New skillet meal

Last night I threw things together in the skillet, and it ended up working pretty well.

We have a bunch of yams to use, so that was my starting point. I peeled and cubed 2 yams, and sliced some baby carrots. I pan-fried this in olive oil for about 7-10 minutes. Then I added 2 cubed chicken breasts, onion, celery and garlic. Once the chicken was cooked, I added maybe 2-4T apple cider vinegar and about 2T brown sugar, and salt & pepper. Then I mixed some cream cheese, maybe ½ cup, into some cold water, then hot water, then added it to the pan. The last thing is I coarsely cut up some spinach and tossed it in to wilt it.

We came up with a name of Root Goulash. We had it with some quinoa, but it didn’t really need anything else with it. It was very filling. I read recently that yams are one of the best vegetables nutrition-wise.

Usually when I try to throw things together it doesn't go so well. This time it worked, and I was pretty proud of myself.


"Loud" and Other Words

Sam has been saying so many words lately. He's a really good imitator. The other day we showed him how to make the "L" sound for the word "loud". He knows the sign and uses it for everything from the vacuum to motorcycles to trucks to the KitchenAid mixer. It's really fun watching him try out new sounds!


Flower Craft

I found this neat craft online to do with Sam. I traced his hand and arm, cut out the shape, curled the fingers around a pencil, then wrapped the arm around a straw. Then I added some leaves. I have a piece of Sam on my desk!


New friend

We took a break at the mall to let Sam burn off some energy. Sam had fun running around and playing on the playthings. There was a girl, probably around 3 years old, that Sam had fun following. It was pretty cute.


Smelling the Roses

Sam likes to smell the flowers.


Camping Pictures

Whew! I found the camera. Here are a few pictures from the trial camping trip.

Sam and Andrew riding along together.
Our new tent. John put it up mostly by himself. It's really big! It fits two queen air mattresses plus about 5 feet inbetween them.

We had to sit in the shade a bit to cool down. It was hot!

"Watcha doin', Mama?"

BBQ time. We were all so relaxed and had such a good time!

View from the top of the hill.

"Let's keep going!"

Cute cuddles.

Camping with a Toddler (Trial)

We went camping at a family’s house that was from our parenting class. There were four families that gathered. We all slept in tents last night. Everyone had a great time.

Sam stayed up until 9:45. He had a blast playing in the molehills, jumping on the trampoline, and hiking in the woods. We got home today around 2, and he zonked out in the car (20 min drive) then slept until 4.

I'll post some pictures when I find the camera.


Signs of Learning

We counted the number of signs Sam could sign about two months ago, and it was 25. This week we counted again, and it was 64. (Mom, I told you 62, which is 62 from the baby sign book, then 2 others we thought of that we taught him from an ASL dictionary.) We were amazed at how much he has learned.

The last few signs he has learned: book, boat, flower, red.


Job Already Done For Me

John's been doing such a good job of blogging about what's been happening here that I haven't felt like contributing. So go check it out here, and I'll post a cute picture of Sam here and there.


Chasing Ducks

Since Sam has had so much practice chasing Macy, our cat, he was very successful at chasing away the ducks.



Here's the current garden progress. I have peas on the left, a tomato in the middle, and broccoli and a pepper on the right.

Close-up of the peas. Well, I guess the picture doesn't show them very well. But they have flowers growing.

Tomato, broccoli, and pepper.

This is the lavender I planted two years ago. I showed Sam how to pick the stems to smell them, and now he picks one, then picks another and another. At least there are a lot of them there to be picked.

These are the first roses of the season. I took out all the roses in the back except this one because they weren't doing very well, and I didn't care for the color and scent. I kept this one because it has a beautiful fragrance. It's a light pink when it opens up.



Our feeder has been really busy lately, and I've enjoyed watching the birds come. Also, Sam likes to see them and signs "bird" very often.


Chewing & Drinking

Not tobacco & alcohol, but regular every day cuteness at the table.


Quick post & update

An update on our fish: Fred is doing well, and we have at least two other fish that survived. See John's post for details.

More pictures of the zoo will have to wait because I need to get them from John's camera. So instead, this week I'll post pictures of Sam being Sam.

