Monday, June 30, 2008

Beachy Shrimp- recipe

Just feel like sharing one of my favorite recipes. I have been following the SITS site for a while
and those amazing women have just launched this new site that I am inspired by! If you have not visited the SITS site, I encourage you to do so!
Then jump on over to this one!

There will be some incredible sharing going on, I am sure.

Now I admit , I am one of those freaks that will buy and read cookbooks or cooking magazines just for fun, usually I am inspired by a recipe and I decide to try it, however it is so rare that I ever follow a recipe exactly. I love making changes geared more towards my kids' and husband's tastes taking into consideration too, what I have in stock. I alter freely when I don't have exactly what the recipe calls for.

One of my favorites is Beach Shrimp (From Southern Living at Home magazine).

I call it Easy Shrimp
(This is really easy for every day dinner and good enough to serve to company ).

I alter this based on what I have in the frig, I usually have a bag of frozen shrimp from Trader Joe's, if I cook just one bag I decrease the amounts of the other stuff or it is too much liquid. If we are having company I have to cook two bags because my kids LOVE this! This is not one of those recipes that calls for exact measures! (my favorite kind). I have left out the butter, parsley and the lemon- (not all on the same night) AND it still tastes great! I have also used a variety of Italian dressings.

3 lbs. of large raw or frozen shrimp
1 (16 oz) bottle of Italian dressing
1 ½ Tbsp. freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 lemons, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup butter, cut up

Place first 4 ingredients into a 13x9 inch baking dish, tossing to coat. Squeeze juice from lemons over shrimp mixture, and stir. Add lemon halves to pan. Sprinkle evenly with parsley; dot with butter.
Bake at 375 for 25 mins. (making sure shrimp is pink- may take a little longer if you use frozen shrimp). Stir after 15 mins. Serve in pan.

This is great with rice- I buy the frozen brown rice (another Trader Joe’s or Henry’s Market find) it comes in a bag, you microwave it for 3 minutes and you have delicious rice!

I have also served it with grilled veggies (on the grill pan) and crusty French bread.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Missing You

My husband, TDH, is not one to let Hallmark tell him when to celebrate a holiday. (I have received Valentine's Day cards in March).

In that spirit, I did not acknowledge his fathering skills or how much he means to our family on Father's Day. I will today!

The kids made him breakfast in bed for Fathers' Day

TDH has been consulting the past few weeks, leavin' us on Sundays and returning on Thursday or Friday afternoon.

With 3 children, 2 dogs, a full time job and 3 different summer programs that the children are attending, I am more than a little crazy. Did I mention I won't drink, not even a glass of wine when he is gone overnight-- weird fear that something might happen to one of our kids and I wouldn't have completely clear head- like that is EVER the case!

Truth is, I am missing my hubby more and more each day.

I miss...
Adult conversation over a bottle of wine
"Catching you" playing ball with the boys in the house
Your devilish grin
Your salt more than pepper "Jesus hair"
You taking out the trash (that is man's work!)
Your sincere appreciation of what our children create, say and do
Your commitment and faith in the Lord
Your reluctant canine love for Lola and Joey
Watching you play Barbies with The Princess
Your appreciation of my beliefs
You changing diapers and underwear full of pee
All of the things you do around the house- even my hair brained ideas and projects that you take on and finish for me
Your patience with all that drives you crazy (I am sure there is plenty)
Your conviction for what you believe in: the underdog, children, and what is righteous and true!
Your willingness to put up with my drive
You are the calm in my storm...
I love you with all of my heart and I miss you terribly

Thank you for being a man of God, an amazing father, a wonderful husband and the LOVE OF MY LIFE!


I can't wait to see you. Let's just GO!

Always, M

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Her Terms

The Princess is essentially "day" potty trained (potty learned for the PC Club). What this means is that she is completely aware of the need to empty her bowls and bladder and can pretty much control it during the day, we have not attempted nighttime yet. But I have to admit it is on her terms!

This is a new phenomenon in our home-- the boys accomplished this MUCH later in toddler hood- after 3 1/2 for sure. With her showing keen interest and a need to please the day care/preschool where she attends, we attempted this sooner than with her brothers who really weren't interested until late 3's. This weekend we had great success! We even bought new princess undies.

