Friday, June 8, 2012

Fakin it...

This was a really good week to begin with, until my sister took a couple steps back and is now back in the hospital.  But, I can't sit here and write sad things about it cuz I just can't deal with it right now.  I know it's not fair because her and her husband are sitting there having to deal with it and that sucks.  For me, I need to pretend... for just the 15 minutes I sit here and write that everything is okay and happy still.  I'm gonna pretend everything is normal and write about all the happy things from this week that led up to being back in this sad, scary place.  So, I'm gonna fake it for just this post and then I'll go back to real life and deal with my emotions.  

We had many big moments this week...end of the school year for the girls, Matt's birthday and lots of celebrating these moments.  I'll begin with this...pink cupcakes.
Now, I know what you are thinking...it was already the girls birthdays, why are there pink strawberry cupcakes???  Well, these pretty little things were for Matt's birthday.  He prefers if you call them "man-cakes"  They were delicious whatever you call them.  Matt likes to keep things simple for his day and I tend to want to go over the top.  I try to find a good balance by going over the top with the food (cuz I know he won't argue with that) and low key with everything else.  (like it's just our little family doing the celebrating.  Here's what he requested for the dinner.
For starters....caprese, olives and tomatoes all drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Then onto to the main course...Gnniochi with tomato cream sauce and fresh bread.
Here's the recipes for the dinner.  I find making homemade gnocchi a lot easier to make then homemade pasta and as Ava says, they are "little pillows of heaven"  You just have to make sure you don't overcook them.  I made this mistake once and we had gnocchi mush...not so good.  Once they start floating, count to 30 and they are done!
Gnocchi
-3 to 4 large potatoes
-1 cup of flour (maybe a little more or a little less)
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 egg yolk
-Salt
Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.  Poke a few holes in the potatoes and place them in the hot oven until they are soft (about one hour).  Remove and let cool until easy to handle.  Slice them in half and scoop the inside into a bowl.  Mash until they are smooth.  Add 1/2 cup flour to start, nutmeg, egg yolk and salt.  Mix until it starts to form a dough.  Place on a well floured surface and knead a little to make a workable dough.  This is where you will add a little more flour as needed.  Divide dough into four sections and work one at a time.  With your hands roll it into a long snake around 1/2 inch thick.  With a knife slice into 3/4-inch sections (these are your little "pillows!)  I then gently push down on each little one with a fork...makes them look pretty.  Repeat with all the remaining sections.
-When you are ready to cook them, add them to boiling water and when they start to float, count to 30 and remove them with a slotted spoon.  They are fragile, so do this carefully.  Top with any sauce and enjoy!
Tomato Cream Sauce
-1/2 onion, sliced
-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1/2 green pepper, sliced (optional...I like the flavor it adds)
-1 can diced tomatoes
-around 1 tsp of each...oregano, basil and sugar
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 tbls butter
-Saute onion, garlic and pepper in olive oil for around 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and spices and some salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for around 10 minutes.  
-Remove from heat and stir in cream and butter (and I add some fresh Parmesan at this point) and stir until butter is melted.  Return to low heat to warm it back up slightly then serve over the gnocchi.

It was some good food.  Matt's birthday celebration will be continuing with a weekend out of town...we just have to postpone it for awhile until things go back to normal (soon please...pretty please???)  He is tough to buy gifts for, so I thought a weekend away would be just the ticket.  I have lots of fun planned for it, but he reads this blog and I want it to be a surprise so you'll have to wait. 

Other big news was I now officially have a Kindergartner and a 2nd grader...
I was such a proud mama as these two finished their school years.  We got only praise about how well they both did from their teachers and it makes me so happy that they both love school.  This year they had such exceptional teachers and I was so sad to say good bye to both of them.  I love seeing them thrive in their school environments.  It's such an independent thing away from us and it makes me miss the days of just my two little girls and me all day long, but it also makes my heart swell with pride to see them grow.  I am so excited about this summer and having them home now.  No more homework, schedules or packing lunches for three. whole. months!!  And, after next week not even work for me.  For the first time since my last maternity leave I'll officially be a stay at home mom and I can't wait.  Of course it feels weird to leave the job I've had for the past eight years, but I know at this moment, it is the right thing to do.  We celebrated the last day of school with cousins and ice cream at Grandma's house.  Is there any better way?
Maybe catching butterflies...
I foresee lots of ice cream for the summer.

On Ava's last day of school, I realized it would also be the last day it was just me and Layla.  These last two years, she's been my little buddy everyday she isn't in pre-school.  Next year I won't have that.  I wanted to do something just us, so we decided to plant our flowers for outside.  Matt is the green thumb in this household, but I do plant a few flowers each year.  I do really well until the middle of August and then I get over it and start "forgetting" to water them until they look really sad and into the compost they go.  We went to the nursery and browsed the beautiful flowers and came home and played in the dirt...


She was a good little helper and now we have some added color on our front porch.  

So, despite how the week ended it was all good leading up to it.  We have to take what we can get and know that all this hard stuff will pass and more happiness will be there when it does.  I'm done faking it, now it's time for more prayers and sending positive, healing thoughts to a hospital room in Denver.

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