Saturday, March 26, 2011

london calling!

cheerio - back in a week loves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

smashley shines!

OUR NIECE ASHLEY - is awarded the Superintendent's Academic Excellence Award!!!

Seriously - this girl is on fire :) We are so proud - and can not wait to attend her graduation ceremony in June to listen to our valedictorian's speech!

BIG props to Ashley - you are an inspiration... perfect attendence for FOUR year - whaaaat??? that is amazing! We will be sharing your story of awesomeness with Liam as he gets into the academic world!

Also - big props to her ultra supportive mom and dad who listened and paid attention to Ashley and her learning style. To recognize that kids are programmed to learn differently - and they deserve big kudos for recognizing that even in her early struggles with traditional school - Ashley would SHINE in the supportive environment at Cape Cod Tech! Super parenting Scott and Sherri!

Here is her story:

20 March 2011 -- Cape Cod Regional Technical High School Superintendent Robert P. Sanborn, III, is pleased to announce that Ashley Rose Menslage has been named the 2011 Academic Excellence Award Winner. Ashley is a student in Cape Cod Tech's Health Technologies program and is from the town of Orleans.

Ashley was selected to receive the award due to her high grades -- she received high honors or honors all four years at Cape Cod Tech and is ranked 2nd in her class, her perfect attendance for all four years, and her enthusiasm and dedication to learning.

These successes did not come easy to Ashley, she says, as she struggles with dyslexia, making her academic success even more of a wonderful achievement. While she had difficulties in elementary and middle school, she says she feels supported at Cape Cod Tech.
"I made the best choice of my life by coming here," Ashley said. "I feel like the whole school is here to help you. Cape Cod Tech is like a huge family -- they want you to succeed."

Ashley would like to become a trauma nurse, and will be attending Elms College in Chicopee, MA in the fall.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

rain rain go away.

whoever said "it never rains in southern california"

Friday, March 18, 2011

walk this way

We like to have crazy dance party USA in our family room sometimes... ok - a lot of times.
Sometimes there is a theme.
Liam likes rock - he IS his fathers child.
Liam like old skool rap - because he also carries mama's genes.
So - we mixed it up and did a little RUN DMC meets Aerosmith in walk this way!

this one is so blurry - but he was a dancing machine!
scritch-scratch it up dj Li-AM on the wheels of steel

these two are with mine.
am i lucky... or what?

Monday, March 14, 2011

go mini go!

Congratulations to my girl mini who ROCKED the Shamrock 15K in Portland on Sunday!
All of that running and training looks good on you sister!
You are my pint sized inspiration!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

julie and julia

I love the movie "Julie and Julia". and I love the line where she says something like "you know what I love about cooking? It's that no matter how crazy and unpredictable your day is, you know that at the end of the day, if you mix egg yolks with chocolate, sugar and butter, it will thicken."
i so get that.
for me - cooking is therapeutic - some people find it a daunting, unpleasant task. not me. i find it fun and challenging and artistic. to select the freshest ingredients from the farmers market - and find something to make out of it. or working backwards - pick a recipe and then go in hunt for all of the ingredients. i don't mind if it takes me to the farmer's market and two additional stores. it's calming.
Around Christmas time, I picked up the new Ina Garten book "how easy is that" which i LOVE, and thought that Ina was my Julia. I've loved Ina for a long time, and this new book is her best yet! I kind of tasked my self with cooking my way through that book and making sure that I was following her many "tips to make cooking easier" I had most of them already - but did pick up a gel mat and a few other items - they work, it's great. I still adore Ina and I totally love that book. BUT... I recently found out that Ina is not my Julia... I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with Ms. Kristine Kidd over the past couple of weeks, and I am pretty sure that Kristine IS my Julia. She was the food editor of Bon Appetit Magazine for over 20 years and recently published the new Williams Sonoma Book "Weeknight Fast + Fresh" . GO BUY THIS BOOK, it rocks. Kristine put this book together based on the seasons and uses the local ingredients that are most abundant throughout the year. The recipes are simple, healthy and fresh. She does not claim that this is a diet book - but all of the ingredients are whole and fresh -she chooses olive oil over butter and of course whole grains over things like white rice, she uses a lot of herbs for great flavor. She is my kind of gal. She even includes quick tips and other helpful advice.
So - I am not giving myself a crazy goal of 500+ recipes in a year. But I would like to try at least one recipe per week of each respective season when I can. Sunday night is usually my "try something new" night... but I'm flexible. She has a lot of great vegetrian dishes that I am sure will be on our meatless Monday menus. Once I work my way through a year - I will have gone through each season, hopefully challenging myself - picking up unusual produce from local farms throughout the year, and had some fun.
SO far, I have made and or tried several of her winter recipes - the first one I have documented is the "Stir-fried Tofu and Mushrooms w/ Greens"

