Blogger and I have had a love/hate relationship for over two years now.

Today I took the first step and set up a new blog.

It's true. Never fear, my three faithful readers, all past content can still be found on the new and improved blog.

So click the link already... leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

Check out this great product I ran into today:



These flashcards are available at Beyond a Peanut and I think they are just brilliant. I want to order a set for us ASAP. And I think I'm going to request that the school buy a set as well.

And she's off!













Can you tell how SAD she is to leave us for camp?

*edited to add: I did get a phone call eventually that they arrived safe and sound. She couldn't be bothered to tell me anything other than 'I have to wear my flip flops everywhere in here!' and 'K is my room mate.'

I'm betting she is going to have a blast!

Just some pics

Just some pictures I took after Mass today.








Well, crud, I had some pics of all three kids together... but they flopped. So instead you get Tommy and some birds.

:-)

Weekend fun

Well, after dropping K and Tori off for the Summer Bash party at K's house, I ran to get the van estimate done among other errands. Guy thought right around $2k and they'd have to have it for a week. Did warn it could go double that if there was some more damage to the frame. Hard to tell. Ugh. Luckily, the guy's insurance did cover a rental for me as well. Phew! I am SO grateful he came in to tell me. Many people would have just driven off.

Our dream car, since Kate asked, for late 2009 is the Acadia
or the Saturn version of the same thing: The Outlook. The van has been really good to us, I do sometimes think maybe we should get another Honda van. Guess we'll see in a little over a year or so!

Okay, off to do some work. Tim is doing the lawn and I have a big pot of red beans going for tonight. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Yep. TJ gets braces next Thursday.

Oy.

Our middle school aged youth group went to Sam's Surf City in Pensacola yesterday. That means... bus ride! I thought this was a kinda cool pic I took along the way.



Kids had a great time. I missed Father Williams going down the big slide. Darn! ;-)







Had a guy back into me at the grocery store the other day. At least he was decent enough to come inside and let us know.



Waiting for the call from his insurance today. Hoping it's not a HUGE pain in the rear to get fixed. I do worry that it'll total the car. I hear of that happening so often on damage that doesn't seem that bad. We weren't planning on getting our new family car until Fall of 2009. So, fingers crossed the estimate goes okay.

Today is a laid back day. Kids are hanging out. I'm working. Tori has skating with K's church tonight.


It's all good. :-)

Later.

Yeh, two weeks ago, TJ shows me his teeth. Both adult teeth on each side of his top front teeth are trying to come in. Problem is the baby teeth are barely loose. Eh, I figure, no biggie, give it a week or two the baby teeth will get loose, and the adult teeth will drop in.

Sigh.

Last week TJ shows me that both adult teeth have come in... totally come in. High above the baby teeth. Hmmmm, a tad weird. So today I take him to the dentist assuming he'll say 'yep, we'll pull out these baby teeth and the adult ones will drop down.'

He peers into TJ's mouth and says, in an obviously very surprised tone, 'These aren't eye teeth!' Uh, yeh, I knew that, so? Apparently it is not uncommon for this to happen with eye teeth. But for these two teeth to break through symmetrically so high, well, in our dentist's words, 'That's just weird. Plain weird.' Great, I have weird kids. (Like THAT is a news flash.)

Great.

He spent a good five minutes having TJ bite down, he wiggled some teeth. Then declared that I'd have to see the orthodontist first.

Oh, for goodness sake!

Bear in mind Tori goes into phase two of her braces in September. I think, I think I need a drink. And a winning lottery ticket if you please.

That's all.

Tim was reading about a food allergy family that carries business cards for eating out to pass along to the Chef. What a great idea, I thought. So I surfed around, found some styles I liked and made one up in Photoshop.

Woo hoo!

Last kid up on two wheels!!

Yep, today Tim took off Tommy's training wheels. Tommy had decreed he didn't want anyone to see him riding a 'baby bike.' He got on and was riding within a few minutes.





Go Tommy!

Hope everyone has a great day. When Tim left for work this morning I got up with him and we set up the smoker with a big ole' hunk of pork. Mmmmmm pig. It turned out super tasty if I do say so myself.



Can you smell it through the screen? ;-)

Tori helped make some festive cupcakes.



