Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fruit Salad...

This is the best fruit salad. My grandma Staggs used to make this and I loved it as a kid. Now, my girls love it when their grandma Keating makes it.

8 bananas, mashed
1 lg can or frozen OJ, thawed
1 lg can crushed pineapple (drained)
3/4 cup sugar
1 jar maraschino cherries, halved and drained well on paper towels

Mix all together and place in a freezer friendly container and freeze. Can be made several days ahead. Remove from freezer to soften to serve.

I resolve...

I spent some time going over my resolutions for 2009. I think I kept up with most all of them, except the tv one. Kevin is to blame for that, he bought a bigger tv.

Highlights of 2009
  • Avery said a highlight was when Marla and Phil got a trampoline for Reese and they got to jump on it.
  • We started a basement remodel, which came to an abrupt halt when the Fuller job became a possibility
  • We paid off all debt, except our student loans and mortgage. We'll be paying those stupid loans 'til Avery's in college. Ugh-
  • Avery started 1st grade
  • McKenna started Preschool
  • Watching Presley grow and learn
  • Kevin is now Dr. Osborn!
  • Got to spend lots of time with family and friends
Goals for 2010
  • both Avery and Kenna said they want a home. While it's not really a resolution, we all want one really bad!
  • Rework our budget to accommodate this new life
  • Start 2 new savings acct for-new (to us) vehicle, travel back to Ks
  • Figure out a workable schedule/routine for our family that will soon be 6-this would include chores, boundaries, consequences, rewards, time management, etc...
  • Get more organized system for couponing, and use it-a lot.
  • Get more organized. Period.
  • Be intentional about family night. Plan to have a scheduled family night once a week.
  • Find a babysitter, so Kevin and I can maintain our date night schedule we established in 2009.
  • Figure out plan to work-out. I miss the Y, and U-verse. Bad.
  • Do family devotions every night. The girls got a new devo for Christmas, so we'll plan to use it.
  • Stay on tract with my personal bible reading/devotion time
  • Be a better mom and wife. I haven't been so good lately...
I am praying desperately that we'll find a house we love (and can afford) and that we'll grow to love life in California. This transition has been rough and I don't know when we'll find a place to truly call home. I hope I can be a better model for the girls, and a better support for my husband. That I'll look on the bright side more often, than not. That I'll cry less. That 2010 will be the best year for Osborn abode!

Happy new year to you! What's your resolution?

Christmas Breakfast

Our traditional breakfast on Christmas morning is always a breakfast casserole of some sort and bubble loaf. The casserole usually changes, depending on what everyone is in the mood for, but the bubble loaf is a given. This year, I used this recipe for the breakfast casserole, and it was so good. I'm definitely going to make it again, soon. Instead of the cubes of bread, I used a bag of seasoned croutons (I always use croutons in any breakfast casserole, it's usually cheaper and always easier). I also used wet mustard, instead of dried.

And here's the bubble loaf recipe.

1/2 package, Rhodes frozen rolls
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg butterscotch pudding, not instant-must get the cook and serve
6 T melted butter
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar

Spray bundt pan with pam. Place pecans in pan. Place frozen rolls over the pecans. Sprinkle the pudding (dry) over the rolls. Mix melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar together. Pour on top of rolls and pudding. Let stand overnight or 8 hours. Bake 30 m. at 350 degrees. I usually place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any spills. I also cover with foil the first 20 m. Remember, if you cover with foil to spray the foil with pam so it doesn't stick.

