Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What do they say about good intentions?

Aldous Huxlkey

Why yes I just quoted a Humanist. The mere word Humanist makes me giggle like a teenage school girl. But I have gotten derailed from the topic at hand. Of course the topic in which you thought would be here has also slightly gotten derailed also (I will be back soon with new awesome recipes). ..the topic today is 

Hate is such a strong word, but it does nicely sum up what I am feeling. Yes I am feeling hatred for an inanimate object.  

Be warned there is some language

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1. How did it happen that I find myself once again on a Friday, the end of the week and I have accomplished nothing on my list or should I say lists. I need to start putting on my list, "keep kids alive", so I can check that off and feel accomplished. It is no small feat keeping everyone alive. 

2. It is the start of a new school year. Nothing ever goes as plan. You would think 24 years in with this mom game, and I would have figured it out. I know that I just need to relax, and it will all work itself out, right? I said RIGHT?

3. Part of my problem is that I scheduled things on Monday. Not only did I schedule things on Monday, Monday is the busiest day for us of the week. One really has to question my sanity, since I normally prefer to ease into things. PJ Monday is a real tradition in our house. Man, I am hating on myself about letting that tradition go. PJ Monday you will be missed.  

4. We started swim lessons up with earnest for M&M. Why yes, this is the first time she has gone. Why yes, she is 7 years old. Are you implying something? It is what it is. With the craziness of our lives and living at Seattle Children's Hospital we could not commit to anything, especially something that meets, gasp, twice a week. We will see if I can get back into the swing of things because as of right now my car only wants to head South to this place:

***I am eternally grateful that this place is in my back yard! So do not ever think I am hating on it. 

5. So as I have said, M&M has started swim lessons. It is so great seeing my daughter following in my footsteps, NOT! I realized on Wednesday, that the whole bribing the kids thing I do, my mom did exactly once in my life with me (hmm it is a regular feature in our house). I had spent the whole summer, not putting my face in the water at swim lessons. This was sometime around 1977 when the pool in my hometown was outdoors.  All my swim instructor wanted from me was to do a beaver dive off the side which required me to put my face in said water. If I could figure out away to accomplish what "they" wanted with what I was willing to do life would have been okay.  What I heard being said was something on the lines of this: "you will dive off this 500 foot cliff into 3 feet of water". I think at some point my mom got tired of me hanging onto the side of the pool with death grip claws like my life dependent on it. So she said if I let go, and did the beaver dive, I would be the proud owner of a brand new doctor set. Oh man let me tell you about this doctor set. Only the finest that Kmart had to offer. State of the art technology in plastic could be found in that little blag bag including the bag itself. It had my name written all over it. As I remember that summer and that particular day, I did not let go nor did I do the beaver dive, but later that day I was the proud owner of that bag. Let me tell you this though, my daughter rocks! She did not follow totally in my foot steps, look what she did?

I am sure you heard the cheering from Heaven as M&M back floated for the required 30 seconds. She conquered her fears within 3 lessons. 

6. I have been thinking that I might need my head examined because I am excited about this: 

It just opened in my neighborhood, as in walking distance. Not just walking distance but the path out my front door leads right to it.

7. Having the above open in my neighborhood has lent itself to my long time running fantasy. The fantasy where I own one of these:

Could we actually say goodbye to the car? Could we become a one care family? These are all good questions. I would really like to try this experiment for a year and see what happens. As you can see also would have room for the Chunky Monkey.

P.S. If you are hanging around the good ole town of Lynden on Sunday, it is my dad's 80th Birthday. Stop in for the open house at Dutch Mother's on Front Street, and say hi or in this case Happy Birthday. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A New Way

I have had to change the way I eat do to some health problems. I am still in the midst of testing. It has been a challenge to cook all meals at home. Everything has to be prepared from scratch on top of the cooking every meal. There are no short cuts. I am also challenged with missing out on some major food groups like limited dairy and no grain. 

One can only eat so many eggs for breakfast. I have been making a hot grains free cereal for breakfast of late. I have found that this recipe is much better if you make it up the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. 

