Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Digital Holiday Card

We Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday, December 06, 2010

Another Birthday Coming up

Not sure how that happened, it is a good thing, would hate to see them end.
Grey Hair Sucks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

God is Here

Sunday morning and this is what I was blessed with. A vision of peace and tranquility in the middle of the city of Missoula. It was quiet, I could imagine that I was alone in the world and that there were no wars, no hunger, no pain, an issues. If only for just a moment.

I wish all my friends and family, far and wide this same peace within.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Menu changes to Holiday

non-stick spray
10 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup Pomegranate Cranberry Compote or Sauce (see recipe)
1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and rough chopped
1 cup eggnog
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
10 slices Wheat Montana bread dried to smithereens, broken up into 1/2 inch pieces (about 5 cups)
Bourbon Spiced Cream, recipe follows
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 by 5 1/4 by 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with butter.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cranberry sauce until very smooth. Stir in half-and-half. bread and pecans. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch thick slices. Top with the Bourbon Spiced cream. Garnish with confectioners' sugar and mint.

1/2 pound fresh cranberries
1/2 pound pomegranate
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Yield: 2 cups

1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Beat the cream and bourbon with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat again until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes. Yield: 4 cups
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 bunch celery, including leaves, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, skin-on, sliced
1/2 small onion, skin-on, sliced
3 peppercorns, crushed with the back of a knife
1 small bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh cream
3 to 4 pounds green tomatoes
Fresh breadcrumbs from 1 baguette

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, shallot, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs, and season with salt; cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and translucent.
Add cream and bring to a simmer; remove from heat and let steep 15 to 20 minutes. Strain cream into a small container with a spout, gently pressing on solids to extract flavor. Discard solids and set cream aside.
Using remaining tablespoon butter, butter a 9-by-7-inch or 2-quart baking dish; set aside. Using a mandolin, very thinly slice tomatoes into 1/16-inch slices, discarding any irregular or unusable pieces. Layer tomatoes close together and slightly overlapping so that they cover bottom of entire dish; season with salt and pepper. Repeat process, making 5 layers of tomatoes and seasoning between each. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Using a second baking dish about the same size as the one containing the tomatoes, press down on surface of tomatoes and drain any liquid that has accumulated in the dish; discard liquid and remove second baking dish.
Top tomatoes with breadcrumbs; do not press down. Evenly pour reserved cream over top so that breadcrumbs are moistened. Transfer to oven and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown and tomatoes are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Top with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.

Baking this cornbread dressing from Miller Union chef Steven Satterfield in muffin tins gives each serving crispy, savory edges.


Serves 12
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecan pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons fresh finely chopped sage
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using 2 tablespoons butter, butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.
Break cornbread into medium-fine pieces by hand in the pan it was baked in; add cherries and pecans; set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, shallots, sage, and thyme; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer; let simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
Pour vegetable mixture over cornbread and mix to combine; let cool slightly. Stir in eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Using your hands or an ice cream scoop, fill prepared muffin tin with cornbread mixture. Transfer to oven and bake until set, about 40 minutes. Let cool before removing from muffin tins.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insanely Exhausted

here are some catch phrases that I learned from my 9 year old his last year in B&M

"I hate my life"

"just kill me now"

"would you like some cheese with your whine"

"did that hurt? I didn't feel a thing"


everyone has a breaking point. each person will find it, hopefully before the brink of sanity and desperately before they self destruct.

I would love to say that this is fun, IT ISNT

I would love to say this is rewarding, The Jury is Still out on that one

I will not tell you that it gets better and this is why

if you can not handle this, and you hold on until you can handle it, you will take on something else that you can not handle, because you figure that you have mastered this and so you can handle a little bit more. this is a fatal flaw with some personalities (mine included)

I couldnt handle two at home, but then I had two, I couldnt handle two at home and scouts, but then I did, you just keep piling it up on your plate until you can not handle it anymore. I wish I had good news, but I am still desperately trying to clear my plate this week, why? to rush clear across the country to HEAP more on my PLATE. because that is what I do.

I am my college child's study buddy, because she went to B&M and doesnt have a clue of how little she knows

I am teaching my 5th grader and terrified that I will not get all the math and science stuffed into his head

I am teaching my 4th grader that HATES to write and I seriously doubt that he will master it by spring.

so let's revisit:

I hate my life, it will not get any better, just kill me now, I chose this for myself, yes it hurts, so what, there is no plan B, I have to suck it up, walk it off, and drag my kids kicking and screaming into the 21st century and get them to understand that the internet is a research tool, not a animae portal, and will someone POLEZZE tell my 25 year old daughter to GOOGLE before asking me, and NOT tell me that GOOGLE takes TOO long.