It was awesome, and even Kurt liked it - Tofu and all :)
I made a couple of substitutions (I had cremini mushrooms on hand and not shiitakes, so thats what i used - I doubled the sambal oelek because we like spicy and used braggs aminos instead of soy sauce).

We served over brown rice - it was quick, easy and delicious.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

living dangerously

Today we left the house in BIG BOY underwear. Oh yes we did! We weren't scared, well, maybe a little.
We left the house around 9:30 and didn't get home until maybe 11:ish. We stopped by three garage sales and got some new (to us) toys.
When we got home, our big boy underwear were still dry and we had success on the potty!

We might be on a roll!

Friday, March 11, 2011

crazy hair day

Today was crazy hair day at school!
SO... not TOO much different than the everyday bed head that Liam rocks - but we kicked up the spikes a notch.
Funny how a little hair gel yields a lot of attitude!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terrific Two's

Now, I understand we are at just about the half way mark of the second year - so, we still have several months to go. BUT... I am loving TWO... whoever came up with the term "terrible two's" is crazy. Don't get me wrong, there are moments... but I truly feel that any "terrible 2" moments stem from frustration with expressing thoughts/emotions and a general inexperience in communication along with a healthy side of independence. All totally understandable and excusable in my book.

Last night was a great night and I wrote down a few things that I don't want to forget - here is the short list.
- It was almost 90 degrees (IN MARCH!)
- We ate our dinner outside (Liam LOVED that!)
- He ate an entire corndog on a stick - he is such a big boy (he doesn't like to dip in mustard or ketchup)
- He started with an appetizer platter of grapes, yogurt and cheese (his top three foods!)
- There were some bugs, so we had to use a little bug spray
- Daddy took Liam on some very bumpy wagon rides - after each round Liam wanted more and said "just one more time daddy" (one more time turned into about 12 more times)
- We stayed out until dark and watched the sun go down - we brought candles out to light the end of our night
- We all had hooded sweatshirts on... and to Liam's request - it was HOODS UP after dark
- He ended his night outside w/ Daddy and looking at the red and green lights on "his bridge"
- He took a happy bubble bath and even requested to get OUT to go potty! (breakthrough)
- We read three stories (thats our rule at bed time... THREE stories) but it was such a great night, that he got a BONUS book :)

This morning was terrific too - doesn't he look so cute in his big boy outfit with his cool guy hair?
love those baby blues
"mommy, i run super fast!"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

build with me

one of the many pleasures of living in southern california is that we get temperatures in the 70's even in the winter months. today was one of those days. gorgeous, sunny and warm!

after nap time we played in the back yard. i was kind of trying to get the outdoor furniture organized - it was all tucked in corners and under ledges in an attempt to keep it semi dry during our recent rain - and then... then, i hear this little voice "build with me mommy" - he wants me to build a "tower" with him! "build a tower with me".

how could i not.
everything i was doing.
in my tracks.
because at that moment... "build with me" was exactly what i wanted to do.

it was awesome!

"i did it! i build a BIG tower mommy!"
super determined - concentration and focus!

happy little lima bean!

can you say "lady killer"
either that or "zoolander in training"

every good engineer needs a break after completing a large project. a swing in the hammock is a perfect place to relax!