Ingredients for 3 servings:

1 can of coconut milk
3 eggs * can omit but increase the coconut milk by a  1/2 cup
1 1/2 cup of nuts any combination from Almonds to Cashews to Walnuts whatever you have on hand
1 very ripe banana omit if you use a sweetener


1. Add the 3 eggs to the coconut milk and mix. Bring to a slow boil. I like to use Trader Joe's coconut milk: 

2. While the eggs and coconut milk come to a boil,, toast your nuts. Do not skip this step it is what makes this dish so good. I use a cast iron pan and toast the nuts for a minutes or two. I only do 1/2 cup at a time. Watch it carefully. It can go from just fine to burnt with a blink of an eye. 

What you do not own a cast iron pan? Okay I am not judging you, well silently maybe. What is wrong with you? By the way you can use whole nuts. I am just using slivers of almonds because I got it on sale for $2.49 a pound. 

3. Use your food processor to grind up nuts. Beware of going to long with the grinding as you can make a nut butter. I like my cereal with a crunch; I use this mini food processor as there is no danger of making nut butter plus it leaves it a little crunchy as you can not get a real fine texture with it.

If you absolutely hate the idea of toasting nuts and grinding the nuts you could use almond meal. I love Trader Joe's Almond Meal. Use 1.5 cups of the almond meal. 

4. By this time your egg and milk mixture should be at a slow boil. Add your nuts and stir. Cook on low for 5 minutes. Be careful it can burn. 

5. Add banana at this point. I keep my overripe bananas in the freezer. I literally just throw the banana in the freezer peel and all and nuke my frozen banana for 30 seconds. I take a knife and cut the skin length wise. The banana will slip right out of the peel. Omit if you are going to add a sweetener to the cereal. 

6. Dish up for 3 servings and refrigerate overnight:

7. The next morning warm up in the microwave. Here you can add your favorite toppings from cinnamon and nutmeg, to fruit to maple syrup. Whatever your hearts desire. My favorite is either cinnamon with berries or cinnamon with apple sauce. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

7 Quick Takes

1. Why yes I do realize now that it is actually Saturday not Friday, sometimes I am a little slow. It is life deal with it.

2.  It has been a glorious day in my book.  A picture of the men folk in the family cleaning the blinds and washing windows. It makes me want to sing hallelujah at the top of my lungs. They had quite an operation going and less then two hours they got all the blinds and windows cleaned. 

3. Everyone in the family is having a riot touching my pliers. 'Look at me Mom" as the 15 year old is touching the pliers is shouted every few minutes in our household. We are just a riot at my house.  My father got me a special pair with a very fine pointed pliers for my birthday. I have announced several times over that I will have their head on a platter if they touch said pliers (they will ruin the point). No, it is not weird that I am keeping the pliers in the safe. 

4. It has been one of those frustrating weeks. If I will my arm, hand, fingers to work then by my shear stubbornness it should work. I am sure there is some law or principal that says exactly that. Well that is my theory anyway, so if they are looking for a name, The Heidi Barrett Theory will work.  Of course the whole will it to work has not been working out to well for me, Use the force Luke has been going through my head. It has become obvious that I am not and I emphasis the not a Jedi Warrior. Why yes, my soul might have been crushed.  I am sick and tired of the pain and dropping things, not being able to open the doors, etc. I deliberately set myself up because it sounds like so much darn fun. Today, I had a pile about 3 feet high for the recycle bin in the garage. I knew there was no way I was going to make it with opening the garage door. BE DAMNED was my war cry. Yep, you guessed it right. The pile went flying every which way. Where is my Obi Wan Kenobi when I need him? Oh ya something about Disney buying him out. WHY! WHY! WHY!