This is NOT how I planned my life when I was 17 and KNEW IT ALL.

time demands:

Magnus: 9am - 4 pm

Erik: 11 am - 6 pm

Sverre:8 pm-12 pm

Jasmine: 10 pm to 6 am

Kat: yeah, good luck with that

I have been in such a bad mood for days that I must revisit this:

1. my socially challenged child that is the whole catalyst for us being here had a FANTASTIC weekend socially and I am grateful that he did so well.

2. Even though I am worried to distraction that both of my older boys ( both LCpls) are in Afghanistan, they will be ok. and Lili-anne is not here yet, and THAT is a GOOD thing. she will be done cooking by Halloween.

3. we have a curriculum that I can implement as I see fit, a house we can afford, an steady income to provide, and our health is very good. all other challenges are just distractions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frequently I reply to the 'lastest' posts in online discussion groups, not sticking to one particular clique or group. I consider myself pretty liberal, and it is rare that I look up and see anything other than title of the the discussion or topic, rather than which 'group' that topic traditionally belongs to.

so it is very reasonable for any innocent to walk into a 'room', not hunting out any particular group to annoy, aggravate, or irritate. frequently I do manage that objective with very little effort what so ever. LOL

that being said, let me chime in here, because I can. and No I will not apologize for my opinions, they free and worth about that much.

My husband is a devout atheist. actually a humanist, but few know about that point of view. I am a possibly a right wing democrat or a left wing republican (the Left is called "the party of movement" and the Right "the party of order".) depending on the topic. (Traditionally, the Left includes progressives, social liberals, social democrats, socialists, communists and anarchists. The Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, capitalists, monarchists, nationalists and fascists.) I am obviously a progressive and anarchist if I am willing to buck the establishment and home school my children, but I am a a conservative nationalist if I am going with such a restrictive program that demands accountability.

So I do not believe that any one stance is perfect, any religion is perfect, any one curriculum is perfect. or any one discussion room is perfect. as with any buffet, you dish up what you want, take what you like, and leave the rest. that is not a secular decision, a racial decision, or a scientific decision, it is just a COMMON SENSE decision. The fact that this topic was raised, and brought to my attention is a 'blessing' since I didn't know that there was a bible study in the literature program perked my interest. Yes I am considered one of THOSE people since it is obvious that I have been lurking over in THAT mormon discussion group, but that does not pigeon hole me to only one track mind set. I chose k12 because it was non-secular, on purpose.

btw, political correctness tends to really irritate me. I watched a new pilot, and I kid you not, they got in one white, one black, one asian and one female to make the cast Barney Diverse. SERIOUSLY? why? life is not Barney Diverse. my family is not Barney Diverse, my kids education is not Barney Diverse. I think sometimes people try to hard.

I recently read in another book The Educated Child and while I find some of his opinions laced with a tad bit more conservatism than I am, the point that he makes is valid. To few parents establish what they believe with their children, they dance around the subject, they never come right now and force their views on their child and they leave the child to figure it out on their own. To teach or not to teach a topic or subject, to censure or not to censure is entirely up to the parent and at least with k12 we have the choice to do so without interference. The local B&M did not offer that choice. They are militant here in conformity to a set of standards that are not MY set of standards, which is why I am in k12.

My point (and I was getting to it) was that I want to be INFORMED, I want to KNOW what is being offered, in the B&M, in k12, on the TV, and I want to make my own choice and my own decision. not because I am part of this party, or that, because I am part of this mindset or that, because I am in this group or that one.

Not everything we say or do is going to be confrontational, not everything we say or do is going to be embracing diversity, but we should be able to make a rational observation and draw a conclusion without constantly apologizing or getting defensive because someone may or may not share our point of view.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Education.. not school

this is our second year and with one it was bad, but with two, it is just as bad as last year when I didn't have a clue. but not unforeseen. I knew it was coming. be careful what you wish for.

okay, here is my brainstorming.