And we had a tasty dinner.

I'm feeling pretty wary of fireworks and TJ's asthma. Last time we sat on the bluff and watched fireworks his asthma flared up REALLY bad. So, I think (to the children's horror) we'll just stay home tonight.

They'll live.



Happy Fourth everyone.

PS And Happy Birthday to Glory Girl. She is eight years old today. We do love our girl.

I know so many people that roll their eyes when I say, yet again, 'No, he cannot have that cookie, I can't read the label.'

This is why.

Man's death a stark reminder of food allergy risks

By Sharon Salyer, Herald Writer
SEATTLE -- Daniel Sargent was at Magnuson Park on Sunday, celebrating a friend's 30th birthday.

About 90 seconds after taking a bite out of a chocolate chip cookie, he collapsed.

By chance, an Everett pulmonologist, a nurse and a medic were attending the party. They administered CPR until aid crews arrived.

Sargent, 30, of Everett, was rushed to Harborview Medical Center. Medical staff battled for two days to help him overcome the complications of anaphylactic shock, an extreme allergic reaction that blocked his breathing and deprived his brain of oxygen.

Doctors tried cooling his body for 24 hours and heavily sedating him, in the hope that his body could rest and recover.

Monday afternoon, his blood pressure skyrocketed and his heart rate dropped. Tuesday evening, two neurologists pronounced Sargent brain dead.

All this, his family said, from taking one bite out of a homemade chocolate chip cookie, one that had just enough peanut butter to trigger his extreme allergic reaction.

Sargent, a Herald employee, was one of about 5,000 people who die each year nationally from anaphylactic shock, which can be triggered by common foods such as peanuts, shellfish and eggs, said Angel Waldron, a spokeswoman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Peanuts are the most common source of fatal allergic reactions, said Dr. Paul McBride, an allergist at The Everett Clinic.

"Your blood pressure can go to zero while your airways swell closed," he said. "And you have literally less than a minute to deal with it before people pass out. That's why immediate treatment is so crucial."

Otherwise, he said, death can occur within seconds.

Because peanuts are both inexpensive and good sources of protein, they're used as ingredients in many different products, including cookies, candies and pastries.

"It's a lot of products that people just put them in," McBride said.

"The people that are allergic are the ones that have to be vigilant. No one else will pay attention for them."

Sargent's family said they hope their loss is a reminder of how important it is to label food containing common allergens, even at picnics and other community events.

"I don't want another parent to have to go through this," said David Sargent, Daniel's father. "It's been proven that peanuts can drop you quick.

"You may be the world's greatest cook, but if it has peanuts in it, please label it. It can kill somebody."

Daniel Sargent, who graduated from Snohomish High School in 1996, worked at The Herald as a sports writer, covering soccer and high school sports. He also worked as a medical assistant for Skagit Valley Medical Center in Mount Vernon.

A memorial service is planned for later this month, his sister, Penny Sargent said.

His life-long interest in soccer began at age 5 when he first began playing the sport.

He began coaching for the Snohomish County Youth Soccer Club when he was 18 and continued his volunteer work for more than a decade.

He also participated with an indoor soccer organization in Snohomish as a coach, player and referee, his sister said.

The family first learned of his severe peanut allergy when he was three months old. A little peanut oil on his skin caused a rash and blisters, his father said.

And when he was a little older, a small piece of chocolate candy containing peanut butter caused blistering in his month.

"We worked to keep peanut butter and peanut oils away from him," his dad said.

The family always kept an EpiPen at the house, an emergency shot of adrenaline that can be injected in an instant to counteract severe allergic reactions.

As an adult, his son decided not to carry one with him, he said, instead trying to be vigilant about what he was eating and having an over-the-counter allergy medicine close at hand.

"This time, it just came too fast, too quick, and too deadly," his dad said.

Daniel Sargent had listed his desire to be an organ donor on his driver's license. On Friday, his heart was used in transplant surgery at the University of Washington, his sister said. His liver, kidneys and corneas also will be donated.

"Daniel was a very caring person," she said. "Giving the gift of life to other people is what he wanted to do."

