Friday, April 30, 2010

Big Day and a Guest

So far it's been the best birthday ever!

Cycle Guy got up early and made lunches for the kids and then they brought gifts and cake into my room for breakfast.

Fashionista made me the coolest "business cards" My title is "Best Mom Ever" and there are flowers and cyclists on it. Perfect.

And Cycle Guy himself made yes made me a bracelet out of bike chains!!!

I'm loved!

Now, he and I are off to the city for Dim Sum, REI, and bookstores!


Today is a special day for another reason. Remember JoLyn from a year of happy and The Blog Cafe? She is my sister and I am a guest blogger at her place today. Click here to read about tulips and immodest ice cream cones.I hope you have as great a day as I'm having!!!

Love, Jenny

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cristiano's and The Blog Cafe

It's a great day to gather at The Blog Cafe!
If you are new to The Blog Cafe, you can find an introduction at

It's like a group of friends old and new gathering at a favorite place for food and fun.

Today we're meeting virtually at Cristiano's Pizza Etc. in my hometown.
Originally, Cristiano's was a cozy little bistro serving incredible salads and delicious pizza. It has long been a favorite lunch spot of mine. The first time I took Cycle Guy there, he looked around wondering what I was doing to him. The term "other fish in the sea" suddenly lost all meaning as he began to drown in a sea of women. Business lunches, friends out for soup and salad, and young mom's with preschoolers in tow filled the restaurant.

Things have changed, for the better. Cristiano's has doubled their space, still a cozy bistro just bigger. Even then you can expect it to be crowded. It's that good. And... there are as many men gathering now as women. We just couldn't keep our secret any longer. Oh you'll still see friends out for a chat with toddlers in tow but the male crowd is as great as the female one now. It's just that good.

Today we'll start with some of my favorite,The deep fried cheese ravioli appetizer.
It comes with a pesto asiago dipping sauce and chunky marinara.

And while we wait for our salad and pizza, we can visit and color. When you bring kids with you they automatically put paper on the table and bring you crayons, but all you have to do is ask and you can get them even without the little ones.

The salads at Cristiano's are their premier dish.
They are huge and chock full of goodness.Look at all that cheese!
This is the Mediterranean Salad with Feta cheese and Greek dressing.
The bread sticks are chewy in the middle, with a crunchy Parmesan crust... fabulous.This is the Caesar Salad loaded with Parmesan Cheese.
It's your choice... dressing on the side or tossed in, grilled chicken or no.

Then there's the pizza... Real cheese, stretchy and hot, covering a thick chewy crust and whatever other toppings you choose.

I reserved a virtual table at Cristiano's ALL day and I hope you'll come over and sit a spell.

As the host I get to choose the conversation topic of the day. It may seem a little serious, but after spending a virtual day with no cares in a dream spot last Monday, I think we can handle it. And I think there are some of you out there who can still have a little fun with it.

So, let's talk about kids and adults... I think there are some things I wish kids knew about grown ups.

I spend one morning each week helping in Fashionista's 5th grade classroom. She has a fabulous teacher who has a way of getting the kids excited about education. From brains to fractions, this lady can sell it.

One day as I was correcting math papers I asked her a question I had about one of their worksheets. I wasn't sure if I should mark something wrong, it was so close to being correct. She looked it over and said, "Oh, darn it, we'll have to mark it wrong." She felt sincerely sorry that they got it wrong. The empathy and compassion I felt from her was amazing and that's when I realized that this teacher really cares about how her students do in school. I wish I had known that when I was a kid.

That got me thinking. What are some things I wish my kids understood about me? Like:

...I don't feel any different on the inside than I felt when I was younger.

...I've never been a parent before and I'm learning as I go, doing the best I can.

...I've been where they are right now, I really do have some of the answers.

...The adults in their lives care about them. We are trying to help them succeed, not waiting to see them fail.

...When they mess up we are sorry for their pain and want to help it get better. Remember when a kiss made the tears go away?

What do you wish kids knew about grown ups? Be serious or funny... I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!

