Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weed Violation

This summer my main squeeze, Sandy, and I purchased a new house.  This particular house came with a 38 page rule book, formerly known as the CC&R's.  I perused it quickly, noting that the only permissible fencing is white vinyl fencing- aka stupidest, least useable fence ever.  The makers of vinyl fences obviously don't have children.  Didn't anyone tell them fences are like trees, they are made for climbing.


Anyhoo, our new neighborhood has a lovely little HOA that we get to send our year dues to.  They even have fancy smancy meetings at the library.  My hubby couldn't wait to attend our first meeting....I, however, wanted to know if we could get the three bullet point version.  Recognizing that my humor can be lost on my man, I decided to attend my first HOA meeting.  Here's a few tidbits I learned:

1.  Weed Violation.  For a girl born to teenage parents, a weed violation can be easily misinterpreted.  Apparently my neighbors are not, in fact, growing weed.  They apparently grow weeds, and our HOA sends the police to give a friendly warning that lawn maintenance is a non negotiable.

2.  Quorums.....?  After an engaging meeting that required NO VOTING, one intense man wanted to know if we had enough homeowners for a quorum.   Fancy I tell you.  For  the next ten minutes, we listened to various individuals argue about having a quorum to vote on a proxy about NOTHING.

3.  Sprinklers......apparently they are offensive to evening walkers.

4.  Asphalt, also very offensive.

5.  I too can run for president.   I'll be working on my slogan. 

All in all, I loved the HOA meeting.  Poor Sandy had to give me "angry eyebrows" a time or two.  I couldn't help but occasionally giggle.  I think it's possible, maybe even probable, that I am not old enough or refined enough to live in my hood.

Till we meet again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's For Dinner

   We are two, count em', two days into the school year; it feels like two months.  Every school year our family starts strong- pencils sharpened, bags ready to go, shoes in the shoe box, clothes clean, dinner hot and ready on the table, you get the picture.  Slowly after a few months we start the crazy cycle- socks are dirty, no one can find their shoes, everyone left the freezer packs, for lunch, at school, dinner is, well, not up to par.

     The thing is, we run well on structure, but it is so much stinking work to keep the engine running smooth.  Secondly, my hubby's love tank is filled by a home cooked meal.  This year I decided to create monthly meal plans; that way I only have to plan one day a month and then I can brainlessly follow the plan the rest of the month.  I like a titch of brainlessness here and there.  I decided if I shared our meal planning online, it could help you, and I can pull it up again next September- win win.

   To start the monthly meal plan I set some guidelines:  two standard easy meals a week, one meal that is soup or stew based, a pasta night, a chicken night, & two beef or pork nights.

Week 1

1.  Taco bar
2.  Homemade Chili, Rhodes dinner rolls & salad (Betty Crocker)
3.  Lasagna & salad (make two, freeze one)
4.  Honey Plum Chicken, salad & rice (Pioneer Woman)
5.  Steakhouse pizza (PW)
6.  Pasta with pesto cream sauce & chicken (PW)
7.  Spicy pulled pork sandwiches (PW)

Week 2
1.  Taco bar & Spanish rice
2.  Baked potato & bacon soup
3.  Rigatoni & Meatballs (PW)
4.  Chicken Enchiladas & salad
5.  Homemade Pizza (Betty Crocker- so easy & quick)
6.  BBQ Chicken & Pineapple quesadillas (PW)
7.  Shrimp Summer Stir Fry (PW)

Week 3

1.  Taco Bar
2.  Beef Stew, homemade bread & salad (double your batch of beef stew, freeze half and use next week in Shepherds Pie)
3.  Fancy Mac & Cheese (PW)
4.  Pizza
5.  Quesadillas de Carmone (PW)
6.  Tri-tip, 2x's baked potato, roasted green beans (Morton's preseasoned tri-tip at Costco)
7.  Roast Chicken, mashed potatoes & peas (buy hot & ready from Costco)

Week 4
1.  Taco Bar
2.  Homemade Chili, rolls & salad
3.  Pull your extra lasagna out of the freezer
4.  Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice (PW), salad
5.  Pizza
6.  Shepherds Pie with the frozen beef stew
7.  Mongolian Roast Beef (Betty Crocker)

Not the most gourmet of menus, but family friendly, with the added bonus on not having to figure out what's for dinner every night.  Most of my meals come from an old Betty Crocker cookbook or the new Pioneer Woman cookbook.  My littlest, Gracie, and I are cooking our way through the "Pioneer Woman Cookbook".  For "Pioneer Woman" recipes go to,  If you would like a grocery list, let me know.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

You've got to be Kidding!

