Monday, October 31, 2011

weekly menu:: week 44

this week it's all about fall flavors.

making this week:
monday: chicken, spaghetti and hot dogs for the kids
tuesday: pork chops, homemade applesauce, autumn salad
wednesday: biscuit topped chicken pot pie
thursday: butternut squash soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
friday: pizza?  feeling like i need a break from pizza so this is subject to change.
saturday: the boys are on a campout, girls are eating out
sunday: leftovers

baking this week:
at first i thought it would be crazy to bake something on the week of halloween.  but to be honest i'm not a big candy eater.  i can have a few pieces and be good.  so i know i won't be eating them all week.  i'm really craving more pumpkin bread so i thought i would give this pumpkin pull apart bread a try. i will make these modifications to it.

have a wonderful halloween.

Friday, October 28, 2011

five on friday:: trick or treats

today is the school's halloween carnival.  it's the first year i am not on the planning committee.
tomorrow we have a halloween birthday party.
and monday we'll be out with the ghouls and goblins scoring some babe ruths and snicker bars.

needless to say, halloween is here.
i've made a few things over the years that would be perfect to serve on halloween or take to a halloween pot luck.

1. mummy cupcakes

love this idea.  it's so easy if you use a boxed cake mix and store bought icing, like i did.  i made mini cupcakes for the middle school dance last week and they turned out so cute.  i drizzled the icing in a zig zag pattern and used mini m&m's for the eyes.  i ended up with over 100 cupcakes using 2 cake mixes.

2.  apple coffee cake

i know this isn't halloween-ish but it's so good i had to share.  the apple filling was just perfect.  a great, not too sweet treat to have with some coffee. the recipe is quite a process, not an easy one.  but in the end it was worth it.

3. mini pumpkin tiramisus
wow.  these were so good.  cream cheese and pumpkin filling, layered with whipped cream and lady fingers.  and then topped with chocolate shavings.  just a note, i made these for our kindergarten social.  i made them ahead of time and then put them on the serving platter and then drove to the house where we were having the social. i held them on my lap the entire ride over and freaked out as they slid and tipped over.  bobby had to drive 15 miles an hour the whole way there.  BIG mistake. i obviously didn't think this through and will do it differently next time for sure.  but these were definitely worth making again.  find the recipe here.

4. chili and chips

i thought i had this recipe posted somewhere on my blog.  maybe i do and i just can't find it right now.  super easy turkey chili.  cook up the ground turkey with a little garlic salt and then put in your crock pot.  add a can of kidney beans, a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 cans of chili beans and let it go.  no need to add seasoning, the chili beans do all the work.  i top it with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions.  and look what i found at the store this week.

i'm such a sucker for marketing.

5. hot dog mummies
i made these last year for the kids but never got a good picture of them.  hot dogs wrapped in breadstick dough.  use ketchup or mustard for eyes.  recipe can be found here.

have fun celebrating or relaxing this weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

blog your heart

i have to be honest...
i've been struggling with what to post for the last few weeks.
i mean really struggling.
i think you can tell.
i put it off.  i write at the last minute.  i don't have a plan.

today i knew i wanted to write about honesty.
being honest.
with myself.
with life.

then i read this post by stephanie howell.
and there was my answer.

blog from the heart.

so here goes:

1.  i've been so preoccupied lately.  stressed, overwhelmed, a little loopy.  it's a busy time.  the kids had an incredible amount of homework and projects and tests last week.  we had parties and socials and meetings.  it got to be a little too much to stay on top of it all.  i'm glad that week is over.  this week it's been all about halloween.  school carnival, kids' costumes and parties.  the truth is the work never ends.  i need to learn to deal with it better.  yoga and running are helping.  at least to get rid of some of the stress and feel at the end of the day that i did something positive for me.

2. my to-do list isn't getting any shorter.  i have projects and housework that i have been trying to get to.   it seems overwhelming to start.  but the truth is that if i could get through it, it would make life so much easier.  getting rid of the clutter and excess helps us see clearly what we have and what we really need.  i'm focusing on doing it a little at a time. 15 minutes sound so much easier to handle than 3 hours.  it will get done in time.

