Friday, April 29, 2011

Goodbye April

My Life - April 2011

  1. Ran in my second 10k - this one was harder than the 1st and more rewarding because I got a medal
  2. Baseball Games began - along with injuries & laundry
  3. Celebrated Live-In #3's 8th birthday!  I can't believe my baby is growing up so fast!
  4. Figured out a few 'new to me' things on The Twitter - still sporting the dazed and confused look though...
  5. Went on a field trip with Live-In #2 - this was probably the most interesting field trip I have been on since.........ever.
  6. Went on a field trip with Live-In #3 - I felt like a celebrity with all the little girls....cause I was Live-In #3's Mom...
  7. Enjoyed Easter brunch with good friends.
  8. Felt exhilaration and relief when my sister-in-law announced she was beginning to feel better!
  9. Visited Live-In #1's class to view class projects - her classmates gushed that we looked alike...I told them we had never heard that before...
  10. Ran 10 miles straight in preparation for an upcoming 1/2 marathon...this kicked my....knees!

Such is a month in the course of my lifetime. I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of My Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

I Love Pie!  I think pie is the perfect dessert as well as breakfast.  Yes, I said it...breakfast.  Berry Pie has lots of fruit, cream pies usually have three eggs and lots of milk inside.  Who's to say it is any worse then having cinnamon sugar toast, fruit loops or pancakes for breakfast!  So, yes it is a perfect breakfast food - for me that is - the live-ins wouldn't stand a chance if they asked for pie for breakfast.  What was that...double standard, fickle, flighty???  Well, it's my blog and I'll be fickle if I want to! 

This time of year one of my favorite pies is Coconut Cream Pie. Looking at this picture, I wish I hadn't already polished off 3/4 of the pie all by myself.  No, that is not an exaggeration.  I Love Pie!

This recipe is from my sister, Michele.  She loves me, she made me two coconut cream pies for Easter one year.  Well, maybe they weren't all for me...  Enjoy!!

Coconut Cream Pie
2/3 c. Sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch (make them healthy tablespoons)
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 c. Milk (my sister uses whole milk, I used 1% cause that's what I buy - so do what feels good to you)
3 Egg Yolks (slightly beaten)
1 tbsp. Butter 
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. Coconut (plus a little extra to toast)

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan (make it a deep saucepan, the mixture grows when it starts to bubble).  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (very important so it doesn't scorch), until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil one minute (this is where you will be happy to have used a deep pan).  Remove from heat.  

This part gets tricky...don't be afraid...we are going to temper the eggs yolks so we don't scramble them: After you have separated the egg yolks from the whites, use a fork to break up the yolk.  Use the whisk you had in the hot pie filling and begin whisking the egg yolks quickly. Now, SLOWLY (like drizzle slow) add 1 cup of hot pie filling to the egg yolks, whisking constantly.    

Now your eggs are tempered and you can finish the pie!  Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the pie filling, whisk until well incorporated.  Return to medium heat, still whisking constantly.  Bring to boil, let boil 1 more minute.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter, vanilla and coconut.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Chill (the pie, not you).  

Once pie is chilled, top with sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut...then give me a call so I can come over and have a piece!  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet

I have to admit...I am extremely intimidated when it comes to blogging about wine and or wineries that I highly recommend.  Not only is taste subjective , but I worry about wording things in a way that will do the wine and/or winery justice.

So with this pressure in mind...I am going to bite the bullet and tackle my FAVORITE Cabernet.

Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet

From Their Website:
The 2008 shows an enticing nose of black cherry and cassis and hints of eucalyptus and cocoa.  In the glass the wine delivers much more than what one might expect for a Cab so modestly priced, revealing rich flavors of cherry, chocolate and plum enveloped by soft tannins.

Carol's Thoughts
This Cab is divine. Period. This perfect elixir makes me happy and content.  This wine will stand up to any meal, but watch will become the star of the show.  Yeah, its that good.  This Cab has a backbone, it will not be ignored!  Kind of like me!  

The 2008 vintage has only been out a short time and I got a little worried about whether it would stand up to 2007 and 2006...I didn't want to have to find a new Favorite.  But it has not disappointed me.  Yum, Yummy, Yumminess!

An added bonus is that this wine, while it will stand up to more expensive wines (and win) is priced moderately at $13.59 (Costco) or $16.99 (local grocery store).  Please do yourself a this wine...drink this wine...and enjoy the rapture it brings - BUT make sure you leave some for me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fine Print

If Lover and I had wanted a prenup I am sure the fine print of the part I was supposed to have signed would have said - must be able to do laundry...keeping whites white, clothes stain free and in their original size.

