Monday, January 31, 2011

celebrate good times

the last weekend in january was spent celebrating with those we loved.

saturday we hosted a  small group of jordan's friends for a video game and pizza party.  bobby set up 2 tvs and 2 xboxes so the boys could play against each other.  some played in the boys' room and some played in the living room.  it was rowdy and loud and a bit out of control but everyone had a good time.  it was interesting to hear them yell out "take that",  "in your face" and "pwned!"  and no one's feelings got hurt. i restrained myself from using my mommy voice and saying "be nice." it's what boys do, i guess.

i made 4 pizzas and had snacks on hand.  can you guess what disappeared first?


and we snuck in a birthday sundae.

sunday we headed to laguna woods for january celebrations. and there was so much to celebrate.

 birthdays.

including gigi and jordan.


new babies. uncle ed showed off his grandson via pictures and video on his ipad.  born last tuesday, baby boden is at home with his proud mama, dada and grandma.  we can't wait to meet him in person. eta: just got the thumbs up to share a picture.


a visit from aunt beth.  it was a birthday surprise for gigi and we got to benefit too.  we love spending time with her and celebrating some special moments. . . 


. . . like the fact that amanda and nate  are engaged.  it has become a tradition that after grandpa ed says grace someone in the family makes an announcement.  it really is the perfect moment.  everyone is gathered around the table, we are all holding hands and quiet.  pregnancies, engagements and new jobs have been shared this way.  it is a truly special moment. and we look forward to their wedding in 2012!

and of course we had cake.  someone may have had 2 helpings.

what i love about getting together is that there is always something to celebrate or news to share.  there are lots of hugs to give.  we cook together, have conversations as a large group and in small groups.  we plan for our next get together or shower or event.  the kids play together and everyone is happy.  oh and there is always something funny to laugh about.

let's just say that gigi is the proud owner of this gift from a white elephant party.  oh, lucky her.

hope you had something fun to celebrate this weekend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

five on friday :: inspiration

we are heading into a party weekend.  the last of the january celebrations for our family.  if you have some time this weekend take a look at these links filled with inspiring and fun ideas.

1.  things we forget


love this idea.  love what is written.  love that you could be going about your day and encounter something inspirational that will change your life.  check it out.

2. oh this kitchen
photo by: andrea jenkins
bright.  full of sunshine. open. clean. imagine the things that can be cooked up here. imagine the stories that will be told. imagine the celebrations and everyday moments that will happen here. i dream of a kitchen like this.
3. these words
photo by: tara whitney

this picture is now my wallpaper on my computer.  i've been saying these words to myself all week. and i love her post about the kind of life you want.

4. project life

i got mine in the mail yesterday.  actually it's the second one i've ordered.  the first one i got in december is now in the happy hands of my sister-in-law, angela.  i plan on filling this book up over the year and sharing my pages here.  right now, lots of prepping and getting caught up.  if you are looking for a simple and easy way to get your pictures and stories into an album you must check out project life.  and amazon just restocked . . .

5. focus on what's important


this post from simple mom was such an eye opener for me.  the choices i make about how to spend my time, the importance i put on things, my guilty feelings about dropping everything to help someone out.  my favorite line is when they write "be intentional with your time."  sometimes i give my time away to the computer, or school, or things that don't matter and therefore find that at the end of the day i have nothing left for what i really should have been spending my time on.  it's about answering the question, what kind of life do i want and making that the priority.

wishing everyone a happy weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

currents :: book list

a few things have me reading recently.

  • finding some interesting books
  • needing to find information
  • having a kindle which makes it easy to read anytime and anywhere.
  • focusing on making this a part of my day.  
i find that bobby, jordan and sofia have a real passion for reading.  it's takes a little bit more effort for andrew and i. in fact the other day his class took a fieldtrip to the library and they were allowed to check out books.  he didn't.  i asked him why and he said "i guess i'm just not much of a reader."  ok.  he reads everynight, because he has to for school.  and he gets into what he's reading but not the way the other members of this family do.


i want to create this passion for reading.  so that's what i'm going to focus on.  i'm working on finishing a few things that i started last year.  i just finished this one.
i really enjoyed it once i got past the foreign names and found the family tree at the beginning to keep everyone straight.  i got into the mystery, even though that is not something i would normally read.  it was long and a bit tedious at times but there were moments where i just couldn't put it down.


i am halfway through this. i've been reading it here and there.  love the writing but the story is a bit very sad so i'm taking it easy.

picked this book up at a vintage store in kerville over the holidays. i just read a few pages at a time.  it's my all time favorite book and the first one i remember reading as a kid from cover to cover.  this edition is from 1947 and has some beautiful illustrations.