And if you'd like to host the Cafe one week, please email us

We'll get you on the list and give you a hosting date!

The Blog Cafe at Cristiano's

Come back Monday for Salad and Pizza and great conversation!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Called to Serve

I finally got my boy's blog up to date. The Mission He's pretty funny and we like him.

Thing 1 is on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Uruguay, South America.He gets to send us email once a week and I look forward to that day as soon as I read the one from this week.

Today he moved to a new city and a new companion. Filled with sadness he bid farewell to people he has grown to love over the past 3 or 4 months. But also excitement for a new adventure. His first two companions were both from the U.S. but now he is with a companion from Columbia. He's living in a house with 3 other missionaries in a large city.

I have a new love for all missionaries now that I deeper than before. It's scary and exciting having your child move so far away, but knowing that he is on the Lord's errand makes it much easier. I'm also nicer to folks from other religions who go out and testify, sharing a message that they believe in. It's not easy talking to others about something so close to your heart.

When you see Mormon Missionaries riding bikes or walking about in your town, or maybe they will even knock on your door... I hope you will remember that they are somebody's kid and are far away from home working hard for something they believe in.

Called to Serve

Called to serve Him, Heavenly King of Glory
Chosen heir to witness for His name
Far and wide we tell the Father's story
Far and wide His love proclaim.

Onward ever onward
As we glory in His name
Onward ever onward
As we glory in His name
Forward, pressing forward
As the triumph song we sing

God our strength will be
Press forward
Ever called to serve our King.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grand Opening!

Today is the Grand Opening of The Blog Cafe!

JoLyn at a year of happy has taken us to Smart Cookie and is buying us cookies and frozen hot chocolate. So yummy! Stop by (click here) and be thinking about where you would go or what you would do if you had the gift of a day...

Now, how about some Vanilla from Ziggy:We should enjoy today while it's here....
Because someday today will be a long time ago!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blog Cafe

I'm so excited for this I can't hold it in any longer...

I'm joining together with my super fun, cute and talented big sister JoLyn and our very talented friend Tracy for a new kind of blogging experience. Oh yes, trust me, it will be an experience and you're going to find a brand new reason to love Monday mornings.

We've realized that one of the great things about blogging is becoming part of a wonderful virtual community of friends. Sometimes it feels like we're sitting around a table at a local cafe talking and laughing and having a great time getting to know each other better.

But in reality, we're sitting at home, in front of our computer screens, leaving comments on each other's blogs. We're in countries all over the world, from Norway to Australia, and all across the U.S. But we're still talking and laughing and getting to know each other better, just as well as if we really were sitting around that table together.

Last week, we had a virtual get-together at JoLyn's place over Molten Chocolate Cake. It was so much fun, we decided to make it a regular event--and we hope you will join us!

We're calling it "The Blog Cafe," and here's how it works:

Every Monday, we're going to gather at somebody's blog for some food, fun, and great conversation. Each week, we will have a different blogger act as host for our virtual get-together. When you are the host, you will choose what we're "eating", (ice cream, cake, pizza, salads... and since it's virtual... so are the calories!!) where we're "meeting", (Luke's Diner, Jimmy's Drive In, The Cheesecake Factory, oh, sorry about the drooling) and you'll get us started on a topic of conversation. We hope you'll share some photos of where you're taking us and what we're having--give us a taste of the local fare and maybe give us a peek of the world in your neck of the woods!

Then the rest of us--anyone and everyone is welcome--will pop in for a visit sometime throughout the day and leave a comment. We'll share our thoughts and insights on the topic you've chosen, and we'll all get to know each other better!