His prenup fine print, however, would have read - must accept the laundry you get as 'you get what you get and you don't throw a fit'.

Fortunately for me there was no prenup.  Unfortunately for Lover...he has had to deal with - bleached clothing (even though I don't use bleach, don't ask me how I do this...I have no idea), forever stained clothing, ink stained shirts and shrunken shirts (some of them would probably now fit our live-ins).

I do try to get it right.  I don't mind laundry (except the folding and putting away...that is a drag).  But the washer/dryer and I don't really have a loving relationship to date.

Fast forward to present...I have light colored baseball pants for the first time in my live-ins baseball careers.  Don't ask me how they do it, but they seem to find a way to get grass stains on their pants even if they aren't playing in the grass.  They manage to get dirt embedded into every fiber of their pants...then they hand them to me to 'clean up' as only I can.

Help!  I need a laundry school...

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Letter to Idiots

Dear Idiots:

To the idiots who drive down my street as if they are in Nascar.  Let me clue you in on an obvious are driving in a residential neighborhood, you shouldn't be going faster than 25.  Not only that, you are driving in a school zone which means you should not be going faster than 20!  I'm not sure why this seems to skip by you since you are taking your child to school.  Since you must be a little slow on the uptake, I will take the time to explain to you about school don't speed up when the yellow school zone lights flash. Slow the freak down!!!

To the idiot lady in the Mercedes at Chipotle Grill...someone should smack you upside the head for your shenanigans.   If I did not like my car so much I would have rammed into you and yelled TAWANDA!

And finally, to the idiots driving down Wallace on Saturday...a cop on the road does not mean you go 5 miles under the posted speed.  You looked like...A)you had something to hide...B)you should have your license taken away...C)you were a moron...D)all of the above.


The Voice of Driving Reason

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

I had wanted to post pictures from Easters past today, but I have spent the last 45 minutes rummaging through my photos only to realize that I need some organization!  (don't tell Lover, he will get that 'i told you so' look about this confession...)

Organization is not my only problem, I have been a scrapbooker in my years...and while I haven 't scrapped a page in almost five long years ( day I hope to scrap again) some of my favorite Easter pics from years past are already in my scrapbooks and I can't find the pics on my computer...

But, I did find this pic that I makes me smile...and since he was born on Easter weekend 8 years ago and since this is his birthday week and since I am unorganized and since he is so dang cute...this is the one you get...

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Best Beef Marinade Ever!

This recipe is from my Mom - we had beef marinaded like this all through my younger years.  Mom used it to tenderize tougher meats then she would slice the meat really thin and let me tell you the flavor was so good. 

This marinade does such a great job at both tenderizing meat as well as making it super flavorful, I would also consider it suitable for 'company coming over for dinner'. 

When I eat meat which has been marinaded in this it brings back memories of:
A.  Summer
C.  Warm lazy evenings
D.  Children playing outside past their bedtime
E.  All of the Above

If you answered 'E' you may need to go buy a lottery ticket!!!

Here's the Recipe...

To a Gallon Size Bag Add Equal Parts (I usually start with 3-4 Tablespoons)
A-1, Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce, Red or White Wine (or if you are like me sometimes I use both), Oil (I use EVOO, but you could use Vegetable if you want), &Red Wine Vinegar

To this add a Rosemary, if you are using fresh add a few sprigs, if you are using dried add about a Tablespoon.

3-4 Cloves Minced Garlic (you could go more or less on this depending on your tastes...I like MORE)

Add desired beef to the bag, seal bag and place in a glass dish (this is so you don't get beef juices all over your refrigerator....Mama don't like to clean the refrigerator) 

I used Flank Steak here.  My Mom used to use a 7-bone Roast or a Chuck Roast.  Marinate at least several hours, preferably overnight.  If you are using a roast you definitely want to let this marinate for at LEAST 24 hours for the ingredients to do their thing... 

I have even marinated the meat, put it in the freezer and then pulled it out to put it in our camping cooler (frozen) letting it thaw out over a few was like gourmet camping!

Cook beef as desired, let rest, slice thinly, against the grain and serve!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Letter to Live-In #3

Dear Live-In #3:

Why do I love you so much?  This is a question I ask you often and you always answer 'because I came from your tummy'.  While it is true that you came from my tummy and I have loved you since before you were born, this is not the reason I love you so much...

