Wednesday, March 31, 2010

She's on her way....

11: 18 am:
  • Elisabeth just went down for a late morning nap after finishing off a 6 oz bottle (yay Lizzie!).

  • The girls have been watching through the parlor window while a man replaces the windshield of Donald's car (there was an unfortunate incident with a golf-ball sized rock getting kicked up by a semi....and the rest is history).

  • I am trying to resist the Girl Scout cookies that are tempting me in the pantry.

  • Donald is off at work doing whatever it is that he does (It has to do with plutonium but the details bore me).

  • And my younger sister Jennifer...she is on a plane somewhere above Northern California en route to visit us! A whole week of laughter and fun and health food (because she is into health food, and we should be too). She'll convince me to stay away from those Girl Scout cookies, I'm sure.

    Posting may or may not be sporadic while she's here. I might be off having too grand a time to sit down at the computer. But then again, I might just be having such a grand time that I'll want to share every last detail.

    Stay tuned....

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Recipe-a-Week in 2010

Week 13
Bean Soup with Kale

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
8 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chopped raw kale
4 cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or navy, undrained
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped parsley

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion; saute until soft. Add kale and saute, stirring, until wilted. Add 3 cups of broth, 2 cups of beans, and all of the tomato, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor, mix the remaining beans and broth until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with chopped parsley.

My Review

A delicious blend of tastes and textures. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But I'd probably only want it once a season (not something I would put on our regular dinner menu). Also, it's not very family friendly. Lorelai never took a bite...not a one. Alexandra was polite and ate a respectable amount, but I could tell that she wasn't loving it.

So for now I'll put this recipe back in the box and wait till next winter to pull it out again. Maybe by then Lorelai will be willing to take a little taste...

Maybe.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A House Party

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5 years ago we bought this house. What a blessing it is to have our own little place in the world; a refuge from the scary realities of the world; a place to raise our children and provide them comfort and safety.

As we carried out our annual celebration (complete with cake) I asked each family member what their favorite thing is about our home:

Lorelai - My favorite part of the house is the kitchen.
Lisa - Why the kitchen?
Lorelai - Because that's where all the food is.

Lisa - And Alexandra, what's your favorite part about our house?
Alexandra - (giggling and taking Lorelai's lead) The pantry.
Lisa - (already knowing the answer asks:) Why?
Alexandra - Because there's lots of food.

Lisa - Donald, what's your favorite part?
Donald - The garage. It's the place where I get to make all the decisions (True, true. I make all decisions regarding the inside of the house and he gets the outside. Divide and conquer I say.). But after that I like the living room.

And even though I didn't interview myself outloud, I'll interview myself now so that we have a full and complete account of who-likes-what-parts-of-the-house.

Lisa - What do you like best about the house?
Me - I love the parlor....all of my intruments sitting there just waiting to make music. I also love Elisabeth and Lorelai's room.

Oops. I just realized that we are missing Elisabeth in this little interview. Now, I know Elisabeth can't talk or express her thoughts, but I am quite sure that if she could, she would say that her favorite part of our home is the bathtub. She has lost interest in many things lately, but not splashing. She is a spashing queen.

Happy 5th Birthday House!!


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Recipe-a-Week in 2010

Week 12
Carrot Cake

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Ingredients

4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar and 3 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.

My Review

We were in need of a cake to celebrate our home's 5th birthday (more on that later) so I decided on carrot cake. It's something that I love to eat but have never made from scratch before. Also, with Easter coming up next Sunday it seemed seasonally appropriate.

Was it good? You better believe it! Donald even called me 'a domestic goddess' when he came in the house and smelled the delicious aroma coming from the oven. And the taste....oh the taste!!! It was every bit as good as the smell....no...better than the smell. Thick, moist, and flavorful.

Two thumbs up from every member of the Sorenson family!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Rocky Kind of Day

Lorelai and I spent the better part of yesterday morning examining her rock collection; pink ones, purple ones, big ones, little ones, and so on and so forth...

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Elisabeth was with us too, but didn't care much about the rocks...so Lorelai went and fetched her sock monkey from her crib.

Then we continued on with our business.

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Lorelai thought of 101 things for us to do with her rocks. We sorted them by color and by size. And when the fun of that was over we paired them up by which ones would make best friends. Oh the imagination of a 5 year old!

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And then I noticed a little fairy on Lorelai's duvet cover. I pointed out that she had her hand stretched out like she wanted to hold one of the rocks. So we gave her one. Suddenly it went from ordinary rock to magical crystal ball.

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Finally we played a game where we had to close our eyes and pull rocks out of a bag. There was one rock that had been predetermined as the bad rock. If you pulled that one out you had to put all your rocks back in and start over.

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By this time Elisabeth had had enough and went back to her usual routine of head banging.