A; this is not SCHOOL, this is EDUCATION. so how long is that going to take?

how long does that job take? 40 hours a week? hmm that is 8-5 not 9-330. so if the WORK at hand is to get an education, not just go to SCHOOL. we are looking at 30 hours of instruction and 10 hours of enrichment.

now the k12 program doesn't say MAXIMUM of 30 hours a week, they said MINIMUM. if your family drives the exact precise speed limit on the freeway, then follow the minimum, if your family goes over about 10 mph, then I would say that they would be acceptable to a 10 hour fudge factor on school work as well. SOUNDS reasonable to me.

remember I am in the same boat, my husband says that this is MY project and I am the PROJECT MANAGER if it succeeds or fails, it is all on me.

so we tried following the k12 recommended day for 21 days. THAT was a FAIL. we do not transition well, I found the kids wandering aimlessly around the house when they KNEW what was on the schedule for that time slot, and they were basically avoiding me and working.

we have a stellar home office with three work stations with three computers with a comfy couch, multimedia surround sound and it is really nice DSL. they are extremely well set up with functionality and all the tools. so it is not THAT, it is lack of direction. the map is in thier hands, the GPS in the pocket, and they still get lost going to the kitchen for a drink.

so here is my plan:

we have a strict menu each week:

  • SUNDAY is Pizza, every Sunday, every week, pizza, cheese pizza, cherry pie pizza, veggie pizza, two kinds of pizza, but always PIZZA
  • MONDAY, is Mac n Cheese, lasagna, some kind of pasta
  • TUESDAY is TACOS, if it is Tacos, it is Tuesday and if it is Tuesday, beef tacos, chicken tacos, it is tacos. you can set your watch by it.
  • WEDNESDAY is Soup and Sandwich, usually tomato and grilled cheese, but always S&S
  • THURSDAY is spaghetti, every Thursday, every week
  • FRIDAY is Fish and Veggies, without fail. fish fillet, fish sticks, fish
  • SATURDAY is Crepes, it just is, always, every Saturday, CREPES, sometimes with jam, sometimes with fresh fruit, sometimes just sugar, but always crepes

so we have embraced the menu, I need to chunk up the lessons

Monday obviously must be MATH, math monday, monday math. no problem, makes sense P.E. is every every day, 2 hours of pe, 5 hours of math, that I can pull off

Tuesday... Silly Science (3)and Social Studies(2)

Wednesday... Health & Music

Thursday.... Music - Composition

Friday... Language Arts (GUM, Spelling, Vocabulary, Literature)<~~I am not sure about this one at all

Saturday... Art and Foreign Language

Sunday... Music

and yes, I think we are going to have to go to 7 a week...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

why virtual school


7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord.

here is my take on it, and this is just personal reflection. I spend so many hours doing enrichment activities, that we more than cover the basic expectation of commitment. I have a running tally sheet on an envelope that I have for my own accountability, when I was home sick from the hospital, my son laid down next to me on the bed, and he watched 6 hours of walking with dinosaurs on PBS, you can bet that he is getting credit for that spread out over the school year, I call it bankable hours. he hiked 21 miles through Glacier National park with a Geologist / Park Ranger, he participated for 4 hours a day for 2 days, and each night he sat through 3 one hour lectures and slide shows about geology by the time we were done, he earned a Scout Conservation badge from Washington D.C., you can bet that we banked those for Science and P.E., 21 miles... in 5 days is a lot of hiking.

So what I do, is I push him, not watching the clock, but getting 3% assignments done each week. I give credit on each subject that we do work on, if he works hard, 1 hour, really hard, 2 hours, and really really hard 3 hours, until we have 6 - 8 hours. Our program only reimburses us for internet if we have a minimum of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, not 30 hours a week over 6 days. I keep the lessons separate from the time. There are days that we work in a subject and do not complete a lesson, the program doesn't care. Lessons are A, B, C, D grades, attendance is 30 hours a week for 38 weeks, one does not have anything to do with the other.

1080 hours over 38 weeks or 180 days...

anyway you divide it, that is what you need.... at least 180 days of attendance and a minimum of 1080 hours.

there is not a lesson / hour police, they do not call you and question you, you do not have to PROVE that it took xx number of hours, it is an HONOR system, so if you work 10 minutes a day on each subject, and are done in 3 hours, fine, whoohoo, come the end of the year, who won? who benefited? what did you accomplish?

the 1080 hours is RECOMMENDED for the child to get the best possible opportunity to have an enriched and positive day. you get out of it what you put in to it. nothing comes without work, sweat, and striving for excellence. I think that we have become a nation of time clock watchers. it was just a while ago that we had apprentices, they were lucky to get a job training with the best, and they didn't clock in or out, they got up, they learned their craft, and they went to bed, that was their job. they were young children, but they learned their craft.