He really likes taking his baths. He always asks to get his stacking cups down from the frog that holds the toys on the shower wall. This picture was taken last week.

Tonight in his bath, he kept laying down on his back and just hanging out. He usually only lays down when I ask him to so I can rinse his hair. It was pretty cute watching him kick his legs and have fun.


A Tribute to Our Fish

I was leaving the house with Sam on Friday morning when he pointed into the pond. I didn't see any fish, but I noticed the fishing boy statue was knocked down. It's been knocked down a few times in the last couple of weeks, so I didn't really think anything of it. But then I turned around and saw a very strange sight. There was what looked to be a large trout in our flower bed. It turned out to be our oldest koi, Fred! He looked so flat and big that I didn't recognize him. He was still gulping, so I picked him up gently and set him into the pond. I called John out of the house. We didn't see any other fish in the pond. Evidently the heron struck again.

Sam and I left, and John told me later that Fred didn't look too well. He was floating on his side. John said he took a hold of him and drug him through the water to help circulate the water through him. Then Fred started to swim better. So far, so good. I don't know how long he was out of the water. It's really hard to tell if he'll make it. But we swore that if he did survive, we'd put the new pond in the back this summer. And John's going to put up some fishing wire across the pond to deter more birds. If Fred makes it, he really is a trooper. He must not taste very good either.

Anyway, this is a tribute to our x-fish. We had two smaller koi, Barney & Wilma, and seven goldfish. Sam really liked feeding them every afternoon.


Bears and Cubs

Sam & Papa measuring up to the bears.

Crawling into the den.

Sitting up like a little cub!


Bunny Cage

There was a farm section that had farm animals, of course. I don't remember that section from the last few times I was there, but it didn't look new. Anyway, Sam saw some bunnies.


Down the Trunk Tunnel

In the Great Northwest section, there is a trail with a switchback that has this hollowed out tree trunk going from the upper trail to the lower trail. Sam climbed down it by himself. Very adventuresome for my 17-month-old son!


Group Picture (Sort-of)

This was the only group shot we got, but it's not really all of us looking at the camera. We're at the front entrance still, getting set up with the stroller and such. Candace also came, but arrived after we were halfway through the Great Northwest section. I'm so glad she met up with us! Tim slept in!


Zoo Trip

We went to the zoo the day before Mother's Day. I'll post pictures this week. Stay tuned.

Here, Sam tried on his sunglasses again. The strap barely fits around his head now. He still doesn't keep them on for very long before he pulls them down.


Spacing Out

John and Sam took it easy watching Sesame Street. Sam is entranced by it. Yeah! Usually he might watch a little bit of the kid's DVD that I pick out from the library, but it doesn't hold his interest. But SS seemed to do the trick.


Special Hugs

Tonight after we got home from the parenting class for Wonderful Ones, I was about to hand off Sam to John to be put to bed. Sam hung on to me and gave me hug after hug after hug. I even got a few closed-mouth kisses. And then some more squeezy hugs. I treasure them! He seemed very happy and content. Lately he's been whiny and clingy, so it was a wonderful relief. Woo-hoo!


Dinner outside

We had our first dinner outside for the summer. It was great weather!


Maemae's Card

Sam really likes the Valentine's Day card he received from Maemae and Grandpa Bob. He asks for it or gets it down himself at least once a day.


Blocks finished

I finished the set of purple blocks last night! I have 28 blocks of each color besides purple, and 29 purple blocks. Now I get to start making strips. I'm going to lay out the pattern today when Sam is sleeping. I'm so excited!


Playing in PJs

Sam likes to play with the train blocks from Christmas.


Ten Things Tuesday

1. I'll probably be the first one to post today. I am such a night owl!

2. I have 5 of the 6 colors finished for the quilt. My favorite color is remaining: purple.

3. Yeah, we get to go to the library today! (And get out of the house!)

4. I've been itching to get all the art and craft bins out and reorganize. But then Sam gets to bed, and all I want to do is veg and relax.

5. I really do like Mafia Wars. I've been playing it for over a year now, just about every day.

6. We'll have to see if Julia restrains herself from talking about Twilight in her TTT like she said she would. I actually want to see it now. I wasn't really interested before. I tend to stay away from the trendy really popular stuff. Kinda like my Dad and Titanic. I think he still hasn't seen it.

