Friday, April 29, 2011

five on friday :: being a princess

the buzz in the air is all about the royal wedding today.  so i asked the expert, at least in our house,
what does it take to be a princess?

1. a crown or tiara
you wear it and it makes you look pretty.

2.  high heels
to make their feet look cute.  and sometimes you get to wear a glass slipper

3. nail polish and gloves
to make your nails and hands look pretty.

4. pretty dresses
like a pink one, a blue one, a yellow one, a green one, a purple one and a turquoise one.  some of them are poofy and sparkly.

5. a castle
they live with the king and quenn and some of them have step sisters.  and friends like pots.  they have a lot of dresses and a sunken ship like ariel.

when i knew i was having a girl i vowed not to let the "princess" word into our house.  but after the first princess shirt arrived, i let go of that.  you can't avoid it with all the pink and prettiness associated with girls. but i do end all our princess stories like this:

"they were married and lived happily ever after, because she went to college and got a job and met someone who loved her for who she was and they were equal partners that respected each other and shared responsibility of the household and children."  see, you can have it both ways.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

one of those days

you know those days.
the ones where you feel like you've given all you've got.
the ones where you end the day wondering what happened to those 15 hours i had this morning.
the ones where you added more things to your to do list than you crossed off.

you know those days.
the ones where you run around in circles, fill your car with gas and then run around again.
the ones where you wonder how you managed to go to a meeting and remember to bring what you were responsible for and offer creative suggestions.
the ones where you coordinate and solve issues only to have everything fall apart.
the ones where you drive away wondering, how am i going to get this all done?
the ones where you realize you are not.

you know those days.
the ones where you drop your daughter off at school and are reminded that you are responsible for snack the next day.
the ones where you rush to the grocery store.
the ones where your friend invites you over for a deli sandwich and talk about losing weight before summer.
the ones where you laugh and laugh and then rush out so you're not late for pick-up.

you know those days.
where you are never at the right place when you need to be; close to a computer, in a good cell phone spot, near pen and paper.
the ones where you get phone calls from strangers because your cell phone number was printed on a mass mailing for a bank.
the ones where you just can't answer everyone's questions when you need to.

you know those days.
where your son pitches a confident second inning.
where you get an email that confirms you are about to do something amazing.
where you chat with your sister about the trip you are about to take.
where your other son brings home a 100% in a subject he's been struggling with.
where your husband tells you over and over how good dinner was.
where you can't think of anything to blog about, and then you finish your post.

i had one of those days.
but today is a new day.
and i'm ready for it.

make it a great one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'

i've been daydreaming lately about hopping on a plane and going somewhere.  new or familiar.  near or far.  i think i just need a vacation.  for a few days or an extended stay.  just the two of us, or the whole family. i think about sleeping in a hotel room.  someone else making the beds.  someone else cooking.  no bills or emails to look at.  seeing new things.  hanging out together.  feeling rejuvenated.  just having fun.

here are a few of the places i have in mind.  some are happening and some are just ideas and dreams.

san luis obispo - we were here last fall for the wedding of bobby's step-sister.  we got to see some of the town and nearby locations and i fell in love with the little neighborhoods.  antique stores, restaurants, and beaches.  we will be going back in july for another wedding and are hoping to make a mini vacation of it.  it's relatively close to home and yet it feels like we went somewhere.

las vegas - we're not gamblers but lately heading out to vegas for a few days of good food, entertainment and a sweet hotel sounds like fun.  it would be an adults only trip but a much needed getaway.  i think about hanging out by the pool, shopping, having some drinks and losing some money at the slot machines just for fun.  we were here for a few hours 3 years ago on our way home from a road trip.  we stayed at an rv park. not exactly the glamorous life but fun still.  vegas sounds like a good time to me.

chicago - i've never been.  i've always wanted to go.  the shopping and city life.  the amazing restaurants and architecture.  did i mention the shopping?  my dad used to go to chicago on business trips and that's as close as i've gotten.  yes, i imagined myself going with a group to see the oprah show.  but that never came to be.  there is still hope, right?    maybe it's the fact that every time someone says "chicago", the kids simultaneously jump into a chorus of "chicagoooo, chicagoooo" from an episode of the kids show victorious.  silly, but that's our kids. it just sounds like a city i would enjoy.

