Monday, April 25, 2011

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.....

I know that Spring is officially here, but in Colorado it doesn't really feel like Spring until about the middle of May. I love these early bloomers which, at least, give me a glimpse at the future possibility of it.Because this is how I've been dressing for Jake's games.
Both the boys were sick today....not the earth-shattering plague that they both insisted it was, but more of a type of stomach ache that comes from eating too much Easter candy. I let them stay home anyway. It was fun, because every time they wanted to do something, I got to say, "oh, honey, that's not a good idea in your condition" and they would immediately clutch their stomachs and agree with me. They eventually caught on to what I was doing and it didn't work as well and my amusement for the day was shot. So I decided to organize. I've been getting inspiration from this fun blog.

The "Before" (like I had to inform you of's pretty obvious this is a before).
and.....After (okay, I typed the Before, I'm too compulsive to not now type, After).
I keep wanting to go back every few minutes and look at it. I love it when things are organized! Speaking of....our basement project is coming along. Every couple days I've been bringing up a couple of boxes and going through them and getting rid of stuff. Today I found the match books we had printed up for our wedding. No one does that anymore and that color pink? I'm a little embarrassed (but it went so well with teal!). I can't believe Jason and I have been married almost 19 years!
So that was the "this", now for the "that".

I was thinking about our recent trip to the museum. I had a wonderful time, even if the eldest was doing his possible best to show me how torturous his life is. My younger son, who still has the sweetest voice, chubby cheeks and an easy smile, would periodically come up to me during our visit, slip his hand into mine and ask me to read to him the descriptions of each of the items in the exhibit.

I felt so blessed. It warmed my heart to see his interest, to see him unembarrassed to be with his mother and to genuinely want to be in my company.

You other moms have to know what I'm trying to explain, but am not eloquent enough to do so. It's that feeling where you want to pick up your "baby" right then and there and never let go of that moment. You can almost catch a whiff of that baby smell that in reality has disappeared and replaced by little boy smell, but the memory of the smell comes back to you in moments like these -- at least for me.

But can I just be happy with that? No....
I'm freaking INSANE.

I started wondering, did he do this, NOT because he was enjoying himself, but because I'm some freaky mother dearest and he was trying to please me so I don't go into a rage and beat him with a wire hanger? Not that I've done either...I admit, gasp, I may have had a temper tantrum or two or three, I might glare when they misbehave and speak ahem, scream loudly. I may expect a lot out of them and I do use guilt to my advantage -- rages and wire hangers, not so much. So I don't think that was his motivation....but

Being a mom has it's ups and it's downs...for me the downs are usually of my own making in my own freaky head, those creepy thoughts that make me question every thing I do or say to the kids -- the doubts about my parenting that makes me wonder if I should start that therapy-fund, I joke about when I do something that is obviously wrong. Sigh, I need to stop over-analyzing or I will drive everyone crazy.

But thank goodness my 'baking' cabinet is organized.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Last day off of Track-Off.

Monday was the boys' last day off of a three-week track-off (kind of an extended spring break for year-round schools). It's their last; next year the elementary school is going to a traditional schedule and Jake will be going to middle school which is also traditional. I happened to have that day off from work so I treated them to a home-made breakfast of french toast. Isaac helped me make the bacon.
Then we joined another family to go see Pirates at the Natural History museum (those who did not grow up in Denver may know it as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science -- I'm not sure why they changed the name?)
At least the eleven year old is smiling...
My eight year old is so strange.....but he does make me laugh.
We couldn't take pictures of the actual exhibit because of copy-right laws. It was really worth it though, Jake grudgingly accepted the fact we went but can't bring himself to admit it was interesting. Isaac thought it was very interesting. It's the history of pirate captain, Bellamy. He left his New England town in pursuit of fortune so that he could marry his true love. Her parents didn't want her to marry a penniless no-one. On his last and return voyage his ship was sunk just off of Cape Cod. The exhibit also showed the process of how they painstakingly removed years of sand, shells and other stuff that surrounded the items in concrete-like stones.

One of the fun attractions were the period-dressed people who came around and talked to us about their jobs and lives of the day. And made fun of our capris (pantaloons that were eaten by goats) in Renaissance-festival fashion.
We ended the day eating at Chili's. The boys' choice. And talked about where we would take our family vacation this summer. The vote was the Grand Canyon.

