Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baby it's cold outside...

Holy Moly it's cold outside...

It's the end of the year, and I haven't done anything I planned on doing with my 2 weeks off.  I need to make a new syllabus, plan a new middle school cooking class, print out recipes, write recipes, continue my novel and cookbook, clean out under my bed, get rid of tons of unused things to donate...

Oy Vay...

I actually miss work!  This is too much pressure!!! ;)

I have been baking a TON of pretzel bread recently... my new obsession... and much to my kids happiness... they have been devouring it.

My Mom and I have been baking fiends the past few weeks... and catering a bunch too.  It's so much fun to cook and just 'be' with my Mama in the kitchen.  We have yet to find out if we "got" a gig catering an impromptu wedding on New Year's Eve... fingers crossed!  It would be fun to cater and enjoy a wedding and all the music that comes with it on NYE.
We also have a huge Football Banquet for our Football team to cook for on Jan. 5.  Holy Moly... I sure wish we had that thing in December... LOL... but... we have a ton of awesome people willing to do whatever it takes and help... so it will be so much fun to cook, laugh and fellowship with everyone in my classroom...

There have been a lot of Basketball tournaments lately... so we've been trying to get to a couple here and there...
I just enjoy being home so much and not 'needing'  to be somewhere... that we just don't get out that much right now... LOL...

There have been a bunch of Amazon.com packages coming in... that's been fun...getting gifts after the fact... it's a great time... Like a mini Christmas every day.

Just found out my new Ipod doesn't fit ANY of my older Ipod (less than a year ago) stuff... so all my junk had to be passed down to the kids for their Ipod Touch's, and I had to buy all new junk for mine... sooooo sucks!  But.. the new one has video and camera... so I'm set for any event now...in a much more compact form.  Those companies just keep tweaking things jusssst enough to get every single penny out of us... huh?

***to my irked reader (you know who you are)... notice how this blog post doesn't resemble anything that may/maynot be something that irks you... Well... there are about 599 other ones just like this... why don't you focus on your own life... and leave me alone... Thank you so much for reading me... but really... you should find time to do things in your life that fulfill you and make your life better... mine is just fine at the moment... thanks... I don't need or want your opinion on what I write, post, or have experienced in my life... you do you... I'll do me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Basketball, baseball, work oh my!!!

Holy frijole!!!

Time is just flying by!!! It feels like yesteday that I accepted my position as Teacher at ACA... and now it's ALREADY CHRISTMAS?? REALLY??? How did that happen?

William is now playing basketball.  He made Varsity, so games are now at 7:30 p.m.  So it makes for a long day... THANK GOD he's driving himself.  Did I just say that??? I did!!!

Alex just decided to play baseball at school, so now we have that too.  Now life feels like it's back to normal. Johnathon is in drumline at school, and is about to play soccer for his school.  

I really need three of me.  I sure wish someone would come up with that already.

I still really love my class and teaching my class.  I get to keep them all year, because the Ceramic Teachers kiln never showed up for next semester. Sad for the ceramics teacher... happy for me.

We are making desserts and sweets the next week, and the week we come back from break, then we get to make stuff I really know how to cook.  Desserts aren't my forte'.  I'm a savory girl.  My Mama is gonna help me out by teaching them to make her specialties when we return from break... thank God!!!

Ugh... I am soooo tired.  I need to sleep..,

Monday, November 29, 2010

My baby got his Driver's License today... Waaahhhhhh!

Today was one of those days my son will remember for the rest of his life.  The day he got his Driver's License.  I tried to make it a good day...

I smiled alot... although I wanted to bawl my eyes out.

I didn't yell at him as he drove me to school... even though he stops waaaaaay to late...

I made sure and said a prayer with/for him before his test.

Did I mention I tried really hard not to cry?

Yeah, that plan failed.

Right after the DMV lady came to sit in the passenger side of his truck... I excused myself to go to the ladies room, and let the tears fall in private.  He's almost a man now.  What the heck and I gonna do with an almost full grown man as a son?  He won't need me for anything soon... THEN what am I gonna do?

This Motherhood business is so tough.  You pour your entire life, heart and soul into raising these humans... and they go and get all independent on you... WHAT'S UP WITH THAT!

He is soooo very excited.  I drove him home so I could get MY car, and he took HIS truck back to school.
No more "ours".  {{sigh}}

So I told him I loved him, and watched him drive away...
and called the school to make sure he got there okay...
What!!! I'm his Mama!  It's my right!  He might be a man (almost)... but he'll ALWAYS be my little boy...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful... oh... so Thankful!


I really love Thanksgiving.  It's one of my favorite Holidays.  Much more so than Christmas or Chanukah.
Thanksgiving is a holiday without airs.  It's simple.  Eat a lovely meal with those you love, be thankful, clean up, and bask in the Thankfulness for a few days.  There's no other Holiday like it.

I love how generous this Holiday makes everyone seem to feel.  Homeless food pantries become full, shut in's get invited for a meal, warm clothing gets donated to those on the streets.  What I truly wish, is that all of us would do this kind of stuff ALL THE TIME... all year long... but Thanksgiving is a great place to start.

I know some of my friends don't believe in God, and I respect their beliefs.  But I will encourage them to just for one second, just for a moment in time, for a nanosecond... to just fathom that someone GREATER than ourselves is watching over us, protecting us, giving and blessing us with the lives we have, the children we have, the roofs over our heads, the smiles on our faces.  JUST FOR A SECOND... and then to just say a little 'Thank You'.  I know those friends of mine believe they are the reason for the blessings, that it comes from them, and their choices alone, that nothing divine is helping them. 

I also know they believe this way because they look around and see so many homeless, hurting, starving, broken people not being helped, or cured, or given shelter.  They see a world where there CAN'T be a God, because if there were... then why doesn't He HELP them?

The only answer I have to that question is... THAT'S WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR.  I believe will all my heart and soul that my Saviour is EVERYWHERE, all the time.  The He is omniscient, omnipresent, omniAWESOME... and he CAN and DOES help everyone, ALL THE TIME...  All. The. Time.