   Today was Sandy's 39th birthday. Holy cow, we are getting old; we are actually adults with children- even teenage children.  I remember being a teenage kid; I'm not quite sure I'm responsible enough to have a teenage kid.  I still like to car dance and all.

    On that note, I've taken to using night cream- you know the thick kind that is suppose to tighten everything and make you look eighteen again.  Now, I never want to be eighteen again- that was sheer terror; I would just like my skin to stay nice and tight.  If the "night cream" works, I plan to buy a vat and swim in it- I figure that it'll be simpler than dieting.

    Sandy's birthday has me pondering both of our childhoods. Do you ever ponder you childhood?  Reflect back, on a memory and think what in the heck were my parents thinking?!? Even more terrifying, do you ever think back and wonder what your own children are going to remember about their childhood.  (Yeah, that definitely terrifies me.)  

    For fun tonight, I thought I'd share seven things from childhood that have left me wondering....what in the world?!?

     1.  Candy cigarettes-  A reward for a job well done. 

     2.  Family night watching "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween".

     3.  Singing robustly, "99 bottles of Beer on the Wall".

     4.  Riding in the back of my grandparents El Comino- on the FREEWAY.  Terrifying.

     5.  My sister and I being chased by a huge red cow; while my grandpa shouts, "Stand still".  Ummm.....

     6.  The "Joy Bus"-  strangers in a colorful old school bus will pick-up your children and bring them back in a few hours???? 

     7.  The mullet for girls....

    My kids' list will probably look a little different.  My guess is something like this:

     1.  I was twelve before my mom let me cross the street alone.

     2.  I was the only sixth grader at the beach that still had to wear a life jacket.

     3.   My mom played Cher really loud and danced in the car on the way to school.

     4.  Home haircuts.

     5.  No white bread- "the whiter the bread, the sooner your dead".

     6.  Chinese fire drills.

     7.  Safety Nut-  Stranger Danger, no latex balloons, etc..

    No matter the generation, I think our family will always keep the psychiatrists well paid. :)





Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parenting Gig

     So, for the last 16 and a half years I've had this parenting gig.  We started small and soon tripled our numbers.  What I wasn't prepared for, well besides the pooh, was the hilariousness and the humbling nature of it all.

    I started well; doing my best to nurture, teach, equip, show compassion, and provide opportunities for my children.  One day I woke up and realized somewhere along the lines I had failed miserably.

First case in point:
Beautiful girl ready for her first day of work.

(On a side note, I think all Dariy Queen managers should be given six figure salaries, a porshe, and a puppy for the patience, love & opportunity they provide for our kids.)

Noelle's job Day 1

     Shannon:  How was your first day?

     Noelle:  Terribly hard.  Seriously.  Making ice cream is hard.

     Shannon:  Humm..What's hard about making ice cream?

    Noelle:   I was learning to make a blizard and they tell you to watch out so you don't catch your finger in the mixer.  They also told me that it is extremely rare for someone to catch their finger on the mixer. 

   Shannon:  Did you catch your finger?

   Noelle: hurts.  Bad.

Second case in point:

     Recently my son got to go to  camp. Upon arriving home, he declared that camp was AWESOME.  I gave myself a mental high five, for investing in his spiritual growth and relationship building skills. 

    Things were all well and good until a few days later when a friend mentioned that the boys were mischievous at camp.  Well...that's normal right?  Right?

    Of course I decide I must pursue exactly what "mischievous" means, so I had myself a little talk with the boy.  You know the "talk".  Here's a snippet:

    Shannon:  "Son, let's talk about camp."

    Christian:  "It was great."  "Can I play your Ipad?"  "Can Colton spend the night?"

    Shannon:  "What did you do at camp that was mischievous?"

    Christian:  "Ummm...the guys in my cabin?"

     Shannon:  Yes.

     Christian: "Well, mom.  Just hear me out.  It was funny."

     Shannon:  "Explain.'  "Trust me, you should not leave any details out."

     Christian:  "Well, the guys and I went to chapel and learned about Jesus being whipped, so that gave us an idea."

    Shannon:  (Internal dread begins here) "Go on."

    Christian:  "Well, we thought, if we link all our camp bracelets together we can make a whip. Then, we can whip each other."

   Shannon:  "Seriously?"

   Christian:  "Yeah, and then we formed a club and to join it you had to be whipped."  "It was fun."  "The club was totally voluntary."  "I got whipped the hardest."  'It was so cool." 

   Shannon:  "Christian, let me understand this.  You went to chapel, learned about the Lord being whipped; then thought to yourself, lets make whips and whip ourselves?"  "Then you and your friends invited others to join a club and took turns whipping each other with your camp bracelets?"

   Christian:  "Yeah, it was so awesome."

   See this proves it.  We have failed miserably. Miserably.