Food dangers

Foods that commonly cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction in children, include: eggs, peanuts, wheat and milk. In adults, it's shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts and other legumes.

Stings from bees, wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets also can cause anaphylaxis.

Source: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

For more information, check the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Web site at www.aafa.org and click on the food allergies link.


Yeh, it's a pain in the ass when I constantly have to ask about labels. Yeh, I hear the jokes being made around me. And yeh, I hope when you read that article above you realize why I do it.

It's not for fun, I promise you that!

And that, dear readers, is my allergy post for the day.

______________________________

REALLY simple Blueberry Cobbler

1 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup bisquick

Spray a pie pan or small baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange blueberries in a single layer on bottom. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, milk, and bisquick together. Pour over blueberries, pop in oven, and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Mmmm.

You have to understand... I have NEVER had an appointment at the allergist take less than 2.5 hours. EVER. It just never happens.


Doc spent about 20 minutes talking to us. Even though we had talked about doing a blood draw and trying to figuring out the blasted mystery hives, Doc changed his mind. He had been thinking about it (and had called another doc about it as well) and had decided it was waste of money and time to do the testing.

By the way, remember the hives the other day? Yeh, they were not hives. Yesterday the 'hives' were back in the same spot. I was pretty sure they were not hives at that point. Kids fessed up to 'stirring' a fire ant pile. Yeh, they were fire ant bites. Sigh. Doc thought one on his ankle might be getting infected as it was pretty warm and redder than the other. Wanted me to call if we saw the lovely red streak or anything. Fun. I found it terribly amusing that I was assuming hives would show up, so Tommy said 'hives' and I said 'hives' as well. Sigh... anyways, back to the appointment


He double checked for pressure hives, cold hives, warms hives, hives that show up when you 'write' in the skin, and even asked about emotions when they show up.

Concluded he was a kid that was going to hive and that he could grow out of it. Zyrtec works so we'll stick with that.

End of story. We were out the door right at an hour.

Hooray.

Fingers crossed we won't need to take Tommy back until next Summer. :)

A bunch of nothing.

And isn't that what Summer is all about?

I work when I can. Kids play around the house. Play out front on scooters and bikes. play out back and scream hysterically about bees. Come back in. Rinse, repeat.

This weekend we went to see WALL-E. I personally loved it and the kids did as well. I've heard parents complaining it was a 'mostly silent' movie. Hmmm, I think those parents are weird. ;-)

Last night I skipped Tommy's Zyrtec dose. (By they way, if you use Zyrtec there are good coupons on that link!!) My logic was 'well, let's see if he really will get hives again that fast. It's been a while since we missed a dose by accident.'

Well, I guess it's good to know that the meds are indeed working as they should. This morning he came to me with about 5 hives that were getting really big really really fast. But a simple does of Zyrtec from the emergency bag and they were gone in less than 45 minutes.

We already have his yearly appointment set for Wednesday with the allergist. So, Tim and I have decided it's time to go ahead and see what the other allergy tests will show. I have little faith in them. (Isn't that awful?) And I totally expect some false positives. But we'll cross that bridge when the results arrive. Doc did mention trying a possible mast cell stabilizer such as Cromolyn. We actually had TJ on Cromolyn at one point. We'll have to see where things are... Zyrtec seems to work just fine. So, maybe we'll just buy stock in them and call it done.

I think in my heart we'll never know the cause of these darn hives. But we are darn lucky they are easily controlled and not worse. So, that's where we stand on hives.

Don't we lead the most interesting life ever?

Not.

But I like it that way, so it's good!

This is a super easy, super tasty recipe for pulled pork. Takse a long time but it is really worth it. Enjoy.

Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)

1 day | 30 min prep

SERVES 10

* 4 lbs pork roast (shoulder or butt)
* 2 large onions
* 1 cup ginger ale
* 1 (18 ounce) bottle favorite barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
* barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

1. Slice one onion and place in crock pot.

2. Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.

3. Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away.

4. Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW.

5. Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.

6. TIP: freeze ready-made sandwiches - a scoop of meat on a bun, well-wrapped. These make a great quick meal or snack. To reheat, remove wrapping, wrap in a paper towel, and zap 1-2 minute in the microwave.