can you guess why?  i bought this a few weeks ago based on the recommendation of one of the teachers at the preschool.  i was having some issues with sofia and needed a new tactic.  she recommended this book and as luck would have it, the author is coming to the school to give a parenting talk.  bobby and i will be there for sure.  i want to finish reading this before the lecture.


this was a christmas gift from b.  i am using this information to make the most use of the little space that i have.  it's a great resource to have.


ok so i have books that have been around for a while.  but i also have a list of books that i want to read this year.
this is on the top of my list.  so many people have recommended it.  looking forward to getting it.


interesting marketing for this book.  and it worked. i want to read it.


i'm also thinking of reading 

would love some recommendations.  please share.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

weekly menu

i got a great response last week from my menu and recipe.  i would love to make this a weekly feature as soon as i can figure out where to fit it in.  today looks like a perfect day to share.  here's our menu for the week and a quick recipe.

monday - chicken gyoza soup
tuesday - salmon, goat cheese and hummus salad
wednesday - fundraiser at island's for the preschool
thursday - lemony chicken saltimbocca, orzo pasta and broccoli
friday - bbq chicken quesadillas
saturday - late birthday party for jord - ordering pizza
sunday - celebrating january birthdays with bobby's family.  we're making paninis yah!

:: recipe ::
this recipe was a dish that i had at gordon biersch a few years back.  i loved every single bite and figured it was easy enough to make at home.  we now have it a few times a month.  no recipe really.  just a list of ingredients.  you can replace the salmon with grilled chicken if you prefer or even go completely vegetarian.  either way, i think you'll like it.
sorry, i thought i had a photo of it in my library, but i don't.  i think you can picture it from the recipe though, right?

hummus and goat cheese salad (with salmon)
salmon fillet
olive oil
seasoning (i use a seasoning salt from penzey's)
hummus (i use trader joe's tomato and basil hummus)
goat cheese
kalamata olives
red onion
grape tomatoes
salad greens
balsamic vinaigrette

drizzle olive oil over salmon fillet and sprinkle with seasoning.  broil, bake or grill until done.

to assemble the salad for one: put salad greens on a plate.  add tomatoes, sliced red onion, and kalamata olives.  add two tablespoons of hummus and sprinkle with 1 oz. of goat cheese.  top with the salmon.  drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.  serve.

have a great wednesday

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

i always knew but i never thought

i always knew that being a parent would be challenging but i never thought that i would read my first parenting book with my third one.

i always knew that i would go crazy buying girl clothes but i never thought that i would have to negotiate with her to wear them.

i always knew that i would play baby dolls and dress up with her but i never thought that i would also play pirates and star wars .

i always knew that my hands would be full with three little ones but i never thought that my heart could be so full.

i always knew that i wouldn't use the term "princess" for her but i never thought that we would replace it with "sassy".

i always knew that my daughter would have brown eyes but i never thought that they would they would have such power over me.

i always knew that she would be into pink but i never thought that so many things came in that color.

i always knew that she'd be daddy's little girl but i never thought that she would be his bike, baseball and rock band buddy.

i always knew we'd get her to sleep in her bed all night but i never thought that i would miss snuggling with her in the morning.

i always knew that i'd have a good relationship with her but i never thought i would have to work so hard to get it.

i always knew she was adorable but i never thought she would use that to her advantage.

i always knew that she would complete our family but i never thought that she would also bring us so much laughter, curiosity and charm.

i always knew she would love school but i never thought about how much i would miss her when she's there.

i always knew that she had an adventurous spirit but i never thought that she would be fearless.

i always knew that i would love her but i never thought it was possible to love this much.

going through my pictures a few days ago and found these gems.  it really does seem like just yesterday that she was a baby.

Monday, January 24, 2011

this weekend

we had a rare weekend at home but the first of many over the next few months.  it's nice that we get to be home and get some things done around here.  we had plenty going on to keep us busy.


on saturday morning i started training for this 5k run.  so excited and nervous about taking this on.  but it's been on my goal list for a long time and what better time then now before the weather gets too hot.  can't imagine being able to run for 3.2 miles but i am wiling to try.

sofia, bobby and her grandpas went to dad and grandpa's day at the preschool on saturday morning.  they hammered things, played baseball and drew pictures of each other. bobby enjoyed reading sofia's thoughts on her dad.  what's dad's favorite sport? "baseball and football."  what does dad call sofia? "babydoll."  how tall is dad? "10 feet."  so precious.