palm springs - there is something about palm springs that sounds lovely to me.  maybe it's from watching all of those episodes of mad men and thinking about the sixties and martinis and frank sinatra.  we will be going in june for a few days.  bobby will be teaching at a seminar and the kids and i will be hanging out by the pool.  and we are staying in a super cool resort.  the best part is that it's right after school gets out.  it will be the perfect way to celebrate the end of a great school year.  looking forward to it.
tuscany - still dreaming about our trip 2 years ago to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  which reminds me, i never finished those posts...  it was the most incredible trip.  just the two of us all over tuscany.  we want to take the kids next time.  they are studying ancient world cultures and a vacation like this would be the perfect field trip.  hopefully we can stay at the same house.  it was perfect and close enough for day trips to pisa, volterra, lucca and siena.  someday, we will go back.

new york - what can i say?  i  ny.  see some plays, hang out in time square and central park.  shop and see the sights.  we took the kids when they were little but they don't remember much of it.  heck, i hardly remember it.  but i would love to see the museums, go to a baseball game.  eat, eat, and eat.  this one will take some convincing for bobby.  he is not a city person and has "been there, done that."  so i may need to make a girls trip somehow.  any takers?

hawaii - this has been on our vacation list for the past few years.  our last time there we stayed at a private house on the beach in maui.  it was amazing.  the beaches, the warm sun, the soft sand.  snorkeling, a cocktail, the sunset.  what's not to love?  really!  not this year, but hopefully next year we will return.  and after a few recommendations we may go to the big island.  it sounds so relaxing.

i know some of you will be disappointed that the list didn't include a houseboat, rv or quads.  trust me those are always on the list, just not mine.  maybe bobby should share his list and we could have you choose our next vacation . . .

i am really happy to say that i am taking a little trip next month with my sister to one of these destinations.  totally unexpected, totally quick but totally gonna have a blast.  will share more once the plans are confirmed.

feel free to guess or let me in on your summer plans.

Monday, April 25, 2011

easter weekend and weekly menu

i don't know how i am going to post about food when i ate so much over the weekend.

we started eating at friday's pot luck at the park with some moms from the preschool.  then dinner at my parents.  saturday took the kids to see rio.  fun and colorful movie.  that night we decided to go to easter vigil mass since we knew that our sunday was packed.  mass was at 7:30 pm and we didn't have dinner before going.  well, this mass included a beautiful candlelight procession into the church, followed by nine readings, followed by lots of singing, followed by baptism of r.c.i.a. candidates, followed by more readings and more singing.  2 1/2 hours later we were starving and so tired.  we ended up at ihop  at 10 o'clock for some pancakes.

easter sunday we had an italian breakfast with bob and d, angela and mike.  crepes, ham, an italian casserole and an egg hunt.

 look who found the golden egg.

for dinner we visited the great grandparents and celebrated my mother in law's birthday.  more ham, birthday cake and more easter candy.  it was all so good, but so filling.

honestly, i feel like this week i need to have water and celery but i don't think the family would appreciate that.  i'll have to spend some extra time on the treadmill instead.

monday -tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
tuesday - pasta with chicken, sundried tomatoes and light cream sauce (looking for a recipe that has these ingredients.  i might have to make something up.)
wednesday - turkey chili and cornbread (perfect for after baseball game)
thursday - panko crusted salmon,green beans and roasted potatoes
friday - andrew and i are going to knott's berry farm for a music festival all day.  bobby and the other kids will eat out.
saturday - our big gala at the kids' school. so looking forward to this night.
sunday - homemade pizza

and thanks to everyone for the sweet comments on friday.  i love writing this blog and it makes me happy that people enjoy reading it.

wishing you a wonderful monday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

five on friday

sunday, april 24 will mark my blogiversary, as they say.  i have been writing here, and on my old mac site, for 4 years.  crazy.  but so cool.

5 things i've learned from blogging.

1.  it's important to share my story.
recording our story, pictures and everyday life means something to me and to my family.  when i look back at my first post 4 years ago, i can remember what life was like.  the kids were younger, but still adorable.  life was changing and hectic and fun.  it still is but in a different way.  i am so happy i have those stories documented here.

2.  believe that every post matters
yes, this is fun.  yes, this is an outlet.  no, i don't think this will become my career. since january i've been able to post daily, monday through friday.  but i don't want to post just to have something up.  i want to say something.  and i want it to mean something to someone.

3.  share what i love
my favorite posts are the ones that come from my heart.  those are the easiest to write and the ones i find get the best response.  whether it's stories about being mom, which i want to do more of, or stories about school or just plain pictures, it's things that have meaning in my life, big or small.

4.  i need an editor
i write in stream of consciousness which doesn't always work. it helps to have someone (bobby) read my posts and correct my spelling or syntax.  and also challenge me.  what did you mean?  i don't think your point comes through here.  it needs something.  and when i'm doubting what i wrote, he'll say it looks great, post it.  it helps that he's a writer as well.  he knows where i am coming from.

