mrs Epi suggested that we take the kids to the beach for an impromptu hot dog roast so off we went in the Adventure Van. We are on Spring Break and the weather has been very wet and just not nice. But last night we were rewarded with great beach weather. We had a little sun virtually no wind. It was nice. However, we had some challenges getting our charcoal briquettes lighted. I brought matches and I swear it took us at least 102 matches to light those briquettes. It wasn't windy until we tried to light those things. Isn't that Murphy's law. I have never understood why my husband uses a whole can of lighter fluid but now I do. We did get it lit and we had our hot dogs. We even has s'mores. I had to get photographic proof.

I think a good time was had by all. We walked the length of Birch Bay Park because the kids had a lot of energy.
Top Picture - Chuckles, #1 Son, Bones, Princess of Quite A lot

Bottom Picture - #1 Son as a Reindeer

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Wreath

I have been so inspired by various spring wreaths on various blogs. Check out these wreaths featured on Tatertots and Jello. Using what I had around the house, I came up with this spring wreath. All of these are dollar store items - wreath, tissue paper, and pipe cleaners. I had painted the wreath black in hopes of using it for the snake wreath but ended up not using after painting it black. The details for making the pipe cleaner flowers are here. For some reason, I am drawn to this color combo of black, green, and white. It still needs a little something so I am probably not done with it yet. But for a couple minutes of work, it isn't a bad start. ****Edit - I just couldn't leave well enough alone and I added these newspaper flowers. I think it is the little something it needed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cereal Queen

Today, I feel like the Cereal Queen. I decided to take a shot at the Albertson Cereal Deal. The frugal shoppers are all a buzz about this. I was going to wait for doublers that are coming out in Sunday's paper but my Albertson's isn't the best stocked grocery store. Sometimes deals are hit or miss. I used 3 coupons none of them were Internet coupons. I missed that boat. There is also Kellogg rebate details are here. I used 2 peelies off previously bought Kellogg's cereal for $1 of fruit when you buy 2 Kellogg's cereals and a $1 off coupon on any 2 Kellogg's cereal. I got this all for $18.00 plus 2 milks I haven't cashed in yet.

What is in a Label?

April is Autism Awareness Month. I thought I would share part of my son's story here in case someone else in the same situation of their child being possibly being mislabeled ADHD. A couple weeks ago I took my oldest child(12 years old) to Children's Autism Clinic. in Seattle. We had waited 6 months for this appointment. The long and short of this is that we don't know if my kid has Asperger's even after our appointment. It is complicated. Isn't that the story of my life? It complicated that he has some well established labels with symptoms that overlap with one and another. We have been calling this ADHD and later ADHD with anxiety for long that is all we saw. Like many people, our general pediatrician managed our son's ADHD. Our son had been labeled ADHD since Kindergarten. It wasn't until 4Th grade that we knew we couldn't hobble along like this with our son. 3rd grade was to put it bluntly a nightmare. We hired a Psychiatrist and then a Therapist for our son. Some of the insightful specialists that #1 son see said we need to look into this further. Things aren't adding up and he isn't responding to his treatment in a typical way. That is how we ended up at Children's. So now, we need to wait another 3 to 6 months to see a clinical psychologist. This specialist is going to make the definitive decision is this Aspergers or not- maybe.

Part of me is WHY BOTHER? and even LARGER PART says, " What if we have been looking at this ADHD/anxiety all wrong?" You find yourself questioning," What if we had known he had Aspergers in 1st grade? Would we have done anything different? Is he mislabeled?" I just don't know. That is the honest answer. These long waits for appointments just give me time to ruminate. It would be lovely not to second guess yourself.

Labels in my son's world guarantee services that he will or will not receive from school. He is in Middle School and his current labels have garnered him some protections in Middle School. He is fully mainstreamed and has no academic accommodations. He does attend 1 behavior class and has access to behavioral teacher whenever he needs her. I really can't say enough positive things about the individual teachers who have really worked to make it a successful year for him. Some of them were a complete surprise like the gym teacher. Despite and because of his abilities, he is doing OK and really great academically. He is excelling academically on the honor roll but not excelling in his personal relationships. In so many ways he has proven me wrong. By the way, Middle School is hard on parents too.

Changing my son's label/diagnosis will not grant him additional accommodations in Middle School. The only reason to bother with getting this evaluation is because anything that opens a door or window into knowing what is in my son's world makes it worth it. Anything that improves his quality of life, I want to do that thing. I want him to know that his abilities are gifts and not crutches. I want him to live his best life. I want him to be successful in the real world. Isn't that what all parents hope for? Somehow from that perspective, the labels don't matter. Because the only important label is son.