Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

We have been fully enjoying the "nothingness" of our time off. It has been so nice, I must remember to schedule more "nothing" this upcoming year.
We will be eating lots of good pasta tonight with our friends and then the boys will burn it off with various wii games. I'm sure the hens will sit around and chat while the kids run wild. The best part the festivities are not at my house and I am not cooking. Okay, well I am in the middle of making the more labor intensive cookies in my repotoire, but they are worth it.
So from our family to yours we wish you all the best for 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

We will be celebrating a white Christmas. Even though in true Washington style it has started to rain, there will be enough snow for Santa to use his sleigh.
We are off to my mom's tonight and then everyone will be coming to our house tomorrow for dinner. The down pouring of snow forced us to cut back dramatically on our festivities and it was actually quite nice.
So here is wishing everyone a very merry and relaxing holiday. If you are in need of a great little holiday movie I strongly recommend Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. Quintessential Muppets, pure joy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowblast 2008

Up here in there Great Northwest, we have an awful secret. At the sight of the first snowflake, all of Western Washington shuts down and we are glued to our TV's to just how bad it is going to get. Seriously, I think the folks in Las Vegas freak out less at the sight of snow than we do. However, there is nothing better than a good dumping of snow.
Where we live we were actually spared some of the really heavy snow, but there was enough to close the schools. On Wednesday, the schools closed because they thought they would get snow, but now snow came. Our district was one of the only schools to be open on Thursday after a two hour delay. The snow hit about an hour in and they decided to close school early. Friday was a half day and they decided to bag it altogether. We probably have about 3 inches of snow and that is enough for me. It is pretty to look at, but not impossible to get around in. Which is a good thing, because I'm not done with my shopping and Ben's birthday is on Sunday. Yikes :0)

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Aftermath

Well, Saturday night will go down in the books as one of our best parties yet. We had the best time and I'm pretty sure our friends did as well. We had a bout 40 folks come over and make merry with us. It was the perfect blend of old and new friends, everyone was mingling and the party had the great party "buzz".

As usual, we were running behind when the first guests started to arrive. Even though I had spent the past two days prepping, I still was stuck in the kitchen for the first couple of hours. The lesson learned for next year is NO HOT WINGS!! Those buggers took FOREVER to cook and made the kitchen about a million degrees (which did wonders for the hairdo and make-up) By the time I emerged from the kitchen I looked like I had just rolled out of bed, oh well. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but most of the folks at the party have all seen me "rockin' the bedhead" at some point, so it really wasn't a big deal (I love my friends).

The house looked great and the spread was divine, however in all of the craziness of getting the food out, I forgot to take pictures. Ugh!! I hate that. I was even thinking to myself what a great post this would be as I was setting out the food. Oh well, maybe next year. What I was able to capture was the aftermath.

I swear we must have used every dish, bowl, platter, pot and pan that I owned and they were all waiting for me. If only the Party Elves would have sent their cousins the Dish Elves to my house. A few runs of the dishwasher (one of the greatest machines ever invented) and it was gone. Now I can start to think about my Christmas to do list. My mom and I are planning to do our cookie baking this weekend. That should be fun. We make a lot of fun ones and I will post on those later. Sam wants to have a Christmas tea party for some friends. I'm trying to figure out when that will happen, but it sounds like fun. I figure I would make up some cookies for the girls to frost. The guest list keeps changing. I'm trying to keep it to kids I already know, but Sam wants to invite "unknown" girls from school. I must say that makes me a little nervous. If I invite them does that mean that the moms would want to come and hang out as well? If they do, that means a whole other level of stress, which I would really like to avoid. Does that make me a bad mom? I hope not. I just don't like being on "display" in front of people I don't know.

Other than the potential Stepford Wife invasion, the holidays should be pretty calm. The plan is to get Christmas cards done and out by next Monday. My card writing has been less than stellar the past few years and I'm sure some folks have probably assumed we have fallen off the earth. This year I will redeem myself (or at least that is the plan)
Hope everyone's holiday planning is going smoothly. We are off for pizza tonight with the Browns. Yay, no cooking for me!!
Happy Monday everyone!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Party Elves

There seems to be the notion around here that the party elves come and do everything when we entertain.
Oh how I wish that was true.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Of course, I seem to have a million things to do to get ready for Saturday. I still have to shop and prep and of course, clean. But I just can't get motivated. I seem to take one step forward and 2 steps back. We got all ready to do the tree yesterday and then we found out that after a good 10 plus years, our tree has died. Not completely dead we have about 5 lights that still work, but now it requires a decision: real tree or new fake one. One of the very few fights Joj and I have ever had took place in a Christmas tree lot, knee deep in mud in the pouring rain. It was then we made the switch to a fake tree. I guess I will pack the kids up and head over to Big Lots to see if there are any deals to be had. I should probably suck it up and make due and then buy my tree AFTER Christmas for the best deal, but I don't think I can wait. I want my umpa loompa NOW.

So with the house in mild deco chaos, Joj decided he wanted to take cookies with him to work today. I like to bake for him and his buddies, especially when they just approved the new contract so the Boeing engineers will NOT be striking this January. I did, however, start baking a little late in the evening. In doing so I forgot to put the egg in the batter. Ugh!! I hate that. Spend all that time, and more importantly those ingredients, all for nothing. I guess the cookies are okay, but not as good as the should be and when you know what they are supposed to taste like it is hard to go back to sub par cookies. We are cookie snobs, sad, but true. I may put them in the jar and see what happens. The kids might eat them, but at least I won't feel as guilty letting them get stale before I throw them out. Maybe I can crush them up and use them for crumb crusts. Hey, now there is an idea.

The kids have a half day today and I think we will hit the grocery store after lunch. They are almost actually helpful when we shop. However, the large bulk candy isle is what I think keeps them in line. Yes, I'm willing to spend a buck on bulk candy to bribe the kids. I'm not proud, but whatever works at this time of year. And speaking of this time of year, I'm totally stumped as to what to get the kids for Christmas. They need nothing. Ben did ask for new blinds and a fancy foam mattress. Gotta love a kid who can appreciate those practical gifts. Sam on the other hand, not so easy. Everything she sees, she wants. I do think I will put together a craft center type thing for her. She likes to color and cut and stuff like that. Other than that I'm pretty stumped. We usually keep things low key at Christmas since Ben's birthday is right before (big birthday, small Christmas) but it still doesn't make it easier.

Okay, I've twiddled away enough time. The kids will be home in 20 minutes and I should probably get something done other than get caught up on Top Chef. Hello, Fabio :0)
Happy Thursday Everyone :0)

Monday, December 1, 2008

T minus 5 days and counting...