5.  just write
i have definitely kicked it up this year.  i am taking this more seriously.  in order for me to keep this up i have to find ways to simplify.  i write at night after the kids go to bed or in the day when i have some quiet time.  i plan ahead. i keep a notebook with me.  i think about writing all the time.  as i'm going through my day i ask myself questions:  what story do i want to tell today?  would anyone be interested in this thing that happened?  what is my intention? as a child i kept a journal and i challenged myself to write something everyday.  sometimes just a line.  sometimes more.  putting words down on paper, or a computer, can be so very powerful.

i'll be celebrating on sunday.  well, celebrating easter and my mother-in-law's birthday.  but maybe i'll have a little something special to remember this occasion.

are you wondering what to give on a blogiversary?  how about a comment.  that would be cool.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


i'm in inspiration mode.  to be inspired and to turn that inspiration into something.  i can see glimpses of it.  people's reactions to things i've posted here, conversations that i've had with friends, thoughts that are in my head for days until i am able to get them down on paper or onto my computer or into my art journal.  i feel like i'm a sponge taking it all in, reacting to it internally and then putting out my own positive energy.

personally i feel myself changing.

change - the definition that fits me right now is
to become different or undergo alteration.

i am there, "undergoing alteration".
focusing on the person i want to be.
finding ways to become better.
a better mom
a better wife
a listener
a doer
someone who is positive
someone that believes in goodness
someone that has passion
someone that makes a difference
someone who lives honestly
someone that lives with joy
someone who fights for what she believes

and over the last few weeks i have been challenged.
i have examined and reexamined.
i have searched.
i have breathed.

it's crazy how you focus on something and it all starts to fall into place.
you have to be in the right place to accept it.
being open to change and inspiration makes life bright and refreshing.
those little details become the big picture.
those moments that you would otherwise let go of, linger and stir in you.
the words you see evolve and transform you.

there is change going on around me, now more than ever.
my sister is getting married.
sofia is starting kindergarten.
bobby's career is moving forward.
i have new friendships.
i am searching for "my passion".

this morning after letting the boys in on an exciting "secret" involving their school, andrew said "i don't like change.  i want things to stay the same."  he tends to react that way.  jordan's reaction was, "it's a part of life andrew.  you have to get used to it and enjoy it."

it's scary.
it's exciting.
it's emotional
it is change and i embrace it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

teacher appreciation

i am the hospitality chair for the pto.  i've been the chair/co-chair for about 3 years now.  this position is perfect for me because hospitality deals with all things food related.  food for pto meetings, food for grandparent's day, and food for volunteers at different events.  but the best part of this job is planning the teacher appreciation luncheon twice a year.

the first one is in september, as we welcome the teachers and staff back to school.  and the second one is in april, at the end of teacher appreciation week.  i love that we get to pamper them with a hearty feast.  they are always so appreciative, which makes us feel so good.

i try to come up with a theme for the luncheon.  last year the school-wide theme was "going green", so we did a picnic on one of our fields.  we served bbq chicken and beef sandwiches with cole slaw and salad, chips and dessert.

this year our school-wide theme is "ancient world cultures".  we took the five cultures and created an international salad bar that looked like this:

china:  chinese chicken salad
greece:  greek salad
mayan:  black bean and corn salad
rome: pasta salad
egypt: couscous salad

ok, it's a loosely based interpretation of the cultures but it worked.  we also had a fruit salad, rolls and lots of desserts; brownies, cookies and honey cake.

after the menu was set, i recruited parents to contribute to the luncheon.  moms and dads signed up to bring one of the salads or any of the other items that we needed.  it's easy to get volunteers - families love to help out the teachers.

we set up a buffet line and seating for the teachers on the lawn.  the mom i work with does all of the decor, table cloths, centerpieces and servingware.  then we set up and wait for the hungry people to arrive.

i made the couscous salad this time around.  it's a recipe i learned while taking a cooking class at the california health and longevity institute a few years ago.  i love everything about this salad and was so happy to make it.

couscous and vegetable salad
10 oz of couscous, cooked i use israeli couscous because it's bigger and easier to use.  it's more of a pasta.
3 cups of greens; arugula, spring mix or baby greens
2 cups vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
2 cups of corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup salted pumpkin seeds i buy a bag of unsalted and then i toast them and salt them.
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup asiago cheese, grated

1/2 cup fresh, packed basil leaves
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 cup lite mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender. blend until smooth.  i put mine in a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

mix all of the salad ingredients, except the cheese, in a large bowl and toss to combine.

when ready to serve mix in the salad dressing and sprinkle the cheese on top.


this dish is perfect in the summer with grilled fish or chicken.