Maybe if Jake sees himself looking like this he'll be better about not making faces when I'm trying to chronicle his life! He will thank me one day, right?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recipe for Tres Leche Cake --yum

Tres Leche cake, is served in a ton of Cuban restaurants in Miami, but I believe it originates from one of the South American countries. Anyhow, it's my Cuban step dad's favorite, it's what my Irish brother-in-law requests and my Jewish husband and sister-in-law are always happy when I serve it (as are our melting pot children) -- it's really an international favorite.
The Cake Recipe:
1 Vanilla cake mix
3/4 C softened butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup of water
grated lime peel from one lime
Tres Leche sauce (tres leche means three milks)

can garnish with fresh fruit and whipped cream if you like.

Preheat oven to 350, combine ingredients (you know how, wet stuff and dry stuff and blend together). Bake in 2 greased and floured 8" cake pans for 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan then cool completely on a wire rack.

While cake is baking make the Tres Leche Sauce:
2 cans of evaporated milk
2 cans of condensed milk
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Vanilla

(I'm pretty sure this is not on ANY diet plan out there)

Combine in sauce pan, heat to the point it's about to boil and then remove from stove top. Put in a glass container and let it cool.

Once cake has cooled, prepare a baking dish, pot whatever you have that's bigger around then the cake, with plastic wrap. Place one cake and poke holes in it, pour some of the sauce on, place the other cake on top, poke holes and pour more sauce (be sure you keep some of the sauce for serving the cake) Wrap the cake up and put in the fridge.

You really should do all the steps above the night before you want to serve the cake...but Jason and I ended up childless that night so watched a really bad movie instead - had to wake up early and get this started.....But while it was getting all yummy in the fridge, I was able to go see my oldest hit two home-runs and a triple (in all fairness, he actually only hit one home run...I mean it was way beyond the out field -- the other two were from over throws and a dropped ball -- but it's little league we'll take what we can get!)

There he is, running for home! GO JAKE

Okay, back to the Tres Leche Cake...
If you put your cake in something like this, be careful with the sauce....sheesh, I was cleaning Tres Leche sauce off my counter every two minutes. I need to get something with more of a 'lip'.
Happy birthday Uncle Glenn!
Jake and cousin Bridget....they're liking it too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

POTD --The Basement Project

We've slowly (excruciatingly slowly) been digging ourselves out of our basement. Yesterday I found a box of Jason's old (and I mean OLD) college notes and papers. I asked him if we could toss them.

That didn't go over well.

I reminded him that we were BOTH committed to getting the basement cleaned out and I've been tossing a ton of stuff (I didn't add because I was so much more 'together' then he was, but it was implied).

He replied that what he meant about cleaning out the basement was me getting rid of my stuff and keeping his stuff, because his stuff is worth keeping....

Really? -- 19 year old college papers? I was okay with the Star Trek TV guides (I'm a push-over and I love him and his geeky obsessions)...but 19 year old college papers and notes?

He finally decided to go through them and only keep some projects and papers that he wrote and is getting rid of all of his class notes.

Looking through the notes he's realized forgotten so much since he doesn't use a lot of what he learned in College (although, I'm sure it all provided a wonderful foundation on which to build and that's why he is where he is now).

Part of his senior project...BEFORE PowerPoint..he had to transfer his flow charts and whatever else onto transparencies and present them to his class.

How many of you remember transparencies?

He eliminated about 3/4ths of this box....

Progress. At this rate, will have the basement cleared out in five years.

Friday, April 15, 2011

POTD -- yeah I drank the kool-aid

I finally joined the suburban masses who have the family decals on their cars. But these were really cute!

And look, I so need to wash my's on the list but first....I must blog this picture.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Blink" at the Denver Art Museum

The kids are on their three week Spring break. This will all change next year when Jake goes to middle school and Isaac's school goes to the traditional schedule. Anyhow, I want to do one excursion a week so that I know that they aren't watching TV and playing video games the WHOLE TIME. Last week we met Jason downtown, had lunch and saw Blink at the Denver Art Museum
Lunch at Cap City Grill, across the street from the museum. We started outside, but it was just on this side of too chilly so we moved inside. The wait staff, who happened to be related to the owners, were very nice about it. The waitress had a brood of children herself, thus, most likely, the patience she exhibited when dealing with us.
Yeah, he's thrilled to be spending the day with his family at the art museum. I find myself thinking, yet again, "He'll thank me later".
The library, it's one of my favorite buildings downtown.