This Saturday is our annual Christmas party.

Every year we invite everyone we know over for food and fun. One of the major draws is that my mother and sister-in-law makes a ton of sushi. Now, I am not a sushi person, but my friends sure are. Whenever the invites go out the first question is always, "Is Akiko making sushi?" I would like to think my friends would come even if she wasn't, but I'm a realist :0)

Every year the preparation routine is the same. On the Monday before, I get my carpets cleaned. I know some of you are thinking I'm crazy to clean the carpets before the party, but they REALLY need it and it just makes the house feel cleaner. It also forces me to deal with the piles of clutter that seem to accumulate in the corners. Once the carpets are cleaned, we set up the tree and start to decorate.
I don't have a ton of stuff, but I really like the things I have.
After the decorating, I go shopping for the food. Now I'm not a big "give everyone I know a gift" kind of girl, but I do love to entertain my friends, so I see this as my gift to them. I was smart last year and after the guests went home (around 3 am) Akiko and I sat down and made notes on what worked and what didn't. The biggest lesson from last year was let folks bring stuff.

Last year we killed ourselves and it was a lot of work. So this year when folks ask if they can bring stuff I say sure. That way they know there will be at least one thing they will like :0) Even though we are taking help we still have a pretty big menu. Appetizers are so fun to make and it seems like everyone has a favorite.

This year the tentative menu includes:
Various Sushi
Beef Satay w/ peanut sauce
Hot wings
Hot Artichoke and Crab dip
Bacon wrapped dates
Deviled Eggs
Piggies in a blanket
Sweat and Sour Meatballs.
Prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe
Baked Brie
Hummus and veggies
Random Christmas cookies
Chocolate Fountain and stuff to dip

Yup, it will be a lot of work, but I'm hoping to spend most of Friday prepping the food and that will Saturday for last minute cleaning. We are still waiting for the RSVP's to come in. I'm so greatful for those who have already done it, but I'm still waiting to hear from over 20 couples. I just want a good crowd. I hate that awkward silence at parties. At least we have some stuff for our guests to do. We have darts and Foosball downstairs and Joj is wanting to get Guitar Hero for the Wii. I don't know about that, but it might be fun later in the evening once everyone is a little more loosened up.

I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving. We sure did, but it was go, go, go. As I look ahead at our calendar every weekend is full, but it is the good kind of full filled with lots of friends and family. My goal is not to stress this holiday. I'm trying to keep things simple and really only do the things that I WANT to do. We shall see how that goes.
Happy Monday everyone :0)

Friday, November 28, 2008

I survivied!!

Yesterday I completed my first 5k.
I didn't die and the fact that actually ran about half of it makes me pretty happy. My goal was to do it in 45 minutes (if you are a runner and are laughing at my goal time, I don't care) and that is what I did it in. The plan was to run the flat and downhills and walk as fast as I could on the uphills. Now I have long legs and I have a pretty long walking stride. My running stride is pretty short, so I figured it would all even up in the end and it did. I have to say though, the last mile was all up hill. It was not fun, but I did it. Of course, I had to make the last couple hundred yards look good so I ran nice and hard (the fact it was downhill helped) Although, I did not realize that right before the finish there was a slight incline and I thought "oh crap, my legs are going to give out with 15 feet to go."
I sucked it up and crossed the finish. Now considering my training was pretty much non existent, I'm very happy with my performance. In two weeks there is another 5k up in Kent and rumor has it the rout is FLAT. I think Holly and I are going to do that one as well. Hopefully, my sore little legs will have recovered by then.

Since Holly and the others I was "running" with actually could run, I was pretty much by myself. I did have Bon Scott to keep me company. We started the race to "Highway to Hell" and finished strong to "If You Want Blood, You've Got It". Both songs seemed so fitting.

Tonight Holly and I are heading up to Seattle for a little Girls' Night Out. We are going to the Triple Door to see the Paperboys. I haven't seem them before, Holly has. She says they put on a good show, but even if they don't we will still have fun :0)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.
In 2 hours I will run my first 5K (or at least try) I checked the time results from last year and I think I have a shot at at least beating the women in the 70's and up division. At least I won't feel guilty about those extra helpings mashed pototoes and gravy, yummy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Pardon my French, but that is the only way to describe how things went today at the Space Derby. For those of you not familiar with Space Derby it is like the cub scout's pinewood car derby, but with rocket ships. Fun, right??

I spent a lot of time making sure that things would run smoothly. Every year it is always a mess trying to get the heats run in a timely fashion. No one knows where they are supposed to be and we spend a lot of time waiting around for someone to realize that they are up. This year, I thought I would help take the guess work out of it and listed all the races and heats including lane assignments.

Now there is an actual method to the madness and we needed to know how many folks would be there so we could plan accordingly. We have a 4 lane track we had 17 rockets. I wasn't worried about the extra rocket, because I knew folks would show up that hadn't RSVP'd. I had 3 extra slots so I figured I was alright. GUESS AGAIN!!
I had 21 rockets. This now meant that all my hard work and planning were out the window. Now, no one would know in advance when they would be racing. I had to announce the heats and folks would actually have to listen. Guess where things fell apart??

I don't know how many times I can say please, oh pretty please, pay attention and be where you need to be. I must say since Joj and I were completely in the weeds Ben was forced to manage his rocket all by himself.Not only that he was were he needed to be when he needed to be there (some adults could have learned a thing or two from him)

Now besides folks not LISTENING, we had a group of dad's (I don't think any kids touched their rockets the whole day) who felt compelled to get that extra edge by winding the rubber band engine an extra 5 times. Guess what happens when you get past 120 winds?? The rubber band BREAKS!! You would think the first 2 times this happened they would learn, but NO!!! I swear every time rocket 5 was supposed to race, the rubber band would break and we had to sit and wait. We finally decided to move other racers into 5's slot and that created another huge mess when it came to the scoring.
And speaking of scoring, Joj and I had about 6 inches between us and the wall and we had to repeatedly ask the adults to not stand behind us who were making sure we were scoring correctly. Ironically, everyone trying to "help" us resulted in a scoring mistake. Of course the Dad who this effected was not happy. He put on a good face, but he was not happy. Neither were all his buddies who corned me post event wanting to see the results sheet and get a briefing on what kind of math was used to calculate the final standings. I felt so bad, we did the best we could. Of course, the dad in question was tied for 1st. So now at the next Pack meeting I get to go before everyone and say that we messed up and so and so was actually tied for first and give his kid a fist place medal. No good deed...

