Saturday, December 17, 2011

Little House

We got the house. 

Merry Christmas to us!  I go in on Monday to sign the lease and to hand over a big chunk of money as a security deposit.  We will be unpacking the PODS over New Years weekend and the first week of January and moving in the following weekend.   

The little house is five blocks from the enormous Beaverton library. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Updates:  I turned in our application for the little house today.  We will know if we are accepted by Monday.  If yes, we will be moving in the first week in January - most likely over two weekends as I do not have any time off from work.  I ordered Christmas cards last night - who knows if they will get addressed and out before Christmas! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homes and Fingers

Keep your fingers crossed - we may have found a house.  It is small and old
1940's), has only one bathroom (!), but it is close to the kids schools, close to Heather, has a small fenced in backyard and is five blocks away from the library and the farmers market.   It may just work for our little family.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Eat Your Veggies

Max has decided to become a vegetarian.   I see a lot of cheese in his future.

Monday, December 5, 2011

That Time of Year

Oh, it is busy around here.  This week we will be eating breakfast and dinner in the car


There is something on every night - Activity Day Girls, Mid-Singles FHE, Scouts, RS Christmas Dinner, cousins coming into town etc.  Yikes.

I feel like I am still trying to catch up from Thanksgiving . . . or summer really since I have about 100 blog posts to write if this blog is really going to be our little family history.  I'll get to it all - someday.

For now, I am working and I love my job.  It is challenging, there is a lot to learn, but it is interesting and I work with nice people.  It is a HUGE adjustment becoming a single mom who also works full-time.  We rarely get home before 7:00pm.  I could not raise these children without my sisters right now.  Heather gets the kids started on their homework after school and generously welcomes the kids into her home way too early every morning.  Kirstin is still putting up with a houseful of kids and a sister and far too many clogged toilets. My brother Scott helped us get through the months of unemployment as I searched for work here in Oregon.  I am so grateful for family. 

I have much to share, but it will have to wait until I have more than 10 minutes to sit down and type.  We miss you all so much!

All I want for Christmas is a little home of our own.  Please keep us in your prayers as I try to find a little place of our own to rent.  We are anxious to be settled and to cut down on the time we spend int he car.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankgiving Day #18

1.  I am grateful for the temple.  An early morning session on Saturday is a wonderful way to start the day.

2. I am grateful for lazy, rainy afternoons spent on the couch with the fireplace warming the room.

3. I am grateful to Peter for setting up the Wii for the kids.  He is Calvin's new best friend.  The Wii has been stored in a bin since we moved here so it is like Christmas to have it available again.  I see dance battles in our future.

4. I am grateful for a fun evening at the Stake Play.  They put on A Christmas Carol this year with a cast of over 200 people and an orchestra.  I was so impressed with the production and the kids thought it was really cool as well.  My boss had a starring role this year as Tiny Tim's Mother.  I would love to participate sometime with the children.

5. I am grateful for cuddles. 

Thanksgiving Day #17

1. I am grateful for packages in the mail.  Grandma and Grandma Erickson sent a gift card for Calvin (for his birthday) and his brother and sister are trying to negotiate with him on how he should spend his money at Target (I see new Wii games in his future).  Calvin is HUGELY excited.

2. I am grateful for Sunday dresses in the same package.  Sophie wore her new red velvet dress on Sunday with Christmas tights and looked adorable.   I am grateful for Grandparents that are a big part of my children's lives.  They are very lucky little kids.

3. I am grateful for an adult evening out!  A play and a very nice dinner with good company made for a wonderful evening.

4. I am grateful for the weekend.  We have lots of fun plans with friends and family.

5. I am grateful for the rain - instead of snow.  We are all adjusting to wearing raincoats and waterproof shoes at all times!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful Day #16

1. I am thankful for Amber who got the little kids off to school this morning and watched all of them after school.  Also, a big thank you to Amber for bringing 8 gallons of sea water for Max's science fair project back from her trip to the coast today.

2. I am grateful for a fun dinner with Amber, Kirstin, Sophie, Calvin and Phoebe.  The Thai food was excellent and the chocolate shakes and drinking chocolate at Moonstruck were delicious!  

