Monday, October 24, 2011

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies

It's impossible to eat just one. They're soft and crispy, buttery and salty, loaded with white chocolate, semi sweet chocolate and macadamia bits. Pure heaven.

You must make these for your kids and your family. Heck, make them for yourself. They are the tastiest cookie you will ever eat.

I am done.

Go and bake.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 t. vanilla paste*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2.25 oz bag chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy
2. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well
3. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt
4. Stir in chips and nuts
5. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets (I use a silpat.)
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes

*This is the best vanilla bean paste (see photo below.) It gives baked goods a much richer flavor because it's got all the vanilla bean specks in it. You can find it in gourmet foods stores or shops like Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. It's $10.95 for the jar.

Note: you can use all white or all chocolate chips, too. We decided to mix it up.

Here's another tip: Make the entire batch and immediately stick half in a Tupperware container in the freezer. This is good for two reasons. One, you have some for later. And have some for later. Okay, I guess there is really only one reason to put something in the freezer.

Enjoy, my cookie loving friends.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

We had a great time at Peter's Pumpkin Patch in Petaluma this year.

Elli and her friend ran all over the pumpkin patch looking for the perfect pumpkin. They went on a hay ride, milked a cow, pet the cutest baby calf's, ate home-made ice cream, dug for potatoes and ran around in a hay maze.

They smiled and giggled the whole time. Except for this picture. Elli tried her hardest to keep a straight face. Impossible.

Peter's Pumpkin Patch
Spring Hill Cheese Farm
4235 Spring Hill Rd., Petaluma (See Map)
(707) 762-3446

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Talking to our daughters

Elli, first day of 5th grade
I debated on whether I should blog about this or not. Obviously I decided to.

Last week Elli came home from school and told me a little story that shocked me and Don.

It went something like this.

"Mom, two boys at school said something to me today that was totally disgusting." she said.

"Okay. What did they say." I asked.

"Well, we were sitting at the lunch table and one of the boys said I was BJ'ing the other." 

"THEY SAID WHAT???!!" I said.

"He asked me if I knew what BJ was." she said. "I told him it was a restaurant at the mall. But they said it was something else. They told me what it was." (And here's where she tells me in graphic detail what they told her.) UGH.

Her reaction? "GROSS! I would never do that! It's disgusting. Ickkkkkk." she said.

I'm sure her reaction was just what the boys were hoping for. They continued to tease her telling her she was BJ'ing one of the boys. They said it over, and over, and over again. They wouldn't stop.

She didn't tell a lunch monitor and she didn't tell a teacher.

She just let them tease her.

I told her what they said was completely inappropriate and she should never let anyone speak to her this way. My reaction scared her a little. But I was shocked and disturbed. They're so young.

"Elli, we need to tell the parents. What they said is not right. Their parents need to know." I told her.

"Why didn't you tell a teacher?" I asked.

She didn't want to get anyone in trouble.

"Why didn't you move to another lunch table?"

She said once they sit down they are not allowed to move. It's the rule.


I thought about this for a nanosecond and told Elli I was going to send the parents an email right then. She thought this was a good idea. She didn't try to talk me out of it. That was when I knew what they said made her really uncomfortable.

I shot off a note to all four parents. And then the principal. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. A few hours later I got an email from one of the mothers. She spoke with the family of the other boy and was emailing me on their behalf too. She was mortified and wanted both boys to apologize to Elli immediately with all parents present. I asked if it could be a private apology with the kids and their teacher. We didn't want all her friends and the other kids to start asking questions about what was up.

The next morning I talked to the teacher and the principal. They were not happy and took this very, very seriously. This falls under Sexual Harassment. And it's not tolerated in school. Period.

The teacher spoke with Elli and told her if anyone ever speaks to her this way to call attention to a teacher. She is not to let anyone say things like this to her - it's not appropriate and it falls under sexual harassment. She shouldn't be scared or worried she'll get someone in trouble. 

I never thought about talking to Elli about stuff like this. Not yet anyway. She's in fifth grade. She's not even 10 yet.

Unfortunately, they're the age where kids are trying out bad language, and they're learning about sex and the body.

It's an absolute necessity to talk to our daughters about this. They need to know how to respond. Elli knows what to do now.

Please talk to your daughters so they know what to do.

Friday, October 21, 2011



Where are you??? The police are here, and school just called. E's missing. Someone saw her talking to a man. OMG.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This week's assignment: compose a text–160 characters–that would either elicit or express fear. So, how did I do? Were you scaaaaaaaaaared? You know this is not true, right? Good.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I feel like a walnut

I did the unthinkable yesterday. I showed complete strangers my messy house.