3. halloween costumes...always a last minute task for us.  i'm not sure how into the holiday the kids are to begin with.  sofia didn't want to wear her pajamas to school yesterday on "pajama day".  i can't expect her to wear her costume to school on friday.  but we finally have them all.  and i know they will all look great.

4. work is on my mind.  work is always on my mind.  i think the topic alone warrants a blog post in itself.  i've been an at home mom for 12 years.  i've thought about going back to work for 12 years. i've done a little here and there.  but the reality is, the time has come to commit to something.  i have lots of questions, self doubt and excuses.  looking for the answers and advice as i go.

5. live in the moment.  last week when i was in the throws of cupcake making and event planning and dealing with issues at school i had a breakdown.  i cried.  i lost it.  i thought about everything that was going wrong, that i hadn't done, that i knew i had no control over.  and in that moment i asked myself, what do i need to accomplish right now?  forget about everything else.  what is the priority?  that was frosting the cupcakes.  that's what i did.  i focused all of my energy on doing it and doing it well. and somehow that made everything better.

6. i've had conversations with friends who read my blog and i'm afraid i'm leaving an impression that i have it all together.  could not be farther from the truth.  maybe i just choose to focus on the positive and fun on this blog (except for maybe this post).  the yoga teacher told us in class that you can train your mind to think about the details of one thing so that it doesn't wander off and think about those things you'd rather not think about.  life for me is not hard.  life is challenging.  and it comes in waves.  the great thing is that i can recognize the bad and the good.  i am thankful for all of it. i am more grateful than i have ever been in my life.  thankful for my family, my home, the things that we are able to do, the body that keeps me moving everyday, whether i am nice to it or not.  that's what i write about.

and i am so very thankful that you took the time to read this.

have a great one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

wordless wednesday:: friends and bullies

her friendship award

the 3 musketeers posing with the bully-o-meter from their play, "bullies anonymous"

Monday, October 24, 2011

weekly menu:: week 43

i made it through a very busy week.
i am heading into a very busy week.
i may not have it all in order.
but i know what we'll be having for dinner.

making this week::
monday:  potato crusted red snapper, steamed vegetables
tuesday:  chicken tostadas
wednesday:  black bean and grilled vegetable burritos
thursday: grilled balsamic bruschetta chicken sandwich, salad
friday: pizza 
saturday: birthday parties
sunday: no plans

i'll share my baking tomorrow.  there was a lot last week.  and it was all good.

happy monday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


wondering what to say.
thinking that there is nothing exciting to talk about.
knowing that i have to keep practicing and writing.
upset that i forgot that today was mix and match day at school.  the kids looked very matched when they left in the morning.
preparing myself to tackle the mess in the sink.  how does it get like that in one day?
vowing to get things ready for school
making the apple coffee cake.
listening to adele's someone like you over and over.
enjoying the quietness of this day.
happy that i took yoga with my sister this morning.
committing to doing another 5k on thanksgiving morning.  it's time.
hoping this persistent cough goes away soon.
thinking and thinking and thinking.

wishing everyone a good day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

weekly menu:: week 42

last week i felt like i was constantly cooking.  not that it was hard.  it was worth it.

the kalua pork cooked in the crock pot for 16 hours!  i thought it was ok but the pineapple fried rice was yummy.  it's all a matter of testing it and finding what's right.
the pizza dough i made last week was amazing.  maybe a bit too good.  i actually ate this piece right out of the oven, folded in half and in about 3 bites.  the sauce was not what i expected.  i am a fan of plain tomato sauce out of the can with italian seasoning.
i also made a goat cheese, red onion and avocado pizza that was brilliant.

this week i needed some help and i got it from some of your suggestions.  please keep them coming.  i wanted to wait on making soup but i guess technically it's cooler weather when you go from 102 degrees to 90 degrees, right?