So you are probably what life lesson was learned today? Well, I'll tell ya. There is a REASON folks ask you to RSVP. By letting someone know you are actually coming to the event it allows those in charge to plan for you and make sure you get what you need. If you do not RSVP I can not be held responsible for the crazy lady at rocket check in.

Thanks for letting me vent. The good news is that was the last event I'm involved with for other people. Now I get to focus on my own fun stuff like not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year (all I have to do is make some pies)and our annual Christmas party. There is still a lot to do, but at least it is for ME and that makes it a lot more fun :0)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I can just make it through Sunday...

Ben: Can I stay home, my tooth hurts.
Me: No
Sam: Can I miss school today? Everyone else gets to miss school.
Me: No
Ben and Sam: Whhhhhhyyyyyyy?
Me: Because I'm working today
Ben: You need to quit your job.
I subbed three days in a row this week and while I really enjoyed it (all three days were in Kindergarten) it kind of took a toll on my family. We are not used to the early rush that is requried of getting out the door an hour earlier than normal. I have forgotten the stamina it takes to be on my feet all day having the non stop chorus of "Mrs. Y., Mrs. Y., Mrs. Y." following me wherever I go. On Wednesday, I was in bed by 7:00. Needless to say, Joj and the kids have had noodles and sandwhiches for dinner this week and the house looks like a bomb went off. Yikes.

Now I suppose I should spend today playing catch up, but I can't. I agreed to organize the Space Derby for out pack. Why I said yes, I'm still unsure, but today will now be spent running down to the boy scout store, grocery store and a couple of other random places to get everything I need. I know I should have done it earlier in the week, but I didn't and now I'm really paying for it. On the upside I think it will be okay. I made a list and I have worked the event before, so I know what needs to be done. Hopefully, we will have folks to help run the event. It always seems to come down to the volunteers (or lack there of)

One of the biggest drags about having to run a bunch of errands today is that I will miss some really good football games. Michigan and Ohio Sate are already playing and the Cougs and Huskies play at noon. I always love to watch the Apple Cup and I'm really hoping the Cougs win. Football has been dismal at best for both teams this year so I would be nice to have a good Apple Cup and by good I mean a total masacre.

The last thing that has been eating up my time these days was the book The Pillars of the Earth. I finally finished it and I must say for a book that started out so strongly it just kind of petered out in the end. 1000 pages only to close the book and go "eh". I hate that. I want a book that I don't want to end. I like my books to have some kind of twist on the last page that I didn't see coming. I can not read books like Danielle Steele. You read the first page and you know how the book will end. Plus the syrupy sweet storylines are too hard to stomach. I like my book messy. I'm also finding that I like books that have a little bit of historical aspects to them. I read Gap Creek and I liked that. It was so interesting to read about how folks lived back then. That was what I did like about Pillars, the way the author described daily life and all the hardships. Bottom line the books was a strong okay minus the ending. Oh well, now I need a new book to read.

Well, I probably should get off the computer and get my errands run. I cannot even believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday. We still don't know where we are eating, but I don't think it will be here. My contribution to the dinner will be the pies and the cranberry sauce. Easy Peasy. That morning I'm running a 5k and I'm probably going to die. My training has been rather sparse, but I plan to run the downhills and walk really fast on the uphills. I actaully walk faster than I run, so I figure it all comes out in the wash. Should be fun though and I won't feel guilty about that second helping of mashed potatoes.
Happy Saturday Everyone and GO COUGS!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bake Sale

Today I will spend behind the counter of a bake sale. The co-op which I no longer have kids in wrangled me to help with the bake sale that is part of the holiday bazaar they are having today. I like bake sales. I'm always so curious to see what people bring. Last year, Holly and I were basically it when it came to the bake sale. I think I make 6 dozen beautiful cupcakes, plus 10 dozen cookies. I like to bake, but it was a bit much. This year I only made 4 pies. I was going to make some devils food cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, but didn't. I figured the co-op has other bakers and I didn't have to do everything. Debra if you are reading, it is okay to say NO. In fact, it feels pretty good every now and then.
I'm hoping that we have a good turn out. Last year was our first year and while our customer turn out was a lot less than we had hoped, we still made a thousand dollars which was great considering we had four weeks from idea to execution. This year we have had a lot of publicity and our vendors are more "artsy". Should be a good day, not to mention the sun is shining and at this time of year that is always a good sign.
Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In a time before internet...

I know I haven't blogged in a while, but I have been reading an actual book. I'm reading Pillars of the Earth. Yes, I know it was an Oprah book and I know it has been around for ever, but I just got it and it is really good.
I was recently told that it wouldn't hurt me to read a book every now and then, ouch, so I decided I would.
While on my trip to Phoenix I read Choke and it was okay. I did very much like the end. It will be a movie soon and I'm not really sure how they will pull it off, but I'm curious to see how they try. While visiting Jenny P, her hubby Steve was reading Pillars of the Earth and said it was really good. I had heard Matt and Holly also sing its praises, so I decided to get it. It is a big book, about 1000 pages so I have set a goal for myself to read 100 pages a day. So far so good. I must say my TV viewing is almost nil and my surfing has also been cut way down. Although, I must say, I am battling a slight addiction to Mob Wars on Facebook. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad, at least I'm not dealing cyber meth like some of my friends. I think I better get back to my book.
Happy Thursday :0)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Mess with Ray

Last night was the Ray Lamontagne concert and it was great. My favorite parts were when it was just him and his guitar on stage. If you don't own a copy of his first album "Trouble" you MUST go and get it. It is one of those perfect albums. It is so hauntingly beautiful, that you may want to keep a box of kleenex handy. It makes you wonder what kind of life he has lived to be able to write in such a painfully honest way. Bottom line: brilliant!!
So for months, the tickets to this show has hung on our fridge and I've been counting down the days. It was at the Opera House in Seattle, not a huge venue, and it was sold out. Now Seattle is kind of a funny place. We tend to be very laid back and "live and let live", however, this does not apply to concerts attended by mostly middle aged white folk. I would say that 99.9% were middle class Seattlelites who had just come from trendy Thai restaurants and were looking to a mellow evening of indie folk rock or as they say in Seattle "Adult Alternative". There was no mosh pit, there was no cloud of smoke hanging in the air and the choruses of "I'm so wasted" were pretty much non-existent, except for the group in front of us.
Ray is know for being extremely shy on stage and rarely talks to the crowd. You might get a "thank you" if you are lucky. So the guy in front of us thought it would be a good ideas to start yelling "SPEAK!" at the top of his lungs. This happened a few times until some guy in the back of the balcony yelled for him to shut up and let Ray do his job. He was silenced for about 5 minutes.
Now the group in front of us consisted of two couples and it was clear who was the designated driver. The other three seemed to be confused as to where they were. They were acting like they were front row at at Motley Crue show, yes it was not pretty. When the people in front and in back and next to them asked them to quiet down, they felt the need to unleash f-bombs galore. Lovely.
I really felt bad for the women in front of them. One of them was almost in tears. I just don't understand how people can be so self absorbed and disrespectful of others. I had waited all night for Ray to play the song "Burn", my fav d'jour. It was just him and his guitar and all I could hear were these yahoos in front of us cat calling. The song was still amazing, but I must say the high-fiving did tend to take away from the beauty of the song.
Other than that, the show was great and I highly recommend if you ever get a chance to see him, you should.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Night with Ray

If Neil Young and Van Morrison had a love child, it would be Ray Lamontagne.
We are going to see him tonight and I can not wait.
It is going to be amazing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I wish this was me today.

