Monday, December 17, 2012

Yokofest '12

The house is quiet so I thought I would do a little post of our annual Christmas party. 
It was a few weeks ago and it went really well. 
Way back when,  I remember watching an episode of the Wonder Years and it was about the neighbors who threw a Christmas party every year. 
I remembered thinking, "when I grow up, I want to be those neighbors". 
When we bought our current house, we kicked off our annual shindig tradition ("Yokofest" as it is known in the hipster circles of Browns Point).
This year it was legan (wait for it) dary.
We had over 50 folks so up and the house was FULL and buzzing with that good party vibe.  We have a pretty eclectic group of friends but it is usually the same crowd year after year. So despite the fact folks are from all over W. WA, they have gotten to know each other making mingling much easier. 

After 8 parties, I think my sister-in-law and I have found the secret.  We kept the food simple.  In years past we have found ourselves slaving away in the kitchen and not with our guests.  What's the point of having a party if you don't get to enjoy yourself??  This year, the goal was to have all the food done and out by 7:30-7:45.  The party starts at 7 but we know folks like to be fashionably late so this worked out perfectly. 
We pride ourselves on a good spread.  Good food and lots of it. We try and offer lots of options (nothing worse than going to a party and you don't like or can't eat any of the food)  It is a lot of work, but the end result is worth it. 
At the end of the night, the best part is always the people.  We are so blessed to have so many dear friends who make the pilgrimage every year to kick off the holidays in our home and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Not all bullying happens on the playground.
I thought the point of fundraising was to help get kids to camp not line some rep's pockets.
Silly me

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Not this kind of scout...

This kind of scout.

I had an interesting experience yesterday, Ben was scouted.
I was working the gate at the football game yesterday when a guy came up and asked if the Tigers were playing today.  They weren't and the guy said, "that's too bad. I was hoping to check out one of the players".  Out of curiosity I asked who he was hoping to see.  He said "I want to talk to the tight end about coming to play for our select 13/14 team.  I think his name is Yokosomething".
Really?? Ben??
Now in our little neck of the woods, there is a little thing called select soccer.  It is insane.  Like totally life consuming, drain your bank account crazy.  Whenever I hear my friends talking about traveling here or writing a check for thousands of dollars there (yes, you read that right, THOUSANDS)   I think thank god Ben doesn't play soccer.  So when the word "select" came out of his mouth I got a pit in my stomach. 
Was it kind of cool, the guy knew about Ben and actually knew his name (well, he was close)?
Where we ready to get involved with something "select"?
Not sure
I sent the scout down to talk to Joj and Ben.  I figured Joj could size this guy up and ask the important questions.  When I caught up with Joj I asked what he and Ben thought. 
Turns out Ben wants to try out for the team. 
Try outs are tonight and Ben is going to check it out.  I'm glad that Ben is excited about football and sees this as an opportunity to improve his skills, but I'm also very leery about we might be getting into.
I guess we will have to wait and see.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flour ~ it's important

Today is finally Fall here in the PNW.
It is gray
It is raining (altho around here WA call it "sprinkling" ~ we are like Eskimos and snow, we have a million different names for types of rain)
Joj is on his way home from a biz trip in SC and the kids are at school. That means the house is QUIET and it seemed like a good time to bake. 
I'm making some long promised Snickerdoodles.
Whenever I am looking for a recipe I always start my google search with "the best ____ ever".  I found one that sounded simple enough, didn't require crisco (which I was out of) and had a pretty picture of the final product.  Okay, sold.
I measured, mixed and baked.
When I checked on them, I was NOT happy with what I saw.

I really HATE when a recipe flops.  All that time and expensive butter down the drain (literally). It sucks more when you realize that YOU didn't read the recipe correctly.  Yes, cookies will spread if you leave out a C of flour. Umm yeah. I believe the kids these days call it a "facepalm".
Long story short I found another recipe, read it very carefully and the result is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. 
Wishing you a very yummy weekend

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to school...

Yesterday was the first day of school.  Ben is a big 8th grader (his last year of middle school) and Sam is in 4th grade with the same teacher she had in Kindergartem (we are very excited about that)
This summer seemed to zoom by a little too quickly for my liking, but I have to admit I do like that fact that kids are back in school. 
We need some structure around here so it's a good thing. 
The start of school also means back to work for me. 
I do English testing for my old district and it allows me to make a little mad money without being tied down to a "real job". 
Plus it allows me the flexibility to volunteer at the kids' schools which is nice.
I hope your first day of school went well.

Monday, August 27, 2012

In the blink of an eye...

From this

to this

Saturday night was our 25th high school reunion. 
Still seems very weird to me. 
I was a Sr. class officer so I got to help plan the 10th.  It was a nightmare (the planning not the actual event) but I swore I would never plan another one.  We didn't go to our 20th, but the chick who planned it ran into the same problems we did with the 10th. 
Fast forward a few years and the introduction of Facebook (cue the angels singing)
Last summer the class of '86 hosted an informal get together at a local bar and I went.  It was fun and so much more relaxed than regular reunion.  When the question was asked "are we doing anything for our 25th?" I suggested we follow suit and keep it simple.  This time around all it took was a phone call to reserve space at the bar and a "be there or be square" post on FB. 
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
We had about 80 folks show up which was a nice size ~ made it easy to "work the room".  I'm hoping for the 30th (gulp) we have a few more folks show up, but keep it an easy going affair. 
After all it isn't about the fancy food or the screaming loud DJ. You go to catch up with folks who "knew you when..." and relive the good old days. 
It's all about feeling 17 again, even if it is for just one night every 5 years.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Are you ready for some football?

The Northeast Tacoma Tigers kicked of their 2012 season today.
Despite the HOT weather this week (legit HOT weather, like in the 90's hot weather, not wimpy W. WA it's over 75 and we are all dying hot weather) today's game was played under overcast skies and in the mild high 60's.
Perfect football weather.
Unfortunately our first game was against last year's league champs.  Um, yeah...
The good news is we weren't shut out and there is nowhere to go but up. 
Despite the today's loss, this is the best team we have fielded so far.
(this is only the 3rd year of the program and they have come a long way in those three years)
Just look at the determination in these faces. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Get Lucky

This weekend I headed over to the Gorge in George for a little 80's rocking.
Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy was a triple bill that was just too good to pass up.

I met up with my brother and his wife in Ellensburg where I went to College at CWU. 

If Boeing ever opened a Ellensburg branch I would pack up and go in a heartbeat.  The town is small, kind of quirky but it is the cute houses and almost constant sunshine  gets me every time. 
One of the best parts of Ellensburg is a little watering hole called The Tav. 

Besides being the first stop whenever you went out, it is also the home to the Super Mother (the world's perfect burger) I don't know what they do do it or if they cook it a special way, but it is my all time favorite burger and even though it was 20 years since my last one (gulp) it tasted just like I remembered it ~ awesome. 

Of course I had to wash it down with a Raindog (that's Rainier beer for those outside of Washington) for old times sake.  After lunch it was off to the campground.

We decided to stay at the Wild Horse Campground which a couple of miles from the venue. They  also provide a shuttle to the show which meant not having to deal with parking.  Woo Hoo!!

Of course the shuttles were packed, loud and most of the riders were a bit tipsy but it wasn't a long drive so it was okay.
The venue itself is pretty stunning.  Right on the Columbia River.  The sun was out and you couldn't have asked for a more perfect night.

After my VanHalen experience I was a little leery, but all the bands sounded amazing, especially Loverboy.

Oh Mike Reno, I love his voice.  Personally, I think Loverboy sounded the best out of the three bands and I was a little bummed they only played a 30 minute set (altho not a bad gig if you are Loverboy) However, I will definitely be going to see them the next time they play in town. 

For those of you who are curious about the "Asian Steve Perry" I have to say he sounded pretty good.  On most songs he was practically drowned out by the 20,000 folks singing along.
Overall, the weekend was a blast.  It makes me want to get out see other bands (especially if it means more super mothers)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Yesterday, I kicked off my 43rd year.

It always seemed like my birthday signaled the beginning of the end of summer. 
However, this year, summer just started so I feel I've been in a bit of time warp.
Bottom line summer is cruising by way too fast for my liking.
That being said, it has been a pretty busy summer so maybe that has something to do with it.

For my birthday my little brother and his wife got me a ticket to the Loverboy, Pat Benatar and Journey show next week. 
Loverboy was my first concert at the very mature age of 13 (it was also a birthday present)
This show will be at the Gorge in George. 

The last time I was there was in was in '94 for Lollapalooza. 
Can't wait

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mom Prom

So Blossom '12 was pretty fun. 
Of course the highlight of the evening was when they killed the lights and cranked the tunes.  Nothing like a bunch of "girls" huddled on the dance floor.
Let's just say the DJ had our number and when Jessie's Girl started up everyone lost it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Girls Night

Tonight I'm going out with some friends to support another friend and her benefit. 
It is always fun, it is always for a great cause and it is always interesting.
Even though Tacoma is one of the largest cities in Washington, "up on the hill" we are very small town, a little Knott's Landing if you will.  I'm sure all communities are like that to some degree. 
Tonight the women of our community will come together to "connect, contribute and celebrate" along with all the wine they can chug sip. 
I'm sure it will be fun, it always is. 
I'm sure I will see lots of folks I know, I always do. 
I'm sure I will feel silly for being anxious, I always am. 
What is it about a room full of women (who are 99% very sweet ~ altho there is always that 1%, meow) that is so intimidating?  It isn't just me, I've heard that from a lot of folks.  I find it ironic that a night designed to celebrate woman is stressing them out.
I guess that is why they serve so much wine :0)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Youth is Wasted on the Young

So last night we went to see Van Halen. 
Um...yeah... I think the theme of the night was "getting old sucks"

While the band sounded pretty good, David Lee Roth looked like he was in pain the whole night.  Maybe he was battling the flu or something, but he just looked so pained every time they plastered his face on the jumbo tron.  I think his current "style" didn't help.
From this..
to this...
which reminded me of this...

They say you can't go back and last night was a glaring reminder of that.  Now I wasn't foolish enough to expect this...
but I just wasn't prepared for this
which reminded me of this
Overall it was a fun night and they did sound pretty good.  Despite playing a little too much from the new album, they did play some of my favs. 
So in the spirit of burying my head in the sand when it comes to getting old, I leave you with some classic Van Halen in all their 80's glory.

Dance the Night Away ~ ahhhh ~ Van Halen Perfection
Enjoy :0)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Diamond Dave and the Boys

Tonight is the Van Halen show. 
I'm so excited.   
I'm very curious to see how good our seats are.  They were a bit spendy.  I guess I've entered the phase in life where I use the phrase "back in my time..." more and more often especially when it comes to the cost of concerts.  I really don't think any act deserves the draining of the college fund (well.. maybe Journey if Steve Perry came back), however, Van Halen with David Lee Roth comes close.  Now if it had been up to me, NO WAY would I have bought these tickets, but they were my Valentines Day gift so I guess that makes it okay.
Just for the record, this is what a Van Halen ticket should cost
Happy Saturday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day

So if the old saying "April showers bring May flowers" we are due for quite a flowerful May.
Today, between downpours, I decided to take a little tour of my garden.  Now, I haven't really gotten into full garden mode yet, but my lilacs are on the brink of blooming.
I LOVE lilacs.  
I have many different types of lilac trees in my yard.  I would have a lilac forest if I could.  Their only draw back is that their season is just too short for my liking.  However, for a few weeks in May, my yard and house smell amazing.

When we looked at our house there was a lilac in the corner of the backyard.  It was in the summer so the blooms were long gone, but I took it as a good sign.  It turned out that the lilac was in fact a very light blushy pink.  I don't know the name, but I love the light colored blooms. 

I planted this a couple of years ago.  I love to pick up lilacs at the nursery, post season, so they are marked way down.  I don't know the name of this one either, but I'm just glad it is blooming.  Our lawn guy likes to prune.  Every year I have to follow him around shouting "don't cut that!!".  Lilacs bloom on old growth. If you prune too much you won't get blooms the following year.

Here is another lilac that barely escaped.  It looks kind of funny with the flowers being so low on the bush.  Next year I'm hoping for full bloom.

This lilac I call the Katie May.  My friend, Katie, gave me a sucker off a tree in her back yard.  I planted it and waited for it to grow. I waited and waited and then we moved.  I dug it up and took it with me and waited some more.  Finally after 10 + years, it bloomed.  There are only  two bunches of flowers this year, but I'm encouraged. 

I planted this lilac by my living room windows so they would make my living room smell good.  It is called Bridal Memories and it has a very strong (in a good way) scent.  This is another bush I dug up and brought with me when we moved.  It is amazing how much abuse these lilacs can take.

Last, but not least, is my Pocahontas Lilac.  While I like the shade of purple, it is a more bluish purple, I bought it because of its name.  My grandma was born in Pocahontas, Virginia.  She would always tell me stories of her adventures growing up there.  So when I saw this little baby at the nursery, I snatched it up.  Now every spring when it blooms I think of her.

So there you have it, my Lilac collection.  It has been a while since my last lilac, so I'm sure I will be on the look out for a new one. 
Do you have a favorite lilac?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lemon Love

My BFF, Jenny P, enjoys a good lemon cupcake.  While I was down visiting a couple of weeks ago, I decided to whip up a batch as a little thank you for letting me come down and soak up some of her Arizona sun.  I found a promsing recipe at the Sing for Your Supper blog.  We gave it a try and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.
A while ago I was on a quest for a good white cake, but was unable to find one.  Turns out this recipe fits the bill.  It is light, but dense enough to have that perfect "crumb".  It reminds me of wedding cake and even though it is lemon flavored, it is very light and I think makes the cake refreshing. 
I've tweeked the recipe a bit, but it is simple and pretty straight forward (although, a one bowl recipe it is not).  For even more lemony goodness pair it with a lemon buttercream.
Lemon Cupcakes
  • 2C flour
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • juice of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 350
Combine sugar and lemon zest, muddle and set aside
Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt
Gently beat eggs whites and buttermilk
Combine sugar and butter and mix until very light in color
Add vanilla and lemon juice
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/2 of the milk mixture, repeat, ending with flour mixture
Fill cupcake liners half way up and bake ~ they will not brown so test with toothpick
Bake 17 min for mini and 20 for regular

Lemon Buttercream
  • 1 C butter
  • 4-6 C powder sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 dash salt
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • a few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)
Combine and mix on med high for 3 minutes until light an fluffy

I'm linking up to Sweets for a Saturday


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Partners in Crime

Lucy and Ethel

Lavern and Shirley
Thelma and Louise
Me and Jenny P.
Happy Birthday to my BBF.