   On  the upside, I was talking to a ninety year old gentleman in our community who, for the first time ever, thinks he needs to find someone to shovel his driveway this winter.  I'm thinking I know just the boy who would love to do it, for free, all stinking winter long. 

Blessings to you and yours. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gettin' on my Little House on the Prairie

Now that we've moved to the prairie (Target, I miss your easily accessible goodness), I've been getting on my Laura Ingalls Wilder.  


Last week Grace and I whipped up 4 containers of raspberry freezer jam.  Easiest thing ever.

Raspberry jam
1 2/3 cups crushed berries
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP pectin
1 TBSP lemon juice

Stir ingredients together for 3 minutes.  Pour into freezer safe containers.  Let sit on your counter 30 minutes before storing in the freezer.  Delish.

Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe

Well, when you give a mom, who likes Laura Ingalls, a jam recipe; she's sure to make some ice cream to stir it in.

Raspberry Ice Cream

2 cups of half and half
1 cup of milk
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup of raspberry jam

Whisk ingredients together.  Pour in Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and let mix for 30 minutes.  Enjoy the luscious goodness- your husband is sure to stand up and call you blessed.

Till next time.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Little House on the Prairie

(Disclaimer:  This post contains photo overload; feel free to click out anytime.  My grandma wants pictures of the new house so I gotta provide them.)
We are finally in our new house.  It's not the house we anticipate buying, but it's the perfect fit for us.
The yard is huge.  Sandy, the handsome stud I'm married to, humored me and planted 9 trees, 21 arborvitaes,  3 roses bushes, 3 hydrangeas, 3 English laurels, and 3 box woods. All in the last two weeks!  Yea, I'm beginning to think I might be a titch spoiled. 


That man of mine is amazing.  He did not complain one bit, and actually thanked me for being a good wife because I fed him and brought him water with lemon.  Seriously, if I ever complain about him smack me on the side of the head.  Hard.

I wasn't sure I liked the open concept feel of the house.  The formal living opens to the kitchen. We were think about closing off the wall and extending the kitchen cabinets, but I ended up liking the family interaction and views, so we are keeping it as is.  Ya know, so we can buy more trees.

This boy of mine followed me around flexing the whole time I took pic's.  Apparently I was invited to the gun show.  Boys!
Grace would like everyone to know she's a "firework".  Direct quote here folks.  Keep it on the down low that we occasionally blast a little Katie Perry.
Back to business.  The family room.

Guest bathroom.  I feel all grown-up now.

Kid's bathroom.  And all of our friends sighed in relief, realizing they no longer need to use the kids bathroom when they come to visit.  I bet they will miss the wild eyed look of fear that crosses my face when a guest asks if they can use the bathroom. 

Bland baby, bland.  Shannon needs to hop on over to World Market and gussey the place up.

Christian's room.  He likes things simple.  He won't even use a headboard.  Don't worry I will have him tested for decorating paralysis.

This is the before pic of Gracie's room.  I wouldn't want anyone to think we actually keep this joint as clean as we portray.
Fake and clean.  You should try it.
Grace thought it was very important that everyone got to take a look at her "fun girl's doll house".  On a fun note, the other day Grace was playing Barbie's and brought me a special Barbie to take a look at.  She is certain I look like a Barbie.  I think the big kids must be coaching her on ways to receive higher quality gifts.

Noelle's Room. 


Master Bedroom. 


Hey mom! Hey mom!  Take my picture!

Future family room. 

I think the prisoners may have been held here.  When we bought the house the egress windows had grates bolted to the house, and the door downstairs had a lock.  So if you went downstairs there was no way out.  Weird.....
See you next time!  Love you gma!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Adventures in Moving

     The moving journey continues...

    Sandy and I journeyed out to what we were sure was our dream home- with a little remodel sprinkled in for fun. The drive out to the property was a lovely winding road in the middle of the woods.  The road fairly shouted adventure and fun.  We rounded a corner and pulled up to our little gem.  I noticed the house had a pond about 50 paces from the front door. Interesting...

    I decided to "survey" the property.  I needed to scout out where this lagoon was.  Interesting thing was I couldn't find it.  As I moseyed (yes moseyed, everything is more fun when you buy a farm) I thought to myself, surely that cute pond couldn't be the  SEWAGE lagoon.  About that time my daughter and her friend dash out of the house screaming their fool heads off. (To this day, I am not sure why.)  My daughter loudly announces she is going to stay in the car and she will not be moving into THAT house.

   At this point I looking questioningly at our realtor and ask, "where, indeed, is the lagoon?  He nods his head toward my pond and says I think that's it right there.  This is the point, I should have given up, hopped in my cozy car and headed for home.  Not being one who gives up easily, I decided to tour the house.  My poor husband followed me, listened to my plan to renovate, and then calmly said, "honey, we are never buying this house".