I would rather do it right, or not do it at all. I tell my children, don't disrepect my time and talent, this is truly a sacrifice for me and if you do not respect my time any better than giving me 110% you can go back to school and be happy with mediocre. I know what my education is worth. What I do for them, is a gift, the ultimate gift. I invested 8 years of my life in college to learn what I did, and I can share it with them, in the ultimate hands on learning experience in the world. We are taking the opportunity to change the educational process. I am not looking for a way to get out of school, I am not looking for a way to beat the clock and spend the day on my butt or worse at the mall. I am striving for an opportunity to give them a college level education before they finish high school, so that when they go to college, they build on that to the next level.

I do not have gifted and talented children, but I believe that "geniuses are made, not born".

That is my $.02, and that is why I am here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

why electives

I just worked through this lesson with my college freshman child

interpersonal communication

there are some people that go to a trade school or get an Associates Art Degree, they learn one thing and they learn it very well, they are probably considered SELECTIVE, they get educated with the minimal details,

there are some other people that go to a college and get an BA or associates degree, they learn a basic trade, get some enrichment courses, and they get a more SYSTEMIC education, they cover the core essentials of advanced learning and can participate in an intelligent conversation about a variety of subjects outside of their major.

then there are a group of the population that go on to get an MA or PhD, they are are UNIQUE, the go beyond the social norm, the have maximized the processual evolution of education and have increased their quality with increased quantity of education, they have been exposed to a higher quantity of ELECTIVES and are more dynamic in thought process.

WHY do we study other languages, learn to play musical instruments? it helps our brain make CONNECTIONS in a variety of patterns. there is more than one way to get to the grocery store. there may be obstacles and you have to be able to re-evaluate your options and the barriers to get from point A to point B and think outside of the box.

The more ELECTIVES that we have in our enrichment the more ways we can explore to find a solution. It is the Right Brain / Left Brain issue, and you have to EXCERSIZE both sides or your will have a disproportionate development.

Everything has to be in balance, not just work, not just play, not just eating, not just spiritual, but all things in proportion.

So music lessons are not for the sake of MUSIC, they are a foreign language that teaches our brain how to communicate on a different plane. That is important when you think about how many foreign speaking people will be in your child's life when they go to work and have to communicate with people of other cultures.

Art appreciation and crafts are not a waste of time, they are the beginnings of Architecture, not just house architecture but database architecture. Teaching your brain to pick out when the white balance is off, how to color calibrate your tv or computer so see the true blacks, the true whites, for interior design to know when florescent lights make a room 'warmer' or “cooler”, how that affects mood. Did you know that if you go outside and are happier that is because the solar light is a different 'temperature' and it is warmer, than say inside and a 'bluer' light that is a different Kelvin temperature?

oh, that is a different way to look at it. yes we all want a good Art / Music program, but WHAT came in the box does not match the quality level of the other subjects offered by K12. I would have to agree wholeheartedly.

I love the other components like math, science, social studies. But the art and music materials that were provided are sadly lacking in quality and development.

Yes, there does not seem to be the same level of appreciation for the extras and it appears that k12 considers it EXTRA. I do not get the sense that they feel it is worth the effort to find a more current and rigorous curriculum and do not give it the respect that it deserves.

I am actually counting on the piano lessons to be our 'music program' replacement.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fired up

Recent diatribe on Chron.com

This family home schools and has a free-for-all curriculum, so lets crucify them. http://www.unschooling.com/

That family home schools and follows a strict national common core standards http://www.corestandards.org/ they must be fanatical because they do not have a bible class each morning.

We home school, for our own personal reasons, and we select a secular curriculum that is internationally influenced in preparation for a foreign college education with a college graduate learning coach and a professional teacher in an online environment. Our children participate in international and interstate field trips that would not only not be possible in a brick and mortar setting, but completely prohibited due to funding and supervisory resources.

Do not assume that it is religion that drives parents from the fundamentalist state of the current education in Texas, sometimes it is quite the opposite, parents that do not want their children to blindly accept doctrine that comes from Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. My parents fought the establishment, only to become entrenched in it to my dismay. I am fighting the establishment to ensure that my children grow up KNOWING they have a choice KNOWING they CAN make a difference and knowing that there is more out there than 50 states and 50 capitals.