7. Note: Shoulder or butt are recommended because the meat shreds very well. Other cuts do not shred as readily. It is a fattier cut, but the fat melts away in the cooking and is poured away when you discard the liquid.

8. Note 2: I have an older, smaller crock pot. The above times work perfectly for me. But if you have a newer or bigger crock pot, you may need to revise times downward, esp. after the bbq sauce is added. I think you need at least a couple of hours for it all to meld, but that may be all you need.

Why now?! Simple. Apparently I want to make it a yearly tradition that Glory escapes for a few hours each Summer. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Yeh, I left the gate not secured and had not put her collar back on her from boarding. And she got out. Sigh. Luckily, a bit of driving around found a woman, who knew the mom that had the boys that had found Glory. And she was home quickly. What sweet boys to spend time taking care of her like that!

Tori is now registered for Middle School. Wow, life changes at this point. Gym uniforms, band fees. Thanks to nightmares like the Columbine High School massacre the children are not allowed backpacks. They may carry open (may not zip) topped tote bags to and from school. That is it. So, I'm getting Tori a tote bag from LLBean since my is taking a beating and staying in really good condition.

Since school starts in early August I've started that dreaded back to school shopping already so it won't be so painful in August.

Found these yesterday for Tori at Gap Kids.



I'll still need to find her some longer 'pedal pushers' and then new shirts. Oy.

TJ finally is big enough to fit into one pair of shorts we bought over 2 years ago. And he scored some new uniform shirts in Texas. (Thanks Nana!) And luckily, Tommy can wear all of TJ's hand me downs. Phew!!

Gotta love that uniform shopping. Oh, someone recently asked me if we hated uniforms for public school. Heck NO!!!!!!!! We love it. Truly is tons less stress for me. Of course there is still the 'I want x brand of shoes!' but for the most part it's a non issue. Tori can request sock styles and express if she'd prefer jumpers to skorts to shorts or capris. I have to laugh. I was informed last year that she was 'waaaaaay too old for a jumper.' Ha! The things you learn....

Anyways, yes, we like uniforms. They rock. The kids can wear white or navy shirts with a collar, and khaki or navy bottoms. Solid colored coats (black, blue or white). White socks, and anything goes in shoes. I like it.

:-)

And that is my babble for the day. Have a good one!

We are back.

What a long, long trip it was out to Texas this year!

Our trip to Austin was a bit...long, shall we say? Interstate closures (TWO of them in Houston) along with a 'hey let's just make the interstate a parking lot for no reason for 40 minutes?' made it a bit of a headache. But it was all worth it. We had a wonderful time with Becca, Rick, Zander... and the newest members of the family: Zoe and Zack!!





And I just want to tell super momma, Becca, that she ROCKS. Nursing twins. I bow to her dedication. Great job, Momma! The babes are looking SO great! Not that I am biased or anything. ;-)

For Father's Day we ventured out to Tim's favorite BBQ joint, The Salt Lick. Yummmy! And we even got in the new air conditioned hall. You have GOT to love that.

The Dads...





Then we headed on down to Nana & Lalo's for a fun filled week. Monday we hit Mercado's. (OMG only the best Tex Mex EVER!) after we saw 'Kung Foo Panda.'

Then Tuesday started GOLF CAMP! All three kids were in it this year. They loved it!

















Tori was a bit of a tween... okay a LOT of a tween-aged pain in the a$$ near the end. But we all survived. Friday we used the super cool fire pit.





We loaded up Saturday. Stopped at Bodacious BBQ to pick up some sauce for Uncle Don.



I snoozed off somewhere outside of Bossier City (okay, I snooze off a lot on car trips it's true!) but Tim woke me for this interesting bit.



Yeh... pretty funny, eh?

And thus ends another Summer visit to Texas. We had a blast. Thanks for having us everyone. See you next year!

Just an update

Just a typical busy Summer.

Tim is working too hard.

Tori is having tons of fun with K. They had bowling the other night (Tim went along as a chaperon with our Youth Group) and had a blast. Then they went out to Adventure Island with K's Church. They did bumper boats, mini golf, go karts, and laser tag. Oh yeh, they had a blast. Today they 'helped' K's mom up at the school by running around the campus in the dark and generally being silly.