This is a very easy sweet roll recipe. I make it several times a year. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food cravings and recipes

When I was pregnant with Avery, Kevin and I were vegetarians, and all I wanted to eat was a hamburger. That's it-no pickles, no ice cream, just a hamburger. I slowly introduced meat back into my diet during that pregnancy. McKenna's pregnancy, well, I really can't remember, I think I just ate everything in site. Presley-I could have eaten McDonalds every single day of the whole pregnancy and been satisfied. I was always craving a cheeseburger from there. Every. Day.
Now, what am I hungry for, you ask? Sushi. That's right. California Rolls with soy sauce, ginger (which Dillons had and Ralphs doesn't btw) and wasabi. We had some last week, and since then, that's all I've wanted to eat. I got some yesterday, had to share with Kevin. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. And today, I wanted more! Crazy...Although, I'm also growing very fond of CPK pizza-pepperoni and hamburger, nothing fancy. Kevin has so far ordered BBQ chicken, Carribean jerk Chicken and Chipotle chicken, which I have yet to try. They just don't sound good.

So, while I'm on the subject of food, I thought I'd share the beef tenderloin I made on Christmas. Beef tenderloin is my absolute favorite and this was the first time I've made it. I used my mom's recipe, which I think is Aunt Marlene's recipe.

1 beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat
2 packets of Dry Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp mustard (wet)
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 1/2 cups water

Place tenderloin in a large zip lock bag. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over tenderloin. Seal bag and marinate overnight in refrigerator.
Remove from marinade and pat somewhat dry. Place on foil lined roasting pan or 9x13 pan and bake at 425 (uncovered) for about an hour. May need to cook longer depending on size of the tenderloin.
Let set 20 minutes before slicing.

We always serve horseradish sauce with the tenderloin-

Prepared horseradish-you should find this in the refrigerated section-in Ict, it's by the refrigerated pasta and sauces, in Ca, it's by the hotdogs.
Salt and Pepper

Mix about equal portions, start out with 1/2 cup each of the may and sour cream. Add about 2 TBSP horseradish and salt and pepper. This is really just an eyeball and taste method.

I'll post the frozen fruit salad recipe soon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Miscellaneous

Well, yesterday went much better than I expected. With the help of Skype, we were able to see both sets of families and talk multiple times with them. The girls had a great Christmas! Not one fight or disappointment. With the exception of 2 blown breakers, the first at 6:30am, the day was awesome. We had to forgo heat to enjoy our Christmas tree lights. The food was great, I must say, and it was a really good Christmas for us. We really have no plans for the next week, other than find some new/cheap places to enjoy around here.
  • At lunch yesterday, I asked the girls what their favorite gift was. Avery said all of her clothes (she got a lot) and McKenna quickly said the m and m's she got in her stocking. From the looks of it, Presley's favorite is her new Tinkerbell chair that's just for her. My favorite gift was getting to experience Christmas with my love and my girls. And, considering all of the compliments he made, I'm guessing Kevin's favorite was the food that was consumed yesterday. And the fact that he got to spend the whole day in his sweats!
  • We shared some big news with everyone. This will be our last Christmas with just the 5 of us. Baby #4 will be coming in June, much to everyone's surprise, including ours!
  • We watched lots of movies-Elf, Grinch, Home Alone (McKenna's new favorite), Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and SNL's Christmas special (after the girls were in bed, of course)
  • I thought I'd be celebrating this Christmas with my new CA driver's license, but no such luck. Can I tell you how much I hate the DMV and got a taste of how things run when the government is in charge. It sucks. We needed to have either birth certificates or passports to verify id-social security cards and current driver's license were not accepted. I also needed my marriage certificate. Kevin couldn't find his birth cert. so he took his expired passport and they accepted it, no problems. I took my original birth cert. and a certified copy of our marriage license and was denied. They want a seal on the marriage cert. No where online did it state that. I've been married for 12 years and had 3 kids with me. I was furious, to say the very least. I studied so hard for that stupid test and was ready for it to just be done. I hated being at that place. It was crowded, dirty, and gross. And, I plan to write a heated letter to Arnold about my experience there. So far, California is NOTHING like his commercials describe.
  • So, I have yet another appt. with the DMV on Jan. 12. My new sealed marriage cert. should be here by then and I'll take the stupid test and declare it will be the last time I set foot in that horrid place.
  • I am so ready for a permanent place to call home. I'm ready for Central heat. A garbage disposal and dishwasher. An extra toilet. A fridge that holds more than 2 days worth of food. A bug/spider free place. Carpet where your feet won't turn black if you decide to go barefoot. 3 prong outlets. A laundry room. The simple things you take for granted until you don't have them. Maybe next Christmas...
  • This apartment looks like a bomb exploded. Today, we are cleaning and finding room for all the stuff we got. We may need another storage unit :)
  • The things I was thinking about last Christmas are so different from what's on my heart today. If you would have told me last year what we'd be doing this year, there's no way I'd believe it. NO WAY-
I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! May this season be one of family, joy, laughter, and making great memories for you and your loved ones.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Plan...