making this week::
monday:  turkey albondigas soup
tuesday:  chicken caprese sandwich, mixed green salad
wednesday:  pasta with three cheese sauce and broccoli
thursday: chicken and artichoke stir fry, rice
friday: pizza 
saturday: our kindergarten class is having a parent social
sunday: leftovers or eat out

i didn't end up making the pumpkin bread until yesterday.  i put it in the oven and then watched some football.  i loved how great the house smelled while it was baking.  it was good but a little too spicy for me.  i am not a huge nutmeg fan, so i may eliminate it next time and add more cinnamon.  i also left it in the oven about 5 minutes too long.  did i mention i was watching the patriots and cowboys game?  anyway, it was still moist and pumpkiny.  i tweeted about it yesterday and gina from skinnytaste said she may have made a mistake on the amount of baking soda.  if there is a correction she will repost the recipe.  so check back on her site later if you want to give it a try.

baking this week::
this week i have a pto meeting, the first middle school dance of the year, and the parent social on saturday.  so i will be very busy baking, decorating and socializing.  this is what i have planned.

pto meeting:  i'm making apple cinnamon coffee cake.  so that's that.
middle school dance: i decided to go with the mummy cupcakes.  halloween theme and yummy.
kindergarten social: i'm going to try these mini pumpkin tiramisus.  it looks easy and will be pretty on a big platter.

any big plans for you this week?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


i read this and loved it.

i have this in the crock pot and it smells divine.  will make pineapple fried rice to go with it.

thanks to your suggestions, i have next week's dinner menu all set.  please keep them coming.

it will be 102 in the valley.  so much for the cooler weather.

i am uploading 100 photos to costco so i can get caught up with project life.

i am thinking about my journal for december.  i'm starting to see them pop up here and there.  will most likely wait to see what studio calico has and go from there.  christmas will be here before we know it.

i skipped zumba this morning because jordan had an orthodontist appointment.  but i will be there next week without fail.

i am so excited for jordan who is going to his first rock concert tonight.  i hope he will be awake at school tomorrow.

Source: via Gioconda on Pinterest

i am thinking about making these for the middle school dance next week.  i was thinking cute, not gory.

i am hoping to upgrade to the new iphone soon.  who doesn't need siri in their life?  i wonder of she does laundry.

i am having a wonderful thursday.  hope you are too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

finding focus

one of the things that has helped me over the last month to focus is the practice of yoga.  now don't get nervous that i am about to get all new agey on you.  it's not like that. ok, maybe a little.

i've taken yoga many times over the years.  some more intense than others.  i am currently taking a class that i love.  it's not difficult.  i can handle the poses pretty easily.  i consider it my "break" from the tougher work outs throughout the week.  

i love that i am comfortable with it.  it makes me feel stronger, to be able to hold the poses or do the stretches.  i can even go into a pose without looking at the teacher for reference.

but here's the difference:  she refers to the yoga class as a practice.  hmm, never considered it like that.  

practice:: Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.

that's what i'm doing.  i'm not taking yoga or going to yoga or doing yoga.  i am practicing yoga.  

one of the things i admire about just about every yoga instructor i've ever had is their calmness and visible peace.  well that and their body's are a work of art.  i don't think that any workout gives you the body that yoga does.

every move that we do is with intention.  don't just put your foot there,  place your foot with intention.  don't just twist your body, feel the movement vertebrae by vertebrae.  everything has a purpose.  you focus on the movement of your body, for stability, for strength, to the point of feeling comfort not pain.  

a huge focus is on breathing.  in...and out.  i realized that i take very shallow breathes.  once i started concentrating on filling my lungs completely and then letting the breathe out completely it automatically gave me a sense of release and calm.  and it's something i have to practice throughout the day.  

yoga is also about taking your time.  listening to your body and easing into the moves.  not like yesterday when i was talking myself out of slowing down on the treadmill, telling myself to ignore the heaviness that i felt, to let go of the weariness and uncomfortableness, to push through.  finishing a run gives me a different sense of strength and accomplishment.  finding the balance is what i'm striving for.

the instructor will tell us to release the tension, even in your toes.  didn't know i had tension there but i do.  we will fix our gaze on one point to help focus and find balance.  isn't that the truth in life?  she tells us to sit tall and relaxed but engage our core for strength.  always be mindful, always be intentional.  

one of my favorite parts of yoga is the relaxation exercise at the end.   i quiet my mind that is usually running a mile a minute; the thought of laundry, the to-do list that i have when i get home, the tough life decisions.  i let it go, for 10 minutes.  i work on blocking out the noise and distraction around me. i find that peace that i know is there.  and that i hope will last till my next class.

yoga helps me breath when the kids are getting the best of me, listen when i think i don't know the answer, focus on what is important right now and find balance when i'm feeling unsteady.  sometimes it works and sometimes it's just not worth it.  but i'll keep trying.  that is why it's called a practice.