I do not come from the belief system that "God helps those who help themselves"... no... NO... He helps EVERYONE... whether they believe in Him or not!!!  He created EVERYONE in His image, and he loves me as much as He loves the person saying He doesn't exist!  I am no better than anyone else because I love Him, but BECAUSE I love Him, it is my (our) responsibility to help our fellow brothers and sisters that are broken, homeless, and abandoned.  THAT'S what we are here for.  God put US here to do His work.  We can't see Him right now... but we can be seen.  WE CAN DO HIS WORK, to clothe, and feed and be a light to those who don't have as much as we do. 

I love Thanksgiving because it doesn't exist as a holiday of giving things to other people because we can afford to do so.  It exists to feed, and to concentrate on being thankful and giving, and in that spirit, it jolts our minds to be sensitive to the fact that we have SOOOOOOOO much, when others have SOOOOOOO little.

If I may, allow me to make a suggestion this weekend?

Take a little time to go through your closets and drawers this weekend.  Grab a huge bag and start filling it with blankets and clothes and things you haven't used in a long time (a year or two) and keep it in your car.  When you are driving around this weekend, shopping, lunching, laughing and spending... be mindful of the people on the street with the shopping carts as cars, or the family walking down the streets in shorts in cold weather, and hand them your unused items.  Just hand it to them and say... "This is from God, not me... He wants you to know He loves you and will meet your needs... "  If you have some money, buy them some food.  It's such a small, simple gesture... but it's what He wants us to do.

I am so thankful for the roof over my head... I need to stop complaining about how "small" it is.

I am so thankful for my car... I need to stop complaining about how old it is.

I am so thankful for my new job...I need to stop complaining... oh wait... no complaints there yet... LOL

I am so thankful for my kids... I need to stop complaining they don't listen to me... they are teens, they aren't supposed to...

I am to thankful for my Husband... I need to stop complaining that he works too much... he is supporting all of us beautifully...

I am so thankful for my parents...I need to stop complaining they are divorced, and just enjoy them individually.

I am even thankful for my extra layers... I need to stop complaining I'm not losing them fast enough, and continue to love myself where I am.

Be thankful and mindful this Holiday Season...

Much love, health, happiness and prosperity to all...

Sandra

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chick chick chicken!!!

At this very moment... I am sitting in my awesome classroom, waiting to cook chicken.  Doesn't that seem like a fun thing to be doing?

My hubby just left... he brought lunch over to my classroom, since I don't leave at all on Thursdays.  He leaves for HAWAII tomorrow, without me.  I meet up with him next week.  I can't wait for the rest.

 But truth be told, I'm going to miss my class.  I'm rotten.  I didn't want anyone to cook with them but me... so I made up a bunch of stuff for them to do while I'm away, that doesn't involve cooking, so they will miss me bunches... LOL!!!  So I have a test for them on one day, and a recipe writing task on another... isn't that terrible?

Tonight is my last Football meal to cook for my team in the regular season. I'm a little sad.  It's been SUCH a great time.  All the young men are so fantastic.  They REALLY appreciate the food, and the effort put forth by all the parents.  It's a real pleasure to cook for them.

We also had our 2nd Fundraiser this week, and it went really well!  My students ROCKED IT... they even earned Tips!!!

Our next one is December 1, and we are coupling our dinner with the opening of our play... and we are making Meatball Calzones, salads, cupcakes or Cream Puffs... sooo excited!!!

I gotta get to work now to feed these boys...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Here's what's been up!!!

Oy Vay!!!!!

You know what?  I get paid to work 8 hours a week, and I am at "work" about 50 hours... AND I LOVE IT!

I have had sooooo many opportunities for additional income in the past two weeks, it makes me giddy!!!

But enough about work.

I wanna talk about... oh... I don't know... something else... like... OOhhh...I got a new couch and ottoman!!!

Okay... done talking about THAT!...

Now what...

Oh, our 18th Anniversary was on October 17.  It was a fun day.  We went couch shopping, out to lunch, grocery shopping, and came home to a lovely surprise dinner made by our boys... we didn't have the heart to tell them we were stuffed from our late lunch... so we offered to help them eat it all up later that evening.  It was delish!!!

I cook all day, every day... so my life is kinda in a little box these days.  I'm not complaining... it's just different.

I'd LOOOOOVE TO write about the students... BUT I WOULDN'T DARE!!!... Maybe someday when I'm old and gray... (I know, I know... that's NOW!)

Going to Hawaii soon... so there's that!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oak Glen Day Away...

I've made deal with myself.  Since I am putting in WAAAAAAYYY more hours than I am getting paid, partly because I need to clean my school kitchen, and partly because I am the Football Food Mama and need to cook for 60 weekly... that we would go on little excursions on the weekends to break up the "Mom is working, holy cow... now what do we do with ourselves" mentality that seems to have infiltrated my little family.

My kids have NEVER had a Mom that wasn't 100% focused on them, and their needs and wants, and it's been a bit of an adjustment period.  We don't have as much food in the house, their meals are eaten with me at school most of the time, and all the stuff they used to wonder that I did "all day long while home alone" aren't getting done now, and they are feeling the crunch of having to do more than pick up after themselves...
I like that they are kind of longing for the "good old days" and realizing, that I did more than just sit at home, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the moment I could pick them up from school, and complete my life with their presence.  Sometimes I find myself longing for my "old life" too, when I've been at school too long, and my feet are killing me, and I can't just go put my feet up... don't get me wrong... I have tons of freedom at work... but... I don't have "my house" at work.

Anyway, getting back to our little excursions... we went to Oak Glen last weekend... and here are some shots we took..

 Same smile, same mustache...oy vay... where my wax lady when I need her!!! LOL
I smudged my upper lip to match Williams... that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!!


It was a very bright day in those mountains... lovely...

I love this shot... he had no idea I zoomed in and caught it, then edited it to b/w.  That's my handsome man!!!

Chillin'

He has such a better, wider smile than I do...

Caught him... aaaahhh... 11... still a boy, almost a teen... good age...

Raspberry picking in Snowline...


All my Men!!!

My sweet Alex... picking raspberries...