Yesterday was very busy. I began baking cookies around 3:30 am and I guess that was too early for my poor little brain, because I ended up burning two batches. Okay, they weren't totally black, but they were darker than I like them so they didn't make the cut for going to school. Of course, that meant that I had to make more cookies. If I don't see cookies for a long time, I'm really okay with that. When all was said and done, I had cranked out 10 dozen cookies. Thank god, Joj was also up and was willing to run to the store for me. I had to pick up some bagels and fruit.

I think this might be my last year as Hospitality Chair. Just like last year, folks were totally late bringing their stuff or didn't bring what they were asked. We had no cream for the coffee and I'm amazed that folks didn't complain (at least to me). We had around 200 parents come through and we had enough food. I find it interesting that all the homemade stuff is the first to go. When I headed back up to school to clean, I was trying to figure out what to do with 2 flats of Costco muffins. However, I was pleasantly surprised that someone had cleaned up the tables and taken the muffins and all the other left over treats. I guess one of the teachers had her class clean the foyer and as a reward they cleaned out the treats as well. Hey, works for me.

Last night, Joj had his buddies over and I made meatloaf and gravy, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots and rolls. It was really yummy and so hit the spot. I guess that is why they call it comfort food. The best part is that there was some left over and we can have meatloaf sandwiches for lunch today. I plan on taking it really easy today. As far as I know, the only thing on my agenda is dinner with my folks. Yesterday was my little brother's 30th birthday. I think is more weird that Tommy is 30 than the fact that I'm quickly approaching 40.

Anyway, I plan on taking it easy and watching a little football. Football in WA these days is not looking good (on any level) The only upside to that is that the Apple Cup will be more of a bloodbath than usual. For those of you who aren't local, the Apple Cup is the annual contest between the U of Washington and Washington State and around here the rivalry makes Michigan and Ohio State look like BBF's. With both teams having some "challenges" this year, no one is bowl bound, so all bragging rights ride on this game. This year it is in Pullman (home of WSU) which should bode well for the Cougs. If we are lucky it will snow (another plus).

I hope everyone's Saturday is a relaxing one. I need to enjoy today, because tomorrow is back to busy, busy, busy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Night Owl

It is 2:55 and I can't sleep.

Today is "Special Guest Day" at school and as chair of the hospitality committee, I'm in charge of setting up all the goodies. I have folks bringing stuff and I hope it is enough. I really hate to delegate. Last year, everyone was late bringing their stuff. I felt like an idiot standing at the table that was only half full. We get about 200 parents or more coming through, so we need a decent amount of food.

I was supposed to bake yesterday, but I didn't. I spent the day in Seattle bumming around with a friend and by the time I came home, I was pretty tired. The thought of dirtying up my kitchen was not appealing at all. But now I can tell the stress of not having enough goodies is keeping me awake, so I might as well get up and get busy.
I think I will make some Gingersnaps, PB thumbprints and some Chocolate w/ White Chocolate chip.
Happy Friday Everyone :0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He had a dream...

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Yes we can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

GTC for WSU Laura

Here is the recipe for General Tso Chicken or "GTC" as well call it. This could not be simpler and you probably have most ingreds already. The recipe below is for "4", but like I mentioned in my last post, you might want to make more than you think you will need. Saturday I cooked 14 chicken breasts and made one and half batches of sauce which was not quite enough. Next time for that much chicken I would double the sauce.
I like this dish because it is very easy and has a really pretty presentation. Makes folks think you slaved all day. My only words of advice are to plan ahead for the cooking of the chicken, it does take a while. You don't want to crowd the oil, which will drop the temp and then make the chicken take longer to cook. Other than that it is easy, peasy.

***Make sauce and refrigerate until needed:***
1/2 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Water
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh Ginger
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 can Chicken Broth
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into chunks
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Cornstarch
2 cups sliced Green Onions
dried hot peppers they can be found in the Mexican isle


Put everything into a quart jar with a lid and shake it up, then put in the fridge. Just shake it up again when you are ready to use it.


Mix chicken, soy sauce, and hot peppers. Stir in egg. Add cornstarch, and mix until chicken pieces are coated. Deep fry 7 or 8 chicken pieces at a time in a 350 degree oil until chicken pieces are crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all chicken chunks are fried.

Place a small amount of oil (1 Tbsp.) in wok or large pan (I use my dutch oven) Add onions, peppers and stir fry about 30 seconds. Stir sauce mixture, and then add to pan. Cook until thick. If it gets too thick, add water to right consistency. Add chicken to sauce and cook until all is hot and bubbly. Serve with fried or steamed rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's like Deja-vu all over again

What an insane weekend.
As you know last weekend was the surprise party for Joj with all his HS buddies. Well there was one buddy that I tried to track down and could not find. I tried everything, but no dice. Well, Joji comes home and says that the guy I was looking for called him totally out of the blue. He was hoping to hook up with some of the old crew. Weird. So needless to say, we had everyone that was still in town over to our house for reunion 2.0.

I love having folks over. I was even more thrilled that my pantry contained the fixings for some yummy baked artichoke dip. The guys loved it too apparently, they licked the plate clean. Later that night we had some friends over for a little General Tso Chicken. There were 8 of us and I ended up cooking 14 chicken breasts. Boy that was a lot of frying, but so worth it. Again, a super simple recipe that has the "wow" factor. I made two batches of sauce, "hot" and "not so hot". I think the "not so hot" could have used a little more heat, but that was just me. I didn't want it too hot because I wanted the kids to be able to eat it. Anyhow, the night was a blast. Erik and Joji grew up together so the evening was filled with more back in the day stories. I just love hearing those and the fact that I know most of the characters in the stories makes them even funnier.

