Wednesday, April 25, 2012

taking a breath

it's getting harder these days to do that.  i've skipped my yoga class 2 weeks in a row because training has taken over my life, so i'm a little out of practice.

i am running everyday. doing my best.  challenging myself to be better, stronger and faster.  isn't that a commercial?  but yoga reminds me to breathe deep and focus.  to take in the good with every inhalation and to let stress leave me with every exhalation.  i miss that.  i need that.

it's been go-go-go for the past few weeks.  moving from one thing to the next.  grabbing as i go.  making it to places on time, prepared and ready to participate.  i'm not going to lie.  it's a little exhausting.  i'm managing.  but at moments it becomes overwhelming.

i find that this time of the year does this to me.  big projects are culminating, events we've been working on all year are ready to happen, and throw in that i'm training for one of the biggest challenges of my life just adds to the stress.  although every run is like a breath for me now.  i need that as much as i need yoga.  it has become part of me.

i am working on a week in the life although taking pictures has not been in the front of my mind as much as getting through the day.  but i have been taking some pictures.  i haven't had time to download them to the computer and share.  but i'll post them somehow. the pictures are an indication of where we are in our lives.  a visual history.  they will remind me that we were busy. working hard. supporting each other. and that despite the craziness of the week, we still managed to have fun.

this post is a good note on how this week is going.  a reminder that life moves fast and can be quite hectic and challenging at times.  we all have those kinds of weeks.  i'm looking forward to a slower pace.  a moment to see clearly and evaluate what i need to change to make these times a little easier.

it will come.
it always does.
and i will be able to breath deeply again.

Monday, April 23, 2012

weekly menu:: week 17

chicken fajitas

even i don't believe myself anymore when i say the week will be a little calmer.  it never is, no matter how hard i try.  and this coming week is looking hectic so i know to be prepared.

baseball practice and game, two school meetings, sofia's kindergarten performance, school's open house, olympic projects due for each child, a video to finish and a 40 mile run week.  ay, ya, ya.  if there was ever a time to hire a chef, maid, nanny, trainer and personal assistant, this would be that week.

and to make life a little more... interesting, i am participating in a week in the life.  it is such a fun project to do but i hope i can get through the week with enough pictures.  there will certainly be a lot to photograph.  so if i make it, it will be fun to have a record of what this week looked like.  you can see my posts from previous years here.

hoping for the best.

making this week:
monday: pasta and salad (most likely ravioli)
tuesday: chicken tostadas
wednesday: tuscan white bean soup (i might add some turkey sausage)
thursday: chicken and hummus wraps 
friday: pizza
saturday: eat out
sunday: bbq salmon, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus

baking this week: 
baking some cookies for the treat sale on tuesday.  seriously considering something easy like s'mores for a crowd.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

teacher appreciation luncheon

last week the pto celebrated the wonderful teachers and staff at our school.  we had various events throughout the week, including a coffee cart that made each teacher a warm beverage in the morning, a car wash which was postponed due to the rain, a card, flower or small gift that the students brought in to say thank you.  and on friday we had a luncheon for them.

these luncheons are my favorite events of the year.  a chance to show our appreciation to the wonderful teachers and staff at our school.  i see it as throwing them a party.

we usually have the luncheon outside on our field, but the threat of rain, and the eventual downpour, led us into a classroom.

i set the menu and then requested volunteers to bring in items.  parents love to help at this event, so it's usually pretty easy to get people to bring things.

the menu:
3 types of paninis: turkey and provolone, chicken pomodoro, grilled vegetable
deli tray and matzo for those who were observing passover
caesar salad
ramen noodle salad
fruit salad
dessert:  cookies, brownies, mini cupcakes, gluten free coffee cake and matzo cookies
drinks: soda, water and coffee
i had wonderful ladies helping me out with set up of the classroom and making the sandwiches.
photo from michelle sardella
photo from michelle sardella
despite the rain/lighting/thunderstorm/flooding we were able to move what we needed and set up an inviting atmosphere for the teachers to relax and enjoy some yummy food.

and they did.

oh, and i forgot to mention that we blew a fuse by plugging in 3 panini makers and a huge coffee pot  at the same time.  panic hit me at that point, but it all worked out as it usually does.

after every luncheon, seeing the teachers so happy makes me want to do this more often during the year. but it takes work and a lot of help to pull this together.  and next time we need to do something about the weather.

