Monday, November 30, 2009


Hellllooooo!! Long time, no blog! We recently got back from a wonderful trip to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday. If you can say you had a great time, despite the pukes traveling through the family, then you had a great time!

We had to cancel some of our plans because of illness, but before the puking began, we got to have some outdoors fun. We went from Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay to spend a beautiful afternoon at the beach!

Here is one of our beautiful nieces, Tessa. Isn't she a cutie? I tried to take her home with me, but Aunty and The Hubby were not having any of that. :) You can find Tessa in the dictionary, under adorable.

Even though we were in the midst of icky tummies, we managed a very tasty holiday meal. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied yams, wild rice, fruit salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, and I think there was even more that I am forgetting. Oh, and "kid's wine" (aka sparkling cider) too!

The adults got to head out for a date while the kids hung out at home with a couple of babysitters. Yep, it takes a couple of sitters for our combined kids. We saw.....New Moon! Yeah, I am one of those people. In my defense, so is The Hubby. We also enjoyed some great sushi that day. It has been over a year since I got me some raw fish and it was great. And yet another highlight of the trip? We stopped by a vintage clothing store! That is soooo my thing. Check out my new hat.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful holiday week. I look forward to posting more often now that I am back home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lisa Leanard giveaway from SimpleMom!

SimpleMom is hosting a $50 holiday giveaway from Lisa Leonard! Check this fabulous opportunity out HERE.

Pumpkin Roll

I love living in Germany.  I really do.  We've been able to see so many neat places and share in so many cultural traditions since we arrived.  It's been an amazing experience.

There's always That Thing, though.  You know?  That one Thing that you wish was just the way it was when you grew up.

I can deal with the rain.  I don't mind that the kids only go to school until 1:00.  It doesn't bother me that I spend half my time driving going 5 mph behind a bicycle.  But I really wish my oven was bigger than two cubic feet inside!

I told you all that I've been all about pumpkin recently.  So naturally, I peeled the label off the Libby's 100% pure pumpkin to see if there were any yummy recipes on the inside.  Lo and behold, I found the recipe for a pumpkin roll!  Oh my word!  Pumpkin AND dessert!  Two of my most favorite things in the world!!!  I dutifully went out and bought a jelly roll pan, so excited to get to make my first roll cake.  I carefully collected all of the ingredients at the commissary and assembled them on my counter.  I was ready.  This was going to be good.

Step 1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  OK, so I have to translate the temperature into Celsius.  I'm used to that.  No problem.  Check.

Step 2.  Grease 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper.  Grease and flour paper.  YAY!  My new jelly roll pan!  ...  But wait. ... Why are the edges of my jelly roll pan sticking out over the edges of the stovetop?  Huh.  If the jelly roll pan won't fit on the stovetop...  DARN IT!  I tried to fit that pan in front ways, back ways, tilted, and upside down.  (OK, so I really didn't try to fit it in upside down, but I tried everything I could think of.)  There was no fitting that thing in that oven.  

Step 2a.  Find a new way to bake the roll cake so I can still make the dessert.  Two casserole dishes?  OK.  Might work.  Let's give it a shot!

And so this is how I came to know that not only can you bake this cake in a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan, you can also bake it in a larger-than-13x9 inch casserole dish plus a smaller-than-13x9 casserole dish.  Sorry I can't be more specific, but that's about as clear as I can make the sizes of the dishes I used. :)

Here is a link to the recipe and directions.  This cake was SO worth the effort.  It got rave reviews at the church meeting where I took it to share.  I hope you can enjoy this recipe!

Libby's Pumpkin Roll -

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Digiscrap site.

Here is a quick post for the day. As I was looking through digiscrap freebie sites, I thought I would share with all of you! I am getting ready to design our December blog background. I very rarely purchase a kit and so I have found some useful places to get some great freebies. And today, for your viewing pleasure I present DigiScrapDepot.

I would also like to ask a quick question. What is your favorite part of holiday decorations? Snow? Santas? Nativity? Christmas trees? Please let me know through the comments. :o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please welcome our Guest Mom, Kara!

Thanks for letting me be part of your blog, Mandy! I have really enjoyed getting to know you through the Unassisted Childbirth board on iVillage. You have done such a wonderful job leading that group, and I'm excited to see what a fantastic blog you have put together!

I am Kara, wife to Tom and mom to Connor Thomas (8), Kadyn May (5), and Avery Claire (3). I live in Germany and work part time for our church. Tom and I have been married ten years and have lived
in nine different houses over three continents since we said, "I do." My life is one big adventure!

One of my favorite parts of the fall season is the wonderful comforting foods that go along with autumn! This year I have been all about pumpkin. You can tell from the color alone that pumpkin is packed with nutrients. One cup of raw pumpkin contains only thirty calories and just a tenth of a gram of fat yet it boasts levels of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, K, iron, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamins C, B6, B12, A, and E! I have been adding pumpkin to everything lately - oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, cake, soup...the list goes on. I thought I'd share my pumpkin pancake recipe, which has been a huge hit here.

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 1/4 c buttermilk (I use low-fat.)
1 egg
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
2 T oil (I use canola.)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
2 T honey
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour

We love these pancakes with whole wheat flour but I'm sure they would work with all-purpose flour as well. The flax seed is optional, but gives the pancakes a good nutty flavor and adds some Omega 3s to the mix. You can add in nuts as well - pecans are fantastic! - but my kids don't care for nuts in their pancakes.