This upcoming week, seems like it should be a little more mellow. I have some testing on the schedule as well as another subbing job. The "IK" I subbed for last week called to see if I would sub again. I was very flattered. That must mean I did a good job. Her class was really sweet and it is only for a half day, so I jumped all over it. I am liking subbing and could see doing more of it down the road. I think the key is to find a couple teachers and really get to know their classes. It make the job sooo much easier.

Last but not least, a very long over due shout out to WSU Laura for giving me the BBF award. She is a great kindred spirit and I love reading about her life and find it fascinating how much it mirrors mine.
So I would like to shoot this award back to her as well as A girl named Timi and Debra over at September Acres. Both Timi and Debra are daily reads for me and I always appreciate when they stop by and say hi.
Well, it is almost 6 o'clock and I must get some laundry going. I just woke up from a nap I didn't mean to take. I was just lying down trying to settle my stomach and then I woke up a few hours later. This doesn't bode well for getting to sleep early tonight. At least Sunday is a decent TV night to fold laundry to, even though Mad Men is over for the season. I'm soooo bummed. I LOVED that show. I must say the finale was great. Of course now I can't wait for season 3. I hope it gets picked up.
Well, I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday evening. I'm off to do laundry :0)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arizona really was a blast...

The plan was simple. Go to visit Jenny P in Arizona and sit by the pool and that is exactly what we did. No going for pedi's or lunch or shopping. Nope, we got up and sat by the pool. The guy upstairs must have known how much I needed a little R&R because the weather was warmer than usual, low 90's. Now the pool was a little too chilly to swim, so we had to make due with the hot tub (I know poor us) and there we sat with wine in hand and just talked and talked and talked.

It was a quick trip and the first time I think Joj has been home alone with the kids. Everyone survived so I'm hoping that I will be able to go down again for even longer next time. However, now it is back to reality and the rush of being back home. Joji was very sweet and did some cleaning while I was gone, but there is always more to do. We are having some friends over for dinner this weekend and I need to go shopping and tackle some laundry. Oh and how could I forget, today is Halloween party day at school. (This is the first year I'm not responsible for anything. I just get to show up, yay)

Yup, the vaca was short, but so oh so wonderful. Jenny asked if my trip would be blogworthy. Duh, of course. I told her that I needed to take a picture of us for it and here are our attempts. I liked the first photo, she liked the second one,
so we spilt the difference on the third.
Me and Jenny P. BFF's since Kindergarten. We've come a long way baby!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Awesome! Totally Awesome!

Who other than Jeff Spicoli to sum up last night events. It was the most amazing evening and Joji was completely blown away.

Here is a pic of him griping about having to drive all the way up to Seattle for dinner. Of course we hit traffic trying to exit at Mercer (for those of you who are not from Seattle, we have the WORST traffic problems) and it made us late. After getting the "where are you?" text I made Joji drop me off in front of the restaurant while he went to park. Thankfully, street parking is nearly impossible to find and I had a few minutes to get everyone settled. When Joji finally go to the restaurant, it was pretty packed (Homecommingers galore) and he was antsy to get seated. While on our way back to the table, we bumped into on of his buddies on his way back from the little boys room.
Joji was all "hey, what are you doing here?"
Poor Dave's response "having dinner"
Joji "we should get together soon"
Dave "okay" giving me the panicked look
Joji "where is out table, I'm starving and want to eat"
Me "Uh, turn around Joj"
And there, right behind him, was a table full of his bestest high school buddies. This little group of boys have not all been together in almost 20 years. Joj was speechless. I was practically jumping up and down doing "the girl clap" I was so happy to all worked out.

I had begun putting all of this together in May and for me not to tell Joji about this was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm NOT a good secret keeper and I knew how much he would like it. What made it more difficult was reconnecting with folks and not being able to tell Joji what all his buddies were up to. Of course, I told everyone else within earshot and still Joj never found out. Even Ben and Sam kept the secret (very impressive) For months I was emailing and calling to get everyone there. I almost got the whole gang, but a last minute business trip made the group one short. Still, 7 out of 8 isn't too shabby.
The plan for the evening was for everyone to meet at Bucco De Beppos for dinner and then the boys would be on their own. I had arranged for a room downtown so they would have a place to crash. I figured they would want to go out on the town and raise a little cain (the running joke was the goodie bags would contain cigars and singles) and I wanted to make sure no one would have to drive home. I had also arranged a ride home for myself so not intrude on all the male bonding. However, that isn't exactly the way the evening went.
Instead of whooping it up, the group decided to go straight to the hotel and play some cards and reminisce about the good old days. Now, when I picked this particular hotel, I chose it for a couple of reasons, most of them had been there before and it was a block and half from the restaurant. I sent them directions and we even stood out side the restaurant and pointed to it. You would think that 7 grown men would be able to find the place no problem. Well, guess again. After Joji and I were waiting in the lobby for almost an hour the cell phones started ringing and it seemed that they boys ended up at 3 different hotels. How? we are still unsure. One group ended up at Northgate which involved getting on the freeway (did I mention you could see the hotel from the restaurant?)
Eventually everyone found their way and it was just like old times. I managed to sneak Joji's zune and dock so we had some festive tunes to listen to. Van Halen, Rush, Ozzy, Scorpions... we had it all. Even a little Iron Maiden that stopped everyone in their tracks in order to sing along (not the prettiest of sights, but very funny) I had made some goodies for them, but I misread the room description and there was no oven. There was a microwave and that just did not work to cook the sausage balls. I was a little bummed. However, I did make a couple of pies and those were a big hit.
After I served up the pie and made sure everyone was settled, I called my friend to come and pick me up. However, there was no answer. I called a couple of more times and still no answer. Now, I have to say that I never really wanted to leave, but felt like the boys would be more comfortable without a girl in the room. Yeah, they didn't care, just the old days. As long as there was someone to fetch drink and dish up pie they were good. Needless to say, I was very glad I got to stay. Most of us managed to stay awake for quite a while, but when 4:30 rolled around it was time to hit the sack. Around 7:30 the cell phones started ringing with wives calling to make sure their husbands had survived. Soon everyone was packed up and going their separate ways.
I still can't believe it is over. It was such a great night. Chances are it won't happen again so I'm incredibly thankful I was able to be a part of it. For one night, we were all 15 again and it was great.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not since 1998...

This is basically what I looked like yesterday at 3:30. I subbed yesterday in an all day K class. Up until now all my subbing has been half days and that has been just fine with me. But when someone calls you and asks you personally to sub, it is kind of hard to say no. Plus the unexpected fuel pump replacement in Joj's car put a dent in the old family budget, so I figured why not?

