Saturday, January 28, 2012

Preparing f/the 100th Day of School

   This is a nice generic (i.e. kids distant enough to not be id'd) photo from the Gorman Thanksgiving feast. This Monday, my class is celebrating the 100th day, and sadly (for me!), my last day as their teacher. Their permanent teacher will be there, & officially returns Tuesday.
   We will be enjoying a great day of learning fun: they are going to decorate 100th day posters & glasses, rec'v 100th day certificates & pencils, make 100 fruit loop necklaces (all my gifts to them), rec'v 100th day bookmarks from the PTSO, as well as write about fun topics like how they'd look if they were 100 years old, take a 100 step walk, compare their 100 collections, etc. Then we will have a great pizza party!
   I am so proud of the kids' progress! Eight of the 1st graders' reading levels were below where they should have begun the year. Two were aa's in guided reading (the lowest measurable level), and three couldn't even pass that. Now, two of those children are B's & ready to pass C level (where they should have begun), three are C's, three are E's! First grade demands the most reading progress; the children should go from a C to a J or higher. The other children are currently at E, G, H levels, & one very bright child (no credit due to me) is already a J.
   I would estimate that of the now 13 first graders (one has left), that ten will be at a J or higher by June (of course the one is already there). Three may have a difficult time getting there, but you never know, now that they are reading. Guided reading is such a valuable method for teaching reading!
   A great website (readinga-z) enabled me to implement a strong guided reading program in the class at an extremely reasonable price. I am a huge fan!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cub Scouts & Random Musings...

I know I am biased, but aren't these two of the cutest cub scouts ever?? In December, the monkey's friend from the PMC cub scout pack, chose me as his 'local hero.' He brought tears to my eyes as he explained why he chose me. He mentioned my love for children, books, the column I write, cub scouts, etc. What a sweetie...

   Hopefully, this brings me somewhat up-to-date.  I made a great dinner on the fly last night, but didn't snap pics. I always like to keep a big bag of frozen, boneless chicken in the freezer, & it sure came in handy last night.
  About six years ago, we went to a now defunct restaurant in Taos, called Momentitas de la Vida. They served a great root mash of parsnips, turnips & rutabaga. I did a version last night, with three kinds of fingerling potatoes & a rutabaga.
   For the main course, I sauteed some boneless chicken, & made a lemon cream sauce that was to die for. I let the chicken simmer in the sauce. With broccoli on the side, it was a lovely dinner. The best part was, I made a fresh kale (thanks to my friend Santa) salad. You cut off the thick veins/stems & use only the frilly parts, cut in bite-size pieces. I added chopped green apple, dried cherries, and tossed it in a balsamic vinaigrette. The salad-phobic monkey loved it!! Miracle!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FOOD: My Pizza Creations & Artisan in Paso Robles

Pizza is one of my favorite dishes to make. It's easy if you have a ready supply of flour & yeast. I make my crust with 1/3 whole wheat flower. This first pizza is from about two weeks ago, & is a spinach, mozzarella & parmesan, with a lot of herbs.
The next pizza is from the same evening, & a classic pepperoni, with some parmesan accents.

This pizza is from last night. I had no pepperoni, so made it 1/2 cheese for the monkey, & 1/2 with homemade meatballs for the hub.

This last pizza is also from last night: spinach & bbq chicken. Yum... Now my pizza crust isn't as good as our friend Chris makes, so I may have to rethink my opinion on pizza stones, since that is what he uses!

Now, to continue my backtracking updates: Artisan! Artisan is our favorite restaurant in Paso Robles. We were supposed to attend our 11th Eberle Black Tie Holiday dinner, but we had a terrible reservation snafu; to paraphrase what some Basque guys told us at Au Bascou in Paris: 'no reserve, no comida' (we actually did get comida when the owners made us a special table, but that's a whole other story). Anyway, we went to Paso in December anyway, and for the first time in 11 years, saw their Christmas parade from our window table in our favorite Paso restaurant.
This was our first course: jalapeno cornbread with honey butter and charcuterie...paté, salumi & foie gras torchon. We also had a bottle of great rosé, I believe from Halter Ranch.


This is our view of the parade. It has grown from just decorated old trucks to floats...
This is the flatiron steak with fries & cabernet butter...