So, we're celebrating Christmas in California. Usually, our family has a variety of snacks on Christmas Eve. Usually we have those snacks with family. Well, it's just the 5 of us, so here's what's on the table tonight-
  • cheese/crackers/ summer sausage-I usually just do cheddar and pepper jack, but I added Dubliner and Chavrie to the spread this year
  • 'lil smokies in sauce of grape jelly and ketchup-sounds gross but tastes good
  • dill dip in bread bowl-actually, they don't have dill dip here, the lady at Ralphs talked me into getting spinach dill dip from their deli, we'll see...
  • homemade chex mix
  • lots of different cookies
  • queso and chips, salsa
  • white chocolate pretzels-made trips to several stores to find stuff for this and the queso
We made Christmas tree cut-out brownies for Santa

Tomorrow morning, after stockings are opened, we'll have bubble loaf and breakfast casserole. We'll read the Christmas story and skype with family back in Ks. Sometime later in the day, we'll eat-
  • Beef tenderloin with homemade horseradish sauce-I'll be eating this in Heaven, too
  • twice baked potatoes
  • green beans
  • frozen fruit salad
  • Jesus cake-we make this every year for Jesus' birthday
  • pumpkin pie-because Kevin saw this on tv and really wanted one
We plan to eat, watch good Christmas movies, play with whatever Santa brings us and enjoy being a family of 5 this Christmas. If I'm motivated, I'll post recipes later.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

House Hunting

So, back in September, we looked at some houses out here and thought most of them weren't for us, but we were told we could find something. We knew house prices had fallen drastically and we were glad because there was no way this would work otherwise.
Fast forward to now. There is absolutely nothing in the Pasadena area even close to our price range. The problem with house prices falling is that no one is selling. A tiny common sense fact we didn't think about when we decided to move here.
So, our realtor suggested that we look into the Valencia/Stevenson Ranch area. It would mean a 30-45 minute commute for Kevin. Not exactly what we wanted, for those of you in the ict area, it would be comparable to driving from Newton to W. Wichita. Not a huge commute, but something to consider. Anyway, the schools in that area are much better than in Pasadena, and the family quality of life is better. We've made a few trips out there and really like it. It reminds us of Colorado Springs in the fact that it's flat but surrounded by mountains. The best thing is that it just feels open and nice. It's clean and you don't have to pay to park anywhere, like you do here. The houses are much more affordable there as well.
We looked at 6 houses on Friday, 2 of which we could see ourselves in. Those were already under contract, but the realtor knows what we like now. It's so hard to look at another person's home and try to mentally put your stuff in it and figure out where things would go. It's also interesting that the homes that have the grossest carpet are the ones where we are asked to take off our shoes at the door. Weird. Houses spaced closed together. No brick. No basements. Beautiful landscaping. Not much of a yard. I guess it will just take some time to get used to California architecture. Oh, but I hope we find one, soon. I can't wait to have a home again. Hoping the market will pick up again after the holidays and we'll find something we all like.

Excuse me, but where can I find...

