Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Yes, that is what you think it is. I came downstairs for breakfast and this is how Ryan greeted me. I am so proud. What raw, natural talent!

I never want to see another cookie again...

So, somehow I "volunteered" to make 180 sugar cookies, each about 3" tall. And then I had to decorate them all. They are for the dessert at the Cub Scout Pack Meeting, so I decided to have the Cubs come help decorate them. We love these cookies! The boys each did about 6 letters, frosted a few extras to eat, then went out to play. I was up until 2am finishing the rest of them, then I panicked...where to you hide 180 cookies (that cannot be stacked) from a super sniffing dog? Oh, of course, the guest room bed. Just don't open that door! And now, how do I transport all those cookies without ruining the frosting?
Maybe next time I'll go with Chips Ahoy...
I think we have 16 cubscouts, but only these brave few dared to come for cookie decorating!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A great find at Target

Ever since I discovered the Asian Potsticker variety of Lean Cuisine, I have had one for lunch whenever possible. Well, the unthinkable happened about 8 months ago. They were gone. Not just sold out until the next shipment, but gone as in not even a space on the shelf to refill. So, I searched the entire East Bay and found them in one store. Target, of all places! Not Safeway. Not Lucky or Albertsons. But Target, which now has me truly convinced that they have everything! Now I can look forward to lunch everyday. And I can think of my freezer full of potsticker lean cuisines as food storage. Now don't you go running to Target and clean them out, too.

How Embarrassing!

In December someone(who shall remain unnamed!) broke my powdered sugar sifter. So, for Christmas my sweet husband bought me a new one. A few weeks ago I tried to open it to refill it, but it was literally glued shut with sugar.
After many failed attempts, and my losing faith in all of my jar opening gadgets, (because I am a gadget gal)I finally brought the sifter back to the store today. No questions asked, they gave me a new one right away, after a few unsuccessful attmepts of their own.
I browsed the clearance section (I do love a good bargain, you know!)and found a few things I couldn't live without, like 99 cent Christmas fuzzy tooth picks, and silicon fried egg rings, so I went to the counter to purchase my necessities. While I was paying, the employee showed me my old sifter (of which I am now still the proud owner), good as new. He said he just ran it under hot water to dissolve the sugar that was sticking under the lid. DUH!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our own American Idol

Okay, so what was up with Casey last night? We had such high hopes for her and she totally blew it! I am sure it's not the last we'll see of her. Look what Kellie Pickler has done with her 15 minutes of fame, and she is lacking some serious talent! This is the first year that I have let my kids stay up until 9 to watch the show...I have some control issues and the kids are usually tucked in bed before 9. Becca is really bummed that her favorite, Ann Marie didn't make it. We are all glad that Danny made it, but are a little wary of Tatiana coming back as a wild card. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of her, either.
Becca was helping me make breakfast and I handed her the ice cream scoop...she doesn't really walk around singing into kitchen untensils. And no, we weren't having ice cream for breakfast!

Picnic the Rain

After several straight days of torrential downpour, I sent the kids out for a picnic in the rain. They dragged a few chairs and some blankets up to the treehouse and came back to get their food. Becca, Ryan, and his buddy Blair spent the afternoon snacking and enjoying the rain. The roof of the treehouse kept them dry enough, but the floor was pretty wet after so many days of being pelted. At least the grass is green and I don't have to water it!Out the back windows of the treehouse you can see the 30 foot deep canal that is behind our house. When we have heavy rains the kids love to watch the class 5 rapids roll by.

Monday, February 16, 2009


These are my favorite Valentine's Cookies. Heavenly chocolate ganache slathered between two rich, buttery shortbread hearts. What's not to love? Let me know if you want the recipe and I can email it to you.

The Toy's Lament

Most of the WCI Advanced Drama class

We left Tahoe at 6am to get Andy to Sacramento for a Drama Fest. I couldn't believe that his entire class (minus 4 students) were there, in the middle of the President's Day weekend (and even on Valentine's Day). What dedication! The kids could perform 2 things and Andy chose to do a dialogue with his friend and a monologue that he wrote himself, called the Toy's Lament. There were about 300 kids there and everyone got some sort of award. Andy got two silver medals and I am so proud of him!
And, yes, he did make it all the way over the garbage can!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The very most awesome ski days ever!

We rode the gondola up and found the most spectacular powder covering the mountain! We skiied for two days and the second day Dave met us on the mountain at Schaffer's Camp for lunch. His doctors wouldn't clear him to ski and his back is still hurting too badly anyway. I was just glad he got to see the kids ski a little.
Andy and I at the top of Lookout Mountain
Alaina and Andy with a funny statue guy
Alaina and Becca in the deep powder. We all loved making fresh tracks!
Becca is a little speed demon
The kids are all getting pretty brave and even Ryan skiied down Martis. It took a little convincing, but he was so proud of himself when he made it down.
Ryan hung out a Schaffer's Camp for a while to warm up and had the best hot chocolate in the world. Either that, or we were just so cold that it tasted amazing!