This kid just stares into your soul... doesn't he???
Oy... I adore him...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whew...

It's been a very interesting past couple of months.

As most of you know... my hubby won his election in June, and in July, he took office in his new position as BA of his Union.  With that position, came a new company car, (no more work truck :( and a WHOLE lot of traveling to training seminars.  Lot's of training.  In the past five weeks, he's been to Denver, Washington DC, Reno, San Diego and Arizona.  He's been home a total of 12 days in those past five weeks.  I know... most of you women out there are saying things like... "Oh, poor Sandra...all alone without her hubby... yada, yada, yada..."... But frankly my dears...after 18 years of marriage, his being gone was GREAT!!!... Don't read anything into it that shouldn't be, I wasn't mad at him, and we aren't on the verge of divorce... I'm just an extremely independent person, and having the bed all to myself, and not having to be home on time and not having to do this or that... WAS SOOOO NICE....

He is back now.  The next trip he takes is to Hawaii, and I am going with him on that one... no if's and's or but's about it.

Football is in full swing, and our team has been riddled with injury after injury.  We can't understand it.  I have NEVER seen this many kids get hurt each week.  We  have 14 kids on the DL and we only have 40 players... for both JV and Varsity... so 14 is significant... (We are a small, private school).  BUT... we are having fun, and our coach is AWESOME!!!

I'm having a great time feeding the team.  Each week, my Mom and I, with the help of a host of other Mama's from the team, prepare gourmet, 4 course meals for the entire team and coaches.  No fast food, or restaurant stuff here... just good, old fashioned, homemade grub.  This week is Pasta and Meatballs, garlic bread, roasted veggies, salad, fruit and dessert.  Good stuff...

Alex is in football too.  He's the Quarterback on his Jr. High team.  They don't win much, but he makes at least 2 touchdowns a week.  Next year, all my boys will be at the same school, and two will be on the High School Team together... such fun!!!!

I love teaching more and more each day.  I have learned so much from my time teaching. Next semester will be my proving grounds.

Well... I'm tired... I'm gonna watch The Amazing Race and fall asleep...G'night.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's been a full month now... and...

It's been a month now.

A month that I've been an actual 'WORKING MOM' after staying home with my men for the past 16 years.

I've done a little crying (mourning over my past life of 16 years, and the freedom I had) and a whole LOT more laughing (I'd forgotten who I WAS, OUTSIDE of being a Mom... and discovered I still HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!)

The idea for this post came from my friend  Lori's blog post.  She and I are in VERY similar boats... almost identical in fact... and it hit home for me...

I forgot how much I loved working.  It's so true when they say "If you do what you love, you never "work" a day in your life".  I. LOVE. TEACHING.  I ADORE MY STUDENTS...
Graduation is going to be a COMPLETELY different experience... when I am not only crying happy tears for one child, but 50 of them... I'm going to have to bring a TRUCKLOAD of tissue...

I only teach one class a day... but I find  myself hanging out at the school much longer.  I forgot how much fun it is to talk to other adults.  I LOVE that I get to see my kids so much DURING SCHOOL... they frequently come into my classroom to scrounge for leftovers from my class, and to give me a quick peck on my cheek... I love every second of that...

I love that the students call me Mama Shaver.  Mrs. Shaver is my Mother in Law... so Mama Shaver suits me just fine...  I love that they feel comfortable enough to call me that... I really love it.

My health and stamina have increased ten fold.  I'm walking around soooo much more... back and forth from my class to the office, running around my huge classroom, fixing this and washing that... I'm getting stronger, and I'm getting smaller in the process... happily.

I recieved my first evaluation last week and it was AWESOME.  I was nervous.  I LIKED FEELING NERVOUS... I don't usually get nervous about much anymore...Motherhood doesn't allow many chances for second guessing oneself... getting nervous has no place in raising children...
Feeling nervous kept me on my toes.  I loved feeling the butterflies fluttering around my stomach.  It gave me something to strive for.  Something for ME.  It was a weird concept.

For the past 16 years, much of my life with my kids has been spent saying "no" to things they asked for.  Why? Because I am soooo against saying "yes" just so my kids can have what everyone else has.  They got what they needed, and few extra's and no more.  Even when I was making great money in Pampered Chef, I spent much of the money I made on supplies, traveling with the kids, and just odds and ends that needed purchasing... but now... I don't know... I am saying "yes" a little more, and I feel like they are at the right age to have a little splurging done on them.  I feel like now they are old enough to appreciate the gifts and little extra's they are getting... and it feels great.  Don't get me wrong... I am still wholeheartedly against spoiling kids... but a few more "yes's" than "no's" won't hurt anything, now that they know how hard money is to earn and how quickly it dissipates.

I am sooo proud to have been an at home Mama for as long as I was... and even though I only work two hours a day now, I am so happy to be out in the work force again... I truly love my job, and all the students and faculty I get to see on a daily basis...

I love that God has had a plan for me, and the plan is awesome...

Yeah!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random shots of this or that...

Woo Hoo... it's been a WHILE!!!

Got some pics to share...

Here they come...





No the above DOES NOT say WE 66... it says WEBB... in bread.
Each week, I make our opponents name in bread, and give the football players a little speech about coming up to the table, tearing off a piece of it, and ripping it to shreds, chewing it up... demolishing it ... you know... to get their heads in the game... LOL


Miles of salad each week...


 Alex, our newest quarterback, taking direction from Coach Heuker...


William was captain...


My sweet 64...


Get 'EM, William!!!!

Pasta night...


Fresh homegrown tomatoes, stuffed with mushrooms, onions, and celery, topped with Feta...

My baby boy... getting ready to go hit someone... HARD!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I love my class!!!

I have the BEST group of students a teacher could ask for.  They are all enthusiastic, adventurous eaters that seem to really enjoy the whole cooking thing.

We are in our third week of bread making... and so far... no one is tiring too badly from bread... It's just so important to fully learn about a food like bread, rather than skim over it lightly... I want them to REALLY know how to get fresh bread on the table... one day... they may want to make it for their families.