So, the Kroger affiliate out here is called Ralphs. Let me tell you, it is no Dillons. Not even close. I miss Dillons. These are the things I can't find here.
  • Velveeta-I make homemade queso with it and rotel.
  • Rotel-see above
  • Red hots-aka cinnamon imperials, we needed these for gingerbread cookies. I improvised with raisens. Won't do that again.
  • Almond bark-for white chocolate pretzels, a Christmas tradition for us
  • Bugles-to go in our homemade chex mix.
  • Summer sausage-to serve on Christmas eve with cheese and crackers.
The only thing good about Ralphs is that they have peppermint mocha coffee mate creamer. And that's it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's a Good Thing

Well, we finally have internet in our apartment. We're still working on trying to get the wireless router to work, but Avery's school desktop is working so I feel like we belong to civilization. However, you don't realize how much you appreciate having a Mac until you have to spend time on a pc, a slow pc. Anyway, I hope our laptop is up and running soon.
It's a good thing I didn't have access to blog last week. It was the worst week ever, and I probably would have said/written a lot that I shouldn't have. Here's a quick recap of the last 12 days
  • the cable guy came Friday afternoon, only to find out our apt. building isn't wired for cable at all, so we have to go with a dish. DirectTV said they'll come on Sunday. We call ATandT about internet and after 45 minutes, they tell Kevin they'll come Dec. 14.
  • 2 hours after the moving van left, Avery throws up. Everywhere.
  • Thinking naively it was just her that was sick, the rest of us ate a big supper of In and Out burgers, fries, etc....
  • a few hours later, it hits the rest of us. All of us were out. Saturday was the most horrible day. Both Kevin and I were very sick, we all just laid around, groaning and sharing 1 bathroom. Poor Presley and the girls pretty much had to fend for themselves. Not one box was unpacked that day.
  • Sunday-woke up sore and weak, but not sick anymore-must. unpack. boxes.
  • Realize after sleeping in our bed, that the movers didn't put it together correctly and it was sinking terribly in the middle. Kevin had to take the whole thing apart, bend the metal back and start over
  • ant problem in the girl's rm
  • toilet problems
  • major plumbing issue with kitchen sink faucet. Called after hours maintenance (for the second time) b/c the faucet just wouldn't turn off. Ugh
  • spider problems in bathroom-McKenna won't go in there by herself anymore...
  • Our back door window is covered with tape and packing paper b/c the shade won't stay down.
  • more ant problems-not in the kitchen-they must like the bathroom and girls room.
  • Walls are paper thin here. We are a loud family. Not good in an apartment. I feel so sorry for our neighbors.
  • Our one and only toilet takes 5 to 6 minutes to refill with water after a flush. Seriously, I timed it.
  • No heat in here except our 3 space heaters-Surprisingly, it gets cold here in SoCal, especially at night.
  • several breakers blown. Breaker box is located in room down the way. Our key didn't work the first night we blew one. Another call to maintenence after hours.
  • Found out we can either watch tv, or have the Christmas lights on. Also, if you want to use the microwave, you must turn off the space heaters.
  • I've already spent $50 doing laundry at the laundry mat.
My girls amaze me. They are doing so well! I can't believe how well they are doing. I'm supposed to be the model, the strong one. Well, I'm not. This has been the hardest thing I've ever done, without a doubt. I'm not very good at faking it.

The weather has been better the last few days, so we've been able to get out more. A much needed break from our apt.

Here's hoping this week is better than last...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We're here!

