Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alaina's 13th Birthday Nerd Party

Alaina struck a pose in the nerd fashion show.
Alaina wanted to have a Nerd Party for her birthday and the girls really got into it. Her friends were awesome! They all met us at Broadway Plaza and had half an hour to find a list of 16 things to take pictures of for the photo scavenger hunt. I know the stores get really annoyed with all of the kids that come in asking for little things, so this way they didn't need to even talk to any employees. They finished just before the time ran out and had a blast with all of the people trying to figure out why they were dressed so funny.
We came back to our house and Alaina judged a nerd fashion show where all of the girls came through a streamer curtain and gave us their best nerdy post. They all got certificates with funny awards like: "most particles of nerdy attire", etc.
The kids played our tradition pass the parcel with a twist. They had to put on fuzzy gloves, a long sock and a scarf, then when the music stopped everyone counted backwards from 30 while the person with the present opened as many layers as they could.
We had pizza, cake and ice cream outside and the girls played on the trampoline and tire swing a little.

I usually spend hours making a cake that goes along with the party theme, and I do it at 1am so the birthday kid can't see it and it is always a surprise, but this year the nerdy cake was super easy and the real nerds were a hit!

Ryan thought Cabo should dress up too, so he put these shorts on him. He is such a good sport!Alaina was just starting to open her presents when the parents started arriving. She gave them their party bags on the way out the door. We used brown paper lunch sacks (with a bandaid for a the name lable on each one) and filled them with a dictionary, word find book, pencil, giant box of nerds, pez, smarties candies, and a can of silly string.
The dressing up made the party really fun and we were so glad they really wore funny things. I was going to dress up too, but Alaina said I was nerdy enough. Huh!

And now, I can't believe I have two teenagers...it really does go so fast.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Fishing at Heather Farm

Saturday at 7:30 am I dragged Ryan to Heather Farm to go fishing. They had stocked the pond with 300 pounds of Catfish and they had rods, reels, and bait just waiting for us. So, after Ryan threw a little tantrum about not wanting to fish, I got him a pole and showed him how to cast. This is how he looked after about an hour. We hadn't been fishing for over a year and he didn't love it then, either. I just happen to think that all boys should know how to fish and I want my son to be able to live off the land if necessary! I think he'd sooner starve than eat fish anyway.

No, that is not our fish. It is one of the six the kid next to us caught. Or one of the four the kid on the other side of us caught. I told Ryan that Alaskans don't get skunked and I couldn't remember the last time I went fishing without catching something...then he told me that he was so glad we didn't catch anything because he didn't want to hurt the fish. Aha! He'd been sitting there thinking "no fish, no fish, no fish". Just goes to show you that thoughts do matter! So, we went home to start our day of 5 soccer games and 3 soccer snacks, without any fish.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blogger's Dinner Club

A few weeks ago my great friend and I had an idea. We (okay, I) were lamenting about how miserable our kids were about dinner and eating what we make (again, that would be my kids) so we came up with the idea of posting weekly about a dinner, with recipe, we made that our kids liked and actually ate without lots of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (really, I don't know what it's like at her house at 6:30 pm, but that is what you'll find over here).
Anyway, I said I'd start off and was supposed to post a recipe right away. It took me until today to make something that truly got NO complaints!! So, here it is:

Make Your Own Calzone
(To make it easy, you can use a bread machine!)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Egg Wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water

Fillings: cheese, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, marinara sauce, chicken, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese...the options are endless. The idea is that everyone gets to put their favorite things on their own calzone.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two jelly roll pans with silpat liners. Load bread machine in that order (set to dough cycle), or combine dry ingredients (not yeast) in a large bowl. Stir in olive oil. Blend yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm water. Pour the yeast mixture and remaining 1 1/4 cups warm water into dry mixture and blend well. Let dough rise about 1 1/2 hours, or until double (or let it sit about 1/2 hour longer in the bread machine, keeping warm).

Cut dough into 6 equal pieces and give one to each family member to roll out into a large, thin circle on a floured surface.

Let everyone add whatever they want to half of their circle, then fold over the other half and seal edges tightly. Place 3 on each cookie sheet and brush with egg wash if desired. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes. The adult favorite over here is the pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomato, feta cheese, and olive. Yum! Let me know how your family likes it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am now officially the best mom in the world; as opposed to the day before this picture was taken, when I was the worst mom in the world and Alaina was the only 8th grader on the planet without a cell phone. I took her shopping after school on her 13th birthday last week and she has hardly stopped smiling (or texting) since! I can't believe I have two teenagers now. I asked Alaina some questions about her favorite things, and here a few of the answers I got out of her:

Favorite Restaurant: Benihana
Favorite Movie: Shrek
Morning or Night: Night
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner: Breakfast
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Music: ??
Favorite Song: Halleluiah, from Shrek Soundtrak
Favorite Color: Yellow

I knew most of these things, except the song...would never have guessed that. I love the way Alaina is growing up, even if I am not ready for her to be 13.

