Wednesday, February 11, 2015

its almost "hearts" day

Here we are in February.  How did that happen?
I started working on ideas for Valentine's day this past weekend.  The great thing about having a middle schooler is that I don't have to come up with multiple ideas.... because, well,  "its not cool" to send valentine's in 6th grade. ( I dodged that one!)

My youngest, on the other hand, it has been an interesting battle.  He needs to have them done by tomorrow but he is under the impression that he doesn't want to do them.  It took me a while to figure out why, but after some "parental investigating" I figured it out.  See, to a male 4th grade boy, who happens to be autistic,,,, (quotes) " girls are disgusting."  This is the year of young girls oodling over him, mothering him, helping him etc.  You know, girls being, well, girls.  And he can't stand it... but also, doesn't say anything.... because he doesn't know how, or is to embarrassed.  
here is his wonderful, adorable, cuter than snot, reason..... (get ready to say "awwww")

My sweet boy thinks that giving a girl a valentine will give them permission 
to (quote, again!) "be in love with him".
I about died with the cuteness of this situation.
I mean really, how can you not "be in love with this face"

that said.... with some help from his ABA therapist, and some serious coaxing... we finally got him to sign his name to the backs of 35 tags that say 
"Valentine, your peachy keen, jelly bean!"

This battle has been tackled. won. and taken down.... until next year.

free valentine printable from  at this link .  I didn't make them as fancy as she did... but, I was lucky to have access to 40+ mini packs of jellybellys and a child that finally decided to cooperate, which in my book~ works out perfectly.

Monday, January 19, 2015


if you are visiting to read our Christmas letter... click here.


I don't know if you have ever read, studied, or heard a speech by Martin Luther King Jr... I strongly suggest that one day you do.  He spoke profound truths that spark small fires deep down inside for injustice, for love, for education, for truth.  I would like to think I would have walked alongside him... but,  in all that day, and in that time..... I really don't know.

What would I have done?
Would I have made history?
Would I risk everything, step in, and stand up for what is right?

I would.
I truly would.
I will.
I am.

Monday, January 12, 2015

what will I do that is new?

::If you are visiting our blog to read our Christmas letter... click here.  Be sure to leave a comment in the comments section to say Hi!::

now back to the regular program.

What will I do that is new?

I am not one who makes resolutions.
I just dont do that sort of thing because if I really want to change something... I do.  But, as always, the start of a new year brings the urge to purge, the longing for things to go back to simple, the idea of fresh and new.  One thing, lately, that has been new.... is exploring new recipes.  I think I would like to try and bring in new recipes with the wide variety of foods that we already use. The past few weeks, while the boys are off to school, I enjoy a cup of coffee and sit down to read cookbooks.  The key to reading a cookbook is to be sure you have eaten before cracking them open.  It is much like going to the grocery store hungry.... truly, it is.  My stomach starts to rumble and I begin to drool as a pages describe the details of making such wonderful dishes... so, always make sure you have a bagel with smear, or an egg with toast before starting.  trust me.... your tummy will thank you.

This is what a Monday looks like::
Grab a few cookbooks, the calendar, a blank piece of paper and pencil.
I also find it adventurous to have my laptop open to my PINTEREST page for some added ideas.

Some cookbooks I always "go to" are the Pioneer Women Cooks, the Love Soup, many of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and the Joy of Cooking.
I also like to try and plan one day for vegetarian, something with chicken, something with beef, at least one crock pot meal, one "typical go-to" meal and one "adventurous" meal.... with this much food I get at least two days for leftovers.

I crack open the books and start thinking....
" mmm... that looks good."
 "I would try that!"
"that sounds like it would be fun!"
Next, I think what day would be best to make it... consider the routine of the day, how much time I "really" have and the possible weather.
what?  did you say consider the weather?
I know, In Oregon, I wouldn't have to think that.  It's either rain, possible rain, or no rain.
but here in Southern California we can fluctuate from 60-90 from day to day (I know, CRAZY! right!)  I learned this mistake last week when I made chili and cornbread on a day when it was 82 degrees after having it in the 60's for two days.  (ugh!)

Once I have a few meals planned, book mark them with a tab or post it, and begin a grocery list.
It is at this time I refill the coffee cup, use the restroom, and move to the kitchen and start to check if I have the items from my recipes.... if I do~ great!  if I don't~ put it on the list!

let the monday meal planning begin
The past few weeks we have tried some new soups, a bunch of new main dishes, some great fun salads and even explored some new veggies.... 