Today I was doing my usual carpool circus, Magoo is off to a special summer school class, Blue Eyes is going to day camp and the Princess goes to a day care/pre-school. (All before 9:00 am)
On the way to day camp, the Princess declares that she has a tummy ache. She was home last Friday for a stomach thing that included vomiting so I called her day care director and let her know that the Princess would be staying home today, (and I knew it was unlikely that I would get much work done). But my little girl needed me, I wanted to be there for her!

Have I mentioned that my hubby, TDH is out of town until Friday? He is doing a consulting job for about 6 weeks where he leaves on Sunday mornings and returns on Friday afternoons. Call me crazy-- what was I thinking when I agreed to that! I even encouraged him to take the gig. I do work full time too. From home mostly, but it is full time.

Anyhoo...The Princess and I, we got back to the house and she preceded to request the My Little Ponies DVD- I jumped on the chance to do a little work and have her rest quietly watching one of her favorite movies -it is right up there with Barbie Nutcracker! She was not acting ill and she certainly didn't have that "look" of being ill, you know moms can always tell when their kids are sick- my kids have the tell tale dark circles and a "look" I can't really put into words. I thought rest would still be good.

I had a staff meeting/conference call at 10:00 am and I figured I could at least accomplish that much in my work day! About 10 minutes into the meeting call my darling daughter walks into my office, stands to the side of my desk, so that I can CLEARLY see her and she begins to pee! Right through those princess undies all over the back of her cute little dress, on her socks, her shoes and onto my office floor! You get the picture.

This is the child who earned m&ms just an hour earlier for going poopy in the potty... I am not above bribery to reinforce the good behavior.

So, I am still in the middle of my staff meeting, wanting to scream, "What the heck are you doing!" and instead I say in a very hushed whisper, gritting my teeth, "You will clean this up!What are you thinking? Why? "

Still in conversation, trying not to let on that I would like to give my child a big swat on the tushy (I didn't- though I wanted to, we typically do not spank), I grabbed a bath towel and some Clorox wipes and preceded to assist my daughter in the clean up- oh yea, you bet I made her clean up her mess...

I scooped her up in my arms (still on the conference call, trying to maintain composure and sound like I was paying attention to every word being said in the meeting), walked her into her bedroom and promptly put a diaper on her.

Following her nap - I actually dozed with her for a few minutes, boy did I need it- we went back to underwear and she has been fine since. Even for the car trip to pick up her brother at day camp.

All on her terms...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today is a Great Day

So... I run a non-profit organization, mostly from my home office, with a lot of help from a wonderful, competent staff of 2 plus a consultant. We all pretty much work remotely. It works with independent, self directed and motivated staff. (Let's us all have lives too).

In March, my Board of Directors decided (with my utmost support) that we should start a campership program to send low-income children from Southern California and Hawaii to summer camp.

We set a goal of raising $25,000 to send 100 kids to camp.

As of yesterday we had raised about $14,000, mostly from individuals and very generous board members.

Well... today... I got the word that a grant that I wrote was approved and we are going to recieve $20,000. WOW!!!


We will help 100 low-income children go to summer camp this summer! We will get to help positively shape the future of 100 lives... today my hard work is worth it! (AND we can seed next year's fundraising efforts to send even more kids to camp).

Today I know that 100 children will get the opportunity to enjoy the authenticy of childhood- preserve the right of passage- they will get to go to camp!

I am in the clouds, energized to keep going... motivated!!!

I am going to toast to this!

I am so thankful for all of the individuals who gave generously and the foundation who validated the camp experience as worthwhile and necessary for 100 more children this summer.

Off to pop the cork!

Happy Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Momma is Happy

My oh my...

She melts me in about 2 seconds flat... even with a mouth full of grapes!

I think it takes half the time to make me CRAZY mad, but then she turns around and says, "Momma, you happy?"

Tonight we went to dinner and before we could go and pick up the boys from karate, she had to put on her Cinderella dress and glass slippers (hey, I pick my battles-- I am saving the wardrobe fight for high school).