21st century education has to encompass that there is more in this world economy than just the stars and stripes. It is knowing the cultural differences on a market that is influenced by geography as well as class distinction. We simply can not afford to wait for the state of Texas to get beyond the heated discussion of which 6 US leaders should be discussed in 3rd grade social studies.

Monday, August 16, 2010


the PTA sent out a request for teacher breakfast food volunteer.. the one that piqued my curiosity? french toast casserole.. that just sounds like a one way ticket to hell. so I googled it.


1 loaf french bread
8 eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
dash salt

slice bread into 1-inch slices. arrange slices in generously buttered 9x13 in casserole, in 2 rows, overlapping slices. beat together the rest of the ingredients and pour over bread, making sure all bread is covered evenly, spooning in between the slices. cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

praline topping:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans (optional)
2 T light corn syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg

blend together well and spread over top of bread (like frosting). bake casserole for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees until puffed and lightly golden.

and then I saw the next two words to just drive me over the edge:

I follow this recipe to the letter. While others may mess with perfection, I don't. Some people have said, "Oh, I substituted apple sauce for the oil." Good for you, I say. I made it last week. Just had a hankerin' for it. Accept no substitutes.

This is not about cutting fat, cutting calories, or cutting out flavor. This banana bread is best eaten about an hour after taken out of the oven, when the crust is still crusty. Cold, cold milk is the only drink that is good right then.

The recipe card is old. I laminated it. It is Stacey's from way back before the turn of the century.

This recipe isn't just good, it's Hall of Fame.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Mash 3 medium to large bananas in a bowl.
Mix in 3/4 C granulated sugar.
Add 1/2 C vegetable oil and 2 eggs and mix.
Mix in 1 3/4 C sifted flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt until you don't see any white from the flour.

Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Pour in the mixture. Bake 1 hour. The toothpick you stick in should come out clean.

Take the pan out and set it on a rack for about twenty minutes to half an hour. Cut in 1" slices while in the pan and serve hot; or wait longer if you can, turn the loaf out, and slice it.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chit chat

how Chase meet Jazz, funny thing about that. Chase is in the Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, and hanging out with Jason and Krystal, so when Jazz was there with them, she and he met and hit it off. he is from Washington state and a very patient sweet person that takes way way too much crap off of her. she has had her heart permanently injured from more than one freaking moron so he is a real trooper to put up with her abuse to test his loyalty.

Scouts. let me tell you about scouts. first it was just taking Magnus in to be a Tiger. then it was being the den leader for those 8 little tigers, and then it was den leader for them as wolves, and then Erik had constant falling outs with his leader, so we switched packs, I became the den leader for the Webelos, and lead those boys including my own all to arrow of light (like eagle scouts) for the pack program. now Erik is in the boy scout program, Magnus is in the Webelos program, and I am doubly busy both on a troop level and a pack level. then someone said, hey, you have attended every training that we offer, how about kicking it up a notch, sure, why not. so I went to Woodbadge to be an even better leader. now I am coordinating a hiking program that will benefit the whole church family that sponsors our pack / troop and I motivate them to get out and get more outing in scouting. yesterday we took a boat tour of the Houston ship channel. last week we hiked through the downtown tunnel system and learned about civics, citizenship, and community. the chief of police bumped into us and had a quick chat with the boys. he almost seemed surprised that I didn't jump all over him and blabber away, but I just expect the boys to respect ALL the men in blue, no one more or less. :-)

I am extremely proud of my scouts achievements, my own boys and the boys in our pack, and I am extremely proud that both of my girls are with active duty marines. granted that freaks me out that boy are deploying AGAIN to Afghanistan, but duty to country is a foundation that I believe in strongly. so I help the girls out as best I can, and we just soldier on. I will figure out how to pay off my credit cards one day when this is all over.

as for my July baby, he is so very complicated. I knew something was up before he was a year, but they could not definitively link it to autism, so we just had to work through all the symptoms without any clue. even now, it is difficult to push him to keep going out, if he had his way, he would be a shut in, it is a constant battle but I try to find something for him to do three days a week that requires him to leave the house and interact with other humans.