3. I am grateful for safe travels - Mom and Heather and her boys arrived safely in Portland tonight.

4. I am grateful for Ross who took Max to a lecture downtown tonight and then took him to dinner.  Thank you!

5. I am grateful for books (even though I rarely have time to read anymore).  I still love books and am grateful my kids are all readers as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Day #15

1. BED.  I wish I spend more time there.  It is almost midnight and I just sent Max to bed after wrapping up his homework.  His program is TOUGH this year.  Tough but very, very good.

2. I am grateful for safe travel for Amber, Phoebe and Ross who all arrived in Portland late tonight.

3. I am grateful for free lunches provided during "lunch an learns."  I know more than I ever thought I would about dental implants these days.

4. I am grateful for Koo for picking up the kids from school today and grabbing dinner for all of us.  I worked late tonight, getting out about 6:00 and it is such a blessing to know that the kids are in good hands.

5. I am grateful for my health even if Portland, the last few months stress and our busy schedules have conspired to make be soft and squishy once again.  What a horrible time to try and lose weight.  A woman I work with just had a biopsy done on a lump found in her breast.  I remember going through the same procedure a few years ago and how hard it was not to know the results for a week or so. I am so grateful to be healthy and able to take care of myself and my children.

FYI: I am horrible about citing photos.  All of these Thanksgiving shots are products found for sale on

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful Days #13 and #14

1. I am grateful for my day off on Monday.  It gave me the chance to drive the kids to school and pick them all up, spend an hour getting a lovely pedicure, spend some time looking at rental homes and I spent  few hours painting at Heathers.

2.  I am thankful for family coming into town tomorrow for a very quick visit.  My sister in law Amber and her daughter Phoebe are  arriving late tomorrow night..  The kids are super excited too see their cousin!

3. I am grateful for hot cocoa.  My favorite home cocoa right now is Steven's Mint Truffle, but if you are in Portland, you must go to Cacao and order the drinking cocoa.  Divine.

4.  I am grateful Calvin seems to be feeling better.

5. I am grateful for the inexpensive little five week art course I found for Calvin.  He starts tomorrow and it is being taught at his school after classes.  He is thrilled.  Sophie is in a little after school choir once a week and Max is in chess club once a week.

6. I am grateful for kids who prefer Subway over McDonald's.

7. I am thankful for my wonderful parents who have submitted their mission papers and are waiting to receive their call!

8.  I am excited and thankful for the vacation home we are renting near Mount Hood for Thanksgiving weekend.  We have A LOT of family coming into town and I am excited to spend some relaxing time cooking, eating. hiking, napping and playing cards with the family.

9. I am thankful for bananas.  My kids eat them like monkeys - we go through at least 4 per day.  I actually always keep a bunch in the car for quick breakfasts on the way to school.  There is also a bin full of cereal and granola bars, crackers and turkey jerky in the car.  If we are ever stranded, we should be in good shape for a few days.

10.  I am grateful for technology that makes my life a little easier.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful Day #12

1. I am thankful for Sundays.  I love Sundays.  We always sleep in and have a lovely morning until we frantically rush out the door to try to get to 12:00 choir on-time.  Today I prepared a RS lesson but did not have to teach - one more week to prepare!

2. I am grateful for the Bishop's wife who said she could get me five cups of chicken feathers for Max's science fair project and for another kind lady in the ward who has promised me 5 chunks of beeswax from her hives - again for the science fair project.  We have a very nice ward.

3. I am grateful for a little boy who took a dose of cough suppressant and fell asleep tonight without a single cough.  He is snoring away peacefully in my bed right now.  This is a much better scenario than last night when he was coughing continually until past midnight unable to fall asleep and looking at me with those big, sad watery eyes.  He is such a pathetic little boy when he does not feel well.  It melts my heart.

4. I am grateful for easy dinners of scrambled eggs and sausage with whole wheat toast and kiwi.  We eat almost every breakfast in the car these days because of the commute up to school so a hot breakfast (for dinner) is kind of a treat.  I think my kids miss the last two years of big daycare breakfasts.