I love you so much because you are you.  You are loving, kind, funny, smart, mischievous, loud, just, vulnerable, sweet, caring, and snugglely.  You are way to cute for words.  I am in awe of you.  Without you I would be an incomplete person - you are a part of me.  My heart requires you.

So while I did fall madly in love with you when you were this size...I am still madly in love with you today.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't Forget the Birthday Cake

Several years ago I got tired of buying expensive specialty birthday cakes and decided I would try my hand at making my live-ins special day that I think of it...this was around the time that instead of buying one specialty cake a year I was going to have to buy three!!  Economics, that's what it was, economincs...

I took a cake decorating class when Live-In #1 was a baby, not because I wanted to make birthday cakes, but because I thought maybe this could be a business for me...I quickly found out - Cakes Were No Business For This Girl...

But because of this whim I had a few supplies in my cabinets and was able to begin with cupcakes for Live-In #2's 1st Birthday...Mickey Mouse: cupcakes frosted red with store bought Mickey decorations and 2nd Birthday...Basketballs and Baseballs (don't remember if there were footballs and I don't want to go grab the scrapbook right now) of course the baseballs were my favorite - I actually had to use a little of what I learned in my cake decorating class for these.

Then Live-In #1 decided she wanted a Strawberry Shortcake birthday with a Strawberry Shortcake Hat shaped cake...Oh Boy...Thankfully my sister (who could probably have a cake decorating business) came to my rescue and came over to help me make this masterpiece.  Since then, every year I make my kids birthday cake.  They are so excited to see what I come up and are easily pleased. 

Over the years we have had Princess Castles, Trains, Treasure Chest, Baseball Field, Transformers, Star Wars, Beaches, Light Sabors, Football Helmets and just plain Whimsical.  They have been fun, but either they are getting harder or my creative mind is mush...But my Live-In's think I can and should be able to do it all! 

So this year Live-In #3 chose to go to a place called Sky High for his birthday.  This place is a big warehouse type building with HUGE trampolines.  Yes, that was plural.  They have a big trampoline area where the walls are also a trampoline, they have a trampoline that you can jump off of and into a pit of foam and they have a dodge ball trampoline area.  So to go with this theme Live-In #3 wanted a trampoline cake!  I had no idea what I was going to do and all the ideas on the internet included fondant...I don't do fondant...but I finally found a cake I thought I might be able to tackle with regular frosting...

If you are a professional cake decorator or even a semi-pro or kind of pro I know you are cringing right now...but Live-In #3 and his friends liked it...and my mama was proud...and that is all that matters. 

P.S.  It tasted better than it looks...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Boy

Eight years ago today I gave birth to this wonderful boy - Happy Birthday My 8 Year Old Baby Boy!!!

Most...if not all...of my posts this week will be a tribute to this wonderful boy of mine.  So strap on your seatbelts and enjoy the ride...

A look back at a year in the life of my boy!
Catching for his Sister

Lemonade Stand



Tubing at Shasta

Taking a Stroll on the Water with Daddy

Our Family - Midnight Run on Shasta

Lizard Hunting

Sleeping on a Midnight Cruise at Lake Billy

Mouse Trapping at Lake Billy

Taking off into the Water

I'm the King of the World!

Hi Mom!

Mowing the Lawn for the 1st Time

1st day of 2nd Grade

Tubing at Mt Hood


Making Gingerbread Houses

Happy Birthday beautiful boy.  I love you so very much!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Martini

I should preface this martini recipe with telling you in my opinion the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was probably not an apple but rather a strawberry...just my opinion, but I am fairly certain I am apple is just not as alluring as a strawberry. 

I should also tell you, this martini recipe should come with the following warning...WARNING:  This Martini may come out of no where and bite you - consider yourself forewarned. 

Given the STRONG warning, one might be hesitant to indulge...but then again ONE might not be...

This martini is Strawberry Heaven, Strawberry Rapture, Strawberry Ecstasy, Strawberry Euphoria, Strawberry Enchantment, Strawberry Paradise, Strawberry Addiction...  One might think I was exaggerating here, but then one would be wrong I assure you...this martini is 'all that and then some'.

Bring to the Party...

Strawberry Shortcake Martini
2 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
2 oz Strawberry Puree
Splash (approx 1/2 oz) 1/2 & 1/2

Shake it all together and you have one luscious martini

Let me remind you to heed the warning on this one...they sneak up on you...BE CAREFUL!!!

