Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

to every one for every reason, Happy Memorial Day!

12 years ago on Memorial Day our sweet Abbie made her entrance into my arms. We didn't peek at boy or girl, never did with any of the 5, and I just knew I was having a boy. And I wanted a girl.
Of course I wanted a healthy baby-but secretly wanted a girl.
So when daddy got to share with me
" Its a girl!"
I was blubbering extra.

She's a bright skipping, humming, dancing, light in our lives and I still marvel I get to be her momma.

She's just the best little Snail I know. 

Happy Memorial Day to one of my best memories of all..

And if you see anyone in our Forces today-look em in the eye and say Thank you. 
from me too. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

School Lunch

its that time again.
No matter how I try to live in the moment, as soon as that calendar rolls over to mind swirls of all the things I'll do different, better, not get over scheduled by. Its truly as if school starting is a mother's New Year, resolutions and all.

I have to admit I have small heart tug about lunches.
Yes, I make them. Not always-sometimes my chef does in morning while I corral kids, but none the less since I'm the grocery shopper its still up to me.
And I don't complain-I feel like this is my chance to give them a little love, a little of me in their day at school.
Of course this probably stems from issues. Ha, doesn't everything.
When I was a kid, my mom hated to cook-even making lunches was not her thing. Sometimes she'd do it, but really it was such a bother-mostly it was part of my morning. I starting in Kindergarten, remember making my own lunches, packing it and always being a bit disappointed when I opened my bag at lunch time. I was so envious of all the kids with momma packed lunches, the notes, and plastic ziploc bags. She bought wax bags (which now the crafty me loves) but they saturated through and my sandwich and orange slices would end up in bottom of my bag-plus they were uncool.

So between that and my sister (12 years younger, obviously also has similar issues) when I had my first child-made me promise to always make my kids lunches.
Yes, those were her 13 year old self words to me as a new mom, "promise you'll always make her lunches for school". Clearly there's some emotions tied to lunches. Clearly.

So-back to my current state of affairs.

Thankfully my kids like to eat-they aren't picky. Yes, I consider it a huge blessing, because I'm  not sure how that'd work out in our household. Then again, maybe because its never been an option-they aren't. I like to take in consideration their wishes, but no I don't make different lunches for different people, not this is where my chef and I see things different. I know which kid doesn't like vanilla yogurt (because I see it come back thrown in the trash after school which makes me not so happy) and I don't mind finding that kid a peach or berry. And I know who takes mustard who doesn't. And I have a thing about juice boxes....I just don't do em. I know...I know-my kids may end up with issues because of this, but its a waste. And they need water. I'm happy to add milk money. And odwalla juices don't count as juice-those are awesome-just too expensive. But I am always thinking both-what can they eat in the amount of time (sheesh they rush them through lunch!!) and what nutritionally will propel them in their day. I add lots of things-just in case. I know I have days when I need/want more snacks than others and like I mentioned above-its how I can take care of them while they are away.

love the idea of the little cute plastic dividers, hate the idea of missing those and ending up with nasty dirty old food in addition to more dishes, which I don't need those.

We also have a tradition that the kids get to pick their first day lunch, all their favorites. Other days, its mass production line, first day its like being a short order cook. 

 I get cute notes like this of lunch "wishes"
 this wasn't first day-but you can see the assembly line!
of course, he always wanted to be big too...and helps with lunches-and also wants his own! Which daddy made for him, and after we walked the kids to school, he sat down to eat. At 9 am.
This year this little boy will be off to school lunch box in hand and leave his momma home without her lunch date. The sadness is creeping in.......

I've made a few lunch ideas before mentioned here 

Of course I add a treat too! Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite-and my recipe has never let me down! I figure every mom needs that recipe that always works, every kid likes, we've taken them as birthday treats, thank you's and team snack. And they are my favorite-soft and chewy, no flat crispy cookies here. 

Never Fail Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounce size)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 bag  MINI chocolate chips 
specific because there is more chocolate in every bite, smaller little bits of yum! 

Cream butter & both sugars
Add vanilla, baking soda, pudding, eggs. 
then flour but don't dump it all at once, it poofs!
Add chips and mix em in! 

I scoop it with a average ice cream scoop and cut those in half. 
The reason to make each cookie the same size is so they cook evenly, not to be perfect (perfection is never the goal!)

And I use industrial sheet pans (they are called half sheets) 
they sell them everywhere
they have edges, so they work for large batches of brownies
roasting vegetables, sheet cakes etc. 
Truly these are not cookie sheets (no good) 
They are indispensable! 
I think I'd hear an "AMEN" from my favorite recipe writers;

because they both use em too!

And a silpat. A must-cookies never stick and always get that perfect edge of crispness, but soft inside. Never fail. 

Any good new lunch ideas out there? 
This year I am thinking I'll keep a list of my kids favorite lunches and share-because I get this question from parents all the time! 

