Monday, May 14, 2012

Context is Everything

So, the smells in my house today were divine!  From early morning on, Dale was one busy bee in the kitchen.  He made me a lovely Mother's Day breakfast, a simple lunch, and then set off on dinner and dessert preparations.

The end result for dinner was a meal of delicious grilled chicken and pesto sandwiches on homemade French bread.  The bread was brushed with garlic, layered with grilled chicken, pesto, cheese, and tomatoes.  As if the sandwiches weren't perfect, he paired it with grilled asparagus and fresh mango.  It really was the perfect summery meal.

After scarfing down all that he could, Daniel declared, "It's times like this when you want a vomitorium in your house so you can throw it all up and start over."

Now, there are so many directions one could go with that statement.  To begin with, it concerns me that my son thinks of the word vomitorium and that he used it in a sentence.

Upon hearing the statement, Dale declared that context is everything as he might have been quite offended by the same statement had it not been followed by "so I can throw it all up and start over."

Just a little food for thought!

Oh, and I failed to mention that dessert was a magnificent serving of homemade chocolate mousse that was to die for!  

Thanks family for a grand day - I loved it!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

My only real connection to Cinco de Mayo is that I spent some time living in Puebla, Mexico during a study abroad experience in college.  It's not actually Mexico's independence day as many suppose, but it commemorates a victory over the French in a battle near Puebla.  It's not even a national holiday in Mexico, but we Americans have decided it's a fun day to celebrate.  And I'm always game for a multi-cultural celebration!  Some choose to use it as an opportunity to drink tequila or something, but around here, it's much more about good old fashioned fun and good food.

After Colleen showed me a great recipe making the rounds on the internet, I decided to make some pinata cookies for my family.  These were time-consuming little treats to make, but sometimes that's what it takes for some fun.  We didn't have a donkey cookie cutter, but the pig was cute as were the fish, the stars, and the boot.

We had a delicious, very colorful meal of fish tacos with fresh mangoes on the side.  The meal itself was fun even before the pinatas!

For some reason, Cheyenne's interpretation of Cinco de Mayo meant dressing up with a "Mexican" skirt, cowgirl boots, and spurs.  The outfit made me smile.  And for ambience she added a string of lights made of horses and cowgirl hats.  To complete the mood, we discovered the Pandora Cinco de Mayo station.  We were set!

After dishes and some time to digest food, we got to the fun pinata party.  Our family was joined by a couple of Daniel's friends as they had all just finished watching a movie about zombies.  What better way to top off the evening than with a candy-filled cookie!

Apparently we only shot video of this event, so it may have to be uploaded later when Dale is awake, but it was a fun time.

We tried a miniature Louisville slugger  bat with a hanging cookie, but that just threw the pinata across the room.  But it was great when we figured out we could just give it one good whack on a plate and it would free up the candy.  Everyone dove in for the treats just like they're supposed to.  How can you not love a cookie filled with M&M's??

I'm not sure if I'll take the time to do it again any time soon, but it was fun this time around!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another day, another conversation at my house

I asked Daniel to grill some hamburgers for dinner tonight.  When he came in, I thanked him for doing it.

Cheryl:  I am trying hard to make sure you have all the skills you need to be able to go to college and date.  I want you to be able to grill good dinners.  I know you can bake awesome bread.  I know you can bake yummy things.  '

You can even play the piano to wow them.

Daniel (with his hands on his hips):  And I can even calculate the volume of a solid by taking the area and rotating it around an axis!

(I don't think these conversations happen at everyone's house....)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


My sister issued a challenge to "write your story in 150 words or less" and post it on a blog.  I missed the deadline because I kept re-doing it.  I think I'm done re-doing!  Here's my stab at it.

I ask the students I tutor, “What is a product?”  It’s the answer you get when you multiply.  I am a product -- of all I have done multiplied by all those whose paths I have crossed.  My life goals include meeting everyone and going everywhere. I am who I am partly because of my elementary classmates in Kentucky multiplied by my friend Angela in Arizona.  The beauty of a bay in Puerto Rico multiplied by the friends I was with on that cruise formed me.  The teenage students on a bus in Wales and amazing past roommates are factors in my life.  Divorced parents, Korea, adoption, Tennessee, special needs daughter, creative son, Colorado, coworkers at a clothing store, Mexico, widowed neighbors -- the factor list is innumerable. I am a product, and fortunately, a product is bigger than the numbers you started with.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Judging from this week, 2012 will be busy too

That's a long title, but it expresses the sentiment of the week.  We're really only one week into the new year, but it's already been a busy one.  Of course, it's been filled with the daily tasks of getting kids off to school, doing math after school, feeding and clothing the family, walking the dog, etc., but it's been full of lots of other things too.

Let's see.... there's been plenty of thermite.  Any men reading this blog will probably know what that is, but you women may not be sure.  If you combine aluminum powder with red iron oxide, then light it with magnesium tape, it creates an exothermic reaction that burns at a couple thousand degrees.  In other words, you create a fire that requires sunglasses to watch and that will melt a metal can in seconds.  And it does a number on a gingerbread house.  The picture shows the remains of an aluminum can.

