Monday, January 13, 2014

New Dishes This Week

I am trying out a few new recipes this week. Here they on the links to see the recipes:

 Cheese Potato and Smoked Sausage bake

Chicken in Basil Cream

One Pot Tortellini and sausage in a Tomato Cream Sauce

Roasted Lemon Potatoes

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Some Moments of Memory

Moments from 2013:

1) Added pets

We went from a family of 7 to a family of 10 this year. Well, 11 but one died. We added Molly (Mum's beloved dog) and Guinea. Then Guinea passed away and we added Daisy and Nori the guinea pigs. Yes, we are officially a zoo. Dama suggested today we open for a petting zoo. But I keep thinking about the kids, what they are going to look back on, the time when they will be gone and we can say we went the extra mile to have a big full family which includes our very loved pets. Maile turned 14 this year too and is doing really well.

2) I became a hardcore soccer mom

I bought the sleeping bag coat and fell in love with it. I have all the warm gear. I look forward to Soccer Saturdays. My life begins at 4pm shuttling the kids to soccer. Loving this sport has been a wonderful experience for me. The people that have been placed in my life and the kids' lives because of soccer have all been incredible. The coaches the kids have had that have made an impact on them and their dreams. We've done a lot of sports: track, cross country, swimming, skating, baseball, gymnastics, Aikido...and the soccer community are so real and so fun. The sport itself has inspired my kids to work hard in all areas. And I get front row seats!

4) I got glasses

What can I say? You turn 40 and things start falling apart.

3) Caring for and saying goodbye to my Mum

I look back and I did all I could. I miss her so much. The time seeing her decline was the hardest thing I have ever had to face. But I also know that the way she passed away, she avoided all of her worst nightmares. There is some peace in knowing that for me. She just slipped away. Many times over the years I have wondered how her life would end. I hoped that it would be in a way that she kept her dignity and did not drag out as those were her greatest wishes for the end. Thank goodness her wishes were honored by the universe.
Today I thought about how my husband will face the decline of his parents and it made me realize that this chapter of my life is done. In some ways, it is so peaceful to know I will never have to face the loss of a parent again. It was so painful. That chapter is closed. I miss you Mum. You were the greatest.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elite Player Development 2013

This year, Lucas was invited to tryout for the Elite Player Development program with Washington Youth Soccer. What is it? It is essentially a state team for Washington put together from clubs across the state. You can't just show up for tryouts, you have to be identified by a certified coach in the state and then invited to try out. The boys get to wear the Sounders uniform and eventually move into the Sounders Academy if they keep making the team.

We had no idea this type of program existed until we got the email that Lucas had been recommended and then invited. So we packed him up down to Starfire (where the Sounders practice) and in 26 degree weather he had his first tryout.

We watched as he put in everything he had out there on the field. Yes, there were kids that had way more skill and footwork. But what Lucas had was hard word and determination! I am convinced it will take him so far.

He's now down to the final 35 before the next and last cut. It will be a long wait and a lot of nerves. But he has come so far already. They know his name and his face and his playing style now. He has made us so proud and he is having a blast. His club's coaching director is thrilled with his progress and he is representing our club amazingly!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Important Things

My Mum made the very best shortbread in the world. She usually only made it once a year around Christmas and I looked forward to it every year. Wherever I was...home, Hawaii, Japan, I always got a tin of her shortbread. She'd decorate the cookies with red and green sprinkles and those little silver edible balls.

Last year, she could not make them as her hands were really sore from carpal tunnel issues. So I asked her about that and why you needed your hands so much for making shortbread. She told me a story.

When she was little and her Mum was making shortbread, her Mum would put a stool at the counter, set my Mum up there and ask her to knead the butter and flour and sugar mixture. So Mum would knead away. And she'd declare she was done, but then her Mum would declare "you're not done". Mum told me she stood there kneading for what seemed like an eternity. She told me it was the secret to making the shortbread melt in your mouth.