I had pork on some delicious greens...amazing...We were sadly too full for dessert!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fun Over the Holidays

We once again enjoyed the Holiday Lights at the California Living Museum (CALM). It gets better every year, with more lights than ever. However, this year they didn't spread out the concessions like last time, which made for more crowded lines.
The monkey & our good friends/neighbors had fun on the carousel!

Here is the monkey & the hub on the train ride...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas 2011

   So in keeping with my 'Seinfeldesque' backtracking, here is the monkey opeingin his presents from Santa on Christmas.
Now here is what's really funny: some of our gifts were packaged in a Laetitia wine box....
   and a beer box. The expression on his face was priceless!! I told him with a droll expression, that you are never too young to start drinking. He has a great sense of humor, so he knew I was joking. Remember, I am 'mom of the year!' LOL

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012

   I am continuing to backtrack in my posts (remember that backwards 'Seinfeld' episode?). On New Year's Eve, we had a 'New York New Year's' at our local Mexican restaurant, La Sierra. We were fortunate to sit with our buddies the Frantis & the Tapias. We enjoyed New York steak & NY cheesecake, but split before the 9 pm. NY New Year.
   After, a few friends came over to feast on some yummy treats (thank you, Linda & Lola!), & sip sparkling cocktails. We stayed up until 1 p.m., & was I tired (I'm getting old!).
   Earlier in the week, the monkey & I made a quick one night trip to Petaluma to visit my BFF, Christine. We have known each other since our college days at Pepperdine in Malibu. She was a Theta, I was a Zeta (which is now Kappa Kappa Gamma), but I was an 'honorary' Theta my last year at 'Pepperstein' (meaning I hung out mainly with Thetas!). We have stayed friends over the years, & she is a treasure.
   The monkey & I had so much fun visiting with her & her handsome 11 & 13 year old boys. The monkey insisted on sleeping in their room with them, thus crushing mommy's heart. They played 'Wipeout' on the Kinect, & my buddy & I had some long overdue 'girl' time catching up. She even made us a wonderful Thai curry dinner. The recipe is from her days when she worked for the now defunct "Dinner Source." I'll make it next week, & post the recipe, if I can get my hands on some Kafir lime leaves (one of the most important flavors in Thai cooking).
   She sent us home with a cool wooden treasure chest I plan to use for cub scouts, some great handme-downs for the monkey, but most importantly, warm hearts!! I love her & her family!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More Rose Parade

This piggy float was adorable!
The Elizabeth Taylor float was touching, but the one with the organ donors brought us to our feet with tears in our eyes (no photo of that one).
This was my sister's favorite float...

A tired monkey taking a break from Angry Birds, waiting for the parade to start...
In viewing my equestrian photos, it is interesting to note how few actually sit their horse 'properly.' This buffalo soldier rider had the best form, but toes should be pointing up. Basically, you should be able to draw a straight vertical line from certain body points. A lot of the riders sit leaning back, with their legs way forward. Makes me feel a bit better about my seat...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Happy Holiday Season & New Year!

Wow! I am way overdue for an update. I guess I'll start with New Year's & go backwards. We finally went to the Rose Parade (haven't been in over 20 years!). It was awesome, & my wonderful sister saved us a great spot in east Pasadena. This is the RFDtv float, with the real Trigger & Bullit (I loved Roy Rogers as a child).

   Photos do not do the floats justice; you reallly need to see them in person. This is truly the most spectacular, beautiful parade you will ever see.

   The Natural History Museum float was Griffin's favorite. We used to take summer classes there, and it is one of our favorite museums...

   My friends all know how much I love horses, and dream of someday having one of my own. Sigh...strangely, I didn't snap any photos of the Friesans, which are one of my favorite breeds...
   We couldn't believe this float had one of those cool 'Kit Kat' clocks Griffin wants. I can't believe I didn't snap a photo of the South Pas alien/lemonade float (one of its best ever). 'Oh hail, South Pasadena...' (I went to South Pas High...).

This Hawaiian float was one of my favorites.
The Loyola Marymount  (where my niece attended law school), float was one of the prettiest, and should have won an award!
   I was LMAO, when the first float featured Kenny G; he is everywhere! I will post more updates/photos later!