Thursday, June 3, 2010

Old Fashioned Pork Chops in Crock Pot

Ok, I haven't been very good with my blog, but I am making it up to you with my most fabulous new crock pot recipe. It is a definate A.

Old Fashioned Pork Chops

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 boneless pork loin chops (5 oz ea)
2 tblsp canola oil
1 can (10 1/2oz) condensed chicken with rice soup, undiluted
1 medium onion, quartered
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes

1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. Add porkchops, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.

2. In a large skillet, brown chops in oil on each side. Transfer to a 3-qt slow cooker. Top with soup, onion and parsley. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until pork is tender.

These came out wonderful! I am allergic to rice, but I ate one anyway. The onion was slightly carmelized and the whole thing was tasty!! I love easy and yummy recipes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Donkey Basketball

Tonight I got to witness something totally new and unique - donkey basketball.

Katya was part of the girls basketball team that went up against the equestrian team in a fundraising event at the high school tonight. There were real donkeys brought in that have special rubber shoes on thier hooves to not scratch the floor.

It was pretty funny to watch, especially when Katya's donkey had a mind of it's own.

I brought Alexis and Logan and they were interested for all of ten minutes. They had to hold out for a whole hour until Bob came to rescue them.

Katya had a really good time. It's a shame she never gets to do anything fun or different up here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unmistaken Child

Anyone that really knows me knows that I am very open-minded in my beliefs. I have a fascination with world religions and remain open to learning what other people think and believe. After all, I sure don't have all the answers nor would I ever pretend to. I have a core center of what I believe, but there is a lot of room for expansion.

Therefore, I believe strongly that every religion and every person's religious beliefs are sacred and should always be respected. I may not agree with what you particularly believe, but I will always respect it.

When I was lying on my back in the zero gravity chair I watched a lot of Netflix on demand. One of the movies I had in my queue was "Unmistaken Child". It is about the search for the reincarnation of a Llama that passed away in Nepal. I remember reading about the child that this movie was about and I was fascinated by the whole thing.

I watched this movie with a bit of a skeptical point of view. I was certain that I would be able to see, without a doubt, some form of a pre-concieved notion of which child it was. The entire movie centered around the old Llama's assistant, who in my personal opinion, has achieved enlightenment. Talk about a pure soul seeking nothing but love, peace and goodness. I really admire this person. He is a simple soul who misses his mentor terribly.

Since I don't want to give it away, all I can say is - I am not sure that this child is NOT the reincarnation of the Llama. There were two moments in the movie that really shook what I thought to be the truth. Katya and I are both left dumbfounded and completely intrigued by the whole thing.

I am not sure that a group of people that are that closely bound together by faith and by their love and respect of the earth and each other could not, somehow, have reincarnation. It goes against Christian thinking and every Western religion that I can think of (Hindu being the exception). But man, it leaves you thinking that maybe there is a master plan for these people that we are just not privy to.

Watch it and let me know your thoughts. Don't miss the last five minutes... that one moment still has me thinking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad Back

I have a bad back.

It is a relatively new thing for me. I used to have a really strong back and never once had so much as a sore anything. Shoulders and neck yes, but never my back.

Then came Alexis.

When I delivered Alexis she did something strange on the way out and my tailbone was broken. Ouch. I couldn’t figure out for the longest time why I absolutely could NOT lay on my back and why it hurt to sit. I guess it is a common occurrence for deliveries. It took me several months for my back to recover. I had to sit on pillows and really baby my lower back. Then as I was just about recovered….

WAH BAM!!!!!

… here comes Logan. Although I didn’t know I was knocked up for the first three months, I sure as heck knew it the last six. I had sciatica and horrid lower back pain. I slept with a pillow at my back every night for extra support.

After Logan I could tell that I had a tender back because it made itself known whenever I would bend over changing a diaper, bathing him, picking up Alexis… anything. Even my mattress made it hurt. A few lucky times something zigged when it should have zagged and I ended up crying. Man, oh man, I was dying. Luckily Bob and motrin saw me through.

Sunday it did it again. Katya asked if I would go to a Bikram Yoga class with her on Sunday morning. She didn’t want to go alone and I wanted to try it out because I noticed their pose sequence was not really heavy on the arms (since I can’t do arm junk). Bikram is that “hot” yoga where the room is set at 90 something degrees and you end up dripping with sweat after about ten minutes. At the end of 90 minutes every part of your body and strand of hair on your head is wet. You feel great afterwards though.

I was having a good time and focusing on my breathing and stretching until I hit the pose that took me out. I was all loose from the heat and didn’t realize I went too far until it was too late. I was dying the rest of the class. I went home and after a shower put myself into Bob’s zero gravity chair (it flips back to relieve back pain) and didn’t move really until last night. Man… I was dying. But Katya and Bob picked up my slack and took care of me, the house and the short ones. Katya wouldn’t even let me get myself something to drink. I think she feels pretty bad.

But this has not put me off of the yoga with Katya. I just now know to baby myself and not try to do all the poses until I have been a few times without pain. It’ll happen. Besides, I like having something special to do with Katya. I think she is pretty cool and a lot of fun to hang out with. Just give me a month to recover.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am a bibliophile.