5. Can someone please tell me why retail stores think we are a bunch of idiots? Twice this week, a retail store had advertised a great price on something only to have inflated the original asking price. Payless Shoes being one of those stores. They are having a 50% off bogo sale. I do not buy a lot of things at Payless shoes as their shoes tend to run on the cheaply made side of things, I do get M&M her summer sandals and her black Mary Janes at Payless Shoes. I cruised the website only to notice that shoes that were $10 last week were now selling for $24.99. Are you kidding me? Plastic flip flops that sale for at Old Navy for $1.00, was prices at $14.00 at Payless Shoes.  I then was emailed an additional 15% off to use with the bogo. Payless shoes must have heard my screams of "are you kidding me"? We went in person so I could do some stealth shopping. I was able to get what we needed for this year and next. We saved $3.00 a pair not a huge score but M&M did need the one pair in the next couple of weeks, so I doubt I was going to get it at a better price.  

6. We headed to Staples to pick up a ream of paper for $3.00. What I had not noticed that it was a mail in rebate. The paper that I normally get, the price had been jacked up to $11.99. Yes, watch my eyes bug out. I am not going down that road of waiting on the rebate. So we headed a cross the street to QFC to pick up their excellent sale of .99 cent Skippy Natural Peanut  Butter (the only peanut butter that a certain child in this house will eat). A quick trip to the back to school aisle and picked up the same ream of paper that had been across the street at Staples for $11.99 and instead paid $3.49.

7. We celebrated the last days of warm weather by spending the afternoon/early evening in the park. I am hoping that the weather does read my blog because I would like to emphasize that we celebrated the last days of warm weather, hint, hint hint. I had been putting off reading a book and had checked it out already two or three times for the library. I started and finished the book in the park. After thinking it over some, I realized I kept on getting "better"" reads in and that is why the book kept on getting pushed to the read later pile. I need to stop doing that. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What am I reading?


It truly feels like I am so far behind in what I want to read. The list keeps on growing longer and longer. I kind of feel like a hamster on the wheel. No matter how much I read in a given day, I am not gaining any momentum. But to be fair to myself, I am doing more things in my free time that I love to do like read the Sunday Edition of the New York Times from cover to cover along with two of our local papers (those take no time at all). It takes me several hours to get through the New York Times. I also subscribe to a several blog feeds which is my total indulgent when I lay down. I am not a huge fan of reading books on the kindle, so instead I go through my blog feed all of which cuts into my book reading time. 

I am a fan of Michele Singletary's financial advice column. Michelle often refers to her Grandmother, Big Mama in her column. There is little talk of God, the Bible and how religion plays into spending money and your financial traps, perhaps because the column is ran in a secular newspaper. The book is quite the opposite from her column. Each chapter correlates to one day in the 21 day fast. She uses bible verses to explain her financial reasoning. This book is too savor. Do not read it in one sitting. It is an interactive book meaning each day you read the chapter and then do the homework assignment. Finance is a lot like dieting everyone has opinion on how to do it. This is just one more opinion on what to do.

This book was awesome. The author moved into a "new" house that had been built in the 1880s. During the remodel a trunk filled with old letters was discovered in her backyard shed. When the family that owned the house is contacted to return the letters to they do not want them (the same family owned the house since it was brand new). Holy moly score for the author!!!!The author spends the next decade reading through the letters as her little family grows. 

I love the science behind cooking. I always want to know why and how. This cookbook answers all those questions with basic recipes. 

This was a really neat book, a picture book cookbook. Very few words in the whole book just lots and lots of pictures to illustrate every step. As neat as the book was there was absolutely nothing in the cookbook that I wanted to try. 

O.k. I apparently live in a cave. I had not heard of Susan Spencer-Wendel. This was just a random pick from the library. Spoiler Alert: Susan Spencer-Wendel was a newspaper reporter who got diagnosed with ASL in her 40s. She was given a death sentence, but instead of dwelling on it, she decided to live her last year with joy instead. In the end, she was typing each chapter by one thumb on her cell phone. That in itself is an amazing story. But and here it the big BUTT (Oh goodie Heidi, here is the part where you criticize the author, the author who just died in July who has 3 young children still at home); I felt like the whole story was told from a reporters standpoint which in essence it was. It was devoid of any emotions. When Susan was having a hard time, she would talk herself out of the feelings associated from it. So the book felt sterile when she was talking about her family, friends and loved ones.  It is a great easy read. Apparently now there is talks about making a tv show about her life, so what do I know?

