Making Jam!

Decided to make berry freezer jam today – went to the Grower’s Outlet on a whim and bought raspberries and marionberries.  Here’s how it went: Continue reading


Red, White, and Blue Jello

1 small package blue raspberry jello

1 small package cherry jello

1 cup Sprite or 7Up

1 cup orange juice

1 cup miniature marshmallows

2 tbsp butter

4 oz cream cheese

1 small tub whipped topping

Make the blue raspberry jello as usual, but use Sprite instead of cold water.  Pour into a glass bowl or 9×13 glass pan.  Allow this to set for at least 2 hours.

Make the cherry jello as usual, but use orange juice instead of cold water.  Pour over top of blue jello and allow to set up for at least 2 hours.

Melt butter in a double boiler and add marshmallows.  Once marshmallows have melted, add softened cream cheese and mix well.  Allow this to cool and then add half the tub of whipped topping and stir well to blend.  Spred of top of cherry jello.  Top with whipped topping and refrigerate at least an hour.  Serve and enjoy!

Gary’s Pasta Salad

I made this recipe for my hubby, with all the things he would eat (since he is NOT a pasta salad lover) but then added a few of my own.  🙂

1 lb rotini or bow tie pasta

Newman’s own Italian dressing

1 can whole olives, cut in half

1/2 lb mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes

miniature pepperoni (or regular size cut in half)

Parmesan cheese

Cherry tomatoes

Boil the pasta until it is al dente, strain, and rinse with cold water.  After pasta has cooled somewhat, pour it in a bowl, add 2/3 cup dressing, cheese, olives, tomatoes and pepperoni.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (preferably 2-4 hours).  When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, add more dressing if salad is too dry, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

The continuing saga

“Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?  Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool, or swing in a tree up high?  Is that what you do?  So do I.”   – Dorothy S. Anderson

At the Hansen house we have been trying to find fun things to do this summertime – we did well sticking to our schedule up until this week.  I’m not sure if it was all the excitement of having Nathan and Sarah living with us or the Independence Day Holiday in the middle of the week, or Janet’s surgery today… but whatever it was we are off schedule.  That doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun this week though! 

We swam in our pool, made use of our slip in slide (now that the weather is finally nice), made pudding pops and Red, White and Blue jello, went to a flag raising and had a barbecue, went to a birthday party, had several play dates, went hiking with dad, and had Zack sleep overnight!  As for me, I got to watch Wimbledon on TV when I could find time (Go Federer!). 

Summer has finally arrived in Portland and it’s now time for cub scout day camp!  Let’s have some fun!


Summer of Fun

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  ―    Henry James

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”  ―    George R.R. Martin

After my consideration, we have decided to name this summer the Summer of Fun – it may well be my last chance to spend summer days having fun with the boys (as hopefully I will get a good full time job next summer after I graduate from the MSW program).  So we have made up our minds to enjoy this summer to the fullest.

Here is what we have done:  we have made a list of things we want to do over the summer and once a week we decide what fun things we will do that week on which day.  Our schedule is as follows:

Monday – go somewhere fun with dad day; Tuesday – Bake with mom day; Wednesday – Science experiment day (we got the idea for this here); Thursday – Library  and play date day; Friday – Tennis lesson with mom and arts and  crafts day; Saturday – big chill day; Sunday – church day.  We got the idea for this here.    We also started a summer reading program, which we got here.

You can see all these ideas and more at my pinterest page here.

So, here we come, summer of fun!

Can I Vent? Of course I can!

The clock reads 2:55am and I am sitting at work feeling so frustrated; I feel like someone has punched me hard in the stomach and I want to punch someone back.  I’m not a violent person but at this point I am feeling the need to punch, kick or scream at the top of my lungs.  So, instead I will write and hope that alleviates some of the pressure.

Why am I so frustrated?  Oh, that’s a long story and one I am not willing to write at this point, albeit to say school, work, children and my personal needs do not always mesh well.  I am not keeping up with my schoolwork at this point – the readings are killing me and I can’t seem to catch up.

