Sunday, October 31, 2010

3rd times a charm

I like the idea of my daughter choosing innocent characters for Halloween. However, when I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween this year, she replied(with a sharp answer and valley girl kind a tone) Snow White! Hello! It's not the character that bothers me as it was it being her third year in-a-row as Snow White. I was hoping for anything but her. I wanted to compare pictures along the way as she got older, but what I failed to notice until now, was even though she didn't change much on the outside, there was plenty for me to compare on the inside.




She went from timid, to curious, to move the heck out of the way cause I got candy to get. It's OK, I'm 5 now!

If she wants to be Snow White for the next ten years, I'd say great, because watching her inside character change is amazing all in itself. Her need to be more independent, and take one step further without one of us holding her hand is frighting, but I'm willing to step back, and let her make choices, and experience the highs and the lows from them.

I think she's doing pretty good.

One bucket of candy

One set of silly teeth

And one spooky mama happy to participate 3 years in-a-row.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Energy driven

I was rudely awaken this morning by the sound of hard droplets of rain on our roof. My energy deflated instantly, and I was remembering that the weather man said, 61 and dry. I just don't feel like I can trust him anymore. It seems like a relationship full of lies and misconceptions, but we got dressed anyway with high hopes for sunny skies and crisp air in the soccer field. 

The socks were practically dripping as if Avery herself played the game, and most of her body due to an unused umbrella, but go Gigi go!! She was delighted to cheer on her friend and I was delighted to feel like a soccer mom.

After the game we were both in need of a pick-me-up, and how convenient it was that a drive thru was on our way out of town.

Skinny hot coco

Skinny two pump pumpkin spice latte

Quite often I'm a sucker for a vanilla scone to go with my Pumpkin spice Latte, but I opted for a much healthier treat, but delicious I might say.

Every day Energy bars:

Cooking spray
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Adams creamy P/B
2 Tb pure maple syrup
1 Tb canola oil
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 cups old fashion oats(you can use the quick cooking also)
2 cups Kashi cereal(I used the combination one.....picture below)
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ(you'll find this in the cereal section)
1/2 cup chopped toasted plain almonds
1/2 cup raisins(or dried figs are good too)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips(or use semi sweet, or milk chocolate)
1/2 t salt

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, P/B, maple syrup, canola oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

In large bowl, combine oats, cereal, wheat germ, almonds, raisins, and salt.

Pour warm mixture over dry mixture and stir gently with a spatula. 

Add chocolate chips, and stir gently until combined.

Spread in the prepared pan, cover with parchment, or wax paper and press firmly into dish.

Allow to cool completely in fridge or counter. Cut into squares or bars.(These will keep about two weeks in the fridge, if they last that long)

Awwwww, I'm starting to feel my toes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing with food

I think we can all agree that I'm very passionate about cooking, baking, and eating. If I could spend an entire weekend in the kitchen duplicating recipes, and developing ones on my own, I would be as content as Avery is giving up naps. I love to take a simple something and watch it transform into this beautiful, edible wonder. I love my career, but I must say if I had an offer to enroll in "La Cordon Bleu" I'd do it in a heart beat. I guess I'll live vicariously through my daughter until then. 

I think she might share the same passion???

The school of "La Cordon Sid the kid".

But there's also some talk about a future in "Dancing with the stars".

While she decides her future I'll be in the kitchen roasting and serving spaghetti squash for dinner.

Roasted spaghetti squash with
artichokes & peppers:

1 medium size spaghetti squash
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped coarse
1 red pepper diced
1 jar Newman's own Sockarooni sauce(pasta sauce)
1/4 cup white wine(I just used my left over Pinot Grigio)
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
Parmesan cheese(optional)

Preheat oven to 375

Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise, remove seeds, and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Place open side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile in Large sauce pan over Medium heat add a little olive oil. Saute red pepper, and artichoke hearts. When slightly golden add wine. Reduce the heat and simmer until liquid is about half the amount.

Keep heat on low and add Newman's Sauce, and basil.

At this point you may want to season a little more with salt & pepper to your liking.
Cover and keep warm.

Remove roasted squash, place on firm surface, and shred with fork.

Separating the squash is actually quite gratifying.

When both squashes have been shredded place your spaghetti on platter or deep bowl, and grate fresh Parm over the top.

Spoon your sauce right down the middle to show off the different colors.

I prefer this just as a meal with a green salad and crusty bread, but my family asked for chicken along side, and gobbled every bite. 

Deep thought......while eating ice cream........I think she's on to something else. Or just dreaming of more spaghetti squash.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's OK! I'm 5 now!

If I could only show and tell you just how many times since October 14th I've heard Avery say in a very firm and matter of fact tone, " It's OK! I'm 5 now", or "I don't have to do that " "I'm 5 now" it would be enough to write a small book.
I thought I would take some time to notice this weekend when she felt justified to say it, and why her rights to do so much more, or less, changed when she turned Five.
The first encounter I had with "all rights 5 year old" was an evening watching movies with dad. I walked into discover her and daddy watching Pirates of the Caribbean #1. At least she was watching, and daddy was sleeping. (Shocker) Before I could even question her choice of movie , she claimed, "It's OK mommy, I'm 5 now, I can watch blood". I'd hate to see what 15 year old rights are going to look like.