Earlier this week, I had a fun opportunity to get to know a local author and speaker named Kris Belcher.  From the time she was baby she had to deal with the effects of cancer that reduced her sight.  About 8 years ago, she had a second bout with cancer and lost her sight completely.  She has learned to deal with it with dignity and humor.  I had the privilege of taking her to Salt Lake for a speaking engagement then bringing her home.  She was very funny and had some great insights about challenges.  I'll have to read her books now.

The end of the week was dominated by cake baking and decorating.  You know, new year -- new cake.  This was for my nephew Adam's wedding.  They were married last week in Newport Beach, California, so a beach-themed reception was appropriate.

And after the wedding celebrations, we ended the week with a murder.  Okay, it was a murder mystery.  We thoroughly enjoyed our Hawaiian-themed murder party with a number of friends.  Well, at least we enjoyed it until we figured out that my husband was the murderer.  It keeps my life interesting, right?

 And, when the week was over, I crashed on the couch snuggled up with Molly.  She wasn't fighting at all, just lying there still.  I guess she loves me no matter what.
I can hardly wait to see what Week 2 of the new year has in store!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Is it the end of the year already??

As I've been writing these blog posts to recap the year, it's been amazing to me how quickly it all went and how much I squeezed into the year.  As I looked back at November and December, I continued to be amazed.  So, here I sit on New Year's Eve trying to complete my summary of the year.  Let's see what those last two months brought.

Technically, I have to back up to October 31.  For my last out of state trip of the year, I left on the 31st to go to New Mexico.  My dear friend Marsha, has an annual conference that she reluctantly attends.  Several times she has invited me to accompany her, but this time I actually did.  We spent 3 fun-filled days in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Los Alamos.  

One of the highlights was a hike in Kasha-Katuwe National Monument.  It was a beautiful slot canyon that you could climb, then look down on the cool natural features.

The weather was great, and the fall colors were beautiful.
In Los Alamos, we went to a couple of museums and learned all kinds of stuff about WWII and the atomic bombs.
Since we were in Los Alamos, we decided to drive over to Espanola where my mom grew up.  This is the house she lived in as a teenager.  I imagine it looks a little different now, but it was cool to see it.
At the end of November, I made my last trip of the year.  Our family headed to Kanarraville to my mom's house for Thanksgiving.  This was the first ever Thanksgiving (as adults) with my family, my sisters' families, and my parents.  It was a party.  Here I am with all the pies I baked for the party!

The day after Thanksgiving, we celebrated Mom's 75th birthday with family and friends at the Kanarraville Town Hall.
 With a theme like "Dancing Through Life," you can bet we did some serious dancing.  We highlighted dances from each decade of her life.  And to spice it up, we donned clothing from those decades.  In this picture you can see me rocking my sister's prom dress from 1978 while dancing with my nephew Andy in his leisure suit.  Yeah!!
 The grandkids did their part to share their talents as well.
 And we closed the evening with an incredibly rare photo of most of the family.  Of course, we were missing a few, but this was a pretty good representation.
 As always, Thanksgiving was followed by Christmas.  I already blogged about our tree, but I couldn't write about December without showing it again.  We loved our "donate to the food bank" tree.
 At the beginning of the month, we were treated to a lovely church Christmas party complete with a nativity.  The shepherd with the red long sleeves is my sweet Cheyenne.
 Mid month I got to attend one of my favorite parties of the year.  We had our annual Derby Girls Christmas lunch at Colleen's.  She has a knack for decorating beautifully, no matter the occasion.  Over the years, this luncheon has proven to be full of good food, lots of laughs, and some great gifts.  

 One of my gifts was from my sister Cathy who had been traveling in New York City earlier that week.  Her gift to me was a collection of food bought in a Jewish market in NY so we could use it for our annual Bethlehem dinner.  I loved the food, but I also loved that she bought it in NYC and carried around al day.
 Once the kids got out for the Christmas break, we took on projects to prepare for the big day.  One day we invited our friends over and we made poteca (a special bread Mom made).  I have fond memories of doing this as a kid.  You can see we had lots of helpers!
 This is the spreading of the nut filling!
 And this is the final product!!  YUM! YUM!

 Before we knew it, it was Christmas Eve day.  The day started with reindeer pancakes.  This one was fun and simple.
 And the day ended with sweet Cheyenne preparing healthy snacks for Santa and the reindeer.
 Christmas day brought lots of smiles.  For Daniel, those smiles were biggest when he opened his gift of chemicals that he could mix and burn for the 'showy' factor.  There may be no stopping him now.
 And, for Cheyenne, the cutest smiles came later in the day when she opened Grandma Wilde's gift -- a ukulele with a dolphin on it.  I can't wait to hear her songs.  
 The partying continued past Christmas as Grandma Wilde hosted a little party at her house a couple days later.  It was fun to see Dale's side of the family.  And I love reasons to extend any holiday!
It's been an awesome couple of months and and an awesome year!!