We got to Pasadena around 9:30 on Wednesday night. After 13 hours on the road, we were exhausted, to say the least.
  • We got up and took it easy this morning, enjoyed Panera for breakfast. The view of the mountains as a backdrop for Pasadena is stunning. I don't know how anyone can get used to the beauty around here.
  • We looked at our apartment. Let's just say, it's big, and that's about it. We'll be contacting a realtor on Monday.
  • There's a toddler play area right next to our apartment and the girls loved playing there while Kevin and I looked around.
  • Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf (he's been with us for 4 years now!) was waiting in our apartment! Avery about lost her breath when she saw him. The girls were so excited to see he came to Pasadena.
  • After seeing Kevin's office and meeting some of his co-workers and employees, we went across the street and ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. We call it CPK now. They have a kids drink called a kiwi twist, it was so good-sprite with kiwi flavoring.
  • Back to the hotel for naps, then Kevin took Avery and McKenna to their playground to play. I spent time online getting Avery set up for school, California Virtual Academy, similar to what she did in Kindergarten. We hope to get her curriculum/supplies next week sometime.
  • Supper was at the Cheesecake Factory. I was explaining to the girls that this was a fancy restaurant and we would only get to go there on special occasions and that we wouldn't get to come eat there very often so we needed to enjoy this experience. Then McKenna exclaimed, "Oh, like Chuck E Cheese!", Kenna. Not like that.
  • Pottery Barn is across the street. We stop in and buy 2 of the cheapest ornaments they have.
  • Then, we went to the Kroger affiliate, Ralphs. Let's just say I'm going to miss Dillons. A lot.
  • Went to the apartment to put groceries away. Kevin flushes the toilet for the first time and water goes everywhere. Wondering who to call about that....
  • Back to the hotel, our last night (out of 11) living out of a suitcase. We all shared some cheesecake-one chocolate chip cookie dough and one white chocolate peppermint. Yummy!
  • No pix for today, maybe later.
Please pray for us on Friday, that the moving truck will be able to actually get into our parking lot to unload, that all of the logistics will fall into place. That the girls will continue to adjust and maybe meet some friends this weekend. That our one and only toilet will get fixed. fast. That we'll learn to talk quieter and adapt to apartment living.

Day 4...Finally!

I'll keep this one brief, with lots of pictures. 13 hours on the road Wednesday. Breathtaking views of the South Rim, a few meltdowns, a drive thru the desert, and we're in Pasadena! Prizes today were silly putty (big mistake on my part), magnet dress up dolls, candy necklaces, and glow sticks when it got dark (which it did around 4:30). The important thing is we're here, and that's a good thing. Our van did great. I'm so glad we didn't cave and get a suburban last week. I know we'd be regretting it now...or would we? :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 3...Flagstaff, AZ

We made it over half-way, that's a sobering thought. We won't be making this drive anytime soon. It's been fun, and we've made great memories. But, let's just say, McKenna is a horrible traveler. And, that's probably an understatement. She came close to getting a spanking today. She lost one of her travel prizes. She woke Presley up by screaming. She was quarantined to the back seat. She's just not much fun to be around when we're all in the van. Once we got to the hotel, however, she was her sweet, spunky self.
We traveled to Flagstaff today, not too long of a drive, just 5 hours. Tomorrow will be a long one. We got to our hotel, changed into swimsuits and went swimming. The water was warmer this time, so we enjoyed it more. Then we met up with a dear friend, Zoe, for supper. Kevin worked for Zoe at Asbury for a couple of years when we lived in Ky. We had a great time, great food and great conversation. Went back to the hotel for some ice cream and happy feet on Disney. Tomorrow-the Grand Canyon, I can't wait!!!! then on to Pasadena!

All things considered, the girls have done remarkably well. It's been a long 3 days on the road, 9 days of living out of suitcases, we're ready for a place to call home. Only 2 more days to go...

First stop of the morning. It was right next to our hotel, God's little way of showing His love for us. There's another one close to our hotel in Flagstaff
Here are a couple of pix of the continental divide. I was the only model, I guess. Avery was in a mood (it was the only one of the day, but a mood, none the less) and McKenna took a rare 10 minute nap during this time. We didn't get Presley out for fear we might not get her back in her carseat. So, it's just me.

Most of our scenery today looked very similar to the movie Cars. It was crazy how much the view reminded us of that. The pictures we took don't capture the beauty we saw. Here we are, almost to Flagstaff.
Kevin and the girls sharing some ice cream tonight in our room.
Here is Presley, not quite ready for bed. She's been so good for us. She just HATES having to get into that carseat!