Monday, October 10, 2011

weekly menu:: week 41

chicken and soba noodle soup from last week

ugh...feeling so blah about dinners lately.  i feel like i've done that, over that, hate that.  i'm not sure what's going on but i want my inspiration back.

i found a few recipes online this week, but for the most part it's the same old, same old.

making this week:
monday:  chicken pita wrap with tzaziki sauce
tuesday:  bean and cheese burritos, salad
wednesday:  bbq salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli
thursday:  crock pot kalua pork, pineapple fried rice
friday: pizza, i'm gonna try this dough
saturday:  eat out
sunday: leftovers

the cupcakes i made for sofia's birthday on friday were actually pretty good.  i cheated and used store bought frosting and added strawberry preserves to it.  that was good too.  sofia was impressed that i made them from scratch.  she's cool that way.

baking this week:
this week i was inspired by the pumpkin patch we went to yesterday.  i'll be making this lowfat pumpkin bread.  i hope it's good.

help me out:
how about if you share something amazing you've eaten lately, at home or dining out.  something that made you go mmmmm and lick your plate.  maybe i can try and duplicate it.  i'm up for anything at this point.

Friday, October 7, 2011

celebrating sofia

dear sofia,
i  can't believe it's been six years since i carried you.
the moment you were born was something i will never forget.  getting to bring you into the world with my own two hands, it was amazing. - someday i'll show you the video.
watching your brothers hold you and love you was everything i wished for.
the bond you have is unbreakable.  they will always be your friend and protectors - remember that.
seeing the relationship you have with your dad is precious.  he always wants the best for you. -remember that too.
you are sunshine and smiles.
and big brown eyes.

you bring a curiosity to the world that makes everything new.
you are absolutely beautiful.  but don't let that get in the way of the fact that you are caring and smart - i hope you find that matters more in this life. 
you are adventurous, but cautious.  you remind me to take risks, even if i don't know the outcome.

you make friends with such ease.  boys and girls.  young and old. and then you nurture and care for that friendship.  they will never forget that about you.
you are independent and strong.  but you know when to look for help.  and you remind me how much i am still needed in your life.

you are gracious and thoughtful.  not just by saying please and thank you, but by showing people that you are thankful for them.
you make me laugh, and you enjoy that.

your strong will has proved to be quite a challenge.  thank you for reminding us that even though we had two kids already we had much to learn about being parents.
you test us.  you push us. and we push back.  we know that's what you want.  we hope we are doing it right.

you remind us to enjoy the simple things in life and be in awe of the little things that i may have passed by.

you discover and admire all that is good in the world.  never taking anything for granted.
you have such confidence in yourself.  i see you approach a new situation with trepidation but so sure of yourself that you do it anyway. - please stay that way.

your memory blows me away.  the way you remember numbers and parent's name - thank you for that by the way.  it has really come in handy.

you remember those moments in your life that meant something to you.  even though i may not have thought so.
you are wildly creative.  and you know how to express yourself.  in fashion, in music, and in art.  i hope i gave you some of that creativity and i hope you take it and run with it.

you have taught me so much.

thank you for telling me that "you are the best mom ever." i really believe it.  and "you look beautiful, even when you wake up in the morning."

thank you for still wanting to spend time with me, coloring, playing old maid, or reading a book.  i'm not sure how much longer that will last, so i will cherish it.
please be nice.  to everyone.  but don't let anyone take advantage of you.  believe that you are worth more than that.

remember this brave little girl who could do anything she wanted to do. - she can and she will.

you are loved by many.

but no one more than me.
happy birthday to my lovey.

love, mom

Thursday, October 6, 2011

{re}focus:: october

i realized a few days ago that we are 3/4 of the way through the year.  it does seem like time is set on warp speed lately. doesn't it? that leaves us with 3 months...3 of the busiest months of the year.  but also 3 of the most exciting months of the year.  that is, if you love food, and family, and togetherness like i do.

it's also the last few months to make good use of my word: focus.

i have worked hard to incorporate the word into my everyday life.   keeping it present in my mind.  this is the first year that i've made it more visible and really put it to work.  i'm already thinking of my word for 2012.  there is one that's been popping up.  i'll see if it sticks.

i plan to focus for the next 3 months on the things that matter to me.

