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Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Been A While...



It's been a while since the last time I had a chance to sit and reminisce on the day, the moment, the minute when life becomes clearer.  Since the last time I wrote, I think I got a full time job, still working at the JC College in town, throwing and planning parties, and baking for whomever requests. Oh, I still have my four kids and the hubs...they are a constant. But today, today was one of those days when the week of too many job requirements, kid's activities, the hubs starting basketball season, and a couple of events and goodies to full-fill made it almost feel as an impossible moment. But as it always happens, everything gets done, everyone is happy, and a new week begins. I had a school dance, a district canned food drive to plan, promote, and show up and work at event, a dinner party to set up, a 144 cookie order to full fill, and a soccer party to attend, all while the hubs participated in the Hanford tournament...needless to say, I was overbooked. But I digress, today was one of those days that made me stop and appreciate a moment, a minute that will last forever. My mom's best friend Popi, my best friend Anna, and my sissy all came together to bake baklava, melomakarina, and gadaifi. All Greek deliciousness that Popi and mom would create every Christmas. And today in my kitchen we kept the tradition alive. My mother would never go to any party during December without a plate of baklava. It was her thing, her way of making everyone feel loved and appreciated. And today, in my kitchen, minus my mother, we kept her tradition alive. Popi even brought my mom's handwritten recipe for my beloved melomakarina. Words cannot express the joy I felt reading her handwriting as she shared her recipe with Popi. Our afternoon was filled with laughter, drinks, and memories that will never be far from my heart. These are the minutes in life that make everything seem so ridiculous, so irrelevant.  So after 5 trays of baklava, two trays of melomakarina, and a tray of gadaifi and a few too many drinks, we hugged and kissed farewell and pass out baklava to all our dear friends. Merry Christmas...
Photo
The tradition...love these two to pieces.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dinner

Dinner again...it will end when I'm dead I guess...or when all my kids leave me and I have no one to cook for! Until then...this is what's cookin' in my kitchen this week!

MONDAY:

Stuffed Pepper Soup

TUESDAY:
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Apples and Onions

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

WEDNESDAY:
Left Overs

THURSDAY:

Salsa Chicken

FRIDAY:


Rosemary Chicken

Enjoy...some great recipes here this week! Can't wait!!!!



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Karen's Coffee Cake

Tonight I pulled out an old recipe, one I have made a hundred times. But tonight I made it with some tears and a heavy heart. It was a dear friend's of mines recipe, one she was known for and was mentioned at her funeral this past weekend. I remember her bringing it to work one morning and me not being able to STOP eating it. She willingly shared her recipe some 20 years ago, and I have made it ever so often, receiving the same praise she did amongst those who knew her best. So tonight, I dusted off my recipe binder (now I always use pinterest-this binder has become lost in this house) and flipped through the plastic sheet protected recipes I had cut out from magazines and copied from friends. There it was, the recipe in its original form with her hand writing all around it. She shared her tips of how to make it better from all the practice she had with it. It's a simple recipe, doesn't call for much, but the memories from this cake and the sadness of her sudden death make it a very special recipe, one I made tonight to remember my friend. It may say Dee's Coffee Cake on the top of this recipe, but it has become Karen's Coffee Cake tonight and forever more. Cheers to the kitchen and all the memories it holds~I've literally been in it since 3:30.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekly Menu October 7-11th

Another week has gone by which only means another week of meal ideas and planning are already upon us! Last week we made the recipes listed and I had to give a one thumbs up and one thumbs down for the chicken risotto...my family ate it all, but reluctantly...need more flavor for me, but otherwise not too bad. Never got to the one pot wonder pasta, but will attempt this week, I will include a much better version here today, one you can actually read. And I am super excited about the Enchiladas this week! Have some great dinners this week! Here we go again!

Monday:
017
One Pot Wonder Pasta I'm adding some basil to this recipe!

Tuesday:

Arroz con Pollo
This is a new one for us...I will not be using the olives though.

Wednesday:
1
Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

Thursday:
IMG_2759
Honey Garlic Chicken

Friday:
Have a wedding but making these Enchiladas for the weekend for the family to feast on...
Chicken Enchiladas Recipe from addapinch.com
Chicken Enchiladas

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Menu Sept. 30-Oct. 4th

So with working full time now I have had to re-think dinners in a house full of after school activities and 6 different schedules and one TIRED mama! So, instead of my monthly grocery planning and cooking, I have become a weekly grocery shopper/dinner planning machine! A slower working machine, but still working. So here is what this household will be eating (hopefully) this week!