I get such a kick out of seeing the kids light up when they tell me they cooked for their family the night before.  One student told me his Grandpa didn't want to wait for the bread to be separated into individual loaves and just baked the ENTIRE batch of dough all at once...My mind immediately went to that "I Love Lucy" episode when she tried to make home baked bread... too funny.

I feel like the registration people hand picked my class for me... what a blessing... they are all beautiful, inside and out... and the four men I have in class are holding their own very well.

I didn't know how much I would love teaching... I can't imagine NOT teaching now...

Just thought I'd share...

My students are so awesome... I love each and every one of them!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm obsessing again...

I'm a tad bit overwhelmed.   I get like that from time to time, especially when I start a new venture or there is a lot of change in my life...

The recent changes have been my teaching job (I only teach one class, but I'm gone all day long... why is that?),  and now the opportunity to sell my food after school to anyone milling around for sports, in car pool, and the kids that are required to come into study hall instead of loitering all over campus.

I'm nervous.  Will my food sell?  Will it taste good?  Are my prices okay... I'll make a little money, but not gouge my customers either?  Will I make a profit? yada, yada, yada... my brain needs to STOP!!!

I need to just remember that I can't gage anything UNTIL I TRY IT... and until I TRY it, I can't gage anything... LOL

Last night, I was up late making out my menu and price lists.  I was wracking my brain trying to come up with pretty Italian words to describe my food, and name the food.  I know... I concentrate on the dumbest things... but that's the creative side of me...I like to have things "just so".

I REFUSE to sell chips, soda and junk.  I CATEGORICALLY REFUSE to do so... even though it would be a huge money maker... selling that poison to kids after school will make me lose sleep at night.  No way... no how...  All the food is handmade, with love and know how, and will FEED them, body and soul, not just fill them up with empty calories and fat.

Here's a sample of my menu...
 Breadsticks & Marinara

Freshly made thick crust gourmet pizza

Cookies & Milk
(fresh, fiber filled cookies and 2% milk)

Nutella Sandwiches

Meatballs and Sauce

Artisan Sandwiches

Thick cut bread slice and Honey Butter

Water

Iced Tea (unsweetened)

Milk

That's just a sampling.  How does it sound?  I would allow my kids to buy food after school if it was those choices... I'm also offering salads, veggies and dip, and a host of other goodies, that are highly nutritious.
I hope the parents that work late, will appreciate the effort and encourage their kids to try eating after school while doing their homework, so it can lessen the burden for the parents.  I also hope they give them money to purchase the food.  I get a LOT of kids coming in to my class asking for free food, and it breaks my heart to have to say no... but I can't buy groceries and feed people out of my own pocket... it's hard enough to feed my 3 boys... let alone a bunch of kids at school too...

Ugh... I HATE when I do this to myself... I have self doubt about every other minute... I obsess about it...and really... I just have to realize... I'M NOT CURING A DISEASE... I'M JUST DOING WHAT I KNOW HOW TO DO!!!  It's a small thing in the realm of "things to worry about"... so I just need to STOP!   Right? Make it STOP!!!!

I feel so much better now... having vented to you all...

I think I'll go do my stretching now... and have a nice cup of coffee... and stir my sauce... and get ready for church... and stir my sauce again...and not forget to turn the burner off... and stir the sauce again...

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

William is TOPS in my book...

I have to brag.

I know it will prove to be something extremely strange to brag about... but I am just flabbergasted that the event I am going to write about happened tonight...

My two oldest sons got home from school and football practice tonight about 8 p.m..   My Middle son Alex pulled a muscle in his back and wanted me to go to the drugstore to buy him some Icy/Hot... but...
my ankles are sooo swollen from the heat and my monthly visit from Aunt Flo... that I just couldn't bring myself to to get dressed to go out into in a store...

William says... Mom, if you let me drive, I'll go in the store for you, and you can just sit shotgun...

I start to decide whether I can do it, and I remember that I am out of "products" for Aunt Flo's visit...

I say... "Oh honey, you don't have to do that, I need my "products" and I can't ask you to do that for me."

AND HE SAYS....

"Mom, you're not feeling well... I'll go get Alex's Icy/Hot AND I'll pick up your "products" for you"

Did you read that clearly??? MY 16 YEAR OLD SON OFFERED TO BUY MY STUFF FOR ME...
Do you know how long it took my HUSBAND to agree to get those things after we were married?????

HOW FREAKING SWEET, and COMPLETELY SELFLESS was that????

I said... "What? You'd do THAT?"
And he said... "Yeah Mom, if you need them, and you aren't feeling well, I'll do it for you."

I almost fell over from shock.  What a DOLL!!!

and...

HE DID!!!!

He totally walked into that CVS and got the stuff, and came back to the car with absolutely no embarrassment...

He is gonna make an AWESOME hubby someday...

I am soooo blessed...

William... YOU ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY!!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pics of life in the past few weeks...

Finally, I am uploading some pics of what I've been up to the past couple of months...  Almost all of my life is devoted to food, cooking it, serving it, cleaning up after it... and just a tiny bit of eating it... LOL

Miles of Biscotti have been in my past... catering has REALLY gotten busy...



AS you can see... it's a family affair... this is our offsite kitchen we cook in...



I told Bill he looks mad here... but he says he wasn't... just ready to lift a heavy pot... and he thought I should have been doing more work and less picture taking... "Hey... who's the boss here... buddy!"


I was actually able to cook for myself once in a while... this was lunch... yummyyyyy!



Then, the following week was filled with teenaged Football players and their voracious appetites...
This, of course, was the salad course...


Many hand make light work...

French Dip sandwiches... on homemade Artisan Bread... I made 99 loaves that week...it was a BLAST!!!

Part of my classroom... just before serving up Tacos, Enchiladas, Fresh Guacamole, Fresh Salsa and a TON of other food... all made by our hands...

Dining area of my classroom.  I used sheets at tablecloths, and painted ACA Eagles on them...

Ready for the men... each meal, we place big bowls of fresh fruit all over so they could graze and hydrate with great food...no processed junk...