I do not believe I have ever read anything else from this author. Perhaps this was not the first book to start with. This was perhaps the weirdest memoir I have ever read. Yes, the entire book was about the author apologizing for his actions. Some of those actions were of him as a young boy etc. 

The Nesting place is an awesome home decorating book. I do not think, I have ever bought a home decorating book before. I have always checked the books out from the library. But this book I wanted to own it. It was packed full of goodness. The cool thing is it was not directed towards homeowners. The author writes for anyone who lives in apartment, house, shed etc. I give it 5 thumbs ups for usefulness. 

This is the first book I have read on Pope Francis. It was written fairly fast by a reporter who is a practicing Catholic (why yes in regards to content it does make a difference). It is a fairly thin book and a fast read. This book was published about a month after Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. It does not really contain any "new:" information about Pope Francis, but I appreciate how the information was presented. It is a very light and happy read. 

Another book that I have to own. This cookbook is fantastic. Once again another book from America's Test Kitchen. As I have said in the past, I love the science behind cooking. Tell me why it works and why other methods fail that is what I want to know in life. This cookbook is basically the condiment cookbook in the literal sense. Do you know how to make ketchup or mustard? How about Nutella or maple butter. It goes along with the belief that homemade is always better. I am not sure if that is always true for my waistband though. I made the maple butter or maple cream as some people call it. O.M.G. it just might be the best thing to eat on this planet. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Open Letter to Seattle Children's Hospital

Dear New Higher at Seattle Children's Hospital,

Congratulations on your new job at Seattle Children's hospital. You have picked an magnificent place to work at. We spend a lot of time at Seattle's Children's hospital. You see, my husband and I have 5 children, 4 of our kids have juvenile idiopathic arthritis specifically psoriatic arthritis. This disease has presented itself with lots of complications. So not only do we frequent the hospital a lot for appointments (At one point, we were there 4 days a week), we have had to do a lot of emergency room visits and too many to count hospitalizations, sometime weeks on end. I know this hospital like the back of my hand. I can tell you who makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches, when and where to get the hottest tastiest fries (1 am in the cafeteria in case you wanted to know). What Child's Life Specialist is the best at calming a very frighten little girl who is afraid she is going to die when the anesthesiologist "gasses" her (gasses is her word) for a procedure. I also could hit you up with the right time to go to the sibling play room. What hallway offers you the best private place to cry. Who does the quickest blood draw (Hector hands down. He works M-F 11 am to 7 pm worth the drive to return to Children's Hospital if you have a reluctant child who needs a blood draw). Where in the depths of the hospital has cell phone reception. What front desk person loves their job and interacts with families well. What security guard after hours will go fetch your vehicle for you when your arthritis is flaring and you are unable to walk the distance. We interact with some of our doctors, nurses, medical assistant outside of the hospital. We like them and consider them an extended part of our family. They see us at our very worst and sometimes at our very best.  My point is, we know Seattle Children's Hospital very well. As an outside observer we see the flaws in the system at Seattle Children's, but also the good. For the record, yes, we have had a few problems at Seattle Children's. Those problems were quickly handled and taken care of. As the third party observer for the most part everyone that works at the hospital loves their job or very least likes it very well. So again, Congratulations on your new job at Seattle's Children's Hospital. 

