Wednesday, February 27, 2013

To the tips of my toes


It was in the 40’s and drizzling.  Colin, Gabe and I stood shivering a little in warm coats and swimsuits.  Colin was not happy.

“It’s cold!”

“I know!! Can you believe we are going to jump in?!” I enthused back at him. “Do you still want to do it?”

When we first saw the information for the Polar Bear Plunge in our neighborhood newsletter, set for my “birthday weekend,” I told my family I was IN and went looking for recruits.  Chad was immediately OUT but Gabe and Colin thought an adventure with Mom sounded like fun.

And it was.   The cold water almost paralyzed Gabe and I had to guide him up the stairs and out of the pool as we all three rain to our towels and clothes.  We were so so cold as we dried off, but it felt good compared to the torture of those moments in the pool. Then we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate in front of the clubhouse fire with the rest of the participates and everyone clapped Gabe and Colin on the back for their bravery.  Ollie, who had watched from the sidelines with Carina and Chad, had the nerve to complain about being cold, and we three rolled our eyes collectively.


An hour later when I finally got in the hot shower, my toes still stung when the warm water hit them.

It was one of the best memories of my birthday weekend, and Gabe and Colin have already promised to do it again next year.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meatless Monday–Salad Jars

If you are on Pinterest, you might have seen this link or one like it.  The basic idea is to layer a salad in a jar, with your salad dressing at the bottom, your more robust veggies towards the bottom, and your greens on top.  Since the greens don’t touch the salad, they stay good, and you can just dump the whole thing out onto a plate when you are ready to eat. 

That link was one of my very first “pins” over a year ago, and I just finally got around to trying it a couple of weeks ago.  Some of you saw this picture on Instagram:


So let me tell you a little bit about my “salad jars"-

I made two different salads.  The ones on the left had the following ingredients in this order:

  • Cranberry –Orange dressing
  • Red bell peppers
  • Red Quinoa
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Zucchini
  • Mixed lettuce and spinach

Here is a picture of the salad on day five or so.  As you can see, it was very fresh still.  I did find that the quinoa slipped down into the dressing and absorbed a lot of it.  Just something to keep in mind if you use quinoa – you might to put it up closer to the lettuce so it won’t slip down.  The peppers sat in the dressing the whole time and they weren’t crisp when I ate them, but they just tasted kind of marinated.  I liked it.


The second row had the following ingredients:

  • Sundried-Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Yellow bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cannellini beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lettuce greens

I think both Chad and I liked the second salad better.

I really loved these salad jars and I am definitely going to make them again.  It will be fun to try lots of different combinations – I think a southwest version with black beans, corn, salsa and cilantro will be good. 

They stayed surprisingly fresh too!  We made eight salads and ate the last one a week after it was made and it wasn’t slimy or icky at all.  I liked the way that these jars put the pressure on me (and Chad ;o) to eat our veggies.  It really doesn’t leave you with any excuses not to – all you have to do is dump it out. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mardi Gras Parade at Waddell Language Academy

Okay, I have to admit that it is a little weird to do two posts in a row with masks, but I had to share some pictures for yesterday’s Mardi Gras parade at the boys’ school.  The French Immersion program puts on a rousing parade every year, and parents are invited to come line the hallways.  This was my first time going and I am so glad I went.  My pictures don’t capture it, but the energy was great.  The kids, who are used to wearing unifoms every day, got to wear costumes or green, purple or gold, and you combine that excitement with the permission to march through the halls chanting and blowing noisemakers…well, I am sure the teachers were pretty happy there wasn’t much class time left after the parade, because I am sure the kids were pumped up for the rest of the day.  The French classes were particularly boisterous.  I honestly don’t get out of our own Chinese program much, so it was fun to share their day.




Where was Carina?  Whimpering and clinging to my shoulder.  Waay too much for her.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The masked boy

Last week, Ollie ripped a piece of cardboard off of a box.  I found him poking eye-holes into, and he asked me to tie some yard on so that he could make a mask.  And then he sat and watched TV like this…..


And yes, I am just a freaked out as you.  Probably more so, because I have to go to sleep knowing that this guy could walk into the room at any moment.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year!



Gabe and Colin both had Chinese New Year celebrations last Friday at their school.  They have scaled back the celebration the last two years and Colin’s was an student-only party.  But I got to attend Gabe’s and the anticipation of this party nearly killed him all week.  He asked me about a dozen times if I was going to come, and the night before when Chad said family prayer, Gabe fell apart because Chad neglected to bless Gabe that he would do well at his party. 