After dropping half a box of cereal on the floor or drawing a mural on the wall- (or my office chair)- getting in touch with her creative side, I suppose! She looks up at me with those big bown eyes and says, "Momma, you happy?"

She kicks, hits and scratches her brothers... five mintues later she is curled up in their bed all cuddled up listening to them read to her. Again, she says, "Momma, you happy?"

Where she learned to ask that question, I am not sure.

Now she is learning how to share with others, use the potty all by herself and napping without a "ho". (see prior post).

How can I not be happy?

God has blessed me in abundance! Who should be so lucky? I have 3 beautiful children and one pretty awesome husband.

As I reflect on the past few years, time really has flown by. The princess was born yesterday!

I swear... seems like Magoo was just in kinder

and blue eyes was in pre-school!

Time flies... such a common statement and today it rings true.

I want to stop time, to live in this moment, to remember today.

To cherish this time...

I realize that before long they won't be longing for TDH's and my attention, they will have friends to go and do things with...

people, places and things to do, all on their own.

Momma is happy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oh to be Seven

Blue Eyes turned 7 last week and had the time of his life!

We had a birthday pool party and he got to invite his entire first grade class and his buddies from karate.

It was great to have 18 children here celebrating the middle child's special day! I have to thank my sister and her beau for lifeguarding! Thanks CC and Ron!!!

The other thing I love about entertaining is that the cleaning lady came (wooo hooo) and the house got some much needed tender lovin' care. I do think I should consider having the cleaning lady back the day after the party too!

Back to Blue Eyes... on Friday night before bed - after much partying, he said, "Mom, this is my BEST birthday ever!"
My heart sang with that expression. He is such a sweet boy.

Costco pizza, watermelon, pool games, bean bag toss, diving for objects in the pool, friends, family, triple decker chocolate cake, friends, surprise visit from She Hing Danielle, presents, a little junk food, yummy appetizers... the wii after most guests left, just hanging with friends who are like brothers, all a part of the evening.

Guitar Hero was purchased with birthday money and gift cards on Saturday-- now I live with real rock legends! The boys disappeared into their bedroom and didn't come out except for food, beverage and facilities... Magoo is a master of a dozen songs and Blue Eyes is on his way.

Let me tell you I tried the wretched Guitar Hero. I STINK (I want my kids to be able to read this or I would use a different word to describe my skill that doesn't exist). TDH and I told the boys we were both going to call in sick one day this week and spend the day practicing! Pathetic I tell you-- just plain sad. I used to play the guitar for campfire with hundreds of children singing along- I could keep up then, not even close for GH.

My mom and step dad traveled to the desert to share the weekend with us and on Sunday afternoon Blue Eyes and I had a little conversation something like this...

Me: "So Blue Eyes, tell me what was the best part of this best birthday weekend"

Blue Eyes: "Grandma and Grandpa coming and staying with us!"

Yes, he said that! No prompting from me or TDH, those beautiful sweet words came from my babe. Oh, there are days when he makes me crazy-- don't they all -- and at this, I just wanted to hug him!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I could use a wife...

Ever feel like you could use a wife?

Someone to... clean, pick up the dry cleaning (who dry cleans clothes these days anyway?), grocery shop, feed the dogs, make lunches for the kids, water the yard, pay the bills (write the checks- drop them in the mail), help the kids with homework, do laundry, mop the floor, fix Barbie's arm, walk the dogs, send thank you notes for your son's birthday party and do the dishes?

YES! That would be such a find... if I could even clone myself, I would! Though it would be nice to have someone who is a little more organized, not so critical and who has a little more energy.

I don't think I would need a full time wife-- maybe just for those crazy times of the year, like the beginning and end of the school year, the holiday season and family birthdays.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my children and my husband. I enjoy the job of wife and mom-- I am just having one of those days when I feel as though there aren't nearly enough hours in the day nor enough energy in my body to get it all done! It is true I have ridiculous expectations of what I should be able to accomplish-- but hey, without high standards.

Just feeling a little PMS today -- wishing for a day at the spa, and the time to take advantage of it!