Sunday, June 29, 2008

The ART of SUSHI making...

Equipment Needed:

Bamboo sushi-roll mat
Clean cutting board
Sushi knife or very sharp knife
A pack of roasted-seaweed (Nori)
Wood spoon or wood or plastic rice paddle for spreading rice plastic wrap


6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups uncooked Japanese medium grain rice
4 cups water
5 sheets or sushi nori (seaweed in big squares)
1 large cucumber or pickled cucumbers
2 to 3 avocados
Fresh lemon juice
Cooked snow crab meat
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Soy Sauce
Pickled Ginger

Making sushi rice:
Start preparing the rice approximately 2 hours before you want to make the sushi rolls.
Wash rice, stirring with your hand, until water runs clear.
Place rice in a saucepan with water; soak 30 minutes.
Drain rice in colander and transfer to a heavy pot or rice cooker; add 4 cups water.
NOTE: To improve the texture of the rice, after rinsing, let the rice drain 30 minutes in the refrigerator before cooking.
If you don't have a rice cooker, place rice and water into a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice rest, covered, for 15 additional minutes.
When rice is done cooking and resting, transfer to a large bowl; loosen rice grains gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon by cutting and folding (do not stir, as this will crush the rice). NOTE: Either use the rice soon after preparing it, or cover it with a damp cloth to keep it moist. Do not refrigerate the cooked rice.
Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice, mixing together as you sprinkle (add enough dressing to coat the rice but not make it damp - you may not need to use all the vinegar dressing). Spread the hot rice on top of a large sheet of aluminum foil and let cool.

Preparing sushi ingredients:
Wash, peel, and seed cucumber. Slice in half lengthwise, then cut into long, slender strips.
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, then remove the pit; cut each section in half again (lengthwise), and carefully remove the peel. Cut the section in long slender strips. Sprinkle the sliced avocado with lemon juice to keep from discoloring.
If you are using snow, crab, remove the crab meat from the thicker portion of the legs and cut in half lengthwise. If you are using imitation crab sticks, remove the plastic wrapping and cut each in half lengthwise.
Place the cucumber slices, avocado slice, and crab slices on a plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Making the sushi:
Place the nori (dried seaweed) down first. Spread a thin layer, 3/4 to 1 cup, of rice over 3/4 of the nori leaving approximately one inch of uncovered nori at each end. Note: It helps to wet your fingers with cold water when you are patting the rice onto the nori.
Arrange strips of avocado and pickled cucumber along the center of the rice; top with battered/creamed crab meat.

Rolling the sushi:

Placing your fingers on the ingredients, carefully bring the bottom end of the rolling mat and the plastic wrap up and over the ingredients (tucking the end of the nori to start a roll). Pull back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, so it does not get rolled into the sushi. NOTE: Roll tightly with firm pressure.

Continue rolling the sushi and pulling back the rolling mat and plastic wrap, as necessary, until you have approximately 1 to 2 inches of the top of the nori showing. Rub a small amount of cold water on the edge of the nori and bring the nori around so that it completes the sushi roll.

Gently squeeze the rolling mat around the sushi roll until it is firm and forms an even roll (be careful not to squeeze too hard, as you may crush the ingredients or squeeze them out).
Wrap the plastic wrap around the roll and set aside until ready to cut. Refrigerate or for longer storage. Repeat with remaining nori sheets to make additional rolls.

Cut and serve.

(Photos taken in my brother's, Tim, kitchen: June 29, 2008)
Our sushi maker!

"Grasshopper" has mastered the ART of making SUSHI!
Guess what we had for dinner last night?

If it walks and quacks like a duck...

One Prince, Two Princesses
Our handsome 11 year old nephew, Austin
Our beautiful 5 year old niece, Miss Caitlyn
Our gorgeous 3 year old niece, Miss Riley
(photos taken in Auburn, California)
...then it must be a SWAN.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happiness vs. Sadness

Can you experience true happiness without sadness?