7. John is making raised beds for our vegetable garden out of old deck boards. I'm very excited to plant some veggies. He's doing such a great job. He's been working long through the night to get it done.

8. When I nurse Sam at the couch, I put the same red pillow behind my back. But at night I move it over so I can stretch out. The other day after I got Sam up in the morning, we both came out to the family room. I watched him go over to the couch, reach for the pillow, and put it on the correct side of the couch. I didn't ask him to do it, and I have never said "this is where the pillow goes." He must have just picked it up by watching me. And another time he reached the fabric pot holder that was sitting on the kitchen counter and walked over to the drawer where it goes, and he attempted to open the drawer. The drawer kinda sticks, so I helped him with it. I always make sure to praise him for putting things where they belong.

9. We cleaned out his toys a few days ago. Well, we mostly gathered his "baby" toys and put them away. Then I moved the bulky toys into the tall toy chest, and all the other toys fit inside boxes with the lids shut. It looks much neater in the living room now.

10. We had a non-family member babysitter for the first time this weekend. It was a success!


Here's proof that Sam likes his spinach!


Ten Things Tuesday

1. We went to storytime today, and got some more books, too. It's always nice to have new books. Sam sure likes them. We also borrowed two DVDs - narrated stories. One was narrated by Bob Hoskins, the other by Danny Glover. We watched them at lunch, well, more listened to them. I think they were a little too old for Sam.

2. It sure has been raining hard lately. As we were driving to the library, it was a mixture of some kind of frozen slush coming down.

3. My coffee budget is overdrawn, so I have to wait to buy Starbucks. I'm having a really hard time waiting. It's just so easy to stop by the drive-thru on the way home.

4. My Mom is in the hospital because her asthma is being a nuisance. She will hopefully go home today or tomorrow.

5. Sam's doing this cute thing right now: shrugging his shoulders, leaning his head to one side, and grinning. So cute! I'll try to get a picture or a video.

6. He can now sign "toys" and "play".

7. He weighed 27 lbs the other day on our scale. Sometimes it seems like it reads light.

8. I'm planning on going to a Women of Faith conference in October. Exciting!

9. We're going to start a parenting class soon. It's for parents of 13-17 month old kids. It's once a week for 10 consecutive weeks. A few families from our baby class will be there too. I'm excited to meet some new families. I'm looking forward to hearing about different discipline techniques. And I want to hear lots of food ideas.

10. I can't wait to finish the quilt. I look forward to sewing on it every day. It's been so fun!


Climbing the Chair

Sam has been trying to climb stuff in the house lately. I was about to say everything in the house, but, so far, he's been staying off the bookcases, the toilet, and other dangerous pedestals. Which reminds me, we need to attach some pieces of furniture to the walls. Anti-tip straps for active boys: good. Big furniture falling over: bad.

Anyways, he's been trying to climb up on this chair we have in the corner. He has had to ask us "up", and we'd lift him up onto the chair. Now he can do it himself. It is so fun to watch him figure stuff out and accomplish things.

Now, you could say that we're sitting back and laughing at him while he's being very brave and trying very hard. But, really, I'm restraining myself from helping so he can learn on his own. This video was preceded by multiple attempts to talk him through it and sitting on the floor right next to him. And, yes, he did bump his head a little, but we all get some bumps going down the road of life. I am so proud of him that he accomplished this big feat all by himself. And he thought ahead and brought reading material!

After a 4 year hiatus, quilt progress

I started a rainbow colored quilt for my nephew before he was born in October 2006. I designed it to be pretty complicated, and I ended up getting frustrated with how much time it was taking. The other day, I saw a really neat kid's quilt on a magazine at the store. I took a quick picture of it on my phone as inspiration. Since then, I've been working like mad to get this one done. And, taking into consideration a great suggestion from John, as usual, I started sewing the blocks assembly style.

Here you can see the orange triangles all lined up. There are 80 pairs.

Here there are 40 sets of 2 pairs of triangles.

Here are 20 blocks, pre-pressing.