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But Lorelai, she had the time of her life.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unfortunately...

When dogs are bored they sometimes get into mischief.

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When that happens be prepared to pick up millions of scraps of garbage from all over the backyard.

(I speak from experience.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shunt Before and After

So, I mentioned Elisabeth's shunt yesterday because her hair was all slicked down in the picture and I thought that it was so visible.

Well, I guess it wasn't because comments were more like, 'shunt? where's the shunt?' Funny, because the shunt was one of the first things I noticed when I looked at those pictures. It was like greeting an old friend, one I don't see (or notice) much anymore,
'Why hello Mr. Shunt, so nice to see you again...'

Long story short (too late for that I suppose) I pulled out a baby picture of Elisabeth so you could easily see what the shunt looks like as well as it's placement on her head:






Same shunt, no revisions.
(yet)


Now as to who Elisabeth looks like, Alexandra or Lorelai
(another topic in the comments section yesterday):

When I go back and look at baby pictures of the older girls she has Alexandra's face...exactly.

But...she has Lorelai's hair and eye color.

So I guess that makes her a good mix of the two?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Little Rosy



This is Elisabeth in the morning....with her hair freshly combed. This is before she starts her head-banging (all she does anymore) and before she gets her helmet strapped to her head for the day (which ruins the 'do').

But enough about her hair, look at that face. Have you ever seen such a beautiful, perfect little face? It makes me melt and every time I look at her I feel that I must be the luckiest mother alive. Seriously.

So Elisabeth is beautiful (as always) but other aspects of her life have not been so rosy lately.


For example:

~She is forgetting how to eat.

~I can't remember the last time I saw her crawl. (months maybe?)

~Very little interest in playing with toys.

~Prefers banging her head to any other activity.

~Her legs are starting to become deformed (traveling to Spokane next week to get some answers on that).

~Will not put any weight on her legs.


But never fear, there is good news.....

~She hasn't spit-up in a few weeks!

Woohoo! 2 1/2 yrs old and she finally outgrew the spit-up stage. Now that's something to celebrate, don't you agree?!



[Notice her shunt? Once her hair dries (and poofs) you can't even see it.]


Monday, March 22, 2010

I Survived



Last week was CRAZY. It went down something like this:

Monday - Rehearsal
Tuesday - Concert
Thursday - Rehearsal
Friday - Rehearsal
Saturday (am) - Rehearsal
Saturday (pm) - Concert
Sunday - Musical number @ church

Did you catch all that?

The good news?
I survived.

The bad news?
Bedtime.

I was gone (almost) every night and missed our nightly prayers and hugs and kisses; rituals that I cherish.

So before leaving each night I made sure to turn down the children's beds and lay out their jammies along side their favorite stuffed animals and blankets.

Luckily it was only one week and now things are back to normal.

Do I love playing the violin? Yes.

But I love normal even more.





****Congrats to my nephew Matthew! I heard that you had an awesome weekend playing rugby!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Recipe-a-Week in 2010

Week 11

Stir Fry



Ingredients

lb meat sliced thin
Nappa Cabbage cut in half and then 1-11/2" slices
Carrots peeled and slided on diagonal
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Fresh spinach chopped
Pea pods
Sliced onion

Directions

put oil in wok on high heat
Add meat
Stir
Add Garlic powder
When meat is done add soy sauce, oyster sauce and 2 tsp sugar
Add onion
add cauliflower
stir until tender
add carrots
add broccoli
add rest of vegetables
cook until tender
add 1/3 c water if necessary

Recipe submitted by Stephanie

Thursday, March 18, 2010

If I were the judge...


Every year when American Idol narrows its contestants down to 12, my mom and I usually make our prediction list. Now, understand that this list is how I predict the season will play out and does not necessarily list them in the order of my most favorite to least favorite (although Siobhan does in fact happen to be my favorite). So without further ado I give you:

Lisa's Predictions 2010

1. Siobhan Magnus
2. Lee Dewyze
3. Crystal Bowersox
4. Michael Lynche
5. Casey James
6. Paige Miles
7. Aaron Kelly
8. Katie Stevens
9. Didi Benami
10. Tim Urban
11. Andrew Garcia
12. Lacey Brown

Now we'll wait and see how close (or how far off) my predictions fall!

***This list was composed before last nights results show (I Promise).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recycling (again)

Do I dare post this picture
3 years in a row???



[Elisabeth Elva at 5 1/2 months old]


Yes, I dare.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Helmet Makeover



Every girl needs
a little bling-bling.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fishsitting



Dear Evelyn, Lilly, Tessa and Henry,

The Sorenson's are taking great care of me. They are careful to feed me precisely 3 pieces of food daily (just as you instructed) and have given me fine accommodations on the kitchen counter where I have a magnificent view of their daily happenings. Just yesterday I watched the two oldest girls compete to see who could drink a capri sun the fastest. Alexandra did it in 31 seconds and Lorelai in 44. So Lex was crowned the champion until Donald came in and inhaled one 11 seconds flat (I sense he's a competitive one).