Monday, June 23, 2008

PARENT job description

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma, Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop:
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.
Want the job? Is this what we signed up for?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Just plain SUMMER FUN!

Klondike Klub House: maze fun

Mad Science Show!

Kennedy on Bumble Bee ride.


Alligator roller coaster: Miss Kennedy holding on for dear life!

Tiegan flying the RED BARON.

Relaxin' on the train ride.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not shouting "I'm clean living" I'm whispering "I was lost, now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian" I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean up my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not claiming to be perfect, my flaws are far too visible but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not holier than thou; I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Meet the storyteller.
Pancakes, Pancakes
Tiegan and Kennedy are participating in summer reading. Storytime is every Wednesday's and Saturday's @ 11:00 a.m. They listen to 5-6 different short stories. A small snack is served. And a learning activity is done with the kids to extend their reading experience for the day. There is an additional "pajamarama" storytime too. This is every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Oh, and the girls wear their pajamas. So much fun! They also have a summer book club for kids Kindergarten through 2nd grade called, "Food Fun." All of these stories and activities are centered around food, of course. Reading for book club begins at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday's.
Wednesday's at 1:00 p.m.
6/18 Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
6/25 Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
7/2 No club this week; 4th of July week
7/9 Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk
7/16 Mice and Beans by Pam Munoz Ryan
7/23 Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh
7/30 How are you peeling? by Saxton Freymann
(There are other book club themes for kids:
2nd through 3rd grade- Art Smart
4th through 6th grade- Fantasy and Adventure, Mystery, Nothin' but the Truth .
If you are interested, please let me know.)

Reading is fun!

("Color effects" Photos taken today: June 18, 2008)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This blog was actually originally posted on June 2, 2008 when the 2008 NBA Finals began. Scroll down to view the outcome...
Win or lose? This Thursday, June 5th, starts the 2008 NBA Championship Finals; Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers. Byron is so "pumped" right now that his team is there to play an old rival. Some say it is a rematch to the best rivalry of all time. Last time they played in the finals together was back in 1987... GO CELTICS! (GO green team, GO! -Tiegan and Kennedy)
1987: Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson

Dig those short shorts?
Game #7: Not necessary
Wow! What a game! Byron is so HAPPY! (And I'm happy because he's happy!)
GAME 6: 131-92 Celtics Win!


NBA Champions 2008

Kungfu Panda

Today, the girls and I went to Century 14 in Roseville to see, Dreamworks premier movie, Kungfu Panda. They have seen the promotional sculpture, of Panda, in the Galleria for weeks now. So I thought it was a no-brainer to take them to see what all the hype was about. The computer animation, brilliant colors, featured story line, and depicted asian culture all enhanced this wonderfully funny movie; not to mention, included a great talented cast. (Photo below.) The movie lasted an hour and thirty-one minutes which was not too long and held the girls' attention for the most part. (Kennedy wanted to sit on my lap for the last 20 minutes.) Any lull in the movie to storytell was quickly followed by hero vs. villian action. The girls loved it! They were thrilled to be at the theaters!
Kungfu Panda Movie Synopsis: Enthusiastic, big and a little clumsy, Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around--which doesn't exactly come in handy while working everyday in his family's noodle shop. Unexpectedly, chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five-Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey-under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it's up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master into reality? Po puts his heart-and his girth-into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.(Part of the cast: Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black)
Click on arrow to play video:

My thoughtful neighbor, Andrea, who lives two doors down on my left, emailed me this list of FREE summer movie showtimes. So I thought I would pass it on to you. It started today! Doors open around 9:00 a.m. and viewing begins at 10:00 a.m.