I had about 7-9 blocks of each of the 6 colors finished from my work several years ago. I need 28 blocks of each color. The above pictures show one color being sewn up. I also finished the red, and I am, at the moment, about a half hour away from finishing the yellow blocks. Then I'll be more than half way done! I'm so excited to have made so much progress. I'll dig through my old pictures to show the neat stacks of fabric all cut out from the beginning. I love bright rainbow colors. It's been really fun working with these fabrics.
Incidentally, I've stolen this quilt away from my nephew. It will now belong to my immediate family; I'm being quite selfish about it and hoarding it for ourselves. Sorry.


Park and nap

I didn't get many pictures of the park on my camera. I'll ask John to post some from his camera. Wait, maybe he did already.

He was sleeping so soundly this one day. He had slept over 3 hours, and it was getting close to dinner time, so we had to wake him up.


Laughing Box

Sam got a kick out of snapping a box together and watching Papa jump!


Ten Things Tuesday

1. How many weeks has it been since I've done a TTT?

2. I started studying again this week. I put my application in the mail for the last two exams. Oh, and I found out I passed the first exam!

3. We've had some really yummy Dinners Done Right meals lately. One was a fish with a mustard sauce and mushrooms. John didn't think he would like it, but we both loved it. Another was chicken breasts with some kind of salsa marinade. One other was burrito bowls. It was a slow cooker meal with chicken, beans, corn, and salsa over rice in a bowl.

4. All three of us went to a really fun park on Sunday. The play equipment is very fun and imaginative. I hear it gets pretty crowded in the summer.

5. Anyone know were to get good men's slippers? John's last pair from Eddie Bauer is worn out, but they don't sell them anymore. He usually doesn't like the inexpensive furry ones they sell at Christmas.

6. It's been nice to be home with Sam again. Since we're finally felling better, we've been able to do Mama/Baby things like playdates, go to the park, and go to library storytime. He was absolutely mesmerized by the storytime lady today. Evidently he needs more exposure to group activities.

7. We've seen a few TV spots about Disneyland and Disneyworld, etc. lately, and I am really looking forward to when the kids are the right age to take them. I've been to Disneyland three times at different ages. It will be so much fun to experience it through their eyes.

8. I can't post a picture yet, but I'm looking forward to Easter so Sam can wear a cute outfit we got for him!

9. I'm trying to clean out my studio (which is also our bedroom right now since we're in remodel mode) and my side of the office. It's so hard to get rid of stuff. But I just keep telling myself that if I haven't touched it in over a year, I probably don't need it. In my studio I really need to get out all the supplies and the bins, then go through and get rid of what I don't want, then logically sort all the supplies. I'm betting that it doesn't take up that much room after I go through that process.

10. I don't know what kind of flowers to pick out for the front walk and the horseshoe bed. Any ideas for some low maintenance flowers that have lots of color for a long period of time?



Sam attempted to put on some socks that weren't his.

A few pictures from my birthday

We went out to Red Robin for my birthday.

Sam likes to color.

He helped me open my gift.

Here's an extra picture... He really likes trying on Papa's hat.


Good Grandpa Bob

This is a picture from last weekend when my parents came to help work on our remodeling project. I really like this picture and have it on my computer wallpaper. I think it's so special that I needed to share it. Sam really loves his Grandpa Bob.

New family activity... weeding!

This morning the sun was out, so I decided to take advantage of it. I asked John if he wanted to play with Sam outside for a half hour while I weeded in the front yard. He said sure. We all got bundled up; it was sunny but it was cold; there was still frost on the cars! I got my trowel, knee pads and weed bucket from the shed, and handed a trowel to Sam. I started weeding with my trowel and Sam wanted to do the same. He tried to use his trowel but mostly dug with his hands. He kept trying to put little fistfuls of dirt into the bucket, but we said "no, put the green stuff in the bucket." (I didn't plant a single thing last year, except mums, so there are only weeds to take out.) Eventually Sam got the hang of it and really helped out quite a bit. John ended up weeding some too and handing the weeds to Sam to carry over to the bucket by me.

After awhile, Sam got a little whiny, so John and Sam walked down the road. John said Sam got about 3/4 of the way to the bridge, then John carried him on his shoulders the rest of the way. Sam was ready for his snack when he got back home! It was a fun morning, and it felt good when I realized that it doesn't really matter what we do as long as we do it together. I know; it sounds cheesy. But I love it!