Seems like we all need a little inspiration. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


I am not one to admit defeat. 
I am not too proud, I just keep trying & hoping. 

but this summer I've been struggling. 
struggling to find balance. 
struggling to get dinner on the table....before 9pm.
struggling to keep up with anything. 
struggling not to feel irritated that all those "things I'll get to when my schedule changes and kids will be outta school and I'll have all the time in the world" are still undone, and it looks hopeless.
struggling because I've topped my highest weight and while I try to stay thankful I'm healthy and size doesn't matter-well it does matter. To me. 
struggling to find something fun to do that doesn't cost much that kids WANT to do that pleases ages 5 8 11 13 15 everyday that I have them home because I love summer. 
struggling because my garden is looking shabby beyond belief and it was top 3 things I want to do this summer. 
struggling to even make a grocery list! Because between thinking through what we need (basics), what my days ahead hold, what meal I should be eating (read above), what were out of, which store I have time to get to (somewhere between Trader Joes, Costco, and reg grocery store lies me trying to be budget conscious and not go to all 3 stores)
struggling how to deal with a heavy heart and the torture that lies just below the surface because my baby starts kindergarden. In 8 days. And I simply don't want him to leave. 

In the midst of all this, I've struggled trying to relish in the day at hand and "be" in the moment. Not feel like its all rushing past and every day is a blur.... 

And this is where pictures step in. They are my reminder of the moments I feel slipping thru my fingers faster than sand. 

 girls trip to New York and Boston
 Broadway shows!
 conquer the subway (we felt so brave & full of ourselves!)
 appreciating history
 learning to rip stix 
 berry picking
 ballet recital performances

 see The Plaza (one of their fav movies -Eloise)
 Amazing tour of Central Park
 Ellis Island
 OH yeah! Dylan's Candy Shop
 Mr. Bartley's in Boston
had a "Chef Todd Fisher Burger" at Mr. Bartley's -so fun-SO GOOD!
 visiting Harvard. wow!
 more history. Famous graves dating back to 1600's
 love our first visit to Boston
 giant gummy bears. 
 card games and cocoa
 our Fourth. 

 threw a huge party for his (my man) TV show premiere!!! 
hard to believe. 
 had friends over
 went to Santa Cruz
 traveled to pie. why not? 
 Giants game!

 backyard BBQ -need to do more of those. 

 survived a week of traveling, just us girls. 
 picnics at the park 
 went to Sky High

 water park with friends
 lil speed scrabble. 
 beach day!
 High School reunion. 20 years. shessh!
 teenagers went to camp-same week different camps. 
 sadly school shopping had to be done. Mr. B can't take off his new Batman backpack he's so excited. 
 Pointe shows fitting. Abbie starts pointe in the fall
and yes, you read that right. 
feather finder club ONLY. 
finding turkey feathers and such was such a big deal-and while I slept in one morning those "members only" made their own book too. Under lock and key those feathers are safe.

the total books I've read over summer- 0.
rooms that needed to get painted, painted- 0.
trips to library to spend summer afternoons reading- 1. 
amount of veggies harvested from the garden (does basil leaves count?) 2. 
clearly I'm not conquering much...

but times I have to remind myself, actually I need to look through my pictures to refresh my mind-we've had a summer full of random, real life days and my kids have been able to be home with their momma to rest, reconnect, and along the way we've had a bit of fun too. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

my favorite sport of all time

Indeed we love sports in this family. 
As a kid my dad (his only child til I was 10) took me to baseball games & we listened intently to them on the radio in his shop or pick up truck. 
I've driven my kids to everything from soccer to horseback riding to basketball to baseball. 
I got to go to a San Francisco Giants game on my birthday last year. 
LOVE sports. 
And I love my husband so I've genuinely tried to learn as much as I can about football. Even still, the rules confuse me. But I'll keep trying...

my favorite sport of all time is, t-ball. 
Everyone cheers for everyone. 
The goal of the game is to get these 4 year olds to run to the correct base, in order. 
Everyone gets a turn. 
Everyone wins. 
And its utterly cute. 

See, the other honest truth is, I'm not competitive. 
I like things to be fair, I like nice people to win, I like congratulating everyone. T-ball does all that!
Soon after t-ball years are gone, even with 8 year olds parents turn into nutcases! As if their childs life depends on the game & the opposing team's 8 year old is the enemy of their life, slinging insults to rattle him. Honestly. Nutcases.

His first game (ever) was rained out
Then the day finally came, time to get the cleats & glove...
 irresistibly cute.
 ready on first base, got the stance down!
rain held off til the very end of the game. 
The crew after Boston's first game, ever. 
[missing big brother, he had water polo tournament]

So, for now, I'll love every second of my final precious year of t-ball with my little guy...and cheer for everyone!