I must admit I was nervous. It was an integrated K which means there are kids with special needs in there (there was also an assistant which was very helpful). "IK"'s really range in the severity of disabilities, but in this class there were just a few kids with speech issues. I was very pleased that the day went pretty well. No screaming matches and chair throwing like my stint in the "regular ed" K. Yup, the class was great and the teacher had them doing all kinds of fun projects. Her room was set up so wonderfully (you can tell soooo much about a teacher by their room) and the kids were very well trained (another sign of a good teacher)

By the end of the day I was pooped. I started thinking and realized that the last time I taught a full day of school was in 1998! Yikes, that was 10 years ago. Not only that, I didn't have to come home to a family that needed stuff like food and attention :0) I was so glad that Joj's sister was coming over to make dinner. Is it just me or food taste sooo much better when someone else makes it. Needless, to say I hit the hay early last night.
If I ever decide to take this subbing thing seriously, I think I could work every day. I got 5 calls last night and I've already gotten 2 this morning. The last call was for a job that started in 20 minutes. Hmmmmm, that's not good.

Today I'm testing for a couple of hours then I'm off to the grocery store to pick up last minute items for Joji's present. 24 hours to go and I can't wait. It is going to be fantabulous!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've got a secret...

Joji is turning 40 on Thursday (poor guy)
To make the passing of his youth a little more bearable I have gotten him a really great gift. I have been working on this for 5 months. I am now only days away from seeing the look on his face when he sees it and I'm going insane.
I am not one for keeping secrets so this has been sooooooo hard for me. He has absolutely no idea what it is and if he didn't read this blog, I would spill the beans here. Even though his actual bday is on Thursday, he has to wait until Saturday. I'm hoping this gift will make him feel like a kid again. Any guesses??

Friday, October 17, 2008

Holy Blog Hits Batman

Every morning when I pull up my little blog I check to see how many hits it got the previous day. Most days I can actual put names to the hit numbers since it is usually around 15. I know that isn't huge, but it is more than just my mom reading so that makes me feel good. This morning when I checked, it said that I had 106 hits. What?? Even when I have participated in blog "parties", I never got that kind of traffic. What I find even more funny was that yesterday's post wasn't anything exciting. The only thing I can think of is that yesterday when I googled "Ann Lander's Lemon Meringue Pie" my post about it came up second on the list. I thought that was pretty cool and maybe that is were they came from. I doubt my blog will ever have the numbers of "The Nester" or "Pioneer Woman", but for the faithful few who keep tabs on me, I would just like to say a great big THANK YOU!! I feel like I have made friends all over the world. Today marks my 200th post so I think it is fitting to thank everyone who has keept me going.
So from my little blog to yours, thanks and Happy Friday!!
For those of you who are curious as to how my subbing in Kindergarten went, I had a student throw a chair and scream at the TOP of his lungs how mean I was (this was in the first 15 minutes). The good news was by the end of the day we were buddies. Hopefully, I will be able to sub in there again. Ahhh, teaching. Never a dull moment :0)
Okay, I just found an old draft that has messed up my post numbers so I'm really sitting at 199 (insert a BIG eyeroll) Doesn't matter, you guys are still the best :0)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kindergarten Here I Come

Today I am subbing in my friend's Kindergarten class. I'm so excited. I LOVE teaching Kindergarten. To make things even nicer, she only has 14 kids in her class. How great would that be. Sam's class this year is 24 (that is too big in my opinion). It is only a half day K which is fine with me. I might even be able to go out and do some testing afterwards. With the holidays around the corner (yikes) I need to start squirreling away as much moola as I can.
Yesterday's trip to the pumpkin patch was kind of a bust. We went to a different patch and it wasn't as good. First off, no hayride. What is up with that?? They did have some animals and lots of games for the kids to play, but the kids wanted to play the games and not get pumpkins. There was a HUGE pile of wood chips and the most of the kids spent their time playing king of the hill. I don't know, I always enjoy going out into the field and watching the kids try and find the biggest pumpkin and then watch as they realize Mommy isn't going to carry it and so they must rethink their choice. I'm thinking that maybe another trip to the pumpkin patch is in order. I think the weather is supposed to be good this weekend.
Okay, this is kind of random, but I just had to vent. Yesterday I had to buy a card. Now I'm not a "card person" and all I really wanted was a blank card big enough to send a CD in. Can I just say that I went to 3 stores and was only able to find 3 blank cards (and they were pretty lame to boot) I really missed the days of the Far Side cards. I would always send those. They weren't mushy or dorky, just very funny. So after 3 stores and an hour of searching I went to purchase my card and it was $3!! What?? But I needed to get it into the mail so bought it. I can only imagine how much the fancy cards with music cost, yikes. Okay, I'm done venting.
Well, it is 6:40 and I need to get going. I hope everyone has a good Thursday :0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We're off to the pumpkin patch

Today is Sam's class trip to the pumpkin patch. This is always a fun trip. The weather should be good, cool but clear, and it hasn't rained much lately so the mucky mud shouldn't be too bad. The farm we are going to is a neat one. In addition to pumpkins, they have a small dairy farm. I always think it would be fun to live on a little farm, but then you start to think about how much work it really is and then the idea is less appealing.
A few years ago on PBS they did a show called Frontier House where they took modern families and plopped them in the Montana wilderness as homesteaders. It was so interesting. Of course the city slickers didn't do too well. I don't think the poor wife ever sat down. She was stuck with a brood of 7 that were less than eager to help. I have a feeling that wouldn't have flown back in the day. Anyway, if you are ever channel surfing and stumble across it or at the library and see it, you should definitely check it out.
Back to the pumpkin patch... One of my favorite parts of the pumpkin patch field trip is all the great pics. There is something about rosy cheeked kids hugging big orange pumpkins that always make for a great photo. Hopefully, the battery in my camerae will last. Well, I better be off. I have to make a couple of "completely disposable lunches" and try and find a pair of boots for Sam.
Happy Wednesday Everyone!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mother of the Year

Move over June, I just tried to send Sammie to school with no shoes. Good thing she was paying attention. Here I thought she didn't want to leave because she wanted to give me more hugs and kisses. If this is any indication of my Monday, I'm a little worried :0)

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's never good news when the phone rings at 5:15 AM

So there I was sound asleep when the phone rings at 5:15. I thought it was the school district calling for me to sub. Ben had just crawled into the big bed so he answered and then I heard, "put mom on the phone". Apparently Joji's car is dead and he is 3 blocks from home. Great. I have to get up and go get him. I was very glad that Ben is old enough to "babysit" Sam for a few minutes so I didn't have to wake, dress and cart them along.