A few questions:
  • How will I know where we're gathering each week? Jenny (yes that's me.)and Tracy (in Norway! how cool is that?) and JoLyn (my sister!) are our coordinators--visit our blogs each Monday morning, and we'll give you the blog address of where we're meeting up. We'll post at 12:01 our own local times, so hopefully wherever you are in the world, you can join us sometime during your Monday!
  • How can I have a turn as the host? Send an email to We'll get you on the list and give you a hosting date! Can you hardly wait? Now admit it... you are already thinking of a place you can take us!
  • Who is invited? EVERYONE! We hope you'll feel welcome to join us anytime. You don't have to sign up to play along. Just join us when you can. If you miss a week or if you're new, you are always welcome. The fun is all about getting to know new friends!
  • Do I have to meet at a certain time? No! We are not having a set meeting time. Just pop in anytime during your Monday, read the post and the previous comments, and make a comment of your own. If you'd like, check back later and follow the conversation throughout the day. You can even comment more than once if you want.
The Rules
We just have one rule--and we'll rely on our weekly hosts to make sure it's followed: we want to keep our conversations positive and uplifting. If you're looking for sarcastic, snide, or snarky conversation, you won't find it here. And that goes for criticism of other commenters. Those kind of comments will be deleted. In the words of Woody, "Play Nice!" Also, many of us write family blogs, so please keep comments and topics clean and family friendly.

We're looking forward to seeing you on Monday April 19, 2010 as we kick of "The Blog Cafe" We'll be starting at JoLyn's a year of happy, followed the next Monday here, with me Jenny-Jenny and week three at Tracy's Pink Purl.

I can't wait to see you for treats and talk on Mondays!

I'm thinking about where I might take you... maybe we'll get ice cream and wander through the tulips...Or maybe we'll head up to Canada for some Chinese...Hmmm, I'm not sure. I guess you'll just have to come back
for my day on April 26th to find out.

And don't forget to tell your friends--We want everyone to feel welcome at "The Blog Cafe"!

Grab a button for your blog!


When you install this button on your blog,
please link it to our Blog Cafe page
so your followers will be able to join us!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Canada

Recently Mike read something from a local restaurant connoisseur saying that,
"The best Chinese food in Seattle is in Richmond."
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.
There is a large Chinese population in BC and Richmond is filled with
Authentic Chinese Restaurants.

That seemed reason enough for us to make a trip to the
"Great White North"
"The best Chinese food in Seattle."
After making it through the border with no incident we found our way to Richmond and followed the directions we had to one particular strip mall.
The whole place was filled with restaurants. Many had a menu in the window. That didn't do us much good as they weren't always in English. We passed an Asian bakery and drooling decided to come back on our way out. Near the end of the block we came to a crowded restaurant. Deciding that a crowd is usually a good sign we figured this was our spot. Upon entering the restaurant we experienced something I had never experienced before.
We were the minority and had the only white skin in the building.

Being Seated
As we were being taken to our seats the hostess said she would bring us some tea. We don't drink tea and graciously said, "No thank you."
She stopped mid-stride. "No Tea?"
"What will you drink, then?"
"May we have water?"
Note: We were still unseated and standing in the middle of the crowded restaurant at this point.
By then another host had stopped and entered the exchange.
"Hot water?"
"Cold, please."
After exchanging a curious glance he left and she continued to escort us to a table. She placed a sheet of paper and a pencil on the table and also left us.
(They did eventually bring us water. I wonder how many cupboards they had to search to find glasses.)

The Menu
The paper was, of course, the menu.
Filled with Chinese characters and some numbers.
In very small print some of the items were also presented in English and some even had a description.
Perusing the menu for some time we wondered when a waiter would return to take our order.
Out of nowhere a kind gentleman from a nearby table came over and offered assistance.
He said he spoke some English and could help us order.
When he called us Canadians we told him we were from America.
From then on he called us Caucasians.
He recommended some things and his wife added,
"Have them order deep fried milk!"
So we did.
He showed us the part of the menu that had no prices.
"This is Dim Sum. In some places a waiter wanders through the restaurant with a cart and you just choose what you want from the cart . Here, you put a check mark by the things you want and they will bring it to you." (thus, the pencil.)
At the bottom was a price and that was the cost for each item in that section.