Before you get to the actual exhibit there's are activities for the kids. You can do flip books and a couple of other things that have technical terms that I can't remember. Pre-technology methods of showing movement.
One of the first exhibits and one of my favorites, it was a room of lit numbers and words moving around the room. I liked that you could see your 'shadow' against the wall and the lit images just went around you. Then you'd look at each other and see the images on your face...but not the actual image, just the pixels (at least I think that's the correct word).
not a great picture, but I think you can get the idea.

This was fun, it's on the ceiling and you can hear the tapping and see the tap dance from this angle.

All in all, I enjoyed the day with the family and the exhibit. Jake even cracked a smile and seemed interested at times.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Tortilla (Spanish-frittata-omelet-thing)

Being from the Western part of the U.S. I am surrounded by people who think tortillas are flat wheat bread products. However, in Spain and Cuba and probably other Spanish speaking countries, a tortilla is a combo omelet-frittata. A really yummy one at that. During our trip to Spain in 2006, we lived on these. I still haven't been able to completely recreate it, maybe it's the cheese, maybe it's just that someone else was cooking, maybe it was the fact we were in Spain? I don't know, but this is pretty close.

one dozen eggs
half a sweet yellow onion -thinly sliced
1 red pepper -thinly sliced
three red potatoes -thinly sliced
1 handful of grated provolone or mozzarella
2 handfuls of grated sharp cheddar
1 handful of grated asiago or parmesan
1-2 tbs or so of milk
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
a lot of olive oil

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a skillet pour in the olive oil and over high heat saute potatoes for about 5 minutes, lower heat to medium low and add peppers, onion, salt and pepper, saute another 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft and peppers are limp.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs and milk, add cheese, when potato mixture finished add egg and cheese mixture to it.

Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, until eggs are cooked all the way through.

While tortilla is in oven, slice some tomatoes, red onion and cucumber and toss with red-wine vinegar and olive oil.

After 30 minutes pull out of oven and with spatula loosen edges.
Invert onto plate and let sit five or so minutes.
Slice into wedges and serve. We usually serve it with some French bread (because you can't get Cuban bread in Denver....but seriously that's the best!) and cucumber tomato salad.

It's one of our favorite vegetarian meals (we try for one or two a week).


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Art -- a family thing

During Spring break, Isaac (the youngest) got to do a special program where he could take some classes. He chose math-wizards (because he's his father's child) and he took another class called five artists in five days because, in his words, he draws remarkable trees and since Aunt Laura Jane is an artist and cousin Bridget is really good, he's good too. He then added that Jake must take after me because we're not that good (he will someday regret those words...right?)

The end of this class coincided with Jason's aunt's art show opening. She had a show that started with this month's NOBO art walk (North Boulder) and will run a few more weeks. She does high-relief sculpture, and if I do say so myself, she's amazingly talented.

The artist -- Laura-Jane. Isaac took the picture, I'm not sure LJ will like it, but I love it. I think it shows how fun she is and how great she is that she'll be silly with her great-nephew during her very own art show.
Jason chatting up his aunt.
Isaac made his great-aunt a name tag, "my art rocks" -- the 'r' looks a bit like an 'n' so maybe it's "my ant rocks" -- although, I think he knows how to spell aunt.
Jake, Isaac and YaYa (Jason's mom) found a it that laid back Boulder thing that makes it okay to have a dog come to an art opening? I love that!
This is one of my favorites from her show last night. Love how the toe is pointed down, and the girl's little cheeks.

LJ and her dear friend. She's one of my favorites too! She has a gift of making you feel like everything you say or do is brilliant and amazing -- so the kind of person you need around. I can see why she and LJ are friends.
One of her Bronze pieces. I thinks she does such a wonderful job on the draping of the material. I can imagine that would be difficult to do with clay

I overheard two ladies who were looking at this group of sculptures say that they were drawn to these. And why not? They're great!
This is the piece that LJ made for us. I have it hanging in our kitchen. When I designed our kitchen, I made sure there was a space for it right by this window, so that I could enjoy this piece where I seem to be most of the the kitchen sink. You can see more of her amazing art work here on her website.

Now back to my own budding eight year old artist. Here's one of the pieces he did in his program. It's a boy doing a karate stance (not sure which one). It's not balanced and can't stand on its own --- but still, it's brilliant...don't you think? (whatever -- I'm his MOM- I think everything he does is brilliant)