5. I am grateful for healthy, growing children.  Max has sprouted from a size 12 in June to mostly size 16 clothes today.  I had to buy him all new pants when the cooler weather hit.  Little Sophie-loo finally outgrew her size 6 and 7 jeans (she is almost 10) and several of her dresses.  We have a full box of clothes to send to her little cousin in Iowa.  I am buying her size 10 dresses so she can wear them several seasons.  She also has moved up to a size 3 shoe.  Calvin has graduated to a baggy size 6 (still a peanut as he is 7 years old) and we just gave the last of his size 5 clothes and all of his socks to his cousin Soren.  It is possible that Soren (who is 4) will be the same size as Calvin in a matter of moths - not very convenient for hand-me-downs.  FYI, if you are looking for cute boys socks (stripes and bright colors), the best ones are at H&M.  I love their socks for boys. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful Day #11

1.  I am grateful for service even when I get a little crabby about the whole thing.  We spent the entire day yesterday painting over at Heather's house while she is out of town.  It is starting to look much better - brighter and cleaner as each room is painted.  The kitchen looks great and Ollie's room just needs the trim painted.  I am calling the color in his room "electric celery".  The crabby part came in when I realized we were not going to get outside before dark and I still had to run to four different stores for Max's science fair project.  Good-bye Saturday.

2. I am grateful for Heather's cute neighbor who invited Calvin and Sophie to their first Oregon birthday party.  They had a great time and felt very included which is so important.

3. I am grateful for the relatively mild weather.  It rained all afternoon, but we are still just wearing fleece jackets or raincoats and I have not had to break out the gloves or hats yet.  Very few people use umbrellas here - they are all just used to the rain I suppose.

4. I am grateful for infuriating kids.  Max decided to try locking all of the interior doors at Heather's house yesterday - because he is eleven and a boy.  He was extremely pleased that he could unlock the doors with a bobby pin or screwdriver.  It was extremely annoying to find the door locked when we needed to get into the bathroom to wash paint stained hands or back into Ollie's room etc. By the end of the afternoon, Max was in the doghouse because he would NOT STOP. 

When we finally got home, way past bedtime, Koo had already been home and left for a party.  Once all of the kids were finally in bed, Max came down to sheepishly let me know he had locked Koo's bedroom door and could not get it unlocked.  On one hand, I was angry as he had been told to STOP LOCKING ALL THE DOORS - on the other hand, I had a hard time not laughing as I text-ed Koo.  "Bad news.  Max locked your bedroom.  Can't unlock it."

A couple of google searches, a few You Tube videos and threats of retaliation over the phone from Auntie Koo and Max finally got her door open - 10 minutes before Koo got home.  Phew.

5.  I am grateful for drive-ins with the kids.  As we were driving around last night looking for all of the items on Max's science fair list, we saw a Sonic and pulled in for dinner in the car.  It was our first experience with Sonic and I doubt we will be back.  The food was gag inducing-ly bad.  Horrid.  Disgusting.  I will say the pumpkin pie milkshake was quite tasty but it cannot erase the memory of that food! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful Days #9 and #10

1. I am grateful for the weekend.  It was a long week for everyone and we need some quiet time together.

2. I am grateful for the Veterans - those in my family and those in my family of friends.  Thank you.

3. I am grateful for things that are making me laugh at work.  This last week I found a digital file for a patients dog.  Yes,a DOG.  The dog had never been seen as a dental patient, but was linked as family member on a patients account.  It was funny to deactivate a file and list the reason as "canine".

4. I am grateful for safe kids.  Max had to babysit a lot this week as the kids had a couple of days off from school.  It made my stomach hurt to not be home with the kids on their vacation days (Heather is in Utah), but being both a working Mom and a single parent requires sacrifices from all of us.  They did a lot of reading and playing on the computer and ipad and I left a stack of Redbox movies to help pass the time.  Absolute biggest downside about working outside the home?  Missing my kids.

5. I am grateful for my smart phone.  I am not sure how I ever lived without it.  I'm not sure I could name my favorite feature: the camera, the GPS, ability to check email or find the closest Thai Restaurant with great reviews, the Gas App that shows me the cheapest gas station closest to my current location, all of the amazing kids educational Apps . . . . I love my phone.

6. I am grateful for the gorgeous red leaves that fall on my car every night.  The colors are still really beautiful here.

7. I am grateful for my commute home.  I usually use the time to pop in my headphones and catch up with a friend while I drive.  I love my friends.  On the drive to work in the morning I listen to NPR and apply make-up at the stop lights (Mom, you did not hear that).

8. I am grateful for the last book in the Eragon series (Inheritance).  Both Max and Sophie jumped for joy when I brought all 850 pages home from Costco.  That will keep them busy for a day or two.