Every Monday is Pancake Day for us and this recipe has been gobbled up for the last two weeks. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pregnant in America

It is time for me to get up on my soapbox and tell you all about a cause that I am passionate about. Childbirth. I am not going to sit here at my computer and tell you exactly how you should give birth. Who am I to decide that for you? That is your decision. I do urge you to be informed. Below is a preview for a documentary called Pregnant in America. I watched it last night. I was burning with anger over what our nation, insurance companies, and medical practices are doing to us. This information is not new to me. I wanted to share it with all of you, in case it is new to you. This is very worth watching! You can buy the video or rent it through a video store.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another birthday celebration.

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street! YOU.ARE.AWESOME!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin carving

Halloween is over until next year. The kids are already dreaming about what the next costume will be. For us, pumpkin fun isn't over yet, though! We still have November to have fun. Good thing too, because I am just now sharing our pumpkin carving pictures. The Hubby is the master artist in the family. He carved out four sides to the same pumpkin.

I am about to share our super secret carving technique. First, the kids draw their faces on the pumpkins with washable crayola markers.

Then their dad takes a look at their creation and erases it. The kids' drawings are usually not to the right size for the pumpkin. Then The Hubby gets to work. And that's it!
First up we had Z-man with his cyclops. Second we have Little Mama with her pretty face. Baby Doll follows with her dimples. Finally, Duder with Spiderman's spider.

What did you carve your pumpkin like?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering all of our servicemen and women this day. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bountiful Baskets

Do you buy organic? Where do you get your veggies and fruits from? Have you ever bought fresh from a local farmer? There is a wonderful, local program here called Bountiful Baskets. It has now expanded from Arizona to Utah, Idaho and Washington as well. This group is volunteer based. You sign up, find a local pick up site, make a contribution ($$) and go every other week to pick up a laundry basket full of locally grown, very fresh produce! Financially it is a great deal, and your taste buds will thank you too! Thanks to Bountiful Baskets I have tasted the very best tasting strawberries ever. I have never had them that fresh before.

In addition to a basket full of produce, there are extras available for a little more cost. Do you see all of the lovely food in the basket above? That was my conventional basket this last weekend. I got tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, avocados, spaghetti squash, onions, corn on the cob, cucumbers, bananas, cantaloupe, apples, kiwi and oranges. I paid $10 extra and got 5 loaves of the yummiest bread I have ever tasted. I picked the honey oat variety, and there was also a cranberry bread and a sourdough bread to choose from. Finally, I opted to get the Italian pack too. I got more spinach, fresh basil, mushrooms, squash, onions, Italian parsley and garlic.

I have to tell you, if this is offered in your area, I would recommend trying it out! You get a great deal on produce, it is very tasty and you are helping out local farmers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

What to do when one is late...

My perspective: I let the extra tired camper sleep in a little bit this morning, but as a result we were running late to school. The first warning bell had rung and the kids needed to hustle to get to class this morning.

Little Mama's perspective: She was tired and slow, and why rush even if she is running late to school? This would be the perfect time for her to very slowwwwwwly make sure she hops over ever single crack in the sidewalk on the way through the school gates.

And another truth for today...

I am just too damn old to be sleeping on the ground! Mommy must have a blow up mattress or mommy cannot walk the next day. : )

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Shanna!

I want to wish my sister-in-law, Shanna, a very happy birthday today!

Thinking Christmas.

SHHhhhh! I'm going to spill the beans on some Christmas presents. My kids are getting magazine subscriptions for Christmas this year. Have you ever heard of Cricket, ladybug or Ask? Check these out. They were highly recommended to me and I must say that I have been very impressed. So if you are thinking about what to get the kids, I am passing on the recommendation for these.

So speaking of anyone stressed over the holidays yet? I start my seasonal shopping and preparing in June. And so what if my kids don't want to listen to Christmas songs in the summer? Since I am a HUGE fan of Christmas, I am always ready for it. This year I have been following simple mom's 12 weeks to a peaceful Christmas to work on preparation. I will be sharing some ideas from simple mom and others on enjoying holiday cheer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ready for a giggle?

I am sorry that it has been a bit since my last post. It has been a rough couple of days. Between life, parenthood and facing the dentist, I thought I could use a laugh today. So today's post is a joke that my mother-in-law told us.

One day, after nearly an eternity in the Garden of Eden, Adam dials up God and says; "Lord, I have a problem"

"What's the problem, Adam?" God replies.

"Lord, I know you created me and have provided for me and surrounded me with this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, but I'm just not happy."

"Why is that, Adam?", comes the reply from the heavens.

"Lord, I know that you created this place for me, with all this lovely food and all of the beautiful animals, but I'm lonely." "The sheep and I do not speak the same language."

"Well Adam, in that case I have the perfect solution. I shall create a WOMAN for you"

"Forgive me, Lord, but what is a WOMAN?"

"This WOMAN will be the most intelligent, sensitive, caring and beautiful creature I have ever created. She will be so intelligent that she can figure out what you want before you want it. She will be so sensitive and caring that she will know your every mood and how to make you happy. Her beauty will rival that of the heavens and earth. She will unquestioningly care for your every need and desire. She will be the perfect companion for you." Replies the heavenly voice.

"Sounds great to me." says Adam.

"She will be great, as is with all things I create, well except for the Platypus, but Adam.........."

"Yes Lord."

"This is going to cost you."

"How much will this WOMAN cost me Lord?" Adam replies.

"She'll cost you your right arm,..... your right leg,..... an eye and an ear."

Adam ponders this for some time. Then with a look of deep though and concern still etched on his face Adam says, "Ehhhh, what can I get for a rib?"