Monday-September 30th
Beer Braised Carnitas Burrito Bowl
~Burrito Bowls

Tuesday-October 1st
One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta | Top & Popular Pinterest Recipes
~One Pot Wonder Pasta

Wednesday-October 2nd

~Chicken Risotto

Thursday-October 3rd
~Leftovers

Friday-October 4th
~Jack Daniel Tri-tip BBQ sandwiches on the go to some high school football game
(Package from Costco...simply heat up and serve on Hoagie Rolls, wrap in foil and go!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

#

Hashtag is taking over the world since the social media...and if you are in your 30's, okay 40, you remember this symbol (#) as the pound key. So I guess you can say everyone is now pounding (#lolololol) I digress, since the take over of this ever popular way to share status and post and follow a certain topic, you either love it or hate it. Well, I am one of those who don't mind it, but when it comes to my classroom and trying to reach 160 7th graders full of energy, conflicts, personalities of every kind, raging hormones, and a lot of attitude, you will try anything to reach this generation of hashtaggers! So into my classroom we go...hashtags have entered the building. But not as a distraction, but as a tool to get students to use their knowledge of literature in their short responses. Yes, #ididit #ifounditonteacherpayteachers #traceeormanisagenious.  If you have not heard of Tracee Orman, you need to! Here is her website, Tracee Orman's Classroom

Friday, September 20, 2013

Two Cousins, A Fly, and a Birthday Gift

There are a few moments in life when you get to experience the whole "fly on a wall" moment where you hear things only a fly would hear. It's in those moments when you catch a glimpse of the things that matter most. Today in my classroom were one of those special moments, yes I am comparing myself to a fly. I have a student in one of my classes who always comes in with his head down and speaks very few words in class. He sits in the front and always appears sad. A couple seats over sits his cousin, bright-eyed and busy tailed. Always walking to the beat of his own drum, happy and ready to embrace life. It always seems that Bushy-tailed cousin bothers Cousin of Few Words with his enthusiasm for life. I witness their interaction on a daily basis and wonder why Cousin of Few Words is so sad-looking. What is going through his head as he sits in a class full of life and a teacher always animated with her words. Well, today during our regular morning routine I walked passed the front of the class walking with purpose to my desk to gather the tests for the day. As I walked past Cousin of Few Words I heard him say something so tender that only a fly would hear. He leaned over to his Bushy-Tailed cousin and said, "Hey, I didn't have any money to get you anything nice, but I wanted to give you something on your birthday so I hope you like my picture I made you." Ugh...I just wanted to give him all the money I had at that very moment so he could buy his cousin something cool. I interrupted the moment and tapped him on his shoulder saying how thoughtful and awesome was his gift to his cousin. That he probably wouldn't get a better gift that day. His Bushy-Tailed cousin accepted the gift with so much grace that Cousin of Few Words actually smiled. It's moments like this where you know that this is the classroom where God wanted me to be. These students are mine to teach as well as to teach me what truly and honestly matters. What a moment today in room 205 between two cousins, a fly, and a birthday gift.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We Get It...

This is a phrase my sister uses often now that I am a quote-unquote a "working-getting paid" mom. There just isn't enough time in the day to work, take care of life, and then make dinner, let alone keep in touch with friends and be the good wife-wink,wink-we should be on top of all that! So every time I have an excuse as to why I cannot do something or be somewhere with sissy or for sissy, she says, "We get it! You work..." But I digress...Thursdays is all about the dinner...I always make something fabulous, and double it, so that on a day when I "forget" to make something fabulous for dinner, the fabulous is waiting for me in the freezer! So tonight was Zucchini Lasagna from He and She Eat Clean I know I have shared this before, but it has become a staple in my house and it's so easy and quick to make, you can actually make it for dinner that same night you want to be fabulous! So here are my pics and the recipe. Now go and be fabulous because WE GET IT...you (fill in the blank)!

Ground Turkey
Onion
Garlic Powder
Cottage Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Marinara Sauce
That's it!