Isn't this beautiful? I love how trees look when they are covered with freshly fallen powdery snow. I guess that comes from growing up in Alaska. After loading the Thule with all of the skis, boots, and poles, and the trunk with way more bags than we should need for a 3 day trip, the kids and I left Walnut Creek at 2:45pm. The plan was to pick Dave up at the Reno Airport (he'd been in Utah on business) and go to our timeshare in Tahoe. We were making great time and I thought we'd actually get there before dark, when the snow hit. I am glad I didn't check the weather forecast because I might have chickened out if I'd known what we were in for. To make a long story short, we ended up at a stand still for over an hour, then had to crawl behind the traffic that had been caused by a 22-car pile up! The scene changed from the above daytime beauty, to the below dark and dangerous.
We finally arrived at the condo at 9:45pm, a mere 7 hours usually takes around 3 hours to get there. When we were stuck I kept thinking about how much worse it could be and how little we were truly incovenienced. We had a warm, dry, AWD van, the kids were watching a movie, they had car snacks, I had just filled up so we had a full tank of gas, and I had the all important hot tamales and peanut m&m's, because you really can't drive 4 kids alone without them! I even had internet access from my iPhone and was able to check my email. Ryan and I got out at one point to play in the snow, but a police officer told us to "get back in the vehicle!" I got ahold of Dave and he told me the road was closed from the airport to Truckee, so he had to get a hotel there. He met us the next afternoon, when the road re-opened and the shuttle picked him up because I was skiing with the kids.
It's a good thing that driving in the snow is kind of like riding a bicycle. You never forget how to do it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Today was the Indian Valley Spelling Bee. The students drew numbers out of a hat to determine their order. Becca drew #1, same as last year! As I watched student after student misspell words, Becca spelled everything right. We started practicing yesterday, so I don't think she went into it very confident. Then, as each student spelled a second word wrong they were out of the Bee. So, it came down to Becca and one other girl, who had gotten one word wrong. It was Becca's turn and her word was "mattress". You know like on the radio advertisement that says, "Call 1-800-M-A-T-T-R-E-S, leave off the last 'S' for savings!" As soon as the letters were out of her mouth, she realized her fatal error...she forgot the second "t". I wonder if this is in retaliation from my earlier post on mattresses having "years" like cars... After the other girl spelled her word correctly and won, Becca immediately shot out her hand and congratulated the winner. What a good sport! She loves the story of my 4th grade Spelling Bee when I misspelled "tongue". I still remember the feeling of wanting to take my letters back. At least we can commiserate together.

Thwarting me already...

Early this morning I was trying to get a good start in my new at-home work out routine, and to avoid the dreaded "muffin top", as my friend affectionately calls the hangover, I was on the elliptical when Ryan came running in saying, "But Mom, you promised!" I vaguely remembered promising him I'd help him make breakfast, I got off my machine and we made chocolate chip muffins. (anyone else see the irony?)
Boy, were they good! Maybe tomorrow I'll do better :)

Let me know if I start packin' on the pounds

So, I finally quit the gym. I've been trying to quit for years, but I really love the classes and the steam room is the greatest reward for a hard workout. I always fall asleep in there. Last week when I came out, a lady said they were about to call someone to make sure I was okay because I wasn't moving. I'm good. Just enjoying my reward. But at $350 a month, it's just not worth it and we have a bowflex, elliptical, and pilates equipment at home. Now the trick is just to use them. I figure you have to give me a month, then if you see me packin' on the pounds you have to tell me...that is an incentive for me to keep working out! I have a friend who said I have been trying to quit the gym since she met me. That is when I realized I'd better stop talking and do it. With Dave's back injury, he can't go, and the kids are in school, so I can't justify it anymore. Wah. Maybe someday we'll start back up again and train for a triathalon. Or maybe not.

Friday, February 6, 2009

4th St. Finally!

My Dad and Mom
So, I have lived in the East Bay almost 9 years and had never been to 4th Street in Berkeley. Until yesterday. I picked up my parents at the airport and went to meet a friend (tour guide!) on 4th St. We had a great morning just looking through the awesome shops all along the street. We had to make a few purchases, including a hysterical book with pictures of mistranslated Asian character favorite is the sign that is translated as "deformed man toilet" instead of handicapped! I laughed so hard that I was crying in the store, so I had to buy it. I'll be posting from the book again soon.
We had the best tortilla soup in the world for lunch. Really. We ordered two bowls, but they brought us one, so I thought we could share it. I shouldn't have been so generous. We could have easily eaten several more bowls each! So, we decided to get some good chocolate at the shop next door instead of ordering more soup. Yum!
I am happy to know where the parking lot is and will be visiting 4th St. more frequently in the future. We had a great time with my parents, and my dad spent an hour at a great book store while my mom and I browsed around. Thanks, Eleanor, for the tour and for not disowning me for never having been to your favorite haunt.
My parents left this morning, after only staying for about 24 hours, but I will take what I can get. And, I suppose, I am the one who moved away! I am just glad they were able to come see us and I am grateful for my family.

Me and my Mom

Is this really necessary?

Last night I went to the High School Orientation for parents of incoming Freshmen. After getting a bit of useful information and dates to remember, I looked up in the gym and saw this advertisement! I mean really, is High School the place we want to have advertisements for body piercings and tattoos? I truly believe in "to each his own" but I don't think it is helpful to encourage even Freshmen to make permanent marks on their bodies that they'll most likely come to regret...they are too young to pick a timeless tat!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Things my kids say, part two

Ryan in the car on the way home from baseball tryouts: "Mom, my feet are nocturnal...they fall asleep during the day!"

Becca today when we were talking about the Superbowl: "Do they have touch ups, too? You know, like touch downs?"