The boys have been mostly stuck and home with me as I work. But they have been troopers about it. They are pretty laid back.

We get to meet the new cousins Saturday in Austin. Can't wait to get some baby snuggles in. And then Sunday we'll be at the lake for the week. The kids are all doing golf camp this year. Sweet. Quiet time for me to get some work in so I can play with everyone at night. I am liking that!

Tex Mex here we come! ;-)

Volleyball

Who knew? Tori came home one of the last days of fifth grade and declared she wanted to go out for Volleyball. Uh... okay?

Over the years Tori has wanted to try soccer, gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz, softball... and now volleyball. So, we are preparing to learn a whole new lingo yet again. We're already setting up carpooling for the summer clinics and camps. Girls were walking in with knee pads and braces to the High School Gym. And I was feeling a bit lost. But Tori and K (who later announces that volleyball was not for her, she just tried the one clinic for Tori) jumped in and seemed to enjoy it all.

Fingers crossed this is something she'll enjoy.

I took along the camera but didn't get any pictures. The girls let me know what they thought about me taking a picture on their first day learning stuff with the older girls. Geeeeeeeeeeeesh, mom!

No picture needless to say.

TJ had his six month pulmonologist appointment. Doesn't that breathing test look like fun?



The tech remarked, yet again, that it is amazing how well he follows directions doing the test. He has had a BIT of practice. ;-)

His numbers were GREAT. And, despite the steroids, he is still growing well. He's almost to 50 pounds. Woo hoo!

After the 2.5 hours of fun at the appointment we picked up Tori K and her brother and just hung out at the house. I attempted to work <---- insert crazed mommy laughter here. It didn't go so well!

Tori and K washed the dog and the car. (Thanks girls!)



While the boys ran around and were... well... boys.

Later on Tori was 'babysitting' next door for our neighbor. Meaning she's being a mommy's helper with a 4 year old and baby. She enjoys it and earns some cash. Works for me!

And that is our ever so interesting day...

Later!

Michael’s Blueberry Cake
INGREDIENTS:
• 1 yellow cake mix
• 1 package cream cheese, 8 ounces, room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 3 eggs
• 1 can blueberries, drained (15 oz)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
PREPARATION:
Combine cake mix, cream cheese, oil, and eggs; mix well. Add blueberries and vanilla; stir until well combined. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until done.

LEMON GLAZE
2/3 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and rind. Whisk together until smooth and well blended.
2. Drizzle cake



These are grainy because they are just online proofs, by the way.


I've decided between me and the kids there will never ever be a good family portrait of our five. Tori and I are the WORST about stupid faces in pictures. She may not get her hair color from me, but she get's dumb picture looks from me!

Photobucket


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Photobucket

More to come later...



I am typing this post as I sip an ice cold adult beverage and listen to the waves crash on the beach below. Ahhhhhhhh.

My parents decided it was time we all had a vacation at the beach together. Sounds good to me! So we all checked in Saturday afternoon. The guys all did a stand up job getting the meat grilled for fajitas. Takes four of them you know?



Then we got up at 5:00 a.m. today for our family portraits. I know, I know... what kind of idiot schedules family portraits for 6:00 a.m.? Uh, yeh, that would be me. I really lucked up on the photographer I wanted being able to do our pictures. Our choice was that time to get the morning light on the beach... or not at all.

From the quick peek of the previews on the photographer's camera, I am betting we all love the final product. Thanks everyone for being so great. And thanks for the post photo shoot coffee, Uncle Dan. (Boy, did I need that!)

We had a great day. Tommy looked hard for shells,



but seemed especially proud of this find. Yeh, he's weird.



TJ worked hard on digging a hole. And was quite proud of how deep he got. Hey, whatever floats his boat, right?





And Tori was Tori. What more is there to say?



The swim in the ocean resulted in a quick exit by all. The girls all were stung by these nasty buggers:



In fact the purple 'dangerous marine life' flag is flying now. Everyone is staying out of the water they are so bad. No fun!

Oh well, at least there is a pool to cool off in, right?!





Tim and Uncle Dan had to leave already. Sigh. We miss them very much.

Okay, back to relaxing with the waves.

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