And after all the Football Mayhem was over... I was able to concentrate on becoming a
TEACHER...
My first official scribblings on my whiteboard as an International Cuisine teacher...
What a blessing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'M SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!

I got called into the principals office again today...  He offered me a great opportunity.....  

He asked me if I would be willing to open up my classroom from 2:45 ish to 4:00 ish to SELL MY FOOD to the students, teachers and parents that hang out after school...

I almost jumped out of my seat... the BEST PART... All the money I make... IS MINE!!!  Basically, instead of them paying me to open up the classroom and just be there to watch kids do their homework... he gave me an open ended opportunity to make as much money as I want to, depending on how hard I want to work... WHAT A BLESSING!!! It's like handing me a restaurant... without all the over head!!!!  Of course I will be paying for the ingredients out of my own pocket... but my income can be limitless depending on how I feed my customers!!!   YAHHHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I know, to all of you that HATE to cook, this sounds like the WORST job in the world... but to someone like me... IT'S SHEER HEAVEN!!!

I can't wait!!!

To those of you who live near by and want to grub on my food... stop  by ACA after school Mon-Thurs and come and eat!!!!  I'll post my menu after I make it up!!!

I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!          

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

International Cuisine, yeah... that's what I teach...uh huh!!!

I am officially a teacher... again.   I cried yesterday (NO...NOT in front of them, I'd NEVER let them see me sweat), because I thought I was boring the students... Leave it to twenty 17 year olds to send me back 25 years of self confidence.  LOL

Actually, they've been so sweet.  So accomodating.  They know I'm new, and they are being very patient.

Already, on my third day, I know what I'm going to do differently next week.  I'm sure by my third week, I'll have it all down to a science and some sort of routine... right now... even though I've written down my lesson plans for the next month... I'm still kinda winging it, because 20 post pubescent teens can be a little bit unpredictable.

Fortunately, my kids attend private schools, and these students don't have the same type of "edge" as a mix of other kids would.  Yikes... that sound really uppity, and I don't mean it to be... it just is what it is.

I have 16 girls and 3 boys, and today, they made baguettes of bread.  I stayed after class and baked them all for them, and they came in at break and picked them all up and ate them... it was very satisfying seeing them so excited about the bread... it made me giddy.  

Tomorrow, we make personal pizzas, but not the traditional way, with sauce and pepperoni and cheese... nope... they can have that any time.

My class is called International Cuisine for a reason, so I cut up some fresh red onion, roasted some bell peppers, cubed some fresh mozzarella, and made up a batch of fresh basil pesto... and THAT'S what they are going to make their pizzas with.  Typical ingredients you'd find in any home in Italy to top a pizza... YUM!!!

If any of them turn their noses up at the ingredients...I'll make 'em wash every dish in the class..twice... LOL!!!

Next week, they are making rich doughs, and cinnamon rolls, fougasse and a starter...

So excited!!! 

So far, so good...We'll see what next week brings...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

OMG... I start teaching tomorrow morning!!!

Tomorrow is the big day.  It's been 16 years since I have had a "BOSS".  Normally, everytime I looked into the mirror, I saw my boss, and really like her.

Now, I answer to a Department Head and a Superintendent.

My classroom is done, my syllabus is written and turned into my dept. head, and now all I have to do, is pick out my clothes for tomorrow, find some sensible shoes, and breathe in and out, and try not to get nervous.

I mean, what the heck am I so nervous about?  I've taught thousands of people to cook over the past 16 years... this is no different, right???  Then why are there a flock of butterflies swirling around my stomach???

There's so much hype coming from the staff, and the teachers about the class, that I feel like I have to live up to the hype. I know what I know.  I'm not a fancy cook.  I cook with simple ingredients and clean flavors.  I don't do foams and I only bake bread... not sweets... I hope they are okay with that...

  My hope and wish is to completely take over the school lunch program at the school, so the kids will be eating good, healthy, freshly prepared food.  I'd need to hire a big staff, but it's completely doable... so we will see what the future holds. It a very small school, only about 500 students total.

I cooked for the football team all week long, and the teachers and staff came in to sample the leftovers and were just so complimentary and so grateful for fresh food.    We made, Chicken Parmigiana, Pasta and meatballs, BBQ Beef sandwiches, Taco's and BBQ chicken.  I get to repeat them all again for team meals on Thursday night all season long.

Oy Vay...I HAVE A JOB!!!!!
When did that happen????

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old drug problems...

(I read this a long time ago... I don't know who wrote it... I sure wish I had... I raise my kids the exact same way as this passage... and I am sooo glad I do...)


The other day, someone at a store read that a

methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farm

house in the adjoining county and he asked me a

rhetorical question. "Why didn't we have a drug

problem when you and I were growing up?"

I responded that we did have a drug problem when we

were kids growing up on the farm or in the city. I had

a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church

on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings

and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and

community socials no matter the weather. I was drug by

my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also

drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told

a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak

with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the

preacher. Or if I didn't put forth my best effort in

everything that was asked of me. I was drug to the

kitchen sink if I uttered a profane four letter word.

(I do know what soap tastes like.) I was drug out to

pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and

cockleburs out of dad's fields. I was drug to the

homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out

some poor soul who had no one, to mow the yard, repair

the clothesline or chop some fire wood, and if my

mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a

tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to

the wood shed.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my

behavior in everything I do, say and think. They are

stronger than cocaine,crack or heroin, and if today's

children had this kind of drug problem, America might

be a better place today.



Friday, August 6, 2010

Update

So I did some catering today.  Mom and I cooked and served over 100 ladies today for our local
Women's Club.  It was a lovely luncheon, and I was honored to feed those lovely ladies... they were all so nice and complimentary.

I also made lunch for all the secretaries that work in Bill office... they feasted on Focaccia sandwiches, salad, and biscotti and cream puffs. Needless to say... I'M POOPED!!!

I have to do it all over again on Sunday, when we cater a friend of a friends funeral. 

School days are fast approaching, and I'm getting more and more nervous about teaching my class.  Excited and nervous... two feelings that keep me on my toes.