After she passed away and we loaded all of her cherished things into our van, I remember wondering about the shortbread recipe. Why had I not asked to see it? Or asked her where it was? I felt such a huge lump in my throat thinking about not knowing where it was. I had located all her cookie cutters, the ones she had used for my cookies all these years. The familiar shapes that I'd known for so long. I found her stash of silver balls and sprinkles. But the recipe was not easily found.

I went through every cookbook and finally came upon the recipe in my Grandmother's cookbook. There was a little sticky note next to it so I knew Mum had marked it and that this was the one.

I think I am going to be spending a long time kneading today, on her birthday! Or maybe I should put Ellie on a little stool :)
Make sure you ask about these things. They seem so small but will be so important one day.

Monday, November 18, 2013


A beautiful woman was laid to rest on Oct 18th. I have a hard time thinking about blogging about this but I also want people to see how simple and beautiful her interment was. 

It was just my brother and I on a crisp and foggy morning in Vancouver. It was really odd to walk up and see my dad's plot look any different than it had looked in 39 years. But it was such a comfort to know they could be placed together and I am so grateful for that. 

We had a small posy of red roses that I had put with the kids there the day after she passed away and a gorgeous arrangement from Dama's parents.

It was so simple and peaceful, just as she would have wanted. There was no big fuss which aligned with her wishes. Half of her ashes were placed here and the other half will go to Scotland next year.

I love you Mum. You were the greatest. I miss you so much.

Thank you friends for all the beautiful cards (my mantle in covered!!), the meals, the flowers, the love, the warm blankets, the hugs, the phone calls....and for showing me that though she is gone I am never alone in this world!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's Cooking?

Since I've been so busy going back and forth to Canada, home cooked meals have suffered. But I am back to cooking meals for the family and I have a couple of great recipes to share.

The first one I like is a roast chicken that is really simple and incredibly tasty. You can use this recipe for a whole chicken or chicken pieces. It's delicious both ways. Friends have asked me before how to roast a whole chicken. It is really one of the simplest meals you can make and it's healthy and has leftovers!

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Parsley

I am always on the look out for easy and fast recipes that taste great, especially for soccer nights. Something I can prep beforehand and then finish when the kids get home. One of the recipes I go to many times is a korean flavored ground beef recipe. Its simple and delicious and once you get the hang of this dish, I can make it with my eyes closed.

Korean Beef

Just a tip: I buy fresh ginger, peel it and cut it into portion sizes and then freeze.
Let me know if you try these 2 recipes!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013: iPod and Nerd

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. It seems like this may be one of the last ones where we do our own neighborhood, just that small loop with all the kids, just that small bag of candy.

This year, there were a lot of requests from the kids' friends to join in their trick or treating fun. We ended up having one friend each come by our hood and then we went to visit other friends throughout the evening. Elise ended up with 9 1/2 pounds of candy from a trunk or treat on the 30th and Halloween combined. Sheer teeth rotting craziness!!

Lucas asked to be an iPod 2 days before Halloween. Thanks, buddy. This is not something you can order online or find in a store so I set off to make it. It actually was not too difficult to do.

Here's what I used:

-black display board with the wings cut off
-white cord
-2 cardboard tubes (I used the tubes that glowsticks come in)
-styrofoam ball
-silver spray paint
-glue gun

I printed the icons from the internet. I found a zip file online with some of them but the results were better with these steps:

  1. I google imaged "angry birds app icon" (and whatever other icons I wanted)and saved the highest def one I could find
  2. Opened it in Picasa
  3. Set my print settings to 8x10 paper size, shrink to fit, and shrink to 65%
  4. Print on white cardstock!
The ear buds were the fun part. I cut a foam ball in 2, hot glued the tubes onto the ball halves, then glued the cord with LOTS of hot glue into the tubes. I attached the cord onto the back of the board with a stronger glue that needed to dry overnight.

Ellie was the cutest nerd ever. Her costume was easy and was a combination of Goodwill, costume store and what we had on hand. Her friend came as a nerd too. These girls had a bast together!

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