But also, You are Welcome (cause you will thank me) and ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Want a Medal Dangit

I started running last summer.  This statement by itself is amazing.  I am a couch potato by nature.  I despised running.  People who ran for the fun of it were idiots...  I was happy keeping the couch warm. 

For some reason, now in my mid 30's, it seemed like everyone I knew was running.   I couldn't be left out...I wouldn't be be ignored...I needed to get rid of a certain blueberry muffin top! 

So, my brilliant brain decided I needed to run - not just run, but I needed to run in an event (at the time I was thinking marathon...obviously I had NO idea how long that was).  Now...I understand myself very well.  I have been a couch potato long enough to know that if I was going to succeed I had to have a plan to keep me on track.  So, I told Lover my thoughts on the matter...knowing his reaction would spur the competitive side in me see now I HAD to follow through or I would never hear the end of it. 

So I did some research and talked to some friends and came up with a running plan where I started with three reps of walking for 6 minutes and running for 1 minute (this is not a typo...I mean minutes not miles - Lover thought this was redicoulous but I ignored him!).  With the idea each week I would reduce the walking and increase the running.  I was skeptical, however a friend told me anyone could do anything for 60 seconds.  After the first day I thought she might be crazy.  AND I told her so...NO, not everyone can do anything for 60 seconds you crazy loon!

My next strategy was to enlist the help of a running partner.  I searched high and low and found a person who would like my style of running (more walking than running) and it worked until the running got to be more than the walking and she left me...

But I was determined, I was going to do this...and I found a New & Improved running partner - one who wanted to run with me come hell or high water (and there is lots of high water where I live)!  We ran in our first 5k in September 2010.  We continued to run through the winter months, getting up on many Cold, Dark, WET mornings.  We ran and we ran and we ran....  We also entered more events, including a couple more 5k's and two 10k's.

What I began to notice at these races is that the people finishing in the longer running segments (1/2 marathons and 15k's) were getting medals.  I WANT A MEDAL DANGIT!!!  Don't they know who I am?  I am a couch potato turned runner...I Want a Medal!!!

So when I signed up for the most recent 10k I saw an opportunity to get my medal...I had to pay $10 to get it but here it is....


I think I will wear it around all month...maybe even all year.  There is no living with me out!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Baseball - Pros & Cons

The Cons of Baseball

Con #1 - Injuries:  My poor baby got hit in the chin by some rookie pitcher!  Oh, that's right - they are all rookie pitchers...ok, I will forgive other boy.  But, look at my poor baby - he took it like a little trooper - wouldn't let mama coddle him...

Con #2 - No Coddling: Whaaa!!!

Con #3 - Late Dinners:  8pm is too late to eat dinner in my opinion, but you gotta do what you gotta do...

Con #4 - Dirt:  My Live-Ins & Lover seem to track in all kinds of dirt.  I had to sit them ALL down and give them a stern lecture about taking their shoes off in the garage...the laundry room is not a mud room - neither is my hallway, front entry, kitchen, family room, etc!

Con #5 - Laundry Hell:  I have my work cut out of me this year. This is the 1st year my Live-Ins have had light colored pants!  AHHHHH!!!

The Pros of Baseball

Pro #1 - The Uniform: - I can't stand it...a boy in uniform is about as cute as they get! It rivals little girls with twirley dresses and bowes in their hair!

Pro #2 - The Dugout:  Enough Said...

Pro #3 - The Side Lines: The best fans...willing to sit out in the rain, cold, sleet and hail...well maybe not all of those, but the fans are great!!

Pro #4 - The Coach:  He is kinda 'HOT' if you ask me!  Hey Coach...will you come home with me??

Pro #5 - The Stance:  Batter Up!

Pro #6 - The Outfield:  That's My Baby

Pro #7 - A Runner on 2nd Base:  That's My Baby!

Pro #8 - Home Plate:  Score!!

Pro #9 - Sportsmanship: - Way to go Team!!

Pro #10 - THE WIN!!!: 12-9, Way to Go Braves!!

Monday, April 11, 2011



This is a new phrase at my house these days.  It started when I realized (or maybe it was when my live-ins realized) that my front seat air bags turn off when Live-In #2 & Live-In #3 sit in the front seat. 

I think this is a rite of passage...I remember fighting with my younger brother about who was going to sit in the front seat and who wasn't...only we weren't fancy with our words we just yelled 'I get the front!'.  I almost feel 8 years old again as I listen to my live-ins negotiate the front seat competitive side kicks in and I want to join the discussion and argue why I should get shotgun and then I realize I AM in the front!  DARN IT...I miss a good debate...

