Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Cheers!" to Chef Claudia.. From (me!) Sandra, tvgp

another one of our favorite customers.. Chef Claudia..   Makes us all drool with her class descriptions..   Insists she can teach even (me!)  how to prepare a few amazing meals..    "I need ultra novice level" I say with a smile..

     /dare I confess I've only used an oven two times..

Well, not two times.. I mean for only two things

-shrinky Dink's
-break n' bake cookies

Wait!   There is a third thing..

Storage.

"Merry Christmas!" My talented Chef friend..  
Soon as my schedule permits it; flash class at pansonfire.com

I'm going for hot and unpredictable in 2015..

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mom's 29th (plus) annual cookie exchange party...

Among my favorite traditions, her recipe is:  delicious brunch followed by white elephant gift exchange (renamed this year to "what just happened?) Where each guest brings a $10 wrapped gift and then everyone opens one, and then going clockwise can choose someone else's gift ("the steal") or can keep what they opened..  But a gift can only be  -stolen- three times max, so whoever has it on the 3rd steal gets to keep it. (Or has to keep it.. depending on the desire level you see..  Gag gifts add to the fun; desired gifts add to the steals..). -this game is best played after two or three mimosas.. In which case it becomes almost impossible to keep track of which gifts have been stolen vs. Just exchanged and how many times by who..    That's where the underage family members come in..  And take advantage of the rest of us..

Anyway..  That fun confusion is followed by a couple games of L, R, C

-a high stakes roll the dice game..   Where each person puts in $5..

Roll the dice  (all 3 dice if you have $3 or more.. But only 1 dice per dollar if you have $2 or less.. And if you have no $... 

You just sit there and hope the person to your write rolls an " L" or the person to your left rolls a "R"

-because then you are back in the game!  -just like that.

Wait.  I skipped a part..  I should explain that there 3 dice. With L's, R's C's or just dots.

There you sit with your dollar bills, or m&M's.. Whatever..

When you roll the dice,

R= give a dollar to the person on your write.
L= give a dollar to the person on your left.
C= throw a dollar in the center of the table
Dot= you get to keep your dollar.

No dollar = no turn; you are out!   /unless, as I mentioned earlier the person next to you rolls to your advantage and gives you a buck..

Back in!

Last one with $  "WINNER!".  -and gets everyone's $..

The way my mom plays. (And I just love this about my mom..). No person can win twice.. So, if the same person were to win a second time.. Instead of claiming all the $ again..

The winner would roll a dice one more time, and hand the winnings over to person L or person R..

Get it?   I would be the first to advise you to just get the LCR game at your local store (walgreens perhaps..) And read those instructions..

But look!  2014 cookie exchange LCR  champions... (Me!) And Nancy..

Stole the 2013 title from Robbie and Bobbie...

The other tradition my mom has is that she gives a prize every year to whoever was the first person to call in their cookie recipe.

A lot of my friends ask that question.. " how do you avoid duplicate cookies?"

My mom has everyone call in..  First call/first pick.. So if you mention a recipe already called in, you have to switch..

And that's the main part of the cookie exchange part-Y.  Everyone brings # dozen of the same cookie, where # = total number of guests

And everyone brings a different kind

So! That when you exchange.. Each person takes one dozen each of cookies made by someone else, and you go home with A BIG VARIETY! Of delicious homemade cookies..   But all you had to make was one type..  See!

Genius.  Who originated this?

Anyway..   It was another great time..  "Thank you Mom!$"

Love you, love you, love you!  Xoxo

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Heart Seen... By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

.. Check it out..  Out with my sister & bff.. Main street brewery, downtown pleasanton..  Too cold out for a beer, so we went with hot holiday coffees.. Kaulua & baileys..   /I think...  And a little whip.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

more Intimate text moments shared by (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Husband:    I'm on my way to the gym

(Me!):  how many pull ups can you do?

Husband: none. LOL. I don't do pull ups.

(Me!):   k. -we're even on that one then.

Xoxo

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Says (me!) Sandra, tvgp

Love does what's write; not what's easy.

Very funny Jesus... From (me!) Sandra, tvgp

His bedroom door was open just enough for me to peek in and see that he was cleaning, -decluttering

I popped my head in..  "Every time I clean I feel like I find some kind of valentine from heaven..  An item I thought was lost or something I forgot about and find that brings a smile to my face.."

And  -literally!-   in my nephews hand at the exact moment I said that.. He had an actual valentine card "to my grandson"

"How wild is that?!" I ask him.

And then shortly after my nephew asked me if I wanted his globe.

"Sure! I'd love it"

And as I made a space for it on top of my dresser, I had to laugh..

"Very funny Jesus.". I said

-because only a day or two ago in my prayers I had talked about wanting to see more of the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yes! I agree! (Me!) Sandra, tvgp

The Heart Seen... By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

..countertop in bathroom at pleasanton library...