FREE summer movies:

Location: Olympus Pointe 12520 N. Sunrise Avenue, Roseville ,CA 95661 916-772-1246

06/17/2008-06/18/2008 Rugrats the Movie (G) Nancy Drew (PG)
06/24/2008-06/25/2008 Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (G) Shrek The Third (PG)
07/01/2008-07/02/2008 Charlotte's Web (G) Flushed Away (PG)
07/08/2008-07/09/2008 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G) The Second Junglebook (PG)
07/15/2008-07/16/2008 Wallace and Gromit (G) Hook (PG)
07/22/2008-07/23/2008 Muppets Take Manhattan (G) Stuart Little (PG)
07/29/2008-07/30/2008 Everyone's Hero (G) Bratz (PG)
08/05/2008-08/06/2008 Adventures of Pipi Longstocking (G) Alvin & The Chipmunks (PG)
08/12/2008-08/13/2008 Doogal (G) Are We There Yet? (PG)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope

Leisure time is limited. But somehow, somewhere in our evenings, we manage to squeeze in some time to read as a couple. We, originally, heard about "this true story" about Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerek on the national news back in April/May of 2006. We were instantly intrigued and shocked by this case of "mistaken identity." We first thought, "Oh, my!" That means one was buried under the wrong name. And the other in coma, being cared for by the wrong family. We are only a few chapters into the book. (And I have to tell you, we haven't yet made it through an entire chapter without tearing up as some point. In Chapter 2: We had to finish reading the chapter silently by ourselves.) As the book unfolds, we'll be back here to comment. I have quoted the "hook" below. THE HOOK: (Back cover sleeve reads as follows)

Five lives were lost in a tragic accident involving a Taylor University van, and one young woman, severely injured and comatose, was rushed to the hospital.

Five funerals were held. Families, faculty, students, and communities grieved their losses and joined in prayer and hope as the young woman, Laura Van Ryn, fought for her life in a hospital bed. The national news spread the story, and people everywhere shared their grief and the hope.

Five weeks passed for the Cerek family. Believing they had buried their daughter, the Cerek's clung to their faith and worshipped God through their tears, learning to look forward with hope to an eternal reunion with their lovely daughter, Whitney. They spent weeks of mourning and grief surrounded by loved ones, slowly moving toward healing.

Five weeks passed for the Van Ryns. Keeping a constant bedside vigil over their precious daughter, Laura, they sat and prayed and hoped. Confronted with tubes and surgeries, vital signs and healing signs, they rejoiced at each tiny advance toward recovery. Their friends and church and family members, along with a steady stream of students, celebrated with them at each sign of Laura's healing.

And then the shock!

"Okay, Laura, I would like you to write your name for me," the occupational therapist said.


An event that could be seen as pure tragedy becomes a celebration of life's unfathomable gifts and mysteries.

What are you reading?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Daddy

"We love you as high as the sky and as deep as the sea!" -Tiegan
"Daddy, you're the BEST!" -Kennedy
"Yaayaa daa baabaa yaa maa yaayaa." -Braden
Thank you for praising me when I accomplish something that is important to me.
(Photo taken in Tahoe: South Shore)

A Daddy is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A daddy can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A daddy can be patient
and helpful and strong.
In all that you do,
a daddy's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your daddy!
Thank you, Daddy...for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you!
Thank you for chasing and playing hide and seek with me. -Tiegan
Thank you for playing catch and ball with me. -Kennedy
Thank you for wrestling with me. -Braden

Love you, Daddy!!!
Tiegan, Kennedy, and Braden
June 15, 2008
My husband...
  • is the BEST hands-on Daddy to our three young'ins.
  • loves us unconditionally.
  • has a very BIG heart.
  • is a great provider for our family.
  • is very attentive to our kids.
  • isn't afraid to cry.
  • always makes me laugh!
  • makes us happy.
  • is very protective of our family.
  • makes us all feel safe.
  • sacrafices so much of himself for our family.
  • loves to play his guitar any chance he can.
  • is a BIG kid himself sometimes.
  • is caring and loving.
  • is silly and goofy.
  • shares in the responsibilities of the kids' needs and well-being.
  • expresses himself through song writing the most heartfelt songs about faith, love, life, and children.

We are so blessed to have him in our lives!

LuAnn Comic: A little Father's Day humor

Dream vs. Reality

King Daddy Byron

In honor of Father's Day:

Tiegan and Kennedy: Dad's the BOSS, right MOM?