1. Okay, this holiday totally screwed up my sense of the week. It's hard to believe it is Tuesday already.

2. Sam had some gunk in his eye yesterday at the beach. It's better today, but we're going to keep him home one more day to make sure it is not contagious.

3. I'm still sick. It's been 2 weeks now. My cough is actually worse today. I won't list my other symptoms because my Mom will try to tell me it's a horrible disease and that I need to go see a doctor. Really, I'm fine, Mom.

4. I actually feel okay about the test coming up next Friday. I just has one more section of material to go through, then I can review. I can't wait until it's over.

5. I'm looking forward to doing a few projects around the house once the test is done. I really want to get the curtains done. I think we found a curtain rod we like for the front room.

6. Thanks, Mom & Dad, for your help this weekend. It's really cool to see the bathroom come together. Thanks, Mom, for watching Sam so I could study. It really did help.

7. When I have a few minutes at night I've been reading Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. I highly recommend it. It's like Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, which I also recommend, but for the woman's heart.

8. I really like eating my cereal in the morning: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. I'm not gluten free anymore, but it is so good.

9. I'm trying to pay more attention to my posture while I'm sitting at the computer at work, and at home.

10. Finally, I reached #10. That's all for now. :)


Funny Sam

Sam said a cute thing at dinner yesterday. He says Dada a lot without it really meaning anything, but yesterday he said Da Da Doh. It was so funny! You had to be there. I wish we could have gotten it on camera.


It's That Time Again

1. I look forward to writing the Ten Things Tuesday list.

2. Writing #1 is always the easiest.

3. I'm studying C-corp tax, S-corp tax & partnership tax. Exciting.

4. I'm also learning more about law: contract, agency, property, and insurance. I was actually able to shout out while watching Liar Liar (for the 20 minutes that I watched TV) that the marriage was a voidable contract because she was a minor; I had learned about it the night before. Fun!

5. My test is in less than 3 weeks.

6. I kinda want the result back from the first one, but if it's bad news I'd rather wait until I take this next one.

7. CEP, AEP. CEP, AEP. These are the video snippets I have running through my head. I can't forget to mention TT, BPO, 75 or 90 (from the first test).

8. Yes, this list is mostly about studying. But that is what my life is mostly about, right now. So there.

9. I got my first paycheck. Let's get a pizza! (Shout out to Wolgamott!)

10. Sam started stacking the duplos on top of each other. Yeah, Sam!



I don't know how to turn it sideways after I scan it. Isn't it neat? And in purple too.



1. Sam helped put his socks away tonight. I had his laundry folded and out in several piles in the hallway because I folded it after he went to bed. He grabbed a folded pair of socks and brought it in to me. The socks go in the top drawer, so I lifted him up, and he dropped it in. Then I walked out to the hallway, saw him grab another ball o' socks, and I turned around for a second to say something to John. He came back out of his room empty handed, so I thought he dropped it on the floor or put it in another drawer. I went in to look, and I didn't see any misplaced socks. I wondered if he could actually reach the drawer, so I gave him another pair. I told him to put it in the top drawer. He reached right up, stood on his tippy toes, and pushed it over the edge with his fingers. I was amazed! He surprises me more often now with what he is learning. It's so cool!

2. Okay, that was a long #1. On coffee... Natalie skipped Starbucks, Mom had HomeBucks, and I treated myself to a Starbucks. We all like our coffee.

3. The coffee at work is okay as long as it's not the end of the pot. Then it needs hot chocolate added to it to make it drinkable.

4. John is cleaning out his side of the office. It's a mess now with everything out of place, but it will look a lot better when he's done. I need to go through my side too.

5. I'm excited we get to see my parents soon. I know my Mom is too.

6. We all have a touch of a cold. I have a sore throat and stuffy nose, as does John. Sam has a stuffy nose. I can't tell if he has a sore throat or not.

7. I made artichokes tonight. It's the first time I've made them. I've only had them once before, at least a whole artichoke by itself instead of just the hearts in a Dinners Done Right recipe. I boiled them, then we dipped them in a herb butter sauce. I thought they were kinda bitter. There are two left, so I want to bake them next time, probably Thursday.