But enough about me and my adventures, how are things on your vacation? Have you done anything exciting?? I miss you all terribly and wish I could be there too....but from what I understand fish bowls don't travel too well. Oh well, just bring me home a souvenir.

Your devoted fish,
Shakespeare

p.s. Beware the Ides of March

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Recipe-a-Week in 2010

Week 10
Hearty Split Pea Soup



Ingredients

16 ounces dried split peas
2 cups diced fully cooked lean ham
1 cup diced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 cups boiling water
1 cup hot milk


Directions

In a slow cooker, layer the first nine ingredients in order listed (do not stir). Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir in milk. Discard bay leaves before serving.


My Review

I have decided to hurry and try a few new soup recipes before Spring and Summer make their appearance (because soup is definitely more of a cold weather food....don't you agree???)

I love soup. I would even go so far as to say that I am a soup fanatic...and so of course I needed to try making a classic split pea.
My favorite thing about this recipe was that it was a breeze to throw together. Basically you dump all the ingredients in the crock pot and let it magically turn into a satisfying bowl of thick, creamy, split pea soup.

And quickly, I must share the funniest thing that happened while making this:
Donald peeked into the crock pot and saw the two bay leaves sitting on top and in all seriousness he asked if I got them from the tree out front. Ha! Love that man of mine.

So do you have plans for dinner tomorrow night? Is it still a bit chilly in your neck of the woods? How about cookin' up a pot of this hearty split pea soup for your family? Definitely a winner.


recipe from allrecipes.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pumping Iron

Alexandra came home from school yesterday simply raving about a video her teacher had shown her class on YouTube. When we got home she had me find it online and we proceeded to watch it a good ten times over.

I am not one to usually share YouTube clips on here....but I know that my siblings will appreciate this, so here it is:


Jennifer, does that bring back memories??? 6 am everyday of our childhood??? LOL!!


***Alexandra's class has been talking a lot the past week or two about perseverance; about never giving up and about believing in yourself even when things seem impossible. I think the video is a fun (and funny) way to illustrate that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Remembering



My dad painted this picture. Isn't it lovely? It's one of my all time faves (up there with Across the Way, which was painted by my Grandfather (my dad's dad)).

I remember once telling him how wonderful I thought it was. He brushed the compliment aside and told me that a real artist would look at it and laugh. I know I am not a real artist, and perhaps I don't know the rights and wrongs of painting, but I do know beautiful when I see it, and it is beautiful.

My father passed away 6 years ago today. I think it's always important to stop and reflect and remember those who have come (and gone) before us. It's important to remember the good....and the bad. That's how we learn about life. That's how we as people can become better.

So today I have been on the phone with my mom, and we have reminisced. He is so clear in my memory...he is not an easy person to forget. It's strange to me that he died before Lorelai was even born; it seems like she's been around forever....but truly it doesn't seem like he's been gone that long. I remember him like it was yesterday. I wonder if that will ever change?


The Book Fair



Every March my mother-in-law Susan volunteers at the Eastgate Elementary School book fair. It's a tradition that has been going strong for years (decades?). And traditionally, every March she calls to let me know what days/times she'll be there so that I can bring the children by.

Yesterday was that day.



So when school let out I picked up Alexandra from her school and drove across town to Eastgate (where Donald was once a student).

The children held tight to their wallets, browsed through all the books, and made some pretty fine purchases.
This year they came home with:
  • Curious George and the Pizza Party
  • Dinner with Olivia
  • Sports Illustrated Kids: Girl Power
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Pinkalicious
  • Disney 3/pack of books (Hannah Montana, H.S. Musical, Camp Rock)
  • 4 pencils



The best part of the outing was when Lorelai snuck that Disney 3/pack of books up to the counter and bought it as a surprise for Alexandra with her own money. It was one of those moments where I say to myself, 'Oh good, they really do love each other'. (Believe me, there I times when I have my doubts. Okay, not really, but you know what I mean....don't you?)


[Grandma Sorenson ringing up the girls purchases.]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When the going gets tough...

Life has been a little
rough for Elisabeth lately...



...thank goodness she has big sisters
to help make her troubles float away.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well Rounded

Lorelai @ 10:00 on Saturday morning:






Lorelai @ 11:30 on Saturday morning:


Monday, March 8, 2010

A Change of Seasons

Sure signs that
Spring is almost here...


The children are wearing shorts.






Donald has been cleaning out the garage.






The swing set is being used again.










Our tulips are popping up.








Lisa ditches last Fall's brunette hair for blonde highlights.

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