I took such good care of myself over winter break and truly felt that I could continue that into the new quarter, but alas, it has not happened that way.  I am back to eating junk food, not exercising and gaining weight.  My energy and motivation are both nil at this point.  I feel overwhelmed and worn down and I have only been back in school for 3 weeks.


What’s a girl to do?  Calgon, take me away.

New Beginnings

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”  Unknown

It’s time for a new beginning.  So I summoned up my courage, applied for a few jobs and got rejected a few times along the way.  But my persistence paid off and I landed a new job.  I am incredibly relieved. 

My last day at FP is tomorrow.  It feels like an end of an era to me.  I started there in 1998.  It’s where I met Gary.  It’s always been a safe refuge to return to – jobwise that is.  A few months ago things changed and I have finally decided to let go.  Let go and let God – that’s what a wise friend once told me.  I went to the temple earlier this week and as I sat in the celestial room I felt a peace come over me.  I dried my tears and knew all would work out the way it was supposed to.  That was all I needed to know.  So, thank you Heavenly Father, for giving me that precious gift that often eludes me; – peace.

I have also decided to go back to school and get my MSW – after much prayer it feels like the right thing to do.  I am going to trust that feeling and have a little faith.

What happens next?

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” – Winston Churchill

Frustrated.  Confused.  Sad.  Hopeless.  These all describe how I feel about work right now.  I think I am safe to say this is also how most of my coworkers feel as well.  It is disheartening to work at a place where you feel your voice is neither heard nor wanted.  It is maddening to be told everything you have done at work previous to the new administration taking over was crap (though it really wasn’t).  It is so hard to sit through a meeting where any ideas or imput are shot down the minute they are offered.  It is gut-wrenching to watch as your co-workers are demoted and fired or accused of something they did not do.  And, it frightening to learn that there is virtually nothing that can be done to stop what is happening – that Oregon law gives very few rights to the worker.

And it is demoralizing to know that here I sit at 5am because I cannot sleep for thinking of what is going on – that the helplessness I feel invades my sleep, causes nightmares and makes me sick.  I am tired and sore from the jaw clenching -mostly to keep my big mouth shut for fear of what I might say.  I am sick from the anxiety and worry about my job, about my co-workers and mostly, about the people we serve.  For it is they who ultimately lose in this situation.

I used to enjoy going to work.  I enjoyed the camaraderie with my co-workers, many of whom I had worked with for years – knew well and trusted.  I used to enjoy what I did, though the money was never good and the clients difficult.  At least I knew that I could go to my supervisors for support; I knew teamwork existed and that we helped one another.  I knew that we all did the best job we could and really cared about one another and our clients.  Now…

Now I am faced with a dilemma – do I stay or do I go?  It is especially hard because of the economy – I know there are very few jobs right now.  I know that my family needs the money.  Yet, the very thought of going to work feels me with dread.  So I will pray, pray and pray some more, and then I will start looking for something else. 

Random Tuesday

Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.
 Tom Barrett

Last night while I was laying in bed by Ethan, he said to me: “Dad doesn’t tell you he loves you very much, but it’s okay because he does.  Really, he does”.    Where does he get it from?  Kids never cease to amaze me.

I just had someone proposition me the other day – that brought a strange uneasiness to our friendship,  maybe the end.  Gary, of course, was very upset and offered several ideas of his own to deal with this person.  I guess that person doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does, because if he knew me at all, he would never have asked such a question.

I applied for  my job, finally.  I lost my resume the last time my computer crashed and had to make a new one from scratch.  That was the worst part though as the online application part was actually  much easier than I had anticipated.  Now the waiting begins.  Then the interview and then I expect to get laid off.  I am taking Gary’s tack on this – expect and plan for the worst and hope for the best.  So we shall see what will happen.

The good news is that I have found some willpower, in the form of sugarless gum and mints.  Whenever I am hungry or have a craving after 7 pm, I just reach for my gum and it really helps.  I’m trying to find some wood to knock on though.  Now if I could just get the exercising part down.

I am beginning to repaint the inside of my house – this is going to be a big chore, but I am up for it.  Gary, on the other hand, wants me to leave well enough alone, but I love to decorate and paint and change things around.  He should understand that after ten years of marriage!  🙂  Wish me luck.