although i couldn't make for you, this goes out to the wonderful teachers in our family, and there are many, and friends who are all amazing.  thank you for all that you do.

weekly menu:: week 16

this weekend went by way too fast.  we had great weather and lots of fun.  2 birthday parties, a baseball game and playing cards with my family.  always a good time.

sofia is on spring break this week. and then everyone has friday off.  here's what i have planned for dinner.

monday - chicken rollatini with prosciutto and cheese, and a spinach salad
tuesday - turkey burgers with oven fries (i have a pampered chef party to go to)
wednesday - pork chops with cornbread stuffing and green beans
thursday - pasta with mixed vegetables
good friday - grilled snapper with brown rice and vegetables
saturday - eat out or leftovers
sunday - easter and mom-in-law's birthday.  (i'm sure we'll be eating something good.)

kicking some things into high gear this week.   i'm really feeling the spring cleaning vibe.  and that includes cleaning out my diet.  feeling like i need to get my diet balanced.  as andrew's friday folder reminded me this morning, summer is just a few weeks away.  that means bathing suits and bridal showers and mini vacations and WEDDINGS!  today seems like the perfect day to get motivated.

hope your weekend was outstanding.

Friday, April 15, 2011

five on friday:: scrapbooking wish list

i am falling in love with scrapbooking all over again.  or is it more the product that i am falling in love with?  i really enjoy seeing what other people create with paper and pictures and i take bits and pieces of what i love and put it into my layouts.

i think the fact that i am taking a class is reigniting the creative flame.  i've been doing some virtual shopping lately and here's what i would love the ups person to deliver to my front door.
1.  fancy pants it's the little things paper pad
i picked up a couple of sheets of this at a scrapbook store a few weeks ago but now i want it all.  love the color mixed with the black and white. text, lines, florals.  i could see myself using entire sheets and bits and pieces of it on a layout. maybe i should get 2 pads just in case.

2. elle's studio handmade layers
again, i could see myself using every last bit of this. the whole line of embellishments is awesome. and i love that it can go with anything.

3. studio calico may kit
i used to subscribe to their monthly kit club but gave it up for a while.  the sneaks for their upcoming kit came out this week and i am in love.  it even has bits from some of the things on my wish list.  may have to make a purchase this month.

4.  mists
i have resisted for such a long time.  i even own a bottle in silver but have only used it once.  but i love what others have done and now i want to try it too.  my first purchase will be the aqua color . . . or the yellow . . .or the green . . .

5. cardstock
a gigantic stack of white, cream, kraft and light gray cardstock.  i seem to have used it all up.  to me it is the perfect base for a layout that you can add any color, pattern or picture to.  and i absolutely love what marcy does with a simple sheet of white paper.

thinking about all these supplies makes me want to go to my little corner and make something fun and happy.  i'll definitely be doing that this weekend.

please share your wishlist with me.  there's always room for more . . .

Thursday, April 14, 2011

five people twelve times:: 3.11

is it in like a lion out like a lamb?  or in like a lamb out like a lion?  either way march came in with a roar and ended very quietly.  march tends to sneak up on me.  i guess because i am just feeling like i am getting used to the new year or maybe because february is such a short month.  either way, it comes too fast. here's the roundup on last month.

broke his finger playing baseball one sunday morning.
made a beautiful video for our sister-in-law's 40th birthday that made everyone cry.
worked hard and made it count.
rode his bike to the gym, until he broke his finger.
didn't just coach the cardinals, he inspired them.
he supported her for 3.2 miles and then some.
played a mean game of words with friends.
beat his grandparents at scrabble - oops did i say that out loud.

turned 41.
blogged like a mad woman.
learned that pictures really are worth a thousand words.
felt cautiously optimistic.
hurt her ankle while running 4 miles, but continued to run 5.
crossed the finish line in record time.  ok she doesn't have a record.  well now she does.
had ideas and creative thoughts that kept her up at night.
lost a very special uncle.
had too much on her plate but somehow kept it balanced.

took cartooning as his elective and loved it.
earned a scholarship from his school for the second year in a row.
had a parent teacher conference that made them proud.
learned that effort and care directly affect his grades.
went to a middle school dance and didn't dance.

pitched one inning in his little league game.
learned that speaking up is the only way to be heard.
rode space mountain for the first time and loved it.
had a parent teacher conference that made them proud.
was an adorable oompa loompa.  but doesn't see theatre in his future.

had tons of playdates with her friends.
made orange juice with oranges from our tree with her dad.
got pink eye and was so patient at urgent care for 2 hours.
learned her limits the hard way.
loved being the snack girl and planning the menu for her friends.
is officially signed up for kindergarten.