::bake something::
i had fun with that in september and i plan to continue it this month.  i have a few recipes selected for this month that include pumpkin muffins, coffee cake and a few halloween treats.  this is going to be a tasty month.

::stay active::
with the additional calories i have to burn equal or more calories.  i feel like i have a good routine going at the gym.  not feeling bored yet and definitely feeling challenged (aka sore).  i just want to keep the momentum going.  it's been a constant struggle.  yesterday, after spending 2 hours at meetings at school, i wanted so badly to drive right past the ymca and go home to a hot bowl of soup.  but i didn't do it.  i worked out for an hour and felt great.  and then went home to that bowl of soup.  the workout made it so worth it.

::play with my camera::
i haven't picked it up much lately, except to take the occasional food photo.  i want to take it out more this month.  experiment a bit.  see the world through the lens again.

::be inspired::
last month i focused on taking a breath.  this month i want to feel inspired.  i want to be a bit curious.  i want to discover something beautiful.

lately i've been worried about making a decision with what i want to do with my life.  i've been trying to figure it out.  i've worked at letting my passion come through. yesterday i read these words and i knew that the answer will come to me.

"The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." 

and this

"have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
-Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

on being flexible

my tuesday schedule:

drop the kids off at school.
flexibility:  tuesdays are actually bobby's day to drop them off.  but he had a meeting to get to early so i took them.

i take a yoga class on tuesday mornings at the y with a great teacher.  stretching, concentration and balance = a peaceful tuesday morning.
flexibility:  sofia woke up with a cough and a bit lot of crankiness.  we made it to school but then made the decision to bring her back home.  that means that "peaceful tuesday" will have to become "patience tuesday."

tuesdays are my house cleaning days.  i try to get as much done as possible, dusting, moping, cleaning bathrooms.
flexibility - i still plan on cleaning today but will have to work around sofia on the couch.  i'll try not to get in the way of the tv.

finish grocery shopping.
flexibility - i'm still trying to get used to this new schedule.  i do my shopping on mondays, for the most part.  but with the gym, showering and fitting in some breakfast, i don't get started until later in the day.  so i ran out of time yesterday.  i just need a few more things so it will be a quick trip.  but now i have a sick 5 year old with me which could present an interesting challenge.

meet with the kindergarten teacher about room parent stuff.
flexibility - having a sick one home throws everything off.  i am supposed to meet with her teacher to go over the events for the school year.  so my mom comes to the rescue.  luckily she is only working part of the day today so she can stay with sofia while i head to school.

the plan was to come home and nurse sofia back to health.
flexibility: she is now drumming to the songs from her favorite show while asking for hot chocolate to drink.  is it too late to take her back to school?

this is my life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

weekly menu:: week 40

autumn chopped turkey salad from last week

hello october.
i'm happy to see you.
what do you have in store for me?
no stressing or too much hard work.
that can wait for november and december.
let me relax and enjoy this time.

making this week:
monday:  salmon with red pepper pesto, spinach salad
tuesday:  chicken and soba noodle soup, vegetable egg rolls
wednesday:  bbq turkey burgers, sweet potato fries
thursday:  chicken taquitos, rice
friday: sofia's requested pizza for her birthday
saturday:  break fast with our friends from school.  not breakfast. we will be breaking the fast with our friends who celebrate yom kippur.
sunday: eat out

baking this week:
sofia also requested strawberry cupcakes for her birthday.  i'm making them from scratch.  i'll use either this recipe or this one. they both look good.  maybe i'll have a box mix for back up, just in case.

have a great week.