Monday, May 31, 2010

Indoor bbq

Puddles prevented us from enjoying a Memorial Day cook-out on the deck with the Pfour, but that didn't stop us from cooking-in. We enjoyed oven barbecued chicken, A's amazing prosciutto wrapped shrimp salad, dill and garlic roasted potatoes, green beans, watermelon and an irresistible chocolate cobbler. It seemed like everyone needed to chill and the kids hung out and watched Hook. Hud even took a much needed nap on our couch! It was a relaxing end to fun-filled week-end.

Freckle Face

I just love it when Finn's freckles make their summer appearance!

Sunny BBQ

Our neighbor Matt invited a few friends and about a bazillion of the most well behaved children on the planet over for a casual Memorial Day cook out yesterday. He is an excellent host and an impressive multi-tasker...I found myself sitting in front of a container of lovely sliced oranges and for every adult who wanted their beer garnished, two children grabbed one as a healthy snack! I'll have to keep this dual purpose garnish/snack in mind for future parties!I brought one of my favorite potato salads to share. Burgers, brats, dogs, the occasional cupcake and a little too much whiskey rounded out the day. Finn chatted up folks in his normal fashion and Emma's little mama instincts were in full force!
What a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon!
Thanks Matt!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Finn is still a Striker through and through, but he was borrowed by the Alithsa Arsenal for the Grove United Tournament this week-end in Shaumburg. Playing as a guest is a great opportunity for any young player and Finn is enjoying the tournament tremendously! All of the boys are extremely kind, the coaches are very welcoming, and Finn looks fierce in red. The team is bracketed in the top flight of what appears to be a well respected tournament and the games have been a struggle, but Finn is more than holding his own.
When asked how he felt about playing for a different club he'd never heard of Finn said, "I think this is great, a real honor, but I have no idea how I ended up here. Word must be really getting around about me!" How about that for a shot of confidence for a young man?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Plus 10 Picture...

When Emma was three years old she began obsessively wearing a pink sequined tutu. She fell in love with it on sight and refused to take it off...ever. In fact, she was so committed to her fashion statement that she potty trained herself in the garment and wore it for three solid months. She played in it, slept in it, and ate in it and before we knew it the sequins were falling off in long trails, rose hued tulle was separating at the seams, and the front of the garment was littered with unattractive stains. We marveled at her steadfast and obstinate commitment to her beloved costume and decided to have Emma professionally photographed in it before the tutu disintegrated entirely.
(Photo by Jennifer Mau)
The resulting photograph was and still is my favorite childhood picture of Emma. Her aloof confidence and that hint of an eye roll left Leif and I laughing and I remember looking at him saying, "Take this photograph plus 10 years and we could be in really big trouble."
My musing seemed such a far off consideration.
In that moment I couldn't comprehend what ten more years of Emma would bring.
And suddenly here she is ten years later...thirteen years
There are no words to describe just how that headstrong toddler in a soiled tutu has evolved and grown and matured.
She is not an eye roller. She is not contrary. She is not aloof.
She is solid. She is happiness. She is thoughtful.
She is confidence personified.
She is, simply stated, the joy of our life.
And she is a

Happy birthday Emma Grace.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Frobscottle and Whizpoppers

Finn has been busy reading Roald Dahl's, The BFG and putting the finishing touches on his diorama project on humorous fiction. He chose to show a scene where the Big Friendly Giant introduces Sophie to a drink called Frobscottle. The delicious drink bubbles downward and forces Sophie to Whizpop (fart) so intensely she flies into the air. I think Finn found the humor in his book and his whimsical scene turned out perfectly!


When someone give you an incredible poppy seed cake for no reason at all, the day becomes just a little bit sweeter!
Thanks Tee.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Nonna Nancy mailed Emma some birthday money to put toward something she can use this summer. Emma picked out this amazing Mirella leotard. She adores it and it provokes instant compliments from other dancers! Thanks Nonna. You made a young dancer's day!

Honors for Finn

Finn earned several recognition certificates for his achievements in the fourth grade. He earned awards for academic achievement, serving on student council, and participating in the egg drop, academic fair, and circle of friends. He was also recognized for his good character and citizenship, but was most thrilled to earn one of Mr. Hancock's coveted sportsmanship awards! We are proud of you Finn! You've surely earned a relaxing summer!