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Another Visit to the ER

After my last day as a working mom, I picked up the kids and took Alaina shopping (more on that later). Then, we had a great Enrichment Night at the church and did an awesome murder mystery dinner and skit. I had left the kids at home eating dinner, with strict instructions to clean up, and the garbage taker-outer was supposed to take out the garbage. Upon returning from Enrichment Night I found that all was not well. The bag of moldy, rotten cheese that was supposed to have been put in the outside garbage can was missing. And the taker-outer fessed up and said he hadn't done the job. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a piece of shredded Zip-Loc baggie by the back of the couch, where Cabo always takes the things he's not supposed to eat but does anyway. It's a good thing we love him so much.
I called the ER vet and they said to bring him in. Given that last year after he ate a bag of valentine chocoates he spent 3 days in the doggie ER and it cost us $6,000, I thought I'd prevent a major emergency by taking him in right away. He was the happiest patient they've ever had! The vet made him vomit (apparantly he hadn't even chewed the cheese) and he was good as new within 45 minutes. And it only cost us $160! What a bargain.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Happened After the Party

I have always called Becca my "sturdy girl" and this is why! About 30 minutes into her 6 hour birthday party, she hit her head. She said it didn't hurt but when I took a look I realized she'd need some medical attention. Left with no other options since Dave was in the air on the way back from Philadelphia and I was the only adult and couldn't leave, and because she truly was not in any pain and was acting fine, I decided to watch while the party continued. She didn't want anyone to know and we just kept moving her hair to cover the bloody gash...yuck, right? I was worried that she would have too big of a scar where hair wouldn't grow and she'd be forever embarrassed, so after everyone left at about 9:30 I took her to the ER. Within minutes they had us in a room and she had 3 staples in her head! She was so brave and didn't even make a peep. I was still filling out the paperwork when they were already finished with her...we were in and out of the ER in exactly 21 minutes! It was incredible...we love John Muir.
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Becca's 11th Birthday Party

Becca had a luau party yesterday for her 11th birthday. I made sarongs for everyone and the girls all swam, ate snacks and played games. Several of the kids asked if we were going to play pass the parcel, a game we always play but almost didn't this year, and I was so glad I had scrambled to Target to get a Webkinz and wrapped it 12 times after work! Kyra was just saying how in all the years she has been coming to Becca's party she had never won, then the music stopped and she unwrapped the last layer. Surprise!

Becca had wanted to have a sleep over but since we had to be at 3 of our 4 soccer games by 7:30am today, I told her we could do a long party instead...

3-9pm...that was long.

I made Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner, then the girls had cake and ice cream. It's funny, the easier the cake, the more the kids seem to like it. They actually ate every scrap of it! We were going to watch movie after dinner but the girls wanted to swim again and play on the tire swing and trampoline, so we went back outside until 8:15 when a very nice but tired neighbor came over to say the kids were too loud! So, we came in and watched the very first episode of Gilligan's Island. We love that show but most of the girls hadn't heard of it and one of them asked how long it was going to stay black and white. They all ended up giggling their heads off.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becca's Favorites

We are in birthday season and Becca is first up. I asked her to tell me some of her favorite things and this is what she said:

Favorite Movie: So many...Bad News Bears, Mulan, Cars, Shrek...
Favorite Song: Something from the Shrek Soundtrack
Read or Sleep: Read!
Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Breakfast, or anytime at Noah's Bagels
Favorite Sport: Soccer
Favorite Dinner: Lemon Chicken
Favorite Restaurant: Tomatina or Pasta Primavera
I learned a few things about my darling Becca. She is such a sweetheart and is growing up so fast. Already in middle school and inquisitive as ever. I have a feeling she will go on to do important things in her life.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Am a Working Woman

About two weeks ago I started working with a friend who needed help on a 3-week project. There were many reasons that I decided to do it...I hadn't worked outside of the home since 1995 and what better way could I get something current on my resume, she needed help, I could set my hours from 8:30-2 so I could still drop off and pick up the kids at school, I thought it would be fun to work in a real office and get paid instead of being the career volunteer that I have been since school began for us in 2000, and I wanted to see what it was really like to be a working mom.

I have always given working moms a free pass on the volunteer opportunities I am in charge of at the schools and now I am so glad...it's hard!! Knowing it's only 3 weeks makes it easy, but I now have real empathy for what working moms have to do and I am thankful for that.
What I am doing is relatively easy computer programming/data entry and I actually like the tediousness...is that sad? And it has nothing to do with children or wiping noses or crowd control or snacks, unless you count the food we bring in for each other...yum. It's fun to have a desk and be in an office with huge windows and 4 other people who tell me I look nice sometimes. I can't remember the last time I heard that, it's been at least a few months.

Not knowing what my husbands reaction to me working would be, I didn't tell him for the first week. I wasn't sure what he'd say, but since it was so short term, I knew he wouldn't really care. When I said I needed help filling out a paper and handed him my W-9 form, his jaw dropped. He said something like this: "You got a job? That's GREAT!" Almost like he's been waiting years for me to get out there and so something! Which made me think...what have I been doing from 8-2 since our youngest started full day school 2 years ago? I have billions of pictures to prove where I have been with the school classes and wouldn't change a minute of my volunteering, but maybe it's time to look for a real part-time job that lasts longer than 3 weeks. In this economy, I'd say I have no chance, but I may be looking.

Friday, September 4, 2009

El Morocco

We went to El Morocco for Tonya's birthday. I was better at leg dancing than belly dancing, but we had lots of fun. If you go, I highly recommend the Lamb Tagine. It was amazing! Thanks for having a birthday, Tonya!
I just realized I forgot to fix the red-eye...maybe later...I am working woman now!
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Weekend Retreat

We had our second annual Relief Society Weekend Retreat at Julie's cabin a few weeks ago. This year we had 23 ladies! We stayed up way to late (some of us until 5:30 am) talking and playing games....Mafia, anyone?
Some people claimed that they didn't go to sleep at all but when I got up to make breakfast for everyone after an hour and half of shut eye, everyone was suspiciously still.

We had a beautiul walk through the nearby redwood forest (where I got stung by a wasp!) and after lunch at the cabin we went to the lake, where a select few of us brave souls swam in the cold water. It actually felt refreshing. Thanks for the fun, Julie!

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