Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sauteed Zucchini and Tomatoes

I've got a love-hate relationship with zucchini right now.  It's one of my favorite vegetables, but there's still SO MUCH OF IT growing in our garden.  By December I will miss the darn things, but right now, not so much.

This is my grandmother's zucchini recipe, and it's really delicious, simple, and fast! Perfect with grilled steak or fish as summer comes to an end.

Sauteed Zucchini and Tomatoes

1 pound yellow squash or zucchini (I use both)
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. diced basil leaves
1 8oz. can diced tomatoes, in juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash and zucchini into chunks.  Saute butter, onion and green pepper in large saucepan until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, covered, for 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender.

Have a wonderful three day weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sharing Some Gratitude Part Four

It's time again to share some gratitude.  Writing in a gratitude journal every day has been so helpful for my anxiety.  I'm able to focus on the positive instead of worrying about the negative.  August was a wonderful month and I can't believe it's almost over!

--I'm thankful for our family vacation to Manzanita, Oregon.  We had beautiful weather, tons of fun, and most importantly, relaxation.  Grandpa Ed was there for a few days, and on Wednesday two of my cousins and their sons drove over from Portland for some beach time.  It wasn't easy to get the great grandkids to sit still for a picture, but we finally managed it - sort of.

--I'm so grateful for blogging friends.  When Deena from Shoes to Shiraz emailed me that she would be in Seattle for vacation and hoped to meet for coffee, I was so excited! It means a lot that she would take time out of her busy week for me.  Deena was so delightful, and the kind of friend we would all like to have.  If you haven't been over to her blog, don't wait - she has amazing style and a beautiful home - and she shares it with us!

--I'm grateful that my mom finally went home to Arizona.  Am I allowed to say that?  I love her so much, and I wish she lived closer....BUT, she was visiting for the whole month, which is a long time to have a house guest.  However, I won't see her again until Christmas, so I already miss her.  It's feast or famine with our relationship.  Back to the gratitude - I'm grateful my mom is so beautiful inside and out.

--I'm grateful that my friend Todd is coming home from the hospital this weekend!  If you've been following along with Todd's story, you know that he was paralyzed in July while body surfing in Hawaii.  He has made amazing progress and we're so proud of him.  There is still a very long road ahead, but his positive attitude has enriched all our lives.  Go to his facebook page if you want to be inspired - his amazing video messages will make you grateful to be alive!

--I'm grateful for this sunflower growing in my neighbor's yard.  Sunflowers make me happy!

I hope you find what you are grateful for!  Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Helping Teens Find A Mentor

A few months ago I wrote about things your teen can do this summer, which included finding someone to "job shadow".  One of the comments on that post got me thinking about mentors, and how we often don't take advantage of that relationship in this modern, busy world.  Finding an adult with the experience or knowledge your teen seeks can be invaluable in their path to a career.  

My younger son T hopes to be a veterinarian, and he was very fortunate this summer to work at my sister's clinic with their new vet.  Dr. A allowed him to come in twice a week and follow him as he saw patients and conducted surgeries.

On the first day of work, T came home full of interesting stories and new experiences. Over lunch, Dr. A told him why he had agreed to the mentorship.  When he was T's age, he had a doctor do the same for him, and he wanted to show his appreciation by passing on the favor.  He explained to T that everyone who wants to go to vet school has excellent grades and lots of activities on their resume. T needs to do something to stand out.  By working with Dr. A (and hopefully doing a good job), he will be able to get letters of recommendation from him for scholarships and applications.  

Plus, Dr. A knows the ins and outs of vet school, and has already started giving T great advice on what classes to take now, and what undergraduate degree would be most helpful once he gets to college.  This summer experience has already given T a leg up in his future career.  He was very lucky that his aunt was able to connect him with Dr. A.

T hasn't met an animal he didn't like!

How can your teen find a mentor?  It may seem difficult, but influential people in any given field are often happy to advise the next generation, love to impart their knowledge, and would enjoy helping if asked.  

The best place to start is by talking to family and friends.  Often times they have useful contacts you didn't know they had!  Plus, these are the people that can vouch for your teen and get them an introduction.  

Having your child ask their school career counselor can also be helpful.  Even if they don't have a direct contact in their industry, they might be able to point them in the right direction. Look for networking opportunities such as business association or chamber of commerce meetings.  

As I've written about before, my older son C found his mentor a few years ago by calling the local Ferrari dealership and speaking with the person whose job he someday hopes to have. It's okay for your teen to make direct contact with someone in their chosen field by phone or email, and explain what they are looking for.

And C has never met a Ferrari that he didn't like!

Once they've found someone suitable, have them set up a meeting with the potential mentor.  Your teen should have a clear idea of what they're hoping the mentor can do for them - allow them to job shadow, or give advice on a good education path.  Don't expect the mentor to figure out what they need - have an outline and then listen to their opinion.

Have your teen ask the mentor about the various pathways to success in their chosen field, and what activities or training would make them the most desirable candidate for the job. Ask the mentor what they wish they had known when they first started out, or what they would have done differently.  

Once they've had the initial meeting, have your child stay in touch.  C talks to his mentor about once a month either on the phone or through email, letting him know how things are going and tweaking his path.  Try not to overwhelm the mentor though - they are busy people.  Remind your teen to always remain professional.  Finally, don't forget to thank the mentor every once in a while - they will appreciate it!  Building a mentor/mentee relationship has to be based on a foundation of mutual trust, and it may take a few tries to find the right person.

Hopefully C and T are on the path to success in their chosen field, with help from their mentors.  Now if I can just figure out how we're paying for that path...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer's End

I'm officially waving the white flag on summer - at least when it comes to outfit posts. Time to transition to fall.  September is usually a beautiful, warm month in Seattle - however, they are predicting rain for Labor Day weekend.  Yikes!

This is a perfect time to find some great sales on summer clothes for next year.  I picked up both of these pieces at Old Navy for $5.49 each.  That's practically free!

I love polka dots, and I will be able to wear this shirt into fall with a light jacket. The outfit seemed a little dark though, so I added this pretty turquoise necklace that my mom bought me in Arizona.

As much as I've enjoyed our sunny, warm summer, I have to admit that I'm excited to pull out my boots and sweaters.  Looks like the weather is going to cooperate....

Linking up with Get Your Pretty On, The Pleated PoppyBecause Shanna Said SoNot Dead Yet StyleVodka Infused Lemonade, Why I Do Declaire

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Fun Day Scrubbing Mutts

T and our dog Abby
A few weekends ago, my family and I spent the day washing dogs.  Lots of dogs. Actually, hundreds of dogs, of all breeds and sizes.  At the end of our adventure, the canines were clean, but we were smelling a little.....dogish.  The event is called "Scrub A Mutt", and it is run by my good friends, Elizabeth and Jennifer, as part of their non-profit organization, Save A Mutt.

Elizabeth and Jennifer work tirelessly year round, bringing rescue puppies up from California, and finding new homes for old dogs.  Scrub A Mutt is their main fundraiser, and this year we washed 300 dogs and raised over $5500!

We started early, setting up the washing stations and vendor booths.

Soon our clients started to arrive!

Our first customer.

No dog is too big or too small for Scrub A Mutt.  And let me tell you, we washed some BIG dogs that day!  My hubby was in charge of maintenance - he takes his job very seriously :)!

Of course we brought Abby for a bath.  Apparently she's enjoying it - look at that smile!

To learn more about Save A Mutt, you can visit their website.  We'll be back next year, ready to scrub more mutts!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Breaking Up With My Best Friend

Three years ago I broke up with my best friend.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done - we've known each other for thirty five years.  I know it was the right decision, but there are many days when I still miss her.

We met in sixth grade and clicked right away.  I was the awkward new girl, and she lived in my neighborhood.  I'm pretty sure I followed her home and asked her if she wanted to be my friend. We had a lot in common, but our personalities were completely opposite. She was loud and fun and a little bossy, and I was quiet and meek and willing to go along with whatever crazy idea she came up with.  

Through the years we went through a lot together.  We were teenagers, college students, newlyweds, and mothers at the same time.  I saw her almost every day, and most of the time we had lots of fun.  She could make me laugh like no one else.  Our families vacationed together, and I was there when her children were born.  We felt more like sisters than friends.

From the beginning we had our ups and downs, but as the years went on, my friend became more controlling and quick to anger.  I'm not sure what was going on with her, and it was the one subject we couldn't talk about.  And even though I had grown and matured, for some reason I was still that meek sixth grader when it came to her.  No matter what she said or did to me, I always forgave her.  She was my best friend.

Unfortunately, over time the negative parts of our friendship started to outweigh the positive.  I was making excuses for her behavior to myself and my family, and I found myself dreading our time together.  I had stayed in the relationship because I kept thinking things had to get better.

I don't want to go into the details of what happened, because they aren't important.  And I don't want to lead you to believe that I was without fault.  Every relationship involves two people, and I was by no means the perfect friend.  But one day she finally did something that crossed the line, and I couldn't ignore how bad things had gotten anymore.

For three months things were strained and uncomfortable.  It came to a head one day, which resulted in an ultimatum from her.  What she demanded offered me only one clear choice, and I walked out of her house, and though I didn't know it at the time, out of her life.  We haven't seen each other or spoken since.

In the beginning, I thought that things would repair themselves after a short break.  We had been friends for thirty five years, and we had argued before.  But the longer I went without having her in my daily life, the more clearly I began to see.  Over time, and after discussing it with my husband and children, I came to the sad realization that our relationship had become unhealthy, and the friendship was over for good.  

Still, I have mourned the loss of that friendship deeply.   I had never experienced a break up with someone I care about.  My hubby and I started dating when we were fifteen - I married my first love. These were new emotions.  There has been grief and sadness and now, finally, relief and acceptance.

I didn't write this story to ask for sympathy, or to hear that I did the right thing.  I think I did, but it doesn't even matter now.  But I do want to share what I've learned.  

I've realized that life is hard enough without having toxic people around to bring stress, drama and frustration into the mix.  Relationships with your spouse, children and family can be hard sometimes, and they require a lot of work to make them strong and healthy. Friendships should be a safe place to land when you need a shoulder to cry on or advice about a problem.  They shouldn't be so difficult.

I've also learned that it's okay to let some relationships go as you get older.  Life is too short. There are many things I can't control, but a bad friendship isn't one of them.  And even though we had a long history together, I don't have to be unhappy.  I finally stood up for me.

We live in the same town, and although I pass her occasionally in my car, we have never come face to face since that last day.  I tried sending a letter to explain how I felt, but it came back "Return to Sender".  That was my final wake up call.  She couldn't hear any side but her own, and that wasn't going to change.

I still think about her often.  I miss her sense of humor, the fun we had, the heart to heart talks, and especially her children.   But I am slowly mending, and I know I made the right decision when I broke up with my best friend.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


It's been a busy summer.

My mom was here for a month, but she went back to Arizona yesterday.

C and T and their friends have been coming and going a lot, but both boys are working today.

This is the busiest time of year for our hardware business, but my husband has gone tuna fishing with my brother this weekend.

I can't remember the last time I was alone in my house, with nothing specific on the agenda.

I have no idea what I'm going to do, but I will enjoy the

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!