William got his schedule today, and he, sadly, doesn't have me as a teacher this semester.  He signed up for my class... that sweet kid.  The Superintendent called me the other day to inquire about whether or not I would be interested in also teaching a middle school cooking class.... I was like... YEAH!!!!  So we'll see... they aren't sure the class will happen yet... but soooo cool that they want me for more... and I haven't even taught one class yet!!!!

I haven't been able to write too much on here for a while... I've been working hard on my book, promising myself to write everyday now that I have a new laptop and don't have to be stuck in my super hot, no air anywhere, tiny office space... and the words have just been pouring out of me...
My poor husband has to hear each page I write, and he's a real trooper about not rolling his eyes at me.

I'm also simutaneously writing a cookbook, that I think I will change direction and write one about teaching High School Culinary Arts, with the recipes we make, and the antics the kids try to pull and some of things done and said...Of course, all names will be changed, and I'd never write about terrible things... but I think I'm in for some funny days ahead of me, and I'd love to remember it in a book.  Hopefully, if and when I ever finish, I can get it sold and others will enjoy it too.  I just love the idea about journaling my days... I forget about the small stuff so much.

The kids are great, winding down the summer with a visit up to their Grandpa's place for a few days... and while they are gone, I'll be going through their old clothes and purging, purging, purging, to make room for all the new clothes I am going to buy them.  I am soooo sick of seeing their clothes over and over... it's time for some new stuff...

That's about it for us... Bill loves his new job, (same industry, just now in the corporate part of it) no more jeans, t shirts and hardhats... now it's slacks, nice shirts and suits from time to time... I love the jeans and t shirts, but the new duds are growing on me...

I'll have a lot more to write as the new job for me gets closer and closer...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy 14th Bday Alex!

Alex's 14th Bday was July 27th...
So we went to the RainForest Cafe with my inlaws, and THIS was his dessert...
As you can see... Johnny is VERY excited to have chocolate in front of him...




Yes, he ALWAYS wants to blow other peoples candles out... ALWAYS...
Such a killjoy!!! LOL




Then... on his actual Birth Day... we went to Outback SteakHouse...
We are DONE with eating out this year...
You know us... we just don't eat out... except for Birthdays...
I'd rather cook our meals...
I know... I'm crazy...

Happy 14th Alex!!!
I love you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food Pics

Warning... this post is NOT intended for the NON foodies...
The following pictures are NOT safe for untrained eyes...
LOL...
I bring you... Sandra'a Bread Fetish Post...
(Oh how I wish I still ate bread) (sometimes)

This loaf is an Oatmeal Bread loaf, that JOHNNY, my son, actually mixed and made...
I did the shaping, baking and slicing, but he measured and added the ingredients and stirred it all up.
I sliced this by hand today, and made a bunch of Nutella finger sandwiches for a friends toddlers coming by tonight, and some turkey/provolone sandwiches for my men for lunch...


This was made on Monday... I had NO food in the house except for a few cherry tomatoes from the garden and a small ball of fresh mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil...
So this is what my boys had for lunch before we went to the "$500 store" (Costco) to buy more food.


Then I found a 1/2 a bag of coleslaw mix, and whipped up a quick slaw for them to top on the sandwich...



I ALWAYS have dough ready to make pizza or bread with... so this is the beginning of a Margarita Pizza with homegrown tomatoes and basil...


And After it's all topped with cheese a ready to bake...


So then I made some Challah (pronounced Khallah) pretzels...



This was my lunch for a couple of days...

Hollowed out cukes, with a lovely Salmon Salad with fresh green onions, cranberries, celery, onion and sweet pickle relish...
YUM!!!
I didn't miss the bread at all!!!!

And yes... for those of you that live in my city... I can and will make you these things for lunch for dinner too... Just call me...
I deliver!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer's Workshop 7-14-10

It happened on Facebook…write about a funny or awkward conversation you saw unfold on Facebook...

That's the prompt I chose for this weeks WRITER'S WORKSHOP at MamaKat's...

I HAD to write on this one.. because it's just sooo absurd... and since my blog posts on Facebook too, I thought I'd rehash a bad memory about it.. LOL...

I love Facebook.
I love how it has gotten me in contact with so many people I knew in High School, and all my family that live in Canada, New York, Pennsylvania and Italy...
I love all the funny banter and witty comments.
I love that messages of love and concern can be sent for all the world to see...
It's fun.
I have to be careful not to spend too much time on it though, because it can be a bit addicting...
I literally set a timer, and only allow myself 10 minutes at a time... and I make a deal with myself that I
will do 10 minutes of laundry, scrubbing, writing or exercise to counteract the sedentary 10 minutes at my computer terminal or Ipod or cell phone...
All that is well and good...
THEN....
THEN!!!!!
I got BOMBARDED to the NTH DEGREE with Farmville, Petville, Ihearts, my donkey is missing, my Cafe needs spoons, my Mafia is this, my Score is that... CRUD!!!
HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS at a time!!!
It took me sooo long to see anything of substance anyone else was writing...
so I put a (what I thought was) a benign little blurb on my FB status about how I joined a group called...
"I don't care about your farm, fish, mafia, animals or anything else on FB"
HOLY COW...
You'd have thought I shot someone's Mama in cold blood.
The backlash...
The downright HATRED I recieved was HILARIOUS!!!
One person, whom I have NEVER had bad words with, whom I assumed was a friend, we'd spoken a little over the years, and she was a Host of mine when I did Pampered Chef, got SOOOOO bent out of shape about my joining that group on FB... that she posted a NASTY message on my wall
about what HYPOCRITE I was, and how I need to be more understanding about other
people's hobbies and how "you of all people should understand how much the games on FB are important to some people's lives, because you write a blog and it posts of FB, and we are forced to read it!" then she did the unthinkable!!!  SHE UNFRIENDED ME!!! LOL... which is the same as slapping someone in the face, I understand... so I really got it handed to me... huh?
LOL
For REAL... people... she truly WROTE THAT ON MY WALL!
Last time I checked... I wasn't forcefeeding ANYONE to read my blog... but... hmmm... it doesn't sound like a bad idea now... I'll have to revisit that and see how that all works... Mwaahahahha!
I got so much hate mail about how I should just "block" or "hide" the incoming game crud...
but really... I just joined a benign group that hated the incoming junk as much as I did...
I mean Holy Smokes...
Have you seen all the stuff that gets posted on FB?
People are actually praying for the Presidents DEATH, talking about how the Holocaust never happened... and my joining an Anti Gamer Group is the WORST thing that can happen????
Yikes...
It's completely absurd...
But... it doesn't stop me from clicking on my beloved FB tab... almost everyday... and posting stupid stuff about what I'm doing at that very second...
I love me some FB...
But.. alas... because of my lack of tastes for FB games... I got virtually slapped in the face...
Game on, chick that UNfriended me...
Game on...
LOL!!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I got the Job!!!