As I stated, we spend inordinate amount of time at Seattle Children's Hospital. My children have a chronic disease something they will  have to live with for the rest of their lives. My children are intelligent. They are able to educate you about their condition because one day they will be an adult. They will have too know this information. It is best to start now from day one. By the time the kids are teenagers, they are almost completely self managing their disease. It is their body, their disease. They know how they feel, what has happen since the last time we were here for appointment, what medication they are taking and what they are allergic too. Please stop looking at me wanting answers ignoring the fact there is a young adult in the chair trying to answer you. Ask the patient the questions. Quit pretending the patient is not even in the room with us. As his parent my job is to listen to his answers. I am there if one of my children need guidance, but I only will speak up unless they ask for help or they get something wrong (which at age 15 & 16 does not happen much). For Godsake, please do not tell me this is the way things are done in this clinic. You have been on the job for less then a week. You have no idea how things are done in that clinic. We have been coming to this clinic for over a decade. I can tell you right up front you are not going to go far with your refusal to listen to the patient. Him asking for a list of the medication that is in his hospital records as current taking medicine is not breaking any rule. He is asking for everyone's benefit including you. The list was about 75% incorrect. Now he knows he has to get with one of the nurses at his regular appointment to have his medicine list updated. Yes, that is a rule at Seattle Children's that the doctor or nurse has to do that now. Oh you did not know that because it is your first week at the hospital? Yep, I get it, huge learning curve that is why active listening is so important. Like I said, this is not our first time to the rodeo. We know how often our doctor sees us. We are gearing up towards surgery a year from now. When I asked when he needed to be seen again and you replied," not until his surgery" even though you had no idea what you were talking about, is just another check mark I have added in my head against you. . As I said, our appointment our appointment schedule is with every doctor. We have to do how to orchestrate these appointments because this disease brings us to critical sub-specialist. So not only do we see rheumatology, but we have regular exams with G.I., Oral Surgery and Ophthalmology all because of the JIA.  So yes, I did have to go over your head ask the doctor directly when he wanted to see my child again because I knew you were so incorrect with your answer. If you do not know the answer, the only correct answer is, "I do not know I will have to ask". I know it is only your first week, but you will learn how hard it is to get into see this doctor.If we had listened to you and not followed through with making an apportionment for an year as you told us, you would have delayed our child's surgery by a year. You personally would be responsible for my child being in pain for an additional year. That does not bode well with this Mama Bear. Just so you understand, we will get along fine until you have crossed the line. My children our my first priority. Please reflect on this period of time, you are in training for a reason. Listen and if you are still confused ask, ask the patient, ask the parent if you are not sure how the interaction should go. If you are still confused ask your co-worker, ask the Doctor. They are all great people and they want to see you succeed, so do we.

Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes

Once again I am joining  Jen for 7 Quick Takes

1. I am still suppose to be recovering from my surgery, so not a lot happening around here. I find it incredible hard to do nothing. To be honest, I have yet to accomplish a blocks of time of doing nothing which for me is quite hard to do. The whole sit, be still ignore the mess in the kitchen thing is beyond me. I cannot relax knowing there are things to get done.  But guess what? I have this built in meter. My arm/elbow/hand  will hurt like you know what. Because I am a slow learner, I will go, why is my arm/elbow/hand hurting? Gosh I do not know, was it because you were using it?

2. I debated for a good two hours last Friday on if I should send a teenage son over to the Farmer's Market to buy fresh flowers for the house. I was up in the air if it was an event that would scar one of them for the rest of their lives. Too be fair to me, it was not like I was asking them to go buy a box of tampons. I decided against it more because M&M would want to go with one of them to actually pick out the flowers and life just got a lot more complicated. So we had a house devoid of pretty life. We are the hospice or funeral home for house plants.  We have no house plants because our house is where house plants come to die. Heck, I cannot even get the basil from Trader Joe's to survive the night in my house any more. 

3. My friend Lisa came over for a visit and guess what she brought?

So apparently there is no need for me to save extra money for the boys' therapy when they get older. 

4. I am very excited about today's weather:

5. I have been promised by the weather forecasters 5 days of this:

6. They better keep their word! I am sick of this:

7. I am so ready for Fall my favorite season of the 4. I am so ready for the crunch of leaves under foot. The coolness outside, flannel, fleece and long sleeves. The smell of pumpkin spice. Hot drinks on cold nights warming up by the fire. This summer is just dragging with the scorching heat. I have said it once, I have said it 1,000 times, I LIVE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR A REASON AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF THE SUN/HEAT.