We tried to jump the car, but no dice. When Joj called AAA we were told it was a least an hour for a tow. Luckily we were just a couple of blocks from home and we were able to come here and wait for the tow truck as opposed to the middle of Northshore Parkway. But now, this means a trip to the mechanic and that is never cheap. To top things off, today Joji was supposed to meet his new boss. What a way to start things off by calling in with "car trouble" on a Friday. I may have to do some brown nose baking. Boeing is kind of mess these days and we want to keep Joji there as long as possible. Heaven forbid I would have to go back to work. I know, wah, wah, wah. I guess I'm actually very lucky that considering the way things are going I can walking to a decent paying job relatively easily.

Speaking of working, I got called by my friend to sub next Thursday in her Kindergarten class. I'm so excited. It is just a half day K and she only has 14 kids. What a dream job. I'm very jealous. I love Kindergarten and when I go back that is definitely were I will teach. Kindergarten is so important. It sets the tone for how kids feel about school. When I was teaching, I felt a lot of pressure to have my students really enjoy school and feel successful because I knew first grade would come along and crush them. How sad is that. Okay, I have officially become Debbie Downer.
Well, the kids are up now and I doubt I will make it back to bed. There is no school today and I have a fun day ahead of me which includes a trip to the grocery store and Costco. I think I will have to add some baking to my list of to-do's. I made apple crisp for Joji to take to work yesterday. At our house it is mostly crisp with a little apple on the side. I used my Pimped Out Chef apple peeler/slicer and I have to say, I think apple crisp tastes better when the apples are "chunked" rather than sliced. I still have a few apples so maybe I will make another batch. I think it is funny how almost all the blogs I read have featured apple crisp lately. I know it is my favorite fall dessert.

Well, I'm officially rambling and my eyes are finding it hard to focus. Please excuse any typos that I'm sure you will find. I'm not used to being up this early. I'm more of a sleep in kind of girl.
Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I want to be 15 again. Joji is turning 40 later this month and we have been doing a lot of reminiscing about the old days. I think 15 is a really great age. You don't know very much and things are still pretty simple. You can't drive so you have to walk everywhere or take the bus. Half the fun was in the getting there. When you are 15 your friends are everything. There are no jobs or major distractions to cut into your hanging out time. You are not worried about your 401(k) or how much your taxes are going to go up. It's all about Van Halen's new album (yes, good old vinyl), what's playing at the mall theaters and at whose house are you going to spend the night. Simple, simple, simple. No one had any real problems and everyone got along. I miss those days.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I saw this over at WSU Laura and I thought I would see what it had to say about me. I think it is pretty accurate and very interesting considering some things that are going on right now.

Your personality type:

Quiet, reflective and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people.

Careers that could fit you include:

Writers, artists, counselors, social workers, English teachers, fine arts teachers, child care workers, clergy, missionaries, psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, political activists, editors, education consultants, journalists, religious educators, social scientists.

Artwork by Mary Lou Reed

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing Hookie

So today I decided to play hookie (sorry, mom. I will finish the testing tomorrow) I just had to take a break from running around and clean my house. I've made some headway, but there is still so much more to do. I find I'm pretty good for a while and then some type of hurricane hits the house and it looks like a bomb went off. I lit some yummy smelling candles, put on some James Taylor and jumped right in. Of course then my friend called and I multi-tasked for a while. But then I opened my email and read an email that really made me appreciate what a great guy Joji is. I'm pretty lucky to have found someone who likes me even though my domestic skills are less than perfect. I try to make it up with freshly baked goodies for him and his friends, but that really isn't a substitute for not having to move the "to be folded laundry" off his chair. So today, I'm putting the old nose to the grindstone and getting stuff done.
Goals for today:
Give the kitchen a good cleaning
Remove clutter from main floors and vacuum
Vacuum the stairs (this job is not as bad as I always make it out to be and once it is done the difference is HUGE)
Tackle as much as I can of the Mount Washmore
Have dinner waiting when Joj gets home (including some apple crisp for dessert)
So there is my plan for today. Wish me luck and for any of you who have your domestic mojo down to a science, maybe you could send a little my way. I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You know were you are?? You're at the dentist baby

So this morning after getting the kids off to school I went to the dentist. I have been going to the same office since I was a little kid. I used to have Dr. Carl and now I have Dr. Brett (his son). It was a little weird at first having a dentist that was a few years younger than me and that I have attended "social gatherings" with in high school, but today it paid off. I had to have some fillings done and they offered my some music for my listening pleasure. As I looked over my options, Best of Mani low, Sade, Eagles... don't get me wrong, any of those would have been okay... I saw the ultimate dentist CD. Guns and Roses: Appetite for Destruction :0)
Interesting G&R trivia: My dear friend Sarah went to HS (Roosevelt HS in Seattle) with G&R's bass player Duff McKagan and Joji often takes credit for bringing G&R to the U of W in '87 before they hit it big.
I have to say it was a little surreal having the beginning of Welcome to the Jungle playing as you are laying there looking up at two masked people holding very large needles. Needless to say, the CD was the best part of the visit. I have the most sensitive teeth and in order to "numb" me up, I got 3 times the Novocaine. Sadly, it wasn't enough. They were able to get two of the three filled before my body said enough was enough. I'm sorry but I'm just to physically capable of having you zing my tooth nerve and not jump out of my chair. Now here I sit, with it feeling like my face is sagging into my lap. I was going to go do some testing, but in order to test the English, I must be able to speak it and that just really isn't happening. I thought maybe a trip to Joann's, but the thought of literally drooling down the isles wasn't that appealing as well. So now I'm home and I think I will take a little nap. The stuff the shot me full of is now starting to kick in and my whole face feels sleepy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ann Landers Lemon Meringue Pie

As much as I wish this recipe was my own, it is from Ann Landers. My only advice is to make the cornstarch mixture for the meringue first so it has time to cool or pour it on a plate and place in the fridge. Just make sure it is completely cool when it is time to use it.

Ann Landers' best ever lemon pie and meringue
1¼ cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups water

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup lemon juice

1½ teaspoons lemon extract

2 teaspoons vinegar

3 tablespoons butter

1 baked (9-inch) pie shell

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

½ cup boiling water

3 egg whites

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

For pie: Mix sugar and cornstarch together in top of a double boiler. Add 2 cups water. Combine egg yolks with lemon juice; beat until well mixed. Add to rest of sugar mixture. Cook over boiling water until thick, about 25 minutes. (This does away with the starchy taste.)

