Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recipe: Carrot Ginger Slaw

Carrot Ginger Slaw - Thea Starr
This simple to make slaw makes you want to eat the entire batch.
Sweet tangy & simple. I'm making some for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Things you'll need:

3 cups of thick shredded carrots (I wasn't counting how many carrots I used 6-7 maybe? It doesn't need to be exact.)
Handful of raisins (about 1/3 cup)
Handful of sweetened dried cranberries (about 1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons of matchstick cut ginger (fresh & finely cut) *You can also used grated ginger or even fine chopped pickled ginger (sushi ginger) but I'd avoid powdered ginger on this one.*
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
3 tablespoons of apple juice
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

The most work you'll need to do is the shredding of the carrots.
Once that is done, just toss the remainder of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Allow the slaw to "marinate" for a 15-20 minutes so the sweetness of the sweetened cranberries & raisins to come out. If you're impatient or have a sweet tooth you can add a few pinches of sugar.

Silly me, I put the slaw in a storage container before serving it but I didn't need to because there wasn't any leftovers.

Really super simple and a great way to finish off any extra carrots you might have.


Recipe: Bruschetta

Bruchetta is simply wonderful.
It can be a variety of things- tomatoes, peppers, beans, meats & cheeses.
This is just my simple and addictively delicious version. I can eat it all day long and still want more the next day.

Things you'll need:
fresh bread (like a baguette etc)
garlic 6-8 cloves
olive oil
ripe tomatoes cut into medium chunks
red, orange & yellow bell peppers cut into medium chunks
fresh basil 
small onion
salt & pepper
balsamic vinegar

First you'll want to grill your bread. I actually just lightly oiled my bread tossed in some chopped garlic and fried my bread.

In the same pan add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and as much garlic as you can handle.
Add your onions, tomatoes & peppers.

Keep things on a medium heat. Your tomatoes and peppers will start to cook down and create a wonderful "sauce" naturally for you. 

Add a sprinkle of salt & pepper.

(Fresh basil from my garden.)

Roughly cut your basil.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (or more if you like) to your mixture and work it in.

Once the vinegar is absorbed in you can plate it up.

But wait! There's more!!!

I know it looks delicious enough as it is, and you are more than welcome to stop here. But let me sway you this way:

Mmm hmm....

Uh huhhh...


I'll be making this for the 4th of July & the following week too for a family gathering its a perfect appetizer for a large bunch.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Letting Go

Well, here we are.
Tomorrow morning I am dropping Jina off at her dorm.

Much change has taken place in the past year of our lives.
The completion of Jina's childhood and her transition into "adulthood" has taken place.
We have been so busy making sure all the paperwork is in order, buying supplies for college and physically moving Jina to another city a couple hours away. It has been one huge blur and we've adapted to the change.
Jina & I in our hot pink hair phase 2005
Things have been going great with all the changes.  I've only had one or two big cry sessions about Jina's departure. (One was with her baby brother). Yes, it was as sweet as it sounds, they really love each other and are very close.
brother & sister
Baby Brother and Big Sister - 2007
When I've been asked how I'm handling all of this - honestly, I'm doing well.
However, there has been one annoying thing, the "consoling" words of - "At least you have more kids...". Yes, I do but it doesn't replace the one I am letting go of.  The house will not be as filled as it once was. Our family will not have the same dynamic anymore. A changing of the guard is taking place, a different child will now be the oldest in the house.  Responsibility comes with that position and he has some learning to do. I've also had to cook less food, which is strange right now. As a mom you condition yourself to cook enough food a set number of people over the years.

I guess ultimately I feel mostly pride right now for what a great human being Jina has become. The waves of bittersweetness of letting go and seeing her off into the world is admittedly overwhelming at times though. She has been my sidekick my entire adult life and in many ways I have grown up with her in tow. After 18 years of seeing her daily it will change to once or twice a month if I am lucky. It's an adjustment. Good thing we have cell phones.

I feel like I am leveling up in the parenthood game. Then I send off another child and level up again in 2 years. It's really one big blur my friends. Those of you who are just starting your families keep that in mind. The teething babies and sleepless nights quickly turn into college bound young adults.

I'm looking forward to the drive to the university in the morning. We'll have one last meal together with our boyfriends like a scene from Gilmore Girls and head off in our own directions. Then new chapter begins.

Thea - Leveled Up

September 19, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013


A little late to arrive but practically perfect in every way.
She almost killed me, put me in the hospital for a couple months but came out screaming like a little fighter. Born on my grandmother's birthday and named after two of her grandmothers. Jina arrived to the world in the same hospital that I did. She was bright red from screaming and at 18 years old myself at the time I was a little freaked out. But when she opened her slate blue eyes (which are now brown) all was good.


18 years later to day all is still good.

Being a teenaged single mother the cards were certainly stacked against us at times. I did not always make the best choices in life. I often veered towards the hard road. Through many things that most will be lucky enough to never experience this girl is the rose that grew from concrete.
Not only a beauty, she is that closet smart girl that takes incredible joy from making mid terms "her bitch".  She has worked hard with great care and personal pride in all of her academic work, violin lessons and ballet performances. She has been the best big sister, my little mini me and our family's Hero Of Time.