Layer of zuchinni, layer of cottage cheese, layer of turkey and onion, and marinara...
Photo
Second layer of everything
Photo
Cover completely in cheese...part skim...bake at 350 for 30 mins-45 mins until bubbly!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It Takes a Village

It takes a village to raise a family...I am thankful for my village. I am thankful for my husband who picks the kids up everyday after school. I am thankful for my friends who car pool with me to Madera for gymnastics 3 days a week! I am thankful for dear friends who pick up my daughter for dance and my son for play dates during dance. I am thankful for my sissy who is always there in an emergency crunch to save us from a late pick up. I am thankful for my dad who always takes in any child that needs a place to hang and teaches them how to eat like a Greek boy! I am thankful for teachers who will text me and I can text them to save me when my child in another class, not even in their own, forgets to turn something in and they are there to save the day! I am thankful for my neighbors who will keep a watchful eye out for my kids as they ride their bikes in the neighborhood and cross the street! I am thankful for my dear Campus Club staff who always welcome my 4 children every morning. They love that place and speak passionately about every instructor there. Thank you for my soccer coaches who run practice for 2 hours after a busy day at their own jobs and the parents who will watch my Zoe as I squeeze in a workout around the school. I cannot and would not ever be able to do this on my own. There would be no way to be successful. So tonight as I lay my weary head on my pillow, I am thankful for my village, my crazy little village who continue to make me do what I can do everyday. Good night, my dear sweet village! Until tomorrow!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Robbed

Look at this picture of Stella. Look at her raw, pure, joy over finally having a baby to call her own. After ten years of trying, crying, and praying for her own little baby to love, God blessed her with this bundle of joy called Sophie. Here, on a 35mm camera which took the old fashioned film, a moment of intoxicating bliss was captured and forever missed. You can rob me of my money, my car, and my house, even my identity, but to rob me of myself is something so abominable. Mom, oh how I wish you could be celebrating with us today your bundle of joy. You have been robbed of something so precious that we all wish we could give back to you. Today, almost 38 years ago, we are intoxicated with this bliss you had in this moment as we celebrate this lady you have raised to be so amazing. I love you mom...and I hope you feel it when I hug you, when I lay on you and hold your fragile body frame. This is how I will forever hold you in my heart, even though we don't get to see it on your face anymore.  Happy Birthday Sissy...mom would have taken you out to La Boulangerie today and spoiled you with anything your heart desired.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sissy

 Sophie. The name alone brings lots of smiles to most everyone in Fresno and beyond to the other side of the world. Many people love this girl and many more call her friend. Who else has a dinner to honor her 25 closest friends every year or knows the majority of people in every restaurant in town. This girl has come into our lives and has made us better people with her presence alone. Everyone who crosses her path feels special and loved.  The ladies at the GB3 gym call her friend. The cashier at the Starbucks on Willow call her by name. Random people will stop her and say thanks for being so kind to me and my child at school yesterday. This is the type of person my sissy is...kind, thoughtful, and always going out of her way for the people she loves. And tomorrow on her birthday, I am honored to call her my sister. Not only is she my best friend, but she is the one person in my life who helps me survive this journey we call life. If mom was healthy, she would be singing her praise. What a gem our family was blessed with so many years ago (won't divulge exact years-it is her day). God chose us to be her family because He knew I needed a sissy. Some days I cannot even think with out her permission...love you sissy and all you tell me to do! I really do listen to every word you say! Happy Birthday sissy...you mean the world to me! Enjoy your day...I can't wait to spoil you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer


Summer...has come and gone with these four smiling faces. And though I wish I could say they were all smiles all summer like the ones captured in this photo, I would be lying! There were moments of pure joy, no doubt, but many moments when school couldn't come quicker! And as a mom who got to practically stay home with her babies the past 7 years, this mama had to go back to work this year. So when a job came around, like it or not, it was mine. So summer to me ended much quicker than I would've liked. So reminiscing on these crazy, lazy, long summer afternoons is actually quite enjoyable right now. Ah, the long lazy days, with children fighting with each other, never enough food in the kitchen, clothes scattered all over the patio from endless 24/7 swimming, and the endless amounts of loads filled with towels...why do I long for those days right now?  One could only say because those days sound a lot better than up and at 5:30, get yourself dressed professionally, get four kids dressed, fed, back packs packed, lunches packed, campus club drop off at 7:00am, work 7:30-3:30 across town, schedule the hubs to pick up kids at 3:15, car pool to gymnastics at 4:00, dance for another at 4:30, soccer for one at 6:00 and another at 7:00, and don't forget you have your own school back to school that same night! Yes...it's true! I did that, do that, will continue to do that for the next 180 school days, plus the weekend schedules of out of town gymnastics meets, and soccer games for three and cross country-don't forget the added school sport added to every 4th grader's lifetime of events! Is anyone gasping for air? Or applauding? Or nodding their heads in agreement of their lives heading in the same direction!!! And yes, we the fabulous mothers of 2013 have signed up FOR. IT. ALL. We would have it no other way...at least in Clovis Unified, there is no other option! Good luck to all my mamas out there with full time jobs outside of their house, their CEO roles in their families, and the many lives they have to be in charge of beyond their own! And cheers to hands on dads...I could not, would not, do this alone!!!! Go 2013-2014 school year!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Las Vegas

