Friday, September 02, 2016

Mom's Granola and Nikki's variation of Mom's Granola (and it's gluten free)

Mom's Granola
This is how my mom's original recipe reads in her published recipe book.  I've loved this recipe since I was a child.

Makes about 7 1/4 cups cereal.
Preparation time:  7 minutes
Baking time:  40 minutes

4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar (dissolved in melted butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (high-altitude 350 degrees).
2.  Mix, oats, wheat germ, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
3.  In a small saucepan, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, metl butter with salt and brown sugar, until sugar dissolves.  Add vanilla to dissoled sugar mixture; pour over mixture and stir until well coated.
4.  Lightly grease 9-by-13-inch and spread mixture in pan.
5.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until mixture begins to turn golden.
6.  Cool completely; store in an air-tight container.
7.  Serve cold with milk.

VARIATIONS:  (1) Substitute vegetable oil for butter; and honey for sugar.  (2) Omit any ingredient you dislike (with the exception of the oats!).

TIP:  If you like raisins, currants, or chopped dates, stir 1/2 cup to 1 cup of one or more after baking so they won't dry out.

These are the ingredients and amounts we use for really yummy gluten-free granola-- and we usually quadruple it.

Nikki's variation of Mom's Granola

4 1/2 cups GF rolled oats
2/3 - 3/4 cup ground flax (instead of wheat germ)
1 cup chopped raw almonds and sometimes chopped walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, or cashews
1/2 cup flaked coconut
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup (1 cube) real butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar or raw honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of raisins (added after baking)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (high-altitude 350 degrees).
2.  Mix, oats, wheat germ, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
3.  In a small saucepan, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, metl butter with salt and brown sugar, until sugar dissolves.  Add vanilla to dissoled sugar mixture; pour over mixture and stir until well coated.
4.  Lightly grease 9-by-13-inch and spread mixture in pan.
5.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until mixture begins to turn golden.
6.  Cool completely; add raisins and store in an air-tight container.
7.  Serve cold with milk.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Behold, our anniversary celebration by numbers.

I have given my husband exactly ONE haircut ever and one day I'll tell you about it.  But today is not that day.

I knew I loved him for TWO years before I told him.

THREE days after we were engaged we had our first kiss.  

We were engaged FOUR months.

We have owned FIVE vehicles.

We were married SIX months when we took our second honeymoon thanks to a job interview.

Our (first) honeymoon lasted SEVEN days.

We have EIGHT kids.

I had NINE bridesmaids at my wedding reception-- his 6 sisters and my 3 sisters (and 2 maids of honor).  

We have been on maybe TEN dates alone since having children.

I have had ELEVEN pregnancies.

I told him shortly after we were engaged that I want TWELVE kids and he was okay with that.

We have lived in THIRTEEN different houses.

The average age of our babies was FOURTEEN months when we found out we were expecting the next.

The first fridge we bought was FIFTEEN years old when we bought it.  (We didn't know that at the time.)

I was SIXTEEN weeks pregnant with our last baby when he first deployed.

I was SEVENTEEN years old when I first met him.

Danny gave my dad EIGHTEEN cows for my hand in marriage.  

Happy 18th Anniversary to my sweetheart Danny!  I love you more and more every year we spend together.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The 2nd tire and a Pokemon GO! birthday party

Wednesday (the day after we got to Grandma and Papa's house) we contacted the Les Schwab in town and told them about our first tire and how the shaking started again with the van after it was replaced.  Upon inspection they discovered the rear left tire was bulging and about to blow out and said we were VERY fortunate to notice the shaking and have it seen before it did.  

So before we could head to a totally awesome Pokemon birthday party for my nephew, we hung out in the Les Schwab lobby while they put a new tire on it.

The good people at Les Schwab checked the remaining two tires (that weren't purchased from them) and said they looked fine but it's possible we had a bad batch of tires and they could have the same problems.

Then we ventured on to my nephew's birthday party where my creative sister put together an amazing Pokemon bash with more than 25 kids, a handful of rare live Pokemon running through the neighborhood (in colorful leggings) and kids chasing them down with a giant pokeball.

It was so much fun that the van troubles faded away.

A very rare Pokemon card ;)
Cute birthday nephew as Ash Ketchum
Cute niece as Pikachu 

For a YouTube video from the party, you can click this link. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

The first tire and a possessed rest stop toilet

A week ago today we left on our vacation.
(Hammy was trying to sleep so time would pass quickly to get to Grandma and Papa's faster.)

The van started shaking about 30 minutes from home.

We called the company that did our brakes three days prior and asked if they thought it was brake related.  

After asking several questions, they determined it to be a bad tire and asked us to look at it and see if it was visibly uneven.  

Their shop was closing right then but they invited us to come back in the morning and they'd take a look.  He also said we could switch out the tire for the spare, drive to Utah, and get a new one there.

We stopped at the Oriental marketplace half an hour later to pick up a few important things for our trip like seaweed, rice crackers, dried ice cream, and kimchi for Papa.

Danny got out while I shopped and checked out the tire.  It was definitely bulging.   He was able to locate a little tire place that was just about to close. They promised to wait for us to get there.

The tire shop guys watched in amazement, their eyes getting bigger, as I unloaded the kids from the van.  

They replaced the tire saying it would've blown out at any moment and we were really lucky to notice the shaking in time.

We loaded up the kids and continued on our trip.  

***The remaining post may cause unsettling feelings and disturbing images in your head.  Proceed with caution.***

The van started shaking again around 2 a.m.  It wasn't as bad as before and we half-wished it was just wind or the bumpy road causing it.