We thanked our new friend and he returned to his wife.
We finalized what we thought we wanted and ... sat.
Finally I leaned toward his table and asked, "How do we get them to take our order?"
He grinned, said something in Chinese and immediately someone came and took our menu.
He smiled at me and explained, "Something like, Excuse me in English."

Now the really good part!
We ordered six things.
One at a time they began to arrive.
There was chicken with rice. (very good)
Rice wrapped in a leaf with meat and sauce. (okay)
Steamed shrimp potsticker. (great)
Pork Hum Bau. (best ever)
Shrimp Egg Rolls (very good)
Deep Fried Milk (incredible)
It was like dessert. Some kind of custard dipped in batter and deep fried.
Delightful and so Delicious.

The whole meal was a wonderful culinary adventure.

The Service
Obviously our hostess was a bit uncomfortable at our arrival and refusal for tea.
But she returned a few times to see how we were doing.
She even showed us how to eat the leaf wrapped rice.
(No, you don't eat the leaf)
Another time seeing that we were obviously enjoying ourselves
She asked, "Are you sure you won't try the tea?"

5 Stars!
I will return.
I want to share this with my sister who once lived in Taiwan,
and my children who request our humble attempts at Chinese food frequently,
and anyone else who wants to cross the border and try something new and exciting.
Because I love to eat.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I love the Tulips in Springtime!

Six Word Saturday:
I love the Tulips in Springtime!Visit Cate at Show My Face for more Six Word Saturday Fun

And... How 'bout a little Vanilla?
Risk may cause failure,
but Success cannot come without it
~Larry H. Miller

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Remember in the movie Summer School when Mark Harmon as Mr. Shoop was forced to teach the remedial English Class for summer school? In an effort to try and impress Kirstie Alley, he says, "I have a pair of socks... white ones!"

Or how about in Finding Forester when Sean Connery tells Jamal that socks were made wrong with the seam on the inside as he turns his new socks wrong side out to put them on.

I believe that socks are something people feel passionate about. How do you feel about socks?

Do you hate the loose ones that slip down into your shoe? Or remember the super thick ones that gathered around your ankle? How about having a heel or are you into good old tube socks? Do you wear long thin ones, or short thick ones?

Here are some of my thoughts on socks.

Socks on my feet:
My favorites are cycling socks and I have a growing collection. The thing about bike socks is that they are fitted. They have a heel and a toe and fit quite snug, thank you very much. I don't save them for cycling either; I wear them all the time. And another thing... they are fun.

Clothes being fun? That's another post altogether.

Socks in the Laundry:
For years I separated socks into six piles (one for each person) and proceeded to "try" to mate and fold them.


I have often asked myself why I don't just buy one brand and size and let everyone in the house wear the same ones.

That would cause some obvious problems:
1. In a family of six we just don't all have the same size feet.
2. Cute, fun and colorful cycling socks! What would I do with out them?

Girl socks solutions:
The Bean is 17. She recently told Fashionista (10) that bright colorful socks should never match.
The socks found on my daughters' feet today.
Charmed (once I got used to the idea) and after discovering $1 socks at Target (cute ones!) We decided that as far as girl socks were concerned folding would now be eliminated. For a while they went into the "missing a mate" basket in the laundry room, but then I found it. On one of my frequent trips to Goodwill.
It hangs on the wall, it's cute and it holds socks.

Boy Socks? ...White ones:
I am honestly considering getting rid of all but one brand and size. My boys and man all have pretty much the same size feet and then maybe we could find another planter fun basket to fill with white ones. Or we could still fold them but never have to search for mates because we know that they are all identical anyway. I may be on to something here.

A feeling of peace is coming over me.

Watch out Mr. Shoop, these ideas might make you want to actually wear that pair of white socks.

This post came about from "a year of happy", Ten random things about me. It all started with a group of friends virtually sitting around a table at Chili's eating Molten Chocolate Cake. JoLyn told us 10 random things about herself and then asked us to each share just one. One of hers had to do with her dislike of folding socks. Many of the comments that followed had to do with socks. What is it about socks? We're passionate about something we wear under our shoes!