The kids sang us some songs and we played a very fun “fruit basket” type of game, all in Chinese.  I just had to learn the word for firecracker and run fast to a chair and I was set.  Then the kids feasted on noodles, fried rice, dumplings and fresh fruit.  I had to admire the vigor with which Gabe dug into that food.  He was so excited that his hands were shaking as he ate it. 



As I was on my way out, I prodded him to scoot closer to Addie, his friend that we carpool with, so that I could get a picture of them together. He firmly looked in the other direction and scooted away, highly offended.  I prodded him again, and then I heard his teacher say something very firmly in Chinese.  All I understood was “Cuh –yu-guh” (or however you write his Chinese name in pinyin) and “Ma-MAH” but he quickly moved back by Addie and let me take a quick picture, so I understood that she was telling him to listen to me.  I felt bad because I could tell I embarrassed him but it is nice to know he listens to his teacher, I guess.


I took a picture of his “100 Days” project in the hall on my way out.  I always love going to their school and seeing a peak of this world that they spend so much of their time in.  Honestly though, it makes me a little heartsick because it reminds me that they spend so much of their life away from me.

This year is the year of the snake.  People born under the sign of the snake are supposed to possess gracious morality and great wisdom.  The kids and I had a fun time last week looking at the years we were all born under.  Gabe and I are both “roosters” which means we are supposed to be deep thinkers who are very honest.  Colin is a a ram, which means he is supposed to be tender, clever, and kind-hearted.  Oliver is a rat, which a good sign for being smart and wealthy.  Carina is a rabbit, which is supposed to make her sensitive and merciful. And last but not least, is Chad, who was born under the sign of the monkey.  We always say his is the most fitting because it people born under this sign are supposed to be very playful, athletic, and quick-witted.  Click here to find out what sign you are born under and what it is supposed to say about you.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cinder- relllllllll-a!!!


See that Cinderella lunch box/purse?  Granny gave that to Carina last week and now it goes everywhere with her.  Today she stuffed pretzels into it and brought it to church.  She is a sucker for anything with a licensed Disney princess on it.  I am not….but I have to admit that it tickles me to see her so “into” something. 

As a side note, I put Cinderella on for her the other day, and I found that even though I have watched it maybe once or twice in the past twenty years, I could quote a lot of it.  I think my sister Ashley got the VHS as a gift one year and we watched it over and over and over again.  Do any of my siblings remember that?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013



Last Saturday, Chad and I got to go the Columbia temple while my parents watched our little ones.  It was a nice and relaxing three hours of driving, and we even got to go out to lunch together.  It also happened to be the 12th anniversary of our engagement. 

Even though it was a Chad and Katie day, I thought about my mom a lot.  When she was a young teenager, she was talking to one of her friends, who mentioned that her parents were going to the temple.   My mom asked what the temple was, and her friend explained that families can be sealed  together forever there.  This interested my mom and she wanted to know more. This was my mom’s first step towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a gospel that would shape her whole life.  She always let us know how sacred the temple was when we were growing up.  I thought on Saturday of receiving my endowments in the Los Angeles temple with my mom by my side for every step. I remembered how happy she was the day she got to see my niece Callie, who is adopted, sealed to her family.  My mom kept doing temple work for as long as she could, even when it was hard to speak the words she needed to. 

This calling of mine and my mom’s, this motherhood -  my mom has always known how sacred it is.  I thought about that on Saturday, and I thought about how much I want to be like her.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Every day, we carpool with Gabe's classmate, Addie. As we make the twenty minute drive and Carina bats her eyes at her (and Addie bats her eyes at Colin), she tells Gabe all about what she is teaching her younger brother, Charlie.

Charlie will be entering kindergarten next year with Ollie, so Charlie's education is a matter of pride for her. Now Gabe has started to take Ollie's preschool education very seriously. Last week after Addie informed Gabe that Charlie can count to ten in Chinese, he sat Ollie down for a oh-so-serious study session on the playroom couch.

For over half an hour, he patiently read to Ollie and had him repeat each and every word. Ollie complied with a smile and I am told that they covered 17 pages.

Filling me in the next day, after another intense tutorial, Gabe told me that the piano lesson didn't go as well and that Ollie "couldn't even get the hand positions right."

You gotta hand to the young teacher - at least he wants a well rounded pupil.