Recipes and cooking at home is not new for me.... but, using more of a meal plan and being proactive in planning is new(ish).  So, if I did make resolutions... I guess I could say "I am gonna start making something new each week."  but.... I don't.... so..... this is just a little something new I will do.

What are some cookbooks you like to read?
What will you do that is "new"(ish)?
share in the comments below.  I'm curious!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

so, it happened.  AGAIN!
I made Christmas cards and among the life of living with a house of boys... I forgot to mail them out.
so, yes, you are reading our Christmas letter... in January.... but, you know.... that's how I roll.  I just go with it, and it just moves me along.
Merry Christmas and happy new year wallpaper 2014 2015
What a year for us.
It was packed with changes, twists and turns.... a real roller coaster ride.
Early in the year we began thinking about moving back to California.  There were many different reasons, but the biggest reason was to be help/ and to have help from family.  We love Oregon.  We love Oregon so much that our heart aches with this move.  But... we did what we felt we needed to do for our family, not what Bryan and I wanted.  With all the medical needs that came up for Bjorn we knew that this move was the best decision.  So, with toes dragging in the sand...  we jumped!  It didnt help that a job practically fell in Bryan's lap, and a house near my mom and around the corner from Bry's sister was available for us.  Our house sold the first weekend on the market.  All this move needed was a red ribbon wrapped around it....
At the end of July, we loaded up a large truck.... shed many tears among friends and neighbors... and drove south.  We landed in Oceanside, CA... and our adjustment to the lifestyle, the culture, the differences, and just about everything new began.  The biggest thing to get use to was the weather.  The lack of seasons has my living in a constant "summer vacation" mode.  The Holiday Season hit me like a Mac truck and I was not as willingly prepared as I could have been.  But along with the warmer drier weather... comes the beach.  As a crow flies, we live 5 miles off the coast... so many days I can load up my boys, drive to the beach, walk the pier, write in the sand, watch the sunset and be back at home before dinner. Not to bad.... Not to bad, at all.

Odin is doing amazing.  We have a neighborhood filled with boys his age... and he could play outdoors from sun up to midnight (if we let him!).  He is loving middle school.  He has really found a great group of friends and we have watched him flourish in the past 5 months.  He has taken on reading.  He just finished the whole Hunger Games series in two week.  When this kid finds something he likes~ he goes all in!  Over the holiday break he got to spend a few days in Mammoth perfecting his snowboarding skills with his dad.  This year he also started boogie boarding.  He is turning into a California kid right before our eyes.

Bjorn has taken the move hard.  He is having to grasp concepts that he has never encountered before, from something as simple as how to get into a 2 door car to the idea that friends are friends no matter how far you live from them.... but he has been a trooper.  He enjoys his new teachers, and his new school has a wonderful music program that is paid for by the parents.  The house we bought had a trampoline in the backyard and he spends much of his free time jumping on it.  He has gotten into an extensive ABA therapy that has "buddies" coming into our home 3 times a week.  Everyone who meets him thinks he is just the coolest kid on the block.... and I have to agree.  He is pretty great!
Bryan has started a new job with Bosch-Rexroth and works out of the house.  He is just starting to build relationships with local automation and electronic businesses throughout Southern California.  He spends much of his free time working on the many "fix-it" things that we have encountered with the house.  New appliances. New carpets.  New fencing.  Building closet organizers.  Painting.... the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.  Between my "Honey- Do" list  and his "Must-Do" list ~ he keeps himself very busy.  He still finds time to play hockey locally once a week.  One of the coolest things he got to do this year is "hug" the Stanley Cup.  Pretty cool!

I am doing well.  I am not teaching piano lessons this season.  I wanted to take a year/or two to get Bjorn adjusted and into a routine.  It has been a lot of work organizing, unpacking, re-figuring the whole family structure and home.  Having a middle schooler is "lots of fun" and figuring out how to navigate this territory has me reading and re-thinking things.  I have been getting to know my neighbors and enjoying my walks with Bjorn to/and from school.  If you read my blog~ you have seen me hit a few bumps over the past few months.  The ups and downs of this past year have been character building as I learn from what is before me.   I love seeing my mom often.  And I enjoy spending time with my sister-in-law and the family.  I was able to unpack my knitting, and I have gotten a few of my gardening tools out.  I have been working hard in making this new house a home for us.  A place where we can feel the quiet and calm from the crazy world outside.  A place where we can rest, refuel and replenish among loved ones.  So, my wish for you and your family, as we ring in the new year of 2015, may we take it all in... Breath.... and look forward to what is new before us.  Merry Christmas (belated!) and Happy New Year.
from our home to yours.

the Hellum Family.