We finally stopped at a rest stop to use the bathroom.   I noticed a dozen mature termites on the floor of the rest stop bathroom as I walked in and dead flies around the toilet.  {{icky shiver}}

I was SO thankful to see there were toilet seat covers available.

While doing my business, the toilet automatically flushed grabbing my toilet seat cover.  Fearing I'd get splattered with the toilet water, and not thinking things through, I stood up a little mid-stream.

The toilet continued to flush and in the process, apparently, I peed my britches.

So I removed my undergarments and tried to exit the stall. 

No.  such.  luck.  I was locked in.  The toilet eerily continued to flush over and over again.  

I smacked the door.  The toilet flushed.  I yelled out for help.  The toilet flushed.

I recalled every vampire flick I'd ever seen and found myself wondering if rest stops were an ideal hunting place.

Finally, with a desperate plea in my heart, I got the stall door to let me out and I bolted out of there commando.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

What I've learned potty training 8 kids

One of my dearest friends is potty training her son and frustrated because, well, potty training is hard and he's not on board with this game.  

People ask me all the time about potty training because I have eight kids.  I don't blame them.  I asked moms of many for their advice when I went through it with my oldest.  


What I've learned is:  

•  Every child is different.  Do not compare-- not even twins.
•  Don't pressure or punish.  Just praise praise praise.
•  Listen to your instincts.  If you think something is wrong, consult your doctor.

And these concerned parents inevitably ask me how old my kids were and how long it took them.  

Did you read my advice?  It really depends on the child.  It really does.  

But still out of curiosity they want to know how long.  So I tell them this:

1-  took 1 1/2 years -- on the autism spectrum (but didn't know it at the time)-- started training at 2 years 

2- 10 days -- didn't start training until 3 years 2 months because she walked late and was too tiny to make it up the stairs fast enough

3- 1 1/2 years -- started too young (at 2) because I mistook his agreeable attitude for readiness.

4- 1 1/2 years -- anxiety issues started at 2 years 2 months and was pregnant with twins and then had them early which complicated things 

5- 7 days -- started training at 3 years 4 months -- I put it off because I didn't want to train twins.  But then it worked out great!

6- 10 days -- started training at 3 years 4 months -- ^^ his twin 

7- still working on it 😱-- has medical issues -- I also mistook her agreeable demeanor for readiness and tried to train her younger than 3.  (She's now 5 years 9 months.)

8- 5 months-- we waited until 3 1/2 years because we kept hoping older sister would "get it" and because she has some sensory processing issues -- and she is about 90% done with training and needs reminders to go before bed.

So now you know.  Lots of praise and lots of prayers will get you through.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Peach picks out perfect peaches

This little Peach is very glad our peaches are finally ripe.  I let her go out everyday and gather the peaches on the ground.  We cut off any spots that aren't good and eat the rest.  Most don't even have bad spots.

I'm pretty sure she waited for this one to fall or picked it off the tree herself. 

She ate 3 maybe 4 this size today.  I'm so grateful for fruit trees!

Friday, July 29, 2016

When your guardian angel meets an untimely death...

One of my dearest friends gave me this angel before she left North Dakota like a decade ago.  I don't know exactly how my kids knocked it off the quilt rack, but they did and it resulted in the beheading of this beloved angel.

Not 5 minutes later I had to use the bathroom and found a toilet paper tube in my toilet with urine in there too.
I briefly considered flushing it and then had visions of an overflowing toilet and plumber bills to accompany it.  So I gathered up my courage and fished it out with the handle of the plunger.   

I wanted lots of kids.  I got lots of them.  I had no idea NO STINKING IDEA the struggle they would put my momma heart through every single day, how they would be instrumental in moulding me into the woman and mother God knows I can be.

I'm grateful for them and love them more than my own self.  I'm grateful for the times of quiet reflection I have to think through the day's events and refine my actions for the future and pray and beg for serenity.

But you can be sure I'm going to visit them in my old age and say stuff about their cooking and maybe give their kids naughty ideas to avenge me.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Playing House

When I was in elementary school, my favorite thing to play at recess was house.  

Sure I enjoyed swinging, monkey bars, tag, jumprope, and hula hooping; but my all time favorite was playing house.  

I had known since I was 5 that I wanted to be a mom.

Today baking homemade bread and drying laundry on the clothesline took me right back to elementary school. 

I realized I'm living that dream I always wanted.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Stuffed mushrooms to die for!

This recipe makes a TON of filling.  It overfills all the mushroom caps and then I feed the remaining filling to my kids that don't like mushrooms.  They don't know there are mushroom stems in it.  ;)

1 lb. mushrooms 
1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage (I use the natural one without msg)
8 oz. full-fat cream cheese 
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning 
Handful of shredded mozzarella optional 

Wipe dirt off mushrooms with paper towel.  (Do not rinse mushrooms.)

Pop the stems out of the mushrooms and chop (the stems) finely.  Set aside the mushroom caps on a baking sheet.  

Sauté mushroom stems, sausage, and Italian seasoning until sausage is no longer pink.

Turn off heat and stir in 8 oz. cream cheese until melted.  Stir in mozzarella cheese if you're adding it.

Stuff mushroom caps with filling.  And then add more.  Basically add as much as you can to the top without the mushrooms falling over.
The higher you stack the filling, the better!
Ready to go in!

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!  Try to share.  Sharing is nice.  

For those of you without 8 kids to share the remaining filling with, I recommend these amounts:

1 lb. mushrooms 
1/2 lb. pork sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
4 oz. full-fat cream cheese 
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning 
2 oz. shredded mozzarella is optional-- 

I made it for years without mozzarella and we loved it.  
I typically only use it if I have it on hand.

Hope you like it!


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