this summer was INTENSE... for a summary... http://www.erikcameronamundsen.com is complete, http://www.jordanjasonmiles.com is mostly complete, and I am just starting to update http://www.magnusleeamundsen.com on what we did. I guess in my mind, I assume that anyone who is anyone already knows about the boy's blogs. ;-)

as for my tummy, I have never heard of a bezoar and I talk to many gastric bypass people. but I have heard stricture a lot, and that is what the doctor is thinking may be the cause, and a stricture is when the exit hole is too little for the food that was not chewed well enough to pass through and we are warned to cut small and chew chew chew, but frequently many people this far out get lazy and do not follow instructions, so it is a my bad for not doing a better job of taking care of myself.

okay, now I have got to get me some coffee, and find some kind of motivation to do my book keeping today, or the IRS nazi's will come down on my head and beat me to death and take my house for not filing my taxes within my extension. augh augh.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

family status...

okay, so I am shocked that this is a shocker.. I double checked, my last update was JANUARY??? surely I sent out an update since then??? what is up with that?

okay.. so it must be time for AN UPDATE....

from the bottom:
Magnus is beginning Year two of Home school, he is in the 4th grade and begrudgingly doing his work. He is in a charter school system, funded by the state of Texas, with education dollars, he is taking 9 courses and it takes him 6 hours to do get through it each day. the program is called K12 and they are pretty intense, I call it prep-school. Magnus was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, http://magnusleeamundsen.blogspot.com/2010/04/sensory-processing-disorder.html is where we summarized for those that follow his blog. he is 4ft9in, and 67 lbs, so as far as CDC says for his age, he is normal

Erik is currently in Norway with his dad for three weeks his blog is http://erikcameronamundsen.blogspot.com/ and that is the most up to date of all the blogs covering what we did this summer. He desperately wants to home school this fall as well, I am leaning heavily towards that but his dad is pulling ferociously in the other direction. I think there will be a small war come Sunday Aug 22, with a shot across the bow of the ship once the plane lands from Amsterdam. Erik is a complicated soul. he has a definite preference for female role models, and has beautiful blonde locks that are the envy of the sisters in the family. it brings him in for some serious ridicule from friends and strangers alike. most people are starting to let it go, but there are some die hard conservatives in town that just can not believe that this BEAUTIFUL person wouldn't just be happier if he was more 'boyish'. We are not going to be surprized when and if the day comes for some announcements. We love Erik or Erika (he has several role playing games that he has a female persona and female avatars named Erika)

Naomi, well we visited with Naomi this summer, and she is exactly the same as she was last summer, the summer before, and the summer before that. mentally she is about 6 and for the most part she is happy. she has her good days, and her bad days. she remembers her family, even if she has not seen them for several years. each of her siblings have various levels of connection with her, most are tolerant of her disabilities, Magnus the least, Krystal the most.

Krystal / Jordan are back in California. Jordan came to live with us in February and stayed for 5 months, now his daddy (Jason) is currently deployed to Viper Training in 29 Palms California, for 6 weeks, and then 2 weeks vacation before deployment to Afghanistan. we are terrified, we are getting a flag draped coffin daily here in town, WAY WAY too many casualties. Jordan did have a good visit, and he grew and matured with us, but his momma missed him desperately.

and then there is Jasmine. Jasmine started college in January, she is studying early elementary education, going to teach K-3rd, she lives in Montana, and she and Chase are expecting their first wee one. Chase is in the same Group as Jason, so they will both deploy within days of each other. jasmine is still enrolled, her classes start the end of this month, and baby Lilyanne is due a month to 6 weeks before finals. oh joy. I am planning on going up mid October to help with Lily-anne, taking Magnus with.

as for me, I am still completed dedicated to scouting, went to wood badge training in April (200 hours of community service in the first month) and several hours each month on top of my normal duties as a webelos leader. homeschooling booster member, active in the church, and still struggling to be a professional photographer in an economy that is not conducive to luxuries like portraits.
I do have a outpatient surgery on Friday, so could use some prayers, have to go back in and make some modifications to the gastric bypass, there seems to be some blockage, called a Bezoar are tightly packed collections of partially digested or undigested material stuck in the stomach. lovely.

the husband, augh. the husband. he is still employed with HP, but they RARELY keep anyone past 20 years, and he is already past 17, so we know his days are numbered.

so that is me in a nutshell.