Getting to the pointe

My Mom came yesterday and we sprung Emma from school (shhh...) to purchase three pairs of pointe shoes for her Blue Lake summer dance intensive. This was our first trip to Russian Pointe on Michigan Ave and we all just loved it! Emma was well guided through her experience and made an excellent shoe selection in the end. It is hard to conceive of the huge differences subtle style variations make in shoes that pretty much look exactly the same. I tell you finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes sure makes for a gorgeous mess!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One Pretty...

...and delicious dinner for my mom.
I really enjoyed this brightly flavored meal!
I think the quick cucumber relish made the plate.
Give it a try over fish...

Thai Cumber Peanut Relish
1 C sugar
1C white vinegar
1/2 t salt
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 C chopped roasted salted peanuts
1/4C minced carrot
1/4 C chopped red pepper
1/3C chopped cilantro

Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Heat to boiling and cook one minute or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Combine remaining ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl. Pour cooled dressing over the cucumber mixture and serve as a garnish for shrimp, fish, or chicken.


The old Mentos and Pepsi combo is a sure fire way to bring a little excitement to a classroom!
The same fantastic lady who brought naked eggs and elephant toothpaste to Finn's class this year brought her science experiments to an explosive finish this afternoon!

One student proudly announced this had been "the best school day ever!"
Every student benefited from Deb's outrageous experiments this year and I am delighted I was able to help out with a few of them!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Red Wedge

Finn's performance in today's game had the parents calling him "The Red Wedge" and think it may be a nickname that sticks! He had an outstanding defensive game and netted his first penalty kick! The entire team came together tonight to make for an exciting Strikers win!Way to go boys!


I can always gauge how much I've enjoyed a book by it's migratory pattern around my house and the condition it is in by the time I finish it. A ho hum offering will rarely make it off my bed side table and if, on rare and disappointing occasions, I pick up a book I deem "unreadable" it will be found on that same bedside table covered by a thin film of dust and several back issues of People magazine. Eventually, most (if not all) of these stationary books get read from start to finish, but they never look too worse for wear. When I discover a book I really enjoy, however, it will literally follow me around the house. If I find myself reading in the back yard or in the living room I know I've been hooked by a plot. I know an author has hit a home run if I am scouring the house at bedtime looking for my book and find it next to the kitchen sink, in a laundry basket, or in the passenger seat of my minivan . My book of choice should wear coffee stains on the cover like medals of honor and if the binding breaks it is sure sign the work is worthy of a national book award in my mind!

By the looks of book I just finished reading you'd think it was the greatest book ever written...
...and yes, I bought it new.
Chris Cleave's, Little Bee certainly followed me around the house and I loved every page! I would have finished this brilliant book faster, but it took two full weeks to dry out after I accidentally put it under the faucet in the bathroom. I guess that's the danger of cleaning while reading!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wed before Noon

I have to admit, this was the first time I've ever pulled off a wedding reception for sixty guests before noon! My friend, Bronwyn, married her long time love this morning at Under the Ginko Tree; the bride and the setting were simply beautiful. I was quite pleased with my offerings and tremendously grateful for all the assistance I received in the kitchen. Thanks Patty, Tee, and Kelsey! I couldn't have done it without you!

Cheers to your happy new life together!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just one of the girls.

My mom and her friends came into Chicago today to get a city fix and take in a matinee of Billy Elliot. Unfortunately one of the ladies couldn't use her ticket at the last minute and my mom and her friends asked me if I wanted it. Umm...YES!
The show is phenomenal and I think everyone should check it out during it's Chicago run! More importantly, however, it is always fantastic to see my mom with her girls. I know how much they mean to her and it is always a joy to see how happy she is when she is with them.
Who wouldn't want to be a part of this click?
I know I sure enjoyed it, if only for a couple of hours.
Thanks for including me in your special day; it was such a treat!

Seeing Red

This afternoon when I arrived downtown I had no idea there would be an Asian American Festival at Daley Plaza. It was a delightful treat to enjoy a few potstickers next to the fountains dyed red for the occasion!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Club Rep.

I knew I liked this picture of Finn, but I guess the soccer club liked it, too. I think he makes for a pretty compelling ad!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Plus 11

Needless to say I dropped the culinary ball on Cinco de Mayo this year; we ate pancakes...'ole! My Mexican fiesta flop left me feeling a little guilty and I decided we should celebrate Cinco de Mayo Plus 11! A few friends stopped by this evening for coco chile rubbed flank steak, Avocado-Citrus Salad, and some pretty yummy stuffed poblano peppers. Better late than never!
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