So far the negotiations aren't too bad, but I can tell it is going to get is going to get to the point where I start yelling "Nobody Gets The Front Seat" - not unlike my mother did - eyes bulging, head spinning hair looking like medusa...  That is when my live-ins will look at me and wonder what my problem is... 

You know the look, right?  My live-ins have already perfected it.  It isn't an eye roll (because if it was an eye roll then heads would also roll) but it is a look that is ever so skillfully played out that I start to wonder if I am a little crazy...  They are crafty little people...

So if you see me driving down the road, looking haggard - hair stringy, eyes dialated, a perma-frown - then you will know - SHOTGUN got the better of me!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'll Be Back

For those of you sitting on the edge of your seat awaiting my next blog post, chomping at the bit, pulling your hair out, biting your nails...oh, did I go to far...ok then...

I will be back next week.  With bells on...  Have had a lot going on in my life lately and had to take care of some priorities...but I'll be back to wasting time next week and looking forward to it!

Miss You!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Lied...Petite Sirah Part II

A while back I confessed to you all that I was cheating on Cab and endulging in Petite Sirah.  I am not ashamed of this admission.  I stand behind my confession...I continue to hold my head high and stay the course...

This past weekend I was in the big city and on the way back I stopped at Trader Joes to pick up some much needed items...Oh, ok...Wine - if you must know the details...

So the past couple nights Lover and I have been enjoying Trader Joes Petite Sirah.  This is when I realized I am a liar...not on purpose mind you...but a liar nonetheless...  You see I told you that Trader Joes does not give a flowery description of their wine, but they do.  So here you go -

From the Bottle
Our PET, as it's affectionally called by  Winemakers, promotes the cooler Northern climate of the famed Russion River Valley by exhibiting  bright blackberry fruit with rich clover and cola overtones.  Soft but full tannins conclude the performance.

Carol's Thoughts
This is a light Petite Sirah compared to some, but it is satisfying and  easy on the palate.  Glides over your tongue and down your throat with ease.  Smooth from start to finish.  The 'girl next door' of wines...the 'one you bring home to mama' if you will...  And at $9.99 - it is easy on the pocketbook and in my opinion it's one of the best tasting wines in the $10 catagory!!  Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Caribbean Breeze Martini

I came up with the name of this on my own...well, not exactly on my own...Live-In #1 was my inspiration - my brainchild if you will. 

I love the blue color of this makes me feel like I am on a tropical beach, moving my toes around in white sandy beaches, the hot sun kissing my skin, a drink in my hand and My Lover by my side...then I wake up and realize I am in my kitchen with a sink full of dishes, a mountain of laundry to fold and floors to be mopped...   It was a fun dream while it that I hope to one day cash in on!  Until then...I concoct martinis that make me daydream... 

I was 'brain dead' last night so I challenged Live-In #1 to come up with a name.  She wanted the name to include 'blue' in the title, but I told her I wanted it to be tropical.  After several 'blue' ideas she finally blessed me with Tropical Breeze and Caribbean Sea - much better than the 'Dawn Dish Soap' my useless brain was toying with...  I liked them both so we put it to a vote...Live-In #2 wanted Caribbean Sea while Live-In #3 wanted Tropical Breeze - It Figures...

So I decided on a mix of the two...Caribbean Breeze...  Now I just need to get a plane ticket, a new bikini (preferalby one that will miraculously make me look like a supermodel) and sun screen for my albino pale skin...

Bring to the party...
Blue Curacao, Vodka & Sweet & Sour
(yes, that is Grey Goose Vodka...I am feeling a little swanky right now -
Not really, Lover bought it...I would have bought the cheaper stuff - but, he thinks I am worth it!)

Add 2 shots Vodka, 3/4 shot Blue Curacao & 3/4 Shot Sweet & Sour to a shaker filled with ice (ice ice baby... No?  Ok then)

Shake it Baby!
(imagine that in my Austin Powers voice)

Pour Paradise into a Martini Glass


Caribbean Breeze Martini
2 shots Vodka
1/2-1 shot Blue Curacao
1/2 -1 shot Sweet & Sour

You could use citrus vodka, that would be devine!  Blue Curacao is an Orange Liquor - I think the orange flavor is very light.  You will notice I have a 1/2 to 1 shot range for the Blue Curacao and Sweet & Sour  - either would be fine it just depends on what you like.