My next door neighbor is looking for a new tenant for her townhouse and I offered to help show it for her. The couple that came to look yesterday afternoon were very nice with two young kids. Elli and I tried to be perfect tour guides, really talking up the place.

The townhouse is beautiful. Much, much nicer than ours. The owner remodeled it with beautiful upgrades throughout. I'm always jealous every time we go over there. The kitchen feels spacious and open. Her appliances are so much nicer. She has all the little extras that make a home cozy - wood floors, recessed lights, dimmer switches, shutters. It's easy for me to sell it because I like it so much.

They seemed very interested and asked a lot of questions as we walked to the pool. One question was concerning the different type of homes in the area. One thing led to another and before I knew it they were getting a tour of my house.

When will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut?

Our house is a disaster. The bathroom has toothpaste on the mirror. There was an overflowing pile of laundry in the hall. Books in boxes are lined up in the hall ready for the walkathon book sale, beds were unmade because it's laundry day, I could go on, and on, and on.

As we're walking through I'm apologizing for the condition of everything. I can't imagine what they think of their potential neighbors.

It was embarrassing. Really embarrassing.

We didn't used to live like this. We used to be really proud of our home and what it looked like.

But there's nothing about the inside of our house that makes us happy. Every time we walk in the door we feel like we've failed. Our furnishings are beautiful, but they're crammed into a space that's half the size we would like.

Elli says it best "I feel like a walnut all squished in my shell."

Our landlord won't upgrade anything so we're stuck. We could try to find a new place but it will cost a lot more than what we're paying now. Maybe I just need to clean up and de-clutter a little.

yep. That's the answer.

I'm off to clean the bathrooms.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let's have some wine!

This is going to be a quick one. I've been writing, and writing, and writing a lot lately. Which has been great. Unfortunately, it's not for the blog. wah wah wah

I'm trying to manage all these new things I have going on and the blog isn't getting much love. Like the plant on our patio, it's the last thing that gets attention.

So I thought I would share some wine tips.

There's only one more week of the 5 cent sale at BevMo. So you better get on over there.


The Dahlia Reserve is deelish. Lots of fruit and no goats.

This is my current favorite red.

Smooth and delicious Cabernet

Don loves this one.

Main & Geary - this is for all the Chardonnay lovers out there.

And my two new favorite Sauvignon Blancs - Guenoc and Trailhead
There's one more to try. It's a cab. Really, really yummy. I tasted it at the store one Saturday. It's smooth and delicious. I haven't bought it yet. But I hope to soon.

S. Anderson Cabernet Sauvignon

It's funny how life is you know?

One minute I'm working my arse off on the BevMo account. The next minute I'm not. Then I'm working for BevMo again in a whole new capacity.

Never burn any bridges my friend. You just never know when you might want to cross the bridge again.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

My new Annie Boots

I got these boots yesterday. A little treat to myself for all my hard work. Ha. They were on sale too.

Annie Boot at Sundance

I wore them last night to a friends house.

There was some drama involved in getting ready.

First I put on a denim skirt and a knit top. I showed Elli. "Oh, mom. That doesn't look good at all." she said. Okay. "What's wrong with it." I asked. "The skirt doesn't match the top or the boots." she said quite convincingly. "It's denim. What do you mean it doesn't match?" I responded. "It's the style." she said.

So I switched to a different denim skirt, a little shorter, a little sassier. My second viewing for Elli got a worse reception. She checked me out top to bottom. "Oh mom. No. That's not right either. That slit in the skirt is all wrong."


So I switched to regular jeans.

Now Don is chiming in.

"You need the kind of jeans that tuck in the boot." he said. "I don't have that kind. Those are skinny jeans." I said looking at him like he's crazy. I'm not really a skinny jeans girl. Jeez, am I going to have to buy skinny jeans?
I am not happy with how this is going. The jeans are totally covering up the cute boots. baaaah. So I cuffed them.

"The cuff is too big." says Don. So I make it smaller. "Still too big." he says. So I make it smaller again. Sheesh. It's hard being a fashionista around here.

We went to dinner and all was fine. 

I had no idea it was going to be this hard to put together an outfit that is supposed to look effortless and cool.

Now Elli and her friend Courtney are giving me fashion advice. This is good and bad. They love fashion. But they're ten. I don't want to walk around looking like a 5th grader.