So we took our annual trip to Las Vegas, the hubs and I, and as always we had a magical time together. Las Vegas is our place. Friends tease that we are "Mr. and Mrs. Vegas", and our kids know the song, "Viva Las Vegas" and are shocked when other children are not familiar with this tune. This also was the place my parents would escape to often together. Their mini love trips, as I call them. I remember as a child saying good-bye to their weekend away and getting a shirt back from the Mirage or The Flamingo hotel. And for my honeymoon, my dad did book us the Bellagio as a gift. Yes, we even honeymooned there! Vegas is a part of our lives, somewhere the kids will one day visit too and associate with their parents. But on this last trip, while putting on my make up for a fun night out, I noticed a gold lipstick, plum was the color by Loreal, in the bottom of my travel case. I picked it up, not recognizing this color or lipstick. When I opened it I automatically knew whose it was. The shape of the lipstick was instantaneously recognizable and could only belong to one person, my mother. She hasn't worn lipstick in years and somehow this gold case ended up in my travel bag, in Vegas. This was probably left behind at my house when she used to watch the kids. I was overtaken by emotions in the marble bathroom. I put the plum shade of lipstick on my lips, the shape cradling my lips as if it was back with its original owner. The shade didn't match very well, but I had to bring Stella out with me in her favorite city. A part of her was back where she used to laugh and love with my dad. A time when she captured life with her energy and spunk for life. I could only imagine her and my dad enjoying one another and their love in this crazy city where life is always one big party.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th Happy Birthday

Today my baby boy turns 7! He was born on the 4th at 7:20am...went into labor on the 3rd at my neighborhood block party. Water broke in the street and well, it has been that much fun ever since! No one at the party was sober, but I left my children with all of them and one of our neighbors, Pat, drove us to the hospital. The joke is still alive today how we let her drive us to the hospital! Well, she did, and in record time, and we have our "buddies", as we call him, Loukas Daniel Jones. Love this guy, love our neighborhood! Happy Fourth to everyone, and Happy birthday to my buddies!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of July Subway Art

We can't celebrate the 4th without some AWESOME subway art! Here's some of my favorites!
Free 4th of July Subway Art.pdf at Partylicious
From Google Docs just click and print! 

4th of July Subway art
From Media Cache click and print!

4th of July Subway Art (Free Printable) on Lacy & Crew Blog

4th of July FREE Printables | 4th of July Subway Art | moritzfinedesigns.com
Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

Happy Soon To Be 4th of July


I LOVE the 4th of July, especially because my 3rd child was born on that day! But all the red, white, and blue just makes me smile!!!! We always have a BBQ with family on the 4th and celebrate Loukas's birthday. This year he will be 7! WOW...I cannot believe it! My water broke on this very street we still live on with all our neighbors! Fun times!!! That's another blog story, but today I wanted to share one of my favorite traditions...the cake. I have always made the Flag Cake from Family Circle. I think I may have blogged about it a while ago, I just LOVE the recipe and it has become a staple in the fam! Here is the recipe...enjoy your 4th!!!