The second time was no surprise, and I can agree, she is 5, and could probably do without.

Avery!!!! It's nap time!!!!

I deserved that look I'm sure, but mama knows best, and a cranky 5 year old at 2:00 in the afternoon is no picnic.

She claimed her rights several more times, and with each opportunity, I had to explain why turning 5 doesn't mean you suddenly rule the house, world, or yourself quite yet; and that you still need to ask to use a peeler, knife, and with out a doubt play video games.

The final cry of her 5 year independence was her request to sleep by her cousin Colby. 

She said he had Copper, I had daddy, and she had no one. "I'm 5 now mom, I'm old enough to sleep by boys". I answered her in the most calm, compassionate way I knew how. "Avery......the only time you can ever sleep next to a boy, is when you get married at the age of 40, no question"!!! 

So without delay, I came up with a job she had never done before, encouraging her that it was for 5 and older only. Her eyes got big while anticipating the task ahead, and was more than thrilled to have such a older peoples job.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Girl Talk!!

It's Wednesday; It's the middle of the week; It's 12:30 in the afternoon, and I have a date. It's not very often that I get to have time with girlfriends, especially mid week when life is busier. You plan well in advance fully expecting all to go well, and someone needs to cancel, babysitting is a issue, or the kids have a cold. You reschedule again, and work gets in the way. Today, there was no stopping our plans. With the last 72 degree day for 6 months I would have went by myself if had too.

I live very close to one of my favorite Vineyards, and I have dreamed of spending time up there  enjoying the view, eating lunch, and sipping crisp cold whites while talking everything under the moon with great friends. 

I'm not really sure if what we talked about was worth any kind of merit, but to sit and shoot the breeze about anything and everything felt like an emotional release. Laughing a lot, sharing our hopes and dreams, down to our favorite food, and TV chefs, covers so much of my communication tank I have stored away for special times like this. My husband is awesome, and I can talk to him about anything, but can he relate to my conversation about post nursing, and why the girls really do head south for good. How bloating makes me irritable, or what it means to have the entire house clean when I get home. Being with the girls is fancy, and I can be the royalty that I am to myself, and to God. We have each other to share the graceful beauties we are, to be dainty, and wear those big heals for heaven sake.

While this is more than likely a once a year wonder, coming up here and feeling close to glory, Is something I will cherish with every friend I'm given, even if it's only for 3 hours on a Wednesday afternoon, eating amazing food, a having Girl Talk. 

Thank you my friends some close, some far. You are dear to me and I love the special friendship just you and I have. Thank you for listening in girl talk moments and keeping it lite, and full of laughter; and when my hearts been heavy, thank you for your compassion, and encouraging words.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

32 hours driving & 1 exciting week

Yes, I drove a total of 32 hours to and from Disneyland. Call me crazy, but I'll give you 5 reasons why.

1. It's cheaper all around. I spent less than 200 on gas compared to 650 in flight, not including checked-in luggage.
2. I'm not breathing 200 plus peoples air, and can roll down my window if someone should have air problems of their own.
3. I could stop at any point to use a somewhat normal restroom.
4. It's a great opportunity to spend one on one time with family members.(32 hours of one on one time)
5. The sites were beautiful minus the two unbelievably packed cow farms we passed.

Would I do it again? Absolutely not!

Avery was actually amazing and she never asked when we were going to be there. She embraced the adventure keeping us humble in times of tiredness and discomfort, but 16 hours verses 3 is just more time saving and logical. Simple as that! I'm glad we did it, but never again.

The trip was everything I anticipated including how fast it went. I was battling with sadness when leaving because I knew that was it. Celebrating this time with my family at this stage, and my daughter only five was over. Letting go of that long time dream was difficult, but at the same time I'm glad to look back on all the fun memories we made, some to save for later, others to share now.

We hit the pool first thing, head first.

That would be a dive. 

I think she shocked herself.

We had a full day to relax before tackling the 3 non stop days at Disney and California Adventure, and I do mean non stop. I think I might have a varicose vain now on my ankle from walking so much. Oh well! It's worth every blister, callus, and Jello like legs. May I suggest though that it wasn't worth it for us to get up at 5 a.m. just to make the one early entry you get when you buy a package. Only three sections of the park were open, and it was the ones we had hit the day before. Lack of information and planning on our part I guess.

Lots of enjoyable rides.

Some not so much.

Splash mountain was not a favorite for these two little princesses.

If you look real close the terror on ones face tells it all.(and in case you were wondering that is not my arm pit hair)

Dreams came true.

Friendships and family's came together.

Big pickles were conquered.

Maintaining good spirits were somewhat conquered.

Our trip was blessed, although I only showed you about a quarter of our time,  hopefully it's enough to inspire the youth in you, and the different set of eyes you ware when your surrounded by little imaginations and innocent dreams. 

Disneyland was spectacular the experience was unforgettable, and my re-take was so redeemable.