Add lemon extract, vinegar and butter; stir thoroughly. Pour mixture into deep 9-inch pie shell; let cool. Cover with meringue.

For meringue: Blend cornstarch and cold water in saucepan. Add boiling water and cook over low heat, stirring, until clear and thickened. Let stand until completely cooled. In another bowl, with electric beater at high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until stiff but not dry. Turn mixer to low speed; add vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in cold cornstarch mixture.

Turn mixer again to high, and beat well. Spread meringue over cooled pie filling; make peaks on meringue. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until peaks and top are lightly browned.

Serves 8
Nutrition facts per serving: 264 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 88 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 107 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

Joji said the pie did not last long this morning and it even received a 9.5 out of 10. Enjoy!!

Luscious Lemon Meringue

Last night I made Joji a Lemon Meringue pie to take to work today. The Pecan pie was a hit and now apparently I'm taking requests. Again, I'm not really a fan of Lemon Meringue, but I have to say I tested both the lemon and the meringue while I was making it and I might have rethink that. The lemon was nice and tart and the meringue tasted like marshmallow. When I was younger, I thought meringue was just stiff egg whites plopped on top and I think that is why the pie never appealed to me. I can't wait to hear how it went over. It really was a beaut.

I'm rushing to get kids out the door and then I'm off to do some testing so I will have to post the recipe when I get home this afternoon. The recipe I have is soo super simple (seriously, I only make stuff that is easy) and chances are you have everything already in your pantry. The only thing I wish I did have on hand last night was some lemons to zest so it would look and tast all fancy schmancy. I had my shopping list on the bottom of a coupon I had printed up and the cashier took the whole paper.

Speaking of coupons, I have a bone to pick with Home Depot. I belong to their "garden club" so they send me coupons. I actual went to use one yesterday to get some "buy one, get one free" spring bulbs. The coupon said it could be used 3 times, but when I went to pay it only let me use it 2 times. I pointed out to the cashier where it said 3 times and she, of course, could do nothing. So annoying.
Anyhoo, it is supposed to be in the 80's today. Why it couldn't have been 80 when he pool was open is beyond me, but I'm just glad I will have nice weather to get my bulbs in the ground.
Happy Monday, Everyone!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Perfect Pecan Pie

Last night, Joji says he wants me to whip a pecan pie to take to work for his Friday meeting. Sure no biggie. Pies are so easy. I used to be afraid of pie and truth be told fruit pies still intimidate me a little, but I do feel I have mastered the pecan pie. Now I'm not a pecan pie fan, but everyone who has some really likes it. The thing I like about this pie is that it plates so beautifully. Nothing is worse than a piece of pie that slops all over the plate (this is why I shy away from fruit pies) and these pieces plate picture perfect.
So I thought I would share my recipe with my 5 loyal readers :0) This pie is so easy and very "fall". We are looking at a grey day here in Pacific NW so filling the house with yummy smells always makes them a little easier to take. Enjoy
Perfect Pecan Pie
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 C dark brown sugar (you could use light)
1 C light Karo Syrup
1/3 C melted butter
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 C pecans (I usually only chop 3/4 C and use the rest to decorate the top
1 9" unbaked deep dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 350
mix butter, sugar, vanilla and syrup
when cooled add eggs and mix well
add chopped nuts and pour into shell
place unchopped whole nuts on top in pretty design
bake 50-55 minutes
let stand a few hours to completely cool and set up
Serve with whipped cream or the stuff from the can we call "SHHHHHHHHH"
Enjoy :0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A few months ago, my friend Chris was telling me about her adventures with facebook (aka crackbook) She shared how her teenage step-daughter got her hooked and she has been reconnecting with all kinds of folks from her past. I had received an email saying that Chris as invited me to be a friend and I agreed. Of course I had to sign up, but I never really did anything with it.
Last night, Joji tells me that the brother of one of his old cronies had sent him a friend invite on facebook. It was so random, but a total hoot because Erik had some pictures of their motley crew from back in the day.

They all look like babies. I guess the good news is that most of those guys look the same (of course with the exception of some grey hair- sorry Joj) So today, Joji and I spent a good deal of time on facebook trying to track down old classmates (like we had nothing else to to)
So in the spirit of pictures from back in the day, here is a real gem.

Senior Prom '87
"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
(Yes, I know that song is HORRIBLE, but I was out voted)
So there you have my flashback moments inspired by crackbook. Anyone else brave enough to share a little "yesteryear"?? I would love to see them :0)

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the little things...

I consider myself a pretty low maintenance kind of gal and Joji to be very lucky because of this. After a recent business trip to South Carolina, Joji came home baring gifts. I received one of those real estate magazines you get at the grocery store and the shower cap from his hotel room. I was thrilled. I fancy myself a real estate junkie and I have been meaning to get myself a shower cap (ya know for those times you want a quick shower, but not the ordeal of dealing with wet hair) but just never got around to getting one. Matt was over for dinner and thought those gifts were strange at best and found it harder to believe how excited I was. What he didn't seem to get is that charming part was that Joji knew exactly what I liked. I would rather have a free shower cap than some expensive "whatever" that had no thought behind it.
So continuing with the theme of "it takes very little to make me happy" I want to share with you what is making my life so wonderful these days. I like to bake and I bake a lot. However the plugs in which I plug various mixers and such into are not located in the best places. I have a little peninsula counter where I do most of my work and ever since we moved in, I have dreamed of someday having a plug at the end of my counter. Well, this weekend I finally got one. Joji and Matt spend all of Saturday installing it. Here it is. Isn't she a beaut??

To celebrate I make devils food cupcakes with chocolate butter cream, a pecan pie and a banana cream pie. It was so nice to bake without having to unplug the phone.
Not only did I get my outlet, I also got a new closet rod in the coat closet. About a week or so ago, the shelf in out coat closet collapsed. It was one of those awful white wire shelves and I can't say I was sad. Joji built me a new fancy shelf and installed an actual rod (we had hung our stuff on the wire shelf and that was bad because you can't slide stuff) Now my coats are off the living room couches and back in the closet where they belong.

Last but not least, there was some minor bathroom renovation that I am also thrilled with. I'm sure the moms can relate to the fact that we often go without privacy when dealing with the call of nature. Now I must say the fact Ben and Sam often barge in with some crisis is pretty typical and I've grown accustom to it. However, I draw the line when Sam starts bringing along friends. So with a frantic phone call to catch the boys while still at ACE, I am now the proud owner of a locking bathroom door.
It might now be the snazziest, but it works and that make me oh so happy.
Happy Monday everyone!!