Monday, April 16, 2012

weekly menu:: week 16

bbq meatball sliders
phew.  made it through another busy week.  i have lots of photos and ideas to share this week.

i've said this before, but this time i really mean it:  this week is going to be calmer.  no big events to organize but still places to go and things to get done.

and of course, more running.  we are 4 weeks away from the race.  this week i have to log in 35 miles. that includes a 10 mile run on saturday, the longest run to date.  i've been able to consistently add miles each week so i know it's possible.  but 10 miles will be huge for me, HUGE.  wish me luck.

making this week:
monday: chicken fajitas, salsa roja
tuesday: hot dogs, carrots and applesauce
wednesday: asian noodle salad with edamame
friday: pizza
saturday: chicken blt wraps
sunday: eat out

baking this week: 
tuscan lemon muffins - it sounds good as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

Friday, April 13, 2012

cafe firenze

i am a huge fan of top chef.
i've watched almost every season and rooted for my favorite chef.
i am always in awe of what they can do with food.
i envy their talent, their palettes and their confidence in the kitchen.

last saturday, as part of my birthday celebration, my father-in-law and mother-in-law,
sister-in-law, angela and brother-in-law, mike

and bobby and i
went  to cafe firenze owned by top chef contestant and hearthrob fabio viviani from top chef: new york and all stars.
this spot has been on my list of restaurants to visit.  when you watch the show you imagine the food they make to be delicious.  so to get a chance to try it was pretty amazing.  and it did not disappoint.

oh, did i mention that angela's cousin is john paolone, the executive chef.  this definitely made everything more exciting.

we had a table next to the kitchen so we could see the chefs preparing our food.  john visited our table, poured us some wine, made by another cousin in seattle.  it's great being related to an italian family.
john whipped up a few appetizers to get us started.  i love that these items were not on the menu, made us feel special.
caprese salad with burrata cheese and smoked salmon on flatbread.
gnocchi with braised short ribs and fried calamari.

at this point i was stuffed.  who needs to eat dinner when you have an array of appetizers like this?

i do.
i ordered seafood linguini and did my best to eat it.
more wine.

and talk of john's upcoming wedding at a villa in tuscany.  he's a chef and she's a wedding planner.  you know that wedding is going to be spectacular.  can't wait to see the pictures.
for dessert, bread pudding that was melt in your mouth delicious.
and a cappuccino.
i also enjoyed a taste of the panna cotta which was creamy and perfectly sweet.

seriously, it was a feast like nothing i've had in a long time.  and i enjoyed. every. bite.
the whole night i watched fabio go from one table to another and then to the kitchen.  and we all laughed as one woman approached him and yelled out when she realized who he was.  she even started crying.

i joked about wanting him to come to the table.  as we were getting ready to leave i felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to see him standing there.  i didn't yell or cry but i was surprised.  and giddy as you can see in this picture.
what a fun night.

this is angela, john and bobby.  angela and mike can't go to the wedding because she is pregnant and can't travel. we have gladly volunteered to take their place.

so now i want to visit other top chef restaurants.  there are a few here in la, some in san francisco, new york, and chicago.  it would be fun to make a list of the ones we go to.  bobby and i have been to grub twice.  it's owned by betty fraser of top chef: los angeles.

but next on the list is ink, owned by michael voltaggio of top chef: las vegas.  i hear the food is outstanding.  can't wait.  and maybe i'll get a picture with him too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

spring break in an {egg}shell

we had a wonderful 10 1/2 days off from school.  i knew we all needed it but i didn't know how much we needed it. taking a break from schedules, homework, being on time and in a hurry.  the days off were about catching our breathe and getting some energy back.

here's some of the highlights.
going to in-n-out for strawberry shakes on the first day of spring break.
going to sky high with some friends to literally bounce off the walls.
starting work on the yard and making plans for a brick planter and some flowers.
taking all 3 kids to the dentist and getting 3 perfect exams.  i wish he would have scared them a little.  they had too much fun and now i can't hold going to the dentist against them.
picking up jordan after a sleepover where he didn't sleep at all and watching him fall asleep at lunch.
having lunch at corner bakery.
coloring easter eggs with grandma and grandpa tom.

an unforgettable good friday service then getting fish tacos for dinner.

going out for a 6 mile run, but actually running 8.6 miles.
getting much needed haircuts. is this the before or after shot?
having dinner at cafe firenze - will share more on this later.
brunch and easter egg hunt with grandpa bob and d.

taking a nap on sunday afternoon and watching bubba watson win the masters.  yes, i was crying.

and then it was monday and we were back at school, back at work and back to the craziness of everyday life.

looking forward to the next break.

Monday, April 9, 2012

weekly menu:: week 15

spring break is over.  not very happy about it.  we loved the time off.  we needed the time off.  we got stuff done from our list and then some.  we could have used one more day. starting back on a monday is hard for everyone.

making this week:
tuesday: pulled pork sandwiches, apple slaw
wednesday: black bean and cheese enchiladas, salad (didn't make this last week)
friday: pizza
saturday: couples shower
sunday: eat out

baking this week:
i'm working on the staff appreciation luncheon for the teachers on friday and a shower on saturday.  lots of cooking and baking this week.

ready or not, it's back to reality.

Friday, April 6, 2012

happy easter

wishing you a wonderful weekend and a very happy easter!!