bobby's mom let us borrow her tv for our living room. so we put the other tv back in our room. that means snuggling in bed together and watching our favorite shows.  really, it means that now when i fall asleep bobby doesn't have to wake me up off the couch to come to bed.

saturday night we went to cosmic bowling for a friend's birthday party. andrew bowled with his friends and did the cha cha slide while sofia, jordan, bobby and i played in our own lane.  and who was the champion? - me!!  ok, we had the bumpers up but it was a fair playing field and i still won. hmph.

sunday morning we did some shopping at ikea.  january has been about organizing and getting things done around the house.  well, this is where we do it.  we got a craft table, a tall bookshelf for the boys, a table/desk for the boys and some curtains for our bedroom closet.  once i get my space all set up i'll post some pictures.  but the best purchase of the day were these cookies
yum, yum and yum.


in the afternoon sofia and i went to a pirate birthday party for a classmate from the preschool.  it was at a beautiful park in calabasas with a hiking trail up to a tree swing.  there was a treasure chest piƱata, a treasure hunt and a big inflatable pirate ship.  ahoy mateys.


and finally in the evening we did our new sunday tradition of mass at 5:30 and dinner at our favorite mexican place.  they have the best tacos, the best bean and cheese burritos and by far the best chips and salsa in town.  if you live in the valley you must go to melody's in reseda.

i hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as we did.

Friday, January 21, 2011

five on friday | kitchen favorites

i do have a thing for kitchen items.  i love tools and dishes (and cookbooks).  but for today i wanted to post my five favorite kitchen items.

1.  santoku knife

love this knife.  it's definitely a splurge at $100.  but i bought it on sale and with a gift card.  this is not an ordinary knife.  it is sharp and the blade is wide so it cuts through chicken, meat, potatoes and just about anything with ease.  see those grooves?  it helps to keep the food from sticking to the knife and piling up as you cut.  the high price comes with a commitment, though.  i take extra care of this knife.  it doesn't go in the dishwasher where it can dull from the intense heat.  it doesn't go in a drawer where it can bang against other tools and dull.  i don't sharpen it with my knife sharpener at home.  i take care of it and protect it like my child.  ok that's exaggerating a bit, but just a bit.  all of my other knives are average ones from macy's.  but this one is a jewel and worth the price. i took a cooking class a few years ago and the chef there recommended this swiss army chef's knife.
at $30 it's a deal.  she said it was highly scored by consumer reports.  it's something to add to my wish list.

another luxury item but one that will last a lifetime and cook like no other pot you own.  it is made in france, ooh la la.  it is basically a cast iron pot that is coated with enamel and it comes in some beautiful colors.  what i love is that once this pot is heated it maintains it's heat.  the heat is even throughout.  i use it to make soup every week.  i own this pot that i bought from someone on ebay and paid considerably less.  a few years ago bobby also bought me the teapot in the same color.  next on my wish list is this braiser.

i bet my mexican rice would come out perfectly every time.

3. oxo tongs
some people call this the most essential kitchen tool.  i agree.  mainly because you can use it for so many things.  grilling, pulling french fries out of the oven, serving salad.  i love that these are coated with rubber at the tips to keep them from getting too hot and prevent the food from sticking.  and the price really does make this a must have tool for everyone.

4. stoneware
i have a few stoneware pieces.  a round pizza stone, a lasagna baker and this one.  what's not to love about stoneware?  you have the perfect place to evenly bake cookies, bread, pizza or fish.  i also like this shape to put the pizza on.  i can cut the pizza into squares and that works better for us.  i put it in the oven as it heats and then slide the pizza on and listen for the sizzling sound.  all of my pieces are from pampered chef but you can find them at a lot of kitchen stores.

the last one was a hard decision.  i have many other items that are my favorites.  my food processor (both large and mini), my large cutting board, and my silpat.  but i have to say that this might be the winner.

5. kitchenaid mixer
this was a gift from bobby and my sister almost 12 years ago when i decided to quit working and be a stay-at-home mom.  i think they were hoping that if i had this mixer i would stay home all day and bake brownies.  my mixer is an earlier model than this sleek version.  it might be time for an upgrade.  loving the buttercup and green apple to go with my kitchen.  it is the best mixer i have ever owned.  it frees you up to do other things while your cookie or cake is mixing.  it can fluff egg whites, mix frosting or knead bread dough.  a few things i need to add is the new glass bowl.

and this pasta maker.
oooh, fresh made pasta, something on my to-do list this year.

so there you have it.  i'll have to do another post with what else is on my wish list.

leave a comment if you have a favorite kitchen tool.

have a good weekend.