Saturday, April 30, 2011


The exciting news in our house is that my husband upgraded his car!  This is a major event since he has been saying he will look for a new car for the last 3 years.  We actually went to a car dealership 3 years ago and test drove a car, but his gelape, as we like to call it, just kept running.  The gelape is also called “The Green Beast” by our mechanic, who has seen it as a challenge to keep the car running.  I believe he actually under charges us for maintenance so that we keep the car, I think he brags about it when we aren’t around.
The gelape is 12 years and 2 days old.  It is a Pontiac Grand Prix, not only does the make not exist anymore, either does the brand.  It has only 1 working window, on the passenger side.  The air only works on levels 2 and up.  If you turn the volume on the radio down it goes up really high first and nearly deafens you and all your passengers.  The upholstery is so worn that it is like sitting against sand paper, when you move it tears at your shirt and pulls you back; saying, “Please, please help me”.  Every time a warning light comes on the dashboard my husband just covers them with black electrical tape so he doesn’t have to look at the dash lit up like a Christmas tree.  The area between the front of the car and the engine has worn so thin you can feel the heat of the engine if you are sitting in the front of the car, probably not a Consumer Reports positive mark.  The amazing thing about the gelape is that with maintenance and a new trans (put in 3 years ago) it has been an excellent car.
The engine is original and left us yesterday at 228, 556 miles!
The S60 Caspian is the new replacement!  It is a Volvo S60 T5.  Also an amazing car!  When you only buy a car once every 12 years, the technology on the new one literally blows you out of the dealership.  Our car salesman said, “Going from the Pontiac to the S60 is like trading in a Model T for a rocket ship”.  He was right!  The windows, all 4, go up AND down, the radio volume can be controlled from various places in the car and you can plug in your IPod and see the songs displayed on the center dashboard screen, the air is climate controlled by seat, and most importantly the whole car doesn’t shake and sound like it is falling apart if you do over 60 on the freeway!  The most important thing to me is knowing my family is in a safe car…we just hope our car salesman made it back to Palm Springs last night in the gelape!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Vacation!  We have been on a spring vacation in Palm Springs for the past 5 days.  I consider it a successful vacation!  The kids only had to apologize to old ladies at the pool once; I mean once each, for blasting them and the paperback book they were reading with their water guns.  The kids have only had 5 Otter Pops a day, we have barely made a dent in the box of 100 my parents bought and put in the freezer.  The kids didn’t wake up any earlier than 5:30 am and remained slightly quiet until 6:15 am…I did have more Starbucks than normal, thanks to my husband for his Starbucks runs!  When my son showed my mom a bruise on his shoulder from playing nation ball he didn’t even question her when she commented, “that looks like a hickey”…close call!
I hope you all had a great spring break!  We enjoyed catching up with our family, as crazy as they all are!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Secretaries Day!

Happy Secretaries Day!  Actually Secretaries Day is next week, but since we have Easter Break we are celebrating the school secretaries this week.  I always want to give them a little something to say, “Thank You” for all they do, but with 3 of them I have to think of money wise gift ideas.
My idea for this year is fun and inexpensive, yet practical!  I bought hand sanitizer gel at the dollar store, doesn’t matter what kind, you will cover it up!  I then bought a bag of jelly beans, some cello bags, ribbon, and used some cardstock and gems I had at home.
1.      Print out a cute saying with a fun font to glue to the front of the bottle.
2.    Glue on some gems, tie on a ribbon, and put in a cello bag.
3.    Surround bottom of bottle with jelly beans.
Now wasn’t that the easiest gift?!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trader Joes Easy Pasta

Time for an easy pasta dish!  I love to cook and try new recipes.  Sometimes you stumble upon something so good and easy that it becomes one of your staple recipes.  This pasta dish is a family favorite that I make once a week or at least every two weeks.  I love that the ingredients are easy to locate and that it takes about 20 minutes to make.  Even better is the fact that I can morph the leftover pasta into another meal!
I start with whole wheat pasta from my favorite store, Trader Joes (alright, I have many favorite stores, a hazard of loving to shop, but TJ’s is my favorite food store) then I add their marinara sauce and their frozen meatballs (they have turkey and beef; both are tasty and family approved).
Trader Joes Easy Pasta
1 package whole wheat pasta
1 jar marinara
1 bag frozen meatballs
Cook up your pasta the regular way, while boiling pasta, place meatballs in a glass microwavable dish and cook in micro for 4-5 minutes.  When meatballs are done, pour marinara over meatballs, return to micro and cook for 2-3 minutes.  After draining cooked pasta, dish up pasta and sauce/meatballs.  Easy pasta is complete (I usually add a salad from our garden)!
Since I make a whole package of pasta I usually have leftover plain pasta.  I throw that in a container and put it in the fridge for the next day.
 Day two:
 With a large skillet, add some olive oil, the leftover pasta, seasoning (I love 21 season salute from Trader Joes), and some cut up veggies (my first choice is asparagus).  Sauté for 5-10 minutes, turning to coat and prevent burning. Now you have pasta primavera for lunch!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Field Trip

I think that adults should go on field trips!  We think they are just for kids, but we are just as likely to learn and have fun from a field trip of our own.  Since both of my kids were in capable hands until 3pm on Wednesday I was able to indulge in a field trip of my own with my mom.
My mom suggested Sherman Library and Gardens down in Corona del Mar, California.  I have driven by it many times and have always heard amazing things about it, but have never been!  My mom and I both love all things flora (and fauna as well) so I knew we would have fun seeing some amazing plant specimens, learning new facts, and maybe even sharing our knowledge with the docents there.
Sherman Library and Gardens is situated on 2.2 acres of land on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway (prime real estate for sure).  It was started in 1966 and today houses wonderful plants, fountains, and an amazing 5 star (in my opinion) restaurant.  It is only $3 to get in and walk around the gardens.  They even have a cell phone tour you can take for free.  We had a lovely time walking through the rose garden, orchid house, and succulent garden.  We even had a great conversation with the plant expert!
My favorite was the “Hot Cocoa” rose in the rose garden (pictured below) and the unusual bumble bee we encountered.  I also loved all the large pots of hydrangeas; they have always been one of my favorite flowers!