Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day

  In honor of all the Veterans that have served, are serving, and will serve- Thank you for this amazing country that we live in today! We spent our day at a swim clinic in the morning, the boys playing walkie-talkies, and then in the evening had our friends/neighbors, the Paulson family, over for dinner and dessert. Brian recently fixed our fence (the box said it was beginner level- beginner Carpenter maybe!!!) for us and we wanted to say thank you with a dinner of their choice and a decadent chocolate dessert (Chocolate Oblivion), so why not play a game with it in the afternoon. We all played Splendor and though the boys were being a bit crazy, overall we had a pretty good time. Notice the three flags hanging up in the background of the picture.

Heather and Marshall's wedding

  My cousin Heather and her now husband Marshall met and fell in love in high school. So, they have been together for a long time. Heather is 26 now, so about 10 years. I couldn't be happier for her. Marshall is a great guy and he is amazing with kids. He is kind-hearted and patient. Heather is the most artistic and creative person I have ever met, she is also deeply caring and loves all things Disney with a passion. She is pretty amazing. I am so very happy for both of them. Marshall is a fantastic addition to our family.
  Their wedding, May 23rd, 2015 was absolutely beautiful. It was a really magical venue and the weather turned out to be really great. I enjoyed every minute of it. I always love spending time with my family and this was no exception. My cousins are super awesome people. I even got to spend some time with Kyle, which was a rare treat. Heather looked like she stepped out of Disney movie- she was absolutely stunning. The ceremony was beautiful and Emmie and Molly were flower girls. Afterwards, the reception was a blast. Just the right combination of eating, drinking, chatting, hugging, picture taking, and dancing. There were lots of candles, twinkle lights and even an chandelier over the dance floor.
There was a candy bar because "Love is Sweet" and little streamers with bells to wave. There were even little Mickey and Minnie dolls as decorations. (Emmie and Molly found those pretty quickly). Every table was named after a Disney movie. The Grands, Kelly, Kyle and I were at the "Frozen" table. The venue was WAY off the beaten track up a dirt road and was absolutely perfect. There were lots of personal touches and overall it was just perfect! Colby and I stayed out until about 11:30, when Heather and Marshall got in their car and headed out.
 Before the wedding Colby picked me up from the airport and we were able to go over to Grandma and Grandpa's house and spend a few hours with them. It was nice. Grandma was in a good mood, but man is she feisty and pesty to Grandpa. I think the world of him for taking care of her the way he does.
The day after the wedding I got to spend the morning with the Grands including Colby at FAME's house. It was nice to just hang out and play together. My trip was too darn short (I flew in Saturday morning and out Sunday afternoon), but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Vander's 7th birthday

 Vander is officially 7 years old now. He decided this year that he wanted to have a Flash party. We had Flash pictures up all over the park for the kids to find and the kids did a Flash relay race. Vander wanted a chocolate cake with strawberry whipped cream in the middle and white icing with the Flash running on the top of the cake. He thinks if he can imagine it, then I can make it happen. So, I did my best. Vander chose Dim Sum for his meal out this year, which is always a treat. He had some pretty delicious meals for birthday week including pork ribs, green beans with grilled onion, and rosemary potatoes. It was not easy to do all the elaborate meals that he wanted since swim team is in the evenings during his whole birthday week.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Summer garden time

It's that time of year again! Tomatoes, eggplant, tomatillos, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and some other veggies are planted. Most are growing. The Watermelon and our favorite type of cucumbers died- nobody knows why. The plum and apricot trees are full of fruit. What is up with the orange, lemon, and pear. At least the lemon and orange grew this year. The pear looks the exact same as the day I bought him- I am so not impressed. My avocado is growing- he's not supposed to fruit for like 4 more years. He is surely an investment in time, but he is growing, so I'll take solace in that. My green onions are doing well, my artichoke is thriving and the potatoes are planted are now the size of fingerling potatoes, so that's a start. Soon I should really bury those guys- aparently that is how they grow more potatoes. Underground plants are definitely NOT my favorite- dig them up to check if they are ready, really??? Anyway, summer abundance is on it's way. Yay! (So far I've weeded for about 10 hours in the past couple weeks- I totally understand the saying, "growing like weeds now".

Front yard makeover

We decided to give our front yard a makeover. The rock area has been a thorn in our side since we moved in to this house. When Vander was a toddler he was always trying to eat the rocks, but as the kids got a little older they liked to play in the rocks, so we kept them, but... there were ALWAYS rocks kicked into the driveway, onto the sidewalk, pretty much all over the place and... the rock area was a breading ground for weeds- making our front yard look trashy. Goodness knows I have more than enough weeds in the backyard to keep me busy every day of my life and the front yard was not my priority. I didn't like the front of the house always being so ugly and high maintenance. I finally decided it was time to do something, so I asked a couple different arborists to give me a quote after
I had scoped out like 500 different people's side area in their front yard to see what they had done with their space. Many had tanbark- not an option, lots were cemented, tons had little bushes, then I found one that I loved- it had three fruit trees (gigantic ones, but still). I knew that was what I wanted, so I got quotes and ideas from the pros. We decided to go with the guy that the Almaden Nursery recommended because they have never steered me wrong. They are experts in their field and this guy you could tell knew his stuff. He started the day I hired him and finished the next morning. Quick, efficient and it looks great. I am very happy with the results and now I will just have to figure out how to cover them in the winter, but for now I am going to enjoy how pretty they are compared to the rocky weeds. We decided to go with pressed granite and 3 trees. The trees are: 1. kumquat, 2. fruit salad with 5 different types of pluots, and 3. fruit salad with 4 nectarines and a plum. $1320 later, we have a nice looking front yard that we can be proud of, and Justin likes it so much he wants to make the whole front yard drought tolerant- time do some more research.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cookbook Club

 Always good for a lot of laughs- Cookbook Club. I had a great time with some of my favorite ladies. This month was "Asian Wrapped" and was as always delicious. I got to try some interesting beverages as well this time. The pomegranate with basil seeds came out the winner with the white fungus as the second favorite. Very interesting.

Cooking Class with my love

Justin found a deal at Sur La Table for 1/2 priced cooking classes, so we made a date of it...Spanish Basque cooking. The chef who was teaching us reminded Justin of Sexy Justin. I thought he was a bit on the annoying side, but I loved the class. The couple that we were teamed up with was super cute and fun.They were also starving and didn't want to waste any yummy food, so it was a good match for Justin and I. We started off making the dough for the empanadas and the filling since those needed to chill and then moved on to the appetizer- piquio peppers stuffed with basque cheese heated in a pan just until the cheese melted and sprinkled with chopped parsley for color. Sooo good. We will definitely be making that again. We then made a smoked paprika with chickpea and asparagus side dish that was excellent. We are excited to make that for the boys. Wow. The main dish was Serrano ham wrapped cod-rubbery from overcooking. Justin would have pulled it off way earlier and it would have been better. Filling the empanadas was a lot of fun and we used all of our dough and filling-waste not, want not...Justin thinks they are the empanada for of mandle bread- very similar flavor profile, but soft and doughy. I thought they were very good. Justin and I agreed that they would be enhanced by a drizzle of chocolate. Not only did we have a lovely evening together, we had enough left on my gift card from the Holidays from Justy to buy the pairing knife that I wanted. What a great gift. Thanks Wooey.