Flag Cake

Rated : 
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Makes: 35  servingsPrep 10 minsBake 350°F 20 minsStand 45 mins
Flag Cake
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 35

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)289
  • Fat, total(g)9
  • chol.(mg)7
  • sat. fat(g)3
  • carb.(g)51
  • fiber(g)1
  • pro.(g)2
  • sodium(mg)210

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Ingredients
Cake:
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 18 1/4ounce boxes white cake mix
  • egg whites
  • teaspoon  lemon extract
Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup  solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 pound boxes confectioners' sugar
  • tablespoons  milk
  • tablespoons  lemon juice
Decoration:
  • 3/4 cup  fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • cups  fresh large raspberries, washed and dried

Directions

Cake:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees . Coat two 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pans with nonstick cooking spray. Pour lemon juice into 4-cup measuring cup; add enough water to equal 2-2/3 cups.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mixes, egg whites, lemon zest, juice-water mixture and lemon extract to blend, about 3 minutes. Divide evenly between two prepared pans; smooth tops.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until cake springs back when lightly touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Place rack over each cake. Carefully invert cakes and racks and remove pans from cakes. Let cool to room temperature. If making ahead, wrap cooled layers in plastic wrap; refrigerate for several days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Frosting:
4. Beat butter and shortening in large bowl 1 to 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, milk and lemon juice. Continue beating on low until well blended and good spreading consistency, adding more milk a teaspoon at a time.
Decoration:
5. Place one layer on serving tray. Reserve 1 cup frosting for piping. Frost layer with 1 cup frosting; top with second layer; frost top and sides. Place reserved frosting in pastry bag with a star tip.
6. Mark off a field for stars with toothpicks6 inches across and 5 inches down. Fill in with blueberries.
7. Place seven red stripes of raspberries on cake as shown, leaving equal spacing for 6 white stripes between them. Carefully pipe white frosting stripes between the rows of raspberries. Refrigerate uncovered to set frosting, then loosely cover with nonstick aluminum foil. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 1967


I, Paul Dictos, take you Stella to be my lawfully wedded wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. 
This is what he promised 46 years ago today in downtown Fresno at the Full Gospel Tabernacle. He promised to take care of her, wash her frail body when she no longer can. He promised to put her make-up on and wash her soiled clothes, and love her through it all. He promised to sleep besides her and constantly be aware of her well being all night, making sure she is alright. He promised to hold her when she couldn't hold herself anymore. He promised to feed her when she couldn't anymore. This is what my dad promised 46 years ago today, and I love him even more for being that man who kept his promise. Tonight you won't be going away for the weekend and you don't need sissy and I to go buy her a gift from Vonda's, or reservations, but you'll sit with her, hold her hand and tell her how much you love, even though she will not fully understand. Happy Anniversary to the man who shows us all what it means to be a husband.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vegan Lemon Bars


This week is a busy one for me! I've got two events and one cookie order all by Friday or BUST! So, I'm embracing it and sharing one of my new favorite recipes found in Chloe's Vegan Desserts cookbook. She's adorable and her vegan desserts actually taste fabulous! I am not a HUGE fan of fruity desserts, but this one sure satisfied my tastebuds...even a friend of mine who is a HUGE fan of lemon bars, enjoyed this one to the very last bite! Here is her recipe and the picture above are of the ones I made...I must say that the all natural food coloring made them look a bit orange, so note to self, get a good all natural food coloring or skip it all together! 
SHORTBREAD CRUST:
1/2 cup vegan margarine (found it at Trader Joe's and Lassen's)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (I used all natural cane)
1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING:
1 cup soy, almond, or rice milk divided (I used almond)
6 Tblsp cornstarch
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tblsp lemon zest 
Natural food coloing optional

Powdered Sugar for serving

To make shortbread crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper long enough to overhang the edges. Lightly grease the parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse margarine, flour, sugar, salt, until crumbly. Press into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 mins. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the filing: In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup nondairy milk, cornstarch, and flour until completely smooth. Set side.
In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup milk, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook, whisking continuously, for about 5 mins until very thick, like pudding. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and food coloring if using. 

To make lemon bars: Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15mins. Let cool, then chill in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Once chilled and set, lift parchment paper to release the bars from the pan and unmold. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2 inch squares and dust with powdered sugar.

Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli

Enjoy!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Intergrity

(me and my sissy with  my dad. My brother lives out of state-not in picture)
Wikipedia.com defines the word integrity as  a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In refers to this meaning in ethics as the "honesty and truthfulness of one's actions." An internal consistency of virtue. If you were to read on you would find amongst many great historical figures in our Nathion's history like Abraham Lincoln a man by the name of Paul A. Dictos. An immigrant who wanted to achieve the "American Dream". A man who came over with his family, a soon to be bride and $200.00 in his pocket. I remember listening to this story as a child. He  was so proud to have come from so little and be able to provide for a wife and three children and own his own business. This was his dream, along with many high hopes for his children.
And on this Father's Day 2013 I can only honor this man who continues to be my dad with this one simple, but heavily weighted word Integrity. In this day and age a man of integrity is hard to find. But my dad has been consistent in doing what is right in his business, in his marriage, in his relationship with his children, in his relationship with Jesus Christ, in his relationship as a son and father, and in his most current position in a world of no integrity...politics. I am so proud to call this man my dad. He has never wavered in his internal belief of being honest and truthful. He lost a few clients in his business who didn't want to be honest, he's made some enemies in politics because he has chosen to do what is right for the Valley. He took care of his mother who suffered multiple strokes as long as a son could possibly do on his own. And when he couldn't anymore he would visit her everyday at the home where she was able to be taken care of. He never used a penny of her money for himself, he always used it to give her the best care she could possible have. During the holidays he would bring her home and wash her feet in our lego buckets and sing to her. And today, he does the same with his wife. He keeps her at home with the best care and washes her like he did his mother. This is a man of internal consistency of character.  His actions are never selfish, always taking care of everyone around him. He still takes care of me to this very day. He always fixes my problems, always takes my hand and encourages me to be my very best. He hurts when I hurt and rejoices in all my successes. He believes in me and would do anything for me.  He always ends our conversations with "I love you more". I never tire of hearing those words.  I am blessed beyond measures with a father of greatness and proud to call this man my dad. I love you dad and am humbled in the presence of your integrity. Thank you for showing me what this word means, Happy Father's Day to the greatest dad in the world. 

Your Ninaki


Thursday, June 13, 2013

FULL

This week has been full. FULL of car rides between Clovis High and Clovis North, picking up and dropping off kids to camps. It's been FULL of children in my house from the pool and back inside. FULL of messes of spilled watermelon, melted ice cream, crushed gold fishies, and sticky lemonade drops. FULL of car problems, surprisingly NOT the Honda. FULL of sadness as a dear friend's father passes and a family friend's baby girl struggling to breath, and a mother slowly deteriorating before my very own eyes. FULL of no interviews or job prospects for next year and FULL of bills adding up for all the various activities and bottomless pits in this house. And as I was driving today in the 1995 Honda, I cried out to Jesus, where are you? I ranted off the list above and questioned the presence of Jesus. Where are you? Where is my job for next year? Where is this baby girl's healing? Where is the life of my friend's father before Father's Day? Where or where are you God? (Yes I am the crazy lady besides you on the rode in my beat up Honda that refuses to die talking to herself-that's me) Since there is no radio in the car that will never die, I drove in silence after all that. 
Surprisingly I was reminded ever so gently...
I'm Here. See Me. I'm Right Here. See Me.
See me in the car that is able to take you from point A to point B. See me in the bills that have all been paid for for the month. See me always providing for you and your family~no one has yet to go hungry. See me comforting your friend with family and loved ones all together, under one roof, being together; loving one another. See me in the safe helicopter ride baby girl took today to heal her lungs. See me in the continual care your mother gets from your father and the love she has all around her. See me in all your children's faces, smiling and dancing around in the summer sun. 
I AM HERE, SEE ME.
HE is here, taking care of me and you. 
I pray you enjoy this summer and see beyond the FULLness of your life. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

American Girl Inspired Birthday Party


I had the privilege of throwing an American Girl Birthday party for one of my favorite clients and friend. We did this for her older daughter a couple years back and it was so cute then that we had to repeat-with a few new tweaks of course! Enjoy one of the most beloved dolls in America!!!

The party room...we emptied the living room and set up two 6ft tables into a square and rented chairs from Bargain Party for $2.50 each.
\
Made a cute little photo booth with some fabric and a large frame hanging from the banister! 
This was the table place setting. Girls got to color and answer questions about their doll. They also got to put together their own gumball necklace. 

I pushed a lollipop stick through each end of the gumballs and then with a plastic needle we thread the ribbon through each gumball.
The thank you bags at the candy buffet! The wire rack is from Sur La Table. 
The small American Girl bags were graciously given to us from the American Girl Store at the Grove. We kinda had to beg, but they eventually shared!
Cake by Frosted


The pinwheels were purchased from Target and I created the letters and hot glued them in the center.
The Birthday Girl
Candy Buffet before the cake. 




Bed time


Everyone having a good time!