9.  I am grateful for free episodes of Modern Family on Hulu.  It is the only way I see any TV these days which is OK.

10. I am grateful for free upgrades at Jamba Juice on Thursdays.  Yum! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful Day #8

1.  I spent a huge portion of my day today in the car.  I am grateful my so-not-cool but functional minivan is plugging along.  The bumper is trying really hard to fall off right now, but we are holding it together with duct tape and prayers.  I am grateful to not have a car payment and will drive this car until the engine falls out.

2.  I am grateful the Halloween candy is almost gone (and that I now work for a dentist).  I've had a sugar headache for a week and ate a bad peanut today in a package of Peanut M&Ms.  I may be scarred for life - it was that nasty.

3. I am grateful for the daylight as I commute to work in the mornings.  It just feels wrong to leave the house in the dark.

4. I am grateful for Mid-Singles FHE.  It is a whole new ballgame being a divorced mom in a new place (a story for another day) however, we have met some great people out here who we enjoying seeing at different events.  It is nice to have the chance to talk with other single moms and dads.   The kids love playing dodge-ball after the lesson.  Max is surprisingly good.  Sophie is the loudest screamer. 

5.  I am thankful for family gathering for Thanksgiving this year.  Amber and Phoebe are coming in for a short visit next week, Mom and Dad, Scott and Carmen, Matt and Erin and some of our Seattle relatives are coming into town the following week.  I cannot wait to see everyone! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful Day #7 (but the first one for me)

For the past few years, I have tried to write five things I am grateful for every day during the month of November.  I'm off to a rocky start this year (read, no start at all), but I believe it is a valuable reminder of all that I have and so I am going to start today.

1. I am grateful for my new job.  I am the Office Manager for a small dental practice.  The people are lovely and the job is challenging as there is no one to train me on the dental software and I have no previous experience with dental coding.  It is a challenge, but I love a good challenge and I am just so grateful to be employed!

2. I am grateful (SO grateful) for my sister Heather who is watching my children before and after school.  They are safe and cared for and they love hanging out with their cousins every day.  I am so grateful to not have to worry about them while I am at work.

3. I am grateful for three little kids who are rolling with the punches.  Two days a week I start work at about 6:45am which means we have to be out the door, ready for school at 5:45ish in order for me to drop them off at Heather's and get across town to work.  It is early, but they are doing great.  We are starting the process of trying to find a rental home closer to Heather's so our mornings do not have to start quite so early!

4. I am grateful for the fall colors.  The leaves are beautiful right now and a surprising number are still on the trees.  It is my favorite season.

5. I am grateful for Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate when I am crampy, grumpy and need something warm and soothing in my belly post haste.  No one ever tell me how many calories are in one of those things.  Thanks. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Orange Cream Cheese Icing

She lives!  She also has a job, but I will get to that soon.  I start on Friday and am both excited and nervous about the whole thing.  We are actively looking for a small place to rent as I will now have four 25-30 minute commutes every day.  Yikes.

Instead of going back, I am just sharing a recipe today.  I tried something new for a Relief Society Enrichment and they were just too good and too cute not to share.  I found the recipe over on Smitten Kitchen (love that blog) and just changed the frosting recipe a bit.

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple–Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from David Leite
Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
*I added the zest of one orange and a teaspoon of vanilla.  I also used a whole bunch more sugar - maybe another cup and a half?

Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
3. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.
Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy.


These are delightful.  The cake flour makes such a light crumb and the buttermilk and black pepper are the perfect contrast to the sweet icing.  Make some.
P.S. I found the cute mini liners at TJ Maxx.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Berries and Missing Kids

Blackberry bushes in Oregon are considered weeds.  They are everywhere - literally everywhere.  We walk to the park, we pick blackberries.  We go to the tennis courts (we are teaching ourselves how to play), we pick blackberries.  We visit some one's house, we pick their blackberries.  I think it gives us away as newbies to the Oregon area that we are all still so delighted when we see a blackberry bush full of berries just waiting to be eaten.   I have not done much baking since arriving here, but I have managed to make a blackberry coffee cake and some blackberry smoothies for Max and Sophie.

Speaking of Sophie, we lost her this week. 

The kids get off the school bus a street up from Heather's house.  Max gets home first and then Sophie and Calvin arrive about 15-20 minutes later.  I usually spend the day at the library sending off resumes while the kids are at school and on Tuesday I arrived at Heather's house after Max was home.   As I pulled up, he was walking down the street with his cousin Soren to meet the bus and pick up Sophie and Calvin.  I said hi and then proceeded to chat with Heather in her yard while we waited for the kids to get back.  A few minutes later Calvin returned, then Soren and Max . . . but no Sophie.  I stopped Max in the street and asked him where his sister was and my question was met with a blank stare.