I really and truly thought I was going to be a stay at home Mama until Johnny was in college... It's always been the plan...

Then... William's course selection paperwork showed up in the mail, and I noticed "International Cuisine" as a new course being offered, and he signed up for the course...

He showed me the paper, and said... 'Hey Mom, look at this... they must have hired someone to teach this new elective."

I looked at it... said... "Huh... yeah... cool!  Cooking class is important in the teen years, especially so teens can learn how to feed themselves while in college... not to mention... it's fun too and they'll get to eat the results... and the tests..."

I thought nothing more about it... until I went to a Football Meeting, where a good friend of mine at the school took me aside and said... "Hey... just so you know... a few of us put your name in to teach that cooking class here."

I said... "WHAT?????"  What cooking class!!!  Me? For real?"  I was sooooo elated inside... mentally making my syllabus in my head... already making menus, and designing aprons for each student...

She said... "Yep... you are perfect for the job, you HAVE to apply!"

So I did. Way back in May.  After I put my app in, I kinda just forgot about it.  I felt completely at peace about it... if they wanted me, they'd give me an interview and offer me the job... if they didn't... they wouldn't.  It was as simple as that.  Going back to work was about 8 years away...

Yesterday was my interview.  It was great.  My first interview in 22 years, for my first job in 16 years, for someone else besides myself as the boss of my own company.  I was nervous, but not so much as to let it show... and I didn't interrupt or speak to quickly or ramble on...

I GOT THE JOB!  I am now the proud teacher of one class of "International Cuisine" one hour each morning from 8-9 a.m.  Great hours HUH???

I will teach two semesters, to 20 students, and I am SOOOOO EXCITED!  The Superintendent of our school gave me a tour of my HUMONGOUS classroom, complete with every amenity available... it even has red and white checkerboard curtains like a restaurant...

He gave me CARTE BLANCHE to paint, purge, decorate, move furniture etc... sooooo exciting!!! I HAVE A CLASSROOM... and it's AWESOME!!!

I'm going in on Monday, when I drop William off at Football, to begin the organization.

I am sooo thankful that I'll be able to come home and continue to run my other businesses and be able to cook for busy families and organizations...

I just hope the kids like the class, and really learn from it, and want be there.  I want it to be a very successful class, where maybe some students will find a hidden passion for cooking and want to pursue it in more depth.  I hope to inspire the students to live graciously, and to view hospitality as an asset and something to be proud of.

Soooo... I am now a Culinary Arts Teacher... and I am soooo PROUD!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Food Fest!


So I spent the weekend cooking, like I normally do... and loved every minute of it.
Above, is homemade Challah bread, made into cinnamon rolls ready for the oven...


This is right out of the oven...



And frosted...
I... don't eat these kinds of food anymore...
But once in a while, I make them for my hubby and kids to devour... and devour they did...

 

To go along with our steaks... I oven fried some potatoes, with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary...
Low fat, and high flavor...
I don't eat them anymore either... but my family sure does!!!


Another item I don't eat... LOL...
But I did take a tiny nibble of one of these to taste... and they were good...
Mini lemon teacakes...
with fresh lemon and powdered sugar frosting...

Yeah!!! Something I did eat... portobello mushrooms, onions and fresh pea stirfry with some curry and sage...
Over a nice steak was wonderful!!!

What did you eat?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Writer's Workshop July 1, 2010

Whew... I haven't done a Writer's Workshop from MamaKat's in forever!!! Time to get back to it! 

So this time, I am to list 10 things that would surely put a smile on my face, when I'm not happy...

Truth be told... even though I'm cynical as all get out... I'm actually a pretty happy person most of the time... but lately... I've been thinking of wearing only black and white vertical stripes and carrying around a whistle... Why?
Because I have two teenagers, and one pre pubescent raging hormone 11 year old, and these days, I feel more like a REFEREE than I do a Mama!  All the testosterone in this house is gonna put a mustache on my face and hair on MY chest if I don't do something to get out once in a while... quick... (Being an Italian woman, that concept is NOT funny!!!)

So... here are my 10 things that would make me happy, even when I'm not...

1.  Never having to repeat myself again... {{when I get to heaven... and if God ever asks me what my hearts desire is... I KNOW I will say... "God... love of my life... thank you for saving me... and allowing me into your presence... my hearts desire would be to live in a REPEAT FREE ZONE...thank you, and did I mention that I love and adore you?  Oh... and those three lovely boys outside my door?... THEY are the ones that will HEAR me and UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING... most of all, here in heaven... Okay?}}

2.  Having a nice, big, clean, private, gorgeous bathroom to go to and be able to have a lovely soaking tub and a HUGE lock on the door, complete with loud music and sound proof walls...

3.  An outdoor wood burning oven to make all my breads and pizza's in...(the foundation is laid... but the structure is yet to be built... {{I know... I know... all in good time}}

4.  Someone ELSE washing, folding and putting away the clothes... (truth be told, I only wash and fold, the boys put away... but still)

5.  For a crotchity old man who has nothing better to do than try to make someone else's life as miserable as his, to get his just desserts...

6.  A new wardrobe that fit, since I've lost 80 lbs, I swim in my clothes... :)

7.  Losing 80 more lbs...

8.  Having more people order dinners from me, so they can eat a good healthy, hearty meal without having to cook for themselves one or two nights a week...