I'm off to check out Anthropologie and the Sundance website for ideas. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I feel hot

And I'm not talking about the va-va-voom kind of hot. I'm just hot. As in I feel like I'm overheating from the inside out.

At first I thought it was just Indian Summer. The temperature was high and we don't have air conditioning.

I would lay in bed staring at the ceiling breathing in and out trying not to think about the heat. When all of a sudden BAM! I'm all hot and sticky from the moist night air. It was awful and miserable. I didn't sleep well for weeks. I tossed and turned. Threw sheets and blankets here and there. I even slept with an ice pack on my head and a cool wash cloth on my face. Don't tell Don. He doesn't know yet. I've tried to stay on my side.

I would wake up in the morning tired from my restless evening.

I'm not used to this. I sleep like a rock. And I need at least 7 hours of sleep or I can't function.

I would fall out of bed in the morning, stumble to the bathroom, take a shower and as I'm drying my hair it would happen again. I would break out in a sweat. WTF? What is wrong with me?  This was not cool. I had to dress for work and put on makeup and I was sweating like I was standing outside in Houston in the middle of August. Trust me, you don't want to do that.

Finally the temperature outside shifted . Our house felt better and I felt better. But guess what? I continued to have episodes at night and during the afternoon when the day got warmer. CRAP! It's me. It's not the weather. I was having hot flashes. Nooooooo!

This is what my life has become. I'm officially living the life of a....ugh. Can't say it.

I Googled hot flashes and was really bummed to find out I might have these for years. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I may have to invent chilled jammies and frozen bra inserts.

Holy crap. Am I like the little blue haired lady in church? This is not cool.

There are some dietary recommendations that might help. They say to eat more soy, red clover, ginseng and yams. Great. Looks like maybe I'm going to starve to death. And then even more bad news. Eliminate caffeine, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and chocolate. 

I may start fundraising for the hot flash society to find a cure. Or just work on my hot flash inventions.

For now it's time to get this hot laptop off my lap. It's not helping matters.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Giving praise

I've been thinking about this for a few days now.

The euphoric feeling we get when someone praises you is like nothing else. Well, ok, there are other euphoric activities. But my parents read this. So I won't go there.

What I want to talk about is the simple act of telling someone thank you for a job well done. It doesn't happen often enough. Not in my world anyway.

Why is this?

Why don't we praise each other more often?

It doesn't cost anything and it only takes a minute.

Are we too busy to thank the people we come in contact with? I'm not talking about "hey, thanks for the change" to the person that makes your coffee everyday. I'm talking about really thanking someone.

Are we so caught up in our own lives and happiness that we forget to thank those around us?

I think we might be.

I got two unsolicited praises recently and it made me so happy I couldn't wait to tell someone.

The first was from a customer at our store. She called me last Wednesday after we delivered furniture to her. I wasn't there for the delivery, which is how it is most of the time, so I didn't know if she liked everything. I inspected the chairs and cushion before it left the showroom. I knew it was perfect. But I didn't know if it was going to meet her expectations. It's one thing to look at a small swatch of fabric. It's another thing to see it all done.

She was so pleased she had to call and thank me. She wanted to make sure I knew how happy she and her husband were and how impressed they were with the craftsmanship. I could feel my face get flush as I was on the phone with her. She was gushing. It meant a lot to me. A lot.  This teeny bit of acknowledgement made all the hard work, stress, and worry worth it.

She didn't have the biggest job or budget and her project wasn't complicated. She didn't have to call. But I'm so glad she did.

Then on Friday the CEO of the company I'm freelancing for sent an email praising the department I'm in for a job well done. He's noticed what we've been doing and is thrilled with the result. WOW. Again, I was floored.

Now don't get me wrong. It's not like no one ever says thank you to me. They do. The difference is these were both really specific and unsolicited which is what made them so awsome.

And then I wondered, do I thank others enough? I'm quick to tell you when I'm not happy. But do I tell you when I am happy? I don't think I do as often as I should.

We shouldn't live in a world where no news is good news.

So, dear readers, you're like family to me. I'd like to thank you for hanging in there with me while I discover myself and figure out what to do with my life. I love that you're here for me in good times and bad. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to read my silly words. It means a lot to me. Way more than you know.

You make me smile and you make me happy.

I'm going to send an email to Elli's teacher letting her know how much Elli is enjoying her class. Elli is having a great year so far. I really need to thank her. I bet she doesn't get enough thank you's either.