Max: "Oh . . .  I don't know where she is."
Mom: "Did she get off the bus?!"
Max: ***ponders***
Max:  "I don't know."

!!!!  Max had no idea if his sister got off the bus and what is more, it did not seem to concern him that he was sent to the bus stop to pick up two kids and ONLY RETURNED WITH ONE!

After running to the end of the street searching for Sophie (no luck), running home and finding Calvin who said quite definitely that Sophie did not get off the bus but that he was pretty sure she was actually on the bus, and a frantic phone call over to the school, we found Sophie.  She had been reading on the bus, missed her stop and did not notice until the bus reached it's final stop and the bus driver asked her if she was getting off.  She promptly burst into tears and told him she had missed her stop.  Luckily she remembered the name of the main street and the driver drove her back to the bus stop.  Phew.  Child found. 

Max received a bit of a lecture on paying attention after that little scene.  He has been removed from meet the school bus duties for the time being!

Monday, September 12, 2011

On The Road

Months ago, we drove across the United States from Minnesota into Idaho, down to Utah and finally up to Oregon.  Here are a few things I remember about this trip.

1. I love a good road trip
2. This particular road trip was a little scary only because we were taking a road trip to start a new life and leaving behind so many friends
3. It is rather nice to caravan and switch drivers (my parents drove out with us to help us make the move)
4. My car was so full of everything we might need for the months we would be living with my sister that there was only room for one passenger in the back seat.  Every other surface was packed full including the passenger seat in the front
5.  We live in a beautiful country
6. Our country was flooding - everywhere
7. The snow was higher than the car in the mountains of Wyoming - at the end of June
8.  Snacks, caffeine and good music are essential to a happy road trip
9. I prefer to get off the interstate and take the back roads and explore
10. My kids love hotels with pools and hotel breakfasts
11.  You will gain weight on a road trip
12.  We had an amazing drive through Yellowstone.  See if you can find bison, a wolf, a brown bear and a moose in these photos
13. It feels really good to finally get out of the car and get back to some sort of a routine

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blogger Issues


Only a few short weeks of summer remain before the kids start school.  I am putting them in the schools next to my sister Heather (25 minutes North of Kirstin) as Heather is going to help me with before/after school care for my peanuts once I have a job.  The commute is going to require some really early mornings for all of us.  Sophie and Calvin start school at 8:30 and if Max gets into the program he is testing for tomorrow, he will start school at 7:30!!  This means leaving here at about 6:45ish to get him to school on time, drop off the other two at Heather's where they can catch the bus to school and get to my not yet real job.

These photos are from  our move and now that we have been living for two months with only what fit inside the minivan, I wonder why we ever needed all the stuff inside those two PODS?!  They are somewhere here in Portland being stored in a storage facility, waiting for us to have a home of our own.

I miss you friends!  These photos make me  a bit sad.


Do You Pin?

Do you pin? I am addicted. It's like virtual shopping but with organization and gorgeous photos. I pin ideas I want to remember, things that make me laugh, tutorials I want to be able to find, clothing I will never afford or fit into and recipes I want to make. There are things I want to own someday (kitchen gadgets) mingled with ridiculous (but lovely) purses that cost a mortgage payment and I would be afraid to own. So much inspiration and all stored neatly on-line.

What are you pinning?
Go here to see my pins.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Day of School/Daycare Party!

Good thing I am finally posting these photos of the last day of school considering the first day of school is in a few weeks! Look at those happy faces up there - in Calvin's defense, it was freezing!

The kids each brought friends home from school and more friends from church stopped by for our traditional last day of school party. This year it was also my last day of daycare party AND my let's pack the first POD tonight party all in one! We usually call this event "welcome to summer" but it was a bit chilly though the kids were too excited to care by the time they got home from school.

Root beer floats, all sorts of sweet treats, bubbles, water balloons and silly string. So fun!

The party was a lot of fun and also very bittersweet for it was the last time we saw most of these wonderful friends. There were a lot of hugs and many tears. The party was on Thursday from 4-6, we loaded the first POD from 6-8, the second POD was loaded Saturday morning and by about 1:00 on Saturday, we were on the road to Oregon. Sniff.