9.  All the books I want to read this summer to magically appear on my door step...

10.  Did I mention not having to repeat myself?  Oh... I just did, huh... figures...

What a boatload of sandwiches looks like...


Made a TON of sandwiches for our ACA footballers... this is only half...

Homemade olive oil foccacia, Bella Sera Balsamic Bliss dressing, mustard, tomato and lettuce.

One coach asked where I bought the bread, he loved it... and he didn't believe me at first that I never buy ANY type of bread anymore... ever... and made all the bread myself...

I get such a rush cooking for people who are foodies... and to be honest... even for non foodies...

Each of these got individually wrapped, and my Mama made her famous cookies, and they each got a cookie too...

I can't wait to cook for the entire team!

Monday, June 28, 2010

GOTTA HAVE IT...NOW!!!

Do you know of or are you one of those people that just HAS to have the NEWEST ANYTHING on the market... the SECOND it comes out for sale?  I have a question for you or that person you know... "HOW CAN YOU LIVE LIKE THAT?"

I came across a person today... that just totally amazed me with her CONSTANT banter about how she JUST HAS to have ANYTHING that is new, upgraded, or in season... BEFORE ANYONE ELSE SHE KNOWS has it...  She likened it to being in a constant competition with her family and friends to get it first...

As she spoke, and lamented about having to stand in line a couple weeks ago or whenever it was, for the new iphone 4G, and the new Ipad that has WiFi...I was trying to ask her this question... before she rambled on and on and on about about others items I am clueless about... I asked her... "How... on your salary working at Forever 21 and Starbucks part time, can you afford to buy all these things you just HAVE TO HAVE before anyone else?"  Her answer?  "Credit cards".

Ugh...I couldn't help but roll my eyes... I know it was supremely rude... but it was involuntary.  She then went on to tell me now "Holier than thou" I was being.. and I just rolled my eyes again at her...  How can I possibly take offense from someone that spends her life buying intangible items with credits cards... just to say she HAS the newest and most up to date "whatever".  Did I mention this person is 35 years old, with 2 kids and a husband?
Yikes...

I was watching the movie "The Book of Eli" the other night... and Denzel (yummy!) said a line that really struck a chord with me... something along the lines of... "We had too much, we threw away things that people kill for now." 

I mean... I want an Ipad... I really do... but since I can't pay for it cash at this time... i won't be getting one... I will have one eventually... but I'm not willing to put myself into debt for it.. ya know?

I hear sooooo many people saying things like... "Oh, I deserve this indulgence... I can't afford it, but I deserve it, so I'm gonna get it anyway" or "I work hard, and times are tough, and this thing will make me happy."...

It's so sad to know someone that feels COMPELLED to go into massive debt just for bragging rights...  I mean... she bought a dress for $500 a month ago, that A) she's yet to wear, and B) only bought it because her favorite actress wore it in a picture...  REALLY?  Do I really know people THAT shallow?  She told her daughter to 'BORROW' a prom dress from her Aunt, and she can buy herself a $500 dress that's just sitting in the closet?

Thank God I only know this person as an acquaintance, and we were in a group setting when she was rambling on about her "dilemma".  Another friend hit me playfully on the shoulder when I rolled my eyes, then whispered in my ear... "My thoughts exactly".

I certainly hope my kids don't turn into people like that...  They don't get a lot of things other people have...but I feel like they have plenty... ya know?

Just wanted to vent...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The results are IN!!!!



Well... the last two weeks have been nothing but pins, needles,pacing, phone calling, patience testing, lots of late nights and missed dinners.  Why? Because my hubby has been very busy and dedicated to running an election for a Business Agent in his Los Angeles Union Local 105 Sheet Metal Workers...

AND HE WON!!!!

I am sooo proud of him!  He's been in his profession for 27 years, and he's wanted to do this job, his dream job, for all 27 years... and it's finally come to pass...  Sooooo many people came out to vote and show confidence in him, and the other men running for their positions... and all the hard work he's done in the past 27 years has come to fruition... and now he gets to give back and really help and uplift all the people that have helped him over his career... what a blessing...

His territory is East Los Angeles area... so it's a little farther commute than his Irvine commute... and a little LOT more dangerous... but he can't WAIT to get out there and serve...

I feel like I've been holding my breathe for the past 5 months... when Bill decided he was going to run in this election... and yesterday... at 4 p.m. I let my breathe out...

I made over 100 sandwiches for all the campaign workers, judges, and ballot counters, anonymously of course... and was so thankful for the monotonous job so my mind could be occupied with something other than the election...

I've been really trying to keep as busy as possible, now that school is out, so last week, I took the kids up to Mountain Lakes to fish, and we were at the beach for a week before that... and now it's all about All star baseball, and high school football.

Our new backyard "resort" is fab-u-lous... and we have been taking full advantage of that too...

Whew... soooo glad the election is over... it's sooo stressful!  The really cool thing is... Bill's Uncle DAve won his re-election... so it's a double victory... he is SUCH  a hard worker and pillar of strength and knowledge in the Union... sooooo awesome he won, and can now take Bill under his wing...

So that's where my head has been the past few months... and especially the last few weeks...

I'm breathing again... in... out... in... out... in... out...

Now I'm going for a swim... Ciao!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beach Pics...Summer 2010



We had a blast for our week at the beach!!!
My hubby worked all week... he's running for office in his Union... and campaigning is brutal...
But he took some time out to hang with us between meet and greets...
So I snagged some pics quickly...



Johnny is always a willing participant when it comes to picture time...



Happy as always...!




Our oldest, William... 16... and Bill... NOT 16... LOL!




Alex (14) and his twin... Bill...




Awww.... nuff said...



After seeing the TRAGIC and HORRENDOUS spill continuing in the Gulf... there were 4 big reminders off our Coastline that that can happen right here... anytime... if they don't get their acts together...
I really HATE BP...



Across the beach from where we camp... there is a HUGE bird preserve... and we had all kinds of visitors... loons, cranes, pelicans, seagulls, and... mallard ducks??? yep... Mallard ducks too...




Alex loves a camera too!




His smile just lights up my world...
And no... he's never had braces!!!