8. Sam ate melon tonight. We gave him a wedge with the rind on it at first. He didn't know quite what to do with it, so we cut off the rind. Then he was able to bite off any end. When he was done with that piece, we tried a whole wedge again. After a few bites into random edges, he figured out to bite the correct side. Then he kept going and ate all the melon off the rind. He was very proud of himself, and we were proud too. Like I said before, it's really cool watching him figure things out.

9. The people at daycare say he is adjusting well. He's starting to play with the other kids.

10. He did some finger painting last week for the first time. I'll scan it and post it soon.


Ten Things Tuesday

1. I'm proud to report I had a great first day at work today!

2. Can you get carpal tunnel in just one day? I worked on the computer in Excel all day, and my wrist/arm is very sore.

3. I didn't have enough time with Sam tonight. I'll take a shorter lunch tomorrow so I can get home earlier.

4. They have free M&Ms at work. So tempting!

5. Sam signs "more" now by clapping his hands while he's at the table. We'll work with him to sign "eat" or "food" to help us all understand when he wants more and when he's just clapping.

6. We're in the early stages of the three months of family birthdays. And the babies in our playgourp are all turning one too! Lots of parties coming up.

7. I really enjoyed sitting in the sunshine for lunch today.

8. I'm trying to think of something really funny or quippy to say. Not happening tonight.

9. Is it Friday yet?

10. I went to bed early last night. I think I'll do the same tonight.


New activities

Sam's been trying out some new activities. We bought some more duplo blocks on craigslist. He now has over 175 blocks! We built a few towers for him. I'm looking forward to him having fun building his own.

He really likes to sit down and color with these easy to hold crayons.

He asks to be put up in the coloring chair several times a day.

He also brings over a book and hands it to us for us to read it to him. He does this probably a couple dozen times a day. He really likes his books!


Bye-bye gluten free, hello wheat

I decided to go back to gluten. I've been gluten free for a month-and-a-half. I think I don't feel good because of sugar more than because of gluten. So now I'm sugar free, at least processed sugar. I also want to go back on gluten for awhile so that I can be tested later to get it official.

Sam is also starting on gluten. He's going into daycare next week, and it'll be a lot easier for us and them if he can eat regular stuff. I will watch for symptoms in the years to come.

I know we can live healthy lives without gluten now. I had fun trying new recipes. So if it turns out later that we need to go back to gluten free, I'll be okay with that. Maelee, thanks for being such a great support. I really appreciate your input. Dianna, you too. Oh, and Mom, of course. :)


Ten Things Tuesday

I really enjoy reading my cousin's weekly post about the things that are happening right then and there. Her sister does it, and so does my Mom. I like that it encourages consistent blogging. So I'm going to do it too. :)

1. I forgot to take Sam to the new library time today. The baby time is on Fridays, and he has graduated to the toddler time. But I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new day.

2. I wonder if I can think of things to say that aren't about Sam.

3. It's John's birthday this week. Stop by his blog and say Happy Birthday!

4. When I sit down to nurse Sam, I look longingly at my bag of knitting. I started a purple scarf that I really want to finish. I love the yarn so much that I got a bunch of different colors to make similar scarves.

5. Julia's right. This is harder than it looks, and it takes quite a bit of time, too.

6. I made my pot of coffee today at the same time as yesterday: 10:15. Yeah for a consistent schedule.

7. I'm studying for the regulation test. Today's topic is accountant liability. So boring!

8. I'm excited we're having a play date here this week. I had such a fun time hosting when I did it last time, which was in October.

9. I have some items to post on Craigslist, but I keep putting it off because I'm nervous about the process and the prospect that I might meet some weirdo(s).

10. My first gluten free homemade bread that I made yesterday didn't turn out very pretty, but it sure does taste good. It's a yogurt bread with cinnamon and walnuts.


Back to the grind

Today, I'm back to studying for the next test. I took a week off after taking my first test. It was so nice to relax and just hang out with my family.

Wait, I need to go study. Doh! Just a quick post today.



John reading to Sam and cousin Isaac.


Delayed for a good reason (excuse)

I know I said that I would post some pictures and video. Well, I've been busy studying for my first CPA exam tomorrow. After I shake off the post-test geebies, I'll get around to posting some cute pictures. :)