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.
1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books

Give me a good book and I can block out the world for hours or days. Even a so-so book I’ll usually read to the end. Those are actually pretty nice because it doesn’t make my entire world stop.

My “need” for reading comes in waves usually. I always have to have something to read so I have books and magazines stashed all over the house, in my car and usually something in my purse. I can easily have four books going at once depending on where I am.

Then there comes “A” book. One of those all-consuming, can’t put it down, don’t care if people around me are hungry, what is wrong with wearing dirty socks, hope the health department doesn’t come by – books. It doesn’t have to be a national bestseller or even a terribly great book, just one that catches my imagination. There is no specific genre that does it and no particular author.

This weekend I had such a book. Started it on Saturday afternoon after pulling it at random from a stack of books that my cousin, Beth had given me last Thanksgiving. Just wanted something to have “in case” I had a spare 5 minutes somewhere. Then I got sucked in.

Sunday I was totally worthless. All I wanted was to sit on the couch and read. I didn’t take a shower, I didn’t change out of my jammies and I didn’t even eat until around 2 o’clock. I forced myself to put the book down for a little bit in order to do a couple of loads of laundry and visit with my children, but that was pretty much it. After baths I sat on the couch “for just a few minutes” while Bob watched some tv. I seemingly blinked and an hour had passed.

It reminded me of when I was in middle and high school and my mom would take my book away from me and put it on the fridge so I would actually do my chores. I thought she was so mean when she did that. I didn’t recognize I had issues at that point. Recognizing your addiction is the first step towards recovery, right?

This insane love of reading runs in the family. Katya is a book addict along with my aunts, cousins and nephews. Not sure if it is nature or nurture – but when Bob asked me about that Muzzy early reading system I laughed. I seriously don’t think that Alexis or Logan will be needing any assistance to try and get them to read any earlier than they normally would. I told him that the important thing is the LOVE of reading. The skill comes from practice, not from regurgitation of sight words when you are 3. The short ones already love books. They will both sit with their favorite books and make up stories to go with the pictures. They will bring stacks of books for use to read at night before bed. I’m not worried.

So, although my life can become totally derailed for a good story it is nice to know that someday we will all be sitting on the couch with our noses in our books and I can call it “educational”. And some day when they are forced to read books that they don’t like, they won’t be intimidated. Even books that are really, really long won’t seem like a problem. That just makes for a longer story and that is always a good thing, right?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Give a Day, Get a Day

I have seen these ads on TV for a while now. The whole “Give a Day, Get a Day” for Disneyland.

Well, a friend of mine here in Bend did just that with her husband. They spent a day fixing bikes for a local non-profit and are now getting their tickets for Disneyland.

I just didn’t think that there would be anything in Bend that would qualify for that program, so I never checked it out. When I did, I found all kinds of stuff! So, on March 13th Katya and I will be volunteering at a fun run supporting the local “Healthy Beginnings” child program.

Evidently we will be doing something like directing walkers and runners along the path and helping pick up trash from about 8:30am to 2pm. What an awesome trade!!

Everyone ages 6 and older can volunteer and earn their free ticket. What a sweet deal! Volunteerism is also an important thing for our community. This is just a way cool way to encourage it and be richly rewarded!

So, we are all scheduled for our volunteer day and at some point we will be getting our free tickets to Disneyland.

After that it will just be getting ourselves down South to go. Maybe we could meet up with some family while we are there!

Anyone care to join us?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bye Bailey

We lost our dog today.

I still can't believe it. She seemed ok when I left this morning. But luckily Bob saw that she seemed out of breath and her gums looked white so he rushed her to the vet.

The vet had done an ultrasound and determined that her spleen was bleeding, probably from a tumor. Evidently they are very common for German Shephards when they reach middle age. We adopted Bailey when we "think" she was about a year and a half in 2002, so her estimated age was 9.

Since she had no other health issues, Bob gave him the go ahead to remove her spleen. Dogs can live without them with no ill effects. However, when they were putting her under she went into cardiac arrest and passed away.

Total shock.

Some people don't understand how animals can become part of your family. Bailey was a definate part of our family. When Bob was living in Oregon and I was still in San Diego for those two years, Bailey was with him. If the kids were playing downstairs and I was in the kitchen, I knew that they were fine because Bailey was down there to protect them. Bob would take Bailey out to the property and walk around or take her with him when he rode dirtbikes. That dog could run and run and run and run. Her endurance and energy seemed endless.

Her patience with the toddlers was endless. She stood there and let them hug her, pat her back or brush her. She followed them around to make sure they were safe. Although, sometimes it was from a safe distance.

I even put her name at the bottom of every Christmas card that we sent.

Bob is torn up. I haven't stopped crying for two hours and I am trying to somehow let the kids know that Bailey isn't coming home. She is in heaven. Hopefully hanging out with my other beloved animals; Shen, Phuff and Bandit. I still have to tell Katya. She will be everybit as heartbroken.

Goodbye Bailey. We loved you. We will always miss you. Thank you for being such a wonderful and loyal friend. I am so sorry I didn't get to say goodbye.