To know her is to love her. 
Welcome to adulthood Baby Ji.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Senior Year - AP Courses and Tests

AP - Advanced Placement is a program here in the United States offering college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students. There are currently 34 courses and exams offered.

An excerpt from a recent special insert in The Seattle Times - On Course Your Guide to College Planning 2013 noted that an "AP exam can earn credit or placement at college and universities. An AP Chemistry test score of 4 can equal Chemistry 142, for example."

AP tests are scored on a 1 to 5 scale as follows:
  • 5 – Extremely well qualified
  • 4 – Well qualified
  • 3 – Qualified
  • 2 – Possibly qualified
  • 1 – No recommendation

AP classes are challenging but are great. I am not speaking from personal experience myself, but my daughter has definitely benefited from taking them. Sure there has been some complaints about the homework load some days (AP Government Politics - United States just sounds like a big homework -work load) but she has had a great time learning in these challenging classes. I often say to her the phrase "So. Much. Nerd." because she sends me midday up date texts that look like this:

What she kicked ass in was AP Government Politics Jeopardy.
In case you are wondering, I do wake up every morning truly thankful for how different my kids are from what I was when I was a teenager.  My daughter already has a college credit for French from the University of Washington.  For a fee of $89.00 for the AP exam she is walking away with college credit if her scores are high enough. It is budget friendly in comparison to what you'll have to pay for the equivalent credit in college. That $89.00 fee is per exam too. Be sure to add that to your upcoming costs list for your kid's high school years.  There is financial assistance for the fee for those who qualify.

I wanted to put this information out there now because we're currently enrolling for classes for next year at the high school now. If your son or daughter can place in an AP course and can handle the extra work load I highly recommend you and your child consider it. It is a great way to save a little money on college fees and get a little bit ahead a little early. Also the challenge of the classes is the greatest benefit of all. (As you can tell from the screenshot above.)

Other programs to consider are the Running Start Program (Washington State) - is a program for high school juniors and seniors and allows students to enroll in college courses numbered 100 or above, tuition-free, while completing high school. I actually participated in this program in its early years and I benefited from it as I was not really high school material.
Also there is the IB - International Baccalaureate is a 4 year program offered at many high schools. The IB program isn't offered at my kid's high school but at another school within our district, so I don't have much knowledge about its courses and focus, but I have heard it is an in depth program. For more information check out


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Senior Year - An Update

Posts about our Senior Year Project have been sparse.
Mainly because so. much. stuff. has been going on.

Right before winter break one of Jina's teachers took a moment out of class and said; "When you return from break it will be the last semester of your high school career and it will fly by."

And it has. Its the last week of March. What the heck?

I know Rebekah & Madison have been in the same boat. Rebekah keeps and insane schedule visiting clients and caring for her younger daughters. Thanks to Facebook updates I saw that Madison was accepted to some amazing schools! I can't wait to see which one gets the honor of her presence.

As I've mentioned before Jina has already accepted enrollment to the university that was #1 on her list.  We are in the process of accumulating scholarships and loans (more on that in an upcoming post). Also part of my game plan is to continuously play the lottery in hopes that I can just pay for all of my kids to go to college myself. I'll keep you all updated on that.

Speaking of small fortunes... Jina & I took a trip down to Oregon recently to visit Jenny. (Be jelly Jenny made these for us!) We also took advantage of Oregon's lack of sales tax and purchased all things for prom. I am allowed to share this blurry crappy picture of her dress:
Not the color or style we were originally were looking for, but you know how it goes. I'll share pictures from prom when it happens.

That basically catches up to date for now. :)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I love you on Tuesdays.

My dad used to joke that he only loved me on Tuesdays. Silly old man stuff I guess or being the baby the family that was the only day not taken???  I think of this every Tuesday. I also make my kid their sandwiches for Tuesday. (Well this week I was a day early.) I know some of you supermoms out there wake up every morning and make sandwiches for your kids everyday. I have four big kids that are capable of making their own lunches. I don't have them do it out of my lack of being a morning person or out laziness but out of love.

My son's mega peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Love you say? Yes, think about how many people you know who do not know how to cook these days. How many opt for eating out everyday for lunch instead of bringing one? While being frugal is important to me, being healthy & capable are even more so. These are things I want to pass along to my kids. I feel like knowing how to pack your own lunch is a good basic daily task that teaches those things

Like any other mom I go to the store accumulate the food at the and bring it home. The kids know where its at (hopefully they helped put it away), know they can eat it and they can pack up their lunches with it. I don't think this would work to great with a groggy 5 year old. A groggy 15 year old knows that if he doesn't do it then he won't eat lunch or he'll have to spend his own money on crappy school food. (Note: a side effect of having your kids pack and bring their own lunches they become food snobs. My kids will bitch and moan about eating excessively greasy school pizza. On the other hand they believe sliced white bread is a treat.)

This topic might be stupid to blog about because its pretty easy to allow your kid to have the independence to make their own lunches, especially when you provide healthy food options at home and if they are over the age of 10. Honestly, I do have to admit every once in a while I'll find out that one of my older kids friends don't know how to cook or that they eat out at McDonald's weekly and that is shocking to me. A.) By the age of 13 I think you should be able to at least scramble eggs on your own and B.) People still eat at McDonald's?