went to disneyland with the grandparents and had so much fun.
went to san diego and spent time with family.
filed our taxes early and got our refund.
couldn't believe we were paying almost $4 a gallon.
focused on supporting, teaching and listening to each other.

check out the past months 5x12 here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

3 check ups

sorry no photo of jr at the dr's office.  can't believe that one got away from me.
2 shots, one tetnus, one finger prick to check cholesterol.
is only 4 inches shorter than me.
watch his weight gain.
eat slower.
get more exercise.
needed privacy.  from his mother?!
picked up form for school trip.

no shots, one finger prick to check for cholesterol.
may need glasses because he couldn't read the chart. (a surprise to me)
needs to eat more.
focus on high density foods like avocado and figs (both of which he hates).
couldn't remember that he plays baseball when the dr. asked if he plays sports!?
moles look fine.
needed an ear wash.

4 shots, one tb test, and a finger prick to check for anemia.
lots of tears but she handled it well.
needs to eat more.
focus on high density foods like avocado and figs (both of which she loves).
looked so cute while taking her hearing test, which she passed.
could read every letter off the reading chart.
came home with a bag full of toys because the nurse felt bad about giving her so many shots.  she deserved that and more.

i was a little late on getting their physicals done.  they couldn't schedule all three of them at the same time so we did it within days of each other.  i actually liked it that way because i could focus on each one and get questions answered.  they are all healthy and growing well, and cute as can be.

another to do crossed of the list.

Monday, April 11, 2011

weekly menu:: week 15

monday morning.  i have not been looking forward to your return, but i accept you.  i will miss sleeping in.  i will miss the leisure life.  i will miss my boys.  but i accept that life has to return to "normal".

this week's menu.  sorry it's not very inspiring but that may change as the week moves on.

monday - tortellini soup and garlic bread
tuesday - teriyaki chicken, rice and vegetables
wednesday - corn dogs and sausage with peppers and salad
thursday - chicken sopes or tostadas
friday - grilled fish with vegetables
saturday - leftovers or breakfast
sunday - dinner with my parents

this week is teacher appreciation week at our school.  i am coordinating the luncheon on friday at school.  this is one of my favorite events.  parents are so eager to help and show our teacher's and administrators how much we value what they do for our kids.  this time we are serving an international salad bar to go with our school wide theme of ancient world cultures.  i am looking forward to tasting some good food.  and i will be making one of my favorites, couscous salad with a basil buttermilk dressing.  i'll share the recipe next week.

happy monday everyone.

Friday, April 8, 2011

five on friday:: food truck fest

last weekend we did something that we have been wanting to do for a while. sunday afternoon after church we had to go home to pick up our movie passes.  on the way we saw a crowd of people standing in line for the granada hills food truck fest.  we had noticed over the past few months that the food trucks were parking on the major street by our house and had wanted to try them but it never worked out.  today in an instant bobby grabbed some cash from the atm, parked and led us to the madness.  here's what we loved.

1.  it was literally down the street from where we live.  on any given friday, saturday or in this case sunday afternoon we can walk a few yards and get some grub off a food truck.  we had no idea that there was a festival going on.  a whole bunch of trucks with a whole lot of food.

2.  you have to love the names, like slap yo mama serving soul food, papas tapas serving spanish cuisine, and great balls on wheels dishing up gourmet meatballs.  enough said.

3.  everyone gets to choose what they want and stand in line.  in our case we chose two trucks and the two adults did the standing in line.  sliders for the kids from the patty wagon truck.  mini hamburgers on mini buns with mini tomato and mini lettuce.  a side of fries so thin they were more like chips and hansen's natural soda.  then a chickwich for us adults from the tastymeat truck.  chicken shawarma topped with lettuce, tahini, tzaziki and feta sauces all rolled into a warm flatbread. add a side of sweet potato fries from the fresh fries truck with a little chipotle mayo. perfection.

4.  so much more to try.  we didn't want to stand in line for cool haus, a build your own ice cream sandwich truck.  and it's probably better because with flavors like ginger cookies and chocolate bacon ice cream i'm not sure the kids would have been fans.  and i left yearning for the nutella and banana crepes from crepe'n around.  next time i might choose that as my meal.
5.  the crowd of tattooed, pierced and bearded hipsters mixed with families and older couples that all want to enjoy some good food.  and who doesn't want to eat on the sidewalk next to a mannequin?  what an experience for the kids.

who knew our little town would become the cool gathering place?

we did take the kids to menchie's for dessert.  mainstream has it's place.

try taking a walk in your neighborhood this weekend.  you never know what you might run into.