The Heart Seen... By (me!) Sandra, tvgp

.. Just the way the Christmas light decorations were reflecting on the garage...

Friday, December 05, 2014

FAVORITE STORY OF THE SEASON for (me!) ~ writeousmom

original post 07/09/2010:

  LISTEN.. I HAVE NO DEFENSE FOR THOSE BLUE EYES (me!)

 yesterday marks the day.

 i'll let you decide whether i did the write thing or not. went down like this:

 i pick my son up for his speech class and as we're driving along, he looks to me and says

 well, he looks at me, with those big, round, gorgeous ocean blue eyes,

 -you must understand he looks directly at me, and says, "mommy. i'm gonna ask you somethin' and i want the truth. truth. truth, okay."

 and my mind traveled to a thousand different places at the same time

 i looked write back at him, and said, "of course" /but not like, of course! more like, of course -know what i mean -because i have no idea what's about to come my way

 so he looks directly in my eyes -that sweet 10 1/2 year old face, sprinkled with freckles and just hints of an almost sunburn from his recent days at the lake

 and his darling baseball cap adding 10 pounds of charm to every ounce of his being and all i know in this moment is whatever he wants the "truth, truth, truth" about must be very important to him, and so i listened with a reluctant, nervous but very open heart, "ask me"

 and he says, "is there really a santa claus or do the parents put the presents under the tree? ...who delivers the presents?"

 oh no, oh no, oh no.. it's the middle of summer! for goodness sake, i'm not prepared to answer this question write now... why are you springing this on me in july? i haven't even had my morning coffee yet

 "well... there really is the spirit of santa claus" i say

 "yeah, but who delivers the presents -tell me the truth! does santa claus deliver the presents to kids all around the world or do the parents do it, tell me the truth okay..."

 "okay. the parents do deliver the presents       -but in the spirit of santa claus"

 and if ever google earth could help me out by sharing secret video footage -wish everyone could see the way he looked away from me, stared out the windshield, his eyes wandering all around as he thought and processed the truth i had just shared with him for the first time

 "you mean, all this time...." he says. and he is maybe going to smile, but maybe going to cry.

 i rushed in, "did you have some idea, some suspicion, that's why you're asking.. "

 "no.." he says as he continues to digest this unnerving truth


 i smiled with as much comfort and love and reassurance as i could, said, "you know, i found out when i was about the same age you are write now, you know how i found out?"

 and he seemed very interested to know

 i said,

 "well... i remember looking at the tags on all our presents, and the cursive "S" on the, Love, Santa part, well it looked suspiciously like... and so i looked at some things my mom had written, and sure enough, the cursive "S" when she wrote, Love, Sharon well they looked an awful lot alike, know what i mean. that cursive "S" for Santa vs. the cursive "S" for Sharon. i studied it. i compared it like a graphologist and that's how i knew"

 and thanks be to God, because by this time he really was smiling again. in a heart-broken but mending kind of way

 so i continued.. and explained best i could on such short, entirely unprepared notice, that there IS a spirit of santa claus; really. really! "in fact, there really is a saint.. like one of God's saints.. that kind -a saint nick -nicholas- who gave gifts to the poor, to the needy, and he is the one we honor -we carry on that spirit as parents and there's all kinds of information on the history... i'll get some for you okay"

 and by this time, i was parking and we needed to go inside for the class -so i prayed a silent prayer, and he went his way, and i went mine and privately called his dad...

 "hey.. so jack asked me to tell him , the truth, truth, truth, about whether or not there is a santa claus.."

 "you didn't tell him the truth did you?"

 "well, yes.. he said, truth, truth, truth, with those big blue eyes of his.."

 "oh, the world already bursts enough bubbles, why did you have to go and burst this one too?"

 "he said, truth, truth, truth -with those eyes.. and, -and, he's nearly in the 5th grade.. so, well, i told him. i already told him, can't take it back, and i did tell him about the spirit of santa clause, and about saint nick -God's saint..."

 and i could tell he was upset but the gig was up and the most important thing at this point, i thought, is that he knew about the conversation so everyone was on the same page

 and later that afternoon i shared the conversation with my daughter -the whole thing, and she seemed to agree that by 5th grade, jack should know anyway,  and she didn't know for sure, and couldn't describe how she herself found out, but explained to me, that, well, she just knew "probably by the 2nd grade" she informs me. and you know what... i knew she knew at an early age, and i always described her to my friends as "believing for my sake" -that's how perceptive & brilliant she is, and has been from inside my womb. 

and with my son, and my daughter, i talked about how being santa claus at macy's was probably one of my dad's,  ~ "your grandpa's favorite things to do -so much fun. and fun watching all of you figure out as the years passed by, that macy's santa clause was really grandpa pez..."

 and i think

           this spirit of santa claus 


                                              should live on forever and ever, -amen.