  Feeling discouraged we decide to head home.  Our realtor mentioned he had two more houses that were nice, but not practical as farms.  We decided to throw caution to the wind and follow him to the houses. 

    We found ourselves winding around the lake, up a tall hill, around a few corners, and pulled into a driveway of a lovely house.  Instantly I was smitten.  The house was lovely.  The layout family friendly, the master suite private, the farm land...well not there.  In fact, the backyard is more like the side of a mountain.  Nary a spot for a garden let alone a chicken coop.  So I did what any sane woman looking for a farmhouse does.  I looked up at that handsome man of mine, batted my eyelashes, and smiled.  He smiled back, and said we will talk about it.

  Long story short, he decided we had found the next house for our family, and we could make an offer.  The adventure begins....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chaos and Mayhem, Moving and Whatnot

     Hello blog friends, okay who am I kidding.  Hello Grandma!  It's been forever since I've blogged, well, because life has been busy.  So today's post will be a little family update.

      We'll start with the boys.  Sandy, that handsome hard working man is still as handsome as ever.  He is still self employed.  Have I mentioned that self employment is heavenly?  Now there's that minor detail of finances, but really who cares.  I love that he is home on all my days off; even if he's working in his office.

 Christian turned 13 in July- I am so proud of that kid he is becoming an awesome young man.  He has worked so hard to overcome his dyslexia; this year he is doing amazing in school and rarely wants our help with his homework.  Let me tell you, that right there is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

     The girls have been busy too.  Noelle turned 16.  CRAZY!  When I look at that beautiful girl I can  hardly believe she is ours.  She is so much fun, and has matured into a wonderful young lady.

Faith (my sis), Noelle, & Krissy (my newest sis)

 Gracie girl turned 9.  She is a pure joy.  She's hilarious and can be a bit, shall we say, unfiltered.  The other day she assured me that she would probably meet her husband on   I'm glad she has that figured out, ya know I thought she'd probably meet her future husband in college.  Silly me.

    I've been busy too.  I switched positions at church, and now I am the hospitality ministry leader.  It's been a big change, and a whole bunch of fun.
     We also randomly decided to sell our house to buy a farm.  I figured we would get some chickens, two cows, a few fruit trees and call it good. Sandy could learn how to bring in the hay, bale the hay, whatever.  Now buying a farm is not easy as one may think.  First, you have that big casting vision piece with the good ole spouse.  That was easy, all I had to do was say I would be in the kitchen whipping up some homemade pies and such.  Sandy was in.  Now Noelle, had to be all practical, and mentioned that she didn't think it was wise to buy cows as I have an aversion to all animals.  She kindly recommended I start with a chicken.  Whatever.
     With great anticipation we began our farm hunt.  Well, one thing we did not factor into the equation was our budget.  You see, I had glorious vision of a spacious farmhouse with a wraparound porch. Tulips and daffodils would surround the porch in the spring, giving way to heirloom roses and hydrangeas in the summer.

 Problem was the b-word kept getting in the way.  We would travel to the farmhouses in our budget only to find rundown, funky smelling shanties in their place.

  One such place boasted a practically finished remodel with partial lake views.  The sewer system was noted to be a lagoon; so we googled lagoons and phoned a friend.   We learned lagoons were an acceptable sewer system and actually better than septic alone.  Sandy and I decided to make the journey out to the house, sure we were being led to our dream house....To be continued

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Planning the Anniversary

    I haven't blogged forever, even though I know my grandma loves to read about our family nonsense.  Tonight I decided to go through some of my old blog drafts and I came across this little doozy I wrote almost two years ago and never published.  The post cracked me up, so I decided to share it with you.


   This year is our 15th wedding anniversary.  It is amazing how time has flown by.  I love my man more today than ever.

  I REALLY wanted to go to the Melting Pot for our 15th anniversay, it is hands down my favorite resturant.  The problem lies in the fact that Sandy is, well, cheap, I mean frugal  and would like to go to a midlevel priced resturant.  Hummm...

2.  Here's a delightful snipit of a conversation had by me and my hubby:

       Shannon:  "Babe, I think we should go to the Melting Pot for our anniversary."
       Sandy:  "Hon, Let's be responsible and go somewhere cheaper."
       Shannon: "Babe, we barely made it, I think we should go somewhere nice to celebrate."
       Sandy:  "I don't think that's funny!"
       Shannon:  "We should have that put on our tombstone:  "Here lies Sandy and Shannon- They barely made it."  

    I think I'm hilairous, though it's possible I may get a gift certificate for marriage counseling for my anniversary gift.

Note:  We had a lovely time on our anniversary, and he took me to Maui for our 16th, so all in all it was a win.  :)