As we draw Near Deployment 2.0

Moses 7:63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Taco Tuesday

Chicken Quesadilla Pie

Serves 4-6 Hands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 45m

* 1 10-ounce can green or red enchilada sauce
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 4 8-inch flour tortillas
* 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack, plus 1/4 cup for the top
* 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken, shredded
* 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
* 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
* 1 cup salsa
* 1 avocado, diced
* 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves


1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the enchilada sauce and cream. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce mixture into the bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole or 9-inch springform pan. Top with 1 tortilla and a third each of the cheese, chicken, onion, and zucchini. Repeat twice to form a total of 3 layers. Top with the remaining tortilla, sauce mixture, and cheese.
3. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Slice into wedges and serve with the salsa, avocado, and cilantro.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

what is for dinner?

I am so hungry...

Intense Mother of 5 children: 3 girls (twins) and 2 boys (year apart), three of which are special needs children, Breastfeeding and car-seat nazi, Grandmother of 1 ¾ precocious turbo tykes, Jordan is age 3, Lily-Anne is Expected by Halloween. Clucking Mother(hen)-in-law of two Marines too deploy to Afghanistan for second tour this fall. Passionately involved Boy Scout Leader with fervent expectations of one Webelos and one Tenderfoot and fiercely patriotic. Professional Portrait Photographer of some epic note. Eco-terrorist and proponent of electronic and digital education. College Graduate with Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Minor degrees in Geology and GIS (Computer Cartography). Wife of Sverre (eco-minion) whom is a I.T. Guru at H.P. Deeply committed to community volunteering.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Glacier Day 5

Many Glacier:
Appekunny Falls
Appekunny Falls Trailhead, 1 mile east of the Many Glacier Hotel. Elevation climbs 700 feet
2 miles round trip hike

Two Medicine:
Running Eagle Falls. This waterfall seems to pour out of the face of the rock, rather than over the top of it.
.5 miles round trip hike.

Aster Park
This is a short, 3.8 round trip hike that is family friendly, with only 750 feet of vertical gain. It takes you past the banks of Two Medicine Lake and leads to a picturesque waterfall.

miles hiked 5.3 miles
animals seen: none

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Up Close and Personal

Upper Grinnell Glacier Lake

Glacier Day 4

Grinnell Glacier 5.5
Grinnell Glacier Trailhead at the Many Glacier Picnic area or the south end of the Many Glacier Hotel. 3.8 miles via boat & hike. Boats leave from the Many Glacier Hotel boat dock. Elevation climbs 1,600 feet

Monday, July 19, 2010

Glacier Day 3

The Red Rock Trailhead is located at the end of Many Glacier Road, which is on the east side of Glacier National Park. The most scenic driving route would be from the west entrance and across Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Many Glacier Road is accessible after leaving the east entrance and then returning to the park via Babb, Montana.

miles hiked: 2.6 miles from the trailhead at the Swiftcurrent parking lot next to the Many Glacier Campground.
animals we saw today: Ptarmigan, Moose and twin baby moose, white tail deer and fawn,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Glacier Day 2

Avalanche Lake and Avalanche Gorge can be reached via a 4 mile round trip from the trailhead at Avalanche Campground. It's pleasant hiking along the creek, but there are no views to speak of until you reach the lake. the park guide walked fast, and it was hard for us city slickers to keep up. Avalanche Lake is pleasant, but not one of the most spectacular destinations in Glacier National Park. Worthwhile.

South of the Avalanche Gorge footbridge on the Trail of the Cedars. Elevation climbs 500 feet

followed by

Trail of the Cedars
Across from the Avalanche Campground Ranger Station. Level boardwalk

miles today: 4.5
animals we saw today: chipmunks

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Glacier Day 1

A free shuttle from avalanche campground to Logan Pass.

The trail to the Hidden Lake Viewpoint is about 3 miles roundtrip. there was a ton of snow to carefully pick our way over, slipping and sliding was scary at times as we were perched on the side of the cliff.

We saw Gophers, Ravens, Mountain Goats, and Big Horn Sheep.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Together for a Limited Time Engagement

Krystal, Erik, Magnus, Jasmine, Naomi
Magnus, Jasmine, Naomi, Krystal, Erik

Monday, July 05, 2010


Books from Wood Badge lessons

Key texts used during Wood Badge for the 21st Century

Please note that during the course there will be be presentation handouts for all topics and notetaking will be highly recommended.  However, if you're not much of a notetaker, please realize that many parts of the curriculum are licenced and/or copyrighted by Ken Blanchard or others.  Therefore, getting hardcopy of some information will require you to purchase a book.  The most requested book on the course is The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams .