Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jane Austen Marriage Manual

Some girls can't have enough shoes. Or bags. Or lipsticks. For me, it's books! ("Oh, this old thing?" I tell my husband about the newly released title. "I've had it around forever.": ))

From cookbooks to memoirs to chick lit, I love many a book! I had to get the novel above last weekend. In the Jane Ausen Marriage Manuel,  protagonist Kate is about to turn 40, when she finds herself single, semi-broke, and living back with her mom and grandma.  But, never fear, she lands a plum freelance writing assignment. The angle? Is one still eligible to make a 'good match' at age 40? With my own impending birthday, I thought this was a must!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lemonade season

Always one to up the ante : ), my friend Tracy scooped up Miss P after swim practice and the pool bbq today for a little playdate. The kids ended up hosting a lemonade and snack stand. How fun is that? I was meanwhile working on report cards....4 more days of school!

End of year volunteer gift

I always spend a fair amount of time deciding how to honor my classroom helpers at the end of the school year. What will be cute, useful, not too expensive (this year I had 10 to prepare), but also semi-substantial enough to match efforts made? (Although, a gift that matches the parents dedication and effort is a pretty TALL order)! I would need to be a multi-millionaire.

I am excited with this years offering.  I think they would look extra pretty filled with flowers!
The pitchers are actually plastic and available now at Target in the patio area, as are the black and white striped tags. The scalloped labels (which I used a glue stick to attach to the striped cards) I got at Micheal's, which is also where I got the ribbon.

I hope someone finds this useful. Now - back to report cards!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Jokes by Paige and Dad

While I've been logging my 12 hour days, Miss P and Ed have been finding ways to keep themselves busy. Sometimes they watch Giants games, Miss P plays on daddy's iphone, they go to the pool, and watch superhero cartoons. But also? They make joke books. Here's a favorite page.
What do you think? Is a book deal on its way? : )

Monday, May 21, 2012


Apparently, it is already Summer in my universe, as our weekend was filled with fun, sun, and nary a chore in sight. (OK, there was one chore which we got out of the way at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, after that it was all good times.)

Both days we were gone for 10 to 12 hours. We packed in shopping, a birthday party, a quick date to 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' (cute and I cried, so I give it a thumbs up). We hit a festival, attended a jewelry party, visited with various friends and relatives, went to a pug rescue event and got a few steps closer to adoption, and had a blast with our friends at a Solar Eclipse BBQ.

Speaking of the Solar Eclipse BBQ, have you tried any of BF's Skinnygirl beverages? I've had her margarita that started it all and we picked up the Pina Colada variety at BevMo so I could have a taste test with the girls. The verdict: with lots of ice to make it nice and cold it is light and refreshing. However, it is a little like coconut flavored water (even without all the ice). I defnitely miss the taste of the rich, blended typical pina colada. However, again, this is a healthier (?) and diet version, so what do you expect, right?

I did also make the Riley Margarita for 'the gang.'  Now, this is a drink to write home about. See recipe at bottom.  Apparently, Ed, above had too much of the Riley Margarita as it looks like I am posing with a wax statue. (Either that, or the solar eclipse bewitched him!)

Today was our last furlough of the school year, and, apparently, I had nothing to do. I, too, was maybe a little *bewitched* (maybe by the margaritas), as I woke up this morning and decided to read for awhile. I'd just started The Bungalow the night before. Holy Cow, that book took over, and I finished it by 9:15 this morning. Oops. A little off schedule, I rounded up Miss P who had been happily fending for herself and ushered her off to the playdate she had been graciously invited to, so that I could work on report cards today. When I was invited by the other moms present at the playdate to sit down with some coffee cake, I could hardly say no. That would be rude. So there went an hour and a half.  After that I had to swing by the store. Target was blessedly empty; I wanted to spin and sing in the aisles with my shopping cart. Fortunately I did not, as I ran into an old Las Madres friend. Whenever I see a mom who was a really integral part of our group in its heyday, I feel such a pull of nostalgia. When I worked part-time, (Miss P, birth to 5) and spent so many days the park, or singing group, the zoo, etc., with Miss P and these moms and their Happiest time of my life. Anyway, this mom has two younger children now, and it was so fun to catch up with her and see her handsome now 8-year old son.  Instead of teeth brushing and potty training, the talk now turns to homework and extracurriculars. I so hope to get a reunion going with the group this summer.

Apparently, I'm putting off my report cards. Here's my margarita recipe...hope summer is showing up for you too!

Riley Margarita
1 1/2 ounces tequila (blanco, 100 percent agave)
Lime juice or margarita mix
swirl of triple sec
floater of brandy
shake it/swirl it and drink!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bruschetta Chicken

With the end of the year bonanza going on (11 more days?) I've made dinner exactly once this week so far. It was a keeper though! (As most of my meals are) : ) It was also very easy (as most of my meals are).

Brushetta Chicken (inspired by Pioneer Woman)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil (you may want to use less, judging from my picture, I tend to be heavy on the olive oil and garlic)
a generous spoonful of finely minced garlic (I have been getting the jarred variety)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 heaping spoonfuls of diced sundried tomatoes
4 chicken breasts, sliced into thin fillets

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet, add garlic and stir. When garlic is golden, pour into a mixing bowl.  Add both kinds of tomatoes and balsamic to the bowl. Toss to combine, and refrigerate.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to skillet.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and  cook over medium heat on both sides, (a few fillets at a time) until done in the middle. (As you finish the first fillets, move them to a plate and tent with tinfoil to keep them warm.)

Finally, arrange chicken on serving plates, stir up the bruschetta mixture and pour it on top.  Serve with salad and bread. Yum!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Open House

My labor of love..(one of them)...last week's Open House for my kindergarten class. I have had such a fabulous year with this group of students. Our class is chock-full of community, with students taking care of each other when someone is sad, inside jokes (like, I often pretend to faint whenever someone says something so incredibly smart, or finally gives that perfect response), our love for Mo Willems books, and so many other things. 

Tonight  is Kindergarten orientation for the new group. I am excited to meet the new little guys, but I have to tell you, I am going to be in major mourning for this year's group. I am being dragged kicking and screaming to the last day of school (Can I retain all of them??) : )

Back to what your are seeing here....this is the first year I had them list ways they solved math problems. It's simple, but I like how it turned out.

And what about the way 'Room 2 reads'? They 'ask questions,' 'make connections,' and 'practice very much.' Love it!

Sigh. Guess I have to let them go to first grade.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all....

I spent a portion of the holiday shopping at the mecca, Target, updating my minimal Spring/Summer wardrobe. As I hemmed and hawed over various maxi dresses and cowl neck tops, inspiration struck.

Around here we are big fans of House Hunters, and various other shows from the reality genre.  How about a show called 'My closet?' Picture starts with me browsing through the racks of my favorite stores (i.e., Target, with the occasional J. Crew, Anthropologie, Macy's thrown in). Of course, as I hold things up, inspecting with a critical eye, and start actually trying on items there are plenty of automatic no's. No granite countertops?is replaced with, "ooh, not flattering." I had really wanted an open floorplan for entertaining, becomes "not comfortable." And: bedrooms --too small! dress: too small!

I finally narrow down to my three top choices. Then we talk budget. I can only afford to get one! This one is so wearable, but I have others already like it. This, on the other hand, would definitely expand my wardrobe, but is it practical? I take pictures of myself in the dressing room with my iphone and text them to my handy wardrobe consultant friend/husband. I nervously await their phone call with the verdict. The phone rings and we debate the choices. You can only hear my side of the conversation. "What did you think? I have the perfect necklace for the green one."  "Then again, I felt so hip in the brown one, and it would look so cute with my wedges." Finally, we come to an agreement. "Yes, that's the one!"

Next thing you know, I'm leaving the store with my shopping bag, and a big smile. The final scene shows me modeling the new piece at home, and talking about how I made 'the right decision.'

Hahahahaha.....This is what happens when I have time on my's been a wonderful Mother's Day, complete with a nap, movie (The Five Year Engagement, which I highly recommend), and dinner with my family.

I hope you had a wonderful day too!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First communion "tablescape"

So much is going on, but I always feel the urge to post 'in order' the riveting latest details of my week will have to wait. It's one big party around here, with my school's Open House Night, featuring our class play, my colleague's engagement party (which I'm helping host) and Godknowswhatelse in the coming week. 

But first things first. I had a couple of inquiries about our dessert table (seen here sans dessert!) I was inspired by I think Amy Atlas with this *design*. (This is a design, like Real Housewife Alexis is an 'anchor' on her local news.: ) But I digress.

Since our dining room wall is white, and I really wanted some color, I got this Dwell Studio fabric and just pinned it to the wall.  This was my first time trying this technique and I really liked the effect.  I filled bud vases with blue stones and twigs from the yard for the shelf above. With more time (I pulled this event together quickly), I would've liked more white vases and touches.

One thing I kind of struggle with...I always feel like my tables don't seen laden enough with food. (Again, clearly right now there is no food, but even when it was filled...) How do you get that effect with a smaller party? Flowers?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Communion

My sweet girl made her first communion today! It was a very happy day for all of us, filled with family, excitement, and laughter.

at the church

our little dessert party

Our two good friends' sons also celebrated their first communion and we were able to attend one of the events. First's that time of year!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mom and daughter

I make her breakfast and dinner.

I listen to her.

I pick out her clothes and sign her permission slips.

I encourage her.

I still brush and floss her teeth at night.

I comfort her.

(contents: piece of toast; accompanied by a small filled water bottle)

And she takes care of me, too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I don't laugh out loud that much.

It's not that I don't have a sense of humor, (I hope). It's just that I'm usually more of a 'laugh on the inside' kind of girl.

I wish I laughed out loud more. Not only is it a healthy stress reliever, but I am always drawn to those people who frequently punctuate their sentences with a happy peal of laughter. It just seems like they are always having fun.

There are a few things, though, that do make me audibly giggle. I'd love to start sharing them on the blog. Don't we all need a good laugh?
A new ritual for Paige and I are to check out these 'awkward family photos,' from the book of the same name. Ed says it's mean. I call it a bonding experience. (And I assume these folks are making a buck.)

In honor of Mother's are a few of my favorites....

Awkward Mother's Day Photos

ha ha ha....ahh that felt good.  I'm hoping enough time has passed that these ladies are somewhere laughing too!